Friday, February 26, 2010

My Love Affair With Makeup

Friday, February 26, 2010
I just wait for those cosmetic company “gift with purchase” promotions. My favorite makeup products come from Lancome, Clinique and Mary Kay (great skin care). And I love The Body Shop’s body butters. Well, Neiman-Marcus is having one of its “beauty events”, and yesterday, I decided to quickly run in and pick up the Clinique and Lancome promotions.

The kindly saleswoman who gathered the products I wanted asked if there was anything else I might need, since all the cosmetic companies were offering gifts with purchase for the big N-M event. So I said I’d look around. She suggested I check out a new product they just began carrying, Le Metier de Beaute. The sales woman at that counter was excellent and very convincing, so much so that I let her apply the makeup on me. I ended up buying two eye shadows, a mascara and liquid makeup from her, in addition to buying enough Clinique and Lancome to qualify for their gifts.

What was supposed to be a 10-minute errand turned into over an hour and cost me a LOT of money for makeup, most of which I didn’t need. I’ve obviously lost my mind. So what is it with women and makeup? I just love the stuff and now have enough to get me through the next 10 years, if I wore it every day. Somebody please help me!
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Surgery

Well, my husband had his rotator cuff surgery this morning. We had to be there at – get this – 5:30 a.m. I thought I was going to die, having to get up at 4:30, after being unable to fall asleep ‘til 3:15. (Hell, I’m used to going to bed between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m., so there was no way I could fall asleep around 11:00, as planned.)

First thing to hit me – the woman in charge of the surgical waiting area was a bitch. She was condescending and sarcastic with most of the people there. I was itching to deck her. But, of course, I’m non-violent (except in my dreams). Second thing was that everyone else we encountered was great – pleasant, helpful, compassionate, the works. The only problem was that they had to hurt my husband, and I am such a baby about that stuff.

When my son got his baby shots, I had to leave the room, because I’d start crying when he did. Same thing when my brother, at 18, gave our mother a kidney. When I heard him scream as he tried to move after the surgery, I bawled like a baby in the hallway. (Of course, that was partly because I thought I should’ve been the donor, instead of him. Being the oldest of nine kids, I was very protective of the younger ones.)

Anyway, I heard the anesthesiologist tell my husband, “Now this is going to burn – a lot.” And “Now you’re going to feel a lot of pressure.” “I’m sorry.” “I’m so sorry.” It killed me. He was pretty drugged up already, but he was groaning a bit as she fed a catheter into his neck, so that he could go home with a local anesthesia drip to take the edge off the pain. And, of course, he got the good stuff in pill form.

Now we’re waiting for the nerve block to wear off and the real pain to begin. He’s got a pill and water by the recliner, where he has to sleep. And if he needs help with anything after I fall asleep (can’t believe I haven’t yet, with only one hour last night), he can call the house phone with his cell and wake me. I really hope he doesn’t suffer like so many people have said he will. Keeping my fingers crossed!
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Good Hands With Allstate? Not in Our Case!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
We signed up for Allstate auto insurance, effective in early January. The requirements were: a valid license, no tickets, no accidents, good credit and a proof of insurance card, all of which we met. But because we leased our cars directly from Chrysler (our employer), which is self-insured, Allstate wanted a letter from Chrysler to that effect.

The agent contacted Chrysler and asked that the letter be sent to us. We received it a week to 10 days later. My husband called the agent the same day and said he’d bring the letter to his office. Two days later, we got a certified notice of cancellation from Allstate. We’d be cancelled by March 19, unless they got the letter from us.

My husband took the letter to the agent that day. The agent apologized profusely and said he hadn’t been aware that the prior insurance company letter was a requirement. So now they had everything they needed. (That was last week.)

Today, we got another letter from Allstate, this time saying, “Your insurance has been terminated,” even though it’s February 25, and we supposedly had ‘til March 19 to get the letter to them. AND they’ve had the letter since last week! In addition, they wrote that we owe them for insurance coverage to date, even though we gave them authorization to draft our checking account for premiums.

If this is how Allstate treats new clients who’ve provided everything they require, how in hell will they treat us if, God forbid, we ever have a claim? Screw this – we’re looking for a new insurance company. And, by the way, I’m told by a couple of savvy shoppers that Citizens Insurance has the best pricing for auto and homeowners.
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Photo of the Costco Cymbidium Orchids



These are the two orchids I bought at Costco yesterday for just $19.99 each. They're over 3' tall (the chair is there to show scale). Don't know how long they'll be there, but if you love orchids, these are the deal of the century!!
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fantastic Orchids From Costco!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
At Costco today, I found the most beautiful cymbidium orchids, a yellow one and a rose-colored one! They’re three feet tall and FULL of blooms and buds, and they cost only $19.99 each! I want to go back and buy three more, but I don’t have the room. These two won’t fit under the special lights with my 32 other orchids in the basement, because they’re too tall. I’ll have to put them in front of the dining room windows.

At least, this time I didn’t embarrass myself like I did last month. I had bought two phalaenopsis orchids for $15 each at Costco. A few days later, I saw two more exotic varieties on the same cart, mixed in with the remaining phalaenopsis plants. It had been years since I’d seen either one in a store, and I couldn’t believe my luck! I was in a hurry, so I scooped them up and went to the check-out, wrapping them gently for protection from the cold weather.

When I got them home, I took them to the basement, watered them and wondered what kind of idiot would sell an orchid in a pot with no hole in the bottom. Then I realized, to my horror, that the damned plants were the best artificial orchids I’ve ever seen! I was mortified. I’m a Master Gardener, for God’s sake!

I propped them upside down to let the water completely drain, so the things would dry out. And then I took them back to Costco for a refund. The Customer Service clerk cracked up when I told her that I’d mistaken them for real. I should probably keep these stories to myself, but telling them keeps me humble . . . very humble!
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Website Correction

Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Global ReLeaf website home page has a link to the tree sale form, but it’s not obvious. Global ReLeaf’s home page is: http://www.globalreleaf.org/

Then you have to click on “Download this form” under “Order online today” in order to get the list of trees. Or just go to:

http://www.globalreleaf.org/TreeSaleForm2010.pdf

Sorry I didn’t catch that for the last post.
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Terrific Trees from Global ReLeaf of Michigan

Ever hear of a nonprofit group by the name of Global ReLeaf of Michigan? Well, if you need trees or shrubs, you should check these folks out at: http://www.globalreleaf.org/. Global ReLeaf’s purpose is to plant trees in communities throughout the state, because “the addition of trees improves the environment, cools urban heat islands and beautifies our neighborhoods.” And because I need volunteer hours to maintain my Master Gardener certification, I volunteer at Global ReLeaf’s annual tree sale fundraiser every year.

I’ve bought lots of trees and shrubs from them, and they’ve been very healthy and have grown beautifully. The trees are bare-rooted (not in soil and burlap) and are young. They don’t look like much when they’re picked up in April, because they’re kind of twiggy. But some, like the maples and cherries, can be up to 10 feet tall, and some, depending on variety, grow quickly.

One of our trees is an Eastern Redbud, and within three or four years, it was eight feet tall and at least six feet across. It bloomed the year after it was planted, and it’s simply stunning. I love trees, and if it were up to me, we wouldn’t have any lawn, just a bunch of different trees. But, unfortunately, my husband thinks he has some say in the matter, and he likes lawns. Boring!

Okay, the following trees are $30 each, or $28 if three or more are purchased:

Sugar Maple
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
Red Maple
Valley Forge American Elm
State Street Maple
Redbud
Crimson King Norway Maple
Japanese Tree Lilac
Red Flowering Crabapple
Swamp White Oak
White Flowering Crabapple
Tulip Tree
Tina Crabapple
Honeycrisp Apple
Showy Mountain Ash
Stella Cherry
Sterling Silver Linden
Heritage Birch

The following “specialty” trees are $50 each:

Paperbark Maple
Allee Lacebark Elm
Chinkapin Oak
Royal Frost Birch
Snow Fountain Cherry

The shrubs, which I won’t list here (they’re on the website) are $15 each or $12 each for three or more. And the evergreens are $20 or $18 for three or more.

There are 11 pick-up locations throughout the area, so check the website (http://www.globalreleaf.org/). You won’t find trees this healthy at this price anywhere else. Order early, because they do run out of certain varieties!
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Embarrassing Moments

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday night, while my husband was at the store, someone knocked on the front door. Well, I'd been taking Christmas decorations and trees down and doing a bunch of other stuff in the house most of the day. And when I know that I'm not going out, I don't bother putting on makeup, and I wear grungy clothes. So I was in a panic because nobody was here to answer the door.

I ran downstairs and hollered through the door to ask who it was. A woman from my bunco group answered back, and I freaked out before reluctantly letting her in. "So you're not having a purse party tonight?” she asked. Another bunco player had sent her an email that "Sandy" was having a purse party, but it was another Sandy, someone they knew from work. I was standing there in tan slacks with bleach marks on them, a light blue terry cloth summer top (gets hot when I'm carting big boxes up and down the stairs), with no makeup and no bra.

I was so embarrassed that I wouldn't even turn on the hallway light! I told her we could sit and talk in the family room, but there were ornament boxes covering every surface, since I was starting to undecorate the 12-foot tree. I didn't want to bring her anywhere near the kitchen, because I had started cleaning the bird cages, and there were pellets, seed and feathers on the floor. Plus the kitchen table had piles of mail, magazines and newspapers on it. What a mess!

She was embarrassed, too, having shown up at the wrong house, and ended up leaving after just a few minutes. But I feel like a jerk about it. I've got to learn to just chill out when stuff like that happens and not be so concerned about the house or how I look! I would’ve really enjoyed taking a break from the work and spending an hour catching up with her. I missed an opportunity to laugh at myself and enjoy good company.

So I’m making a change – from now on, I’m just going with the flow. (We’ll see how that works out!)
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Not a Paperback Writer . . . Yet

Friday, February 12, 2010
So what kind of writing will I be doing? Well, I’m working on a book and, eventually, I’d like to do a screenplay. But in the meantime, I’ll be bidding on and applying for freelance writing and editing jobs. As I mentioned in my second post, I’ve helped family members, co-workers and friends with business letters, homework assignments and whatever else they had to do.

Recently, I edited college application essays for a high school senior, the son of friends. Because he’s an excellent writer, editing his papers was more fun than work. There’s nothing like starting with good writing. I also put in about 40 hours editing a website for a Chinese school here in Michigan.

Also, after seeing a job-seeking college grad’s two-page cover letter, I offered to edit it down to one page. Well, when I saw what this young woman had already accomplished in her field, I realized the letter couldn’t be reduced to one page. Everything in it was valuable information. I was quite impressed.

The bottom line is I’m available to do business correspondence or pretty much anything else you need written, except technical writing and homework. I have a problem with helping a student pass someone else’s work off as his or her own. I will, however, edit school writing assignments, along with whatever else needs editing. So if you know of someone who could use my services, contact me at SLaurence50@gmail.com.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Second Career

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
When I left Chrysler, after spending my last 10 years in Finance, I wanted to take some time to recover from the experience and then embark on my second career. I wasn’t sure what I wanted that to be, but I knew it wouldn’t have anything to do with a quarterly accounting close.

Since I love volunteering for hospice, I think it would be great to work for a hospice organization. I would also enjoy either hospital or university administration. (If I worked for the latter, I’d want to take some courses, maybe get a masters in counseling.) I’m also pretty sure that I’d like working for a charity or a foundation. So there are all kinds of possibilities.

Or so it seemed. The plan was to finish several major projects in our home (clean and organize the closets, organize our little office and clean and empty the basement). I wanted to get rid of a ton of stuff we’ve accumulated, so that if we could ever agree to sell the house, we’d be ready to list it. I allowed myself six months to get everything done. Ha!

Nothing was completed within six months. After about a year, the closets got done. The basement was finished last fall, just over two years after I left my job. And the office is still only half done. So what’s been eating up all my time? Lots. I make silver jewelry and take a weekly class and occasional one-day sessions on special techniques or pieces. I also took a lapidary course and made a lovely agate pendant from a piece of agate that I cut and polished. I’m learning (for the second time – the first was 15 years ago) how to make pottery. I grow orchids and am a Master Gardener, so I take gardening classes and volunteer at gardening events, in order to maintain my certification. Photography is a favorite pursuit, and I’m registered for a Photoshop class. As I mentioned, I’m a hospice volunteer, as well as a tutor for the local literacy council, although I haven’t requested a new student since mine “graduated” from the program a year ago.

When I left Chrysler, I was na├»ve enough to believe that I’d be able to find a job within a month or two of looking for one. I never expected that I’d walk away from Chrysler into the toughest job market in the country. It’s SO hard to find anything in Michigan, much less embark on a new career in a completely different field. One university told me that they received over 100 applications for each position posted, and that was over a year ago. The job situation here is much worse now.

So I decided that, although I’ll continue casually looking for a job with benefits, I’m going to do something that I’ve always wanted to try. I’m starting a writing business, which I’ll get into in my next post!
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