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Sara A Mason - Sci-Fi Author of Renegades




Americas Public Schools


In the News at You Can Learn Series

  • Renegades - A Science Fiction Thriller by Sara A Mason Sci Fi Writer, Sara A Mason

    I am so excited to be interviewing Science Fiction author, Sara A Mason, on April 28th on this blog. Sara is on tour right now for her first sci-fi thriller, Renegades. An action packed thriller occurring at the ends of the galaxy. I encourage you to visit with us on the 28th of April to find out more about the author and the book.

    I have been reading science fiction and fantasy books since I was 10 years old. My first opportunity to interview a Sci Fi author and it will be a blast about an amazing book. Please join me to get the inside scoop from this amazing author.
  • He Punches Holes in the pseudo-evidence proffered by those seeking to control and privatize our public schools The Mist Trail Rises above Yosemite Valley as you Hike to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall.

    One of the most interesting day hikes we experienced was the Mist Trail. The Mist Trail hike leads you up to Vernal Fall and you can continue on up to Nevada Fall. It is a beautiful hike covering over 2.8 miles in one direction (up) and it ascends 1900 feet. It is a strenuous hike and a very popular hike, so expect crowds.

  • Landscape Design Full Sun Perennials | Full Sun Flower Garden Landscaping Design Landscape Design Full Sun Perennials | Full Sun Flower Garden Landscaping Design

    Here is a great Landscape Design for Full Sun Perennials. You have that section in your flower garden that just seems to get burned all summer long with the hot sun and no relief. Well this is a wonderful Full Sun Perennial landscape design that you will really enjoy. There is so much color, flowers and beauty that you will find yourself just sitting and watching the flowers grow.
  • The Bearded Iris Springtime Beauty The Bearded Iris Springtime Beauty

    The Bearded Iris is a spring bloomer, that grows up to four feet tall with a spread of as much as two feet. Though the iris blooms in early spring like bulb plants, most grow from rhizome systems. There are some that grow from bulbs. You can get a wide variety of colors: blue, violet, yellow, purple, red, white and pink.
  • 7 Title Text 8

    many of the negative myths about our public education system are confronted and dispelled in a straightforward, easily readable presentation of the facts.
Success is Achieved by doing the fundamentals - Are you happy with the results. Did we get the number of visitors we wished for? Did our visitors click on revenue producing links and ads? Were our page views up for the year or down? Did users visit more than one page? Did they make it to the order form and then abandon or did they continue and purchase our products?

Clean Your Driveway of Snow with Solar Power

Publish Date: 11/28/2014 2:00 PM

A Solar Power idea to clean ice off your driveway after it snows

Pop Cans painted black and placed in an enclosed glass and insulated container help heat homes in winter.

Pop Cans painted black and placed in an enclosed glass and insulated container help heat homes in winter.

We had a light snow the other day and then the temperature turned cold. I went to shovel, but there wasn't much to shovel. The snow that landed on the driveway halfway melted then when it cooled it froze to the driveway. We always have slippery areas on our driveway and sidewalk into the house every winter.

When we were driving to Thanksgiving dinner at my sister in law's house yesterday, I began talking to Mary about ways to melt the ice without salt, sand or other chemicals that are bad for the environment or can be tracked into the house. I was thinking we could invent a blanket that is solar powered that can be placed on top of the driveway to melt the snow.

Read More Now ... Clean Your Driveway of Snow with Solar Power

Tags: Home

Categories: Home


Happy Thanksgiving

Publish Date: 11/27/2014 12:00 PM

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so many things in 2014. I am thankful for my wife and family. I am thankful for a job that is interesting and profitable. I am thankful for the people I work with, my church community, my friends in the church choir and a wonderful home.

We are having turkey, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing and I am sure more food than we need. It will be great to see some of my children, Mary's sister and her family, and Mary's Mom. I hope the Chicago Bears win today. Go Bears.

Mary and I had a fun day yesterday with a quiet morning reading and then we went out to lunch at a new Chinese restaurant near us called Bao. We had never been there. We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. It is just a tiny place with 5 or 6 tables. You go up to the front counter, place your order and then you can sit at a table or a bench if your order is "to go." I had the orange chicken which was spicier than the foods I normally eat, it was marked as 1 pepper as opposed to 2 peppers or no peppers. It was great, I really enjoyed it.

Then we went to Hobby Lobby to get supplies to make a gift for Mary's Mom. I only go into Hobby Lobby about once a year, and it is always interesting to me to see all the different things they offer. (Yeah, I know I should get out more.)

Read More Now ... Happy Thanksgiving

Tags: Writing,   Family

Categories: Writing,   Family


Save with Blurbs Black Friday Sale

Publish Date: 11/26/2014 8:00 AM

Everybody has a Black Friday Sale including Blurb (Sponsored Post)

Get Started making the most awesome family gift EVER

Make a Gift Book with Blurb - Get Started making the most awesome family gift EVER.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of the Shareasale affiliate program and an affiliate of Blurb. I may be paid a small amount for this article but all comments are mine and there was no obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of Blurb. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

It's the day before Thanksgiving and my email folder is being inundated with Black Friday Sales. My regular street side mailbox is filling up fast, too. You might ask me, 'Ken have you seen any interesting Black Friday Sales that I should pay attention to?' The answer is Yes! Yes! Yes!

Read More Now ... Save with Blurbs Black Friday Sale

Tags: Photo Books,   Writing,   Home,   Family

Categories: Writing,   Home,   Family


Take an Extra 15 Percent off adidas Supernova Glide and Response Boost Shoes

Publish Date: 11/25/2014 10:00 AM

15 Percent Savings on adidas shoes

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of the Shareasale affiliate program and an affiliate of adidas. I may be paid a small amount for this article but all comments are mine and there was no obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of adidas. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Hey it's almost Black Friday. Why not get great deals today. Why wait until Friday. Adidas has a discount on top of discounts as you can Take an Extra 15% off adidas Supernova Glide and Response Boost with code BOOST. Valid 11/25 only.

Check out these great shoes from adidas.

adidas Mens Supernova Glide 6 Boost Shoes

Read More Now ... Take an Extra 15 Percent off adidas Supernova Glide and Response Boost Shoes

Tags: Blogging

Categories: Blogging


Dawn And Hawkes Live

Publish Date: 11/23/2014 7:00 AM

We went to see a live performance of Dawn and Hawkes best known from their The Voice Performance

Dawn and Hawkes live performance at Elgin Community College November 22, 2014

Dawn and Hawkes performed live at Elgin Community College last night. This picture is from their Facebook Page.

Mary and I had a blast last night watching the duet of Dawn and Hawkes. They are a couple and a traveling musical group. They are young. They are cute and they perform some of the best harmonies in America. Their show is a very laid back easy going show with great music.

When this couple plays you won't see flashing lights, explosions or busting guitars. You will see a young couple in love that truly enjoy each other's company. Sometimes Dawn, Miranda Dawn, took the lead and other times Hawkes, Chris Hawkes, would lead. When they sang together then the true magic occurred as they blended with angelic harmonies.

Read More Now ... Dawn And Hawkes Live

Tags: Music

Categories: Music


Self Publishing Your Great American Novel

Publish Date: 11/20/2014 4:00 PM

Publishing And Selling Books in the Blurb Bookstore (sponsored post)

You can use the Blurb BookWright program to self publish your novel or your favorite photos into a best seller

Use the Blurb BookWright Program to start you toward becoming a successful published author.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of the Shareasale affiliate program and an affiliate of Blurb. I may be paid a small amount for this article but all comments are mine and there was no obligation to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely of my own and may not necessarily agree with those of Blurb. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

I am working on a novel right now. It has a working title of, "The Priest, the Politician, the Angel and the Miracle." I am sure it will be a best seller. But, first I have to finish writing it. I am at 15,000 words right now and I want to write at least 45,000.

Read More Now ... Self Publishing Your Great American Novel

Tags: Writing

Categories: Writing


Winter Weather Bad Driving

Publish Date: 11/19/2014 9:00 AM

Cold weather returns to Illinois and bad driving returns with it

We are in the grips of a winter blast from the Arctic even though it is only mid November. Monday night coming home from work we had flurries of snow. That was enough to scare all the drivers to drive 20 mph below the speed limit. The roads were dry, but people see snow and all of a sudden they forget everything they learned about driving.

Tuesday morning the weather was clear, but the bad driving continued. I wanted to go north on Route 59 toward Golf Road, but there must have been an accident, because before I got within a mile of Golf Road all traffic came to a halt. Luckily, I was able to turn onto Schaumburg Road to go east.

But, when I got close to the high school in Schaumburg, there was another 4 car pile up. Traffic again came to a halt. Even though I had left with plenty of time to get to work, I still ended up being 10 minutes late. This really isn't a problem where I work, as they understand traffic and they don't get excited about employees arriving late. We have co-workers come from Chicago, as far away as the Wisconsin border and from the Aurora - Naperville area. On any given day there could be unexpected accidents and construction to prevent people from driving the normal speed.

All of these occurrences are normal within northern Illinois. We deal with them each day. This last week, I have been listening to a CD on my way to work titled, The Best of Me. Yes, it is a recording of the book that was made into a movie that is currently playing in the theaters. The book was excellent, the writer wrote in a fashion where the tension was cranked up and I could hardly breathe wondering what was going to happen. I could see how it was a popular book and how it could be made into a movie. I won't tell you much about it at this time until you have a chance to see the movie. But, I do recommend it.

Read More Now ... Winter Weather Bad Driving

Tags: Work,   Writing

Categories: Employment,   Writing


Thinking of Brian Today

Publish Date: 11/16/2014 10:00 PM

Sunday Mass Football game and thoughts about my brother

Brian and Linda on their wedding day many years ago.

I was thinking about my brother, Brian, today remembering him on his birthday.

What did I do today?

Well it seems like a lot, yet it seems I didn't do anything. Woke up early for a Sunday morning. I was up by 5AM. Whenever I set my alarm clock, I always wake up a half hour before it is set to go off. I don't know if I do that to prevent waking Mary, or if it is some internal clock function within my body.

Read More Now ... Thinking of Brian Today

Tags: Family

Categories: Family


Technological Advances into Space

Publish Date: 11/12/2014 6:00 PM

A Trip to a Comet and A Hearing Aid that brings back Hearing

Milk and Soda pop can kill you or so the experts say.

I am afraid that my days are numbered. I've read articles recently that state that drinking 1 can of pop a day is similar to smoking a pack of cigarettes. And then the recent study that found people that drink 3 glasses of milk a day will die younger than people that drink no milk. Well, today I had a can of Pepsi and also more than 3 glasses of milk. I hope I live till bed time. /sarc off

I was thrilled to hear two technological stories today that I feel are amazing. The first is the accomplishment of ESA or the European Space Agency. Today they landed a craft on a comet. They had to travel 4 billion miles over 10 years to reach a point where they could orbit the comet. Then they had to launch a smaller vehicle toward the surface of the comet. Now, remember for the last 10 years this smaller craft has just been riding along on a larger parent spacecraft. Nobody has done any maintenance on it. The spacecraft didn't go into the shop for testing. They didn't practice deploying the landing craft. For ten years none of that occurred. Then all of a sudden after receiving a message from earth, the landing craft deployed and headed toward the comet surface.

Think of all the things that could go wrong with an attempted comet landing. Maybe the solar cells wouldn't respond properly and the spacecraft wouldn't get the power it needs. Or maybe the radio transmitter fails and it couldn't communicate with earth. The connections holding the landing craft to the parent spaceship might have failed and the landing craft could have been lost forever. Or probably what was going through the minds of all the scientists and engineers that worked on the project their biggest concern probably was would all the connections let go so the landing craft could descend to the comet.

Read More Now ... Technological Advances into Space

Tags: Blogging

Categories: Blogging


Design your own adidas ZX FLUX Shoes

Publish Date: 11/12/2014 10:00 AM

How Cool is this you can design your own adidas shoes

Design your own adidas ZX FLUX Shoes

Photo shows how you can design your own adidas ZX FLUX Shoes

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

adidas has launched an innovative new app for Android and iPhone smartphone devices, called the #miZXFLUX app. The app allows you to easily apply your personal photographic image to one of adidas Originals most covetable silhouettes, the ZX FLUX. With the app, you can take a photograph, edit and rotate the photo, and apply it to your very own custom ZX FLUX shoes. You can make a statement that’s all your own.

Read More Now ... Design your own adidas ZX FLUX Shoes

Tags: Home

Categories: Home


Read my review and my Interview with Sci-Fi Author Sara A Mason

I just finished a fun and interesting Science Fiction book, Renegades, by author Sara A. Mason. The story has everything an SF fan loves, an evil dictator, the computer geek, a smart and spunky woman, a love interest, trained assassins and more.

The first couple of chapters you get to know the characters, Elora, Nigel, General Pertin and the Emperor of the space empire. Then the story becomes one of those classics you don't want to put down. I thought the pace of the book flowed nicely with periods of high tension and moments when you can catch your breath.



Read the rest of the review and the Interview with SCI-FI author Sara A Mason.


Five Fun Things to do in Seattle

In August 2013, Mary and I visited Seattle for the first time. We had a blast and found a few things you can do on a limited budget. Everything I will talk about today we did in one day. We didn't rush around. We took our time and visited for as long as we felt comfortable being in one spot. The day was clear and sunny. What? You thought it rained all the time in Seattle? So did we, but apparently sometimes there are nice days.

Our first stop was the Pikes Place Market. Where the keyword is fresh. Fresh foods, fresh fish, and fresh flowers. If we lived near here we would have fresh flowers everyday. They were amazing and relatively inexpensive. You have to see the fish markets where they throw fish across the counter. We stopped early on a Saturday morning, so the crowds weren't bad. You can easily spend 10 minutes to an hour depending on your interests. If you like Starbucks coffee, there is the original Starbucks shop across the street from the Market place.

Read the rest of the list of fun things to do in Seattle ...


Coming April 28th, an Interview with Science Fiction Author, Sara A Mason

I am so excited to be interviewing Science Fiction author, Sara A Mason, on April 28th on this blog. Sara is on tour right now for her first sci-fi thriller, Renegades. An action packed thriller occurring at the ends of the galaxy. I encourage you to visit with us on the 28th of April to find out more about the author and the book.

I have been reading science fiction and fantasy books since I was 10 years old. This is my first opportunity to interview a Sci Fi author and I am expecting it to be lot's of fun with some amazing stories about an amazing book. Please join me to get the inside scoop from this amazing author. I truly enjoyed reading Renegades and I think you will, too.

Read the entire interview and a full review of the book by Ken Coming Soon ...



EarthEasy LifeStraw - A Water Filtration System That Fits Around Your Neck

I recently became an affiliate for Eartheasy.com. And I am fascinated by one of their products. It is called the LifeStraw Personal water Filter. What does it do? It filters water and eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacteria, ecoli and viruses. It has an Iodine and Charcoal filtration system that makes nearly all water drinkable.

I have added a video from Eartheasy showing someone using the product. It is really simple to use. Fill up your water bottle from any source. Then open the bottom of the "straw." Place it into the water bottle. Then open the other end of the straw and begin drinking like you would through the straw of a soda purchased at your local favorite fast food establishment. Yes, it is really that easy.

Read more here ... EarthEasy LifeStraw - A Water Filtration System That Fits Around Your Neck.


Taking Down the Christmas Tree and Thoughts on a Writers Network

It is January 4th, 2014, and Mary and I took down the Christmas tree and all the associated paraphernalia. We left the outside large wreath with the flood light up because it has been snowing all day and it is dangerous to try to take that down when the driveway is snowy or icy.

It felt good to clean up the house and have it back to normal. There are still a couple of pieces of furniture that need to be moved back and brought back up from the basement. Maybe tomorrow.

Read more here ... Taking Down the Christmas Tree and Thoughts on a Writers Network.


The Basics of Building a Home Gym

Yes, it is winter time in Chicago. We are expecting sub-zero temperatures in the coming days of early January 2014. I know you want to keep training even though you can't get outdoors. But, what do you do? There is a foot of snow on the ground. You cannot train in the streets because it gets dark at 4PM.

What you need is the right equipment to keep training indoors. Why go to the gym when you can build your own gym in your home? I have a small weight training set up in my basement. I have a wide range of dumbbells. Plus, a Smith Machine, a weight bench, a Tower of Power, a treadmill and an indoor cycle. Now, I didn't go out and purchase those all at once. I received most of my dumbbells over a ten year period. Every year my wife would purchase a new weight for me.

Read more here ... The Basics of Building a Home Gym.


Beginning 2014 Broken Arm and New Hope

This is January 2nd, 2014 as I write this today. Mary is working from home today because of the snow that has hit Chicago. We were supposed to receive 1 to 3 inches over the Holiday. I heard a report that we had up to a foot of snow. We are still getting lake effect snow of another inch or two this morning.

I haven't used my snowblower yet today waiting for the snow to taper off. Then I can clean up once and not have to make multiple trips. The problem is the temperature is supposed to plummet tonight to below zero. Then on Monday and Tuesday it isn't even going to reach 0 degrees for the whole day. Wowsers. That is cold.

But Hey. It is winter. In Chicago. It is supposed to be cold.

Read more here ... Beginning 2014 Broken Arm and New Hope.


Bluff Spring Fen Illinois Nature Preserve

I was looking at Google maps the other day and I noticed a green area near my home. Upon closer examination I discovered there was an Illinois Nature Preserve only 5 miles from my house. The name of the Nature Preserve is Bluff Spring Fen. I did a little research and found out it was something Mary and I would enjoy. So, a week later on a nice Saturday morning we drove over to see it.

Bluff Spring Fen entrance

Information sign tells you what to expect when walking through the park. No dogs and no swimming.

Read more here ... Bluff Spring Fen Illinois Nature Preserve.


An Interview with Author, Joan H Young, on the Release of Her New Book, Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp.

I had the opportunity this weekend to ask some questions of author, Joan H Young. She has just published book 3 in the Anastasia Raven Mystery series, Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp. I believe Joan can do anything, but one of the things she does well is mystery writing.

Joan is the first (and so far, only) woman to walk the 4,000 miles of trails of the North Country Trail. She spends time each week doing what she really loves, writing. The years spent hiking allow Joan the ability to describe the world around her helping you to feel what her characters see, hear, feel and smell. The setting for the mystery series is the Northern part of Michigan. A place of swamps, trails, lakes, small towns, interesting people and mysteries.

The Anastasia Raven Mysteries are fast paced cozy mysteries that can be enjoyed curling up by a fire with a cup of coffee and spending the afternoon reading. I recommend Joan's stories to mystery lovers everywhere. The books are well paced, with moments to relax and take a breath before things get exciting again. I would liken it to just sitting and listening to a friend tell you about an exciting adventure they had.

How long have you been writing?

My first attempt at an entire book was at the age of seven, when I wrote three installments in the story "The Adventures of Skippy the Field Mouse." I left fiction behind for a long, long time but in the past few years have again been writing short stories, and now the Anastasia Raven mysteries.
Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp

The cover photo for Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp. Get the book at Amazon or Smashwords.

How closely do your characters match people you have known in real life?

So far, no character is a copy of any one particular person. Of course, there are little bits of many people I know in all of the fictional people. The physical description of one person in a story came from a chance meeting at a gas station, but the personality of that person was completely manufactured. Some of the things that characters do are drawn from real life. That makes their actions easy to describe. The recurring characters in the books are definitely mixtures of myself and people I know, although I may not have specific models in mind.

What kind of advance work do you do before you write a mystery? Do you have a story arc, an outline, or a structure for the story before beginning? Do you know who the killer is before you start the story?

Read more here ... An Interview with Mystery Writer, Hiker and Author, Joan H Young.

A description of the book, Paddy Plays in Dead Mule Swamp, from the author and publisher.

When Anastasia Raven agrees to keep Paddy, her cousin's Irish Setter, for the summer, she didn't understand the mischievous nature of a large puppy. Ana has become a volunteer with Family Friends, and she meets Corliss Leonard and his granddaughters, Star and Sunny, whose mother disappeared seven years ago. Ana, however, has no interest in trying to solve cold cases, but just wants to help the girls. Star and Sunny fall in love with Paddy, but can the dog solve their problems?

New Book by My Brother, Dave - Why America's Public Schools are the Best Place for Kids

My Brother, Doctor Dave Brown has recently published his third book. This newest book contains his thoughts and research on why our American public schools are the best places for your children. The title of the book is Why America's Public Schools are the Best Place for Kids.

Dave does an excellent job of discussing the advantages of a public school education. You can find out more about the book at America's Public Schools. Read the book to get the facts instead of listening to government talking points. Find out what a teacher who has been in the classroom can tell you about our public schools.

The Reality of Public Schools

After reading this book you will be a salesperson for your local schools and you will have information to back up your talking points. How do the USA schools stack up against Japan, Finland, Canada or Singapore. Do standardized test scores tell the whole story? When you send your children to school what do you want for their education? The most important question, "What is a good school?" Can you answer that right now if someone were to put a microphone to your mouth?

Read more here ... New Book by My Brother, Dave - Why America's Public Schools are the Best Place for Kids

How to Succeed in Life

Okay, there is a title that over promises. "How to succeed in life." Wow. How can anyone promise that? Well, I was listening to some old cassette tapes (yes cassette tapes) and I was listening to E. James Rohn. I think he has some great ideas on living a balanced life. He talks about working hard but also remembering why you are working so hard.

But, the reason for this post is that he said something that really hit home.

Failing in life is failing to "ACT" today!

We are so busy in life. We have work commitments. We have family to spend time with. We have to keep up with our favorite TV shows. We have to update our Facebook accounts and Google +1 pages. We need to Tweet our latest activities. How can we concentrate on the really important tasks that will insure success?

What Are Your Goals?

Acting today. If your goal is to have the prettiest flower garden in the neighborhood then act today to remove weeds and to water your flowers. If your goal is to earn a million dollars then now is the time to act on reaching that goal. When you sit down to watch TV again tonight, think, should I be doing something else to reach success? Should I be studying now? Should I be writing letters now? Should I be practicing my instrument now?

I have a cousin in South Carolina. Ray is one of the best banjo players in the country. How did he get so good? He practices. Constantly. Consistently. Persistently. He practiced to the point where he can play with others. Then he makes the time to play with them. Did Ray pick up a banjo and all of a sudden he was world class? No, it was daily practice over many years.

We don't become overnight successes. It happens because of all the work we did 1 year ago. 2 years ago. 5 Years ago. Yes, even 10 years ago. Writing consistently makes you a better blogger. Your first blog article was probably awful. But, 2 years into it and you are writing daily and all of a sudden you have 500 plus articles written. That is a lot of practice. That will increase your chances to be noticed as a respected writer. Read books on writing today. Practice what you read. Take a writing class. Read writing articles from successful writers. What about their style makes them successful?

How to Predict Your Future Success

Success doesn't come in some fairyland in the future. Future success can be predicted by what you are doing today. Are you going to write a blog article, today? Are you going to research your article, today? Will you set goals, today?

Will you act TODAY and increase your chances for a successful life?

Read more here ... How to Succeed in Life

Are You Looking for 5 Fun and Easy Things to Do in One Day in Tucson, AZ?

On a recent trip to Arizona, my wife and I had the pleasure of spending a day in Tucson, Arizona. We planned out a day that would be fun for us, but wouldn't beat us up by trying to do too much in one day. I think we found the perfect mix of culture, hiking and historical fun things to do in one day in Tucson.

We started the day late by not even leaving the hotel until after 10 AM. (Normally, we are up by 6AM and already hiking or something by 8AM. But, this trip was leisurely. We weren't in a hurry. We could do one, two, three, four or five of the side trips on our itinerary and we would be happy.

First Stop is San Xavier Mission

Our first destination was San Xavier Mission on the Southwest side of Tucson. It is a beautiful church originally built in the 1700s long before Arizona became a state of the United States. The paintings inside the church are unique but beautiful. Statues of angels, St Francis, Saint Xavier and Mary the mother of Jesus are must see. The color palette used in the church is unusual in the Midwest, but felt right at home in the Arizona desert.

You can take as long as you want in the church and the surrounding buildings. We spent a couple of hours taking photos and studying the art and architecture. Then we climbed the little hill next door and spent time with the Grotto which depicts the visitation of Mary in Fatima.
Read more here ... Are You Looking for 5 Fun and Easy Things to Do in One Day in Tucson, AZ?

Get Involved in Social Media

Social Media sites are proving to be effective free methods to get new traffic to your blog. You have heard of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more. Well, take a look and find out more about them. You can build a fan base on Facebook. You can have others follow you on Twitter. LinkedIn is very effective in creating relationships in business. There are tons of books at your local library that will tell you how to get started in these markets. Plus, a growing number of articles on line that will help.

Comment on Forums

Did you know that commenting on forums can prove to be a traffic source? Many times as forum members develop relationships in a forum, other members take a look to find out more about you. With a free link to your blog the more you post in a forum the more clicks back to your blog you get.

Comment on Other Blogs

I am a firm believer in the power of commenting on other blogs. I have seen personally the power this has in driving traffic to a blog. It is easy to do. Visit blogs you are interested in. See what they are writing about. Then go to the bottom of the article and add your comment. To be successful, you should pick a few blogs and comment regularly on each of them. You will get traffic back and the fun part is you get new friends. Make sure when you place your comments that they are topic relevant and more than a single sentence. You can't make new friends by only saying "yo dude" everyday.

Really respond to the article on the blog. How did it make you feel? Have you ever had a similar experience? Were you surprised at what the atuthor said? Can you offer advice to help the blogger? Being sincere and open is the way to build new friendships and with a little serendipity you will receive traffic to your blog.

Make Your Blog Visitor Friendly

If you want more traffic to your blog then make your blog easy to navigate. Get rid of widgets that don't add value. Make your blog fast loading. Plus, make your content rich in value and easy to read. Add an appropriate image to each article, if you can make it fast loading.

These are 5 proven Ways to Advertise Your Blog. Some of the ways are free. Some require time with rich rewards. But, all have been successful in driving traffic to a blog. Try it for yourself.

Time To Get To the Gym

It's time to get back in the gym. Maybe you gained a couple of pounds or maybe a lot of pounds during December. It is easy to do. You start at Thanksgiving and then the early office Christmas Party. But, it isn't just one. There is your company party, the spouse's party, the church or civic group party, the neighborhood party, the close friends at work party, the office department party, the party with the in-laws, the party with your family and finally the New Year's Eve party.

20 Pounds of Fat

Kaboom, you now have 5, 10 , 15 or even an extra 20 pounds around your waist and you aren't sure what did it. Plus, you have a whole tin of Christmas cookies still left. What can you do?

Well, take the tin of cookies to work and share them with your co-workers. Then plan on eating better for the next 4 weeks. I know if you eat well for 4 weeks you will eat well for longer. Oh yeah then there is that old bugaboo, exercise. You want to exercise, you know how to exercise. But, sometimes it is hard to actually get the workout clothes on and actually do anything. It's hard for me, too.

I think it's because most people are looking to do too much too soon. You don't have to walk 20 miles a day.

Read more here ... Time To Get Back to the Gym.

Business Lessons Learned from Experience

When we are young we act impulsively and are so excited to be in the game that we sometimes make bad decisions. We spend money impulsively and don't save enough for a rainy day. If we want to start a business or grow a business then we need to keep our money. What would experienced business people tell us about succeeding?

Who do you go to when you have a tough decision to make? Do you talk with your grandfather or dad? Do you have a mentor that can help you noodle out the right choice?

Read more here ... Business Lessons Learned from Experience.

How to Harness the Power of Testimonials and Social Proof

Using Testimonials to Grow Your Business

Why do testimonials work so well? Find out what the great copywriters of all time have to say about testimonials later in this article. You might ask, who are the great copywriters? Read more as we take you on a journey into the most powerful tool at a copywriters disposal.

Read more here ... How to Harness the Power of Testimonials and Social Proof.

How to Overcome Failure and Become a Success

How Robo Basho and Non-alcoholic Wine can help you succeed

How to Overcome Failure and Become a Success. Research that has been done on successful individuals has shown a few points of interest. You might believe that the successful person has no problems and once they decided to do something - success just happened.

Read more here ... How to Overcome Failure and Become a Success.

Your Personal Bell Curve Score

There are 4 types of people

  1. People that create ideas
  2. People that are on the cutting edge and embrace these ideas first
  3. People that are a little behind the curve on embracing these ideas
  4. People that embrace the idea long after their ability to use it profitably has passed.

Are You a Member of the Cutting Edge?

What type of person are you? Are you cutting edge? Do you strive to be the first to see first run movies? Are you just waiting for the 2009 cars to come out so you can trade in your 2008? Are you looking at fuel cell cars? Have you already installed IE8 or FireFox 3?

Read more here ... Your Personal Bell Curve Score.

Your Blogging Purpose or Why Did You Start Blogging?

What's the purpose of your web site or blog? Is it to entertain, educate, vent, practice your writing, or what?

There are times when you need to stand back from your blogging and re-evaluate your goal for blogging. Whether you started blogging a week ago, two months ago or 5 years ago, self assessment is important to your success. Did you start out with the goal to educate visitors on a certain subject; but, now you are only venting about things you don't like? Were you interested in practicing your writing, but you fall back into the same old habits you started with 4 years ago?

Read more here ... Your Blogging Purpose or Why Did You Start Blogging?.

Printed Newspapers are Dying and How You Can Profit From It

I was listening to the radio yesterday as my favorite radio personalities interviewed Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune. They were talking about online publishing (ie blogging) and how the printed newspapers were drying up and dying. Clarence Page said, "You know our business model hasn't changed much since Gutenberg invented the printing press."

Even the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers are going online. But, they all are finding they can't make the same amount of money online as they do printing newspapers. It is very clear that they are continually losing market share for the printed paper. People are finding the information they want and need on the internet.

Now this is both good and bad for you. Read More here - Printed Newspapers are Dying and How You Can Profit From It.

Google Trends Web Measurement Tool

Are you dissatisfied with the information available from Alexa as far as viewing web traffic for blogs? I certainly know I am very dissatisfied with Alexa. Well, there is a new sherrif in town and Alexa should be scared. The new 800 pound gorilla is none other than Google, which has just released their new Google Trends for Websites.

Why should you care? It's backed by Google and it's free. Now you can compare your web site or blog with your favorite competitor. How does your make money blog compare to John Chow, John Cow or Problogger? Who has the most traffic? Google has an answer.

The Google Trends for Websites is still in discovery mode. It is part of Google Labs and as such will probably change over time. But, it has some cool features including, a graph with your traffic or if you type in multiple domain names you can graph you and your competitor's traffic side by side. Along with the graph you will find a list of regions where your visitors come from, websites your visitors also visited and some other search terms.

The data that is displayed comes from

Read More here - Google Trends Web Measurement Tool.

How to Buy a Perennial Over the Internet

Have you ever bought a plant for your yard or garden over the internet or even by mail order? Does it scare you to try? It is actually very easy and if you follow these simple steps you will be very happy with the beautiful bouquet of sweet smelling flowers each summer. Here are some things to watch for to make sure your transaction is a happy and successful one.

Here are a few areas you should watch for as you plan your purchases. Will you be home when the plants are shipped? Do the plants come to you as root stock, seeds or potted plants? What is the company's guarantee for the flowers? Does the company have a reputable customer service department? Do they protect your private information and do they have a privacy policy? How much does it cost to ship the plants and how are they shipped? Are there times of the year when the company doesn't ship anything?

Read More here - How to Buy a Perennial Over the Internet.


The Flowering CrabApple Tree produces an Explosion of colorful, fragrant flowers in early spring.
Flowering Crabapple in early spring.

Flowering Crabapple Produces Beautiful Spring Flowers

Are you looking for some color and fragrance in early spring? Then the Flowering Crabapple tree may be right for you. This tree makes an excellent specimen plant. You can get cultivars that produce small fruit that won't mess up your yard. Today's crabapple trees come with more disease resistance. This plant is cherished for the abundant flowers produced in spring time. They bloom about the same time as Rhododendrons.

Read More here - Flowering Crabapple Produces Beautiful Spring Flowers.

Consilience, Branding and the Advertising Rule of 7

Consilience is the linking together of principles from different disciplines especially when forming a comprehensive theory.

I first learned about this word reading an article about advertising and marketing. At the time I was searching for information on branding and the advertising "rule of 7". My searching brought me to this article, Advertising Rules - No Rules found on the Consilience and the Business of Persuasion web site.

The way people use words has constantly changed over history and continues to change from day to day. This accords with my experience in marketing where we use the media to alter how people feel when they hear a word. That is what branding is all about.
Tom Beakbane - Advertising Rules - No Rules


Read More here - Consilience, Branding and the Advertising Rule of 7.

Three Day 12 Exercise Circuit Training with Free Weights Workout

If you have committed to toning up and losing weight then this workout is for you. You are in control of this workout and it doesn't require a full gym. Just some free weights and you are getting the body in shape for your summer swim suit, fall basketball or winter sports. The exercises work the entire body, back, biceps, triceps, chest, legs and shoulders.

Read More here - Three Day 12 Exercise Circuit Training with Free Weights Workout.


You can see Sentinel Dome from the path between Sentinel Dome and Taft Point.
Sentinel Dome as seen from path.

Sentinel Dome Hike

If you are looking for a great little adventure while visiting Yosemite National Park, then you want to take the hiking trail to Sentinel Dome. It is not a long walk, maybe a mile from the parking lot to the top of the Dome. Sentinel Dome Stands 8,122 Feet Above Sea Level and gives you great views of the Sierra Nevadas, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Tenaya Canyon and The Giant Staircase.

Tunnel View and Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley's Tunnel View gives you a panoramic wonderland showing off El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall. Yosemite Valley demonstrates the effects of glaciers with Bridalveil Fall a classic example of a hanging valley.

Ten Sun Loving Perennials

Here is a great list of 10 sun loving perennials you can place in those hot dry areas of your garden. These ten sun loving perennials will provide a rich color and interest from Spring to late fall. The birds and butterflies will love being in your yard. All 10 perennials require little water and care, but will show you a bounty of flowers and interest.

Question of the Day

How do you designate a method as Abstract?

Answers from Yesterday's Question of the Day

What is the visibility of a member declared as public?

Public designation allows a member to be accessed by the member methods of other classes.

Previous Questions of the Day

You Can Learn Series presents ideas in programming, including C#, ASP.Net and SQL. You will also learn landscaping, plants, and gardening with more information on weightlifting, building a web business and self improvement.

If this is your first time to our site, then surf around, I am sure you will enjoy the visit and I encourage you to come back often. If you have questions on how to find everything, then check out our sitemap. If you like flower gardening and landscaping, check out those sites. If your needs are not being met at this site, drop me a line and tell me how I can make it better. I would appreciate any feedback you are willing to share with me. Wishing you the best in the coming year.


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