Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Touching Other Lives

On every other Wednesday night there is a gathering at our home.  Grown adults sit around our dining room table and pretend to be people in a galaxy far, far, away, or vampires and werewolves, or any number of fantastical beings.  Tabletop RPG night is always full of laughter and good company.

Tonight, as we were playing, Gwydion was wandering amongst us seeking out suckers to pet him.  Gwydion is our newest kitty, brought home by The Husbeast after being found stuck up in a tree.  Our handsome fellow was moving from person to person, demanding attention, and watching him sort of got me thinking in the back of my mind.

I believe that it is pretty common across the majority of humanity to want to leave a legacy of some kind.  We want the future to know that we were here, that we made a difference somehow.  The odds are against us, as individuals, being remembered unless we do something on the extreme ends of the good / bad scale, but it is still a hope for many.

While that is also true for me (let's be honest, here, shall we?), I was thinking tonight as I watched our boy cat induce yet another of our friends to scritch his ears, that in many ways I've already made my mark on the world even if it isn't something that will go down in the history books.  There are four lives that changed for the better, four beings who get soft, cushy beds, and bowls of food and water, and a safe place to live that is full of love that they may never have gotten if The Husbeast and I hadn't come along.

Do you know how amazing that is?  We changed their lives!  Forever!  

Jasmine didn't have to stay in her crate at the shelter any more.  She got to come home with us and discover the joys of tissue paper, plastic bags, and belly rubs.

Cobweb didn't grow up as feral, having to fight for every bite of food or struggle to find safe places to sleep.  She didn't end up getting pregnant and having litter after litter of kittens because she was out and about with no way to prevent it.  She got to come home with us and discover the magic of string, fishing pole, full body rubs, and Furminatoring.

Velcro didn't end up at a shelter where she would be killed after a week or less.  She got to come home with us and discover the happiness of pinning Mommy to the chair, smoked ham, and The Red Dot.

And now Gwydion... who didn't end up getting hit by a car or having to make his way in the world without food or shelter.  He got to come home with us and discover the joys of sliding across the wood floors at full speed, pouncing the other cats until they fuss at him, and eating us out of house and home.

Four lives that changed forever.  Maybe it isn't history-making, and maybe it isn't earth-shattering, but you know what?

The Husbeast and I...we done good.  :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Subconscious Nightmares

I had a nightmare last night. I'm pretty sure that it was my subconscious trying to work out all of my fears about being self-employed.

I was driving somewhere in my car, which was a lovely, red convertible. I had the top down and was perfectly comfortable even though there was snow and ice around.  For some reason I had to turn around and head back the way I had come, but I wasn't sure I got on the right highway.  I got off at the next exit so that I could pull over and set up my GPS but I got caught in a bunch of traffic being re-routed around an accident that had just happened.  We ended up going down this steep hill that ended in a body of water.  I was trying to slow down so that I could turn off to the left, and hit a huge patch of ice.

The next thing I know, my car is balanced on the edge of a drop, just like you see in the movies.  The passenger side was over the edge, my side was still above solid ground but tilting, and I was trying to carefully get myself out before the car went over.  There was a woman there, loading her kids into her car, and I was screaming for help but she just looked at me with a cross between not even seeing me at all and faint contempt.  Then the car started to go.  I slid out, managed to grab something, and was hanging there, still calling to her for help while she ignored me.  She got into her truck and drove away just as I lost my grip and fell into the freezing water.

I managed to swim to shore and get back up and out as I watched three other cars / trucks go over the edge too.  They were all from small businesses too, like contractors and stuff.  I climbed up to a deck kind of overlooking the water, still not cold despite being soaked through and it obviously being winter, and could see rescue workers around where my car was, trying to see if anyone was trapped.  I called out and let them know I was safe, and they moved on to the next one.

At one point, Shado, dressed as one of the rescue workers with a hard hat and reflective vest, came up and I saw him.  I was shocked and like, "What are you doing here?" because I knew I hadn't called him yet.  My phone was in my pocket and I hadn't even seen if it was working yet.  He just looked at me, shook his head, and walked away.

Next all of us whose cars had gone swimming were in an office nearby, trying to get help, but they were extremely unhelpful. None would do anything to help us get home again. I finally got one to give me a number for a taxi service so that I could go to the bus station. I started to leave, and that's when I woke up.

I can't even begin to go over the huge amounts of symbolism that are apparent to me in that dream. Everything from "my business will fail" to "Shado will leave me over it" to "no one will care or help".  All that I can really do is let my subconscious work out its worries on its own, and keep plugging away as best I know how, as scary as it may be at times.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Being My Own Boss: WIL #1

Two months ago I got back from a long vacation from work and worked for two days before I e-mailed my Husbeast at about 10 a.m saying, "I can't do this any more."  Nothing against where I worked, it was a good job with decent people.  There was just nothing left after juggling my own business, a 40-hour a week, a home, a Husbeast, and trying to actually have a sliver of a life outside all of that once in a while (not very successfully) for so long.  To my Husbeast's credit, his reply was one sentence:  "Do what you have to do."

Ten minutes later I was speaking privately with my boss and giving her my notice.

My notice period was kind of long because there were some things we were working on that I wanted to see through to the end.  And then it was done.  Last week was my first full week as my own boss, working solely for Fat Lady Foods, LLC and I learned a lot already.  (Thus the WIL in the title, standing for "What I Learned".)  I fully expect to learn a lot more as time goes on, so I doubt this will be the only post of this nature on my blog, just the first.

And now, on to what I learned:

  • Create a To Do List every day, but do it in the morning, not the night before.
    • For the first week I created my To Do Lists the night before based on what hadn't been finished that day and what my priorities the next day were at the time.  What I found myself actually doing was changing the list around the next morning because during the night things had percolated in my mind and priorities had shifted without me even realizing it.  My brain has always kept working on things while I'm asleep, but have never had the extent of it so plainly demonstrated before.  So now it is clear not to make solid plans for the next day unless it is something that absolutely HAS to happen then, such as a Kitchen Day.
  • Assess what was accomplished at the end of each day.
    • This plays into the item above, really, as I need to know what was finished in order to be aware of what still needs to be done.  Also, it is a form of accountability for myself as I post my daily accomplishments on Facebook to a list of people who have indicated interest in seeing those posts.  This keeps me from falling into the trap of treating every day like a vacation day.  Like any job my productivity has to be evident to my boss (myself) and my supporters.  Productivity is evidence of responsible behavior.  Being irresponsible too often leads to failure, and failure leads to going back to being a Cube Farm occupant.
  • Don't let my sleep patterns get messed up over the weekend.
    • There really is no reason to sleep super late on weekends any more.  I am in full control of my own schedule, and if more sleep is needed, I can adjust things so that the issue is taken care of without fuss or muss.  Heck, if I need a nap for some reason, I can alter my schedule to allow time for one!  Sleep deprivation shouldn't exist in my world any more.  Admittedly, my sleep was messed up this weekend because of a stupid stomach bug that woke me up in the middle of the night and kept me awake for several hours that I normally sleep through, but when that is NOT the case there is no valid reason for me to sleep so late on a weekend that it means I can't get to sleep early enough to keep a normal schedule on Monday.
  • Follow a basic routine.
    • My most productive days last week were the days that I followed the same basic routine while altering the contents / tasks of said routine.  When that routine wasn't followed, I was scatterbrained and unfocused.  In other words, yet again, treat this like what it is:  my job.  It may take a while to find the optimal routine, and there's nothing saying that routine is set in stone for all of eternity.  As the backlogged items are completed  and ideas for making the business grow begin to really move forward, the needs of the company will change which will mean that the routine may have to change as well, but those changes need to be conscious changes and not just whims.
  • Let myself have Sundays to play without feeling guilty about not working.
    • I have to be careful with this one.  I know myself, and I know that if I am NOT careful, work stuff will start edging in on Sundays when it doesn't need to do so.  It is one thing to work on a Sunday when I am at a full weekend show or that is the only day I can book the kitchen for some reason, but in a normal week I should let myself relax and enjoy my Sundays without feeling any guilt.  No "just this one thing" exceptions allowed, because then it will become a regular occurrence.  I have definite tendencies toward workaholism.  The amusing thing is that I also have definite tendencies toward laziness.  When the two collide, it can be epic, and not always in a good way.  So there is a tightrope to be walked between keeping myself on track for full productivity, and letting it consume me to the point where there is nothing else in my life.  Neither of those options is a healthy one.

I have a lot more to learn, as stated earlier, and am still figuring this whole working for myself thing out, but I think the start that has been made is a good one.  There are things that I make sure get done every day like writing in my Commonplace Book, trying to keep a balance between getting things done for Fat Lady and getting things done that need doing around the house, and most importantly, making time to scritch the kitties throughout the day (the cats made me put that last one in - they think that should be my FIRST priority, of course!).  I make sure that to get dressed every day instead of working in my pajamas, because otherwise I won't take it seriously.

There are things that still need to be added into my schedule, but I need to get the basic format down first.  There needs to be some kind of movement every day.  Otherwise I'll sit and do spreadsheets and so on and never get over 1,000 steps a day.  I've tracked out a few potential walking routes on and hopefully can add them in when the heat starts easing off a bit.  Until then there are fitness DVD's and movement games for the gaming console.  I can also do laps inside the house if I want to just walk. There are options, I just have to decide which one to do each day.

Overall, I think it has been a good start.  The key is to just keep building on it.