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Musing #30: Oscar, LeVine-Style (Teach Your Children Well, Part IV)

Musing #30: Oscar, LeVine-Style (Teach Your Children Well, Part IV)

Feb 28, 2014

A little pop culture wordplay, there, riffing on this:   Welcome to the continuation of Musing #29: THE GRADUATE and The Evil of Censorship. The following shall conclude my film-based “Teach Your Children Well” series of posts. As the lone non-mother/aspiring mother writer on this site, I fear that I inadvertently disrespect my amazing colleagues by deigning to use the phrase “teach your children well.” Please don’t misunderstand. As I said in my last post, I’m not telling anyone how to parent. That said, I do have a vested interest in the children of today not sucking — I mean, being well taught. Those children are the adults of tomorrow. And barring any unforeseen tragedy, Stacy shall still be steering Scylla and Charybdis when the children of today are in fucking charge. So pardon me for stating the obvious, but old-ass Stacy of tomorrow needs the kids of today to rock. There is a very specific reason for my choice of those admittedly didactic words. You’ve probably noticed by now that I write a lot about my progressive Baby Boomer, cultural drill sergeant, proctologist father. I do that because he is, objectively, one of the most brilliant, dynamic, interesting, hilarious and (above all) unique people you could ever hope to meet. Truthfully, the words “odd,” “weird,” “strange“ and “bizarre” are also oft-used and, indeed, fitting adjectives with which to describe the man. (All in all, a writer’s dream subject.) Master Dickens himself could not have dreamt up such a character, because truth is invariably stranger than fiction. And this very strange man, whom I do so objectively revere (far beyond my filial love for him), is brought to JAZZ SINGER-style tears every time he hears a particular song from his progressive Baby Boomer youth, namely: CSNY‘s “Teach Your Children.” A Link to Both the Music and the Lyrics To be clear, I was weaned on hippie music. (More on that, shortly). I deliberately use the phrase in question because it is my wonderful, loony father’s parenting mantra. And his relentless, obsessive crusade to teach the small nation-state he sired as well as he possibly could with the limited free time available to a young...

What You Need To Know About Credit Card Fraud and Gas Stations

What You Need To Know About Credit Card Fraud and Gas Stations

Feb 27, 2014

By Mo Breden Last week I wrote about my experiences with a credit card that I swiped at a local gas station– and about two weeks later–huge charges appeared on my card from gas stations around the state.  All charges were reported to my credit card company and they are investigating the fraudulent charges. Since the only place that I swipe the card in question is at my local gas station I decided to go by and talk to the manager. The first thing I asked him was how often they checked the pumps for skimmers. What’s a skimmer you say? Well, a skimmer is the first thing you need to know. Skimmers are any number of devices made to be affixed to an ATM or a gas pump and secretly record credit and debit card information when customers slip their cards into or through the machines to pull out money or to pay for gas. The criminals later retrieve the devices that store your information and use or sell it to other criminals who use it, and your credit card is charged. The manager took me out to the pumps to point out some things I need to be aware of when I swipe my card at a gas station. If you are like me, you pull up, swipe the card, get the, gas, and get on your way. You can’t do that anymore. You have to take a few seconds to look at the area where you swipe your card. I took a photo of the pump at my station to make the explanation easier. The first arrow is pointing to the tape that is placed across the door edge on the pump. If this tape is tampered with or is not in place, do not use that pump and bring it to the attention of the staff on duty. The second arrow points to the keypad area just make sure that nothing has been placed on or over the keypad. Also, check the device that actually scans your card for any coverings or over fittings. Apparently, according to the manager, they check the pumps, at least once a day for skimmers....

Self-Care for Teachers and Other High-Stress Professionals

Self-Care for Teachers and Other High-Stress Professionals

Feb 26, 2014

By Erin D’Addio Teachers experience a slow-burning kind of stress.  In “Stress in the American Workplace,” by Charlotte Kuchinsky, jobs where people need to conceal their true feelings and hide emotions (like teaching and social work), are considered among the most stressful.  Jobs in which workers are bombarded with constant negativity, behavioral issues, and complaints also rank high on the list. While teachers are not on the front lines of danger (like firefighters, police, or soldiers), they often deal with safety concerns, troubled individuals, and volatile situations.  Schools are often “on lock down” for threats that need to be evaluated by law-enforcement and teachers are called on to protect the students in their care. A study funded by the American Psychological Association says that, “more than one-third (36%) of all workers say they typically feel tense or stressed out during their workdays, with 20% reporting that their average daily level of stress is an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale.”  While stress varies from person to person, mindset and self-care play a hue role in a person’s ability to cope. Ways to alleviate stress: 1. Mindset:  People in high stress situations need work towards keeping a positive outlook.  Mindfulness exercises, gratitude practice, and other positive thinking practices can greatly reduce stress.  People also need to make sure they have a healthy place to express their true emotions. Journaling, finding a mentor, or even therapy are healthy suggestions for careers that often require people to keep their emotions inside for long periods of time. 2. Nutrition and Exercise: It is no surprise that an unhealthy body increases stress.  Exercise is also an efficient way to boost endorphins and re-focus the mind. 3. Maintain A Support Network: Turning our gaze to another person’s issues, and helping them through difficult situations, has several benefits.  Helping other’s often puts life into perspective and people are more likely to be there for you when the favor is returned.  Rather than pulling away from friends and family during times of stress, reaching out for support (and giving it in return) ensures a long lasting system. 4. Cultivate Other Aspects of Yourself: The mind needs distractions.  Hobbies, interest groups, volunteering, and...

The Evolution of Miranda Hobbes

The Evolution of Miranda Hobbes

Feb 25, 2014

Miranda Hobbes, Type A Personality. She is cynical, sassy, charming, angry, sarcastic, caring and sometimes can be a real bitch. All the characters of “Sex and the City” are defined as very real people and  Miranda rings the most true . She is a woman who has designed her life and has a plan. She does dream but sees the world as black and white. It is one way or the other. Miranda’s world never works the way she designed it and the black and white view of things constantly gets skewered when something unexpected happens. In Miranda’s world this happens more often than not. She is a lawyer by profession and is impassioned about her work. In her personal life she is fiery, intense and sometimes downright vehement. That said she can also be very caring, loving and nurturing. If you were just meeting her you might find her stand-offish because she doesn’t trust people easily. If she takes you into her circle  you couldn’t ask for a better friend. Now come along as we visit with the multifaceted woman named Miranda, a fierce redhead with plenty of opinions. This is “Movie Bad Girl of the Week Television Edition: The Ladies of Sex and the City” When we first meet Miranda she is very business minded/career-oriented and runs her personal life the same way. She is deathly serious most of the time and it seems that her smiles have to be forced. She seems very angry all the time. She wears little to no make-up and has a wardrobe that is a far cry from the fun and/or elegant fashions of her 3 friends. She is bitter and outspoken and doesn’t really seem to care for men in general. We see her on dates with men that I don’t think anyone would find desirable and it almost seems that these guys (at least to Miranda) are the best she can do. She is the least glamorous and can really be a party killer. When she does find an attractive guy there is always some fault in him that will end the relationship before it is started. In the world of school kids Miranda...

Taking the Leap: Interview with Entrepreneur Marisa Crane

Taking the Leap: Interview with Entrepreneur Marisa Crane

Feb 24, 2014

Starting a business is scary.  Moving from a stable job and going out on your own is scary.  Marisa Crane, owner of Bayshore Esthetics, talks with us about how she finds success, how she made the leap, and how she keeps the momentum going. Share this with your friends who are small business owners, entrepreneurs, or anyone thinking of branching out on their own. WLBPA: Thank you so much for talking with me, Marisa. Marisa: Anything I can do for you, just let me know! WLBPA: Well, I wanted to ask you questions about how you started your small business.  I know you have been in the spa industry before, but how did make the decision to leave a steady, “stable” career to go back out on your own? Marisa: Realizing the “one thing” that is most important in life, to you, will be what makes the decision for you. If you build on what you know and love, that “one thing” will be perfectly clear. For each of us it is different. WLBPA: My problem is that I love too many things! As a result, I’ve started a bunch of small-businesses (not all of them a success). For me, I cannot NOT go forward with an idea.  Leaving my “stable career” was more like an episode of Snapped.  I was fed-up and I jumped.  How did you find the strength to get started? Marisa: Start by surrounding yourself with positive thinkers and build on their trust. Trust will get you further than good credit. WLBPA:  That is so important.  Without support, especially from your family, business-ownership is much harder.  Without the support of my husband, I would have given up by now. How has your relationship with yourself (or your daughter/family) changed for the better because of your decision to take charge of your life? Marisa: Doing what you love creates a stronger, happier, healthier you and has a trickle-down effect. It’s contagious– just like smiling. You can’t help it! My daughter and I are very close so whatever affects me hits close to home. Since making this change the stress has been the good kind. If you can believe there is such a thing! She gets excited and...

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