Friday, December 28, 2012

A Safe Fun New Year's Eve Celebration!

I got married a few years before any of my siblings did.  So on New Year's Eve I would always worry when they would go out and drink for the night.  They wouldn't have a designated driver, because that wasn't in vogue at the time. 

So one year, I decided to have my brothers and sister come over my house for New Year's Eve.  I had a small two bedroom house at the time, but I knew it would be plenty of room for sleeping bags and family.

We would all chip in for snacks, chinese food, and party favors.  Everyone would bring a game they liked to play and a drink of their choice.  We would start around 6pm and play games, eat snacks, drink and watch the ball drop.  I had two little boys at the time and they would have an awesome time with all the family around.  And they could go to bed whenever they wanted.

One year, I thought we would have to cancel.  I was seven months pregnant and I started to go into labor.  So I called everyone and told them to come to my house and start without us.  We went to the hospital and they gave me some medicine to stop the contractions because it was too early to deliver.  And we went back to the house and celebrated the New Year and the fact that my baby would have more time to grow!

We would always take a picture before we started, all of us with our party hats.  It was fun to watch how everyone changed and how the group would get bigger.  As my brother's and sister got married, they would bring their spouses.  We continued for about 8 years.  My sister had a baby and we did it up until he was about 2 years old.

It was so much fun having family over and waking up in the morning to a house filled with people.  We would all chip in and make breakfast and sit around the table and talk about the New Year!

One time, one of my brothers had to work late.  So we decided to record the ball dropping.  Back then it was on VHS.  After we saw the ball drop for real, we rewinded the tape and waited to see when he pulled in the driveway.  As soon as we saw him, we yelled for him to hurry up so he wouldn't miss the ball dropping.  He was very confused because he thought he had worked till midnight.  We all ran in and blew our horns and said Happy New Year and hugged and kissed everyone.  He was happy he hadn't missed it.  The next day, sitting around the table we told him the truth.  He was happy that we thought enough to do that for him.

Now they're all busy with their children and their lives, but I still reminisce about all the fun we had together.

So remember when you want to celebrate the New Year, you don't have to go to a club and drink till you drop.  You can make it any kind of celebration you like.  You can have a children's party during the day.  A New Year's Day brunch with friends or family.  Or just the two of you and your children and dance and sing the New Year in.

But please be cautious when you're drinking.  If you do go out and drink, take a cab or limousine.  Or get a designated driver to pick you up or come with you.  Or go to one of the many celebrations they have at hotels and rent a room.  Whatever you do, DO NOT Drink & Drive!  It's a horrible way to start the New Year!

I tell my son's, who are between 25-30 that I will still pick them up if they drink too much and need a ride, no questions asked.

So if anyone has a special way to celebrate the New year, I would love to hear about it.  BE SAFE!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Designated Driver

Usually on Christmas Eve I drink a lot and my husband doesn't drink at all so he drives! The rest of my family drinks too!

So this year I've decided not to drink on Christmas Eve and drive my family members home!

I hope everyone that is drinking either has a designated driver or stays over the persons house!

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy safe holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Simple Vegan Shepherd's Pie w/Carnivore Substitutes

Ingredients:  I don't measure things.  Use as much as you see fit for whose eating it.

           VEGAN                                                  CARNIVORE substitute

Vegan "meat" crumbles                                hamburger
vegetable oil                      
veggie broth                                                    beef broth

almond/soy milk                                              milk
vegan "butter"                                                  butter
pinch of salt


Peel, cut and boil potatoes until they fall off the fork.  Add oil to fry pan and brown onions.  Add "meat" crumbles till they soften (most are frozen).  Add corn.

Add veggie broth to fry pan & let simmer for a few minutes.

Drain water from potatoes and put in a bowl.  Mash together with almond/soy milk and vegan butter.  Stir in a pinch of salt.

Add "meat" mixture to a baking dish.  Smooth mashed potatoes on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

If you like you can add vegan "cheese" to the top or mix into the potatoes.
You can also put any veggies you like in this dish.  It is quite versatile. 

December 23, 2012 Festivus Celebration!

I always see my three boys on Christmas Eve at the family gathering.  It's usually 30-40 people with lots of fun chaos and children.  So this year I decided to see them a day earlier to celebrate in a quieter atmosphere.

I happen to be watching Seinfeld the other day, which I haven't watched in a long time so it must be an omen.  And it was the episode where George Castanzas father comes up with a new holiday that he called Festivus.  So I wanted to see if there was a real celebration.  It was actually on Wikipedia, isn't everything?  And it is celebrated on December 23rd.  So I thought, since I don't have a Christmas tree this year, and my kids happen to be coming over on the 23rd, maybe I too could get a metal pole and celebrate Festivus.

I haven't told my children yet.  I'm wondering if they will know when they see the metal pole.  Airing grievances will be fun, but then we will say something nice to each person.  And there won't be any wrestling on the floor, I'm thinking arm wrestling so everyone can participate.  They had meatloaf on the Seinfeld episode, but I like making shepherd's pie.

I will try and write again before Christmas and let you know how our Festivus celebration went.  We usually celebrate Yule and light candles on the Yule log, but I like to change things up a bit sometimes.

I hope, no matter what kind of celebration you are having, that you make sure it's about family and friends and not about the things you get.  Make sure you tell people that you love them.  Material gifts are not the only thing worth giving.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Finally, But For How Long?

I went to my nephew's Holiday Concert this morning.  And what to my wonderous eyes should appear, but a police officer at the front door.

It's nice that they did this when lots of people were showing up at the school, but shouldn't this be happening everyday.  Someone to stop the horror before it gets into the school!

I couldn't help but be thankful for all of the children and teachers in that school.  That they were fine, and getting to celebrate like others around the country should be able to.  Not taking their childhood and joy from them at such a young age.

As I looked at the kids singing on stage, I wondered what problems they have in their lives that no one has recognized.  Problems that they, at such a young age may think are the worse thing ever.  Are parents asking their children the right questions?  What are the right questions?

Then I remembered my nephew telling me that him and his twin brother have been being bullied.  The school knows and they still don't do anything about it.  Well, I wanted to take matters into my own hands and asked my sister which ones were the bullies.  I wanted to take their picture and make a
Wanted Posted.  Place it around the school, "Wanted For Bullying"!  Does public humiliation stop the problem or make it worse?  I see some towns making kids hold signs up of what they've done wrong.  Is it different if it is coming from an outside source?

All people are talking about nowadays is gun control!  I think it needs to be other things.  I think we all need to take our hand and hold it out for someone that needs it.  If we see something that doesn't seem right, ask questions.  Sometimes parents are too close to the issue and do not want to see what is right in front of them.  We need to keep our eyes open because it does take a village to raise a child.

Hope everyone is having a hopeful day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Priorities Are Warped!

Watching the news all week and driving through my town got me to thinking...why are there so many police officers on the roads watching construction crews and not one in each school at the front doors?

Longest Word (too long)

Longest word has 189,819 letters! They say it as Titien.  Imagine having to say it in a sentence?  It's a protein found in our body!

Don't we make up the words in our language? Why and how would we name something that long?

What is the point of having that many letters?

It actually says in that a DNA molecule could have a name of over 1,000,000,000 letters if it was written out in full!

My question to that is Why?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The End Of The World!

Since this is the week that the world is suppose to end I think everyone should have the day off to spend time with their loved ones!

We all need more time with family and friends. To appreciate what we have. To tell them and show them that we love them.

But, I wonder if what Nostradamus and the other visionaries were talking about was the world would end as we know it! Not just end!

In the past few years things have changed in our world! More violence, financial devistation, weather destruction and fatalities!

Maybe what we need to do as a society is come together to change the energy of our world! Start being kinder to each other! Meditate to release stress, work 4 day work days a week, and make sure we spend more quality time enjoying our families and not just making money to buy things.

Have communities come together for each other. Start knowing your neighbors. Try to involve those that have a hard time getting involved! There are a lot of lonely people out there that we need to help out.

Maybe this will change our society to be happier and not separate everyone into little cliques!

When you go out shopping today, try smiling at people as you run to get your things done. It's amazing what a little thing like a smile can do. Hold a door open for someone! It doesn't take a lot to make someone's day

I hope everyone has told someone they love them today. And I hope someone has said it to you! Have an awesome day!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Please Be Kind!

People are absolutely crazy out there! I think it should be against the law to have sales during the holidays! Maybe they could just have online sales, then most people would stay home!

People driving in parking lots yelling and fighting to get a spot so they can buy a gift for someone because they care about them. Why don't they just be nice to one another so they don't die over the holidays. That would be a much nicer present for their loved ones!

Running through stores and being mean to employees that are getting minimum wage and don't even have time to do their own shopping is just unholiday like!

If you don't have a computer you could use a friends or call and order over the phone.

There just has to be a better way!!

I almost couldn't get to the bank, at a plaza to do my mortgage stuff! I can just imagine that person that just got a new job and can't make it to the store to buy new clothes for work.

There's more technology out there, but less people using it for good. If you're on your phone all the while that you're mall shopping, just stay home instead and use it to shop on Amazon!

I am horrified by seeing adults act like they're in a wrestling match over a video game! What happened to not letting our kids watch or play things with fighting and shooting? At least that is fake. Then people act that way in front of their own children!

Please stop and think before you act unkind to someone! You don't know their story!

Tis' the season to be joyous and kind not angry and nasty!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Enjoy Holiday Shopping!

To enjoy holiday shopping you must

1.  Make a list.  A detailed list so you have something to focus on instead of looking at all the pretty things out there.  How much you're spending is also a great thing to write down!

2.  Go to a plaza or a mall and park as far away as you can.  This way, you won't be rushing to leave so someone can get your space and there will be less traffic.  The walk, in the brisk air, will clear your mind and make it easier to shop.

3.  Try to buy medium to small items if you are alone and large items if you're with someone that can transport them to the car.  And buy them last.

4.  Make sure you stop to eat in the middle of your shopping extravaganza.  Try and put your list and shopping out of your mind for at least 30 minutes and enjoy the Holiday sights and sounds around you.

5.  Don't over dress.  It gets hot if you're inside a mall, and walking around a plaza can too if it's not freezing outside.

6.  Do not bring your largest pocketbook, but make sure you can fit a bottle of water and some reusable shopping bags to put all the little plastic bags in.  And having a strap on your purse long enough to go across your body is an added bonus for not dropping it or leaving it on a counter.

7.   Put all your sales slips in the same spot.  A change purse or your wallet so you can see what you've actually spent when you get home.

8.  Make sure you cross off your list as you go.  It is very gratifying.

9.  If you do put packages in your car, make sure they are in the trunk or try and cover them with something.  And always make sure you lock your car after.

10. Never ever take little children shopping with you.  If you want them to visit Santa, do that on a separate day and just make it a fun together time.

11.  When you get home, try wrapping a few presents a day so it isn't too overwhelming.

12.  And after putting the bags in a safe hiding spot, dress in something comfy, sit down and put your feet up and have yourself a cup of tea, hot cocoa, wine or other libation that will relax you.

Congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Are We Doing Enough For Our Children?

I think this country should spend as much time taking care of people's mental diseases as they do physical diseases.

With all the mass shootings going on around the country, I think they should have classes in all schools about bullying, feelings, cliques, feeling left out, being shy, low self-esteem, etc.  It shouldn't be a one hour class a month.  Or talking to kids AFTER something like this happens.  It should be a weekly class like gym, or art class.

I think schools should make it feel like a safe place to talk about what is going on at home.  And like I said in another post, have parenting classes for all age ranges of parenting children.

There has to be something we can do to help these children know how to make better choices.  I understand that some mental illnesses can not be treated, but I'm sure the majority of the mass shootings were done by children that didn't feel heard, or didn't fit in.  If they did, maybe someone would have noticed a change in their behavior.

My condolences go out to the families that were shot and to the family of the child that did this.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What About Christmas Present Laws?

The you love them or hate them?  I love the festivities, the music, spending time with family and even the presents.  But sometimes the giving and getting of presents is not all that fun.  Like when you get something you really hate, but have to pretend you love it.  Or giving someone a present they don't like.  You can always tell a fake, "Oh I loooovveee it!"  People spend money they don't have and get things that people don't really want.

I think Christmas should have some rules that everyone must follow.  The government is always passing laws.  How about a law about Christmas?

These are the laws I would pass:

1.  You will not buy more than 5 presents for each person.

2.  You will not buy for anyone you haven't talked to in the month of November.

3.  You will not spend more than 20% of your monthly salary for the whole holiday.

4.  You will not return a bad Christmas gift to the store.  You will re-gift it to the person who bought it.
(they will either love it because they bought it, or will make better choices next year)    

5.  You must not buy clothes for someone you do not live with.
(if it's too small or too big, it's insulting)

6.  Food is not a present.

7.  Offices are not allowed to do a gift exchange unless all the employees are related.

8.  Companies that have Christmas parties, must give bonuses.
(they must have money if they gave a party)

9.  No Christmas gifts will be given after Christmas.  Save them for the next year.
(you obviously didn't care to make time for them so save the gift)

10. Anyone under the age of 4 is not allowed more than 4 presents.
(it's too overwhelming)

11. If someone says they don't want anything you must NOT buy them anything.
(next year they won't say it)

If you can think of any other laws you would like passed, just comment below.  Maybe we can get them passed before next Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Being Sensitive! WTF!

Can someone learn to be less sensitive? And is that really a good idea? I take everything personally and feel like crying during any confrontation!

Are there a lot of sensitive people out there? Or am I one of a strange breed that is dying off?

I wish I was less sensitive. It would make my life a lot easier. I could say what I need to say to people without choking up.

How many of you out there are sensitive? Does it help you to be more empathetic? Or does it reek havoc with your emotions?

I am learning to control my sensitivities! Sometimes I will say to myself that famous saying, "It's none of my business what other people think of me"! But that is Easier said than done.

I guess acknowledging I have a problem is the first step!

Holidays Are Stressful

I use to think that I was stressed during the holidays because I was shopping in crowds and stuck in traffic! Always trying to get thee perfect gift for someone!

Well, I finally realized that I'm stressed without those things. I think it's all the energy around me from other people that gets to me!

So I decided to take it upon myself to cut down on my anxiety level and I hope everyone reading this, does as well! This way, the stress level around us will soften.

So I have started to meditate to start my day, then meditate to clear my head before bed. I'm also drinking herbal tea and not having caffeine after noon-time!

I hope everyone has time to chill out at least once a day! Cut out the things that we think we need to do, but no one really ever cares about.

If your husband needs a gift for his secretary, have him buy it. And the same with the kids.

If you need to bake or cook use pre made crusts, have kids help or do a cookie swap. There's always an easier way to do things and people might want to help, they just don't know what to do!

We use to pick names of the grownups and buy one gift for someone.  We would spend $35.  It doesn't sound like it would be stressful, but if someone was only getting one gift, you would want to make it special.  I found that very stressful.  So a few years ago we started having a Yankee Swap.  We still buy for the children, but any adult or child that wants to participate can.  We spend $15 and there is no pressure, because when you open the gift you pick you can always switch it with someone else.  I like seeing what the most sought after gift is.  And if neighbors or friends come over they can always participate and don't have to feel left out from a family exchanging gifts.

If anyone has any special traditions for their holiday celebrations I would love to hear about them.  There is always room for more traditions.  Or changing the ones we have to see what works.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Be ProActive With Online Safety!

Has everyone Googled themselves at least once? I try to Google myself a few times a year. It is amazing what kind of stuff you can find out just by knowing someone's name. It seems like anytime you write a review on a product or place it comes up when you Google your name. You can find out people's relatives, addresses and phone numbers. What social networks they belong too and anyone they know that has died.

Is this a good thing? It can be. I have connected with a few friends from when I was growing up and we get to keep in touch. I can also offer my condolences to people at online obituaries. And when I lived far from my family, I had a way of staying in their lives on a daily basis.

But what about when you don't want someone to find you? I think if you have a private FaceBook account it shouldn't come up when people search your name. If it's private, they shouldn't even be able to find out you have one. Is that asking too much?

We tell our children to keep their social networking pages private and only "friend" people they know. Which I would change to, only people your parents have met and agree to having them friend.

Knowing someone nowadays is so vague with social networking. Most children don't even know who most of their friends are online. I've seen pages where children have hundreds of friends. I don't know about you, but even at my age, I haven't had that many friends throughout my lifetime.

I check on my nieces and nephews every once-in-awhile to make sure they're safe online. I did find one posted their cell number and another their address, but that was taken care of in a matter of minutes. Parents need to keep on top of these things. And just because they took things down, does not mean they won't be back on again. Keep checking.

And here we are telling our children how to be safe online and about posting pictures and who friends you. But then we, as adults, go and put all kinds of family pictures and videos online. And lots of us will friend just about anyone that knows someone that knows someone we know. Is that any safer? We should start practicing what we preach. On Facebook, if someone likes something on your page, their friends can usually see it.

So I advise all of you out there to check your children's online profiles today and then go and check your own. Make sure things you wouldn't have your child post are not posted on your site.

And go Google yourself! Have a happy and safe day!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Have You Ever Felt Invisible?

When I was little, I always wanted to know all the rules so I could follow them implicitly! And this craziness has followed me to my adulthood!

I actually don't like rules. But when they're there there's nothing to do but comply!

When you follow the rules, people don't notice you because you fade into the routines that people take for granted. Like the sun rising and setting, it is taken for granted.

I was also shy and agreeable until I was in my thirties. I thought I had left all that invisibility behind me! But I realized this week, I hadn't!

As you read in a previous post, I started a new job last week. I had three days of training. Then on Monday I worked on the register. As I left I asked my manager when I was scheduled to work again. She told me she didn't have my schedule yet and not to worry, she would call me when I was working!

Well, it's now Thursday and there has been no call! I again feel invisible! I was not hired as a on-call employee. They never even said if my $7,000 register cashed out correctly. They don't let you count your own draw to see if it's right. Which to me, is an awful way to run a company!

So I've been posting resumes for other companies and am waiting to see how long it takes "my job" to call me. Then I will quit.

What would any of you do in this situation?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Answer These Will You Please?

Do customers mind waiting in a long line if they know they will get good service at the end?

What is more important, a friendly cashier? Or someone who is solely focused on their job?

If a cashier makes a mistake and you must wait, do you like when they make small talk?

Would you pick the cashier that was happy, or the one that was fast?

Do you enjoy when the cashier is complaining about their job?

If you liked the cashier, would you tell management? Or let it go?

If you didn't like the cashier would you tell management? Or let it go? Thanks for your time!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Does Everyone Feel Like This?

Does everyone get nervous on their first day of actual work (not orientation/training)?  I am a grown ass 54 year old, somewhat intelligent woman and I'm nervous going to work on a register.

Maybe it's because I understand the importance of doing a good job.  Or maybe it's the whole money thing, where I don't want to shortchange the company or the members.

Or maybe, like high school, I just want everyone to like me.  Is it really that simple?

During training I took notes.  When I came home I compiled them on a piece of paper.  It helps me remember them when I rewrite them.  Then I typed them up and printed them out to fit on small pieces of paper so I can keep them in my pocket.

My husband says I'm crazy.  They pay minimum wage.  But I say, who cares what they pay, I want to do the best I can do.  And who wants to look like an idiot when the job is supposedly simple?  I would rather be over prepared than under prepared.

I have always been a little neurotic and over do things.  

I don't understand why companies train the way they do.  They put you in a room all by yourself and make you watch the most awful, boring computer pages (not even movies).  There is no one to ask questions.  And they don't supply you with paper and a pen to take notes.

I actually wanted to take a picture of the cash register to memorize where all the keys were.

At one of my jobs we would put the cash register in "training mode" and have different scenarios happen so we would get hands on training before customers and mayhem came.  All jobs should train you hands on before meeting customers.

They should also give you cheat sheets of how to log on and off of your register and how to make money drops, frank checks, do voids and any other pertinent information you may need.

Today I will be thrown on my own register after 3 days of orientation and "training".  And a few hours of trying to watch others on their register.  Which was very hard to see with a carriage and employee in the way!  And with my own little cheat sheets that I hope I wrote down correctly.  Even though some of my notes looked a little sketchy.

After writing this blog post, I have come to the realization that it is my perfectionism that is making me nervous.  I DO NOT like to make mistakes.  Or especially look dumb in front of others.  I even took a summer school class in high school for typing, the summer before I had to take it that year so that I was prepared for class.

So today, after meditating this morning, I will go to work with the words of Deepak Chopra in my mind..."My actions are blissfully free from attachment of the outcome"!  I will do my best, as we say to our children, and "It is what it is"!

Let's hope it works.

Have an awesome day!