I’m A Pusher

As far as I am concerned I am just like a drug dealer. I give people a little taste of Mah Jongg and quickly they get addicted. Once addicted they want more and more and they come back to me again and again to get their fix.

As I tell all my students, if you are going to be addicted to anything Mah Jongg is the best thing. It’s not fattening. It doesn’t impair your driving. It doesn’t cost a fortune. Rarely does it cost you your job or your relationship. It’s not embarrassing to admit you are addicted to it.

On the plus side, it builds new neural pathways. It expands your universe of friends. Did I mention it’s not fattening.

This week I have had a delightful group of new players, who in their second day are well on their way to being addicted. I am happy to say I am their pusher.

Best Day of Work Ever

About ten months ago I got a request from a North Carolina Mah Jongg player to come teach Mah Jongg in the Bahamas. The offer was too good to pass up just one hearing it. The reality of it is so much better.

Russ and I are enjoying a beautiful week in the most fabulous location, which we otherwise would have no way to visit. The people who work here are warm and kind and so much fun. The members are fantastic, interesting and fun too!

Today was my first day of classes. There was so much interest I had to teach two classes, which I never mind. The club puts on such a spread for my students it is almost obscene. Russ and I are definitely being over pampered. Tonight we had the most sumptuous dinner and we only had appetizers and it was too much.

The thing I am most addicted to here are the orchids, which are absolutely everywhere. This may be a work week for me, but if this is work I am going to make sure I am a workaholic.

My Day Off

Mah Jongg week is about to start at Lyford Cay. Today was my day off and Russ and I enjoyed the beach and the water. In the turn of events I got to bring Russ on my business trip. As one of my students said, “He’s nice arm candy.”

After fun in the sun I had a chance to make sure the room where classes are being held was set up right. Everyone here couldn’t be nicer. They had exactly what I requested. I went through all the Mah Jongg sets and made sure they were complete. We are all set for classes tomorrow.

Tonight was the welcome cocktail party for me to meet the students. It’s a who’s who of new Mah Jongg players and experienced players who will be taking strategy at the end of the week. Russ enjoyed talking with the husbands who came to the party. He particular liked the international crowd.

The first people who I met were the Houston ladies, then Miami, London, Chicago, Switzerland and all the North Carolina crowd who came all the way down here to take from me. I am honored to get to share the game. I look forward to getting to know them all.

Travel Day

Russ and I are on a little adventure. Location will eventually reveal itself. Today was our travel day. We have the most lovely hostess who made this whole trip happen. I am eternally grateful to her.

She graciously met us at the airport and toured us around before we checked in. Once settled in our accommodations I walked out our terrace door to see the crystal blue ocean. Ahh. Travel to nice places is the best.

Tonight our hostess picked us up to go enjoy cocktails on her boat. There we met her charming family members and got a tour of their fabulous boat. Then it was off to dinner at the Yacht club.

This is a good adventure. It’s going to be a very fun week.

Sorry if Your Weather is not Like North Carolina’s Today

As serious as climate change is it makes for one hell of a great day here in North Carolina in February. My mom needed a ride to Raleigh today to visit her lawyer to finalize her estate. Driving to the big city is not her idea of fun. Since I am back and forth there so often I was happy to take her.

I thought we had great luck getting a parking space right on Fayetteville st. in front of the building, but I quickly found out why there were so many open spots. The parking kiosks where you pay for your space were all offline. Mom went in to her appointment as I roamed the block looking for a kiosk that worked.

Mom’s appointment was efficient. We went over all her wishes for medical and estate documents and she signed her name over and over again. Thankfully that chore is done.

Our plans were to go to lunch and stop and spend the gift cards my sister gave us for Christmas. I drove Mom over to the Irregardless Cafe where we were able to eat lunch outdoors. Who ever heard of Al fresco in February. All the daffodils and hyacinths were in full bloom. The tulip trees were a riot of purple and white, tree buds were even evident. Please lord, don’t send us an ice storm in March and ruin all this new growth.

As we walked back to the car in the glorious sunshine Mom got a call that she needed to go back to Croasdaile to attend to something. So no shopping for us. I am so glad the call did not come before we were able to have a lovely lunch outside.

I know that more than half the country is suffering with terrible cold and snow, but we have had the easies winter ever. Now that I have written that I hope it won’t jinx us.

Appliance Baron

Yesterday, while I was in the midst of teaching nine hours of Mah Jongg classes Russ was at home letting the dishwasher repair man in the house.

Our dishwasher broke on December 24, at about 4:55pm. I ran to call the repair place before five, but they had closed, not to reopen until Dec. 27. No luck having a dishwasher through the holidays.

When the repair scheduler called me she told me our first available date was Jan 17. “Can you please text me the information?” Turned out to be the smartest thing I ever did. When the repairman did not call to confirm, and did not show up on Jan. 17 I had a paper trail. I called the scheduler up and asked where the repair man was. When she said she did not have an appointment for me on the books I was able to show her the text. The mea culpa began. The repairman was at our house on Jan. 18.

Sadly that is not the end of the story. After two hours diagnosing with many calls to Miele Professional support, he told me that I need two parts, which would take two weeks to get. “Fine,” it was still much cheaper than a new dishwasher, which I would have to waits months to get.

Two weeks meant four weeks. And they finally called to schedule the repair again. Russ said it was harder than the guy thought it should be, but that the dishwasher works now.

We have gotten so used to washing our dishes I forgot to put my glass in the dishwasher this morning and just washed it. I do admit that my glasses are not as sparkling as they are coming out of the dishwasher.

Two months to get something repaired seems to be the norm these days. I miss the days when appliances were simpler. When I could call my guy, the “Appliance DoKtor,” yes, with a K, who could fix any make or model of anything.

Now there are specialized codes, and proprietary diagnostics. Never mind that every time they say it is “the mother board” and that costs and arm and a leg. Mothers just shouldn’t break. Let’s add too it that there is real planed obsolescence in appliances these days. Long gone are the days that a refrigerator lasts 20 years and you have a forty year old one in the garage.

In my next life I am coming back as an appliance Barron. I am going to invent and make sturdy, long lasting appliances that can be fixed by the average homeowner watching YouTube and using tools they have in the garage. Until my next life I am at the mercy of the mother board makers.

Beginner Mah Jongg Tournament

I am hosting a Mah Jongg Tournament at the Food Bank on Mach 20. T is going o be a very friendly day of play focused mainly at newer or slower players. Many tournaments require the players to be able to play four games in an hour. This scares away new er players who would love to join in the fun.

If this interests you click on this link to register for the day. The $75 benefits the Food Bank. I will give an intro talk to teach you the rules. Lunch will be served. It is sure to be lots of fun.


Contact me if you have any questions. You don’t need to come with a group of four. You will get a chance to play with many different new friends.

Working In My Car

Back in the days that I sold Mail opening and extracting machines up and down the middle Atlantic and southern states I felt like I lived in my car. Some days I would have to visit a client at six in the morning because that was the time they got the trays and trays of mail they needed to open and I had to access how many machines they needed to buy to help with that task. So glamorous. Other days I would drive three hours from DC to Richmond and go see a client and then drive down to Williamsburg to see another and over to Chesapeake for another.

I did everything in my car. Ate my breakfast, wrote my proposals, put on my make up. Sometimes I took my dog Beau with me. I would sneak him into my room at the Holiday Inn since the doors opened onto the parking lot. He was such a good dog. I could leave him in the car, parked in the shade, with the windows open and no one bothered him and he just hung out. No one wanted to steal my company car or anything in it, especIally from a parking lot of a utility company that was one of my customers.

Today I feel a lot like I did back in my twenties, working out of my car. I drove over to Raleigh early in the morning to teach two classes at one club. Thankfully the club gives me lunch and I enjoyed it with two of my favorite students, Dell and Holly. At four I finished my second class and I had two and a half hours to kill before my third class of the day.

I went to Kinko’s to make copies for an upcoming class. Drove by Whole Foods where I got some chicken salad for dinner which I ate in my car listening to my book club book, “The secret history.” I paid some bills online from my car. Now I’m writing my blog in the car because I will be too exhausted by the time time I get home tonight at 10:15. I will have to go right to bed since I get up tomorrow and do it all again.

The only things that are different is I love teaching Mah Jongg so much more than selling mail opening and extracting machines and I can’t bring my dog to work with me. Still, what’s old is new again. My car is my office.

Be Prepared for Others to Let you Down

I am preparing for a class I am teaching. The organizer told me months ago that they would have the supplies needed. Today I thought to double check on them. Turns out they were not prepared and told me I need to bring some supplies.

This comes as no surprise, that is why I checked in. Nonetheless is does put me out quite a bit as this is my busiest week of the year. These people are not the only ones waiting for the last minute to request things from me.

No matter how far in advance I let people know of my unavailability, that never stops them from waiting until the last minute. Now their emergency becomes my problem.

I know that I have the ability to get people out of their predicaments, but just once I would like to say, “Sorry, you have to solve your own problems.” If only their problems did not make problems for me.

The Indignity

Shay was having some trouble with her backside. Russ and I had to bathe her last night to clean up her trouble. While doing it I discovered she had an engorged gland. A trip to the emergency vet was in her future.

Since I had a class to teach today Russ did the vet duty. Thank goodness for vets who are open on Sunday. While I was in Raliegh Russ was in the waiting room for hours. Thankfully the good folks there were able to fix Shay up.

On my way home Russ filled me in on Shay’s prognosis which involved her needing to take probiotics three times a day. The medicine is a paste which comes in a syringe that Russ said he squirted on a burger so Shay would eat it.

So on my way home I stopped and bought a pound of hamburger for Shay. I think she is going to have a very good week taking her meds. She may be happy to endure the indignity of her problem if it means she gets hamburger.

Jimmy Carter

I was in boarding school the night Jimmy Carter was elected. I can remember one particularly haughty rich girl, who was none too smart, saying, “He’s so bad, my Daddy is going to move us to Switzerland.” That did not happen, but really, the dramatics were unforgettable. What did she expect would happen, the country had lived through Nixon and the backlash was inevitable.

Jimmy Carter turned out to be not the best President. He inherited an economy that was a mess, an Iran Hostage situation which made him appear weak, and advisors of too many Georgia locals who were not skilled in national politics. Let’s not even talk of his brother Billy.

Since my last name was Carter I took a lot of ribbing about President Carter. One upperclassman in college accosted me when I got out of my car freshman year because my license plate was DCARTR. “I hope that plate stands for ‘Dump Carter.’”

What Jimmy Carter wasn’t as a President he has been as an ex-President. He is a successful diplomat and humanitarian. He has been a tireless leader and hands on worker for good. Habitat for Humanity has changed more lives and generations of families because of his involvement.

If you weren’t an adult during the Carter Presidential era you never knew that he was not always beloved. It is with great sadness that I learned he has hospice care in right now. At 98 it is no surprise, but he has lived more years post Presidency than he did pre. He has been the best example of how to gracefully have a second act. He has worked tirelessly for good and never acted entitled.

Carter, a man of so much faith, has lived putting others before himself. I hope his last days are peaceful and pain free as he moves on to rest. Thank you for all your service. Go knowing you are beloved.

The Sunshine of February

Mid February, post Valentine’s Day can be a fairly boring time. The skies are grey and the news is dull. But on this day, the seventeenth of February, one of the greatest people was born, Suzanne Worden. So what might be considered a dull day is made shinny and bright by her appearance on this earth.

I am lucky to have become friends with Suzanne over four decades ago and to have her remain my closest bosom buddy all these years. She has been by my side for so many of life’s important moments and I cherish her in so many ways.

From our daily wordle exchange, to our monthly book discussions we find many reasons to be in constant contact. We had a short pre-birthday girls trip to visit our friends Janet and those three days reminded us we need to see each other more often.

I am ever thankful that Mary and Clee Worden had that bonus fifth daughter, Suzanne on this very date. I could not imagine what my journey would have been like without her.

Happy Birthday Suzanne. You are the sunshine in the month of February.

Let’s Mobilize

Yesterday my blog was about the insanity of guns in America. It wasn’t an in-depth report, just an observation that we have legislators who openly wear AR-15 lapel pins as everyday there is a mass shooting in America. There is something about this faction of “legislators”, I refuse to call them lawmakers because they never pass any actual laws, who got these pins that really set me off.

Not one of them appears to care about people being shot, they just want to protect the gun makers right to keep selling more and more guns. AR-15’s are not used to hunt animals, they are only used to kill people.

My blog started a conversation between two of my friends, Suzanne and Jan,who don’t know each other except through me. Jan, texted me, “Why don’t we have a ‘friends of Dana’ zoom to talk about what we can do about guns.” I actually had a similar thought right before she texted me that.

Suzanne sent this to Jan and Jan said, it is going at warp speed now.

We texted back and forth and think that there are any number of good gun legislation groups we might want to learn more about. I think it is time that regular people like us have to become involved if anything is going to be done about this issue.

It is going to take the mother’s and father’s and the grandmother’s and grand father’s of America to become a force for change. We don’t know how, but not doing anything is not working so far.

If you are interested in joining forces to just learn about how we might start to move the needle on gun issues let me know. We don’t have a plan. We are not looking to start a new organization. We just want to start to learn and figure out what the options are to stop the scourge of gun violence in America.

The one thing I know is not talking about it is not working and there are way too many nuts wearing AR-15 lapel pins in congress for us to let them have the last word on it.

Just message me if you are at all concerned and want to join forces. I’ve never been one to be satisfied with just thoughts and prayers. Let’s mobilize and actually do something!

Don’t Be Like a Dog

I saw a great video on instagram today. In the forefront of the picture is a hand holding a gnawed up broken pencil and in the back ground is a dog standing there with his eyes closed. The voice of the man holding the pencil is saying, “Who chewed up my pencil? Did you chew up my pencil.” The dog just stands there, refusing to open their eyes.

The man says, “ You think if you don’t look at it it makes you less guilty?” The dog continues to stand there with his eyes closed.

I laughed so hard, but then had a terrible thought. That dog is like half of Americans. They vote for people who allow people to be chewed up by gun violence and refuse to look at the deaths. They think if we keep our eyes closed and don’t acknowledge the senseless murders then they don’t have to consider their role in the deaths.

Common sense gun reform should be at the top of all legislative agendas. Mass killings don’t happen in other civilized countries. Other countries have mental illness, yet they still don’t have more than one mass shooting everyday like we do in America. The difference is access to guns.

For god’s sake, wake up and open your eyes. Stop voting for people who wear AR-15 lapel pins in congress. No one outside of military needs those. Don’t be like a dog and think you are not guilty if you don’t open your eyes. You are more guilty for keeping your eyes shut.

Unearthing old Treasures

Our new carpenter Eric arrived today to fix some woodwork in our sunroom. He is an actual craftsman because when he looked at the job he asked me if I wanted the room repainted or just the spot that he was repairing. I told him to do the whole room and he said that was the right answer to make sure it is perfect and therefore he would take the job.

As he got to work I went off to Garden Club at Anne Eberdt’s beautiful house. After the meeting I returned home to find that Eric had removed all the sofas, rugs, chairs, tables, lamps and orchids from the room single-handedly, including an antique blanket chest which held over 300 record albums. In order to move the chest he took the albums out in the alphabetical order they were in and placed them in piles in front of my fireplace.

Many of these LP’s are from my high school and college years. Well loved and deep-grooved James Taylor and Jackson Browne’s filled the chest. I had started storing these records in the chest back in the days that I still listened to albums on my turn table. When we moved to this house the chest was needed in the sunroom and the albums stayed in it, far from my old stereo.

So I took this opportunity of the albums being out of the chest to move them to the gathering room, next to the stereo that still works perfectly forty years later thanks to my Dad always gifting the best in stereo equipment. I have vowed to listen to one album a day until I have worked my way through this collection, then start on the other 100 albums that are already up by the stereo. I will be going in alphabetical order by artist so tomorrow I will start with Laurie Anderson. I guess when I get to the artists that I have multiple albums from I will have to put them into age order and start with the oldest ones first.

Every once in a while I will report the highlights and low lights. They say that music memory is the last thing to go. I can’t wait to relive my teenage years only in music. Who knows what angst I will bring up.

Love For Everyone

When I was in school there was an organization that sold carnations to be delivered on Valentine’s Day. I don’t remember all the details, but they sold different colors for different meanings. If you bought a carnation you got to write a little note that was attached to the stem. It was an easy way to tell your friends you loved them.

If you didn’t have a sweetheart it was a nice way to not feel left on out the holiday for those in love. I can remember everyone carrying round bunches of flowers which made us all so happy.

I loved getting those flowers from my friends and if I had someone special on Valentine’s Day from him too. The thing I recall was wondering what about the people who didn’t get any flowers. Valentines is hard enough if you are uncoupled, but to also appear friendless too made the day twice as bad.

After more than 30 years of marriage I now consider Valentine’s Day a day for amateurs. I am shown act of love daily and those are what are important to me. The last thing I want on Valentine’s Day are some over priced flowers, or a dinner out at a much too busy restaurant or chocolates which will just bring me guilt.

Russ knows that putting the garbage out and bringing me my iced tea in bed is the perfect way to tell me he loves me.

Tomorrow I want to wish love not only to my sweetheart and my daughter, but to all my uncoupled friends who may feel like this day leaves them out. Love comes in many forms and I am certain we are all loved in various ways for many different reasons. Consider this blog many different colored carnations just so you know you are thought about and loved. It’s love for everyone.

Super Bowl Buffalo Cauliflower

It’s just me and Russ cheering on the Eagles at home. I wanted to make something for dinner that had the feel of Super Bowl food without doing too much. I decided to make air fryer Buffalo cauliflower. It wasn’t too crispy, but it was yummy. So yummy in fact I skipped eating anything else. That’s a win for me.

1 head of cauliflower broken into florets all the same size


1/4 cup corn starch

1/2 cup flour

2 t. Garlic powder

1/2 t. Salt

2 t. Smoked paprika

Just enough water to make a batter

1 1/2 T. Melted butter

1 T. Reds extra hot sauce

1 1/2 T. Crumbled blue cheese

Spray the rack of your air fryer with Pam. Pre heat airfryer to 450°

Make the batter in a bowl big enough to hold the cauliflower. Add just enough water to make the batter a little thinner than pancake batter.

Add the cauliflower and stir it all around until it is all coated with the batter, including inside the little limbs.

Place each floret on the rack of the air fryer with a tray underneath because some batter will fall off.

Place in air fryer for 9 mins. Make sure it doesn’t get too dark.

Meanwhile clean the bowl and put the melted butter and hot sauce in it and mix together. When the cauliflower is cooked remove from rack and place in the bowl with the butter hot sauce. Toss everything together.

Plate the cauliflower and sprinkle with blue cheese. You will never miss the chicken wings.

The Dusting Rabbit Hole

Some years ago my housekeeper told me she couldn’t lift my vacuum. She is a small woman and had lost all her helpers and was unable to get any new people thanks to an unfriendly government situation.

When I figured up how much I spent and how much we had to earn to pay her it was a no brainer that I should clean my own house. I was giving myself a $15,000 raise to do it.

I find great satisfaction in mopping my kitchen floor, but not much in dusting. There is something rewarding to see my own reflection in that gleaming floor. I should learn to look down at myself when I clean the dining room table. I probably would like it more.

The only issue I have with cleaning my own house is there are some rooms I just don’t go in that often so I forget to clean them. Yesterday I used the guest room bathroom. While hanging out in there I got a close up view of the floor. Wonder when the last time I scrubbed it? Then I threw back the shower curtain. Are those dust bunnies in the tub? How in the world can a dust bunny get in the tub.

So the excitement for the day was cleaning that bathroom. It was obvious when I turned the water on in the tub that faucet had not been used in quite a while.

I guess I need to be more systematic in my cleaning and not just think that because I mop the kitchen floor multiple times a week my house is clean. It is getting close to spring so I could consider a top to bottom cleaning of every room the right thing to do. Usually this is a “if you give a mouse a cookie” type of situation. I anticipate that I will find drawers, cabinets and closets that will need to be cleaned out along with dusting the baseboards and behind the sofas.

If you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because I have fallen down some rabbit hole of vacuuming the chimney. Well, I am making $15,000, it’s the least I can do.

Friday Like It’s 2013

A few years back I would often spend an afternoon sitting at the stitching table at Chapel Hill Needlepoint catching up with the stitching advisors, as I liked to call my needlepoint friends. Then needlepoint Nancy had to move the store because her space was being sold. She moved to a nice store front closer to downtown, but just that much further from home and harder for me to stop by just to stitch.

Then the pandemic came and we had to abandon the stitching table all together and make appointments to come shop.

Today was a throw back to the old days. I went over to the store with the plan of stitching and visiting all afternoon. I brought the fabric that is the inspiration for my next four big projects. Bought the needed canvas and spent my whole Christmas present from my mother.

It was delightful to learn what others were reading, eating and watching as we worked out canvases. It was just like the old days, but sadly without Ann.

I have missed sitting with the stitching advisors and am going to make a concerted effort to come join the table at least once a month. There are no better people to tell you the best of everything you might be looking for and even things you never thought you needed.

Today I learned of the best donuts in Durham, but I had to let that information go in one ear and out another. Thanks to Nancy for making needlepointing so fun and so welcoming. I have been to plenty of other stores where I have felt like just walking in the store was a huge intrusion.

I loved rekindling the camaraderie of the stitching table. It was just like it was in 2013 only now I am a much better stitcher.

Welcome Home

Recently I got an email from Amanda MacLaren, the editor of Durham Magazine. Was I interested in writing an installment of a new column in the magazine? It had been a while since I had done work at the magazine and I said, “Of course, I would be happy to contribute.”

Dan and Ellen Shannon, me, Amanda MacLaren, Rory Gillis
Photo Credit – John Micheal Simpson

Today I was invited to the office lunch to discuss the column. I was happy to get to catch up with Dan and Ellen Shannon, Rory Gillis as well as Amanda. They are practically the only people still at the magazine from my years there. Sadly Kevin Brown, the Creative director, who is the only other person I knew, was out sick.

It was great to catch up with the goings on. I joked with Dan that they had not fired me yet. His response was perfect Dan, “We never fired you. You still work here.”

I got to meet the current photographer, John Micheal Simpson who took a group photo of us. Dan had him take a new head shot of me for the magazine which I was not prepared for. “Please use my fifteen year old head shot the Brianna Brough took.” John Micheal took one anyway.

For now I have a short deadline to meet, nothing new in the magazine business. Meeting deadline was never my problem. I always have something to say.

Tea Time

Tea Time

So much fun to be invited to Jan’s house for a tea party today. Jan inherited a lot of beautiful tea cups and has enjoyed having tea parties with her grand children. I was thrilled she decided to have one for her new neighborhood friends along with some of us old friends.

Jan had the many tiny cups and saucers set out on a side board. Each guest picked their favorite and were free to sample as many teas as they liked.

The kitchen Island was laden with at least 17 different teas and small tea pots. Jan had made description cards for each tea so I was able to study the teas before tasting. Thankfully her instant hot water dispenser made brewing the teas simple.

It was obvious from the laden dining room table that Jan had been cooking for days. I had to hold back from sampling the goodies, but they looked beautiful.

Catching up with Deanna and Judy was a highlight of the party. I also got to see many of my Mah Jongg students and only had to answer three of four questions about the game. True to form I had forgotten a few people’s names. When I asked Jan to remind of two ladies names’ she told me one name as they both were named the same thing. You think I could remember one name.

Thanks Jan for the highlight of the week. Tea with friends is always a treat.

No More Shopping for Russ

On days I teach Mah Jongg at night I don’t really get to eat dinner. I bring a snack on my drive over to Raliegh and eat it in the car before I go in to set up for class. Since it is usually around 5:40 that I am setting up I am not really hungry and am not the best teacher on a full stomach.

By the time I get home close to ten at night I am too tired to eat and I need a two hour window between eating and taking my nighttime medication so I am out of luck. I can have a drink though. My favorite nighttime treat is a Gosslings Diet Ginger beer, with half a lime’s worth of juice and two cherries and a splash of cherry juice. I don’t think that eating those two cherries counts as eating too much to affect my medication.

On his way home from work tonight Russ asked me if I needed anything at the store. I said I needed a jar of maraschino cherries. What he brought home was the most exquisite and expensive cherries I have ever seen. I think they are meant for high end Manhattans and not my little mocktail.

The cherry is clearly the highlight of this drink. I might give up eating dinner every night in order to justify drinking one of these drinks with these cherries. I am not sure I am ever going to be able to go back to the neon red $1.29 cherries again. Of course I am going to have to keep on teaching Mah Jongg to afford these outrageous ones. How expensive are they? $8.99 a jar. I almost fell over when the receipt fell out of the bag.

Next time Russ asks me if I need anything at the store I am going to say no. He can’t be left to his own devices in the grocery.

Why Cash?

I feel like I am one of the few people who still use cash. I have great credit and obviously use credit cards all the time. I have friends who are experts at card management and can recite which cards they get the most rebates on for every type of possible transaction. That is great.

I like to pay with cash when I am shopping at any small store or sole proprietor operation. Here is the reason. Each time I pay someone with a card they have to pay a merchant fee of anywhere from 1 to 3%. Granted that fee is worked into the prices of their items, but that fee goes directly to the card processor.

If I buy something for $100 at a small local store then they don’t have to pay, say $2 To the card processor, which is usually a bank. That store owner uses the $100 to pay for something else local and saves that merchant $2. And so on. and on. The $100 is still $100.

Consider if instead of cash we all just used cards and every merchant paid %2. I pay $100 to the first store, but they only get $98, because $2 went to the bank. They spent the $98 using a card, but the place they spent it only end up getting $96.04. They spend that on a card and the place they spent it only gets to keep $94.12. That person takes that money and spends it using a card and the place they spent it only gets to keep $92.24. And the next place only gets to keep $90.40.

So in five transactions the bank made $10 off the original $100. If everyone spent the $100 cash they would have all had more to spend.

I know that cash management has issues. Handling cash is work and then there is the potential of theft, but if it is a small business or someone who does some work for you, consider cash.

If we go to a cashless society it will be hard on poorer people who do not have access to banks at reasonable rates. Or people who have bad credit and pay more interest on credit cards. Or just people who keep themselves out of financial trouble by paying cash. If those of us who have none of those issues stop using cash then stores might stop accepting cash which means that we have a two tiered society. Those who can shop their Way because they have credit and those who can’t.

In order to help those less fortunate, pay with cash once in a while. And pay cash to those who run small businesses. You may miss a some rebates, but it will be a way to help those who need it.

Extroverted Travel Sleep Problems

I have multiple sleep issues when I travel. First if I am with friends I am too hyped up to sleep having gained super human waking powers from being with people.

Then there is the problem of fearing I might over sleep when I have an early morning flight. So last night I could not go to sleep because I was having so much fun with my friends Suzanne and Janet and then when I finally did fall asleep I slept only two hours before I started my fifteen minute sleep/wake cycle waiting for my alarm clock. So for three hours I woke up every fifteen minutes and looked at the time.

I am finally home and picked up Shay. She is passed out from exhaustion of being away from home and I am feeling her. Trying to stay awake to see Russ who gets home at 9:30 from his 10 day trip.

Not Enough Hours

It is so beautiful in Scottsdale there are just not enough hours to enjoy everything we wanted to do. Our day started with a long walk. It was longer than we anticipated because after walking along a trail next to the Indian reservation we got into a neighborhood that we couldn’t get out of easily so our 2 mile walk was more like three and a half.

The fun part was the free lemons and grapefruit we got along the way as well as they many cute dogs we met. My favorite were a pair of sheepdogs named Ava and Liz, after Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor. They had matching water spout pony tails on the top of their heads so you could see their cute faces.

Since I had not anticipated the extra mileage on the walk I got a blister on my heel because I did not wear socks. Janet saved me, but I learned my lesson.

Luckily the rest of the day consisted of teaching Suzanne more Mah Jongg, playing Mah Jongg with Janet’s sister-in-law Lisa who came by to play, cooking, eating and learning a new game called Play Nine.

The time together has gone so fast and I am already sad about our early morning trip to the airport. We just don’t see each other as often as we would like. We say this every time we are together. There are just not enough hours in life.

The Most Perfect Day

After not being able to fall sleep last night I finally passed out after 2:18AM. That was really 4:18 my body’s time. Despite my lack of sleep today has been as fun as any day can be.

Not surprisingly we spent half the day in our night clothes, which happen to be matching navy blue PJ ‘s and night gowns with white piping. We spent the whole morning playing /teaching Mah Jongg. Suzanne, as the newbie, is sufficiently addicted.

Well after Noon we actually dressed and left the house. We spent the whole afternoon at the Dessert Botanical Garden. It was just the most beautiful spot and we walked every loop and looked at thousands of species of cacti and succulents.

When the dessert air dried us out we sat on the patio drinking prickly pear ice tea, telling stories and watching the dessert quails scurry about.

We had a very early reservation at a chichi restaurant Tocco Madera in Scottsdale. We were not dressed up, and could have cared less and went in our sneakers.

Dinner was a yummy adventure, mostly an opportunity to tell each other more stories.

After our very full day we returned to Janet’s house and hardly have energy to do anything more than watch a documentary. We will see if I can keep my eyes open. I need to reload for more fun tomorrow.


When I was very young and someone would ask me if I had any extra money that I could give them I always responded, “there is no such thing as extra money.”

Now I feel like that there is no such thing as extra time. That is unless you travel west and gain some hours. That is what I did today. I flew out to Arizona to visit my college friend Janet with our friend Suzanne.

My flights were many. I had to fly through Austin which was iffy given their weather problems and then on to Phoenix. Thankfully by the time my plane landed in Austin the ice was gone.

On each flight my watch kept adjusting giving me an extra hour. That helped keep my mind off the fact I was skipping any midday meal.

Eventually I got to Janet and Suzanne after enduring a very rude couple who chose to sit next to me. Being with two of my favorite people, who I share so many years of history with makes everything wonderful. Even staying up talking until almost two in the morning my time is only possible because I am with them.

So I rush to post this blog in my current time zone, before the clock strikes midnight. I got two extra hours in my day. Proving me wrong for just today that there is such a thing as extra time, even if it is just a loan I have to repay on Sunday. Sadly there was no extra money thrown in the equation to day. I’ll take great friends over money any day.

Not My Face?

It would be wonderful to know what my device is looking for when I try and open an app with Face ID. Lately I have been getting “Face Not Recognized.”

I was thrilled when Face ID was introduced. I hate trying to remember user names and passwords, especially since we are encouraged to use unique ones for both. I liked the fingerprint way of getting into things, but that did not last long.

Apparently my face must change a lot or I must be making some crazy faces so that apps don’t know it’s me. I wish we had voice recognition. My voice is distinctive. Carter says I could be the voice that security systems use to voice threaten robbers away.

For now I am going to have to practice some non-emotional face that my phone knows is me, or else give up all technology.