Thursday, November 30, 2006

My "I Hit a Cow" Story, Part VI ~ The Latest re: Liability!

Well, this is an itty bitty bit premature to mention (way premature, honestly), BUHHHT (and as we all know, I got's me a big butt), I'm kinda just too excited to keep it in!

My auto insurance called me today, to tell me that right now,
despite Idaho's recently issued open range legislation, it looks as though the cattle rancher will be held liable for my accident, due to negligence on his part, for not keeping his fence lines managed AND the fact that this kind of thing has happened to his cattle several times, demonstrating a history of negligence.

The situation could all change though, of course, as to who's deemed liable. I'm keeping this in mind, for sure.

But right now? The possibility that this guy, and his inability to give a shit about the safety of highway travelers, will be held liable? I'm very pleased.

Either way, and even still, I'm riding high on the fact that we were all sooooo okay despite the severity of the accident, AND that I've got a new car!

UPDATE as of 1/22/07: THE COW OWNER, Dennis Hunzeker, HAS DENIED THERE WAS ANYTHING WRONG WITH HIS FENCING - Naturally, his insurance co. is now disputing liability.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why I Love Mah Sweet Honey-Man ~ Reason 2

I hadn't mentioned this in my recent update, but I need to be out of my aunt's home by tomorrow night.

For today, my honey-man has pushed back his return flight to Cali, so that while I'm in my 3rd day of a Grant Writing seminar, he'll be making a couple trips loading and unloading my things, delivering them to my new place of residence...

I love him because it was his idea.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Proposing Proposals

For now, a brief update...

I'm at a Grant Writing seminar this week (on lunch break right now), today through Wed., and it includes 'homework' each night, so that's what I'll be up to until Thursday...

Our Thanksgiving was juhhhst WONDERFUL (yes, I'm shouting!)! It was GRRREAT! For those of you who don't know yet, we combined forces this year with my honey-man's former spouse and her man, and we had a grand Thanksgiving feast, all of us together with the boy-O! More on that later, with pictures...

Beyond Turkey Day, the weekend in L.A., although challenging at times, as is the nature of L.A., was great due to LOTS of heart warming cuddle time spent with my honey-man and the angel boy-O and my two fuzzy babies... More on Owen and his new personality development, in particular, much later, with pictures...

And my 'big news' is that I'm finally driving my newly purchased wheels, and doing so legally -- ya know, as in not illegally? The title issues were quickly resolved and we're quite pleased. If there's any question, yes, I bought another Toyota Matrix. This one is a 2005 XR model (my first had been a plain jane model) in a metallic 'charcoal' [this is the color description my honey-man insists it be called - - not dark silver or slate or pewter, but 'charcoal']. More on mah new car later, with pictures, of course...

And more re: my "I Hit a Cow" story: I wrote a public thank you statement for those who helped us the night of our accident, and I submitted my statement, which was published in the 'print' edition of the Bear Lake News-Examiner, on November 22nd. My Grams will be sending me the clipping soon.

My lunch break is not yet over, but I have a L.A. job application to wrap up and send off - - Toodles!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Overwhelmed + Broke = Chocolate

It's absolutely baffling, how my entire being - every part of me, body and soul - it WANTS and DEMANDS chocolate whenever I'm found in these kinds of circumstances...

I'm afraid I'll do a lot of damage this Thanksgiving...

If and when my car title 'situation' is resolved tomorrow (please, please, please, ohhhh PUHLEEZE!), I'll have to rush home for a self-induced, very rushed baking frenzy: homemade Parkerhouse Rolls, pumpkin pie, apple pie, deviled eggs, cheesecake and the ever cherished Cranberry Fluff, and it'll be a double batch of that, of course!

Happy Gobbles to ya'll!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, to you and yours!

And it Continues... My "I Hit a Cow" Story, Part V

Well, this past weekend, I found a replacement car in L.A. - For its value and pricing, it's a superb vehicle and I chose to buy it. And now, although I have it with me, come time to register the thing this morning, I find out it can't be mine, as the title I've been given isn't legal... I'll leave it at that for now, as I'm not sure how things will be resolved.

However, I'm hopeful, as the fellow involved has told me we will go tomorrow to the CA DMV together to straighten this out.

My honey-man's awesome calming powers over me are an amazing thing. My office staff can attest to this. He's a magic wonder, he is!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My "I Hit a Cow" Story, Part IV: The Search Continues

[Be FOREWARNED, this one's a whiner]

Well, since October 29th, I've been online, searching each day for a replacement car, which I haven't yet found. For the kind of car I want (another Matrix, thanx!), the MSRP/Kelley Blue Book value runs around $18K, but dealership prices seem to run between $15-16K. Yes, this is a great thing, but there aren't many used ones in Vegas - most are in California, which makes my purchase effort a bit tricky. We'd been hoping to score a Matrix from the local LV auctions, priced seriously below not only MSRP, but going prices at the dealership. [BACKGROUND INFO: I bought my Matrix last year for $12.1K. It'd been listed for $14K at the time, but I was able to have the price knocked down.] The auction list came out today and there's a 2004 listed, but it has 44K miles on it = higher than I want; although not too high above average mileage for a 2004 model. Problem with a 2004 is most I come across, they were purchased in 2003, so the warranty is about to expire, even if it has low miles. Anywhoo...

The rest of the update is this:

I don't have a new car yet (yeah, I probably made that clear already, I know). I hope to buy something this coming weekend.

No news as to who's liable for the accident... I've been told this could take some time, which translates into "not until sometime next year." BUHHT, my insurance co. did finally send/mail the lien payoff amount of $9.9K, just today. And they gave me $11.8K for my car - - only $300 less than what I paid for it a year ago. Toyota sure holds it's value, although the KBB on mine, pre-accident of course, is $13K. BUHHT, after the payoff, minus my $500 deductible, that leaves me $1.2K towards the purchase of a replacement car... even though the Matrix now averages $3K more in price than it did a year ago, BUHHT somethin' is better than nothing, right?

A bit bummed, to be honest... The money I'd managed to save over the past 6 months, living with my aunt Radeane, saving for my move to California
, will all be spent and then some, in order to buy a new car. [SEMI-RELATED TANGENT: Speaking of Cali, to continue the update here... No, I still have NO IDEA when I'll finally move to CA, especially now. And no, I have ZERO hopeful California job prospects right now. END OF TANGENT.] Yeah, really bummed out about all that... BUHHT at least I have the money to buy a new car, right? And we're all ohhhkay! Rather buy a new car than pay for a funeral, right?

My Grams is finally feeling much better. Of us all, she had been having the hardest time, physically. One of her shoulders is still acting up, but her energy is finally up and her swelling has subsided.

Oh, another thing re: my insurance: They will not cover the replacement costs for Brianna's aunt's damaged portable DVD player or the cost of a new baby car seat, nor my aunt's wool-cashmere blend peacoat... "only items physically installed as part of the vehicle, itself."

Also, my living situation must change: Without going into details (absolutely nothing went wrong at all between us or anything like that), I've been staying at my aunt's for 6 months now (THANK YOU, RA!), and after Thanksgiving, I need to move out. Not wanting to get tied up in a lease, considering I'm TRYING TO LEAVE LAS VEGAS, I'll be looking for a room rental situation. Not terribly thrilled - I feel like I'm living in my early 20's again -very transient- and I do not like it at all.

Winter is just about here. We still enjoy some 70s weather, but the nights are definitely cooler and the days will only lower in temperature from here on out. Typical. Problem is this: All of my winter clothes are deeply packed away in my very packed storage unit and I don't know where.

...BUHHT, we're allll OK!

[TRANSLATION: Tryin' to stay positive, although it hurts like hell.]

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Matrix-Buyer Demographics!

HOW WEIRD! HOW UNCANNY?!? And how unremarkable, really, but REALLY, it's this funny in an odd way!?! Check it out...

Buyer Demographics published for Toyota Matrix Buyers (that'd be me), from the J.D. Power Consumer Center website:

Favorite TV Shows**:

CSI (the Las Vegas version, of course!)
Law & Order (SVU!)
Desperate Housewives (newly discovered source of laughter!)
Favorite Sports or Activities**:
Walking for Exercise (yuppers! - treadmill owner)
Gardening (indeed!)
Entertain at Home (love to!)

The only thing that could have made this any more perfect is if it had also included the TV show House, which we're now watching together every Tuesday night (which we've followed now, at best, um, for 2 episodes in a row?), and either Sewing or Furniture Refinishing (or both) in the 'Activities' listing.

Mind you, I'm not a big TV watcher, but if I were to follow any other shows than House, it'd be Law & Order: SVU (I used to occasionally catch it after I got home from a grad school night class) or CSI Las Vegas (I rarely catch this one, but when I do, me way likey). Post-car accident, my cousin Tyler's cutie-pie wife, Brianna, lent me her first season DVD set of Desperate Housewives, which it turns out, I juhhhst absolutely LOVE! Online last weekend, I watched the last four shows I'd missed... Mind you, once again, up until the Sunday night after our accident, in Brianna's home, I'd never ever even watched Desperate Housewives. . . so I've 'missed them' all, really. But back to the consumer research on Matrix owners.... how funny is that?
Anywhoo... back to car shopping!

Why I Love Mah Sweet Honey-Man ~ Reason 1

Although this may be my first reason I'll post here, it's not to be confused with the 'number one' reason why I love mah honey-man... I could never narrow down my reasons to a "number one" anyhow...

Reason 1: Unless it's a serious situation (e.g. a group photo, a pose w/ the angel boy-O or a paid photo session), OR he's being threatened by me not to do it or else (which rarely works; who am I kidding?), my honey-man almost always sticks out a little bit of his pink tongue in almost every picture I take of him.
I have countless pictures I could share to illustrate this habit of his. [BACKGROUND INFO: I just uploaded photos taken from over my last weekend in L.A., in which I found 3 such photos.] And although I scold him every time he does it? - - it totally cracks me up, how he'll pose, sans tongue, yet when I press the button to take the shot, he somehow manages to time it just right...

To be honest, I secretly love it when he pulls it off...

A New Personal Rule of Conduct - #3

I will no longer allow the automatic 'click and download purchase' capability feature on my iTunes. Never again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Child Car Safety - Can't Take it for Granted

Ohh my guhooodness - this one makes me bawl. Considering my own recent accident, although our outcome was quite fortunate, any effort on my part now, to prevent or minimize the results of any future accident, I'm all over it... My honey-man's angel boy-O may be 8 years old, but he weighs under 55 lbs still.

On my things to do list for today: pricing for a Britax Regent car seat!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'd Sing 'Happy Birthday,' but I love him too much!

It's my lil' bro-bro's birthday today - he turned 18 years old...


Makes me feel OLD!

I've been thinking about my little 6' 8" tall brother all throughout the day, today, remembering him when he wore diapers and drooled and cooed, and when I taught him to sing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," by the Beatles (of course!) and songs by the Cure, and how he always pronounced my name with a distinct 'Z' sound... and how he would sprint down the basement hallway, as much as a 2 year old can 'sprint, giggling and shrieking with sheer delight, as I'd chase after him...

He was so cute! Still is, of course. Happy Birthday, Pizza-boy!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A CHP's Cow Crash

Man, even in Modesto, California. . .

Read this
and/or this - both have news video links. . .

Self-Portrait Day, um, a day early ~ I Voted!

Self-Portrait Day

And yes, I'm trying to keep my eyes open in this shot...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My "I Hit a Cow" Story, Part III: Who's Liable?

In the last week, each time I tell my "I hit a cow" story, invariably, people will ask me about my car and my insurance and who's liable for what, etc. etc.

As a recent anonymous commenter wrote, I was, indeed, driving in "open range" territory. [SIDE NOTE for 'Anonymous' from Colorado: Yes, lucky we were! I'd heard too about the very unfortunate older couple who had hit a cow, driving their Harley, and how terribly awful their experience was. I also heard there was another cow struck last week, before I hit mine, and that it happened on that very same road I was on, involving the same rancher's cattle, although I don't know the details with certainty. In dealing with the Sherriff's office after my accident, however, at no point did anyone warn nor tell me that I'd be liable for the cow. In fact, I was told more conflicting information, that because both sides of that hwy road are fenced, and that particular area may also be a 'herd district,' the owner of the cow is potentially liable because he had not maintained his fence line - ?!? - Either way, anyone would have to agree it's irrefutable that had the damn [other explitives removed] fence line been closed properly, there would never have been any cows on the road to hit. Am I liable for killing the cow? or anything at all? If I'm not liable, what about the rancher for not maintaining his fence? I dunno. Indeed, interesting points to ponder... END OF NOTE]

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the meaning of "open range," here's the
Idaho state provision for your reading pleasure:

No person owning, or controlling the possession of, any domestic animal running on open range, shall have the duty to keep such animal off any highway on such range, and shall not be liable for damage to any vehicle or for injury to any person riding therein, caused by a collision between the vehicle and the animal. "Open range" means all uninclosed lands outside of cities, villages and herd districts, upon which cattle by custom, license, lease, or permit, are grazedor permitted to roam.

So yeah, how about that? Given free license to let 'em roam anywhere...
There are many issues of debate when it comes to no-duty open range laws.

Taken from a newspaper article published in 2003 in the Billings Gazette:
..."I guess the question for the 21st century is, should a black
cow at midnight have more right to a highway than a person?"
asked Andy Kerr, director of the National Public Lands
Grazing Campaign,which is trying to get Congress to pay
ranchers to give up federal grazing permits.

"These laws have been on the books since before Henry Ford
invented the automobile. How fast could you go in a horse
and buggy? The law hasn't kept up with reality.
Open-range laws may have made sense in the 1800s,
but they don't make a lot of sense today," said Kerr.

Why should drivers be punished for lawful travel on a public road?
What do you think?
If you're possibly interested in knowing more, the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign website is uber loaded with info right here. And here's an article from High Country News.

My "I Hit a Cow" Story, Part II: Spontaneous Tears

Yesterday, I was at a baby shower for someone in my office - a very 'the cutest' preggers someone, who has lots and lots of friends and family, who all love and adore her. [Note to Self: Do not attend any more baby showers for the next year. My ovaries just can't handle it.] At some point near the shower's end, I overheard someone say to someone else, "She's the one who hit the cow," and once again, there I was with a group of people gathering around and looking at me, asking to hear my story. And so again, there I was, telling my story, and again, trying hard not to cry...

The word spread around my office rather quickly once my boss, at our dept. meeting held on Wednesday, made an opening announcement, stating that he wanted everyone to know and be thankful that I was still here, going on to briefly explain the 'highlight' of my Nevada Day-weekend vacation in Bear Lake Idaho. As people turned around in their chairs to look at me, my eyes welled up and my chin began to tremble as it hit me again: We could have been seriously injured - - we could have been killed.

After the baby shower last night, I went to the store to buy some things. Having wandered the store for nearly 45 minutes, not wanting to go home yet, I meandered over to the 'Personal Care' section to find my facial scrub of choice and go home. Having found it, I looked at the price and realized that it wasn't a matter of this store vs. another store - -over the last couple months, the price has gone up by $1.50, regardless of where I shop. For a moment, this bummed me out for an itty bit, just thinking about the sad subject of money in general - and then? I was struck absolutely dumb and I began to bawl in the middle of the aisle, clutching my stupid tube of facial goop, feeling overwhelmed by my idiocy, feeling so fortunate to even be there buying my ridiculous facial scrub.

I've had a lot of moments like that throughout the past week. On Thursday, alone, I think I burst into tears about 5 different times throughout the day. My general state could simply be described as 'teary.'

At any point, whenever I begin to feel sad or angry about my car and all the expenses I'm about to incur (about $4,500 = no joke), I think this: Better to be spending some money I do have, than to be planning a funeral.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Drivin' Again, Post-Cow Crash

Yesterday morning, my aunt Radeane offered her extra vehicle for my driving, seeing I'm without a car now. Until yesterday, I'd been bumming rides to and from work, so back behind the wheel again, once I made it to work, I was pleased with the morning's drive. It was technically fine = I made it to work. However, I was a bit paranoid throughout the entire drive, worrying that I'd either run over anyone in my blind spot or rear end someone, driving my aunt's big Ford Exploder SUV - - whoops, I mean Ford Explorer.

Driving home in the dark last night, I had NPR on the radio as I made my entrance onto the freeway. As I merged left from the on ramp to join the existing traffic, my heart began to race a bit. Telling myself that everything was juhhhst fine, trying to focus on the NPR after-work broadcast, nonetheless, I began to sweat. I knew what was happening and told myself, "There are no cows in Vegas, you silly. Relax." Regardless of sound reasoning and solid logic, my hands began to shake, and so I moved from the center hwy lane, back into the far right lane. I glanced down at the speedometer and saw that I was driving only 55 mph in a 65 zone - - and with that, I burst into tears and didn't stop crying until I was 'home,' standing in my aunt's kitchen.

This morning's drive was much better than yesterday's... wish me steady hands and dry eyes for tonight's drive home.
And everybody, HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! I'll be out and about, shopping for a car! ~ Wish me luck for that too!

And lastly, but not least, THANK YOU SO MUCH to EVERYONE for their sweet well wishes and their caring interest in my safe condition. As things did turn out okay
- thank our lucky stars and all that is good in this world - in that no one was seriously hurt (with the exception of the poor cow, of course), I guess from now on, I'll always have a fantastic "I hit a cow" story to tell.