Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Get your finances straight... Overall I think we Americans struggle most with the money piece. We're not really taught practical money management in school, and as adults we can feel intimidated by all the economic jargon and we get the idea that financial savvy really belongs to a special few. That's why getting educated about your money is so important. Capital One, for instance, has some terrific tips and resources on their website: these are easy to understand and they yet provide the information you really need to know. Here are some of their tips:
Create a spending plan – Having a spending plan is the easiest way to stay on top of your spending. Once you have a budget, remember to track all of your spending against it and review it every few months to make sure you’re sticking to it.
Save – Save as often as you can. Start by establishing a few small savings goals and incorporate them into your budget. Remember that even small amounts can add up over time.
Get a copy of your credit report. Making sure it’s accurate is one of the best ways to protect against identity theft and consumers everywhere can obtain a free annual copy by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
Capital One offers a host of free consumer information available at
capitalone.com/financialeducation - just click on Financial Education Partnerships.
Update your look. Take some of that Christmas money and get yourself some wonderful clothes. Don't wait till to lose weight or the styles get more flattering or whatever it is that's been holding you back. You deserve to look magnificent. And if wear glasses, new ones can spice up your whole look. I'm finding LenCrafters is like a fashionista's candy store. They have some stunning new styles from Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Versace -- having some of these terrific glasses is a way to wear something from a designer every single day without spending a lot. It spices up your whole look -- you know, people do look at your eyes first -- and you can look at 2008 with new eyes and a new attitude."
LensCrafters.comto find out the latest trends or visit the store near you so you can start the year off right!
Come closer to a vegetarian diet. For your body, the animals, and the planet, eat green. Put more fresh vegetables and fruits, satisfying whole grains, and legumes (beans, lentils, split peas, soy products) in your diet, and double the number of vegetarian entrees you enjoy each week. Here are some stats to ponder (from EarthSave International):
Number of people who could be fed using the land, water and energy that would be freed up from growing livestock feed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100,000,000
Activity that accounts for more than half of all water consumed for all purposes in the United States:
Risk of heart attack for the average American man: 50%. Risk of death front heart attack for the average American man who consumes no meat, dairy products or eggs: 4%
Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to less than once a week: 3.8 times higher
Health status of pure vegetarians from many populations of the world according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences: Excellent
Have quiet time every morning. Nothing will change the way you see the world, your life, and yourself more than making contact every morning for ten to twenty minutes with the highest and best that's in you. Use the time for prayer, meditation, journal writing, inspirational reading or some combination. Here are some of the benefits of meditation:
Decreased anxiety (meditation lowers lactate levels in the blood)
Decrease in muscle tension and muscle pain, including some headaches
Supports immune system (it increases the activity of natural killer cells that attack bacteria and viruses)
Increased serotonin production which can lead to an improvement in depression
Stems overeating (this may also be a serotonin response)
Improves quality of sleep and can be part of the treatment for insomnia
Brings about happiness as an internal state not dependent on external events
A classic book for new and seasoned meditators: How to Meditate, by Lawrence LeShan
Enjoy something every day. We're so serious that I see our society suffering from a great lack of joy. Oh, we have ease, and recreation, and entertainment, and diversions, but joy is different. It comes from letting your inner kid out to play. Find ways to enjoy the little things. Stop a moment of pleasure. The e-mail can wait. So can the laundry. Your heart and soul and self have been put on hold too often. Here are some of the simple joys that please the heck out of me:
Snow! Even with global warming, it still snows sometimes and it's absolutely gorgeous.
My cat: he'll follow anything with a tail (ribbon, string, shoelace, the cord from the phone charger)
Afternoon tea (get a whole new appreciation for the brew and its herbal associates at www.teagarden.com)
Watching a movie in the middle of the day, either at a theater or in bed under the covers
Having breakfast for dinner (my menu: Scrambled Tofu [I used Fantastic Foods Tofu Scrambler mix], toasted spelt English muffins with flax oil and all-fruit jam, grilled veggie-Canadian-bacon [Yves is a good brand, at natural foods stores], and fresh o.j. Yum.)
A hot bath with Dr. Kneipp's bath oils---there's an array to choose from if I want to relax, perk up, feel less stiff or sore, or clear my nasal passages and my thinking.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Hi, everybody. U-Haul has as their slogan "Adventures in Moving" and, heaven knows, I've had an adventure. I did the move from New York City to Woodstock on my own. I figured William was in so much grief over the death of his son that he would not do well with the stress of moving so I bought him a nonrefundable ticket to visit his mom in Kansas so he couldn't say no. Then I proceeded to pack, transport, uproot, redecorate, and reestablish our domestic life.
I had some terrific packing help in NYC from a wonderful professional organizer named Liani Greaves. If you're in the NYC area and in need of establishing some order, I highly recommend her. You can reach her by phone at 917-561-9814. On the day of the Big Move, however, everything went wrong. I hired movers from craigslist---major mistake. For starters, they were six hours late. For finishers, although they advertised themselves as legitimate movers, they weren't. They were instead some guys in the restaurant business in Albany looking to make a buck when their truck is in New York City. Big problem: small truck. They ended up having to make two runs and charging me double.
And after all that, they forgot our clothes. No kidding: on the second run when they were by themselves, they didn't look in closets and I realized that all my business clothes and all my husband's suits and sports jackets and overcoats were in garment bags back in Manhattan - 2 ½ hours away. The moving guy promised he'd pick them up on Monday. He didn't. I ended up driving there myself Tuesday morning. It was rough: I was not ready to see the city only four days after leaving it. I cried so hard in front of my old building that the morning doorman, a devout Muslim who would never ordinarily touch a woman who wasn't his wife, felt so bad that he hugged me!
There were also snags of every sort on the apartment. The painter was skilled but went well over budget. The movers managed to lock my desk (I didn't know it had a lock and I certainly had no key) so I had to call a locksmith. The electrical outlets in my husband's office weren't grounded so I had to bring in an electrician. The windows are odd sized so getting shades and blinds was trying. The Roadrunner cable still doesn't work for our Internet (Dear Verizon: You cost a lot but we're coming back...) and the TV cable doesn't work at all. And yet, with every day and every challenge I felt stronger and more up to the job. I had to create a warm, welcoming home for William, no matter what. As I result, I matted pictures, hung curtains, painted woodwork, and did a host of other things I've never done and always said were outside my area of interest or expertise. The way I feel today: I can do just about anything. I guess that's what the word empowerment is about.
You know what I thought of through this time?---those military recruitment commercials that basically say, "Give us your scrawny, good-for-nothing kid and we'll give you back a soldier." Ten days ago I was, figuratively, the scrawny kid. Now I'm strong and brave in a way I wasn't before. Who knew they held boot camp at Home Depot?
WHERE I'LL BE...
TOPEKA, KS: January 6, Sunday, 11 a.m., Sunday service, "The God-Shaped Hole," book signing to follow; Unity Church of Christianity, 9126 SW Tenth Ave., www.wingsunfolding.com
KANSAS CITY, MO: January 13, Sunday, 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday services, "The God-Shaped Hole," book signing to follow; Center for Spiritual Living, 1306 W. 39th St., 816/931-2395, www.cslkc.org
NEW YORK CITY: January 15, Tuesday, The Learning Annex , workshop entitled "How to Have a More Spiritual Life"