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Connecting 72 Countries around the Globe

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."

~ Edward Hoagland, American Essayist (1932 - )

September 22, 2003


"Hang On, Sloopy"


From the Inside Out...
Hang On!!!!!

Yes You Can!...
Stretch Cash, Retire (2)

Far Horizons...
The Maldives

Links That Shine...
Household Products Database

Fascinating Facts...
Personality CAN Change

Laughing It Off...
21st Century Drugs

Untangling the Web...
What a Site!
Computer Ease

Look at That!...
The Color of Fun

Joyful Lifestyles...
Lifting Our Own
Depression (1)


Uplifting World

BE the World
You Want to See!

Many of us realize that everything in life is our teacher ... and there's none so wise as our furry little companions.

~ Chelle ~

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From the Inside Out"Happy" boy!
HANG ON!!!!!

He "dogs" my every footstep. With each step I take, he's right there with me, guarding me and ready to die to defend me. I have seen him take on the most aggressive vacuum cleaner salesmen.

Heaven help the one who sticks his foot in the door, without invitation, for my little powerhouse of faithfulness and aggression will give that foot a fight for it's life — shoes, socks, and laces!

Make no mistake, a Dachshund may be small, but they are quick and relentless, in an attack. They are not called "badger dogs" for no reason. In their natural habitat, they have been known to track a badger, one of the fiercest animals known, relentlessly hurrying down into its tunnel, and locking onto its snout, never letting go, even in death.

When I leave the house without him, whether it's just a walk around the yard or a day trip to the next town, Happy will keep watch at the top of the stairs. With every sound, he will launch himself onto the back of the couch, to get a good look out of the window, to see if I'm almost home.

I can hear him, immediately, announcing my arrival before I even get out of the car.

"She's home!" he cries. "She's home! She's home! All is well!"

As I open the door, he immediately gives me a tongue lashing, yelping with joy! I try to always have a "present" for him, and I delight at his enthusiasm, as he roots through the bag until he finds it.

Happy has a perfect bandit face — a black mask surrounded by rich, golden tan. His ice-cube nose is ever questing for a treat or just a warm place to cuddle. He has shoe button eyes that never miss an opportunity. And when he locks those intelligent eyes onto mine, I lose all power to resist.

Happy, like all Dachshunds, loves to tease and play. Every clever thing he does is simple evidence that even a woman my age can be taught "new tricks." He brings me the ball. I throw it. He steals my slippers. I chase him.

The worst thing you can do, in the face of improper behavior, is laugh! I, joyfully, failed that test long ago. I am Happy's willing slave. No matter how dark my mood, Happy can always make me laugh.

Happy doesn't know that there are not "badgers" laying in wait. He's always prepared, just in case, and I have learned much from this little dog. I have learned that a faithful life is one of constant vigilance. I have learned that some things are worth fighting for, and if necessary, dying for.

However, the greatest lesson that Happy has taught me, is to live my life in the moment, just as he does, ever joyful for each blessing, ever vigilant for those "badgers" that are certain to cross my path.

And when life takes a nasty turn, I have learned from Happy, to grab a hold and just hang on!

~ By Jaye Lewis for



Sun Wave Yes You Can!

If you’re trying to figure out how to retire, there are some ways you might be able to make the numbers work so retirement can happen:

1. Take a part-time job. The most common and increasingly popular way that people are making retirement work is by getting a part-time job. Technically, that means you’re not retired, although many retirees would argue it depends on what your definition of retirement is.

Indeed, some two-thirds of workers say that they plan to work after they retire. Among those, while some will work simply for the enjoyment of it, almost half say they will work to maintain health-insurance coverage and one-third say they need extra cash to make ends meet. Indeed, younger people may find they have to worker longer than they'd like so that they can get full Social Security benefits. If you were born after 1960, the retirement age is 67.

“If you can find a way to keep working without stress and more flexibility, it can make a lot of sense,” Paul Nastasi, a financial planner in Baltimore, Md. says. “We’re seeing a lot of people move to vacation communities where there is a good lifestyle and a lot of service jobs. One spouse will often take a job to support their lifestyles.”

For example, Bob Sertner, 75, of Bondville, Vt., an avid golfer, figured out a way to support his expensive habit after retiring from his interior decoration business. He got a winter job selling ski tickets at Stratton Mountain. The company that owns Stratton, Intrawest Corp., is a giant resort company with golf resorts at desirable spots such as Lake Tahoe, Calif. and Copper Mountain, Colo. Sertner and his wife, Joan, 72, have frequently traveled to these resorts to take advantage of deeply discounted room rates and free rounds of golf for Intrawest employees.

2. Draw down a home-equity loan. If you want to retire in your 50s, or even earlier, cash flow is likely to be a major concern even if you have a fat retirement account. But there’s a creative solution: “You can take out a home equity line of credit to tide you over,” says Lisa Osofsky, a financial planner and CPA at M.R. Weiser in New York City. “One of my clients got laid off at 55 and avoided having to go back to work by taking out a line of credit,” she says.

Granted, to get this kind of security you would need to have substantial equity in your home. But the closer to retirement you get, the more likely you are to have this kind of cushion built up, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging. The agency says some 76% of Americans age 65 or older own their homes outright.

Even if you don’t think you will use it, there’s no harm in establishing a line of credit as security, says Keith Gumbinger, a vice president at HSH Associates, a mortgage data publisher in Butler, N.J. “It’s an excellent idea, assuming you get a competitive rate and you don’t have to pay inactivity fees.”

Competitive rates these days run around 5%. Some lenders require that you pay a $50 to $100 annual fee if you don’t use the line of credit. Be sure to apply for the line of credit while you are still employed to increase your chances of qualifying for a sizable line of credit at a competitive rate, Osofsky says.

3. Replace your mortgage with an interest-only loan. One way to free up extra cash is to refinance your mortgage and take out an interest-only loan. This won’t save you a bundle — possibly a couple hundred of dollars a month, depending on the size of your loan. But that might buy you some extra comfort, either for spending money or so you can continue to sock money into your retirement account, Osofsky says.

With mortgage-interest loans, you only pay interest on the loan for a fixed period of usually up to 10 to 15 years. This reduces your monthly payments, and your full payment would be tax deductible.

For example, on a $200,000 loan with a 30-year fixed rate of 6%, your monthly payment would be about $1,200. According to HSH, an interest-only loan with the same terms would cost you $1,000 a month. The drawback is that interest-only payments won’t help build equity in your home. Plus, says Keith Gumbinger of HSH, “You’re forestalling the inevitable — at some point that home loan has to be paid off.”

4. Move to a less-costly area. Only about 10% of people move after they retire, usually for financial reasons or to seek a milder climate, according to Charles Longino, a gerontologist and demographer at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. But uprooting can pay off in a big way as part of a retirement plan. “Real estate is the most significant asset that most couples have,” Ballou says.

Especially if you live in a hot housing market, you can raise a substantial amount of cash by selling your home and choosing a new and desirable — but less expensive — locale.

Bette and Jim Nordant, of Naples, Fla., are proof that this strategy isn’t just a quick fix to a cash-flow problem, but a long-term planning solution. Ten years ago, when they lived in Alomo, Calif., their financial planner said they needed another $200,000 saved to retire and maintain their lifestyle, Bette says.

They raised the cash practically overnight by selling their home and buying an equivalent home for $200,000 less in Boca Raton, Fla. Soon they sold the house in Boca Raton and moved across the state to Naples. These steps have enabled them to live their ideal retirement, spending half the year in Florida and the other half in the Sierras in California. “We didn’t have to downsize to do this. We found a home of equal quality,” Bette says.

Whether you consider one or more of these strategies to make a comfortable retirement feasible, be sure to start planning early, Ballou says. The more thorough your planning, the more likely it is that you can arrange the kind of retirement you want.

~ Karen Hube, Money Central


Far Horizons

Maldivian Island Lagoon

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A string of pearls scattered in the deep blue ocean about 400 miles south of India — 1,190 islands spread over 26 atolls (ring-like coral formations that enclose a lagoon) — give the Republic of the Maldives a feeling of paradise. The word "atoll" is the only word in the English language that Oxford extracted from the Maldivian language. This gives a hint about how perfect these formations are. The Maldives were formed about 100,000 years ago when once-sunken masses of land were lifted just above sea level through tremendous geological movement. The capital Malé, the seat of government and the centre of trade, is located in the middle of the atoll chain, a small island buzzing with the sounds and activities of about 75.000 people which is about one third of the population. The Maldives are not only a dream destination for scuba diving, snorkeling and windsurfing, but a retreat for those seeking a totally relaxed and unsophisticated way of life.

Travel ArchivesTravel Archives

Spiral LINKS

"Household Products Database"

It might be a good idea to run the contents
of your cabinets through this database of
Health and Safety Information on Household
Products to check out health effects and
safe storage and handling procedures.

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Through Fear to Love Click to See More
O'KANE & WYBER'S "Through Fear to Love"
CD/Cassettes Set ...
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Fascinating FactsBreaking out of our shell!

In contrast to the theory that an adult's personality is set in stone by age 30, a new study suggests personality does change throughout life — and often for the better. Researchers who surveyed more than 130,000 adults ages 21 to 60 found that men and women tend to become more agreeable and more conscientious with age.

In fact, agreeableness — a person's warmth, generosity and helpfulness -- showed the biggest improvement after age 30, according to findings published in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Many scientists believe that personality is simply an inherited trait that remains the same regardless of environmental effects, the study's lead author, Sanjay Srivastava of Stanford University in California, said in an interview with Reuters Health. But "we find gradual but meaningful changes, on average," Srivastava said. "And the average trends tended to be improvements. People are getting better at things as they age. They're not becoming grumpy old men."

The survey was conducted on the Internet, Srivastava noted, and participants were volunteers. "People could come to the Web site and fill it out," he explained. "In exchange they got feedback in the form of a score and a description of what it meant." When the researchers looked at the participants' scores for agreeableness, they found that people became increasingly warm and nurturing in their 20s, 30s and beyond. The greatest improvement in conscientiousness scores was seen among people in their twenties.

Among young adults, women tended to be more neurotic and more outgoing than men, but the difference diminished with age. Neurotic individuals are more prone to worrying and anxiety. Although the slight differences between the sexes appear to fall in line with sexual stereotypes, Srivastava said he doesn't think people should read too much into the findings.

"The variation in personality among women is much bigger than the variation between men and women," he said. Another trait measured — openness — appeared to decline slightly with age for both men and women.

Because the study was based on a survey done at one point in time and the researchers did not follow the same group of people over several decades, they can't be sure that the results do not reflect differences among the generations, Srivastava acknowledged. Still, he said, "our findings are consistent with other studies that ruled out generational differences."

SOURCE: Journal of Personality and Social Psychiatry 2003;84:1041-1053.

~Linda Carroll, REUTERS Health News

Where did Gatorade originate?

Click for Answer

"Specialized" Meds

Laughing It Off

BUYAGRA (for women):
Stimulant to be taken prior to shopping. Increases potency and duration of spending spree.

BUYAGRA (for men):
Married and otherwise attached men reported a sudden urge to buy their sweeties expensive jewellery and gifts after taking this drug for only two days. Still to be seen: whether the drug can be continued for a period longer than your favourite store's return limit.

Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to six hours.

Highly effective supplement that eliminates melancholy by enhancing the memory of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.

In clinical trials, 82 percent of middle-aged men administered this drug noticed that their wives had a new hairstyle. Currently being tested to see if its effects extend to noticing new clothing.

Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to make hand gestures at other drivers.

DIRECTRA (for men):
A dose of this drug given to men before leaving on car trips caused 72 percent of them to stop and ask directions when they got lost, compared to a control group of 0.2 percent.

A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers.

PROJECTRA (for men):
Men given this experimental new drug were far more likely to actually finish a household repair project before starting a new one..

Take two and the rest of the world can 'take a hike' for 8 hours!

~Contributed by Ellie in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Humor Archives


Untangling the Web

Penguin Programmer

Use this site to find the best bank rates out
there for mortgages, autos, credit cards,
bank accounts, IRAs and more.


In between Live Updates...
you can get the latest virus downloads at Symantec's Daily Virus Updater.

Look at THAT!

Community Project
Photo: Jean Pieri /St.Paul Pioneer Press

Children walk through a "luminarium"...
at the Landmark Plaza, a park in St. Paul, Minnesota, that creates a new public space connection from downtown to the Mississippi River. Inside the air-filled Luminarium Arcazaar visitors find a kaleidoscope of colors complete with soothing music. “Landmark Plaza, is a special park because it is a vibrant statement of what can be accomplished when different corporations, organizations and individuals, including Saint Paul’s young people, work together to invest in our city and its future,” said Saint Paul Mayor Randy Kelly.
~St. Paul Pioneer Press

JoyJoyful Lifestyles: Weekly Insights

When you're feeling down, what do you usually do? Personally, there was a time in my life when I simply 'overrode' it and persevered, pretending that my sadness, anger or depression did not even exist. Believe me, this is not a healthy route to take.

Eventually I learned to "embrace" moments of depression, as a natural part of being human. Today, I take time to ask myself "What am I feeling and why am I feeling this way?" Then, I'm in a more empowered place to address the issues and acknowledge my feelings. Sometimes, of course, I may just be upset that I 'didn't get my way' ... which always give me a good laugh. In other situations, I'm able to develop a plan of action to handle the problem that's disturbing me. It is at this point — the point of realization and acknowledgment — that I'm clear to proceed with remedy tools.

Researchers say that getting out of the house and walking, running, or jogging is a great way to fight depression. Going out for that walk is not only good for our overall well-being, but there seems to be a benefit in lifting our spirits, too. Perhaps, it is the feeling of accomplishment or the chance to commune with nature that helps. If we have something to shift our focus in a positive direction, we can generally find relief.

One of the contributing factors in many cases of depression is an overwhelming sense of stress, which gets internalized, resulting in a pervasive sense of emptiness or futility. Too much stress can also result in very real physical symptoms, as well as exhausting us mentally. The physical practice of yoga (or even twenty-minute stretching sessions) can alleviate depression by helping to eliminate the physiological manifestations of stress and by raising the levels of certain chemicals in our bodies that serve an important role in uplifting our mood. Next week we'll take a closer look at the healing aspects of stretching to create joyful lifestyles.

~ Chelle Thompson ~


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"The intent of Inspiration Line is to show What Is Possible By choosing new perspectives,
we can change ourselves from the inside out and improve our relationships, our community and our planet."

Editor . Chelle Thompson ~~~ Associate Editor . Geri Merrill

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