Aunt Toby realizes that anyone looking at my postings would not exactly find a really rigid organization functioning here. The blog really functions the way most of our households do – gotta keep it flexible within certain immutable facts; gotta take advantage of things as they come along. Strike while the iron is hot and all that. (more…)
Recently, Aunt Toby became aware of a movement that seems to be sweeping over the world of Blogistan and that is this business of people’s coming up with huge lists of things that they say they want to do, accomplish, take care of , etc. etc. within a certain period of time.
As the kid says in the old New Yorker cartoon from the 1920s, while poking dubiously into a plateful of something set in front of him, “I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.” (more…)
You hear this from people all the time, “I saved xxx much money.” “I got a great bargain; on sale, it was $xxx but I paid $yyy.” “I found a way to only pay, $xxx for thus and such; I saved so much money.”
As many of you know who read my other diaries, I am someone who believes in the power of language. I believe that words and their meanings have almost a magical quality to change our thinking. Think about the phrase “Homeland Security” – think about what THAT’s done to us.
Aunt Toby is here to announce the opening salvo (remember that detergent?) in my war against any of the words starting with the letters: S-A-V. That word and all of its daughter and sons (saved, saving, savings) have basically lost complete meaning. And here is my reason why: People think that “saving money” (that is, paying less for something you are going to buy anyway, or buying something based on the discounted price) is SAVING MONEY.
What you really DID was “NOT SPEND MONEY” or, perhaps more clearly, “NOT SPEND AS MUCH MONEY.” You did not actually SAVE MONEY. (more…)
You’re getting them; I’m getting them. With the state of the retail sector, we’ve all been getting them for at least a month: the most amazing, attractive, drool-worthy emails from retailers that we have (or perhaps have never) either visited, filled a shopping cart for, or purchased something from. (And yes, I do know that ending a sentence with a preposition is ‘a bad thing’, but I could not figure out how to do that sentence without that.)
Now that the holidays are over, it’s even more tempting. I received one today with the headline: “The one you won’t want to miss: $5.99 and UP!!!”
That’s the sort of thing that, except for the fact that I have never been able to use my store credit card to shop ON their site, would have, in the past, had me with the plastic out, clicking off item after “bargain” item. But, I have taken an entirely different philosophy about my closet these days that I would like to share. I think it works for all genders and certainly makes ME feel that I’ve got one more thing under some modicum of control. (more…)
OK – everyone comfy? Want more coffee?
We’re back in the kitchen (because that is where the food, the heat and the good seats are). We’ve talked about (to review, in case anyone is taking notes here and no – there are no essay questions on the final) saving money, starting a garden, “doing one thing” to improve your situation, and finding out who your network is.
Today, we’re going to grasp the wriggly monster with both hands: The country is in the toilet. Really. The news gets worse every day. It looks as if we are “staring down the barrel of a gun” and “hitting the wall” – simultaneously. (Being able to do both at the same times is going to take the skills and physique of a contortionist, but I digress.)
And now Elliot Spitzer gets out there and basically says that all the money that has been used to bail out the banks and AIG was wasted – like we didn’t know that already.
But he did talk about something that we WILL talk about which is:
“government investment in the long-range competitiveness of our nation, not in a failed business model…”
What I want you to do, right now (and you know I am all about the “right now”) is to take that phrase “government investment in the long-range competitiveness of our nation” and replace a couple of words so that it reads like this:
“personal investment in the long-range competitiveness of ME” or “family investment in the long-range competitiveness of family members.” (more…)
OK, folks, so we are back in the kitchen with Aunt Toby (sing that to the tune of “Strummin’ on the Old Banjo”), which of course is my very favorite place in the world because all sorts of important and useful stuff goes on there. And today’s assignment (you knew that I’d have one of those for you, didn’t you?) is an exercise in what is termed in the biz as “contact management.”
You will need: Paper, pencil, and however you keep your contacts going: Roladex, PDA, address book, file cards, the old scraps of paper on the refrigerator with the grease stains on them, etc. (more…)
For those of us who are of the less optimistic bent, the economic future looks a little dark. There are others who insist on referring to what is happening as “not as bad as the Great Depression.”
I’m here to point out something that tells me that it’s actually going to be worse for a lot of people. (more…)