Sunday, December 06, 2009

Once Upon A Life

Last year, at this time, my husband and I discovered that, we, along with many others had lost our life savings in the biggest Ponzi scheme this country has ever seen. We were certain that we had enough money to live on for the rest of our lives with plenty left over for the children. Surprise! In addition to losing all of our money, our 2 year old home had lost more than 1/2 it's value. Therefore, selling it was not an option.

One's first reaction is complete shock and then disbelief and denial. Denial is such a good place to live. I chose to live there for a couple of days. Soon, I realized, denial was not going to pay our bills. Of course, I had no idea how I was going to pay our bills. We were accustomed to living a very comfortable lifestyle with all the toys that go with it. Now, we were going to have to live on our social security checks.

How in the world would we do that? I quickly learned. Fortunately, for most of my life I've collected Lalique and Baccarat. After taking pictures of my beautiful pieces, I posted them for sale on eBay. The pity is that I hadn't learned how to sell on eBay prior to posting all these pieces of art. Unfortunately they sold for very little, however, it was more than we had coming in and the people who bought my little treasures, I believe, love them as much as I did.

Being a quick study, my learning curve for eBay didn't take as long as one would think. We were able to live from eBay sales for the first 4 months of the year. I also had beautiful jewelry. My hope had always been for the girls in my life...granddaughters, daughter in law, step daughter, adopted daughter and her daughters and my niece to inherit my jewelry.

That isn't going to happen. It was all sold! However my foresight served me well. You see, I have always believed that I didn't want to wait until I was dead for my girls to receive the jewelery I loved. So over the years I've given them various pieces of jewelry and love seeing them wear something of me. Once again, we had money to pay the bills.

We have also had the generosity of family to help us out financially. There are not enough ways to say "thank you" to the people in our life that have been so open and kind to us. Since January I have been looking for a job. We know that there are very few openings out there. However, I believed that with the years of experience I have, it wouldn't be difficult. It's not's impossible! 20+ years in my own business, doing every job, hasn't seemed to help! Searching for a position is very different today than it was in the "olden" days.

One cannot call to make an appointment. One has to email a cover letter and resume. I am convinced that if your letter and resume do not have neon lights and dancing girls, it doesn't get seen. Yet, I still send out my letters and resumes and go to every retail store in the area to apply for a job. My experience includes everything from Laboratory Technician (abnormal hematology) to public speaking...from packing and shipping boxes in my factory to selling my products at trade shows...teaching classes in customer service (one can tell I no longer teach these classes, because there is no customer service anymore) to answering phones. I've been an accountant, an assistant controller and a plain bookkeeper.

There is no job too big or too small. I will do anything and have, as long as it was legal. People say "you're overqualified". I believe I am "fully qualified". It is now a year since we realized our investments were gone! This is a tough month. I haven't run out of things to sell. It's just that my Judith Leiber and Kathrine Baumann bags aren't being auctioned for another 5 days.

If you're interested go to and do a search for Judith Leiber or Kathrine Baumann. You'll see the bags I have left. The beginning prices are great for these exquisite pieces of art. Hopefully, they will all sell for a lot of money and in January we will be able to pay some bills. Until then, I will be grateful for my health and that my husband is healthy and count my blessings.

Thanks for listening,


Pass The Mirror

How did I get here? This is a question I ask myself daily when I pass the mirror. Yesterday I was 18. This May I was did it happen overnight? I have a very vivid memory that has been with me since New Year's Eve 1949. My parents had a party at our home.

My bedroom became the coat closet for the guests. Mother or dad were in and out every few minutes early in the evening dropping off coats. With each coat was this statement, "can you believe how quickly this year has gone?" I was 5! The year didn't go took forever. The last Rosebowl parade was a million years ago.

Have you noticed when children are young and one asks their age they always use fractions. How old are you little girl/boy? I'm 4-3/4 or 5-1/2. How many people over 30 have you ever heard use a fraction when telling their age? It would never occur to us to say "I'm 32-1/2". The wonder has gone out of growing older or the need to get there more quickly.

Funny how, as we get older that changes. As a pre-teen I couldn't wait to be a teen-ager. Once I became a teen-ager I couldn't wait to finish high school and go off to college and freedom and my 21st birthday. I know I went to sleep one night when I was 18 and the next thing I knew I received a piece of mail that said "Information for Medicare"!

Medicare information. Certainly not for me. How could this have happened? When did this happen? Aren't I still a kid? Okay my children are in there 40's but whose fault is that...not mine! I blinked and all of sudden they were older than me with children of their own who call me Bubbie. All I did was blink.

I know that if I could just keep my eyelids from blinking the years would not continue to fly by. One of the worst side effects of getting older is that as we age the years go even faster. How fair is that? Just when we are starting to get it right the time goes so quickly that one barely has time to get out of bed, shower and start the day and it's time to go to sleep.

It would be wonderful if we not only could stop blinking but didn't require sleep! We would then have a full 24 hours of each day to now use all the knowledge we have spent years aquiring. So I ask again, "how did I get here"? I know, you'll answer, the same way we all do!

Of course, the good part is that we are getting older and when we wake up we are looking at the grass from this side. The other benefits are the ability to finally say what we truly think, kindly, of course. Honesty can be so gratifying. We also start feeling better about who we are. No longer do we worry about how the world sees us. We can barely see ourselves without a mirror that has a magnification of 16 x or higher. I believe this is one of God's gifts to us. If one looks in the side of the mirror that has no magnification we cannot see what time has done to our face.

On the one hand I say "don't blink"...on the other it appears that aging is not so bad. We now have license to say what we feel and to think much more highly of ourselves. If only the birthdays didn't get here so fast. Remember, life's short, eat dessert first!

Not blinking,