Sunday, June 28, 2009

Exciting New Venture

I got a seedling of an idea yesterday and called my friend, horse trainer extraordinaire (and people, as in riders, trainer, too), Brandy McDonnell for advise. Brandy took the idea and ran with it. She gave me some wonderful input and today what started as a tiny seed is starting to grow into a sapling. I've been searching the web all morning for pricing and info. I know I'm being a wee bit secretive but, even here on my private journal/blog, I don't want to take the chance of the idea getting out before I have a chance to really act on it and get it rolling. I fear someone,  with better funds and resources, will beat me to the punch. But I saw a need and I'm hoping to fill it and when it is close to fruition, I will announce and big time!:)

Wow!! It is so nice to feel back on track again and moving forward full steam!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally seem to be over my doldrums and nostalgia. I have to admit that the time spent in reflection was bittersweet. Although sad, it was still nice to remember my mama. I still miss her everyday even though she's been gone for nearly twenty years now. And it was nice to reconnect with my friend Claudia, who grew up just out the street from me on Rosedale Avenue and reminisce about all the good times we had during those summers in our "tween" years. I told her that I sometimes have a difficult time remembering what I did last week but those wonderful years stand out in vivid detail. I can smell the mimosa blossoms from the trees in my front yard (which were cut down a few years later just because of those sticky blossoms), I can hear that tinny little transistor radio where we listened to the top "10" every day until the batteries would fade and die (my brother brought that transistor back to me from Vietnam and I still have it somewhere:), the soft warmth of the summer breeze, the sticky sweetness of an orange shared and relished or a popsicle split, the burn of the pavement on bare feet, splashing in Claudia's little backyard pool, sitting with Mama under the street lights and sharing stories and jokes with the neighbors, riding our bikes from daylight 'til dusk and never tiring, playing "at" baseball with the other kids in the neighborhood in what we called The Circle (it was where two roads converged at an odd angle and formed a big wide spot where we'd all congregate, playing with paperdolls for hours and then sitting on them to hide them if a boy happened by:), sharing secrets and dreams that are long forgotten now, retreating indoors to hide from the afternoon's heat and to spin "45s" on a turntable/record player while we read Teen Fan magazines over and over for hours and secretly dreamed of one day marrying Davy Jones:) Yes, those were such good times. We didn't need lots of money or the latest electronics to keep us entertained, just each other's company. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wireless Woes:(

Cell phones have not been my friend lately. Three months ago, I got upset over our first Sprint bill in three years where we'd gone over our allowed minutes. It wasn't just the overage charge but the fifty dollar(!!!) penalty charge. I'd never heard of such a charge and I went a bit overboard with my anger and frustration. Instead of calling Sprint and asking them what was going on, I called AT&T and switched carriers. I ended up with a $250 dollar charge from Sprint for early cancelation and a $500 charge from AT&T to pay for the transfer of service and the fast access modem. I'd understood from the salesman on the phone that the modem was free but I was told that since I didn't have this promise in writing....well, you get the idea-"bend over and assume the position!" The next month's bill was normal which made me feel so much better. Then, yesterday, I'd just gotten back from a busy day of appointments and errands and I opened my mail. There was my AT&T bill. I have to admit that I don't usually look at these bills because they are deducted automatically from our checking account but I'm trying to do better with organization and one of my goals is to file receipts immediately to prevent them being misplaced or lost. So, I opened the bill and was getting ready to file it when I saw the amount. It was well over $300 and almost double what we are suppose to pay every month. I look the bill over and realize that they had charged Steve and I a thousand minutes each over our limit! Another meltdown and another angry call to our cell phone carrier! This time, I did get some satisfaction and peace of mind thanks to a customer service rep named April. Sweetest girl, she calmed me down and actually refunded my money because we'd been mislead to think that we were going to get free incoming call minutes. I doubled our available minutes for just $20 a month and April gave me 300 free extra minutes to get us through the end of this month. So, for once in I don't remember how long, I'm finally happy with the service I've gotten from a cell phone company. And, despite my threats to cancel service yet again, I've decided to stay put with AT&T....at least until the next monetary crisis.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Funny Start to the Week & the Blog:)

All is not gloom and doom and thunder boom today. I do have a funny story to share. 
I was watching the news this morning and there was a sweet story with a happy ending about two baby raccoons who had somehow managed to become trapped in a vending machine. The funny part came when the fellow from Wildlife Management came to rescue them. He turned around, his back toward the camera, and on the back of his T-shirt was written:
"I handle wild animals for a living. If you see me running, you better try to keep up." LOL

A Start

Well kind of....this day is not off to a great start. Dale, our farrier, and Dr. Melissa Hamilton, our horse Vet, were suppose to come by today to hopefully and finally get something done about Django's hooves. We've discovered that, this usually mild mannered horse, goes bonkers when we try to shoe him. He hurt both Dale and I two weeks ago when he unexpectedly reared and turned and ran. Dale was caught off guard and thrown sideways and I tried to hold on to Django which in retrospect I should never have done and certainly not without gloves. Rope burn does not even begin to describe what happened to my right hand. The skin was actually peeled away on the palm and fingers and ever surface that remained was terribly blistered. So, both Dale and I were a bit wary last week when we attempted once again to work with the horse's feet. That time we did have a sedative but it didn't seem to have a lot of effect on Django. Today, we'd arranged for Dr. Hamilton to come by at 11:30 a.m. and sedate Django for us. Unfortunately, it was already storming when my alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. and it hasn't really let up since then. Occasionally the sun will break through for a few minutes but the thunder still rumbles in the distance. It seems that I've spent most of the morning on the phone talking to Dr. Hamilton and leaving messages for Dale. Finally reached Dale a few minutes before 11:00 a.m. to cancel with him. 
So, that's one plan for today already postponed until next week. I do have plenty of other tasks to occupy my day...too many. I promised Steve that I would put together a facts brochure on Teff hay for Chris and him to hand out to prospective buyers. Teff is relatively new to this area of the country and we not only need to educate the public on the subject but ourselves. I think it will be a good move for us but we have to make horse and other livestock owners aware of just what it is and that it will not only not harm their animals but be very beneficial for them. 
If I can pull that together in the next few hours, I then need to make it to the grocery store. Our cupboards are quite bare. There will also need to be stops to pick up horse feed since their larders are empty, too and I need to pick up paper for Steve's hay brochure. 
It is going to be a busy day and there is also plenty of house chores that need doing. It would help if I weren't constantly so tired and sleepy. What's that all about? Is it my age and the onslaught of the dreaded M.. menopause? Who knows but I do know that I have more things to get done than there are hours in the day so I'd better pep up soon.

Weight for June 22...currently unknown and don't know if I really want to know!
Calorie intake..also don't know but couldn't be very high yet since all I've eaten since 4:00a.m. is a bowl of fresh pineapple and half a peanut butter on whole grain sandwich with coffee.
Diet Colas...which I'm trying to quit..really, I am!.....Ok, one and I shouldn't have had that but I know it won't be my last for the day.
Exercise....huh?

damn...the sun is out now! Sheesh!!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Beginning

I thought today how my life has changed over the years. It's sad in a way that when we reach our fifties and beyond we tend to start looking back more than we look forward. Maybe we are afraid of what the future holds and maybe we're just to aware how quickly these years behind us now have passed. I keep reminding myself that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow or even the heartbeat after this one. Life keeps reminding me of that, too. Too many people that I've known and loved have passed on too soon. Their hasty departures make me even more aware of how I should be living my life each day to the fullest....but sadly, I don't. 

My favorite time of life was certainly my mid-thirties. I'd taken a winding path to a career that had suddenly taken off with me on board. I felt most of the time like someone else was steering and I was just holding on for dear life but it was a fun and wonderful ride into new territories of adventure. 

My mother was still alive then and oh so many others who have since left us. I miss them all to some degree but my mother's death left a hole in my heart that has never quite healed even after nearly twenty years have separated me from that initial blow. It was like a being sucker punched  because death stuns the survivors that way; perhaps that's the only way we can bear the grief. Otherwise the pain would certainly be so horrible raw and unbearable that it certainly would kill us instantly or at least destroy our souls. That time of feeling like one of the walking dead, moving amonst but separate from the rest of humanity, eventually passes when the pain has lessened enough to actually allow you to make it through each day. 

When my mother died, my ambition and drive died as well. I lost my will to live and for a very long time afterward just managed to survive. Perhaps that is why they call us survivors whenever we go through any major challenge in life because some days the best you can do is to put on mask and put one foot in front of the other. We play at life and pretend that everything is as it should be but it takes a very long time before it actually is.
 
Now, I am fifty-three and my goal for this year is to get my life back. I know that I will never be thirty-four again but hopefully, I can regain some of my enthusiasm and hope. Life is useless without hope even if death is waiting a heartbeat away.

I've let myself go over the last twenty years. I've let every aspect of my life go: my body, my career, my house, and my family and friendships.

 The body is overweight and so out of shape that walking to the mailbox and back seems a difficult chore. My goal for this year is to start slowly into an exercise program so that I won't get burnt out within the first few weeks. And also, to not diet but just concentrate on fresh and healthy food for a while. I'll start chronicling here on Monday, my plan and progress. Having to give account to someone, even if it is just the faceless humanity of the internet, will force me to be more accountable to myself.

The house, oooh the house! Nine years ago, we started remodeling. We tore down paneling and tore up carpet. I bought paint and supplies. We took out a home equity lone to pay for it. Then my father-in-law got very sick. He languished in a nursing home for twelve months and my husband stayed with him every single night of that long, painful year before he passed away on New Years day. In that year, our house just kept getting more and more cluttered. I attempted to fix and paint myself but managed to only make a bigger mess as I moved from room to room and never accomplished anything but adding to the chaos. Now, not only does our house look like a warehouse with boxes and blanketed furniture stacked to the ceiling in what use to be the living and dining rooms but other problems have occurred: cracked foundation, tumbling down porch, broken windows, flooded basement, garage ceiling falling down, aging animals who don't have the control they use to over their bodily functions, and leaky roof which caused wall damage in two rooms. Only the roof has been fixed and it sometimes feels as if the entire house and my life is tumbling down around me. I work at home you see and for the last twenty years, I've become more and more of a hermit. Actually, I think of myself more as a hobbit since I hide out here, huddled in my bedroom, the only room with any order or charm left to it, as if it were my sanctuary. So, my goal for the next month is to clean up the mess, room by room, until I get to the point where I can actually start to paint and repair again. Then over the rest of the year, I hope to work room by room restoring my house to not only live-ability but also a home again. 

I'll skip over the career for a moment because I think the state of my house has so much to do with the way I've neglected friends and family over the last ten years or so. We use to entertain and we use to have lots of friends. So many of our friends lived out of town and in other states and I use to call our home, the half-way-house, because we were half way between all of our friends in cold Northern states and that warm Florida sunshine. Most of them would stop off here for at least a day or two on their way South and their way back home. It was so much fun and something that both my husband and I enjoyed. Now, I don't even let anyone in the door. In fact, I try to keep them out of the drive so that they can't see the overgrown yard, the tumbling down porch or the over flowing garage. It's a mess. So, my goal to spend more time with family and friends and concentrate more energy on them really goes hand in hand with getting my house fixed up. Not only will I have a home I'm proud to invite people into again but I'll also have a better energy and happier outlook once my surroundings are again warm and inviting.

So, I skipped the career and saved it to last. Twenty years ago, I was successful. I'm an artist by the way and the fact that I was able to make my living in a creative way is a bit of a miracle in itself. I won't go into all of the details of the career's downslide but it had a lot to do with my own burn out. I'll tell more about all of that later since it has effected all areas of my life as well. Actually, I think my main goal for this year will be to regain the balance which has been missing from my life for so long. My career goals I'll go into in later posts in more detail but mainly, I'm laying out a marketing strategy for myself. I've never been a very good sales person but it is time I start selling myself and believing in myself again. 

So, there we are and here I am. Let's see if I can get myself moving forward again over the next few months. And, if you've happened upon this blog by accident or design, you are most welcome to follow me on the journey.