Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting things done

First, I wanted to start with some miscellaneous item. I've been posting links on my Facebook page whenever I post an entry. Several weeks ago, I added my Twitter to the people about Laurapolooza and onto Stuff Christians Like. Those sites have led to me having twitter followers that are random people. I signed for this blog to have ad space. So twittering the topic might be helpful to draw actual comments. Since Facebook and Twitter are linked for me, the end result would be the same.
Next and the point of the post, something that's frustrated me always and is rearing its head lately.
People who complain about the way something is done but won't evaluate it
It's easy to say at work, "It's always been done this way," or "they won't change because 'it's always done this way.' " Both statements are equally wrong. Just because something is done time and time again doesn't mean there isn't a better way because of something new. No one enjoys being around a stick in the mud. However, something may be new but it might not give the same information or the needed results. If something is going to be changed, an explanation needs to be given to justify it. It will be quicker or more accurate because of fill-in-the-blank.
Something that has been shown to me lately is so many people's unwillingness to look at something and realize that continuing to complain about a problem isn't a solution. It might not harm the product if tried, but it could help. So what if it hasn't been done before? We are batting zero at the moment. Trying a new bat won't get a hit, but we won't know until we try. Failure to try or to consider anything out of the time worn comfort zone really is giving up. I think we need to start asking the question more often, "What do we have to lose?" and then actually waiting for a moment to see if there's an answer. If not, than try as best we can.
I feel like this might be a confusing entry, but there are several things that I can't talk about openly, but that I need to express my feelings around those things.
What do you do when you feel this way?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

Many people are posting this on Facebook today. I wanted to answer it, and it turns out I'm more longwinded than an update allows. Big surprise?
I was in Disney World. We had arrived on Saturday and gone to the Night of Joy. Like I was going to let Micheal W. Smith, Plus One, and Jars of Clay be performing near me and not see it? MWS had a new CD coming out on the 11th that I had pre-ordered. I kept joking that because I was there they should arrange for me to get it early or something. It was a rainy, but we had fun. My Mom commented on how nice the teens at the concert were. They weren't anything like the ones the news shows. I agreed, because working with the youth at church made me quite aware of this.
On Tuesday, we were getting ready to go to the Magic Kingdom when they said something was happening at the Trade Center on the morning show. For some reason, I thought of how there are always protests at the World Trade Organization meetings and that they must be meeting at the Trade Center. My Mom came in from taking the trash out and I told her. We thought it was a small plane. We were wondering how you could evacuate the people over the place the plane crashed. We were watching as the 2nd plane hit. I remember saying that the building was swaying but saying no, it's the wtc - it can't fall over. We went to the park. I remember being on Pirates of the Caribbean and as the pirates attacked the town, wondering if there was a navy about to launch an attack on NYC out there. We rode several rides and were fairly distracted when we couldn't get on a ride. OK, we'll go into the Haunted Mansion. When we came out, all the rides were closed. Rumors were flying about the Pentagon and a car bomb at the State Department. People kept asking why they wanted us at our hotels/campgrounds. I thought that if we were attacked, the bodies would be much easier to identify if we were at the hotel with our registration. A pretty gruesome thought. We boarded a boat. I ended up sitting on a ledge by a window as we were all crowded. I realized that the country was going to war. We couldn't let someone do this to us without reprecussions. I was 24. My classmates who had enlisted were going to be the ones who were fighting the war. I started going through lists of people in my mind and praying for them, that God would keep them safe in whatever followed.
I called my office when we got back to the camper. The company had brokers and reinsurers in the building. They had already closed for the day. Many got out safely. I know there's a VP who has saved an email that he received from the 19th floor of Tower 2 at 8:55 in the morning. Later, I read that Marsh and Aon employees made up 65% of those who were killed. At one point the following month, Shirley was trying to get something fixed with Aon. The response was that they were trying, but all the clerical people had been killed and their managers as well. They were stuck trying to find someone who could work the system before they could make any adjustments. Aon was one of the companies that was being investigated by Elliot Spitzer a few years ago. I wondered if the problems stemmed from being forced to bounce back so quickly from the attack. After all, it was the executives that were killed, just the replaceable clerical people which is so so untrue.
Where were you?

Friday, September 10, 2010


It's Friday afternoon! For me, this usually means - two days that I don't have to get up way to early or go to work. Being unemployed means that those two days aren't all that different for me than the rest of the week. If I won the lottery that would be great, but I'd have to start buying tickets to do so.
Any way, the point of this post is to say that I have a fun weekend ahead of me!
Tonight, my friends and I are going downtown to eat dinner. At the company Christmas party, the employee and guest were each given a $75 gift certificate to one of the nicest restaurants in town. This brings the price down to a semi-reasonable amount. We are going to go down and use the last one we will have. However, we have decided that we will still go down occaisonally and try some nice restaurants downtown. It's fun, and I know that my one friend, who lives on the opposite side of town from the rest of us, finds this to be a little more convenient than to always be driving out to our houses.
Tomorrow is the home opener for the Miami RedHawks, and I have season tickets. In the past few years, we have quite frankly sucked. Last week for our first game, we played Florida. They had problems adjusting to a time after Tim Tebow, however we beat the line without any major injuries and looked good doing it. They are the #3/4 team in the country. Tomorrow, we are playing a team that didn't win any games last year. I'm liking our chances. As it's 9/11, the school is having a tribute to the military. I remember the game against Kent being the first game after. It was very moving. You could feel a sense of unity between the teams and all the fans as the band played. Several times, we have had fly-overs. High speed ones are fun, but the one low speed one with a carrier was awesome. On the third anniversary, we played U.C., the bands did a tribute. I don't know if it was simply inspiring or that week, I had visited the Flight 93 crash site and found it so moving. If you haven't visited it, I suggest you do.
Sunday is the fall kick-off for youth group. I'm excited by it. It's really the start of how Nicole and I want youth group to be. The kids are great. The room looks great. I think it's going to be a fantastic year!
What are your plans for the weekend?

Monday, September 6, 2010

COBRA Coverage

This will not be discussing new healthcare rules. Rather this will be discussing current rules and corporation's math skills.
At my previous employer, I paid for 50% of my health insurance on a biweekly basis for a high deductible plan. Under COBRA rules, I am able to keep my coverage if I pay 102% of the costs. It is 102% so that administrative costs can be covered.
Let's go over the math. $13.85 for medical and $4.23 for dental every two weeks for a year equals $470.08 or $39.17 per month. Now if I have to pay 102% that would be $79.91 per month. Correct?
I get the bill for the coverage. I call up, they can't go over the math, but they can assure me it is correct. The bill is for one month is $355.53. Now this would be at 100% of cost $348.56 per month or to convert that back to a biweekly pay period it would be $160.87. This would mean I had only been paying slightly over 11% of the costs. Believe me I can't find the documentation to cite, but this is not the figure we were given. We were told 50%, but even this isn't 25% or 33%.
To make this more affordable, the government is subsidizing the cost. I know this is quite controversial between the Republicans/Democrates/Tea Partiers. While not taking a side completely, I do know that I'm fortunate that at the moment I can qualify and that not everyone could afford the full cost. After the government credit, I owe $124.44.
For the sake of argument, if that was my full premium than previously I was paying 32.11% of my premium. Still less of a percentage than I was told.
Bottom line: Rather than debating if the government should be handing out money. I think it would be much simpler if the government required the corporation/insurance company to send an explanation of benefits or costs. Here is how much you paid, see employee handbook this was x percentile. Here is the full cost per year. Here is the administrative cost we are allowed to add. This is how much you owe per month. I believe someone is switching something and I can't get a good read on where it's occuring, but the numbers aren't working as you read above. If the cost is the true cost, maybe it would encourage people to realize how much they are spending because I'm pretty sure hypochondria is driving up some of the cost. Pet Peeve: we were told at one point each man, woman, and child had on average 14 distinct perscriptions each year. As this is more than one per month, and I averaged one every three years, I can't help but wonder how often this was truly needed.
I'll step off of the soapbox now.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday - Truly Outrageous

Here's the picture of the actual cartoon character. One of my favorites when I was younger.

I watched this video tonight. This make-up artist is really interesting.

Here's the link if it doesn't imbed correctly.

I decided to try it myself. I'll try to upload the photos of what I used and how it turned out at the end. First, I used a dark purple eyeliner around my eyes. I took an old bright pink lipstick and sketched the shape around my eyes and filled it in. Then I took a pink eyeshadow and went over the lipstick. Next, I took the darker of the purple eyeshadows and placed it in the crease of my eye. The lighter purple eyeshadow went on the lid of my eye. I took the pink glimmer and spread it all over the area I've covered. I had put on some foundation and some coverup to make my skin look a little better, but nothing odd. I used the pink blush on my cheeks and put a little glimmer on them, neither used very much as you can see from the picture, Jem doesn't have much blush. Next was the lips. In the video, she puts concealer and foundation on them. My lips would peel off my face if I did that! First I used a damp washcloth on my lips, then I used a lipbalm. Then I tried to use the darker of the lip glosses. This was way to translucent. I placed over it the lipstick I had used as a base on my eyes. Then on the outside of my lips, I used the lighter of the lipglosses. Over that in the center, I placed some of the pink eyeshadow. How do you think it turned out? I used MS Paint to show how my hair should be pink.