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The 876 scam is back.

thWhen the phone rang yesterday and caller ID noted an “876” area code, a warning bell dimly clanged in my head. Some kind of scam, I think. As I started to say so, DF answered the phone.

“Hello…Pretty busy, actually, what’s up? Oh, really? Well, send it to me.” He ended the call – and along with it, our chance to win $8.1 million dollars in a foreign lottery.

Yep, the 876 scam is back. Previous scammers have claimed to be associated with Publishers Clearinghouse, UPS, loan originators or credit repair agencies.

The crooks explain that once they’ve received a wire transfer or prepaid card to cover “taxes and fees,” their prizes will be sent along.

Of course that sounds ludicrous. But people fall for it all the time – especially the elderly.


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th-1Recently I was quoted in a U.S. News and World Report article about affordable Mother’s Day gifts. My suggestion was, of course, writing-related: Buy her a journal.

A written account of your days on Earth isn’t just a chronicle of the way you work, eat, love, parent, spend, vote and play, however. It can also be:

A safety valve. Write down what happened at work/on that first date/as you walked past a construction site, or risk having your head ’splode.

A historical document. Some day your descendants will be startled that you once earned only $50,000 per year or that you had to hold your phone in your hand in order to communicate. Preserving these memories will add to your family history.

An intimate friend. You can tell your journal anything, although it might be wise to have a stout lock on the thing.


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th-1The typical U.S. resident will pony up big-time on or around May 10. According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, we’re planning to spend an average of $172.63 on things like brunch, jewelry, gift cards and, of course, flowers.

That’s about $10 more than we spent last year. It isn’t clear whether that’s due to an improvement in the economy of just plain old guilt.

Or maybe the things we want to give (more on that below) are pricier this year?

My mother died in 2003. I never came anywhere close to spending an adjusted-for-inflation $172.63 for a Mother’s Day gift. If I had, she would have raised the roof.

On the other hand, I did visit her whenever I could – and since I was coming from Alaska those were some pretty pricey tickets. Travel definitely averaged out to more than $172.63 per year, especially when I brought my daughter and/or then-husband along for the ride.


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thYesterday I used every clothespin we own to fill the line-on-a-pulley that DF put up last fall. The sun was out, the temperature was in the mild mid-40s and our laundry was going outside.

The comforter, blanket and pillows went outdoors, too. That’s something we do year-round because fresh air = wonderful sleeping. But right now we don’t hang things out until after 10 a.m., when cottonwood, aspen and willow pollen levels drop.

Although I developed seasonal allergies in my late 40s, I’m not complaining: Pollen in the air means spring is finally here. Real spring, not calendar spring.


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thA couple of weeks back the doorbell rang but no one was there when DF answered. That is, he didn’t see anyone until he looked down. The solid part of the storm door had blocked his view of a small, sturdy youngster.

“I’m Orion, and I’m meeting my neighbors,” the boy announced.

Seems he was ringing doorbells up and down our cul-de-sac. Orion and DF chatted for a few minutes. Their conversation brought me up to the front of the house to listen in.

Orion is almost four years old and proud owner of the scooter lying at the foot of our driveway. He hoped we would come over and say “hi” to his mom some time.

Then he hopped on his scooter and kick-glided away, no doubt in search of more neighbors.


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