Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Blogger is Born!

Hi - I'm Mary (of the Greene Wood!) -
(Today's my first try at blogging, so here goes: )
A bit about me: I'm a mom of 2, (proud!) grandmother of 4 (soon-to-be-5.) Except for a few months in California in '73 as an Army wife and a year in nearby Naperville, I've lived in Woodridge, IL since1959 when my parents moved here from Brookfield, IL. I remember telling Mom back then how much I wanted 'a garden of my own' - and I got one, once we'd moved in and put in soil, etc.!
I've been gardening ever since.

Tree Hugger
After my family, my gardens are the joys of my life. I love growing flowers, especially perennials such as purple coneflower, yarrow, black-eyed Susan, phlox, and other flowers and herbs beloved by butterflies, bees & hummingbirds. I planted 2 small patches in the front yard and a longer one in back with plants selected for my winged buddies in mind as well as my own enjoyment. As soon as I can, I'll put up photos of some of my colorful visitors.
I grow organically and compost, avoid chemicals and try to keep the safety of the birds and other critters in mind when I use any outdoor products. ('Roundup' and 'Cutter' are 'no-nos'!)
I'm thinking about going for Master Gardener status, but that costs more money & time than I have right now, but am keeping it in the forefront of my mind.
(There was a website on monarch butterflies that I found a few years ago; will look it up again as they offer a sign you can put up announcing that you offer a monarch-friendly yard/ environment.)

Health Nut
I'm pretty health-conscious, having worked for 5+ years at a local health food store, most of them as a Keyholder (1 step down from Asst. Mgr.) so I've had training and practical experience with herbs, nutritional advice/ supplements, etc. It bothers me when I see our government trying to block access and (over) regulate the use of herbs and supplements. I take no Rx drugs - I watch what I eat, have a mostly-plant-based diet with plenty of fresh veggies/ fruit (some of which I grow in my 2 tomato/pepper/green bean/squash patches out back), get exercise, take omega-3 fish oil ('Fisol' is one of the best I've tried - it doesn't leave a fishy aftertaste and it keeps arthritis under control beautifully!) and B vit's (for brain - need all the help I can get!), calcium (citrate is the best form) for the bones (I had a stress-fracture last year), and that's about it.
I want to stay strong and fit for as long as possible - who wants to go through life ill and in pain??

Artsy Fartsy
I love creating with gourds, fused glass and making jewelry; last year (2009) I had a booth at the Bristol (WI) Ren Faire - it  was fun but VERY expensive and I probably should have waited for things to improve economy-wise, as sales were slower on most of the weekends there than I'd experienced previously in other smaller shows. I've cut way back on shows overall due to the economy - and the fees in so many are ridiculous - often upwards of $500.  I've joined etsy.com - link here to *buy* my artwork!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/cbcraftwyrkes

**Warning! (Another) Shameless Promo Alert!!**
My son Craig makes some really awesome woodturned products - (sometimes I sold more of his stuff than mine at the Ren Fair.) 
 http://www.blacklanternwoodworks.com/ 
Want More Moola
Right now, my biggest concern is landing a job whose wages I can actually live on - not an easy feat when you're over 50! I need something beyond 'here & there' sales that I can count on. So far, not much - read last week that there's 5 applicants for every available job (assuming they're qualified!) so I guess that's a big part of the problem, besides age. My experience has been in retail sales, customer service, healthcare billing/collections, outbound giftware telesales, insurance claims processing and office management as well as fine crafts.
Pretty broad experience overall, but due to corporate cutbacks and the overall economic woes these days, will likely look to become an entrepeneur (again) - have toyed with the idea of becoming an independent giftware sales rep but gift buying is definitely down in much of the country, even in this more affluent area.  Will probably turn to the Internet (probably eBay, craigslist, etc.) for additional short-term income.
There's a good book I just read: "Selling Online 2.0" by Michael Miller. (www.molehillgroup.com) If, like me, you're thinking of getting some extra income from the I'net, it's worth reading, as it takes a lot of the guesswork out of navigating various online venues such as eBay, Amazon, craigslist, etc.
Speaking of craigslist, there's some good jobs to be had out there - lots of postings: try www.craigslist.org and see what's available. I've landed a couple of tide-me-over jobs and so have a couple of friends.

Whooo??
I also just joined an organization called 'OWL' - short for 'Older (and Midlife) Women's League.' If you're a woman "of a certain age" and interested in learning more about legislation, events and other topics relevant to us, then I suggest paying a visit to their website: http://www.owl-national.org/ - they're worth checking out.
Never underestimate the power of contacts and connections!
Please take the time to click on the link on their Home page to the info on Social Security www.socialsecuritymatters.org - the White Paper featured blasts the myths and overall b.s. about SS's longterm viability, the debate on raising the minimum retirement age, etc. right out of the water!
This is very important info - especially for women!

All for now, friends- I'll be back later (I have to use the library's computer for now, so can't get to a computer daily).
Have fun and many blessings!
Mary

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