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Monday, April 28, 2008

What I've Been Up To Lately

Well, I'm just packing up leaving another successful house sitting gig. This time it was for two friends of mine who are moving from Oakland to go "back to the land" in rural Oregon. It's sort of exciting to watch them get six hives of bees, etc. as well as some land to do gardening and be caretakers for six months or so. They own a really fine kitty, actually, he probably thinks that he owns them - a hugely perfect sweet jet-black shorthair named "Shakti." We made famous friends and understood each other perfectly, except when he wanted me to wake up this morning at 7:30 and feed him. Was cute though - he plopped himself right down next to my head, purred and made me wonder if his claws were going to go through the sheets to puncture the air bed. Very effective to make me wake up to shoo him away - a smart kitty.

I'm slogging away at completing another edition of the 868-Directory. This time I was able to sort out over computer problems how to do the billing yet again. I can't wait until I can afford to get a "newer" old laptop to consolidate the contents of two ancient computers, but I'll have to wait until people pay their bills to know if I'll have any extra after paying the printer bill. A new version of Ubuntu Linux is coming out that I'm going to do a dual boot on...or maybe I'll do a more "modern" routine where I can run Windows through Linux if I have enough RAM. We'll see how it turns out with the machine I end up getting. I can't wait to not be wondering if my computers are going to crap out when I need them to work the most.

I'm hoping that I haven't set my sights too high to have a car in Hawaii, a newer laptop and enough to do the first and last on a house when I return. Chris thinks I should ship my little car - but at $1300. for shipping, tax and license I could surely find a pretty good car in Hawaii and not be worried about shipping it back if I want to come back. I still haven't bought my air ticket yet; I think I'm going to have to be reduced to using AirTech yet again; even though last year they made me wait almost a whole month until I could get a flight when my departure window was supposed to be three days!

Airfare I guess will just go up, like the price of gas. Who knows which side of the Pacific I'll be on when the shit hits the fan. I'm beginning to realize that I may have to choose at some point and that my lifestyle of coming back and forth to do my work will get to be non-sensical as the prices of air fare go sky high, along with gas prices. 

My sweet friend Janet bought me a really cool book as a present - World Changing. I'll tell you more about it as I read it again.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ways I've Made Money When There's No Money Coming Anytime Soon

Tonight I'm staying at a friend of mine's house who is hosting a couch surfer down on his luck who has been unsuccessful looking for a job. He has been encouraging me to lately reflect the many ways I've made money when faced with destitution. 

One of the ways that I have done that is to be constantly thinking like an entrepreneur instead of thinking like a wage slave and imagining the answer would be having a job. When faced with a time of no money, I would look for possibilities that could be turned into a situation for money coming to me where there were none now. Today we were at an "Everything is a Dollar" store when I saw these little boxes designed to be decorated with crafty stuff. I imagined one of these things turned into a glue and paper covered purse... 

This reminded me of the time I hitched to Lincoln, NE to attend an Alexander Technique workshop without knowing how I was going to get home or eat. I had fifty bucks in my pocket when I arrived, so I figured that gave me around a week I had to come up with something. It was easy to find a free place to stay there with someone who lived there at the location of the workshop. Fortunately, that person had a sewing machine that was OK for me to use. So I went shopping at the thrift store to imagine what I could make to turn into money.  Somehow, I spotted some upholstery pieces for a song that made me decide on making juggling balls. Sold around thirty sets to people in the workshop without a problem. Even my teacher bought a set from me. When it came time to find a way back to CA I was offered a ride, but there was no room in the vehicle for me. Somehow, I managed to spot a roof rack while walking by a machine shop in Lincoln that fit on top of the possible car so there was room for me to catch a ride across country back to were I lived in CA. So it all worked out for me that time.

I guess that sign painting has always saved my butt when times got unpredictable, but being a sign painter usually required having a vehicle. When stranded without a vehicle, I had to rely on my other resources to imagine what it was I could do to make immediate money. These resources involved imagining how to do something for others without bulky tools to carry around. Some of the things that I have done for people without having a vehicle is to babysit, do massage or bodywork, cut hair, be a tutor for various subjects such as beginning computer access, do home organizing or drive them around in their car. I have also painted pictures of their pets or washed their dishes.

Wonder now that maybe what made it so easy for me to get out of compromising situations where I could have been desperate, is that people around me seemed to want to have me do something for me to make myself useful in order to help me, just as much as they wanted the thing I might be offering. To a large extent, I noticed that people would buy things from me because they wanted to support my efforts to support myself.  

I guess in that way, the money you spend everywhere counts by supporting a particular someone whom you pay for services.