Persistence

This last couple of weeks I have had surgery and been on the mend.   One of the things that I did with my spare time besides sleep a lot I also got caught up on some videos that go with a class I am taking.   One of the videos was a round table of women who were economically successful in creative fields talking about their successes and failures.    When I say economically successful I mean they are able to support themselves or make significant contribution to their household’s bottom line in their creative pursuit. I clarify this success  because I think it is what we all want to make a living and what we love doing.    We want to explore and do something we love, but most of us if we are lucky never get much beyond the break even point if we are lucky.  These women  were writers, painters, stampers and mixed media artists.

One of the things they talked about is other women often ask them how do they break into their field.  It was so interesting in that they said you don’t have a “aha moment” and suddenly you are successful.   They all said over and over, that innate talent is always helpful, but more important is persistence.

On my desk and in my planner I have this quote by Calvin Coolidge. It has been a driving philosophy in my life. It hasn’t always made my life easy but it has allowed more success and opportunities that one can imagine.

imag2744_1.jpgA divider I made that is in my daily planner.

Long ago, in an almost different lifetime, I was in a session  at the Fortune 500 company I worked for at the time.   It was for managers they were  grooming and developing for the next level of management.   During the session it came out that I was the only person  who had not graduated from college in the group of managers and directors.   One of the gentlemen in the session pointed out to the group that I was an  oxymoron being a manager without a degree.  I on the other hand thought, I don’t think his college degree helped him in his word choice when selecting oxymoron to describe me, though everyone knew what he meant. It took me a few more years to get to achieve my position, because I had started at the bottom and had persisted in proving that I had the ability to learn and the talent to do the job I wanted.

Persistence has served me well since I have become self-employed.   People always say to me it must be nice to have the flexibility you have.   It is nice, but it is also somewhat scary.   If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.   It is not like when I was an employee and if I was having an off day, I could show up to work and get paid, even if I wasn’t hugely productive.    Now I am always on the hustle, looking for my next gig.   If you don’t ask you won’t get  job, so I find myself telling folks I am looking for work, and I might help them.    It isn’t like you hang your shingle out there and suddenly there are six people out there begging to hire you at a livable wage.   Self-employment isn’t that easy.   You have to be persistence in your flexibility to try new things and take risks that sometimes don’t quite make sense or aren’t easy.

That all said, like thousands of you I am not making a living at things I love doing.   I’d love to be a writer.   I have a small box of reject letters from the days before self-publishing for the e-read.   I have a finished book, that needs to be re-worked, polished and edited. I spend several lunch hours each week with a sandwich in my truck reading and marking up changes.    I love to be on a design team where I was mailed supplies for my artistic endeavors to try out and make things that inspired others.    I have studio space full of paper, pens, ink, canvas, fabric and sewing machines.  I have tried lots of things and these are the mediums I enjoy working with, and they make me feel most creative. Here is is where my persistence comes back into play.   I spend time in my studio every day.   I don’t skip.   Some days after work,   it may only be 20 minutes.   Other days like today, I have carved out hours working  on a gift journal I am making and  writing my blog post.   People say they don’t have time to do….you fill in the blank…..   You do.   It may not be a lot of time, but you have time.   You choose where and how you spend your free time.   You have to be persistent because only you can make it happen.  More than that persistence of your passion, those things you enjoy, even if it is only 20 minutes, will make the day feel better for you and that is not bad.   Not bad at all.

 

 

Always Something Amazing

Yesterday as twilight settled in four bluebird fledglings showed up on our deck. They had feathered out enough that they could fly, but still had lots of baby down on their bodies.     RangerSir and I watched them huddle and jockey around on the railing.   Though they were from the same clutch it was interesting to see that they were not all the same size.   Some had obviously been at the front of the food line more often that some of its siblings. In all the years of having bluebird boxes on the fence post, this was the most up close and personal we had ever experienced.     I pulled my phone out and snapped some pictures, my favorite was when mom showed up with a tasty morsel.  imag2707.jpg

Holiday Weekend – No Plans

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It is a hot day, but there is a little breeze that makes the temperatures feel quite nice.

RangerSir’s occupation means that he works the all the summer holidays, because on the holidays  it is all hands on deck and everyone is out in the field with the increased visitors.  Folks always act disheartened when they ask me about holiday plans and I claim none because of he is working.    For me it is quite the opposite, it is a long weekend were I have no plans except of my choosing.   I usually pick to stay home and do whatever possesses me.   Working up to this holiday we had company for over a week followed by a summer cold that had me off of work for several days.   I am still hacking a bit with a cough that hangs on  so I am hanging around the house.   All the chores and housework are done or will wait until after the holiday.   Instead I am taking walks, cooking, writing, spending some time in my studio, reading and I am even thinking a summer time nap in the hammock may be in order.    Sounds like a perfect summer holiday to me.

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Zip is napping.

Early Morning Walks

Each morning I am now out the door no later than 5:30 to get my morning walk in on the weekdays, before I start the rest of my morning routine to get out the door daily to commute to work. I wish I could take each of you with me on my walk.  Not to experience the cold or the see overcast skies we had this week that prevented seeing a sunrise every day this week.  Instead I would want to share with you the the sounds of nature waking up.   The sound of a meadowlark announcing the morning.  It is something I adore, though had never heard before coming to Montana. This year for the first time we have sandhill cranes nesting in the area.   Each morning I hear eerily strange sound of cranes.  I hope that this is the first of many years for them to be near by. There are the sounds of the robin family and the bluebirds letting the world know they too are awake.   There are more than the sounds of birds I am familiar with.   There are many birds waking up and calling  that I can not identify their song, but I have become  familiar with the sound they make as they wake up.   It is an amazing peaceful, but energizing way to start your day.

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Saturday’s sunrise

Lunch Lady

Working outside the home I have become a maser at the lunch pail. The company where I work has a terrible lunch room.   It is in the basement so it is windowless.   A windowless room is like not having any  break at all to me.   When my lunch hour comes I am out the door pronto, rain or shine.    I am ready for a break from the office building.  I am ready to see what the world is putting forth.   Since I make the choice to leave the building  I could either go broke attempting to eat good lunches or have terrible health eating crummy lunches.   Neither have any appeal to me, so I am working hard at preparing interesting lunches that pack well. My grocery shopping now takes portability in to consideration.  I have dug out my oldest Tupperware items to hold my lunchtime treasures, since they really are the perfect size, unlike anything else I have found.

This last week I fixed an old-fashion roast beef sandwich spread from left over beef roast.   It was a kind of throwback to two of my grandmas.   One of them introduced me to sandwich spread and the other grandma gave me the meat grinder I still use to this day.

 

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I am sure you can use your food processor instead of an old-fashion meat grinder, but for me it a connection to my grandmas.

For those of you unfamiliar with sandwich spread, you grind left over roast.   Then you add chopped onions, celery,hard-boiled eggs, and pickle relish.   Lastly you add store-bought mayo.   For my modern version I added some red bell pepper and my favorite salt-less seasonings.   I put it on bread with lettuce for my lunch, occasionally I add a slice of Muenster cheese for a little variety.   For those of you having heart failure about toting something with mayo in my lunch, today’s mayo has enough preservatives in it that with a frozen blue ice it can safely to to lunch in a sandwich.  I don’t live in fear on that one.

Each day at noon, I head out to my truck where my lunch box awaits me.   Some days I eat at a local park.   Some days when  it rains and I sit there in my truck with a book and my lunch and read at the local park as the rain runs down the windshield.   Many days I go to a friend who has business with big windows and sit in her classroom and eat my lunch and catch up with her and other folks who drop by.

It was hard at first, but now I am getting the hang of this.  I am constantly on the look out for new or old ideas that will  make for an interesting lunch.   I am open to it it all from sandwiches, to salads and everything else in between. Thousands of folks do this daily and now so do I.

Surprise

When you buy chicks, most folks buy them sexed, for a whole host of reasons.   Many folks can not have roosters in the city.   Even if you can have roosters, too many are problems because of too much testosterone.I have heard many a story of a nice or good rooster.   The only roosters I have had have been hard on the hens, and wanting to attack us and our dog. I would prefer not to have the hassle of roosters.      For this reason I generally buy sexed, female chicks.   Sexing is somewhere between 80-90% accurate.   Even in the best case scenario you will sooner or later get a rooster or two.   This year the jury is not in but we think we got two out of six.

So if getting  a couple of roosters was not a big enough surprise, I also got an unexpected breed.   Instead of getting two Blue Laced Red Wyandottes we got two Blue Andalusian.  That was the bigger surprise.   I had never seen or heard of them before.   I picked up my chicks when the regular chick lady was gone at the ranch supply.   I thought the blue  chicks they packaged up weren’t right. Wyandottes have a tendency to be mottled or chipmunk marked.   My blue chicks were solid blue.   Because the RLRW are somewhat rare, I did not question the staff, but assumed that my limited experience with these breed was the reason for the difference.   The store was a couple of hours from the house, so at that point what was I to do, it was what it was.

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This is the male.   He is a handsome fella, though they sport a single comb, something I stay away from due to the harsh climate here. So far he is a pretty pleasant fella.   I’d like to hold on to him for awhile and see how he turns out.

 

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Here is the female.   She was a lot more cooperative when trying to photograph her.  They are eight weeks old right now.   They are a pretty amazing blue color.   What a fun surprise.

Living In A New World

I have taken breaks from here before, but never taken this much time off from writing in my blog.    Lots has been happening  and changing in my world,   All those changes have also required many  adjustments to my life  as well.  I think I have adjusted, settled in, and found some new rhythm of life. Once again my life  includes writing here which I have missed.

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I am back working in a corporate environment and I am not sure if it is a flashback or a leap forward into a whole new world.    For sure it is different than the world I have been living in the last ten years.  I recently accepted a contract project job that requires me to appear in dress type work clothes at 8am at their place of business.   Millions of people do this each day, in fact I did for years myself, but the last ten years or so I have been working more or less without having to report in like this.  All my jobs have allowed me to work either at alone at  home or alone in the field.   There was almost no one to interact with “at work”, because my bosses were people I occasionally touched based with on the phone and once in a greater while met up with to “sync up” with.   Reporting in to an office building and a boss who is just down the hall is a big change, that not only changed my daily work routine, but also  has been full of personal lifestyle adjustments. I am still making some of those adjustments, but I have also settled into enough of a pattern that  I am starting to find where things fit into my new life, that includes stopping by here and blogging.