Quick tip to energize versus sabotage your day.

Posted on December 3, 2014. Filed under: Other Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Quick tip to energize versus sabotage your day..

 

Join Jenny Craig today as she shares tips for an upgraded you!

 

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Baby Steps to Leaps!

Posted on July 11, 2014. Filed under: Memes and Quotes, My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Baby Steps

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Yeah, But Did You See the Juggling Penguin?

Posted on June 6, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have you ever done the “Brain Game” test where you count how many times a team bounces a ball within a circle?  You are diligent in counting those bounces and at the end, you give an answer that is close or spot on.  The next question from the tester is, “Did you see the Juggling Penguin?”.  Say what?  Then the tester replays the video and sure enough, there is a Juggling Penguin that walks on set,  juggling, even waving to the camera, then walks offscreen.  How could we not notice that?  Sometimes, we focus so much on one thing, we miss Giant Juggling Penguins right in our face.wpid-img-20140524-wa0002.jpg

Recenty, I’ve met some amazing women and have embarked on a wonderful exploration with them.  My day started with a laugh and updates from Annie Lim, then a beautiful and moving video from Sahar Paz.  Next was a reconnect and update with Jenny Craig (Live Your Power, not the diet!) and settling my day with Ladina Greenwell.  As Ladina and I discussed motorcycles and crashing them (I lo-sided, she hi-sided OUCH), we touched on spirituality. Ready to roll! What Ladina said stopped me in my tracks, I got a chill, then a startling reminder 27 years in slumber.

When I was in college, both of my parents fell ill.  It was an incredibly stressful time and I remember being in a dark place most of, but not all of the time.  Talking to Ladina showed me that in telling my story, I missed Cindy.

Cindy was the Juggling Penguin.

In my despair, I did have support, friendship, and a beacon of positive energy.  Cindy was a free spirit, a hippie-chick, and I started to remember how I would feel when she walked into a room.  Everyone smiled with her, she always brought a calmness of spirit.  I remembered that she did reveal some of her challenges and how she addressed them.  Now I realize 27 years later that I’ve incorporated the lessons she shared with me.  Cindy was there all along, my Juggling Penguin, my light in the darkness.

How many times have the wings of angels brushed up against us?  How many times will we, being carried by those wings, brush against another’s life?  Honestly, we’ll never truly know.  Keep your mind open and know we all have blind spots, moments we don’t fully comprehand especially under stress.  Perseverance often comes at the hands of a Juggling Penguin.

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EVERYTHING is Just a Conversation Away…

Posted on May 24, 2014. Filed under: Memes and Quotes, My Lemon Recipes, Other Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

You can meet a person for a moment and be drawn to them.  It’s a wonderful feeling as an adult, transporting you to a simpler space and time when saying hello was not complicated.

I met so many great people this past week at the California Women’s Conference.  One person I met and I’m learning more about is Sahar Paz.  We have traveled separate paths, but converged this week to realize our mission of helping others is side by side.  The Fashionista’s (I caught your style, Honey) backstory is heartbreaking, but she found how to deal with her lemons and make sweet, refreshing lemonade.  Sahar, this Lioness salutes you and your courage.  Thank you for sharing your words and the reminder that resolving life’s difficulties are just a conversation away.Image

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Fallen? Get Back Up!!!

Posted on May 22, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Don’t give up,  get back up!

At the California Women’s Conference, we listened to Bonnie St. John talk about a Para-Olympic race she was in and sustained a fall.  Every racer fell during this race with some requiring medical attention.   One other racer fell but got up quicker than St. John,  winning the gold.  The difference was down to who got up quicker.

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That’s Bonnie and me backstage,  y’all!

We are not perfect creatures, we all fall.  Successful creatures GET BACK UP.  Only then can you realize your abilities and potential.  How powerful can DON’T GIVE UP, GET BACK UP be?  Watch this:

Inspiring Heather Dorniden Takes a Fall But Still…: http://youtu.be/xjejTQdK5OI

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Watch “Defining Moments – Choose your Battles.” on YouTube

Posted on May 5, 2014. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Defining Moments – Choose your Battles.:

My mother taught me early that I must choose my battles wisely, decide what issues are worth my attention and efforts.  Sometimes, you may have to lose a battle to win a war.  Here’s my story of when I finally realized the gravity of actions and consequences.

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The whole world is waiting for YOU!

Posted on March 27, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The first time I heard this song, it brought tears to my eyes and still does. Your dreams are beautiful, and your dreams make you beautiful.

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The Most Expensive COOKIE In The World

Posted on February 5, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is my 40th post, so make sure you check out the previous 39!

 

 

People that know me, and those that have viewed my post, Taking Things In Stride ( https://morelemonsplease.com/2012/03/19/taking-things-in-stride/ ) know I like my cookies.  My father used to go to the bakery and pick up cookies that were 6 inches across!     Born into a sweet tooth family, a dinner treat was something revered.  At my grandmother’s, there was an endless supply of ice cream.  She was well known for her brownies, apple pies and sweet potato pies, which all went well with Breyers.  Weekends were spent sitting on her couch after a family meal, eating dessert while watching captivating cinema, like Beastmaster in LA, Trolls, Escape from New York or Leprechaun.   My Grandmother snacked on danish cookies almost daily.  For the divorcee whofamily pics 001 worked until she was in her 80’s, having treats was the simplest of comfort and reward.

My Wife loves sweets, which are in abundance in the Philippines.  Halo-Halo, Buko Pandan, Boba Teas or Sago’t Gulaman, she’ll take them!  My favorite of Filipino desserts is Biko, a sweet sticky rice and coconut treat my mother-in-law made for me.  Very time and labor intensive, it was her way of showing her love.  Sweets convey a kindness, a warmth, a belonging in any language without uttering a word.  I paid $50 for some biko, but the store skimped and made it with regular rice.  That’s the most I’ve ever paid for a dessert and it was a waste of money for something so unauthentic.   I’ve heard stories of extravagant desserts, like Serendipity NYC’s edible gold foil desserts, which cost in the thousands, and a cake encrusted in diamonds from Japan that cost over a million.  However today, the question is about the most expensive cookie.  I’ve waxed nostalgic, but now I must tell you what happened over the weekend.

I was walking in the store and there was a mother walking with her daughter.  The daughter, who looked to be about 9 years old, turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, I want a cookie!”.  The mother, looking forward without making eye contact, replied, “And I want a million dollars.”.

I watch the life and excitement leave that little girl’s eyes in that heartbreaking second.  I had witnessed The Most Expensive Cookie in the World.

Comparing the want of one cookie to the want of one million dollars spoke volumes.  In our youth, we compared something unobtainable to the millionth power.  Not in a million years!  You’ve got a million in one shot!  Removing whether or not that child was deserving, the issue is the comparison attached to the request.  Sometimes the smallest ripple becomes the biggest wave, and small disappointments can become ground zero for the biggest obstacles in our psyche.

Two dear friends created organizations that have programs supporting positive development of girls, and I’d like to take time to give them a shoutout.  Linda Arrey is the founder of W.I.L.D.E., Women in Leadership Development and Empowerment.  Based out of Atlanta (Hotlanta!),  thier mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders to benefit whole communities.  www.wildellc.com .  Amy Siskind is the co-founder of The New Agenda, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls by bringing about systemic change in the media, at the workplace, at school and at home.  www.thenewagenda.net  Please visit their websites and LIKE them on social media, give your support!

Support is what we need to give to children asking for a cookie, a little piece of comfort.  Support is needed for the child that was told no, whether no was for their own good or otherwise.  Disappointments will always be there, but they don’t have to stay there.  I couldn’t recover fast enough to say something to that mother, and maybe it was for the better.  Time brings a cooler head, so more than likely my words now would go further.  If I did see them again (I would recognize the mother), I would tell her that if she gave her a cookie for every book the child read that made her stronger, wiser and taught her how to obtain wealth, that child would reward her with 10 million dollars.   That 10 million might not manifest in currency.  It may be the child who received the encouragement to become something too valuable to quantify in currency: saving lives, changing the world, etc.  It may be the child that overcomes odds such as disabilities or environment.  It may be the child that just smiles and lives an average life, grateful to know what love and support feels like and able to share it with others.  There are no guarantees, you do what you can and hope for the best outcome.

Who wants a cookie?

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The Person Inside of Us, Conclusion

Posted on February 2, 2013. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Whatever pain or grief you have experienced, it takes a positive force to get through it.  Sometimes, you need a balance so you can take the necessary steps.  The Therapy Dogs brought a neutral ground to the grief-stricken people of Newtown allowing some of them to find that balance and get their footing.  Some found their balance with friends and family.  Some found their balance with people sitting down and talking with them.

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I am a reflective person by nature.  911 taught me that love cannot wait, whether it be romantic or friendly or familial.  I studied the 5 Love Languages, a concept that categorizes how people express love and receive love.  I wont go into detail, follow the link at the end to learn more.  My greatest Love Language is Acts of Service. One love language I learned (and still working on) is Encouraging Words, which ties in well with my intuition.    I’ve learned to say what needs to be said, because you never know if you’ll have the chance later.   Sometimes, your words are the difference between someone pushing on and someone giving up.

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I smiled and greeted everyone I could.  I spoke to and listened to anyone who needed it.  I hugged and held.  I hung out with the Therapy Dogs.  I passed out tissues.  I prayed.  I made friends.

So many times I heard, “How could this happen?  How could anyone do this?”.    I do not know what was going on inside that young man’s head, or truly anyone’s head.  What I do know is that we all struggle.  We all have a fight within to go left or right, up or down, and what we perceive as good or bad.  Our decisions start a chain reaction, defining us for that very moment.

Let me talk about this moment.  In one moment, a troubled man became a murderer.  In one moment,  teachers became heroes and protectors.  In  a moment, the aggrieved became champions.  Whatever or whoever you are in this moment can change.  If you look in the box, there is so much you can be:  courageous, bitter, content, jealous, angry, generous, affable, violent, loving, comforting, the list goes on.   You cannot control what happens to you, but you can choose the response.   You can choose to be a blessing or a curse.  The scales often tip side to side, it is up to us to make a choice.  We are that “man in the mirror”.  It is up to us to let the person inside of us, the one we NEED to be, rise up and shine through.

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

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The Amazing Transformation of a Guy who Didn’t Give Up.

Posted on November 25, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Courage Under Fire

Posted on July 2, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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We all start off dreaming.  Some dreams big, some small, but they are the clue in which direction to take our heart.  As we get older, there are things that take a bite out of our dreams, reducing them cruelly with the concept of “reality”.  Our hearts, which once flew, are grounded, sometimes with anchors.  Why fight reality?

I love the movie Finding Nemo!  Apart from the moving performance by Ellen DeGeneres, there is a story of encouragement, and taking risks in spite of the nay-sayers around you.  Reality does not permit for growth.  Dreams make you grow, because they make you look at life beyond what your eyes can see.  Dreams are your heart and soul, talking to your mind.  Dreams pave new roads.

With so many benefits, why are people afraid to follow their dreams?  Get ready for the answer…

False Evidence Appearing Real.  FEAR.

Risk is scary.  It requires you to embrace shaky ground and uncertainty.  So people stay in reality, in comfort zones, content with wherever they are in life.  Not everyone is a full on adventurer, but without adventure in some aspect of your life, YOU ARE NOT LIVING, YOU ARE MERELY EXISTING IN MEDIOCRITY.

I talked much of my houseguest, friend and sister, Afsheen.  I’ve learned a bit more what courage looks like through her, as well as humility.  I’ve learned more about being concerned about challenges, but never giving ground to FEAR.  It takes a bold move to erase FEAR.  It takes courage.

COURAGE – Keeps you moving forward.

COURAGE – Lets you see the difference between legitimate concern and FEAR.

COURAGE – Keeps your dreams alive and makes them come true.

COURAGE – Brings hope to others.

COURAGE – Opens up new, beautiful worlds.

Courage is that defining moment when you stand tall, no matter the pain, no matter what is thrown your way, and demand that life be greater.

Thanks to Blackman’s Cycles for the Can-Am Spyder test drive!!!  Now, back to work.

 

 

 

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3 Reasons: Keep Women Free

Posted on May 30, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m listening to Michael Baisden and he’s touching on a topic close to home.  I spent over a decade in law enforcement, and I have to shoot off three observations as to why incarceration rates are rising with women, especially women of color.

  1. Crimes against Women unrecognized.  Some women are victims of crimes that are mishandled by authorities.  Often you will have a human trafficking victim drugged by her captors, then put out on the street.  It’s easy to arrest a drugged prostitute, even when the prostitute is a minor.  Those b*tches and h@3s are the women and girls that were failed.  CLUE:  Little girls don’t play “turn tricks” with their Barbies.  Don’t leave out women who were victims of abuse who fought back after their complaints were ignored by authorities.  They end up with the assault charges, or risk being killed when the violence against them escalates.  The violence ALWAYS escalates.  The Criminal Justice System needs to support and not prosecute victims.
  2. Community Support.  When you don’t have community infrastructure, life is an uphill battle.  Computer programs, gardens, vocational trainings, faith based support, and crime victim resources can help. Support by successful members of the community, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and business groups can make an impact.
  3. Support at Home.  Today, there was a story about a mother incensed at an award issued by her daughter’s teacher.  The award was for ” The Catastrophe Award, the most excuses for not having homework”.  The mother said she did not know there was a problem, but that the daughter was enrolled in an after-school “homework assistance program”.  Ya know what my homework assistance program was?  A whole lot of friggin’ punishments.  PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY.  Bring a life into this world, and YOU are responsible to provide for that life, to the best of your ability.  Being a “baby factory” is not being a parent.  Give a child a chance.  All that drama with reality tv and celebrities getting locked up, AINT CUTE!  Prison fashion  (wearing your pants low, pajamas, etc) makes more people rich off your skin than you realize.  An 8 yr old cannot buy their own clothes, nor can a teenager who does not earn their own money.

This is a start, not nearly a cure.  Once again, there are more people in mental prisons than physical prisons, the mentality must be confronted.  Let’s start here then see what strides can be made.

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Losing Your Job, Part Three (Finale)

Posted on May 26, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is the last of this series on my blog, www.MoreLemonsPlease.com, but not the end of the story.

Life is not a straight line.  If it were, I’d be a veterinarian.  Life has twists and turns, and nothing is promised, other than nobody gets out of this life alive (except Enoch and Elijah).  I’m not religious, but I am a woman of faith, and I have relied on my faith to turn the corners of life.  When my parents fell ill almost at the same time, I left my veterinary studies and joined law enforcement.  When I got fired, I took on modeling and ran an apparel company (and still DJ’ed around the US and Canada).  I accomplished things I never pictured myself doing.  Now that I was separated from the apparel company and was driving back to NJ from the St. Louis area, I found myself crying from the instability of my circumstances (no job, no home, almost broke, etc), but little did I know I was driving smack dab into a reality check.

I made it as far as Indianapolis (Nap Town!).  All the time I was in the Midwest, I didn’t experience any tornados.  That day, I drove into my first tornado. No, make that FIVE tornados!!!  It was May 1999 and the area had five different sightings.  I stopped crying about instability, and prayed to see tomorrow.  I remember the howling, how the sky lit up.  It was unreal and I was scared, and alone, painfully alone.  I managed to get a call in to my mom before the power lines went dead.  There was one conversation left for me to have.

I got down on my knees.

The next day, my Chulo (Toyota 4Runner) was waiting for me, not a scratch on him!  I found a working payphone and called Mom.  She told me mail just came and there was a letter from the State of NJ.  They wanted to settle out of court and give me my job back.  Life made another turn in 24 hours time, and faith kept me on course.  I was reinstated time and position-wise, but of course they weren’t giving back pay (that would be another lawsuit).  I walked back in and those that caused the issues tread lightly in my presence.  Those that were victimized, officers and inmates alike, called upon me to help them with their challenges and issues of injustice.  They knew I was fighter, but more importantly, I knew I was a fighter.  I knew I was a survivor.  I knew the challenges, the lemons of life, were there for a reason, even if we don’t know or see why immediately.  I accepted life’s lemons, and made it my business (literally and figuratively) to amass as many recipes to deal with all these dang lemons, giving thanks for each one.  Even my car accident in 2002 which left me with permanent injuries was a blessing.  I have no regrets on this journey.

To close this series, there are certain things I would hope the reader could take away.  Life is tricky.  We all have challenges.  Our challenges shape us because we are works in progress, and we come out of it sculpted as works of art.  That’s character.  Some of us are “pieces of work” as some folk would describe it.   We ALL are the offspring of survivors and fighters.  We all have it in us to take adversity and reverse its course.  Hope and Love will forever be your friend and often show up when you are alone.  Looking at these, my hope for the reader is to take those lemons, create something beautiful from them, then turn to this big ole’ world and say “More Lemons Please”.

Feel free to drop me a line and share your recipes.

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Losing Your Job, Part Two

Posted on May 17, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who would have thought disrobing and standing in front of people in your underwear would be an omen?

As I drove away from my FORMER job, I was relieved, even if I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring.  I knew from my family that opportunity is forever present, but it’s up to us to discern that opportunity.  The first month was challenging, and I started to doubt if my speaking out was the right thing.  It had to be, staying silent for me was ugly and evil.  I knew I could survive, but I cringed at the thought of the battle scars.  I also knew I had a few more cards to play, and I had nothing to lose.

After a month, I put in my appeal of the termination.  In their haste, my supervisors committed a no-no much grander in scale than the technicality that got me fired.  I also started writing about all the illegal activity I could remember.  A month into my battle plan, my money ran out.

Believe what you will, but I believe prayer works.

The next day, I got a phone call from another officer who had also experienced issues at the job.  She informed me that the Prosecutor’s Office was doing a big investigation.  By no means did enough heads roll, but they arrested a token few whose indiscretions were too much to conceal.  Somebody was finally looking.

Example:  An inmate complained that she was being forced to have oral sex with an officer known to “hate inmates”.  He denied it, then the inmate produced a Ziploc Baggie filled with his semen, not an easy find in an all female facility.

While on the phone, the mailman came with one envelope from the Department of Justice, one from my attorney.  The State of NJ wanted to settle my previous lawsuit  (discrimination and harassment) and combine my suit into a Consent Decree.   I’ll go into more detail in the “More Lemons Please!”  book.   I received a check, and I was able to exhale.  However, I knew it would not last, and I had to find something.

After wearing polyester for so long, I needed to find a new fashion attitude.  I went to a plus sized fashion convention, where I drew some attention.  As I was looking at clothes, I was asked to try on different styles by one of the vendors.  I ended up modeling at the convention including a line that is known as “fetish wear”.  Actually, with the fetish wear, I got A LOT of attention.  I found that I became adventurous going forward, and wow did I do it with a twist!

Later on, I also helped run that clothing company and found it strikingly easy.  There was a system in place and all I had to do was follow the system.  I learned that there were skills I got from law enforcement that I could re-translate.   Once I knew what those skills were and saw the pattern, I was no longer one-dimensional.  I stopped being stressed when I realized a change in definitions revealed more about what I could do.   I packed up, walked away from my house in NJ and  moved to the Midwest.  I was part of a successful business.

Then, I lost my job.  Again.

Let me know when you’re ready for part three.  https://morelemonsplease.com/2012/05/26/losing-your-job-part-three-finale/

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Losing your job, part one

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Losing my job was one of the most character defining moments of my life.  I still look back at parts of it, and smile.  Allow me to explain.

As a law enforcement officer, I lived by the mantra Firm, Fair and Consistent.   It let the inmates know where I stood, as well as the staff.  When people ask me about my challenges, I tell them it was not the inmates as it was the officers and supervisors working around me.  Some of my co-workers felt it was OK to be abusive to the inmates AND other officers, physically, mentally, and sexually.  I strongly and emphatically disagreed, and felt it was my duty as a human being to stand against this treatment when done in my presence.  I already cemented my reputation when I reported the actions of a lieutenant, then was brought up on a charge of conspiracy to commit attempted murder.

Yes, they tried to bring me up on attempted murder charges.

So began a wild roller coaster ride with the NJDOC.  I hated the lies and corruption.  I hated the fake investigations, the phone tapping, the breaking into my apartment to dig for evidence I had for the Department of Justice.  There’s a list of dirty deeds they perpetrated against me and it weighed down on me like lead and concrete overalls.  I hated to go to work, and it showed in a string of tardiness.

That’s what got me fired.  I had 2 one minute lates and 1 two minute late in one month, on top of a few other lates during that year.  I had documentation for two of them, which mysteriously disappeared from my representative’s file at courtline.  A few days later, at roll call, I did not hear my name.  A sergeant walked over to me and told me the administrative lieutenant wanted to see me.  When I walked into his office, I saw the three supervisors and the paperwork.  They were terminating my employment.

The lieutenant, who was also one of the entities I complained about, told me to relinquish my badge and my ID.  I complied.  He then added, please turn in your protective vest at a later date.  Why would I wait for later date, when right now was fine by me?   I felt that vest on me.  It was the symbol of those lead and concrete overalls.  It was so heavy, so hot, so itchy.  I wanted it off and all the ugliness it represented.  I wanted to break free, even if I didn’t know where tomorrow would take me.  I had ENOUGH.

I stood up, moved to the middle of his office and said TAKE IT NOW!!!! The vest was the type that goes under your clothes, so I began taking off my clothes in his office.  I undid my belt and pants (they started screaming NO! NO!!!), then I unbuttoned my shirt, taking it off.  I then grabbed for the velcro straps of my vest, ripping the vest off with the angriest striptease ever and tossed the vest down on the extremely red-faced lieutenant’s desk.  That day without question, I walked out with my head high and a smile on my face.   I was free, and they knew I was a 48D Playtex 18 hour.

What were they going to do… fire me?

(Links for part 2: https://morelemonsplease.com/2012/05/17/losing-your-job-part-two-23/ )

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