Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Unemployment sucks

Harrison's birthday party last Saturday (only two months late) at a rock climbing gym

I have had some time to focus on myself the last two days while the kids have been in day camps.  I've spent the time looking for work.  What an arduous, awful job.  One thing that's different, since the last time I did this, is the "open" job postings.  They list a great job - something that I feel I'd be really good at - and then when I make an inquiry call, I'm told the same thing.  The company or college doesn't have an opening at this time, but they like to collect resumes for the future.  Just in case.  It kind of reminds me of a false ad - you go into the store to get the item that is advertised on sale, but find out that they don't have that model. 

I still want to explore working from the house.  Possibly try to sell photos or something.  Ella suggested that we decorate foam frames (like these) and fill them with "pretty pictures."  I'm sure we could make a couple bucks (selling to family and friends), but I doubt it would pay the mortgage.  I have high hopes for starting anew, but I think I need to explore the "work from home" ideas I have in the evening, AFTER a consistent-paying day job.

That leads to the whole idea of giving up.  I feel if I get a "regular" full time job, I won't seriously work at pushing myself to start my own business.  Why does it have to be that way?  I think it's because I don't feel comfortable changing the entire lifestyle for the rest of my family just so that I can fulfill a dream.  

It's that female guilt thing. 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Help wanted

I just mentioned to a friend the other day that I believe I attract chaos.  Like a magnet.  However, I don't feel overly anxious about any one thing more than the other.  I think that I have always attracted chaos and this is just the way life is meant to be lived for me.

One thing I do contemplate often, though, is how to stop this madness.  I wonder, though, if I really have more than anyone else, or if I just notice it more than others.  I heard this morning that the minimum wage went up making a person's yearly salary, at this wage, $13 thousand and some change.  That is about two thousand below the poverty level.  When I compare my life to a single mother making minimum wage, I know I have nothing to complain about.  But I write for myself, so I'll complain.

My nesting cleanse is not going so well.  I was cleaning like a mad woman for awhile, but then it all came to a screeching halt while I was in Minnesota and San Francisco.  I now have the old feelings of laziness.   I don't want to clean or organized.  I think it's similar to getting to the gym for others.  The desire comes and goes in waves.  I'm in low tide - I hate the disorganized state of the house, but can't figure out how to get my beached ass off the sand.

Face it.  I've been living in a dream world since I left my job in May.  I've had free days and fun nights for quite some time now.  This "not working" gig is pretty great, but reality has hit.  I need a job.  A great job that will allow me to work from home.  I want to be home for the kids and our family.  Two full-time working parents were no good for our children.  Neither Chris nor me are any good at switching gears at the end of the day so that we can be a great parent and cook.  We are more likely to come home, grab a beer and chips, and then open the door to the pantry and stare.  Soon it's 7 PM and we're throwing hotdogs in the microwave again.  All beef, but still hotdogs.  I want to do more with all the opportunities I've been exposed to on the internet.  With my writing or my photography.  That will involve taking risks.  Not monetarily necessarily, but self-esteem wise.  I need to stop beating myself up and find the confidence in my creativity somewhere in myself.  It's now or never.

A colleague and friend I worked with last year, Nicole, lent me a great book on this very topic.  One of the quotes that made a lasting impact on me came from the first chapter, "We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic."  This can be interpreted in many ways, but I tied it directly to my outlook on a future as a photographer.  My self talk in general is pretty awful, but when you ask me about my ability to succeed as a professional photographer - watch out.  The language becomes pretty foul.  I would never talk as poorly about anyone else (except G.W.) as I do myself.

Beyond my disgruntlement over my cleaning prowess, and my worry about my future career, I have other concerns.  Like the state of my yard and basement.  Remember the projects we started last year?  They're not done.  Not even close.  This goes back to the money discussion.  We've never had enough to do everything we want, but our priority has been travel this year.  Unfortunately, I never realized when perusing the Expedia site, how frustrated I would be 15 months later after we started our projects, staring at their unfinished state.  I want my kids to have a back yard.  I want a guest room and an extra bath.  We NEED a second bathroom.

It's hard to complain about this out loud, at home, because my husband is the "contractor" for all of these projects.  He's an extremely competent construction project manager by day, but can't seem to bring his amazing organizational strategies from his professional life into his home life.  Again, I can't complain.  Who wants to do all evening, and weekend, what they've been doing all week, but at some point I'm going to have a nervous breakdown about all of this. (Consider this a warning, Christopher)  I hate thinking about what the neighbors must think.  I don't like it that my kids know how to crawl up to the electrical panel to flip the breakers that turn on the basement lights.  I know it will all get done someday - I just want that day to come sooner rather than later.

This leads me to my kids.  Staying home all day with them has been trying this summer.  Vacationing with them was also hard because I was often single parenting.  Harrison and Ella have become so much easier, in so many ways, but the squabbling.  I cannot stand the squabbling, and then the subsequent tattling.  I wish I was set up like a tape player.  Whenever they are upset with each other, and want me to settle a dispute, I could direct them to push the "Play" button.  This would be the recording:  "You need to figure this out between the two of you."  Then I would hit the "Rewind" button so that the recording was all queued up for the next battle.

For the first time, in a very long time, I am completely in the dark about my future.  I have no idea what to expect.  I thought that I had a job opportunity that would solve all my problems, but it fell through for now.  I was devastated, but weirdly calm about it.  Maybe it's because the first two people I told were calm.  Chris said to me that it "...was just another bump in the road."  Nicole told me that she believed that it wasn't meant to be.  That something better suited for me was in my future.

I can live with these thoughts for a while longer, but soon I will need to know how to pay the mortgage.  For now, I'm going to forget all of this and go watch "Alvin and the Chipmunks" with my kids.  This will be their fourth time watching it this week. 

We believe in getting the most out of our rental movie dollar.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

staying up late playing with photoshop

A sign in Chinatown, San Francisco

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I feel like my life is permanently set to Fast Forward

A pretty door in Chinatown

The kids and Chris came to pick me up from the airport last night.  It was if I had gone from zero to 90 in about 3 seconds.  Both kids were talking over each other to tell me things.  Most of the conversation revolved around a movie they had watched twice since I'd been gone, "Alvin and the Chipmunks".  While they were talking over each other and AT me - Chris and I were trying to talk about our respective weekends.  It was impossible.

As we arrived home, all I could think about was eating a bit of dinner and then crawling into bed.  No - that was not on the agenda.  What did I do instead?  I watched "Alvin and the Chipmunks" while I ate popcorn.

The trip was amazing, but I'm thrilled to be home.  I have so much to think about and work on.  Going to conferences always do that to me.  They completely energize me.  I am trying to think of a way to work from home so that I can be here for the kids more.  I've got some ideas, but nothing that will probably help me make enough to cover the mortgage.

How much do they pay if you donate your plasma?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm off to BlogHer!

I will say "hi" to you, if you say "hi" to me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A woman's allowed to change her mind

My parent's teak buffet - I LOVE IT

When my mom was first diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer back in 1998, I completely overreacted.  I believed that her diagnosis meant she would die within the year and I started freaking out.  One of the first things I fretted over was what I was going to do with all of her furniture and china (she had three full sets plus various specialty items).  Of course none of these thoughts included the fact that my dad was still alive and might want to stay in his home indefinitely.  She survived for eight years before the disease took her and my dad is still in the house I grew up in ten years later.   

Recently, he has been talking about one of his girlfriends a little more positively than the others.  He seems to really have a connection with her and the more I learn about the relationship, the more I think it is a good idea.  This woman lives in his golf community down in Florida during the winter, but lives in Indiana during the summer.  He is going to visit her there for a second time later this summer and can't stop talking about how much he likes where she lives in Indianapolis.  My intuition tells me that he'll be summering there next year.  I'm okay with that.  I think it would be great if he had someone to keep an eye on him, and someone who makes him so happy.

So - back to the furniture.  My brother and I were looking around the house and started "picking" things that we want when the house sells possibly sooner than later.  My brother asked me what I wanted and I was very particular.  "I want the Barcelona chairs and the orange side table that goes with them.  That's it."  Of course I then added to my list the dining room buffet, Dad's desk and a chrome lamp.  He was a bit surprised.  "What about the dresser downstairs?  That's yours."  "I've changed my mind.  I only want contemporary or retro stuff now.  No more antiques."  He was stunned.  I have ALWAYS wanted the heirlooms, the really old stuff.  He kept challenging me on it, and I would have questioned myself also had I not read Quantum Wellness during my cleanse.  I realized that the old and meaningful pieces that I have held onto, and used to be attracted to, were holding me back.  I can appreciate my past, and my heritage, without sitting on it!  

I love clean lines and simple style.  I want to live in a home that is uncluttered and calm.   We can't afford to replace the things I would like to get rid of, but I will continue to try to simplify.  
Thinking positively, this waiting period (until we win the lottery) will help me plan the perfect design for all of my rooms.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What else is there to do in the park...

...besides dancing an Irish jig on top of a hippo.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Girlfriends, and more girlfriends

The first thing my dad said to me, when he picked us up at the airport and I gave him a hug, was "wow, you're a lot bigger than P."  P is his "hottie"(his word, not mine) in Indiana.  He just got back from visiting her for a week a few days ago.  I felt the vomit creep into my mouth.  I ran around the car and got in the other side just to get away from him!  

Since we have been here (less than 24 hours), my dad has talked about P non-stop.  I am currently at a coffee shop so that I can high speed internet.  He asked me to research airline tickets to Indiana.  He drove on his last trip and is lucky to be alive as he dozed off somewhere in Wisconsin and sideswiped the guard rail.  He's 79 and we have all agreed that he will never travel that far again in a car.  Feeling jealous, I asked him when he was flying to Salt Lake.  He decided to combine it with a trip to P.  I guess I can handle equal status.

It has been pretty difficult to listen to all this talk about another woman, but I am slowly adjusting.  I have to keep things in perspective.  If she makes him happy, then that's great.

To top things off, my brother came by with his girlfriend, B, last night.  They make a cute couple.  I was internally critical, but am working on being less judgmental in general.  The cleanse and all.  

As we start our time here, we have so much to look forward to.  Spending time with the cousins, doing a lot of swimming and shopping, and just plain relaxing.  Tomorrow is my brother's birthday and we are going to the park where I watched fireworks as a kid.  

Life seems like one big circle.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Things are never dull

Grandma and Grandpa brought two of these large remote control cars for the kids.  Harry took his all around the block! 

My in-laws from Green Bay have been visiting for the past two weeks which means we've been eating lots of lots of food cooked on a grill, and the kids have had at least 100 ice cream cones.

Things are heating up between B's mother and my husband regarding B's behavior and future living arrangements.  I won't divulge, but it is sad and tumultuous.  One of those topics that is brought up multiple times a day and is never pleasant.

I'm still cleaning and cleansing.  The basement play room is clean - this was a large accomplishment.  And just as I had the upstairs living areas looking kind of decent, Harrison decided that he wanted to rearrange the furniture.  Far be it for me to stop that kind of creativity...that's what I get for pushing any program on HGTV.

Tomorrow we head to Minneapolis.  All the suitcases are out, but only one of them has a few items in it.  I know what I want to bring, but I never seem to be able to pack ahead of time.  My dad called last night to get details about our flight arrival and told me about his trip to Indiana last week.  He went to visit Girlfriend number 3.  A week in Indianapolis at her house.  Yuck.  Not for him, for me.  He went on and on about what a fantastic week he had.  He really enjoys this woman.  I'm happy for him.  Really.  But COME ON!!!  I'm his daughter - how much of this gushy stuff can I handle?  I think it's especially hard because he didn't gush about my mom.  They both admitted to me right before her death that they didn't have the greatest marriage.  It was a really bad time.  

Thinking positively, I still look younger than my baby brother who I'll be visiting and I will get a 13 day reprieve from cleansing my house!

P.S.  Went to my trainer today and she told me that she  bought Quantum Wellness (on my recommendation) and has been cleansing for NINE days.  Is she sick?  Of course not.  Her husband is doing it with her.  Is he sick?  Not a chance.  Am I jealous?  Yes.