BITS 'N TIDBITS April 2001
(C) Joan-Marie Moss April 2001

BASIC HOUSEKEEPING

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IN THIS ISSUE

The business of Building a Home 
Resources for learning about color
Spring Cleaning for Better Health
Quality Management: Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow
Cookies -- how sweet are they?
Just for Fun
Newbie Club
Words of Wisdom

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THE BUSINESS OF BUILDING A HOME

I laugh when people insist on separating business from home. The cry of women's lib was that housekeeping is boring and stifling. Nothing can be further from the truth. The only way housekeeping is boring is when we let day-to-day chores overshadow the creativity and the challenges of making our living quarters a home.

INTERIOR DECORATING = BRANDING AND IDENTITY

What does it take to make four walls a home? Lots of creativity. Look around. What do you see? 
Plain vanilla? 
Clutter?
Do you like being there? If not, why not?
Would a touch of excitement add interest? 
Would a different color on the walls make a difference? 

If you live in an apartment where you can't change the walls, what would happen if you changed the colors of your accessories? The science of color is phenomenal. Carefully identifying and changing colors based on their characteristics can significantly change the feel of a place and you feel when you're there.

This is true also when it comes to being selective about what we surround ourselves with. Simple tactics like finding family heirlooms, now hidden away in boxes, and displaying them on bookshelves and in picture frames can add pizzazz.

Of course it might take some doing to decide which ones you want to display prominently and what is the best way to show them off. But, oh, what an uplift when you can enjoy them and take inspiration from them on a daily basis.

Same with our best china and linens….we save them special occasions, right? But isn't today a special occasion? Or, couldn't you make it one? Those precious things won't mean much to you when you're dead and buried. Why not enjoy them now?

Business marketers recognize how responsive we are to color. They play on our emotional responses to our surroundings. They use them well. What would happen if we applied those same principles to our living accommodations? There's a section at the end of this article that refers you to some interesting sites on color to get you started.

MANAGEMENT

Management, too, is critical in maintaining a household. We all need to know how to reach the appropriate support person when things go wrong. Do you know where to get help FAST when the plumbing backs up, the electricity shorts, the roof springs a leak, you or a loved one gets sick? Contrary to popular belief, living in an apartment doesn't make it any easier. You still need to reach the maintenance man or landlord, the phone company, your internet provider, and many other service people from time to time. If you're still relying on letting your fingers do the walking through telephone books and mounds of scraps where you write down contact information, life can and will get very complex.

Phone books aren't particularly reliable it's estimated that 20% of all people move annually and even those books are out of date the minute they're printed. Why not simplify. Take an afternoon and update YOUR phone records, today. You'll be surprised at how much time this will save you in an emergency.

Good Managers know how to utilize physical resources and personnel to keep an organization running smoothly and productively. They plan for crisis and oversee efficiency. They don't wait until it's too late to resolve issues or problems.

PERSONNEL

If you're a single person, personnel management is a breeze…You do it or the job doesn't get done right? Not necessarily.

A family of two or more requires some basic understandings and agreements regarding who will do what. Who will be the final court of decision? Who will be responsible for crisis management? Leaving these issues to chance leaves your small family organization at the mercy of any wind that blows. Is it worth it?

Delegation is critical to running a happy household. It doesn't matter whether there is one or ten in your family. Delegation can make everything run smoother. Are you using your time as effectively as possible?

The business mantra "do the most productive thing you can every moment of every day" is essential in running a household. If it means you hire someone to come in and vacuum and dust while you manage your bookkeeping and or go to the doctor, then do it. The pennies you save will far outweigh the cost.

Even more important is to carefully evaluate what really is important....Some things require your immediate attention -- sometimes disrupting a carefully planned schedule of activities....others can be put off until another day.

Knowing the difference can free you to enjoy the business of life.

It's also most helpful to remember that you can only live in the present moment. With the right focus your management efforts are destined for success. You will want to read further to discover a reader's contribution that addresses very issue. See 

MONEY

No housekeeper can ignore money management without serious impact. Money may be tight -- most businesses run on tight funds -- you can accomplish much if you set budgets and tracking methods to account for your family unit's needs. 

Priorities will, of course, play a significant role in how you set about managing the budget…as will short term and long term goals. And, don't forget to budget for those unforeseen crises that inevitably arise.

Women have complained that their work is never done for generations. And it's true, certain aspects of maintaining a household and raising a family are continuous and ongoing but take a good look at your current circumstances. Male or female, single or head of household, you may find life much more manageable and enjoyable if you attach housekeeping as a business venture.

R&R

And, while you're evaluating your approach to homemaking, remember the most successful of businesses never overlook the importance of Research and Recreation. Make time, manage and target a percentage of your money to providing you and your loved ones opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, go to a museum, visit the zoo and participate in recreational activities. The more relaxed and rejuvenated you are the more productive you will be. That's a guarantee. 

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RESOURCES: HOW TO APPLY COLOR IN YOUR LIFE

To learn more about the use and psychology of color try these websites:

http://www.thetech.org/exhibits_events/online/color/intro 
Color is a science and much more than just red, blue and green. Learn the basics here. 

http://www.colormatters.com/entercolormatters.html  
All about color and it's effects on our well-being.

http://www.judithclark.com/acolor.htm  
An interior designer talks about color

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SPRING CLEANING FOR BETTER HEALTH

* It's spring -- time to clean, to renew, to shake off the dust that gathers during winter's dark doldrums. Allergies Guide Judy Tidwell shows how easy it is to slough away the grit of a thousand lifetimes.

http://allergies.about.com/library/weekly/aa031201a.htm?PM=n3031401i  
(This hyperlink is no longer active. Rather try:

Oh, and don't underestimate the tips you find at this site...Heloise announced recently that research has proven that plain ordinary vinegar is more than 99% effective in getting rid of bacteria, etc.

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QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN EVERYDAY LIFE:

This was contributed by Ralph Stattler, a reader of this newsletter. The concept is worthy of being printed out and posted prominently. And, it's a solid basis for your management efforts.

YESTERDAY - TODAY - TOMORROW

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring YESTERDAY. We cannot undo a single act we preformed: we cannot erase a single word we said…YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we Should not worry about is TOMORROW with its Possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. TOMORROW is also beyond our immediate control. TOMORROW’S sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW for it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day … TODAY. Anyone can fight the battle of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities ... YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW ... that we break down.

It is not the experience of TODAY that drives men mad---it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW will bring. 

Let us therefore live but one day at a time!

Thank you, Ralph!

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HOW CREATIVE ARE YOU?

Are you a poet and didn't even know it? Well now you can win money for your talent at Poetry.com. Submit a poem and you could win up to ten thousand dollars in their monthly contests. Poetry.com will award 1175 prizes totaling $58,000.00 to amateur poets in the coming months. http://www.flowgo.com/page.cfm?a=2285 

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COOKIES

Vince, a reader, asked for information about cookies. This is just one of many areas of the internet that causes new users a great deal of concern. We'd like to set your minds at ease. While cookies can be a pain and somewhat fattening (even when consumed by our computers), they are typically quite harmless.

Cookies can be fattening -- whether we eat them or store them on our computers. They take up a goodly amount of space on our computers if we do a lot of surfing. If you surf the internet regularly, you'll find dozens or hundreds of them in the "Cookies" directory under "Windows". Most are simply 1 kb text files that a web server stores temporarily with your web browser.

A cookie is a simple mechanism and, yet a powerful tool. A cookie is a small piece of information that the website you're viewing stores on your computer. It is capable of making life a lot easier for webmasters and for us, too.

Cookies have come under a great deal of scrutiny over the years, with users concerned about violation of privacy. Generally, though, they've been found to be relatively harmless.

Cookies cannot read from your hard drive or get your e-mail address or anything else that a normal CGI cannot do. Cookies can only contain as much information about you as you disclose on the site which sets the cookie.

A cookie is a simple text file. It is NOT a secret way for a web server to find out everything about you and what you have on your hard drive. The ONLY way that any private information could be in your cookie file would be if you personally gave that information to a web server in the first place and it decided to put that information into your cookie file for some reason.

As you browse the web, any cookies that servers might send to your browser are temporarily stored in your computer's memory. When you quit out of the browser, any cookies that haven't expired are written to a cookie file so they can be reloaded next time you open your browser. You can look at these files with a text editor like Notepad to see exactly what cookies are stored there; and you can delete the cookie file - this is harmless and shouldn't cause any problems.) Each cookie is marked with information for a specific web server; a cookie can't be sent to webservers other than the one they're set up for. Because they're text files, there is no possible way that a virus could be spread through the use of cookies.

Here's an example of one on my own system:

---
SITESERVER

Notice that when I opened this file everything was strung together in a single unreadable line. But, when I copied it and pasted it into my Word or my email program, the information was automatically set up in a readable format.

Now, it will take a programmer to tell you what exactly all this is. But, in its simplest form, the cookie identifies me, the site I went to and information about my visit(s). Apparently it says that I visited this site four times -- we'd have to ask the webmaster the meaning of the individual codes.

Cookies enable webmasters to design websites specifically tailored to our individual needs. They keep a record -- on our computer -- of our user sign-up information (username and password) at sites where we're required to sign up to get into the site. This eliminates the need for us to provide all that information the next time we visit that site. And, because they are capable of tracking which pages we look at on the website and storing our preferences, they can enable the website to be more selective in the information offered to us the next time we visit. They may store information about what we're looking at on the website. If it's a shopping site, they may keep records of what items we've selected in shopping carts and a record of our order. Thus the shop keeper can plan his/her inventory. If you don't have cookies enabled on your computer many sites will simply refuse you entry. One such is monster.com, the job bank. Another is http://www.babiesonline.com/ but there are many, many more that will pop up a message saying,  unless you enable cookies, you can't gain access to the site. It's simple...no cookie....no entry.

In reality sometimes, depending on the content of the website, allowing a cookie to be placed on your computer is a small price to pay. You're providing the website some valuable market research that they will be able to use to refine and develop a stronger more valuable site in exchange for being able to view their content.

Is privacy an issue? Sure it can be. We've all seen how abuse can distort the value of anything. But typically webmasters are an ethical lot. They normally don't abuse your trust. They want you to come back and to do business with them. They know you won't if there is any reason to question their ethical behavior.

If this is an issue for you, you set controls in your own computer to reject cookies. And, you can have your browser alert you when a cookie is being set. For information on how to set your browser to accept or reject cookies, you can go to: http://help.netscape.com/kb/client/971020-3.html .

It's really quite easy. In short:

In Netscape you'll find the Cookies option in the Preferences under network protocol 

In Internet Explorer you'll find those settings in
Tools->Internet Options->Security

NOTE: There is a problem with Internet Explorer Cookies that allows them to be read by others than the original website that set them. There is a workaround for that. ( see http://peacefire.org/security/iecookies/ )

For more detailed information about cookies:

http://peacefire.org/security/iecookies 

http://home.netscape.com/newsref/std/cookie_spec.html 

http://hotwired.lycos.com/packet/garfinkel/96/50/index2a.html 

http://websearch.about.com/internet/websearch/library/weekly/aa032100a.htm 

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JUST FOR FUN

Looking for more games to break your heavy work schedule?

Here are two 

Jigsaw Puzzles galore -- and it allows you to choose how many pieces you want to work with: http://www.article19.com/shockwave/jigsaw.htm 

 And here's one that Traci Moss, a reader, recommended to me.  It's positively addictive. But this one does require a higher speed connection. It works well with DSL or Cable Internet. Anything less is iffy.
http://zone.msn.com/bejeweled/ 

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NEWBIE CLUB

No we're not dummies but sometimes we all need someone to take us by the hand and translate all the technical computer gobbledygook into plain English: This is the site we've been looking for…it offers real - valuable - information for beginners and those of us who have worked for years trying to make sense of all this technology. It's a site you want to bookmark and plan some serious time exploring. 
http://newbieclub.com/cgi-bin/sgx/d.cgi?newsletter_archive-10000

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WORDS OF WISDOM

When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life in such a manner that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice.
                                                        ~ Old Indian Saying ~

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HOUSEKEEPING

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Copyright (c)2001 by Joan-Marie Moss mailto:j-m@creativeoptions.com 


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