Greencard holder wanting to fast-track the citizenship process? Join the Military.

For the first time since the Vietnam war, temporary immigrants who have lived in the United States for a minimum of two years will have a chance to become United States citizens in as little as six months.   All that is required is that they answer the call of Uncle Sam and join the military.  The military will also waive naturalization fees, which are at least $675.

The program will initially be limited to 1,000 enlistees nationwide, mostly for the Army.  If proven successful,  it could be expanded to 14,000 across all branches of the military. 

Military officials want to attract immigrants who have native knowledge of languages and cultures that the Pentagon considers strategically vital. The program will also be open to students and refugees who have more education, foreign language skills and professional expertise needed to fill shortages in medical care, language interpretation and field intelligence analysis.

The Army’s one-year pilot program will begin in New York City to recruit about 550 temporary immigrants who speak one or more of 35 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Igbo (a tongue spoken in Nigeria), Kurdish, Nepalese, Pashto, Russian and Tamil. Spanish speakers are not eligible. The Army’s program will also include about 300 medical professionals to be recruited nationwide.

To enlist, temporary immigrants will have to prove that they have lived in the United States for two years and have not been out of the country for longer than 90 days during that time. They will have to pass an English test.   Language experts will have to serve four years of active duty, and health care professionals will serve three years of active duty or six years in the Reserves. If the immigrants do not complete their service honorably, they could lose their citizenship.

Recruiting is expected to start in coming days.

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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In desperate need of pest control

There’s something weird.. in the neighborhood.  Who’re you gonna call?  Pestbusters!

I wish it was as simple as that.    There are times when a sheet of flypaper will do the trick and Vaseline will serve to keep the ants away.    Allercon & Rainbow, the wonder vaccuum cleaner will rid your mattresses of dust mites.  But what about termites, roaches, spiders and other pests?    Pest management seems to have evolved into a complicated and specialized area of home mgt/maintenance.   

There are companies which offer a wide array of services ranging from residential/commercial pest control to air duct cleaning.  Of increasing importance are the health concerns being raised about the pesticides being used.   Customers are looking for “green” alternatives to commercial insecticides & pesticides.    Before hiring the fumigation or soil treatment services of your neighborhood pest control specialist,  do conduct some research on the chemicals they use.

In the United States,  there’s Alpha Ecological,  a pest control specialist with offices in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado.  Here,  there’s Mapecon, which has centers in key cities.  Please contact these companies to get a diagnosis on your problem.     They can customize treatments to best meet your pest management needs.

So the next time you hear the shriek… IPIS!!!!  you know who to contact.  =)

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Ready for Change? Get educated!

It’s nearing the end of the year.  Time to take stock of our past and make plans for the future.  If you’re stuck in a rut and want to try something new,  this is the perfect time to take concrete steps towards making that shift.  If what you would like do is way off track from your current profession, don’t despair.   Get educated!

There are numerous websites out there which promote further education.  I would rank http://www.career-education.net/ near the top.  It aggregates the various schools which offer a wide variety of online AND offline programs for in-demand careers such as culinary arts, healthcare, education and even medical billing jobs.  What I found particular useful is that the site offers a concise description of the various disciplines so that you can make an informed choice.   There’s even a career quiz also available to help you assess which program/course is a proper fit to your personality.   

Now what you must already keep in mind is that learning is just half the battle.  A new skill is only useful if it is actively practiced. =)

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Moving? Get a Mover!

Recent events in our professional lives have lead me to thinking about physical relocation and the inordinant amount of stress it generates.  Aside from the uncertainty about any move – how do we get jobs/schools,  will our kids adjust to the change etc… there is the added concern about packing and unpacking one’s belongings.  Can I really trust someone to pack my grandmother’s china with the same kind of care I would give?  At the same time,  we neither want the additional stress of physically driving all our belongings to their destination nor do we have a great deal of stuff which we want to drag across the country. 

Thank goodness for service providers like UHaul which help demystify and destress the moving process.   They help customers avoid the high prices of full-service movers and/or the hassles of truck rental while at the same time providing guaranteed delivery and expedited transit services.  Backed by ABF Frieght System Inc, one of the USA’s largest less-than-truckload freight carriers,  U-Pack’s moving services is able to leverage on the efficiencies of scale by enabling customers to pay only for the space they use.

UPack’s Mantra?  You Pack.  We Drive.  You Save.  Enough said.  =) 

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Freebie picks of the week

I’ve come across some website gems which I’d like to share with everyone.

  1. Open Yale Courses – Lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses are made available to the public free of charge via the internet. The courses span the full range of liberal arts disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences.
  2. Finetune – In addition to its web-based player,  Finetune has a fantasic desktop application which enables Mac and PC users to listen to both Finetune and iTunes playlists, as well as search by name for favorite artists as well as get a custom radio station of their work.  I’m hooked on the David Cook radio channel.  =)
  3. Cookstr – Starting this month,  a new website will showcase the recipes of star chefs like Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, as well as those of less-well-known but highly regarded cookbook writers.  According to the NYTimes,  visitors to Cookstr can search for recipes using a wide range of parameters, from the more obvious — ingredients, season, occasion — to more specialized criteria, like lactose-free, kid-friendly or requires-only-one-pot-to-cook. The site will start with 2,500 recipes, most likely to increase to 10,000 within a year.   Go and sign up to their newsletter now. 
  4. Hulu –  Hulu offers shows from nbc, Fox, pbs and other channels, including free full episodes of SNL, The Daily Show, The Office and other hits the TiVo-less masses often miss, plus films like Ghostbusters, The Fifth Element and Lost in Translation.  Note, Hulu’s video library currently can only be streamed from within the United States.

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Private Iris: a comic book that teaches money management

Gosh,  I’m really feeling my age.  I’ve made the transition from Mythology Class to Private Iris.  =) 

The comic book series created by Jamie Bautista and Arnold Arre follows the young detective Private Iris as she solves mysteries while imparting useful facts and money savings tips which are relevant to today’s youth.  

The first case – “The Cashbox Caper” introduces the lead characters:  Danton Cord is one of the most popular boys in MacGuffin Elementary. His friend, Iris Able, is a loner whom people think is weird. Because she doesn’t talk to anybody, the kids in school have given her the nickname “Private Iris”. However, Iris is also the smartest and most observant person in town. When the money of a class’ cashbox is stolen, Danton sees this as a chance to make people see how special Iris really is. If he can convince her to solve the crime and get the class its money back, maybe he can get Iris to be a bit more popular. But will Iris be willing to help out people she doesn’t like?

Private Iris #2: The Spirit of the Shoemaker will be launched this month at the following locations:

September 20, 2008 2:00 to 5:00PM: Powerbooks Megamall
September 27, 2008 2:00 to 5:00PM: Powerbooks Mall of Asia
Fun games and activities await kids during the book launch!

Glowing slime. Floating objects. Mysterious messages appearing on walls. Kids are willing to pay any price to get rid of this unwanted ghost. But Private Iris and Danton think that it’s a big hoax to trick the kids out of their money.

Want to learn more about the series?  Please visit the Private Iris website.  

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Coffee Talk Series: Be Financially Empowered

The current turmoil in the financial markets has more and more people thinking about their financial future.  Suddenly,  what seemed safe ground seems to be quick sand.  The “sure” thing is now uncertain.  Compound this with problems such as paying our regular bills and you realize the increasing importance to making (and keeping) a budget sufficient to satisfy future needs. 

On Sept 20,  attend a wealth management forum with Financial Columnist Karen Galarpe hosted by Mom Exchange and Alveo Verdana Homes.

Date: Saturday, September 20
Time: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Where: Coffee Bean Tea Leaf Greenbelt 3

Please RSVP to Geisler Maclang at 812-8828 or 812-9919 if you would like to attend. Here is the invitation.

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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