Parents – stop enabling!

Raising children to reach adulthood is the ultimate task every parent strives for, or at least some of us do. Who doesn’t live for the day when you can end morning bathroom rotations, playing musical cars in the driveway, or hearing the faint creaking of the door shutting in the very early morning hours?

Round #1 The first glimpse of freedom for both parties (parents and children) comes when they leave for college or decide they need space and move in with friends. You start remodeling that extra room, perhaps a workout room, or a home office, the place you can go just to be ALONE. The cleanup begins, clothes are packed, furniture is moved, everything is nice, and tidy just the way you want your new space to be. Yet it turns into a short-term vacation once they realize living on their own costs more than they can handle. Paying bills such as electricity, cable, internet, water, sewer, garbage, and heat they’ve never encountered before.

Round #2 They move back in. There goes your new space, your solace, “me time.” It’s not that you don’t love your children and would force them to live in the streets or go without food. Whatever the reasons for their return, a lack of money or friendships turned bad, home they come. Chaos returns, and the cycle repeats itself. Reminds me of raking leaves in the fall – it’s cleaned up, then “they’re back” repeatedly.

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Parents who continue supporting their adult children, I’m talking well over the age of 25, has become an epidemic in this country. Millennials living in their parent’s basement well into their 30’s is more common than ever. It’s not just providing a place to live and having them at the dinner table again. Parents end up paying for car insurance or keep them on the cell phone plan. This all adds up over time.

Deciding when to play the “tough love” card is not an easy task. Some parents never do and continue financially support their children. We are teaching our children to avoid taking responsibility, having dreams, setting goals in life.

Don’t think you are a bad parent for asking your children to pay rent. The Millennials need to pull up their skirts and become participants in society…just as our parents forced this upon us, and their parents did to them. Aren’t we all counting on this generation to take care of us in our elder years? Let’s teach them the right way to do it.

Five signs you are enabling your children.

Social MeowDia

Image result for animals on social media

A case for free speech!

How can cute cats have anything to do with free speech? I mean, how can cute animals (cats) bring about social change?  And how can you be a “digital activist” through cat videos? This subject could fill an entire book. I’ll try to follow the KISS acronym and keep it simple for both our sake.  To develop a context for this blog, first I need to talk about a couple of buzz words: Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

The difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 has to do with the way people interact through the online community. Neither Web 1.0 or Web 2.0 refer to any specific advance in technology, which is why it’s so hard for many people to understand.  Web 1.0 in the 90s was quite complicated. The webpages were static and the tools were as complicated as the user needed them to be. Web 2.0, on the other hand, is much simpler because it focuses on all kinds of different users being able to interact, create, and/or contribute to the content.

In many respects Web 1.0 failed to bring about true and meaningful social change on a large scale. That’s because censorship of static websites tends to be easier to block than interactive ones—at least at the state level. Countries like North Korea, Iran, and Turkey have become known for their censorship of all kinds of websites; both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. I mean, you can’t even use Twitter when you’re in Turkey—WTF! This obviously puts limits on a persons freedom of speech. But back in the days of Web 1.0, if a government blocked a page like (human rights watch), they were only limiting that a specific type of user. Today, people notice if they can’t access interactive websites like YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook.

For most people, being an activist isn’t on their radar.  People just want to share pictures and stories of their pets. Do you remember Grumpy Cat? Since 2012 Grumpy cat likes on Facebook has reached 8 million, and she’s generated 1.2 million followers on Instagram. In many respects, this cat is more known than It’s obvious we care about these animals.

You might be willing to blow off these cute, cuddly, and the ridiculous animals, if it weren’t for the fact that this is what brought about Web 2.0. We want to communicate about these things, usually more than we do about human rights. It not that we don’t care about these kinds of issues, it’s that we want to feel connected in a community—and we want to see something really cute at the same time. Web 1.0 evolved into web 2.0 when we began sharing all kinds of content. Websites began changing to fit around the needs of communities. They allowed us to share what we love, what we hate, and what nobody wanted to see.

But these cute animals really do make a difference. If someone were to try to look up grumpy cat and they were blocked, they start asking questions. What is going on? What happened? Why is grumpy cat blocked? Even the simplest, mundane, or unassuming things matter when it comes to our civil liberties. If more and more governments start to limit the freedom of speech, more people are going to start to get upset. Censorship such as this can have serious impacts on a community. It can cause government to fall, bring about social change, and bring people together. So by posting pictures of adorable animals on social media, you are acting like a watchdog (sorry for the pun) over our civil liberties while building a sense of community. It’s this sense of community that is so impowering and can bring about change. Today, in Web 2.0, (moving into Web 3.0) we are changing the world through our sence of togetherness, even if the topic is all about cats.

That is where I should have ended this blog post, but you can’t have a post without some links. There are two suggested videos on YouTube that illustrate how much we care about our pets.

To Blog or not to Blog…



I want to start by giving a brief definition of what a blog actually is according to the Webster online dictionary, a blog is: a Website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. That being said, I must admit that I didn’t quit understand what elements a blog brought to the table, other than a savvy techie way for an individual to write journals and later post them for the online world to voluntarily digest. So, I asked why blog ( I don’t see the point, are the sources credible, or would I just be subjected to some random individuals personal opinions? Why would I waste my time reading a blog, or write one for that matter because who’s going to read it? Why would they want to read it?

About a week ago I was reading an eye opening chapter in reference to blogs in a book called The New Rules of Marketing and PR written by, David Meerman Scott. Scott, dedicated this particular chapter to blogs, and their importance, and let me tell you I was amazed to say the least. Scott, states “blogging is the most important marketing and PR tool I have used as a professional speaker, writer, and advisor to companies.” Scott, would also credit blogging to the success of his company and to his brand. Who would of known the power behind blogging? not me thats for sure. As I continued to read on through the chapter I was constantly being hit with a plethora of positive elements that blogs present for instance, Scott also states, blogs are the vitality behind people finding him and his company. Search engines play a major role in the visibility and attainability of blogs as well because every post is indexed by Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. so when people search for information that is present in Scott’s blog , they will find him. Scott, is obviously a cheerleader for blogging and its power of elevation of ones voice, opinion, brand, and organization. Scott, even proves his love of blogs by attributing 25 percent of his brand has gotten exposure exclusively attributing his blog posts.

I must say that I started out, not necessarily opposing blogs, but rather not really understanding their use or purpose. However, after gaining further knowledge and exposure to blogs, I am proud to say blog away!

New Mexican Food

the-road-to-ortiz2New Mexico is NOT Arizona, Tex-Mex, and it’s NOT in Mexico either. New Mexico is a strange place with odd values and some fricking awesome food. If you’ve been wondering what New Mexican food is all about, this blog should help clear up some things for you. And because I grew up there learning to cook from the abuelitas, I know a thing or two about this. Here are the basics:

Red or Green?

If you’re going to visit, you’re going to be asked “red or green?”  You don’t even have to be eating, someone is going to ask you. That fact is, New Mexican chilies (pronounced chiles) are very special vegetable (technically a fruit) with an incredible flavor. Other places have tried  to grown them, but they aren’t the same. That’s because these pepper grow in a unique environment that give’s them their district flavor—there is nothing else on the planet quite like them. Here’s what to know:

  • The best chilies come from Hatch or Chimayo, New Mexico.
  • Chile can be turned into chili, not vice versa.
  • Salsa Verde in not green chili.
  • Christmas chile is a thing—red and green.


Traditionally the tortillas are made from flour not corn. Corn tortillas came from Mexico (actually from the Mayan Indians). On Occasion you might see a corn tortilla in New Mexico, but they are made blue corn. But for tortillas, it’s all about the flour. The flour tortilla goes back to the Navajo Indians as a part of trading wheat for other goods. Here’s what to know:

  • Tortillas are made from flour and they are thicker, chewier, and somewhat cake-like. They are not your traditional thin tortillas you find in the supermarket.


Although New Mexico’s number one crop are the chilies; corn is not far behind. The corn is usually blue or it’s boiled (pasole). The best ways to enjoy the corn is in a blue corn pancake, pasole strew, or in an enchilada (served flat, not rolled up). Tamales are especially popular, but they are harder to find because they take forever to make.


If you head out for a bite, at the end of the meal, you will probably be given a basket of deep fried bread—sopapilla. What can I say, cover them with honey, honey butter, or stuff chilies inside of them and enjoy. New Mexican’s don’t dust them with cinnamon and sugar. The other major treat is the bochondita. These are anise flavor cookies fried in lard. YEP—lard!

Something different?

  • Piñon. New Mexico has lots of tree nuts. The most special ones are the piñon (pine) nuts and they fetch a pretty penny.
  • Beans are huge. They are never refried; they are always whole beans usually covered in cheese.
  • Tacos are not a traditional New Mexican food. You might see some, but it is a newer addition.
  • Avocados don’t grow in the desert climate of New Mexico. Although guacamole is common today, it really isn’t apart of traditional New Mexican cooking.

Traditional Dishes

Here are most popular entrees:

  • Green Chili Stew. Eat this like a rip and dip with a homemade flour tortilla. Check out this recipe.
  • Carne Adovada. Slow roasted red chili pork
  • Stacked Enchilada.
  • Smothered Burrito, not wet!
  • Frito Pie. Just look it up, I don’t even know why this is so popular, it just is.
  • Pasole stew. That’s right, boiled corn stew.
  • This is summer squash usually served in the fall.
  • Sopapillas at every meal!

I decided to write this blog because so many people seem to wonder what New Mexican food is all about. Perhaps this doesn’t fit in with our topic of marketing perfectly, but once you try these chiles (even if you don’t like spicy food) you’ll be hook. My hope is that more people will want to try these things so that we can have them in the north.

Harassment and Homelessness

The two group projects this semester, mental illness among the homeless, and cyber bullying, were on my mind as I sat down to (finally) start my blog posts. I combined them in a Google search: harassment homeless. Among a number of complaint posts about people who had been harassed by a homeless person, this post stood out. From Stop Street Harassment, the post is about homeless people, especially women, and the ways they’re often harassed by others.


 “If we are discussing “street harassment” as unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger, particularly with an actual or perceived gender-bias, homeless women might take the cake.”

Sara Conklin, the author of this particular post, advocates for homeless women in the Washington DC area. The site itself, Stop Street Harassment, has a wider reach, discussing all gender-based harassment that happens in public places.

There is a form where people can submit and share their stories. A blog, authored by “correspondent” writers like Sara, has posts about community awareness meetings, policy efforts, and activism around the world. They also provide a list of resources, including hotline numbers, advice on dealing with harassers, books and articles, and many others.

Unless I miss my guess, every woman (and possibly some men) in our class have been harassed in public at one time or another. I certainly have been, starting from a very young age. Given the recent “normalization” of public hostility and harassment brought about by the presidential race, this issue isn’t likely to go away soon. I’m afraid it may get much worse before it gets better.  I’m glad to know the Stop Street Harassment site is out there with help and advice for all victims of harassment, especially those for whom the street is their only home.

The Subtle Bias

I feel obligated to begin this post by telling you that I’ve often described myself as someone who is “not a political person.”  However, the older I get, the more I realize how much politics and government have an affect on my life and the lives of my family and friends.  With that in mind, I can admit to you that I’m watching this presidential election closely, I’ve watched both debates so far and it never ceases to educate me about how our country’s political system works.

6 Takeaways From The Presidential Debate

Anita Kumar and William Douglas wrote a blog on Task & Purpose, a news and blog site “geared toward the next great generation of American veterans,” titled 6 Takeaways From the Presidential Debate.  This blog was in reference to the second presidential debate between Donald Trump (R) and Hilary Clinton (D) on Sunday, October 9, 2016.  Keeping the assignment of trying to find bias and make a counter-argument in mind, I thought this would be tough.  After all, I’m one of those “if it’s on the internet, it’s probably true” people.  It turns out, bias is EVERYWHERE, you just have to be aware and look for it.  Here are the items I find worth noting in this article:

Why these 6?

Kumar and Douglas chose to discuss 1) The video (referring to Donald Trump’s video of the bus conversation), 2)  Demeanor, 3) Syria, 4) What About Taxes?, 5) The Email Scandal. Again., and 6) Health Care.  Obviously, there were more than these 6 topics and issues discussed during the debate, so why did the authors chose only 6?  And why these six?  I could think of a few more that seem to deserve some recognition.  For example, if I  was writing a report and had to highlight the main points, I would have included the final question from the audience at the end of the debate.  Karl Becker asked, “…regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”  The audience went absolutely crazy!  It was a very surprising and interesting question to ask, and we anxiously awaited the responses.  Clinton responded that she respects Trump’s children, and Trump stated that he respects her ability to “fight hard, and she doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up.”

The Email Scandal. Again.

This might just be my opinion, but doesn’t this subtitle alone shed some favorable bias towards Hilary Clinton?  The person who commented on this article agrees with me.  It’s as if the conversation has been talked to death, so why keep bringing it up?  Hasn’t the conversation of Donald Trump not releasing his taxes amplified in this campaign as well?  How come the title wasn’t “What About Taxes? Again.”

Paragraph Organization

Another bias I noticed while reading the article was that Hilary Clinton’s comments and rhetoric are displayed in a positive and endearing light, whereas the snip-bits of Donald Trump’s comments make him look like the enemy of this piece.  The way the paragraphs are laid out usually starts with Trump looking bad, then ending with Clinton looking good.


Final Thoughts

I have read many articles published on this site and enjoy the regular content.  I respect anyone who has the guts to publish something they wrote on a public forum, and that respect is growing now that I am beginning to see how difficult it is to keep personal bias and opinion out of text, especially when it’s something as personal and passionate as politics.  This article has some great quotes and gave an accurate portrayal of the issues, but these are two people’s perspectives and they definitely wrote what they wanted YOU to read.

Wrinkles be gone!

There are numerous “miracle creams” on the market claiming to magically remove those fine lines and wrinkles. Even more ridiculous are the movie stars who endorse the products, or even promote their own line of skin care products.

An interesting site I stumbled upon promoting Kelly Ripkin’s product Aviqua Anti-Aging Cream. Of course, featured on the Today show and Dr. Oz. There are pictures posted of before & after results, yet can anyone truly believe this claim? Perhaps she isn’t smiling as much in the After picture, as quoted by Mark Twain “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”


The even more ridiculous part, is further down the page, it starts showing TV and movie stars who supposed “admit” to using Kelly’s product. One such person is Christie Brinkley shown with the caption “Age 61”. Now, further research reveals an additional site for Christie’s very own skin care products.

And finally and most importantly, we are offered “Get Your Trial Now”. And we’d better hurry, as ONLY 2 trials are still available, and the Free Trial Promotion Ends: October 11, 2016. All you have to pay for is shipping, yet don’t forget to read the fine print and beware of having to call back to cancel your “order” which will ship automatically every 30 days and charge your credit card.

What are the chances if we look at the site tomorrow that the end date changes to October 13, 2016? and so on….

Interview: Medical Treatment and the Homeless/Mentally Ill

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of personally interviewing a friend of mine in the medical field, who works as a Psychiatric RN in the inpatient psychiatric department. The intentions that spawned my interview was to inquire about the impact of mental illness and how it could potentially lead to homelessness. I must admit that the information that was disclosed was simultaneously alarming and educational.

Before jumping straight into the aftermath of the patients after they were released from the psychiatric department I wanted to achieve a better understanding of the illness that the patients suffered from, and the impact that it bestowed upon their lives. I began the interview by asking my RN friend what the severity level of her patients was at the time of administration, and she quickly responded by stating that the patients were at a acute stage, they were often times unable to care for themselves because of the extreme depression, or they were experiencing a lapse with mania. Within the 72- hold timeframe  the hospital has legal rights to hold a patient in the psychiatric department(if the patient is not admitted by will, however there are circumstances where the hospital can petition the court if the patient is not voluntarily abiding by the hospitals recommended action plan for treatment to extend the 72-hour hold.) there are a lot of hurdles that must be attempted by the staff. After a patient has been admitted they are treated by a psychiatrist, and a treatment plan is implemented with the help of a social worker, they are given 24-hour care from the nursing team, a medication regime, and the expectation that they will attend outside programming. There are however, some instances where the patient must be forced to take medication if they become violent, or unwilling to do so them selves.

After the patients are released from the hospital they will often times relapse and discontinue use of their medications,  but why would they stop taking their medications if they are prescribed in efforts of alleviating their illness? According to my RN friend patients will often discontinue use of medications due to side effects such as, extreme weight gain, Parkinson’s “like” side effects, which manifest as tremors, shuffling gait, or distortion of the face, also impotence is a common factor in the discontinued use.

I later asked her if their were specific mental illness’ that garnered a higher risk as opposed to others that would lead to homelessness. Yes, there were. Schizophrenia ranked at the top of the list, she said that a lot of times patients suffering from schizophrenia would be discharged to the streets with no standing residence, and the hospitals are unable keep them due to lack of staff and overcrowding. The resources for those suffering from a mental illness is extremely vague and limited, and most friends and family have given up all hope and faith. There is a eery cry that claims our community, and so I leave you with this question: How do we change behaviors, disseminate this message so that the cries little by little become a faded echo within our past.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Being in the military gives me a unique perspective on the world.  Military folks end up being about 1% of the total population – I had no idea what a rare viewpoint I can have on certain things, especially when it comes to social issues like preventing sexual assault.

With my military career, I have been fortunate enough to travel all around Minnesota.  For 3 years, I was stationed in St. Cloud and ended up taking a few classes at Saint Cloud State University.  In my first semester, I was automatically enrolled in a mandatory online course for something called Not Anymore.  It’s a 90-minute presentation with quizzes throughout that teaches students about recognizing signs of and preventing sexual assault on campus.  It was clear to see that the purpose of this was to educate everyone on the different types of harassment and assault, certain factors (like drugs or alcohol) that can increase risks, and give resources for students who had more questions or were survivors of sexual assault.

Photo compliments of

Similar to movements like this on college campuses, the Army crated a program called I. A. M. Strong.  In true military fashion, this is actually an acronym for Intervene, Act, and Motivate.  The purpose is to get Soldiers to recognize the signs prior to an assault happening, actively get the perpetrator to stop their actions, and simultaneously motivate all Soldiers to do the same thing.  I was required to attend an 80-hour course  called SHARP (Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Prevention) in Viriginia in order to be able to instruct this program to our Soldiers.  There is an annual requirement for all Soldiers to attend this training, which keeps them updated on the latest and greatest techniques used by perpetrators as well as new ways to intervene.

I don’t find the similarities between these two programs to be very surprising.  College students and Soldiers are connected with a unique sense of community – each group has something in common that sets them apart from the rest of their social networks.  For instance, a college student has a different bond with a fellow college student, compared to a co-worker or family member.

My question is this: Is it working?  With programs like this in place, it is difficult to tell if a rise in sexual assault reports is because more students or Soldiers are getting assaulted, or because the reporting process is more accessible so the survivors are using it more frequently than before.  Personally, I don’t think the programs have been in place long enough to answer that question.  That brings me to my next question: What do we do in the meantime?


Online Banking – advantages & risks


As I elaborated in my last blog post, just recently I started to pay my bills via online electronic methods utilizing the internet. Many banking institutions offer online banking services. Some banks charge a fee for these services, whereas others do not. There are online banks whose main existence is to perform these services to consumers. In addition, companies offer their own online bill-pay programs for your monthly electricity, water, garbage, etc. – hooking directly into your bank account.


With the recent media coverage regarding banking industry practices, I felt a need to investigate a little further into the topic of online banking. Perhaps many of you know this information already. In any event, the associated links may be useful to brush up on the advantages and risks associated with banking online.

As much as many of us love the ability to access our accounts online to manage  money virtually, let us not forget we may fall prey to hackers who continue to find their ways through security systems. Click the image below to review dangers associated with mobile banking.