Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Too Young to be a Hippie

Is it a message being sent when you're told more than by one? Or just dumb gone out of control?

Sticks & Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

This saying is what those of us who suffered unmerciful teasing developed into a shield creating the mental image of water flowing off a duck's back. It was the mantra of the outcasts. It was the seed to attitudes and perceptions that become core beliefs about self, about peers, about authority, about community and about society.

Recently, and by more than one person I've been called a hippie.

The first time I just blew it off. I'm not old enough to be a hippie. I was born and was a child in the 1960s. My coming of age story is 1980. So we're not talking, even close, to being a hippie.

My older cousins were the right age had they taken the drunken, druggy way of beach bum life, they could be called hippies. But they didn't. I did see hippies in the community, they were always dirty. That's my memory of hippie.

Since I am none of the hippie things, not a bum, not a drunk, I'm baffled by the comment.

But it's happen again. I was told "You're a hippie." So I asked, what do you mean by that? The woman giggled, obviously embarassed and walked away.

So I thought, is the deodorant not working today? I went to a friend and said, "Sniff me."


"Just sniff me, do I stink?"

"No, you smell like Gardenias."

"That's the South of France soap I'm using."

"Why did I just sniff you?"

"Because, **** just called me a hippie"

"She, what?"

"Called me a hippie"

"Why did she say that?"

"I don't know. I asked her. She giggled, blushed and walked away."

"Well, that's weird."

"That's good. I thought maybe my deodorant had failed me."


Still I'm puzzled.

Evidence that I'm not a hippie...

I'm too young. I love and drink Starbucks, regularly. I don't camp. I must have functional plumbing in my house. I love shopping. I love my new car. Illegal drugs are out of the question. I don't hand out flowers at the airport. I don't think Charlie Manson is misunderstood. I work hard. I'm not a flake.

I don't take stupid comments seriously, I just wonder, how did they get there? And it makes for a moment of self-reflection, smell-check and blog material.

I am that which Thou hast made.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The experience of having business with an ethical company that truly puts the customer first is so rare, but so pleasing, gushing on them just isn't enough. Shop http://universalmania.com

The story began with my 17-year-old wanting to upgrade the xbox for online game play. Reluctantly, I agreed that he could shop online & find his Nirvana machine. Our super tight budget this year, made this purchase more than Christmas for him.

So the box arrived, the features most used & features learned, it seemed fine for about 60 days or so. But then a problem surfaced. One feature didn't work. Updates and online service was consulted. In the end, the box needed to be returned.

Universal Mania was so nice about it. The arranged for UPS pick up for one box, a FEDEX label for another box and a new xbox arrived in a few days.

The new box arrived and within a short time, the same feature was discovered to be missing.

Universal Mania swapped again.

The new box arrived and within hours, the same feature was discovered to be non-functional. Again, consulting online help, because we really wanted to keep this xbox. The company had been so nice, I felt horrible emailing yet again.

It was the supplier that was responsible for the condition of the xbox, but Universal Mania were so accommodating and kind. They have discontinued business with the faulty supplier.

They were so nice about refunding the money, I will shop with them for any electronics we may want.

I want everyone to buy something from them. Support a good company that stands behind their products.

Shop http://UniversalMania.com

Since they no longer offer xbox, my gamer is looking for that elsewhere, but has his eye on a Universal Mania GPS when he gets his own car.

Thanks Kurt for everything. You've been more than wonderful!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living Wage versus Minimum Wage

I heard someone terribly confused the other day. She made the statement that she was paid a living because she made minimum wage. Unfortunately, the woman was serious. Minimum Wage isn't a Living and you can do the numbers for yourself.

First, let's define minimum wage, the purpose, the type of job and the results.

Minimum Wage became required because there were people who abused their power over their employees to not pay them for their work. This became required minimum wage for entry no-skill type jobs. Entry level no-skill jobs were fast-food, labor and the like.

The employer would have incentive to train the worker during the minimum wage period and promise raises, if after training the employee would stay on. These jobs were mostly part-time and taken by teenagers.

The incentive for the employee was work hard to work your way up and make more money by performance and loyalty to the employer, or understand the value of training, schooling and developing a marketable skills to get to the point of making a living wage.

The time in a life cycle to begin making a living wage should coincide with the fertile years & making a family: twenties. Scientifically, a woman's best years for child bearing are mid-late twenties to early thirties. Does it happen later? Yes. Is it physically advantageous for the average woman? No. So to create a healthy society, these physical needs that impact on society should be not only considered but of primary importance to policy makers.

Other minimum wage jobs were wage plus commission during the training or start up period for sales, or wage plus tips as in service, waiting tables etc. Hard work & service again providing more money, in addition to the minimum wage.

Dead-end minimum wage jobs like newspaper delivery, while a good job for a school kid were never meant to be more than temporary, part-time, fill-in.

Living wage jobs are for the majority of people working. They do this job for a living. How do you know if you've got a living wage job? Do these simple calculations for your geographical area.

For the purposes of these calculations let's agree that an average family consists of 2 parents, 2 kids. While yours may be different, the point of this exercise is to make a comparison in the end, so please play along.

How much does it cost an average family to:

Provide a average house 3 bedrooms, 2 baths (buy or rent) ____________
Food: Eat three healthy meals plus two healthy snacks a day ____________
Running Expenses: heat/air, water, sewer, electric, gas, TV, phone, Internet ________
Clothing: an average wardrobe work, play, church clothes _____________
Cars: Two cars (one with a payment, one without) _____________
Car Maintenance: gas, oil changes, tires __________
Car Insurance ___________
House Insurance _____________
Health Insurance & Expenses not covered ____________
Dentist 2 per year per person ________________
Eye Check & Glasses once per year _____________
Life Insurance _______________
School Expenses: Books, Paper Products, Sports, Music Lessons, etc _____________
1 week Vacation per year ______________
House Furnishings: linens,furniture,small appliances etc _________
House Maintenance: Lawn Care, Large Appliances, Repairs & Upgrades __________
Charitable Giving: Church & other organizations ____________
Anything Missed: ________________

What is your total?? ________________________

I guarantee it's not possible on a minimum wage job, two minimum wage jobs, three minimum wage jobs, four minimum wage jobs... and there is no more time in the week for two adults to have more than four full-time jobs.

In many areas of the country, this number starts in the $50,000 range and depending on your location could start closer to $100,000.

Well, two $25,000/yr jobs is the same as one $50,000/yr job, right?

Well, no. Clearly, you aren't thinking about living a life. Two jobs and two kids means what? Babysitters, unhealthy food, eating out more often, less family time, more taxes, less upkeep on the house, more strain, more adultery, more abuse, more divorce, more youth trouble, more crime, general societal break-down. (Don't believe me, travel through your city to the areas where mom & dad have to work to make the household bills.) Other parts of life suffer. Really. Which makes your number crunching, while numerically correct in the short run, do nothing for the long term of the family or society.

Let's look at the bright side of a living wage for the majority of American families.

American Companies would definitely make money because there would be more money circulating in the economy.

Car Companies would sell more cars.

Insurance Companies would sell more insurance.

Manufacturers would sell more stuff: clothes, shoes, coats, linens, rugs, can openers, sewing machines, lawn mowers, bird feeders, dining room tables, bedding, beds, sofas, tables, lamps, hats, socks, books, paper, personal care items, pencils, radios, TVs, movies, storage containers, shelving, flooring, tile, dishes, pillows, tools, yarn, crafts, cameras, computers, sports equipment, etc.

With one vacation per family per year, Tourism would be moving the economy along: airplanes, trains, cars, rentals, hotels, motels, eating-out, buying souvenirs, entertainment and all the items that make a vacation comfortable.

Society would improve right away because more mothers would stay home with their children, if their husbands could provide the family living (or mom could work and dad could be home, it matters not which but there would be a parent available to the children).

Fall-Out: Better School Test Scores, Better Behavior, Less Crime, Back yards and Play would be the after school program, instead of being shuffled from one stranger to another all day long.

Let's say there are no kids just the couple: ______________

Let's say it's a single person: _________________

Making a living in America is something that the soldiers coming home from WWII did. Look at the thriving economy they had.

We know from history that a living wage thing is a win-win all the way around.

A healthy economy is a pyramid in correct proportion: the base of the society has enough to sustain themselves well with enough to provide for the few that don't have enough and to provide the gravitational support required for the blocks higher or the pinnacle of the pyramid.

Who should be the base? The largest numbers of workers in America are high school graduates. This is the base. Trade school graduates should do better, College Graduates even better, College Graduates with extra training or specialized fields even better.

If you love America, insist on American Adults making a Living Wage and even better.

(I'll put the soap box away now. Thank you for reading.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Book Review: The Children of Henry VIII

The Children of Henry VIII The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Enjoyed this book. My schedule made reading this difficult, not for lack of interest.

There were moments when it was terribly exciting and I couldn't put it down.

I'm reading in historical order rather than in book publishing order and am looking forward to Lady Elizabeth.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Calm Creek

The Calm Creek moves quietly through the land, carving out its place in the world.

The water quenches the thurst of plants and animals, as it moves some things to other locations. Calm, yet persistent, the water wears away rock to sand. Large things become small with time. But the Calm Creek grows to join a river, and the river flows to join the sea.

So too I strive to become like the water.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Confessions of a Chocoholic

Confessions of a Chocoholic

I LOVE CHOCOLATE! I’ve always loved chocolate, but good chocolate. I’m not a chocolate fiend that will eat any old kind of chocolate. You could call me a chocolate connoisseur.

Milk Chocolate is a staple of the American diet. Without milk chocolate there would be no Kiss; just a little smooch to get you through a tough time or a small hunger pang.

Dark Chocolate is for a serious moment. Suck on dark chocolate to realign the attitude. Breathe. Release the tension of the day.

Really Dark Chocolate, you know the kind, with the Cocoa warning label… only for the experienced chocolate eater; not to be taken lightly and beware the habit forming effects that could impact your waistline and love life.

Hot Chocolate may be served anytime of the day, it’s a tasty alternative to bitter coffee. Whipped cream or Marshmallows on top, I’ll have none of those frills. I’m hard core, I’ll drink my chocolate straight, thank you.

Chocolate in combination with other yummy tastes hit the spot mid-afternoon like nothing else. Reese’s Peanut Butter cup what a great food item. Peanuts are protein, with chocolate.

One thing I did notice recently, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and even the smaller snack version in the multiple chocolate pack wrapped in pastel Easter colors are fresh and tasty, but somewhere along the way the candy man decided to add a second piece of paper cup adding to the overall weight of the product but not to the quantity of chocolate. In fact, if you think about it, buying candy by weight when each piece has two cups and one foil wrapper decreases your chocolate consumption significantly when you add it over a period of time. Frankly, I’d rather have the chocolate than add anymore to the landfill than is absolutely necessary.

Dear Reese’s

Please wrap the candy only once with light weight, biodegradable paper, so we can have more chocolate to meet the advertised weight on the bag. It's a truely sustainable plan for the betterment of humankind and the planet.

Yours Truly,