Category: Social Life & Society

You Can’t Say That! Or Can You?

inclusive language blog post represented by Oop's! illustration

Recently, in a conversation with a friend, I said “I felt like a spastic.” My friend looked at me in disbelief. “Don’t ever use that word,” she admonished, explaining that “spastic” is a demeaning way to describe people who suffer from seizures. Like her sister. I thought the word just meant an “uncoordinated person” and apologized profusely. But the incident made me wonder what other faux pas I might be making. So I got on the computer and started searching for “inclusive language.” What I found was interesting and at times surprising. Curious about the latest views on inclusive language? Read on. What the Heck is Inclusive Language? Defining inclusive language can get a little (ahem) wordy. The Linguistic Society of America defines inclusive language as language that “acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities.” It avoids exclusion, stereotyping and language that portrays people as dependent, powerless or less valued than others. The use of inclusive language is advised when referring to a person’s age, race, sex, class, creed, educational background, religion, gender identity, disability, mental health, gender expression, geographical location, nationality, income, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation or work. To learn more, […]

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What to Give on Halloween Besides Candy

Little girl in halloween costume trick or treat at door

      While my kids were growing up, the family home was on Washington Street in San Francisco. To call it “Halloween Central” would be an understatement. Ant-like ribbons of ghosts, goblins and all manner of creatures climbed the stairs, trick or treating well past dark. The last time I counted I had dished out 700 pieces of candy. I was the meanie on the block, always asking trick or treaters to say “thank you” and take only ONE! A teal pumpkin indicates non-candy treats are offered. A teal colored pumpkin on the front porch indicates that alternatives to candy are being offered. This is a very thoughtful gesture for kids who don’t eat candy, whether it’s because of food allergies or other health concerns.  Since real pumpkins don’t come in “teal” here’s where you can get one: teal pumpkins. If you prefer not to give candy, here are some alternatives: I like to fill a big basket with a variety of things and let the kids choose. If you do a web search for these and want to stick to the holiday theme, precede your search term with “Halloween,” as in “Halloween pencils.” bouncy balls bubble wands Cracker […]

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Houseguests? A Little Planning Makes a Big Difference


Having houseguests plans can help assure that having guests will be a lot of fun instead of a total disruption. Got extra new toothbrushes? House keys? Also, a card with your wi-fi password will be appreciated. Certainly you’ll add your own special welcoming touches, but here’s a Houseguests Plans Checklist to get started. When houseguests are coming, a little planning will make a big difference.   Find More Links You Can Really Use at HabiLinks Web Guide The internet is full of great resources, but page after page of search results can be too much of a good thing. We search for useful information in eighteen lifestyle categories, so you don’t have to. Only then, when we find the link with the most useful content, does it become a HabiLink, one of the chosen few. And unlike other guides, we don’t accept payment for listings. We simply think they’re the best at what they do. What makes a link a HabiLink: Unpaid and chosen by humans, not algorithms Content is from an authoritative resource Content is well written: informative, relevant and up-to-date Easy access to the info you’re looking for, not buried in ads or keyword bloated copy Few distractions […]

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A Holiday Tips Guide

Holiday tips guide, Santa counting cash for holiday tips

In December I found a holiday tips guide to help decide on year end tips for the people whose services are so important to my everyday life. Tips or small gifts and a thank you note are appreciated by many service providers. Especially these days, when so many have suffered financially during the pandemic. How much to give depends on your budget and how happy you are with the service. I’m generous with tips during the year, for my hairdresser, for instance. So I reserve holiday tips for service providers I don’t see regularly – the sanitation worker and newspaper delivery person, for example. Personally, the “jury is out” for my newspaper delivery person. He tucks a Christmas card and self addressed envelope in the paper every year. And every year I return the envelope with $10 and a request that he not leave the paper right on the threshold of the front door where I could trip on it, which he ignores. I’m thinking of skipping the tip this year and returning the card with another reminder not to leave the paper where I can trip on it. Is that mean? Let me know what you think in the […]

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Microwave Shortcuts for Thanksgiving Dinner

microwave shortcuts for Thanksgiving dinner

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family many times over the years. And I loved doing it. But I must confess that this year I’m happy to be going to my daughter ‘s home for Thanksgiving for the first time. I’ll contribute the carrot souffle, a family favorite, to the buffet. Also,  I hope she, and you, can use these microwave shortcuts for Thanksgiving dinner. Shortcuts for Thanksgiving Dinner and Beyond Some things work in the microwave, and some don’t. I wouldn’t recommend trying to defrost your turkey in the microwave, for example. But I haven’t cooked popcorn on the stovetop since they invented microwave popcorn. (I sprinkle it with truffle salt.) And I love steaming all kinds of vegetables in a special microwave-safe dish I bought for that purpose. When doing the research for this article I found lots of microwave shortcut tips. But “10 Ways to Use Your Microwave for Thanksgiving,” by The Food Network, was the most timely and useful. Unusual Uses for Your Microwave While looking for microwave shortcuts for Thanksgiving dinner, I found  “20 Uses for a Microwave that Will Surprise You,” from  There are lots of interesting uses in the article. And don’t […]

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No-Carve Pumpkins for Halloween

no-carve pumpkin

    Halloween is right around the corner. Carving pumpkins can be great fun. I did it every year with the kids when they were young. But if scraping out slimy pumpkin seeds doesn’t appeal to you or rain may turn your masterpiece into a sunken fly-infested mess, here are some fun no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas that don’t require you to wield a knife. No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas for Halloween Better Homes and Gardens’ website offers some great no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas. In spite of the title, “20 Easy No-Carve Pumpkins Anyone Can Make” some are a little complicated and require a trip to an arts and crafts supply store. But there are some truly easy ones, too, like my favorite – the pumpkin gold fish shown above. Tip: Click the button to “Start Slideshow,” then “View All.” Then you can click on your favorites for details. Just looking at the photos will help you come up with your own ideas. You can adapt them and make your pumpkins as simple or elaborate as you like. Find More Links You Can Use at HabiLinks Curated Guide The internet is full of great resources, but page after page of search results can be too much […]

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Wrap Up Your Gift Shopping the “New Normal” Way

gift shopping

I usually wait until December to switch from “Thanksgiving” to “Christmas” mode. That includes thinking about gifts and decorating my home for the holidays. But his year, across San Francisco, homeowners are putting up holiday lights earlier than ever. Like the song, it seems We Need a Little Christmas Right Now! Inspired by the neighbors, I trimmed my windows with a profusion of icicle lights yesterday. Merry Thanksgiving. Come Friday I hope these tips help you with your holiday gift shopping. How to get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday In the past, Black Friday was the best day to snag great deals at the mall. Cyber Monday was best for online specials. Like so many other things this year, the way we shop has changed. As a result, many online retailers as well as “brick and mortar” stores have jumped the gun and offer “Black Friday” specials throughout November and December. To get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, see Making a list and checking it twice Coming up with gift ideas for everyone on your list at once can be overwhelming. Try keeping a “gifts” folder in your files. Make note of […]

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When a Friend Loses a Job, Here’s How to Help.

a friend loses a job

When a friend loses a job it’s hard to know what to say or do. Hopefully, you know your friend well enough to know what kind of support they’d appreciate or what they might resent or find embarrassing. If they want to talk, the best thing you can do is listen. No platitudes. No advice unless they ask for it. Just listen. Other than that, here are a few more ways you can help when a friend loses a job. How you can help Like everything else, the pandemic has limited what we can do to help a friend who loses a job. A hug? Nope. Meet for dinner or a drink? Not anytime soon. But here are some other ideas: A phone call. The sound of your voice is more comforting than an email. Offer to be a reference or write a recommendation. Money. If you’re able, they might appreciate a loan or gift. You could use a birthday or holiday as an excuse for a card and some cash. Here’s a list of U.S. holidays. There’s even one called “Friendship Day.” Gift cards. For their go-to grocery store, online shopping, movie or music streaming resource. Check out the options at […]

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Cell Phone Etiquette Tips

cell phone etiquette

Here’s a link to some useful cell phone etiquette tips. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them. For example they suggest that talking while walking down the street is bad manners. But if you’re not bothering anyone, why not? Getting friends and family to adopt good cell phone manners may not be easy but you can start by setting a good example. Just because everyone else is glued to their screens doesn’t mean you have to be! Start an interesting conversation.  It’s worth a try. You may be surprised how fast the cell phones get put away. My pet peeves, cell phone etiquette: Long, loud conversations in a waiting room or any form of transportation. (A plane, bus, car, elevator…) Forgetting to turn off the ringer at an event. Taking and posting an unattractive photo of me on social media. Have a heart. Having the sound turned up on your earbuds so I can hear what you’re listening to. One last tip: Tip: Sharing the  link with your teenager may be easier than trying to talk to them about it! You’ll find cell phone etiquette and other lifestyle links you can really use in the Social Life and Society […]

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Party Planning: Do Your Guests Look in Your Medicine Cabinet?

party planning, check your medicine cabinet

Here comes the party planning and holiday entertaining season! Is there anything in your medicine cabinet you don’t want party guests to see? This home party planning checklist is so thorough it even reminds you to check your medicine cabinet before guests arrive. Follow the HabiTalk blog for lifestyle links you can really use. Find More Links You Can Really Use at HabiLinks Web Guide The internet is full of great resources, but page after page of search results can be too much of a good thing. We search for useful information in eighteen lifestyle categories, so you don’t have to. Only then, when we find the link with the most useful content, does it become a HabiLink, one of the chosen few. And unlike other guides, we don’t accept payment for listings. We simply think they’re the best at what they do. Automotive Careers Clothing Care & Laundry Computers & Technology Education Emergency Preparedness Family Living Financial Matters Food & Beverages Health & Fitness Home & Garden Home Office & Productivity Leisure & Recreation News Pets Senior Living & Elder Care Shopping Tools Social Life & Society You’ll find the party planning checklist and more helpful info in the Social Life […]

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