Julie's Web Journal

More natterings than you can shake a stick at! Est. 2002

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

It's The Big Year-End Wrap-Up!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Well, 2021 was a year. 

Oh, you want more, do you?

This will very likely be the first business year that I have not turned a profit. We're talking 30+ years, so on one hand, it's a good track record. On the other, I can't help but be disappointed. I know. I shouldn't be. It's a let-down at the very least, considering how hard I've been pushing to make a go of things.

But 2021 was an odd year in so many respects.

In the end, I'm just exhausted. And yet, I have so far managed to escape COVID or other serious illness. The worst I felt this year was the few days after my booster shot. And hey, that meant all my little nanobots in my system were busy producing antibodies. (Why yes, I *am* joking about the nanobots.) I've even managed to drop a few pounds.

And speaking of escapes, we bought a new car. This is a long story involving a red light-runner, supply chain issues, and an amazingly decent insurance payout. We now have a 2021 Escape hybrid. It's a nice car and gets good mileage. I hope it's something we can hold on to for a long time, which had been the plan for the previous car.

Of course, the accident happened right at the most stressful time of the year for me, the time leading up to FenCon. That was my only in-person con, and since I'm on the committee and we had some staff back out for mostly health-related reasons, it put a lot of work on just a few of us. The con was a success, though, and not a spreader event. Yay for that.

I sent some stuff to ArmadilloCon's Art Show. I'd love to go down there sometime when I'm not vending and can hang out. 

But the stress this year was horrible, which is one reason I'm a little more sanguine about the business loss. It's not a lot. 

I'm working on some things for 2021, and I hope to grow my YouTube channel and see if I can find alternative sources of revenue. We'll see what happens there.

If you've followed me through this year, thank you! See you on the other side. 

Happy New Year!

Filed under: Year End            
12/30/2021 5:27:21 PM

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Meowy Catmas!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

At last! The Catmas Card!

You can find all of our cards at the link above.

Filed under: Cats   Catmas   Pictures      
12/16/2021 12:10:29 PM


Today's Experiment

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

I'm planning to spend the rest of the year learning some new techniques. Today I played around with cyanotypes.

This is my first print! I'm fairly happy with it. I think tomorrow there might be a bit more definition in the print. We shall see. 

This was a challenge because the sky was clouding over. I should have made a test print, but I didn't bother because of the variable sun levels. With that in mind, I'm really happy with this.

I hope to experiment with negatives tomorrow.


Filed under: Pictures   Cyanotypes         
10/20/2021 10:01:11 PM


Monday Mumblings Has a Sinus Explosion

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

It's a no-pollen day here, but my sinuses are calling fake news. 

You read the first part right. A zero pollen day in North Texas. There's still a fairly significant fungus count, which is probably the thing that's making the sinuses go crazy. I shall spare you the description of the crazy. You're welcome.

Had a good - if kind of crazy - weekend. Paul took Friday off (so no entry here) and we took Daenerys to the vet for a med checkup. She's probably going to be on allergy meds for the rest of her life. Expensive allergy meds, so we get them from a mail order pharmacy. The vet wanted to see her before he renewed the prescription. Never mind that she was in for her annual over the summer. They had to do a blood draw, and I guess that was a messy experience all around. We just know she was brought back wet (they had to clean her up) and she shed enough hair to give the employee who did the draw a nice coat. It was hard to tell her scrub was blue. I guess the cat really threw a fit. We were told she lived up to her name.

Went out for Tex-Mex at our favorite place. Yum!

Spent a bunch of time trolling Archive.org for documents relating to a couple of projects. Yes, I know about the lawsuit, but this was the New York Public Library collection they host, and everything was out of copyright. Fair game.

I have family business tomorrow, so I'll probably not be posting.

Time go to dynamite my sinuses again.

Filed under: Monday Mumblings   Life         
10/18/2021 3:10:16 PM


Threading the Domestic 153 Sewing Machine

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

I have this beast of a post-war sewing machine that used to belong to Paul's mother. The Domestic 153 is made of cast iron and sews like a dream. It's pretty much my "go-to" machine for heavy duty sewing. It's not so easy to thread, though.

Today I put together a video on how to thread it. It's not what we're used to doing with modern machines, but once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad:

Enjoy. And please like and subscribe if you find my content useful.

Filed under: Video            
10/12/2021 2:34:34 PM


This Would Kill Me

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Cats are such contortionists.


Filed under: Pictures   Cats         
10/9/2021 5:24:47 PM


More Journal Housekeeping Stuff

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Yes, I suspect only two people (if that many) might be interested in the nuts and bolts of what goes on under the virtual hood, but I need to document this to some extent.

Latest updates include a small typography change and (finally!) the ability to turn off comments to a post. Spambots love to ferret out old posts and leave comments in hopes that the blog owner won't notice. I've also noticed that when one old post gets a spam comment that it tends to get more. So, turning off the ability to leave comments makes sense. I'm sure there are tweaks that will need to be made, but I'll figure it out.

I'm also looking at redoing the Nostalgia section, but that's going to involve scanning in all of the images again. That's going to be a lot of work. Back when I started this project the prevailing belief was that we'd never need images larger than 400 pixels on a side! Why, anything larger is just madness! Think of the pixels being jammed through those narrow tubes!

Things do change. Some of the images won't benefit from a rescan, but others will. I'll have to go in and evaluate each one. That will take some time, meaning this is a long-term project.

Aaand I have an email to answer. The work never ends, even on a Saturday.

Filed under: Housekeeping            
10/9/2021 4:37:00 PM


Macro Catnip

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Hanging out on the patio, enjoying the breeze.


Filed under: Pictures            
10/8/2021 2:13:33 PM

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The Year of Saying "No"

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

This is difficult to write, so I'll just jump into it.

I am exhausted. I am overwhelmed. 

This started before the pandemic, and now that we're (maybe) finally looking at a return to something approaching normal, I can work on getting things together.

I've let people run over me for too long, and it's going to stop. Now. I'm no longer going to be the dumping ground for people who need the time to get their hair done, have an extra meal with their friends, or manage their third or fourth income stream. I'm having a tough time managing one stream because I can't say no. 

The buck stops here. Now.

I'm embarking on a year-long program of saying "no" when it's appropriate, because there are so many things I want to say "yes" to. Like having a life. Like getting an income stream going again. Like getting some freaking respect.

This is on me, and I'm taking charge. Comments are closed.

Filed under: Life            
10/8/2021 9:24:23 AM


How You Can Prevent the Spread of Misinformation on Social Media

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Hey, it's easy to sit back and read the reports of Facebook profiting on misinformation and our sense of outrage, shrug our shoulders, and say "so what?" 

Are the profiting? Are they promoting it? I haven't seen solid proof. Yet, my timelines are filled with misinformation. Where does it come from? My friends, who share.

Hey, I love y'all, which is why I'm being tough and demanding you take responsibility for what you share.

"Seems legit" isn't enough. Where did that statistic come from? Who made that chart, and where did they get their information? Did that politician or celebrity really say that? If they did, does the context support the bit quoted? Is the statistic correct, but the picture misleading? Was that photo showing a large (or small) crowd really taken at a particular event?

If you can't verify it, don't share it. That's all I'm asking. Yes, that takes work, and it may send you down a rabbit hole or two, but it's worth it. Some of these posts are depending at your sense or outrage or some other emotion to just share. 

There could be a reason no one is sharing. Maybe Facebook took down the picture of that disabled child because it accompanied a screed attacking 
them personally or disabled kids in general. Or maybe the parents asked for the picture to be taken down. Maybe that child has since passed and its painful for their family to see that picture over and over, being used in a game of "game the algorithm." But those parents posted the picture in the first place! Did they? Did a well-meaning relative do it? I don't know about you, but that's a deeper rabbit hole than I want to go down. It's better to not share.

Which reminds me, it's not National Black Cat Day is it? Seems to be every week. Of course, it isn't, but that's an excuse to share a picture of Midnight, the black cat who lived with us for eighteen years. She was a sweetie.


Now go forth and vet!

Filed under: Misinformation   Social Media         
10/6/2021 4:09:51 PM

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