Monthly Archives: March 2012

Starting one of balls rolling

A couple of months back, I bought the makings for another batch of lip balm.  The last batch was a hit at the homestead, but lasted like 3 years… That’s a lot of lip balm!

Anyway, Since I’m finding myself in something of a compromising financial position, I have decided to turn a hobby into a business opportunity and open an Etsy shop.  The plans include lip balms, scrubs, salves and ointments, tooth powders, and some other more traditional preparations. The intended audience is (hopefully) the traditional-minded or historically inclined man.

In order to get that ball rolling, I made a batch of lip balm the other day… 50 tubes is easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. The trick is coming up with some sort of way to stand out among the crowd that is on Etsy.  It seems that every Dick and Jane has lip balms of some sort, though many of them are candy or fruit (sweet) flavors.  Those sweet flavors come across as stereotypically girlie and not so manly.

As I was saying, I spent the better part of this afternoon setting up the Etsy shop and writing the first product listing. I can’t/won’t post it until I get the labels in (shipped today), printed, and product photos taken. I learned that I make a crappy ad copy writer. I’m also something of an artistic black hole, but I can do some mean research and compounding!

Kristen, on the other hand, makes one wicked ad copy writer!

Have reachable goals

Somewhere along the line, I learned something that I haven’t put into practice before today: When the world seems impossible, give yourself something easily achievable to accomplish for the day.

Today started feeling like a big stopping block. I’ve got to wait for a bunch of things to sort themselves out, like hearing back from the company to know for certain if I’m out on my ass.  I’ve got to wait for my financial aid to get fine-tuned (final disbursement) in order to get my diploma and transcripts released.  I’ve got a bunch of job applications in across the city that I can’t do anything about.

So, since I was feeling overwhelmed, I decided that m y goal for today was to get in the shower and have a nice shave. If you know anything about depression, you know that personal care can be one of those things that gets ignored, and I want to do everything that I can in order to stay out of THAT bottomless pit.

So, I took a shower and washed my hair. I got out my shaving stuff and had a nice shave with Coates 1847 Tea tree and Rosemary shave cream and Pinaud/Clubman musk aftershave. I’m waiting for my mustache to grow out some more so that I can wax it into a handlebar again, which I had a month or so back. I shaved that so I looked good for the cruise with SWMBO a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, not my most ambitious day, but I accomplished something that took some effort on my part.



Bow. Wow. WTF?

Oh. My. God. Yesterday, Kristen rented one of the worst movies to come out of Hollywood in a long time. I’m just glad that we were watching it “On Demand” on cable, rather than having spent $10 per person plus concessions for it.

What was this dog of a film, you ask? The 2011 version of The Three Musketeers, staring (wrong others) Milla Jovovich and Orlando Bloom.  Don’t get me wrong, I can forgive quite a bit of a movie starring Milla (Ultraviolet, anyone?), but this was just… Ugh.

The costuming was questionable at best, the writing was paltry, the plot was transparent, and the whole thing was horribly contrived. I’m a history geek, so I understand a little something about period appropriate clothing and the dress that the costume director put Jovovich in was six kinds of bad.

On the up side, I got to spend a couple of hours with my family, having a grand time poking at the plot holes and generally being aghast at the film.  We had some good laughs, and generally agreed that it was a huge stinker.

But it was fun! And, after all, isn’t that the whole point of cinema?  To entertain?


Push, meet shove.

I have been kicking around the idea of making and selling a certain few personal care products for several years.  Mostly soap and lip balm, but recently tooth powder.  I guess now is as good a time as any to let the rubber meet the road.

I have made lip balm in the past, and it’s very easy to do, but challenging to do well. A couple of years back, I made a batch of it at home, and Kristen fell in love with it. She was previously a Burt’s Bees girl, but she ended up liking mine much more, since it wasn’t as hard as Burt’s or Chap Stick.

Since I’m in a position where I need to maximize income points at the moment, I figure that now is as good a time as any to stop talking and start doing.  I’m not sure that I can make any sort of impact in the 11,000 items that Etsy has listed for “lip balm” but what I do know is that the first dozen or so pages are chock full of “girlie” lip balms and lip tints. By that, I mean that they are mostly “sweet” flavors, like fruits or candies, with the occasional herbal or what I would call more “Savory” flavor of balm.

So, I just need to make some of my “original” recipe balm (peppermint, beeswax and almond oil) and start the ball rolling.  Then I need to make some tooth powder base and feel that out. After that, I will need to come up with some more/different/unique/interesting less sweet flavors that may appeal to the male market more than not.

I’m open for ideas and would appreciate suggestions in the comments.  Who knows, you might become famous because of it!

Sometimes the words don’t come

Neo: No mouth

Sometimes the words don't come...

One of the problems with mental health issues is that sometimes various symptoms cause a drastic change in personality features.  Take “poverty of speech” for example.

Once upon a time, I was a regular chatty CathyMy wife and I would drive and talk for hours (of course, the driving was when gas was a lot cheaper) about everything under the Sun.  We’d even talk about nothing in particular. That all changed when I came down with major depression.

I just, more or less, stopped talking.  I recall her once asking why I didn’t talk with her like I used to anymore, and the only answer that I could give is that “I don’t have much to say” which was honestly the case.  Where we would once drive through the Morton Arboretum and talk away for hours about anything and everything, I no longer had thoughts to back up conversation.

Notice that I said that the thoughts aren’t there.  That’s one of the possible symptoms of severe depression. The thoughts aren’t there, and the words don’t come. It is even hard to explain that there’s nothin’ in my noggin, especially since I had previously been such a thinker and talker. Even putting this down in words has taken me almost a full day to get together.

I wish it were different. In many ways, I’m not the same person that Kristen married back in 1998, thanks to the depression. I know that she misses the way that I used to be because of some offhand comments that she’s made over the years.  Recently, she commended that I “don’t talk to [her] like [I] used to” which is true.Believe me, I wish I did.  I miss being the man I was back then (mostly). But sometimes it seems like she resents the changes. I don’t blame her, she didn’t ask for me to change, but I did.

It’s not fair. I do my best. But I don’t feel that it comes across enough. 🙁



One more for the road

I guess I’m lucky.  I made it through 4 or 5 rounds of layoffs at my job without a problem.  However…

I didn’t come through clean on the last one.  I’m 38, family of 5, and just finished an AA degree.  I’ve been with the same company for almost as long as my youngest daughter has been alive.  I would have been 14 years on 30 Aug.  I’m doing surprisingly well, so far, but it’s not technically official yet.  Give me another week or so and things might be different.

This might actually be a good thing, overall, though.  I’ve been saying that I wanted out of the company for years now, but the pay was good and the benefits were great.  The work was boring as all get out, but it was mostly sitting on conference calls for the past couple of years.  Not a bad way to make a living for a non-college graduate.

So what is a guy like me supposed to do in this economy? In short: Bounce as best I can.  Cut expenses to the bone and continue the educational path that I’m on (more on that in another post). Fill out applications around town and don’t stop.  Something that I saw making the rounds of Twitter today says …

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

Given the hit that I’m taking, that’s pretty good advice.  Now, I just have to figure out some way to keep my psych medications coming in.  Depression and anxiety are a bitch at the best of times.

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