Month: August 2011

I was just thinking about our economy

Posted on Updated on

I am not an economist or even a financial guru, but I am a mom. I have survived the 70’s, the 80’s and Reaganomics, and even the boom of the Internet in the 90s while managing to never go hungry. However, after the aftermath of natural disasters, bailouts, a 10 year war along with more bad weather to come, I am wise enough to realize I have to make some smart changes.

The first thing I did was update my resume.

The second thing I did was started looking for ways to cut back on my spending.

Third, I started looking for items around the house that were taking up space and not making me any money.

Fourth, I purchased canning jars and pectin.

Last, I evaluated my assets.

Why you ask? Things are about to get really tough.

If you are watching the news very carefully, you will notice that each day, there is another company starting a round of layoffs. This means a saturation of more unemployed and a shrinkage in the number of jobs available to the “unspecialized.” Further, pay attention to the amount of damage that was done by Hurricane Irene up and down the East Coast. FEMA is out of money. Insurance is only going to cover as much, which is probably going to mean an increase in your insurance rates. But wait, there is more. The Northeast corridor is our beds for Blueberries, cranberries and other items we use to make non orange juice. Around the corner Hurricane Katina is off the shore of Africa. We are only half way through the alphabet, there is still L- Z.

In all honesty, I am scared. I am scared for our children who are about to experience and economic downturn they just will not understand. There will be many who will not understand. I am writing out my thoughts so that I may help you understand what I am thinking. I am going to take you step by step. My first step was to update my resume. My updated resume is necessary so that I can start acquiring from freelance work. I can freelance as a ghost blogger for higher education and many other sites. I started with the Chronicle of Higher Education, since that is my area. I obtained a free membership. I also looked at other organizations where I have memberships and updated my profile. I even updated my profile on Linked In. If there is someone out there looking for what I can do, I can easily score some part time work or projects to make a few bucks.

Please keep in mind that just because companies have to lay off employees, they still have a company to run. They contract out the work. The company must go on if it can. I am willing to do my part to help American companies keep going, even if it is a project at a time. If companies are looking for ways to cut back on spending, then so should I.

I started with my stupid cell phone. I am either going to go prepaid or back to a standard dumb phone. I have a tablet with apps. Apps are over rated and I have other things to do that to sit around diddling with my phone. I started practicing on my buttercream frostings and baked goods at home. A few eggs, some butter, sugar, add flour and I have a dessert. Add some flavorings and it is whatever I want it to be. Adding Cocoa makes it chocolate, adding lemon extract makes it lemon flavored. Payday, I am headed to Big Lots and the Dollar Store to purchase whatever fillers, extras and additives I need to have on hand for whatever I can possibly think I would want to go out and eat. I am eating at home.

Of course, with this much new stuff coming in, I have to make some room. I started with the shed. We scored a cool $400 bucks for some truck tires that I listed on Craig’s list. I think you can buy a mother on Craig’s list. Hubby started to look at me suspiciously, yes, he is right; I was looking at more of HIS stuff to sell. Of course I’m not selling any of my stuff, what is wrong with you? Anyhoo, moving on….. I went to Wally World and purchased more canning jars. This weekend I am headed to the market to buy more fruit. I don’t know how to preserve anything other than my shoes. The formula is basic. Simmer, add sugar and pectin, bottle, drop bottle in hot water, remove bottles; wait to tops to suck in. Then you cool and store. If not, I am headed to 2nd and Charles to find a book on preserving. Hey, while I’m going that way, I am going to take some books to sell. See, Hubby, I can be fair.

Now, I am looking at my 401K, my stocks, the bonds, and even some stocks that I have certificates, I may cash in just to hold on the actual dollars. I am evaluating my net worth. I kind of feel like Carrie on Sex and City when she realized she spent $40k on shoes. I ain’t worth Jack Schitt. I think I may add some rims to my Ford to increase its value.

I am not an alarmist but a realist, but I am buying a 20lb bag of rice.

It is time to stock up the freezer and the pantry because it is going to be a bumpy hurricane season, a bad winter and poor Spring harvest.

I am telling you early. You will thank me later.

Advertisements

Getting Past Being a Snob

Posted on Updated on

August 27, 2011

Taken aback by the attack of the sales person in the store, I stood there aghast when she called me a snob.

Me, a snob? What did I do?

I am a deep complexioned woman and therefore there will never be an occasion for me to wear canary yellow shoes. My lack of enthusiasm in trying on something that I will never buy, let alone wear, does not make me a snob, it makes me a smart shopper. After quickly explaining this to Sales Lady from Hell, she told me it wasn’t just the shoes, it was my whole demeanor. She further went on to say that my “aura” from the moment I walked in the store was air of superiority. My eyebrows went up. I breathed deep and I assume she expected me to attack her with vicious words.

I merely asked, “When did you stop dreaming?”

She shut the heck up.

Her attack on me had nothing to do with my aura, my feelings, or even the canary yellow shoes. Her attack was on my confidence and the lack of her own. There was something in my ability to say no to a very aggressive sales person and not be intimidated, rubbed her all wrong. She felt she needed to cut me down to size. She needed to let me know how she felt. She had words that were burgeoning in her brain that needed to be unloaded on me.

Me, the Snob.

I will admit I am a bit of a snob for I am always seeking new opportunities to blossom. I also limit the amount of negative energy I allow to flow through my body by reducing the influence of processed trash to enter my system. This includes reality television. This includes bad wine, processed foods, drama queens, drama kings, individuals with poor judgment and those who always want you to listen to their problems. This makes me a snob? No this makes me smart.

I am a dreamer. I like to think of new ways that I can grow, evolve, and continue to learn.

I have read Beowulf in Olde English and I even laughed when I read the Canterbury Tales. Yet, my some of my favorite writers are Julie Garwood , Janet Evanovich and Dianne McKiney Whetstone. I like diversity. I love literature but I appreciate great characters and a good storyline. I also love Elmore Leonard, and local authors. I am not a snob, I am a reader.

I deserve the best in life and I also deserve and opportunity to try to better myself. I will not do so at the detriment of another. Although my dreams may seem to some, large, but I have a large imagination. I have traveled to four of the seven continents and plan to do the other 3. I want to enjoy the fruits of a life well lived and therefore I can not stop dreaming.

Did you stop dreaming?

Have you accepted that there is nothing on television and instead of picking up your old favorite hobby, you sit there and veg out on the REAL Housewives of Spoiled Hell?

Stop it.

Get up, walk into your craft room, extra room, laundry room and find that hobby that you put down. Pick it up and think about the projects you want to work on and the projects you have not finished. Think about the things you told yourself five years ago that you wanted to do and write down how far off you are and what it would take to get you back on the road.

Today is your day to become a S.N.O.B. Today is the day for you to seek new opportunities to blossom.

You can get past being a snob by actually following your dream and making it blossom.

Shut up!

Posted on Updated on

August 25, 2011

By Cheryl Aaron Corbin

I am a thinker. I wake up thinking, I go to bed thinking. I think of the simple things in life and think of complex matters and possible, viable solutions. You know the problem with thinking so much? One feels compelled to provide these thoughts to people who didn’t ask you for your opinion. It is then easy to become a know-it-all. Yes, some people may ask you for your opinion, but really, if you know so dang gone much, why aren’t you rich?

In a time when there are 37 television channels of “experts” on everything from pest control to making sandwiches, why is your opinion needed in the conversation? On top of the television experts, there is the internet. The internet is loaded with people who blog on everything from cold sores to cold storage. Technology has advanced so much that experts are now selling their skills via applications that can be at your fingertips via a mobile “app”. Everyone is selling everything. Therefore I compelled to weigh in and sell something so original and so unique, that it is bound to catch and revolutionize the way we live. I am selling silence.

I have been told it is golden.

Yes, I am asking you to stop, breath, reflect and then politely ask you to shut up.

This summer, I hit the road and spent time with not only my family, but my husband’s family. I learned the value of shutting up. There were times when I was convinced that Satan was sitting on my shoulder trying to operate the lever that controlled my tongue. I was strong and I told him, “Get thee behind me Satan” and I shut up. I saw things that I found disturbing. I saw things that probably evolved from necessity but stayed in play out of habit. Knowing that a tweak here and an adjustment there could make all the difference, I politely made the suggestion. The suggestion was ignored. The younger version of me would have forced the issue, reiterated my point or maybe even argued that the current course of action was illogical and should be changed immediately. The mature version of me went and a made an ice cream cone and shut up. Was I right in my assessment, probably? Did it require me making an ass out of myself and wearing out my welcome; not even close. I enjoyed my visits and was invited back.

After returning home from my travels, I headed into the office to start my prep for the Fall quarter. In the faculty work room, there were clusters of professors going on from everything to the copier, students, and which instructors were teaching which classes. In my mind all I could think about was “shut up!” We are in a recession and we should all be grateful for the jobs we have, perfect or imperfect. If as much energy was spent in teaching your classes as is spent in complaining about your classes, then one would probably be a better educator.

Leaving the school I headed to lunch to use my buy one get on free coupon at Ruby Tuesday’s. Seated at a nice table by a window, our drinks come and so does a couple who were the unhappiest people in the world. They complained about the waiter. They complained about their table. They complained about the food. She started to complain about his mother; for Pete’s sake, shut up! Take a moment and meditate and think happy thoughts. You think happy thoughts your feel happier.

I started this thought with a simple statement, I am a thinker. I want you to become a thinker as well. The next time you see something that is just too good and you feel inclined to offer your opinion, tell yourself “shut up.” When your boss comes in with his tie twisted, lipstick on his collar, and a wry smile on his face, there is no need to share this with any of your coworkers because you have learned the fine art of shutting up. Your best friend’s spouse is still stupid and doing stupid things yet your friend is not packing to leave. This is your time to practice your newly acquired skill of the gift of silence. The lesson here is, if your best friend wants better, your best friend will do better. Your two cents aare only going to incite, exacerbate or make things worse, therefore shut up.

Now we move on to the portion of this thought that is going to revolutionize the way we live. We are going to learn the highly in demand skillset of silence. Dictionay.com defines silence as the absence of any sound or noise; stillness. In stillness we learn understanding. In understanding we learn to grow. In growing we become better. I want to become better. I am thinking of ways to be better. I am thinking. If I am thinking, then I am not talking. If I am not talking, no one needs to tell me to shut up.

I am thinking of ways to save money.

I am thinking of new recipes.

I am thinking about my vacation for next year.

I am thinking of my exercise plan.

Here is your test for your first step to being better. Later today you will be presented with an opportunity to inject your unsolicited opinion. I want you to stand your ground, take a deep breath and exercise your newly adopted regime. You are going to shut up. After you have completed this first task, you can go home, log into your computer and post me a note at the base of this blog. Your notes should resemble this:

  1. The world did not end because I didn’t add my $.25 worth of information.
  2. I feel just fine, actually I feel great because I exercised restraint.
  3. I don’t have to relive my dumbass comment over and over again on Facebook, on Twitter or via text message.
  4. I know have an extra 30 minutes to work on being a better me.

How does that feel. I feel better. I hope you do too. Congrats, you are now a part of the revolution!

Now shut up!


Whose Reality Is It Anyway?

Posted on Updated on

I was so excited! I had three days off with no papers to grade and a moment of respite. I was also home alone for the evening. You know what this meant. I stripped down to my favorite t-shirt. I snuck into the kitchen and opened a can of Coke after 7 pm, stuck in a bag of Lime & Sea Salt popcorn in the ole microwave and headed for my bed. It was going to be a night of television accompanied by a bag of popcorn, a Snickers bar and yeah, that full strength Coke. I was going to be up all night watching the boob tube.

I felt like the boob.

There wasn’t a darn thing on but reality television.

I found a show on people who bid on storage lockers.

I found a show on truckers who drive in Alaska or some frozen tundra.

Games shows, game hoes and people who competed for affection adorned the screen. I flipped more channels. There were people forced into rehab, celebrities in rehab and houses that needed rahab. There were skinny people who ate too little who trade lives with people who ate too much. Families with dogs that ran the house and houses with cats that over ran the house. Pregnant teens, bad parents, strict parents, organ donations, animal collectors, bone collectors, and hoarders.There were pawn stars, repo men, tattoo artists, barn divers, con artist, pest control, people who eat weird stuff, people who collect weird stuff, and people who are just plain weird.

Yes, I saw an episode of Swamp People. I found these people just simply disturbing as I continued watching and eating my popcorn. I don’t think anyone on the show had a full set of teeth. It is evidently their second season and no one has paid their dental bill. But then, I saw it.

A hair growing contest called Whisker Wars.

I turned into a sixteen year old and started to text all of my friends with something similar to, “Dude, WTF?”

I am fed up with reality television and I want to know, whose reality is this anyway?

Television is supposed to be a form of escapism. Tuning in to a bunch of foul mouthed women who were lucky enough to snag the most unattractive professional athletes on the team, does not really make for good television. It only proves you are a gold digger. I also cannot see the entertainment value of dismemberments, crime scene investigations, understanding the criminal mind or understanding criminal intent for that matter. If they are criminals their mind set is to commit crimes and their intent is to commit more crimes until they are caught. I don’t need corporate sponsors to support this idea, you could go over and find this out from my neighbor’s son.

I am fed up with talent shows that seem to wake up the most talentless people who wish to be seen. We are all promised 15 minutes of fame, but the case of Jersey Shore has turned it into three years. Three years of bad behavior, misogynist, and drunk women looking to score is not television programming. Really, is this what we have come too? Is this your reality because it sure as heck is not mine?

I don’t care if you think you can dance, or if you feel you’ve got talent, or you want to be an idol. I want to see someone on Good Morning America that has earned a SAG card for actually working on a situation comedy, a drama, or documentary. I long for the days when actors honed their skills and studied their crafts. I want to see movie stars who played a fantastic role that did not require spandex tights and comic book. I don’t want to see rappers turned actors turned moguls. I don’t want to see moguls turn actors fire has beens. I don’t want to see singers who want to be cool, who have dated their way up the acting couch, and can’t act their way out of a friendship, who now have starring movie roles. I want Joan Crawford. I want Dorothy Dandridge, I want a young Clint Eastwood although the current one is still pretty super awesome.

I miss Seinfeld. I miss Frasier, Cosby, Martin and heck Three’s Company for that matter. Mr. Furley was destined to say something to make you chuckle.

Before you say turn it off if you feel that way, I want to add, but why should I? In order for me to enjoy any television I must have cable. Therefore I am paying for television and this means I am going to watch it. As the consumer, I deserve better. I have been banned from watching HGTV because I did not understand they could redo a room in an hour, but in reality, that project takes a lot longer.

I am angry with Chopped because your mystery basket is no different than every third pantry and in almost any home across the world. How can I stretch these few random items and make it into a three course meal? That was year two of our marriage, and I am not impressed. I am angry with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire because we all want to be one. I don’t have to phone a friend for confirmation. And if you have $X million dollars to give to the winner of the XFactor, why can’t you put that same money into social security so Nana doesn’t have to worry about how she is going to eat in 2012.

I give up.

I must go because there are only 30 of those Tignanello bags left in this round and I have to call QVC.


 

 

 

Are you managing your brand?

Posted on Updated on

                I read a lot of Blogs.  I read a lot of books.  I read a lot.

I am subscribed to several RSS Feeds that keep me up to date and in the know.  In turn, I relay this information on to those who are following, subscribing or listening to me. The other day, I ran across an update from some group that offers to help you obtain 100,000 followers on Twitter. I signed up back in February of 2011 and for some reason, when the email update came in, I read it.  I was shocked.  There was information in there which was really relevant to what I wanted to know. There was information in this article that told me things that I needed to do.  There was information in this update that reminded me that I am a brand. There was information in this article that told me ways to better manage my brand. Then it donned on me, that I was in fact a brand and I had not been doing a very good job of managing my product.

My product is words. I am a Wordsmith. I am the local Word brand manager of where to go, what to do, and what is hot. If you are having a local event and you want people to come, I am usually invited. Why? Not because I am Über cool, but because if it is something interesting and new, I am usually there sharing my Words with others and why they should be there too. If it is run of the mill and I can see it any day or any time, more than likely, I am not going and will not share any Words about this event. If I am going you will know because I will check it at the location and send out words about cost, the happenings and if you may be interested in coming out as well. I usually check in on my favorite app called Foursquare. I have over 1,295 physical check ins from Anchorage, Alaska to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I hold 21 Mayorships and have 64 badges. I often leave tips and clues on businesses in Augusta that can earn you points and locations about town to unlock badges. Look for my words at your next check in.

I have a blog full of words that tell you all of the out-of-the-way places in Augusta that many people forget are there. These little places are “Off the Beaten Path”, and offer unique gift ideas, great bargains and meals that you can afford. I even use my words feature local artists and events worth coming out to support. I am not featuring these areas for any reason other than, hey, look what I found and to let others know that are many things to do and enjoy in our city.  Along with my Examiner.com blog, I also have a personal Blog where I just get words off my chest or rather out of my head and onto a piece of paper. I called these words, “I was Just Thinking.”  Am I going to save the world, why hell no, but hey, I was just thinking about a few words I wanted to share them and guess what, other people want to know my words too because I have subscribers. And I thank you for reading my words.

I also have Twitter followers who follow me @assistingu where I provide up to date words in the form of information from quotes to tips to keep you from overspending while you shop.

 

“Avoid overspending by eating sunflower or pumpkin seeds while you shop. Release of tryptophan calms you down.#assistingu

 

I found, in reading other words from this article, that I was following words from people who were not following my words. You can find those unfriendly Wordmongers who you follow but who don’t follow you by using http://friendorfollow.com. I also found that I could really go viral and tap into the viral nature by encouraging retweets of my words. This can again be a condition of entry to a giveaway; or you can invite people to ‘pay with a tweet’ to download a chapter, e-book or other resource. Do this using www.paywithatweet.com. I also found that you also gain a higher position in the Twitter directories such as http://www.wefollow.com . I then began using more words in sentence from about how to and began to finds ways that my words could actually assist you.

 

I have a local word building group at Augusta Writers where 1,253 people enjoy tips and tools that keep them inspired be word craftsmen.  Since I am an avid reader, moving quickly toward voracious, I began to throw around my adjectives and encourage others to download free eBooks to encourage other wordsmiths. I do so in hoping that their words can also encourage you to use your own words. If not, there are weekly word combination challenges, updates on word building conferences, word smithing workshops, hard bound word festivals and more. The challenges are fun and can be deceptively difficult and sometimes can require the use of an adverb.

Your three words for Tuesday, August 9th are: Cinnamon toast, toilet bowl, and red handled scissors.  You many begin.

Wordsmithing can be the start of a journey. And speaking of journey’s, I collected some words that formed the syllables of  travel club which is a group of friends and associates who are over 40 and like to go places but often find it can be expensive to vacation they way that you really want. We put our words together. We found that if you do it as a group, you can save money by leveraging your words with dollar signs. In 2012, our words are cruising to Belize.  In 2013 our words are heading to the Montreal Jazz Festival. I like the sounds jazz notes make and so do my friends.

This is who I am.

I am a word wrangler. I subscribe to learn a new word a day.

I collect words and put them together.  I am paid by you sharing my word collections.

These collected words are resold to subscribers that assist you in going about your day.

These words can tell you places to eat.

My words can tell you how to win prizes.

My words suggest books to read.

My collection of words can save you money.

My words can help you feel better.

I manage my words very carefully.

I am Assistingu and this is my brand.

What is it exactly that you do and how are you managing your brand?

How Committed Are You?

Posted on


As I left campus yesterday, I grumbled at the heat; turning up the AC in my little Ford, I began to think of the new car I should buy next year. Pulling away from my parking space, I began to rehash in my mind, my conversation with my boss. Feeling unappreciated, over worked and a little sorry for myself, I started making a mental list of local institutes of higher education. Yes, in my mind, I thought, if they can’t appreciate everything I do for them and the students, I should just look for greener pastures. I looked up as I began to cross the intersection and that is when I saw her….

Based on the appearance of her sweat soaked uniform and the roundness of her tummy, I estimated that the young lady was at last five months pregnant. It was easily 100 degrees outside and she was walking to school. She was not walking from the bus stop. Instead of a water bottle in her hand, there was a stick, I assume to fend off any dogs. She had a backpack that loosely fell from her heavily weighted shoulder and a squint that adorned her face. I noticed the squint because I had to pull down my sunglasses to really see her face. She was hot. She was aggravated. She was walking to school in 100 degree weather. She was pregnant. She was going to get to class. She was committed.

She is committed to her dream.

I felt envious.

I cannot remember the last time I felt that type of commitment to anything other than something short-term that I wanted.

Please note that I did say that I wanted.
This says nothing about the insane semi-commitments to things that I want; again, not the things that I need.
I can say that I am blessed to need so little.
I almost feel greedy for believing that I want so much.
My thoughts go back to the look of determination on her face. She knows that finishing her degree means a new job. A new job means a new way of life. A new job can mean benefits for her and her children. A new job can mean a car and no longer having to walk in inclement or outrageous weather. A new car means independence.
I now felt selfish.
I have not taught this student.
I felt I needed a break from “giving” so much, so I am not teaching a full load this summer and have not had the pleasure of meeting or working with someone so committed to their dreams. How many other truly committed students am I missing out on this summer while I lounge on my couch watching Maury? I had been whining and whimpering because my passion for my chosen occupation was waning or on the downturn as I made the mental transition to what….
I am supposed to be writing.
I am supposed to be authoring a textbook.
I am supposed to be spending quality time with family and friends.
The latter I have a hold on.
My commitment to my dreams…. not so much.


I began to look around my home office for my list of New Year’s Resolutions. After 30 minutes I located the list that I was committed to in January. I reviewed the handwriting to make sure it was my own. I then sadly realized I hadn’t done any of that crap. I don’t even use my Wii on a regular basis. I can’t even make a commitment to Dance Revolution.
I was now quickly approaching some form of sadness or even maybe depression.
When did I stop believing in my dream?
Have I stopped reviewing my place in life and become complacent?
How committed am I to my dreams?
As I near another birthday, maybe it’s time to reevaluate where I am going in the next five years and what should my goals be at this point? What are 50 things that I want to do in the next five years?
I think there is an APP for that.
No kidding.
Just in case you are in need of an infusion into your commitment sphere, here is a list of APPs that can help you recommit to your goals.
(These have not been downloaded are rated.)
Goaltracker
GOALS ToDo Free
Goal Happy
How committed are you to hanging onto your dreams?