No, the blog isn’t dead. It’s just been on ….. life support, I guess you could say these past several months. I am so sorry everyone. Let me just catch you up on what has gone on in my life, as succintly as I can, over the last (gulp) 10 months. Read more
Image from pixabay.com
I have definitely been decision-impaired at times in my life. Paralysis by analysis is one term with which I have been intimately familiar. I’ve also been known to research and research and research, thinking that if I have that one last strand of information, I can make a decision and feel confident about it. But I know what that is — it’s another form of procrastination, in disguise. Because the thing is, sometimes you just have to make decisions in life and then go with it, dealing with the results or consequences as they may fall.
One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I think I may have mentioned it in an earlier post, is to cease school after this semester. I have loved the classes I have taken so far feel like I’ve learned a lot, and met some people with whom I’ve really connected, but it is a matter of $$$. (I hate that money can have such an effect on our lives but feel it is inescapable sometimes.)
The courses I’ve taken over the past two semesters have taught me the value of language. I am so much more cognizant of the words and tone I use now. Through the animal protection classes, I have again experienced such physiological effects as I read through some assignments, that I know in my heart, I am meant to do something in my life where animals are concerned.
I also know in my heart that I am meant to use my writing skills for good. I was born with them for some reason, and have realized I can really move people sometimes by the words I choose and subsequent images I create in their mind. I’ve recently pictured myself traveling around to animal sanctuaries around the country, talking to their founders or workers in an effort to spread the word about their good deeds.
Having worked at an animal sanctuary for even only six months, I know how how much work it involves, and how exhausting it can be. There is precious time available at the end of the day to self-promote or market or attempt to raise funds in order to continue doing such beneficial work.
Consequently, I’ve been thinking of ways to help those sanctuaries in a way that can be sustainable for myself, i.e., help to ultimately create an income. One thing I’ve mentioned in the past is grant writing and recently, conversations with my sister-in-law, Geneva (writer extraordinaire behind It’s Not a Slow Car, It’s a Fast House) have reminded me of that as an option. In a way, grant writing is one form of marketing the positive qualities of an organization.
As with anything, every choice involves compromises.
Grant proposals require the power of persuasion, writing and research skills. One thing law school teaches you is how to construct an argument and to see situations from multiple angles, how to acknowledge your weaknesses but in the best, most positive light. Being a reference librarian requires kick-ass research skills and a thirst for knowledge and learning. Humane education also teaches you these similar skills but also provides you with a base of knowledge that law school and library work don’t encompass.
I’ve also thought of creating a directory of sorts for animal sanctuaries in the country as part of my dream of visiting and talking with many of them. (I need to see if something of the type already exists, and if so, what hasn’t been covered by such a resource.)
One reason why these ideas appeal to me is because they would allow me to spend more time with my animals. It pains me to leave them every day that I have to go to work for 7-8 hours at a time. They are my world!
On Living Choices:
Any occupation involving animals usually doesn’t pay well. I’ve known this and have changed many of my habits and routines to accommodate this. Moving forward, if I were to support myself with my writing, I would need to keep my living costs as low as possible.
My friend Dan has had conversations with me ad nauseum about what it’s like to live out of a small abode and with cats. (Bless him, he’s still my friend!) Geneva has also had many of those conversations with me. I’ve gone back and forth between loving the small travel trailers like Scamps and Casitas, versus motorhomes such as a small Class C or a Class B like his Pleasureway or even a van that has been converted into a tiny mobile home. I’ve also been considering what it would be like to buy something like a shuttle bus (14 passenger or so) and convert that into a mobile home.
I’ve decided that if I eventually turn nomadic in my living situation, a travel trailer won’t work. Cats are creatures of routine and habit and really don’t like change. To have to put them in carriers every time I go somewhere is not a great life for them. And if I am going to be a solo female traveling, a mobile living vehicle makes the most sense, both in terms of money as well as safety and convenience. If a situation or location doesn’t feel right to me, being able to jump quickly into the driver’s seat will be important. Having a space for the animals to call their own and have a cat tree of sorts will be necessary.
If I end up in a stationary setting for whatever occupation I ultimately find myself in, it will involve living tiny and simply. Of that much, I am sure. Until then, I find myself saving as much money as I can.
So what does this all mean and involve?
It means I will need to, again, embrace my fears and push through them. It means I need to really focus myself on continuing to build skills and have the confidence in myself to start promoting them. It means talking to a lot of people in Florida at the upcoming APHE Conference and finding out if my ideas are viable options to pursue. It means I need to put myself out there and quite possibly, face a lot of rejection.
But I also might find out a lot about myself in those processes and meet some really great people doing some highly valuable and beneficial work.
The saying, “Life is a journey” can be very overused, but in my case, it is certainly true.
Question for you, the reader:
thank you to those who have made it this far in my post! Here is my question to you:
Do you know of animal organizations or sanctuaries that might benefit from having someone like me reach out to them and see if partnering up on a grant proposal or other form of marketing might be beneficial?
A few readily spring to mind for me already but I am always interested in learning of others.
Thanks, as always, for reading. And remember, it’s good to share if you think someone can benefit from reading this post and/or connecting with me.
Ever feel like you’re treading water or like you’re one of those ducks you see swimming on the pond? You know, looking all graceful and put together, but underneath the surface, there’s a whole lot of stuff going on?
School and Freelance Work:
That about sums things up for me these past few days. Been getting up at 5 or 5:30, drink coffee, eat a bagel or something else for breakfast and then get started on whatever project needs to be done that day, or on which I think I can make the most headway. Busy reading not one but two books for my classes at the same time.
Doing some transcribing for my friend Elaine. Readying myself to work with another company on a weekly basis so I will still have freelance work when Elaine shuts down her company in the upcoming months. (In case you’re wondering from my last post – I decided to only apply to one outside transcribing company, not the three that I was considering. I was just getting way too stressed thinking about getting all of that work done and finishing my school assignments. Oh yes, and sleep – sleep is important!!)
Trying to work out about 3-4 times per week. I reward myself with 10 minutes on the hydro massage beds that Planet Fitness has for Black Card members afterwards.
Writing about who I am as a writer for one of my classes, and trying to not freeze while I’m doing it. I feel a bit like a fraud. I just throw words down on the paper, thinking I can go back and edit it afterwards, or if something else comes to me, I can add it then. There is shortage of ideas or topics I would like to explore with my writing, but who am I as a writer?? That halts the flow of ideas and thoughts.
I don’t know why I feel this way about my writing sometimes. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I can define myself in just one or two terms.
“I’ve been finding it easier to write in the essay about what I want to be as a writer rather than what I am now.”
I want to be a fiction writer. I want to write a memoir — everybody keeps telling me I should write a book about my life since my path has been so unusual. But who would want to read about my life??
I am so flattered to have been contacted by Ashland Creek Press, located in Ashland, Oregon. They’ve asked me if I would like to receive some review copies of their books. Wow! This is how they describe themselves on their “About Us” page:
Changing the world one book at a time
Ashland Creek Press is a vegan-owned boutique publisher dedicated to publishing books with a world view. We’re passionate about the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife, and our goal is to publish books that combine these themes with compelling stories.
So let’s see — do they seem like a perfect company for me with which to stay in contact??!! Hell yes!!!
Publishes books with a world view? Check!
Passionate about animals, environment, wildlife and ecology? Check!
So I’ve asked them to send copies of two books to me and I will let you know as soon as I’m done with them, my thoughts. I would have asked them for more but didn’t want to seem piggish. 🙂
Take a look at their page if you share any of these same interests with me! (And no, they are not compensating me to mention them.) I’m so excited to see that there are publishers out there who are focused on such markets and topics!
Keeping it all together:
You could say I’m busy, but if you know me, you know that’s the way I am and like to be. I like to be productive. I believe my friend Dan would call my hyper-focused at times, or the Energizer Bunny. I find that using a paper planner and setting a few goals for myself each day helps me keep organized and on track.
“I’ve also been reminding myself to breathe. I’m a human. I can’t do it all. Just focus on what I can get done every day.”
As I’ve said in a recent post, if I want to make changes to my life, I have to do the work. You can’t just sit around and complain or wish for your life to change, magically, without any effort.
Have you ever felt like there is a bit of pandemonium in your life? How have you kept things under control?
As always, thank you for reading!! Please share if this post has helped you or if you know someone that could benefit from it.
I hope everyone had a happy New Year and that it was a safe one, too! Me, I stayed home. Too many drunks on the road, and I’ve noticed that in most places, prices go up for celebrations on that night. You pay more for the same experience you could have had any other night.
All the talk about how cold it is on the east coast, and in the northeast particularly has me thinking that wherever I end up after ABQ, it will be warm. As in all year warm. I just can’t handle the cold anymore. It makes me want to hibernate.
To be able to handle a move like that, I need to earn extra income, so that’s one thing I am working on. I’m not saying the move is going to happen soon. I really want to do my research and plan for things financially and otherwise, etc. I’ve been journalling a lot of my thoughts. Writing always helps.
Some of you know I do transcription. The lady with whom I’ve worked for the past 13 months or so is shutting down her business in March (for a well deserved retirement, I might add), so it’s a good thing I have lined myself up to start doing transcription for a company that does a lot of law enforcement work. Jail house interrogations, courtroom transcription, depositions, wire taps, police dash cams, etc.
The pay is decent, and they say that they always have a lot of work – one thing that’s recession proof is the law, and therefore crime. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that crime increases when the economy is bad.
I plan on setting up two separate bank accounts just for this work. This morning, I applied for an EIN (employer identification number, not a social security number), so I will have one account into which my pay will be deposited, and another bank account into which I will transfer money for taxes, because all this work will be done as an independent contractor.
I’m excited to begin this work. When it comes to legal stuff, I can be a total nerd, and I actually like listening to this sort of stuff! Having been a librarian for so many years, I love LOVE LOVE learning about new things every day. I never want my brain to become stagnant.
My school starts up again in another week. I can’t believe it’s already the spring semester! I’m taking courses in Animal Protection and Writing for Social Change, and I am super excited by both!
I have been reading up on how to grow this blog – the more I write for it, the more I want to write, and I really want to get information out there, both on topics I care about, and on those that you, the reader, find interesting. I’m putting together an editorial calendar so I can be regular with my posting (I’m thinking Tuesdays and Fridays are good for posting), if not 3x per week. I’m always looking for more bloggers and readers to connect with and follow, so I TRULY do appreciate all the comments everyone leaves. I can’t stress this enough!
I hope you enjoy the illustrations – I’ve been coloring a lot lately and it helps to relax me, plus all the positive thoughts in my Good Vibes coloring book (which I got for just $2!!) help me to stay motivated.
As always, thanks for reading!!
Woohoo! I’m done with my first semester of the Masters in Humane Education program I started this past fall! It’s been a while since I’ve taken classes in something I feel passionate about, and it makes all the difference. We had what we call our “Capstone” salons this weekend for each of my classes, where we meet with the professor and other students via zoom and share projects. In one of my capstones, I got some great ideas for how to develop my blog!! I really want this blog to also become an educational tool, not just me simply blathering on about my life. 🙂 (Although there will still be some of that, lol.) It was so cool to see people you’ve been in contact with on Blackboard but never seen their face!
So last night it was so relaxing – I sat there and was reading Dude Making a Difference, by Rob Greenfield. I love this book so much that I’ve already put it on my Helpful Books page. He has some great pearls of wisdom in it and he makes me desire to be a better person. One of my favorite quotes is on page.156:
“Life is a matter of perspective. Change your perspective today and you’ll be living in a whole new world tomorrow.”
His book has been published by New Society Publishers, and they specialize in publishing books that provide solutions for those who want to make a difference – I can’t wait to see what they have in their catalog!!
So, before I get into the meat of this blog post, I hope you will take a look at my newly revised About Me, Helpful Books, and NEW page on Animal Welfare and Rights Groups. Oh, and I even created a Hire Me page!There are more new pages in progress, including Inspiring Videos and Inspiring Stories, to come in the near future! The more I write, the more creative I feel!
So I thought I might suggest some little things that we can thing about anew, and feel more positive about our day, especially if it’s a crappy day for whatever reason – weather, people being grumpy, etc.
These are some of the little things that have helped my weekend to be a good one:
- that perfectly brewed cup of coffee first thing in the morning
- the cat that insists on sitting on your lap and putting his head on your laptop screen as you are trying to type (ahem, happening right now – I remind myself that it’s because Max loves me, as shown by his loud purring now taking place)
- waking up in the morning and realizing today is what you make of it. You might have to go to work, but only you can decide how to react to things, events, and people
- a good conversation with a good friend
- seeing your roommate start to flourish in this new town, meeting new friends and joining a community of like-minded souls
- joining in a free(!) webinar with other interested souls to learn about building your own tiny house from this guy, Ethan Waldman
- hearing from another writer whose work you really admire that your blog is one of her favorites (check out Sal’s blog at One Empty Shelf – her writing is so calming)
- sitting in silence enjoying the beauty of your first Christmas tree in a few years
- on a cold night, having a roof over your head, a comfy bed to sleep in, and a very cute dog named Snuggles, well, snuggling, at your side, knowing he is safe and loved
- realizing the notebook with the cover “My Brilliant Ideas” that you recently bought for $3 was a great use of your money
What are some little things that help to center you and ground you in a positive perspective on life? Please share them below – I’d love to hear them and get a good conversation started!
As always, thanks for reading. And please, do check out my newly revised and created pages and let me know what you think!
Some days the words just flow onto the page. Other times, you sit there and want to beat the crap out of that blinking cursor. Why is it that you can have so many awesome ideas in your head and then when you try to get them out onto paper, they just come out sounding, so – what’s the word I’m looking for? Bad? Crappy? Awful? Cringe-worthy?? Making you pissed off that you even set the alarm an hour earlier, thinking you could get up and actually get something done?
On those days, do you turn to mindless activities like surfing the web, scrolling through your facebook or instagram feed, or other such time wasters? (Maybe I should just delete the Candy Crush app on my phone now before it gets any worse. Yes, I know I’m a few years late to that game. Never said I was fashionable.)
On those days, I’m torn between wanting to read something like Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird, and my latest fiction obsession, The Girl on the Train. Anne’s book appears to speak directly to me – she gets it, the frustrations, the self-doubt, the condemnation of one’s own mind. And she even turns those thoughts into humor.
My fiction obsession – I read it for the entertainment, but also to study the writer’s technique. And I wonder, did they know what direction their story was going in when they started writing it? Or did they just let the words flow onto the page as they flitted in and out of their mind, hoping against hope that at one point, it all might make some coherent sense? Because that’s what my writing is like right now. A bunch of jumbled thoughts. Some thoughts are of fictional content, others just musings of a distracted mind …. hey, look, SQUIRREL!??
One of my favorite authors is John Connolly. When I first started reading his work, many years ago, I believe it was because he usually sets his stories in the northeast. Maine, in particular. A state located so close to Massachusetts but so different in every way. John’s writing is quite dark but also spell-binding. I don’t want to read about all the horrible things that can happen to the characters in his books, but I also can’t tear myself away sometimes. His Charlie Parker novels have spanned the years, and I wonder, “did he know all of this was going to happen to Charlie when he first started out? Did he storyboard or mindmap his ideas? HOW does he do it?”
For those of you out there who like to write, what helps you on the days where you’re just not feeling it? Where everything you write down makes you want to just give up and remember to not quit your day job? Do you work with writing prompts? Pull out your journal and let the words flow via your pen and not the computer?
A good friend of mine said to me that writing can be like running. Some days you just have really shitty runs but you persevere and push through them because you know that, not long from now, you’ll have that one run where you feel euphoric like that’s what it is all about, where you could just keep running and running and running. (No, not like Forrest Gump.) This friend should know – she trained for a marathon with me, and God, did I feel sorry for her having to put up with me on many of those days. There were some days that if I had been her, I would have said “Screw you!” and just run on without me.
But she stuck with me. As I hope many of you out there will stick with me. Thanks for reading my drivel today. And enjoy the earlier than normal morning sunshine, if you’re already up, like me.
As always, thanks for reading. Please share this post if you think there’s someone out there who can commiserate or benefit from reading it. And please drop me a line if you have a suggestion or comment!
I have a friend who seems to be at a bit of a crossroads in his life. In his twenties, not sure exactly of where he wants to be, but knows what he wants to do. And I started asking him some hard questions that a guidance counselor or career advisor would – in other words, questions I wish someone had put to me back in my twenties before I went to law school. It reminded me of many, many conversations I had with students over the years and how some of those conversations led to our being friends, which we still are today. Yes, I’m thinking of you, Claudia. :-))
And then it hit me – I’ve got to answer those questions for myself as well. I’ve got to be blunt and honest with myself, my financial situation, my living situation, what it is now and what it can become. Where I want to end up, and what I want to do with my time here on this earth. I still feel like I’m in my twenties a lot of days, and can’t believe I’m turning 44 this year. I guess age truly is what you make of it. It’s just a number, if you ask me. Your attitude defines you.
This morning, I was thinking these thoughts and I remembered when I was taking prerequisite classes for a vet technology degree. At the time, Harvard was helping with the tuition payments through its tuition assistance program. That of course ended when I left its employment. And then I turned to my left and saw this little brown bird on the ground. It appeared to want to be able to fly but it just couldn’t. Its breathing was a bit labored. At first, I didn’t want to touch it, thinking, it’s just injured, and will eventually fly away and I don’t want my human scent to be on it because then if it’s a young bird, its mommy won’t want to be around it again.
However, I did reach out to help it, and realized it must be really hurt because it didn’t even attempt to fly away from me. I tried to give it some water but that only ended up getting the little guy wet which made me feel even worse. Soon after, he took his last labored breath. I petted him and told him I would take care of him, and shortly afterward, found a place to bury him outside of my apartment. That’s the second bird I’ve now buried since I live here. And it reminded me of the post that I wrote about a month ago on listening to and watching for the signs that are presented in front of you.
I then spent a good part of today looking into the possibility of again attending vet tech school. And this evening, I spent some time looking up grant opportunities for the local animal shelter to apply to (Page Animal Adoption Agency.) I realized how much I love the thrill of the chase of looking for information, and finding it, then evaluating it, and figuring out if it’s relevant or not. From having worked with a large number of students over the years, I have realized that it’s a skill that not everyone has. I need to have confidence in these abilities of mine and use them to accomplish my dreams. For some reason, it made me think of a conversation I had with my mom just a few days ago.
The other day I had a conversation with my mom during which she asked about my job and soul searching and what I was thinking of doing. I told her about the phone interview I had a little while ago with a farm animal sanctuary. And we talked about what would keep me interested in a job and use my skills, and as she said “You’re not stupid. You’re very smart and can use that intelligence and skills. Eventually you will have to find a job that will pay enough so that you’re not starving.” [My mom can make things seem much worse than they really are. It’s not that bad in the world of animal welfare, it’s just a huge pay decrease.)
The animal shelter and rescue had a team meeting last week and we spent some time talking about applying for grants, and finding someone who can do that type of work. I’ve only worked on a few very small grant applications, but one thing I know I can do is research the hell out of something like that! I feel like my writing skills are strong, and I know that one thing that those who run animal shelters and rescues never have enough of is time. In addition to money, there NEVER seems to be enough time to do everything you need to keep the shelter running. It’s not just a 9-5 job that ends on Friday night and picks up where it left off, the following Monday morning. Animals need to eat and be walked, and they poop every day. They don’t know if it’s a Monday or a Saturday.
So, now I’m wondering …. can I somehow use my research skills to help shelters find and apply for grants? Is this something I could start to do on a freelance basis? How does one even get started on something like this? And then, of course, I started looking into the possibility of attending grant writing classes or workshops. It’s my natural inclination to think this way – come up with an idea and then look to see who I can learn from, someone who already knows how to do it well, and then I will feel more qualified to offer my own services in that field. (Possibly, it’s having worked in academia for so many years that has me thinking that way. Or, maybe it’s because it provides a structured way of working on a goal. There’s still that part of me that likes the comfort of something that is structured and pre-established. It’s that fear of the unknown creeping in.)
So, yes, this is my long-winded way of saying, I’m still trying to figure out what my simple dreams are and how to achieve them. I have this feeling that they will always be changing, even if it’s just with little tweaks here and there. And slowly but surely, I am becoming more comfortable with that concept. (Oh, but trust me, there are definitely days where this constant questioning is super stressful and I just want to throw my hands up in surrender and just wish that life could be easy and someone could present the answers to me on a platter.)
Have you ever felt like this? I’m curious as to your thoughts on this – am I completely insane to be thinking along this route as a potential career path?
By the way, I’ve made a few small changes to the appearance of the page – what do you think?