Archive for July, 2010

Dog Sitting, Among Other Things

I’m sitting on my porch right now. Actually, it’s my landlords, but since I rent here, he’s allowed me use it. It’s a beautiful 24 degrees outside.

The birds are chirping, I can hear some dogs barking, and it seems like someone is always mowing their backyard or lawn.

I wish there was more of a breeze, but things should cool down somewhat this evening with the predicted thunderstorm that will supposedly bring 10-15mm of rain by tomorrow. We’ll see, they never get these things right.

I wish I could be doing remote tech support calls right now, but I only ended up leaving 4 or 5 voice mails. I’ll try again this evening and tomorrow. Might as well if it’s going to be raining.

I’m dog sitting for my landlord for the next week or so as he is on vacation in B.C.. Her name is Keyara. She’s a black lab, and is the quietest and kindest dog I have ever met. Also, she listens! You tell her to lay down, and she will. I’ll take her on a few walks this week, for the sake of her health and mine. Otherwise, I’ll feed her and occasionally play with her of course. That’s about it, no trouble at all.

My landlord is a good guy and offered to discount my rent a bit as a thank you. Truth be told, neither of us wants Keyara in a kennel for a week.

As far as work goes, I’m doing everything I can to build more of a routine in my life, for the sake of my health, sanity, and bank account. For the better part of the past year, I’ve been effectively on-call, and it’s done a number on me. I’ve since reduced how much I visit clients on-site. In fact, I’m doing remote calls now for the most part, which isn’t exactly set hours, but it’s a lot less rushing around. That said, I’m self-employed, and have the right to set hours for myself. Sometimes, though, clients call with an urgent matter, so that’s the exception.

I’m also pursuing another part-time opportunity which I can’t talk about yet, but should be able to reveal in the next week, and it’s something I’m quite excited about.

I’m also pursuing some freelance journalism work. I’m in the process of putting together two stories on local groups in the Lethbridge community. Hopefully they’ll be published in a local paper, if not, I’ll post them on my blog and get exposure that way.

The eventual goal of all of this is to have more time to spend with friends and to be less stressed and have more fun!

James Frey for Mayor

I tend to stay away from the topic of politics because it’s very controversial. That said, for the first time in my life, I feel engaged by some of those running for office.

Overall, I’m impressed by some candidates’ use of Social Media like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and websites! Rather than just expecting potential voters to show up at campaign events, they’re having real conversations using internet tools that people are using every day, and using them as conversation platforms to discuss numerous issues. I found a blog post that discusses this in much more detail, and frankly does a better job than I ever could.

I’m even helping out with a campaign for a Lethbridge man by the name of James Frey. He’s running for mayor, and I think he’s a heck of a guy! I have talked to him on Twitter and Facebook for months, even before the campaign. He even made the effort to come and have an hour long chat at my house! He has done marketing work with the Alberta government for 8 years, and is very well informed on the state of politics in the province and in Lethbridge, and talks about it in plain English.

More importantly, I think, is his commitment to the community, and truly listening and actively communicating with the people of Lethbridge through the use of social networks and in-person. He has a fresh, but educated perspective on different issues affecting Lethbridge, as noted on his website, and on Twitter and Facebook.

His website is www.freyformayor.com. I’ve never seen a more transparent, easy to understand campaign website. I’ll be voting for him on October 18th, and I hope you do as well!

Elderly Couple Plays the Piano (video)

Quite a Busy Friday Night

I wish I could say I spent my Friday night out on the town with friends. Instead, I was working late, and as soon as I finished work, I went straight to bed. Strangely, I couldn’t sleep, so I left my police scanner on.

I haven’t heard so much activity on it in months! Lots of speeders and a couple of drunk drivers. However, around midnight (I think, wasn’t really paying attention to the time), a car hit a deer on Hwy 23. The deer died, and it sounded like the car was a write-off, though I think the driver was ok (didn’t hear any different).

Right around the same time, there was a collision near Coalhurst. A semi hit a car. The car was driveable, though damaged. Sounded like there were injuries and a couple of people taken to hospital. Not sure beyond that. I only know as much as was said on the air.

Later, I noticed on Twitter that tweeps going to the Calgary Stampede were having quite a bit of fun! They even linked to photos of fireworks! In Lethbridge, people were having fun downtown with friends after enjoying the annual Street Wheelers event. Over 700 classic cars involved! Impressive!

Out of Sorts and Thinking Out Loud

I’ve been depressed lately for a variety of reasons, the biggest is that a job I have dedicated the last year of my life to is falling apart. I should have honestly left it earlier this year, but kept seeing glimmers of hope that things would get better, despite not feeling promise for it in my gut. The truth is, I had nothing else going for me career wise, so I didn’t want to let go.

I decided to start a major marketing push, mainly to boost my business, but also of colleagues. I put posters up around town, and started using social media like Facebook and Twitter on an almost daily basis. I spent time at coffee shops and around town in my company uniform, as well as cold calling in person and over the phone. Nothing changed, which infuriated me.

When I joined the company last year, I focused almost exclusively on remote work and residential work, but that diminished to almost nothing as time went on.

My business communication skills are lacking, but my computer skills and love for the work have taught me that I needed to start with small businesses around town and residential work, gain confidence and skills, and move up to larger businesses. So I cold called over the phone and in person, but didn’t get much of a response. The work was only trickling in.

So, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, especially the past 6 months, and it’s had a serious affect on my health.

So, I recently decided to change things. I talked to a senior member of my team, and decided to give up my company car (to save money), and to give all of my clients to other member of the team. The marketing division of the company has shown interest in hiring me to help with their social media efforts. I should know more this week.

In addition, some freelance journalism opportunities may be on the horizon after talking to a couple of publications.

So right now nothing is for certain, and this week will dictate what I’ll be doing going forward, because to be honest, I need a steady, healthy income, but I also want to do what I enjoy, and I’ll do what I have to do to make sure that happens.

Since my life has been so out-of-whack lately, my friendships are also suffering. I need routine again, and to be happy, then life will be more predictable, and I’ll be able to hang out more.

Speaking of friends and family, I want to thank each and every one of you for your patience, understanding, and support as I sort things out. I couldn’t make it through without you. 🙂

It’s a very challenging time for me right now, and the depression isn’t helping at all, nor are my health problems. All I can do is push ahead, though, and do my best.


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