Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I am enjoying the less fearful life.

I recently wrote about not being so fearful. I resolved to stop being so fearful

So far it's going really well.  I have found that I am much more relaxed.  Yesterday, I enjoyed a long, leisurely lunch with a friend who is also not working.  I am sleeping better.

And contrary to being afraid of not finding a job soon, I am actually looking forward to having a lot of time off.  It would deplete my savings, but there is so much that I could do.

Teach the dogs new tricks (or better manners)
Read a lot of books.  I have reacquainted myself with the library, rather than always buying books.
Write more.  I've started two books, but haven't gotten past chapter two on either of them.
Finish my household to-do list.  I have painting, cleaning, fixing to do.
Do more yoga, boxing, walking, etc.
Catch up on movies.

So many things to do.  And now the time to do it.

Updated:  I even got a rejection.  It was a supremely flattering rejection as rejections go.  And instead of getting down and sad, I was thrilled by the compliment.

I'm liking this new feeling.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I resolved to stop being so fearful

I was in RPM class yesterday, feeling sorry for myself and not happy about the pity party.  Suddenly, I realized I have been living in fear. 

Fear of not having and never getting a job.  Fear of re-injuring my knee.  Fear of getting a migraine.  Fear of hurting my shoulder again.  Fear of not measuring up to "their" expectations.  

Fear.  Of living. 

I can’t live my life afraid.  That's only half a life.  Or less.  And I resolved to stop being so fearful.  I know it won't be easy.  I am a worrier by nature.   
Shortly after that revelation, the RPM instructor played California Dreaming.  I knew she played it just for me and it motivated me.  I ended up putting a lot of effort into the class.  And my knee was fine.  

Afterward, in Body Combat class, I found myself holding back when my shoulder started to ache.  Then I reminded myself to stop living in fear and I enjoyed myself more and worked harder.

And the shoulder didn't hurt any worse.  Minimal or maximum effort made no difference to my shoulder, but made a huge difference to my work out and my mental well-being. 

I have noticed that most often the things I fear don't ever occur.  And when they do occur, events are just different enough that my worrying did not prepare me.  So worry and fear have been a waste of time. 

I have this grand opportunity to spend time relaxing, enjoying the lovely spring weather, playing with my dogs.  And I've let a big chunk of that time be wasted running disaster scenarios in my head.  

I believe that things will work out.  I will get a new job.  I will not blow out a knee.  And if I truly believe that, there is nothing to fear.  Nothing to worry about.  

And if I'm wrong?  Well, I'll deal with it when it happens instead of for weeks and weeks beforehand. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

I need to remember to close the screen door

I was upstairs at the computer helping my sister with her taxes  A couple times I heard something hitting a window.  It didn't occur to me until we got back downstairs that a bird had gotten into the house again.  

I don’t even remember leaving the screen door open.  I've been trying to be more careful about closing it.

As always, the birds fly from the family room into the living/dining room and try to get out via the transom windows.  Why don't they just go out the way they came in?  

I looked around but didn't see it.  Barb saw it standing on the ceiling fan.  It was a curved bill thrasher.  When it saw us, it flew to the south transom and landed on the ledge.  I opened the front door and tried to shoo it towards the door.  My tiny little sister clung to Bogie's collar to keep him from escaping, or chasing the bird. 

Instead, the bird flew from the south transom to the north transom.  Only 10 feet from the open front door.  But that was 10 feet to the left and 8 feet down.   It's hard to get a frightened bird to fly down. 

I waved my arms at it again, hoping it would sense the open door.  This has worked in the past.  Only I startled it too much.  It hit the south transom hard enough to knock itself out.  The bird lay crumpled on the floor.  My sister was sliding on the tile as Bogie dragged her towards the fallen creature. 

Thankfully, I got there first.  I scooped it up and hurried outside, closing the screen door so my sister didn't have to struggle with Bogie.  He stood and whined at the door.  

I sat on the bench in the entryway and stroked the thrasher while it blinked.  I was grateful it wasn't dead.  

After a couple minutes, I sat it on the bench.  It didn't seem like it could stand, so I went to pick it up again, to see if anything had gotten broken.  But it jumped away from me and clung to the stucco on the side of the house.

I stood up and the thrasher jumped from the stucco onto the landscape rocks. It just stood there, watching me.  

My sister and I went out to eat.  When we left, the thrasher was still hanging out under the bench, hopping away from us.  It was about an hour before we got back to the house.  The thrasher was not hanging around by the front door.  Nor was it laying dead in the near vicinity.

This morning I walked the perimeter of the back yard checking to see if the thrasher had died anywhere in the yard.  It hadn't.  

There is more than one thrasher so I will not know whether the one that got hurt survived.

But I can hope. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Yesterday was Bird Day at my house.

I came home from a job interview yesterday and climbed the stairs to go change out of my interview clothes.

There, in the middle of the loft carpet, lay a soggy, dead sparrow.

"Oh, I didn't know you have a cat as well as two dogs", you say.

No, I don't have a cat.

I also did not know that a dog will leave you lovely "gifts" showing their accomplishments.  Or maybe that's just where Bogie dropped it.

Six hours later, I was talking on the phone with my sister.  Angel was inside with me.  Bogie was outside playing with a stuffed toy, pulling the stuffing out of it.

I thought.

Suddenly, he came running into the house through the doggy doordangling a dead pigeon from his mouth by its one remaining wing.

"Out", I yelled, and pointed at the door.  Out he went.

I followed him outside.  He dropped the pigeon and I pitched it over the wall for the ants or coyotes to dispose of. The "stuffing" I had seen had actually been feathers plucked from the pigeon.  I picked up the missing wing, bits of tail, and clumps of feathers and threw them over the wall as well.  

In neither case do I know whether he found the birds dead, or made them dead.  I do know that yesterday was an extremely windy day here in the Valley of the Sun.  The air was full of dust that may have disoriented the birds.  The wind gusts also may have knocked either of the two birds into a wall.

I feel better thinking that he found them dead.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Why do I fail to impress at interviews?

I would say I'm pretty smart.  Friends tell me I'm very smart.  I'm also logical and fairly rational.

So why do I fail so miserably at convincing employers that they should hire me?  They like me.  But they don't hire me.

Part of the problem is the tech industry.  There are a multitude of programming languages and methodologies.  New ones are created often and older ones go out of style.

So having the latest and greatest skill set can be a challenge.

The currently sought after skills are all web-based.  It's hard to have web programming experience when you've spent the last ten years doing database and Windows programming.

I've used at least 4 different programming languages and 5 different scripting languages.  I can learn new languages.  Easily.

But everyone says that.  So how do I convince the interviewer that I really mean it?  My references will confirm it, if I can convince the interviewer to call.

Anyone need a T-SQL, C# programmer?


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I will not rent out the space in my head.

This needs to become my new mantra. "I will not rent out the space in my head." Over and over until I actually abide by it.

Recently I have noticed that I spend an unseemly amount of time reflecting on the slights and insults visited on me by others.  I compose retaliatory e-mails in my head.  I rehearse conversations that will never happen.  I script anticipated apologies.

It happens in spurts. This latest occurrence is tied to my layoff.  It has come to my attention that a particular person is being very unfair to me.  It bothers me that I do not, cannot know the cause of the disrespect.   Nor do I have any recourse.

But focusing on the hurt is doing me more harm than good.  It will not resolve the problem.  It takes energy away from my search for a new job.  It raises my blood pressure and stress level.  No vengeance or apology will be obtained.

As difficult as it is, I have decided to stop thinking about people who have wronged me.  As soon as I start thinking about one of those people, I will stop and I will focus on the good things that are in my life.

And there are many good things in my life.

It's a work in progress.  I caught myself obsessing while I was weeding the front yard.  I stopped, went inside, and hugged my dogs.

"I will not rent out the space in my head."


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blocked by a Great Dane

This morning I took Bogie for his walk.  Just him.  Not with Angel.  We walked/jogged about a mile and a half.  No I didn't jog the whole distance.  Maybe a third.  

We got back to the front door.  I opened the security door and took the lead off, as I have for the past 3 or 4 months.  As I opened the inside door to enter, Bogie got distracted and took off.  Well, that answers the question of whether he will still run off.  

Now, we’re working on Come Here.  But Stop works.  Stay works.  I thought.  Apparently, they only work when he is on the leash. 


I've learned my lesson and don't try to catch him on foot.  I rushed to the car and drove after him.  After our long walk, he wasn't as ambitious as in previous escapes.  Bogie had only gone 4 houses away and was sniffing at their gate.  I stopped in the middle of the street, opened the car door, and called to him.  He jumped right in.

Shunning is my punishment of choice.  Back at the house, I left the Gentle Leader on him because I know he doesn't like it.  I took Angel and we went for her walk.  This is more of a meander that covers only about a quarter mile.  When I got back, I ignored Bogie except to tell him to Sit and take the Gentle Leader off. 

I fed them, washed their bowls, took my vitamins and ate my breakfast.  All the while ignoring Bogie.  I wasn't sure he even noticed he was being shunned.  When I finished reading the newspaper, I went outside to feed the birds. 

As I topped off the water bucket, Bogie stood right in front of me, leaning up against my legs.  I still had barely spoken to him.  

I went to step forward and he didn't move.  I pushed him lightly with my knee, but he didn't budge.  "Move", I said quietly.  He looked at me.  I took a step back, intending to go around him.  He followed. 

I was now pinned with the water bucket to my right, the metal hose container behind me, and Bogie blocking me.  I looked at him.  He looked at me.  I petted him.  And he let me move. 

Apparently he *had* noticed he was being shunned.  

And didn't like it. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

I was embarrassed by my dog's ill behavior

A couple weeks ago, I was walking Bogie, my Great Dane, by himself.  We were walking south down a main street and spied another dog walker two large black Giant Schnauzers walking north.

Hers were being very well-behaved.  There was a point where our paths were going to cross.  I needed to turn east to go home.  She wanted to continue north.

Bogie was being uncooperative, ignoring my commands to Heel.  I had to struggle to keep him under control.   We made the turn at the corner.  I couldn't fight him and walk, so I sat him just past the corner.  Or that was the intention.  He wouldn't Sit or Stay.  She and her dogs were about 10 feet north of the corner.  All was well.


I had a grip on it, but Bogie slipped out of his Gentle Leader halter.  Until that moment, I hadn't realized it was too loose.  He ran straight to her dogs with me chasing after.  I said, "Don't worry.  He's friendly."  just as he started to growl at her male dog.


I captured him before anything could happen, but I was so embarrassed.   His bad behavior reflected on my skills as a trainer and pet parent.  I wished often that I could see her again to apologize.  And to explain that he was actually better behaved than when I got him.

So I was kind of glad when I was walking both Angel and Bogie this morning and we ran into her again.  We were on opposite sides of the street.  I had Bogie under much better control, although he did fight me a bit.

I hollered "I'm sorry."  

She hollered back, "It's okay.  They have to learn,  But it sucks for us."

That moment of understanding erased the guilt I had been holding onto since our last encounter.

Not related to the story, but these are the beasties involved.