Category Archives: citizens

All of These Things Are Not Like The Others

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.
Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

I didn’t have a specific post planned for today, or if I did, I’ve forgotten what it was. But there I was, doing a quick search for dress clips on Etsy this morning, and it seems a lesson is in order:

Dress clips are not shoe clips are not clip-on earrings. They are not interchangeable. I have personally attempted to use clip-on earrings as shoe clips, and they hurt because they’re too dimensional. I wouldn’t dare use dress clips on my ears, because that’s akin to clipping an iron maiden onto your earlobes. Neither shoe clips nor earrings have the strength required to gather and restrain fabric like dress clips.

Below: some visuals of properly described items currently listed on Etsy, so that you can see what you’re looking for. (Clicking on any photo will take you directly to the matching Etsy listing, if you’d like to see prices and more info.)

Dress Clips
Grandma, what big teeth you have!

1940s Vintage “Cream Corn” Bakelite Carved Dress Clips from ForGrammaAlice

Shoe Clips
See how the clip lies flat and smooth, and isn’t hinged? A hinge would dig right into the top of your foot. All. Day. Long.

Vintage Art Deco Shoe Clips from BakeliteBakery

 

Clip-On Earrings
Note the tensioned hinge and the somewhat curved (cushioned, as much as metal will) piece that presses against the earlobe. No teeth here!

Vintage Earrings Clip On Teardrop Shaped Bone Colored Filigree from MagpieSue

This is not to say that there are never variations on the hardware for these items, but before you buy (or sell), think about the purpose these items are being advertised for, and whether or not the hardware is up to the task.

DISCLOSURE: As you know if you’re a regular reader, I am a vendor with two vintage-themed shops on Etsy. MagpieSue (earrings) and I are both members of the Vintage Lovers and Vintage Market teams on Etsy; I otherwise have no affiliation with these particular vendors.

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Filed under citizens, fashion, jewelry, shoes, vintage

Venting: Fun with Health Insurance

Illustration from iStockPhoto

I’m self-employed. Therefore, I’m self-insured.

I’m pretty healthy, thankfully. I visit a GP once a year for a “wellness” exam, and while I should see a dermatologist every 6 months, I go less frequently than that. I’m pretty adept at avoiding colds, but landed a nasty bronchial bug last winter that included a trip to the doctor’s office for some super-strength cough medicine. My blood pressure is fine, as are my cholesterol levels and whatnot. I carry insurance as, well, insurance. Against the possibility of an Unusual and Drastic Scenario.*

When I started buying my own insurance, back in 2008, my monthly premium was $144, with a rather ridiculous $2000 deductible. Each year, the premium and deductible crept higher. The price of doing business. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was understandable. In November of this year, I noticed that my premium had skyrocketed to $246, so I called to find out what was going on. Surely, I thought, this was some clerical error.

“Ah yes, I see here that we sent you the paperwork regarding new plans, but it was returned. We must have an incorrect address for you.” Well that’s funny, seeing as how my address hasn’t changed the entire time I’ve been doing business with you. I find out that the plan I’m on is no longer “current” and my high premium is a result of being “grandfathered” in to an outdated plan. The rep will transfer me to a Plan Expert who can help me choose a new plan. The helpful Expert and I discuss a few plans, a few prices quotes, and I decide on the $157/month plan for a $4000 deductible. He emails the appropriate Plan Change Request Form, with the instruction to check one particular box, sign, date, and return. And I do, that very afternoon.

A few days later, I receive a voicemail that some information is missing from the Plan Change Request Form. I am to refer to the mailed paperwork (that I never received, if you recall) and call back with the information. I call back, only to get their own voicemail system, telling me that all Experts are in a staff meeting. I leave a message with two phone numbers at which I can be reached, and wait for a return call.

More days go by, and now I receive a letter in the mail (oh look! my address is correct!) that they “have been unable to” reach me, and the missing information is still missing. I call again, speaking this time with a very nice woman who, it turns out, is in a different department. She attempts to connect me through but…all Experts are in a staff meeting. She promises to make a personal plea on my behalf, and I leave another voicemail.

In the meantime, another billing cycle has gone by, and another $246 premium is billed.

Woo, I get a call back! Actually, three in one day. Apparently, their log system doesn’t indicate that anyone has already spoken to me. Or the helpful woman I last spoke with left personal notes on a few desks. Anyway, I explain my story to a new Expert, she explains the missing information, quotes me a slightly higher premium than the previous Expert, and sends me to a web page for more information. The web page spits back at me the same $157 quote as the first Expert, so I fill out the confounded missing information, and return the form. Again. All is well, right?

Today, I received an email with the official “offer” for my new plan. This time, for an outrageous $315.50 per month. There’s something on the documentation about a claim processed for cervicalgia, which seems to be the culprit behind the price hike. Once again, I call.

I explain that I’ve been trying to change my plan since late November. I have lost all patience. I explain that I don’t have cervicalgia, I don’t know what cervicalgia is, and will they please re-review the documents and get. this. straightened. out. Well, they tell me, cervicalgia is quite serious, and it’s right there on my medical records that I was seen for it back in July. July? Why yes, I did see a doctor in July. I pulled a muscle and Advil wasn’t doing the trick. The folks in the office where I was working were very concerned, and had me in a panic with their horror stories of spinal injuries. I saw a doctor, who told me it was nothing serious; to apply heat, rest, and to take a prescribed muscle relaxer for a few days. I don’t think I took it for more than a night or two. “It sounds like it’s probably a coding error,” the insurance people say. I’ll need to request a copy of my medical records from my doctor, and send them in along with my own statement of what took place, and wait for re-evaluation.

Jiminy Christmas!

I call the Records department at my doctor’s office. I get a recording. It suggests I try another phone number, which I do. I get a recording. I look up “cervicalgia” and find out it’s medicalese for “neck pain.” Nothing drastic or serious about it. WebMD doesn’t even bother with a listing for it, and Wikipedia says that 2/3 of adults have it. My insurance company, however, is deeming it serious enough to warrant doubling my insurance premium, so I know that I’m going to need to speak with my doctor one-on-one.

I call the main desk at the doctor’s office, and get a recording. This time, I eventually am transferred to a human being. She tells me that the staff is at lunch, and doesn’t accept messages. I have to call back after 2pm.

::head desk:: ::head desk:: ::head desk::

_____________________________

*Back  in 2003, I was on the receiving end of a nasty car accident. My medical bills were in the thousands, and while the other person’s insurance eventually covered it, they legally have three years to pay out. If my own employer-subsidized health insurance hadn’t covered me in the interim, I’d have been financially destroyed in no time at all.

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Filed under citizens, doctors and dentists, pet peeves

Girls with Glasses

Carrie over at This Mama Makes Stuff has a bit of a problem. Well, her daughter does. Okay, her daughter THINKS she does. And that’s almost as bad as ACTUALLY having a problem. You see, this little girl is about to get her first pair of glasses, and the excitement of being able to SEE doesn’t outweigh the dread of being the ONLY GIRL in her class who has to wear hideous, horrible, face-deforming GLASSES. Carrie has put out a request for photos of Girls in their Glasses so that her daughter can see that she is in the company of some pretty cool ladies. Me? I’m actually pretty much a dork. But sometimes I can look kinda cool. So here goes: Four phone-taken self portraits, though various years, various bang-lengths, and various states of makeup or lack thereof, always the same smirk:

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Filed under citizens, fashion, vintage

Memorial Day

Cpl. Harry Sisserman, b. 1918. Enlisted 1942. KIA 1944/5

From Wikipedia: Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I. […] A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. local time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries. […] The National Memorial Day Concert takes place on the west lawn of the United States Capitol. The concert is broadcast on PBS and NPR. Music is performed, and respect is paid to the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

From Twitter: Happy Memorial Day!

Um… “happy” memorial? Look, it’s not that I don’t want everyone, in general, to be happy. And I don’t expect anyone to spend the day in mourning. Have your cookouts, enjoy the company of your friends, do what you will. But please, don’t forget that your 3-day weekend is quite a bit more than the unofficial start of summer. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of the many men and women who have died while serving. Honor their families. Appreciate that you live in a country which doesn’t require mandatory service. Then fish a cold drink out of that ice-filled bucket in the back yard, crack it open, and tip your head in a silent toast.

Say “thank you.”

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Filed under citizens, for doing the right thing., holidays

Look for the Union Label

Rest assured, every item for sale in the Tiddleywink shop has been researched as fully as possible before being listed. Of course, some items have no manufacturer tags, so it’s up to me to do the best I can with whatever clues I have.* Is there a WPN or RN code? What is the fabric weave? I’m not beyond doing a single-thread burn test to try to identify materials. Who is the maker stamped on the zipper? Is there a PAT PEND on the clasp? What does the cut of the dress tell me? Is there a Union label?

Union labels are very helpful, because they tell me much more than that the item in question was made in the U.S.A. The artwork used on Union labels was changed a few times over the years, and the paper trail behind those graphic changes is quite thorough. There is no doubt whatsoever as to what specific range of years an item with an intact Union label dates to.

So when a seller on eBay is asking $99.99 for a swimsuit with a modern cut, but claiming that it dates to “at least from the 1960s if not the 50s or before,” I take a look at the listing to see more. Lo and behold, there’s a photo of the Union label. The Union label that was used between 1974 and 1995. And from the looks of this swimsuit, I’d put it closer to ’95 than ’74. Okay, it’s entirely possible that this seller doesn’t know about the different Union labels, so I send him-or-her a private message so that the listing can be updated with the correct information.

It’s been a couple of months, and the seller never responded to my message. In fact, the listing is still active, still with the exact same wording. Well, I’m no longer being polite about it. This vendor is consciously misleading potential buyers, and I’m outing them for it. Go ahead and visit the actual listing if you like, here, or contact the seller directly here.

*I may not always get it right, but I try very hard. If you ever see a Tiddleywink listing that you know to be incorrect, please alert me. The more information I have, the better your shopping experience will be.

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Filed under citizens, fashion, shopping, vintage

Mid-Century Sugar Dispenser

The above is a photo, hastily taken in my father’s kitchen, of my grandmother’s sugar dispenser. With full permission, my dad got it when my grandmother moved to her condo, and was no longer in the mental or physical condition required for entertaining. My grandmother had it for about as long as anyone can remember, and it is a bit of industrial design genius: you pick it up, with your index finger through the loop. With your thumb, you depress the black plastic plunger. From the spout on the opposite side, precisely one “portion” of sugar (I never measured, but probably a teaspoon) drops out and into your cup of steaming tea or coffee. It doesn’t leak. It doesn’t stick. It has never broken. It isn’t ugly. As you might imagine, every member of my immediate family (and a few less-immediate members) want to get their hands on this item. And we have looked for others. Oh, have we looked. The only mark on the item is a very clear “Suko” stamp on the bottom. We have searched etsy, we’ve searched eBay, we’ve searched Google. Nothing. Nothing even like it. And so I now ask you, Dear Readers, have you ever seen anything like this, perhaps in your grandmother’s kitchen? Preferably in your local hardware store, where they have a dusty old case of 24 sugar dispensers that they forgot they even had? WE WILL BUY THEM.

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Filed under citizens, family, nostalgia, vintage

As you inhale like a breath of fresh air

There has been a bit of a stink in some circles, because President-elect Barack Obama wants to add, as many Presidents have, “so help me God” to his swearing in today. Back in school, I refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance because of the “under God” line. I stood up and put my hand over my heart, don’t get me wrong. I am allegiant. I just didn’t dig bringing God into it. In all the years of my doing it, I don’t think anyone even noticed. I wasn’t trying to make a statement, it was simply a personal thing for me. Speaking the Pledge was my choice, and I chose not to, because that one line didn’t mesh with my personal beliefs. But if we went back to the original Pledge, before that line was added in the ’50s, and I wanted to tack on a “so help me God” at the end? I don’t have a problem with that. That’s a voluntary postscript. So you folks out there who are all “Blah blah blah, separation of Church and State, yadda yadda…” Yeah. I get you. I hear what you’re saying, and I’m on your side. Trust me. But you’re MISSING THE POINT. Mr. Obama is choosing to keep God by his side during this rather momentous occasion. If you don’t allow that, you are joining your enemies in forcing your own beliefs on someone else. So back off, would you? Thanks.

Now, on to the glee:

Today, we get a new President. TODAY, WE GET A NEW PRESIDENT!

[Q-Tip]
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) *7X*
Well, I’m gone (Go on then!)

Can I kick it? To all the people who can Quest like A Tribe does
Before this, did you really know what live was?
Comprehend to the track, for it’s why cuz
Gettin’ measures on the tip of the vibers
Rock and roll to the beat of the funk fuzz
Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug
If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug
Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug
Afrocentric living is a big shrug
A life filled with *HORN* that’s what I love
A lower plateau is what we’re above
If you diss us, we won’t even think of
Will Nipper the doggy give a big shove?
This rhythm really fits like a snug glove
Like a box of positives is a plus, love
As the Tribe flies high like a dove

[Phife Dawg]
Can I kick it? (Yes, you can!) *7X*
Well, I’m gone (Go on then!)

Can I kick it? To my Tribe that flows in layers
Right now, Phife is a poem sayer
At times, I’m a studio conveyor
Mr. Dinkins, would you please be my mayor?
You’ll be doing us a really big favor
Boy this track really has a lot of flavor
When it comes to rhythms, Quest is your savior
Follow us for the funky behavior
Make a note on the rhythm we gave ya
Feel free, drop your pants, jack your hey-ya
Do you like the garments that we wear?
I instruct you to be the obeyer
A rhythm recipe that you’ll savor
Doesn’t matter if you’re minor or major
Yes, the Tribe of the game, rhythm player
As you inhale like a breath of fresh air

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Filed under citizens, Is it safe to remove the gas masks?