Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh my God - I'm my grandmother!

I will admit it - I have a thing for fashion and pride myself on matching. To some it may seem a bit overboard, but I like what I like and what I like is to match! And by that I mean that a hot red purse goes with EVERYTHING! And you know what? Now that I think about it - my new patent leather red purse has a striking resemblance to the little red number my grandmother used to have that I loved to use for dress up. Oh how I will have to scan the photo and show just how wonderful it was! (And, of course, show you my new one).

But, as I was saying - OMG - I'm my grandmother! Three years ago my grandfather passed away and quite frankly we didn't think my grandmother would hang in there with us - we sincerely thought she may die of a broken heart after losing my grandfather. We are very happy that was not the case - especially since she gives us some pretty funny stories to pass along. Which brings me to why I think I'm my grandmother!

My mother is talking to her the other day and she proceeds to tell my mother about her LifeLine that she invested in (with no coercion from us) to ensure her safety. Well, imagine my mother's surprise when my grandmother informs her that she does not always like wearing the LifeLine because it doesn't match her jewelry and/or her outfit. Because I know I will be in her shoes one day with the need for a LifeLine I am going to see what I can do to design some that are a lot more fashionable - I mean, when I'm 83 I want to look HOT and I need my LifeLine to match thank you very much!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Give the Economy a Prozac!

If the economy is so depressed can't we just prescribe some Prozac and move on?! My goodness people! Has anyone given any thought to the fact that some of this stuff is caused by the media? They start this stuff by getting us scared, worried, trembling in our boots - oh, wait a minute - I can't afford boots right now - I'M BROKE!

Last week PSPants was asked to write a post in our weekly internal BLOG about the economic state we are in right now. Not exactly an exciting topic and surely not one I really wanted to read about (and I'm sure she didn't want to write it either - she's more the upbeat kind of chick). Most of the comments written in response to her post were ones that I could have lived my whole life without reading...and then I got to this one that I really liked and I copied a section of it because I felt like stealing (don't get much of an opportunity these days).

Thank you Ralph from Denver for this wonderful nugget:

Yes, anything might happen and you should take actions to prepare yourself. But let's try a reality check. So here's an idea, from George Will: Any corporation that accepts government subsidies, broadly defined, can pay its top executives only what the top government civil service salary is – currently about $125,000 per year. And let me add another idea: their incentive compensation and severance packages cannot exceed that limit. If our Congress critters had the courage to pass that, we would not be treated to any more spectacles such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae going bankrupt in all but name, yet having you and me paying out tens of millions of dollars to their executives.

I wonder how "green" he Archer-Daniels-Midland executives would be if their ethanol subsidies capped their salaries.

(I will confirm your suspicions: I have been a proud member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy since 1964.)

What an amazing concept?? You mean - only pay someone $125,000 a year? Really? Is that allowed? This idea might be the best thing since sliced bread! Maybe companies like Delta wouldn't be broke if they didn't pay their retirees (or especially those that they walk to the door) a HUGE pension and FREE travel! Maybe MCI wouldn't have gone down the toilet (no pun on the Save the TP post) if the corner office with windows CEO hadn't spent $8,000 on a shower curtain for his vacation home/condo somewhere none of us can even afford to look at on the map!

Save the Toilet Paper!

It's not everyday that you walk into the restroom at work to find half used rolls of TP on the counter with a typed note above them requesting you to NOT throw out unused toilet paper. First, I must ask - have you ever really thought about throwing toilet paper away while at work? I mean, half the time I hate having to deal with it at home when the roll runs out or is nearing the end. I sure don't want to deal with it at work. It seems that this all came about due to budget crunches and needing to find a gabillion dollars within the company. I figure that if we save 5 rolls of TP per day that's like $10 (conservatively) x 25 working days per month x 12 months, which equals approximately $3,000 per year! Hey - we may be on to something here!

Anyway, I found it to be a bit comical despite my love for saving companies money. I was always known as the "cheap" manager at my past employers because I wouldn't let the staff go wild in the office supply book! Hey - you want a special pen - bring it from home like I do! But, I have never found myself looking in the depths of the trash cans to see what is being thrown out...

Sharon Osborne disappointed me!

Man, I really liked Sharon Osborne and then I watched Ellen today (who I love, but she is on her little Obama rampage too). Again - I am not necessarily a Republican or a Democrat - I just want what's the most equitable for the citizens of the US! Today Sharon said some things about Sarah Palin that I simply think are rude whether you like McCain's choice or not!

Here are a few words from her interview with Ellen (clip below)...
"Hookie Disney movie"
"Scouring America for a woman...last stop before you fall off America is Alaska"
"Passed each other on an ice lump"
"Women aren't that stupid"

Okay - so about the "Women aren't that stupid" comment...Really Sharon, because I think it was pretty stupid of you to say what you did! So there! And by-the-way, who the F*&^ invited you to America anyway? If you and your "used to be drugged up" husband and kids don't like the choices we have in America you can always go back to England "the land of the beautiful teeth" and deal with what you got there! But, I digress...The problem I have with politics is how rude everyone is about the other side. Can you not find a nice way of telling people why you do/do not like a candidate or his/her running mate? Does it have to be so darn cut-throat? I'm kind of tired of the whole thing!

Anyway, here's the video...I think she forgot to take her pill today!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pro Choice/Pro Life

It's election time again and obviously a sticking point for a lot of people is the arugument for and against Pro Choice and Pro Life. To be honest, I don't know beyond a shadow of a doubt which argument I am for. I know that for me an abortion would never be the answer (luckily, due to a hysterectomy I will never have to test that), but I do think there are times when it is a good decision. What about the girl who is gang raped and gets pregnant? What about the woman who due to medical concerns would put herself in grave danger by continuing the pregnancy?

I read the book of Gia a girl who survived the abortion her mother had. It is a heart-wrenching book and certainly makes you think of the effects of abortion on the person receiving one, the fetuses that do die, and the ones that survive such as with this case.

But then you hear about the girl who is far too young and already has had children and you wonder if caring through with the pregnancy and adopting out the baby is truly the best idea.

I've decided that this is a subject that simply should not be part of politics. It should be a private decision made by those involved and their physician and only them! Yes, the argument is that we are killing one of God's children, but I have to ask - do you think he really likes the other stuff we do to our bodies? It's a personal choice - not a government decision! They can no more make you a Republican or Democrat no matter how much they try once you have made up your mind - so why can they decide on this?

Cast your vote for the candidate that overall can run the country the best, not based on whether or not they are Pro Choice or Pro Life.

Meet the Parents

Is there ever really a great time to meet the parents? Do you date someone and instantly think "Wow...I just can't wait to meet his/her parents"? I don't believe I have ever come in contact with anyone who gets that excited about it. More than anything I think it's more a nervous "Okay, what the heck" situation when it finally takes place. And then, of course, there is every other scenario in between.

How about dating someone for quite a while (maybe continually / maybe on and off) and the parents are coming to town and they don't really even know about you. What then? How exactly does that conversation go? Not just between you and the parents, but what about between you and the significant other?

What about meeting someone on Match - having great chemistry and heading home with that person knowing full well their mother has recently come to live with him/her? You have had a wonderful date including dinner and a few drinks, a good movie, and then terrific conversation at a bar afterward with a pretty good band playing in the background. The signs are all there and you decide to join your date for a sleep over party! You figure you will get up early and head out before the mother is the wiser...and then, you wake up in the morning and realize it didn't go quite as planned! You get up, clean up (you know - the I just had major surgery and can't hop in shower kind of washing or the I didn't bring all my crap clean-up), brush your teeth, brush your hair to the best of your ability considering it is sticking up in more places than you have ever imagined it could. After your quick stint in the bathroom your date heads in to take a full shower, enjoying all the amenities because, well, he/she is in the comfort of their own home. And while they shower you make small talk with mom who you realize is up and about since the time you shut the bathroom door to start your make-shift showering process. You secretly pray to yourself that you hope this doesn't ruin your chances of seeing your date again because you really, really enjoyed the evening AND the sleep over party!

According to the conversations with my friends, discussing such events as above, it seems that everyone has the same feeling..."Whew, it seemed like the parents liked me. I just hope my date and/or boyfriend/girlfriend keeps me around long enough not to go through that "first time" meeting stuff again anytime soon!"

Dating is not for the faint at have to be prepared for everything. The conversations leading up to the first meeting (especially with this Internet dating age), the initial meeting, the sleep over parties, AND meeting the parents. Are you sure you're up to it? Sometimes I'm not so sure I am!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Salon Life

As many of you know, being in the salon/beauty industry is a passion of mine! This past Saturday, September 13th I started apprenticing in a salon owned by 2 women I consider friends. We initially met at a Dermalogica class while I still owned my salon. We then crossed paths again when I got involved in the Joy of Connecting (a networking group for women).
Now that I am in school for Cosmetology I approached them about the possibility of apprenticing in their salon and they have graciously agreed. So, although I may not have been as busy as some of the others in the salon on Saturday I could tell it was exactly where I belonged! It is what I love! I think, as of right now, I still love the managment/ownership part of it the best, but I still love just being in that environment.

I started my day with Carrie doing a client's hand treatment (aaahhh...the relaxing feel of a hand massage and hot paraffin wax!), followed by shampooing 2 clients for their services, a shampoo, blowdry and flatiron on a college Freshmen, and then the same for an employee, followed by my final "client" - a clipper cut (1 guard all over) for Carrie's husband Scott. Because of my slight need to be a perfectionist I was not 100% happy with the results, but I learned a lot on Saturday and can't wait to learn more!

All in all I am proud of myself - my mom can't wait until I know enough to cut her hair (I colored it the weekend before - nothing fancy this time around - just getting my feet wet). Perhaps I really should have done this Cosmetology thing a long time ago! Nonetheless, I'm doing it and I can't wait to be able to do it more than every other Saturday.

Friends and sure to come see me and help me practice! Don't let Ms Suzikins (pictured below) have all the fun!

Freedom of Speech is a Wonderful thing!

Again with the politics...I am not usually into politics that much. In fact, I must humbly admit that for the first few years that I was eligible to vote I did not. The reason unfortunately was due to my lack of knowledge and lack of interest in something that should have been more important to me than I allowed it to be.

I prefer to consider myself "middle of the road" because I would like to be able to make an educated decision on the best candidate based on their credentials and ability to lead our country - not just based on Republican vs Democrat.

And what I love most about the process of voting and living in the US is the fact that I, as a US citizen, have Freedom of Speech. This freedom of speech comes in many forms...and one that I happen to be laughing about right now is the skit from SNL from this past Saturday. How can you not love Tina Fey as Sarah Palin?

Here's the clip - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Hell - I've now watched it 5 times!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Politics again...

Oh the time draws near for the election things get heated up more and more but then there is always JibJab to bring us back to earth! I laughed pretty damn hard when I saw this one (might have even peed a little - LOL).

You know my feelings on the election, but no matter who you like - this is worth a good belly laugh!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do you remember this day 7 years ago?

Today marks the 7th anniversary of the tragedy most of us simply refer to as 9/11. At 38 years old I still have enough of my brain functions to remember where I was the moment I heard what happened...I was sitting at my desk in Buford, GA at Qualisys Occupational Training. I was the only one in the office that day and received a phone call about the first plane hitting one of the Twin Towers in Manhattan (my all time favorite US city). I instantly turned my focus away from work and to the Fox News website to keep a close eye on what was happening. Never very political, I wasn't much into news or anything similar until that day. I watched hours and hours of Fox News and read Newsweek with a new found sense of responsibility and, of course, dedication to the country I have grown to love.

I don't watch as much news today as I did for the weeks following 9/11 because quite frankly most of it is just too sad. I watch certain clips and keep up with some of the "major" news stories, but other than that I prefer to spend my leisure time watching shows that are more up beat and funny in an otherwise morbidly curious society.

I do, however, love to watch and listen to anything having to do with remembering this day 7 years ago. It makes me think of my nephew who is now only 3 years old. He was not born when this happened, he has no recollecton of this event, and I can't help but wonder what he will think years from now when (or maybe IF) this is part of his history book. Will he look at the large high-rise buildings around him and think it impossible for anyone to huff and puff and blow them down? Will something more tragic happen that excludes this event from history books? Will textbook authors decide it is too awful to include or not important enough? One of my history books in SC included information about the start of the grocery chain Piggly Wiggly? Is that more important than a national event that for the most part rocked the world and not just the US?

Whatever you were doing on that day I am sure you remember it vividly. I am sure you are aware that this caused the US to jump into action and go to war in Iraq. A war that by many accounts was a mistake. Let there be no mistake, however, that I believe in doing anything we need to in order to keep the US safe. There are many US soldiers over in Iraq and other countries doing what they feel in their heart is for the safety of our country, their friends and family left behind in this country, and for everyone the world over. Do not disrespect them by announcing your lack of faith in the war - stand behind them and pray for them. They need to know that we stand behind them even if we don't agree. To me it's just like hating your brother but the minute someone says something bad against him you are the first to defend him (heck - you can go back to hating him later when no one is looking). You may not love the choices of a friend or family member, but because you love them you stand behind them. That is what is important right now! Believe in those that are on the front line so that they continue to have the courage to wake up each day and fight.

As the granddaughter of am Army POW/MIA in WWII, the granddaughter of a Navy veteran, the daughter of a Navy veteran (my father was in for 38 years), and the step-daughter of a Navy veteran I commend each and every soldier who fights for my freedom whether on US soil or abroad! Thank you for what you do for my country - the country I love and am proud to call home!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Owning a business…It’s What I was MEANT to do!

At the ripe old age of 11 I took over the paper route that a neighborhood kid (I can’t even remember who it was now) no longer wanted. As a young girl this obviously wasn’t the norm – only boys had paper routes. But I wasn’t thinking of it from that stand point. My main goal was to have my own money and I knew I could make a decent “living” with this particular job. I lived in a condominium complex at the time and had approximately 65 customers, which fluctuated up and down by a couple of papers per week. I started making money and was able to buy things for myself that my friends couldn’t.

This led me to my next venture which was to create my own business cards on index cards and pass them out for babysitting. My first real babysitting job was at the age of 12 and as that money started rolling in I knew I was meant to be a business owner someday. I just “knew” in my heart that owning a business was what I was meant to do.

While in high school I started working the typical part-time retail jobs like everyone else. It all started with my first “real” job as the elevator operator at Kerrison’s department store in downtown Charleston, SC. It was my job to greet the customers in a friendly manner and take them to the 2nd floor for gift wrapping, layaway, or fur storage or the 4th floor for the credit department where the customers were able to pay their store account bill (it was a little different in the early 1980s). The Customer Service Manager was so impressed with me (I mean, who wouldn’t be…) that she asked me to work in customer service handling gift wrapping, layaway and the fur storage accounts. I was the youngest employee they had ever had. This position led me to another department eventually where my mother worked – the credit department. At 15 years old I answered phone calls from customers calling about their credit accounts. I felt pretty good about myself!

When we moved back to CT I got back into retail, again working for a small, family-owned department store (D&L). Along with my part-time job at D&L I also worked after school at the Town Hall in the tax assessor’s office Monday – Friday from 2:45 to 4:30 and on the nights I worked at D&L I would go from the Town Hall to there and then work 5:00 to 9:00. It was good stuff! I was making money, and I was buying great clothes! I spent approximately two years at D&L and then went on to bigger and better – Filene’s! Again I did the night time after school and weekend gig, but I also worked every summer until I graduated high school. I worked my way up from a clerk in the junior department to Misses (this is where the Liz Claiborne and higher end clothing was so it was a big deal to work in this department). My manager slowly began having me assist with the nightly closing procedures of the store which included going to other departments and closing down extra registers and checking the daily totals for the departments. From there I was asked to become a store trainer for new hires and to work in the cash office doing the daily deposit and everything pertaining to the cash operations of the store with the exception of actually running balance sheets and cash flow statements. I continued working part-time at Filene’s even after graduation and while working my first “real” full-time job in what some may call Corporate America. Filene’s lasted a total of 7 years until I found my “true love” which is the beauty industry. A friend of mine did my nails for years and eventually taught me the craft. I became a part-time nail technician performing manicures and acrylic nails in the evenings after my full-time job and on weekends. I also worked at the front desk as a Salon Coordinator and eventually became the manager of the salon (when I finally left the automotive industry after 8 years…to be discussed briefly in the next paragraph).

So…my first “real” job was actually a short stint at Electric Boat (where submarines are built) and realized rather quickly that it wasn’t for me and took a job at Lathrop Honda as a title clerk. I worked my way up from title clerk to sales secretary. When Lathrop Honda hit a bumpy road I left after being offered a position at Westbrook Honda. This is where I met a woman, Shirley, who had a great impact on my life – her advice to me, which I will never forget was “If you ever want to be more than you are today you have to teach someone what you are doing today.” At first I had a hard time with this philosophy. For me I felt it was easier to just go ahead and “do it” instead of take the time to teach someone else. It probably took me until my late 20s or early 30s to ever really get what she meant by that. I finally realized it when I was working my way up with a company here in Georgia that I started working for as a Training Coordinator (fancy name for Administrative Assistant).

During my employment with that company I moved with my family to Austell, GA. While searching for a new church home I met a woman who began talking to my mother and the subject of salons and spas came up. Because the salon industry has truly been my passion since my days at the salon in CT (and a brief employment at a beautiful resort spa in Norwich, CT) the conversation came up on my radar. The woman asked me if I would like to buy her spa…the story being that she had owned it since she was 19 (so by the time I met her the salon had been in existence for approximately 35 years) and she was looking forward to being able to spend more time with her family. On this particular day that we met it just so happened that her mother was in the hospital due to a heart attack. I went to see the salon and take pictures the very next day. Two weeks later her mother died of a massive stroke while in the hospital and 45 minutes later her brother died from terminal cancer.

I worked with a counselor at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for over a year to prepare the documentation needed to get a loan to purchase the business. It was a long road and on the day I signed on the dotted line I could not be happier. The happiness lingered for a while and we had our share of ups and downs in the business, but each day that I woke up I was excited to be going to my OWN business. This was what I was meant to do. I worked very hard, I made changes (big and small), I dedicated every minute of my day to making the salon/spa a success. In the end it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but I learned a lot of terrific lessons, met wonderful people, and wouldn’t trade any of it (well, okay, maybe some of it) for the world!

On Thursday, April 24th I announced to my staff that I could no longer afford to continue the business and would be closing effective that moment. Up until an hour before that I was still not sure what would happen because I was waiting on final word from the bank as to whether or not they would extend credit to continue to grow my business. When the word came back from the bank that they were unable to extend credit I knew my only option was closing. Please understand that for me failure was NEVER an option. Upon telling my staff (all of whom I had – and still would if they didn’t mind – called my friends) I had a slight nervous break down and thought I was having a heart attack. I just never saw me closing any business in this manner. My staff has all moved on and I’m sure they believe they have gone on to better things. Some may one day admit that they learned a lot working with/for me, but I don’t blame them if they have nothing good to say. Ending a business in this manner is horrible for all involved. When I closed I hadn’t paid myself a paycheck since January – times were very tough! I was at the brink of losing everything (and some days I still wonder how I will make it, but thanks to my faith I am making it one small step at a time).

I am here today to tell you that despite what happened and the feelings failure I am ready to try it again someday (hopefully sooner rather than later). I enrolled in Cosmetology school and my first quarter just ended – only a million more to go (Just kidding – I will be done in September 2009 as long as all goes well). I am beginning to put together new ideas and strategies for the next time I do this. I will NOT buy an existing business again (unless it is a 2nd location and I already have my own place established), I will start small (the place I bought was located in 5,000 square feet), I will be able to step in and provide services if needed (I was strictly a business owner last time and now with my Cosmetology license I can do whatever it takes to build my business), and I will enlist the help of others. The biggest lesson I learned was not enlisting the help of others until it was too late – I will put my pride aside and ask for help! Next time I am thinking way outside the box! I am looking for new and exciting ways to attract investors, provide them a ROI, and attract great clients!

I’m here to say it is never okay to quit…so I will live by one of my favorite quotes is “Never, never, never quit!" ~ Winston Churchill And one my new favorites is this: Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted...

Believe me when I say I didn’t get what I wanted. My goal was always to own my own business and make enough money to take care of my parents (mother, step-father, father, step-mother) no matter what they need. I don’t think it’s too late to make that happen! If I truly work at it this can still come to fruition. I have great family and friends cheering me along the way and I am convinced the next time will be well worth the trip! I hope you will join me on my journey to the top!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Change...We all Want it!

Change - we all (well most of us) want it and some of us actually like it and thrive on it!

An election is coming up and each of us is hoping for change. Some of us simply want George W gone and would literally vote for anyone with a pulse and who can fog up a mirror. This, my friends, is not the right kind of change. That's like having cottage cheese thighs and wearing spandex instead of nice tailored pants. Don't make us all suffer for your mistakes and bad judgement!

I am not as they say a "Republican," but I am also (much to my grandmother's dismay) not a Democrat. Yes, I'd rather be a Fatass (Elephant's remember everything) than a Jackass. I am more inclined to go with "if I like what you stand for than I will vote for you." What I am concerned about, however, are the changes the left wants to make regarding taxes. As a former business owner and someone who wants to own a business again in the future I am sincerely worried about this. It has always been a common thing for the Dems to raise taxes and Obama has stated that he will. He has, however, stated he won't tax YOU or will be about businesses. Hmmm...well, as a previous business owner I say HOLY CRAP and as a future business owner I repeat myself HOLY CRAP!

When I closed my business at the end of April a friend had seen on Corrupt News Network (oh, that's CNN) that the number of foreclosures of small businesses had exceeded the number of foreclosures on homes. Either way you look at it that is a grim fact! But small businesses have been paving the way for a long time and are a majority of the businesses in this country! Drive up taxes and guess what? No more small businesses...

I can't say I'm completely overwhelmed and excited about how much money I make right now. Hell...I made quite a bit before trying to live my dream and run a salon. But I am a lot happier with how much I make right now compared to how much I will have left after a nice, hefty tax increase!

I'm not saying I love John McCain (although I do think Sarah Palin rocks!), but I am saying we need to think about this! I know a lot of people in Cosmetology school where I attend who want to own their own shop in the future instead of work for someone else...this could be virtually impossible (or at the very least extremely difficult) if business taxes go up (and up and up...).

Think WAY back (I know some of us are nearing 40 or have even just hit that milestone) to your Economics and Macroeconomics classes...if businesses are taxed more who pays more??? And who gets paid less??? Yep, that's right - the employee and the consumer!

Honestly, I'm darn near close to just writing in a name on the ballot just to not have to pick one over the other. But, for anyone EVER considering your own business, on the payroll somewhere, or having anything at all to do with a cannot vote for INCREASED TAXES!

My first BLOG...

Okay, it's not really my first "first" BLOG since I've technically blogged on MySpace, but it's my first OWN BLOG site! And I just know everyone out there in cyperspace has been anxiously awaiting my arrival...

I have some writings in the work. Some are quote/unquote postable and some - not so much! But, I will do my best to be discreet and not offend. Who am I kidding? This is my BLOG...if you don't like it - don't read it. It's truly that simple!

So, I need to do some tweaking on my very important first realy post. Will get it to you as soon as I can!