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thOur house smells of smoke thanks to a wildfire just south of town. The recent unusually sunny and warm weather has left the area ready to burn.

The linked video above shows an uninhabited, mountainous area. Unfortunately the blaze is spreading toward a part of town with wonderful homes – and no utility infrastructure.

That’s the trouble with living in an isolated area: Even if fire trucks can get up there, they can use only the water they brought with them.

Residents are packing their bug-out bags and creating what the fire folks call “defensible spaces” around their homes (e.g., removing trees and mowing down brush) and everyone’s sort of on tenterhooks. I expect even the atheists are praying for a downpour right about now.

Down here on the flats I’m feeling sad for anyone in the fire’s path and also experiencing a bit of survivor’s guilt. Our house lot is mostly treeless; if fire broke out in tree-heavy areas nearby, we have two hose hookups that would let us squirt out any embers that blew our way.

Thanks to the city water system we’d have a steady supply. One of us could be on the ground watching for hot spots and the other on the roof to protect the shingles. Since this is a one-story house it would be a simple scramble up the ladder; DF does this every year when he sweeps the chimney.

Right now I’m praying (for real) for rain.

 


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th-1Take a look at personal finance articles aimed at women. How many of them focus on topics like using coupons, getting the best prices for school clothes and cutting back on our purse collections?

Those are all good things to do. But why aren’t women getting information about building real wealth?

Women make 85 percent of consumer purchases. (Hint: Not all of them are of Jimmy Choo footwear.) Yet they are too often ignored, patronized or marginalized by the financial planning industry.

Kimberly Palmer, author of “Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How To Build Wealth While Raising A Family,” has a friend in that line of work. He told her about a colleague who talked to the husband and referred to the wife in the third person. The wife was sitting right next to her spouse.

That’s why we need books like this one. We do need to worry our pretty li’l heads about money.

 


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The unfriendly skies.

th-1Dreading being seated next to or near a baby on your next flight? You should probably be just as concerned about the adult passengers. Recently I’ve read two accounts of teen-aged girls (one of them an unaccompanied minor) being molested by adult men at 35,000 feet.

As we used to write from the city desk, “Police said alcohol was a factor.” Then again, plenty of people drink on planes and don’t grope strangers. Liquor may break the chain and free the beast, but only if the beast was already there.

The family of one girl (just 13 years old!) is suing American Airlines. The other, aged 16, kept pushing the guy away until another passenger intervened.

The moral of the story: Save the stinkeye for creepy drunken dudes and give parents of small children the benefit of the doubt.

 


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thWho knew the amount of work it takes to self-publish a book?!? Answer: Everyone who’s already done it or is working on it now.

I’m firmly in the latter camp. About 10 days ago I finished writing and editing “Your Playbook For Tough Times.” Sort of.

Even as I rejoiced that the work was done (a butt dance may or may not have been involved), I felt a bit uneasy. Within a day or two my subconscious was nagging: “Aren’t a couple of those chapters a little bloated?”

No! Shut up! It’s done and it looks GREAT!

In fact, I was so sure it was done that I sent it off to a few people who’d offered to read/critique the thing. And then last Saturday evening I sat down to take “just a quick look” at the manuscript. You can guess what happened next.

 


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thWhen I gave away e-copies of “Frugality For Depressives: Money-Saving Tips For Those Who Find Life A Little Harder,” some of my readers (and my daughter’s, too) said they were waiting for the physical edition. Either they don’t have e-readers or they, like me, prefer to hold a book in their hands.

I can help with that. The trade paperback edition of the book is now available, and I’m giving away three copies.

Naturally a mom would think her kid’s book is splendid. But I’m not the only one who thinks the book can help depressives and the chronically ill.

 


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