Reinventing Yourself

Marriane Faithful and Mick Jagger, circa 1960's

Captain  C.B. Sullenberg just introduced a new book: What it Means to Be a Genuine Leader;  Marianne Faithful has forged a new career in art: Innocence and Experience, Curated by Marianne Faithful.

Captain C.B. Sullenberg,
Captain Sullenberg, you recall, became America's hero, when he skillfully landed a plane on the Hudson River.   Marrianne Faithful, was everybody's sweetheart and Mick Jagger's girlfriend in the 1960's.  Both Captain Sullenberg and Marianne Faithful were at the end of their careers, but decided to reinvent themselves.

Granted, Faithful already had achieved success-skyrocketing to fame when she hit American airwaves singing the Rolling Stones song  As Tears Go By.  American was seduced by her coy and feminine manner, and angel-soft voice.

Captain Sullenberg, on the other hand, was a successful pilot whom had training in emergency maneuvers and just happened to be the right captain for the challenge when he landed a jet on the Hudson River.

What a perfect opportunity for him to write about about his insight into leadership.

Then there is John Walsh.  John lost his son Adam to a predator in a Sear's store back in 1980's.  As a public relations practitioner, the tragedy opened a new door for him as a television host on America's Most Wanted.

However, people like you and I are also discovering new careers, and hidden talents, just when we think it is time to settle down and fade into the sunset.

Maybe you, too, have had a tragedy in your life- and want to give up. Perhaps, you can't see the door that is open for you because of the tragedy.

I had spent half my life in mall marketing and non-profit public relations work.  Just before I turned 50, I felt a burn out, I wanted to do something that would put me in charge of my own destiny.  So I went into real estate. I did that for 8 years.  I am now ready to try another hat on, and do something new!

I often said, I am afraid my epitaph will read:  Here lies a woman who never lived up to her potential.  I don't want that to happen.  My secret dream has always been writing.  I have wanted to be a writer since I was in high school.  I was often discouraged, because very few writers were successful.

So I have come full circle now.  I am doing what I have always wanted to do.

I have always felt there is a part of myself that is not fulfilled.  Now, regardless of what happens with my writing, I feel good knowing I have not put it off any longer.

So what is it you want to do?  Is there a secret dream you have, and are putting it off?

I can't think of a better time than now to throw your hat in the ring!

Wonder Women: Traits That Make You a Success

Every successful woman tells a story - a story about how they found they way into creating a niche' for themselves- a niche' that has not been tapped.  From Katie Couric to Martha Stewart, today's mega women started chipping away at themselves, doing what they love to do- reaching the pinnacle of success: Katie Couric: Moments, Choosing Journalism.

It is inspirational to listen to these stories, finding how they made dreams a reality.  

  • Katie Couric:  Katie got bit by the Journalism bug in grade school, reading a school essay to her classmates.  
  • Martha Stewart:  Started off like every other house wife, but ending up redesigning her house on her own, and finding a niche' in what was considered an otherwise unexciting calling, tending to home and hearth.
What struck me is that these women are not any different than you or I.  It is how they look at the world that makes them different.  It is the way they approach challenges, refusing to accept defeat.  They are all self- made millionaires and billionaires.  To think that just 50 odd years ago, nobody would ever think of women as capable of this.

Let's look at Barbara Walters.  She forged the way for today's women journalists.'  When she was first on the air, she raised a lot of eyebrows.

 She stood alone with giants in the industries:  Walter Chronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley.

Barbara is so remarkable.  Her delivery, her innate ability to identify what people want to know about people. When she broke into a man's world on television, the audience soon forgot she was a woman. Her audience wanted to hear what she had to say.  She is well into her 80's and showing no sign of retiring anytime soon.

When ever the job search begins to wear me down.  I think of these ladies.  Instead of accepting defeat, I picture them just dusting off and getting back into the saddle.

Close your eyes and envision where you want to be, every detail, your office, your name on the door, the building.  Spend time perfecting your mantra and getting closer to your goal.

Your dream job is right around the corner!

Duped by PayPal Scheme

The email hadn't dried on my post on Internet Seduction when I received this:

Dear Customer, You have added as a new email address for your PayPal account. IP connection: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXConnection Time: 24-04-2012 2:32:07 If you did not authorize this change,check with family members and others who
mayhave access to your account first.If you still feel that an unauthorized person has changed your email: *Please download and unzip the form attached to your email.*Submitting this form will automatically restore your original PayPal account
email. Thank you.

There was an attachment with this email - with the PayPal logo - asking me for my social security number, address, email and credit card authorization number.  

I was floored.  

I  forwarded this to .  I received an email back, advising me that this was a  phishing attempt- thanking me for sending it on the PayPal security.  

Does it ever end?

I can understand how one can be easily duped.  These emails appear so innocent, so professional.  It is easy to panic and have a knee-jerk reaction when reading.

I am going to continue to use PayPal,  as my transactions have been secure thus far.
However, I think it important I share this with you:

  • Contact the vendor in question when you get an email like this
  • Check directory assistance or validate the correct telephone and email information on your statement.
  • Finally, report the incident once you validate the vendor credibility

I know we can beat these scammers at their own game.  

Let's fight the Internet seduction together.

Grandma Never Had This Talk With Me

This has got to be the greatest sex advice ever!  It is lovingly passed down to a 20 year old, from her 86 year old Grandmother:  Sex Advise From My Grandmother.

Amazing.  This woman is 86 years old, and wrote this on the back of her assisted care newsletter!  

Apparently, Grandma asked Mother if her granddaughter was a virgin, and proceeded to dish out a game plan for her.

In my house, all I heard was "never sleep with a man until you're married'.  These pearls' of wisdom passed down from generations of Lithuanian mothers.'  This Grandma gives Dr. Ruth a run for her money. 

No subject is taboo, she dishes on:
  • anal sex
  • oral sex
  • how to avoid STD's
  • picking out your soul mate
  • advise on dating
  • stingy men

I can't remember reading anything like this in Cosmopolitan, Glamour or any other rag!  

I especially like her take on having sex: 
"To know if you are both in love, you feel a "connection" in bed. If you feel ALONE in bed when having sex, you are with the WRONG man. This is CRITICAL! The connection of mind, body, soul!"
I should have read Grandma's advice before I married two men.  She covers everything I need to know, but don't.

You think?

Grandma also addresses credit card debt:

If he has any DUMP HIM.   ( I have already struck out on three counts).

I  decided I am copying this advise and tucking it away in my purse.  If I ever have a chance (again) to decide, I am whipping it out.

I am also picking up the phone to call my daughter.  I definitely have to cover a few things with her!

Internet Seduction

I think there's more money in being a scammer than in having a legitimate job.  Consider the latest expose' of these twin brothers: teen-twins-nabbed-in-robot-stock-pick-scam/

Seems these British teens had put together a stock newsletter and charged $47.00 a pop for tips on the hottest stocks.  Additionally, they were being paid under the table to promote a third party's stock on the side!

I wonder, at  what age do people become criminals?  It seems that they must have started as toddlers.  Just picking up the paper, or browsing the Internet, people can pick out at least a dozen or more different types of criminal activity.   In as much as the Internet has open new doors for businesses and new ventures, it has also compromised the safety of the public.

Every time I am asked for a password on a site, I shudder.  I know that nothing is sacred on the net.  Anyone can get any information they want using unsavory methods to hack into accounts.  Still, I give in to laziness and continue to do everything on line.  The Internet is so seductive, it makes everything so easy.  You can shop, bank, send money, get money, find love and just about anything else.

Here's my thinking: why get in your car to run errands when you can sit in your jammie's and do it all at home?  So, with the wonder and ease of on-line marketing and selling, we are left vulnerable.

I always think about how much I am willing to lose if things go south with any transaction.  Not that I have a lot to lose, but identity theft can cost one quite a bit.  Even if I do not have disposable income,  for example, my credit and all my personal information can be stolen in less than a minute.

Hmmm. so, I am not giving a second thought to paying my Nordstrom's online.  Just one of my many bill's that I   click to pay.

After all,  it is so much easier than buying a stamp and having to walk to the mailbox.

What it Takes to Rule the World

In watching the news coverage on Dick Clark last night, a clip of Madonna was shared of her in one of her first appearances, being interviewed by Clark.

It was no surprise when Clark asked her, "are you afraid?" (referring to her new found success and upcoming performances), with which she replied; "not really, I have always had self confidence."

That struck a note with me.  I think it answers the question of what quality determines success.

Self confidence.

If you don't have it, you won't get very far.  As for myself, I faked it, all my life.   I apparently did a very good job of it,  because I usually got the job I was after.  Trouble, is, if you don't really have self confidence, it eventually will come back to bite you, no matter what the endeavor.

How do you get self confidence?  First, the most conventional way to obtain it is from excellent parents'.  Parents' that remind you as a wee little one how extraordinary you are.  If your parents' don't have self confidence themselves, that may be a liability to you.

Other people, do not have a conventional upbringing, and just seem to have the "it"  factor.  They scratch and claw their way into life, setting their sights on a goal and winning.

I call them the fighters.

Their motivation is to prove to themselves and the world that they are winners. They are achievers.  They have their handicaps, but refuse to be vulnerable.  This is commonly referred to as over compensation.

I think I fall into that category.

The danger of faking self confidence is that it will eventually sabotage your work and life.  For example, in making decisions, you will find yourself questioning whether you made the right ones.  You will seek other counsel instead of relying on your own judgment.

People with self confidence, achieve what they want - because they know that they are right.  Against all odds, they pursue their goals and see success at the end.

It is almost impossible to acquire self confidence if you don't have it in the first place.  You can get better, but you always will have the inner voice questioning:

  •  Did I do a good job? 
  •  Make the right decision?
  •  Pick the right partner?

When Madonna ended her interview with Clark, she said, "I want to rule the world."

There is no question she has accomplished her goal.

What Would Have Become of Camelot?

President John F. Kennedy and Mary Pinchot Meyer in Pennsylvania in September 1963.

I remember the day all too well.  I was in Jr. High School, in 1963.  An announcement came over the loud speaker, it was our principal announcing that John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Texas.  School was immediately let out, tears streamed down students' faces, as if they had lost one of their own.

John Kennedy was bigger than  life to me at 12 years old.  He looked differently, acted differently, and was so handsome.  Nobody wore their hair quite like him, he had charm, and wasn't afraid to use it.  He cracked jokes as easily as downing a beer, and the media loved and protected him.  Something that would never happen today.

When I looked over this account of his latest dalliance, I wasn't surprised. Mary Pinchot Meyer JFK Mistress Assasinated.  I take the fact that Kennedy was a philanderer with a grain of salt.  He was so precious to me as a young girl, that, in my mind, he had no faults.  I felt, and still feel, that he always had the best interest of his country in mind, and would gladly die again for America.

I don't think this article, or anything else that has exposed his liaisons with actresses and acquaintances can ever ruin his credibility.  He was just too brilliant and kind for that to happen.  When he addressed the nation, you know he meant business.  We felt protected and privileged to have such a progressive, forward thinking leader.

We reveled in his family outings with John and Caroline.  We loved watching Jackie jump her horse, and watching Caroline learning to ride on her pony.  The one photo- besides the one of John John saluting his dad at the funeral - I will never forget is of John John playing under his desk at the White House.

Jackie, so fashion forward, was a breath of fresh air.  I especially enjoyed watching her first television presentation, when she took America on tour after redecorating the White House.  After the Eisenhower administration, the Kennedy's were royalty in the White House.  President's before Kennedy, were stuffy, formal.  We didn't see their wit, or have a window into their family life.

No wonder the years' Kennedy spent as our President are fondly remembered as the Camelot years.  Those years' were a fairy tale for most of America.  Even Khrushchev was charmed by Mrs. Kennedy, sending her a little dog she had expressed an interest in that was part of Russia's space program.

With the death of John Kennedy Jr, Caroline is all that is left of Camelot.  I often think of what Camelot would be like today, if John F Kennedy were alive.  I imagine he would be writing,  and still be involved in politics.  His reign ended far too soon, like all good fairy tales.

We can only wonder what would have become of Camelot had he still be alive.

Does Your Facebook Page Enhance Your Professional Image?

Employees may be scrutinized by their social media sites.  But should you really be concerned?  Look at the percentages of  companies that evaluated potential job candidates on their social media web sites: Here's What hiring Managers Actually Look For In Your Facebook Profile.

There are rumblings about managers looking at social media to evaluate potential hires.  If candidates' are foolish enough to post inappropriate information - or suggestive material on their sites- they should be concerned.

Good taste should be the rule.

I believe that social media sites, such as Facebook, provide a window into a candidate's personality; they can help hiring Managers determine if the potential employee is a good fit for the company.  For example: artwork, movies, family activities are all examples of sharing personal interests.  This kind of information can be very positive - portraying you as family oriented and well rounded.

I have posted religious photos on my site, and realize that is a no-no.  Religious beliefs can make me vulnerable in my job search quest.   I am aware of this risk, but chose to go ahead and post them anyway.

Where is gets dicey is when expletives are used on social media, provocative photos, obsessive  interests, for example; excessive discussion about weapons and explosives will probably not sit well with a potential employer.

It comes down to exercising good common sense.  I often forget that so many intelligent people lack common sense.  Whenever I post anything on my Facebook page, I always try to assess how that will be interpreted by my audience.  If I have any concerns, I just don't post the comment or article.

Actually, there are a lot of positives about having a presence in social media.  Your connections, for example, may be to prominent business people, your interests may tie into a company's mission.  Those examples may get you the key to the washroom door.

So, the next time you want to post something wild on your Facebook page, think about how it will impact your professional image and ask:

Will this post elevate my professional status? Or will it jeopardize that job or promotion I have long sought?

One final thought:  In this competitive job market, it just may come down to having good luck anyway.

Dead Man Phone Scam

I received a phone call last night from my son, he is concerned about an incident he is having with his new mobile phone service.

This is one to add to the list of strange and bizarre.  It is out there for sure.

He is able to phone out using his new service.  However, when someone tries to reach him you get the following message:

 "This phone was found on a deceased person.  This is _____ at  the ____ Hospital.  Please call the following number if you have any information on the deceased."

Needless to say, family members were absolutely panic stricken when they received this message.  Unbeknownst to him,  he was curious about why he hadn't received any calls.  When I tried his number, I realized I was at risk - as the offenders' now had a record of my caller ID.

It was obvious to me that this was not a legitimate message.  First of all, no police department would let a wireless company issue that telephone number to another person, while a crime is under investigation.  That was the first red flag.  The second, was asking for the caller to phone another number.  God knows what information can be garnered from simply making the call.  With all our sophisticated technology out there, it is open seasons for criminals.

My son called his wireless provider and reported the incident.  They are researching this now.  I imagine if someone were to call the number provided on the voice mail message, they would get hit with a big, fat charge.

What is next for scammers?

This is most devious attempt to defraud people of money, and the cruelest methodology ever used.

I am wondering if this has happened to you?

It is my hope this will open a forum for discussion as a public service to help educate the public about fraud.

I am willing to share your experiences on my site.

I look forward to your war stories, and would like to expose the "black slime" trying to take us down!


Getting Food Creative

Part of what I enjoy most about life, (okay, I will anty up,  the best part ) is eating.  While I don't eat everyting, the things I enjoy most I really enjoy.

In preparing my favorite meals, there are usually wonderful sauces in the recipe.  For example, I have a killer pot roast recipe.  The sauce that is part of the this recipe is unforgettable.  However, I always have so much sauce left over, and I think, geez, that's a lot to freeze.  So why didn't I think about this:  Freeze sauces in ice cube trays for perfectly preserved single servings.

Now this is the idea!  That pot roast sauce, served as an ice cube is the perfect way to spice up my burger's, breakfast burritos, and other creations.  I also make a delicious lasagna- and have the same issue - too much left over and what do do with the excess.

Come to think of it, why not freeze mini-sized desserts this way?  Talk about a portion control!  On days I really want to splurge I can defrost three ice cubes of strawberry cobbler, cheesecake or cake!

I am on a roll these days, as I have lost 10 pounds.  All I needed to lose in the first place.  Have you ever noticed how hard it is to lose those last 10 pounds?  It was easier than I thought when I realized what the problem was this;  huge portions.    Not to mention the nightly wine, and desserts!

I am really excited about this new idea.  Those Skinny Cow ice cream bars are getting boring,  and now I am motivated to stick to the perimeters of my weight control.

So off I go, am making my list of all the favorite foods I love, that can be frozen into cubes.

Is this called thinking outside the cube?

Not that excited about J.K. Rowling's new novel

Glamour Enertainment

I am not that excited about what I have read about J.K. Rowling's new book : A Casual Vacancy.  Official Details on J.K. Rowling's New Book.

Maybe because I am not a voracious reader.  Or, more likely, that Harry Potter was a once in a lifetime read for me.  I rarely pick up a book, but when I read Harry Potter, this was truly a unique personal experience.

The latest book is scheduled to hit the UK bookstores September 27th, and as is promoted to adults  as "blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising.” 

The story centers around Barry Fairweather , dying unexpectedly in a little town called Pagford.  The sets the town into a tailspin. The town is wrought with discordance  and - with Barry's death- the townspeople wage a war against one another about whom will fill his parish council seat.

It may be unfair, but the subject matter does not amuse or excite me.  Of course, this is R.K. Rowling, and I honestly believe that someone with her phenomenal skill set cannot turn out an inferior novel.  I am going by my gut at this point, with little information.

I suppose I had hoped it would be another fantasy, something I could drown my worries when reading, but I don't get that warm and fuzzy about this new novel.  

My gut also tells me there will be lots of disappointed readers from the standpoint of the subject matter.  I believe that when you have winner, go with it, and don't change course mid-stream.  Rowling's found a winner in the Harry Potter series, and while she could not continue writing endless books about Harry, she definitely could embrace the whimsical, and magical elements that we so loved about this novel.

Time will tell, for Rowling's.  There is no way she will ever be a failure, she has earned her place in history as a remarkable writer.  I admire and love her style, and am hoping she will surprise everyone with her new effort.

Adios, Harry!

85 Seconds into Orbit, a Bust for North Korea

North Korea is at it again; thankfully, this time the launch failed 85 seconds into orbit:  official-north-Korea-missile-launch-expected-in-next-24-to-48-hours/
I don't like this at all. The Koreans' want us to blow this off, and look the other way. They are trying to make light of it. it is feared that it may contain Uranium which would indicate North Korea has a facility hidden away.  The trajectory, originally  scheduled to be a long one, ended in seconds after lift off.  Apparently, they have not done their homework on this one.    
The launch, put Koreans' in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, which prohibit Korea from testing ballistic missiles. They have already performed two nuclear tests with plutonium.
It irks me that we have to sit back and take it on the chin. It seems like this should be addressed again by the United Nations. It is a risk to us globally. The time to nip this in the bud is now. We can't give them a pass on this issue. It is just going to get bigger and better next time.
The fact that we are in close touch with Asian nations is no comfort to me at all. We need to stop this launch, now.
North Korea is placating us by saying that this launch is simply a satellite,  Shining Star;  put into orbit as a 100 year celebration commemorating its' founder, Kim Il Sung. The experts maintain that while this missile probably has a satellite attached to it, it may be a ploy to test long range missile capability.
This is not going away anytime soon. It is an issue that needs to be addressed and resolved now.  The  next launch is expected to be far more threatening.
My gut tells me trouble is brewing - and I hope it doesn't land in my horizon.

War Dogs

America has always been proud of our soldiers, who fight selflessly to preserve our freedom.  However, apparently no recognition is given to their four-legged partners;' Soldier Dogs' and their handlers.

These dogs fight by our mens' sides, willingly risk their lives' to save our soldiers', and are not even recognized.
Air Force Sargent Blake Olsen, serving in Afghanistan was awarded a Purple Heart. His canine partner, Blek, was also injured, but received nothing in return.
"Dogs are soldiers too.  They give up their whole lives for this," Olson says.  "Not to be recognized officially is a slap in the face."
Just recently, legislation was introduced into Congress: The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act H.R. 4103 - S.2134.  This legislation, if passed, would afford military dogs the well deserved recognition they have rightfully earned.

Frankly, I was amazed that this legislation has not already been enacted.  Police dogs serving the cities around the United States are recognized as full partners' to our police.

Why not military dogs?

These animals have faithfully served our  men way back to WW1, when a solider smuggled his pet pit pull overseas.

The pet, Sgt. Stubby, was to serve as a companion to the men.  However, he had saved so many lives, he was taxidermied  and currently is on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

This was 85 years ago, however, the war dog program purportedly did not begin until WW2.

Looking at the faces of these loyal canine soldiers makes me sad, and more so now that I know they serve without recognition.

I personally want to get on the bandwagon - to get these humble canines recognized with their solider partners- rightfully earning their place in history, which they have earned.

Pets Go to Heaven

If I get to go to heaven, I want to see all my pets there.   I had this discussion with our pastor, a Catholic priest, and he insisted that animals do not go to heaven because they don't have souls.  I want to believe they do, so this article made me smile: Rick Warren: Dogs go to heaven.

Anyone that has a love affair with a pet, understands this.  The most humble creatures, loving us unconditionally, how could they NOT be in heaven waiting on us?  When the world turns against me, and I am at the lowest ebb, I can look to my pets (especially my dog, Pepe), for the love to make it on to the next day.

I have discussions with him, and he looks at me with the biggest, most soulful eyes, as if to say:  I know, I understand, I am here for you.

Pepe's side kick, Coco

Pepe', relaxing on the couch
It is also nice that he has that teddy bear coat, the coat that all children go wild over.  When I walk him around my complex, I delight in the squeals that come out of every corner of the community:  Pepe! Pepe! the polar bear dog -you'd think he was a celebrity!

I took him up to our resort area in Estes Park.  This particular weekend, there were loads of Japanese tourists, they absolutely went wild.  Pepe', a Great Pyrenees Mountain dog, is extremely popular in Japan.  I was  exhausted following my stroll through the town.  I was stopped constantly and asked if I would let Pepe' pose for a picture!

Who says a dog's life is not exciting?

With this said, how can Pepe'  not go to heaven.  After all, heaven is everything wonderful and meaningful for us.  If dogs were an important part of our family, it stands to reason they would be waiting for us on the other side.

When I close my eyes for the last time, rather than go through that vacant, bright tunnel, I much prefer a big wet, kiss from Pepe'.

I Won't Sell a Kidney For a Horse

I read with this article with disbelief:  A  seventeen year-old Chinese student actually sold his kidney for an IPhone and IPad.

This the worst possible outcome for consumerism.  What does it tell us about advertising and marketing campaigns?

What messages are really being communicated when a new product is introduced into the market?  I am all for the tenet of creating a want, and fulfilling that need when the consumer purchases the product.

That's the goal correct?

But what happens when advertising does too good a job or creating a desire?  This may be the worst possible outcome: Chinese teen sells kidney to buy I-Phone, I-Pad,  Those involved in this atrocity include: a broker,  surgeon, (yes a surgeon), and a hospital contractor.

These butchers' looked for prey on-line to find organ donors. China has found that teens are all too willing to participate for cash.

When this teen's parents' asked where he got the money to buy an IPhone and IPad,  he fessed up to selling his kidney.

Apparently, consumerism is running rampant in China.  Money is so scarce that  people are selling their organs to obtain abortions, and to pay off gambling and other debts - among a list of other reasons.

How pathetic.

I won't sell my kidney for a horse.  I have always wanted one, and badly.  Not badly enough to barter an organ. There are people that are more than willing to do so.  I read this has happened in the States.  The party involved was not a teenager.

Desperate times invoke desperate measures.

The statistics reflect that 1.5 million people in China need organ transplants.  But there are only 10,000 organ transplants performed annually.   Chinese youth are opting for materialism and sacrificing their bodies as a means to this end.

A public service program should be put in place to reach the youth in these countries.  Having businesses involved by providing capital and goods for work.  Public service programs that educate and offer work opportunities as an alternative to children selling their organs.

What a coo for the businesses and a win-win for both China and the companies.

It is my hope Apple and other companies get their public affairs teams' to address this issue.

Five people have been indicted for this particular crime.

The payoff?

Thirty-five hundred US dollars bought a kidney.

While the IPad and IPhone thrill wears off, this poor teen will have to struggle with his decision for the rest of his life.

No, I Don't Want to Be An Insurance Agent

 I have had my share of emails from Insurance companies offering me the opportunity to own my own business and become an Insurance agent. The offer goes like this: 

We came across your resume and believe you have the qualifications to own your own business. 

Phooey. Oh, and I might mention you can do this for a $10,000 (approximate) investment. 
Not very cool. As if I don't have enough to navigate in trying to find job opportunities in an impossible market, I now have to deal with what I have dubbed the job spam market. 

First, I was barraged by text messages from every sales industry in America, trying to sell me this or that. Now, I am not so pleased to have to fend off the employers that want me to buy my way into a job. 

I don't think so. 

I have had similar opportunities from other industries. Am I supposed to be excited about this? I have a friend who became very successful at owning her own insurance agency, and yes, she had to make an investment. It just does not head up my list in finding my dream job. 

It goes way back to being leery of anything or anyone that asks for money upfront for a service or business. 

For those of you with sales and marketing backgrounds, you are bound to be flooded with these opportunities, and I don't know how to avoid this. However, I have found that by explaining I am looking for a salaried or base compensation, this closes the door on the solicitors real quick. 

I just don't have the patience for fielding these calls. 

Excuse me, gotta run now. I have my University Alumni office on the phone, wanting to know if I can make a contribution. 

Reasons for Vegan

I've  never seriously considered giving up meat.  Even as a proclaimed animal lover - I haven't even come close.  I can't even think about the slaughtering of cattle, and yet- I still crave it for better or worse.

Until now -  the latest press about "pink slime" has got me :The Pink Menace.   The more I read about E Coli, Salmonella, mad cow disease, and now beef treated with ammonia, I am ready for a vegan conversion.  Or at the very least to give up red meat.

The whole thing is just gross. Period.  My late brother-in-law was a strict vegan and used to tout:  "I won't eat fear."  That is hard hitting.  It really is fear, the cattle - it is said - knows they are about to meet their demise.  So, what we are actually consuming (among other things) is the fear adrenaline and other hormones.

About five years ago, I had a good friend die in just six weeks from Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (aka mad cow disease).  It was heart breaking.  One week she felt dizzy, and the next (literally) bed ridden.  That was another instance when even looking at red meat gave me the shivers.

In the book "Eating For Your Blood Type"  0+ blood types, which I am, are the one blood type that thrives on beef.

I have threatened to get a vegan cookbook, but never did.  I keep telling myself that vegan food is complicated and hard to prepare.  At this point in my life, I only stand to gain from giving up meat.  I have ridiculously high cholesterol, which I control with a little red pill.  More than likely,  if I gave up eating beef - I may not even need that little red pill anymore.

If I start to dine out - in the beginning at least- and patronize vegan restaurants;  it might be another easy way to ease into vegan.  The sound of "tofu" does not excite me.  It sounds so 1960-ish.Greasy   I think of the flower children and incense.

I am pondering what to prepare for dinner tonight.  That 70 percent "lean" (aka pink slime) beef is in my freezer.  When I bought it fresh, and prepared it on the grill, I saw all the greasy pink liquid and bloody particles drain off.   This is actually:  connective tissue, tallow;  meat by- products called "trimmings."This in itself should have converted me.

Preparing it with a piece of pepper jack cheese cannot make it appealing.

I think I will pull out the lean cuisine pizza from the fridge and have that instead.

Tough, Resilient: Mob Wives


Mob Wives - Season 1 - Renee, Karen, Drita and Carla
Bart Stadnicki/VH1

I have a confession to make...I am watching Mob Wives.  I love the hell out of this show.  Don't ask why.  It is total escapism to me.

They're  lewd - they're crude-  but oh are they FUN to watch.

I think the women are tough and resilient - I find the show intriguing.  These women find themselves in every hairy situation possible.  It is the definition of high drama.

The cast:  Drita, (an Albanian raised in New York, and the beauty of the group); Renee (Father in the mob, exotic, the loudest and most outspoken, Karen (daughter of Sammy the Bull Gravano); Carla, husband just released from jail.   There is another friend and new star) of the group, Big just have to see her to believe her.  I swear big Ang is a transvestite... She is about 5 10 feet tall, long, black hair, May West bust line, bubble lips, she gives new meaning to lip enhancement.  Funny bit about Ang, she carries the cutest, most petite Pomeranian pup with her.  It just adds to the visual- if you know what I mean.  Big Ang is the niece of Salvatore (Sally Dogs) Lombardi, a deceased captain of the Genovese crime family:

Big Ang 

Each week there is a new drama.  Most recently, (Junior aka Hector), Renee's ex-husband/roommate  turned himself in for armed robbery.  But wait, that's not all, according to Drita, the word on the street is he is a snitch.   That's right, apparently he ratted on Renee's Dad, sending him back to the slammer.

Interspersed with the drama, are the social escapades the women engage for fun.  The group went to Lips, a female impersonator bar.   The group took Renee there because she was so down in the mouth about her husband, Junior, being sent back to jail.  The week before that, the group went visiting a remote ranch.  When they went out to a local club in the evening; a bar patron hit on Renee, and the Mob Wives rearranged the club!  Hair was flying,  Renee screaming insults, bedlam is a word that comes to mind.

Mob Wives  is entertaining. It could easily repulse you as well.   It is a reality show that probably is too "realistic" for most tastes.

 Having a (sick) sense of humor is a must before you watch.

Getting Fired: The Road to Success?

This is one of the best pieces I have read:-17 People Who Were Fired Before They Became Rich and Famous

I can't think of anyone who is proud of being fired.  It happens to the best of us.  According to this article, some of the brightest have been handed their walking papers.

Our society teaches us that to conform and manage is the way to become successful in a job.  But one rarely hears about the Mr.and Ms.'s that have held the same corporate job for 25 years.   The challengers' are are the employees that get bounced.  These people are constantly questioning the how's and why's when analyzing an campaign or company issue.  And if these people find themselves in a corporate environment- it may be sure death.

The reason:  Corporate America rarely rewards you for questioning why you are doing what you are paid to do.  In fact, you probably threaten your supervisors and alienate yourself from the corporate ladder.  Think now:  How many bosses have you had that really appreciated your Entrepreneur spirit?  How many agreed with you when you came to the table with a better way of doing things?

In every corporate job in which I have been employed, employees follow the quarterly plans for the respective departments.  I found that creativity is not a huge priority- even in the  Marketing Director positions. The answer is simple.  I didn't want to follow the " regional corporate plans" when tackling a marketing issue. I analyzed everything.  If I could come up with a more productive plan to make a bottom-line contribution to the company, I would make an effort to implement the strategy.

Corporations have cut out the fluff.  It is all dollars and cents in this market.  Years ago, companies could sit back and let their employees "play" with ideas, and promote "image" based plans.   You don't find much of those image based campaigns, especially in retail.

I found I was a cog in the wheel in a corporate environment.  The best work I did was working in a non-profit venue.  Creativity was rewarded.  Particularly because the organization depends on creativity for for campaigns and fundraising activity.  I found there was always an ear to listen to an idea.

In short, if your company won't listen to your ideas, and you don't want to "settle" for following the corporate plan, you will likely be invited to leave.

The plus side is this:  getting fired may catapult you to the next career rung.  You might be involuntarily forced into doing what you were meant to do!

Reading this piece was a genuine pick-me-up.  For those that still believe getting fired is the end of the world, take heart.

You just may be onto something real big.

Bank of America Rolls out Innovative Program to Save Homes

Hooray to Bank of America for being the first to step up to the plate with an innovative program designed to keep homeowners in their home versus foreclosure.

Too bad it didn't happen earlier, when so many Americans had to walk away from their homes because of the the money crunch in this country.  Take a look at the program: BofA Tests An Option to Foreclosure.

If one has a $250,000 mortgage, for example, the bank is willing to lease it back to the owner at the going rent rate (e.g. $900.00) a month, versus a $1600.00 a month mortgage payment.   Great deal.    

Finally, banks thinking outside the box.

This coming on the heels of the health care reform, could give us little folks a lot more breathing room.  Whew.

Bank of America would then get the title to the home, and give the homeowner annual options to renew the lease.  What would be even better;  If homeowners had the option to purchase back the home if, and when, they get back on their feet.   Which is probably a given anyway.

Bank of America purchased Countrywide Financial in 2008.  This pilot program applies to the existing loans that Bank of America still owns.   It is encouraging that many investors' have already approached the Program Director Ron Sturzenegger, to buy pools of the leased properties.   

According to Sturzenegger, the success of the Program depends on the expansion of the program. These are all encouraging signs for the economy.    I hope that more banks and lenders get on the bandwagon.

We are ready for some good news for a change.

Hemingway Letters Disclose Distress Over Cat

I inherited a picture of Ernest Hemingway (a pencil rendering) of him on his porch with his beloved cat "Uncle Willie."  I have the picture hanging over my sink in my kitchen.  I always look at it, my eyes drawn to the cat in the rendering.  He was depicted as a big, fluffy, tortoise shell.  I imagined how close the pair pair were, especially for the artist to include "Mr. Willie" with him on his porch in this then home in Denver.

I had no idea of that cat's name, or what became of him, until I read this:Ernest Hemingway Letters Reveal Upset Over Cat.  So you can imagine my surprise when I read this article about "Mr. Willie."  Apparently, it caused him great distress when "Mr. Willie" was hit by a car- breaking two legs- ultimately leading to Hemingway having to put him down.
"Have had to shoot people but never anyone I knew and loved for eleven years," Hemingway wrote to a friend in the 1950s.
Hemingway was living with Mr. Willie in Cuba at the time, and excused himself from his visiting tourists to explain they had come at a bad time.

I am certain they shared a close bond, especially understanding Hemingway's isolated lifestyle.  "Mr. Willie" had filled a void as his constant and faithful companion.  I can see him at his feet, or up on his desk, as he penned "The Old Man and the Sea, and "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

The picture hanging over my kitchen sink will look differently to me.  Although always melancholy, it will be even more somber knowing what really became of "Mr. Willie."