Archive for the ‘Let’s Float Some Ideas Around’ Category

Ad with a Purpose

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

While the thinking behind this is good, the thieves will
ruin it all for everyone within days, I am guessing.

Hey, Stinky!

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Today we were at one of my now fav restaurants, no name mentioned, I felt obligated to tell a wait person that the cologne was too much for me and that is why I had not given the usual smile and laugh and happy greeting to this wait person. I had given it some thought because 99 out of 100 times, waitresses and waiters know better than to overwhelm the scent of the food, but more importantly, aggravate people’s allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems with perfume, scented soap, fragrance shampoo and condtioner or even under arm deodorant that has that special scent no one can forget. ARGH.

So, anyway, I say, I have not greeted you well to day because your cologne is bothering me. The reply was, “Oh, I always wear cologne!” I am thinking, not like this. Then I hear, No one has ever told me that before. I say, people don’t want to tell you these things. I just thought you’d like to know why people may not tip you as well, or business is slow in your station. Then, well, I hear a very half hearted, ‘Sorry”. And, um, well, I didn’t need an apology. That won’t help me breathe better next time I am put in the path of the perfumer. So, then, this person gives us back a ten instead of the $9.85 we expected for our change, so we could leave a tip. And
with the $10, a little pat on my dh’s hand, saying you can keep the 15 cents. ARGH! Way not to handle it! We scrounged around and left $3.56 anyway and I said, now I have to blog this.

Please, to restaurant owners, managers, waitstaff and cooks around the world, please know that you are alienating dozens to hundreds of people (depending on your area population numbers) from coming to your restaurant because they are afraid they will have to leave, hold their breath, take extra medicine, face embarrassing coughing fits and goodness knows what all so that they can ‘enjoy’ their time out at a restaurant.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Recognizing Genius By Remote Control System

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

First, the back story;

About five years ago, I went on oxygen therapy, 24/7, for COPD. It was prescribed that I get hooked up to an oxygen concentrator machine which is a unit about 3 ft by 2ft by 18 inches approximately, takes up space and the looks are not all that exciting. The machine makes a pumping sound every second or so as it draws air from the surrounding area and filters it so that 90% oxygen can be pushed through to the oxygen patient.

The oxygen concentrator machine is noisy and we were lucky enough to be able to store it out of ear’s hearing range, but then one of us would have to go down two flights of stairs and back to change the oxygen level every time I went from doing to resting and vice versa. Well, now we come to the genius part.

I know a person who does very well with machines, digital electronics, and so forth, and within hours, this person came up with an idea and a remote control system that would actually turn the machine up and down from wherever I was in the house. The rc system used my cell phone which I carry around anyway and a controller and some electronic components, like a small laptop computer at the concentrator location to turn my oxygen levels up or down, as much as possible and all I had to do was open my cell phone and select the level I wanted then find and select the network that was dedicated to this purpose was at my new oxygen level.

Needless to say, this has been huge blessing in my life because turning myself up and down manually was very tiring, boring and disruptive to my life. Having the machine in the room with me would be really boring, too. Oh, I appreciate the oxygen concentrator all right, but I really appreciate the genius, who happens to be my husband, who invented this system for me. And we must not forget to mention what a genius I am to have picked him to marry!

My husband is always looking for an interesting new challenge or project. He is a computer consultant with many talents and he can partner easily with people who need to grow their business, and otherwise move forward. Most recently he devise a plan for a mom and pop business that will save them $250,000 per year, just by making a few in house changes. On a larger level, he completed an involved data center migration in a very short amount of time when a medium sized company had a deadline they could not meet in house which saved the company’s biggest client from leaving them.

You can find him and tons of recommendations on LinkedIn, and although he does many jobs, he also finishes them and so we are always networking to find more work. He has proven to be an asset beyond the original reason for his being hired as he always comes up with ways to improve efficiency and financial approaches to his clients. There are very few jobs my husband has been offered that he wasn’t able to do, that is why he charges by results, not by the hour.
Contact; Doug Spencer at forhire99@gmail.com

I’m Staying Home

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

We have been getting out to eat as usual, two, maybe three times per week and I just cannot see why I should continue to support some of these many restaurants around town and beyond.  First of all, I know how competitive it is.  With towns under 5,000 population, few people can afford or even want to eat outside of their familial circles.  And then, there seems to be two or three restaurants opening up shortly after others went down.

The mistakes are still being made though.  The people with money are generally older.  Give them comfort.  Cool in summer, warm in winter. Put some padding on the seating.  Why should I go to a restaurant where they don’t care about my comfort level.  Now, some have music, but it is either blaring, or too soft to hear.  Find a happy medium and let me depend on it.  The prices have gone up.  I understand that, but to lessen the already rather miniscule servings is getting borderline ridiculous.  I am a small woman withe a medium appetite and I am going away hungry now.

And for Pete’s sake, leave the chattering-all-about-me waitstaff in the kitchen…I’ll come and get the meal myself if it means I can have an uninterrupted meal without the stuff I don’t want to know and didn’t ask about.  It’s not on the menu!

Make it family friendly.  Either serve pizza and spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwiches and mac and cheese or have a family night where the parents can actually afford a family spread for 4 or 5 members.  Roasted Chicken and potatoes, with a fruit salad, serves 4-6, $19.95. Comes with pitchers of water and milk.

Okay, rant over.  Good luck, out there!

My Mentors

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

January 11 is National Mentor Day, as I was reminded by Griff Wigley of Locally Grown Northfield. Growing up I rarely saw my parents for more than a few moments at a time, they were so busy working. However, I did have two neighbors who were very civic minded, and childless. They owned a small department store, complete with a US Post Office, lovable Cocker Spaniel and large garden. We lived above the store and shared in the garden and a lovable dog, at least I did during the time that I was 5 through 11 years old.

Stephanie and Gustav Breslauer taught me so many things that I still keep with me today. Gus had a fantastic sense of humor and would often make jokes and puns. I would always laugh with him. He taught me how to load a coal furnace! But more than that, Gus was big on charities and charitable organizations like the Kiwanis Club. We would go out and sell peanuts on the corner of the streets in Chicago. We’d find a busy street corner and stay out all day. We sold red fabric poppies on Memorial Day and if there was a disease that needed research funding, we went door to door and collected for it.

I treasure those memories, as people were so kind and giving and really helped to make us feel good about what we were doing. The Kiwanis Club had a special dinner and show every year to thank the volunteers who sold peanuts and did so many other things for handicap children. Each year they had a really good magician who would involve kids from the audience. I’ll never forget the year they invited me up to help with a card trick. My first introduction to public speaking. Thank you, Gus. Your lessons served me well.

Stephanie, or Stevie as she was called, taught me many things about gardening. Every good weather Sunday she would be out there weeding, planting and fixing up. She gave me jobs like gathering seeds from the 4 o’clocks, watching for birds and smelling the flowers. She told me how seeds that she didn’t plant got into her garden. Then, I got to skate through the garden all day long. I still garden in my home and I don’t think I will ever quit enjoying nature and growing plants.

My dear mentor also taught me about knitting, crocheting, color coordination, collecting, and painting. Stevie used to crochet beautiful afghans and raffle them off at the church for the school funds. Everyone who knew coveted those afghans all year long. She would never sell them. She made them while the store was quiet and her other work was done.
The church would make ten thousand dollars or more and back then, that was a lot of dough. She let me help with turn the yarn skeins into balls. I also used to straighten out the considerable thread drawers making sure each color variation was in it’s proper place. Whenever I knew there was work for me, I couldn’t wait to get started. These activities honed my hand eye coordination and sense of accomplishment, unbeknownst to me at the time.

Stevie’s garden was surrounded by high walls of neighboring grocery store buildings on two sides and a multi car garage, one level on the third side and our department store/apartment building on the fourth…we were in Chicago…so Stevie decided she would rather look at her own creations rather than the brick walls, so she painting beach scenes. They were fun and flowing and the colors were bright and cheery and she taught me to think out of the box with all her beautiful art.

To this very day, I knit, crochet, paint, and think outside that box. I think Stevie is certainly one of the most beautiful beings I have ever known. Quiet as she was, she taught me the basics of so much of what I do today.
Thank you, Stevie, up in heaven, thank you.

There’s so much more to this story. Maybe I’ll get to that book someday.

But know that if you have any life skills at all, and a real caring for people, I would highly recommend mentoring a child or anyone who could use life skills. Of course, do the background checks for your own safety.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all! An attitude of gratitude is always the best. Don’t eat too much and get some much needed rest, I guess.

I have so much to be grateful for in my life, if I were to pass away today, I know I did the best I could and saw many, many wonderful things. Like children laughing and singing, waterfalls, tall and wide, mountains and oceans
and people full of pride. I saw puppies and tigers and giraffes and bears and all of the birds that fly in the air.

I’ll stop here and let you think about the wonderful places and things you have seen and wish you a happy holiday, whatever that means to you.

I am watching two parades on tv, one from my home town, Chicago, and one from Macy’s New York. I am grateful for tv, too.

Now You’ve Gone TOO Far!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I was looking at a new online over 50 magazine when I cam across this article that peaked my interest. Here you go, you know how much I like to share…

We are all going to do this someday. We are all going to kick the bucket. The bucket will fall over and out will spill our, well, our everything. Then, what? Be buried, tossed, burned to bits. But, are you going to die green? Will your last breath leave a legacy of living green til the very last drop. See http://greenburialcouncil.org

Fun for $5

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

On October 24th, we spent a wonderful afternoon at Frontenac State Park just north of Lake City, MN by chance. We had gone to Red Wing to do some errands and we decided to stop by the park on the way back as we had passed it up so many times before then.

Well, were we surprised. The sky was partly sunny, the wind was calm as could be. The light was hitting and missing, but when it hit, it turned ordinary trees and grasses into
some of the best celebrities in a big time show that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, we only had our cell phones with us, so no super pics to share, but still the memory is there.

It cost five bucks to get in the park, but we saw two beautiful young doe, so that’s a pretty good return on investment right there. Especially since they both stayed there and let us take their pictures.

You can also see the Mississippi really close from about forty feet high. Gee, it’s pretty around that area. The whole area is gorgeous, but the state park has it’s own qualities for sure.

So, I began thinking, what else can people do for $5 or less that is fun and memorable, besides the usual movie or video game rental or popcorn making.

I think you can make a pretty good colorful fruit salad for four people for $5.

How about hot chocolate? Mmm and Uh huh.

Paint each other with face paint, old make up and food coloring.

Dress up the dog and put it on youtube.

Cut up old clothes and make them into something else like a blanket for the cat.

Call your Congressman, Senator and/or the White House and tell them what you think. Fun!

Make up a song or poem about your family or beloved. Fun, yeah!

Have sit up contests. Some fun there.

Collect autumn leaves and take pictures of them and have them developed.

Make a card from paper clips, bag twists and seeds from trees and wildflowers.

Make some chicken soup, put some in a jar with a few crackers or cookies, and bring it
over to someone who is not feeling well or had a bad day.

I am sure you can think of a few things, too!

To the south east of my house.

Second Peak of Colors, Birch and Oak

Adult Literacy Volunteer

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Over twenty years ago, I remember teaching a young man to read as we sat in a church building on a blustery autumn evening.
Every Monday we would meet for about 45 minutes to learn the alphabet, then combinations of letters, simple words, then phrases. Homework would be reading a local newspaper, geared to eighth grade mentality as they are.

Each week we would slowly and carefully go through the letters and words and sounds in a quiet and completely uninterrupted atmosphere. There was at all times someone else in the building for safety but that person was neither seen nor heard during our lesson time.

Some nights the weather would simply be too bad to travel and the young man would give me a call and ask if we should meet.
We would decide on another time, as soon as possible because Steve was anxious to read and get a seasonal job for Christmastime.

Week after week, Steve practiced and came in knowing whatever he needed to know to progress to the next stage. I was very pleased and he was proud of his progress as well. After eight weeks, Steve was ready to move on, it was time to take that test for the job and he told me he would call and let me know how he did. I told him I was sure he’d do just fine and that I’d like to hear if he got the job.

Several days past and my phone rang. I had half expected not to hear from Steve, but he was a man of his word, he did get the job and when he called he expressed such gratefulness that it brought much joy to my own heart. You see, Steve got a job riding shotgun in the truck of a large delivery company around Christmastime and all he had to do to get the job was match the name on the doorbell to the name on the package. But, Steve was actually able to sound out and say aloud the names he saw and even pronounce many of them as well as any long time reader might do. Because he had reached that level, the next step was to become a regular driver for the entire four seasons of the year, not just around the holidays.

I was very happy because not only had I helped a person learn to read, but I had helped him to support himself. When we teach people to read we not only help them make a living, we also help with -

* educational advancement
* employment
* job retention
* job advancement
* reading to their children
* helping their children in school

So, if you have some time, or know someone who needs help reading, it only takes a few minutes to learn how to help, and it only takes an hour or two per week for 8-12 sessions to get someone started off pretty well so they can practice and learn on their own. Look around your community, the library, or online to see if your community has a literacy volunteer program or if not, maybe you can start one up yourself! It’s well worth the effort.

Be sure to thank your teachers and all the other people who have helped you on your way. (click on the cards for a larger view)

Don’t forget the school bus driver!

Or maybe there is someone else you meant to thank for their support -

Please visit my greeting card site at

http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/bright and search ‘thank you’ the left hand box. Thank you!

Having Fun Yet? I Am

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

All my life I wanted to be an artist. Well, let’s correct that. All my life, I was an artist in heart and soul and occasionally that manifested into a minor work of art.

It is tough coming up with any great work of art. Even the old Masters often redid a piece over and over again til it was just right…or right enough to pass for a great work of art.

What’s so hard about great art, fine art? You have to be in a good frame of mind to create something good. You have to be in a beautiful frame of mind to create something beautiful…which was the aim of my youthful inclinations and into adulthood. Of course we could get into a huge discussion about what beauty is, but for me at that time in the past, it was what might approach the level of a clear colorful or a field full of day lilies or lavender.

Then, if you are in the good frame of mind, you need your oils or watercolors to be the right temperatures, the brushes to be the right ones in the right condition and you need to be left alone with your music or silence or view or memories for just the right amount of time.

The artist, you or me, need to keep all this going for an hour or a week before the paint dries or get it going again after one layer dries. You need to stop painting before you add too much. You need to keep painting before you leave it too undone.
Then, you need to be able to allow that one thing, some fleeting bubble of a thought to enter in when the muse appears, or reject it altogether because it takes you off into a direction you cannot go. It’s tough putting it all together and getting something beautiful that can be called art or fine art.

Never mind the difficulty in narrowing the subject down to one, choosing the exact right color palette, getting the right sized canvass, having the proper easel, disposing of your waste properly, wearing a mask, or using all non toxic materials. So, in between having all those things together, I make greeting card and some fun.

But, creating cards is just fun. I use whatever medium is ready, whatever I am one with that moment, I use my love of jokes and words and twists and puns, I put them altogether.

The last two years (come May) I will have spent hundreds of hours creating all sorts of cards. People say I have a funky mind in that I allow all sorts of styles. I put most of my attempts up for sale because I have found that just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean there isn’t some one who will like it enough to buy it.

I sell my 5300 plus cards amongst almost a million other cards at the site, and I only make a pittance on each card, but it’s lots of fun and it gives me a chance to put my best art and jokes and creativity in the hands of people all over the world. Knowing I make people smile feels good and I hope that people will not forget to send cards by snail mail because that’s something they can put their hands on ten years from now and remember you.