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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

BTW...

I took the unwanted gift back to return it for a full refund to dh's credit card. I won't be ordering the other one either: he just paid my December car payment for me. That's more than enough.
; )

Getting to know you... the latest version

I tried this in a couple of my Yahoo groups, so I thought I'd bring it over here, too. Enjoy!

Although we are not all local, it would be fun to meet and get to know each other and form more of a global community spirit. Therefore, I thought I'd see what I could do to "break the ice" and open up some discussion here.

Please feel free to skip any questions you don't feel comfortable answering… I just found this list on the `net and modified it for use here.

• What is your name? Lydia Shelley
• Where do you live? How long have you lived there? Hollywood, Florida near I-95 & Hollywood Blvd. for 18 ½ years
• Do you have any pets? Yes. Right now we have a guinea pig and two bunnies
• What was the last book you read? A boring book on how to value Intellectual Property (my boss paid me to read it for him! LOL)
• Do you like to cook? Yes. Just hate to clean up the mess afterward
• What's your favorite food? I'm partial to beef: Prime Rib, Filet Mignon…
• Are you good at cooking/swimming/etc? I'm good at cooking; writing and singing songs; other writing such as speeches, essays and short stories; web-related stuff such as building websites,
doing research, etc. and I'm also pretty good at teaching people computer-related stuff. Not a really good swimmer, but I can do it well enough to keep from drowning if I fall into water that's over my head!
• Are you married or single? Married to the same man for 19½ years.
• Do you have brothers and sisters? Not from my mother… my father had other children but I have never met any of them. I would like to, though.
    o Are they older or younger than you? Older… as old as my mother
• Do you like baseball? More than football… but less than equestrian events, ice skating or dance competitions.
• Do you live alone? Nope.
• Do you live in a house or an apartment? A 1080 sq. ft. house with 6 other people!
• Have you ever lived in another country? Does six weeks count as "living" there?
• Have you ever met a famous person? Yes, but I don't care to elaborate.
• How do you spend your free time? Free time? What's that?
• Is English your native tongue, if not... what is? Yes.
• How long have you been studying English? Since before I was born, LOL
• How old are you? 40
• How tall are you? 5'4"
• Tell me about a favorite event of your adulthood. In March of this year I went and purchased my very first brand-new vehicle without a co-signer… that made me feel very grown-up, LOL
• Tell me about a favorite event of your childhood. Opening my first Polaroid camera from my mother one Christmas.
• What are your hobbies? Reading both fiction and non-fiction: especially biographies; writing songs, poems, essays, speeches and short stories (also working on two novels and an informational book)
• What two things could you not do when you were.....? When I was pregnant I could not go to loud nightclubs or ride the roller coasters at Disney World (haven't been back since!)
• What countries have you visited? Only Canada and Peru
• What country are you from? The USA
• What do you do on Sundays? Laundry, usually…
• What do you do? What's your job? I'm a webmistress and singer/songwriter
• What do you like to do in your free time? Watch movies and catch up on reading
• What is the nearest bus stop or train station to your house? The nearest bus stop is at Adams Street & 26th for the #6 bus (3 blocks away) and the tri-rail station is about a mile from my house • What is the nearest airport to where you live? Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
• What is your motto? "Maybe I can not help everybody, but that does not mean I should not try."
• What is your religion? My beliefs are Judeo-Christian, but we do not attend church.
• What kind of food do you like? All kinds… my favorite is probably just good old American grilled steaks with green beans and a baked potato loaded with lots of butter, sour cream & chives • What kind of people do you like? Creative people, intelligent people, optimistic, hopeful people
• What kind of people do you not like? Rude, nasty, inconsiderate, negative, pessimistic people and those who choose to be ignorant despite obvious intelligence.
• What languages do you speak? English and pig latin, LOL
• What two things could you not do when you were a child, but you can do now? Drive a car and drink alcohol
• What's something you do well? Write compelling songs
• What's your address? mizlydia @ gmail.com
PLEASE FOLKS, DON'T GIVE YOUR HOME ADDRESS PUBLICLY IN HERE! EMAIL, P.O. BOXES OR BUSINESS ADDRESSES ONLY!!!
• What's your father like? Deceased. He was a colorful character. Loved the ocean and had no legs from the knee down.
• What's your mother like? Also deceased. She was highly creative, intelligent, a do-it-yourselfer through and through.
• Where are you from? I was raised in Springdale, Ohio.
• Where were you born? I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey
• Which sports do you like? Ice skating, dance competitions, equestrian events such as steeplechase and harness racing
• Who do you live with? My husband and five kids
• Who do you respect the most? God
• Who has had the most influence in your life? God
• Do you have a blog? If so, why did you decide to create a blog? Yes. To be able to record my thoughts publicly, and get occasional feedback from the rest of the world.
• Would you like to be famous? Yes, but reclusively so.
• What do you think you will be doing five years from now? Adopting children who have little hope of being chosen (older kids, kids with siblings, etc.)
    o Where do you think you'll be living five years from now? On a huge ranch in Montana!
• What is your goal in life? To glorify God by using the talents He gave me so that when my life is over I can truly say I did the very best I could have done.
• Are you a 'morning' or 'night' person? It varies according to what's going on in my life.
• When do you feel best? In the morning, afternoon, or evening? See the previous question
• Do you have a favorite time of year? No.
• How many cities have you lived in? That depends on how long you must live there to qualify as having lived there as opposed to only visiting. Long term, only two: Springdale and Hollywood.
• What jobs have you done? If I listed all of those it would take a full page by itself. Suffice it to say many and varied: I'm not too proud to work, nor afraid to learn new things.
• Which do you prefer, sunrises or sunsets? Neither. Both are equally breathtaking in their beauty. However, as several of those who responded to this question in the groups pointed out: sunset comes at a MUCH more convenient time of day!
• What could you do as a child that you can't do now? Hug and kiss my mother. I miss that more than any other single thing. In fact, I would give my right arm to have one more day with her!
• Who is your next door neighbor? A lady named Sonia
    o What is he or she like? Very nice… loves to have parties during the holidays (any holidays!)
    o Are you friendly with each other? Not "touchy-feely" friendly, but we chat and borrow cups of milk or sugar, etc. from each other
• How many times did you move as a child? Never. I lived in the same house until I grew up and left home.
• Are you a task oriented person or a people oriented person? Both… at different times.
• If you're single, what is the profile of the wife/husband
you would like to meet? I have to skip this one, cuz I'm married.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Humbug?

Okay. I don't need any of you to tell me that the last post was rather "Scrooge-y". I guess to sum it up, I would prefer either cash or a dontation to charity in my name over being given things I don't want or need and can't use. At least, unlike in the past... it doesn't have to go to waste any more: there's always Freecycle!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Am I a bitch?

Most of this is a transcript from an IM I had with a friend earlier today. Some of it has been slightly altered for the sake of understanding context and presentation.

Christmas morning: It's all right... but I hate a lot of aspects of it.
People spending money they can't truly afford to spare, to buy meaningless gifts for people who will shove them into a bottom drawer and forget about them...
For example... I searched high and low for a replacement laptop/briefcase, and chose one that I could find in only one place... online... and I require its dimensions as well as other features such as detachable wheels and backpack straps: http://www.mckleinusa.com/rseries/53265.html
I have been toting two briefcases around: one on wheels for most of my stuff, and one with no wheels to carry my (heavy) laptop. DH is SO clueless. He thought all I wanted was another damn briefcase on wheels... and didn't even check to see if it was made for a wide screen laptop. In fact he's so ignorant he doesn't even know that my laptop is extra wide, and not standard.
I am trying to bite my tongue and withhold my anger at his carelessness and ineptitude... but it bottles up, and must manifest itself somehow. If I'm not careful, it will make me truly ill.
So he buys me an expensive leather briefcase on wheels... very nice, but just STUPID. Because it cost MORE than the one I wanted, and if he had only followed the link I sent him and ordered it online he would have gotten it cheaper than what he spent. Instead of insisting on trying to find something locally without even understanding my needs or criteria for choosing what I chose!

This is my point: How can you appreciate a gift when there seems to be some kind of underlying spite? Like: "I know this isn't what you wanted, and it's not because I couldn't afford the one you really wanted, it's just that I truly don't give a rat's ass what you really want or why"

Or is that a distorted view?

I am going to try to return it. If they will give me cash, I will deposit it and order the one I want. Or if they will charge it back to his credit card... I will use his cc to order it. But if they will only give me a store credit I am going to be even more angry with him than I already am. This is why I wish he would not even bother to buy me anything at all. He always buys a bunch of thoughtless, useless things for his family and thinks they don't realize it. Their gifts are usually very thoughtful and well-chosen... so I know it's not just the way he was raised. He hates to shop, and it shows when you open a gift from him.

I'm sorry. I really shouldn't go on about him like this. I have my faults too. No one is perfect.
I need to just distance myself from all of this. I guess I need to write to remind myself of this... and perhaps get a divorce and let the kids spend Christmases with him... if it bothers me so damn much. Because they are also learning to choose thoughtless gifts... and I'd rather not even participate in the exchange any more. It's just a ridiculously expensive charade. I get angry about it every year... but I don't do anything about it.

I'm beyond such things in my life. I don't need the thoughtless gifts given me, nor do I need to spend weeks of my time agonizing about not having enough money to buy gifts or whether my gifts were thoughtful enough to avoid that "bottom drawer" syndrome. I am always upset at Christmas anyway... because my mother always made it so special. Now that I have spent more than half my life without her... it seems that the wound only grows deeper and festers worse every year.

Mostly on Christmas, Mother's Day, my birthday and her birthday... so 4 times/year I get all bent out of shape missing her. Nothing will ever bring her back. I need to develop some COMPLETELY DIFFERENT traditions... so that I won't spend the rest of my life comparing everyone and everything they do to her standards.

http://tinyurl.com/78cmc

That's the one he bought me.

As I already said... I'm lugging around 2 briefcases because all my gear doesn't fit in one. The first one I showed you with the backpack straps & detachable wheels has enough room to consolidate the contents of my two separate bags.

My point about the gift is: It's very nice. Which is why I look like a bitch for complaining at all. But the fact is, I sent him a link and explained why I needed that one... but probably I explained verbally, when I should have put it in writing: next to the link I sent him.

My computer is only 15" wide, but that's not standard, so it won't fit into a standard padded slot that is intended for a smaller machine. I want a 17" Mac some day... so even the one I want would not suffice if I get it, but I searched all over the 'net to find that one... because I want/need all those features. The backpack straps and detachable wheels are for if I have to take trains... I'm sure many of you know what a pain it is to drag much gear around riding trains.

I can make a lot more $$$ if I'd be willing to commute to West Palm Beach or South Miami but that's too far to drive my car economically. If the employer is near a train station, however... I'd consider it. I live about a mile from a train station. A comfortable walk in good weather. But I won't take a train for an hour then a bus for another hour to get to where I'm going... I have limits to what I'll tolerate. Although if I get a wireless card from my cell phone company so that I can use my laptop on the train, bus, etc...

I've been looking at the features of that briefcase again... there really is NO comparison between the two. Ugh. I'm going to hate going to the store... but if I entrust it to him, I'm afraid for the consequences. I'd rather put up with a bit of inconvenience for ultimate satisfaction.

Oh well. I try to live by the words of Jesus, when he said "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" He has his faults and I have mine. If I pick on his I am inviting criticism of my own. Best not to open up that can of worms if it can be avoided.

BTW... this is the only other briefcase type thingy I considered: http://www.healthyluggage.com/widtalofonwh.html
This one is very bulky... but nice cuz I could carry a lotta stuff in it. I like to be prepared... laptop, first aid kit including aspirin and cough drops, change of panties, if not a full change of clothes (warm or cool depending on weather changes)
Extras for laptop like USB cable, patch cable for wired network, external mouse, power pack/AC Adapter etc. Paper clips and other office supplies such as pens, pencils & sharpener, highlighters. All stuff for work... but to be able to work ANYWHERE. If I'm on the train for a couple hours a day, I want to be working, not vegetating

Saturday, December 24, 2005

No dice

Well, I guess they decided my portfolio was too slim to show my skills... and didn't want to take a chance on me. That's fine. I've since changed my posting on craigslist to say I'm not interested in a 9-5 "in-house" position.

Got my game plan in order... so I'll be going out on Monday to visit the first of the printers. I hope I won't have to go through the entire list before I find one that's interested. Once I have these brochures and biz cards in my possession, I'll move on to phase two... which will be to take them, in person, to local businesses. I think I'll get a better response that way than by mailing them out or choosing some form of media for advertising.

Any thoughts on this anyone? If there are any flaws in my thinking I'd prefer that they were pointed out before I hit the pavement...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Plan of action

Gosh! My blog is DEAD! Nobody comments anymore. I changed it back to public now that blogger has moderation for comments... but I guess it's going to take some effort on my part to write more and give people something worth stopping by here for.

Well... I think I've finally found traction, so to speak (no more spinning my wheels)

I can't say I'm not nervous, since I'm getting behind on the bills again, but since it's only by a few days so far, it's not too bad... just stinks that I'm so broke at this time of year. But I'll get over it.

I've interviewed with someone who got my resume from craigslist... and it's a job I'd take if it were offered, although I really hadn't planned to do the "9 to 5" again... it's close to home, looks promising (creative environment, interesting people and challenging work) and IS a steady paycheck. They also know I freelance so they won't be upset about that. We'll see...

I also went to see a guy today about working for him, but if he calls back, I will most likely tell him no. He was very annoying both on the phone prior to meeting him as well as in person. I can only imagine the ulcers he causes in those who must be around him from day to day. I have a choice: just say no to misery!

My primary client right now is mulling over the options I gave him for a maintenance agreement and I am working on secondary template sites that are related to the main project. I don't expect to obtain any further funds from that until after the first of the year.

So... what I have decided to do is work on getting the printing I need by bartering. To this end I have compiled a list of local printers who either do not have websites or whose websites could use a little "freshening up" (minor changes such as rollovers for the graphics, etc.)

I'll be pleased as punch if I can barter web services for printing what I need the way I want it to be printed. I'm quite sure my brochures will get me more work once I have them available to hand out.

I don't intend to mass market. I will visit businesses in person, and if they're not at all interested, I won't waste my brochures on them. My goal is to obtain more work than I can handle so I can start putting other people to work as well.

Wish me luck! Although I know my effort is worth a boatload of luck in the long run... luck might get me in the door, but it's my talent that will keep me there.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ch ch ch ch changes

Well, I was starting to move my blog over to my own server, but realized that there's a lot of work involved, like fixing the archive links & so forth... so decided to just keep it there for backup right now. Might do something with it in the future, but don't know. Makes me feel better to know I have all my entries backed up in case something should happen, but...

If I don't get some work soon, I'm going to get ever more creative in making my sites look more appealing. Sooner or later that's bound to get me somewhere... right?

I think I'm LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG overdue for a serious return to my music... so my primary goal for 2006 is to publish my catalog properly so that Dolly Parton will sing "Take a Little Ginseng" or another artist (any artist) will record my material!

Friday, December 09, 2005

A little help here?

Okay. I've been doing my best online to find more work... but not really coming up with anything. Gotta pay the bills, and prefer not to be boxed into an office again if I can avoid it, since the kids like for me to be available for rides & such. (And I like to do it, so at least I can touch base with them here and there)

I'm going to start seeking some local business offline, but would like some suggestions from other business people how best to go about this. I've created brochures and business cards... but they're not coming out very nice on my home printer. So I'm going to have to go to the expense of having them printed professionally. Since this is a serious investment in my future, I don't want to waste it. I'll have a limited number to pass around to the public, and I want to make sure I choose wisely where they go.

Should I give them only to the businesses I'm most interested in designing sites for? Or should I look at local websites online, and go visit their owners in person to discuss how a redesign would improve their bottom line? OR should I look in the phone book or walk around to local businesses to find out who DOES NOT have a website... and might want/need one? Or... all of the above? A little bit of each? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

I haven't priced my print jobs yet... but the budget will most definitely be tight. However, I feel this is a move that I must make if I don't want to be forced back into another nightmare commuting situation or the like. I do hope I'll get a comment or two on this one that provides a bit of food for further thought!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Plug time...

I've been reading through a site that I feel deserves mentioning here. In fact, I'll probably list it on my links after posting this. The site is http://tor.cc and it is a wealth of information for those who are considering the purchase and rigging of a sailboat, as well as for those who are planning to purchase an RV for land-cruising. For example, one tidbit of information I found was this: Walmart allows people in RVs to park overnight! Now, that site was just one that I googled in confirming what I read on Tor's, but... read through Tor's fascinating adventures yourself and see if you don't agree that this fellow has a fabulous ability to paint a picture for you - a talent that I personally value quite highly. He's led an extaordinary life, and I'd love to hear what anyone who reads his material has to say!