Archive for the Real Life Category

Adventures in Parent-Sitting

Posted in Holidays, Real Life with tags , , on April 5, 2010 by ♥JellyBean♥

My parents are awesome. Please don’t get me wrong, I love them to pieces, however, I do love them mostest when they’re not in Kansas. They live in Alabama & make a road trip usually about once a year. My Pops (step-dad) is in his 80s and my Mom (and cancer survivor) is in her very late 60s. This makes them old people, and old people are awesome… mostly!

The thing about my parents is that they usually go to bed at 6:30 p.m. (yea the sun is still up) and wake up at 4 a.m. I don’t know why, they just do. You’d think they were farmers or something, but they’re not. Just two retired, active (sorta) senior citizens. They are very set in their ways, very vocal & very opinionated.

They arrived Saturday morning and as usual I was up early busting ass on my house before they arrived. This is normal protocol because if one thing is dirty, if there is one crumb, one rug left unbeaten, one corner not swept, mopped & disinfected… Oh I will hear about it. Then after I hear about it, my siblings will most likely then hear about it as well. Needless to say having my parents here is exhausting, even before they arrive. Not to mention that, I have a new obnoxious puppy named Astrid that my parents were meeting for the first time. Thankfully we had great weather & I didn’t have to follow Astrid around cleaning up puppy paw prints each time she came in from outside. That would have majorly sucked!

[Warning Content of a somewhat graphic nature ahead]

So anyways they arrive, I’m comfortable with the condition of my house & just know there isn’t one thing they could possibly find an issue with, right? Wrong! The first thing my Pops does is go to the bathroom, because as he says it… He “really has to go because his bowels are a turnin”.  No problem, my bathroom is clean & I point him in the direction of my nearest bathroom since this is also their first time at my new place. About twenty minutes later my Pops walks out and informs me that the water level on my toilet is too high. Ummm what? At this point I’m thinking he may have flooded my bathroom. No worries, I have a plunger and I know how to use it. This isn’t the case. He goes on to explain that while he was sitting to do his business, his ummm “junk” was touching the water. Um thanks Pops for that. So two things, he’s either uhh well equipped, way to go Mom? OR when you get old, every freaking thing sags! Yea, that’s it… every freaking thing sags. Ewww! Thanks for the graphic I just did not need. Good thing I have two bathrooms. Here Pops try the other. No go… water is too high in there too. So of course this means that I need thicker toilet seats or I need to get my manager out here asap on Monday to “fix this immediately”. No one else has had this issue Pops but I’ll get right on that, not!

That was only the beginning & best story I have for you guys. In all honesty my parents are fun to have around. In fact my Pops is just like “shitmydadsays” but with less cursing. He will not even hesitate to belch at the dinner table and follow it with “not bad manners, just good grub or whatever”.

I haven’t really mentioned my Mom yet but I will mention her homemade Fantasy Fudge that is/was delicious. She made this fudge only an hour after telling me that I’ve gained weight & asked me if I was eating healthy. Sometimes they drive me nuts & I just don’t understand the logic behind their thoughts. Of course I wasn’t allowed to help make the fudge after the BBQ incident where she thought I was “cross-contaminating” our food because I didn’t run in to wash the spatula off right away after firing up the grill. Sigh. Someday I vow to impress her with my cooking. Also, I washed my hands so many times over the course of the weekend that they are now so dry that they are actually starting to crack.

Without full story, here are some tidbits from my weekend because this blog post is already uber long:

– The weather was absolutely gorgeous, however my parents were freezing so I couldn’t open my house up.

– I tried watching “Elizabeth” the movie and my parents insisted on watching it with me… I’m still uncomfortable watching sex scenes with my parents, and this one had an orgy scene. Facepalm!

– They “taught” my dog, Astrid to “sing” Happy Birthday, now my dog won’t stop barking at the most annoying moments.

– I slept on the couch and gave them my room, they still woke me up everyday at 4 a.m. even though the livingroom is opposite side of the house from my room & kitchen.

– I was forced to watch the Weather Channel & *gulp* Fox News until they felt they had a good handle on what was going on around them for the moment.

– This morning they had meant to be on the road by 4 am, they woke me up but didn’t leave until well after 5 a.m. because they couldn’t go until the “coffee kicked in” and they both had their morning stools. There was no way I was going to get any sleep before I had to be up for work anyways.

Overall, it was a great visit and I’m super glad it won’t be repeated for another year. 😀


Twitter blessings & social circus…

Posted in Real Life with tags , , , , on October 19, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

Hawks was not kidding when he wrote his Revolution post yesterday where he said“Now all of a sudden, I am running into people at every event and all over town that are extremely wired into both lives that they lead, and it is fun to literally have an option for a social function any night of the week.”

Let me share with you our weekend via pics & minimal commentary…

Friday Night – Late Night at the Phog:

Bryan & three of the loverly KU dancers.

Full house at Allen Field House… This is how HUGE KU Basketball is. 16,300 packed the Fieldhouse to watch the late night practice!

Saturday – Baldwin City Maple Festival:

I made a story on Whrrl that you can see if you click here. For some reason I can’t ever get it imbeded into my blog posts. Boo!

Powered by Whrrl

Sunday – 23rd Street Brewery Pizza Party:

23rd Street Brewery offered all their Twitter followers a free one topping pizza last night. It sort of became a mini tweetup/pizza party. Hawks, me, Ashley, Jessica, Andrew, Travis, Zack, Briana and two other folks I can’t remmy all went. Jessica took that pic of me last night at the Pizza Party. I think that’s her thumb in it. LOL!

That’s my weekend in a nutshell. I’m thinking pretty soon Hawks & I are going to need more than a google calender to keep up with our social circus. It really has been a blessing, for me at least, to meet all these great people on Twitter. I finally feel like I fit in here in Lawrence… and it feels good!

Okay enough mushy shit. I haven’t decided yet if I want to switch Free State of Mind over into a real-life blog or not. We have Our Lawrence for that but I was thinking that this one might be more personal. It isn’t like we haven’t planted little seeds of real life here before. It seems sort of fitting since we named it “Free State” after me moving here to the Free State to be with Hawks.  I’ll let you know what we decide.

Want . Coolest . Bike . EvaR!

Posted in Real Life, Social Media with tags , , on September 9, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

My friend Tristan Micheline plurked the coolest bike ever! Now I want it, Oh I want it so bad!!! Thanks a lot Tris. :p

HawksRock Gunawan: lol, nice!
JellyBean Madison: its so tote me
HawksRock Gunawan: mhm
JellyBean Madison: looket handle grips
HawksRock Gunawan: lol, nice!
HawksRock Gunawan: I think it only has one gear though
JellyBean Madison: so?
HawksRock Gunawan: so no help going up hill.   lol
JellyBean Madison: I only need one gear – go!
HawksRock Gunawan: u remmy that when I ride off and leave you in my dust a huffing and puffing.
JellyBean Madison: you remmy I only have “go!” gear and avoid hills
HawksRock Gunawan: lol
HawksRock Gunawan: kinda tough in Lawrence.   lol
HawksRock Gunawan: Painted Pink Stainless Steel Spokes, Custom skull graphic on fenders, chainguard, seat and grips, Painted Rims, Pink Wall tires, Black Chainwheel
HawksRock Gunawan: the fenders have the custom skull graphic too
JellyBean Madison: I want it so fucking hard!
HawksRock Gunawan: lol
JellyBean Madison: mayhaps more than the robotic dog
JellyBean Madison: ok no
JellyBean Madison: def a smidge less than robotic dog
JellyBean Madison: but still A LOT
HawksRock Gunawan: lol
HawksRock Gunawan: bookmark it
JellyBean Madison: oh I did, I already did!

Bike Link

1,750 miles later…

Posted in Real Life with tags , , , , on September 7, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

We’re finally back home after trekking across 7 states (Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia & Alabama) and putting 1,750 miles on the odometer. I have to say the leaving Thursday after work was the best idea I ever had. We ended up splitting the 13 hour drive in half by getting a hotel room Thursday night in Paducah, KY. The boys were really good too, which was absolutely amazing!

We arrived at my Mom’s house Friday early evening-ish and were greeted by my two older sisters, my Mom, my Pops and a few of their local friends. My Mom looked really good. I think I was expecting much worse, but she’s a strong woman. Most definitely.

My sister Vicki & I are probably the closest and I’m going to bet that’s mostly because we’re closer in age & just “get” eachother. Haha! I knew Hawks & I were going to be in danger if we didn’t have Mnt Dew in the house while we were there 4 days. I had asked to go to the store and of course, Vicki, or better “Lack-Of-Direction” Vicki was the only one who offered me a lift. My Pops offered up his truck, which is his beloved TRUCK, only after a long list of dos and definite don’ts.

We left Hawks, the boys, my older sister Debi & my parents there while we went “joy riding” in Pops’ truck. Of course as soon as Vicki pulled out of the drive way she went right when she should have gone left. As soon as I mentioned to her that I thought town was to the left, she realized she screwed up & started panicking that my Pops probably saw us go the wrong way. She quickly remembered that Pops had taken her earlier in the day to a neighbor’s house and he had forgotten his hat there. Well since it was already the direction we were heading she suggested we could use that as an excuse as to why we turned right instead of left… “Pops we thought since we were out, we’d pick up your hat *good samaritan smiles & eye lash flutters*”

The only down side is she had only been to the neighbor’s house once & we had to guess the way since all country back roads look the same to us city folk. What is it that my Mom says? Oh yes… “Oh it’s just down the road a’piece.” We ended up on this one road where it looked like an entire family was out on their porch drinking from jars. One kid with a bright yellow cast on one arm was hanging from a tree with his good arm which was right next to the full size REAL horse that was tied to the porch railing next to a kiddie pool. “We’re no longer in Kansas,” I said jokingly and she says “No doubt, we’re definitely in Bama.”

We finally find the neighbor’s house after almost getting into a head on collision with a beat up truck going at least 60 mph down the narrow (1 car wide) dirt road we had to take to get up to the house. If you’ve ever been to Borden Springs, AL. you’d know everything there is on a hill… we pull up and Vicki puts on the emergency break & runs up to the house to get Pops’ hat. I wait in the truck since I was nervous about the stray dogs chillaxin around the property and I was just catching my breath from the near death experience of the almost-collision.

After 10 minutes Vicki returns to the truck with Pops’ hat & explains that she told the neighbor to call my parents’ house & let them know that we had just picked up the hat (to further the story that we knew which way town was, we went right instead of left to grab hat). Then Vicki realizes she has no idea how to disengage the emergency break after accidentally popping the hood. Remember I said everything is on a hill there? Well yeah, the truck was facing DOWNHILL when she told me to hop out and close the hood while she fiddled with getting the e-brake off. Oh sure, I’ll go stand in front of the truck on a hill! Right! As I get the hood closed, she releases brake & I quickly get out of the way as she slams both feet onto the brake to keep from running me over. The whole time this is HILARIOUS. Scary and hilarious. I hadn’t even been there more than a couple hours & I already had my favorite story.

We finally head back towards town, waving & smiling with the hat as we pass my parents’ house (later we realized they didn’t even know we had turned the wrong way to begin with). My first day there & my only day I got to spend with Vicki before she left to fly back to California. After that it was Debi, my parents & us til last night when my older brother arrived. I have a lot more stories to tell, none as funny as the one with Vicki, but still stories from the trip. Tonight though I need to rest up, I have work tmw. Sweetest dreams.

Over the river and thru the woods, To grandma’s house we go…

Posted in Real Life with tags , , , on September 3, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

So a couple weeks ago I wrote a post about my Mom called On A Serious Note… I didn’t even think to follow up on it and for those that care, I apologize.

During my Mom’s surgery they discovered cancer cells & she was diagnosed with Stage 3c Ovarian Cancer. Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer among American women and the fifth leading cause of cancer death. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates 20,180 women will be diagnosed with the cancer. About 15,310 will die from it.

They have removed my Mom’s ovaries and her omentum (yah I know, I never heard of it before either, google it, it’s fascinating).  She stayed in the hospital a few days and both my sisters are there with her, as well as my Pops. As soon as she heals from this surgery, she’ll need gall bladder surgery. We think they have gotten all the cancer out, but she’ll still need chemo.

This weekend we’ll be driving up there (actually starting tonight) to visit with her & see all my siblings (it’s been 6 years). It’s a long drive with two kids, so if you’d like to donate tylenol, red vines, vodka. Please hollar! kiddin’

401k basics – discussion

Posted in Real Life with tags , , on September 1, 2009 by hawksrock

For the record I am not a licensed investments professional, I have in the past taken some investment classes, and mostly I have just managed my own investments closely over time. I thought that this discussion that Jell and I had around her 401k contribution might be helpful to somebody out there who is just getting started with a 401k, and since I didn’t have to do anything but copy/paste here is the information. If you have other advice/considerations when looking at your own 401k feel free to leave a comment with more helpful advice.  Obviously this is tailored to her funds specifically, but it was a pretty general discussion over all.

HawksRock: the things across the top that you want to look at are the returns: They are shown as a %.
HawksRock: now the issue you have is that we have just come through a terrible 3 year period, so it makes them harder to look at.
HawksRock: so the first column is how well the stocks have done YTD this year, and then you see over the last 1 year, 3-year, etc time frame
HawksRock: I personally really like to look at the Inception Date and then the since inception performance.
HawksRock: are you with me so far?
JellyBean: yes
JellyBean: affilated fund, the 1st one…
HawksRock: okay, the next most important thing you can get off this sheet is the Exp. Gross
JellyBean: since 1934?
HawksRock: yeah!
HawksRock: I like that one.
JellyBean: and in come fund since 1932
JellyBean: income*
HawksRock: the Exp. Gross – stands for the Expense Gross. There are certain fees associated with trading stocks as well as a management fee that the mutual fund charges you for their managing of the funds.
HawksRock: This is expressed as a %, so basically any of the return numbers that are shown you basically just subtract the Expense Gross from the return number to figure out how much you would have actually made.
HawksRock: In other words sometimes you will see a fund that is getting 15% return, but they have a 5% Expense Gross so you are actually only getting a 10% return.
JellyBean: k
HawksRock: okay, so that is the basic info that is important on this sheet.
HawksRock: All of your money was going into the USG & GSE Money market fund
HawksRock: which you can see has the absolute lowest % return.
HawksRock: the thing is though that it will never go negative.
HawksRock: it will just sit there for all time. lol
JellyBean: i think thats what my county one was at
JellyBean: when i worked for the da
JellyBean: cause it never grew
HawksRock: honestly most money market accounts do better than this one, normally more in the 3-5% range
HawksRock: but iunno… regardless you don’t wanna be in that.
HawksRock: so you are with me so far right?
JellyBean: yes
HawksRock: okay, typically there is a basic relationship between risk and return. The higher the risk of losing money, the higher the potential for return has to be.
HawksRock: The money market is the absolute lowest risk – you can’t ever lose any of that money, and therefore it offers the lowest return.
HawksRock: The next lowest risk option is government backed bonds – which are what mostly make up the Income Fund and the Bond Debenture Fund.
HawksRock: The one time though that bonds will make huge returns is when the stock market goes into the crapper.
HawksRock: People will sell off their stocks, and put all that money into government bonds when the stock market is in freefall, because typically you can make 5-7% return in bonds, and when stocks are crashing that is a much better return than losing a bunch of money.
HawksRock: So if you look at the recent returns on those bonds they have been pretty good, but over the long haul they aren’t all that high.
HawksRock: especially when you net out the 1% in expenses.
HawksRock: you still with me?
JellyBean: yes
HawksRock: so to me, with you being a longer term investor, and knowing that I expect stocks to go up over the next 20 years, and us to rebound from this economy, I didn’t want to put any of your money in either the Bond Debenture Fund, Income Fund, or Money Market.
HawksRock: so that leaves us with the remaining stock funds to pick from.
HawksRock: Now I will show you how you can look at those remaining funds.
JellyBean: kk
HawksRock: There are basically a couple of ways you want to balance your portfolio.
HawksRock: 1) You have to decide how much you want in the US vs how much international exposure.
HawksRock: 2) You have to decide between Large, Mid, and Small Cap stock.
HawksRock: 3) You have to decide between growth and value.
HawksRock: okay, so those are the three things we are going to go through.
HawksRock: am I boring you to death? lol
JellyBean: um no?
JellyBean: your enthusiasm is so contagious
HawksRock: it is just hard to gauge how much you want to know… like how much is too much from here. lol
HawksRock: anyways… let’s look at the first one #1
JellyBean: Chestnut
You should take some time to have Hawks help you understand it JB. The decisions you make are important.
JellyBean: and thats why i’m here
HawksRock: your here because Chestnut told you so?
JellyBean: ok looking… Affillated?
JellyBean: noooo, because its important
JellyBean: and i do trust you to handle it but what if something happens and you’re not available for me to ask?
HawksRock: alrighty then… better answer.
HawksRock: So I am not really looking at the specific mutual funds yet, I am just talking high level.
HawksRock: For the decision on Domestic verses International, it really becomes a bit of personal preference. Stocks are still a little bit like gambling.
HawksRock: For me personally, with my experience of working in International, and seeing what is going on in China and Latin America, I personally feel that the growth opportunity is better for so called “emerging markets” than it is for domestic. I have a lot of reasons for that which I can bore you with another time, but let’s just say it is a bias at this point.
JellyBean: lol ok
HawksRock: So the first thing I did was go look at what International offerings they give for your portfolio. Unfortunately they only have one option: International Core Equity Fund
HawksRock: If you have that mutual fund page up you can click the link on that fund.
JellyBean: i’m lost
HawksRock: hang on just a sec
HawksRock: click the actual name International Core Equity Fund
HawksRock: to bring up the detail on just that fund
JellyBean: ok
HawksRock: okay, so when looking at an international fund, you wanna know where they are invested at
HawksRock: so click on the link that says: Fact Sheet under Fund Documents
JellyBean: k
HawksRock: that will pull up a pdf file
HawksRock: all international funds should have a fact sheet that shows you how they are allocated by part of the world.
HawksRock: do you see the little pie chart
HawksRock: under Region Breakout
JellyBean: yes
HawksRock: okay, well for me I am very big on Asia and Latin America as being the growth behind the emerging markets.
HawksRock: But you can see from this pie chart that Europe and the UK make up over 50%
JellyBean: right
HawksRock: in fact the Pacific Ex-Japan makes up only 14% and that is probably mostly in Japan
HawksRock: so basically these guys are going after the bigger economies in international rather than emerging markets.
HawksRock: in my opinion the only ones likely to do worse than the US in the recovery is freaking Europe. lol
HawksRock: but regardless this is your ONLY option for international, so I think you hafta put some of your portfolio there.
JellyBean: yuh
HawksRock: so anyways, I debated with how much to put in this sucker, but I ended up with 30% which means that 70% of your portfolio will be based on domestic stocks.
JellyBean: kk
HawksRock: For my own personal portfolio, I am at 50% international, but that is heavily weighted towards asia.
HawksRock: I am not as comfy putting it into Europe.
HawksRock: but as yours grows over time, I guess you will be balancing me out.
HawksRock: 2) You have to decide between Large, Mid, and Small Cap stock.
HawksRock: 3) You have to decide between growth and value.
HawksRock: #2 and #3 kinda go together
HawksRock: you have to consider both when thinking about where to put your money.
JellyBean: kk
HawksRock: Because there are small cap value and small cap growth, mid cap value and mid cap growth, etc
HawksRock: Simplistically value means it is a company that is well established, and the managers think that it is undervalued compared to its purchase price.
HawksRock: Growth means it is has a lot of upside potential that hasn’t been realized yet.
HawksRock: A lot of tech stocks, and pharmaceutical stocks are often lumped into the growth category based on something they are building which people think might be revolutionary.
JellyBean: k
HawksRock: that is often why they are valued really high in relation to how much money they actually make.
HawksRock: people think they are going to make a lot more money in the future – hence the word Growth.
HawksRock: but it is a little bit of a hope and a prayer picking which ones are going to take off.
HawksRock: so Growth is typically seen as more risky than Value – which means the returns that are required are higher.
JellyBean: so out of the 4
JellyBean: 3 are risky?
JellyBean: lol
JellyBean: all 4?
HawksRock: Small cap – just means it is a smaller company, mid cap – is a middle sized company, and large cap – is a larged sized company
HawksRock: well once you move out of money markets and bonds technically everything is risky.
HawksRock: it is just a measure of how risky
JellyBean: k
HawksRock: just ask all the people who lost 50% of their retirment over the last few years, how risky it is.
HawksRock: they do jump around, but over a long time frame it will come back and grow beyond.
HawksRock: as long as I don’t need that money until retirement, no issue at all. But if it looks like you have to draw it out anytime soon, then that would be bad.
JellyBean: yuh
HawksRock: the best sich is when you are in your position, and making regular contributions to your 401k, then as stocks drop in price you are still buying em, so even though you are losing money, you know you are buying em at a better deal.
JellyBean: ah
HawksRock: small caps are seen to be a lil more risky than mid caps which are a lil more risky than large caps.
HawksRock: I mean everything has gotten pounded, but obviously if you are a huge company like microsoft you can probably weather the storm better than a tiny company which might go under.
HawksRock: So at this point we have already put 30% in International so we have 70% left to allocated.
HawksRock: I will tell you that I started with that top fund, the affiliated one, and I really liked the fact that it had been around since 1934 and had provided a 10% return – net of fees.
HawksRock: so I put 25% there… which now left 45% to be allocated.
HawksRock: I have a bit of bias again towards steering you towards a more aggressive portfolio, than less aggressive, so I wanted to put money into small cap and mid cap over large cap.
JellyBean: ah ok
HawksRock: unfortunately there is not a small or mid cap growth option, they only offer a value option, but I still think you are better off being in small and mid cap.
HawksRock: I personally didn’t like the Stock Appreciation fund because any fund that has been around for 10 years and ran negative 9% return wasn’t too appealing to me. lol
JellyBean: yuh
HawksRock: I know it has been tough, but I kinda feel like they coulda managed the downside a lil better.
HawksRock: the fundamental equity and the capital structure fund are both predominantly large caps… so I stuck with the mid and small over them.
HawksRock: Another personal bias I have is that I don’t like to have my stuff scattered across a million mutual funds.
HawksRock: I typically keep to like 4 or maybe 5 options at the most.
HawksRock: It seems silly to split it so thin, that you end up only have a few hundred dollars in something.
JellyBean: should i have my money scattered more?
HawksRock: More than the 4 I picked?
JellyBean: yuh
HawksRock: That is up to you, and it depends on how well you thinked you picked em.
HawksRock: If you knew which one was going to do the best, you would put 100% in that one.
HawksRock: I am not THAT confident… lol
JellyBean: lol
HawksRock: but I do think that we picked pretty well for a longer term vision. If you wanted to pull back on something you could and throw a little bit into one of the large cap options.
JellyBean: well i think you did fine
JellyBean: and i’m really lucky to have u cause you’re like really big smart
HawksRock: my gut says the small and mid will do better over the long haul… which is why I didn’t, but it is still just an educated guess.
HawksRock: haha
HawksRock: i have just been around this stuff for a lot of my life.

On a serious note…

Posted in Real Life with tags , , , on August 25, 2009 by ♥JellyBean♥

I mentioned on plurk a couple weeks ago that my Mom is having health issues. They found a growth on each of her ovaries and also found she had gall stones. Now the gall stones could potentially be serious but not nearly as serious as the growths if left untreated. One of my sisters flew out there last week to be there with my Mom for tests & the surgery consultation. My oldest sister was on stand-by to fly out for the actual surgery. They originally thought the growths were approximately the size of a golf ball or even as big as a cantaloupe.

After today’s consultation & looking over the tests, scans & results, they have determined that one of the growths is more likely the size of a ripe watermelon. They’ve scheduled her surgery for tomorrow. I can’t be there for the surgery but I’m glad to know my sisters will be.

My birthday is on September 20th and Hawks has decided that the best gift he can give me is a 13 hour trip to my Mom’s. Is there any questions on why I love this man? I will be there Labor Day weekend to help as much as I can while she is recovering along side my older sister & possibly my brother.

I wrote this post because I felt I needed to talk about it. My Mom & I are very close & have only gotten closer over the past 2 years. I’m not ready to lose her so please keep her in your prayers tonight that her surgery is easy peasy & she recovers quickly & without complications. Thanks