I’m For Sale. {Borrowed Post}

I’M FOR SALE

Creative ambition is lovely, but what happens when you need real money?

BY GENEVIEVE SMITH

When I was 26, my then roommate was a great scavenger of furniture. One day, she came home with a daybed frame: a twin-size wooden box with only three legs, which is likely why someone had left it on a curb in the first place. The frame sat propped against our dining room wall for the next year, until I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband), and she let us take it. My husband made a fourth leg out of salvaged wood, and we found a cushion that more or less fit the frame in the “as is” section of IKEA. The back was constructed from a mattress pad rolled up and stuffed into a homemade pillowcase, and the whole ensemble was eventually covered with some black corduroy fabric that we bought for $10. All told, I think we spent about $40 on the “couch.” That was six years ago. At the time, I thought of our jury-rigged furniture as a temporary arrangement, a way station on the path to adulthood. Now it serves as a reminder of how slow and grueling the road to financial security can be.

Which brings me to a second anecdote, one that occurred about a year ago. Over a plate of pasta one night, my husband told me that I needed to make more money. I don’t remember what prompted it, whether we were discussing saving for a down payment or planning a vacation, but regardless of the topic, it was hard to argue with his point. If I really wanted the things I said I did, we’d need more than we were bringing in, than I was bringing in, because, as he implied, I was the one who wasn’t really holding up my end.

My husband and I both chose careers in so-called creative professions—he in architecture, I in magazines. Both are fields in which the prestige often outstrips the financial rewards, but for years that was fine by me. Beyond the fact of having a paycheck, I’d never really thought it mattered how much I actually brought home. Instead, every major career decision I made I’d decided with my heart, not my bank account. My first job, at a nonprofit, paid $23,000 a year. When I decided to pursue journalism, I got a job at a glossy financial magazine, but a year and a half later, I happily left it to work at my favorite publication, accepting a $31,000 salary—and a $20,000 pay cut in the process. Four-plus years passed, and, at 30, I still hadn’t closed the gap on those lost wages. Still, I had no doubt that I’d made the right decision. I loved the work and my colleagues, and I thought of my relative poverty as the price I had to pay. As a friend said of her own professional choices, “I cared about career success. I didn’t care about security.”

But then something began to shift: My thin resources started to bump against some serious pent-up consumptive desire. I wanted to buy things, mostly shoes, but also vacations, a dog, organic produce, dinners out, drinks. Eventually, I grew tired of our used furniture, IKEA shelving, Chinatown bus tickets—the couch. I didn’t want to feel this abject guilt every time I swiped the credit card, a sense that I was pushing our dreams of children and a home further away with every discretionary purchase. What I didn’t understand when I graduated college was that following your passions wouldn’t always be enough. Sometimes you’d want those other things, too.

Occasionally when I look at my spotty financial history, I wonder if there isn’t something self-defeating in my attraction to underpaid work, if perhaps all the talk of fulfillment is just masking a deep-seated unease with being in the driver’s seat. Even if I can’t always identify it, I can sense there’s some insecurity that would be left untouched as long as my income never reached an actionable amount. “Maybe I don’t like money on some deep subliminal level. I’m really bad at getting paid to do what I do,” was how the 31-year-old writer Emily Gould put it to me over dinner one evening this past fall. Gould had written candidly about going broke after publishing her book of essays, And the Heart Says Whatever, at 28. “I spent a lot of the past year trying to figure out what, besides writing, I could do to make money,” she wrote on her blog. “I had lunches and informational interviews. I found out about the viability of selling my eggs (I have one more year!)…. Mostly, though, I wrote things no one paid me to write and borrowed lots of money just to be able to live.”

She scraped by with temping and occasionally teaching yoga. “I was really rolling the dice,” she said of her failed experiments to reinvent herself. “People are loath to hire a 30-year-old who has to be an assistant.” Eventually, she came up with an idea for an independent e-bookstore, which she launched in 2011 with the help of her best friend. It might be only slightly more lucrative than being an essayist, but, as she wrote at its announcement, “just realizing that there was something I am capable of doing besides writing was enough to give me hope that I will, piece by piece, begin to figure out the rest of my life.” She’s also suggested a recasting of the adage “Do what you love and the money will follow,” which, she writes, “is great advice for people who love neurosurgery or filing briefs. ‘Do what you love 70 percent of the time and spend the rest of the time doing various things you hate, or that are difficult for you, and see what happens’ might be better advice.” But it was also clear as we talked that she still held fast to the idea that if she kept writing, the money would somehow follow. “I’m aware that my plan, which is to be an exception, is a bad plan,” she said. “That’s my dream. I can’t make it not my dream. I want to own a brownstone and have a baby, and right now I have $12,000 in credit-card debt and haven’t had a paycheck larger than $100 since July.”

Women’s working lives have long been shaped by their attempts to navigate these conflicting aspirations. And yet, it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that the main tension isn’t a two-way tug-of-war between work and family so much as a pile-on of family, money, and ambition. According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist who studies female career trajectories, women are stretched in even more directions than that; she and her collaborators at the Center for Talent Innovation studied the motivations of men and women at work and found that while men’s primary incentives are relatively simple—money and power—women are motivated by seven discrete factors. “It’s not just time for family. Women want meaning and purpose in their work. They value great colleagues. They also like to give back to society in terms of the work they do, some healing of the planet, and they want flexibility, which is not the same as family stuff—it’s so that they can have a life,” said Hewlett. “Women have much more complex goals, but they also do want money and power. They recognize you’re likely to have much more control over your life if you have those.”

Hewlett herself is evidence of women’s complicated calculus; she’s written 11 books and founded a think tank, all while raising five children. “There’s been a lot of failure along the way,” she told me. “The most difficult period for me—I was a professor up for tenure and lost twins in the sixth month of pregnancy.” In the months that followed, she failed to get tenure, lost her job, and was forced to reinvent her career. “Dig hard into any woman who appears to have done it all and you’ll find some of those stories,” she said, before adding, “I’m very glad I’ve stuck with an ambitious career.” Sometimes when I’m wrestling with these issues, I’m reminded of my dad, who had a noble if not particularly glamorous career as a public servant for the federal government.

When I was 12 or so, I was snooping through my mother’s drawers looking for I don’t know what, secrets I guess, and found a small green leather journal. Inside, I recognized my father’s neat, blocky script. A date at the corner said 1971. The entries were from a hitchhiking trip he had taken from DC, where my parents lived, to New Orleans, where his brother was living. (My parents’ car was stolen during a road trip they’d taken and turned up in New Orleans a few weeks later, so my dad was heading down to retrieve it, or so the family story goes.) Some of the entries described the people who picked him up, many were about missing my mom, but the thing I remember most vividly 18 years later is an entry in which my dad wrestled with whether to become an artist. At 12, I had only ever known him to get up early, wear a suit to work every day, come home at six. I had never imagined him another way, despite the weekend trips to art museums, the watercoloring, the etching classes he sometimes took. A few of his friends had gone more bohemian, but my dad was the first person in his family to go to college, and I think he probably felt the weight of that. Whatever the reason, at some point he gave up the dream and, as far as I knew, never looked back.

I recently asked my dad if he ever regretted not following those early ambitions. No, he told me. Even though he’d toyed with doing a more commercial craft like silversmithing or pottery, he realized how hard a life that would be, always having to scramble to keep the money coming. So instead, he found a career that drew on something else he cared about—helping others—and that would also, in later years, allow him to support a family and have enough time to be active in raising them. “I was never out to make a whole lot of money. My whole goal was balance,” he said.

Since that reckoning at the dinner table a year ago, I’ve struggled with how to find that balance in my own life. Like Emily, I’m not quite ready to give up on the dream or to scale back my ambition, but I’m learning to be less dogmatic in how I define success for myself and to stop thinking of low-paid work as a badge of authenticity. In fact, I even took a new job at another magazine, one that finally freed me from my gnawing fiscal anxiety.

When I saw my dad at Christmas, he handed me a photocopy of his journal. It wasn’t the same one I remembered. This one was from the original road trip, which wove through the western United States. He even included photocopies of pictures from their travels, he in a wide-brimmed hat and Fu Manchu mustache, my mom in red bell-bottoms and a red poncho, staring out into the desert. Between artistic notes (“Remember to let the sky show through on paintings of trees”) and hippie meditations (“I think that when stoned in the wilds it is best to be in costume”), there was much consternation over what to do with his life. “I would like to develop a skill in which I could use my artistic abilities (meager as they are) to earn a living,” he wrote. “I’d like to sell some of my paintings on the side, but I don’t think I could rely on them as bread and butter articles. Maybe I could try pottery. The whole idea is very titillating, but also scary. I hope I have the balls to go through with it.” Later he decided that developing a craft skill should be “a medium range goal,” which he thought should be attainable in “two or three years.”

Now in retirement, my dad paints almost every day, and I think often of that dream deferred, or at least set aside, for the practicality of making a living. Looking at his decision, I realize that the trade-off that women now face isn’t all that new. It’s one men have always shouldered, and so in some ways, our own struggle to redefine fulfillment is just another sign that we’re inching further toward equality, just not quite in the way we expected.

Posted from my Android ~ Ami

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Squeezing Daily Exercises Into Your Ever So Hectic Lifestyle

Too Tired, Too Busy, or Too Bored to Work Out?

Whatever your excuse is for skipping exercise, one of these plans will get you moving.

I Have No Time

Feel like you don’t ever have time for a proper workout? Robert Kram, personal-training manager at the Reebok Sports Club                              in New York City offers these solutions.

  1. Take more brisk walking breaks during the workday.                               
  2. Do belly braces throughout the day. Draw in your navel as close to your spine as you can without holding your breath and hold                                 until you can’t anymore. You can do this anytime and anyplace―while waiting in line, driving, or sitting in a meeting. This                                 simple move will help strengthen your abs, improve your posture, and flatten your stomach.                               

Add a 10-minute strengthening routine in the morning. In the course of a few months, you should build up to 15 minutes, then  20. These exercises will help you feel and look more toned.

Strength-Training Routine 1

  1. Strapped for time? Aim for 10 to 20 minutes every day, doing two complete sets, with 10 reps of each exercise.

    • Arm circles: With arms out to the side, make dinner plate-size circles with your fists. Do 10 in each direction and repeat.                               
    • Simple squats: Place your hands behind your head. With feet shoulder-width apart, lower yourself as if about to sit in a chair. Do two sets                                 of 10 repetitions.                               
    • Knee push-ups: Lie on your stomach, hands under your shoulders, knees bent, and feet together. Push up, then lie back down. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.                               
    • Reverse crunches: Lie on your back, knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head and bring your knees toward your face while exhaling. Do two sets of 10 repetitions.

I Hate to Exercise

You can’t swallow a magic pill to make you love exercising―but you can find ways to incorporate it into your daily life. If you are not used to exercising, start slowly. Melanie Webb, personal trainer at Sports Club L.A. in Washington, D.C., offers these suggestions.                            

  1. Take two brisk 10-minute walks on your busiest days.                               
  2. Walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes once a week, twice a week if possible.                               
  3. Do a 15-minute resistance-training routine twice a week to strengthen the core muscles and help reduce back pain and improve posture (see The Strength-Training Routine, next slide).                               
  4. Make an exercise date with a friend or your spouse twice a month―hiking, playing tennis, bowling, or biking, complete with a backup plan in case of bad weather.                               
  5. Replace your office chair with a stability ball, which will require you to engage and strengthen your abdominal, gluteal,  and lower-back muscles.

Strength-Training Routine 2

Aim for 15 minutes twice a week.

  • Transverse-abs activation: Lie flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominals and visualize pulling your navel in toward your spine. Repeat up to 30 times.                               
  • Pelvic bridges: Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and abdominals engaged. Pushing down into the floor with your feet, lift your pelvis while contracting your glutes until your body forms a straight line, like a bridge. Repeat up to 30 times.                               
  • Ball squats: Stand against a wall with a stability ball that fits comfortably between the small of your back and the wall. Position your feet hip-width apart and walk them out away from the wall, as if you’re sitting down. Keep constant pressure against the ball with your back. Lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Contract your glutes as you push through your heels and return to a standing position. Repeat 15 to 20 times.                               
  • Ball push-ups: Lie down with your stomach on top of a medium-size stability ball and walk your hands out to a push-up position with your lower body supported by the ball. Gently bend at the elbows, lowering your upper body toward the floor. Keep your abdominals and glutes engaged. Push up against the floor to bring your body back to a neutral position. Repeat up to 15 times.                               
  • Ball crunches: Lie on a stability ball large enough so your head doesn’t touch the ground, with the small of your back on the middle of the ball, feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and, without moving your hips or legs, engage your abs to slowly lift your upper body off the ball. Repeat up to 15 times (or until fatigued).                               
  • Hamstring stretches: At the end of the workout, lie on your back and lift one leg up toward the ceiling. Gently pull the leg toward you, with your arms behind your thigh until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat three times.

Spring Brings New Beginnings; & Lots of Pollen in the USA

The past few weeks have been crazy busy! Every Monday, for the past 2 weeks,  the Hubb’s & I have been doing our routine physicals, Getting our bodies in check up mode-early, for our up and coming “life on the road”, We are totally looking forward to it.  Due to all of the heat & humidity, here in the gorgeous South, I have been spending hours on end in the garden & greenhouse, making sure nothing dies out due to the extreme heat.  I have been battling the local farm critters in our 1k sq. ft. garden, this spring… Our local Easter Bunny & his over populated family have been doing a serious number to our garden, so much damage, that I am growing the rest of this season’s crop in our greenhouse; I have been taking extreme measures to make sure our beloved Greenhouse is “Critter Proof”!   {Take that, ye’ ol’ Hare Family!!}

 

                 Our mower has issues, (very annoying issues, might I add), A week or so ago, the hubby got our old mower out, (We had to jump it with my Neon, to get it to start.) The hubbs  was able to cut 30’ of yard, before it died, I got the Neon back out, jumped it again, and within 5 minutes, we had to do it again. I was attempting to clean house while the hubbs was MIA, outside mowing; but the mower had other plans. I literally had to stay in the vicinity of where the Hubb’s was mowing, with the Neon running, so every time it died; I’d be there to jump it back to life, because the mower couldn’t cut 15’ or more, without dying. {We have about 2 Acers to mow, which isn’t that much; but when you go to mow the yard, and it takes you 4 hours, because you have to keep jumping it & jumping it, it can get to be a pain in the tooshie… If you know what I mean.}

Oh, and if you thought things couldn’t get any worse, you are so wrong…  I have been without my Android since early-March, {and let me tell you, being without my “Mini-Computer-In-My-Pocket-LIFE”, has royally sucked!!}

 

 My husband an’ I have been trying to keep up with the repairs around the place, we have been doing fairly well, If I may say so myself. In case you have been wondering what we have been dealing with, but don’t want to flat out ask, here’s a pretty good outline…. : Trying to keep this place warm on the cold days/nights has been a challenge, but not near as much of a challenge as trying to keep this place cool, we are seeing; The plumbing is not a problem, or has not been any more of a problem since we fixed the major blockage when we first moved in, back in January; and the roofing is up to par, no problems to speak of there. The {metal} siding is pretty spectacular, too. So far, so good. J The floors here have their flaws, as would any other 40+ year old Estate, most of the trouble spots are in one general spot of the house; some in the kitchen, a few weak spots in our bedroom, and don’t even ask about the front door. { If you don’t know where to step, you’ll go straight thru the floor, no joke.}

This morning, I was getting ready to go to “The Grove”, to return some library books, check out P.O. Box, n’ do some mall shopping.  So, I was walking down the hall, trying not to fall on my face, from nearly tripping over our cat, J.A.P.; who was racing his shadow to get under our twin sized bed. {If any of you out there in the world, who are reading this,  have a cat who is 17 {Human} years old, or older; I don’t have to tell you that they don’t get their wild streaks often, but then they do, it is usually wise to stay out of their way.}

 

 So, a few seconds later – J.A.P. made it into our bedroom, and disappeared under our bed. When I {safely} reached our bedroom, I laid my clothes out on the bed, and went into the study to grab my Laptop & Notebook bag, to fill it with today’s essentials. I grabbed my bag, and was walking back from the study, back into our bedroom, when I hear J.A.P., meowing high pitched, several times, like he was about to make a mad dash out from under the bed, and up the hall, again. I stepped back, waiting for him to zip out from under the bed, and go streaking past me into the next room, as  I started to think; Oh great, here we go again! More “Claw Bearing; Carpet Pulling; 15 lb. Ball of Fiery Furr-y” racing thru the house… But no such act happened. Just 7-8 High pitched Meow’s from J.A.P… {I didn’t think much of it then, but now the more that I think of it, I think he saw what was about to transpire, before it even happened, and was trying to warn me.}  Anyways, I am walking back from the study; I have my bag in hand, It is in the air, in about the same speed & momentum as my body was; I was in the action of sitting on the corner of my side the bed, My bag to be in my lap when the action was to be completed-So I could finish getting my needed items packed, & finish getting ready. Well, my tooshie, my leg, my “not so heavy” bag with laptop, & all of the momentum caught up in that movement-hits the bed, and doesn’t stop there! The itty bitty corner & center leg posts under the spring box and the mattress snap like a twig, taking the underneath of the corner of the spring box with them, straight thru the weak floor; making an even bigger weak spot, and a few tennis ball sized holes, where the legs went. All this time, J.A.P. is still underneath the bed; He’s howling like he’d been shot, sounding pretty ridiculous-actually. I stand back up in shock, and realize that J.A.P., is trapped under the bed,. So I get on all fours to stoop n’ look underneath the bed, to find a bug eyed kitty cat, who has obviously been scared to he!!, and back, yet he was up against the wall at the opposite end of the bed-clearly out of the way of danger. {I checked J.A.P. out, he was fine. Just a big 17yr. old wuss.} It’s all quite hilarious, now. Not a day goes by, that isn’t eventful in some way, n’ that I am ever so thankful for.

 

{Memories are more important,

than most of the worldly-material things in life.} 

 

The whole 4 months that the hubbs and I have been here, and the time that I lived here, {Back when my now Husband first proposed to me, and a few months before that.} about 7-8 years ago, the biggest problems that we really ever had, was the bed was a bit shaky. Actually, I take that back. Once the bed did go thru the floor, but that was with me, the hubbs, and the cat in the bed-Back in January 2k13.  It wasn’t a big deal, just a bit nerve racking. {You try getting woke up out of a dead sleep by J.A.P. jumping on the bed, and the bed literally folding into a taco from the weight, and the itty-bitty legs that are trying to support the weight, buckling; complete with J.A.P. being cat-a-pulted thru the air.}

SO.  NOT. COOL.

 

 During my weekly run to the P.O. BOX, today I was walking in, on the phone with the Hubbs, I saw this gal on the other side of the door, and within the split second that I was standing there, I noticed that she was pregnant, so I opened the door for her out of kindness. Low & Behold- It was a long lost girlfriend of mine I hadn’t seen in over a year, or maybe it’s been 1.5 years; I gave her a huge hug, all the while squealing “Oh my Goodness!!  C.R.!! – How have you been!!??” I quickly got off the phone with the hubbs, {Which, BTW, I’m sure he was glad, because he was likely temporally deaf from all of our squeaking!} My friend & I stood there, in the doorway to the U.S.P.S., chatting up a storm. I couldn’t believe it was her!! She looked so CUTE, all preggo! {You go girl!!} She was proudly telling me that her Baby Shower is this Saturday, and I offered to do her Baby Shower Photography.

 

{ www.JFoxCPhotography.Wordpress.com }

 

 I told her I don’t have a flowing income, other than what little jobs I can find on the side, {that’s a void that has yet to be filled}; But that my Baby Shower Gift to her was my Photography services, {{Her & her  Newborns Photography when they are in the hospital;  Monthly sessions, till she is 1 year old, and 3 month sessions afterwards till she is 2 and older. }} and whatever else I could help with now till Saturday; as well as anything that she needed, for the years to come.

 

I am trying to get together everything I can for her, as she said she doesn’t have many friends to invite, and barely enough money for her and her 1st child to survive on. My heart goes out to her, I know this is tough on her. She’s a single Mom, with a beautiful little girl already in the world, and another beautiful girl on the way. A wise soul once told me:  You can take memories with you to your grave, but you cannot take worldly material items.

 

 this goes out to all those Single Mom’s out there in the world: My heart goes out to all of YOU. Life can be rough around the edges, and sometimes it’s just plain shattered, but YOU never stop; those of YOU who are strong & courageous; those of YOU who stand up for yourselves, AND your children; YOU are doing what so many of us couldn’t possibly imagine having to do on our own. YOU are not only making a wonderful & full life for your children; YOU are setting the prime example for your children, as well for the rest of those around YOU. YOU are an example to us all. 

 

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: Some people’s lives are just naturally good to them, and they are treated well because in life because of it; But some aren’t always so lucky; that’s where JESUS CHRIST’s prime examples come into play. HIS prime examples teach us how to take control of our lives, N’ the lives of those around us N’ steer them in the right direction.  

 

Since we spoke earlier today, I have been trying to think of what I have around here, and what I have seen at yard sales n’ such that would be of some help to her. I remember that I saw a crib (several stage crib) at a yard sale last weekend, for $25, But I don’t think it will fit in her house, she says that she doesn’t have that much room. I wouldn’t mind getting it for her, because it comes with a mattress, the bed linens, the crib, a few musical hanging toys, and a few in crib toys for the older toddlers.  These are the things she really needs, THE BASICS. If any of you find it in your heart to make a donation of SANATISED Items, such as cups, baby clothes, toys, diapers, changing table, crib, or even a gift card in various amounts, etc, etc,.  I know she would more than grateful for the help. If you’d like to donate anything, please contact me via my Contact Us link on this blog, call or email, If you don’t already have the direct line. Your more than welcome to comment on this posting, since I an likely to get that, faster than much of anything at the moment, since I don’t have my Android anymore.

  Anyways, heres an update… : I got an email confirmation this morning, from the phone company that my phone was caught in the drama this past monday, in boston mass. (the bombings) and that they have confirmation that it was “”unrecivable”” so they are sending me a second {refurb} phone. Just when I thought those bombings had nothing to do with me, It seems I was so wrong. Just my luck.

  I am going to get off of here, I am hoping this post gets published, as I am seeing glitches with wordpress. Happy week and coming weekend! I hope to post captures of this saturdays Baby Shower, in the coming weeks! ~Ami

Zebulon, Georgia – An Abandoned School

nomadruss in words and photos

I’d come across a post about an abandoned school in Zebulon, Georgia and I wanted to see it for myself. I made some calls and found out that the school was locked, but after speaking with the mayor’s office I was told that the mayor would meet me and allow me to look around and make some photographs. The old school fell into disuse sometime during the 1980’s and it has sat unoccupied all this time.

Mayor Mike Beres met me at the school, this happened in mid-December this past year, and told me that the city of Zebulon is considering replacing the roof in order to keep the building functional. The city is willing to sell the building as well. If you were from Atlanta, for example, and wanted to invest in the building, you could possibly turn it into an arts center, or something of the like. It…

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