Skeet Shares
stuff I find interesting
Friday, February 9, 2007
My new blog
Come see me at my new address! I'm at Skeet's Stuff.

All of the content of this blog has been moved to my new address. This blog will stay active for a while for various reasons, but new posts will only be made in the new blog from here on out. Comments will be disabled here, so I hope you'll drop into the new digs to say hello and share some aloha!

Advertisers: Per PPP protocol, your posts are still here, but are also on the new blog, which is on my new domain. You will not lose traffic because of this move. Mahalo for all the opportunities you've given me a chance to post for you. I look forward to being of service again at my new "home!"

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Thursday, February 8, 2007
Send skeet some lovin'

I don't have a sweetheart this year. Actually, I haven't had one for many years. I'm grateful that my son sends me greetings for every occasion, but it's not quite the same thing, is it? Kinda pathetic, I know, but it's true that choices I've made in the past mean that I will likely grow old alone. Am I tugging on your heartstrings yet? Poor old skeet, destined to a life of solitude. Are you weeping for me? Well, weep no more. The fact is that a solitary lifestyle suits me and I don't mourn what might have been. I have lots of friends and know that I am loved, so the alone part really is not something I think about much.

I'd still like to get greeting cards this Valentines Day, though, and there no reason that I shouldn't, is there? I know there are plenty of folks out there who are fond of me, and I'm pretty sure they all know that they could send me free, funny Valentine's Day eCards, right? Everyone qualifies for a free 30-day trial membership at E, and it's quick and easy to order the oh-so-perfect card to keep an old maid from feeling lonely. You don't have to go to the store & paw through finger-smudged paper cards, you don't have to remember to buy stamps and you don't even have to do it on some particular schedule. You can order a whole slew of ecards right now and have then sent on any date you want. So, say you want to send me a birthday card. While you're over there deciding how to ask me to be your Valentine, you can also select a birthday greeting and schedule it to be delivered on July 21st. Pretty cool, huh? You'll probably like the site so much that you'll want to send unlimited cards throughout the year, and full membership is only $13.99, so why not?

So skip the hot, sexy cards ...

... and go the the funny greetings ...

... cause your friend skeet could use some positive affirmation.

Even though she doesn't mind being alone.


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Wednesday, February 7, 2007
For the Home Office Woman
I'm amazed at how savvy young business women are today. I'm very good at providing a professional service to my clients, but am well aware that I run the business end of things poorly. I visited my friend Doris at A Meeting Place for All Home Office Women and was very impressed. Doris gathers information from around the web and gives her fresh voice to information on operating a business effectively and profitably. I was very diappointed to discover her invitation to join eWednesday Chat a few hours too late to participate in a session on Negotiation Skills for Women, a weak point for me. I'll make it a point to take in some of these chats when I can. Networking is a wonderful way to make friends and discover new, creative voices to learn from. Doris has recently featured Blogtripping, an endless circle of blog visiting and critiquing and also reminded us Don't Stop Bloging. She also runs the Birth of a Home Office blog carnival, a wonderful roundup of different voices that can contribute to your home office experience. Doris is full of wisdom and I need to make her a regular stop on my rounds. I think it she can help me be a better business woman.

While you're in the neighborhood, make sure you sample Doris's personal posts, too. She collects Barbie Dolls, but the living doll in her life is Clayton, who gains great benefit from Mommie working at home.

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I got so fascinated reading about flucidity that I almost forgot to come back over here & write about it. I've been wandering around the website and following one link to another, trying to wrap my head around the idea. It's not difficult to understand, but it does require a different way of thinking. Everyone is familiar with some very basic concepts like the power of positive thinking and using visualization techniques to see your goals, right? Flucidity is the next level. It is The Universal Language and says that everything exists in one of the following ways:

Potential Energy
Measurement & Structure
Interaction & Association

No, that's not geek-speak. It actually makes a lot of sense and can bring focus and clarity to your thought processes. Obviously the Theory of Everything can and does explain it much better than I can, but I'll take the first one just to give you an idea of the thought process:

Representation is proof of existence. A name, a photograph, a fossilized bone, a souvenier from your last vacation. It's the starting point for your thought processes. You can see, visually or in your mind, this focal point. And every representation is filled with potential energy, leading you to the next step. See how easy that is?

I like this very organized way of thinking. I've been going through a lot of changes in my life recently which have led me to restructure some short- and long-term goals. I think that the Theory of Everything can help me clarify those goals and achieve them. I'm glad this sponsored opportunity came my way so I could investigate it myself and share it with you.

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Icky sick
I thought I was just having allergy problems because of my ti plants blooming. Sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, puffy face & all that stuff. Got up this morning with all of that still going on plus & my chest is croupy & my head is aching & I think it will explode any minute now. Guess I'll have to abandon the benedryl & go get some real cold meds after I wake up a bit more.

I think I might make a big pot of chicken soup later today too. I've been making it for years, of course, but if you have a recipe you want to share I'd love to see it. Other home remedies for a cold? I usually try other stuff first & then end up resorting to Nyquil. It works but it's just so nasty & knocks me out. If you have a secret cure, now is the time to share.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Belisi Radio
I grew up listening to an eclectic mixture of contemporary, top forties, country and jazz. What else would you expect from a child of the fifties and sixties, born in small-town Texas and raised on the outskirts of New Orleans. Local Hawaiian music has been added to the mix in recent years. I guess you could say my tastes are all over the chart. I still love the nostalgic oldies that I fell in love with as a teen, and I think Billy Joel is one of the best songwriters of the last century. Nora Jones is, to me, a magnet drawing me back to jazz. The nice thing about music is that you don't have to agree with me. It's deeply personal and helps us define who we are. Our tastes may converge on the raucous renderings of Phil Harris, but we'll be miles apart if you're into heavy metal.

Peter Belisi, whose name is synonymous with beauty, also seems ot have ecletic tastes. He's launched Belisi Radio, showcasing top contemporary artists, legendary stars of the past, smooth jazz and hot new artists. “Belisi Music is my attempt to take the same qualities I look for in fashion – sophisticated, classic, beautiful – and take it to music,” says Peter Belisi, founder and creative director of Belisi.

Anyone who will put Billy Joel, Dido and Coldplay into the same playlist is at the very least adventurous. I'm looking forward to Belisi's foray into broadcast music. I know he'll be presenting artists that I already love, and I look forward to perhaps discovering some new favorites. Belisi's luxurious and sophisticated scarves, ties and handbags first drew me towards him, and his company mission of giving back to the community has earned him my respect. I'm looking forward to seeing where his music takes me. He sponsored this post so I could invite you to give a listen, too.

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So the big changes rolled out at Payperpost overnight. I think it's all going to be good, but there is much confusion at this point, so it's really hard to tell. The advertisers now have a mechanism in place to rate the bloggers who write for them. That's good. It's will weed out those who find it perfectly acceptable to write rubbish around the required link(s) and call it a post. The door is open for bigger and better opportunities for the posties who work hard and creatively to give the advertisers what they need. The only thing that really bothers me at this point is the technology. Put this code into your blog's html and that on the sidebar & oh, look, google & alexa are messing with your page rank. I've done most of it wrong several times and there are still a couple of tasks I havent' even tackled yet.

Still, I think it's going to be good for all of us - advertisers and posties - in the end. I certainly hope so!

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Monday, February 5, 2007
Yum! Take a look at this!

I don't know a lot about English football. I know that it's not the football we watch religiously in the US. It's soccer, right? Anyway, a couple of years agao my son asked for a Manchester United jersey for Christmas. That was when I discovered he's been following the game for quite a few years. No, I'm not a terrible and neglectful mom (at least I hope I'm not!) My son lives thousands of miles away and the subjcet had never come up in our frequent phone conversations.

Today I found the Cristiano Ronaldo fansite and I'll have to admit I'm ... um ... interested. Cristiano is a Portugese fellow who plays for Manchester Limited. So, see, there's a connection already, because my son follows the team. That makes it okay for me to be interested in him, right? Nevermind that he's serious eye-candy. I'm gonna soak up everything about him because I owe it to my son to show an interest in his hobbies. Yeah, nothing to do with those abs. Nothing at all. ;0)

You can find out all about Cristiano Ronaldo by visiting his fansite. You'll find his biography and the latest news about him, plus some action-packed videoes that will show you why he's so popular. You know you want to, right? And it's got nothing to do with those pecs, hm? The Cristiano Ronaldo fansite sponsored this post so serious fans and silly old ladies could know everything they want to know.

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Lucky we live Hawaii?
I walked into my screened lanai last night (that's the room I showed under construction in my last post) and was overwhelmed with a cloying sweet fragrance. Within less than a minute my nose was running, my eyes were itching and I was sneezing. I did what I needed to do (the laundry is out there) and dashed back into the house, shutting the door between the house and the lanai. My allergy symptoms continued until bedtime. I know that benedryl will control this stuff, but I already have problems with extreme dry mouth from my tummy meds, so I decided to try to ride this one out. When I go up this morning I knew I'd made a mistake. My entire face was puffy, the area around my left eye disproportionately so. The sniffles and sneezeing started up again as soon as I walked into the front of the house. I've been taking benedryl all day. It makes me sleepy and saps my energy and there's the whole dry mouth thing also.

I've been assuming something was blooming in my neighbor's yard across the fence. I went outside a few minutes ago to see what it is that is making me so sick. Darn! Can't blame it on the neighbor. I usually trim the stalkes off of the top of my ti plants as soon as they appear. I found out my first year here that they attract massive quantities of bees. I'm allergic to bees, too, so I try to minimize the attraction. I hadn't been out in that yard in a while and the stalks had shot up and are covered with spikey purple balls. Little white blossoms open up when darkeness falls, which is why it was so strong last night. Unfortunately, darkness is falling now and it's a little late to start trimming. I'll have to take care of that when I finish work tomorrow.

While I was out there I realized I've been horribly neglecting my herb garden. The birds have planted wild tomato plants again, the sort that make little tiny, bitter tomatoes. My Dad liked them on his salad, but I don't at all. I guess I need to spend a few hours out there tomorrow. I pulled a few small ones the last time I was out there. Today I discovered one growing into my rosemary bush. It's large enough to already have little pea-sized green tomatoes showing. If I can just stop sneezing long enough & open my eyes fully behind the puffiness I'll take care of all that.

No, I didn't get a new camera yet. I have possession of the homeowner's association camera for a few days. Maybe I can sqeeze in some time tomorrow to stock up on fresh photos for my blog!

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Learn from my mistakes

My regular readers know that I've recently found myself in a financial mess. I was very fortunate that secured loans are available to homeowners and I was able to rescue myself. What's so embarrassing to me is that I should not have gotten into such a mess in the first place. I had a very good business year a few years back. Never having had a lot of money on hand, I handled the excess very poorly. I re-roofed my home. I bought my first ever brand new car to work out of. I upgraded some worn-out features on my home and added a new room. And I paid for it all in cash. The expenditures were all appropriate and needed, but paying cash was a huge mistake. I found myself with nothing left in the bank when other expenses came due.

I've learned a lot from the mistakes I made. As my readers know, I got a remortgage quote and was able to bail myself out. I even borrowed a little extra against the equity in my home to catch up the bills that accumulated when I ran out of money. It really feels good to be back on firm financial footing. And now that I have a better understanding of loans, I know how to handle the additional work my house needs. When I am ready to remodel my kitchen and bathrooms, my first step will be to find out about getting a home improvement loan for the work instead of using up money that should be going into a retirement fund and savings.

I love my new room and the other changes I've made to my home, but the entire process has been very painful and stressful for me. It doesn't have to be that way! If you're planning on remodeling or upgrading your home, your first step should be to fill out a mortgage application so you can borrow the money that you'll need. If what I went through serves any purpose at all, perhaps it's to be the bad example for you so that you won't have to repeat my mistake! UK Personal Loan Store sponsored this post, and you can learn all about doing it right on their site.

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Amost ready!
I hope to be launching my new blog on my own domain later this week. I'm excited and nervous & more than a little scared. This is a huge leap for me and the technology just seems to get more and more muddled in my head.

I got a huge surprise yesterday morning. A friend has gifted me with a custom design for the new site! I doubt that it will be in place when I start redirecting you there, but then, I have no clue how these things work. I've been trying to figure out why my friend would do something so wonderful and the only conclusion I can reach is because that's just the kind of generous and warm-hearted gal she is. I don't know if she wants her name exposed, but if she does I'll tell you all about it later.

Back to studying how all this works. Wish me luck!

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Sunday, February 4, 2007
I chose pepper spray

It's amazing how often I find guns in the attics of homes I inspect. Homeowners buy them for protection. Their kids get old enough to find where the guns are hidden, so Mom and Dad decide to consign them to the attic. I guess they're thinking that they can always get the gun out if they need it. I certainly wouldn't count on that. If you need a gun, you need it now. You don't have time to drag out a ladder and serach behind the the Christmas decorations in the attic. A gun stored out of reach is no good to you. Call your local police department and find out how to get rid of it safely. Then think about other ways to feel safe at home.

I chose pepper spray. I had an intruder a few months ago. I filed a police report after my dogs chased the man away. The officer I spoke to understood how frightened I was, and that I no longer felt safe in my own home. He recommened either a stun gun or pepper spray. A stun gun can only be used with direct contact, so I chose mace pepper spray for my own safety. I'd much rather stop an intruder before he is close enough to touch.

I'm very fortunate to live in a state where both stun guns and pepper spray are easy to get. Some states and municipalities make them harder to purchase than firearms. I feel more secure at home now, because I know I can stop any future intruders. My pepper spray is portable and lightweight, so I can take it with me when I'm working. Feeling safer while I go about my day-to-day routine, I'm better able to focus on getting my job done and enjoying life. Check out Brickhouse Security, where you'll find non-lethal personal security solutions starting at around twenty dollars. That's not much at all to pay for peace of mind.

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Saturday, February 3, 2007
Need a credit card?
How many credit cards do you have? If it's more than one or two you're a candidate for out-of-control debt, but you probably don't need me to tell you that. They're very handy things to have, especially if you're traveling or if unexpected expenses arise, but they need to be used wisely. you've heard the horror stories about people getting into deep debt with credit cards, so I won't belabor that point anymore.

If you're looking to open a new credit card account, what kind should you choose? There are many features to select from. Some offer 0% balance transfers, which might be a good option for you if you're considering closing out another account and transferring the balance. Some offer cash back on purchases or reward points each time you spend. The most important thing is to compare credit cards and the programs they offer before you make your decision.

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Where would we be without friends?

Those of you who are involved with PPP know that owning your own domain means you can make more money. The rest fo you will just have to take my word for it. So I, of course, have been planning to do just that, but procrastinating because the process is so intimidating to a newer blogger like myself who also happens to be a technophobe. This week PPP made some announcements that made it imperative for me to do it NOW.

Absolute panic ensued on my behalf. A blogspot blog is pretty much self-generating. The only thing the blogger needs to input is original thought. Go out into the world where you actually have to know stuff and skeet's gonna be shaking in her boots for sure. But then a funny thing happened. As soon as I realized I needed to do this, posties started lining up to help! Posties are those wonderful folks who blog along-side of me for PPP. Well, Cass got there first and she's amazing. I will be forever in her debt for moving all of my content to my new place & then insisting that I help her with everything else so I could learn how things work.

This is the same Cass who took it on herself to run the Southern Fried Carnival which I've just realized I've missed because I was so caught up in other stuff this week. Sorry Cass! She also runs Self Portrait Sunday which I hope I'll be playing with once I get a new camera. Oh, and I should mention that a pipe broke and flooded her kitchen while we were working feverishly to get my blog in order. She didn't miss a beat. Just dumped the dirty laundry on the floor to sop it up & carried on with coding & copying & pasting & whatever else we were doing just then.

I'm telling ya, Cass is amazing. Go visit her & you'll see for yourself. I stole the above copyrighted picture from her. Dont' tell her that!


Friday, February 2, 2007
Need a laugh?

Oliver Gaspirtz is a little bent. Maybe more than a little. If his work looks familiar, you may have seen his cartoons in The National Enquirer, The Sun, Saturday Evening Post or Funny Times.

He also contributed some of his bizarre cartoons to The New Breed, a King Features syndicated cartoon panel, back before he decided to distribute his work exclusively on the internet.

Go check out his funny cartoons and if you see something you like, take it! It's okay; he wants you to. Next time your blog or site needs a little dark humor or a comic for comic relief, pick up an Oliver Gaspirtz cartoon and post it. Just make sure you give him the linky love, because stealing is not nice.

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Thursday, February 1, 2007
Quick chocolate fudge

That last post has me thinking about chocolate and candymaking. I don't do as much now as I did when my son was little and we lived near plenty of family to share with. Every now and then, though, I want homemade candy, and I always turn to my old reliable Karo Cook Book on those occasions. Here's one I've made many times.

Quick Chocolate Fudge

1/4 cup margarine
3 squares (1 oz each) un-sweetened chocolate
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package (16 oz) confectioners sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts or 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Grease 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan. In 2-quart saucepan melt margarine and chocolate over low heat. Stir in corn syrup, water and vanilla. Remove from heat. Add confectioners sugar and nuts. Stir until mixture is smooth. Turn into prepared pan. Cool. Cut into squares. Makes 1 3/4 pounds.

Quick Brown Sugar Fudge: Follow recipe for Quick Chocolate Fudge. Omit chocolate and water. Melt 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar with margarine. Use dark corn syrup.

It's quick, easy and tasty, and the kids can help! Enjoy!

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Baker's delight

I enjoy spending time in the kitchen creating special treats. I've even shared a few recipes with you here, through my blog. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't share a great deal on one of our favorite ingredients? Chocolate Source is "The Premier Source for Gourmet Chocolate" and you can get 10% of of your order, thanks to the fine folks at who sponsored this post. Take a look around at some of the other merchant pages while you're there. You'll find coupons for almost anything you want to shop for online. Valentine's Day is coming up and you're going to be shopping for gifts, aren't you? Might as well get them at a discount, don't you think? No need to thank me. Just send chocolate!

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My network is growing
I just spoke to my friend Jennifer. She's a realtor and uses my termite inspection services for all of her transactions. I contacted her a little over a week ago in a panic when I got the IRS letter. I asked her which lender had, in her experience, been the most willing to work with someone whose credit was not stellar. This was after striking out with my own bank and several other lenders. She immediately gave me a name and said if anyone could work magic, he was the guy. I spoke with her contact the next morning and, as you know, he arranged for me to refinance my home, at a very good rate, in less than a week. To take such a transaction from opening to closing in such a short period of time is virtually unheard of. I will, of course, be recommending him to others in the future.

All of the money that I make from doing inspections for real estate transactions comes through escrow. While I was in the title office for my signing, I met several escrow officers who have been sending me checks for years. They introduced me to others in their office who were not yet familiar with my services. While it is most normal for realtors to contract for my services, many of them ask the escrow transaction coordinators to do it for them. The folks I met today can be essential in helping my business grow. Lenders sometimes require that their clients to get a termite inspection when they apply for a loan. My lender has a stack of my cards and inspection order forms. We've been added to each other's networks.

So what's the point of this? I met Jennifer through a networking opportunity a few years ago. I don't know how long she's been referring her clients to my lender, but he's part of her network, too. Each of us has our own network of individuals and companies that we do business with and serve as referrals for. Those networks overlap and new associations are made. The escrow officers who "knew" me, though we had never met face to face, increased my own network by introducing me to their fellow officers. I didn't ask them to. They did it spontaniously because I've provided them with excellent service.

This particular networking opportunity came about because of my personal business. Each of us needs to recognize and capitalize on such opportunities whenever they arise. With a business like mine (and perhaps yours) personal referrals account for more than half of my new business. To waste such opportunities would be tanatamount to shutting the door in a potential client's face.

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