Reality Show Star Entrepreneur: Skinnygirl Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel
Skinnygirl  Bethenny Frakel,  Christopher Polk- Getty Images

Talking about  business models, and making something from nothing, I am continually inspired by Bethenny Frankel, reality star turned Entrepreneur.

Frankel, you'll recall, was a finalist on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.   While the then natural foods chef didn't win the Aprenticeship from Stewart, she was already off and running in on her own steam as savvy businesswoman soon-to-be Entrepreneur. How Bethenny Frankel Used Her Reality Show To Make 120 Million

No sooner had she wrapped the show with Stewart, when she was approached by producers of The New York Housewife's.  Frankel admits that she dodged the offer for two months', as she already had a deal on the table with  Pepperidge Farm.

After speaking to producers, she negotiated the right to promote her products' on the show.  In a world where the show makes the star, Frankel turned around the opportunity to leverage her own business efforts.

Very clever indeed.

Her first business, "BethennyBakes" she delivered and prepared organic food to the doors' of New York's health "foodies.

 Loving Margaritas, she was struck by the caloric count in the drink.  She was amazed at how high the calories are in just one margarita.  Frankel knocked on doors, approaching all the distributors with an idea for a reduced version of the Margarita.  Unable to sell her idea to distributors, she decided this product would fill a need, and  produced it herself.

Skinnygirl was born.

 She partnered with David Kanbar (formerly with Skyy Vodka).  Kanbar and Frankel met with mixologists' to perfect the ingredients.  The business model was so successful they couldn't keep up with demand.  The clever girl then sold the product to Jim Beam Distributors for a reported 120 million.

Not bad.

To date, there are two other cocktail lines in the Skinnygirl  brand.  Moreover, Frankel has her own exercise video, clothes line, and has several published best sellers on diet and cooking.

The girl has the "it" factor.  At only 42, she is already at the top of her game.  Make no mistake, it all looks so easy.  But during her career ascent she rarely slept and worked outrageous hours to achieve this level of success.

Everyone has the opportunity.  But few of us are willing to sacrifice so much and have the "pit bull" attitude it takes to reach the goal.

If you have the drive, the idea, and are willing to see it through to the end you are one of the chosen few.

The rest of us will sit on the sidelines and ogle at your victory.

Celebrating The Queen's Jubilee

Popperfoto:  Getty Images

I enjoyed watching the Queen's Diamond Jubilee feature on 20/20 last night.  It was everything bright and beautiful.  I particularly liked the look into the Queen's childhood, and how she evolved into what she is today.

What I like best is she is still traditional.

Of course, she would be.  You can't be royalty and not hang onto tradition.  Isn't that what it's all about?

 I am in love with history.  I could easily live in England.  Yes, I would be homesick, but I get a buzz out of knowing that I am standing on soil centuries years' old.  I revel in thinking about Ann Boleyn, Henry VIII, Queen Victoria.

I like analyzing what makes the Queen so special.

I was surprised to learn she wasn't exactly in line to the throne.  But when King Edward stepped down, to marry the infamous Mrs. Simpson, her fate was sealed.  Her father, King George was now King.  All the activities she enjoyed as a child would have to be supervised at Buckingham Palace.   Her life was restricted to growing up within the palace walls.

20/20 (05.29.12)
The Diamond Jubilee:  ABC NEWS
But what is, and was, so remarkable about Elizabeth is she is a picture perfect Queen.

She has never given an interview to reporters, is always dressed as you imagine a Queen should be dressed.  Bright, cheerful, classic.

She seems to always handle the diciest situations with grace.

 Her one fumble, after Diana's death, in not participating at Diana's funeral, is the only cloud on her horizon.  She handled the palace scandals throughout the years.  The notorious divorce of the much more worldly Princess Margaret, the adventurous 'Fergie' and of course; the courtship, marriage and divorce of her son and Princess Diana.

I was also surprised to learn that she is a master mechanic.  During World War II, she was working along side commoners repairing war trucks for England.  She wasn't spoiled, and took up responsibility willingly without hesitation.

The one thing that was not negotiable was Prince Phillip.  While he was a Greek Prince, King George was not enthusiastic about embracing him as a son-in-law.  The demure Elizabeth, being extremely tenacious, was not about to let go of her soul mate.  She stood her ground and told King George that she was determined to marry.  Eventually, they became engaged, and Phillip was welcomed into the royal family.

I delight in seeing the Queen with her Corgis' and horses.  She has similar interests that I have.  Family, and animals are up at the top.  Most people cannot envision having to give up so much to serve their country.

I would gladly offer up my services, however.  I could do this for God and my country!

So it is with joy and wonder, I watch history in the making, and celebrate in my humble dwelling, her 60th year as Queen.

Why Is One Child Lost And Another Found?

Etan Patz, Timeline

I read this story and think of my son.  How many of us have let our children make that first step to independence, and worried that we won't see them again.  I bet every one of us.

It was different for Etan Patz,  memorial day weekend,  May 25, 1979:  After 33 Years, Police Make An Arrest in Case of Etan Patz 

It was all so innocent, it would be the first time that Etan would make the trip to the bus stop alone.  His mother walked him to the front of the apartment complex that morning, never imagining she'd never see him again.  Just a block and a half from the school bus stop in New York City.

The case remain unsolved until Pedro Hernandez, 51, confessed to the crime last week.  According to the NY Times, Hernandez had confessed to family members' throughout the years.  The family, even called New York police to report it.  Some how, police dismissed his confession as him just being a "lunatic."

Hernandez was a 19 year-old bag checker - working at a bodega -on Etan's route,  during the summer of 1979.

I can't tell you how many times I have looked back at how I raised my children and thought to myself;  how lucky I am.

I can remember the firsts' for my children:

The first time I let them take the elevator by themselves to the front of our apartment building, to wait for the school bus.  The first time I  let my daughter bike to school, just 6 blocks away from home, when she was in third grade.

I remember asking her teacher if she thought it was safe.  My daughter was already a third grader and I still worried.

I once took the children to a friend's company picnic during summer in Florida.   The picnic was held on the Miami zoo's property.  The picnic was barricaded off from the cages and animals. I hadn't batted an eye when they had escaped and gone under the security stanchions.  I was talking to my friend, enjoying the picnic, and within seconds they were gone.

My heart stopped.

I thought of Adam Walsh, I thought of never seeing them again.  I raced to the security guards, and a massive search ensued that Saturday afternoon.  The zoo was flooded with people.  Five minutes into the search, I still could not see them.  The zoo in Miami, as most zoos, was huge and spread out.

Finally after running like a manic from cage to cage, I found them, holding hands in front of the monkey cage.

They were so precious, reminding me of Hansel and Gretel.

Things might not have turned out as well.  It could have been a tragedy.  Why is one child lost forever and another found?

As a parent, I can't come to grips with that.

Just "dumb" luck I suppose.  It is not that one parent is any better or worse when tragedy strikes.

It is easy to blame the parents.  The truth is, kids' are like contortionists.  In the blink of an eye, they can get out of a car, run away from a table, lose you in a crowd.

I am happy that Etan Patzs' family has finally got closure.  Ever time I hear his story, and other stories of lost children, I think to myself how lucky I am.

How lucky I am...

Fear Keeps Me From Being An Entrepreneur

I was thrilled reading Sara Blakely's advise on how she found success as an Entrepreneur.   She dispels just about everything you would think you'd have to do to roll out your product: Ten Lesson's I Learned from Sara Blakely That You Won't Hear In Business School.

With just $5,000 dollars, she introduced Spanx, a  women's undergarment, that evolved by her "cutting off the legs" of her pantyhose to develop her prototype.

I  have a couple of ideas' that I am convinced would be successful. The first of which, was a drive-in deli.  At the time, I was living in Miami, Florida.  In the 1980's there were tons of delis'.  However, there were no quality delis' in a drive-in venue.  Convinced people would pay a premium price for a good, fast- food deli. I quickly got to work on getting prices for meats, fish, breads, and beverages from wholesalers.'

My drive-in deli would start out simple.  I would only offer refrigerated foods, there would be no grilling, or cooking.  This would hold down start-up costs.  I would have meat steamers, and all refrigerated products, including the cole slaw and potato salad.

I contacted Roy Black, a prominent patent attorney at the time in Miami.  Since I was working as a Marketing Director at a major mall in Miami, I approached food merchants and ran my idea by them.  It was suggested I open "a deli in a strip center first to test the waters."

I was completely against the idea because the whole concept was to have it just off South Dixie highway;(US 1), next to a heavily traveled road, where people would have easy access, and have high visibility.

 Interestingly, Sara advises not to discuss  ideas prematurely, before having your prototype ready to go.  People, according to Sara Blakely, will want to shoot it down before it gets off the ground.

Isn't that the truth!

However, my enthusiasm for the drive-in deli waned and my idea died on the vine.  

Why?  Fear, fear and more fear. 

In the beginning I was convinced I could find an investor that would back my concept.  But I neglected to follow through.  Excuses, excuses.

I never believed my research was polished enough.  

Sara Blakely worked from the back forward.  She focused on her effort for two years to complete her prototype.  She didn't worry about her business plan, or the presentation.  With her initial investment of $5,000.00,  she hired people to put together the details.  This allowed her to focus on her product and reach her goal.

Why didn't I do that? 

 I always thought that I had to do everything myself, and the venture soon became overwhelming.  Unlike Sara, who gave herself permission to delegate what she couldn't handle.

 I have already addressed two major issues that Sara overcame that kept me from following through on my dream.  

Sara didn't let the details stop her. Instead, she continued to focus on the product. This is one of the traits of a true entrepreneur.

I have another idea I have been kicking around, which targets unemployed 50 plus women.  It is a
networking idea to help them find career placement.

So I ask myself, what's stopping me now?

Obamacare: Nobody Wins

I recently addressed health care issues for Franciscan University, regarding its' dropping student health care insurance, due to Obamacare's  mandatory coverage requirement for abortion and contraception.   Obamacare: Not So Attractive

The Obamacare healthcare bubble is bursting.

According to Godfather Politics: Affordable Health Care Act-Results In Costs Rising Faster Than US Inflation Rate; it is not only the Catholic health community that has headaches with the plan, but it appears it is a corporate issue as well.

According to statistics from the Health Care Institute, Obamacare, once touted as the be-all-end-all to health care plans is not delivering:

  • Costs to employers for health care coverage for employees increased 3.3% in 2010
  • The inflation rate for the United States in 2010 was only 1.5% less than half the rate of increase in health care
  • Price of prescriptions increased by 3%
  • Admission cost for in-patient care went up by 5.1%
  • Outpatient treatment costs rose to 10%

The Health Care Institute gathered this data from Aetna, Humana Inc, and United Health Care.

Looks like the honeymoon is over.  Which goes back to my view of the Obamacare in general.  If it looks too good to be true, it is.

While the intention was there, Obamacare is a pipe dream, nothing more.  I can't see how things can get better. 

For example, I work as a contractor for a major United States corporation that has let its' permanent employees go to hire people without the benefits of a health care plan.  Typical of contractor employment.  No benefits.

This is taking place with much of corporate America, because of the economic crisis in this country.  While the President's health care plan sounded great, it is just not delivering.

So what is the answer?  The answer is not going to be found in a socialized medicine plan;  because, as I have said before, someone has to pay.  The package always looks good, but there are always back-end provider costs. 

With Obamacare, no matter how you slice it, nobody wins.  

Looks like it is back to the drawing board.   After all, you can't get blood out of a stone.

College Student Protests Weight Discrimination

Jordan Ramos
Jennifer Ramos and fellow students plan protest in Iowa City over incident
Benjamin Roberts / Iowa City Press-Citizen

It's no wonder that America has its' share of bullies. After watching Dr. Drew last night, I was absolutely appalled by the statements made by Me Me Roth, regarding her position on student, Jordan Ramos,

Ramos, 21, was turned away from dancing on a platform at a bar in Iowa City. Ms. Roth's first name all but explains her agenda:
" It isn't like they said she couldn't drink," she said. "This is a girl who wanted the audience to find her beautiful. It didn't find her beautiful, said Roth.

Roth is an anti-obesity activist and founder of National Action Against Obesity. Does she really believe people choose to be overweight? It was reported that Ramos was turned away two-times by a club bouncer, when she approached the club's platform to dance.  Confronting the bouncer, he admitted he was not letting her dance on the platform because of her size:
"It completely made me feel like a worthless human being -- that I wasn't as valuable as somebody who might be prettier or thinner than me," said Ramos.
More surprising, was the caller remarks' on Dr. Drew's show. They all seemed to support Ms. Roth's position; which is, the club has a right to limit the platform dancing to slender, attractive people.

There are too many selfish, superficial people that populate this planet. I am ashamed for our country. One would think there is more to the person than what they eat or don't eat. 
I do care about my weight, I struggle like most with keeping it down. However, I would never think to play the blame game with regard to judging why someone is obese. Taking this a step further, there are those that believe  obese people should not have the right to enjoy life in the same way as thinner people. 
This is not so different from how Nazi Germany evolved. If you weren't blond, white, Aryan, Christian, you didn't deserve to live. What a travesty! I never imagined that there is so much discrimination. I gave us far too much credit, and thought we had intellectually evolved much more. 
This particular incident took place at the Union Bar, in Iowa City, Iowa. The owner, George Whitgraf issued a formal apology in the local news paper :Bar Owner Apologizes To Woman Who Felt Discriminated Against Because Of Weight
I can't help but deduce this attitude has to start at home.
What are we teaching our children? Are we instilling values that include compassionate understanding? We place so much value on formal education. I believe we neglect to address the most basic issue, regarding respecting people and their differences. 
The fact is; our morality, integrity, and how we treat others, cannot be taught at school. This has to come from parents.' Our children will mimic our behavior and attitudes. It all begins with taking an inventory of what is projected to children at home. 
If we neglect this fundamental responsibility, we are just as guilty as the offenders' because we failed to do a good job with our parenting. 

Link Between Personality and Frontal Lobe Brain Injury?

Phineas Gage
From the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus (Image laterally reversed to show the features in the correct position since daguerreotype is a mirror image)

Read more:

I am fascinated by this story: Phineas Gage-Neurosciences Most Famous Patient.  While fascinated, I am not surprised.

Phineas Gage lived in the late 1800's.   He was a railroad foreman, and as such, suffered a bizarre accident that drove a rod through his head, blinding him his left eye and destroying the part of the left frontal lobe.

Phineas was never the same after the accident. His personality and demeanor totally changed.

Once a respected foreman, who was liked by his peers, turned into a nasty ogre who used profanity, could not complete tasks, and was reduced to taking odd jobs to support himself until his death.

Once the frontal lobe is damaged, people can become violent, disorganized, easily frustrated and highly irritable.  Frontal Lobe Injury

I am not surprised by this story, as I have witnessed this in my family. This individual suffered a frontal lobe injury after running into a wall as a child.  Following the mishap, he became angry and impatient.  Similar to the personality change and description of Phineas Gage.

According to the article, once the white matter surrounding the cerebral cortex is damaged, it prevents the brain from making its' neurological connections that account for how we react to our environment.  Because the brain has been traumatized,  people effected can react inappropriately to every day stimuli.

Our family member, whom I will call "Gregg" can lose his temper over the most trivial reason.  If a cup is not put away correctly, or he receives a response from a question that he does not like, he will  lose control.    He appears to enjoy starting arguments; thinks nothing of raising his voice, or even screaming, in public.

This kind of behavior would embarrass most people.  While Gregg is aware of his short temper, and has sought help, he still is not pleasant to be around and not surprisingly, has few friends.

It is not unusual for people who engage in criminal activity to also have this disorder The Criminal Brain: Frontal Lobe Dysfunction Evidence in Capitol Proceedings.  The man in this documented case, suddenly began to read child pornography and solicit prostitutes.

 According to the case study, the individual began to have serious headaches, and after being admitted to the hospital, it was discovered he had a large tumor. Once removed, his impulses subsided.

There are many incarcerated people that have had frontal lobe injuries.  Many of them unaware of why they have strong impulses to commit crime.  For the unlucky people that suffer from Frontal Lobe Injury, medication may help but not cure them of this disorder.

Phineas Gage was the first story documented on the link between personality change and Frontal Lobe injury.  According to the article,  two thirds of  introductory psychology books mention the Phineas Gage case.

A cast of his face, his skull and the rod are housed at Harvard Medical Schools Warren Anatomical Museum.

Elephant Whisperer Speaks No More

Lawrence Anthony:  Camera Press

Two herds of wild elephants in mourning.  They traveled over 12 miles to pay homage to Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist known as "The Elephant Whisperer." Lawrence Anthony,

Anthony was a native of Johannesburg,South Africa.  He made international news in 2003, when he arrived in Baghdad to rescue animals in Saddam Hussein's zoo. 

Anthony witnessed horrific conditions at the zoo.  Carcasses of dead animals lined the cages.  Parrots were loose, monkeys'  and baboons'  ran wild.  He worked for six months' to restore the original condition of the zoo.  By the time Anthony finished his mission, the animals were well fed, with fresh water, and in good health.

In his native South Africa, he was known for establishing the "Earth Organization," a  conservation effort which established two new reserves.  The first of which The  Royal Zulu Biosphere in Zululand, and The Mayibuye Game Reserve in Kwa Ximba, both in South Africa.  These reserves provided people with jobs, and helped preserve wildlife from uncontrolled development.

So when Anthony learned the fate of two herds of wild elephants, he decided to work with them to save them from certain death.  The elephants had broken out of every enclosure they had been in.  There were nine in all, highly dangerous and and feared by villagers.

Anthony explained that he began to work with them by pleading with them to behave.  He singled out "Nana" first, the matriarch of the group.  At one point, he literally threw himself in front of her, explaining that if she broke through the electric enclosure again, she would be killed.  Remarkably, his effort to try to speak rationally to "Nana" paid off.   He used words and gestures, explaining to her that he knew she couldn't actually understand, but he hoped that his tone would convey what he was trying to say. Gazing at him in anger, she ultimately turned around and walked away.  

So, on March 2nd, when Lawrence Anthony died, two herds of elephants that Anthony had worked with unselfishly to save, made  the 12 mile procession to his grieving family's home.  How they understood is unknown.  But it is said that elephants are fiercely loyal to their families.   The herds mulled about the family property for two days, as if to pay respect and love for sparing their lives.  Then, after spending two days on the property,, turned around returning orderly to the reserve.

To the locals, there is no question that these elephants were in mourning.  They had accepted Lawrence Anthony as their own.  In their own way, they understood his passing.

I treasure this remarkable story, it is another testament of the intense love and devotion animals are capable of expressing.

Lawrence Anthony was one of the privileged few to understand this connection,  Because of his special gifts, he was able to communicate with them in his own way.

It is unlikely the elephants' will every forget his unconditional love and devotion.

Obamacare Not So Attractive

Okay, I admit the package is attractive, health care for everyone, pre-existing conditions are covered, sounds wonderful, right?

Truth is, there are more nuances to the package for students at Franciscan University; a Catholic college in Steubenville, Ohio. Catholic Students Take A Hit Because Of Obamacare

Because of the position of the church on right-to life issues, students will lose their health insurance with the University.  The position of of the University is this: They will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of life.

The socialized medical plan would require the University to up the the maximum coverage for each student to $100,000.  Students' now paying $600.00 for coverage will have to now pay $1200.00.   So, the University opted out of a student health plan altogether

How sad for students.'   However, as a Catholic myself, I understand.  The college was backed into a corner.  I can see how people would disagree with my view.  However, even if the University did agree to cover contraception and abortion costs, the plan is not flawless as costs to students' will still be exorbitant.

I believe that if this glitch is already effecting Catholic Universities, how will it impact American citizens.

Obviously, someone has to pay for extended coverage and pre-existing conditions.  It all looks good, but how easy will this be facilitated?  This has always been an issue for me with socialized medicine.  While it is very attractive, there a numerous draw backs to the plan: Obamacare: Disadvantages

Other issues include:
  • quality of health care
  • co-pay expenses for extended or pre-existing coverage
  • difficulty in getting appointments
  • waiting time for emergency care 
All that glitters' is not gold.  So much of this  is a pipe dream.  I'll admit, Initially I was on the bandwagon, excited about the roll-out.  But with every positive in social medicine there are two or more negatives. 

The reason we love America so much is because of the quality of life in this country.  Americans' never have to compromise when it came to getting premium health care.  This is why people all over the world have come to our country to get treatment for serious health issues.

With that said,  each of us has to examine what issues are important to us.  More important:  We need to examine the package offered by Obamacare.

Is this plan really everything we were promised?

Keep A Low Profile On The Job

Employee : A young employee is sneaking away a case of private documents and telling the viewer to be quiet, isolated against a white background Stock Photo Stock photos

Having worked for most of my life, I have made many observations.  One conclusion I have come to  is emotional displays in the workplace can sabotage your career.

I am convinced that employees who are whinny and troublesome are not the stand-outs for the next promotion. In fact, it is likely they won't be on the payroll next year.

I also don't believe that employees that have a tenure with a company are necessarily the most creative, or most talented.  However, these employees have an uncanny ability to conduct themselves professionally.

 How well you adapt and fit in with your colleagues can also make or break you.  Strong leadership skills, and being able to divorce yourself from personal issues are coveted traits in the corporate world.

 One of my co-workers a long time ago gave me wonderful advise on how to conduct myself on weekly conference calls:  "Try to be invisible".  The point is, getting on your supervisor's radar may not be the best idea.  Listening skills go a long way.

I have worked in businesses where I have observed people that are tougher than nails.  These employees  are direct and focused. They crack the whip, are great with details, and get the job done.  They are far too clever to let their emotional guard down at work.

Emotional displays can put you at risk.   Particularly to other ambitious employees that may want your job.  I found this piece of interest:  Use Your Jealously, Anxiety and Frustration To Motivate You At Work.
While it is not healthy to bottle emotions, the workplace is not a place to expose them.  We are all human, and, as such, have good and bad days.

One of the mistakes I am guilty of is believing my co-workers are friends.  No one is my friend at work.  If it comes right down to it, any one of my co-workers will throw me under the bus of if their job is in jeopardy.  Trouble is, I have a hard time believing this.

It is easy to get comfortable on the job.  After all, we spend more time with co-workers than with family. Personally, it is hard for me to make small talk.  But that is exactly the only type of talk I should engage in at work.

Employers don't appreciate personal problems brought to the job. The key is not to give anybody any ammunition that would compromise your career.

Above all: be your own counsel.  Unless, of course, you have specific job-related issues to discuss with your supervisor.

So, as I head back to my desk, I repeat to myself: " I will not discuss my date last night, I will not discuss my date last night, I will not discuss my date last night".

Cruise Lines Need to Beef Up Emergency Training

I have always loved being on a cruise.  To me, it is the ultimate in complete relaxation.  I don't have an phobias about being out at sea, or getting sea sick.

Lately, I have become skeptical about the safety in cruising.  Especially after reading this:Carnival Cruise Sued for "Party Atmosphere" That Allegedly Led to Woman's Death

First the Costa Cruise Line capsizes because of an out-to-lunch captain, who ran his ship aground because he was distracted by his mistress.  Now, Carnival Cruise Lines is being sued because an intoxicated woman slices her wrist on glass and bleeds to death.

Both incidents' make me nervous.  While they are rate instances, both point to staff that is clueless.  The lawsuit filed by the family of the woman that died on the Carnival cruise, alleges the staff was not trained to deal with this emergency.  The woman bled out, and suffered a coronary after being taken to the ship's infirmary.

In the Costa Cruise Line incident, poor leadership and procedures led to the death of  28 of its' more than 4,200 passengers.  Four passengers' are still unaccounted: for :More Bodies Found On Costa Cruise Ship.

I don't have that warm an cozy feeling about safety and cruising anymore.  To me, it was like being inside a womb, safe, with every comfort imaginable.  The reality is, with the construction of monster ships, safety has not been properly addressed.

The reality is every passenger is responsible for himself.  It is clear that passengers' cannot expect to rely on the expertise of cruise staff or even the captain.

I would like to hear or read that cruise lines are seriously addressing this issue.  It would be comforting to learn that one of companies has initiated intensive training and on going drills to prepare for emergencies.

The fact is, these events would not stop me from taking a cruise.  But you can bet that I will prepare myself by checking out the life boats and become familiar with the ship should I make this venture.

Can You Have Children and Career?

Ahikam Seri/Bloomberg via Getty Images

I certainly wasn't one of the world's most powerful women, however;  I was a single mom trying to keep my head above water. My children were 2 and 4 when I divorced, and I had to have a game plan to keep my job and be able to have round the clock child care.

I was fortunate that I lived in Miami Beach, Florida.  During the time my children were young, in the 1980's; there was a continual influx of hispanics from Central and South America.  I decided to place an ad in Diario Las Americas, Miami's spanish newspaper, to look for live-in help.

I didn't feel comfortable dropping my children off at a day-care center.  Moreover, when I traveled, I had no one that could care for them.  The side benefit was that my children would learn Spanish as a second language.

Although, like the women mentioned in this article World's 20 Most Powerful Mom's;  I was able to join my children for dinner each evening - I felt guilty that I missed being home to raise them myself.

Katharine Hepburn once remarked that  you can't have a career and children.

There is a great deal of wisdom in that comment.

Women today have children and careers.  It is a fine juggling act.  Many of the women that have careers can't  run home when their children need them.  I don't know how they feel about leaving their care and rearing to someone else.

My relationship with my children is not the best.  Every now and then, they will comment on my career, and the "nannies" that were there when I was away.  I blame much of the problems I have with them on making this decision.

I think they lost respect for me as a mother.  While they never admitted this to me, I believe they felt cheated.

My daughter is not married, and has a professional career..  I am curious to see how she will manage her child care, if she chooses to have children.  If I were living where she resides, I certainly would want to help her out.

 I didn't have any family to step in and assist.  I do believe that if family can help, it makes all the difference in raising children.  That way, the child still feels connected to the mother.

Funny how history repeats itself, as I was also raised my a nanny.  She was an incredible Peruvian woman, who was closer to me than my mother, as  my mother traveled frequently.

I grew up with a hole in my heart, yearning for parents' and family that I didn't have.

If I had to do it over again, I honestly don't know what I would do.  It is tempting to take the short cut, be selfish and opt for both career and family.

Personal experience tells me it can be heartbreaking for the child.

A Dog's Enduring Love

Hachiko, courtesy Wikipedia

I spent the weekend crying. It was a bittersweet experience. I had watched the television story " Hachi :" A Dog's Tale. It ripped my heart out.
You have heard many incredible dog stories about loyalty. This one, is the original dog loyalty story. It dates back to 1924, when Professor Hidesamuro Ueno brought Hachiko, an Akita puppy to Tokyo . 
The pup used to stand by the door of his home to see him off each morning. At 4:00 pm in the afternoon, Hachiko waited for his beloved owner at the train station. One day, the Professor did not get off the train. That did not stop Hachiko, as this faithful dog continued to return to the station at precisely the same time, every day, until his death 9 years later in 1934. 
Ueno had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died in the hospital. The dog was given to relatives who lived far from the train station. However, Hachiko continually escaped to going back to the same site to wait for the Professor. 
I cannot think of any human this loyal. My love for dogs' goes way back to my earliest memories. I can remember watching Lassie Come Home and bawling my eyes out. 
Perhaps my pain comes from the fact that I longed for the true love this dog gave to his master. Having absentee parents, the emptiness is so deep that it stays with me - to watch this film was like adding salt to an open wound. 
Animals, like Hachiko,, teach us about life. The show us loyalty without boundaries. .Loyal dogs, like Hachiko diie every day for their masters'. There are stories about pets standing guard at their owners' graves - refusing to eat or leave. 
I had a German Shepherd that I had to put down. She suffered from cancer, she became so ill that she could barely lift her head. My faithful love, stared at me until she could no longer keep her eyes open.

Gretel was probably cut from the same grain as Hachiko . She was a fierce body guard, She used to pace room- to- room looking in on the children. She was always "on duty" and forever devoted to the family. 
I keep telling myself I will not buy another pet, because it is too painful to lose them. Yet, I cannot imagine life without the true love and devotion of a dog. It frightens me that some day, in the not too distant future, I will not be able to care for another pet.
I pray that this day never comes. 
I am eternally grateful for this God-given gift. Dogs are a treasure.They are worth more than any amount of money. The bond I have with them is stronger than any human friendship.

I know that they love me too, I only need to gaze into their eyes to see how much.

A Dog's Enduring Love: Part Two

Pit Bull Saves Owner from Oncoming Train
Angell Animal Medical Center 

I want to share some positive information with you for a change about Pit Bull dogs.  This is another example of   how much a dog can love you :Brave Pit Bull Saves Woman From Train

I had just semi- recovered from watching the Hachi:  A Dog's Tale.  When I first saw the article, I thought, oh, no, I can't go through this emotional roller coaster again- but I caved and read the story.

Precious Lilly, is an 8 year old Pit Bull,  adopted as a service dog for Christine Spain.  Her son, police officer David Lanteigne,  adopted her  from Boston Dog Rescue.  Lillly was brought home to look after Christine, an alcoholic.  

Christine had passed out on train tracks with a train bearing down on her.  Lilly wasted no time in throwing herself in front of the train, pulling Christine to safety.

When the conductor tried to stop, he was unable.  He had thought he had hit Christine, but later discovered she was pulled off the tracks.  Sadly, Lilly was dragged along with train, and had suffered severe pelvic injuries, and one of her legs had to be amputated.

I think Christine owes Lilly.  More than just giving her love and affection, she needs to give up drinking for good.    After all, had Christine not been drinking, this terrible accident wouldn't have happened.
I understand this is easier said, than done.  If this is not enough motivation for this woman, I can't think of anything else that will be.

What this dog has done is just remarkable.  For once, we have some good news about the Pit Bull dog.

I have come in contact with a couple of Pit Bull dogs.  They were both friendly and calm.  I realize they can be treacherous, but I believe their training and breeding play a huge part in their temperament.

Dogs are no different than humans.  If abused, they will grow to be abusers.  With love and training, a Pit Bull is capable of undying devotion.

Along with Hatchiko, war dogs , and our pets';  man's best friend demonstrates his undying love for his master.

It is no mistake she ended up being treated at Angell Animal Medical Center.

There is no question she is Christine's guardian angel.

The Haircut- Vidal Sassoon London

The sixties were fun times.  So many changes were evolving.  Women were liberated by the birth control pill,; students were protesting , the Viet Nam war was raging.

Hemlines shrunk,  hair rollers' were passe.  No wonder it was called the swinging sixties.

Enter Vidal Sassoon.  His name was on every fashionista's lips.  This hip, new trendsetter had every woman's attention when he lopped off  hair and introduced the 5 point cut.  From The Archives, Remembering Vidal Sassoon

We said goodbye to the "flipped" and  "page boy" styles.
Grace Coddington
Grace Coddington models the Five-Point cut
Photo: David Montgomery/Getty Images
I was about to turn 21.  The year was 1972.  My sister was a flight attendant for National Airlines.  My best friend, my mother, and I were booked on her flight out of Miami to London.  On boarding the plane, we upgraded to first class.

Can it get any better?

Mom was a pass rider. We were anxious about her getting "bumped" and missing the flight.  The doors were just about to close on the plane when she boarded.  We all breathed a sigh of relief!

I was wearing my hair in a "shag" - the hot hair cut of the day.   Since London was the mecca of the fashion world back in the day.

 Vidal Sassoon had opened his salon in 1954, in a trendy section of London.  He was the first hairdresser to earn the title of hair stylist.   Fashion conscious women were eager to try out his wash and wear hair cuts.

It was no surprise that after landing at Heathrow Airport,  I couldn't wait to book an appointment at his salon.

There is no way I would go to London without having my hair cut at Vidal Sassoon.

This was going to give me bragging rights.  It was the one thing I had to do, now that I was going to turn 21.

The following day, I arrived early.  My friend accompanied me, asking if I was sure I wanted to do this.  My  mind was made up and I was excited about the change.

I had no idea of what style I was going to get.  Of course, I did not get booked with Vidal himself, but one of his many stylists'.

A trendy redhead with fair skin introduced herself as "Herta."  Fingering through my abundant head of hair, she asked;

 "Have you thought about going a bit shorter?"

The decision was made, and my shoulder-length layered style was history.  I looked at my locks on the floor, as she carefully snipped away. I felt my heart beating as  I closed my eyes tightly, afraid to look in the mirror.

When I finally got the courage, I  opened them, delightfully surprised with the new me.

I walked out of the salon with a chin length bob,  and a sculpted neckline.  I loved the style!

Vidal set the trend for young women in the day.  Being the smart and talented businesses man that he was, Vidal understood fashion- leading him to create his own line of jeans and ready-to-wear line.

When I heard of his passing it saddened me.  I thought of my amazing trip to London- sporting a Vidal Sassoon cut-  celebrating my birthday on top of the London Hilton.

Turning 21 at the end of the swinging sixties is one of my fondest memories.

The haircut today represents Mod England.  Vidal has a place in history- I will forever remember him and that memorable summer.

Credit Issues Can Cost You Your Job

Outrageous.   We've all heard about employers' checking credit scores and social media sites to research their employees' credit scores and find out more about their lifestyles.  I hadn't heard of anyone actually being fired for having credit issues before I read this: A Petition on

It is happening.  According to, Latoya Harton, an accountant, was fired from her job because her debt-to-credit ratio was too high.  Unbelievable.  Latoya is trying to pay off student loan debt.  This is out and out discrimination.  It must be stopped.

According to Latoya, 60% of employers now check employees credit reports, namely TransUnion credit. This company sells credit reports to employers'.  According to; TransUnion's Chair sits on Obama's job panel.

This is an outrage!

Citizens cannot sit sit still with this any longer;  witness Occupy and other emerging citizens' groups springing up around the country.

This leaves me asking, what's next?  Are employers' going to put camera's in our bedrooms' and bug our telephone calls?

It all makes me very nervous.  Remember Nazi Germany?  This regime started innocently enough.  You were a good German if you joined the party, and look what happened with that mentality.

This is no different.  Our country is in danger of becoming socialist.  We are now being discriminated against  because of our personal income and how we manage money.  Excuse me, but Donald Trump and other Entrepreneurs' couldn't have gotten where they're at if they were being scrutinized by companies checking out their credit.

Just like conducting any other analysis, we need to stop and reflect where this could have started.  Yes, our economy is in trouble, people out of work, and businesses are closing left and right.  The paranoia has now extended to citizens' private lives, which should have nothing to do with this issue.

We have to contact our local legislators and let them know that we do not approve!  It has to start at the grass roots level and work its way up to Washington and big business has to hear our voice.

I urge you to go to this petition and be heard.

 Let businesses know you are not okay with this privacy invasion.

Cuba Remembered

Havana vintage taxi's Boston Globe (

I have a picture of my parents' hanging in my hallway.  It is a classic.  Taken in the 1940's, in Havana, Cuba.

Havana was the place to be see and be seen in that era.  My mother and dad are seated at the bar at a club named "Sloppy Joe's."  Seated next to them a tour guide, with his hair greased back and parted in the middle in the middle.

I love to look at this picture and dream.  Dream about the fashions of the era, and what Cuba would be like to visit.  This article caught my eye and provided some excitement. After 50 years of restrictions, Cubans Hope to Travel Freely.

Amazing.  Back in the late 1950's my dad had just completed building an aluminum extrusion company in Havana.  It was in operation two days, and was shut down by the government.  Dad lost that plant, and with it, many of his dreams.

This is welcomed news.  It wasn't only dad that was effected, but millions of Cuban nationals that had to flee their country for the promise of new beginnings in the United States.  I lived the Cuban drama growing up in Miami.  I witnessed the acculturation of the Cuban population, having to start their lives over again, and leave everything behind.

While there are still restrictions on travel for doctors', scientists' and military personnel.  The Marxist regime is now opening real estate transactions and sales, and some private enterprise.  All in all, this looks very promising .

Perhaps Raul Castro will have a more liberal outlook with regard to relaxing much of Cuba's restrictions on free enterprise and offer more flexibility for its' citizens.

Families were broken when grandfathers' and grandmothers' reluctantly saw their offspring leave Cuba, knowing it might be many years' before they would see them again.

A couple I know went to Cuba for their honeymoon.  They had to jump through hoops to get visas' in the underground market because of previous travel restrictions.  Frankly, I hope Mr. Castro realizes that bringing free enterprise into his country can only bring more stabilization to his people, and will work in his favor to retain the doctors' and scientists' in residence.

For  me, I am hoping I will be able to visit Havana.  I want to go by the building that once was "Sloppy Joe's" to reflect on the good times my parents' had in Havana.

While I'm not packing my suitcase just yet, the thought of taking the trip is still very exciting.

Don't Discuss This at Work

I have broken every rule. I know it is part of my personality, but I found this advise a great reminder: 10 Things You Should Never Tell Your Boss .
  • Your Living Situation
I can remember scrambling around, trying to find an apartment a couple of years' ago. Everyone at the office knew I was on a budget, (I broke another rule).
I had to find a place that was inexpensive, and would take a big dog. Fact is, this should not have been shared in the office. One can be stereotyped by his or her living situation. Particularly, if you are going home to live with parents, or are having trouble making ends meet. 
Being a extrovert, it is too easy for me to blurt out my age, (no, no!), personal issues. I, like others, tend to get too comfortable at the office with co-workers. I realize that this has undermined me in the workplace before. 
Although I hate to think about this, the truth is, there are people in the workplace that don't like me. They may want me out for what ever reason. The moment I share sensitive information with them, I can count on this getting back to my boss. I know that my indiscretions will not be welcomed news. 
The lesson here is, personal information is just that, and should be kept close to the vest. If only I can remember this! 
  • Mental Health Issues
We all have had some mild mental health issues, whether it be a loss, or some kind of set-back that can compromise our work. It is best kept to ourselves. Obviously, if there is a death in the family, your supervisor has to know- in order to for you to make plans to take off.
However, how you react to the loss, or how it has effected you is none of her business. The rationale here is, sharing how you feel, or how you are coping with any issues may get you passed over for any promotion for which you are being considered. 
The rationale is that you are unstable, and cannot handle the promotion. 
It all seems so innocent, and we all are human. We spend 8, 10 hours and sometimes more with our co-workers, letting our guard down is easy. Fact is, letting our guard down can put us on death row. 
I will let you read the other 8 things you should not tell your boss on your own. I want to end with sharing a little story with you about my own indiscretion that jeopardized my job. 
Having held a Marketing Management position for a company, I was in a continuing education workshop taught by another Marketing Manager (far younger, far less experienced than myself). At lunch, I made a stupid, off-hand comment about salary, something along the lines of "and for all of $________a year, I get to....."

I sealed my death warrant. Turns out, the rookie was making far less than me, and that got back to my supervisor. It was not pretty. 
He may have been far less experienced, but much wiser! 
The next time I want to open my mouth, I will exercise restraint. . I have to keep reminding myself, co-workers are not friends. Inasmuch as I want them to be, it is what it is. 
When I want to whine, I will try to visualize three large pieces of masking tape over my mouth. 

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: The Ruthless Killer

Still another cow has been identified as having Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE )or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans (aka Mad Cow Disease).  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants us to believe this latest incident is nothing to be concerned about, as this is a dairy cow, and as such - cannot transmit this disease.

This is not an acceptable answer for me.  If this cow is infected, and we don't know how it got infected, how many more cattle are in our food supply with the disease?  Truth is, no one knows how many cows are effected because only a portion of our cattle is tested.  According to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation (CJDF); the USDA randomly 40,000 cows per year. 

Thirty-five million cows are slaughtered annually.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that is not much of a test.  According to The Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation (CJDF), the USDA feels that the test is working, as only 4 cases have been detected since the first infected cow was discovered in 2003.

Moreover, according the CJDF, the USDA is considering relaxing the Over 30 Month (OTM) rule that has been enacted to protect the government meat supply in this country.  Should this happen,  cattle from other countries will  be introduced into our meat supply, upping the odds that cattle will be infected.

I had a good friend contract Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.  Her earliest symptoms were that she felt dizzy.  She initially thought it was an ear disorder.  A CT scan confirmed the diagnosis. Shortly after this first symptom, she lost her vision and was bedridden.  

In 6 weeks she was dead.  I was devastated.  

I don't want this to happen to anyone.  It is a cruel and horrific disease.  We need to be accountable for our families and loved ones, and fight this legislation.  Because it is still a relatively rare disease, it is not a hot topic for most Americans.  

If you have more questions and concerns please check out the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, website, or contact them at 1-800-659-1991.

The "Screamers:" Muscle Head Madness

I go to the gym every day on my lunch hour.  I have always found it quiet, and relaxing.  A time I can put my head phones on and get lost in listening to my favorite music.

That was how I enjoyed my lunch hour  until  "the screamers" joined my gym.

The "screamers" are muscle-head males.  They demonstrate their machoness every day with head rattling vocal ability.  The notes they reach would rival Pavarotti.  All I can think of is asking them if they know that their weights are too heavy.

But I wouldn't dare.

I keep thinking that today will be the day when they give it a break. But just when I get on the tread mill it begins again..


They may think it is attractive, but honestly, with much more of this, I am going to buy them a bottle of Milk-of-Magnesia!

I look around when this happens, everyone - including other men,- stop what they're doing and look over at the side show with me.

Yet still, no one comments, or makes remarks about how rude they are.  It is taking center stage in a place where people want to mellow and fade into the wood work.

Someone should write a book on gym etiquette...hmmmm.

Macho men of the world and wannabe's:  Please don't do this in the gym.  I respect your right to work out along with me, but couldn't you just tone it down a little? Maybe just grunt and let it go at that?  Does it have to be a long, drawn out, cave man display of  percolating testosterone?

For all this, these guys have physiques like sumo wrestlers.  I don't know about you, but I don't find that attractive.

I bet Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't a screamer, are you Arnold?

I miss my quiet lunch hour work out.  I don't think I will have those quiet work outs again.  Not if I want to continue to patronize the same gym.

Just my luck, I will change gyms', and find "screamers" at the new gym.

I am hoping that maybe I will get lucky, and you are reading this.   I won't find out until I get to the gym today.