I’m starting to find searching for a house nearly as pleasurable as stepping on a large piece of glass. There is sooooo much paperwork, endless searching for houses, then a day with a real estate agent visiting the choices you’ve made. Why can’t it be like back in the old west? Covered wagons in a line, teams of horses stomping the ground straining at their bits. A rifle shot to signal the beginning of the homestead race. Heavily breathing steeds galloping across the rugged terrain towards settlers pre-determined sites. Perhaps one has chosen fertile land in a verdant valley, another a spot in a lovely copse of trees beside a gently gurgling brook. Goal reached, a stake would be planted to establish their claim, and hallelujah, just add water and you have instant landowner. I’m writing this in on the ballot next election. Is there a suggestion box in Congress? It’s equally as palatable as most of the other items listed there, perhaps far more so.
This will be a big year for television news coverage between the Olympics and the elections. I’m still chewing on the fact that the uniforms for our Olympians were manufactured in China? Ralph Lauren designed the outfits, which to me appear more like costumes Gilbert & Sullivan might have envisioned for the cast of HMS Pinafore. U.S. team Olympic uniforms made overseas. Really? Is anything any more made in the good old U.S. of A.? I was pleased to note while researching this, American flags continue to be manufactured locally. That would really be disappointing to me to be flying an American flag and find a “Made in Taiwan” tag flapping in the breeze. I wonder if when traveling in China you find anything that says “Made in the U.S.A.”? My guess is not so much.
Fortune cookies, interesting enough, are manufactured on American soil, with the largest manufacturer located in Brooklyn, New York. Although we find the crispy bearers of good and bad news tucked in our Chinese to-go orders, it seems China neither produces nor uses fortune cookies, and general knowledge is they were introduced to America by the Japanese. Ah so.
According to the bigwigs at Apple, their love affair with overseas manufacturing isn’t wholly based on the labor costs as I would have thought, but rather the enormous scale of factories available there and the skill level and work ethic of foreign workers which in their eyes far surpasses their American counterparts. I make no fault with the Chinese, in fact they are doing an excellent job and should be commended for that. However, what are we doing over here as far as encouraging enterprise in our own country? That is what worries me. Will jobs dwindle to such a point that the upper 1% as they talk about so freely lately will all be individuals involved in entertainment, sports or whose companies outsource their workforce on far off shores?
It is odd to me that we are having trouble keeping up, especially since Americans work far more than we play. European countries have a much stronger investment in consuming their vacation hours, and with four weeks not being unusual, are allotted far more to consume then we are. American workers, so I’ve read, have a high percentage of workers who carry their vacation hours over from one year to the next without watching them significantly dwindle. Yet, still we seem to be lagging in the global picture.
In the late 1990′s I found myself employed at a very large computer manufacturer in Silicon Valley. At the time I joined their ranks they had not yet been consumed as they would in the future, not once, but twice, by even larger entities. Part of the incentive package at the time of my hire was a sabbatical package. Every four years each employee earned six weeks of sabbatical time to be taken concurrently, added on to whatever other vacation accrued through tenure with the company. For one who much prefers playing than working the majority of the time, this was definitely incentive on my part to sign on the dotted line.
Two years and a half years into my time on the job, the first company to change their name successfully bought them out with the assurance that the much touted sabbatical program would remain in tact. Of course, once the buyout was complete, this was one of the first perks to waft off into the wind like the smoke from a good cigar. Sigh.
After five years on the job, I was approached by a dot.com company recruiting for a start-up venture and in need of a strong graphics team. After several interviews and the enticing carrot of stock options plus a very nice salary, being on my own at the time (financially and relationship status) it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Going in, I knew the hours would be grueling, but had no idea how grueling. Often I would be driving home at 10:30 p.m. and get a call that I was needed back at the office, after having arrived there the first time at 6:30 a.m. Work, work, work became my mantra and at times a social life seemed like a vague memory and my world grew steadily smaller in the end to include only my desk, my computer and the delicious catering they brought in at 7:00 p.m. o’clock to keep the employees from jumping off the roof like lemmings.
In the end, the company never went public. My lovely printed stock options, worth little more than the ink and the paper were shredded along with my dreams of early retirement, and I moved on.
I am a true believer that all work and no play makes both Jack and Jill dull people. So often lately I hear friends or acquaintances, as well as catch myself, saying “I’m so busy. I just don’t have the time.” What are we doing exactly that is sucking up all these leftover minutes and hours?
With my children, and their children, it appears to me that they are overbooked with activities. Tuesday and Thursday its soccer practice for Saturday games. Pottery class on Wednesday, after school activities planned for every day without a sports event, and so on. Perhaps this is why we’re having less fun and are more motivated to work, work, work.
Yesterday I found myself discussing children with a group of ladies, all around my age. Each was commenting on how they can’t get their children or grandchildren to leave the house anymore. We all chirped in that when we were kids, our parents had trouble reeling us back in. Something I’ve noticed is that you don’t see young people riding bikes any more. Adults ride by on the highway on their high-end trail bikes, but not so much little ones. It occurred to me that in one of our families none of the four kids have a bike between them. It was my main mode of transportation at their age.
So, it’s a changing world. I’m looking forward to the Olympics. I’m sure England will do it up proud.
My thoughts for today. I always enjoy yours, so if you agree, disagree, don’t care at all, I’d still like to hear about it!
This pie is a bit of a project but light and fluffy and worth the effort.
1 graham cracker crust, baked and cooled
Graham Cracker Crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
9 double graham crackers, crushed (1 1/2 cups), plus three for topping
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
Mix sugar and crushed crackers together in small bowl. Add butter to mixture and mix until well blended. Press into the bottom and up the sides of 9″ pie plate.
Bake for 8-10 mins. until golden brown. Do not burn! Cool.
1 large cantaloupe
1 3 oz. pkg softened cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 oz. pkg. unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup orange juice
Slice melon, peel and seed. Cut in large chunks and puree in the food processor until smooth texture.
Pour into large mixing bowl. Set aside. Combine 1/2 of the puree and softened cream cheese in blender (I use the cream cheese at room temperature). Process until smooth. Add to other 1/2 of puree and set aside.
Combine sugar, gelatin, and orange juice in small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin and sugar have dissolved. Add to melon mixture combining thoroughly.
Pour into prepared crust. Refrigerate while making topping.
1/2 cup sugar
1 8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 Tbsp. whole milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 8 oz. container whipped topping, thawed
Soften cream cheese and butter in medium mixing bowl. Beat in milk and vanilla until mixture is smooth.
Fold in thawed topping until thoroughly blended. Spread evenly over pie filling. Allow to chill for 3 hours before serving.