Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catching Up On My Email

I've neglected my email for a few days and boy has it been bulging with interesting looking stuff. Enjoy!

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Where he AIN'T

He was just a little boy,
On a week's first day.
Wandering home from Bible school,
And dawdling on the way.

He scuffed his shoes into the grass;
He even found a caterpillar.
He found a fluffy milkweed pod,
And blew out all the 'filler.'

A bird's nest in a tree overhead,
So wisely placed up so high
Was just another wonder,
That caught his eager eye.

A neighbor watched his zig zag course,
And hailed him from the lawn;
Asked him where he'd been that day
And what was going on.

'I've been to Bible School,'
He said and turned a piece of sod.
He picked up a wiggly worm replying,
'I've learned a lot about God.'

'M'm very fine way,' the neighbor said,
'for a boy to spend his time.'
'If you'll tell me where God is,
I'll give you a brand new dime.'

Quick as a flash the answer came!
Nor were his accents faint.
'I'll give you a dollar, Mister,
If you can tell me where God ain't.'

The Doctors

A Japanese doctor said, "Medicine in my country is so advanced that we took the kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him looking for work in six weeks."

A German doctor said, "That's nothing, we can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks."

A British doctor said, "In my country, medicine is so advanced that we can take half of a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have them both looking for work in two weeks."

A Chicago doctor, not to be outdone said, "You guys are way behind. We took a man with no brains out of Chicago, put him in the White House, and now half the country is looking for work."

Did You Ever Wonder...

Every wonder what is exactly going on in an 18-year old's head? Or what they think about what is going on locally or in the world?

Well, now there is a place to find out, just what one is thinking at

Ask your questions and find out!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Boy was I surprised this evening when I stopped by the Ace Hardware/Pleasants on the way home to buy a new mailbox and discovered that they are CLOSING!!!

Walter was sorely disappointed to hear it. He figures that they are moving West towards Brandermill and Woodlake.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Aftermath

I got out early this morning, before heading to work, to survey the aftermath of last night's 'adventure'. The front ditch is full of tree limbs and lots of tree debris. There are going to be some busy people at the house on Wednesday working on getting this mess cleared up.

There won't be any mail delivery at the house today - I have to pick up a new mailbox. We're beginning to think that the mailbox is cursed. This is the second one that we have replaced in a year. Hope this one stays around longer than the last.

After all the trees that we have cut down within the last year (with a few more that need to come down), it's going to sound really funny, but we may just have to plant a few in the Fall. We'll at least they will be well chosen and planted strategically.

Lightning Strike

We had a line of thunderstorms come through early this evening, before I came home from work. Walt called to check on me - he said that they had hear a crack. Turns out that the cracking sound was lightning splitting the tree at the end of the driveway.

On my way home I saw pieces of the tree that had exploded out were down the road and across the street. Some had blown as far as our side door.


The split tree has fallen across Fordham. I called 911 (although I wasn't the first) I was thinking that they would dispatch VDOT to clear the road, but they dispatched fire & police.

A few of my pictures even made it into the rotation on WWBT12 - Close Up, Tree hit by lightning, and Down for the Count

While we were waiting for assistance to arrive, we headed out to survey the damage. For a while there I thought for sure that we were going end up with a multi-car pile up at the end of the driveway. I don't think that anyone coming around either curve towards our driveway was paying any attention. A couple came within a few feet of hitting the tree.

We were graced with the presence of Chesterfield's finest (police & fire). They shut the road down, which was really done by the tree, but they put out flares to keep the idiots from hitting the tree.

While all the manly men were out with chainsaws in the road, I visited with the next door neighbor who filled me in on her description of the lightning strike. She said that, "the tree trunk swelled up and then exploded. Boom!" The way she described it, it reminded me of the end scene of Highlander when he absorbs all that energy and blows stuff up.

The tree has been cut out of the road and thrown in the ditch. There is plenty of space for us to get out of the driveway. I'm sure glad that Dad and Sean are coming over in the middle of the week to take down the other trees that have been damaged during the storm.

It's going to be ugly in the morning - I'll post some after the storm pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend In Review

Saturday's puppy class went very well. Bounce had a great time getting to play with Onyx. It nice to see him playing and having fun with another dog that wanted to play. Next class though, we're going to have to wait until the end of class to let them play, so they both will be more focused on class first then play.

We got some great training tips on how to keep him from jumping up on people that come to the door. We also found that we had given him too many markers to stop a behavior. Walt & I settled on one and it really has helped in stopping him from messing with Carla. She'll be so much happier now.

I worked on my final graphics design class lessons. I'm waiting now on the final grade from the olive oil labels (the instructor is moving and won't be back until the after the 4th). I resubmitted my "Poppy Corn" box and have my final "Liberty Bill" ready to go once I've received the final grade on the Poppy Corn box.

I've also been working on a couple of other outside projects. A restaurant menu and an email advertisement. I've got the menu completed for now - I need a couple of things from the restaurant before it is complete, but for now it I've completed it as far as I can. The email is underway, I want to have that done by Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wacky Tuesday

I started off the day by chasing an elusive "red moon". Walter called me at 2:00 a.m. to let me know that the moon was an eerie red color and that I should go out and get a picture. I hopped out bed, grabbed the camera and headed for the door. Where I promptly discovered that I was not able to see anything. So I ventured out on a quest to capture this phenomena on 'film'. I headed westward on Hull Street with the thought that once the trees cleared out just a bit I could find a place where better to see this red moon. No such luck. It had probably already set by the time that I had gotten out the door.

Well trip turned out to be a bust, but then again there were apparently a bunch of actual busts going on last night as well. Law enforcement was everywhere! One officer was lurking under the bridge at 288, and another with a couple of cars pulled over near the house. I thought at first it was a sobriety check point, but they had the trunk open in the car that they had pulled over.

I spent the day at the front desk, learning what to do. Answering the phone is the easy part. Answering the questions from the calls is an entirely different matter. It is going to take some time to get it all together to be truly fully effective.

As I was checking out one of the patients today, she handed me a card with her husband's blog, The Snail and Other Poems. He is posting his poetry and their love story. Once it is complete he will be publishing it as a book. What a way to share how much you love your spouse, devoting a whole website and publication to them.

This evening Walter & I headed out to look for the current edition of Rolling Stone magazine so that he could read the newest controversial article. It was not to be. The clerk at Barnes & Noble told us that they had literally flown off the shelf. They were all sold out and didn't even have a suggestion as to where we could get a copy.

Not to let a trip to the bookstore go to waste, we wandered around the store for a bit seeing if anything caught our interest. We did find a few of the headings amusing. On one set of shelves the headings read: "Self-Help, Relationships, Sexuality, and then Psychology" Did they really mean it that way??? There seemed to be some sort of subliminal message in that line up.

After wandering around a bit longer one of the clerks asked if she could help us find anything. Well, we really didn't think that she could, since we've been waiting for eight years Jean Auel to complete her next book (there had been 12 years between the last two - so we really weren't expecting anything). Low and behold were we surprised! Her next book, The Land of Painted Caves: A Novel comes out in March 2011. This will be the final book in her Earth Children series. We were tickled pink. I have already reserved our copy. Walter is absolutely thrilled that he will finally get to finish the series.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

An Observation

The last four letters in "American" = I Can
The last four letters in "Republican" = I Can
The last four letters in "Democrats" = Rats

End of Lesson. Test to follow in November. November will be set aside as "Rodent Extermination Month".

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

I sprung a surprise on Dad this afternoon. It took multiple phone calls to Mom's cell phone and a few peremptory messages left at Alice's house, but it worked. He and Mom met me at Yamato Steakhouse & Sushi Restaurant.

We had a great time together. I order a tempura eel roll - Mom & Dad both even tried some. Dad even had voluntary seconds!! Our chef was quite entertaining as well as informative.

It was nice getting out with Dad. I'm so glad that he enjoyed his day.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Found an interesting post at Navy Moms For Freedom of Speech on the topic of Father's Day. A message from President Obama. It is hard to believe, or at least it should be, that the President is so out of touch with what is important. Read it for yourself.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feathered Surprise

I kept hearing chirpping outside my office window, and occasionally was seeing a glimpse of feathers. I finally got a good look out and saw what all the ruckus was about.

A juvenile Cardinal was perched in one of the shrubs near my window. He was doing a really good job of 'pretending' that he wasn't there. Maybe sometime soon I'll be able to get some photos of his parents.

More Photos

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Crisis Communications in 10 Steps

Every once in a while companies are faced with situations that put their reputations at risk or hold the potential to alienate audiences. Left unaddressed or not taken seriously, these situations can put a business … well, out of business.

So how does a business respond to such crises in a way that is honest, appropriate and proactive? By implementing a strong crisis communications plan.

Whether your business’s crisis is a natural disaster, a product recall or the theft of customer data, you need to be prepared to disclose crises and address questions from staff, investors, the public and the media. Ideally, a preliminary crisis communications plan has already been created and stored in an identifiable binder in a central location by your communications team. The plan should outline possible scenarios and a plan for communicating to all audiences. That way, in the unfortunate event that your business is faced with an emergency, you will be prepared to handle it and ready to get into action through these ten steps:
  1. As a crisis unfolds, keep in mind that there is always a hierarchy of concern: Be concerned for victims first, employees second, and customers and investors third.
  2. The second a potential crisis rears its head, contact senior level staff and communications personnel immediately.
  3. If the crisis occurs on site, secure the area of the crisis through closed doors or banner roping and gather facts, working cooperatively with authorities.
  4. Work with communications staff or outsourced experts to create a communications command center and designate a spokesperson. Create talking points and key messages, anticipating the questions that will be asked and practicing the responses. Also make sure this command center is armed with multiple phone lines, printers, fax machines, computers with Internet access and fully stocked office materials, like pens that won’t stray far and pads of paper.
  5. Your messaging should communicate your action plan—what are the next steps? What is your business doing to resolve the situation and ensuring that it does not happen again? Ultimately, though, actions speak louder than words—you’ll be expected to follow through with this action plan and questioned if you don’t.
  6. Avoid jargon in your messages. This can work against your messages and key points by creating further confusion. Additionally, don’t speculate in your messages—just stick to the facts and as the facts become available, provide updates.
  7. Be accountable and don’t blame others. It is possible to be accountable without admitting guilt or wrongdoing by simply acknowledging that an event has occurred.
  8. Tell the truth. Because the likelihood is that if you haven’t, someone will find out and you’ll have an even bigger communications disaster on your hands.
  9. Remember that the media is not the bad guy—they can and often will help you get your message out during a crisis or emergency. That being said, there is no such thing as “off the record” and it’s not advisable to argue with reporters or go on the defensive. Perhaps most importantly when dealing with the media, know that silence is not golden, nor is a statement of “no comment.” Not commenting opens the floor to the public filling the void with rumor and speculation and, in many cases, doing so appears to be admission of wrongdoing or apathy. There are of course situations in which you will be legally prohibited from providing a direct comment to a crisis such as a pending lawsuit or legal action—but usually in these situations you should still be able to offer some sort of response.
  10. Use multiple channels to get your message out. Media are often the first to come knocking when word of your emergency or crisis occurs, but keep the message in your control by consistently communicating through multiple channels. Utilize social media such as Twitter™, Facebook or blogs and update your website as the crisis or emergency is dealt with. Many companies have found great success in temporarily turning their home page or adding a specific landing page into an online communications command center. Larger companies also often implement hotlines for those affected by the crisis or emergency to call for information or assistance. For crises with less immediacy, promote this hotline in person and via direct mail with a letter and a memorable item, like a Healing Hand Key Tag for giving a hand or a Puzzle Piece stress ball for putting the pieces back together. Don’t discount the power of personal phone calls or e-mails, either.
When it comes to successfully handling a crisis, preparation is key and so is communication. To learn more about crisis communications and these ten steps and prepare your business or organization to meet any situation head on. (Okay, I've searched and cannot find where I originally came across this. I'd be happy to give credit, if someone comes up with the author. I believe that it came from a Blue Paper from - jps)

Short Week

I'm working a short week this week. I've got tomorrow off and am looking forward to taking care of a number of things that need my attention to complete. I might even be able to get outside a while and get some sun. Now that would be amazing.

For anyone that is interested in further information about creating a QR code like the one that we have at the office you can create you own QR code with this FREE online QR Code Generator. You can make this link to your contact information, website or other information. Very cool. This would be great to have on the back of a business card to give quick access to your website or contact information. There is a great article here about them and other usage ideas.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day
: "The republic was not established by cowards, and cowards will not preserve it." --American writer Elmer Davis (1800-1858)

Maxine Should Run For President

Maxine should run for president. She was right on with this one!

Everyone concentrates on the problems we're having in this country lately: illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, alligators attacking people in Florida.

Not me. I concentrate on solutions for the problems. It's a win-win situation.
  • Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.
  • Send the dirt to New Orleans to raise the level of the levies.
  • Put the Florida alligators in the moat along the Mexican border.
Any other problems you would like for me to solve today? Yes? Think about these:
  1. Cows
  2. The Constitution
  3. The Ten Commandments

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.


They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq .... Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.


The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this: You cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment.

Jail vs Nursing Home There is Justice

Let's put the seniors in jail, and the criminals in a nursing home.

This way the seniors would have access to showers, hobbies, and walks, they'd receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc. and they'd receive money instead of paying it out.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly if they fell or needed assistance.

Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.

A guard would check on them every 20 minutes, and bring their meals and snacks to their cell.

They would have family visits in a room built for that purpose.

They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counseling, pool, and education. Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, P.J.'s and legal aid would be free, on request.

Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens. Each senior could have a P.C., a T.V., radio, and daily phone calls.

There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct.

The "criminals" would get cold food, be left all alone, and unsupervised, lights off at 8 pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room, and pay $5000.00 per month and have no hope of ever getting out.

Justice for all.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cool News From Google

Our office received notice today from Google that we were one of their "Favorite Places" with this designation, came a window decal that denotes us as such. The really cool thing about the decal is the QR code (the black and white image in the bottom right hand corner - blown up on the right) this bar code allows people using smart phones to access information about the business on the spot by scanning the code. Want to try it out? Scan the image on the right.

I downloaded the SavvyShopper app for my Motorola Android and it worked like a dream. Scanned the QR code and immediately I was taken to the Richmond Smile Center's Google Places page. Chalked full of information about the practice. You can read more on the Richmond Smile Center's Blog post Richmond Smile Center Gets Nod From Google

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sizzling Sunday

After all the huffing and puffing yesterday, I was hoping to that the temperature would drop a few degrees, but it was not to be. I've had to go out this afternoon and turn on the sprinkler to water all the potted plants. The Hostas were looking a bit wilted as were the tomato plants.

Bounce has been fantastic for the last two days. It's hard to believe that only one puppy class could have that much of an effect, yet it does appear to be so. He has been much calmer and does come right away when called.

Walter & Kelly got back from Virginia Beach late last night. Walter was a bit crispy. A good night's sleep didn't hurt at all - his 'burn' is settling in to a nice brown hue. Give him a few more days out like that and he'll be bronzed in no time.

I've posted a few more photos of Sean's graduation - some that we took after my camera batteries died.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Graduation and a Big Wind

Now I know what you are thinking right off, just from the title of this entry. I will admit that the speaker did seem a bit long winded during Sean's graduation ceremony, that is not the reason.

I'll just start from the beginning. The whole day has been pretty busy and hectic. Bounce had his first puppy training class - he did an excellent job once he was in class. Poor thing endured motion sickness and threw up in the car on the way there and then had to have a Dramamine before we could come home. He was even iffy then, but we made it home successfully. Just in time for me to run into the house, change clothes and dash back out the door to head off for Sean's graduation.

The big day finally got here and I know that there were times that he didn't think that he would ever see it, but here it was and he has so much to be proud of. He completed school!! Way to go Sean! Here some pictures. The batteries ran out on me after I took the video, so I snatched Mom's camera and took some more photos. Here's the link to the ones that she took and the last few that I was able to take with her camera. Meanwhile you can watch him as he accepts his diploma.

This afternoon we had a get together for him at the house with family. His Uncle Mike even it made it by for a short while. It was nice to see everyone out to help him celebrate this big accomplishment.

Just as the last of the party crowd was heading out to their cars the wind here really whipped up and started blowing all sorts of debris around. I ran out to the car to bring in somethings before the rain hit and saw that our neighbor's huge tree in their front yard had snapped and half of it had fallen over their driveway. It's got them pretty much blocked into their yard. Their only way out for now is to drive through our side yard and out our driveway. While taking a few pictures for them, I heard a snap - a tree in our backyard had snapped off about 25 feet up and top had clipped a second tree on the way down and landed on top of our Holly tree in the side yard. Thank goodness that it didn't hit the house or anyone and stayed out of the street.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Is Here

Well we've made through another week. There were a few days there that I wasn't sure if Bounce was going to make it or not. I'm just about at my wits end on what to do with him. By this time we should have had at least one puppy training session under our belt, but...not till next weekend. I do believe that he's beginning to try Walter's patience as well. I'm beginning to think that Bounce has 'read' the flyer for the training classes and is trying to see if he can exhibit as many of the 'behaviors' that they are going to cover in advance of the class.

My patience with our neighbors is really wearing thin. They have yet to make any form of payment towards the vet bills. I've spoken with our homeowners insurance company and they tell me that if I know who their homeowners insurance company is I can just call them directly and file a claim without them being involved. Now only to find out who that would be. Walter has tried to help them out - they have a car that he helped them list on Craig's List so that it could be sold to pay off the bill. They did have someone who was interested but they wanted to make payments to them. I guess that fell through. It truly is beginning to look like I am going to have to find an attorney and take them to court, unless there is anyone out that would like to make a donation to the cause (Bounce's vet bills).

Where is the responsibility? It seems some days that there isn't anyone out there that has even the vaguest notion of what that is.

I got off a few hours early today and really enjoyed the afternoon reading in out in the sun room. All the sunshine without the humidity. Very nice.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is It Really Tuesday?

Coming into the office after a three day weekend has been trying. Who'd have thought that so much could go wrong in such a short time in a place where no one was at?

One of our external hard drives decided that it just couldn't handle the thoughts of a power outage. I arrived this morning to find a lovely message displayed in red on my desktop monitor "No Drive Found - Please Format". Definitely not a delightful thought when there is nearly a terabyte of information on said "unformatted" drive!! After speaking to the drive manufacturer, I was up for a real happy dance. Turned out that part of the trouble was that the drive had difficulty recovering from the power outage, due to outdated firmware. A couple of hours later and we're all back up and running smoothly. YEAH! For a while there I was ready to bang my head on the wall in frustration and ready to shed a tear in frustration over the whole ordeal. I was in no way remotely happy with the thought of trying to recreate the information that was on the drive. Grrr. In addition to this 'little' problem, our time clock had been knocked out as well. That didn't take much for them to get it back up and running. Thank goodness for small miracles.

At least my headache has finally subsided and perhaps I can get the major task that I've been assigned for the day accomplished.