Monday, February 19, 2018

What I've learned since moving to D.C. (some of which should be obvious):

6301.  Perspective and choice are something every human can change;
6302.  Apparently, you can pay ½ has many (frequent flyer) miles for a flight 2 weeks before your departure;
6303.  As soon as your application is approved, the clock starts ticking for credit card sign-up bonuses (. . . not when you activate the card);
6304.  Converting hotel points to airline miles is (generally) not a good value;
6305.  $.02 for every (frequent flyer) mile/point is a good value;
6306.  Only 52% of all flights are shown on the internet;
6307.  To get the best hotel (room) prices, you should call the (actual) hotel and talk to the manager on duty;
6308.  Your travel and accommodations should be based on value and not (necessarily on) cost;
6309.  Resort fees can be waived by the hotel (manager);
6310.  You should write (and mail) a “thank you” letter to the (hotel) manager, who gave you a special deal and/or rate;
6311.  State department travel advisories are selective.  They never had any travel advisories when Ireland had frequent car bombings;
6312.  You should only worry about traveling to places where the government doesn’t have control;
6313.  Apparently, more Americans die in bathtub accidents in a week than they do traveling overseas in a(n entire) year;
6314.  Don’t book cruises on a ship’s inaugural season.  They’re usually booked solid so there won’t be any deals/discounts.  Book cruises with ships that are 3-5 years-old;
6315.  Cruise ships go to over 1,100 ports in the world;
6316.  Apparently, Amtrak has over 500 stops;
6317.  Apparently, a direct flight from Las Vegas to Hawaii or Phoenix to Hawaii can be a lot cheaper than a (direct) flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii;
6318.  Apparently, Lisbon(, Portugal,) is becoming known for its food. . . . Seven new Michelin starred restaurants have opened in the last year (i.e., 2017);
6319.  If you have a medium or long-haul flight (either roundtrip or one-way) or if your final destination is the Azores, Madeira or Algarve, you can stop off for 1-5 nights in Lisbon or Porto(, Portugal,) for free, if you fly TAP Air Portugal (;
6320.  According to (the “Travel Detective,”) Peter Greenberg, the Faroe Islands is the best place to see the “Northern Lights” (i.e., Aurora Borealis);
6321.  Apparently, Baja California makes some great wines.  They export 75% of their production to France;
6322.  Rwanda is the only country where you can see mountain gorillas and the big five game/safari animals (i.e., lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants and the African/Cape buffalo);
6323.  Apparently, Asunción (the capital and largest city) is a good place to visit if you’ve never been to Paraguay.  It’s a nice introduction to the country and (the) culture;
6324.  Never buy travel insurance from the travel provider;
6325.  A good place to compare and buy travel insurance is InsureMyTrip (;
6326.  Two good providers of repatriation/evacuation insurance are MedjetAssist ( and AIG Travel Guard (;
6327.  Aer Lingus has an auction for business class (airline) tickets;
6328.  You can call airlines and ask if they have any business class tickets on sale;
6329.  Check the price you listed an item for before negotiating a price;
6330.  Almost everybody wants to haggle (for a lower price) when you sell something on Craigslist;
6331.  The ego insists on pursuing more: more stuff, accomplishments, status, triumphs and money.  More is the mantra of the ego, fueling endless striving with a false promise of eventually arriving.  However, every assured arrival point is seductively transformed to a desire to strive for even more, unless we choose to make a shift in the direction our life is taking;
6332.  The shift begins in the process of halting the momentum and self-importance of the ego, but then we must proceed with the work of derailing and rerouting it in the opposite direction.  This doesn’t mean we lose our drive; rather, it signifies that our drive is realigned with a life based on experiencing meaning and feeling purposeful;
6333.  Our ego self has always focused on external power.  As we move towards spirit, we replace ego’s need to influence external situations or other people with a preference for personal empowerment.  We stop fighting ego’s endless battles and instead shift to meaning.  We do this through conscious compassionate curiosity and caring first and foremost for our inner self.  Noninterference becomes a higher priority than being right or dominating others;
6334.  Ego feels separate and distinct from others, a being unto itself.  As we move back to spirit, we recognize our connectedness.  Seeing ourselves as a part of everyone eliminates the need to compete with anyone;
6335.  Ego is motivated by external achievement, performance and acquisitions.  As we move back to spirit, we shift our focus to internal pursuits.  Our preparation for living a life of purpose involves a major shift in attitude in the direction of feeling peaceful, being honest and assisting others;
6336.  Ego is adamant about the importance of seeking revenge.  Pursuing and achieving vengeance, retaliation and reprisal prevent us from feeling purposeful and living a life of meaning;
6337.  Forgiving yourself for everything you’ve felt shame about is highly important.  Whatever happened was necessary, so let go of regret and replace your negative feelings with gratitude for what you’ve learned.  If your objective is to be inspired, then you must eradicate your resistance to that state of being.  After you’ve forgiven yourself, extend the same courtesy to everyone who you feel mistreated you.  Practice forgiveness every day.  The most difficult or impossible situations are the most essential;
6338.  Keep a list of everything that interests and excites you, no matter how insignificant.  Remind yourself that these are indicators or clues that within and around you lie both the talent and the necessary spirit to bring them into your reality;
6339.  You’ll never find light by analyzing the darkness, you’ll never find your magnificence by analyzing what you believe to be undistinguished about yourself.  Look for opportunities to verify your greatness and expand your view of yourself as a splendid creation.  Whenever a thought of ordinariness pops into your mind, put the brakes on immediately and affirm something like: “I’m a divine being, a distinct portion of the essence of God.”  This silent reminder will do more for your inspiration than a thousand books and a hundred seminars;
6340.  10 questions to get a conversation going around the holidays: 1.  How do you define a great holiday experience?  What’s the best one you can remember?; 2.  What are you the most grateful for this past year?; 3.  What are you the most proud of this past year?; 4.  If you had one million dollars to give to charity, how would you spend it?; 5.  What are your top three strengths and how have they benefitted others recently?; 6.  What is your favorite trait in other people?; 7.  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and how does that relate to what you do now?; 8.  When you think about the coming year, what are you most excited to accomplish?; 9.  What new capability do you want to develop in the next year?; and 10.  What are the two biggest lessons you learned this last year?
6341.  A 2008 study published in Emotion found that success rates of “Big Sister Week,” designed to solidify relationships between sorority members, succeeded based on gratitude.  “Big sisters” spent the period giving surprise gifts to assigned new recruits.  At the end of the period of giving, matches were revealed.  “Little sister” gratitude ratings, which corresponded more closely to how thoughtful they considered the gifts than how much they liked them, predicted the strength of their connection to their “big sister” and their feelings of integration in the sorority a month later;
6342.  A 2009 study found that gratitude improves sleep duration and quality even when controlling for personality traits that might influence sleep;
6343.  A 2016 study found that gratitude was correlated with better sleep and decreased blood pressure;
6344.  Scientists have identified the parts of the cortex that are activated by thankfulness.  They are involved in emotional processing.  They also set off like firecrackers when activated by gratitude;
6345.  Elizabeth likes soy sauce (a lot) . . . and hot sauce;
6346.  Knee grinding/humping . . . check;
6347.  Elizabeth will laugh if you lick her nose;
6348.  Elizabeth likes (it) that I’m willing to try new things;
6349.  Elizabeth likes being blindfolded;
6350.  The days are long, but the years are short;

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