Small Positive Thought

Hey, Readers, this is all I have for you today. One small thought of optimism.

Start the day with thinking a strong positive thought. You'll be surprise how it colors your attitude and emotional well-being.

Takeaway Truth

Smile at someone...at strangers...and see what result you get. Some may run from, but some may return the smile and even say, "Good morning."

9 Secrets to Healthy Aging

Want to know the Secret to Healthy Aging?

Actually, there is no secret. It's the same thing you hear all the time.

I've seen some elderly relatives who are not aging well, and I've observed how they live their lives.

Here's my list of what you should do to age well and have a healthy life when you're a senior citizen.

1. Eat a healthy diet.

That means to read food labels and eliminate anything that has ingredients you can't recognize and/or pronounce when you read the label.

2. Eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

I have read that HFCS is banned in some countries.

3. Eliminate sugar as much as possible.

Sugar feeds cancer. Food labels may list sugar, but they may also list more than 60 other words that are sugar in disguise. Read 60+ Different Words That Mean Sugar to learn all the ways sugar is disguised in food labels.

4. Eliminate diet drinks.

It's been proved by many research studies to actually make you gain weight.

5. Cultivate and maintain an optimistic, hopeful attitude about everything.

Physical health is rooted in emotional and mental health. Pessimism can literally do harm to your physical body plus make you the kind of person others want to avoid. Learn how to manage your emotions.

6. Don't smoke, and don't live with someone who smokes.

If you smoke, you should make every effort to quit. If you're living with someone else, your second-hand smoke may be killing them. If you're a non-smoker, and you're living with someone who smokes, his/her second-hand smoke may be killing you.

If you're a parent smoking around your children, you may be setting them up for respiratory illnesses for life or even death. Is that something you want to do?

Smoking causes more than lung cancer which in itself is scary enough. Smoking causes heart disease, COPD, and a host of other health problems.

7. Stay physically active.

Walk, take yoga, learn Tai Chi. Do something that moves your body every day.

8. Have something that interests you intellectually.

Anything that makes your brain work is a very good thing. Keep your brain nurtured. Read. Work puzzles.

Be passionate about a hobby or a job or take classes to learn something you always wanted to know. Brain health doesn't necessarily deteriorate because of age.

9. Know your body well enough to know when something feels "off."

If something is "off" about your body or your brain/thoughts, get that checked immediately. Early detection is often the key to survival.

Takeaway Truth

Be smart, wise, and optimistic. Happiness and good health will follow.

Wisdom for Today

Today's post is short and sweet. It's about being patient with yourself and with others.

"If you have respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are." ~John W. Gardner

"Respect is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique." ~Annie Gottlieb

"We are constantly being put to the test by trying circumstances and difficult people and problems not necessarily of our own making." ~Terry Brooks

Takeaway Truth

Today, and every day, remind yourself that patience really is a virtue, and that is one virtue we can all achieve.

Saturday Share: Recipe Hot Artichoke Dip

We're going to a party tonight, and we volunteered to bring an appetizer.

Since I'm assembling the ingredients, I thought I'd share one of my favorite appetizer recipes with you.

You can make this in Mild or Spicy versions.

Serve it with a good buttery cracker like Keebler Club Crackers or Original Ritz Crackers.

Before you even ask, I'll tell you that this is not a low-calorie dip. But then, what cracker and dip combination is low calorie?

Hot Cheesy Baked Artichoke Dip

Ingredients
  • 2 4-ounce jars of chopped pimentos, well drained and chopped, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • 1 14-ounce jar of artichoke hearts, well drained and chopped
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 7-ounce can of chopped green chiles, mild or hot, your choice, drained well
  • 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, regular or pepper jack, your choice
  • 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, reserve some to sprinkle on top after dip is baked.
Directions

1. Spray a shallow baking dish with Pam or use a bit of olive oil to grease it.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3. Drain all of the items that need to be drained.

4. Shred the Jack cheese.

5. Combine all ingredients, except for the reserved Parmesan and pimento for garnish.

6. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until it's bubbly and top is golden brown.

7. When baked, remove, garnish with the remaining Parmesan and pimento.

8. Let it rest for 10 minutes to "set up."

9. Serve warm with crackers. Also good served at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Takeaway Truth

Once you've tried this, you'll be hooked. It's warm, cheesy, and very delicious.

Social Media Tsunami? 7 Life Preservers

Are you drowning in a social media tsunami? Do you bemoan the time that social media sucks away from your life? I find myself doing that far too often.

Social media is supposed to be fun, isn't it? If you're not having fun, try these tips to get some perspective on the issue.

Social Media Life Preservers

1. Use Tools.

Like building a fence, it helps to have the right tools. There are social media tools that can help you make the most of the least amount of time.

For Twitter, there's Tweetdeck which is very easy to use. You register using your Twitter account credentials. You can schedule posts, with images, for as far in advance as you wish. You can set up columns with the hashtags that interest you. You can easily copy a tweet's URL link to share on other social media.

For Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, there's Twittimer which is a lifesaver for me. If I want to share information about my blog, my books, or about friends' books, this website makes it easy. You can upload a CSV file with hundreds of tweets and posts.

I've previously written 2 posts about Twittimer: Save Time on Social Media With Twittimer and
Uploading a Spreadsheet to Twittimer. Read those to learn everything you need to know.

2. Be realistic.

There is no way you can be active on every popular social media site. So don't even think you can. Find 2 or 3 that you really enjoy. They're probably the ones where you already interact with readers. Focus on those. Use tools to post something every day then pop in to see comments or answer questions.

3. Check in every day.

Make checking your 2 or 3 social media sites part of your morning and evening routine. Heck, do it at lunchtime if you have a few minutes. The trick is to scan content quickly, looking for a place where  you can add something relevant.

4. Make lists.

There's no way to keep up with the feed on any site. It just goes too fast. So set parameters for what your feed shows you. In Facebook, pin the pages you want to stay up with. In Twitter, create relevant lists of authors, reviewers, bloggers, or whatever groups you want to keep up with so you'll always see their content. (Tweetdeck makes that easy for Twitter.)

Image by Jan VaĊĦek from Pixabay, Pexels.com
5. Set alarms.

First, use the timer function on your cell phone to see how long it takes you to scan through each social media site you've chosen. Write it down.

If it's a huge chunk of time, lower the number of social media you're trying to keep up with even if you have to cut it down to one.

When you can manage one efficiently, cutting the time enough to add another social media, start using the stopwatch function on your cell to keep you on track.

6. Send your blog feed to your social media accounts.

If you blog frequently, set it up so your blog feeds into your social media accounts, but be careful that you don't flood every social media account with the same content.

People who follow you on Facebook may also follow you on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. They will tend to you're a nuisance when you pump out the same content all over the internet.

7. Plan your social media sessions. 

Plan your work and how much time you'll spend and what you want to accomplish so you don't get sucked into looking at new hairstyles on Pinterest or watching funny dog videos.

Takeaway Truth

Plan your work, and work your plan. You'll be surprised how well this works.

Building a Better Mousetrap, uh, Blog

Yep, SlingWords is under construction.

It's time for spring cleaning and a bit of remodeling. I started on it today and will be finished by the weekend I hope.

So pardon the sawdust and other debris while I spruce up the sidebars, change some images, and clean up the Archives, label and re-label several of the posts.

Just cleaing up the labeling is time-intensive because there are over 3,000 posts since 2005 when I first started.

I'll keep working a little every day on the remodeling. Authors, I'll once again start hosting guests and taking ads for the sidebars.

Takeaway Truth

Readers, I'll be back tomorrow with a post about surviving the tsunami known as social media. So drop by again and ignore the sheetrock dust and watch out for loose nails.

5 Tips to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

Headache #1472830 by Pete Linforth, Pixabay
Yes, I'm feeling the stress. President Harry Truman was famous for having said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

I paraphrase that and tell myself, "If you can't stand the stress, get out of writing and publishing business."

It's not so much that I'm stressed as that I'm overwhelmed by all the things I need to do before May 1 rolls around.

I can chalk that up to being gone for more than 2 weeks in March and being home but handling other family  emergencies in April.

Every day the things I don't get done rollover to the next day making my To Do list grow and grow.

Overwhelmed Defined

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines overwhelmed as: "To bury or drown beneath a huge mass...To inundate."

Do you know that feeling? Chances are, you do. The feeling of being overwhelmed is a common malady in today's fast-paced world. It seems the more technology we're given, the more we're expected to do. But the number of hours in our day stays the same.

5 Tips To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

1. Focus on today and what must be done today and avoid thinking about tomorrow and the next day, etc. Just look at today and see what's most important to do.

2. Be confident in your ability to meet today's challenges.

3. Tonight, before you "close out" the day, plan what you'll do tomorrow. Having a plan, and writing it down, helps you focus on your tasks rather than having amorphous thoughts about all the things that must be done. You might have less to do than you think.

4. Whatever you're feeling about all of your obligations, give yourself permission to having those
feelings. Own your feelings without guilt.

5. Make time for you. Meditate or just take a few minutes to close your eyes and think about something that made you happy.

Also, make sure you're getting at least 20 minutes of sunshine every day (vitamin D), eat healthy and avoid junk food, and drink plenty of water.

If you physically feel well, you'll have the energy and stamina to tackle your responsibilities.

Takeaway Truth

Hang in there. Take care of yourself. Get at least a couple of things done every day, and eventually you'll clear your list of tasks.

Authors: Kindle Direct Publishing Changes

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing made some changes recently. I haven't set up a pre-order this year so there are some things I don't yet know.

Remember, you can go to the KDP Help Page and read all of their latest requirements.

Here's a summary I read of the changes.

Draft File

Previously, KDP users had to upload a draft manuscript because, according to Amazon, they needed to preview the content for compliance with its policies before creating the pre-order detail page.

Now, an "asset-less" pre-order—meaning one without a manuscript file uploaded—will be accepted.

Deadline for Final Manuscript

As always, the deadline to submit your final content will be displayed on a timer on your KDP Bookshelf. (They used to send emails about it every week. I don't know if they will still do that.)

For new and existing pre-orders, you will continue to have until the deadline displayed on your book’s set-up page to make changes to your title and provide the file you want customers to receive.

Here's a tip. Always upload your file early to give yourself leeway in case you suddenly realized something needs to be changed.

Other Pre-Order Facts

Pre-orders do count toward your book's sales rank even before it's released.

You can make an ebook available for pre-order in all Kindle Stores except in India (Amazon.in).

You can set up a pre-order up to 90 days before you want your book to be published.

Think carefully when setting up your pre-order release date because the penalties are severe for postponing the release, cancelling a pre-order, and failing to meet the manuscript deadline.

Don't get behind the 8-ball!
Penalties for Failure to Comply

1. You can postpone the release date only 1 time for up to 30 days past the initial release date. Customers who pre-ordered will receive an email alerting them of the delayed release.

2. If you postpone a release date, you will NOT be able to postpone release dates for other existing pre-order ebooks plus you will NOT be able to set up a pre-order for any ebook for 1 year.

3. If you cancel the release of your pre-order, for whatever reason, you can unpublish your pre-order ebook just like you would unpublish any other book on KDP. If you do cancel a pre-order, you will NOT be able to set up a pre-order for any ebook for 1 year.

4. If you do NOT upload your file on time, your pre-order will be cancelled plus you will NOT be able to set up a pre-order for 1 year.

Takeaway Truth

In other words, follow the rules, Authors, or reap the wrath of Amazon.

Willie My Love by Judy Ann Davis

Judy Ann Davis, one of my blog mates from Smart Girls Read Romance, stopped by to have coffee with me this morning.

Judy Ann is the author of Willie, My Love, a new Western Romance that was just released.

Plus, she has a Rafflecopter Giveaway for a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card. Details below so be sure and enter.

Backstory of Willie, My Love

I asked Judy Ann how she came up with the idea for Willie, My Love.

She said, "The story developed from my curiosity of the logging industry in the 1880s in my town of Clearfield, Pennsylvania. When I wrote Willie, My Love, the manuscript was so large. I had to cut it from 114,000 words to 96,000. That was the most difficult part of the entire process."

More About Judy Ann Davis

Judy Ann Davis began her career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She holds a degree in Journalism and Communications and has written for industry and education throughout her career.

Over a dozen of her short stories have appeared in various literary and small magazines, and anthologies, and have received numerous awards.

To date, she was written five novels, a collection of short stories, and a novella. Her works encompass romance, mystery, western, and paranormal in the historical as well as the contemporary arena.

Her last novel, Four White Roses, was a finalist in the Book Excellence and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie awards.

When Judy Ann is not behind a computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club where the chuckles are few.

She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and lives in Central Pennsylvania.

Visit Judy Ann Davis Online

Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Willie, My Love

Can two stubborn hearts find love under the tall white pines?

The year is 1856. White pine is king of the forest.

The last thing Jonathan Wain wants to do is ride miles through Pennsylvania’s wilderness to help his father’s logging partner in the small settlement of Clearfield. His family owns clipper ships in the Chesapeake Bay that carry the coveted logs to the markets each spring, and they can’t afford a loss.

The last thing Wilhelmina Wydcliffe wants is a handsome sea captain from Maryland meddling in her father’s logging operations under attack by unknown enemies. A feisty tomboy and better known as Willie to her crews, she has a dream to be the largest logging operator east of the Mississippi River.

When both Willie’s and Jonathan’s lives are threatened, they are forced to work together to find their enemies before both of their companies are in shambles.

But as their attraction to each other escalates, can they set aside their differences, unearth the truth and troublemakers, and discover contentment in each other’s arms?

Excerpt from Willie, My Love © Judy Ann Davis

Smiling, Jonathan took Willie’s proffered hand and shook it, without releasing it. “To show you I bargain in good faith, I offer your pistol as well.” With his free hand, he pulled her small, single shot, dueling pistol from his waistcoat and placed it in her open palm.

“But I have absolutely nothing to trade,” she said with a haughty theatrical voice.

“Ah, ha,” he whispered, pulling her close to him. “A kiss, perhaps?”

Her voice exploded as she tried to push him away. “Why you arrogant scoundrel, I ought to shoot you with this gun.”

His face moved closer. She gasped in surprise before his mouth swooped down on her lips. The kiss was brief, but soft and bewitching, and when he released her, she skidded safely backward.

“Now tell me,” he crooned in a velvet voice. “Why do you carry a loaded pistol?”

“For rattlesnakes.” Her hand fell to her side, the pistol enclosed in the folds of her dress.

“And the knife?”

“To cut off their rattles.”

He laughed, his hearty chuckles filling up the room and silence around them. “I'd rather sit naked with the rattlesnake than with you so heavily armed.”

Add Willie, My Love to Your Library

You'll find this new Western Romance in print and digital:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble.

Be sure and enter my Rafflecopter Giveaway. You might be the lucky winner of a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card!

Takeaway Truth

Need a compelling romance to start the week?

Try Willie, My Love by Judy Ann Davis.

Easter Traditions from Childhood to Adulthood

Today is a special day for Christians. I think back on all the Easters of past years and how I celebrated them.

Like most special days in life, it's all about traditions, even though I didn't realize that until I was grown.

When I was a little girl, Easter meant shopping for a special dress to wear to church.

Along with the dress—usually something pink and frilly—I wore a hat, white gloves, lacy white socks, and patent leather shoes. My mom curled my hair too.

Easter Morning

On Easter morning, there were small baskets with jelly beans, small chocolate candies, and some of the hard-boiled colored eggs we'd dyed on Saturday.

I liked coloring and decorating the eggs, but I never liked boiled eggs. To me, the taste and smell of boiled eggs were gross. That hasn't changed.

Then we went to church. The hymns we sang were the same every Easter. Songs like Christ the Lord is Risen Today, The Old Rugged Cross, Jesus Paid It All, and Blessed Assurance.

The flowers on the altar always included a few Easter lilies along with other flowers in bloom.

Most of the ladies in the South had Easter lilies growing in their yards. There were no floral departments in the grocery stores back then—at least not in our small town.

If the lilies bloomed to coincide with Easter, it was a triumph for the home gardener and everyone basked in the perfume of those white lilies floating above the congregation.

White Lily by Trina Snow, Pexels.com
Why These Lilies

In 1777, Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg "officially discovered" the Easter lily in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.

That fact interested me particularly since I spent 6 years living on the largest of the Ryukyu Islands.

The lily ended up in England in 1819. From there it traveled to Bermuda a couple of decades later and was named the Bermuda lily.

Sometime later the lily was taken to Philadelphia, and the name was changed to Easter lily because it bloomed in the spring, usually around the time of Easter.

During World War I, the Easter lily became even more popular. In 1919, soldier Louis Houghton saw the flower and was so captivated by the beautiful fragrant blooms that he took a suitcase full of the bulbs back to Oregon. He gave them to his friends, who also were horticulturists.

That was the beginning of commercial production on the West Coast of the U.S. By the end of World War II, more than 1,000 growers in Oregon and California were producing the bulbs.

The region was called Easter Lily Capitol of the World. Oregon and California retain that name because they still grow 95 percent of all Easter lilies, one of the most popular potted plants in this country.

Lilies of the Bible

The Easter lily is sometimes called the white-robed apostle of hope. Some think this fragrant pure white lily is the one mentioned in the Bible several times.

No one really knows since there are so many varieties of lily. They've been know since antiquity and grew across most of Europe, India, Asia to Indochina, Japan and the Philippines.

The most famous biblical reference is when Jesus told his followers, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin; and yet...Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Today, Easter Lilies are readily available just about everywhere. I always get a pot or two at this time of the year and bring them home.

First the perfume my home. When they start dying back, I plant them in the garden where they grow and bloom every spring.

Their fragrance always takes me back to the Easters of my childhood. The only difference is that today, as an adult, I think about the reason we celebrate this day.

Takeaway Truth

Happy Easter to those who celebrate the risen Christ, and Peace to all, regardless of your beliefs.

Rules of Write Club

Do you like to play movie trivia games? I do.

In fact, most of my family are cinematically inclined so we rock when it comes to movie trivia.

I was producing a video today for another author, and I skimmed through the ones I'd uploaded to my YouTube Channel.

I chuckled when I saw my video homage to the 1999 movie Fight Club starring Brad Pitt and Ed Norton. The movie is so much a part of pop culture that you see references to it in other TV shows and movies.

The Rules of Fight Club can teach writers a lot—especially since I tweaked the concept and rules a bit and slanted them toward writers.

Readers, stick around. I think you’ll find this entertaining too.

Rules of WRITE CLUB

First, read the Rules of Write Club that follow. Then watch the video.



1st RULE of WRITE CLUB: You do not talk about writing. You write.

2nd RULE of WRITE CLUB: You DO NOT talk about writing. You write.

3rd RULE of WRITE CLUB: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out, the fight is NEVER over. If you slip up, you keep writing.

4th RULE of WRITE CLUB: Only one guy to a write. That’s correct – you do it alone. Day by day. In sickness and health.

5th RULE of WRITE CLUB: One write at a time. Focus on the book at hand. Don’t be seduced by the siren call of other characters and ideas.

6th RULE of WRITE CLUB: No shirts, no shoes. No clothes. Who cares? You’re in this fight alone, writing by yourself, in the privacy of your office and your imaginary world. Wear any darn thing you want, or don’t. Who’s to know?

7th RULE of WRITE CLUB: Writes will go on as long as they have to. A book is finished when it’s finished. Only you know when that is.

Takeaway Truth

Please Like the video on YouTube and Subscribe to my Channel.

5 Business Success Tips

Friday, at last! If your motivation needs a boost after a rough week, here are some thoughts to help you adjust your attitude about your work.

Maybe you'll also think differently about what you want to achieve.

New Thinking

1. Try what Stephen Covey advises: The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

2. If you're an author, or another kind of internet entrepreneur, change the way you think about producing income. Instead of thinking about generating sales for one book/product, think about each book, or product, as being an income stream. Each income stream combines with your other income streams to create consistent income. The more books or products you have, the more income streams.

3. Learn to manage your time (and your projects) with a calendar, not a clock.

By that I mean, have annual goals and break them down into what must be done each month to achieve the annual goal.

Break that down into what must be done each week, then break that down into what must be done on a daily basis to make the weekly way point that helps you reach the monthly milestone and thereby achieve the annual goal.

4. Start using a day planner—either on your cell phone or computer/tablet, or a hard copy one. You'll be amazed how it helps you stay on top of every responsibility.

5. Take action, no matter how small, every single day. All of those actions added together help you achieve your goals. It's like Wayne Huizenga, owner of the Miami Dolphins said: "Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen."


Did you ever read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss?

In that self-help book, he said: "For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. The stars will never align... The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect."

Takeaway Truth

If you want something remarkable, go after it!


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Donna Fasano Sale: Nanny and the Professor

Want an adorable romance?

Get Nanny and the Professor by Donna Fasano on sale for only 99¢ until the end of April. You can get it  at Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks.

That's a saving of $3.00 over the regular price!

About Nanny and the Professor

Professor Joshua Kingston thought he'd found the perfect nanny for his son. But once Cassie Simmons steps into his life, she turns it upside down!

His son no longer plays by the rules – and Cassie keeps encouraging all this rule breaking. Joshua would fire her – if he didn't find her so utterly enticing.

Cassie has a huge secret to hide, and she can't afford to lose her new job. But her handsome employer isn't making things easy. All those silly rules.

How’s an eight-year-old boy supposed to have any fun? The professor definitely needs a lesson in laughter – and love!

Find This Bargain-Priced eBook

Kindle Worldwide | Nook | Kobo | iBooks.

Family Themes

Many people say family is everything. There is nothing more beautiful than two people coming together for the sake of a child, finding love, and forming A Family Forever.

All the books in this series are stand-along stories with a family theme.

Look for these other titles in A Family Forever series:

A Beautiful Stranger, Book 1

Made in Paradise, Book 2

A Reason to Believe, Book 3

An Accidental Family, Book 4

Nanny and the Professor, Book 5

Takeaway Truth

Add this family-centered novel to your Romance Library today.

Should You Fear the Dark Web

Photo: Arachnid Art Black and White #206901 by PIXABAY
The Dark Web is where they sell identity files and other contraband—some of which are too repugnant to mention.

There are scads of articles about it online and in print not to mention TV commercials trying to sell you on letting a company check the Dark Web to see if your name is there.

Of course these commercials are built on fear that pervades public perception.

Do you know anything about the Dark Web? How reasonable is it to fear this hidden part of the internet?

Dark Web Defined

Action Blur Close-up #735911 by Soumil Kumar, PEXELS
Yes, it is a hidden network of websites that is not accessible by the usual search engines we all use: Google, Firefox, Safari, etc.

Those who use the Dark Web have special software that masks their IP addresses and identities.

That's how criminals get away with selling data they have stolen. Usually, this stolen data is sold in bundles, like thousands of credit card numbers.

Dark Web Best Sellers

As you might imagine, the personal information you don't want anyone else to know is what sells best from actual important numbers to information that can be used to gain access to those numbers.
  • social security numbers
  • diplomas
  • website payment logins
  • debit and credit card numbers
  • the credit card verification numbers
  • bank information
  • driver's license numbers
  • logins (user names and passcodes) for many different kinds of websites (because chances are you use them for more than one website)
  • medical records
  • passports.
What You Can Do

Short of never using the internet for anything important, what can you do to protect yourself?

1. Always be vigilant about your personal information.

Think about the simple things you do without thinking. For instance, if you're asked for a piece of personal information in a business office, do you rattle it off without thought? What you should do is write it down on a piece of paper and hand it to the person who requested it then get the paper back and destroy it.

I've been in doctor offices where elderly people recited their social security number to the receptionist. Medicare finally started issuing account numbers! Duh. Why did it take them so long to realize using a social security number as a Medicare account number was a bad idea?

2. Always check your bank, mortgage, credit card, and medical statements when they arrive to make sure they're correct. If you see discrepancies, check on it sooner rather than later.

Cyber Security #60504 by PIXABAY via PEXELS
3. Change your passwords often. How often is often? Security professionals say every week. At least aim for every month and make it long and difficult.

Best practice is to create a master password that you can edit as needed for each new website and/or each time you change it.

4. When using your debit or credit card in a retail setting, keep your hand over the name and account number on the card. If you don't, someone may be shoulder surfing for information and get yours.

Takeaway Truth

Security practices are mostly a matter of common sense so use yours and protect your private information.

Smash Therapy and Rage Rooms

Have you heard about Smash Therapy and Rage Rooms?

A few months ago a facility in which someone can take out their rage on inanimate objects opened in the Houston area.

I don't know how I feel about this concept. Maybe it's not the concept, but the idea that some people have all this rage inside them. So much rage that they pay by the hour for the privilege of smashing stuff with hammers and other implements of destruction.

According to what I learned online, Japan opened the first Rage Room in 2008. Now there are facilities opened in many countries. They're a growing business in the U.S.

The one in the Houston area offers 3 rooms: a Profanity room, a Polite room, and a Splatter room for children.

Smashing is available in the Profanity room which has obscenities spray-painted on the walls.

The Polite room also offers smashing, but motivational quotes are spray painted on those walls.

The Splatter room lets kids throw paintballs at "triggers" spray-painted on the wall. For safety, I read that a camera is in the room so parents/guardians can monitor the child. Hmm.

Would you go to a Rage Room? Would you take your child to one to work out his/her issues in a physically violent way?

I wasn't surprised to read in Psychology Today that Rage Rooms are not a good idea.

Takeaway Truth

No thanks. It's not my cup of tea.

Pay Up or Go to Jail Day

Okay, I know you won't really go to jail if you don't pay your income tax today, but you might eventually end up there if you don't. *g*

April 15

Yes, it's the annual day for moaning and groaning as everyone in the U.S. rushes to finish filling out forms and sending them—with payment if due—to the Internal Revenue Service center nearest them.

I managed to get mine done and mailed off when I returned from my trip to the farm.

Every year, I have it on my calendar starting in January to get the taxes done, but I can't seem to get to it until March. But, as I do every year, I will vow to do it in February next year.

Lighten The Load

Let's lighten the mood and the tax burden with some funny lines about income tax from some funny people.

Dave Barry, one of my favorite funny guys, said, “It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.”

Science fiction author Robert Heinlein said, “Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors… and miss.”

Jimmy Kimmel said, “Tax day is the day that ordinary Americans send their money to Washington, D.C., and wealthy Americans send their money to the Cayman Islands.” (Hmm. Guess he should know?)

American humorist Will Rogers said—and it's still appropriate—“It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for.”

Rogers also said, "The income tax has made liars out of more men than golf."

Ronald Reagan, a former president now considered one of the best, said, “The taxpayer: that’s someone who works for the federal government, but doesn’t have to take a civil service examination.”

Jimmy Kimmel said another funny thing about income taxes. “When it comes to taxes, there are two types of people. There are those that get it done early, also known as psychopaths, and then the rest of us."

Golden age comedian/actor Fred Allen said, "An income tax form is like a laundry list - either way you lose your shirt"

Jay Leno, one of my favorite late night hosts, said, “Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what’s called a red flag. That’s something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That’s a red flag.”

Calvin Coolidge, another former president known as Silent Cal said, “Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”

American humorist Peg Bracken wrote, "Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents?"

Millionaire oil man J. Paul Getty once said, “If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead — if you strike oil.”

Takeaway Truth

The late humorist Arthur Godfrey said it best. "I’m proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money."

Easter Recipe: Deviled Eggs

As a general rule, I do not like boiled eggs.

Don't like the way they smell. Don't like the way they taste.

However, at Easter I do boil and dye eggs. Not in the comic way I described in a post several days ago, but correctly. *g*

Since Easter is next Sunday, I thought I'd give you my recipe for Deviled Eggs.

With the dyed eggs that I display on a pretty plate at breakfast—promptly refrigerated immediately after breakfast—I make Deviled Eggs for later in the day.

Devilishly Delicious Eggs
Use white eggs if coloring them first


Ingredients
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish—must be sweet relish (If the eggs are very large, use 2 tablespoons.)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika for garnishing (I sometimes use smoked Paprika if I'm using bacon crumbles for garnish.)
  • optional, crumbled bacon for extra fancy garnishing
  • optional, pastry bag with fluted tip
Colored eggs take me back to childhood
Directions
  • Scoop the yolks out of the eggs and into a bowl.
  • Add the mustard, pickle relish, mayo, a dash of salt, and a smaller dash of pepper.
  • Mix well.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
  • Using a spoon, gently fill each egg half with a scoop of the yolk mixture. Use a pastry bag if you wish to be really elegant.
  • Sprinkle paprika over each half.
  • Carefully arrange the white halves on a platter.
Takeaway Truth

That's all there is to making really delicious deviled eggs. Makes me hungry for some right now!