Taking my blogs on the road

You have to develop your thinking style off the grind.  How do I continue to stay fresh throughout my life?  Get outside the box and reboot.  it's not just about business but it is about regrouping, rethinking, and demanding a little more from yourself  in a fresh new way.  Creative dreaming.  Albert Einstein impressed me when he said he got his best ideas when he took a shower and was shaving.  What he was saying he got his ideas when his mind was relaxed and  absorbed in the problem.

Waking up in Virginia

Watching the Weather Channel as a guide to which roads we are navigate today.  Arizona prepares for heavy rain and flood.  We might want to avoid this state as we drive.  Weather is always something to keep an eye on.

Open Roads 

Getting out of my normal surroundings it allows me break with habits and patterns.  As I drive through the mountains of Virginia my wife and I relax.  We forget about our rental business, leave our volunteer life behind.  We read.  I journal and put the computer to the side.  Our best ideas comes a lot of times when we are just driving. We discuss our dreams, our relationships, and visit quietude.  Silence is great.  Absorb the landscape and soak it in.

Open your mind to new ideas and practices

Jot down ideas you want to work on.  Read something you been putting off.  Try something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, visit a place you always wanted to see but didn't have the time.  As the mind relaxes and focuses on fun watch how your mind takes off.

We knew this day would come, but it doesn't make it easy.  Ashlyn has been our foster kitten for several months.  When she arrived at our home she was so friendly that we took to her immediately.  She was a little sickly but she always ate well.  Like our last foster cat Raisin she had a breathing problem which still exist.  The Humane Society thought she might had gotten in the facility.

The condition of our foster parenting is temporary.  We are foster parents until they can be adopted.  We have raised several litters of kittens this way. We also lost a foster cat to death due to depression and sickness.  Sadly Ashlyn is really to be adopted.

Ashlyn got friendlier

As she put on weight she became more passionate about being with us.  We took her outside and on long trips in the car where she sat on my wife's lap and from time to time she entered our bedroom and slept with us.  

Ashlyn likes health drinks

After our workout at the gym, like clockwork we mix up a blend of fruits and vegetables in the blender.  She whines until she gets a little taste and drinks all of it.  She's one healthy cat.  Ashlyn enjoys running around the house and like to play with anything that she finds exciting.  Without a lot of involvement from us, she will attacks shoe strings, a tennis ball knocking them all over the floor and goes crazy when I pull out the laser pointer light on my keyring.  She'll chase it down.

Sad day for us because we have grown attached

Notice her in the window, she sees me outside taking her picture and she is rubbing up against it.  She does this letting us know she loves us and misses us not being inside to play with her.  She will sit in the window for as long as we are outside.  She watches and can't wait for us to return.

Giving up our foster kitten or cat for us for adoption is like loosing a member of the family.  Though we don't have any kids of our own this is the closest we have become.  Each time we loose a foster pet to adoption it's hard.  We go through several emotions but land on the fact it's better for them.  We want Ashlyn to find a great home with someone or some family that will love her as much as we did.

Some people love giving advice all the time

There are members of my environmental world that love giving advice.  They seem to be experts on just about everything.  You meet them and no matter what topic you are discussing they have an opinion and basically it's better than yours.  They have read more and just have more knowledge than you do. Or they are just a jerk that enjoys telling you all about what the world is really about.  Should you really listen or even care?

It depends have they ventured down this road of expertise with some experience to give you advice?  If so, then listen carefully and observe slowly, can you gleam from them any wisdom from their tales or are they rantings of an undisciplined mind.  Take notes of the mistakes they have made and as a balance they should share this information with you and pattern your own temperament accordingly.

Don't immediately disregard because they have some advice for you is negative, but weight it carefully.

Being a mentor or I love this job

I like being a sage.  Someone who apparently thinks they have some give wisdom.  When I worked in the security industry in the late 80's, I started out as a guard and was promoted to site manager, then operational manager within about three years.  When I returned to be security director and then account executive I was full of sage style wisdom.  I spoke to my officers with aged insight drawn from my decade plus experience.  I wanted them to perform and do their best not for me but for themselves.

Now, I'm president of the Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation a non-profit and I have sage wisdom on how to operate a business.  Non-profit world is a lot different than for profit world but the mechanics of business is still the same.  I enjoy giving advice about how to manage a non-profit business however before I could do that I suffered through my own learning curve on how this industry works.

All Advice isn't the same

Examine the source.  It's hard for me to write about investing in stocks, if I don't own any or the ones I do own are loosing so much money that it's a disgrace.  I can't tell you how to invest in real estate if all I've done is read books.  In my blogs I'm living it.  If I'm telling you about working on a commercial film I've done it and consistently being employed.  Play attention to the source of the information and advice.  

Questioned the internet because it's not always accurate.  I know you're reading this blog about advice, but you also Google everything.  Just because it's on Google doesn't make it so.  Read more, question more, listen actively and make an assertive effort to eliminate scrap.

I'm sleeping very soundly when my wife screams out, "Oh my gosh".  I thought something of the worst had happen, so I sprung out of bed, well maybe not sprung, and before I realized it I was outside watching the house next door engulf in flames.  As I write this the firemen are still working on the house.

It's an abandon building and looks like someone set fire to the porch area.  The heat was so intense from the porch fire that we could feel it on our porch a few houses down.  Our neighbor who parked his Jeep in front of the burning house his rubber fender burnt and his tail light popped.

As the Fire Chief walked around the property I told him his team did a great job.  He told me that someone set the fire and then ran down the street according to some eye witnesses.  The house was already condemned this didn't make it any worse.  The brick house now has a porch falling apart which our community hopes someone just tears the building down.

You should see my corn

This is the first year I decided to rent a plot in our community garden.  I grew corn, tomatoes and peppers.  The plot size I believe is 6 by 12 and we have volunteers from our group Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation maintain the garden.

Our community garden has been around for six years and it the largest community garden in the city.  The land is leased to us from Redevelopment which we have to raise money for insurance for liability, but pay nothing for rent.

Plot cost $25 plus $10 deposit

My wife rent a plot about every year.  I've been a little lazy about having a plot but this year decided I would grow corn.  My corn crop took off.  I had several plants producing several ears of corn.  So many corn ears I had to give half away.  I had a few critics telling the corn was a little starchy but I enjoyed eating each ear.

Community Garden is positive force

Having a garden plot in the middle of the city keeps a positive attitude for the neighborhood.  Drug dealers nor thugs hang out at the garden.  Some people volunteer from the project next door help keep the area clean.  Once we harvest the crops we donate the food to the local outreach program for the poor.

Meanwhile, I have more tomatoes than I eat so we give them away to friend, neighbors, and still have more left over for my wife and I.  Feasting on fresh vegetables were a hit in our family this year.  Can't wait until next year when I plan on planting more corn.  Bragging a little, I was only the community gardener that had corn growing at the garden.

For more information about our community garden and Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation:

Our website:

Home Depot is my favorite store to shop for materials for our rental and home improvements, so when I purchased some copper pipe fixing yesterday, the clerk warned me not to use my debit card because Home Depot system had been hacked.

Home Depot has had a security problem when they announced that their system had been hacked into and for customers to beware and check to make sure that their personal data had not been stolen.  Several large commercial outlets have been experiencing this type of threat.  Some assume it's the Russian mafia gathering personal information from American retailers.  Home Depot has been the latest victim.

Become mindful of your credit information and get a free credit check once a year.  We go over our bills online in the middle of the month just to make sure they are correct.  My wife challenges anything that looks suspicious.

This may be an opportunity for investors.  Home Depot has been lagging behind the market and if one is looking for stock that might take a dip in the coming months. Watch this one.

Helping our community one neighbor at a time.

We launched a program called, "Mending Fences" designed to help the elderly, low income, Vet and disabled homeowner.  Our mission was to take the worst block in the city and help everyone on that block.  When our program ended in August it was the most successful program of our organization's 11 year history.  We were able to help one veteran who lived in the neighborhood for 65 years fix everything from his roof to repairing water damage inside his house.  We were also able to paint every room in the house thanks to donors like 84 Lumber Company and Southwest Training Center and various church youth organization.

Today is the day of giving through a local foundation

Our program is looking for next year funds.  No one in our organization gets paid a dime and all monies go to helping our community.  For more information:


This is photo of our volunteers from Washington and Jefferson College.  Lunch break after working on various community projects.

Ashlyn is watchfully observing the outside.  If she spots someone entering our space she stares them down.  Well, she's not going to attack anyone, but she does notice everyone and everything.

When you have an endearing foster cat like Ashlyn she loves being around us so when we step outside she wants to go with us.  Ashlyn will sit in the window and watch us or our neighbors for hours.  It's her favorite pass time.  Nothing gets by her.  The window seal is her domain.

In the morning when we blend our veggie and fruit breakfast she finds a way to be under our feet looking for something from the blender.  She will let you know she wants some.  To our surprise, she enjoys it and gobbles it down.

Are all foster cats this compassionate?  No, so looking for a permanent home for her is going to be painful for us.  We have grown attached.  I guess it's what the Humane Society wants, foster parents to fall in love with their foster kittens and cats and permanently adopt them.  Oh that would be dream of ours to find a wonderful home for Ashlyn the guard cat.  I mean look at those eyes.  She determined to deter any would-be robbers.  I'm a little frighten by that stare are you?

I have always believed in Dollar General's business model.  Since I purchased the stock as an IPO in 2009 my return has been 173%.  A lot of investors have felt that Dollar General might be loosing their edge in this discount consumer market, but today an article by Ted Cooper from Motley Fool gives three reasons why he believes Dollar General is going to make even more money on the stock in the future.

  1. More stores to boost their profit.  Renovating current stores to fit the need.
  2. Same stores sales growth.  Maturing and establish stores are growing revenues not just opening new stores.
  3. Expanding private label business.  National brands bring in customers, but the profits are made on Dollar General's private labels.

For more information and the complete article read:

Things we do to make our dollar go a little further

My wife and I decided to rent out our house.  Which means we have to move into one of our apartments.  And we have to do it in a few weeks.  Yes, it will give us more money but for the moment it is stressful.  All those things that we accumulated over the years we have to move.  Some say it's a great time to clean out, throw away, give away.  It still one of life's highest stressors.

When you are retired and on a limited income you have to find ways to stretch that dollar.  Most retirees have to return to work because the money they put aside starts running out faster than they had hoped.  We are fortunate this is not our current situation.  We have saved and have a balanced portfolio with fixed assets, aggressive investing along with conservative funds and this move is not of dire necessary but it does help increase our cash flow.

Why are we moving out of our home?

Our home is really three apartments.  We live on the first floor apartment.  When one of our tenant was thinking about looking for a bigger place we suggested our first and second floor apartments.  We have rented out the second floor apartment in the past and it was now empty. They would go from a two bedroom duplex to five bedroom house they were thrilled.  We couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.  They get what they want and we get great tenants and our income for our house doubled.

How are we doing on our move?

We are moving into a smaller apartment. We are keeping the basement in our house and the third floor which was once called my "Man Cave".  The apartment we are moving will not be ready for a few weeks as our tenants moves into our house.  We will live for a month or two in the third floor one bedroom apartment.

Today, we are almost done with the moving.  We have certain pipes to fix, floors to mend for the incoming tenants but we now slowing down.  I had to fix a fire escape and we have to put a new shower in the second floor bathroom.

Moving is stressful though and no one really like moving.  So with that idea in mind, we are planning to stay put for a year or two, but that might change depending on our lifestyle.