Amazon Mturk

I wish I had had started to work on  Amazon’s Mturk  platform much earlier.   It is perfect for me as I have good days, bad days and days I need help to just make it to the bathroom.  The latter are usually after I have yet again passed out and fallen (neurological) and gotten a new spinal or leg fracture.  Even on my good days, there is a definite limit to how long I can be productive before I start to have problems.  Needless to say that makes it impossible for me to work a standard job.  

Mturk allows me to work anytime of the day or night when and for as long as I feel able to do so.   My only commitment* is for the duration of the “hit” that I have accepted.   Some hits can take a few hours but those are very rare.  Many take only a few minutes and those are the ones I chose the most.      I don’t make a lot of money per hit in general but it adds up over time. 

*Note that for the first ten days on Mturk, you need to do at least one hit a day but after that you can work or not work as you chose each day.

Since January 2018, I have made $372.07 working on Mturk between pay and bonuses.    That is, of course, not remotely a living wage but it is definitely helping us in our combined goals of stopping living paycheck to paycheck and getting completely out of debt.    The thing that matters the most to me about it though is that I feel like I can finally contribute something (in addition to being caretaker/homemaker).

There is a learning curve to Mturk but Jamey has helped me with it as it is very important to be careful which hits you chose so that you get as few rejections as possible.   I am grateful to the many folks who put reviews on Turkopticon and create things like Hitscraper that alert me right away which requesters to stay away from because they have a history of unfairly rejecting hits so that they don’t have to pay for the work that the “Turkers” have done for them.   There are a lot of fantastic requesters out on Mturk too though and Hitscraper lets you mark your favorites making their hits easy to spot.

If you are interested in Mturk there are many good YouTube videos available on it and an active Reddit community for it.  I began my Mturk journey by following  Mturk Guide as I find her videos clear and easy to follow.   From there, I began to branch out to videos by other posters to learn more about different aspects of Mturk.

I have found the best thing to do is have multiple small income streams of this type.  My next post will be about Usability Hub.    I earn far less from Usability Hub than from Mturk but each of the income streams I am doing are ones that can be done when I am able to do so and that is what matters the most to me.

 

Journeying to Financial Freedom

We have been having a lot of discussions on what to do with our blog as our focus has been changing since I started to regularly listen to Dave Ramsey.   Don’t get me wrong, my gratitude practice still is, and I expect, always will be a part of my daily life.   Thus our domain name will remain wearegratefulfor.

What has changed is that we have gotten serious about taking control of our finances.  We are now keeping a monthly budget using Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar and we are working on building our $1000 emergency savings for baby step 1 and looking forward to starting baby step 2, during which we will pay off all of our debt.

Thus moving forward in this blog, we will be writing about our journey to financial freedom in addition to occasional posts about what our cats are doing and other things going on in our lives.   Since this is a gratitude blog, we will talk about those who we are grateful to for helping us on our journey in various ways ranging from providing us with educational materials to inspiring us with their journey to the income streams we are using to help us build savings and pay off debt.

We hope that others who are on this debt free journey will find our blog and we can support and inspire each other.

I need to add one final note to this post.  One of the things that made me decide to keep this blog is that my brother had left comments on it.  My brother passed away on February 7, 2018.   I could not delete the blog with his comments on it so this will remain both as a record of our journey going forward and a tribute to my brother.

Thank you to our neighbor

We were quite surprised to find almost 5 inches of snow on our car this morning.    There is no way that Jamey (in his wheelchair) could have cleared that off so that he could go to work.    I went out to do so and am very grateful to our neighbor who came out to help as the top of our car is over my head.

Our cats reaction to their first snow

Our cats have lived in Louisiana all of their young lives and had no idea what the strange white stuff was.    Johnny’s reaction, after taking one look out the window and seeing snow for the first time, was to get as close to Jamey as she could to seek comfort.    Night sat in the window and watched in perplexity as I went out (about 4:30 AM) to take pictures.

Our cats reactions to seeing their first snow
Our cats reactions to seeing their first snow

25 pounds lost

Today I am not only grateful for but celebrating a 25 pound weight loss.   I had gotten up to 145.2 pounds which is way too heavy for someone as small as me.   My weight today read 120.2 pounds.

I was so happy that I danced while gathering towels together for a load of laundry.    (Sorry no picture of that as only the cats were home with me at the time.)

 

Today I am celebrating a 25 pound weight loss.
Today I am celebrating a 25 pound weight loss.

 

My next goal is to reach 117 pounds as that will mean I will have lost 20% of my body weight.    I hope to slowly get down to at least 100 pounds but for today I am thrilled to have lost 25 pounds.

I plan to primarily stick with the Eat to Live Nutritarian diet (which does allow up to a 10% “cheat”) and continue to work on slowly increasing my daily activity level.    I know the weight loss will continue to slow down as I lose more weight.   That’s fine as long as the weight continues to come off.

 

 

Crossword Puzzle

Some health issues are slowing me down so I have been turning my desktop on only a few times a week and then often only for essential things such as budget and bills.    I hope to experiment with doing blog posts on my Chromebook, if I can find a way to create images on it.   My Chromebook is easier for me to use than my desktop computer, so if that works I can try to go back to almost daily blog posts. 

I am on my desktop today.   Since that is where my graphics software resides, I wanted to get a quick blog post up.

When not on our computers, Jamey and I share various activities from reading out loud to each other to doing crossword puzzles together.   (We used to do jigsaw puzzles together before Johnny came into our lives but to put one out now would be asking for trouble as it is an absolute certainty that she would see it as a new cat toy.)

We enjoy working crossword puzzles together
We enjoy working crossword puzzles together

Since I am a decade older than Jamey, it is fun to do crossword puzzles together as we often find that we fill in the gaps well in each other’s knowledge on some topics.   On others, such as modern entertainers, movies and TV shows, I am almost completely clueless.    I love ones based on the 1960s or earlier though as Jamey and I both have a decent working knowledge of history.  The crossword above had a “hippie generation” theme.

So that is what I am grateful for today – non computer based activities that Jamey and I enjoy sharing.

 

The Magic of Simple Things

Sometimes it is the most common things that give me pleasure.  For example, a couple of nights ago I found myself chuckling when just as the country song I was listening to referenced the sound a train whistle, a real train started to go by blowing it’s whistle.

While I have been listening to country music since the 1970s (i.e, not an uncommon thing for me to do) and we hear train whistles multiple times a day where we live, the juxtaposition of the song lyric and actual train whistle struck me as funny.

 

We love country music.
We love country music.

And that is what I am grateful for today – the many time things like that happen.   Things which on their own are common ordinary every day things, but which come together at just the right time to add a bit of sparkle and laughter to our lives.

 

Lost 15% body weight

I have been silent for awhile as I am healing from injuries and not on my desktop much.   There is always a silver lining though.  While healing from injuries I tend to lose weight.  Between the injuries and my nutritarian diet, I have now lost 15% of my body weight.

During September 2017, I lost 7 pounds, which is 3 times as much as I have ever lost in a single month before.  As of today I am 123.2 which is a loss of 15% of my body weight and almost half-way to my goal of losing approximately 33% of my total body weight.

I am almost half-way to my weight loss goal of losing 33% of my total body weight.
I am almost half-way to my weight loss goal of losing 33% of my total body weight.

In addition to weight loss, another benefit of the Nutritarian Eat To Live way of eating is that it is getting me to try foods I have never eaten before.   That is making Jamey happy as some of them are southern vegetables that I have never had an interest in but that he has missed having including purple-eyed peas (I had never even heard of them before), collard greens, mustard greens and turnip greens. 

Jamey is, and likely always will be, a carnivore but this is at least increasing the variety of vegetables in his diet, so it is good for him, in addition to being good for me.

Jamey is glad to be getting his southern vegetables and I am happy to be getting more vegetables into him.
Jamey is glad to be getting his southern vegetables and I am happy to be getting more vegetables into him.

I am in two Nutritarian Facebook groups (Eat to Live Support Group and Nutritarian Women).   Between what I am seeing in them, on YouTube, on other websites and in Dr. Fuhrman’s writings, I strongly believe that the reason Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t add a “results not typical” disclaimer when he publishes results that people have obtained with the nutritarian diet (both weight loss and coming off of diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol medication) is that because for those who stick with the diet, the results are typical.  I am thrilled with my own weight loss and looking forward to seeing the results of my next fasting bloodwork (in November).

I am resting a lot and trying to get back on my feet so that I can get back to doing more than the absolutely necessary things needed to take care of Jamey and the cats.    As I continue to heal, I plan to get back back to posting on a more regular schedule and working on YouTube videos again as I still have a lot to learn about doing videos and the only way I will learn it it by doing them.

Hopefully by this weekend, we will also be back to our normal schedule with Jamey doing his Sunday posts.

In the meantime, I am grateful to the Nutritarian diet for the benefits I am seeing from it.

 

 

Superphoto

While healing from another back injury this past week, I have been mainly using only mobile devices rather than my desktop which is why there have been no blog posts.  

One of the things I did on one of my mobile devices (my Amazon Fire) is to have some fun with the Superphoto application.

I find it hard to get good pictures of Night since she is almost completely black.   I pulled a picture of her sitting next to a cat toy into the Superphoto app and came up the following ways of portraying my favorite black cat:

The Superphoto application allowed me to portray my favorite black cat, Night, in some creative ways.
The Superphoto application allowed me to portray my favorite black cat, Night, in some creative ways.

While at it, I snapped a picture of Jamey while he was on the phone with my surrogate Dad and had some fun with it.   Since Jamey is (by anyone’s definition of the word) a Geek and proud of it, I used a Rubik’s Cube as the backdrop for his photo.

my favorite Geek on a Rubik's Cube
my favorite Geek on a Rubik’s Cube

So today, while I am still recovering from my most recent back injury*, I am grateful for my mobile devices and the many things I can do with them when I am not up to using my desktop computer.

Yes, today is Sunday and should be Jamey’s day to post but he is asleep and I have not posted all week so I am posting today instead.  I am including the Jamey’s post tag on this one even though I am writing it as it features a picture of him and talks about why he is not doing one today.

*Due to my osteogenesis imperfecta, my spinal column is collapsing (which is why I am down to 4’6″) and I am very susceptible to back injuries.  

If you would like to read our (almost) daily gratitude posts, please see the follow us options on the left side of the post.  If you are using a mobile device, please click the three lines at the top right to see the options for following us.   Thank you very much.

 

Johnny’s newest bed

Yesterday I wrote about Johnny’s penchant for sleeping inside of my night stand and knocking the few books I keep in there out unto the floor so that she could spread out.   Last night, I came up with a solution.

When we got our new dryer a few weeks ago, we removed the “milk crates” that the old one had been resting on.   I had been trying to figure out what to do with them.     I realized that since there were two of them already tied together and fairly sturdy, I could use the top one for a book case for the few books that I keep in the bedroom and turn the bottom one into an additional cat bed.    

As the picture shows, Johnny approves.

Johnny has given the newest "cat bed" her seal of approval.
Johnny has given the newest “cat bed” her seal of approval.

So today’s gratitude is for repurposed items, especially ones that bathe more than one bird in the same bath.    (I always use a variation of the phrase “bathe more than one bird in a bath” rather than the common one regarding killing multiple birds with a stone as I firmly believe that given a choice in the matter, any bird would rather have a bath than be killed.)

If you would like to read our (almost) daily gratitude posts, please see the follow us options on the left side of the post.  If you are using a mobile device, please click the three lines at the top right to see the options for following us.   Thank you very much.

 

mongrosity

I have always loved words.   I especially love word play such as

  • alliteration (the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words, such as “She sells sea-shells down by the sea-shore”), 
  • onomatopoeia (the naming of a thing or action by a vocal emulation of the sound associated with it, such as babbling brook, buzzing bees, crackling fire) and 
  • portmanteaus (word blending the sound of two different words) such as slithy (slimy and lithe) in Jabberwocky).

We are in the United States but today is National Poetry Day in Britain.  Thus I based this post on a portmanteau as Lewis Carroll was a British poet and the person who coined this meaning of portmanteau.   (It had already been in use since the 1580’s to refer to a travelling case for clothes, etc.)

In Alice in Wonderland (1871), when Alice asks the meaning of the poem, “Jabberwocky,” Carroll has Humpty Dumpty explain:

Well, “slithy” means “lithe and slimy”. “Lithe” is the same as “active”. You see it’s like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word.

 

Portmanteaus are still used today, such as:
  • animatronic – animate and electronics
  • Bollywood – Bombay and Hollywood
  • brunch – breakfast and lunch
  • chocoholic – chocolate and alcholic
  • cyborg – cybernetic and organism
  • glamping – glamour and camping
  • infomercial – information and commercial 
  • internet – international and network
  • malware – malicious and software
  • modem – modulation and demodulation
  • smog – smoky and fog
  • telethon – television and marathon
  • workaholic – work and alcoholic

 

What is a mongrosity?

Mongrosity is a blending of “mongrol” and “monstrosity” and is my own portmanteau for our one year old cat’s (Johnny) antics at times.   Such as when I try to stop her from doing something that could be dangerous (such as chewing on charging cords) and she reacts by kicking off of some part of my body with her very sharp and powerful back claws so that I end up with a deep enough cut that I am left with a lasting scar.   I have several scars of that type from her.

It also applies to some of her other shenanigans such as when despite all of the cat beds in the house, she decides to sleep inside of my nightstand instead and in the process knock out the books I keep there because they are in her way.

With all the places she has to sleep, she chooses under my nightstand and knocks my books out to make room for herself.
With all the places she has to sleep, she chooses under my nightstand and knocks my books out to make room for herself.

Nonetheless, despite the surplus of new gray hairs we have both acquired since Johnny came into our lives, if we had it to do all over again knowing that we would get Johnny out of it, we would do so in a heartbeat.   She can definitely be a mongrosity at times but our lives (Jamey’s, Night’s and mine) are far richer for having her in them.   

So today’s gratitude is for unexpected blessings as when we initially trapped Johnny’s mother, we didn’t even know she was pregnant (or Feline Leukemia positive) and were just expecting to do a standard feral cat “trap-neuter-release” (after holding on to her long enough for her to heal from her spay first).   We were appalled when the vet said that not only was she pregnant, she was just a few days from delivery.    If we had not gone through that very stressful time, we would not have the blessing of Johnny today.   

If you would like to read our (almost) daily gratitude posts, please see the follow us options on the left side of the post.  If you are using a mobile device, please click the three lines at the top right to see the options for following us.   Thank you very much.