Take the First Step

Admittedly, I’m kind of floundering today.  Last night, I spent several hours in the ER with my 70+ year old Mom.  She had been in a relatively minor car accident but it was on the freeway and there were three cars involved, the police came, and she was pretty shook up.  She actually called my sister (she was closer to her house) from the freeway.  My dear sister showed up at the accident scene and told my Mom she was completely fine to drive herself home!!!  My sister didn’t even follow her to make sure she got home ok and was comfortably settled.  Mom lives alone.  So, later, when Mom thinks she should be checked out . . . who does she call?  Me.  And who sits with Mom at the ER with all the coughing, vomiting, sniffly people with fevers?  Me.  I don’t at all mind needing to take Mom to the ER.  I was easily able to find the kids a ride home from Scouts (we were on our way to Scouts when Mom called) so, really, it wasn’t an inconvenience.  I’m just mad at my sister for thinking it was ok for Mom to drive home alone.  And Mom’s like, “Oh, don’t get mad at her.  She’s just on a different wavelength than  you are.”  What???

Ok, ok, I’m digressing.

And Mom’s ok.  The x-rays and CT scan all checked out fine.

So its 11:00 and I’ve literally done nothing today besides turn the minis out and get sucked into Hay Day and Facebook.  I decided to write in my journal; that helps me clear my head and get on with my day sometimes.

It led me to again think about what I want to do work-wise.  I really want to build something of my own.  I have ideas for three different on-line businesses that I keep coming back to.  I think they’re good ideas.  People I’ve run them by also think they have potential.  I’ve done some brainstorming, made some lists, put some ideas down on paper.

So . . . now what?  Because of my spectacular history of not following through on my brilliant ideas, Husband isn’t going to be supportive of spending any money on these new bright ideas.  Realistically, I could likely get at least one or two of them off the ground without any money.

So . . . now what?  I keep coming back to these ideas, which tells me I should pay attention to them.  What’s stopping me?  I’m sort of at a place in life where I could launch something new, something that’s my very own thing.  I’m smart.  I can figure stuff out.

My brainstorming keeps coming up with problems . . .  What form would the final product be in?  How would I get paid (PayPal?)?  How much do I charge?  I can’t envision the entire project or process. But that led me to remember one of my favorite quotes (which I’m likely not quoting exactly):  Faith is taking the first step when you can’t see the entire staircase.

That’s the point I’m at . . . I can’t see the entire staircase.  But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take the first step.

The Power of Positive

Oh!  I wanted to write a whiny post yesterday.  O.k., I’ve had whiny posts running through my head all week.  I’ve been kind of down about my lack of a job.  Which led me to scroll through Craigslist and Indeed.  Which led me to getting more depressed.

And I haven’t accomplished as much as I had planned so far this week.  Yesterday afternoon I started to have negative thoughts running through my head.  It started with, “I’m not doing very well today.”

But wait!  Stop!!!  I promised myself I wasn’t going to go down the negative road.

So, while prepping dinner, I forced myself to list all the things I had accomplished.

First, I got up on time.  Maybe that sounds silly to list as an “accomplishment” but, hey, you gotta start somewhere.

I got the kids to school (mostly on time).

I trekked out in the near-dark to feed the horses.  I could have waited and fed them when I got back from taking the kids to school but my day goes better when I do it first thing.  Because then, I feel like I’ve done something.  And, it means I can turn them out earlier, which is good for them.

I got some work done on summer trip planning.

I had a difficult conversation with a client, which I had been putting off.  (I do some very, very part-time attorney work.)

And, there I was, at 3:30 in the afternoon, not only with a plan for dinner but actually doing some prep while I helped the 14 year old with homework.  And, I ran Roomba which got some of the dog fur off of the floor.

I felt better after reminding myself of those positive things.  I’m proud of myself for stopping the negative thought process.  It put me on a good path for today.

Positive thinking does work!  And its worth the effort.


How I Found Positive

As I said in my last post, I stopped writing for so long because I was tired of hearing myself whine.  I was in such a negative place – lots of negative self-talk, negative thinking, judgement, and criticism.

No more!

How did I turn things around?  Honestly, I had a good friend send me a very strongly worded email that kicked me in the butt.  And, through her example, I found my faith again.  (Don’t worry . . . not going to get all religious on you here.)

My good friend is VERY strong in her faith.  And me?  I grew up Catholic (Catholic school, mass every Sunday, etc.) but have not gone to church in ummmm . . . forever, and haven’t really thought much about it.  My kids are not baptized, which upset my mother greatly and, on some level, upsets me too.  I’m straying from my point . . .

(Wow, and I do seem to be fond of these three little dots . . . in my writing!)

So my friend writes me this email which basically says, “Suck it up, Buttercup.  God has a plan for you, God loves you and all this negativity is the devil talking.”  Really, that’s what it said in multiple paragraphs.  I was sort of stunned when I read it.  Had to read it a couple of times.  But it struck a chord for me.

I have other friends who are strong in their faith.  I’ve noticed over the years that there’s a serenity about them.  I’ve wished for the same.

So, I set out to change my mindset.  Whenever I felt my stress and / or anxiety rising, I found a quiet spot, took a deep breath, said a Hail Mary and asked for the strength to get through whatever I was facing.  Whenever I started being critical, I stopped and consciously made a decision to look for the good.  Every morning when I walk down my driveway in the near-dark from feeding the horses, I look up at the sky and thank God for the day we’re about to have, the opportunities it will bring us, the strength to face the difficult parts and for His protection.  It starts my day off in a positive mindset.

I settled on four words / intentions to focus on:

Gratitude:  I have A LOT to be thankful for but I’ve spent years only thinking about what I didn’t have.  I’m now stopping to be grateful for what I have.

Patience:  This is a super hard one for me.  I’m not patient with myself or others.  Now I remember to be kind to myself, that I’m doing a lot and that I can give myself some slack.  With others, I remember that they’re not being slow just to bother me; maybe they have an unseen reason for not being as quick as I want them to.

Love:  Often it seems like the world is a pretty angry place these days.  I do my best to not contribute to the anger and to, instead, spread some joy.  Smile at folks, give compliments, offer to help.

Faith:  I have to believe there’s a plan.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not using all of this as an excuse.  I’m not saying, “Oh well, I’m not being successful in my new private practice.  God must not want me to be an attorney.”  (I wish!)  I have to work to make positive things happen in my life.  Returning to my faith has just given me a framework for that and a method for staying focused and positive.

Honestly, this switch from negative to positive has been easier than I anticipated.  I think its because, when I feel myself drifting back towards the dark side, I have a set of tools I can use to immediately stop the negativity.

So, that’s what’s worked for me.  Mind you, I’ve only been at this a few weeks.  So far, its working.  And I have faith that its going to continue to work.

Getting It Back Together

I’ve realized that yesterday’s feeling of “its all too difficult” mostly came from doubting myself.  I’m in a better mood today and ready to tackle some things.

I sent the logo person an email, asking some questions and giving her an idea of what I want.  So, no commitment yet but some progress.  I felt like I need some more information before making a final decision.  I also recognized that my real hesitation here is that Husband will think this is a ridiculous use of money; that a logo is a completely unnecessary item.  But its important to me.  I’m not sure why, but it is.  But, I also acknowledge that its something I can do without.  So, maybe I shouldn’t spend the $100.

O.k., maybe that was a decision right there.  Maybe its something I can reward myself with after I have, say, 5 clients.

I am going to the continuing education thing this afternoon.  Actually, I have to leave here in less than an hour.  I know what I’m going to wear and I’ve painted my nails.  Whether or not I’ll actually talk to people remains to be seen.  I suppose I should make sure I have some business cards on me.

I’m going to do my best to post more frequently about my journey back to riding Slewy and teaching our two minis to drive.  Yesterday I finished the very helpful “Step-By-Step Guide To Training A Miniature Horse to Drive.”  I wish I could find a step-by-step guide to making your nutty off-the-track Thoroughbred nice.  So go see the Stori Stables section for that.

As for finding a horse to buy for my daughter . . . well, I think that’s just going to be a lengthy saga that I had better learn to have a sense of humor about.

Wish me luck on my event this afternoon . . . mostly, on looking friendly and talking to people.


The Road to Riding Slewy

The chestnut (light brown for the non-horsey readers) is Slewy.


I’ve had Slewy since he was 4 years old; he’s now 12.  He’s an OTTB (Off-The-Track-Thoroughbred), which means he was a racehorse.  I bought him pretty much straight off the track.  He had been brought home from the track to his owner’s place and allowed to relax for a couple of months before looking for his new people, which wound up being me.

Pretty much everyone thought I was insane for buying him.  My two previous horses were disasters and my confidence was at an all-time low.  So, what do I do?  Buy an untrained, huge, racehorse.  Yeah, ’cause that’s a wise decision.

I have ridden Slewy.  But its been  years.  I was just scrolling through my phone looking for the photo of me on Slewy and my daughter on her first mini, Flicka, but instead I came across the photos I took of the kids and Flicka in the days before we lost Flicka to EPM (a horrible, non-preventable disease) and that made me cry.

O.k., moving on. . . .

I have struggled with Slewy the entire time I’ve owned him.  I’ve been advised to sell him on numerous occasions, by numerous people.  My farrier has called him “dangerous”.  My vet has told me “your horse has a severe case of ADD”.  But I can’t quite give him up.

I know that part of my inability to give him up is rooted in my need to prove something.  To prove to myself that I do know what I’m doing with horses.  That I am a good rider.  And that I can handle a horse like Slewy.  (This has been confirmed through recent lessons with a well-respected trainer who admitted that, when I first discussed Slewy with her, she thought I was insane.  But then, when she saw me ride, she was like, “Oh my gosh, this lady can ride.”)

Second reason I can’t give Slewy up is that he’s the type of horse that I’m afraid could easily fall into the wrong hands.  He takes confidence.  And patience.  So. Much. Patience.  I’m afraid that someone could quickly get frustrated with him (or scared of him) and thump on him.  And then, he’d totally lose it and not recover.  It wouldn’t be a good situation for anyone.  So, he has a forever home here no matter what.

I have gone through periods of time when I’m absolutely frightened of Slewy.  He would never purposefully hurt anyone; the horse doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.  But, he does jump around and rear and play when you’re bringing him back from being turned  out with his buddy (my 29 year old, retired, Thoroughbred – the one behind him in the photo).  And, at 17 hands (that’s big for the non-horsey readers – I’m 5’4″ and I cannot see over his back), that gets scary.

But in the past few months, really, since January, the fear has disappeared.  I can’t explain why.  I wish I could.  For the first time in a long time, I’m actually excited about the prospect of riding my horse.

I believe in Slewy.  I whole-heartedly believe that somewhere under the ADD, there’s a really good horse who just needs kindness and patience.

And so I’m putting him back to work.  I’ve bought fancy, ridiculously expensive saddle pads and had my saddle altered so its just perfect for him.  Of course, he’s extremely sensitive . . . think the Princess and the Pea sensitive.  I’ve started lunging him.  Unfortunately, this crazy May weather we’re having has interrupted that.  With all the rain we’ve had, my arena is a lake.  But, I’m not going to get discouraged.  Its supposed to dry out after today.

I don’t know what twists and turns lie ahead on the road to getting back on Slewy.  But, for the first time in years, I’m heading down it because I want to; not because I feel like I have to.  And I’m hoping that makes all the difference.

Am I Ready to Be an Entrepreneur?

First, I can barely even spell “entrepreneur” and I’m a good speller.  I have never wanted to own a small business (or a big one).  I want to go to work, know what my job is, be left pretty unsupervised to do it, go home, and have someone give me a paycheck.  I certainly don’t mind running things or supervising others; I just don’t want to be the one worrying about keeping the lights on.

Even upon becoming an attorney, I never wanted to hang out a shingle and be a solo practitioner.  The joke in my family is that if I were in business for myself, I’d happily accept blind ponies or one-legged chickens as payment.  My 13 year old daughter once commented, “Hey, Mom, maybe you could get a one-legged, blind, chicken.”  I replied back, completely serious, “well, if such a chicken came along, it would definitely have a forever home here.”

But as I perform my daily scroll through job opportunities on Indeed.com, I’ve started to question my aversion to entrepreneurship. (Got that version wrong too; thanks, spellcheck.)

My Dad owns an architecture firm; has for most of my life.  He’s trying to retire but clients keep talking him into just “one more, small, project”.  He’s quite successful.  My husband’s family are all entrepreneurs – therapists (his Mom owned the largest group therapy practice in the county for many years), an aesthetician, an attorney, a CPA who ran the other family business.  I’ve just never thought it was for me.

Given that, I’ve managed to never work a 9 – 5 job.  I’m used to having pretty good control over my own schedule, working with extremely little to no supervision and being able to take about 7 weeks off a year.  As I’m searching for a new job, I was trying to wrap my head around having to give up all of that.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally prepared to do whatever I have to do job-wise but, the more I thought about a regular work schedule, only 2 weeks off a year, having someone else in control of my schedule, I began to wonder if its not time for me to go into business for myself.

I have a few ideas about what I might want to do.  I just need to stop talking myself out of them.  And I’d have to get paid in actual money rather than blind ponies and one-legged chickens.  A business manager type person sounds like it might be a good idea for me.

The obvious thing would be for me to open my own law practice, right?  I don’t want to do that.  I want to try something new.  But what?  And how am I ever going to be brave enough??


One Day . . . Two Solos!

He did it!!!  The weather cooperated and my son celebrated his birthday by successfully completing both helicopter and airplane solo flights!  I was so happy, so relieved, so proud!!!!  Evan was just about walking on air.  And he should have been . . . soloing in both a helicopter and airplane on your 16th birthday is not a very common accomplishment.

Our local paper came out and did a great article on Evan.  Here’s a link . . . https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9416706-181/sebastopol-youth-celebrates-his-16th

We started the morning at Helico, Evan’s helicopter flight school.  He went through pre-flight and then took off with his instructor.  They flew over to “helicopter practice area” and did a couple of patterns.  Evan then landed and instructor Konnor got out.  Off he went!!!  It was a little surreal watching the small R22 helicopter flying around, knowing that it was just my 16 year old kid up there

.20190321_103921-1.jpg    Post-helicopter solo!!!!

After lots of pictures and congratulations, we went home for lunch.  A couple hours later, we were back at the airport, this time at North Coast Air, Evan’s airplane flight school.  Again, he went through pre-flight under the watchful eye of his instructor, but without any input.  They took off together and did three take-offs and landings.  Then, once again, instructor Art got out and Evan was off on his own!  Again, everything went beautifully.  Whew!!

20190318_120034.jpg   And post-airplane solo!!!

I think I was way more stressed about the day than I realized.  I know I was stressed over the weather.  People kept asking me if I was nervous about him flying by himself.  I’d bravely answer, “No!!” and usually follow it with something like, “I have complete confidence in his instructors and know they won’t let him go if they’re not 100% convinced that he’s ready.”  I meant that.  But maybe watching your 16 year old fly around by himself is actually stressful.  Whatever it was, at the end of the day, I was absolutely exhausted.

Completing your solo flight is akin to getting your driver’s learning permit.  Evan has a lot more training in front of him.  His ultimate goal is fly air tankers for Cal Fire or a private air tanker company.  Challenging, dangerous work.  Flying lessons are extremely expensive so I started a GoFundMe page . . . especially since I just lost my job.  Go take a look, donate if you feel so inclined. . . and, if you don’t, goodness knows I won’t be offended (I’ve always been a little divided on the whole GoFundMe thing, personally).  Here’s the link to that:  https://www.gofundme.com/help-evan-fly

Thanks for celebrating with me!!!!