Sunday, June 27, 2010

POI Update

Things are moving along ... I have two more sites in the works. One for a musician, and one for a Pilates instructor - who is going to pay me in private training sessions, HOW COOL IS THAT??? I knew having a "barter" option would work out well!

I am still nervous and anxious and worried and (what's another word that continues my stretch of using several words to say basically the same thing?) Well, you get the idea. But every time I start talking with a new client and planning a new site, I get so excited and my mind just races at the possibilities and I want to drop everything (I am out of milk AND dog food today but am I out shopping right now? Um, no.) and GET. TO. WORK.

AND - bonus! - the sun is shining today.

And this picture is in no way related to this post, but it's where I was yesterday. Nice.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just because you can ...

Last year sometime I read somewhere (don't you love my powers of recall?) "Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD."

And after viewing photos of myself in my favorite jeans this past weekend, I think it's time to retire them. Just because they do still button doesn't mean I should wear them. (Need I mention many of those photos were taken from the back? A perspective I rarely see?)

It's just that inside this nearly 50-year old body is the mind of a teen and I just plain forget that I can't get away with dressing like said teen.


On the other hand, in some areas of life I think just because you can do something is a perfect reason to go for it. I know I often talk myself out of things for the silliest of reasons, when, in actuality, I CAN do it and I should. This whole website design thing ... my new career - there's a million reasons NOT to go for it. I woke up the day after launching my site shocked - yes, shocked! - that I didn't have 4 emails in my inbox from new clients wanting to hire me right then and there. But I keep reminding myself ***I CAN*** do this, and therefore ***I WILL*** do this, and the clients will come.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Daze

In two days our family moves into a situation that we have never, ever been in before. And I am more than a bit nervous.

Yesterday was the last day of school. Monday is the first real day of summer vacation. Monday morning I head off to work. Leaving my two sons home.

Now, they are certainly old enough to be safe; they can feed themselves quite nicely, and they can be counted on to do any chores I list for them.

But. This is the first summer of their lives that I have worked out of the home. And I would be lying if I said I was sure everything would be just fine.

I know without a doubt that given their druthers, they would watch TV, play video games, and be online all day, every day. For obvious reasons, that is not going to be allowed. I am struggling with determining how far I go to make sure that doesn't happen. I want to trust that all I have to do is say so, but my fear is they will sneak ... if not the first week, surely by the third or fourth. But if I lock things up (literally in a closet, or by use of passwords and parental control options) am I saying much too blatantly "I don't trust you" ???


edited to add: Just after I hit "publish post" on this blog entry, I went to check email and I had one new one. BOOT CAMP FOR YOUR TEEN.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I feel like I have given birth. Well, OK, not physically. And yeah, OK, not really emotionally, either. But it is somewhat similar in that there were times when I thought this day would never come, and I find myself checking on it every few minutes to make sure it's still OK. And I really do think it's awfully good-looking and of course very smart.

I am launching my new company - or POI for short - and it's so exciting! I'm not giving up my day job (for now) as I don't know how long it will take to get clients - but I am completely confident I will get them, and that the business will grow just as quickly as I am prepared to handle it.

So what is it, briefly? The elevator speech is this:

Everyone needs a website these days.

And, honestly, most people need more than just a site - they need to manage their web presence, which is a website combined with e-communication, blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. And web developers have this reputation of being expensive and elusive - they don't return phone calls or emails, they make one update only to cause a need for another, and you never are sure if they are really listening. POI is none of that. We are fast, we are affordable, and we are GOOD.

I am offering friends & family discounts, and special start-up savings for clients who sign on in June or July. I also will barter - make me an offer I can't refuse!
Share my site with those you know. Contact me if you want to talk business. Or even if you just want to say "hi!"

And I'll keep you updated as my new baby grows.

Monday, June 07, 2010


I took an hour to watch TV and feel sorry for myself and dry my tears, came here and blogged briefly about my frustration, and then I tried again - AND I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tonight I cried - actual tears - in frustration. Why do I think I can do this web stuff? It's so maddening.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My name is Karen, and I'm addicted to .....

Cardboard boxes.

There, I said it.

When I was about 23, I bought my first house. It was the cutest little 2 bedroom, 1 bath Minneapolis bungalow. I was only the third owner. The second owner had added on in the back so it had a big kitchen and a wonderful back hall / pantry area. The attic was delightfully romantic, and the yard just big enough to make me feel like a land owner.

It also had a special room in the basement, filled with floor-to-ceiling shelves on all walls. No doubt it was originally meant to hold all the canned goods the owner was expected to put up each fall, but to me, it meant one thing and one thing only.

It was a box room.

An entire storage room where I could keep all my boxes. You just never know when you are going to need one and to not have the exact size and design needed - well, I can't even imagine what might happen in this world.
This addiction grew as I aged. Even with moves (you have to save boxes to move with, you know) and marriage to a non-believer, I still managed to keep my boxes. Oh, I learned to be very clever at hiding them and justifying them and convincing myself I had to have them.

Yesterday, I decided to clean my garage. I have attempted this before, most recently when I needed to get Hillman's van into the garage for the winter. Most of the stuff in the garage has been there - untouched - since I moved into this place 3 years ago following my divorce. But in amongst the unpacked boxes of kitchen utensils and memorabilia were boxes filled with other boxes. Shoe boxes. Boxes with hinged lids. Boxes with built-in handles. Shiny boxes. Sturdy boxes. Boxes ranging from small jewelry sizes to wardrobe boxes for moving.

Brian bravely ventured out into the garage with me, and in a moment of great strength, I quickly pulled about 30 empty boxes off the shelves and from their hiding places and pushed them towards him, begging him to act quickly, while I had the ability to allow it, and gave him a box cutter.

Then I took the dogs for a walk, as I just couldn't bear to watch, and I knew if I stayed in the house I would find reasons - compelling, logical, important reasons - to keep at least a dozen of those boxes. Brian was swift and true and when I got back, the boxes were condensed into small rectangles of flat cardboard.
Today, I have mixed feelings. I am proud of myself for taking the first step, but I am also mourning, and I am thinking of at least 17 ways I really could have USED those boxes which, alas, are no more.

I am also eternally grateful to have Brian in my life - a man who looks quizzically at me but doesn't comment, listens to my tortured theatrics, and then acts - without questioning or laughing at me, and finally hugs me and congratulates me when it's done.

And FWIW ... this truly is NOT exaggerated hyperbole. This is my life.

Friday, June 04, 2010


Either the gardening or the typing is slowly killing me. Or perhaps it's the combination of the two. For whatever reason, I have had more aches and pains in the last week than I can remember ever having before. Today my neck is so stiff and sore that I did go online to read about meningitis, just in case.

It's not.

So I am sitting here now with a hot compress around my neck, and Brian has been massaging it, and I am going to try a different pillow tonight.

And I am DONE gardening. I will water, but that's it for now.

The typing I can't be done with, but I think I will try to get a more ergonomic set-up. Don't know how I will do that, but I think I better try.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Going Geek

I have been learning how to increase my geek-dom lately (did I really admit that?!) And I am loving it. [This in addition to my learning to enjoy gardening. 2010 is apparently a year for big changes in my life.]

When I started working at the church I am at, I quickly discovered that my favorite part of my job is maintaining the website ( I had never done this before - and I soon found out that if I wasn't careful, I could easily spend all day every day adding this, tweaking that, editing the other thing ...

Suddenly I realized that I could be a webmaster - without being a programmer (shudder at the thought) and I could be good at it!
So, over the past several months, I have been slowly moving towards launching a new career as a web designer. Mostly it's been thinking big thoughts as I drive back and forth to work, but in the past 3 weeks it's become more concrete as I actually have been working on three sites. The first is very simple and I plan to go back to it and spice it up a bit ( The other two are not quite ready to showcase yet, but I am excited, and will share them with you as soon as they are ready.
My goal is to have about a half-dozen sites done by mid-July and then start soliciting paying customers in earnest. I plan to focus on small business and nonprofits, and entrepreneurs - people who want a quality web presence but don't want to spend a ton of money to do it. I have two defining characteristics of my business: I am affordable, and I am good! I can't believe what I have been learning some people pay to get a website up and running. I also can't believe how many sites I see with mistakes - typing errors, or navigational problems, or garish color or font, making sites unfriendly, disreputable, and not conducive to getting my business. My sites won't be like that. (Well, I suppose the color thing could be a matter of taste, but there's no accounting for some people's taste!)
So as you read this, if anyone or anything comes to mind who might need a website, I hope you will think of me - soon I will have my own site live to refer people to.
Loving the inner geek.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Glee? Not for me.

I have watched exactly two episodes of Glee.

I don't remember the name (or theme) of the first one I watched, but it was one where they all seemed to be eager to lose their virginity but turned out no one actually did it. I think. Then I just watched the Lady Gaga episode on Hulu, because I do like me some Gaga. And FWIW, apparently someone is pregnant now so even if they didn't do it on that first show I watched, they must have done it subsequently.

Now, I know there are a lot of Glee-fanatics out there who adore this show. But I have to say, I'm not feeling it.

During the first episode I watched, I was, to be honest, shocked. I had thought that this show, about a high school glee club, would be something I could watch with my kids. But as that episode played I was very relieved that my kids had shown on interest in it at all, and weren't anywhere near me. I found it objectionable - I am fine with sexuality in movies or books or even late night cable TV shows. But prime time network high school shows? This was blatant. This was in your face. And it really bothered me.

I didn't expect to ever watch it again, but the lure of Gaga brought me back - and while I did enjoy listening to their renditions of Gaga songs (and the costumes were crazy fun) - I was once again not happy with the plot line.
One of the main characters is gay, and he has a crush on another of the main characters, who is not gay. At the same time, their parents (gay's dad and non-gay's mom, both single, no idea if they are divorced, widowed, never married, whatever - not, I suppose, that it matters) start dating and fall in love and decide to move in together. They make this decision without telling the non-gay son, and then spring it on him - he is moving into this other house and has to share a bedroom with the gay son who has a crush on him. He is uncomfortable both with the fact that he had no say in any of this (or warning about it), and with the details of this living arrangement. Eventually he reacts in anger and uses the "f" word (fag, not the 4-letter one) and the Dad kicks him out for gay-bashing.

And here is where I took objection.

Forcing your teenager to share a bedroom with someone who has a romantic crush on him is icky - yet no one seemed to notice or care about that. (I'd use their names instead of gay and non-gay but I really have no clue what their names are.)

As far as I can tell, non-gay has never exhibited any signs that he dislikes gay for being gay, or that he is uncomfortable with anyone's sexuality. Heck, within the glee club there is a young woman with two dads, and the afore-mentioned pregnant one - and the father of her baby is also in the glee club - so lots of sexuality-based character development here, and non-gay never blinks (or perhaps he does but since I have only watched two episodes I am missing that about him? I doubt it, but am always open to the possibility.)

But the issue today is that he really doesn't want to get dressed or undressed in front of gay, and who can blame him? I half expected gay to speak up and say "it's my fault, I made him feel uncomfortable" but that didn't happen. No, non-gay apparently has to be happy about sharing a bedroom in order to prove his open-mindedness. His discomfort is ignored, and he is shown as a teen with prejudice, and from the editing it seems the audience is supposed to agree with the dad. Then, at the end of the show, he apologetically expresses remorse and claims to have grown in his understanding of himself, and of gay's "gayness" and now all is right with the world - all done while he wears a Gaga-styled red ball gown in the boy's bathroom while staring down two football players.

Seriously? Could there be any more stereotypes in one scene?

I gave it my best, I watched two episodes but forget it. I found this show to first be offensive, and then to just be stupid. Defenders? Give me your best.