Monday, October 16, 2017

What is Sexual Harassment?

Most often, sexual harassment happens to females and is instigated by males. This is not always the case: Men can be affected by this problem, too. This can also be referred to as 'gender harassment.' Basically, it's bullying that involves insulting, frightening, or intimidating someone based on his or her gender and by the amount of power the harasser possesses. It isn't usually a one-time occurence: It is often repetitive. And it doesn't only happen in big businesses: it's about power.
 
What does it "look like"? Here are some examples-
 
Comments, often ending in "Sweetheart" "Honey" or other terms of endearment
  • "Why don't you smile?"
  • "Your (fill in body part here) looks great in that skirt"
  • "I like a high heel on a woman, the higher the better"
  • "If you want to make an impression, you gotta show more leg"
  • 'You're too pretty to bother your head about that"
  • Catcalls and wolf whistles as a woman walks down the street
  • "Can I have your number? No? Why not?"
  • Obscene gestures, remarks, and insults; calling women insulting names
  • Sometimes those making the remarks claim they're compliments. They're not.




It can be in the form of texts, e-mails, posted notices, or pictures that are sexually explicit/offensive, especially in the workplace, or anywhere. These may even contain threats if the victim tells or doesn't cooperate.
 The audacity of men who overtly state their 'power' over women:
  • "You were by far the best looking candidate, so we hired you."
  • "Your ideas don't really matter, honey. Just sit there and look pretty."
  • "Men have always run this company: Don't try to play with the guys."
  • "You're good eye candy even if you're never going to go any further."
  • "It's so cute how you think you know this business."
  • "Let's be clear: I'm in charge, and you never will be. You're too pretty for that anyway."
  • "You don't need to be an executive, let your husband do that."
  • "If you really want the promotion, you'll let me."
  • "Women can't do that."
  • "Maybe if you wore a shorter skirt, you'd get a raise."


 Unwanted touching-This can be called assault
  • Someone slaps your behind with a laugh and a wink
  • Someone puts a hand on your back to guide you into a room
  • Someone puts a hand on the back of your neck as he speaks to you
  • Someone gives you a hug you didn't ask for
  • Someone kisses you-anywhere
  • Someone surrounds you such as up against a wall, or in the pretense of showing you something on your computer
  • Someone pats your knee
  • Someone 'adjusts' your clothes: Buttons a button, unzips or zips a zipper
  • Someone fusses with your hair
  • Someone plots to get you alone somewhere so that you have no way out


There are people who carry it much further and have raped women because they know they can 'get away with it,' the women feel powerless when left alone with a powerful man, believing all he wants is to have a drink with her and then finding he is forcing himself on her: no matter how fit a woman is, she will almost always be less physically powerful and unable to fight him off, plus he has placed her in a frightened and vulnerable position. He may give her a drug without her knowledge that makes her unable to refuse, or to be unaware what is happening.


Fear of having the public know about the assault, fear of the rapist and all the money he has, will often lead to the silence of women and the ability for the rapist to continue to do it to others. She may be afraid no one will believe her, as well. Sadly, there's still a tendency to blame the victim:
  • She must have been asking for it.
  • Why did she dress like that? What did she expect?
  • She brought it on herself
  • She's a tease
How pervasive is sexual harassment?
The EEOC (Equal Opportunity Commission) says that in 2012 there were about 15,000 sexual harassment complaints filed. Of these....
  • 79% of people with sexual harassment complaints were women, 21% men
  • 51% of these people experienced the harassment from a supervisor
  • 38% of these people were harassed by someone of a higher rank on the job
  • 12% of these people were threatened with being fired if they spoke out
  • There were 26,000 cases of sexual harassment reported in the armed forces in 2012 (a traditionally male-dominant field)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act lays out the law against sexual harassment, a form of discrimination. This bill was passed in 1964.
How can we stop it?
  • If you're considering a rude remark, stop and think first: Would it be OK if someone said that to your mother/wife/daughter/sister? No? Then don't say it
  • Respect: it's what's for everyday living
  • Don't join a "good ole boys" group. It's stupid.
  • Just because someone else said it or did it, doesn't mean it's OK
  • Put some thought into your remarks, your actions, how you conduct yourself. Be the honorable one.
  • Be a role model: Let others see how you conduct yourself, including younger boys and men
  • Better to have never done it, but an apology is the next best thing
                               Not just applicable to street harassment
For those who are victims of sexual harassment, remember:
  • Your personal space is just that. You have every right to say, don't do that or don't talk to me that way.
  • Your body is not for anyone to touch unless you want them to. You can very firmly and loudly say, stop that right now. It's probably a good idea to leave the area immediately as well.
  • You don't have to listen to or read anything that bullies you.
  • Report the person and the situation. It doesn't matter if you have no witnesses.
  • Don't ever let yourself believe that a person in a position of power has the right to assault you.
There are resources available to help you fight the harrassment:
Here are some:
http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/legal-resources/know-your-rights-at-work/workplace-sexual-harassment/
http://www.feminist.org/911/harass.html
https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm
 
 
 

Monday, October 9, 2017

It's Indigenous People Day

What do you know about Native Americans? They could also be called 'indigenous people' meaning, those who originate in a particular place. Theirs is a rich culture that has, through their creativity, endured for thousands of years.


Here are the tribes of the United States:


http://www.native-languages.org/states.htm

Fast facts:
Here are migration patterns for the world as we know it today. Keep in mind that the continents were not always separated as they are now:


  • The population of Native Americans was once a large and thriving number. Currently, only 1.4% of people living in the U.S. (4.5 Million) are Native Americans.
  • When settlers came to North America and brought horses, they also brought diseases such as chicken pox and measles, which the Native Americans had never been exposed to and had no immunity for. This caused the death of a great number of people.
  • Originally the two tribes that lived in what is now Minnesota, were the Sioux (Soo) and Ojibwe (Oh Jib Way) 'Chippewa' is another term for Ojibwe (a mispronunciation, perhaps?)
  • Currently, there are 567 tribes of Native Americans in the United States.





Tools used by Native Americans: What do you think these might have been used for?


For an extensive education about Native Americans, visit the History Channel's article: There are videos and explanation of the migration, and many Native American cultures:  http://www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/native-american-cultures


Anton Treuer's life work is to preserve culture and especially language for his tribe: most languages of Native Americans were never written down, so the words need to be passed down from generation to generation. His website: http://antontreuer.com/about/ He is a professor at Bemidji State. Here's a video: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=anton+treuer&&view=detail&mid=9A6557E999E8DA705B299A6557E999E8DA705B29&&FORM=VDRVRV


Artistry is a rich part of Native American culture: Making items that are not only functional but beautiful and symbolic. Here are some baskets carefully woven with designs on them:

And a bowl with a complex design:

The amount of work it took to create this beautiful costume (and shoes!!!) is really amazing:




Native Americans have made music for centuries. Did you know they played not only drums and flutes, but also made guitars, harps, fiddles, bells, and rattles?


Here is a group of ornately carved Native American flutes: Notice the bird heads and animals carved on each:




Some drums made by Native Americans:





Interesting facts about powwow drums:
Among Native Americans, ceremonial drums are treated with great care and respect. North American powwow drums are placed on a blanket or stand during performance and are covered when not in use. They are smudged with tobacco in a special sunrise ceremony before the public powwow events, and neither drugs nor alcohol may be used near the drums. In addition, paraphernalia such as drumsticks, stands, or medicine bags may belong to a particular drum. The Ojibwa dance drum is regarded as a living being, and great care is taken with its construction and decoration. For the Mapuche, the life of a kultrĂșn comes to an end with the death of its owner, and it is either buried with her or destroyed. The sound of the drum conveys symbolic meaning for many Native Americans. A rapid drumbeat in certain songs from the Northwest Coast signifies the transformation of a Thunderbird into a human state.      -from Britannica.com





Listen to some Native American Music:  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=native+american++music&&view=detail&mid=DFD34616F385260362E3DFD34616F385260362E3&FORM=VRDGAR


Take a little time to learn about the people who were here first. After all...






Monday, October 2, 2017

School: What's It Like in Other Countries?



In the United States
  • Children typically attend a pre-school at ages 4 and 5, sometimes age 3.
  • At about age 5, children attend a kindergarten, whether as part of their daycare program or in a school.
  • The next year, children begin their elementary school years: Grades 1-5
  • Middle School is grades 6, 7, 8
  • Then High School for grades 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Or, Elementary School covers grades up to 6th
  • Then, Junior High, grades 7, 8, 9, then
  • High School (or Senior High) for grades 10-12.
  • After graduation from Grade 12, students can go on to Technical School or College
  • Education beyond a 4 year degree (Baccalaureate) is called Grad School (Masters or Doctorate)




What's it like in other countries? Here are three examples:




In Sweden,


Children can be enrolled in a nursery school/preschool from age 1 to age 5. (this is after the maternity leave granted of 480 days, and 420 of those days are paid at 80% of the mother's salary. This is about 1 year and four months of maternity leave).
  • For these small children up to age 5, it's about preschool activities.
  • Age Age 6 begins a preschool that's more about academics
  • Compulsory School is for ages 7 to 16.
  • Upper Secondary School is for age 16 to 19.
  • University is for 2 to 5 years depending on your area of study
  • To do University on a specific topic, or research, takes 4 years.
 There is very limited home-schooling in Sweden, and it's closely regulated.



In Russia, there is
  • Nursery School/Preschool for ages 1 to 3
  • First year of school is age 6 or 7. The ideal situation is for the child to have the same teacher for his or her first 4 years of school.
  • Grades on report cards are levels of 1 to 5 rather than letters (A, B, C, D, F) as we have in the U.S.:  1 is a complete failure, and 5 is a student who's doing excellent work
  • After 9 years of school, students can finish at a vocational school or, if they're not choosing to learn a craft at that point, the 'Normal' school.
  • Between the ages of 18 and 27, all males must serve in the military for 12 months (count that as lucky, in the 1700s, men were expected to serve for life!)
  • Schooling beyond age 18 can be at a University or an 'Institute' depending on the subject


In England, schooling is similar to the United States, with different names:
 
School is determined by the student's age::
  • Early Years, ages 3 to 5
  • Primary, ages 5-22
  • Secondary, ages 11-16
  • At Age 16, students take exams to qualify for Level 1 or 2
  • Sixth Form is also called College, but it is similar to High School in the U.S.
  • After 'A' Level (high school), a student can earn a 3 year Bachelors' degree. The cost will be about $18,000
  • Students can go on to earn a Masters or Doctorate, typically a 3 year time period
  • "College" in England usually means the same as a Technical College in the U.S. "University" means the same as College in the U.S. (4 year degree). Students say, "I'm going to University now," not 'the university.'


Interesting facts about school lunch in various countries:  




http://feingold.org/school-lunch-how-other-countries-feed-their-children/


A study by UNICEF reports that 40% of children living in the Middle East are not attending school due to the conflict in their area.  http://time.com/4021101/middle-east-children-education-unicef-report/

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lighthouses






You're traveling the ocean in a ship and wondering where, exactly you are. What to do.....??


And then someone says, I know--let's build a big fire on that high hill for ships to use as a guidepost.


Thus began the lighthouse as we know it today.


If a fire was a good idea, people decided, then a building where a 'permanent' fire could be housed was even better. By the 1600s there were at least 30 lighthouses built around the coast close to Europe and England. The lighthouse, or a concept of it, was mentioned as early as the 8th century BC in The Odyssey and The Iliad.
Montazzah Lighthouse, Alexandria, Egypt
Originally the lights were meant to help navigate by, but eventually also became a way of warning ships of bad sailing conditions or hazards that lie ahead of them.




Lighthouses were built as far out on a coastline as people dared, but they weren't always engineered well and could be 'taken' by the sea in a storm. There was a need to anchor them deeper into the ground and build them of masonry, brick, or concrete, which made them longer-lasting. The lights were fueled by wood, coal, or oil, and tended by people who kept the glass (lens) clean, trimmed the wick if using oil as a fuel, maintained the outside of the building, and some kept records of ships passing through as well.


Go with a couple as they climb up to the top of a lighthouse in Cape Hatteras:  Notice this one has a black band around it..  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=tour+of+lighthouse&&view=detail&mid=7A8223C2357271D1FFD07A8223C2357271D1FFD0&FORM=VRDGAR
When a community didn't have a lighthouse, they would often have a light in the tall steeple of a church located on the coast to help ships find their way.

  • In 1858, the first electric-powered lighthouse was built in England.
  • Some lighthouse lights revolve and some have a steady light. Some flash on and off.
  • Some use mirrors to reflect more light
  • Different lenses can be used to make a lighthouse more visible
  • The atmosphere affects the quality of the light: Fog, smoke, haze, wind, smog--all can make it harder to see, even as bright as they are
  • The light can be a maximum of 100,000 candelas. By comparison, a 60 watt light bulb used often in a table lamp, has 800 lumens or roughly 9600 candelas.
  • Lighthouses are usually white, but may also be a color or black to make it more visible in the sea


  • Lighthouses can be built in the sea with the right footings
  • Helicopters are commonly used to do maintenance on tall lighthouses
  • In the early 1900s, some lighthouses added a 'fog signal,' a low sounding horn operated by a sort of mechanical set-up. Lighthouses that use a 'horn' now are automated (unattended by people).
Video with a fog horn:  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=lighthouse+fog+horn&&view=detail&mid=505CD5C80376DF037EBB505CD5C80376DF037EBB&FORM=VRDGAR
  • In addition to lighthouses, there are light ships: these are ships that anchor in the ocean at all times and have lights mounted high on their masts for guidance. They are always automated, no people are on the lightships


  • Lighted buoys also are used to help ships follow certain paths. They're anchored to stay in the sea. These buoys have color coded paint and flash color coded lights: They flash red for ships to stay to the left (port) side, or green for the ship to stay to the right (starboard) side.
  • A Cardinal Buoy marks the deepest water and the safest route.
A lighthouse actually built in the ocean. (it houses a light, and that's all)
Frequently asked questions about lighthouses:  https://www.us-lighthouses.com/faq.php
As of today, there are over 600 lighthouses in the United States. Only one is manned by a person, all the rest are automated. The United States Coast Guard maintains the lighthouses.

Lots of interesting stuff about lighthouses:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/lighthouse






Coast Guard listing of different symbolism used by lighthouses, buoys, and other details:  https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/lightLists/LightList%20V7.pdf


This is Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior, in Duluth:





Monday, September 18, 2017

Job Description: Pharmacist

A Pharmacist does much more than just count out pills to put in prescription bottles.
 
A typical course of education for a pharmacist begins with a Bachelors Degree: 2 years of generals and then 2 years of classes such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy & Physiology, and pharmaceutical practices.


The doctorate degree includes education in laws involved with pharmacy practice, dosage, health management, and equipment used on the job. The schooling will then include a residency program lasting one to two years, similar to a medical doctor.


Education must take place at a school accredited by the Accreditation Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE), and must pass the NAPLEX (Board certification exam) to obtain a license to practice as a pharmacist.
Here are some responsibilities of a pharmacist:
 
  • Noting allergies:Does the patient have a reaction to a drug? What can be substituted?
  • Filling prescriptions on a timely basis
  • Knowledge of insurance coverage: there are many insurance companies to deal with, including people using Medicare or Medicaid or assistance with their prescriptions: What's covered, and the amount covered?
  • Advising patients about their medications
  • Staying up-do-date on new medications
  • Being aware of any problems with medications such as recalls
  • Knowledge of chronic illnesses and their medications, such as diabetes or heart disease


  • Communicating with medical professionals such as doctors or nurse practitioners
  • Knowing when two drugs cannot be taken together, catching that mistake, and suggesting a different combination, possibly to the physician
  • Instructing patients how to take their medications: Does orange juice make it less powerful? Can you take it on an empty stomach, or not?
  • Understanding how the drugs are going to work to combat a condition
  • Warning patients of side effects
  • Knowledge about over the counter  (not prescription) treatments
More details on the coursework:  http://study.com/pharmacist_education.html






Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11/2001: Do You Remember?

It was a bright September morning, a Tuesday. I didn't need to be at work until 9:00. Getting ready, I had ABC news on the TV, not paying much attention. At some point, I sat down and watched for a while.




The oddest thing happened: The people reporting the news suddenly looked puzzled, as if they weren't hearing correctly through their earphones. Furrowed brows. Surprise. It looks, they said, as if someone ran a plane into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. The show broadcasts from New York and has the skyline visible behind them. What about that? How strange. How could that happen, the pilot must have had a heart attack or something.






How bad is the damage? They wondered, wanting as all newspeople do, to have all the details immediately. Where I sat, I wondered what happened but wasn't particularly concerned. Bummer. But that's in New York, not anywhere near me.




What did get my attention was the serious and concerned looks on their faces: It didn't seem to be just a story about a random plane crash. I sensed more danger than that. As they tried to fill time with talk, waiting for particulars, there was another explosion and a lot of black smoke visible behind them. A lot of it. Big plumes.




At this point, the news anchors glanced at one another in shock. There's something really unsettling when a TV news anchor is shocked.


And one of them said,


"That was not an accident. Someone just deliberately flew into that buillding. And if that's true, then I suspect the first plane was no accident, either." The tape of it was played over and over, as we watched in stunned silence as that second jet turned, dipped down, and almost seemed to fly straight through the tower. On purpose.




And just like that, our history changed.




Airports were shut down for fear of more attacks. How many more planes would do that?  There was one headed for the Pentagon. One headed for the White House. Two more headed who knows where. We considered ourselves under attack. What do we do now? If we're going to be attacked, I want to be at home, not at work. I want my children with me. But what do I tell them?




In just a moment, our lives were changed. Before, it was the threat of a bomb being dropped on us or maybe chemical warfare. Occasionally, not that often, we'd think: What if?




It never occurred to us that people would hijack a regular commercial airline in order to drive it into a regular building on a regular, early Fall, sunny day. That there were people who were willing to kill themselves along with a huge number of others, both in the planes and in the buildings.




Heroes emerged: People who refused to let the hijackers complete their plans, even though everyone in the planes died anyway. People who made every effort to save others. While victims struggled to get down the stairs of these buildings, time and again firefighters climbed back up to rescue everyone they could, losing their lives in the process.




The quiet of the next few days was eerie as we reeled from the horror of it: thousands of people dead. Papers with faces and descriptions begging for information, pleading for a loved one to be all right, were stapled everywhere in New York City. Hundreds upon hundreds of them. And slowly, we realized they would never be found-they were simply gone-changing the lives of those who loved them forever. The papers became tattered and damaged and washed out by rain as surely as the tears that were shed in realization.




Heart-wrenching stories of bright and shining lives destroyed, children who would not remember their parents, parents who lost children, families interrupted and broken. Hopeful people trying to make a start in New York City, others who had worked in those buildings for years; people just making a trip to California, the trusting faces of kids on their first plane rides...a terrible waste for all of us. So much was lost on that day, along with our naive opinion that no one would dare come here and attack us.




So what did we do? We started anew. The wreckage, almost unbelievably massive, was cleared. A new memorial was placed at the site of the Twin Towers that has walls of water, appropriately, and a new structure defiantly even taller than the old ones. Survivors are still healing, families still grieving, victims gone forever. It's been 16 years, and yet only the blink of an eye.




But in the days after, when out among people in stores and going on with their lives, there was a quiet, sad, sense of unity. We didn't need to talk about it, we knew the sadness and disappointment we were all feeling. Smiles came easier. Everyone seemed to say, "We're OK. We'll be OK." That strength you can only feel when shared with others in the same situation.


What can we learn from the attacks of 9/11? Anger? Tolerance? Suspicion? Hope? Being prepared? ?




Maybe we start from home. We start by reminding ourselves what really matters to us. Then we add a ring, our neighbors: how are they doing? Do they need help with anything? Add another ring, our community: What's going on that's good and bad? How can we get involved? And another ring: how can we change what we don't like in our country, and how do we support each other? There's strength in numbers. We can be stronger together than divided. And we'll never forget that day.













Tuesday, September 5, 2017

If My Balance is $25 I'm Doing Fine, and Other Financial Myths

What do you know about money? Here are things you need to know as you begin living as an adult:


  • If you have a checking account, You need to know how to go online and check your balance, and see what's going on with your account. It will show you all of your transactions. A transaction is either something you purchase/a debit (buy) or a credit (such as your paycheck being deposited).
  • What do pending or posted mean??
-Pending means the bank knows you spent that amount and they'll take it out soon. Posted means they've taken it out. See if the balance includes pending amounts.


-When you bank (or buy anything) online, be sure to check that the URL (address at the top of the screen) has a padlock on it, that means the website is as secure as possible. Consider not banking using your phone, because phones get stolen or lost. Be constantly aware of being private when doing online transactions. Also, when you use a cash machine (ATM) be sure it's one your bank uses, or you will pay a fee for getting cash out. And that's how banks make money.
  • What's an overdraft?
-An overdraft means you wrote a check or used a check card for an amount more than was in your account. For example, you have $50 in your account, but you write a check or swipe your card for $75. It may not reject this immediately, but fairly soon after you've tried that, the bank will notice.... and ironically, the punishment is typically a $30-$35 charge you pay the bank, plus the amount of the transaction or withdrawal. Yes, they are charging you money you obviously don't have. It's nonsense and it's how banks make money.




  • What's a 'Stop Payment?'
-If you wrote a check for something and that check gets lost, or if you have a dispute with the place you wrote the check to, you can go to the bank and tell it to stop payment on that check. They'll refuse to pay it if the person or place tries to cash it. They will also charge you at least $30 to do that Stop Payment--they won't care what the situation is. And that's how banks make money.





  • Do you know if your account has a minimum balance?
-Some do, some do not: Find out, and if there is a minimum, be sure you always leave that in the account or you will be charged a fee. And that's how banks make money.
  • What is principal? What is interest?
-The principal is the basic amount of a loan you take out. If you take out a loan for $1,000, that's the principal. The interest is the fee you are using to 'use' the principal, and that's how banks make money.
  • What is compound interest?
-Compound interest means you earn interest on your interest. If you put money in the bank and the account pays interest, you continue to gain (or accrue) interest on not only the main amount but the interest, too. This is how you make money, not the bank.


  • Why should I pay more than my required payments on my loans (or credit cards)?
-When you take out a loan, any kind of loan including a student loan, the lender will charge you interest, that's their fee for your 'using' the money. You'll be paying on the interest before the principal (the amount of your loan). And so, it takes while to really start to chip away at the loan amount. Paying even a little bit more every month adds up: If you pay another $5 a month, that's $60 a year, plus it reduces your loan and helps you pay more and more of the principal and less interest.
  • Why is it so hard to get out of credit card debt?
-Your credit card company charges you to use money you don't have (interest or finance charge) just like any other loan. If you charge something that cost $50 and their finance charge is 20%, then you're actually going to pay another $10 for that item, a total of $60. Once you repeat this with lots of purchases, you're paying a lot more for your total. Still, for some people, it's so easy to hand over a credit card to get something they want right now, until the bill comes and they realize they charged more than they thought. If you make the minimum payment, it will take a long time to pay it off because a chunk of your payments are going to that finance charge and not paying off the items (The 'principal'-see above). The credit card company is happy; you, not so much. You're paying interest on the whole amount you owe. You need to pay more than the minimum, or pay it off every month if it's possible.


Just for education purposes, look at a credit card offer you get in the mail before you rip it up and toss it: Read the fine print telling you what the interest rate is, what the late charges are, and what the annual fee is. These are not negotiable (you can't make them sympathize with you if you goof up). It's not uncommon to see a 28-30% interest rate, especially if you miss a payment.


Want to figure out how long it's going to take you to pay off an amount? Enter your numbers here and get a surprise:  https://www.credit.com/tools/credit-card-payoff-calculator/


  • What is a budget, anyway?
-A budget just means that you write down how much money comes in and what goes out (is spent). If your paycheck is $500 every other week, you take home $1000 per month. What are your monthly expenses? These include food, house or apartment payment, car payment, school loans. Write them all down and add them up, and subtract from that $1000 income. What's left over is what you have in what's called discretionary spending-it's at your discretion how it's spent. You can spend it or save it or do part of each. And that's your budget.


If you see that you're spending more on something than you might need to, maybe you can find a way to cut down. How thrifty are you with food buying? Gift giving? Nights out on the town? That snack you like to pick up at the gas station? Remember how hard you work for your money when you're thinking of buying something. Think in terms of "want" vs. "need." It's a good idea to save money even if you don't need it right now: Cars break down, things need repair, and lots of other things happen that require money. It's nice to have a 'cushion' set aside in case that happens. Or, you may want to save for a big-ticket item such as a new computer or a down payment on a better car. There's an old term: Pay Yourself First. In other words, always take some of your pay and set it aside for your use.







Monday, August 28, 2017

State Fair!!!



It seems that you're either a "State Fair Person" or not....there are lots of reasons people like the State Fair, and lots of reasons why they don't. You might enjoy all the displays, the rides, the shows, and the people-watching......or you may find it's too much walking, it's usually hot weather, and you can never remember where you parked the car. Anyway, if you have never experienced it, here are some facts about the Minnesota State Fair:










  • It started in 1854 as a Territorial Fair, because (10 points if you already knew this) Minnesota was not a state until 1858.  In 1859 it was officially named the Minnesota State Fair
  • It is always held on the 12 days leading up to and after Labor Day. This year's fair will run from August 24 through September 4 (Labor Day)

                       The Giant Slide at the State Fair.

 






  • The State Fair employs about 80 fulltime year-round employees. 300 are hired to work as seasonal help and 2500 work at the fair only.
  • The Fair is run as 'almost' a separate entity from the State of Minnesota and is run by the State Agricultural Society. The Society represents all 87 county fairs in the state.


  • Did you know there is a K-12 Competition (for Kindergarten through Grade 12)? You can enter artwork, sewing, jewelry, or writing projects. There is also a Technology Education division where people enter architectural drawings, photograpy items, welding projects, woodworking, CO-2 cars and solar powered boats.
Photo of art competition in the Education Building


And of course there are the traditional adult competitions. You can win a ribbon or a prize for excellence in these categories:
  • Needlecraft---Quilts and hand stitching
  • Garment making
  • Handcrafts, including things made from wood or metal, models, and dolls
  • Collections, such as stamps or post cards
  • Baked goods, like cakes, cookies, pies
  • Canning
Colorful canning entries of jellies and jams












There will be Celebrity Agri-Lympics with local celebrities trying their skills at:
  • Hand-milking cows
  • Animal Calling
  • Wool Packing
  • Butter carving
Visit the Moo Booth for a schedule, or look here:  http://www.mnstatefair.org/entertainment/ag_exhibits/agrilympics.html






Princess Kay of the Milky Way is selected before the beginning of the fair.(She is rarely actually named Kay). This young lady will come from a background where she has knowledge of the dairy farming industry and will serve as a goodwill ambassador for them during her year's reign.






One of the quirky displays at the fair is the butter sculpture of Princess Kay. She will sit in a refrigerated booth surrounded by glass while the sculptor works (sculptor Linda Christenson has done this for 46 years!!), and visitors can watch the sculpture in progress. It is created from a 90 pound block of butter from a farm in New Ulm. It takes between six and eight hours to complete, and at the end of the fair, the princess can take the butter home with her.




The current Princess Kay, Haley Hinrichs, and her butter sculpture:










What are Pinto, Arabian, Draft, Paint, and Appaloosa?


They are types of horses, and you can see them being handled at the State Fair as well. Horse competitions called 'Dressage' take place every year at the Minnesota State Fair.












Monday, August 21, 2017

Do You Know How To Fry An Egg?

You probably aced most of your classes in high school, and now you're ready for The Great Adventure aka college. You're learning how to navigate Financial Aid, purchase your textbooks, and get your housing set up.


But, what about the practical side of life? Before you leave home, here are some things that are really helpful to know when there's no parent to help, aka Adulting 101:


  • Could you make your own doctor or dentist appointment? Do you know who to call? Do you know how to get a prescription filled? There is often an on-campus clinic; otherwise, you'll have to find somewhere nearby that you can be seen. Check with your parent about what clinic or doctor is covered by your medical insurance, and how that will work. You can't generally just go anywhere you choose, because your medical insurance won't pay for it. Make a list of clinics that work with your insurance.


  • Do you have a place where all your passwords for important stuff is kept? There should be another place besides your phone: Phones run out of battery just when you need them, they break, and they get lost. One good idea is to write your passwords down but have a friend keep them.
  • Can you check the oil level in your car? Check the tire pressure? Can you change a tire? Would you know what to do if your car conks out? Have a parent or someone show you how to do basic maintenance, and seek out a mechanic that might be a possibility if you need one, close to campus.
BONUS: NEWS FLASH: Did you know you might be able to save on your insurance premiums if you are not bringing a car with you to campus? You don't need full coverage if you won't be driving it, and you can put coverage back on if you go home on break. There can also be reduced premiums if you're going to have your car, but will live in a more rural area (not in the Twin Cities). Ask your insurance agent about these potential savings.
  • Can you use an ATM?


  • Do you know how to check your bank balance online? Do you keep track of your purchases?
  • What would you do in an emergency? For example, if you had a car accident-Do you know where your insurance company's number is? You should have an insurance card in your wallet or in your car. What about a medical emergency? Or, what would you do, or where would you go, if your dorm was unavailable because the water main broke? Or if the power went out?
  • Do you know how to do a load of laundry? How to sort colors and whites? How much detergent to use? How to dry clothes? How to fold them? Have someone show you how before you find yourself with no clean clothes.




  • Do you know what items constitute healthy or healthier eating? Why should you not eat pizza seven days a week? Remember your basic food groups? Have. Some. Fruit. And. Vegetables.




  • How does your college communicate important news to you (like campus is closed due to weather, the most hoped-for news): Is it through your campus e-mail? Check it every day!
  • If there is public transportation near you, do you know how to use it? How do you get a bus token or pass, and where does the bus take you? How long will it take to get where you're going? Is there a shuttle bus that can take you to and from campus? How does that work?
These are things you might want to consider as you move into adulting: you can do it, and what you don't know, you can learn. Because those that came before you, learned how to adult, and you can, too.