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Monday, August 23, 2010

A Good Life

"A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough."
~Benjamin Franklin

Such a simple and powerful message. Most of you are so worried about some distant future state of wealth, comfort, love, happiness, or other definition of a "good life", that you fail to recognize that you are living your good life in this moment. Don't get to the end of your life wishing you had realized how good it always was - even when you didn't feel good. Every moment - even the painful ones - have the capacity for goodness. Pause for a moment right now and think of all you are grateful for. And then pause again and go deeper and recognize why yours is a good life at this moment.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lonely Pets at Home?

Stay-at-Home Dog & Cat Entertainment

Stressed about leaving your pets home alone? Don't worry–we've got plenty of tricks for stay-at-home dog and cat entertainment.
Leaving a bored cat or an energetic dog alone all day can make any pet owner resent the 9-to-5 grind. Since most people can’t quit their jobs to stay home with their pets, here are a few ways to ease the guilt of leaving your cat or dog home alone:

Bored Cat? Not Anymore!
Create a room with a view. Cozy up a windowsill or get your cat a perch that allows him to sit and observe the world. You may find discussing the weather boring, but that’s cat entertainment!
Hang toys. When you can’t play all day, rescue your bored cat with a ribbon on a doorknob or a mouse attached to a shelf.
Get your cat some company. Consider a kitty playgroup or daycare once or twice a week for your cat, or take the plunge and get a second cat. If you go the playgroup route, your cat will get a few hours a week of companionship while you’re at work. And if you get another cat, that’s constant companionship—and twice the love and purrs for you!

Tons-of-Fun Dog Activities
Hide snacks. The only thing more exciting than getting a treat is finding that treat. Invest in a puzzle-treat ball, so your dog can play with the toy while working toward a snack. His mind stays active and he has fun!
Try doggie day care. Your dog will love day playing with an assortment of canine and human friends. The belly rubs and daylong attention is great for him.
Stimulate his senses. If you’ve noticed that your dog likes TV or radio, consider low-volume media stimulation while you’re away. If only he could brief you on the news!
Hire a private friend. A dog-walker or neighbor can visit your dog in the middle of the day—this choice is great for older dogs or pooches that have accidents.

Remember, though, the majority of the time that you’re away, your pets probably won’t even notice. For the most part, if they don’t have a reason to do otherwise, pets sleep all day.
Plus, dogs prefer to be active at the beginning and end of the day—in other words, the times when you are home—and, although cats are more active during the day, they are better than dogs at amusing themselves.

If you focus on giving your animals quality time when you are there, taking good care of them, and making sure their food, exercise, and attention needs are well met, they’ll be happy to spend the time you’re out of the house taking a well-deserved nap.
Don't you wish that was how you spent the work day?

Courtesy of HomeAgain

Friday, July 16, 2010

Read More


"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."
~Mark Twain

Curiosity and lifelong learning are hallmarks of successful people in all walks of life, ages, industries, and cultures. Reading good books is a proven way to keep your mind sharp and to grow your abilities and potential. Fiction, non-fiction, serious and humorous subjects... anything goes. In a world with significant illiterate populations, high drop-out rates in our schools, and a critical worldwide need for skilled knowledge workers, cultivating a love of reading is a responsibility we all have. What are you reading?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vacation Checklist for Your Petsitter

It's summer and that probably means you're planning on heading out of town on vacation. If you're anything like myself, you can't stand the thought of leaving your four legged babies in a kennel. I always rely on a pet sitter to watch the house and take care of the pets while I'm out of town. However, I usually forget something, like extra dog treats or a new box of kitty litter. Here's a checklist to help you get ready:

~Make sure that the sitter has the proper keys and remember to leave her with all the information about your security system, including all codes. You can change the codes when you return.
~Show the sitter where the circuit breakers are and how to turn off the gas and water supply to the house in case of an emergency.
~Type out your itinerary and all of your contact information, including your cell phone number and the numbers to the hotels or homes where you will be staying.
~Leave the sitter with the name and phone number of your pets’ regular veterinarian, as well as the name and number of an after-hours emergency veterinary clinic.
~Write down the names and dosage information for all of your pets’ medications and show the sitter how to administer them.
~Let the sitter know how many times to visit and set expectations for each visit. Be sure that you are both clear about feeding, walking, and playtime schedules.
~Leave all food and medication in clear view and label it clearly.
~Leave cleaning supplies in clear view, including an enzymatic deodorizer and paper towels.
~Make sure that the sitter has a partner or a backup plan in case she can’t complete the duties. Also, make sure that you have a friend or relative that can watch your pet in case of an extreme emergency. If possible, introduce the sitter to this person before you leave, and make sure to leave all contact information with the sitter.
~Let the sitter know about the areas of your home where pets are allowed or not allowed. Close off any areas of the house where you don’t want your pets or the sitter to be.

For safety's sake, lock up all valuables—don’t tell the sitter where they are, of course! If you choose to hire a professional sitter, make sure that the company is bonded in case there’s a problem or loss of personal property. To be nice, buy the sitter some beverages and snacks, so she can nosh while she’s playing with your pets—this might actually keep her there longer, and will certainly put you and your pets at the top of her list of favorites.

Courtesy of HomeAgain

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Continue to Learn


"If you are willing to be a student, your life is limitless"
~unknown

Many of you are in positions of relative power and prestige. People look to you for wisdom and guidance. You may choose to be the 'all knowing Oz' and communicate from a position of authority and omniscience. Or.... You can communicate from the position of enlightened leadership - with the demonstrated realization that you are forever a student, learning from every person and every situation. If you choose the latter, you will find your effectiveness skyrocketing and your followers empowered to be their best, knowing you expect to learn from them every day.

7 Cheap Ways to Go Green

7 Cheap Ways to Go Green
Courtesy of Terra Wellington

One of the myths of being eco-friendly is that it takes a lot of money. While some large-scale changes may require a chunk of change, such as buying a tankless water heater or adding solar panels to your roof, the majority of going green choices don't have to cost a fortune. Here are 7 ways to go green on the cheap.

Be a Friend to Farmers
The best prices on organic produce are usually close to home at your local farmers' market. Organic is best for your body and the planet. By shopping more directly with the organic producers you can not only save money but also put more cash in the farmers' pockets and support local food production. Find out more about living and eating organically.

Clean for Under a Buck
Did you know that you can clean most of your house with a non-toxic cleaner that usually costs less than a dollar? That magic bullet is baking soda. A little water and baking soda makes a terrific cleaning paste for tubs, sinks, stoves, and other surfaces. Its whitening effect is great for cleaning grout. Add a handful to your whites in the wash for brighter clothes. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer, and it won't irritate your lungs.

Fertilize with Garbage
One of the great benefits of eating is that there's waste. Seriously. Put your food scraps to work in an at-home compost and voila! You'll have a free supply of soil amendment and mulch from the compost that can also be used as fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Compost is organic and non-toxic, extremely healthy for plants and the soil, and gives back to the planet with minimal effort from you.

Super Sun Savings
Open those blinds and curtains and turn off the lights. Sunlight is free ... and completely renewable. You'll save on electricity. And sunshine is better for your body. The sun's rays are just the right brightness and spectrum to give you more energy, better regulate your sleep patterns, and improve your mood. Sun equals smiles.

Well-Contained Lunches
Opt for reusable containers for lunches whenever possible. You have a one-time investment on the containers that can save you a boatload – throwaway baggies and individually packaged lunch items (like juice boxes and applesauce cups) are much more expensive than if you filled up reusable containers at home with juice, fruit, and a sandwich. And that means less goes to the landfill too.

Old News is Good News
Have a package to send? Avoid the expense and waste of bubble wrap. Instead, reach for yesterday's newspaper as packing material. It might seem old fashioned, but what was good for grandma is still good for you.

Save Money and Miles
Put on your thinking cap next time you plan errands and schedule them together on a miles-saving route. By strategically combining errands and avoiding unplanned trips to the store, you'll save gas and make your wallet a little fatter. Plus, you'll be spewing less pollution into the air from your car.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Measure Up


"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."
~John Wooden

Only you know the truth about what you accomplished or will accomplish today: Is it the best you could have done with the abilities you have? Or is it something less than that? We cannot be our best every day for dozens of possible reasons and obstacles. However, we can choose today to be our best in every possible moment. To do less is to be less. What will you choose today?

Friday, June 25, 2010

How Did That Guy Maket It?

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior… the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”
~Henry C. Link
You know you say it to yourself: How did that guy make it? If only I were that smart/lucky/rich/happy… Well that guy is no smarter or luckier than you. And if he is richer or happier, it is through the hundreds of attempts, many of which failed, which he was making while you were pondering. Get out there and go for it and never ask that question again!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Have a Pet Safe 4th of July


Independence Day is almost here: Camping, BBQs, and of course, fireworks! But while you’re getting ready to celebrate with the rest of the country, don’t forget about your pets. The 4th of July is dangerous for dog and cats—more pets go missing this day than any other day of the year.
The main threat for pets comes from fireworks. All of those noises and flashing lights can send your cats or dogs into a fight-or-flight response so strong they take off at first blast. One minute your beloved Spot or Fluffy is sitting in your lap, and the next she bolts through an open gate into the night.
With a little preparation, you can help your pets avoid this scenario, and even protect them if they do get loose.
Plan ahead for the festivities.
Know where you’ll be this 4th of July and who you’ll be with. Then you’ll know if the environment is right to bring your pets. Are there going to be a lot of people around? Do your pets do well in crowds? Will you be too distracted having fun to keep a good eye on them? Holidays were designed for people to have a good time together, but don’t get caught up and forget about your pets’ whereabouts.
It’s okay to leave pets at home. Although they’d rather come along, we’re certain they don’t want to spend a harrowing night running from fireworks, possibly ending up at a shelter or worse. Give them a free pass to stay at home, cozy with the AC, and away from the overwhelming excitement.
You’ve got to take some precautions when leaving pets at home, though; the 4th of July isn’t just another night. The evening can be a real shock, and it’s common to come home to shredded pillows, scratched furniture, and love puddles on the floor. Rise to the occasion by following these tips for keeping pets home alone on the 4th of July:
Find a safe and quiet room for each pet.
Cover the windows and do your best to dampen outside sounds.
Make sure pets have plenty of fresh food and water.
Leave your pets’ favorite toys out, so they can play.
Before you leave for the celebrations, take your pets for a walk.
Turn the radio or television on at a low volume for distraction and comfort.
Remove anything you don’t want chewed, scratched, or damaged—anxiety draws out survival instincts in pets, leaving your property at risk.
Make any pet-sitting arrangements ahead of time, too, because many people go out of town and leave their pets at home. Your local pet sitter may already be booked up!
Tips for 4th of July vacationers
Not only is the 4th a fabulous holiday, it’s also a great time for your family vacation. And a family vacation without your pets just isn’t a family vacation. Anyone travelling with pets over the holiday should be extra cautious to keep them safe.
A new environment—your summer cabin, a beach rental, or a pet-friendly hotel—can be intimidating enough for your pets. It’s full of new smells and unfamiliar areas. But add loud explosions from fireworks, and that new environment becomes downright hostile. Keep your pets with you and on a leash at all times. It’s too dangerous to let them hang out sans leash even if that’s the norm. Pay attention to their behavior. Watch for signs they’re scared, and act quickly to remove them from stressful situations. If your pet runs off in an area that is unfamiliar to both of you, it’s going to be that much harder to find them.
None of this means you have to leave your pets at home. Just keep a close watch and understand the risks the holiday poses. A little awareness ought to do the trick.
Amp up your pet safety routine
Double up on your pet identification during this week. In addition to your microchip, make sure your pets are wearing visible ID that displays your phone number, or that of your pet recovery service or veterinarian. Consider a bright, attention-grabbing color for the ID tag, so people don’t have to search for it. Rescuers are much more likely to approach an animal they see has visible ID, because they know it belongs to someone who cares!
Remember, even though the 4th of July is just one day, the fireworks often start before then and continue a few days after. Don’t leave your pets alone outside during this time. It only takes one unexpected blast to send them into a scared frenzy. Do take them outside for a walk. They can release some pent up energy, and you can avoid in-the-house accidents.
Lastly, it’s helpful to understand what pets are going through. Cats and dogs hear with a much keener sense than humans do, and at that magnitude, fireworks sound terrifying. Just like us, they’re hard-wired for self-preservation. It’s your job to help your pets avoid that adrenaline roller coaster. Control their exposure to the noise and take necessary precautions to keep them calm during the celebrations.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Pet Care


Summertime is fun time, but hot weather makes for some unique pet care challenges. Both dogs and cats are at risk to heat and sun exposure, and need a little extra TLC to keep their coats primed and protected. But other dangers, like bugs and lawn fertilizers, pose additional risks for pets. So throughout the season, adapt your pet care routine to protect your pet from summer’s safety threats.
Humans aren’t the only animals that can find a hot summer day overwhelming. Unlike you, however, your pet has a limited ability to deal with the heat. Dogs and cats release heat through their paw pads and by panting—yes, cats pant, just more subtly. Dogs tend to drool as they keep cool, and cats lick themselves to lower body temperature. Dehydration can be a big problem. Make certain that pets always have access to plenty of cool water, and avoid letting them outside during the hottest parts of the day.
Providing your animals with a cool, shady place to rest is essential to summer pet care. Dogs and cats, particularly those with short, fine hair and pink skin, are susceptible to sunburn. Prolonged sun exposure for any pet can result in skin cancer, so it’s important to manage their time in the sun. Dogs and cats are most susceptible to sun damage at their ears, nose, and lips, where less fur protects the skin. Short summer haircuts are essential to keeping your pet comfortable, but they increase sun exposure. Talk to your veterinarian before applying any type of sunscreen—some are not safe for pets! When you find the right one, apply before exposure, and reapply often.
Another summer pet safety issue is the presence of ticks and other insects. Not only can bugs carry disease, but the ways people ward them off can cause problems for your indoor-outdoor pet’s health. Fertilizers and pesticides may help keep a lawn looking great, but they can be very dangerous for your pet. In areas where your pets play, it’s better to keep the grass cut short to reduce ticks and other insects. Talk to your vet about how to protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and other insects more prevalent during summer months.
Keep an eye out for toxic hazards when you’re outside with your pets. Fertilizer warnings on the edge of a lawn are a good signal to stay away, and you should also keep an eye out under cars. Anti-freeze can leak when cars overheat, leaving puddles that your dog or cat can easily lap up. The sweet taste of anti-freeze is tempting to pets and, but this toxic substance is potentially lethal.
Finally, although it can be an enormous amount of fun to bring your dog to the beach or pool, always keep a close eye when he’s in or near the water. Even a strong swimmer could have trouble getting out of a pool or get trapped in ropes and other obstacles.
Enjoying a safe summer with your pets is all about thinking ahead. Watch over them the way you would a small child—protect them from too much heat, sun, and other summer dangers—and everything should be just fine. Summer pet safety isn’t hard. It just requires some thought and attention.
Quick Tip for Dogs: Buy a doggie life preserver! If you are going to take your dog boating or swimming, a dog life preserver is an excellent investment for his safety.
Quick Tip for Cats: Break out the kitty brush and get busy! Cats shed more in hot weather. Regular brushing gets rid of loose hair and helps control hairballs.
Courtesy of HomeAgain.com

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Take Action

"Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work."
~William Arthur Ward

The difference between simply going along for the ride in life, and actually living is intention. The intention to do more. So I challenge you today to do more than exist: participate, help, believe, practice, be kind, forget, and work! Take action today with intention and love.

Friday, March 26, 2010

CENTURY 21 $8,000 Sweepstakes for Homeowners


Career & Education Fair at Chukchansi Gold Casino

Home Tax Credit Bill

Governor Schwarzenegger today signed AB 183 providing $200 million for home buyer tax credits. The bill allocates $100 million for qualified first-time home buyers who purchase existing homes and $100 million for purchasers of new, or previously unoccupied, homes.

Eligible taxpayers who close escrow on qualified principal residences between May 1, 2010 and December, 31, 2010, or who close escrow on a qualified principal residence on and after December 31, 2010 and before August 1, 2011, pursuant to an enforceable contract executed on or before December 31, 2010, will be able to take the allowed tax credit.
This credit is equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000, taken in equal installments over three consecutive years. Under the bill, purchasers will be required to live in the home as their principal residence for at least two years or forfeit the credit (i.e. repay it to the state). Buyers also must be at least 18 years old and be unrelated to the seller. First-time buyers are defined as those who have not owned a home in the past three years.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Days of Sunshine and Two Nights of Snow

It's that unpredictable time of year...just when the sun is coming out and the blooms are taking over the yard gold ole Mother Nature throws us a curve, reminding us that she can't be second guessed.
Just last weekend I was walking around the yard in short sleeves strategizing my spring and summer flower beds and vegetable garden. The weather forecast assured me of mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid sixties for at least a week.
"Ha!" Mother Nature laughed.
So we awoke Monday morning to gray skies and rain. Then, BAM!! We awake the next two mornings to snow and freezing temperatures. (So glad I didn't de-winterize all of my water lines!!) I can only imagine that the meterologists are scratching their heads and shrugging their shoulders.
So, this mountain girl is gritting her teeth in frustration while loading up the woodstove with plenty of oak. I can only chant in my head "Spring, Spring, Spring" while dreaming of rose buds and wisteria blossoms.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Daylight Savings is Right Around the Corner

It always brightens my mood at this time of year when the days start to get longer and the sun is still up when I leave the office at the end of the day. It seems that everything is gearing up for spring. The grass is thick and green, the wildflowers are starting to bloom, and the frogs have moved back into my pool to begin their annual mating rituals. Ahhhhh!!
I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to "Spring Forward" this weekend, March 14th. Be sure to set your clocks ahead 1 hour!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Perserverance


"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another."
~Walter Elliott
As you begin this new month, two months already into 2010!, those goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year may be appearing a bit elusive. Please remember that worthy goals are rarely easy to achieve and must be thought of with a long time horizon. If you can break down these long journeys into daily and even hourly efforts, perseverance becomes doable.

Abraham Lincoln Exhibit at the Kings Vintage Museum

Abraham Lincoln: Self Made in America March 6 - April 1
The Wild Wonderful King Vintage Museum will be hosting the Abraham Lincoln "Self Made in America" Learning Station Exhibit from March 5 to April 2, 2010.Teaching Trunks Curriculum materials, programming resources, and a printed exhibition companion will be available. Limited supply. Two teaching trunks will be available for loan to teachers. They will contain reproduction artifacts and documents, lesson plans, bibliographies, and age-appropriate books for school teachers to check out. Teacher WorkshopsLesson plans on CD's, posters, videos of workshops taught at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library will be available. Webinars for local teachers to participate in will be available. Provided by Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in collaboration with the American Library Association and with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, "We the People" program. ContactEmail the museum at kingvintagemuseum@sti.net and title the message Abraham Lincoln Learning Exhibit. Bulletins will be sent as new information and details are received.

Learning Station Exhibiton
Schedule of Events
March 5 Opening Night Preview of the "Abraham Lincoln: Self Made in America Learning Station Exhibition" at the Museum 5 p.m. By invitation only.
March 5 - 28 "Abraham Lincoln Assassination" Drama at the golden Chain Theatre. Every Friday and Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 2 p.m.
March 6 to April 1 "Abraham Lincoln: Self Made in America Learning Station Exhibition" at the Wild Wonderful King Vintage Museum 40680 Highway 41 Monday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mornings reserved for school tours. $3.00
March 12 Ragtime Festival at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park 2 p.m to 5 p.m.
March 13 Ragtime Festival at Golden Chain Theatre 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
March 19, 20, 21 "Civil War Living History" at the Oakhurst Community Park. Produced by the National Civil War Association in conjunction with the Museum and the Chamber of Commerce. Friday, March 19 "Education Day" for Students.
March 21 Oakhurst Community Band Spring Concert: presents "Remembering Lincoln" at 2 p.m. at Yosemite High School

The Pines Resort at Bass Lake announces new winter schedule

The Pines Resort at Bass Lake, California, has announced a business decision to implement a new seasonal calendar of operations for resort lodging and two onsite restaurants.Effective immediately until May 12, overnight lodging will be available Thursday, Fridayand Saturdays only, with dining in Ducey’s on the Lake Restaurant and The LakesideBar & Grill available on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays. On May 13, andcontinuing to September 12, the resort will resume regular daily lodging and diningoperations. This new off-season schedule does not affect outlets such as The PinesMarket & Deli, Bar, Gas Station, Marina, Spa and Village stores, which will retain theirnormal operating schedule throughout the year.Resort guests who hold a pre-booked lodging reservation for a Sunday, Monday,Tuesday or Wednesday stay prior to May 13 are being contacted with options, whichusually involves a substitution to mutually agreeable dates. Group reservations are beinghonored as booked, with no changes to their arrival or departure schedules.Resort management decided to limit lodging and dining operations during off-peakmonths based upon guest travel patterns that have been repeated for many years.Statistics verify that nearly 80-percent of the resort’s business is booked on weekends,with peak daily demand during the months of June, July and August. That traditionalbooking pattern, coupled with a nationwide decline in consumer discretionary spendingand the recreational seasonality of Bass Lake, all were major factors for the modifiedschedule.“This is a business decision that was not made lightly, but only after carefully examiningevery side of every issue,” said Theresa Moody, Pines Resort General Manager, whohas been employed by The Pines Resort for more than 20 years. “Our mission is tooperate this resort in a fiscally responsible manner that secures its future for the longterm.With that in mind, it is imperative to adjust the resort’s economic business model.”The resort is currently operating under traditionally lowered off-season staffing levels,therefore very few layoffs are anticipated and many employee schedules will beunaffected. Staffing levels will increase to the customary high-season average of 280workers in early May.“We remain optimistic and poised to continue managing The Pines Resort with the highstandards of visitor amenities and service that have been enjoyed throughout the pastfour decades,” stated Moody. “We extend heartfelt appreciation to our valuedemployees, guests and the local community for their loyal support and understanding ofthis difficult decision.”For more information on The Pines Resort and seasonal schedules of operation, pleasevisit www.basslake.com.About The Pines Resort:With a premier Sierra National Forest setting on the shores of beautiful Bass Lake andjust 17 miles from the southern gate of Yosemite National Park, The Pines Resort offersdeluxe lodging in lakefront suites, two-story chalets and rental houses, three restaurantsand lounges, a full-service marina with watersports equipment rentals, retail village,market and deli, private lakefront wedding gazebo, tennis courts, swimming pool, fitnessroom and spa services.The Pines Resort is located on the shores of Bass Lake, which measures approximately4½ miles long and ½ mile wide at the widest point, At an elevation of 3,400 feet, BassLake is considered a "warm water" lake with water temperatures reaching 80 degrees inthe summer months.The Pines Resort of today dates back to 1977, when two business partners purchased acluster of rustic cabins on the shores of Bass Lake. They started renovations designedto transform the property into a full-service, year-round destination, and The PinesResort was established. In March 2007, the resort was purchased by Greenlaw PinesInvestments LLC and Carmel Pines Investments LLC, both California based real estatedevelopment and investment management companies who have since spent more than$1 million to modernize and upgrade the property’s infrastructure, guest amenities andservices.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Batter Up!!


"Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game."
~Babe Ruth

Today's quote reminds us that failure only exists when no attempt is made to succeed. When honest effort is made, failure is our greatest teacher. We learn what not to do and can then make our next attempt - eventually succeeding. So yes, you will strike out - probably often. But never allow that fear to stop you from trying.