Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shake Yo' Money Maker

With a 5 month old, I've been making it my goal to find a way to earn a living (or at least hold off on completely depleting our savings) that allows me to have a flexible schedule and prevents us from shelling out money we don't have on childcare.

Having complete faith that the hubs will find work before the funds run dry, I am focusing on things I can do to supplement his imagined salary.

In line with this thinking, I've begun to compile things I enjoy doing and things I do well (or at least well enough to get paid).

Clean: Alright, former roomies and family members. Get the jokes out now. I'm fully aware of the messes you had to live with care of me. Despite that fact, I am actually good at cleaning when I want to be. You can't be my mother's daughter and not have that skill. And people will pay you to clean for them. So hey, why not me?

I have no qualms about being someone's maid. At one time I cleaned an office every week for extra cash. Cleaning when someone is paying you is actually fun in a way. Instant gratification. You clean something dirty and the results are there immediately. Time invested pays off right then and there.

Write: I love writing. Obviously. So, while I will continue to do this blog for the fun of it, I have already begun to explore writing options that will get me paid. The first in a series of children's books is in the works, I'm freelancing for a foodie magazine in the spring, and exploring other opportunities.

Photography: I'm no professional. But I'll be honest, I've seen people who advertise their skills in this department who are no better. And they are getting paid. So, I'll be putting a little portfolio of work together - wedding, engagement, editorial, baby - and working on taking more photos to add to it. (Volunteers for some photo shoots? :) )

Some Mexico shots that I'm considering for the portfolio:

Teach: Or more specifically, tutor. I enjoyed teaching when I worked as the Tech Ed teacher at a private school. I also enjoyed it when I was teaching adults as a Software Specialist. So, the most flexible teaching option, with the greatest potential for regular income would be tutoring.

Time to brush up on that Calculus. (Kidding. It's unlikely I remember anything of use to any student on that subject. I would probably set the poor kid backwards. I do remember some Latin, though...)

This is not to say that I have no plans on returning to the world of spreadsheets and PowerPoint. I'd do those just as willingly so long as I can do them from my home. But I've learned its good to have lots of options.

Currently Listening to: Jonas crying because I won't let him have my laptop. (I'm such a mean mommy)

Back in the saddle...

Long before moving from my old blog ( to this one, I often blogged about fitness. Or at least, my attempts at being fitter.

Once I became prego, that topic somehow took a back seat (can't imagine why) and I while I have exercised in some form some of the time since then, it hasn't been a priority or a regular part of my routine.

Since being unemployed does afford me more time than I once had, I decided that today I would return to the gym.

Yes, I have a gym membership. I have had a membership to this gym for about 2 years. I have only set foot in it once before today. That still qualifies today as a "return", doesn't it?

The gym is about a 2 minute drive from my house, so I set out today to begin a new routine of REGULARLY working out. Not working and being that close to workout equipment, which I am already paying for and have been for an embarassingly long time, leaves me very little in the way of excuses not to. So I threw on some baggy clothes, Yankees cap, grabbed the iPhone and headed out.

Working out in the middle of the day is very different from when I've worked out in the past. Usually I went before normal working hours or after - both times tend to have a crowd that looks like they belong at the gym. They look like they know what they are doing, in outfits designed specifically for the purpose of working out, and bodies to compliment aforementioned outfits.

I was always a bit out of place in those crowds.

Today I felt a bit out of place in a different way. I would estimate the median age in the gym today to be 50. A couple of scrawny teenagers kept the median shy of collecting social security. This made for some very unique choices in the area of exercise garb, so unique that I was tempted to whip out the phone and take a photo. But then I thought, who am I to make fun? After all, in a crowded room I don't exactly turn around when someone yells "Hey, Slim!"

So, while I may not fit in with my midday crowd, at least I feel that no one there will be judging me. I can sweat it out to Jerry Springer* in relative peace (today's episode: "Sex, Chicken, Candy!" I kid you not.)

We'll see how long I last this time around.

Listening to: Aladdin on TV
Current Mood: productive

*I should clarify that while Jerry Springer was on, I didn't actually choose to listen to him while I worked out. Actually, Sondheim seemed to be in heavy rotation in my iTunes, which doesn't exactly make me sound any better in this clarification. Ah, well. At least it's honest.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Luxury

So, the beginnings of unemployment have been...employed. Sort of.

After being let go from my former job, I got a call to do a little contract work for my old employers, and since I literally can't afford bitterness about the loss of income and benefits, I've been busy this past week with some work.

That being said, I haven't been AS busy as I was when working full time, so I have enjoyed long naps in the afternoon with Jonas, playing in the tub in the middle of the day with him, and just general good times with my very active (and surprisingly mobile) 5 month old.

Having the opportunity to enjoy this time and see how quickly he is learning, I'm hoping that time will allow me to be particular about the employment I choose - something part time and from home would be ideal. I've never been much for having the latest or fanciest of most things. We have been fortunate in the past to have made enough to pay the bills and then some. But we have also been in the "eat rice and beans" every night and clean offices after hours boat as well. And we have been equally happy.

So, while there may be opportunities for me to take jobs that will definitely pay plenty, I am holding out as long as I can to find something will pay just enough. Enough that I can spend my time on the more important things in life.

If you are a lurker on this blog, and have ideas/opportunities you'd like to share, let me know. I'm pretty talented (and humble apparently). I'm not looking to be rich. Not financially anyway.

"You know you want to hang with me. I'll chew on your laptop."

Speaking of more important things, if J continues to remain jobless, he is considering taking a little time to go to Haiti and help with the relief efforts there. I am almost hoping he stays unemployed a little longer just so he can find a way to go. We shall see.

And in other "losing your job can be a good thing" news, I found out a friend has some contacts in publishing. So guess who is going to use this spare time to finally get to work on some writing?

Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. (Voltaire. Boo-yah.)

Currently Listening to: The 11 o clock news, and Jonas trying to grab the laptop
Current Mood: Still surprisingly optimistic

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


With the news of my sudden unemployment (as of December 29th, I am jobless) I have been avoiding blogging. Maybe I was taking time to recover from the shock. Maybe I was using the extra brain power to figure out how to pay bills when no one in the house is employed.

Whatever the reason, I'm back. Not to work. But to blogging. Not working a 40+ hr a week job does free up the time a bit, so I may as well take advantage of the situation while I can.

So what to blog about? Being jobless? Of course not. That's not very exciting. Or maybe it is. Kind of like almost falling off a cliff is exciting.

I should probably be more stressed about all of this than I am. But somehow, I'm very at peace with it (well, at least 98% of the time). We have survived the last 5 months of the hubs unemployment, and I have confidence that he will find something before the funds run dry.

And being jobless does have its advantages. Spending time with Jonas is a big one. Being able to nap with him in the middle of the day is definitely a highlight. And it may give me the opportunity to do other things I have always wanted to, but could never find the time (more on that in the future).

So, no bitter ranting about being let go. It doesn't benefit anyone or change the situation. Onward.


The weather here has been very cold for Florida - we are talking sub-freezing temperatures. Seriously. People's pipes have burst. (The pipes in their houses...Floridians don't suddenly combust when it dips below 32 degrees, although, you might think that from all the complaining they do...) I have taken advantage of this by staying inside, cuddling with the kid, drinking warm deliciousness, and most recently, making an Irish Stew.

At the request of some of my Facebook friends (hello! and welcome to the blog...) I am describing the creation of this stew here.

Like many of my cooking efforts, this was not a traditional recipe, so as always, purists beware.

I had some lamb in the freezer, and being on a budget, I wasn't going to shop for any ingredients. I would have to make the stew from things already in the house. So this would be a somewhat Ghetto Irish Stew. Which seems appropriate. The Irish always struck me as scrappy, resourceful types.

I started out with coating the lamb in flour, S&P and browning it in a little olive oil. Once the pieces had some nice color, I removed them from the pot, and threw in some chopped up onion - red and yellow, as that is what was available - celery, carrots, a couple of garlic cloves and several sprigs of thyme.

I increased the heat and waited for the onions to get a nice shine to them (I did not cook them to the point that they were translucent.) Then, I deglazed the pot with a cup or so of some cheap chardonnay I knew we had no plans of drinking, as well as a generous pour of cream sherry. After a few minutes of letting the wine/sherry reduce slightly, I added about 8 cups of chicken stock, let it come up to a slight boil, then turned the temp all the way down to the lowest setting and added the lamb pieces back in.

After an hour, I dumped about 4 chopped potatoes into the mix. I cut them in large pieces - a little more than a mouthful, so they could stand up to a long, slow cook without turning to mush.

About 2.5 hours later, I finished it off with a little salt and pepper, and a final swish of sherry.

The end result was delish. The broth has the slightest sweetness to it that complimented the strong, gamey flavor of the lamb. The lamb itself fell apart when you bit into it and the potatoes were perfectly cooked.

Unfortunately, no pictures this post as I wasn't thinking about posting when I made this stew. I should probably start keeping the camera in the kitchen from now on...

Moving forward, I may start posting more budget friendly recipes, as we are pulling back on our grocery budget. So any suggestions, please fire away!

Listening to: Dudley and Jonas breathing. They are both napping next to me.
Current Mood: Optimistic