Of Pinterest

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It’s seems surreal to me that I’ve been “pinning” for more than a couple of years now.  I tried looking into my profile on the site to see when I actually joined Pinterest and couldn’t find it. I know it’s been more than a year that I converted my account to a pro account as a means of exhibiting my portfolio of work (and perhaps drumming up some business).  I’m guessing that happened about the same time I changed my business emphasis to 3D computer rendering from kitchen design and drafting. What I do remember is all of the hoopla about the ethics of the program and concerns over copyright infringements.  I caught a lot of flack from some and even lost a few Facebook ‘friends’ in the process. Especially those in the art and design community who take real issue with the idea that I might be giving away my work for free (or worse) stealing theirs! I recall my comment at the time was something like: “If you don’t want people to share images on Pinterest, then don’t put it on the internet!”  Seemed rather simple to me.

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I was surprised to discover one of my original computer renderings on somebody’s website one day who obviously found it on the internet (probably on Pinterest or even possibly from my own website PamDesigns.net). They didn’t claim to have created it. Just borrowed the image for their site. It would have been nice to have been asked or at least given credit for it.  Just the same, I was flattered that of all the gazillion images out there in the electronic ether, they found mine and decided it was perfect for their purposes. Purposes that were pretty benign. So I didn’t raise a stink about it. Recalling my statement regarding putting stuff out there on the interwebs… I stood behind my comment. I put it out there and felt that in doing so relinquished any control or possible monetization I might have received otherwise. My theory –the (so far) free internet is cheap advertising and the best way I know of to get my work out there without leaving the comfort of my office chair.

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“How’s that workin’ out for ya?” chided the naysayers. My response: “Not so good.” I’ve not received much business over the internet, via my website, Pinterest boards or any other social networking activity I’ve been involved in over the past six or so years since I first opened my Twitter account. So I have to say LOUD AND CLEAR FOR ALL THE WORLD TO HEAR that social media is not a magic pill for marketing a business. The emperor is in fact naked as a J-bird. There is still no replacement for the tried and true reasons for most business success that has existed since long before social media, computers, cell phones or even TVs were ever invented. If you are successful in business, you know what those reasons are. I’m not going into that in this post.

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“So why do it?” you might ask. I continue my pinning obsession for the same reason I began it. Because it’s fun. For the most part, it’s electronic scrap booking. I now claim 252 boards which contain 83,000+ pins. Aside from just a few of those boards exhibiting my own work, my boards are divided up into my various areas of interest. I do this by ‘coding’ my board titles. Certain very large areas of interest such as recipes have the words A Recipe ~ at the beginning of each board’s title. This makes it easy for me to locate boards to file pins in. OK –I know this makes me sound a little OCD –perhaps if the shoe fits (and can be counted and organized)… 😉

9cb3a1c39ca3a5b77dba8aa031336905If an area of interest is somewhat small, I’ll give it a unique title. For example, one of my recent favorites is a board called “A Country Life” that has images of  life on the farm that remind me of growing up on my folk’s farm in Southern Oregon. I also have a board called “I LUV Oregon” because I lived there for a big part of my life and still visit once in awhile. One aspect of  social networking has been since it’s inception (probably due to the now defunct My Space and emphasized with Twitter) is the goal of gaining followers. I remember how flattered I felt when my Twitter following reached a few thousand. I never failed to post dozens of #FF (Follow Friday) mentions weekly and made it my mission to “Tweet” at least five times a day seven days a week. I remember the controversy over issues about “original tweets vs. re-tweets”, promoting business tweets vs. spam, and over tweeting…  In the past year or so, my Tweets have dwindled to just a couple a week and most of those are Pins.

2093c5859d3fe8f6cca11a548f632592Ironically, my Pinterest following is almost 30,000 at this point. I count but a few of my Pinterest followers as ‘friends’ because we’ve been sharing pins long enough that I recognize their names. Many were Facebook friends to begin with. It was never my intention to mass a following on Pinterest. As I’ve stated in the past, my interest in Pinterest started out as a self-serving obsession. It just so happens that there seem to be a lot of people out there who have the same interests as I do that are pretty commonplace  ~ like food, travel, gardening, art and interior decoration. I’ve a few boards that speak more about my personality like the “Whimsey” board or the “# Things_To_Know_Before_Dying” Board (written on purpose like a Twitter hash tag) where I relegate comments that I find funny or  political satire and issues. I even have a board where I pin this blog’s posts! I also have some unique board titles like “Mermaids and Seafaring Folk” and “Sueños del Estilo Español” .

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Aside for the inception of the “pro” format developed by Pinterest that has a slightly different formatting that the original format (and I can’t really remember what that was), Pinterest has evolved and features have been added. One significant feature is that you are alerted now when you try to pin an image that you previously pinned. They even tell you which board you pinned it to. It works about 80 percent of the time. I still troll my boards for duplicates. However, there have been times that I will purposely pin an image to more than one board.

03655326dd6f4771a8519783169a2f88There are rules. You are not supposed to pin an image without consent from the owner or creator of  it.  That is a loosely enforced rule. Actually, Pinterest doesn’t remove images unless the copyright owner requests it to be. At least weekly I get a notice that one or more of my pins has been removed. They are always sure to tell me it’s not a reflection on me because I unwittingly got it from somebody else. Thanks Pinterest!

38856d4410e324ecd09b0629d06d25b9Most of the ‘rules’ I’ve run into have been contrived by other users. One such ‘rule’ came from a woman who decided to proclaim in her profile that anybody pinning more than 10 pins from any of her numerous boards would be blocked from further pinning of her boards stating that doing so was ‘bad Pinterest etiquette’. So… she blocked me and sent me a pin to let me (and all the world) know what bad pin thief I was. Well I otta!!!!! and I did. I blocked her back. Bitch.

I have rules (self imposed really).

  1. I don’t belong to group boards because they become insufferably long and often end up off topic.
  2. I wish there was a board size limit of 1000 pins. (I limit mine to that amount.) It just makes it easier to find stuff.
  3. I make sure the ‘cover pin’ for each board is still a pin on that board. It drives me crazy when I go to somebody’s board because I was inspired by the cover pin just to find out after scrolling through 3000 pins that it’s no longer there!
  4. I don’t allow other people to pin to my boards. (see rule #1) I have only one board from my son that we share –it’s of his dog Mila Wolfavich.
  5. I don’t pin anything to do with clothing fashion, makeup or little kid’s room interiors or parenting. I did my stint. I’m over it.

A newer feature on Pinterest is the ability to make hidden boards. These come in handy for pro designers, architects and such who want to make boards specifically for their customers. I haven’t tried it but I think it’s a great feature. If I wasn’t retired, I’d probably use it.

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Some things I wish they would fix:  Dragging and dropping pins from one board to another would be nice. Currently you can drag and drop boards from one location in your collection of boards, but you cannot rearrange or change the sequence of pins within a board. You have to change the pin details in order to move a pin from one board to another. This gets pretty time consuming when creating a new board because the existing one is too full. I do this frequently (probably evidentiary of my burgeoning OCD).

b9d2f058a6255780cbad8e98c5ef4ddbOther pet peeves:

  1. Pinning an image of a recipe and discovering that it does not link directly to a recipe.
  2. Trying to move a pin from one board to another and being told I can’t because the pin has been reported as a link to spam “by somebody” unknown. Yet it’s allowed to remain on the board I put it in. Doesn’t make sense to me.
  3. People who think I know what the brand and color name is of the paint on the wall in the room.  How the Hell should I know? Is it too hard to click through to the origin of the pin to ask the manufacturer or original pinner? Jeesh! It’s amazing how many people assume that I am the original pinner of anything except my original work. Duh!
  4. Nonsensical comments on my pins. Glad you think it’s “beautiful” but I’d rather have a conversation beyond that if you are going to go to the trouble of commenting on one of my pins.

I don’t spend as much time as I used to on Pinterest. Usually an hour or so when I first get up in the morning with a cup of coffee after I’ve gone through the email. I spend more time going through my existing pin boards as it seems I don’t see as much new stuff anymore. Don’t get me wrong. Pinterest has enriched my life in ways I could not have anticipated. It’s been the source of inspiration for much of my creativity since I’ve found it as is displayed throughout my home and my work. I just think my participation has leveled out so that I don’t spend an unhealthy amount of time at it.

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It’s seems to be my stopping point for my search for time-wasting endeavors I’ve taken into the world of ‘social networking’. Perhaps because it’s less about social networking (for me) and more about scrap booking and collecting ideas. The images in this post are taken from my board titled “Of Pinterest”. If you want to find the sources for any of them, you’ll have to go to the Pinterest site to my board. If you click on the image, it will hopefully direct you to the source link. If not, please accept my apology and lack of due diligence –it just may be an image without a URL attached.

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BS Health Insurance Boondoggle

This is a continuation regarding yesterday’s post if this one seems odd or unclear.

I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and not rely on the crazies to resolve my lost payment issue. I do not want my bank to reimburse me (yes they were actually willing to do that!) and have me double-pay the BS (Blue Shield) insurance company. So I’m having the bank fax proof of the payment to them. Hopefully this will resolve it. I don’t care if my measly payment amount is insignificant enough to the insurance company or my bank that they would allow that. I want it done right. Is that too much to ask?

Could not log onto either the bank’s website or the BS insurance company’s. Thought maybe it was my computer. So I restarted it and cleaned out my cache. Still no luck. So when I called BS insurance company, the customer service guy said (and I quote), “Don’t bother. It’s unreliable.” banghead

Yippee– I Have Health Insurance!

That’s the only good thing I can think of that has resulted from the Affordable Care Act. I can actually get insurance. A couple of years ago due to my age and physical condition I was denied any type of health insurance. So one would think I would be jumping for joy because the law states now that I cannot be denied.

However, taking on Covered California’s system to get insurance through the ‘Exchange’ is like working with a robot with short circuit issues. I’m inclined to feel the whole operation is run by severely brain damaged individuals from the asylum we call our state capitol. They have a Facebook page where they answer questions from frustrated citizens trying to get help –or even basic information from Covered California:  https://www.facebook.com/CoveredCA .  Reading the questions and complaints from others who have tried to use the system gives me a headache! One such repeated comment is the long hold times when you try to call –just to discover you may get cut off after an hour or two. CoveredCA’s response… “We get thousands of calls every hour.”  Well why do you suppose that is? Could it be the system is so screwed up and confusing that people are calling for help who shouldn’t have to? If the system was as great as they claim, this would not be happening and actually, CoveredCA shouldn’t even need a Facebook page.

First of all I’d like to talk about the Exchange where one is given to believe there would be choices of insurance companies. Where I live we have the following choices:  Blue Cross or Blue Cross (Blue Shield or Anthem respectively). Some choice. There are four plan options available says CoveredCA: “You can choose to pay a higher monthly premium for a Platinum or Gold plan so that when you need medical coverage you pay less. Or you can choose to pay a lower monthly premium for a Silver or Bronze plan, but when you need medical coverage, you pay more. It’s up to you.” Well is it really up to me?  My income is limited, so like most of the athletes from the US that metaled in the recent Olympics in Sochi, Russia, I should probably settle for Bronze if I could.  However, after comparing plans and knowing that I have to see a physician and have tests rather frequently, it didn’t make sense to have a plan with a ridiculously a high deductible and co-pay amounts, that covered very little, just to say I’d met the letter of the new law that says I have to purchase insurance. So, I chose the ‘recommended’ choice: Silver. Because of my age the monthly premium is a whopping $600+ per month. Because of our household income, we qualify for a subsidy that reduces our monthly payment to a $256 per month or roughly about the same as a car payment would be for moderately priced car. Makes me wonder if anybody in my age and income brackets actually chooses Gold or Platinum… Really why do they even offer such an incredibly expensive option. Oh that’s right —so they can say there are actually options available in the Exchange.  I’d love to see a break down after a year or so to see what people actually chose… Don’t think that’ll happen.

I would like to note that CoveredCA sent me a letter after I enrolled stating I did not qualify for the “enhanced” Silver plan due to our income. First of all, I have no idea what the difference is between the enhanced version of the plan I got other than it is apparently better than what I got and I can’t have it. Gee thanks for the heads up. Does me a world of good to know that!

OK… So my husband (who gets insurance through his employer that is super crappy but free) and I bit the bullet and took on the monthly expense of my insurance because I am the one with the health issues, I’m older… and well it’s the law. We diligently paid the premium monthly since January. Moving smoothly along… until I get a notice in the mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield stating my policy is being cancelled for nonpayment of premium. WTF!  It turns out that I paid the premium through my online bill payment system  through my bank (like I do all my other bills) and BCBS (emphasis on BS) does not like this. What company in the world does not like to get payments directly from a bank?! Anyway, they said they received it on time when it was due but returned it to my bank on the 4th. (That was 20 days ago mind you and the next payment is due in only a few days.) They prefer that I pay my bill using their online system on their website, send a personal check via snail mail or agree to automatic deductions from my bank account (that is going to happen not EVER).

I looked on my bank account statement online and could find no evidence that the funds were returned to me. I verified this with both my bank representative and one from the bill pay system. I called BCBS back –their hold times are at least as long as CoveredCA’s. The representative who I finally talked to after another 45 minutes on hold told me he couldn’t find any evidence that I’d paid. I told him it showed on my statement that I did and the last BCBS rep I talked to verified it and told me it was returned to my bank. He hung up.

So, my bank is going to send me a form to sign that will get me reimbursed for my loss. The catch(es): 1/ it will take two weeks to process, and 2/I will never be able to pay BCBS through the bank again. I asked the bank rep if this meant just the bill pay system or did it also apply to writing a check or using my debit card on their site. He didn’t know. Jeesh…

I feel like every place I’ve turned regarding this new health insurance policy I have has lead me to nothing but incompetent crazies! Very tempting to just let the damned thing get cancelled and pay the tax fine.

In the Spirit of Things

Am I hearing the distant and faint “jingle, jangle” of Christmas bells?  No, I’m hearing them loud and clear coming from my TV!  And I don’t want to be.  I am simply amazed at how much earlier year after year the folks responsible for the commercialization of the Holiday Season manage to con us into decking our halls with the latest trends in festive baubles and bling.  It’s too early folks!  I don’t want to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner and see my Christmas Tree.  And, when I do put up my tree, it is going to look pretty much like it did last year.  I want the children at my table (if I had them) to have dreams of the pumpkin pie -not sugar plums- dancing through their little heads.  (Actually I haven’t a clue what sugar plums are and have obviously never made them.)  Though I certainly expect they shall be dropping hints about what they hope to discover on Christmas morning-  under the tree that is NOT up yet.  Yesseree –I’m a nostalgic traditionalist and love the notion of the holidays as I have dreamed of them my entire life.  While I dream of change in politics (such as may occur as a result of Obamacare)… when it comes to holiday traditions, I do not.  Some things should never change.  The unfolding of the seasons this time of the year is the one thing that makes the passing of summer tolerable. (We don’t get to see much in the way of seasonal changes here on the California Central Coast, so I have to be content with the images I’ve found on Pinterest and the Autumn wallpaper and screensaver I created for my computer screen.)   I’m not getting any younger, so I want the unfolding to drag on as long as possible.

My Facebook  friend Pat recently bought a house.  Since retiring from a career of many years as a flight attendant she is finally going to spend her Holiday Season at home and is finally getting to celebrate Christmas on Christmas.  She posted a picture of her tree that she recently put up in her new home.  It is lovely!  A comment followed by another FB friend to her post  “You’ve been in the air toooo long; It’s Happy Thanksgiving then Merry Christmas !!!! LOL 😉;) Hope you have BOTH!!!!! :)”  Considering her history ~she gets a pass I think.

Don’t get me started on the new “Black Thursday” that used to be “Black Friday”!  No, I haven’t done my Christmas shopping and this does not inspire me to jump in head first either.  I guess not everybody is going to be slaving over a hot stove putting a Thanksgiving meal together that usually eats up the major part of the day -a preoccupation that pretty much negates any opportunity to hit the mall at the crack of dawn in search of  ‘deals’.  Do I care that retailers are screwing their employees out of holiday family time?  No not really~ jobs are hard to come by these days and most people I’ve talked to are grateful for the opportunity to earn the cash.  Many of them are the ‘extra help’ hired for the Holiday Season anyway (earlier this season than before).  It’s pretty much expected if you work in retail.  Sorry guys.  I’m likely to do my shopping right here behind my computer screen as I mostly have for the past several years.  The lines are much shorter.

Many commercials this year are now focused squarely on the New Normal with a holiday twist.  I love that the TV gods have seen fit to allow gays to be portrayed on TV shows as parents, lovers, spouses, and well rounded respectable  individuals that have jobs and pay their taxes ~and not serial killers or serial victims set out to destroy the moral fabric of American society.  What I don’t love is that during the limited space and time continuum of a TV commercial, it is done with whiny insipid people who come across as ‘queeny’ so that you get that they’re gay.   Somehow, I’m anticipating a backlash in the future of TV programming ~ but perhaps my expectations are futile.  Laundry, dish cleaning,  toilet and floor scrubbing are still done pretty exclusively by middle class women of child-bearing age as they have been since the television was invented.  Good changes in the history of TV:  people of color do not necessarily get killed off first.  Bad changes:  Have you noticed it’s recently become OK to say “shit” during prime time on some networks?  Expected changes:  A commercial suggesting you give your same-sex partner the latest flavor  in KY for Christmas this year or what Santa will be giving Mrs. Santa this year because he’s started a daily regimen of Cialis.  ¡Oye! ~I’m so glad I don’t have little kids at home anymore so that I don’t have to explain stuff!

If you must put up a tree before Thanksgiving, this one is really cute! Love the owls!

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to end this post on a more pleasant ( and less snarky) fashion.  To celebrate the day in the spirit for which the day was made, I want to give thanks for all that I am grateful for.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a wonderful home that has been recently remodeled with the kitchen of my dreams and the dust has settled.  I have a wonderful loving husband and three fabulous children and two brilliant and beautiful grandchildren that I am soooo proud of.  I voted in an election and am happy to say pretty much everything I voted for passed (which just never ever has happened in my life before) and my hope for change (in areas with actual importance)  has found new vigor.  I am grateful also that you have taken the time to read my meanderings and allowed me a brief moment on the soap box.  I truly hope you and yours have a wonderful Holiday Season the way you want it to be.

US Healthcare System Broken —But Fixable

This blog was inspired by the following “retweet” I made regarding post about an MSNBC article that is near and dear to my heart: 
 
The high cost of dying: RT @ChuckWheelock: The Impossible Calculus at the core of today’s #Healthcare dilemma http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35726793/ns/business-your_retirement/

 

Terence Foley, who’s death and the costs it incurred is the subject of this story.  He is someone I wish I could have known.  He was such an interesting and talented person with a great sense of humor.  I certainly could relate to this story.  A few years ago, my mom passed away from liver and colon cancer.  Years before she had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.  She had also been a "survivor" of breast cancer. 

Her final battle lasted for a couple of months of being in and out of the hospital and having various doctors deal with her various issues.  Thinking back, many (if not most) of the "procedures" and drugs she was taking by that time were unnecessary, unhelpful, and often contradictory to one another.  I often wondered if the doctors actually ever spoke to one another.  Toward the end she had surgery to remove the colon cancer.  Her "insides" were so deteriorated from the cirrhosis that the surgeon needed assistance to help close her up because there was nothing that could be done.  The surgery was a waste of time.  Another unnecessary procedure that did nothing but cause her pain.  The surgeon didn’t know about the extent of her "other" disease.  I remember him laying his head on her shoulder.  He had tears in his eyes.  He was very sorry.  He adored my mom. Still, I’ll always wonder why the surgeon was not informed by her internist about the extent of the cirrhosis.

Once it was determined that there was nothing else they could do to her (for her?), they sent her home with enough morphine to kill a horse to be administered by hospice workers and family members at will.  Yes, she’d signed a DNR (do not resuscitate).  Had she not done so, I’m sure they would have kept her there to administer any number of horrific procedures and useless drugs to further squeeze more money from the insurance companies.  Just the same, she did not “go quietly into the night,” and the final two weeks of her tortured life continue to haunt me.  Cancer has that kind of affect on people sometimes and it can’t be avoided no matter how much money you throw at it.

The final out-of-pocket expense for that last episode (besides the monthly premium for the insurance) was less than $145 according to my dad.  She also had Medicare and was just shy of her 67th birthday when she died.

I miss my mom, but I get so angry when I see such blatant examples such as hers and Terrance’s that clearly express the need for healthcare reform.  Mom may have been able to avoid a lot of what she went through if she had had the means to purchase healthcare insurance when she was first diagnosed about 10 years before she died. 

The effect of manipulating patient care with unnecessary drugs and procedures for profit makes affordable insurance out of reach for millions.  Because our population is aging and costs are continuing to escalate, the situation can only get worse.  Regardless of what side of the political fence you sit and unless you are independently wealthy, you can be sure that you will be affected by our broken healthcare system either directly or by the loss of or suffering by someone you love.

Never before in the history of this country have we been in a position to "fix" our healthcare system.  Don’t let a minute more go by.  You can do something to help resolve this issue that effects us ALL.  Call, write, tweet, or email your congress reps today.

Change Is In The Air

There is a saying:  “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  I don’t remember who is responsible for that quote.  It has certainly rang true in the past for those unwilling to learn new technologies or unwilling to change how they do business –until now.  If you are in the home building and remodeling industries, it is not likely that you will even get what you always got in terms of work or income.

It seems that those who want to stay in the home building and remodeling industry need to find the niche that not only suits them and their abilities, but has revenue potential as well.  There are many talented and experienced people out there that have ended up in unemployment lines or working in minimum wage jobs while they try to wait out the recession.  I’ve heard the economy is starting to improve, but you can be sure our industry will never return to the way it once was.  Change is it the air like it or not.  It’s not enough to build a new website or revamp the old one, move your showroom and hire a new receptionist, tweeting your heart out on Twitter or Friending the western hemisphere on Face Book, or a number of other tactics that I’ve seen some do lately.  These times require taking a hard look at strengths and weaknesses, and making fundamental changes to one’s whole business model and long- and short-term goals.  Going out of business and working for somebody else is a difficult thing to do but may be the best answer for some, while others may find that hanging out their shingle and going freelance is the best solution.  This is also a good time to get training to fill the evolving niche opportunities out there or perhaps go back to school to change one’s career focus entirely.

Aside from the fact that leads have dwindled and banks are not lending money the way they used to, there are new laws and government programs coming into effect, that will change the already ever-changing face of the remodeling and design industry as we once knew it.  Regarding lead-safe painting practices and new requirements in work processes “The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rules go into effect in April… For work in buildings constructed before 1978, remodelers need two certifications, one for the company and one for at least one individual who will perform or supervise the work.” (Sal Alfano, “View Point First Word,” Remodeling, January 2010). Due to the huge potential for liability, remodeling contractors will either need to get the necessary training and equipment or refuse to work on pre-1978 homes.  Homeowners will be forced to work with contractors who are qualified in exchange for working with those they’ve worked with in the past and have developed a relationship with.  From the remodeling contractor’s standpoint, this may be an opportunity to create a new business focus and an opportunity to get a foot in the door, especially for those who are new to an area and that has a few companies that have traditionally locked up the bulk of the market share in the past. 

Also in Sal Alfano’s commentary he pointed out opportunities to be sought in residential energy improvements as a result of the Clean Energy and Security Act that was passed by the House in June of last year.  If passed by the Senate, “Section 202 of the bill would fund energy retrofit rebates for existing residential and commercial building… it will mean more work for both energy auditors and home-performance contractors.”  Again, here is an opportunity for residential contractors to focus on a business area that will meet the requirements for projects that will evolve as a result of the new funding availability.

Architects and interior designers like to imagine themselves proficient at “thinking outside the box” when it comes to their design abilities.  The “new economy” will be the proving grounds for their creativity in regard to business savvy as well.  A trend I’ve seen recently are contractors and designers becoming certified Aging-In-Place Specialists as a way of tapping into the market that is growing due to our aging population.  I’m sure in the front of everyone’s mind involved in this endeavor is the potential for funding that will come about as a result of healthcare reform.

Another strategy for adapting to our changing work environment is to change the way we look at our competitors and other ‘trades’ related to our business and to become collaborators.  This is the whole premise of my business which is based on providing kitchen and bath design and drafting services online in support of residential building, remodeling and kitchen and bath professionals.  As expected, this has had a lukewarm acceptance in the industry for a variety of reasons, in spite of which I’ve managed to form some great connections and business opportunities with those that have ventured to participate in this unconventional model.  What I have learned in this past year’s “experiment” is something that has been noted in a thread I’ve been following on LinkedIn.  In the K+BB Designer’s Network discussion group, Gail Green posed the question:  “What is the most effective way for an Interior Designer to collaborate with a Kitchen and Bath Designer?”  The underlying message that is clear from the posts that followed is that in any collaboration the scope of responsibility should be clearly outlined and there needs to be an element of respect between the collaborators.  Add a certain level of “chemistry” between the individuals, and an environment for successful future collaboration on projects is formed.  I know –this seems a little too ‘touchy feely’ for many who’s business acumen and ideology are tied to traditional business teaching, but it’s time to start thinking beyond “what we’ve always done” that got us to where we are now.

Using technology differently or using new technology can be yet another way we can create new opportunities.  Paul Anater, writer of the Kitchen and Residential Design Blog, recently worked with clients virtually using Google Wave where they communicated and designed live over the net.  Though Wave is still in beta testing, it may very possibly be the fore runner of virtual design collaboration.  There was also an article in the December issue of Remodeler where Joe Stoddard wrote about someone who uses Google Blogger to create project specific blogs that he uses to communicate directly with his clients on the progress of their project and is accessed and used by the subs involved as well.

Sal Alfano’s closing remark in his article:  “Change is rarely a choice, but it’s almost always an opportunity.”  I loved his “make lemonade” attitude.  In this case, maybe it’s time to think about making lemon meringue pie instead and sharing our recipe with others that have an overabundance of lemons.