Tag Archives: freelancing

A bread and butter kind of day

You’ve had them, I know.

bread

Calling Dr. Bread and Nurse Butter!

The kind of day where only carbs with a liberal slathering of fats will do.

I’ve had my share of them in the past ten weeks. Some good days and some good job interviews. And some that were not merely forgettable, they were worth walking out on. I mean both the days and the interviews.

But plugging along, working out and planning for what’s next, even if I don’t know exactly what it is, is keeping the brain sane and steady. I’m volunteering this weekend, at the triathlon that started it all for me. It’s a local super sprint, and it’s the one I did last year. The one that scared me the most because it was my first, and lured me into thinking I could keep doing them, because I finished that one. In less than two weeks, triathlon number five takes place, at a venue I know well but never used for competition.

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at least for now.

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Filed under athletic competition, employment, Exercise, food, freelancing, mental health, Triathlons, unemployment

I missed the hardware (this time)

Good news and bad news about the 5K I ran today.

Good news: it was my first 5K of the year, after doing 10Ks, swim meets and triathlons to start the year.

Really good news: I finally broke my old personal best time and set a new one.

Sort of bad news: no medal this time. I finished fourth in my age group, forty seconds behind third place. No medal for fourth, which is disappointing, as this particular race had especially nice hardware.

But I’m happy with the new PR time, as that old one was from two age groups ago, and set on a flat course (today’s race had three small hills and a persistent headwind). Also old for this race: my current running shoes, which are retired from regular use as of today. I’ve been saving for a new pair, and got the money together yesterday, even though I have still not found full-time employment.

Being out of work has made me healthier, because I force myself to get up and move around more often. I’m not sedentary for eight hours a day. The weekly track workouts, with the bleacher climbs and sprints, have helped as well. And competition has kept me focused on not getting depressed and caught up in the frustration of not having a job just yet. It’s also something of a social outlet, after sitting in front of my home computer working on the job search, or freelance writing, or both.

I plan to keep competing, though not spending hog-wild on it at this point. I realize this is not the ideal time to be spending money on these endeavors. But I consider regular racing, whether it be running, swimming or triathlons, a reasonable investment in my health and my sanity. At this point, it’s hard to tell whether I am chasing what’s left of my mental marbles, or they are rolling behind me, trying to catch up. Either way, the personal race should be at least as interesting as my next event.Motivational-quotes (1)And a note to my friend Steve, who suggested that I “throw a little chocolate into every day”: my friend, I know you meant that literally, because you know how I feel about chocolate. But I’m going to consider your advice in the figurative sense as well. I’ll consider a good competition day to like a piece of the best chocolate: sweet, satisfying and a tonic for the senses.

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Filed under athletic competition, Cycling, Exercise, mental health, Running, Swimming, thought, triathlon gear, unemployment

Is Forty Hours A Week For The Birds?

Full Employment

Full Employment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend and fellow blogger, Donna Freeman, has entered the Personal Finance Olympics with the provocative and twisty tale of her own working life, one that challenges the notion that you have to work a standard forty-hour-a-week job in order to make it, in order to be respected and loved and acknowledged as successful by your peers.

The Way We Work details Donna’s post-divorce life: after years with no full-time job or college degree, she decided to rectify both by living frugally (or “living creatively” as she calls it), doing whatever work she could do and going to classes, while still finding time to do what she loved on a budget: going to concerts, traveling to see family and friends, freelance writing.

She’s managed to get a lot done in the last five years: a college degree, travel from Alaska to Wales, witness her daughter’s marriage and obtain enough steady employment to fund all of what she needs and much of what she wants, including medical insurance and a Roth IRA. Here’s the employment kicker: her work hasn’t been in a cubicle, a corner office or even mostly in the comfort of her own home. The complex she’s lived in has provided her with employment as a jill-of-all-trades, doing repairs and other maintenance services. A journalist at heart and by trade, she’s stayed with the Fourth Estate as a freelancer, developing streams of income with new publishing sites, while staying true to her calling as a frugal lifestyler/financial blogger. (Or, if we could shorten that, a “fruglifefinblog.”)

The column she has written that I’ve mentioned here is a finalist in the Personal Finance Olympics, by the way. Take a look at it, and if you like what you see, you can vote for it by clicking on the “Vote” icon. Her story, if not her argument, is a persuasive one for considering a lifestyle off the forty-hour job leash. It’s nice to have the perks and security, though the current economy guarantees neither of those anymore. But what’s gained from more flexible work time is not just about the freedom. It’s about seeing the small moments we usually miss each day we’re holed up inside four walls for eight hours straight.

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Making vacation pay, and having fun doing it

I am a reader and participant on a well-known money/finance board, hosted by a well-known search engine (sorry I cannot advertise for them, but then,  their out-of-this-world-wealthy, Washington State-based chairman does not need the help). I read many stories every day, from posters who are broke, desperate and have no idea how to make extra money to make ends meet or pay off credit cards. Sometimes they want real help to dig out of their hole, sometimes they want to vent and rant about how life is not fair, and sometimes they just whine.

These posts are like the proverbial bad train wreck – you know you should not look, but the sheer gall of some of the complaints is amazing. There is a thread that has over 1,100 post for one woman who simply cannot, absolutely will not, refuses to consider making any changes to her lifestyle, even though her income cannot support it. She has shot down every suggestion and piece of advice, and does not understand why she cannot get more government help than she already has.

My question from all this: why is fixing one’s financial life so hard for some people? And instead of finding ways not to increase income/decrease spending, why not do both and actually make it fun? We’re taking some time to travel, and I plan to put the time to good use, both relaxing and writing for profit. We’ll have some good meals, but we will also save by picnicking and having a good breakfast at the hotels. We will use public transportation (save wear and tear on our own vehicle, not to mention parking fees), and find fun, inexpensive, offbeat things to do, rather than going to the normal tourist traps.

There’s always a way to make the financial picture look better, whether it’s cutting back or adding funds. The freelance money will give us some extra to spend (if we choose), while still adding to savings. I don’t understand the whiners and ranters; their noise drowns out the obvious: if you sit there and cry about where you’re at, it means you’re not moving in a positive direction.

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Filed under budget, freelancing, travel

Is there such a thing as too busy for your own good?

My friend Donna Freedman, in her blog “Surviving and Thriving,” http://www.donnafreedman.com/  mentions that “life is short, but it’s also wide”. Lately, I understand exactly what she means; I need one of those “Wide Load” truck banners at this point. And preferably, no one driving on either lane alongside me. Yup, that kind of wide.

A blog, a website, a food column, a “real” job, workouts, a house; my car, which is now moved from simple maintenance to having an auto repair guy on speed dial stage of life, family issues (two family members just diagnosed with chronic illnesses) – no wonder I am looking forward to a three-day holiday weekend. 

In spite of all our modern time savers and conveniences, life is more complicated, faster-paced, and less relaxing. How did our parents and grandparents manage? They did not have all the electronics and gadgets. No iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Bluetooth, webcam, or GPS. They got it done with left notes on the counter, the fridge, the car’s dashboard. They used paper maps and public phones. They had push pins and cork boards and legal pads. But they used a tool we forget about: simple face-to-face communication. The act of sitting or standing with another individual and telling them what’s needed from the store, or what we think of the neighbor’s new car, or sharing communal misery over the Yankees’ latest losing streak.

I’m a little put off by the fact that as busy as I’ve been, most of my “busy-ness” has not involved humans. Most of it involves solitary work around the house or at the computer, or communication by phone. I don’t argue with the technophiles that all these advances are a great leap forward for humankind. But sometimes, it’s nice to take a step backwards.

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Filed under inspirations, social media, technology, thought

Website woes and the magic pull of the Luddites

Sometimes, I think I will never get the hang of modern technology.

Then again, it’s not easy for someone who grew up with rotary phones, half a dozen TV stations, and the sit-down-together-as-a-family dinner to absorb the constant barrage of new gadgets, software and communication options, let alone learn how to use any of it. I’m admit to being a Luddite at heart. I like the idea of anything shabby, old, antique, vintage, well-worn and used.  

The term “Luddite” comes from the early 19th century, when rebellious British workers destroyed mechanized looms in textile factories, believing the machines took away jobs from people. The word is now applied to those who believe in the simple, non-technology, non-mechanized way of doing things. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate and realize that without modern medicine, equipment, communication, and so on, much of what have accomplished would not be possible. But so much changes so fast. I need a “Technology for Real Dummies” guide, and I need a new version of it every week.

Despite my lamenting and lack of knowledge, I finally got my new chocolate website up and running: http://www.kdtestsite.com/index.html is on my web designer’s test site at the moment. Take a look and let me know what you think. I don’t profess to be the best at understanding all the technical aspects of what makes a site great. I knew what I wanted, and my friend Krys Dean got it done. Thanks to my friend Donna Freedman, MSN Money columnist and proud blogger of “Surviving and Thriving” at  http://www.donnafreedman.com/ for posting her comments about my blog here. Every little bit helps, folks. It’s a lot like the change I save every day, and toss into the big jar. A few pennies and dimes each week seems ridiculous, until I count it up at the end of the year. A little help from my friends here and there adds up the same way.

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Filed under Chocolate, freelancing, inspirations, technology, Uncategorized

It’s been awhile, and I have food news

I get to write about writing about food.

Sounds a little confusing, I know.

But a lot has been going on, with family and other issues. I’m trying to move on towards my next life, and as I have said before, the path is hardly a straight line. So I signed up to write about food, since working with food is not yet in the realm of possibility. I am writing for Examiner.com, an online publisher, as their foodie writer in the local community. Not a bad thing. I get to seek out the new and unusual, the hard-to-locate and worth-the-trip places around town, eat and write about them. I can even link this blog to my publishing site.

 I have also been fortunate to find a new venture in town – an incubation kitchen. It’s a place designed to help small caterers and cooks start their food business or expand what they have, by providing space and materials for rent, rather than purchasing all the hardware. It is a startup business by two chefs, and I hope they make a go of it. I may need them for my next life.

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Filed under food, freelancing