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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Back On Track - a new directory page

We've just put together our initial Directory of the Arts in New Jersey.  It's not everything but it's a start.  Take a look.  See what we've found.  Visit the links.  Tell them you found them here.

This is slow going; We don't have the tools I need.  I've designed sites back in "the old days" of html and free web sites.  I've done database design, manipulation and data reporting so I know what can be done, I just don't have the tools at the moment to turn a database into a page as I want it.  So, it's one line at a time, one link at a time.  It's fun to see the list go together but very time-consuming.

I hope it's of interest.

Please take my survey and help me focus this business.  What business should I be in?  Thank you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka [the Great Spirit], and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.” –-- Black Elk


IdleNoMore is more than the movement of the Indigenous People of Canada fighting for what they need and want.  It's a about the relationship between a people and a government.  This is about all people and all governments.  Learn more about the issues of this movement and how it relates to your life and our government.

This Site

I'm going to try to change the format of this site this week; to have regular content on each area of interest and to have a regular schedule.  While I seem to have a tiny bit of traffic, I've seen no comments and nobody has taken the survey to help me decide what kind of brick-and-mortar shop I might open.  Please leave a comment if you visit.  It's really helpful.  Do that with any small business website you visit.

Take my Survey.  Help me decide what business to be in.  Thank you.

Small, Local, Independent Business

I haven't been to Warren Art Books yet.  I hope to get there soon.  I love bookstores, particularly those that have both new and old books.


Living more economically and more conscious of the impact you have on the environment is often also good for your health.

Winterize yourself:  
  • Keep your household temperature low to reduce the change of temperature going in and out.
  • Get a programmable thermostat.  Set back the temperature to even lower, program it to raise the temperature about 30 minutes before you get up and back to night temperature about 30 minutes before you leave.
  • Wear sweaters, sweats, slippers and warm socks around the house.
  • Have a couple of pairs of gloves and a few scarves so if one gets wet you have another to use.  Use them.
  • Find a good pair of warm snow boots and a pair of truly waterproof rain boots.  Designate a couple of pairs of socks to wear in them to keep warm.
  • Wear more cotton, less synthetics and wool in winter.  Cotton is less conductive of static electricity, reduces the shocks we're all familiar with and keeps the hair in place more.
  • Eat lots of carmelized onions, on baked potatoes, in omelets, on cheese steak sandwiches, on quesadillas.  Onions have documented anti-viral properties.
  • Find a saline solution nasal spray you like.  I like those with menthol and glycerin.  The glycerin helps it stay longer where you want it.  Use saline nasal spray to reduce nasal dryness from dry winter air.
Have a good day.  More later.  Please take my survey.  Thank you.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Natural odor remover

Please Take my Survey and help me decide what business to be in.

I spent a day a while back looking for something to deal with cat odor.

I have an elderly cat who, even before he was elderly, occasionally, usually in a dispute with his now deceased brother, would pee where he isn't supposed to - anywhere outside the litter boxes.  Some times he's just a bad cat.

This isn't Gus
I thought it would stop after his brother died last year, but, no, it may even be worse.  He gets bored, gets annoyed with me, his litter boxes aren't clean enough, he forgets where he is - who knows.  I don't really care why, and nothing I do seems to prevent him from doing it.  So, I had to find a way to eliminate, as much as possible, the odor, both because it's horrible but also because, if there's a trace left, he'll do it again, right there.

I've used the commercial animal odor removers, almost all of them.  They leave a vanilla scent that humans can smell and cats then associate with places they've urinated before.  And, they aren't entirely effective.

I have a series of steps and ingredients that virtually eliminate the odor but aren't necessarily what you want to put on your carpet and I haven't been able to find the recipe so....

I finally found a skunk odor smell remover recipe online.  I figured that, if it works on skunk odor, it should work on cat odor as well.  It's very simple, leaves no perfume or strange odor, it's quick and relatively natural.

I now keep the ingredients on hand in quantity.

Try to do this as soon after finding the "mistake" as possible.  You don't really need gloves but, since you're cleaning something unpleasant, you might want them.  Get all the ingredients together, something to mix them in and an old rag to work in the solution.

Determine how large the stain is - it will be large under the surface where it's spread out than what you can see on the surface.  Figure out how much liquid you'll need to cover the area and mix the solution in the following proportions:

1 Tablespoon of baking soda, to
1 Cup of hydrogen peroxide.

Multiply the ingredients as needed.

Mix the solution near the stain.  The instruction were that the chemical reaction is immediate and needs to be poured on the stain immediately.
Pat into the area and beyond in all directions.  Leave on for 40 to 45 minutes.  I actually let it dry on.  It won't hurt your carpet, floor, etc.  Or, I haven't found it to do so, so far.  I let it dry complete, then vacuum up the residual baking soda.  You can certainly use some kind of carpet cleaner afterward, if you want.  I find it leaves a very clean sort of dried in the sun scent.

It doesn't seem to completely eliminate the odor for the cat.  I'm sure it's down in the padding beneath.

It's not a good match, carpets and animals.  Too much work trying to have both.

I love my remaining cat.  He's an adopted stray.  His mother had him and his brother in the basement of one of my previous houses.  This one, Gus, was nearly dead when I found them.  He was always half the size of his brother who died last year.  Gus has nearly died in my hands 4 different times.  I'm glad he has this time alone, without his brother who intimidated him their entire lives.

But, he'll be my last pet.  Well, there's the remaining fantail goldfish.  I've had animals most of my life.  When Gus is gone, I want the freedom to go when I want, live where I want, travel, and not have that dependent animal to have to consider.

I might foster, from time to time....

At any rate, try the recipe.  Let me know how it works for you.

And, Please, neuter your pets.  There are soooo many homeless animals out there already.  Thank you.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Banding together

Take my survey - help me decide what business to be in.

Can we band together?

I'm concerned by many things lately but right this minute, I'm concerned about "the little guy", small, independent, local businesses being wiped out by "the big guys".  The big guys include business organizations that haven't, in my opinion, sufficiently distinguished the little guys from the big guys.  

By including, in the phrase "small business", businesses that are much larger and often competitors, the interests of the little guys get lost.

By including in local businesses, outlets of national businesses, the interests of small, independent, local businesses will be outvoted.

By local business organizations becoming a chapter of a national organization, local business interests get lost in national issues which, while important are ruled by big business.


So, I would like to propose that those of us who are genuinely small, local, independent businesses - and by small, I mean small - under $350,000 in business (a dream) - by independent I mean, owned and operated by local residents - by local, I mean one or two outlets, this state, LLC or sole proprietors, brick and mortar or online - I propose that we form alliances and get together to discuss needs, problems, etc. and figure out ways that, together, we can have some influence on our own futures.

Now - the shops I have on my several blogs are NOT independent - yet; they're through Amazon and I'm not happy about it but I have to start somewhere.  

I'm working at trying to figure out what to do with my business that never got started.  Take my survey to help me figure that out.  

I'm a librarian, an information professional, have been for over 35 years.  I know how to find information and organize it for easy access.  My original business plan was to be an online directory of small, independent, local businesses in New Jersey in a handful of niche markets:  wellness, artisan fashion, jewelry, fragrances, etc., animal welfare, cultural non-profits, the arts, crafts, natural foods, environmental products and services, and spiritually oriented products and services.  The directory was not designed properly and I couldn't drive traffic to a website that didn't work.

I'm blogging here and elsewhere trying to decide what to make out of what I've learned over the past year +.

I'm concerned that many of the services and organizations for small business include bigger players who are further along the path with their businesses and my concerns are not their concerns.  I've met a lot of really great very small entrepreneurs who aren't really interested in growing their business into an empire; they just want to do business and make a living.  That's me, as well.  I'm concerned by the ethics of some businesses that, I believe, are not in the best interests of customers and other small businesses.  I want to sell a product/service, straight forward, no tricks, sales on the merit of product and service.

So, if you're interested in getting together with other very small business owners, please contact me.  I'll arrange a meeting whenever I get responses from 2 other people, or more.

Thank you.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Exploring new ideas

Take my survey.  I'm trying to figure out what to do with this business. 

So far, the idea of a directory of the quirky, little niche businesses in New Jersey hasn't caught on and I'm not interested in selling some plastic tchotchkes just to make money.  I thought people would, like me, want to know where to find incense, artisan fragrances, handmade note cards, local fashion designers, papadoms, saris, mehndi, local historical societies, all the weird and wonderful that can be found in New Jersey but not at malls - but - so far - no.

One of the dilemmas, for me, is that I don't want to have a business just to make money.  I want to have a business that involves something I'm interested in and care about.  Just look at all the advertising, online, on tv, in print.  Most of the products and services I see are of no, NO, interest to me.  I don't care about what's in most magazines:  cheap gaudy fashion, jewelry, makeup, pharmaceuticals and same old, same old.

I've always been more interested in things that are out of the ordinary.  People who can put together a great, stylish outfit from finds at thrift and consignment stores and look couture are more interesting to me than those who have the latest designer labels, just like their friends and neighbors.

I'm blessed with good health so the mountain of pharmaceuticals and the ads and articles announcing the latest ailments that everyone seems to have turn my stomach.  I'd rather be healthy, thank you.

There are so many electrical and electronic gadgets on the market, it's difficult keeping up with what does what.  If I take a breath and think, I really don't need almost any of them.  I don't have a smart phone; I don't need one, an ordinary cell is sufficient, when the service is.  I'm using fewer and fewer electrical tools and small appliances at home; I can do most of what they do by hand and it saves on the electric bill and the environment.

I'm interested in artisan and natural foods.

I'm interested in genuine spiritual practices.

I'm interested in a clean and healthy environment and what each of us can do to ensure it.

I'm interested in a healthy lifestyle that focuses on and maintains wellness, not ailments.

I'm interested in everything in nature, plants and animals, and living in a low impact manner to preserve all that.

I'm interested in lovely, handmade, artisan fashion, jewelry, fragrances, objects - but I don't have to have everything I see, just a few..

I'm interested in the welfare of animals who can't speak for or defend themselves in the midst of humankind.

I'm interested in culture:  in books, history, arts and crafts, fine photography, theater, the better quality of human expression.

I'm interested in the out-of-the-ordinary:  activities for kids and adults, products, entertainment, music, art, etc.

I'm interested in genealogy, just a personal interest and hobby.  It keeps the brain working.

I'm interested in home and garden.  I love thinking about and looking at examples of things you can do to enhance your home.  I love to cook.  I love food.  I love to be outside in the yard, to plan and plot improvements.

So, out of all those things, what can I do or sell to make a living, now and as I retire?  It's been a question for several years.

I've created a survey that will, hopefully, help me decide what to do.

Take my survey  Thank you very much, I appreciate the input.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Today's food experiment

My latest food experiment - came out really good. I like Tomato Rice Soup; I wanted to make something similar but healthier without all the additives. Started with frozen leftover pasta water, added fresh mirepoix and bouquet garni, filtered water, a rice mix from the supermarket (just rice, no additives), a couple of T. of tomato paste and a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and onions. Cooked it up and stirred in some grated parmesan cheese in the bowl. Served with refrigerator tea and sesame crackers. Filling and tasty.  This turned out more like a tomato rice stew; it's very thick.

When I drain water from making pasta or steaming vegetables, I freeze it and use it later as the base of a soup or something.

There was leftover tomato paste from this dish so I spooned it into an ice cube tray and put it in the freezer.  Once it's frozen, I'll pop the cubes into a covered freezer container for later use.

I'm single so many things like cartons of broth, bread, rolls, are sold in packages too big for me.  If I don't use the leftovers right away, they spoil and go to waste, so I freeze them in amounts that work for me.  Broth is easily frozen in ice cube trays and then put into covered freezers containers so they don't lose moisture in the freezer.

I keep a china pencil (we called it a wax pencil when I was growing up) in the kitchen to mark freezer containers. It wipes off fairly easily when you need to change the labeling.

Mirepoix (most often minced carrots, onions and celery) can be made from wilted leftovers that will soon go bad. Bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme and flat-leafed parsley) is quickly thrown together.  Both give heightened flavor to any dish.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Unintentionally Political

I did not and do not intend for this blog to be political.  There are, however, times when it becomes necessary to make a statement, to take a stand, to pick a side.

We are all individuals living within a society in the midst of many societies on a small planet spinning around a star in a vast universe.  Being cognizant of our place in all those levels of existence is a good exercise.  Mostly we're aware of our own needs and what's going on around us within a few feet.  Sometimes, our attention is drawn to events, situations, issues beyond our immediate realm.  We react.  This is such a reaction.


I believe that the excessive accumulation and hoarding of wealth and property of a few, often gained by the oppression and control and exploitation of others, reduces the ability of the others to gain and maintain a standard of living that is reasonable and disenfranchises the others from fully participating, contributing and benefiting in civil and social institutions that were created to benefit everyone.  The deck is stacked.

I have no problem with people wanting things; there are things I want.  I have o problem with people wanting to go places, to do things.  I do have a problem with excess.  The accumulation of wealth that cannot be spent in a lifetime, in a reasonable way, on reasonable things, is pathological - to me.

So, when I see or hear of the charitable works of excessively wealthy people, I take notice.  Do I believe they are doing so out of guilt?  Not at all.  I don't believe the excessively wealthy feel guilty about their wealth.  They have to give to charities for tax purposes.  These donations are non-engaging; they don't require personal involvement.

What I do believe is that much of these charitable works would be unnecessary if they had not gained their wealth at the expense of those they are donating to assist.  It's about control, about having a sense of self that is false and imagined.  When I work for someone, it is, in most cases, a mutually agreeable and beneficial arrangement.  I agree to perform various tasks for pay.  They have work to be done that they can't or don't want to do.  They pay me to do that work.  The work doesn't get done unless I or someone does it - for pay.  They haven't done me any more of a favor than I have done for them.  While I'm working, I do the best work I can; it's part of the agreement.  Once the arrangement becomes unbalanced in some way:  I'm not doing my job well enough or the pay and benefits become insufficient for what I'm expected to do, the relationship is usually severed.

I don't appreciate the attention that the wealthy and celebrities get for their donations to charity because of the excessive amounts they are able to donate.  There are individuals with almost nothing who faithfully contribute to charities small amounts that they feel are important.  There are many relatively poor individuals who donate their time and efforts to a variety of local organizations and personally help people.  These are the people who should be lauded.

If those same wealthy people personally reviewed the personnel policies of their various enterprises and asked their lowest rung employees what the impact of those policies are on their lives and made real adjustments in the business relationship they have with their employees, then I would be impressed.  If the companies owned by the wealthy had funds set up for assistance to employees in various situations, then I would be impressed.