I met Bear Bryant at church yesterday. . .

It's true! I met Bear Bryant at church yesterday. He was quite a nice guy even if he wasn't wearing a houndstooth cap.

Now as Paul Harvey would say, "here's the rest of the story."

This started with a phone call. The guy told me he had a shipment for me, and could I tell him how to get to our address. Fortunately, he delivers to the area regularly, so he knew several things close by.

Then he mentioned he was driving an 18-wheeler.


I told him no way he was going to be able to get that rig down our road. It's narrow, a dead-end, and there is a very sharp curve into our driveway. The guy who came to clean the ductwork had a van and trailer, and he had a heck of a time getting back out of our driveway!

Well, probably less than a mile from us there is a Church of God ... so we agreed to meet there and he would put the shipment into the back of the pick-up.

As we were working on the bill of lading and laughing over the fact that all it said was "bird" we got to discussing names and that's when I found out his ... Bear Bryant.

So see, I really DID talk to Bear Bryant at church yesterday, even if it was in the parking lot, and not quite the Bear Bryant of AL football fame!

Why I Don't Answer the Phone. . .

I'm not big on talking on the phone. One of my quirks I guess. I much prefer email and snail mail. Positively medieval, I know.

But there's more than one reason why I don't answer the phone, and why we have caller ID. First, let me say if you're family or friends and I recognize the phone number, I DO answer the phone. But otherwise... nope.

Why? Well, here's a list of my reasons not to answer the phone.

1. Solicitations. We're supposed to be on the "do not call registry." But there is a loophole you know, and supposedly a company can call if you have made contact with them. I seem to have made contact with more companies than I remember. Guess it's that Old-Timer's Disease kicking in.

2. Medicare. What's medicare got to do with our phone calls? Well, evidently Jess's previous wife would have been 65 years old this year, and the calls just keep coming and coming, wanting to sign her up for some Medicare supplement plan. I have been very tempted to fill out one of the forms that come in the mail, and put down a cemetery as an address but with my luck some bureaucrat would fail to see the humor and I'd end up in jail.

3. Political calls. I do not want to attend a town hall meeting or listen to the latest spiel. I suppose this is only going to get worse as the presidential elections get closer. Ugh.

4. Wrong numbers. We get a surprising number of them.

Sometimes I'm the one that calls a wrong number. I punched one button wrong last week when I tried to call Jess on my old cell phone and got some guy that I have no idea who it was. I apologized and told him I was sorry for calling the wrong number.

So what happens? About 5 minutes later there's a buzz from my phone for a text message (I can receive them, just can't send any.) I looked to see what it was - it's almost always the phone company - and here there was a message from the dude I'd mis-called. He was wondering where I lived.

Shortly thereafter, a second message arrived from him, wanting to know if I'd like to get together with him. Dude! How desperate are you??? I mean, calling up a totally unknown chick who dialed your number by mistake??? With no idea of how old she is or what she looks like??

I guess there's another reason not to answer the phone any more.

The Impossible Dream

I love Andy Griffith reruns. And if you've ever watched them, you are familiar with Gomer Pyle. Then there was the spin-off of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Always lots of humor there with Gomer driving his drill instructor, Sargeant Carter, round the bend.

But what REALLY amazed me was when this guy who talked like such a hick would open his mouth to sing.... and this incredible voice comes out. Who would have believed such a glorious voice would emerge!?

Here's Gomer (Jim Nabors) in one episode singing "To Dream The Impossible Dream" . .

Of course, Jim Nabors also did a fair number of recordings, many of which were old-fashioned gospel songs. Here's one of my favorites, "Take My Hand". . .

I'm not ready for the Lord to take me home yet, but I sure hope He keeps hold of my hand. Some days you really need to hang on tight!

Rejuvenation and Recuperation

We were on vacation last week. It was a time of rejuvenation. Now I know rejuvenation is defined as:

"the phenomenon of vitality and freshness being restored "

And while physical vitality and freshness might not have been restored, the vacation was a good rejuvenation of the heart and spirit. It was time off from working online, and great fun to visit with the kids and grandkid.

Jess and I walked on the beach a little. Ellie and I dug in the sand and made holes and built sand castles. And at times another little girl joined Ellie in her sand castle building.

We ate out every evening, and enjoyed lots of good seafood.

Jess and I also had a couple of day outings. One morning we went to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. The Blue Angles have practice sessions there on some Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, and one was scheduled for 8:30am.

There was a HUGE crowd there, and we had to stand the whole time, but it was really, really cool to watch these aircraft put through their paces by ace pilots. It's amazing how precise their maneuvers are!

Another day we were headed to Fort Pickens to look around, but Jess was hungry for Zaxby's Chicken. That was in the other direction, and after we ate we ended up looking around at stuff in that area instead of going back to Fort Pickens.

It was a great week and it's always sad when it's time to say good-bye. Richard, Chrystie and Ellie were headed to Minneapolis for the weekend, and Jesse was headed to Tuscaloosa for a men's conference. He drove from Pensacola Beach to the hotel south of Tuscaloosa and met up with some of the other guys from church.

I punched in our home address and Miss Garmin and I headed north. By the time I made it home, we'd been 9 hours on the road, and somewhere between 3 and 3 1/2 of those I was driving. For most people that's not a big deal, and at one time it wouldn't have been for me either. Now it's a different story. Holding my right arm up to the steering wheel and moving it back and forth for 3 hours is bad news.

That's where the recuperation phase comes in. I drove home Friday. Here it is Monday and I'm just now starting to get back to normal pain levels. And the chronic fatigue syndrome doesn't like such shenanigans either. I've had very little energy to do anything for the last few days.

Hopefully tomorrow that will all change and I'll be able to get more work done!

A Clean Sweep

I'm not finished, but getting close.
Finished what?

I'm trying to get the house back together after we moved stuff around for the air ducts to be cleaned. Jonathan got his stuff back together Friday, but there was considerably more to be done upstairs.

First off, Jess picked up a new air filter yesterday, and we took off the louvered vent in front of it so I could scrub it clean before putting it back.

With furniture moved out of corners, I scrubbed the floors before the furniture was moved back. In the den I also had 3 throw rugs that got washed and put back before two sets of shelves and the rocking chair resumed their rightful places.

Since the ductwork to the den presents the biggest problems, being exposed in a crawlspace under the house, I also covered the two registers in there with a fine wire mesh so no mouse of any size could make it into the house through them. They may chew their way into those two ducts again, but each end is now blocked to prevent them from going any further.

Perhaps the house can "breathe" easier without stuff clogging up the ducts, clean registers, and duct tape applied to ductwork tears. (Actually using duct tape for ducts!)

The floors have been cleaned and registers put back at the top of the ductwork in the kitchen and dining area as well. Rugs were washed in bathrooms, floors cleaned, registers cleaned and replaced...

I have the covers washed and replaced in the living room, but one corner in there still needs vacuumed and furniture needs scooted back in position.

Once that's done, my cleaning spree is over for the moment. My body is not happy with me, and I need time to recuperate before we go on vacation next Friday!

It may not be a totally clean sweep in the house, but it's a lot cleaner than it was!

About that dirty ductwork. . .

A day late and $10 more.

We were supposed to have the ductwork cleaned yesterday, but at 7am the phone rang and this cheery voice said, "Mrs. King, would you mind if we postponed your job?" Before I could struggle to form a coherent thought (I am NOT a morning person anymore), she rushed on to inform me that a lady with FIVE kids had called and asked for a rush job because the ductwork in the house seemed to be clogged up and they had no air conditioning.

Well, what am I going to say to that? "Sorry, I'm a mean witch, and I want you to get your sorry posteriors here TODAY as scheduled?"

So because we had to move stuff away from vents so they could get to them to do the cleaning, our furniture was left sitting in the middle of a lot of rooms for an extra day.

They got here at about 9am today. Two people worked steadily from about 5 hours to hook stuff up to the vents, blow air through, run brushes through, and otherwise clear all the junk out of the vents.

Now I am in the process of soaking the registers from each vent in a solution of soap and bleach, then scrubbing them with brushes (I'm using Jess's toothbrush for the fine cleaning... think he'll notice???), cleaning the floor that was under the register, and putting them back. It is tedious, hurtful work.

The vents were such a mess they had to take both ends off instead of just one, and push stuff through. I don't know if they got any live mice sucked up, but they did find at least one decaying corpse hanging onto the edge of one vent. (Yuck!)

AND he did remember to put the wire mesh barrier up to try and prevent any new incursions of mice.

So a day late, but their part of the job is done. As for the $10, that's for the vent I forgot down in the basement that wasn't included on the estimate.

Now to finish cleaning and putting everything back together. Jonathan is working on the basement, running the sweeper, and taping up the one duct the mice had chewed through, and putting the ceiling fabric back in place.

Tomorrow I'll try to finish the rest of the cleaning and get the rest of the registers back and let the guys help me move the furniture back in place.

and I hope it is a LONG time ... how about NEVER... before we have such a mess again.

I hate mice!

Of refrigerators, mice, and ductwork!

Life is crazy. Bet you've noticed that. So what is our particular brand of craziness at the moment?

For one thing, our refrigerator needs Depends. Yes, I'm afraid it has become incontinent, and no amount of fixing the plumbing seems to help. I keep a towel on the floor in front of it. I think this has more to do with the defrost sequence than a hole in the water line.

Also, the ice dispenser hasn't worked for a long time. I can live without that, but it really is nice not to have to open the freezer door when you want ice. And it's also nice to be able to get milk and other drinks from the fridge without opening the refrigerator door. This model has what's called a "refreshment center" with a drop down door that allows you to access a shelf inside which has a drop down shield on the other side that helps prevent cold air from flowing out.

Both of these things are more energy efficient, and I like them both, especially the drop down door. However, our present fridge is now over 21 years old having been bought when we were living in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Which strikes me as rather hilarious, because this nice refrigerator must have looked SO out of place in that run-down house we were living in with the kitchen floor that required climbing shoes lest you fall off one side or the other.

(It also had metal drums for a septic system, but that's another story. . .)

So we're looking for a replacement fridge, only wouldn't you know that they stopped making models with the "refreshment center" last year??? GE says they no longer have any of those kinds in their warehouses anywhere. The only hope left is to find a store that has had one sitting around for a while.

We tried looking locally without success. I found a place online that said they had it, but guess what? Their supplier didn't have it either. I went to the next online place, and yesterday received an email saying the fridge was backordered. How can you backorder something that isn't being made anymore? the only hope is that they are ordering it from one of THEIR store warehouses since I already know they aren't getting it from GE.

I don't know what I'm going to do if I can't find one like I want. I am pretty set on having another fridge like the one I've got. I'm not the least bit interested in their stupid "French doors" that are so popular. No refreshment center in my fridge after 21 years of having one is not going to set well with me. This may get ugly.

Then there's the mice.

We seem to have gotten rid of the big fellas, the rats. They were too fond of the pelleted poison I kept putting out for them on the back porch. Every night they'd eat one or two packets. After about 4 days I started seeing deceased rodents around the back porch and nearby yard.

But the mice laugh at traps and poison. All kinds of traps. All kinds of poisons. They are cunning little devils that evade every means we have tried to eradicate them.

And they unfortunately like our ductwork. They think it's tasty. They chew on it. Insulation comes floating up through the vents. And they have chewed holes in the plastic ducts under the den and gained access to their very own habi-trail.

We don't have cute little hamsters or ferrets in our critter trails, oh no! We have filthy little mice running around. They are especially active in the wee hours of the morning, and wake Jonathan up as they run through the ducts running along the floor over top of his bed.

Having tried everything else we can think of, we are calling in the experts. No, not exterminators. I don't see what they can do we haven't already tried. Instead, we have someone scheduled to come clean out the ductwork.

He'll hook up a big vacuum to the air intake system then go to each vent, one by one, and use brushes and other equipment to push through the vent and clear out all the junk. Hopefully including all the mice and their nests and droppings. Once he's got the ductwork cleaned out, he also uses a disinfectant.

While he's at it, he is going to put a wire mesh over the opening between the plastic ductwork coming in from under the den and the main metal ductwork. At least that way even if the rotten little rodents chew back into the ducts running under the den, they won't be able to run through all the ductwork in the entire house again.

He's scheduled to come Thursday, so tomorrow Jonathan and I have to move everything away from all the vents in the house so he can get his equipment there, and also from around the furnace and air intake in the basement. Oh boy, this ought to be fun. (NOT!)

And that's the way it is here on the farm, trying to take care of refrigerators, mice, and ductwork!

Another 4th of July

So happy 4th of July everyone! (Even if you're not from the U.S., you can still go for a happy day, right?)

For some reason I was thinking I started this blog on the 4th of July, but looking back I see I missed the anniversary date, as I started it on June 7, 2007.

Wow. I didn't realize it had been 4 years since I first started blogging. A lot has changed since then, and my poor blog gets sadly neglected. It's not that I'm not blogging, but generally because I'm working on business blogs instead of personal ones.

For instance, right now I am working on my laptop but can see the screen for my desktop where it is split into 4 sections to show 4 different projects running at once. I love automation, but oh! LEARNING how to use it drives me round the bend sometimes. I was having trouble getting this particular set of projects to run correctly, then finally discovered the ONE little radio button I'd not marked that made all the difference.

But it's always the same. When I'm having to learn how to use new software I grumble and complain and wonder why on earth I wanted to do this, but when it finally starts to click I wonder how I ever got along without it!

I'd say "kind of like email" because when the boys were first trying to talk me into using it I couldn't see why I had any need for it and who on earth would I email??? Ha! That's really changed too! Now I get way too much!

At the moment I have a love/hate relationship with email though. First it's been glitchy, and then it's been too much at once. There are probably 1500 emails at any one time in my inbox. I filter now. If I forget to put someone important in the filters... well, I'm likely to miss that email as it has rolled up the screen past what I can see.

I unsubscribe from a lot of stuff. But some things are necessary evils and I have to do a quick check through that mess of mail to see if any business stuff came through that is necessary. But most of those are filtered too.... narrowing my focus to only a few.

Anyway, I digress, but the point is.. times they do change! And I guess it's true you'd better change with them or get left behind.

So for now, I'll just say Happy 4th of July, and although I missed the 4th anniversary date of this blog... I really will TRY to do better at keeping it up!


At midnight I get an email from my FeedBlitz service with any new posts from blogs I've subscribed to. Tonight (this morning?) I got one from Chrystie's blog, in which she talks about how bad she's been about posting to her blog, which reminded me about how bad I've been about posting to THIS blog.

Yes, when I looked to see when the last post was made, I saw it has been over a month. Hmmmm.....

Well, maybe I can blame mine on being a klutzomaniac. Yeah, cause today I was in total klutz mode, dropping an egg on the floor, somehow getting two slices of bread in ONE slot of the toaster... honest, they just dropped in there like that... couldn't have done it if I'd been trying.

Then I spilled a canister of parrot food all over the floor. Oh, and the apples in lunches? Gee, guys, those hit the floor too.... just kidding!

But there were other things today, like pencils hitting the floor every time I wanted one... but you get the general idea. Klutzomaniac for sure.

But I don't guess that's really a good excuse for no blogging, especially since I'm thankfully not that bad EVERY day!

How about I work on so many other blogs during the day that I never get around to this one? Too true, but probably not a good excuse either.

Since I can't really think up a good excuse, and even though it's 2:30 in the morning, I'll just give a quick "report" on the clan here. . .

Jesse is finishing up a long-term contract job he's been working on for over a year, and very thankful he is too! It was supposed to have finished up in the spring, but there were extensions and more extensions. They did the final inspection so now it's just paperwork and soon an end.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have work. It usually comes in spurts, but he stays pretty busy most of the time. He's thinking about retiring or semi-retiring and only working 3 days or so a week... we'll see what happens next! (I think he might miss getting out and seeing people like he does now.)

Jonathan has been spending a lot of time doing some clearing in his part of the basement, and over the weekend he and Jesse moved the old kitchen cabinets out of that space. The original reason they were put there was becaue I had a notion to make a craft area down there and use them for storage, but they didn't work well in a living space. Took up too much room, and couldn't get to them to open the doors and use them for storage. And they drew dampness and were getting a some mold on them... so out they went.

It definitely opened up the space down there and it actually looks more like a living area now that you can see the walls.

Otherwise, it's work at the pizza place for Jonathan, and most weeks he's been getting overtime.

As for me, I'm back to my regularly scheduled program. The book project is on the back-burner while I try to figure out a new way to market it. My original plan needed rearranging, and I'm slowly working on that.

In the meantime, I'm back to my other blogs which I already know can make a little money, so now the idea is to get them making MORE money!

The only other notable thing around here is the heat. As in, I'm tired of it, as I'm sure a lot of other people are also. It's only June and we've had a couple of weeks of high 90s temps. Enough is enough! Our a/c isn't keeping up and it gets way too warm in the house for my comfort zone.

Okay, that's a quick sum-up of what's going on around here, and I'm finally made a post!


I'm tired of decisions.

Every day, people have to make all kinds of decisions. For some people it comes easily, others are okay with it, and still others have a hard time with the simplest decision. You know, like people with A.D.D.

Adults with A.D.D. have symptoms like:

  • Hyperfocus, tuning out the chaos by becoming totally absorbed in tasks,

  • poor organizational skills (home, office, desk, or car is extremely messy and cluttered),

  • tendency to procrastinate,

  • trouble starting and finishing projects,

  • low self-esteem and sense of insecurity, and

  • sense of underachievement.

So what am I doing? Trying to make it as an entrepreneur with online publishing, and each and every day there are decisions, projects to start and finish, things that need organized...

What do I work on today? Priorities, priorities! What needs done next? What will get me where I want to go faster? Which is more urgent, or more important?

What assignments should I give my outsourcers? Should I take time to train them to do something more?

Which tools are worth buying and which should I ignore? Some software helps me get more done. Sometimes deals come up that are a bargain, and sometimes they aren't.

Like just last night I listened to one seminar about marketing and how to make ads and split testing. At the end they talked about a new software that makes ads with 'plain' pictures, or animated .gifs or with flash. It's loaded with templates, and you just put in the text and change pictures if you want, and viola! In a few minutes you have a complete set of ads in all sizes accepted by the network. Instead of spending hours doing it, and an amateur result, you get quick, professional results.

I would have loved it, but $997 is out of my budget right now.

And then there was an offer for a complete course on learning how to use Camtasia, which is THE movie-making software used by most web publishers and marketers, PLUS a course to show you how to use movies in your marketing. The real sweet deal with all this was the fact for the first 24-hours it was available, you also got the $299 priced Camtasia... FREE.

Decisions, decisions.

And no one to talk to about those decisions.

Okay, that's not entirely true. I have one very good friend who listens to me talk about what I'm doing and what I need to be doing, even though she hasn't got a clue sometimes what in the world I'm talking about. But she 'listens' and that's priceless.

Another friend is also an onlline entrepreneur, but she is doing some different stuff, so we don't always mesh on what we're doing and why. But it's great to have someone who understands what you're talking about!

But neither can really help me on decisons about how much money to spend on what, or how much time to spend on what. Or tell what direction to go with my business, or any of the myriad decisions I need to make every day.

Nope, I'm on my own.

Some day my head will just explode, or maybe the voices will just tell me to do something really stupid.

Or maybe I'm just stupid already. Ah, it's just too much trouble to decide!

From Incommunicado to Communication

For three months I was close to being totally incommunicado. I had taken on a big project, and was just trying to get it DONE. It turned out to be even bigger than I anticipated, and my email in-boxes started to overflow. And I've got a number of email boxes, between private and business emails, so it's a flood!

At the same time, the phone calls started. It seems like every medicare supplemental insurance company in the U.S. wants to talk to Michael King. Besides phone calls, there are still one or two or three pieces of mail addressed to Michael arriving every day.

The trash can deals handily with such mail, but it's the phone calls that drive me around the bend. I've had up to 12 messages on the answering machine at a time, and all of them wanting to talk to Michael King. I don't even listen to most of them these days, but just delete, delete, delete.

So unless I recognize the number, I don't answer the phone these days, and if you left a message and I didn't reply... sorry, it probably got deleted.

And just to be blunt, unless all these people calling want to hold a seance with a medium who can communicate with the dead, I don't believe they are going to be chatting up Michael. Nor do I think it's going to do much good to try and sell their insurance.

I suppose the biggest kicker was the day the insurance guy showed up at the door with a cheerful, "I hear someone is turning 65 here!" I asked him if he was looking for Michael King, and then informed him that she wasn't available. After all, her ashes have been residing in an urn for almost two decades, and I don't really see any way she's going to be needing Medicare insurance at this point.

Then we had the tornadoes and no electricity for a while and more email piled up.

What with medicare insurance pushers, project overload, and a time without electric, I just haven't kept up with snail mail, email or phone calls. Even Facebook is mostly a distant memory. I have no doubt missed some important communications. Like just this morning I was trying to slog through some of the email, and noticed there was a blog entry saying the kids had sold the house! Yeah, I missed that until later when they mentioned they were moving and I was wondering when they sold the house!

Anyway, I am slowly trying to get back into communication. But I still have more to do than I can handle, so it's a slow process. I've already dealt with a couple of people wanting to use pictures from the farm blog for books and paintings, and thinking over an email from someone asking about buying one of my blogs. But there is just so much there it's overwhelming.

Incommunicado still? Not quite. Communicating? Sometimes.

If you had something important to say to me and I missed it... sorry. Will I eventually see the communication? No guarantees. Sometimes I get in a deleting frenzy and probably delete something I shouldn't.

And now this rambling communication is at an end, though there is so much more I could be saying about depression, pain, projects, sunshine, a wounded cat, decision overload and ADD, and... the list goes on.

Nevertheless, for now I bid you adieu.

Cautiously Celebrating

It’s been 3 months to the day since I committed to doing a book project. I didn’t actually get to start right away, but still. It seems rather fitting that I got to a very important point today, and totally finished the ebook, bonuses, and membership site.

I went through the entire setup one final time, made another test sale, then filled out the application to become a vendor on Clickbank. (If you’re not familiar with them, they are probably the biggest marketplace for digital products online, and the workings behind a huge share of ebooks and membership sites.)

It will take 3-5 business days before I know if my application was accepted, so I figure it will be sometime next week before I get word. I have plenty to do while I’m waiting, since this is only the first, albeit most intense, part of the project.

So what’s left after the entire product is completed, wrapped up and ready to go?


It doesn’t do any good to have a wonderful product if no one knows about it! So that’s next on my agenda. I have a course to finish on marketing on the big G’s Display Network, and another for marketing on Facebook to help in that area.

Other methods, I already know, like using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to help drive organic traffic (in other words, free traffic, which really isn’t free unless you have a LOT of time to spend on it yourself, so you have to use outsource workers and special software). And of course, there’s paid traffic like Google AdWords and Yahoo’s ads.

I’m borrowing a copy of Jess’s Microsoft Project to help me keep things sorted. The only trouble with that is I need to learn something else new!

And once again, that is definitely fodder for another post, and one that will be forthcoming soon (I hope). As I went through the process today I printed copies of all the online pages and email messages that are needed before someone actually gets their ebook and becomes part of the membership site. It’s amazing how many different pieces all had to fit together for this to work correctly.

Now to fit the next pieces together, with building up the sites ranking and doing the marketing. Too bad Microsoft Project won’t do all that magically for me!

In the meantime, I’ve kind of goofed off the latter part of this afternoon, and been reading a romance novel. It’s one of my favorite series, and I’ve had it for some time. I’ve been keeping it as a carrot dangling in front of my nose…. “When you finish the project, you can read the book!” Some days I wondered if I was ever going to get to read it!

Of course, in about 5 minutes, a seminar is starting that’s part of my second business model so I won’t get to finish the book until later. But I don’t want to rely on only one income stream so am refining a couple of others.

A woman’s work is never done.

Just one nodus after another. . .

nodus (NOH-duhs) plural nodi (NOH-dy) noun

MEANING: A complicated situation or problem. ETYMOLOGY: From Latin nodus (knot). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ned- (to bind), which is also the source of node, noose, annex, connect, ouch, nettle, and denouement.

Yep, that's me, I've been plagued by nodi the last 3 months! Actuallly, it hasn't been quite 3 months since I started this project, but it's getting mighty close. And I am sooooo close to being ready to 'go live'!

I have the book done. I have the bonus reports done. I have the sales page, and other necessary pages done. The membership site... well, as of today I think I've *finally* got it whipped. It has been a week in the making, but I think the vendor and membership softwares are now talking to each other correctly.

My last major hurdle is streaming video. I'm beginning to hate it. Unfortunately, I have 71 videos I need to put in on the membership site. I thought I'd put a link there and people watch the video and easy-peasy, right?

Ha! And again I say, HA!

First off, with that many videos, I can't reliably host them on my website. I ended up learning how to use Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service). Or at least, learning enough to get my videos uploaded and viewable and the links I need. (That's fodder for another post... on how many things I have had to learn to do this: how many videos I've watched, manuals I've read, research and reports and.... !!!)

Anyway, you can't just put the links on the site. You need a PLAYER for the video. And there's the rub.

I've looked at shareware but can't use it on a commercial site. I've looked at services for 'building' the players for each video, but there's a monthly fee. I looked at a whole lot of software, but wow! $90 a site, and for unlimited use anywhere from $1000-$2000.

I finally found a reasonably priced software that is supposed to work on html or php files (I'm using both), will work within a membership site, will work with mp4 files, and will also work with videos hosted on AS3.

But you caught that one little word didn't you? SUPPOSED to work. I've tried every combination I can think of for files, folders, server paths, etc. I've spent days trying to make this work. I've emailed support a dozen times.

It *looks* simple. And I get a nice player on the page... but it doesn't play the video! I've tried and tried and still no success. I work and work until I finally fall in bed exhausted when I can't focus my eyes any more to try something else.

To parapharase Thomas Edison, "I now know a thousand ways not to get a video to play."

But one of these days, and soon (I hope!), the light bulb is going to come on and those dadratted videos are going to play correctly!

And then, my friends, it's going to be time to 'party hearty dudes'!

Too Much P in My Life!

I finished the rough draft of my book last Friday. I even celebrated a little. But although that was a major milestone, I didn't get TOO excited because I was all too aware of how much work is yet to be done.

And there are so many distractions keeping me from focusing on this Project!

Yes, there are an amazing plethora of P's in my life right now. . .

People. People need fed. People need clean clothes. People need you to bring them phones they forget, or pick up lawnmower belts, or... whatever. Need to talk to people. People are important. Can't forget the people. But takes time, sometimes distracting. . .

Plants & Pots. I planted some seeds in a flat. They sprouted. They grew. Now I've got to transplant them into bigger Pots. Yes, I'm going to pot, and it takes time, and it's another P!

Pictures. A photography resource book needs pictures. I can buy stock photos, but to save money, I use some of my own when I can. However, after searching through my files time and again to find an appropriate photo, I have about decided I need to trash the lot! Where are the technically correct pictures with good composition and detail??? I don't know. I see a lot more trash than treasure in those files. Yes, it's a bunch of Pathetic Photos!! And here's another couple of "P" words ... Purge the Pictures!

Proofreading. I am on my own. Everyone is too busy to read a book they're not interested in. But sometimes it is difficult to proofread your own work. You can go over the same page again and again, and totally miss some left out word. Or a word that shouldn't be there. Or.. whatever. This is really slowing me down, and where's an editor when I need one???

And while I'm proofreading/editing, I need to add links to other resources, and insert the aforementioned pictures, put in headers and page numbers, make a table of contents, and then. . .

Pdf file. This is an ebook, so need to convert the Word document to a .pdf file when it's finally finished. And then...

Pages on the web. Yes, after pages and pages of text for a book, now I need more pages! A sales page, an information page, a whole lot of other pages!!!

Projects, other. As in, I was supposed to start a new project this week. Oops. I am still trying to finish up a previous project! That means I'm...

Pressed for time. This needs to get finished. Can't make any $$$ until it's actually for sale.

Pokey. That's me. I think I must just be terribly slow. I started researching this project two months ago, and I'm still not done.

Pitiful Post. Wasn't this the most pitiful post you've ever read???

P.S. Did I mention I have too much P in my life???

24 Down!

I'm sitting here sipping on a rum and coke (hey, it's raining, so it's for medicinal purposes!), and celebrating a little. I just finished the last chapter on different specialties, the biggest section of the book I'm writing.
24 chapters down, 5 or 6 to go.

A week or two ago I told my friend, RR, that I figured I'd have about 100 pages when I was done. She informed me she knew how much research and detail I put into things, so I'd have more than 100 pages.
Well, she wins, cause she was right. I don't know what she wins, but since the book is already up to 110 pages, and not finished, yep, over 100 pages for sure.
I started this project not quite two months ago. The first few weeks were spent listening to videos and doing homework, researching what would be a good niche, the competition, and deciding on the product. It's been an exhaustive and exhausting process.
If all goes well, I hope to finish the book this week, so I can get it on the market. I've already got a website up with a blog about it, working on gaining rank in the search engines.
As a matter of fact, I really, really MUST get it done this week. I have another project starting Saturday, so the major part of this particular one has GOT to be DONE. And the major part is, without a doubt, the book!
It's going to be a wild week.

Fried Brains

No, it's not one of those strange southern dishes. You can't have them for lunch, cause those fried brains are still in my head. Where I'm hoping they'll regenerate a little, cause I could really use them. . .

I had hoped to finish my writing project this week. No such luck. Life happens. For instance, I figured on getting 3 chapters done today, and only finished one because of some unexpected interruptions.
In fact, I really should be working now... but have I mentioned my fried brains?

Somehow I've got to get it finished within this next week, because I've got another project coming down the pike that is starting the following week, and this one needs to be DONE first. Well, the book part anyway. There's more to be done to go along with it, but not as intense as trying to get the book written.

It just means I'll have to be working on more than one project at a time once I get the book done, but I'm used to that.

What I'm still getting used to is training and keeping worksheets up to date for 1 1/2 minions. (That's one full time, and one part timer.) I have to be sure they have a new worksheet that lists what they need to do next before they finish the one they're working on, so they always have something to keep them busy.
It makes me be thinking and planning ahead a little more than I'm used to, but that's not all bad.

Right now it's just as crazy work-wise for Jess as it is for me. It never fails. He can sit around for days with nothing to do, then all of a sudden 3 or 4 people want something done at the same time. He's going to have to do some work at home tomorrow to be able to have a bid ready in time on Monday.
Otherwise, we're all fine, just busy.
Except for that fried brains part.

Three Generations of Shoes

I finally got my new shoes. I don't buy new shoes very often. Guess you can probably tell that from this picture:

I usually have one pair of shoes I wear when I go outside to do chores, and another pair of shoes I wear inside or when I'm going to the grocery store.

Can you tell which is which? Ha!

The old shoes got so bad that even duct tape, which holds the universe together, wouldn't stay put on my shoes and hold them together.

Jess and I went for a walk in the woods over the weekend, and every five minutes I had to stop and find the duct tape that fell off one of my shoes.

Guess it's time to retire the old black shoes. They've been faithful and loyal servants, taking good care of my feet. And when you have neuropathy in your feet, that's saying a lot.

Well done thou good and faithful servants.

Once they've gone to that great shoe heaven in the sky, the scruffy looking white shoes will take their place as my work shoes, and the spiffy new white shoes will be my inside shoes and going to the grocery store shoes.

My, I lead such an exciting life when I can do an entire blog post on three generations of shoes.

Taking a break...

I thought I'd take a break from writing.

Oh wait! I'm writing again!

Well, this is different.

I'm not going to do any research for this post.

I am not going to worry that I am 100% correctly factual.

I may even lie to you. (I just turned 39 my last birthday... isn't it amazing I have kids that are 30+ years old?)

Okay, here's something that is no lie. Building a business is not for sissies. I have an increased respect for every successful business person out there. It means they stuck it out when the going got tough and that they've had the combination of savvy and good fortune to make it.

Building an online business reminds me a lot of coding in html. Everything has to be done just right for it all to work. If you mess up one part, it doesn't matter how good the other parts are, the whole thing is messed up. Did you forget to put a measly little . (period!) in there? Too bad, nothing will work until you figure out what you did wrong.

Okay, it might not be quite that stringent, but there are still a lot of parts that have to come together. And a lot of decisions to be made. All very tough for the person with ADD and focus problems (Look! A squirrel's in the front yard! Is that the bird hollering for a taxi ride? What's the dog barking at? Oh, look, there's an article of interest. Look! I could use that info later. Wow! Who would have thought of that....)

Not that I would know ANYTHING about all that....

Was there a point to all this?

Probably not. It's just nice to write and not have to get it all as perfect as possible. I figure it's my blog and I can write whatever I want. You don't have to read it, right? Right.

Okay, break time's over... time to get back to work.

M.O.R.E. R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H. N.O.W.

(More Of Reading Everything -- Really Entirely SUPER Entirely A Real Crushing Helping -- Not Overly Wonderful)

Stormy Weather

We spent a couple of hours without electricity tonight, from about 9-11pm. Thankfully, it's warm out, so it doesn't trouble us to be without a working furnace and heat.

Of course, it being in the 70s in February is why we're having thunderstorms and tornados!

However, I will admit I don't like sitting around by candlelight or oil lamps. I'm afraid I am NOT pioneer material.
Of course, pioneers wouldn't be sitting around letting their laptop and Gameboy screens light up the living areas. . .

We are such geeks.

Unfortunately, we aren't out of the woods yet weather-wise. We have heavy winds and tornado warnings, not to mention heavy rain. I'll stay up until the weather settles down so if I need to roust Jess out of bed and head for the basement, we can do that before we get blown away.

I guess thunderstorms are better than snowstorms. At least better than ice storms. Just whatever the weather, don't mess with the electricity. I don't like playing pioneer!!


I think I need therapy.
I think I'm probably a good candidate for the "Hoarders" show.

I'm taking a break from cleaning my office. The couch has been piled high with stuff for a while, because I got on a reorganization binge, then discovered I didn't have the file folders and other stuff I needed, then got busy doing other things, then...

Well, I need to consolidate my "offices" pronto. Right now I have piles of stuff on the living room couch, and that's my office where I use my laptop when I get tired of sitting in the office chair in front of my desktop computer.

The trouble with my satellite office in the living room is it's right in the middle of the traffic pattern for Jess going from his den back through the house to bathroom or bedroom, and for Jonathan coming up and to the kitchen. There are a lot of distractions when you're sitting in the middle of the house.

Most of the time I get by, but I have a BIG writing project I need to finish, and SOON. So I need to get my act together and get in the office where I can shut the door and make myself FOCUS on the task at hand.

All that for the why I'm cleaning my office. As for the why I'm a hoarder... well, some of the stuff I'm sorting out in the office is OLD.

Here's an example. I had a stack of little magazines from the public tv station in West Virginia. They were dated from 1987 to 1989, during the time we lived in Eureka. Now, I did have a legitimate reason why I saved them in the first place. I'd taped several episodes of "Dr. Who", and these magazines had the program schedule and told about the episodes.

And I do still have those tapes. But do I watch them these days? No.
Could I get the info about "Dr. Who" episodes off the internet if I needed it? Yes.

So why am I keeping these old public television guides?

Cause I'm a hoarder. A pack-rat. A "I can't throw that out cause I might need it" and "I've had that forever and it just seems wrong to toss it out now" kind of person.

But it's time to let go. Jess has already carried the first big bag of trash out to the garbage can for me and that means the old public televisions guides are in the trash.

Darn. I was going to take a picture of them to go with this post.... see, I knew I'd need them if I threw them away!

Have I mentioned I need therapy???

A year ago today I was in Florida. . .

Yep, I noticed on my calendar that one year ago today I flew to Florida for the first time of several times in 2010. It was the first time I got to see Ellie after her surgery. And now here it is time for her to go for her one-year checkup in Vancouver. Chrystie is flying there with Ellie while Richard holds down the fort at home. Unfortunately, insurance only pays for one parent's ticket, and at $800 a pop... ouch. It will be interesting to hear what the surgeon thinks of Ellie's progress.

Here on the home front, things are much the same as usual. We're in a warmer spell right now, which is very nice. Dreaming of spring but not so thrilled about the coming heat of summer. I'm not looking forward to the heat anyway... I don't think it bothers the guys so much.

We've got plans for a good sized garden this year. In a couple of weeks I'll be starting some tomatoes inside for later planting outside. Supposedly Jess will be retiring sometime this summer so he can take care of this garden... we shall see.

In the meantime, I'm working like a madwoman trying to build the business up so when Jess retires we can continue to live in the style to which we've become accustomed, ha! I need to finish clearing out my office this weekend because next week I need to hole up in there, without distraction, and research and WRITE. LOTS. I've got a pretty big project I need to get done, and SOON.

It's a continual learning experience. I'm not used to dealing with minions. (I know, I watch "Despicable Me" too much.) I did have two working part-time, but one had some changes in her circumstances, and had to quit. For the moment I have one full-time helper. Training someone to do stuff is time consuming, but should help me in the long-run. But it keeps me on my toes planning and making sure I have work for her to do that is USEFUL and fits in the business plan.

Jess has taken over doing morning chores, going out before he goes to work. That helps immensely. I've cut back on posting to the farm blog also, which frees up more time. It's a nice blog but it's not where I make money. Right now, I need to work on the ones that make money!

At least once every month or two, though, I hear from someone wanting to know if they can use a picture from that blog. Someone asked just last week if they could use one to make a painting. That's about the 3rd time I can recall off the top of my head that's happened. Paintings, 4-H projects, flyers... and who knows how many people have used one of the pictures without asking. The only people who ask are the ones who are either a) honest, or b) need a copy with better resolution (or possibly both).

And I recently got a check for the elk picture the company is going to use as part of redoing the Oconaluftee Visitor Center of the Great Smokey Mountains area in North Carolina. Turns out it is against park policy to use the names of private citizens in displays, so they had to send along compensation for not being able to give me a "byline" as was part of the original contract.

I'd like to be able to hire someone to clean the house at least a couple of times per month soon. Otherwise, I'm afraid we're going to end up on some "Hoarders" or "Tornado Aftermath" show. But I still have to pick and choose, and right now the business comes first when I'm spending money. (Though I did just order a pair of shoes tonight... my work shoes are held together with duct tape so maybe it was time...)

Another project this spring is stocking the farm pond. Jess picked up a flyer today with information about fish available, what mix and numbers are good for the size of our pond, and the prices.

And it's not all work around here. At lunch or some other break times when I need something different to occupy my brain I'm alternating between reading about energy healing, and at the moment, a historical book on The Orthodox Church. Fascinating stuff, but making me stretch my theological terminology and perspectives a bit.

Jess has taken over the Netflix queue for his entertainment when he's not watching sports. Jonathan watches Netflix movies too, but he streams his through his Wii to his tv. He's still working pretty much full-time and more. They often send him home earlier on Sunday because he's hit 40 hours and they try to pay as little overtime as possible.

As for this year's travels... I don't think we're going to travel near as much this year. We'll see how things are going come summer time, but for the first half of the year, well, I need to stay home and "get 'er done"!!!

And that's the way things are down on the farm!

Back to Normal . . .

It's past time to report in here for those family members who keep up with us by reading this blog. So here we go!

We're back to normal here, or as normal as it ever gets with this crew anyway. All the snow melted off, most over the weekend. A little lingered in shady spots, but the rain yesterday took care of that.

The latest trip to the grocery store was more normal, with fully stocked bread shelves. It's entirely possible we'll have more snow before the winter ends, but I doubt we'll have another big storm that dumps quite so much snow. I hope not anyway!

As for family. . .

Jess seems to be trying to get another cold, boo, hiss! Tomorrow morning he's not going into work right off, because he's got a 10 a.m. meeting just a couple miles from us with a lawyer and some other people. They want him to be an expert witness for them in a lawsuit concerning some subdivision construction stuff. Gee, can you see him in court? Llike one of those tv shows, ha, ha!

Actually, he doesn't know yet if he'd have to go to court, or just do a deposition or what. Maybe he'll find out some of this stuff tomorrow.

As for Jonathan, after two weeks of working extra hours, including Saturday night, he's back to his normal work schedule. The first week got messed up because he missed a couple days work because he was sick, so then he made it up later. Then we had that big snowstorm and the store was closed one of the days he usually works. So again, he made it up by working other days.

And me, same old, same old. Tweaking my new business plan, and trying to do more things than I really have time to get done.

I guess we're not very exciting around here. Which isn't all bad either. Not all excitement is GOOD excitement!


Yes, it's finally started... snowmagedden. There's not much snow out there yet, but the forecast is for a whopper of a snowstorm for our part of the world.

Jonathan and I made our regular run to the grocery store today, and there was very little bread left on the shelves... NO hot dog buns at all! The milk shelves looked pretty bare too. Anyway, we're now stocked up on food. Our only problem is if the electricity goes out... how do we stay warm??? No electricity, no furnace, no heat.

Fortunately, Jonathan was back home from his evening shift before it started to snow. He's supposed to work day shift at Domino's tomorrow, but the plan is if he can come... come. But if the roads are bad, just stay home. They're probably going to do carry out only tomorrow, no deliveries.

Jess isn't planning on going to work tomorrow, so looks like we're just going to hunker down and hope however much it snows, it doesn't take down the power lines.

Facebook is full of comments from people in the area talking about Snowmageddon, and hoping they get to go sleigh riding.

For my part, I don't mind the snow... just hope we don't have any ice storms. That's when we have problems.

Guess we'll see how bad this snowmageddon gets!

Out with the old, in with the new.. .

Here it is, already the 2nd day of the new year. If this year whizzes by as quickly as 2010, it will be Christmas again before we know it! Well, it seems like it anyway.

I was putting important dates on my new fridge calendar on New Year's Day, and using the old calendar to copy from. It was interesting to see what things we'd done through the year. Here's a smattering of happenings from 2010:

  • January: We didn't have anything special for us on the calendar, but Ellie had her surgery late in January and that definitely a BIGGIE!
  • February: I made the first of many trips to Florida. I didn't go to the hospital when Ellie was having her surgery, and wanted to see her as soon afterwards as I could.
  • March: Guess what? I went to Florida again! I went an "Entrepreneur's Conference" while I was there, so it was a pretty busy time. But I also stayed a couple of nights at the condo with Richard, Chrystie & Ellie.

  • .
  • April: Jess and I drove down to Florida to visit all the kids and grandkids there. I thought it would be cool to have both sets there but discovered it really isn't. When you're visiting with one side, you think about the other too. If everyone lived in the same area all the time I think that would be different, but this wasn't ideal.

  • .
  • May: Richard & Chrystie & Ellie had to say good-bye to Florida at the end of May and headed back towards Canada. They stopped here for a few days on the way home.

  • .
  • June: Jess and I had our 16th anniversary.

  • .
  • July: We went to West Virginia and picked up Dad and headed over to the eastern part of the state to go on a 9-hour train trip. It was awesome, but tiring! Then we met up with Maria & family and went fishing on the Elk River. Good times!

  • .
  • August: An up and down sort of month. I was on some antibiotics & discovered it is possible to have psychotic reactions to them. Good grief! And then my llama lost her cria and that was a major bummer.

  • .
  • September: The calm before another round of travel. Also notable as being the first month I saw revenue for a number of online sources.

  • .
  • October: Over to Gatlinburg to meet up with Richard, Chrystie & Ellie, staying at a cabin. We all chipped in to cover cabin and food, and had a great time. Visited the aquarium, a parrot sanctuary, and Cades Cove.

  • .
  • November: Our annual trek to Florida to visit with the Sanfords and Dave's family and Randy. We have sooooo much fun over the Thanksgiving holiday!

  • .
  • December: A quiet Christmas. Working on a business plan for 2011. I guess you could say a quiet but busy month!


So the old is out, and now here we are, into the new year of 2011!

Oh, you're wondering if I have any New Year's Resolutions??? Why, yes I do.

What are they? It's a secret, ha, ha!

Okay, it's mostly just to get back on track with stuff I started last year. The biggest thing different is while I am frantically trying to amp up my business to also try and get some stuff done at home AND also keep in better contact with friends and family.

Sure could use more hours in my days!