Things are generally going well and picked up after I pulled myself out of a funk in December.
I jokingly said to friends that I had finally “arrived” – when Snopes wrote an article attempting to discredit my work … and that was the push I needed to start blogging again.
As a result of the Snopes article and my response, my site had more than 11,000 unique hits in December and has already passed 29,000 for January! (See graphic below!) I’m officially “back in the saddle again” – in spite of (or perhaps because of?) all of the crazy that has transpired in my world in the last year!
In response to this transition, many of you have asked how you can help and what I need.
I truly appreciate the offer to help, and so I wanted to create a post where I could share some specifics (in case someone out there is in a position to help with any one of these specific things!)
Here’s a list of my priorities and what I need (help with financial support or “in-kind” (gifted goods or services)) — and please note: I am no longer affiliated with any nonprofit, so any financial support would be a gift (or loan or investment) to me as an individual – not a tax-deductible contribution to a nonprofit.
- #1!!!) [The easiest thing to do to help — and free to you!] I’ve recently become an Amazon Affiliate (since so many people have been asking me for product recommendations for more than a decade!) — so if you click on any of my “Safer Choices” posts, Amazon notices (adds a cookie to the list in your browser) and I get a percentage of what you buy (at no added cost to you!) Even if you don’t buy the items I might recommend in a post, Amazon will auto-calculate and send me me a tiny thank you “commission” on anything you do happen to end up buying for 30 days after that!… so please do consider clicking through to Amazon from one of my Safer Choices pages first (before you start any shopping) and that will eventually be a big help. In December 2016 (the month I started doing that) I earned $149.13! Not a ton, but enough to cover a couple of little things, like the gas bill and the garbage bill – so it really makes a difference.
- #2) This is the last thing I thought of, but I am moving it up to near the top of the list because – #Doh! – it’s so obvious! The heart and soul of my advocacy work is the XRF testing that I do. I could use help getting new XRF of course. The BRAND NEW ONE that I want is not yet available in the configuration I would require (with the consumer goods testing software module)- and will be about $55,000 loaded up with the appropriate software; I could probably get a used older model for between $22,000 and $25,000. If any folks who could afford to and might be disposed to make a gift (or long-term interest-free loan!) to the “XRF FUND” to buy Tamara a new XRF… I will keep track of it here.
- #3) In the meantime (until the day I become the owner of my very own personal XRF), I am going to try to continue to do testing events as I did this month, with folks chipping in to help rent an XRF for a week at a time (hopefully once a month or so). If you are interested in hosting a series of XRF testing events in your area (and in helping me to raise the $ in advance to cover the cost) – that would be amazing, and very much appreciated. I am currently working on lining up a few days of testing in Denver, Los Angeles and Arizona (city yet to be determined). I would also love to line up a series of testing events near Boston, MA. This month more than 20 friends and followers chipped in to help me rent an XRF for a week so I could do testing parties and healthy home visits near Seattle and Portland.
- #4) I could use help with the incorporation of my new (women-led) documentary film production company (this is partly in progress, I already have a parked website and a company name!)
- #5) Design and printing of a t-shirt to share with my followers and fans (this is in progress – but I would be happy to include your corporate logo on these if you have a company interested in sponsoring them).
- #6) A new computer or two! Right now as I type this my mouse froze up and I had to skip down using the arrow key. I am currently using an seven-year-old Apple iMac (from 2010) that was given to us – as a computer in need of repair [my hubby is a Mac wizard!] – by our friend Barbara years ago, and my husband resurrected it so the kids could use it to watch movies. This means that if I want to work, I usually have a movie going on half the screen while I work on the other half of the screen [with the kids jumping and watching a movie in the background!] I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a new Apple Mac laptop (I currently have no laptop) and/or a new desktop Mac. Specs of what I would like (dream computer / ideal configuration) are posted here. My husband and I used to be certified Apple consultants – so something a year or two (or three) old – in perfect condition or not – would also be fine, and a big improvement over what I have… but a “new new” one would be absolutely stellar (especially a new laptop — so I could work with kids underfoot / while they watch a movie on the iMac or whatever.)
- #7) An actual video camera. I use my iPhone for a lot of my filming (Facebook Live and other little things) these days, and would love a nice new high quality actual camera for some of the filming I would like to do. About 5 % of the footage in the film was actually shot on my phone(!)… not ideal, but it works — and gives it some verité “texture” too! Specs on the ideal camera I would like will be posted here shortly.
- #8) An office! I would love to rent an office again – separate from my home and separate from my kids…. somewhere nearby. Having a separate office with designated office time makes it easier to respond to all of the inquiries and requests for help that I get every day from parents around the country.
- #9) IF I got a new office, a key element (that is a key element regardless) is childcare! I need a nanny to help me with my 8-year-old son Charlie who has a mental illness diagnosis. A nanny could be live-in or live-out. I would love to trade with someone for housing (if you have a good candidate!) We could give them a furnished room in our home in Portland, Oregon in exchange for 15 hours a week of childcare (a trade we have done in the past). I don’t have any ideal candidates right now; a graduate student getting a degree in child psychology or special needs teaching would be ideal.
- #10) In the absence of a gift to cover any of the items above… a business loan to help with much of the above would be AMAZING while I wrap up this transition (which will likely still take another 2 to 4 months, before I am earning $ with my new business model.) [A few friends have already helped out with loans to get us through this tricky time and that is very, very, very much appreciated!]
- #11) Referrals to speaking gigs! I have done more than 150 speaking gigs over the past 10 years (possibly as many as 200 – frankly I lost count!) and would like to continue doing that. I have a fee structure in place (and will link a page for that here) and my presentations truly make a difference in the communities where I do them (I would be happy to share testimonials and references with anyone who is interested)… so if you think you might have a group interested in having me come speak that would be amazing… because then I could help pay for some or all of the above myself (without loans or gifts!) I have been a guest speaker of the EPA, of the State of New Hampshire, of the City and County of San Francisco, at museums and hospitals and universities, at high schools and elementary schools! I’ve also spoken at corporations, including Seventh Generation, Nike, SC Johnson Wax, and others! [lunch-and-learns for employees, company conferences and community events – that sort of thing!] I love tailoring my presentations to the audience and I love teaching people about lead, lead poisoning and lead poisoning prevention.
- #12) Finally I am working on starting a new side business in the Spring…it is VERY EXCITING, and will involve the design and manufacture of a revolutionary (yet simple) lead-free kitchen product that EVERYONE who is a follower or friend of mine will likely want to buy (with a price point of about $20!) If you are interested in learning more about that (and/or possibly becoming an investor in that project), I would love to get you an NDA and tell you more! It is my expectation that this side business may eventually become my bread and butter, and will allow me to continue to do my advocacy and filmmaking in the future without a concern for covering my basic costs (housing, utilities, groceries, health insurance, childcare, etc.)!
That’s all I can think of right now. The past several months have been an incredibly difficult time for me and for my family. We’ve been scraping by with some help from a few friends — during a time where we need to cover the cost of lawyers and accountants and other services while we also manage our children’s various illnesses, injuries and special needs related issues… and during this transition time there is very little time left over to earn a living (because there is so much needed to wrap up the past and prepare for the future).
Thank you for reading – and as always… I am happy to answer any questions.
Tamara Elise Rubin
Unexpected Lead Expert
Mother of Four Sons!