Latest Musings

Sigh…I did Black Friday…sorta

Featured Image for Post courtesy of ShiftYourShopping.org and shared with me via newsletter from Derek at American Independent Business Alliance – Thanks to you both!

  • I did my Post Office and store run, bought postage and some meat from my butcher.
  • I purchased tools, online, for my biz, that I’ve had my eye on for some time, at sale prices.

I did run into a couple of ‘hiccups’, whilst shopping online, along the way, that no one can explain, nor do they wish to waste time trying to figure out, “what happened?”

But, overall, yesterday was a productive ‘working’ day for me

I spent this a.m. thinking, pondering and testing implementations, while awaiting replies to ‘implementation’ questions regarding testing on myself, locally, said tools, waiting for other queries, I sent yesterday, which I was assured, yesterday, in pre-sales questions, I could ‘reach out and ask at anytime’ –

Except for when the ‘office’ is closed.

Which is funny, because some pre-sales questions were replied to on Thanksgiving evening, though I didn’t expect a response until Friday, Saturday or Sunday –

Tech industry, apparently, after long years working to build a 24/7 world as the norm, is now taking weekends off in increasing numbers – and working on holidays (well…they said they were based in the USA – and it’s not like Columbus Day – where there are conscientious objectors – not tied to religion – and …um FOOTBALL games?

Hello? Have I lost my mind when folks gear up for a Black Friday sale running through Cyber Monday by working Thanksgiving evening, but are ‘out of office’ on Shop Local/Indie Saturday? Really?

I’m stumped, I confess….

Ah well….

The clock is ticking on “if it doesn’t work for you, we’ll refund” time span on each tool….so I’ll figure it out before time runs out, make it jump through hoops OR I will ask to return it & receive a refund –

Makes no never mind to me – πŸ™‚

Meanwhile –

I have also, these past weeks, and most recently, (Wednesday through this morning), “Unsubscribed’ from email promotions from various vendors I have done business with, over the years, and used to, rather, like…

Said vendors, nevertheless, started pummeling me with ‘buy this, buy that’ missives 3 weeks ago, but rarely/never offered anything close to resembling what I’ve ordered before, shown interest in or anything I needed/wanted and/or must have thought my inbox was their personal playground to show up in and never leave….

Seriously? These vendors have access to data, stats and feedback regarding what I’ve purchased before, re-ordered, liked, rated high, etc….

Surely they could have included just one of the many options I use OR have on my wish list, in some part of their promotions, right?

Do they think I will buy stuff I don’t want/need or afford, in hopes that will shut them up and quit nagging me?

Obviously, nowadays, lots of data being collected everywhere, but often not being put to very good use, says I –

How good, in fact, are algorithms at this work? Really?

How good are humans at sifting through the data that tools tell them ‘is the state of affairs’ and seeing what’s really going on?

Perhaps, algorithms and human marketeers, still, underestimate my stubbornness and temper – πŸ˜€

That’s a possibility -Lord knows I truck such tendencies out to public viewing often enough – πŸ˜€

Well, didn’t they just pick the wrong person to send 3-7 emails a day to, for the last month…

You knew it would be so – did you try to warn them? Save them from themselves?

I thought not – you’ve got your own inbox to wrangle, without spending time saving others from making those mistakes in mine – πŸ˜€

Perhaps, it’s worth it to them, losing me as a customer –

Perhaps, said vendors had lots of sales from this ‘mindless, bombard’ approach – – to make up or even REWARD them enough, they are freed from having to take care of me, (existing customer)

Maybe – long term stats say not – but….

I do not claim to ‘know’ personally, nor do I get paid to spend 20 years conducting studies on the phenomena –

Such relentless marketing endeavors, remind me of plans in place or implemented, that cost so much, across the long term, on multiple fronts, that could have been avoided, but the ‘bottom line’ bots said,

“Cheaper to pay the fine, take the hit, hit quotas, alienate customers, then to just do it right in first place” –

I won’t list the examples – unless you live on an deserted island and don’t read, you have your own areas of knowledge & personal examples of such things to refer too for proof….

FOMO & FOBO

I recently became aware of a new-to-me acronym used, to replace, I think, FOMO….which is….

“Fear of Missing Out”

FOBO is the new one-

“Fear of Better Option”

One article referred to FOBO as the new and improved version of “analysis paralysis”.

Since I spend increasing amounts of time maintaining systems that are built/maintained by ‘Break it fast, then move on’ style thinking – –

I’m not a fan of FOBO, anymore than I was of the FOMO trend, talked about extensively in the 1990s forward-

Yeah, sure, maybe I, too, will be a dunce and ‘miss out’ on sales delivered right to my inbox – but really, I’m not certain where I could even put the big screen TV, nor where, exactly, I would ever go, that requires diamond jewelry, just to ensure, through outer wear, that yes, in fact,

I belong here at this function/in this position at work/etc., etc..

me, sighing over it all and then asking me self….

Do they know about Diamond mining? The workers? The ecosystem? The industry? The marketing of it over the years? The divorces over 30 years where wife has pearls, diamonds, etc., but just wanted to have pizza on the couch and watch a movie while snuggled up to her hubby, but he was never home? Or the men who said, “I work myself to death to provide everything for her, what does she have to complain about?”

Has all of these things that are on my radar, over and over, movies and real life included, somehow escaped the marketeer’s radar for over 50 years now?

Me, wondering why merchants thought I’d be interested in the sale on TVs and Diamonds –
Member exclusive, they say –
Can’t be all that exclusive, or targeted, cuz you just sent it to me, anyone can pay $60 and be a member – – I reply πŸ˜€

A Girl’s Best Friend is the man who wants to buy her diamonds,

…but instead spends the money/time on tools, or taking time off work, to help her with a project she holds dear…

That’s my take on the matter – OR they buy her own set of power tools – –

Importantly, the ones she most often ‘borrows’ from them….

But then, I’m supposedly ‘weird’ cuz I’m not a huge chocolate personage, either – πŸ™‚

I could be wrrrrooong – – but seriously, how do we get so many things ‘wrong’ so often? Over and over?

Are we listening to bad advice?

Thinking if everyone else says it’s so, or doing, we must just be in the wrong?

I’m open to the possibility that I’m missing some big items that actually, make sense, for the opposing view, in the end…

That all said & confessed…

Months of research behind me, I’ve invested in me own business ‘diamonds’ (tools) and now, slogging through learning them to implement them –

Business tools – the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ year round

Me again – yes, I often quote myself to make a point and give white space to ease reading online endeavors…

Now…if only I can learn them fully, test them and roll them out, over the coming weeks, when everyone else slogging through the busy holiday season, to buy time for them and me, here and there – over the coming year(s) well –

That is my goal –

As usual, even with extensive time spent on knowledge base and tutorials for said tools, long before I actually purchased, it is taking more time than I thought it would to wrangle through them….

But then, I always have high hopes…..and then slog through less than hoped for ‘user results may vary’.

But still, hopeful – always – until I’m not….

BTW – Monday is Indie Biz “Cider Monday”

Basically, participating businesses put out cider, (or hot beverages and snacks) and invite their local community to drop by, take a break and just relax for a moment while not getting a ‘chill’ from the weather, or food, or beverages…

Just for a moment, customer appreciation isn’t shown by sales prices at o’dark thirty, or only for the next 12 minutes, coupons urging scarcity, hurrying, jostling, trying to be first while running with the ‘herd’.

It’s simply celebrated via open arms/space and saying,

“Thanks for supporting us this past year – thanks for being a loyal customer. Come in, warm up, take a load off, and here are some refreshments for you, while you rest”

Cider Monday Spirit

Oh Yeah! If Ever…

I have a brick and mortar store, or my house is such in space and expectations that I can promote a ‘come when you can, drop in style” customer appreciation day?

I’m DEFINITELY doing Cider Mondays!!

Until then?

Well saving $ by Black Friday shopping and charging customers lower prices/ volunteering hours to needed projects, year round, is where I’m currently living – I may crash and burn before it’s all over, in today’s world…

It is what it is….until it’s not –

πŸ˜€

Traditions, Gratitude & Hypothesis

(Yup, I over-wrote again – gaze at the pics, read in stages – whatever floats your boat…Haven’t written for awhile, thus short word count post was not happening….)

Winter Wonderland here at Bally Bin

With memories of recent years’ drought-ridden, warm winters fresh in my mind, I gazed around yesterday at the storm and breathed sighs of relief – even while I knew, with the man-child unit staying with friends to avoid the bad roads/ground blizzards, I’d be the one shoveling when the wind died…

Relief that snow was arriving to provide at least some semblance to the Thanksgivings of my childhood, when family gathered for dinner and the adult males present made sure to save enough energy from chores, to take all the kids down to the ‘cliffs’ to go sledding. Or to rig up sleds behind mini-bikes and motorcycles. Or the one uncle who drove his dirt bike out on the fishing pond , did some donuts and wheelies, and called out, “Yup, it’s frozen solid, it’s safe! C’mon! Yahooo!”

(insert eye rolls from all the moms and the kids –

Children who even at our then tender ages, already knew that isn’t the best way to check

Meanwhile, the responsible males in the group, lifted their beers in a toast, and shook their heads over the young bachelor of the group, thankful they weren’t going to have to mount a rescue operation…

What?!? You’re upset about the beers?

Why? They weren’t on the volunteer fire department, on call 24/7 for their job, weren’t going to be driving anywhere, cuz nothing was open anyhoo, other than the ER and if the idiots in the party harm themselves, well – they either get better or they die, and after all, they shouldn’t have driven on the pond in the first place….

Oh, the days long ago when folks didn’t try to save everyone from themselves and folks knew their limits and responsibilities …and…- )

With some ‘sweeping’ of the light fluffy, dry & cold snow, yesterday, until the wind picked up and I decided to wait until the storm moved out, I ended up with not much to shovel.

I learned long ago, with this kind of snow, best to get out early and before the sun starts releasing the moisture and making it heavier, to start moving snow from driveways and onto planted areas. I have shoveled cold, dry snow at 3am, just because I woke up, thinking something was wrong and realized, the wind wasn’t blowing anymore, which is why I woke up – no background white noise to sleep to…..)

Took about an hour and half – though I did take one break to warm up my ears and stave off heart-attack, because ya know, I’m outta shape…and getting older…and…well, why rush a process?

“How much snow did you get?”

“Well, there’s 2 inches here, bare ground over there and a two-foot drift over there – so I’m guessing 4-8″, what’s your guesstimate?”

Weather conversation in the windy Great Plains after a winter storm….

Given the weeds/sedum I leave up in fall, and strategic placement of supplies, infrastructure, vehicles and the shed that got destroyed, but I haven’t yet pulled apart to salvage usable parts, more snow falls where I want it too and less on the portions I have to shovel –

Sometimes….

But I’ll take the credit for planning, anyhow – the human memory and brain is, afterall, bent towards rewards of congratulating ourselves over how smart we are in the survival game – πŸ™‚

Traditions

A return of winter snows and recent conversations with folks who mourn the loss of those folks who will never sit at the table to eat with us again, or the changes in Life that means, big meals, a table capable of holding 13-20 folks, and so many other things, are, well, just gone.

And doesn’t look like they will ever happen again – not really –

All has me pondering about the memories we have, the things we can’t ever really replicate, and the need we humans have, as we move through life, to make updates to traditions and memories as needed and as we go…

Gratitude

Many moons ago, when I was in the deep cycle of going through self-help, positive thinking and alternative health options/seminars, I was exposed to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) by Gary Craig.

In a Ballybin style, simplistic overview, if you’re not familiar with EFT, it’s a system comprised of acknowledging what you’re dealing with, (pain, anger, sadness, physical or emotional), and showing gratitude to yourself even while you are at less than your ‘dreamed of best’ and tapping on points of your body that are known meridian points in self-medicine traditions, such as acupuncture, reflexology, etc, while you’re talking to yourself…..

A set up statement, a statement of gratitude, and you keep tapping away – until you feel better.

I diligently tried it – and it was helpful, up to a point.

That, combined with my KNOWN results from acupuncture and some advice from my acupuncturist (who thought the statements were a little hokey, but confirmed the main body points listed to tap on were meridian points, sort of AND showed me how to better determine just where, on my body, that I could reach, to do the tapping, (or massaging, or whatever).

For example

Let’s say you just knocked the crap out of your knee….

(on a metal desk edge/open drawer, cabinet, whatever..

Whaddya mean that never happens to you?!? Okay, Elbow then – funny bone –

WHAT?! You never do that either?!? Sigh – perhaps then, I’m just clumsy….)

IF you quickly feel on your wrist, for the spot between the two arm bones, find the point that really hurts, and if you press, tap and/or massage it till it’s not so tender to the touch or no pain at all your knee feels better, faster.

For me? It’s always the wrist opposite of what knee I whacked – for you? I can’t say – for I’m not a certified professional charging you for this information/cure, ya know….which is great – cuz I don’t have to write pages of disclaimers or terms & conditions, etc….

For me, that ‘special area’ will hurt almost as much as my knee, if I touch it – and I will press on it, tap on it, or massage it, until it feels better….In fact, to this day, I whack my knee through not paying attention?

I immediately reach for my opposite wrist, to find the ‘point’ and start rubbing it…

Meanwhile, I’m distracted from my knee hurting, sort of, not really, but hey – the stuff I’m ‘busy doing’ gives me something to do other than cussing up a storm, placing curses on the ancestors of office furniture engineers and traumatizing everyone in the near vicinity from my salty language AND, when the wrist point feels better, so does my knee –

See? Problem solved…..

The Set-Up

A set-up statement is to be uttered, while tapping, as follows: (remember, I modify everything, from recipes to business operations to healthcare, to ‘streamline’ it IF I can still get results, with less time, money or energy…)

Even though I am really angry (in pain, sad, etc) I completely love and accept myself”

Sample of statement, but probably not sanctioned by true practitioners….

Houston, we have a problem….

You would not believe how many folks I shared the above with, that choked on, and ultimately, couldn’t even fathom the possibility of saying out loud, that they love and/or accept themselves –

Funny, right? When we are surrounded by a whole culture and industries that strives to show us how-to, that reward us when we interview and say how awesome we are – and the overall ‘proven’benefits of thinking we are the brightest crayon in the box… or the social rewards we get when we keep quiet about what we are struggling with – just now ….

For various reasons –

Either the ‘say it outloud’ portion of self-love was labeled as ‘vanity’ or ‘arrogance’ or ‘stupid/silly’ or not scientific enough, or not modest enough – –

Even WHEN I promised, I would never breath a word about them practicing in the privacy of my home/their home (where I was visiting) and IF they chose to do, they could, alternatively, simply mutter under their breath or just say in their ‘inside head voice’ instead of saying out loud if it was that much of an issue….

I have heard more reasons than you can shake a stick at as to why folks can’t say out loud, or even think to themselves, about how they love and accept themselves just now – this moment….

Many couldn’t even say, modified versions – “I accept where I’m at right now, although it doesn’t live up to the ideal I hold for myself” – or “I’m angry, right now, but that isn’t who I always am” –

Believe me, I share anything I think might be useful – short or long term – when our emotions boil over – or life has been unfair/harsh for a long time – anything that gets us back in the game of experiencing, instead of just numbing down and hiding beneath layers, is, to date, my current thoughts on ‘what to do, be, etc.” tools of choice….

But sharing is rather a double-edged sword –

Sharing makes you vulnerable – or at least, that’s my latest take on the phenomenon –

But, if the recipient can’t even fathom saying out loud they love and accept themselves, how much self care are they really going to be vested in?

But, you don’t have to do the whole tamale – just practice it in private, for a while, and it does change how you think –

(sort of like meditating, but without the sitting still for hours, portion of it, I have found, thus far in my endeavors….)

You too can build a quick habit and be ‘done’ with the tapping portion of it…

I learned after just trying it out for a month or so, as directed, that I didn’t even need to say it out loud, OR tap, for most things.

(Intense physical pain aside. I still find I need to either do something I think will help and/OR distract myself when intense pain shows up, though I haven’t yet resorted to breaking my pinky so I don’t think about being in pain elsewhere).

The very act of practicing it for even a short time, meant that anytime life in general, threw me for a loop, my monkey-brain, ticker-tape parade started, on que, with it’s background chant….

Even though shoveling snow wears me out, I’m glad to get the moisture. Even though I’m tired, I’m almost done. Even though, I’m feeling lightheaded….pause….breathe…in one nostril, out the other…breathe….oh! Lookee! the cat tracks from yesterday filled in and look like a mole tunnel!

Sample of me walking myself through that which must be done – usually a mixture of breathing exercises, mind chatter, gratitude, whatever works….
Kitty tracks from yesterday (lower center) and kitty tracks from early this a.m. – Kitty is black feral cat that is, I believe, 3rd generation mommy from the local calico that likes raising her kittens here at Bally Bin….

With my current preferred tableau of ‘whatever works’, I was able to clear the main drive and walkway, without injuring myself, or cussing, or getting grumpy or wore out.

Snow is now moved over to melt on planted or grass areas, where it soaks in better/deeper and I will, hopefully, avoid a mud fest in driveway, since Colorado is famous for storms, bitter cold, followed by sunshine and folks shoveling the drive while wearing summer gear – cuz they got too hot in their winter gear….

Once shoveling done to level I’m okay with, even if others aren’t, I ‘rejuvenated myself’ by walking around the place and actually taking some pics, all while pondering the universe….

Easy to tell which way North is here….

The grandfather pine tree shows which way the wind usually blows –

Estimated to be 100+ years old, Grandfather Pine towers over our homestead. The metal things at the very bottom of the picture are vents, on the peak of my roof –

Hypothesis

I have long lived in Colorado –

I have decades of personal experience in shoveling cars free, and driveways free, only to go in to drink hot chocolate, congratulate oneself on ‘gettin’ ‘er done’, only to hear the plows go by for the first, second or one more time and gaze outside to see the 4+ foot wall of snow, now blocking my driveway….that can, sometimes, end up being a solid ice barricade if left alone in sun/freeze cycles- and must be removed, immediately, if not sooner – –

So, I’m testing a hypothesis, and did the work to test, sort of, and snapped pictures of the experiment, just so my memory can’t lie to me later…..

I cleared snow past where the grass starts – – and cleared part of the roadway past my driveway on each side – – If the sun isn’t too warm, I may go out and clear another strip on either side of the driveway, parallel to the road…snow to grass/garden areas, not on roadway….

Why?

Well, I’m not a math personage, or engineer, but I’m thinking, if the snow plow bunches the snow up to overflowing, and leaves a ridge, then the less snow to ‘plow’ before reaching my driveway, should leave a ‘smaller’ ridge right in front of the driveway…

Shouldn’t it?

We’ll see….

Giving Thanks

  • Even though I dreaded shoveling by myself, I’m thankful my son has a place to stay and not drive in winter weather. I’ll be glad when is home and we are just hanging out and having fun while cooking or watching Lord of the Rings trilogy (we have our own plans for this weekend!)
  • Even though I am frustrated by various tech things, I’m thankful I can work from home, shovel when it’s easier and not drive to work or risk getting fired, in winter weather
  • Even though my family lives far away, or works on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful we all recognize we can be together and have the food we love, whenever traveling is easier and work can wait…
  • Even though I’d rather have enough solitude to wrangle through to some solutions, I’m thankful for local neighbors who invite me to their festivities, so I need not be alone on a holiday, unless I wish to be.
  • Even though I’m cynical about Black Friday, I’m thankful for tech companies that hold sales, so I can invest in my business, and provide solutions to my customers, in cost effective way
  • Even though I have ‘stories’ about consumerism, materialism, worker rights and all – I’m thankful for those who work during holiday times, providing needed goods and services – and especially, I appreciate those who worked at the restaurant the year I had a stroke, Mom tore her rotator cuff and neither of us could gird our loins enough to contemplate fixing a meal we did, in fact, wish to eat.
  • Even though I’m not going anywhere, and have personally avoided a heart-attack, I’m thankful for the year round road crews & emergency service providers who go out every day to keep others safe or work to save them when they aren’t safe – except for those who test the ice by driving on it – sorry, but I just haven’t evolved enough to get this thingee – really –

Both Winter and The Holiday Season have now, officially arrived, here at BallyBin

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving

– Whether today, tomorrow or whatever day you choose to celebrate such things on – πŸ™‚

(P.S. – Since I left my inbox ‘cleared’ and went to shovel, take pictures, write and respond to client emails, I’ve received 16 Black Friday sales missives – not a single one yet is for the seeds I want to order for next spring – – sigh….)

Surrounded – Huzzah!

I have become surrounded by two flanking maneuvers –

Unplug

One side is deep into unplugging and they are quickly growing a bandwagon, backed up by streaming, trending articles, science on our sociology and the ills of the modern world – and what electronics ‘do to us’ that is harmful –

Much like the ‘drink more water’ bandwagon followers, what..hm…about a year ago? The Unplug folks are certain that if one disconnects from newsfeeds, social media, computer and TV that life will be blissful –

I cannot disagree – sure, life is really grand when you can lock yourself away on the edge of mountain and meditate/pray for peace all day – at some point, either you get hungry OR you have someone who brings you water and food – at which point, your whole “I’ve found peace’ thread loses points with me – sure, If I had nothing to do but sit around in silence thinking deep thoughts and not interrupted with pesky things like eating, drinking or keeping warm, or voting to stave of dictatorship that would force me into slavery worse than I already am, I think unplugging and thinking happy thoughts, being a hermit and puttering around nature or sitting still in it would be grand – most folks don’t get that kind of life OR are willing to die of thirst/hunger in order to live it – so there ya go – pointless advice for working class, raising children or taking care of their families.

Embrace the 21st Century and Productivity!

The second flank that is hemming me in on the opposite side is the folks who have drunk the Kool-Aid and believe technology is the answer to all ills.

If you question it, you’re backward – if you dare say, “ummm…this isn’t working as you advertised…” you are simply asked to upgrade to the next level of service, and when that doesn’t solve the problem, you are asked to do their trouble shooting, on their product, for them, for free –

Who needs to hire customer service and R&D folks when we customers are doing the work for them, for free, in attempts to get customer support?

Seriously?

I confess that most of the tools I look at for my biz are long on promise short on delivery –

I also confess that I often wake up, mid-week or later, every week and think – “Ya know? I think I’m having an unplug day” –

Not that I really unplug – I respond to client emails, calls, texts, but I do so from my phone – I acknowledge I have received –

IF time sensitive, I walk to my ‘office’ and do – if Not, I may not even answer, but decide to do late tonight or early tomorrow morning – who cares? Still less than 24 hours turn around which is more than I can say for many of the customer support/tech support options I deal with EVERY, FRICKIN’ DAY I WORK!

Somewhere, somehow, there must be a happy middle that allows a small biz opportunity

Just saying – as one of my fave ‘biz’ blogs states (she offers classes I cannot afford, enjoy reading some, if not all her marketing emails, anyhoo) she long ago said, and often repeats – “You don’t have to invent the mousetrap, just make it better – opportunities to make an offering better, abound – Just do it “

She has her own phrase for “Just Do It” – lest you try to report her for stealing another’s ad campaign – her phrase is “JFS” which is polite acronym for Just Fucking Ship!”

Okay – now you get why I like her – I enjoy cussing, raw, people who cut through the cutesy, positive, useless biz informercials that inundate online world – for marketing everything from your carefully written novel to your pet grooming service or reselling crapola no one really needs on amazon or ebay –

See? I have an online life – I read a lot out there – I just tend to laugh and make fun of a lot of it –

Reminds me of a Tom T. Hall song – I don’t have a thing for older women or whiskey, but faster horses sounds good – – πŸ™‚

You can view the lyrics and hear the music here.

That all said –

It is disheartening to me to see the internet go the way of telephones and radio did a century ago – As in – it’s growing, security scares make headlines, and, everyone who can is out building their cyber empire – I believe, cyberland, is where World War III is already happening – it just hasn’t truly made the news as such, yet –

And I’m left with the realization, I’m probably not good enough or smart enough to be a general, not willing to die on this battlefield as a foot soldier, but not willing to be an objector and just throw my computer out the window and go putter in the blissful days of garden, kitchen, experimental station on preservation, home hooch/wine making, etc….

Not just yet – – but I’m getting closer – though I would so miss visiting with those bloggy pals here that I will, most likely, never have the chance to travel to their neck of the woods and actually putter in their kitchen while we drink, visit and fix a meal to share –

However…

I realize that while many in my neck of the woods think what folks pay to get a basic website built by the ‘big boys’ in urban corridor to the west is highway robbery, and yet, they can’t quite walk through making their free or $2.99/month website do what they want it to – neither do they value what I do, have done, continue to learn more, in order to do more –

It’s not truly valued, although they often come to me with

We Need a Website! We Have to Have One!

And I always ask questions to determine do they NEED a website, or just an online presence?

AND, if yes, they need a website, then I want to know,

How does your website earn it’s keep?

Funny how many are stymied by that question – a website is an investment – no two ways about it – it costs time, money or both –

So, how does it earn it’s keep?

Does it inform, educate, raise donations/make sales, explain a little known industry to folks who need such services but didn’t think such services existed?

Does it display required public documents so one doesn’t get hit with fines and penalties for failing to follow regulations for ones’ industry?

It either saves time of staff, money for the company and/or it pre-sells to customers or makes sales to customers, while staff sleep –

Easy, in my mind, to know how one’s website earns it’s keep –

Not so easy for clients to answer –

They do answer – eventually – always –

Sometimes, they just don’t know they finally told me how they expect their website to earn it’s keep…..but usually, it comes out in conversation – when I listen or read emails and learn – sometimes, about 1/2 way through the project – it’s a learning process –

As you can tell, I’m deep into “Plugged Into” world –

I know it, you know it – else I wouldn’t talk about websites and blogs and online presences, etc., so much –

On the other hand – does cyberland have value, to you, if you’re not the front man for a wealthy Nigerian Prince in search of money laundering services?

πŸ™‚

Obviously, it still does for the Nigerian Prince, he’s just a non-profit who helps veterans now – and asks for a donation – or your credit card number

Or he is a hero that’s found out your identity/computer has been hacked and he can save the day for just $99 if you just click on that little button in the email…

See? And these are just the brash forays on the front of WW III –

The more subtle ones are the thousand and one offerings when you hear “There’s an App for that” tune –

And as I watch and at accelerated pace that has sped up this past year – yes, there is an app for that – none of them are free –

You’ll pay with your information, your marketing to/consumer worth (marketing/ads attention) your time and/or your money –

There is no free internet, not really –

And so, the great liberator, the great marvel of our time (remember the telephone, telegraph, radio?) which started out as free, isn’t and it’s being slowly taken over by ‘small charges’ for this, that and the other –

Thus, you must earn $ to access, use, etc.

Take on a second job if you must – the great cyberland beast must be fed….

I do not begrudge…

Those who have worked so long and so tirelessly to provide ‘free’ versions, making their weekly wages or cashing in on years of work –

Nope, I just see more and more customer UIs popping up for services paid for – where there exists no phone number or storefront to go visit – if you are dissatisfied or need support, you simply must email/submit request and then hope you can carve out the time to be on hand 3 days later when they decide your ‘appointment’ slot came up today in the ‘which customer shall we deal with today’ lottery –

Rather like waiting for the cable TV guy to show up in the 4 hour window you were scheduled for, right?

Only to get a call about 10 minutes before you are due back to work, that says “He’s on his way – running about 30 minutes late –

And woe to you if you say, “I have to go back to work, else I’ll lose my job – I took a 1/2 day without pay to wait here for him to arrive” – and be told,

“If you are not there, we will have to reschedule your appointment and you will be moved down the list for failure to keep an appointment”

Sound familiar?

Oh yes it does – we’ve all been playing this latest game round for years – with doctors, then service repairpersons who are ‘strategically routed through a regional office to give you the best, “just in time” service (you can thank early versions of AI attempts for this – it’s merely database building and elaborate queries and run operations – but where do you think they started in testing out AI – does it learn? really? Or is it just following all the long list of rules stupid humans wrote – the same *ahem* humans who can’t schedule a service call and have it actually happen within a 4-hour window even with 6-weeks notice?

See?

I’m in a place of ‘not congruent’ –

I play in cyberland, fight in cyberland, understand bigger things than even I can fully grasp are happening in cyberland – and yet….

If I could learn to live off sunshine and air and not be derelict in my duties, I would simply take hours to wash my clothes by hand and wring them out – because, I’ve read all the books in my house, the local library is now closed cuz those who love cyberland aren’t sure why libraries are even needed anymore, and what to do with all the free time I now have?

Folks used to drop by to visit, they don’t anymore –

And so, either I’ve become awful or no one needs me as bad as they think, if they have to stop by, instead of just calling, texting or emailing –

That said, it occurred to me that despite my routine calls to folks, just to ‘chat and catch up’ no one ever calls me unless they need something from me –

Sad, but true – and so, since I’m already on my way out of ‘human circle of connection’ given I’m only sought when work needs done, not for just chatting or what have ya – I guess, maybe, as soon as I learn to live off sunshine and air, I’ll unplug, completely and forever – πŸ˜€

Ahhh..what a dream that would be…. πŸ™‚

Dream

I usually just comment in the comments section of any who participate in roundhouse Monday this, Friday that, Write More, etc.,

It’s not that I’m totally sarcastic, I just figure, those participating are trying to get more views at their blog, and feed back on their writing – I’m not here for that – though I appreciate my community here, if/when I decide, once more, to market things other than ideas or sharing my musings for open debate, I will open up a biz blog, site, and or invite you to my newsletter sign up page – –

I’m just saying, my community here is rather like a hobby quilting club or book club or girl’s night out with wine – is that bad?

I did talk about writing a book, several, someday – we shall see – I even posted a for sale price long, long ago and refunded the two who pre-ordered when I realized, I won’t be birthing this baby anytime soon – all 2.35 to each, at the time – πŸ™‚

But, I still have a dream – and as I read Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness prompt, for tomorrow (or perhaps today, once I write and publish this…) I realized, my mind was immediately filled with thoughts on the prompt – which is the title of this post – here it is again, in case you missed it –

Dream

I recently rewatched the original True Grit (John Wayne) and then, cuz I had to watch and couldn’t wait for free on Amazon Prime (this is how they make $, just saying – instant gratification world…and folks wanting it…guilty, me, is….is this case…)

I paid for the streaming version of Rooster Cogburn, although it will be useless to me when the internet is out but the electricity is fine – (that is often the case here – take both out and we have ‘SNOW DAY! FOR REAL!!! BREAK out the sardines, crackers, peanut butter and cheese – let’s drink the beer in the fridge before it goes warm, and where are those board games and books?!?” fun kind of day – that I LIVE for and happens so rarely – -)

Nope, more often, I have no internet, but electricity still good, which means, I can still work locally, and push to live when internet restored and my cell phone still charged, so clients can nag me about such things via email, text and phone calls – – no one calls when it’s a blizzard or Sunday afternoon football – just saying….

So you are catching the Dream drift, right? The dreams I have – the dreams I want – the nightmares I often live with?

Ahem – quote, from Rooster Cogburn (and cited for original, but I don’t care – I like Katherine Hepburn’s delivery too much…)

I dreamed life was beauty,

Awoke and found only duty”

TamrahJo paraphrasing Katherine Hepburn’s quote in movie, “Rooster Cogburn”

Dreams and Duty

I’ve watched myself and those around me for about 3 decades, in regards to the Dreams/Duty topics – Funny, but I’ve found two things to be true –

  1. Dreams are held by the very low and the very high – those in the middle are too busy trying to make it higher and prevent sliding back to where they started to spend much time talking about dreams. The very high have nothing but time to dream and forge and plan the fruition of their dreams. The very low have nothing to lose and little to keep them going other than holding onto their dream, in face of everything that tells them otherwise. Thus, those in the middle end up serving the needs and dreams of the very low and the very high – who said being average was great?
  2. Duty – there are those very high who take their ‘duties’ seriously – there are those very low, with little to really give, who outshine the middle in living up to ‘duty’ – alas, there are things that shouldn’t have to be done, or said, but none the less, at some point, end up on one’s plate and is realized as a ‘duty’ –
  3. Some folks walk away from duty and figure not their problem
  4. Some folks embrace some duties and not others and manage to justify their reasons for both –
  5. Some folks sign up for duty over and over again, until their dream dies, they have nothing left to live for and they figure, why the heck am I sticking around just to do other folk’s duties?

Dreams and Duty are forever forged together in my heart, soul and mind –

Rather like Freedoms, Rights and Responsibilities was forged in my heart and mind back in the late 80s – –

from the add copy on the inside of a cigarette carton.

Yup, that’s what consolidated the argument for me, at the time, cigarette carton ads –

Say what you will, but at the time, I was a cashier at a gas/convenience store –

I’m opening cartons, to stock the single pack sales rack behind the counter, and I see the heading,

“Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Smoker”

This was before smoking in public, restaurants or outdoor parks was seen as a capital offense… mind you….

The copy basically said, “It’s legal, if you are of age, paid the tax, by purchasing through proper forum, you are allowed to smoke. However, you could be polite and not be a dick and blow your smoke in the face of folks who don’t smoke, or hate the smell. If you are at a party where the majority of folks are non-smokers, don’t just light up – ask the hostess where you can go to ‘smoke’ that will not disturb the other guests” —

In short – Big Tobacco, even then saw the writing on the wall and was trying either through pure BS or true intent, to get smokers to see it too and quit being such arses when they were publicly attacked for engaging in legal activity – –

Yes, I, a smoker and 5th generation daughter of those who, if not big tobacco farmers, certainly raised a patch of it to fund purchases at the store for things they couldn’t grow themselves – and probably, a lot of my ancestors managed to pay the taxes on the land during the depression, simply because they could grow tobacco and maybe, maybe I say, also knew how to make their own hooch or country wines and shared (sold) to those in their neighborhood with more money than growing or preserving sense….

But…I never forgot those words…

Your Rights AND Responsibilities…

To me? The “Dream” Prompt brought all that long ago story and pondering back to the front burner of my mind and soul – for – to me, just as Responsibilities follow Rights – so does Duty follow Dreams….

And so many I have watched over the years, have big dreams and feel little duty – the more their dream comes true, the less they feel the duty to help or foster the dreams of others – even if those others helped them to realize their own dream –

And so, while I’ll not say I agree with Marxist theories in total, I rarely agree with any ‘ology’ in full – on theological, economic or political systems – they all have their strong points and their arrogance – I will say this –

To Dream and see your duties is great – To dream and forget your duty is horrible –

And…I could list the places in history where dreams came true of those who forgot their duties, but then, you know this – we all do –

And yet, generation, after generation, we forget the duties and responsibilities shouldered by those of our ancestry – we over and over talk about our dreams and our rights –

Which, that being said, guess I rather should have talked about this whole thingee on Monday, Veteran’s Day, here, right?

Alas, it is on my mind most days and encompasses all humans – not just veterans or a certain nation, or religious group, or culture, or heritage, or class –

There are always prices to be paid for whatever we dream of – there are duties that come with success, there are responsibilities for those who have rights – but, we all know this – and watch and moan and cry the blues when the news tells us about those who have forgotten – even when we, and yes, WE – me included, forget our duties and responsibilities when we get lost in our our troubles and or dreams of what could be –

I see how it all happens – – both to me and others – – I’m just not certain when each of us will pony up to do our true duties and responsibilities to the full, everyday, instead of just on days when we are reminded of them and/or it’s easy and convenient – for us each – πŸ™‚

Criminey, Jimminy Crickets and Sesame Chicken…

Between my clumsiness giving me a whopper of a good oil burn a couple weeks ago and then over-extending my lower back (with not so good core muscles to support it) last week – I’ve managed to lay myself up to less than productive status quite a bit the past half moon –

Yes, yes, apparently Mercury was in Retrograde, I was due some karma, Murphy was roaming the earth in search of his red-headed step child (disguised as greying, mousy brown…ahem) and wouldn’t ya know? I remember that – NOW, that I’m taking time to contemplate it ….

I did do the whole “Human Doing”

…thingee while lost in the mist of not understanding instead of remembering to do the “Being” thingamabobber – yes, yes, I hear ya, I know better, but still – a woman must eat and keep the heat on, right? And, nothing beats paying bills to survive by doing to earn the bill paying bucks – and often, that’s where I go – when something has really womped me upside the soul – work, work, work – it is my ‘addiction, distraction, tranquilzer’ of choice – my other vices just support my main one – ahem…

Got 3 websites live, still more work to do – but glad these projects are live with basics in order to just start building extra functionality and adding content to –

Putting a website live, no matter how many times I do it, is still fraught with nervousness for me – no matter how many times it goes fine and as advertised, I still fret each site as if I’m a new mom giving birth for the very first time without having a clue what is going on –

I suspect this is how all parents, artists and writers feel about their works – πŸ™‚ It’s hard to let your baby go into the wide world this isn’t always as kind or loving to our babies as those of us who created them…

I actually cooked every blessed day the past 8 …

The man child has recovered enough financially to justify driving back and forth if weather permits – he is such a home body –

And so I was on cook duty every day -because I still haven’t resized my last 3 years of recipes to always feed him, me AND have left overs. I seriously was still sharing left overs with senior neighbors the past 3 months, so I could keep a couple quarts for us, and feed some others and not have to eat (whatever) for 6 days in a row.

Still trying to find the happy medium between too little and too much – given I’ve downsized fridge and freezer space the past 3 years – to save on energy bills –

I did make a self-proclaimed Black Irish Pot Roast – a.k.a. Guinness Stew (man, that Guinness lager/beer is dark and smokey). It turned out pretty good, even though I don’t think I deglazed the pan properly – And yes, I took to a small potluck at neighbors, brought home, froze enough for 1-2 more meals (how far 2-3 lbs of meat goes, when lots of roasted veggies added…) and sigh – again realized I need to get going on getting broth made of all the big elk & buffalo bones in freezer, that I was gifted during butchering/hunting season.

Slow-Cooker Sesame Chicken

Tonight, I write while feasting on easy to make, slow cooker Sesame Chicken – which I modified a tad for what I had on hand- so first, the real recipe I pretty much, sorta kinda, closely followed:

Sweet Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

Ahem – What I did Different…with compliments to recipe providing chef…

  1. I do not own, nor do I purchase, boneless/skinless chicken – my local butcher raises, then butchers AND then packages my chicken – a few whole chickens, and a few more chickens packaged into packets that mix dark & white meet, to quickly fix for a meal for 1-2 folks – skin and bones included.
  2. I try so hard to follow recipes, first time in, but sometimes? Just can’t help myself – thus, chicken was marinated in buttermilk, raised above sauce via rack (to make it crispy and not fall apart soup style we would have to be careful about small bones in) AND – yes…I added 1/8th tsp of ginger powder – and could’ve added more – though it didn’t call for it. I just had never seen a sesame chicken recipe without ginger in it – so erred on side of caution…
  3. I pulled chicken off slow cooker rack, placed on broiler toaster oven drip drip pan, drained drippings from crock into skillet to add the corn starch to thicken (no, didn’t take time to experiment with other sauce thickener options) and then brushed over the chicken and let broil in toaster oven for about 10 minutes, for a nice glaze –
  4. I didn’t carve time out to make homemade fried rice – I used rice cooker to cook up one cup of sprouted, short brown rice, that I get from Lundberg farms brand – it sets nice on my tummy and I like their farming practices, best as I know of their history –

What the Leftovers look like..

No…I didn’t think to take a picture during the doing – you know how bad I am about thinking about such things, at the time, right?

Yum, and double Yum…

It is so good, even the dog continues to beg, soulfully, even though I’ve told her a 1,000 and 1 times, she could die, DIE, if I feed her onion, garlic or peppers (that’s what all the homemade dog food sights purport…)

Poor Oakley – she obviously likes Chinese cuisine, too – and here I’m too afraid to experiment by feeding it to her.

Connections – ain’t they interesting?

So, these past 2 weeks when I moved between ‘git ‘er done’ work frenzies and laying low as to heal up, wouldn’t ya know so many Connections that showed up in my world, via many and sundry ways – which reminded me to once more, be as a child and hold onto hope – even while I still play the cynical, curmudgeonly adult…at times…often..

okay – very often…

ya got me..

And so, I close out this post, with a song share – I learned this one as a child – figure you might have learned it, too, long ago….

May we adults remember it when the ‘too big for their britches’ folks try to convince us otherwise, hmmm?

“Children can grasp it, pretty quickly, until adults mess it up the understanding with fake smiles and gnarly ways”

Hope your week is a great one!

If I were wealthy….

Yup, I carve out massive amounts of time to do this….

  • Reply to Spam mailings
  • Answer random calls on my phone that never leave a message
  • Have fun with folks that don’t follow ‘double-opt in/unsubscribe’ rules for online emails/newsletters

Fortunately…IF ever I have time to…

I don’t have to ‘experiment/reinvent the wheel…

Look at what I just ran across – while looking for LED strip lighting planning/wiring how to’s

(yup, I have no clue why it was included in the ‘play next’ list either, although I see more and more things like this, the further I tighten down my browser security/privacy settings….. and – I’m rather intrigued by the possibility of home improvement steps – – on lighting AND phone AND inbox operations!!!!)

Spammers Fun

About 10 minutes – nice break from whatever you are doing, to laugh and recharge for diving back in….
Again – about 10 minutes – for all I know, you’ve had a lousy day and are extending your 10 minute required work break into 20 and hoping it isn’t notices – cuz ya know, here in US, the story is…..Unemployment down and no one cares you are working 3 part time jobs that all demand full-time loyalty, just to pay the rent, light, heat and grocer bill…..

IF you are at work, needing a fun break AND figure, if they fire you, you might have a chance at unemployment benes……

Before you label me as the ‘lazy arse’ that’s ruining the USA…

Understand, I watched these while waiting for various work operations to ‘compile/finish’ because so many that offer services believe everyone has high speed internet access – many don’t OR if available, are not affordable or – sometimes, the internet just runs slow here….

I also realized today, I may need to be on Facebook more often…just to know who is already buying into false data to drive their voting decisions…

…and thus…will know who to avoid having any political conversations with over the coming few months – sigh – – already seeing the crapola of wrong information or yes, true information, hitting the feeds – and yet, not information that really addresses some of the systemic issues at play – Comedians do a fairly good job of highlighting both the ridiculous and base roots of things – so I’m watching more recent comedy offerings, because so many get their ideas from the daily news threads……

On the other hand – it is Halloween, and I should lighten up, right?

Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve…etc., etc…

So maybe I should just share what I think I will do, once I get competent at strip LED lights installation AND dress up for the celebration once more – – you do know about my self-labeled artistic ability, right?

Stick people – I can draw stick people – that’s about it…..

TamrahJo

P.S. Efficiency 101 Tip from me….

If you can’t share easily/give credit to – don’t –

I tried 3 times to embed the review, the product video use from customer, etc., and ya know?

Can’t – not with Guttenberg capabilities- or Amazon rules- or …..??!?

No matter whomever did what, or where, I no longer care –

It’s not my job to inform them how to make it easier for them to get free marketing – at least as far as I know – I’m not getting in checks in the mail with note saying “Here’s a little gift to thank you for your referral to us”

So – will just say – there is a video, posted on a Strip LED offering at Amazon (yes, I read tonnes of reviews to see what folks are using such things for – and how…) and here’s a screen shot, with both photo and captain linked so you to go visit the actual durn thing if you have a hankering to – again, am I an advertising agency?

Nope – and I do my reviews if I try, like, am pleased with and no one hounds me within an inch of my life – when and how I feel like being okay with recommending to others – cuz ya know – word of mouth really is the best ROI, overall, on all fronts and I certainly would hate to tarnish my reputation by posting reviews willy nilly to score some rewards or bling….

LED Strip Light Stick People Costume Idea

Screen capture from video of how strip LED lights used – didn’t time right to get the lil’ one dancing too – click on image to view original customer video left as review on product at Amazon.com – – I do not own this video – I do not have an Amazon Affiliate account and I will let you know which set I chose to buy, install and try out WHEN I actually do – I just thought this was cute idea – :). Stick People Art!!! :D. And, ya know, I thought about getting an affiliate account, years ago, but then Amazon and Colorado tax collectors got in an fight and if you lived in Colorado, you couldn’t have an affiliate account – I guess I could, again, now, but why? I’ve got enough work on my plate without working for Amazon, too – πŸ™‚

For those struggling with tiredness from weather, grey skies, winter bugs – –

(yup – Beetley Pete – the following pics are for you – blue skies and promises of spring to view – – )

Keep Warm, Safe, Dry, Away from Fire, Flood, etc…wherever you may be – and may the season of your where, bring you joy…

Around the flames

I find myself walking the fence among the various perspectives of October 31st and traditions among many who live in Northern Hemisphere – but I will repeat part of my comment left at original post – –

“May we all connect with community before the long days of winter drag our souls down into the depths of Persephone or the sorrow of Demeter”.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

The year turns towards winter, pulling first a blanket of leaves and mist over its face before veiling itself in frost and snow. It is a time when many traditions remember the dead, the past or the holy. On a morning such as this where the world seems silently shrouded in a grey pall, you can see, even now in our concrete-bound lifestyle, how our forebears saw the wheel of life reflected in the landscape and the seasons. You can see, too, how they bound the two together in celebration and reverence, seeing the same strands of inner life woven through all aspects of the outer.

I used to love this time of year as a child. It was full of mystery and a half-understood connection through time and community to the long distant past and to the immediacy of the present in which children live. There was Hallowe’en to…

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