I thought I’d write a little bit about this past week before settling in for the fun job of preparing my taxes…
So last Friday we had a few people over to celebrate William’s 50th birthday, with a ‘not so’ surprise visit from his cousin and girlfriend from Port Stanley. It was a great time and it was nice to see William celebrating with friends.
His new thing is gin. Gin and Squirt to be specific… Interesting to note that Gin and Wink (the kinda Canadian equivalent) was a favourite alcoholic beverage of teenagers, back in the day and at least in this area… Most of our friends who’ve tried it the Squirt version had stories of being wasted as teens on Gin and Wink, so that always makes for good stories (personally, I ended up in a huge ditch across the road from a huge party… long story…) Anyways, as mentioned, Squirt is not available in Canada. and is better than Wink (hard to find Wink too, now that I think of it…) so before our cruise, we loaded up at Meijers on somethings you just can’t buy in Canada (we often do this on our trips to Cleveland…).
So anyways, with his friends knowing about his new (or re-) found love of gin, we now have A LOT of gin… this is just a sampling…
With his cousin’s visit not being such a surprise (thanks Aunt Vera, lol!), he was surprised when we told him that the next day we were heading to Cleveland for the night for some pinball and a great dinner.
Weeks before I contacted our business rep at the Hyatt in Cleveland to reserve a night on the down low, and because we’re ‘Platinum’ Hyatt members they went above and beyond for William. When we checked in, he was given a pretty awesome hand made card, signed by a bunch of staff members and in the room was a mickey of gin and a few cans of Squirt! There was also a huge Cleveland Browns cutting board loaded with specialty cheeses and deli meats. How incredibly nice!
At our favourite bar, our friend and best bartender ever (she’s also the bartender at the stadium) she made sure they had Squirt for him too (not normally a soft drink they have on hand). At the steakhouse, after a fantastic dinner, they had a special dessert for us to share.
All in all, it was a great week-end and I think Billy felt pretty darned special… as he should!
The rest of the week:
- Monday was his actual birthday and we had dinner at his mom’s.
- Tuesday night I had my indoor golf league.
- Wednesday I worked about 11 hours and William had his indoor golf league.
- Thursday, trying to avoid some of the craziness of St. Paddy’s Day, I met my ‘boss’ for a round of indoor golf and dinner.
- Friday I cleaned the house and felt like crap. We lounged on the couch and watched TV.
It was a pretty busy week, and the last few week-ends we’ve been out of town, before that was SuperBowl, football playoffs, New Year’s Eve, Christmas, football season… etc. etc. etc… the point being this might be the first week-end since about October that we a) William’s not on call, b) we’re not going anywhere and c) no one is coming over. So tonight’s plans are for date night in… dinner, pinball, hot tub and relaxation. It’s gonna be a great day.
That’s all for now… tax time!
Life is good.
We’re a few days back from vacation – and it was quite the success! Mission accomplished (well, nearly) all around. Let’s review…
Read books – I read 3.5 books – two of which were pretty hefty for fiction (Tom Clancy is not an easy beach type read!). William read two – a John Grisham and a Lee Childs Jack Reacher novel…
Relaxed – that’s most of what we did. We relaxed by the pool, on our balcony, in the room and on two beaches. We had long leisurely, delicious dinners. We napped, played cribbage, had drinks and watched a couple of movies. It was the most ‘relaxing’ we’ve ever done on vacation.
Snorkeled – Well this was a bit of a fail, as the snorkeling was not good at the port we choose, but the beach was fabulous in Roatan.
Bought a snorkel shirt – Yay! Now I can snorkel on future vacations for more than 20 minutes without either freezing or getting sunburned.
Slept – again, another slight fail… The vibrations of the ship created a ticking noise that was very much like Chinese water torture.
Disconnect – I was even less connected than I expected as free wifi in the ports was not easily found – while I had my business ‘covered’, it would have been advantageous to know the weather in advance.
All in all it was a fantastic trip. Very relaxing. Great memories and I look forward to our next cruise!
Note to self: Book an excursion (weather permitting!) in Belize. The port area is not very nice or safe feeling. Luckily it was a beautiful day, so we spent much of it on a nearly deserted ship hanging by the pool.
Life is good.
Wow – as a side not, it’s been 6 years today I’ve been with WordPress… and I think I was with Vox for 4 years! Happy anniversary to me!
I’m not completely sleep deprived, but I’m struggling with it.
We’re getting ready to leave on vacation… oh how luxurious! Indeed it is, but being self employed means I can’t just ‘close up the shop’ and be gone.
I have lists and sub-lists with lists of lists with lists of things to do. It’s all good. It is social media after all and it’s not like I’m missing performing life saving surgery… but it’s still my job and it has to get done.
Which leads me to my point… for the most part (um… alcohol is a factor!) I’m a fairly light sleeper. I am affected by not only noise, but also light. (There’s been many a time where William quietly opens the fridge door and I’m awakened by the light!)
With so much on my mind of late, I find that when I wake up, falling back asleep is impossible.
On Saturday morning I woke up at 3 and decided to go into the office (yes, I have an office of sorts in town) as William was asleep on the couch (my normal office) and I was working by 4:30 am… at home by 9:30.
Today I was awake at 4:30 (I wake up every day at this time) and finally convinced myself that more sleep was not going to happen and I got started on my day at 6am.
Let’s review my goals for this upcoming vacation (yes, I’m really that anal retentive!)
- Get some sun
- Eat well
- Read and relax
- Go snorkeling and buy a snorkel shirt
- Enjoy every second that I’m free of my electronic leash
- Fun times with my husband
Pretty realistic, eh? Barring a pirate attack or off season hurricane, I should be able make this happen.
However, sleep… William likes to stay up late and I’m a morning person. William likes the TV on a lot, and I’d rather have quiet and dark. Sleep will be the most difficult challenge with regard to my vacation goals.
Yes, I have eye masks and ear plugs. In the past these things have only helped slightly. We have really good headphones and I’m going to look into an ‘extension’ to make them long enough to reach the TV in our room.
Well, back at it… crossed blogging off my list!
So what’s new in LG’s world…
Our annual Super Bowl party went well – we actually didn’t have 50 pounds of leftover food that we had to throw out, the game wasn’t very exciting, but I did end up winning some money. If either team scored 10 more points I would have won over $400.
I think we’re in about our 6th week of the indoor golf league. It’s good to get out of the basement once in a while.
William’s 50th birthday is coming up soon and I’m torn about what to do… a couple friends over? A few friends over or just have a big old bash? I have to figure this out in the next week!
We’re now in the home stretch for our upcoming vacation. I’m really looking forward to it to say the least. However, it takes me about 60 hours of ‘extra’ work over a two week period to ‘be gone’ – so needless to say, I’ve been working a lot lately – but as William reminds me, ‘it’ll all be worth it’.
I hope it’s one of those vacation where the days are long, leisurely and completely stress free. I’m not worrying about wearing a different dress every night for dinner. I’m not bringing a ton of jewelry, 6 purses or 5 pairs of shoes as I have in the past. Nope. Two bikinis, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops and a few items that could pass as ‘casual’ and one ‘formal’ item.
Well better get to it!
So with secret blogging skills out, I thought I’d share with you something that makes me shake my head.
A little background…
For my various clients I used to pay for stock photos from one of the big companies. I spent hundreds a year on photos. It was annoying.
Even more annoying (and beyond) was a few years back when I accidentally used a random pic from Google images on a blog post (I often would do some recon on photos I wanted to use and would save them for reference) and was sued by the stock company who owned the image (the company I probably gave more than a thousand bucks to over the years…)
I was able to negotiate down the fee without having to go to court, but still, it was ridiculous. Since then, I use only ‘free’ photos that are copyright free, no attribution required images. Yay.
However, (and this is my point) often the photos are crap. Like craptacular. Like super crap.
Searching for an appropriate photo for a blog (an essential element!) can sometimes take longer than researching a topic, writing a blog, editing and the actual posting.
- Too ethnic (as example: searching for ‘kids playing’ and only finding barely clothed perhaps homeless children playing on a dirt road is certainly a third world country.)
- Not ethnically diverse enough
- They are just crap
Case in point… searching for ‘saving money’
This little gem appeared…
A spoon balancing on a calculator?
For whom could this image possibly be relevant? (Of course suggestions welcomed… please leave a comment)
Then there’s the overuse of keywords… meaning the contributing photographers (bless them all for saving me hundreds a year…) load the keyword description with every imaginable word that could possibly (loosely) be related to the image.
A search for ‘saving money’ also resulted in this bit of stock photo wizardry:
Again! Who would use this photo and when? Bandaids on a clock face? Ohhh, how deep in symbolism! Thank goodness someone added the text ‘time heals all wounds’. How profound!
Then there’s this guy…
I’ve seen this guy so much in free stock photos that I call him Uncle Frank.
Regardless of my search criteria (and my clients vary greatly in their stock photo needs!), Uncle Frank appears in my searches approximately 4 out of 5 times. It’s comforting really always to have Uncle Frank there for me, although he has some pain management and apparent depression issues…
Other times I just don’t know what’s wrong with poor Uncle Frank.
Oh, how I worry!
So now the caveat… I’m grateful to these photographers for generously donating their time and sharing their talent. (I’ve actually used several of Uncle Frank’s benefactor’s images) I appreciate the free use of their images greatly as it saves me money.
You just gotta say.
Okay, here’s my secret, and if you know me as a blogger, you should find this particularly humorous…
I’m actually somewhat of an ‘expert’ blogger.
I can hear your laughter from here!
Perhaps a bit of a self proclaimed expert, I’ll give you that… but in reality I train people and companies to blog and teach them why it’s important (improves organic search results, Google indexing, the best place to share company culture, excellent content for social media sharing… etc. etc. etc.).
Again, I can hear you laughing.
I teach them all about best practices for search engine optimization, (customized URLs, keyword placement, categories, tags, excerpts, meta data, focus keyword, images, alt text, descriptions…. etc. etc. etc.) good readability and style (bullet points, H2 headings, length, reading level… etc. etc. etc.) and content (what to write about, when, call to actions, modes and methods… etc. etc. etc.).
Surprised? Yeah, me too, lol.
Just today, after more than a month, I’ve finally finished the ‘system’ that I created which can be used for new clients as it’s general and not industry specific. I’m pretty freaking happy about this. It’s a awesome to have done.
I feel accomplished and like there’s a load off. Yay. However, now I’m starting on a new system for social media…
Life is good.
So after being completely sloth like yesterday, surprisingly I wasn’t ‘raring’ to go this morning. (Normally after a day filled with sloth-like activities, I feel the need to be hyper productive.)
I got a late start to my work day (like 8:15am. Egads!), had a meeting a 9, then I took care of some daily business basics.
When I checked my schedule for the day, I wanted to cry…
Advance Blog SEO
Post – Tourney & March Break
X Google Plus Images
eNewsletter & Update Contacts
Bah! Before I got started I needed to run a few errands in town and I decided to also walk Shank before picking up Halia… well I didn’t get home until 11:30 and I forgot to do one thing which I’ll have to go into town later today or maybe tomorrow. Arg! Rats!
I started working my way through the list of to-do’s – but I’m really tired… I didn’t sleep well last night after being so slothful yesterday. Boo! Now it’s 3:30 and I still have one big item on my list to accomplish before I can feel my work day is done.
That’s all… back at it. Thanks for listening. Life is good.