Archive for August 2011
Summer is coming to a close soon and the unofficial end is Labor Day weekend. I thought I would reflect upon some neat things I experienced this summer. Perhaps you also have some good memories of summer, 2011.
- A juicy New York Strip steak for dinner on our wedding anniversary
- Having all my brothers and sisters together in July at the Pennsylvania “Compound”
- Watching a thunderstorm develop over Knoxville, Tennessee for over an hour as I drove south on interstate 75 in Kentucky. I was driving home from a trip north on business. Luckily it did not bring much rain that I had to negotiate while I was driving late at night.
- Going to the movies with my two nephews to watch the Zookeeper and the Smurfs. Both were good. Not the movies, but my nephews who were well-behaved.
- Reminiscing with my older brother about shared experiences in the 1970’s in our home town
- My first summer in Atlanta – so much sun, so little rain, so much fun.
- Passing my annual, self assessed, bicycle fitness test.
- Browsing the shops located on Marietta square on a lazy Saturday afternoon in June.
- Meeting a lot of wonderful new people in our new community.
- Authentic Southern barbecue – yummy.
As you can see from my list there was no vacation this summer but why vacation when your everyday experience is like a vacation destination? I am sure the newness will wear off and become old hat but until then I am vacationing in my own backyard. Before summer ends you still have some time to make memories, make one today.
Have a great week, this unofficial final week of summer.
Today has been a hectic day so far. As I wrote this, the stock market was tanking, Jimmy Sad Eyes was sick, my baseball team was on a double-digit losing streak, it’s a Monday and I can’t think of a topic to write about. What else is there to do but write about my “troubles”? I am not talking about true clinical depression which is a very serious matter but instead, the blue feeling you get every once in a while that knocks you off your game for a day.
What do you do to cheer yourself up when you are in a rotten mood? Assuming that we rule out drastic measures such as booking a flight to your favorite vacation destination, I offer some common things people do to cheer themselves up. I have used some of these ideas myself. In no particular order, I have created a short list below:
- Take a walk, bicycle ride, go for a hike or some other form of light exercise to “clear your head”
- Listen to some favorite music
- Read an inspiring book
- Watch a funny movie
- Eat or drink something – preferably loaded with chocolate
- Do something with your hands. Cook, bake, or build your way out of the blues
- Call your mom, dad or a good friend
- Perform a simple task to completion to give yourself a sense of accomplishment – maybe you are feeling overwhelmed and this will help
If you notice; all these ideas involve stimulating your senses. Maybe a big part of those days of feeling blue are from stagnation or being stuck in a rut. Perhaps the old adage; “variety is the spice of life” is true. So, if you are feeling a little down in the dumps, do something – anything will probably help. Excuse me, now I am going to take a bike ride.
Have a great week and don’t let things get you down.
We all have busy schedules and need to squeeze as much out of a day as we can so we need to think of ways to maximize the productivity from what little time we have. I am practicing good time management by writing this blog while waiting for an oil change. That, in and of itself is a good idea but I also purchased the synthetic oil so I can travel at least 6,000 miles before I need another oil change. By going twice as far between oil changes, it obviously means I save time by getting my oil changed half as often. I also purchased a multi-pack of oil changes in advance at a quantity discount and my price paid is actually less than most regular oil changes. By purchasing 5 synthetic oil changes for $275.00 my price is only $55.00 per change. If your local quick oil change place does not have a deal like this, Wal Mart’s synthetic oil change is normally about $55. By driving twice as far between using synthetic oil it reduces the equivalent cost to $27.50 per change. In addition, synthetic oil is better for the engine and I get about 1 mile per gallon better fuel economy as an added bonus. According to research, using synthetic oil also reduces exhaust emissions by about 20%.
This may not seem like a big deal to you but my wife and I drive about 16,000 miles each year and that means I would have to get 10 oil changes per year using conventional oil. Now, I only have to get 5 which conservatively saves me about 5 hours assuming it takes an hour from start to finish for each oil change. I also timed my 5 pack purchase to when both cars needed an oil change so I am only prepaying for 3 which calculates as follows: 4 months before I need two more and another 4 months after that to use the remaining one I prepaid. $165.00 (3 prepaid at $55.00 each) for 4 months and $55.00 ( the final oil change) for another 4 months does not add up to much lost interest in this zero interest rate environment. My 5 hours of saved time far outweighs the interest I could have earned.
The next time you are getting your oil changed, perhaps you can think about using the synthetic oil strategy to save you time. You win, your car wins and the environment wins. It actually pays when you Turn things on end to achieve results!
Have a great week, doing more with the free time you gained by using your time wisely.
We all have our own idea of the ideal vacation. There are many types of vacations one can take depending on tastes and budget. Summer is quickly winding down so you better get moving and make plans if you have not already done so. I have my own ideas about the perfect vacation but it involves bicycling and wine tasting which is why I went to the New York Finger Lakes last August for my vacation. Read about it by clicking here. For those of you who are not interested in riding your bike during the day and tasting wine at night, you might want to check out the following links for the 10 most popular destinations based on 2 different sources.
Below is the list from the Orbitz blog and the link to the article.
- Las Vegas
- Cancun (Mexico)
- Oahu, Hawaii
- Riviera Maya (just south of Cancun)
- Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)
- New York City
- San Diego
- London, UK
- Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)
Below is the list from the dailyfinance.com web site and the link to the article.
- Orlando (thank you Disney)
- New York City
- Los Angeles
- Washington D.C.
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Anaheim (thank you again Disney)
Perhaps these two lists have given you an idea where you want to go before summer is over. If none of those destinations appeal to you, I have a few ideas that might be of interest that I will offer. Below is a few suggestions you may want to visit within the USA.
- Canton, Ohio and the Football Hall of Fame – With the loss of the Preseason Hall of Fame game they can use all the tourism dollars they can get. Millionaires and Billionaires fighting over piles of money ruined a huge event for this small town. While in the area you could take an hour drive north on Route 77 to Cleveland and visit the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Depending on how much time you have you could then take a 2 hour drive west on the Ohio turnpike and go to Cedar Point and ride roller coasters for as long as your stomach can take it.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway which is a scenic road that runs for 469 miles from roughly Staunton Virginia to west of Asheville, North Carolina ending at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. This trip could easily take 3 -4 days from start to finish as there are so many scenic overlooks and points of interest to explore along the way. It is also a very old, winding two lane road in the mountains that is physically taxing to drive for long periods of time. I highly recommend doing the drive. You can get on at any point and design a trip to accommodate the amount of time you have to devote to it. I have done this twice and reasonably estimate that stopping at most sites along the way coupled with the slow speed limit you can only make about 100-150 miles per day. At the southern end you can take a side trip to Asheville which is a neat city on its own and can visit the Biltmore Estate. If you go the whole way south you can got to Mt. Mitchell State Park in North Carolina which is the highest point in the US east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet. When I was there in the mid 90’s I rode my bike to the summit from about 5,000 feet. It was not that difficult pedaling despite the noticeably thinner air but the hardest part for me was the riding on the side of the road with the massive drop off of thousands of feet clearly in view. At lower elevations it was in the mid 80’s that day and only 66 degrees at the summit. Very cool in many ways!
I hope you are all able to get away for at least a few days and make some memories.
Lately my blog has been going to the dogs! This summer I have had two blogs devoted to my adopted dog Jimmy Sad Eyes (can be found here and here) and a blog entitled It’s a dog eat dog world and now today’s blog. What, you may ask can I learn from my dog that I can apply to my business. Read on and find out.
A dog is known for its loyalty and desire to please its master. You need to take that and apply it to your customers by going all out to make them happy. I frequently implore you to knock the socks off of your customers.
Certain dogs are known for their relentless pursuit of what they are tracking. Hounds in general are known to be laser-focused on what has their attention and will go to the ends of the earth to attain it. You need to be focused on achieving your goals in the same way. Don’t get distracted by things that do not matter. Work on first thing first.
Dogs are protectors of their owners. You should also be looking at ways to protect your business interests by being properly and adequately insured. You also should be following all laws, regulations and paying all required taxes.
Dogs almost always have a positive attitude. This is one attribute we all need to have as business owners. Not only will it be seen by our customers as we interact with them, it can also be seen by our employees who will take our lead and they are many times the face of our company.
Dogs are very enthusiastic. Remember how they greeted you at the door last night? Even though it is an everyday occurrence they act like it is a new experience every day. We can learn from the dog in this regard. Let’s face it sometimes there is drudgery in our work but when we are with a customer we are on stage and have to give it our all whether we feel like it or not. The next you are having a hard time showing the enthusiasm with a customer stop and put your game face on – the game face of that dog greeting its master at the door.
It might be the dog days of summer but don’t let that affect your business. Have a great week.