Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Changes



Sometime ago – maybe it was a year or two ago – I had a very strong feeling that it was time for me to take a new path in life. My journey so far had me devoting 10 years of my life to “author stuff” and throwing myself into all things involved in being a writer. But then I started feeling the stirrings of change in the wind. I knew that change was coming and that soon I would abandon my obsession with writing books and being a writer in general.



Well, that day came. The day when I knew that, yes, it was now time for a change.



Unfortunately, I didn’t know what that change was. I knew I had to be doing something else but … WHAT? Where was I supposed to go now? What did I plan to do with my life now?



Even as I knew I would continue to write (just not as obsessively), I also knew that it was time for a new path.



But I couldn’t figure out WHAT that path was!



And it took me a long time to figure it out. The whole scope of the change finally came to me yesterday in a bolt of inspiration. Up until then, I had bits and pieces of these ideas and I was trying to figure out how to make them all work.



Well, I have figured that out now. It was like, BOOM! It hit me right out of the blue how to put ALL of those ideas together into one thing and to make it all work. I immediately sat down to put together a plan for it.



Some of these new things I’ll be doing are going to take me a long time to make a reality, especially since one of them requires years of schooling, internship and practice to make it an official thing. But I am willing to put in the time for it. I mean, what the heck else am I going to do with my life? I'm not going to spend it doing nothing.



I am now more confident about these changes and this new journey in life now that I have figured out the steps I need to take with them and how to bring it all together. The things I want to do and the new career paths will definitely be an exciting challenge for me and I am looking forward to seeing how it will all work out with each of those things.



And while I am a bit concerned that maybe I am putting too many irons into the fire at one time, I think it is the best course of action for me to take to ensure that at least SOMETHING will go right and I will actually have something viable that allows me to earn a decent living for my family. Writing books was not exactly helping me to earn a living, but I stuck with it because it’s my passion. Pretty much why I will continue to stick with it. (I think it’s important to pursue our passions.) But the mistake I made was devoting 10 years to Just That One Thing. Being an author. I REALLY do need something in place that helps me to earn a living and I think one or more of these new ventures will make that happen. And, you know, I figure, if I can’t get a job (after years of trying!), then I will give myself one. Hopefully one of these new things will work out better than my attempts at being a financially successful author.



I will continue to write books, but I can no longer devote hours of the week to it. I must use that energy for other things.



Unfortunately, I can’t start these changes now. For the time being, I need to finish writing the books that I have at present not finished writing. Once that is done, I will create a more feasible writing schedule for new books that complements the other things that I will have going on. Also, I will use the time left to learn everything I can about what I need to do for these new pursuits.



So it looks like I won’t be able to start implementing my plan for these new pursuits until the new year. And I am fine with that. I have time to wrap up loose ends now and finish other things now. I will use this time to get all my ducks in a row and get everything done and ready.



I will also be using a new blog to chart my progress with these new pursuits. This particular blog is mainly for things going on in the family. I started this blog shortly after moving from California to Oregon and for the purpose of keeping family updated on what’s going on with us while living here, so far away from them. But it would seem that it really does not serve that purpose anymore. For one thing, there’s Facebook, which I have used to stay in touch with family. And for another, the things I write about stuff going on with us are just not that important to family anymore so I will reserve everything for my own personal journal. Blog posts about my family just aren’t that big of a deal anymore so that’s why I stopped blogging here.



The new blog will be my own personal journey and about the new pursuits. I will be blogging about them only for my own reasons. I really don’t care if nobody gives a crap about what I write on the new blog or not. Don’t care if there’s no audience for it or whatever. It will just be my own thing.



Which pretty much speaks for everything else in my life.



So here’s to the forthcoming new journey!

Here is my new blog: Just Me

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fun at the Lane County Fair 2017

The Lane County Fair came back to town last week! This is an annual event taking place in Eugene every summer. And of course, we always go every summer! We always have so much fun at the fair and the ride bracelets that allow people to go on unlimited rides until 10 p.m. are definitely a huge plus! My kids always get excited about the fair and we usually plan our trip for it weeks in advance! We usually got to the fair on a weekend because my husband works evenings all week so we went yesterday. We got home late and I was too tired to upload the 95 pictures that I took at the fair but I did upload a few of them, shared a couple on Facebook and, of course, posted my Ferris Wheel picture on the Snapshot blog like I do every year.

Today I have more time to do computer stuff so I am now blogging about our fair experience this year.

Did I mention yet that we had a great time?? It was really so much fun. I didn’t go on any rides this year (just didn’t want to) but I still enjoyed my visit at the fair.

Unfortunately, it was hot when we got there. The temp was 92 degrees. It was hot and sunny. I got pretty sweaty walking around after a while. Even though I was drinking water, I was still pretty hot and even felt a little lightheaded. I started to wonder if I was having one of those hot flashes again or just hot! I kinda got nervous about feeling like this in the heat and felt a little sluggish. I tried to get in the shade whenever possible or sit down so that I wouldn’t fall down! Eventually, though, it cooled off and I felt better.

At first, I thought we would be splitting up – with Trevor going off on hir own or with hir dad and/or me with my husband and Jesse or just me with Jesse – but we did stay together as much as possible.  On the occasions the kids went in different directions, they each had a parent stay with them. I know that Trevor is almost 16 but I just didn’t want Trev to be alone. I didn’t feel good about that, though there WERE times Trevor was alone for brief periods of time. Except for Jesse, we used our cell phones to text each other and find out where everybody was at.

Many times as I stood in one area, I could feel music playing. I wasn’t sure if it was fair music or not and Trevor pointed out that there was a band performing nearby.




At one point, as I got up to follow the kids, Trevor got my attention and let me know that I had just walked right past a friend. I really hadn't seen her! I had walked right past her! I do that sometimes. I tend to walk or run right past people I know! As I talked with her, she seemed a little hurt that I hadn't seen her and I felt really bad about that later. Fortunately, though, I saw her again later (I DID see her that time! Yay!), and so I went over to talk to her and gave her a hugf. I hope that made things right and helped her feel better. (I am terrible at noticing and recognizing people. Ugh!)


Just like last year, we ate a big fast food lunch before attending the fair because the food there is expensive (we once spent $60 on our dinner there!!) but we do buy junk food like popcorn, cotton candy and all that stuff. I had my eye on one “fair food” treat, though: Fried ice cream. I had it one year and loved it. And after dealing with being so hot, I was definitely looking forward to eating some ice cream!! Jesse got some fried ice cream too but he didn’t really like it. He also got an Elephant Ear (like Trevor did) and he liked that, too. (The Elephant Ears are good, too!)

I wanted to take a pic with Jesse but as it got darker and later, it didn’t happen. So I settled for a selfie with him.

Jesse won two toy prizes in games he played at the fair but he also got a Batman fidget spinner. I bought a Guns N Roses T-shirt. My husband asked why, since I’m deaf, I bought a band shirt. I explained that I was familiar with a couple of their songs before I lost all of my hearing. (Thanks to the movie Young Guns!) And, besides, a Guns N Roses clothing item is on my wish list. So, I was happy to get the shirt and I can cross that off my list!

Here are some of the pictures that I took at the fair. We really had a lot of fun and can’t wait to attend next year! I think next year, I will bring along extra water.



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is there pizza in my future?



Recently, I saw an “On this day” post on Facebook in which I excitedly announced that I FINALLY had a new writing gig. This after months of trying to find a new one. That made me feel sad all over again because that supposed “gig” turned out to be a scam. It was NOT a good thing because I was – and still am – desperate for work. For ANY kind of job, really. I have been trying to get a new job or gig for over 2 years (I think it’s 3 years now?) and I am growing increasingly frustrated with every single rejection. I have applied for jobs and gone to interviews – all for nothing. On Sunday, I applied for two jobs and, on Monday, got an email from HR at one of those jobs to call and arrange for an interview. Because I am deaf, I use Internet relay (through Sprint). So when I called using relay, they said they needed to speak with me directly. I explained that I am deaf and must use relay for phone calls. (Relay involves another person to relay messages back and forth.) They said they’d let the top HR person know and they’d get back to me. They haven’t yet. They probably won't. And last night, I told my husband about this (he is also deaf) and he said they probably won’t be contacting me. I HAD told them I am deaf when I applied for the job – did they miss that note? But he said I would be too much of a liability for them and they’d get sued if something went wrong only because of my being deaf.

So once again, my deafness was a problem for me getting a job. Oh, sure. We’d all like to promote the idea that a deaf person can still be anything they want to be and do anything they want to do despite being deaf, but the reality is that it is Very Hard to get a job in today’s world if you are deaf. I know this so well. One lady told me she would have hired me if I had been able to communicate over the phone.

Discrimination against the deaf is alive and well, people. Especially in the workplace.

And of course, I have always wondered if there were other factors that prevented me from getting a job. Was it because of my limited work experience? (I have spent most of my adult life working from home.) The third degree burn scars on my face and left arm? The limited physical use of my left hand? Or my lack of a college degree? Or because I am only available for part-time work? Or because I’m from California??

Whatever the reasons were, I have not given up in my attempt to get a job. But it has gotten to the point where I feel like I will be filling out job applications for all of eternity! It’s almost a joke now, really. And sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my time because I’ll just be told “no” again.

But I am too stubborn to quit. I may have obstacles in my path, but I’m the kind of person to work around obstacles. I don’t run away and cry and go “Boo-hoo! Poor me!” No, I keep going despite the obstacles and find another way to get things done.

But all of this struggling to get a job has made me sometimes wonder if I should just go into business for myself. I have read of other people facing these same exact struggles that I have faced and they found success striking out on their own.

So, maybe I should try doing that, too? Do something on my own? My own business?

I HAVE thought about this a lot for a long time. I have even had several ideas for different things to do. Different careers or different business ideas. Heck, I even thought about becoming an inventor! But all of those ideas eventually got shot down. I would spend time thinking about them, weighing the pros and cons and thinking long-term with these types of jobs and businesses. And nothing really seemed like a right fit.

This morning, though, an idea popped into my head, and the more I thought about it later in the day, the more I began to think maybe it could work.

As I drove my teen to work this morning, an idea for a pizza place popped into my head. That’s right: Pizza! But not just your average pizza. I had ideas for specialty pizzas. Of course, there’d be the standard pizzas: Pepperoni, supreme, and my kids’ favorite, cheese pizza. But I had ideas for different kinds of pizzas made with different kinds of ingredients. And by the time I arrived at my teen’s work, I had an entire menu in my head. As soon as I was parked, I grabbed my phone and started typing it all down. I got ideas for more things to add to that menu on the drive back. (The drive is an hour and fifteen minutes long!)

The thing of it is, though, I’m not much for making pizzas. I have only made one homemade pizza and it didn’t turn out very well. However, I have also made one of these specialty pizzas that I have on my menu, and it was really good.

What I liked about this idea is its uniqueness. If you want to stand out in a competitive market, you HAVE to be unique. You have to offer something new and something that is a personal style.

When I got home, I told my son about this idea and I showed him the menu I had typed up. He thought it was interesting.

At first, though, I thought, Nah, I don’t want to open my own pizza place. I am not good at making pizzas!

Well, maybe I can LEARN?? Maybe I can get training for it?? Maybe if I try making pizzas more often, then I’d get better at it? Especially these kinds of pizzas. Maybe.

Well, it’s something to think about. I really don’t have anything else going on for me work-wise. Maybe starting my own thing is the answer. Maybe that’s what I need to do. It’s something to think about.

At first, I wanted to throw away that menu. It’s probably too crazy of an idea. But now I’m thinking that maybe I should just hold onto it. Just in case. Maybe one day,  this will be the direction that I end up going in.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Touch-A-Truck 2017

Today was the Touch-A-Truck show. This is a free public event in which people get to see, climb inside of and basically "touch" trucks they don't usually get access to. The trash truck, mail truck and fire engine are popular mainstays but this year they also included the police SWAT truck as well as a major police riot vehicle. Trevor was too tired from work to go so I just took Jesse. He was mainly interested in the police and military vehicles. He also could not stay away from the big Pepsi truck. He kept going back to that one! He also got to meet Officer Rob Griesel and the K9 Blek.

Here are the pictures that I took.


Unknown truck.








 Pepsi truck.






18-wheeler.


"10-4, good buddy."


Logging vehicle.



Police SWAT vehicle.


Meeting Officer Griesel and K9 Blek.
Another police vehicle (not sure what it's called).







Eugene recreational bus.





Mail van.



Trash truck.







Military vehicle.









Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Smokey

Today is the three-month deathversary of when we lost Rowena, my teenager’s pet rat. Exactly one month after Rowena died, however, we welcomed a new member to our family.

However, this new particular member of the family was sort of unexpected!

Ever since my dog, Chewbacca, died, we have made it a point to get a new dog or cat. My son desperately wants a Pug, but so far, we have not been able to get him one. We almost adopted a cat, but we couldn’t get matters situated in time before someone else adopted him.

Since I am all for animal rescue, I keep my eyes out for the chance to save an animal in need of a new home. In fact, if I had it my way, my home would be an animal sanctuary for unwanted or abandoned pets. Hey, a girl can dream! But for now, I have to keep it low-key, and that means replacing the pet that we had lost. Actually, two pets were now gone. The losses were sort of getting to us.

And that’s why I think it was providence that a new animal was brought into our lives exactly one month after we lost the second one. That animal was Smokey.

For some time, I had heard about Smokey in the neighborhood. My friend knew Smokey’s owner and my friend also occasionally cared for Smokey. Smokey is an American shorthair cat and his previous owners did not take very good care of him. They ended up abandoning him after they moved. My friend took care of Smokey, who had to live outside because she’d already reached her pet limit at her apartment, but she wanted to rehome him so that he would have his own official home. Also, my friend is planning to move, so she and her daughter worried about Smokey being taken care of after they left.

I expressed interest in taking in Smokey, but my husband needed convincing first. He wasn’t sure if it was a good idea since we are also planning to move. I know that moving is a difficult experience for a pet, but I felt Smokey would have enough time to adjust with us as his new family and get used to us before we move. So it was decided that we would take Smokey.

Unfortunately, we were not yet prepared for a cat. I had NO cat stuff at all. When we had a dog, he was with us for 21 years. I have not been a cat owner since the early 1990’s. All of my previous cat stuff was long gone. Also, we were not financially capable of going out to get cat stuff. In our hearts, we were ready to welcome Smokey, but we were not ready for him financially!

I told my friend and she took action. She placed a call-out to people in the neighborhood to help us out in being able to give Smokey what he needed in his new home. Litter boxes, cat litter, cat food and even beds were donated to us for Smokey. They even donated toys and a collar! I was very touched by this communal generosity. This definitely made it easier for us to take Smokey then and there! (Thank you again, everyone!)

Of course, there was also one other thing I worried about: Smokey’s previous owners coming back and looking for him. I had not heard good things about them and also that they may be violent. So I was pretty nervous about being the one to “take their cat” after they had abandoned him. (I must confess: I had once abandoned my own cat. I have felt guilty about this ever since. But I would be happy if someone had taken my own cat in and kept him as their own. In some way, I saw my taking in an abandoned cat as absolution for abandoning one. I am NOT happy about this part of my past. I used to be a rotten person and I know I did several bad things in the past that I am not proud of. I have never again abandoned an animal since. Even so, I have never forgiven myself for this.) But, fortunately, Smokey's previous owners never showed up. Seriously, I spent the first couple of months expecting to hear that they were back in town looking for Smokey. I held my breath and expected that we’d have to surrender him back to his previous owners. But now it has been three months and I am starting to breathe easier and feel that they are not going to come back for Smokey. Now I even feel brave enough to post about him on my blog.

When we first got Smokey, he was really edgy around us. He spent A LOT of time in his carrier and he wasn’t very trusting of us, either. The slightest noise made him jump. We had to be careful not to be too loud around him because he got scared easily. There was one time he even got out and ran off. That was hard; my son was in tears because he just loved Smokey. But, fortunately, Smokey came back, and a friend said maybe this means that Smokey knows this is his home now.

Later on, he felt more comfortable around us. He started to spend more time around us and out of his carrier. We would give him lots of treats and made sure he always had plenty of food and water. My son made him a cat box and we also got him a cat tower. We got him other toys and, when his neck wound from a fight with a neighborhood cat was healed, we put on his collar. He HATED the collar at first and I wondered if his refusal to wear it was his intention to keep himself a “free cat.” But he gradually accepted wearing the collar and stopped tearing it off.

Now Smokey is happily settled in with his new family. We love him a lot and give him lots of attention. He is very attached to my oldest and my oldest even wants to take Smokey with hir when ze goes off to college. (Ha!) I have taken lots of pictures of Smokey and my son even made a video of Smokey playing with his fidget spinner. Smokey has certainly adjusted well to his new family and new home and I am very grateful that we were able to take him in.