2011: Good habits as a state of mind

Past results

It’s almost 2011 and like every year since I was 13, I am thinking about what new resolutions I should endorse. I am not original in the slightest. My resolutions are usually made up of things I will start doing e.g. calling home more or swimming at least once a week or simply telling myself to take better care of myself (I know I shouldn’t need to tell myself that but there you have it). I never give much thought to how I’m going to achieve these things. Sure enough, I score less than 50% at the end of the year and end up feeling daft.

What to change

This year I want to form habits, good solid habits that I believe will make the next one-third of my life better than the preceding years. If I take little steps, I may indeed find it easier to be kinder to myself all round. I have read that a good  mental state, free from worry, can lengthen life expectancy. I’m talking about being happy with where I am, be it at home or at work. It’s about taking each day at a time and worrying less about the things I cannot change. So if I make a resolution like”Worry less”, it’s unlikely to help. I have to create habits that I will practice in bite sizes throughout 2011. I am inspired by The Simple Mom and a book I once read called, ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s all small stuff)’ by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. I actually read this book twice.

Be of a sound mind, soul and body in 2011(photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com)

What habits?

I will break down my resolution into key action habits. Just to reiterate, the resolution is to take better care of my mind, soul and body. I reckon that cultivating one habit will take four to eight weeks to master and there will be several habits that need mastering so there are lots to work on in 2011. These will include but are not limited to:

  1. Starting and ending the day with prayer (no matter how hectic!)
  2. Having breakfast everyday
  3. Nurturing my friendships
  4. Playing golf more often
  5. Finding another sport to be passionate about (snowboarding?)
  6. Reminding myself everyday that I have every reason to be happy (I do!)

And I will generally stay positive and encouraged within myself. I have found that life seems to be constructed to bring people down. There are always those that will discourage you and there will be situations that make me want to give up. In 2010, I achieved a lot at home, in my studies and at work. I will continue to push back at life to achieve more in 2011. Maybe I will even stumble onto that business idea. Who knows? I am turning deaf ears to the government cuts in the UK and the predictions of doom. Good habits for my mind, soul and body are here to stay.


New Year – New You! The Path to Successful New Year’s Resolutions « The Simple Mom.

The truth is I’m a liar

When I started this blog in November 2010, I told myself that I was going to take my time, go at my own pace. I lied- I’ve decided I want to blog more.

I’ll be posting on My Business Addiction at least once a week for all of 2011. I know it will be a struggle with all I have going on but WordPress is kindly offering inspiration and support :-). Therefore, I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals to help me along the way. I will ask for help and encourage others where I can.

If you already read this blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments, likes and goodwill throughout 2011. Thank you in advance.


How NOT to kill a chicken or turkey (especially if you have young children)

Chickens pecking at feed

Photo by Fir0002, Flagstaffotos.com.au, 2010

This Christmas, my sister and I had our brother came down from Cleveland, Ohio to spend the holidays in Aberdeen! It is turning to be great fun and I couldn’t help remembering some of our Christmases growing up back at home. Especially the one with the headless chicken…..

I think it was 1987 or thereabouts. My mum bought 3 live chickens (chicken is more common for Christmas than turkey where I am from) for Christmas lunch. She bought them about a month in advance. Because we three kids stuck together like glue and we looked like triplets anyway (actually 18 months apart each), we divided everything by 3. And fortunately, there were 3 chickens so we named them after ourselves! Chicken 1 was K, chicken 2 was N and of course, my lil’ bro, R was chicken 3. It all worked out! So each day after school, we’d come into the back garden and play with the chickens, chasing them around and observing what K, N and R were up to. Then one day, we came home to find R’s (chicken 3) legs tied together and under my mum’s feet. She had a knife in her right hand.

I exclaim, ‘oh no, she’s killing R!!!’
My sister shouts, ‘Mummy, don’t kill R!’

And we start to cry and mum just can’t make the move to cut the chicken’s throat. She let’s R the chicken go from under her feet and there were signs of relief all round. It’s one of those pictures that never leaves my brain. Now, it’s funny and we laugh when we talk about but that day, when R’s neck was about to get sliced..it wasn’t funny.

Somehow, mum got us all in the house and tried to get on with killing the chickens in time for Christmas lunch. She had some success, well kind of because as she finally got K (Chicken 1) in the right position, with the knife slicing through her neck, my sister and I spring out of nowhere (actually we had been peeping through the kitchen door for 3 seconds before)! We gave my mum such a fright, she let go of K and ooooooooh boy. The chicken went berserk around the garden at unbelievable speed, headless. The rest is history as they say. We did not go hungry that Christmas but we nearly did. And my mum never bought things in 3s again, especially LIVE things.

So if you can help it this Christmas:

  • Opt for dead birds at the store
  • If you must have a live one, don’t let your kids get acquainted
  • Keep the kids away when you are killing the bird
  • And finally, don’t let go of the bird until you’re sure it’s dead!

This christmas will be awesome as we reflect on the good times and even “scary” times like the headless chicken and laugh so hard. I am very grateful for my siblings this christmas. And I hope life continues to let us smile and laugh together for as long as possible.

Left to right: K, N and R, Christmas 2010 (The humans, 24 years later)

Happy christmas!

How google search engine spiders work

By Guest author,  Nancy Dafiewhare, MD Magnifique Media

Google has become the world’s most famous and most used search engine. It is now common for people to say “I’ll Google it” if they are looking for information about something. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has now become one of the widely used techniques in digital marketing and rightly so. For anyone looking to market or are already marketing their products/services online via a website, SEO is not one to be ignored.

There are a lot of myths surrounding how Google indexes a website. Just like any other trade there are a lot of cowboy SEO techniques out there using black hat tricks to get Google’s attention.  These include stuffing the meta keywords of the webpage with words/phrases the website wishes to be found on.  The Google bot (Google’s search engine spider) has evolved a lot over the years and it continues evolving. It is aware of the black hat tricks and has taken steps to make sure such cheating websites do not get to the top of search engine results. Google no longer looks at the meta keywords in a website as part of the indexing process.

Get to the top of the search (www.freedigitalphotos.net)

The things Google bot looks for in a website when indexing include:

  1. Coding of website:  In order for Google bot to successfully crawl your website, the website coding needs to be pure HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language).
  2. Meta title: This is the title of the page Google is crawling (it appears on top your browser telling you what page on a website you’re on for instance ‘About us’ page).
  3. Meta description:  These are a set of phrases or sentences that describes or summarise what the web page is about.
  4. Body content: This is the text content of the page. Google gathers this information together with the first two and decides if your website is genuine portrayal of what it is claiming to be.
  5. Back links: These are the number of external links that point to your page. If you have a good number of reputable websites that link to your own website then Google increases your website score which will help to push your website up on the search engine results.

As easy as it appears, a lot of websites still get these simple basics wrong and miss out on a lot of traffic due to improper indexing of their website. Watch this space for  some tips on how to climb to the top of the ranks!

What are you reading your blog with?

I discovered a few days ago that my blog comes up with a funky layout when I view it on an iphone and an ipad. It had been fine on both devices since November when I started blogging. I usually add new posts with my netbook or laptop so I can’t place my finger on exactly when it went pear-shaped on the i-tools. Also, other blogs showed  up ok on all devices.

On an ipad/iphone, the following problems currently exist that did not exist before:

  • My sidebars are gone
  • My title is on the left side of the screen instead of the center
  • The body of my post is only three quarters visible as the rest of it seems to be sliced off the screen vertically

I went to the Support page on WordPress and tried a few things based on advice in the forum. I checked that:

  • I didn’t have any strange HTML in any posts. This meant checking every post one by one for tags like <div>, which are usually the culprit. I didn’t find any.
  • I didn’t have any text widgets as these may be problematic if not properly customised.
  • Any cookies and caches on my ipad/iphone were cleared.

The only thing I had left to do was to change the theme (my beloved theme) to something else and see if there was any improvement. So here I was going between my netbook and my ipad trying to see if changes I make on the “book” affect the layout on the “pad”. Anyway, I found that changing the theme works and some themes are better than others in terms of width, number of widgets accommodated on the sidebar and so on. Maybe everyone else knows this but I just discovered today that not any ol’ theme will do. And that’s the story: I had to change my theme to make my blog look good on ipads and iphones. I hope Apple is grateful because I loved my old dark wood theme. But I’m still wondering though: how many people read blogs on ipads, iphone and other Smart devices? I can’t help wondering. Please respond to the poll in the sidebar to put me out of my misery. Thanks!

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