Monday, March 3, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

I’ve been out of the loop for almost a month. Health issues and I’m only 47. Yikes I’m getting old!

Anyway, I realized St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon; March 17th for anyone who doesn’t know, and did some research regarding the holiday. I’m not Irish but nether was the man who became the patron saint of Ireland.

Historians believe St. Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat; his Romanicized name was Patricius and later it became the familiar Patrick everyone knows.

Patrick was kidnapped in South Wales by pirates when he was about 16 years of age and sold into slavery in Ireland. Mostly imprisoned for 6 years Patrick escaped from slavery and went to Britain then to France where he joined a monastery and studied under St. Germain, the bishop of Auxerre. After about 12 years of training he became a bishop and dreamed the Irish were calling him back to Ireland to tell them about God.

With the blessings of the Pope Patrick set out for Ireland; converting the Gaelic Irish, who were then mostly Pagans, by incorporating traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used the three-leafed Shamrock, and ancient symbol for the triple goddess Brigit, to explain the concept of the Trinity; the combination of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Also, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter because the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that reverence of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish.

St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 AD. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since. Although originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a more secular holiday.

In closing I leave you with some of my favorite blessings and sayings of Ireland:

“May you be inHeaven a half hour
before theDevil knows you're dead!”

“May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you Wherever you go.”

“May the best day of your past
Be the worst day of your future.”

Don't forget, Mother's Day is coming up. Photo blankets make great gifts, as does the Mother and Child jewelry found at

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Back From Surgery

Well here I am. Surgery is over and believe it or not, no pain at all. For that I am VERY thankful. I have to use crutches for at least two weeks and although that’s a bit cumbersome I manage well enough. It’s the, stay-in-bed-and-keep-your-leg-elevated that has me going CRAZY!-and wishing I had a lap top computer to make working on my web sites easier. (Ok, I admit. I do cheat a little during the day and make my way into our computer room for about twenty minutes to work on my sites but shsss, don’t tell!)

As some of you know, I launched my second web site for personalized baby gifts just before I was scheduled for surgery. The sooner I did the sooner I could start finding links for it. That, my friends, is a long process and one I don’t enjoy. Sometimes it takes an hour to find two links that don’t require a payment and hey, I’m small potatoes. I can’t afford all those fees. (Not many can.) So it’s off to finding free links and I’ve only just begun since I’m keeping myself in bed with my leg raised and I don’t have a lap top. But I did manage to get my Google sitemap placed on the new site and will have a new one for my first photo blanket site soon. I added a few more pages so thought I should update the sitemap.

And while I’m doing stuff for the baby gift website I continue to improve the old site. I get traffic, but I’d sure like to know how in the devil one obtains more than one or two sales a month. (Hey, I’m not complaining about having had sales. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have had any sales at all, but don’t let anyone tell you you’re going to build the site and make loads of money. It’s not going to happen, but I am optimistic enough to believe that if one remains slow and steady one day all the hard work will pay off.

So here’s to slow and steady. May it take me to new heights!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pending Surgery

With my Arthroscopy surgery fast approaching I’ll admit I’m starting to wonder how in the world I’m going to manage crutches for three weeks.

Sure, I’ve been on crutches in my life but I was younger then and didn’t have knee problems. However, now that both of my knees are bone-on-bone I shutter at the thought of having to use one leg only. It should prove to be an interesting accomplishment.

I have a split level home and thankfully everything I’ll need for those weeks are on the main floor minus a bed. Fortunately we have the frame for a queen size bed and my mother has a mattes so I’ll but putting that up sometime between Sunday and Wednesday so once I’m in the house I’ll be set—I hope. There will still be sending the children off to school come Monday morning, and the days following with lunches to be packed and all that jazz.

Yep, life is never dull and this is going to be an adventure.

I’ll be on leave from my real job for at least thee weeks. I was bummed a first since my surgery is happing a week and a half prior to the anniversary date of employment which would give me three weeks vacation pay. However, having worked for the company for, as of February 15th, twenty years, the owner of the salon is going to advance me my vacation pay. I’m thrilled beyond words.

So on February 1st another adventure in my life will begin. That, along with running my online store, should keep me from becoming bored. (By the way, I just launched my second web site. The new one will specialize in baby merchandise; gift baskets, fine jewelry, clothing and more. My first site for photo blankets has a few new items, and I’ve added a deal of the day section that I’ll rotate.)

In closing I’ll say, if you’re a person given to prayer and wouldn’t mind throwing a few extra words for me and my surgery deal in the mix I’d appreciate it. If you’re not a praying person cross your fingers!

Here’s to fast healing, and my you have an awesome week!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Redeemed From Google Hell

I was going to write in my blog yesterday but things came up to distract me, the kids, my job, and all that other stuff that goes along with being a mom that I simply couldn’t find the will to do one more thing last night.

Anyway, I managed to pull my web store back out of Google Hell. I’m back on the second page and for one of the keywords I’m the first position. That would be totally cool if more people were searching for that particular phrase but still, I’m not going to cry a river over it. In fact, I’m pleased to know I have accomplished first page placement somewhere on the Internet highway.

When I realized I’d blown my ranking with the changes I’d made I changed everything back to what had been. I believe the main key for my site is to generate links going to my site. An old saying says, “He who has the most toys wins” and in this case it’s, “He who has the most links win”. Knowing the number one site has over 6,000 links to it, and I have a modest 367 tells me I have my work cut out for me. It’s not impossible, but time consuming.

I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, have a great day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Search Engine Optimization

Since launching my first web store in November 2007 I’ve been reading tons of information on the subject of Search Engine Optimization and have discovered the quest for first page to be a frustrating challenge.

When my site launched I achieved second page ranking within a sort time span; an unheard of accomplishment by many ‘experts’ standards. Over the past weeks I’ve had plenty of phone calls from people in the web marketing industry trying to sell me online advertising or their method of optimizing my site and when I mention I’m on the second page of Google there is a stunned silence on the other end followed by the question, “How long have you had your site launched?” because they simply can’t understand how it’s possible for a newly created site to be positioned that close to the top page of the search engine.

As of this writing I’m not listed in the top 100. That happened before; just after Christmas 2007 when, upon reading more information on optimization I used the advice and changed some things on my site and bam. I was sent to Google hell. Not a fun place to be for anyone, and there are many there right now with me who don’t deserve to be there but are trying to get out.

I had managed to redeem myself by undoing what I had changed and hallelujah, I was put back on the second page within a couple of days.

Should have left well enough alone but I did it again and yep, I’m currently back in Search Engine purgatory and wonder what in the world I did to achieve punishment this time. According to everything I’ve read I should be nearer to the top than ever before but instead I went backwards—a lot.

What I don’t understand is how some of the sites on the top page remain there when, according to everything I’ve read, their sites aren’t optimized nearly enough. One of the sites doesn’t have more then two “keywords” in their Mega tags and the two they do have have nothing to do with the content of their page. According to ‘authorities’, my site should have taken them down a peg or two but instead I’m nowhere to be seen and they continue to reign supreme while others, whose pages are clearly more ‘optimized’ burn in Hades.

Of course there are still plenty of people around who would willingly ‘teach’ me the secret to success for a price I simply can not afford so I continue to study optimization, and wonder why the whole top page thing couldn’t be simpler and fairer for everyone. After all, a keyword search for my product yields 278,000 sites for the same item. This means, since there can only be 10 on the top page, others are NEVER going to sell anything unless some leprechaun spreads his luck upon them.

If the Search Engines would create a way to rotate the sites so that once a day the results very with different ‘stores’ everyone could have a piece of the Internet pie, and since it appears as though the stores currently sell dealerships and or affiliate programs they would still be making money each day I can’t fathom why rotation wouldn’t be a better method than the optimization game.

I’m not betting the Search Engines are going to jump on my idea like a dog to a bone but what the heck. Since I’m currently in their hell I don’t have anything else to do but dream.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Wedding Ring Coffin

I had to take my son to the allergy clinic this morning for his semi-weekly shot. This time I forgot to bring a book to read to pass the thirty minute wait required after the shot. (The wait is to insure there is no reaction to the shot, and because my son has had a reaction in the past—not a fun experience for neither him nor mom—I don’t mind the wait. Not having a book along was a dilemma since Doctor Offices usually have outdated magazines, but I scrounged through a pile nevertheless.

To my surprise and delete there was actually a December 2007 issue of Redbook cleverly hidden in the mix of pamphlets and well warn magazines that should have been discarded a few years ago at the least.

The fact I didn’t have a book along gave me a chance to glance at articles I would never bother reviewing normally which was great because I came across a little blurb about a woman named Jill Testa. Seems Jill had been recently divorced and while attending a funeral had an idea that really struck me as funny yet wonderful. She thought a great way to lay to rest her 20 year marriage was with a ring coffin.

Yes. You read it right; a ring coffin to “give a dead marriage its proper, final resting place”. (That’s from the website:

I couldn’t wait to arrive home and check out the site and folks let me tell you, it’s a great idea and the coffins are well made and beautiful. Looking at it almost cause me to wish I were getting a divorce. (My hubby knows I’m only kidding—a little.)

Under the sites “About us” heading you will find this poem:

“Once upon a time, there lived a young woman
who was lucky enough to meet a man
who she believed was her prince.

They fell in love,
got married,
had a child,
and almost lived happily ever after.

But after 20 years of kissing her prince,
the woman realized he was actually a frog!"

Isn’t that cute? I thought so, and if you’re going through a divorce I recommend checking the site out and giving that ring a proper resting place.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Be still.Listen.

Do you hear that?

Hopefully you aren’t hearing anything, although in my case at the moment I hear my children running around the living room having a sliding contest regarding whose socks work the best on the hardwood floor. Good luck to them though. My floor requires some polishing and obstacle removal before it will be top notch smooth sailing material. But my point is this: The holiday rush is OVER!!!

Ah. The tranquility of it reaches beyond peaceful. Don’t get me wrong. I do like the Christmas season and all the Happy New Year jazz even though I was feeling like a hum bug mom not long ago. But I very much like the quite aftermath once the dust has settled, the gift wrap is put away and the Christmas tree has retired for another eleven months.

This Christmas was made special because my husband’s family was able to be together. He has three sisters. One lives in the same town as us but the other two live out of state so since they were able to venture north for Christmas makes the holiday more special and what little time we are able to spend with them is always well worth everything.

This evening was a New Years day meal at my in-laws and my children were able to spend time with cousins they don’t see often enough.

Well…..ok. The truth is, Nintendo DS is owned by all and was played by all but they were doing it at the same time so that counts as interacting—right?

Actually, it wasn’t that bad. They did interact, as the photo I uploaded of my daughter her cousin Bethany proves.

School begins Thursday (Praise the Lord!). It will be nice to get back to working on my website for woven photo blankets as well as the next one I’m planning. That one is going to offer personalized baby gifts. Finding suppliers who sew is going to be the key ‘cause I don’t sew. But some people do and perhaps they would like to add their blankets and other personalized gifts for babies to the site.

Yes, I’m looking forward to life becoming peaceful once again. Now if school could just be year round!