Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lean Preparation

Because I work for myself, and I've always said that freelancing tends to be a "feast or famine" proposition, I am always looking for deals. You have to be a little frugal for those tight months. Luckily, the tight months have been fairly scarce the last few years in my business, but they do happen now and again. When you get hit with a 'short' month, and you have big bills, that can really hurt. I always look for things like cheap auto insurance, value items in grocery stores like 2 for 1s. However I can save a little, I feel good about. The biggest monthly bill I have at the moment is my car payment. Even that was a deal that I made sure was in an affordable range should times get lean. The few months that were a little light this year were still tough with that payment on the books, but I made it through.

No End to the Learning Experience in Freelancing

Another thing I love about freelancing is that I never stop learning new things. I suppose that's true in most areas of life, even other jobs, but I've had some jobs in the "real world" in the past that were just the same thing every day, and even when they were challenging, there wasn't much to learn or develop. With my freelancing I am always finding new things to do, learning how to do them, learning about subjects, finding new ways to present work. Just building websites is a constantly changing technology. There's no end to the new things there are to do and learn in freelance writing.

Variety is the Spice of Life

One thing that is really great about freelancing is that the work is so varied. On any given day I could be working on a report or sales page in the morning, getting a little bit of an eBook done in the afternoon, SEO articles or a medical resume in the evening, or any number of different writing jobs. I love the variety. One client, who I do a lot of work for, asked me if I liked doing the content work more than writing for my own websites, or sales pages. I had to say that while I enjoy doing my own websites, sales pages, and affiliate work, I do enjoy working for clients a little more, because it isn't always the same subject. My own work can be equally varied in style, but it's the same subjects. No matter what I do each day, however, one thing is for sure: I love my job!

Partner in Crime

Business has been so good this month, that I actually convinced my son to start working for me. I know he can do the work, because he worked for a content company with me several years ago. He got a little turned off by the experience, because the work was low-paying, and the owner of the company had to be chased for payment. It almost turned me off too. I'm glad it didn't completely, but my son was a little difficult to convince this time around. The difference was this time he'd be working for ME, and he knows how much I make at this. That, plus I don't "low-ball" for work, and I don't pay him a tenth of what I bid for either. I do take a small cut for being the one who brings in the work, and I always proof his copies, just in case, but he gets paid well, and he is actually happy about it. It's kind of fun having a partner in this, and it helps him out too.

Getting Paid Before Getting Paid

One thing that is difficult about working for yourself is that you don't have actual paychecks, or pay stubs. If you need a loan you have to cart in your income tax returns for proof of income. If you want payday advances... well, good luck with that. Payday advances come in handy when you're in a pinch, and I have several friends who have used the services. I always get a little ping of jealousy when they do that, and I know that I can't, because I don't actually have a "pay day" or regular pay schedule. On the other hand, I love my job, and make more at it than I would at any normal "day job" so I guess, the trade off is worth it.

Check Out a Great Freelancing Resource

If you freelancers out there haven't tried Elance yet... do it now! I have always avoided project bidding boards. It seemed like the providence of the low-balling bottom feeders. Most of the time that is about the size of it. Elance isn't really an exception in that there are definitely clients on there that expect miracles for peanuts, but it is definitely the exception in that there are plenty of clients who realize that good work is worth a decent pay rate. I just joined in early December and have already made more in one month than I have in a long time. I am building a great client base, and have several returning clients. The platform is very large, and intricate. It takes a little getting used to, but the learning curve is minimal. The fact that the workrooms, and "office" area are so involved gives you a lot of room to work efficiently. The biggest advantage to Elance is the escrow. Clients pay before work begins, and it is held in escrow. When the job is complete, the client releases the escrow. If there are disputes, Elance mediates. If no action is taken by the client, Elance automatically releases the escrow at the stipulated time. That takes a lot of the worry out of freelancing, no chasing down clients for payment.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Wrestling Life Into Submission

Sometimes I feel like a professional wrestler. In the past, I've thought of it as a juggler, holding up all aspects of life at one time, juggling them so that nothing falls, and everything keeps moving. However, as I get older, I'm less of a juggler than I am a wrestler. I have to literally fight to keep things steady, and on course. Just as things seem to settle down, and I can release my grip, something happens to throw the entire thing up in the air again, and I have to wrestle it back into submission. I should wear wrestling headgear as an everyday uniform. Just last Monday my daughter convinced my husband that she needed us to come down to where she lives and visit because she missed family so much... that visit turned into driving her back up here to visit other friends she hadn't seen for some time. Now she's talking about moving back up here, which will mean changing my schedule, driving down and helping her move with the kids, getting them all settled in, and helping her with the kids while she works until she arranges sitting. It's not that I don't love seeing the grandkids, I do, but being a work at home person makes it hard to explain to people, especially relatives, that I am not 'home' and available to run errands, go shopping, or do chores for them while they work at a 'real' job.

Types of Bathroom Caulk

The type of caulk you choose to use for your bathroom tub enclosure needs to withstand a great deal of moisture, heat and, of course, water. The different types of caulk most often used as bathroom grout between tiles, wall panels and tub and shower enclosures have specific pros and cons. Caulk’s main purpose is to fill in gaps between tiles, walls and fixtures, or seal the seams of wall panels.

Silicone Caulk

The tub and shower surfaces in the bathroom are the areas that get the most direct water contact. Along with constant bombardment with water, the caulked areas in those zones also have to contend with a lot of moist heat that breads mold and mildew. The caulk used in these areas needs to be resilient, extremely water-proof, and also mold/mildew resistant. Silicone caulk is best for areas that are very prone to mold and mildew, or water damage. It is resilient and the most water-proof of all the types of caulk. One negative aspect of silicone caulk is it smells bad while being applied. Select silicone for bathroom projects only if the water contact is constant. Silicone caulk lasts up to thirty years.

Acrylic Caulk

Acrylic caulk is very popular in bathrooms because it dries to a shiny white, stays white and resists mold for long periods of time and throughout exposure to temperature changes. Acrylic caulk also accepts paint and blends in nicely along wall seams. Acrylic caulks do not last as long as silicone, but they are more pleasant to work with. Silicones have a strong odor while applying and drying. Acrylics are odorless. The acrylics dry faster than silicone, too. Acrylic caulk lasts up to ten years between applications.

Latex Caulk

Latex caulk is very resilient, easy to apply and lasts almost as long as silicone based caulk. Latex caulk is very popular for bathroom tub enclosure projects because it lasts up to twenty-five years before needing replacement. Latex caulk is very easy to handle, and if you make a mistake applying latex caulk it wipes clean with water and a towel. Latex caulk also has no odor during application or drying. Latex typically need re-application every twenty-five years. However, the one drawback to latex vs. acrylic caulk is that latex does not accept paint. Latex caulk is a good choice if your bathtub has a metal shower door surround as the latex caulk adheres to the metal surfaces well, and can take the temperature extremes of the bathroom.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Branson Adventure

Because I have relatives in the Missouri area, I've wanted to take a Branson Missouri vacation. I've even looked at homes for sale in the area. The opposite side of the lake of the Ozarks is as close as I've found, so far. The area is very popular, and homes in the Branson area are luxurious. Branson is home to so many wonderful entertainment venues. Besides the marvelous lake, something a boat lover like me is always on the lookout for, there are music and theater like Presley's Country Jubilee, Moon River Theater, Baldknobber's Jamboree Show, and of course, there's Silver Dollar City. Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure combined to make a wonderful experience for the whole family. The kids will love the dinosaur museum, and haunted house, and music and movie buffs will enjoy the Hollywood Wax Museum. All of these exhibits and events are just a small part of the many wonderful things to do in Branson, Missouri, and a vacation there is more than just fun, it's an adventure.

Skill Set Proof

One thing I found interesting on the elance site that I hadn't seen in past explorations of the platform is how they test skill levels. In the past, users would claim skills, but it was up to their future performance to determine if they really had those skills, or if they could produce portfolio examples of them. Some things aren't easy to prove in a portfolio, however, such as office skills, or blogging skills. I took four of their new 'tests' today, each was about 30 minutes in length (they are timed with a maximum of 20 to 40 minutes per test predetermined) and rated in the top 10% for creative writing (US non-fiction), creative writing (US fiction), office skills, and online article writing and blogging (US version). I like that a lot. I can take a test to help determine and prove my proclamation of proficiency. We'll see how, or if, clients accept that as proof, or not.

Luxurious Theater Seating

I recently downloaded a program that lets you design interior decorations and room designs. In it I created a 'theater room' and am hoping that Santa Claus is nice enough to provide some of the home theater furniture for it. We have the big TV, surround sound and other gadgets for the electronics portion of the theater, but not the comfortable seating. I'd also like a wall-to-wall rug again instead of the space rug. It helps the sound quality. The beautiful, plush, comfortable theater seating is nothing like you find in any cinema, at least that I've been through. It is elegant and luxurious, like you'd expect in any private mansion theater.

Hanging In There

This is the time of year that is really difficult for freelancers. Typically the amount of work available dries up, or at least slows down. I'm thankful that, so far, it isn't a 'dry up' year, but it is definitely a slow down year. So slow, in fact, that I am barely hanging on. I've always said that freelancing is feast or famine. I know that and make sure to remind myself all the time not to get used to the 'feast' times. It's easier said than done, however. Especially when the 'feast' times last a long time. In my case, I had two solid years of really good 'feast' and this severe drought is killing me. I even signed up for a bid for work place 'elance' (one of, if not 'the' biggest), and normally I do not advise those places. I'll take just about anything with a reasonable pay scale, though. I doubt much will come of the elance place, but when you are in a slump, you have to explore every option.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ever Changing Needs

It seems like I have spent the better part of my life stressing over how to lose weight. It has always been an issue for me. I have come to accept that it probably always will be. I don't understand why some people have weight problems, and others don't. It doesn't seem quite fair. But, it is what it is. At the same time, even if though I accept it for what it is, I also know that I can't just let it become a complacent issue or I'll get to the point where I can't even move. I'm too active in my hobbies for that. So I continue on with trying to lose weight, and then keep it off. That includes the on-going search for effective diet pills that work for me. Like all health care products, what works for one may not work for another. I find that what works for me changes over time. Right now, I'm dealing with being older and having to deal with metabolism issues I didn't have to deal with in the past. This is my new requirement for a diet pill. For each stage in life there are different needs so the quest for what works will be ever changing as is the rest of life.

The Time to Reflect

Grabbing a little popcorn and contemplating my fate. November is almost over. This year has been a little flat for me. Not completely horrible. In fact, I had a lot of fun over the summer, but financially and career wise: flat. Nothing very exciting at all. I need to do something about that in the coming year. Usually, I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but this year I have to make one: I have to shake things up and get things moving again. I attribute a lot of the current slack to some major life changes late in 2009 and also for quitting smoking. Now quitting was a good thing, but it caused a lot of upheaval that I still feel. Time to move on though.

Cleaning Inside and Out

Colon cleansing is a great way to clean out your body and is a good way to help lose weight too. It's important to find the right one when you are looking for a colon cleanser. Some are too harsh, and others not strong enough. You can find the best colon cleanser by reading reviews online and seeing which ones have the best ingredients, work well for others, are easily available and safe. Reviews are a good way to make a choice that is best for you, remembering that every product works differently for individual people, and you may have to try a few to find the one that is your perfect match. The reviews help you narrow your search, though, and make good choices that will work well even if they aren't the one you finally choose.

Can't Decide on a Project

I'm trying to decide on a winter-time project and I'm really torn. I want to build an RC model and can't decide between a plane and a boat. I would love to have a plane to fly and have been using a simulator, and could be ready to real fly in the spring when the plane would be ready, but at the same time, my love for boats would have me building a small scale boat like this one:

Well, I'll add the pictures on Monday after I scream bloody murder at my Internet provider for a weekend of impossible uploads. It is an awesome cruiser though. On the other hand, I'd love to build a static model of the F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Keeping It Light

I have finally gotten back on the 'horse' so to speak and started writing a novel again. The fact that it happened to coincide with NANO: that over-zealous November writing marathon is just a fluke. I'm not even signed up for that. I used to do the NANO thing every year, but I am just now getting the desire to write fiction again and didn't want to press my luck. My problem now is I seem to have forgotten how to keep a story in check. Chapter one is already far longer than it should be. If it keeps up this way I'll have to feed my book Lipofuze so that it won't break an editor's desk when it lands on it.

I used to have a well-developed natural rhythm. I don't know if it is the fact that I haven't written in a few years, and I just need to 'find it' again, or if it is gone for good. Hopefully I'll get my sense of timing back soon before my book becomes an epic tomb of monstrous proportions.

Putting Together a Home Theater

Home theaters create the perfect atmosphere to enjoy movies, TV and music. They can be simple, or very complex, but even the simplest home theaters require good planning and careful installation to work properly. Whether you spend thousands of dollars on the most high-tech devices, or you just want to get the most out of your existing equipment, you can create a home theater system that will give you hours of pleasure without expensive installation teams. Before you begin, enlist the help of a friend or relative to aid with the heavier lifting, and to hold various components while being installed.

Plan your room before you begin moving equipment, and furniture in. Put drapes over windows to cut glare during daytime viewing. If you plan on having many gadgets, or know your current electrical system is overloaded already, hire an electrician to run a dedicated electrical circuit from your breaker box to the home theater room so you have plenty of power and it does not interfere with other aspects of the house.

Plan the placement of your entertainment center considering how much space there is in the room. The bigger the screen on your television, the more space you need from front to back of the room. How much room is available may also dictate the size of the TV you should buy. The seating must be at least six to ten feet away from the screen for a 27 to 31 inch TV, eight to twelve feet from a 32 to 40 inch screen, and more than ten feet away from a screen over 40 inches for optimal viewing experience.

Place the television screen at eye level with the seating area of your home theater for the best viewing level. Install all cable connections, phone connections and Internet connection in the area where the television will be. Do not hang a television, or heavy speakers on drywall. If the wall where your larger speakers will be, place them on speaker stands instead of directly on the wall.

Unpack all of the equipment and sort out the remote controls, and necessary gear. Place batteries in the remotes. Collect all of the warranty information and put them in a safe place to fill out later.

Lay out the cables in a common area where they are easy to access when working. Attach your speaker cables to the surround sound receiver, and the receiver to the television.

Place each device on your entertainment center, or stand. These elements vary from user to user, but traditionally include a DVD player, cable or satellite box and possibly a game system. Follow the directions of each piece in attaching them to the television and each other.

Install the cable or satellite system connected directly to the television so that if you want you can avoid turning everything else on in order to simply watch TV.

Sit in a comfortable place and test the equipment. Turn on the TV by itself and judge the sound levels and picture quality. Adjust according to the instructions in the surround sound system, and the television manuals. Place a DVD in the player with a lot of technology and action to best judge the picture and sound through the DVD player.

Collect all of the excess wiring and loop it behind the entertainment cabinet, or television stand. Hold it in place with plastic ties.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Get Away to the East Coast Oceanside

The Outer Banks in Carolina are a great place for someone who loves water and beautiful coastlines to take a vacation. With rentals I am looking at a great deal on a cabin that is near all of the fun activities in the area, or a luxury condo, or home. There are even units as large as six bedrooms. Great for a big family, or a group. It is just Bob and me though, so a cozy little place by the beach is perfect. Besides Kitty Hawk, famous historically for the flight by the Wright Brothers, there are many other things to do if we decide to ever leave the beach. It's not likely that I'll want to go anywhere though, because there is nothing more relaxing that watching the waves play on the sand.

Making Up For Lost Time

I'm not often happy about cold weather. All of my favorite hobbies are warm weather occupations. However, one thing I do better in the winter is work. Both my copy writing, and my fiction writing get more attention during cold months. That's only natural since I hate going out in the cold. I look forward to gaining some financial momentum during the cold months since I lost quite a bit playing around on the boat this summer. It's always nice to make up for lost time.

Finding The Diet Help that is Right For You

If you are having a hard time deciding on what supplements to use, it is a good idea to research the best supplements for weight loss. These are more than the simple diet pills of when I was younger. There are far more options now ranging from fat burners to fat blockers, nutrition supplements to build the system and protect yourself while losing weight, protein builders, and of course, regular diet pills. All of these have a vast variety to chose from and that can make it difficult to make a decision about what is best. Everyone is different, and each type of aid works differently for each person. But learning how a product works in general, if it works for the majority of users, how and why it works can help you decide if it is right for you.

Telecommuting Screenwriting

Sometimes life isn't fair. Back about 10 years ago when I was trying to break into screenwriting, both age and location played a big part in being able to work in the industry. It was a very closed door (and good ole boy) society and being a women, over 30, and living in Illinois didn't help at all. Now, it seems the doors are opening and things are much less complicated when trying to break in. The Internet played a big part in that, but it was even back when I was doing it, although that was just the early days of producers and studios accepting online scripts, working through telecommunting, and web-based communications. With messaging and email so common now, even people who work in the same building, on the same floor, and sometimes in the same office communicate that way, why not those of us across the country?

Finding the Secrets to a Trim Belly

Sometimes things don't work the way you want them to. Getting rid of fat is one of those things. You can try and try and still make no headway getting rid of stubborn fat. This is especially true of belly fat. There are things you have to know in order to learn how to get rid of belly fat. It isn't possible to spot 'train' areas when you exercise, although it is possible to target certain muscles like the stomach. That helps you tone up, but not necessarily get rid of the fat deposits in the area. Dieting and exercise aren't always enough. The stomach area is designed to hold on to fat deposits, and is not quick to lose them. There are products that can help, and learning how to use them, and chose them is important. They can help you figure out how to get rid of those stubborn areas that don't want to melt away with simple diet and exercise.

Getting Bigger Every Day

Compare the last fetch video when Batty was just a few months old to this one from the other day when she's six months old... boy did she get big.

Getting Bigger Every Day

Compare the last fetch video when Batty was just a few months old to this one from the other day when she's six months old... boy did she get big.

Back Pain Relief with a Better Mattress

I bought a new mattress just a couple years ago, and I thought that would be it for awhile. It is still in good shape, but I have come to realize that I should have looked for a good orthopedic mattress for added support. I think that it would help my back a lot. I could really use an adjustable bed. They also can help with allergies, which I have, but more important is the back pain relief. Better than that, you can even get furniture for other areas of the house like the living room to support back health.

Puppy Fetch

It's hard to remember how small she was. Here's a video of Batty playing fetch when she was just a few months old.

Why Get a Managed Hosting Service

Building a website is easier now than it used to be when I first came online in the early 90s. However, for a real business power, you can also build a site on a dedicated, or managed hosting service that has everything you need in a package so you can build a website, and lets you have complete control, no one else using the bandwidth, and no possibility of anyone else who has a site on the server causing a crash or blackout. If you are industrious and want to create a website service yourself, you will also need managed hosting services. You can buy a server, and then divide it up yourself to sell to individual site holders. However you use it, a managed hosting service gives you much more power than a single website hosting service. Even managed hosting services are much easier to operate now than in the past, and you don't have to be a brain surgeon to keep it running. Operating systems and support are available so you can work with your server easily.

Good Days

Having a bad day with Batty today, so trying to remember the good times with her.

Diet Pills Help Lose Weight

Websites with diet pills for sale can help you kick start your weight loss. I could use some right now. I've done really good the past four weeks, and maintained my diet, slowly lost weight, and then suddenly had one of those unexpected gains today that just threw me off completely. For me, diet pills help avoid those times. There are many ways you can use weight loss pills to help you lose weight. You can use them just at the times when you are having difficulties, or you can use them consistently to help control appetite. Either way, finding great deals is easier online with the many resources available to help you choose the best pills and get them at the best prices.

Remembering The Summer

Just a little memory from Memorial Day boating to keep the spring alive through the cold fall months. I miss boating already.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Moving on to the Bathroom

I'm winding down with kitchen remodeling. The final step is to tear up the existing tiles, started last night, and redo the flooring. After that I want to work on the bathroom. Other than a new floor in there all I have to do is put in a new bathroom faucet. Luckily, installing a bathroom sink faucet is much easier than the kitchen sink faucet we recently installed. Picking a style for the bathroom is harder, though. There are so many really beautiful styles that fit the decor in our main bathroom. The kitchen was easy, I knew exactly what I wanted. I think it's going to take awhile to pick one for the bathroom.

Remembering The Gales of November

Recent November storms in Lake Michigan of which this picture was recently taken

brought to mind the painful and heart-wrenching story of the famous wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Being a local resident of the Great Lakes region the story has always held a spot in my heart, and trying to explain the severity of the weather and waters of America's Inland Oceans--the Great Lakes to others who can't understand what the big deal is about a lake water is difficult.

Keeping a Ferrari Purring

I like writing about people in entertainment social circles. That means I have to know about what kinds of cars they drive. Give them exotic toys to play with, and know what kinds of extras are optional, or can be bought for them. For instance, if my hero has a Ferrari, need to have it tricked out with options that are exclusive to that type of car.

Of course, if I should ever be so lucky to own a car like a Maserati, Lamborghini, or Ferrari it would be much more important to know where I could get Ferrari parts and parts for cars like it. Those aren't the types of parts you are going to pick up at the local parts store down the street. Knowing where to get the parts can make maintenance and repairs much less painful than just hoping an American shop can find them, or have them on hand.

How do I know that I have BPD?

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It is used in treating BPD, Borderline Personality Disorders. The acronyms can get confusing, especially when they so closely resemble each other and are related: treatment and illness. Patients who have BPD are often misdiagnosed due to the vagaries of the symptoms, but it is a very real illnesses that needs medical attention. DBT treats the illness using cognitive reasoning skills based on the theory that explains BPD as emotional disengagement.

Symptoms of BPD

• Splitting: Patients with borderline personality disorders often see the world as an all or nothing proposition. They have a problem with opposing viewpoints, and gray areas are out of the question for them.
• Lack of Self Esteem: More than a lack of appreciation for one’s self, a person with BPD simply never develops an identity that they recognize as theirs. They do not trust their own responses to life, or opinions. This is a problem because instead of reasoning out reactions to problems and believing in their opinions, patients with BPD tend to lash out in a reactive manner to any problem in life.
• Alienation: Patients with BPD feel separated from the rest of humanity. They don’t feel they belong, and they don’t feel they deserve to belong to the rest of the human race.

How DBT Can Help

Dialectical Behavior Therapy gives a patient a more balanced outlook on life. It helps them develop an ability to see how things connect, and sometimes blend in a more subtle manner than simply good vs. bad. DBT shows the patient the opposite truths in life that allow for divergence of opinions.

Therapists using DBT help patients reason out problems and think things through. They teach them to trust their reasoning skills and learn to accept who they are and how they feel about each situation as it occurs.

Using DBT, therapists give patients hope and help them restore their connection to the people around them. It erases the lifetime of shame that comes with feeling different, or blame for actions they haven’t been able to control. Most importantly, DBT allows patients to feel like they are in control of their illness and can manage it through treatment.

Friday, October 29, 2010

How Many 10s?

There are certain milestones in life that deserve recognition. Anniversaries are such milestones. Marriage is an institution that has undergone many renovations of convention over the centuries. Lately, it seems many find it somewhat disposable, so finding couples that have managed to find true love, and made it last, because it is work, is a refreshing scenario. This is true in real life and in our fiction that mirrors life pretty well. Read the fiction of an era to find out what they think about marriage, how they work it, and what the general atmosphere of the society morale is. For those, like myself, who have been married more than twenty years, it sometimes becomes something you take for granted, and that is not acceptable in any atmosphere. You should never take love and the longevity of a relationship for granted.

Whether you choose something romantic, or cute, 10th anniversary gifts let your partner know you aren't taking their commitment to your relationship for granted. It doesn't stop, or start for that matter, at ten, however. Start at one and keep on going... and there is no limit to how many 10s you celebrate. I'm moving in on 30 years, and the third 10 is as big a celebration as the first two.

I like to add humor with a anniversary gift. After all, anyone who has been married a long time knows it takes a good sense of humor to get through some of life's trials. Cute items like the anniversary toilet paper is a great way to give your lover a little lift.
Some people like to use the anniversary year gift suggestions. Some of those can be a little tough (or silly) like the 44th anniversary being the 'groceries' anniversary. Most, thankfully are much easier to buy for and still remain romantic. The 20th is china, and of course, the 50th is gold. You can buy your wedding anniversary gifts by year or just play it by ear and choose a gift based on personal likes and hobbies. Whatever you use to chose the right gift for your anniversary, never take it for granted.

Keeping it Ethical

A company’s code of ethics can give you a glimpse inside of their desire to serve their customers. The tone and language of the ethics statement is a good way to judge how in tune with your own ethical outlook a business may be. A company’s code of ethics also establishes how the business will handle acts of misconduct, or grievances with consumers. It is an often overlooked document that should be a first step in any decision to do business with another company, or use their services and products. Code of ethics documents contain a lot of language that can be confusing. There are steps anyone can take to help determine if a company’s policies are fair and upfront.

Check for easy to understand language. Statements of a code of ethics that is obscure or difficult to understand may imply an attempt to sidestep important information about how they will handle issues with clients, customers or the public. Using difficult language may also be an attempt to make a code of ethics difficult to determine if a company is just being political, or if it really means to stand by its services or products.

Check for inconsistencies in actual practice as opposed to the company’s proposed code of ethics. One of the biggest drawbacks to such a statement of purpose is there is no real policing body to govern how companies actually adhere to their ethical practices. A code of ethics policy is only as good as the company’s desire to follow through with it.

Look for inconsistencies between other statements of business such as a “Mission Statement,” or “Terms of Service” to see if other documents of policy agree with the code of ethics and each other.

See if the steps in the code of ethics make logical sense in coming to a conclusion on how to deal with discrepancies in service, breakdown of communication or behavior. A good code of ethics should have a clear and reasonable declaration of process to report bad service, product or behavior, and a reference of who to contact to make a report.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wii Fun

One of the first game consoles we ever had was a Nintendo. I think it was a Nintendo 64 way back in the 90s. The Nintendo line of games started our love of video games, and no computer games can really compete with the types of games available on game consoles like the modern day wii

Nintendo wii is even more interesting than the old games because of the interactive qualities. I haven't had a wii yet, but my kids both have them, and I've played with them as often as I can make an excuse to visit... oh yeah, and there's the grand kids, those are good reasons too.

Some of my favorite wii games are: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for Nintendo WII, and Big Beach Sports. Now I just have to get one of the kids to get some wii accessories like a steering wheel for racing games!
Watching "My Sister's Keeper" on HBO. I have it on DVD, but whenever I see a favorite on TV I still have to watch it. We laugh sometimes at tuning in to the middle of a movie, or watching one on commercial TV when we have the DVD. The other night we stopped watching a commercial TV movie and put the DVD in. Sometimes, though, for some reason it's nice to watch it on TV, at least on the movie channels where there are no commercials.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Avoid the Headaches of SSDI Applications

Only a few people will ever know what a Medicare part D plan is. Most people are more familiar with straight Medicare Parts A and B. Prescription plans and other extras are also a regular part of the vocabulary of many seniors. However, if you have a disability and need SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare Benefits you might find yourself in a big fight. The paperwork is a hassle, and a lot of people who truly deserve to get the benefits are turned down when they apply on their own. My sister-in-law has been disabled for twenty years, and receives benefits, but it was a big fight to get her the coverage she deserved. Even with doctor's records, and every reasonable request met, she was turned down several times until she got help. Don't mess around if you need, and deserve SSDI coverage. Find help from companies like Allsup who will file the paperwork for you. Their experience gives them a very high success rate. Over 98% of their applications are approved with no hassle, and you can avoid the pain and headaches of dealing with government agencies.

Biggest Loser Purpose

I still like watching the Biggest Loser on TV. I know that it's true what many say that it isn't realistic. It certainly isn't likely to be able to exercise six hours a day, and eat less than 1200 calories a day at home, be so totally committed. I mean you have to work, take care of the house, feed others who are not on a diet, and do all of that mundane stuff while trying to fit in some 'me' time. However, I still think the episodes are inspiring with one exception. I hate the game play. I don't think players should be 'voted' off. It's too political, and it's too out of context with the actual premise of the show. Players should be eliminated based on one thing, and one thing only, failure to lose weight.

They did come up with some differences earlier this year where a group of players fell below the yellow line and then had to fight in a competition to regain their spot on campus. That makes sense, and is fine, but then they still left two to be voted out... why? Do away with the voting and make it all about the weight loss and at least it will be true to the purpose of the show.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hypothyroid Causes Common Problems

Hypothyroidism causes a lot of problems and needs medical attention. It isn't something you can deal with on your own. It is possible to walk around with a thyroid problem and not know it. It can disguise itself and seem like something completely different. A good place in Texas for hypothyroid treatment austin is the place to start searching. The are clinics there that specialize in the treatment of the disease. If you are experiencing fatigue, have course hair for no known reason, your skin is pale or rough, you get muscle cramps and aches, and you can't take the cold, those are just a few of the many signs of a possible hypothyroid condition that you can solve with the proper medical attention.

Everything old is New Again

Today is old movie day it seems. We've been watching movies, mostly from the 80s and 90s. One from this decade did sneak in. 2005's Constantine with Keanu Reeves. It's fun seeing old movies, many with actors from today when they were just beginning. It is the reverse of the 'shock' of seeing an old favorite from way back, appearing in a recent show or movie and seeing how old they've gotten. That kind of hurts because it makes you feel old too. LOL

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What is Creatine?

There are so many diet aids and other health products on the market today, and sometimes it seems you have to have a degree in science to understand the benefits and needs of certain things. Knowing if a product is something that will benefit you also means you need to know what they are to start with. Products like Creatine often leave you wondering "what the heck is creatine in anyway?"

Those types of questions are very important. You have to know what a product is, not only to decide if you should look for it, but to know what makes it work and what doesn't. Websites that determine the best creatine powder products are a great help. They also should have helpful articles to tell you things like how creatine helps you regulate blood sugar levels, very often an important need for obese individuals. Learn all you can about the many products available to help you lose weight. In today's massive technological and medical environment of advancement, there's no reason to try and go it alone, but find the best information you can and decide what makes the most sense for you.

Blogger is Great

I haven't posted about this, even though it happened a few weeks ago. I really like the new Blogger additions to their design and development area. Considering the fact that the platform is free to use, they really provide a great amount of services that are comparable to such heavy-weights as WordPress for blogging. In fact, along with WP, I really think Blogger is the only real competition and that those two are the best available, free or otherwise. It helps that both are free to use. The difference is that WordPress, in order to get the most flexibility and the ability to sell or monetize you have to host on your own servers. I have several and they're great, and extremely versatile, but Blogger allows you all that, with maybe a little less flexibility and less add-ons, but no cost whatsoever in the form of hosting services.

Sleep Relief

Anyone who has ever had a sleepless night because they couldn't sleep knows what a great benefit natural sleeping aids really are. The natural part is an important element, because they imply, and in fact deliver, a sense of safety and less harsh ingredients for your body, while at the same time giving you the blessed relief of sleep. Nothing is much worse for the body that sleep deprivation. It keeps you from concentrating, thinking straight, making good decisions, and leaves you feeling drained and fatigued all the time.

Reality Isn't All Bad

Watching "The Biggest Loser" I had to giggle a little as I realized how much my opinion has changed in the past ten years. I remember when reality TV started and how much I hated it. I still kind of do. What I should say now is that I prefer story lines and fiction to reality TV, but I don't despise reality programing any more. In fact, I've been a devoted Biggest Loser fan for about five years now, and even enjoy a few others. I still have some I dislike a lot, such as Big Brother, or Survivor, but to be fair, the same is true of fictional stories, some I adore and am a big fan of such as the new "Hawaii Five-O" or "Burn Notice," "White Collar," "Hot in Cleveland" and others. So reality TV held on, turned out not to be a 'fad' and some aren't all that bad after all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finding the Right Diet Pills

I've decided to try something I've never done before. I usually go all out when I diet and shoot for high numbers and losing it all at once. That strategy isn't working for me now. I don't know if it's the not smoking anymore, or the early years of menopause, but that just doesn't work anymore. Nothing works quite the same way anymore. So, I find myself looking for the best diet pills to support my efforts, and looking toward manageable weight loss. Small steps. A pound a week, or every two weeks instead of a pound a day. Focusing on ten pounds at a time instead of all I have to lose. I don't know if it will work, but the past year has shown that former methods definitely do not. Getting the information necessary to help select the right diet pills to get the job done is invaluable. Using online resources helps me pick the pill that will work best for me. Since we're all different that can be different for me than for others.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cleaning a Salt Water Pool, a Softer Solution to Pool Chemicals

Unlike chlorine and other chemicals used to regulate swimming pool sanitation, salt stays in the water and does not need to be replaced. The only time you need to replace salt is when your add or change water. There are steps to take to make sure you maintain the proper levels of salt to keep your pool clean. Most adjustments are made at the start of the season, or the end of the season. Salt water pools save their owners a lot of money in constant chemical additions throughout the swimming season.

Keep your pool free of visible dirt. Use a skimmer, net, and pool vacuum regularly to remove dead insects, leaves, dirt and other debris.

Test for sale and stabilizer levels at least once a week. Salt should be 2500 to 3000 ppm (parts per million) in concentration. That is a very small amount of salt, and salt water pools are still considered fresh water. If your salt levels tend to drop too low frequently, add rock salt to a skimmer to slowly dissolve in the water. The stabilizer should be 60 to 80 ppm to protect the water from sunlight that burns up salt chlorine. Run these tests with the proper testing kits whether your salt water chlorination system lights are indicating low or not.

Adjust the pool filter timer to run longer if the salt dissipates too quickly. It may not be running long enough to send the proper amounts of salt back into the system. The pool filter should always run during the hottest part of the day when sunlight is its most concentrated. Keep the system on from 10 am until 6 pm during the swimming season.

Keep a good pool shock treatment on hand for unforeseen events, or unusual circumstances. Even with a salt water system if your pool is overcome due to unusually heavy use from parties, heavy rain or other unusual circumstances it may need extra help. Adding extra rock salt will improve the salt levels, but it takes the pool time to produce chlorine from the salt so if you want to use the pool right away at safe levels of sanitation you will need to supplement the chlorination with pool shock treatment.

Check the salt cells in the chlorination system if your indicator lights remain on even after adding salt. Soak the cell to remove scale buildup on the plates using an acid preparation made for the specific purpose.

Drain 20 to 25 percent of the pool’s water if there are white flakes floating in the water. The white flakes are calcium deposits and will not harm you. Add fresh water. Retest with salt water test kit. Add the appropriate amount of rock salt. Check cells for calcium or scale buildup. Soak cells in acid preparation if required.

Display Your Life With Passion

One of the most interesting and fun technological advances that has come from digital technology are digital frame picture displays. Not only can pictures be displayed in a more vibrant mode than a faded photograph, but the frames are often programmable to keep a slide show moving across them, display a number of pictures in a collage or other display method. Digital frames are like having a moving exhibit on your office desk, bedroom wall, or living room.

Another great use for digital frames is to display artwork. The same concepts used for displaying photos can be used to produce a slide show of art. Digital frames come in many styles and sizes to make elaborate displays or simple show your pride and passion for the people and places in your life.

What's a Name?

I can't take it anymore: I'm in pseudonym hell. Not even MY pseudonyms. I tried using a pseudonym once. Then realized that if I felt so ashamed of something I've written that I need to hide behind a different name, I should not have written it to start with. The thing is, so much conventional wisdom has authors using pen names to one degree or another, for several reasons:

1) the obvious, shame: Writing in a genre that is sensational or pornographic. Writing in a genre that is tacky. Writing solely for money - selling out. Okay, I have dabbled in the first, and used a pen name, that's when I decided that if it shamed me that much I shouldn't write it. I have also been accused of the later, and still won't use a pen name, although I know MANY (double, even triple emphasis on 'many') writers of both fiction and non-fiction who write the same stuff under a pseudonym, but will look down on others who openly do it.

2) Division of genres. What? You mean someone who reads a romance title would blush, scream, and never buy another title of my work if they found out I have also written women's fiction, thrillers, and occult horror? Geesh.

If you, as a writer, can find the time and energy to promote more than one name, more power to you, but I'm just too old, tired, busy... and maybe even stupid to keep it all straight. I simply do not have the desire to run separate 'lives'.

That said, what REALLY started this rant is pseudonyms on message boards. There are two reasons I hate posting under fictitious 'sign on' names:

1) It's hard to know who you're talking to, heck you could even be talking to someone you've had a war with on another forum under a different name, or to someone you like a lot somewhere else.

2) Most of all because people use the fake names to act ways they never would if people knew who they were.

Be yourself.

It's hard in this anonymous world of the Internet to not give in to the fakery and silliness, but rise above it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

No Feet, No Fun

Growing up in the horse industry the saying "no foot, no horse" was a constant truism everyone knew. If you're heading out to engage in some serious outdoor sports you need the right shoes, because another truism is "no foot, no fun." You don't even have to be a professional athlete or competitive walker to get good hiking shoes. The right shoes, boots or sole style can make the difference between an enjoyable time and misery from beginning to end. Take care of your feet and they'll help you enjoy your passions and pastimes.

Make Your Own Backyard Paradise with a Waterfall

A waterfall makes a wonderful focal point for any landscaping project, it also adds excellent audio relaxation with the gurgling sound of rushing water. The layout of your waterfall will determine the level of sound and the type of feel and impact it has on its surroundings. You can build your own waterfall with this step-by-step process and make it unique using the tips here to decide the proper sizes and shapes for the design.

Plan first and create a layout in the area you want your waterfall. Consider the incline for the stream carefully. The distance the water “falls” creates the ambiance of a waterfall, both in looks and in sound. The higher the fall, the louder the water and the stronger the sound. However, a tall fall also produces a more spectacular visual appeal and more opportunities for places to create levels and directional changes using large boulders or slabs or stone.

Use a hose to line the area for the bottom reservoir, the path you want the water to fall, and roughly the area the top of the fall will be. If the area you want your waterfall is already sloped, or even sharply inclined, you have some added benefits, but if it’s perfectly flat, you can still achieve the desired results.

Order ½ ton of ¾ to 2-inch gravel per 10 foot of ‘stream’ area where the fall is. In addition you need 1 to 2 tons for the upper and lower basins. Purchase 6-inch to 2-foot field boulders to line the stream and hold the water in the containment area both in the basins and the stream. Buy ¾ tons for each 10 feet of stream, and an additional 3 to 4 tons for the basins.

Before you dig call! Call your local 811, or your local JULIE utility service and have any underground utilities marked so you know for sure that there is nothing you can hit when digging your waterfall.

Use white (or any light contrasting color) spray paint to outline the area where the hose lays, then remove hose. Dig with the shovel to uncover the area for the stream, and dig out the lower containment basin at least two feet deep. Larger pools make appealing ponds, but are based on your available space, desired water use, and if you will use a weir or not. A weir acts like a containment area inside your basin to hold water specifically to be recycled through the waterfall so you don’t have to use an entire pond and always have the appropriate pressure.

Dig another trench alongside the basin and stream up to the top basin area for the water hose, this will be covered and hidden after the water delivery hose is laid.

Drill a hole into the weir, or other basin side to accommodate the pump and hose. Follow the directions on the pump system you select to attach the water intake hose and attach the hose to the weir, or outer basin.

Run the water hose alongside the stream bed in the trench up to the upper basin area.

Lay plastic pond liner in the stream area, and down into the lower basin. Line with boulders to hold in place. Place other boulders in strategic areas of the stream to create additional levels for the water to flow over. Line the stream and the lower basin with gravel.

Build the upper basin with boulders. Use pond sealant to secure the boulders to the liner below and to each other. Leave a gap to insert the water hose in the rear of the upper basin and seal it so no water can leak out. Provide a lip at the front of the upper basin that is an inch below the waterline so water can spill into the waterfall stream.

Backfill the water hose trench with dirt and cover with sod. Fill the lower basin with water and start the pump.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creamy Skin?

It's kind of funny, but none of my fictional characters ever seem to be either a) old enough to need special creams or procedures to stop wrinkles, or b) worried about it if they do. When you think about the fact that I tend to write about main characters in the same age group as I am, myself, that really is kind of an interesting fact about how I think. Is it a purposeful slight? I never have my heroine needing a top wrinkle cream, or patting on moisturizers before heading off to a romantic night with "Mr. Right." Maybe part of it is that I'm so far removed from the dating 'scene' that I don't know if they would, and it sure does seem like it would kill some of the romance. Maybe I should have them patting a bit of wrinkle cream on before going out, or mention it on one of the off moments when they aren't faced with a lip-lock with Mr. Right.

The thing is, that part of life seems so mundane; so ordinary. It's something I do all the time, and my Mr. Right is quite used to seeing me with a face full of cream.

Creating an Internet Server

Have you ever wondered how hard it would be to start your own Internet service? I have. Every time my server goes down, I mumble under my breath about how I should start my own. Even my husband gets in on the act when he's home. Starting up your own basic Internet service is not nearly as complicated as you might think it is. While major corporations tend to rule the big megacenters of Internet connectivity in major cities and suburbs, the rural areas are still ripe for the entrepreneur to bring better services to those who can’t find adequate connections. You need some equipment and basic technological abilities, and a lot of time. The biggest hurdle for private Internet service companies is the ability to be on call 24/7 in case their server goes down.

Get funding. Check into local and federal grants and funds set up to help bring Internet service to small towns and rural areas. These funds will help get you started quicker, and easier, with the ability to connect to more people, but you will need to be good at writing grant proposals, and have a very good business plan in place that also shows the need for new services in the area you want to start up.

Rent an appropriate space. If you live in the area you wish to serve, have a big enough home, don’t mind people coming and going at all times of the day and night, and it is allowed by your zoning office, you could run your ISP from your home. Keep in mind that an Internet Service Provider company is a 24-hour a day business in the modern world. In the early days of the Internet services could get away with not being available during evening, night or weekend hours, but not anymore. People expect their Internet connection to be available, and when it’s not they expect the tech support people to be available to tell them why at all times.

Find a server to act as a backbone. The entire business of the Internet is basically a pyramid scheme. An Internet Service Provider is simply reselling the services they buy from a higher provider. You need to obtain T1 connections that you can split up to your customers. In most cases, you can put hundreds of users on one single T1 connection.

Decide on the type of connection you want to provide. Dial-up is far too out-dated to be an option. In most rural areas they already have dial-up service and they want to switch because they want, or need faster speeds and more reliable connections. The two most typical types of Internet connections for rural areas are wireless and satellite. Wireless is the only type that requires an intermediary (you), but it is somewhat more reliable than most satellite companies. If you are going to be providing ISP service to smaller towns you might be able to financially afford to lay cable which is the best form of connection when it is feasible. Depending on the type of service you decide on you will need the hardware to run it. For wireless service that includes radio receivers for each end user, a broadcasting antenna for your end, and a computer to regulate the signals.

Buy the appropriate equipment and software. You need a Primary Rate Interface (PRI) which routes traffic to the connection. Your customers will route through your PRI to the main T1 line. Between your PRI and the main source you also need servers. These servers each provide unique functions. There are separate servers for email, DNS, web browsing.

Although you can use one machine for all of the services you provide, as your company grows that may overload the system causing many failures and a lot of unhappy customers, not to mention a lot of sleepless nights for you. If at all possible ask your T1 provider if you can place the servers at their offices to make them more secure (the less distance between server and source the more stable the connection). However, it MUST also be accessible to you and your technicians so they can be repaired when they go down.

If your main ISP is too far away to travel to fix it, keep the servers closer to home. Lastly, you need a hub to connect all of the servers together for a seamless platform your users can access without even knowing they are going between one or another. The hub connects to the main access switch leading to the T1 connection so you can turn it on and off when needed for servicing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Invitations and Memories

When you are planning a special event like a baptism you need the right Baptism invitations to commemorate the day. The invitations are not just something you send out to hopeful guests, they should be something they can keep to remember your baby's special day. The baptism invitation should be the quality and have the appearance you would be able to use to add a page to your child's memory book so they can look back at them as adults, or you can use to tell them the story of their birth and childhood. Sometimes memories like that can help parents reunite with their teens when things are getting strained. Don't cheat on your potential memories. Send beautiful baptism invitations to your friends and family, and keep some for those special times when you need to remember early days.

Backlink Values

I have a question that maybe some of you who freelance may know. If you shorten a link to post it on Twitter does that link still count as a backlink? I would still use them because a long link string takes up too much of the Twitter word limit, if it doesn't exceed it altogether, but it cuts the value in half.

There are two values to a Twitter or Facebook backlink: one is to get traffic. That would still occur even if the link isn't a valid backlink for search engines. The other reason is to get search engine recognition for incoming links of value. Facebook and Twitter are both valuable backlink sites. So losing the link juice from a "cloaked" link would destroy that part of the value.

Finding the Right Cream for Eye Circles

I am plagued with dark circles under my eyes. I have had them since I was a child, they are not the result of aging or environment. However, they do get worse when I don't get enough sleep, I spend too much time staring at the computer, or eat right. They have improved some since I quit smoking, but I still always on the lookout for the best eye cream for dark circles. My eyes have always been a double-edged sword. At one time my best feature and my worst. If it weren't for the dark circles, I have deep-set, piercing blue eyes and I really like them. I don't show them off enough because of the circles though.

Blog, Ping, and Tag

Increase your blog or website exposure with things you do everyday anyway. Most people post on Facebook and Twitter, but forget to include links to things they write for their website or blog. You can increase your traffic and get your articles read at a much higher rate than just letting it sit online and hope someone stumbles on it. Pinging is important too. When you post new information to your site use a ping service to alert search engine spiders so they get there faster. You can use tagging services like Digg, too, but many of them do not like you to hit up your own sites. It is more effective to use social media to get people to see your blog or site.

Kick Your Metabolism

A good diet and exercise plan isn't always enough to help reduce body fat percentage and lose weight. You can lose weight and still have bulges and uncomfortable fat deposits. A fat burner helps reduce those areas as well as keeping more from forming. You can even improve your own diet with natural fat burning properties like pepper. Everyone always says foods like onions, garlic, and pepper are good for you, but most of us rarely understand what that means. Along with health properties helping to keep you from getting sick with common ailments like colds and flus, they also help kick your fat burning metabolism into high gear.

Freelancer's Day

September 24th is International Freelancer's Day. Bet you didn't know that. What you should know is that on the 24th and 25th at there will be plenty of FREE instructional courses for freelancers to help them build their skills, clients, and income levels. Don't miss this event. Check it out and mark it on your calendars so you can take advantage of the information and develop your business for the new year to come. It's time to break out and really get the most out of your freelancing business. If you haven't even started yet, maybe this will give you the jump start you need to get your business off the ground and let you work from home full-time.

Visualizing Costumes

Do you ever have your characters in costumes? Whether you are writing about a modern character going to a Halloween party, or writing about a bunch of people living in an era or location where the clothing is different from what you wear everyday it can be very important to describe it accurately. Make sure that what you see in your mind is being related on the page.

You can get a lot of practice from the fact that Halloween is coming soon and most of your family will be wearing costumes. You can describe costumes and events like Halloween parties, haunted houses, and other festivities and decorations on a blog, in a journal, or even writing a short story to get some experience writing about costumes. Makes sure you don't use pictures: that's cheating.

Muse Gone Missing

Calling all fiction writers. Here's a question for you. What do you write about? I'd really like to hear from any of you out there, and find out. For years, I always had some kind of running script in my mind, a proverbial movie in my mind. Lately that seems to have gone missing. I still write, but I can't find my fiction loving writing ability anymore. Maybe the question should really be, where do you find the muse when she's gone missing?

Burn It Up

I've used lipo 6 for her and think it is a really good product with good results. It doesn't leave your heart racing like some diet pills, but really does block the absorption of fat from your diet. It speeds the metabolism without the jitters formerly associated with fat burners. It helped me lose quite a bit of weight over a few months. Used with an intelligent diet and exercise it added a lot to my eating plan. Having tried to lose weight with just the diet and exercise without much success after a few weeks, I had gotten frustrated. The Lipo 6 For Her product helped relieve the stress and get rid of the weight.

Parting Words

"Sweet Home Alabama" is a touching movie that always makes me smile. It's one of those that should be a tear jerker, but really just gives you that cozy, warm feeling. It's the type of romantic comedy I love to see. A lot of movies try to find that magical element, but only a few ever really achieve it. "Pretty Woman" was another. These movies always have one special element to them, even if everything else is different. They all have magical final lines, (or in the case of SHA, close to final lines) like: "So I can kiss you anytime I want" or in "Pretty Woman," the line "she rescues him right back."

Writers Behind the Screen

I can tell you one way not to lose belly fat: sit at your computer all day. Unfortunately that's something writers tend to do. That noticeable rear end spread used to be known as "secretary's spread" but it may as well be writer's butt now. Butt, belly, thighs, and everything else because it's hard to get enough exercise when you're sitting behind a screen. You have to get up and move. In fact, that not only helps you lose belly fat, it improves circulation and many other aspects of your health. Spend some of your valuable research time learning how to lose belly fat fast so you don't have to spend all day trying to lose weight and you can get back to the business of writing, but don't forget to do something each day. You'll be surprised what even a little bit of movement will do for your overall health.

Healthy You

What is being fit? It seems like now-a-days everyone associates being fit with skinny. Being thin is good, although not to thin, but it isn't the whole picture. Being fit is about what condition your body is in and how it performs. I suppose the reason it came down to weight is that weight makes a big difference in how you move, feel, and of course, look. A good healthy lifestyle develops a fit body. What a lot of people fail to realize is that you don't have to go on extreme diets, in fact it's not good to lose weight too fast. A sound eating plan, and reasonable exercise program will help you get into shape. It may take more time than hours of exercise a day and strict calorie limits, but you'll be happier, and healthier in the long run.

Healthy Flax Benefits

The biggest flax seed benefits revolve around heart and cholesterol control. It's easy to incorporate flax seed into your diet, or if you prefer take a supplement each day. Flax seed is a grain, but it's low carb so it has little impact on your body's sugar levels or weight loss plans. What it will add to your healthy lifestyle is plenty of vitamin B and minerals like magnesium and manganese.

A little known fact of flax seed is that it contains ALA, the earlier form of omega 3 oil so touted for heart health and found in fish oils from Salmon and such. Eating fish is good for you, but there are limits to how much you should eat thanks to the pollution of the water sources they are found in, so adding flax seed to your diet helps boost the healthy oils you have in your eating plan.

Cleaning Up

"Hoarders"-- now there's a program that epitomizes the peak of reality TV. Showcase the very worst of personal depravity and mental instability for the whole world to see. Now I suppose there are positive aspects, such as informing others of serious illnesses, and getting people help. However, help on these shows tends to be something along the lines of yell and scream at them, browbeat them, trample their egos into the ground and tell them how horrible they are until they break. This show really reeks, literally. Houses full of garbage and piled to the max with dirt. It rivals the older version "How Clean is Your House?" I do know one positive aspect of these shows for my own personal life: it sure makes me want to clean my house.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Life Insurance on Terms

It's going to be time again soon to renew my life insurance. I can't wait to proudly tell my insurance agent that I have quit smoking for over a year. That will really improve my rates. He's been bugging me for years to quit. I am considering switching form whole life to term life insurance too. Term life is much more affordable which will be helpful at this time as we make transitions into retirement years ahead. We don't have the big overhead expenses to cover if we both pass that we did before, so really we just need to cover the expenses of our burials so the remaining spouse isn't left with big bills, or our kids aren't made to make difficult decisions. A term life policy for 20 or 30 years will more than cover our time left, and cover all our bills, burial, and even leave some money left over for the one of us remaining, or our kids. Life insurance can be hard to think about because no one wants to have to use it, but no one wants to be left without it either.

Getting Over Quitting.

Well, it's been a year of firsts, and re-starts, and getting back to basics. At the same time, I am still struggling with the straggling ends of quitting smoking, and the mild depressions, mental cloudiness, and probably some form of ADHD or whatever that attention disorder is called. It was much, MUCH worse when I first quit, but I still feel the effects. Sometimes I wonder if the effects are in my mind, and a product of the addiction because every so often I find myself thinking I'd have been better off not quitting, I should just start smoking again and all my troubles will disappear... they did all seem to start right about that time, but mainly I think it was partially coincidence, and partially a true after-effect of quitting that I have to accept as a rite of passage to a healthier life. It's only been a little over a year now. That's a relatively short period of time considering I smoked for 30 years. Hopefully it won't take a full 30 years to get over the lingering aspects of quitting. I don't have quite that long.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Job Flexibilty

Doing a medical job search online is one of the best ways to find jobs in the competitive and tight economic world of today. Even with the problems in the economy, medical jobs are one of the fields still in demand, but you may still have to go outside your normal location to find the right position. Searching online lets you see what is available anywhere in your state, a region, nationally, or even, if you really have an adventurous heart, globally. Allowing yourself the flexibility to look for jobs elsewhere other than your specific geographical region opens up your choices to a great extent and improves the odds of you finding the perfect job.

Whales Near New York?

When you first think of New York, your first thought may not be whales, but according to USA Today Travel, New York is a top destination for whale watchers. The coastal waters lend themselves to the big sea creatures of the deep, and spectators can see the underwater giants using several different methods.


The simplest method is to stand on the shores of common whale movement areas. The beaches of Long Island are a good place to watch for whales moving between the harbor and the open ocean. There are also whale watching tour companies where guests can ride out into Long Island Sound, or New York Harbor and get up close to the huge ocean mammals.


Some of the roughly 25 species of whales that congregate in the waters around New York include the humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whales, pilot whales, and fin whales.

Where to Watch

Anywhere along the ocean coastline, or any water connected to the ocean is fair game as a location for spotting whales. New York has no shortage of those types of waterways. The best areas noted by whale watching groups is off of Long Island in the Long Island Sound. Other areas whales inhabit include New York Bight, a spot of shallow water at the juncture of Long Island and New Jersey, Gardiner’s Bay, and Block Island Sound.

Whale Watching Seasons

Whales do not really have a season. The waters are open all year round. However, whales inhabit the area when food will be there, and July through September are prime months for the schools of fish and krill fill the water. The tour schedule by CRESLI offers a good guide to the best times to see whales in their natural habitat. The peak times are in July and August when food is plentiful, and near the surface.

What to Wear

The height of the whale watching season is in the heart of the summer months, so it is likely to be warm. However, ocean air, cool breezes, and rain are common occurrences so dress in layers to accommodate any conditions. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses. The sun’s glare on water is much harsher than on land. Wear a hat to prevent sunburn, and bring plenty of sun block.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

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Work From Home In Your Pajamas

But it IS Sales Marketing...

Marketing—is there ever an end to learning how to do it? If there is, I can nearly guarantee there’s no end to actually doing it. Like many things in IM, it is something anyone wanting to work from home in my pajamas, it is a part of existence you have to get used to. In my former life (that is, the life before I became a full-time writer, freelancer, and student of all things Internet Marketing) if you’d have asked, I’d swear up and down I was no good at sales.

If you ask me now I’d say the same thing. At least the old fashioned “car salesman” type of sales. Definitely not good at that. I’ll even go a step further and say I COULD be good at it. Some would say I have a pleasant personality. I don’t like to brag, but fact is fact, and I generally get alone with most people. I am a fairly happy-go-lucky person, and people tend to gravitate toward positive, happy people… so there’s that. But---I HATE SALES. I hate sales like I hate going to the dentist, it’s that intense.

So why is it I can, and do, continue to work in the world of Internet marketing along with my ‘paycheck’ freelancing? It’s still sales. I had to stop one day and break it down for myself as well. Yes, it is still sales. I can do it, and even enjoy doing it because I honestly like what I’m selling. I think that’s a big part of the ticket for anyone who is successful in selling anything at all. Only pick products you really believe in. If you choose to promote a gadget that makes it easier to work from home in your pajamas, then you will do better with it even if it only makes you a dollar or two per sale, than one that sells slick mastermind schemes that promise the moon, and you know are just gimmicks. You’ll do well because you believe, or even know what the item you sell can do, and will do for your buyers. You may, or may not use it, but you believe in its potential and worth. You, too wish to, want to, or do, work from home in your pajamas so you know it is true.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Part of the Story


Big and Small Screen Exclusions

Movie and television writing are a much different breed of writing than online work for hire, marketing, or advertorial styles. They are a breed apart even from fiction and non-fiction writing, although they come much closer to those types of writing. Movie and television writing require good software programs to get the proper formatting. You can't just use Word... or rather, you can't easily just use Word to accomplish your goals. The biggest difference is the location and age prejudice in the on-screen industry. If you don't life in L.A. or are over 21, you may find it really difficult--not impossible, mind you, but difficult, to enter the highly selective world of screen writing for big or small screens.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wanna Be in the Majors?

It seems like a really cool idea: owning a team; even a minor league one. There's a lot that goes into it though. To start with there are several decisions you need to make before buying a minor league baseball team. There are many benefits to owning any type of minor league team, and most make a considerable profit throughout the year. According to CNN the values of minor league teams rose as much as 2 percent in 2005.

Decide if you want to be part of a franchised, major league sponsored team, or if you want to own an independent minor league team. They all play on the same roster, but have one main difference. Major league sponsored minor league teams are supported by their sponsors. The major league team pays the salaries of the minor team so there is someplace for the team to develop talent. The independent minor league team pays its own salaries. Both teams keep all of the income from tickets, souvenirs and concessions. Major league sponsored teams make more money because they don't have to pay out salaries, but, they have no control over who is on the team. Independent team owners make a little less money, but pick their players.

Decide if you want to be a hands-on owner, or if you would prefer to simply own stock in the franchise. Being a hands-on owner has great rewards, intimate connections with the team, and a direct say-so over what happens. Hands-on owners also make more money. However, it also costs a lot more to have a large share, or sole ownership of a minor league baseball team. If you don't have several million dollars you can still be a part of the thrill of owning a profitable minor league team, and work your way up in the ranks from there.

Be prepared to pay between three and twenty-five million dollars for full, outright ownership of a major league affiliated minor team.

Check with the parent club for available minor league ownership possibilities.

Start your own minor league team without affiliations to the MiLB. There are also established teams occasionally for sale, but the news of the availability is largely word-of-mouth or industry news. Get involved with several minor league baseball websites, and the official MiLB website to keep abreast of all that is going on and any possible openings in indy teams.

Be prepared to enjoy an invigorating sport from the inside and have the pride that comes with owning a team included in the sport that is America's national pastime.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Not Sinking

I bought a new faucet a few months ago, but it wasn't until we installed the beautiful new faucet that I realized the old sink was showing it's many years. I've considered many and am looking mostly at Franke sinks. I love the looks of the off centered, not balanced size sinks. It gives the whole space a more artistic look, and even looks bigger than two side-by-side sinks of equal size. There are also some very interesting accessories such as in sink strainers, colanders, and cutting boards. Not only do they provide a clean look, they are more efficient.

Summer Pops

Summer is in full swing here in Illinois. The temperatures are a hot and humid 80 and over every day now. I don't hate it, not as long as the air conditioning is FINALLY fixed, this time for good I hope. It has brought into full swing another summertime regular, along with boating, swimming, and air conditioning, it's freezer pops. I love them. They are addicting. I can eat them constantly. I have to actually make myself keep track of how many I eat so I don't overdo it. They taste great, are cold and cooling. They don't cost much, although I suppose I could make them myself cheaper. They are, after all, basically just frozen Koolaide.

Accidents Waiting To Happen

Most of the hobbies I have involve big trailers. Several of them are 5th wheel trailers. That is the type that has a neck (many times they're known as gooseneck trailers) that leans over the back bed of a pickup truck where the type of hitch known as a 5th wheel is located. Those are big, heavy duty trailers. Thanks to their weight and size they are more stable, and can carry heavier loads. The drawback is, if something goes wrong with a trailer that big when you are on the road you may be in a tight spot to get it fixed, both physically and economically. This type of trailer really pays to have a good 5th wheel warranty on it so you have the peace of mind knowing whatever you have to do to get your vehicle back on the road, it is covered. Many normal auto policies don't have such coverage, and others can be very expensive. Going to a company that specializes in trailers, RVs, and tow vehicles is more cost effective and better coverage. There are even perks like discounts when you are traveling. Don't wait and think break downs and accidents aren't likely. They may not happen often, but when they do, there's no substitute for good insurance coverage.

Dragon Cave?

The Internet world is fully of crazy games. I guess we're just that bored. Now I can't complain. I get all fired up involved in many of the Facebook games. However, even I can't understand the interest in a game like It seems kind of shiny and catchy, but in reality it is just a matter of getting people from various outside forums to click on your 'egg' in a signature link so you can raise a dragon, and get the website unique clicks. Hum... nah.

Housing Problems and Cancer

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that truly concerns me. Both me and my husband's family have a history of cancer in general, and I recently found out that the home we've lived in for many years is loaded with asbestos products that had been covered up. Before screaming I found out that covering up is the typical way of dealing with things like asbestos tile. However, I wasn't even told it was under there. I know the previous owners knew. They built the house... personally. The man was a contractor. I've thought a lot about getting a lawyer since mesothelioma is a cancer brought on by long time exposure to asbestos. However, it is probably a mute point since I just found out that both former owners (man and wife) are now deceased. I wish I'd found out sooner. Not that they really had anything to sue for.

Batty Fetch

Here's a fun video of Batty playing fetch outside in our backyard a few days ago. She's much better, faster, and complete with the return inside. She wasn't sure about doing it outside, or how her tennis balls got out there in the first place.

Hormones and Acne

I find it a little disconcerting, and a little embarassing that I am having acne problems at my age. I'm nearly 50, but my hormones are all out of whack it seems. I have products like acne body wash that I haven't had on my shelves in years. Not since my own kids were teens. On a positive note, the products are a hundred times better, more efficient and effective than they ever were before. When I was a teen there weren't many acne creams at all, much less washes and scrubs. The acne I have now is even on my shoulders, so the body wash is important. I don't think I even had a problem with shoulders, or back when I was younger. I always thought I would age gracefully, but apparently my body doesn't want to cooperate.

Memories To Make Me Smile

I was going through some pictures and I am not sure how this oldie got in the folder it was in but it made my mind go spinning back. That's the beauty of pictures and videos. They are the holders of memories. Sure we remember stuff, but a picture brings it all into sharp focus. the picture is my daughter and my two grandkids when they were four and six. It was about 3 years ago. Not long, but long enough that seeing the picture tugged at my heart and made me smile all over. I miss them. They are downstate and I don't get to see them often enough.

Get Help with a Quit with Electronic Cigarettes

I don't make much of a secret of the fact that I quit smoking one year ago. I used several aids to help. One popular quit smoking aid is the electronic cigarette. It gives you the oral satisfaction, without the deadly chemicals of a cigarette if you want to quit. There are also version that supply a dose of nicotine to those who need a cigarette but are in a place where smoking conventional cigarettes is not allowed. Even the nicotine version of the electronic cigarette is much healthier than smoking old-fashioned cigarettes because they don't contain many of the deadly chemicals found in the tobacco plant, but rather only a nicotine extract. Electronic cigarettes with nicotine also have no tar which is a huge contributor to lung cancer. Quitting the cigarette habit is the best thing you can do for your body, not too mention your wallet. Using the electronic cigarette can help.

Getting Bigger

Batty is really getting accustomed to life in our home. We've had her three weeks, but it seems much longer only because I thought some things would take so much longer to learn. She is really good about bathroom habits, going out, although there have been a few errors, really they are very few. She sleeps well through the night with only one trip out about 2 am. (That, mind you, is two or three less trips to the bathroom than I make, she stays sleeping now when I get up). She is adjusting to the boat, although that is a little more difficult for her, mostly because of the heat. I do like that she is good about going in her 'pan' during the night. The funny thing is, that while she will go in her pan at night, she won't have any part of it during the day. That worries me a little for when it comes to our longer trips out on the water. When we beach it won't be an issue, but some times we go out for five or six hours where there is no land. She's going to have to accept the pan, or hold it those times.

Eat Right or Take Precautions

Vitamins are very important. I can't say that I'm really good at remembering to take them, but I try. I can say that I sure know when I've forgotten to take my vitamins for more than a couple days. I feel run down and tired. Taking a good vitamin really helps conquer general fatigue. Sometimes, certain problems are treatable without fancy medicines, and just using specific vitamins. For instance, I know if I start having Charlie horses in the middle of the night, I need to increase potassium for a few days. It's easy to deplete and not something a lot of foods have large amounts of, other than bananas. Eating right is tough. It's much easier to make sure I'm getting the right vitamins by taking them.

Changing Market Rules

The mortgage industry has historically been in a state of constant flux. While there were certain items always required in order to get a conventional mortgage, the amounts, or qualities of those items increased, or decreased according to demand or other financial indicators. The downpayment is the most common standard requirement. The down payment requirements now are much stiffer than they were prior to 2006.


The downpayment is a classic mortgage requirement. In general a conventional mortgage will require a downpayment of 20%. That's about 10% higher than usual in the pre-crisis era. Even higher that 10% for the many subprime loans given by banks between 2000 and 2006. Often many of those loans were less than 1% or no money down loans. When the economy and mortgage crisis caused severe downturns, and the housing market plummetted, those low or no downpayment loans were suddenly "underwater," meaning worth less than their outstanding loan.

How to Lower Downpayment Requirements

There are ways to lower a downpayment if you are eligible for certain programs such as a HUD home that has a downpayment of 2.5%. Another way to get a lower downpayment requirement is to accept a higher interest rate. However, over the long run that is much more expensive. Both options are risky in case the market falls again where you could find yourself owning more than the house is worth. Improvement in the overall market may, over time, result in lower down payment requirements.


Source of the downpayment is a long-time issue with banks, but is even more of a focal point now. Banks prefer to see a strong habit of saving and ability to build up your own reserves, so the more money you come up with from savings for a downpayment vs. gifts from friends or relatives the better it will look for your application.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Affordable Health Insurance

If you believe the new incentive the government wants to start, health insurance will soon be available at low or no cost to everybody. For most of us, that is a pipe dream and getting insurance is up to us. There are still ways to get insurance so that you don't have to feel at the mercy of illness, or anxious about what accidents lurk around the corner that may cost you your entire life savings. Health insurance IS important. Too important to trust to government intervention. You need to get the coverage you need for yourself, and find the best deals you can get. They're out there.

Amazing Chihuahua

You really need to watch this video of this amazing Chihuahua doing tricks. I can only hope to get Batty to do such things as she gets older.

Do Something About Hair Loss

I never thought the day would come when my husband would need to look into hair loss prevention. Time marches on, however, and he's getting thinner. There are so many good hair loss preventions now it is easier than it used to be. Most of the time all it takes is to shampoo it in and go on about your life. There are even hair loss remedies for women now. It used to be the sole providence of the male members of the family and items like Rogaine were for men only. Now they have products that work for both men or women so if my own hair starts to thin out I can use these products too. Hair loss just happens. It isn't necessarily hereditary, you can't catch it, you can't cause it by wearing hats, and it has nothing to do with testosterone levels. Hair loss is just hair loss, and there's something you can do about it.

Rosie Roseanne

I'm watching Roseanne right now. There's something about the oldies. The reason they end up in reruns and lasting so long is they have a certain quality about them that made them special. Roseanne lasted 10 years on the air. That's a long time in the life of a sitcom. There aren't many like that. There was M*A*S*H, and a few others. Even some of the early very loved shows didn't make that many years, I Love Lucy I believe was 5. Of course there were spin offs, but shows like Andy Griffith didn't have that many years, but for their time they lasted a long time. They all bring back a time that is simpler, memories of times enjoyed of our own past, and a look into our own psyche.

Viva La Differance

Men and women are different creatures. The differences are vague in some instances, such as ability to learn, work, compete, and striking in others such as toiletries. Yes, toiletries. If you ever want to really see the difference between men and women go into a bathroom and compare the needs of each side. Women have hair products, and, well men have hair products too. Women have hair dye, and uh, okay men have hair dye too. Women use razors to shave their legs, men use them to shave their faces: there's a difference. Okay, not a big difference really. Women have birth control, and men have vigrx plus. Ah, well there's big one. For all their similarities, when they have a difference it's a whopper, but as the French say: viva la differance!