A New Start.

January looks to be an exciting month — there’s a lot goin’ on. On the 4th I attended a writing workshop over at Brooklyn Brainery; my initial goal was to instill more discipline into my writing practice, but during the workshop I realized the need to move beyond my usual journal scribblings and do regular exercises that revolve around actual topics. (My writer friends are probably shaking their heads at this point, but hey! I’m not at your level yet.) This update, in fact, is the result of one of my exercises.

This past Friday (the 9th) I joined a webinar from the good folks at Skillcrush. Thanks to previous courses with them, I have the knowhow to create and maintain this humble yet still fabulous website. The webinar was about aligning tech skills to a current passion and/or job expertise in order to make some serious dosh, providing examples of current & former students who did just that. I’m tempted by their Wordpress Blueprint…but I’ve already allocated money to bookkeeping courses to find work ASAP, and want to stay focused on that for the time being.

The webinar was half advert for the Blueprint series and half pep talk — but that latter half was a healing balm for my worried mind and weary heart. It reminded me that I DO have skills that people need (not just bookkeeping, but also proofreading and copyediting), and in order for them to find me I have to put myself out there. Which is scary – but that’s okay. There’s no shame in being scared. The trick is not to let fear stop me from moving forward.

I’m rather excited about the Save NYC meeting taking place on the 11th. There’ll be some discussion about the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which promotes fair and reasonable negotiations of commercial lease renewals for mom & pop businesses as well as ideas about keeping real NYC culture alive in the face of hypergentrification. Since the meeting will take place in a Polish restaurant on the Lower East Side, there’ll be some delicious food as well.

Still on the NYC tip, the 15th brings an evening lecture courtesy of Open House New York regarding the state of manufacturing throughout the city. I’ve been doing some research into this particular topic recently, and the lecture is free so why not go? Hopefully it isn’t just about hipsters and their artisanal fly-by-night trends, paid for with Daddy’s money (or VC money, which is essentially the same thing). Blue-collar, working class manufacturing labor is an important part of what makes NYC tick, and I’ll be pleased to see that reflected in the conversation.

As some of you may know, 2014 was a rough year for Casa Utherben when it came to computer equipment. Both my 12” laptop and my beloved Canon i9900 printer gave up the ghost, leaving me unable to do blog posts at the bar (not terribly important) or print out my annual Winter holiday cards (very important). But 2015 will be a better year! I recently purchased a new Canon Pixma on sale (thanks B&H!), and later this month I’ll be taking my old tech carcasses to an e-waste recycling event put on by the Lower East Side Ecology Center. There’ll be an event in every one of the 5 Boroughs, so if you’re local and you have old/broken electronics to get rid of, now’s the time to recycle ‘em.

Hope you’re all having a safe and happy January. Please don’t forget to check in on elderly or infirm neighbors when the temperature drops, and when shoveling snow – bend your knees!