Side Hustles? Part Time Job? Help!

So here’s some honesty. We need to have more money coming in than what we currently have. Here’s some more honesty. We could probably cut a little bit more, maybe $100/month. Maybe not.

We’re not going hungry. We’re not in danger of losing our home. But we’re only getting by. Like many Americans, we’re living paycheck to paycheck. We have no reserves. No savings other than a retirement account we can’t really touch until we retire. (Which may be a good thing.) We’re in some moderate debt. We want out. But we don’t want to sacrifice life in the process.

Okay, yes, we could go completely bare bones, but I believe we do deserve a few things we enjoy. My husband enjoys sports, movies, documentaries so we pay for cable-one tier above basic. We both enjoy shooting so we do have a gun range membership. Those are two things I’m not willing to cut. But those two things together are less than $170/month.

I could probably drill down the groceries a little more. And, I’ll work on that.

This all leads me to my question. Side hustle or part time job? Should have called this the honesty post because here comes some more. I really, really don’t want either of us to get a part time job. We have limited time together as is. And frankly, our marriage is more important to me than money. But it may come to one of us getting a part time job for a very limited amount of time.

What about side hustles? I’ve read a little about some. Have any of you used any and did they help? I’ve been using one of the survey sites for over six months and still haven’t earned enough points to cash out at the lowest level which is only $10. So that doesn’t seem very effective. Has anyone used Inbox Dollars? Have any of you worked as a virtual assistant? I’m considering some very limited and lite pet sitting-maybe just dog walking and feeding.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Middle Age and Erik Erikson



Really, really big sigh….

This is so hard to write, but I need to vent. 

Middle Aged. Mid-life. According to middle aged means “being of the age intermediate between youth and old age, roughly between 45 and 65.” 

According to Erik Erikson I’m smack in the middle of the Generativity VS Stagnation stage of adulthood. There’s only one stage left after this one. Crap.

I’m 49.

I’m middle aged.


Double, triple, infinity blech.

Can we rename this stage of life, please? Something pleasant or fun sounding? I vote for Empty Nest Rocker Chick.

Two events this year brought home to me what I kind of already knew, but didn’t want to face-I am well past my physical peak. My body is in slow decline. Or maybe not so slow in some ways. 

Those two events? My annual eye exam in January and an acute visit to my primary care doctor to talk about my continued back pain. 

First event: January-my eye doctor told me I have cataracts forming in both eyes. I guess my chin suddenly hitting the ground and the tears welling in my eyes made her quickly add, “It’s no big deal. It happens to all of us.” Granted, they’re just beginning. Will probably be years before I have to have surgery to remove them. But…but…


Second event: Thursday-met with Dr. P about my back. I’ve shed over 60 pounds. Eat healthy most days. Have a lipid profile, blood pressure, and resting heart rate that, sold on the black market, would make me a wealthy woman. So what did Dr. P tell me that hurt so much. No. More. Running. 



He might as well have punched me in the gut. With a brick.

I think I’m dealing better with the cataracts than the no more running thing. Cataracts can be removed. But the no more running thing, man that hits me deep in the core of who I am. 


How do I deal with this? Haven’t figured that out yet, but I will own it like an Empty Nest Rocker Chick.

Middle Age and Erik Erikson can bite me.




Less Whiny Follow Up

After whining yesterday and most of today I decided to stop. Seriously, whining not only sounds stupid, it solves nothing. Instead I’m going to list a few things to work on so that a year from now I will not be stuck in the same whiny head space I’m in now. Fair? 

1) Get back to consistent Nose Work training at home. (Get back to Nose Work class this spring.)

2) Seriously work on Jade’s reactivity to other dogs so that next year we can foster.

3) Do an intro to agility class with Jack to see if we both really want to do it.

4) Seriously ramp up my chainmaille skills with an eye toward craft shows the second half of the year.

5) Figure out if my back will let me continue running or if I need to find another exercise. This one truly, truly, seriously sucks, but I have to face the reality that my back may never get better. And if this is as good as it’s going to get, the pounding of running is not a good thing. I do not want to deal with this, but I have to, and it really pisses me off. 

6) Start the process of starting a shelter Nose Work program at MACC if management there is agreeable.

So, first step of #1-clean out the garage so I have a reasonable space to train Nose Work. Will begin that tomorrow. 

Accountability? Yeah, need that. So, every Monday I’ll report in. 

And no whining allowed.

World’s Worst Dog Mom

Go ahead and engrave the trophy. I’m the world’s worst dog mom. At least I feel that way.

We left Jack and Jade out of their crates yesterday while we were at work. First time since we’ve had them they were uncrated while we were gone that long-about 10 hours. Successful experiment! Yay!

Then this morning happened. I failed them. Sigh…

Jade’s not only a finicky eater, she’s a food guarder. I know this.

Queue my failure.

She wouldn’t eat her breakfast so I gave her a large Milk Bone. Didn’t want her to go all day with an empty stomach.

She ate the Milk Bone.

Then I walked behind her, putting her between Jack and me with really tasty Milk Bone crumbs on the floor between her and Jack.

Jack, the canine vacuum, did what canine vacuums do. He scarfed up the crumbs like be hadn’t eaten in a week.

My immediate-read “stupid”-reaction was to jump toward them while yelling, “Jack! No!”

Jade’s immediate reaction-read “expected behavior from a resource guarding dog”-was to snap, growl, and pin Jack down.

So, yeah, back in the crates today. I’m just praying my careless behavior doesn’t undo the hard work of the past year.


Fit by Fifty Update-March 2013

I decided a few weeks ago not to run the Country Music Half Marathon. Don’t want that much pressure on myself right now. The health and fitness journey is going well, however. I’m down 54 pounds. I ran 4 miles today with an average pace of 10:45. 

Validation, Kindles, and Contests

In October 2009, totally on a whim, I entered a short story contest. The prize was  Kindle 2. I really wanted a Kindle and couldn’t justify the $260 price tag. (Wow, has the price come down since then-paid $199 for my Kindle Fire last year.) On the last day of the contest I sat down at the computer and wrote the story that ultimately won the contest. The contest hosting blog is now defunct, but I still have that Kindle. Even though I have a newer Kindle version now, I can’t bear to part with that old Kindle 2. It serves as some kind of validation of my writing.

The title of the contest was Cats Write Good and Stuff. To enter, I had to write a short story from the point of view of a cat writing the story.

Here’s my entry as I submitted it then. (Took all my willpower not to do a little editing…)

I don’t have much time, so pay attention. I can feel myself growing weaker by the hour, but I want to leave this warning for the rest of you.

The humans call me OC, short for Orange Cat. So little imagination.

So how did I come to be in this sorry state of affairs? Quite simply, I was hungry. The humans with whom I traded small rodents for Cat Chow seemed friendly enough. They squealed with gift I left on the mat outside their door. Out of reverence and honor, they refused to tough my gifts with their bare hands, but instead, they scooped each rodent onto a small, mobile altar and took it inside.

I had so hoped the might share an occasional mouse with me, but the poor dears must have been starved as they never even offered me a bite of rodent. But they did often leave small bowls of Cat Chow outside for me. While it was tasty enough, I longed for the taste of warm, fresh blood.

One day they did not collect the mouse I gifted. I sat in the tall grass watching for the alpha female to come outside, see the gift, squeal and, well, you understand. But she did not. Nor did the smaller, more active humans come outside.

The next day the mouse still lay outside the door. Thus followed the week. I soon realized that in my zeal to provide for my charges, I had woefully over hunted my territory. With winter coming on, I knew the mouse population would remain depleted until spring.

I decided to follow a large fellow, white with light brown patches, home to his humans’ abode. He was friendly enough, but not very bright. His humans also traded Cat Chow for rodents. To my delight, they didn’t question my presence. In short, they sucked me in.

So here I find myself on my last night replaying in my mind the path to this point in my life. Booger, my large, not so bright friend, sits with me, though he is not trapped in a small, single roomed prison as I am. No, he sits outside my cell trying to convince me I will survive this ordeal, this trip to the sadist known as “The Vet.” I know I will never be the same. Booger tells me The Vet will stick needles into me to inject stinging liquid into my bloodstream. He tells me too, The Vet will give me drugs to produce sleep so he can remove my…my…my cajones. Oh, I do not think I can survive the night just thinking of it. Oh, how will I live in such an unholy state?

But I will finish my sad tale now. Take this as a warning. Do not let the humans trick you. They look weak and innocent. But they are vile tricksters.

Run, my friends. Run far away.