‘what could lay ahead’

by winemama

An interesting talk by the MD of Daimler Benz

Discuss!

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Should You Have a Bucket List?

by Honolulu Mother

This Thrillist article considers the pros and cons of keeping a bucket list:

WHY THROWING AWAY MY BUCKET LIST MADE ME A BETTER TRAVELER

In short, it suggests that if you’re going to keep one, have a carefully considered one that is based on your real interests (rather than what might sound cool to others) and don’t be driven by it.

Thrillist also offers some advice for recovering from the flight when you do make it to a distant bucket-list destination:

HOW TO RECOVER FROM A LONG-ASS FLIGHT, ACCORDING TO FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

I don’t have a bucket list as such, although I do have some places in the back of my mind as ones I’d like to someday visit (Iceland, India). How about others – do you keep a bucket list? How has that worked for you?

Ask the Totebag — Divorce

by winemama

My ex and I separated last summer after 13 years of marriage. We have one son, who is almost 7. He spends one week with Dad, then one week with me, switching after school on Fridays. The first holidays were rough.

I saw DS part of Halloween for trick or treat. I got DS for Thanksgiving lunch, ex got him for Thanksgiving dinner. Vice versa for Christmas Day. DS has his birthday in the spring.

Any suggestions from folks who have been through this before?

Tips for handling his birthday? Try to celebrate together or not?

I’m dating someone now (for almost 3 months), when to introduce him?

Things to avoid?

Divorce will be final in February.

House styles and wall art

by July

This Pop Chart Lab poster features “121 hand-drawn American homes divided up into seven primary categories—Colonial, Folk/Vernacular, Romantic, Victorian, Eclectic, Modern, Neo-Eclectic—and 40 subdivisions, such as Italian Renaissance Revival, Ranch, and the dreaded McMansion”.  (Click to enlarge image.)

Which drawing most closely resembles your home?  Which one is your dream home style?  Are they one and the same?  If you live in a multi-family building, what is the style?

Would you hang this poster in your home?  What do you like to hang on your walls?  Fine art or posters, traditional or not, colorful or muted tones?

Robocalls and spoofing

by Honolulu Mother

I’ve been getting a lot of robocalls lately, and many of them seem to come from spoofed phone numbers (usually from my same area code). Apparently I’m not alone:

How robo-callers outwitted the government and completely wrecked the Do Not Call list

It’s an arms race between the robocallers and the callblockers, and the robocallers are winning. The unfortunate side effect is that it makes everyone less likely to answer the phone for an unfamiliar number, which cuts down on the utility of the phone as a communications device. (I pick up anyway as my kids are known to forget their phones at home and call from a friend’s phone.)

Have you been getting more robocalls? Have you tried a callblocking app? And, do you still pick up for unfamiliar numbers?

Restaurant Menus

by Honolulu Mother

I thought the group would be amused by this WaPo article complaining about incomprehensible restaurant menu listings:

It’s not just you: Restaurant menus really are confusing

I am familiar with pommes paillasson but the other examples given would have at least one unfamiliar term for me. However, I thought it was funny/ironic to have the Post’s food writer making this complaint since the inclusion of non-English or specialized language in restaurant menu listings has been something of a class test for over a century — think of all those fancy urban restaurants in the late nineteenth century using French for all the menu items despite being located in an English-speaking city. If you couldn’t understand what you were ordering it showed you were an outsider. I’d say that your more aspirational restaurants today do the same thing, assuming a level of diner familiarity with more obscure ingredients and current food trends that may be standard for well-heeled urbanites but leaves others feeling left out. So the real issue is that these restaurants dialed their menu obscurity level up to “11 – even restaurant critic can’t understand it.”

On the other hand, although I may be familiar with pommes paillasson, I’ve been baffled in the past by questions such as whether a DQ Blizzard is a drink (I now know it is ice cream) when outside my zone of familiarity. In other words, a part of this phenomenon is just restaurants aiming their menus at their usual crowd rather than deliberately trying to exclude infrequent diners.

Have you run into restaurant menus where you felt at a loss as to what was being offered, or how much food an item was likely to involve, or whether it would come with sides included? Are there ways you think restaurants could improve their menu writing? And do you place the blame for diner confusion more on restaurants trying too hard to be precious, or just on some restaurant staff doing a poor job of describing their food?

Create an ad for a marriage partner

by July

What’s the Best Way to Match a B’ful, Homely Bride With a H’som W’stld Groom?
India’s parents use abbreviation-stuffed newspaper ads, not the internet, to seek marriage partners for their children

A majority of marriages in India are still arranged, often with parents meeting before the potential bride and groom get a chance to see each other….

Potential brides are B’ful and grooms H’som. SM4 is suitable match for, and Send BHP means send biodata (or a résumé), horoscope and photo. W’stld is well settled, meaning well paid. Wkg is working. PQ means professionally qualified, T’tot is a teetotaler, and a PSU is a public sector unit—where jobs impress.

The ads also often list the father’s job—fthr sr bnk offcr, or father senior bank officer, for example.

The personals also have their own unique vocabulary. If a woman is listed as “homely” it means she doesn’t work. If a man is issueless (abbreviated as i’less) after a divorce, it means he doesn’t have children. Potential mates listed as having a “wheatish” complexion have light-brown skin.

Let’s play matchmaker.  Write a marriage ad for someone — your children, another relative, a friend, or even yourself or your spouse.  Highlight their most attractive qualities.  (Add in “buyer beware” warnings if you want.)  Do your best sales job!

What’s your opinion of arranged marriages?

‘Healthy’ habits you can’t quite defend

by Honolulu Mother

The writers of 538 helpfully shared some of the “wellness” habits they love despite the lack of any real evidence of effectiveness:

The Wellness Habits We Love Too Much To Investigate

Are you willing to share here? And to those commenters inclined to cavil (you know who you are), no fair pointing out that someone’s cherished habit shared in this thread is likely to be pointless — they know that or they wouldn’t be sharing it here.

I’ll start: when I eat a falafel sandwich I cling to the belief that it’s a healthful choice and try not to think about the “deep fried” part of how falafels are made.

Open thread

We have an open thread all day today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Do you have a neighborhood bar or hangout?  Describe it for us.  Do you wish you had one?  What would it be like?

Calendaring

by Honolulu Mother

We haven’t had a post on family calendar systems for a while. This may risk bringing the Cozi hordes back down on us, but has anyone changed calendaring system? Still happy with the one you have? Looking for a change?

We’ve long used a paper calendar in the kitchen as the main family calendar, supplemented to some degree by Google calendar that only I ever looked at or got notifications from. Since changing the kitchen Echo out for an Echo show, though, the Google calendar notifications are very visible for all because they’re part of the rotating newsfeed on the Show’s screen when it’s idle (with a slideshow of family photos in the background). It’s also easier to ask to show a specific date in, say, April, than to flip forward in the paper calendar. As a result, I’m now making the effort to get everything into my Google calendar so it’ll show up in the newsfeed. We basically have two parallel systems going now, the paper one and the electronic one.

What’s your calendaring news?

Nursing: A Great Career for Guys?

by MooshiMooshi

This is a really nice article about the potential of nursing as a career for men. It discusses the fact that there is a growing number of men in nursing – still just 13% but that represents real growth. The article notes that across all of the allied health professions, there has been an uptick of men going into those fields. And it profiles a bunch of guys who have chosen nursing as a career.

‘Forget About the Stigma’: Male Nurses Explain Why Nursing Is a Job of the Future for Men (NYT)

However, I wonder if this is really a solution for towns like the one profiled in the Chronicle article. Nursing and the other allied health professions typically require 4 year degrees or even longer programs, and are considered to be challenging majors. Is this realistic for towns where the many unemployed people, both men and women, are not interested in college degrees and may not have the academic preparation? Furthermore, is this an option in areas where nursing programs are few and far between, and where access to higher education is lacking in general?

A DYING TOWN
Here in a corner of Missouri and across America, the lack of a college education has become a public-health crisis.

There have also been reports that many men are still resistant to entering what are often termed “the caring professions”.

Why Men Don’t Want the Jobs Done Mostly by Women (NYT)

Opinion? We often discuss nursing as a good field for people who want to have a solid steady career.

Hobbies

by L

Who has taken up a new hobby as an adult? Playing an instrument, boating, dancing, a new sport? Whose hobbies (like mine) are activities that you have done since childhood? Does anyone have hobbies that they hope their kids *don’t* take up?

An Ordinary Childhood?

by Louise

Reading the comments about Megan Markle’s childhood, commentators were saying at how ordinary/not so great it was. From all accounts, it struck me as being quite a happy childhood. Yes, she is biracial, has divorced parents, half siblings but seems to have been a happy kid who went to parochial school, is college educated and pursued her interest in performing in her career as an adult. Even without a prince in the picture, she was doing fine.

Have our standards for what constitutes a great childhood increased dramatically? What do you think is basic/good enough for your kids ? What are extras ? Discuss.

Open thread

We have an open thread all day today.

Inspired by the discussion on the politics thread and by recent changes within my family, I’m running a poll.

Do you have choices for health insurance?  Are you happy with your choice?  How have your recent experiences been with health care/insurance?  Good, bad, indifferent?  Any other comments or advice?  Please keep political comments on the other thread.

Different Types of Health Plans: How They Compare

Family estrangement

by July

Debunking Myths About Estrangement
New research challenges the deeply held notion that family relationships can’t be dissolved and suggests that estrangement is not all that uncommon.  (NYT)

I’ve only recently noticed more cases of family estrangement, both among people I know and among celebrities, and I agree with the myths as explained in this article.  No family is immune, and for the first time I’ve considered the possibility that this could happen in my nuclear family.  It’s sobering.

What are your thoughts?

2017 Totebag year in review and looking ahead to 2018

by July

We’ve wrapped up another good year of discussions and camaraderie here on The Totebag.

When I put together a list of our most popular 2017 posts I noticed that money was a more popular topic than it was in 2016.  Have you noticed this shift in our conversations?  (Political posts are excluded from this list.)

Totebag posts that received the most page views in 2017:

  1. How would you cut your household spending?
  2. Money lessons
  3. ‘Embarrassment of riches’
  4. Your retirement location and home
  5. Gender imbalance in the workplace
  6. Paying for college
  7. A Quick Fix for the Blues
  8. Nosy, or not?
  9. What would you do with a windfall?
  10. Are you pretending to be middle class?

Do you have any comments or suggestions for our blog?

For those of you who are reluctant to email I’ve added a page on the blog header where you can submit posts.  I will try to do my best to check those comments for any submissions.