You’re either not good at chatting, or . . .

Maybe I’m old-fashioned or maybe I’m just old, but I’m so over the whole dating site scene.  It’s just become too complicated.  Recently, I unpaused my account on a dating site and noticed there were over 400 messages in my inbox, when I signed back on.  So I decided I’d take a look to see if there is anyone “out there” I might to know, and every so often, there seems to be someone who has posted a profile shot that’s matched up with a witty bio, that’s not over the top, and just seems to be “for real.”

As I glance at the photos, I do my best not to be judgmental.  I mean after all I’m not perfect, and I’m definitely not expecting anyone to be perfect.  Only, sometimes I want to reach out and tell these guys, “WTF” when it comes to the photos they post in their bio.  I mean, it’s crazy, but it’s sort of like going to a job interview with toilet paper attached to your shoe.  Don’t these guys want a girl?  Or are they clearly that oblivious to how their profile comes across to the opposite sex?

Let me describe what I mean.  (I probably should be doing my Biology homework right now, but I felt compelled to write this.) There’s the guys who tend to show off their muscles and its usually in a photo in front of a toilet.  Seriously, that’s so not sexy.  Then there are the guys who actually cut out part of the photos they post.  I’m assumed that the other half of the photo is the guys’ former “better half.”  Oh and, there’s the guys who look completely differently in every photo, so which one are you?  Lastly, there’s that guy who posted the photo with his dog.  Actually, that’s sort of cool, except when you describe your dog in such detail that one is starting to wonder if your dog is your signifiant other, in a way that’s probably not going to work out for the woman in your life.

Once I get through the photos, I tend to want to exchange numbers because it just seems to be better than using the site for chats.  That leads to a whole other set of questions, and I don’t know, maybe I’m better off doing my homework, and skipping the whole dating scene these days.  Are real people even out there anymore?  Or have we just become one big online world?

 

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at WYNN …. They were amazing!

Better with age

Never saw her when I was growing up, but it’s not like I did not love here music. Only back then, what did I know? What I was on MTV, and sounded great was good enough for me. Last night, I learned a bit more about Patricia Benatar, that’s what her husband Neil Giraldo calls her, Patricia! Planning to write more later, but for those of you who grew up listening to Pat Benatar and have never seen her in concert, and for those of you who have seen her, or those who have no clue who she is, all I can say is go see her perform with her husband and their band members. She is simply amazing, still!!!!!!!!!!

Should you get a criminal background check before you date someone?

SO the other day I was talking to a friend of mine.  She’s someone I knew in high school and someone I consider a good friend.  Only, we did not become close until years after high school.  What prompted our connection during our adult years, was none other than Facebook.  I have little doubt that many of those who read can relate in some way because Facebook has likely opened doors for many people who have lost touch to reunite, and/or for many who might not have been friends at a certain time to realize that they have commonalities that could cause them to connect.

Over the years I have reached out to many people I have lost touch with and I am forever grateful to Facebook, for being there to serve as a means to allow me to find people that ended up being so very important in my life.  Most of the connections I have had have turned out well.  Childhood friends, former co-workers, and even those whom I’ve never met, but who have heard me on the radio or follow me on social media, are now members of my Facebook family.

The purpose of this post is not to talk about Facebook (or social media) connections per se, but the story I am about to share originated on Facebook.  It does not end well, though.  It’s not my story, but my friend’s story.  With her permission, I am going to share it because what happened left her shaking and trembling in a repulsive and somewhat shocked state of mind.  After she shared what happened, I wondered about how we can tend to have a false sense of security with those we used to know.  Those who might have gone to the same school, grown up in the same town…

She met him a few months ago.  He’s someone who went to the same high school where we went.  There’s little doubt we would have gone out with him back then, because he’s a few years younger than we are, and back then a few years mattered more.  When my friend share his name and asked me if I knew him, I told her I did not think so.  The two month romance was going well she said.  In fact just this morning, had we talked then she would have told me that things were great, and she was dating someone and things looked promising.  Only things had changed in a day, because during the afternoon she found our her new guy was a pedophile.

As my friend proceeded to tell me about the circumstances surrounding how she came to find out, and what he had been not only accused but convicted of, she shared the legal report about an appeal the guy had filed.  I thought that perhaps there was a mistake and maybe the guy was mistaken about a woman’s age and asked out a young lady who was posing as an adult.  Surely that could happen, right?  For whatever reason, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I thought …

Only as I continued to read the appeal, all about how the NYPD had entrapped him into crossing state lines to have sex with an underage girl, it became more apparent that things looked as though this guy was someone to stay away from.  In fact, I asked my friend why was he not in jail, only to find out that he had been.  He had been given the maximum sentence, but was out now.  Why did my friend not know?  How did she find out about the charges and conviction?

When I asked her, she told me that she had posted a photo of the two of them taken in New York City just the other day.  Another woman, we had gone to high school with, happened to see their photo and immediately sent a message to my friend.  “I saw the photo you posted and thought you should know…,” was what she told my friend.  My friend’s new found love interest, went from potential to dreadful in a matter of moments.  She texted the guy and demanded that he never contact her again, and included a copy of the file from Findlaw.com with her text.

As I read the legal background about this guy, I thought about how trusting we all can be.   Trust is so key in any relationship, and when you lose it, it’s hard to ever get it back.  Surely none of us are perfect, and sometimes we have run-ins with the law.  Should you judge a person based on their criminal background?

When I was nineteen, I was buying a pair of jeans and wrote a check that bounced.  When I tried to make restitution to the store, I was told by the manager that I waited too long, and that their company policy was to press charges.  It was a tough lesson to learn, and I ended up actually being arrested by an over-zealous police officer.  Should I share this with someone if I am dating them?  What if a guy I decided to date did a criminal background check on me, and decided I was not worth getting to know because of a mistake I made when I was nineteen?

Why did this guy not tell my friend that he had been arrested?  Well, more than likely if he had been honest, she would have run clear in the opposite direction.  Some crimes are not as simple as writing a bad check.

I asked my friend if she would mind if I shared about her story, if for no other reason that the caution folks that just because you knew someone when you were kids does not mean they are safer than any other person you just meet.  Be mindful, use caution, and pay attention to those red flags.  If you feel you want to do a background check, or use a dating service that does those checks for you, do it.

I am not a big fan of the way our right to privacy has eroded.  I like the idea of getting to know someone gradually and sharing only what you want to share.  On the flip side though, I think it’s only fair to share something that’s truly a potential deal-breaker in an up-front manner.  It just seems like the right thing to do.

Thankfully, for my friend she was able to get out of this dating situation relatively unscathed.  It’s not like she’d been intimate with him, and she had not called in love.   When I asked her if she would have dated him, if he’d been honest with her and told her about the charges and conviction, she said, “I honestly do not know, but I probably would not have gone out with him.”  I think, that she had a right to know.  Maybe that ought to be something that is required by law, full disclosure for serious crimes like that.

Rolling the dice (once again) . . .

On page 16, of the book I’m reading, there’s a part line about dice. It begins with, “Pick up two dice. Now roll them. If the number rolled adds up to ten, eleven, or twelve I die on the operating table.” Can you imagine? The book is a memoir, written by Robert Hoge, and its title is Ugly. It’s an awe inspiring story, which I’ve not yet finished but as I was reading, I thought about all that’s happened in my life. And, I thought about the odds. Never have been the odds of anything been dealt to me in such a way that my very life or that of my son depended on anything, and least not in a prospective manner. It was only after looking back through a retrospective lens, that I was able to question, usually in a manner of wonder or relief.
For example, what were the odds that I would find myself living in Southern Nevada, and what were the odds that I would be teaching elementary school after spending much of my life in a career involving risk management? It’s so interesting to look back on one’s life in a manner of wonder and imagine, those ‘what if’ scenarios, too. Like, what if I had never moved to Las Vegas, or what if . . .
As much as we think we know where we are heading, or the likely outcome, nobody ever truly knows what’s coming around the corner, until after they’ve made that turn.
So here we are again, getting ready for college football season, and sports betting. Doesn’t it seem so simple, when you compare placing a bet on a game, as opposed to the ‘gamble’ Robert Howe’s parent had to make? To me, it does. Reading something so serious can help you to remember that the problems we might be facing are all relative.
So that being said, we are getting ready to roll the dice and look forward to reconnecting with our audience to talk about sports betting, whose dating whom, and what’s up! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @SportSXMichelle and give Pamela a follow, too at @SportyDiva. We cannot wait to reconnect with our audience! You never know, we may just #getlucky

Finally, I’m back …. w/ your sports’ betting news #SBProps #Vegas #BetsLikeAGirl

It’s hard to believe that I have been away from this blog for what feels like an eternity and is close to a year.  It’s amazing what can happen in a year, and for me this past year has been truly eventful.  So before I get to the betting news, here’s a bit about what’s been up in my life:

-Reflecting back to last year’s SB is as good a place to start, and I think, no I know I had a boyfriend at that time.  He was heading off to go skiing and I signed on to puppy sit for his new puppy.  So I cleaned up his patio, hung out with Max, and watched the big game solo while he sent me photos of the group that he never brought me around, and showed me the fun they were having.  I, responded by baking chocolate chip cookies and cleaning his condo, which I did every week so that he would return to an amazing home coming.  What was it that possessed me that guys get turned on by dutiful women who bake cookies, watch their puppy, and hang out solo while they head to Utah for a fun weekend trip, escapes me at the moment.  Somewhere along the way, in our relationship that had just passed the annual anniversary, things had taken such a horrible turn.  As is often the case,  I reflect on what I did wrong, or could have done differently and dismiss the reality that he was equally to blame for our demise.  Probably telling me he felt he could never be himself around me, was the first clue I ignored …. so anyway, needless to say we broke up within the month after the SB, and he hooked up with someone who was in the photo from the Utah ski trip.  I suppose he’s happier and can be himself, whoever that is, and I, well, I have my books.

And that is where I’ve had my nose buried this past year, so much so, that I lost site of my writing here.  It was in February that I found out that I had been accepted to a masters’ program at a college here in Nevada, and since that time I’ve been doing an Alternative Route to Licensure program which enables me to teach elementary school while I complete the program.  Did I happen to mention, I am so, so, happy.  Albeit, busy AF!  This past year, I have completed several classes which have enlightened me to what it takes to be an elementary school teacher, but nothing has given me true knowledge like being in the classroom.  Everyday I am amazed at the beauty and joy of childhood, and I thank God for the amazing journey that I am privileged to be on!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching and could not think of a better place to teach than here in Southern Nevada.

Before I get back to sports, let me segue to a moment about how amazing God is and share a short story about something that happened to me this morning.  The setting is my apartment in Nevada, and the characters include my son and his girlfriend who were sleeping in my room.  For some reason, and I am not sure why, the little book When God Winks at You, by Squire Rushnell, which is usually at my bedside, was in my living room. I do not remember when I moved it, but it was there on the ottoman in plain view this morning.  I had slept in the living room, an  woke up early which I tend to do now since I teach, and even though it was Saturday, I decided to get up, make coffee and read.  I picked up the book and began at the back of the book, where I found a story about a man who had been adopted at birth and reunited with his birth mom.  For several reasons, some known and some most likely not in my immediate awareness, I found this story compelling.  Then I moved on to the quotes that appear to have been purposefully placed throughout the book.  I began to cut them out and put them on the ottoman, thinking that I would hide some of them in my son’s suitcase, or in his things so he could find them as he unpacked when he got to Los Angeles.

My son, by the way, has been somewhat somber this past year, finding himself lost after graduating college, feeling stuck and unsure of what career moves to make.  I know I cannot make him happy, but still I am his mom, and it’s in my nature to do my best to help him see his blessings and be mindful of the need to remain positive.  And then it happened, God winked!

In the back of my mind I knew that I could not make my son’s choices for him, and that I was only responsible for my own happiness.  I kept telling myself that it is best to let him be and be mindful that he has to make choices on his own, and that even though I can try to inspire him, the only person that can make him happy, is himself.  This is a lesson that I have learned and relearned over the course of my life, and I knew that the quotes would only be welcomed when and if he is ready to receive the information.  I told myself to focus on my own happiness, and let go of any need to fix his life.  He must do that for himself.  Not his girlfriend, nor I, are responsible or capable of making him happy.

Of course, this knowledge did not stop me from taking the pillow on my window seat that has the words be happy stitched on it and wrapping it inside the comforter that I was going to put in their car.  Pictures of the pillow falling to the floor, when he and his girlfriend unpacked their things, were in my brain as I carefully folded the comforter over the pillow.

Then, we all went out and packed up his car.  I came back inside, and began to make up my bed without the comforter that I once had, and out popped the pillow.  Wait, had my son found the pillow and put it inside my blanket?  It took me a moment to realize that I when I removed the duvet cover, the pillow must remained with me and did not make it to the comforter I had given my son.  This was not intentional on my part, but I did keep the duvet cover, thinking that they would not need it and it matched my bedroom.  So I smiled and thought, that God sent me a little message and I went to my living room thinking that God might have just winked, and then . . .

I opened up my window, to let the fresh air in and I thought about how I rarely open the blinds in my apartment, but that I should do so because seeing the view can make me happy.  Within a few seconds, the wind started to blow, and a greeting card fell from a shelf in my living room.  The card, had been one I received from a good friend of mine, only this time I think God was sending me the message.  Here is what the card says:

“No matter how crazy my life gets, I know you’ll be there and when it’s your turn to lose it…you can count on me.”

I turned the card over and written on the back, it reads: just WINK 

I know I did not share a bit of news about sports’ betting or Vegas, per se but I’ll be back.  Thanks for reading and being here with me on this journey! #BeHappy 

Humboldt, Saskatchewan

A long time ago I remember reading a story in grade school that took place in Saskatchewan, Canada.  The setting in the story was described in detail and for some reason I almost felt as though I had visited the region.  To the point, that whenever I noticed anything about Saskatchewan in the news, I paid close attention.

Sadly, yeaterday there was a horrific accident where 15 died when a truck, and a hockey team bus collided.  You will likely find several articles about the catastrophic collision online, simply by inserting “Humboldt Hockey Bus Accident.”

Having spent several years advising businesses about risk management, one of the first things that came to mind, when I saw the photos on Twitter of the team players holding hands while they were lined up in their hospital beds, happened to be the potential lawsuits that would inevitably be filed after an incident like this.  Who was at fault?  The driver of the bus, the driver of the truck, was it nobody’s fault?

When an accident like this happens, many of us are saddened and struck by the reality that life as we know it can be aborted in an instant.  We are reminded about our own vulnerability and might even hug our loved ones, or text/call them if they are not within our arms’ length.  How many of us think to check our insurance policy limits?

If you are a businessowner, you might not think that your automobile liability is one of your biggest exposures, but it very well could be.  Do you have trucks on your schedule of vehicles?  Even private passenger type vehicles can be driven and cause a bus to swerve off a road, and that bus may very well be carrying a load of passengers.  The time to check to see that you are adequately insured is not after a tragedy but now, before something happens.  Hopefully nothing ever does, but keep in mind that insurance is not something that you buy hoping that you use it.  It’s something you purchase, hoping you never need to.

Note, too that if you have an excess liability policy over your business automobile policy, you should be sure to ask your agent or broker for a detailed explanation for the additional exclusions that might apply, and whenever possible have them removed.  For example, some excess liability policies exclude uninsured or underinsured mototrist liability.  Be sure you know what your policy provides.

 

My heart is with the players and all those impacted by this horrible tragedy.  

Another example of why words matter

When I was nineteen years old I had a checking account.  Retail shops at the mall would take a check as payment for purchases if you provided identification.  I went shopping to buy an outfit to go out on New Year’s Eve, and my friend came with me.  We both spotted these jeans that we just had to have, awesome boots, and super soft sweaters.  I wrote a check for the purchases, and the check bounced.  Did I commit a crime? If so, should that crime bar me from having a professional job such as teaching, selling real estate, or being an insurance agent?

Think about the word ‘knowingly’ and what role that might play in the overall picture.  Then ask yourself if you were nineteen years old, would you know enough to read a statute before pleading guilty, if you thought all you were pleading to is that you did in fact write a check that bounced?

 

 

 

 

The Elements of Risk Management, Step by Step

It may be safe to say that nobody knows your business quite the way you do, but even with that knowledge, there might be times when you fail to examine all the risks that could come up during the span of your business operation. There are good reasons for this. First of all, nobody’s perfect and no matter how well you plan, or implement risk management strategies, it is impossible to be perfect, and keeping in mind, that the only way to avoid risk in business is to not be in business, will go a long way when it comes to planning. Implementing an effective risk management plan is not about avoiding all risks but rather preparing for them, implementing strategies that will help mitigate them, and being cognizant. Second, the world is ever changing and today’s risks might never have been thought about yesterday, so it is very important to stay abreast of the times. For example, many businesses have drones but have not thought to consider whether legal liability associated with these drones might be something that is excluded from a commercial general liability policy. Additionally, compliance issues, legal climate, public policy and jurisdictional matters can all change, sometimes overnight, and being mindful of this, and how these changes might impact your business is important.

So how does a business go about establishing an effective risk management plan? Should it consider employing a full time or part time risk manager? Or will the cost of doing so prove to be too costly, and might the business achieve better results by having a professional insurance agency and/or broker involved to pass off some of these responsibilities to save costs. Then again, will that said broker and/or insurance agent charge in fee more than an annual salary of a full time dedicated risk manager?

What about the transfer of risk?  If a claim is uncovered, whose fault is it?  Be mindful of the recommendations that your insurance and/or agent makes and why, and when declining certain limits and/or coverage, know that there may have been good reasons that these recommendations might have been made.  So be certain to outweight the costs vs. the coverage and remember the old adage, “penny wise, pound foolish”.  Insurance usually gets a bad rap by non-insurance professionals, but in my opinion, the value of having insurance in place to help mitigate catastrophic losses is priceless.

There is clearly no solution set in stone and many businesses change their course as they evolve. Some employ professionals who have insurance and/or risk management experience, while others look to educate their key personnel so that they can be armed with information and education to effectively plan.

Below are some steps that are good for businesses to keep in mind when going about setting up a risk management plan. Again, keep in mind that depending upon your business, things might be different, but the following might be a good benchmark to start with when either creating or comparing the overall risk management process.

First you need to identify risks to your business. Think about possible scenarios of what could happen if this or that happened, such as a fire, earthquake, theft, an automobile accident, employee related accident, or employees declaring unfair labor practices.

Part of this process would be to analyze your business. Consider your significant business pursuits, including your fundamental operations, personnel and anything that could possibly have an impact on them, such as accidents, power failures, natural disaster and disease, sickness or death. What plans do you have in effect if something you identify were to happen, so that your business could continue to operate without interruption? If there were an interruption, how long could your business be down for without having a severe impact, and what measures do you have in place to consider these extra expenses?

You may be wondering just how to go about assessing your risk. You might have already done an initial review when the business was first formed, and that review may or may not have been updated. Depending upon the set of circumstances, including whether you have had staff changes over the years, it may make sense to start from scratch, as opposed, to reviewing and updating what has been done in the past. Consider reviewing incidents that have happened already, some of which may have been close calls, and others that may have been written about in trade journals.

Having a clear picture of your business is what is needed to have a clear understanding of your risks. You want to be sure that you do not exercise denial as opposed to careful, mindful consideration. Consider questions including when, where, why and how things might happen. Include both internal and external considerations, such as third parties. For example, what if you are emailing an employee’s personal information including a driver’s license number, social security number, or medical information to a healthcare insurance provider. What if there is a breach at the healthcare insurance company, and the data you shared is compromised? Would your company have an exposure here? Have you considered the consequences, and would your current risk management and/or insurance coverage cover this?

Have you thought about the ‘What if?’ scenarios? What if your employee was involved in an automobile accident and caused a school bus to swerve off the road, causing injury to several children? Would you have enough insurance to defend and cover the legal liabilities you might be exposed to? How much do you think an accident like this might entail?

Sometimes one of the most effective methods to identifying risk is to effectively brainstorm with professionals you trust including those with backgrounds in accounting, insurance, and human resources experience. Nothing is impossible, and while it might not be possible to shield your business from every possible scenario that could go wrong, it is possible to have peace of mind, knowing you did all you could to consider what could happen, consulted professionals you trust, and built a solid plan that can evolve as your business grows.

When it comes to business insurance, it is a good idea to educate yourself as much as you can about various different policy types, what’s covered and what’s typically excluded, and get premium quotations from reputable insurance carriers. Consider higher and lower deductibles, various claims that might not have been paid in the past, the reasons for same, and look to build solid relationships with your carrier through your agent and or broker. Remember it’s always good to get prices before deciding not to purchase coverage, and it’s okay to ask your insurance company to help you with loss control issues by providing newsletters and/or on site inspections.

 

You have a way with words . . .

What is it about words and me?  I love words.  If I were to live my life all over again I would probably major in English and my love affair with words would begin much sooner, than later.  Only, I might still find myself working in the insurance industry, because it is there, among other places that words are so very important. Of course, words are also very important when it comes to the law.  I think I’ve written about this before.  A perfect example might be the word ‘rape’ or the word ‘bully’ and how those words are defined or not defined in the eyes of the law.  When it comes to insurance, the word ‘auto’ has significant meaning; only whether or not it’s defined in your policy is another matter entirely.  By the way, have you read your policy lately?

Now most people might not take the time to actually read their insurance policies and they might not realize just how important some words are until after they experience an uncovered claim.  It might be nearly impossible to know the definitions of all the words and how they matter, but in my opinion, words might be among the most meaningful variables when it comes to coverage.

This past week I had the pleasure of being at an insurance industry class and one of the instructors loved words!  He spoke often about how much they matter when it comes to determining whether or not there is coverage for a particular claim.  In my opinion, words are probably one of the most important ways to argue both for or against coverage and/or should be something you examine when reading anything.

Now back to sports!