Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My affordable DIY Kitchen remodel tips.

So I was in desperate need of doing something with my kitchen cheap cabinets, wood grain laminate counter tops, improper stove placement and so on. Yes my kitchen was a mess and ugly and impractical. But as most of you out there in these tough times I didn't have a truck load of money to hire a contractor or go out and buy all new cabinets, counters and such.

I also had the problem of a stove that worked but only in a manual mode ( me manually turning it off and back on after it cooled) as it had one temperature full blast. So a new stove had to go in the budget. Now while stainless is the obvious style of choice now there were two problems with that option. 1. I already have a fairly new nice white refrigerator. 2. You pay about $150 or more for the same stove in white or black or my choice ( you'll understand why later) white/black.

So now to my cabinets when I said cheap I mean as in pressed wood with wood grain laminate plain flat no hardware kinda cheap. So refacing wasn't really a solution ( if I would have removed the old facing they would probably have fallen apart). So my option paint and trim out doors and add hardware.

And this is where I need a color scheme. So white fridge, white/black faced stove hmmm? Okay I guess I'll go with white paint black hardware. So I removed all the doors pulled the drawers out washed them all down real good. And primed cabinet fronts and drawer fronts and edge and painted with semi gloss white latex paint.

Now a trip to Lowe's for cabinet hardware some one by's ( remember I said the stove placement was wrong) to use for backing mount that wasn't properly used before as I have to remove upper and lower cabinets to move stove layout. And also while at Lowe's I'm looking for ideas on what to do with counter tops. While looking in paint section I come across the station set up for garage floor finishes hmmm,,,. If I take some black paint ( not what they were selling for the garage floor $59.99 a gallon) and some of the sprinkles they have for the garage floor kit and a few good coats of polyurethane I could probably get a kinda black marble look.

So I stroll around the paint section having noted that the garage paint was just an oil based paint, and yes I know latex is much easier app, and clean up but I picture dropping a pan or knife on my newly latex painted counters and can see a big peel off thing happening. So I'm going with the mess I browse a little and find a gloss black farm and ranch paint at $24.99 a gallon the price is right. I go back grab the tube of grey/white paint chips the poly and my plan is hatched.

No I also need some trim for the cabinet doors I browse the trim section stuff is pretty expensive by piece then all the way at the end Wallah I find the 7' 12 piece white primed bundle pack around $22 perfect and again the price is right and cuts out the primer even better! Now my next problem is I have no miter saw ( really want one but $119.99 don't got one) Hmm here's a hand saw miter box kit $12.99 price is right and my arms could use the workout anyway!

See all 19 photos Before

Before After

 Click these to get full view.

So now I'm home my first step and oh yeah I also bought some 3" foam paint rollers cause I need a smooth finish. So I start a coat of black on the counters knowing I'm gonna have at least a good overnight dry time for the oil base paint. Get them all painted next measure all my cabinet doors noting how many pieces each size I.E. 2 doors same size at 16 1/2" x 21" means I need four pieces at 16 1/2" and four at 21" cut using the 45 degree angle in the miter box.

So another day got all my measurements but first paint is dry on counter tops so I put my first coat of poly on and apply sprinkles by pouring in palm and then blowing them out of my hand for a more random look so as to not just look poured on. I found just trying to sprinkle them I ended up with too many were I started my sprinkle. So trust me go with the blowing them from your hand. Three to four hours dry time and then I will lightly sand with about 220-240 grit sandpaper.

Now to the miter box with my bundle of trim and measurements and we saw and saw and switch hands and saw and saw woo did I say my arms needed a good workout. Okay break time and a sandwich, a soda, a few aleeve a little ice for the elbow and back to the miter saw. Oh wait I think it's been three hours maybe I should sand the counter tops. So sandpaper in hand here we go, now here's where you gotta have a little trust.

Your gonna think when you look at the nice glossy shiny counters I can't rub sandpaper on that! But trust me you need to because you want about three coats and you can't just start rolling another coat on that glossy finish. Here's where you also want some stuff called tack cloth you'll find it with the varnishes and polyurethane its name pretty much describes it a tacky mesh cloth. Note this is to remove the dusting left behind from the sanding also note wear some gloves when you handle the tack cloth the residue doesn't wash off well with soap and water.

All sanded and dust removed roll on your next coat and another three-four hours to dry. Oh goody now I can get back to sawing and saw and saw some more whew last piece. ( I really need a good compound miter saw for Christmas ). So now my new stove's in I replaced the cabinets using a proper backing boards for the uppers.

To explain this better I explain how the previous home owner had my cabinets mounted. You know how you have studs behind you wall right. And you realize when you start putting plates and glasses and can food in bunches in your cabinets well it's gonna get heavy so you want to have your cabinets screwed into the studs. Okay now picture holding your cabinets and even if you did mark your studs on the wall it's kinda hard to see or follow the up and down line thru the cabinet backing.

So solution you take some one by one's or one by two boards you pull a common measurement say for instance 12" down from ceiling and say 48" up from floor you mark this the length your cabinets will span and then you can screw these two boards into your studs. Now you can just transfer these measurements as you place your cabinets up and as long as your say 12" down you can put a screw thru the support boards in the back of your cabinets. A little hint here make the measurement for you bottom one by flush with were you want the bottom of your cabinet to set you can then take a few blocks of the one by and screw them temporarily to the bottom of your backer board kinda making a foot or L shape. That way you can set the cabinet on this lip and then once you've secured it to the backer boards remove your blocks and move for the next cabinet.

Okay now my cabinets are properly positioned and mounted securely. I put my stove in place and hook it up. And now another sanding, tacking and another coat of poly to the counters. Then I set my cabinet door fronts out on the floor and separate the proper trim pieces for each and put a tube of heavy duty construction adhesive in my caulk-gun and begin caulking a line around the outside front edge of the door. You'll wanna only caulk one or two doors at a time you wanna let the adhesive set for about five minutes and then start placing your trim pieces on.

When you have all your pieces attached and set you'll then want to take a tube of paint-able caulk clear is best because we still need to paint a coat of our semi gloss latex paint. But first take the caulk-gun and run a line of caulk around the inside seams of your trim and the seams where your angles cuts line up wiping away the excess. I find it works to have a rag handy and just run your finger down each seam you just caulked and wipe off your finger after each seam. Now once this dries apply your coat of paint the caulk will make for a much cleaner solid finish with no seams.

Now it's on to the hardware I bought all black pulls and knobs while at Lowe's. And one other detail I forgot is my old door hinges were a rustic gold color ( and a few were just rusty) So while at Lowe's I thought about this and purchased a can of Gloss black spray paint. I then having removed all the hinges painted them noting that only part of them were visible so I mainly focused on spraying the parts that would be seen. Then once dried I reattached them to the doors and proceeded to mount my pulls and knobs. Note they sell a template for placing your pulls and knobs it helps you mark the for the proper size pull etc, so you can then drill your holes it's very cheap and a must have for ease of use.

So I now just have on more sanding, tacking and one last coat of poly. I had a few of those little push lights I picked up at a Goodwill store so I mounted them under my top cabinets. I also wanted to add some stainless effects as I had also changed out my hanging light in my dining room and added a three spotlight bar where my old ceiling light was. And I picked them in a Silver finish. So I bought silver outlet and switch-plate covers and two silver finish plastic back-splash sheets they have at Lowe's. You can find these in a display back where Lowe's has their display kitchens. The only bad thing about them is the price just for the two pieces behind my stove cost me over $40. But I needed the look it really stepped my remodel up a notch as you can see in the pics.

I did also score a can of miss matched paint that you see on the walls it's almost a sea foam color and at $5 for the gallon well the price was right. And I also got use from it in a bathroom that had two different wall papers and one strip painted for a total three different colors so the paint really paid off! So there it is for the most part including the stove I think this all cost under $500 it was a good investment I think.

And there you have it I'm sure I might have left some things out so if you have any questions or comments please feel free. I'd be glad to share in any way.

An added not I have since seen an add recently from Lowe's where they actually sell a kit for the counter tops that is exactly what I did catch they want around $149 for the kits so trust me just DIY.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nascar's Race To Chase #48

Nascar please enough with the chase format already! O. K. maybe my plea is falling on deaf ears or something, for those of you who haven't read my older hubs I put a little effort in one titled Nascar Season Champ vs. Chase Champ kinda showing the outcome of the seasons since the chase if under the old format. Just read it and you'll see where I'm coming from.

So now I have a new plea. It's starting (if it wasn't already to become clear that Jimmie Johnson is really good at these tracks that they run during the Chase. And it's true of all drivers that there are certain tracks they are better at and some they just hope for the best at. So to me anyway it's starting to prove more how unfair the current Chase format is.

I mean aren't they just kinda stackin the deck in Jimmie's favor at this point. So here's my thought for a quick fix if they must keep the chase format. Reverse the season every year or throw all the track's in hat pick out ten and those are your ten final race's. Let's face it your kinda starting to bore all the other driver's fans and wasn't the whole point to make it more exciting, to make it more competitive.

But instead they've done the opposite. Now I'll will admit Jimmie is a very good driver he has a great crew chief and pit crew. But in the end I still will always question whether he stand up to some of the greats who's records he is on course to break. And the fact that he goes into a lot of these Chase's not in first place in points really bothers me.

It's kind of like letting one team say in the NBA finals get home court for all seven games. So let's at least change up the tracks. Note that Jimmie is rarely leading the points after the first ten races so let's make them the chase tracks let's throw in a road course or two then if Jimmie still wins we know it's because he's great overall not just at certain tracks.

And I know you may say it's not over yet but I just really got a feeling of deja-vu about three races ago. Been here done that and Jimmie Johnson wins again and Johnson takes Lowe's speedway,,, and the record books are being written! I just wonder how would Dale have done in the Chase or Richard Petty and so on? I think allot would depend on how well they drove the select tracks. But we'll never know what we do know is it would be nice to see a little competition. But for this year I'm afraid it might just keep being and Jimmie wins again,,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Structured Settlements

What if you were injured?
The things you should know.

A structured settlement is a financial or insurance arrangement, including periodic payments, that a claimant with a personal injury tort claim accepts to resolve or to compromise a statutory periodic payment obligation. Structured settlements were first utilized in the United States during the 1970s as an alternative to lump sum settlements. Structured settlements are now part of the statutory tort law of several common law countries including but not limited to Australia, Canada, England and the United States. Although some uniformity exists, each of these countries has its own definitions, laws and standards for structured settlement.

Structured settlements may include income tax and spend thrift requirements as well as benefits. Structured settlement payments are sometimes called periodic payments. A structured settlement incorporated into a trial judgment is called a periodic payment judgment. Federal structured settlement laws include sections of the Federal Internal Revenue Code. State structured settlement laws include structured settlement protection statutes and periodic payment of judgment statutes. Medicaid and Medicare laws and regulations impact structured settlements. To preserve a claimant’s Medicare and Medicaid benefits, structured settlement payments may be incorporated into Special Needs Trusts and the Medicare Set Aside Arrangements.

For Federal income taxation purposes, the United States definition of structured settlement is found in Internal Revenue Code Section 5891(c)

  1. is an arrangement that meets the following requirements:
    A suit or agreement for periodic payment of damages excluded from gross income under Internal Revenue Code Section 104(a)

  2. An agreement for the periodic payment of compensation under any workers’ compensation law excluded under Internal Revenue Code Section 104(a)

  1. The periodic payments must be of the character described in sub paragraphs (A) and (B) of Internal Revenue Code Section 130(c)

  2. must be payable by a person who: Is a party to the suit or agreement or to a workers' compensation claim; or By a person who has assumed the liability for such periodic payments under a Qualified Assignment in accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 130.

Now O. K. before you say I'm losing you with all the legal reference's let me get to the basis and importance of this hub. Now if we take a minute and forget the commercials we hear and see and go off on our branding of Lawyers and so on. I want to offer you a little different perspective on this. If we could look back in time and some of us can a little through grandparents or even maybe great grandparents. Think of how many times you've seen some elderly man missing some fingers or walking with a limp or missing a limb or half a limb. And probably if we asked most of them would tell us of the accident at work or while driving or helping a neighbor build or fix something. And also most of them probably suffered through the rest of their lives having to adjust to the things they could and could not do the same. Also most would probably tell you they never got any assistance financial or otherwise for the loss.

And that's why this issue and law is important, ever try living on a fixed income? Now imagine being young and getting injured and not being able to pursue your career and I don't think Walmart pays allot being a door greeter. So this really comes down to more than just suing the pants off somebody this could simply be a matter of making right and providing that which was lost. And losing one's lively hood can be devastating for the person, their spouse, children and everything around them. Hopefully this will never happen to any of us but when it does what do you do?

Well the obvious and only advice is get Legal representation because for most of us this is way over our ability to know exactly what we would need or deserve to provide a suitable living in a injured condition. Because there are just allot of things we would miss or not think about and sometimes we may not fully understand what certain injuries will do to our future. So if you have suffered an injury at work at someones home at someones place of business no matter how minor you may think it to be get proper advice from a Lawyer who specializes in this field before you dismiss it. You may seem fine now or it may just seem like a small injury but if you don't pursue it and it becomes a problem later oh well. So get what is right the first time.

I really would like to hear from you let me know what you have gone through if you've suffered an accident and please add any advice you might have.

Law Blogs

Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

This is a Hub that I am a little behind in writing it really should have been one of my first. And I will actually be planning to keep a series of Hubs on this topic as I feel it is a very worthy topic. I only hope and pray my words are worthy enough for the cause and that they can impress on all who read it to help the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and other Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation's in anyway possible.

First on a personal note I have no affiliation with St. Jude and the only association I have with them is my donations. Now my donations are meager at best I will admit as I like many of you live on a pretty much week to week basis and also like many of you there are certain parts of each month when my pay just covers the bills due that week. But I always try as often as I can to give what I can for Cancer research.

Now I have not been what you would call a lifetime giver to St. Jude. Just over the last few years. I started when after a few times of getting those handy little envelope labels and notepads they mail out. Now I'm sure many of you know what I'm referring to and you probably even used one of the labels yourself mailing a off bill or something. But one day I actually read the letter that came with the labels and a light kind of came on when I realized the services St Jude's and other Cancer Research and Children's Hospitals offer. Not only to the children who are so innocent and undeserving of having this dreadful disease but to the families many of whom are often suffering through several tragedies at the same time.

The main and obvious one of course is seeing their child suffer with something they have no control over. And then there is the added pressure from the financial strain as many of the parents do and rightfully so want to be with their children as much is possible. Those of us with children and who have been blessed not to have to face this can barely begin to imagine the pain and hardship these children and their families go through. I think we all can understand though that if we did face this things like our career's, house's, car's and such would suddenly take a back seat to our child.

And this is where St. Jude Children's Research Hospital becomes a God send to Cancer patients and their families. But this is also where St. Jude along with the children and their families need us. Cancer is as we all know a very expensive disease and all of St. Jude's services are provided on a non profit basis. Here are Some facts about St. Jude Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Its mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world.

On average, 5,400 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.
St. Jude has 78 inpatient beds and treats upwards of 250 patients each day.
St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.
St. Jude is the first institution established for the sole purpose of conducting basic and clinical research and treatment into catastrophic childhood diseases, mainly cancer.
Research findings at St. Jude are shared freely with doctors and scientists all over the world.
St. Jude also enjoys a worldwide reputation as a teaching facility. The medical and scientific staff published more than 600 articles in academic journals in 2008, more than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. This is an average of a St. Jude paper being published every 17 hours.

St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.
St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today.
Now please if you just kind of skimmed over this at least read closely the last to point's and let them sink in! This is what caught my heart just realizing the ease this places on the parents of these children. And seeing how much of a difference they have made in Pediatric Cancer Research and how they have changed the survival rate.

Think about that and let's put in visual terms in 1962 if you had 100 children with Cancer over 80 of them died! Compared to today where only 20 would die and I'm sure they are determined to make this number even lower.

So please join me by following the link below and give what ever you can. You will also see many of the other service's they provide and most importantly the children who could be yours or mine and deserve a happy normal life. I hope this Hub will do them some service and touch some of you to give and support a Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation today!

Now even if you can't donate look over their patient and parent section and pick a child by name and pray for them and pray for all those in the Pediatric Cancer Research field.

Parenting Blogs

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cheap Health Insurance is it possible

WOW! Is it just me or do these town hall meetings on
Health care seem to resemble something more like war
protest? Either way it seems to me that the sign in the
photo kind of sums up where we seem to be on this issue.
But it seems to me that the big problem at this point is
that there is no one who is explaining this properly to us.
And I'm sure not many people are reading the thousand
page bill all the way through.
I personally think Obama really needs to assign someone to really break this Health Insurance bill down in as clear and concise way as possible so as to prevent some of the rumors, misunderstandings and flat out lies that are being spread around.
I for one can say I really don't have more than half a clue exactly what or how this plan is going to provide me with health care at this point. I am hopeful it will work I pray it works but at this point I'm just not very clear on it. And I guess maybe I should try to read over the thousand or so pages. And it seems that maybe we all should as important an issue as Health Insurance is, but that's not the way we are as Americans I'm afraid it seems we are all to willing to let someone else skim over it and listen to their thoughts about it.
Kinda like how we hear the book is good but we'll wait for the movie to come out.
But isn't the problem with that what we are seeing played out with some of the emails and commercials that from what I'm learning our giving misleading information about the bill.
A few of them are, 1. There will be a Government death panel to review whether elderly people are worth certain treatments. 2. We will all be paying for public abortions without choice. 3. The Government will have access to our bank accounts without our choice. Now these rumors and statements from what I've researched are just not true. And isn't that what the problem is with waiting for the movie? The movie is usually gonna have a little if the Directors input or changed some by the screen writer so your not getting the original Author's full viewpoints.
So we have the Republicans saying this and the Democrats saying that and this is where the big quagmire comes in. And this is what I as an American must say I am so sick and tired of the stupid political nonsense and infighting. And I get a big feeling so are you my fellow Americans. Affordable Health Insurance is a very important issue for us we all know something needs to be done. I know from my experience in my last job I took the Health Insurance offered by my company mainly because of some dental problems my wife and I have problems which actually cost me a few days of work in fact. I had three levels to choose from the first level didn't include dental the third was just way to expensive so yeah I took the middle plan. Now add a little life insurance some long term disability and that was about $60 a week out of my average paycheck.
Now at the time I took this my wife and I both made average wages. My wife then lost her job so then I was stuck with a plan that had high deductibles the key one $1000 a person for the Dental Insurance per year. And a year wait for what they term pre-existing on the Health Insurance and yet I now couldn't really even afford losing that much of my check. But I now couldn't cancel the policy until November 2009 and this was only December 2008. So there I was I still couldn't use the Dental Insurance because I don't have a $1000 laying around and only a few things in the Medical didn't fall under the pre-existing.
So I now will be starting a new job next week and probably wont take any Health Insurance as I can't really afford to. My new job starts out at a lower wage but without the -$60 a week I'll still be doing better. And so from November 2008 till August 2009 I dished out roughly $2.200 for Insurance I never used and no longer have. And that is one of the big problems among many with our current means of health care if we get it through our Employers and we can't transfer it then if we decide to make a career change we start all over.
Now this is just my story and I know there are many of you out there with stories that make my problem seem pale in comparison. And I think we mostly all agree we need some kind of better plan. And my main reason for this post is just to implore all of you to research Obama's plan as best you can before you blindly dismiss it or shoot it down. Now the following link is one I urge you to check out I got this from a CNN report. Now I understand that we now have a lot of political affiliation going on with our news media but this link offers several other links not specific to CNN and I have checked several of them out and found that they give the true facts of what is or isn't in the health care bill. There is also a link for the actual thousand page bill.
So please get informed before you go to your town meeting or just discuss this at the water cooler. No the facts. And remember the truth and nothing but the whole truth! We can get affordable Health Insurance we must.
Go to and join me in praying for our Leader's to get this right!

Health Blogs

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Story of Sammy Jo

There is a little girl, you all should really know.
She's cute as a button, her name is Sammy Jo.

Now Sammy has a Kitty Cat, and like Mary and her little lamb the story you all know.
Everywhere that Sammy went her cat was sure to go.

Not that the cat followed her much, this just wasn't the case.
See Sammy liked to carry her cat from place to place.

She carried it to school one day, she thought for show and tell,
but as she walked in the classroom the cat let out a yell.

Cause it seems one of her classmates thought it would be neat
to bring his dog to show and tell, and he sat by Sammy's seat.

Then hissing and scratching it leaped from Sammy's arm,
and as it leaped it hit the wall where hung the fire alarm.

And well as you would guess this caused quite an uproar
with cat meowing dog a barking, and children screaming and running out the door.

Except for one little boy who decided to stop drop and roll.
Although he wasn't on fire, so why we'll never know,.

Now the morale of my story I will now tell.
If your name is Sammy Jo and if you have a Kitty Cat, well...


A poem written for one of my precious nieces

by R.W. Renfro

Friday, July 24, 2009

Writing about Writing signs of an Introvert


Hello again paper and pen.

What is it that I sit here and do?

This thing that consumes my time that occupies my mind.

With pen in hand the ink flowing, the ball rolling never opposing but just going as I press it firmly. The pen relaying the thoughts of my mind.

Never complaining nor condemning not seeing any fault as if blind.

And the paper lies here never saying a word just accepting everyone.

Here there is no fear of failing all I must do is let my mind be free.

Just follow the lines is the paper's only plea.

Sometimes the words rhyme and other times not, all that matters is what I want.

There are no click's here no pain no one who doubts.

I just write what I feel without worry if it's right or wrong.

No crowds to fit into wondering if I belong.

When I'm happy I write, when I'm sad the same.

When I feel I have no one to blame I write.

Am I famous? No. A Poet Who knows.

Some people have made a living at this.

While for some it just keeps us sane.

There are so many words to write and it seems so little time.

But does time matter here? Or is this not just a way to pass the time.

Is this what I do?

Here I can dream of the perfect place though I've never found it.

I can write of a perfect love while longing to feel it.

I can make people laugh. I can make them cry.

Without ever looking them in the eye. So I write.

With all my passion in my own way.

Never worrying about what I say.

The only worry is my hand cramping as it struggles to keep up.

So if you read this and wonder what is my plot?

My twist, my scheme or my train of thought.

Do not trouble your self by looking to deep.

Or hurt your eye's reading this in bad lighting.

There's no hidden secret.

No rocket science.

It's just me sitting here, Writing.

By R. Renfro

Literature Blogs

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nature Lovers #1 Must have Book

Besides writing one of my other passions in life, along I'm sure with many of you out there is exploring, enjoying and just taking in nature. Whether it's Creating a sanctuary in my yard to watch from the window in winter. The walk along the path to my favorite fishing spot which is always just as enjoyable as the actual fishing.Zebco Prostaff Baitcast Fishing Rod and Reel Combo - 6'
Abu Garcia Black Max Baitcasting Reel

And trust me when I say I am very serious about my fishing. And as I put in my about me section the Bass fishing here in Oklahoma well if your a fisherman you gotta love it. But that also is part of the nature experience I enjoy so much. Whether it's the fish, the trees, the flowers, the flowing river, creek or stream. From the birds to even the little odd insects you come upon. The unique way each one is shaped, marked or behaves to the way they change or exhibit their colors the songs and strange noises they make. I for one just find myself amazed. But with this amazement comes the curiosity to learn more about what it is I'm seeing, hearing or smelling. Wondering if to touch or taste?

And that leads me to my topic. A little old book I've discovered from Readers Digest called North American Wildlife. It's one of the most valuable, easy to use and truly inexpensive resources I've found that covers a very wide range of plants, animals, insects and more. And it's easy to take along with you anywhere. ( I state this because obviously if your reading this you probably realize that the Internet is a great resource for all of this also ). But normally we don't take the PC or Laptop with us and I find this book is great for that. Whether it's knowing what trees are in your new backyard. Or what that little bug or bird you saw was. I can't say enough about how many times this book has come in handy.
North American Wildlife (revised and updated)
Book of North American Birds

Now this Book was originally published by Readers Digest in 1982 and was revised in 2000. It has some pictures but mostly uses illustrations. But the illustrations are very accurate and have identification capsules for ease of use. The Book also has a dual index one for scientific names and one for common names. It has a habitat symbols, range maps and text blocks for common species and groups. Overall I have just found this Book to be great to have around. I use it over and over as I discover new things.

I am positive that anyone from the Nature Lover to just the common Homeowner would find this book useful.

If you also have this book or want to share any other relative resources or have any questions.
Please feel free to comment:
Dragonfly Garden Bird Feeder

New York Yankees Bird Feeder
Boston Red Sox Bird Feeder

Monday, July 13, 2009

10 Tips to Living a Better Life

Boss complaining, the spouse is naggin, bills are due, bank accounts low, kids need new shoes, clothes, etc, etc, etc,,, prices are up 401k is shrinking, companies cutting back and so on and on it goes. Sounding familiar? With our Country at one of its worst times economically I'm sure this is becoming a more and more familiar scenario in homes across the nation.

And while I have no PHD, Professional License or Doctorate Degree. What I do have is a relationship with God Our Father and some life experience. Not as long as some and the same or longer than others. So while some of you over time have figured out ways of handling the stress and curves of everyday life ( your comments and helps are invited ). I wanted to write this Blog for those of you that find yourselves struggling to cope with getting by everyday in life.

Now these tips do come from a standpoint that God was, is and will forever be our Creator, Heavenly Father and Saviour who truly Loves each and everyone of us and is inviting us to ask him for help. And I base this on experience having tried every other method out there to cope with a life that wasn't begun with the best of tools for successful stress free living, Coming from a broken home, a period of non existent parenting, a childhood surrounded by drug and alcohol abuse, and a young adulthood of playing out the same scenario. And through it all I found that when I asked Him to. God came and helped me learn how to change the path of my life.

Now I'm not offering a get rich plan or some positive thinking method that will make your life all better. I'm just sharing some things I've learned that may help some.

  1. And this is probably the most important one. Pray! And this isn't just for those who believe and know how. Let me be clear on this because you may think I don't believe in that, I don't know how to, I don't live right, it's silly and a whole host of other things. But that is even more reason I say to try it. "I don't believe in God you say". I say have you tried to? A very simple question, but how do you believe or not believe in something you haven't tried. So try it just ask Him to show you if he is real. I say this because I don't believe because someone told me to or because my family taught me or some preacher told me. I asked Him to show me if He was true. And he did and when I find that things are piling up on me and the stress seems more than I can handle I pray. And when I do I almost always realize that my life situation isn't as bad as I thought.;&version=9;

  2. Don't try to handle it alone. If your married make sure your spouse is your best friend. If your not married rely on your best friend. If you don't have a best friend get one or get a spouse. The point is to find someone to share your situation with someone you can use tip 1 with, talk with, plan with, cry with, laugh with, live with or just sit with. The important thing is don't let your problems be your only companions they will always be bigger than you.

  3. And this is for Married couples don't argue over $$$$$! In fact arguing over anything never solves a problem. Now I know it's in us all to do this especially when were frustrated but it is actually the worse thing we could do. In studies the top two reasons given for divorce is Poor Communication( arguing ) and Financial Problems and it's kinda clear the two combined well could lead to even worse problems than you began with. Again this is why tip 2 is so important. Your spouse should be your best friend!

  4. Laugh. Most of us have heard the statistics on what laughter can do for us physically and mentally. So try it instead of watching the news or horror movies watch Comedy central get a book of jokes at the library and share them. Don't try to be so grown up all the time. Read this study done at Harvard.

  5. Help someone in need. Why this may seem like it would just add to pressures you already face. I've found it has the opposite effect. And there are many ways to do this it doesn't matter what your financial, physical, mental, travel or time situation is. It may be mowing an older neighbors grass, giving a few dollars to someone or a charity, calling a family member or friend. But the rewards of being able to make someone Else's life a little better can be a real boost to ones mental state. Cause no matter how bad your life may seem if you look around there is always someone who has it worse. And I've always found it's seems to have a circle effect.

  6. Consider your Career. And this in these times may seem like a hard one. But when you take into account how much of our lives we spend at work. It only makes sense that if your doing something you have no passion for and it's the big percent of your life then your going to be in a frustrated situation. So look at all your options maybe it means going to school, look into getting financial aid or sponsored training right now is actually a good time for that.

  7. Nature. And this may be more on a personal note. But I've found that sometimes when I'm stressed the most nothing can be better than simply taking in all the Beautiful living things around us. Whether it's just sitting in my yard watching the birds or going to a lake or favorite fishing hole walking to your local park, going camping with the family. There is just something peaceful about being outdoors even if it's just a few minutes everyday. And it can be almost totally free.

  8. Have a Hobby. If you don't have one or put one on the back burner find something you like to do something you are passionate about and make it enjoyable. Note if your hobby consumes all your time, interferes with your relationship with others, endangers your life or puts you in debt it isn't a hobby anymore it's become and obsession and that = stress. So make sure your hobby stays a hobby.

  9. Rest. Try to take as much time as you can to let your body reboot. Your brain, body and your vital organs are not made to run all the time. Just like a piece machinery or a computer for example needs a time to cool off or clear out the mass of data it's built up to keep from getting sluggish or overheated which could lead to terminal failure( loss of life ). Our bodies are the same and I don't care who you are or what your situation is. No job, amount of money, addiction, obsession or whatever it may be is worth terminal failure. So take time to rest or get help.

  10. A positive environment. And by this I don't just mean location. This can include the things you watch, listen to, read, where you hang out at and who your around. But the saying is true we are what we eat. If you listen to depressing or angry music you'll probably be depressed and angry. If you watch to much news you'll also probably be depressed and angry. Try some Christian music. Or read some Psalms. But try to keep the things you take in positive and enjoy your life!

Now there are many other things one can do. But the bottom line is this Life is too short to spend it stressed or depressed or in a mess. So try to find away to Enjoy Living Every Minute you can and keep in mind the things you thought you couldn't deal with yesterday you did. Keep looking up!

Please feel free to comment or add.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson Memorial gives new perspective on tabloid media.

ybr9gwxf63Robertsbloggert: Michael Jackson Memorial gives new perspective on tabloid media.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Michael Jackson Memorial gives new perspective on tabloid media.

I as most of you watched the Michael Jackson Memorial/Tribute yesterday. And I must admit there were quite a few times when I kinda got something in my eye. ( O. K. yes I cried )

I think it was one of the most amazing and touching things I've seen in quite awhile. I guess what touched me most is it actually let me see a side of Michael that here to for we haven't really been shown before. And I don't think it was because Michael didn't want us to see, it was because theres no big story for the hound chasing media in a guy who eats KFC and loves to be around children.

And please before you start with any sick jokes or add to this more than it is. Lets just look at these accusations which I think so shamefully shaped the end of Michael's career.

Everyone that knew Michael in any close way when asked about his so called problem with children has stoutly stated that he was in no way guilty of the accusations. People most of us never even knew hung around him. Like one example I heard was Donald Trump . He stated that Michael was always around his children and this echos what I heard numerous others say.
I for one think that if you profiled a pedophile this would not be one of their characteristics. They don't just want to hang around children.

I think Brooke Shields really kinda explained this as she told how her and Michael were friends since a very young age. She told how they had so much in common being child stars and never having a normal childhood. And how every time they hung around they played like two kids and that they always had fun no matter what they did together! And the more I listened to her and so many others speak about this man/child that the media never showed us and it's not that they couldn't show us. It made me really sit and ponder about where our media has gone?

I remember a time when some of the stories on television now used to only be seen in tabloid papers sold at the checkout line in stores. But now those same stories (only actually worse because we all knew most of the tabloid ones were fudged) are headline news. But the sad thing is they take little half truths or use so called source's to make something tragic. Tragic being a keyword here because again I never knew the real Michael Jackson only the horrible rumors. It just makes me feel ashamed. Ashamed to think that somehow we have made the media think that this is what we want?

In a related story. I saw the media catch up with Michael's Ex wife Debbie Rowe and I thought they were bordering on criminal behaviour. They were shouting baited statements at her about whether she was going to fight for her children. Insinuating that if she doesn't she would be some horrible mother or something. One guy actually rammed into her. And now it's almost like they shaped her decision somehow. Because at this point if she doesn't try to get the kids, well we all know those headlines.

I think we need to demand more from our media. We need to check ourselves and when we see a news show on something we know is fudged, or gossip, or tabloid turn the channel. Because that's the bottom line if we keep eating it up they'll keep spoon feeding it to us. And I know some of you got this already and you probably don't watch the news anymore because of it. Here is an interesting article about the media.

I am just so sad that some of the last part of a wonderful performer, artist, gift from God, and truly talented Human Beings life was shadowed with ridicule and sick jokes. I guess the only thing worse than an ambulance chasing lawyer is an ambulance chasing reporter. And I guess it a shame that we all probably feel like telling Michael we're sorry just a little too late. I really wish I would have known more about him as a son, brother, friend, dad or as Magic Johnson said it. Just a normal Kentucky Fried Chicken eatin kid at heart from little ole Gary, Indiana.

In closing, I for one have been and will be missing the Wonderful Music Michael Jackson was so blessed with creating. May He rest in Peace!

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you all. And remember change starts with the man/woman in the mirror!

Celebrities Blogs

blogarama - the blog directory

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oklahoma! Where are my employee rights?

I suppose this could be more of my about me page but I kinda want to pose this for comments to hear some other stories and feelings from you workers out there in what many of us know as the wonderful, Right To Work States. See as I wrote in my about me section I was born and raised in Dayton Ohio. And while being a worker in Ohio does lend itself to some employee based rights. One of which is the Right To Form a Union ( although I thought this was one of our basic Constitutional rights ).

I found after moving to Oklahoma that this right actually depends on which side of the Civil War you live in. I guess I should have paid more attention in history class. But hey that's what life is anyway isn't it a living history lesson. See the issue with a Right To Work State is while I do think you have a Constitutional Right to Form a Union an Employer in such a State also has a Right to Fire you if you even think Union. And what I've noticed in my State after working for several Major National Industries Walmart, Family Dollar, Haulmark Trailers, Dollar General is how this Law has several effects for a State. Here's a few.

  1. It's no coincidence that a lot of Major Companies have Distribution Centers in States that are Right to Work States, kinda like the precursor to third world manufacturing/distribution.

  2. These States Usually have a higher level of people living below the National Poverty Level. Because there are many clauses in these states which allow employers to pay lower wages. Some even below the Federal Minimum Wage I. E. employers with fewer employee's.

  3. Turn over. Although you would think in a State where if you lose your job the chances of you receiving Unemployment Benefits are slim to none that there would be fewer people that quit jobs. What I've noticed is the opposite mainly because it's hard to work like companies here demand.

  4. Hours worked. This is a big thing I experienced in my time here. Theres no such thing as a 40 hr work week here. And while if you love O.T. pay this is great sometimes the physical demand of the standard work week is more than one can handle. Which in turn is part of the cause of issue 3.

  5. Cost of Living. And this is the one actual plus side of these States. Obviously with a lower average earnings per quota you have a lower property value lower taxes etc,,,

Now some other general observations I've had are a lot of people don't work very hard here. And while I'm sure some would argue about this I just have noticed that overall this has been the case wherever I've worked here. The biggest problem I see though is the hours worked it seems most of these Companies just abuse their right to schedule change without notification. Several places I've worked have went thru time periods where we were required 10 or more hours seven days a week.

Now before you all start thinking I'm just whining or lazy let me state I have always worked very physically demanding jobs. And that is actually my preference as it tends to not be boring or drawn out. But that is even the more reason why it is insane to push this many hours on people. Also adding the factor here in Oklahoma that the average days of 100 degrees or more is higher than most states. Fact: Almost all of the above companies have had a heat stroke related death in Oklahoma that I personally am aware of. Now that is why I think this Right to work Law is so awful. No one Should have to loose their life to ship a dollar product or assemble a cargo trailer for anyone.

In closing please join me in sending an email to our congressmen at this link.

And please comment! Let me hear your thoughts and stories.

Politics Blogs

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dale Earnhardt Jr, top ten Reasons He's Overrated.


Here we go I'm sure I'll stir up some passionate debate with this one.
And to start let me say this, I in no way dislike Dale Jr, but as a fan of Nascar and other sports. One of which is Boxing and one thing I do hate is when you get these announcers that just go on and on about a guy when he hasn't proven anything yet. Some examples that come to mind are Jeff "left hook" Lacy, Juan " Baby Bull" Diaz, Rocky Juarez, and most recently Victor Ortiz. I know personally after watching all of these guys fight nobodies over several fight cards and listening to the announcers tout them as the next great thing. Until each one got a quick title shot or big fight and bam there they are getting their butts pummeled or just flat out quitting because they were. See I'm a big fan of you can't be named with the best until you do what the best have done or you beat the best.

So on with Jr, these are just 10 reasons I thought about and I'm not ranking in any order.

  1. Obviously his name Earnhardt, but more than just the name otherwise Kyle Petty and John Andretti to name a few would also have been overrated. But Dale Sr, who undoubtedly has the stats to back up his ranking as an all time great. And when he brought Jr, into the cup series he set Jr, up right just as he did Michael Waltrip. That then led to big expectations.
  2. The loss of Dale Sr, not only the loss but the way the loss occurred. This Led to even more attention on Jr,
  3. The announcers, with most of the announcers being former drivers and most against Dale Sr, they all seemed to leech onto Jr, as if he was the returning Messiah. I can't count how many races I watched listening to some announcer (Darrel Waltrip) go on and on no matter how well or where Jr, was running. I mean O. k. can we leave 25th place and see what the leaders of the race are doing?
  4. Budweiser. This is a no brainer when probably 70% of your fan base consume alcoholic beverages and you win a race and pop the top on a cold one in the winners circle. Well need I say more kinda drums up the fan base "YEEHAW get'r done".
  5. Budweiser. You all know it's against the law to drink and drive right? now I don't personally know how much Jr, drinks and maybe that has nothing to do with his racing the past few years. But when you got a lifetime supply of the product and your on MTV cribs showing off the full bar ( and by bar I'm just saying I've seen smaller bars in some towns I've lived in ) in your basement. Well you might tend to have a few here or there " YEEHAW get'r done".
  6. I watch the races. Without Bud goggles I might add. I mean sometimes his heads just not really in the race.
  7. Stats. His stats don't = up to greatness here's a few comparisons

Drv Yr wins top 5's top 10 avg finish

#88 2000 18 87 140 16.3

#48 2002 42 108 167 11.8

#18 2005 15 51 78 16.5

#24 1993 82 256 348 12.3

#17 2000 18 92 168 15.0

#2 2001 19 66 124 17.6

Now all be it some of these guys are great racers. But before you can call Jr, great just look at the stats I mean do you call Matt Kenseth great or Kurt Busch ( both of these guys do have a championship though) but see the numbers just don't = the hype.

8. Dumb mistakes. oops yep I done went and said it. Sometimes he just drives like he's Robbie Gordon. Whoaa down there fellows have another sip of your Bud it will be alright.

9. Dale Sr, I mean let's face it he does have a lot to live up to just look at these stats.

10. He's not a rookie. Let's face it this is his 9th season if he's gonna get moving on that all time list it better start soon.

So Now that I concurred with some of you and made a few of ya throw your Bud can at the computer. Your turn to respond. But remember let's try to stay with the facts.

And remember "Don't drink and drive",,,

Automobile Blogs

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Problogger 5 Reasons why this guy should be on every bloggers blogroll

While I am new to the blog scene and don't have a lot of knowledge to pass along to fellow blogger. There is one thing I've figured out real quick. The Problogger website is a must have link for anyone interested in starting a blog.

The resources and information given on his blog site are phenomenal. So phenomenal that I had to write this blog in praise of his work even though I don't personally know him and I've never contacted him in anyway. I just kinda fell into his blog site. And it has been nothing but encouraging and insightful to me. So much so that I started this blog site. If you even think you might want to start a blog his blogging tips for beginners is a must read.

But along with my blog here are 5 reasons Problogger should be in any blogger Favs, ( while there are actually a lot more than 5 for the sake of blog length we'll settle on 5 )

  1. Knowledge; the insight he relates into secrets for blogging success are invaluable. He's been at this awhile and it shows.

  2. Success; obviously anyone can blog about how to blog but when you read where he's gotten to by blogging kinda gives him a whole lot more credibility.

  3. Professionalism; by this I mean his willingness to share tips and to offer help. there isn't many lines of work where you'll find this spirit of helping. For example I work at a simple job in a distribution center shipping dept, by simple I mean not allot of brains required physically well lets just say there's days when I think how long can my body keep doing this without being crippled in some way later in life. But it amazes me sometimes in this cut throat world we live in how people are afraid someone else will be as good as them at their job. But Darren has tons of blogs with help for his fellow blogger. And while he does charge for his books. His blog helps are free.

  4. His tips on advertising it's always good to learn how to make $$ right.

  5. And finally well he just seems like an alright kinda guy. Hey that's always a good reason to have someone on your favs.

So If I didn't lose ya,, hello hey did you all go to Problogger without even finishing reading my blog?? Oh well "you win some you win some more"

Successful blogging everyone. Type back at me always good to hear from ya,

Resources Blogs - Blog Top Sites

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nascar Season Champ vs. Chase Champ This ain't football?

It's been a few years now since Nascar has been using the Race to the chase format.

And I'm sure there were a lot of blogs and discussion boards back when this first started. O. K. it's been a few years now and I just wanted to restart this discussion with a few years of stats to look at.

Note: The main stats I'll be giving are as such. Points from end of season ( before chase races) + points at end of chase - start of chase bonus points I.E. The driver with the most wins starts at 5050 points and second in wins 5045 so basically I'll start them even. Let's face it you get 5 points for every win anyway.

So here we go.
2008 Champ ( was Jimmie Johnson) would be with 5112 points.
#99 Carl Edwards

Second place would be Jimmie Johnson with 5030 points.

2007 Champ (was Jimmie Johnson ) would be with 5285 points. #24 Jeff Gordon

Second place would be Jimmie Johnson with 4892 points.

2006 Champ was and would be with 5059 points.

#48 Jimmie Johnson

Second place would be Matt Kenseth with 5007 points.

2005 Champ was and would be with 5053 points. Then #20 Tony Stewart

Second place would be Greg Biffle with 4814 points.

2004 Champ ( Was Kurt Busch ) would be with 4935 points.
Again #48 Jimmie Johnson.

Second place would be Jeff Gordon with 4872 points.
Note: Kurt Busch would have only had 4662 points under the normal system.

So a few hours later a little math and stat figuring and whats my point?

I think it should be clearly obvious. In a sport where we have records, a Hall of Fame and a long standing history. How can anyone not see the serious implications of this.

I mean Jimmie Johnson will be in the records as a 3 in a row champ when he under the normal system wouldn't be.
Kurt Busch goes in with a Championship when he really wasn't even close to second.
Jeff Gordon would be one more Championship up on all time list.
Carl Edwards would be a championship winner. And I'm sure there's other points I'm missing.

So what are your thoughts on this Nascar Fans?
To me Nascar racing is it's own sport.http://http//
I don't see a need to try to be like the NFL,http://http//
NBA, or MLB.
And my thought is let's separate it from the Season Champ. You could just call the the Chase Champ kinda like the IROC series Champ.
But it seems to me it's kinda unfair to call someone a champ over the lower percent of races.

Nascar Fans whats your thoughts out there? Please comment.
I'd really like to hear some viewpoints on this.

also for more Nascar rants and raves check out this blog.

Sports Business Directory - BTS Local