Last Day: Looking Back

I think it’s only normal for people to look back before starting something new, and New Year’s Eve is a logical opportunity to do so.  It’s also important.  One of the things teachers benefit most from but rarely have time to do is reflect on their daily teaching to analyze what worked and what needs to be tweaked.  True in non-teacher lives, as well, I know.  At the end of the day, thinking back on what was positive, and what we could have handled better helps us learn from our mistakes, and decreases the likelihood that we will repeat them.

This year, I moved house in a major way, got married, left my career, battled for better schooling for my son, wrote a novel, and got a new job which I love.  I’ve left old friends behind (but never forgotten), and made new friends.  My life has improved, sometimes by sheer will.  I compromise more (a new husband and a blended family make this absolutely necessary), I don’t get nearly as many headaches, I relax (fully) more.

At the beginning of this year, I couldn’t see past June.  It was a complete unknown – What would I be doing?  What would my son be doing?  How would our lives change?  Now that I am six months past that point of all that was unknown, I am proud of us for taking this leap, trusting ourselves to get re-married, trusting that we could find a good school situation for The Boy, and trusting that I would land on my feet with a job I didn’t hate, making enough to pay the bills.  I am very proud of us.  It was a big leap of faith, and it has turned out beautifully.

2013 has been a year of great change, of great opportunity, of great hope, and of great reward for me (and us).  I hope it treated you just as well.  I look forward to 2014 with great anticipation for continued growth for all of us.

Happy Old Year, Friends.  And Happy New Year.

English: This came from New Years Eve 2004 int...

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Enjoying Work

I have to say that I am really enjoying my new job.  And it’s been since about 2007 since I could say that.

It’s a great feeling.

I Need You on the Job Every Day - NARA - 534704

For many, many reasons, teaching became less and less enjoyable over the years to the point that I would cry on the way to work in the mornings because I really just didn’t want to go.  Might sound juvenile, but it’s a pretty desparate feeling, especially when you are a single mom and have to provide for your son.  There is no opt out, there is no quitting to try to find something more enjoyable.  And teachers really don’t have that luxury like some other professionals do.  They don’t have the possibility of quitting and making the same pay in a lateral move, which is absolutely ridiculous, but I digress.

And it hasn’t been easy being unemployed for half a year, either.  I wouldn’t recommend it for the weak of heart.  Your self esteem takes quite a few dings.

But opportunity arose when The Man bought this house outright, and I had to take it.  I didn’t want to be miserable anymore.  Today, I’m so glad I did, and I’m so thankful for my new job that I enjoy.  I feel capable and trusted, appreciated and challenged.  I’ve been waiting a long time to feel like this again.

Have a great day, People! 😀

Thankful for a “Me” Day

I’ve been busy lately.  I’d like to say I’ve been busy working, and I have, but not busy making a paycheck.  I’ve been busy making sure my son gets a decent education.  I’ve been busy writing a novel for NaNoWriMo.  I’ve been busy helping The Man on a couple of big jobs he’s lined up, because I can help him when he’s painting.  I’m not a pro, but I can get the job done.  I’ve been busy filling out applications, taking timed typing tests, and preparing for my tutoring students.

But at the end of the day, I’m still only making about $36 a week.

And, I’m neglecting to do what I’d really like and need to do.  Yes, NaNoWriMo is a “me” thing, but it is demanding, squeezing every ounce of originality out of you, and even more so that sometimes what ends up on the page is a big messy mess.  And it’s work.  And I really need a new pair of shoes.  No, I’m serious…

I told you I needed new shoes...

See?  I told you.  Not just a craving for some sassy pumps.  A desperate plea for decent-looking foot apparel.

Today, I get a day for me.  A “me” day, that I can actually spend as I choose.  Of course, there are a few things I need to do, like call about a possible new tutoring student, and some laundry.  And then there’s that big meeting this afternoon, leftover from last week that has a major impact on my son’s future…  There’s that.

But until about 2:30, it’s all me, baby. 😉

In One Respect, Still in Limbo

We went to the beach today, a family day.  A gorgeous, sunny, not-too-hot, wonderful day.  And I am so happy I do not have to return up North because school is starting back up again.  I even told The Man how extremely happy I am today… except for not having a job yet.

English: Limbo at Palisades Park

This limbo looks like a lot more fun…

No, I didn’t get the job that I was hoping for, and I took it a lot harder than I expected.  I do have a part-time job teaching scrapbooking at a local craft store.  I haven’t signed any paperwork, but it’s pretty much a done deal.  This kind of part-time, though, will be very few hours, at least at the beginning, and rather low pay.  So I am still looking, and follow up on my other leads.  But I’m not as discouraged as I was late last week.

Because I don’t have anything lined up, I now need to investigate insurance options for The Boy.  I have to determine this week if we qualify for any of the state programs.  If we don’t, I have to start shopping for health insurance, which is a pretty daunting task.

I guess the silver lining is that I have the time to do this, and the time to meet with The Boy’s teachers, and attend his orientation (at 9am in the morning?!), and do this research on health insurance.

Like The Man keeps telling me, I’ll take it day by day. 😉

Opportunity’s Knocking – Don’t Knock It

Sign reading "Please Knock" created ...I’m still unemployed.  I know, “Join the club!”, right?  But I did have a couple of great interviews, and although nothing came of the first, I’m very hopeful about the second one, the one I really want, the one that’s in a completely different field, but feels like it would be challenging enough to engage my brain, use the skills I already have, and could turn into a long term thing…  But I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high.  I know myself too well for that.  I should hear back on that one any day now.

In the meantime, I have some very promising part-time leads.  You may think (and even some days I think), “What in the world could you do with only part-time work?”  But I’m not knocking it yet.  Part-time, minimum-wage work may not be worth my time, but the opportunities I have seem to earn more than that, and even if they don’t, if I can cobble them together, I may just have something.

So I’m hopeful to get this full-time with bennies gig, but if for some reason I should not, it doesn’t mean I have to go back to the drawing board.  I feel like I’m in a pretty decent spot.  I’ll keep you posted 😉

P.S. Also wondering if I should go “pro” and see if this little blog can earn some money…  What do you think?

Jobs and Autism

I posted a story on the Simple. I Just Do facebook page yesterday about a carwash in Florida that was developed to run entirely with autistic employees, (and was started by a family with an autistic son, no less).  And I encountered a staggering statistic – an unemployment rate of 90% for those with autism.

Food Barn pin from first paycheck job. / c. 1989 - Nate Hofer

Food Barn Pin – Nate Hofer

That is a very scary number.

The article by Doreen Hemlock of the Broward County Sun-Sentinel quoted Michael Alessandri, director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Diseases, as saying, “Most people with autism can work. They can be very successful when given the right support. There just aren’t enough job opportunities with the right support system.”

The Man and I have discussed starting our own business a great deal.  Part of that, I think a large part of it, is that if we are the owners, we can create our own opportunities for The Boy to be employed.  And just like many, many families with autistic kids are turning to homeschooling so that they can tailor their child’s education according to his/her individualized needs, I think many, many families have or will turn to entrepreneurship for the same reason.

I love it.

I am so inspired by all of this.  The world isn’t ready for this influx of people with autism?  Well, let’s make it ready, one kid, one family, one family-owned business at a time.  Bring it.