Preliminary Sound Booth Test

Living the dream album art I spent some time today looking at DIY Sound Booth sites. I also spent time checking out some of the pro sound proof material. The things folks use to create a sound booth ran the gamut from carpet to duvets to specialty foam/mat boards. It could be free, using items from around the house or it could be several thousand dollars for professional sound tiles/rooms.

As much as I would like to have a functional and beautiful sound booth, I opted for the ‘use whatever we have in the house’ method. It took me all of 5 minutes to concoct the preliminary set up. The materials I used? Two sleeping bags, two sheer curtains, one heating blanket, a piece of leftover floor carpeting and my sweater.

What’s missing? Foam bedding for the ceiling and a barstool to sit on.

With this basic setup done, I decided to test out the sound. I was surprised at how well it turned out. Even in it’s unfinished state, I think the audio from my test is much better than the audio I’ve been doing sitting in my office.

Let me know what you think.

Clutter Cleared!

I said I would clear out my closet to make room for a sound booth by today.

The closet was cleared by 7pm.

clean closet

I also said I would clear off my desk by today.

The desk was cleared about 15 minutes ago.

clean desk

It has been a tough 3 days. It was in fact more difficult than I had originally anticipated. Luckily, the supportive humorous comments I received here and on Twitter saw me through. Yesterday I felt really overwhelmed, but thanks to you all I was able to laugh at myself.

I still have unfinished work to do. Collecting all the items that I’ll be taking to Goodwill and organizing the files now that the boxes have been separated by subject: Household, Business, Podcasting/Events, Taxes, Family stuff. So even though I’ve still got a ways to go, I do have quite a sense of accomplishment.

Of course the best part is that starting tomorrow, John will be hitting the hardware store to get started on my sound booth. Excuse me while I say, wOOt!

Clearing out the clutter

With 2007 winding down it’s time to reflect about the years events and consider upcoming 2008. Once of the things that will help bring 2007 to a close and prepare me to dive into 2008 will be to clear out the clutter. By nature I’m a stacker. I have stacks and piles of things in various places. It starts off innocently enough on my desk with a sheet or two and before you know it a pile has been born. Who knew creation could start so simply?

Cluttered Desk

Eventually the pile becomes more than the desk can handle and it becomes a stack or two. Hmmmm…..is this how rabbits multiply? Pretty soon there are several stacks and a mini skyline is born. Once again I’m getting the idea I have a production factory here. Overall, I have a good idea of what is where and can locate things. The taller a stack get, the more difficult that task becomes. When I haven’t touched a stack in a while or I get tired of looking at it the stacks gets relegated to a box. The box then goes into the closet. It’s the place where boxes live, isn’t it?

Cluttered Closet

Over the course of the last couple of years the closet in my office has become home to office supplies (on the shelves), my son’s old pc parts and cpu’s (look under the boxes), books, 3.5″ floppy disks (I don’t even own a computer with a 3.5″ drive anymore), ebay items that are waiting to get listed or did not sell (wire basket shelf storage), and of course the boxes full of paper stacks. What is in the boxes? It varies from invoices, receipts, junk mail, bills, and even school projects. Business and personal stacks are mostly separated, but occasional there is an errant page to be found in the mix.

For some time I have been looking to create an in-house studio. Working from home and homeschooling takes up quite a bit of space. So far, I have not been successful at convincing my family to help me turn a portion of the attic into a studio. I did get a warmer reception to my idea of the closet being a good size for a sound booth.

So while my dream of an in-house studio may not be close to a reality, a sound booth will be soon. Well, as soon as I can clear out the clutter. Which brings me back to my reasoning for posting the pics of my embarrassingly cluttered desk and closet. My goal is to be done by Friday, December 28th. Not just the clearing out of the desk and closet clutter, but the throwing out and recycling of unneeded stuff. I mean, do I really need the plastic case to a CD that is only God knows where?

By Friday the closet should be empty, the boxes should be gone and all the stacks inside the boxes should either be filed or thrown. The ebay items will be donated to Goodwill. At the very least I can take a tax-deduction. My son is on his own with his items. I am taking them out and putting them in his room.

With that done the goal is to spend the weekend turning my (hopefully) empty closet into a sound booth. My husband has stated, “As soon as you clear out that closet I can get to work on your sound booth.” Will it happen? I’m looking to you to keep me honest. If by Friday I haven’t posted a pic of my empty closet. You have my permission to call me out.

I’ve gotta go now. The boxes are calling me. Wait a minute, wasn’t there a Twilight Zone like this?

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

Amazing what an early morning can feel like after a couple of days of sickness. I’m walking around the house with a silly grin on my face. I feel great! No really, really great! Let me see if I can paint a picture of just how I feel this morning.

You know when your kids are little and they wake up at the crack of dawn so happy and chipper everyday? You wonder how can they be that happy so early in the morning? Well guess what? I now know how that feels. It’s super cool!

What a difference it would make if waking up felt like this everyday. Just imagine all the things that could get accomplished. I might even become a morning person if it is always like this. Wonder why it isn’t? Is this amazing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed feeling reserved only for the very young and the recently ill? Hope not.

When was the last time you woke up feeling like a little kid?

Blog Action Day: The Environment

Today is Blog Action Day and the topic of choice is The Environment. The idea is for folks to discuss the environment as it relates to our current blog topic. Since my blog topic is….well….me this is going to be easy.

After some thoughtful discussion with John, I’ve decided to share where I think we, as a home-based business owners and a homeschool family, do in our daily lives to reduce our impact on the environment.

During the morning news we hear all about the traffic jams for those commuting to their place of work. In our business we commute from our downstairs bedroom to our upstairs offices. The only traffic jam you’ll find in our home is at the coffee pot. Just try putting your coffee cup in before mine and you’ll get an earful. Same as you would if you tried to cut me off on the freeway.

All kidding aside, because we don’t participate in the mad dash to an office outside of our home we as a single family are doing our part to help the environment. This is not to say that we never leave the house. Of course we do. We have outside appointments and our kids have outside activities. However when we travel is entirely up to us. It’s not often that you find us in rush hour traffic. We try to schedule morning appointments after 9am and afternoon appointments before 4:30pm.

I know that working from home is not an option for everyone. But there is an alternative to everyone traveling to work at the same time. Companies could stagger their employee arrival/exit times to alleviate traffic. Some folks are naturally early birds and others not so much. Those who are chirpy in the a.m. could work the 7am-3pm schedule and then others from 8am-4pm and lastly the night owls could wander in from 9am-6pm.

Scheduling employees into their natural productive time would be an additional bonus. I for example am the night owl in the group. While my sister Jackie is chirpy in the early a.m. hours. It would make sense to slot us into different work schedules since we are both productive at different times of the day.

What does this have to do with the environment? With less folks stuck in traffic at the same time there would be less smog, less stress and happier people overall. So I would be interested to hear what you are doing in your family to help with the environment.

“Let me explain….No….Let me sum up…”

Those of us familiar with The Princess Bride will remember these words uttered by Inigo Montoya. So much had happened and there was just not enough time to share the details. So began the “summing up”. In my case there is no Prince Humperdinck scheming and plotting to ruin things. If anything, I’ve got “Miracle Max” in my corner giving me a magical and tasty chocolate-covered nut to bring me through.

SUM-UP #1: The last we chatted, I was embarking on the 30 Day Challenge. I’ll sum up my challenge by stating that by day 16 the real world had stepped up some challenges and that was the end of that. It so happens that was right about the time that Web 2.0 put a little hiccup in the project. I won’t elaborate further except to reiterate an earlier message board post, ” Spam is spam no matter what platform you are using.” That’s not to say folks weren’t successful. On the contrary there were a few folks who did quite well.

To me the amazing thing was that the folks who were the most successful at it used the 30DC & the Web 2.0 tools they learned about to enhance their existing businesses. The reason I think it was amazing to me was due to the fact that I have an existing business and have been using Web 2.0 tools for some time. Yet, I had never put the two things together. It was a bit of a V-8 moment for me.

SUM-UP #2: This Texas Gal has been busy with all the New Media/Social Media/Tech opportunities. From Co-Working to BarCamps to Blogtoberfest to a Halo3 Pre-Launch at Microsoft. I’m here to tell you there is a growing interest in what we’ve been doing for the last 2 years. I only wish I could participate in all the new and exciting events that are happening in Dallas, Houston, Austin. I get to as many events as I can and love it! I’ll admit I’ve drunk the kool-aid and being able to hang out with others in the New/Social Media arena is just grand! The folks I’ve met continue to amaze and motivate me. I’m looking forward to meeting the folks I haven’t met yet. If that’s you, then send me a line or better yet find me on Twitter.

SUM-UP #3: During this time of the year our family & business rotates around football. Our oldest son plays in a 6-Man Football team, the San Antonio FEAST Patriots and has since it’s inception 3 years ago. With practice 4-5 days a week plus weekly games, half of which are anywhere from a 1-3 hour drive. Well you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that equals up to a lot of time. It seems like the season is so very long but when it’s over we are always sad to see it end. We really are blessed to have the opportunity to fellowship with the other FEAST families thru football. I call it “Football & Felllowship” We see our families grow and change with each season. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

SUM-UP#4: The Morning BrewCast has been through a slow period while Jackie and I were otherwise engaged. We tried our best to produce at least one show each month during this time. You all were patient and supportive. We think we have some of the best listeners in the Pod-O-Sphere. We’re back in the swing and are back to producing shows on a more frequent basis. If you’ve got a topic you’ve been dying to hear, then send us a comment at the Morning BrewCast. We’d love to hear from you!

This concludes the “Summing Up”. Feel free to drop me a line jennifer AT jennifernavarrete.com Yeah, I know it’s long, but hey it’s my name and that’s that. Or you can send me a voice mail by using the CALL ME button on the left side of the site. Until next time…… remember, “I have spent the last few years building an immunity to iocane powder and am not someone to be trifled with.”

The Kindness and Generosity of the Online Community

As you know, I am pretty active in the online community as it relates to Social Media. For the most part it has been a way to keep in touch with folks I’ve met at various conferences/camps. We share what we’re doing via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and belong to podcasting/videoblogging/new media groups to inform, educate and enlighten one another. The ability to communicate with folks who share my passion for the New Media and understand where I’m coming from has been priceless. Being able to be with folks who ‘get me’ regardless if it’s online or in person for me has been an invaluable part of the New Media journey.

Not only that, but the folks who are on this journey with me happen to be some of the most generous folks you’ll ever meet. Case in point, recently I made a Twitter post in regards to Tropical Storm Erin making it’s way to the Rio Grand Valley and my concern about a property needing care. I was pleasantly surprised to received two offers of help from folks who live in that region. Now mind you these folks aren’t family and one of them I’ve never even met. This reinforced my belief in the kindness and generosity of the online community.

Share your online community story.

Living the dream….what does that mean?

While we all have a mental image of what that is for each one of us, for me it’s more about freedom.

Your probably asking yourself, ” Freedom….what does she mean?”

As someone living in America in the 21st century I probably have more freedom than a lot of folks around the world. Yes it’s true I am fortunate to be able to work, live, eat, vacation, drive, shop, etc… whenever and wherever I choose. And it’s great! But that is not what I mean. No, to me “Living the Dream” is more about Time Freedom.

The time to do the things I’m passionate and interested in. The time to pursue new interests while still living fairly well. I’m not drinking my coffee with my pinkie sticking up nor do I drive the latest and greatest car, but what I do have is a relatively easy going lifestyle. Sure, I’d like to get a new car every two years, but the car I have now works great. It’s a trooper and still going strong. Now why would I get rid of something that has given me faithful service all these years? As a matter of fact I’m about to hand over the keys to my son.

But, I digress. To me living the dream involves several things.