Saturday, August 30, 2008

Telemarketers or Terrorists?

You may be on the National Do Not Call List but that doesn't mean you won't get call from telemarketers. Charities, political candidates and places you do business with can still call you to solicit funds or to sell you other services. Since most of these calls are outsourced you never know what you'll get into.

You can imagine my shock when I answered the telephone yesterday and was told that it was my bank calling. The young man informed me that several million credit card accounts had been breached and my bank wanted to send free credit reports to my house so I could review them and make certain that everything was okay.

So he freaked me out a little. Okay, he freaked me out a lot. He asked permission to transfer me to his verifier so they could make certain the reports would get to the correct address and they'd sign me up for an identity theft protection program. Thank goodness for that transfer. It allowed me to gather my wits.

When the young lady came on the telephone I knew that I wouldn't give her my address. If she was my bank she should have it. Correct? I also knew that if there had been a breach I wouldn't have to sign up with a service to get free credit reports and I could access my account online to check for errors.

The first thing she wanted to do was record the call. But I asked her why I should have to sign up for a service if the bank was at fault. She had no plausible answer but went into her hard sell pitch. I hung up the phone and contacted my bank. After being passed around a bit I did find out that the company who called me was associated with them and were marketing a product. Not because of an imminent danger but because they wanted to sell stuff.

I asked that my bank put me on a do not call or mail list for marketing purposes. I called the company back who had called me and requested to speak to a supervisor and filed a complaint about their intimidation tactics. I was assured that the sales person had acted of his own accord and would be reprimanded. But I'm not so sure.

The long and the short of it is, no matter what they tell you on the phone you've got to have a little breathing space. Get the name and number of the person calling you and the name of their company. Request information in the mail or via fax for your review. Don't ever let them push you into a corner or scare you into something that you'll regret later.

When you receive those privacy notices once a year in the mail from companies that you do business with call their opt out number and you can be removed from calling and mailing lists. To become part of the National Do Not Call Registry go to and don't forget to register your cell phone number. This registration will never expire.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Famous Flyers

I guess everybody is on a budget these days, even celebrities. P. Diddy is now flying commercial because of the high cost of fuel for is private plane. I was just wondering if of you have ever been on a plane with a celebrity.

My claim to fame is that I rode a commuter flight from L.A. to San Francisco with Anthony Anderson once. What?!!! You don't know who Anthony Anderson is? He's the guy Steven Segal chained to the grill of his Dodge in Exit Wounds. I'm really beginning to worry about you people.

Anyways, if you've ever been on a plane with someone famous leave a comment. I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What are you blogging about?

You know how you meet somebody and they ask you what you do? Then you tell them you're a blogger. What kind of a reaction do you get? Most of the people I meet move back a couple of steps like it might be catching. Anyways, I thought I'd share what I'm blogging about and you can feel free to post links to your blogs in the comments.

My evil twin, Esmerelda, blogs about pop culture at the Connie Talk news blog. It's a sassy mix of politics, entertainment and whatever else catches our attention.

I blog about being the parent of a teenager over at Parent Juice. We're just a group of parents talking about the ups and downs of raising a teen these days.

My blog Ozark Travel Tips. is all about traveling in the Arkansas, Missouri, and Okalhoma Ozarks.

And of course, I blog here at What You See.

Here's some of last week's offerings:

Don't forget to leave a comment and let me know what you're blogging about.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bulldogs and Bobbysox

Photo courtesy of Flickr

My mother was a product of the fifties. She'd often told me stories of wearing three or four cancans and them being fluffed so high that she couldn't see over the dashboard of my grandfather's truck dash when he would drive her into town. So it should come as no surprise that upon entering first grade I was presented with a pair of saddle shoes to wear for my first day of school. Saddle shoes were perfect fifties wear, not so great in 1971.

I'd gotten up early, excited because I'd be riding the bus with my best friend, Trish. I went into the kitchen before it was daylight and had coffee with Mom and Dad. My coffee was mostly milk and sugar with just enough coffee in it to make the milk turn color.

When it was time to dress I put on my new red plaid dress and had Mom fix my hair in what we called a half and down. Basically half of my hair was swept into a ponytail using one of those ponytail holders with huge knobs on the end and the other half was left down. I was all ready to go for my red patent Mary Janes, which were the only shoes I ever wanted to wear, when Mom stopped me.

My sister and myself were both presented with a shoebox. I took mine with some reluctance, after all, my red shoes were perfect. When I lifted the lid and saw the black and white saddle shoes I could have cried. How could anyone wear such an ugly shoe?

I tried everything to get out of wearing those shoes but Mom was so excited about them nothing would dissuade her. I told Mom that they were rubbing my heel and was presented with a pair of bobbysox instead of the thin lacy ones I'd planned on wearing. The sight of them with my red plaid dress was almost more than I could bear.

"These are the ugliest shoes I've ever seen," I crossed my arms over my chest and stuck out my bottom lip. "They look like bulldogs." I told her, as that was the ugliest creature that my six year old mind could come up with.

Then she did it. My mother told me the only lie I ever remember her telling me. Ever.

"Don't worry. No one will notice. Nobody ever looks at your feet."

It's a wonder the woman wasn't struck dead on the spot. Even at six years old I didn't buy that one. But I did have to wear the bulldogs to school. And I was the only kid in the entire elemetary school who was wearing saddle shoes. I'm pretty sure that everybody looked at my feet. I wore the bulldogs a few times before I grew out of them to keep the peace but stuck with my red Mary Janes as much as possible.

Looking back now I can only imagine how hard that morning must have been for my mother. Saddle shoes represented the same level of coolness for her as my Mary Janes did for me. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to locate them in the seventies. All I can say is . . . . . sorry Mom.

If you'd like to find out where you can buy socks, bobby or otherwise check out You can read more great back to school stories on Parent Bloggers Network. Or find out what's going on with other parents of teens at Parent Juice.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Are you ready for Digital Television?

February 18,2009 is the day that the nation makes the big switch over to digital signal. When I heard about it I wasn't thrilled. My first thought being that I'd have to figure out how to hook up another box to my television set. I already have my satellite, dvd, vhs and surround sound hooked up to it so where will another one fit in? My next thought was that this was just a ploy to sell me more electronic equipment that would be outdated and need to be replaced in six months. So I did a little digging and here's what I learned:

  • It's our fault that we have to make the switch. They need the analog bands to beef up the services for those mini computers we call cell phones. Plus they need it for emergency services as well.
  • If you're already hooked up to cable or satellite you're okay. Most of the cable and satellite providers are taking care of the switch for you. Even if you have a non-digital television you should be okay. (You can call your provider just to double check.)
  • Anybody that's using an antenna will need a converter box. (All you RVer's our there take note)
  • You can get a $40.00 coupon for a converter box at or call 1-888-DTV-2009. They are allowing two coupons per household and have 25 million coupons available. Incidentally, you can buy a converter box for $40.00 so all you pay is sales tax on the thing. It's practically FREE!
  • It's a green thing to do because now the stations are using energy to send both analog and digital signals.

If you'd like to learn how to hook up your digital converter there's a great video at MonkeySee. Just click on this link

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Hairy Dilemna

I know what the proper attire is for a wedding, a funeral, a birthday party for a three year old, a job interview with Donald Trump, St. Patrick’s Day, and tea with the queen. All the fashion mags keep me up to date on the latest couture for those occasions.

What I really need help with is what to wear to get a great haircut. I want a Desperate Housewives mixed with Sex in the City style. Not Everybody Loves Raymond meets Happy Days. I know I’m a mom in small town on the outside, but inside, I’m Raquel Welch.
I’ve had so many disappointing cuts I almost gave up hope. I spent a lot of time debating whether I should shave my head and go with a wig or grow it really long and wear a bun. Then I figured out that the type of haircut I get reflects whatever I’ve worn to the salon. Using that information I’ve ruled out a few items of clothing on my own.

Sweats with banded or elastic ankles are the worst possible thing to wear. Not only do they make women look like lumpy trolls, all they will buy is a cut that looks best when hidden under a baseball cap. I look really bad in a baseball cap. Save the lumpy troll pants for scrubbing the grout in the shower.

Anything screen printed or appliqu├ęd with birdhouses, apples, pumpkins, or teddy bears wearing vests etc., comes in second. My daughter calls them teacher clothes. They translate into a bob with bangs for me. I hate bangs. My mom used to cut them for me, crooked, usually the day before school pictures.

Yet, I frequently walk out with thick, perfectly straight, poke me in the eyeball length bangs. Even when I explicitly state that I don’t want them. I’ve finally resorted to telling the hairdresser up front, “I don’t mean to be bitchy, but if you give me bangs, I’m not paying.”. It’s worked so far. I just get the bob, with no bangs.

Ankle length skirts and sensible shoes may result in what I call electric bangs, which are far worse than the poke me in the eye kind. Electric bangs are those that are teased a foot higher than the actual scalp. They are wispy and see through like a spider’s web. Because they require so much hairspray to stay aloft, they may also, like the web, trap small insects.
In spite of all these failures, I decided to give it one last try before going all Britney Spears and shaving my head. I went into my closet and hauled out my spiky heeled boots. The ones that get stuck in between the boards on the front porch if I don’t tiptoe. I pulled out a silky top my twenty-something daughter had cast off. Jeans and a cute jacket topped off the look. I almost wished for a tattoo.

When I got to the salon I parked my green Hyundai out of sight. No need to give them any ammunition to cut that bob again. Trying to walk like I wore high heels everyday I sashayed inside. When I meet my stylist I managed to bluff my way into a pretty good cut with the almost long enough to tuck behind the ear bangs.

It’s closer to Friends than Desperate Housewives. But I’ve been stuck with Happy Days for so long I’m not complaining.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ebay Addictions and Auction Snipers

I recently joined the rest of the human race and set up an account on Ebay. I'd been putting it off because I knew I'd spend too much time and money if I did. But, I experienced a power surge which damage my inverter card. I'm not tech savvy but my IT guy says it makes the screen on my laptop light up. He found an inexpensive one on Ebay and here I am. In trouble.

You see, I have a weakness for Disney pins. I have a good friend who travels there several times a year and she's a pin addict as well. Since there doesn't seem to be a twelve step program around for us we've worked out a few ground rules for collecting the darn things.

  1. Pick something specific to collect. I'm starting with the 2004 Event pins for Tower of Terror from Disneyland. She's a Figment fanatic. That'll help you avoid buying any thing that trips your trigger.
  2. You've definitely got to set a budget and stick to it. If not your kids will be barefoot and hungry before you know what hit you.
  3. If you're gonna buy on Ebay, you've got to have an auction sniper. As I told a non-collector friend it's kind of like your own personal hit man. It will bid for you in the last seconds of the auction. (More about finding a sniper later.)
  4. Make sure you've got somewhere to display them so you can enjoy them. They'll do you no good in a drawer collecting dust.

As soon as I get a pin or two in I'll share some photos with you. By the way, what do you collect?