Thursday, May 28, 2009


Last month I noticed a roundtail ground squirrel running around my property. She had taken over a den that had been abandoned by another squirrel, and was running about madly collecting leaves and food. She very small and thin, so I guessed her to be a juvenile setting up house. I was thrilled to see her, as roundtails are a bit of a rarity.

On the evening of Memorial Day, I was surprised to see two tiny heads poking out of the den. Babies! The next day came two more, and two more after that. A litter of six, which is a lot, especially for such a tiny mom.

In the last few days I’ve snapped hundreds of photos. Ahhhh . . . the beauty of digital cameras, to have the ability to click away endlessly without the worry of running out of film.

Hubby says this guy looks like a Power Ranger. Can't wait to put him on some Cafe Press items. What personality!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Last year I bought a vinyl plotter, and thought I would try my hand at a decal business. After buying a decal myself on eBay, I noticed that most decal sellers were PowerSellers, with an extremely high volume of sales. After all, decals are a pretty recession-proof product. People LOVE to put stickers on their cars . . . they're inexpensive and fun.

Well, it did take off, in a way that I never expected. I sold thousands (though only half left feedback), made PowerSeller, and after eBay took their commission and pint of blood, even had some mad money leftover. But it was hard work, and long hours, and was taking me away from the things I REALLY wanted to do, like paint.

Last month I started feeling pretty crappy, and my doctor told me I was on stress overload. There were other issues at play, but eBay was one of the biggest. I was exhausted. Not physically exhausted - mentally exhausted. See, eBay has changed. New CEO with a lot of insanely bad ideas, the biggest being a change in policy in which sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for bad buyers, which caught the attention of scam artists pretty quickly.

Prior to starting the decal business, I read a lot of horror stories on eBay's community forums about feedback extortion, but had never experienced it myself, as I was mostly selling art, and art buyers, for the most part, are a notch above that sort of thing. Not so with decal buyers. I found a never-ending supply of non-payers, blackmailers, and feedback extortionists . . . scammers that held all of the power. I will say that I had some truly wonderful buyers, but for every new friend came another email saying "I never got my item. Send another one right away. BTW, I haven't left feedback yet." Veiled threats, that eBay dismissed, because the threat wasn't direct enough.

I can't say that this decision was easy to make, after working so hard to build up a business that included many valued repeat buyers. But I had to pull the plug, so I've slowly been ending my listings. From over 100, down to less than ten.

As hard as it was to start closing up shop, I'm feeling pretty liberated right now. It's awfully darned good to be free of the constant stress . . . that horrible anxiety that hit me every time I dropped something in the mailbox and stayed with me until I saw a positive feedback. I felt like a sitting duck, just waiting for that inevitable unjust neg.

Ahhhhhhhhh . . . I'm sitting here this afternoon taking a nice deep breath, and feeling pounds lighter for the burden that has been lifted from my shoulders.

And now, I think I'll start painting again. Maybe I'll even get rid of my writer's block and get back to that poor novel that's been sitting on the back burner for so long.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I have nothing to say, but feel obligated to post something as I now have a follower. Hi Ann! :)

So here's the deal. Last summer I took a writing class at UCLA Extension, and we had an assignment to start a blog. I created a blog about my struggles with writer's block. Talk about an exercise in irony. Suffice to say, I never wrote anything in the blog, and it died a slow death somewhere out in cyberspace.

So this is round two. A place to talk about my art and photography, quote Monty Python, and grouse about the mismanagement of eBay. Yeah. That should give me plenty to write about.

Alrighty then.