How Am I Going To Get Through This?

“This” is being unemployed.  And don’t read too much into the title of this post.  Its not a “How on earth am I going to get through this???” in a hysterical or depressed way.  Its more of a “Huh . . . what exactly am I going to do???”

Because, let’s face it, being unemployed with teenagers leaves a person with a whole lot of free time.  I have the sneaking suspicion that I need to structure my time and activities somehow.

My “Plan for the Day” spreadsheet is working to a point.  But since, for example, I just canceled my house cleaners, I need some scheduled housecleaning time.  My horses aren’t getting worked (again) so I need to schedule that.  I need to get my kids to do something productive this summer.  And, of course, I need to look for a job, which, according to my husband, should take up at least 4 hours of my day.

But how do you make these decisions in a vacuum?  Obviously, it doesn’t matter what day I clean the bathroom.  Looking for a job should likely take priority.  So that needs to be in the morning because otherwise, I promise you, my day will just roll on by and I’ll get involved in other, far more interesting, things.

This is hard!!!  And I don’t like it.  Not one little bit.

And what time do I get up in the morning??  During the school year, which ended yesterday, I have to roll out of bed by 6:30 at the latest to get my high schooler to school by 7:30.  I kind of loathe getting up early.  But now, the idea of having some quiet time to myself in the morning to get a few things done, is sort of appealing.  I could get up, have coffee, and do a good chunk of my 4 hours of job searching before the kids get up.  That would give me most of the day left for fun things.

Hmmm . . . that’s something to consider.

Scouts is on Wednesday, which makes the whole day feel compressed.  So maybe that’s a good day for housecleaning and not worry about getting other stuff done (besides the necessary job searching, of course).

But otherwise . . . well, I just don’t know.  I just know that I’d better come up with a plan.

Trying to Get My Week Together

Yep, its Friday and I’m still feeling like I’m just trying to get my week together.  Its been a week with a lot of interruptions . . . Mom-type things like orthodontic wires stabbing cheeks, sore teeth from braces tightening, “Mom, can my friend spend the night?”,  “Wait, no, I don’t want her to spend the night.”,  teenager studying for finals, blow-ups in my son’s Scout troop (for which I, happily, am not the Scoutmaster), and so on and so on.

On top of all this, we have our (last) annual swim party tomorrow, daughter’s 8th grade “promotion”, friend’s son’s high school graduation, Scout events at my house . . . it just seems to go on.

Sound familiar?

I’ve tried my best to get a few things done.  I signed up a new Scout for my troop of girls (Yay!!!).  I’ve written a few blog posts.  Mostly, I’m being gentle with  myself.  Not beating myself up for not getting more done.  Focusing on what I have accomplished versus what I have not.  Because, realistically, its all stuff that can be done next week (not that I’m advocating procrastination).  Everyone is healthy, clothed, fed, and gets to where they need to be mostly on time.  And that’s what’s important.

Its ok for me to take the time to write blog posts, sit here with my coffee and watch birds out the window and spend a few minutes too long scrolling through Facebook and looking for a horse to buy my daughter.

Yep, its ok.


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.


Today, It All Seems Too Hard

I’m having one of those days.  A day where things I was excited about a few weeks ago, all seem very difficult and out of reach.  Its 11:15 and I’m still sitting here drinking coffee.  O.k., I’ve gotten a few things done . . . turned the minis out, paid bills (discovered that one of us wrote a check off of one of our accounts and didn’t write in how much its for or who it was too), got most of the laundry done and folded.  But that’s not much for  a morning.

I’ll just go through things one by one and maybe that will help me come up with a solution or two:

Opening my private practice:  I’m not quite sure why I keep saying “opening”.  Realistically, I could help a client if one walked through my virtual door.  So, I guess, technically, I am “open” for business.  Hopefully my website will be done this week.

Logo:  The thing I’m trying to decide on is a logo.  I know what I want; I just need someone to help me with it.  There are folks on Etsy who will draw you up something for prices ranging between $15 and $65.  All, I repeat ALL, of the ads say nearly the exact same thing.  How can that be?  What exactly am I getting for my $15 or $35 or $65?  How do I choose one?  I found another lady off of a horse website who’s starting out in graphic design and will do one for $100.  That’s more than I really want to spend but I feel better knowing that I’m dealing with a real person and knowing who that person is.  So maybe I just need to go ahead and do that.  Having trouble making that decision.

Networking: I’m signed up to go to a continuing education class tomorrow.  I did this when I was enthusiastic about networking.  I’ve paid for it.  Its only an hour and not far from my house.  I think the topic even sounded mildly interesting (I can’t remember what it was at this point.)  But today, getting dressed in something semi-professional and walking into a roomful of attorneys seems impossible.

Horses:  I have four horses; three of them are training projects.  I really don’t know what to do with any of them at this point.  I wish I had horse-knowledgeable friend.  I have a trainer but lately she’s been pretty condescending, which is doing zero for my confidence.

Buying a Horse for Daughter:  My 13 year old daughter really wants to ride more and wants her own horse.  Trainer and I are slightly at odds about this – not whether or not she should get a horse, but what horse is appropriate.  I see horses for sale and consider their potential; trainer sees horses and only seems to consider problems.  I have a budget which I (and others) think is reasonable; trainer thinks I’m insane.  Keeps telling me stories about other clients who had a similar budget and finally just gave up looking because there were no horses available for that price point.  I just keep thinking, “Really?  None??”  I find that hard to believe.  But again, its not really doing my confidence any good.

So I’m just going to keep drinking my coffee.  Hopefully tomorrow my enthusiasm will return.

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.

Is “Everything” A Choice?

You know that song that goes, “I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now”??  That’s me the past couple of days.

Since losing my job at the end of March, I’ve considered a couple of different paths:

1) Find a new job as an employee

2) Buy and run some sort of business, like a frozen yogurt place or coffee spot

3) Start my own private practice as a criminal defense attorney

4) Start my own non-attorney business (I have a vague idea for a tour company)

Is “all of the above” a choice?

The fabulous part-time job that I discussed in my last blog post (the one about how I was busy talking myself out of it) will likely become a reality.  So, that checks off path #1.  But I don’t want to turn my back on numbers 2 through 4.

Its super hard to decide what to do with your life!

And its put me in a bit of a funky mood lately.  My “Plan for the Day” spreadsheet hasn’t been working quite as well because, well,  I’m just really tired.  I’m tired of the uncertainty and of trying to figure it all out.  There are so many things I want to do.  And there are so many things I “have” to do.  Its a lot of juggling.

I’m not whining.  I know there are a lot of other folks out there going through the same thing.  And I know I (and hopefully others too!) will get through it.

So today I’m giving myself a bit of a break.  I’m giving myself a manicure, spending some more time scrolling through Facebook, and just sitting here watching the rain and wind.

And now, I have to brave the wind and the rain to pick up kids from school.

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, 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??


Life as Unemployed

I’m still unemployed.  Technically, since I was at my previous job until the end of March, I suppose I’ve only been unemployed for eight days.  In my mind, I’m going on month two of unemployment since I’ve been looking for a new job for that long.

Last week, I had a hard time organizing my day.  I suddenly found that I was spending waaaaayyy too much time playing HayDay (Oh!  Time to feed my virtual chickens!), scrolling through Facebook and searching the internet for horses (yay for Bay Area Equestrian Network!) and houses ( I can’t really afford.

Oh, and at least once a day I’d search for a new job.

I thought I’d take all this free time I suddenly have and use it to work my horses, clean out cupboards and re-do my house into the sparkling, Sunset-worthy, abode I’ve always dreamed of.  That didn’t exactly happen.  Thanks, HayDay, Facebook, horses and houses.

This wasn’t working.  I have a To Do list on my desk but that I was having trouble prioritizing it.  And, often, I just flat out ignored it.  It sat there and stared at me, making me depressed.

Solution:  (Why this is different than the To Do List, I don’t know.  I’ll totally admit that.)  I made myself an Excel spreadsheet to organize and prioritize my day.  Across the top, are the days of the week.  Down the side are the things main categories of things I need to get done, in order of their priority:  Find a Job; House Things; Horses; Evan Flying (which means doing something to find the kid some more money for flying lessons, update his GoFundMe page, the Twitter, etc.); Kid Things (like sew patches on Scout uniforms); and then things for me:  Exercise; practice Spanish; Write.

Under each day, I write specifics of the main categories.  For example, today in House Things, I need to rewrite the ad for one of our rentals that is coming vacant.

Why the “things for me” are dead last on the priority list is a whole other topic.

So far, its working.  I have a column for checking things off.  I really like putting x’s in the “Done” column.  There’s no more trying to prioritize the general To Do list on my desk.  I just go down my Excel spreadsheet.  (I could probably get rid of the To Do list.)  I’m finding that I’m feeling less overwhelmed.  Instead of staring at the huge To Do List, I have a few, reasonable, things to accomplish each day.

And now, I can put my first check in the Done column next to “Write”.  Yay!!!  Back to the spreadsheet to see what I need to do next.  Right after I check on my virtual chickens.

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 . . .

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:

Thanks for celebrating with me!!!!


Avoiding Floundering

So, as I said in my last post . . . I lost my job.  This could have been (and still could be) an event that completely set me adrift.  I’m proud to say that, so far, it hasn’t!  I think a few things have helped me . . .

I’m getting used to crises.  Being let go completely  blind-sided me.  But I’ve had some things happen in the past few years that have left me much, much more able to roll with what life throws at me.

I’m a committed non-worrier.  I’m convinced that worrying doesn’t get anyone, anywhere.  Not worrying is different from not planning or being prepared but there are some things you simply cannot prepare for.  What’s going to happen, is going to happen on some level.  I see bridges in the future, but I’ll cross them when I get there.

The fact that I still have my job for a couple of weeks has really helped.  And, everyone at work has been extraordinarily supportive.  No one understands why I was let go and everyone disagrees with the decision.

I’m working hard on looking for another job.  Well, I’m working as hard as I think I can.  I hired a professional resume writer because, honestly, I’ve never had to write a professional resume.  I’m telling just about everyone I know that I need a new job.  I search job postings.  I’ve never had to actually look for a professional job; I got my current job on a recommendation from a friend.  Didn’t have to submit a resume or anything; I just had a very brief, informal interview and got the job!  So, I’m not even really sure how people find jobs these days.  My “network” is pretty small since I suck at networking but I’m trying to make the most of it.  I think I’ve done something to find a new job just about every day.

Finally, I’m letting myself be ok with all of this.  Things happen for a reason.  I don’t know what the reason is for this life change nor can I see where it will lead me.  But I’m convinced that it will eventually become clear.

If you have any job searching tips or stories about how you found your perfect job . . . I’d love to hear them!