Six things that I was really happy that I packed for my long vacation.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I recently went away on a trip. It was a voyage, not a relaxing vacation.  14 days, three flights, six different hotels.  The itinerary included visiting my kids at sleep away camp in North Carolina, horning in on my husband's business trip in Northern California & Southern Oregon, and vacationing in three other spots 

I needed to pack clothing for the heat wave, for hiking and biking, for the cool San Francisco weather and for looking presentable as the wife of a business executive while meeting tons of his colleagues in a convention-like setting.   How did I pack lightly for such a range of different types of climates and events? I DID NOT.  My suitcase weighed a ton. I have no advice as to how to cut down other than pack lots of black clothing.

However there are six things that I am really glad that I had packed as they really came in handy:

1. A travel hair dryer. I have long hair. Those little dryers that they provide in hotels just don't do it for me. I don't want frizzy hair in vacation photos so I purchased this little baby since my last one died on a cruise ship.  It is tiny but powerful. I got it at Bed Bath and Beyond for $29.99 (less one of those 20% off coupons), so it was a bargain. I was really happy that I had it.
Yes, I wear this silly eyemask, even on airplanes!

2. Earplugs and an eye mask.   Even if you are lucky to be sharing a hotel room with someone who does not snore, hotels can be noisy. Even if you are used to the noise in your own home, the new noises might prevent you from getting some shut eye. I always pack these cute pink earplugs that are made for women with dainty little ear holes like me. At least one part of me is dainty.

3. Lysol Wipes.  I'm not a germaphobe but there is nothing worse than getting sick while away from home. I always carry wipes when I travel. I wipe down the airplane seat, arm rests and tray tables before I settle in. I also wipe down any handle, knob, remote control and telephone in any hotel room before I do anything else.  It can't hurt.

4. A magnifying mirror with suction cups.  If you are of a certain age like me, your eyes are not as great at they were. While some hotels have magnifying mirrors, it is not a universal thing so  I throw a small one in my make up bag so that I don't end up walking around with eyeliner all over my face

5. Chargers, chargers, chargers. Every time we were in the room, my husband and I both needed to charge our phones, tablets and laptops.   I was happy that every device had an individual charger so we could charge everything at once. Remember, even if you are not talking or texting, these days you are probably using your phone as a GPS, Travel guide and camera when you travel. It all just eats those batteries up. 

6. Bonine/Dramamine & a small pharmacy. We were on some very scary mountain roads and a ferry.  I sometimes get motion sickness so popping a Bonine (which does not make me drowsy) was a brilliant idea for everyone, especially the rental car company.  I also traveled with small packets of benadryl, advil, bandaids, etc. My little emergency kit was small but mighty.  It is true that almost every place you go has a store where you can buy anything you might need, but in the middle of the night (or in the middle of a forrest), it was nice to be prepared.

My next post will contain six things that I did not really need during my trip...

Do you have any suggestions to add to my list of things to bring on a long trip?

Don't say that I did not warn you...

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Unless you've been on a media blackout, you've probably heard about the Ashley Madison scandal. Ashley Madison is a disgusting website where married people can find other married people to have affairs with. Ashley Madison promised their millions of customers (yes millions of them!) that this was a private thing. They even charged customers a fee to delete their accounts from their servers forever.  We have now learned that this was not true. Hackers hacked in and released the names, addresses and other very personal information about their past and present customers including what kind of sexual adventures they were looking for. I warned my readers to tell their kids that nothing on the internet is private in March 2014 in my blog.  Everything on here is stored somewhere forever!  Even my silly ranting blog posts. Forever! Here is a repost of my March 2014 blog where I warned you..

A Social Media Cautionary Tale...(originally posted in March 2014)

   Last week I wrote about my decision to keep my blog anonymous. However, just because you're "anonymous" or your settings on your social media sites are "private", does not mean that what you write might not get you in trouble one day.

   Without getting into a legal discussion, please know that whatever you post on the internet can be discovered if you're ever a party to a lawsuit. A judge is very likely to make you produce anything that you have posted to the internet, even if anonymous or "private".  This applies to what your family posts too.

  Recently, 69 year old Patrick Snay learned this the hard way.  Snay was the headmaster of a fancy prep school here in Miami but a few years ago, the school did not renew his contract and he sued for age discrimination. The school settled with him and agreed to pay $10,000 in back wages plus $80,000 for other damages and pay his attorneys fees. It was a win for him. The agreement contained a confidentiality clause prohibiting him from talking about the case.  These clauses are often standard in settlement agreements.

   Snay's daughter Dana was so excited about the results of her father's case, that she could not resist posting this to her 1200 Facebook friends immediately after it was agreed to.

“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver.
Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

Supposedly this is a photo of Ms. Snay (source Yahoo! Shine)

   Besides making her parents so proud with her classy Facebook photo and post, she cost them $80,000. The school's  lawyers found out about the post within four days of the settlement and successfully asked the Court to invalidate the  agreement. The Florida appeals Court ruled that the settlement agreement was violated and that the school did not have to pay  the Principal.( The case can still be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court)

    You've probably seen the news stories about people posting their illegal acts online and it leading to problems for them ( example:  Miami Fraternity was suspended from campus after posting about drug dealing and hazing) and how posting about what you're doing can lead to people robbing you (example: woman's home was robbed after she posted that she was going out to see a concert. The burglars were her Facebook "friends" ) but did you know that it is possible that comments that you make on your blog or others can 
also get you in trouble?

   Courts have found that bloggers may have a free-speech right to write what they want to online but are not protected from being sued for their comments, even if posted anonymously!  If a Court finds that your online comments are defamatory, you could be liable for them. The legal line drawn is between "opinion" and "fact". If you call your ex-boyfriend a "liar or a loser", that is likely to be found to be an opinion and free speech. But if you write something like ,"Dr. Jones is the worst dentist. He overcharges people and performs work that does not really need to be done", it could be found to be defamatory. 

    So tread likely and think before you hit "enter". 

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