Monthly Archives: February 2011

Robbing The Poor To Pay The Rich

People are losing their jobs, losing their health coverage and losing their homes.  Foreclosures and food banks are still making headlines as the United States continues to march along the path to economic disaster.

That’s not really news.  Most of the middle class is living the nightmare that was created and managed by very wealthy politicians and businessmen who held out helping hands to each other, to save Wall Street billionaires, banking and financial millionaires and major insurance emperors like those who headed up AIG.

The real news is that the people we elected to straighten the economic ship out, create jobs, cut unemployment, save Social Security, offer medical care to all, not just those with an insurance card – those politicians are at it again.  And if their jawing and rhetoric continue, when the bill comes due you won’t see any of them or their rich friends and cronies reaching for their wallets.  It will be down to the poorest and the weakest to pony up and pay.

In fact, for the rich, the economic disaster story has a happy ending according to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  At a recent budget hearing he offered some statistics that should make most of us take notice.

Let me repeat a few of thos statistics just so you can’t miss them.

The income of the top 1% of the population tripled since the 1970’s – from 8% to 23%.  Since 2007, the average annual income for the 400 wealthiest Americans doubled – from an average of $345 million a year to just under $800 million.  Under the Bush administration, this same group of people, the top 400, saw their tax burden cut in half.

Not many people offer plain talk about the current economy, how we got here and who got rich along the way.  Senator Sanders does in just over 7 minutes.  No slogans, no rhetoric, just facts make the case for balancing the American budget NOT on the backs of the vast majority but equitably.

Listen up.  Senator Sanders isn’t talking to you and me; he is talking for us.

There probably won’t be another crash, another “Great Depression” – read Robert Reich’s new book if you don’t believe me.  But unless someone in Washington D.C. “grows a set”, stops yakking about the situation and starts making choices that will right the ship, there will be the slow and deliberate unraveling that comes with an economy in decline.   And you and I and every person whose income falls below $100,000 a year will pay the price.

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Cheerleading, Really?

Really!

I used to be one of those people who rolled their eyes when someone bragged about their little girl being a cheerleader.  It seemed so demeaning and frivolous.  Costumes loaded with sequins, make up, high hair and glitter everywhere.  What was the point except to put young girls on exhibit?  Maybe it was more for the moms –for those aging women with memories of pom poms and Friday night football?

Maybe not.

Cheerleading is fast becoming a respected sport.  Note the feature article in ESPN’s February issue (you will need to be a member to read this article online).  It has grown into the best combination of dance, gymnastics and tumbling and is being considered as a possible NCAA sport.

But after watching and listening I have come to realize that cheerleading is much more than a sport.  And not just because my 12-year-old granddaughter, Miranda, joined Kehler’s Dragons cheerleading squad.   At first I just picked her up at practice when her parents couldn’t.  This year, with her Mom in nursing school, I have joined thousands of other parents and grandparents on the sidelines,  watching and, dare I say it, cheering for our  children as they perform.

I have also spent those hours in the company of hundreds of laughing, happy and self confident children ranging from 3 years to 16 years old.  And this time, these children, have forced me to do a 180 degree turn.  At my age, that  isn’t easy but here I go.

Every week, all across the country, thousands of girls and some boys get together to practice and perform with their cheerleading squads.  They learn routines, moves and exercises.  This very physical activity gets them fit; it also teaches them some invaluable lessons, lessons that will never leave them.

Cheerleading teaches trust – children tossing other children into the air and knowing that they will catch and be caught.  It teaches the value of team work – none of them can do this alone.  They need each other.  Standing side by side, united in their cause, older girls help and hold the younger ones.  Younger squad members cheer for the older ones and dance for joy — not when they win but when they successfully complete their routine.

Young and old, the cheerleaders learn respect – for each other, for themselves.  And if the parents and grandparents are watching, they learn something too.  Across the stadium or arena, you can see these children bridge all the differences  we have sometimes found so hard to overcome — culture, money, race, size and beauty — all united in their love for their chosen sport.

So I say, three cheers for cheerleading!

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Growing Old…er: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

For women in the over 50 brigade, none of this is news.  For those girls who are younger, more innocent and still delusional, this is your future.   Get ready.  Growing old…er is inevitable but, as George Burns said, “…growing old is not for the faint of heart.”    He wasn’t lying!

The good: you save a small fortune on cosmetics.  Nobody’s looking at you so why use them?
The bad:
you spend a small fortune on hoof and heel cream to “moisturize” your face which refuses to give up its wrinkles without surgery.

The good: the hair on your legs grows slower so you don’t have to shave as often.
The bad: your mustache comes in better than your grandson’s.  The hair on your chin picks up the slack on your head.  Where are the tweezers?

The good: there are no worries about unwanted pregnancy – no one will touch you with a barge pole.
The bad: hormones still rush through your blood stream but all you get for your trouble is hot flashes.

The good: you have all the original equipment (read body parts) you sailed through your 20’s with.
The bad: the equipment seems to have stretched, slipped and/or slid downward. Gravity’s a bitch.

The good: You don’t care about the picture on your driver’s license.
The bad: You wake up looking like your driver’s license picture.

The good: You can stay up as late as you want and watch anything you want to on TV.
The bad: You can’t keep your eyes open after 8PM.

The good: You can get up as late as you want.
The bad: You can’t get a good night’s sleep so getting up late means 5AM.

The good: you’ve got plenty of money to buy what you need.
The bad: you don’t need anything, at all.  In fact, you are giving away more than you get!

The good: you actually get to sit on your butt and do nothing.
The bad: you actually get to sit on your butt and do nothing.

I started with a quote from George Burns.  I am going to close with quote from another 20th century philosopher, Charles M. Schulz, whose advice we women of a certain age would be well advised to take.  “I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”  Schulz knew how short the future was so live in the moment; only dread today – it’s all you’ve got!

BTW – if you enjoyed this and want more of the same, visit C-Boom and laugh yourself silly.

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Why I Love Working From Home

I love looking out the window in the dead of winter at 20 inches of snow, topped by ½ an inch of ice and knowing I don’t have to go anywhere…

No coat, no car keys, no struggle to get down our 140 foot driveway…just the heavy questions of what type of tea to drink and how soon my oatmeal will be ready.   I can do all of my work inside – research, interviews, even photo-gathering.  I can start at 5AM or 5PM.  I can break for 5 minutes or 5 hours, surf the net, talk on my phone or pet my puppies.

No one hovers over my shoulder telling me how to do the very job they hired me to do in the first place.  No co-workers shuffle from foot to foot while explaining why their bit of the project isn’t done yet using excuses that usually run in one of three veins:

1.       Didn’t really understand what it was I wanted them to do.

2.       Understood what it was I wanted them to do but didn’t know how to do it.

3.       Didn’t like what it was I wanted them to do so they did something else.

Believe me, after 35 years in the world of business, I have heard every lame excuse for not doing the work you are being paid to do.  And frankly, it is a joy to get up every morning knowing I don’t have to listen to one more lame reason for taking the money and not doing the job.

One other bonus that I especially love — being able to listen to some of my favorite shows like Inspector Morse – running in the background, warming my heart and reminding me about the wit, intellect and humor of Colin Dexter.

I may not make as much money as I did in the corporate world but I must say there is a whole lot to be said for working from home.  Think I’ll just go make another cup of tea.

Ice, snow and no need to travel.

The benefit of working from home, ice, snow and no need to travel.

 

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Get A Good Cup Of Tea at a great price

The Brits may have been a poncy lot in 1776 and maybe they still are but they had/have one thing right…tea.  I start every morning and end every evening with a “cuppa.”

The weather this winter has me thinking about and enjoying my tea just a little bit more than usual.  Nothing like sitting at my desk, my fingers wrapped around a warm mug of tea, watching the sun rise and the snow, sleet and freezing rain fall.

A year ago, I would have bought my teas from another, fairly famous tea shoppe and web site but… when I lost my job, I knew I would not be able to pay $52 a pound for anything, let alone tea!

So, since I suddenly had a bit of time on my hands, I studied my favorite teas.  What was in them?  What could I taste, what flavors?  What could I see in them?  Once I had a few ideas, I went shopping at Adagio.com to get the ingredients and start concocting.  It took a couple of tries but I finally got the morning and evening teas I love for a whole lot less.

My morning tea is caffeinated but it does not jangle my nerves or upset my stomach.  Dubbed Mucci’s Mix, it’s a blend of masala and thai chai with some lemon grass and honeybush hazelnut added to round out the flavors.   The spicy and rich flavor makes it a great way to start the day.

Nights used to be troubled for me; sleep came and went but I never had a good night’s sleep, never felt rested.   That “other” company had a blend that was soothing and helped me sleep but I could not afford to buy it, either.

So I created this blend to save money but I also made it to save my sanity!

My evening tea is not only flavorful, it is beautiful.  The garnet color of this tea, called Sweet Sleep, comes from the blood orange which is perked up by the peppermint and rounded out by the lemon grass.  I love this tea and the good night’s sleep it brings with it.    Make a cup and sail into slumber every night.

Stay warm and dry and enjoy the teas and the dollars you save by buying these Adagio blends.

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