Blogging

Don’t You Hate It When…

So I wrote a blog last night (and by wrote, I mean dictated to my new voice recognition software…amazing!) and was ready to post. My first post from my new apartment, which I was quite excited about.

The town I now live in (Bar Harbor) apparently has a free Wi-Fi network and since I'm right in the middle of it all, I figured it would work. As I went to connect to the internet, I saw no evidence of this network. Oh come on!

At 10 pm (and about 30 degrees outside), I didn't have the energy to put on warm clothes and drive around looking for a signal.

Just had to vent my frustration, and my annoyance of probably having to pony up for internet services.

Look for the post later tonight, when I'll probably go to my friend's house to mooch of her internet while I figure out the local hotspots. Have a good day!

Ergonomics and Blogging

Well I did what I thought was a fabulous audio podcast from the road today but of course it's not uploading so I'm coming to you in my usual written format.

I flew back east yesterday (into the cold, yikes!) and spent the day driving to my hometown of Fort Kent for the weekend to celebrate my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Needless to say, a lot of traveling.

I got to thinking today about my wrists. Mainly driving long distances tweaks my wrists similar to blogging so I have to wear my guards when I drive as well (people who pass me must think I'm a total punk!).

I've learned a few other things on this trip about ergonomics from my friends who have had similar issues and I thought I'd share.

1) Try braces. You already know about mine. Here are some pictures of me with my skater-looking blog braces here and here. I got mine at Rite Aid for about $20 each and they have more then paid for themselves. ($40 for both wrists)

2) Get voice recognition software. Frugal Fergie had a review of Dragon NaturallySpeaking software recently. My friend Sarah's fiancee Jeremy is a blogger who is currently traveling across the country. This software is allowing him to blog on the road while he's driving. I'm definitely investing! ($200)

3) Get a seperate keyboard for your laptop. My friends both do this and along with a wireless mouse, this is an ergonomic and inexpensive way to turn your laptop into a desktop computer. Bonus is that you can make your laptop sit higher, making the screen more ergonomically correct as well. ($30)

So throwing a little money at this carpal tunnel problem may help me even more. If you have any tips that make your computer use more comfortable, do share!

Another great article: How to Avoid the Physical Hazards of Blogging from Problogger

My Blogiversary: One Year of Breaking Even

On this day last year, I decided I was going to blog. I had brainstormed a list of potential blog names over the course of a few days and as I thought more about the potential names, I kept really liking "Breaking Even".

First off, Breaking Even is the initial modest goal I had for the blog and for myself. First, I wanted to break even with this blog: have enough advertising and other revenue to pay for my web hosting, software, and maintaining/enhancing my computer. After a year, I'm very close to doing that thanks to Blogher and have surpassed that if you count the blog consulting I do (no regular writing gigs yet). For my second break even goal, I also wanted to break even with my own budget (after spending a few months in the red getting used to my smaller salary). I am now breaking even in my personal budget and putting aside more money then I ever have.

Breaking Even also means I don't want to get rich (though if that happens, I wouldn't mind!) I just want enough in my life, enough money to pay for a modest lifestyle, save a little for my old age, andhave a yearly trip to somewhere I've never been. I don't want to worry about money but I don't want to obsess about acquiring it either. Breaking Even is a balanced life.

And finally Breaking Even is above all being positive. I didn't call this blog "I'm a Loser with Debt" or "Struggling Penny Pincher". Breaking Even is moving forward, it's "making it". It's for everyone who thinks or wants to think about how to positively look at saving money and spending less. It's a positive look at life and what you can do with it.

Ok enough with the misty eyed talk on my blogiversary! To celebrate, I'm making my own cheese for my Too Cute Tuesday post this afternoon. (I know what you're thinking, I sure do know how to party!) I wish I could buy you all a cupcake to celebrate but funny pictures of me making cheese and a round-up of my most favorite posts at the end of the week will have to do!

Maine Blog Network Update: Is Your Blog On My List?

The Maine Blog Network has been progressing nicely. I spent yesterday on this project and another cool, top-secret-for-now project I'll let you know about soon.

Thanks to those of you who wrote or commented with your own (or your favorite) Maine blogs. I've added them and the list is now at one hundred Maine blogs! But I'm sure I'm still missing some good ones so if you are a Maine blogger or know one, let them know about this project. Here is the updated list:

A Blog About Beer http://www.blogaboutbeer.com/
A New Yorker Talks To Herself About Maine http://ouracadia.wordpress.com/
Acadia Blogs From Acadia National Park http://www.nps.gov/acad/photosmultimedia/blogs.htm
Adventures In Life http://mainemommaof3.blogspot.com/
Adventures In Vactionland www.adventures-in-vacationland.blogspot.com
All Things Maine www.allthingsmaine.blogspot.com
Another Maine www.anothermaine.blogspot.com
Art Night Out http://www.artnightout.blogspot.com/
Becoming Whole www.becomingwhole.typepad.com
Birding In Maine www.birdingmaine.com
Black Fly Blog www.laughmaine.com/Black_Fly_Blog.html
BogBlog www.edgeofmaine.blogspot.com
B's Travel Log http://www.mainelife.net/
Charting Maine's Future http://www.growsmartmaine.org/blog/
Chikblog www.chikblog.blogspot.com
China Lake Life www.chinalakelife.blogspot.com
Compass Rose Review www.compassrosereview.blogspot.com
Condalmo http://condalmo.wordpress.com/
Early Maine www.earlymaine.org
Equality Matters http://mainewomensfund.typepad.com/equality_matters/
Fiddlehedz www.fiddlehedz@blogspot.com
Franco-American News and Events http://fanset8.blogspot.com/
From Away http://blogs.trcmaine.org/fromaway/
Frugal C http://frugalc.wordpress.com/
Full Fantom Five www.mlcoe.typepad.com/Full_Fantom_Five
Gardenpath www.gardenpath.wordpress.com
Grain Surf Boards Blog www.grainsurfboards.com/blog
Growin Up Maine www.mainestories.blogspot.com
GrowSmart Maine: Charting Maine's Future http://www.growsmartmaine.org/
Gulf Of Maine Books http://gulfofmainebooks.blogspot.com/
h2oboro lib blog www.waterborolibrary.org/blog.htm
Henbogle www.henbogle.blogspot.com
In Maine What Now www.inmainewhatnow.blogspot.com
It's A Maine Thing www.itsamainething.com/blog-wp
K-Seas www.k-seas.com
Leave The Lights On http://www.leavethelightson.info/
Life In The Maine Woods http://outdoorwriter.wordpress.com/
Life On Penobscot Bay http://searsportshores.wordpress.com/
Living Downeast www.livingdowneast.wordpress.com
Living The Road Less Traveled http://livingtheroadlesstraveled.blogspot.com/
Maine www.maineu.com
Maine ASCD Weblog http://maineascd.blogs.com/maine_ascd_weblog/
Maine Beerwriters Guild http://www.mainebeerwriters.org/
Maine Birds www.mainebirds.blogspot.com
Maine Dezign http://mainedezign.wordpress.com/
Maine Food and Lifestyle www.blog.mainefoodandlifestyle.com
Maine Ghost Hunters www.maineghosthunters.blogspot.com
Maine Life www.mainelife.typepad.com
Maine Lives Large www.maineliveslarge.blogspot.com
Maine Moves Real Estate Blog http://www.mainemoves.com/blog/
Maine Mysteries www.mainemysteries.blogspot.com
Maine Nature Photos http://mainenaturephotos.blogspot.com/
Maine Network Partners http://www.mainenetworkpartners.org/blog/
Maine Outdoors Today www.maineoutdoorstoday.com/blog/
Maine Owl www.maineowl.net/blog
Maine Politics www.mainepolitics.net
Maine PR Maven www.maineprmaven.com
Maine Public Health http://mainepublichealth.blogspot.com/
Maine Real Estate News http://www.mainerealestatenews.com/
Maine Safety and Security News Blog http://mainesecurity.blogspot.com/
Maine Today Blogs (Network http://blogs.mainetoday.com/
Maine Vacation and Travel Info http://travel-maine.blogspot.com/
Maine Web Report http://www.mainewebreport.com/
Marie In Maine's Whoopie Pies and Lobster http://marieinmaine.com/whoopiepiesandlobster
My Corner Of Maine www.maineliving.blogspot.com
My Maine Cottage http://mymainecottage.blogspot.com/
News from Hawkhill Acres http://lillhawkins.com/
Pemaquid Blog http://www.pemaquidbeach.com/Maine-Coast-Vacation-Rental-blog.html
Portland Psst www.portlandpsst.blogspot.com
Pursue Business Advisors http://pursuebusiness.com/index.php
Realtor Andrew Mooers' Northern Maine Realty Blog http://mooersrealty.blogspot.com/
Red Sox State Of Maine www.redsoxstateofmaine.typepad.com
Sea C
oast Eat Local www.blog.seacoasteatlocal.org
Season's Eatings Farm http://seasonseatingsfarm.wordpress.com/
SeevsPlave http://mcseavey.org/blog
Skinny Moose (Network) www.skinnymoose.com/network
Sometimes I Think http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink
Strange Maine www.strangemaine.blogspot.com
The 5 Moores www.thefivemoores.blogspot.com
The Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog http://www.jackmtn.com/simplog/
The Laundry Is Never Finished www.thelaundryisneverfinished.wordpress.com
The Maine Race http://themainerace.com/
The Mind Dance System Blog www.mainehypnocoach.blogspot.com
The Parish Of Saint Andrew and Saint John http://standrewstjohn.blogspot.com/
The Screaming Room www.marklaflamme.com/blog/
The Vigorous North http://vigorousnorth.blogspot.com/index.html
Turn Maine Blue www.turnmaineblue.com
Two Cents And A Thousand Words http://www.justinrussell.com/blog/
Unsweetened Tea www.homeness.blogspot.com
Useless Nexus http://uselessnexus.com/
Vacationland www.vacationlandmaine.blogspot.com
Wampum http://wampum.wabanaki.net/
Westbrook Diarist http://www.westbrookdiarist.blogspot.com/
Words Matter www.findingwords.blogspot.com

So thanks for your continued help with this project. I'm having a lot of fun with this because I do love a project!  

Breaking Even Frequently Asked Questions Answered

No I don't have throngs of fans writing me emails constantly but I do have the occasional Breaking Even question. I thought I'd take the time to answer a few questions I've gotten.

Are you really that poor?
Yes and no. I make $10 and have some health insurance, which is a lot more than many people have. In addition, I have a working car, an adequate computer, and a college education. More then what I have is who I have: family and friends that could help me get out of situation (financial or otherwise) should I need help. If it's one thing I've learned from doing this blog, it's that I'm very fortunate.

That said, the $7,000 pay cut I took last year in my move to Downeast Maine really made me feel poor in a way I hadn't in awhile. I've made adjustments which I continue to chronicle here at the Breaking Even blog and I'm doing fine. And while I do have people who can help me, I've never asked anyone for money and don't intend to start now. I live within my means, which means that while I can't do whatever I want whenever I want, I can still have a pretty great life.

You live with your boyfriend Sean in his house so do you pay rent?
When I moved in, Sean and I agreed that I would pay what his old roommate used to pay. This works out to be about 1/3 of the morgage and about 1/4 of my salary. Since Sean makes more money then I do and also technically owns the house, this makes sense for us.

I'm a firm believer in coming up with your own agreement, whether you live with a partner or roommates or your family. All parties should think the arrangement is equitable, otherwise it's just one more thing to fight about.

What's your policy for advertisers on your site?
I only advertise products which I'm not opposed to. I've had advertising offers for casinos, gambling websites, paid posts, and payday loan companies. I would rather not have any advertising on my site then have links that could potentially get a reader in a bad situation.

Currently, I use Google Adsense and Blogher Ads to generate a small amount of revenue. I find the links not at all offensive or dangerous. I am, however, always looking for options that make good sense to my readers financially and otherwise. So advertising folks can pitch away.

What kind of dog is Sadie?
Thanksgiving 2005 032 I adopted Sadie in middle age (hers, not mine) from the Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick Maine. The only info the adoption people knew was that Sadie is a beagle mix. (I could have figured that out the way she gets into the trash if left unattended!)

My first vet thought Sadie was a beagle-corgi mix while my second vet thought she was a beagle-Jack Russell terrier mix. The microchip put into her neck by a previous owner can't be read so without blood tests, Sadie remains a genetic mystery. An underwear eating, ear raising, stuffed animal ripping genetic mystery.

Who are your frequent commenters?
Merobandlaura Robby and Laura are my two childhood best friends who I continue to be friends with to this day.
Kim is my cousin who is a lot like me but ten years older (among other things). My Aunt Paula ("matante") is also super supportive with her comments. Go family!
Justin is my brother-in-law. He is a businessman and hardware expert so I always hope he'll pipe in with DIY advice in particular.
Jennifer is a fellow Maine blogger who I finally made a connection with through an exchange of mix CDs. We've been online friends ever since.
Nancy Marshall is a fellow communications person based in Augusta with her own blog.
Kelly is a personal finance blogger based in France. We've bonded over French and finance, both subjects we love.
The Sarahs are college friends, one in San Fran the other in New Hampshire.

Robby is my most commenting friend and I get frequent telephone feedback about the blog from my friend Michaela.

How many readers does Breaking Even have?
The blog has around 75 subscribers (which is steadily growing, yay!) and 100-150 people visiting the blog everyday. That may not sound like much but that is way more then I had when I started!

How many websites do you read?
I subscribe to about 150 sites. I get the headlines delivered into my Google Reader as the blogs and websites are updated and I just skim through most of them. I do this for a few reasons 1) to keep on top of what's going on in personal finance, Maine blogs, and other topics I love 2) to not copy what other people are doing and, if I do cover a topic, to properly give credit to others and 3) because I love to read. I comment on five to ten articles per day and save links to articles I like in a list for future post ideas.

Some of my favorite sites are in my blogrolls if you want to check them out. (And if you have any to recommend, send them my way!)

If you have any questions about the blog, don't be shy. I'm certainly not!

Images: Me and Sadie at our first Christmas together, Robby Laura and I at a party last weekend (for the first time in five years!)

Maine Blog Network Update Part II

Yesterday I began seeking feedback on a Maine Blog Network logo. Today, I'm ready with a rough draft list of Maine bloggers.

From combing Technorati, my feed subscriptions, and email suggestions, I've compiled a starter list of Maine bloggers. I cut myself off at 75 for sanity reasons but I'm sure there's more of you out there. Here's who I have so far. If you (or a friend of yours) aren't on this list and want to be, email me or comment below. (Also email me if your contact info is not featured prominently on your page. It's helpful to have an email address rather then filling out a contact form.) Thanks! Things are well on their way…

A Blog About Beer http://www.blogaboutbeer.com/
Acadia Blogs From Acadia National Park http://www.nps.gov/acad/photosmultimedia/blogs.htm
Adventures In Vactionland www.adventures-in-vacationland.blogspot.com
All Things Maine www.allthingsmaine.blogspot.com
Another Maine www.anothermaine.blogspot.com
Art Night Out http://www.artnightout.blogspot.com/
Becoming Whole www.becomingwhole.typepad.com
Birding In Maine www.birdingmaine.com
Black Fly Blog www.laughmaine.com/Black_Fly_Blog.html
BogBlog www.edgeofmaine.blogspot.com
Breaking Even www.breakingeven.typepad.com
B's Travel Log http://www.mainelife.net/
Charting Maine's Future http://www.growsmartmaine.org/blog/
Chikblog www.chikblog.blogspot.com
China Lake Life www.chinalakelife.blogspot.com
Compass Rose Review www.compassrosereview.blogspot.com
Early Maine www.earlymaine.org
Fiddlehedz www.fiddlehedz@blogspot.com
Franco-American News and Events http://fanset8.blogspot.com/
Frugal C http://frugalc.wordpress.com/
Full Fantom Five www.mlcoe.typepad.com/Full_Fantom_Five
Gardenpath www.gardenpath.wordpress.com
Grain Surf Boards Blog www.grainsurfboards.com/blog
Growin Up Maine www.mainestories.blogspot.com
h2oboro lib blog www.waterborolibrary.org/blog.htm
Henbogle www.henbogle.blogspot.com
In Maine What Now www.inmainewhatnow.blogspot.com
It's A Maine Thing www.itsamainething.com/blog-wp
K-Seas www.k-seas.com
Leave The Lights On http://www.leavethelightson.info/
Life In The Maine Woods http://outdoorwriter.wordpress.com/
Life On Penobscot Bay http://searsportshores.wordpress.com/
Living Downeast www.livingdowneast.wordpress.com
Maine www.maineu.com
Maine ASCD Weblog http://maineascd.blogs.com/maine_ascd_weblog/
Maine Beerwriters Guild http://www.mainebeerwriters.org/
Maine Birds www.mainebirds.blogspot.com
Maine Food and Lifestyle www.blog.mainefoodandlifestyle.com
Maine Ghost Hunters www.maineghosthunters.blogspot.com
Maine Life www.mainelife.typepad.com
Maine Lives Large www.maineliveslarge.blogspot.com
Maine Nature Photos http://mainenaturephotos.blogspot.com/
Maine Outdoors Today www.maineoutdoorstoday.com/blog/
Maine Owl www.maineowl.net/blog
Maine Politics www.mainepolitics.net
Maine PR Maven www.maineprmaven.com
Maine Today Blogs (Network http://blogs.mainetoday.com/
Maine Web Report http://www.mainewebreport.com/
Marie In Maine's Whoopie Pies and Lobster http://marieinmaine.com/whoopiepiesandlobster
My Corner Of Maine www.maineliving.blogspot.com
News from Hawkhill Acres http://lillhawkins.com/
Portland Psst www.portlandpsst.blogspot.com
Red Sox State Of Maine www.redsoxstateofmaine.typepad.com
Sea Coast Eat Local www.blog.seacoasteatlocal.org
Season's Eatings Farm http://seasonseatingsfarm.wordpress.com/
SeevsPlave http://mcseavey.org/blog
Skinny Moose (Network) www.skinnymoose.com/network
Sometimes I Think http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink
Strange Maine www.strangemaine.blogspot.com
The 5 Moores www.thefivemoores.blogspot.com
The Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog http://www.jackmtn.com/simplog/
The Laundry Is Never Finished www.thelaundryisneverfinished.wordpress.com
The Mind Dance System Blog www.mainehypnocoach.blogspot.com
The Screaming Room www.marklaflamme.com/blog/
The Vigorous North http://vigorousnorth.blogspot.com/index.html
Turn Maine Blue www.turnmaineblue.com
Two Cents And A Thousand Words http://www.justinrussell.com/blog/
Unsweetened Tea www.homeness.blogspot.com
Useless Nexus http://uselessnexus.com/
Vacationland www.vacationlandmaine.blogspot.com
Wampum http://wampum.wabanaki.net/
Westbrook Diarist http://www.westbrookdiarist.blogspot.com/
Words Matter www.findingwords.blogspot.com

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13