What the pandemic reveals about neglected areas of your life

This pandemic and the shutdowns and isolation resulting from it has been so hard on so many people, financially, socially, spiritually. Tough times remind us that we need to take care of things BEFORE disaster strikes. 

When times are good, and we’re busy chasing money or success, many areas of our lives just flow along, and we might not notice the cracks in the foundation. But when the storm comes, suddenly we become aware of things we should have shored up. Some of the major areas of our lives that will really suffer, or be revealed by a crisis, are the following:

Marriage:

If you’re in a bad marriage, either because you made a poor choice, or chose a good person but didn’t bother to maintain a healthy marriage, you’re in trouble this year. I cannot imagine being stuck with someone all day, every day, when the situation is tense, or even violent. If you can get some counseling, please do. Or if you need to get OUT, because your physical health is threatened, please find a way. Reach out to friends or family. 

If you’re not married and you’d like to be, this is a really tough time. Dating is practically out, and how much fun is going places to meet people in masks? Plenty of single people lead meaningful lives, but it’s good to have someone to share the good and bad times with. Those who were living in the moment, discarding “imperfect” people on a whim before the world changed are regretting it now, when they don’t have someone they can count on. 

Kids:

If your kids are ungrateful little brats, either because you didn’t raise them well, or were too busy chasing your version of “success” to notice, its just gotten real. Now you’ve got two more hats: Entertainment Director and Teacher. How do you like it? It’s not fun when they’re disrespectful, is it? Now you understand what the teacher was referring to. Maybe now you’ll have more sympathy for the ones who have to deal with your kids, or you could always start doing your job as a parent. Every day’s a new day! 

Friendships: 

Let’s face it – life gets busy, and maintaining a friendship is work. You talk about the need to “catch up”, but the next thing you know, a year has gone by and you still have not gotten together with that friend for a cup of coffee. (Especially this year. What’s even open?) Sometimes you literally have to put it down in your calendar, or it doesn’t happen. 

If you’ve not bothered to cultivate any new friendships or nurture the ones you already have, you’re in trouble in times like these. Many people I know are depressed, and a lack of social life is partly to blame. Sometimes you just need someone other than your spouse to talk to, or whine to, even over the phone. 

On the other hand, times like these make you re-evaluate who is worth your time. Some friendships are just draining. Admit it – you’re tired of providing free counseling services, or only be someone to dump on. You can’t get them on the phone when you could use some encouragement, but they expect you to be available for drive-in drama 24/7. Only you can decide if that friendship is a two-way street, or if you’re just being used. Now might be a good time to cut the cord, gently. You have a built-in excuse. 

Physical health: 

If you never get off the couch, the chickens are really coming home to roost this year. I’m not a doctor, but from what we all hear and read, having preexisting conditions is a big factor in Covid survival. Sometimes you’ve inherited things that aren’t your fault, but more often, your own neglect of your health is the major factor. 

I’m not judging – I have the palate of an eight year-old. I totally understand. I get paid to read and talk. I could sit on my butt all day, and I’d have an excuse. And I rarely sleep well. Getting up at 2 AM for 20 years doesn’t look good on the actuary tables. Just sayin’. (I’ve checked) Lack of restful, restorative sleep and too much sugar will catch up with me eventually, (maybe in the next pandemic). In the meantime, at least I walk about an hour every day. I’m sure that helped when I got Covid. 

Neglecting your health is a huge factor in life generally, and will catch up with you sooner or later. If Covid didn’t get you this time, something that comes around next time might. We’re all gonna die, but how about feeling better while you’re here? Stop smoking, don’t drink too much, no street drugs, (even legal ones), get off the couch, and even if you’re stuck indoors most of the time, you’ll feel better. 

Financial health: 

If you’re in financial straits because you’ve been living beyond your means, or even within your means at the moment, with no reserve, you’re in trouble now. Over extended, over leveraged, credit cards maxed out, huge car note, no savings…this is all coming home to roost now, and it’s not pretty. We’ve all heard experts say that you should have 3-6 months’ living expenses saved, but sadly most people don’t. If you did, you’d be in fairly good shape now, or at least not panicked. There will be foreclosures, evictions, repossessions. They’ve already started. A lesson for the future when things get back to anything resembling “normal”. 

Spiritual health: 

Frankly this should be Number One, because if you wait until a crisis to look for God, you’ll find Him, but wouldn’t it have been better if you’d had the spiritual muscle ahead of time? God is doing something with this situation, pruning us in some way, hopefully making us appreciate what really matters, and discarding the rest. I completely believe that, and although my husband and I have also been affected by this virus, physically and financially, we know that God’s still on the throne. He won’t let us go hungry. 

Although God is always patient with us, waiting until the balloon goes up is not the best time to get serious about Him. You need that strength, lack of fear, and solid belief to get your through things like this. A church family can also be a huge help in tough times. 

Some people may have to redefine what constitutes a “need” versus a “want” at this time, but I promise, God will not let you go hungry. That doesn’t mean you won’t lose your car with that $800 monthly payment, or maybe even have to move, but you won’t starve, I promise. You might have to cut back, give up cable and the silly luxuries that many in the world can only dream about, but you’ll survive. Resilient people always find a way. Have you noticed that? 

Anyone who honestly believed politicians held the solution to anything surely knows better by now, right? They do what’s best for THEM, politically. Period. Most politicians have no leadership skills, and no ability to make decisions. They’re politicians, not problem solvers. If you haven’t paid much attention to these clowns before this crisis, hopeful you are doing so now. When the rubber meets the road we start to realize how useless some of these people really are. 

God always has the answers. He can be trusted to never leave you. Politicians will forget your name until the next election. 

Bottom line: Don’t neglect the most important areas of your life. Make the effort to maintain your marriage, family, friendships, health, and most importantly you spiritual life, and you’ll weather the storms of life much better. 

Heidi Harris

9-28-10

The post my mother told me not to write: ”Don’t piss off PR people…!” 

It’s election time, and as you can imagine, my email, which is aways full of guest pitches, is especially busy now. I know everyone is shorthanded these days and desperately paddling to keep their heads above water. 

Emails are time sucks, and take up an inordinate amount of everyone’s time, don’t they? I actually know an executive who used to receive 500 emails a day, and had three people assigned to do nothing other than sort through them. 

Fortunately my show is not guest-dependent, so I can be selective, but I really do like having really interesting people on. I evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. 

Here are some things that drive me crazy about guest pitches/PR people. 

  • I currently have no producer/booker/help of any kind at the moment, which is not your problem, I realize, but because of it, things are likely to fall through the cracks. You have to make it simple. I don’t live on my phone. I strive for balance in my life. I simply have to decompress for my own mental health. I cannot and will not check my emails every few minutes, 15 hours a day, to see if you finally got back to me. 

 

  • If I do respond to your pitch, please don’t ask me what time my show airs. I know I’m on some mailing list and you may not know me personally, but the showtimes are included in my email signature. If your client can never do those times because he’s in surgery or a late sleeper, or for whatever reason, occasionally I will record an interview later in the day, for something really good, but that interferes with my nap, and I get extra cranky. 

 

  • If I have to go back and forth with you 20 times for a guest whose last name isn’t TRUMP, I’m out. The White House books guests with me all the time, which requires no more than four emails back and forth, MAX. That’s how those people got to that level. They’re efficient. 

 

  • I have a lot of balls in the air, and a short attention span. I discuss an average of 60 topics a week. If we drag this on for a week or more, I will forget what your guest even wants to talk about, and probably lose interest. 

 

  • In fairness, I’ve never been on that end of things, but it seems to me that you should know what your guest has available, so that if I give you a specific time, you can say yay or nay, right then. When I did have a guest booker, he knew which slots I had available before agreeing to book a guest.

I know some clients can be difficult and not get back to you about times and then blame YOU for not getting them booked. Especially ones with big egos. I feel your pain.

I’m just telling you what other hosts won’t. They’ll just ignore your emails and you’ll never know why. Then your clients won’t use you anymore because you can’t get them booked on decent shows. Even if it’s not your fault.

Heidi Harris

Sisolak’s “Mitigation” plan is worse than you think, and as vague as you’d expect.

Well, our illustrious Governor Sisolak has done it again. He’s drafted a “Long Term Mitigation Plan” that is vague to say the least. He’s offered no date or specific guidelines for bars and other affected businesses to open, and no date for churches to return to normal, although that is still in the courts. 

Here’s the kicker, straight from his “Road to Recovery” Returning to Normal”:

Instead of “Phases”, he has created “Mitigation Levels” to punish people. 

But get this. The “Metrics” he and his clown show “task force” will be looking at the following data:

1. Hospital Capacity

2. Access to Personal Protective Equipment

3. Testing Capacity

4. Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

5. Protection of Vulnerable Populations

6. Enforcement

As our Governor, he is RESPONSIBLE for EVERY one of those “metrics” except #1. He can’t be held responsible for how many people wind up in hospitals. No one can. Patients may have underlying conditions, wait to long to go to the hospital, etc. But it’s sure as hell not the fault of BAR OWNERS. 

Every OTHER metric is under his authority. He is the HEAD of our state. Everything that goes wrong is his fault. Hell, they blame Trump for everything that happens in America.

You wanted the job, Sisolak – now DO it. The bucks stops with him. The shit runs downhill, as they say.

In “Mitigation Level 2, “State licenses may be removed for targeted businesses if outbreaks at those locations cannot be controlled”. “Targeted”. Uh huh. 

First of all, NO business owner will allow a “uncontrolled outbreak” to occur at his or her businesss, and second, how the hell can you PROVE where you got something??

These are the details our largely fawning members of the press (who are still getting paychecks) are ignoring. Just thought I’d share them with you.

I read these things so you don’t have to. He’s hoping you don’t. 

Heidi Harris 

8-4-20

Nope – we not all “in this together”

,

As you’re no doubt well aware, this Covid situation has gotten really nasty, as people are turning on each other, arguing over masks or how and when we can reopen “safely”. I have been weighed down by what’s happening to my hometown, because I cannot stand to see people losing everything.

I can absolutely relate to those who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and might have to totally recalibrate their lives as a result. I’ve been there myself. They may very well have to lose homes, cars, toys, luxuries they could have easily afforded before this crap began, or move in with friends or family.

The people I have no time for are those who sit in their homes or their parents’ basement in pajamas  telling everyone else to, “Stay home and stay safe!” while they don’t stand to lose anything. What they don’t realize (yet) is that the fallout from this devastated economy and the “relief” packages being passed WILL affect them eventually.

It’s odd; on the one hand they claim they want people to “wear a mask for others”, yet they don’t care if “others” can’t feed their families because they can’t go back to their bartending jobs.

Recently I got fed up and posted something to my Facebook page that was shared and read by over 20,000 people. I guess I touched a nerve. In case you missed it…

As a former casino worker, (cocktail waitress and singer), I truly UNDERSTAND what people are going through right now who are unemployed or underemployed. I am heartsick at what’s happening to my fellow Las Vegans. 

I know what it’s like to sit at the kitchen table and try to decide what you HAVE to pay, because you can’t pay everything at the moment. I know what it’s like to cash out jars of change to buy groceries. I’ve been through uncertain times, had to make changes and recalibrate, but God never left me. I never missed a meal. 

I am disheartened and frankly disgusted at the attitudes of some people who keep telling others “Stay home!” “We need to close down again!” “Bars are spreading it!” “People might DIE!” 

How dare you, when you have nothing to lose and won’t miss a paycheck?  

Here’s some breaking news, you elitists who’ve never worked a gig or bussed a table: Some people have to LEAVE their houses every day to KEEP their houses. They can’t sit home in their pajamas wagging their keyboard fingers at others. 

Livelihoods matter as much as lives do. Some people are losing everything they’ve ever worked for. Careers, businesses, houses…

Here’s more breaking news: Unemployment, even if you can get it, doesn’t replace a lifetime of work spent building a business or career. 

If you are that scared, be good girls and boys, do what the government says and STAY THE HELL HOME, but remember that the REAL people are the ones who are bringing groceries to your house or stocking the stores, picking up your trash, and fixing your utility lines during this crap. THEY are still out there, and they have more guts than some of you do. What would we do if EVERYONE had your attitude? YOU “nonessential” person, we could probably all live without. 

What about cops and firefighters who risk their LIVES daily? And some people are clutching their pearls about what is, for the vast majority of people, a bad flu??

No, we are not “in this together”. The idea that someone who wants to go back to work to feed their families “doesn’t care about others” is b**s**t. YOU don’t care about the suffering of others because it’s not real to you, (yet). YOU will (maybe) still have your car, home and retirement check when this is all over. 

When it gets real for you, hits home, or when you lose your job, you’ll think differently.

Here’s hoping and praying we return to some semblance of “normal” very soon. I weep for my hometown.

Heidi Harris

8-1-20

Keep government out of your life – make better decisions!

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.” Proverbs 19:3

Here’s some breaking news: Our elected officials mostly suck. They’re often incompetent or power hungry, and the last thing most of them care about is YOU, at least until the next election. 

Yes, they have responsibilities as elected officials, and we expect them to do what they were elected to do, since we can’t watch them every minute. However, when it gets right down to it. it’s YOUR job to care about your family and make sure they have what they need in a time of crisis, manufactured or not. Blaming this person or that party does nothing to move the ball forward, nor does it improve your life, although there’s clearly plenty of blame to go around at this moment. 

Lots of people complain about government, and to a large degree they’re right. The best way to keep government out of your life is to make good decisions and not give them entree into it. Save your money. Marry the right person and don’t screw it up. Raise your kids right. Don’t put your family in the hands of judges. 

This shutdown is unforeseen and totally unfair to the hardworking people of America. What galls me most is the people who are making these decisions about our futures aren’t missing a paycheck. They aren’t going to lose their family business if we’re shut down another month. Easy for them to make proclamations, right? But living your life correctly is something you should do regardless of who’s in office, or what decisions they make. 

Every financial expert in the world tells you to save 3-6 months’ living expenses at a minimum. If everyone had done this, there wouldn’t be lines for free food, and people freaking out in a week. I saw a two-mile line for free food ONE WEEK after the layoffs. One week! People, you need to plan better. 

And why are people sitting in food lines with cars that are clearly new? I’ve seen them with dealer’s paper plates still on them. 

I don’t care what kind of car you drive, but you clearly can’t afford a financed car if you don’t have a week’s worth of FOOD in your house. I posted something about that the other day on social media, and people said, “some people are picking up food for others who don’t have cars”. In a $60,000 car? If you can afford that, you should be buying the food for others and not taking up space in a line meant for truly needy people! 

What are you teaching for children about leading a responsible life when you’re that broke that soon? Days after your last paycheck? I don’t care how much you make, you can curb your lifestyle and save some of it. I know very well what it’s like to be fired unexpectedly. I was fired a few years ago, one week after I bought a house. I had signed the papers and hadn’t even moved in yet, so yes, I know what it’s like to go into lockdown mode. You make correct decisions to ensure your survival, knowing that God will meet your needs, but not necessarily all of your wants. 

Some people are always broke, all the time, no matter how much they make. You know them and I know them. They have no money management skills. They whine on the phone to friends, borrow money from family, and always seem to have little “emergencies” that come up. Now those same people are crying that their government “relief” isn’t immediately in their bank account, never acknowledging that their poor financial decisions have put them at the mercy of government.

If you don’t marry well, you’re stuck either living with someone you can’t stand, or fighting over “who gets the kids during a lockdown”, you have screwed up somewhere, Maybe you chose poorly, or make you were a crappy husband or wife. Either way that stress is self-imposed, and not the government’s fault. 

There are people who are “independent contractors” who now expect unemployment. Once again, none of this lockdown this is their fault, but did they declare all their income when doing those gigs? Hmmm? If not, good luck. More bad decisions. 

If you’re in a tough spot, don’t give up – take action. Sit down with your bills, honestly evaluate your situation and formulate a plan. What do you need, and what can you cut, at least for now? You’ll feel better if you take control of what you can control. Maybe you’ll have to turn in your financed car and buy a Boulder Highway beater. So what?

Maybe cancel cable and all those unnecessary entertainment packages. Move in with family. Adapt. It’s called survival, and the fact is, no one knows when Vegas will return to any semblance of “normal”, or if you’ll have your old job when this is over.

A crisis is a great way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Although it might be tough for a while, resilient and resourceful people will sail through it, while some others will curl into a ball and (once again) blame everyone else. Sure it’s unfair, but life isn’t fair, and events are rarely within your control. But the decisions you make long before a crisis hits will determine how well you weather the storm.

Something to think about for the next time. 

Heidi Harris

4-19-20

Advice to potential candidates

I am often amazed at the people who run for elective office with no real plan, other than the dream of being the next “whoever”. God bless ya, the water’s warm, and miracles do happen, but you’re wasting your time unless you consider these things:

1. Choose the right race. 

Which races will you realistically have a shot at? Don’t let your ego get ahead of your brain. Ask others you trust. It could even be the right race, but the wrong year. Who’s in that seat already? 

Is the officeholder beatable, or termed out? You may think you’re smarter and better qualified, (you probably are), but they have the advantage of incumbency. 

Do other candidates who might jump in have better name recognition, and are they better funded? There’s only so much money to go around, and especially in the case of big donors, you should have an idea of where those dollars have already been allocated, and how much is still up for grabs.

2. Know your stuff. WHAT does the office require? What expertise do YOU bring? 

“I want the title” is not enough, and voters figure it out pretty quickly. What can you do to improve things? Can you clearly explain where the current office holder has been derelict in his or her duties? Or where your input could assist the other members of the elective body to improve? Once again, KNOW your stuff.

In addition, you’d better have a thorough grasp of what the office you’re seeking is responsible for, and more importantly, what that office can’t do. Please don’t make false promises about doing something that is not within that office’s power. Voters aren’t (entirely) stupid. I say “entirely” because….well, look at some of the people we’ve elected. Enough said.

3. Find a good campaign manager. Get some GOOD advice.

Interview several campaign managers. Do your research on them. You may know them already, but have they actually won any races? If not, why not? Talk to their former candidates. Get their version of events. Discerning what the campaign manager may have done wrong, or what the campaign manager says the candidate did wrong, will help you decide. Maybe the failed candidate expected too much from the campaign manager? Perhaps the candidate didn’t hold up their end of the bargain? You need to know. 

Anyone can run for office, and someone will be happy to take money to run your campaign. This may come as a shock, but some people will feed your ego and convince you that you actually have a chance at a race (when they know you don’t) because they want a paycheck from you for a few months, and they don’t have anyone else in the hopper. 

Some campaign managers will waste your money on things like needless printing, either because they get kickbacks or don’t know any other approaches. Being more creative might be the better play. You have to be careful, especially in a small race, where money is tight.

There’s so much info available online about running a successful campaign that there’s really no excuse. It’s like buying a house. You might hire a realtor, but in the end you really need to do your own research. Read up on how various people have failed politically, and try to avoid making those same mistakes. Get good objective advice from people who don’t have skin in the game.

4. Shore up your party credentials.

Unless you’re running in an (ostensibly) “non-partisan” race, you need to be part of a political party. If you’ve never been to a GOP or Democrat event, and no one has seen your face, good luck. The folks in the trenches know the posers from the serious people, who stay actively involved, whether they’re running or not. They realize you’re just passing through to get elected, suddenly claiming to have conservative or liberal beliefs. Those folks are not easily fooled.

5. Your public profile is not enough to get you elected. 

I’ve known several people who gave up TV or radio careers to run for office, with mixed results. A Republican radio broadcaster recently did that to run against Trump! Whatever, dude. The fact that you’re well-known in one realm isn’t enough to get you elected to anything, unless you’re Donald Trump.

If you’re a network TV personality, you’re probably not allowed to attend political events, either GOP or Democrat, so no one knows you in those groups. You can’t expect to waltz in and have a crown put on your head because you’ve been on radio or TV for years. If you’ve been on TV, never taking hard positions and doing fluff interviews, people might not take you seriously.

There’s another downside to being a public person: If you’ve been hosting an opinion radio show, the Radio Miranda Rule applies. “Everything you’ve ever said can and WILL be held against you” by the opposition research folks. Be prepared.

6. Create a decent website strictly for your campaign. 

Don’t even launch your campaign until that is up and running. If I hear about you and check out your site and it sucks or doesn’t exist, I don’t go back. Neither will donors or constituents.

7. Clean up your social media.

If you’ve been dumb enough to say something online that may come back to bite you, (who hasn’t) clean up your accounts BEFORE you even talk about running. Believe it or not, there are services you can use who will do that for you. A good campaign manager will know this.

8. Think of anything and everything that could be used against you, and be ready to address it. 

Have you had a nasty divorce? A DUI or other arrest? Lawsuits? Do you have a bad reputation in the professional realm? This will come back to bite you, although some people somehow survive it. (I’m thinking of Nevada’s AG). Opposition research people live for those tidbits. Even if a shady past doesn’t bother you, (which is actually an asset when you’re running for office), you need to be honest with your campaign manager up front, and have a plan to address anything that comes up. Or don’t get the race.

A Presidential candidate a few years back had been paying another woman’s RENT. Did he not think that would come up? Of course the op research people knew it, and sat on it, until the right time.

9. Yes, people can and will LIE about you – get ready. 

Sadly, many voters assume that anything said about you by your opponent in a campaign ad or flyer must be true. Unfortunately, people can say things in campaign literature and in ads that I could never say on the radio, lest I be sued. Innuendo and half truths are the rule of the day. It has always been a part of politics, and it’s not going away. Put aside some of your money to defend yourself from last minute hit pieces. Be ready to address any allegation. 

10. Radio interviews won’t get you elected.

Oh, how I sometimes wish that were true. Lots of people think getting five minutes on my show (or anyone’s show) will get them elected. Nope. First of all, if it’s a small race like Nevada Assembly or Senate, chances are small that the audience is full of people who can actually vote for you. You simply have to do the legwork. Even if you’re running for Congress, the same rule applies. You need to focus your attention on your district.

11. Be polite to the media. 

You need us far more than we need YOU. But IF you are asked to do media with a legitimate source, your answer is “YES, I can make it”. If you’re too busy when someone asks you to do an interview, especially if YOU have asked to be on, (yes, I’ve had this happen), don’t say, “I’m not available that day”. Once you start running, you need to be able to be flexible so you CAN do the things that might help your campaign.

And no, we don’t have to have you on. I once had a guy threaten to sue the station because we wouldn’t have him on my show. That’s the way to charm the media! 

12. You’d better have a plan to raise money. 

Raising money is the worst part of campaigning, at least if you’re a decent person. You need to have some of your own, and be wiling to schmooze people with money. Impressing your friends at some backyard barbecue with your great ideas won’t translate into enough support to get you elected. Remember that Karaoke bars are full of people cheering their tone-deaf friends on…

Running for office is hard work, but we need good people in elective office, or our nation will suffer more than it already has. Don’t give up if you want to make a difference, but get your ducks in a row!

Heidi Harris

2-19-20

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’TIS THE SEASON TO FEEL GUILTY…fa la la la lah…

Did you take a “guilt trip” over the holidays? I took several. Is it me, or has Christmas become one big list of expectations we feel we can’t possibly meet? We Christians know that this celebration of the birth of our Savior is what it’s really all about, and should continue to be about, but that horse left the barn, I’m afraid.

What it has become for many people, including myself, is a season of stress and guilt, even if you try hard to stay focused on the Reason for the Season.

I do love to put up the tree and decorations, and I love the music, but there’s pressure everywhere you look. Did I send out enough Christmas cards? This always falls on the wife, btw. Every year I try to get them out early, or at least have some return address labels printed ahead of time, but suddenly December appears, and I’m surprised. Again. 

I keep a list of people I mail cards to, (I despise Ecards) and the list sometimes gets smaller, or has new people added. People have died, people don’t speak to you anymore…Do you want to include everyone? Then they feel obligated to send one to you, even though they hadn’t planned to, and the guilt is perpetuated. 

Then you always get a few cards from people you forgot…so more guilt.

And although most of us are under the pile this time of year, some people have time to send cards to their doctor or dentist! Or skin care expert. Or any other business. Really? Are ya that far ahead? Please, come help me do MY cards.  

I never have the time or foresight to have a card printed with professional photos, so I usually just include a newsletter and a picture with it. And I keep the newsletter short. You can read it in a minute and half, max. 

I used to have some friends who put a ton of time into doing their annual Christmas photo, complete with formal attire and a glowing newsletter of his professional accomplishments. They put the Kardashians to shame, with their perfect, successful, little family. They’re divorced now. 

And what’s with those people who send you a 1000 word report on their accomplishments over the past year? Who reads that crap? 

Just tell me if you’re still alive, still married, how many kids or dogs or grandkids you have now, what you’re doing, and where you live. Half a page ought to cover it, thanks. 

I don’t mind putting up the inside decorations. I actually love seeing the things I have for a few weeks a year, but of course you have to put them away again. A few hours right there.

Then there’s pressure to do outside decorations. You have to compete with your neighbors, after all, or risk looking like a heathen. This usually falls on the husband. That’s half a day up, and half a day down, right there. 

Then there’s the guilt about where to spend the holidays. This year I spent Christmas Eve with my mom in CA, because my hubby was not able to get away. Dog sitter, work obligations, etc. The expense and hassle just piled up, so we did things separately. I drove home on Christmas Day, to spend that night with him and his side of the family. At least I avoided the snow and road closures in the Cajon Pass. 

Many people feel the pull of his parents or yours. “But this could be her last Christmas…But mine never see us…” and on and on. And if you have kids, shouldn’t they get to have Christmas in their own homes, instead of spending their vacation in the back of a minivan shuttling between grandparents? The answer is yes.  

Then there’s the social stress. The parties you want to attend are all on the same night. Argh. Then you find out about parties you weren’t invited to on FB. Harrumph! Left me out, huh??? More stress.

And let’s not forget about gifts. You simply can’t get everyone gifts, and if you do, often they feel obligated to reciprocate, which causes even more stress. I do keep a few generic “hostess gifts” in my closet, just in case, but still…

You’re afraid to even meet someone for coffee in the month of December because they might bring a gift and catch you empty-handed. Or how about the people who are explicitly told “NO gifts” at an event, but still give you a gift card. Grrr. Now, once again, you feel like a jerk. 

It all makes you want to stay in your house! Maybe it’s just me, but when it’s all over, I’m relieved. I need to get back to work to get some rest! Happy New Year, everyone! See you January 6! 

Heidi Harris

12/30/19

Tommy Callaway, the latest whipping boy for triggered feminists

Tommy Callaway has become the latest whipping boy in the #metoo movement. He’s the tobacco company employee and part time Youth Pastor who slapped a reporter’s butt while running past her as she was reporting on a race. He did it on live TV, and her reaction was understandable.

The response in the Court of Social Media is not. 

Yes, what he did was clearly wrong, on every level. You do not have the right to touch another woman without her consent. The problem for Tommy Callaway is the social media hoards who have nothing else to do but react to the Daily Twitter Outrage. They’ve attacked him and his employer, demanding he be fired. Some have even called for a sentence of 30 years in prison! 

I’d have more respect for the young feminists’ reaction to this if it weren’t for the fact that millions of them think nothing of picking up strangers on dating apps and jumping into bed without even having the guy buy them a drink. “Netflix and chill” is more than enough wooing for this crowd. At least male birds shake their tail feathers a little.

Women have so little respect for themselves nowadays, what are men supposed to think? WE are supposed to teach men how to treat us. And we have taught them well, haven’t we? 

Why does Harvey Weinstein have women swarming him wherever he goes? Still swooning over him? The #metoo sisterhood is not exactly standing together in collective outrage. 

Many of the same people who are trying to destroy Tommy Callaway were defending the former Congresswoman, Katie Hill, who was seen naked in a chair, combing the hair of a woman who worked for her. #metoo, but only if a conservative does it? Got it. Hill’s behavior is applauded, but a butt slap is a Federal Offense. 

Maybe I’m old school, but when I have dealt with boorish behavior, I’ve done it directly. I go right to the offender. In fairness, this reporter had no opportunity to tell Tommy off, since he was running by. Only later did everyone realize who he was. 

In some situations I’ve encountered, I’ve been very blunt. Once, in a night club, a guy put his hand on my butt and I told him, in my loudest voice, “If you do that again, I’ll break your f***ing arm!” Another time a co-worker made a disrespectful sexual gesture without even touching me, and I told him I’d have his job right then and there if he pulled that crap again. Offended? Nope, I was pissed. It wasn’t shocking, it was disrespectful. I left his parts on the floor without having to run to HR like a little girl. I solved the problem right then and there. You earn respect, and that doesn’t come through HR. 

I worked in a casino for many years, and most of what triggers these 25 year-olds today was what we used to consider “banter”. It was a normal part of our day, but when it occasionally crossed a line, I handled it. 

If young women are going to respond at level 10 to every little offense, we’ll all be so worn out, the real problems will be completely ignored. The reporter said in an interview, “He took my power.” Oh please. Your power is in your butt? Are you a battery operated toy? That butt slap was really something. If it really does remove someone’s power, I should try that on a few politicians. 

Maybe these Twitter feminists, outraged by something that really doesn’t affect them, didn’t have fathers. After all, we have entire generations where fathers weren’t the influence on their kids that they should have been. Feminist moms either picked bad men or dumped perfectly good men who weren’t “perfect”, so they could be “happy”, and the kids paid the price. 

Women with healthy attitudes towards men, which are the result of healthy attitudes toward their daddy, aren’t usually as triggered by stupid things, because they don’t believe all make are basically bastards. 

The reporter did nothing wrong, and certainly did not deserve to have her butt slapped. Tommy Callaway was clearly out of line, and has publicly apologized. But the level of outrage about this has far exceeded the crime, as far as I’m concerned. 

Heidi Harris

12-14-19

Decluttering your life may also mean decluttering relationships

I have been on a “decluttering” tear lately, watching videos about getting rid of junk, finding “freedom” from it, etc. I’ve been donating huge amounts of stuff to charity, giving specific things to friends, etc. It feels good. 

Beyond just streamlining my closets, I’ve streamlined my life. I do so much less than I used to do ten years ago. Call me lazy, but moderating debates, making appearances in person or on Cable TV, other special events, etc. is no longer a huge part of my life. It was for many years, but no longer. There are so many other and more efficient ways to reach my audience without having to be everywhere all the time. You wind up being useless to everyone. 

I realize that a person can only do so much, and for me, because of the crazy sleep pattern morning drive dictates, I find that doing my show, prepping for my show, walking my dogs, trying to sneak in a workout and reading my Bible is about all I care to juggle these days. 

Everyone walks around “exhausted” lately, as if that’s some badge of honor. Seems to me you need to say no once in a while, and just relax. I no longer feel the need to be at every opening. I rarely do TV stuff. It’s freeing. I did a Skype interview today, but I never had to leave home. Technology is your friend, in that case (if you can get the lighting right). 

Another thing I have scaled back since I’ve been decluttering is in the area of relationships. I realized I had a few that were dragging me down. You may find that, too, if you’re honest in your evaluation. Sometimes relationships become habit. You’ve been friends for so long that it’s just a habit to keep in constant touch. It’s time consuming and often not very edifying, if you’re just having the same conversations over and over again. 

Sometimes taking a break from someone for a minute makes you realize you really don’t miss them all that much. It’s not that you stop caring about them, it’s just that your life and priorities have changed, as have theirs, and there’s no point anymore. You still love them, but you’ve moved on.  

For example, if you find yourself having the same conversation with a person over and over again who refuses to make changes, but wants to bend your ear about it again and again, that’s a waste of time. That was fine when I was 16, but now I have things to DO. 

I’d rather listen to an inspirational podcast than get on the phone and gossip, or hear someone whine about something they refuse to change. 

My world is getting smaller, and I like it that way. I can’t be everything to everyone, and I’ve stopped trying. I have a select group of people I am available to, and that pretty much covers it. Other than my job, my family, my church family, and a few close friends is all I have time for. 

When you’re decluttering your life and looking at what you don’t need, consider the relationships in your life. They may be taking up more useable space than your shot glass collection. 

Heidi Harris

6-25-19

What I live without when times are tough

A  friend recently asked me how my husband and I have coped when I’ve been unexpectedly unemployed over the last couple of years. If you’ve followed my career, you know that it’s been a roller coaster at times. No worries; I’ve never missed a meal. God always makes sure we survive. Spiritually, I never worry about being employed, because God is in charge of my life, and my identity has never come from being a broadcaster. 

But anyone can fall on hard times, and God doesn’t make you stupid, so you have to adjust your lifestyle to fit the changing circumstances. Here are a few things I do when things get tight that you might find interesting.

Dinners out/socializing with friends

Sadly, tough times often hurt your social life. I don’t like entertaining at home. I just don’t. I like being able to leave after a certain amount of time, and I don’t want to have to spend half a day cleaning and THEN trying to plan a meal, when I don’t even cook! So that part would fall on my husband, and I hate to do that to him, even though he enjoys cooking. So that brings us back to going OUT to eat with people. I do far less of that when things are tight. You don’t want them to let them pay, and you certainly don’t want to go dutch and sound like a cheapie, and let’s face it – two people can’t have lunch at Chili’s for less than $40, so that’s one thing I totally stop doing during the tough times.

Instead of dropping $100 on dinner, my husband and I will sometimes go to a place like Downtown Summerlin with our dog, and just walk around. We can grab a couple of slices of pizza and call it a night. That’s an enjoyable evening for us. I’d much rather do that than stand on some silly Red Carpet somewhere. 

Going to shows or out to see friends play music.

Same as above. I don’t need to tell you what show tickets cost! And although we’re not big drinkers, you can’t sit in a lounge and not order anything, and even one or two drinks can add up quickly. You can buy a BOTTLE of wine at the store for what one glass will cost you on The Strip. And let’s not even TALK about parking fees!

And of course we don’t play slot machines or go to expensive new movies. It’s just not that important to us to see THAT movie THIS year. We can wait. Besides, if it’s non-fiction, I’ve probably already read the book. 

Bar soap

This sounds silly, but for me it’s been a BIG change. I’ve been a “body wash” gal for as long as I can remember. Even if you buy the cheaper stuff, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s cheaper to use bar soap. So I switched to bar soap for the most part, and use the body wash mainly as bubble bath. 

Mindless shopping

There are certain stores that don’t have anything in them that you actually NEED. Pier 1 comes to mind, Cost Plus and Bed, Bath and Beyond, to name a few. Stores that sell overpriced “homeware” that you’ll be giving away in a few years…There’s nothing wrong with those places, but when times are tough, I don’t even LOOK. Furniture stores fall into that category, too. You might WANT a new couch, but if you can’t afford it, why torture yourself? 

I don’t wander around makeup stores or places where I’m likely to buy something I may never use. You know you’re going to spend too much in that environment! If you want new products, research them online and purchase them online, and then you’ll be less likely to come home with 42 lipsticks you hate from that “quick trip” to Sephora. 

Cable TV

That gets a big DUH! We dumped it years ago, and I recently dumped Sirius XM, because I got tired of spending an hour on the phone with them every year, trying to negotiate the price. We find tons of interesting things to watch for FREE on YouTube. Yes, we have internet at home. We have to, for my job, but that doesn’t mean we need all the extra packages. 

I also pay for virtually NO subscriptions to websites or magazines, etc. Five dollars here, ten dollars there, and the next thing you know, you’re spending hundreds of dollars a month on that stuff! There are a few things I have to pay for due to my job, but the luxury items are out. And do you really have TIME for all those things you’re paying for? I don’t. 

We do our own maintenance

I can’t highlight my own hair, but I do groom all my dogs, including two poodles, and have done my own nails since I was 20. I have saved thousands of dollars doing both of those things. Even if you have gel nails or what we used to call “sculptured” nails, you can learn to do it yourself! I did, even back then, and now there are Youtube videos to teach you how. And I’d rather do my own nails while I watch a movie or something inspirational than to have to make small talk with someone at a salon. And I can do them on MY schedule. 

My husband does all our car maintenance and mows our lawn, too! Just last week a hose blew in my car. Hubby had it fixed in a jiffy. That would have cost me $500 if I’d taken it to a shop! 

We both drive old cars, mainly because hubby keeps them running so well, and also because we don’t either one need fancy cars for our jobs. Nor do we feel the need to impress people or keep up with the Joneses with our vehicles. If we were in real estate or something, we might need to “look successful” with a fancy car, but luckily we don’t have to worry about that!  

Don’t pay for storage!!!

Clean out that storage unit that is eating your money every month. You might find things you’ve forgotten about. That goes for garages, too. Toss, donate or sell it! Recently I was cleaning out my office and found an extra power cord extender for my computer that I’d forgotten about! And I was going to BUY one! 

Go through your closet and take inventory

If you really go through your clothes, KonMari method or not, you’d be surprised at what you have. You may have forgotten about those jeans, or dress pants, or that little black dress. I was recently organizing bookshelves, and realized I had two copies of “Democracy in America”. If you know what you already have, you’re less likely to buy a duplicate. 

Repair things instead of replacing them! 

I have finally gotten to the point of only buying comfortable shoes, even if they cost more. And of course I buy fewer of them. When good ones break a strap or something you can usually get them repaired. For example, I had a pair of very good quality “riding” style boots that I loved, and one heel got worn down. I held onto them, and when I could afford it, I got them fixed for less than $40! When you already like something and it fits, it’s often worth repairing. 

Bless friends with your stuff! 

At my church we are always passing things around. We’ll put things on the church Facebook page to see if anyone wants it, before donating it. The ladies in my church also have “clothing swaps” a couple of times a year. We all bring in clothes we no longer want or need, (or can no longer get into), and have at it. The leftovers are donated. I’d much rather give furniture, clothes or anything else to someone I like than to try to make $5 on Ebay! 

Shop wisely for groceries 

Entire books have been written about this. My husband does most of the shopping for us, because he likes it and he’s good at it. You can save a lot of money at places like Sam’s Club and COSTCO if you’re not an impulse shopper. But if you’re the type who goes in to save a buck on toilet paper and arrives home with a flat screen and a new recliner, don’t bother.

When times are tough, you might not be grilling ribeyes, and instead you’re eating sandwiches. But you’re still EATING. Make a list of the basics, things your family needs every week, and stick to it until times get better. 

Bottom line: Most of what we Americans consider “needs” are really just “wants”. If we’re honest, our needs are more than met in our great country. Oprah once said,”If you’re not satisfied with what you have, you won’t be satisfied with more.” Sounds funny to hear a billionaire say it, but she’s right. At her level, people probably whine because someone else has more houses or planes than they do…It’s always a matter of perspective. 

Appreciate what you have, enjoy the perks when they come, and adjust when it’s time to tighten your belt. Never base your happiness on anything that can be taken from you in an instant. 

Heidi Harris