The market is up over 20% this year and I'm beating that number by 4%.  In my numerous blogs  I have mentioned the stock I have invested in. I haven't really found any great deals out there so far.  The market is a "Greed" market now which means there will come some adjustments.  Riding out the market doesn't mean that I'm not an active investor it just means I watching the indicators are what I want next.

Keeping some cash for investments

I have 95% return since 2009 using  Scottrade  https://www.scottrade.com.  Dealing with a small brokerage like Etrade or Scottrade means I'm not paying premium prices on trades.  I started with about $500 and build my account from there.  Keeping cash in these accounts allow me to look for deals and when I find something I like I buy it.  

Should I sell my Dollar General

I'm still holding on to my Dollar General stock even though I sold a few shares awhile back.  I loosened up some cash to purchase stock from China's market that are doing extremely well.  However, Dollar General which has been up for last few days might have hit a high in its marketplace.  Discount stores are having some challenges as the economy gets better, so it might be something for me to consider.

Keeping my IBM and Berkshire and Hathaway

To tell you these stocks are keeping up with the market wouldn't be giving you an accurate account.  They do not.  IBM lags behind the market and this year showing only single digit increases.  For some investors that would shy them away from IBM and Berkshire and Hathaway (Warren Buffett's company) because they don't give you the big numbers.  These companies are steady and sold returns.  I don't look for them to build huge numbers but for them make a little bit even in a down market.

Other stock I'm riding out the market in

Facebook, American Homes 4 Rent, my Chinese stock (Baidu and Qihoo) I have no plans on selling any of these stocks this year.  They have kept up with the market except American Homes 4 Rent but maintain a steady increase.  Beware of the notion of jumping around every time some analyst tells you the stock market is about to crash or make a huge adjustment.  it's what the market does.  I'm holding on, looking for deals.  
 
 
For twenty Years I never missed an entire month of a workout and this is why

Because I don't make it stressful on myself.  I don't buy into the latest health agendas and stick to what works for me.  What works for me?  I'm in this for the long haul and when a I miss a day or a week, I slowly ease myself back into a routine.  

Today I'm back in the gym after about week of not working out.  The body really doesn't forget, but you have to retrained the mind.  Missing workouts don't upset me that much, it's just life.  Sometimes you can't get back into the gym so when you do let that quilt fade away with all the sweat pouring off your body when you're there.  

Keep it interesting

When I return to the gym after long pauses in my workout, I start with something different or new.  For example: I've been pushing the stationary bike really hard before my break.  My first day back this week, walked treadmill and not with a lot of intensity.  Starting out very slow and increasing the speed, I got a great workout without the drama.

Mix up the workouts.  Try zoomba or yoga if you haven't done it.  Try walking or hiking in the woods.  Take a long bike ride in the park.  I have power bands, light weights and exercise tapes to keep my program fresh.

When you need a rest

The body needs rest more than anyone willing to write about.  You need exercise different muscle groups worked.  Routines can be dangerous.  You might find that you are exercising the same muscle fibers to death and that can cause stress and injuries.  The mind is muscle group and it gets bored and you begin to level off and you not getting any better.  Switch up and rest a bit.


 
 
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Growing up with the Turtles

I watched TMNT as a cartoon and enjoyed it.  Even though some of classmates at that time thought it was a little childish, well I flew sometimes by my own navigation.  The team of mutant turtles consist of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo they are some crime slashing, trash talking, ninja fighting superheroes.  Along with their master who is rat Splinder, the action in this movie never stops.

Megan Fox as April O'Neal lights up the screen

Megan Fox appears as a heroine in this movie soon to be a series.  At first, as a reporter she doesn't just want to be a pretty face she wants to be an investigator who researches and writes the hard news.   Her camera man Vernon Fenwick played by Will Arnett is more interested in dating her than listening to her desires for serious reporting. The reason this is a family friendly movie is that you never see any sexual display between the two and Arnett  is the comedic relief.

Turtles have to look real

My appreciation to the special effects crew and it takes a lot of very talented people to pull this off.  Yes turtles and the rat look very real beyond just someone dressing up in a costume.  This is a fantasy movie, but the effects in this first edition of TMNT made the mark.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie is the number one movie in the country

I love action movies that make sense.  Seeing the bad guys loose their entire score even though it doesn't appear as they will.  I like sitting on the edge of me seat waiting for the good guys to come to the rescue, but it looks like the won't.  The writing held true to the original concept of The Mutants and the way they explained every step of their mutation completed the story without loosing the momentum of the storytelling.

This movie is kid friendly which means adults like us can enjoy ourselves too.

 
 
If You Want Something Done Asked A Busy Person

When I was an operation manager for a security firm, I went to night school to study management, business and grammar.  I also was getting up at 5am to go into the gym to prepare myself for powerlifting contests.  I was so busy with my business life, I was using my downtime to become more creative.  My passion paid off when I was promoted about every two years.

When I was operational manager I was busy.  I rewrote the security procedures for the company.  Would start writing operational manuals for the office at 4am in morning and not leave the office until 6pm that night.  I updated more manuals in one year than the company did in about ten years.  

Through my creative mind I found ways to expedite the instructional process by using photos in the manuals to simplify the security explanation process.  

My ideas were flowing so rapidly that I couldn't keep up with them.  I was stressed but wildly creative.

When you're stress create an environment that allows escapism

Great ideas are sometimes created out of frustration, stress, overworked or at least that's what works for me.  My mental thinking becomes more creative when I'm under extreme pressure.  I'm always looking for ways to get more out of my day.  I read more, study more, experiment more and during my business life I have developed ideas that are off the charts.  When my down time comes, I rest and look for my next great idea.

Creativeness doesn't mean you're be appreciated. Doesn't always evolve into a system that works.

Development needs time and sometimes money.  For example:  I redesigned my company's corporate office structure.  In the beginning it made sense to me, but it really wasn't practical for the firm I was working for.  They lack the funds to hire the personnel. I felt that the existing structure for the organization was non-functional.  Even though I examine the executive structure correctly, it would take several years for any of my ideas were implemented. 

I was not appreciated for my efforts.  Because of the political nonsense, most managers felt i was trying usurp their authority and they were not interested in more effective management system.

How is it working for me now

Retirement is busy stage in my life.  I have to set priorities.  I'm more busy now than when I was working.  In order to be creative, I block out time for my creative thoughts.  Between my volunteer life, writing life and business life, I like brain-storming. I find I'm always working on ideas and formulas to make my life a little easier for me.  The creative energy is aalways flowing.



 
 
For almost five months my wife and I didn't eat any meat, cheese products, or breads.  I would loose about 12 pounds in the process, I'm 157 the lowest I've been in about twenty years, so vegan diet was working for me.  When our friends from Panama told us they became vegans, we had to have the recipes.

Each morning currently, I wake up and my wife begins blending fruit and vegetables for our breakfast food.  We go through so much fruit and vegetables that are freezer is full of fruit  Once we have our power drink ready, our cat Ashlyn wants a taste.  We give her a small cup and she enjoys it.

The result is my blood pressure is lower and my pants are fallen off my waist.  I'm loving it.  At first, I thought I would never go more than a few weeks without eating all that meat and cheese, but after a few weeks of not eating meat, I really didn't miss it.  Giving up bread which is my weakness was the hardest. 

My wife used the crockpot to stew several vegetables mixing it with an array of beans with my favorite pinto beans.  Once stewed the beans taste like beef stew without the beef.  I was never hungry with this diet and we were meat free for over four months.

I also increased my aerobic exercise.  Using the stationary bike, I push to do 30-40 minutes burring up over 200 calories before hitting the weights.

Being a vegan really isn't for everyone.  I've return to eating meat, but haven't given up my morning smoothies.  I'm maintaining my weight and keeping my blood pressure in line.





 
 
Currently we are in the process of looking for a tenant for one of our buildings.  It's easy to find a tenant, it's extremely difficult to find a great tenant.  There is no simple way of screening except to be prepared for a long procedure but if you don't do it right you will have problems in the end.

Take Your Time

We are not in a hurry to fill a renter.  If a perspective tenant is in a early to move then that's an indication something is wrong where they are living.  We tell every perspective tenant if they are in a hurry you might want to look somewhere else.

Keep your rents a little high

When we sold a few of our rental properties last year, the buyers didn't really want to meet our price.  They felt our price for rental unit was a little too high.  Our broker asked them to look around and see if anyone else was getting the type of rent prices we were.  They returned in 24 hours and purchased our property.

We keep our rents above the market.  The reason is that you don't get the run-of-the-mill tenants.  You will need the extra cash to keep up the on the maintenance.  If your building is maintained great tenants will stay with you for a long time.  This decreases your turnover keeping your profits solid for your investment.

Always do a background check


I can't tell you how many perspective tenants will tell us they have nothing in their background until we check.  A man from Georgia told us he didn't have any problems with his background.  He thought since he was out of state it wouldn't show up.  When we ran his background, we discovered he owed several landlords in Georgia thousands of dollars.  We didn't rent to him.

People will lie and you have be aware that they will.  So, don't take their word for it, check it out for yourself.  You'll be safer and smarter that way.

As I'm writing this blog, I'm placing signs in the yard, writing an ad for Craig's List, and considering paying for an ad in the local paper.  Usually, Craig's List has been wonderful, but this year I'm not getting the volume of calls I have had in the past.  Having a vacant unit means lost of money which sometimes it takes years to recover.  

We a tenant for 20 years


Of course, I wish all my tenants were twenty year old tenants, but most stay for around 5  years.  They leave mainly due to life changes, but comment that we were great landlords.  The longer you keep your tenants the better your cash flow.
 
 
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Some people write about things they know a little about, I write about topics that I have a passion for and have some experience in.  Investing in the stock market, it's one of my joys.  When the market tumbles, I don't panic,  just hold on to my portfolio and remind myself the market will return.

Since 2009-2014 these are the stocks I have made money in

Dollar General 149% return

I purchased Dollar General as IPO in 2009 at $22.90 it's trading over $57.  My research indicated that Dollar General was operating smoothly before going public.  Also the climate of economic struggles played into the Dollar General's philosophy of low prices for their area customers.  Dollar General continues to give Wal-Mart competition.

Baidu (the Google of China) 161% Return

Studied Baidu for several years.  When it went from $8 a share to over $800, I thought there was something there.  When Baidu split 10 to 1 I purchased the stock in 2010 at $82.35 and today it's selling over $211.  What keeps my interest in Baidu is that it is the largest search engine in China making it the second largest search engine in the world behind Google.  Since Google can't break into China's market, Baidu seemly has no outside competition.

Qihoo 360 Technology Co. LTD 212% Return

While researching Baidu's competition I came across Qihoo.  Qihoo 360 provides internet and security application for mobile devices in China.  Qihoo creates competition for Baidu.  I purchased the stock February of 2013 based on my research at $30.69 and currently it's selling for $96.

Very few analyst are willing to consider Baidu or Qihoo for investment opportunities.  Over the years, I have discovered that some analyst do not trust China nor do they feel Baidu or Qihoo are good investments.  China is still considered the wild west by some financial analysts but if you are willing to take a risk like I did, it could pay off.

Facebook 90% Return

Understand sometimes the experts get it wrong.  The experts wrote that Facebook company was over valued.  The experts claimed that company couldn't make any money or have any decent returns for stockholders.  I purchased Facebook in 2012 as IPO for $38 and today is selling for over $72.  I read as much as I can from experts, but make my own decisions in the end.

Can I expect these returns by investing in these stock?

Investment is a gamble.  Warren Buffett has the best idea, Long Term Investing.  Some of these stocks I purchased have a five year run.  If you decide to do your research and found these stocks suitable you might have a decent return, but it might not be over 100%.  Baidu and Qihoo have closed marketplace.  How much more expansion can China do?  Asked yourself.  Facebook and Dollar General have expanded their operations, but will the better economy challenge the profit model for Dollar General and will Facebook experience the younger audience leaving for Twitter, Instagram or other social media outlets.  

Do not take any one person's opinion when come to your investments.  Research, study, and have tons of patience.


 
 
Robin Williams dead as an apparent suicide say it isn't so.  How many times I watch him, admired him, laugh with him, now he's dead.  Hope it was something more than just Williams taking his own life.  Tomorrow, we will have to wait to see.
 
 
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According to a poll conducted by CBS Polls confirms that only 36% of Americans want the Congress to sue President Obama while 54% disagree.  When did we decide and on what planet where it's better to sue a president than impeach him?  It's better to sue the president than concentrate on working on a bill to make life better for our nation?  It's better to sue the president than fight against his agenda inside the walls of Congress?  It's better to sue the president, than to find a way to work together?

This is such a waste of taxpayers time and money that I understand why conservatives, moderates and independent voters are frustrated with their government especially Congress.  We elected the representatives to go to Washington to take care of our business.  Not their specific agendas from some party but our agendas.  We understand that we won't get everything we want, but pass the laws and policies that we can receive what we need.  

But rather than discuss laws, introduce bills, vote on pressing matters, our lame Congress would rather take all this time and sue the president.  I understand it's an election year and things get a little nasty.  Suck it up!!!  Go raise money which it seems that's what our politicians are good at, challenge, debate but more important keep the country moving ahead while you are doing it.

If Congress can't accomplish what we elected them to do we the people should fire everyone of them.  However, what we do, we vote these nuts back in.

 
 
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A photo of Ashlyn protecting our shoes by the door

Our little Ashlyn has been having a hard time breathing or catching her breath.  Sometimes it sounds like a snort, but last few days, it got a little worse.  When we took.

Ashlyn is our foster kitten.  She is just so adorable.  The Humane Society told us she had a little cold and it might be something she picked up at the shelter.  We took this lovable kitten home and hoped for the best. She has never gotten over it.

My wife called the HS telling them about her breathing the other day.  We might have to take in her on to get checked out.  We worry about Ashlyn because our last foster cat Raisin had a breathing problem which no one seemed to know what to do.  When we left her at the shelter to go on vacation, we returned to find they had to put her down.  My wife felt extremely sad and guilty but they reported that there was nothing they could do.  We don't anything like this to happen to our Ashlyn.

Finding a special talent that Ashlyn has

Beside being one of the most lovable foster kittens we have fostered Ashlyn does like finding her way to other floors by dashing through the door when we open it.  She enjoys waking us up before 8am even when she has a lot of food in her plate.  She enjoys drinking our healthy vitamin packed vegetable and fruit drink we blend up every morning, but she doesn't process any marketable YouTube skills.  Oh well. (this story has nothing to do with her breathing problem, I just decided to throw it in there)

Being a foster parent has its rewards.  You get to keep a cat or kitten in your home, outside the shelter and they get a chance to bond with you.  And maybe you might think about adopting.  We are able to house kittens or cats with some mental and medical problems and the love we get in return makes it all worth it.