What To Do When Capitalism Goes Awry

Now don’t get me wrong. I believe in capitalism over all other national forms of economic structure. I do believe, however, that something has gotten our economic system out of whack.

Right now the old aphorism that it takes money to make money has never been more true. Entrepreneurs, inventors, craftsmen and authors find themselves disenfranchised when it comes to getting noticed or marketing their products. It takes a hefty bankroll to break into the public consciousness.internet

Social media leveled the playing field for a short time, but then Facebook began manipulating the posts, so no one knows who actually receives what is put online. The ever mysterious metrics on Google make reaching people on the world wide web more a case of hocus pocus and less a marketing strategy that anyone can implement with precision. The slow demise of the printed newspaper has compounded the dilemma. Even catching the eye of a reporter is difficult when the electronic age insulates them from from unwanted solicitation. The cost of advertising on any of these platforms also favors the lucky recipient with a bankroll.

The result cheapens the market because we see is not necessarily the best of the best. Cream doesn’t always rise to the top in a manipulated market. And it’s not up to you or me to judge the difference…that’s been done for us and we’ve been spoon fed what we are allowed to see. The invisible faces of people pulling strings do that for us.

My question is: How long are we going to let the invisible entities muddy up the waters? It’s time to rise up and figure a way around the stranglehold. I have ideas. Pockets of people could create accounts for startups and we could finance ourselves. The successful startup would then pay back for the next recipient. We really need to get behind a new and more transparent form of social media. And finally, we need to champion the worthy causes we see around us.

internet2It isn’t easy, I know. I am one of the sisters organizing The Ultimate Expos. I see fabulous artists who go largely unrecognized despite our every attempt to showcase their work on Facebook. We commit ourselves to advancing their careers…we just have such a twisted and tightly regulated medium in which to do it.

I welcome other suggestions. It’s up to we the people to change things. What are your ideas?

How To Actually Enjoy Retirement

If you are reading this blog, you’re either thinking about retirement or enduring it.  Either way, read on! Some look at the “golden years” apprehensively, as if any change, even a good one, might be about as enjoyable (or as exciting) as boiled spinach.  Others think they want to retire…until they do.

The change from gainful employment to every day a Saturday impacts your life in several ways:

  • Income changes
  • Health insurance changes
  • Activities of daily living change dramatically

Let’s look at each one.  Income.  Most of us aren’t sure just how much we’ll have at retirement until we actually retire.  Bear in mind that pensions are fixed, and Social Security offers few increases for the AGI.  Guess low.

Medicare requires a translator even for a college-educated health professional.  Find a retirement consultant you like for advice, with prescriptions in hand.  The balancing act of a Medicare Advantage plan is like gambling with a roulette wheel.  You trade lower monthly costs for the advantage of having good health, but one major incident changes your pre-existing conditions and preempts you from a change in plan.  Medicare is not for the faint in heart, no pun intended.  Don’t try to navigate these uncharted waters without guidance.

The infinity of free time holds the key to both of the above. Find meaningful, hopefully profitable ways to employ your time at your own discretion.  I have four side gigs to contribute income, offer me stimulation, and improve my life.  I started with one, of course.  I made glass beads and sold them at trade shows.  China flooded the market with cheap beads and that ended that.  In all honesty, it proved to be very labor intensive, and it probably needed to disappear anyway, much as I loved it  What I discovered is that life is not stagnant.  Your interests change, your energy and health dictate what you can do, and that’s okay.  Now that I juggle four interests, time management requires budgeting my hours, but I’m good with that.  I don’t sit still well anyway.peeking.JPG

The long and short of it is simple.  You spent many a year preparing for a career, and many a year building a career.  Spend some time preparing for and building an enjoyable retirement.  Don’t assume you can retire on Friday and fill Monday with meaningful activity–you can only reorganize your sock drawer so many times.  Closing your eyes and peeking out to see if you’ll like it is not a good retirement plan.  I am finding ways to enjoy this season of my life despite the curve balls and losses, and think that all of us could…with some preparation.  Enjoy your retirement.  Don’t just endure it.


Boomers Unite! Make Mondays Great Again!

I’m starting a new revolution.  Forget Peace and Love.  Ignore the rude world of politics.  Boomers, join my new movement, which I call Make Mondays Great Again!  Monday is my favorite day of the week.  I know, I know, some of you, with stones in hand, prepare to destroy such heresy here on the spot, but bear with me.

Monday got stigmatized long ago by people who hate their J-O-Bs.  Pure and simple.  Let me list the dazzling facts surrounding Mondays for you proselytes.

  • Mondays symbolize “new beginnings with no mistakes in them,” as Anne-with-an-E stated so poignantly.  I know, she thought she was talking about tomorrows, but I’ve got her covered here.  She meant Mondays.  Truth.  Everyone starts over on Mondays, each allotted an equal chance of weekly greatness.  Gotta’ love it! Vote for Mondays!!
  • The madness of insane weekends disappears on Mondays.  Weekenders, be they hip hop night-life lovers or Sunday go-to-meeting devotees, all end Sunday feeling just a little on the whipped to well done side of the platter.  Gotta’ love Mondays!  Inhale.  Take a deep breath.  Smell the fresh morning dew.  Vote for Mondays!!
  • Mondays begin in third gear.  Everyone stumbles out of bed, reaches for the joe, and tiptoes into the week.  That laid back entry, as opposed to the Tuesday being thrown to the wolves dynamic, just makes me smile.  Gotta’ love Mondays.  Yes, vote for Mondays!!!

So, Boomers, unite!  Spread the word.  Hang posters.  Write editorials.  Let’s Make Mondays Great Again.  If Monday is your Nemesis, think of joining me.  I make Mondays fun!!!


Are We Funny, Quirky, or Obsessed?

Isn’t it funny what sticks and what doesn’t?  A little minion at our house absolutely adores Monk.  No day is complete without an episode, or two if at all possible.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  We love that time of day.  Snuggling, laughing together.  And we enjoy our shared jokes, citing Monkisms in the pool, driving to town, doing chores.  Yes, she is obsessed with Monk.

Yet the obsession begins and ends outside the realm of personal tidiness.  Her penmanship?  Not Monkish at all.  Cleaning?  Nope.  Dust bunnies and spider webs never call her name.  Personal hygiene?  Not so much.  We have yet to find a toothbrush she wants to employ.

We each pick and choose where we place our focus, what we adore, what we very conveniently overlook.  I love recipes and meal planning–but I never measure ingredients.  I mean, how important can that be?  I choose what matters to me.  I bet you’re the same way.  Do your little obsessions make you quirky or annoying as all get out?

I believe that quirkiness makes us human, not as a species, but as individuals.  A dog at our house is quirky as all get out too, but while he considers himself human, we rarely inform him otherwise.  No, it makes us human as in flawed, less than perfect, slightly crazy in a good way, as long as we deem our obsessions healthy and productive.

My family thinks I obsess over Posh.  Hmm…I do love Posh.  I am obsessed with the packaging, the quirky product names, its effects on my skin.  It’s also my bread and butter…take that back.  As a side hustle, it serves more as my barbecue sauce.  It seasons and makes our lives richer and more palatable, adding spice to my days.  Is it productive?  Yes, we discovered a little too late this well known fact: You cannot survive on Social Security.  Posh income adds an important contribution to our financial well being. So, yes, I guess I am obsessed with Posh in a good way.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

The New Normal Can Be Fun

Winter eclipsed into summer leaving scorching temperatures in its wake.  In despair we gave up on spring.  We mourned the loss of spring.  Then out of the blue, cooler spring-like weather blew in.  I should be overjoyed.  Yet now I sit on the deck shivering, while indomitable little people insist it’s not too cold to swim, and they must be watched, ergo I shiver.  Mother Nature’s vagaries play havoc with my life, and in the midst of it all, I love watching little people savor every last drop of joy in the process.

Changes large and small now define us.  It used to just be the fluctuating stock market or roiling issues in the Mideast that epitomized our lives in flux.  Not so anymore.  Change itself has become the norm.  Ann Dalton, our Posh guru, recently told us regarding challenges and change in the marketplace, “This is the new normal.  Get used to it.”

When you look at your finances, your place of employment, your bank balance, your portfolio, do you feel secure?  Any individual, be it a CEO or a janitor, exercises a mere dab of control over his or her own income/destiny these days.  A side hustle is one small thing you can control.  Choose something you like, something you’ll enjoy.  Dive in.  Allocate resources of time, energy, a small startup monetary investment…you choose.  Your dime, your future.  You be the change and define yourself.  For example, everyone sells skincare these days, but I market the magic in making it fun.  I chose a logo that looked like fun.  Yeah, I sell fun.  Having fun as I grow old is my new norm.  What’s yours?

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What is the Second Great Mystery?

I often read about serious things.  I do.  I know that theologians refer to the inexplicable nature of God as being The Great Mystery, but the issue of disappearing internet bandwidth ranks right up there in my book!  On the 15th we got a text telling us we had used up our allotment of bandwidth.  Really?  With half a month to go?  Had it vaporized into thin air?  Our habits are deeply ingrained; we hadn’t changed one iota.  Yet suddenly our lives were drastically altered.  We contemplated a Stonehendge existence, and I realized three stark options before me:

  1. We could purchase expensive tokens as a temporary solution.  The helpful lady at customer service gifted us two, which disappeared in less than 24 hours.  Somehow, that didn’t look like a satisfactory option.  How does that even happen?
  2. We could upgrade our plan and restart another 24-month cycle of enslavement to HughesNet.  Ick.
  3. We could camp out at Panera’s when we wanted to use a laptop.  Tasty!

Right now, pencil in hand, I realize how deeply dependent I am.  I run my business on the internet.  We communicate via email on the internet.  I keep recipes on my Pinterest board, which, of course, lives on the internet.

Byte by byte the encroaching and never ending reach of technology poses as a blessing, but its ramifications quickly become a curse when your access disappears or your identity gets hacked.  Our information, minute details of our lives get encrypted into invisible strands that stream away, landing who knows where and handled by nefarious rogues, I’m sure.  Upon reflection, I realize the periphery of my life revolves around internet availability, but the essence of my heart and mind dwell in another dimension.  A solid dimension of hugs and meals and people. The problem is that I spend as many waking hours wrestling with the periphery as I do with what matters most, and see no way of changing that.

I bet you’re wondering how we solved this weighty dilemma.  We immediately ruled out #2.  In six months we will be free to look at another company lined with fine print, but a different cage may feel more attractive to us.  We opted not to change our plan.  At roughly $10 a meal at Panera’s, I figured that three days of internet usage equaled the cost of 10 extra tokens.  I stopped right there and discarded door #3.  Yes, we made someone’s day and bought tokens.  Label me #ensaredbytheunseen.   This second great mystery plagues me.


For now I sleep comforted, knowing I own 10 tokens of an unknown quantity of internet bandwidth, which means diddly squat in terms I understand.  Actually, I didn’t sleep all that well last night.  The second great mystery eludes me.

What is a Blog?

Blogging.  I am conflicted about the whole concept of blogging.  On the one hand, it seems like the ultimate self-adulation in a world drunk with selfies.  What possible insight does one lonely blogger offer a society stuffed with too much useless information?  Google any topic and you’ll find a plethora of quotes and articles, and probably spend hours sifting through it all.  Adding to the reams of cacophony seems pointless.  On the other hand, the impulse to write burns within me.

I write for myself.  I write for my business, because I love what I do.  I write because words carry innate power within themselves.  Words sear.  Convict.  Touch.  Hurt.  Heal.  They pose as insignificant chicken scratches, but don’t be fooled.

Oh no, my friend.  Words aren’t just mightier than the sword.  They infuse life and motive into the swing of the sword.  Sentient within the universe lies a Being I call God.  He created words and imparted Himself, His essence into words, leaving them open to the heart and mind of the person who uses them, be it a good heart or an evil heart.

I take these words I pen very seriously.  And so should you.  Because once you read them, the voice in your mind forever retains them, truth and untruth.  My friends, I am honored you read my words.  I promise to write strong words, edifying words, words worthy of your time.


Wonder Woman

Empowering Women (and men)

Tip Tuesday is a common theme in Perfectly Posh.  We spend a lot of time helping each other figure out better ways to run our businesses.  Unlike corporate America, where people claw their way to the top, brown nose, vie to get attention and steal the credit whenever they can, Posh pits you only against yourself.  Requirements for advancement are clearly laid out and there’s no glass ceiling, no limit to how many can succeed.  We can all succeed.  Every business owner gauges her own successes, maps out her own path, and competes only against herself.

I like cooperation.  I thrive in a sisterhood of friendship and mutual support.  And in that spirit of support, I decided to offer you my top five tips for being happy at 68.  I consider happiness a bar of success.

#5  Decide to try.  Engagement means exactly the same thing in business and in life as it means in romance.  Put the ring on and commit to your business, to your goals, to what makes you happy.

#4  Decide to smile.  Life’s vexing grievances are better swallowed with a cup of pleasure.  Seriously.  Show some teeth whether you feel like it or not.  I find that the smile ushers in the joy, not the other way around.

#3  Decide to train.  Yup.  Be a life learner.  Pick up new ideas.  Learn a new language.  Study a new topic.  Find a mentor.  In some way, every day, every single day, learn something new.  You’ll be happier sharpening your mind.

#2  Decide to serve others.  Simple, really, just serve people.  Make something easier for someone around you.  If you work with someone, help that person succeed with no sense of self interest, no hope for personal gain.  Just serve someone.

#1  Decide to be consistent.  Daily effort.  Ten minutes or two hours–you decide the amount of effort, but doing something daily to meet your personal goals elevates you in the standings of life.  That consistent effort yields satisfaction, which makes you happy.

Want to work with me?  I’m full of ideas, and I love sharing them with my team!  Go to www.madaboutposh.com and click on JOIN.  empower women.JPG


The Itty-Bitty Things

Ray Kroc, a founder of McDonalds, is credited with the phrase “getting the itty-bitty things right,” and establishing a school for flipping burgers.  It may be urban legend, but I like the concept.  Human nature takes its cue from a constantly degrading universe, and all too often, failure to set goals results in little failures in the things that matter most.  That ability to choose to do better and be better rests as the hallmark of being a human being.

Stated another way, “good enough never has been and never will be good enough.”  Perfectionism is not a trait anyone who knows me would ascribe as one of my personal qualities.  Nevertheless, in some things, I do set lofty goals for myself.

In business, not in housework.  In cooking, not in baking.  In service, not in play.  I believe I can be exceptional in the things that matter most without being consumed by the insane notion that I can be perfect in everything.  Be exceptional in the things that matter most to you.  Set priorities.  Give the things you care about a lion’s share of your attention and effort.  See a difference.

In a past season of my life I worked as an RN.  Professionalism became a byword in our education and training.  It colored my everyday philosophy of life.  I wanted to be a professional mother.  A professional kind of writer.  A professional business owner.  And I plan on never retiring from that!  Getting the itty-bitty things right, from customer service to working with colleagues forms the basis of my business creed. If this resonates with you, join me!  I’d love to work with you!  Yes, I’ll be 69 this year, but I can use that life experience to leverage myself into a better life situation.  So can you.

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The Fabric of Life

It used to be the norm.  Multi-generational families were common, and still are in other countries, especially in Europe.  In America we got away from that dynamic and our culture shifted into rugged independence rather than being inter-connected.  We accepted teenage rebellion as a norm rather than the disease it truly became, a harbinger of separation and distrust.

Along the way we lost something, something really valuable.  Grandparents pass down family history and mores.  They reinforce parental values.  Blending fosters emotional health and purpose for the grandparents, while it creates a cocoon of support for the littles.  My own life was enriched by a grandmother who taught me to knit, by in-laws who taught me frugality, by a mother who taught me perseverance.  Parents scurrying off to work and then trying to keep a household running in the evening can’t squeeze it all in between supper and bedtime.  Turn to grandparents to fill that missing link.

Owning a business is a great way to keep the fabric intact.  Many grandparents babysit, but I suggest turning part of that time into a purposeful, multi-generational endeavor. Littles can help, developing a work ethic as they enjoy time together.  Seniors on fixed incomes benefit from all the perks of a side hustle.  Of course, I sell Posh–but choose something that fuels your passion.  Turn a hobby into income, or join a direct sales network with all the support built into it.  The wide world beckons you.  Beckon a little to be part of your venture!  Everyone wins.  (If you wish to join me, go to www.madaboutposh.com and click on JOIN.  I will contact you asap!)