Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Silliness

So... did it get me right?

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.

Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men

You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Go Bohemian for only $2,000

Women's fashion has problems.

Since I turned 40, I began subscribing to the online newsletter from MORE magazine. It has some valid information for the 40-something and MORE crowd. Today's included this headline: 30 Best Jeans for Women.

As part of this feature article, there were 30 styles of jeans, some shown as part of an ensemble. Each complete outfit was no less than $2000.

What. The. Hell?

Shay Peretz
By Lois Joy Johnson
Jeans for the Bohemian
"I'm all about vintage-look funky jeans. Finding a style that fits my waist and my derriere is always the challenge."
-- Beth Kristiansen, 43, aesthetician

Beat-up hippie flares with an artsy soul are reincarnated as brand-new fades with a curve-accommodating fit that true vintage lacks. They're great with this year's floaty tunics and wedges. Kristiansen is wearing True Religion "Joey" style ($253) with contour seaming that slims the legs. Max & Co. silk tunic ($198). Kate Spade shoes ($325). Henry Beguelin bag ($1,325).


Don't forget the $300 color and perm, the $150 manicure and pedicure, and the $100 make-up.

But WHATEVER you do, don't use that Henry Beguelin bag in the spring. It will be SO LAST YEAR!

I don't know what's worse. The people who make and price this stuff. The magazines that push the stuff. Or the women who think they have to have this stuff.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beware of Aging

My cell phone buzzed against my desktop.

"Oh, no," I thought. It was probably a school nurse. Seasonal colds and flus were making the rounds.

I answered, expecting to have to make my excuses to my boss, grab my keys, and go.

It was my Mom. Mom calling my cell phone in the middle of the work day couldn't possibly be good.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing, honey. Nothing's wrong. Everything is just fine. We're okay."

Her voice didn't sound like everything was okay.

Mom is a 24/7 live-in caretaker for my grandmother -- her elderly mother. For years she's done everything for her and her home with the tenderest of care and attention to every detail for years... often to the detriment of her own health, well-being, and general sanity. The woman hasn't had more than a handful of 8-hour sleep sessions in all that time. Waiting on my grandmother, attending her every need, night and day, day in and day out. A short time ago, to the relief of the rest of the family, she decided that she simply couldn't do it any more and put Grandma on the waiting list for a nursing home.

Monday they called and said they had a room open -- for Wednesday.

Mom's voice was a heart-breaking combination of relief, guilt, fear, loss, excitement...

My grandmother needs complete care. She needs help to eat, to stand up, to sit down, to go to the bathroom, to get dressed, to get in and out of bed, to walk from place to place... everything. The intelligent, strong-willed, opinionated, sometimes infuriating, but always supportive woman I knew is trapped inside this elderly shell of weakness, pain, and confusion. It's no longer safe for her to live in her home she loves so much. It's no longer possible for my mother to give her the care she needs.

Then there's the financial question. The home my grandmother will be going into, for the full care she needs, will cost almost $6000 per month. That's above and beyond the cost of all of the medication she needs on a monthly basis. The nursing home insurance she and my grandfather paid for most of their working lives, only shells out about $2500 per month. Medicare pays nothing. Leaving my grandmother's assets, investments, cashed in life insurance policies... and possibly even, her home... to take care of the balance. Eventually, if she stays in the nursing home, virtually any inheritance... any assets that would have gone to my mother, will have to be liquidated to pay the nursing home. Of course, if she had no assets, she'd pay far less and get the same care.

My mother is trying to think of alternatives. There are no other family members to help. Mom's brother died years ago. She's considering taking in renters at my grandmother's house. At 63, she'd like to finally start enjoying her life a little, travel, see her grandkids... but she may have to consider taking a job. But the kind of jobs open for women like my mom in the town she lives in will net her maybe $8 / hour after taxes... tops. I can't offer any help, with two kids and a mortgage, and living 300 miles away.

I just get angry at the lack of help for caretakers of the elderly. Little to non-existant breaks, compensation, support, information, legal help, finanacial advice... just a bunch of vultures waiting to rip of their piece of the carcass.

Sorry for the downer of a post. It's been on my mind all day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

AVAST, me hearties!

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Pour a pint of grog and party like it's 1799!

You are The Quartermaster

You, me hearty, are a man or woman of action! And what action it is! Gruesome, awful, delightful action. You mete out punishment to friend and foe alike – well, mostly to foe, because your burning inner rage isn’t likely to draw you a whole lot of the former. Still, though you may be what today is called “high maintenance” and in the past was called “bat-shit crazy,” the crew likes to have you around because in a pinch your maniacal combat prowess may be the only thing that saves them from Jack Ketch. When not in a pinch, the rest of the crew will goad you into berserker mode because it’s just kind of fun to watch. So you provide a double service – doling out discipline AND entertainment.

What's Yer Inner Pirate?
brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!