Procrastination and other things….

Now that I realize that I forgot to create a new post yesterday, I think it’s a good time to discuss procrastination. I seem to naturally gravitate to the things I would rather do instead of those things I don’t want to do. Is this a bad thing? Sometimes I am not so sure.

Case in point: this year I had a project to do (I am self employed), but I was really discouraged because the client doesn’t pay on time, and recentally tried to pay less. Naturally, I am not all fired up to work on their project. Basically, the project has been sitting there for a couple months with no action on my part.

Is this a bad thing? Maybe. Perhaps by doing my work they would treat me better. However, I feel that life is short and my time is money so I have put the project on the back burner. What did I do instead? What I have always wanted to do. Work on my personal creative projects.

Did I make any money? Not yet, and I have had to cut corners as a result. I have had more time with my daughters and I am doing what I love. But, the happiness I feel at having control over my life? Priceless.

My formula for putting a dollar sign on your time/peace of mind:

You may ask, how do I put a dollar sign on these things?

c = Compenation for Completion
e = Expenses
h = Hrs. of Stress (hours you would lose worrying or dealing with setbacks) x what you are worth per hour. I feel at my experience level I am worth $22 per hour.
r = Total Rewards

c – e – (22h) = r

If you find yourself in the negative, maybe it’s time to replan, reorganize or just say no.

If the total rewards aren’t what you were hoping to get, perhaps you have better re-evaluate or work on something else. Even if you aren’t ready to cut any corners or can’t, it will help you get into better situations that help to pay your bills. When I talk about the value you will receive, I am speaking in strictly monetary terms, not “good feelings” etc. because they don’t pay the bills. If you have the time and money to spare, then you are fortunate! This is just meant as a way for a self employed person to guage whether they should work with clients that may not be worth the investment of time.

The value of the compensation has to be as guaranteed as possible. In my field, some clients feel this is a gray area. This equals valuable time lost. Sometimes I feel that learning value aside, working on a project with no pay is much worse than playing a game with the kids. So make sure there is an agreement in place to get payment for your work, regardless if it’s writing, design, programming, etc.

Personally, I am displeased with the returns on my work. I am back in school and working on my Masters. I want to be paid what I am worth, not what I have to settle with. So I am investing in my education and hoping it works out. In the meantime I am working on getting a book published and doing some painting. I may not make much or any money but I feel good 🙂

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Goodbye Alltel, Hello Virgin Mobile

After years of service, I started really getting frusterated with Alltel. Because broadband isn’t available where I live, I have had to resort to a wifi card. Because I am on a budget, I decided to hold off on the phone contract and keep a prepaid phone. As a student, Internet was the priority afterall. Google Voice could catch my messages. Then one year, I got tired of dealing with it and added a contract phone. The result, $110 a month. Not so bad right? Then I started getting mysterious charges for texting services I never signed up for. Although Alltel continued for almost a year to allow this obvious fraud, I stuck with them and was patient until they stopped it finally. Eventually, I traded my phone for BOGO Blackberries for a special promotion. I was told that the bill would be no more than $190. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was really $230+.

Looking to cut costs, I didn’t renew my mobile broadband card contract and tethered my Blackberries reducing my bill to $145. Still, I wasn’t satisfied. One of the Blackberries wasn’t working well and they wanted to charge me over two hundred for a new one. I figured out I could get another on ebay, but by this time I was annoyed. It seemed to me that Alltel was getting pretty pompous, feeling that they were the only solution, so why satisfy the customer?

Then I discovered Virgin Mobile. I bought the wifi router for $150, and I can now connect 5 wireless devices for $40 a month for unlimited data. Not only that, but the quality is superior to Alltel’s. I then decided I didn’t want to have my face in a smartphone day in and day out, so I bought some simple prepaid phones. I now use my deactivated Blackberry to listen to music, play games, store data and read kindle books. I also discovered that Alltel had sold me the Blackberry without wifi so no play there.

However, I feel the joke is on them, because once people discover that they can get a Blackberry through Virgin Mobile for $25 a month and spend $40 for unlimited mobile broadband to connect 5 devices, they will be leaving in droves as soon as they are within the scope of the Sprint towers. Besides, contracts suck.

My next experiment: ditching the landline and using the magic jack with the mobile broadband. My communication costs have been lowered greatly! The winner: the consumer, for once!

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Publishing Old Letters…

When my mother died, I inherited my grandmother’s World War II letters. When I finally got around to reading them, I was absolutely enthralled. I have since scanned them and transcribed them. I plan on compiling them into a memoir. My grandmother was of the first group of WAACs to go overseas. She had such a unique wit. I can see where I get my love of writing from, and it certainly wasn’t from my father’s side of the family. They are more mathmatically inclined and I am not.

I have a great deal of research to do now on how to get this accomplished. I plan on doing some biographical information at the beginning and end. I will keep everyone posted on this, but in the meantime, has anyone published wartime family letters? How did you go about it? Did you self-publish or get an agent/publisher? Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated!

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In Retrospect

Lately I have been looking at old albums. I thought this was a personal thing and would bore everyone else until my friend came to look at them with me. We spent the evening remeniscing those good old days, and talking about family history. We have been friends for almost thirty years, so we are pretty much family. In my case, she is more than family and that’s a good thing. These days, I think I am pretty polished and I kind of don’t understand that confused, goofy kid I used to be. I often go into these scenarios where I say to myself “If I could go back in time I would totally not worry about sitting alone at lunch” or “If I could go back in time I would have turned ___ down for the prom and the ___ other years we wasted together.”

We all imagine being the coolest, smartest kid around, and with our adult knowledge to take back in time, we could surely get this accomplished. But I am not so sure it matters anymore. The family members and friends that let me down in my life did me a favor. They made me a more durable person, and they continue to serve as a great example of what not to be!

As my friend and I talked these things over, I realized that if I had to go through an awkward childhood and wade through fair weather friends to find one jewel like her, the journey was worth it! They say you are lucky to find one true friend in your entire lifetime. This certainly is true for I am blessed with a wonderful friend. But life has been more generous to me, because I have made other true friends. When it comes to friends, I feel that I hit the jackpot.

So there we are gazing at these old photos, shades of myself with my friend posing in pictures from another decade. However, our story is still being written…

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My Mind Wanders…

On a bleak winter day, my mind seems to turn to the less positive events I have had to deal with in the past. I wonder what makes less scrupulous people tick… I wonder how they can be the way they are… how can they do what they do every day… then I hit the mute button on these thoughts because they cause me no good. For me, this is a good time to shift gears.

How do I do this? As strange as it sounds, looking at art is a tremendous relief for me. I usually go to google images and do a search for Impressionist Art and I am never unhappy. If there is an art work that is really satisfying to me, I go search the Internet to learn more about the artist. I then meditate that these individuals may not be alive any more, but they left so much beauty behind. Artists in time have had personal struggles and heartache just like me — but they somehow managed to transform the sadness and anger into beauty.

By the time I am done meditating I realize… the longer I worry about the schmucks of the world, the less time I have to achieve my goals. For me, this is less time I have as an artist to leave something for another to contemplate after I am gone. For you parents out there, the more time you worry about those annoying people you know, that’s another beautiful moment you could have had with your children.

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Recycle Undonatable Clothes Into Braided Rugs

My daughters and I often have to get rid clothes we don’t feel are good enough to donate. They are of the caliber that wouldn’t sell at a garage sale for free – stains and holes. We have since found a wonderful use for these unwanted clothing articles. We are turning them into braided rugs. We simply cut the clothes into strips, and begin to braid. When we run out of fabric, we sew another length to the strip and keep on braiding. Once we get a long length of braided “rope” we begin to create a circle and sew it together. If you’re clever, you can blend the colors of fabric. We even use old denim, and so far it has been pretty durable. Plus, their is something therapuetic about slicing up those “skinny” jeans that don’t fit anymore or that pastel pink shirt with the ketchup stain that will never come out!

I hope to add a fews pics and maybe a tutorial soon!

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Happy New Year!!!!

I plan on posting every day (or as often as technically possible) for WordPress’ Postaday. I hope I can manage posting every day, if not, I will be very satisfied with almost every day! About me, I live in Mason County, Michigan near the beautiful Lake Michigan. Even though we are buried under some snow, there is so much to love about this area! In fact, I love it so much I may just call Ludington, Scottville or Fountain my hometown in my Facebook Profile. No offense, hometown! So cheers to it, Happy New Year, and I hope I can get this done without getting stagefright!

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