A bright spot in the midst of inflation

sofas ordered during pandemic took months to arrive
We ordered these sofas for our new house in the Fall of 2020. It took more than six months for them to arrive.

I read an article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that said big discounts are headed our way. That would be some good news with gas over $5 a gallon and meat prices going through the roof.

In an article called Stores Have Too Much Stuff. Here’s Where They’re Slashing Prices, reporter Rachel Wolfe shares the good news that items that were popular during the pandemic and were hard to find because of supply chain issues are here two years later. The stores have too much inventory and we should expect “discounts like you’ve never seen before.”

“Retailers are getting ready to cut prices of goods that were popular during the pandemic. Expect ‘discounts like you’ve never seen before.”

The items most likely to be discounted according to the article are patio furniture and sofas — things that take up a lot of room in stores. Other items that will be slashed in price are the stay at home remote working wear like sweat pants.

Target, Walmart and Macy’s announced recently that they are starting to receive large shipments of outdoor furniture, loungewear and electronics everyone wanted, but couldn’t find, during the pandemic. 

The problem for retailers—that these goods are delayed by almost two years—could be a windfall for those in the market for sweatpants or couches. Look for prices to start dropping around July 4, analysts say.

Retailer discounts are part of an effort to get shoppers interested in buying things again as Americans shift their spending to concertseating out, and travel they missed out on. Deep discounts are expected on oversize couches, appliances and patio furniture that are more expensive for companies to store in their warehouses, analysts say. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/stores-have-too-much-stuff-heres-where-theyre-slashing-prices-11655170243?mod=life_work_featured_strip_pos3

With the stock market tumbling, inflation sky high and the possibility of recession on it’s way — I could use some good news. However, I don’t need any of those things.

What did you want to buy but couldn’t find during the pandemic? What do you think you’d like to buy at a discount?

Just say no!

roadrunner in the back yard.
A roadrunner outside the casita window.

A headline caught my eye about saying no. ‘

Boost Your Mental Health by Saying ‘No’

If we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and meaningful, we need to prioritize. Declining requests is crucial.

This was in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, written by Elizabeth Bernstein.

Since we moved and things started opening up post COVID shutdowns, I find myself saying yes to everything. That’s because I lived through two years of doing nothing. As my life gets busier and busier, I long for quiet time alone to read or sit in the back yard listening to and watching the birds.

Recently, I said yes to writing the community’s newsletter. (I’m not sure that was a good idea.) I’ve said yes to book club and coffee club. I’ve said yes to neighbor’s invitations. I’ve joined the YMCA and go four times a week to swim and workout. We’ve had people over for wine and dinner. I can’t believe I’m missing the endless days of no plans. But I am.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“No” has never been an easy word to say, especially to the people we care about most. And after two years of pandemic life—with very few invites to decline—we may be even rustier than usual at delivering the bad news. et, many of us now are fielding more invites and requests than we have in years.

We’re eager to get back out there. We’re also burnt out on stress and schedules that often seem like all work and no fun. We know that if we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and more meaningful we need to prioritize. Learning to decline requests will be crucial to this effort.

Think of saying no as the ultimate self-care strategy.

“If we just agree to everything mindlessly, we are not going to be able to come up with the priorities to take us where we want to go,” says Vanessa Bohns, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

We sometimes say yes simply because we’re uncomfortable saying no. We’re social beings—we want people to like us. We feel guilty if we let others down or hurt their feelings, especially our closest family and friends. They’re the ones who often want us to say yes the most—and who may experience our “no” as a rejection of them, rather than of the request.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-ultimate-self-care-strategy-saying-no-11651529315?mod=life_work_lead_story

Bernstein, the reporter, offers five tips for saying no which include not rushing, start with thank you and standing firm.

What are your thoughts about saying no? Does it come easy to you? Are you getting more invitations to do things outside the home? How do you feel about it?

Our resident cardinal I watch while Im writing in the casita.

Have you seen the hilarious autocorrects?

Example of an autocorrect taken from the internet.

My husband and I laugh over the many autocorrects on texts that are posted on the internet. Some are so funny!

But when autocorrect happens to me, it’s really annoying. It mostly happens when I type too fast.

I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Autocorrect Explained: Why Your iPhone Adds Annoying Typos While Fixing Others.” Tpying truble? During the iPhone’s first 15 years, its keyboard software has evolved, but it still sometimes flubs your lines. Here’s how it works and what you can do about it, by Joanna Stern.

Here’s an excerpt:

I get it, complaining about autocorrect feels very 2000-and-late. Yet here in 2022, nearly 15 years since the iPhone’s debut, Apple’s AAPL -0.15%▼ smart typing software can still make us want to break the Guinness World Record for phone throwing. The system still introduces annoying—OK, sometimes hilarious—typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. Perhaps even more than ever before.

But before I git into thast, allow me to make a pont. Go itnto hour iPhone settings and turn off autocrrct. Yeaaasah. Good lyuck typig without it!

If you didn’t catch that, I turned off autocorrect for a day and barely lived to tell the tale. Within minutes, it was clear how much the software is saving us from ourselves.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/autocorrect-explained-why-your-iphone-adds-annoying-typos-while-fixing-others-11651051891?mod=wsjhp_columnists_pos2

The reporter explains what autocorrect is and how it works. That’s something I’ve never thought about. You would think about 15 years of iphones, the bugs would be worked out. If you have access to the Wall Street Journal, this is a very interesting article with lots of detail and information.

Here’s what Stern says about that:

Here’s what’s going on. When you type, the autocorrect algorithms are trying to figure out what you mean by looking at various things, including where your fingers landed on the keyboard and the other words in the sentences, while comparing your word fragment to the words in two unseen dictionaries:

• Static Dictionary: Built into iOS, this contains dictionary words and common proper nouns, such as product names or sports teams. There were over 70,000 words in this when the first iPhone launched and it’s gotten bigger since then.

• Dynamic Dictionary: Built over time as you use your phone, this consists of words that are unique to you. The system looks at your contacts, emails, messages, Safari pages—even the names of installed apps.

“The static dictionary and the dynamic dictionary would be in a little bit of a battle with each other,” Mr. Kocienda said. The software is designed to break the tie, he added, but it doesn’t always pick what you would pick.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/autocorrect-explained-why-your-iphone-adds-annoying-typos-while-fixing-others-11651051891?mod=wsjhp_columnists_pos2

Have you had problems with autocorrect? What is one of the funniest or worst autocorrects you’ve had? Do you read the hilarious autocorrect fails online?

What are you forgetting?

Olive cat in the morning sun.
Olive’s memory is just fine.

Have you noticed yourself forgetting things lately? I have. I can walk into a room for something and forget why I am there. Also, I can’t go the grocery store without forgetting items on my list — or things I forgot to add to my list. I also am forgetting names and words. I notice my husband is in the same boat.

I found an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Why We’re All Forgetting Things Right Now: Short, temporary moments of forgetfulness are happening to more of us more often these days, memory experts say” by Elizabeth Bernstein. She writes for WSJ’s Life and Work section.

Here’s an excerpt:

Short, temporary instances of forgetfulness—those ‘senior moments’—are happening to more of us more often these days, memory experts say. We’re finding it difficult to recall simple things: names of friends and co-workers we haven’t seen in a while, words that should come easily, even how to perform routine acts that once seemed like second nature. 

We’re living in yet another moment of big change as we return to offices, create new routines and find our footing in yet another new normal. (And don’t forget a scary war in Europe on top of that.) All this change consumes cognitive energy, often much more than we think, neuroscientists say. It’s no wonder we can’t remember what we had for breakfast.  Our minds are struggling with transition moments.

“Our brains are like computers with so many tabs open right now,” says Sara C. Mednick, a neuroscientist and professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. “This slows down our processing power, and memory is one of the areas that falters.”

The chronic and cumulative stress of the past two years has taken its toll, too. Research led by Dr. Shields shows that people who have experienced recent life stressors have impaired memory. Stress negatively affects our attention span and sleep, which also impact memory. And chronic stress can damage the brain, causing further memory problems, says Dr. Shields, an assistant professor in the department of psychological science at the University of Arkansas. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-were-all-forgetting-things-right-now-11649166214?mod=life_work_lead_pos3

The article also said we are bombarded with too much information and scanning through info on our phones isn’t helpful. Another thing that an expert pointed out was the sameness of every day during the shut down. Apparently we need novelty to help our memories.

They offered suggestions on how to deal with memory loss. If other people are noticing it, you should probably see a doctor. Also, don’t try to force it if you forget something because that’s counter productive. Stay calm and turn off the TV and phones to be present in the moment.

Have you noticed a lag in your memory or a spouse or friends since COVID hit? What types of things do you forget?

Traveling the world — or not?

Beach house near Santa Barbara
We’ll be returning to this beach cottage for the sixth time this summer.

When you go on vacation, do you like to return to the same place — or do you like to explore new areas?

I read a Wall Street Journal story called: “The Joy of Traveling to the Same Places Again and Again.” It’s written by novelist Tara Isabella Burton who wanted to travel everywhere when she was in her 20s. Now, that she’s older and married, she longs to go back to the cities and regions she loves deeply.

WHEN I WAS young I wanted to go everywhere. I had notebooks’ worth of lists: half-imagined, half-researched, of all the places I would fly off to without warning. It was easy for me to travel—I went to university in England during the golden age of budget European airlines. I could buy flights from London to Slovakia or Italy for under $10, or student-fare Eurostar tickets to Paris for $25. I would spend 4½ dreary and bleary-eyed hours on the bus from Oxford to London Stansted to catch a morning flight for a $50 weekend in Istanbul or Marrakech. I had a sense of myself as someone with wanderlust, an inchoate desire to be anywhere but where I was. Raised eclectically—I barely knew my Italian father; my American mother changed our home base with the school year—I gloried in the fact that I was never at home, anywhere. And so, there was nothing to keep me still.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-joy-of-traveling-to-the-same-places-again-and-again-11647345601?mod=life_work_featured_pos3

She goes on to say that she began to fall in love with certain areas and made friends. She’s pulled these days to traveling to those few locations.

I like to return to the same place for vacation. We spent two decades vacationing in Laguna Beach in the summer. Lately, it’s been the Santa Barbara area. We have friends there, restaurants and beaches we love. It’s like going to my happy place. We also like to visit Park City — another place with friends and natural beauty.

My memories as a child are vacationing at our cabin, Ocean Shores and Sun Valley, Idaho for skiing. We went to a few more places like the once in a lifetime big trip to Hawaii and the road trip to Disneyland. But for the most part, vacations were in the same few places and in the same hotels or condos.

I think there’s a certain comfort in returning to places we love. When traveling to somewhere new, I’m a little anxious, while returning to the places I love feels like going home.

What are your thoughts about traveling to new places, versus returning to places over and over again?

Vinyl is hot again

Album cover of Rubber Soul.
My favorite Beatles album.

In a Wall Street Journal article called “Why Millennials Want Their Parents’ Vinyl Records” by Marc Myers, he states “Sales of LPs soared during the pandemic as younger listeners discovered their nostalgic and sensory appeal.”

After reading the story, I regret getting rid of my vinyl collection. When I was in high school and college I spent a small fortune on albums. I had a pretty impressive stereo system thanks to my parents’ graduation present. I hauled my collection of albums that included Rod Stewart, George Harrison, Elton John, Beatles and David Bowie all over the country.

It was after my son was in college that I cleaned out a book case that held all my albums. I decided to get rid of them. I had no way to play them anymore. My son asked for a record player with built-in speakers for Christmas at that time, so I let him take what he wanted from my collection and gave the rest to the thrift store Angel View, a few blocks from our house.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In December, I bought my 32-year-old daughter the gift she truly wanted—an easy-to-use turntable and amp with built-in speakers. She asked if I still had my David Bowie LPs, and I happily handed them over. Then, as an afterthought, she wondered if my Steely Dan and George Harrison albums were still around.

It turns out that several of my baby boomer friends are getting similar requests and have found themselves hauling heavy boxes of LPs out of storage at the behest of their adult children. The vinyl revival began more than a decade ago, with budget turntables and a limited selection of albums sold in trendy clothing stores. But last year, the format’s popularity surged in the U.S., selling 41.7 million units, up from 21.5 million in 2020. LPs outsold CDs for the first time in 30 years, as well as digital albums, according to a report from MRC Data-Billboard.

The spike has been driven, in part, by younger listeners nostalgic for an era when music—and maybe life in general—seemed more hands-on and fun. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, young people have been forced to postpone many of the things they looked forward to most—campus life, parties, travel, weddings, even having children. During this period, records became a nostalgic lifeline. In 2021, 87 new albums sold more than 50,000 vinyl copies, up from 51 new albums in 2020. Adele, a millennial favorite, topped the list, selling 318,000 vinyl copies of her album “30,” despite a price tag of nearly $40.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-millennials-want-their-parents-vinyl-records-11647061260?mod=life_work_minor_pos4

I loved listening to albums and reading the album covers. I’d play the same records over and over. I have memories of listening to certain records with my closest friends. Then the casette tapes came into play.

Album Madman Across the Water.
I loved the song “Tiny Dancer” from Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water.”

Do you still have your albums? What artists were your favorites? Do your kids like vinyl too?

Hey, I’m in fashion!

Asics sneakers.

I was reading through the Wall Street Journal and saw a fashion trend that made me smile.

Asics are hot. Who knew? I wear my big clunky Asics every day. Despite my lateral move playing ping pong and crashing to the ground last week (I wrote about that HERE) they are seriously the most comfortable shoes I own — well, maybe tied with my Sanuk yoga mat flip flops.

I have a painful arthritic growth on my left foot that I’m surviving with shots of cortisone from time to time. When that no longer helps, the doctor said I’ll need surgery.

In the meantime, I only wear super comfortable shoes. The last time we went out to dinner with friends, I struggled with the dressier shoes in my closet. They are painful! I finally settled on a retro pair of Adidas, which is hardly fancy enough for a fancy restaurant, but it’s that or the Asics or flip flops.

The story I read in the WSJ was by Rebecca Malinsky. Here’s an excerpt:

Why Asics and Salomon Sneakers Are Fashion’s Hottest Shoes

THE LATEST shoe trending among Hollywood It girls and fashion types isn’t a slim stiletto or a sleek, minimalist mule. It’s a sneaker. A chunky, technical running sneaker, to be exact. Mary-Kate Olsen has been seen sporting Salomon Speedcross 3s, high-performance trail-running shoes. Hailey Bieber has lately swapped her Jimmy Choos for a bulky Balenciaga sneaker. And model and author Emily Ratajkowski has frequently been photographed in white Asics sneaks while striding through New York.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/asics-salomon-womens-sneakers-11645640840?mod=life_work_major_1_pos1

I am thinking about donating all my uncomfortable fancy shoes to the local Kiwanis mart. But if I do get surgery, I may be able to wear them again. I’m excited to know I’m in style, rather than just a middle aged frump.

The most comfortable flip flops ever. Yoga mats by Sanuk.

What type of shoes do you usually wear? Are you more interested in looks or comfort? Any suggestions for a dressier shoe that is super comfortable?