Posted in Blogging

Drop Out of High School and Suffer the Consequences

Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers rarely think about their future until the world is thrust upon them after graduation or dropping out of school because they are convinced that they can survive without that diploma.

 

Stop Right There!

stop sign

I hate to break the bubble, but someone has to do it. We no longer live in the 1950’s where cars can be fixed without being a certified mechanic, and most of the factory jobs that our grandparents had back then are all in China and Mexico. Unless you want to work at Micky D’s or Dunkin for the rest of your life, get your high school diploma.

Do you know that the questions on the GED test are not taught to most high school students, making the test harder to pass than getting that diploma from school?

But I Don’t Want a College Degree!

I know, you have no desire to go to college. You still need that diploma. There is an alternative to a complete academic education. Why don’t you pick a trade? High schools have been offering trade-school classes for years. By learning a trade and taking part in an apprenticeship, you unlock the door to a higher wage or even owning your own business.

Times Have Changed

Back in the 1980’s I never thought there would come a day when an employer wouldn’t want a long-term employee. Times have changed. The average employee in 2016, has been with their employer for no longer than five years. Between recessions, burst dot-com bubbles, and the housing crunch the job market has changed drastically. If you want to earn a living wage you need either a college degree or a trade skill certificate or license.

There is No One to Blame But You!

Don’t blame the illegal immigrants for taking all the jobs away from you. The top jobs they are applying for is farm labor and construction as indicated by the Pew Research Center, Five Facts about Illegal Immigrants. I don’t know too many American’s who will work for farm wages. Construction work, they would probably do, but if they took part in the trade school while in high school, they would be snagging a better paying job on the crew leaving the runner work for the immigrant.

Lay-offs Happen!

So what if your parents dropped out of school and were able to find jobs. That was then. If you parents haven’t been laid off in the past ten years, then they were one of the lucky ones. Invest in your future not because your parents told you to go to college. Do this for you and only you.

You Decide!

Only you can decide what you like, what you want, and where you will go after high school.

Posted in Kibbles for Writing, recipe

Almost Authentic Crab Rangoons

After searching and searching for a crab rangoon recipe, I was able to make my version with great success. I hope you enjoy these tasty tidbits I made for my New Year celebration.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp powder sugar
  • 1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 cup chopped crab meat
  • wonton wrappers
    ———–
    oil for frying

 

Instructions
After cream cheese softens at room temperature, combine powder sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Next add soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic powder, and minced green onions. Then add crab meat.
Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper, wet all four edges and fold one corner to opposite corner and seal. Repeat with other two corners to seal Rangoon.
Fry about 3-4 at a time at 350 degrees for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
Drain on paper towel.
Summary
The first time I made this recipe, it took me nearly 2 hours between cooking and prepping. Everyone in my family found them to be close to authenticity, if not better than the local restaurant.
Easy to make.

 

Posted in Blogging, If we were having coffee

If We Were Having Coffee I’d Tell You About Surviving Christmas and 2016

Image courtesy of Creative Commons By: Cheryl FoongCC BY 2.0via flicker.com

How many times have I said I will start Christmas shopping in July?

 

The last-minute shopping panic is over, I’m so glad life can return to normal even though time is limited due to school work. I have one year and six months left to finish school, or three plus if I continue on to a Master’s Degree. For the past six months, I have been sticking my nose in a textbook every night, pushing myself to learn topics that I don’t really enjoy. Math was never my favorite subject, that means Finance, Accounting, and anything that requires equations including economics must be learned by use of strict discipline. Those A’s and B’s I have gotten in any of those classes were more than earned. I worked hard, very hard, for those grades.

Maybe the worst classes are almost over for the time being. – sigh –

 

What’s in store for 2017 Classes?

 

Microsoft Office 2013 – I am really looking forward to the next term, almost to the point of excitement. For the past six years, I’ve been playing with Office on my own, stumbling around the software while learning how to format eBooks and print books for publishing. Imagine what I could do if I learned to master the software?

My other class for the next term is Science I. I liked science in high school. Physics and Biology were my strengths. Chemistry falls into the same category as math, with massive distaste. Give me finance over chemistry any day.

 

Term 4 will give me a second round in Science II. Microeconomics is my other course. Hopefully, I will enjoy the business element of economics over the world element.

 

Summer I will prove to be interesting with America’s Themes and Dreams and Marketing. Maybe by the time I get to the Marketing class, I will be ready to release a new book. I have several works in progress at this stage.

 

So far, 2017 is looking to be an exciting year.

 

Summer 2 may start to shape and change my future career with Human Resource Management and Sociology. With one term left to complete to fulfill what is needed to complete an Associate Degree in Business. The rest of the year will build on my Bachelor’s Degree.

All these classes and working full time does not leave me much time for writing nor doing the things that I love doing. At the same time, I am following the dream of acquiring a degree which I have wanted to do for the past thirty years. I can only imagine where I would be today if I had started on my career earlier in life.

If it hadn’t been for Mike making that call to my high school that day to inquire about getting my transcript, I might have continued to put my education off.

 

I expect to have a Bachelor’s Degree by the time I am 55 years old. (Probably before that age).

2016 was an eventful year. It is true, when a door closes, a window of opportunity opens. You just need to learn to find those windows in the places you least expect to find them located.

 

Posted in Blogging

My Parents Hovered, but They Weren’t Helicopters

Image courtesy of creative commons license By: Iqbal OsmanCC BY 2.0 via flickr.com

When I was growing up, I thought of my parents as being strict. I never thought of their rules as being anything but what they were, except when I turned sixteen. Then I thought the rules were a bit outlandish.

First off, I was never allowed to go somewhere alone, except if I was in a direct route to a particular destination, such as a friend’s house. My parents would know when I was leaving to go there and expected my return by 5 pm. I would oblige no questions asked, thinking this was the way things were supposed to be for girls. But they wouldn’t let me walk nor ride my bike downtown alone unless, once again, I was going to a friend’s house and we weren’t walking around downtown.

Downtown in Pepperell, when I was growing up, wasn’t anything spectacular. It was a small town with maybe three shops, a bank, and a pharmacy. I believe the population back then was around 6,000 people. That was back in the 1980’s. The size of Pepperell prevented one from getting into trouble.

I didn’t even know what cow tipping was back then. Something I learned about later in life. No – I didn’t knock over any cows. A coworker mentioned cow tipping one day and had to explain it to me.

Image courtesy of creative commons license By: Ben SutherlandCC BY 2.0 via flickr.com

So my parents were strict. I get it. They kept telling me I couldn’t go anywhere alone because I was a girl. So they feared for my safety. I get it.

Were they helicopter parents?

I think had we had the cell phones that are around today, they might have become that kind of parent. Cell phones are the parent’s crutch to avoiding allowing their children to learn independence. Nowadays, many parents are bubble-wrapping their kids and leaving them that way well into adulthood.

Latchkey kids appear to be a thing of the past or looked down upon in today’s society. Bringing your child up this way is now considered neglect. Some parent experts want 24-hour supervision of children, even when they are in their twenties. I think this is a bit extreme. Sixteen is a great age to begin learning independence. These kids have to learn to fail, get into trouble, and make mistakes to learn by experience. If the parent fears for their safety, then teach them ways to stay safe and have their independence at the same time.

A little bit of common sense goes a long way!

Some parents will go to the college professor to fix their child’s bad grade. They will even go to the extreme of doing their college homework for them to be certain that they get a good grade.

How are they supposed to learn?

When my daughter was in sixth grade, she had trouble with her school work. Then one night as we sat down to do the homework, I realized who was doing it – Me!

That evening I said – no more. I sent a letter to the teacher the next day explaining that my daughter needed to complete as much of her homework in school as she could because she needed to be the one doing it, not me.

I’m not sure, but I think the teacher was grateful that I spoke up and told her I was doing all the homework for my daughter. How was she supposed to learn if I was doing it for her?

So the next time you catch yourself doing things for your kids, ask yourself who you are benefiting? You? Or your Child?

Don’t rob them of a learning experience.

Posted in Blogging

Do Parents Stereotype Their Children?

Image courtesy of creative commons license By: NathanCC BY 2.0via Flickr.com

I don’t know about you, but my parents fit into the category of different hopes for my brother and me. My brother was supposed to go to college, but he didn’t. I was meant to have an office job, but I didn’t do that either. Does that mean we were both disappointments?

What do I mean by that?

Parents stereotype their children right from birth. Stereotyping must be a learned behavior. Everyone grows up expecting girls to be mothers, nurses, and such. The boys go off to war, start a business, or are exceptionally bright. Girls are not supposed to be bright or so I was told by my parents when I was in eighth grade.

I grew up with television shows such as Leave It to Beaver, where the Beaver learns to be nice to girls. There were Happy Days with the cool Fonzie or Laverne and Shirley who were factory workers. Do you see the stereotyping taking place?

It has only been in the past ten years that some shows, movies, and books have begun breaking the stereotyping mold. Hunger Games has the independent, quick thinking Katniss as the main character pulled into a leadership role.

Then there is Meredith Grey of Grey’s Anatomy, a  portrayal of a successful woman surgeon. And, don’t forget Arial the mermaid who saves the prince.

Image courtesy of creative commons license By: StefanyCC BY 2.0 via flickr.com

I’m a parent. I get the stereotyping. I can catch myself time and again expect either my son or my daughter to be a certain way. Everyone expects their daughter to be pretty and their son strong and smart. In actuality, I wanted my son to be intelligent, strong and handsome and the same for my daughter.

Maybe it is because when my parent made that statement to me, it upset me terribly. That was the year that I failed English of all classes to fail just to test their reaction to my getting an F on my report card. Why I decided to do this, I don’t remember. Maybe I felt left out some way. But then they gave me that very answer, shocking the hell out of me. I wasn’t grounded, nor punished, nor did they yell at me. They only said, that’s okay, girls aren’t supposed to do good in school.

I think this made me angrier than had I been punished. This remark my parents made only told me that neither of them cared about my future. Maybe I was supposed to be a stay at home mom when I grew up. Funny, they never mentioned prearranged marriages.

For the last four college terms, I have been having fun shocking my mother with my grades. Her jaw dropped when I handed her my first Dean’s Letter, and when I gave her my Honor Society certificate, she just about broke down in tears and hugged me harder than she’d ever hugged me before. Maybe she remembered her words and wished she had never said them to me. I don’t know.

I don’t know how my dad would have reacted. I think he would be proud too. He passed away over fifteen years ago.

When I think of my children, I hope for them and try not to stereotype them on purpose. I would love to see both of them have equal opportunities. I know that each is unique in their way. In the end, I can only hope for the best for each of them. No matter what they do, I am proud to call them my children.

Posted in Blogging

Call, Text, or Tweet – Today’s messages Forgotten

 

Image courtesy of creative commons license By: Carissa RogersCC BY 2.0 via flickr.com

Emails, text messages, notifications, tweets, voice mail, it goes on and on, and the messages pile up unopened. Anyway, who uses voice mail these days, every message is a text instead. I don’t think we have used our answering machine in years. Many people no longer use landline phones. They have become attached to their smartphones.

The last time we used an answering machine, a local politician running for Governor left a half-hour message on the machine, taking up all the space. No one else could leave a message even if there were an emergency.

Me? I don’t like phones in general. No offense meant. It’s been years since I would spend endless hours talking to a friend on the phone. Yes, there was a time when I would be on the phone with a friend for more than an hour. All my friends had to be local numbers, or I wasn’t allowed to call them. Those long distance charges from years ago could tick off an unsuspecting parent.

People will text each other for the silliest of reasons. Did you watch Survivor last night? No, did you really need to text me to ask if I watched the show?

If you were following a recipe and couldn’t read the ingredient I had written on that paper, well that is a different situation. I wouldn’t mind responding.

Sometimes I do respond to Facebook and Twitter posts. Facebook can be iffy at times. Words are not always clearly written, and messages can be misunderstood and twisted in the most bizarre ways. Auto correct on a Smart Phone doesn’t help matters either. Talk about twisting your words and making matters worse.

The older generation does not understand the new manners of texting, posting and tweeting. Many times they will add salutations at the end of the post or message not knowing that this is usually done with an email or letter. When we receive posts on our Facebook boards, the person posting is announced by their profile name and picture. There is no need to say love your Grandma at the end of the post or instant message. We know who you are.

The younger generation needs to learn some manners when it comes to answering their older peers and family members. Yes, Grandma is expecting a thank you for the gift or birthday card she sent to you last week. This isn’t just because she has been waiting for you to show respect and gratitude for the thought, it is to notify them that you did receive the item in the mail. If you don’t tell them, then they will worry, believing that it became lost somehow or maybe even stolen. Think about common courtesy and follow through on your end and everyone will be happy.

There have been times where I messaged my daughter in the past, and she misinterpreted what I was trying to say. A time when the instant message was the new form of communicating. Things can be said in a message that can so easily be misunderstood or taken the wrong way because we can’t see the facial expressions behind the message. There is no telling if the message was said as a form of sarcasm or was supposed to be a personal joke. What did they mean by that remark?

Text messages and instant messages have to be carefully worded to be confident the receiver is not taking what is being said the wrong way. A great rule of thumb is if you can’t be clear in the written message you would be best to either phone the person and speak to them or better yet, talk to them in person.

I would prefer a visit from a friend or family member any day over a text message.

How about you?

Posted in Holidays, Kibbles for Writing, recipe

Homemade Egg Nog

Image courtesy of creative commons license By: Isaac WedinCC BY 2.0 via flickr.com

 

 

 

The only downside was that I used an electric hand mixer. A stand mixer would work best to free up your other hand to pour the milk mixture and mix the eggs in at the same time.

Ingredients
3 cups of milk
1 cup of heavy cream
3 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon nutmeg
5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark rum or bourbon – optional – leave out for non-alcoholic beverage

 

Instructions

In a saucepan, combine milk, cream, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cover and allow to steep.
In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until combined and forms thick frothy ribbons when the whisk is lifted. I used an electric hand mixer. A stand mixer would be best. Slowly mix in the milk mixture and continue to mix unit the mixture is combined and smooth. Add bourbon or rum, and stir. Chill overnight or for up to 3 days.
Before serving beat the egg whites in a large bowl or stand mixer unit soft peaks form. Gently fold into eggnog until combined. Serve and garnish with extra nutmeg.

 

 

Posted in Kibbles for Writing, recipe

Corn Casserole

I found this recipe several years ago on the Food Network. Since then, it has become a favorite of my family. It is so easy to make, being on the same idea as a dump recipe. I’m posting it here because, this is where I like to put my favorite recipes and now that I’ve been getting requests from friends for this recipe, posting it here will make it easier to find. My recipe paper file has become a bit worn over the years.

Enjoy! We will be serving this dish at our Thanksgiving meal as a newly added tradition.

Image courtesy of creative commons By: adinaplus - CC BY 2.0 via flickr.com
Image courtesy of creative commons By: adinaplusCC BY 2.0 via flickr.com

 

Ingredients
1 can whole corn, drained
1 can cream style corn
1 (8 oz.) package corn muffin mix (preferably Jiffy)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir together the cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 – inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for about 5 minutes and serve warm.

Posted in Blogging

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Juggling Work, School, and Writing

 

It’s November. The month of cooking turkeys and baking pies and crazy holiday shopping. Then there is NaNoWriMo. That crazy writing challenge where a person sits down to write 1,667 words a day to complete a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

Do you NaNo?

I have taken part in NaNoWriMo since 2010. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Thousands upon thousands or maybe millions upon millions of writers sit down to write a novel in hopes of winning the writing challenge. The final prize being a manuscript that can be edited and maybe a few sponsor prizes as well along with blog badges and a printable certificate saying you won NaNoWriMo. That’s it.

Isn’t it enough?

Just being able to finish a novel in 30 days is a top prize. Once you give it a try, you might have more appreciation for your favorite author who pumps out story after story. Writing a novel is not as easy as one might think.

I completed NaNo last year but never published the book. That story will need a major reconstruction before I even think about editing it. Since then I have started four stories and haven’t finished a one. They seem to fall apart in the middle.

This year I’m trying to write by using scenes and sequels. A process that may help me plot the story. Right now I can’t decide how my lovers meet. Well, I do know how they become acquainted with each other. The date line will stay. The problem I have is how to get the two of them together by the end of the story. They can’t just say let’s date and get married.

In the meantime, I will continue to use the writing sprints that is featured by NaNoWriMo on Twitter and YouTube. I like the videos the best. I can stream them to my television by using my Roku and watch episode after episode while focusing on writing.

My writing group is also participating in word wars with other writing groups. I hope to increase my word count in the coming week. If only I can write 5k words a day. I’m way behind. Between work and school, there isn’t much time left to write. Is sleep really overrated?

Wish me luck  🙂