Archive | October 2011

2nd Freelance-a-versary

It’s been two years since I fled the confines of my work pod to go out on my own. While starting a business and working from home had never been a part of my career plan, I realized I didn’t really have a plan so changing courses wasn’t exactly a big problem. I mean, I was pretty set on spending my life as a star on Broadway, but since that hasn’t quite fallen into place I have to make due with other options.

At the time I knew I had valuable skills that clients would find beneficial, but I was seriously worried about where was I going to find these clients. I had two or three small projects lined up, but I was terrified that I’d only make $1,000 during the year, force my husband to shoulder all our financial burdens and be really embarrassed when I had to start looking for a full-time job again.

Now 24 months, more than 20 clients and a few thousand billable hours later, I know that making the change was the best thing that I could have done. But I couldn’t have been successful without my wonderful colleagues/friends who have helped me get gig after gig. In particular one hilarious friend who I work with on a daily basis and has managed to keep me sane with her insane antics. It also wouldn’t have happened if my husband hadn’t repeatedly told me I could make it work, that I shouldn’t feel guilty about not earning a lot of money right away, and that I needed to believe in myself because he did. Now I know that I can make my own way. Finding success outside of an office has been incredibly rewarding.

I still love the variety of projects I tackle on a daily basis from managing projects for graphic designers to editing a novel to creating a poster, each project is unique and requires me to approach it from a thoughtful place. I am not just repeating the same pieces over and over again and I find the opportunity to use my brain designing, editing and marketing a great motivator.

Also, I can’t say enough about how refreshing it is to have a flexible schedule. How else could I have traveled to seven weddings this year and still make it home for two weeks at the holidays? Not to mention my two minute commute, the chance to meet up with friends for coffee and having the free time to take care of our garden. But work isn’t all fun and games — sometimes it actually feels like actual work. Even on an off day, though, knowing I am my own boss makes work much more bearable. And I know that the next day will be filled with completely different adventures and challenges.

After two years as a freelancer, I’m thrilled that I have managed to surpass my goals and be able to set higher sights for the future. Between that and my overall happiness with what I am doing, I’d say it’s been a pretty good success!

Potty-Trained Puppy

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m Back, my husband and I have been discussing getting a dog for quite some time. Five minutes after I posted last week my dad called (Hi dad) and said “So you got a dog, huh?” Nope, I told him. “Well,” he continued, “You know dogs are a lot of work. You know what’s probably less work than a dog? A baby.”

I readily agreed that a dog is a lot of work (hence why we don’t already have one) but found the idea that a baby is less work than a dog pretty ridiculous. Sorry dad, we’re going with a dog not a baby for now.

The first few years we were married a dog wasn’t an option because we lived in an apartment. When we bought the house we were happy about the size of the yard because we knew it was large enough that we could get a dog, but we didn’t feel like we could afford one. Now we’ve been in the house for 2.5 dogless years.

A few weeks ago we started working on our budget for 2012 (yes, we are that nerdy) and my husband asked if I had noticed the new line in our savings category. Oh I had indeed. We now have a savings line for Dog.

Since I started working from home (nearly 2 years ago) we have talked a bit more regularly about getting a dog so I would have some companionship during the day, but this year we had to travel to a number of weddings and it didn’t seem ideal to have to find someone to watch our new friend over and over and over again.

Recently we upped our dog talk because my husband’s job has the possibility of more (and longer) travel. In fact, my husband is currently traveling for work and emailed me one day to ask if I was planning to get a dog while he was away as the wife of someone else on his team had apparently done. Sneaky, I thought, but I told him no. I wasn’t going to bring home a dog while he was away — this time. That night I watched “Bridesmaids” and in the bridal shower scene the party favor was a yellow lab puppy wearing a pink beret (the beret is keeping with the French theme of the shindig, obviously). After seeing that I wondered if I could really wait? I wanted one of those puppy favors!

And that brings us to the biggest issue of all — puppy or dog? We will likely adopt from the local lab rescue, but what age? Here’s the thing, I have experienced my fair share of lab puppies in the past (nearly) 30 years and I know that for a good six months they are nothing but pure evil. However, that first day or two when you bring them home and can snuggle with them because they are too afraid to be evil, they are the cutest little things on earth. Then they all too quickly decide that you aren’t scary at all and get work using their needle sharp puppy teeth on your arm, you shoes, your antique clock. Also they don’t know where to go to the bathroom which isn’t much fun for anyone. In all these ways having a dog that is slightly older (say 1 or 2) and has been house trained could be just what we need.

But what do I really want? A potty-trained 6-week old lab puppy wearing a beret.

I’m back!

It has been seven weeks since my last post. In that time I have meant to write about a variety of things: our garden plot, the refinished front door project, our backyard, traveling to California, cooking, and dog talk. Despite my best intentions to write 2 or 3 posts per week, work has been unbelievably busy  and each time my calendar has alerted me that it is time to write a post I have to admit that I’ve simply hit “ignore.”

But yesterday as I finished up the dishes and was reflecting on how I was also in my third load of laundry and had prepared dinner (and was working AND it was only 2:30), I thought to myself “Self, it is time to get back into blogging!”

So here’s a mini update about all the things I have been meaning to share recently.

Gardening:
I’ve been paying about as much attention to our community garden plot as I have to this blog…so I can’t report too much there. I know our sage plant is totally out of control (at this point it has probably taken over the entire 4×12 foot area). Hopefully I’ll make it over this weekend and will be able to collect a few bell peppers if the bugs/birds haven’t gotten them yet. I know we also have three or four leeks, but I am not sure if they are ready to be harvested. Since there is no room in the fridge for them, hopefully they can stay at the garden a bit longer.

In our backyard plot we added red potatoes and some blueberry bushes at the end of September. We’ve had a pretty good harvest of green beans, radishes and arugula since planting, but some nasty black and orange bugs came along and killed our thriving cucumber plant. Our chive and cilantro plants still seem to be coming along so I am hoping that they will take root before it is too chilly. It also looks like a good number of leeks are growing for use in the spring.

Front Door Refinishing:
While my in-laws were here for a weekend in September, my husband asked my father-in-law to refinish our front door. It now looks beautiful, but it meant spending three relatively chilly days and nights without a front door, which was interesting. Thankfully we still had the screens on our gate so we were able to keep bugs out at the very least. I have to admit that I was disappointed my security squeak—the super loud annoying noise that the door made every time it was opened and closed—disappeared when the door was reinstalled.

Traveling:
The first weekend of October we were in California to attend the sixth and seventh weddings of 2011. Along with visiting family, we took a wine tasting day trip to Amador County and spent a few nights in Santa Cruz. Now I can safely say that we are weddinged out! Thankfully we won’t be comparing cakes and dancing like fools again until 2012, but we will be heading back to California during the holidays.

Cooking:
As you know from earlier posts, I have to brag when I make dinner. Well, my husband is currently on work travel so I have been making dinner every night. If I want to eat I have to cook, so I suppose that I can’t really brag too much about that. But I have been doing my best to choose relatively healthy options like lentil & spinach soup, tabouleh & hummus, and black bean soup. It seems that Mother Nature has decided it is indeed fall, but despite having entered full-blown baking season I feel like I should wait for a reason other than wanting to eat a treat before I bake. Apple cake is definitely in the near future though.

Dog Talk:
My husband and I have been talking for months (years really) about getting a dog. Recently he mentioned — wait, I think this is a story for a whole other post…I’ll try not to wait for seven more weeks to write it!