Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday with Erma

"No one appreciates how a woman must fight for her life from hour to hour.
The risks involved in preparing a meal alone are mind boggling.
A year ago September, I was taking frozen Mexican dinners out of the freezer.
One slipped out of my hand and I was nearly crippled by a frozen enchilada."

Erma Bombeck

Yet another reason to avoid frozen dinners! ;-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska

Many of you know that I live a disconnected life in some respects. We do not have cable or satellite service, for a long time we had no land line for phone service (I needed to add this for business purposes, otherwise we still wouldn't!), and I refuse to indulge my children with cell phones, personal TV's or computers, and such. (Mind you that my mother and sister drive me nuts with the cell phone thing, but I don't see the need.)

Since we only receive local channels through our antenna reception we've gotten to know our statewide public television station fairly well. What a joy! I never knew what I was missing. So many of the shows pertain to our state, it's history and things to do. They also have other informative shows. This is where I found Wanda Urbanska.

If you haven't heard that name before I wouldn't be surprised. She has a 30 minute program entitled "Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska" and is author of several books on simplifying your life. (I can't give you a link to that page of her website because my security system says that there is a Trojan lurking there... please be careful when visiting her site. I'm sure they have no knowledge of this.)

Ms. Urbanska lives in NC with her husband and son. She strives to live a more simplistic and naturalistic life, while staying mainstream. Over the years I've found many tips and ideas on her shows that I've implemented into my life. I encourage you to discover more on this subject.

Recently, I was invited to attend a meeting at a local church where she was to speak. I couldn't have been more excited! I've admired her show for several years and to hear her speak in person was to be a true treat. can I say this? I was mildly disappointed. Ms. Urbanska gave a PowerPoint presentation and brief talk of about 45 minutes. Her thought patterns lend to rambling tendencies and often she would get off subject and never return back.

She offered a question and answer session. Receiving only one question and answering it poorly, I'm glad it was only one. I'm hoping that she was having an off night, otherwise, I'd definitely stick to watching her show instead of the seminar setups.

What was the question?

"What can I do to reduce and make an impact at home without changing my entire lifestyle?"

My suggestions:

Begin with baby steps. If you attempt to completely change your lifestyle at once you'll often become frustrated and give up before achieving anything.

  1. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth, conditioning your hair, and shaving your legs.

  2. Only wash clothes when you have a full load, or be sure to change your "water level" setting accordingly.

  3. Recycle as much as possible. Set up a recycling station in your kitchen, basement, or garage. Have bins for paper, plastic, and metal. Condition yourself & family to setting these things aside and keep them out of the landfill.

  4. Start a compost bin. Keep a lidded plastic or metal container on your kitchen counter to collect coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, banana peels, & other non-bread/non-meat products. Transfer them into a larger compost bin or area in your yard to break down & use this as fertilizer for your plants!

  5. Combine trips in your car. Plan your route before leaving the house. If you have to go downtown - hit the bank, grocery store, and post office that is downtown, versus your "normal" ones. I refuse to journey anywhere for just one thing, unless it's a dire emergency. This drives my dear hubby nuts, but it saves an amazing amount of gas & wear and tear on my car, not to mention putting less pollution into the air.

  6. Use a washable water bottle. Fill it before you leave your home and at regular intervals during the day. Not only will you keep hundreds of plastic bottles out of the landfill, but you'll keep hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket over the year!

These are just a few to get you off to a good start. Experiment & see what works for you!


By the way - Wanda was an inspiration for me to journey further into my efforts at simplifying. I mean no harm in my comments, as I truly enjoy the show!

Monday, June 22, 2009

More summertime activity ideas...

In an earlier post I gave some ideas on things to do with your kids over the summer. I promised to follow that up and today is the day!

Are your kids the out-of-doors types, or would you like for them to be? No time like the summer to turn on the switch for outdoors fun!

Plan a nature hike!

  • Find a local Audubon Society. Many cities have a branch. The bird-watchers love to take leisurely strolls in search of new finds. This experience can teach patience and an appreciation for quiet to children who believe that they'll perish without being electronically connected! Your local library will have birding guides for the area.

  • Search for the flora & other fauna of the area you live in. Check out a few books from the local library on the local trees, flowers, and animals or reptiles that can be found in your area.

With this information you can plan a treasure or scavenger hunt. Have the kids see how many specimens or specimen photos they can collect. Remember to leave the areas you search as untouched as possible & collect all of your trash along the way...

Speaking of trash...

  • Sign up to collect trash in and around your neighborhood for the summer clean-ups. Many cities offer an adopt-a-roadway program, where your group or family adopts a section of road to keep clean. You can gather together for a day of collection once or twice a month. Not only is this family time away from that TV, but you're beautifying the neighborhood as well.

  • Visit your local recycling center. Find out what happens to all of the recycling that's collected. Discover what your family can do to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle through recycling!

  • Take a trip to your local landfill. Seriously! What an eye-opening adventure this was for me. Seeing those tons of trash be moved around really hits home. You both will be amazed at what is thrown away and at the mountainous volumes of trash that are dumped at a time.

Love to Know has some interesting statistics on recycling stateside. This can be incorporated into a math and science learning experience!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Did you miss me?

Again, I'm so sorry that I've been away this long. I feel neglectful. Please don't take it personally.

I finally found that job I'd been praying for. Actually, Facebook found it for me (my pastor saw a note that I was searching for a position for the summer)! My church offered a part-time position organizing volunteers for a camp they're doing in conjunction with the YMCA this year. It sounded like a truly wonderful idea.

The camp is geared toward tutoring children that are lacking the skills they need to complete their end-of-grade testing at a proper level. Being the Y, they intersperse fun with the learning. Sounds like a plan to me.

Thankfully, I have a fantastically supportive church family. Most jump at the chance to help out, so we've plenty of volunteers. The idea is to supplement the staff that the YMCA has supplied and get to know the children, many of whom live in the neighborhood or neighboring areas.

This first week held many challenges, but, in the end, all is well. I'm VERY pleased that the weekend is here. I've certainly forgotten what it is like to be on your feet for many hours at a time!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday's with Erma

"A REAL friend is fat when you are fat, depressed when you are depressed,
and overdrawn when you are overdrawn."

Erma Bombeck

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday's with Erma

"Once every three years I have sauerkraut for dinner.
Once every three years my husband has sauerkraut for lunch.
It always falls on the same day."

Erma Bombeck

Smile and enjoy your day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday's with Erma

Continuing with last weeks idea of a scheduled weekly posting... Heeeerrrrrrrreeeee's Erma!

Have a Good Day!

"The mornings are bad for me. During the night everything has wrinkled: my skin, the clothes to be worn that day, the lunch meat. The dog (who has kidneys the size of barleycorn) is impatient to be let out.

The shoes that were left in the middle of the living room have moved on. The bread is frozen. While the kids shower, the mirror fogs up and my husband's beard goes limp. He's a bleeder.

I waste twenty minutes trying to make thirty-five cents out of two quarters and five pennies. My son mistakenly grabs the garbage (which he forgot to take out the night before) for his lunch and yells, "I'll eat it on the bus." My husband removes ice from the car with a pancake turner and scratches the windshield. He yells, "Have a good day!" and I yell back, "You have it! I had it yesterday." "

Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What are you waiting on?

Most of us have motivational issues.

I'm just as guilty as anyone. I've been waiting on motivation to sweep my house for two weeks now, and the week before that I was at the beach. If I don't hurry, the dust bunnies are going to take over my little world. (There's one lurking under the couch that is as big as a baseball - I saw it the other day and jumped!)

What am I waiting on? I'm not sure, but it sure would be great if a maid snuck in one night to do it for me! LOL

What is your issue? What are you waiting on?

Many years ago, I was a Mary Kay consultant. It's true...I carried around those pink bags that you see in "Fried Green Tomatoes". I received a ton of training & attended many motivational seminars while a consultant. Much of it I still use to this day.

One of the things that sticks out in my mind is the saying "You can't wait for all of the stop lights to turn green before going."

How true is that? Can you imagine waiting until all the lights change to proceed each day? But, many of us do.

Take this as notice - It's okay to be stopped at a red light. It happens. Get over it and be ready to go when the light turns green!

Okay, okay! I'm sweeping today...promise! :-)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Job Hunt

If you've been following this blog for a bit, then you know that I've been searching for a part-time job for about a month, with little response.

Last week, I once again sent out 4 resumes to various organizations. I also sent a follow-up note to one of my previous prospects advising them that I was still highly interested in the position, since I'd seen a new ad appear online.

Most of my job hunt has been conducted online, since there have been very few postings in our local daily newspaper. I've avoided Monster and a few of the other "big" name companies due to past horrors I've heard about posting there.

These stories were told from the employers perspective and all were concerning the deluge of resumes they receive when posting on these mega sites. They received so many that they eventually had to hire someone to browse all of the resumes that were coming in, only to eliminate about 95% of them.

I'm 33. I've been working since I was 16, in some capacity or another, and for long stretches of time at 2 and 3 jobs. Needless to say, I've filled out many an application, had many interviews, and have plenty of experience with the entire hiring process.

This said, I want you to know how crazy this process has become. People that put out 100's of resume to various companies waste not only potential employers time, but other applicants time. It appears to be a vicious circle.

  • Bob puts out 100 resumes (4 of those jobs he is actually qualified for).

  • The same day 100 other applicants, from all over the world, submit resumes to these same companies. These other people have roughly the same or lesser qualifications than Bob.

  • Tammy, Bill, Becky, and Tommy are all qualified to work at the same 4 jobs plus 10 of the others that Bob applies at.

Because these businesses receive a deluge of applications for each position, it makes the process even harder. Why? With the drastic increase in applications, there is a greater chance that the qualified employees will be skipped over. This is not due to the resume, but human error. How many papers can you look at repetitively before you forget which pile is which? Or, before you eyes start to glaze over and your vision blur?

The companies have to wade through all of those resumes to find about 10 qualified applicants, which takes several days. This gives a hiring delay of about 3 weeks - 1 to weed, 1 to schedule interviews, and 1 to allow for follow-up before issuing an offer. Of course, this is only applicable if the company has a designated person to wade through the resumes! If not, add a week.

  • Because of Bob, & people like him, Tammy, Bill, Becky, and Tommy are forced to put out resumes in a greater number, as well. (Perhaps, because their resumes were placed in the wrong stack!)

If they put out 10 resumes a week, every week (double what we used to!) and factor in the delay in the hiring process, due to the factors above, I estimate it will take an average person 2 full months to be granted a job of any sort, and another 4 months to gain a job doing something in their field. I would think that the people putting out 100 resumes a week would expect about the same results. So why waste everyone's time & energy...AND all those trees???

A few years ago, you could search for a job one week & be hired the next. No wonder people are staying on Unemployment Compensation so long!

Job Seekers - Just apply for things you really want to do and that fit your desires, rather than EVERY single job posting that comes available!


Now. I'll come off my soap box to tell you - I FOUND A JOB!

Did I apply for it? NO.

Did I expect it? NO.

Did I have any clue that this job was available? NO.

Last Friday night my home phone rings. It's my pastor. He noticed that I had put a note on my Facebook account about looking for a part-time job. The church is beginning a new program for the summer, a branch off of the local YMCA, which will provide care for about 100 youth from the area.

We'll be splitting the responsibilities with another local church, and need to coordinate between the congregations and organize the volunteers. I was definitely interested. I volunteer constantly at my church, so I presumed that this was to be another volunteer situation.

WRONG! They've offered me an actual part-time, paid position to handle this! Fantastic!

I'm to get started this week, after I pass all of the background & drug checks. (No problem!)

Isn't it amazing how things work??? Word of mouth is still THE BEST way to get a job...