Stupid germs

Hans / Pixabay

Thanks to my darling brother and his stupid germs, I’m down with a cold.  It’s all his fault and he claims it’s the first step in his evil plan.  So I’m writing him out of the will. Just in case.

So my glorious return to training is now much less glorious.  The last thing I wanted to do last night was run 7 miles of speedwork.  So instead I sat on the couch.  I feel like this was the smart decision.

As I said on Twitter yesterday, this is when you know you’re a runner (or a triathlete or whatever): when you’re clearly sick and need rest but also really want to get in that workout.  I know that I’ll get better much faster if I just rest up and make sure I get plenty of fluids.

Speedwork, I’m coming for you tonight.  I hope.

Can I Make a Living From My Blog?

MoneyShort answer?  No.  Very few bloggers actually make a living from their blogs anymore.  Did it happen in the past?  Sure, around 2009 or so, blogs were big business.  Advertisers were paying a ton of money.  But with the advent of ad blocking software (which I don’t use because they keep websites free) and other forms of advertising, the money just isn’t there anymore.

Can you make money blogging?  Sure.  But it’s not going to be a ton.  My goal is always to bring in enough income to keep my blog free.

Yes, that’s right.  My blog is not free for me to write.  What do I pay for?

  • webhosting
  • domain name
  • various plugin services

It’s not expensive. It probably comes to about $15 a month or so, but that adds up over the year.  Could I blog for free?  Absolutely.  There are some great blogging sites out there (Blogger, WordPress, even Tumblr) that let you blog for free.  But when you pay for your site, you get a lot more control.

How do I make money from my blog?  Well, there’s a banner ad off to the side, but that brings in pennies a day.  Most of the money comes from sponsored posts and product reviews.  You can tell those from the disclosure.  Sometimes I just do reviews of products I like, in which case I let you know.

But I’m picky about my paid posts.  I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who just shills for anything.  So I really try to only support products and companies that I like and use and would use regardless of my affiliation with them.  I’ve used Diet-to-Go meals on and off for years when my life gets crazy and I find myself eating frozen meals for every meal, for example.

Did I cover my costs for this blog last year?  Yes.  Not by a huge margin, but I did.  And the extra money I earned?  Went straight to my Team Fight fundraising.  I’m not in this for the money.  I write a blog because I want to.  It’s a great way for me to track my training and my life, and it’s fun.  I’ve met a lot of cool people through blogging and I’ve made a number of new friends.  It still shocks me when people recognize me through my blog, but I guess my hair does make me stand out a bit.

Either way, blogging is awesome.  Don’t get into it just because you want to make money.  Blog because you want to write.  I see so many new bloggers saying “Okay, how do I make money from this?”  That’s not the point.  And I think you will notice when a blogger tries to make a good chunk of money from their blog, one of two things happen.  The quality of their writing suffers and you stop reading or the blogger gets burned out and quits.  Neither of those is a path I want to follow.

photo by 401(K) 2012

2015 Reading Challenge

Book SnakeAs my mom (who I know reads these blog posts) will attest, I’ve always been a big reader.  Apparently, it’s what our family does.  I noticed a lot of people posting in December about how many books they read in 2014, and I realized I had absolutely no clue how many books I read.  A lot?

So when I saw that Goodreads was doing a 2015 Reading Challenge, I decided to participate.  It seemed like an easy way to keep track of what I was reading.  But then how many books should I pick?  I decided to go easy and I picked 52.  One book a week.  That’s easily doable, and allows for some longer books.

Last night, I finished my 7th book of the year.  Goodreads tells me that puts me 2 books ahead of schedule.  Go me!

But I can always use recommendations for books to read.  What have you read lately?  I’ll start.  I read The Martian based on everyone’s recommendation.  Based on the book blurb, I didn’t think it sounded all that great, but really, all of these people couldn’t be wrong.  They weren’t.  It was amazing.  Go read it.

Anyone else doing a book challenge this year?

Saving money and canceling cable

antennaOne of my goals this year is to save more money.  (And I hear every triathlete out there laughing.)  So last week, I made a big decision.

I cancelled my cable tv subscription.

Okay, so it’s not that big of a decision, but it sure felt big to me.  I’ve been thinking about canceling cable for a while now.  I realized that I really wasn’t using my cable subscription all that much.  I don’t watch a lot of TV.  Well, I take that back.  I watch a lot of TV, but it’s either on my computer while I’m getting ready for work or cooking dinner or it’s while I’m on the treadmill or trainer.  And when I’m actually watching something on the television itself, I’m using the DVR to catch up on a show that I recorded earlier.

Other than football season and New Year’s Eve, I’m not sure when I last watched live TV at home.

Since my blu-ray player gives me the ability to watch Netflix and Hulu Plus on my television, those replace a lot of what I was using the cable subscription for.  I can’t get every show that I love that way, but I can get a lot of them.  I lose a bunch of CBS shows, but I can watch them on my computer with no trouble through the CBS website.  And for other shows I lose (The Fosters, The Americans), I can try to buy them online if I want or just wait for the season to come out on DVD and rent it.  It’s not the end of the world.

My biggest worry about ditching cable was that I wouldn’t have local news if something big was going on and that I wouldn’t have Notre Dame football.  I knew about indoor antennas in theory, but figured they weren’t that great.  I had this vision of the awful antenna we had in college that had giant rabbit ears that had to be adjusted just so to get a halfway decent picture.

Oh, how wrong I was.  I did a little research, and not surprisingly, I live in an area with great over-the-air digital signal.  I chose an indoor antenna from Amazon.com that was reasonably priced and had good reviews, figuring that I could always utilize their return policy.  And it works great!  I get a bunch of channels.  I haven’t figured out what they all are yet, and yes, some are in Spanish and at least two appear to be shopping channels, but I do get the major networks.  Most importantly, I get NBC so I can get ND home games.  This is important to my life.

I’ll probably splurge on an Amazon Fire TV or something along those lines at some point.  The blu-ray player works for streaming shows, but it’s not ideal and doesn’t always respond the way it should.  And a Fire TV would be nice if I want to rent movies or buy episodes of shows to watch while I’m pounding out a ridiculous workout on the treadmill or spinning on the trainer.

I’ll check back in a few months from now to let you know how I feel about this decision.  Now to see where else I can save some money so I can buy more fun things for my bike.

Photo by mhiguera.

Time for a Drastic Haircut

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For the past two years, I’ve been growing my hair out with the intent to donate it.  My hair was longer than it had been in years.  And I’ll admit, it was fun to have super long hair.  There was a lot that I could do with it.  But that meant I was wearing it in a lot of braids because it was also a lot to deal with.  And wearing it up often gave me a headache.  Plus it didn’t fit in swim caps well and let me tell you, nothing makes an early, cold, swim workout even worse than having to constantly wrestle with your swim cap.

So it was time for a haircut.  A big chop.  And I was nervous.  I know, it’s just hair.  But I’m pretty much known for my hair.  People kept saying “It’s so pretty!  Don’t cut it.”  And it was tempting.  But then I remembered how annoying it was.  And how annoying it would be come summer.  Good lord, it would be annoying in the summer.

So I chopped it off.

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All bundled up, it doesn’t look like that much hair.  But trust me, it felt like a lot.

And the new cut?  I love it.  It is cute and fluffy and bouncy and the curls are free.  Super cute.  And yes, I can still pull it back for workouts.  This was required.

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Next up, I’m going to be shipping the hair off to Pantene Beautiful Lengths for someone else to deal with.  It’s kind of tragic that I know they dye it all to make it into a wig, but hey, it’s just hair that I don’t want.  At least someone can use it.