Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Friend in a Baggie

My Friend in a Baggie.

Last year Nick, my oldest and dearest friend, died on 12/21/2007. ( I miss Nick terribly. He was always there for me, somewhere in the background, with his quick wit, cynical humor, and quiet attitude. Nick was the keeper of my stories and now that he is gone, those stories have no sounding board.

I am in possession of my friend Nick. He resides in a baggie, which is inside another bag full of pictures and history. I am not sure what to do with his ashes. There is a part of me that doesnt want to do anything with them. They have become mine and I am a keeper of memories. So Nick sits in baggie.

I decided to look around and see what other people do with the ashes of those they cared about. It's pretty amazing. None of these options are anything I would do with Nick.... but I think he would get a kick out of seeing some of them.

  • Pagodas hold peoples ashes

  • Cardboard coffins, shell-shaped urns and fireworks that can be packed with people's ashes were met by smiles at the Natural Death Center's Green Funeral Exhibition Saturday in London.

  • The huggable urn!

  • The planned launch sometime in March of a rocket carrying the ashes of actor James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery Scott on "Star Trek," and Mercury program astronaut Gordon Cooper will give a fitting send-off to two men who helped popularise human space exploration.
  • Forget burial or cremation, there is a new option for disposing of human bodies in which a lye solution dissolves tissues into a sterile syrupy substance that can be safely flushed down the drain.
  • The "crime scene" at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction after a woman spread ashes of her loved one there. It took the Disney crew more than an hour to clean the attraction of the ashes.  But by far the most popular location in Disneyland to spread ashes of loved ones is in the Haunted Mansion attraction. I suppose they hope to see their face among all those other spirits you see during that ride. Yet another popular ride to spread ashes is the "Small World" exhibit ... apparently so the spirit of the beloved can hear that nearly-imposible-to-get-out-of-your-head ""It's a Small World After All" song for all eternity.

  • Diamonds Really Are Forever..
    An Algordanza employee shows an example of a diamond next to ashes. The small company, based in the mountainous southeast Switzerland, uses the ashes of dead people to make diamonds, as a permanent memento for their nearest and dearest.A small company, based in the mountainous southeast Switzerland, uses the ashes of dead people to make diamonds, as a permanent memento for their nearest and dearest.
"Nick in a baggie". I really think Nick would appreciate the humor of finding himself inside a baggie.

I miss you Nick.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Talk about feeling 'had'.....

This was recently... and today it was $1.63. Shit... it makes me want to fill up other peoples gas tanks!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Credit Card Fiasco!!

The RBS Credit Card Fiasco

I arrived home the other day to a letter from the RBS Credit Card company. "What could they be writing me about?", I thought. I stopped doing the dishes, dried my hands and went to the envelope that lay beckoning on the table.

I ripped the envelope open and began to read.

"Based on our review, we find it necessary to make a change to your RBS credit card account. We have increased the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on your new and existing account purchases and balance transfers effective on the first day of your billing cycle that begins in December 2008. Your rate will now be 19.99% APR. This rate will apply to your existing balances as well as to all new purchases and balance transfers, but not to existing balances at promotional rates. All other rates, benefits and fees will remain unchanged."

The next paragraph went on to tell me that they were going to give me a free (for the next 6 months) Protected Cardholder Program.


"Based on what review??? " I pondered. And then I remembered. There was a zero balance on this credit card. It had been paid off in full several months ago, but now my curiosity was piqued.

I called the 1-800-747-8155 noted on the letter for Customer Service and spoke with a female named Chris (I.D. #3002383). I explained that I was confused and that I had received a letter dated November 14, 2008 that said it was going to increase my APR. I asked her to explain to me what this was about.

Chris then launched into the 'reading of the letter' to me. She was so into it that no matter how many times I said "Excuse Me", "HELLO!!!!", she didnt stop reading. Finally, I shouted into the phone saying her name. I told she did not need to read me the letter that I held in my hand. She needed to tell me why the APR was being increased.

She then told me that it was because of the 'economy'.!!!! At this point, I asked if this was just a general review of all RBS credit cards or was this specific to my credit history. She replied that it was a general review and had nothing to do with my credit history.

I then told her to close the account.

WITHOUT ANY HESITATION BETWEEN WORDS, Chris then told me "I can let you keep the same APR you already have, if you keep the account open." I was lucky, there was a zero balance on this account.

What the fuck is that all about???? If you did not know what to ask, or how to ask or even to question the letter, you would automatically receive the higher APR for no reason whatsoever... except of course 'because of the economy'.

HEADS UP FOLKS.... If RBS is sending out these letters, you can bet that every other credit card company is sending these letters out as well.

STOP SELLING YOUR FUTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get rid of the credit cards. (More on this topic in another post).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Future was set


From early on, I really didnt have a choice...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Just Kidding"

I hate the use of that phrase.

My coffee has been made wrong and after I have paid and stood in line waiting, I am told "Just Kidding" when I ask for it to be corrected.

My change has been mis-counted and when I point out the mistake I receive a "Just Kidding".

The wrong price has been rung up at the register and when notified of the mistake I am told by the cashier "Just Kidding".

What the hell is so funny? So funny that you have to tell me that you were "Just Kidding"? Oh Oh I get werent kidding?!?!?! You made a mistake????? and instead of a "Sorry about that", you tell me "Just Kidding"?????

What an insidious little phrase this has become... and what does it really say? Does it say that you made a mistake and are embarrassed to admit it? Does it say that you aren't really going to take any responsibility for your actions? Yeah..... I think it does. It ranks right up there with "whatever" and "my bad", two other phrases I could do without.

So if I tell you that your response to me sucks and then look at you sweetly and say "Just Kidding" as I walk away, you'll understand, right?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Art of NOT making a decision

in other words..... I really did follow my own advice. I shut the gremlins in my head down and went to work. At the very moment I went to talk to the person i needed to about 'the job', I decided that I wanted to do it. I then added that I would be willing to rearrange my schedule to accomodate 4 days a week, that I would expect a raise in pay (more responsibility, blah blah) and that I could not train any new employee they hired (no time, blah blah).

all was unbridled glee. yahoo.........yippee..... hooray

Human Resources called me. Yes, this is a 'real' corporation (ugh).... and we 'discussed'. Basically the 'discussing' was them wanting to know how much I wanted. For a 'real' corporation they are incredibly small in the realm of other 'real' corporations. It is a group of Urologists that have sewn up the market in our county. (More on 'our county' later).

I asked them to remember that I was a part-time employee, no paid vacation, no benefits etc. and to think about this and that I would look forward to their actual proposal and salary information.

Another phone call from HR. "We have to watch what we pay because of the 'other' employees". They came back with an increase of $.50!!!!!!!!!!!! To which I fell off my chair, started laughing and said "I will get back to you".

Other than writing a letter to HR explaining my surprise and disappointment and advising that 'other' employees wouldnt know what I made, that 'other' employees were NOT part-time and that 'other' employees received paid vacations and paid benefits, I asked "So... when will we be having my current review?" (so you can give me a $.50 increase?!?!" and I wont have to take on the new position).

SO... little did I know that I wanted to take the position until I said it, and little did I know that I wouldn't want the position until I heard what type of salary increase there would be.

Nuff said about worring about stuff before it happens.

I have a brain that needs to create. It also needs the other stuff too.... the organizing, the other type of 'work' and I switch back and forth pretty easily. So for now, things shall remain the same and we shall see what becomes of it......

Friday, October 24, 2008

Off to work & a big decision.....

well.. it is monday and i am off to work. it's been a 3 day a week gig for the last 1 1/2 years but has recently started becoming 4 days a week. i have been creating my DreamWoven line for YEARS... and use to do it full time. I've been able to somewhat maintain the creative flow working 3 days a week and being creative for the 4 days i had in my studio.

I have now been offered a position as a 4 day a week M.A. (Medical Assistant). This will seriously cut into my creativeness. (see DreamWoven - A Taste of Different)

I would be working Mon, Tues, Wed. and Fri. I figure Thurs & Sats will be my recoup days and that only leaves Sun to work on the things i need to.

I love working as an M.A. but it is exhausting. I am on my feet the entire time and when i get home i am bone tired and my feet hurt. This old body doesnt bounce back the way it use to and the Hep C has a nasty habit of amplifying this type of tiredness. (I take very good care of this body now, so when this type of tiredness hits, it really knocks me for a loop).

I want to do it. I mean how often will i have this type of opportunity? especially at my age.

And the battle rages on... my internal gremlins battling out the pros and cons, trying to make a decision. They need to shut the hell up.

On most things I jump with 2 feet and make whatever the decision is going to be at the very last moment I need to. It has worked for me so far............ maybe I just need to not think about this and deal with it when it is time to have the conversation at work?

so, wish me luck on either making this decision or not making it.

(That's me.... weighing it out, making decisions.....oy)

You are Kidding Right? What does it all mean?

Since when did marriage need protection? Protection from what? I thought marriage was something between two people that loved each other.

Is there something threatening everyone who is married? Is there something I should be looking out for? Should I tell my husband?

Sounds like a terrorist scare. This is just down right stupid. If you believe marriage is between a man & a woman, that is great. How can your marriage (and your beliefs) need protection from someone that doesnt think the same way?

If there is anyone out there reading, who feels that THEIR marriage is threatened because of those that would vote NO on Prop 8, please please please tell me what horrible thing is going to happen to you. ok?


(Faith Stickers...hmmm that is an interesting concept)

and to just add to my rant above,.... i have a real problem with all those folks that feel the need (almost typed 'desperate need') to fly american flags from their cars and rooftops and plaster american flag stickers all over everything.

I've got ask... Who is it that you feel you need to tell that you are an american? Is there someone in your neighborhood that is not an american? someone you passed on the freeway that you know isnt an american? Is your flag flying statement something like "I fly my american flag because i'm american. You dont so I am going to question your americanism."?

The Adventures of Kuntah Kitteh

My husband (that sick sick man) will be doing a comic strip....
Please stay tuned for the ongoing adventures of Kuntah Kitteh. He is a Kitteh with attitude! He's mad and he's bad!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's the difference?

Ok... here's some pics

and here are three more....

In the last 3 pics.... can someone tell me what the name of that gambling game is? From what i understand, the odds were suppose to be pretty good....

I think the rules of all of these games is the same.... you put your money in ("betting") and you wait to see if things come out in your favor. If they don't, you lose. You lose what you put in and what you thought you might win.

but as we all know, "the house always wins"..... otherwise it doesnt stay in biz too long.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Todays Interesting Tidbits

A few things i've found interesting today:

1. I am not sure why some things just make me laugh.... this one did, as well as her other video.... "Duelers".... check them both out....

monkey's butt is red from min oh on Vimeo.

2. On Monday I get to assist in a vasectomy on a porn 'star'. Oh...wait....'adult movie' star. I took a phone call last week and it was someone who said he would be coming in for a Vasectomy and wanted to know how long he would be out of 'commission'. I explained that he would be horizontal at least 24 hours (and the bag of frozen peas would be his new best friend) and after that he could go on to light activity as he felt able to. I suggested that he not go horseback riding or motorcycle riding. I then asked him what type of business he was in and he said "adult movies". So i told him he probably wouldn't want to go jiggling the goods right away. He sighed, sounded sad and we hung up.

3. I have been practicing my blood letting techniques :) Yesterday I spent most of the day drawing blood. I'm doing pretty well at it. For me it's awkward to stand over the patient while they sit. I would feel more comfortable if i were sitting too....maybe if I were shorter?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Money Made from Money

Money made from money.... ( a rambling....)

I recently watched a film called "Surfwise" about the Paskowitz family. It is the story of a father who graduated Stanford and became and MD and at some point, made a conscious decision to change the way his life was going. He married (again) and he and his wife raised 9 children in a camper and then founded a school of surfing.

The film is a documentary and was released this year. I enjoyed it. The rebel part of me nodded in agreement thru a good portion of the fathers discussion of his life and the change he made. This 84 year old still surfs every morning and still stands by and practices the beliefs he adopted when he decided to change his life. The movie moves forward and interviews the 9 adult children. About mid-film you start hearing the discontent, the 'i need to blame someone for the way my life is' of most of these adult children. During this portion of the film I kept thinking, "ive raised my two children, now 26 and 19 and I heard/hear that from them too, and funny, I remember going thru that period myself as i grew into adulthood". By the end of the film the family is rejoined, and there is no blame, just a wonderful sense of family, a sense of something very special because of the way they were raised and how they were taught and each adult child seems happy with his/her life choices. A good film, that left me feeling good.

One of the things that Doc Paskowitz talked of in the film was the idea of 'not making money from money'. This was one of the things that he had decided he would not do. The thought of "not making money from money' has rattled around in my head since I saw the film. What does it mean? What does it mean to me? Is it a feasible way to live? How closely could I get to following that precept?

The idea of making money from money, most especially in this country, is to become a usurer. What occurs here in this country, with banks, credit card companies and most large corporations is nothing short of usury (definition: usury n. , pl. -ries . The practice of lending money and charging the borrower interest, especially at an exorbitant or illegally high rate. ) The other name for what occurs is 'loan sharking'.... which usually connotes some sense of gangsters/mafia. We, as a nation have become gangsters in the handling of our business affairs....(as well as in alot of our other dealings with people & countries).

After doing a google search on the phrase "not making money from money", I came across references to this throughout written history. The Quran, the Talmud and the Torah all have restrictions on usury. I found this article on "Principles of Islamic Banking" to be a good read.

I particularly like this principle written about in the article: "Money is only a medium of exchange, a way of defining the value of a thing; it has no value in itself, and therefore should not be allowed to give rise to more money, via fixed interest payments, simply by being put in a bank or lent to someone else. The human effort, initiative, and risk involved in a productive venture are more important than the money used to finance it." We sure are a long way from this.

I am not wealthy. I am better off then quite a few and nowhere near as wealthy as others. Somewhere along the line I became what use to be called middle-class and which is now called upper lower class. I dont have huge savings accounts or stocks and bonds and I dont have a nest egg other than my home, to fall back on. I would gladly throw everything away in order to be happy and content. I find that having lots of things eventually winds up being an anchor that will sink me.

i'd like to think that I might be capable of living by a principle like "do not make money from money" and be content.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I was attacked!!!!!!!!!!!

minding my own business
doing the morning walk.... and out of nowhere they came running at me......... at least 20 of them!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, i did! I mean, how many times in one's life, does one get to assist in a surgical procedure? (Vasectomy). I never knew i wanted to assist in a surgical procedure, but the set of circumstances that presented themselves last august when i started working part time, couldn't just be passed by... kwim?

For me, it's like being high. Not the high one gets from doing something dangerous and accomplishing it.... (the evil knievel's, the flagpole sitters, etc... that's not for me... i am a chicken shit)... but the chance/opportunity to do something i havent done before and to do it well... and the doing it well part is really important to me.

When i was younger i was accused of being 'spoiled'. I always took great umbrage at this. 'Spoiled' meant that i always got what i wanted and i knew that wasnt the case... not by a long shot. What DID occur was that when i really wanted something, i went and got it.... no if's, and's or but's about it. One of the readers of my blog has known me since i was about 17, i'll never forget her saying to me "jeez rachel, when you want something, you just go get it!". i always took this as a very great compliment. granted, some of the things i have wanted haven't always been in the best interest of myself (or of others)... but it was/is a most definite part of my personality.

so... the accomplishment of being able to assist, hands-on in a vasectomy was something that i had aimed for and succeeded at and got the "good job" pat-on-the-back from the doctor afterwards. i walked into the situation after some deep breaths, assuming the persona that i had done this a million times, my hands didn't shake, there was a smile on my face and i read the doctors signals as if i had been working with him for years! a goal reached... and now i will continue with this until i can't go any further.

i've already cut my teeth (my vampiric eye teeth) drawing blood... (just a bit out of practice).... the next procedure i will assist with is a Prostate Biopsy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A little homage....

homage is not oatmeal.

the title of this blog came from the reaction a friend of mine had upon finding out i was working at a urologists office. he said the image of me with a penis in one hand and a pair of knitting needles in the other was just a tad too much.

it is a bit odd when you think about it.... but not really that odd for me.

approximately 10 years ago i decided that i would never do anything (for a job) that i had ever done before. to date, i've been able to keep my promise. so when i embarked on this adventure at the urologists office last year.... who knew that i would wind up assisting in vasectomies??????

well..... i believe tomorrow will be my first vasectomy... where i am the one assisting the doctor. i've seen plenty in the last couple of months, but i havent assisted.... so wish me luck....hmmmmm.. maybe you should wish the guy luck....?!?

actually i am very excited over this..... i have to dig out my long santa list paper and add these new found talents of mine........i'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The intent.............

The intent here is to chat, commiserate, cajole, make fun of, discuss, debate, argue about things that i think about. Of course it will be a bias discussion simply because it will be from my own perspective... but i invite any and all to talk, chat, converse etc., about whatever........

we shall see..................