Samara O'Shea

Archive for March, 2009

Like Mother, Like Son

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

A Sad Discovery: Son of Sylvia Plath Commits Suicide

We Don’t Write This Way Anymore–But We Should!

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Governor Paterson’s Epic Mash Note to Former Aide

Quote of the Day: Materialism is Nothing New

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

“Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.”

~ Mark Twain

Step Away from Your Computer

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

I meant to post this yesterday! It’s an excellent write-up on why we should designate some days (and, occasionally, entire weeks) when we are away from our computers (and all those other tech gadgets that run our lives).

How to Avoid ATM Fees

Monday, March 16th, 2009

This is probably the most practical blog I’ll ever write. I do prefer writing abstract ideas and posting cool quotes, but this is something I feel strongly about and I thought I’d share. I have HUGE issues with paying money (a.k.a. ATM fees) for accessing my own money. It came to a head when Citibank (the bank where I USED TO keep my money) would charge me for taking money out of someone else’s ATM. In other words, if I stopped by a Wachovia ATM then I had to pay the Wachovia fee ($2 – $3.50) and on top of that my bank (Citibank) would punish me for not using a Citibank ATM and charge me another $2. Outrageous! I thought that my bank would be on my side. Nope. Here are some solutions I’ve come up with:

– I left Citibank and opened an ING account. ING does not have ATM machines and therefore they will not charge an additional “punishment” fee. I’ve heard of another bank, Charles Schwab, that actually reimburses you the ATM fee that other banks charge. I don’t know this for certain, I’ve only heard it. In any case, I can testify that ING does not charge for using another bank’s ATM.

– There is a great Philadelphia institute called Wawa. Wawa ATMs have been fee free since they were first installed up until this very day. Good for Wawa! Therefore, if I use my ING card at a Wawa then I pay nothing (read: nothing) to take out my own money.

– If I’m in Manhattan, and I often am, then I take money out at McDonald’s. Their ATMs only charge $.99, which in New York is as close to paying nothing as you’ll get. I’m not sure if McDonald’s all over the country have this fee. It’s worth looking into!

– Consider stopping in CVS and other convenience stores and getting cash back—there is no fee for this. Grab a stick of gum (this way you get something for you $.99) and then take out money on top of it.

– The United States Post Office also gives cash back. Stop in and bye pretty stamps on your debit card and get cash back for no additional fees.

ATM fees add up! Avoiding them is a good way to save money while symbolically sticking your middle finger up at the greedy banks that started charging in the first place.

Setting Aside Control in the Name of Love

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I was reading the current issue of O magazine last night (the one with Michelle Obama on the cover), and came across this spot-on quote about love. I know people, and I’m sure you know people; you may even be one of those people, and I’m sorry to say that I have been one of those people who tries to control the person they are in a relationship with. You try to fix them / change them / stop them from talking to a certain person / stop them from wearing a certain thing / make them more to your liking. And that’s not love. That’s micromanaging. Love is when you accept someone for who they are and enjoy being accepted for who you are. Easier said than done, I know. But I think that should always be the goal: Loving someone enough to set aside your controlling instincts. This full article was written by Martha Beck:

I’ve done my share of just-in-case controlling when it comes to love (I’d like to apologize to anyone who once wandered into my danger zone). Happily, I’ve learned that setting people free, not trying to control them, ensures a lifetime of love.

Here’s the closest thing to a genuine love spell, “I love you, and I really don’t care what you do.” This is not a promise to stay with someone who behavior is destructive. It’s a simple statement that you aren’t dependant on the other person’s choices. That means you can respond to someone as he or she really is, instead of trying to force a fallible person to become infallible. Knowing that love (like all good things) is readily available, we don’t need to control any individual. And oh, how people love being loved without a care.

The Pope’s Apology Letter

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

It looks like even popes have to apologize sometimes. And it’s a good thing! They do ask it regularly of the rest of us. In this case, Pope Benedict XVI is apologizing for revoking the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop.

The Vatican is set to release the letter tomorrow. I’m thrilled that we’ll get to read it. I hope it’s in English—or translated quickly.