Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snappy Update

So, I just sent out a little update to friends and family. I might have missed people... people who occasionally look at this blog to see what I'm up to. So here's the snappy update, with typos (thanks for pointing those out dad) and errors and all:

It has been awhile and I just wanted to send a little update to what I've been up to recently. Several months ago Greg (the significant other) and I started Strategic Capital Funding. StratCapSF is a real estate financing company located in San Francisco's Financial district. I recently earned my Real Estate License so that I can be an official part of the business acting as (among other things) a Jr. Mortgage Planner. I am very excited about my new project. I'm not leaving IronPort, just helping run and learn the business... on the side.

We founded StratCapSF with two principals in mind: integrity and service. Financing your home is usually about as fun as a root canal. Our aim is to make the process educational, fear-free, and maybe even pleasant. Instead of hidden fees, smoke & mirrors, or high pressure sales, we listen to our clients, understand their goals, then provide them with appropriate options to help them make smart decisions.

Now, we've all seen the recent turbulence in the real estate finance world and you may think that I've gone off my rocker to get involved with it. However, I'm very optimistic. The House just pasted a change in the rules for conforming loans and the Fed has been dramatically dropping rates. Among other important implications, if you have a loan in the $417,000 to $739,000 range, you'll want to pay attention, as the rule change could lower your rate by as much as 1-1 ½ %. We are happy to explain how and why, in fact we're working on an educational evening seminar now.

StratCapSF is fully certified on a full suite of products, including TIC's, loans in most states, Small Business Loans as well as the Home Ownership Accelerator (HOA). The HOA gives you the option of owning your home outright in as little as half the time as a traditional mortgage, with no changes to your current spending habits, while saving you tens of thousands in mortgage interest. Sounds canned, I know - I just think it is a great program and I'm excited.

Please feel free to check out our website and keep us in mind when you have questions about buying, selling or refinancing your residential or commercial real estate.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - a la Red Start Design

Like many divorcees, I have some jewelery that I'm no longer comfortable wearing. I thought of selling it and got a rude awakening to how little used diamonds are worth.

Figuring that I could wear the jewelery if it were in another form, I went looking for jewelers. It was October, the season of the San Francisco Open Studios, and I found Red Start Design. I met with Sarah and Amanda and we talked about what I had and what we could do with it. The ring I wanted to remake was stunning: black jade with an aquamarine stone. I loved the ring. So I attempted to design something that would change it, yet hold some of the same elements.

Here's the result:
Red Start Design kindly took fabulous photos and sent them to me.

In the process of designing the ring, we realized we'd have left over jade. I had just taken a look at a diamond necklace that wanted some help and thought that I might use a couple of the diamonds as well as more for their Vine Necklace. But then the women there took one look and said that we should make this:
This piece is truly stunning. Just gorgeous. I want to wear it everyday. Too bad it doesn't always match.

I just finished Zen and the Art of Happiness. One of the ideas proposed by the author is that "The best thing always happens". The concept is that we may not always know how or why, but the Universe is looking out for us. We will be happen when we trust that bad things do happen, and they are often a door opening for something better. I feel that way about this jewelery. They could have stayed as they were with their dark cloud. Instead, they got an overhaul and now bring joy to me.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pictures for my Parents

My parents caught me. Cathy asked if I had started to dress Tsunami up yet. Not wanting to lie, I had to tell her about the safety orange rain coat I had gotten for her. Much like a swimsuit, I was amazed at how much a little piece of cloth could cost.
Here she is posing:
The fabric is rain resistant and inside it is lined with super soft fleece. It is machine washable - as are most things for the dog. She seems to like it. I specifically picked out the model with the most under carriage coverage. The velcro makes it easy to get her in and out of it.
Note the glossy, freshly brushed coat. She is a hot doggie - I constantly get questions about her when we're out on our daily strolls.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dog in Laundry

Tsunami likes it when we leave clothes on the floor. I think laundry day is her favorite day, as she has multiple piles to choose from.

Sometimes we forget to take the dog out of the laundry pile... oops!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Microsoft Now Offers Data Protection

I should preference this with a note that I almost lost 3 hours worth of work due to excel crashing. Microsoft products cause me daily frustration. They crash, they don't perform as I would expect them to and I think most people have had similar experiences. Instead of finding innovative ways to charge for their products, I wish they would spend more time fixing them.

And then I see them competing with my company in the security market. And I don't get it. Their products are the weakest link and the main target for phishers, hackers and key loggers. Yet they are now pushing a new security offering.

It seems so strange. Why would anyone think that they could make a good security product? Hackers find holes in their products before Microsoft can figure them out. Why would their security products be any different? Billions are spent annually trying to protect data that is served on MS - and we're supposed to believe that they are now offering a product that can do that?

I'm going back to recovering my data.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Topical Blog

Friday night Greg and I went out to the movies. We saw Walk Hard. I found it remarkably amusing and very silly. Before the movie, I was online checking times via

Seeing Fandango reminded me of the Fandango crew I camped with at burningman. I have been out of touch with most of them for a few months now. So I looked up to see that they are still doing there thing. I peeked around a few of the blogs of Fandango-ites and was reading a few entries.

What struck me was how varied the blog topics were. My blog is mainly focused on me, my activities and follies. Whereas others write about much more outwardly focused ideas. Books, neighborhoods, recent events.

All in all, I got to feeling a bit like my blog wasn't that interesting. A hint of insecurity crept in about my writing. Not about the writing itself - I do spell check. Instead about how I'm writing about me. Then again, I don't suppose anyone is reading this aside from Clem in England and my cousin Dania who takes and occasional peek.

So, what should I write about? The presidential election? Nah, its got enough coverage. My neighborhood? Nah, it isn't that interesting. It is beautiful. I didn't realize how neat my 'hood was until I started getting out and seeing it twice a day. The sun rise of over Oakland is stunning. I'm learning the tides. I've seen the ocean full and empty. Walking at dusk, with the holiday lighting on the buildings was like taking a slug of happy.

My best idea is to move this to be more of a chronicle about things that are good. Good people. Good actions. Sunshine. Dania & Clem - stay tuned.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not as they seem

Wednesday night we had our first session with a dog trainer. I think the official name is, "Canine Trainer & Therapist". Something fancy. We like the trainer, Peter and, if we're successful, I'll be promoting his services here.

He came over and Tsunami was very good, she didn't bark at the door at all. She did hide behind me and didn't go check him out. Which was her standard MO. He noticed how she was following me around the house. I assumed it because she was attached to me, but no.

Peter let me know that in the dog world, things are different. She's used to the pack mentality. The weaker dogs are watched by the stronger dogs. I had failed some domination tests (I didn't even know there was an exam!), so Tsunami was keeping an eye on me. She didn't want me getting into any trouble. Funny how this 7.5 lb thinks she is taking care of me.

This is the key to get her to not bark when she is hanging with me at the office. She needs to know that she doesn't need to warn/protect me from the evil coworkers who come to visit. Very exciting... she's been quiet all day so far.

So, Peter helped me understand and spot some of the dog dominance testing activities and I've been ignoring my dog when she wants love and calling her to me for love when she goes away. We're also working on sit & stay - which are going very, very well. When I need to show dominance, I'm supposed to stand up straight - which is tough, as she's about 8 inches off the ground. I'm supposed to crouch, call her and then, when she arrives, return to a standing position. I can't give here a "good girl" pat on the head, while standing.

She seems to be loosening up. The less responsibility she feels for me, the better we both do. We laud her when she shows submissive activities, like licking her lips (he says it isn't because she is hungry). And we make a growl sound at her when she steps out of line. Thankfully, I haven't had to growl at her in the office.

Time for our lunch time stroll.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Welcoming the New Year

It has been nearly two weeks now with Tsunami. And I now well aware of how far I am from parenthood. Yesterday I nearly had a mini break-down with the desire to return sweet Tsunami.

She's bringing out my neurotic side. I want the best for her - and I know she is a dog. Yet I want to be sure she gets the exercise she needs. I looked up games we could play together. One problem is that she's unclear on the fetch game. I throw something, say a toy, and she runs after it, hops on it and then runs back to me without it. I'm so afraid that she'll be bored with her new life, yet I don't know what to do. She isn't really interested in toys. She is interested in me. Just being in my lap is all she needs to be content.

Now, most people would think that is fine, but I've been watching The Dog Whisperer so I think that she needs to do something to earn the affection. But what? I try to work on training her - she's got the sit down. But it gets me all worked up and then I'm not the calm-assertive leader that the wee-one needs. The vortex of stress & guilt gets to me. I keep trying to say, it is just a dog! This is much more work that I realized and I've got possibly 18 more years of it. She might live until my 50th birthday! Crazy.