You know that I am a rotten photographer. However, I see hope for the future, because of this post from 12Rivkasmom explaining how to get good pictures of your crafts. Next time I have a craft to take a picture of, I’m going to follow such of her instructions as don’t require any skill or special equipment.

In the meantime, I’m offering you pictures of my walk in the snow.

Yes, I do consider that snow.

Since I feel sure that you’re asking, those of you who live in snowy climes.

See how snowlike the path looks where it passes over the creek?

In fact, it was actually snowing while I was walking. Again, some of you wouldn’t count it as snow, but there were snowflakes in the air.

Before I Overcame Agoraphobia, I would never have driven out in this weather, for fear that it would suddenly become the Icy Road of Death, but in fact I drove to the bank yesterday and thence to the walking trail, and walked along thinking not about how I was going to die in the snow, but about how best to help the benefits management client I’m supposed to start doing SEO for any day now.

12She wrote to The Computer Guy complaining about her search results, and asking whether he couldn’t find someone to help her. I get plaintive letters like that from people hoping I can help them find a kindly web engineer, and I pass them along to him, so of course he’s passing this along to me. Particularly since it hasn’t been two weeks since I said to him, “You know Agent So and So is invisible, right?”

I got her strategy all worked out as I trudged along, freezing my nose. 

Then I went home to blog, and to do a little linkbuilding and send my Dark Art clients some assorted advice and encouragement. I had just gotten off of oDesk, where I was doing the third or possibly fourth set of blog posts for the day, when I had an instant messenger interview with a finance/tech guy who needs a blogger, and I had just finished a pleasant conversation with him, resulting in an hour’s worth of blogging on high finance to see how he likes my product, when I heard from a guy who wants articles written on drugs, offering me the same kind of opportunity to show my skills. I would love a couple more regular blogging gigs, though neither finance tech nor addiction prevention is a topic on which I’m already knowledgeable. Clearly, I will need to learn things.

I IMed #2 daughter in hopes that she knew more than I, what with her new job in the financial sector, and while she didn’t, she did suggest that I contact Blessing. This was excellent advice. Blessing came right back with all kinds of useful stuff. When I mentioned the specific audience the new guy speaks to, she said, “Oh, rich people. Well of course we don’t know anything about that.”

However, I think there could be benefits to specializing in the problems of the rich.

I also had a courteous email reminder of my upcoming encyclopedia deadline and a request for contact info for a website (hard to believe that I missed that), followed by a distressed email with eight question marks from a student who was expecting me to email her grade to her. I had probably agreed to do that, too, back on Tuesday as I cleaned the boards and took a phone call from #2 daughter12 who, you may recall, got a job offer as she drove down to see us. So if I agreed to do that, then I forgot.

In addition to those snowy human and dog footprints above, there were also snowy  bird footprints here, where I stopped to tie my shoe.

Yes, I’m still a rotten photographer.

After I had gotten through all the thrills of the day, I sat down with my sons and played Pictionary Man, a weird game combining Pictionary with Catchphrase, using an electronic doll with wipe-off markers and props. It was sent to me by the nice people at Amazon Vine for review, so we couldn’t very well wait around till the next Family Game Night. There were only three of us playing, so the whole teams thing didn’t work out so well, and the boys kind of spent the whole time making fun of me, but the game was still fun. And I’d like it to be known that I did in fact get “Shaquille O’Neal” across with my pantomime of basketball playing, even if it was basically just a matter of one boy saying to the other, “Okay, just name all the basketball players Mom has heard of. Michael Jordan? Shaquille O’Neal?”

With the game ended and the Turtle Dove bars sampled, #2 son checked his email and found that he has been accepted to the local university. Yes, they tell students this momentous news by email now. In another year, they’ll just poke them at Facebook.

The song for today really has to be “Carol of the Bells,” a tune which #1 son calls “The Death March of the Bells.” It is a sort of fiendish Christmas carol, if you can imagine such a thing. There’s an insistent repetitive line throughout, overlain with highly dramatic bits that go so fast it’s hard to get the words in. Here’s a rendition on acoustic guitar which I found very impressive. If you have a guitar quintet lounging around the house, get the sheet music here.You can sing this to yourself while you race around madly. That’s what I plan to do today, what with class this morning and continued pro blogging and the necessity of learning more about what rules-based expert systems can do for hedge fund managers, a topic I’ve never before thought about a whole lot, and the encyclopedia deadline looming…

12 Actually, there’s very little physical racing around involved here. I have to drive up to the Next County, but then I’ll be coming home and racing from one place to another virtually, not physically. However, yesterday I did four  hours of billable work, my goal, and then had another six of applying for things, writing my own blogs, responding to client emails and phone calls, and doing research. I ended up with four new assignments, so I’m not complaining, but I’m thinking that my goal — working for only 40 hours a week and getting paid for half of them — may be slightly unrealistic. Some freelancers just look at what they earn each day, divide it by the number of hours they work, and determine from that whether they are satisfied with their hourly rate or need to give themselves a raise. I’ve been thinking I could be more efficient about my unbillable hours; however, there are humans involved. I don’t want to become one of those unresponsive computer guys, nor one of those who hits the Toggl every time the email bell rings, but all this human interaction does cut into the billable hours. And I do want to — indeed, have to –spend some of that time increasing my skills.

Probably all of these things will work themselves out over time. Speaking of which, I probably should do some sort of Christmas preparation. A little decorating, maybe…