How to Compliment Women?

You Don't Look Fat ... but Maybe a Little Hippy
By C.L. Beck

Men. They give the most "interesting" compliments. Things like, "Gee, it's great that you don't have nose hair."

Or, let's say you ask, "Does this dress make me look fat?"

Mr. Tactful will say, "No it doesn't make you look fat. Maybe just a little hippy. And the color is weird (even though he's colorblind), but you look as beautiful as the minute I first laid eyes on you."

Just so there's no misunderstanding, let me give another example. On Christmas Day, Russ and I were going to a friend's house for dinner. Our contribution to the meal was stuffing (no, not the kind that goes into pillows ... the kind made with bread cubes) and I'd struggled to get it ready on time.

At my house, we normally do stuffing for three ... which is really stuffing for two people and a fat dog. Hence, the dilemma in figuring out how to cook stuffing for twenty.

But, I managed it. We were only five minutes late as we drove down the road, the dish warming my lap, steam rising from it, and a homey fragrance wafting around me.

Russ gave me a look of adoration and said, "This is just like when we were dating."

I pondered that. Did he mean the joy of being together for the holidays? The glint of happiness that made my eyes sparkle? The way my hair had worked into soft waves?

It's impossible to read men's minds. Well, at least Russ's. I gave up guessing and said, "How is it just like when we were dating?"

"You smell really good and we're fogging up the windows." He wriggled his eyebrows and laughed.

I categorically deny fogging any car windows in my youth. And I couldn't decide what to think about him saying I smelled really good -- as I sat with a dish of stuffing in my lap.

But, I wished he'd made the comparison forty years earlier.

Because if I had known it was that easy to get compliments, I would have foregone the $50 bottle of Shalimar perfume back then, and worn 50¢ poultry seasoning behind my ears instead.
(Author's note: If you enjoyed this mostly true story -- with a little bit of exaggeration thrown in -- then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on the fun.

"How to Compliment Women?" © C.L. Beck
Hippo image © Clipart from Clipartheaven.com.  
Tags: compliment women, stuffing, Shalimar, perfume, poultry seasoning

Merry Christmas to All

By C.L. Beck

Wishing all of you a wonderful Christmas and a 2013 that exceeds your expectations! May those who've suffered a loss at this time of year feel comfort and know that so many of us care.

I recently saw the video below about the song, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" and loved it. Hope you enjoy the video's message as much as I did.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Tags: Longfellow, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Christmas

Do Medigap Plans Cover Hearing Loss?

By C.L. Beck

"How long until you retire?" I asked my hubby, Russ, the other morning.

"What? The car needs new tires?" He scratched his head. It's an easy feat since there's nothing on top and not much on the sides. I often wonder how much we're saving in shampoo in Russ's current, aging state.

Face it, the man is not only bald but needed to turn up his earring aid. And as soon as I can convince him to wear one, I'm turning it up for him.

"No, Russ. The car doesn't need new tires. I said, 'How long until you retire?'"

A small look of panic crossed Russ's face. "The toast is on fire?"

He rushed to the toaster and tried to pop it up. "I don't see any fire and the toast must be stuck!" He banged the side of it, dislodging crumbs all over the floor, which Corky Porky Pie promptly licked up.

I sighed and mumbled, "The man is deaf in one ear and can't hear out of the other. I wonder -- do medigap plans cover hearing loss?"

"What's that you say? You really need to speak up -- no one can ever hear you." He jiggled the toaster more and then stuck a fork in it. "I sure don't see any toast in here."

Thinking fast, I unplugged the toaster and grabbed the fork from him. "That's because THERE IS NO TOAST IN THERE!" By now I felt certain the neighbors three blocks over had heard the news that there was no toast in our toaster.

An incredulous look crossed Russ's face."You say there's a roast in there? Cin, I think your mind must be going. No one cooks a roast in the toaster. It looks like next year when I retire, we'll need to check out medigap plans for you that cover Alzheimers."

My mouth dropped open and my eyes blinked rapidly.

It's a good thing I had already tossed that piece of silverware in the sink -- otherwise we'd be looking for insurance that also covered stabbing by fork.


(Disclosure: This article is sponsored by your friends at MedicareSupplementalInsurance.com. For more disclosure information, please read the disclosure page.)

A Small Plug: If you enjoyed this semi-true, mostly funny story,  then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future funny events.

"Do Medigap Plans Cover Hearing Loss?" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck
Tags: medigap plans, aging, MedicareSupplementalInsurance.com

RideUTA FrontRunner

By C.L. Beck

Not long ago, we had the opportunity to catch the RideUTA FrontRunner train on its maiden voyage from Provo to Salt Lake City, UT.

Wait ... isn't it boats that go on a maiden voyage? If so, what do trains go on? Oh, I know, a train-ing run!

At any rate, it was a fun ride. Smooth, and not at all herky-jerky like my first train ride of yesteryear in New York City.

Oh, all right. Picky, picky. That train ride in NYC was more like yester-century. There was probably a steam engine on that one.

But, back to the RideUTA FrontRunner. Here's an interesting fact: the train can only go up to 79 mph. We were told it has a device -- a governator -- to prevent it from going any faster.

I'm not quite sure what a governator does, except maybe retire from California politics and drive a train. And yet, I never actually saw Arnold Swarzeneggar sitting there, running the locomotive.

So, maybe I'll just say it had a thinga-ma-jiggy that prevented it from going faster than a speeding bullet.

All of which brings me down to this. The other day I was thinking about the experience and a joke came to mind:

A slightly tipsy hobo and his teetotaling friend are sitting at the station in Salt Lake City, hoping to hitch a ride unnoticed. The first one staggers, catches his balance, and says, "The world is changing, old buddy. Did you notice that none of these trains have a caboose?"

The second one says, "Yup, you're right. No cabooses. Probably because we're at the bus station."

How about you? Have you ever ridden on a train? And was it as sleek and sassy as the RideUTA FrontRunner?

A Small Plug: If you enjoyed this semi-witty humor article,  then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun.

"RideUTA FrontRunner" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags: RideUTA, FrontRunner, trains

Day of Remembrance for Sandy Hook Elementary

If you would like to donate to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Support Fund that will provide support services to the families and community that has been affected, please click the United Way link below and you'll be directed to the donations page.


(Thanks to Nike Litchfield Peterson for use of the above image.)

Tags: Sandy Hook Elementary

The Tabernacle Choir

Or ... I Can't Sing,  Are You Listening?
 By C.L. Beck

Our Community Choir Christmas Concert takes place soon. Did I mention I'm in the choir? (Yeah, I know. That's an amazing announcement from someone who can't sing.)

I never felt nervous in high school choir performances. And this time, I'm not nervous either. Petrified is a better word.

Most of the people in the choir have musical training. Our director has a graduate degree. No, not like Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate." More like a graduate degree in music from a major university.  Plus, he toured with an internationally famous singing group.

Still, I don't let it get to me. After all, just because some people have performed in the Tabernacle Choir, that doesn't mean anything, right?

And then there's me. Hardly no musical training. Average voice. I sit there muttering, "Every good boy does fine" to figure out the notes and by the time I figure out the first two, the choir director's on to the next page.

He keeps saying consoling words to us. It could be my natural paranoia, but it seems like he's directing them at me ... "I hear some mistakes (looks pointedly at me), but it's okay. There are a few people missing now, who will be here for the performance, and it'll make a big difference when they come."

I'm thinking he's found some way to get Pavarotti and Caruso into the choir.

But ...  since they're both dead, maybe we don't really want them showing up? At least, I don't.

And then there's my propensity to end a song too soon. Or to come in when the men are supposed to sing and the women are supposed to be quiet.

But worst of all, there are the times when the director indicates we should all stand and my skirt gets caught on the folding seat. I try to stand up, and fall forward instead. There I lean, hanging on by my skirt, narrowly avoiding a face plant, my nose a mere two inches from the floor.

If you believe in the power of pray, please pray that on the night of the performance my voice won't crack and my skirt won't catch. If you don't believe in the power of prayer, pray I'll catch the stomach flu and have to stay home.

Still, I'm an optimist. Looking on the bright side -- if all my fears come true, there is one consolation. It'll give me fodder for next month's newspaper column.


(Author's note: If you enjoyed this mostly true story -- with a little bit of exaggeration thrown in -- then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on the fun.

The Tabernacle Choir © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck,   Image © spider ara
Tags: Tabernacle Choir,  music, community choir

Twitter Feeds ... by C.L. Beck

It all started innocently enough. My friend, C. Larene Hall, had a new book out that Amazon was giving away free for a few days. And a brilliant thought occurred to me.

Okay, maybe not brilliant, but very smart.

Well, maybe not very smart, but ... umm ... all right ... so, a totally non-original idea came to me. "Announce it on Twitter!" I said to myself, while jumping for joy and clicking my heels in the air ... a move that my hubby, Russ, claims only results in my totally missing the heels and kicking myself instead.

Ha! I am Cindy, the graceful, the talented! I laugh at his insinuations.

After executing the jump, and then rubbing liniment on my bruised calves where I'd kicked them, I headed out to Twitter. Being conversant with the site, it only took me two or three or ten tries before I finally got it right. The entry read:

"Mary's Spyglass," kid's historical fiction by C.Larene Hall. Free at Amazon .... (Getting the word out for my friend!) #free

I even remembered to put in a hash tag!

Ah yes, my moment of glory. I showed it to Russ, and he frowned slightly. "You probably shouldn't include the word "#free." With your luck, that hashtag will link your tweet to something undesirable."

I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. Ha! I am Cindy, the talented tweeting genius! I laugh at his insinuations.

Besides, what does he know about tweets? He doesn't even have a Twitter handle.

I checked for comments to my tweet a few days later in one of my dashboards. Surely millions of my friends in Farmville were responding with glee to the offer of a free children's book.

Nope -- none. Zip. Zilch.

I guess they were all too busy learning how to tell boy goats from girl goats so they could milk the right one. But, there were several hashtag tweets that the dashboard indicated were simiar to mine. To whit:

#free amateur bondage videos dungeon

#free hot sex porn movies pitingmentsu1602

Do you want #free wine? Share this FB photo

[We interrupt this almost true story, written by Cindy, the talented tweeting genius, to provide a disclaimer. Although she denies a tendency to embellish everything that happens to her, and in reality can create a tornado out of a little dust devil, the aforementioned tweets are real. 

And now, we return you to your regular programming....]

So where was I? Oh yes. Amateur bondage videos and free wine. They should definitely co-exist in the same category as kid's historical fiction, right?

Well, all I can say is that -- despite what Russ says about it -- it wasn't my fault. It's Twitter's fault. Their software needs a little fine-tuning.

Okay, a lot of fine-tuning.

Still, when one of Twitter's programmers finally gets done fixing the whole hashtag thingy, I will not jump for joy nor click my heels together.

Mostly 'cause I'm out of liniment. But he can feel free to do so.


(Author's note: If you enjoyed this mostly true bit of humor, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fiction  fun.

Twitter Feeds © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck,   Image © Cieleke
Tags: Twitter, tweets, hashtags

World Series Joke

By C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck

It's time once again for the World Series. That season when men sit glued to the TV, cheering over a little orb thrown at ninety miles per hour ... which misses the catcher's glove and beans the umpire. So, in honor of America's national pastime, here's a good one.

World Series Joke

It's the World Series -- the Detroit Tigers against the San Francisco Giants -- and two of the opposing baseball players are bad-mouthing each other's pitchers. The Tiger's ballplayer says, "Your starting pitcher is so awful that he couldn't even lob a slowball across the plate."

And the Giant's ballplayer says, "Yeah? Well, you guys shoulda been named the KittyCats instead of the Tigers, cuz the only thing your pitcher is able to throw is a hairball."


(A note from C.L. Beck: If you enjoyed this bit of humor, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun. )  

World Series Joke © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck 
Tags: funny joke, World Series, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants
Baseball graphic © Billy Frank Alexander

A Funny Joke -- Advice from the Bible

A funny joke a day keeps the doctor away. But, then again, so does a big Doberman. At least that's my opinion ...

Advice from the Bible
My bishop stated that the Bible had advice for every situation in life.

So, when the roast turned out poorly, I turned to the Good Book for comfort. My eyes landed on a verse that said, "To every thing, there is a season."

Which clearly meant I'd used too much basil.



( note from C.L. Beck: If you enjoyed this bit of humor, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun. )

"A Funny Joke -- Advice from the Bible" © C.L.Beck
Tags: bible,  funny joke

Making a Marriage Last ... by C.L. Beck

Photo © CL Shearin

A strong marriage takes work. Being married to a mental health counselor, I know all about the methods for making a marriage last. And based on a phone conversation I just had with my beloved,  I'm thinking I should write a book about it ....

Point #1 in my new book,  Making a Marriage Last: Call and let spouse know you're thinking of him/her.

I punched Russ's number in on the phone and said, "Hi, where are you at?"

I heard the hum of tires on pavement in the background as Russ responded. "Just leaving the state hospital and on my way to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries to pick up supper. I'll be home soon with it."

"Oh ... you're that far away?"

#2. For marital bliss, one of you (or the other) should always keep the house neat, tidy, and cobweb free.

I paused before continuing the conversation, then sighed, and swiped at a meandering cobweb as it drifted down from the ceiling

Concern tinged Russ's voice as he said, "What's wrong? Why did you sigh; aren't you feeling well?"

I swung my hand in circles, trying to fling the sticky cobweb off.  "No, I'm fine. Just bored. And I thought you'd already left a while ago and were close to home with the burgers and fries by now."

"Well, I'll be there soon with the food and it will help un-bore you." He said it in this cheerful, chirpy voice that annoyed me. I don't know why. Maybe because I was experiencing low blood sugar since it was taking so danged long for him to get those burgers and fries!

(Note to Self. Should Point #3 be, "Do not make gagging noises when spouse sounds cheerful and chirpy?" Or, "Do not strangle spouse when he/she sounds cheerful and chirpy?" Reconsider book. Instead, maybe do one on 50 Ways to End a Marriage.) 

I rubbed my cobwebby hand across a pad of paper, trying to get the stuff off. The pad pushed a stack of books off the desk with a crash, causing Corky Porky Pie to leap up from his sleeping position underneath and bang his head. Just to clarify, for those of you who don't know -- Corky Porky Pie would be the dog, not the thirty-six-year-old kid who lives halfway across the country.

#4. Grown children who live far away should not expect an inheritance any time soon. Or ever! (Oh wait ... that goes in the parenting book.)

More concern tinged Russ's voice. "Is everything okay there? I heard a crash."

I watched another cobweb float down. One with a spider attached to it. (Note to Self. Remove words, "Keep house cobweb free," from Point #2)

After pondering the bug for a second, I decided to let Russ kill it when he arrived home. (Note to Self. Doesn't Russ hate spiders? Review blog article about Russ and spiders before writing book.)

#5. To make a marriage last, do not feed the dog any snacks least he barf them back up later into spouse's shoes.

Corky Porky saw the ugly arachnid from the corner of his eye, ran over, and gulped it down. I grimaced as he "urped" and headed over to deposit stomach juices and a half-eaten bug in one of Russ's slippers. "Umm, everything is fine," I said into the phone. (Note to Self. Do not hand Russ his slippers when he enters the door. Let him get them himself.)

Russ cleared his throat slightly. "Okay, then. I'll be home in a jiffy with those burgers and fries."

I suddenly realized my view of marriage might be slightly tainted -- hopefully only for the moment -- by my overwhelming hunger and coma-inducing low blood sugar.  I took a couple of chugs from last night's bottle of apple juice that had managed to stay on my desk through the crash.

Point #6 in my soon-to-be written, enormously popular best-seller, Making a Marriage Last: Let spouse know of your love and concern for his/her safety.

As my sugar level started to rise, I felt less cranky and said, "Drive carefully."

Russ's voice sounded a little distant as the cell phone reception wavered. "Don't worry. I will."

By now I was feeling back to normal, "Ok. Love you," I said. "Watch out for those big trucks on the freeway. I wouldn't want you in an accident because ..." I paused, searching for just the right words to convey the depths of my feelings, " ... because I don't like my French fries bent!"

(Note to Self: Consider possibility that I am not cut out for writing a book on marriage. Instead, write a best-seller titled, Fiction vs. Fact for Repelling Spiders.)


(Author's note: If you enjoyed this mostly true bit of humor, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun. )

"Making a Marriage Last" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck
Tags: making a marriage last, low blood sugar, spiders

Two Thugs, and Betty Crocker Cereal Muffin Mixes

By C.L. Beck

Photo © ex

The Stolen Lamborghini: Two thugs, Tony and Vido, are altering the identification information on a stolen Lamborghini. Vido's hammering out a new VIN tag for the car and in the middle of it he walks over to the pantry, pulls out a box of Cocoa PuffsTM, looks at the bottom, mumbles to himself and then goes back to work.

When the tag is finished, Vido holds it up for approval. “Atsa pretty good, huh?"

Tony looks confused. “Not bad, but why it gotta da words ‘Cocoa Puffs 23872’on it?"

Vido rolls his eyes. “Cuz, you bigga dummy -- datsa da car's new cereal number!”

And Speaking of Cereal: Betty Crocker® has a new breakfast product that Vido and I just heard about  ... Cereal Muffin Mixes! According to the ever-youthful BC (no, that is not British Columbia, it's Betty Crocker), "Whether your family is gathering around the breakfast table or simply grabbing a bite on-the-go, new Betty Crocker Cereal Muffin Mixes will provide a tasty and convenient way to jumpstart your day!"

Interested? Then visit http://bit.ly/CMcoupon to download a printable coupon for $.80 off a package of Cereal Muffin Mix.

Money off -- I knew you'd love it because you can't beat that. Even Tony and Vido would agree!


(Disclosure: The Betty Crocker information and coupon above was provided by Betty Crocker through My Blogspark. For more disclosure information, please read the disclosure page.) 

A Small Plug: If you enjoy having your funny bone tickled, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun. 

"Two Thugs, and Betty Crocker Cereal Muffin Mixes" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck. The joke, "The Stolen Lamborghini" is copyrighted by Cindy Beck and may used if credit and a link to bythebecks.com is listed.
Tags: Betty Crocker, MyBlogSpark, thugs, Lamborghini

"Faith, Hope, and Gravity" Review ... by C.L. Beck

Book Description: “Faith, Hope and Gravity” is the spiritual, magical adventure of teenager, Liam Kane, as he discovers some of the same lessons Merrill Osmond learned as the world-traveling lead singer of the Osmond Brothers. Like Merrill, Liam is often misunderstood as he helps those seeking for purpose in their extraordinary talents. Liam’s visionary abilities gain him international notoriety as “The Prophecy Boy” who swims with dolphins, dreams of a mysterious red door, and champions those who are often misjudged for their uncommon gifts. Surviving kidnapping, near-drowning, and imprisonment leads to the discovery that despite differences, when people respect each other and their wide variety of abilities, the thread of commonality that runs through mankind grows ever stronger.

Merrill Osmond
About the Authors: Merrill Osmond is a world-class entertainer, producer, author, motivational speaker and renowned lead singer of the Osmonds. Merrill and his siblings have produced 47 platinum and gold records and Merrill has written the lyrics for five #1 hit records. Merrill is a co-founder of the Osmond Foundation, which originally produced “The Children’s Miracle Network” Telethon. He has produced presidential inaugural events for both Reagan and Bush. Merrill is excited to release his first novel, Faith, Hope, and Gravity.

Shirley Bahlmann
 Shirley Bahlmann has written a wide variety of genres, including historical fiction, novels, biographies, how-to, and how-not-to books. One of her favorites is a children’s book titled “When the Chicken Crossed the Road” which comes with instructions and a chicken-colored washcloth so you can roll your own chicken! Shirley finds the most annoying thing about being a prolific writer is sleep, because she’d rather be writing.

My Opinion: The authors' descriptions of people and events in Faith, Hope, and Gravity makes the reader feel as if he/she is right there in the story. As a main character, Liam is a likable individual and Osmond/Bahlmann present him in a way that makes it easy to sympathize with Liam's difficulties. The lessons offered in the story hold true in life -- everyone has troubles and trials of one kind or another, even if they've never experienced bullying, a broken hip, or visions of the future. Osmond/Bahlmann ultimately propose a universal truth -- the goal in life is to remain true to oneself and to one's gifts.

Open the book on a laid-back Sunday afternoon, read for a bit, and see if you don't find that the characters and plot make for light, pleasant reading.

Merrill Osmond's Site
Shirley Bahlmann's Site

Other Stops on the Blog Tour:
Sept 13- Fire and Ice
Sept 14- I am a Reader
Sept 17- Debbie's Inkspectations
Sept 18- Aimee Brown
Sept 20- Kathi Oram Peterson
Sept 24-Danyelle Ferguson
Sept 27- Susan
Sept 28-The Book Bug
October 1-Jewel Adams


"Faith, Hope, and Gravity Review" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags: Faith, Hope, and Gravity, book review, Bahlmann, Osmond

(Compensation Disclosure: The only compensation received for this review was an electronic PDF copy of Faith, Hope, and Gravity so that it could be read and reviewed on the blog. For more disclosure information, particularly in reference to my philosophy on book reviews, please read the disclosure page.)

Calgary Real Estate ... by C.L. Beck

A humor article by C.L. Beck, sponsored by your friends at CliffStevenson.com.

Photo © rblissett
Calgary ... the land of snow and ice. Or maybe palm trees and girls in bikinis. I'm not sure which. But, I do have friends from Canada and none of them are wearing skimpy bathing suits, so I'm thinking my first description of Calgary real estate is correct ... eh?

Preparing for that Calgary Weather
I recently received a request to look at a website featuring Calgary realtors. Being one who likes to come prepared,  I pulled on my parka, snow boots, wooly mittens, and sat down at the computer, waiting for it to freeze up. (Come on, you know that was funny ... cold, Calgary winters ... computer freezing up!) 

To my utter surprise it didn't, so I took a look through the site. It was well designed, and easy to navigate. It contained lovely pictures of homes that had sold. But to my astonishment, not many of them were sitting in snow. Here I'd envisioned igloos and husky Canadian loggers in red, flannel shirts and suspenders (well, naturally, pants, too -- this is a family-oriented blog,  you know) and all I'd seen were homes.
The Photo of Cliff Stevenson, a Calgary Realtor
At the thought of Canadian loggers, the room seemed overly warm so I unplugged the electric blanket that I'd originally wrapped around my parka. Feeling disappointed that the site didn't have typical Canadians in furry hats -- who were picking their teeth with hockey sticks -- I sipped my hot cocoa. That's when I noticed the picture of Cliff Stevenson, the website's owner. He looked young. Very young. Thirty years ago, though, I would have said he was nice looking.
(Wait, is a married woman of my age allowed to say some guy is good looking?)

My glasses fogged and rivulets of sweat ran down my face. Guilt engulfed me for even noticing he was cute. And then I remembered the steamy drink in my hand and the hot water bottle stuffed under my parka.

All's Well that Ends Well

I removed the winter clothing, then sighed with relief as my temperature dropped -- it hadn't been Stevenson's picture causing the problem after all. Despite a small case of heat rash -- and  finding a few web pages at the site that seemed still under construction -- I decided it'd been a pretty good half hour, filled with interesting information about how to buy and sell homes.

And the best part? I'd only suffered one count of heat exhaustion in the process.

(Author's note: If you're thinking about selling your home -- even if it's not in Calgary -- there's an interesting blog article by Stevenson called, "Do You Want the Pine or Apple Scent?" Among others at the site, it's worth reading.


(Disclosure: This article is sponsored by your friends at CliffStevenson.com. For more disclosure information, please read the disclosure page.)

A Small Plug: If you enjoyed this semi-witty humor article,  then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun.

"Calgary Real Estate" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags: Calgary realtors, Calgary realtor, Canadian, Cliff Stevenson

A Witty, Funny Quote ... by C.L. Beck

I love witty people. Although ... I do know some individuals who have only half as much wit as others, which pretty much makes them half-wits. In the wide world of the web, I've run across quite a few of those. However, I'm pleased to announce that none of my readers fall into that category. 

At least, that I know of.

Speaking of wit, I recently ran across a quote that I loved and wanted to share with you. It was credited to Ronald Reagan. Since he's no longer around, I can't very well ask him if he actually said this--but, it sounds like him, and so we'll proceed on that assumption.

President Reagan stated: "Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying."

Yeah, I know. It takes a minute to sink in, but when it does, you have to laugh. 


(Author's note: If you enjoyed this bit of half-wit humor, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun. )

"A Witty, Funny Quote" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck
Tags:witty quote, funny quotes, Ronald Reagan

How to Create a Secure Password ... by C.L. Beck

We've been told it over and over again--create secure passwords. How? By having x number of characters, numbers, capital letters, etc., etc., etc. It drives us nuts! How are we supposed to remember ninety million passwords, all comprised of different characters?

Well, here's an unconfirmed (unconfirmed="I didn't bother to check it out.") report, by an unknown author, of one woman's version of a secure password.

During a recent password audit by a company, it was found
that a female employee was using the following password:


When asked why she had such a long password, she rolled her
eyes and said, "Hello! It has to be at least eight characters
long and include at least one capital."

Don't ya love it? She has to be blond!

(Stop! Don't leave yet! If you enjoyed this bit of  humor, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun. )

Tags: secure password
"How to Create a Secure Password" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck

Emergency Preparedness/Live Off the Land ... by C.L. Beck

Photo © gzigzik

I've always considered myself an emergency preparedness/live off the land type-of-gal.

Not the kind, however, who would strap a bandoleer across her chest and live in a compound in Montana. Unless, of course, the bandoleer added inches to her bust measurement and came in "Positively Pink." Then ... maybe.

No, seriously.

I'm jiggy with picking fresh fruit. As long as I don't have to bottle it. And going fishing is fun ... as long as I don't have to clean them.

Oh, and hunting! I'm definitely into hunting. Well ... with a camera. And as long as there's indoor plumbing and Hostess raspberry-filled donuts nearby. No, not near the plumbing. Near my mouth.

On occasion, I've even read the Mother Earth News. And then considered making dandelion wine according to the magazine's directions. Minus the wine aspect, of course, since I don't drink--which pretty much just makes it dandelion water. Nice, yellow water.

It reminds me of an old joke ...

Joe's sitting in his hospital bed, looking at his breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and apple juice. As he opens the apple juice, he accidentally knocks the plastic cup for it off the tray.

"Dang," he says, with a grimace. "I'm hooked up to all these monitors and there's no way I can reach that."

Sitting next to the breakfast tray is the small plastic container for the urine sample that's needed that morning. Joe thinks for a minute and says, "Well, the specimen cup is clean, so it won't matter if I pour the juice into it."

A few minutes later, the head nurse walks in, picks up the cup, eyes it critically, sets it back on the tray, and says, "Hmmm, we're looking a little cloudy today."

To which Joe says - as he picks up the cup and puts it to his lips -"Well, we'll just run it through again!"

And now that I've totally erased your longing for either dandelion wine or apple juice, I will bid you adieu. In the meantime, drop off a comment and tell me if you've ever had the urge to live off the land.

[Author's note: This article is dedicated to my friend, Andrea--at IGetReady.com--who really and truly is a "live off the land" type-of-gal. But if you're thinking about recruiting her for your compound, there's no point in it--she would never even consider wearing a bandoleer. It detracts from the machete on her hip.]

(Stop! Don't leave yet! If you enjoyed this bit of humor, written by a gal who's version of living off the land consists of  visiting Five Guys Burgers and Fries, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun. )

Tags: emergency preparedness, survivalist, dandelion wine, apple juice, live off the land, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Hostess donuts
"Emergency Preparedness/Live Off the Land" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for Spring Chickens ... by C.L. Beck

Photo © Bubbels

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ... funny movie. Sweet sentiments.

We walked into theater # 65 at the Cineplex to see it. Ok, not really # 65, but that number would have been appropriate because there were old people sitting everywhere. I whispered to Russ, "Oh, my gosh, how come all the people here are senior citizens?"

Russ looked at me, perplexed. "Huh? What?"

I tried again, louder. "Everyone here is over 65!"

Some ol' guy sitting two rows below adjusted his hearing aid and said, "What did you say, honey?"

I shushed him with a finger to my lips. Russ looked at me and said, "What did you say, sweetie?"

I repeated the question five times, finally deciding that Russ and the ol' guy in front had more in common than age. They both needed a hearing aid.

The movie was a riot. I laughed in all the right places. Mostly, where everyone else laughed. I'm not sure that twenty years ago I would have understood some of the old people jokes. It's not because I'm old now, but because my sense of humor is more refined ... right?

As we left, a sudden kink developed in my hip causing me to hobble down the stairs. I hoped my eyes would adjust to the weird lights on the stairwell before I fell on my head. An ol' hippie lady sitting near us seemed to have the same trouble. And I think I recognized the peace symbol earrings she had on ... I have a pair just like that from high school. I didn't tell Russ, though.

There's no doubt I'm too young to be an oldster. I'm still spry as a spring chicken! And I could convince myself of that ... if they hadn't willingly offered the senior discount when we bought the theater tickets.


Author's Note: If you enjoyed this humor article, written by a gal who's slightly-older-than-a-spring-chicken, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun.

"Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for Spring Chickens" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags: Marigold Hotel, senior discount, senior citizens

Becoming a Tax Preparer ... by C.L. Beck

Image © FastForward Academy
 I know, I know ... tax time is over. It's been over for almost 3 months. And being the obsessive-compulsive housekeeper that I am (not), I straighten my stack of 2011's receipts and Form 1040 Tax Return every time I stumble over them... er, I mean, walk past them.

The other day, as I once again tidied the pile--after twisting my ankle while tripping on them--my hubby raised one eyebrow (in a poor imitation of Mr. Spock, the Vulcan from Planet ABC Reruns) and said, "What's that stuff on the floor?"

"What stuff?" I asked innocently, yet with great alacrity, all the while trying to shove the twelve-inch stack into the three-inch space under the couch with my foot.

"All that ... that ... paperwork." He pulled out a rumpled 1040 that peeked from under the sofa and waved it at me.

Being fast on my feet like I am, I thought up a lie. Oh, wait. That doesn't sound good; religious people should not lie. So, for the sake of my faith--but mostly because I do not wish to end up in outer darkness where brimstone hisses and fires roars (no, that would not be Colorado, that would be hell)--let's not call it a lie. Let's call it a very large exaggeration.

"I'm taking an income tax course," I said, batting my baby blues in a most flirtatious manner that was designed to throw Russ off the track.

He leaned closer, concern crossed his face, and he peered at me. "Do you have something wrong with your eyes? Why are you blinking like that?"

So much for flirtation.

"Nothing's wrong with my eyes." Then a truly ingenious lie thought tumbled into my brain. "They're just tired. And strained. Very strained because of all the studying I'm doing to become a tax preparer. Which means I really need for you to do the cooking and cleaning."

Russ cocked his head. Years ago, a lock of dark hair would have fallen appealingly over one eye when he did that, but now all that fell was a little dust from the top of his bald head. He smoothed out the 1040 still crumpled in his hand and read it.

An accusing look flitted across his face and then took up permanent residence. "This isn't homework from a tax class, this is last year's tax return. You haven't filed it away yet." The accusing look got more accusing-er.

"Yeah, well ... um ... just because it's from last year, that doesn't mean I'm not studying it." I paused while my brain put together an explanation, and then I continued, "You know how we wanted to pull up the old carpet and replace it with new?"

Russ's eyebrows shot up (possibly in disbelief, but I prefer to think of it as admiration) and he said, "What does learning about taxes have to do with replacing the carpet?" Then he sighed. (Possibly in exasperation, but I prefer to think it as astonishment over my beauty.)

I grinned a coquettish smile of victory. "Well, as everyone knows ... before you can take up the carpet, you have to take up the tax (tacks)!"


Author's Note: If you enjoyed this almost true, semi-witty article, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun.

"Becoming a Tax Preparer" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags: income tax course, become a tax preparer, FastForwardAcademy.com

(Disclosure: This article is sponsored by your friends at FastForward Academy. For more disclosure information, please read the disclosure page.)

Driving Miss Daisy Crazy ... by C.L. Beck

Today we're discussing that very important issue of misuse of taxpayer funds. But first, let's discuss something of an even higher priority ... idiot drivers!

We all spend a significant amount of time in traffic, and it's obvious a number of testosterone-enriched guys and estrogen-deprived gals don't know there's an etiquette to driving. To that end, here is enlightenment and knowledge ... for those who haven't a clue, and are driving Miss Daisy crazy:

1. If traffic is stopped on the interstate and backed up for 2 miles, you may not drive on the shoulder to bypass those who've been sitting for hours. If you do, you will be consigned to hell for eternity. With no ice water.

2. You may only occupy one small space in the lane. You may not weave all over the road nor fly down the middle like a "bat out of hell." If you do, that's where you're liable to end up, along with the drivers breaking rule #1.

Exception: Eighteen wheelers with plastic steer horns on the front of the grille and  with ... um ... how to say this politely ...  personal parts dangling off the back bumper are given a pass. (No pun intended.) These big rigs are allowed any portion of the road they please, including but not limited to, barrow pits, median strips, concrete barricades, and through the middle of Mickey D's golden arches.

3. You can not decide what exit you need ten seconds after you've passed it. If this happens, you may not back up on the freeway, you must go to the next exit and turn around.
Exception: If there's a pregnant women in the car and a baby's head is crowning. This is not an either/or situation. In the event both are happening, you can whip a u-turn from the middle lane at 80 mph, if you're dumb enough to try that.

Image © JustAddressPlaques.com
4. In residential areas, you may slow down slightly to check for the address you need. You can not--and should not--stop in the middle of the road, pull out your bifocals, put them on, realize nothing's in focus, and drift over to the curb at the rate of 10 feet/hour. You'll discover you still can't read the address from the curb.

Note: To avoid the possibility that 99% of the residents of the retirement states of Florida, South Carolina, and Arizona will burn in hell for this infraction, we suggest all homeowners nationwide should purchase plastic-flamingo-pink custom address plaques in font size 954. In Nevada, those should be interchangeable with residential address plaques that glow in the dark. Preferably ones not composed of nuclear waste, however.

5. In keeping with the trend in this country to allow the federal government to control every aspect of your life, we suggest that you purchase personalized address plaques for all your vehicles. This would include scooters, Big Wheels, tricycles, possibly horses ... oh, and cars. The a fore-mentioned identification would  enable the FBI, CIA, FDIC, and PTA to track you down and issue citations for any infractions. Or force you to make cupcakes for the high school bake sale, depending.

Note: For those readers who already know and understand these rules of the road, feel free to print them off and distribute them to all the road-raged morons that tick you off. Just don't blame us if one of them tries to nail your personal parts to the bumper.


Author's Note: If you enjoyed this semi-witty article, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun.

"Driving Miss Daisy Crazy" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags: address plaques, justaddressplaques.com,driving Miss Daisy

(Disclosure: This article is sponsored by your friends at JustAddressPlaques.com. For more disclosure information, please read the disclosure page.)

How to Dress Like a Millionaire ... by C.L. Beck

Image © LS Mens Clothing

Not long ago, I posted a review of the book "Million Dollar Diva." Reading it made me long to be rich and famous.

Okay, I'll tell the truth. Not famous, just rich. But after finishing it, my little brain asked myself, "Self, how does one dress like a million dollars when one's budget is that of a Salvation Army diva?"

I turned to Russ. "How do millionaires dress?"

Russ is not a fashionisto. He wears the same color pants and shirt until I grow so tired of the clothing rut he's in that I rip them off him and throw everything in the washing machine. Believe me when I say this--Russ would be included but it's not easy stuffing him in around the agitator.

I'm thinking the reason I asked him was because it wouldn't have done me any good to talk to Corky Porky Pie. The dog would only have suggested fur coats.

"Well ..." Russ said, looking wise. Either that or he was having a bout of irregularity. It was hard to tell which from the look on his face.

"Clothes don't make any difference," Russ said, wiping pizza sauce off his T-shirt with an old piece of newspaper.

I pondered that. By a cleverly contrived coinky-dink, I'd recently run across a website called LS Mens Clothing, which advertised spiffy, custom made suits, sports coats, and tuxedos for the well-dressed CEO.

All of which might have looked great on Russ ... had he been tall, skinny, and less bald. Still, it was worth a try. I showed the site to him, hoping it might inspire him. After all, clothing makes the man.

"That dude has lint all over his jacket," he said, as a drip of ice cream fell from his spoon and onto Corky Porky Pie's head. I calculated the odds of Corky's tongue reaching past his eyebrows, up onto the crown of his head and licking that drip off--a feat akin to me touching my elbow with my tongue. (Admit it, now you're going to try that.)

I figured them at about 3,000 to 1. Almost the same odds as me convincing Russ to actually wear spiffy clothes.

"That's the tweed in the jacket, not lint." I crossed my eyes in frustration, wondering how I'd ever been convinced to go on a first date with him, dressing like he did. Then I remembered. We went to Catholic school, where everyone wears uniforms that encourage a lack of interest in the opposite sex.

Russ eyed the computer screen as if it were bursting at the seams with flesh-eating bacteria. "None of that razzle-dazzle for me. I'm just fine in my trusty jeans."

"You mean the ones with the hole in the backside, grease down one leg, and grass stains on the knees?"

He nodded. "Yup, that would be my favorite."

It's doubtful I'll ever turn Russ into a fashionisto. However, it's all right. Who needs fashion, anyway? And $1 yard sale dresses bought consistently over thirty years ... um ... er ... forty years. Oh all right, fifty years of yard sales is what enables someone to think like a million dollar diva in the first place. It's not the money or the clothes, it's the thought processes! Right?

Make me feel better. Just nod your head and say, "Yes."


Author's Note: If you enjoyed this almost, partially true article, then sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun.

"How to Dress Like a Millionaire" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags:millionaire, million dollar diva, LS Mens Clothing, custom made suits

(Disclosure: This article is sponsored by your friends at LS Mens Clothing. For more disclosure information, please read the disclosure page.)

How to Pack for a Trip to Hot Climates ... by C.L. Beck

St. George, Utah! Warm sunshine; cool, night breezes; frogs chirping. No, wait. Not frogs, it's the desert. Rattlesnakes rattling!

And traffic signs, street signs and road signs, every where. Coming from a small town like we do, when you come to an intersection you lean out the window and holler, "Honk, honk. Hey, get out of the way, I'm coming through!"

Okay, not really. We just roar on through and assume everyone will scatter.

At any rate, on to more interesting things--namely, how to pack for a trip to hot climates. Yes, since some of you are fashionistas and fashionistos who may make a trip to Death Valley soon, I'm certain you'll want to know how I packed for the excursion.

Or not.

But, it seems you're going to hear about it anyway, so you might as well sit back and enjoy the flight.

It gets seriously hot down there in the blazing desert. Did I also mention blistering? Melt-your-shoes-to-the-sidewalk hot, so I made a list to pack the following;

10 bottles of sunblock
1 slightly skimpy, made-for-a-much-skinnier-me swimming suit (purchased in 1965)
2 pairs of shorts
1 pair of long pants, for those cool desert evenings
3 light and breezy shirts
Short pajamas
Underthings (to put it delicately)
Extra shoes to replace the ones that melt to the sidewalk

In retrospect, I would suggest you take less clothes, plus fifty-eight more bottles of sunblock . And if you're over forty, leave the skimpy swimsuit behind. In my case, my body sneaked outside without me and buried the swimsuit in the backyard before I had a chance to even leave home.

Regardless of all that, the clothes that people wore there were verrrrry interesting. Maybe it would be better to say, "The clothes people didn't wear!"

If you're into clothes--which I hope you are or it means you're sitting around nekked as a jaybird--here's my parting thought on the clothing worn in hot climates. Fifty years ago, the fashion phrase, "Halfway to the knees" meant from the ground up.

Now, it's from the shoulders down.


"How to Pack for a Trip to Hot Climates" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck 
Tags: St. George, desert, fashion, vacation

2 Box Cheerios Giveaway Winners ... by C.L. Beck

It's time to announce the winners of the 2 Box Cheerios Giveaway. According to the random generator at Random.org, the winners are ...

Oz Girl 

Congrats to both of you, and enjoy your Cheerios. Winners have 72 hours after their names are posted to claim their prize. After that, another winner is selected or prize is donated to charity.

(Thanks for entering! Disclosure: Cheerios® cereal, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. However, my opinions of the event, of the companies involved, or the quality of the products mentioned are my own. If for some reason there is no winner, or I can not get in contact with the winner, I will redraw or give the prize to charity, at MyBlogSpark's and my discretion. For more disclosure information, please read the full disclosure page.)

There Ought to be Street Signs ... by C.L. Beck

Image © Cindy Beck

Spiders! Aaaaccckkk!

However, it's not me that hates them. After all, what entomologist (insect-ologist) worth her salt would hate spiders? Since I was an entomologist in a previous life, that means I am not allowed to dislike the nasty-wasty buggers.

Yeah, I know. Technically speaking a spider is not an insect. It has too many hairy legs, creepy pincers, venomous bites, and some eat their mates. It's my opinion that where spiders live, there should be street signs reading, "Creepy Crawly Alley," traffic signs that say "Do Not Stop for Arachnids," plus road signs that announce "Drive Really Fast to Squash Spiders."

Yup, maybe I don't hate them, but I only like them from a distance. A looooooong distance. However, I'm a gal so I'm allowed to feel that way.

Guys are not.

Being a guy dog, Corky Porky Pie does well at spiders. He loves them. Especially as a snack before lunchtime or to chase around the legs of the table for fun.

My husband, on the other hand, is a-feared ... er ... I mean, leery of them. Which is why we had the following discussion.

"Would you go in the basement and get some spaghetti sauce for me?" I asked Russ, assuming the answer was yes.

"Nope." He flicked through the TV channels, probably looking for some tough, macho show like Ultimate Cage Fighting--with the Possibility of Death--for Your Pleasure and Supreme Mental Health.

I tilted my head. "Why not?"

"Because there are lions and tigers and bears ... oh, my! ... down there. But most of all, there are spiders." He shuddered.

If you've ever seen a guy shudder over a bug, it's not a pretty sight. Especially when it's a weight-lifting, ex-cop who should not be a-feared of anything.

"Oh come on, I've been down there and never once seen a spider." It was only a small exaggeration. I'd actually seen a creepy-crawly the day before, but it was a tiny one, not very hairy, and definitely not eating its mate so it hardly counted as a spider.

"Besides," I said, as an afterthought, "you can't be afraid of going down there because that's where we have all our important stuff stored."

Russ stopped clicking the remote. I knew I'd touched a nerve. Probably the only one he has left in his old age. But no, not a nerve about spiders--the fact that there was no room in the basement because of all the vastly important items we'd stored. It was all part of my plan. A distraction to the spider issue.

"We have far too much junk in there." Russ pointed the remote at me as if to vanquish the boxes in the basement. Or else vanquish me. I'm not sure which. He continued, "None of it is important and we're running out of room. I can't even walk around without tripping ... we need to rent a self-storage unit."

"Oh, yeah? Where? Do you see any storage places in this neighborhood?"

He scrunched his eyebrows together for a second, thinking that over. "I don't care if we have to rent a storage unit in Timbuktu, I'm not going in there until you move some of those boxes out."

I smiled sweetly. "You are so right; we need to get a storage unit. I'll take care of that, first thing after you go get the spaghetti sauce."

He strutted victoriously to the basement to get the sauce. I didn't tell him he'd forgotten about the spiders. I also didn't tell him that big, hairy spiders love to live in self-storage units--especially ones located on a street without a street sign named, "Creepy Crawly Alley."


Author's Note: If you enjoyed this practically true article--well, written with a little artistic license--sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar on the right. That way you won't miss out on future fun.

"There Ought to be Street Signs" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck  
Tags: spiders, road signs, street signs, traffic signs

(Disclosure: This is a paid article sponsored by SafetySign.com. For more disclosure information, please read the full disclosure page.)

"Million Dollar Diva" Review ... by C.L. Beck

Everyone would like to be a million dollar diva, right? Well, everyone except for men, who don't want to be divas but would like to be million dollar divos.

Divos? No, that doesn't sound right. What do you call a male diva?

Oh, I know. "Senator."

Anyway, so everyone wants to have millions, and this is the book that tells how. No magical mystery tour to it, just good economic principles that work when applied.

How do I know? Because I've used a few of them in my own life (for example, "pay yourself") and have seen results. However, since I'm only a $2 diva, I obviously didn't know most of  the tricks. Until now.

What I found exciting about Million Dollar Diva is that it gave me new concepts to consider and ways to come out ahead in this horrid, no-good, bad economy. Tristi has written the book as a clear, easy-to-understand dialogue, as if the reader were a fly on the ... oh, uggg. Flies are so gross.

Let's rephrase that. She's written it as if the reader were a butterfly on the wall, listening to financial advisers tell her how to change her life in order to have the money that she needs.

Wait. Make that not only the money to meet needs, but her wants as well. In typical Tristi Pinkston fashion, she does it with humor. And Tristi is so confident that these methods work that she's charting her progress out at the Million Dollar Diva Blog.

My vote on the book? A million times, yes! Million Dollar Diva is for anyone interested in changing their financial lives for the better, and I liked it so much that I finished it quickly.

But, here's another awesome thing. There's a great way to start saving money right now! (Cindy says, as she smiles for the TV camera and uses a ShamWow to polish her copy of the book.)

All kidding aside, I really do think this is cool. Until Jun 15, 2012, you can head over to MillionDollarDiva.com, where--if you pay $5.95 for shipping and handling--you get the book for free.

Now, that's a smokin' deal--the kind that interests millionaires!

(The book is no longer free after June 15, but you can still order it from Amazon.)

Blurb from the Back Cover
In this book, you'll discover:

The 5-step, simple, safe, and predictable process to change living paycheck-to-paycheck to enjoying wealth and security.

How to give yourself a $400 per month raise without asking the boss or working a minute of overtime.

"Spend Like a Diva." How to have anything you want - nice vacations, eating out, trips to the mall. It's all part of the plan!

The secret formula of how to completely eliminate your debt in 1/3 the time and save tens of thousands on interest costs in the process. You'll see why all the TV gurus are wrong!

5 Million-Dollar-Diva investing strategies that will grow your money safely and predictably every year, without the guesswork.

Plus! Discover the key to stop fighting and quarreling with your spouse about money forever!


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Million Dollar Diva Review © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck
Tags: million dollar diva, wealth, money

(Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this blog article are my own. Outside of receiving a free copy of the book in order to review it, I received no paid compensation for this article.  For more disclosure information, please read the full disclosure page.)