Saturday, November 10, 2012

Abortion Must Be Legal

Abortions must be legal so that any woman who wants or needs one can get one in a safe and responsible environment. 

Thankfully, everyone agrees that there are a few cases in which an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother or prevent serious health issues, and that they must be legal at least that far.

I would hope that most people agree that when a pregnancy is the result of rape abortion should be an option. Rape is an incredibly traumatizing event as it is, and to be forced to carry the physical reminder for at least nine months (assuming that the mother then puts the baby up for adoption) is heartless and cruel. Some women may choose do that path, but it should not under any circumstances be required.

Any teenager should have the option of an abortion, though assuming that the girl has supportive parents keeping the child or putting it up for adoption can be given a little more weight. A teenaged mother loses chances at normal socializing, normal schooling, and a normal life, and no, that is not her "punishment" for making a mistake. Especially because that "punishment" could have detrimental effects on the child, should she choose to keep it, or even should she choose to give it up for adoption: if a teenager is not mature enough or doesn't care enough, she will not be able to properly care for herself or her child.

When a woman is living in poverty, especially if there are other children to care for, an abortion can save her and her family much suffering. No child should have to be raised in poverty, and most programs that would throw money at a mother to get her to decide against abortion will not help her at all after the child has been born - they should at least help her put the child up for adoption. If she can get the care she needs during pregnancy and will be helped to put the child up for adoption, that is a viable option; however, if she decides an abortion will be better for her situation, she should be able to get one.

Some women simply don't want to deal with the hassle, though they can afford to be pregnant and raise a child. This seems like the perfect place to ban abortions, to make people live with their "mistakes" (what if the pregnancy happened due to a failure of birth control?), but even here the mother should be allowed an abortion if she wants one. It's possible that a woman in this situation would simply drag herself through the pregnancy if required to continue it - she would not take care of herself, not stop drinking or smoking, not listen to the advice of a doctor. As in most cases, adoption should be suggested here, but not required. The woman should be able to make her own choice, not have it made for her.

The decision to keep or abort a baby, no matter the circumstances, should be the choice of the mother. There should be restrictions - counseling should be required, in most cases adoption should be fully explored and possibly even pushed, and the abortion should take place before too much time has passed - but it must be available for those who want it. Also, society's views need to change. Not only do we need to not judge a woman for getting an abortion, but we need to support women who decide to keep the child.

You don't have to agree with me, but if you don't, at least realize that the issue is more complex than you might think. This isn't baby killing vs. babies living happily every after. At the very least, realize that there have to be tradeoffs. You can't ban abortion and cut welfare. You can't ban abortion and judge teenage mothers. You can't ban abortion and tell a woman her rape wasn't "legitimate." You can't ban abortion and restrict access to birth control.  You can't ban abortion and under-educate your children about sexuality. You get to choose at most one side, though in my mind, it's a choice between two evils.

I choose a third option: abortion must be legal.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Fair Warning

I'm taking this blog in a new direction, immediately with some new blog posts, then gradually with deleting or moving of older posts, change of title and about info, and probably eventually with a change of address. If you were here because this used to be the blog for my business, Quiet Mischief and Company, then you're welcome to stop following this blog and hop on over to my new company blog address:

If you're here because you're family, or a friend, or otherwise interested in my ramblings, then be warned: I am a liberal Democrat Mormon (no I do not think any of those terms are contradictory) and the new title of this blog may as well be My Opinions, Let Me Show You Them. I have always wanted to be a writer of some kind, but lately my creative writing has been slowing to a trickle while my desire to share my opinions on things political, religious, artistic, societal, etc., is getting more pronounced.

However, my warning is not intended to scare you away, especially if you already can tell or even know that my opinions differ from yours. These blog posts will not be an attempt to convert you to my way of thinking via bashing you over the head. I want to share my opinions because I am actually fairly well informed (if I do say so myself) and I think that clear thinking and facts are often undervalued by both sides. Any opinions I share here will be well thought out and based on pertinent facts, deep thinking, and previous debating with others.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Sometimes You Need a Little Boost

Recently an article entitled How to Beat the Etsy Sale Addiction (and Make More Money!)  was posted on the Etsy blog. While the author (Danielle Maveal) makes some good points, I have a little bit of a rebuttal.

"If you really want to grow your business, you can’t react to every single sale, positively or negatively. You should instead be proactively plotting out your weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals." This is the main lesson of the article, and it's a good one. Danielle points out that the "single sale" mentality leads to lower prices (six sales looks better than three, even if the three means more profit) and wasted time (you should spend an hour promoting your whole shop hoping for more exposure in general, rather than promoting a single item in hopes of a quick sale). However, I disagree with some of the language used. I think you can and perhaps should react each and every sale; just make sure you do it positively.

I admit that this might be just me. You see, I suffer from depression, which often leaves me with so little motivation that clicking on random things on the internet is all I have the energy for. During these times, any sale popping up in my inbox just makes me sigh. Work seems so far out of my reach that even a tutorial sale (which takes me two to three minutes to complete) will seem like not only a huge task but a roadblock in the way of my happiness.

I'm sure you can see how that mentality will get in the way of me making more money. Not only does it make me slower to complete or respond to orders, leaving a worse impression on our customers, but in this state I can't be proactive. My mind isn't ready for flashes of insight that will lead to a great new product or a more efficient way to get things done. My whole shop seems like a burden.

In order to combat this lethargy, I try to take notice of every single sale and see it in a positive light. Depending on how down I feel, my reaction ranges from smiling to verbally congratulating myself to taking a moment to do a little celebratory dance. I celebrate tutorial sales because they're easy to take care of. I celebrate duct tape sales because I don't have to do anything. I celebrate friendship bracelet sales because I get more profit. And when I remember to celebrate every single sale, I am able to turn what was once a burden into something uplifting, into an event that can brighten my day and start to pull me out of my latest rut.

As I said before, I can see the wisdom in Danielle's advice. I'd do my shop and myself a great disservice if I thought only of single sales and couldn't widen my view to see the whole picture. However, there might not be a shop at all if I wasn't looking at each sale as a bright spot in my day.

Shop owners, what do you think of Danielle's article? How do you react to your sales? Do you think you're able to keep the bigger picture in mind, or are you missing the forest for the trees? I'd love to hear your opinions and experiences!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Dreams are Serious Business

I've always had vivid dreams, and most of them I was able to control. I would realize early on in the dream that I was dreaming, and from that point be able to make things go my way - I could use telekinesis, turn invisible, fly, or simply rewind time and try it again.

For a couple of months this has been changing. As an example, when my last dream was starting this morning, I never realized I was dreaming. I made only a few changes, and those very minor; when the man robbing the bank went through my wallet, all he took was some cash; he passed over my debit card and put back my Social Security card at my suggestion. Later, when that same man was trying to capture or kill me for going to the police, I was able to defeat all of his minions with slapping, which must have been manipulation because a) I'm a weakling and b) slapping, really?

However, I was unable to stop the robbery in the first place, or to escape from it. I was even forced to experience pain (a puncture wound to my hand). Later, knowing that Mat would want to know what happened, I was unable to find a quiet place to call him. And at the end of the dream, though I defeated the minions, I was unable to kill the man who had robbed me and was now trying to kill me. (Apparently he had the ability, when his mouth was stuffed full of chocolate, to swallow half a candy bar at once. Yes, I was trying to suffocate him with chocolate. I work with what I'm given.)

I have two theories about why my dreams are changing.

Theory One: I'm a creature of habit.
Back when my dreams were full of magic and me getting my own way, during the day I was constantly stressed, often to a point I didn't think I could handle. And even when I found a moment of contentment, I would suddenly be struck by the fear that I had forgotten something, and that thought would persist until I remembered or came up with something to be stressed about.

For the past few months, I've been in a better situation, and been learning how to better handle stress. But it's also been in the past few months that my dreams have been changing. I experience much more stress overall, in addition to slowly losing my ability to control things.

In short, I am so used to stress that when I avoid it during the day my mind forces it on me while I sleep.

Theory Two: I'm some kind of learning CPU.
In my magical fully-controlled dreams, all my problems were solved by invisibility, flying away, or other methods of escape. This paralleled my waking life, where I would run away from problems; for example, I quit my English major because a paper I worked hard on got a C, and I didn't bother trying out for a vocal performance major because I was afraid I wouldn't make it. This attitude of mine has slowly been changing, and as I have learned to deal with problems in real life, perhaps dream me is also learning to deal with problems instead of running away.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why I Posted the Lame Short Short

First, I texted my sister. "How's it going?"

Then I felt the familiar tugging. "Story idea over here," it seemed to say.

Then I got on the computer.

Then I wrote a short short.

Then I realized it was dumb.

Then Mat started reading it.

Then I got really embarrassed.

Then I thought that I should share my lame short short with the world, in order to prove some kind of point to Mat (no, I don't know what the point is, nor how me posting a short short I wrote in a couple of minutes is supposed to prove anything).

Never mind. I don't know why I posted it either.

A Lame Short Short

Loosely based on true events

"How's it going?"

She groaned. "I hate the whole world."

"That well, huh?"

"Shut up." She waved her hand dismissively.

"So, when you do think you'll be done?"

"Shortly before I kill myself, I hope. Now get out of here!"

"Hey..." he said soothingly, reaching over to pat her shoulder. He only got in a couple of pats before needing to move his hand to avoid a swipe from her. "Only trying to help and all that."

"No, you're trying to be obnoxious. Go. Away."

She looked up in surprise as he jerked her chair back from the desk. "Hey! What do you think you're doing?"

"Rescuing you." He leaned on the chair, preventing her from scooting back. "You, my dear, need a break."

"But..." her anger was dissolving into something more like despair. "I need to..."

"Hush. It can wait five minutes, and you'll work better for it. Come on."

She tried to push him away, as he was now blocking her view of her computer screen. "But I know what you mean when you say 'break.' I won't be back here for hours if you have your way."

"And you'd enjoy every minute of it."

She sighed. "I just can't today. I have so much..."

"No," he said, cutting her off. "No objections. You're starting to get sad and then you won't be good for anything."

She looked a trifle stung. "But..."

"No buts, even. Though you do have a very nice one." She managed a small smile at that. "Now, get up and come hang out with me." He took her hands and tugged on them.

"But..." she allowed herself to be pulled out of the chair. "My work..."

"Shut up," he said affectionately.

Here's why I posted this

Friday, August 19, 2011

Should You Sell Your Patterns?

Selling patterns, especially of items that you make and sell, is a risky business, which is why many people stay out of it.

People who don't understand the work involved will say your prices are too high, and some will criticize you for charging at all.

Others will steal your work, either offering the tutorial to others for free or outright charging for it themselves.

Some people will say that, by offering a digital file for sale online, you deserve to have your work stolen and distributed for free.

And of course there is always the possibility that you will give someone the skills to become your competition.

Despite all of this, offering a PDF tutorial for our duct tape rose rings in the Quiet Mischief and Company Etsy shop is one of the best decisions I have made for my business.

For me, there are many pros that outweigh the cons of selling what are basically trade secrets. One of the biggest is something that nearly every crafter can relate to: when you have the skills but lack the details to making something yourself, you are hesitant to purchase a finished item. In other words, many people who like duct tape like to work with duct tape, and would rather purchase a tutorial and make rings themselves than purchase a finished ring.

Another benefit is how easy it is. I spent six hours doing my part to create the PDF, but now all I have to do is answer the occasional question, periodically update the thing, and, whenever it's ordered, attach it to an email and send it on its way. My sister and technical writer have it even easier; they only had to help with the original document and occasionally answer my questions. It's not quite free money, but it sure feels like it!

Our shop has also gained a lot of traffic both directly and indirectly from the tutorial. Directly because many people were starting to hear/think of making duct tape rings, and a google search for instructions almost always led them to us. Indirectly because of things like now having the skills and experience to write a decent free tutorial that went live on a blog months ago but still gets us traffic every day.

If abstracts aren't enough, I'll give you numbers. In a year, we have sold almost 300 copies of our tutorial. It has almost 350 hearts on Etsy. Lissi is getting paid over $100 an hour for the time she put into it, and I'm getting nearly as much for my time. Our tutorial gets more hits than our actual storefront does, and has over 17,000 views total. Every day one third to one half of the people who visit our shop view the tutorial. Many come just for that but then move on to other items.

With that great success, we could not stop there. Many people have noticed the new PDF tutorial in the shop, one that was almost as requested as the rose ring tutorial - heart shaped duct tape rings. It's been up for about two weeks and has been viewed almost 200 times and has 21 hearts, and has a brand-new price! We're offering it in a bundle with the rose ring for a discount, and we also have a coupon code for people who previously purchased the rose ring tutorial.

And we aren't stopping there. We will be keeping some secrets, but in the near future we plan to have tutorials for spiral duct tape rose rings, duct tape rose hair clips, and Halloween duct tape rings, and if we come up with new rings we will likely make tutorials to match.

Have there been difficulties? Yeah. Has it been worth it? Definitely.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Insecurity Time!

I knew I was getting bigger. I've never made a habit of weighing myself, but the few times I did it seemed I was only going up.

This was a welcome change, though. I was used to getting on the scale and being ten to fifteen pounds underweight. Now I was just fine, thank you. Until, of course, I was ten pounds overweight.

It never really hit home for me until today, when put on a shirt my mom gave me, looked in the mirror, and felt my heart sink. I don't know what it is about this shirt - the neckline, perhaps, or the slight bagginess to it - but I actually look big.

Let me point out now that I do realize ten pounds is not that much, numbers-wise. However, it's a lot to me. I am used to thinking of myself as rather slender, and though I always had a bit if a tummy and my chest has been a decent size since puberty, I've never been even a little overweight and have even occasionally been in shape. And, with several skinny siblings and a mom who exercises hard and watches what she eats, I'm not in sympathetic company.

Back to the story. I would blame my weight gain on my boyfriend, but that would be mean and not entirely truthful. It's not his fault that him feeding me one or two good meals a day and working to convince me that food is good would make me gain 25 pounds. The problem lies in the fact that exercise and I are not good friends. If I have no PE class or marching band, I have no reason to get up and move my body.

So now I guess I'd better force myself to get up and move, no matter how much I hate it. I do like all of the benefits - sleeping better, an actual appetite, muscle, and not having jiggly arms, thighs, and tummy - so I should just focus on those to get me through a half hour of sweating.

You know, I came here intending to just complain, and ended up coming up with solutions. When did I become even a bit of a responsible adult?