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Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 04:07 PM PST

Starting a Massage Business

by Renee

Hey fellow Kossians,

I'm (finally) getting through the divorce misery that has been such a large part of the past few years. I have been a stay at home mom all this time, but I need to start earning money now. I am a massage therapist with 700 hours of massage education, and I live in a major metropolitan area. I am hoping that some of you might have good suggestions on marketing my massage. I would be so happy with 10 massages a week to start so that is my first goal. I know this means I will need at least 80 contacts/potential clients because I need 40 massages a month. Realistically I  need more than 80 but again, that is my first goal. Here is the stuff I am doing so far.

I want to do massage in client's homes, so I need to have a strategy that bears in mind I want to be working on people who have been referred by acquaintances. I sent my contact info out to all my friends. I have given sample massages to several yoga studio owners and I have a deal with them that I will pay $25 for each new client I get from them. My referral deal for non-studio clients is a free massage for every 5 new referrals. I am charging $90 for an hour and a half which is a very reasonable price. I am co-branding with a yoga teacher friend, and we are putting together a yoga teacher training program in which I am responsible for the anatomy teaching.

Also, I am publicizing my services at the local Aquarium I volunteer at. I have several pilates and yoga classes I am attending weekly to network. It looks like I'm going to get stronger on this journey!

I am coming up short with what sort of organizations or clubs I might join in order to meet new potential clients. I would love any suggestions you have for me.


Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 07:20 PM PST

You Know Who You Are ~Thank You!

by Renee

Yesterday was a rough day. I'm going through a divorce and I've been a stay at home mom for a long time. I'm working to get my massage business going, but I'm prone to moments of paralyzing self-doubt. I am your classic one step forward two steps back sort of person.

I've been around these parts for a long time now. I love this place. A large part of my skill in persuasive political discourse was formed right here. But I have never felt comfortable spending the money to be a subscriber. It always seemed like I could better spend that money somewhere else.

Still, when I read that lifetime subscriptions were going away I decided I was going to get one. I had myself all talked into it, why I deserved it and why it would be good to contribute to the site expansion. Except that I kept putting it off day by day.

And then yesterday rolled around. I spent the first half of the day fighting with my co-divorcer. I spent the next part of the day being a cranky jerk to the kids and everyone else anywhere near me. I got discouraged and told myself that I wasn't going to subscribe because there were too many other things I needed to spend that money on. Responsibilities. By bedtime the kids were looking at me so reproachfully that I finally slowed down enough to realize I needed to talk to them and apologize. I asked them to come sit down with me and while I was waiting for them I checked my email.

To my complete surprise, I had an email from saying that one of you wonderful people paid for a lifetime subscription! I never said anything to anyone about wanting one!

You know when your kids are little and you aren't getting enough sleep and you are in the grocery store and the toddlers start bickering and you lose it and say some cranky thing and a stranger (usually a grandmother type) steps in says something warm and nice and you remember you are dealing with tiny people who own your heart and you take a breath and act better? It was like that, Kossaks. One of you guys gave me that very nice reminder that we are all in this together. Dudes. I'm crying now, but they are happy tears.

So thank you anonymous benefactor, thank you so very much. You gave me the feeling of community and support.


I got a text about 15 minutes ago from an Occupy Long Beach member that said a group called Youth Justice Coalition has "liberated the abandoned Hyde Park Library at 6527 Crenshaw Blvd. The police have us surrounded."

I did a little checking and I found a story timestamped an hour ago that gives a little more detail on what is happening.

An attempt to clean a library in South Los Angeles has gone awry.

The Youth Justice Coalition had planned a cleanup of the former Hyde Park Library, 6527 Crenshaw Blvd, that started today and was going to last until Friday said Kurti Parekh, program coordinator for the group.

But at 9 a.m. LAPD officers arrived at the library and said the group does not have permission to be there, said Sara Faden of the LAPD.

Faden said the group was not planning to clean up the building but rather "occupy the building for demonstration purposes."

As of noon, police were still on the scene with members of the coalition. No arrests had been but Faden indicated that arrests for trespassing or an official order to disperse could come if the incident continues.

I think the best way to follow this right now is to search #Occupyla and hyde on twitter. It looks like Cross_X_Bones is trying to go livestream it. As always, the more people watching the safer everyone will be.

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Mon Dec 05, 2011 at 10:57 PM PST

Occupy Long Beach Needs Ustream Monitors!

by Renee

The City of Long Beach is going after the Occupy group with a demand that they leave the site by 10PM. It's after that now, and the police have just given them the code they are supposedly violating. It is code 14.04.040 However, as far as OLB knows, they are legal under a different code for Exceptions for Special Events. The code number is 5.60.030

In addition to this, the City Council meets tomorrow and OLB is on the agenda. This is one more example of the Police acting in advance of OLB's attempts to address their grievances at the City level.

Right now, not much is happening, but please open a tab and live stream the OLB feed. We need as many people as possible to bear witness. Even if you aren't watching, please let it run in the background. The occupiers are monitoring the number of viewers and announcing it.

Currently there is a soccer game being played in the park, while they wait to see what is going to happen. People think the police will move in later. That has certainly been a pattern with them.

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Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM PST

Dark Side of the Law

by Renee

After seeing a few photoshopped images I did a Google image search on "pepper spray guy". Here are a few of the images my smart assed fellow humans have put together.








I found these images mainly from Dangerous Minds which goes on to say:

A meme is born. Lieutenant John Pike is suddenly everywhere at once - waddling through time and space with his little red can of pepper-spray.

Ridicule can be an effective revolutionary tool. But the cops still have the firepower so we can’t stop taking them seriously. But for the time being, this is some hilarious shit.

Sometimes it takes a shift in perception to show people just how outrageous some societally sanctioned behavior really is. Let's help this one spread.


Because I am completely outraged about the situation in South Dakota that has been diaried by Meteor Blades here, I followed up on the actions suggested by Daniel Sheehan in his excellent action diary. Laura Sullivan has a piece on this at NPR called Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families. Every single person should listen to that story. Native children are being kidnapped from their families and being put into white foster care. The state of South Dakota is paid more by the federal government for fostering Indian children and a lot of these kids are being taken under questionable circumstances. The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 says that Indian children must be fostered by Indian Foster Care wherever possible. But there are Native American foster care providers and family members that are not being given the chance to care for these kids. If the kids are not placed with a relative or tribal member, there is no way for family to sue the federal court to force compliance with the law. The links explain this outrageous and heartbreaking situation better than I have and I hope you will go read and listen.

On Thursday when I dialed Senator Daniel Akaka's office and referenced the Indian Child Welfare Act I was immediately forwarded to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs number. I was irritated by that since I had called to speak to Senator Akaka's staff directly. I called his office again.

The same staffer sounded irritated this time when I made it clear I wanted to leave a message with that office. She told me I was "wasting my time" calling him directly. That they didn't have anything to do with the Committee on Indian Affairs. I clarified that Senator Akaka is the chair of that committee. Yes, the staffer told me, and then went on to explain that that is committee business and that I had the wrong number. She was dismissive in tone, and this irritated me. So I restated her assertion that I was wasting my time calling the Senator directly. She agreed again. I asked her if she had a problem with my publicizing that. Nope.

Several commenters suggested I write a diary about this. As Aji said:

Does anyone here think for one solitary moment that, if he were called by defense or banking lobbyists, one of his staffers would tell the caller that "it's a waste of time" to call him directly and s/he should instead call the Committee staff line?

And, no, I don't care if it was a rogue staffer too full of himself.  It's Akaka's job to keep him in line, not to be an embarrassment to his boss and an obstacle to constituents.

Sadly, I did not get the female staffer's name. But it doesn't really matter who did this, it should be an embarrassment to Senator Akaka. If you agree with me, please flood Senator Akaka's office with phone calls and emails.

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Chair of United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs:
(202) 224-6361

While you are on the phone, please advocate for the Lakota families who are being so horribly wronged.


Fri Oct 21, 2011 at 09:56 AM PDT

Open Letter to the City of Long Beach

by Renee

Last night I was dropping someone off in front of Occupy Long Beach. There is a bus cutout in the sidewalk there. It is painted red. People who bring food for the homeless population who lives here used to use that cut out to park their cars while they dropped off food until it was painted red.

I sat in a meeting with the Assistant City Manager, the Deputy Police Chief and various other officials on Thursday. We were attempting to negotiate the ability to leave our Occupy site in the park 24 hours a day. We failed in that attempt, but at the end of the meeting one of our team asked if we could use that cutout for picking up and dropping off. City representatives agreed that we could do that.

As my friend was getting out of the car, an officer on bike came up to my window. He surprised me because I didn't hear him coming. He ordered me to move my car. His face was full of harsh judgement. I said that I was under the impression that we were allowed to use the cutout for drop offs. He demanded to know if I saw the red curb. "Respect the laws!", he said to me.

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Tue Oct 18, 2011 at 12:38 PM PDT

Long Beach CA Needs Your Stories

by Renee

As part of Occupy Long Beach's media outreach I am collecting stories about your experiences there with the police or city council members. I spoke to a few members of the homeless population in Long Beach today and I will be writing a diary about their stories here.

In my personal opinion, one of the most powerful tools we have as citizens who want change are the individual stories of our experiences with our elected representatives and paid city employees. Our experiences either tell the story of being represented by our officials or being repressed by them. Where there is repression, we have the power to shine a light on it.

My sense of things from talking to the community is that the way we are starting to use media is our biggest strength. Instead of worrying whether we get a story in the corporate media or not, we can use our connections to spread the story from one group of friends to another group. Because we can do this with social media, it can go faster and farther than it has in the past. I think the people who sympathize with the Occupy movement but who are uncomfortable staying out in the encampments (I have trouble with this word as it is currently being used by the city of Long Beach to deny us our first amendment rights to assembly which to my understanding has no time limit attached, but I'm going to use it anyway) might be willing to work with us in this way. This is the people's light. This is the way we take our rightful power back.

I want to be clear here that I am working on this with a small group of Occupy Long Beach members. When we have a proposal of action we will go to the GA and get group approval for our action. Right now I am only collecting stories and leads to follow up on. You can either post comments to this diary or you can email me at the email address you find on my DK user page. Thank you for your help.


Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 11:24 AM PDT

Occupy Long Beach Arrests

by Renee

Occupy Long Beach has been occupying the sidewalk next to Lincoln Park since Saturday. We have been told that the city will not allow tents or protesters in the park after 10pm.


Last night at Lincoln Park in Long Beach California, five wonderful protesters refused to leave the grass when the park closed for the day. They sat inside tents while the police used a loudspeaker to tell us the park was closed and that anyone on the grass or in the tent was in violation. I didn't have the courage to do what they did, and I'm so grateful for their sacrifice. Of the five peaceful protesters, one was a retiree and one was 17 years old. We didn't realize he was 17, but many of us agree he has a strong voice and we are glad he is on our side. I was told by the first protester to be cited that the police were kind in the way they handled him and it looks like they were with the three other protesters too.

We have video of the last three arrests up on YouTube. The second arrest starts at 4:37 and the third starts at 7:40. One protester chose to leave the tent before the police began processing protesters. The first and second protesters were given citations, and the third and fourth were arrested. The third man is still currently being detained. His bail has been set at $10,000. We were told he will be arraigned on Tuesday morning. The fourth protester was released into his parent's custody last night.

The police left us alone for the rest of the night, except for asking us to clear part of the sidewalk a few hours after the arrests. This was a pleasant change from the previous night when the strategy was to not allow us to sleep.

Long Beach is a very different political situation than LA. We do not have city council backing us in a significant way so far. We are all going to the city council meeting on Tuesday night, and we continue to negotiate with the city. If you want to help please call George Chapjian, Director of Parks Recreation and Marine. His contact information is (562) 570-3170 or e-mail george.chapjian@ He has the power to allow tents in Lincoln Park. We would appreciate calls to him asking his to allow tents and to change the hours of operation of the park to 24 hours.

The Port of Long Beach is the second busiest seaport in the country. The City of Long Beach as spent in excess of $750 million public dollars into its downtown tourism industry since the early 1980s. There is a Hyatt Regency very near Lincoln Park, and the worker's union at the Hyatt has been very involved in the struggle to gain living wages for hotel workers. Occupy Long Beach is not getting a lot of attention yet but we have many dedicated activists, and many people in Long Beach feel that it is time there was more transparency and responsiveness to citizen concerns.

You can get updates on our Facebook Page and @OccupyLB. Later today we will be posting a food and other needs list on Facebook.

As a personal aside, I think that picture of Jonah wearing a suit and resisting arrest in a peaceful non-violent way should go viral. He is a courageous high school student out there speaking truth to power.


Sun Oct 16, 2011 at 05:08 PM PDT

The One Percent vs Occupy Long Beach

by Renee

Jamie Johnson who is an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, used his family positions to make a documentary about the very percent we are all struggling to continue to bring back into economic balance with the rest of us. Here is why he did it.

YouTube has it in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 parts. (via)

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Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM PDT

Occupy Long Beach: Where I've Been

by Renee

This is short and sweet, but I feel like I need to check in with a few people on DK.

I have been helping with Occupy Long Beach for a few weeks now, and it has gotten busy enough that I'm barely able to check in and rec a few diaries and then leave again. I'm glad you guys are on here writing and organizing and spreading the word, and I know that if we need you to you will let people know what is going on with Long Beach's Occupation.

We are occupying Lincoln Park in Long Beach, the oldest park in the city. It's right next to city hall. I've never been this involved in a movement before and I'm meeting incredible people and having fun. At the same time though, the city has posted signs in Lincoln Park this morning stating the ordinances against gathering after 10pm. We have a rally planned at 9:30 tonight and we are going to read the first amendment. We need all the people we can get down here, and we need people talking about us. The fastest place to get information on what is happening is our facebook page. We are on Twitter @OccupyLB

When I started reading DK I had  no idea that I would someday feel empowered enough to stand with a bunch of people I didn't know that well in downtown Long Beach because something fucking has to change now. I was a mom with young kids and that took a lot of my time. I have used this site and all of you to learn to communicate more clearly, to learn about the issues. Everybody knows the internet has opened things up, but now is when we are going to see how much it has. I'm so proud of us all for getting behind Occupy and starting to exercise our rights. It's waking people up.


I propose that anyone who has an interest in contributing research to help the OWS group move their vision forward join this working group. If you want to be part of OWS but are too far away to join in this could be the group for you.

Right now, we have Charlie Grapski's request for help. (See below) As we continue to post diaries, we will probably get other requests. I would like this to be a clearing house where people can go to find something to do to help. Many hands make light work.

The first list of things we can do to help is below the fold.

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