Today is the first day of my new career! Its been a long road of searching, false starts and huge expenses but the day is finally here where I start new. A month ago I joined MFP and one of my first blog posts was about a horrible day I had interviewing for a job.
It was a dark day but I learned from it and I made sure the next time I went into the city for an interview I took the right suit with me in a garment bag and changed in a hotel washroomthere before I went to the interview. Gave myself even more time to get there on transit and had 15 minutes to sit read and relax before my interview.
That interview I nailed and I got the job, which ended up being the perfect job out of all the positions I interviewed for over the last 2 years. It had everything I wanted in a position and I didn't have to give up anything.
It gives me the flexibility to work a schedule that works with my family. Which means I'm here to get the kids to school and here when they get home. I can drive them to afterschool activities and I can afford to pay for them.
It gives me a good base that we can live on plus commissions to purchase extras - like that new video game system the kids want after the trip to the Sony store yesterday, a 3D PSP with 3D TV. Its all my son can talk about - not this Christmas hun, maybe your birthday IF you come up with 1/2 the cost.
It is a contract position which means I can utilize my expenses as tax deductions, that includes a portion of my home, car, phone, and internet.
Its print advertising which I am passionate about in an industry I am very familiar with, Real Estate - Thanks MOM!!
Really I couldn't be happier about the position and I can't wait to get started. In fact I already have by creating a marketing and sales plan to follow in order to reach my goals. I will blow the owner's mind tomorrow when I give him a copy of it and my sales presentation to discuss and fine tune. I've used one in the past and it is a great communication tool and assessment tool for both myself and my boss when figuring out where I am, where I want to be and what is missing from the process. Of course it takes the right kind of manager to see the value of it and work with me on it.
One goal down, a big one but one that motivates me and provides me with the means to make my other goals a reality. The next goal .... fit into that size 16 navy blue power suit.
Today is the first day of my new career! Its been a long road of searching, false starts and huge expenses but the day is finally here where I start new. A month ago I joined MFP and one of my first blog posts was about a horrible day I had interviewing for a job.
Written a month ago:
I really need to get it together so that I am a confident and put together successful looking person. I've been looking for work off and on for the last two years and today I had yet another job interview. When interviewing for a job everything needs to go perfect. Well today was one of those days where everything goes wrong and yet you still have to perform at your best.
I've eaten so much the last 4 years that I don't fit into any of my power business suits anymore and my present wardrobe choices are limited. Depressing as that is - the PMS I woke up with didn't help; its the severe type where the cramps are more like labour contractions then cramps and you need a full box of tampax each day. Add in a bad night sleep, a cranky and miserable husband, and rain - lots of rain, it amounts to the worst day to be having a job interview.
Considering the job interview was with a recruiter for a start up software company I wasn't too worried about my A game, that was until I opened my email to retrieve the address. The recruiter was able to arrange a meeting for me with the CEO today. OK, not the end of the world, this is a software start up CEO, they are usually more casual. Then I click on the link she provided to the company and find out that said CEO is a former bank CEO. OK now I'm screwed. I need my 'A+++' game plus poise, polish and that navy blue power suit that doesn't fit anymore.
I don't take transit very often and thought adding an extra 45 minutes to the commute would get me there 15 minutes early, plenty of time to change out of my runners and put on my jacket to cover up the black v neck t-shirt I had on. Ya no such luck, I walked in dripping wet (remember it was pouring rain out) disheaveled from the train ride just as the recruiter walked in looking very slender, blonde, and polished in expensive designer clothes. If that wasn't bad enough I could see her eyes look me up and down right to my pink running shoes.
She was kind enough to give me a short reprieve to the nearest washroom. I walked into a full wall, corner to corner, floor to ceiling mirrored washroom. Ya, like I need to be reminded how utterly huge I am right before an interview. After I get it together the interview goes well, it must of she called the very busy CEO to come meet me.
The very fit CEO dressed in the traditional banker exec navy blue power suit arrived and the next part of the process started. Actually all went well at this point and the quick 1/2 hour meet turned into an hour conversation where I learned that he also runs marathons. I was worn out just from walking and riding transit.
When I got home at 3:30 I was ready for a stiff drink, a hot shower and a good nights sleep - none of which I got as I still needed to go grocery shopping. By this point all I'd eaten was a couple bites of cold leftover oatmeal - tastes as good as it sounds - some not very good dim sum, and a Coke which I'd hoped would give me a shot of energy. - it didn't. All of which I'm sure just added to the crappiness my body was experiencing. Dinner was about as nutritious as the afore mentioned Coke, I'll need an infusion of nutrients tomorrow.
Although my day was less then perfect and I may not have looked as polished as the 2 individuals I met with today, it wasn't a complete write off. I met two amazingly successful people who bought me coffee.
As many bored housewives suffering from isolation and minor depression I have eaten myself into a hefty size 18. My mother is always after me to eat better and exercise..... today she sent me a link to the My Fitness Pal website and I have drank the Kool Aid (sugar free) as the saying goes. I have linked to my mother's account so she can see my progress. I must be a glutton for punishment because it means she'll now see every bit of chocolate I eat and every time I drink a sugar laden Coke, my coffee of the afternoon. My father drank lots of Coke every day from the age of 2, yes 2 -its a long story, and now suffering various stomach ailments is always quick to tell me to stop drinking the stuff. Being the rebellious daughter, I don't always listen, but now - provided I am honest enough to track everything - I don't stand a chance of getting away with this bad habit.
Knowing my mom as I do, after all she's been with me for 38 years, she will berate me every time I over eat and eat too many sweets. She has full faith in the fact that I will become a diabetic any day now considering my eating habits paired with my lack of exercise.
In the past I have tried Weight Watchers and LA Weight Loss with no success. What they lacked that this program does not, my mother harping on me everyday to keep my diary, to exercise, and to eat better.
I'm not sure I'll loose all the weight, I don't really have a desire to do so, but maybe with the influence of an overly competitive and outspoken mother who has no fear of criticising her daughter I may just loose a few pounds and get in better shape along the way.
If you are looking to loose weight try out My Fitness Pal . com and make sure to look me up and connect and together we just might succeed. The best thing about the site -- It is FREE to use.
On Average Canadians spent 10% of their income on food - If that is true then our family is below average. On average we spend approx 27% of our household income on groceries and the weekly bill keeps rising. As a single income household in the Greater Vancouver area, it isn't easy to make ends meet at the best of times, but with the cost of essentials: food, gas, & housing, rising it is even harder.
In order to make ends meet I've started making our bread because store prices are just too expensive. We've stopped purchasing granola bars, processed foods, lunch snacks, and I've started baking as much as possible. I've been comparison shopping between Costco, Walmart, Safeway, and Save On just to make sure I'm spending the least amount possible on items. I've even started over the border shopping into Bellingham, WA where dairy, chicken, and some gas prices are lower than in Canada. I don't like to take my shopping support into the States but what am I to do when the difference is over 50% less for the same items? I've even become a butcher as large bulk roasts from Costco are cheaper than the ones already cut.
We are lucky because by cutting back we are able to make ends meet and hopefully I'll find employment soon and then our household income will nearly double. However, in most of the world this is not the case. Where people spend 80% of their household income on food, rising food prices will only make it harder to survive starvation.
In Canada we choose to ignore those that are starving and continue to live our lives consuming. After all, the one with the most toys wins - right. I am just as guilty as anyone else, whenever we have a few extra hundred dollars we buy something for our kids, our house, or ourselves. Our kid's birthday present could have fed a family in a third world country for years. Sometimes I wonder what are we teaching our children. Can our children afford to be bigger consumers than us? Will they end up in worse debt? or will they become generous giving individuals who are thankful for what they have and give to those with less?
What are some ideas to help teach our children to be more thoughtful, less selfish, and smaller consumers?
How are you cutting your grocery bill to save money?
I have ants all around my house and I don't mean my mother's sisters, I mean the tiny 6 legged little black insect pest type ants. They are in my garden and like to harvest aphid honeydew on my raspberries, which is all together gross. A few have found their way into our house and now that I'm planting a bigger garden it was time to get serious.
I tried over the counter ant dusts, ant traps, ant glue traps, ant sprays, I tried almost every product on the shelf and they weren't deterred or dead.
So I started searching the net and learned about certain plants that repel ants, so I planted pennyroyal, peppermint, lavender, rosemary, and garlic chives. I saw ants on the pennyroyal but for the most part they just walked around the plants to where they wanted to go. Now I don't want to grow a bunch of these types of plants as a border around my vegetable garden because I have very little space to plant as it is.
So I kept looking and found out that cinnamon, citrus oil, lemon juice and cayenne pepper work. I pushed cinnamon sticks into the dirt but that didn't do much of anything. Lemon juice just washes away the minute I water and I have no idea where to get citrus oil.
Eureka! Ant problem solved finally - I put cayenne pepper powder into a jar of vegetable oil, enough to make it a really dark orange / red, and let it stand for 24 hours. When I poured it on the flagstones the ants wouldn't go through the line of oil, it worked like a wall. They'd get close, then just like one of those toy cars that change direction when they hit a wall, the ants turned around and tried to go a different way.
I'm now making a bigger batch of Cayenne vegetable oil to surround my garden's perimeter and to put into the soil where there are a lot of ants. The oil doesn't wash away easily, which will prolong its usefulness.
I wish I hadn't wasted so much money on insecticides since they didn't work.
I am looking at my floor and I guess I could clean it, the dog has covered it in muddy footprints. Then again, Grandma will be back soon from her shopping trip with the kids, is it too presumptuous to think she'll do it?
Cyber bullying is a huge issue in our schools and the problem starts at home. It's what we teach our kids, tell our kids, and how we hold them accountable for their actions. As my children grow I realize that their lives and thoughts are separate from mine. They continue to put up walls and boundaries that are harder to break through. Their friends are influencing them more than ever before.
So how do we keep our kids from being bullied or becoming bullies?
Do we need to look at the causes or the effect? I don't think we can do anything about the TV shows, movies, Internet, video games, or societal attitudes. Trying to stop the cause is not a realistic goal, so we are left with finding solutions to the effects. If our children are going to participate in the world so must we. We need to be aware of the media that effect them and understand how their values are formed by them.
Communication is always the solution to forming strong bond between parents and children. Whether or not communications are effective depends on how parents communicate with their children. To instill values in our children do we give orders, "We don't believe in abortion!" Do we give ultimatums, "Don't show up on my doorstep pregnant!" Do we judge others,"Girls that sleep around are worthless." I don't believe talking at children or teens helps them develop values, you have to talk with them.
Keep communications open, plan one on one time with your teen with no electronic distractions. Initiate communication with "safe" non confrontational questions. Your current relationship will determine how long before you can start hitting the harder questions. When you feel the conversation is flowing freely and the barriers are down start asking them what they think about things going on in the news. What they thought about a movie. Then you can start asking them what their opinion is on the "big" values, abortion, drugs, bullying, etc. Don't judge the answers, don't react if you don't agree. Just listen and ask why. What are their reasons behind their beliefs or opinions. By understanding them you can then work towards helping them choose good values.
Stories help them to determine values. Pre schoolers watch shows and listen to stories filled with pure values that teach them to be helpful, selfless, and kind. Tweens watch shows and read books with more complex values and not all are pure and sweet. Then there are the stories that Teens watch and read. So how do parents mold their teen's values? Parent's need to watch the movies, read the books, and figure out their Internet lives to find red flags.
Parents do need to be sneaky, and its OK, these are your kids and its your responsibility to keep them safe. Just don't let them know how you have busted them on something, you don't want them hiding your evidence in the future. One of my facebook connections busted his daughter for sneaking out because she posted it, problem was he posted that she was busted. Next time she'll be more careful and he won't know what's happening. Pick the issues you want to address and then talk to them about it in general. Talk to teachers, read emails, friend on facebook, and check their rooms. Some things will freak you out, some things you will want to fix but with some things we have to trust that our children will fix them and we need to be there for them.
I am scared that my children won't always make the best decisions and that they may have to live through consequences I never would dream for them. I want to fix everything, be part of everything, know everything, and keep them from harm. Realistically though I can't, I can only be there if they do to help them get through it. I wish life wasn't so difficult but it is and its getting more dangerous. We didn't have to deal with Internet as kids but we did have mean girls, we had bullies, we had sex, drugs and crime. Those things are no different, the only part that has changed is the scope, its more public with easier access. The values are the same and the solution is the same, communicate. Don't wait for them to come to you, you have to create opportunities to come together.
Cyber bulling is a criminal action - make sure your child isn't on either side of the court room.
Cyber bulling causes depression
Educational systems are taking a role in Cyber Bullying Prevention
Facebook Cyber Bullying and the Arrests
I wanted to bring this blog back into the right topic.... Raising children. I have recently been writing a lot about global crime, which I am passionate about, and that doesn't fit the purpose of this blog.
So to fix this situation I started a new blog.... Can We End Global Crime?
The purpose of the blog is to inspire discussion and brain storm ideas and inspire action to help change the world. Not a small goal to say the least, but I'm all for tackling hard difficult problems. So if you are tired of the crime in our world, either local, global or war, please take a moment to stop by and put your two cents worth into the discussion and help find a solution.
When our grand kids ask us how we could let atrocities like genocide and human trafficking of women happen what are we going to say? It didn't effect us so we ignored it. We had our own problems and crime to hide from so we ignored it. We were too busy working and buying stuff so we ignored it. We were optomistic happy people and that was negativity so we ignored it. In today's society with as much information as we have about atrocities and crimes, we can not pretend we didn't know. Regardless of the reason the result is the same, we know and we don't care enough.
Recently I read Shake hands with the Devil by Lt. General Romeo Dallaire and A Problem from Hell: America and Genocide by Samantha Powers. Two very good books with a very disturbing messages, the UN is all bark with no bite, conflicting political agendas delay action and since no one knows what to do they do nothing. Governments knew what was happening, leaders like President Clinton took no action while 800 000 people were slaughtered in 100 days and the Balkans became a flashback to the days of Hitler. Governments only take action when the people of the country want action to be taken, no one wanted to stop the killing of Tutsis or Muslims in distant impoverished countries. So what happens if genocide takes place in the Western countries? Will anyone care to come to the rescue?
Search human trafficking of women in Europe and you'll be surprised by the information that has been uncovered by journalists and NGOs. We know women from Eastern Europe are kidnapped and forced into a life of prostitution but do we care? Women go missing in the US and Canada to be forced into prostitution but do we care? Whether human trafficking of women for the sex trade is happening half way around the world or just down the street we don't care. We even blame the women for choices they made that landed them there in the first place, even though many were teens doing the same stupid things we did. We were just lucky to not be abducted.
What about kids? Surely we care when a child is harmed. Not really, genocide and displaced people around the world include children but we look the other way. Then there is the 11 year old girl who was gang raped in Texas while being video taped, obviously we care about this child. Not really, many are blaming her and saying she wanted it..... Exactly how can an 11 year old child consent to being gang raped?
Crime happens all around us but we marginalize it by making it someone else's problem and by doing so fool ourselves into believing we are safe. Yes women are abducted and forced into a life of sex slavery, but that is over there it wouldn't happen here. As long as we stay within our four walls and protect our children from harm we will all be OK. We are better parents, our girls wouldn't find themselves in bad situations where they end up being forced into the sex trade. There isn't anything we can do about it so why do anything at all. I am sure that the victims of these crimes will understand why we didn't care about them, after all they don't care about us - right. Whatever excuse or story we tell ourselves will keep us safe, right - Just ask Madeline McCann's parents, or Jaycee Lee Dugard.
Since we do nothing and our laws are written to protect the criminal and prosecute the victim things will only get worse. The Internet and global transportation have made crimes international and criminals harder to catch. There needs to be an international police agency separate from any political government set up to enforce major international crimes and protect citizens from crimes against humanity. The UN can't do it and NATO is tied too closely to its member governments political whims. Although there is a need, there is no will to create international laws and even less will to enforce them.
When I asked my grandparents how their generation could allow the Holocaust, they responded that they didn't know what was happening on the other side of the world. Considering the lack of communications and the lack of access to the camps I believe them. However, today is different with the Internet and CNN, we do know what is going on across the globe. What will you say when your grandchild asks what you did to help stop ____________________? I wonder what Bill Clinton, and the other leaders of the UN will say when God asks them what did they do to stop the genocide in Rwanda and Yugoslavia. What will you say when He asks you?
My son is getting older and it is so frustrating because I am having a hard time with the distance he's putting between us. I am beginning to understand how obsolete technology must feel. I know he doesn't mean to be mean but it still hurts just the same when he tells me he doesn't need me anymore.
I look at him and see a young man where a boy used to be. I wonder where all the time went and why I didn't hang on to every second of every moment with him. I was distracted at times by work, friends, TV, books, and the internet while he was growing up. I remember his baby years better than the last 5 years, his primary school years where friends grew more important than mom. I long for those wonderful years when I was the only person in his world.
Then I think about all the wonderful conversations we've had over the last year and all the indepth thoughts he has shared with me. Every year has brought something new something different as he grows into his own. I want to be with him sharing every minute of his life, but that is not alright. I need to let him go and be with friends, develop social circles of his own along with thoughts and beliefs that are his. Soon I will have to let him go to spend time with a special girl that is not me and that I know will be hardest of all.
Its hard not to feel less and less needed by my children. Sometimes I wonder if they really need me around at all, should I just leave and let them be? Sometimes I wonder if they love me anymore because they are so busy with their lives they forget me. That is the hardest part about letting out the apron strings, realizing that just because they aren't as close doesn't mean they don't need or love me less.
I know that my children still need me, just less than they did before, and I will have to find something else to fill that hole in myself. All those distractions that take my focus off my kids are what keep me sane and allow me to be there for them when they need me. The trick is to be able to turn off the distraction and focus on them.
There have been a flood of found missing children who were locked away and abused for years. These stories horrify us and demand our attention, yet we do nothing because we feel powerless to do anything to stop it. We believe someone else will do something, that is someone else's problem, or it makes a good headline but beyond that we really don't care because we are not directly effected.
We see homeless people on the street and believe that somehow they deserve to be there. They are criminals, drug addicts, or choose to be there. We throw them a bit of change and feel we've done our part. They make us uncomfortable so we avoid them, look away, and do our best to avoid them. We tell ourselves that their are government programs to help them and that its not our problem.
We don't feel safe in our neighbourhoods, our kids are corralled in our yards, we have alarms and more locks then when we were kids. We fear home break ins and know that thefts are common place. We want the police to get crime under control but we don't want to get involved. Even worse we buy stuff at discounted prices from sites like Craigslist or ebay and pat ourselves on the back for saving money, not acknowledging that we are perpetrating the reward of crime.
What can we do to help make this world a better place?
Clean up our neighbourhood graffiti
Clean up litter and our yards
Write letters to our political leaders asking for tougher laws
Buy fair trade products
Watch social documentaries to educate yourself
Check out non profit websites, send them an email to ask what you can do to help
Buy a homeless person lunch
Help a neighbour
Here are some sites to get started on learning more about what you can do to help change the world for the better.
Not For Sale - Abolish Child Slavery
Against Crime & Drugs
Do you know of some non profit organizations that are committed to making the world a better place. What things do you do to help make the world a better place?
The world is filled with amazing people with amazing stories. Some of which I have been fortunate enough to meet, although their names are not known nor are they celebrities. There are few celebrities I would want to spend time with, too many are shallow as reality TV has shown us. Today I heard a 76 year old woman speak about her experiences running an orphanage in Cambodia and was amazed by the stories of the children in her care. If I could fill an autograph book it would be with signatures from people like her, people who make a difference. I want to use my time better, fill it with learning about courageous people and those who truly have made a difference in this world.
A list of people I would like to sit and have a cup of coffee with to hear their story:
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt: Ok so they are celebrities, but they live their life to make a difference in this world. Their stories are interesting because of the stories they can share about those they help on a regular basis. I don`t care about what kind of toothpaste they used or if they are getting married. I do care about why they make the choice to help others, what drives them to make the decisions they make.
Lt. General Romeo Dallaire: Former UN leader to Rwanda, author of two books about his experiences in Rwanda, and Senator of Canada. He choose to be a witness to one of the most horrific events of modern times. His courage to inform the world about the war crimes he saw and how the international community did nothing to stop it is an example of a hero. His first book, Shake Hands with the Devil, was made into a movie starring Canadian actor Roy Dupuis.
Bobby Sager and Family: This amazing family left behind a life of luxury in the pursuit of helping others. As a family they gave up their wealth centered life to invest in those that want to help themselves build a better life. The short lived TV series, the Philanthropist, was loosely based on his life. The stories he must still have to tell about how and why he helps helps others. He has met with leaders of compassion such as Mother Teresa and the Dali Lama.
Bono: I don`t want to talk about music or his fame but about how his fight for Africa. He has convinced many influential and rich people to give their wealth to charity. I want to know what drives him and his stories about what motivated him to focus on the needs of the African nations.
Survivors of Conflict: I have met a Sudanese lost boy, a Serbian refugee, and people who lived behind the former Iron Curtain. I have heard missionaries share their stories, struggles, and need. These people are amazing and there is so much to learn from their stories about how to succeed in life.
Hilary Clinton: A strong woman who is truly amazing.
I`m tired of hearing how much is being spent on trying criminals and knowing that our society is only getting more violent. Robert Pikton`s trial cost over $100 million and the BC Rail trial is at over $17 million. Our tax dollars are wasted everyday with continuances and appeals with the result in most cases being a slap on the wrist or an acquittal. Has the pendulum swung too far to the left?
Our justice system is based on precedents and interpretations of laws by judges. It has taken on a life of its own where the rights of the accused are valued more then the rights of the victims or public safety. The hands of the police force are so tied that it makes their jobs to keep the public safe harder and harder every day.
What Canada`s justice system needs is some accountablity. Judges need to be accountable to the public they are suppose to protect. Laws need to be written with consquences that are harsh and will deter criminals or ensure they will be seperated from the public better. However, can it be done? Is there anyway for our society to call for stiffer penalities?
International Centre for Criminal Law Reform
Criminal Justice Reform BC Government
My son came home from a friends house and proceeded to ask permission to buy Call of Duty Black Ops. I knew that this day was coming... when he was playing or watching something at a friends house that I didn't approve of. I wasn't shocked that he'd played the game at some of his friend's houses, but I was surprised to find out that it was a particular friend. I know his mom and consider her more over protective then I am, so why did her 11 year old own this particular game? Was I being overly sensitive to media reports, is this game harmless or should I continue to ensure that these types of violent video games stay out of our house?
I value knowledge and having facts to back my opinions so I started to do the research online. It wasn't enough for just me to come up with an argument - it was up to my son to convince me that the game was harmless for 11 year old boys. We both hit the Internet to find information to back up our arguments.
The result of our little exercise was a mutual agreement that maybe now wasn't the best time for him to own such a violent game. Owning the game would mean he would be playing it too much and with the storyline mode, which is the worse mode. He agreed that he got too focused when playing video games alone had a hard time limited the amount of time he played. Ok so it took me asking leading questions for him to come up with that conclusion, but at least he did.
As for playing the game at a friend's house, I'm not stupid I know he will play the game when at his friend's house. I told him that I knew he would do things I didn't agree with, like drink alcohol underage, but I wasn't about to make it easy for him or condone it by allowing it in our home. I also think that playing with friend's in multiple player mode not only limited the amount of time he played the game but also eliminated the storyline mode, which is the goriest mode. Playing with others also kept him from getting hyper focused on the game when he played, which is the biggest issue with violent games - hyper focus results in blurring reality and fantasy.
As for his friend that owns the game, I called his mom to find out why she had agreed to allow the game in their home, she didn't know what she was buying. She was going with the Christmas list and her husband's recommendation to buy it. Now that he has it she feels she can't just take it back. She'd rather it wasn't there but what is done is done. Her son's time on video games is limited due to his extra curricular activities and he only plays with friends.
I wish that my son wouldn't have access to violent video games, but its not a perfect world and other families have a different value system. I can't protect him from everything, I can only hope that he makes better decisions. He has to develop his own belief system and information as a tool to help him make decisions. I wish I could say that he was strong enough not to be effected by peer pressure but he's not. As kid's get older our control over them is diminished and we know less about what decisions they face every day. It's not good enough to give them rules to follow, they have to understand the reasons behind the rules and buy into the argument. Once they drink the Kool Aid, they will hopefully make better decisions.
Violent Video Game Atrraction and Effects
Impact of Violent Video Games on Kids
Video game management for pre teens
Video games and Children's Health
Mental Health and Video Games
Scientific Studies of the Effects