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Thursday, August 30, 2007

All that glitters

I made the above bracelet at Kristin's request. This has lobster clasps at both ends to attach to her medical ID bracelet. I don't know what she'll think about it, and this picture sucks (batteries ran out after the shot, so it's the best I could do at this point. But it looks sparkly here), but it gives the general idea. All she told me was that she wanted something neutral that would go with everything. This is what I came up with, but I will make her one that I think will be sturdier, since she wears it all the time and I'm not sure how long this will hold up. I'm not worried about the beads (all glass) so much as the copper colored craft wire that's made of some un-named metal.

Anyway, thanks for all of the business name suggestions! My favorite so far is "Tami's Treasures." But, if anyone has additional ideas, I'm still considering. I'm also wondering - do I need to file for Fictitious Business Name? Crap, another thing to look up. I'm deciding that the CA Business Portal is not very user-friendly. The IRS site is only slightly better.

Well, I'm catching a certain kitty odor...I think that's my cue to clean out the litter box right quick. Fun!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Open to Suggestions

Okay, I'm seriously considering opening an Etsy shop where I can sell hand made jewelry and crocheted items. But, I need a business name. Any suggestions? Seriously, I need your help. Drop me a line with a good (or even mediocre) suggestion for what to call my little shop.

My reservations with opening a shop are that I'm not sure how often I'll be able to add anything to the shop, and I don't know if anyone will buy anything. Also, will I get in gear and ship any sales quickly? (I don't expect to have a ton of volume or anything, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as I check my email frequently...) And, would I have to report the income on taxes? How does that work? How do I know how much to charge for things?

Argh...too many questions...

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Well, we got additional information about the severance plan today (no info on the retention package yet though). The severance is paid out based on length of time with the company, and is in the form of regular paychecks, including benefits. That's good, since it won't be taxed as a bonus and we won't have to do COBRA during that time. Also, in addition to the severance, the company is giving everyone 60 days paid notice, during which we'll receive our regular paychecks and benefits and not be required to work. (This is a legal requirement.) The severance begins after the 60 day notice period is over.

A lot of people were finishing up their last day today, and will be back tomorrow for the career development seminar. It's weird to see so many people go all at once. Sad. It will be worse tomorrow after the seminar. Then, with those of us left (outside of my department anyway) being spread out so much in the building, it will be quite different.

And speaking of sad, they cleaned out the marketing closet today and it was a madhouse in the hallway where they were placing the loot. It was pathetic...what a bunch of vultures! (And me at the forefront!) Dad - expect some goodies.

In other news, I made this the other day and wore it to work yesterday:
I liked the clasp so much I wore it in front
This is freshwater pearls and czech glass beads on wire. I got a few compliments on it, and some people telling me I should make more and sell them. I'm thinking about Etsy, but don't really know how it works. Here's a close-up:
I'm not sure how sturdy the wire is though, and am afraid it might break after a few wearings. I'll see how long it lasts. I don't know the best type of wire to use to crochet jewelry - I just hope this one didn't contain any lead.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Reprieve

Okay, I can stop the panic process for now. My whole department is being retained for 12 months. We'll get the retention package via mail probably next week, but in the meantime, at least I won't be out of a job come this Friday. What a relief.

I have no clue as to what the retention package with contain, but if I stick it out until the end of the 12 months, I'll at least get severance at that point. And, since I'll know ahead of time when it's coming, I can start the job hunt in advance.

Anyway, I'm no longer feeling nauseated and anxious. However, I do know that it will be different, with other co-workers and support staff from other areas of the company being phased out before the end of my employment. It will be a challenge, no doubt.

Thank you all for your kind words of support!

Monday, August 20, 2007


Hmm…I had started a post earlier today about my general paranoia about the mortgage market and it's potential effect on my employment. Since beginning the post, I've found out the impact… The company where I've worked for the past 6 years is shutting down (or rather, being wound down by our parent company). We got the announcement today, at about the same time as the press release went out, but won't know any details on severance packages or possible retention packages until Friday. I do not like change. And, I do not like knowing only a little bit about what's going to happen. Tell me everything right away…don't take a full week to rip off the Band-Aid. (Now, if it were an actual Band-Aid, I might take that full week.)

My particular department *may* be retained for a while (6mo +?), but this is from verbal statements. I won't believe it until I have the retention package in my hands. (Or the severance package, whichever the case may be.) I'm kind of freaking out right now, but given what little we've been told already, it sounds like I should have a good window of time to find something before the severance would run out. I'm hoping they offer us a good retention package, because if they do, I'm riding it out until the end. However, just knowing that it is going to end is causing me gastrointestinal distress. (Sorry you had to hear that, but it's true!)
Anyway…I guess I'll be tightening the proverbial belt a bit now. And brushing up ye olde resume - if I can find a copy of it anywhere. I may have to request it from HR.

Wish me luck (and sanity!). I just may have to start selling that jewelry after all...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Well, today I got "the talk" at work again this morning. I have to admit, it was about time. I've been expecting it for a while, walking in late and dreading the possibility of running into one of the bosses (those of you who don't read my blog regularly should know that "the talk" is about my lateness). So, when I got the email from my manager saying to see her when I got in, I knew what was coming. She was okay about it, but warned me that if the big boss catches me, I'm screwed. Also, she'll be forced to write me up if it doesn't stop. This is the kick in the pants I need though - I'm scared witless about it again (because I am always in fear for my job anyway, and have never thought that I'm not expendable in the company), so I should be on time for a while now. That's what I'm hoping anyway. I go in cycles. I'll be good and timely for a while, and then start slipping into old patterns until triggered to watch it again (i.e. getting "the talk"). Argh!

Anyway, in other news, I made the following necklace last night and wore it in to work today:

28 guage copper wire with assorted neutral beads

I didn't get any comments on the necklace today, so I'm thinking maybe it's not too remarkable. I almost never wear any jewelry to work, so I'm kind of surprised no one said anything. Oh well, I like it, so who cares what they think? I do like the copper colored wire though. It's a simple chain, and pretty plain and easy. ( easy know you're tempted...)


My company has just switched over to bi-monthly paychecks from our previous bi-weekly pay schedule. So, instead of getting paid every other Friday, we get paid every 1st and 15th. Well, tomorrow is the first paycheck on the new schedule, and I panicked when I saw my bank balance this evening. I was afraid that my card had been compromised again, but nope - that 3 days between the last normal paycheck (they paid up to the end of last month on the 1st) and the first new one really made a difference! I think I had forgotten about the change before scheduling my last round of bill payments. So, now I feel extra poor, even though everything will even out again after a few checks. Tomorrow even. But today - I feel poor and am thinking about re-budgeting. Which I need to do anyway. I really spend way too much $$ at Starbucks and need to ditch that expensive obsession.

I noticed the low balance tonight, since I needed to get cash out of the ATM so I could go to dinner with Christyn. I wouldn't have panicked if I'd just paid with my ATM card... but it's probably better that I was aware. Anyway, I had lots of fun at dinner, and her husband joined us. We should do that more often. (Not a good plan for my re-budgeting idea...)

Okay - off to bed so I can keep my job!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blame Aunt Fran

Since I am still not feeling quite normal (for me), I didn't venture out much this weekend. I did try my hand at wire crochet though. I'm blaming Aunt Fran for this. She showed me a cool crocheted necklace she made and inspired me to pick it up. So...I used a full spool of 32 guage wire and made these:

I woke up with an annoying coughing attack that didn't want to stop. I had thought about meeting my friend at the farmer's market this morning, but didn't make it.

Then later, I was feeling somewhat better, or at least I thought I I headed to the library to return a movie and have my fines forgiven (I love that they do this periodically at the library - this week only!). Anyway, I was perusing the mystery stacks when I realized that I was just inexplicably tired and felt an overwhelming need to sit down. I guess I'm not as recovered as I was hoping. And my ears still feel cloggy. I broke down and took another Sudafed this evening, hoping to clear the congestion.

Isn't my life exciting? may be a good thing that the exhaustion hit while I was at the library, because I was thinking about going back to the craft store for more wire and stuff. I hit the grocery store for some essentials and headed back home instead.

Tomorrow, it's back to work.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Back from The Empire State

Well, I left for my annual trip to Buffalo last Wednesday evening (not yesterday), and returned this past Tuesday. All in all, the trip itself was great. I always have fun with my extended family. And, oddly enough, I ran into a co-worker (different department) in the airport on my way there. She didn't recognize me (we don't actually know each other, but I see her around the office all the time). Anyway, she was on the same flight on her way to NYC with her son.

I stayed with my aunt while in Buffalo, and attended her Stamp Camp on Thursday night (she sells for Stampin' Up and held a Christmas in August card making workshop). She and I share a love of handcrafts. And now I have 4 cool Christmas cards, that I'm hoping I can locate when it's time to send them out.

Friday was my brother's 26th birthday. (He and my other brother had flown in late the night before and had a hotel room in town. My mother and stepfather had driven - yes, they're quite insane - and arrived late the night before as well.) We headed to the home of the original buffalo wings for a birthday lunch. My aunt didn't come with us, as she was busy with the marathon of baking in preparation for Saturday's family picnic.

The birthday boy presenting the spoils of his lunch
We stopped for some delicious soft-serve ice cream (the real thing - not frozen yogurt) on the way back to my aunt's house. I helped her a bit with the baking for a while, and then went with her to the local WW meeting, led by her favorite leader. I gained quite a bit, but was happy I went (reality check). And then more baking after that before my mother and stepfather picked me up to head to Santora's for pizza. No, it was not a low-fat trip. When we still lived in the Buffalo area, my family used to go to Santora's all the time. It's great, but they've remodeled the place since we moved, so it's not quite the same.
Saturday morning my aunt and I drove down to the site of our annual family picnic (it's in the town of Lenox, outside of Syracuse), with her SUV loaded down with cooler's of food and extra blankets and pillows. The picnic itself was fun - less like a picnic than a huge family potluck. We have it at a cabin on a small lake that is co-owned by one of my mother's cousins and a number of his cousins from his other side of the family. It's a beautiful site, and I took quite a few photos on my Sunday morning nature walk. But I'm jumping ahead.
After the major food-fest, when the relatives who live locally to the cabin had gone home, the rest of us (Mom, stepfather, 2 cousins, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, 2 brothers and my cousin's wife) sat down for a Trivial Pursuit tournament. I was on a team with Aunt Fran and my cousin Doug's wife (Doug couldn't come this year, as he was called in for his 2 week training for the National Guard. They are sending him to Egypt for a year shortly). The goal of the tournament was to knock my cousin Greg and my Uncle Tom out of the winning spot, since they won last year (I wasn't there) and never let anyone forget it. My team was ahead for most of the game, which was driving the incumbents crazy. And, like most of the board games played throughout my childhood, and adulthood, for that matter, the game was almost immediately under protest. Anyway, my Aunt Sharon (Tom's wife) and cousin Chris ended up pulling ahead and winning. In the meantime, the team consisting of my two brothers had quit, with Tony hurling thier pie-less game piece into one of the card boxes in disgust. My mother and stepfather left in the middle of the game to start the first leg of their drive back to CA (with a stop in IA to exchange cars).
My cousins (and cousin-in-law) all left early Sunday morning to head back to VA. My brother Joe was antsy to leave, but couldn't get Tony to get up. I'm not sure why he was in such a rush to head back to Buffalo, as the rest of us weren't leaving yet. But it was so like my grandfather that it was almost scary. Aunt Fran headed off to church and I went for an extended nature walk with my camera.
Dewy spiderweb in the grass
After getting back to the cabin, I started tidying up for our departure. Tony was still sleeping, and Joe was fuming, but had given up. Later, after we had all left, Uncle Tom, Aunt Sharon, Aunt Fran and I all went to Sylvan Beach for lunch. Mom's family used to head out there in the summers when they were growing up (I only learned this a few years ago), as two other family members had cottages on the lake (I don't know which relatives now - there are so many to keep straight!)
Thistle with honey bee heavy with pollen
On Monday, Aunt Fran and I met up with my brothers for lunch before they had to head back to the aiport. Then she and I wandered around a few craft stores, where I obtained materials for a crocheted necklace. No photos of that project yet, since it's not finished.
Early Monday morning (very early - 5am) I arrived at the airport for my flight back home. I had to check in at the counter, as my connection was inexplicably unavailable for online check-in (I had tried a few times the night before and that morning). For the first time ever in my memory, the boarding pass printer at the counter ran out of paper. Good thing I checked the envelope before leaving, and noticed that there was only one boarding pass in there. The woman behind the counter couldn't find the key to open the door that would allow her to refill the paper. Come to find out, it's a master key that only a manager had, who was nowhere to be found. Anyway, this caused an uneccesary and annoying delay in the check-in process, which put me back at least 15 minutes. (Those are important minutes.) Then I waited in the security screening line for a full 40 minutes (in the tiny Buffalo airport at 5am!), and still had to find my departure gate. By the time I was through the line, there were only 10 minutes until my flight was scheduled to leave, so I figured I was screwed. What do you know? I was right! The plane wasn't even at the jetway by the time I got to the gate.
So, I was shuffled over to the next gate to wait for the next flight into Chicago, where I could connect to SFO. After the end of the boarding calls, there was one couple who hadn't decided whether or not they were going to get on the flight. The woman was either afraid to fly or sick, as she apparently kept stating that she was going to get sick. One other standby and I had been called to get on board and were already on the jetway when the couple came rushing on, having decided at the last minute to get on the plane. So the other guy (also had missed the same flight I had) and I were called back to the gate to wait for the next flight. Fun.
But, I did get on the next flight and the connection and made it home safely, which is what matters. And it's hard to believe, but I really don't get that worried about flying or making connections, because I figure it's all out of my hands. Don't analyze that logic, since I tend to worry about everything else, whether it's in my control or not.
Anyway, now I'm back, and have contracted some cold or flu or something. Complete congestion, coughing, sneezing, headache and body aches. I'm just happy it hit after the trip and not during. Though I was feeling it a teeny bit before I left. However, this weekend will be all about relaxing and recovering. I am vowing to not make any plans at all. (I haven't had a free weekend to myself in quite some time.)