Monday, November 21, 2011

Selling Our Lives Online

So, the hubby and I are testing the waters of online sales.  I know the economy is down and people aren't buying as much in general, so now may not be the best time to start this, but that's why we're starting off easy at the moment.  For now, we've collected a bunch of stuff that our friends and family members want to get rid of and we're selling the items for them while taking only a commission of the sales.

I'm curious though, if any of you out there have done the same thing and what kind of luck you've had with it.  We've sort of spread our inventory out across several sites, trying them out to see what's the best fit for the items we have.  We've got some things for sale on Amazon, some on eBay, some on Craigslist, and soon, I'm going to try out Etsy.  What have you had the best luck with?  Who takes the smallest percentage?  So far, I like the way Amazon takes their percentage right off the top, then pays you, as opposed to the way eBay bills you for their percentage afterward.  But, I like the way you get paid right away with eBay as opposed to waiting for payment from Amazon every pay period like with a regular job.  I'm not impressed with either of their limitations on the number of items you can sell when starting off, though I suppose 40 items on Amazon is much better than eBay's 10 items a month.  I understand their reason for doing it, but I still don't like it.

So, what are your experiences?  What's your advice?  I'd love to hear from you.

In the meantime, if you'd like to check out what little we currently have for sale on Amazon, go ahead and click here.  And for eBay, click here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Overseas Mailing Annoyances

This is just a quick note to ponder the cost of mailing things overseas.  Why, oh why, does it cost SO much?  It's really unbelievable when I sometimes want to send a small trinket of very little value, but which may weigh a couple of pounds.  It usually ends up costing more in postage than the item is worth!  And why?  What exactly am I paying for when I send an item to Britain?  Is the Queen herself delivering the package?  Why is it so expensive?!

Even more annoying than the cost (Um... well at least equally as annoying as the cost) is the fact that even if I'm sending a bar of chocolate, I have to fill out a declaration form.  And I have to say exactly what's in it, even if it's a gift!  Well, it sure takes the fun out of sending a Christmas present when the person knows what it is before they even open it!  Not much of a point in even wrapping it, I guess.  Grrr.  Oh well, guess that's what I get for knowing people in Britain.  And I thought we were supposed to be allies!

Okay, I'm done.  This rant has been brought to you by the United States Postal Service and the Royal Mail.  That'll be $385.33, please.  Oh, and you'll have to fill out a Custom's Form.  Thanks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celtic Festival

Several weekends ago now, my husband and I took my 81-year-old grandmother to the Celtic Festival at Sherwood Forest.  Yes, you read that sentence correctly. 

Copyright SherwoodForestFaire by Brian O'Leary
The festival was actually at the end of September, so it was quite a while ago now, but better late than never, in this case.  I really wanted to write a quick note about it because it was a blast.  Now, let me just say that I've always held the silly belief that these things (Renaissance Faires included) were for freaks and geeks and have generally steered clear of them, but that weekend we wanted something different to do, so we decided to have a go.  And guess what?  As it turns out, I myself am a big freak and a great big geek (big surprise) and for that reason I had a a great time at this festival.

The celtic was a wonderful time for children of all ages, set in a "magical" forest, outside Austin, quite literally in the middle of nowhere.  We seemed to be driving forever to get there.  But, as I would expect is the case in the real Sherwood Forest (Is there a real Sherwood Forest?), the setting, the height of the trees and the ground cover, were quite authentic.  (Very Robin Hood and his Merry Men indeed.)  In fact, all the shops and costumes were very well done as well.  I'd venture to say, it was almost as good as Disneyland!  The only thing that was quite different from anywhere in Britain I've ever been was the stifling Texas heat!  (Maybe November or February next time instead?)

Anyway, I'm sure you all know what you can expect from similar festivals: the music, the food, the beer, dancing, costumes, period games and entertainment, etc.  If you've never been to one of these things, I really recommend it.  It's the stepping-back-in-time-kind-of-fun that almost makes the overpriced food and beverage stalls worth it!  ;-)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wall Street Protests

I've often told myself I don't want to get into anything too heavy, or especially, I guess, political, here, but I think the protests on Wall Street definitely deserve being talked about.  Especially since they've now been going on for a while.  And even where I live.

Courtesy of

I want to start out by saying I do not agree with Herman Cain's recent statements on the Piers Morgan Show that these protestors are spoiled and that if they really want a job, they'd be out looking instead of wasting time protesting.  These people have been looking for jobs.  These are the people who are fed up with merely looking for a job.  Are they supposed to look indefinitely?  What if they never find one?  There comes a point when people have to make a stand and anyone who says doing so is a waste of time simply does not get it.

I just read on a facebook profile, "Get a job" is the new, "Let them eat cake" and it's so true.  It's easy for someone with a job to throw those three words around, but there are plenty of people out of work today with not only an education, but experience and tenacity and still they cannot find work.  The people protesting are standing up for not only themselves, but also for the people who are out there pounding the pavement day after day.  Someone has got to do something and I appreciate the efforts of the protestors.

That being said, while sifting through OWS videos on YouTube, you do see their commercial, which seems a step in the right direction by getting the word out there, etc.:

But, you also find countless videos of "police brutality" and general mayhem at these protests and it leads me to wonder if this movement has moved beyond being useful.  I recently read a good article on The Atlantic about the current image problem of the Occupy movement and I have to say, I agree.  While part of me definitely has romantic ideas about the anti-war movement of the 1960s, and I often consider myself a sort of nouveau hippie, I definitely think that when a movement begins to be associated with arrests and violence and the spread of disease, it begins to lose credibility; especially in the eyes of your average middle-Americans.  Rather than aligning themselves with the generally unpopular anti-war protests of the '60s, OWS should take a page from the Civil Rights Movement, of the '50s, which is generally respected and viewed as a success,

I say, get this movement back on track.  It started with a definite, undeniable truth and could potentially do a lot of good, but only if it cleans up its act, re-focuses, and moves forward.  The biggest corporations in this country own the government.  Every election cycle we, as US citizens, are denied candidates who may really have the knowledge and ability to actually bring about change.  That is because big business funds these political candidacies.  They give donations towards all the ads, television spots, bumper-stickers and paraphernalia, etc. you see every election year.  This results in the only candidates we as Americans are really aware of, are the ones big corporations are allowing us to be aware of.  The real need here is to get Washington out of the hands of big business and back into the hands of the American people.  But that's just my opinion.  Who knows?  If OWS can get back on track, maybe Occupy Washington will be next?  One could only hope...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Let's Go Back... WAY Back: A Series - Part 59 - End Of Series

Blog Originally Published: February 18, 2008 - 2:11 PM

Because You’re Bored (& Maybe b/c you Agree Girl Scouts are the Devil) You’ll Read This

Okay, ladies and genitals (Thanks, John),
I've just returned from the lake (Yes, I'm gonna bore you with more stories/observations/dribble from the lake. You know me by now. Get over it.) and I've come to some conclusions about a few things.

A.) Seinfeld had it SO right about people that don't swing their arms when they run or walk! What is up with that? How the hell is it even possible? Now, me... well, I'm more like Phoebe when I'm down at the lake.


2.) People that jerk their dogs by yanking on the leash should be shot. I know it's necessary sometimes, like when they're approached by another dog who seems ready to 'throw down,' but if you MUST yank your dog to get it to behave, please, PLEASE put it in a harness rather than a collar. I just feel so bad when I see a dog getting pulled back by the throat and their eyes look like they're gonna bulge out of their head! I'll never do that to my dog when I get one. (Yes, I said WHEN. It's gonna happen. Oh, don't look doubtful. It will. And you know what? YOU'RE gonna get it for me. Yes you are. YES. You're getting sleepy... you suddenly have the urge to get Erica a dog... preferably one that's small... and doesn't lick... or bark... When I snap my fingers you'll wake back up. *Snap* So... feel like dog shopping today? No? But you DO feel like getting some Vietnamese food? Damn. Guess my power to hypnotize is a little rusty. Ah well... let's go eat some dog. KIDDING! Geez. Don't be so sensitive. Imsonotkidding.)

37.) Sometimes when I see a homeless person (I can probably never run for president after saying this... ah, who am I kidding? If Hillary Clinton can... Yes, I'm an Obama fan, but that's beside the point.) I think, maybe it wouldn't be SO bad. Yes, you wouldn't have a roof over your head in awful weather. Yes, you wouldn't have someone to care for you when you get ill. Yes, you'd always have to worry about where your next meal is coming from... okay... where was I going with this? lol! Oh yes! BUT, say you DIDN'T have to worry about those things. No one to report to. You do what you want. Go where you want. Constantly experience new places and things. In a sense it'd be the ultimate form of living. No pampering at all. But you'd be free. free as a bird, some might say...

LASTLY) Girls Scouts are evil little demon bitches. I've just worked out, right... in my little work-out clothes, carrying my little smoothie, feeling good... and I stop at Blockbuster to return a movie (Across the Universe) and I hear in a tiny voice, "Would you like to buy some girl scout cookies? It's the last week, you know?" Now, in my head I'm thinking, "Bitch, please. I'm 572 pounds. Do I look like I NEED Girl Scout cookies?" But out of my mouth comes, "No, thank you. Maybe next time." That little demon is lucky I didn't bitch slap her. I don't care if her mom was there or not. I would have knocked her upside the head too. They got off easy... THIS TIME!

MUDDY WATERS IS REALLY OWNING ME RIGHT NOW. LOVE HIM. LOVE HIM. (It's not a statement. It's an order.)