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Success! They are beautiful and the fix works.

03 Nov

The glass doors and the the glass wall that is. I redid the seals on both sides of the glass yesterday. Recently I had someone take the doors completely off and replace the wheels on the bottom and clean out the tracks. Then new screen doors were made. On the inside today, I cleaned up the aluminum and they doors now look like they would the day they were new. I have yet to clean the exterior with acid, but that has to wait a few weeks while the seals set.

Previously, I would get up in the morning and there would be condensation on the inside of the doors, which told me the seals were bad. This morning, dry as a bone. It worked. There’s a metal accordion shutter on this door. To replace this one door, was $15,000. And the modern white windows, would have screwed with the design I have going here with all the stainless and aluminum.

It’s dark out now or I would take a photo and show you. They look really good. The only thing I have left to do (and it needs to be done during daylight) is remove a little residual sealer from a few small spots. They are beautiful and they work flawlessly.

Some people do things for money. I do them for the accomplishment. I can remember being a kid when my dad pulled all the windows out of the house. You could see right through it.

I’ll take on things like this, but I will no longer take on some of the stuff I was assigned to take on at 12 and 13. My dad never contracted anything out because he was an engineer. And I can remember when he and I put a new roof on the house when I was about 13. Why wasn’t my brother assigned to do this you ask? Because the bonehead fell off the roof. And yes, now the bonehead is a little smarter and has a Ph.D.

Remember, before we had illegal immigrants in this country, we had children and that’s who did the work. Believe me, I was unpaid labor. No minimum wage for me.

I was working on the Staffing Online project and we had an engineer working for me who was in charge of the Amazon server. I had the dedicated, and he had the virtual. He fell of the roof trying to fix his antenna and broke his leg. J.B. kept saying to me, “That guy’s on drugs. Nobody falls off their roof!”

Wanna bet?

Like a year later, I’m working on the Arnold Palmer account and I call Godaddy and they of course remember that project and they ask, “Whatever happened to the guy that was on drugs and fell of the roof.”

I was like, “Do not listen to J.B. The guy was not on drugs. But yes he fell of the roof.”

Am the only one who seems to understands how this could happen?

I am so sore it’s ridiculous. People with neck problems really shouldn’t be taking on this kind of thing but you understand why it had to be done. I’m hurting now and I’m sure tomorrow will not be a walk in the park. But at least a milestone in this major project was reached. Accomplished. Successful. Beautiful. Just the way I like it.

It is on my eventual list to replace those blinds in the dining room. All in good time.

Just like today, I’m at Home Depot when I realize, “You know another item on my list I haven’t gotten to is replacing the toilet seats. I want to do that today.”

That’s done too.

More more item off the list.

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Not how I wanted to spend my Saturday…

02 Nov

The day has been awful.

This is the second Saturday in a row that I get called into work. Both times it wasn’t necessary. Part of the problem is that they used off shore to build some web sites that are total junk and they want me to use that junky toolset to fix them. These sites will end up costing them a lot of money in labor. They aren’t that large. They should just let me replace it and use a more modern toolset. With the right tools, I am very, very fast.

This site today was so screwed up that there was nested toolsets and you couldn’t make changes to some things because there’s an obvious conflict with the tools themselves.

I don’t like working on junk and I don’t like using it. This project has things that need to be replaced. If they ultimately won’t let me replace the stuff with better stuff I’m going to have to reevaluate whether I want to work on the project. I need a team that is willing to learn and move towards something that is better for business.

Then I come home and I have to get back to the glass wall in the dining room project. I had new screen doors made. I had the glass doors taken out and the wheels replaced. They function much better. Now I have to reseal all the glass on the edges. Why? Because there’s condensation on the inside of the windows in the morning. That tells me the seals are bad. So I worked today and I still have more to go on resealing all the seals.

And unfortunately, I have to do the seals before I clean them up with the acid. Normally, it would be the other way around. But in this case the seal has to be done first, so I don’t destroy the tint on the inside of the window.

It’s not a fun project, but it saves $15,000. I just want to be done with all of this. I hate unfinished projects. There’s nothing in my life that is ever unfinished. It’s just that work has taken up so much time recently, I haven’t been able to finish this project.

Like I said, it’s not how I want to spend my Saturday. And although I originally wanted to go out this evening, I’m not going to feel like it by the time I am done.

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That guy really hit my hot button…

01 Nov

It’s rare that I get mad. But I do have one hot button. And I personally believe this is one of the reasons why there are so few women in computer science.

What got my goat was a disrespectful, foreign developer who does not have my skill set.

As part of the new project, they asked me to take over a project that was previously assigned to a foreign developer (Pakistan). This happened to be a Wordpress installation. I looked a the server and immediately asked for what all seasoned developers ask for first – memory cap increases on the php.ini file to resolve all Nginx errors related to memory and memory increases on the wp-config file. Usually, I set up the dedicated server and I would just go make the changes.

But Mr. Control Freak sitting in another country wanted everything to go through him. Then he proceeds to try to talk down to me and tell me that I don’t need what I need. I decided to be nice and try to explain why we have to have these things, and then it became obvious that he knows very little about how Wordpress actually works. I also thought it was ridiculous that he had been assigned a site that I would have done in a week and he’s taken forever and he built no backend so there was no functionality and now we have to finish the site for him. That’s totally unacceptable anyway. If it were me, he would be getting half of the contract because he finished half of the site. I would have given him a hard and fast deadline because this was an easy site. As a developer, you don’t enter into a contract to complete work if you don’t have the skillset to do it.

Then ontop of the insulting way he talked to me, I log into the site and I see the mess. He’s used Elementor to build this site. That tool set is so old and so outdated compared to modern tools it’s ridiculous. It would take you 4 times as long to build a site with those tools as the tools that I use. Time is money. The tools matter and they matter a lot. Then I’m looking to change some basic stuff and I see in his CSS that he lables the green headline as purple-38. There’s a bunch of stuff wrong with his work.

Why this is a hot button for women is this – I’ve worked 30 years. I have a very, very strong skillset. There is nothing more offensive than someone who doesn’t even know you trying to make an assumption that I couldn’t possible know as much or more than they do about the subject. And it comes off as the other person looking down on me. And I know exactly what the truth is and he’s about to make an ass out of you and me with his assumption that a woman wouldn’t know more than he does.

As I said, it’s a hot button for me. The New York Times has reported that it will take 100 years to close the gender gap in computer science. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/technology/gender-gap-tech-computer-science.html Being one of the few females in the field, if I don’t raise the issue that this kind of behavior is totally unacceptable it will take longer than 100 years to solve this problem.

The bottom line is that in the future, we will not be farming this kind of site out of house because I can finish a site like this in 4 days. I don’t need or want these people on this project.

So if you’re one of those guys with the attitude that “she couldn’t possibly have enough experience,” just know that sooner or later your attitude will cost you business.

My advice to men is that when you encounter a woman who’s worked 30 years, run her own companies, was a professor in the area and has credentials, show some respect. I bring a lot to the table for any project and not just for the computer science. I bring the design, the marketing and the business background. I don’t use outdated tools. I don’t make unfinished sites.

When I ask a contractor to do something, they should just do it. I know one of the frustrations of this new project is that I’m not going to get a new dedicated server at Godaddy. My team at managed services is respectful. They’re nice to work with and they are accurate. I have always appreciated them. I have put server after server on their racks. Unfortunately, this project is an elastic system on Amazon. It’s the same kind of setup that we had for the Staffing Online project. This is not my favorite setup because unless you really have that kind of load, it’s man power and more expensive proposition because of the employee time that has to go into it. Like I said, time is money.

When I setup and deploy a new server at Godaddy (dedicated, not shared hosting), no one ever has to think about the server. I then have time to focus on the efforts that actually drive business.

And women in this field should have a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. I’ve been dealing this my entire career.

I certainly don’t speak for all women here but here’s how I really feel about it. I don’t care about the sexual harassment. I really don’t. What makes me mad is being talked down to and an assumption that I wouldn’t know my stuff. I think I’m the expert on telling people what I know and what I don’t know. I don’t need someone who’s not inside my head to tell me what’s in there.

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My day…

01 Nov

This post is all over the place. I know. I know.

We had to troubleshoot the master software system (that thing I call Frankenstein). I controls the call centers, the leads, the PBX, the SMS messages and email drip campaigns. And there was a malfunction today. I told you, I am learning how to get inside some body else’s head and learn how they think so I can understand the software they designed. The problem turned out to be an infinite loop buried deep inside a flow path. This system is actually very, very complex.

We had to listen to a pitch from a company who wanted to sell blog content and they were bragging about 40,000 in traffic. I wanted to laugh. 40,000? Seriously???? I have more than 40,000 to my personal blog let alone a business. I am not in favor of that idea. They obviously do not know how to to drive traffic.

What do I think about my new Apple Watch? I really hate the looks of this thing. The one big thing I was able do was to to figure out how I can use the watch to control my car stereo. I drive a half hour each way every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s Boca Raton or Palm Beach. I’m in a position where I’m on I95 every day. I was in a meeting today and I was getting my Slack notifications on my phone. That’s useful. What I can’t believe is how sad these electronic watch faces choices are…they need to hire a real designer like me to go to town on something like that. These are some of the worst, ugliest interfaces I’ve seen. Seriously? I’m supposed to wear this? Of course my thoughts go back to the custom Rolex I designed but we didn’t actually make it yet. I have the watch maker who can do it. It’s just a big hit to the budget.

This was the last iteration of the design where I have a photo. I 86ed the band. That’s not the look. So this would have more modern band on it. You could do this iteration of the design with 2 or 3 CTS Diamonds. I think 3 is a little much. This photo probably shows 2 CTS. I am not a fan of Jubilee bands. I don’t think this is going to happen for a while. I may screw with something else first. But I like a watch to be a style element. And that’s the thing that the Apple watch fails miserably on. I have a phone that will actually do everything the watch can do. It’s just my thoughts on the issue.

If you’ve looked at my work on Instagram, you know what I look for when I redesign something. There’s a certain look that makes it Laura Kerbyson.

If you’re new to the blog or my career, you have to understand that I’ve redesigned a Porsche, Yachts, real estate, designed theme parks from scratch, designer accessories, clothing, the list goes on. Style has always been my business. Right now I’ve taken a project that deals more with functionality because I have a background in computer science marketing as well. But the core of my career has been about creating memorable experiences with style.

Instagram doesn’t even let you scroll through all the photos, so I had to also post to Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/laurakerbyson/, which actually works better in many ways.

You know I don’t do Facebook. One of the guys who I am working with thought it was funny to create an account for me. We do need it to access ad previews since they don’t have a corporate account. I am always logged in as a business for someone. This is the first time, I have to go through a “personal” account. Don’t be looking for me to build anything out that platform.

They came this morning to put my new screen doors on my dining room. I am replacing the old ones because they screw up the view. The look and the view in a piece of real estate is very important. Unfortunately, the doors need to be cut down a bit because they are custom built. But you can tell it will improve the view and they slide like glass.

My entire back wall is glass and I have a view of the lake and the golf course. I want it as perfect as I can get it.

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What do I usually find?

31 Oct

I usually find that more creative has more reach and in email campaigns, more creative subject lines are opened 15% more than what I would consider standard subject lines. When you’re doing advertising for brand and positioning, creative works best because it’s more memorable. Let me give you an example of when brand and positioning pays off.

Let’s say you’re in the market for a Rolex watch today. But if you drive North and South on I95 every day and two years from now, you find yourself in the market for a Rolex watch, I bet you can name the jewelry store you would might call first. Why, because you’ve seen the billboards for 2 years on I95 positioning that jewelry store as the authority on Rolex. Brand Positioning is not for the sale that you can make today. It’s for when they need you in the future. And that does happen. They will only come back to you if they remember you. Creative makes it memorable.

The pet thing is funny because I am allergic to cats and dogs. But think about it, who do you think wins on the Internet, Cats or Dogs?

The Cat is King. If you’ve followed my work through the years, you know that’s not my first Cat Campaign. Cats overwhelmingly are more successful than dogs on the Internet. I don’t know why. I just know that they are.

So what do you test for? You test to find out if conversions (immediate sales) happen on both categories – conservative positioning and creative positioning.

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Guaranteed to Make You Laugh and Put a Smile On Your Face

29 Oct

Now I’m going to show some of the screen shots from the funny social campaigns that we are turning on for testing this week.

The company name you see in the ad is not the actual company, we test under this name.

There’s 3 campaigns I want to show you. The first is the Creative Campaign Featuring Dogs & Cats, The Second is Just Retired (These are hilarious. I am quire sure they are going to be rejected by the platform when we submit them. But we don’t care they are funny anyways.) And the third is not as funny, but cute called “Do More With Your Money.” When people tell me to go create campaigns and get creative, I love it because this is what I do best. I’m sorry the images are a little blurry, these were taken from screenshots from my old Airbook. It’s enough for you to get the idea.

First Campaign: Creative with Pets

Now Here’s the “Just Retired Campaign.” It’s going to get rejected by the system and then I’ll have to revise it. They don’t allow you to ask questions in ads or use “obscene gestures.” The verbiage didn’t pass compliance about the rates so we had to revise. Remember, right now these are outtakes until corrected.

We laughed hysterially looking at these. I said the guy at the top with the double gun salate should be my Slack photo. “What do you think Laura. I think this!” Funny. He’s priceless.

And the last campaign runs tomorrow. I like this one it’s called “Do More With Your Money.”

Anyways, I just wanted to share some of what I’ve been working on because after all advertising is meant to be seen. We’ll be testing different versions of the text. But this is why people pay me. I’m creative.

If the campaigns are successful you’ll see the creative show up on different channels and in different advertising forms. And yes, i created some conservative ad campaigns that we’re bench marking against these. These ads will run in 23 states for over 65 years old.

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It’s going to take some getting used to…

27 Oct

Honestly, the Apple Watch feels huge. This is the 40mm. I’m not that big of a person. I resisted this for years because I don’t care for the way they look. This was the band I switched it out to.

This is the size of watch that I am used to wearing.

I prefer the color of the silver stainless. But so many dresses and purses have gold on them that I went with the pink because it’s more apt to go with gold or silver.

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I am dying for a night out…

27 Oct

I have been so busy and there always seems to be a reason why I haven’t had a night out. Last night it was setting up the phone and the Apple Watch.

It seems like all my friends live in another state a good part of the year. They live half the year in New and half and Palm Beach.

Jules is in that situation. She is my Bestie and she hasn’t been here in months. I miss her and Susie Q like crazy. Susie lives in Indiana. We just all click and have fun.

Bonjour Witches! It’s time you came back to Palm Beach!!!

I’m feeling all work and no play. It’s getting lonely here. It’s time for everyone in New York to get out of the cold and come and see me. Guys included.

I am thinking maybe next weekend I should make some time and go out Saturday night to the Breakers. I need a night out. I do.

Alas, I’ve heard that everyone is not coming back until November.

But as my mother keeps reminding me, “When do you even have time for friends?”

I know. I know.

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I have to go in tomorrow…

26 Oct

I have to go into Boca.

Tomorrow is the day that we’re expecting approval on a large quantity of Ad Sets. After approval comes in we need to set the budgets and turn them on and then watch the dollars and when we see winners, put more there and under performers need to get down graded.

It’s like how do I explain this to someone like my mother? It’s a live Internet “Stock Market” and we’re trading and driving things. You can’t take your eyes off it when it starts because the strategies needs to be tweaked and dollars allocated need to move around. It is a lot of money to put into a system like this. We have to be careful. Start slow and then give it acceleration.

But it needs to be running now. It can’t wait until Monday. So I’m going in.

Right now, I am setting up my new iPhone and Apple Watch. Now I remember why it’s been so long since I bought a new one. This is a pain.

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Project in Boca update…

24 Oct

Everyone’s asking, “So how’s that new project going?”

It’s fabulous it really is. We had so much fun today it was ridiculous. I’ve been building out ad campaigns with different flavors. Two of the creative campaigns are just hysterically funny. We laughed so hard. This is the kind of work that is good for your soul.

We’re about to invest some big money into a whole bunch of  social campaigns that I’ve been building. I ripped through creating a bunch of email marketing campaigns. I have always loved email marketing. I love coming up with the strategy for the campaigns. We’re building some custom audiences for those campaigns. Creative + Analytics is what drives marketing + computer science = your business.

We are functioning extraordinarily well. What’s so great about this relationship is that he’ll say to me, “I need a campaign for (XYZ). Just do you your thing.” And honestly, that’s what’s always worked the best for me. I am at my most creative when someone turns me loose. There’s web sites to make. Landing pages to construct for the email campaigns to land on…

And then there’s big data. This business runs off of the capturing and processing of large amounts of data. And all the data is controlled by software written by The Genius. We’ll call him Boy Wonder since you have no idea who I’m talking about. He likes it when we joke around about names anyways. Seriously, he’s a brilliant one. He’ll learn from me and I will learn from him. He wants me to work on this sophisticated software system with him. I can tell you, it’s going to take a while to learn his logic and what he has hooked to what and where it’s going and which server and the list goes on and on and it. Honestly, you could run Verizon with this type of skill set. I told him I view this system as Frankenstein because it scares me. It walks, it talks and it could kill me in my sleep kind of system. Seriously, he’s building out AI components where you won’t know it’s not a real person.

Today was a perfect day for me. I am very happy to be making that kind of work. There are 3 partners. They’ve all been great. I’ve worked a lot closer with one than the others and with that one, we’ve certainly clicked as a team. You’ve got to love it when that happens.

I know that you have no idea what business I’m talking about or who I’m talking about. It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that right now work is good and life is good.

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I was a tiny bit surprised…

23 Oct

…that the Mayor of New Orleans came out (after I said what I said about what should be done with the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel) and said word for word my recommendation that nothing should be salvaged and the building should be taken down. The Mayor deserves some praise for listening and trying to do what really needs to be done.

What I am surprised by is that new CEO of Hard Rock, Jim Allen,  has not exactly handled this in an elegant way. He’s actually foolish enough to consider trying to fix the building. This CEO does not have Hamish’s experience and it’s showing.

Here’s the reasons why the building needs to come down. I would have thought that these are obvious:

1) If the building is “fixed” no one will have confidence in the structure. You will not hit the capacity numbers you are used to seeing.

2) If something gets missed in “fixing” that structure, then Hard Rock becomes liable for injuries and deaths in the future that could occur.

3) People want to put their faith and trust in a company that first and foremost puts people’s safety first. This engineering firm clearly did not do that. You don’t know that you could possibly find every piece of concrete that wasn’t cured properly or every material and it’s ability to handle load. It’s too much risk and you shouldn’t be risking people’s lives just to make a profit.

The response should have been without hesitation the same as mine and that echoed by the Mayor. The costs of not doing so should have been obvious.

Remember that there is nothing more important than having your customer’s trust. Once it’s broken, they won’t be customers.

Yes you’re losing a lot of money by starting over but I really believe you’ll be losing the cheaper amount. Some times the right thing to do is the hard thing.

I’ve been there and I had to make the tough decisions as well. They weren’t decisions that benefited my pocket that’s for sure.

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Very grateful…

22 Oct

Over the past four years, I had 3 clients in particular that I had to deal with for a large portion of business that were hot heads and in two cases, the people were absolutely not nice people. The last one on the list was absolutely abusive to people on a daily basis. I don’t like or respect people who are yellers or screamers in the workplace, people that cuss out and bad mouth decent people on a daily basis or employers that steal from their employees or people who treat their customers poorly.

If you know me, then you know that I choose to be positive and I choose to be happy person and I live my life with plenty of peace in it. I’ve worked with many good people over the years and when I need to provide business references, they do it because they know I do good work, I’m a nice person and I work very hard, I’m honest and I have ethics. I do not need or ask people of poor moral fibre to vouch for me.

I finally had enough and I walked out of that situation for good.

For the past week (this is now week 2), I’ve been working with a group of new people. They are all absolutely brilliant. They are fun to work with and they are really genuine nice people. I’m really grateful for the nice people part. I really am. They are so nice that they order and buy my lunch every day. Yes, I think that means that I really have to make sure I get to the gym. I’m trying to do that and I’m shifting my light meal of the day to dinner. What I love about us working as a group is that we are all similar but yet each one of us brings some very different skills to the table. For once in years, I have the opportunity to learn things from this group. I love that as well.

But mostly I just wanted to let friends know that right now I am happy and I’m grateful to have met this group and we seem to be doing some good work together. I think someone upstairs may have been looking out for me this time.

I appreciate it.

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Upgrading technology…

20 Oct

Every time I thought about my home project “to do” list this weekend, I kept thinking. “I don’t want to do that this weekend. What else is on the list?”

I didn’t want to continue to work on the window project because I need a break from it.

I didn’t want to go to the driving range because I am getting a massage today and the driving range will just make me sore and defeat the purpose of the massage.

Finally, I found something on the list I was willing to take on – Upgrade my own personal antiquated technology. I always make sure everyone around me has the best of everything and then when I start looking at my own stuff, it’s well – old. So I ordered a new phone. It doesn’t ship until the first week of November. I had to order it because I need the larger storage space. Then I ordered an Apple Watch.

That is the thing that shocks my friends so much. Back in 2015 I was making designer technology accessories including Apple Watch bands. I discontinued doing it when a hurricane wiped out the inventory that was not insured. But I always preferred that my watch look like a piece of jewelry. So I never bought an Apple Watch. My how things change. I think the watch will be more beneficial for work and work outs. I am tired of dealing with wired headphones and having to buy yoga pants for the gym with a cell phone pocket in them. If that could all move to a watch, I could see the benefit. Taking a call on the watch vs. a phone when you’re in the car, I could see a benefit in that. So that’s why I finally caved in and ordered the watch. I still don’t like the way these things look but of course I’m changing the band on the watch. We’ll see how this looks.

I won’t have it until November either. Why? Because there’s no point in setting up two devices at two different times. It’s easier to do them both at the same time.

Anyways, enough for now. I’m off to my massage. It’s my favorite day of the month.

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My thoughts on the Hard Rock Hotel Collapse…

19 Oct

It’s storm season and that structure is unstable. So they are brining in demolition teams with explosives to bring down the two cranes.

I’m sure you know this, but let there be no doubt, as soon as you’ve gathered all the evidence that you’re going to need for litigation you need to demo that entire building and the sooner the better.

I wouldn’t try to salvage anything from it.

I met with Hesalip Engineering when I was in New Orleans. I very quickly determined that they were not a firm I would consider for my project. I was looking at spending a lot more money on building the park, hotel, campground, spa and waterpark because I was bringing in a firm from out of state. There’s not much expertise in that city.

But let me say, if you need the name of a true Shark attorney, I do know where to send you. If you want a referral, text me and I’ll tell you who to talk to.

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I hate this cycle…

18 Oct

I started this “cycle” for lack of a better word of waking up at 4:30 in the morning. It’s rough considering I put in a long day on a project yesterday (I am driving back and forth to Boca Raton). I live right in between Palm Beach and Boca Raton. I do that so I can drive 20 minutes either way. I came home and immediately went to the gym for a few hours. I finally had dinner at 11:30 last night and then went to bed.

And then 4:30 a.m. rolls around and I’m wide awake. I hate it.

I guess it will be one of those days when I can make my power breakfast. Avocado Toast on a Norwegian Crisp Bread with Beefsteak Tomato, two eggs scrambled, a half a glass of orange juice and coffee.

I think Saturday, my plans need to be to stay home and chill out. Maybe do some reading and relax a little. There’s always the usual weekend stuff that needs to be done. But maybe I need some chill time.

But right now at 5:15 a.m. I think I am going to have some coffee and clean some of the house. You know I keep it immaculate because I have allergies to dust and I just like neat, organized and clean.

I would love to go to the driving range Saturday and learn how to hit my new club.

————–

This actually worked out well. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, and cooked breakfast. Now I do not have to waste any of my weekend cleaning. So there’s a big plus.

Tonight I am going to have a candle light bath in some salts with nice music. That is my favorite.

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I just heard about the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans…

16 Oct

I’ve been very busy this week and I just heard the news from a few day ago. I didn’t hear the news when it happened.

I am very sorry that Hard Rock has to go through that experience. They are a first rate company who always does everything well. I am sure that this has nothing to do with the brand and rather with the construction company.

But it total honesty, I am not surprised that construction crews in New Orleans would have this kind of disaster. When I went to New Orleans to build the theme park, I found a lot of substandard work and work ethic. I found that the people I met with had very little regard for human safety. If you read the old blog posts, you know all the stories.

The lies and the dishonesty are what lead me to pull out of doing a project in New Orleans. I went and I lived there for at four months. It was an eye opening experience and not what we are used to on the East Coast. That and three feet of water was enough for me to say, “What liars!” The drainage system was obviously not fixed.

I wasn’t even able to convince them that they would have to tear down the old Jazzland property. That it would be very unethical and unsafe to try to lead people to believe that those old rides should be rehabilitated. They shouldn’t have pitched it to me or anyone else. No one cared. As you know, I started my project on property that was not the old Jazzland property.

I hate to even write this post but that’s the truth of what I found in New Orleans. There’s some evil in that city, in more ways than one.

Everything told me not to do that project in New Orleans.

————————-

And did you think I was joking about my “chat” with Marie Laveau? Look back at the old posts http://laurakerbyson.com/about/?p=12079

It was not a joke.

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I’m giving it time and patience…

16 Oct

I am writing about two separate things here.

I am still being inducted into the new project. A lot of what I’ve been shown has nothing to do with marketing and I’m seeing some stuff that I’ve never seen before. I would venture to say that a lot of what I’ve seen would normally fall to an Information Technology Admin. There’s some very complicated systems and a whole lot of proprietary systems.

I am trying to reserve a judgement for now. I hope I see more marketing. Monday was all marketing. Tuesday was all – well, systems I’ve never touched before. Advertising Agencies or Marketing People who are web developers would never see those kinds of systems. A lot of the systems fall into the kind of technology it takes to power a company and project of that kind. It’s a lot to take in. It’s best to reserve judgement for later.

I am also trying to do some very intense research and problem solving for someone who called me last weekend. It’s one of the biggest sites I’ve ever been asked to quote, and this issue is very, very complex. You are talking close to 100,000 pages of a site that was written back in 2000 and they now want it converted to Wordpress. There’s custom programming. I’ve put calls into engineers who I think would have approached this issue before. This is not an easy issue and I know it. I am looking for the appropriate answer and response and finding the appropriate team members to take this project. The obvious answer is not going to work in this case. The obvious answer is that’s a million dollar site. But by using very specific engineers, that price could be brought down to something reasonable. I am well aware that there are a lot of tools that would do a disastrous job on conversion. We either have to get it right, or not do it.

It’s been the week for very, very complex stuff, that’s all I can tell you. Everybody who specializes in computer science and years ago I went a particular direction. No one person knows how to do all of it. This week is an example of why it takes so many experts.

I am hoping that people are going to draw on my areas of expertise.

I probably won’t have much to say this week because I have a lot of things to think about and a lot of problems to solve for people. None of these are easy answer situations.  That generally will make me quieter.

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It was a nice weekend…

14 Oct

It was a nice weekend overall and a really lovely Sunday.

I got up this morning and made Sunday breakfast, which I really enjoy.

I do some buying and selling on Ebay. The little chime went off that I had sold an item and it was time to ship.

I did some of the usual things in life, like straighten the house and pay bills.

I went to the gym and had a nice workout. When I got home I treated myself to a cup of Baked Apple Herbal Tea and 2 Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies. Totally yummy.

I like to do my tea in pretty little fine china cups. It’s more of a treat and an experience. I like to have a cup of tea every afternoon. It’s one of my little joys in life like picking out an outfit, jewelry, a bag and makeup to wear each day. This stuff is fun for me. I’m such a girl, aren’t I?

Tonight I am going to curl up in bed with a book that I started reading.

I am also enjoying the lovely flowers that were given to me yesterday. I love flowers.

I told you…I am such a girl.

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Plans for the weekend…Explaining the Stock Market of the Internet

11 Oct

I’ve got a good friend coming over tomorrow afternoon to have “class.” We’re going to talk about PPC because he heard that I’m going to be working with it much more on Monday. I’m going to go through what I usually do with a client who is new to PPC. I am one of the advertising agencies for PPC. I’ll share some of my tools with him. He’s a CEO who’s very hands on and really wants to understand PPC.

It’s kind of like a stock market for the Internet. You can increase a company’s valuation and cash flow based on how well you play the market.

Then I’ll cook us a nice dinner and we can continue the conversation.

Other than that, this weekend is about some reading, working out and getting organized. It’s mostly a low key weekend.

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Conducting research…

09 Oct

I am researching the new target demographic and client. I am very thorough and analytical. Before I create things for any kind of industry, I research all the numbers and analyze the competition and the latest methods.

And that’s what’s on my agenda for this week.

I like to go through it with a fine tooth comb. I try not to miss the important details and I try to spot where the competitors could have done a little better.

———–

“I would have said you are creative.”

I am both. I am both left and right brained. It’s unusual but that’s an accurate assessment of how I approach everything.

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Meeting was Successful…Here’s the News

08 Oct

Ok, now I can tell you.

On Friday I dropped Kaufmann de Suisse as a client permanently due to her decline in mental health. That’s enough said about that situation.

On Saturday, I sent a letter to pursue a new opportunity.

I received a phone call on Sunday. We met on Monday. I was offered the project today. So now I know the next project.

The meeting was successful.

Here’s to a more peaceful work environment…

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Dress that fits…

07 Oct

To illustrate my point from a previous post, here’s the dress I wore to a meeting today. This dress actually fits. In my size, they only had black so that’s why it’s this color. But I think you can see the gym efforts are paying off.

These are the shoes that I paired with this dress.

———–

Which is a photo where I was heavier? You can see it on the regular Google Search for my name. It’s the one where I am standing in between Kylie and Julie and I’m wearing a pink dress, sunglasses and have a camera around my neck. That was my top weight ever. It’s the only time in my life where I’ve gained weight. Now you can see from the photo above that I’ve lost the weight. Which version do you prefer?

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All kinds of things going on…

06 Oct

Some of which I can tell you and some of which I want to hold off on for a while…

Here’s what I can tell you:

The new not water is in and so I will have a nice hot bath tonight.

The new box springs were delivered. They are perfect this time.

I’ve lost a fair amount of weight over the last couple of years. I gained some weight a few years ago because I went through a challenging period. It was the first time I had ever gained weight. But as I was losing the weight, I kept wearing the larger sized clothes. A lot of people didn’t notice that much when I gained the weight because I gained it in all the right places and had that Marilyn Monroe look. It wasn’t unequally distributed.

Today I finally said, “Enough. It’s time to buy a few things that fit and let’s see what size you are…”

I had lost 23 lbs. and six to eight dress sizes. At my top weight, which of course you’ve seen, everyone has – I was a size 10. I bought 2’s and 4’s today. The sad thing is I had an entire storage unit full of really nice clothes in those sizes and I gave them away 2 years thinking I would never be this size again.

And what’s interesting is that when I am wearing a dress that actually fits, I look much smaller. These were the sizes I have been most of my life.

Now here’s the other thing. If you want to buy a dress that is a size 2 or size 4 guess what? That dress will be black because that’s all they really want to stock in that size. You know it’s not my favorite. But at least my figure looks good in a black dress that fits. One of them I even put on and said, “Va Va Voom Chicky! When did you get that shape back?” All those workouts at the gym have been paying off.

If I get some time this week, I might snap a quick fashion show because the difference in having the right size is substantial.

I have an important meeting Monday. One of the dresses that looks professional will be for that meeting. Attention to details are important in life.

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I know people hate the home renno posts…

04 Oct

But that’s my life right now and this weekend is full of it with electrical and hot water heat. I know – so exciting! Not!

But that’s life. It’s run of the mill stuff for a while. I have to attend to regular life just like everybody else.

I actually dropped below 120 lbs for the first time in years. Most of what’s in my closet in terms of clothes doesn’t fit well right now. Most of it is too big.

If this keeps us, I may have to buy some smaller dresses.

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Update on the home projects…

02 Oct

I’m taking on the last major, inside project this weekend. I am having the hot water heater replaced and unfortunately, I’ll have to bring in an electrician to redo the wiring because what’s here will not pass code. I had to pull a permit for this and tomorrow I have to get it notarized.

In terms of the windows, I brought in 2 companies that did quotes and I brought in someone who owns a small aluminum company who used to work for the manufacturer of these original aluminum windows.

I’m a thinker so I always do my research and mull it over if there are a lot of issues to consider. There are definitely issues to consider. Some good points have been raised.

On hurricane impact windows, if an object hits the windows, the outer pane of glass will still break. The film is in the middle of the windows. So without shutters, you’re still replacing glass.

In terms of vinyl vs. aluminum – I go to my own personal experience. I worked in the plastics industry back in the late 80s and my dad was an electrical engineer for an aluminum manufacturing facility for over 30 years (the same company and facility) and five years at one of their other facilities. If I have to choose between a plastic and an aluminum – I would choose aluminum. But here’s the caveat – when I was a kid (35 to 40 years ago) my dad gave me lectures about how this was all going to go to China and how bad it was going to be for the U.S. because Chinese Aluminum does not have the strength of American Aluminum. He explained to me how only his plant was the only plant in the U.S. that was allowed to make aircraft aluminum because only they could produce it strong enough. The Chinese products he said were cheap and they would break. How right he was about what happen. How many times have you ordered a product online only to have the cheap screws or parts bend or break.

As you might have read, I spent 18 hours on Saturday working on 3 of the windows. These were Pan Am windows. They were made in 1970 or 1971. When I got the aluminum restored down to the finish, they are shiny aluminum. They don’t make windows out of this kind of aluminum anymore because the aluminum pits or tarnishes over a long period of time. If you get aluminum windows now that are metal colored, they are not shiny – more of a flat grey. They are not the same metal at all. But this shiny kind of aluminum was produced for aircraft back in the 1970s. I’m pretty sure that the metal these windows are made from came off of my dad’s plant. That means that this aluminum is stronger than modern day aluminum. I would bet money on it. Next time you’re at an airport look at the shiny aluminum American Airlines planes.

So what to do? My aluminum guy worked for Pan Am Windows years ago. He can get any parts and knows these windows well. He’s going to remove the glass sliding doors and replace the wheels underneath. He’s rescreening some of the frames and there will be some rods and cranks to fix. I’ll do the cleaning and resealing.

So that leaves a question about what to do for a hurricane. He brought up a good point that even if you have a brand new window, if that window doesn’t stay in the frame, the window goes. The safest option is still a hurricane shutter. And even if I decided to do new windows in five years or so, I should still use a shutter with a new window because that exterior glass is just glass. Excellent point.

The next point was that he didn’t think the hurricane film was worth my time. “What’s your objective?”

“No to have flying shattering glass if the windows breaks.”

“The tint you have now will keep that from happening.”

Good point.

This is why when you’re looking at a lot of money for something, it pays to talk to a lot of experts.

My immediate plan is to have him fix all the parts that need replaced and fix the screen damage. I’ve also asked him for quotes on different kinds of shutters. That I need to do some thinking about because different shutters have different levels of difficulty for putting up. They also have different price points. I’ll wait and evaluate that when the quotes come in. The ones I have now have to be replaced. They are made of fiberglass, which will do more harm than good if actually hit by an object at high speed. No one makes shutters out of fiberglass anymore. It was always a bad idea.

But in terms of the look and strength, I really like the look of the shiny aluminum. It’s a little industrial and it works well with modern. I also think I’m right about where the material comes from. Back in 1970 and 1971 there were only 3 aluminum production facilities in the United States. My dad originally started his career at Alcan before he jumped ship to Kaiser.

The interesting thing about my dad’s work was that although his college degree was in electrical engineering (and he did that for the plant), they mostly used his abilities for mechanical engineering. It was his job to make sure all the machinery in the plant ran. If it broke, he had to fix it. This was a huge facility. That’s why he could fix anything in life. I had no idea that repair people actually existed because none of them every came to our house.

But my dad was right, because companies went to China for  aluminum and steel production in order to save money, we don’t make anything of our own anymore. And what you buy today is not the same quality.

I was probably the only second grader who could tell you the difference between fabrication and reduction and strength grades and properties of aluminum.

My dad had a nice big office at the plant with glass windows and this really cool aluminum door. They made all the doors in the offices from the aluminum. You would go into the office and there were all these mechanical and electrical drawings of all the machines and wiring, printed on the size and kind of paper that architects use. Then there were all his notepads of mathematical calculations everywhere done with his mechanical pencil. There were no computers back then. It was all brain power.

I can remember my dad going all the way to England to buy used equipment so that he would have parts to fix things.

There were so few people with his level of experience in aluminum engineering that he made really, really good money even by today’s standards. They really couldn’t have replaced him if they wanted to.

I think his era in aluminum was like my era in plastics. Back in the late 1980s, we made General Electric Plastics into a company that worth a lot of money. It makes me ill to think that after Immelt took over they blew a half a trillion dollars that my era collective earned for General Electric.

Yes, I have seen the rise and fall of some great and profitable companies.

But you have to keep in mind that I think through all this stuff about materials because I grew up reading Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines that my dad had tossed aside.

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Evaluation Photos – The Eyes

01 Oct

I heard the, “Who cares about the windows, how did your eyes turn out?”

If you missed that part of the story about a week and a couple of days ago, I had six shots of Botox to lift my eyes. It gives a little more arch to the eyebrow and pulls them up a bit so they don’t hide behind the glasses. They told me it would take a full 2 weeks to see all the results.

I did not retouch these photos in any way because we will use these as evaluation photos. Evaluation photos need to be boring so that you can judge things like symmetry or progress. I shot them this evening. Keep in mind I am 50 years old.

I haven’t decided yet, but I am contemplating a lower face lift by one of the great experts in this country on facial surgery. The point would be to remove the jowl area that shows in 50 year olds and to tighten up the jaw line. I am still in the thinking and discussion stages. I went and talked to my expert who is the leading expert on eyes and fillers. He advised me about the way the procedure really should be done because he said most doctors do not do it correctly. I’ve never had filler but we are planning some to the corners of the mouth that will remove that age. He advised me not to do it until I decided about the lower. He made the referal for me to the other leading expert. For the filler around my mouth I would go to my eye expert because he invented Juvederm and Krybella.

About four years ago, my eye plastic surgeon did under my eyes and made them absolutely perfect. I wish I had done it 15 years before. They were an item that needed to be tweaked. But when it comes to the things I elect to do, they must be done with this country’s leading authorities. I wouldn’t dare risk it without the top notch.

I take very, very good care of my skin but as you age it loses a little elasticity. Sometimes you need a little help.

I want to be as beautiful as I can be. It’s helpful in my career. It’s helpful in my personal relationships. It makes me feel better about myself to always try to look my best. I am also that way with clothes, jewelry, etc. I like a polished look. I feel like a better external appearance more closely matches what’s on the inside when it comes to me.

My girl friends always want to see these photos. As for everyone else, you can pass if you don’t want to see them.

Well it’s kind of funny that I’m the same age as the windows and we both needed a little work.

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The Rehab on the 50 Year old Windows…

30 Sep

Want to see a couple of pics? This is seriously hard work to get them to look like this. These are 50 year old aluminum windows that are being restored.

The first pic is a bathroom window without a screen.

Here’s the 50 year old screen cleaned up and inside the window.

Here’s another bathroom window:

I did the windows on the inside and outside. I finished two bathrooms, the kitchen and the storm door today. I washed the glass wall in the dinning room but it still needs the aluminum restoration. This project is going to take several weekends.

Can you say, PAIN? I’m feeling it tonight. But they look good don’t they?

They’re shiny, like a new airplane.

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Now the projects begin…

28 Sep

I’m done with my six day work week. That should be the last long week that I have for a while. I’m still building out the backend of that site because there’s a new major section coming after I’m finished.

I’ve got a cover to do but I’m not hopeful about that cover. I’ve had to make more items for that client that I don’t like then I can count. Some of the things I’m asked to do with design and graphics are big no, nos but that’s what they want. But that kind of work is never fun for someone with an education and 30 years of experience. I don’t like doing work that makes me look bad. But you do it because money is money and it’s their money to waste if that’s what they choose to do.

Now on to my weekend (Sunday and Monday). I’m taking on finishing restoring the windows. It’s a major job but it’s been on my list for while. My downfall in life is that I’m such a hard worker and I don’t like unfinished projects. So that means me working seven days this week. But this is something for me and that means I have total design control, which is why it looks so good.

But that project won’t be done even after this weekend because I’ll bring in a company to do the hurricane film and someone to do the blinds.

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Score!

28 Sep

I bought over $10,000 worth of Van Cleef Jewelry (earrings, a necklace and a bracelet) at auctions. I spent a whopping $312. Each piece was from a different seller.

I wasn’t even looking to buy but you can’t let good stuff like that go…It was just a very lucky day.

This is like a sport for me.

They are two shops down from us on Worth. I walk by it every day. I had a mental note in the back of my head, “Oh yeah, I need to get some Van Cleef…”

Consider them items for the work wardrobe until I get bored with them.

————-

I don’t want to hear negative comments about buying something designer. Some people fail to take mental note that I am a designer. Of course I believe in designer work. It goes without saying. I appreciate good design in a number of assets.

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This is working splendidly…

27 Sep

You know I do design work on properties. One of the things I love is the use of metal in my design work. I recently decided that I was going to restore these aluminum windows because they are so cool looking and the aluminum fits in well with the rest of the design.

I ordered and received the marine product that’s used on boats – like canoes and pontoon boats to make them look like new after they’ve been sitting in the water for years. It’s also used on airplanes. It’s a very potent acid. You must wear protective clothing and gear.

I have to tell you that’s there’s something very gratifying about watching 50 years of dirt and grime drip off a surface only to have them looking brand new. I did the inside of one window tonight and it’s so pretty. That shiny aluminum looks fantastic. This weekend I’ll be able to re-caulk and reseal the window. Then when I’m done with all the windows, I’ll have hurricane film installed. I have shutters, but the film is good for UV block and instances when you’re not home and a storm comes. The window might break, but it won’t shatter.

But I have to tell you, so far, this is working like a charm.

I love to do this kind of thing with furniture and giving it a different look. People couldn’t believe what I did with that extra long bathtub. I had contractors tell me I would never be able to restore it to perfect condition. I did and it’s not reglazed and it’s perfect. Not one scratch. There’s a store in Palm Beach that sells that extra long tub for $8000. It was worth the work.

There’s just something gratifying about making something look new and fixing it.

Because I literally have replaced every appliance, the furnace, the AC, every light with LED, the electric bill on this property runs about $65 a month. I would only save $6 a month with brand new windows.

If you are new to the blog – my background is in computer science and design. And in terms of design work, I do not just digital but also hard assets like real estate, interior design and merchandise.

In terms of real estate, I love to do modern design work. I always use a few retro touches to contrast the design. I also like a few industrial looking elements.

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Wow! Wow! Wow!

25 Sep

That’s all I can say this morning. It’s astounding.

The last several weeks had been a little bit of a beauty process. I started with brow serum for a younger look. Eyelash lengthening serum and a new eyebrow pencil and highlighter from Revlon.

Then I had six shots of Botox that the plastic surgeon told me would lift my eyes. It takes five days to kick in. Today is day 2.

I’m not kidding here – I woke up with the eyes of a 25 year old model. I’m 50 years old. They are gorgeous this morning. Never in a million years would I have believed you could do this without plastic surgery. It’s amazing. There’s more arch, more lift, everything is higher.

They’re beautiful. I can not believe it.

Beauty is an endless pursuit for me as you know. Diet, exercise, skin care, enough sleep, tweaks in the right place….

I am very, very happy with this. I can’t believe it.

I spend a good part of my life photographing beautiful women for covers and advertisements. I’ve kind of become an expert on look when it comes to facial structure. But I never saw this coming.

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I’ve been busy with the silly, little things in life…

24 Sep

My entire next weekend is devoted to fixing these windows. I ordered a bunch of stuff so that I can attempt to fix them before I make any decisions.

It bothers me to put money into a piece of property knowing that I couldn’t recoup that money. If you let it appreciate for five years, I think it will be a different story. The biggest thing that people put money into with a piece of property that they don’t get back is unfortunately, the windows. I have antique hurricane shutters and I contemplated doing away with them.

In the meantime, there’s hurricane film, parts, sealer and cleaner that can be used to improve the situation. You know me, if I think I can fix it myself, I usually do. They make this stuff for boats that I want to try.

The one thing I couldn’t fix myself was my face. I noticed one eye dropping more than the other. Age is kicking in a little. So I went into see a plastic surgeon about it expecting that this is something that we would fix with some incisions. Not so. I didn’t quite believe it when they told me that Botox could lift my eyebrows and pull everything back to where it needs to be. It takes five days to see the result. But even after one day, it’s already pulled it back to where it should be. I honestly wouldn’t have believed that if I didn’t see it.

Now to fix the lower, I do have to consider doing that surgically. I am just at the beginning stages of where women don’t like the way they age. I probably will fix it but I will consult with my other expert first to see what his opinion is about how to fix it and what to do first. I already have one opinion.

I’m a perfectionist when it comes to myself. This stuff drives me crazy. I won’t be happy until I solve it. You realize that? Right?

The rest of the to do list has been a bunch of little stuff:

- Send the new tea set back because it arrived broken

- Now I have to mount the mirror I bought for above my makeup table this weekend

- I have new box springs coming this weekend

- I am planning a ladies luncheon for a girl friend’s birthday for late October, or early November

It’s a bunch of stuff that will eat up the whole weekend.

I’m not working out tonight because they told me after six shots of Botox not to work out for a few days. So I’m taking the night off.

And that’s my immediate list outside of work items.

———-

I made that orange, basil chicken with rice. It was very good. I am happy with it. I’ll make that again.

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It was absolutely sinful…

23 Sep

The dinner I made for myself that is…

I bought a bag of fresh oranges. So I decided to make orange ginger beef with carrots, green beans, peas and corn served with mashed redskin potatoes with a gravy I made from the juice. And then there was french baguette bread with Irish butter. OMG was it good.

It was absolutely sinful but worth it. Thank goodness there will be leftovers.

Because I bought the oranges, I will probably make orange basil chicken with rice this week.

I went and had a massage today and ran errands and then finished the day with this outstanding meal and a little Netflix on the Roman Empire.

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There is no place I would rather be….

21 Sep

At the end of a long work week (6 days this week), there is no place I would rather be than in my extra long tub, with the lights turned out and the rose candles burning, spa music, oil in the water and sipping my favorite cocktail – a gin and tonic. I love the kind where you can smell the botanicals. I love flowers.

I feel so happy now that I got to do that tonight.

I love the smell of roses, candle light and water.

Nothing makes me happier.

I have a little tiny blue tooth speaker in the bathroom and I send my “Spa Radio” from Pandora over to the speaker while I soak in the tub.

This will be a great weekend because tomorrow is my monthly massage appointment. I so love it.

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Just a quick post…

21 Sep

I am going in to cover for M. tomorrow. We did a booming business this week on Worth. That was great news.

Last week I had installed a caching engine on the server. That speeds up delivery of content and it means that people further away in the world can now see your content where it might have taken too long previously to get that far around the world.

Our numbers for the web site were up substantially since the performance of the engine started kicking in. I was excited today when we had a call about a ring on the web site. The call was from Australia. I know the engine is performing when we get that kind of call.

I am looking forward to Sunday because it’s my monthly appointment for a massage. I love them. Almost as much as I love the smell of roses.

I am home from the gym. It’s late and I’m off to bed. Have a great night…

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