Help With Getting Your Household in Order

Yvette Nicole Brown from Community shared a link to this terrific article on how to get important legal and financial situations organized. Called Rhonda’s Rules: A Woman’s Guide to Getting Her Affairs in Order, it's a list of things that many of us put off for too long, or for forever. Written following the loss of a dear friend, the piece covers planning that will make a crisis easier to deal with. Topics include personal, which includes wills, financial, which covers everything from trusts to insurance, professional, and children.

The last one can be the hardest to do. In general we don't like to try and make plans for the care of our children when we are out of the picture, but we also definitely don't want them being pushed into a household with a different method of childrearing and moral values.

The list is a bit overwhelming, covering a lot of ground, so if you feel like you can't tackle it try doing one thing per day. It will take a while but you'll eventually get it done with minimum stress.

Help with the Loss of a Pet

Losing a pet can be incredibly difficult. Trying to decide if and when euthenasia is the best choice for your pet can be even more difficult. We have rats for pets, which have short lives and get cancer if you look at them funny. But they can thrive and be happy even with tumors as big as they are. So at what point are they in pain? My vet is fantastic at giving us advice and tips on what to look for - both signs of them enjoying life and signs that they have become too ill and in pain to have a good quality of live.

But not everyone has that sort of advice available. This is where the ASPCA pet loss page is a huge help. They have two FAQs as well as a page dedicated to advice on how families can cope with the loss of their pet. And they have a pet loss hotline which offers:

Assistance with the decision to euthanize.
Comfort and support at the time of euthanasia.
Help with grieving the loss.
Advice on dealing with children, the elderly or disabled individuals who are facing a death of a companion animal.
Helping the surviving animals in the household to cope.
Assistance in establishing a relationship with a new pet.

Note: an alert reader wrote in to let me know that this link is no longer functioning. However this link should help you as it has lots of good information, including the hotline info.

Free Cookbook - or is it a Beefcake Calendar?

I'm a big fan of the zesty commercials, which is written from the female gaze, instead of the male gaze that permeates so many ads. (Think women in bikinis promoting beer.) Kraft has released a cookbook, which is laid out more like a pin-up calendar, featuring recipes that use Kraft dressings. Like the commercials the images and text are hilarious. You can download it for free here:

Making Your House More Healthy

May from EnviroHealth Consulting, Inc. has some great info on her site She has DIY tips for handling mold yourself, as well as guide to figuring out if the job is too big for the average homeowner to tackle. I ended up on her site after my kitchen sink sprung a leak.

My favorite part of her site is the Green House page which includes a lot of information on what we can do to make our homes healthier. Many of them are fairly simple but may not have occurred to you on your own.

Links to Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinics

PetSmart has some terrific programs and resources. Their charities fund clinics that spay and neuter. They also run an emergency program that helps distressed animals in various circumstances.

They have a great resource for anyone looking for low cost spay or neuter clinics. My zip code brings up fifty results within fifty miles.

Free or Donated Goods List for Maryland

The Maryland Community Services Locator has a list of resources of free or donated good for the state of Maryland. It is mostly a list of programs like the Baltimore Free Store or the Washington Area Wheelchair Society, but it also has a link to free colon cancer screenings.

More Legal Help

The American Bar Association has a nice map of legal assistance for consumers. If you click through to the FAQ page you'll find a link for free legal help. There are also links regarding hiring an attorney, paying an attorney, helping yourself and getting information.

BTW there is plenty you can do yourself, that a lot of people use attorneys for. Divorce, social security disability and bankruptcy are a few that you can do yourself if you're good at gathering information and filling out forms. And maybe if you can stay calm, cool and collected.

Possible Help With Legal Assistance

The Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service offers low income Marylanders assistance with civil law problems. (A few counties aren't part of this system, as they offer their own local programs.)

The Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service website has a table showing income guidelines, which makes it pretty easy to tell if you qualify without wasting any time.

From their website:

Types of Cases MVLS Accepts

Administration of Small Estates

Adult Guardianship

Bankruptcy (Chapter 7 only)

Child Custody


Consumer Disputes

Criminal Record Expungement

Deed Changes

Denial of Public Benefits



Landlord/Tenant Conflicts

Living Wills

Name Changes

Power of Attorney

School Suspensions

Tax Disputes


Tons of Free Films in the Baltimore Area

There are several film festivals running this summer in the Baltimore area. Films run the gamut from old to new, with offerings ranging from West Side Story to Raising Arizona to The Avengers. Get all the details here:

Fantastic Directory for Maryland Services

The Maryland Community Services Locator has an astonishing list of resource information.

From their website:

Adult Education/Higher Education
Children and Youth Resources
Conflict Resolution/Mediation
Corrections Information
Credit/Economic Assistance
Crisis Resources
Disability Services
Disaster Management/Assistance
Energy/Utility Assistance Programs
Eviction Prevention Resources
Financial Literacy
Free/Donated Items
Food Assistance Programs
Foreclosure Resources
Grant Programs for Community Organizations
Health Services: Medical Insurance
Health Services: Physicians, Clinics and Other Facilities
Health Services: Miscellaneous
Health Services: Prescription Coverage
Health Services: Seasonal Flu
HIV/AIDS Resources
Immigrant Services
Job Readiness/Employment
Legal Assistance
Mental Health
Record Expungement
Re-entry Resources
Senior Citizen Resources
Social Services
Substance Abuse Treatment
Tax Preparation
Veterans Benefits and Programs
Victim Services
Vital Records
Volunteer/Service Opportunities

That pretty much covers the gamut.

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