Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Memorial Day


Today is a day of remembrance for those we have lost fighting to obtain our freedom and those that we lost to keep it. If you're interested in the history and how the holiday began, check out this article on the history. It's pretty interesting.

While you spend time with friends and family remember those lost to their families and friends through the years.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Which way to go? What to do?


"Be at a crossroads" is defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary as "to be at a stage in your life when you have to make a very important decision".

Coincidentally a friend and I were let go from our respective positions within a week of each other, we did not work at the same company. This was about two months ago. Since then we have gone to a couple of job fairs, a term I use very loosely. We live just outside a major city on the East Coast, job fairs should be large events with a ton of local companies showing up looking for talent, so not the case here. The first one we went to was just sad; there were 7 companies there - 5 were financial companies, 1 funeral home, and a staffing agency. Not exactly a great turn out.

The second one we went to was at the baseball stadium in that large city, better options when it came to companies, there was about 30 total. A couple of trade schools, the military, the state police, a few staffing agencies, retailers; you get the picture. The same over and over again. I talked to a couple of the agencies since they were ones I had never heard of in this area. Thought it would give me more options when it came to finding something that is right for me. I emailed them later the same day, it was nice talking to you today here is a copy of my resume for your records kind of email. Then, nothing - crickets could be heard for miles after that. I do realize the emails could have been flagged as SPAM but you would think that agencies that like check their SPAM to make sure that they don't lose a lead or a potential candidate because of it. I gave it a couple of weeks, thinking maybe they just haven't checked SPAM yet. I've totally given up now.

My friend scheduled an interview with one of the companies from the first job fair, a financial company. If he was offered anything he didn't take it since he is not working there at this point.

I believe we are both sitting at this crossroad trying to figure out what we each want to do next. There is always the option of starting a business, folding and taking a job just to have a job that brings in a salary or keep searching to find the right fit. I vote for searching for the right fit, I've spent too much time working somewhere just because I needed a job to support my family (single parent here). It's time for me to find work that at the very least doesn't give me anxiety going in every morning.

Right now, that leaves us sitting here...searching to determine what will be next.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

National Chocolate Chip Day...

is a thing. Go figure!

I was poking around Pinterest and came across a 2016 Marketing Planning Guide. Well, that's two years old, dates are off a bit. :) So I went to find the author and see if there was an updated 2018 version. Found it...https://www.rebeccavandenberg.com, Rebecca Van Den Berg is a Digital Marketing Strategist, check out her What We Do page here. Thanks to Rebecca I now have the updated 2018 Marketing Planning calendar, that's where I found out it National Chocolate Chip Day is a thing!! It is on May 15th, so I am a day late but hey who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie any day of the year?


I Googled it and found a great article here on the National Day Calendar website explaining how chocolate chips became a thing. It goes back to 1937 and it's all thanks to Ruth Graves from the Toll House Inn of Whitman, Massachusetts. Great article, take a few to give it a read.

The first time I made homemade chocolate cookies, not from a package or box, was in 8th grade Home-Ec class somewhere in the late 80's (which they should totally offer in schools again! - tirade for another post). It was intimidating at first, all the measuring, mixing, making sure it was all done precisely, baking is a science after all. By the end of that class, I had fallen in love with baking.

My love for baking has stayed with me all these years, I bake just because, for holiday desserts, for birthdays, or because the bananas are a bit too ripe to eat so here comes some banana bread. :) Anything homemade is perfect for gift giving and relatively inexpensive.

Several years ago I started making cookies and giving them away as Christmas gifts to co-workers. They are not old-fashioned chocolate chips cookies, I make them instead with Andes Candies. Yep, those delicious little mint candies that you used to get after dinner at certain restaurants (still get them at Olive Garden).

A little gesture that really doesn't take too much time but makes a great impact on the people getting them. Who doesn't like a little treat?

Go forth and bake!!

Toll House Chocolate Cookie Recipe courtesy of www.epicurious.com here.

YIELD Makes about 5 dozen cookies
ACTIVE TIME 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Pan Cookie Variation

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Slice and Bake Cookie Variation

Prepare dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. 

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Do Ahead
Dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.

This recipe is made available as a courtesy by Nestle USA and www.VeryBestBaking.com. Nestle® Toll House® is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.


The Journey Begins...Again.

I've decided to begin writing again.

The blogs I find most interesting are written by women like me. Normal, everyday people that work, raise families, have hobbies, etc. That's what this will be, a blog for the everyday person just juggling life.

Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
post

Thursday, April 7, 2016

American Idol Finale


Are you an American Idol fan? I absolutely LOVED the horrible auditions, Paula, Simon and Randy cracking up openly, all the goofiness. I watched more for that than the actual contest. I watched the first few season then quickly became bored. Can’t explain why, there was just something not holding my attention any longer. However, when I found out this would be the last ever season of American Idol I made sure to watch every single episode. Right from the beginning I had my favorites, La’Porsha, Dalton, Trent, Emily and Olivia Rox – her name alone is enough for me to want her to win. As the field narrowed from 24, to 12 to the top 5 La’Porsha quickly overtook every other contestant in my mind. Before we talk winner, let’s talk about that finale. WOW!

If I was asked to describe tonight’s American Idol Finale – EPIC – would be the only word to come to mind. The talent, the showmanship, the music, the energy, the performances…EPIC! I would expect nothing less after crowning 14 winners and preparing to crown one final winner.

The performances were amazing, typically when watching a show with so many performances there is at least one that stands out as a miss for me – not tonight. I had forgotten how powerful and intoxicating Jennifer Hudson’s voice was – pure magic. Perhaps my favorite collaboration was the country mash up with several American Idol alums, especially Scotty McCreery singing Garth Brooks’ hit Papa Loves Mama.

By time the tribute to the late, great David Bowie started I forgot I was watching the final episode of American Idol. Instead it reminded me of the ‘old school’ music awards shows where the performances were many and the speeches were few. So many powerful performances, guest appearances and emotions – now for the winner! My choice remains La’Porsha but there is no way I could possibly vote enough to fix the outcome. Wink.

The winner – TRENT HARMON!! I believe that was a surprise to a lot of people including the judges. Jennifer Lopez looked totally surprised, expecting the season favorite to win as well. 

Congratulations Trent Harmon!

I’m sure I can speak for millions of American’s when I say…here’s to a fabulous career doing what you love, Trent, have fun and live your dream. Class act all the way.

On a final note – Ryan was signing off with his famous line “and one more time, this is so tough, we say to you from Hollywood goodnight America – for now.” Maybe we will see another fabulous show with Ryan as the host? Only time will tell.

Monday, January 4, 2016

You Have to be Single to be a Single Mom



I came across an article that I pinned yesterday so I could read it; so glad I did. It is just a bit over a year old however it still rings true. Kristen Tea wrote an eloquent piece about the difference in being a single parent vs a married one based on her life. You can read the entire article here as I'm sure I cannot do it justice.

First I'd like to say thank you to Kristen for that wonderfully well put article. I am a single mom, have been since my daughter's father decided, while I was pregnant, that he wasn't going to be a father. I have raised her alone since birth, she will be 20 this March (2016) - her entire life.

I agree with you on all your points, Kristen, married mothers are not single mothers just because their spouse goes away on a business trip or friend weekend, same goes for the dads out there. There is still support emotionally, mentally and financially. There struggles are still real with hard decisions to be made for the best of their family - no denying that.

While I had a support system when it came to child care, all the decisions were mine and mine alone to make regarding the welfare of my daughter. Bedtimes, meals, to play sports or not, can she have a sleepover or will it disrupt the day - you get the point. Doing it alone if the toughest thing I have ever done but not something I would change for anything in the world.

If in your past you were a truly a single parent - working full time so you could pay the rent, the utilities, put food on the table, clothes on you and your child's back, then you are a single parent. If you did all of that and are now married, share responsibilities with another, you are no longer a single parent - those struggles are no longer yours to handle alone, be thankful.

If you have support, true support from a spouse, be thankful, grateful and appreciate the partnership. You still struggle in your own ways but your struggles can be shared with another.

To all the moms out there making comments about how women should ban together and support one another, I couldn't agree more however don't claim my single parent struggles as your own. I won't claim your where should we go on vacation, handsome husband makes so much money I don't know what to do with it struggles. Ok - seriously, I know families struggle, some spouses are abusive (mentally and / or physically), lazy, don't work or help around the house. To those spouses; I won't claim your struggles however you are in my prayers for the strength to do what is best for you and your child(ren).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being A Single Parent...

...is easy, said no one ever!!

Now I don't complain about being a single parent, I didn't have to share the hugs, snuggles, hand holding or kisses when she was little. I also didn't get to share the 3 am fevers, bloody noses (allergies) or hospital visits. But still not complaining, she is my little girl even at almost 20 years old. 

Some of the most difficult times come when I've lost a job or simply don't make enough to pay bills. This year has been a rough one, I lost my job in January. Now that she is older my daughter is very aware of what's going on, especially since I am home almost everyday searching, talking and interviewing. When she was younger it was easier to keep her from knowing and stressing. I think this year with what's happened she is as stressed as I am about my situation. In reality it is our situation since I pay all the bills, household, cell phone, her car payment, insurance...everything. I wish she didn't know the struggle, that she was that innocent little girl that felt lucky to have mom home from work early.

I believe that from my struggle this year my daughter will learn a valuable lesson at a young age, one I wish I had learned, to be prepared for such an event...no work, job, position for almost a year.

Now heading into fall with all the activities we love to do will be even more stressful than before (no job / disposable income vs. limited disposable income). At least with limited disposable income we could participate in some of the events.

I hope learning this lesson will help my daughter prepare and make sure she has a safety net so if she falls victim to a lay off the stress won't be as horrible on her as it has been on me. I know for sure once I am actively working again I will begin building a safety net for me so this does not happen again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Advice: Good, Bad or Indifferent, It All Matters


Advice is freely given however not so easily taken. Even when not solicited advice can be helpful, yes even bad advice. The bad advice will help with sorting out the good advice given or at the very least help determine the next steps to be taken no matter what the situation. The good advice you will know right away, you’ll feel it.

When I was a teenager I worked in a retirement community dining room as a server providing breakfast and dinner to the residents. I don’t remember the incident that caused me to be sitting in the director’s office, waiting, feeling like I was in the principal’s office at school waiting for my punishment, this is where I received the best advice that sticks with me even now so many years later.

The advice I was given can be utilized in any situation. The beauty is in the generalization and simplicity. Can you fix it? (NO) Can you change it? (NO) if you can’t fix it or change it then why worry about it?

Worrying about something you cannot control will only drive you crazy. Let it go. Move on. Take what you need and form a plan of action then act.

While this may be redundant, it bears repeating, the best thing to do with any advice; bad, good or indifferent…
Ø  Listen carefully. You may actually get one nugget that helps.
Ø  Ignore what doesn't ‘feel’ right. Trust your instincts.
Ø  Great advice will resonant with you and help you move forward.
Ø  Sleep on it. Sleeping helps the unconscious mind work through the advice given helping pin point the important nuggets.


The best advice I can give when listening to or taking advice from someone, is always do what you feel is right for you and NEVER blame the person that gave you the advice you decided to take. It’s your decision no matter what the outcome.


Friday, November 14, 2014

It's mid-November. I don't say that as if it's not known but more in a OMG!! IT'S MID-NOVEMBER!! kind of way. Where did the year go? Feels like yesterday I was getting ready for my daughter's high school graduation in June and now we're almost knee deep in the holidays with turkeys, decorating, caroling (do people still do that?) and hot chocolate.
With the rush of the next couple of months I wanted to lighted the mood a bit and share something I learned today, the origin of the phrase "Black Friday". Many, like me, have always believed it was related to the one time of year retailers made a profit. Turns out it was Philly traffic-cops in the late 1950's that coined this term to describe the terrible traffic conditions in Center City the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Reporters at the time picked up on the story in early 1960's and did what they do best, made it big news. Retailers did not like this term and tried without success to have the day after Thanksgiving called "Big Friday!". So thank you to the Philly cops of the 1950's and the reporters of the 1960's for unknowingly naming one of the biggest shopping days of the year. "Black Friday" as we know it today, more for the financial being in the black, began in the 1980's however it was still mostly a "Philly thing".
Here's to all the retail associates that work on one of the most shopped days of the year, my thoughts are with you while I join the masses to shop. :)
Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe holiday season!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GREATEST FEELING...being invited to publish on LinkedIn!!!


A few weeks ago I received an email inviting me to publish on LinkedIn. Great feeling to know that you've been noticed by such a large networking community. Now I'm not sure how they decide whom to invite, however that doesn't change the feeling of excitement I felt to do something I love...write.

You can find the first post here, http://bit.ly/GratefulArtcile, it's short and sweet.

The second post can be found here, http://bit.ly/OverwhelmedArticle. I'm still experimenting with topics. Not sure where to go from here however I'm super excited to take this journey.




Keep an eye out for new posts, I'll put them here and on Facebook too.

If you have topic ideas please comment on this post.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Losing My Baby...



This morning started off as a typical morning, me running around trying to get myself out the door on time, then I realize my daughter is up and about. That meant today is Wednesday, August 27th the first day of her freshman year in college...WOW. We left the house at just about the same time, me a couple of seconds before her. While I'm driving; running through my mind is how much she has grown from that very curious cute little girl to a young woman. I hit a red light, look in my rear view mirror and there she is driving to pick up her friend before school, I started crying. I am overcome with emotions: pride, a little bit of sadness and a whole lot of awe.

Time has flown by so quickly, it seems like just last week she was a sweet little 5 year old starting kindergarten ready to take on the world and completely proud of herself for being able to read (not recite) the alphabet backwards on the board.

Tabbie has grown from that loving little girl to a confident, intelligent, compassionate, strong-willed, independent young lady starting college and beginning her next chapter.

While I may feel on some level that I'm losing my baby...

I am without a doubt gaining a wonderful new adult in my life and I look forward to that new adventure.

(Tabbie is the bald one in the pic below.)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ALS...

Nothing else needs to be said other than...

Just Watch till the end...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I follow a Blogger on the Huff Post Impact section, The Blog, Lisa R. Petty. She recently wrote an article about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, you can read the full article here.

If you're not completely aware of what the challenge is here is a quick run down, Pete Frates a former Boston College baseball captain was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 since then he has been a HUGE advocate in raising awareness of this disease. While I'm not exactly sure how the challenge started it has become this...dump a bucket of ice water on your head AND donate $10 to ALS or don't dump the water and donate $100. There is a great article on ESPN about Pete and ALS here. 

I was upset, angry and shocked by time I completed the second paragraph. By time I finished the article I was going to comment with a lengthy reply, changed my mind and decided the best way for me to work through the disappointment of this article and her mindset was to post here.

There are a few points Lisa mentions that pushed a button in me...

She will not donate to an organization with a bunch of fanfare. - Huh? What fanfare?? Without fanfare the money ALS.org has been able to raise this year would not be possible and I must say all those $10 donations (and all the others without ice buckets involved) have brought so much awareness to such a horrible disease. According to als.org donations as of August 10 surpassed $10 MILLION dollars, as of August 19th donations are now close to $23 MILLION, that's a lot of $10 ice buckets! In 2013 the same time frame, July 29 - Aug 14 only raised $1.4 MILLION dollars, that's a 766% increase from last year. I'll stick with fanfare, ALS and my other favorite organizations...I like fanfare for raising awareness!

Discovered in 1869So what, the disease was discovered in 1869. What has been done in the last 100 or so years to further finding a cure for this 100% FATAL DISEASE?? Yes, I said 100% FATAL! This so called fanfare as I mentioned above has caused an onslaught of donations from around the world not just the country, this is what such organizations need.

Everyone knows about ALS - NOT everyone knows about ALS, such assumptions / broad statements should not be made, you have heard the old adage right? Assuming makes an a$$ out of you not me. Most people I talk to have never heard of it. Even if I say Lou Gehrig's disease they still don't completely get what it is, oh they know Lou Gehrig played baseball, they may even know his stats but not the devastating disease that killed him and many, many more after him.

Wasting water / drought - Now this I can agree with on some level. Lisa mentions a drought in California however every celebrity that I have seen accept the challenge has done so in front of VERY FULL in-ground pools. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume they are using pool water for this, just because I like to look on the positive side of things. :) As for the rest of us accepting this challenge well I'm sure some around the country / world waste more water doing dishes than has been wasted in these challenges. If done outside the ground is watered again thus the circle of things and if they are being done indoors at least it's going back through the treatment centers to be reprocessed and put back out into the world.

Let's concentrate on the positive of this challenge instead of one woman's desire to NOT be publicly doused in cold water for a great cause. 

How about the fact that an ALS patient is the one that started this phenom? What about his mission to educate the world on this 100% fatal disease? So what if dumping a bucket of ice water on your head leads to a lesser amount in a donation those donations are just as important as the $1,000 or $10,000 or $1,000,000 they get from any one donor. As far as I'm concerned Pete Frates is an exceptional human being, check out this awesome video about his journey here.

ALS Association: Create a World without ALS.

I am proud to have been challenged and participate in this fanfare! I made my donation, did you? If not, you can donate at als.org and click the red Donate link at the top right.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'm Laney

I’m Laney and for those of you that don’t know me I’m Laney (inside joke). I am scatterbrained, unfocused, forgetful, diligent, nitpicky, opinionated but I don’t judge (you are who you are), OCD, ADD, nuts, fun, sometimes funny, outlandish, ridiculously loyal to those I love and let into my life. A friend you want by your side whether it’s just watching a movie, getting bailed out of jail or getting drunk, good times / bad times I don’t leave (kinda like a little pest. J) but not the person you want standing on the opposite side of you, I can be very mean. Honest, trustworthy, demanding, giving, loving, busy, single mom, forgetful, dependable, remembers the oddest things but not when they are needed; like playing a trivia game – HA, hardworking, supportive, loves books, movies, TV, music, goofing around or being serious, have a fabulously dirty mind, thinks bathroom jokes are funny. I fart, burp and puke when needed, of course I have manners I’m not a heathen after all. J. I am who I am and I expect others to be themselves around me as well. For those that really truly know me (and you know who you are) love me for me, no questions asked and I love everyone in my life as they are, farting, puking or stumbling like idiots, that’s when we have the most fun. It’s when people pretend to be what they think others want them to be that I get turned off. Be you, do you! Love, fart, tell dirty jokes if that’s you. If people judge then they don’t need to be around, don’t accept me as I am – unconditionally then BYE! Only positive, trustworthy, non-judgmental people apply. We are all different that’s why each one of us is special, not everyone will get along but everyone should be civil, don’t be fake, don’t pretend to care or like me because I’ve met you once or because I work with you. Get to know me, understand me and if you still don’t like me – fine, we tried. Don’t walk away because of one bad feeling, learn to talk through issues, no tip toeing around them, it doesn’t solve anything to handle life that way. And if you walk away and try to come back, remember one simple thing, YOU THREW AWAY THAT FRIENDSHIP NOT ME! ATTACK LIFE! Live it! You only get one ride on the merry-go-round, that you remember, so enjoy it with people you love and love you! 


BE YOU!! DO YOU!!