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Archive for career

mark my words

I’m loving my new job.

stepping out

Changes! I’m starting a new job May 29. And I can’t wait. Just 11 months ago, I was eager to try out self-employment … working at home, making my own hours, wearing pajamas until noon, all that stuff. What I discovered is that while flexibility can be great, being a free agent wasn’t as fulfilling as I had expected. Even with the internet to keep me connected, I missed “face time.” My creativity, believe it or not, suffered. I also felt like I needed to be more of a homemaker than I did when I was working away from the house.

I thought I’d have time to visit friends, hang out at coffeeshops and other such lollygagging — but it never happened. (Hi, ALF! I’m finally going to see you next week!)

What I realized about a month ago is that working from home wasn’t my dream after all. I wanted it because it seemed like I should want it.

Fortunately, the perfect job came along — and I was lucky enough to be hired. I don’t blog about work stuff generally, so just trust me that I’m a happy camper.

I don’t regret the past year. If I hadn’t given it a try, I’d always wonder if I should have. I’m also happy I was able to spend so much time with my kids — they kept me company last summer during my transition to the home office, and it was great picking them up from school and being able to hear about their day while it was still fresh. They’re being very cool about my new job. Peter is already scheming to have us pay him to make dinner for us during the week. (I’ll go for it if he cleans up, too.)

So, yay!

there’s no place like home

Annnnnnnd, she’s back! It was a hectic week, but everything went pretty smoothly. Since I can’t really write about the actual work, I’ll focus on the food. Which was glorious, because eating in steak houses and German restaurants is so much better when you’re not a vegetarian. I had a wonderful steak on Monday, and an absolutely superb filet mignon on Thursday. Yum.

My room was quite comfortable, and I slept well. No doubt because I asked for an extra sheet to drape over the bedroom mirror. (Feng shui. I’m sure the housekeeping staff was impressed.)

It’s good to be back, though. The only thing is that soon I really will need to focus on my own business, and that’s a little scary again.

getting ready

I’m surprisingly calm, considering I’m about to head into the fray of convention management for a week. (A 5-day work week, that is.) Today was Packing Day, which involved various lists and containers. (I’m bringing Bammo ingredients, Bammo being my daily lemon-maple-cayenne water beverage. Pete renamed it because he thought I might like it better with a catchier name. It worked, because I actually do look forward to it.)

I also ended up buying a few outfits, because I have so little that (a) fits, (b) is businesslike, and (c) was purchased in this century. But I caught some awesome deals, so it wasn’t as expensive a proposition as it may sound.

In knitting news, I made a set of handwarmers for Moon, from a pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. They were very quick, actually.


A few weeks ago, I finally made myself some socks out of the yarn Sis#4 gave me for my birthday in 2005. (Or was it Christmas a year ago? Either way, it was a while back.) I had made a water bottle caddy out of the skein earlier, but had more than enough for socks as well. Gotta love gift yarn!

I’m going to bring yarn and needles for my second Jaywalker sock with me this week. I made the first sock eons ago, and never got around to casting on for the second one. Mostly because it was knit on size 1 needles, and I much prefer doing socks on size 2 or 3.

Of course knitting stuff had a prominent place on my What to Bring list. I’d go through withdrawal without it.

just missed it!

Hey, I’m only 7 minutes late for Nov. 3. Does this count? I can’t help it that I had an incredibly busy day. I met with my team (another business venture — have I talked about this? I don’t mean to be overly cryptic) and it was awesome as always. I sometimes forget how much I like bouncing ideas off other people and interacting face-to-face during my work day.

I also got to try out my new toy. More later, as I’m incredibly tired.


I’ve been working on letting go, and that has involved asking myself what I’m supposed to learn as a result of my *gasp* fallability. Coincidentally, I found this. This was a good find.

a little better

Writing about it helped. So did watching SNL (My Chemical Romance was on!) and having a good cry after everyone went to bed. Moon was at her friend’s house overnight, so I had a convenient place to go where I wouldn’t wake anyone up.

Besides the stress of the past few weeks, one other issue I’m finding I need to deal with is the whole boundaries thing. When I was in an office, reprimands or explanations would take place privately, behind closed doors — and then I could leave it when I went home. At home, a situation can come up out of nowhere. It wasn’t private. My son and my husband were both right there, able to hear my end of the conversation. My laptop was set up in the kitchen, and I needed to refer to it. I needed to concentrate on my words, so my body was pretty frozen.

Pete and I had been getting ready to head out for some weekend errands, which we went ahead and did. But my mind was elsewhere the whole time.

So … the boundaries thing. I’m learning the ins and outs of working at home. Still measuring to see if this is right for me.

Today I’ve got some fun stuff to do, thank God.


What started as a potentially awesome weekend day quickly turned into crapola, as I had a call regarding a snafu that happened more than a week ago. A snafu that I thought I was done being upset about. I kept my wits and my cool well enough … except that I let something slip that I had meant to keep to myself.

In the context of explaining how careful I am — how thoroughly I check things, how seriously I take it when something goes wrong under my watch — I told the other party about my OCD. And immediately wished I could hit “rewind.”

See, the thing about the situation is that I’m doing work for someone who doesn’t spent any time with me — that’s the way it is with online business. It’s one thing to tell someone who knows me and has observed me over a period of time. I know how very normal I am, and I still hold dear to my heart the person who said, “But you’re the most mentally well-adjusted person I’ve ever met.” But in this situation, all I can think is that I’ve painted myself into a corner because now I have this label. “OCD” doesn’t tell how hard I’ve worked to learn to keep an even keel and trust the universe.

But besides that, there’s still the issue of the initial snafu behind the call in the first place. It’s bugging me because I’m not the only one getting chewed out about it — and I have no idea what’s happened since we hung up. I’ve had this horrible heart-in-my-throat feeling for, oh, about 9 hours. Basically, I’m trying to keep busy and keep breathing. I had lunch and dinner even though I’ve felt on the verge of throwing up all day.

The weird thing is: What’s the worst that can happen? That I’m released from my duties? I have plenty of work to do, and life goes on. I’m not worried about that. So I’m playing “Name That Anxiety.” Maybe you can help me figure out this panicky feeling.

P.S. Our digital camera is AWOL, which is why the lack of knitting pictures. My hands have been busy, trust me. OCD, ya know. *irony*


One of my greatest joys this week was when I figured out that I could get on the internet from our deck. It’s been lovely sitting out there and working this afternoon.

Now if we could only just put an actual room there.

buzz buzz

Because I’m as busy as the proverbial insect.

Summer is going by quickly, BUT the kids don’t start school until the ungodly late date of September 6. Even Peter is starting to say that he kind of misses it.

I’ve been doing a lot of virtual work with my virtual new sort-of-employer, and it’s actually fun most of the time. I just wish I had a real office, because what I do is set up at the kitchen table every morning … and then put everything away before dinner. We are still eyeing the deck for a future sunroom, but Pete would like to pay cash rather than get a loan for it, and … well … I don’t think we’ll have that kind of cash to play with for a while.

A sunroom office, though, that would rule.

Moon is in the midst of her rock-and-roll session. The first day was Monday, although we were quite surprised because we thought it was next week. We had an old version of the sign-up form because we’re early adopters and all. The date was changed, and we found out at 10:15, which led to much frantic behavior as Moon roused out of bed and grabbed her instruments so her dad could get her across town.

He’s off this week, which is so very fortunate for us.

Anyway, I’m rather zapped right now, so I think I’m going out to sit on the swing and knit. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have a reprieve from the heat wave.

where do i start?

Geez, I’ve been busy. I’m working on my probono stuff, I have a few clients … and I have a new part-time job. It’s very cool. I’m a virtual employee, using my laptop and phone to connect with the virtual “office.” After only a few days, I’ve learned quite a bit about the tools that are available for this kind of thing. The bonus for me is that I get to keep my flexible hours and independence, while making some predictable income. The kitchen table is my desk. And I can work in my PJs if I feel like it.

In other news, I’ve been knitting and crocheting. Did you have any doubt?

Nine Patch

Check out my Mason-Dixon Knitting-inspired Nine Patch washrag. Man, I’ve been making a lot of washrags. We have a whole collection now.

Brown/pink cozy #1

I’ve also been making stuff like this to sell in my Etsy shop. I was commissioned to make moebius basket, and it was fun to create something special for someone I’d never met. (If you want to catch up on the full year’s knitting, just check out this page.)

We’ve been spending some time at the Farmer’s Market (at least when it’s not scorching hot outside). It’s always fun to see the genuine produce, and now the sweet corn is here.

Lost branch

Yesterday we saw a few casualties of the midweek storm, including this sorry appendage. Sleep has been a bit rough to come by this week, since the kids are staying up later and later, I’ve been afflicted with a nighttime cough, and thunder is loud.

working at home

I know that Friday was my first day of self-employment, but it didn’t feel that different because I’ve had Fridays off for the past few years. Today, though, was the real thing.

I made a list of things to do, because part of me was afraid I’d run out of work. Ha! Ha! Happily, I still have plenty of items on that list, and yet I still managed to be more productive than I’ve been for months. It’s amazing, but when you’re wrapped up in an interesting task, three or four hours can pass instantaneously.

When Pete came home for lunch, I couldn’t believe it was time already — and it was 1 p.m.

Barista at home

Even my office toys have been adjusting. Barista and her trusty corgi have taken up residence with the Wallace & Gromit gang.

Madeline is staying with the mini Blythes and Licca, who live one level below the Blythe trio. They’ve been terribly neglected, but I’m finally able to give them a little attention again.

You know I’m feeling good. I’m playing with dolls.

Anyway, back to the work day. I made myself stop working at 4 p.m. so I could cook something new for dinner…a vegetarian stew from a Deepak Chopra cookbook, featuring sweet potatoes, onion, cauliflower, curry and coconut milk served over rice. During the cooking process, I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out, but it was quite good. I made consolation brownies for the kids since I was serving up unfamiliar stuff.

I’m sore (from weeding yesterday) and still a bit nervous, but oh so glad to be here.

oh yeah, i forgot to mention…

I quit my job last week.

I’m finally going to give self-employment an honest-to-goodness try. My last day as an employee will be June 22. Everybody is being great, and of course I’m sad to leave my co-workers. But this has been a loooooong time coming. (Well, maybe not that long. Just looong.)

Anyway, I’m nervous about not having a regular paycheck, but I’m getting more and more used to the idea. The great thing (I think) is being more available to my kids over the summer. Of course, I might have to escape to a coffeeshop with internet access every now and then.

Which leads to … my new toy. I realized that my old-school G3 clamshell was not going to be adequate anymore. I did some eBay browsing and was considering a MacBook, but I couldn’t make up my mind. Pete told me that if I was going to manifest my laptop, I needed to really visualize what I wanted. So I did: a 15″ G4 Powerbook with at least 1GB RAM and a 60-80GB hard drive. For $800 or less.

The next time I jumped on eBay, a new listing popped up. All of the above, with a buy-it-now of $799. And the seller was in Madison. I dashed off an email asking about local pickup, and by the time I heard back from the seller, someone else had clicked the buy-it-now. But the potential buyer had no feedback, so the seller and I reached an agreement. It all happened pretty darned quickly. Power of intention, all right!

Lacey headband

In other news, I continue to knit like a maniac. I finished my Mason-Dixon absorba bathmat and made a crocheted washrag out of some of the leftover yarn. I’m now working on a baby kimono, a crocheted one-skein scarf, and my aforementioned June Project Spectrum ponchette. As you can see, I also made a knitted headband from a pattern in Interweave Knits.

I’m thinking that a knitted laptop sleeve is in my near future.

new space

Today my boss and I switched offices. From a feng shui standpoint, it made a lot of sense. I was in the middle office, and he was in the front – the hot seat, so to speak. The action center. He’s busy enough without the flow of energy careening into his space.

Me, I’ve been a little bored. I could put that flow to good use.

So this morning we traded. The fun part, if you like that sort of thing, was seeing how disgusting the carpet was underneath the bookcases and other furniture, and then vacuuming the mess up and making it habitable again. Wiping the layer of dust off everything wasn’t so fun, but it was rewarding.

It’s cool to rearrange one’s surroundings from time to time. The best part was how many people came in to talk to me after I was finished moving. I think I’m going to like my new digs.

catching my breath

After a nice four-day weekend, going back to work was definitely a shock to my system. Especially since I had appointments scheduled nonstop from 10 am until 5 pm. A few people even stopped by without appointments, which meant that a few times I was juggling three potential students at once. Wahoo! Actually, I enjoy being so busy, because it definitely makes time fly. And it’s pretty fun talking to lots of different people.

It would have been cool to have been able to go to the bathroom before 5:30, though.

back to the office

Yippee, I’m able to work again. Woo hoo. I went in early today (7:30!) so I could help out with Monday morning new-class stuff, and I ended up just staying the rest of the day. Yes, until 6 p.m.

The main souvenir from last week’s illness is a deep and lingering cough. It’s one of those coughs that sometimes goes completely out of control, so that I end up wheezing and gasping for breath. This isn’t ideal for making phone calls or leaving voice mail. It was also pretty inconvenient during Easter Vigil — I went in and out of church so many times, the usher offered to make me a nice cup of tea and gave me a roll of Breath Savers.

Yesterday we all spent the day at the in-laws’, but my cough kept me indoors while Pete ran around with all the little ones. Tomorrow it’s supposed to hit 70 degrees, so perhaps my virus will evaporate out of my body and leave me alone.

saved by the bell

Last night, I sat in a classroom and listened. Today I got to be up in front, as a representative of the Campus during a high school career day.

Good thing I don’t mind public speaking. High schoolers are an interesting audience, though. This particular group was at a private school in a small town about 40 minutes away from Madison. They selected four different half-hour presentations to attend. Enough students signed up for ours that I was asked to present twice. I was alone the first time, but my favorite instructor joined me for the second one.

What brought back memories was hearing the announcements over the PA. That, and the bell.

work should always be so fun

Although I was a tiny bit restless by the end of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Body Mind Spirit Expo. Pete tagged along today, and boy, did he get his $8 worth. He went to most of the talks, walked around and met quite a few exhibitors, and generally smiled a lot because he was in his element.

I brought Audrey with me and amused myself by taking pictures. But rest assured, my counterpart and I were not goofing off! We did plenty of work on behalf of the Campus, both days. I’m sure we enhanced our name recognition and spread the goodwill.

It’s not our fault that we had time to hang out and talk about life, and family, and boys.

There was a lot of good energy in the place, and I can still feel it in my body/mind/spirit. (Say!) Oddly enough, I didn’t really have a weekend, but I’m looking forward to going into work tomorrow anyway.

a magnet for students

I realized today that my doll affection isn’t a completely new phenomenon. Back when Moon was small, someone gave her a poseable Madeleine, the classic storybook character. Moon’s red hair was even redder back then, and I think Madeleine’s giver thought Moon would enjoy the resemblance. But Moon never liked dolls. Instead, she spent hours dressing and feeding her stuffed animals. She even had a wooden high chair for them. I figured it must have been the fur. Maybe we’d have been able to get her interested in a doll… if Toys ‘R Us had sold a werewolf baby.
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