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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Blog for Fair Pay

Blog for Fair Pay

I’ve decided that every sibling remembers how their parents raised them as though they came from a different set of parents, so matter that their ages may be only a year or two apart. I’ve three, two sisters and a brother, and I tell you listening to our stories, you would have thought we were raised on different planets, let alone by the same two people.

Even on the issue of equality, the differences are striking. My brother, being the boy and the eldest, got a set of “you must do’s” on the grand scale, go to private schools, etc., etc., however seemed to be left alone on the day-to-day to do whatever he wanted, simply because, “oh you know, he’s the son”.  My two sisters also received a road map for their lives, much centered around the right social circles and both eventually rebelled in their different ways.

As the youngest and as a girl, I didn’t get spoiled but I did get left alone, which in my mind was just as good. I was the observer, watching the trials and tribulations of my siblings, thankful that I escaped a lot of their “must dos”, but dreaming of equality  none-the-less. Equality?? You bet, except I didn’t call it that. I called it freedom to do, for example, what my brother got to do simply because he was the son (working for above 25 cents an hour babysitting vs. $5 for his lawn mowing).

To be honest, I didn’t think again about equality in that sense until a lot later when I decided my years of reading mystery novels should help me when applying to the FBI. I wrote away for an application (no Internet in those days) and upon receipt was stunned to learn that I would not be an acceptable candidate  because I was under 5’7″! I was devastated, thinking my mind and its capabilities ought to stand for something, but no go.  In today’s language they would have called me “height challenged” I would imagine, I won’t repeat what I called it.

As I entered into the workforce, I realized time and again my male colleagues, some less able than I, often made two or three times the salary than I simply because they were men. That this form of discrimination still occurs in 2009 is what’s shocking today. I was telling a table of men and women at a conference recently of the fact that on average, women make only 78 cents to the dollar a man does, even less when you combine race with gender. A man replied, “well you all got the vote didn’t you.”  Yikes! I think he was looking for a laugh, but no one else, man or woman, even smiled.

Who knew that equality would still be an issue in the new millennium? Why is it just a dream? Although I guess one could call it a nightmare given the fact it is still prevalent not just in the United States, but throughout most of the world. What can we do? We can take action, we can spread the word, we can stop the need for Equal Pay Day. Will you?  And if you tweet, please raise your voices with us and include #fairpay and #aauw. Thanks!

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A recent article as disseminated by @welovecrowds this morning on twitter, reports on a finding by LexisNexis that there is a distinct gap between the Boomers (44 – 60) and Generation X (29-43) and Gen Y (28 and younger). I liked this article because while it reports on the findings, it also questions the analysis done. Who did they interview, a bunch of stuffy “lawyers” (love that!)? How did they come up with the finding that Gen Y spends 22.9 hours a day on social media? Guess they forgot what that age group would rather be spending 22.9 hours doing.

Per their age definition, I fit in the Boomer category. Per their findings, I fit in the Gen X with leanings toward Gen Y. I’m an inveterate multi-tasker, on my desktop at any given moment you can find Word, Excel, my organization’s web site, Yahoo, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, CNN, Google as I explore new sites and yet even Internet Explorer. In the evenings or weekends, you will also find me, if I’m at my computer at all, in at least three or four of those sites, plus others and now in Second Life too, where speaking of reports, the fastest growing demographic is 50 + (as with FaceBook).

Yes, I think there is a gap between the ages (isn’t there always), in the tech area. But I don’t think it’s as great as the study portrays. Much of the gap stems from how experienced a user is with different platforms and the obvious is the younger you are, especially since schools use so much technology these days, the more time and varied experience you have with these things. And it’s not just the laptop of course, it’s the smartphone (where I not only talk or web surf, but have at any given time at least a half a dozen books to read in case I’m stuck anywhere), it’s the MP3 device, it’s even the vacuum that moves itself (I’ve yet to get one of those, sigh).

I may be older, but my sense of exploration, whether new worlds in real life or via technology, is as keen as my niece’s who at 25 believes life without IMing would be like a pub without beer. The difference? I believe in active conversation with full attention, she believes in active conversation with one eye and two fingers on her phone. I’m getting used to it as I recognize it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t listen any less to me — well, any less than someone 25 ever listens to someone older. It’s just a different “listen” and that’s ok by me. In fact, I know that I’ve been the one she’s been exchanging e-chat with while at dinner with others, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

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Having just come back from a fascinating Digita Now Conference, I’m all hyped up about using the Internet and its tools to communicate with family, friends, colleagues, members of my Association (AAUW), and even strangers – folks whom I don’t know but whom might enjoy reading something I’ve written.

Renewed energy finds me sitting down, getting comfy, fingers at the ready and then a giant pause as I realize if I do indeed use all those new communicating tools, I’ll be at my desk for hours before tackling my as they say in Second Life, my Real Life work.

Hmmm… Posting blogs, commenting on others blogs, twittering (at least 10-12 times a day to keep/get a following), Ninging (is there such a word?!), Evernoting (brand new), PageFlakes (new to me), setting up shop as part of the nonprofit community in SecondLife, Facebook, and of course what takes most of our online lives, email. How do you manage all of these?? As a writer, as a reader, as a professional?

By the time you realize that you have just started learning about social media, and the Digital Now conference taught me that with it’s #dn09 twitter code which found me turning into a twitterfiend, you realize that you need to figure out a way to manage all of these. And that’s just you the individual. Combine it with you the professional, you realize you need to know how to get the most out of these to help promote your mission, your product, your information.

Real life you ask? The family and friend stuff, , the chores, the phone calls and emails – the office, with its own phone calls, emails, and meetings that never end no matter how much you communicate via online tools. And sleep, we’re supposed to have at least seven hours of that somewhere in any given day.

One thing no one has yet figured out? How to make 48 hours a day worth of “to do’s” fit into 24 hours and still leave you sane. Please – any hints, let me know!

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Who? Until this morning I had never heard of Susan Boyle and normally wouldn’t have paused on her story. But I happened to catch a YouTube performance of this 47 year old, “never been kissed” woman from a little village in England and it definitely made me not only pause, but smile and laugh and then left me with a heartwarming grin.  Of all things, she was a contestant on the UK version of “…Got Talent”.

Well worth the watch, turn the sound up when she gets going.

UPDATE: Since I linked to this YouTube video this morning, they have since removed all links, don’t know who “requested” it….can guess and hope Susan gets a bit of the profits. But you can still see, through this link Susan via YouTube  not the video below – go watch, listen!

Good luck to you Susan, may your 15 minutes of fame turn into something you want.

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The Sound of Music was one of the first movies I remember seeing as a kid, in a real movie theater, not on TV (The Wizard of Oz getting that credit). I remember reading years later that Julie Andrews liked to take a nip or two to keep her warm and laughed at the image that portrayed versus what she showed on screen.

I realized of course, any information told about a celebrity usually couldn’t be believed and that most actually were “Urban Legends“, stories told often enough that people came to believe them. Well, I’ve received the following story via email recently by numerous folks and couldn’t resist putting it up.  While it has the appearance of being true, I have a sense that it is indeed another Urban Legend and did some checking. Yep and apparently it has been circulated via the internet off and on for quite some time — still fun to read even if it didn’t occur:

 

To commemorate her birthday , actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan ‘s Radio City Music Hallfor the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was ‘My Favorite Things’ from the legendary movie ‘Sound Of Music’. Here are the lyrics she used: (Sing It!)


Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,

I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.
Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.
When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

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I grew up with mom spending lots of time in the various gardens she created in whatever house we were living in at the time, Army family that we were. I remember lovely smells, bright colors and her pride. I also remember weeding in the hot sun and pushing an un-motorized contraption called a lawn mower, mainly because my dad and sister had allergies and my other, older siblings were never home.

Many years have passed since those days and living in apartments or city houses, I had the luxury of either watching others do the work or didn’t have the need except to trim the occasional hedge. Now that I’m a home owner watching my third summer looming, I suspect that “gardening” is not really a term for “being one with nature”, but rather a description nurtured by companies who cultivated suburbia long ago, ensuring homeowners give up the good fight and contract with a weekly service.

I had this lightbulb “conspiracy theory” moment as I waited in an incredibly long HomeDepot line this weekend, cart filled with a small amount  (if the loads being pushed by others were any indication) of top soil, weed and feed and  two types of seeds (shade and direct sun). Getting home, I needed to recover from the shopping, so it was late morning by the time I got to the yard.

My plan? To churn up the three feet of soil around my dogwood tree in the front yard as it usually becomes mostly dirt patches with a few green weeds as the season progresses. I tried organic last year, leaving nature to do it’s work… and the only thing that I saw happen was a takeover by the few weeds, not in the dirt patches but throughout the rest of the yard. Churn I did, the goal – once around to break up the soil, once around again to mix in new top soil, seeds, another thin layer of top soil, water and be back inside to be ready for my House Manager role at the one o’clock performance of the SkyDancer Sunday matinee performance.

Well, half way round the first circle of the tree, the rake broke, the prong part just coming right off. I looked at it, at the handle in my hand, sighed, but popped it back on and went back to work. Three passes later, the rake popped off again. So every fourth action, I had to stop, put the rake back on and continue at an odd angle for maximun usage before pop-off again. At one point, I event tried one of those three-prong things you use in your hand – however even broken, the rake worked better.

Sweat pouring down, 3/4’s done, a friend came by, took pity and helped me finish. Of course, I had also miscalculated the amount of top soil needed (no wonder those folks used pallets back at HD) and “spread thinly” became about as sparse as those chocolate chips found in today’s cookies. I finally ran inside, covered in dirt, with only minutes to spare to help set folks up for the show (more on that later).

Later that afternoon, I returned to the task master called lawn, struggled with the bag of weed and seed and poured an undetermined amount into the green thing that spreads it around as you wheel it about. Of course there is some algebraic formula you are supposed to use to calculate how much gets spread at a time. I tried, but of course the bag I got didn’t match the name-brand of the spreader so, no hope. I simply guessed, started pushing and off I went. We won’t talk ab0ut that one corner I took too fast and dumped a whole pile of the stuff…

All of this effort to grow some decent grass. I don’t even need it even like the commercials, I just want it green and somewhat plentiful. Barely able to move my arms or back today, I look anxiously at the sky and hope for that rain they promised us. Another task now added. Flowers you ask? To be continued….

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–that is the question:

 

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The trials and tribulations of outrageous recipes

Or to take spatulas against this sea of confusion

And by opposing never use them. To chop, to dice–

No more–and by an abstinence to say we end

The scorching, and the thousand natural “oh no’s!”

That cooking is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To steam, to microwave–

To eat out–perchance at 4 star restaurants: ay, there’s the rub,

For in that splurge of money what food may come

When we have refused the use of the stove,

Must give us pause.

 

With apologies to Shakespeare, I couldn’t resist the above when I happened across Kalyn Denny’s blog post, “Where Do You Look When You Are Searching for Recipes Online?” Her information looked very useful, thus my linking to it here, but as a non-cook it led my mind to the even bigger dilemma- “To Cook or Not to Cook”! 

 

 Fortunately there are more and more very speedy and actually healthy items in the grocery stores these days for us minimalists. Steaming veggies, which for most is not hard anyway but for us non-cooks can bring a terror of its own, is now the easiest ever. Many varieties, including my favorite, Edmame, now come in easy, pop in the microwave bags.

 

Combine that with a already hot, roasted chicken, Uncle Ben’s 90 second brown and wild rice, and presto – a meal good enough to serve anyone. Of course adding seasonings and spices to taste – and “to taste” means asking someone what would be good to use here, only enhances the meal.

 

 With having to watch pennies more than ever, maybe even I will use the kitchen more than in the past. But don’t count me out of those restaurants, although maybe not the luxury of a 4 star any time soon.

 

 

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