Friday, December 1, 2023

first full week at the New Contract Gig

This is my first full week at the New Contract Gig.  I started the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and worked was online the three days before Thanksgiving.  And my official start date might have been even earlier because onboarding as a contractor is messy.

On the positive side, this is probably the best time to come aboard because things are winding down on most people's calendars and our clients tend to have restrictions on upgrades and installations at the end of the year.  The only downside is my colleagues likely look forward to this downtime and don't really want to teach the newbie things when they could be mailing it in for the next month.

Finally, even though this is a contract role, and I'm dealing with the 3rd party BS that comes with that, it feels different.  The team is treating me like I'm part of the company.  NG didn't really want me to get a job because she would prefer I be the SAHD.  However, we can use the income and I feel this is my best shot at staying in the job market in case things go South in the South.

Since moving to Olive Branch, we now do the reverse commute of what we previously did to visit the in-laws when we lived in Chicago.  So we left here on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and drove to Mt Vernon.  While we are getting better and better at this, we still manage to forget something.  Luckily it wasn't anything important this time.

However, Natasha was not feeling well when we got there.  It turns out she had a UTI/Kidney infection and we had to get her on antibiotics.  Which is really easy to do when you are 4 hours from home.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Live Life With Confidence Using These Methods

Are you struggling to achieve your goals while feeling like something is holding you back? It's a common problem these days as people struggle with building enough confidence to go after the things they really want in life. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can help invigorate your confidence and set you on the right path. Today, the Mysteries of Life shares some practical tips to help you make measurable progress toward living your best life.


by Colleen Stewart

Update Your Resume and Find Your Dream Job

Finding a new job can be a long and tedious process, but having the right tools at your disposal can make it easier. You can use a template for a resume that allows you to create a professional-looking resume using the info you want. That way, you’ll be prepared and have the confidence to go into a job interview and nail it. Get started by looking at local job postings and researching the companies that interest you.


Start Your Own Company

Entrepreneurship is becoming more popular than ever before so why not consider taking the plunge? Developing a detailed business plan, creating marketing strategies for success, and choosing a business structure are all important steps when starting your own business. Do some research on the market and your competitors, as this info will need to go into your business plan along with financial projections and your funding needs. This plan will serve as a guide for both you and potential lenders/investors.


Refinance Your Loans

Another simple but effective way to reduce stress is by reducing your loan payments. Especially if adding a second job is out of the question (or isn’t quite enough to help), lowering your loan payments could make a big difference when it comes to trying to optimize your budget and make your expenses a little more manageable.


Return to School

Returning to school online for an advanced nursing degree is a promising step towards boosting confidence and advancing your career. It allows you to expand your knowledge base, improve cognitive performance, and enhance psychomotor skills, all of which contribute significantly to self-assurance in professional settings. Moreover, pursuing an advanced degree such as a Bachelor's or a DNP can open up opportunities for higher earnings and more challenging roles, further improving your self-belief. Online programs offer the flexibility to balance your studies with personal and professional commitments, making them an ideal choice for working professionals. If you're a nurse looking to elevate your career and boost your confidence, look further into online advanced nursing degrees.


Take Up a New Hobby

Your happiness isn't totally dependent on your career. Finding a new hobby is a great way to reduce stress and find joy in the little things. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, or learning a new language, dedicating time to something that brings you joy can help alleviate stress levels and give you something productive to focus on.


Deep Clean Your Home and Get Organized

A deep clean of your home can help make it feel more organized and inviting, which in turn can boost your confidence levels. Click here to find cleaning product reviews and cleaning tips from experts to get the most out of each cleaning session. Doing this will also save time as well as money in the long run.


Get Active

Exercising regularly has been proven to improve moods while boosting energy levels, which is essential when trying to achieve goals or live life to its fullest potential. GoodRx Health suggests making small changes like taking walks around the neighborhood or joining an online fitness class if joining a gym isn’t feasible. You might even consider playing a sport, such as golf or tennis, to get active each day. Engaging in physical activity can help boost your self-esteem while helping you feel strong and capable.


Develop Your Style

WHBM notes that investing in some new clothes can be incredibly satisfying, as it helps boost self-confidence while also making sure one looks their best when heading out into public spaces. Take some time browsing different stores for clothes that bring you comfort while remaining stylish. You can also splurge on a new bag or a great pair of shoes if it's within the budget.


Start Making Positive Changes

Making changes to improve your confidence and take control of your own path can take some time, so try to be patient. Work out a plan that will help you stay motivated, whether you're starting a business, looking for a new job, or deep-cleaning your home. Keep in mind that tracking your progress can help you stick to your goals.

Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to make their well-being a priority, and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

2023 Bears Predication Update: Not promising

The Chicago Bears have played 8 games and before going to a 17-game season, this would be the midpoint so I'm gonna check in with my 2023 predictions.

The Asterik games are games I didn't technically make a prediction but did lean a certain way.  so I'm going to count them at face value.

Thus my record is 4-4.  Do the Bears still have a chance?  Mathematically, sure.  Realistically, nope.  They should have won the Tampa Bay, Broncos, and Vikings games but didn't.  

The rest of the schedule is comprised of beatable teams and the Lions so they could go 7 and 2.  They won't.  But they could.  Last year the Detroit Lions started 1-6 and finished 9-8.  The difference is some of those losses were helped by the refs. 

But here's the thing.  Even if they do and have a 9-8 record, they would still miss the playoffs because of tiebreakers because that is who the Bears are.  They fail to control their destiny.

Crafting Your Home Oasis: Balancing Comfort and Productivity

by Colleen Stewart

In the rapidly evolving landscape of remote work and personal responsibilities, the quest for a harmonious living and working environment has never been more pressing. Achieving a seamless blend of comfort and productivity within your home is no longer a luxury — it's a necessity. This article from Mysteries of Life guides you through the essentials of creating a balanced space that caters to both relaxation and effective work.


Soften Your Workspace


Incorporating soft furnishings like carpets can significantly elevate the comfort level of your workspace. A carpet doesn't just add aesthetic value; it also provides much-needed comfort for your feet during long work sessions. When choosing the right carpet, focus on textures and colors that reflect your style, creating a cohesive look that promotes focus and well-being.


Enhancing Solace and Property Worth


In the quest for a balanced home environment, value-adding modifications can play a dual role. Ergonomic furniture, built-in storage options, and refined decor not only contribute to a peaceful atmosphere but can also boost the overall value of your home. With such upgrades, your home becomes a worthwhile investment, beneficial in both the short and long term.


Streamline Your Work Environment


Transitioning to the next key point, the integration of modern technology into your workspace is an absolute game-changer. The right gadgets and high-speed internet connection can substantially increase your efficiency, cutting down on work-related stress. By staying ahead of technological requirements, you pave the way for a smooth, hassle-free work environment.


Renovate Your Kitchen


Renovating your kitchen not only enhances the aesthetics of your home but can significantly increase its value, making it a worthwhile investment. From installing modern appliances and a wall-mounted range hood to updating cabinets and countertops, a kitchen renovation can transform your space into a functional and stylish area that boosts your home's appeal.


Consider Plants


Houseplants can add a touch of nature to your home, making spaces feel more welcoming for both work and relaxation. They have the added benefit of improving air quality and can offer a sense of calm. For beginners, consider starting with low-maintenance options like snake plants, pothos, or ZZ plants. Philodendron Gloriosum, with its large, heart-shaped, velvety leaves and easy-to-care-for nature, makes a great plant choice for adding a touch of tropical elegance to any indoor space. These varieties are forgiving and adapt well to various conditions, making them ideal for those looking to introduce a bit of greenery into their dual-purpose homes.


Comfort and Circulation


Shifting the focus toward physical well-being, the inclusion of ergonomic enhancements like a footrest can be particularly beneficial. A well-placed cushion or footrest can improve blood circulation and lessen the discomfort of prolonged sitting. This can result in increased productivity and reduced fatigue, effectively serving the dual purposes of comfort and efficiency.


Scents for Concentration


Fragrances have a powerful influence on mood and concentration. A strategically placed diffuser with essential oils like mint or jasmine can dramatically improve focus. While scents are a matter of personal preference, the right aroma can truly enhance your workspace's overall ambiance, offering a balance of relaxation and productivity.


Elevate Your Workstation


When it comes to work, posture plays a pivotal role in overall health and comfort. A laptop stand can serve as a simple yet effective ergonomic solution to combat poor posture and subsequent neck strain. By adjusting your screen to eye level, you promote a neutral neck position, which can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal issues in the long run.


Make It Yours


Lastly, a workspace devoid of personal touches can feel sterile and uninspiring. Incorporate elements that resonate with you, such as family photos or artwork. These personalized details not only imbue your workspace with character but also contribute to a deeper sense of belonging and motivation.


Balancing the elements of comfort and productivity in your home is a nuanced undertaking that requires thoughtful planning and execution. Through strategic choices in furnishings, technology, and decor, your home can be transformed into a multifaceted sanctuary that encourages both relaxation and efficient work. Keep in mind that the key to achieving this ideal balance lies in aligning these elements with your own unique preferences and needs. With the right approach, your home can seamlessly serve as both a tranquil retreat and a bustling hub of productivity.

Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to make their well-being a priority, and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween 2023

for those who celebrate.  Back in Chicago, it was rare that Halloween --  or the Halloween season once
Halloween became more of an adult holiday  -- had good weather.  As a kid, I recall many a Halloween where I had to wear a coat over my costume.   

Well, it looks like the South is trying to make me feel at home.  We had great weather last week, and last weekend and will have good weather after Wednesday.  But yesterday, today, and tomorrow are COLD.  We actually have frost warnings.

According to Facebook, it is snowing in Chicago today.  It also snowed 9 years ago on Halloween.  I remember our decorations being covered in snow and trick-or-treaters showing up with coats.  

We have discovered that going to my in-laws' subdivision for trick-or-treating is the best option.  The houses are closer together and there are sidewalks.  Our subdivision is comprised of homes with 1-2 acres of land and no sidewalks.

Our first year my Brother in Law Jethrow told us that no one trick-or-treat until after dark.  Unfortunately, he didn't tell us until the last minute.


Last Friday we went to Marshall's Steakhouse to celebrate my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary.  The planning had been in the works for quite some time.  We did a last minute switch from the Bass Pro Shop to Marshall's because 1) ostensibly the food is terrible there and 2) Memphis at night is scary for some white people.

My belly isn't this big, camera angle I swear!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Today's Southern Town Drama

Every Wednesday I have to take Boris to his OT at 8 am.  I've worked out that I need to leave here by 7:50 to comfortably be in the parking lot waiting for the therapist who walks to the car by 8:03 (this is their protocol, although now we can go into the building if we desire).

While I'm doing that, Grandpa Cartwright is taking Natasha to school.  He does this every Wednesday unless we cancel OT or there is some other conflict.  

Today he didn't show up and by the time I realized it, it was really too late to do anything about this potential scenario.  Luckily Nightingale and I talked about this and we decided that if that happens, Natasha comes with us to OT and she goes to school late as well.

Fortunately, my SIL was able to come to the rescue and meet us at OT and take Natasha to school on time so she doesn't have an unexcused tardy on her record (oh the horror).

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The offer

   I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). Note: This post was written when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job-hunting efforts.

I heard back from the recruiter today.  They want to offer me a contract position that could transition into FTE if I gel with the team.  They are also offering me less than we initially discussed.  

On the one hand, I have the luxury of being able to take $50/hr and not worry about making the rent.  On the other hand, the Job Description has not changed.  So they are trying to get Prime Rib at Pub Burger prices.

Update from the future:  The recruiter, who is jaunting around Europe right now came back with the following:

We are still getting some ducks in a row, but these are the details being discussed:


6-month contract (with option to promote to full-time after 3 months)

40 hours per week (minus holidays)

Exclusively working for us, but this is our preference (J thinks he will be able to keep you busy 😊)

I should know more on Monday.

10/12/23 1:39pm

The exclusive thing is because I asked about taking on a side gig if the work was anything like the contract job I had 2 years ago where I literally just earned money by pushing a button every hour.  It's telling that they don't want me to do anything like that even if it wouldn't interfere.