Tuesday, March 4, 2014
For all you faithful readers--about 300+ of you from literally all over the globe--I am now redirecting you to my new HUB website: www.readmstadinger.com. When you click on MENU, you can see ALL of my writings in one spot, and I am updating constantly.
With the MENU button, you can find Spinning Straw into Gold (I may continue to post it here also for awhile, but want people to make their comments on my new site, please). Also, you can find Lunch with Marjorie, my newspaper column about people's lives--an inspirational wealth of stories about ordinary people and their great significance. And, my travel blog City Cites is also there.
In the future I will have my downloadable Resume workbook. It's techniques have been used successfully by literally thousands of people over the 35 years I have been doing resumes.
And my Pray for Our Troops bookmark will soon be available in lots of 10 for a donation of $1 each ($10)--as soon as I figure out PayPal. :)
Lastly, for now at least, I plan to have my Sourdough Cookbook as a downloadable eBook, containing authentic sourdough recipes from my grandfather in the early 1900s, when he was a US Marshall on the Santa Fe Trail.
Happy reading! Your comments always make my day. www.readmstradinger.com
PS, I am thrilled with my new affiliate Blue Host. They are the most helpful, customer-oriented hosting site I have ever worked with. If you plan to start a blog or website, please check them out through my site: www.readmstradinger.com
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Thanks so much to my readers for all of your wonderful Angel suggestions. I decided to start with making my Christmas angel into a Valentine angel.
This wasn't as easy for me as for you very creative types, but I took my All Recipes friend Pam B.'s suggestion to visit the Dollar Store, which she advised the toy department, and that was very helpful.
Of course, upon entering the store mid-January, all of the Valentine stuff met me at the door, so I did not need to proceed to toys yet.
I purchased $6 worth of hearts, ribbons, and, for some reason (probably the fact that I didn't have my glasses on), rose petals.
Returning to my loft, I made a pattern for a "heart dress" by tracing the wooden angel shape and cutting it out of the red heart of swirls and flowers. I, all by myself, created a paper-doll dress for Angel dear.
Now when I was a young girl, I really didn't get into playing with dolls much, but I did like dressing them, and my mom made beautiful clothing for my Mary Hoyer. But, I was more comfortable with paper dolls, I guess because I could mess them up and not be out the price of an expensive doll.
So this exercise brought back that memory, and I think I may be able to keep that going for other seasons and holidays.
I found out, after I got home, that some of my hearts, little pink ones, had two-sided sticky stuff on their backs. You know folks, to most of you this probably seems very elementary, but to me it is an entirely new adventure on which I would never have embarked without the encouragement of Pam.
So I stuck the pink hearts on the wire frame to cover up where Christmas balls had been, and presto, a Valentine angel was born.
I used the same patterned red heart (the package had two) that I had cut the dress from, and stuck it on my door. That took a bit more work, since there was no two-sided sticky tape on that. I created my own double-sided tape, but it didn't stick well. I used some Scotch tape, finally, out of desperation and also made a hole in the top of the heart, inserted Valentine ribbon, and hung it over the door. That worked better, although because the heart is edged in black, the Scotch tape shows. Do they make a clear red tape?
Anyway, this should serve until St. Paddy's Day, for which I will return to Dollar Store to get green stuff.
Thanks Pam. Thought you all might want to see my solution.
Let me know how you like it, and please don't laugh too hard (at me).
Monday, January 13, 2014
On my walkabout today around the inside of our apartment building (15 rounds is three miles), I was noticing the Christmas decorations on the doors of floor two. That got me to thinking:
I, too, still have my Christmas angel, bells and wreath decorating our apartment door. And, I keep wishing I could move on to the next season, but really think the earliest I would do that would be Valentine’s Day. But, then Valentines would be a very short-lived decor, unlike Christmas which at least lasts about a month.
But, what is the decor for January? What do we celebrate after Christmas and before Valentine’s Day?
Really there is nothing. Well, there is nothing that Madison Avenue or Hallmark tell us to celebrate.
So have we come to this? We can’t figure out how to or what to celebrate unless there is an advertising campaign for it? I find that a little disturbing that I am so dependent on them for this, rather than looking into my own heart and life for motivation to celebrate.
I thought about just celebrating “life” and putting up decorations for that. But, that seems like it’s more of springtime and Easter. And, welcoming spring before it is time goes against my whole reason for loving living in a place that has all four seasons. I like the winter months. They give me time to contemplate, to visit friends, to turn in a bit and do some soul searching which doesn’t seem to happen in the good weather months (or in California ever when I lived there).
Some people have their favorite football team logos out. I guess that would be appropriate for January and early February. But, my heart wouldn’t be in it. Don’t get me wrong, I like football. But, I don’t get into it enough to use my door to cheer on my team (which has already lost).
There are no leaves on the trees. There is still some snow and more to come. It is raining and, though not so cold as last week, it’s winter. So I don’t know what to replace my angel, bells and wreath with. Maybe a wreath of twigs?
I will keep on considering this, but I am open to your ideas. I’m really not very creative about this area. And, decorating has never been my strong suit. But, I do seem to choose friends who are both creative and artistic. What is it we celebrate in January that could have a decor to go with it? Bring it on readers. I welcome the good winter ideas.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Maybe learning life lessons from Hollywood isn’t a reliable standard, but, I have to say, I really have learned a lot from the movies.
For instance, Judy Benjamin, the lead character in the 1980 Goldie Hawn film, Private Benjamin, had to decide on what her Army career duty choice would be, and it just seemed obvious to her that women are natural purchasing agents.
So when I told my sister-in-law, Lisa, that I do not like to shop, it started me thinking about whether this is an accurate statement.
Really, what I mean by not liking to shop, is that I am not one to browse, hang out at Walmart, or run around to bricks and mortar stores to find bargains--which today seem to be all made in China, so not really bargains in my opinion.
But, I do enjoy being the family purchasing agent. I think much more like a purchasing agent than just a consumer. I mostly shop online
Purchasing agents look at the big picture more than whether they save a dollar on one item. This becomes very interesting when the economy is bad, prices are skyrocketing, and quality is suffering.
What does this look like in my real life?
I shop in bulk for many food items that I use regularly. I do this not only at Costco, but more and more at Amazon. I have used their subscribe & save grocery store, and not only do I have regular shipments of things like oats, coconut oil, raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and nuts for my granola, cultures for my yogurt making, soup blends, veggie stock, almond milk, coconut water, and dried beans, free trade coffee, cocoa, chia seeds, hemp hearts, hawthorne tea, and more, but these things arrive at our apartment so that hubby gets to carry in the heavy boxes, rather than me straining to get things from the car to the door.
I also get a 15% discount and because I am a Prime Member, free shipping! I don’t have to hunt these things down, and they are always in stock. Awesome. Saves on gasoline too.
Also, I no longer make the $180 milk trip to Costco. I now have everything in stock, so I only need to go to the store for fresh produce and the occasional item I know I need. I get in, and get out. Simple now.
Amazon is great also for some clothing and household stuff. I recently found a Tommy Hilfiger hooded, down coat ($400 retail) for $79.00, free shipping. I did look at many stores for this, and nothing even compared in style or value to what I got online at Amazon.
For 40 years I have been an Amway distributor, and I buy all my household products, beauty supplies, nutritional supplements, and various other things, from my own store, at wholesale prices, and am assured they are high quality and “green.” I really miss things like Scrub Buds, SA8, LOC and other essentials when I am traveling, because there is nothing like them on the shelves.
Recently, since my hair stylist had surgery, I have switched to having my color and cut done at a beauty school. I was a little apprehensive at first, but both the color and cut were very well done, and the cost is one quarter of my usual salon. That means I can get my hair done, have manicures, a monthly massage, and even have hubby’s haircut for the same cost as just my hair cut and color. That is pretty irresistible. And, they have late hours so hub doesn’t get all frustrated rushing home from work for his monthly cut.
I hardly ever go out to eat anymore unless I have a Groupon or Living Social discount. With restaurant dining becoming way more expensive (we don’t do fast food), we can still enjoy lovely meals at half price. We also use these companies for weekend getaways, and I have bought Egyptian cotton sheets, a Sherpa blanket, and other items with extreme discounts.
So I am not just looking for cheaper stuff or services. These are the same quality products and services I used to pay much more for, with much more convenience and less stress.
For most shopping, it has to be something I really need, really have wanted for a long time, or something I am giving as a gift. I don’t look for ways to spend. I look for ways to get what I need at savings without too much effort. And, yes, I think Private Benjamin was correct. For most women, this attitude comes pretty naturally. Yes, some women do like to browse and shop recreationally. But, I don’t know any women who don’t make smart purchasing decisions. They seem to have it in their DNA to ferret out the good prices.
The whole coupon idea is big business, and probably because women see the value. I have never been big on clipping coupons for three reasons: usually it takes a lot of time and planning to be of value, most items are processed food, which we don’t eat much, and storing and remembering which coupons are where is a big deal and often involves going physically to many stores to find brands. But, I understand those who do this. I used to pay my kids 10% on weekly savings to do the clipping and match coupons to our menu. That was fun, and they enjoyed the income when they were too young to earn other ways.
So, no, I don’t usually love shopping. But, yes, I do enjoy the art of purchasing.
Would love to hear your stories.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I’ll start right out with the disclaimer that I do respect doctors, nurses, medical personnel and health care workers of all kinds--if they have the heart to help. When you really need them, they are wonderful.
The problem is, even with good hearts, bad teaching and vested interests sometimes get in the way of people even when they have the intention to help. I guess we all help with a bias, hopefully a bias created from truly believing in something.
Okay, so what am I talking about?
Well, when you are over 60, and deem it necessary to walk into the medical system, you should know they have a bias. It’s medicine. They believe in medicine. They have been taught to believe medicine is the answer. It is a rare doctor, or even nurse (most of my friends have been nurses, and the others are usually in health care of some kind), who can see other options. Of course, chiropractors and naturopathic health people do not believe in medicine. But, the medical people write these people off as quacks and ignorant do-gooders.
So when my very, I say very, very goodhearted ophthalmologist suggested I may be developing glaucoma in my right eye, he proceeded to give me three options for treatment--if it did, indeed turn out to be glaucoma. The three options are: eye drops, which he says would have to be used every day for the rest of my life. I hate the statement: you have to do this every day for the rest of your life. I think to myself, Well, what if God heals me? How will I know if I am lowering my eye-pressure with eye drops? Treatment two is laser surgery, which they say only lasts about three years before having to be repeated. So I figure that would maybe work out if it bought me time for them to perfect and legalize medical marijuana, which would really be my first choice.
NO! I have never used it, not even without inhaling. But it is a natural, plant-based treatment, which seems better to me. But then my doctor told me he wouldn’t prescribe it because using it would entail being “stoned” 24/7 or it wouldn’t work. *sigh.*
Then he added another layer of confusing choices. It seems that having glaucoma in only one eye is extremely rare, and so he thought it would be a good idea if I just had a brain scan, “just to be sure nothing else is going on,” AND a second opinion from a glaucoma specialist. Also, I seem to have convinced my doctor that when the med books say that in 97% of cases blah, blah, blah, but in a rare 3%, blah blah, I am ALWAYS in the rare 3%. Always have been. So he believes me and thus the second opinion thing.
Well, sorry to make this long story even longer, but then, how are you going to really understand the dilemma unless you have these details, right?
So, I thought, probably I will get the second opinion before I have the brain scan. No sense dabbling around the brain if the specialist says absolutely you do have glaucoma in one eye.
I called her office, and they reacted strangely. They first ask your birthday--before any other questions. So the secretary says, “Oh so you’re on Medicare, right?” “No,” I say. That seemed to throw her even when I told her I would pay cash up front.
“Well, I will have to ask the doctor. I don’t know how she wants to handle this,” she said.
“What’s to handle?” say I. “I am paying cash.”
She seemed very, very irritated at me.
I received a pre-invoice for $1200, which I am sure raised both my eye pressure and my blood pressure. Oh, did I tell you I have been monitoring my blood pressure and it has been mildly to moderately high some of the time.
So, I stewed about this whole dilemma for a few weeks. In the beginning of October I called my own eye doctor’s office to tell them about my bad reception at the second opinion doctor, and about their invoice, which I have a hard time imagining is the “self-pay” cost for what my own doctor does for half that. My sweet Whitney at Dr. E’s office sympathized and said she would call them to see what was what.
In the meantime, I had read about and ordered Hawthorne tea to see if it would reduce my blood pressure. It did, along with my walking two miles a day and drinking more water. The blood pressure is now completely normal 120/80 when I do all three, which is almost daily. When I don’t do all three--skip the walk, the water or the tea--it goes back to about 140/89, which isn’t probably life-threatening, but I want it lower.
I called Whitney back after a couple of weeks of this treatment and said, “So do you think I will die of my brain tumor or go blind before January?”
She laughed at me. They get me there. No runaround. No huge combat experience because I am not on medicare. She said, “Marjorie I don’t think you have a brain tumor, and I think if the doc thought it was urgent, he would be pushing harder.”
“‘Cause I want to save up my HSA deductible for once, and if I spend $1200 for a second opinion, $1200 for a brain scan, and $1200 for laser surgery (which I was still considering), I will never get this saved up. And,” I told her, I am also seeing my blood pressure back to normal with my Hawthorne tea, and I am thinking, maybe it is also lowering my eye pressure. NOTE: eye pressure is supposed to be 10-20 somethings, and mine is smack in the middle, 14, making my “possible” one-eyed glaucoma what they call “Normal Pressure Glaucoma.”
Then I was listening to a health station on my Internet radio and the guy was talking about HEMP HEARTS! HMM. I Wondered if hemp hearts could possibly do what marijuana does without the “being stoned 24/7” effect. So I ordered hemp hearts from Amazon with my order of Hawthorne tea.
So I am also thinking that between the hemp hearts (which have only recently become legal in the U.S. because they were so much like pot, they were outlawed) and the tea and the walking and the water, I just may get my eye pressure down to 12 and impress Dr. E.
Whitney said that would be okay and to call in January or February. (Don’t you all think that from July to November--and then to February--I would have some brain tumor symptoms if that were a problem?) I am asking. Your input is welcome.
Okay, so I am gambling a bit with my life. But, I ask you, if I can bring my blood pressure down 20 to 40 points with tea, why would I take gnarly blood pressure meds with really bad side effects? And, if I can (we will find out) lower my eye pressure with natural, non-stoning plant-based solutions, why would I take eye-drops or have surgery? The only reason I can think of is that we have somehow deified the medical route beyond all reason.
Yes, it may be a gamble, But so are those medicine side-effects. I would rather gamble on this, and keep thinking health and not disease. Whitney assures me that if these natural methods do, indeed, reduce my pressure the same way eye drops would, Dr. E. will count that. He just wants the best for me, which I really do believe.
What think you?
Monday, October 28, 2013
I promised you the full story of my very first shooting lesson, which hubby dear was very excited about. As previously mentioned, he grew up on a very large cattle ranch in South Dakota, where guns, shooting, and generally keeping “critters” in categories of pests, profit-makers, pets, and wildlife are just a part of life.
“Popping” prairie dogs, as they call ridding the ranch of these pests, is not considered to be cruel. In fact, not “popping” prairie dogs and letting those sweet cows break their legs in the holes left by the pests, would be considered cruel.
That said, I found it somewhat amusing that when hubby dear, who loves guns, “popping” prairie dogs, hunting, and eating deer, bear, pheasant, and the like, discovered that he had sired a daughter who would say things like, “Aw, look at that poor (whatever the present roadkill was) creature. Can’t we take her to the vet to maybe save her?” hubby would look at me and wonder how in the world to answer such a strange question.
Her compassion for animals has since shifted a bit, mostly to cats, and she loves the ranch, and has learned to enjoy shooting--so her father is proud.
But, I have steered clear of the gun thing for our 33 years together, until I received a Groupon for a shooting lesson.
This seemed to be a sign, and I decided it was time, in light of all the fuss over second amendments and rights and such, to at least pick up a gun, figure out how to hold it, and maybe take a shot or too.
Arriving at the Ware Gun Shop, the outside was extremely different than I had imagined. This was a little house-like place, very rural, and not at all looking like a school for shooting lessons. Not that I really know what that would look like. Of course, we ventured in, Groupon in hand.
The owner, Mike, refused to introduce himself, or confirm that I had talked to him on the phone, and seemed to want to hurry us out of the main retail area, if you want to call it that (the place didn’t have a shiny, clean appearance).
I was fine with being escorted down the stairs to the basement area where there was a lot of open space with targets all around.
But when Mike began to do his lesson thing, I found him rather fascinating in a grumpy kind of way. He started with a casual interview on why we wanted to have a lesson. Of course I told him I hate guns, but sweetie loves ‘em and I was doing my wifely duty learning a little. I pointed out that my cowboy husband probably didn’t need a lesson but was there to support me. Mike look dubious.
Next was the laser gun with the red dot thingy, that as he was about to hand to me, I asked, “Um, have you germicided that?” He didn’t answer, and you could feel the humorless countenance beginning to boil behind the eyes. “I mean, how many people have touched that?” I clarified.
Mike looked at Jay and said, “Is she serious?” Jay of course smiled and explained I was sort of “pulling his chain.”
Later Jay, also a pretty non-sarcastic sense of humor guy, tried to explain to me the irony of asking about germs while holding a lethal weapon, to which I, of course, replied, “That’s why it’s funny.” I guess not to everyone.
In any case, Mike had threatened to return our Groupon investment and tell us to leave if I proceeded with any more questions like that. I think he had real people coming in after our lesson, and there would be no more silly questions to waste his time.
Just so you know, when I get anxious, which happens when holding a gun for the first time, I get funny (or try to be). Since this was lost on Mike, and somewhat on Jay, I figured since I had no audience, I would shape up. I was, after all, here to do something sweet for hub.
I used the practice laser gun and didn’t feel a whole lot more confident, but cowgirled on.
When it came time to move on to the big guns--well in my case a .22 or something like that, I started getting serious, especially when Mike began to lecture us on muscle memory, and the three important areas to train.That reminded me of Jack Reacher, and having read the first four books, this lesson began to take on some challenge for me. Jack won’t even shoot until he gets his heartbeat under control. I thought I would try that, if I could remember to while training my muscles to shoot.
I am, as you regular readers know, extremely audio and Mike is such a clear teacher that the input into my audio file was really very thorough.
So, my first ever attempt to shoot a real gun resulted in the cluster you see here. I think both Mike and Jay nearly fell over that this nutty city girl, obviously nervous, scared and worried about germs, actually did quite well.
Jay was ecstatic to a point where even annihilating his virtual rat wasn't quite as exciting as seeing his wife take seriously the thing he enjoys the most--except for motorcycles.
I was a bit proud of the old gal myself.
Mike seemed somewhat tamed after that, and after realizing we shared the same eye problem--only seeing out of one eye at a time--he told me that on another occasion he would show me how to compensate so I would move slightly to the right and cluster right in that target area. I think that was a compliment. And did I detect an open invitation in that "next time" comment?
I read the Goggle reviews for Mike and his gun shop and most people found him rude, not customer-oriented, and not even in favor of the second amendment (which I doubt). My guess is that he just doesn’t prefer to converse with the public. Not sure why he is in business, but the bottom line for me is that his teaching style was perfect for my learning style, and I learned what I had come to learn. And I did well--especially in the eyes of the one for whom I was there picking up my first .22.
Friday, September 27, 2013
I think it is a testimony to God having a sense of humor that, to a person, we seem to choose someone as a mate who is our direct opposite in many important areas:
I like cool crisp September weather and hate hot humid. My honey likes hot, humid summer weather, and the minute he sees 40 degrees F. on any gauge, he instantly goes into what I refer to as his annual winter depression.
“But, it’s not even freezing, I say. “But, it’s gonna be,” he replies. I think he relives his South Dakota ordeal of feeding the critters in sub-zero weather.
He says, “We should move to Florida,” and I say, “How about Maine. He says, “How about New Orleans;” I say, “Alaska!” We have for some reason agreed that someday it will the desert--so hot and not humid. We’ll try it. I love Montreal.
On the same note, my sweetie piles up about six blankets (only three in summer) and I am kicking off my half’s three and swinging my leg out on top of the sheet to get cool--we’re still talking winter. They turn the heat on in our manufacturing building loft--central boiler room furnace--so we don’t even need to turn the heat on ourselves. He comes home and 20 seconds upon entering the apartment, he makes a bee-line for the thermostat to turn it up. I think the shivers runs in his family--maternal side.
Then there’s noise. He likes it. I like calm. He likes motorcycles. I like to go slow. He likes motors. I like quiet. He likes rock music (he is 90 percent deaf, so I think the drumbeat is all he can perceive). I like Chopin and Jewel’slullaby’s.
He likes the smell of gasoline. I don’t think I even need to say, I don’t.
When we eat in a restaurant, I call him a fat magnet. He will peruse a menu filled with healthful choices, and opt for anything with sausage in it. And, even though he has agreed to our going more plant-based, he tries my quinoa casserole with roasted veggies and mozzarella cheese or goat cheese, and he says, “It’s really good. Needs sausage.”
This is by no means an exhaustive list. For instance, I can’t tell you the joy it brought hubby dear when I signed us up for a Groupon shooting lesson. He is a sharpshooter, and I never held a gun in my life--being a city girl. He grew up on a cattle ranch in South Dakota. Guns are just part of ranch life.
But I will never forget the light in his eyes when he watched me hit the target--with pretty good success for a first-timer. Maybe I’ll give you the whole story in another post.
Suffice to say, we actually have very little in common. But after almost 32 years, we are more in love than on the first date. He says, “We live in amazement.”
So I ask you, Isn’t this proof of God’s sense of humor. This opposites thing forces us to compromise, which I suspect is the heartbeat of love and the path to unity. Left to ourselves, we would be, well, selfish.
So in the end, it’s a good thing we are paired with one who brings out our complete other, and who forces us to consider that the preferences of another are valid and valuable too.
I just wish we could move to Montreal. I would be okay with the six blankets.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
I was adopted. For some reason, my mother had a hard time not reminding me of that in oh so many ways. She seemed upset that I like the finer things, and was bent on letting me know that was not OK with her.
When I was 16, I was out shopping in one of our Philadelphia suburban strip malls, and came upon the Bonwit Teller’s, a very fashionable department store in that decade. I went in and drooled over a $35 blouse, which, of course, I knew I could not afford. This was the ‘60s, and a $10 blouse was pushing it.
I made the mistake of telling my mom I had seen a beautiful blouse at the little shop and she literally spent about fifteen minutes telling me in no uncertain terms I was not to even imagine such a purchase from such a shop.
I guess I didn’t learn this lesson, because when my girlfriend Grace bought a beautiful cardigan from Strawbridge & Clothier for $12, I saw how good it continued to look for as many times as it was laundered. My cardigans cost around $5 and I got three for Grace’s finer Garland one.
When I told my mom I would be happy to have the better one, that didn’t “pill” after one machine wash, and that I didn’t need three that did “pill” after only one wash, she was very indignant at her recalcitrant daughter.
“We’re Sears people,” she pontificated, with the hidden, but not really well-hidden, message that if I were to be “one of them” I would stop my “highfalutin’” ways, sooner, rather than later.
My internal response was, “WELL, YOU may be a Sears person, but I am not.”
I now realize I should have agreed. “Yes, you are.” And. left it at that.
When I had a discussion with my girlfriends recently about the wisdom of paying $100 for a Coach purse, one of them responded much like I did, that her cheaper purses wore out and showed wear after a few months, where her Coach purse, which she now buys one of annually, looks great after the year.
So, now I realize, there are Sears people, and there are Strawbridge & Clothier, Bonwit Teller, Coach people.
Now I am not trying to be snobbish. I still maintain it is a matter of enjoying quality vs. quanity. Someone who buys a $15 Walmart purse three times a year, and has to throw them away after use, isn’t really saving much over the person who waits for the Coach outlet savings, and purchases a beautifully made purse for $65 that will still be in style and look good the next year. But, there really are people who pride themselves on preferring the cheaper product, and they would rather have quantity than quality.
This seems to be true in so many ways. I marvel that some people open a restaurant or a gift shop or a yogurt shop or any kind of business, and know how to make it look really “classy.” Other people seem to go out of their way to keep things as mundane and non-descript and undistinctive as possible.
When I owned and managed a Christian bookstore, I found beautiful Christmas cards from Abbey Press. They were very sophisticated, and had a clean design. I still purchased some “regular” greeting cards from American Greetings, which looked so much less attractive. Guess which ones were more popular? Right!
Is it that some people really prefer that? Or are they afraid to “look” richer? Or is it just what they are used to? Or is it a lack of a sense of value?” I really don’t know. Maybe I am a snob.
Suffice to say, I AM STILL NOT a Sears person. I almost hyperventilate just walking into Sears, reliving the humiliation of my Bonwit Teller lecture experience. I realize I am over-reacting a tad. And, I know it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ‘round. But, I ask you, wouldn’t you prefer a better, higher quality item if you could have it? And, should a girl get a lecture and feel punished for “just looking” at that better quality?
These and other things my inquiring mind wants to know.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I have to say right out that I am a natural entrepreneur, so I may be a tad impatient with those who may be more insecure about starting a business. But, let’s think about this. We are in a bad economy, and people are jobless. That hurts us all, but especially those who somehow believe it is up to the government to make sure they have a job. Really, it isn’t!
Okay, now I am going to get mail. But anyway.... It is NOT the job of government, or even corporations to make sure you feed your family. In my 33 of doing resumes for people, teaching career workshops, training people for interviews, I can tell you, most people feel very dependent, rather than independent, or even interdependent.
Do you all know that we existed for centuries before "employment" was even a standard? People traded, created, trained, and learned how to offer others something of value in exchange for what they needed. This isn't a new idea.
And, for those who believe having a “job” offers more security than having a business, well, take a look at the last five years. Or ask anyone who got axed after their 24th year at a company, just before they would be able to collect their retirement package, or even the ones who got laid off because they used their health care, or had a workers’ comp claim. I challenge you to give this some serious thought if you are in the job market. I believe almost everyone is capable of producing some product or service that has some value to others. When my husband was out of work for 27 months, we went door-to-door in our neighborhood with a flyer telling everyone that he could repair any motor. Well, I want to tell you, I can interview anyone who is willing and find in them some talent or idea that can produce income. So I am not saying everyone knows how to start a business and will succeed. What I am saying is, with some help and guidance, most people can do this. For instance, I was doing a resume for a gal who wanted an accounting job. After spending two hours interviewing her (my process is very intense and not about typing up job history), I said: “You don’t want to work for someone else, you want to do accounting in your own business.” She replied: “You know, you’re right.” So I did a brochure for her instead of a resume, and she went out and discovered that many businesses can’t afford a full time employee but needed her services. She landed a job with an owner of five stores, and worked out of her home on his books. She was happy as a...okay, I know...clam. (Why are clams so happy? Is it because they know they have the potential to create a pearl?) We all have potential to create, because the Creator made us in His image. We all have the potential to produce something of value, because we are here for a purpose. Please stop whining, moaning, crying, and, for some of you, just getting into the rut of doing not much, and get to work on who you are, why you are here, and what you have to give. Your self talk makes a difference. What you believe is what you tell yourself, and if you believe and tell yourself you are stuck with nothing, or need someone else to “give” you a job, just change your attitude, and give my theory a try. What if I am right? I am not saying employment is a bad thing. I am saying it isn't your only option: Walk dogs, cook meals, drive old people to appointments, visit the poor, the widows, and the orphans, bake cookies, write resumes, sew children’s clothes, sell things on eBay, write a manual for something you know how to do, teach, dance, sing, help animals, or do whatever it is you love. You can make a living doing any of these things, and many, many people do. I say these words to encourage you, as our priest would say.
Monday, July 8, 2013
I remember reading a Mary Higgins Clark mystery which took place in Cape Cod, and thinking, oh what an elaborate, charming vacation spot that would be. Then, of course, I grew up with the Kennedy’s retreating to their Hyannis Port compound, and admiring the jet set who could join them. It seemed so out of reach in my middle class, suburban Philadelphia life.
We were fortunate that our weekend was sunny--October had been rainy, so we decided to see Coast Guard Beach in Eastham first, and then ventured back to North Truro to see the HIghland Lighthouse.
We’ve now been to Cape Cod four times. We live two hours away, so it is an easy weekend destination. I have found out a lot about my fantasies of the area, and also learned things I would never have imagined.
Each time we visit we get more acclimated to the area. We are learning things about the islands.
Not to get too technical, but I thought I might share just a few tidbits, from the viewpoint of a newbie, an outsider, to arm you for your own visit to The Cape, and these might make it more enjoyable.
First, Cape Cod is only referred to as an island because of the Cape Cod Canal, cutting through the peninsula to allow all but the stickler geographers to call it an island. This is why you must enter The Cape by auto over either the Bourne or the Sagamore Bridges.
But, beyond its geography, its dunes, its sandy beaches, its lighthouses, and its national landmarks, we have found it’s important to learn the language of this Boston escape.
For one thing, no one except the tourist and uninitiated would ever refer to the area as Cape Cod. It is The Cape. Like many Massachusetts names, it is abbreviated, i.e., Northampton is Hamp, avenues are aves, and even the state is called Mass by its natives. The Massachusetts Turnpike becomes the Mass Pike, and Massachusetts Avenue is Mass Ave. If you don’t normally talk this way, they know you’re a stranger, a visitor, a tourist, or at least from someplace else.
The insider track to The Cape is way more complicated. Upper and Lower Cape for instance, are not intuitive. Upper Cape would be, for the logical, the northern part of the island, but it is not. Perhaps that is because The Cape lays mostly east to west, with Provincetown (P-Town to those who know) stretching north. Still the far eastern and northern towns are in Lower Cape, and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket lie to the south across the Nantucket Sound. But, since we have not ventured to those yet, let’s stick to The Cape for now.
We’re finding a kind of elitism when we talk to our friends in Mass about The Cape. When we tell them we are going for the weekend, they don’t say, “Oh we love The Cape.” They say, “Oh, where?” So the first time, when we were going to Falmouth in the Upper Cape, they simply smiled and said, “Oh that’s a nice town.” When we confessed to Mid-Cape Dennis as our second destination, they indicated that maybe we would want to venture further next time.
So when a Living Social deal came up, and our time shares in Falmouth and Dennis were not available (really the only reason we selected those towns), we thought, “Hmm, maybe Eastham will impress them more. Okay, I guess we might care just a tad that we have moved from, “Oh we are going to Cape Cod,” to “Oh, we’re going to Eastham on The Cape this weekend.” So rather than a few raised eyebrows, there were some definite nods of approval.
After our first Eastham visit, where we discovered the Atlantic Spice Co. in North Truro, some great coffee places in P-Town, and the PB Boulangerie Bistro in Wellfleet, up the road from Eastham, we were beginning to see why the snobbery about town choices. The people of Falmouth were lovely to us, and Dennis was fine. But, we are getting attached to Eastham, Wellfleet, and North Truro for their beaches, their shops, and their community spirit.
The Town Crier Motel didn’t sound like a solid choice, but it turned out to be lovely, well-run and very homey. It is also next to Arnold’s, which we were to find out is one of the favorite seafood places. We love their beet salad, with arugula, candied walnuts and goat cheese.
On our second visit to Town Crier, this time in June instead of October, we found Arnold’s much more crowded, so the two seats at the end of a long table, looked attractive. We begged to share the table with two women who gladly welcomed us to bring our beet salads and salmon to join them. Who says New Englanders are cold?
After a half hour of friendly conversation, worth way more than a Tourist Center stop, we found ourselves nodding when this mother and daughter bragged that they had already been to Arnold’s three times in this summer getaway. The mom was from Eastham, and it was obvious she wished she had never moved away, and was glad to be back as a resident and town official.
Our Living Social included the buffet breakfast, which on Saturday morning was abbreviated from a full cooked breakfast to Continental fare, which we figured out happened because there was an important town meeting at 10:00 a.m. The owner, Judy, and Margaret, her front desk person, had been working hard to get votes for city water. Evidently there had already been lawsuits from contaminated well water problems. The vote failed by a small margin, much to their dismay. Judy even said she would have been willing to pay more than her share if the poorer residents couldn’t handle the levy to improve the water. This passion for their town allowed us to see how much this resort is also a residential community, with year-round living for locals who deeply care about community, safety, health--the things we from less fantastical places care about.
Since we are only weekend Capers, I am sure without this insight from our Arnold’s dinner and our breakfast at Judy’s place (Town Crier) we would have not appreciated this view.
We loved the perks Judy offered her Living Social guests--breakfast, Ben & Jerry’s up the street, bicycle rental, and a covered swimming pool. The rooms are clean and quiet, and the general maintenance is excellent. We lost our key at a visit to Pump House surf shop in Orleans. I had forgotten my bathing suit, and we were happy to find it open till 7 p.m. with a good selection for me to remedy my loss. The sales person, Jami, had delivered our key back to Town Crier by that evening, which told us, again, that this is a close-knit community. They know each other. Judy’s son said, “Well, we would have done the same thing for her.”
We were fortunate that our weekend was sunny--October had been rainy, so we decided to see Coast Guard Beach in Eastham first, and then ventured back to North Truro to see the HIghland Lighthouse.
All of this makes us feel more attached. We were welcomed warmly, but we know it will take more visits to get to know these people better, and we plan to do just that. The Cape is no longer a fantasy. We are so blessed to make it a regular destination.