Laboring the 60 Blog

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David G. McKay:  Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift; that the power to work is a blessing; and that love of work is success.

Labor Day.  The unofficial end of summer.  What are your plans?  We’re not planning on much, while we think about Marissa (aka the-greatest-girl-on-earth) spending five days in Carmel, California.  Her boyfriend’s family has a home up there and everyone is going.  Maybe I can fit in the truck of her car?

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  It constitutes an annual national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.  Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday.  Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.



Rewriting the 60 Blog

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I tried to form a gang once, but it turned into a book club.

I hosted book club yesterday and we discussed Where’d You Go Bernadette?  It’s a whimsical story about a dysfunctional yet loving family involving Antarctica, blackberries and Seattle.  We agreed that the author’s depiction of life in Seattle was spot-on, and the main characters were very intelligent, but not all that likeable.

Our customary short story-writing ended the afternoon.  Our keyword was “fruit.”  We were told to write one sentence incorporating the word and then pass it along to another guest.  We then read our short stories as follows:

No. 1:  The pineapple sat close to the strawberries and now they are called pineberries.  And boy, do they taste berry-ish.
No. 2:  But I was craving it.  I didn’t have time to chew.  I just swallowed, bite after bite.  Next thing I know, I’m in the ER feeling like an alien is inside me!

No. 1:  Why is fruit so damned expensive?  Is it all coming from other countries like Venezuela and Chile?
No. 2:  Yes it is.  Times have changed!

No. 1:  Fruit, fruit, fruit.  Eat enough of it and you will become a fruit.
No. 2:  Unlikely, but you may spend enough time indisposed to wish you were a fruit.

No. 1:  Walking into the kitchen, the warm spicy scent of fruitcake enveloped me in holiday nostalgia.
No. 2:  Another Christmas I was spending all alone on my farm in Vermont.  No invitation from family or friends.

No. 1:  My brother’s favorite fruit was a tangerine.
No. 2:  Every summer when the trees were in season, he would spend hours picking and eating the sticky, sweet fruit.

No. 1:  Laura walked into the kitchen to discover a lovely bowl of fruit, each piece with a single bite missing.
No. 2:  Laura then took her turn and put a second bite into each one.

No. 1:  I was sitting there in my room reading a book.  All of a sudden, I wanted a piece of fruit.  I went tearing outside, screaming for fruit–anything.  Two men walked up to me…
No. 2:  And asked what movie I was filming.  I had been mistaken for Julia Roberts.  It was the best day of my life.

No. 1:  While in the market evaluating the ripeness of the fruit, specifically the peaches, she reached in to to grab a particular orange and red specimen, when his hand brushed hers.
No. 2:  They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity and they realized that the peaches were sticky.

No. 1:  As a young girl, I loved to eat fruit–especially fruit salad.  I loved the berries.  Making fruit salad brings back memories of sitting at the kitchen table with my grandmother, peeling fruit and talking.  A great memory of mine…
No. 2:  Do kids today have this opportunity?  Do kids even talk to their grandparents?  Cynical much?

Lessons learned yesterday?  You can meet your soulmate wherever peaches are sold, Julia Roberts has a lot of good days, and having a farm in Vermont doesn’t guarantee you friends.

Next month’s book is The Night She Won Miss America and I’m about two-thirds through.  It’s very good!  It’s based on a true story and, no spoilers here, it’s about Miss America 1950.  Guess what?  She doesn’t expect to win!



Recapping the 60 Blog

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Nanea Hoffman:  I don’t think I say it enough but I’m really grateful for my friends who live in my computer.  I love that we can bond and be weird together and not even have to leave our houses.  Or make ourselves socially presentable.

In case you missed any of my pearls of wisdom this past week, here are links to each day’s posts.

Monday: Grandmothering the 60 Blog

Tuesday: Slicing the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Europeanizing the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Protesting the 60 Blog

Friday:  Paying the 60 Blog

Saturday:  Earning the 60 Blog


Paying the 60 Blog

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I don’t even live paycheck to paycheck.  I live paycheck to four days before paycheck.

For most of my working career, I got paid on the 15th and last day of the month.  When Leslie and I bought our condo (25 years ago last week!), it took a while for us to find a pattern of paying bills to fit with our paycheck schedules.  Now, at my new job, I get paid every-other Friday.  Like clockwork.  Friday morning, check my bank balance and there’s money in my account!

If you have ever been on the every-other-week schedule, you realize that once or twice a year, you get three checks.  And those checks, to me anyway, are like “free” money.  Oh, I know, of course I’ve worked for it and all, but getting an “extra” check helps.

For instance, when I got paid on 8/11, that money paid the bills on 8/15.  So the money received on 8/18 18 is “free.”  I’ll get paid next on 9/1 and that money will be used to pay the bills on 8/31-9/1.  And the rest of the year falls out on a regular schedule. Money in close to the 15th, and then out on the 15th.  In at the end of the month, out at the end of the month.

So what to do with my “free” money?  Spend it frivolously?  Absolutely not.  I can’t think of anything I need, except maybe a new curling iron, and I’ll find the twenty bucks for that on a regular day.  Put a big chunk toward my credit card?  Yessir!  And more in savings, so that I can dip into it in October to pay off our January 2018 cruise.

What would you do?


Summarizing the 60 Blog

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To sum up a week of gems and tidbits, and in case you’re not seeing my posts on Facebook, here are links to this week’s posts.  Please read and share. 

Monday, Beaching the 60 Blog:

Tuesday, Listening the 60 Blog:

Wednesday, Carting the 60 Blog:

Thursday, Carting the 60 Blog (Again):

Friday, Carting the 60 Blog (One Last Time):

Saturday, Imbibing the 60 Blog:



Imbibing the 60 Blog

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She’d be pickled if she drank that much.

Last week, it was reported that Queen Elizabeth drinks four cocktails a day….and sometimes three of those are enjoyed before lunch time!

On July 31, Business Insider reported that “Not only does [Queen Elizabeth II] have staying power on the throne, but the 91-year-old can also hold her liquor.”  Despite her busy schedule, the monarch always has time for a cocktail—four per day, to be precise.

Reports stated what the Queen eats and drinks per day, and her drinking regimen is seriously impressive. Before lunch, she enjoys a gin and Dubonnet cocktail with lemon and ice.  The Independent reports that she enjoys a glass of wine at lunch alongside her food, which is usually healthy and simple—but also includes a piece of chocolate for dessert.

In the evenings, the Queen has a dry martini, though no word on whether she prefers it shaken or stirred. And she finishes her day with a glass of Champagne, often from brands like Bollinger, Lanson, and King.

The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, told The Independent her drink preferences never change. But other liquor brands are on offer at Buckingham Palace.  It’s been noted that there are royal warrants (marks of recognition that mean the Queen has ordered the product over the last five years) for Gordon’s gin, Pimm’s, Bacardi, and Bulmers cider.  Also, the Queen apparently doesn’t drink beer.  She recently turned down a pint of Guinness while touring the factory in Dublin.

But wait!  Days later these reports were updated because apparently the Queen doesn’t “quaff as many cocktails” as originally reported.  Former royal chef Darren McGrady told CNN that the monarch doesn’t drink four cocktails every single day. “She’d be pickled if she drank that much,” he said. “All I said was she likes a gin and Dubonnet. That’s her favorite drink.”

Mr. McGrady blamed the “silly stories” in the press on journalists not understanding his accent. According to McGrady, she doesn’t even have wine with dinner every day, just every once in a while.  (But this doesn’t explain the Queen’s cousin’s previous comments about her unchanging cocktail regimen.)  Though the thought of a party-loving royal seems like a storyline perfect for The Crown, this seems a lot more realistic.

The blurb by Mr. McGrady about the press not understanding his accent seems a bit fake-newsy to me.  But if the Queen wants to drink four or more cocktails a day, especially at 91 years old, long live the Queen!

Carting the 60 Blog (Again)

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Rachel Nichols:  Why do I always choose the shopping cart with the squeaky wheel?  Is it my bad luck, or are all the carts dysfunctional?

Craig Dacy writes:  “I have a pet peeve. You know when you’re at the grocery store and you see shopping carts littered around the parking lot? That drives me insane.”  He has decided that there are two different people in this world: cart returners and cart deserters. Whichever side of the line you stand on says a lot about you.

He believes that cart returners put others first.   When you take the time to return your cart to its receptacle, you’re showing that you care about the employees of the grocery store.  You acknowledge that if you don’t put the cart away, someone else will have to do it for you.  Basically it shows that you’re not a selfish jerk.  If you’re a cart deserter, you make it all about you.

Successful people put others first. Instead of being wrapped up in things that benefit them, they look for ways to help and serve those around them.  Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”  When it comes to money, the more giving you are, the more you’re likely to make.  An open hand allows money to come and leave freely.

Cart returners are disciplined.  Who hasn’t wanted to just leave their cart anywhere close to their own car and just leave?  Can’t I leave the cart here just this once?  Walking the cart back to the receptacle shows you’re disciplined. You’ve committed yourself to a moral standard that you won’t break. Discipline is an attractive quality in people. Employers look for it in their employees and people look for it in their potential mates. They want to know they can trust you to do the right thing no matter what the circumstances.

Note to my readers/friends:  The previous paragraph is a little too much for me.  If you’re disciplined in returning shopping carts, you’re likely to get a better job?  OMG.  I’m not sure I trust this Craig guy.

Cart returners are happier people.  He thinks deserters are selfish. Selfish people aren’t happy.  Giving to others brings happiness into our lives. Whether it’s a big or small gesture, they can make a lasting impact. Focusing only on ourselves gives us a negative outlook on life. We tend to only think about the things we don’t have, the things we want, or the things others have that we wish we had. None of these bring on a spirit of gratitude or contentment.

Finding a way to give to others will change your outlook. Giving takes the focus off of yourself and puts it on others. This can even benefit your budget. When you’re not focused on yourself, you tend to spend less money on yourself. Funny how that works out.

At the end of the day, the only person you can control is you. As infuriating as it is to see a front row parking space blocked by a deserted cart, take comfort in knowing that you still have the upper hand.



Beaching the 60 Blog

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You know you’re a writer when…you have imaginary conversations with the characters in your novel.

Yesterday, we enjoyed our monthly book club and we discussed a book that no one liked.  I never received my copy from an Amazon seller (who is no longer an Amazon seller….duh!) so I had an “excuse” as to why I didn’t read the book.  Most of the other ten diligent members finished the book, and two couldn’t get past the first few chapters.  If you want a suggestion of a book NOT to read, see “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins.

As has become our tradition, we wrote short stories with a BEACH theme this month.  Tell me what you think of these stories and if anything is missing.

No. 1:  The day was glorious but I was depressed.  I thought the beach would help me feel better….but
No. 2:  I still had this dreaded feeling that something was following me.  Then I looked around and saw this robot coming at me.  Why?

No. 1:  As we sat basking in the heat of the sun watching the tide ebb and flow, the sun glistened in our eyes…
No. 2:  …blinding us.  I started to walk to the ocean and I glanced down.  A baby hermit crab was hitching a ride on my foot.

No. 1:  Bob never thought his daily walk at the beach would lead to this discovery.
No. 2:  A human skull was sticking out of the sand…

No. 1:  It was a quiet Sunday evening.  She was walking along the boardwalk and could not believe what she saw in front of her.  There was her husband with…
No. 2:  …a tall voluptuous blond kissing his neck.

No. 1:  The storm was creating a strong rip current and eight foot waves that made rescuing the stranded swimmer difficult.
No. 2:  So, sadly, we let the swimmer drown.  Sometimes you just can’t help someone…

No. 1:  We got out of the car.  It was so hot the sand dazzled with heat waves.  “Everyone out into the water,” I yelled.  Then I saw the dreaded dorsal fin break through.
No. 2:  I got out my phone and started to film the shark.  I knew I could make money next year during Shark Week.

No. 1:  The sun dappled the waves caressing the shore.  Sitting in the sand, wriggling toes, the little girl giggled with joy.
No. 2:  The girl’s attention was focused on the horizon where a pod of dolphins frolicked in the waves.

No. 1:  Whenever I go to the beach, I am terrified of swimming because of the great white shark that stays close to the shore, threatening everyone with death or loss of limb.
No. 2:  The fear is palpable.  A lone black fin rides the waves, its presence bringing panic to humans and small fish alike.

No. 1:  Terri took the bus down Beach Boulevard from Buena Park to Huntington Beach to watch the U.S. Open of Surfing.  She wanted to compete but she was on crutches.
No. 2:  Luckily, they were signing up for the surfing “Special Olympics” and she was able to compete the next day.  First place!

Our stories sometimes took a dark and eerie turn (not saving someone who is drowning?!) and we ended on a joyous note (placing first in the Special Olympics).

Next month, we’re reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.  One of our members has already listened to the book and proclaimed the audio version the best audiobook she has ever listened to.  Why not give it a try and let me know what you think?!

Coloring the 60 Blog

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Me:  I sure feel my age.  I ache all over.
Also me:  I feel like a newborn.  No hair, no teeth, and I just peed my pants!

I’m not gray.  I’m a brunette.  Many years ago, a friend added blonde dye to my hair and it looked good for a minute.  But I’m not meant to be a blonde.  For a while, I colored my hair red and it grabbed some attention.

I will stay a brunette and not go natural (aka gray).  My long-suffering hairdresser knows the color I want and it’s always great.  At my last visit, I wanted a swath of purple in my hair and Jolene added some sections that were a lively and vibrant purple for about two weeks.  People actually remarked about my hair.  As for my suffering stylist, I don’t know how she doesn’t laugh every couple of visits when I show up with a picture.  “Here’s what I want my hair to look like!” or “What can we do to make me look like her?”  She looks at the photo, picks through a few strands of my thin hair, and says “uh, no, you don’t have enough hair.”  And that would end the discussion….until the next time I found a pretty picture.

Leslie is a natural blonde and has had a purple section for years.  Her hairdresser gets the color ready when she walks in the door, Leslie always says “more!” and her hair gets compliments everywhere she goes.  In fact, if she had a nickel for every time a complete stranger said something about her hair, she’d be the one driving a new car right now!

So I visited Jolene today.  Did the usual chair sitting, color applying, coffee sipping, dryer sitting, napping.  Had to be prodded awake!  It’s only 10:00 in the morning, ladies, leave me sleeping!

Just kidding.