Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Return of the Happy Dance

Upon hearing good news I shared with them, two different friends sent me happy dances.

And this one-
(While there is nothing wrong with Jaden Smith and his dad rapping, the good stuff starts right about 1:30 into the video. And trust me, you want to watch to the end!)

I love that 2 different friends sent me these!

As for the happy news?
You'll just have to wait and see. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

At the beach...

I'm off at the beach right now. Maybe I'll get around to blogging soon. Maybe not. We expected to have wet, chilly, windy weather this week. That's what I packed for! But, darn it, would you believe we have nothing but sunny skies, and perfect temperatures. It's a rough life, but I'm doing my best.
In the meantime, if you really are just dying to hear more about my life, you can read an interview between author Rachel Terry and me on her blog!

Hey You! Check out my new novels, "You Heard It Here First" and the sequel "This Just In!"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What do you do in the summertime when... you have just been ripped off?

In the past few weeks I have been ripped off not once, but twice, by clients. I was hired to do a specific job for a specific amount of money. I performed both jobs not just well, but very well. Both clients expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the well done work.
And yet neither has paid me.
I am in the process of taking the proper steps to recover what I am owed. In the meantime, I'm left with the emotions that come with such dishonesty. It frustrates me to no end that people do this sort of thing. Why would you hire someone if you have no intention of paying them, unless you really do have dishonest and quite frankly immoral or evil intentions? And how can you live with yourself?
To say the least, the dishonesty of these other parties has had a very negative effect on my life. I am a freelancer. I depend upon the work I do to make the money I need to support myself. When someone intentionally hires me, accepts my work, and then doesn't pay me, it isn't just some mere inconvenience. I don't have other forms of income coming in. It's the money that was supposed to pay for my food, shelter, gas, etc..
When I go into job interviews for full-time jobs I always get asked, "Why do you want to leave self-employment?" (Actually what they almost always insensitively say is, "why do you want to get a job now?" Because apparently working 50 hours/week from home isn't a real job.) The answer I want to give is, "I'm tired of getting ripped off by my clients, and I'm tired of working three times harder than I have ever worked before to make 3 times less money." But that is not considered a professionally appropriate answer, so instead I say, "I miss being part of a larger, dynamic team." (But I'm always thinking, "I really want a consistent paycheck every 2 weeks.")
So help me get back at the guy who hired me to write a 25 page e-book (10 pt font, single spaced) on how to use Facebook for small business marketing, and then didn't pay me, by buying, "Increase e-Book Sales with Social Media Marketing." It's not the same exact book I wrote for him. (I'm still trying to be somewhat honest. I said I would write it, he would pay me, and he would own the rights to the book. But since he hasn't paid me, I've made some changes, and decided to sell it direct myself.)
It's just 99 cents to buy.  Use this magic little linky straight to PayPal, and I email you the PDF (or .mobi file if you prefer) book right back! (I swear to you this is a totally safe and secure link!)

PS- I don't say too much about my job hunting efforts around here. It's considered unprofessional to do so. But today I could just use the moral support from my friends.
I was interviewing last fall for some jobs, but nothing really panned out. I took a short break from looking, but have resumed my efforts again. In the past month I've had 3 really big disappointments. 3 different opportunities where it came down to me and one other person for an ideal job. And obviously in each case I didn't get the job.  I'm reaching the end of my "able to handle so much rejection rope." (couple all of that with clients ripping me off, and you can start to get an idea of what it feels like on my end of this internet connection.)
Last week I had a job interview that was just... ridiculously bad. The interviewer talked about random, unrelated subjects for 20 minutes, and then said, "So you really aren't a good fit for this position. Why did you apply?" And this is after I have just spent 5 hours in a car to drive to the interview, not to mention close to $80 in gas for the travel. And that was the only question she asked me. She couldn't have asked me that over the phone and saved me the trouble?? Ugh...
Back to my point... I have [another] interview this week. And this job (what little I know about it so far), really does sound perfect for me. I'm excited about it. I am a very good fit for the position, and it is something I can see myself doing for a long time. Can you think some happy thoughts for me? Hope for a good interviewer who knows how to ask the important questions, and that the 500 crucial details I have to get worked out between now and then all come together. (Just one of them being getting paid!)
Thanks. I appreciate it.
Hmm... you know what? I just might go publish the Facebook for small business marketing book too. I can't really think of a good reason not to.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Time to get the gardening gloves out!

My one big goal for this summer is to plant and grow a vegetable garden. This is far more challenging than it actually sounds.
For starters, in spite of the fact that I live on a mountain, in a fairly rural area, I have no place to plant my garden. Our yard is on the seriously steep mountainside. It goes straight down. It doesn't matter that there is an acre of nature back there. It's too steep, and too covered in trees.
Exhibit A: Our yard last autumn.

There is a little bit of room in the front/side yard to plant a garden, but there are deer and raccoons to be dealt with. And there are already a bunch of flowers planted there.
Exhibit B:
And let's face it, vegetables in the front yard is a little awkward.
And so I am forced to attempt container gardening up on the deck. But let me explain something here, this is also not as easy as it sounds. Our deck does not have stairs to the ground on the outside. It is only accessible from inside the house, and to Spiderman, and apparently a large number of raccoons. The raccoons have been known to somehow scale our deck that is a good 50-75 feet off the ground, bypass my ever-vigilant dog, and pull my plants out of the containers.
Exhibit C:
So I've invested in bucket gardening, vertical pallet gardening, deck rail container gardening, and just plain old container gardening.
Why so many different styles?
Well, that's where this story gets funny.
Last year I bought a Topsy Turvy Garden, planted a few tomatoes, and waited for the magic to happen.
And waited some more.
Nothing ever happened. My tomatoes never grew. The end.
A few weeks ago I hired a kid to come over and do a bunch of yard work for me. In the process he found some tomato seeds, and half a bag of potting soil. I told him to toss them all in the dead Topsy Turvy. And promptly forgot about it.
In the meantime I have put starts into a few buckets, and hung them up in trees in the yard. I put in green peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries. I've actually tended to them. 2 of them are next to the Topsy Turvy, but I never thought much of it.
Exhibit D:
(I have done a lot of trimming, mulching, cleaning, and improving in this area since this picture was taken. In fact, this is a 'before' picture. I will plant the 'after' picture when my new gladiolus pop up. (Assuming the raccoons don't kill them. Again.))

I also purchased several seeds and a start kit, and planted sunflowers, Roma tomatoes, sugar peas, and jalapenos. The kit said to put in 3 seeds per disk/start, because only half tend to actually grow. For once in my life, I actually followed the instructions. And I've tended to my little start kit like a very attentive mother bird. Until a few days ago it was growing on my kitchen table, and I couldn't help but go look at my little sproutlings multiple times a day.
Sometime last week I noticed a few green leaves sticking up over the top of the Topsy Turvy. That little handful of leftover seeds has easily produced 30 tomato plants!
I have counted up the starts in my kit that have actually come through, and I have a good 30-40 more tomato plants!!
70 tomato plants!!!
Exhibit E:

Heaven help me I have no idea what to do with that many tomato plants! (Keep in mind one tomato plant can easily produce more than 10 tomatoes!)
Not to mention, where the heck you actually plant 80 tomatoes when the obvious answer of "in the ground in your garden" doesn't work! And you have deer and raccoon problems!
And so you have multiple random container garden attempts!
Oh and there are a good 20 sunflowers popping up, about 10 sugar pea plants (which I just discovered will grow to about the size of a tomato plant!), and maybe, if I am lucky, 3 jalapeno plants. I'm not even sure that they are jalapenos. They might just be more tomatoes. Have mercy!
I also planted 3 more developed (not from seed) pepper plants- 3 green peppers, 1 sweet pepper, and 1 anaheim pepper.
And did I mention the 10 strawberry plants?
Yeah, I have been a little bit busy growing stuff!
This weekend I will move all of my seedlings to their new containers. (The sunflowers are going straight into the ground. I'm not going to try those in a container!) I've started to build my pallet garden, and well, let's just say, DISASTER! Total Pinterest Fail! Hilariously bad, terrible, ridiculous FAIL! There will be a blog post in the coming days illustrating just how bad and funny that fail was!
I realize that I could just throw some of the starts away, but for some reason that feels strangely unethical, like murder or something! Plus I'm sure a lot of them won't survive the transplanting. So I'm going to give all of my little babies a chance to live and give me food!
I'm in for a ton of work this summer to keep this many plants growing, especially with so many alternative container methods! But hopefully all this work will mean enough tomatoes to make the best darn spaghetti sauce ever more than once this summer, plus a few batches of summer salsa!
But here's the most awesome part, people! I HAVE GROWN A STRAWBERRY!!
Exhibit F:
We are off to an awesome summer.

Hey You! Check out my new novels, "You Heard It Here First" and the sequel "This Just In!"

Thursday, May 09, 2013

I'd give my left leg to not write this post

I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop burning my left leg. Why the left leg? I don't know. But that is the side of the laptop that gets hot and eventually starts to burn my leg. Thankfully this doesn't happen too often, only after I've been working on my computer for at least 12 hours.
Yes, I have been working on this thing for 12 straight hours. (No wonder I'm so hungry.)

I've resumed job hunting after a month long break. (Why a month break? Because it took less than a month for me to remember why I wanted to get a "real" job again, and then another week to talk myself into putting myself through this misery again.) Every time I have a job interview they inevitably ask, "So why do you want to leave self-employment and go back to work?"

And every time I hear that question I want to tell the truth, "Because I'm sick and tired of working 12 hour days that result in barely more than minimum wage. And it wouldn't be "going back to work." I've never had to work so hard in my life, for such a small payoff."

Days like today are why I want to "go back to work." There is one more very big reason why I am tired of self-employment- I am sick and tired of having to promote and sell myself! I would so much rather market another person or company. Marketing and selling yourself all day is just tiresome! Not to mention, a complete ego-killer. Except on the days it goes well. Then it's a big ego-boost.

But I'm not in this (this being gainful employment) for the ego-boost. I'm in it for the paycheck!

Speaking of paychecks, there is a stinkbug climbing along the ceiling over me. I can't reach it, not even with a broom. I know, I tried. And while I was up I got an ice pack to put on my left leg, under the laptop. It may be time for me to give in and buy a new computer. But to do that, I'm going to afford a new laptop, I'm going to have to several more extra projects. And that means more time burning my left leg. How much can my little left leg take?

And that people, is why I have resumed my job search.

And why you are feeling an overwhelming urge to save me a few hours of work tonight, and go buy my books- "You Heard It Here First" and the sequel "This Just In!"

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Call the Midwife!

The last 2 weeks have been crazy busy. We're talking no more than 1-2 hours of sleep, no time to reply to emails, no time to clean the kitchen busy. There is a new sister missionary that moved in here a week ago and I realized last night that since she's been here, the same pile of dishes have been next to the sink. I've let everything fall apart during this week(s) of insanity. Top all of that off with a heavy dose of insomnia! There have been more than a few nights where I just gave up trying to sleep and got up and started working again.
Not surprisingly, no sleep, high stress, and crazy high pollen counts have come back to bite me in the butt. I'm down for the count with another massive head cold/cough/sinus infection/whatever you want to call it.  I've spent the last 2 days in bed spending some quality time with cough medicine and Netflix. I used up my one hour of energy today (a strategic combination of Dr Pepper, cough medicine, and waking up from a nap) to go buy more Kleenex. Nothing like a high pollen count to remind you just what a luxury Puffs Plus with Aloe really can be.
Speaking of quality time with my boyfriend Netflix. A few weeks ago I had more than one friend recommend "Call the Midwife" to me on Netflix. I put it in my queue to save for a rainy day, or next kidney stone. I'm glad I did! I haven't been able to sleep much with this stupid head cold (I really have never mastered breathing through my mouth. I just can't do it! Which makes it really hard to sleep!). So I watched the entire available season on Netflix in 2 days. And today, when I sadly finished the season, I googled it to see if there would ever be more eps, just to find out that there are, and you can buy them on Amazon.  Yay!
You should watch the show if for no other reason than the fact that this adorable guy, George Rainsford, is on it.

So I bought all of the available second season, and I'm knee-deep into it already.
If you don't have Netflix I don't know how you live you can buy it/rent "Call the Midwife" from Amazon. I highly recommend it!

Hey You! Check out my new novels, "You Heard It Here First" and the sequel "This Just In!"

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