The red stripes. Day 177/365.

Thursday, 19 May 2011, Day 177/365.

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling really down on myself with nothing really on the horizon to look forward to, but things have been afoot in my head and now in my life.

You see, I thought rather than wake up in the morning and think negatively about the day or weeks ahead, I’d wake up and think about what I had to look forward to. A friend also had a chat to me about putting things positively rather than negatively when she heard me say something to a mutual friend about my job situation.

Some days all I might have to look forward to is just be that I’m alive and well and so are my loved ones, although that’s a pretty significant thing. Other days it might be catching up with a friend for coffee, or seeing my man that day. And then soon I will have more work to look forward to, that’s the plan.

Last Thursday I took this photo while I was waiting for a recruitment consultant to come and talk to me about some temp work. I’d also been contacted by another recruitment consultant via LinkedIn for a potential job opportunity. Other job applications are in the pipeline and so is something else non-job related – just going to firm up details.

I also did a soft-launch of my new website. It’s kind of ironic that the website is focused mainly about online/digital and the two aforementioned jobs are both focused more on writing.

Positive thoughts

Floyd. Day 155/365.

A few days ago I was out of sorts. I hate feeling in a funk like that because it’s hard to just snap out of it really quickly which I’d like to do. Instead it usually takes me a day or two to get over those feelings and this time was no different.

I can see how easy it would be to wallow in the feelings of self doubt, pity and all the rest of it and I can’t pinpoint exactly what helps me get out of a funk. Here’s some ideas though:

Time is definitely a factor. If I’m having a bad day then usually the whole day will stay that way and I just have to hope that the next day will be a lot better.

Talking to friends. It’s isolating staying at home by yourself. I know this full well from being a single mum with a young baby. Nearly ten years ago I didn’t have the online network that I have now with blogging, Twitter and Facebook. I only had the phone and if I didn’t speak to an adult on the phone at least once a day I think I would have gone mad. Now that I have the social networking available to me it helps the feelings of isolation but I still need to talk to people.

Getting out and doing something. I’ve got a dog so I need to walk her while she’s still up for it. She’s around 14 years old so I’m dreading the day when she just doesn’t want to go for a walk. I also try to make lunch or coffee dates (although not too many because of the financial situation). But I don’t always have to leave the house because just even keeping busy around the house helps keep my mind off things. I got out the furniture polish to do some polishing yesterday, something I rarely do. I usually just get a dust cloth for the dusting. And I’ve been watching The Love Boat – some good escapism.

Thinking positively. I think this is the hardest to do but probably one of the best things and let me tell you why. I have to constantly remind myself that I am a useful member of society and have something great to offer the paid workforce, whether it’s in a freelance capacity or otherwise. I’ve got some excellent skills and people who’ve seen my Resume recently have commented  on how impressive my skillset is. I had a Facebook message yesterday from a friend who works in wine marketing asking for my help with their Facebook page. I haven’t definitely heard yet whether they will get me to help (but I’m hopeful) and it won’t be a stack of work, but it’s something to start with and I don’t think this opportunity would have presented itself when I was feeling really down the other day.

Now, I do need help with procrastination. I’ve bought myself and started setting up my own website to further my professional branding but have been sitting on it without really adding any content. I find mrketing myself quite hard to do but I’m going to have to swallow my pride to some extent and just do it.


Aye, the knees have it. Day 109/365.

It wasn’t long ago that I took this photo. We both had a day off, well I’m having lots of days off, but it was kid free as they were all at school. We took the dog down to the beach, bought some lunch along the way and were sitting down in the sun eating our pasties.

Did I mention it was warmer? The last few days, autumn has well and truly hit here. I’m wearing more clothes, and socks and shoes and I’ve even considered putting the heater on. It’s also been raining quite a bit, although that’s been normal this year too.

I spent the day in front of the computer working yesterday as I’m doing a website for a friend’s clowning business. I haven’t started my own website yet. I get all gung-ho about it then I see a job advertised that I’ll apply for and might get and then what’s the point of a website for me? Perhaps I should have one anyway, to brand me as a person who does a particular thing? This indecision is annoying.

I’ve found this website – Therapy in Transition – which has a section on business and entrepeneurship that I will read. It might give me some pointers.

Different lifestyle

In the web. Day 100/365.

When I got my new job back in August I still managed to hold onto working four days a week but because the office hours were longer I was out slightly longer each day and I had to make up some time on my free Fridays.

I did hire a cleaner but they were either very unreliable or when I got a new cleaner I only got them to come in once a fortnight. It was totally worth it and it’s something I’ve now curtailed until finances start getting better.

Despite not having to do so much cleaning I obviously still had the day-to-day stuff to contend with. With that, and finding time to spend with my fella things could feel very rushed and I would often wonder if it would be like this until the lad left school?

Now that I no longer have to go into work four days, or more, a week I’m loving – absolutely loving – the slower pace of things.

I used to get up at 6.30 to take the dog for a walk in the morning and now I get up at 7.30 to get JJ ready for school and when I’ve dropped him off I take Monty for a walk. It’s much more civilised. I note that I’m still going to bed around the same time so the extra hour or so is obviously agreeing with me!

I try to maintain a routine in my day and I notice that watching The Love Boat has crept into my routine. I sometimes set the Tivo so I can start watching it halfway into the show and fast forward through the ads. It’s a chance to have an early lunch or do something like folding the clothes. Oh, and I love the fashions on the show. It’s quite light hearted and I inevitably feel good afterwards.

One other thing I’ve been able to now fit into my day is helping out with things on at the school. The photo above was taken when I went along to the school garden to help out the teacher with JJ’s class that day. There were quite a few other parents there so I didn’t have to do too much.

On the school excursion. Day 114/365.

The other day, I went on an excursion into the city. The kids were all really well behaved and the show that we went to see about water conservation and use was fairly entertaining for the adults as well as the kids.

Next week they’ve got swimming each day and because some of my freelance work has been delayed I’ll be able to help out there too. Although JJ has an ear infection so I’ll have to be careful that it doesn’t reoccur. I must remember to use Aqua Ear after he’s been swimming.

I’ve also now got the time to setup my own ‘business’ website. Someone asked me to describe what services I’ve got available and it would have been good to direct them straight to my website. It looks as though freelance work is the ticket for me at the moment.

Isn’t it funny – this is something I’ve been thinking about for some time. I even have a category called ‘My business‘ on this blog. If I had stayed in paid employment I’m sure it’s something that would never have kicked off but now I’m out of work, I’ve got the time to concentrate on it.

I’ll keep you posted.

Racing time

Thanks to all who commented in my last post. As you may have realised it was a particularly bad day for us both.

He’s been a bit better since then and so have I.

Moving on then. It’s his birthday on Friday and he’s having a party on Sunday which I’ve been stressing over. Really it won’t be that stressful and I’m sure it will be fine on the day. We’ve got a list or three of what games to play, what I need to buy, and what we need to do. I tell you, being a mum makes me even more super organised than I used to be. I often think that if I go for a job interview and they ask for examples of my organisation skills, not only can I use work ones, but I can use motherhood ones also.

So, back to the party, we’ve got about five children coming over for two hours and we’ve organised some games for them to play and I’m hoping that we have enough to occupy these little rascals for that time. So any ideas for fillers are very welcome, especially ideas for things to do inside.

Bless my son’s heart, he’s so excited about his party and he’s gonna wet himself when he gets his Nintendo DSi on Friday. I’m gonna have some great leverage when that comes into play.

In addition to the normal parenting, work and home duties I have a three more things that are going to be on my plate, and already are to some extent. They are extra work outside of my paid work.

Firstly I agreed, in a weak moment, to do a website for a friend’s business. I’m going to do a WordPress site for her rather than build from scratch. We met about it in March and it should have been done and dusted by now but it’s not. I’ve told her that I’ve got some other things coming up and I really want to get hers out the way. I’m going to have to lay down the law and say I won’t do it if she doesn’t hurry up. I’m being paid with treatments from her (she does shiatsu).

The other thing is that I do some freelance work through work and they’re doing a big website revamp which will involve a lot of work on my part. I’m being paid handsomely for it but there will be a fair bit of time involved.

And lastly, a business opportunity has come my way. I’ve been approached by a friend to join him and two others for a web-based startup. I can’t say too much about it at the moment but they’ve really done their research and it sounds quite promising. Naturally there’s work involved there too so I’m quietly panicking.

A while back I’d started playing with the idea of starting my own business but was really hesitant because I would have to do it all on my own and I know my own limitations. Working with others can have its pitfalls but also its strengths. I’ll definitely keep you posted on that one.

Anyway, time to go, lots to do.

Sometimes a list is just it and a bit

  • Today’s (although the posts are out in my evening time so should it be tomorrows?) challenge for Problogger’s 31 days to a better blog is to write a list post.
  • I’m going to take the list challenge literally because I’m in that sort of mood tonight.
  • Lists allow writing to be readable and flow, but it means being succinct.
  • And succinct suits me.
  • Lists help me through the day, whether they’re mental or written down lists.
  • But the list doesn’t allow for children.
  • My child tonight was particularly painful to be around.
  • I think tonight I was probably particularly painful to be around too.
  • Tonight we’ve both cried and we probably both regret some things we’ve said to each other.
  • Tonight we’ve been the best of mates reading Snugglepot and Cuddlepie together. They’re great stories and I’ve made him promise to read him more.
  • Tonight we’ve hated each other’s guts but deep down we both really love each other.
  • Tonight as I kissed him goodnight and chatted about tomorrow, I left him laughing.
  • That laughter made me smile.
  • Thank God.

I don’t think I could have done this post in any other way than a list.

My blog’s elevator pitch

As I write this it’s ten days off my five year anniversary for this blog and I’ve been ambling along without any real direction here for that time. Sure I’ve done things along the way and my blog has grown but I still don’t have any clear direction.

If my blog were a roadmap I’d have one major road with some minor roads and lots of little roads off them, some of which would be dead-ends. The main road would be the blog itself, the minor roads would probably be the categories within this blog that I contribute to the most and the dead-ends would be little things I start doing that I stop for various reasons.

I wrote recently about feeling a need for my own business. I keep thinking of things that I could possibly do but all I really want to do is develop this blog. But to do that I can’t keep ambling along dead-end roads.

Then along comes Problogger with a challenge to build your blog in 31 days. Heck, why not I say. I can’t say that I will do my ‘homework’ every day but so long as the tasks don’t take too long I’ll give it a go.

The first challenge is to have a go at writing an elevator pitch. This is very much first draft and if my more regular readers have anything to add, or any other comments, please feel free to do so.

“Semantically driven is a largely personal blog written in an engaging and honest style, where you will read about what life is like as a working, sole parent to one child, and you’ll also go on a photographic journey as I take photos to feed my artistic habit. Recently I started reviewing products that my readers might like because I believe in word of mouth marketing more than businesses marketing fluff.”

I’d like to revisit this pitch at the end of the 31 days to see if it’s changed at all. I’m sure it will – first drafts are just that.

I do have an idea that I hope to ‘launch’ as part of this blogging challenge. If anyone puts their hand up to be guinea pigs I’d love to test it on a few people.