Blog Till Your Fingers Bleed

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series


We Arrive in Santiago de Compestela Spain

Publish Date: 9/24/2015 1:00 PM

We walked for Thirty Three days straight

We have arrived in Santiago. We walked for 33 straight days. Some days were 12 milers and as many as 18 miles or more in one day. We reached our destination. We decided not to rush to reach the city. Mary had accidentally banged her knee on the table at the restaurant the night before and it was a little tender.

Mary and Ken arrive in Santiago after 33 days of walking

We left the hostel at 8 AM just as the sun was coming over the eastern horizon. The hostel was pretty nice, fairly modern. I thought we had a nice location along a back wall. After arriving in Pedrouzo, we showered and then went looking for something to eat. We found a place almost across the street. Which was good, because our desire was not to walk far. After a good meal we looked for the church. That was a little further than we wanted to go, but we found it. Mass was at 6PM.

Mass was really good. The priest spoke only in Spanish, but he gave a wonderful homily. How do we know it was wonderful? We asked some bi-lingual friends what he had said after mass. We could tell that the congregation was enjoying the sermon and we knew the priest was talking about 5 things he thought represented a good pilgrimage. We just didn't have all the facts and we wanted to get it right.

Read More Now ... We Arrive in Santiago de Compestela Spain

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Day 31 Palas de Rei to Ribadiso

Publish Date: 9/22/2015 3:01 PM

We have walked 31 days to Santiago de Compostela

Today we started early because we had reserved a room at an albergue and we had to get there by 2pm or we lost the reservation. Mary set a blistering pace in the dark morning mist. Sunrise is at 8 am but this morning we had clouds and fog so it was darker than yesterday. The path through the city was okay but then leaving the city it became more difficult.

That is pattern we experienced a number of times. The yellow arrows are easy to find in the city, but we get to our first questionable decision point and we stand around looking for the proper path. Sometimes we back track a little or guess a direction with hopes of finding a marker later on. In the dark all this becomes more difficult. We have learned to look for well worn paths or to look down the street for a familiar official sign.

This morning we picked up a guy from France we have seen for a number of days. He was sitting saying the rosary waiting for help in finding the markers. Then a couple of women from Ireland joined our merry band of adventurers. We all had our lights on in the morning darkness looking for indicators. Once found we would all take off in that direction.

There haven't been many churches opened in Galicia much to our sorrow. But today that all changed. We visited four churches this morning. The highlights include a church made in the 11th century in the Romanesque style. The ceiling was painted in the 12th century and it still looked wonderful. The altar was from the 8th century and a baptismal font came from the 13 th century.

Read More Now ... Day 31 Palas de Rei to Ribadiso

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Three days of walking left in our Camino

Publish Date: 9/21/2015 12:00 AM

We only have 66 kilometers to Santiago

We have walked for 30 days with only 3 days till we reach our destination of Santiago de Compostela. It has been an amazing journey. We are in the Galicia region of Spain known for the rain it receives. Well we are extremely lucky because the weather has been beautiful for walking. It starts out cool in the high 40s but then warms up to the low to mid 70s. With plenty of sunshine.

The weather report actually is showing only a little chance of rain tomorrow. Excellent. The rest of our walking days limited chance of rain.

Yesterday we started late because we went to church with two priests visiting from the states. They stayed in the same albergue as we did. They helped to celebrate the Mass the previous day, but since it was Sunday morning now they still wanted to do a Mass. They didn't want to wait for the 11 am Mass at the church, that would make it difficult to do the Camino. Like us they didn't want to chance finding a church having Mass at exactly the right time in their journey pass a small village along the way. So they were able to get the monastery to allow them to offer Mass at 8am.

They invited Mary and I to Mass with them. This truly was one of the best spiritual treats of my Camino. They invited us to the altar. The Mass was in English in an old monastery that had been around for centuries with just the four of us. Wow.

Read More Now ... Three days of walking left in our Camino

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


We arrived in Sarria

Publish Date: 9/19/2015 5:42 PM

Five walking days to Santiago

Today we started late at 8 am. We were almost the last people out of Triacastela walking the Camino.

We got lost or at least missed a turn this morning. We were climbing a hill on a small mountain road. We saw a yellow arrow but must have chosen the wrong direction. That isn't hard to do. Luckily the road intersected with the path further up the road.

When we reached the top we were presented with a wonderful sunrise over the surrounding countryside. The fog was heavy in the valley but it was clear on the mountain.

We walked among small farming communities. We were on cow paths. We saw 3 types of cows today. A brown or tan cow with large horns. A white kind of shaggy cow. And a jersey cow or black and white cow.

Read More Now ... We arrived in Sarria

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Ocebreiro to Triacastela

Publish Date: 9/19/2015 5:22 PM

Only 6 days remaining on the Camino de Santiago

We are sitting in a restaurant in the little village of Triacastela on day 27 having tapas. It was a short 12 miles that were mostly down. Tomorrow we hope to go to Sarria.

Yesterday, Mary's birthday, was a brutal up hill climb going up 700 meters in less than

10 kilometers. The views at the top of Ocebreiro were fantastic. Mary did an excellent job on the hills. Her cardiovascular system has improved this trip.

We were able to go to the laundromat and get 3 days of wash done. The village only has a

Read More Now ... Ocebreiro to Triacastela

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Views from Astorga Spain

Publish Date: 9/13/2015 3:49 PM

From Leon to Astorga on the Camino de Santiago

We visited Leon, Spain yesterday and then we walked 35Km today. Leon was wonderful. Today we walked in rain for the first time. We went 35 KM yesterday for no other reason than we could.

The days are passing rapidly. We only have 11 days of walking left if we stay healthy. We entered Leon expecting to rent a taxi at the gates. Then go to the hotel we had reserved. Freshen up and go see the Cathedral. It didn't end up working that way at all.

We walked to the Cathedral. We decided we needed something to eat. My coworker, Bill, asked us to see his friends who owned a restaurant. So we used Google maps and the nice lady on the phone directed us to the restaurant, LA Palomo. We had an excellent meal of trout and beans. Wonderful!

Then we went to see San Isidoro church. Then we walked the 2 KM to the 5 star hotel we decided to stay at in Leon. After freshening up we went back to do a tour of the Cathedral.I think I liked this Cathedral most of all. It had a cohesiveness the others don't have. Burgos Cathedral was amazing, but they had added on too many chapels.

Read More Now ... Views from Astorga Spain

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Walked 17 Miles Today

Publish Date: 9/8/2015 12:00 AM

Today we walked 17 miles on the Camino

Today we are sitting at the albergue in Terradillos de las Templarios. We are at the halfway point in our journey. We have walked over 250 miles or 400 kilometers. I truly didn't think we would be able to do this. Mary has been a real trouper walking through bad knees and the pain of shin splints.

We are sitting and having a beer and chips. We left Burgos 4 days ago. The weather has improved. Well it has gotten warmer. Today was perfect with temps in the low 70 and all sunshine and no wind. A perfect day.

The WiFi has been not so good. Even when the signal is excellent there are 50 to 100 people trying to use the bandwidth. We have visited churches along the way. One had been converted into a museum. They had a wonderful painting of the Annunciation. The artist was unknown but just an amazing painting. The art and engravings inthe churches are fantastic. They have a system where you have to place a Euro into a box to turn on the lights of the altar. I think that is fair.

Yesterday we entered a church that instead of the gaudy gold there were paintings of the life of Christ. I tried to take a photo but the lighting and angle weren't good so it didn't turn out. It was funny because we woke at 6am to make sure we reached the church while it had opened hours. We hoped to arrive before 1pm and we reached the village at 10 am. We ate breakfast and saw the caretaker open the door. The walking was generally flat and Mary was feeling little pain so we were moving faster than 3 mph.

Read More Now ... Walked 17 Miles Today

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Finished a Third of our Camino Experience

Publish Date: 9/2/2015 12:00 AM

We have walked a Third of the way to Santiago

Today finds us in Ages, Spain only 14 miles from Burgos. We are quite excited that we have managed this distance. We hoped we could but we had doubts especially those first few days where we hurt so much.

Ken and Mary in the forest in Spain

We went further than the book recommended today because it was cool and we were feeling good. We still have aches and pains everyday.

The weather has changed significantly the last couple of days. It has rained with hail one day and was cool and cloudy all day today. The hail didn't effect us since we had already found a room for the night.

Read More Now ... Finished a Third of our Camino Experience

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


The Path to Najera Spain

Publish Date: 8/30/2015 12:00 AM

Eight Days of Walking

We have been walking for 8 days now. It has been interesting, tiring, painful, fun and a real learning experience.

Signs Camino Pilgrims will see

We never know what the next day will bring. We started with the cool mountain air of the Pyrenees that turned into blistering hot near 100 degrees of the La Rijo wine country. The mountains and the hills have continued to plague us. The up hills slow us down and the downhills are steep and strewn with a lot of different size rocks that are difficult to traverse.

The people have tried to be patient with us. I try to use my un poco Espanol which irritates most of them. I ask a simple question expecting a yes or no, but end up getting more information than I can process. I get a real thrill when I ask the question and get an answer I understand.

Read More Now ... The Path to Najera Spain

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Walking Through the Pyrenees

Publish Date: 8/24/2015 12:00 AM

Walking Through the Pyrenees

Mary and I started our journey to Santiago Spain. The first day we started in Saint Jean Pied de Port in France. The goal was to arrive in Roncevalle, Spain before nightfall.

st jean pied de port from the Pyrenees

The weather started out cool and overcast. We had thunderstorms during the night, but just clouds as we walked. We needed to cover about 28 kilometers for the day.

The first 5 hours of the walk was up hill. Even Though the mountain was steep, it wasn't enough to prevent farmers from pasturing their animals. We saw cows, pigs, horses, donkeys and sheep. They all had cow bells which sounded like wind chimes in the early morning fog.

Read More Now ... Walking Through the Pyrenees

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Day Clothes for the Camino de Santiago

Publish Date: 8/16/2015 5:45 PM

The daily hiking clothes.

What will I wear each day on the Camino, here is a picture.

Camino wear for each day.

Daily wear for the Camino.

Read More Now ... Day Clothes for the Camino de Santiago

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Clothes for the Camino de Santiago

Publish Date: 8/6/2015 12:00 AM

What I plan to wear when I hike the Camino

We leave for Spain soon. Here are clothes I am bringing.

clothes for you camino

Well this isn't all the clothes I am bringing. This is only the cold and wet weather gear. I am told it rains in Spain. Especially as we get closer to the west coast and the city of Santiago de Compestala, we are expecting many days of heavy down pours.

We have purchased a rain jacket and rain pants to keep the rain off of us. Our back packs have a rain shield that you can put on the back pack to prevent it from getting wet and helping to keep your clothing dry.

Read More Now ... Clothes for the Camino de Santiago

Tags: Camino

Categories: Camino


Prepared Mind of a Leader

Publish Date: 2/16/2015 12:00 PM

Eight Skills Leaders use to Innovate Make Decisions and Solve Problems

The Prepared Mind of a Leader, Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions and Solve Problems

Bill Welter's Book, "The Prepared Mind of a Leader, Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions and Solve Problems"

What are the important aspects of a leader? What's the difference between an innovative leader and the everyday run of the mill leader that is going nowhere? How can you use your leadership skills to solve business problems and move your company to the next business peak?

These are the questions that are answered by my friend, Bill Welter, in his book, The Prepared Mind of a Leader. Bill and his co-author, Jean Egmon, identify the eight skills leaders use to innovate, make decisions, and solve problems.

Read More Now ... Prepared Mind of a Leader

Tags: Work

Categories: Employment


Christmas Day 2014

Publish Date: 12/25/2014 8:00 PM

A wonderful time on Christmas day with the Johnsons

The reason for the season. The Birth of the Christ Child.

The reason for the season. The Birth of the Christ Child.

We had a wonderful day this Christmas. The weather was clear and the driveway didn't have any snow on it, so we didn't have to worry about accidents with the elderly relatives. We had a small group this year of only 11 people. Which is okay because that fits rather nicely around our dining room table.

We went to Midnight Mass over at St John the Evangelist Church. The choir sang some hymns from 11:30 PM until the mass began at 12. The dancers did a great job with their ballet type moves. They are young teenage girls with different ballet capabilities. But, the number inspired us telling the message of the newborn child.

Read More Now ... Christmas Day 2014

Tags: Family

Categories: Family


Books I Read in 2014

Publish Date: 12/20/2014 7:00 AM

What do you mean I only read 2 books this year?

A handful of the books I read in 2014.

See above for some of the titles I read in 2014.

I had a good laugh this morning when I opened my email and saw an email from Goodreads. What was so funny? The email showed that I had read only two books for the year. Say What?

Goodreads is a web site where you can go and update the books you are currently reading or have read this year or even previously. You can write reviews for the books you read. You can hook up with your Facebook account and everytime you finish a book then Goodreads updates Facebook and notifies your friends that you have just finished reading a book.

Read More Now ... Books I Read in 2014

Tags: Writing,   Home

Categories: Writing,   Home


Beating the Christmas Blues

Publish Date: 12/19/2014 7:00 AM

Here are ten things you can do to beat the Christmas Blues

Ten Ways to Beat the Christmas Blues

Ten Ways to get Out of the Christmas Blues

This list was inspired by a comment on Facebook where a friend expressed dissatisfaction with a feeling of the Christmas Blues. I am usually upbeat this time of year as I listen to Christmas music in the car and at home. I am involved in the church choir so there is a lot of fellowship with other members. I get to see my family and the act of buying gifts for loved ones is just a wonderful experience.

I know not everyone has my disposition to optimism and joy so this list will hopefully give you a chance to feel some of the joy that I feel this time of year. I just know doing these things will make you feel better because it will take your mind off yourself and allow you to look outward to helping others. In the act of giving you receive.

Read More Now ... Beating the Christmas Blues

Tags: Family,   Music,   church

Categories: Family,   Music,   Church


Get the Adistar Racer for Christmas

Publish Date: 12/18/2014 9:00 PM

The adidas Adistar Racer on Sale with FREE 2 day shipping

Get the adidas Adistar Racer shoes on Sale with FREE 2 day shipping

Get the adidas Adistar Racer shoes on Sale with FREE 2 day shipping

*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.*

Yes, you read the headline right. You can get the adidas Adistar Racer for just $39.99 and free 2-Day shipping with code ADISTAR! As you can see from the image above it comes in a wide range of colors to please anyone on your Christmas list. Here are those fine details.

Read More Now ... Get the Adistar Racer for Christmas

Tags: Family

Categories: Family


Big news Time is running short

Publish Date: 12/18/2014 8:00 PM

Time is running out to get your Christmas present from Blurb (Sponsored Post)

Time is running out to get your Christmas present from Blurb

Time is running out to get your Christmas present from Blurb

*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.*

Big news: time is running short! But the good news is you can still get your book in time, even if you want an extra couple of days to work on it by choosing our Priority shipping option. A few dollars more will give you until December 19 with Express shipping—but don't leave it 'til the last minute. Your gift books are too good to rush!

Read More Now ... Big news Time is running short


Categories: Writing,   Home,   Family


A Sad Day at St John the Evangelist Church

Publish Date: 12/8/2014 5:00 PM

We are saddened at the death of our Parish Priest Father Ted Schmidt

Sunday morning I was setting up for our annual event at the parish hall to give our congregation an opportunity to find out all the different vocations we offer at the parish. We do this for two reasons, one to make our members aware of the different services we offer at the church and two to give members the chance to join a group. There may be talented individuals that weren't aware of a service that they might like to help with at the church. This allows them to evaluate it to see if it fits with their talents and desires to participate in the parish community.

Anyway, while getting ready for the parishioners to come into the room I began talking with friends who were also setting up and I got the news that our beloved Priest, Father Ted Schmidt, had died. He will be sorely missed as he was instrumental in helping to get the parish grade school back on a strong financial footing. The school had just been awarded the Federal Blue Ribbon award for high quality school systems. The school was paying for itself with higher enrollment numbers. There was pride among the teachers, the parents and the students.

The parish finances were looking better and the community was paying down the amount owed to the Chicago archdiocese for a building project implemented in 2001. Father Ted was active with the youth at a couple of Catholic high schools in the area mostly with the football programs. He was honest and straightforward and wasn't afraid to express his opinion on the church's teachings. The congregation loved him.

At this time we don't really know what happened to him. He was complaining of flu like symptoms on Saturday and had the associate pastor say the 4:30PM mass that day. We suspect a heart attack occurred. The associate pastor found him after 11PM and was not able to revive him. Father Ted was 70 years old. His funeral is scheduled for Friday, December 12th, 2014. Truly a sad day for our parish and all those who loved him.

Read More Now ... A Sad Day at St John the Evangelist Church

Tags: Family

Categories: Family


Christmas at Pops

Publish Date: 12/6/2014 10:00 AM

Christmas Concert at Springbrook Community Church

Title page from the Christmas at Pops Concert at Springbrook Community Church in Plainfield

Title page from the Christmas at Pops Concert at Springbrook Community Church in Plainfield

We had a great time last night at a Christmas Concert at Springbrook Commmunity Church in Plainfield, Illinois. It was titled Chistmas at Pops and was their fifth season. It was a wonderful concert with a lot of audio visual props.

We were invited to the concert by our daughter, Theresa. She plays and teaches the bassoon. She has been playing since junior high school and received a scholarship to the University for her abilities with the bassoon and studied under the principal bassoonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But now as an adult she teaches and plays occasionally.

Read More Now ... Christmas at Pops

Tags: Family,   Music

Categories: Family,   Music


Mary and I See Mary Poppins the Musical

Publish Date: 12/5/2014 1:00 PM

Mary Poppins playing at the Paramount Theater in Aurora

Mary Poppins at the Wonderful Paramount Theater in Aurora

Mary and I See Mary Poppins the Musical at the wonderful Paramount Theater in Aurora, IL

We had a great time last night at the Paramount Theater in the heart of downtown Aurora, Illinois. We went to see the Mary Poppins musical. It was delightful and "almost perfect." The play opens with Bert the "master of all trades" singing "Chim Chim Churee" in a strong Cockney accent. The purpose of starting with Bert is to set the place where the show begins in old London.

The actors and actresses did a brilliant job from the youngest children, Jane and Michael, to the old, the bank CEO. I love the sound system at the Paramount Theater. No matter where you sit you can hear very well. Mary's Mom was with us and she is 90 years old and despite sitting toward the back of the theater and the Cockney accent, she didn't have any problems hearing the performance. The kids sang and danced and enunciated their songs well.

Read More Now ... Mary and I See Mary Poppins the Musical

Tags: Family,   Music

Categories: Family,   Music


Big Savings Just in Time for the Holidays

Publish Date: 12/4/2014 10:00 PM

Create the Perfect Christmas Gift for Your Family and Friends (Sponsored Post)

Big Savings Just in Time for the Holidays

Create the Perfect Christmas Gift for Your Family and Friends

*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.*

Mary and I have always enjoyed Christmas gifts that were created just for us. You know how hard it is to make something rather than going to the store and just buying a gift. To see the hard work that a child put into that special treasure. Or when your sister or brother gives you a memorable keepsake that came from inspiration that only a loved one would be able to create.

Read More Now ... Big Savings Just in Time for the Holidays

Tags: Photo Books,   Writing,   Family

Categories: Writing,   Family


Education and the Ability to Change Your Life

Publish Date: 12/4/2014 1:00 PM

The Power of Education after High School

Are you happy with your current position in Life? After 30 years old, you should be old enough and smart enough that it isn't anyone's fault but your own if you aren't where you want to be in life.

There is so much information on the web that you should be able to learn just about anything. And there is an abundance of books written by experts in their fields that you can easily get to add to your library. There are videos, audio tapes, community colleges, technical colleges and books. You can't complain about bad teachers in grade school, your Catholic education or your poor public school.

Your high school education sucked? Then get a GED and feel proud about your education. An education that you participated in and strove for. There are no excuses in America today. Are your reading skills poor? Then get involved with a tutor program, either a paid program or have a friend tutor you. Are you dyslexic? Then do research on how others have resolved these issues.

I was listening to the radio this morning and the talk show hosts were interviewing a young woman who was standing outside a McDonald's restaurant. You could tell that this woman was highly intelligent. Her language skills were excellent. She had tremendous poise. She and 50 other people were staging a protest of the minimum wage. As the conversation progressed she mentioned that she had worked for McDonald's for 4 years. She started at $8.40 per hour and her income had only increased to $9.50 per hour.

Read More Now ... Education and the Ability to Change Your Life

Tags: Work,   Home,   Family

Categories: Employment,   Home,   Family


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

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*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.

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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


The Trip Home and The Caryville Hampton Inn

Publish Date: 11/10/2014 8:00 PM

Heading home from the deep south

Carol Ann standing next to an Old Ford in Caryville TN

Carol Ann standing next to an Old Ford in Caryville TN

Monday afternoon and we pack up the car to drive the 13 hours back to Illinois. We decided to do the trip back in two segments. We drove 5 hours on Monday and then 8 hours on Tuesday. That way we could get back in a timely fashion and be ready to go back to work on Wednesday without being totally exhausted.

Traffic was fine on Monday and we stopped at the Hampton Inn in Caryville, Tennessee. I have never written about a hotel before, but this was truly an interesting place, some might describe it as eccentric. Mostly because it highlighted the historical occurrences in the area. Inside the hotel were numerous pictures from bygone eras. Many of the ones I looked closely at contained pictures of moon shiners and their stills. There were also images of important men of the area.

Read More Now ... The Trip Home and The Caryville Hampton Inn

Tags: Home

Categories: Blogging


Inspiration via France

Publish Date: 11/9/2014 6:00 PM

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Read More Now ... Inspiration via France


Categories: Blogging


Fixing a Water Heater Problem

Publish Date: 11/9/2014 4:00 PM

Finding the Problem and then Figuring out How to Fix It

Last night Mary and I were in the basement and we noticed water on the floor. The problem was the water was nowhere near anything we thought might be leaking.

Some of the suspects, the water heater. Definitely a contender, the only problem was the water was a good three feet or more away and there was no indication that the water came from that source.

Second suspect the furnace. We didn't know why, but the furnace was close to the water, but again there was no clear trail that would lead us to suspect the furnace was at fault. We even looked at the furnace humidifier to see if it was leaking. Again, there were no indicators that would lay blame on the humidifier.

I went back to watching a couple of football games and Mary stayed down in the basement to see if any clues surfaced to where the water origination was. Fifteen minutes later I hear Mary yelling for me to come down. Finally, water had begun dripping from an exhaust pipe leading from the water heater.

Read More Now ... Fixing a Water Heater Problem

Tags: Home

Categories: Home


Visiting My South Carolina Relatives

Publish Date: 11/8/2014 6:00 PM

Fun Times in South Carolina

Eating lunch with the cousins at a Meat and Three Restaurant

Here is a snapshot of some of the cousins and their children.

Yesterday, I told you about the drive on a recent trip to South Carolina to visit relatives. Well, Mary, Carol Ann, Betty and I had a great time. We saw just about everybody. All the cousins made an effort to get together with us. The best part, I had opportunities for one on one time with many.

You know how you go to a family get together and there are so many people that you get to talking with one person you hadn't seen in a long time and it seems like the party is over. You've only chatted with one person and you were hoping to spend time with the uncle in failing health and the Aunt who recently was in the hospital and all the cousins you grew up with. Well this trip was perfect. I had the opportunity to see and talk to everybody.

Read More Now ... Visiting My South Carolina Relatives

Tags: Blogging

Categories: Blogging


Driving to South Carolina

Publish Date: 11/8/2014 5:00 PM

A Seventeen Hour Road Trip to South Carolina

My Cousin and her Granddaughter. Aren't they cute?

A Cute Photo of my Cousin and her granddaughter.

Mary and I recently had the opportunity to go to South Carolina to visit relatives. It was a wonderful trip for me as I was "going home" as the saying goes. I grew up in South Carolina before my father found a job in Aurora, Illinois working for Caterpillar. Mary and I had been talking about going back to the Piedmont Region for a couple of years. The death of my brother, Brian, was the spur that made the decision for us. My Uncles and Aunts aren't getting any younger (neither am I), but I was worried I might not see them ever again.

Once we made the decision to go, we calculated the best way to get there concerning time and money. Flying is faster but expensive. Driving takes a long time. We finally decided driving was the way to go. Then I was telling my sister about our decision and she asked, "you are telling me this because you are going to ask me to go with you?" And the truth was, yes, I was going to ask her. I expected her to say no, but was surprised when she immediately said, "yes" and almost immediately got approval to take off from work.

Read More Now ... Driving to South Carolina

Tags: Blogging

Categories: Blogging


Sweet Gift Making Inspiration from Paul Lowe

Publish Date: 10/31/2014 6:00 PM

An Article About Paul Lowe of Sweet Paul Magazine

Sweet Gift Making Inspiration From Paul Lowe

This fall, Blurb is highlighting makers all over the world. One of those people is Paul Lowe, creator of Sweet Paul magazine.

Sweet Paul magazine features spectacular food photography, scrumptious recipes, and inspired crafts. In Blurb's interview with Paul, he discusses his childhood in Norway and provides a delicious recipe. You'll love Paul's stories of gnomes, trees (and tree-related disasters), food, family, and memories. At the end of the interview, Blurb features great gift books reminiscent of Sweet Paul. Read the interview here.

If you have never used Blurb before, let me tell you it is easy. Mary and I created a Blurb book from our last vacation to the Seattle area. We took some great photos at Mt Rainier, Seattle and the Olympia National Park Area. Then we chose some of our favorites and created a coffee table book to show our relatives and friends. Everybody wants to pick up a picture book, but no one wants to slough through 600 photos on the computer.

Read More Now ... Sweet Gift Making Inspiration from Paul Lowe

Tags: Blogging,   Photo Books

Categories: Blogging


Happy Halloween

Publish Date: 10/31/2014 11:00 AM

I want to wish you all a Happy Halloween

Our Pumpkin on the front porch

The image above is a photo of our ceramic pumpkin that we placed on the front porch. We are lighting it with white Christmas lights. In today's wind a candle wouldn't work out too well. We found the pumpkin at Platt Hill Nursery and we received 20% off the retail price. Hopefully, we can keep it safe and secure over the next few years.

Today started out cold in Northern Illinois with low temperatures and extreme wind conditions. When I finished my morning workout, I walked upstairs and was surprised to see that snow had fallen and covered the grass and snow was on some of our perennials that still had leaves. I was expecting snow, but honestly, I didn't really think we would see any. Most of it was gone by the time I had breakfast and my shower and headed for work.

I feel bad for the little tykes as this isn't the best conditions for trick or treating. Moms and Dads work so hard to create fun and meaningful costumes for the children to go out getting candy, it is a shame that they will have to wear coats over the costumes.

Read More Now ... Happy Halloween

Tags: Writing

Categories: Writing


Halloween Party at Work

Publish Date: 10/30/2014 8:00 PM

We had a fun celebration of Halloween at work

Here I am in my cubical working and waiting for the trick or treaters to arrive.

We had a fun day at work yesterday, October 29th. We had a company Halloween Party. As with most company events throughout the country, this consisted of a pot luck dinner. But, the fun part was the whole office space was decorated with different themes such as: Carnival, Scary, Competitor Scary, and Circus.

Many of the employees wore costumes to go with the theme. We had a gentleman that looked like he could have been a circus ring leader. There was the woman that normally has blonde hair, but she was sporting black hair and was dressed as a gypsy or fortune teller. Of course, you could find scary clowns, witches, pirates and princesses. A couple of females dressed up as a two headed person. There was a butterfly, the world's smallest person and then the employee who dressed up as an online multiplayer game character. I dressed up as an American Cowboy with the cowboy hat, a scarf and a string tie. I don't own any boots, so I just wore some dress shoes.

I decorated my cubical with a couple of huge nasty looking rats with red eyes. I brought some meatballs in a honey and garlic sauce to serve my co-workers and the meatballs were terrific. I had some hesitation because I never had eaten this brand of meatball and had never tried the sauce. All the meat balls were eaten and I enjoyed the meatballs so I think others enjoyed them.

Read More Now ... Halloween Party at Work

Tags: Work

Categories: Employment


PumpkinFest 2014

Publish Date: 10/29/2014 3:05 AM

The Family Enjoys the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival

Browns and Family Waiting for the Parade to Begin

Every year in October, Mary and I and many members of our family get together and go to the Sycamore, Illinois Pumpkin Festival. We go for two reasons. One to see my step mom and her family, which we don't see very often since my father died. Two to see the Pumpkin Festival Parade.

The Parade is fantastic. We have been going to the parade for over 25 years. It normally runs two hours with some of the greatest floats, bands and oddities you ever want to see. Sycamore is way west of Chicago and can be considered in the heart of farm country.

What can you see at the parade? Lots of people. I think the town doubles in size on parade day. Some of the people are wearing costumes, like my pregnant niece with the baby's arms extending from her belly like the movie Alien.

Read More Now ... PumpkinFest 2014

Tags: Blogging,   Parades

Categories: Parades


Celebrating Ninety Years of Life with Margaret

Publish Date: 10/21/2014 9:00 PM

My Mother in Law turns 90

A Theme of Roses

A couple of weekends ago, we had the pleasure of celebrating the wonderful life of my mother in law as she reached another milestone birthday, 90 years old. The six siblings all got together to plan a dinner party for the celebration in Batavia, Illinois.

We only invited close relatives to keep the number reasonable. The banquet hall did a great job with the food serving chicken and steak. The food was perfect. It was an opportunity for us all to see family members we hadn't seen in years. We spent time with everyone for two days since many siblings and their families live in the south, east or the west, mountain region.

The only thing to make the party better would have been better weather. It was cold and blowing and I think I saw snowflakes. This family gatherings are special because everyone gets along and we truly enjoy each other's company. One of the highlights of the weekend was attending pass with Mom on Sunday morning.

Read More Now ... Celebrating Ninety Years of Life with Margaret

Tags: Blogging

Categories: Blogging


The Changing Library

Publish Date: 10/7/2014 4:00 PM

Nobody is Reading Books at the Library

I went into the local community Library on Sunday. My wife and I were looking for some audio CDs, "books on Tape." We found some we liked. But, as I was wandering around the library I noticed something interesting. I didn't see anyone reading any hard bound, paper filled, books.

There were a lot of people on the community computers. Some were searching for information. Some people were playing games on the computers. I saw individuals at the tables using personal computers. Maybe they were typing up a research paper or just using the library as an opportunity to get out of a noisy house. But, nobody was reading books. Today's world is a world of communication. And all of the communication is electronic.

I read a couple of actual hard copy books. I have many books on writing that I digest at leisure. And I have a book about the saints that I read each day as part of my spiritual consumption. Everything else is on my beloved Kindle. I do read books on the Kindle.

Today, I am in the process of reading a Janet Evanovich fiction, Stephanie Plum novel. As part of my book collection within the Kindle are all the books in the Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time series, about Rand Al'Thor and The Dragon Reborn. I have a copy of the Bible that I read from each morning. You can also find in my book collection, "The Imitation of Christ", a couple of books by St Thomas Aquinas, a whole collection of spiritual readings that I can choose from each day. A range of mystery and science fiction from established authors and new or budding authors. You can find business books and one computer book.

Read More Now ... The Changing Library

Tags: Blogging

Categories: Blogging


Turn Your Instagram Photos into Your New Favorite Book with Blurb

Publish Date: 10/4/2014 9:00 PM

Are You a Rabid Instagrammer (sponsored post)

If you are a rabid Instagrammer, and wistfully browsing through your Instagram profile to take in all those beautiful shots isn't cutting it anymore, why not take your talent to the next level and make a real commitment to your photography? With Blurb, you can take all of your Instagram shots and turn them in to a high quality printed book in just minutes. There is no hassle of sorting and editing, no endless hours wasted formatting for specific page requirements… just pick what you like and make it real. Watch this Blurb video to see how you can turn your feed into a seriously brag-worthy book. It’s incredibly easy and even a little bit fun. (You can even publish your Facebook photos (with comments) into a book!)

Mary and I have used the Blurb application to create a photo travel log of our recent trip to Seattle. The Blurb application was easy to use and allowed us to add comments to our photos. It will be a coffee table book that will we will let our relatives and friends peruse when they visit. Isn't that better than forcing your family members to sit and watch hours of home photos on your walls?

Ready to start publishing? Save 20% on photo books with code OCT20%, which is great news if you're thinking ahead to the holidays and making a gift to send. Special offer for new customers only—save 25% on photo books with code OCT25%… even better for those of you who are new to Blurb books. Just don't wait because these deals end October 31st.

What can you do with a Blurb photo book? My family members created a photo book for my mother-in-law for Mother's day. She is ninety years old and it is a treasured memory chest for her.

Read More Now ... Turn Your Instagram Photos into Your New Favorite Book with Blurb


Categories: Blogging


Parkinsons Walk

Publish Date: 9/30/2014 10:00 PM

Parkinson's walk to raise money and awareness of Parkinson's Disease

We went to our 11th Parkinson's walk in Naperville, Illinois on September 6th, 2014. Why are we so passionate to do this 11 years in a row?

Walking to find a cure for Parkinsons Disease.

We have lost three family members to Parkinson's Disease. My Mom died at age 56. Then 18 years later my brother, Al, passed away from this horrible disease. And just this summer we buried my brother, Brian, who had just turned 60 years old.

My mother and her brother, Bernard, actually died on the same day after years of each of them struggling against Parkinson's Disease. We see the lives of Michael J Fox and Muhammad Ali and they have lived for a number of years with early onset Parkinsons. They seem to be doing okay. Look at Michael J Fox, he is still acting and it seems doing fairly well.

Read More Now ... Parkinsons Walk

Tags: Parkinsons

Categories: Parkinsons


Strong Storms Wreak Havoc on Trees

Publish Date: 9/28/2014 3:00 PM

We had a group of strong storms come through recently with devastating results

Neighbors Tree Damage from StormTree Down from Storm.

A couple of weeks ago we had some strong storms come through the area. The results were devastating to my neighbor's trees. Both neighbors to either side of us had trees come down or large branches ripped from the tree.

The neighbor west of us had a tree come down in his back yard and the branches scraped his house. They were lucky that no windows were broken. I think the damage to the siding was minimal. They spent the following Saturday taking off the small branches and dragging them out to the street for pickup.

The larger branches will be handled by a professional landscape firm. This is the third tree this couple has lost to wind and storm damage in the last 14 years. All the trees are in a water runoff area and I wonder if the root systems may be weak.

Read More Now ... Strong Storms Wreak Havoc on Trees

Tags: Garden

Categories: Gardening


2014 Summer is Officially Over

Publish Date: 9/23/2014 10:00 PM

Wet and Cool Summer was Perfect for Flower Gardens

This summer was unusually cool and wet. It was the first summer in the last 14 years where we didn't have to water our grass in the yard. There were a couple of weekends when we watered the trees. Our River Birch tree was a little dry and started to lose some leaves. A good watering solved that problem and made the tree happy.

The flowers were ecstatic about being watered regularly by mother nature instead of waiting for me to come out with my little tin watering can. We have ferns in the back of the yard under some mature trees. Most summers they have dried out by the end of August. But, this summer they have flourished.

I am most amazed at the Variegated Fallopias. In the past, they have had a hard life. Originally, we had them in the way back under the trees. But, they didn't seem to do very well there. Then we moved them closer to the house. The heat bakes the plants in their present location. The cool summer allowed them to grow all summer long. They sent out the roots and started new plants nearby.

A close up image showing variegated fallopia flowers.

Read More Now ... 2014 Summer is Officially Over

Tags: Flowers,   Garden

Categories: Gardening


A New Role at Work that Irritates Me

Publish Date: 9/22/2014 10:00 PM

What we did this weekend and the New Role at Work.

Mary and I had a wonderful weekend. We celebrated an Aunt's birthday and Mary's birthday with just a handful of people. Mary's mom and her two sisters, our daughter and a cousin.

Since we had a small crowd we were able to use the living room which is seldom used. The chairs and couch in the room we have had for over 20 plus years. We bought them when Mary was working part time at a large department store. They have lasted through the years because we really don't use them very much.

We served potato chips, pretzels, dip and humus and purchased a cake from Mariano Grocery. The cake was delicious and pretty and we only put one candle in it for the birthday girls to blow out.

The conversation was lively and we had a chance to catch up on news from the over 80 crowd. They are all moving slow these days and we heard the same conversation a few times from some of them. But, it was fun and great to see our daughter, also.

Read More Now ... A New Role at Work that Irritates Me

Tags: Work

Categories: Employment


Celebrating Ten Years of Blogging

Publish Date: 9/21/2014 9:00 PM

A Blogging Milestone

I was doing some programming on my computer today and I looked at the date of some of my first blog entries on the You Can Learn Series Web Site. I was shocked to realize that I have been blogging on and off for 10 years.

I will be the first to tell you I haven't blogged everyday. I don't even blog the proper "diary log." I have always tried to make it educational. So, over the years I have created different sections within the You Can Learn Series web site / blog.

You will find articles on plants, landscaping, weight lifting, travel and web business practices. Whatever interested me at the moment I would begin to write articles about that subject. Finally, after a number of years I created an actual "blog" section. But, even those articles were more informational or educational instead of an opinion piece or log diary.

If you go back over my history of writing on this blog you will see that there might be a year or two stretch where I didn't add any new articles to the site. It has definitely been a learning experience. I remember when I started it was an attempt to learn about this web programming stuff. I had been programming for a number of years, but I had never done web programming. Let me tell you that was a new animal. Luckily, in the early years the animal was caged, otherwise I would have been bitten.

Read More Now ... Celebrating Ten Years of Blogging

Tags: Blogging

Categories: Blogging


Show More Articles

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.


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?

Best School for Your Chidren

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.


Read more here ... Best School for Your Chidren.


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.


Read more here ... How To Succeed in Life.


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.


Five Hundred Thousand Page Views for 2008

I almost missed it. I was so busy working on a new project that I hadn't been spending much time looking at my stats pages. I knew it was coming. I had calculated toward the end of July that somewhere mid-way through the month of August I was going to go over the halfway goal for the year.

Officially, On August 7th, 2008 I achieved the distinction of having 500,000 Page Views for the year. Yahoo!!! Here is a brief rundown of my numbers.

Read more here ... Five Hundred Thousand Page Views for 2008.


Former Google Employees Start New Search Engine

A new search engine is open for business. If you are tired of Page Rank, bullying and excessive fees for advertising with Google, then Cuil (pronounced COOL) is the search engine for you. Cuil founders claim they have indexed 120 billion web pages. This is 3 times more than any other search engine.

Visual differences include search engine results in columns. Images attached to each result. More relevant data in the search results rather than just the results that have the most money or best SEO techniques.

Read more here ... Former Google Employees Start New Search Engine.


Drop Your Bounce Rate Quick and Easy

Entrecard speed droppers raise your bounce rate and COST YOU MONEY

Entrecard speed droppers raise your bounce rate and COST YOU MONEY. This cutting edge technique promises to reduce your bounce rate before the weekend. Here are proven tactics to increase visits to other pages within your own blog.

One of the bad things about Entrecard is the skyrocketing increase in bounce rates that it causes. This shouldn't surprise you since there are 12,000 Entrecard members each trying to visit 300 pages everyday. What can you do to decrease bounce rates or at the very least get your blog visitors to go to more than one page?

Read more here ... Drop Your Bounce Rate Quick and Easy.


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.


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.


How to Drive Traffic with Entrecard

This is a little how to on how you can get more traffic from using the service known as Entrecard. For the purposes of this discussion I am going to assume you already know what Entrecard is all about and you are just looking to drive more traffic to your site.

The first thing you need to realize is that not all traffic is the same. In the Entrecard community you have many different dropping techniques and everyone thinks their technique is the best. I am not naive enough to think these are the only methodologies, just some good things to think about.

Here are some dropping techniques:

Read More here - How to Drive Traffic with Entrecard.


Changes To CAN-SPAM Act Might Affect Your Blog

I received an email from the ExactTarget company this week that details new changes coming from the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. These changes could affect your blog right now.

What is Changing on July 7th?

** Any unsubscribe process can request only the recipient's email address and any opt-out preference changes associated with their subscribed email address

** Any unsubscribe process that requires a recipient to provide more information, or interact with more than a single web page, is prohibited.


Read More here - Changes To CAN-SPAM Act Might Affect Your Blog.


Time to Visit the Entrecard Forum for the First Time, Again

Have you been to the Entrecard Forums recently? It is time to take another look if it has been a while. There is a new forum that Entrecard Founder Graham has been posting articles pretty regularly called Entrecard Economy. Here Graham and the Entrecard Members discuss ad pricing and drop values and more.

Graham is trying to find a way to make Entrecard better for it's members and is looking for a way to monetize Entrecard. I suppose venture capitalists like to see a profitable organization or at least one that has a future of profitability.

Read More here - Time to Visit the Entrecard Forum for the First Time, Again.


My Recommendations for a New NBA Logo

A group of us were talking basketball at work on friday and we began discussing the NBA logo. One of the guys, Jeff, said it was based upon the famous, Jerry West poster. He forwarded the photo and the logo and you can definitely see the similarities.
The Jerry West poster that urban legend has it that the NBA logo was created from. The NBA logo as created in the league's early history.
I remember that Jerry West was huge in the 60's with a tremendous work ethic. Jerry West and the LA Lakers were synomous with the success of the NBA.

But, if the logo was reworked today would it be ....

Read More here - New NBA Logo.

Seth Godin Action Figure

I got a good laugh the other day when I was reading a blog entry and someone said they received a Seth Godin action figure from their father.

Let's face it, you have made it to the big time when you have your very own action figure. How good of a marketing person do you have to be to make it profitable to have your own action figure?

Read More here - Seth Godin Action Figure.

How to Beat a Genius - Work Habits of the Successful Web Entrepreneur


"A person who is focused of average intelligence can run circles around the genius who doesn't have the focus."

Brian Tracy - Absolutely Unbeatable Laws of Business Success


Are you focused? "Focused on what," you might ask? Are you focused on what you are planning on eating for supper tonight? Focused on what is on TV? Focused on what your spouse is saying to you right now?

People Who Succeed in Life Are Not All Super Geniuses

I think the comment is designed to help you realize that the people who succeed in life are not all super geniuses that you and I could never match up with. We all have innate talents and abilities. If we learn to harvest that ability then we can succeed.

Read More here - How to Beat a Genius - Work Habits of the Successful Web Entrepreneur.

200 Percent Page Views Increase Compared to March

May was my best traffic month ever in the 5 year history of my web site. I credit a series of articles that I wrote that encouraged my visitors to read more than one article.

Unique Visitors - 42,772
Traffic from Search Engines - 38,189 (83.36%)
Page Views - 111,532

111,532 Page Views in May

Page views are up 200% compared to March. Check out the rest of the May traffic story here

I Ran Out Of Blog Ideas What Should I Write About - Blog Article Idea Starters

Do you ever reach that point where you don't know what to blog about next? As long as it isn't fatal, meaning you are so sick of blogging you never want to see your blog ever again, then these tips may prove useful for you.

This is just a list of blogging article idea starters. Just review the list and usually by the time you get to point 10 your brain is beginning to churn. The list begins by asking you what's in the news and ends with a helpful commentary on if you had to start all over again, what would you do differently?

Somewhere in between those two starting points is your next article. Oh, it won't be a straight answer to the question presented. You will noodle it a little. You will add your personality and a little salt. You will identify the relevancy to your own blog and you will be back to blogging with great content. If you haven't come up with an idea for an article after reading through this list then feel free to write an article lambasting me for wasting your time. Be sure and get my name right and please add a link to this article.

Read the rest of the blogging article idea starters here


Thirty Seven Percent Traffic Increase in March

March was a wonderful month with a normal increase for my business model. Here is a quick summary. Unique Visitors - 29,405
Traffic from Search Engines - 20,684 (70.34%)
Page Views - 55,847

55,847 Page Views in March

Page views are up 37% compared to last month. Check out the rest of the March traffic story here

Wordless Wednesday - March 26, 2008


A quiet walk along the park.

This is a wonderful park along the North Branch of the DuPage River in Warrenville, Illinois.

View Other Wordless Wednesdays


Largest Entrecard Giveaway Ever

A 1st place prize of 34,000 credits will be given randomly to a new user. How about that for bringing in solid traffic? But, hey, that is just one of the prizes. This contest is being sponsored by 38 different Entrecard members. Our only goal? To help you succeed with your blog and in the Entrecard Network. So get your entry in today and begin to drive real traffic for today and tomorrow. Click Here to Begin to Win


You Can Win $500 Cash - But You Have to Hurry

FeedFlare has a hot contest with over $5200 in prizes at stake with the Featured Grand Prize of $500 cash. If you are an Entrecarder there is 25,000 Entrecard Credits at stake. Here is your chance to make some easy cash. There are many other prizes worth $5 to $200. There will be many winners in this contest and not many entries, so your chances to win something is VERY HIGH. Stop over at Feed Flare now before you forget. Your odds of winning are definitely in your favor.

If you want real March Madness this is the place to go.
FeedFlare Contest.

Wordless Wednesday - March 12, 2008


An closeup image of a cactus.

Beware the cactus. Photo taken near Apache Junction, Arizona.

View Other Wordless Wednesdays


Popular Ad Networks are Going Going Gone

I am cleaning up some of my advertising this week. If you don't like all the ads I place on my site then you are going to be happy. I am getting rid of ads that don't work, ads that aren't bringing traffic and ads that are not producing revenue.

So, who is getting cut? Number one is AdsFlip.


Alexa Score Plummets Below 100,000

I am so excited I am going to brag a little today. I peeked at my Alexa score this afternoon and I was so excited. My Alexa score dropped another 13,000 points today. I knew it was coming and I would have been happy with a three month average of 99,000. But, instead it went as low as 93,102.


Wordless Wednesday - March 5, 2008


An image of the Black Pearl Dessert from Mama's Fishhouse in Maui.

Look for this dessert known as the Black Pearl the next time you are in Maui. You can find it at Mama's Fish House in Maui.

View Other Wordless Wednesdays


February Traffic Results Better than January's

The February Traffic Results show continuous improvement over the month before and definitely moving toward my 2008 goal of 1,000,000 page views on this web site. That's right folks. My goal for 2008 is to drive enough traffic to the site to receive one million page views. This article is a look back at February 2008. I think it is another great month. I show improvement in Alexa Traffic Rank and it appears that I will drop well under 100,000 in March. Another area of improvement is the increase in the amount of Direct Traffic as measured by Google Analytics.


Wordless Wednesday


An image of a Honey Locust tree covered in snow at midnight.

I took this photo the other night near midnight when Chicago was receiving 6 inches of snow. The flakes were large and reflected the camera flash. The tree is a honey locust tree and has at least an inch of snow on it.


Going to the Moon on a Wheel Chair

Be a rock star with your Blog and GO to the moon! What do you mean go to the moon?

I just read an article about Google's robotic race to the Moon. It is called the Google Lunar X Prize and it is worth $30 million US dollars to one lucky winner. Could it be you?

Let's face it. I don't expect you to go to the moon. But can you do a flip in a wheel chair? Can you make an amusement game? Can you achieve your goals?


How You Can Predict Your Own Future

Many years ago, I took a Dale Carnegie course. My goal at the time was to become more comfortable speaking in public. I was very uncomfortable giving speeches and talking in a meeting with more than a couple of people in the meeting. The Dale Carnegie course has each of the participants in the program getting on their feet in front of the class and giving a speech each session.

If you do anything a number of times, then you become more comfortable in the process. But, did you know you can predict your future?


Wordless Wednesday


An image of a hot air balloon shooting gas flames into the balloon.

An interesting image of a hot air balloon trip I took. Shows the propane gas fire filling the balloon with hot air.


A Secret To Blogging Success You Don't Want to Hear

How Long is It Going to Take You to Strike It Rich in Blogging? That is a good question right? All these successful bloggers you are trying to imitate did not become full time successes overnight. It took some time. I read a blog known as Coding Horror, fairly regularly. It is mostly a tech blog where the author does a lot of research for each article.

So how long is it going to take you to Strike it Rich in Blogging?


Why Do I drop Entrecards and What is my Strategy?

Do You Treat Your Entrecard Dropping as A Business? Why do you drop Entrecards? Do you have a specific strategy that you regularly follow? Do you chain drop? Do you reciprocate drops? Do you drop 300 cards a day? Do you just drop within your category or do you target specific categories? Do you ever read the blogs you drop on? Is it possible to get an Alexa Boost by dropping cards? Are you dropping cards for the money potential of the Entrecard credits? Here is my strategy and it is helping me to double the amount of traffic I will receive this year.

Entrecard Forums, He Who Can't Be Named and the European Smackdown Tour

Have you taken the time to visit the Entrecard forums? I recommend you take a moment today and visit. Why? The Entrecard forums offer a wealth of information, humor, and community. If you have questions about your website, your Entrecard design, the best dropping methodology for Entrecard users or you just want to vent, the Entrecard forum is for you.

I have asked questions on the forum and there is always someone there with a quick answer or humorous response. Plus, the forum is a great source of humor. Recently, someone was bragging about being on the web site of He Who Must Not Be Named and a humorous conversation broke out. Now, if you aren't a regular on the forums the conversation might be a little offensive to you. But, the truth is the comments are all tongue in cheek dipped in a large vat of sarcasm.

To learn more about the Entrecard Forums, the European Smack Down Tour and Turnip of Power ...


Passive Income From An Affiliate Program

Are you looking to make some passive income from an affiliate program on your website? Have you tried every affiliate program and received little to no cash? Do you want that to change starting today?

Here is a little affiliate program I just found that I think will prove successful for you. Check out how you can earn passive income from an affiliate program.


Blog Success Daily Routine Checklist

At some point you will have read everything you need to read to get started and succeed on the internet. Now it is time for you to take action. But, now that you are ready to take action what action are you supposed to take? What are you to do?

Everybody runs into this question daily. What am I supposed to do today? What can I do now? Can somebody tell me? Here is the thing. Most of us are like lambs. We feel comfort being a member of the sheep class. We like to follow. We don’t want to lead. We just want someone to tell us what to do. Then we will do it.

Well, here it is. This is what you need to do every day. . . .


Becoming a Wolf after Being Raised by Lambs

I was raised by lambs. And I grew up a lamb myself. I followed others. When people in authority told me to do something I followed like a, well, like a lamb. I was just part of a big group of non-unique nobodies. That's right, I was a lamb.

What Fired Me Up?

Today, I decided to become a wolf.


Goal One Million Page Views - Actual January Results

That's right folks. My goal for 2008 is to drive enough traffic to the site to receive one million page views. This article is a look back at January and a pat on the back or a kick in the butt.

So, how did I do? To get one million page views you have to receive 83,333 page views each month. Last year I showed 470,000 page impressions as measured by Google Adsense. This year I am measuring the traffic by Google Analytics. I think going forward that will be a more accurate measurement. Plus, it allows me to not count certain ip addresses. So, if I am posting an article and making sure all the links work, then it isn't counting those as page views. There is no point in cheating on this goal.

40,200 Page Views in January So, let's get to the numbers and see what they all mean and how I can improve.


Changes at Entrecard Make People Mad

There are some big changes over at Entrecard and not everyone is happy. The changes are occurring almost everyday. I don't think these guys ever sleep. Here they are managing and commenting on all the blogs. Personally responding to any emails they receive, and managing a growing operation that is almost out of control and yet ... New Changes at Entrecard


Make Money With a DealDotCom Wonder Widget

I was wandering around the internet on Friday and I saw an affiliate link for DealDotCom. I had never heard of DealDotCom so I took the time to check them out. I want to say there appears to be potential to earn some hard cash from this opportunity.

Plus, it appears you can save a ton of money on some sweet eBooks, WordPress Plugins, video compression software and other fine products. The interesting thing is you are only presented with this outstanding deal for one day. One day, one deal, excellent products at fantastic prices. This company also has an affiliate program that can bring extra cash your way.


8 Blog Traffic Generators I Can't Live Without

My traffic this month has started spectacularly. I have set a goal this year to double the number of page views to my website. Last year I had 470,000 page views. This year I am shooting for (I place my little pinky next to the side of my mouth ala Dr Evil from the Austin Powers Movies) 1 million page views. So far for the month of January my numbers are definitely up. They could be a little higher, but they are very strong.

What is the difference this year? I think it is a combination of these 8 blog traffic generators that I can't live without. These eight magic traffic dynamos are bringing a basket full of knowledge hungry readers to my website each day. Are you using all these sources to drive traffic to your website?


Kennology

If you want to know more about me here is a little information. Sometimes you read blogs and you don't know anything about the person sharing the information. They just give you boring facts. It's like that teacher you had in high school without a personality. Hopefully, this will let you know more about me. Share some about you.

Ken answers questions about technology, biology, bullology, dumbology, lastology, favoritology and currentology...

Passion, Love, Work, Leadership and Football

Do you love what you do? Are you excited when you go into work each day? Are you passionate about business success? When you wake up each morning are you thinking about the thrill of victory?

I am a big Chicago Bears football fan. And if you live in the Chicago area and love the Bears the way I do then you may want to stop reading right now. Why? Because what I am about to say will be considered heresy to passionate Chicago Bears football fans.

But, this is not an article about football. ....

The Winner is announced in the Entrecard Contest

Check out the winner in the You Can Learn Series first Entrecard Contest.

Four Steps to Becoming a Top 10 Blogger

Are you in the Top 10 percent in your industry? Is your company a top ten company or is it further down in the list? Are you one of the best in your line of work? When people you work with are looking for answers to their problems, do they search for yoU? If they find you, do you help them with their problem or do you send them off to find someone else?

In most cases the top 10 percent are well rewarded for their abilities. It is certainly true in sports. But, how do you become a member of that 10 percent group? What is it they have that you lack? Do they know more? Do they work harder? Are they more determined? Do they have goals or a better education? What is it?


Clue Number Three in the Entrecard Contest

If you are playing the Entrecard contest for 1,000 Entrecard Credits then it is important that you check out Clue Number Three. This is the last clue. There are only three days left as the contest ends on Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 7 AM Chicago Time. Get your entry in now. Good Luck.


How to Create a Million Dollar Idea

Are you stuck in a rut of bad ideas? Are you looking to break out of your creativity slump? Here is a quick set of ideas to help you be more creative. Are you looking to make more money this year? What is holding you back? Is it implementation or ideas? This article will give you a way to be more creative. We all need to have a system in place where we force ideas. The great minds don't leave this to chance. They have a strategy.

Imagine you are sitting at your kitchen table and saying, why can't I be as successful as (pick a name?) They are always coming up with great ideas to help people out. Look at Steve Jobs and Larry Page. What do they have that I don't have? I am as smart as they are.

Here is a system that will help you come up with those terrific ideas.


The Number One Trait that Will Make You Rich

I just finished posting about Ten Things to Make Your Blog Successful in 2008. But, then I was sitting quietly and realized I forgot to tell the Number One Trait that will make you RICH. Did you know that today we are inundated with noise?

As you are writing your blog, do you have the TV on? Is the radio running in the background? Is your iPod playing your favorite tune in your ears? Do you thrive with the noise going on? Do you tell others that you can't, pick one, program, blog, do anything on the web, without something in the background? Do you know the The Number One Trait that Will Make You Rich?

Clue Number Two in the Entrecard Contest

If you are playing the Entrecard contest for 1,000 Entrecard Credits then it is important that you check out Clue Number Two. Good Luck.

Ten Things To Make Your Blog Successful in 2008

Ten Traffic Generating Blog Techniques

Here is a list of ten things you must do in 2008 to make money on the internet. If you are wondering why you are floundering with little internet cash then you must read this article. If you aren't doing these ten things then you are leaving Internet money on the table. Why would you want to walk away from easy cash?

Entrecard Contest For 1000 Credits And Bonus Prize

Scavenger Hunt

Here is a fun Entrecard contest. All the other Entrecard contests are kind of boring. But, this will be fun and you can win 1,000 Entrecard Credits in just ten days. Plus, a cool bonus prize only available from You Can Learn Series.

This is a scavenger hunt contest. I will give three clues. All you have to do is find the page that the clue originates on and you will be eligible to win the grand prize of 1,000 Entrecard credits. I will randomly draw the winner from all successful entrants. You MUST send me 3 emails. Each email must contain the URL of the page that the clue points to.

A Tale of Two Blogs

or How You Can Rock the House With Your Traffic

Are you getting enough traffic? Are you looking to improve your traffic numbers? Are you monetizing your pages as well as you should? I think this article answers those questions and will help you if you take the time to think through these issues.

I had a very interesting experience yesterday. I was checking out my usual blogs and I ran across a stats update from Caroline Middlebrook. She was kind enough to post her statistics for the month of December. I read her post and felt some emotion. The first emotion I felt was jealousy. She has only been blogging for 4 months and she is pulling down some absolutely huge traffic numbers.

Secondly, I felt the adrendaline rush I always feel when my competitive juices begin to flow. I want to do better. I want greater traffic. So, I thought it would be important to compare her numbers to mine. Then I can improve my numbers. The interesting thing about the web is you can repeat many things others are doing and you can be successful....

Entrecard Card Droppers Meme

Tim over at Yimto Affiliate Marketing Blog just tagged me in the EntreCard Top 10 Card Droppers Meme. First of all, I want to thank Entrecard for an excellent new traffic source. I want to thank Tim for stopping by everyday and dropping his virtual business card. I want to thank all of my other top card droppers for being so supportive and with that, I will reward you a free link. Lastly, if you were selected as one of my top ten droppers, support your top droppers by following the instructions below.

Seven Steps to Reaching Your 2008 Goals

Here it is just a few hours before we welcome in the New Year, 2008. For some it is a time of excitement. For others, they just want to crawl into bed and never come out.

What is the difference between the two? The excited person has goals. They have taken the time to decide what they want in life. They have a plan for achievement. They want something bad enough to get off their butt and make it happen.

Which one are you? Are you excited about the new year? Is this the year you reach out and grab the golden ring? Have you made your plans and calculated each step so precisely, that all you have to do is walk out the front door and success will come to you? Do you want it so bad it hurts?


Becoming a Top 10 Blogger - Climbing to the Top 10 Percent in Your Field. Are you in the Top 10 percent in your industry? Is your company a top ten company or is it further down in the list? Are you one of the best in your line of work? When people you work with are looking for answers to their problems, do they search for you? If they find you, do you help them with their problem or do you send them off to find someone else?

Latest You Can Learn Series Blog Articles:

We Arrive in Santiago de Compestela Spain

We walked for Thirty Three days straight

We have arrived in Santiago. We walked for 33 straight days. Some days were 12 milers and as many as 18 miles or more in one day. We reached our destination. We decided not to rush to reach the city. Mary had accidentally banged her knee on the table at the restaurant the night before and it was a little tender.


Day 31 Palas de Rei to Ribadiso

We have walked 31 days to Santiago de Compostela

Today we started early because we had reserved a room at an albergue and we had to get there by 2pm or we lost the reservation. Mary set a blistering pace in the dark morning mist. Sunrise is at 8 am but this morning we had clouds and fog so it was darker than yesterday. The path through the city was okay but then leaving the city it became more difficult.


Three days of walking left in our Camino

We only have 66 kilometers to Santiago

We have walked for 30 days with only 3 days till we reach our destination of Santiago de Compostela. It has been an amazing journey. We are in the Galicia region of Spain known for the rain it receives. Well we are extremely lucky because the weather has been beautiful for walking. It starts out cool in the high 40s but then warms up to the low to mid 70s. With plenty of sunshine.


We arrived in Sarria

Five walking days to Santiago

Today we started late at 8 am. We were almost the last people out of Triacastela walking the Camino.


Ocebreiro to Triacastela

Only 6 days remaining on the Camino de Santiago

We are sitting in a restaurant in the little village of Triacastela on day 27 having tapas. It was a short 12 miles that were mostly down. Tomorrow we hope to go to Sarria.


Views from Astorga Spain

From Leon to Astorga on the Camino de Santiago

We visited Leon, Spain yesterday and then we walked 35Km today. Leon was wonderful. Today we walked in rain for the first time. We went 35 KM yesterday for no other reason than we could.


Walked 17 Miles Today

Today we walked 17 miles on the Camino

Today we are sitting at the albergue in Terradillos de las Templarios. We are at the halfway point in our journey. We have walked over 250 miles or 400 kilometers. I truly didn't think we would be able to do this. Mary has been a real trouper walking through bad knees and the pain of shin splints.


Finished a Third of our Camino Experience

We have walked a Third of the way to Santiago

Today finds us in Ages, Spain only 14 miles from Burgos. We are quite excited that we have managed this distance. We hoped we could but we had doubts especially those first few days where we hurt so much.


The Path to Najera Spain

Eight Days of Walking

We have been walking for 8 days now. It has been interesting, tiring, painful, fun and a real learning experience.


Walking Through the Pyrenees

Walking Through the Pyrenees

Mary and I started our journey to Santiago Spain. The first day we started in Saint Jean Pied de Port in France. The goal was to arrive in Roncevalle, Spain before nightfall.




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