Do we brag about poisoning children?

I have to tell you, if I hear one more tax-payer funded government PSA on throwing out butter as “bad” and using canola oil as a “heart-healthy, good oil” I think I will scream.

If you do your research, which I have, you will find the hisotry of Canola is not a pretty picture. For one thing, it stands for Canadian Oil, whereas everyone I know believes they are eating a corn oil.

Dr. Axe, who I highly regard as a watchdog for health, says in big, bold letters:. Why?

Well, for one thing he says:  “Canola oil was first created in the early 1970s as a natural oil, but in 1995, Monsanto created a genetically modified version of canola oil.” He goes on to explain that the harmful poisins in the oil have to be killed with high heat, which makes this oil a hydrogenated oil. It is suspected to cause damage to kidneys, liver and neural systems.

Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, an onocologist who wrote The Gene Therapy, also warns of the dangers of this really bad oil.

So why does the government use OUR money to tell people to use it? One word: Monsanto. Do you know how powerful food lobbies are? They are able to get our lawmakers to back many really harmful produts. But, this one, Canola oil, is one of the worst.

So, please! Swtich back at least to butter–preferalby organic or Irish or French versions, and use high smoke-point coconut or avocado for cooking, and oilive oil for raw foods.

I have, so far, influenced two smart restauranteurs to change their oils to non-gmo Sustain sunflower oil from Stratus Foods. Trying to save lives, one restaurant at a time. It costs them more, and I suggest raising their prices $.10 per menu item to defray the costs. Who wouldn’t pay $.10 more to have a healthier liver or kidneys?

Help me with this campaign y’all. When you go out to eat, ask them what kind of oil they are frying their food in. Most will assume you are concerned with tree nuts. When they hear you mean Canola, they are shocked. Why? Monsanto. Government backing. Suggest they look into Sustain sunflower oil. And tell them you will Yelp them with a great review if they change. They really do care about Yelp reviews.

While the government has never been good at protecting health, from their wacko food pyramid to their lobby-back big food profit-making. But we are the voter. We can make a difference. Tell me how the government had companies stop putting trans fats into foods, but highly supports Canola–one of the worst trans fats out there? Oh, I remember. Monsanto. Big money. Our taxes at work. It make me want to cry. Instead, I will keep fighting the good fight.

Obnoxious, but effective

I am often torn between being polite, kind and considerate, and keeping myself healthy and wise. Wealth has never been the goal–though the fantasy is appealing.  

  This winter, I am applying that dilemma to air travel, since the predictions are a terrible and deadly flu season, where I am in the over 65 high-risk population.

Therefore, since we fly Southwest and seats are not assigned, I find my ability to be obnoxious somewhat helpful when choosing a seat and a seat mate (even though once seated, I don’t necessarily get to choose my seat mate). What I decided to do was use my never-to-be-conquered sense of humor.  

So when a potential seat mate passenger lingered close to my aisle, and he or she appeared to be healthy, I would half-jokingly, but not really, say, “I would love for you to take this seat, but I do a health check. Are you coughing or sneezing?” If they replied no, I would wave them to sit down. Sometimes they even chuckled with me.

   When they were seated, I would tell them of my flu-fears, and they would understand. Old ladies get away with so much they couldn’t at a younger age. In any case, it seems to have worked.

My travels were flu-free, and my seat mates were congenial and, I guess healthy. Sometimes being obnoxious is effective, if not the height of courtesy and manners. One has to have one’s priorities.

Naked Wines

Hubby recently ordered some motorcycle parts online, and the package arrived with an offer for $100 off on some CA wines. We looked into it. Turns out there is this “club” call Naked Wines, that is composed of CA winemakers–I believe all fairly new at it–and customers, eventually called Angles, who support these winemakers through their online purchases. These wines are not available through stores, so the only way to try them out it to order online.

The original discount was for a case of wine that would normally retail for about $275, which we got for $79 including delivery. Wow.

We also recently began a nightly connection time, where we have a glass of wine and share our day in about 18 minutes–9 each–lol. This way hubby doesn’t think he is signing up for hours of conversation–and he gets wine. This is good. It tends to reduce that distance that happens if the day has been stressful.  

Anyway, back to wine, the initial purchase was so ridiculously inexpensive, and the wines so enjoyable, it became clear that we wouldn’t be purchasing more until we became Angels and got that pricing again. It took us awhile to figure out that even though there were 8350 people ahead of us in line to become Angels, we were on a list.

What evidently happens when you get to first in line for Angel, is they take $40 from your CC monthly, and you apply that to orders. If you want to quit, you get your money accumulated and not spent back. We are now Angels. We ordered about 15 bottles to be ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, evidently the State of CT caps our online ordering, so we could only get some of what we wanted. (When you have a glass of wine daily, 12 bottles lasts about a month, unless you have 2 glasses each).

   So, we are happily supporting these new vintners and are reviewing their wines for them, for which they seem truly grateful, and are very responsive. We will probably continue to be supportive, and to order a case about every other month. We still have some local stores we like, and we are really not big drinkers. We also like beer. 🙂

Almost another bathroom

Well you guys know the powder room in the entryway fiasco that turned out better because instead, I got a pantry, story.

Well, I still needed to have a guest bathroom. And, we still needed to have an updated bathroom on our second floor–not new, but remodeled. So dear hubby got to work this month, and hopefully we will have this by spring. This is not a dig. Hubby works hard at his real job. And, he has to have some good weather garage time for motorcycles. And, no guests seem to be lining up for the upstairs guest suite–yet. So I guess we have time. In the meantime, I get the fun task of choosing new fixtures, and the amazing fun of watching talented hubby do his amazing plumbing, electric, carpentry and flooring thing.

 

Using the ever-helpful Pinterest, which daughter dear taught us to use, we looked at quite a variety of new tubs, thought about re-enameling the old one, and decided on a regular, less expensive traditional new tub and a fraction of the cost of many of those we looked at.  

Tubs, as you may not know, are trending. In fact, it comes to mind that the spoiled-brat Xers who were looking at our IL home to buy, wrinkled up their noses that we didn’t have a spa in our upstairs bathroom. I guess our $17K of renovations and upgrades weren’t enough. Spa tubs are in.

We are not “in” so we settled for upgraded other items, like a brass sink, which, yes, I may regret. But it is pretty.  

Our decorative tile wall will show off exposed copper and brass plumbing–hubby’s idea, and among some of his best.

All in all, if we have this by February, it should be good. I will keep you posted.

Groupon sometimes

I used to be a big Groupon on and Living Social purchaser. In the beginning it seemed like a good deal. But, I was cautious from the beginning after reading a NYT story about a women who was a Groupon addict and had so many she couldn’t use them all by their expiration date.  

Lately, these group coupons seem to have gone the way of all established ideas, and their deals are more and more ordinary. I have been in the market for a pasta maker, for instance, and have been following Groupon offers for that item. But, in comparing it with Amazon, it isn’t usually as good a deal, and often there is shipping, which as a Prime member, I do not usually pay. All in all, I find my local businesses, Amazon, Overstock and Wayfair to be much better for my buck.

I will say, on occasion, like a trip to Las Vegas’ Ethel M’s Chocolate factory, where their workshop is offered on Groupon, it is a deal not offered elsewhere. We saved a bunch using the Groupon, which amazingly, we didn’t know about until the ticket taker asked us if we had a Groupon. We slipped out of line, ordered the G, and sashayed over to the cash register counter to utilize the hot tip.  

As for restaurants in our area, our electric company has been offering us a $25 restaurant.com coupon every month as a thank you. I have accumulated so many of these for our local eateries, I cannot use them all. But no worries–unlike Groupons, they never expire, and are normally a 2 for 1 deal, like Groupon, except they are not pre-paid. Reminiscent of the NYT experience, I was finding the expired Groupons to be a bit of a challenge. And, one last thought. Vendors tend to lose a lot using Groupon initially, and if you are savvy, you can usually negotiate with the vendor for your second visit to be had at a discount where they won’t be sharing the discount with Groupon. Not all, but many have figured this out.

Uber and Me

 I like Uber. I know the news is mostly bad. But I haven’t found a problem personally with Uber. This last trip we used Uber and Lyft. It seems the drivers around where we are and in the destinations we go to drive for both.

 

So whichever APP we call a car from, we get the driver who responds with that APP, but not a different driver, most likely, than we would have had.

The experts say that a technology has succeeded when it changes behavior. Uber has changed ours. We no longer are concerned with airport parking or even having to walk a half mile from the car to the check-in point.  

Uber drops us at the door of our airline for about $16-$21 from our home (8 miles). That is amazing. Even though we can have free parking, we often opt for Uber. It has changed the way we think, the way we behave.

We have also found that Uber drivers normally have other professions and use driving as a supplemental income. We have had insurance people, a local cop, a criminal investigator, and health care personnel as drivers. Many are pleasant, and give us their cards in case we need to call directly for a ride somewhere. In our view, taxi cabs are over–over-priced, over-rated, and, well, just over.

We are Uber and Lyft fans as long as they continue to provide rides at half the price of a cab, and with friendly and courteous service.  

Coffee, Starbucks and did I just fall for a marketing trick?

I drink Starbucks coffee at home because I buy the Kirkland version of their breakfast brew. I drink Starbucks coffee at their stores mostly because I have a loyalty card with dollars on it that, for some reason, I advance them money for. What a great marketing game!   

When we had the whole Year 2000 scare that life as we know it would end when the computers and clocks of the world came to a halt, my son said: “You need to stock up on guns and coffee. Coffee, because many people can’t live normally without it, and guns to protect your coffee.”

The marketing gimmick at Starbucks is a curious human behavior psychology though. There is other coffee. There is other coffee I like, and even prefer to Starbucks–Panera Bread’s coffee, for instance. 

Panera Bread doesn’t make me jump through hoops to get a free refill. They offer me as many free refills as I can drink on a visit. I don’t need to advance them money, or get stars, or any of that. And their coffee isn’t bitter. But there aren’t many Panera Bread’s at airports, which gets me back to the fact that the Starbucks loyalty card is really convenient.

I do like Starbucks’ new Refreshers, especially the lime one. These are the ones with green coffee, which I think don’t really have any nutritional benefits, as I understand it, because the green beans are roasted. *sigh*

Recently I read that Starbucks is granting a star for any Starbucks product purchase, whether in their stores, or somewhere else–like Costco–where their products are available, and that all you have to do is follow directions to get the credit.

I bought two pounds of coffee at Costco, and then discovered that I was five days too early for the launch of that program. No stars. Then I purchased a case of refreshers at the Costco near my daughter’s home in California, kept the receipt and tried to put in the receipt code on my Starbucks account. Nope. I need the code from some special STAR on the package–which, of course, I didn’t realize then, so it is back in Los Angeles, probably in some trash heap by now.

I tried to purchase another case of Starbuck’s Refreshers here in Connecticut, ‘cause I like ‘em, but guess what. Connecticut people didn’t buy enough for Costco to carry these here. So,  still no stars. That’s three starless Costco purchases so far. And, the other downside of the Starbucks retail store refreshers is that they don’t come in the two flavors offered at the Starbuck’s stores.

So really, why am I so hep to get more stars, to get from the Green to Gold Starbucks level? Ummm. they give you a free cup of coffee if you are gold. At least I think they do. Not totally sure. 

And, oh, and I had 24 stars toward the 30 I needed to get to gold, and somehow they all disappeared recently and I had to start over. Something about an expiration date.

This seems like a lot of work and complication just to get a free cup of coffee that I don’t even prefer. But, still I keep that card on automatic reload. 

Do you think I should just wait until I see a Panera Bread at the airport and chuck the whole Starbucks prepaid card thing?

Oh the power of marketing.

 

Soon every day will be a Monday

th  Once upon a time, I did consulting for a workers’ compensation (no it’s not workman’s anymore) insurance company on Wall Street. I was marketing safety services to the utility industry, who were the clients of this insurance company.
I learned that in terms of safety, Mondays were the days when most accidents happened, and during a crisis, where there was high alert, few accidents happened.  th-1
Of course, my plan of action was to make the workers aware that Mondays WERE the crisis days to be aware of.
Recently, one of my print ad sales people sent me an email, which I misread, so my reply was not making sense. He resent the email in large, bold, RED letters. This was on a Monday. That time I got it. More recently, I sent a question, which he thought should have had an attachment, but didn’t. His humor to ask for the attachment was: “Aren’t Mondays wonderful!”

There really wasn’t supposed to be an attachment, so it was Monday for him too.
th-2 That reminded me of a trip to Panera Bread where they employ a lot of seniors. Now, I like seniors–usually. After all, I ARE one.
But, this was beyond funny: The older female person at the counter was literally steering the patron to more healthful choices with, “You really want the turkey with….” just like your mom would.

An older gentleman cashier was taking an order for something another patron wanted “on the side,” which he heard as a “side” salad. When the patron received the wrong order, the order taker cheerfully corrected it. But I had to chuckle that this was all about hearing impairment, and I was imagining the collection of order humor we are about to experience as seniors (read Baby Boomers) multiply in the workforce and hearing diminishes.
So, just think. With the economy tanking, and retirement savings interest and dividends dwindling, these Baby Boomers who already resist aging and the term Senior, are all going to be staying in the work force for another 30 years or so.   th-3
Imagine those customer service phone calls you now make being answered by older, wiser folks, if not the off-shore folks; your sandwiches being prepared by good old Mom–now good old Grandma too; and your goods and services being made and provided by this older generation.
th-4 Add to that most commercials for almost everything are being written and produced by 20-somethings who do not really speak the same language as the Boomers. The Millenniums speak South Park and its ilk. So you can expect to experience a sense of the surreal when you try to match up the ads to the in-store, online or on-the-phone experience you get at the actual point of purchase.

Humorous as this sounds, I predict we will all be having a lot of Mondays.

Jane Jetson has come to life

After the initial euphoria of using a video phone on my computer, and now Skype, the reality of what this entails has begun to set in.  Unknown-1

Yes, I can call my grandchildren–which I still haven’t done. And, I can call clients, without the complication and expense of air travel, and yes, there is always the real advantage of free calls to Europe, Canada, and the U.S. among fellow Skypers.  Unknown

But, the actual usage of Skype comes with it the realization that: they can SEE me.

 Now that kind of crashes through the whole working at home in your lounging garb advantage, doesn’t it!  

I mean, there is a reason why Jane Jetson donned her mask for video calls prior to her donning her full face make-up. (This isn’t something I thought of. A friend pointed it out.) 

I don’t wear make-up at home. And, I usually don’t attire myself as though ready for public eye. Jane Jetson at least seemed fully clothed in all of the cartoons I remember. But that was the ‘60s, and the early ‘60s at that. (It re-aired in the ‘80s)   Unknown-2

So I have to get used to the idea that using my video phone means: getting dressed, putting on make-up, caring about how my hair looks, and checking the mirror, if not the camera to see what the final appearance will be. And, that is when I am “making” the call. I haven’t even addressed the horror of having to “answer” a video call I wasn’t expecting. That would mean being “ready” all the time!! 

That is a LOT of trouble to talk someone for ten minutes or less. Almost as much trouble as flying to Chicago from Hartford. Okay, Okay. Maybe a slight exaggeration. But, it is almost as stressful, for me.

I see the Jane Jetson video phone mask as the next great marketing idea. I know I will regret telling you this, because the enterprising among you will rush right out and start the assembly line. I mean, it should at least be as popular as the Pet Rock. Right? And, that made that marketing genius a millionaire. And, I don’t think we need any environmental permits or special regulatory compliance forms, so a few patterns, the right materials, and we should have the next cottage industry–hopefully here in the good old U.S. of A. Any partners out there who want to share this?

I am sure I will adjust to the idea that on certain days and times, I do have to get ready to talk via Skype. Maybe I can make phone calls on the days I am ready to go shopping, which isn’t most days. I keep wondering why my daughter can go through six lipsticks a year and I am still using ones that are ten years old. (I know, I’m going to get bacterial infections!) Now I realize that she uses hers daily, and I only about two times a week. That shouldn’t add up to ten years of life for the little sticks of goo, but they really do last a long time. And that translates also to lipstick removers, cleansing cremes, toners, moisturizers, etc. lasting a long, long time.
Am I giving you T.M.I. here?

Really, combined with my intention to exercise and get healthy, this new thought of being “ready” for a video call may become a plus. No more sitting at the computer, blinds closed, succumbing to the inertia of doing only what is necessary. Because when  you’re dressed, made up and presentable, you think differently. You’re less dour. That is a good thing.

Come to think of it, Skype may just change my life. Who knows? I may end up getting dressed and putting on make up more days than just going out ones. June Cleaver comes to mind. I had an aunt like that. Aunt Hilda was dressed, with modest make up, and had on her high heels every single day. 

 

So, if I do this it may mean being ready for a call any time, any day, any hour. I will become like my favorite Aunt Hilda.  

I will have to think about this. It may mean my life will take on a readiness I do not presently enjoy. It may mean my mind will engage more often than it does. It may mean a longer life. It may mean things I can’t even think of.

I am dying to know what you think!

Everybody has a story

In early 2000s, I finally found an editor who would allow me to try my idea for a column about people–ordinary people who have inspirational stories.

Frank was a little hesitant, but he wanted circulation for his paper up in my neck of the north of Rockford, Ill. woods, so he agreed to let me try “Lunches,” which is what I wanted to call it.

He put me on a probabationary basis until I showed him what it would look like by interviewing my editor, Brandon.

I did; they like it; and Lunch with Marjorie (they insisted) was born.

After ten years of publishing that column monthly, I had gathered a lot of very inspiring stories about very interesting, but not famous people.

My editor allowed me to continue publishing the column, even after I had moved to Conn. from Ill. I think it took a couple of years for Frank to realize I didn’t live in the Rockford area anymore, but eventually they had me stop doing the stories. Brandon had told me I could do some outside of the area interviews, but had to have 30% in the area. I did that.

So, now that newspapers are in the slow death process, I decided to republish my stories (I own them and only sold 1st rights to the newspaper), online. I am slowly getting them on my site at: www.lunchwithmarjorie.readmstradinger.com

I hope you get a chance to visit. I think you will enjoy these stories. And if you know of someone who you think would make a good subject–please email me at stradingerm@gmail.com and let me know. I plan to continue the column on the Lunch with Marjorie site.

Thanks.