May 14, 2013
When I was first laid-off in March of 2011 and started looking for work, I concentrated on applying for permanent, full-time positions. As time passed, I widened my search to include full-time contracts. As more time passed since I had a full-time position, I threw temporary jobs into the mix as well.
Then in the midst of all that job hunting, a freelance opportunity arose. And gradually, that one client became two, then three, then four. Along the way, in addition to these regular clients, I picked up some one-time freelancing assignments. I got really excited about building a freelance business. Possibilities floated around my brain – I think business cards; I think professionally done business website; I think blog focussing on freelance-related issues. But then my freelance endeavor started to shrink instead of grow. I put out feelers ; other entrepreneurs and freelancers all assured me that it takes time for a freelancer to establish him or herself. Back down to one client, I redoubled my job search efforts. Since January of this year, I included part-time jobs as well. I figured it will bring in some income while I pursue more freelance clients.
From the beginning of this interesting freelance journey, I wondered if I belonged in a corporate environment. A part of me needs the security of a regular paycheck and the 9 to 5 structure that forms a typical day working for a company. But another part of me really enjoys working from home and having the freedom to shape my day the way I choose. I like the other benefits of freelancing, including quality of work, casual attire and not having to commute. And because I’m not particularly adept at it, I especially enjoy not having to deal with office politics.
I’m still flirting with the idea of returning full-time to a corporate environment. But maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll land something part-time that will allow me to enjoy the best of both worlds.
May 5, 2013
My friend CM belongs to two choirs and a band, so we talk about music quite a bit. As you know from a previous post, my computer lost its sound. Because of that, the youtube recommendations of jazz standards like “Whatever Lola Wants” by Sarah Vaughn and Miles Davis’ “My Funny Valentine” had to wait until I got my sound back. So earlier today, after breakfast, I brought a second cup of coffee back to the computer and worked my way through the list of CM’s must-listen-to jazz classics.
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” – Platters version – was the one that surprised me the most, essentially because before my conversation with CM, I didn’t really think of it as a jazz song. I stumbled on Nat King Cole rendition, which I immediately liked it better, because, while he still sung it as a ballad, there was a slight swing to Cole’s “Smoke gets in Your Eyes” that added some interesting layers for me.
Of course, no conversation about jazz standards is complete without mentioning Old Blue Eyes and his incomparable rendition of The Lady is a Tramp (anything version recorded in the 1950s). Growing up in a household where I heard more Frank Sinatra, Billy Holiday and Nat King Cole than I did Elvis, Janis Joplin or The Beatles, I have loved this song since my early teens. It never had to be explained to me – I instinctively empathized with a woman who knew society’s rules but chose in the end just to be herself. A word of advice – when a singer in a jazz lounge takes requests, don’t ask for “The Lady is a Tramp.” It appears that even jazz aficionados tend to think that the song is about promiscuity.
CM loves the Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga duet. While I really enjoy its playfulness, for the simple musicality of a jazz standard, it has to Frank Sinatra’s version from the movie Pal Joey. Actually he did a bunch of versions in the 1950s on both radio and television show, and I could listen to any one of them over and over again.
Isn’t the internet a beautiful thing? Go explore “The Lady is Tramp” youtube offerings and discover for yourself that the lady isn’t such a tramp after all.
April 30, 2013
Women change their minds and call it truth, he told her angrily. We’re done, he said, as he pushed his chair away from the table. He walked out of the restaurant without a backward glance, leaving her paralyzed with embarrassment and having to pay the bill. There is a pause, she remembered her mother telling her, after every sorrow. But all Colleen heard was the terrible silence of miscommunication with someone you love.”
April 22, 2013
At the end of November, the sound on my computer magically disappeared – I logged off the night before and in the morning when I turned the computer on, I didn’t hear the Microsoft signature tune. At first I simply thought that I had missed it (after I turn the computer on, I head for the coffee maker). But after trying several youtube favourites, it finally occurred to me that it really was broken.
I tried troubleshooting it myself, but no luck. I decided to live with it, even though I really missed the computer sound system for related job interview tips. (I kept hoping the it would magically reappear just as easily as it went missing). When I couldn’t live with it any more, I called a computer repair business that makes house calls, and one of the techies arrived on April 9th. I told him about some other little computer problems I was experiencing, including how the monitor tries to jump out of its frame every now and then. His response was that when things “just happen” it’s not good and are typically signs that it needs replacing. After examining the tower, he did say that it’s in okay shape, but since my operating system is Windows XP, it probably would be a good idea to replace everything at the same time.
On the weekend, my jumping monitor syndrome became worse. I have to keep adjusting the resolution; I have limited knowledge about these things but the fact that it won’t keep its setting says “OS” to me. So today I set off to a place that sells computers. We got off to a rocky start. I said I wanted a new computer but didn’t want “OS 8.” I meant to say Windows 8 – it’s an operating system right? Apparently so is OS 8 – after getting a lecture on on old Mac operating system from the 90s, I was ready to pack it in. (Any salespeople reading this, a little tip – my pique could have been avoided by a simple question “Are in the market for a PC or a Mac?”) He kept reiterating that it would have to be special-ordered, didn’t show me anything, and seemed reluctant to outline other options. In the end, I walked out the door without even seeing what was available to me.
It wasn’t a total loss; I went to the grocery store across the street and came home with some fresh sole that was on sale. It was pretty good (if I may say so myself). We will try shopping for a new computer again tomorrow.
April 21, 2013
I’m done. Finally. You’d think that working from home would give me plenty of time for house cleaning, but that’s not been my reality. What with the stress of trying to find full-time work combined with my own writing goals and attempts at expanding my freelance business, vacuuming and dusting are low on my priority totem pole. But today I just got so fed up with the mess that I was determined to give my place a thorough cleaning or else!
So I made a pot of coffee in the vintage yellow Empire coffee percolator (I even have the original box that it came in – forget it, any of you collectors out there; don’t even ask cuz I’m not selling) I took from my dad’s apartment when my sister and I were clearing it out, selected a book from the three I am currently in the process of reading and picked a room to start in, which happened to be the bedroom only because I could write my name in the dust of my writing desk.
The coffee and the book are bribes. I usually limit myself to one cup of coffee, even during the weekend. Since I’m the only one drinking it, the purpose of making multiple cups of coffee is self-explanatory. My friend CM recently introduced me to The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, a series of books comparable to Harry Potter but different in all the important ways (the protagonist is a human (mundane) 15-year old girl; the setting is New York; and she’s not an orphan). For every 25 minutes of cleaning, I would take a book break and read about Clary and her adventures with Jace and the gang.
Anyway, by the time I hit the couch to watch The Borgias and then Mad Men, the place was shiny and new again. And Clary is dreaming that she’s dancing with Simon by a fountain.
April 8, 2013
I decided to do Week One of the Weight Watcher’s exchange food plan again since the previous week hadn’t gone too well. This past week, I am pleased to report, went much better. I did manage to loose half a pound. But this upcoming week I intend on sticking to the plan more closely; while I most certainly don’t want to lose 10 pounds in one week, it is going a little too slowly for my liking, largely due to the fact that I keep sidetracking myself.
Yes, I treated myself to a milkshake and while it wasn’t strictly “legal” I chose the snack size over regular size and kept within the exchanges as much as possible – I used both my daily milk portions (one for milk and the other to cover the ice cream) and one of three of my daily fruits.
My Biggest Challenge
This past week my biggest challenge was fighting my sweet tooth. During my Trial Run week, eating a piece of fruit seemed to quell any cravings, but it didn’t seem to work this time.
What Worked for Me
- Drinking 2 glasses of water first thing in the morning before ingesting anything else. I noticed that I am more likely to not follow the food plan if I eat something or drink a cup of coffee before my 2 glasses of water. It’s a little trick I picked up from reading French Women don’t Get Fat - I’ve forgotten why Ms. Guiliano recommends it; I just know it works for me
- The 20-minute rule – I give myself permission to eat if I’m hungry but I make myself wait 20 minutes after eating a meal. If I am still feeling hungry then I’ll reach for some celery, green pepper slices or a carrot
- When the 20-minute rule didn’t work, brushing my teeth helped stop potential episodes of mindless eating