Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mama Bean's Rules of Trick or Treating

I am a candy nazi.

If you're going to trick or treat at my house, you had better be able to earn your candy.

Now before you get all judgmental on me, we just finished serving at least 800 trick or treaters.

Yes, you read that right. 

800.

I know this because we bought 800 pieces of candy.  Our friend even gave us some of the extra candy she had.  It's all gone.

Our neighborhood is nuts.  The street behind us shuts down and half the people have fully decorated haunted houses.  One neighbor hands out beer.

It is shoulder to shoulder.

It's crazy.

The past few years have gotten out of control, in fact. People from all over come into our neighborhood with their greedy little hands digging into my candy bowl.  My husband teased me about how my liberal tendencies don't translate to candy disbursements.  You need the shirt off my back, take it.  You want my candy, you need to work for it.

If you are under 12, live in my neighborhood, and know my name (I'm at the school quite a bit and let's face it, Mrs. Bean is easy to remember),  you get candy.  You can even pick out the candy you want.  That Reese's peanut butter cup-- it's yours if you want it.

If you do not meet the above criteria, there are hoops to jump though...

You must be in costume.  Especially if you're a teenager.  I will give candy to teenagers if they are in costume.  Put a little effort into it.  A t-shirt and backpack are NOT a costume.  A little face paint, a polite trick or treat- you'll pass.  But no costume?  No candy.

You have to smile, say "Trick or Treat"" and say "Thank you"- non-negotiable.  You stick your greedy little hand right in the bowl and I will snap it away and say "Excuse me?"  Manners count.

No adults get candy.  Ever.  Pimping your infant is not candy worthy.  Now if I know you and you're showing off your baby, that's one thing.  If I have no clue who you are, no dice.  Go on to the next house.  And your baby needs to be home in bed. My Laffy Taffy could kill your baby. Go home, candy whore.

Don't make quality assessments on my candy.  I'm sorry the M&Ms aren't the kind you like.  The 7-11 at the corner sells whatever you want.  Give them a shot.

Don't swear in my driveway.  F**k might be a common word in your house, but we don't think it's appropriate for kids.  To the people with the beer cooler, who were very concerned about the f**king children after the very nice grandma honked her horn so they would move out of the center of the road, we appreciate the concern, but could you go to your f**king neighborhood next time?  And use the f**king sidewalks.  And shut the f**k up.  You didn't need to throw a beer at the woman's car in your effort to protect the f**king kids.  Douchebags.

Take one piece.  There are a boatload of people around you.  It's free.  One is more than nothing which is what you're getting if you don't put that second piece back.

Have fun.  It's a great holiday.  You get to dress up.  You can play.  You get to eat candy.  It's a blast.  Don't scream at each other.  Enjoy it.


Next year, I'm considering putting a placard out front explaining these rules.

And I'm hoping the drunk posses doesn't knock it the f**k over.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stupid Sh*t My Husband and I Do to Keep Laughing

Last year I wrote a blog with marriage tips on my anniversary.

I hope they all were useful to everyone.  As always, I like to reiterate not dating others.  Every year another friend's marriage falls apart because they are unclear on this.

This year, now that I have an entire 11 years of marriage under my belt- which I think is 234 in Hollywood years, I thought I would take a different twist-- how on earth do you keep laughing?  Because all those deep, intimate moments get really boring after 11 years. 

I like to laugh.  A lot.  Loudly.  Often.  I think life should be enjoyed in its entirety.

Fortunately, my husband is very funny.

And we are very funny together.

At least to us.

Some of the funny things we like to do is send each other ridiculous text messages throughout the day.  We often ask each other if we're naked.... here's a "normal" exchange..

"Hey there sexy"

"Hey"

"Whassup?"

"The sky lol."

"Naked?"

"Of course.  My next client will be thirled..."

"I mean thrilled.. I hate autocorrupt"

"Correct"

"?"

"Whatever."

"RU picking up the kids?"

See-- sexy, fun and efficient.  That's us.

We like to make everything into a sexual innuendo.

Everything.  Our kids don't quite get it yet.  By next year, our son will be vomiting.

"Hey....' (do you see a pattern)

"Hey there...."

"Do you want some butter for your bread??"

"Why yes I do...."

And then we will literally put butter on our bread.

I know, it's hot.  You're jealous.

We like to watch YouTube videos.  Tonight we sat on the couch and watched a 15 minute video of game show responses.  And we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Yep.  We live LARGE.

We like to reenact our first kiss.  Our first kiss was leaning against my car, in front of his house.  He went in for the sweet kiss on the cheek.  I went for the full, open mouth Frencher.  I ended up licking his ear.

Not my coolest moment.  It also was a huge "I'M EASY!!" sign.

So for fun sometimes, we make cow eyes at each other and I lick his ear and he the proceeds to hump my leg.

If you see us in this bizarre position, that's what's going on.

Because why not?

We also like to sit in restaurants and make up back stories for people.  We noticed that some people sit there at dinner in restaurants and never speak to each other.  We will mimic them.  Or mock them from afar. We also try to identify first dates that are going badly.  Hee hee...

For the debates, I did voiceovers to a point I think my husband was ready to slap me. And not in a good way.

At the second debate, when Jeremy the college student asked the candidates if he would get a job in 2 years, I mocked poor nerdy Jeremy...

"Jeremy... have you ever been with a woman?"  (Caddyshack reference)

"Jeremy... tell me more about the showers at your university..."

"Jeremy.... when you're alone do you have dirty thoughts...."

Or those lines that go up and down.... I suggested that when the red (male) line spiked it was because a candidate had said "BOOBIES!!"in a pitch only audible to men.

And of course, if you're a reader, you know we've spent a lot of time screwing with pollsters.

I also do voiceovers with the kids shows.  Bob the Builder is a dirty, dirty boy.

There are the vicious games of Words With Friends and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

We are very disturbed.

But this entertains us.

My husband also likes to scare the crap out of the kids.  He's not small, so when he jumps out of the pantry and freaks out one of the kids, I die laughing.

We also fart in the car and open the opposite window so it sucks across the car.

Told you we were disturbed.

But if in this era where marriages are disposable, I'll do what it takes.

Even if it requires farting.

Binders, Glass Ceilings and Parenting Choices

Now don't get all irked if you're conservative before you even start reading...got it?

The second debate I did not watch live.  I was leaving the office (more on that later), turned on CNN (I love XM by the way) and tuned in.

I swear to you- and I could not make this up-- the part that I heard live (we watched it recorded, later that night)- was Romney's answer to the question on women's rights.  I did not hear the original question.  I did not hear Obama's response (more on that later).  I just heard Mr. Romney.

As the hair on the back of my neck started to stand up and I clutched the steering wheel tighter the longer he spoke, I looked up through my sunroof and said "Seriously, God?  This is the part of the debate you want me to hear?"  And then I laughed.  Out loud.  Alone in my car.

Now I told you not to tune out....  so don't...

The irony of the situation and what made it funny was that I was, in fact, rushing to meet my family for dinner.  Any other night, I would have been rushing home to make dinner.  On Tuesdays, I work late and meet them at 6:30.  But had it been any other day, that's where I would have been... in the car, listening to CNN on XM rushing home.

At 5 o'clock.

To make dinner.

Just like Mitt had said.

Which is why I was annoyed.

Oddly, I started a blog about 2 weeks ago and couldn't quite get it right.  It was called "My Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling."  It was about working in a commission driven world and electing to put my family first.  Not in theory, but in practice.  A lot of people say it, few people do it.

I work in financial services.  That's all I can say about it.  I have my own independent practice.  When I first started, in my first year, I was one of the only women in our division.  I was in the top 10 of first year advisors for my entire first year.  I won awards.  I would go to conferences and be one of the few women there.  I joked that it was great- I never had to buy a drink.  Men, at a conference, trip over themselves to buy a 26 year old woman a drink.

One of the reasons I wanted to go into a non-salaried job was I liked the control I had over my own destiny.  It was like when I waitressed-- the harder I worked, the more I made.  Someone else in the same position could make nothing.  I thrive in that environment. It's unlimited.

Anyhow, about 2 weeks ago I was working on my business plan for 2013-  I was forced to accept a realization about my practice-- I could not do it all.  I had to be happy with where I was at and let the conferences go.  I had the Daisy troop now in lieu of trips to Hawaii.  And for the first time in 10 years, I really and truly let it go. For the first time I felt genuinely grateful that I had the opportunity to continue to work in a field that I am passionate about (I love what I do professionally) and not at the expense of my family.  I rarely miss dinners.  When I do, it's a big thing- to me and to my family.  I don't let things slip at the office because I don't take on more than I can handle.  It limits me to some degree, but I am comforted by the fact that I am doing the right thing for me. That's when I started the first blog.

I had had a few jobs before settling into my career.  My first corporate job out of college was for a very large beverage company.  I was put into their exclusive management training program.  The amount of women and minorities that they hired into this program was impressive.  It also was not remotely representative of the applicant pool nor the company.  When I left after 6 weeks, the VP of Diversity asked me why-- they company was really trying hard to promote "out of box thinkers" like me.  I very honestly said "When I look up, I see no one like me looking back down."  He said he understood.  He also said their program was designed to fix that.  So I countered with "But doesn't it bother you that you're the only black guy sitting at the executive table?"  He said of course it did, but he wanted to make a difference (I should also point out that this gentleman was a fantastic leader and extremely patient with a sassy 23 year old).  I said "Well good for you- I don't want to break glass ceilings.  I just want to work somewhere where there's no ceiling to break."

So I moved to Vegas.  Surprisingly, Nevada is a pretty darn good place for women business owners.  I think it's the pioneer spirit.

I stumbled into my largely male dominated field.  I have my own practice.  I spent the early part of my career listening to sports analogies given by men who couldn't throw a ball if they were given professional lessons.  I got called honey.  Sweetie.  But here's the thing-- when you work on commission, it doesn't really matter.  I set my hours.  I set my pace.  I was taking the world by storm.

And then I got married and had kids.

And then I scaled back.  Big time.

I honestly didn't mean to.  What happened was that my mother-in-law retired when I was pregnant and she offered to watch our son while I worked.  Because I didn't want to abuse that, I told her 2 days a week.  You can't find a good nanny for 3 days.  I also couldn't imagine putting a newborn in daycare.  Plus, once I had my son I realized that he slept a lot and I could get a lot done at home while he slept.  In fact, I got MORE done at home than I would have screwing around at the office.  (and eventually my MIL watched the kids 4 days as the market crashed)

So began my hybrid life of being a mom and maintaining my career.

And it was my choice.  And it worked.

And you know where I got the most crap?  Not from my broker-dealer- from the playground mommies.  My favorite lines:  "Oh, you work? I put my family first."  "Your kids really like your husband... that's so sweet...my kids only want me..." (said in a very judgmental way).

But here's why the hair was standing up on the back of my neck as I listened to Mr. Romney talk about what a great job he did hiring women... and it's not specific to him because I honestly do not think he meant it to be offensive (which sadly is what made it so upsetting).  Just like my first employer thought they were doing me a favor by offering me the opportunity to change the world (I just wanted a job, not a mission), he thought he was doing a favor by expecting less of women- less hours, etc.  We needed to be accommodated as if being female was a disability.  And again, this is not the first time I heard something like this.

While I was leaving to be with my family that night, my business partner who does not have children, works until 8-9 pm every night. She does not need to be accommodated to make sure she's home in time for dinner.  Her husband is a chef.

Our family dinner time is invaluable to us.  FAMILY dinner.  That includes my husband.  He doesn't want to work until 9 pm either. Because if family values are stinking important it should mean the entire family.  Family values do not mean that the mother does everything.  What on earth makes Mr. Romney think that it was okay for all those men, all those years to miss dinner?

But I have to say the whole binder thing really upset me.  How can someone be in business for 30 years and not know any qualified women for positions?  This isn't 1972.  Or even 1985.  It was 10 years ago.  We are half the population.  He wasn't looking for a transgender, Asian, disabled veteran who spoke Swahili.  Women.  We're everywhere.  And if you don't find what he said offensive, insert "African American" ever time he says women.  "You need to have a flexible workforce if you have African Americans" "I had a binder of African Americans" that would have been a HUGE issue.  But as women we just say he misspoke.  AHHHH.

Have we not even come that far?  And by the way, MANY companies and government entities use committees to identify female and minority candidates- so my disgust isn't limited to Mr. Romney.  It was standard disgust at the whole issue. That it is STILL an issue.

And the president-- well, in his administration, women make a little less.  Thanks for the Ledbetter Act.  Sigh.

I have an amazing husband.  And while I may rush home every night to make dinner I come home to a clean house- that's his area.  He picks up the kids every day.  He can't stay late for extra meetings at his school like I can't stay for late night client meetings.

We are a team.  The Bean Team, in fact.  Our family comes first.

And yet this 1952 concept of family perplexes me.

I have many friends- male and female- who stay home with their children.  I have a lot of male friends who are incredibly engaged with their children.  They don't want to work 90 hours a week any more than a woman would.

My husband genuinely misses our kids when he returns to school in the fall- he looks forward to the time he gets with them.  They have their own after school routine.  He is not some guy in a suit who drops in to give them a kiss after they're in bed and then goes back downstairs to eat a reheated dinner in front of SportsCenter.

Because that is not a family.  That is a group of people who live together.

Employers need to accommodate fathers as well as mothers.  In fact, employers need to stop acting like they are doing you a favor by paying you.

As parents, we need to rest assured that we are doing the right thing.  My clients will miss me if I died but my family's life would be changed forever.

The workplace has changed- it changed a long time ago.  Flexibility is important to everyone- not just women.

Women are just as unique as men.  Not every woman is a mom.  Not every man is a workaholic.

Can we please just put these stupid stereotypes to rest once and for all?



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Having Fun with Pollsters

If you are fortunate enough like I am to live in a swing state, you get the pleasure of not only watching, non-stop anti-everything commercials telling you how the other guy (and occasional gal) is a crack smoking, cheating, lying thief you also get the pleasure of non-stop phone calls.

There are the automated phone calls.  Really Mitt? You're calling us?  Let me get my butler...  And Mr. President?  Call back after dinner and homework, please.

There are the poor college interns.  "Yes, Mrs. Bean, we noticed that you contributed during the last election...."  Those poor kids get an earful on the Dodd-Frank Act that doesn't allow me to make any contributions over $100, and those $5 ones need approval, too.  ...Yes, that's right...  Yes, I think it's unconstitutional as well, but it is the law...No, I'm not kidding... poor kids.  They are sad that they called.

There are the poll takers.  Now this one, very recently, as of today, has become a fun one.

I started to lie.

I give them the wrong issues.  I give them the candidate that I'm not voting for.

It makes me giggle.  My answers would make the unibomber proud.  I am probably on a watchlist now.  If I wasn't already.

But aren't I messing with the political process?

Nope.  Not at all.

In fact, I am on a personal quest to REALLY mess with them.

PAC (political action committees) typically pay for these polls.

PACs are typically very rich men (and the occasional woman) who call themselves something patriotic and pose as a large group of people. With the recent Supreme Court ruling, this is actually okay.

I think it's bullshit.

I don't think 12 people should be able to buy an election.

So if I screw up their polls, fantastic.  Let them think they are ahead in states when they aren't.  They are screwing with me.  They are pretending to care when in reality, they are pushing their own agendas.

Again, bullshit.

And I also think it's really sad that only a few states actually count in this election.  We went to Utah last month and saw ONE ad.  ONE.  Because if you live in UT, your vote is apparently already decided and you don't need to learn anything else about other candidates.  They have given up.

It's become a gaming strategy.

Shouldn't elections be about informing people about actual facts and data?

So if they won't give me the facts and data (well, without digging), I am protesting by not doing the same.

You mess with me and my family, I mess with you.

I know who I'm voting for.  I have for a long time.  I went to websites. I read the candidates' positions on things.  For local elections, because I am fairly involved in politics, I actually know many of the candidates.  I STRONGLY encourage people to meet the candidates before they vote.  Someone that you think is evil, probably isn't.  Someone that you think is the messiah, probably isn't either.  You can tell sincerity.  You can tell the manchurian candidates.  It's worth the effort.

But in the interim, rather than be annoyed with the calls, we have started jumping at the phone.  My husband was sad that the last pollster didn't get to him- the call disconnected

It's fun when it's a group that we're affiliated with and our answers don't match our demographic- you can hear the paper shuffling in the background.  Telling the DNC that we're voting for Romney or the RNC that we're voting for Obama... awesome.  You get to answer even MORE questions-- and they are leading questions, to... "Would you really vote for a candidate that supports child pornography?"  Seriously?

The fun thing about our family is that we're not easy to pigeon hole.  We are very liberal on certain issues.  We are very conservative on others.  I own a business and work in finance.  My husband is a teacher in a union.  We are gun owners.  We have children.  We have graduate degrees.  We have blue collar backgrounds.  We garden.  We hunt. 

This means we're on EVERYONE'S list.

And depending on whose turn it is to answer, we may be total extremists- on either side of the coin.

And let me tell you, it's been fun.

I encourage all of you to join me in helping manipulate the polls.  Let's force the candidates to tell us the truth and quit making it a game.

It's not a game.  It's not chess.  It's our future.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Douchebags, Dillweeds, and Political Arguments on Facebook

Last night my husband asked me how much someone could gift to another person without incurring a tax.

Considering my profession (I'm a financial planner), I've had this question before.

I also was very surprised that my husband, who is a teacher, asked me this.

I explained the gift tax laws, the pending sunset, to him.  I will not explain it here because that would require 35 attorneys to review it before I published.

So then I asked him the expected question- why was he interested in this odd piece of information?

Apparently, some right wing nut job (if you're Republican, don't tune out yet....) made some comments on a thread in Facebook.  It's someone that my husband went to high school with and hasn't seen or thought of in 20 years.  But Facebook brought them back together.

ANYHOW, this guy posted something that is a very frequent misunderstanding on gifting.  My husband posted what I said.

Then the douchebag wrote "Well, I'm sure you trust your wife, but my wife said something different and I trust her."  His wife is a secretary in a real estate office.  I used to teach Estate & Gift Tax Planning at the college level.

Hmmm.... who would YOU trust?

So now I'm annoyed.  I'm insulted and I'm not even part of the conversation because FINRA has very strict rules about what I can say online.  I think it's a great policy except it then allows the douchebags and dillweeds to continue to spread bad information.  It's like going to a gun fight with a water gun.

So, because I'm not friends with Mr. Douchebag and I am not allowed to say anything related to my profession, I send my husband the IRS link to the gifting and estate tax tables.

The IR freaking S.

Not MSNBC.  Not MoveOn.Org.

The Internal Revenue Services publication that gives examples, lists the rates and even has the actual tax form.

You know, the facts.

And then the guy wrote "Well, I'm still not voting for Hussein."

Seriously.

So here's my issue- I have many friends that are Republicans.  We often have healthy debates on federal vs. state funding, business issues, etc., etc.  Not one of them, when shown the ACTUAL TAX RATES would continue to argue that they "knew" more than the IRS.  Or their wife did.  Because someone told her that at work.

And here's the funny part....

It wasn't a discussion on if gift taxes or estate tax laws are relevant, useful, etc.  IT WAS A DISCUSSION ON WHAT THEY ARE.

Something that is, to be honest, quite easily determined.

BY THE IRS.

And this guy's go to place is that the president has a non-WASPy middle name?  That's his defense for not understanding a very complex system that quite honestly, 99% of people don't?  Nonny, nonny poppyhead.

I don't get it.

What happened to real debate in this country?  On real issues?  Discussions on policies rather than arguing that every piece of data is some liberal or conservative conspiracy to undermine the goodness of America?

My international friends are shocked at how American politics has gotten so, well, quite honestly- stupid.

Whether it's the Bureau of Labor Statistics "fixing" unemployment numbers- you can actually go to the website and they will explain in normal language how it's calculated or arguing tax rates-  easily found on the IRS website- why is time being spent on that crap rather than the bigger issues- what to DO about unemployment and tax rates?

But how can you even have that conversation when the person you are trying to discuss it with won't believe any actual facts. 

I know statistics can easily be manipulated but tax charts and the actual tax law? 

Have we lost our mind so much that we can't even accept facts?

Some other dillweed talked about how GM was still going broke and hadn't paid back any money.... so I put a link to an actual report on it as well as their annual report because, well, it's not even close to true (they've paid back half the money and regained their position as the world's largest automaker).  The argument wasn't if the bail-out was a good idea, the argument was on facts.  GM reorganized.  This information is easily accessible and available.

I'm not even that especially liberal, but clearly, according to many, I have been brainwashed by the liberal media...

You know....

The Bureau of Labor Statistics
The IRS
General Motors third party accounting annual report

I am stunned.

Am I the only person who actually looks up stuff before I post it?  When did people stop doing research and solely rely on sound bites?

So here's my closing thoughts--

Don't bite when some dillweed starts spewing.  Hide them.  Delete them.  Ignore them.  You can't have a rational argument.

And do some research before you vote.  If your sources are MoveON.org or Cross Roads, get better sources.  Check their footers and read the actual reports.

And if that's too much hassle for you, do me a favor-

Don't vote.

(and as a side note, Mr. Douchebag just now said "Well you should see how Obamacare is going to change it."  Sigh.  I read that one, too.  The Affordable Health Care Act legislation is available online, if you're interested in reading it.  But again, I'm not allowed to comment.  So please, just go ahead and read it for yourself.)