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July 19, 2015 · 12:31 pm

Homemade white chocolate bark

264

White chocolate bark with walnuts, pecans, dried apricots and cranberries. Doesn’t that sound absolutely divine!! This is a recipe I watched Ina Garten make on the Barefoot Contessa cooking show one year and I have to tell you that it’s mouth watering delish!!

It’s so simple to make too.   Continue reading

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how to clean your house

understands my art

I am one of those nutty buns that loves to clean. Along with that passion comes a few little quirks. One of those is not being able to relax if the room isn’t just how I like it. I only feel this way in my own home. If a room in my house isn’t just the way I like it, I have to clean it. Again let me stress that I like cleaning. I might complain about it sometimes, but I still like doing it.

I wonder if I missed a calling somewhere. Although I will confess that I have been in homes all over the world that were not exactly how I would have kept them, and I’m totally fine with that. I don’t judge. I tend to immerse myself into other people’s domesticity rather than try to force mine onto them.

How do I clean my house?   Continue reading

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A horse’s ass

horses ass

“If one person calls you a horse’s ass, be curious. If three people … be reflective. After five people … buy a saddle.”

~Anonymous

There are folks in this world that seem to think that just because a little time goes by, that they can pretend nothing ever happened. They think they can just waltz back in without so much as an insincere apology. I always want to ask them who parented them. What parent teaches a child that it’s socially acceptable to crap on a friend and come back months later and pick up where they left off? In some cases, this is probably okay, but if you took a great big crap on someone, it’s sooooo not okay. No, not even a little bit.

When did people stop respecting personal boundaries and start behaving like a horse’s ass?   Continue reading

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Do something charitable in 2015

aids 6

One of my goals this year is to do something charitable. I don’t always toot my own charitable horn. I prefer to just to do it and move on. Everyone has their own way of handling how they give back. I  am a huge fan of giving, whether it’s to my immediate community, or the world in general. Giving back just makes me feel good inside. So in that vein, giving back can be a very personal needs-fulfillment for many folks. It feeds my soul.   Continue reading

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Why I don’t wear foundation make-up

smear your lipstick

I am not a fan of foundation makeup. I’ve tried to like wearing it, but it is just not for me. I have ruddy cheeks too because of all the Nordic blood running through my veins, and still I can not get on board with wearing foundation to even out my skin tone. I wear powder though. I love wearing powder. My go to color is translucent. Physician’s Formula make a skin correction powder that I absolutely adore and it evens out the colors in my face with no effort at all.

Why don’t I like to wear foundation?

I don’t like to wear it because it feels like a thin mask on my face. My pores scream for air and eventually I either sweat it off or rub it off because I start to feel like a rash is happening. It’s probably just my own neurosis, but I can’t do it.

The other reason is at night when I would wash it away and present the “real” me to the world. This has always been something that bothered me. It’s the same reason I can’t stuff my bra, or wear a wig, or extensions, or false eyelashes. What happens at the end of the day when you remove all of the fake stuff and you have to look at the real you? Are you happy with what you see? Are you confident walking into the bedroom where your significant other is waiting? Do you ever wonder if they get frightened by what they see?

I know for some people wigs are a medical necessity and foundation might cover something that makes it difficult for others to face the world. My heart goes out to them. But for someone like me that simply has skin and thinning hair, these things would be mere vanity. I don’t really need them.

I’ve always felt a primal need to remain real, or as real as anyone can be. Can you imagine a world where what you see is truly what you get? How sweet would that be? Here I am!

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dogs and fireworks

lexie

July 4th was spent at this glorious house on Roanoke Island with some amazing folks…and six dogs of various  sizes, shapes and colors. When the bunch of humans decided they wanted to take a float and perhaps engage in a bit of tipple at the local watering hole, this party animal decided she needed a bit of quiet time and perhaps a warm shower to wash the salt off, so I  stayed behind.

Just me and six dogs.   Continue reading

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Merchandising behemoths fall from grace

marching band

I worked as a Retail Merchandiser all through college. After college I fell back into merchandising when jobs were scarce, but the merchandising business seemed to be booming.

What is merchandising and what does a merchandiser do?

“What does the role of merchandiser involve?

Merchandising is about planning and developing a strategy to enable a company to sell a range of products that delivers sales and profit targets. A Merchandiser will work closely with a Buyer to ensure the product that’s bought will enable them to achieve the sales plan.”

~ from Retail Human Resources

I made this occupation work for me on a full-time basis by double dipping. I would sign in the Vendor Log at the Front Desk of whichever big box retailer I was working in that day and skim the book for new company leads. The sign in sheets usually had contact information for the main office and I would simply call and let them know I was available to work that store for them if they ever needed someone. Since I had been doing this for so long, sometimes there were notes attached to my sign in sheet asking me if I was available to pick up extra lines in that location. I made a nice income by combining the number of companies I worked for in each store. Most of them paid my mileage and some companies even provided a monthly car allowance.

If you are currently working as a Retail Merchandiser and reading this, I strongly advise you to start double dipping. You are part-time and hired at-will. What you do with your spare time is none of their business. If they try to coerce you into signing a non-compete, tell them NO. 

After I had been in the industry for many years I took a step up and became an Area Manager. I managed seven states with about 100 part-time merchandisers. I advised each of my merchandisers to do what I had done and combine their efforts by taking on other companies. I was interested in seeing them excel in the business and eventually move into management the way I had.

This was also the time I got to take a look at the bloated behavior going on at the corporate level.

Here I was riding in the back of a limo on my way to the airport, while on the phone with a merchandiser in Podunk, America, telling her/him that the company can only afford to pay them $6 per hour. I remember sitting at the overpriced dinner table listening to a bunch of cheap suited bosses talk about test driving a Jaguar just so they could get a free Mont Blanc pen. We stayed in the finest hotels, ate steak and lobster every meal and one meeting we even had a high school marching band parade through and entertain us. One training about 200 of us stayed at the Woodlands Golf Resort for two weeks! Can you imagine that bill? And yet, we could only afford to pay a merchandiser $6 per hour?

I wasn’t a manager for very long.

I was an Area Manager long enough to win the monetary award for Highest Execution for my territory. That only took about 3 years. Then I jumped ship and landed a national position as a Recruiting Manager. That was the job that spanked my bacon for me.

I got fired.

To be fair to the douchebag that hired me, it was inevitable. I naively boasted having a database with the names and numbers of part-time merchandisers all over the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska. This database was what got me the overpaid job in management. Once I had been employed for the cursory three months I was told I HAD to share my database with the rest of the company, or be fired. Stupidly, I believed them and I shared. A week later I was fired in a Florida airport by my supervisor. He met me at my gate, handed me my walking papers, feigned remorse and sorrow and then told me I was on my own to book a flight back home that same day. According to him, my position with the company was being phased out. Well yeah, now that they had my database why would they need to keep paying my salary?

That was awesome.

I had, all total, on and off over the years, about 10 solid years of experience in the merchandising industry. That last job was when I made the decision that I needed to make a change in my career, so when I landed after the Florida debacle, I never looked back.

Oh I looked back occasionally. Like this week I took a look back and guess what I learned. The merchandising behemoths of my day have all faded into the netherlands. They have all folded, gone out of business, disappeared without a trace. The pomp and the circumstance and the gorging indulgences are all now just dust in the wind. There are still some merchandising companies out there, but they are vastly different. There aren’t as many anymore either. I guess you can only have so many marching bands attend your meetings before the coffers start to run dry, or people start to get wise to your bullshit.

But I’d bet some of them are wishing now that they had paid better than just $6 per hour.

When you’re riding high on the hog while the foundation you’re stomping on is put together with the cheapest materials you can get away with using, don’t expect that foundation to support you for very long.

After learning the fate of the major companies I had worked for over the years, I wanted to sit back and feel just a little bit smug. I confess that I do have a certain sense of satisfaction that I got out when I did, but it’s tinged with a bit of sadness too. The potential that existed with these companies, with the managers in place and the number of people employed, could have been something phenomenal. Instead it went the way of other giants that fell, like Enron, or every dotcom ever conceived. People got greedy. They forgot where they came from and they crapped on the little guy that was doing all the work.

I’m not sure if this is something that will ever change.

I did locate the online resume of one of my old managers though. Guess what he’s doing now. He’s a merchandiser for a greeting card company. I kind of hope he’s making more than $6 per hour.

 

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Taming the feral

by Madeline Laughs
little mama full view

photo credit: Chris Shultz

Raising a litter of feral kittens has taught me a few things about people. I think in some respects, we all have a little bit of feral in us, even if we don’t want to admit it.

I might let you touch me, even though I am terrified of being hurt by you. Even if you show me nothing but love, I’m still going to be wary because there will always be something you do that scares me and makes me want to hide.   Continue reading

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Colorblind

Yesterday sitting around with a bunch of my colleagues was enlightening. One of the men joined the group of us and started out by discussing his ethnicity. He said “Yeah, where I grew up was a Waspy, all white neighborhood and they made fun of me because I was different and had a Latino name, but I didn’t speak a word of Spanish.” He was being funny, so everyone laughed, including me.

Then I looked around the room. There was a Filipino, two African Americans and a couple of Hispanics and me, white, Anglo Saxon…WASPy, I guess.

All week I have worked closely with my colleagues and never once did I see color, ethnicity, or even a bit of difference. I never see those things. To me, they are just people. It took someone who sees nothing but color and ethnicity, to make me even look. The realization made me sad.

I wondered why he told that story.

I wondered if he meant to single me out.

And then I remembered who I am.

I am not the one who is afraid or ashamed of being different. And then everyone went back to being just people I work with. Including him.

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