February 2018
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Be the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are

I sat down on the potty and, as usual, my Pug had to paw his way in the door and plop himself directly between my calves like he was standing guard.  I usually shoo him away a little so that I can at least pretend  I have some privacy, but he just looked so proud of himself that I left him alone.  That’s when the saying “Be the person that your dog thinks you are.” flashed through my mind.  It is just such great advice.

To the rest of the world, I am human.  I make mistakes.  I get bitchy.  I get happy.  But to Mr. Pug, I am amazing.  I make food magically appear in his bowl and I give him extra treats after I torture him in the bathtub.  I give him head rubs and scratch behind his ears.  I even killed all the little things that were biting his legs when he stupidly walked through the flower beds (fire ants).  So to my dog, I am awesome.

If I could live up to that view 24/7, I would be the person I would want to be.  So I am conciously trying to live up to Mr. Pug’s expectations every day…maybe if I am successful even 10% of the time, I will achieve greatness, lol.

Teacher Suspended for Anonymous Blog

I just read this article about a Pennsylvania high school teacher, Natalie Munroe, being suspended for an anonymous blog!  Apparently she used this blog to vent her frustrations about the current student mentality – “disengaged, lazy whiners” and whatnot – and a student brought it to the attention of the school.  They have suspended her with pay.

I see several problems here.  First, this blog was anonymous and didn’t use any real names, so why was she suspended?  Secondly, based on the kids I’ve met while my husband has been a teacher and a school librarian, what’s wrong with calling some of them out?!  Some kids need to be told that being a complete brat with no motivation will not get them anywhere!

Here’s one quote from her blog that really got me:

They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.

YES!  It was like she took a peek into one of my husband’s old classrooms!!!  Of course, not all kids are self-entitled whiners, but a vast majority come off that way in the middle schools and high schools I’ve been in.

At one point in the article, a former student admits,

As far as motivated high school students, she’s completely correct. High school kids don’t want to do anything. … It’s a teacher’s job, however, to give students the motivation to learn.

Excuse me?!  It is a teacher’s job to TEACH.  It’s up to every kid to motivate themselves!  Sure, great teachers try to involve a class, but you can’t force a kid to pay attention if they decide not to.  When did we decide that we were no longer going to have expectations of our children?

I think an anonymous blog filled with honest opinions shouldn’t be a cause for dismissal.  If I had any pull at Central Bucks East High School, she’s get to keep teaching if she was a good teacher.

What do you think?

107 Year Old has been Retired for 41 Years

Have you all seen the article about the 107 year old man that has been retired since 1969? Here’s how Leonard McCracken says he’s gotten by on savings, social security, and an annuity he bought 41 years ago:

1.  Thrift

This man has owned only two new cars in a sea of oldies but goodies. He and his wife were garage saling when others were consumering. In short, this man defines thrifty.

2.  Real Estate Investments

This guy has owned 35 homes including 5 he built himself. Home equity was a huge part of his strategy.

3.  Use Debt Well

Even though Mr. McCracken had to take a few loans along the way, he paid them back as quickly as possible so he’d be beholden to nobody.

4.  Work Even When Jobs Are Hard to Find

Even when he was laid off, he took what he could find to fill the gaps. A hard working spirit kept his family above water between regular jobs.

5.  Save and Invest Conservatively

I know that some of you may argue that risky investments can pay off big, and yes they can, but I like proof that conservative investing can work out too.

6.  Stay Healthy

Some things are genetic, but try really hard to take care of the rest. Mr. McCracken, a 107 year old that is going strong, has been in better health than many of us for these last 41 years.

I have to say this gives me hope. My husband and I are saving for an early retirement by age 52, so the fact that this guy could make it work for 41 years and going sounds dang good to me!

Is this not the coolest?!

Feel free to also check out my staff writer post today at My Retirement Blog,
15 Ways to Ensure a Successful Retirement – Part 1

What Does This Mean For the USA?

I read this article yesterday that said that the following changes have been made by the USA after concessions by both parties:

  • The Social Security payroll taxes will go down next year which will mean that the government will give up about $120 billion in revenue.
  • Unemployment benefits have been extended another 13 months but the $60 billion used to do that will not have to be covered by cuts in federal spending.
  • The tax cuts are being extended another 2 years.  Nobody’s taxes will change.

So, if I was reading this right, the government is laying out billions again and not making up for it elsewhere again. 

Please don’t get me wrong, I really don’t understand the intricacies of government spending, BUT doesn’t this seem like a deal that just won’t work for the long-term?  If we just keep spending but don’t make it back somehow, won’t something crash at some point? 

I’m a bit worried.  I don’t want to be taxed more, but I was hoping at some point the government would have to seriously look over their spending plans and cut back on stupid crud…

Am I missing something?  Is there some way that all of these things are actually good and the USA isn’t going to crash and burn?

I’m Nice, But…

I’m not this nice.  According to this article, a retired Canadian couple gave away 98% of their $11,255,272 lottery winnings!

To summarize, they won the lottery while the wife was getting cancer treatments.  They are just so happy to have each other that they didn’t want to deal with the headache of having all that cash.  So they donated all but 2% of it to family and 2 pages of organizations and charities.

My husband and I have dreamt out loud about winning more than $10 million after taxes.  I even knew that I’d donate a bunch…but not 98%. 

So far my favorite scenario is that we would each get a third to invest and use as we’d like and we’d live off the interest of the other third (or invest it in an annuity and live off the payments).  I’d use at least half of the returns on my own third for whatever charities or groups that strike my fancy. 

So I would indeed be giving away at least $100,000 a year based on 6% returns on $3.3 million, but that isn’t the same as the $11 million this couple gave away!  That is impressive!   And just a little nuts in the opinion of my money-loving mind, but more power to them.  :-)

Would you give away 98% of your winnings if they were around $11 million?

Airline Secrets

I just read 35 Secrets Your Pilot Won’t Tell You and these are the ones that will make me think twice every time I need to fly:

- Sometimes pilots delay flights just so they will have a chance to eat.  Shouldn’t eating be scheduled in for them?!

- “The Department of Transportation has put such an emphasis on on-time performance that we pretty much aren’t allowed to delay a flight anymore, even if there are 20 people on a connecting flight that’s coming in just a little late.” -Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina  This one really ticks me off!

- Pilots are legally put on 16 hour shifts.  I do not want to be in his last 5 hours!

- “The two worst airports for us: Reagan National in Washington, D.C., and John Wayne in Orange County, California. You’re flying by the seat of your pants trying to get in and out of those airports. John Wayne is especially bad because the rich folks who live near the airport don’t like jet noise, so they have this noise abatement procedure where you basically have to turn the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as you’re airborne.” -Pilot, South Carolina  Remind me not to fly into or out of either one of those!

- “You may go to an airline website and buy a ticket, pull up to its desk at the curb, and get onto an airplane that has a similar name painted on it, but half the time, you’re really on a regional airline. The regionals aren’t held to the same safety standards as the majors: Their pilots aren’t required to have as much training and experience, and the public doesn’t know that.” -Captain at a major airline  Hmmm…bait and switch, isn’t it?

- If they tell the flight attendants to sit down, make sure you are buckled in for the turbulence ahead!

- “When you get on that airplane at 7 a.m., you want your pilot to be rested and ready. But the hotels they put us in now are so bad that there are many nights when I toss and turn. They’re in bad neighborhoods, they’re loud, they’ve got bedbugs, and there have been stabbings in the parking lot.” -Jack Stephan  I think I rather pay an extra couple of bucks a flight so that my pilot gets some sleep!

Oh, and I thought these tips are just good to know:

- They ask you to put laptops up so they won’t be projectiles during a rough landing.

- They ask you to put up the shades on the windows so that flight attendants can see outside if an emergency occurs during landing and so people have some more light when getting off the plane.

- “Nice landing” is a great compliment for a pilot since landing are usually where you can see the best of their skills.  :-)

Did any of these points surprise you?

What Is the Purpose of Your Life?

My life is very structured.  During the week, I go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch tv, and blog.  On weekends we either hang out with friends or visit family.  That’s pretty much it.  Blogging, working, eating, and chatting seem to make up 85% of my life.  This got me thinking, what is the purpose of my life?

I think I am a nice person.  I do go out of my way for others.  I also try to volunteer or contribute to charities on a regular basis.  So I’m not being philisophical about whether I am a good person or not.  I just wonder if there should be more to my weekly norm?

Here are a few ideas I’ve thought about:

1)  Getting a job that actually makes a difference in lives every day.  Any ideas?

2)  Volunteering more but I don’t know where I’ll grab the time.

3)  Contribute more money to charities but I never seem to give as much value to money donations as I give to time donations…

What do you think is the purpose of life?  What makes you feel like your normal every day schedule is “worth it”?

Your Kitchen Itself Could be Causing You to Eat

According to this article at Yahoo Health, things other than food in your kitchen could be causing you to gain weight.  Here’s their list and how my kitchen adds up:

1.  Dim the lights – According to the article, bright lights can cause stress which causes us to eat.

My kitchen has several inset, bright CFL’s.  I don’t enjoy dim lighting so I wouldn’t want to change, but I do keep the lights off completely when I’m not in the kitchen, so hopefully that would lessen the apparent stress.

2.  Add a bouquet – Adding a scent that doesn’t coincide with your food may keep you from overeating

This makes sense to me but my asthma can’t put up with most scents.  I also think it’s funny that almost all the candles we do actually own are food scented – vanilla, sugar cookie, cinnamon rolls, etc.  Guess I’ll start putting those away, hehehe.

3.  Use smaller bowls and spoons – We eat less with smaller utensils and serving dishes.

I’m glad I always use the smaller forks and spoons after reading this but am rethinking our giant dinner dishes…we do tend to load them up…

4.  Conceal your leftovers – Hide the super yummy leftovers so you won’t be inclined to scarf them down just because they look good.

This works for me but sometimes too well.  I’ve thrown away a bunch of fuzzy leftovers simply because they were pushed to the back of the fridge…that’s always a sad moment.  At least the calories didn’t get to my thighs.  :-)

5.  Leave dinner behind – Plating the food and walking away will lead to eating less than being surrounded by all of it.

We get this half right, lol.  We do plate our food in the kitchen and eat in the living room, BUT we usually load up so we don’t have to go back for more.  That’s the definition of self-defeating…

What do you think of their list?  How do you stack up?

10 Stupid Things to Say or Do Around a Cop

This article at Yahoo! Finance, What Not to Say When Pulled Over by a Cop, covers the basics.  Here’s their list and my spoof below, lol.

1.  Play Nice.

First rule: don’t argue.

2.  Keep It Honest.

Don’t lie, either.

3.  Stay Calm.

When those headlights go on, it’s best to pull the car to the right, stay in the car, turn the interior lights on if it’s dark and put your hands on the steering wheel.

I know that if I was a cop, all of that sounds like a great idea.  I also think you should avoid this too:

4.  Seriously, put on your seat belt if you were silly enough not to be wearing it.

5.  Make sure the beer cans are under the seats.

6.  Don’t play the theme to “Cops” as he/she walks up to your car.  That only works for Gabriel Iglesias.

7.  Don’t drive around in circles throwing your weed out the window thinking that’s going to save your butt…I was watching some reality tv show and that made me laugh so hard I cried…

8.  Don’t do anything with a water gun.

9.  Don’t slide over to the passenger seat and act like the driver ran off.  That’s another nod to Gabriel Iglesias.

10.  Don’t do that stop, start stop that I’ve also seen on reality tv.  Idiots.

Come on, add some more funny…  :-)

Messages in Bottles

This article at Yahoo Buzz, Message in a Bottle Survives Epic Journey, brings up that several messages in bottles have traveled thousands of miles and years and years before being discovered.  That got me to thinking about all the times as a kid that I wondered about the other stuff out there…

I remember throwing out a few messages in a few bottles.  I never heard back though.  I also remember a few balloons getting away from me.  I’d imagine that somebody hundreds of miles away might smile if they found my butterfly balloon in their backyard.  Who knows?

Now that I know the damage a balloon can cause to a power line, I just hope I didn’t inconvenience anybody too much, lol.

I look at stars and wonder who else was looking at the same ones.  I look out from a mountain view and wonder what the people on the ground are doing.  I am obsessed with watching everything get closer when an airplane lands because I can see each individual car, house, and person simply pop into view when we’re close enough.

A message in a bottle taking 16 months to make it from Florida to Ireland makes a mind wander, doesn’t it?  Do you remember any message in a bottle moments in your life?