thThe TSA-friendly travel bag is always a wildly popular giveaway. And why not? Nobody wants to pay more for a .64-ounce tube of toothpaste than a 4.6-ounce one.

If you’re planning a trip over the long Memorial Day weekend, this bag of toiletries – all TSA-compliant – means you won’t have to check a bag.

It’s also great even if you’re not flying, since it’s easier to toss these toiletries into your overnight bag than to start stuffing in full-size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and the like.

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Dude, where’s my car?

thRecently I stopped by a local bakery to pick up a prize basket for my great-nephews’ school auction. When I came back out, I tried to open the door of the wrong car.

This is kinda-sorta understandable given how many Subarus wheel around Anchorage on a given day. But it’s also pretty humiliating. The woman sitting in the vehicle said, “Nope, not this one” and smiled as though she’d done this herself.

Still awkward.

A former editor of mine who now works at Insurance.com just sent a release called “Biggest driving embarrassments.” Reading the statistics made me feel less alone.

No less dumb, mind you. It’s just that now I know I’m not the only one.

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thI spent part of Mother’s Day running errands, including stopping by a charity yard sale, going to the credit union, doing a little Dumpster wading and buying a few groceries. Mostly it was an excuse to be out and about on yet another perfect day.

We’ve had a run of them lately: sunny, sunny, sunny days with temps reaching as high as 70. In southcentral Alaska in May, that’s petty darned warm. In fact, it set a record, and I’ve got the sunburn to prove it.

So does my great-nephew:



(His mother really does feed him, and you should see how he chows down at Café Awesome. He’s just a beanpole.)

Yes, I know the rest of the world considers that mild. I lived on the East Coast and in the Midwest myself. Just be happy for us that we’re getting marvelous weather.

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th-2When I announced my fifth anniversary giveaway, at least one reader pointed out that it isn’t the anniversary of five years’ worth of writing but rather the fifth birthday of my first-ever post (April 30, 2010).

Duly noted. Sorry about the misstatement.

Now let’s get on with the important part: the fact that you still have time to enter and the fact that the prizes are really swell thanks to some very generous fellow bloggers.

How swell? Glad you asked.

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thThe other day I went to Wal-Mart to purchase gift cards for my current giveaway (which is open until 7 p.m. PDT May 9, if you haven’t already entered). While there I noticed carts full of deeply discounted Easter items.

Six-packs of Reese’s peanut butter eggs for 50 cents? I took four packages for the freezer, figuring my nephews might enjoy an ice-cold treat on a warm spring or summer day.

Then I saw the gallon-sized white plastic buckets with a pastel egg motif. Apparently these are designed for Easter egg hunts; filled with fake straw and treats, they’d also make good Easter baskets. And the price was right: 10 cents.

Heaven help me, I almost bought some. But then the frugal filter kicked in. Except that this time I’m calling it the “10-cent bucket list,” i.e., the questions I’m glad I asked myself before walking out with bags full of future clutter.

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