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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The EGO Factor

The EGO Factor

Have you ever had one job interest that you excelled at in life, and you knew that you are good enough to earn a living, doing it for the rest of your life?  However a sixth sense (or maybe the spirit) tells you to beware.  It almost sounds like the apple (the forbidden fruit) because you are supposed to stay away from it.
It’s going to take at least two posts for this story to be fully covered, but trust me it’s a life changer, and worth telling.  Let’s go back to my early years when I was working three jobs, and going to college, while married and with a beautiful little daughter. One day while trying to cut down the number of part time jobs I had; trading up for one or two good ones that paid well, I saw an opportunity advertised. The job description attracted me like a fruit fly to a ripe banana.  Must have excellent English to Spanish translation skills, and able to write legibly, must be dependable, and punctual, able to start immediately.

I called for an interview (it was a 24 hour Spanish Broadcast Radio Station in Central California).  After a short conversation I was directed to a desk in a production room.  I was told to go to the AP (Associated Press) Teletype, and pick 5 news articles that might be of interest to Hispanic radio listeners. Being Hispanic, I knew what I wanted to hear during a news broadcast, but I wanted to impress the interviewer with variety.  I must have taken all of 2 minutes to pick my material to translate.  What cinched the job for me is that there was a Remington Rand manual typewriter in the small office.  When I walked into Mr. Rossi’s office (station manager) with the typewritten translation he made the comment, “and he can type too.”  The bottom line is that he found only one mistake in the translations, and he attributed that to a matter of choice on word usage.  I got the job, and started the very next day (a Saturday).

Mr. Rossi took me under his wing because of my ability to handle the job as if I owned the radio station.  Within a couple of months he had me in the production room reading my own news translations into 4 track cassette cartridges for use by all the on air personalities every hour on the hour following the radio station identification.  My voice was on the air, and I was so very proud of that.  I was soon asked by Mr. Rossi if I would consider taking the morning on air shift on Sunday morning.  I told him I would like to but didn’t think I was ready.  He scheduled me in the production room one hour a day for a couple of weeks recording a one hour program on reel to reel format, and would critique my recordings.  My problem was not the ability but the stage fright factor of speaking into a live microphone.

One Sunday morning I arrived early for my shift to translate the news articles, and record them on cartridge for Sunday news use. Mr. Peinado was the Sunday morning On Air Personality and very popular one.  He told me he wasn’t feeling well and asked me if I would cover the program for him while he used the restroom.  He pointed to a stack of selected vinyl recordings that he had set aside and told me to play from that stack any song that I chose. He said I didn’t have to open the microphone because he would be back before any live commercials had to be read on the air. He did tell me to make sure I followed the log to the letter.

The log is basically the script that you follow when performing on air duty.  He was taking a bit too long, and I was coming up to a live commercial for Piggly Wiggly Super Market. I nervously went down the hall to call him but he wasn’t in the restroom, and when I looked out to the parking lot my car was the only one there.  Mr. Peinado had left the building.  I ran back to the control room in time to open the microphone and read the live copy for the commercial.  Imagine if you will trying not to sound nervous and speaking with authority; (in Spanish of course) the specials this week at Piggly Wiggly are. When I finally closed the microphone I had a song cued and ready to go, I took a deep breath and felt proud, and remember thinking, that wasn’t bad at all.

Soon the phone in the control room rang (red light flashes), and when I answered it, to my surprise it was Mr. Rossi.  My first thought was that he must have heard my voice on the air and he is going to fire someone. Actually he congratulated me, and told me that he and Ignacio (Mr. Peinado) were in his van parked down the street listening to the program with a copy of the Radio Station Log, checking for accuracy.  I had been on the air for one and a half hours without errors.  He informed me that I was to finish that shift and to plan on taking the Sunday morning shift going forward.

Since that very day a monster was created.  If anyone following this blog has ever done on air radio station work (or television for that matter) they will attest that a high level of ego goes with the feeling of being on the spotlight (especially if well received).   That, however, was only the beginning of my battle with the adversary; it gets much worst before it gets better.  The sequel is on the way. The best is yet to come…..

Friday, March 29, 2013

Last Bean on the Table

Last Bean on the Table

Have you ever heard a motivational speaker say that if you haven’t been bankrupt at least once in your life you haven’t tried hard enough?  Even “The Donald” (Donald Trump), or perhaps I should say especially Donald Trump has been bankrupt.  You don’t really have to go out and file bankruptcy to prove that you have been trying hard.  Playing it safe is working 40 hours every week and having your Saturday and Sunday off, plus your earned vacation for that special two week a year family time, not to mention your 8 hour earned sick leave monthly.  Actually that sounds idyllic. I mean that with all sincerity, if that is what you have through life, you are definitely blessed.

If someone walked up to me, and made me an offer of exactly that I would jump at it.  Matter of fact I have been blessed to have had that all of my life.  But, and there is a “but,” you might by now have learned to expect that from me. But, I have always had the entrepreneurship spirit in my blood.  Entrepreneurship Spirit is a wonderful thing, but it’s more like an addiction.  And once again there goes the light bulb over my head; I just realize that I am addicted to two things in life, my wife and the entrepreneurship spirit.  Please note that I’ve never said that I accomplished any level of success on my own and/or by myself.  I’ve always given credit to being blessed.

I suppose that most people involved in business do it the hard way, they elect to jump in with both feet, and without a safety net.  I on the other hand always wanted the security of a paycheck for my family, plus the business success to get more than just my family’s needs met, I wanted to get my family their wants.  One of my children asked me when he was in middle school, if we were rich, and my answer jokingly was we would be if we didn’t have all of you guys.  In fact we have always been well off because we appreciate every blessing that we have.

Business always requires investment, usually a mix of money and labor, if you don’t have money investment; you are fooling yourself because all you are doing is trading labor hours for money. I can remember times especially near Christmas when I would be waiting for a payment from a customer to come in so we could secure a better end of the year.  We had already delivered the goods, but the customer had to follow up with payment after billing.  It wasn’t always that way but enough times to keep it real.

My whole life I have enjoyed gainful employment, and business success at a level that I am extremely grateful for.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I could live my life over I wouldn’t change anything.  I learned from the negative and enjoyed the positive; once or twice I’ve had a lemonade stand to put the lemons life gave me to good use.  The best is yet to come….

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Survive an Affair

How to Survive an Affair

 Have you ever been so in love that you knew that no matter what life threw at you, the romance would endure to the end?  Yet somewhere along the way other things and persons became more important than you and the romance between you and your wife. Well if that didn’t happen in your life, I congratulate you, because it happened to me.

Everything about our life together started like a fairy tale.  I wasn’t looking to be romantically involved, and yet when I met her I knew that I wanted to be married to her for the rest of my life.  A few weeks previous to meeting my wife to be, I had told my mother that another fifteen years would go by before I would even consider marriage again.  That was a response to my mother telling me that I needed a partner in life to share and raise a family with.

I don’t know how I pulled it off but within three weeks of meeting my wife we drove to my mother’s house for the formal introduction to the family.  I know that my mother was praying every day that I would meet someone special and settle down.  I am just glad that I had a hand in the selection process.  I can honestly say that a new family member has never been more welcomed than my wife was by my mother.

We immediately started working as a team making decisions that benefited our family unit.  I switched to higher paying job, we moved across the state, which made it difficult but we only had each other to lean on.  I had always been boring as friends go, I am not one to go and hang out for Happy Hour (still not).  My wife’s school and college friends also became distant letter writing type friends before cell phones and social media. All my time away from work was spent paying attention to the home and going shopping together.  I use to mow my own lawn, wash my own car (the kind of things young people with limited resources do).  On weekends we traveled and explored the great city of Seattle.

Then approximately eighteen months later the first stranger entered our life, he was right around 7 pounds and about 21 inches long (our first born).  My wife was so into being a mommy that you could see it in her face whenever she contemplated her baby sleeping.  I actually felt a touch of jealousy, because I was no longer the focus of her life.  Don’t get me wrong I loved my son and was very proud of the little guy, still am, but he moved right in and took over the house.  Two more boys and a girl later, the family was completed, and we dedicated ourselves to making sure that they strengthened their wings, and were able to fly from the nest when they were ready.  We never had a timeline for them to graduate out of our home, and they are always welcomed if any one of them needs to come back.  They are all reasonably happy and doing well in all aspects of life, we visit regularly with all of them and even vacation together periodically.

But there is a big change; we survived the family affair that has gone full circle.  My wife and I are finally alone and still together, we go out whenever we want to wherever we want to (did I mention the grandchildren).  The beauty about the grandchildren is that we can spoil them and send them home to their parents.  I guess you could say that our romance was disrupted but not interrupted. Raising a family is always part of a plan; we just get caught off guard sometimes.  When done right, you do need to dedicate your life to the children.  The best is yet to come…

Powerball Winner

Powerball Winner

Could you handle winning a big lottery drawing?  Because if you feel that you are not up to the challenge you shouldn’t even be buying lottery tickets.  The odds of winning the Powerball Jackpot are 175 million to 1.  I personally feel that I am more likely to be struck by lightning 10 times in my lifetime then to win the Powerball Lottery.

Ever since Lottery started I keep noticing that the winners are usually up in years (sometimes retired), with a comfortable set of living circumstances (nice home, nice car etc.), all of a sudden its looking like I may be getting myself in position to win the Lottery.  So if I win in the near future I will announce it on this blog first. In all seriousness like many people, I’ve pondered what I might do if I won the Lottery.

The one guaranteed definite is that your life will change dramatically.  There is a history of failed winners (oxymoron-winners and failed don’t go well together) who have ended up bankrupt within a few years. If you are not good at managing money the only thing that changes if you win is that you have a larger amount of money to mismanage.  The winner will have friends and relatives coming out of the woodwork.  People that don’t know you will hound you for help for a multitude of things.  You will be required to be organized, cautious, a little indifferent, and calculating.  In the first place your good fortune does not make you responsible of all the needs of the world or even your neighborhood. You will have to remember who was there for you when you use to run out of money, before you ran out of month

The old saying still applies charity begins at home, take care of family and close friends first, but not before hiring professionals to represent your interests.  Financial planner, attorney, food taster (just joking –not).  The most recent winner of the Powerball Lottery a Dominican Republic emigrant surprised me by going public so quickly; he may yet learn to regret the spontaneous action he took.  The first negative that came up was that the he owed $29,000.00 in back child support.  If that’s the worst thing that comes up he will be doing well.

Most of us won’t admit it, but I for one have developed at least the first and second stage of a plan of action just in case we win the Lottery.  First thing is to immediately call for a family reunion, to be held at the top floor of an expensive hotel in downtown Seattle (no reason given for the reunion). The reunion agenda will consist of four items;

  1. Welcome and share good news (a second floor may be needed to include both sides of the family)
  2. Special workshop on second day of reunion to total everyone’s debt excluding mortgage
  3. Booking each family’s (independent) one week vacation (other sharing plan to be developed)
  4. Enjoy the rest of the 4 day reunion with a Top 40 entertainer for the young ones and Tom Jones for the more mature family members.

I would spend one day meeting with my wife and our advisors (they will come to us).  The very next step is for my wife and me to disappear for at least 30 days (somewhere in paradise).

After arranging a plan for charitable contributions and establishing college accounts for all the grandchildren and sons and daughters that want to go back to school, the wife and I would live happily for the rest of our life on a budget (hefty but budget just the same).

Have you thought about what you would do? If you are buying lottery tickets, you need to have a plan after all you are not buying the tickets because you are expecting to see the words, “you are not a winner.”  Live a little even if it’s just fantasy until you hit the big one!  The best is yet to come…

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vacation in Paradise

Gulf of Mexico

 Are you having a great year yet?  Are you ready for the perfect vacation?  I appreciate all the people that follow this blog, and I realize that I am blessed to have readers form around the world.  As members of this blog we have readers from 10 countries.  The largest six in order of readership; USA, Latvia, China, UK, France and Canada, to all the readers a big thank you!  For all those of you that follow from all over the United States, thank you and sorry about the extreme weather we have to put up with.  You can blame Phil the Ground Hog, I don’t understand how he keeps his job; I would have been fired already.

If you are anything like me you must be looking forward to spring like weather, and maybe even a getaway to some nice sunshine filled beach resort.  In the book that I am writing I mention a place off of the Gulf of Mexico where we as a family were treated to vacation when I was young.  I will take that excerpt from my book and share it with you.  Wish I could get away and be there tomorrow:

I should explain that my association with that side of the family was almost exclusively when we would visit on vacation. To this day I can't forget those vacations that were, as I imagine perfection can be. Everyone would cater to us as if we were VIP types. Family members would take time from work to take us on a trip by boat, two boats so large that we carried camping, fishing equipment and food for a week. We would travel for a day by boat towards what I imagine was the coast of Veracruz. The boats had shades built over them so that we were minimally exposed to the tropical heat. When we would finally arrive at our destination, from as far as a city block from shore, you could see the gulf bottom through the clear greenish blue water. The white sandy beaches helped reflect the sunlight to the bottom (no more than 8 to 10 feet deep).

I was amazed at the sea life I could see below the surface. There were fish, crab, shrimp, and we even traveled over an oyster bed. I remember that before we got off the boat we had caught enough crab with coat hangers to get the water boiling and dinner ready. The beach where we camped was not populated at all; in fact when I think about paradise, this is the image that comes to mind.

Our guides (family members, and friends) were familiar with the area, and would set up camp, for the night. Part of the preparation included gathering firewood mostly dry drift wood, procuring fresh water supply from nearby underground spring. The next day activity would include a lengthy hike through jungle like foliage. Eventually we would collect ripe bananas right from the plants and mangos from the trees. It was like going to nature's open market. While we were on the hike, two others were assigned the task of fishing for the meat part of the meal.

On the third day of the trip, we were met by local friends and distant relatives that came to the beach from about twenty miles inland on horseback. By pre-arrangement they brought with them five extra horses so we could travel with them to their house and get a break from "roughing it." Maybe my parents needed a break, but this humble vacation was one that I will remember until the day I die.

While I can’t be there tomorrow, I am making plans to complete my Bucket List Item #7 (Posted February 11, 2013 “Making a Bucket List”).  I will travel to the State of Texas (September 2013) to research material for my book.  I will swim in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico at Padre Island, and enjoy its seafood once again.  I wish you all a great year and perfect weather because you deserve a great vacation.  The best is yet to come….

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On Being Wealthy 4

Leap of Faith
To pick up where I left off on part 3 of these series; starting a business is a risky undertaking, but the rewards can be huge.  Nobody should start a business because they don’t like their present boss, or because they dislike being told what to do.  If that is your reason, then you don’t have the required discipline to run a successful business.  You have more people telling you what to do when you run a business then when you work for a living.  Here is a short list of who your business related bosses might be; landlord, customers, vendors/suppliers, tax revenue office, City license, internal revenue, and the list goes on.

Percentage of businesses that fail the first year is 25%, second year 36%, and third year is 44%.  Your chances of being in business after three years are right around 50/50.  In the many years of being in business (and I do mean many) I have failed once.  Six months into the business I could see that I wasn’t making the progress that I expected, and I immediately took the required action to begin the process of cutting my losses.  I bought myself out of the option to buy lease, and within one week the business was history.  I had a large loss but it was from my own resources (not borrowed money). With tax laws being what they were at the time, I was able to take a loss carry forward for seven years, and basically recouped my losses over 7 years.

Words from the song the Gambler; you got to know when to hold them, know when fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run.  Business can be very much a gamble, and I guess you could say that I have a poker face.  Not very many businesses stay successful forever; you need to know when to get out.  Consider that a particular industry is never too crowded; there is always room for another good or great business to open.  I have operated my present business for 22 years.

Some people are better off doing the second step that I did for myself and my family.  While gainfully employed and operating a family business at the same time, I decided to prepare myself for a better job (promotion).  I went back to college for a two year period and enrolled in Architecture Drafting, and Architectural CAD Classes (Computer Assisted Drawing).  Two big disciplines that got me through were; 1) the patience to study for two years instead of finding a higher paying dead end job, 2) spending so much of my time away at classes, and even while I was home I was behind closed doors studying, and doing homework (away from my family time).  What little time I did spend with my family was quality time.  I went on to enjoy a long career in a very lucrative field that is still paying great dividends for my patience, and perseverance.

For the second step that I describe there are two key words; 1) patience, and 2) perseverance.  Figure ahead the length of time it will take to get you ready (and commit to it), also have a plan for where this preparedness will fit in (will your employer promote you, or is there another employer that would offer you a job?).  We are not always a good judge on what to prepare for; the unemployment office is filled with college educated people.  Make sure that you do your “due diligence.”  What seems like a lifetime later, I am still managing the family business.

A few years back before the economy went down the drain and while the Stock Market was still thriving, my wife asked me if there was something wrong with how we controlled our finances, and I asked her why she asked.  She explained that it seemed that 80% or more of our friends and acquaintances had investments in stocks, and we didn’t.  At the time it seemed that’s all our friends would talk about.  A few years later when the market crashed, I explained to my wife that I was never much of a risk taker with the stocks, and that my perception had just been validated.  I feel terrible for my friends because most of them lost more than their shirts.  Remember good living, and hard and equally smart work habits always pay rewards. I’ve been called lucky many times in my life and my favorite response is, yes I am, the harder I work and prepare the luckier I get.  The best is yet to come…

Sunday, March 24, 2013

On Being Wealthy 3

The road to financial stability and success

I am sure that no one knows the exact perfect formula to becoming wealthy beyond your dreams.  Some people are fortunate to get a jump start financially when their parents had family money to begin with.  In life I have encountered more scams than I care to remember, about how to get rich quick.  The big test as usual is if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  One big scam was where this wealthy Real Estate person would sell you a starter Kit, and you would go on to extreme wealth yourself by buying and selling real estate.  The scam artist would have an infomercial on television, and he would explain how he had become wealthy doing what he was now going to teach how to do.  Most often these individuals were exposed to actually have achieved some level of wealth from selling materials on the infomercials, but not from buying selling properties

When it comes to parting with my money I do what is called “Due Diligence.”  Do the homework, verify their claims, verify their financial standings if necessary.  In the first place I’ve never been interested in becoming rich over night without earning it.  For that attitude I blame my mother.  She raised me believing that you don’t get something for nothing.  I still believe that you have to give something of value in exchange, whether it is intellectual property, product, service, investment, or something else.  The bottom line is you don’t get something for nothing.  If you do get something without exchange, start packing or minimally keep an eye over your shoulder, because someone will catch on sooner or later.

Early on in my adult years, I held as many as three jobs at one time while attending college or working my way up in management (in other words putting in the hours of a manager without the pay).  I did it all from pumping gas (full service), to translation of news articles for a radio station (English to Spanish) to performing On Air duties as a radio personality (be warned lest you get hooked and stray from your real calling in life stay away from any type of stage or media jobs).  The only thing I walked away with from this concentrated effort is the knowledge that it is a survival move.  It will keep the wolf away from the door, it will allow you to fulfill your main goals and/or agenda, but you will not prosper, and it will ruin your family life.  Compare this to being stranded in the middle of the ocean, and the second and third part time jobs are a life saver.  You will stay afloat, but you won’t reach the shore with it.

As soon as I found myself on solid footing (great job) but needing to prosper beyond survival, rather than look for a second job, I started a business, that would get my family, combined with my job more than just our needs met but some actual wants (many in fact).  Starting a business is a calculated risk, certain skills are required that you are not born with.  In other words these skills can be acquired, and then sharpened.

I once had a distant family member come to me for advise; he said there’s an ad in the paper that for $49 dollars they will guarantee me that I will be issued a Visa credit card.  He wanted to know if I would recommend that he send the money.  I told him to tell them that if they are so sure you will get the credit card to charge it to the account.  In other words don’t send the money in advance.  He assured me he wouldn’t, but he did any way.  He later told me he lost the $49 dollars and never got the credit card.  Does the saying, there’s a sucker born every minute sound familiar.

I merely want to point out that you need to have basic common sense skills to go into private sector and swim with the sharks.  Talk about the proverbial food chain, the little fish is used for dental floss. Next, I will post about the 2nd direction I chose for financial stability.  The best is yet to come…

Say It Isn’t So Minnie!

Say It Isn’t So Minnie!

 Don’t fix it, if it ain’t broken; Humans seem to have the urge to improve things. Prehistoric hand-axes were made by repeatedly chipping small flakes off pebbles of flint with other hard objects. Million-year-old examples of these have been found that give the impression of being ruined by being chipped just one time too many. That pang of regret we have probably all felt after spoiling something by adding that unnecessary final touch. (From the Phrase Finder)
I just read that the Minnie Mouse character is getting a more mature make-over. Forever-young Minnie Mouse is growing up and moving on from her old red and white polka dots. Gone was the oversized hair bow that has been the signature of the character since she was created in 1928.  Lanvin has designed the lovable Disney rodent a new dress — a more mature frock in royal blue and long sleeves that she can wear at special Paris events.  In its place, the catwalk presentation showcased a smaller-sized red tiara alongside a thick, bejeweled hourglass gown with padded shoulders.  It was unveiled at a catwalk show Saturday evening at Disneyland Paris.

When my children were growing up, I was regularly talked into standing in line (around midnight) outside of a Ticket Master outlet to buy concert tickets (or WWF Main Events, or Wrestle Mania) for NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera.  I volunteered because I didn’t want my young children exposed to any trouble while waiting in line.  Have you noticed how those lines are usually formed in 32 degree temperatures or pouring rain, never in perfect summer weather?

Well, this time nobody asked me but I am volunteering to represent my 3 year old granddaughter’s interest that happens to love the Minnie Mouse character.  The character only has to grow up if the children will maintain interest as they themselves grow up.  How silly or self-serving of Disney to think that if they age their characters people will ride into the sunset with their favorite aging character in tow.

Every small child should reach a point in his or her life where their interest will be captured by a favorite character (Disney or otherwise) for a period of time only to progress to the next level as is adequate.

I sincerely hope that this change like many other unnecessary changes made in the past will affect them adversely in the bank account and that they will return to their senses.  I won’t be buying any mature Minnie Mouse Dolls anytime soon.  The best is yet to come….

No Place Like home 2


It seems that as I get older I find that I have a few too many sayings, but it only seems that way.  One that I have often used and mostly so that friends and family can stay aware that there are consequences in life, is the following; everything that you say and do will come back to you in a positive, negative or indifferent way, but it will.

My mother’s decision to separate from my father in the fall of 1956, and later divorce (approximately 2 years later) started a chain-reaction of events that affected my very life today, and the life of many others.  Taking it to an extreme but yet real is the fact that none of my life from the very day that my father and mother went in different directions would have taken place.  Since we are not able to see what might have been, I can only speculate that I might have turned out to be Governor of California or an inmate at one of California’s Correction Centers.  Those are extreme examples; I might have just ended as another of millions of John Q. Public (Californians).

One thing is definite, because of my mother’s decision, a beautiful little girl was born on this day in 1959 (March 24).  My little sister Norma is proof of my theory.  I will share another excerpt from the book I am writing about my life (working title; East Lincoln).

When it came time for the baby to be born a mid-wife was called to the house to deliver the little blessing. I remember that I was told to go play outside, but I managed to play near the bedroom window. As they say or don't, this in fact was my first rodeo. There was a lot of anxiety, loud voices, crying and even screaming in pain. After what seemed like forever, there was the crying of a baby. There was no other baby in the house so I knew it had to be the new family addition.

I don't think my little sister understands how much she was loved, and wanted. Her arrival was reason for celebration; my mother dressed her like a little doll, and was right there if the baby cried. I was never really jealous but maybe a little bit. The baby was responsible for mother staying home; it was so different that my house chores pretty much disappeared, mother kept the house spotless.

I was also given a couple of very special honors; which says volumes about my importance in the family unit, at least in my mother's eyes. I was given the extreme honor of naming the baby. It wasn't a contest, there were no other names considered. Thanks to my input the baby was named Norma. To this day my sister is named Norma, and I love her very much. More importantly she knows how much I love her.

My sister celebrates her birthday today and is happily married with three grown good looking healthy children (one handsome son and two beautiful daughters plus grandchildren).  My mother’s decision in 1956 continues to affect us in a positive way even long after she (my mother) is gone.   Sometimes what seems like a simple choice can create ripple effects for many years to come.

Keep in mind always; everything that you say and do will come back to you in a positive, negative or indifferent way, but it will.  No Place Like home to be continued????  The best is yet to come….

Saturday, March 23, 2013

On Being Wealthy 2

On Being Wealthy 2

 While appreciating while you have will always be a great attitude and way to measure your personal achievements, there are proven ways to improve your personal wealth (but).

The word “but” denotes that there are reasons why It will not work for everyone.  If you walk into a room with 50 people you will run into 50 slightly different mindsets.  There are many similarities, but just enough differences for why you will have different outcomes. About 5 years ago, a person that lives about 3 blocks from my house approached me while grocery shopping and introduced himself, he explained that he was aware that I lived in the neighborhood, and wanted to share a great opportunity with me.  He thought I would take advantage and multiply the rewards while strengthening the organization.

I don’t run around looking over my shoulder for opportunity to sneak up on me, but I always see situations, and rationalize that this might be the big one I am waiting for.  The new neighbor contact, invited me to attend a networking rally 60 miles away scheduled for two days later.  I told him I would check my calendar and get back to him.  Please note that this kind of response leaves you an opening for backing out graciously.  I discussed it with my wife over dinner, and as is typical of her, she said, if you feel good about it go for it.  I contacted the person and confirmed that I would be going with him.  He was offering to drive, and there would be finger food at no expense offered at the rally, plus he would have me back home safely by 10:30 that night.  How could I go wrong?

My first surprise was when he picked me up at my house and it was only the two of us.  I was expecting that this man was recruiting, and the car would be full of individuals seeking opportunity.  All along the way he spoke very highly of the individual that was scheduled, as the keynote speaker.  I could tell that he practically worshipped this speaker person.  When the time came and after other speakers worked the crowd into a frenzy (standing room only I estimate 900 plus in attendance), this laid-back good looking individual between 50 and 60 years of age, came on stage with a beautiful young woman, who looked like his daughter, but he introduced her as his lovely wife.  Both dressed in relaxed Hawaiian attire (shorts, tops with Hawaiian designs), and sandals.

He explained that he had been given short notice of this rally, but invited his wife to join him after calling the airport and requesting his pilot to get his private jet ready to fly within a couple of hours to the mainland (Seattle from Maui Hawaii).  His wealth bragging even embarrassed me, and I wasn’t the one talking.  To hear him speak; he had the Midas touch!  Only, however, thanks to this organization that they were recruiting me for.  In my mind he made one big mistake when he claimed with great pride, that his most important mission in his life was to make every person he came into contact with a millionaire.

After the rally ended, it was time to meet, greet and network. (They were selling CDs, DVDs, Books, Starter Kits, etc.).  I guess my sponsor was connected enough, that he got me close enough to the keynote speaker, so I could meet him.  He gave me a hardy handshake, and asked me; what did you think of my talk?  I had to raise my voice because the crowd was so jubilant and noisy; I said I am sorry to say that I see your mission in life is doomed to fail!  He reacted like he was stung in the face by a bee or wasp! With a serious expression on his face he asked “why do you say that?”  My response was; “if everyone you meet becomes a millionaire, who will clean your house, prepare your meals, take care of your children, and do your landscaping?” He did an about face like I had just been sucked in by a giant Florida sink hole, and actually never existed.

The point of this posting is that some of us have the awareness, and experience for survival instinct, some haven’t developed it yet (it’s within everyone’s capability to develop it).  As a follow up I will post about a couple of different directions that I took to develop financial stability, and a very nice and stable living for my family (my story/my way).  The best is yet to come…

Friday, March 22, 2013

There Is No Place Like Home

My Parents 1943

 Any of my readers (followers of this blog) that have are had a nice if not great relationship with either or both parents will understand where I am coming from with this post.

The main thought in seating down to write this post was to address my wonderful relationship with both my parents and the memories that are still alive and well in my mind.  I’ve heard people say: of the things I had and lost I miss my mind the most.  Well that is not presently a problem here, and I hope it stays that way for a long time.

At present I am in the middle of writing a book based on my life as seen through my mind’s eye.  Initially I was talked into this project by one of my sons, and I took on the project approximately 17 months ago.  I usually write after I retire for the day (not consistently but often), and only a page or two at a time, at present I have around 120 pages single space and 11 font.  Since I am proceeding chronologically, I am only around age 16 in my life’s progress.  Unless I split the book I could end up with a 400 page book. 

The only reason I bring up the book is because I am finding out from what little information I am sharing with my children, that they are enjoying learning about my youth and their grandparents (my parents) life story, and keep commenting that there is more to me than they thought they knew.  If you enjoy writing and have memories you want to share, everyone should try even if you publish it to and for the family as a journal.

As loving as my parents were to each other the day came when they chose to go their separate ways, and eventually divorced within two years of the separation.  As a child at that time I was taken totally by surprise, you might say that I was sucker punched.  I guess it crossed my mind that they somehow didn’t love me.  I was, however, way off base with that thought.  My parents individually proved to me through their lifetime that they loved me as much as a child and later a person could be loved.

I am going to include an excerpt from my book right about here because it captures perfectly what went through my mind.  If this post gets a good reading I will follow up with part 2, otherwise I won’t take up your time.

I can close my eyes and still see it with my mind's eye, like it's happening right now. My mother and father were standing so close to each other, not much more than a foot separating them. I saw them stand this close many times before and always end with a kiss and embrace, but not this time. I expected one or the other to admit that the decision to separate was not what either one wanted. Even as I sat in the bus next to the window watching as my father's outline shrank in the distance, I expected my mother to tell the bus driver to stop so we could get off. Later when the bus would make rest stops, I would look everywhere hoping that my father might have driven ahead of the bus to take us back home. How could I possibly know or understand that seven years would go by, before I would see my father again.  To be continued maybe.  The best is yet to come…

American Bandstand to Radio

American Bandstand 

 Someone once said to me that you can’t miss what you never had.  It didn’t make a lot sense than but looking back it makes all the sense in the world.  You can’t see what you missed out on until you can see the whole picture.

Imagine if kids today all of sudden lost the use of their iPods, iPhones and other devices that allow them to hear music, and play videos where ever they are without needing to be plugged in to electricity.  Imagine now how different our generation would have been if we had been able to take American Bandstand or Soul Train on the road or to school with us.  Further imagine a world today where you could only listen to the latest music releases from radio stations.  Beyond that think of a radio stations on air time, actually controlled by how much time they are on the air (even a 24 hour station).  Now priorities have to be made as to who gets air time. 

Today’s recording artists get exposure through the internet (unlimited), Pandora, and YouTube just to mention a few.  Anyone can self-promote a recording, or video.  The Technological Advances have made our present lifestyle of excess (glut) possible.  Sports stars, get way overpaid for what they do, likewise rock stars, and it follows that we pay too much to catch a live sports event or concert. Paparazzi get way over paid for the pictures they capture sometimes illegally, again it follows that we pay too much for magazine publications, and cable television.  

I don’t wish for a second that things had been different growing up.  I was happy with my three TV stations (ABC, CBS, and NBC rabbit ears and all), one or two strong radio stations, and if you stayed up late at night under perfect atmospheric conditions I could pick up Wolfman Jack from Rosarito Baja California.

I often hear my wife telling the granddaughters, you get what you get when you get it and don’t make a fuss.  That sentiment applies to life in general regarding history.  I do wish I could change some things going on in today’s society, but I’m afraid my grandchildren will have that for an assignment. Don’t get me wrong, I am willing to help unfortunately it’s a mighty big ship and it doesn’t turn on a dime.

We could benefit from some things in our past like the 9 pm reminder as part of the network’s identification on the hour, “it’s 9 o’clock, do you know where your children are?”  The best is yet to come….

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Getting Stronger

Getting Stronger

 As promised I am going to post regularly as I make progress with my getting fit effort.  This is the end of my fourth week in the new life style that I’ve chosen for myself (in an effort to make quality of life as important as length of life).

For some unexplainable reason I thought that I would be past the feeling of pain after 30 days.  I guess I didn’t take into account how muscular I am (I mean how many muscles the body has).  My Personal Trainer has been working (developing) different set of muscles in an alternating way so that I don’t burn out (read-give up).  He is brilliant at what he does and explains everything as we go.

One of many things that he explained is that he is building up my body in the sequence that is most beneficial to the overall effort.  The way I understand it is that every set of muscles that we strengthen in turn supports the next set that we will be working on next.  Therein lays my misconception that I would be past the pain within 30 days or so.  About the time that I improve one area of the muscular skeletal system we begin working on the next and as the famous song of the sixties said, “The Beat Goes On!”

As you read this post keep in mind that I am slightly better at writing than I am at understanding what I am presently doing with (to) my body.  Another misconception on my part (and this is really big), is that I thought that since I was paying for the Personal Trainer, I was kind of in charge (the boss).  Not so at all.  I get to input all I want (I actually think of myself as putty in his hands to be turn into a sculpture) but he calls the shots, and that is an authority assumed when you hire the trainer.  I’m not complaining, and I will be the last person to cry uncle, but he has been pushing me beyond what I thought I could handle. 

As an example of pushing me he’ll say give me 12 repetitions of whatever the exercise of the day is, and of course I am eager to please both of us, but I will maintain the count silently, and just as I reach 12 he’ll say give me just 5 more, and he will count out loud 1, 2, 3, 4, and stop.  He continuous to be very supportive and takes pride in my effort. So it’s hard not to try harder for both us, but this is not a 20 year old body we are working with.  I would describe my body more like 1968 Mustang Fastback found in some barn out in the country covered with a tarp, and in need of lots of loving care. Maybe even some rust in places.

Enough of Woe Is Me; I am actually very happy to still be fully committed to the plan, even if my limits are being pushed.  Today I was supposed to meet my wife for lunch at a certain time, but I was late.  The reason I was late is that after working out for just one hour, I was so exhausted that when I got home, I thought I would lie down for just a minute on the couch, and next thing I knew I had slept for 30 minutes.  I was only late by 30 minutes; gee I wonder where the 30 minutes went.

Someday I will look back at the beneficial aspect of the effort, and not even remember the pain.  Stay tuned for another progress report soon.  The best is yet to come…

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Disappearing Act

Disappearing Act

I guess I better hurry up and enjoy my life before everything about me is erased.  My life is everything that my generation lived through, including products we used, foods we ate, entertainment we participated in even clothes we wore.

I’ll start with the clothes we wore: Bell Bottom Pants, for ladies it was Bell Bottoms, Flair Bottoms, Mini Dresses, Maxi Dresses, Hot Pants and of course a flower in your hair was also in style, along with tied dyed t-shirts..  If history repeats itself like everything else I still have some Bell Bottoms in the attic just in case (not).

Electronics of our time that have disappeared are almost disappeared include; the original Atari games, Sega Game system, IBM micro-computer, Commodore 64 computer, (I could go on and on just with computers alone but I won’t), Ditto Duplicating Machine (Who remembers receiving purple-inked copies in school, and noticing that sometimes they were still damp with an intoxicatingly scented fluid?), Fax Machines are almost gone, Pay Telephones, Land line phones are all but gone, again I could go on forever with electronics that are gone or disappearing.  Also gone; the 4 and 8-track, the cassette music media, most recently the Sony Walkman, the floppy computer disc.

Other equally meaningful Landmarks that are vanishing are; the Auto Drive-in Theater, once upon a time it was more popular than indoor theaters.  Families embraced it as well as many young people used it for a favorite date destination.  The double feature has also gone by the wayside.  Before television networks took hold there was the news reel between features.  I used to look forward to the cartoon that accompanied all double features.  Many people born since 1990 would wonder what I am talking about. Who even remembers the carbon paper a product that was indispensable for a long period of time?  The overhead Projector, the 8mm movie projector, the list is endless.

One of the most important attributes of the human race is being able to adapt to change, the Digital technological Advances have been a real challenge to some of us, but those that adapt, and excel are destined for bigger and better things.  I’d like to think that I am amongst those leading the charge towards progress, and by design change.  The best is yet to come…..

Economic Instability

Scene from Planet of the Apes 1968

 Something is definitely wrong with our economy, when multi-million dollar corporations are going out of business almost as fast as they are coming in.  I remember the time when a man’s word was his bond.  Back in the good old days when you frequented a business it never crossed your mind to wonder if they would be in business the next year.  I often mention in my posts that our store of choice growing up was Western Auto Store and it remained in place for as long as I remember.  Other businesses in my small town were also pillars of the community, like the barber shop the corner drug store, the optometrist, the Men’s’ shop.  You could grow up and go away, yet when you returned for a visit, the people looked a little older, but the same smiling faces greeted you.

Back in the 90’s I was caught in the closing of a chain of stores.  One of the more successful electronic stores in our area closed their chain over night with no warning.  I had taken my television in for warranty work, and all of sudden my television and I were kept apart without any apparent recourse.

I had not thought about it before, but here is what I just figured out (the light bulb going on over my head).  The electronic store was Future Shop, and the location in my town was very busy and obviously successful.  Elsewhere, however, they were struggling financially, and when the decision was made to go out of business, they couldn’t pick and choose, and so all the locations were closed.  Here is where the light bulb went on over my head.

Doesn’t this ring of the Global Economy?  The kinds of money investors are pouring into corporate business can be just as lucrative if they succeed or write off a loss.  That should never be the reason to go into business.  The driver should always be success, quality products, and ultimately excellent customer service.  I hate to be fatalistic but I am afraid the train has already left the station with that kind of commitment.

Politicians talk about reversing the trend of sending our jobs and industries off-shore.  With all the time that has gone by since the existing trend started hurting our economy I am beginning to doubt it will ever be reversed.

Here is a very short list of businesses that have gone out of business in recent years; Al’s Auto Parts, Schucks Auto Supply, Jay Jacobs, Kinney Shoes, Payless Drugs, Woolworth, Computer City, Circuit City, Levitz Furniture, Thriftway Grocery Stores, Standard Brands Paint, Coast to Coast Hardware, Eagles Hardware, Home Base, Pay ’N Pak, Blockbuster Music, Borders Books, Sam Goody, Tower Records, Wherehouse Music, Mr. Steak, KB Toys the list is way too large for this posting.  The next time that someone offers you a lifetime membership, ask if it’s your life or theirs.

A quote from a movie released in 1968 comes to mind to describe the direction that we are headed; From Planet of the Apes. YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

Didn’t want you to think that I am always laid-back, I do have a flare for the dramatic. I still do believe that the best is yet to come….