Fa La La or Fraud? Sneakiest Holiday Scams

The toppers to scams that prey on holiday shoppers: Watch out for these sneaky seasonal ploys that continue to prove their success at getting a quick buck or sneaking malware onto devices for longer-lasting fraud. Bogus Charities The season of giving is a peak time for taking. Top cons aimed at older donors allege help for police, firefighters, veterans and children, so be on guard for phone calls with heartstring-pulling scripts. Also beware of sound-alike organizations of well-recognized legitimate charities, such as …

Blessings Near and Far: A Lesson in Honoring Elders

We arrived with jasmine garlands and two rosettes folded out of Thai baht. We slipped off our sandals and felt the cool, smooth tiles beneath us as we walked toward a woman sitting on her front porch. The woman was my friend Fon’s 90-year-old great grandmother, Chid. Fon had invited us – my friend Jess, my boyfriend Joe and me – to go to the beach, a few hours south of Bangkok. But first, she asked, could we stop to …

I’m Celebrating With a Vacation This Summer, and It Turns Out I’m Not Alone

I have to admit I am one of those people who never uses all my vacation time each year. I feel like work will pile up when I’m gone, and I’ll be more frazzled on my return than before I left. I’m not alone in leaving my vacation time on the table, either. The average worker in the U.S. gets 13 days of paid vacation a year, but only 57 percent of Americans use it all. But this past June, I …

To Prevent Leg Clots on Long Flights, Don’t Just Sit There

Planning a vacation this summer? If it means you’ll be sitting for long hours in a plane or car, you could be increasing your risk of developing dangerous leg clots. Often called economy class syndrome, especially now that airlines are cutting down on legroom and squeezing in more seats, the actual medical term is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), for clots that form in deep veins, usually in the leg, due to immobility and poor blood circulation. Swelling, redness, warmth and …

Flying? Don’t Touch That Seat Pocket

Some advice for the next time you fly: Bring plenty of hand sanitizer, and don’t touch the seat-back pocket – where, new research shows, disease-causing germs can live for more than a week. In the study, researchers at Auburn University in Alabama wanted to see where on a plane bacteria could live long enough to sicken passengers. So they picked six surfaces that passengers typically touch and infected them with some scary germs: MRSA, a sometimes-fatal, antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria often …

Thanks – For the Travel Memories

Once when I was in Switzerland, I met a local woman who went out of her way to show me around the resort town of St. Moritz. She refused payment – and even my attempt to pay for lunch. When I finally had time to pick up a gift for her, it was Sunday, and all the shops were closed. Except, of course, the touristy one. So I bought her a box of chocolates. I gave a Swiss woman a …