Where’s George?

A few years ago I discovered a fun activity—I can track all the one-dollar bills that I spend. There is a free website that you can register on to track your money to see where it is being spent.  If someone else finds your dollar it can be registered and the site sends you an email telling you how far the bill traveled.  Of course, most people are not aware of this system, so the sightings of my dollar bills are few and far between….but I still get excited whenever I have an email showing that one of my bills has been found.


I have a stamp I use to highlight the seal on each bill…other people who do this are always on the look-out for these marks, so I’m hopeful the dollars will be re-registered on the site. Other denominations can also be registered, but most people only do their dollars.  I’ve only seen another bill (a $20) once.

Join me! Go to It’s free for everyone—no strings attached!

Chinese Gift Exchange

I’d never heard of this before, but it does sound like fun…..

Chinese Gift Exchange
There’s probably nothing really Chinese about it. But I don’t know. There’s also nothing gender-specific about it, but since at the parties where we do this the women usually outnumber the men, I’ll use the words “she” and “her”.
It’s what we do at one of our annual Christmas parties around here, and it’s a lot of fun.

The rules go something like this:

•Everybody brings one gift, wrapped. It should not be bought new for the occasion. It should not be fancy or expensive, but it should not be just plain junk either.
•It’s not a bad idea for a few people to bring an extra item in case somebody else hasn’t gotten clued in,
•Pile all the gifts in one place (and make sure they don’t get mixed up with other gifts in the host’s house).
•Everyone who participates is expected to stay all the way to the end; splitting the scene with your gift can be seen as poor sportsmanship, and probably the best etiquette for earlier departers would be to put the gift back in the pile, even though it’s open.
• Check that the number of gifts at least equals the number of participants; it’s a bummer if there’s nothing for the last person. Prepare a set of numbered slips, folded and put in a bowl or hat; when you are ready to start everyone takes a number.
•The person who drew number 1 takes a gift from the pile, opens the gift and sits down with the gift in plain sight, generally on her lap.
•Then “2” then takes a gift, either from the pile or from 1. Then 2 sits down with the gift displayed. If 1’s gift was taken, then 1 gets to take another from the pile. She cannot directly take back the gift that was just taken from her. She may be able to get it later, however.
•Then “3” gets up and can take a gift, either from the pile, or from 1 or 2, in which case that person can take either a new gift, or one from another person, but not the gift that was just taken from her.
•Etc. etc. and the very last person has the choice of all of the previous gifts, or the one (or more) still in the pile. Toward the end of the game it’s not at all unusual for a lot of gifts to move around in a single turn before finally somebody takes a gift from the pile.
•If there are still gifts left in the pile when all the numbers are accounted for, whatever people agree to do with them is fine.
•Attempts to limit the number of times an item can change hands usually bring less than satisfactory results. The only rule here is that you can’t directly take back something that was just taken from you, though the next time something else is taken from you, then you can get back the earlier item from whoever has it then, even the person who got it from you. No guarantee you’ll keep it for long, however.
•If someone brings a relatively expensive and very nice gift and the hostess gets it, which I’ve seen happen more than once, it’s somewhat likely that nobody will mess with it, and that is probably karmically OK. Aside from that everything is fair game from start to finish, and expensive stuff brings out greed, ruins the game, etc., so make sure everybody knows not to bring any. There’s a difference between wanting and coveting.
•One more thing that I thought I had added to this page years ago but I see it’s not there. Sometimes people try to make a rule like a gift can only change hands three times. This is a VERY BAD IDEA. This could accentuate the coveting and dampen the game.

Points to Remember

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. Save for retirement, starting with your first paycheck.

9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

10. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

11. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

12. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

14. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

15. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

16. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

17. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

19. Burn the candles; use the nice sheets; wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

20. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

21. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

22. The most important sex organ is the brain.

23. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

25. Forgive everyone everything.

26. What other people think of you is none of your business.

27. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

28. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

29. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

30. Believe in miracles.

31. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

32. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

33. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

34. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

35. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

36. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

37. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

40. The best is yet to come.

41. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.

42. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

43. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.