every ending is a new beginning

It’s about that time of year again; the end of summer is approaching fast.  It seems that the older I get, the faster time flies.  It seems like summer just started a week ago to me, yet it’s almost over.  I always get melancholy, and a little sad this time of year through September.  Summer is my favorite season; it’s bright, cheery, warm and carefree, and so it’s passing bums me out some.

I’m especially melancholy this year because, in addition to the summer season ending, other things in my life are ending and beginning, and I haven’t quite sorted out how I feel about them just yet.

Last fall I quit working “for the Man”, and began working from home doing some freelance web design, and selling things in my online boutique.  I’ve never been one to conform, and hated having to work a “regular” job under someone else’s terms.  I wanted to work on my terms, doing something that I enjoyed.  Plus, being a mother, it allowed me to put my kids schedules before work.  No groveling to leave work an hour early to get to that school concert, and all that.  No need to ship them off to after school day care, etc…

I’ve done web and graphic design as a hobby for years, and always thought that it would be awesome to freelance, and make it my full time job as it was something I loved doing, and one can make good money doing it (sometimes).  I wanted to do it forever, but kept working my “regular” jobs, because I was scared to take the plunge and go for it.

Last fall I finally decided that I’d do it, and was convinced that I’d succeed.  I convinced my fiancee that I would, and he supported me and let me have a go at it because he’s awesome like that.  Because I decided to work for myself as a freelancer, sometimes the web and graphic design jobs were few and far between.  Also, it’s hard to compete with the foreign web designers willing to work for a dollar an hour, and just about every job was a struggle to get as a result.  Plus, I’m not very good at promoting myself so that didn’t help.

After a bunch of jobs, I came to the realization that I don’t like making web sites for random people.  When I’m working on a site of my own, or doing something for a friend it’s fun, and being creative comes easy.  But when I’m trying to do it for someone I don’t know from a hole in the wall, it’s downright torture to me.  So, considering all of the above, I’ve come to the realization that maybe web design isn’t a good career for me.

I’m still working at the boutique, but the sales aren’t such that it can be my only source of income.  Not by a long shot.  So, I’ve decided to throw in the towel and next week I’m going back to work for another insurance company.  I know insurance, and there’s good opportunity for advancement.  I still long to work for myself, but who knows if the boutique will ever take off.  And I’m not sure what else I would do.  I’ve always loved music, and would love to do something in that area as well.  But I’m starting to think that the time in my life for longing to do these things has passed.  Especially where I’m a Mom, and as such I’m responsible for people other than myself, I don’t really have the luxury of going long periods without making money, and chasing crazy dreams.  This “when I grow up” mentality has got to go…….

One of my sisters just moved out of our Mom’s house yesterday.  She’s moved to an apartment in a city a couple hours away from home with her boyfriend.  They’re happy and excited, and all is well.  She’s going to be going to college there while he’s working.  It’s wierd to have her gone.  It seems like only yesterday she was a toddler (I’m 13 years older).

I’m only going to touch upon this briefly, because I could easily ramble on furiously for a long, long time, and I don’t want to go there.  It’s almost time for my kids to go back to school.  That in itself is enough to make some parents melancholy.  But, thanks to their selfish, narcissistic asshole of a father, they will most likely at least be starting the school year in a school system that I despise, and that’s ridiculous, and not in their best interests for them to attend.  That’s all I have to say about that.

The end?

flamingo birthday cake

flamingo birthday cakeMy birthday is coming up, and my family had an early celebration for me (and others) yesterday.  Guess what the cake was?!  A pink flamingo!!!!  They made it especially for me.  It was so cool!

I also got a hand-made flamingo tote bag, pillow, and bird house, all of which I love!  Plus, a beautiful, colorful bouquet of flowers, and more!  :D

I got a free Motorola Q 9 from a survey site! Not kidding…

Q 9hAs you may or may not know, I work from home as a freelance web and graphic designer, online boutique owner, auction seller, etc.  I, like many others, have also been lured into the potentially shady, waste of your time world of paid (or not-so) online surveys.  There are times when my regular work is slow, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt in my down time to see if one could actually make any money from any of those survey sites that are all over the place.

I went crazy and signed up at a slew of survey sites.  Most survey sites that you come across are just directories of real survey sites, and so I often felt that it was just a stupid wild goose chase.  A lot of survey sites only give people sweepstakes entries for surveys completed; those are a waste of time IMHO.

I did come across a few survey sites that I found to be completely legit, and I actually got something from them.  Two days ago, I got a free Motorola Q 9 delivered to me from one of them!  No shit.  I figured I’d post about them, because I know a lot of people out there search for paid survey sites, and maybe this will help prevent someone from going on a wild goose chase, or even worse, paying someone for a list of legit survey sites, as some sites you come across try to get you to do.

Plus, I just wanted to show off my new Moto $400 smart phone that I got for free!

The site I ended up getting the free phone from is Lightspeed Panel. I had been signed up with them and taking surveys for a month or so before I got the phone.  I took every survey they sent.  I’m not sure if those factors had anything to do with me getting the phone or not.  I started a survey they sent me which was about cell phones, and it ended with them asking if I’d like to receive the phone and participate in a study about it and it’s OS, Windows Mobile.

How it works is I get to keep the phone for a year and use it as my regular phone.  They send periodic surveys through e-mail and to the phone.  There’s also a little feedback system on the phone where if I like or don’t like something, I can take a screenshot and send it to them with a comment.  They want you to have unlimited data on your cell phone plan so you can use the internet features at will and really test all of the phone’s features.  They send me a $40 check every month to cover the data plan, which is more than enough.  I also get an additional $50 check for taking a particular initial survey of the phone.

So, in short, I just got an awesome smart phone to use, with unlimited data added to my cell phone plan for free, and then some!

Other than randomly sending you things, Lightspeed rewards you with points for every survey you complete.  The points can be redeemed for $ sent to your Paypal account, various gift certificates, electronic and other items, etc.  I took a few surveys, and redeemed some points for $5 sent to my Paypal account, which I really got.  I have enough points for another $5, but I’m going to save them up and get something better.

Another site that’s good is American Consumer Opinion.  I got a check in the mail for $7 from them for completing just one survey, and I have a couple more checks on the way.  Every survey you complete from them gets you a check in the mail.

There is also MySurvey.com.  They also operate on a points per completed survey basis.  You redeem your points for cash, various merchandise, etc.  I got a free 10 pound bag of Purina One cat food sent to me to try and take a survey about.  I believe I’ve also got a box of hair color coming to me.  Haven’t redeemed my points for anything yet.

I also got a one time mystery shopper gig from one of them, but I can’t remember which survey site it came from.  I’ll edit this when I figure it out lol.  I’m going to be a mystery shopper at a restaurant, and take a survey afterwards.  They’re going to reimburse me with $40.

Yes, a couple of the survey links above are affiliate links.  But I’d be foolish if they weren’t, since I’m posting the links anyway.  ;) I get a dollar or so if people sign up….

So, if you’re bored, go take some surveys and get stuff hehe.

Feel free to write to me if you want more info…

Today

is best friend day.  :/

And, it’s also the first day of July, which is one of my favorite months!  Mainly because my birthday, and my sisters’ birthdays are this month.  But also just because it’s summer, and I LOVE summer!  Yay!

Why don’t more people use Freecycle?

It’s time around these parts for the annual large item city garbage pick-up.  People set out their bulky “trash” by the road (such as furniture, TV’s, etc.), and the city comes and picks it up and disposes of it.  Most of the stuff, if not all, just ends up being dumped in a landfill somewhere I’m sure.

So as I’m driving around looking at all this stuff sitting at the end of people’s driveways waiting to be picked up, I’m wondering why a lot of it isn’t being Freecycled instead?  I’ve seen doors, couches, computers, TV’s, beds, and many other items that aren’t really “trash” and that some other person would be glad to get for free.  A lot of people drive around in trucks picking through the stuff and taking it home to be reused.

Do the people that set this stuff out by the road not know that there are plenty of people that would be glad to come get it and reuse it so that it doesn’t go to a landfill?  Or do they just not care, and don’t want to be bothered by it?  I’d like to think that it’s the former.

There are Freecycle groups all over the world that are completely free to join.  If you’ve got something you want to get rid of, you just send a message to the group and almost immediately you’ll get people writing to you asking when they can come take it off your hands.

So, that’s all I have to say about that.  If you’d never heard of Freecycle before, now you have.  :)

Ubuntu 8.04 available!

Well, I did end up switching from Windows to Ubuntu a few weeks ago, and I don’t miss Windows at all in short.
The new version of Ubuntu (8.04) has just been released today. You can get it here.
Their site is really bogged down right now with everyone downloading and all. You can help by downloading via a torrent. It will download faster for you, and you won’t be bogging down their servers. Here’s the torrent link for the desktop version for PC’s (Intel x86).
Torrent links for the server, 64-bit, etc. versions can be found here.

the ’80’s return?

Yesterday I happened to be walking around a mall looking at clothes, which is something extremely rare for me. I made a horrifying discovery; apparently 1980’s fashions are back “in” right now! I’d heard some rumours that ’80’s stuff was in style again, but didn’t realize the extent of it until my trip into the seventh circle of hell yesterday.

It’s everywhere! How long has this been going on?! I went into one ladies’ clothing store, and had trouble finding non-1980’s influenced clothing! I’m not talking about the awesome punkish early Madonna black lace ’80’s look. I could deal with that coming back. What I’m talking about is the everyday people with horrible fashion sense ’80’s look – ginormous bright yellow colored plastic earrings, shirts in hideous patterns with huge tacky plastic belt buckles and buttons on them. Dear God! I almost expected to find some triangle curling irons!

That style lost it’s cool for a reason people; it sucked. I’m almost glad I’m a recluse now. I might have never known about this disturbing trend had I not gone to the mall yesterday. I may never leave the house again.
I’m all for marching to the beat of your own drum but if you must follow “trends”, please pick a different one. Think of the children.