Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life Lately

A few posts back I mentioned having an idea that I hoped would potentially lead to a job. The idea was that I would start selling my (delicious, so I've heard) homemade granola at different farmer's markets throughout San Diego County. I would buy a small tent and table, make cute advertisements, bake large batches of it in Kristi's kitchen and, voila, instant success. I even had a name picked out - Big Wave GranOla. Unfortunately my grand idea never came to fruition because there was way too much red tape blocking it. Basically I couldn't just make the granola in my own personal kitchen, I had to rent a space in a commercial kitchen and make it there. Then I had to apply to get a tiny corner at a Farmer's Market and wait for space to open up.  I decided it was too much effort and money for something that might not have worked out anyway. But my spirit hasn't been completely defeated - I still make granola for us here every week.

Luckily for me, being unemployed has been easier to handle than I thought. Even though I break down sometimes and curse myself for not having started the California teaching credential process earlier, I eventually regain my sanity and remind myself that my passion for teaching had quickly started to wane and that this break from it will probably save me from hating it all together. So while my life continues in this transitory state - where will we live? where will I work? where will Chris find permanent work? - I keep myself busy doing things that I enjoy.  I initially worried that I would be bored and restless without having a job but I quickly realized that I am quite competent at finding ways to entertain myself.

So if you find yourself jobless, like me, but fortunate enough to live with family and have a husband that works, here are ways to keep yourself busy and feeling like an active participant in life. 

1. Exercise
Can't afford a gym membership? Neither can I! Know what's totally free and a great workout? Running. I've started training myself to run a half marathon on December 1st. It sounds more intimidating then it actually is. All I do is run a few miles, three or four, every other day and then on Saturday or Sunday mornings I do my weekly long run and I increase the distance of that run every two weeks. So this weekend I'll be running eight miles. It gets easier with consistency and then you get to treat yourself to a hearty, carb loaded breakfast like this:

2. Animals
As I've mentioned before, Kristi and Dave live on a ranch so, in an effort to pull my weight around here, I've become the horse caretaker. After my morning runs and before dinner I do my horse duty which consists of feeding them, filling up their huge water troughs, making sure they're all in one piece, and giving them love. And because horses are known to be therapeutic, I'm receiving emotional benefits from being around them, too. It's a win-win situation.

I realize most unemployed people probably don't have access to horses but, if there are dogs in your life somewhere, start training them. Since I am home most of the time I spend a lot of the time with the dogs. There are four of them and they need to be fed right after the horses, and groomed, and played with, and disciplined. You can watch training videos on YouTube and start working with your dog (or your friend's or your mom's, etc.).

If you already have a dog that's well trained and you can afford to spend about $100 you can both bring smiles to patients at a local hospital working as a volunteer therapy dog. I splurged a little bit of my savings account on this and enrolled Kaya in a Canine Good Citizenship class at Petco so that we can soon begin to volunteer. If she passes the test after six sessions then we are good to go.

3. Cooking
I enjoy cooking but I didn't do much of it in Miami because I would come home from teaching with minimal energy enough for only a quick run and then vegetating on the internet or with a book. Since these days I have ample amounts of energy I have become the house chef. After running, feeding the horses, the dogs, and myself, I sit online with a steaming cup of coffee and plan dinner. First I peek in the fridge to see what needs to be used and then I decide on a main course and do a Google search for a good recipe. A good recipe needs to be simple with standard ingredients and spices, it needs to consist of a good chunk of protein and vegetables, and gets a bonus if I can use most of what we already have.

For example, last night I used the halibut that Kristi had in the freezer as my inspiration and went from there. On I found an easy and tasty-sounding recipe for Mediterranean halibut sandwiches from Giada De Laurentiis - which I chose because I knew we already had all of the sauce's ingredients at hand - and then, in keeping with the Mediterranean theme, I found a recipe for an easy Greek Salad, also consisting mainly of items we already had. I only needed four items from the grocery store and I knew that Chris could easily pick them up on his way home from work. The planning took thirty minutes and the preparation took an hour. The meal was a success. Dave had seconds - which I've learned means it tastes pretty freaking amazing - and he usually has seconds when I've cooked, which means my culinary skills are getting pretty freaking amazing.

4. Reading and Writing
If you enjoy these two activities then you will survive unemployment. I fill up the chunks of time in between the feedings, the exercise, the cooking, the garden tending, and the cleaning with reading and writing. By now you know I'm an avid reader and thankfully it's a hobby of mine because it's the perfect hobby for the jobless. I read non-fiction online and fiction offline. I write short stories and work on this blog. I dream of writing a book and now that I have all this time I wonder what's stopping me?

After rereading this post for editing it sounds like I should just get pregnant and call it a day - I certainly seem to be living the life of a housewife.  And as much as that actually sounds just fine to me, I'm not convinced that my time in the employed world is over. Things will fall into place once we move out and Chris gets a permanent job lawyering somewhere. Until then I'll continue to smell the roses and enjoy this domestic life.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy it while it lasts; you'll have plenty of time to get caught up in the rat race later.

Ana Lucia said...

I love the name BigWave GranOla, you should patent it (should be pretty ease for you I assume...), and don't give up.
What about offering samples to supermarkets, restaurants, ... other stores, and hopefully creating your small business that way? I've heard stories of people doing this with success.

Is letting all your dogs climb on the bed with you par of the discipline routine? ... very interesting!
I'm sure Kaya will be a wonderful therapy dog, and I'm sure she'll pass the test, just don't discipline her too
Love everything you write!
I can't wait for you to come and cook for us, you've become quiet a chef!

Chris said...

very nice as always. I'm with your dad on this one. unemployment has its perks and i can attest to the gourmet cooking being splendid. until you rejoin the rat race, we keep on smelling the roses together.