Monday, May 20, 2019

TWTW - the one before Memorial Day

Friday I had off, and a Friday off is a glorious thing. I was up reading Thursday night until 1 and up by 5:15 for a walk with the best friend dogs and a lovely sunrise. 

Even better than having off, my niece and nephew, Stephen and Aubrey, and Carol were down and my Dad was arriving midday. Aubrey made breakfast and we walked to the park. 

Then Aubrey and Lola and I rode bikes to the library while Stephen napped. Lunch was from Cinco de Mayo and we went to the beach after that. It was cold but then the sun came out and it felt glorious. We came back to find a hellish grill situation so Aubrey and Stephen made dinner inside then we jammed up to the boardwalk. The new Lola Jean ramp was open by that time, rides were gone on (first time for Baby Stephen!), the first Kohr Bros of the season was had, and the skies were grand on the way home. I went to bed after I believed my niece was making chalk. Lack of sleep is not good. 

Saturday 
I was up walking dogs at 5:45 and 6:45, then jolted to get dressed and had my coffee on the boards as we rode bikes down to Dockside Kitchen where Dad & Carol took us out to breakfast. They all stopped at the park but I went home to get the dogs out and do some reading. When they got back my dad assembled the power washer and him and my brother power washed the grill while the ladies brought some Philly to the shore for sidewalk sitting and eating and playing with Lola. 
We spent a few sunny hours on the beach before doing the boards again. Opa for dinner, rides, ice cream, and another nice night. I also scored a purple zip up OCNJ sweatshirt. They never have them in my favorite color. Stephen and Aubrey went home and I went down to read after hanging with Dad and Carol for a bit. MFD arrived with Gus and Mae after 11 and I was up finishing a book until after 1 and then woke up many times before finally getting up at 7:30. 

Sunday 
Dad and Carol stuck around to hang up some stuff for me and help me clean the house before taking off with a bunch of our trash chairs and recycles to put out at home. MFD got us bagels from Dead End Bakehouse. I finished up cleaning the upstairs, ran to get some stuff at the store, and he power washed for what felt like decades and was over six hours. Everything looks great out there but if I never hear that noise again it will be too soon. 

Packing up cars and moving shit and moving shit back and putting shit back together and walking dogs and being so tired I just sat with my teeth in my mouth until it was time to order pizza from Randazzo’s and watch Game of Thrones. I was physically tired to the point of not being able to do anything and just having to lay down. We each put in seven hours of work plus what Dad & Carol did. MFD is doing some more stuff this morning but we’re pretty ready for the season. 

Weekly food prep: breakfast is greek yogurt with granola - I still have some from last week at work and I only need it a few days this week. Lunch is PB&J after I finish the pork from this weekend. Snacks are strawberries and bell peppers. 



Up at 5:15 to make the trek home this morning.

Happy happy third birthday to Laura’s son MBD! 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Does My Tech Career Count?

Happy Friday friends! I'm off today and know you'll enjoy this piece from my friend of nearly 20 years, Shelby. Shelby Cohen is a former food critic for the Watertown Daily Times and the blogger behind Big Hungry Shelby, an Upstate New York food blog that promotes mom and pop restaurants and the shunning of Red Lobster. She has a degree in communication from Geneseo State University and has worked in public relations for the defense industry for 20 years.
                                             ************************

For the majority of my 20 year career in public relations, I have worked in the defense industry. But I’m no STEM whiz. Ironically, I failed my math final exam in the tenth grade, necessitating summer school to maintain my honor roll standing and grade point average. In college, the panic attacks triggered by math class were so severe, I would have to leave the room. I wasn’t what anyone would call a good STEM student.

STEM – or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – is a buzzy educational term these days, particularly for girls. Because young women typically begin to fall behind in these subjects in middle school – opting for fields of study in the softer disciplines of English, history, art, or music – a huge effort has been mounted in the last decade to encourage their participation in them.

The fact is, tech companies can’t hire enough women engineers and computing professionals because just not enough women stick with these subjects in school. That, in turn, means these companies struggle to meet diversity numbers, and wage gaps and gender bias persist over time due to a lack of female candidates in the talent pool. The issue is more complex even than all that, of course: don’t get me started on what happens to women when they begin families, and how that effects c-suite diversity metrics down the stream.

When I was in school in the 90s, there were no STEM programs; no corporations investing in my public school to inspire my interest in math or science, and even if there had been, I suspect I still would have gravitated towards those softer disciplines. Words have always made sense to me – numbers, not quite so much. So while I thrived in AP English and was thrilled to discover there was a career in which I could use words to change other peoples’ minds and influence consumers, I drifted further and further from interest in those STEM subjects.

Yet, at just 23, I began working for the largest defense contractor in the nation. I was writing articles about planes with enormous gun barrels mounted on their noses and electronic warfare systems that gave American soldiers the ability to distinguish friends from foes on modern battlefields, and working with some of the most brilliant engineering minds on the planet. It was my job to understand what they did and turn the tech into digestible information for everyday folks. All these years later, and for another company, I work with reporters from outlets like Aviation Week to explain how advanced flight controls can ensure a pilot knows what commands his co-pilot is giving their aircraft and vice versa, and, yes, write and edit articles about how important STEM education is in our schools.

Most tech companies need people like me – non-technical professionals – to keep their doors open. We’re financial wizards, organizational nerds, human resources experts, and contracts nitpickers. In my company, they call what we do support functions, because the communications team, along with those other departments, enable the engineers to invent, develop, produce, and sell. But even though we’re not engineers, we’re completely steeped in the innovation taking place inside our walls. There are hundreds of people who work for my company who can’t figure out the tip at the end of a team dinner, but have high-paying jobs in one of the biggest high-tech organizations in the world.

You know Kristen Wiig’s character in The Martian, incredulous when her colleagues name a secret meeting after a scene in The Lord of the Rings? That kind of interaction is a regular occurrence for me. But despite the fact that I am not an engineer, I very much have a successful career in technology that has allowed me to meet presidential candidates, collaborate with Oscar-winning film directors, fly on helicopters, and travel the world.

My job requires me to understand our products enough to educate the masses about why they’re beneficial for our military. No, I don’t understand how the chip inside a single board computer is designed or built, but you better believe I have to know what it does once it’s orbiting earth in a satellite. This is not work the village idiot is qualified to accomplish. Still, by most peoples’ standards, I would not be considered a woman in technology. It’s time to change that perception, especially if we want to prepare our children for the workplace of the future.



Let’s open our apertures on what it means to work in the careers of tomorrow. Yes, we need more girls to follow STEM paths, if that’s where their talents lie. But let’s be careful not to deliver that message at the exclusion of the notion that literature, art, sociology, history, and music have value and a place in the job market.

That girl who always talks to her neighbor during the lesson could be Google’s vice president of human resources in 25 years, and that boy who flunks every bio lab experiment because giving his frog a funeral makes more sense to him than the scientific process may be the business development exec for whom Boeing will be searching in a decade or so. As a society, we tend to latch onto ideas like, “STEM = Good,” abandoning a wider view, such as that a student who excels in art could become the graphic designer who heads up the ad campaign that propels the next big social media giant into the hearts of consumers.

Of course educating our young people in these disciplines is important, but there always will be more than one path to success, and I worry than the predominance of STEM messaging makes kids who just aren’t meant for those subjects feel less than. It’s simply not true that science and math are the only keys to unlocking a career in tech.

I’m living proof: you can have a successful career in a thriving technology industry even if you failed your Math II final.

***********************************

Shelby will check comments here and can also be reached via email

Happy weekend!


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - I don’t need to fight to prove I’m right, I don’t need to be forgiven

1. This is late and lame - late yesterday I was like shit tomorrow is Thursday and I should have Thoughts. MFD was supposed to come home from the shore Monday but didn't get home until Tuesday so I left work early Monday to finish out the day at home and worked from home Tuesday as well. I'm all confused. Plus I'm off tomorrow, my first day off since March 15. I am thrilled. Confused on days, but thrilled. Almost as thrilled as the dogs are when I work at home.

2. Confused on how to leave the house to run errands too, apparently. 

3. Someone finally diagnosed what's wrong with my oven and the part is on order. Praise Jesus and Hallelujah. It only took three freaking visits over a 31 day period. It's the goddamn igniter. It's not that hard. 

4. At the shore MFD painted the ceiling and someone came out to replace a disappeared screen on the fourth floor, which were two of the remaining big three things that need to be done before Memorial Day. The third is power washing and that will happen Sunday. I updated the About the House and Around Town shit and I always feel like we're stealing home base heading into Memorial Day. It comes up quickly. Also who the hell has ever heard of screens just disappearing out of fourth floor windows? 
5. I won a cookbook from Gina. I freaking love Ina. Do you guys follow Gina's blog? Go check her out at Ciao Bella.

6. Nails: OPI My Private Jet.

7. Let's see, what else: reading netgalley books and fucking up my goodreads tracking over the past week, wearing my Divine Badass shirt from Gena, putting the rest of the year's vacation days into my calendar, keeping up with picking up around the house, scheduling a Vietnam Vets pickup, perusing thrift stores and online yard sale sites for a chair, raging over the carnies causing chaos on my street this week,

8. I am ready to set the world on absolute fire. I can barely scroll through social media. I want to drop everything and act. I feel like a never ending scream is caught in my throat and I'm not even a child bearing person in one of these states, someone of color, someone without means. It is infinitely harder for all of those womxn. Solidarity. This is the hill I will die on. There should be ZERO abortion laws on the books, anywhere. It is a womxn's choice made in consultation with her doctor and if she has one, her higher power. It is certainly not my business, or yours, or any government official's. It is not your right to impose your beliefs and your higher power on someone else. PERIOD. What you personally would or would not do, what you believe in according to your faith has zero bearing on the bodily autonomy of other people. The country is not ruled by your religion, and women you don't know aren't either. Fuck the patriarchy, fuck the white men making these laws, fuck the women who are their foot soldiers, and fuck you if you agree with any of it.

9. Reminder: As long as you need, whenever you need.

10. Ecards.



What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Baba O'Riley by The Who

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sustainable Switches

Last week (the week before? I don't know) I asked if people would be interested in the actual products I use at home that are more sustainable/less waste. People said yes and here we are. Amazon links are affiliate links - I earn pennies if you buy through them, it costs you nothing, and it goes to keeping this site running.

Disclaimer - this is stuff I use in replacement of things that are single use (mostly plastic or paper products) - but to live more sustainably, you don't have to buy a lot. We throw out jars food come in every day and they can be used for so many other things! Think about what you want to improve in your waste making, and change a little at a time. If you feel the need to buy something, first look and see if you have anything that would work in its place. 

This also goes beyond what you own and use to what you consume and the trash you are personally responsible for creating. Yes, things can be recycled, but we should be in the mind of reducing as well. Reducing even the amount of waste you that can be recycled. Before I buy anything I think about the packaging. Convenience has spoiled us. I need to be filling and bringing my own water bottle, not buying a plastic one with a plastic lid, neither of which decompose. We need to be asking supermarkets why they are wrapping bananas in styrofoam and plastic to sell when bananas are self contained. I also think a lot like is this a need or a convenience? Mostly a convenience and lack of preparation.

Reusable bags instead of plastic bags. I do not take plastic bags anymore, period. I have my own bag or I carry whatever I got out and if I'm not self bagging I say right away, "I don't need a bag." There is no need to take a plastic bag. I keep mine in the trunk and if I forget them in the trunk I march out and get them. If I forget them at home I go to the store another day or carry everything out by hand or cart. I don't like the grocery store bags because they split along the seams quickly but will use them in a pinch. I got this foldup box bag, I forget where. I have two green ones from a Food Lion in the south too and I love them. I also love canvas bags because they're sturdy and easy to clean, I just throw them in the wash. 
Mesh produce bags instead of thin plastic store bags. I have these Flip and Tumble bags. If I forget them, I don't bag my produce or I get it at another time. I also use these as shell collectors and to hold my face cloths. They're machine washable. 
Stainless steel cups instead of getting the logo single use plastic cup. I don't do the Yeti. I use Members Mark brand and they keep things cold almost as long as the Yeti - ice lasts overnight, etc. You can get them on Amazon ranging from $19-30 for a two pack of the 30 oz cups depending on the color. I haven't seen them in Sam's in a while but then again I haven't looked. They are probably cheaper in store. I've been using the same four for years. I mainly use the 30 ounces because a large iced coffee fits in there. I take these (clean, come on now) to every coffee shop and ask them to fill it with my order. If for some reason you ever want to get rid of them, you can google stainless steel recycling and drop them off somewhere. 
Stainless steel straws instead of single use plastic straws. I use these longer ones or these shorter ones because they're rainbow and who doesn't like rainbows? I loathe paper straws. Glass straws rock too, I have one from here that I got as a gift. I am not for banning plastic straws, some people with disabilities need those. I am for those of us who don't need them refusing them and bringing our own. When the demand is less, less will be produced, and they will be used as they should - by people who need them. 

Stainless steel water bottles instead of plastic bottles. We have two big Swell bottles and I have two little ones as well as some I don't know what brand they are little ones. You can get the Swell brand on Amazon, Nordstrom, lots o'places. I cart these to the beach and they keep my drinks cold as long as I'm there. They take a licking and keep on ticking. I don't ever leave home without one, even to go to the grocery store. I'm deathly afraid of being thirsty and having no water. I must have died crawling across a desert in another life. 
Huge recyclable water gallons instead of single water bottles - If you can't drink your tap water and don't have a filter on your faucet, think about a water cooler with those big ass recyclable jugs (we have one at the shore). If that's out of your price range (they're about $150 for the cooler), what about the gallon jugs of water instead of the single plastic cases of little bottles with all the little caps, none of which break down?

Utensils in a pack instead of single use plastic utensils. I throw a pack in my bag for use on the beach. We carry everything else in our bags, why not a little pouch? I always say no thanks to single use plastic utensils. I have a bamboo set and a stainless steel set.

Reusable food storage bags instead of ziplocs - I use these full circle gallon bags or stasher silicone bags in smaller sizes when I need a good seal on something (chips, sandwiches, etc). You don't need a lot of them because you're going to wash and reuse. I have two of the gallon size and two of the quart size. I still have a box of ziplocs and I re-wash those too LOL. 

Reusable bags instead of paper gift bags - Functional like an extra little gift and beyond single use. I got a green and red set to use last Christmas. 
Boie body scrubbers and toothbrush instead of loofahs and nylon bristle brushes - I checked these out for a full six months before I bought them. Full disclosure I hate using washcloths on my body. Face fine, body no. The body scrubber is great: lathers well, exfoliating, BPA-free, antimicrobial, lasts about six months, and when you're finished it's fully recyclable. The toothbrush is also BPA-free, antimicrobial, lasts about six months, and when you're finished it's fully recyclable. The head lasts twice as long as a typical nylon bristle brush and you can buy replacements. I thought it would feel weird, but it doesn't. I switched from a bamboo recyclable toothbrush but I had to pull the bristles out and it was a mess. The toothbrush body is recycling code 5, and the scrubber and toothbrush head are recycling code 7. If your recycling system does not support that, you can send them back and they will recycle them. Both products are made in the USA.
Flannel face cloths instead of makeup wipes or cotton balls - Imagine if you had to discard your single use makeup wipe onto a pile and keep them in your house and live with them for many years. Would you still use them once and throw them out then? No need. What did women do for hundreds of years without makeup wipes? Take their damn makeup off without so much freaking waste. I buy these flannel cloths from Etsy. They sell versions on Amazon. You can make them out of things you have. I don't buy makeup wipes, cotton balls, etc. I use these or washcloths and they just get washed with the towels. 
Cloth napkins, dishcloths, + Swedish dishcloths instead of paper napkins and paper towels and counter wipes - To wipe counters and clean: washcloths. To mop up spills: towels or swedish dishcloths - they are machine washable (that's where mine are so you get the stock pic), compostable biodegradable, super absorbent. They're sort of magic in a mundane household way.. Napkins: washable cloth over paper, I buy on the cheap at Marshalls and they last an eternity. Why throw out what you can wash? 
Try to revive instead of buying new - I always try to save something before getting rid of it. I just repainted our night tables in our room. I was going to get lighter ones and then was like WTF paint the ones you have you lazy, frivolous ass. So I did. The rolling cart at the shore rusted so I cleaned it, painted it with Rustoleum, put a sealer on it, and it'll last a little longer. I think we're conditioned today to buy new new new. And some things definitely need replacing, but I always try to save something or reuse it elsewhere first. I also shop for a lot of wood furniture second hand. 

Big-ticket change wise, at the shore we have a tankless water heater, and I love that it conserves energy without me even thinking about it. We have a while before ours goes here, but I'm already doing research on brands thanks to articles like these. I want solar paneled everything too so the next home we buy will definitely be keeping that in mind. And I'm hoping electric cars are more of a thing in the near future. 

When I am out in stores, particularly where you get food, I always let them know I appreciate if they use recyclable materials or encourage you to bring your own cup or food transport container. Feedback is important. Let's let the businesses we patronize know we're interested in less waste. 

The above is about what I can think of swap-wise, I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff because the beauty is once you make a change that is less wasteful, it is so seamless that you forget that you used to throw more shit out. I've made small changes over the years and they've added up to a lot less waste. I'm always looking for ways to do more though and I love when people share how they live daily with less waste on blogs, instagram, in facebook posts, etc. It's inspiring and it gets me thinking about other ways I can cut down on waste. So if that's you, share! Please! 

Oh! And I am finally going to start composting. People who do it, I am looking for a composter that has a turner but I don't want it to be huge and I don't want to go poor buying it. Does anyone have any recommendations? 


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Show Us Your Books: May 2019



Fits and starts month. Whenever I stop reading a book before it ends, I require a little brain refresh period. I usually finish a book and pick another up immediately but for some reason when I stop one before it's over I need a re-set. That happened twice this month, one I stopped a few chapters in and one halfway through.

I also returned a Philly library book to Ocean City's library...since librarians rock, they mailed it back before I even figured it out. 

Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup.

Engrossing Reads

The Huntress by Kate Quinn - A big mama of a book but I flew through it because it was engrossing and fraught with dangerous edges. Philly library hardcover that I returned to OC library

Sadie by Courtney Summers - Here's a sound byte for you: compulsively readable. I couldn't put this down. OCNJ library hardcover

Passed the Time Just Fine

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim - I'm probably an outlier here. People love this book and I thought it was okay. And as I always say, that's okay. Not all books are for everyone. I'm not one for courtroom dramas and I thought it was unbearably slow at times. OCNJ library hardcover

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough - File under: girls can be fucking cruel. I figured this out early but it didn't stop me from enjoying it - and I hope when you figure something out early it doesn't stop you from enjoying an otherwise good book also. Books are more than their twists. Philly library hardcover

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing - Sometimes I wonder what it says about me that I enjoy reading about psychos. This was a solid little read. Philly library hardcover

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - My God this was soul sucking. So very well written but very heavy and dark and depressing AF. One of those I'm glad I read that because the author did a lot of work here but if I knew how I'd feel at the end I wouldn't have picked it up. I hate saying that about a book someone sweat blood into but there it is. OCNJ library hardcover 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides - I had to skim a few spots where the author was hammering in redundant information but I really liked this. Solid read. OCNJ library hardcover

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth - Passable read about dangerous rich white kids. It read a little like a YA book but it's not. Philly hardcover


Not Worth It

Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly - Drip, drip, drip. Slow as fuck and frustrating, too. You cannot spend every other sentence referencing some big bad event for over half of the book and not telling anyone what it is. Free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline - I've liked Lisa's books. I did not like this book. What a freaking slog. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Long Gone by Alafair Burke - Ho hum. Philly library hardcover

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani - A grisly tale with not enough backstory to prop it up. Paperback, borrowed

Did Not Finish

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell - If it was possible to reach through a book and strangle a character in the first three chapters, I would have done that.  Free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna - This had promise, like Golden Girls with an edge, but it moved with the speed of molasses and I dropped it halfway through. Free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review


What have you been reading? 
Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is June 11,  2019 
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me, and check in with as many in our reading circle as you can - give some love to the later linker uppers! 
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Monday, May 13, 2019

TWTW - the one con los madres

Friday Started with an hour on the beach with the best friend dogs, which is a great way to start any day but especially a Friday. I wasn't sure I'd get to the shore Thursday night - MFD and I planted vegetables when I got home, I dumped my clothes from last week out of my shore bag and added some new, folded sheets, put towels away, packed the car, picked up around the house, and was hemming and hawing about leaving early or after work Friday or just going. I just went right after 9 and I'm glad I did. 
Work work, and errands: Bungalow Bowls and Soma Cafe for food stuff, Hearth & Sole for gifts and the most comfortable shoes ever, returned a book to the library and cushions to Pier 1. After work I alternated between sitting on the porch reading and spray painting a rolly cart that's gotten rusted over the past three and a half years. This was one of the first things I bought for this house. 
Saturday 
Bruce was up at 5 so we were the only assholes at Dog Beach for the entire 45 minutes we were there. When we got back I finished a book and lounged. After finally getting a shower, I ran errands on my bike, including purchasing this year's seasonal beach tags. There was a modern hot rod show on the boardwalk and all the revving engines were startling the seniors and me.  When I got back I spray painted the remote holder, cleaned up, and took the dogs for a long walk. 
MFD was going to come down with Gus & Mae but the weather coming in was shit so I said I'd come home. I left at about 2 and thank God I did because there was a nail in my tire and if I would have come home on Sunday it would've been raining and everything would've been closed and it could have blown out on 95. There was a series of unfortunate events and I will have the head of one gas station owner and a call center worker at Mavis Tire but A.N.A. Towing went way above and beyond to save my ass and I will love them forever. My tow truck driver Brian was totally in that Bruce and Bender had a great adventure in the tow truck. I wish I would have gotten a photo of when we were driving and the tow truck driver was looking in the rearview and laughing so I turned around to look and there was Bruce with his paws on the steering wheel looking like he was driving. I hate car fuckery and I'm grateful nothing bad happened and I made it home thanks to A.N.A. Towing!
I finally got home around 7:30 and wolfed down a great steak dinner a la MFD. I was just a shell of myself and exhausted. I did three loads of laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, and peaced out to bed before 10. 

Sunday 
It was chilly and rainy and a perfect day to sleep in, which I did. Then I went to see Carol for Mother's Day complete with the piece of her gift Bruce tried to eat (he found out he does not like bath bombs). More laundry at home and I started a new book.

MFD headed to the shore to see his mom and stay over to paint the ceiling (tomorrow) and I went to Aubrey's parents' to see my Mom and have a lovely Mother's Day dinner. 

Weekly food prep: breakfast is greek yogurt with granola - I am totally into this lately. Lunch tuna salad over spinach, which I haven't made yet since I don't need it until Tuesday. Snacks are mango and pretzels. For Mother's Day I made cheesy sausage dip in the crock (file under: tastes better than it looks) and a pasta salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto. I'm figuring out dinner as we go along this week, I only need three nights.



Show Us Your Books is tomorrow, see you back here for that! 

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