Thursday, June 25, 2015

Playing Hookie

Today I am playing hookie.

No working on my future business.
No grant writing research.
No working on lesson plans for the equine therapy center.

I am collecting one of my projects and go knit with a friend.

On this overcast, cool day, tea, knitting and two good friends!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Moving Forward

Life right now is pretty good.

(file picture-training volunteers)
Yesterday I introduced two older boys on the Autism Spectrum to horses.  If that weren't exciting enough, I even got paid for it!


Last week I took a class on grant writing, and that part of my life is moving forward--I will be working on a pretty large project shortly.  You would think, having worked 21 years as a special education teacher and had to manage my time to complete paperwork in a timely manner I'd have this whole Time Management thing down, but I am struggling.  My list of to-dos seems to grow, and I don't have any real set due dates, and, well, it IS summer.

I am sure, once I have a set schedule, I'll do okay.  I have found I FEEL like I get more done when I shower and get ready for "work" right away, instead of doing the same amount of work in my PJ's.

I have been knitting.


I ripped out Birch Leaf Shawl. I started it in July 2012, and it just wasn't going to knit itself. Although it was an easy pattern to follow, there was no relief from counting stitches and paying attention; every knit row consisted of YO's, SSK's, K2TOG's!


After winding the yarn back into a ball, I cast on the Holey Square Shawl.  I am calling my project Holey Cruise Shawl as my goal is to get it completed for our cruise in this winter.

This week I got to fresh, non-crinkly, yarn.  It is a nice 11  rows of mindless knitting back and forth, a row to bind off for the holes, another row of casting on the replacement stitches, and off to 11 more rows of mindless knitting.  Yep, that's the stem of a wine glass.  I goofed up on these rows, knitting while tired, drinking wine, resulted in 2 hours the following morning of finding errors, tinking back to the error, knitting on, and then finding another error.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

:-)

For the first time in my life, today I will receive payment for sharing my love of horses with children.


Friday, June 12, 2015

WOW!

Yesterday I posted about a meeting I had with a possible new client for my future as a freelance grant writer.

I have been totally honest with them about my skills, or lack of, in writing grants for non-profits.  I shared the journey that basically brought me to them.

And?

I'm in!

I don't know if I bit off more than I can chew, but it is huge.  I will be working with another grant writer to help fund a $700,000 project!

WOW!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wish me Luck

To learn the ropes of non-profit grant writing, I set a goal to write grants pro-bono, for 5 different clients.

Four of the "clients" I have lined up are people who know me, and were all too happy to allow me to use them to educate myself on the ins and outs of non-profit grant writing compared to writing tiny little grants for classrooms.

Today I have a meeting with an unknown client; one who is not related to me via family or friends.  At first I was super excited.  This client is one that is willing/able to pay "going rate" for a grant writer based on experience.  I shared with them that my experience is limited, that I'm learning, and I'm looking for clients to build my portfolio via pro-bono work.  They, like my friends, were happy to meet with me and the chance of free grant writer.

After researching the non-profit I am scared.  YIKES!  This could be a huge client, and may be totally out of my league!

Shared my concerns with my mom - and she is so sure I'll do just fine!  "You have been successful in everything that you do!" she encouraged.  That, after all, is what a parent does, encourage their children, isn't it?

When I told my husband I was thinking of canceling the meeting - he pointed out that this could become a paying client and help me meet my goal.  He is so supportive in anything I do.

The meeting is in 4 1/2 hours, and I am already a bundle of nerves.

I keep telling myself that I am interviewing them as much as they are interviewing me - I would rather do less grants and be successful than several grants, and not do a bang-up job!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Hi

It has been such a long time.  So much has happened.

Spring was tough as it was decided, for various reasons, I could not tell my students, goodbye, let them know I wouldn't be their teacher next year, nor even that they would be attending a different school because some of them will stress all summer about the changes.  So, as the final weeks came and went, I had meetings with parents, let them know I would not be returning, and collected all my personal belongings from the class.

As I packed  my personal items, the adults "side talked" (having conversations with each other that we want the kids to hear) about my classroom being used over the summer, and how I had to take everything down and bring home all my personal items.  The kids seemed to believe us and helped with the packing.

Normally, when packing, my OCD takes over, and only like items are put in boxes; outside of boxes labeled with all items in the box!  As my things were boxed up, I did a great job of letting go.  My husband helped one weekend, as I pulled things out of cupboards and placed them on tables.  Things on this table go home, and on that table stay.

The only thing common with what is in any one box is that it was in my classroom.  I continued this process as my assistants and students helped me pack -- these go home, these stay.

I have my work cut out for me this summer! Our guest bedroom is a mass of boxes, milk-crates, and sterilite plastic draws of all sizes.

So, what am I going to do while I'm on my Personal Leave, well, when I'm not assisting my mom?

Even though my husband has said I do not have to work outside of the home, I have to have some money coming it.  It is not my nature to not work.  I have been employed outside the home since I was 18 years old!

I was going to work at the equine assisted therapy center, but I realized that, with my mom, I really need something that will allow me to set my own hours.

I could reopen my Etsy shop - I was doing well at it and with proper advertising, I could make it work.

There is always Direct Sales - I did that, and I didn't like it.  I never worked so hard in my life for so little profit. It isn't for me.  Too many times I'd coach the hostess, who would tell me she had all these people coming, and then the night of the show, only one person would come.  I rarely had show totals that equaled what the company advertised as an "average" show.  I want to set my own prices, my own hours, my own business.

I could tutor - but one of the requests from my husband is that, what ever I do, I work similar hours as he.  Unless I arrange to tutor only home school kiddos, tutoring would be nights and weekends.

Then it dawned on me.  When in Minnesota, I took a class for grant writing and as a result of the course, I wrote grants:  for my classroom; other teachers' classes; as well as a couple grants that were for use between the alternative schools.  I was good at it: of the 10 grants I wrote, I was awarded 9 of them.

I did research on free lance grant writing and non-profits will pay for grant writing and, "If you are good, you can charge $100 an hour."    So, I have spent the spring re-educating myself on grant writing, finding out the differences between educational grant writing and non-profit grant writing.  I will be taking a grant writing class June 18 & 19.

I have been spreading the word.  I have been told by many people, "If you are good at it, you can write your own ticket."  I don't know how my 9 out of 10 success rate of educational grants will compare to non-profit grant writing, but we will see.

When school got out, I got busy:  I have been working on a business plan, hired an accountant, and continued to get the word out.  I have to build my portfolio by writing grants for free, or pro bono.

I want write between 3 and 5 grants before I start charging.  I am sitting at 2 non-profits, and a classroom.  I have one more non-profit I need to touch base with.

One of the non-profits has stated that, if they are happy with me, they would like to hire me for future grants.

So, here I go, on my next big adventure.  Don't know if I'll become good enough to charge $100 an hour, or to be able to "write my own ticket", but we will see.




Thursday, April 23, 2015

On my way to 200: #120-134


I love Geocaching.

As the school year winds down, State and local year end testing is being completed, everyone in my classroom, adults and students, are suffering from "I am DONE with the school year"!

To wrap up the school year, and possibly 21 years of teaching, I have been sharing Geocaching with my students.  We are doing a whole-group project to share Geocaching with families of our school.

In all this Geocaching over load, I have decided that I want to reach 200 finds by the "end of summer" (August).  

I still love knitting, but getting out, moving around, getting fresh air, has really been good for the soul.  I love that, now with smart phone apps, this is a hobby that one can do FREE.  You need an account at Geocaching.com.  For about $30 a year, you can get a premium account with Geocaching.com, which allows you access to more caches, but you can do it free.  If you geocache in urban settings (good cell coverage), all you really need is a geocaching App - though a GPS unit will give you more accurate readings, a smart phone and App works fine.  I have been having issues with my GPS, so I've been stuck to phone geocaching and it has served me well.  Before my husband and I hit the trails, we will need a GPS as we often find ourselves in areas with no cell coverage.

So, here we go:

Had to take a day off to take my mom to a doctor's appointment - then I drug her along for some parking lot geocaching:
#120  "Threading The Needle" -- a "nano" which is the smallest cache you will find.
#121 "Isn't she Beautiful" hanging behind the sign of a flag
#121 -can you see it now?
#122 "ER Rocks" -- a fake rock in a field of rocks!  This one was pretty tough!
While shopping, I encouraged my husband to do some parking lot finds (not his favorite type of geocaching).

#126 "Sam's Clubbin" - another fake rock, nestled up against a large boulder.
#126 from the bottom
#127 "Something of a Twist" - under a lamp pole skirt.  Several film canisters, with notes stating "not here" and "try again".  Actual cache (which contains a log to sign) was attached to skirt with magnets.
#127 - the actual cache which contained the log
Some caching after work with a coworker who has nicknamed me "Geo-Pig":

#132 - "Back Light" - This cache is one that is, well, it is in violation of a couple of proper geocaching etiquette rules.  



First it was hidden by a newbie (with less than 20 finds).  A Cache Owner (one who hides a cache) is responsible for taking care of the cache.  When it gets several DNF's (did not find) to go check on it state it is there, or replacing it.  It is recommended by geocaching.com that one refrain from hiding a cache until one has had about 100 finds.  

The other violation is that, when a cache gets DNF's someone doesn't assume it is gone and replace it with a "throw-down".  This cache was "replaced" (throw-down) by another newbie with a mere 7 finds.  Spring must be the season for newbies to get excited by this hobby.  They are quick to say a cache is gone when they couldn't find it. 
#133 "Doctor's Orders" a small little "bison" hanging an a pine tree
#134 "Wasilla Station" - another nano, hanging out on something red.