Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Relay for Life - Fifty Shades of Hope

In case you haven't heard (read here) I am volunteering for 2013 Seminole Heights Relay for Life and I have also taken the big step to captain my own team. 

Last night was the Kick Off Party and let me say as a child-free person these high school kids rock! Long ago (really long) when I was in high school community service was not on our radar.  Kudos to the schools for seeing a great opportunity and the kids for having the drive and enthusiasm to embrace volunteerism!

Set up complete!
We decided on movies for our theme this year because it is a great way to let everyone's personality shine.  We unfortunately still don't have the event's name yet though we have a lot of great suggestions.  Amy Good (aka @Splintergirl) came up with Cureassic Park which I loved.  Not sure if it will be chosen but I entered it Amy!!  If anyone has suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comment sections or email me at acrackeddoor@gmail.com.  

My team's name is Fifty Shades of Hope!  I am sure you can guess which book, soon to be released movie, I got that from ;)  Besides it being the "in" book I chose it because of a night in August that still makes me smile.The yoga chickees and I gathered together & celebrated two of our own birthdays.  I wrote a short blog post about it that you can check out here: Laughter.  I am so grateful to have these women in my life.

Seminole Heights Relay for Life is April 5th & 6th, 2013 at Hillsborough High School.  It is going to be 18 hours celebrating the lives of people that have beaten cancer, are fighting it now and our loved ones that fought the good fight but are with us in spirit. 

What this all means is I need your help.  I need volunteers to Relay.  If you can spare 1 hour, 3 hours or all 18 - I need you. Please contact me at acrackeddoor@gmail.com.  I need donations because I want to help make sure no kid has to face not having their mom or dad around to watch them grow up.  Every single donation counts 1.00 and up - it all adds up to help fight cancer!  If you would like to contribute to my specific team you can do so here: Fifty Shades of Hope

Seminole Heights Relay for Life has a Facebook page that you can LIKE and we also have a Twitter account @SHRelayforLife 

Of course we can't pull Relay for Life off without volunteers and we can always use more!  We have several key committee chairs that need to be filled.  You can contact Wendy Ward at wendysward@hotmail.com if you are interested and I hope you are!  

Lastly this event is all about the cancer survivors and their amazing stories.  If you know of a survivor that is willing to share their story please let me know.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting in whatever way you can. Thank you.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kindness Compassion and Education

I just finished watching the Newtown service and my heart hurts.  It hasn't stopped hurting since seeing the news on Friday via Twitter that there had been a shooting at an elementary school in CT.  I cried out when reading the first tweet.  A co-worker asked what was wrong and I shared the news.  My co-worker’s response was “this will be another way for people to take away my 2nd Amendment rights”.  I was stunned because all I was thinking about was I pray no children were killed. 

Sadly that wasn't the case.  20 children died.  6 educators died protecting their students.   Family’s lives have been torn apart including the person’s family who performed this violent act.  A town has been changed.  I hope a nation has been changed.

I agree with President Obama that this is a complex issue.  The last few days the few times I have opened the stream of tweets and Facebook posts I have been dismayed.  I have seen posts that say that these shootings would stop if we put God back in our schools.  My understanding is that if you believe in a God that one’s faith was a 24/7 365 deal.  Believing in God doesn't stop when you walk into a school anymore than when you walk into a bank, prayer or no prayer.   

I have seen tweets that were very unkind to agnostics and atheists.  I didn't realize people that choose not to believe in a God were automatically evil.  I don’t believe in a specific religion or God.  I do believe in the spirit of humanity.  I very much believe in kindness.  Kindness to our families and friends.  Kindness to our neighbors & citizens.  Kindness to the person who just cut you off to exit off the freeway.  Kindness to those that may speak less than respectfully to you.  Kindness to all parents because truly that is the most challenging job any person can have.  Kindness to those that fight a disease called mental illness.  Education and understanding goes a long way in support of kindness.

I have seen tweeters arguing about where the security is in our schools and why isn't more being done.  In every school that I have participated in the building of…electronics were used at every exterior door to control people entering the schools.  From the news reports that was the case at Sandy Hook also. 

And finally the tweets going round on Gun Control has been especially emotional.  I don’t like guns, never have.  When I was married to a man that hunted and had guns in the house I learned how to use them because that was the responsible thing to do.  I don’t believe all guns should be outlawed but I really can’t fathom why we need rapid fire guns in our homes.   Referring back to my co-worker’s comment about the 2nd Amendment, it was written at a time when most men belonged to a militia and lawlessness was the norm.  Is that where we are today?

I don’t know what the answers are but unless we are willing to have respectful dialog there will be no answers just more heart break.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


As I mentioned in the last post (here) this past Friday & Saturday were spent holding a retreat at my house with my BFF.  We were talking goals, both professional and business, for 2013 and well beyond. 

It was serious stuff with some fun mixed in.  However I have two dogs and while I love my dogs they are a big distraction. I decided to ask a friend to take them for 36 hours.  She is a kind soul and agreed.  She also has a dog, Trixie, who I watch on occasion.  The 3 dogs get along great and have a good time together. 

Friday morning I dropped the dogs off at her house and returned to mine.  It was a odd thing.  Typically I am leaving to go out of town not returning to an empty house. 

I feel a little guilty admitting that I rather liked the quiet.  I liked that the house stayed clean.  I liked that I was able to sleep the whole night without interruption.   I liked that I was able to leave the house for lengths of time without thinking about dinner time.

My BFF and I worked hard over those two day and I really didn't miss the puppers.

Within 5 minutes of waving goodbye as she drove off toward home I got into my car and picked up my dogs.  There are pros and cons to having 4 legged friends but for right now I am good with the pros.  
This post was written as one of the exercises I set up during the retreat.  We were not allowed to get out of our respective beds Saturday morning until a blog post was written.  Notice I kept mine pretty darn short ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Retreat Restock Regroup Renew

Tomorrow my BFF is coming to my house for 30 hours of what we are calling a retreat.  The past few years we have had blast sessions while driving a long distance to discuss our goals and ideas for the following year.

This year we are mixing it up and getting serious about it.  My BFF just celebrated her 2nd year of owning her own manufacturing representative firm and I am embarking on a part time social solutions business venture while still working my full time job.  We both want and see better futures and need to set the wheels in motion to get there.  On top of the fact my BFF attended the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar which I am looking forward to hearing more about.  We are ready!

I am hosting and have been researching what makes a good business retreat.  I think I have a good mixture of serious work, fun, music, games & more serious work.  Saturday the rewards  are massages by a dear friend who is also a massage therapist.   I have a loose schedule & a kick@ss playlist but ideas are always welcome.

If you have any favorite motivational quotes, ideas for brainstorming or experiences at a retreat please feel free to share in the comment section below.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday Tampa Bay

I wanted to share a few local businesses that I really like and always manage to find that perfect something when I shop.  Besides unique items these folks offer incredible customer service. 

Starting off in Seminole Heights:

Brooksie's Market  Michelle is the owner of this unique store where you can find everything from local handmade scarfs, coasters, jewelry to fresh herbs straight out of her garden.  She has also started stocking fresh flowers.  You will always be able to find that perfect something!

Cleanse Apothecary's  Besides being in awe of Greg's shop I am in awe of his marketing skills.  He is fantastic with blending social media and marketing.  The wonderful smells in his shop will make you want to not only buy for your friends but you too! Shop today and get an additional 10% off.

Branching out into Tampa,  I can't say enough about

Groovy Cats & Dogs  Yvonne has been a great help in trying to get one of my dogs to stop scratching.  The poor thing has allergies and she really believes in a holistic approach versus the prednizone route.  Besides her expertise you can find all sorts of tasty concoctions for your 4 legged best friends.  

Crossing over the bridge into St. Petersburg we have

Adorn & Company   It is a jewelry store with more.  Like incredible smelling candles & Tokyo Milk products.  No matter if you are visiting St. Petersburg or live close by everyone likes to take part of the sea home with them and sea glass jewelry just arrived in the store!

100 Artist Show Need some color in your life?  This is the show to hit.  It is all about beauty.  Beautiful art in a beautiful location.

The Gift Box   This store is on Beach Drive.  Need I say more?  Well I do because I want you to check out Robert Neff's photography when you are browsing.  He takes wonderful photos of our area.

Feel free to post any other local businesses you feel people should know about in the comment sections.  

Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thank you for your support and kindness.  Wishing everyone a day filled with what you are thankful for!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks - Relay for Life April 5 & 6, 2013

I attended my first ever Relay for Life volunteer meeting a few weeks ago.  For those that may not have heard of Relay for Life (I hadn't) read this: Relay

My mom Lee, mother-in-law Merrilyn and dear friend Veronica all died of lung cancer.  My best friend's mom Toni, died of cancer.  It is sad to realize probably every single person in the world has known someone who has had this disease.  The good news is some people are survivors and there continue to be medical advancements to wipe out the many forms this disease takes.

Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  It is 18 hours of fun, joy, laughter, tears, strength, hope, & love.  I already know I am going to need a case of Kleenex.

Here is how it works: there are teams, lots of them.  A team can have any number of members but each team needs to raise at least $100.00 to enter and each member of the team also needs to raise $100.00.  My boss doesn't know it yet but he is sooo donating!  Personally I think a team needs a lot of members because during every second of the 18 hours someone from the team needs to be walking/running the track.  This is to represent the fighters that can't quit fighting (more tears) because Cancer never sleeps.
My volunteer efforts are with the Relay for Life Seminole Heights team. I may try and get my own team together (consider yourself warned) not only because it is for a good cause but because I know my friends and I can come up with some unique ways to fundraise.  Even during the event each team will have a booth and offer bake goods or ?? to raise money.  One of my ideas is to offer a 5 or 10 minute foot massage for $5.00.  


I am also thinking of ways that my social media friends can join in if you so choose.  There is an amazing event just after dark called the Luminary Ceremony.  People  make a donation & and have their loved one's name & any wording or decoration, if requested, written on a luminary bag.  All the bags are lit and from what I have seen of the photos on Google it is very powerful (hello again Kleenex!). 
Another way will be to donate to my specific team and I will have that information on my next RFLSH post.  I am big on a lot of smalls make a large. Typically I am applying that to whatever I am eating but that is a different blog post. 

In case you are wondering where the money goes that is raised here is some good information.

During this season of Thanks my wish is that every daughter gets to stand beside her mom and celebrate the next big or small event in their lives.

Wishing you a day filled with what you give thanks for.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

What is it?

I thought it might be fun to post a partial photo I took from something we have hanging in our office.  In fact we have one in every office here at a-fabco.  It isn't something most offices have and it always brings comments from visitors. 

Can you guess what it is?

What out of the ordinary item do you have in your office?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Small + Cute = Love

Friends of mine adopted two puppies a few weeks ago.  Last weekend I was able to meet them for the first time. Playing with puppies brings such joy and peace to my heart,  I thought I would share photos.  Next time I will try and get a video.

Hi! My name is Toby.

and I am Boomer.

Whaaaatttt? I am exceptionally cute!
I want to eat anything and everything!
 Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day!

As a citizen of these United States of America  I am able to exercise my right to vote today.
Personally I feel it is my duty.  I thank the many women who fought and marched for this privilege 100 years ago.

New York City May 6, 1912

I thank my mom for instilling in me a responsibility to get involved.  To read.  To research.  When I first started voting we had newspapers & the TV news to learn about what each candidate stood for.  Now we have the internet & 24/7 cable news shows.  

Recently I was reminded, again, how precious this right & responsibility is.  I was having a chat with a friend through Twitter and she shared that the country she lives in has only been a democracy for 20 years.  20 years.  Her sense of pride & joy was evident. 

I will leave work and drive to my neighborhood polling station.  I have my sample ballet that I have spent hours mulling over the language in the 11 amendments that are on my ballot.  I will stand in line.

Today I am able to exercise my right to vote.  

Will you?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ringing Phones

Work has been busy. So much so it has been challenging to handle all the incoming orders & deliveries. Like many companies we downsized and are still running with limited employees. We all are handling several different job duties and with this increase in work load we are now wondering if it is safe to hire. My boss has been trying to make this decision for weeks now but it seems every time he decides to go for it the phones stop ringing and he pulls back, concerned this pattern of increased orders won't continue. I can very much appreciate how difficult it must be, he is not only thinking about his company but also the new employee.

Over the weekend I was thinking about the phones and a thought came to mind: with all the different ways to communicate these days are ringing phones really a true measurement of an increase or decrease of business? 
For me, email is the most common form of communication with my customers, much more so than the telephone.  First off I like any direction to be in writing.  When I tell the customer when material will be available for delivery it is via email.  If the customer needs to change a size of an opening I want it in an email.  I always take notes when speaking with someone by phone but sometimes my writing gets sloppy as I try to keep up with the conversation.  I have learned through experience that what I say and what the customer hears sometimes have entirely different meanings.  I may say “your doors are scheduled to leave the factory in Wisconsin on November 3” but the customer hears “I am getting my doors at the jobsite on November 3”.   Early on in my career I learned to follow up a telephone call with an email reviewing all pertinent information that was discussed.  Communication is key to keeping a job moving forward smoothly not only for my scope of work but the many other trades on site.

Even potential customers often make the first contact via our info email address off our website in lieu of phoning in.    

Obviously tracking monthly sales numbers plays an important role in making any decisions on possible future hiring but my boss is old school and a constant ringing telephone makes him happy.  Personally I think it is probably a good mix of all forms of communication. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ceiling Mounted Tables

 Here is a space saving idea ~ let's hang the table on the ceiling! 

A brilliant idea for healthcare facilities including assisted living facilities and nursing homes.   Just flip a switch and you can convert your dining room to a recreation area, therapy center, visitors lounge or chapel.  Manufactured by

~ It has no legs so wheelchair patients are not encumbered.
~ The 60" diameter table top will seat 6-8 persons.
~ While the table is in the upright position the floor space can be used for 
    movies or a dance!
~ Cleanup crews love it because they don't have to move all those tables out 
    of the way before sweeping or mopping.
~ Can even be equipped to accommodate cabling for computer use.
~ Choices of table top laminate color. 

Fully retracted

Positioned halfway down
Fully extended

If you would like additional information please visit uptable.com.  Oh and if you are wondering what this has to do with doors...T-Fab is a sister company of a-fabco.  We have one of these cool table in our break room :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sherlock Holmes

I was watching Elementary, a new take on Sherlock Holmes on CBS this season, over the weekend and realized there seems to be a resurgence in showing Sherlock some love. 

Sherlock, Watson and I go way back. Thankfully my mom and brother instilled in me a love of reading and mysteries were, and are, a favorite. I was a teenager when I first read the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

I tried to watch the Basil Rathbone's Sherlock but that didn't match my imagination.  It wasn't until Jeremy Brett played Holmes on PBS did, finally, someone match exactly what played in my head as I read the book.  Brett was masterful.  Sadly Mr. Brett died before performing in all the stories.


Still I had my books.  Yes I own several Sherlock Holmes books and I read them every few years or so.  

2009 brought to the big screen Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  I enjoy Mr. Downey's acting but really thought playing Sherlock Holmes was going to be a huge stretch.  Gotta say, in this case, loved being wrong.  I think it is the on screen relationship between Holmes and Watson that made this movie a keeper for me.  I always worry that I am going to watch something that will tarnish the pedestal I keep these stories on.  The sequel didn't squelch that either. 


In 2011 PBS Masterpiece produced Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman, as a much more energetic Dr. Watson.  I have to say I watched with much skepticism since I really couldn't imagine anyone outshining Mr. Brett. I can admit I was sucked in and enthralled after watching the first episode.  This adaptation brings Sherlock and Watson into modern day England with modern day conveniences like cell phones, laps tops and even a blog written by Dr. Watson.  The most challenging part for me is having only 3 episodes in Season 1 and 2 and now waiting for Season 3. It really is brilliant.


Which brings us to the here and now.  Elementary is the newest take and while I didn't love it madly I did watched the 2nd show and will continue to watch as the actors, Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and, in a twist, Dr. John Watson is now Dr. Joan Watson played by Lucy Lu settle into their roles.    


I hope there is a whole new generation of fans that will pick up the books, after seeing any of the above adaptations, read the stories while letting their own imagination take over. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DHI CoNEXTions Conference 2012

The DHI Conference is next week, October 14-19, in Las Vegas.  Unfortunately I am unable to attend but feel it is important to still support my industry from afar. 

Last year I was lucky enough to go to DHI in New York City. Flights from FL to NYC were inexpensive and my BFF was going so we were splitting the cost of a hotel room.  This year door and hardware professionals from the West Coast will have an easier and less expensive time getting to the show in Vegas.  Either having the show at the midpoint of the U.S. or alternating having the the show on opposite coasts is only fair.

My BFF is still going and the cool thing is I will be able to follow along on Social Media (SoMe).  A lot of other peeps I have met through SoMe will also be tweeting, posting on Facebook and LinkedIn and probably Instagram so I will be able to see a lot of what is happening.  It won't be the same of course as being there as I will miss the Solution Sessions DHI is offering along with the Forum for the Future, always a great event. But through Social Media people at the show will have the opportunity to share what the door and hardware industry is all about, not only to those of us in the industry but to the rest of the world. 

My heart breaks every time I read an article about a fire that spread because a fire door wasn't in good functioning order or a person, without proper knowledge, left the door open for some reason.  DHI was instrumental in encouraging the IFC and NFPA to adopt annual inspections on fire door assemblies and certain egress doors and continues to educate and promote these new codes.   

As you walk through buildings start paying attention to any door marked with an exit sign.  Is the opening blocked in some way?  Is it chained or bolted?  If there was a fire would you know where to go and is there a clear path to the exterior?  These are all important factors in the continuing education to save lives.   This is one of the many reasons I support the Door and Hardware Institute because what they do matters and truly can save lives.  

Ok jumping off the soap box now :)  If you are going to the DHI show next week please leave your twitter handle or facebook link in the comments below so I can follow along.  Tag all tweets with #DHI2012 to make it easier for those of us in the industry to search.

As an aside I also want to congratulations Lori Greene as she will be receiving the DHI Fellow Award this year! If you don't know Lori she is a force in our industry.  Lori started a blog I Dig Hardware back in 2009.  She can untangle the mind boggling words of building codes and specifications into understandable language.  I use her blog as a resource, weekly if not daily. 

Remember what happens in Vegas, at the DHI Show, doesn't stay in Vegas.  Share the knowledge and have a great show!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lead Glass

Leaded glass is the most expensive single construction item in a room requiring radiation protection and little thought is given to the size.  With  production limited to four countries around the world (none of them being the USA), most manufacturers/distributors keep limited stock quantities on hand, it’s more important than ever to design with stock sizes in mind. 

Each manufacturer has common and differing stock sizes. The two most prominent lead glass producers are located in Germany (Schott) and Japan (Nippon). Nippon produce sizes up to 96’’ wide by 48’’ high.  Schott's produce sizes up to 84’’ wide by 42’’ high. 

Where lead glass is concerned, bigger is not necessarily better. Many times, the size and placement of the view window can create not only unsightly clutter but the reflect in the cost. 

The difference between a piece of 96’’ x 48’’ with 1/16’’ (2.00mm) lead equiv. & a piece of 84’’ x 42’’ with 1/16’’ (2.10mm) lead equiv. is only a 1080 sq. in.  (7.5 sq. ft.), but with a current price difference of about $50.00 /sq. ft., there could be significant savings. 

Here is a chart to help determine the location and size for a view window frame.