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Walking with the Stars

20140208_113725Every Saturday I take my daughter to Hollywood for her Second City Teen Improv class.  I then have 2 hours to kill, so after I drop her off, I continue on my drive, to a little restaurant I love for a great breakfast, just a couple of blocks away.  I park there, eat some fabulous something-or-other while reading my Kindle (and losing myself in another world) then head back to pick her up just before noon.

 This past Saturday, I felt like a bit of a physical stretch (I tend to be pretty active, so driving hours on end is a day-killer for me), so I parked in front of the theater and walked the couple of blocks to the restaurant.  And I realized that I was walking on the really old part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  

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The first star was Frank Sinatra and as I continued along this really dirty, smelly sidewalk, I kept company with Alfred Hitchcock, Count Basie, Edith Head, Lucille Ball and countless others.    I’ve lived in LA since 1996.

I’ve been to this area and on this street countless times over the years, and like most Angelenos, I just walk along the stars (which go on for blocks and blocks) without ever really looking down.  In LA, where time is ALWAYS of the essence, parking spots are gold, and cars are a must-have, not a nice-to-have, it was randomly wonderful that I decided to walk and look down.

Natural, Organic, She’s Ba-a-ack….

We are all on our personal journeys.  I went walkabout.  I’m back for now and thanks for your patience and so many kind words along the way!

Apparently I’ve still got a lot that I want to share and I have a bit more time in order to do so.  My interests are still 50 plus, but as you’ll see over the next few months, some of the areas that inspired me over the past few years have taken hold in a more urgent way.  When I went on hiatus, I just felt there were too many bloggers and facebookers, tweeters, tumblrs and pinterests that were too focused on all the things wrong in the world and I couldn’t continue to be a part of the ranting and raving when so many people felt hopeless…I couldn’t see how another complainer would be helpful to any reader.  There are enough political pundits without me having to give my 2 cents.  There were too many people out of work for too long for any of my suggestions to really be helpful…there were not enough jobs.  Period.

I had to go out and do.  So I did and now I feel that I’m ready to contribute again, in a positive and meaningful way, to the online world.  Hopefully most of you are still around and will be interested in a different, more attuned, and hopefully more joyful perspective on the planet.

In my journey, I’ve had periods of motivation, inspiration as well as the downs that come from change unattained.  The past 6 years have been filled with change and all in a positive way (even though it often felt negative and unempowering along the way) — from corporate executive to continued presence as a  well-known blogger on issues affecting the 50 plus generation, to the development of my other businesses — consulting and a successful pet services company.

Most of this new direction was  accomplished in my late 40s and now my early/mid-50s.  Where the energy came from was a surprise to me.  I was SOOO tired in my 40s.  And the ripple affect across the world from the 2008 meltdown really knocked my emotional socks off….too many friends and co-workers that were so horribly affected.  But I ultimately realized that the overwhelming feeling of fatigue and frustration was anger at myself for not taking positive action in my life.   So, I pulled up my socks (well…took them off, actually, and planted my feet in the grass) and turned my world around.

My new life, now, is the one I’ve always wanted.  I still consult to business, but I’m not bound to concrete.  I’m out of the corporate world on a daily basis and into the animal, natural world.  I spend a great deal of time in the outdoors, with animals and the people who love them. I’ve discovered that I’m a horrible gardener (yet I still plant every year), find delight in swimming every day I can in the summer, love to look at other people’s flower gardens, and can make some terrific breads and baked goods (and a killer chicken curry salad and a salmon with fennel and red grapes that is to die for.)

I’m still infuriated and get enraged at social injustices, but I’ve also regenerated my inner strength by reconnecting with the planet as a creature of nature, by having the time to spend with my daughter, by realigning my priorities in life and being true to myself.  I spend my days in shorts and sandals, or yoga pants and Asics (my sport shoe of choice) and T-shirts and fleece jackets. My suits are reserved for consulting meetings. My dresses, heels and mineral makeup, for going out and having a great time.

Early on, in my pet services business (Poochbuddies if you are curious), as I was getting more exercise, I gravitated to natural products.  Better food, more fruits, vegetables, organics, grass-fed beef, free range chicken (I’m not a vegetarian…still like the meat, but I prefer the meat that has lived a better life).  I like to eat (I think you’ll have figured that out), I like to cook (also obvious).  I love the outdoors.  I love food bloggers and product bloggers and tech bloggers and natural offerings.  I like exploring and traveling and anything that connects me to the world is all good.  I love my smartphone (Galaxy S3…can’t live without it.) It’s all contributed to my better sense of self, a resurgence in vitality, and a reminder that I’m part of the planet.

I’m heading to Expo West this year (totally non-tech!), a massive natural products expo to see what has really changed over the past decade.  A lot, I know…organic, natural has gone almost mainstream…but there are 3 huge floors of exhibition.  Certainly more than one person can walk in a day or two or even three, but I’m going to give it a shot.  3 floors, hundreds of exhibitors, one day.

If any of you are going to be there, feel free to let me know!  Love to meet you.

I’m glad to be back and I hope you’ll continue with me on the journey.

Aaaaaahhhh.

Janet

Hiatus

Hi all…as you’ve noticed, I’ve gone “walkabout”.  Yes, I’m on a writing hiatus.

My business commitments are heavy (entrepreneur, growing service business) and my focus is on my business at the moment rather than blogging. I still consult on social media, however my main focus is on my daily business.

As for writing,  I’m  waiting to see what the latest and greatest new iteration of online communication holds.  I have my own ideas of what I want to generate, but I’m not ready to launch yet. You’ll still find me on Facebook and Twitter from time to time, although I have to admit to FB fatigue at the moment.

I’ll be back online writing away in whatever the new format will be and I’ll let  you know via this blog as well.  Feel free to leave comments with issues you’d like me to look at down the road.  The Gen Plus blog will stay posted and active.  The thousands of articles from over the years are filled with some great goodies and strategies for challenging job seeking issues.

Thanks for being a great readership.  It’s been a pleasure getting to virtually know so many of you over the years.  Ciao for now!

Gack…hacked.

One of the challenges with using open source websites (Gen Plus is created on WordPress.org) is that you are a bit more open to hackers.  And hacked I was.  For that past couple of days my site carried a site advisory, that malware was resident on the site.  No more….it’s been cleaned, but it was quite the effort.

For those of you who run  your own websites, here is what I did to get clean.  First, Google is fantastic…you receive a notification that your site has been hacked and on the webmaster tools are all sorts of tips and tools to clean it yourself.  I could have hired a specialist for $200, plus another $150 to hard code the site, but it turns out that I was able to clean the site myself, with a little help from WordPress plugins, a very helpful tech at my host (Bluehost.com), and customer support at SiteLock (you’ll now see the little SiteLock certificate of security on the bottom right of the home page.

There are two issues to address when your security is breached.

1) Get rid of the malware

2) Get your site reviewed by Google once it is clean so that you are again considered a “safe” site.

For issue #1:

I immediately changed all my passwords — both on email and on the entry port to WordPress.  Then I ran reports on Google webmaster tools to find out what the malware files were.  As soon as I had that info, I went into WordPress and made sure all my files, plugins and upgrades were taken care of — this got rid of the malware files pretty quickly.

SiteLock and WordFence (a WordPress security plug-in) both identified all the corrupt files, which I removed…basically deleted the posts or just deleted all the links so that no hidden malware could be lurking around.  I had to run scans several times to ensure all the posts were clean.  I also removed all the links from my Gen Plus List.  Sadly, I’ll keep the list off the site for now, since those links were hacked.

It does take a few hours to clean up all your files, so it might be worth it to spend the few hundred dollars and have a specialist do all the work for you.

For issue#2:

After the malware and flagged files were taken care of, I ran a final scan and got a “clean” report from WordFence and SiteLock.  Once I had the clean reports, I posted the certificate on my site and then (again in Google Webmaster Tools) did a site index and requested a site review.

Happily (as of today), the review worked and my site is back up and running.  I’m hopeful I was able to resolve all the issues.  If not, I’ll be plugging away, again, at finding and removing malware before I know it.

Thank you, also,  to the fine folks out there who let me know about faulty links and bounced email.

Whoa…possible LinkedIn password breach

There is an as-yet unconfirmed report that about 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords have been breached.  If you are a LinkedIn user, it’s a good idea to head over to your LinkedIn account and change your password.  Even if the report turns out to be unsubstantiated, there is no point in taking a risk of having your account (and your online rolodex) hacked.  Here’s the article:  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57448079-83/millions-of-linkedin-passwords-reportedly-leaked-online/

“Mom, what do you want for Mother’s Day?”

Every year a week or so before Mother’s Day my daughter asks me what I’d like for my special day. Usually I tell her that every day is Mother’s Day. That I’d like a beautiful card & maybe breakfast in bed.

This year my kidlet headed me off at the pass. “Mom, don’t tell me that my love for you its good enough. I want to buy you a GIFT!”

So, now  just days before Mother’s Day, I have to think of what my daughter can get me that won’t break her little bank.  I’ve received tons of press releases with suggestions/promos but none personally float my boat (I’ll post them later).

I’m taking her to La Boheme the following week, so I thought about suggesting she treat for our lunch. Or perhaps a joint mani-pedi, but I think I may want to go back to our earlier years & ask her to make me a coffee mug. The one she made me 4 years ago is a bit cracked & definitely worse for the wear, but I’ve enjoyed every sip of coffee I’ve ever taken from that mug.

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Super Moon

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Did you see the moon tonight? If you didn’t realize that the moon was brighter than normal, perhaps you heard more dogs barking  or howling well into the night. Impossible to capture the magic on a smartphone camera, but it took my breath away on this crystal clear night.
We owe it to ourselves to marvel at the beauty of our little part of the universe from time to time…no?

…and I’m ready for my close-up!

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Only in LA…just found my own personalized parking spot!

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The changing world of blog

It’s been an interesting year in electronic evolution.  Blogging to micro-blogging.  Google+ vs. Facebook.  Twitter vs. the world.  PC to iPad to PDA and iPhone4S…

All in all, the world of communication continues to change and amaze.  I’ve been blogging since 2004, when who even knew about blogs?  I certainly didn’t have a clue.  Started on Blogger, evolved to WordPress, then WP pro with customizability that allowed me, who knew nothing about coding, to be able to function in the world of website creators.  Now, 8 years later, with literally millions of bloggers, the amount of work to stay ahead of the competition is daunting.  Whereas I used to be just one of a few writers who opined on careers for the 50 plussers and the white elephant in the room…yup…ageism, I am now one of many who talk, blog, lecture and critique any and all things that affect us (those with grey roots showing or even fully white-haired!…not forgetting my balding male readers either.)

It’s been wonderful building up an audience of readers.  About 10,000 of you have access to what I write on what used to be a daily post, and now less frequent, basis.  For a few months I’ve been asking myself why I blog less now than I did a year ago?  There are a few big reasons.  None of them have to do with readership…because, you, my readers, who email rather than comment, who Facebook message me rather than post on the wall, are who keep me motivated to talk about whatever hits me on any given day.  Here are the big reasons I’ve posted less in the past year than in any other year:

  1. My business is very busy (in addition to social media, I run a successful pet services business in the central San Fernando Valley, call Pooch Buddies!).  Yes, it’s a really rough economy and to stay ahead and afloat, I really do work 365/24/7.  Not only do I, a single woman, support a family of 3 (plus dog), but I’m responsible for livelihoods of 4-6 staff at any given time of the year, and the comfort of hundreds of people’s loved pets…a responsibility I don’t take lightly.  If I can’t keep a full schedule for some of the best people who have ever worked for me, then I fail them.  They are willing and eager to take as much work as they can get and I do my darnedest to keep their days full so they can keep their apartments, cars and fill their bellies.
  2. I lecture on online networking for career challenged 50 plussers, and so I do my part to stay abreast of changes to how the economic outlook affects career networking and how to overcome the significant challenges of finding work when you may have been unemployed now anywhere from 2 – 5 years.  That takes up a bit of my time.
  3. I  moved in September.  The home I bought was not supposed to be a fixer…but yes, it has needed a lot of work, and I’m really tight with my money, so taking on the challenges of being my own contractor has been overwhelming (but I’ve saved a ton of money that I didn’t have to spend in the first place!)
  4. My DroidX.  I have a smartphone.  When I bought my DroidX, I was torn between the ubercool iPhone and the new Google-based android technology.  I bought my DroidX because of the screen size (honking big) and because I use Google platforms for every aspect of my business (yes…the BEST there is and all for free…for ANY small business owner, Google is the way to go.)  I can do almost anything that I can do on my PC on my smartphone, out in the field.  Transfer money?  In a snap.  Send out PayPal invoices?  Less than a minute.  Keep track of all my staff, field schedules and be reachable in a millisecond?  Yup.  Internet, apps, you name it, I can do it.  The ONLY thing I hate doing on my smartphone is trying to type a blog post.  I can easily write a Facebook or Twitter microblog, but writing a lengthy post is not fun. I’m a fast thinker and a fast typist and I can type as fast as I think…on a PC.  So trying to write a post on my droid is torture, even with the fab WordPress app.  Even worse, is that I catch all the breaking news as I want it on my phone and get a million ideas for posts every day, but by the time I’m sitting at my desk at 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 pm, I’m just too darn tired to muster the energy to write about what (only 5 hours later) is now OLD news.

So, once again, I’m looking at ways to get out my thoughts, quickly, timely to the breaking news and moments of introspection that you like to read…but I’m not certain that blogging will continue to be it.  Blogging is now considered almost mainstream media.  I get scores of press releases every day on who wants to plug what for what occasion..but I’m not that kind of blogger.  Every now and then you’ve seen me review or mention something cool on the Gen Plus list (like Sony music releases…which are generally fantastic and relevant to our age demographic and deserve any and all attention), but I’d rather review movies and the theater and music and the arts, than the latest invention to help someone who’s fallen down get up off the floor, or plug a pharmaceutical.  We are not a geriatric demographic and I’m not the source you are going to for help with your aging parent or siblings when you do start looking for those resources.  I adore my advertisers and welcome them, but a plugging blogger I am not.

I believe I’ll be heading a bit more toward the micro-blogging arena (I think…not sure…still ootzing over what and how).  I haven’t worked it out yet, and I’ll continue to blog as I figure it out, but in the meantime, make sure to go to my Facebook link on the Gen Plus website and hit LIKE to become a fan (that’s how you’ll get my posts) or follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/genplus).

I’m not a political pundit or an economic analyst…there are tons of those…

I’m still exceedingly frustrated and heartbroken over the millions of 50plussers (and a lot of late 40-somethings) who literally can’t get a door to open to them.

I’d like to find the right way to help extend network, so I’m thinking it might a combo of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but the wheels are still turning looking for the next best thing.

If you have thoughts, opinions, feel free to share.  If you prefer to read blog posts rather than micro-posts, feel free to let me know.  If you’ve come up with the next best thing, I want to know about that, too.

Gotta run.  Gotta check out what my staff are up to via my very, very smartphone.  Love you all.