Hey, yeah, I'm still alive. Facebook has swallowed me whole.
No, that's not the new obsession.
Visit the link to learn more about it. Let's just say that for the moment, I am so consumed by it that I haven't touched needles in awhile. Well, that and I was working two part-time jobs there for awhile, nothing like 10a-10p to keep you from doing much else other than sleep/work/sleep/work.
Now, I'm back down to one part-time job.No, I didn't get the other less-appealing part-time second job I was agonizing over in the last post. All that agonizing, and they pretty much suddenly ended my contract with the temp agency without so much as a warning. (That the supervisor purposely avoided me every time I tried to sit down and have a chat with her should have told me something. Face it--they were just using me, they weren't interested in hiring me on, they just smooged me to keep me doing their dog work until they got their quotas met.)
But it's all good. I'm focusing on being the best department secretary I can be, at the university. And I LOVE IT. I mean, for a job. It's not my life's passion, but it's a great job. It pays very well, there are perks, and the only downside is that it's not full-time so I don't get health benefits.
But it's a start. Foot firmly wedged in ye olde door. It's all--why do we say it's all uphill from here? Wouldn't it be easier if the trip was downhill? Uphill requires slogging along with effort.
Whatever. It's all UP and GOOD from here.
Anyway, I may blog more, but I'll likely be over at the new blog, The Wranglin' Tangler
. My two main obsessions are horses (wranglin') and art (tanglin'/Zentangle). So I combined them. We'll see how long this lasts. I might just merge everything into one blog, because separate blogs for each interest gets unwieldy.
Yes, I still freak over fibers. What I foresee is that once I have tangling firmly under my belt, it will spread into my other artistic forays. I have hazy visions forming in my mind about that.
So ends the long drawn out saga of Estate, poverty, and job seeking. There is just one small thing. Hold me in good thoughts next Wednesday. They're auctioning off the Albatross, and I really hope they get a good enough price that I'm forever released from my dealings with Filthy Turd Bank.
See you in Zentangle-land. Or here. Depending on what I need to post.
In Most Ways, Life is Better Now
My, how things change.
I have two jobs. Both part-time. I finally got IN at the University—yay me!—and I LOVE it there. Started after Thanksgiving. I'm a secretary in one of the departments and my bosses are professors. I'm immersed in academia and I could not be happier.
Except if it was full-time with benefits, but other than that, I LOVE it.
The other job is a temp job I took at the end of September out of sheer desperation. I was down to $15. I mean TOTAL. Then the temp agency called with a short-term project. Catch: it's a 20-minute drive away. I wasn't sure I'd have the gas to make it up and back for a week. Thanks to the kindness of near-strangers, I was able to make it there and back and survive until the first paycheck. Short-term turned into longer-term, and if I can just make it to mid-February, I'll have fulfilled the 500-hour quota and I'll be able to be hired away permanently.
And therein lies the rub.
My current schedule is, I work at the University 10-3 M-F. I leave the University, swallow a sandwich on the drive to Job #2, and work there from 4-ish to 10ish M-Th. (I was going M-F, but I couldn't hack it. I made the decision to forego the extra net $30 and just have Friday evenings free.) Then I drive home, bleary-eyed and tired, after 10.5 hours of work with no real break, at 10:30 at night. I snuggle with the cats for an hour or so, then sleep, then get up and do it again.
Even with two full weekend days to "rest", I am, in a word, exhausted.
I think about knitting, weaving, painting, dyeing yarn, creating art. But I'm too tired to lift a brush, a heddle or a knitting needle. Even on weekends. If it weren't for needing clean underwear, I wouldn't even bother with laundry. No, don't ask what the house looks like.
My Facebook time has decreased considerably. I skim. Heck, I even quit playing FarmVille. Not for good—I don't think—but I simply do not have time to manage seven or eight or however many farms they're up to now AND work two jobs. And sleep.
The rub is, do I WANT to be hired in permanently at Job #2?
Job #2 is, well, it pays a bit above minimum. Job #1 at the University pays twice that. I really don't NEED Job #2 to be able to live, but my thinking has been, keeping Job #2 speeds up how fast I can get out of debt and regrow my savings and maybe improve my life.
Except, as tired as I am, is that really an improvement?
Job #2 is also hard on me physically. Vocally. I've been assigned to a multitude of projects, but the majority of them have involved my calling people for seven hours straight (when I worked almost full-time there), giving the same repetitive spiel or survey, and we all know what that does to my voice. I am having issues now. I see a doctor Thursday. I've spoken with the higher-ups. Hopefully, I'll move into projects this week that are email-based, not phone-based.
The only reason I'm staying on at Job #2 is because they have a position called proofreading. Which I apparently can't do as a temp. But I've passed the test, so if/when an opening arises, I could be hired. And they get to work from home. Which I could do. Because then I wouldn't have to drive back and forth. It would also save gas money.
I just don't know if I can keep this up until mid-February and 500 hours without negatively affecting Job #1. When I get too tired, I become less effective and my intuition falters. I am not as alert or quick. And as a secretary, with a new semester approaching, I need to be ON TOP of things. And there is no guarantee there will even BE an opening for a proofer at that time. I don't know how long I might have to drive back and forth and do God knows what before the position I seek becomes available.
Never mind trying to play with a horse. Or do art. Or deal with the bank. We won't talk about how the bank changed the locks on my house without informing me of it, and blew the ONE potential sale I finally got. I had an interested buyer, but the lock change made them wonder if I was in foreclosure, and they lost interest. Let it be known: Fifth Third Bank plays nasty games, keeps you dangling, lies about not getting paperwork then backpedals when you point out which page said "missing" paperwork is on, finds endless loopholes to use against you so they don't have to take a deed in lieu, allow you to short sale, give you modification, or work with you in any way. They are cheating me out of MY equity, and they deserve to go down. Let it be known, Fifth Third Bank is a bunch of cheating, lying SCUMBAGS, and they should be boycotted.
Oh, well. Karma's a bitch, and I'm looking forward to hearing about their karma. One day.
But as far as everything else goes, I'm happy. I have one job I love. I have another job that helps. I have healthy cats, one who turned 18 this fall, and a healthy horse, and I'm alive.
I'm not knitting a whole lot, but I'm alive.
I go for months, don't I? Then I post something like "I'm still alive".
Well, I am.
Not a whole lot happening.
House #2 STILL on the market. It's a race to the finish line—will I sell it, or will the bank get it? Stay tuned...
Horseplay continues. I'm hanging in there with the horse. He had a leaser; she fell off a different horse, broke ribs, laid up, had to unlease; got another leaser, who after a month wanted to move him to some strange barn closer to home and "retrain" him (excuse me? Whose horse is this?) to do what she wanted (barrel racing), but then might be going to some foreign country to stay with her beau for a month, so that fell through (thankfully).
After a stellar session with my horse last week, another fascinating session with a mare in training, and my first unplanned experience giving a riding lesson, I've decided this IS where I want to be. So no more leasers unless they behave; all I need is one winning lottery ticket or a good job and I'll be set.
Sold some yarn to Australia and Japan—the nice thing about yarn? It's light. Shipping costs are very low. Makes me glad I didn't pick ceramics or jewelry as a paid hobby.
Cats are fine. Zander has some weight loss issues, but the vet's tests showed a NORMAL thyroid (explains why the old vet's thyroid meds failed) and diagnosed a food allergy. He was down to 7.2 lbs (on a long cat). Steroids and food change boosted him to 9.4. He's off the 'roids and holding steady at 9.2 which is skinny but less dead-cat-warmed-over than he was. (I'm glad he's off the 'roids. They made him a bit too... uh... affectionate, if you know what I mean.)
Still seeking employment. What's that myth about going out and getting any old job, even a low-wage at McD's? Have you tried applying at McD's lately? It's not what it used to be. No longer does one walk in, fill out the app, speak with the manager, and get the uniform and a schedule. Nope. Nowadays, you apply online, you wait for them to call you, and if it's a big box store, you do an hour-long computerized personality assessment that isn't as easy to pass as you'd think. Then, rumor has it from people employed by Big Box Store, you go through three rounds of interviews before they hire you. For a low-wage job running a cash register or restocking laundry detergent.
I only had to go through one round at the University for high-paying jobs (that I didn't get).
And that's how the skein unfurls. Oh. There's still a bit of knitting. I've taught a few classes locally but haven't knit much this summer. Too sticky and hot.
Blogging Ain't What it Used to Be
Honestly, since Facebook now allows really long status updates, I tend to post my deep thoughts over there rather than here. And since it allows users to set up Pages, I have Yarndeavors as well as my music stuff being promoted via the Face.
But I still have yarndeavors.com, and a Yarndeavors blog (sorely in need of updating). The shopping cart lives on Etsy now thanks to the h@ckers who h@acked my Zen Cart last year. I was not feeling very Zen about that at all.
So the update. It's Spring. The cats and horse are shedding. The trees are blooming. I have one more day left on my repeat of the temp assignment I had last year for tax season, then it's all up in the air from there.
My other house is on the market (again); so far no bites and the realtor keeps trying to get me to put money into it so it'll sell better. Honey, if I had any to spare, I surely would; besides, I already put all the money into it that I'ma gonna, and if it didn't sell when it had
pipes and had already had
money put into it, what makes you think putting more
money into it to replace the pipes is gonna make it sell any faster? No logic there. It'd be nice to have a realtor who can actually SELL a house. Seems these days they all want houses that are easy sellers so they don't have to do the actual selling. (Let me tell you the woman who sold me that house SOLD it to me.)
But it's all good. The Universe provides. And it's Spring. That's a start. Now go buy some yarn or scarves at http://yarndeavors.etsy.com/
Super BAAAA Sunday!!!
It's all Lisa's fault.
We were over on Facebook commenting on Franklin Habit
's post , and it got out of hand.
I said: "The... Super... What? I don't know about you, but today is National Knitting-My-@$$-Off-Ignoring-The-TV Day."
responded: "We should start a Super Baaaaaa in the long and glorious tradition of the Ravelympics and Tour de Fleece."
Several comments later, we'd fully hijacked Franklin's post, and SUPER BAA SUNDAY was born.
|Ravelry Group Badge|
Super BAA Sunday is a day and a place to "knit, chat, talk sports (or not), and squee about commercials on one Sunday afternoon a year". It coincides with a certain football game that's going on right now. It's a refuge for those of us who are trying to avoid all things related to pigskin and sweat by losing ourselves in wool and lanolin.
|Super BAA Sunday Ravelry Banner / Logo|
It has a Ravelry group. It has 11 members (so far). It has a nifty logo and banner designed *cough* shameless self-promotion *cough* by me. I'm going to convince Lisa that it needs a blog and a Facebook Page as well.
We think it'll be an annual thing, and maybe it'll grow as big as Le Tour de Fleece and Ravelympics. (Maybe it'll even have its own domain name one day!)
But that means it needs to go viral, which means lots of cross-blog promotion. So head on over to Ravelry and join the festivities if you feel so inclined. If you're reading this on Monday, no worries, it's happening again next year.
And Franklin, we really do sincerely apologize for thoroughly hijacking your Facebook wall. The spirit of fiber overtook us—I'm sure you understand. :-)
I've gotta say, 2012 is proving to be an interesting year so far. Much, MUCH different from depressing, dark, hopeless 2011. So Yarndeavors was hacked; it wasn't malicious, just annoying—the result of someone with too much time and knowledge on their hands, and nothing better to do. Though they did dismantle my yarn shop.
This led to some serious thought about what I wanted to do with Yarndeavors, as well as my life. I mulled it over, did a little research, and opted to make the commitment to Yarndeavors—for real. Will I become a sock yarn maven like Lorna('s Laces) or Tina (Blue Moon Fiber Arts)? I don't know. Maybe! It would be cool if I did.
It would also be cool if I could sell enough hand-dyed yarn to supplement other forms of income and ease the need to have a Real J-O-B™.
That said, after scouring the ZenCart forums, I realized that's not the way to go (my GOD does that app get hacked into! It was jolting to read the hundreds of accounts similar to mine).
So I opened up an Etsy shop
And I revamped the website
(to reflect the link changes, and tweak the template slightly).
And I set up a Facebook Page
(which you can go "Like").
And then I sold a bunch of yarn. (!)
So now I'm dyeing again.
Of course, now would be the time my camera decides not to like batteries anymore, since I have a few items that need photos before they can be listed. (Tech support said newer 1.5-volt AA batteries are—get this—too powerful
to work in my camera, which is maybe six years old; that newer 1.5-volts benchtest at 1.8 volts, so I need to get really cheap or older somewhat discharged batteries and by the way they no longer sell the AC adapter for it but it's available on Amazon for fifty bucks...) Well, the el cheapo Ray-O-Vacs I had on hand didn't work...
OK. So I might not be documenting by still camera for now. I have a mini-DV camcorder that takes stills, and as of last month it still worked. And I have a Friend With Cameras I might be able to bribe to help out (she shoots NASCAR races and co-produces a nationally syndicated NASCAR talk radio show "On Pit Row
"—I know, you wouldn't think it to look at her) but I digress.
So I did all of this, and then doors started opening. Small ones, but they're definitely leading me down a path related to fibers. I mean, this one door that opened, there is really no other explanation for it except it's definitely a DOOR
. And I had the courage, for once, to walk through it. As soon as things gel, I'll blog about it. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it's not a path I've walked before though it's one I've pondered in the past.
It really is true, that when you make a commitment to something, doors open. Of course, part of it is being able to SEE the door when it appears (which I did for once), and having the COURAGE to walk up to it and through it.
I'm not the least bit surprised that this stuff is opening up, either—the Word of the Year that I chose is "Self-Reliant"—and the doors that are opening are definitely designed to make me so.
If the year keeps moving like this (minus camera challenges), I might be somewhere pretty amazing by the end of it. :-)
The State of Yarndeavors
I'll admit it. I got lazy, and distracted, and a bunch of other things. The result was that my online yarn shop, Yarndeavors
, was ignored for awhile. I realized this when I got the notice about the domain expiring soon, so I went to the site to remind myself why I did this in the first place.
Imagine my horror, upon typing in my URL, to be greeted not
by my beautiful yarn image, but instead by a hideous image of a hooded red-eyed evil-looking figure and the words:
"You have been hacked by SaYmAn!!! Sorry your securty [sic] is 0%!!"
I bypassed the hacker's front page by typing in the URLs to each page individually and found everything was fine—until I clicked on "Shop".
404 Error not found.
After a few calls back and forth with GoDaddy, I learned:
- the approximate date of intrusion
- which files of "his" to delete
- that my shop database no longer existed
- that I'd have to reinstall Zencart software
- that I'd have to rebuild it from the ground up
- oh, and I might want to add a $3.99/month Site Scanner to my hosting plan to prevent hackers from gaining access
I said "I'll think about it", and promptly went over to research Etsy.
True, it costs to list each item (20 whopping CENTS, but the listing period is four months long), and Etsy receives 3.5% of each sale (but only when it sells). A few quick calculations showed that my money was better spent setting up shop on Etsy with everyone else than giving it to GoDaddy and their "state-of-the-art" security (which did nothing to protect me).
Of course, then came the question of commitment. It's one thing to create a shopping cart using free add-ons and cheap hosting, toss a couple skeins up there and see if they fly. It's another to invest
in listing items with the actual intent
to sell, and then allowing a third party to take a percentage. That's almost like... like really running a BUSINESS.
I had to ask myself, is this something I really want to do? Or just a hobby I was hoping to squeeze a few bucks out of? Can I imagine doing this five years from now?
In fact, I can't imagine NOT doing it (unlike some other things). I can imagine dyeing yarn AND fabric AND making art quilts AND weaving things AND hand-painting items AND... the list is quite large.
It turns out the only thing standing between me and my fibrous fantasies was my limiting belief that out of all the things I could
do for a living, the gap between passion and income was the WIDEST when it came to fibers. I couldn't see how it would ever support me. Then I look at the number of fiber artists who are living just fine from their art in various forms, and I wonder, how am I really all that different?
Sure, it'll be a lot of work to get this going and maintain it, but I love it. I love dyeing the yarn. My only wish is for a vertical "bullet" steamer
and a couple of stretcher kits
(from Dharma Trading) so I can add my silk scarves to the mix (did them at the University's now-defunct fiber arts program facilities). I suppose I could try the stovetop steamer
, if it'll work on my stove... first I need to sell a LOT of yarn, or get a day job, or win the lottery, or find a fiber angel...
The website is being overhauled. I have a dedicated Page
over on Facebook y'all can "Like" (see link in sidebar), and my Etsy shop
is up and running.
Now, all I gotta do is dye some more yarn and unfold the loom. Considering it's 2:28 AM, maybe a nap needs to come first...