Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Day you were Born ~ 11/14

Have I ever told you how that all went down?

Well, you were born on a Saturday. Friday night, I was having some stomach pain at the lower front that was unusual, so I called and spoke with the on call physician for Dr. Nicky, who told me to use a heating pad on low temp. Didn't really have any appetite, so just had a little bit of mashed potatoes for dinner. All night long, I couldn't get comfortable so we went up to the hospital ~ this was like the 12th time we'd gone up ~ just to make sure this wasn't it again. Well, Dr. Nicky told them to keep us and start inducing labor because according to their guesses we were nearly two weeks overdue with you. I say their guesses because I calculated you would be born about the 16th, and they, being the highly educated folks that they are, would only go as far as November 2nd.

That was pretty early in the morning. Your dad was supposed to be at work at 6am, so he ran the keys to work and came back. I really don't remember much after he left. The medication they gave me to induce labor sorta left me loopy. From what I gather, Grandma was in there (my mom) and they had to ask her to leave because I was so out of it, I was getting confused. They had to break the water and you might have panicked because your heart rate got really excited. They had me in a birthing room and moved me to a delivery room, don't remember that either. I remember that room, and the last few contractions, and there you were, all red and gooey. Black curls all over your head and teeny, sweet red lips. Your dad was crying, but it must have been a stressful day for him. In fact, he could probably fill in a lot of other details that they never told me about that day. Probably the closest to be drunk or stoned that I'll ever be. You know, not able to recall the events of the day I was very much a part of . . . You were born about 6:30pm. You weighed just under 8 pounds, about 20 inches long. Perfectly baked, as far as the due dates were concerned, not overdone at all.

I remember your Other Grandma coming in, she'd been pretty stressed because she'd made airline reservations to go see your Auntie K in SoCal and was afraid she was going to miss seeing you before she left. So, she was taking lots of pictures to share. Your Auntie C came in and I remember she thought you looked like Snow White.

I was at the hospital for a couple of days, I think they sent us home on Monday or Tuesday. I really didn't care for the hospital, they kept complaining about you not latching on to nurse, but they wouldn't let you stay in my room for any length of time and certainly not in the bed with me, and they'd given you that stupid pacifier! The first night, I was wide awake from having slept all day, starved and all they could get me for dinner was a sandwich. But the room was at the end of the hall, where they had a little waiting area with windows. We watched for your Grandma's plane to take off from there and waved to her.

There was snow on the ground when we brought you home. We lived in a tiny one-bedroom house and had set up a bassinet (it was your Auntie C's when your cousins were born) in the corner of the living room, just for you, with a little dresser nearby and Winnie-the-Pooh on the wall.

Ever since that day, it has been my priority to make sure you were happy because you brought so much light to my life. Love you, baby. ~mom.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Are YOU talking 'bout ME?

On the Wikipedia website:

Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing (unproven) facts and views, but also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information transmitted. The term also carries implications that the news so transmitted (usually) has a personal or trivial nature, as opposed to normal conversation.

The term is sometimes used to specifically refer to the spreading of dirt and misinformation, as (for example) through excited discussion of scandals. Some newspapers carry "gossip columns" which detail the social and personal lives of celebrities or of élite members of certain communities.

It goes on with the etymology of the word GOSSIP as deriving from the old english word 'god-parent' and basically referred to old woman who had too much to say about the neighbors, or a tattler.

Then, of course, it gets into the scriptural references. Proverbs 18:8 described it as food that is absorbed into the inmost self. Then the Apostle said in Romans chapter 1, sorted it into the category of maliciousness deserving of death. Later in chapter 3, he instructed to only speak of one another with love.

Wanna hear how I define it?

Anytime you discuss someone with someone else, collecting and spreading personal information you haven't bothered to confirm with that person as to whether or not that any of it is true, you have gossiped.

It's so easy to get there, too. I think it may start with a sincere concern. Perhaps you are worried about someone and you want to confer with another person who may know more than you that you have reason to worry. Who wants to be dramatic over nothing? The saying 'making mountains out of molehills' comes to mind. Nobody wants that kind of chaos, right?

But, what if that person didn't know anything about it? Now, they are seeing things they hadn't before and they may go to yet another person to figure things out. The gossip chain has begun.

Not all gossip is that innocently begun. Some is started by someone who thinks higher of themselves than their subject. Take for an example: a mother speaking about her daughter-in-law. Mother may know more about her son; she has been his mother his whole life, after all. Perhaps in her opinion, the daughter-in-law will never measure up. Isn't it malicious to belittle the daughter-in-law to all the neighbors or other relatives, rather than support her son in his choice.

I think the recent awareness about bullying has a lot to do with gossip. 'The first cut is the deepest' sang Sheryl Crow. Someone with a need to elevate themselves over someone else finds a weakness in that person and tells yet another person. They may never strike that person, but what's said always gets back to the subject and causes injury, even if it never becomes physical, there is wound inflicted and scar tissue on a soul, that takes time to heal, or in the case of the increasing rates of teen-age suicides, may never heal.

I have always had issues with gossip. I tend to turn and walk away from any conversation that goes in that direction. If that's not possible, I do change the subject forcibly, 'how about those SanFrancisco Giants, huh?' which gets met with nasty stares most of the time, but I don't have to listen to where this was going.

I have been the subject of gossip. Usually, when it gets back to me, I can be tough enough that it doesn't hurt. Once, though, it nearly killed me.

I once sought help for a very painful situation from a shepherd in my (religious) faith's congregation. I had always done my best to be an encouragement to all I associated with, so I was stunned when this 'shepherd' repeated things to me that had been said in the congregation. He stated that these were things I felt and said, but had never occured or even been considered. I was in such shock that I couldn't speak or defend myself. I left in the blackest state of mind and even though I continued attending, the wind had been knocked out of me, until I couldn't make myself go anymore. Without that joy of worship in my life anymore, I lost hope. Having no way to find help or to deal with my sadness, I began to plan my death. I became just like these young people in the recent news reports, someone without alternatives except to put an end to it all. What happened in the end was just to walk away from everything, rather than allow the people I loved more than myself to watch me fall apart completely. That was my solution, and I don't advise it to anyone else, because I ended up in a pretty dangerous situation. I believe I was protected because of the person I had been up until then, but without my past, my future could have been obliterated.

So, how do we get rid of gossip? I think it is time to declare a personal war on anything that resembles gossip. Anytime I become concerned about a person, I will go to that person and express my concern. Hopefully, that's how it will be taken, because I would only do that with someone I loved. Next, I will not listen to anything about anybody. No more gossip tv shows or thinly veiled 'news' programs, no more gossip magazines, no more talk shows that discuss someone's troubles without interviewing them to figure it all out. Only the positive about anyone will be spoken that I will hear.

. . .The hardest part will be leaving the knitting group when it goes round that way. . .

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In Appreciation of Beginners Credit Cards and Good IDTheft Protection

The other day, I found a post by a young knitter over on Ravelry trying to figure out how to get credit. Being the nosy busy-body that I am, I posted this:

OK. I’m formerly from credit repair industry and before that I worked with credit card applications. So, my I would like to voice my opinion and my experience.

There is a lot of information out there given by financial experts. Heads up on most of them: They do not like credit cards. That’s OK for them if they have money. They will tell you not to get any cards, or if you get them, not to use them, if you use them pay them off every month. If you are hoping to build your credit, none of that will help. You need to look at it from the view point of those who would be offering you credit. They need to see that you are responsible enough to make regular monthly payments and not over extending your financial self.

My advice before applying for credit is to build your savings. Make sure your rainy day fund (which is money you can access at any time for any reason) is enough to cover you for several months. It used to be three to six months of your current income is the goal, but I think in the last couple of years it would be smart to go even further. This is solely to cover your butt when life changes, like losing your job. Life is change, be prepared.

When you are ready for credit cards, you probably won’t qualilfy right off the bat with low interest rates or high credit limits. The Orchard Bank card suggestion is a good one. If you can’t find them, they are also known as First Premier Bank. A lot of people speak negatively about this bank, but here’s the deal: You do get a high rate, like higher than 20% and you do get a low credit limit. Don’t do the joint card method because that builds only the primary cardholders credit. Those kinds of suggestions are great for immediate help, but won’t help you in the long-run.

When you get the card, do not use it beyond 50% of the limit. This shows lenders that you are in control. Pay the bills on time (that’s true of all your bills) without fail. Pay more than the minimum payment required, again proves that you are financially responsible. Don’t pay it off. Lenders need to see that you can carry a balance over time.

With the Orchard Bank/First Premier cards, the initial fees will put you over the 50% I just suggested so you probably won’t be using it immediately. The minimum payment will always be at least $20, plan on at least $30. You can contact them every 6 months to request a review to have your limit increased but it won’t ever be more than $750. Also know that they are each month reporting to all the credit bureaus what you are doing with your account and that more than anything else will help your credit profile. It is a good card for a new consumer, but if that new consumer is not yet responsible, it can also be the worst thing you can do. It is great for the emergency half tank of gas the day before payday, but you’ll probably not ever be able to buy a set of tires with it.

Hope that’s helpful. If I can think of anything else, I will add it later.

The feedback on my post was varied. Most people believe that responsible use of credit cards means paying it off every month. That would be advice given by a financial expert like Susie Orman. These financial experts do not like seeing you spending your money without having something to show for it, such as the interest on balances carried from month-to-month. However, you do get something out of it: you build your credit. Besides these financial experts are making big money compared with the rest of us, so of course, they can pay the cards off every month and don't need to build their credit.

One very smart young lady wrote asking me how to fix fraud and told me what she'd already done. What she had already done was exactly what she needed to do but now she knows how important a Identity Monitoring service is, how much time and money is consumed trying to fix it herself. I told her about the IDTheft protection I market with PrePaid Legal. It is different from other identity theft products out there, I know because I used to sell them when I was taking credit card applications ~ they only cover the one person, not the husband and wife, and are only there to tell you how to fix it yourself. This service monitors your personal information (and your spouse) FOR YOU and watches your all your personal information, contacts you each month, or as something appears, to let you know either nothing has happened or 'Something has shown up ~ please confirm this was you'.

It made my day to be able to send her information about this. My sense of being someone able to help someone else was very gratified.