They love their coffee

“Love my coffee,” she would say. “Coffee, coffee, coffee.”

                Drinking coffee seems to be a way of life. It says something about the person and their outlook on life. Just like someone who drinks Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, Mountain Dew or even Diet Mountain Dew. Then there are those of us who go down to the bottom and drink the cheapy pop that have different brand names like mountain explosion, Dr. Thunder and the like. But coffee is coffee and as far as I know nobody really goes into brand names for coffee. At least I am not in the loop so I can’t really talk about that. There’s cappuccino and different Star Buck’s coffee but to the average coffee drinker or the “real” coffee drinker that is not really coffee. Mom said she started drinking coffee to stunt her growth and I imagine fitting in where she worked. She started smoking too so she could take smoke breaks instead of doing busy work like sweeping up the break room.

                Drinking coffee is a slow and killing process that takes you back when the time has gone by, before those kids with the machines took over making everything quicker and meaner. A coffee drinker just sits there and well, drinks coffee. There is no place to go, nothing to do but to just sit there and enjoy the company of other coffee drinkers. They chit chat if you will between sips of coffee waiting for the coffee to be cool enough to drink. Then there is the last sip of coffee where all the excess sugar and cream go before pouring a second or even a third cup. It’s a process of getting to know a person and how their day went. The latest gossip told between sips of coffee.

                One time my Mom visited my college and heard a professor talk. The professor talked and talked and talked to the point where she felt she was doing all the work. There was no work from this group of people or anything getting accomplished. Between sips of her water the professor later realized the parents were not like their children going to college.

                “This is the coffee and cigarette crowd!” she finally figured out and exclaimed.

                Mom just smiled and raised her coffee to the professor. If we could have smoked in the classroom I am sure Mom would have been doing that too. So, the coffee crowd just stuck together and stayed in their time. Never moving forward and never moving backward just staying there sipping their coffee away. Never could compete with Mom and of course I never lived her life either. She was just a child, grew to be a teenager, dated, got married and had kids. Somehow she even got grandkids. Then she just died. I guess she got tired of taking care of us and drinking her coffee away. She could have done anything but that would be too much work. It just wasn’t her style. Might as well just have a cup of coffee and not worry about it.

Making time to do things

“So much to do,” my Dad would say. “And so little time!”

                When getting into the corporate world the first thing they want you to do is time management. They want you to get the most amounts of things done in as little time as possible. Of course, they want you to get the most important things done first and anything else would be icing on the cake. After all, time is money. How do they do this? First is to plan, set goals, prioritize, organize and knowing when to say no and of course knowing when to say yes. Second know that if you finish all your work you might die as Dad would say. He would know he kept his job until he was 52 and that’s when he retired.

  1. Plan – The first step of a thousand foot journey is to take the first step. Fail to plan, plan to fail as they say. How are you going to reach those goals without a plan? And don’t just plan once but keep planning. Keep thinking about how you are going to reach those goals. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Break down your goals by planning one bite at a time how you are going to reach those goals.
  2. Set a goal – Goals are there so you keep improving yourself. They make you keep moving forward. If you don’t go forward, if you just stand still then you are going backwards. Nobody pays for yesterday’s news. The company wants to keep making money. Find a way for them to reach their goal by making it your goal to keep making money and moving forward.
  3. Prioritize – Rome wasn’t built in a day and likewise you can’t get everything done in a day either. Think what is the most important thing I can do today that I will feel accomplished? After that is finished think what is the next most important thing I can do to feel accomplished? So on and so forth.  Take big chunks out of your goals for the day one bite at a time.
  4. Organize – Knowing where everything is at saves time. Organizing to do lists saves time also. Being organized not only saves time but it also saves money. Organize everything so they are the least amount of work possible.
  5. Know when to say No – Things creep up. Other people’s priorities come in unexpectedly. Know when things are a waste of time and when they are not. If they are a waste of time then learn to say no. If it doesn’t make money, pull you ahead of your goals or doesn’t benefit you in anyway then say no. If someone wants to chit chat by the water cooler politely say you have to get back to work. Say no.
  6. Know when to say yes – sometimes someone’s idea is so brilliant it benefits you in every way. Maybe that’s when you incorporate that idea into a goal, priority and plan for it. Maybe that’s when you should say yes.

Longest time without sleeping

There were a couple of times I went without sleeping. No I take that back. Living with my Dad he would never let me sleep either.

                “I am hungry,” he would say. “Make me something to eat.”

                “Watch TV with me,” he nagged. “I am lonely.”

                “Get up, get up, get up,” he yelled. “You are going to get your night and day mixed up.”               

                I had nothing to stay awake for. I love sleep. It’s vacation away from my problems. It is just so peaceful just to lie down, shut your eyes and then just go to sleep…………………… But there are things to do and places to go.

                “Sleep when you are dead,” as my Grandfather would say.

                I guess he had a problem with his sons and daughters sleeping too much.

                “I must make it too good for you here,” my Grandfather would say. “Nobody wants to leave the house!”

                “Wake up you lazy bum,” my Grandmother would tell my Uncle. “Go out and get a job!”

                I guess he wasn’t allowed to sleep his life away either. During my Mother’s last dying days she slept a lot. Dad didn’t bother me then. I guess he could only nag one person at a time.

                “Why don’t you just die!” my Father told my Mother. She would just roll over and ignore him, never bothering to her wifely and motherly duties. She would even make me take him out to dinner so she wouldn’t have to cook. We went out to dinner a lot. I really didn’t mind that really.

                Sleeping does take a lot of time. Time I could be doing something else. Nothing really excites me enough to stay awake in the wee hours of the morning. Not that there is anyone stopping me now. Mom would be concerned that I stayed awake and studying too much. But I don’t have to worry about that anymore as she is passed on and I am on my own. My Dad also had a problem with me not spending enough time with him. But that problem is solved too as he is passed on to a better place with my Mom and again I am on my own.  I can do whatever I want without someone nagging at me. That is a little dangerous and that means I can also not do anything at all. I must do something, anything and everything. I must budget my time and money now more than ever. I have to get organized and know what I have and don’t have. I must feed myself but I can’t just fill up my credit cards with restaurant bills.

                I read somewhere that some Harvard students get by on only 20 minutes of sleep. I used to be able to get by on only four hours of sleep. Don’t know what happened to that. Sometimes I used to study in my sleep so my parents wouldn’t know I was studying all the time. But back then I think I was just memorizing and not actually learning. When I went off to college living in the dorms I could work, sleep, study and go to class whenever I wanted to. I don’t think my parents realized how much work I put into going to Western Michigan University. Maybe I could try just 30 minutes a day sleeping or maybe I will just sleep whenever I want to.

Great Sexpectations – How to talk to your lover in Bed

Everything is going really smooth. We talk a little; dip our big toe in the water and then BAMM! The subject comes along. Mostly through the back door, though.  Kind of a big surprise that slowly built itself up and crept right in and snuggled itself in bed, that subject that comes along that pretty much says, “I am getting to know you for a reason.” Almost like the business that sets up people for twenty seconds and the couple instantly knows whether or not they want to get to know each other. Do they want to date? Do they have any intention of actually having sex with this person? Some people know right then and there if that person is marriage material. Does she clean enough, cook enough actually meet your needs?  Is he rough enough, tough enough or even rich enough? Here are some communication tips on finding that out:

  1. Be honest – Take a good hard look at yourself. If she’s 42 and you’re 22 don’t act like she was born yesterday. You have faults as well as she. Time to get them out in the open.
  2. Use empathy – When citing faults how would you like them presented? Don’t just blurt hers out like she is some sort of paid hooker listening to your problems. She has feelings whether or not she will tell you are another story.
  3. Be assertive – You have a right to stand up for yourself as well as she but try to have manners. Don’t be rash. If something bothers you find a healthy way to tell her. Remember the above points in telling her. Tell her you expect the same from her.
  4. Don’t be passive – No one can read minds. Tell her why you are extra moody, quiet or whatever it is that she can tell that something is bothering you. Be assertive and tell her if you think she is being too passive about her feelings also.
  5. Don’t be aggressive – No hitting, yelling or any kind of abusive behavior should never be tolerated in a relationship.
  6. Use I feel a lot – This says you are not blaming her but putting the action on yourself. Don’t tell her how she feels but how you feel. You could also tell her you expect the same from her.
  7. Don’t use you always – Big warning sign when this is used and it doesn’t mean always either. Try to find another way to put how you feel.
  8. Don’t assume anything – You never know what could come out of the wash.

These are some tips to keep in mind when talking to that special someone you are trying to make a good impression on. Men and women really are different and the same in their own way. Good communication keeps the relationship alive. Talk to your lover in bed. It’s not just all about you.

How to be helpful in a kitchen of a fast food restaurant

I remember my very first job working at Taco Bell. The manager had a series of videos for us to watch to see how to make the various foods. If I had known this, I would have bought a pad of paper to take notes on. But I didn’t and I was only 16 years old at the time. I didn’t have much experience cooking as I do now so I would have known that all the foods served had basically the same ingredients in them. Of course, some better or more than others, such as the Taco Supreme or the Nacho Grande. The guy and I watching the videos didn’t take them too seriously and the manager got mad because of that. That wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back. The straw that broke the camel’s back was that the manager found out that my sister worked there before. For some reason she didn’t like her. Anyway, what’s needed in the Kitchen of a fast food restaurant?

  1. Be clean – As in the case of Taco Bell people are going to be looking at you while waiting to be served their food. If you’re not clean, the food’s is probably not clean. And so it goes without saying.
  2. Be efficient – Nobody likes waiting for their food any longer than they have to. Always be on the lookout to make things more efficient. Always try to find a better way of doing things.
  3. Be a team player – No person is an island. There is a ripple effect that goes on and it affects the people who work there to your customers. Delegating makes things more efficient. Make sure you have just one chief and plenty of Indians though.
  4. Know what to do – Be sure to use your best communication skills. If not doing anything always ask for a way for you to be more helpful, which means take initiative. Always ask if there is anything more you can do. Never sit idle.
  5. Be friendly – Drop all your problems at the door of the kitchen and smile. Greet people. Tell them Hello.  Ask them how they are doing. Take an interest. Give your co-workers the benefit of the doubt and be friendly.

As they say if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Cooking at home and eating your own food helps too. There is plenty of stay-at-home Moms on cook shows like Food Fight who are beating professional chefs at their own game. Ask people how they like the food and how you can improve the food. Always try to make things better. Make sure you know how to cook the food. My sister cooked McDonald’s fish sandwiches wrong for several hours before someone pointed out that the fish was raw. You don’t want to overcook anything but you also don’t want to under cook anything either. Now go out there and make the kitchen a better place!

Why we should prepare to die?

I visit my parent’s tombstone at least once a week. Nothing on it is for certain. The marriage date is not for sure and even the birthdates were in a hasty guess. My dad had a veteran of foreign wars funeral but that wasn’t for certain either because we could never find his discharge papers. They supposedly burnt down in a fire that was before computers. If he would have known then what he knew now my Dad would have doggedly went after those discharge papers for all the benefits he would have gotten out of the Air Force. My Mom really needed those papers when my Dad had a stroke in 2009. Being rehabilitated costs a lot of money. Granted they could have spent all the money and went on Medicaid but they didn’t want to do that. Somehow they got through that.

                Well, Mom died before Dad did. She left no will and didn’t really prepare for her death at all. It came really suddenly. All the money went to Dad except my money which went into a trust. The trust is being held by my sister and she watches it like a hawk. I haven’t had the chance to spend any of it yet. That even surprises my social worker but my social worker is glad it is there just in case.

                Dad made it ok for about two years. My sister took care of the finances and I basically took care of Dad and his medical helpers so he could stay in his house. I basically shopped for food, cooked a little and helped clean for the cleaning ladies. I wasn’t really in charge of making sure Dad was dressed or showered or anything like that. That’s pretty much where I drew the line. We should have pressed Dad for his discharge papers while he was alive but we didn’t. It was too stressful and for some reason Dad didn’t feel he needed his papers. We didn’t really. Everything was pretty much paid for but that is like saying you don’t need insurance. He could have even gone to the senior house without paying anything too, but again not any papers.

                After the second stroke in 2013 it just seemed like he didn’t want to go through that again.  We put him through Hospice where he seemed to have died with some fluid in his lungs. Dad died without a will also. He always said he would have a will and one of my sisters was always getting kicked out of the will, but he died without a will.  He in no way prepared for his death. My sister searched the whole house for his papers from the Air Force but found none. We found everybody else’s papers from Great Uncles who served but have died a long time ago. Mom and Dad left us with forty years worth of things in the house. We had to have a big estate sale where we sold, gave away and threw out a lot of things.

                Three very old men came over to my Dad’s funeral and gave a three gun salute. They folded up the flag and gave the flag to my sister. We had to pay for the funeral and tombstone. We got a little flag for the grave site but that is about it. Always keep your papers from the military service even after being discharge. There are so many service those papers will provide. Life could have been a lot easier and we could have had a little more inheritance money than we already had.

Why we should save as if we are going to lose our jobs?

Saving money as if you are going to lose your job is a new way of life. Words such as frugal, budget, even thrift stores have new meaning. Unhappy with your job that you have then consider those without a job at all. No driving to work or getting up in the morning. There’s no dressing up for work either or impressing the boss all the time. But living this way comes with a price, a price of living below your means. One you might consider, even if you have a job. After all, everyone is saving for retirement. A saving of $300 or so a month for ten years or so could do a lot for retirement along with 401k and an IRA, so living a frugal life to be able to save for retirement is an added bonus. Money Track, a show I watched from the library DVD collection, said that 7 out of 10 years you will win the market. They also said that over a 20 year span the vitality of the market decreases. So frugalness and time are on your side.

                Other than fixed expenses, such as rent, utilities, cable, internet, phone and the like, my biggest expense is food.  I have vowed to not put anything of food on my credit card. No restaurants or junk food goes on there. If totally necessary I will buy maybe groceries, but that is an extreme emergency.  I have prepared my lunches weeks in advance so all I have to do is just put them in the lunch bag provided. I bring a water bottle so I don’t go spending money on pop.  I crock pot my dinners weeks in advance also. I put them in little tv dinner containers and put them in the freezer. So, all I have to do is take out the dinner and put in the microwave. I realize I live alone and can eat whatever I want so this is an extreme advantage.  Making a plan and a budget that works best for you is really the way to go.

                Writing down a budget lets you know what you have and what you don’t have. Sometimes it even lets you know how you can get what you want to get. It lets you save for retirement, vacations, new car, kids clothes, nights out or whatever else you feel you need. It is your budget and your money. Just socking away a little money at a time can really grow into something special. You’ll know what goes in and what goes out and even where it went. People have all kinds of ways to budget from envelopes, Quicken software, to just writing it down in a special notebook. It’s good to know what you are saving your money for so you don’t get discouraged in the process.

                So, just sit down and ask yourself where is my money going? If you need to keep a money diary and write down specifically where the money is going then that’s what you need to do. Try not to go wild just because it is just a journal of where your money is going either. Try to think, “Do I really need to spend my money on this?” Some people have a 30 day rule before buying something. They wait thirty days and that gives them time to think if they really need what they want to buy. You could have a ten second rule before putting the item in the cart to do the same thing if going grocery shopping. Write down fixed expenses and variable expenses for budget. Try the budget, it is a new way of life!