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Could you wind up homeless? Know your risks

Ask any woman her secret worry and she’s likely to say: ending up homeless and elderly.  But how likely is that to happen? Dr. Roslyn Samoshi, a Honolulu-based psychologist, sat with me recently.

According to Dr. Samoshi, your odds of ending up without a place of your own are quite low, even if you’ve lost everything–job, home, savings. “Many women wind up on the street because they didn’t understand their emergency options,” says Dr. Samoshi.  If the worst happens, you can:

  1. Move in with family members
    Consider having a conversation with family, next time the issue is on the news.  You don’t need to extract any promises. Better to assure them, you would take them in–would they do it for you, if the worst happens?
  2. Get a live-in position 
    Some possibilities: If you have a CNA license, you could work as a live-in caregiver. Most families will also pay a salary, in addition to your own bedroom, often with private bath. You could also obtain work as a live-in nanny. Keep in mind, many of these positions will also require housekeeping. Do you have the stamina for a job like that?
  3. Use emergency housing
    Find out now, if your community has free or low-cost housing, and how long it may be available to you.
  4. Rent a bedroom
    Check websites such as roommates.com for opportunities to share a home. Depending on the landlord, you may be renting a sleeping room only, or you’ll be a member of the household, free to use the living room, kitchen, yard. Find out exactly what you’re getting for your money.

Of course it’s best to have a safety net to protect you. Some important steps to take now:

Protect your income stream. An extended period of unemployment can quickly wipe out any savings you’ve accumulated.  If you’re laid off from your job, reconsider whether unemployment insurance is the best thing. When you’re not working, you’re not contributing to your Social Security account. You may be better getting a temporary job delivering pizzas, working in a coffee shop, or signing up with a temporary employment agency.

4 totally bogus myths about tanning: Don’t tell me you believe these

One of the nicest things about living in Hawaii is the abundant sunshine. But I quickly discovered: the very sun that blesses the islands year round significantly increases the odds of developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is on the rise in all of the Hawaiian islands, according to Dr. Karen Yamamoto, a dermatologist in private practice in Honolulu.

Despite massive public awareness campaigns, skin cancer rates are climbing steadily nationwide. Doctors blame these enduring myths about tanning.

1. A base tan will protect your skin.
“This is completely false, says Yamamoto. “Tanned skin is damaged skin, so if you’re lying out at the pool without protection, you’re just piling on additional damage.” And if your base tan was acquired from a tanning bed, you are significantly increasing your odds of developing skin cancer, because the UVA rays emitted from the beds are extremely powerful.

2. Skin cancer is largely a Caucasian disease.
Fair-skinned people of northern European descent are more likely to burn than other groups, but skin cancer strikes every population. Hispanics are developing skin cancer in the U.S. at a faster rate than any other population group, according to a Skin Cancer Foundation study.

3. You can’t burn on a cloudy day.
“Completely erroneous,” says Dr. Yamamoto. “You need sun protection all day, every day, year-round. Because of our close proximity to the equator, the sun over Hawaii is especially powerful.”

4. Using sunblock will deplete your body of Vitamin D.
This myth persists, according to the National Skin Cancer Foundation, because many northerners absorb less vitamin D during the wintermonths.  “But you still absorb the vitamin through your hair, scalp, and fingernails,” says Dr. Yamamoto. To be on the safe side, take a vitamin D supplement each day.

One Surprising Truth:

Skin cancer is usually curable.
If caught and treated in time, even the deadliest form of skin cancer can be treated successfully, according to the National Skin Cancer Foundation. Early detection is key. Check your body every month for moles that have grown or changed shape. If you’re over 30, schedule a professional skin consultation once a year. If you have a family history of skin cancer, have a dermatologist check your skin twice a year.

Wait a minute: Can distractions actually help your work?

imagesCATSDFHXWorking independently takes discipline. Everyone agrees. But now comes a study that claims interruptions–even maddening disruptions such as a nonstop ringing phone–can actually boost creativity. Okay, I’ll buy that. But how can constant intrusions help you complete your work on time? Short answer: They can’t.

Aside

Making rain.

hawaiibirdsRelocating to Hawaii wasn’t an easy choice. It meant choosing family, over  the familiar faces and places I loved in Seattle.

And my family needs to be here.

No surprise–Hawaii opened its warm skies, winds, and soft rain to us. I miss Seattle, but I love the islands.  I’m still writing and editing for my valued clients.

The world is small. My capabilities are large.

These are the days you were longing for all winter

Still to come.

Reading about the turmoil in Memphis and New Orleans–flooding, freezing temperatures–makes me feel guilty. But only for about a minute. After a long wet winter, spring roared into Seattle.  And suddenly flowers are everywhere.

Give to AmeriCares for flood relief in the South.  They’re a great organization. Very little money is spent on administration and fundraising; more than 90% of money raised goes to people in crisis.

Springtime in Seattle: Worth the wait!

View from my car window