June 30, 2020

California Plastic Bag Pan Craziness During COVID-19. I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up!

COVID-19

California Plastic Bag Pan


Here’s more craziness in California politics.  Yet another Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction California Moment.  I couldn’t make this stuff up!

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom quietly allowed California’s statewide Plastic Bag Ban to come back into law.  Yep, just as COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations are surging throughout the entire state of California.  Dumb move, Gov!

Anyhoo, the ban had been stayed for 60 days during the COVID-19 Pandemic, given concerns about COVID-19 germs on reusable bags.  The statewide Plastic Bag Ban law requires grocers and other retailers to charge 10 cents per paper or reusable (thicker) plastic bag if shoppers do not bring their own bags into the store.  State officials admitted they didn’t know how many grocery stores would comply with the reinstated Plastic Bag Ban.  (Duh!)

My local grocer, family-owned Diablo Foods in Lafayette, CA, (The Best Grocery Store In the World, by the way!) was more proactive than the state.  They quit allowing reusable bags in the store at the very start of the COVID-10 Shelter in Place orders in mid-March.   With that store rule, they also did not charge 10 cents for paper or reusable plastic bags.  (And I’ve reused every single paper or reusable plastic bag as trash can liners and trash bags since then.)

So, here’s the catch: CAL OSHA Grocery Store Mandatory Health Guidelines, published in May, are in direct conflict with Governor Newsom’s re-enactment of the Plastic Bag Ban.  You see, Governor Newsom seems to think that reusable bags pose no health threat and are safe to use.  But CAL OSHA thinks reusable bags pose such a danger to grocery store workers that the workers are currently banned from touching them.  Here are mandatory CAL OSHA guidelines regarding reusable bags:
“When customers bring in their own bags, employees should be instructed to:
  • Not touch or place groceries in customer-brought bags.
  • Ask customers to leave their own bags in the shopping cart.
  • Ask customers to bag their own groceries.”
You can download the entire 6 page CAL OSHA Mandatory Safety Guidelines for Grocery Stores here.

So in California, if customers bring their own reusable bags into the grocery store, they have to bag their own groceries, and the bags can’t even leave the grocery cart!  That’s plain crazy!

And if customers don’t bring in their own reusable bags, or the grocer does not allow them, the grocer …. BY LAW … is supposed to charge 10 cents for each paper or reusable plastic bag.   That’s also just plain crazy, too!

Yesterday I did my weekly grocery shopping at Diablo Foods.  They continue to not allow reusable bags into the store, as I expected.  They also are not charging for paper bags or reusable plastic bags the courtesy clerks use to bag customer’s groceries, as I also expected.

And even better, Diablo Foods has an awesome new paper bag.  It’s fashioned out of paper than is about twice as thick as a regular brown paper grocery bag.  It’s larger, too, about the size of a large department store shopping bag, so it holds about half again as many groceries.  And it has durable, thick twine handles.  It will make an excellent trash can liner and trash bag.

So, thumbs up to Diablo Foods for ongoing excellence in customer service and safety procedures.  And a ginormous thumbs down to California officials and plain stupid and conflicting laws!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 28, 2020

Salt: Want To Cut Back On Your Salt Intake? Here Are A Few Tips To Help You Do Just That!

Salt Consumption



It is estimated that the average American consumes more than 3400 milligrams of salt each day, or about 50% more than the recommended 2300 mg daily salt consumption.  Over time, excessive salt consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which stiffens and narrows blood vessels.

Want to cut back on your salt consumption?  It's easier to do than you might think.  The culprit in America's excessive salt consumption is not the ubiquitous salt shaker, but rather the amount of sodium present in restaurant meals and processed foods purchased at grocery stores and convenience marts.

For instance, a lunch purchased at your local Burger King, consisting of a WHOPPER® Sandwich with Cheese, a Medium French Fries, a Side of Ranch Dipping Sauce, and a 20 oz. Coke will set you back 1530 calories and 1845 mg of sodium.  Ouch.


I'm not suggesting that you never eat out, or never purchased processed food.  Because, well, that's pretty much just one thing:  Impossible!  However, making smart choices, reading labels, and cooking at home with more fresh produce and herbs (think of it as adding colors to your meals and snacks), and salt-free seasonings, can go a long way in reducing your sodium intake.  Heck, the fresh and crunchy Pink Lady Apple I'm munching on right now has about 80 calories and 0 mg sodium.  And its an excellent source of Vitamin C and Potassium.

To get started on cooking with less salt, take a look at this informative website post about How To Cook With Less Salt  from my friends at Betty Crocker.

Enjoy your day!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 25, 2020

Quiz Time! Can You Solve This Crossword Clue?

Quiz Time!

This Quiz Question was actually a crossword clue in a crossword I recently finished.  And I have to admit, I could not answer it; I solved it with other clues. 

This crossword clue also makes a great Trivia/Quiz Question, so here goes ...

Quiz Question: What is any letter of this sequence:

JFMAMJJASOND 


Hint: The correct answer has 5 letters.

And no cheatin' now!

If you want to take a shot at this quiz, post your answer in the comments section of this post.  I actually got the answer correct right away, even before I looked at the puzzle to see how many letters were in the answer!

I'll post the correct answer in the near future.  Thanks for stopping by!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 22, 2020

Contra Costa County Elected Officials: The Culture Of Rotten Conduct Continues

Joe Canciamilla


Who is he, you might ask?  Well Joe Canciamilla is the latest Contra Costa County Politician to be charge with multiple felony counts related to personal use of campaign funds.  He was an elected official in a multitude of office for some 40 years.  His latest position was that of the Contra Costa County Clerk Recorder.  Canciamilla resigned from that office last year (he then stated that he was 'retiring'), just days before  entering into a  settlement agreement with the California Fair Political Practices Commission over his illegal personal use of campaign funds.

Photo Credit:  East Bay Times
Well, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has now upped the ante for Canciamilla.  Big time.  The Office recently charged Cancimilla with a whopping 34 felony counts:  30 felony counts of perjury involving his campaign disclosure statements, and an additional 4 felony counts of personal grand theft for illegally taking $261,808.68 of campaign funds for personal use. This conduct allegedly began in 2010.

Canciamilla is also a lawyer and is admitted to the California Bar, but his law license currently is in an inactive status.  As of June 18, he had no disclosable disciplinary actions on his law license.

Canciamilla's charges follow in the steps of former Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson.  Peterson is now a disbarred attorney and convicted felon for also using his campaign funds for personal use.  But Peterson's activities were little league in size compared to Canciamilla's major league baseball sized alleged campaign fund thefts.  Peterson swindled away $66,372 of campaign funds for personal use.  Guess Cancimilla decided that as long as he was gonna steal campaign funds, he might as well go big or go home!

And then there is the current Contra Costa District Attorney and former superior court judge Diana Becton.  She was initially appointed to the position to replaced disgraced former DA Mark Peterson.  Well, as part of the application process at that time, Becton was caught cutting and pasting responses on an application for the DA position, without attribution to the initial writers of the responses.  And she did this not once, not twice, but seven times in her application.  But our County Board of Supervisors appointed her anyway.  Yep, go ahead and commit plagiarism even times on an application, and you can still get appointed as District Attorney.

This rotten culture of politics that is ingrained in all levels is both sick and disgusting.  No wonder people become apathetic to both political issues and voting.  The public deserves better.  Much better.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 19, 2020

Spring Gardening: A Peek At What's Happened This Spring

Gardening


I do enjoy gardening ... although I could do without the weeds!  😍

I garden organically, and enjoy creating an unstructured, naturalized garden feel in my ground gardens.  I also have lots of fun with my raised beds and many potted plants.

Here is a peek at a few things from my gardens this spring.  Stay well and happy, everyone!

A blooming artichoke covered with honey bees.
Artichokes are one of the best pollinators for bees.  They are loved by honey bees and carpenter bees!
One bloom will attract so many bees, the flowers will move with the bee activity.

A hollyhock plant growing at the front of a rose garden.
This beauty is actually a volunteer from someone else's garden!

Milkweed.  Essential for Monarch Butterflies.

A naturalized garden area.  Peppermint and Queen Anne's Lace (aka Wild Carrot) are shown in the front.

A small wagon full of various succulents.  And yep, the wagon wheels even move!

A simple bouquet of roses.

Just picked strawberries.

Gerber Daisies growing in a pair of Jim's repurposed Cowboy Boots.

Here is a bloom from the Cowboy Boot Gerber Daisies.  Pretty!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 16, 2020

Are You Looking For A Life Insurance Expert Witness? Meet Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Life Insurance Litigation.
Life Insurance Arbitration.
Elder Financial Abuse
Life Insurance Expert Witness.


Are you looking for a Life Insurance Expert Witness to address Life Insurance Litigation or Arbitration Matters, or related Elder Financial Abuse Matters?


Mary Rae Fouts, EA has 31 years of experience addressing insurance concerns for clients throughout the United States.  She provides Life Insurance Consulting Services, in addition to Expert Witness Services for Life Insurance Litigation and Arbitration Matters, including Elder Financial Abuse Matters.

Mary has provided Expert Witness Services in federal courts, state courts, and arbitration venues throughout the United States.  She welcomes your call at (510) 421-5457 or email to Mary@FoutsFinancialGroup.com.


Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 13, 2020

5 Easy-To-Follow Rules To Live By When Resuming A More Normal Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The

COVID-19:  Resuming Our New Normal Lives


Lexi enjoying the day!
My husband Jim and I have had numerous discussions about how steps we are going to take to resume our new normal lives during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Simply put, we're going to take things nice and slow, giving plenty of time for society to open, and time to see how the COVID-19 virus subsequently progresses.   So much is going to depend on (1) how businesses implement and enforce necessary safety changes, and (2) how people conduct themselves in public, including but not limited to adhering to social distancing.  Oh, and I must admit, I'm a homebody anyway, and enjoy being at home and working from my home office.  Although I have missed our relaxing, fun, and delicious Date Lunches with Jim at La Sen Bistro in Walnut Creek!

As we all take our steps into our new normal lives, this recent article from the New York Times, "5 Rules to Live By During a Pandemic", is a must read, and a must keep! Reporter Tara Parker-Pope consulted infectious disease experts - even an aerosol scientist, how cool is that profession?! - to develop 5 easy-to-follow, common sense rules for helping remain safe from COVID-19 as we enter back into society.  Read the entire article for full details, but quickly here are the 5 recommended rules, plus a 6th from me;
  1. Check Your Community For Active COVID-19 Outbreaks
  2. Limit Close Contacts
  3. Manage Your Exposure
  4. Shorten Risk Activity
  5. Keep Taking Precautions:  Wear a mask in enclosed spaces, continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and try to avoid direct contact with high-tough public areas.
  6. And I'll add my own #6 suggestion:  Touch your face as little as possible.
Stay well everyone, stay positive, and enjoy each day!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

June 10, 2020

Sid the Dog: He Sure Can Sleep!

Sid the Dog


Our beloved, goofy Husky-Malamute mix.  An almost 9-years old bundle of ... well ... you never know what to expect from Sid next, except that he will always ... ALWAYS ... want food!

And Sid can sleep, Sid Style.  He has the goofiest places he tucks himself into to sleep during the day.  I swear, I never thought a 75-pound dog could almost get lost in his daytime sleeping places!  Take a look:


Sid sleeping under the bed comforter in our guest room.  I keep it pulled down at the foot of the bed so Sid can get under it and sleep.  He actually gets himself under the comforter all by himself.  The dark marks on the carpet are from his wet feet and legs ... He had been in his kiddie pool following our morning walk.


Sid completely under the comforter, just his nose and his XXL front paws exposed.  Sound asleep.

"Mommy, I'm trying to sleep here!"

And Sid also tends bar!  Here he is settling in for an afternoon nap behind our bar.

Unconditional Love is as close as your nearest Animal Shelter.  Please adopt, don't shop.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts