Buying the 60 Blog

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Money can’t buy a new car.  But it can buy happiness, and that’s pretty much the same thing.

Well, I thought I’d get a little reprieve and not stress about buying a new car right away. But alas, no.  I found out earlier this week that my mechanic wouldn’t drive my car too far to avoid getting stranded.  I got nervous and drove Leslie’s car to the Kenny Loggins’ concert, but figured I could drive my car to work on Thursday morning.  NO!

The transmission on my Murano sputtered a farewell this week.  In fact, I probably shouldn’t have driven it the past week or two and, in hindsight, I was lucky.  When I went to the mechanic to pick up the car this morning, the mechanic’s dad said “I wouldn’t drive that car down the street!”  Of course, I had already put on makeup and my hair looked nice (for a change), so I didn’t want to waste those efforts to just call in and stay home.  So I called a coworker, who picked me up and off to the office we went.

When I got here, work was waiting for me.  In fact, I didn’t have my first cup of coffee until after 11:30, and I felt I had been tortured enough.  Coffee, emails with the bank about their car buying service and car loan, and some “real” work helped me through the day.

Friday, I picked up the car from the mechanic and was able to drive it two blocks to the IHOP down the street.  There, I cleaned out the car (what a lot of junk!) and met with the credit union auto specialist, who took pictures of my car for a buy bid (like EBay for used car dealers).  Then, another block to the Kia dealer, where I test drove the Sorento and fell in love.

Fred, the liaison between the credit union and the Kia dealer, took me for the test drive and, as I would expect, was very complimentary about the car.  And he was complimentary to me too.  Fred called me Madame and told me that I had a beautiful attitude, unlike a lot of people who test drive cars.  We agreed that it costs nothing to be nice, and why would anyone waste energy being negative when you’re doing something extraordinary for yourself, like buying a new car!

The credit union guy, Perry, secured the car I wanted (in the unusual sangria color) and I should have it in a few days.  Once payment is confirmed and the trade-in value is paid, I’ll pick up the car at the credit union and say good bye to the Murano.  Dealing with the credit union relieves all the salesmen pressure at the dealership, and I couldn’t be happier.  If you don’t use Autoland (or another car buying service) for your next new car, you’re missing out!

 

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Boosting the 60 Blog

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Pharrell Williams:  It’s not possible to experience constant euphoria, but if you’re grateful, you can find happiness in everything.

How do you boost your spirits?  Do you need to make yourself happier often?  When you’re stressed or sad, it’s easier to bury your head in the sand and go back to bed.  After my morning shower, at least a couple of times a week, I just lay back down and take a little nap before realizing my hair will be too frizzy or too flat if I just keep it wrapped in a towel. Good thing that could happen or I might sleep for another two or three hours.

One proven idea to make you happier is to get back on the coloring book bandwagon; the adult coloring craze is still going strong.  A 2017 study in the Art Therapy journal found the act of coloring an image lowered anxiety and improved mood.

How often do you express gratitude?  Daily gratitude can make us happier, but the average person runs out of things to say they’re grateful for.  Michelle Gielan, the author of Broadcasting Happiness, advises that we focus on unique, specific, small stuff.  There are many small things to be thankful for, even if it’s a flower in your neighbor’s yard.

Do you have a bucket list?  How about a buddy to do those bucket list things with?  According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, spending money on life experiences can bring you happiness, and it’s even better when you share them with someone.  Anyone want to kiss the Blarney Stone with me someday?

Social media can either boost your mood or drive it south….and that can likely happen with minutes!  Take an assessment of how you feel when you’re checking Facebook or Instagram.  Supported and connected?  Then log on and feel the love!  If social media tends to bring out negative emotions, step away for a few hours or a few days.  It will be good for you.

The last thing you want to hear when you’re sad or mad is “smile!” but it really does help.  If you make yourself smile while recalling happy memories, you can improve your mood.

 

 

 

 

Caffeinating the 60 Blog

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Louisa May Alcott:  I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now. 

JOE is one of my favorite words to play at Words with Friends.  It’s worth at least twelve points and it always makes me want to drink another cup of coffee.

Did you hear the news?  Coffee could actually be good for you!  Don’t feel bad about pouring yourself that extra cup of joe tomorrow morning.  A study out this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who drank a cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die from cancer, stroke and diabetes as well as heart, kidney and respiratory disease than non-drinkers. And the more java, the better: People who had up to three cups a day were 18 percent less likely to perish from those conditions, according to the study.

The research, conducted by the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, looked specifically at about 186,000 people who were black, Native Hawaiian, white, Japanese American and Latino. And at least one researcher suggested the findings could apply to other demographics as well.

The study used data from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC), a large research program funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Between 1993 and 1996, the MEC study enrolled more than 215,000 people aged 45 to 75. A questionnaire upon enrollment gathered information about lifestyle, diet, health history and other personal details.

According to the report, MEC enrollees who drank more coffee, “were more likely to be younger, male and white and to drink more alcohol.” Also, the more coffee people drank, the more they smoked: among those who drank four cups or more per day, just 26 percent had never smoked.

“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” author Veronica W. Setiawan, of USC, said in a statement. “If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”

Coffee is more than an obsession—it’s responsible for a roughly $48 billion market in the U.S., where 64 percent of people say they drink one or more cups a day, according to a Gallup poll.  Americans older than 55 are the biggest coffee consumers, drinking an average of four cups a day, but only 10 percent of people consider themselves to be addicted to the beverage.

Research from 2014 found that drinking large quantities of coffee doesn’t increase your cardiovascular disease risk, and a 2007 report revealed that coffee consumption could reduce your chances of developing liver cancer. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015-2020 dietary guidelines say that drinking three to five eight-ounce cups a day “can be incorporated into healthy eating patterns” given “strong and consistent evidence showing that, in healthy adults, moderate coffee consumption is not associated with an increased risk of major chronic diseases (e.g., cancer) or premature death.”

Although some advantages are linked to the caffeine coffee contains, the USC study found its subjects benefited even if they had decaf coffee. That discovery is one echoed in a 2015 analysis from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle,” Setiawan added in the release.

So, bottom line?  If you drink coffee, keep drinking coffee.  It can’t hurt you…unless you also eat half an Entenmann’s cheesecake at the same time.

Priming the 60 Blog

Business Insider:  Amazon could be about to make $1 billion in 30 hours.

Tuesday, 7/11 is Amazon’s third annual Prime Day.  Typically compared to Black Friday or Back-to-School shopping, Amazon promises lots of low prices, with specials being posted every five minutes.

How can one work a 9-5 job and live a regular life on Tuesday if you’re glued to your phone or computer to check on new specials every five minutes?  I mean, I like bargains like everyone else, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

Forbes wants to know if our wallets are ready.  The sales officially start Tuesday, but you can start shopping tonight at 6:00 PST.  The experts at BestBlackFriday.com suggest the following tips for winning Prime Day 2017:

  • New deals will be posted every five minutes for 30 hours until 3 a.m. ET on July 12.
  • Download the free Amazon App; it’s probably the best tool to guarantee that you don’t miss the deal that you want. And make sure to turn on the alerts!
  • Use your desktop or laptop computer for purchases. While Amazon’s app is great for browsing and finding upcoming deals, it’s best to make the actual purchases on a computer, especially if you’re heavy on the multi-tab usage.
  • If you aren’t a Prime member, you should be!  Now is a good time to take advantage of a 30-day trial.
  • Make sure your Prime account is in good standing and all personal information is correct and updated.  Deal urgency is a factor here, and you don’t want to lose any getting that sweet discount.
  • While Amazon is obviously commanding the spotlight on Prime Day, competitors like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Nordstrom all have big July sales under way. Keep your eyes open.  One site compiling all the sales is offers.com.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most anticipated digital deals so far:

Don’t forget that Prime Day only lasts 30 hours.  Do your homework.  You’ll know a good price when you see it.  For instance, if you’ve been watching the price of the Amazon Echo every few days, you’ll know a major price drop when you see it.

But if you haven’t researched a 70-inch television before today, the Prime Day price you see might not be the best one.  You can search the price by Googling the product name and also search “Prime Day 2016” for what the price might have been last year.  You can also compare prices by checking “Black Friday 2016.”

 

Resting the 60 Blog

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The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.

Did you know that staying up late on weekends is bad for your heart?  A study presented at a meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies found that each hour of “social jet lag” – staying up late and sleeping in on weekends – was linked with an 11% higher risk of heart disease, along with fatigue and worse moods.

I’ve discussed this before.  I don’t get enough sleep.  When I was sniffling and coughing nonstop last weekend, I didn’t give myself enough chance to rest.  I overdid it on Saturday and was gone from the house morning till night.  At some point on Saturday, I had the forethought to bump Sunday’s plans to Monday, and all was right with the world.

I slept twelve hours Saturday night through Sunday.  I never heard Leslie leave the house to take Clooney (the cat) to the vet on Sunday morning.  He’d been sneezing and excreting some snot-looking substance from his nose.  I suppose Leslie was wishing Clooney had opposable thumbs that would have allowed him to blow his own nose.

Is it possible that Clooney gave me a cold?  Believe me, there is no loving on Clooney coming from this girl (Clooney the cat; Clooney the man would be a different story!), so I doubt that, even if it was possible, the cat shared his cooties with me.

But that Saturday night/Sunday morning was bliss.   In one day, my cold had seemed to disappear and I didn’t feel like a truck was sitting on my chest.  The large amount of rest and sleep really did help.  After attending a cookout on Tuesday for the 4th, I came home and went straight to bed.  I slept ten hours that night before getting up for work on Wednesday morning.

Is it possible that my left knee hurt just a little bit less?  Was I more mindful?  Could it be that I wasn’t sneezing or coughing the whole day?  Did things bother me less than usual?

A big fat yes!  In two short test runs, I proved to myself how much sleep can help me.  Have I kept with the plan?  No.  Last night was the usual six hours, and after my shower, I was so tempted to just get back into bed.  Alas, if I want a paycheck this week, I better show up for work on a regular basis!

 

 

 

Babbling the 60 Blog

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David Ogilvy:  Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally.  They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

TLDR is an acronym for Too Long, Didn’t Read. It’s mainly seen on the web, either at the end or beginning of a long post or in the comments section. It’s quite a common texting abbreviation.  I’ve seen it before, but never bothered to look it up.  Have we become so lazy?

If you find TLDR in a post, the point is to provide a summary of the lengthy text so that someone can skip to the TLDR section and get a quick overview of what the story talks about without having to read the whole thing.  It’s like today’s Cliff’s Notes.

Comments that include TLDR usually indicate that the text was too long and they didn’t want to read it.  Or it could be the commenter’s summary of the content.  It might be used to tell the poster and other commenters that the comment might not be reflective of the post since it wasn’t read in full, or it might be a little joke to show that this post is way too long and nobody has time to read all of it.

When TLDR is in the post, it’s a helpful subject line summary.  The poster will offer a one- or two-sentence summary of the many paragraphs to follow or precede the post.  TLDR is most commonly seen in very opinionated discussion forums, where the topics lend themselves to long rants.  Controversial topics easily lure people to write hundreds of words of heated opinion.  However, TLDR posts can really be anywhere, including computer help forums and even online stories.

When TLDR is used in the comment section of a post, comment might not be quite an insult but rather a suggestion that the user above should consider abbreviating their writing. This might be used when the previous poster submitted more than a couple of paragraphs in the conversation.

Capitalization is a non-concern when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon.  You are welcome use uppercase TLDR or all lowercase tldr, and the meaning is identical. We all know to avoid typing entire sentences in uppercase because that usually indicates shouting.

Proper punctuation is similarly a non-concern with most text message abbreviations.  For example, the abbreviation for ‘Too Long, Didn’t Read’ can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR.  Both are acceptable formats, with or without punctuation.

Never use periods (dots) between your jargon letters. It would defeat the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L. and TTYL would never be spelled T.T.Y.L.

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the people well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely use abbreviation jargon. On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship with the other person, it’s best to avoid abbreviations until you have developed a relationship rapport.  If the messaging is in a professional context with someone at work, or with a customer or vendor outside your company, then avoid abbreviations altogether.

Using full word spellings shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much easier to err on the side of being too professional and then relax your communications over time than being unprofessional from the start.

Ranting the 60 Blog

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J.S. Park:  Many times we think someone is ranting, but they’re actually speaking with conviction:  and everyone has just forgotten the sound of real passion.  We’re so afraid of absolutes and a strong gut and digging in your heels, that we dismiss the powerful voice of a lonely fighter.

I recently read a blog by Alison, A Pierman Sister, which seems to agree with a lot of what I’ve been saying and writing and thinking the last few months.  With permission, I’m posting parts of her last post:

This is not a rant. This is an anti-rant. This is a rant against rants.  I have never had a bumper sticker. I bare no tattoos. My friends and family–who are gay, straight and all races–cover the political spectrum and all mainstream religions. 

Don’t get me wrong. I have opinions and persuasions but only those in my Circle of Trust have to hear about it.  (Alison, you read my mind!)  I get my world news from sources other than social media and I DON’T CARE WHO OR WHAT YOU HATE.

Now, Alison proposes that her future posts will only fall into some of the following favorite categories.  I may not agree with all of them (see number 1), yet I see her point.

Fabulous Favs 
1.   alive and thriving cats, dogs, goats, bunnies and horses, oh, and sloths of course
2.   family (including aforementioned animals)
3.   fat babies
4.   vacations/travel
5.   tributes to aged persons
6.   beautiful or intriguing photos
7.   poetry and literature
8.   your likes/comments on my own fascinating posts 
9.   new gadgets and inventions I need (I’m talking to you, updated Fanny Pack) (Me?  I never want to be seen in a fanny pack again!)
10.  funny stuff (oh, you’ll know)

Topics to be forbidden from her future posts are:

Fanatically Forbidden 
1.   political/anti-religious rants
2.   bigotry
3.   work-out videos (that’s just hateful)

Alison summarizes her blog M.O. as this:

In summary, I’m old. Life is too short for vitriolic whiners. If you don’t like something, try changing it with construct or with your vote next cycle. If you hate [FILL IN THE BLANK] and you want to force your cyber-friends to hear you rage about it, I will simply being seeing less of you.

Alison has indeed read my mind.  If you’d like to read more of her musings, while still reading my pearls, you can follow Alison here:  A Pierman Sister blog  Tell her Caryn sent you.

Furnishing the 60 Blog

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Mario Burata:  Dust is a protective coating for fine furniture.

My dad worked in retail for as long as I could remember.  He usually worked weekends and was off two weekdays, and it was a schedule the family was always used to. Mom didn’t drive, so Mom and Dad would grocery shop on his day off and we’d usually go out to eat the other weeknight.  Holidays like Memorial Day were just workdays for Dad.

Dad was the furniture expert.  For many years, he sold furniture at a high-end store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  The store was owned and named for Daniel Jones, and, when Leslie and I were young teenagers (and we ran the elevators on Sundays), it appeared that the sales people were all middle-aged white men.  (More about that later.)  I remember one woman who worked there, and thinking back now, it seemed she had to work twice as hard to get sales.

They worked on a commission basis and the sales people rotated to take the next new customer who walked in the front door.  As a young girl, the store fascinated me, and the furniture always seemed expensive.  I remember hearing “it’s from South Carolina” or “this is a Daniel Jones exclusive” and the sales people were always selling and cajoling.

Whenever we needed furniture as a family, Dad always found what we needed.  As adults, and living in California, Dad worked at various department stores and was always able to get us good furniture at a discounted price.  We inherited a green leather sofa from my Dad and stepmom many years ago and we still put it to good use.  (I can easily fall asleep on it watching TV!)

However, Leslie and I have been wanting new furniture.  The accent chair is just not comfortable any more and we need a new look in the living room.  So on our way to a July 4th cookout, we stopped at Ashley Furniture to look at a couch we had seen online.  The store was filled with all kinds of shoppers and sales people.  You could tell the sales staff was just waiting to be called to handle the next shopper, and we had the name of someone we had previously spoken with on the phone.

What a multi-cultural experience!  Shoppers spoke with accents, were young and old, with children and without, and there were no middle-aged white men working as sales people that day.  The sales people are the demographic of the shoppers, of course, and I’m not complaining.  To me, it seems that middle-aged white men are not walking the floors of an enormous furniture store handling non-stop sales all day long, 40 hours or more a week.

Again, it’s not a bad thing.  Not a good thing. Just a different thing.  If we could go back in time and my dad and stepmom were in their 40s or 50s working in the furniture industry, what would they think?  Of course, if time travel was the norm, we wouldn’t have even been at Ashley Furniture, and we would have gotten our new couch and chair-and-a-half at a discounted price and maybe bought other furniture with our savings.

 

 

Sniffling the 60 Blog

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A bird in the hand makes blowing your nose difficult.

Thursday afternoon, my throat started to bother me.  Then Thursday night into Friday morning, sneezing, coughing, ugliness.  Friday, half-a-box of tissues later, I made it through work.

I don’t know if I’m happy about being sick with a summer cold through a long holiday weekend.  Our office is closed on Monday, so we have four days off.  And I have things to do, places to go, people to hug and share my germs with.

The term “common cold” involves sneezing, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, sore throat, cough, low-grade fever, headache, and malaise. Usually, these symptoms peak on day three or four and begin their resolution by day seven.   

Summer colds occur more frequently than you might realize. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases estimates that 30 to 50 percent of colds are caused by rhinoviruses, which are most active in the spring, summer, and early fall.  In most cases, a summer cold won’t feel much different from a winter one.

The time of year may make a summer cold a more challenging experience for you than a winter sickness. Common summer situations can worsen summer cold symptoms.  Air conditioners tend to extract moisture from the air and may cause some drying of the protective mucus lining in the nose and predispose us to infection.  I’ll just sit under the ceiling fan for prolonged periods of time.

A cold’s symptoms often appear one at a time, and last seven to 10 days, and I get to enjoy a “yellowish nasal discharge and lots of sneezing.”  Thought it’s not in our nature to sit still and rest during the beautiful summer months, that’s really the best cold treatment prescription for dealing with a summer cold. Get plenty of fluids to stay hydrated — stick to water and avoid beverages that can dry you out, like sodas, coffee, and alcohol, especially during the dog days of summer.

Other cold treatment tips that can make colds more manageable include trying zinc lozenges, which may reduce the duration of a cold if taken at the first sign of symptoms, and sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom. And appropriate over-the-counter medication as needed to cope with specific cold symptoms will also be helpful.

So, the solution for me?  Rest, more tissues, water, throat lozenges, and lots of Netflix.