#ImWithHer — Now What?

Tonight many of us are feeling uneasy, nervous, worried. We thought we would be waking up knowing America elected our first female president. We assumed an inexperienced man would not be elected to the highest position in our government. We could go on for hours about this being unjust or fixed or a hoax. We could list millions of reasons why this happened. We could spend days asking questions….

Sixteen years ago we had a very strenuous outcome in an election, we survived it. We can survive it again. Regardless of how you voted, it’s time to continue. This is America. This is a result of democracy. We need to come together as one nation. We need to support our neighbors. We need to make sure that we, the people of the United States, are heard from and not dismissed. We must come together to ensure all of our freedoms remain intact and that the future of our nation allows generations to come to flourish.

Trump supporters, don’t gloat, it doesn’t look good on you. Hillary supporters, spend a few days mourning, but don’t wallow in it, it will only suck you dry. We all have one duty now: Be an adult. Respect those around you; don’t bully others. Let’s show the world what America can do. We are one nation, we are strong, we will not let this get us down.

I am just as shocked and saddened as you. I have my doubts and fears of what all of this means. I only ask that we all please remember that we already have enough inequalities and injustices in our lives, we don’t need more. We, as one, can work to ensure the future of our country. We still have the power to prove #lovetrumpshate

Why I’m Pissed After Sandy….

Priorities. Where are people’s priorities?

We all want life back to normal, like yesterday. We want power, water, Internet, cable, phones, heat, the ability to cook in our ovens, etc…. But how do we get there? Prioritize. First, let’s make sure everyone is safe, then we can get to the luxuries we are accustomed to.

First, people need to check in to reality. Let’s not harp on the vocabulary Rudy is using in our emergency update calls. Yes, you can’t actually postpone Halloween since it is a fixed date, but we all know he meant the activities, i.e.; trick-or-treating, since you know it’s DANGEROUS for kids to be walking around most of town right now. (Remember, priorities, people’s safety.) Or how about the fact that most of town seems to forget that the non-working lights on Main Street equate to a four-way stop sign? It seems people are in more of a hurry these days than normal…I drove to Stop & Shop today and witnessed more people cutting others off and doing things that are definitely illegal at any time, but maybe they don’t care if they get in an accident and land someone in the hospital, at least they’d have heat and power then… And let’s all drop the “woo is me” attitude. Most of town is in the same boat, or a worse one than you. And many other communities are far worse off than us, let’s just be glad our whole town wasn’t under water. We need perspective here, we’re all spoiled and used to having a lot of luxuries in life. Let’s be adults and realize this could be a lot worse!

But now, to why I’m really pissed. Last I knew, Ridgefield had 80 blocked roads. And 64% of us don’t have power. My house has no phone, cable, power and the road is blocked, sort of. Thanks to a good neighbor, I don’t know which, the branches on the pine tree blocking my road were sawed off. My neighbors and I are able to drive under the tree (I say a quick prayer each time hoping the tree doesn’t decide to give way) to get off of our dead end at the edge of town. But when I was driving to town to use the Internet and try to get some work done, what did I see? The town and a tree crew at the Little Red Schoolhouse – removing the tree that fell on the roof and caused minor damage to the roof and chimney. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about preserving the history of our town and I want the Little Red Schoolhouse to remain open after storm relief, but, I’m more interested in having fire trucks and ambulances able to get to my neighbors and my houses before first. I’m not even asking for power yet, how about just enabling emergency services to get to all of us? The town might be able to send in an ATV instead of an ambulance (yes, they do it, they did last year after Irene when a neighbor needed to be taken to the hospital, but tell me, how is clearing the Little Red Schoolhouse supposed to help anyone on my block, or any of the other blocked roads, when God forbid, someone’s house catches fire?

Now, before you decide to criticize my bluntness, or the lack of grammatical editing that I couldn’t be bothered to do, think about the things that really matter. Why don’t you use that negative energy of yours to go help everyone who needs it? Cause guess what, most of the region could find something productive for you to do.

The Great Outdoors and the Next Great Generation

“You can’t capture it in a picture, you have to be there to see it.” — Tobin Schafer, 12, of Ohio

No truer words have been spoken by the young boy at the end of a clip NBC’s Nightly News aired about the National Parks trying to attract more young people to come and visit them. While Schafer might be younger than Millennials, his sentiment is one that more Millennials need to share in order for our National Parks system to persevere and survive for our grandchildren, and their grandchildren. According to a University of Idaho analysis of Park Service attendance, “back in 1996, at Death Valley National Park, almost a third of visitors were in their 20s. But in the last few years, that number has dropped to just 11% at Yosemite and 6% at Yellowstone”.

The question is why? Perhaps it’s because Millennials and younger generations are addicted to technology (says the one who tried to ‘check-in’ on Foursquare when I reached the summit of Mt. Washington in the White Mountains). Perhaps it’s because beginning with our generations, kids spent more time indoors playing on the computer and with video games than we sent running around outdoors just enjoying the freedom of binging a kid. Perhaps it’s because we take for granted that they have always been there, and assume they always will be (you know what assume means — it makes an @$$ out of me and u…). The problem is no one has yet to figure out the reason why.

The NPCA, National Parks Conservation Association, urges its members of all ages to support the parks and to spread the importance of our parks. Many might take for granted that these parks are National Parks and assume that they will always be parks, but in today’s economy, the parks system faces budget cuts and drastic changes. According to an email from the NPCA President, Thomas C. Kiernan, to NPCA members, “Congress has slashed the National Park Service budget in the last two years — that’s an operations shortfall of $500 to $600 million! And funding is now 14% below where it was 10 years ago. Plus, President Obama’s proposed budget for next year would slash $22 million more from park operations.” A decrease in funding will lead to less staff at the parks to ensure the safety of visitors, less upkeep of the parks to ensure they are clean for new visitors and to protect the environment of the parks along with other cuts.

Funding is not the only issue facing the parks at the moment. Our government is taking actions that will effect the parks and the future visits of those who plan to visit them. Right now, the Manassas National Battlefield in Virginia is facing a highway to be built right in the middle of the battlefield. Who wants to visit a battlefield to see cars flying by? If I wanted to do that, I’d just go sit in a rest stop on I-95. And last month, the House Even passes a bill that could allow hunting in many of the parks. Who wants to go see a recreation at Gettysburg and fear that a hunt fight get caught up in the is and leave someone accidentally injured?

Some Millennials are out there protecting the environment, but is what we’ve done enough to ensure the National Parks stay for generations to come? Or decades from now, will we be viewed at the ones who allowed the parks to disappear? It’s time now for Millennials to decide what legacy we will leave our parks, and to act on it.

Not-Christmas-Christmas Songs

Christmas is a time for joy and laughter. For Christians, it is a time to rejoice that our Savior has come. For everyone celebrating, it’s a time to have fun, be merry, eat too much and unwrap our presents from Santa Claus. While the true meaning if Christmas has been overrun by Hallmark, the true meaning of Christmas is still abound and plentiful these days. One thing is for certain though, no matter how many Christmas hymns we sing in Church and songs we hear in the radio, there are more than a couple ‘Christmas’ songs which missed the mark of the true meaning and spirit of the holiday.

All I Want For Christmas Is You by everyone who has sung it
Whether you think Christmas is about Santa, Jesus or family, it’s not Valentine’s Day and I don’t think Santa delivers men (or women) to be waiting for you under the tree.

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Randy Brooks
While it was written as a joke some 30 years ago, it is popular and catchy. But how does grandma getting drunk and maimed by reindeer fit with the joy of the holiday season?

Little Drummer Boy by Justin Bieber with Busta Rhymes
This song originally is a personal fav. It’s a song sung in Church by little kids beating a plastic drum at the end of the Christmas pageant. But turning it into a rap song to celebrate a family holiday? No thanks. And what drum sounds like “pa rum pa pum pum yeeaaaaaaah yeaaaaaah”?

Mistress for Christmas by AC/DC
Maybe it’s just me, but committing a mortal sin doesn’t seem to fall into the Christmas spirit of celebrating our Savior who came to save us from our sins.

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch originally written by Dr. Suess himself
Everyone who is against the Christmas spirit at this time of year is referred to as a Grinch. Why? because Mr. Grinch is too anti-Christmas and tries to take the fun out of it for others. It’s one thing to be a party pooper, but this is not the time of year to spread your misery.

Yelling At The Christmas Tree by Billy Idol
Christmas might not have always been a happy time in the Idol house when Billy was growing up, but don’t be a Grinch and spread your painful memories with those of us who only want to remember the good times at the holidays.

The Christmas Story Told Through Hymns

Christmas has become more of a Hallmark holiday than one of the most holiest times for Christians. Holiday music is being pumped out of speakers across the radio in cars and stores, making Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas stuck in our head for days. But for Christians, Christmas is about much more — Christmas is a joyous time to celebrate the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who came to save us from sin and die for us. Christmas music has been around since the beginning of hymns in Church. The story of Christmas can be found in the lyrics of some of our favorite hymns.

The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came
“The angel Gabriel from Heaven came….“All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary, most highly favored lady.”….“For know a blessed mother thou shalt be, all generations laud and honor thee”.”

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
“O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel. That mourn in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

O Little Town of Bethlehem
“O morning stars together proclaim the holy birth! And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on Earth. For Christ is born of Mary and gathered all above, while mortals sleep the Angels keep their watch of wondering love.”

Away in a Manger
“Away in a manger, no crib for His bed, the little Lord Jesus, laid down His sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay.”

What Child is This?
“What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?”

Silent Night, Holy Night
“Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright, round yon virgin mother and child, Holy infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace!”

The First Noel
“They looked up and saw a star shining in the East beyond them far and the the Earth it gave great light, and so it continues both day and night. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!”

O Come All Ye Faithful
“O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, o come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels. O come let us adore him, o come let us adore him, o come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”

Joy to the World
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let Earth receive her King, let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing, and Heaven and nature sing, and Heaven, and Heaven and nature sing.”

We Three Kings of Orient Are
“We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star. O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us the thy perfect light.”

Rules for Attending Graduations

“Graduates, I ask that you move your tassels from the right side of your cap to the left. You’re officially graduates of NCC.” I probably shouldn’t put quotes around that. I’m not actually sure what the President of NCC said last night when my friend graduated. Why? Not because I was preoccupied, nor was my attention lacking. I couldn’t hear a lot of what he said, I could, however, hear everything the people in front of and next to me were chatting about though. As I attended another college graduation last night, I was reminded that it seems some people lack social etiquette. As I attend my alma mater’s commencement tomorrow, I’m hoping for a better experience than last night. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled I was able to be there for my friend, after all, she feels like family, I just wish i could have experienced the entire ceremony.) That said, I present a few basic (what I thought were common sense) rules of how to act at a graduation…

If you talk, keep it quiet and short.
Of course when you sit through a multi-hour ceremony of any sort, you are probably going to have a comment or two about what’s happening that you want to share with those you are sitting with. And by that, I mean the people you came with, not every family within spitting distance. Graduations are not a time for you to start talking about the project you’re working on at the office, or about some ailment you have that should be kept in the family. Full blown conversations, especially if you don’t know how to whisper, are only distracting to those around you and make you come off as rude.

Proper use of cell phones.
One, keep them on silent. I’m well aware that no one wants to hear Irish rock blast from my phone during the ceremony — and I don’t want to hear Lady Gaga or Jay-Z blasting from yours. All phones have the ability to be turned to vibrate or silent, learn to use that function.
Two, whatever you do, don’t pick up your phone mid-graduation to carry on a conversation (see above). And to the man sitting in front of me to the right, use of a blue tooth does not make it better.
Three, use of your phone to text, check your e-mails, tweet or take pictures is all OK! I texted during my own graduation, my sister’s and well, any other graduation I’ve been to. I’m not glued to the keyboard, just using it sporadically, and typically using it to communicate with the graduate. Tweeting, playing games, doing whatever you want with your apps is OK too. Graduations are long, especially when 500+ names are being called. Keep yourself occupied, but remember you should only be entertaining yourself, not everyone around you too.

I love balloons, but not in my face.
Balloons are great for parties and pictures, but they are not meant for blocking my view. If you want to give your graduate balloons, leave them in the car until after the ceremony. As much as you try to keep them low, they will blow around, get loose and end up in front of someone else’s face.

Some cheering is OK
Cheering, applauding and the like is great to show support to your loved one. But remember to keep it low key so you don’t distract anyone else from missing hearing their graduate’s name called.

Where Were You When Osama Bin Laden Died?

There are certain days that everyone will always remember where they are. Millennials will always remember and be asked where they were on 9-11. I was a sophomore in high school. The second tower was hit and the first one fell during my second period free. I watched all of this happen live on the TVs at the senior end of the cafeteria along with my biology class. The bell rang to end the period, we bolted up two flights of stairs, turned on the news on our bio classroom and saw the second tower fall. My bio teacher walked in, turned off the TV and yelled at us for turning it on without permission. You see, I live on CT, in an NYC suburb — many parents from my town work in the city, my father included at the time. As many recall, getting a cell phone call to go through to the city was hard that day. My dad didn’t work in the towers at the time, but he had dropped me off at school that morning telling me he’d be heading to Windows on the World for a meeting with old co-workers. (Windows on the World was above where the plane hit, no one who was there survived.) Frantic, I tried getting through to anyone. Finally, using the inter-school extensions, I got through to the elementary school my mom worked at. I asked the secretary if I could talk to my mom, only to be told she was on the other line and to please hold. Before being put on hold, I asked if she had heard news of my dad. She did — my dad was on the other line with my mom, he had caught the last train out of Grand Central to get home. My dad watched the towers get hit and fall from his boss’s window. He felt his heart sink as he knew he had friends who were hurt or dead. He packed up his bags and left, he wanted out — turned out that he ended up leaving working in the city shortly thereafter. That afternoon, my mom left school early. My sister was in middle school and my mom knew that all kids in any school but the high school needed a parent, or adult neighbor, to sign them off the bus (normally only kindergardeners need someone to get them). Not knowing if my dad would make it home in time, she came home to collect my sister and all our neighbors. While the school wanted to make sure no kids were stuck at home with no parent coming home that night, my mom didn’t want anyone we knew to sit through that. All my neighbors hung out at our house until their parents got home — fortunately, they all did. I will never forget this day.

When asked where I was when Osama died, my answer is much simpler — I was sound asleep. I went to bed at 9:30 last night, I was exhausted from a day in the sun. I woke up at my boyfriend’s house at 3:41AM. Not knowing what caused me to wake up, I checked my phone. I had 42 text messages — one from my sister and 41 from Twitter (since I don’t have Internet at work, I follow about 8 or 9 people, including local news, who I get their tweets texted to me so I don’t miss something big during the day.) I read my sister’s message first; “Osama dead go amurrca – I hope you caught the address”. In a half sleep, Osama Bin Laden did not cross my mind — I thought she meant Barack Obama and that she, a huge Obama supporter, was being sarcastic. Then I knew that’s why I had so many tweets to read, although I then found out she really did mean Osama. I slept through a huge event in life, but fortunately it didn’t take long for me to hear it all thanks to social media. Now all that’s left is for me to turn on my computer tonight to watch Obama’s address online — because I can, because today we can find everything we need at our fingertips.

Type Softly & Carry a Big Stick

To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, “type softly and carry a big stick; what you type will go far”. Part of why Millennials are given a bad rep is because regardless of the fact that we are all legal adults at this point, some of us still act like immature, five-year-olds — many do so for the entire world to see on the stages laid out in front of us thanks to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media and networking outlets. Unfortunately, it is when we act irresponsibly and immaturely in public that older generations seem to take note. Older generations aren’t even the only ones who think we lack ethics online. Last week my fellow TNGG writer, Federico Pieracci, pointed out that when u write like dis, you look “like an absolute tool”. In today’s technologically driven, web-based world, we are what we type and post — both socially and professionally.

Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter are all great tools — they are integral parts of many of our lives and all three should be used for their different purposes. Facebook is a great tool to stay in touch with people you (hopefully) know. It can be a great help when planning events, sharing pictures and keeping tabs on friends that live far away. LinkedIn is wonderful to help find jobs and stay connected with others in your industry; it’s also somewhere you might not want to update your status with every waking thought you have. Twitter is a bit more of a free-for-all; it is a place to share random thoughts, interesting articles, commenting on the live awards show and for stirring debates with virtual strangers. When scrolling through our various news feeds, people look for articles and comments that are going to interest them, not bored them to death — personally, I prefer posts that are going to make me think a little. (I’m not saying that you can never post to all at once, I’m obviously going to post a link to this article on all three of my profiles – but that’s because it works for all three audiences.)

Many are aware of the line that can be crossed by sharing TMI (too much information). While the line can be a thin one, and one that varies depending on the audience, some people have no problem ignoring the line and catapulting well beyond it. People do NOT want to read about what you and your significant other did in the privacy of your bedroom (nor do they care if you were able to find a new place to do it). While the TMI line is a widely known one, perhaps a more important line is the one drawn by what netiquette deems appropriate.

The golden rule of netiquette is to be smart. In the same way you need to filter some thoughts so they don’t come out of your mouth and offend others, make sure the same is done before you type something that you can’t take back. Recently Carrie James, of Harvard University, conducted a study which showed that young people lack online ethics. When you think about it, doesn’t it make sense? Why wouldn’t the same ethical norms in societies hold true online? The internet has given us a privilege, one that allows us access to more knowledge and resources then previous generations.

As with many privileges, this tends to become abused when people think they can have anything they want, with one click of the mouse, and of course it’s all expected to be free. It is not socially acceptable by most to walk into a store and steal a CD from the shelf, so why is it OK to download the music illegally online? Piracy of music and movies are not the only ways that things are stolen online. Ideas and work are becoming easier to plagiarize with such rampant googling skills that Millennials learn when trying to find information they are looking for — plagiarism can even be found in 140-characters or less on Twitter.

Netiquette extends beyond our actions to what we post online as well, especially when you forget who your audience is — everyone. Employers and schools are using social media sites to watch over what their employees and students, both current and future, have done and are doing. It is possible to get fired because of Facebook. Making a statement about hating your boss and job aren’t the only thing that can do it, you don’t want to call out sick and then post pictures of you at a party instead either.

Don’t forget, the Library of Congress is archiving all public tweets and there is no time limit on how long sites with your name on them will appear in Google search results (my high school track results from 10 years ago are still there). So, before you decide to tweet your next thought, ask yourself is this something that you’d be OK with if your grandma, boss and children 20 years from now see? Safe bet, if it passes that test, it won’t do you much damage.

**picture from World New Australia

Underdogs of Millennium

In case you missed my last post, I started writing for an amazing blog, The Next Great Generation. I’ve always enjoyed reading lots of other blogs to see things from other perspectives and lately I have been looking for some articles/posts to help support my next post. In surfing the web with a direct focus on my generation, it has become even more apparent before, that older generations think we are lazy, overrated and selfish. We are underdogs and unfortunately, instead of many cases, we are not the underdogs that everyone is routing for. We are underdogs because everyone expects us to fail.

We are underestimated, undervalued, underpaid underrepresented. We are over looked, over worked and over tired because we do so much. We are hard workers, determined, great multi-taskers, dedicated, opportunistic and team oriented. We are loving, kind, generous, caring, friendly and giving. We are confident, ambitious, direct, independent, diverse and  entrepreneurial. We are wired, “plugged in” and adaptable. We are smart, intelligent and well versed. We have, and will always preserver.

So to all of you who doubt us, thank you. Thank you for lighting the fire underneath an entire generation so that we pull together for each other. We will take our underdog status, rally the troops behind us and we will prove you all wrong.

It’s A Zoo Out There

I’ve probably mentioned it before but I work in midtown Manhattan but I live in the suburbs, in the same small town I grew up in in Connecticut. The commute may be long, but I wouldn’t give up my “country living” as my co-workers put it to live in a gridlock of people and cement buildings. One thing that I have been observing in the jungle that is Manhattan is how people walk on the sidewalks.

When I was a little girl, my mom told me I’d never make it in the big city if I couldn’t deal with the commotion that is guaranteed to ensue on any given sidewalk in the city. I’m not sure if she was telling me this because I had a problem with something that happened or if she was just telling me so I’d know, but I know that what she said is true. If you can’t deal with the craziness that ensues on the sidewalks, you could become very miserable very quickly in the city. That said, I think I do a fine job at dealing with the craziness, but over time I’ve observed some interesting stuff on my foot travels around….

  • Some people truly embody what the term “New York minute”. These people have to get from point A to point B as I their life depended on it and they don’t care who’s in their way, because they have the right of way.
  • Some people like to play chicken with cars. Is it really necessary to cut across the road when there’s barely half a second before the car barreling down the road is going to be in the same spot you’re standing?
  • There’s tourists that forget that all the sights they are taking in aren’t all that special to some of us when we see them daily. It’s the tourists that stop shirt in the middle of the sidewalk that cause the trouble. Either they block loads of people’s paths to pose for their group photo or they stop so short that whoever is walking behind them walks into them.
  • There are those of us who work there that know where we are going and we stick to our path day in and day out. This encompasses most of those on the city sidewalks before-after work and during lunch hours. We weave in and out of people to get where we need to be, but it’s never necessary to knock someone down on your way there. We cut across streets whether there is a crosswalk or if its out right of way, but we do it when there’s no cars coming down the block.
  • There are the people who want to stop you so they can get you to sign up for something or buy their product. They’re pretty harmless, that is until they stop you as you’re running to catch your train…
  • There are street vendors, who for the most part are more of a backdrop to many of us. They don’t bother you and if they are selling something you want, like a scarf or sunglasses, you can get decent ones for less money then you’d spend on lunch.
  • There are the chill people who seem to have no problems with the world. They go with the flow of traffic and they wait at the corners for the little white man to tell them to continue on and if they get stopped at every corner, so be it.

I’m sure there are more. And everyone can fall into different categories depending on the day, I know I do.