Mindy Memories

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Upset for my friend's son

Sean, who just turned 15 this month, is going through something many adults haven't had to go through -- his 21-year-old cousin, to whom he was very close, was murdered on Wednesday. I go from feeling bad for him to being angry at her, even though I know she was a victim and it's really not right for me to be mad at her.

I'll call her "S" and most of her family has problems with drugs and other issues. She was actually very book smart but made mistakes -- had a kid when she was 17, got into drugs. I imagine that if you grow up in a home where your parents are doing drugs from the time you're born and abuse you, you tend to fall into that pattern no matter how smart you are. I realize that doesn't always happen, but in this case it did. I remember how mad Sean was when she got pregnant, and he was only 11-12 at the time. She was older than him but he told her what he thought (lol) because he cared about her.

Anyway, apparently she met some guy on MySpace and, instead of meeting him in a public place like many people know to do (and I KNOW she knew better), she actually got into the car with him. They found her body stabbed to death later. I currently don't know more details than that, and that they know she didn't die quickly but bled to death. We are pretty sure that either she was drugged up on something and wasn't thinking clearly, or was getting drugs and that's the reason she acted in such a manner.

Poor Dana was driving Sean to his dad's on Thursday when his dad called her on her cell phone and told her. She had to pull off the road and tell Sean, who of course lost it. Poor guy -- she said he was practically hyperventilating because he was so upset, and that in his 15 years she's never seen him like that before. I imagine the shock that she died and in the manner she died just totally unhinged him. I was very upset and I had only met her twice a few years ago. She spent a lot of time at his dad's house. To be fair to his dad, of whom I'm not very fond, I think he and his wife tried to help her. Dana said that when she and he were married they had those kids over on weekends a lot because they were abused at home.

Ugh. The whole thing just has me feeling awful. I feel bad for Sean of course -- I love the kid and hate to see him in such pain. I feel bad for the 3-year-old who will never really know her mom. I feel bad for the parents, who after all these years finally went to rehab and just got out a week ago. I wonder what this will do to them and if it will send them back into their drug-induced state. Then I wonder if S's kid will end up living with them and if the cycle will continue.

The good thing about this is Sean and his friends know that this kind of thing can happen to anyone, not just people on the news who they don't know. He and his friends have changed some things they had on their computers and I think it's been a real wake-up call. They did find the guy who did this to her, which is also good.

I just feel so bad for Sean. He's a good kid and I feel like he keeps getting the raw end of things when it comes to family. I thank God that Dana has custody of him and that his home life is usually pretty stable at home with her and Deron.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Various rants

Not overly ranty, but there are things I've been seeing lately that are annoying and it's better to just get it all out in one shot. Most of it is nothing major, just annoying as I said.

1. I don't get people who think everybody should have kids but then, when they hear about abuse cases say, "They never should have had kids!" Hello! THAT's why you need to leave people alone when they say they don't want them. Yes, I know some change their minds, but many don't and know their own minds. Maybe they have a history of mental or other problems and are afraid to pass them on to children. Maybe they come from an abusive past and are afraid of reverting to the same behavior if they have their own children, and we all know abuse tends to be a vicious cycle. If people say they don't want kids, let that be the end of it and don't keep pushing at them and telling them what freaks they are, then if they have a problem with their kids sit there, wringing your hands while saying, "I don't know why they had kids if they didn't want them."

2. The begging on the stitching boards -- well, one in particular -- is really getting out of hand. Look, we all want stash. Sometimes, we can buy a bunch at once, sometimes we have to buy a little at a time, other times we need to save up for a large project. A lot of us have wish lists posted on our blogs or on boards -- fine. I like the idea and have my own. If somebody decides they want to send me something as a surprise or for my birthday or Christmas, they know what I like. They also know I'll buy something used if they are trying to get rid of it. I love our wish lists and have used them to send items to others once in a while.

However, people posting that they are looking for specific fabric, threads or charts if anyone has them -- well, that's starting to grate on me a bit. If it's POP or hard to find, I can see it, especially if the person offers to pay for it. What I'm seeing, more than not, are people asking for fabric and charts they can buy from the store that houses the board where they are asking (!), or expensive threads (silks usually) that they don't want to pay for. Face it -- if you are going to stitch with silks, it's going to cost more. Silk is not cotton DMC. Also, most silk skeins come with a huge amount of floss so they'll be more expensive just because there's more than in a typical DMC skein. I know people are trying to cut costs, especially with high gas prices, but that's when you buy a little here and there or save up to buy all at once if you want to save on shipping. Sometimes if you wait you can get good deals, even on silks, from various online and brick & mortar shops. You may see somebody on the board selling some materials you can use, and they are selling them cheaply because they are making room for more of their own stash. I just think that so often when a people ask if anyone happens to have this or that, that person is usually looking for a handout. Funny, most times I see this happen it's from people I've never seen post before then. Of course, I don't read every post on that board, but more often than not I'm not the only one who doesn't recognize the person and I think people find out through the grapevine that there are many friendly souls there and are very willing to take advantage of them.

That's most of what's been bugging me lately. I'm sure I'll think of some more stuff later lol! Just felt good to get that off my chest.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Movie time

I saw a few movies in the past couple of days. I had yesterday off, so after I was finished with my appointments I had just enough time to get to the theater and watch V for Vendetta. I wanted to see it a few weeks ago but wasn't able to. I liked it, but parts of it were disturbing. I don't want to say too much, but one moment I feel myself agreeing with and feeling bad for the main character (V), and other times I'm horrified by his methods. The ending surprised me. I'll probably end up getting it when it comes out on DVD.

Today I watched Good Night, And Good Luck on PPV. I really liked it. In fact, I liked it enough that it left me wanting more. How often does a movie do that these days, when movies often go too long just to add more unnecessary action scenes or gratuitous violence or sex? I hope other people came away from that movie with the same feeling and actually DO learn more. Of course, I knew who McCarthy and Murrow were, but I didn't know much about this "war" of theirs.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Long time, no write

I got back very late on Monday and was busy getting caught up at work and other stuff the last few days. I had today off since it's the last day of Passover (love these Jewish holidays!) so I stayed up last night figuring my budget and cleaning things up a bit. Today I went to my old place of employment and went out to lunch with my buddy Karri and talked with one of my financial agent friends to go over some things. Of course, I forgot to bring my 403(b) information, which is the main reason we were meeting, but we talked about other stuff I may be interested in purchasing. I talked to him about the life insurance and AD&D I'm getting through my employer and he said he thought that was fine and that since I don't own my home and have no kids that the $95K of one and $80k of the other that I bought (very cheaply) through work should suffice if anything happens to me. That's what I thought, but I feel better hearing it from a person I trust on these things -- especially from a person who could make money from selling me more but says I don't need it. See, this is why I'm using him as my financial guru :) I discussed disability insurance but he didn't think I'd be able to do much until I was there for about a year, as they use the previous year's salary to figure what I need, plus I do have some through work at the moment, although I know that shouldn't be all I have forever.

I'm also going to talk to my sister about long-term care insurance for my parents. They don't appear to be concerned, but if anything happens to one or both of them it will be ME who will have to stop my life and go to help them, and my sister who would probably have to help with any money issues. So, I figure in the long run it will be better if Mo and I share the cost of long-term care insurance, which may be $300-$400 a month total because they are in their 60s. I have to talk to her about it and I know she's travelling for the next two weeks and don't want to bother her then. I don't know if she'll like the idea, and it is rather annoying that I feel we have to do this because nobody else will, but I also see it as saving our sanity and money later. I've been thinking about this for a while, and am thankful I spent some time in an insurance/financial office. Otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue or have heard horror and good stories about people who didn't have the proper insurance or did have the proper insurance and it saved them.

As for my vacation, I had a great time. It was raining most of the time I was there, but that's fine -- getting away is getting away. Mo took me up to Mendocino on Friday and we stayed through Sunday. I really like that little village and it's one of Mo's favorite places, so I'm sure I'll go back. Between the extra time I had and the flight time, I read the first Harry Potter book and Dracula, which I had never read. I also read almost all of The Hobbit, and can finish that on the train tomorrow and on Saturday. I also finished The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara, a historical novel about the American Revolution. That's another great aspect to taking the train to work and back every day -- reading time. I have about 20 minutes going and coming out, and if I get to the train or trolley station early I can get in a few more pages. It's great, because I've been focusing on stitching, my health and my financial well-being, so reading has fallen a bit by the wayside.

Speaking of books, that's mostly what I bought for myself on vacation. I don't know why, it's not like there aren't books here -- heck, I work NEXT DOOR to a Barnes & Noble and Borders isn't too far away. However, I found a great little used book store in Mendocino and bought the third Harry Potter book, The Hobbit (which I mentioned earlier), Dracula (also mentioned earlier), Frankenstein (haven't read before), a book about how the Gettysburg Address changed America, and a small 1958 biography of Al Smith. If I'd had more money and suitcase space I really would have gone nuts :)

I did take a few pictures while I was there, but most of the time it was raining so I didn't get as many as I would have liked. Honestly? I forgot half the time that I had a camera with me. I'm not used to carrying a digital camera so just didn't think about it much of the time.

I did want to point you to some cool stuff I found there. I bought a little cat made from nuts, bolts and metal and there's a website where there's more figures made from these materials. The artist has done some pretty cool things with them. Also, there's a store called "Art That Makes You Laugh" and it really did. I didn't buy anything while there but I may end up buying some from their website. The cat and dog stuff is particularly funny, especially "Demando Cat."

Well, I've blathered on for quite a while, but I guess I had a lot to say :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

See you in a few days :)

I'm going to California early tomorrow and getting back very late on Monday night. Hope everybody has a nice weekend :)

But you don't get off that easy, I still have some stuff to say.

It's funny how people look at you like you have two heads when you say you WANT to walk somewhere and not take the bus. On Monday I visited one of our programs and took the train, which let me off a little over a mile from the location. I knew there was a bus that could take me but I could walk at least halfway there while waiting for the bus, so I decided to just hoof it since it was a nice day. When people asked me how I got to the place I told them and got, "That's a long walk. There's a bus you could have taken. You should have taken the bus." I wasn't winded or anything, and I was there in plenty of time. I said I knew about the bus but decided to walk since it was a nice day and only a bit more than a mile. I think they think I'm crazy. I figured it was a good way to get in some extra exercise when I knew I was going to be dead tired at the end of the day, as I was going to another location before I actually went to the office.

Today I went down to New Castle along with a colleague. We were there as moral support for one of our guys who was on CN8 this morning talking about resume tips for people graduating from college. It was interesting to see how some of the stuff worked there, although we weren't allowed in the actual studio. So, if you watched CN8 this morning and saw the segment on resume-writing, that was our guy. He was on soon after the Brazilian butt lift guy. We talked to the doctor before he went on and it was very interesting. He said that the type of surgery people get depends on where they live: very warm climates tend to make people want to get all sorts of stuff done because they wear very little or very thin clothes; people in northern Germany tend to get only face work done because everything else is covered up by layers of clothing most of the time and people only really see faces. Makes sense, just never really thought about it.

So, I'll be back after my vacation. Hope everybody has a good Passover or Easter.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Some pictures

I finally got some photos uploaded to my computer. The first one is the square I designed for Laura's memorial quilt. I took a bunch of specialty stitches and made a two-toned purple square in a kind of log-cabin quilt pattern so that the color is split on the diagaonal. I'm pretty happy with how it came out.

The next one is L&L's Guardian Angel that I finally finished a few weeks ago. I really like the colors in this and my friend will be happy to receive it for her daughter's birth -- her daughter who is almost two LOL! Now I need to get it framed.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Lots of stuff to blab about...

but it may be more interesting to me than you :)

Somehow, I lost another pound. It must be all the walking. My eating hasn't been really bad, but it hasn't been as good this past month as it was in February. I'm not exercising as much at home, but am walking at least a mile a day, sometimes more if I wander the city at lunch and after work. I know I've said it before, but it's been hard for me to get into a routine since starting this new job.

I can hardly wait for my vacation next weekend! I'm flying out to San Francisco early Thursday morning and getting back Monday night. Tuesday is going to be tough back at work after getting used to the different time zone, but it will be worth it.

I love the benefits at my new job! We had an all-day orientation on Wednesday. It was long, but it makes sense for them to do it this way. They have over 1000 employees and just can't trickle information to people here and there. The only thing that frustrated me was that some people just didn't seem to realize how good those benefits are. Our co-pays are less than I've seen in my last two jobs, plus our employer reimburses part of it in our next paycheck, as long as we fill out the proper form. People thought paying $15 for a doctor's visit, then getting back $10, was high. Keep in mind that, if we go with Keystone, we don't pay a monthly premium -- that's practically unheard of these days. Granted, employees are 100% covered but dependents aren't so if you have kids it can add up. However, the copays are still very reasonable. Same with the dental plan -- it's not a bad plan, and many places don't offer dental at all, but there was a lot of complaining. I don't know how the HR guy deals with that every month, as I'm sure this happens at each orientation he gives. He's a good sport, for sure. They aren't going to hear any complaints about the health benefits from me!

Tim gave me an early birthday gift -- an Olympus digital camera! Remember how I was trying to get my pictures online but no longer had access to a scanner? Well, the digital camera is even better! So far I've taken a few pictures of stitching and some cat pictures. This weekend I have to figure out how to get them on the computer, but it doesn't look like it will be difficult. I was very surprised.

You know, there was more I was going to write but I just can't remember now lol. I'm pretty beat now that I'm home from work and relaxed and it's time for me to chill out for a bit :)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A little backwards, but got stuff done

Well, I intended to get up early, get chores done, then finish Guardian Angel. Instead I slept until I woke up at about 7:30AM. If I don't get to the grocery store by 7:30 at the latest, I don't go until late evening. So, I lounged around a bit, finished Guardian Angel, cleaned out the fridge, then went and got groceries at about 9:30PM. It's now Midnight and all is put away and I feel like I've accomplished something today.

I may or may not see "V for Vendetta" this weekend. I'll see what happens tomorrow. Tim's talking about wanting to see "Inside Man," so we may see that tomorrow. I can always get him to take me to see it next weekend for my birthday :)

I'm so thrilled to be done with Guardian Angel, and as I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to see if I can scan it at work. It's a good thing, because the Mirabilia board theme this month is fairies, and since I don't have any fairies currently in my WIPS I'm going to be FORCED to start one (snicker). I have a few kitted with chart and fabric, and ACMoore is having a sale on floss.

Not much else going on today. I stayed off the computer all day until now, so I have a little catching up again. Some Saturdays all hell breaks loose on some boards (primarily stitching). I guess people are home and have nothing else to do, but I think they'd get into a lot less trouble if they stitched once in a while and got away from their computer. I notice that sometimes I get caught up in the ridiculous dramas, so I take a week away from the boards and just check email. It helps me get away, plus realize what boards I really want to visit. I don't like getting worked up about the way I see some people treat others, but I can't stand bullies who hide behind a computer screen and figure that way they can say whatever they want with no consequences. A lot of boards on the 'net are very anonymous, and I understand that. But most that I visit are made up of people who have known each other for quite some time, so it does get a bit personal.