wait a moment

Extreme heat, safe retirement and book-ish T-shirts.

I’m in Phoenix, where my brain is slowly frying. Which helps explains the rando stuff I’m about to post.

First: I flew down here to Satan’s Fry Daddy to help my daughter celebrate her 40th birthday. Yes, I was surprised as well, and mildly curious as to where those four decades flew.

Part of my birthday gift to Abby was to help prepare* for the bash: cleaning, shopping and food prep. It was quite the spread, encompassing fruits, vegetables, hummus, meats, cheeses, tortilla chips and salsa, crackers, pita bread, chocolate chip cookies, miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups and a decent selection of adult beverages, bought by Abby and Tim and also brought by their pals.

If you’re gonna invite people, invite those who bring the weird stuff rather than expect you to anticipate their tastes. Hard iced tea – who knew?


While I was happy to put in some time cleaning and organizing, the heat has been bugging me more than usual this time around.  The coolest temperature encountered thus far has been 99 degrees. The hottest? I think 107 was mentioned, or maybe 110. And yes, I know it can get hotter than that in the summer in Arizona. But up in Anchorage I was living in the 50s and 60s.

Probably that’s why I’ve felt a bit queasy and light-headed off and on since arriving. Pretty sure it’s not dehydration, since I’ve gone through a couple of gallons of iced tea and a ton of water since arriving. (Practically living in the john.)

Maybe it’s my own age starting to show. Or maybe I’m just turning into a huge weenie.


Golden years?


Only 18 percent of U.S. workers are “very confident” they’ll be able to retire comfortably, according to new information from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

More than four in 10 workers (44 percent) are “somewhat confident” they can retire without eating cat food** when the time comes.

Oh, and 51 percent of workers say they’re still recovering from the Great Recession. #goodtimes

This doesn’t surprise me. At least three friends (all in their late 40s and 50s) haven’t saved*** one thin dime for retirement. I worry about their ability to support themselves as they age, because Social Security alone isn’t gonna cut it. Two seem to have their heads in the sand about this issue; one recently confided that she’s hoping to get hired at a different discount retailer, because it pays more than she’s earning now.

Spoiler alert: The new job pays $10.50 an hour. And it’s part-time. And she’s almost 60.

My own employment history isn’t exactly sterling. I spent just 18 years in full-time jobs, with “permanent part-time” or freelance gigs making up the rest of my working life. But for a short time (less than 10 years) I did have access to a 401(k) with an employer match, and I made it a priority to max out my contributions.

I won’t be rich when I retire, but I won’t be impoverished, either, unless something truly ghastly happens. My pals might not be able to say the same.


I love these shirts


Book nerds, unite: The folks at Cents of Style have T-shirts that read, “Book-ish,” “Well-Read” and “I’d rather be reading.” Also “Pave your own path,” which doesn’t have anything to do with books but is a worthy sentiment on its own. Scroll down a bit in the graphic to see three of the four.



Normally these tees are $24.95, but if you use the links above and the coupon code BOOKLOVE they’ll cost $16.95 each and the shipping will be free.

Note that something called  “jeggings” (jean leggings?) are also on sale, as are a couple of dresses and a hat. There’s a discount available for this batch, too: Save $30 on orders of $100 or more and get free shipping with the coupon code 30SAVE.

If you were to purchase any of these, I’d get a small referral fee. A solvent blogger is a happy blogger.

Readers: Hot enough for ya? Will you retire comfortably? What’s your favorite T-shirt of all time?

*And to disappear afterward. I hid out in the guest room, reading and occasionally tiptoeing across the hall to the bathroom. There, but not there – sort of like the mad auntie in the attic, except on the ground floor.

**Never understood that stereotype, given that dry beans are so cheap. (And they keep your coat nice and glossy, too.)

***I have a standing offer to help people build cash cushions: a free PDF of the “Challenge Yourself to Save” chapter from my first book. It contains more than 30 examples of what I call “stealth savings” tactics – simple, effective ways to tease a few bucks out of even the tightest of budgets. To get the PDF, e-mail me at SurvivingAndThriving (at) live (dot) com. No strings attached, no up-selling, no being placed on a mailing list. That’s how much I believe in saving.

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