Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh no, not again!

I've talked about my financial difficulties, I make no secret of the fact that being a single mom without a lot of training in anything particular has made life problematic at times.

There have been times when I have been around people who are discussing what they are doing to their house, whether it be a remodel or repairs or buying new appliances. That's fine, good for them. I can be happy for them but I generally don't join in those conversations because I really haven't got anything to add.

Sometimes though, I have been drawn in and inevitably, I get THE question.

"Well, why don't you BUY a house?"

That's usually asked in response to something I have said about renting. Hmm-m-m. Why don't I buy a house? I suppose I'm just stupid and prefer to give my money to a landlord which is like flushing it down the toilet as opposed to buying something that might build, oh, equity??? Yes. I am THAT stupid.


People really don't think before they speak sometimes. And it's not uncommon for people to think that because they work at the same place and probably make close to the same amount of money, their circumstances must be the same.
Um, NO.

When I answer the question honestly, these people tend to look at me like I've just told them I enjoy mosquitoes flying up my nose or something. I DON'T HAVE A DOWN-PAYMENT. Yes, I could afford a mortgage payment. I would freaking LOVE a mortgage payment. But when you live check to check, not able to save anything because all the money goes to bills and food and kids, and you have to juggle buying Christmas presents with which bill you might have to put off for a little while, there

So don't ask that question when you find out someone rents. I suppose there are people out there who do not want the responsibility of owning anything, or have other reasons why they find renting to be a perfect situation for them.

But I'm willing to bet that a lot of them - would rather own their own home be it a condo, townhouse, or single family dwelling. And some of them, like me, might be willing to give up a limb or maybe a major organ to have their own place, so asking why I don't BUY a house - can be really ignorant and hurtful. Oh, and in my mind - it's rude, to boot.

All I'm asking is for people to be aware that the person they sit beside at work, on the train, stand beside in line at the grocery store - have their own circumstances and their own story, and it is most likely very different from your own.

Just sayin'.

**Edited - I corrected my misplaced apostrophe. (mosquito's) But I had to use spell-check to spell apostrophe. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Have a good one!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A little of this, a little of that.

A couple things. Finally went for my first mammogram since all my testing last year. Sheesh - I felt like I was in so much trouble - because I had not come when I was supposed to, because I had a doctor's order for a follow up on one side but it was time for my regular screening which obviously would be both sides. I was almost chastised for doing the whole thing incorrectly as if I didn't take it seriously.

I took it seriously alright, but with a couple mammograms, an ultrasound, and a mammotome which is basically treated like surgery, I decided to wait until I had paid off the hospital before I went back for more tests. I know, how novel.

Yes I have insurance. Yes, they paid for a good part of it. But I did come out of it owing the hospital enough to have to set up a payment plan which took me months to pay off. In the end - when the tech pulled me aside to tell me my results, I made sure she knew the reason I had put off having further tests so she knew that she treated me like a naughty child based on some false assumptions, and I really hoped she felt like a chump when I left. Maybe she'll think twice before she jumps to conclusions about other patients and their motives behind how they handle their healthcare.

It wasn't her place to judge me.

The other thing I wanted to mention, or maybe rail about is - where did all these people on the roads come from??? Where were the normal jerks I usually share the road with in the mornings and evenings on my way to and from work? Today - it was holiday traffic. People who apparently don't drive any other time of the year and come out on the roads, drive in whatever lane they want to, and make sure they drive at least 5 miles - preferably 10 - under the speed limit. And they don't care if they are driving side by side with another driver in the lane next to them, also going 10 miles under the speed limit and effectively blocking normal traffic and causing other people behind them to have spontaneous strokes and aneurysms bursting all over the place.


Whew, I feel better. Thanks for listening.

Oh, and my mammogram was fine, all looks good and I won't be due for another check for a year. Woo hoo!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I can face anything! Almost.

My parents were divorced when I was 11. I was pretty determined not to do the same thing to my kids. That's the way I looked at it
too, divorcing was doing something to my children. When it happened, the day we told the kids was the worst day of my life. That still stands.

I don't remember exactly when my family started spreading out. My sister moved south to West Virginia with her family. My oldest brother moved to California with his job at an airline. My other brother at some point - moved to New Jersey. I wasn't close to my dad and I was married with children by the time he moved to Nebraska with his wife and child. But before he moved - my
mom moved out of state. I was literally the only one that stayed in the Midwest in the suburbs of Chicago where I was raised.

Since it ended up that I had no family close by I relied heavily on my in-laws to be the nuclear and extended family I had always wanted my kids to have. My husbands parents were (and are) still married, my sister-in-law was married with 5 kids, my brother-in-law was single and still living at home. There was a great-grandma, family friends, and aunts and uncles. On holidays everyone came to "Grandma & Papa's house." There was always good food, noise, and complaining about the men watching football while the women cleaned up. Like any good American family.

So it was that after the divorce, even though I told my ex-husband that he would never have his kids on Christmas morning (anger, much?) unless he came to my house, I encouraged my kids to spend every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinner at Grandma & Papa's house. And they have, unless for some reason Grandma & Papa weren't hosting a dinner that year. I can count on one hand how many of those holiday dinners that I have spent with my kids in the last 10 years. And that's been fine with me. I usually relax, have a nap which is an integral part of any holiday, and if I haven't cooked myself - they have always brought me food. I got the gain - without the pain!

People have doubted whether I minded staying home but I never have. I felt good believing I was doing what was best for my kids and really - I am very comfortable with my own company. Right now though, I feel a funk coming on. Not because the kids are going to their grandparents house for Thanksgiving. But because I am finally starting to realize that my kids will actually be leaving to lead their own lives not too long from now.
That's what we raise them to do, to go and be independent and successful and happy out there in the world.

But I'm not ready.

I'm not ready at all.

Maxine Monday

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oops - forgot a title even. I'm seeing a pattern . .

So I never did remember whatever it was I was going to write about the other day. No clue. Don't you just love it when that happens?

It might have had something to do with Christmas though. Every year I ask my kids for Christmas lists. I need help and figure their suggestions are better than anyone else's. But they aren't giving me their lists this year. I know they are 22 and 24 years old but my gosh! What am I supposed to do without those ideas? I might have to give my daughter some Polly Pockets, she did love those once upon a time. And I could get some Legos for my son except I don't think we ever got rid of the ones he had when he was little. Maybe I'll just get them from the garage and clean them up. It would serve both of them right.

Actually Andy did tell me one thing he would like. ONE. And this is from the kid who used to give me a 2 page single-spaced typed list of CDs and DVDs he wanted. But I suppose with all the new forms of media out there - he may not want that stuff anymore.

And my daughter? Dani hemmed and hawed and finally said "I don't really have any . . . wants . . . right now I guess." WHAT????

So I started my shopping today, and I made a dent in it - without the lists. Hear that Dani? It really WILL be a surprise this year! I do most - if not all my shopping online so I'm usually done earlier than other people and I love that part. I get the stressful part out of the way so I can enjoy the season and the decorations and all that goes with it - in peace. Theoretically anyway.

And I keep lists of everything I buy all the way down to the stocking stuffers because with the proven faultiness of my memory - I'm sure I would forget something I bought and it would never make it under the tree. And that would stress me out.

I'm all for a peaceful Christmas season, and it's coming fast. Amazing, isn't it? This year has gone by faster than any I have ever experienced. Weird how that works. Hope it's not just that I've forgotten big chunks of it!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I had a thought . . .

. . . and then I forgot it. I had intended to come here and post it but it's gone now.

If it comes back I'll be sure to jot it down before I forget it.

Wish me luck.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cause I like it.

I frequently photograph the flowers I receive. I never manage anything really artistic or special, but the flowers themselves are special to me so if the pictures are just average - that's okay with me.

But this time it was what was behind the flowers that I decided to capture on film (so to speak). It's my grandparent's marriage certificate from 1914. It's beautiful to me. And since my decorating style would be characterized as almost anything but contemporary, this piece fits right in.

I wish I could say my grandparents had a wonderful, fairytale type marriage but in reality - this marriage certificate is probably as pretty as it got within that relationship.

But I like it anyway. And it's one of my favorite things.

Maxine Monday

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

A few thoughts . . .

Every time that commercial comes on for the "over the shoulder . . . Buxton organizer" - am I the only one who hears "over the shoulder boulder holder?" Every.Single.Time?

I bought a package of toilet paper the other day and when I got it home I noticed it advertised it's brand as being "flushable." Um-m-m . . . wasn't it flushable before? Have I been doing it wrong all these years?

Leaving my car and hurrying into a store the other day I remember thinking "I feel young. Still." Don't know why it occurred to me except that it felt good to stretch my legs after driving home from work. Later at home after I'd been sitting for a while, I rethought it with a bit more honesty. "I do still feel young. Except when I try to move."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remember Simon's cat?

Not sure if I ever posted this or not, but it's been around a lot. I love it, it is SO classic cat. Except the ending of course. I don't think any of my cats have resorted to that yet.

That one is great, and so is this one. Life really does imitate art.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's because of my mental problems. Really.

I just realized that I rarely remember to go back to a blog I've commented on, to see if there is a response. Even if I've asked a question. Please forgive me, it has nothing to do with disinterest, I promise you.

Today, the BF and I were getting some quick lunch. I filled our drink cups, all diet for him, half diet and half regular for me. Cuz of course I only need to half diet! I carried them over to where I could get straws while he went to get condiments. Setting the cups down I made a mental note of which cup was mine and which was his while I reached for napkins.

The boyfriend came up along side me and said something to me, a question, a comment, I don't remember. (of course!) But it was just a short aside, whatever it was. Probably along the lines of "Got everything?" At that point I looked at the cups and I looked at him and said "You just interrupted my thought processes for a split second - and that was long enough for me to forget whose drink is whose. Sorry."

The mental note was completely gone from my head and I knew better than to bother trying to retrieve it. I'll save those kind of mental gymnastics for more important things than cups of pop.

Luckily most people don't know whether or not you come back to see their response, and I know if I never mentioned it - hardly anyone would ever know! But it makes me feel kind of crappy when I only realize someone responded to one of my comments months later when I am googling my own name and basking in my own famous-ness - and I run into something I don't recognize as something I said.

I mean, everybody googles their own name now and again, don't they? Or is it just me?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

~ Sincere Gratitude ~

To all of our Veterans, today - and every day.

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Monday, November 10, 2008


I'm not really sure if this deserves that title but seriously! Remember when I
got a new phone (Sony Ericsson W350a) at the beginning of September? It was so cool - did all kinds of fun things - was a pretty light blue - and oh did I mention it died on day 30 of all that enjoyment? Yeah. My pretty Sony Ericsson W350a.

So I called AT&T and they were very helpful. I did all the nice troubleshooting stuff they asked me to do and the end result was - they replaced the phone. Replaced the Sony Ericsson W350a. Because one morning it just refused to turn on. When I tried hooking it up to the charger the screen got a faint blue screen of death and when I let it sit for a while the phone would go "bzt" every 2 or 3 minutes. "Bzt." But nothing else.

The new phone (another pretty Sony Ericsson W350a) arrived sometime during the first week in October all shiny and full of promise. Yay! I put my sim card in it, my memory card, made sure all my phone numbers and ring tones were there and was easily amused once more.

Until this morning. Uh HUH!!! It did it again. The new phone. The Sony Ericsson W350a. The 2nd new phone, that is. Sigh-h-h. I don't get it! This is a nice snazzy phone, I don't know anyone who has had something like this happen, twice. I started to feel insecure, maybe it was me. Maybe it's my charger, maybe I'm doing something really stupid and the phone is fine. I flipped some weird switch somewhere that tells the phone (the Sony Ericsson W350a) to play dead or something. So I decided to take it to the store. Yeah, none of that over-the-phone troubleshooting this time. I needed some hands on tech support.

I met a pleasant, very tired looking young guy named Dave at the AT&T store this evening. As much as it seemed like the end of a long day for him, young Dave listened to me, if somewhat incredulously that the exact same thing has happened to TWO phones. TWO Sony Ericsson W350a's. He took my phone and plugged it into a charger. Tried a new battery. Managed to see the faint blue screen of death, but I don't think the doggone thing went "Bzt" for him. Regardless, he pronounced it dead. He assured me the phone would be replaced again and if it happened a THIRD time - which he obviously thought would never happen - I would be able to pick an entirely different type of phone. Dave also advised me to request the expedited shipping and he would credit my account so I would not have to pay twelve bucks for shipping.

Only one catch. I had to make the call again because the blue version of the phone (the Sony Ericsson W350a) is only available online right now.

So - a new phone will be winging it's way to me post haste. I'm not warning anyone about this phone, although I have never had this kind of trouble with any other model. I'm sure this Sony Ericsson W350a is a marvelous phone! I'm just not sure it likes me.

Maxine Monday

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Okay, I feel a bit better now.

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So being in my usual state of "I got nothin'", I decided to see if I could go into my bead room and not freak out about the mess it is in there. I discovered it was worse in some ways than I was thinking because my sweet and timid (toilet paper and paper towel eating) cat Norah had been running a-muck with sheets of bubble wrap, knocking some jewelry boxes on the floor and snacking on the cotton filler. Nice. Thanks Norah!

I managed to clear a place to sit and after a few fits and starts, I actually made something! And I figured that since this blog is called A Bead a Day - maybe I ought to show some beads now and then. It's been a long long time. I made a bracelet, yes, only one. But it is made with all handmade lampwork glass beads and sterling silver and I am quite pleased with how it turned out since I am SO out of practice.

And I feel a little better now cause look! I got somethin'!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Now there's an award for it!

The other day I was reading a post over
here, and while I wasn't experiencing the same thing Lara was exactly, I still feel like I've been quite lame lately. Most likely because I've been living and breathing the election for a while now, but not writing on my own blog about it because I really didn't want a debate here. Now that it is over, and my candidate did not win, I feel like I have something akin to a mild case of postpartum depression, er .. post-election depression. So I have not had anything to say or anything to write about and haven't even been reading and or commenting on all of the blogs I usually do.

I figured I should apologize to anyone who regularly reads here for being so lame, but I really didn't want to make myself feel even worse than I already do - so I made it into an award! A lame award, of course.

Don't worry, I'm not going to nominate, tag, or award this to anyone else. But I AM awarding it to me, in honor of my lack of substance or amusement lately. Sorry. And if anyone else feels the same way - feel free to grab it for yourself. I mean, I made the badge and it's pretty lame but even lame awards are meant to be shared. And I'm not exactly attached to it.

Enjoy. Or not. I guess I'm kind of ambivalent about it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Champion shopper

How do we end up doing some of the jobs we do? At work, totally unrelated to what I do, somehow I ended up being the employee responsible for ordering the office supplies for my department. Maybe because people knew I was a big online shopper? No, when I started doing it I had a catalogue and an order sheet that I had to fax to the company we shopped from. Sheesh. Didn't realize I had been doing it that long.

Once a month my Outlook calendar reminds me to send out an email to my co-workers asking them if they need anything, that I will be ordering in the next few days and they can email their requests to me. I do my best to find what everyone asks for but doggone it - sometimes even a champion shopper like me comes up short!

Click to see bigger

But I DID try.

Sorry Laura.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

John McCain's Concession Speech

John McCain just gave an incredibly gracious concession speech. He spent the first few minutes
reflecting on America's history of racism--and the moral significance of electing an African-American. He saluted Obama for inspiring so many young people and first-time voters, then offered his sympathies for the death of Obama's grandmother.

The address contained not a whiff of ideology or partisanship. Instead, McCain called upon all Americans, even those who had voted for him, to offer the new administration its support and seek common ground.

He concluded by saying "I wish godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president." Then he asked his countrymen "to not despair of our difficulties but to always believe in the promise of America."

--Jonathan Cohn Posted: Tuesday, November 04, 2008 11:26 PM

The New Republic

I am deeply saddened, but I am also very proud.

It's time to move forward.

** For the entire text of the speech go to McCainBlogette which is Meghan McCain's blog. If you did not hear it - it's worth the read.

Please do it.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

I will be snug as a bug . . .

It is the eve of one of the most important elections of our time. Many people across this country have voted already, my son being one of them. I will be voting tomorrow. And then I will be going home and watching the election returns into the wee hours of the morning, and I have taken the next day off work to watch it all on TV as well.

What I will not be doing is going downtown to Chicago's Grant Park to get lost in the crowds of Obama supporters. And I wouldn't do it even if I were supporting Obama.

The event has been in the works for the last couple of weeks at least, and the security is supposed to be high. There were invitations emailed out and from what I hear, the people bearing those invitations will need to have a driver's license to identify them as the person the invite was sent to. But they will each be given a "guest" invite as well. Who is going to vouch for them?

Added to the crowds inside the actual event area which will number in the tens of thousands, Mayor Richie Daley has seen fit to encourage everybody to "come on down" and "you don't need a ticket to come out and celebrate!" It's all well and good that he's an ardent Obama supporter, but wouldn't it be a good time for him to recommend a certain amount of caution? I can just imagine the police superintendent cringing when he heard the mayor say that.

I fully understand the gravity of the event and people's desire to be part of history and all, but it seems big crowds celebrate these days by turning over cars and starting things on fire, as evidenced by winning sports teams recently, and the like. Some shop owners near the event will be buttoning up their stores early and heading out of the area "in case anything happens" is how one man put it on the news this morning.

Not liking big crowds anyway, it would be my preference to stay home even if it were my candidate staging an event on such an important evening. And I am hoping that win, lose, or draw (draw? I doubt it) the crowd behaves in a safe and dignified manner. This is a presidential election after all, and not the Super Bowl.

There will be no alcohol served at the event but that does not extend beyond the fences where people may see fit to ward off the chill with a nip or two, or to celebrate with a bottle of something, or three. And I must admit to a bit of trepidation about the whole thing. I sincerely hope that it is a calm and happy crowd and not a rowdy one.

Regardless of my choice of candidates and what I want the outcome to be - I do not want to see anyone get hurt or the evening to be one that is tinged with regret or ugliness on either side. I know there will be gatherings all across the country and after such a long and contentious campaign - I'm kind of hoping people are just too damn tired to party all that hard!

Please be responsible and be safe, everyone.

Maxine Monday

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

The other one has gone somewhere else.

Recently I wrote about my
other blog, and the problems I was having with it. I could not get the format to change in the date stamp and comment areas. I mean I tried everything I could think of and a few things other people suggested. I loved the template and the whole look of the blog but those 2 things I could not change I think I am learning from this blog just how anal retentive I am about some things.

In the end I decided to do what any other normal (read-neurotic) blogger would do. I duplicated the entire freaking blog using a new URL, with just a one digit difference. I did not know of a way to transfer all of the old posts to the new URL so I laboriously copied and pasted every detail, down to each posts' date and time, from the old to the new. If there was an "export" function I did not know about in Blogger - DON'T TELL ME NOW!

Finally, today, I moved the last old post to the new location and then - put up a "moved" post. Unfortunately I was not able to move any comments I had, and I cannot move the few followers I have. I am hoping anyone who follows that blog - will do me the huge favor of moving on to my new one. It's exactly the same except for date stamp and commenting features I was finally able to get just the way I want them. So please update your bookmarks for A Picture a Day, and come have a look. What? It doesn't look any different? Yeah, I know. It's supposed to be that way. Except now if you want to comment it's at the BOTTOM of the post. Like normal! (But it is still a difference blog address. Really.)