Tag Archives: research

Marilyn Is Getting Started

Another friend of mine, named Marilyn Mueller, has joined the band wagon (or should I say, blog wagon) and started up a blog about her life and thoughts. I am always excited to find other people I know blogging, it is like a connection we then share.

I am glad to read and hear and sometimes see what other people have to say about what is important to them. She has some great tips for bloggers on her blog, so anyone interested in making your blog a little better should check out her SEO posts.

Landscaping Project

We only have a couple more weeks of winter, according to the groundhog. I’m so ready for the sunny days of spring and color coming back to the yards. Everything has been grey and brown for months, and I need to see some pastels soon!

I want to have more plants this year, but since I am limited to the deck they will have to be in containers. I plan to have both flowers and vegetables sprouting from clay pots by April 15th. For now, at least I can brighten up everything with some LED lights. Ever since I saw the way the owners of the B&B in Tampa put LED lights around the patio and in the trees of their backyard, I’ve wanted to replicate that effect here at home.

I found a really cool website that is more like a blog than a traditional website, and it gives you a bunch of helpful information about LED landscape lighting lamps and all the new developments in the lighting industry that I never knew until I read about it here.

The articles are short and easy to read, and I learned a lot by just scanning through the first page of and also reading their forum.

For instance, did you kow that LED lights are being used in stop lights in some cities, like Knoxville? LED lights are more energy efficient and easier to see than traditional traffic lights.

Forget about the old halogen lights – you will want to switch to the new LED lights because they not only look better but they are more efficient, last longer and cost less to operate and maintain. I bet you’ve noticed some people in your own neighborhood who have installed LED landscaping lights and you can really tell the difference, can’t you?

And, there was an episode on “This Old House” that shows how easy it is to install LED lights in your yard with a step-by-step guide. The website has a link to that if you want to watch it or read the guide. I love that show – it has given me lots of good ideas over the years and he always give me the confidence I need to take on a new project.

Can’t wait for Lizard Lighting to launch their online catalogue of lighting this spring so I can buy what I want from them!

Flat Rate Shipping

While waiting in line at the post office, I noticed several stacks of empty boxes under the counter. I asked about them and the clerk told me that they are the flat rate shipping boxes.

The way it works is different from normal postage requirements. With normal boxes the amount of postage that you have to pay is determined by the weight of the box and its contents. But with the flat rate shipping, they have boxes of different sizes that you take home (or back to the office) and pack as much as will fit into the box. The weight does not matter unless it is so heavy the box breaks. The postage you pay is by the box, not by the pound.

The small box flat rate is $11 and the larger box fat rate is $14. These go “priority” so they get delivered within 3 days to most places in the U.S. That’s a pretty good deal except for books. You can still send books much cheaper using the media rate.

Small Business Details

My son in Alabama is beginning to understand that starting up and running your own business is full of pesky little chores that take up a lot of your time and need to be handled in a timely manner, such as balancing the different business bank accounts so your employee’s checks don’t bounce and keeping a paper trail of disciplinary actions with a problem employee so the Department of Labor doesn’t get on your back.

I told him about a nice software package called “Manager Assistant” that can help him get better organized and stay on top of those HR and manager details. I like the feature that let’s you schedule and manage employee reviews because I am a firm believer of constant feedback and working with employees as a team, with common goals and measurable progress. But this program has many different modules to help you with many different kinds of management tasks.

It is about time we started entertaining the thought of advertising online. I have offered to help as much as I can with the limited knowledge of online advertising. I really like what CozyWinters is a great option that I will talk to him about in person. I still prefer eye contact when I have a conversation!

My goodness, my son has a lot to learn! But glad I’m here to help and glad to do it. I have no doubt he’ll end up being a great boss and make his business a great success.

Real Art

As much as I love photographs I don’t seem to take many photos lately. I used to carry a camera with me everywhere, especially when my kids were young and we were always going fun places. I have a huge collection of photos that I need to organize and I would love to make a few special scrapbooks but I just haven’t felt creative until now. When I get home I want to make that project a priority for the next couple of weekends.

I found a site called Photofiddle that works with photographs and turns them into art using different techniques, like oil painting and low detail watercolor. The trick is having a good photograph that was put together well or composed to base the artwork on. I think composition is half the battle with having a good photograph, and I’ve always paid attention to that. I think I have several really good candidates for this art conversion.

I was thinking that I’d like to find a few of my photographs from the old days and make them into a watercolor type painting and give them to my mother as mothers day gifts. There are a couple I would like to take from the montage photoframe I have in my office and make them into art for my own home. Now that I have the creative juices flowing again I can’t wait to see how some of them turn out!