Good eats on a thin budget

Mama is also feeling the financial crunch. I have gone back to using coupons, buying in bulk, growing my own food, swapping with neighbors, and cooking more meals at home. The video below has a lot of useful tips on how to eat well on a budget.

CVS Pharmacies Give Free Flu Shots to the Unemployed

cvspharmacy As part of a broad-reaching effort to keep Americans healthy this flu season, CVS Caremark is giving away 100,000 free seasonal flu shots to the unemployed. The free flu shot vouchers will be distributed at participating One-Stop Career Centers and other select employment training agencies that offer career resources, training, and workforce information to job seekers, students, and businesses.

The voucher may be used for a free flu shot at MinuteClinic or at any scheduled CVS/pharmacy flu clinic.

– Mama

What’s Your Emerald City?

Poppies, Poppies will put them to sleep. Sleep. Now they’ll sleep.”

—-The Wicked Witch of the East

It’s summer and in Southern California that means the poppies are sprouting alongside the freeways and medians, their bright orange flowers are gorgeous eye candy as we dash from one thing to the next. It was a field of poppies that almost kept Dorothy from reaching Emerald City. Caught up in their beauty, Dorothy runs through them, encouraging her friends to come along, distracted by their beauty, she falls asleep in the middle of the field, her goal still far away.

If you remember, it was Dorothy and the Lion that went to sleep. Think of Dorothy as your sense of self and let the Lion characterize your courage. It was the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, the heart and brain that kept running toward Emerald City, noticing after a bit that Dorothy and the Lion were no longer with them. The Tin Man and the Scarecrow were unaffected by the somnolent spell of the poppies, and they pressed on toward the goal.

We all have our “field of poppies” a place in life where we can see our dreams and then all of a sudden unemployment, divorce, a sick parent or child, a break-up appears just as Emerald City comes into view. We lose sight. We get distracted. We stop running. We fall asleep.

And then something wonderful happens, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, the heart and the brain come back, because even though Dorothy (you) have been lulled to sleep by whatever circumstance, the heart and brain are unaffected and can still see your dream clearly. And even though courage, the hardest to wake up and the heaviest to carry is asleep as well, that doesn’t stop the heart and brain from doing whatever is necessary to get everyone back on track, including calling on Glenda, (The Good Witch). That would be the same as asking for help, finding like-minded people, doing whatever it takes to wake up.

Courage may come in fits and starts, but the heart and brain never let you forget your dreams and goals.

To Oz? To Oz!

– Aunt B

Here Comes The Judge… again

Judge using his gavel For the most part Aunt B has nothing nice to say about lawyers. For a group that prides itself in having read all the rules, they tend to be quite a bitter bunch. What I do know is that dealing with them and the legal system can be quite overwhelming.

In my book, a fender bender is just a fender bender and sometimes folks disagree. I’m not the type to drag people or corporations into court to make a point or to get paid a buck. However, those types of people find your Aunt B like a preacher with a nose for sin and fried chicken.

Well your Aunt B has an ex, (well she has a couple of exes and both have taken her to court, but that’s another story) this one in particular got all in a snit about the money that went back and forth during the course of the relationship. After the break up, the ex insisted that their part towards your Aunt B was a loan. * Gasp * yes, you heard me right. Believe me I was just as shocked as you are. Well your Aunt B thought this was ridiculous, I mean I covered some of their expenses as well, folks share expenses when they are together. Bitter! Party of one!

Well the ex got a lawyer and since I’m laid off, I couldn’t afford one. I represented myself and long story short, lost the case.

Now not all lawyers are bad, some even walk on two feet. If you find yourself in situation, don’t hesitate to get advice. Try here and by no way try to go at it alone.

Take it from your Aunt B.

Sometimes down, but never out

It’s been a tough year for Aunt B. I was laid off in February just as the reality of the recession began to spin on the 24-hour news cycle. Barack Obama was just sworn in and the soft whisper of a page turning in history put happy feet on my heart.

It was a Tuesday, the California weather was classic, showing off a bright sun against blue sky and a cool breeze. I was called into a meeting as soon as I arrived at work and told my job was terminated. As a single-mom and sole support of my family it felt like a sucker punch. I didn’t see it coming, it caught me square on the chin and down I went for the count.

With my face against the mat, I remember something similar to what Michelle Obama told the graduating class of UC Merced, “Think of the people who paved the way for you, and those who are counting on you to pave the way for them. Never let setbacks or fear dictate the course of your life.” So to that I add for those that are experiencing joblessness:

  1. Know that when change comes, it is never comfortable or easy.
  2. It is normal to feel sad, angry and overwhelmed. Take time to process those feelings and let the dust settle. Talk to a trusted friend, your beloved, or a member of the clergy.
  3. Tie up the loose ends with your former employer, read the paperwork and take the time to understand what happens with your unemployment, healthcare and retirement benefits.
  4. Tell everyone you know that you are no longer employed. Reconnect to old friends, use the social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, church groups, friends and neighbors. Tell them exactly what you are looking for. Be specific. People like to help, let them.
  5. This is a chance to rediscover your passion and purpose! Some days will be better than others. Know that your legs might feel wobbly and you might feel unsteady, as you stand up. You might have been down for the count, but you’re not out. No way.

– Aunt B