How to make your own website with Squidoo

I found yet another cool web service.  This one lets you create your own webpages: Squidoo.  The idea is that you can create a "lens" or a webpage around any topic you want.  They make it easy but allowing you to add lists of links, lists of Amazon products, text, or pictures.  If the website makes money, you get to say what you want to happen with the money.  You can take it in cash or donate it to any number of charities.  Mine is currently going to the Covenant House, a shelter for runaway kids that I volunteered with.

Squidoo did make it really easy to create a web page that looked pretty good.   It was a bit slow though – my first "lens" doesn’t have everything on it that I wanted on it because I lost patience!  Check it out, it’s on audio books:  Listen for Fun.  Then create one of your own!

Will our current corporate culture change?

Escape from the Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim has a podcast by Dr. Srikumar Rao, Columbia and London Business Schools, author of Are You Ready to Succeed?  My favorite quote was:

I don’t have a work life and a personal life.  I have one life and either it’s working or it’s not.

If you are the same person at work and at home and if you are unhappy at work or at home, you’ll likely be unhappy both at work and at home.

Pamela thinks the corporate environment is so broken that so many people will start leaving to start their own business that corporations will have to change in order to keep people.  Maybe I’m a cynic but I think it’s much easier for people to go into work everyday and collect a paycheck than it is for them to dream up a business model, quit and run a business.   I think corporations and the current corporate culture is around to stay for a while.

One of the reasons that many small business owners are not successful is because they want to do what they love, not run a business.  For example, massage therapists go into massage because they like massage therapy and want to help people and then they discover that you have to run your own business.   Giving massages is not the same as advertising, making business cards, renting an office, scheduling clients, etc.  Running a business is a lot of work.  If you just like writing code or giving massages or fixing cars, you might not be willing to quit your job to start a business of your own.  You might spend a lot less time actually writing code or giving massages.

Free 411 calls

I have to admit I’m guilty of calling 411 a lot more than I’d like.  You’re driving around and you need directions to a store or you want to call a restaurant and what do you do, you call 411 for the number.  Then you get your cell phone bill and realize you paid a dollar a call!  Well now there’s a free 411 service if you are willing to listen to a 20 second ad.  I found this on Real Simple:


Another solution is to keep a phone book in your car. 

Would you rather be dead?

My vet says my dog would rather be dead.  Actually, he didn’t say it like that and he’s a great guy but he does really think I should euthenize her.  I don’t agree.  As of yesterday she was still walking around, following us everywhere, tail wagging.  Not her usual self, but she still wanted to be a part of things.  Today I’m not so sure.  She slept most of the day and she had to be coaxed out to the car to see the vet.  But he assures me she’s not in pain, she’s just extremely uncomfortable.  So how do you decide whether she’s so uncomfortable that she’d rather be dead?  Personally, I think she’d rather be alive.  Am I making the right decision?  Nobody can know.

As for what’s going on – Teddy was diagnosed with kidney failure last September.   The vet gave her two months to two years to live and it looks like it’s going to be within the next week. She’s down to 35 pounds – from 75 pounds a year ago and she hasn’t eaten anything for the past week.  I’m going to miss her!

Which would you prefer, more money or more friends?

I just read a very thought provoking article, Why Having More No Longer Makes Us Happy by Bill McKibben.  The author argues that pursuing more wealth worked well in the past when we didn’t have much material wealth but now that we are a relatively wealthy nation, pursuing more and more wealth is making us less happy not happier.   His main points are:

  1. We are pursuing more and more wealth because it worked in the past,
  2. We are spending less and less time with family and friends,
  3. We are busier and more isolated,
  4. And it isn’t working anymore.

He points out that if you are rich in relationships and poor, more money might make you happy, but if you are poor in relationships and have plenty of money, a new friend will make you much happier than more money.  If you are a peasant in China with lots of relationships and no money, a little money can go a long way towards making you happier but a sixth person living in your house won’t.  On the flip side, if you are an American living in a 2000 square foot house, another friend might make you a lot happier than the money for another coffee maker.

He argues that in the pursuit of wealth, we’ve lost our community.  We spend less and less time with family and friends and more and more time isolated: commuting, working, watching tv, surfing the internet.  And yet studies show that it’s social networks (the real ones, not the virtual ones) that keep us happy and even healthy.  Robert E. Lane, a Yale political
science professor writes that "evidence shows that companionship … contributes more to
well-being than does income."

One point he made that really struck me because I can’t tell you how many people told me that college was going to be the best years of my life and I kept asking, "Why?  Does it go downhill from there?"  Apparently it does if you look at the quality of your relationships.

Why do people so often look back on their college days as the best
years of their lives? Because their classes were so fascinating? Or
because in college, we live more closely and intensely with a community
than most of us ever do before or after?

Something I read recently said that the number of friends we have drops off dramatically after our 20s.  Recently, I’ve realized that I really miss the number of friends I had in my teens and 20s.  I did things with large groups of friends several times a week if not every day.  Now we are lucky if we squeeze something in once a week.  And even when you have time (like when I was on maternity leave), your friends likely won’t have time!

So think about it.  Increasing the time you spend with your friends and extended family will do more to make you happy than a raise at work.  And I’d even argue it’d make you happier than winning the lottery!

Are you always hot? Or always cold?

Cognitive Friday got some interesting data about who is always hot and who is always cold.  As most of us would have guessed, women are much more likely to be cold than men.  (As I type this my hands are freezing!)  Thin people and young people are also more likely to be cold. 

One related theory I heard is that women have a much smaller range of "comfortable" temperatures because their bodies need to be able to regulate a fetus’ temperature.  I no longer believe this one because the one thing I really loved about being pregnant was always having warm hands!  So obviously I was much warmer when I was pregnant than when I’m not pregnant.

Cognitive Friday also discovered that exercise didn’t change people’s answers at all which surprised me.  I wonder if you could measure muscle mass if that would coorelate to feeling warmer like being overweight does?

Do you fit the data?  If not, how are you different?

Videos of the kids

Here’s a video of Caleb trying his bouncy swing for the first time! 

I finally started playing with the video function on my camera and Anita has helped me with editing them.  So here’s my first video blog post.

How to share a video on a blog

Here’s how to share a video on a blog:

  1. Capture a video.  I use the video function on my camera and then upload it just like I do my pictures.  One tip: make the video twice as long as you think it needs to be.
  2. Edit the video.  Anita uses Windows Movie Maker that comes free with Windows XP SP2. You might need to:
    1. Shrink the video.  Anything larger than 4-5 MB will take a long time to upload.
    2. Rotate it.
    3. Combine videos.  The one of Caleb in his bouncy swing is actually three videos.  (If you watch closely, you’ll see him bonk his head on the door frame and then it cuts to the next video!  He didn’t get hurt – it didn’t faze him at all – but it worried me enough to stop video taping!)
  3. Upload it to  You’ll need an account.
  4. Once you’ve uploaded it, YouTube will give you the code to paste in your blog.  Under "Edit Video Information," at the bottom of the page, there’s some code in the box called "Embed HTML."

Do rich people make you uncomfortable?

Do rich people make you uncomfortable? 

I’ve been surprised lately at how many people say they don’t like rich people.   For example, I have massage therapist friends who won’t work on wealthy people  (How’s that for a business plan!) because they find rich people’s concerns and troubles just too far removed from what they consider reality.  Another example.  I have a group of friends that raise guide dog puppies and they are great people.  I never realized that they were all  pretty wealthy until I invited a friend to a guide dog puppy party and he said he had nothing in common with them.  I tried pointing out all the things they had in common (dogs, kids, houses, location, hobbies) and he just couldn’t get over that they were in a different socio-economic group therefore they must not have anything in common!

I wasn’t raised in a rich family but it was rich in experience.  Every year I become more aware of how diverse my experience was.  I have a friend who also grew up overseas – she’s lived in several different countries and met lots of people and she’s very outgoing.  I thought that meant she’d be comfortable in any social situation.  So I was surprised when I took her to a country western bar and she was extremely uncomfortable – it was a culture she had never experienced before.  She didn’t dance (even though she loves dancing) and she won’t go back. 

Growing up not only did I meet farmers as well as city people, I also met rich people as well as poor people.  (And for the record, despite the stereotype some farmers are very wealthy.)  I have friends who have more family money than I’ll ever have unless I win the lottery and I have friends that barely make it paycheck to paycheck.  My dad even used to invite this homeless woman to a cup of coffee every day.  So I never knew that people in different socio-economic groups make people uncomfortable.   I never considered them different than me – they might have different problems or different priorities because life has dealt them a different deck of cards but they were still people very much like me!  It also helps that I know millionaires that wear jeans and drive old pickup trucks and people driving brand new cars that live paycheck to paycheck.

I think people are uncomfortable with rich people because they believe that money will solve all their problems.  And if money will solve all their problems then rich people must not have any real problems. Neither is true.  Money might enable you to buy clothes and activities for your kids but it won’t teach you how to be a good parent.  Money might buy you the right clothes and entrance to clubs but it won’t buy you good friends.  Money might give you time to spend with your spouse but it won’t make you a good partner.  Money might enable you to go to med school but it won’t make you a doctor.  Money can’t live your life for you and while it may make some things easier it won’t solve all your problems.  If you were rich, you would still have problems and they would not be trivial.

Rich people are just people too.  When you consider what money can do to someone, you might even consider that the rich are people with more problems than average.  They can’t blame lack of money for not accomplishing something in life.

Wear your shoes on a boat or else!

KEEN Sandals

Frankstoe Wear your shoes on a boat … or this is what happens to your toe! 

(Note that I didn’t wear shoes at all from Monday to Friday – not even to restaurants.  Lucky it’s not my toe!)

Frank loves his new Keen H2.  A lot of people on the sailing forums swear by them!  Too bad he wasn’t wearing them!