Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Zooming Thru Life
Two uses for common zip-bags

by Paul M. Carhart

Two related tips from the forthcoming book, "Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle."

The beauty of plastic bags

When you're cramming all of your stuff into a backpack or other tight piece of luggage, you may find, especially when high altitude is involved, that some of your more liquid items get onto your clothes, which then must be cleaned upon reaching your destination. This often happens when traveling at high altitudes.

You can avoid this nasty occurrence by putting toothpaste, mousse, perfume, hairspray, cologne, after-shave, lotion, mouthwash, etc. each in their own small plastic zip-bag. That way, if any substance does escape its original container, it will still be contained within the bag.

Addendum: In times of increased terrorist threats, airlines sometimes do not allow passengers to bring liquid containers onboard. Still, this tip is equally relevant to the weekend or road trip traveler. You don't have to go above the clouds to have the lid pop off your shaving crème.

The zippered condiment bag

Here’s another use for essentially the same sorts of zip-bags mentioned above but because the application is completely different, I thought it deserved its own entry.

This one comes from the cake decorators but can be easily adapted to a road trip, camping trip, picnic or lunch pail.

Rather than bring a large container of ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch dressing, etc., simply put the desired amount in a small zippered sandwich bag, zip it up and off you go.

When you're preparing your food on-site, simply snip off a corner of the bag (see Chapter Two: Daily Diligence, Carry a knife) and squeeze out the condiments where desired.

After you're done, you can just chuck the empty bag with the rest of the garbage.

If you liked these tips, you'll be pleased to know there's a whole book filled with similar advice. Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, early 2010. Stay up to date: Visit paulcarhart.com and Become a fan on Facebook.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Zooming Thru Life
Lost or not, ask for directions

by Paul M. Carhart

Another tip from the forthcoming book, "Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle."

I told myself that the tips in this book would not be gender specific. But I hadn't anticipated this one, which is, admittedly, mostly for us guys. And, keep in mind, I'm just as guilty of this as the next guy.

How much time have we wasted driving around in circles, looking for someplace we're sure we can find? All we have to do is stop at a gas station and ask someone for directions. But we don't. And we guys, as a race, waste a ton of time on this.

Let’s face it. Girls don't care. They'll stop and ask. But not us guys.

So if you don’t want to ask for directions, you'll save a lot of time, energy, effort and even money if you just figure out how to get where you're going from the outset. Just do a little homework ahead of time. But if you don't get around to doing the homework, and don't have OnStar or a handy smart phone in your pocket, the moment you aren't crystal clear on where you're going, stop and ask someone.

Oh the heated discussions I could have avoided had I only heeded my own advice.

Look, I don’t care if you think you’ve got it covered. I don’t care if you’re embarrassed, I don’t care if it doesn’t jive with your image. Please, for your own sake , just ask someone.

Because, trust me on this guys, not asking for directions never ever impresses the girls.


If you liked this tip, you'll be pleased to know there's a whole book filled with similar advice. Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, early 2010. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zooming Thru Life
Alternative uses for that always-handy credit card

by Paul M. Carhart

Another tip from the forthcoming book, "Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle."

Nowadays, carrying cash poses its own set of problems. You don't want to lose it. You don't want to tempt would-be thieves with the sight of it. And what you have in your wallet just may not be enough to do what it was you were hoping to do with it anyway.

The answer? That hand-dandy credit card.

Now, I would like to take a moment to just say that I don't really approve of credit cards. There are some things that you need credit to buy. Few people can purchase their house or a new car outright. But, like many others, I had my own trials and tribulations with credit cards in my youth. Now I view them as evil. Yes, they are the spawn of The Devil.

A necessary evil too, unfortunately, if you want to operate in the world in which we live.

The work-around, of course, is the Checking Credit Card (in my case, it's a checking Visa). This card works as a Visa wherever Visa cards are accepted but it deducts the funds from my checking account as if I were writing a check. I can also use it as an ATM card to get access to actual cash (see Chapter Six: Cashing In And Cashing Out, The cash alternative).

On the road, this card is extremely handy. In addition to using it to buy gifts and souvenirs, I can also use it for all those things that you just really can't do unless you have a credit card such as purchasing airline tickets or renting vehicles like cars, moving trucks or scooters. I can even use it to secure my symphony tickets. Or even bypass the movie theater box office altogether and purchase my tickets at an electronic kiosk. Handy indeed!

There also may be limitations to using the Checking Credit Card. Some banks and credit unions impose a spending limit on the card per day as a security precaution, which might facilitate using the old-fashioned checkbook for larger purchases.

There are also less obvious uses for the Checking Credit Card. I can use it as a squeegee to help apply the new screen protector on my PDA, for example.
You can also use the card to scratch mosquito or flea bites. When you scratch with your hands, germs in your fingernails can cause the bite to become infected. But not so with the handy-dandy Checking Credit Card.
Ask your bank for one today!

If you liked this tip, you'll be pleased to know there's a whole book filled with similar advice. Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Find something to love about each place and day

by Paul M. Carhart

Another tip from the forthcoming book, "Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle."

Suffice it to say, not everything is always rosy when you're on-the-go. Things go wrong. Plans don't work out. Trains are late. Museum hours change. Modes of transportation you were relying on have changed or no longer exist. The world is a big place and no matter how much homework you may have done, things can be very different when you get where you are going. Unfortunately, there are also unscrupulous people who will steal from you and they’ll get you in your hometown too if you’re not careful.

Middle-eastern countries are notorious for this. Locals who will “give” you things only to require money for it as soon as you take it plague Cairo, especially near the Giza pyramids and The Sphinx. Gypsies who will try to get your attention with a crying infant, only to lift your wallet when you are distracted, frequent the streets surrounding the Coliseum in Rome. Thugs are known to roam the streets of Pisa. Rain or other weather conditions can also nab you when you're not prepared.

Should this ruin your day?

On the contrary. It only adds character. Each daily journey will be a unique experience. Even if your friends have visited the same place at a different time, you will have your own set of experiences and you should savor them, even if they aren't what you had expected. Or worse, even if they downright suck.

Of course, as the saying goes (loosely paraphrased), "stuff happens" whether you're at home or away. Got a flat tire? Miss a golden opportunity? Someone been promoted over you? Arrive at work late? Fast food restaurant screw up your order? Movie you wanted to see sold out? Too many of us rush through life expecting every day to be a perfect representation of our perfect life. It isn't always so. We don't have to "live happily ever after" to live happily. The answer? Find something to love about every day you live and every place you go.

If things really suck, look for the constant things. The twinkle in your spouse's eye when he or she says they love you. The regular paycheck you receive from your employer that allows you to have your car, your house and to support your family. The downsides are almost always outweighed by the upsides. If that isn't so, change what you're doing. If you look hard enough, I'm sure you can find the silver lining.

Even the ickiest places have something in their favor. On one of my trips, it was my intention to take trains to various other countries and make the most of my time. I had purchased a train pass and had mapped out points of interest. When I got there, the entire country was on strike and I didn't even know it. The local rail wasn't working so taxis were the primary means of travel. I had to scrap the plans of country hopping and come up with something else. Several museums I had intended to see were closed as well. But, visiting the local sites still made the trip worthwhile.

So, as you can see, there's usually a way to make the best of your situation if you will only search for it.

If you liked this tip, you'll be pleased to know there's a whole book filled with similar advice. Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Folding Money

by Paul M. Carhart

Instead of the standard article, this week I thought I'd post an excerpt from my upcoming book, "Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle."

What's more enticing? A pile of one dollar bills or a stack of twenties? Naturally, the twenties. So why help someone along on his or her personal road to temptation? Make your big wad of bills seem smaller by wrapping the smallest denomination bills on the outside. It doesn't have to be U.S. currency either. Every country in the world has paper money and most of them use our familiar numerals. Just wrap the small denomination bills on the outside and leave the more valuable ones in the center like the crème filling in a Twinkie.

We've got thugs in every country, including the good old U.S. of A. So it only makes sense to make this tip a habit.

I love this tip. In fact, it was the one that inspired me to write this entire book. Now an entire series of articles, a blog and additional future volumes have sprung from this one tip.

Once you've adopted this practice, apply the next one to your money too.

If you liked this tip, you'll be pleased to know there's a whole book filled with similar advice. Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Take a Day Off to Refresh,
Regroup, and Rejuvenate

by Paul M. Carhart

This classic Zooming Thru Life article, repeated from last September for your convenience, seems to be just what the doctor ordered in these stressful times. - Ed.

Most people with a standard 9-to-5 job get vacation days and sick days. Sick days, in fact, are often not bankable from year-to-year where vacation days sometimes are and are even can be paid out when you switch employers. If you’re self-employed, hopefully you’re busy enough to make a successful living but still not too busy to take time some occasional time off. The point is, it’s important to have down time, even when you’re on-the-go most of the time.

So we’re in agreement, taking time off from work is important. If you can afford it, take your allotted days a week at a time and journey to some foreign land. But not everyone can afford to do that, especially in the budding years of parenthood. Whether you’re using your vacation days here and there or taking a sick day when you’re not really trying to sleep off a bug, here’s a few things that you can do during your day off to help you regenerate your batteries.

Sleep In
You don’t have to sleep in until noon, but there’s a certain joy to sliding out of bed after your work shift has actually started. Just knowing that all your colleagues started their wage-slavery an hour before you hop in the shower is somehow satisfying.

Grooming Thru Life
Having a day off is a great time to get your haircut, trim finger and toe nails, etc. Ladies, make manicure, pedicure, waxing, tanning or hair appointments to make the most of your time off. When you return to work, it will be evident that you have recharged.

Spend Time With Your Family
Work is there for you to have a life, not the other way around. So, if you’re married and you have kids, you probably don’t see enough of your family. Take the day to go out for lunch, go shopping, visit a playground. Hold hands with your significant other and tell him or her you love them. After all, we’re not on this planet forever. Let them know they matter.

Get Your Oil Changed
Have you ever seen the line at Jiffy Lube at about eleven o’clock in the morning? There’s no one there! Don’t waste your weekend on this chore. Drop your car off and, if it’s going to take more than fifteen minutes, come back for it later.

Knock Out A Few Small Projects
I don’t know about you, but my daughter is always bringing me something to fix. And usually I say, “Okay, when I can get to it.” Then it goes on the shelf with the other four things I’m supposed to fix. Most of these items just need a little glue and to sit upright overnight. Take an hour or so on your day off to address a couple projects you’ve been putting off. It’ll feel good to have them done and, if it’s something for your kid, you’ll have fostered eternal gratitude by keeping your word and actually “getting to it.”

Cleaning Time
Whether your spouse also works or stays home to do the most important job (raise the children), he or she would naturally love your help around the house. So be proactive! Volunteer to take out the trash, dust the piano, vacuum the dining room or fold a load of laundry. The goodwill you will generate will be profound and your spouse will probably grateful enough to extend your daytime frivolities well into the night.

But that’s another article.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Return to the Nostalgia of the
Drive-In Movie Theater

by Paul M. Carhart

My family spent last Friday night experiencing the fun of the drive-in theater. So here's another classic Zooming Thru Life article, repeated from last summer, so you can too! - Ed.

As we zoom through our on-the-go lives, it’s nice to occasionally stop and smell the roses, catch a concert or play, or even check out a movie or two. We on-the-go humans need some down time!

Used to be you could catch two movies at a drive-in and watch them in the comfort of your car, your arm securely around your significant other, kids in the back seat chomping on popcorn brought from home. While common knowledge seems to avow the extinction of the drive-in movie, I’m here to testify. Although it differs somewhat nowadays from its portrayal in Grease, the drive-in movie theater is not dead.

Sound Improvements
First of all, if your car doesn’t have an FM radio, don’t visit today’s drive-in theater unless you bring along your ghetto blaster. That’s right! No more tin cans dangling from your window. Nowadays, the movie soundtrack is delivered in vibrant stereo directly to your receiver of choice. The better the car stereo, the better your listening experience. This also opens up some interesting viewing options. Now, if you bring the appropriate stereo, a camping chair and enough batteries, you can watch your movie out under the stars if you prefer the open air to the confines of your automobile. I’ve seen kids sitting on top of truck cabs, whole families perched around the front of their SUV in camping chairs as well as the expected romantic dalliances veiled behind steamed-up windows.

Pricing Differences
The days of paying by the carload are gone. But in most drive-ins, kids under twelve are still free and your ticket price, which is usually about the cost of an indoor movie ticket, is most often for both films. On weekends, the theater will often repeat the first film so you can watch it again for the same price. Be aware, however, that there are a few drive-ins out there that are now ticketing each film separately. Not that it’s a rip-off per se, but you should know what you’re getting in to.

Security Concerns
For the most part, patrons of modern drive-ins are family folk, hoping for an enjoyable night at the movies. However, the drive-ins I’ve been to in recent years are, admittedly, just a tad seedy. Stray from your vehicle at your own risk. Because it’s possible to bring in whatever “beverages” you want from the outside, it is common to smell alcohol and pot as you pass by various open windows. Some drive-ins prohibit drinking on the premises and employ roaming security guards to enforce their stance.

Snack Bar and Bathroom Advice
If you insist on paying through the nose for the nasty fare served at the snack bar, get in line well before the movies start. Every drive-in I’ve gone to in recent days has had a ridiculously long snack bar line. We always bring a cooler full of drinks, pre-popped popcorn and a few of our own candy bars and/or chips when we go. The bathrooms aren’t much better. Use them early or they are not going to be suitable for use at all. I don’t think anyone cleans them over the course of the night. Still, they’re probably not much worse than the restroom at your local Wal-Mart.

If you can get over some of the downsides of the modern drive-in theater, you’ll enjoy sinking into your seat cushion, cranking up the stereo and catching a couple movies with your spouse and kids. We always look forward to it.

Keep in mind, the above was true when I lived in Colorado and it’s true in Southern California… two very different urban landscapes. I can only assume, no matter what state you’re in, if you scour the Internet hard enough, you’ll come across your own hidden drive-in theater. You may have to drive an hour each way, but I bet you’ll find one.

Then only you can decide if it’s worth it to give it a try.

Bonus: If you live in Southern California, check out the drive-in we often frequent: The Vineland Drive-In.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Strategies To Beat The Summer Heat

by Paul M. Carhart

This classic Zooming Thru Life article, repeated from last August for your convenience, seemed to be the perfect answer to our current summer conditions. - Ed.

No matter how often you're on-the-go, when it's sweltering hot, it sometimes feels like there's no place to go. Here's a few things you can do to beat the heat.

The Hydration Solution
No matter what, if you don't take any of these tips to heart, remember this: You've got to stay hydrated. Drink a lot of water. Americans already don't drink enough H2O. When you're hot and you're sweating, it's even more important to replenish your body's fluids. Drink it warm. Drink it cold. But drink it and drink it often.

Fight The Sun
First of all, the sun is your enemy. And he's bigger than you. In order to do battle, you'll need weapons. If you're going out in the sun for any time at all, sunscreen is imperative. Likewise, don't spend your days squinting. Sunglasses are required attire for recreation or work. Hats can also be found for every occasion. One of my favorites is an Australian outback suede hat with a wide brim and mesh in the crown to let the air flow through… perfect for the hottest of days.

Shop Til You Drop
Air conditioning at someone else’s expense is always a good idea. Department stores, restaurants and shopping malls will keep it nice and cool in order to entice refugees from the sun like you into their web. Why not be a willing participant?

Water, Water Everywhere
Or you can let more conventional wisdom prevail. Park swimming pools and the beach are great, if not crowded, places to cool off. Or take a shower in the middle of the day. At night, relax in the tub.

Cold Intake
On top of the water that you're already drinking (right?), feel free to supplement your fluid intake with ice cold drinks, floats, shakes, smoothies, even an ice cream bar or sundae. You've worked hard, treat yourself!

Get Outside At Night
The end result of a hot day is a hot home at night. If the aforementioned shower or tub soak doesn't do the trick, go for a walk. Once the sun goes down, it's inevitably cooler outside. If you have a convertible, take a drive with the top down and if you don't, just roll down all the windows and let the wind blow through your hair. Some cities still have drive-in movie theaters too. You can get two movies for the price of one and since the sound is now broadcast on an FM station, you can bring a camping chair and catch a couple flicks out under the stars.

Wet Washcloth
When it’s all said and done, you still have to go to sleep at night. And if it’s still too hot, dropping off can seem like an impossible task. I’ve found that if I take a simple washcloth, soak it all the way through, wring it out and fold it over my forehead, it will cool me enough to drift off to sleep.

And tomorrow is another day. Perhaps it won’t be so insufferably hot!

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Zooming Thru Life will take a short break this week to celebrate the Fourth of July. Please spend plenty of time with your family and enjoy the things that really matter. Then, join me back here on July 9th for the next Zooming Thru Life post.

See you then!

Paul M. Carhart
Author, Zooming Thru Life

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Zoom to a New Job with a Spiffy New Resume

by Paul M. Carhart

Unemployment is up. Job security is down. Even if you like your job and you don’t intend to leave, you should always keep your resume up-to-snuff because you never know when your boss will decide that it’s time for you to be, once again, on-the-go. Here’s a few tips to make your resume easily digestable.

If at all possible, keep it down to one page. Of course, this is your chance to toot your own horn. So make sure all relevant information for the kinds of jobs you are applying for is represented. But edit yourself ruthlessly. Eliminate extra words. Cull the heck out of the thing. Mention important accomplishments under each job and/or title you’ve held, especially financial ones. But keep it down to one page. No one wants to search for missing pieces of a faxed-over resume. Break it down to the bare facts. If you wish to elaborate, do so in your cover letter (see below).

Use buzz words for your industry. But you better know what you’re talking about. A knowledgeable individual can spot a fraud a mile away. The reason, however, that you want to use these buzz words is that many job agencies and even in house human resource departments these days use search engines to help narrow down prospects. If they’re searching for certain words, you want to make sure they find them on your resume.

Be Contactable
Make it easy for a potential employer to do what you want them to do: Call. The top of your resume should broadcast your name and phone number. Try this test with your resume. Lay it down on a table, text facing the table surface. Now pull it up and look at it. If your name and phone number do not scream at you immediately, you should bolden it, make it bigger, whatever you’ve got to do to make your name and contact information easier to see than the next guy’s.

Education vs Experience
Of course, with building a resume comes the inevitable spin. If you’re new to your field, you may want to favor your educational achievements. If you’ve been around for awhile, highlight your real-world experience. Put yourself in your prospective employer’s shoes. Why should they hire you? What will you bring to the table. Then shine a spotlight on it.

To Cover Letter or not to Cover Letter?
The answer: Cover letter. Always. Cover letters are expected. Cover letters are also the only place you get to sell yourself outside of the fact-driven resume. Here’s where you can really spin yourself. Here’s where you can use a writer’s voice to project personality. Keep your cover letter to one page too. Start with an introductory paragraph where you will list what job you’re interested in and where you learned about it. Follow that with a brief paragraph that outlines in broad strokes your experience and abilities. Then use three bullet points to list why you're the ideal candidate for the position. Use another paragraph to highlight additional accomplishments or awards. Then briefly summarize and invite for further contact. As with the resume, make sure your contact information is easily found. It would be a terrible injustice if you were to actually convince them to call you but they couldn’t find your number.

Do What You’re Told
Different employers will have different application guidelines. Especially online, it can get extremely confusing. Monster.com will often have a one-click apply option, for example. But then some employers will ask you to apply through their own system. Or e-mail them a PDF resume. Or e-mail them a Word doc resume. Or link to your online portfolio or reel. You get the picture. Follow their rules, whatever they are and however divergent they might be. There isn’t a silver bullet, unfortunately. Prove to your prospective employer that you can follow directions. You’ll be surprised at how far it will get you.

He Who Follows Up Swollows Up (the Job)
Employers are busy people. In addition to hiring a new person, which admittedly they wouldn’t even have to do if they didn’t need help, they’re often trying to do their regular job as well. So follow up. Immediately after an interview, send a thank you note or e-mail. Give it a few days and place a call. Anytime someone asks you to send or fax them something, you have a great excuse to follow up and ensure that they received it. Each point of contact is a chance for you to shine. It’s a chance for those you interact with to get to like you. Maybe even envision working with you on a daily basis. So be cheerful but make sure you follow up. Remember:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
– Calvin Coolidge

You may not have known where to start before. But if you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to zooming off in the right direction.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Sew Up The Hole In Your Pocket

by Paul M. Carhart

If you’re really on-the-go, then you’re feeling the bite of today’s fuel prices. Indeed, in these uncertain economic times, it’s important to cut back wherever you can. Here’s a few ways to save some money, at least until prospects are looking better.

Downgrade The Clothes
I’m not saying you need to dress like a bum. However, if you usually pick up your threads at Nordstrom, it might be beneficial to take a look at what Target’s duds look like. Already shopping at Target? Maybe it’s time to check out Wal-Mart.

Cut The Fat
Making meals at home is always cheaper than paying someone else to prep your meals for you. At restaurants, you’re not only paying the chef, hostess and waitress for their services, but you’ll also need to leave a tip. Perhaps cheaper is the fast food option. However, it’s not very healthy and the visits will add up to substantial subtraction from your wallet.

Combine Some Utilities
In the good old days, you had a phone company and a cable company and a company to get your dial-up from for your Internet connection (obviously, I’m not talking about the really good old days). But now, with various companies providing multiple services, it’s possible to save a little coin by bundling many of your services. For example, we get our phone, cable and Internet services all from the same provider and cash in on substantial savings as a result. Deals will vary in every community, so take a look around before committing to your provider (they will often require a year contract or so). Before you commit, in this day of mobile and smart phones, ask yourself if you even need a land line. You might not. You might be able to save some monthly money by cutting that out too.

Walk, Ride Or Carpool To Work
If you live close enough to work to make this feasible, you can get a good deal of exercise by walking or riding your bike to work. If the distance is an issue, especially in this green-happy day and age, many companies offer incentives to carpool. It’s entirely possible that you could save money and even make some additional money by giving up your daily parking space.

Take Your Lunch To Work
If you were to add up how much it costs to go out to lunch every day, you’d probably discover that you’re spending upwards to a hundred dollars a week, especially if you’re eating where tips are expected. That’s quite a bundle of lettuce! On the other hand, a brown bag lunch might only run in the neighborhood of two or three dollars a day for a couple sodas, a sandwich, some fruit, a bag of chips and maybe a cookie or two. Again, restaurants are notorious for their lard and salt content. Sit them out and serve up the brown bag instead.

Smarter Grocery Shopping
Everytime you go to the grocery store, they’ll print out coupons especially targeted to you based on what you’ve bought on that visit. Save these coupons and combine them with other ones from the newspaper. They add up. Also, make sure you’ve got the preferred card for whichever store(s) you frequent to ensure you get the best deals possible. Also, be on the look out for dinners that might provide more helpings than your family can handle in one night. If you can stretch a dinner over two nights on a regular basis, you’ve just cut your dinner grocery needs in half.

Buy Gas With Wisdom
Gas in the car. Gotta have it. Otherwise, your car is merely a hunk of metal taking up space in your driveway. But you’re the boss! Not the gas station owner! Not the oil companies! Don’t give those suckers one single cent you don’t have to. Use this website to locate the cheapest gas in your area. Also, if you’ve got an iPhone or other smart phone, there are many apps that can be downloaded that will provide this sort of information on-the-go.

Movie Options
Naturally, just because times are tough, it doesn’t mean we should go without entertainment. If you look hard enough, you might be able to locate an old-fashioned drive-in theater in your vicinity. Chances are they’ll have an updated sound system, broadcasting the film’s audio over FM radio waves that you can receive with your car stereo. Usually, you can see two movies for the price of one and kids under 10 or 12 get in for free. It’s great fun to pop up some popcorn at home, bring a few sodas and candy bars and spend the evening at the drive-in! If you’re one of those who just gotta buy your favorite movies when they come out, get them the week of their release. You’ll find them a good four to five dollars cheaper. And if there’s not a drive-in theater in your area, there’s always the good old rental stand-by. Whether you visit a video store, use your cable company’s video-on-demand service or click on over to Netflix, a good movie is never very far away and is almost always worth the price of admission. Especially in these troubling times when it’s often a necessity to escape from our everyday tribulations.

Most of us spend more than we have to. If we really look at where the money goes, we can probably find places where we can cut and better our chances of making it to the flip side of this economic crisis.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, Winter 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Months Zoom By

Five months since the last post. Wow. The last article was written in the shadow of a true-life tragedy in my family: the loss of our unborn daughter, Lyric.

The past few months have been mostly a time of coping and charting of new courses. Some new publishing goals have also been set and the Zooming Thru Life book was indeed affected. The Carhart Blog has or will have more information on the shifting that has occurred.

Neverthelss, the Zooming book is still on the horizon and this blog is near and dear to my heart so it is my intention to start posting new Zooming articles before the end of June. Thursdays will again be the day of release. Hopefully at least bi-weekly to start.

So meet me here next Thursday. I won't jilt you.

Paul M. Carhart
Author, Zooming Thru Life

Monday, January 12, 2009

Zooming Thru Life:
Coping With Personal Loss is Part of Life

by Paul M. Carhart

Zooming thru life will inevitably require at least skirting around the rim of loss. Over the holiday break this year, my wife and I suffered a miscarriage at five months. Devestating and heartbreaking to be sure. We’ve also both lost our fathers in the past five years so we know a little something about loss. What follows are a few things you can do to help ease your suffering.

Mourning is a natual part of loss. Don’t skip over it. If you need to cry, cry. Get it out. Don’t let your remorse fester inside of you. Pour it out. It’s healthy and important to let these feelings surface and get them out of you.

There’s no sense in dwelling on things that you have no control over. The best thing to do when faced with loss is to focus on what you do still have. For example, when we had our miscarriage, we focused on our brilliant, healthy little four-year-old girl that we still had. And we were grateful that we still had her. Gratitude is very important here. Thank God for what you have.

Change Your Scene
Remove, at least temporarily, items that remind you of your loss. Keeping things around that will constantly remind you of your loss is like rubbing salt into a wound. When we had the miscarriage, I immediately removed the crib and changing table from the baby’s room and, since we had decided we weren’t going to try to have any more children, we had given away all of our baby things within several days.

Change of Scenery
Get out of Dodge. At the very least, take a road trip to somewhere. Such simple travel will force you to change your routine, which will take your attention away from your loss and will perhaps allow you to forge new memories with your family and/or friends.

Chart A New Course
For me, the best means of coping with loss, is to sit down and go through my plans and goals and adjust them in light of my recent loss. For example, we were expecting a newborn baby. We had assumed that any travel we were going to embark upon would have to wait until that baby was much older. Now, in the light of the miscarriage, we realized that we could perhaps move some travel goals that we had up. Also, since I was expecting to be on hand to help Lori with the new baby, I wasn’t going to schedule any book signings in the early part of the year. With the miscarriage, it was appropriate for us to take another look at our plans and goals and adjust them accordingly. Put them down on paper. I’ve found that writing down your goals somehow seems to make them more real.

It’s easy to fall victim to depression if you don’t learn how to move on from loss. While there is definitely a place for grief and mourning, it is also possible to pick yourself up and to move on.

Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, August 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.