Actual Craigslist Ad

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My brother emailed me the following Craigslist Ad. After I read it, my first thought was how shallow this girl is but on second thought, at least she has the audacity to say it as she sees it.

Ad reads:

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. I'm not from New York . I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think I'm overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my
feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there?

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

Here is a response from the ad:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a cr@ppy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity...in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. Classic "pump and dump."

I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

School Lunch In America

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My grade school daughter hates school cafeteria lunch. She tells me that there's plastic in the food and sometimes the food is cold and nasty. Where did she get these ideas? According to my precious, she said she found plastics in her hot dog one time which leads her to conclude that the chefs put plastics in the food. She said her food was not hot one time so she thinks the school doesn't cook the food right.

It's not easy making school lunches...I sometimes run out of ideas. Based on my daughter's lunchbox leftovers after school, I see she doesn't eat much of her lunch because a sandwich everyday is well, pretty boring and sickening. Even when I prepare hot food and put in a thermos lunch container, my daughter says the food is cold by lunchtime. I've done research on kid's thermos lunch containers and found one made by Thermos but they are out of stock presently so I'm on the waitlist. In the meantime, it's cold food for her - sandwiches, pastas, yogurt, or chicken salad. If I get sick of preparing the same old thing, I make her buy school lunch. After some whinings, which happens all the time, she gives in.

I get monthly lunch menu from the school. They are not bad at all. Chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, chicken teriyaki over rice and quesadilla. I ate school lunch when I was in grade school. Love them all...sloppy joe...hmmm...just delicious. My daughter always says, her friends would tell her this and that about cafeteria foods which makes her form this negative ideas about school lunches. The last excuse she gave was cafeteria food is not healthy because it's greasy. What can I say to that? I'm very conscientious about what to feed my kids. Eating wholesome and slow cooked food is a staple at my house. So when my daughter says the food is yucky and greasy, I don't want to be a hypocrite mom and tells her it's ok to eat certain foods at school but not at home. I know she could be just giving me excuses but on the same token, I don't want to force her to do something she strongly opposes. I managed to reach a compromise with my daughter though. I told her that she would need to eat cafeteria food once a week to give me a break and she agreed to that.

Homeless Children In Asia

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I recently read an article about homeless children working in the streets of Beijing. The article brings back much memories about stories families and friends told of awful sights seen in their travels to Asian countries. The two most memorable are:
Saigon (Vietnam) Homeless Corner - My friend and her aunt went back to Saigon for vacation. They were going to meet up with other family members at a restuarant when a homeless girl approached them and asked if they could give her money to buy food because she was starving. Touched by the awful reality of poverty in Saigon, the aunt handed the child some money. As soon as she did that, homeless people coming from nowhere merged to where my friend and her aunt were standing. They begged her for money too. Within minutes, they were mobbed by homeless people tugging on her clothes with their hands sticking out begging for money. Fortunately, some family members who live in Saigon drove by and saved them from the mob. When they got inside the car, my friend found out that what happened to them was the reason why they should never give money to homeless people.
Beijing (China) Flower Girl - Another friend vacationed in China and was shopping when a little girl, perhaps just 5 years old, asked my friend and her husband to buy a rose. My friend said no but the little girl kept insisting. My friend and her husband walked away but noticed that the little girl was following them. The husband pitied the little girl so he turned around and told the girl he'd buy one from her. The little girl, in tears, begged him to please buy the whole bucket of roses. She clinged onto his arm and started begging. It was almost like she was clinging onto her dear life because she would not let go. My friend said both her and her husband were trying to fight off the little girl. Did you know, it took several adults to fight off the little girl? Some passerby tourists came to their rescue and pulled the girl away. My friend said she was so frightened and after that incident, she never gave any money to homeless people wherever she vacationed.

In Asian countries, as I found out, homeless people, especially children, are controlled by pimps. They would station the kids in certain streets and watch them from nearby. The kids give all their sales or money collected to the pimps at the end of the day. Each child is given a quota to meet. If the quota is not met, they'd be beaten or deprived of food. In my opinion, why don't countries such as China and Vietnam ban underage kids from working in the streets? I mean, wouldn't that just eliminate most of the abuse? I know it wouldn't solve homelessness but at least it would somewhat protect the children. If we tackle the issue at the root of it - pimps taking advantage of children to make money for them - if children under a certain age limit can not work, I'm sure it would greatly demotivate the pimps from going to improverished villages to collect the kids to work for them.

After reading how dangerous it can be to give money to homeless people, would you still do it?

Google Work at Home Scam

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FYI...there's a scam promoted by an advertisement website that claims Google is hiring people to work from home and you pay something from $1.95 to $5.00 for a kit to get you started. The ad is pretty convincing with headlines "As seen on Fox News, CNN, ABC, and USA Today". The company promises potential earnings from hundreds to thousands of dollars by posting links given by Google. The Better Business Bureau has already received hundreds of complaints.Google is aware of this scam and is exploring or has already taken legal actions. Be very, very careful when you come across too good to be true work at home jobs!

Example of phony site: Google Scam

#1 Google Ranking Myth

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If people think they could get high search engine rankings by putting in every keyword they could think of in their META tags, they're in for a big surprise. Turns out Google and Yahoo ignore "keywords" META tags. Most people don't know what to do with their "keywords" META tags so they stuff every word they could think that relates to their website into the keyword META tag. It doesn't matter if you fill in your 'keywords" META tag because Google and Yahoo don't use them in web ranking. Google debunks this misunderstood practice in the following video:

Children Tylenol Recall

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This recall announcement comes out a bit too late in my opinion. Funny thing though, a friend of mine once told me that kids are very intuitive. Here's why I'm saying this. Early this year, my 8 year old daughter was sick. She is allergic to mold so sometimes I can't distinguish if she caught the cold or it's her allergy. If my home remedies of chicken soup and eating specific kinds of vegetables such as celery and radishes (great for runny nose) don't work, I know it's her allergy. She always take her Tylenol allergy medicine without putting up a fight. I remember this one particular time this year, she just didn't want to take her medicine. It was a losing battle for me so I gave in. She just kept saying "I don't want it...I'm going to throw up if I take it". Even after I reassured her that it wouldn't make her sicker, she was still reluctant so I didn't force her. Turns out the Tylenol medicine that I always give my daughter was on the recall list, Children's Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy. Tylenol said that bacteria was found in one of the ingredients for their liquid cold, cough and pain medications. Thinking back now, maybe my daughter sensed something bad about the medicine but just couldn't verbalize it correctly other than "it would make me throw up". I learned early on as a parent to listen to my kids when they tell me things, as crazy and wild as they may sound, I want them to know I trust and care about their feelings and what they have to say.

There has been other recent recalls as well so please take the time to look them over as a precaution.

19-Pound Baby Born

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I was skimming through a gallery of amazing pictures yesterday and came across this picture, looked at it for a moment and then read the picture description. You really have to see the comparison of a 19 pounder to an average 7-8 pounder to fully grasp how big this baby is. The baby boy was born via caesarean on Monday in Indonesia. A gynaecologist who helped with the surgery said the procedure was "really tough, especially the process of taking him out of his mum's womb. His legs were so big".

19-lb is enormous but according to The Guinness Book of World Records, the world's heaviest birth weight was 23-lb in 1879 who died 11 hours after birth.

I have three kids and their birth weight was in the 7-lb range. I gained a total of 30 pounds during all three pregnancies. Carrying a 7-lb baby did a number to my back. I had backaches frequently during the last two months of pregnancy especially sleeping at night. I can not imagine what the mother of this baby went through and she carried full term by the way. I'm glad the baby is fine and healthy.

About Computer Virus Protection

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My four year old daughter texts on AIM. She can not read or write much but she's getting good at word recognition. She knows "LOL" and "BRB". She has her uncles and their girlfriends on her buddy list and sometimes she'd text them a "hi" when they're at work follow by jibberish things. Growing up with two older siblings who are computer literate, it's no wonder she became fascinated with the computer at such a young age.

Kids+computer=disaster...sometimes. My computers were infected twice already in the past 3 years or so. One notably in 2007, a very well known virus called "Storm" that made news headlines. Let me tell you, the experience was horrible. The first time, we lost all saved documents and files including family pictures downloaded from our digital camera. We didn't have or know anyone who could clean our virus infected computer. A good lesson was learned from the first bad experience though.

We took action by investing in softwares and firewalls to protect our computers:

1) We equipped our computers with both anti-virus (AV) and anti-spyware (AS) softwares to protect our computers from viral and spyware issues. We downloaded for free AVG Free Download. Of course, the best softwares in the world won't do us any good if we didn't educate our kids about these computer pests. Prevention is key to keeping our computers safe. We taught our kids, even the little four year old, not to click on pop up ads, download anything without approvals from the parents, and self note to ourselves, don't open any email attachments from unknown source.
2) Firewall: to protect from unwanted communications, visitors, and programs from your computer. There are many firewall products. You can review them at Personal Firewall Reviews and choose which suits your needs.
3) Scan our computer on a monthly basis or sooner if we detected any unusual activities such as the infected blogsites I mentioned from my last post.
4) Update our operating systems. We go to Update.Microsoft.com for all the latest updates.
5) Update our AV and AS software programs since worms, spywares, and viruses are ever changing pests.

So far (knock on wood), we haven't had any problems until a couple of days ago when I was visiting two blogs that were infected by something. I shut down my computer twice and scanned the computer twice for any spyware or viruses. Luckily there was no damage done to my computer.

Infected Blogsites

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I came across two blogsites that were infected by a virus. Both had ads continuously popped up uncontrollably that I had to shut down my system and did a virus scan soon after. If you are using the old version of WordPress, please read about this worm that is going around and take the necessary steps to make the web a better place: WordPress Upgrade

Good luck!

My iPhone

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When the iPhone first came out, there was so much hype and glory, that even I thought it gotta be the best one out there to date. No, I wasn't one of those first to get the iPhone, waiting in long lines to proclaim that I have the much sought after phone. My sister got it for me last Christmas and I was thrilled. The functions are pretty intuitive and navigation was easy. I didn't use the manual at all. Everything was fine and dandy until I started having connection problems. A great device it is but if it doesn't work, it's pretty much worthless. Only areas in my house gets connection, sometimes I don't receive texts at all or they arrive late, my email server is down at times, and internet connection either lags or is down. I found out, much to late, that AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the iPhones. I have a two year contract. Isn't that wonderful? The data plan costs me $30 a month on top of other things. My phone doesn't work properly because of poor connection so I'm paying for a service that doesn't work right. I read that in a year of two, Apple will give rights to other carriers such as Verizon for their iPhones. I sure hope so. My husband has Verizon and he doesn't have the connection problems like me.

A Lazy Sunday

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Weather is overcast in San Francisco today and there's not much going on or much to do. I'm sitting lazily on the coach watching my two girls, 4 and 8, dressed up in their favorite kung fu (inspired by Kung Fu Panda) outfits and play fighting. It's wondrous watching them playing with each other. It seems like they never run out of ideas - dress ups, singing, hide and seek, house, drawing on their easel, polishing their own nails and doing their own hair like they're in a salon. I'm not going to lie and say it's fun and peachy being a parent but I savor every moment because time flies. We lose everything to time so it's important to enjoy today...live in the moment.

Overdraft Fees Charged By Banks

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Just the other day, I made an online transfer at 10pm from one of my checking accounts to another checking account after I realized that my "pay bill" account was short by $50. Today I logged on to make some online bill payments and saw that my account balance was less than what it should be. Turns out that two of my checks paid on the same day I made the transfer causing my account to overdrew AND I got two overdraft fees, $35 for each check that paid. My $500 transfer didn't post to the account the same night I made the transfer. If it did, my account would not have overdrawn. Furious, I called customer service and the explanation given was that there was a cutoff time for transfers and the cutoff time varies from state to state. So for me, since I live in California, the cutoff time is 9:30pm. What kind of policy is that, I asked. It was my money from one account to another account from the same bank. How could the money not be immediately available? The reply, "it's bank policy". Ok, then I asked where is this policy displayed online for customers to see, and I was given instructions to scroll down, click this section, another scroll down, click on this and that, and there it was, the disclosure. Alright, I told the customer rep that I wasn't trying to be rude or give him a hard time because I know he was doing his job, but seriously, this "policy" ought to be displayed somewhere where customers can readily see, hmmm.., maybe right on the account transfer screen? He agreed and asked if he could place me on hold and get a supervisor approval to do a courtesy overdraft reversal. He returned apologizing that because it was not a bank error, he could not reverse my fees. Wells folks, from my misfortune, I hope to pass this info to all of you, make sure you know what your bank cutoff time and policy is for transfers and deposits to save yourself from any unnecessary fees and stress.

Workplace Violence

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The police released a tad more details of the 24 year old Yale technician that had been arrested for the murder of Annie Le, a Yale graduate student. They are looking into if a workplace dispute between Le and the suspect that may have led to her death.

Workplace violence is so common nowadays and from my own experience witnessing out of control coworkers, employers 1) should hire and train managers on how to effectively handle conflicts between workers and 2) managers who know how to deal with difficult workers. People skills is such an essential skill set a manager needs to have because most unresolved conflicts that eventually manifest into something much worse result from the manager not being able to properly handled the situation when it first surfaces.

I once worked with a lady who always, always, for years and years, came in and started her shift 3 hours early. Yes, 3 hours early. She would do her work and then take other people's work because she would run out of things to do by late in the day. So what she got accustomed to do was instead of assigning work to other coworkers (she was the department coordinator), she would take bits of other people's daily assignments. Many, many people complained over the course of many, many years. The managers knew what this lady was doing but looked the other way. Complaining to them was like talking to a brick wall. Eventually, everyone just got sick and tired of complaining and just stayed quiet. Many workers threatened to call human resource but they never follow through and so nothing changed. Then came a new manager and layoffs. The very first layoff that took place about 7 years ago, 5 people were let go on the same day. A few months later, a couple more people were let go. Over a course of 7 years, our department went from 50 workers down to 15. After so many waves of layoffs, everyone was on edge and naturally fearful of losing their jobs. The new manager gave warnings to the "over achiever" coordinator, many verbals and finally a written warning. The coordinator became very hostile at work, crying at times when work that she took from people were taken away from her, slamming things around, threats that she was starting to learn how to shoot a gun, and scary outbursts when confronted by the manager of her behavior. It was insane working in that department. Things slowly turned positive when we hired yet another manager who approached this difficult worker with a tough love kind of attitude. The new manager took the time to talk to the coordinator, had her take anger management and other behavioral classes. And what happened? She improved...alot. So my point is, a good manager makes a big difference in the workplace. One that knows how to resolve conflict and more importantly, one with good communication and people skills.

Yale Student's Arrest

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This morning, a suspect was arrested for the murder of a Yale graduate student, Annie Le. The suspect is a 24 year old. I always see a crime as a double tragedies for both the victim's and suspect's families. Of course, an arrest and conviction of a suspect brings some closures to the victim's family, although, in a murder case, it would not replace what was lost. As a parent, I can not fathom the thought of my child convicted of a crime especially heinous crimes. I would grieve too. The suspect of the Yale student's death is so young, just 24 years old. If convicted, it would be either a death sentence or life in prison. It's a life lost for the victim and a life not lived for the suspect. Some would argue you pay for your crime, and I would not argue against that, there's got to be law and order otherwise it'd be chaos everywhere but, it's not just the criminals paying for the crime, it's also the family, especially their parents who have to deal with the pain.

Contaminated Water In San Francisco

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Ewww, this morning I found my toilet bowl water was tainted light brown. I went to check the sink water and surely enough, it was brown. How gross considering I had already boiled water in a kettle for tea and made oatmeal. Drank my tea and ate my oatmeal before I noticed the toilet bowl water color. This shouldn't be happening. First of all, my house is only 4 years old so pretty brand new and here in San Francisco, we boast to have the cleanest and best water quality in America. Our water is so clean, it is considered safe to drink it out from the faucet. I still boil my water before drinking it though. But anyhow, back to the brown water, I guess maybe the pipelines from one of the reservoirs got contaminated or something. Next time, I know better, always check the toilet water first for color discoloration before cooking in the morning!

Charles Darwin Film

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It's unfortunate that Charles Darwin Creation movie won't make it to the big screen in the U.S. because there is no distributor for the film. Isn't it contradictory of what we were forced to learn in school in our science classes about evolution? I remember learning about Charles Darwin "The Origin of Species" in middle or high school. Fascinating stuff Darwin got there but despite all that I've learned about human evolution (I even took one semester of Anthropology in college), I still believe in a higher being. There are way too many unknown things that science can not explain: document cases of out of body experiences, paranormal activities, and past life regression.

The one thing I learned is that you can never force an opinion about religion on anyone. It is something that has to come from within. Religious people shouldn't be afraid that this film will make people stop believing in God. People will believe in what they want to believe...we will all find our spiritual path when the time comes.

Degenerative Diseases and Whole Foods

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I read not too long ago a published report on human life expectantcy: people are living a lot longer these days due to advances in medicine and healthcare. Ever wonder if we are living longer healthier or living longer sicker? Despite the fact that human life span has gone up but so have the number of deaths linked to coronary heart disease and degenerative disease such as cancer.

One of the big news yesterday was Patrick Swayze died at the 57 after two years of battling pancreatic cancer. Not too long ago, Farrah Fawcett died of anal cancer. Celebrities aside, my aunt from my mom side died of stomach cancer a decade ago. I used to work with four people who have family members died of cancer and one manager whose daughter had brain tumor but overcame it. It's scary because cancer almost seems contagious and I know that's just silly. My point is everyone knows someone who either has cancer or had died of cancer or heart attacks. Why do so many people nowadays have these uncontrollable diseases?

Lately, I've submerged myself in reading about Eastern Medicines and whole foods. What I learned is that the food we put in our mouths can either kill us or make us healthy. If you stop and think about all the processed foods, preservatives, flavor enhancers, and artificial flavorings we put in our foods, it is no wonder our bodies go haywire inside. Everything is fast paced in this day and age that no one takes time to slow cook their foods and eat wholesome meals. We are what we eat. If you don't take care of your body, it can't take care of you when you need it too.

Retirement and Assisted Living

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Last week, I found out that my husband's 88 year old grandma was admitted to a nursing home 45 minutes away from San Francisco. That was a seemingly odd choice until I found out the reason why grandma was put in a nursing home so far away: long term care facility cost was too expensive in the city. The facilities that my husband's uncles looked into were charging $200-300 per day. That's right, per day. Imagine at $300 per day, $8400 per month, that's $108,000 per year. I was astonished. I never thought about assisted living up til now. It was a real eye opener for me. Sure, I've heard about nursing homes but I never thought about the costs.

We don't know how we will age, what our health will be when we retire, and even if we are fortunate enough to be in great health up til our 80's, there's always the big "what if's". What if something happens much later down the line and your family could no longer take care of you? Assisted living is a reality that we ignore until it creeps up upon us.

If we don't prepare ourselves for our retirement and put long term care expenses into the equation, it will become a huge financial burden for our families. So it'd be wise to plan for possibilities for the future. The scary thing is the rising cost of nursing homes continue to skyrocket so who knows, maybe by the time I'm old and unable to take care of myself, the cost would be $600 per day? Who knows, right? The sad thing in all of this is most individuals do not have the financial resources to take on this kind of expense, like grandma. So her only other alternative is getting government assistance through Medicaid and Medicare programs to pay for her nursing home care costs.

Serena Williams Disqualified and Fined $10,000

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Serena Williams was disqualified from defending her US Open title for using profanity and violating sportsmanship conduct to a US Open linesperson on Saturday. Williams was penalized for a foot fault on her second serve. Instead of stepping to the baseline to serve again, Williams went over and shouted and cursed at the linesperson, pointing at her and shaking a ball at her. The linesperson reported to the line umpire who then reported to the chair. Everything started to go dowhhill for Williams from there. Disqualification, bad press, a fine of $10,000, and possibly more punishments for her "threatening behavior".

I have to admit, I admire her frankness at a press conference about her temper. She admitted that she used to have real bad temper but she has improved on that. Despite the fact that she was disqualified for her poor sportsmanship and erratic behavior, she walked over and shaked her opponent's hand, Kim Clijsters, after the disqualification was announced. Williams stood up straight and accepted her punishment. That's the way anyone can become a better person, you have to acknowledge and own up to your weakness or mistakes, that's how you can improve yourself and be a better person.

If you're interested in reading about the entire tirade, here's a news link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/13/serena-williams-fined-100_n_285160.html

Kanye West Booed at VMA

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Kanye West grabbed the mic from Taylor Swift in the middle of her VMA's acceptance speech for Best Female Video for "You Belong To Me". Why was he onstage? Guess the guy wanted to send an urgent message to the audience: Beyonce should have won the Best Female Video for "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)". Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Pink were nominated for the Moonman. Kenya took the stage during Swif't's speech and praised Beyonce's video saying, "Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'm [going to] let you finish -- but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time". The audience booed him...Beyonce looked shocked...and Taylor Swift was in utter disbelief and stood there speechless for a couple of seconds. Other stars gave their two cents on Twitters supporting Swift.

Patience is a virtue. Kanye should have waited and gave his opinion afterward but instead he acted on impulse making him looked stupid and embarrassed Beyonce. Not a very good move on his part. Like the saying goes, two things that you can never get back once you lose them: words spoken and time.

Beautifully Said

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I read the following excerpt written by Anne Roipe in her book "Epilogue: A Memoir". Here she talks about her source of inspiration. It was beautifully expressed and truly touched the core value of what makes someone feels beautiful.

"I don't believe inner beauty is sufficient in this cruel world..I don't believe that positive thinking improves your skin tone or that loving or being loved changes the shape of your nose or restores the thickness and color of hair, but I do know that there is a way of being beautiful, even as age takes its toll, that has something to do with the spirit filling with joy, something to do with the union with another human being, with the sense of having done well at something enormously important, like making happy a man who has made you happy often enough".

What Was The Manager Thinking 9/11?

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My husband and I were just pulling out of our driveway heading to work when we heard about the first airplane that slammed into the tower one of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. At first, we didn't comprehend what was going on but I remember thinking "it's in New York, so far away from San Francisco...nothing to worry about..." but then moments later the radio announcer said a second plane just slammed into the second tower. At that point, we didn't know what to do. Turn around and go back home or continue our morning routine as usual, dropping off one kid to school and another to my mom for babysitting and then go to work? As we drove, we were waiting for that major announcement for everyone to stay indoor and that we were being attacked. We decided we would both go to work but not send our son to school instead we had my mom watched both kids.

Upon arriving to work, I found out that all airplanes were ordered to land. It was a dreaded moment filled with high anxiety because you were keeping on the suspense of not knowing what was happening to the country and why was it happening. Many of my coworkers who live outside of San Francisco were not in the office yet. Some called in to check if our office was opened or closed. My immediate supervisor told those who were impacted by the bridges closure to stay at home. Not too long after she got off the phone telling people to stay home, her manager called and asked her if everyone reported to work. My supervisor's boss showed up about half an hour later looking irritated. She asked why everyone was talking, the names of those who were absent and the reason for their absences. Her comments really annoyed everyone even my supervisor. What was the boss thinking? She disbanded the chatting groups and told everyone there was work to do and we needed to meet our daily deadline goal. How's that attitude - work first, people second - mentality going to make people feel valued and appreciative?

Severance Package and Retirement Benefits

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The news of my department closure came at the wrong time for most people. Being jobless in the state of the recession that we are in now is scary and horrible. The majority of the staff were homeowners with many bills and kids. There were, however, a few who embraced the news. These were the older workers who had worked for the company for 30 years or more. They have also paid off their mortgages, their kids are grown and they have minimal bills to pay. Because of their long years of service, they were entitled to a full year of severance pay and health benefits. These workers were also right in the corner of the retirement age of 65. What that translates into is the company will pay them a full year of regular wages plus health and dental insurance. So after March 2010, these lucky workers can kick right into retirement and collect on their social security and company 401ks and/or pensions retirement accounts. They don't need to worry about finding new jobs like the rest of us. How lucky is that? I've learned from these lucky group of people that the road to their perfect timing was bittersweet. One particular coworker, who is also a good friend of mine, struggled paycheck to paycheck, while raising her three kids as a single mom. She said there were way too many times that she had to decide whether to put food on the table or to pay rent. Before getting to where she is today, she struggled painfully for 30 years. I'm happy for her to be in the position she is in today and to have what she has now.

Severance Package and Unemployment Benefits

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Late last year, my employer announced that my department was one of the "chosen" departments to close out. We were given a good four months advance notice that we were going to be laid off. During those four months, my employer offered many workshops such as interviewing techniques and resume development. We were also updated on internal job opportunities. As we approached our last month, which was March of this year, one of the Human Resource's managers came and talked to us about our severance packages, 401k and pensions, and many, many other topics. A local unemployment representative was also invited to talk to us about our unemployment benefits and the filing process. I was fortunate to be laid off in this manner. I could not imagine how chaotic and traumatizing it would be to come to work one day and then being told you no longer have a job. My employer did everything they could to ease the transition from "employed" to "unemployed". Yes, the best they could have done was NOT to laid us off but the manner in which they did was very professional and caring.

I've been laid out for six months now. I worked full time for the past 15 years. Juggling three kids and working eight hours equal to zero time to do much of anything. I didn't have time to volunteer in my kids' schools, to unpack all of my boxes completely ever since moving into my house four years ago, complete home projects, and the list goes on and on. After losing my job, I realized that I have gained time. That is something that took a while for me to get a hang of because I'm so used to being on the go all the time. I slowly unpacked all of my boxes, put pictures in photo albums, landscaped my garden, went on all of my daughters remaining school field trips, and cooked healthy (slow cook) meals. I know my family is eating a lot healthier now rather ordering out (budgeting ourselves), working out by myself or taking walks with my kids after school and weekends, and most importantly, I'm there for my kids - physically and emotionally.