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>With everything that is going on here in the USA, there are times when I just need to leave and breathe in the culture of another country. The easiest foreign getaway trips are to our neighbors who border the USA, and now it’s even easier with new options for those of us who travel by land or sea.

There is a new government program which allows citizens to travel with either a passport card or enhanced driver’s license (the driver’s license is presently only available for residents of Washington State or New York State) for travel by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. The cards are much smaller than a passport, and easier to use where there are kiosks into which you can insert your card for passage. If you order these cards with your passport or driver’s license, it only costs a few dollars more ($15-30).

There are also the new Nexus, Sentri and Fast cards for those who travel frequently between certain borders (like truckers or those who have family or do business across the border); the best benefit to these special cards is the dedicated commuter lanes you get access to if you are a cardholder (think of it as a pass to use the car pool lane on a congested freeway).

The next time you drive across a border or go on a cruise to the Caribbean, use your passport card to get you back in the USA.

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With everything that is going on here in the USA, there are times when I just need to leave and breathe in the culture of another country. The easiest foreign getaway trips are to our neighbors who border the USA, and now it’s even easier with new options for those of us who travel by land or sea.

There is a new government program which allows citizens to travel with either a passport card or enhanced driver’s license (the driver’s license is presently only available for residents of Washington State or New York State) for travel by land or sea to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. The cards are much smaller than a passport, and easier to use where there are kiosks into which you can insert your card for passage. If you order these cards with your passport or driver’s license, it only costs a few dollars more ($15-30).

There are also the new Nexus, Sentri and Fast cards for those who travel frequently between certain borders (like truckers or those who have family or do business across the border); the best benefit to these special cards is the dedicated commuter lanes you get access to if you are a cardholder (think of it as a pass to use the car pool lane on a congested freeway).

The next time you drive across a border or go on a cruise to the Caribbean, use your passport card to get you back in the USA.

>If you want an all-inclusive package with all your meals, entertainment and transportation taken care of, this is the time to book a Caribbean vacation. Sandals couples resorts is offering a great sale (you must book by September 30th); you get 40% off your resort stay, up to a $550 credit towards your airfare, and up to two extra nights free if you travel before December 26, 2008. Whether you want to go golfing, scuba diving, or just enjoy a day at the beach, it is nice to have options that are all prepaid (a few fees may apply for extras).

It’s almost a free vacation. The best part is that Sandals is a very green vacation company, installing solar panels to generate the power for their resorts so that they are almost completely self-sustaining. They are a green resort company: they monitor their waste so that it can be recycled or minimized; they have low flow shower heads and compact fluorescent bulbs in the rooms; they are part of CORAL which is an organization whose purpose is to preserve reef life; and they perform beach cleaning at least twice a year with their local communities.

Vacations are good for the soul, but it is even better when a group of resorts offers greenback savings along with green energy growth for your money.

If you want an all-inclusive package with all your meals, entertainment and transportation taken care of, this is the time to book a Caribbean vacation. Sandals couples resorts is offering a great sale (you must book by September 30th); you get 40% off your resort stay, up to a $550 credit towards your airfare, and up to two extra nights free if you travel before December 26, 2008. Whether you want to go golfing, scuba diving, or just enjoy a day at the beach, it is nice to have options that are all prepaid (a few fees may apply for extras).

It’s almost a free vacation. The best part is that Sandals is a very green vacation company, installing solar panels to generate the power for their resorts so that they are almost completely self-sustaining. They are a green resort company: they monitor their waste so that it can be recycled or minimized; they have low flow shower heads and compact fluorescent bulbs in the rooms; they are part of CORAL which is an organization whose purpose is to preserve reef life; and they perform beach cleaning at least twice a year with their local communities.

Vacations are good for the soul, but it is even better when a group of resorts offers greenback savings along with green energy growth for your money.

>There are many artists who do trompe d’oeil (French for trick the eye) work, making you “see” something that is not at all what your eyes tell you. My favorite trompe d’oeil artist is Craig Tracy who does his work on human bodies, making them look like animals; but there is also Colette, who makes cakes that look like purses and sculptures; Michel Richard, who makes “eggs” that are made of yellow tomato puree and mozzarella; and this building in Lyon has an entire wall of windows and people populating it’s front face.

We are often “fooled” by our eyes (magicians would not have jobs otherwise). Sometimes being fooled is good for us; we get to experience a new pleasure for our palates, or we awaken from the assumptions we take for granted. We all need to test and taste new ideas. If you do only one thing today, go out and try something new, even if that means looking at something old and known in a new way; trick your eyes to see a new perspective.

There are many artists who do trompe d’oeil (French for trick the eye) work, making you “see” something that is not at all what your eyes tell you. My favorite trompe d’oeil artist is Craig Tracy who does his work on human bodies, making them look like animals; but there is also Colette, who makes cakes that look like purses and sculptures; Michel Richard, who makes “eggs” that are made of yellow tomato puree and mozzarella; and this building in Lyon has an entire wall of windows and people populating it’s front face.

We are often “fooled” by our eyes (magicians would not have jobs otherwise). Sometimes being fooled is good for us; we get to experience a new pleasure for our palates, or we awaken from the assumptions we take for granted. We all need to test and taste new ideas. If you do only one thing today, go out and try something new, even if that means looking at something old and known in a new way; trick your eyes to see a new perspective.


May you enjoy the next part of your journey as much as we have enjoyed your generous spirit, kind heart, infectious humor, and great talent in your time with us.

Namaste.

Please send donations to The Hole in the Wall Gang to help continue Paul Newman’s work with critically ill kids.


May you enjoy the next part of your journey as much as we have enjoyed your generous spirit, kind heart, infectious humor, and great talent in your time with us.

Namaste.

Please send donations to The Hole in the Wall Gang to help continue Paul Newman’s work with critically ill kids.


May you enjoy the next part of your journey as much as we have enjoyed your generous spirit, kind heart, infectious humor, and great talent in your time with us.

Namaste.

Please send donations to The Hole in the Wall Gang to help continue Paul Newman’s work with critically ill kids.

>A little investigation can save you a huge financial headache. In light of all the news in the financial world, today’s subject is FINRA . FINRA stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and they are the largest non governmental regulator of securities firms in the US. They have the ability to impose fines and sanctions to firms and individuals, so even though they are not a government body, they are the law enforcers. Whether you are seeking education as someone who works in the industry, or protection as an investor, this is the place to start. It is the financial equivalent of the Consumer Reports, but with legal teeth.

If we all educate ourselves so that we understand some basics about our own money, we are less susceptible to brokers who promise to deliver all we wish if we grant them access to our cash; but would you buy a car from a dealer who promises you the perfect car sight unseen, if you just sign the contract? Do some homework on your risk tolerance, long term goals (college fund? retirement fund?), and your brokerage house (there were so many compliants and judgments against Merrill Lynch that their demise was of no surprise to anyone who checked FINRA reports). There is information on how to choose your investment professional, how to choose your investment types, how to report a problem with your broker, and compliance information.

Their site offers everything from alerts on frauds and scams, to a broker check which shows current and past cases regarding individuals and brokerage houses. There are also explainations of SIPC protection, (a brokerage version of FDIC type of safety net), how to safeguard your identity from theft, and calculators for savings and loans amounts.

If you have investments, make sure they are building you a nest egg, not just building your broker’s nest egg.

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