Friday, January 29, 2010


Baby is sick. Mama is sick.

I dragged myself out to a client meeting yesterday for the job I may only have for another four weeks. It was fine. I dosed myself with Emergen-C and Wal-act before going out in the bitter cold to drive to the near-airport burbs, park in a big concrete parking structure and then attend a somewhat boring meeting. Then off to Target to buy milk and a few other odds and ends on the way home.

I think I have a bad attitude. And just feel sort of disheartened. Adrift.

This is probably due, in part, to the fact that 1) I feel terrible (head is full, tired, runny nose, sneezing) and 2) I'm still irritated by my job situation (or, potentially-soon-to-be-lack-of-job situation).

I did have a brilliant idea yesterday, though. Maybe I can do what I've been doing for the past months for another company. One with deeper pockets and better clients (i.e. I'll be able to do more challenging and creative work and have better job security). Anyway, that's the idea. Get someone to pay me a monthly retainer to work for them exclusively for 2 or 3 days a week (hopefully, mostly from home). I have someone in mind and I sent them an email earlier today to see if we could meet for lunch. They might be interested. I guess it never hurts to ask!

In the meantime, the sick baby is goofing around in his crib instead of napping. And mama needs a nap. And her own blankie, a box of tissues, some more Emergen-C. And a reason to hope that this whole work thing will work itself out.

Well, if it's any consolation, the sun is shining (after about a week of dark, dull, grey days). And maybe I'll have to take that as a good sign. . .

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Am Filled with Perturbation (and, yes, that really is a word!)

So, I find myself perturbed today.

Had a call with one of the partners of the company I work for and while they previously extended my contract verbally until the end of April (though, funnily enough, never actually sent me the actual updated contract), they have now decided that I have until the end of February to bring in a new big account or my monthly retainer arrangement is kaput!

I'm perturbed that they have gone back on their word and that I have so little time to make things happen (considering they have been loading my plate with other work to do well beyond my agreed retainer hours, which has taken my eye off of my new business ball). Also, since they acknowledge that I've worked hard and been a great contributor to their business, it just makes me wonder about the kind of people I'm working with. . .True to their word? Hmmm, maybe not.

So, after hanging up the phone and a bout of momentary moaning and groaning, I made a list of possible career options to consider:

1. Go hell-bent-for-leather about trying to drum up new business and try to turn the contract situation around (but even if I win something, will I find myself in the same situation in another 2, 4 or 6 months?).

2. Continue working for the next month (giving it my best) and then plan on going back to my own, non-exclusive, consulting business if I don't score a big win (which was dead as a doornail last year and, since it is very hard to schedule in advance, presents real childcare issues).

3. Win the lottery (This is an excellent plan until you get to the third step in the plan, i.e. 1) buy ticket; 2: check to see if you won; 3: make alternative plan in absence of lottery win. . .)

4. Get a real job (i.e. not working for myself, probably not able to work from home). Possible increased job security and financial stability, but other clear trade-offs.

Oh. . .what to do?

Somehow, though perturbed, I'm not actually surprised. I've had a feeling since the holidays that something was going on behind the scenes related to me and my position. The business partners are famously secretive and it's not a quality about how they run their business that I really appreciate.

I sort of feel like a weight has been lifted. What I've suspected is now out of the bag and, if I'm honest, I haven't been loving the work I've been doing lately. It's often challenging merely in the frustation of dealing with people who can't make up their minds, are often in disagreement, often provide poor direction but then are unhappy if you don't get everything exactly right the first time. It's not challenging in healthy way that feels like you're learning and growning and just able to do your best work.

So, I appear to be at another career crossroads. I need to make money to help support my family. That is without question. But which is the best way to turn?

Well, I guess at least I have four weeks to try and figure that out. . .

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reading Plans Shelved: Not Any More!

Besides the Great Purge of 2010, which got a big boost last Sunday when we finally got rid of the Christmas tree, moved the elliptical machine and cleared out a bunch of stuff to create a big play space for the babe in the living room (hurray Purge!), one of my other resolutions was to read more this year. Less wasting my time with crap and crappy TV. Less mindless time wasting. Time instead to fill my brain with useful, thought-provoking or just funny and interesting things.

I would say that so far, I'm off to a good start. Thus far, in this, just the third week of the new year, I've read The Queen by Philippa Gregory (historical fiction based on a Plantagenet Queen), The Lovely Bones (pretty engrossing) and just finished The Road (which was at times, hard to read, kept me up at night thinking about "the boy" and "the man" main characters as if they were real, was terrifying and beautiful all at the same time). In fact, I think The Road might just make my list of favorite books of all time (even though I didn't love some parts-- frightening).

I've also started "In Defense of Food" which is really quite interesting (explains the change in the American diet over the past 30 years or so, the rise of processed foods and how that might not have been such a good thing); as well as "The Nasty Bits" by Anthony Bourdain. I'm not loving that book so much. I LOVED his first book, "Kitchen Confidential" (you'll never think of a restaurant the same way again!) and "Cook's Tour" was also good. I'm finding "The Nasty Bits" a bit repetitive and somewhat boring. Or maybe I'm just over the whole "food porn" movement (truth be told, I care not a wit for celebrity chefs, their 5-star restaurants or the clientele of such establishments). So, I'm not sure if that one will get read in end. I may give it one more try.

I think next on the list is Nick Hornsby's "How to be Good." I've never read any of his books, but lots of folks have assured me they are very funny. Work has been crazy in the past couple weeks, and I'm in need of some "funny."

Part of my reading push is also related to the Great Purge. I've got so many books all over my house that I bought, but to date have never read. Time to read them or be rid of them I say! So, I'm aiming to read them and then pass them on and free up some space.

I also went all retro on myself and went and got a Public Library Card right before Christmas. So, no more book buying. From now on, I shall be lending books from the numerous branches of the Chicago Library. I'm looking forward to loaning out "Cherries in Winter" before too long.

And finally, in terms of the "Great Pound Purge of 2010, I've lost over 4.5 lbs in the past two weeks. I have been sticking to my WW points plan like glue. Like glue, I tell you! Now, I just need to start working exercise into my daily habits. That will be a toughy ("WHAT!!!????" I hear you say, "But she has an elliptical machine in her living room.")

Yes, people, it is true. Approximately 6 or 7 years ago, I thought putting a giant elliptical machine in the middle of my living room would make me use it. Reality? Not so, I'm afraid. Clearly, I am exercise averse. I need to figure out how to change that. . .maybe there's a book I can read. . .wonder if they have it at the library?

Monday, January 11, 2010

She Bites

I just bit him. Really hard. My 13 month old baby boy.

Totally by accident.

I was holding him. The phone rang. I picked up the phone, said "hello" and the next thing I know, his thumb is in my mouth and I bit it accidentally. There was a shocked look of disbelief and then a good 10 minutes of serious, pained screaming, tears and agonized writhing.

Poor guy. I totally don't know how it happened really.

Nanny leaves because she's sick (puking everywhere, poor girl). Mommy takes over. Bites baby really hard on the thumb. And isnt getting any of her real work done.

Today, I appear to be failing at both my jobs!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Before I Forget

A list of foods my 13-month old bubba likes to eat:

100% wholegrain bread, hummus, fruit (orange, kiwi, banana, apple, cantalope, pretty much any), raw baby spinach (!), homemade olive oil and vinegar coleslaw (!!), eggs, soy sausages, oatmeal, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, provolone, yogurt, milk, green beans, baked beans, any kind of cooked bean, water, turkey, chicken, bbq pork, toast, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, brocolli, cooked kale, stuffing, mashed potatoes (regular or sweet), chicken noodle soup, and whole grain pasta.

He has an on again, off again relationship with brussel sprouts.

And his number 1 most favorite food appears to be: CARROTS! I'm surprised he's not orange.

Great Purge Off to a Slow Start

Great Purge of 2010 progress? Not a lot really. I guess in the past week, I went through a big pile of mail, did a bunch of laundry (not purging per se, but organization nonetheless). And it should be noted that of the 2.6 lbs that I managed to lose over Christmas week, I regained every single ounce last week. What the what??? Every. Single. Ounce.

I was so excited about my loss and none too happy with my back slide. That said, I have re-energized my healthy eating efforts and hope to see my pound purge number on the increase again next week.

Been busy working this week, but off today. So if I can ever get Mr. No Nap to go to sleep, I shall endeavour to get myself dressed and used my time wisely. Time to take down the Christmas decorations and then purging will be easier. Need to alkso banish additional Christmas clutter (gifts that still haven't found a new home).

Have also spent the past week convincing Craze of my rightness in this campaign. Think he's coming over to my side. Excited about re-energizing our home and making it a more tranquil, easy to clean and organized space--especially with a "I want to touch everything" little one crawling around.

Off I go. . .let's see what happens today. . .