Posts Tagged ‘family’

unemployed-gift-giving1For foodies, health nuts and breakfast enthusiasts

Martha Stewart has a great recipe that’s pretty inexpensive to make and works as a tasty topping for oatmeal, yogurt, toast or ice cream. All you need is dried fruit, nuts and honey.

Don’t worry about getting a fancy jar to dress up your gift (unless you really want to), some pretty ribbon and a clear, disposable container is all you need.

For iTunes addicts

Burning music may seem passe, but there’s nothing like the effort one puts into creating a highly personalized music list for the audiophile in your life. You can theme it around a hobby, job or a memory you both share (like that vacation you took to…wherever). 

Or, if you have more time on your hands, you can download the series of  This American Life –  this is for the NPR enthusiasts (idea courtesy of Lifehacker).

For plant lovers and the ec0-chic

No. Not a chia pet. But, you can help incorporate some fresh, useful greenery for your favorite green thumb. Go to your local nursery or a Home Depot and pick up mini-pots and seeds (along with fresh, bagged dirt) to create your green gift.

Fragrant herbs are really nice to choose because they make pretty scenery on the window sill as well as tasty garnishes for cooking. Plus, they’re fairly easy to grow. If you’re really in the mood, a mini shovel adds that cuteness factor.

Techno geeks

If you really want to cough up the cash, a subscription to Make magazine should please your techie. Your techno-lover, however, may be more impressed with the items you create listed here or here.

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be-kindDon’t be nice just because it’s the holidays. Be extra nice because it is the holidays. People undergo lots of different stresses when the Holiday Big Three arrive.

This is a tricky time of year for everyone. Some people might feel isolated because they don’t have family. While, others could still feel isolated despite having family. You may never know what is going on with strangers on the street, but kind words can always be a part of your vocabulary.

Smile more. Laugh a lot. Think happy thoughts. Be hopeful. Remain thankful. That’s what being nice means. Because, when you feel good about yourself you’ll want to share those positive feelings with others. It’s only natural because, like happiness, kindness is contagious.

So, if you aren’t feeling kind – catch someone else’s kindness. Spread it around. And, if you are already feeling kind, being kind – you know what to do. Stay kind. 

Inspirational Quote: Each small act of kindness reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of the good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it is passed, until simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. -Dean Koontz, the character of H.R. White in “From the Corner of His Eye”

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wedding-ringsI overheard a conversation between two twenty-something colleagues discussing their respective partners. The guy was a newlywed and the woman was engaged to be married later in the year. The gist revolved around how they came to be married (or, otherwise engaged).

 “If you have a stable relationship – you pretty much have a yes,” the woman said.

Her observation peeved me. 

I’m not implying that stability is not part of the equation in agreeing to marry someone, but the word seems absent of all the fun in why people decide to marry in the first place.

Cold practicality aside, her comment was devoid of any interesting decision behind her own reasons for becoming engaged.

Whatever the assumptions about why she’s getting married (since it shouldn’t matter), I can’t help but imagine scenarios involving spreadsheets and charts that may have accompanied her answer of “yes.” When you decide to answer the marriage question (or ask the marriage question) – do these thoughts flow into your head?

“He is so stable and normal – he’ll be a wonderful partner for life.”

“Oh, my God! You’re so stable, of course I’ll marry you!”

But, maybe that’s the response women should have when they agree to marry someone. Long gone are the ideas of marrying for love, passion and happiness, but figuring out who can best can deal with your emotional baggage and help pay the bills.

After all, that’s what stability represents – doesn’t it?  What about the fun, sexy wild adventures that comes with falling in love and marrying someone?

Gen Y has wised up. The balance you strike with another person’s moods, hang ups, eccentricities, bad money management and nosey parents are the hidden details that accompany marriage. Playing the lover, friend, partner, counselor, the cook on Tuesday nights and the person whose turn it is to fill up the gas tank – they all enter at different points. It’s not always about those fun, sexy wild adventures that everyone seems to be having in La La Land and Hollywood – if they ever existed.

Sometimes, marriage is boring, unexciting and seems like you have a roommate of marital convenience. Then, some other times, it’s just harder than you ever thought it should be and that’s when stability matters more than ever. Perhaps I am naïve, but I felt that stability was implied because someone who loves you is asking you to be his lifetime partner – and you agree to be his partner as well.

Nevertheless, I guess it’s too much to assume even that when someone asks you to make a life long commitment. After all, the American divorce rate is at 50%.

Marriage for the Gen Y woman has taken a progression into dubious definitions teetering between exciting milestone to convenient partnership. Nowadays, when I hear young women say they don’t want to get married at all – I think it’s a way to avoid becoming unmarried in the future. Love has undergone a 21st century makeover: men wait for the right time to get married – women look for the right one to marry.

Have our standards and expectations “cooled” to the idea of marital commitment? Emotion might be what starts marriages, but the blunt facts of “irreconcilable differences” are what end them. And, I don’t think women want to marry while having to seriously consider the idea of possibly becoming divorced one day – it scares the hell out us.

Wanting to tie the knot wanes as dreary marriage statistics, the Independent Woman movement and professional outpacing (in context to men) bombards the Gen Y woman like a hammer over the head. Now that women are much more likely to marry for love (as opposed to previous generations), the “love” notion seems jaded  – even dismissed. Some rather pursue a life without marriage than a world of joint custodies, child support, personal tensions, bitter resentment and lingering disappointment. Or, in the case of amicable divorces, referring to your 1st marriage as a “starter marriage.”

Maybe even, taking a cue from Charlie Sheen, start referring to our past marriages as cons and frauds – until, of course, we find the “real” thing.

A portion of the Gen Y population have lived in divorced homes (me included). There are also those who grew up with parents who were obviously unhappily married. We are much more careful and discerning about commitment – people sometimes mistake our hesitation for outright avoidance.

We genuinely feel that marriage can undermine an otherwise good and healthy relationship.

Why bother with the formalities?

I don’t know. But, I’m guessing not everyone is as jaded as they say (or pretend to be). 

And, if marriage was declining in popularity – Bridezillas wouldn’t be on my Favorite Channel List.

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chickadeeNow, there is another job description twenty-something women can add to their resumes: egg donor.

With an estimated 1 in 6 couples suffering from infertility (infertility being defined as 12 months of consecutive intercourse with no result of pregnancy) – Gen Y women are donating their eggs in increasing droves.

The future of birth and motherhood for Generation Y is becoming increasingly complicated. Now, women as well as men can be the potential biological mothers and fathers of dozens of children – forever connected via their genetics.

As a twenty-something woman who is in the process of putting her career in order – I can’t  help but wonder if I’ll be on the opposite end of the spectrum someday- seeking out eggs to implant because I waited five years too late to bear children.

You spend so much of your teens and twenties trying not to get pregnant – it can be more than unnerving to struggle with infertility as early as age 28. Or, you sell your eggs and become the biological link to babies you never meet.

It’s beyond mind boggling.

I am sure this statistic is currently affected by the credit crunch and hiring stall amongst employers. Perhaps, as money tightens, even more twenty-something women would be willing to undergo the lengthy process  to become egg donors.

After all, one procedure of egg donating could potentially wipe out a credit card debt.

Even the phrase “egg donation” is a misnomer since women are paid scads of money to literally sell their genetic material.

With a whopping $5,000 and up offered per donation, clinics have been targeting college campuses around the country. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Ethics Committee deems any amount over $10,000 as “inappropriate” – but others speculate that couples pay more.

The market is generally unregulated and adheres to the laws of supply and demand, therefore, there is not concrete way to enforce proposed “guidelines.”

While men generally produce the same amount of sperm throughout their lifetime (as such, valued much less in the fertility market), women are born with a certain amount of eggs. Your clock is literally counting down to zero the moment you come of childbearing age.

It’s like your womb is an hourglass, each grain of sand slipping through representing another wasted egg that goes unfertilized.

As women put off having children, they inadvertently ignore simple (and inescapable) biology.

Unfortunately, the longer you put off bearing children, the less likely you will be able to conceive naturally (if at all).

Also, as child-free living is a non-option for some couples (adoption is a “last resort” if they decide to adopt at all), infertility has become a big business.

While the result of egg donating brings a child into the lives of an infertile couple, I believe the percentage of women doing so for mainly that purpose is much smaller than the amount of women doing it for the sake of cold, hard cash.

Without the financial incentive, the list of women willing to put their eggs on the market would decrease significantly.

Infertile American couples looking to become pregnant via egg donations would end up on 5-year waiting lists like their English counterparts who are at the mercy of their altruistic egg donors.

Media coverage likes to tout that women liken egg donation to that of giving blood. Women will do it with primarily benevolent motives. They know they won’t be curing cancer, but they’ll be doing some small part to bring happiness (via a child) to an infertile couple.

Unlike giving blood, egg donating is (at best) an uncomfortable and time consuming process with various (but, usually considered rare) side effects to bear.

The financial “compensation” factor, nevertheless, is too big too ignore. I can only suppose that such a factor disappears into the feel good vibes that supposedly come with being an egg donor.

Perhaps, in a world where everything seems to be up for sale and can become a commodity, no one wants to think that women would be so willing to sell their DNA to the highest bidder.

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