Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break Vacation - Oooops!

Women are quite good at multitasking, right? It seems like second nature to be able to do three things at once, doesn't it? Well let me warn you - don't try multitasking when you're making online vacation reservations. Unless you want to end up in Moline, Illinois because you rushed through the reservation process.

Here's what happened. I was cooking dinner, writing checks, and thinking about what we could do for a semi-staycation that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Since we live in Oregon, a travel-savvy friend recommended that we take the kids to Seattle and book a downtown hotel using Priceline.

Brilliant! So I'm determined to squeeze in a vacation-booking to-do while at the same time trying to get dinner on the table and write two more checks to pay some bills. Dinner - done! Checks - done! Priceline reservation....hmmmm, let's bid $60 on a downtown nice hotel. Bid was denied. BUT I had 15 minutes to bid $71 if I wanted. Fine. I submitted a $71 rate for a nice four-star hotel in downtown Seattle. Sounded pretty good. My bid was accepted! Yay! This is easy!

So after dinner I checked my email to see if they emailed my confirmation number. It's all there: one room at the rate of $71 for a downtown hotel in Portland. Cool! Wait a minute....PORTLAND? As in, Portland that we just visited for Lego Robotics last month? Arrrrrrgh! I had inadvertently put in Portland instead of Seattle. And there's no going back when you use Priceline. You have to enter your credit card# before you bid, so you can't make any changes. Merde. I'm blaming it on the fact that I didn't have my morning V8/NYT crossword puzzle, so my brain wasn't quite tuned up. So, wish us Bon Voyage as we spend four days in exotic Portland!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

10 Ways to Rediscover the Bright Side of Life

In the midst of all the doom and gloom being broadcast 24/7 from every corner of the world, I decided it was time to be proactive and crank up the happiness meter. Here are a few tips for keeping you out of the Dismal Dungeon of Dark Thoughts:

1. If you lost your job, take this opportunity to exercise more. Preferably outdoors, where you get free doses of vitamin D for your efforts. Stay away from the woe-is-me pint of Ben and Jerry's every night. Come up with a job-search routine and stick to it. It's also a good opportunity to think about working in new sectors. What skills do you have that could be useful in other industries?

2. Stay away from financial news if you can help it. Instead, read books, spend time with friends and family, listen to music and cook healthy meals.

3. Rent a funny movie and invite friends over to watch it.

4. Focus your energy on helping others - volunteer at a local food bank or other community organization.

5. At the end of the day, write down one good thing that happened during your day.

6. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.

7. Play relaxing music during the day. I recommend Mario Olivares, Ziggy Marley, Michael Gulezian, and Andreas Vollenweider.

8. Chew on life's big questions at Soul Pancake.

9. Make a list of ten things that you're thankful for. Keep that list on your refrigerator.

10. Start your own blog!

What do you do to keep your spirits up? Share it with us!