Monday, December 29, 2008

How to do a financial fast

The holiday bills have started arriving if you didn't pay cash. You might be receiving a raise with the New Year, but is it enough to keep you from spending more than you earn?

Thousands of Americans are fed up with economic woes and are taking advantage of the newest money tool: a financial fast.

Here's what you need to know to try it:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The truth about mistletoe

That little kissing sprig isn't necessarily so benign as folklore and the cinema would have us believe. Read all about it here:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doctors often overlook childhood heart attacks

Though they're rare, their symptoms are remarkably similar to those experienced by adults having heart attacks.

Heart attacks in children are rare, and physicians often overlook them. These attacks can be fatal:

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to Grand-proof Your Home for Wee Holiday Visitors

They manage to get into places we'd never even consider. They're mobile and they're fast. If you have young grandchildren coming for the holidays, here are some tips on how to make sure your home is safe for them:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

How to get veterans' benefits for assisted living or home care

While most vets are acquainted with the basic benefits to which they're entitled after leaving the military, a few obscure programs might turn out to be really important.

For info on how to obtain veterans' benefits for care in an assisted living facility or even at home, read this:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Six-month-old filly rescued just in time

We hope this story will have a happy ending. Our friends at Beauty's Haven in Florida have rescued a gorgeous six-month-old thoroughbred filly who had been horrendously injured.

Read about Silver Belle's story here:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Keeping our furry companions save on Halloween

Sometimes the temptation to dress up an adorable cat or dog for Halloween is almost irresistible.

However, after reading the piece in this link, you'll want to think twice about how to celebrate Halloween with your pets:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Owner of Injured Racehorse Does the Right Thing

It's a sadly familiar story. Owner purchases racehorse. Horse does well at the track. While still young, the horse breaks down at the track.

When a horse suffers a catastrophic injury, the owner is usually faced with some terrible choices. Here's the story of one who definitely took the high road:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Childhood Urinary Tract Infections Might Signal More Serious Condition

If you've had your pre-schooler to the doctor several times in the last year with urinary tract infections (UTIs), you're probably both concerned and tired from coping with a cranky child.

Repeat UTIs can be warning signals for a much more serious urinary tract condition that's common in young children. Read about it here:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sinusitis: What causes it?

Whether you have just a couple of horribly painful episodes a year or seem to always have a clogged head, you've probably wondered what is causing your sinusitis. There are actually two types of this condition, and each has different causes.

Here's the low-down on what's making you miserable:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What you need to know about anaphylactic shock

School is back in session, and sports are underway. If someone in your family has allergies to specific foods, stings, or other substances, you need to know what anaphylactic shock is and what to do if someone you're with suffers from it.

You'd be surprised, for example, to know how many foods are prepared using peanut oil, which can be fatal to some.

Check out this link:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ten Ways to Save on Eating Out

Are you tired of feeling guilty for even planning to have one restaurant meal a week? Fed up when suddenly there's nothing on the menu less than $14.95 at your favorite family restaurant? Then try these tips:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Practicing the Art of Strategic Shopping

You've read the grocery inserts in the local newspaper. You've used coupons. You even planned five dinners last week.

But your family's food expenditures are still way too painful for your income.

Read about a new way to think about buying food:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How Americans Got Labor Day

We associate it as a day of blessed rest from work, to enjoy picnics and barbecues, to mark the end of summer, and sometimes the day before school starts.

But where exactly did we get Labor Day?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Honoring a Champion: Genuine Risk

At 31, she was the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner.

She was one of only three fillies to take on the boys at the Derby and ultimately leave them in the dust.

Genuine Risk died on Monday, August 18, 2008, at the farm in Upperville, Virginia, where she was much loved and admired during her retirement.

She led the life that all horses deserve. Her owners looked out for her and guarded her privacy as she aged. This year, she was not available for fans to greet during the Hunt Country Stable Tour on Memorial Day weekend.

From time to time, those of us who loved her sent her goody baskets through a local vendor.

Apparently, "Genny" ate a hearty breakfast on Monday, then was put out in her paddock, where she passed away. She will be sadly missed by thousands.

Sleep tight, Sweetie. You showed the boys.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How to pick the right distance education program

They're everywhere these days: in the newspaper, on TV, on the radio and in endless e-mails. You can find a distance learning program for almost any subject on the Internet.

How do you figure out which one is best suited for you? Try this link:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Easy tips to spend $100 less next week

School is about to start, which means a ton of stuff to buy. Two months from now, you'll see the results on your credit card.

Almost everybody would like to spend $100 less next week than normal. Here's how:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Debtors complaint: we can't afford to file for bankruptcy

It's certainly ironic. But it's also true: thousands of Americans in debt up to their eyeballs consider filing for bankruptcy each year. However, a change in the bankruptcy law has made this unaffordable to many of them:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Prof. Randy Pausch

Although we all knew he probably couldn't live much longer, Randy Pausch's death on Friday, July 25, 2008, from the complications of pancreative cancer was a shock.

Pausch had last posted on his cancer update page on June 26. He noted that due to poor results from recent chemotherapy, he was considering abandoning further attempts and would look at immunotherapy as an alternative. The ensuing month's silence was a little unnerving for those who checked his site daily for updates.

On July 24, a poster who identified himself as a friend of the Virginia professor wrote that Pausch's health had further declined, that he was no longer able to post, and that he was enrolled in hospice care.

The next morning, the news services announced that Randy Pausch, 47, had just died in his Chesapeake, Virginia home. He leaves behind a young wife and three small children.

Randy Pausch touched millions of us far beyond the "Last Lecture" he delivered at Carnegie Mellon University in September of 2007. He's the guy we actually "knew" even though we had never met him, and his loss is huge.

While writing that you envy someone who knows he's terminally ill is a bit odd, many of us did just that. We envied him that he knew he had a short time to live and was able to squeeze the most out of every hour. We also wistfully noted that unlike so many terminal patients, who have to slave at their 8-to-5 jobs until they literally drop, Randy Pausch was able to spend his remaining time after diagnosis doing what were the most important things in this world to him: spending time with his family, testifying on behalf of finding a cure for pancreatic cancer, donning a pro football jersey for a practice session, and just plain making the world a better place.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Medical review casts doubt of value of breast self-exams

We all did them routinely in the hope that we might save our own lives someday.

But do breast self-exams for women have any value? A new review suggests they might not and that they might actually cause unnecessary biopsies:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is it Time to Dump Your Doctor?

No question about it: the health care system in the United States is either broken or cracking rapidly. If you have a condition requiring you see a physician regularly, you might be becoming more and more frustrated with each visit. Read how to determine when it's time to dump your doctor:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What to do after your job interview

Should you just sit at home and wait for your 'phone to ring? Or write a brief thank-you note for the opportunity to interview? Here are some helpful suggestions:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Do you suffer from restless leg syndrome?

If so, you'll want to check out this article. It provides details of a study suggesting the effectiveness of the conventional medications might actually wane over time:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Making Childhood Dreams Come True

What did you want to be when you weren't an adult?

Almost everyone has childhood dreams. But did yours come true?

Mine did:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saying farewell to one of racing's kindest

If you passed Mike Becker on the street, you wouldn’t guess he was a philanthropist in any sense of the word.

Philanthropists come in many shapes and sizes. The most common image we have is of a wealthy, aging donor who supports the arts or perhaps an alma mater.

Becker, 49, didn’t come close to matching this description. Nearly penniless when he died May 23, 2008 after a long, debilitating struggle with the complications of diabetes, he had kindness imbedded in every cell of his body.

The love of his life was Influent, the thoroughbred he used to own but for whom he was forced to find a new home due to financial problems. Influent, who is healthy and happy today, won nearly $1 million before his retirement.

Becker was well known in racing circles. He frequented the tracks at Monmouth and Belmont. At one point, he worked as a groom for Genuine Risk, the Virginia filly who is the oldest surviving winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Injured when he was hit by a tractor-trailer, he became partially paralyzed but recovered to a large extent over time. A settlement from the accident enabled him to buy and train some horses. However, he gave away most of his winnings and often provided unsuspecting employees with on-the-spot cash bonuses for jobs well done. He in effect ran his own informal version of a children’s charity, allowing kids to pick a favorite horse and then giving them a portion of the earnings. He spent very little on himself.

Becker’s legacy lives on in the fans of the great 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, who was euthanized in 2007 due to complications of laminitis. When the former thoroughbred owner’s story of medical and financial woes hit the site most frequented by the Fans of Barbaro (FOBs), they mobilized to try to unite him with Influent.

Unfortunately, he died without seeing Influent again. Through the selfless efforts of one woman, Colette Mulhall, Becker’s plight reached hundreds of readers. He is undoubtedly watching over many animals today. And the FOBs will keep his memory alive in thousands of acts of kindness to animals, some random and some orchestrated.

Rest in peace, Mike Becker.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How to handle denials from your health insurance company

Last year, my family had quite a few. You expect what seems like a routine procedure to be paid quickly. Instead, you get a notice that it wasn't even medically necessary and that you're liable for the full amount billed.

Here's what you should do:

Monday, June 2, 2008

What Do We Really Love About Randy Pausch?

People are still riveted by the "Last Lecture", given by Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch last Fall. The winsome 47-year-old is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. He'll leave behind three young children and a wife.

The video of this lecture has been viewed on the Internet millions of times. Pausch has been interviewed by Diane Sawyer and appeared on Oprah's show.

Unfortunately, most individuals who contract pancreatic cancer die as the result of the disease. Read this piece for my opinion on what really fasinates us about Randy Pausch:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another Angle of Spending Less/Saving Money

Sad but true: individuals rushing out to buy hybrid vehicles are finding out that at least for the first three years after purchase, they could actually be more expensive to operate than ye olde gasoline-powered four-wheeler parked in the driveway. That's because they forget about the cost of just buying a new car vs. the older one, especially if the older model is already paid in full.

Many articles in the last year have focused on how to cut expenses for groceries and fuel, two of American families' biggest outlays each year.

Here's another angle: getting things for free.

Over the years, I've checked out various sites for freebies. . .everything from diapers to cat food. The one I've found consistently the best:



Monday, May 12, 2008

Talladega is Not a New Tex-Mex Dish

The NASCAR season is in full swing. The drivers race toward points as well as the checkered flag.

In the midst of some serious concerns over wrecks and mechanical problems, how about a little humor?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rest in Peace, Eight Belles

The races get faster and faster. The horses bred are more and more fragile. Read about Eight Belles, the filly who finished second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby but who lost her life at Churchill Downs:

As of this posting, results of her autopsy are not available, and the cause of her breakdown has not been specified.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wondering How to Convince Your Boss You Should Telecommute?

The thought of one more day driving 90 minutes each direction and the recollection of the price of your last tank of gas is enough to bring on a migraine. If you're convinced telecommuting is for you but need to convince your boss, you'll need some ammunition. I telecommuted for four years while working for the Federal Government. Read on for some ideas:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Finding a Summer Camp for Your Special-Needs Child

It might not be easy or particularly affordable. However, here's what you need to know to locate the right summer camp for a special-needs child:

Monday, April 7, 2008

How to Survive the Recession if You Have No Savings

In the Washington, DC area, they're commonly called "McMansions". They're the $800,000-plus properties that sold for maybe half that amount 5 years ago. Many of them are currently in foreclosure.

However, you don' t have to own a piece of real estate that's actually an albatross to be affected by the looming recession. For millions of families, the idea of savings for emergencies is just plain fiction. Read on to find out what you can do if you're one of them:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What on earth is MaundyThursday?

Have you heard the term and wondered what it really meant? Many denominations now call it Holy Thursday. Read on to find out about its significance:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Camps for Special-needs Kids

It's the second half of March, and many parents are slipping into panic over a summer camp for their children.

If you have a special-needs child, finding the right spot for a summer camping adventure is even tougher. Here are some tips to speed your search:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Halting Impulse Spending at the Grocery

Are you sick of reaching the checkout at the supermarket, only to find that you've spent nearly double what you planned? Then take a look at this piece for ideas on how to squash impulse spending each time you shop for groceries:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Taking Back Your Taxes

'Tis the season to be at least THINKING about preparing your 2007 income taxes. I don't normally do ours until March, when I've finally collected all the paperwork.

If you're looking for a humorous respite from your income tax ordeal, check out this link:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Remembering a Champion

Barbaro, winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby, might well be remembered as the greatest thoroughbred in American history despite his catastrophic injury in the Preakness.

Read why the big bay colt made more of an impression off the track than on it:

In memory of Barbaro, who died January 29, 2007.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Did you spot these goofs at the supermarket?

Even the sharpest consumer, coupons neatly arranged and shopping list clenched in one hand, probably pays too much at the supermarket from time to time.

Are you aware of how to spot the most common mistakes in the grocery and why they cost you money? Check out to learn how to save even more on your next shopping trip.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

'Tis the Season to . . . Break Resolutions??

It's that murky time again. Thanksgiving and Christmas have already slipped away. You've written all your thank-you notes (haven't you?).

If you made any New Year's resolutions for 2008, can you even locate the list?

Most of us get bogged down by January 15th and just shrug our shoulders. Our great intentions to shape up financially and physically remain just that: great intentions. As a result, we feel overwhelmed.

If you're feeling the new year already slipping through your fingers, read to discover three ways to avoid feeling overwhelmed this year.