Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keeping ants out of the screen porch

For years, the screen porch was used as a catch all and greenhouse for plants. I am starting to design a morroccan style room for the porch area to make it an extension of a small kitchen. The first step is to make the room ant and insect proof so I caulked the open cracks along the floor and the walls connected to the metal frame for the screen room with silicone caulking. On the screen door, I placed a self stick draft guard to keep drafts and small insects out. Every two weeks, I spray ortho pest control spray to get rid of ants. The room is now insect proof because the screen was repaired too. Morroccan room is on going project and this is the first step before painting. This is an ongoing project that will will take many blog entries.











Donate and recycle to keep out of landfills

"One man's trash is another person's treasure", if you have items that are no longer being used consider donating to charity or recycling items. 

Here are some places that accept donations and recyclables; even swap or trade them. Electronics, cell phones and old PC computers should have personal information erased from hard drive before recycling them to companies that take these such as Dell, Apple, and some retailers like Staples, Best Buy, and Radio Shack. Some charities like Goodwill and Collective good take cellphones, pdas and mp3 players. Sports equipment donate to schools, youth programs, salvation army, and goodwill or trade it in for new year. Recycle cds, dvds, video games at Best Buy. Greendisc is a company that recycles cd cases. Swap music with a company named Swap Tree; these companies can be found online.

Donate old toys at nearby hospitals, daycare centers, and charity shops. There are companies that trade used childrens clothing such as Tots swap store, swap baby goods, and Hand me downs. Books can be donated at libraries, schools, or sold online on half.com, amazon and eBay.com.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Arab Spring is now Arab Winter

My heart breaks for the families of the four Americans killed in Libya and the two marines that were killed in Afghanistan.  These Americans travel overseas to bring Democracy and stability to these countries, but the Arab world will never embrace Democracy.
These Middle eastern countries are Theocracies, meaning that their governments are centralized around one religion. In the middle east, the dominant religion is Islam. These governments control the lives of their citizens by dictating strict moral religious code, and oppressing their citizens by using torture or mass murder to remain in power. An example is Syria, which used chemical weapons against 1500 woman and children.   

Despite America's efforts to bring democracy to this region, the middle east will never have a true democratic society because the people do not understand freedom of expression. If an American makes a comment about Islam or Muhammad, the people riot and kill visiting foreigners in their countries because they think that the citizen speaks for their government.  These countries have blasphemy laws regarding the use of the image or derogatory speech against their Prophet Muhammad.

There are Muslims that want a better life for their families in these countries that have had civil wars and oppressive regimes.  The lack of jobs in these countries for large populations of young Muslims has created a disillusioned class of people searching for a purpose in life.  Terrorist organizations come in and fill the spiritual and economic void that these countries do not. 

When Egypt had elections and voted in Morsy, the people had an opportunity at democracy but they chose the Islamist dictator from Muslim brotherhood. 

Coptic Christians were attacked and crimes against secular minorities went unpunished under Morsy. After a year, Morsy dissolved their new Constitution and placed restrictions on woman and minority communities in Egypt.  In July 2013, the people of Egypt went into the streets to protest and remove the dictator. Despite efforts from President Obama to convince Morsy to make reforms to accommodate his people, he refused.  The military gave Morsy 24 hours to reinstall Constitution he refused, than was thrown in jail.

 The people in the Middle eastern countries want to change their present governments. The people will have their version of democracy which clashes with their Theocratic society.

Anti- American sentiment is strong in the Middle east because of our support of Israel and the support of leaders like Mubarek and Morsi in Egypt.  These leaders ruled and oppressed their citizens when in power, and the aid that the U.S. gave the military helped keep dictators in place.  The Muslim world does not support a democracy in their region because Americans are viewed as immoral and materialistic. Theocracy clashes with democracy and capitalism. Many Arabs sympathize with displaced Palestinians.  The Jewish people are seen as occupiers in that region instead of the nation government of Israel. 

America has to take action against ally countries that that do not protect US diplomats and US citizens. These Arab countries should get ahead of a mob situation by immediately having troops around the foreign embassies when they anticipate an anti Muslim video, or blog being televised on Aljazerra.  

These countries should censor anti Muslim content by blocking You tube or Google.  Since the population does not understand the concept of an individuals right to free speech.  These countries don't understand free speech so they think that anyone  that speaks openly represents the US government or have their consent.  Hard line Islamists use these videos to incite the population to violence, since access to technology is limited. Many in the US media claim that the protestors were only a handful and many were  Islamist terrorists.  In the case of Libya, that may be true; but in Tunisia there were about 5000 protestors at the embassy. Those protestors can not all be hard line Islamists, these are citizens that are anti American. 
American government has to be honest with its citizens and tell the truth, they fear unrest and attacks on Muslims in the US. 

Foreign tourists should send strong message to these countries such as Egypt that depend on tourist dollars.
Since foreign travelers will not be safe in any of these countries until another You tube video comes out, they should not invest their businesses nor their vacations in these countries.   Instead of Western countries constantly reaching out to these supposed allies, economic boycotts should be in place until these governments guarantee the safety of Foreign travelers. 

America should remain in the region, to protect our interests and allies in that part of the world, but we have to send a strong unified message with the UN that chemical weapons will not be allowed to be used on  innocent citizens.  The US can not be in every middle eastern conflict the UN has to do its job and not sit back and wait for the US to take action.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shop Local in Ocala save Jobs

This economy has created high unemployment rates around the US and hit Ocala just as hard, with an average unemployment rate of 10%. A year ago it was 12%, so it's improving but not at the rate that it should be. 

Ocala has many small town qualities but offers urban amenities with great shopping, good restaurants, nice hotels and family friendly park attractions.  Ocala is the seasonal home of Celebrity John Travolta.  This is a beautiful picturesque town with lots of land between homes, unless it's 55+ community.  There are many affordable HOA community developments in and around Ocala such as Oak Run, Pine Run and Top of the World.  Ocala is twenty minutes from the Villages; it's about 2 hours away from Orlando and about 90 minutes from Tampa. 

In my opinion, as a resident of Ocala, the city has so much to offer, but has not really promoted itself to other states in the US and outside the country.  I am not a business consultant, but as a resident living along the HWY 200 corridor. I have seen many businesses come and go within months of opening.  There are many vacant storefronts in the Steeplechase Plaza and in the Friendship Center store sites. These properties have been vacant over two years. 

In my opinion I think that the local residents should develop ideas and send them to their local city boards or the Chamber of Commerce.  I have a few ideas on how jobs could be created in this area by the hotels in the Ocala area creating and offering eco-tourism packages and historic district tours that include shopping, transportation from large area airports, and local attractions in Ocala area.   This could help local economy greatly by getting more tourists to visit Ocala and other Marion county towns. 

Small local businesses in Ocala should have a web presence online to generate sales outside of Ocala.  There are many hosting websites that offer free and inexpensive websites for small businesses such as www.webs.com, and www.ecrater.com.
Start a blog to write about your products and news about your local business on www.blogspot.com or www.wordpress.com .


Social media is a great way to get free promotional advertising by tweeting latest deals. 

Ocala has a large senior community and is a great market for businesses that offer services and products for seniors.    

Keep jobs in Ocala by shopping at your small local business.
Walmart offers many items at one store location.  Small local businesses offer more inventory of a specific item or may offer customer service features.

Small business owners that are located near Walmart will find it difficult to get customers when the product that they sell is priced much lower at the superstore.  Mom and pop shops have to offer low priced products along with excellent customer service to compete with Walmart. 
SHOP LOCAL BILLBOARD IN OCALA

Friday, September 14, 2012

Niagara Falls Boat Ride Canada Trip

These are more photos taken during Canadian Niagara Falls trip I took with my sister.  

It was fun and if ever in the New york State area, should visit the falls.


Save energy in the summer

In the summer, its easy to save energy by air drying washed clothing, using the propane grill and turning off the water heater a few days during the months. The summer weather brings warmer water during this climate. Using this method, my water bill is reduced by 80.00 a month. It is important to clean the air conditioner inside coils once a year. Changing the air filters on the airconditioner once a month really does make a difference in that utility bill. Caulking all of the windows once a year with silicone caulking to seal any drafts and keep insects out .

 These tips actually work and it is noticeable on the very next utility bill, the first time I tried all of these methods at once, my electric bill went from 275.00 to 112.00. Now on average my bill is about 125.00 and the highest was 135.00 a few months ago. When I turn off the water heater for a few days during the month, it drops to 118.00 on average. Energy conservation helps the environment and your pocket book .

Catalog Flower Photos used on cardboard boxes

I made a collage from seed plant company catalogs sent to homes from companies that sell flowers and seeds such as Burpee. Instead of throwing them out, cut out flower photos the size of the surface area of box being covered. I took a shoe box and glued all sides of the box with photos. I used the shoe box cover to reinforce the bottom of the box to make it stronger. 




I have had this box for three years for storing craft items and photos. Instead, of purchasing expensive plastic or canvas stroage bin boxes, this could be done with different sizes of boxes and different coverings; such as wallpaper and giftpaper. Small USPS boxes are great ideas to create closet and craft storage.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Old San Juan folklore and photos

Mountainside of Arecibo PR
Side of road at El Yunque rain forest at Rio Grande, PR

Town square of San Juan Puerto Rico


Entrance of San Cristobal Fortress in San Juan PR

Old Church in town square

the side of el Morro in San Juan

aero view of el Morro in San Juan

The capitol in San Juan

Old San Juan folklore and photos

These are photos of a trip I took to San Juan a few years ago. I went with a neighbor to San Juan and El Morro fort. I was told this story about a legend about a giant rock formation that is across the bridge of the two brothers or "Puente de los dos Hermanos". This bridge connects old San Juan to Isla Verde Condado. The legend goes that during the 16th century there was a captain of a Spanish galleon who was returning home to San Juan, it was a stormy evening and the galleon struck a rock coming into the port of Puerto Rico. The captain's dog saw the galleon sinking from the coast and swam into the ocean looking for his owner, the captain. The captain of the galleon and his dog both drowned off the coast of Puerto Rico, the legend says that from the middle point of the bridge there is a rock formation shaped like a dog's profile across the bridge; at night along the bridge people can hear the sound of a dog howling looking for his owner.
Some of the photos were taken years ago, but I have some vintage postcards from Puerto Rico uploaded too.

 

My garden Part III Eggplants

From my garden Part III Eggplants

My vegetables are growing at slower pace and not as large as before so I may have to add more seeds to my tomato plants. Some of my plants have been getting insects since I stopped using the sprinkler system and started to hand water. I think I am going to go back to the sprinklers, it help keep pests out of the garden. Here are photos of vegetables from my garden; cucumbers, tomatoes, tomato plant, peppers and cilantro seeds.











Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vintage Vavoom I love this book



Vintage Vavoom I love this book

 

I have had this book for about 4 years and I never get tired of going back to it for ideas on organization and home decoration with vintage salvaged upcycled items used in a creative method.

How to create displays with your collections and reuse vintage items for new purposes. At end of book, it has a list of resources, such as antiques and flea markets online. This book has tips on how to search flea markets and find those treasures.

This book has beautiful photography and its stunning how collections are placed in this book. This book was published in 2007. These are photos from the book.