Friday, November 20, 2015

Four cons to being home all day with solutions that turn them into pros! (and not-really-related stories about passing out)

I'm getting ready to write up one of the queries I need to do for a professional development course I'm taking. That's a fancy word for 'learning skills I once knew but forget, in the hopes they'll help me make money.'

Over the past two days I've been reading all sorts of pros and cons lists. I've been looking for a job for a few months now (don't judge, it's a rough world out there) and have been working on building a writing career. My theory is that whichever one happened first would be the path I took. It's probably the most passive-aggressive way to make a career decision, but I like to think of it as an income-based decision, as in, whichever brings in income is good... so far, no income from either, but this month, this week especially, I've begun to get some responses to both that will lead to *dramatic pause* employment. Or paying work.

I am pretty confident I have the drive to freelance, but I also have the dedication to my field that will land me full-time work. I'm constantly applying to jobs in my field, and I love love love my field, so it's not like when I was 17 and I took this summer job at a factory where I counted black rubber bands until I passed out and had to quit. (Actually, I passed out at the doctor's from having to get a tetanus shot, but it was after I spent all day in the hot factory breaking down boxes. It was also the first clue to my father that I, unlike the other members of his family, would not be able to ever make a living working in a mill. It was also my first clue that I may or may not pass out when getting shots. Passing out is a valid life experience I think everyone should have at least once. Preferably on carpeted flooring.)

Since many of the responses are from companies that are 'work from home' companies, I created a list of cons, and solutions to turn them into pros, because I'm a problem solver and an optimist.

First con of working from home: No real reason to wear cute clothes and own excessive shoes. It's more of a problem than I'd like to admit. I mean, my sweatpants are C. O. M. F. O. R. T. A. B. L. E. but it's kinda sad that I really only wear one outfit all week, and just as sad my first con is so shallow.
Solution: Cuter yoga pants. Coffee-shop work days. I can totally solve this problem by working at coffee shops and visiting friends.
Pros: Still comfortable. There are lots of cute flip flops. 

Oh, once, I almost passed out in basic training in the Air Force after getting a shot and seeing blood, but the drill sergeant yelled at me so much to not pass out that I didn't. He basically yelled me into staying conscious. It's a unique skill, I imagine.

Second - It's ever so lonely. There is a mom on my block who works from home all day, has for years. She manages projects out of some company in Minnesota, they sort of farm her out. It's a gig I'd love, except I hardly ever see her and that worries me. When I do see her, she's pale, wears capris all the time, and is accompanied by two children and a dog. But she loves it. I'm pretty sure if this becomes the new norm for me, I'm going to have to go join things.
Solution: Join things. With other people involved. That isn't online. It's a dangerous world for an Introvert, working from home.  And a dog. I'll probably have to get a dog.
Pro: Interactions with people are meaningful and not forced. A dog would help remind me to go outside.

I also passed out once when I was taking my friend to the dentist to have her wisdom teeth pulled. Somehow, the chemicals they were using were so strong they ended up in the hallway, and I sort of sat down, and then passed out. Everything ends up going all yellow. The cute guy that lived on my floor worked there, and ended up helping me to one of the rooms where they put that weird super-stinky stuff under your nose to wake you up and let me throw up in a trash can. Cute guy thought it was hilarious. 

Third - Food. I eat too much at home. I've gained five unhappy pounds and now am spending my afternoons with my friend Jillian Michaels, while studying how to make not eating holiday snacks fun. If it was spring or summer, I'd just run or hike it off, but it's cold out now, and I think I mentioned before, I'm not a good cold-weather runner.
Solution: Hang with Jillian Michaels. Learn to run in the cold. Eat green things that aren't kale.
Pros: Toned and a great salad-prepper.

Another time I passed out was getting blood drawn during a routine physical in England. The air conditioner in the building was not working, and it was really really hot, and so after the shot, I felt a little lightheaded and sort of just laid back down. 

Fourth - The 'what do you do all day' conundrum. Everyone, and by everyone, I mean my family, expects that I'm home just blogging, eating cookies and making random fun-runs to the 7-11 on the corner for my diet coke fix. This causes them toa develop expectations. Expectations that involve me cleaning things, or running errands. The truth is, I'm working on job applications, letters to companies and queries to magazines. And it takes all day.
Solution: Pretend to not hear them. Run out the door to work at coffee shops. Or, my favorite, convince them you work in an office. I mean, my kids probably wouldn't ever know the difference.
Pros: Tell them you're working late and you're really at the local pub with girlfriends for happy hour.

I haven't passed out in years since. I go in and make big scenes about how shots and blood and random chemical smells in doctor's offices make me pass out, and they get all ready and give me sodas and cookies, and then nothing happens and they look at me like I'm a jerk for not passing out because they were promised an incident they could laugh at, and they gave me their soda.. I also stopped making appointments in summer. 

Next week it may change. Next week, all the opportunities may come from corporations with actual offices where people are expected to show up. If that's the case, I'll have to do a second set of cons and pros.

Three: Jobs applied/applying to today - one in my field, one close to my field but with a company I've been researching and think is really really cool, and one that involves food.
Two: Follow-ups to jobs applied to where I'm in conversations with a person that led to an actual meeting which may lead to an actual job, and one who only responds at 3 a.m. because he s in Canada. Or an insomnia. Or both.
One: Child still home who's now working on something that doesn't involve a solid background in gears.

My daughter never passes out from this stuff. She's terrified of shots and having her blood drawn, has to have it done fairly regularly in her childhood, and as a child screamed her bloody head off, demanded cold drinks, and insisted my husband suffer with her. She's never passed out once, even though I'm pretty sure they lab techs kinda hoped she would.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Children ruin productivity (everyone knows this)

My son is home from school.
Building has been banished to the garage. 
This pretty much ruins productivity. I think anyone who works from home, and happens to have kids, knows this. I've been interrupted a bajillion times to try and help solve a gear problem with his great ball contraption he's building out of lego.

The problem I have with this is a) I don't know anything about building simple machines. I once built a mouse trap car for a physics class that only went backwards. b) I'm trying to work on an article query that I've so far spent two hours on. I blame the bajillion interruptions, but there's a small part of me that thinks perhaps the idea isn't that solid, meaning I need to find a new angle or new idea entirely. Cue crying. So I'm doing a post instead, because I ran out of ideas and angles, but I'm determined to be productive today since I ended up taking yesterday off.

This morning, I tried telling Husbear he was part of the reason my morning productivity was so low. He likes to chat before he heads out the door to work, unfortunately, this occurs right when my brain kicks in and I'm at my desk working on finding a job, finding clients, finding rainbows finding the things that will lead me to the life I'm pretty sure I'm meant to be living. A life where my work matters, my essays and blogs and writings are valued, and I actually get paid. He said that last night in his nightmares, he slayed demons for me, and that I could at least talk to him over coffee. This is why I never win. I don't think dreams should matter the next day, but it seemed to be today's theme, since Drama Girl woke up late, missed the bus and had to catch a later one because she had nightmares that made her not hear her alarm. Which is ridiculous because everyone in the house can hear her alarm. Maybe there's a giant dream monster roaming around messing people's mornings up, I don't know.

Bajillion and one interruptions. It sounds like the gear problem has been solved. He's going to be using a pulley system.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's too windy for today

I took the day off inadvertently.

It's the wind's fault. I had a lot of plans arranged for after my run, but the wind picked up and now I'm huddled inside my wind-battered home hoping my patio furniture doesn't blow away.

I mean, I don't work right now, so it's not like I didn't show up anywhere, but I have a schedule and goals and projects and job applications I'm working on...

I got distracted by the idea that I missed out on the big blogging days of a decade or so ago, because I'm pretty sure blogging as a business model has pretty much ended. I'm also pretty sure that's not true, it's just that blogging as a business model for me will never happen because I'm not branded, social media aware, or super- motivated to make big bucks here.

Here, a picture of a cat!
Sir Cogsley. His blog makes millions, I hear.

Then I read I need a mailing list or subscribers. I'll have to google that.

Also, no one will let me write about them. I mean, c'mon... Sooo many stories...

It's because my life isn't interesting. Even my hobbies are half-assed hobbies. Running, for instance. I'm a runner who runs less than most other runners. I separate myself from joggers because I run more than joggers and have all the cool running tech gear, but it gets a bit chilly and then I'm all like... ugh... so cold... And YouTube videos. Everyone has that hobby.


Today, I'm home with my son who was sent home from school for playing with a pointy stick. Rules kids, you have to follow rules. Don't bring sticks to school. Or stones. Especially pointy ones.

I followed up on a job lead which was exciting because it was an interesting one, but I'm living in the present, and that was so 10 a.m.

I looked at the kitchen and had a mental argument with my husband where I'd remind him later tonight when he complains about the kitchen that I'm not a stay at home housewife/mom person, and as long as I'm looking for jobs/freelance clients/rainbow chasing it's considered working. I expect to win that conversation...

I watched the Zoolander trailer coming out. And then I re-watched the Star Wars trailer. Then I watched this trailer about a cave digging guy who does amazing, fantastic sculptures in caves in New Mexico that he digs out with only a dog for a companion, and felt utterly pointless in life. I mean, he's doing art in the desert. I'm in a caffeine-withdrawal looking for the last diet coke in the fridge... Also, I really want a dog.

I decided to run today but then the wind knocked all the garbage cans down and I decided I probably weigh less than the garbage cans and couldn't safely run.

Then I thought randomly I could blog about my weird life in an Italian family tenement building as a sort of tribute to my family, but all I could think about is how I missed out on most of the cool stories, because I'm pretty sure they all happened in like, the 1920s.

I went to school here!

Obviously way later than this pic was taken. And we had more trees.
And that's today.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday nights are drama nights

It's Sunday night!

That means it's time for me to watch shows that only old ladies watch, or people who aren't old ladies but watch the shows in secret and don't tell people watch because only old ladies watch these shows. It's like when I found out that I was the youngest demographic viewer of Longmire. As in, I wasn't even as old as the youngest viewer... anyhow I still stand by that decision.

Tonight, it's my PBS Drama night. I'm addicted to Home Fires, and pretty sure that I am living in the wrong time. I belong in a quaint English village running a tea shop or something, pre-all-the-wars, or maybe between the wars. I think it's inescapable but, I can't help it if the perfect time for me happened to be between two major wars.

Today, I also realized that I need to stop eating so many cookies.

I read the Bloggess' book, Furiously Happy, which I recommend to people who don't think they have it together, basically, mostly everyone. I told my husband I thought we could make a bunch of money if I created a blog based solely around our arguments, but he said no. Then I thought I could redo my blog to talk all about how crazy my family makes me, but the kids said no, too. Then it hit me, the reason I don't have an amazing, fantastic blog is because all the interesting stories happen to involve people who don't want any part of the fame of publicity.

The thing I love about this blog, with it's 12 readers, is that it doesn't have to 'be' anything. I can wax on about trying to be mindful, my newest addiction to adult coloring books (adult- as in complex patterns of flowers and English cottages, not Benedict-Cumberbatch-adult) and my love of BritComs, or I can talk about running, and how I haven't, so really need to re-start. Again. I can talk about Turbo and Bear and Drama Girl and Husbear in vauge, non-offending terms.  I can talk about how I'm working to sort of 'reinvent' myself as the person I want to be, doing the work I want to be doing, vs. just kinda having a job, or I can talk about how I woke up today and decided that I was a writer, which, to anyone who knows me, this isn't a surprise, but every now and then, I have to remind myself, which seems odd only if you're not a writer who hasn't actually sold a book yet. Which would make me an author, which, as of yet, I'm not. Okay, so it is odd.

One day, I'll be an author, and that entire line about reminding myself I'm a writer will make way more sense.

The point is, this blog is going to be going through some random, non-niche, non-focused rambly-style posts over the next few months as I play with the type of voice I feel most comfortable with on the blog. I'm going for humor, but it could end up just being maudlin, which is a great word. It could also just be droll. We'll all find out, now, won't we?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I didn't mean to work in slippers all day

I didn't really mean to. But, slippers happen.

It started after the morning cup of coffee, or maybe after the third. I realized I dawdled too long and my day was wasting away. I sat down to write a cover letter a corporate recruiter requested for a position I applied for. Don't lets get into why I didn't write the cover letter in the first place. (Isn't that sentence a beautiful mess?) It's a complicated job market out there, people. Then, I sent out some requests to people I know for some story ideas I'm thinking of pitching. A couple got back to me quicker than I thought so I jumped on it. Then it was noon, and I was like, oh, I'm still wearing slippers. They are comfortable. I mean look at them, they're adorable and comfortable. I looked at the clock and it was noon. No big. It's, almost still morning... So I checked my e-mails and wrote up a couple more story pitch ideas. Then, around 1 p.m.,  I decided I couldn't go through another 'why are you still wearing slippers and sweatpants' conversation with anyone in my family and made the conscious effort to actually get up and get dressed for the day because no matter how I explain it, or how many times I try to tell them, the REAL reason I end up not getting dressed is because once I start the day, I keep going, and often, forget to, well, slippers are so comfortable, it's really so easy to forget to toss them and the matching sweatpants for more, normal, attire. It's the bane of those who work at home. Up, out of bed, at the computer, and somewhere between that morning cup of coffee and dinner, comes the realization you're still in pajamas and slippers. Is there a solution to this? Does there even need to be? Maybe we can have daytime at-home-worker wear - maybe, business casual pajamas.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Back from extended hiatus!

The Internet loves pictures.
This is RMNP in the fall.
I know, I do this to you all occasionally, but it's been a whirlwind of a summer, and I said I'd take the summer off from blogging, but then summer extended through into October.  It's been a warm October, and today, one of the coolest days we've had, is only around 70. I should really be outside, and not here :).

Most who know me know I'm embarking on a new adventure of Freelance Writing, not freelance writing, which is casual and vague, but Freelance Writing, which includes a plan of action, an aggressive pitch plan, investment, time, and most of all, a stubborn refusal to give this up before it takes off.

You can visit my first attempt at a website over at - it's got all the basics, but I'm really hoping to fill out the portfolio page! And, if you know anyone who needs a freelancer writer with a knack for case studies, articles and web content, send them my way.

I won't often blog about the business here, this is really my hiking, running, family, writing space saga website, but thought I'd mention it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Breezy June Nights

Might be a wee crooked... 

That is the sky tonight. The image doesn't do it justice. I love taking photographs, but for some reason, leave my camera in.

It's a beautiful, breezy June night so I snuck off for a walk alone and decided to pay attention to all the different trees on my walk. Tomorrow, I'm going to bring my camera, because some of these trees, fully alive and cherishing the recent rains we have, are so unique, not in an exotic way, but in an 'oh, how interesting, have I ever really noticed these trees?' kind of way. I figure it'll be cool to show you all the things I haven't noticed...

I know, I know, I haven't written anything funny (yes, I'm talking to you) and I haven't finished the book about the dog and the hiking yet, but I'm pretty sure it's going to end with the hike and the dog at the summit (okay, dad, working on it) and my introspection isn't pure poetry tonight (but alliteration!) I wanted to share the picture of the breezy June sky and say hello to everyone, though!