Friday, October 21, 2011

I will be rising from the ground ....

I've spent the last few weeks really trying to figure out how not to be so angry at my sister.  I think the biggest thing for me is that she didn't listen to my side (via the letter).  I don't know why, but when that letter was out there in the wind, being read or not, it didn't bother me because there was a chance she would read it.  Now that I know it hurts.

But ultimately, I have no choice but to put her behind me, put the book she wrote up on the shelf (as it were), and let go of my anger.  So that is what I'm doing.

I've been writing a lot and keeping all those thoughts to myself, so it can be my work.  I'm been going to a lot of Bikram Yoga.  I'm still seeing my therapist. 

I'm also spending more time with friends, making sure to call people I love and check in and meeting girlfriends for lunch and shopping.  I need those "sisters" in my life, because I'm never really going to have that with my own related sister.  So I am making those connections elsewhere. 

I also have to keep reminding myself that my sister paid for about 400 books to be published and she was screwed over by her publishing house and they only published about 40 books.  So in the entire world of almost 7 billion people, there are only 40 copies of her book.  Maybe 75 people have read it in the entire world.  So that is something.  The last I heard she was going to try and sue her publisher and agent.  So 75 people read things about me.  I have to remember that that and then let it go.

I've always told myself I don't care what people think.  And I really don't, but I obviously did care what my sister thought and I was hurt that she thought so little of me. 

There is one other thing that has helped me through, and that is making sure I work every day to get the anger out of me until it's all gone.  I've been writing, painting, singing, and there is a song that I heard about two weeks ago that makes me cry every time I hear it.  It has become my mantra, of sorts, during this time in my life.

I don't normally subscribe to pop-rock and the young girl singers, like Miley, etc., but I heard "Skyscaper" by Demi Lovato.  My daughter loves this girl and I read some about her and she's been through a lot shit. 

The words to the song are amazing and they remind me everyday that though that book tore me down, I'm going to get over it.  Words are just words.  They are not me, they do not define me and I know my life and my story and I will hold my own truth and I will honor that. 

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I'm made of glass
Like I'm made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper

~Demi Lovato

Friday, September 30, 2011

The cruelty of dementia

It's been a couple weeks (almost) since my mom fell and the hoopla happened. I called my mom a few times the weekend after it happened and left her messages. Then I called her last weekend and she answered. I asked her how she was and she said things have been crazy and she hasn't been doing very well, but she's better now.

I asked her what happened and she replied "I fell a few times last week and was in the hospital."

"You fell again?" I asked.

"No, just last week. I had to have a colonoscopy and the stuff they gave me to get ready made me SO sick." She replied.

"You had another colonoscopy?" I asked.

"No, never again."

"So when did you fall?" I ask, getting confused.

"A few days ago, but your sister came over and checked on me and took me to the hospital. They ran some tests, but I'm fine." She says.

"So you were in the hospital AGAIN?" I'm practically yelling, because I feel like she's not hearing me.

"No just a few days ago." And my mom proceeds to tell me the whole story of her tests, her bad reaction to the meds, her falling, and everything that happened all over again, like I didn't know about it and like it had just happened a few days before.

It finally hit me in that moment - this the beginning of her dementia.

We all knew my mom was forgetful, she forgot where she parked her car in the mall parking lot and security would drive her around until she found it. If you told me mom a story about something that happened, she would tell it back to you (incredibly embellished) the next day like it happened to someone else. When you said, "yea, I told you this yesterday" she would reply "No you didn't. I heard this from so and so."

And that was that. I found it easier to just listen that to argue.

She had a brain hemorrhage two years ago and spent some time in the neuro Intensive Care Unit, for surgery and recovery. And now my mom's memory is bad, and she tells wildly crazy versions of simple events that I mentioned to her, and she goes on and on and will argue to the bitter end that she is right. Her memories of things that happened 20 years ago are so twisted up that when she talks about them, I can't make any sense of what she's talking about. Sometimes, it makes me feel like I'm the forgetful one, like I just don't have any clear memories of growing up.  I mean, my mom talks about this stuff like it is Gospel truth and when I question it, she gets upset.  And then we argue, because she really wants me to remember and I just don't. Not the way that she does and then my mom says things that hurt my feelings. Yet, I keep calling because she is my mom.

I realized today that the woman I knew as my mom is gone. I can talk to her now and tell her things, listen to her and laugh with her but as soon as the she hangs up the phone she's either forgotten I called her or refashioned our conversation into another story entirely.

I will never be able to sit on the couch and talk with her for hours (because I get too frustrated and she gets too tired), I will never take her to Ireland to see her family there, and someday I will call her and she won't even know who I am.

This is the part that sucks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today, I'm just plain pissed off

So my Facebook posting resulted in a private message from someone who is a good friend of my sister's. She told me that my sister told everyone on FB who asked why we weren't friends anymore that I was upset with her because she and her family were too financially strapped to come to my wedding.


So now there will always be that who-said-what thing going on. My sister made me look petty and cruel, when I was actually relieved that she wasn't coming to my wedding. It has been difficult for me to even be around her in the last two years and I've been swallowing down my anger every time I see her. I knew her family was having some financial difficulties, though I had no idea how bad. She had told me they might not make it to my wedding and I asked that she give me as much notice as possible so I could re-arrange. She told me three months before.

I suppose the fact that I never replied to her message and then unfriended her on Facebook led her to assume that I was upset that she wasn't coming to the wedding, when in reality, I was just relieved that I didn't have to swallow down more anger while she was around.

But as usual, she spins her own story, much like her memoir, and lies about the people who don't hover around her in orbit. I tried to hover, I really did, but I'm so glad I don't anymore.

The biggest issue today for me is that my mom fell a couple times last week. My sister sent the message to me through my kids (way to be like my ex-husband), and so I called my mom and checked in and then sent an email message to all three of my kids letting them know that they don't need to pass on messages anymore. I told them that I don't want them to be in the middle of another battle. I told them I would call my mom a couple of times a week and keep myself informed about her health and her life.

And not a single one of my kids even replied to my email.

So today, I'm pissed, I'm tired, I'm lonely and I'm wondering why I put myself out there to anyone. Really? I guess I have to admit that subconsciously I wanted to hear soemthing from my kids. Maybe a thanks! Or a "we stand by you, Mom, no matter what." But I got nothing.

Today is one of those days where I would tell my therapist that I'm feeling so out-of-sorts that I want to buy a plane ticket to a far away country and just drop off the map of everyone's lives. Then they can go "hey, where is Rory?" And wonder why I left.

I put far too much of my life in other people hands and hearts. It's time to stop doing that with everybody.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Next day feelings and thoughts

Regret hung from the hem of everyone's lives, a rip cord reminder that what you want is not always what you get. At some time or another, everyone was failed by this world. Disappointment was the one thing humans had in common. Taken this way [I don't] feel quite so alone. Trapped in the whirlpool of what might have been, you might not be able to drag yourself out - but you could be saved by someone else who reached in.
- from Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

I've had almost 24 hours since I got my letter back in the mail with the nasty note from my sister that she didn't read it. I've been pissed, sad, furious, vindictive, vengeful, hopeful, happy and have settled on quietly disappointed.

I think that feeling will change as the days go by, as I talk it all out with my therapist and as my mom continues to try and talk about my sister like I'm feeling bad that I missed out on all her life's juicy gossip. I've tried asking my mom not to talk about her, but she still does.

Do I have regrets? About some things in my life certainly, about this....I don't know yet. I guess I should have said something to my sister before her book was even published. But I've spent the better part of my adult life not speaking to her and so I suppose, I didn't want to say anything to her because I figured she would get mad at me again and quit talking to me again.

My experience with "sisterhood" has been incredibly disappointing. I know friends of mine have great relationships with their sisters, they can say anything and there is still love and support and hugs and laughter. I sometimes wish I could have had that with my sister, but instead I just remind myself that I have that kind of relationship with dear friends of mine and that is enough.

I posted my sister's cruel note to me on Facebook and I've received a lot of support, some from people I never expected. And, as always, My Baby B has been so wonderful.

I know he wonders why it has to be like this and he really wants to know why my sister is so mad at me, but he'll never get those answers. I also think that he feels badly that he won't ever see my sister's husband again. They liked each other and they got along really well. With no reason to visit anymore, that is a friendship he'll let go of.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh the hypocrisy!!

My sister wrote a memoir and it was published in November of 2009. She put her real name on the cover and my real name and the real names of my mom and dad in the book. To say the least, it has fragmented our family. The story of how we (my sister and I) got to this post-it note today is long.

I think it starts with me not calling her right after I read her book and apologizing for my actions that led to her oh-so-difficult life, because ... hey ... my life hasn't been a cake walk and no one is reaching out to apologize to me, mainly because I'm taking responsibility for my life and my choices.

But my sister wrote about people we went to high school with and she changed the names; ya know, Brook became Becky and that sort of thing. And apparently, those ladies have called my sister after reading the book and they have apologized for their actions that led to her oh-so-difficult life. Good for them.

I didn't. Because I was, honestly, too shocked at the crap in the book about me. She made me and my mom and dad look small, weak, and sheep-like. She made terrible fun of us and she was most hard on my mom. Poor thing. And I mean that.

My dad and I did not call and apologize. I don't feel like I need to. I have enough crap in my life to handle without apologizing for someone else's crap. Any who.

The results ....

My sister sent my dad and email and "relieved him of his parental obligation." She told him she didn't need a father anymore and she never wanted to hear from him again.

But I had spent the time between November 2009 and this last April 2011 just sort of humming along. I talked to my sister less, I texted her less and I stopped commenting on anything she wrote on Facebook about her book. In fact, when her book first came out, I got some gnarly private messages from people, so I dropped off the FB for a few months.

I suppose, I could have called my sister and said some things, things like "I am deeply hurt by the book and the lies about me in the book and I don't think I can ever forgive you for writing it, much less printing it with my real name in it. And most importantly, I will never be able to forget that the book is out there and that you thought so little of me that you wrote about me like I was less than....And so our relationship is forever changed."

I didn't say that. I didn't say anything.

And it affected us.

So in April of this year, my sister sent me a private message on Facebook. Among the highlights, she and her family decided not to come to my wedding. But the best part - the part that pissed me off:

I have come to a point in my life where I am going to be selfish--I have to be--I think you can understand that better than anyone. Selfish isn't necessarily a bad thing--it just means that when I am hurt, I am going to voice it; I am not going to make something a priority when it will end up having a negative impact on my life; and I can no longer be the one who gives and doesn't get an equal amount back.

I hope you can understand this message. I am not trying to hurt you back--I love you very much and I would never want to do that. All that I ask is that you not send me a flaming message back...please take the time to think about what I have said and look at this from my point of view.

Really? She wrote a book and published it! I'm pretty sure I've read her point of view.

So after some thinking, I unfriended her on Facebook. Not terribly cool, I know, but I didn't feel comfortable with her reading my posts anymore. In turn, she blocked My Baby B and I.

And then I wrote about 10 letters back to her. The last of which I sent home with my mom, when she flew back to my sister's house from the wedding. My final letter was about five pages long, in it I said:

My initial reaction to your message on FB was to not reply at all ever. It was actually this line right here: “please take the time to think about what I have said and look at this from my point of view” that turned me off entirely. As I see it, the book you published was your point of view, and in all honesty, I’m quite sick of your point of view and how it has affected my life. The purpose of this long letter is to tell you how I feel and to let you know if we are to ever try to act like sisters, there is a lot that has to change.

And ...

While I never told you outright, I have had great difficultly talking to you, seeing you and interacting with you since the book came out. It has caused enough emotional upset for me that I don’t think I can move to a place in my life where I won’t feel upset about the book and won’t feel upset at you for so carelessly publishing it. Our relationship is broken and there are aspects of it that will never be fixed, because I won’t ever be able to forget the things you wrote.

And ...

I don’t understand why you had to greatly embellish the truth to make yourself look better than everyone else. Your “epilogue” that you wanted everyone to read, saying that that would make everyone feel better about your book: Did you actually read your epilogue? Your epilogue painted your family as Mormon brainwashed idiots who followed your greatness out of the Mormon church.

I know, right? I'm getting a little more sarcastic here, but finally I try to end with ...

If we are ever to have a relationship, you will have to take full responsibility for your part in damaging it. You will have to accept that I will not ever fully forget what you have written and that the memoir has forever tainted our relationship. You will need to stop asking me to see things from your point of view and understand that I read your point of view and I have my own point of view, which deserves just as much credibility, despite that it was never printed or published.

So there was roughly three months between her message to me and my reply and I guess, now I'm printing my point of view now.

Today in the mail, roughly two months since I sent my letter home to her, I received a package. In it were two books I had loaned my sister and my letter with her post-it on the front. And that, my dear readers and friends, is the most hypocritical thing I've ever witnessed/read/seen. And I was married to a hypocritical man, so that's saying a whole hell of a lot.

I address my feelings, I answer my sister's message when she wrote "all that I ask is that you not send me a flaming message back...please take the time to think about what I have said." I didn't send a flaming message and I took some time to think about it and what does she say...."fuck you!"

And so that is that. I don't have any qualms now writing about my problems with her book and I will no longer hold down my own voice about this.

We will never mend this and I'll spend the rest of my life sister-less, but it's better this way. There is truly now NOTHING that can be said that will EVER change anything.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago today

Every generation of people have their big event. For my parents it was the assassination of John F. Kennedy. For My Baby B's grandma, it was the Great Depression. For me it was 9/11. (And I say this with the caveat: so far it is 9/11. I hope it remains that way, but you never know)

Ten years ago today, I had just moved to Oregon from Utah and my husband (now my ex) and I were working as apartment managers/ maintenance crew for a medium-sized community in SE Portland, Oregon. I hated the job, and more importantly I really hated being back in Oregon. It was a cloudy summer, it rained a lot and I missed the sun. I had managed to quit smoking again that summer and my kidlets had started school the week before.

That morning I walked down the sidewalk from my apartment to the manager's office and I opened at 9 AM. I had not watched any TV that morning, or listened to the radio, and that was my normal routine. Once I got the kids off to school, I wanted the house quiet, so I could get ready for work and be alone with my thoughts. Mostly my thoughts were about how much I didn't like where I lived and how much I disliked Oregon.

When I got to the office, I checked the mail slot, checked the voicemail, opened the blinds and flipped on the radio on top of the filing cabinet. It was always set to Z100, the local pop/rock station. There wasn't any music playing, just some people talking. I didn't pay much attention to them and started going through the rent checks and writing out the late rent notices. We lived in a crappy place that needed a heavy hand, so there was always a lot of late rent.

I guess it was an hour into writing out all these forms and balancing the ledger that I realized there was still no music playing and that news reporters were talking about something. I caught a reference to San Franscisco and the towers coming down and so I started to listen. Most of my mom's family lived (and still lives) in the San Fransisco area, so I wanted to know what was going on. I called my mom and she didn't answer, so I closed up the office and changed the sign to say I would be back in 15 minutes. I walked up the sidewalk back to my apartment and turned on the TV. And I sat there for at least an hour.

By this time, the towers had fallen, the plane had crashed in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon was on fire. I had missed it all, but I was able to watch the towers fall about every five minutes for that next hour and catch up on everything that had happened. I watched people running, covered in ashes and I watched some CNN reporter in New York talk while the smoke billowed out from the World Trade Center behind her.

I was mesmerized, shocked and I couldn't pull myself away from the TV. Eventually, my boss called my house and told me I had to go back to the office and so I did. But I just sat there and listened to the radio. It seemed to me like nothing was ever going to be the same and, indeed, it hasn't been. Security at airports ramped up like crazy (after planes started flying again), my kids' school was half empty for days because parents wouldn't let their kids out of the house. And within a couple days there were US flags everywhere. They were in car windows, they were flying in front of houses, off porches. Buildings in downtown Portland had flags out that covered an entire side of a highrise, businesses changed the light bulb colors on their buildings exterior to red and blue. Everywhere I looked there was a US flag and there was an air of patriotism around that I'd never felt or witnessed before.

That was moving, so much so that my eyes welled up when we drove downtown. In a weird way it felt like being at a football game in my hometown when I was growing up, when the whole town came out and sang the national anthem, and watched in unison as our Bulldogs kicked ass. I felt like a part of a communal something then, and I felt it after 9/11.

It's waned since then, but I think as a whole, we are much more patriotic country now. We support our soldiers, we fly the flag, we sing as school games, we stand in respect during a parade when the National Guard marches by. If anything, 9/11 changed that for the better.

I wasn't a big fan of Alan Jackson's crappy song, but Toby Keith - he hit the mark.

Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye,
Man, we lit up your world like the fourth of July.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.

And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

-Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Keith

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The moment of diss

diss - a shortened version of "disrespect"

As in "Why you be dissin' me?"

Tonight I attended my son's water polo game. I've never been to a game before, because when he played a couple years ago, I worked and couldn't get time off to see him. But now that I'm among the unemployed of America, I have time to sit in a swim center, chat with my other kidlets and watch the matches. It was fun and yes, my son's team won their game.

The diss, such as it was, came when the game was over when CP's wife, LP, said "Hi, Rory." She says it with this tone, it's some sort of a condescending tone, mixed with uncertainty. I'm not her biggest fan, and she doesn't know me from Adam (or Eve), though she thinks she does because she married my ex, and of course, he only tells the whole truth and nothing but, cause he's a good, tithe paying, temple attending Mormon man.

Oh, see, I can't even keep the sarcasm out of my writing. It's the diss. It was fun. And though I want to feel badly, it just isn't there.

So LP said hi and I quickly said "Hi" back and looked away and started to walk out chatting with my other kids. I looked back quickly and saw LP roll her eyes and shake her head to her friend. It was sort of a "what the hell was that about and why did I deserve such rude treatment?"

Hmmmm....I'll tell you why.

My last interaction with LP came via my son's text messages back in May. I'd just returned from a trip with My Baby B and my boys came over to visit. Well, even though LP gave her approval for my son's visit, she decided that very same night to (at the last minute) shop for my son's prom attire. Well, I didn't know there was a prom, I didn't know my son was going, and LP decides that I should take my son out shopping because he wasn't at home with her. No problem, but at 8 PM at night, I wasn't really set up to run out and rent a freaking suit. So I said, "give me some more notice and I'm happy to help." Her reply, "Oh, this is a perfect opportunity for you to finally act like a mom."

Excuse me! I pushed three babies out my vagina, so I'm pretty sure I'm a mother.

Oh wait, you mean a mom. Well, I'd love to be a mom, LP, but you and CP rarely let my son come over, you mock the parenting plan, you sent him to military school and didn't even list me as his mother on the paperwork, up until recently, he hadn't spent the night in a year because you and CP didn't let him and when he does come over you ground him for some un-Godly reason when he gets home. You rarely let him see me, yet you find the time, less than 48 hours before his prom, to chastise me for not doing more?

LP, you are just a complicit as CP in keeping my kids from me and pretending like it's in their best interest that they weren't around me. I mean, I am a non-Mormon after all. I'm of the devil and going to hell and all that other crap you feed them.

So I did diss you, LP. And you deserved it. You deserved a whole lot more than that, but my kids were around, and I wasn't going to say anything within their earshot. I know, NOT trash talking someone is a foreign concept to you, LP, but it's how I roll.

I enjoyed the diss, it felt good all these months later to just flip you a little bit of crap, LP, and if you're feelings are just a little hurt, well, in the words of one of my favorite ex-Mormons, Dooce, ....why don't you suck it!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Argh Matey! It's a pirate's life for me

Today My Baby B and I and some friends went to the Portland Pirate Festival in St. Helens, Oregon.  I cannot tell you how many times we said "aaarrrgghhhhh!" 

For a small town festival (and they'd probably dislike me calling it that) it was a great time and the people involved really take their pirate lives seriously.  The people involved set off cannons, shot old pistols, there was sword fighting and more corsets than I could shake a stick at.  There was even a pirate wedding.  The costumes were great, the music reminded me of The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, and the food was incredibly well-priced. 

By way of comparison, B and I went to the Oregon State Fair last weekend and paid over $125 on entrance, food and other stuff.  Today at the Pirate Festival we paid just under $45 for everything. 

We had a great time!  Would I go again?  I would, if my kids went along, because I know they'd enjoy it.  But would B and I go on our own?  Probably not. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

I watched the movie The Help last night. I don't know if I can find the words to express how that movie made me feel, but I'll try.

The story all the way around is wonderful and touching, but what got me was the very end when Aibileen hugged Mae Mobley, the two-year-old little girl she'd been taking care of, and walked out the door. I sat there in the theater and cried my eyes out.

First of all, I have to say seeing this movie in a crowded theater and listening to other people cry and sniffle is a powerful thing. I had tears falling down my cheeks on and off throughout the film, and found myself laughing and crying at the same time in many places. As a woman, my own journey has been fraught with challenges, especially around my writing, so I identified with that part of the movie.

But second, and more deeply felt for me, was the mother aspect of this movie. These black women raised other people's children and loved them so very much. I think in a way, they were hoping if they raised those children to be loving, caring and compassionate adults, they would in turn grow up to adulthood and treat their maids (the very same women who raised them) with that same compassion. After all, during the time period of the movie the Civil Rights movement was just a pipe dream. No one thought that in just a few short years so much about white/black life in the South would change.

Which brings me to the last few mintues of the movie. At the very end Aibileen goes to work as usual and is called to the carpet, by her white bosses and fired for stealing silver, and rather than fight it, which she certainly could have, she gets ready to leave. She bends down to Mae Mobley and gives her a hugs and says, "Do you remember what I taught you?" Mae Mobley nods and says "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." But in her little girl world, Aibileen is her mom, and her own birth mother is a stranger to her. She doesn't want Aibileen to leave her, but Aibileen explains that she has to. She has to go.

And she does. She walks out the door to her new life and a freedom she's never known before, and poor Mae Mobley bangs on the window screaming for her "Mama Aibi." It took everything I had not to break down in the theater. I was frozen in sadness at my own loss, my own child who I had been separated from and I just wanted to see Aibileen turn around and run back to the house and scoop up Mae Mobley and promise to stay.

As a mother to three wonderful, almost-grown children, parenting has been the hardest thing I've ever done. Watching them grow and get jobs and drive cars and move into their own apartments (my oldest), has been difficult, because in some way, I always think of them as my little kids. But like Aibileen, I've had to let go. And I've had to let go much sooner than I thought I would.

I count my blessings that my daughter is back in my life. We still have things to talk about and things to catch up on, but the loss doesn't sting as much. There will always be the almost four years that we missed, and I can never get back her 16th birthday or her first prom or her first day of high school, but we can begin to heal.

And I think that loss was why I cried so much at this movie. My loss, Aibileen's loss, and every mother out there who's had to say goodbye to a child they love so very much.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My experiment in another cash-flow business and income automation

Since I restarted this blog, I've decided to change some things. I will still blog about life, choices, people, etc, but with more care, because real-life people I know will read this, and I will also post about the business, work, automated income, travel, web development things I have going on in my life. I love writing, and I love writing about personal things and issues, but I also feel that there is so much going on in my life that it doesn't make sense not to write about the more functional, practical things I do with my life.

With that prelude in mind:

About 18 months ago, My Baby B and I started reading the book, The 4-Hour Workweek, and we were blown away. It has pretty much changed how we work, how we answer our email, how we travel, and how we look at money and our businesses.

Right now we have three businesses: One makes money, one is in development, and one was an experiment in cash-flow business that was not successful. The unsuccessful business is however, built on a fully functioning web site with payment processing. So eventually it will be recycled with a new idea.

The first business:

My Baby B owns a small niche business that he started on eBay as a hobby over six years ago and three years ago he turned it into a small business corporation. The trouble is that even though it meets the niche criteria for a cash-flow business, there are time-consuming aspects of the work that need to be "hands on." We have to pick orders, package them and ship them and when new product comes in, we have to break it down, tag it, photograph it, list it on the web site and put it in the warehouse. Thanks to travel tips from lots of different books, we travel more now, but we have to have people run the business while we're gone.

So with that said, My Baby B and I have been brainstorming other cash-flow businesses that can be automated.

The second business in development:

We have one we've recently started and with the right advertising and networking, it could bring in some high dollars. We'll just have to wait and see. It is a niche business and though I have to create the web site and set up the product listings, once that is done, another company processes payments, prints the products on demand, ships them out, emails the customers and handles the customer service.

One of the tips to creating a cash-flow business is that it's easier to create a new product than to resell another product. With this business, the products are ours, and we've found someone to make them on demand, meaning the product is made when someone orders it. We don't need a warehouse and we don't need to spend thousands of dollars up front to order products.

Ultimately, this business will come down to the right niche marketing and getting the web site URL out to the right potential customers. I'll post more on this when the web site is up. You'll understand more about this niche marketing when you can see the products.

The failed third business:

I created an auto-income business last year that has had zero sales. In theory it was a great niche business idea and the products were warehoused somewhere else and shipping, customer service, and emails were handled by the outsourced company. My problem was that I knew nothing about the niche.

I knew enough to create the web site, list the product and hope for the best, but without a knowledge base and the ability to relate to potential customers on their level, I couldn't market the product on forum boards, on Craigslist, or via email. I can still try paying for marketing on Google or Facebook or StumbleUpon, but this niche product was better marketed via forum boards, which is free marketing.

Lesson learned. Tim Ferriss says you have to position yourself as an expert and I was certainly no expert at this niche industry.

So now My Baby B and I are on to brainstorming a new idea. We know a lot about a lot, so we just have to do some research on our ideas, find out if it can be automated and once again, I can build the web site and set up the back end. By the way, my web development skills have saved us thousands of dollars already, because I can create a web site and ordering system for our ideas without spending a penny.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Sometimes I need to vent and today, Alaska Airlines is getting the short end of my blog

First, we had an amazing honeymoon on the Big Island of Hawaii (more on that in later posts). And it's a shame it ended on a sour note, but Alaska Airlines and the customer service people I came into contact with today were nasty, demeaning people, and if they represent Alaska Airlines and just how much they *care (insert sarcasm here) for their customers, then it'll be a cold day in hell when I willingly fly Alaska again.

The main problem: We bought our plane tickets together, paid with the same credit card, and when we checked into our flight 21 hours before, using the online Alaska web site, we were given seats apart from each other. When I tried to change seats, there were no seats together. Now first of all, I find it hard to believe that everyone but me and My Baby B checked in online to select every single seat on the plane. And second, shouldn't an airline just knowingly put people who paid together and are part of the same traveling group seated together on the plane? Can't someone write a computer program to make that happen? If not, I'm currently looking for web development work. Hint Hint Alaska.

The reason this irritates me so much is that it keeps happening to us over and over again. And every time we get the same story ... "the computer just randomly assigns seats" .... "we have no control" .... "you can ask people on the plane to switch."

And asking someone to switch usually has worked, but not today, even though my husband was wearing his "Groom" t-shirt. Our problem this time was that he and I were assigned middle seats. And the guy we asked to switch with us said no, because he didn't want to sit in the middle. Nice. And for the entire six hour flight, he glared at me every chance he got. With his beady little eyes.

So when we landed in Seattle, I went and talked to an Alaska Airlines person and asked why people who buy tickets together, don't get seated together. And he proceeded to tell me that when I buy a plane ticket, I'm not actually paying for a seat! Really! If I'm not paying for a seat on the plane, then pardon me, but just what am I paying for?

His reply: "The air I breathe on the plane and the gas to fly it!" So My Baby B and I paid $1100 to breathe on the plane and helped Alaska Airlines fuel up the engine, but we didn't actually pay for two seats on the plane. We should be lucky we got seats, I was told. So on the rare chance that we do get to sit together, well that's just a bonus.

It just floors me that in this day and age of the internet and instant feedback, that customer service, and I mean good old-fashioned customer service just "flies" out the window. I've already Tweeted Alaska Airlines, now I'm blogging and I'm going to seek out other fellow disgruntled travelers and comment on their blogs. Like I said .... instant feedback.

Airline ticket prices are outrageously high, we have to pay for in-flight entertainment, we have to pay for food, and we have to pay for our bags now. And with all those fees, fellow travelers, we aren't even paying for seats. Next thing you know, they'll start charging for oxygen masks and weather proof suits and sell less expensive outside seating. They'll strap you to the underbelly of the plane and give you a blanket to stay warm.

But don't worry, when you pay that extra $25 for your luggage, it isn't guaranteed a place on the plane either.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


It's been over three years since I've used this blog, but I've been putting the pieces of it back together. I re-posted most of my 2004 posts and I'm moving on to the next years. I've been reading them as I go and find myself amazed at the common thread in most of my early posts....the Mormon church and my divorce.

I'm long past the divorce now, I'm still an active Ex-Mormon, and I'm happy, working for myself and best of all newly married to My Baby B. We made it through a lot of shit and were recently married. We are leaving on our honeymoon in a few days and I'm so ready to begin this new phase of my life.

My kids are practically grown. My oldest is 21 and buying beer at every restaurant we go to. My next is 18 and with a lot of help and a term at military school, will be graduating high school in January of next year. And my daughter is 17 and has just recently resurfaced in my life. We are taking it slow, talking about little things and getting re-acquainted.

Life is precious. Time is precious. I started this blog seven years ago, and in looking back I realize life and time take us in wild directions, and things change and swirl in ways we never thought they would. When I read my early posts on this blog, it seems like another person wrote them and seven years seems like 700 years.

What an amazing change.