Monday, February 28, 2011

Do We Still Need Unions? Yes (2.27.11)

I read this article this past Sunday and felt it explained my opinion on Unions and why I enjoy for the company I do work for, American Income Life. So sharing was what I wanted to do. Especially since what is going on with legislation in so many of the states in 2011.

Picture is from Bettmann-Corbi: April 1, 1953, Employees of R.H. Macy stage a demonstration outside the store before their contract.

Why they’re Worth Fighting For?
by Ezra Klein
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s effort two weeks ago to end collective bargaining for public employees in his state was the worst thing to happen to the union movement in recent memory—until it unexpectedly became the best thing to happen to the union movement in recent memory. Give the man some credit: in seven days, Walker did what unions have been trying and failing to do for decades. He united the famously fractious movement, reknit its emotional connection with allies ranging from students to national Democratic leaders, and brought the decline of organized labor to the forefront of the national agenda. The question is: will it matter?

At this point, it’s a safe bet that the proposal Walker is pushing in Wisconsin won’t spread far. Ambitious Republican governors in Indiana and Florida have backed away as unions have made it clear that trying to yank away collective-bargaining rights is a lot of pain for modest gain. But therein lies the problem: a “win” for unions here is no win at all, but, at best, the avoidance of a loss. It doesn’t end their seemingly decades-long slide into irrelevance—fewer than 7 percent of private workers are unionized, down from about 25 percent in the 1970s. It doesn’t earn them new members, or make it easier to organize Walmart, or create a new model for labor relations that’s better suited to the modern economy. But it does give them a fleeting instant in which America is willing to ask questions that have been ignored for years: Do we need unions? And, if so, how can we get them back? What we’re about to find out is whether the unions have answers. In recent years they haven’t. “They seem like a legacy institution and not an institution of the future,” says Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union.

But unions still have a crucial role to play in America. First, they give workers a voice within—and, when necessary, leverage against—their employer. That means higher wages, but it also means that workers can go to their managers with safety concerns or ideas to improve efficiency and know that they’ll not only get a hearing, they’ll be protected from possible reprisals. Second, unions are a powerful, sophisticated player concerned with more than just the next quarter’s profit reports—what economist John Kenneth Galbraith called a “countervailing power” in an economy dominated by large corporations. They participate in shareholder meetings, where they’re focused on things like job quality and resisting outsourcing. They push back on business models that they don’t consider sustainable for their workers or, increasingly, for the environment. In an economy with a tendency toward bigness—where big producers are negotiating with big retailers and big distributors—workers need a big advocate of their own. Finally, unions bring some semblance of balance to the political system. A lot of what happens in politics is, unfortunately, the result of moneyed, organized interests who lobby strategically and patiently to get their way. Most of that money is coming from various business interests. One of the few lobbies pushing for the other side is organized labor—and it plays a strikingly broad role. The Civil Rights Act, the weekend, and the Affordable Care Act are all examples of organized labor fighting for laws that benefited not just the unionized. That’s money and political capital it could’ve spent on reforming the nation’s labor laws.

Of course, organized labor is not always at its best. It can be myopic and hidebound. It can fight for rigid work rules that make workplaces less efficient and workers less happy. It can argue for pension and health-care benefits that, in the long run, are simply not sustainable.
But to paraphrase Tolstoy’s insight about families, all institutions are broken in their own unique ways. Corporations and governments have their flaws, too. Like labor, they’re necessary participants in a balanced economy. A world without organized labor is a world where workers have less voice and corporations are even more dominant and unchecked across both the economy and the political system. That isn’t healthy—not for workers and, in the long run, not even for corporations. But to change it, labor has to do more than cheat death. It has to find a new lease on life nationally. END go to article
I know that working with American Income Life has made me feel more secure in my job and knowing that I have a Union backing me. I can speak my opinion without feeling that I could be fired just for expressing my thoughts. Plus, I have been very successful and found a career that I really do enjoy doing each day.

Tree Climbing (2.18.2011)

On Sydney's birthday we got home from school she ran out to the front yard and climbed up in the tree we have in our front yard. She has been doing it for a few weeks now. It just happened that on the 18th, I had my camera in hand and was able to capture her little adventure. I think it is great that she likes to climb in trees. I loved climbing in trees and there was a time that I took a horse saddle and put on a low hanging limb on the Magnolia Tree at Tudy and Papa's backyard. I did this because Tudy wouldn't saddle the horse, Apple, for me. Didn't want to wait for my Papa so I just saddle up the tree limb and took a ride on the limb. Sydney doesn't have a saddle to put on the tree limbs but she likes climbing and I am happy she does.

My Grandmother (January 2011)

I love my grandmother....recently, I visited my grandmother for a few hours and took a quick picture of us together. I am blessed, Sydney is blessed, my family is blessed that my grandmother has been around us for so many years. She is 91 years old.

Which voice will you hear?

This morning, I received this information from one of the inspirational leaders from my office. I like the second voice that it talks about.

We all have two voices in our head. The first, our conscious voice is often the voice of doubt. That voice may say I can't. I can't get that group closed; I can't go through that door; I can't go ask for them to listen just one more time. The second, our subconscious voice is what I call inspiration.

Inspiration is something that is important to you, a part of your values and you feel it as a part of your core. An inspiration is something we identify within us that becomes so important to us that we commit to that idea and it actually drives our conscious effort to go beyond our inhibitions and overcome our doubts. Inspiration and it's clear voice always trumps the voice of doubt.

Find your inspiration, Commit to it and Live it! Your success will astound you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Late Christmas Present

Just delivered today was my Christmas present from Sydney. She got it up in Columbus, GA sometime in November. (Note: Sydney worked off paying for it by adding my mom's contacts into her new phone, Android, since Sydney knew how to work the phone better than she). Why so long to get present? Oh, its my mom's tradition to forget atleast one present each year. She won't mind me saying this because she knows its true. I promise that when we go through the attic/storage one day at the homeplace, we will find Christmas presents of years past that we never got.

I do just love the present though! Already put it at the back door to "Welcome" visitors. Thank you Sydney! Thanks for bring it down mom!
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Ella- It's your Uncle John"

Yesterday I got a weird email. Written only in the subject line was a message, "Ella --- it's your Uncle John, it's important that you contact me immediately". Me thinking it was spam at first, I almost deleted. However, it was the word Ella that caught my eye. This person must know me and it must be personal because only a few people call me Ella. Those would be my mom and grandmother and it was my dad's mom's name, "Ella Stroud". So I responded like I knew who it was and asked for his phone number. Well, he responded with his number. Wow, ok.... this is for real. I called mom and asked her if she gave my email out to anyone plus do we know anyone in Connecticut and an uncle John? Nope she said but encouraged me to call. I did and it was my Great Uncle Johnny Parlegreco (Ella Stroud's brother). Wow, it was great talking to him. The last time I had seen him was when I was eight (8) years old at my MomMom and PopPop's (Ella & Stanley) 50th anniversary in Sanford, FL (where I went into my first bar). We talked about old times and my family. Two generations connect back together again. When my dad died, we lost connection with his side of family and it's not for lack of trying to connect. Just had not found right part of family to stay in touch with and thats been hard for my brothers and me. Our Italian family had gone away but maybe this is a sign to stay in touch with them.
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Traveling flowers

I got flowers from my best friend for Valentine's Day. They were so pretty that I didn't want to leave them at home while I went out of town this week, so I took seven (7) of them and put in a smaller vase. Then I buckled them up in the backseat. They traveled well and were very nice to have in the hotel room.
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

A present to myself of clothes...

With all this weight loss, I have shrunk out of my clothes. Knowing that I am not yet finished with weight loss, I knew it was not smart to invest too much money in clothes. That being the cast I went to a store called "Christ Town" in Quincy something like a Goodwill but more like a consignment store that the money goes to the church. I got 5 bags of clothes for $106 dollars. Yes you read correctly, $106. Here is the picture of the clothes that I got...... Can you believe that I got a jeans, sweater, shirts, shirts, a suit & an evening gown for a total of $106. WOW! (There were a few items that just wouldn't fit on bed. Got suit- $6.00, evening dress-$9.00, Jones of NY Jeans- $2.50 and some of the shirts were $2.00.) It was a GOLD MINE for me today!

Kenny & Ashley's Wedding (5.15.10)

The Happy Couple
My cousin Kenny got married May 15, 2010. The family went to Birmingham, AL to see Kenny marry Ashely. Here is a few pictures that I took while there. It was very nice and I am so happy for Kenny and Ashley.

Their beautiful cake

My grandmother (Tudy) and me
My Beautiful Mom.... She looks so happy here!
3 generations.... Grandmother (Tudy), Mom (plus aunt's) and me

I really like this dress that I found there in Birmingham an hour prior to the wedding at Dillard's. Had packed the necklace and it went terrific with the new dress. I look so beautiful and happy. Great day for the family.

Mariachi Band in Quincy

Friday night (2.12.2011), a few friends went to Discolandia's new restaurant while the Mariachi Band was playing. It was so fun to be with Diana, Julie, Joetta, Lane, Todd and Joetta's Dad (Joe). It's great to have this in the little town of Quincy. Great to see a restaurant have such success and it be my adopted family in Quincy makes it even better.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sydney is having a party

With Sydney turning 11 in a few weeks, we have been planning her birthday party. Here is her invite. I designed the invite. Cool Huh? I think so and so does Sydney.

Easy Baked Chicken Breast, Yummy!!!

I baked this tonight and it was very easy and yummy.


4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
lemon pepper seasoning
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F for 15 minutes before cooking. Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Bake for 15 minutes on each side or until chicken is opaque in color and juices no longer run pink (160°F).

Could be served with baked sweet potatoes and green beans or creamed corn but I didn't use.

Submitted by: Barry Minton
Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Painted Bottles

Since I have been drinking over 130 ounces of fluid each day. So since plastic bottle are not good for us, I have decorated my glass mineral water bottles. Here are some of my favorite brands and the painted bottles:
  • Apollinaris (my favorite bottle 33 ounces)
  • San Pellegrino
  • Perrier

I used puff paint to make these bottles. Getting really good at the designing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

-32 pounds picture

So, I am posting a few pictures of me that I took to show progress of weight loss. Exciting! I have 18 pounds to go. It is getting a bit harder to drop the pounds but sticking with it.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

My twin nieces

They were born on December 21st (1st day of winter). Paisley and Audrey are their names. They look like porcelain dolls. They are just beautiful and my little niece Chloe is adjusting well.
My niece Chloe at hospital. How adorable!

Audrey Ella

Paisley Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Team Meeting

January Theme: "The key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." Dr. Stephen Covey

Held a successful meeting at Old Town in Kissimmee, FL. Picture of team taken by Patti.