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Found money in 2016.

I waited a little longer than usual to count my found money. For those unfamiliar with the concept: All year long I pick up coins from lots of places: stores, sidewalks, parks, the return bins of Coinstar machines.

Usually I add up my found money around Thanksgiving, then add some more and donate it to the Food Bank of Alaska. This year I decided that the holidays are when people most like to donate to food banks, so why not wait a while?

Here’s what I found this year:

 


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Yesterday I hand-wrote two thank-you notes. In doing so I was reminded that while decent penmanship is important, it’s also hard.

Very hard. Since I was 21 years old I’ve been making a living through typing; for about 20 of those years, as a newspaper reporter, I mixed keyboarding with furious note-taking.

The cumulative effect manifests as numbness, tingling and hands that tire/hurt quickly when holding a pen.

Then there’s the fact that I’m in my sixth decade of life. No machine runs for 59 years without some maintenance issues.

So why not just type those notes? Because they were being sent to people whose opinions matter to me, and I wanted to express my thanks the way Miss Manners would. Of course, she has a staff for that sort of thing.

 


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th-2More than nine years ago my editor gave me a black fleece jacket with the MSN Money logo. The garment has seen some seriously hard use over the years, to the point where it’s no longer midnight-black but rather more of a pre-dawn slate.

A bit worn but still warm, the jacket has reached the end of the line because its zipper is kaput. Yet I’m having a tough time throwing it away, even though it’s no longer wearable and even though I no longer need it. My black fleece Mr. Rebates pullover keeps me plenty warm, thanks; it’s softer and cozier, too.

The other day I tried to throw the MSN jacket in the trash but couldn’t unclench my fingers. Two reasons why:

 


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The divine up-yours.

th(In honor of Throwback Thursday and the recent election, I’m putting this piece — originally published Nov. 3, 2010 — back out there.)

Last summer a relative told me that the only way to “protect” our border would be to allow the Border Patrol to shoot to kill. This eventually resulted in my writing an essay called “Who would Jesus strafe?

Initially, though, it resulted in disbelief and sorrow. I cried as I drove away because his heart was so hard and so bitter.

I needed to do something to cleanse myself of that kind of hatred. And that’s when I came up with my evil plan:

 


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Cards and consequences.

th-1(I’ve decided to re-publish articles now and again in honor of what the kids call Throwback Thursday. Enjoy.)

On Tuesday I participated in a TweetChat sponsored by Ally Bank, on the topic of “teaching kids the value of money.” One of the responses from another participant frankly startled me.

The question: “When is the right time to talk to your children about credit card debt?”

The answer: “I’d say when they have their own card (and a real sense of consequences), most likely as a freshman in college.”

After picking my jaw up off the kitchen table, I sent out this response: “Waiting till they have their own card is like waiting til daughter gets pregnant to say, “Don’t misuse that thing, y’hear?”

 


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