Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are You Right Brained or Left Brained? Find Out!

Being a creative type, I always assumed I was right brain dominant.  But I noticed that my approach in certain things took a decidedly left brain turn.  Of course, then I started wondering if I have any real right brain tendencies at all and maybe I'm just fooling myself that I am creative.  Especially in those times when motivation is at a low point.

So, I decided to take this test and find out.  Sure enough, I am 41% left brained, and 59% right brained.  The test also gave a rundown on each of the sections and it was clear to me that it was pretty accurate in how I approach the creative process.

If you're curious, try the test, it doesn't take but a few minutes and if you are anything like me, it gives you an insight as to how you use the sides of your brain in your approach to your own creative process.

Brutus the Wonder Dog

 I guess I'm feeling a little down today.  Hubby is at the cabin, Kayle went to a photo shoot all day, came home long enough to wash the theatrical makeup off and change clothes and she was off with Nick for the night.  I couild have gone to camp with Bruce, he keeps asking me to go, but I guess I just haven't reached a point where I'm comfortable leaving home for more than a quick run to the neighborhood grocery store...and that's only if I have no other choice,

Anyway, I just started thinking about my beloved dog Brutus.  Since Bruce and I were too old to have our own children, he with 2, me with 3, we talked about getting a dog.  One day we got a call from his cousin who lives in the next town over telling us that her German Shepherd Hallie had puppies.  11 of them
She has papers and they always thought they might breed her down the line, but it seems that somebody else got to her first- a lab/shar pei cross that belonged to a neighbor.  Well too late to do anything about it, she offered us a puppy so we packed the kids in the car and drove over.  We picked out a little square headed pup with shepherd markings and way too much skin.  His cousin told us he was found outside (in January) and they had thought he was dead, but put him under the heat lamps and he seemed to come around.    Friends of ours Hoyt and Maryann also picked a puppy for their daughter Megan, and they named her Penny.  As the dogs grew older they grew as different in looks as if they weren't even from the same littler.  Brutus picked up the coloring of the shepherd, and the head and skin of a sharpei.  Penny looked exactly like a black lab.

Brutus was always a very easy going dog, didn't bark, didn't mind little kids mauling him and went everywhere with us.  On the sailboat on our excursions to Port Dahlousie and our weekends at our camp in the Adirondack mountains.  But when we were home, he could always be found lying at my feet.  No matter where I was, on the computer, in the living room, in bed, that dog was always right there beside me.

Brutus was my heart, and I miss him so much.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of him or look at his 'baby book' and remember his puppy days and the joy he brought to our family.
This is the last picture we have of him.  Kayle would often walk him over to the state park so he could run on the beach and play in the water.

Rest in Peace My Angel, I'll see you again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Windy's Designs Cabin in the Woods

Friends of ours, Bob and Pauline have a lovely spot in the Southern Tier nestled in a small valley where they have 4 cabins.  They've been camping in one of them for years now, and offered the large 'kitchen cabin' for my husband's use since he likes to go deer hunting in the southern tier,  The deal was we clean it and fix it u p and it's ours to use for as long as we want.  2 years ago Pauline was treated for breast cancer, and because at that time she didn't know how long she would be around, she made arrangements to pay it off so that it would always be a place for Bob and Bruce to go.

It's an open L shaped floor plan with a huge fireplace at one end, a huge round handmade table with an equally huge lazy susan in the center of it.  It does have an indoor bathroom, a kitchen with hot and cold running water.  Bruce sleeps on a vintage day bed and I sleep on a convertable couch that clicks down into a bed.  Initially, all we had for additional heat was an old iron cookstove and we managed simple meals on it, but because we have electricity, we have coffee maker, toaster, crock pots and bought a 2 burner hot plate.

This first picture is in the corner beside the back door, my husband's latest project.  We once had a huge antiquated old fridge there and it was removed and we placed a small apartment sized propane stove there.  He built a shelf and on that you can see the small apartment sized fridge.  behind that wall is the shower.

This is a picture of the shower.  that back room used to be full of wood scraps and tools and there was no place to wash up other than the bathroom sink.  Sure makes it nice!

This is the bathroom, it's directly across from the shower area.

This is the kitchen, directly across from the new stove and fridge.  To the left is the shower and bathroom.

If you follow the counter around, you see the rest of the kitchen, and beyond the dining area, and the antique iron cookstove.

Here you can see the huge round table with the lazy susan in the middle.  The photo was really dark, so I lightened it up a bit, you can see the detail much better if you click on the picture to enlarge it.  Notice the woods outside the window!

Here is the antique daybed my husband sleeps on which doubles as seating during the day since there really is no 'bedrooms' to speak of.

across from the daybed is my click clack couch that turns into a bed.  Notice the big stone fireplace to the right, we'll get to that in a minute.

Here is the long view.  It really is quite spacious, even if it lacks a bit of privacy.

Here is the fireplace.  It's easily 10 feet to the top, I know my eye level is lower than the mantle.  We used to have a free standing wood stove on the hearth with the pipe going up the chimney, but we lost so much warm air to that huge gaping maw.   Eventually, we found an excellent used fireplace insert, and it had made a world of difference.  One thing that helped distribute the heat a little better was the installation of ceiling fans.  My husband put one up above the fireplace, one as close to the center of the cabin as possible and one in the kitchen.

Here is the outside view of our cabin.  Even though we are up on a hill, you can still see in the background the hills behnd us.

If you back further down the hill you see part of Bob and Pauline's cabin to the left.  Oh, and you can see we also have satellite dish......

And here is the guest cabin.  It looks teeny, but it's actually not a bad size.  It's heated by a propane wall heater and get's quite cozy.  This was my daughter's cabin for a couple of years, but with work, school and the boyfriend, she just doesn't have the time to come down, so Pauline decided to fix it up so that anyone of us could have visitors down.  She put an antique sleigh bed in there and my husband says it looks wonderful.  I wish he'd have gotten a picture of it, because I haven't seen it since it was changed.

There is a 4th cabin, up on the hill beyond ours.  It's not been used and is rather hard to access.  It sits overlooking the valley and it appears the ground will eventually wear away.  We've jacked it up but Pauline would like to find a way to move it and eventually fix it up as well so it could be used.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my tour of our little cabin in the woods!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Etsy Faith or Etsy Fail?

Among the changes from the old rules to the updated ones, is the rule about canceling transactions.  In the past you could (as a seller) cancel any transaction for any reason and get your listing fees and final value fees back.  Initially this process was quite slow, but later on it became automated and the refunds were nearly instantaneous.  Which leads me to believe that even though the old rules said you weren't supposed to cancel a completed transaction (and I wish I could find the old wording to back this up), it was never actually clarified what a completed transaction was.  Back when I was still posting in the forums this question came up fairly often and we were always referred back to the rules.  I even contacted an admin for clarification because I always believed that a 'completed' transaction was one where money changed hands and the customer had their product, and as such, canceling a transaction for a return shouldn't be allowed.  Even contacting an admin didn't clarify it for me, as I was referred to the wording in the rules.  I believe I even read a time or two that an admin said that it was allowed.  My thinking now is that because they hadn't really clarified it they couldn't deny them.

For years sellers have begged Etsy to clarify their rules, spell things out more clearly, draw a line in the sand so we know the boundary and now that they have, people are not liking the clarifications.  Big surprise.  How many times have I said 'be careful what you wish for'?
People are claiming that Etsy changed the rules on them because 'they used to do it'.  Well folks, 'they used to do it' because they hadn't really clarified what a completed transaction was in the first place and because they never had a process to separate what is allowed from what is not allowed.  I'm suspecting the latter is still true, and by and large they are still relying on member honesty not to file a cancellation based on a return, but they have finally clarified what a completed transaction is.

I know I initially I supported those opposed to this change, and I still do to a degree.   I find, upon reflection, that it isn't so much to do with the actual practice of not allowing cancellation of transactions for refunds, but rather the whole process itself.  The payment process, the feedback process and the refunding process, each of these programs were based on honesty of the user, just like the tagging system, but as everyone knows, not everyone is honest.  While the faith in humankind is very endearing (to a point)it isn't a sound business practice to rely upon it.  Safeguards have to be in place,  and programs and features need to look beyond the functionality aspect.  Yes, we can leave feedback, but so can someone who never paid for an item.  There is definitely a flaw in the fundamental workings of this system.

Removing the emotional response for the moment, I have to ask are returns really that numerous to any one shop?  Is it really going to affect your bottom line?  Does any shop really have so many returns that this is a major issue for you?  Because if you answer yes, then in my opinion, it's time to evaluate yourself and what you sell.  Returns are a part of the business of selling.  It is part of the overhead you should be figuring out, in addition to replacements for lost or damaged items, as well as other costs of doing business.

The argument that people who sell higher priced items are taking a bigger hit is true.  But, those final value fees are acceptable if the item sells and is kept right?  Successful sellers will always pay a higher bill than the less successful ones.  They don't seem to mind the amount until it comes to a return.  Sellers are loathe to absorb that loss, but then, so is Etsy.  Sellers can build that kind of loss into their overhead, Etsy, not so much.  Unless they raise fees.  And on that note, a few people have expressed that they wouldn't mind if Etsy raised their fees from .20 to .25 to cover that loss.  What makes you think it would only be a nickel increase?  Last time they increased fees the price doubled.  Would you be willing to pay .40 a listing?  What about a flat monthly fee of $20 with free listings and no final value fees?  After all, they have the traffic that other sites don't to justify charging this much.  It's foolish to speculate that the increase will fall within the range you find acceptable.  Now, successful sellers probably wouldn't blink at the flat fee, but sellers like myself, and hobbiests and new sellers would probably find this unacceptable and risky.  I kind of like the 'pay as you go' system on Etsy.

For the record, it wasn't the changes in the rules that prompted my post, but the responses in the forums.  It's one thing to express your displeasure and call for change, I think everyone has that right whether you agree or not.  But the treatment and attitude by certain members toward other members is disgraceful and embarrassing.  You can use the excuse of frustration all you like, been there, done that.  I've been muted from the forums longer than many of the current complainers have been selling.  And I've said my share of snide and disrespectful things.  I'm certainly no angel.  But being a forced observer for so long has changed my perspective on a lot of things.  You can liken it to someone who who quit getting falling down drunk on weekends with friends.  You suddenly see that behavior in a different light, although when you were doing it yourself it didn't seem so bad.  You realize that your friends look rather foolish and become annoying and sometimes they're downright assholes.  And they don't care.

Is Etsy perfect?  Hell no.  Do they make mistakes?  Hell yes.  Are there areas that need improvement?  Absolutely.  too many to list.  Should people continue to speak out if they don't like something?  Of course!

I've come to the conclusion that Etsy is damned if they do, and damned if they don't.  No matter what, someone will always be complaining.

For the most part, I have no problem with the new dos and don'ts.  Yeah, a few things got caught in the net, so to speak, that are questionable, but overall I think they did what they could to clarify things as they have been asked to do over and over and over again.  It's just unfortunate that bits and parts have been magnified into huge issues when the overall intent is to help sellers and buyers.  It just sucks that what you want that clarification to be and how Etsy clarifies it might not match.

Well, I feel better having gotten this off my chest.