Tag Archives: unemployment

Getting sleep where I can get it, lungs, and yoga

Standard

4.5 hours sleep. I rolled out of bed, grogged some clothes on, swallowed some English Breakfast tea and some uninspired toast, and dropped the kids off at school. Less than 45 long minutes later I was home. Fed the animals so they wouldn’t harass me. Then slept for 3.5 hours.

Last night I had to use my inhaler for the first time this winter. My throat and lungs feel hashed. The rest of the family is starting to feel it too. But tonight my oldest step-daughter and I went to yoga anyway, while the twins swam. It kicked my ass, in a very good way. Tomorrow may need to be a complete day of rest, though. Which kinds of sucks, because I have two job applications to work on—one of which has Friday for a deadline, and for which I’m probably going to have to retool my resume and provide a portfolio of sorts. Plus I have show notes to do, work for the next show to start on, some WordPress research to do for next week’s user group presentation, and prep for some potential consulting work. The list goes on.

I’m unemployed—and {thankfully} I’m a busy girl.

Big bad unemployment

Standard

I guess it’s OK to talk about this now: Some weeks ago, I lost my consulting job of 5.5 years, when I was laid off due to “lack of work.” I worked for my brother: He gave me one week of notice. The company had been struggling for some time.

I haven’t said anything about it outright on this blog, because for a while we didn’t want the kids to know. We didn’t want them to worry that they had just moved here and that we wouldn’t be able to take care of them. It was a difficult secret to keep. Even now, I’m worried that I’ll freak somebody out by saying the wrong thing.

It was very upsetting, as the timing could hardly have been worse, with my hubby having been unemployed for a couple of years now, and three children moving in. Let’s just say these past couple of months have been the most stressful in probably the last 7 or 8 years. I have so much riding on my shoulders.

In a lot of ways, it’s a good thing. It will probably be a great thing. I was in a job situation that was not right for me, and had not been for quite some time. I had tried to find other work, especially last year. But several promising opportunities came very close to coming through, only to  fall through at the last minute. One in particular crashed horribly to the ground only hours after I was promised the job. That, and some negative experiences with work, really took a toll on my confidence in 2011.

And now I’m in a situation, where, like so many other people, I’m looking, under duress. Our house is under water, we’re stuck at a relatively high interest rate. We have no savings, except for some quickly dwindling vacation pay. We have lots of extra expenses. We are able to get unemployment, which works out to be about $1000 less per month than we were previously bringing in. Before tax. And we were already struggling. We also lost our insurance, but were able to get some short-term major medical, and prescriptions aren’t too much more than they were with insurance. Fortunately, the kids have insurance through Oregon Health Plan. And we are able see the doctor if we need to – there’s a medical clinic in town that has a sliding scale. I’m able to see the vegan Nurse Practitioner I wanted to see for $11 less than the copay I paid when I was insured!

Of course, this is a great time to reassess, to figure out what type of work I can really be happy doing. To see which skills I want to ramp up, and maybe which ones to toss. To try new things. So many directions to go! Should I concentrate on our design and IT consulting business? Should I spend all my free time networking, emailing resumes, trolling the IT job boards? Or should I be concentrating on new skill-sets like WordPress dev and Ruby on Rails? How will I keep my SharePoint skills sharp with little access to dev servers or software? How can I leverage my nonprofit skills? Could I start a vegan-based business or nonprofit? Will I get desperate and take a job that doesn’t seem like a good fit experience-wise or financially? What happens when we can’t pay the mortgage?

A lot of my time these past few weeks has been wrapped up in contingency planning. Swallowing pride, asking for help. The schools and the community have really stepped up, and for that we are very grateful. There are a lot of caring people here, and some good social programs. Relatives on the kids’ side have also helped where they can. Just today, we finally got into a mortgage assistance program that was a huge pain in the ass to apply for. At least we are in enough that we’ll be able to submit the paperwork. I’m sure it will take a few months to come through, if it does at all, and hopefully I’ll have a job by then. But we have to think ahead. What if?

Luckily, a lot of the shock of losing my job and of suddenly becoming a full-time parent has worn off by now. Most days I’m able to think clearly. To appreciate what I have. To plan ahead as much as is possible. I’m so grateful that we were able to get a deal at the community center. Yoga is saving my sanity right now. It’s my major stress relief  and what is keeping my lungs strong and healthy. I’m going to go check the schedule for tomorrow.

Like a capuchin monkey – recap 2010

Standard
Capuchin Monkey

Is the painting done yet?

Apparently, another year later, I’m still one of those annoying people who starts a blog and then rarely updates it. Significant events since November 2009:

  • Kicked my VegNet Bend volunteer efforts into high gear, becoming a key board member and helping to plan and lead group events. We’re doing a lot of vegan advocacy, and having fun.
  • Continued to thrive on a Vegan diet and consequently lost 15-20 lbs (and a lot of inches) over the last two years. I’m now back to approximately college weight/size, which is nice. And I’m very rarely sick, only my once a winter lung issues.
  • Got into a very regular workout routine. Jonathan (NoExcuses) is such a nice guy yet tough virtual coach – I recommend listening to his podcasts for inspiration and following his free program. Regular workouts helped to keep the weight down and keep me healthy. (I was working out before becoming vegan, but wasn’t yet seeing any weight loss, so I think nutrition has more to do with the weight loss than anything else. Yeah, I know they’re both important).
  • Did regular yoga for a long time. This summer my yoga teacher moved away to the Bay Area for new adventures (I’m so happy for her), and because I didn’t immediately click with the new teacher and the price went up significantly, I stopped going. I liked the ritual of yoga every Saturday morning and I feel that yoga helped me manage my stress levels and health. I really miss it and hope to figure out a way to fit it back into my life.
  • Survived a very rough fall and winter with a lot of personal drama.
  • My oldest friend in the world, my cat Connecticut, died February 13. She was nearly 16 years old and had been my constant companion through relationship changes, animal companion flux, and many moves since she was a pet store kitten. She is greatly missed.
  • Grieved hard for Connecticut, making myself ill again with Pneumonia/Bronchitis and a deep depression.
  • Dug myself out of the above.
  • Went from never seeing my hubby because he worked nights, to seeing him all the time (unemployed, like much of the rest of the country).
  • In April we had to put Big Kitty, originally meant to be a foster and always in slightly ill-health, to sleep.
  • Reluctantly got used to not seeing my step-kids and having a lot more free time on weekends (long stupid story, out of my control).
  • Went to Portland a bunch of times this summer after a few years away. Attended a bit of the Let Live Conference over my birthday weekend and all of Portland VegFest. VegFest was fantastic – excessive amounts of yummy vegan food both at the fest and at local vegan eateries like Blossoming Lotus, Bay Leaf, The Bye and Bye. And getting to stop by Food Fight and Herbivore on several different trips was definitely a highlight.
  • Got my cholesterol tested at VegFest – a great number. Go Vegan!
  • Started mountain biking with friends from yoga. A great group of ladies and very supportive. I definitely surprised myself with my guts a few times.
  • Started a vegetable garden after a year’s hiatus. Doubled the size of the beds from the previous attempt. The kale, beans, peas, carrots, and zucchini did great. Hope to plant a bigger variety next year and keep learning.
  • Stopped mountain biking to do gardening and paint the house during my weekend free time.
  • Finished painting the outside of our two-story house that I had started last year. Got my “tree legs” on the super tall ladder and then was scrambling up and down it like a Capuchin monkey.
  • Painted the two-story inside foyer of the house. Again, with the Capuchin. Unfortunately, the color is rather Twinkie like.
  • Got a radio show approved at KPOV, our local community radio station. Our first Powered by Plants (working title) show will air Dec 17. It will focus on vegan issues and my friend Judy and I from VegNet will be the hosts. Pretty excited about this.
  • Began volunteering with KPOV for practice being on the air leading up to the show. Have done a couple of pledge drive spots, some DJ mentoring, and interviewed two authors. I enjoy interviewing the authors and will probably continue to fill in with those when something especially interests me. Kind of a nice way to combine a love of literature, reading, nature, and animals. If I can’t write it, I can review it and give other people a way to share their ideas and creations.
  • Read a zillion books – nature/science, animal issues, people and animal memoirs, veganism, scifi, fiction…
  • Listened to hundreds of podcast episodes while painting, most of them vegan related, but also Jonathan’s, Flylady, Chaos Chronicles, The Moth
  • Met and worked with a lot of compassionate, creative, motivating, and interesting people.
  • Oh yeah, and that SharePoint thing.

Think that’s about it.