Nov 30, 2008

Robo Call

A Com Ed computer called an said to expect power outages because of the snow today. So firstly I'm trying to blog before the lights go down and secondly imagine if you could call ahead about your possible faults... "Yeah, I might not be doing any housework tomorrow and I may be sitting around in my pajamas all day watching teevoed reality tv so just in case you were expecting something from me, now you know better."

Nov 29, 2008

Big Jump

El and I went out into the craziness yesterday and picked up some books after visiting Santa. I couldn't wait for Christmas to give them to her as she learned how to read a last week. She has been working on the sounds letters make for a while but something clicked and she made the leap from "Ju - Uh - Emmm - Puh" to "Jump" exclaiming "I squished all the sounds together!" And now there is no stopping her. Dan and I can no longer spell bits of our conversation unless the words are extra long and we say it really fast which frankly is sometimes beyond my capabilities. Have you ever tried to spell "compromise" really fast off the top of your head? I had to spell check it just now!

Nov 26, 2008

I'm a Killjoy - Happy Thanksgiving.

In 15 minutes I'll be on my way to Preschool where Ella will be dressed as a Indian and Ms. Preschool Teacher will be a Pilgrim and they will sing turkey songs and have a Thanksgiving feast. I told Ella today that some Indians don't really like Thanksgiving and went on to explain that we gave the Native Americans colds when we met them and then later we kicked them off of their land and made them move some where else. It's what I thought was appropriate for her four year old mind. I couldn't just let the myth of the happy feast go by again this year without throwing a bit of real history in there. Ella agreed that wasn't a very nice thing to do and then added that she never met an Indian and today she was just going to pretend to be one at school but she would just pretend to be happy about eating a feast with the Pilgrims instead of being sad about it. I told her that would be just fine and asked her what she was thankful for and we made a giant thankful list that included everyone we love, marshmallows, toys and birthdays.

Stroller Derby Article:
Are Elementary School Thanksgivings Racist Or Just Outdated?

Nov 23, 2008

Six Actual Ways for Real People in a Cash Crunch to Make a Little Cash that Don't Involve Giving up the Cleaning Lady they Already Don't Have

While reading AOL's headlines today I came
across the stupidest article I've read all day about people having a cash crunch and how to get fast cash. Mary Beth Franklin, Senior Editor and Stacy Rapacon, Reporter of live in a little golden bubble where they can just sell some stocks or take out a loan on their margins to pay bills. They also suggest we take out a home equity loan (how can they possibly not be reading the financial news and know that this is how we got where we are now?!), get another credit card with those blank checks you get in the mail (no I'm not even kidding) and borrow from our 401K, Roth IRA and our life insurance.

I don't know about you, but most people I know in a cash crunch already lost their house in the home loan crisis and or have been laid off from their job and would laugh in your face if you said to them "Just cash in some of your investments" as that '93 Cavalier is the only thing they've been able to invest in for the past 18 months. I've read enough articles about how we should just stop getting those daily lattes or cut out the pedicure and just get the manicure instead, so many I could barf. Ok, so here it is, real advice from a real person on how to get money to keep the heat/electric/water on and gas in the tank.

1. Give Plasma, it only takes a little bit of time, you're doing a good thing and it can pay alot. In Rockford it's $50.00! You can do it once a week.

2. E-bay outgrown kids clothes. One big lot usually goes well, you could pick up $30.00-$50.00 a lot. You usually get the best price after you wash everything thoroughly, mend any bits, get all the lint/pilling off (use a disposable razor and literally shave the clothing... no I'm not kidding), iron it, match up socks and take pretty pictures with lots of sunlight. Write a stellar and honest description and offer to ship fast. - No kids? That's ok, look around the house and e-bay something! We all have junk we don't need anymore. Or offer to do all the labor of e-baying for someone and you take a %.

4. Recycle! Turn those cans in. $10.00 can get you enough gas to get to an interview!

5. Freecycle! Free stuff exchange. This is recycling at it's best.

6. Offer to clean your Mom's/Aunt's/Grandma's house. Mother's are always suckers for their kids offering to do chores for them. I mean really $30.00 to do the kitchen and the bathroom - heck yeah! You might also offer to clean out the garage/basement/attic and e-bay their junk for them for a % of the selling price.

I didn't address saving money in my list of 6, cause there are gobs of ways and anyone in the position of deciding between paying the heat or the electric right now already knows how to by generic noodles and shop second hand (I hope.) So what else can you think of internet? How can real people make/save cash?

Nov 22, 2008

Like an Oliver Stone Movie Only More Horrid

Randy was a friend of the family. He knew my parents and all my uncles and all their friends, was always at cook outs and family parties, he was also a hemophiliac. He passed away in the 80s from AIDS. I was too young to learn much of the details of his situation and he’s the only person I’ve ever known who had AIDS or hemophilia. Today, in light of this article in today’s NYT I realize he joins the ranks of people I know who may have been directly harmed by the pharmaceutical/medical industry. I am aghast at the lack of scruples companies display in an attempt to turn a profit.

"The Bayer unit, Cutter Biological, introduced its safer medicine in late February 1984 as evidence mounted that the earlier version was infecting hemophiliacs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the company continued to sell the old medicine overseas, prompting a United States regulator to accuse Cutter of breaking its promise to stop selling the product.

By continuing to sell the old version of the life-saving medicine, the records show, Cutter officials were trying to avoid being stuck with large stores of a product that was proving increasingly unmarketable in the United States and Europe."

How can this company still be in business? I mean really... HOW?!

Thanks to
IBTP for directing my attention to the NYT and this story today.

Nov 20, 2008


I can't make it past level two. Where on Earth do you score?

Nov 19, 2008

The tangled web of finance and politics

I sold Visa with a net loss $0.66 cents on the advice of Aunt M. and bought Cambell's Soup CPB at $37.65 it's gone up $0.05 cents in the last few minutes (Yay! only $45.00 to go to make up for all the losses this last week.) I'm not buying Amazon because they contribute a fair amount of money to the GOP which brings me to the horror of Coors Brewing. Despite being my only money maker (+$0.71) I had to sell and invest in a better brewing company. I bought SAB Miller plc SBMRY at $14.10 aka the company that makes Miller High Life and Leinenkugel's (woohoo!)

Update: after some research I see SBMRY is partnered with Coors, I'm still not quite sure what "partnered" means, but I'm not investing in
Anheuser-Busch for sure and I'm still researching a more democratic beer. Perhaps I'll dump beer alltogether and buy wine instead.

Nov 17, 2008

Wise Words from a Four Year Old

Me: What are you learning by watching TV today?

Ella: I learned that if you know special magical words everything can go your way. That's what I learned on Noggin.

Me: Really?! I sure wish I knew some special magical words that made everything go my way.

Ella: I'll tell them to you they're easy.

Me: Ok.

Ella: "I love you", "Please", "Thank you", "Hi", "I'll teach you this toy", "Your the best" and Let's play"

Nov 15, 2008

Four Steps Forward - One Step Back

Ann E. Dunwoody is the first woman nominated to be a four star general in the United States. They say she's broken the brass ceiling. When asked if she ever thought she'd make it this far she replied

"There is no one more surprised than I — except, of course, my husband. You know what they say, `Behind every successful woman there is an astonished man.' "


Nov 13, 2008

Bombadee's Trading Club

In 5th grade we did the stock market unit where we all picked some stocks and followed them in the newspaper every day for a month. I looooooved this unit and I was good at it. For ages when asked what I was going to be when I got older my answer was a stock broker.

Years ago, I actually had a chance to work for a broker named Brad at Stiefel Nicholas. I worked as a sales assistant for him and it was alot of fun, this was during the 90s, the Clinton years, when the technology bubble was just being blown up and investors were asking if they should be "doing that Wahoo stuff" (Yahoo.)

My job was great, I had the pleasure of orchestrating luncheons for hundreds of people (included sampling the menu and picking napkins as well as hand addressing 500 invitations and calling people for RSVP.) as well as being a general executive assistant, pulling files, fund info and managing the schedule. Towards the end of my time there Brad asked if I would like to get my licence and sent me home with books where I spent weeks reading about IPOs and Mutual Funds.

Why didn't I stick with it? I had just ended one high stress well accomplished career and honestly I really wasn't ready to jump right into the next, I moved to a nice small heating company where I just answered the phone and filed things and knew I wouldn't feel torn when I was ready to quit and stay home with a baby.

So the other day I was thinking of the day traders I used to know and the brokers I used to listen to go on and on and the days we spent just watching CNN for the ticker (there was a TV in every office) and that 16 year old kid that used to hang around at the office and ask the brokers a million questions and then do the opposite of their advice by making his mother buy two and three shares of tech stock every week with his paycheck. He was making a killing, wherever that kid is now... I wish I knew, I'd ask him what to invest in.

Well, anyway when I mentioned investing in Hasbro and I got on Google and found
Google Finance and created a portfolio. I pretend bought one of each of the stocks I would invest in if I had $501.00 laying around. So far I've lost $40.00. Instead of doing anything I learned at Stiefel Nicholas by looking at safe diversified funds, I went with my 5th grade self and picked these based on the upcomming holidays, companies I like and a hunch:

- Hasbro HAS because I like them and Christmas is coming.
Bought at 26.41 it's now at 25.63

- Sears Holding Co. SHLD they are the parent company of K-mart and K-mart is offering layaway again this holiday and I think it will do well this year.
bought at 49.78 it's now at 40.21

-Google GOOG because I like them, use it every day and I always wished could've gotten in on that IPO. Bought at 307 it's now
at 285.29

- Tupperwear TUP because when the economy goes down, left overs go up. Bought at 21.92 it's
now at 19.06

-Molson Coors Brewing co. TAP
because again when the economy is down people buy beer and drink it at home over board games instead of martinis at the sushi bar. Bought at 42.20 it's now at 40.12

- Visa Inc. V Because everyne has a Visa, it's the easier credit card to get and lots of people will be using them in the comming months. Bought at 54.66
it's now at 51.12

Clearly it hadn't hit bottom before I bought them and that irks me alot (ever the optimist) but I intend on hanging on to these (and loosing my pretend ass or kicking myself for not really investing) until at least Christmas. I'll keep you updated if I add anything. If you have any tips or product you would invest in let me know, maybe I'll buy a pretend share and track it with my other five.

Nov 11, 2008


I just read that if you want to send a package to a service member over seas that they'll get before Christmas, you'd better get it in the mail by Thursday November 13th.

Plain Tuesday

At first I posted a meme, 31 questions with 31 short answers. The only answer mildly (And I do mean mildly) amusing was this one:

What does your watch look like? A cell Phone.

So I figured it could not get any worse than telling you what my day looks like. It's grey outside, washed out and clouded over. The trees and vines outside of my windows are old crooked lines against the grey sky, the leaves blew away last week with the last of the warm weather. Ella is sitting on the rug in front of the TV with the space heater on her toes. She is ignoring the grilled cheese I made her and instead eating as many pickles as I'll let her (that's 3, because I'm pretty sure you can get a stomach ache from eating a whole jar and inevitably she'll ask for more pickles at least four more times today.) I'm still sipping the same mug of watered down coffee from this morning. I'm trying to quit caffeine all together, it's slow going on purpose. It really doesn't go with grilled cheese very well and I'm wishing I would've poured myself an apple juice while I was in the kitchen.

I really need to bundle myself and Ella up and make it to the grocery store a few blocks away today, but it's one of those days that I could really pull dinner out of a little bit of this and that and it's not dire that I go yet. Plus the car never warms up when only driving a few blocks and the thought of carrying groceries in while my knuckles are freezing and Ella is dragging her feet up the stairs and the dog bouncing up and down onto my legs at the door sounds horrid. That means I really really have to shop tomorrow or we'll have to put the roll of paper towels in the bathroom and have left over chili for breakfast on Thursday.

That is all.


A few weeks ago I was cleaning up the front hall closet and found our Dora Sit and Spin. Barely used I pulled it out figuring Ella's old enough to get the actual spin part now and so it'd be fun. We put it away last spring because we thought Ella just didn't get how to do it, and instead sat next to it pushing the annoying Dora song part over and over. Really after pulling it out again I discovered why it was so frustrating. The bottom piece was catching in a way that made the it more of a sit and drag instead of a sit and spin. I got a screw driver out and meddled with it loosening the sit part to no avail. In the end I told Ella, this toy was better when I was a kid and when could spin until you couldn't see straight but now it is safer and it as a result no longer fun anymore. In short this toy stinks. Ella griped with me "Yeah, this toy stinks 'cause it's safe."

Anyway, I never like griping without a solution so I flipped over the Dora sit and drag and found the Hasbro logo, located their 800 number online and called them to tell them their toy stinks. Ready to rant, I was greeted with the most cheerful helpful nice operator I've ever spoken with. She explained that they no longer sell that toy but she would like my address because they hate to imagine a little girl in IL with a sit and drag to play with and she'd like to do something nice for her. I gave her our address and forgot about it, content to know I told them thier toy didn't spin.

Today in the middle of our gray afternoon someone knocked at the door and as I grabbed the dog up in one arm and stepped outside I saw the FedEx truck pulling away. I picked up the box on the porch and Ella and I carefully opened it. Inside a brand new kitten surprised us purring and mewing (batteries included!) Ella filled out the adoption papers and named her new kitty Julia and is just itching to know if Santa sent and early present because she's been so good lately, or if the adoption agency just needed a good mom for this little kitty. I say Yay Hasbro, yay for a company with great customer service, if I had any money to invest I'd buy a share or two of Hasbro right now while it was low. It's wonderful to find a company that understands what it means to keep a customer. Great job in keeping happy kids on your list of high priorities.

Nov 8, 2008

From 52 to 48 with Love

This website is really cool, it made me think of some of you bloggie pals, you know who you are.

Nov 7, 2008

What A Wild Friday Night is Like Now.

So instead of going out and drinking beer until our faces are numb and dancing until our feet hurt and then hitting Denny's before sleeping it off, we're having pals over for board game night. There may be beer and dancing but it more than likely involve Yo Gabba Gabba videos and something much darker and thicker than Bud Light and we won't be downing as many as possible. What are we going to play? Maybe a little Redneck Life and then perhaps some FLUX or a little Settlers of Catan and if we're really feeling crazy we may bust out the poker table and play for Halloween candy.

Nov 6, 2008


As of yesterday I've got Explorer pop up problems. I'm annoyed, I've runs scans and scrubbers and cookie erasers and there they are still. I most certainly will come out of this exclusively using Firefox, I know, I know alot of you are probably think "What took you so long?!" and the answer is I don't know.


It's cold and rainy, Ella has snot, I've got parent teacher conference today, I have to bring her with.


Nov 5, 2008

Come Hope, Sit! Now Stay.

Yay for yesterday. Yay for knowing that the majority of the people in the United States agree with me and I no longer have to walk around wondering if I am really so far out there for feeling so passionately about sharing our crayons/food/blessings/burden/etc. Jane put it perfectly when she said:

"...My faith is in people, in humanity. When you go as long as I have, steadily losing faith in humanity, the hopelessness and desperation permeates everything. To spend so much time watching the world, wondering if you're the only person feeling this way, it makes a person grow unreasonably pessimistic.

But the flip side of the coin is that when the bulk of the faith in your life is invested in your fellow humans, moments like last night, like this election as a whole, are ten times more meaningful. Because while I stood in the midst of those 65,000 people, or 240,000 people, or 1 million people, or whatever they are reporting the attendance at now, I felt saved. I felt re-born. It's not that I believe Obama is my savior, it's more that I finally believe in my fellow man again."

I'm looking forward to what we will do with the momentum. Will President Obama ask us to recycle, conserve, ration, volunteer? I'm sure it won't be as fun as the last request... "shop", but more involved than "be on orange terrorist alert" forever and remember once upon a time when we were told "buy duct tape and plastic?" Whatever it is I'm ready.

PS I think the Obamas should name their new puppy Hope. How about you?

Nov 4, 2008

Making History

I'm all full of nervous excitement today. I haven't voted yet, but I will be shortly after lunch. Ella will go with me and I'll have to explain that she can't walk around the polling place talking about why she likes and doesn't like each candidate. I wonder if there will be a line, usually there isn't, but you never know. In the next city over there have been lines for early voting since last week. I've CNN dialed into my phone so I can get updates whever I am tonight, and I'll be putting my local races in my little phone as well. Yes, I am close enough to Chicago to have taken the train in and been in Grant Park tonight and I really considered it, Ella and Dan and I standing in the City on the edge of Lake Michigan with thousands of fellow Americans, under the stars, watching history unfold live but... lots of walking through crowds late at night on a chilly autumn evening is no place for a 4 year old. My pal Jane is going and I'll get to see it through her eyes. We will remember this night well enough watching from the giant party at the UAW Hall downtown in the next city over with throngs of people we know and lots of them who are predicted to win local seats themselves. I also want to remind everyone (accept Mike) to get out and vote today.

Nov 2, 2008

I Was a Moose Hunting Maverick for Halloween

Went out with my skatey ladies last night for a little Halloween fun.