On The Day of Fathers…

My life was filled with many dads that took up the responsibility of raising and loving me when my own father couldn’t. Every day of my childhood was filled with the support and lessons of my male role models, who ensured I knew the difference between a good, caring, kind and intelligent man vs those who would want to use, abuse and harm me. From train sets to repairing carburetors, my uncle and grandfather made sure I knew how to fix anything and solve problems that I was yet to have. In the periphery, my father worked hard to build on top of the educational foundation these great men had given me to be worthy of the moniker of dad.

My sister’s relationship with my father is strained because the environment had changed by the time she, 8 years younger, came into the world. My mother didn’t need him to be a constant in her life and ended their 16 year partnership. Through her developmental years, my uncle and grandpa were there for her, and as luck would have it my aunt’s boyfriend also became a strong positive presence in her life. She had three dads that would encourage her to reach for the moon and stars, a sentiment she desperately needed to get over her own child development issues. (She was one of the ADHD/anxiety generation, and her life didn’t really get any easier after she graduated high school.) It was their undivided attention and tact what got her through her darkest moments. We were blessed to have such great trainers in our corner teaching us how to jab, cover, and throw in the towel.

Because my dad is usually missing in action or with his first family (we are the second set), Father’s Day is just another commercial holiday. We will answer his calls and seek him throughout the year, but we won’t make a big deal of celebrating him. Unfortunately, my grandpa and Papo (aunt’s BF) passed a few years ago so we celebrate them in spirit. It is hard to remember what we lost when everyone is hanging out with their dads but the pain is worth it. These men went above and beyond the call of duty setting a high bar for what a father and husband should be to their daughters. We were blessed to have had them for as long as we did. May they rest in peace forever.

My uncle is the last surviving male role model left and we make sure we call and text as often as possible to remind him about the good awesome children he helped mold. His own daughter adores the idea of having surrogate sisters, and we make sure we treat her as such. Hehe. She gives him the hugs and kisses we can’t send via mail, and that is good enough repayment for his sacrifice. He was 21 when I was born and didn’t have a need to become someone’s guardian angel. As my godfather, he taught me how to do my pigtails in braids and showed me how to combine colors when dressing up. My favorite dresses were gifts he bestowed upon me when my mom sent him out to get my portraits taken. Pizza, Dunkin Donut holes, M&Ms and Baskin Robbins ice cream will always serve as reminders of his love and dedication to us. Hehe

To all the dads out there in difficult situations, please hang on and don’t give up. Long distance or up close, you can make a difference in your progeny’s life and emotional health. I grew up without my father and managed to “stay off the pole” because of all the effort my own absentee dad put in to help me aspire to a greater life that he could ever give me. Knowing when to step back and let the other men take over was a task he mastered a few years into the arrangement and it must have crushed him to know he wasn’t the only dad I had. He never took it out in us or on our mom, who to this day reminds us to give him the respect he deserves.  It took a village to raise us. We raise a glass to all the villagers out there too.

Happy Father’s Day everyone! Keep up the good work.

Cheers!

Popular 1980s Kids Shows And Movies Worth Rewatching (With or Without Children)

The 80s was a decade of change. Working women were taking and climbing the career ladders so fast and furious that studios flocked to market their take on the new powerful female executive persona. From Baby Boom to Working Girl, the subject of feminism and sexism became household conversation topics. Since many women went back to work because of their recent status as single, divorced or widowed moms, movies created for children during the decade tackled hard-hitting subjects like death, depression, child abuse and neglect, and infertility/adoption. Listed below is a list of shows with the reason for being rewatched.

1. Fraggle Rock

(Real life situations, depression, death)

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On the first episode, right off the bat, one of the characters states that he is depressed and shares thoughts of suicide. His friends rally around him to show how grand life can be. To add insult to injury, one of their other friends goes missing, (I vaguely recall he may have run away) and in their journey to find him they discover a bunch of cool yet perilous places outside their safe home environment. The series was so good at helping people empathize with difficult situations and narratives that Joseph Gordon Levitt is trying to reboot it. It is raw, very well scripted and, believe it or not, fun!

2. The Rescuers

(Child abuse, neglect and child labor)

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Disney used to make these dark socially critical films (101 Dalmatians anyone?) that raised awareness of animal and child abuse. The narratives featured neglected kids that were empowered by their circumstances to stop their abusers, teaching kids to spot signs of mistreatment and inappropriate behaviour towards minors. In The Rescuers, the story focuses on a girl named Penny who is kidnapped by a woman who has no consideration or love for her, an abuses her power to control and enslave. In come Bernardo and Bianca, two mice, that receive Penny’s pleas for help and set out to rescue her. By the end the brave little girl is adopted after she saves the day, all because of the unsanctioned UN help of her new friends. I am a more compassionate person because of this movie and I learned about the United Nations efforts to end social injustice, albeit briefly. Wouldn’t have wished this in my worst playground enemy.

Parents, uncles, aunts, and/or grandparents that reading this: Are you thinking that these subjects are too mature for children? As a child that lived through the tech boom, and saw LGBTQIA and female right movements gain ground, I cannot stress how important knowing all this was to me when dealing with other children and adults – be it in person or through social media. The world can be a scary place when one doesn’t have the tools to navigate it.

3. An American Tail

(Immigration,tyranny,oppressive governments, trust, loyalty, hope)

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Fievel Mousekewitz travels from Russia with his family to seek new opportunities in the new world. His parents want to give this young mouse and his sister a new beginning free of cats. They escape famine and poverty together but due to a series of misfortunes they to get separated at sea. Fievel must save his sister and search for his parents in this foreign environment. As a visitor in a new country, who can he trust? Will he ever find his family? This is a must watch for anyone trying to understand immigration policies or life on “the other side of freedom”. The theme song for this movie was “Somewhere out there” and to this day I will always remember Fievel’s promise to find his papa and mama for the sake of his sis. 😢😢😢

4. Russkies

(Cold War, ethical treatment of prisoners)

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A group of kids rescue a Russian forces operative in need of medical attention and protection. His mission goes awry and he is trapped in enemy soil. Will the kids save him or rat him out to the authorities? What would happen if the government captured the man? This movie helped me see the Russians as people and not just as enemies. 1980s Cold War kids were very aware of nuclear bombs, submarine attacks and espionage because it permeated the discourse. Because the intent was to end the war, films made later in the decade were meant to humanize our comrades and educate an entire generation to look beyond past tensions and see the Russkies as friends.

5. Explorers

(Space Exploration, Innovation, Team work, Loyalty)

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When you think about it, a group of misfits building a spaceship to explore the galaxy seems a bit cliché and overdone but back in the 80s this was groundbreaking sci-fi/fantasy cinema. If you can get past the mechanical contraption they get off the ground you will be able to appreciate the nuances of their adventure. Will they be able to remain friends after such a journey? What will they find? If this movie is too slow or dark for you try Flight of The Navigator. Time travel and time shifts anyone?

These are just a few of the worthy shows. There are so many that I could list, and so many more that I probably couldn’t recall because they were out of our TV listings. Do you recall movies and TV shows from the 80s that inspired you and/or taught you to be considerate and empathic to social change? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Enjoy!

What I Do Is Not Up To You

Diana turns to Steve and exclaims: “What I do is not up to you”. This phrase has been around for a long time and it defines Wonder Woman perfectly. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her what she can and cannot do, and most importantly, is an independent agent who is capable of brokering her own decisions and will. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to viewers and fans that this Amazon is a strong and resilient individual that will stop at nothing to pursue justice, doing was is right and not what is easy.

My husband got me a shirt with this slogan (link from The Tee Warehouse) after I won the “we are moving to a custom brand new house a few blocks away” argument because he realized there was no stopping me when my made was made up. I’m sure many spouses can relate to this dynamic, especially when their partner is headstrong and entrepreneurial. Backing down is never an option for me, and I attempt to achieve a win-win every time I am up against a situation in which many people would yield or compromise. This gift conveys how much he appreciates my will power and since he ordered it, by mistake, in a guy’s size he gets to see me wear it to bed or around the house although he keeps insisting I could wear it outside.

Vanity, thy name is MrsEnginerd. LOL

Women are told every day that they can’t do what they do or know what they know. In business and in society, their decisions are questioned, scrutinized and taken lightly. Congress is making bills to legislate over their rights to reproductive coverage and/or abortion because “their virtue must be protected”. Ladies can’t state that they like the pleasures of the flesh or the satisfaction of a career without being accused of being sluts or selfish, and even worse, inconsiderate of their husband’s and family’s needs. Heck, their hard work is devalued so much that they even get paid less because their performance in many fields is considered to be inferior to men. Sexism is alive and well folks; we need to make an effort to eradicate it.

If you have little girls or young women in your family, or love a very wonderful and impressive woman, take this message to heart. What they do is not up to you and furthermore, does not represent you. The men and women in their lives must support and build up their confidence and pride so they can reach their goals and enjoy their very well deserved achievements and accolades. Don’t sell yourself and themselves short. With an open mind and a courageous heart we can all live up to our full potential. My grandparents believed in my mom and she retired as a Colonel or Full Bird from the Army. I have a Masters and BS in Engineering. Someday my daughters, adoptive or by proxy, will be able to go to Mars and beyond. We need more Wonder Women in our lives. Let’s build a better future together!

Hooahh!😎💪🏅

UpCycled Air Conditioning Unit Pallet Home Decor 

When my builder had the A/C installed the crew left over some copper pipe, the original boxes and the pallets that kept the box structurally sound. Rather than selling or recycling them, I thought reusing one of these as a frame for the collectible hard liquors and wine bottles would be ideal since the house’s decor is a mix of industrial and farmhouse styles.

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Sanding down the frame – stain prep.

To protect the frame, I decided to stain it with the leftover product I used for the Master Closet DIY. The color is called Kona and is a Varathane stain + poly mix that is very easy to use with a roller, cloth or brush. After about an hour of dry time, for each side of the pallet, on a clear 70° day, the frame was ready. To install it to the wall, I used keyhole brackets from an unused past project. You can use hooks and other fasteners, just make sure the loaded assy doesn’t exceed weight limits for the method you select.

Originally, I wanted to add wood shelves because the distance between cross members was high enough to stack two rows of bottles in the rack. However, I had a hard time figuring out how to do it without making the whole assembly too heavy for the plastic wall anchors I had at hand. On top of that, I would have needed to cut and sand wood to size, and would most likely need to add a lip to prevent the bottles from slipping. Taking the lazy route was made even easier when I found two hanging wire baskets on sale at HomeGoods that solved all these problems. To keep the assy light, I installed the baskets directly into the wall in between the openings. Ta da!

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Finished assy with the wire shelves.

Now that I had the storage solution up, it was easy to place the bottles in the wire shelves and stack them up in the best possible pattern. You could easily make this pallet from reclaimed wood or scraps from your local hardware or lumber store if you don’t have a delivery with these smaller pallets coming your way. 😎😍🤔

Enjoy!

Happy 2nd Anniversary MrsEnginerd!

It is hard to think I started this blog two years ago after having been laid off. At first, I saw the opportunity to write as cathartic since I was saying goodbye to a ten year career, a total bummer, and needed to make amends with my newfound free time. After a few months, MrsEnginerd became a hobby that has helped me share my knowledge and experiences in a format that automatically archives itself for future historians to find. Although not perfect nor extremely popular, readers find value in the information I present and the emotions I convey.

At the moment I write this in 2017, I have a new career path, a new customized home, a bunch of DIY projects under my belt and hundreds of books, comics, Yelp reviews and PS4 trophies. My peers value my thoughts and opinions on and offline, and I have been able to refine my personality in writing. I have even coached other bloggers! Hehe. The tone and emotion behind my words has changed and matured. The places I have traveled and the people I have met have been worth the time off and the mindset change. I still have a long way to go though…

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My introvertedness hinders me from promoting it at a grander scale but I promised myself, and you, my loyal fans and friends, to eventually do this. I don’t feel quite ready yet but I know I shouldn’t sell myself short. The 500 posts and thousands of hits are proof there is a need for the content and discussions contained in its virtual pages. Hopefully I find that groove or niche that makes the decision to go bigger much more easier to pursue. 😎

In the mean time, please enjoy the posts, pictures, videos, Facebook and Pinterest posts. You are the reason I’ll keep brandishing the mighty pen. Keep reading!

Thanks! ¡Gracias! Merci!

Five Must Watch Documentaries on Netflix

Netflix has revived the interest in real life investigative journalism. Be it in serial or traditional movie format, producers and directors are benefiting from the public’s appetite to learn about the problems that affect society and the crimes that are being committed in their own backyards. The following five documentaries are a few of the most popular and most impacting subjects available for immediate streaming. They will surely blow your mind and alter your perception about the subject matter.

1. The Keepers

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Sister Cathy Cesnik was found brutally murdered. The investigation grows cold but uncovers allegations that the Catholic Church knew sexual abuse of minors was reported to the victim shortly prior to her death, cases they had buried to protect the accused clergy men. Another woman was also murdered in a similar fashion casting doubt that the killing may have been due to the coverup, and after 47 years, both cases are still unsolved. Listening to the investigators and victims’ stories will break your heart and enrage you. Watch with caution.

2. The Champions

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Ever wonder what happened to the canines rescued from Michael Vick’s illegal dog fighting ring compound? Then this documentary is for you. The story starts by introducing the events surrounding the raid and subsequent investigation and proceeds to show what happened to the dogs who were adopted out, and the ones who are still in sanctuary. Each adoptive family will give you a peak into the life of their Vicktory Dog while the rescue staff shares their individual rehabilitation journey. This case changed the odds for the fighting dogs recovered in raids thereafter, giving these pups a second chance at life. Have tissues at the ready.

3. I Am Jane Doe

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Sex trafficking is reaching new heights in the USA, to a degree that online companies are profiteering from the illegal activity of selling women and children through personal ads. Even when victims speak up and seek justice from the most prominent sex ad page Backpage.com, the courts find in favor of the internet company claiming they are protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. You have to watch the full story to understand why this ruling was so appalling that even Congress stepped in to seek justice for past, present and future victims.

4. Making a Murderer 

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Steve Avery is accused and convicted of a crime he allegedly didn’t commit. Why was he convicted? The evidence and narrative lead to a corrupt police department with a grudge against the accused. By now, many viewers have become familiar with this documentary series but to those who haven’t watched it, we implore you to check it out. This investigation will have you shouting at your TV and wondering if it could happen to you. As Dave Chappelle quips: “A 200k in Wisconsin should have worked for a white guy”.

5. Food Inc

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Ever since modern society outsourced farming to a multinational corporations and a few farmers, the way the food in our plate is grown and/or raised has been optimized for profit. Genetically modified organic (GMO) seeds and products have flooded the market making consumers wonder what goes into their bodies via the supermarket. Is it too late to ask for pesticide free fruits and veggies, more humane methods of raising and processing beef, chicken and pork? Stay tuned…

Enjoy!

The Layoff

First post 2 years ago. Time flies. #adulting #layoff

Mrs. Enginerd - Nerd Whisperer

Ten years ago I was a blissful new hire at one of the world’s great aerospace companies. I had placed every single item I owned in a box and convinced my college sweetheart to venture with me into the Pacific Northwest. Little did I know that after a few bumps and severe turbulence I’d be laid off a month after my 10th service anniversary . YES I AM AN ENGINEER!!

Just what a nerd needs…REJECTION!

It felt like a divorce. I wasn’t pretty and young enough. Too expensive. Too progressive. I should have stayed home and had some kids. Don’t worry at least your husband can support you. Be happy you lasted this long.

So what did I do? Apply, apply, apply. If my old love doesn’t take me back soon I’d take him for all he was worth (of the layoff package). He’ll come around…

Week #8 and I’m…

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Zach v Vet: Round 2

A year ago, Zach was exhibiting symptoms of digestive distress so we had to venture into the real world to take him to the vet. Back then it was a very slow and stressful ordeal to get him muzzled and leashed to coerce him into our SUV and lead him to the examination room. He would lunge, bark and growl at every single human or animal he would see. Even with heavy sedation he would still try to protect himself. 😣😥😖

Miraculously, it took half the time and even less than half the effort to muzzle, leash and coerce him into the CX-9. He went voluntarily with the assistant and didn’t bark or growl at her. When they sent him to the exam room he didn’t react to the staff that was in and out of the 8×8 cell; and that’s being generous. The vet took him out back where “a puppy with a death wish” barked and “charged” at Z who dismissed him with a quick bark and ignore. In the X-ray room, with a bit more sedation than the 60 mgs of fluoxetine we were told to give him in the morning, he allowed himself to be examined. After a short stay in a kennel run, he was returned to us safe and sound.

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The diagnosis was a hint of hip dysplasia with a muscular sprain on the opposing hind leg. He will need to rest and keep still for a few days until the muscle heals. His canines are a bit worn down for his age so he was told to lay off the Jolly Balls or at least be gentler with them. 😂😂😂 As an athlete, he is devastated he will need to rest for at least 3 more days, more if he can spare it. Follow up won’t be necessary unless the limp gets worse. Please send him strong vibes to assist him in the healing process and to keep him calm. He shook himself tired after both car rides, the anxiety overwhelming him, and has no interest in food, yet.

Northwest Animal Hospital treated Zach so well that he rewarded them with his best behavior. I can’t thank them enough for checking him out and taking good care of him while he recovered from the sedative. He is forever grateful for the attention and love he got and we were amazed at how much improvement he has shown when handling situations like these. It’s really impressive how much he has grown as a member of our family. 😍😍🤗

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Paws crossed he is running amok in the yard soon!

Queen of the South

It’s back! Season 2. Now on USA. #QueenoftheSouth

Mrs. Enginerd - Nerd Whisperer

Loosely based on the book La Reina del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and translated into English, this Telenovela has been revamped for USA audiences in what can only be described as a female led version of Breaking Bad. The cinematography and writing styles are superb, and the mixing of Spanish and English dialogue glues you to the screen. I fell in awe of the series because it flows like an action movie. The Cartels, the actors and the sets are so intriguing and well designed it is hard to find flaws in the execution of the content. Without glorifying the violence of the drug trade and its members, the show makes sure you understand there will be no happy endings. This is as real as it gets; no one is safe and no one is guaranteed to live a long and prosperous life.

Teresa Mendoza, played by Alice Braga, is…

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