Friday, November 7, 2008

Horseys, Dogs, House Sitting and Grandnieces...

A relative called to tell me about a couple that attends her church. They were looking for someone to house sit when they have to be away from their home on business or pleasure. They have three horses (two quarter horses and an Arab) and six dogs (three large, three small). My relative told them about me, and me about them, because I grew up with horses and dogs and just about every other kind of Pacific Northwest critter.

So I drove over and met the couple yesterday and will be their house/critter sitter sometime this week for a day (overnight) and then in a few weeks I'll go there for several days. I'm very much looking forward to it. It'll be a lot of fun, and I'll get to hang with horses again after many years of being without them. If I remember, I'll take a camera and get some pictures of the animals to post here...

I've been getting small projects at Elance. It's such a blast to work this way. I've written the content for websites in Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Malawi) and Ireland this week. Last month I wrote an e-book for a lady in Queensland, Australia. My reviews are super. And I've broken the $2K barrier! That's not a lot spread over ten months but most of it has come in the last couple of months, so I'm making headway. As I get more projects and make a good impression and have more examples to share, I get a larger percentage of the projects I bid on. It takes time to build a business this way, but it's happening faster than I anticipated it would.

Barack looked mighty presidential at his first press conference post-election today, as expected. A lot of hopes and dreams and prayers are hanging on him. He'll do as great as the situation allows in every situation, I'm sure. He's very thoughtful and deliberates carefully before deciding. He reminds me a lot of DeForest Kelley in that way -- never in a hurry (except on a basketball court), careful when deciding, compassionate when disagreeing... He's the full meal deal, methinks!

My unemployment is just about to run out, so I need to find other ways to supplement my income; hence the house-sitting. I'll get a good letter of reference out of it and then post my availability on craigslist in the Tacoma area and see what comes of it. As long as the house where I'm sitting has an Internet connection, I can continue to write while I house sit because I have a laptop I can take along... I may get an Internet connect card for it (if my model isn't too old to accommodate one), so that I can house sit and keep writing for Elance clients even if the place doesn't have Internet...

I'm still applying for other local jobs, but the job market is pretty lousy. I'm concentrating on looking for writing or administrative assistant or reception jobs, as I have a background in all three. Would love to find a position that's part time and has health benefits; right now I'm paying for my own health benefits and it's expensive.

Our riding lawnmower died so we got a second hand one that's in good shape. The fellow who owned it has a mower shop and it was his personal mower. He said it should serve us for another ten years as long as we get it serviced every year, which we will. It's a John Deere and runs very well. He donated our old one to Bates Technical College so their mechanics students can work with it and try to get it going again.

This afternoon I watched my grand niece Jamie, age 4, for a couple hours while her mom Wendy cleaned the home of a neighbor. Jamie made three greeting cards and then we walked about a mile. After that she "remodeled" me with her toy beauty salon, adding a hair band, ear rings, a finger ring, and putting invisible, non-existent toenail and fingernail polish on me with utmost seriousness. And then she slathered me with at least 14 kinds of kids lip gloss -- flavored. After the first six layers, I asked her how many more she was going to put on me. She said, "Just a few more..." Pretty soon my multi-flavored lips were so slippery, sticky and heavy that I told her it felt like she had put a truck on my lips instead of lipstick. She laughed and laughed. Then I told her, "But it sure is a good-tasting truck!"

Then she said she wanted to clean up her "virtual" bedroom, so I suggested, "How about we clean up your REAL bedroom instead?" (the one in Jackie's side of the house, where we were), and she said, "Okay!" So we picked up the few things that were on the floor and she brought the real vacuum from the closet and I helped her run it. (It's massive and she's just a wee one.) She was very proud of the results.

At about that time, her mom came home and they had to run to pick up Casey (Jamie's older sister) from school, so off they went.

Jamie's a very well-balanced DISC personality (on the DISC personality scale). She's exemplary in all four areas. I recognized that she was a high C very early on: she knows where everything belongs and takes pains most of the time to be sure everything is in its place. Getting her to clean her room or tidy a table is no trouble at all. Her D is in full play, too: She's a good director (in a cute and charming way), telling everyone where to sit at the table and when to pray. Then her S (sensitive) nature is very well-developed, too. She really picks up on people's feelings and emotions and is right there to soothe and support when needed. And is she ever an "I"! She has no problem becoming the center of attention. She doesn't have a shy bone in her body, but is not "over the top," either (as I was as a child).

As we walked today, she was telling me that she was "worried" about coloring the greeting cards just right as she was making them. I told her, "Honey, don't ever be worried about making art. Art should always be fun to do. Worry is for other things, like being sure to look both ways before you cross a street and when you walk where there are a lot of cars. Worry is for times when you could get hurt by not paying attention. Art and writing should feel like play. There is not a lot of worry in most kinds of playing, is there?" She sighed and said, "I just worry sometimes." I said, "You should leave worrying to grownups, like mommy and daddy." She nodded and said, "I do, mostly." She's obviously very sensitive and has a passion to get things "just right." Nothing wrong with that. I think she really just meant "concerned" rather than worried, but doesn't know the right word for it yet. She comes across as just about the least worried child I know! She's seriously "concerned" about a lot of things, but not in a worried way. She's just full-out living life and knows that small dogs need special care and handling, and stuff like that. A super great kid. (Like all my grandnieces and kids of almost every stripe!)

Before we cleaned her room, she said, "You can help me!" I joked, "I didn't mess up your room, why should I help you clean it up?" She looked at our contractor (working in Jackie's bathroom painting a cabinet) and said, (joking), "'Cause I didn't make the mess all by myself. The worker did some of it!" She grinned and I said facetiously "Excuse me? I very much doubt the worker was in here playing with your dollies!"

Ray (the contractor, in his early 60's) responded, joking, "No, I gave up playing with dollies more than a week ago!"

Jamie laughed and said to me, "Well, it's not impossible!" So I said, "Okay, fibber, let's get in there and clean up the mess without blaming innocent people!" She giggled and went right to work. BUSTED! (She wasn't being serious when she "accused" him at all. She just thought it was funny.)

She's really a crack-up!

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