Category Archives: freelancing

A bread and butter kind of day

You’ve had them, I know.

bread

Calling Dr. Bread and Nurse Butter!

The kind of day where only carbs with a liberal slathering of fats will do.

I’ve had my share of them in the past ten weeks. Some good days and some good job interviews. And some that were not merely forgettable, they were worth walking out on. I mean both the days and the interviews.

But plugging along, working out and planning for what’s next, even if I don’t know exactly what it is, is keeping the brain sane and steady. I’m volunteering this weekend, at the triathlon that started it all for me. It’s a local super sprint, and it’s the one I did last year. The one that scared me the most because it was my first, and lured me into thinking I could keep doing them, because I finished that one. In less than two weeks, triathlon number five takes place, at a venue I know well but never used for competition.

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at least for now.

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Filed under athletic competition, employment, Exercise, food, freelancing, mental health, Triathlons, unemployment

Four weeks, still sane…so far

It does not seem that long, but it has been four weeks without a job.

I’m still OK, and busy. Sending out applications and resumes every day, working out more often, and spending less and when I do spend, it’s cash and it’s done with care.

I’m not cutting back much on competitions at this point. Three swim meets, a triathlon and a 10K are on the schedule in the next six weeks. I’d like to add a half-marathon to that, if a job offer comes through. Or a 5K, if it doesn’t. It’s all about price at this point.

I’m taking the opportunity to search outside my employment comfort level, and doing more freelance work. The house has never been cleaner (you can walk into our master bedroom closet now and not fear breaking a toe by tripping on wayward shoes, dropped hangars or misplaced backpacks).

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The time off has afforded the opportunity to photograph local art.

The Husband would probably like the home office to himself more often, but he has exhibited patience and good humor about it (I bribed him with homemade oatmeal raisin cookies).

In spite of advice to the contrary, I have not changed my habits. I still wake up and go to bed at basically the same time I did when working. I still maintain discipline by dressing as if I am working, and having a to-do list each day, with specific tasks to complete. The temptation to curl up on the couch and watch idiot TV programming is getting stronger, I admit, as is the sense of occasional depressive thoughts, such as the notion that not one single employer is ever going to find me or my talents worthy of money. But in the end, as I said at the beginning, I’m still doing OK and working on getting back to work.

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Filed under athletic competition, budget, employment, Exercise, freelancing, inspirations, mental health, unemployment

New Job? Yes! No Compensation…No Thanks

Networking Freelancers

Networking Freelancers (Photo credit: solobasssteve)

I’ve started a serious job search. And while I’m not a veteran at this kind of thing, I’ve done it enough to know that things have changed.

Put it into automotive terms: I’m holding onto the steering wheel, but the car it’s attached to looks a whole lot different.

Early in my working career, we had no social media. No Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other digital assistance for finding job listings, networking, posting a resume, etc. Networking in the old days involved a telephone, actual paper resumés and a lot of drinking in bars. And when a job was posted (in something called a printed newspaper), you faxed your resumé from your office, someone else’s office or a UPS Store. Now, anyone can find a job posting, email, click, attach resumé and hit Send, without ever leaving the comfort of the couch and bag of Cheetos.

And there’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed recently: the idea of working for no pay, just for the possibility of getting one’s work, usually freelance writing, noticed, on someone’s blog, magazine or other publication, for which they are likely earning money. No compensation…um, no thanks. Whatever it is I plan to do from now on, I’d like to get paid for it. I can work for no pay elsewhere; it’s called being a volunteer.

I’m getting the word out to my network, and won’t have an issue trying out part-time gigs, just to see if they are a good fit. I’m not sad or pained by the end of the old working life. I’ve seen it coming for a long time, and kept up the pretense of life support for far too long. I’m getting the money and insurance details in order, and making sure bills are paid off and there’s a good stock of supplies for us and the cats. The Husband was shocked by all this, but handled it well. He saw it coming, and I think he believes I’ll be around the house more. On the contrary, I plan to be busier than ever, I will install a lock on the home office door, and I will find something that makes me want to get up and get to work every day. Never again do I want to feel like a day of work is a four-letter word. And thanks in advance for your support. Oh, and job leads/ideas are also welcome.

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Filed under blogging, employment, freelancing, technology, thought

It’s My Free Time, And I’ll Do What I Want…Maybe

Time Management

Time Management (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

No attempted good deed ever goes unpunished in my world.

My schedule is so nuts, I have to plan my free time. Yes, it’s that bad. No, I don’t have kids. Yes, I know those of you who do have it worse. No, I don’t think I can handle hearing just how much worse. I’ve heard the stories; I get it, and I respect you.

I’ve done posts before about the calendars I use and I’ve bemoaned the lack of time to do things I should, like take personal grieving time after my mother died. But recently, a new twist found its way into the scene. I call it the overscheduled-wife-underscheduled-husband syndrome. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

To refresh your collective memory: The Husband (the title I use for my spouse/sometimes better half/the human the cats think is in charge) is retired, and has been for a few years. Monday through Friday, he keeps busy with automotive and house projects, club meetings and whatever household chores I require of him as a tradeoff for continuing to cook his meals. The problem is the weekends. I need to do my stuff. My stuff would be freelance writing, editing and the research that goes with that. I also volunteer when I can fit it in. I do laundry, grocery shop, longer workouts, athletic competitions, paperwork (anything from filing to gathering tax papers to monitoring investments) and household chores that require my personal attention, like cleaning toilets (yes, I’ve asked him to do this. The look he gave me was somewhere between shocked and toxic). The Husband wants to do fun stuff, like shop and go to the beach and car shows. Clearly, he does not have enough to do.

Shop? I hate to shop, unless it’s food-related. There’s something screwy with my girly genetics, and I know it.

The beach? I am at the age where skin preservation is paramount. My sunblock’s SPF is so high, the stuff looks like house paint.

Car shows? Hey, I like nice cars, but only if I can drive it and someone else is buying it for me.

Lately, it’s been about compromise. I give up a few hours on one weekend day, and in return, I usually get the rest to do what I need. I still miss the lazy times when I could sneak in a nap, though. But I’m hopeful. The Husband’s posterior will soon be firmly planted in front of the high-def, watching grown men race fast cars while they avoid immovable objects, like concrete walls. That’s right: NASCAR, Formula 1, IndyCar and all their brethren are heading to our living room. And I’ll get all my weekends back.

 

 

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Filed under employment, Exercise, food, freelancing, Relationships

The Well-Trained Husband Has Come Full Circle

I thought I was the only foodie in the house. Turns out I’ve inadvertently trained my husband to eat in my footsteps.

That’s not meant to make him sound like a submissive sort in any way. But when we met, his taste in cuisine was decidedly average. He was not what you would call an edible explorer, a gourmet gadabout or a food fanatic. He ate to live, and his choices ran to canned, frozen and fast. Then he met my family, and learned about all things Jewish – the lure of latkes, pastrami, knishes, brisket and lox.

Next came the food writing gigs, and the hunger hounds were released. I was the leader for a long while, deciding where to go and what to try, introducing him to new shops, stands and markets. But lately, I’ve been losing a little ground around here.

He’s been finding food-related ads and announcements without my knowledge, and going off exploring places without me. This weekend, he found a store my mother patronized for years in a different location (Doris Italian Market, close to where mom is now in rehab). And he managed to find this place without my help. Go figure.  

I should be annoyed about this. A true foodie hates to be left out of the culinary loop. But I have to admit I am proud of him. His taste in food has improved since the days when he thought cocktail weenies and Spam were at the top of the protein chain. He buys beer from countries not known to produce decent bottles, let alone decent brews. He’ll order something besides lasagna or ravioli in an Italian restaurant; something that used to swim or cluck. And when he thinks of Asian food, he doesn’t look for a Chinese menu; Thai and Vietnamese food are favorites now.

I’m still working on making him understand the glories of garlic, and that God meant for us to eat in any way we can get it.

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Filed under cooking, family, food, freelancing, Relationships, thought, Uncategorized

Does The Holiday Fairy Eat All The Tape?

I know I bought a boatload of cellophane tape on my last trip to whatever store it was.

And now when I need it, I cannot find it.

I’ve looked in all the places you would expect to find tape, such as in the boxes and bags of wrapping paper, in the drawers with the stamps and envelopes, in the desk drawers, and even in the junk drawer, though tape could hardly be considered junk.

But no, all those rolls have vanished somewhere. Or did I actually use them up, perhaps?

It’s not fair to be out of something right when I need it. I am a stockpiler, a buyer of stuff to be stored for a rainy day, either my own or donated for someone else’s. I’m not a card-carrying extreme couponer; someone who shops with a cabinet full of coupons and asks the cashier to force them through the scanner until it whimpers to a halt and a tech guru has to step in with life support. But I do well enough to fill six shelves in an unused bedroom and four shelves in a walk-in closet pretty tightly.

So what happened?

Life did it. Life and too much going on made me forget that something as important as a few rolls of clear tape could make or break my holidays. I keep hearing how we’re supposed to slow down, take time and enjoy the season, look at the decorations, enjoy the food, spend time with friends.

Seriously? I’ve managed two meals in the last forty-eight hours, but I have done four loads of laundry in that time period, plus a 150-mile round-trip to and from my mother’s apartment, plus a 70-mile round-trip to the husband’s car show and a few hours volunteering after that. Oh, and two trips to the grocery store. And you want me to find room for a holiday in here somewhere?

OK, no problem. Let me just text the Holiday Fairy a reminder to pick up some tape on the way back to the house. I’m all out.

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Filed under freelancing, Holiday, inspirations, technology, thought, Uncategorized

I’m Mindless in The Morning, and Not Proud Of It

I’m a fairly busy person, working two jobs and hoping to make it in the literary world. I normally work seven days a week, because I write at least four times a week and do research/interviews on two days, in addition to the full-time “real world” job.

Nevertheless, I like starting my day with some mindless task. I envy those folks who can leap out of bed and focus on the day’s list immediately. I couldn’t do that with a perpetual coffee drip permanently inserted into a vein. My brain cells simply don’t line up at attention first thing. Blame it on being a night person for too many years. I worked second shift for a long time, and while I say I’ve adjusted to a nine-to-five world, I often wonder if some small part of my mind resists the change.

I like to start the day reading or writing, even if it’s just yesterday’s newspaper or refining an upcoming column. Then it’s on to the exercise regimen, something I cannot do without, for reasons of health and sanity. Exercise does require concentration, but once started, it’s automatic, and therefore becomes almost mindless. I like yard work and housework for the same reason. Both require movement (good for the body) and not too much thought (good when the brain’s not quite awake).

For some people, religious services first thing in the morning are the way to go. While I am not particularly religious, nor do I promote any one religion over another, I can see the value in that idea. And no, I am not suggesting that religion is mindless.  Whether simple prayer at home, or organized services in a house of worship, it is for many a means to focus rebellious brain cells, souls and spirits in a disciplined way towards a single vision.

For others, the way to start the day is with study, in the hopes of getting or furthering their education. Whether it’s a fresh-faced high school student or laid-off, middle-aged executive in need of a fresh start, shaking off the night’s sleep comes when the textbooks are opened, the MacBook is turned on and the gathering of knowledge begins again.

For parents, their children are their literal and figurative wake-up call. Mindless moments can’t be all that common when you have babies needing feeding, changing and cuddling, toddlers opening everything and chewing anything, and preteens and teens dealing with everything from acne and Android to Justin Bieber and college board exams. There’s too much to do, and no doubt the time when a parent can allow their thoughts to drift to nothing special is something they look forward to…after the kids are grown and out.

So to all you folks who worry about your lack of concentration first thing in the day: relax about it. Accept and embrace the mindless, and find something easy to do when it’s early. Take time to focus the brain, and enjoy the opportunity. By the time your brain catches up, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished. Either the toilet will be really clean, or you’ll finally finish War and Peace.

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Filed under blogging, Children, family, freelancing, inspirations, mental health, relaxation, thought, Uncategorized