Friday, August 12

Almost One Year...

...since I embarked on being self-employed. And in the process, I have completely re-imagined who I am, how I do it, and why. I thought I was just going to be doing the same work but with an inconsistent flow of money and no benefits. The flow of money is inconsistent, that's certain. Some larger companies have Net 90 payment terms and it is no fun waiting that long to get paid. But it has forced me to get a little more grown-up about how I handle my money. And having an AR is kind-of like having savings. Kind of. But health insurance can be bought and right now, the retirement funds that have been matched for years by a company contribution are down the toilet (I am feeling a lot better about that 10% penalty I paid last year on my 401k withdrawal). But I was not prepared for was the level of satisfaction, confidence and pure joy I was going to get from this new arrangement. Oh yeah, and the money's better.

I am not tooting my horn. I was pushed, shoved really, into this arrangement. I doubted that I could do it or that the clients would come. But, as it happens when you are doing what you should be doing, the work kept coming, clients were happy, they told other people, key people noticed, gave me a shot, liked me, sent me more work; I had no time to look for a job. I already had one.

I have a mentor who has been invaluable to me this first year. After a brief in-person meeting he decided that "I got it". And he started sending me work, and offering criticism and encouragement. I realized that I had never received criticism that was helpful. I was inspired by his trust and confidence in me, I got better, I am still getting better. He's passionate about what he does, and while he is world-renowned for his proposal management skills, his best skill is inspiring others to do their best work. I am very lucky to have him in my corner.

I still have a lot to learn about how to be self-employed. I really need an accountant. But on August 23, 2011 I will be celebrating my first year as Routh Consulting and looking forward to many more.

Wednesday, February 16

On Sewing and Being Self-Employed

Next week marks six months to the day since I lost my job, had a minor panic attack and embarked into a new world of self-employment. I had fantasized about taking the leap and discussed it with friends who had already made the jump; but to be perfectly honest, if I hadn't been shoved out of the nest, I may have never done it. It became very clear within a week of looking for work that I would have plenty of it, just not how I thought. I have moved into a house that affords me a proper office and I hope to continue to be very busy in it. I could go on and on about this chapter of my life, and maybe I will in a future post. I am learning a lot about myself, what I do well and not-so-well, and how to achieve some balance because I may be working a little too much. Which leads me to the next part...

Oh sewing, who knew I loved you so? Why did I ever leave you? After a 1o year split my sewing machine and I are happily re-united thanks to my brilliant sewing teacher Alexia Abegg at Stitch Sewing School. We are in our final weeks of Sewing 101 and I can't say enough about her skill and patience as a teacher. I was a quite a prolific sewer at one point in my life but never learned proper finishing and pattern following skills. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process, the projects and my fellow classmates. Here's an apron we made a couple of weeks ago. I whipped up curtains with my Grandmother last weekend and am working on a sewing circle at my house in March. And I have a little idea brewing to build some sewing community in my neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 2

The New Third Door

I love Jane Lynch. Her role in Best in Show as a lesbian dog trainer is on my all time favorites list. My love for her has moved me to try and watch Glee a few times. I made it through one full episode, and even though I was on the computer for most of the show, I found it difficult to watch. This is a show about high school and it feels like a show about high school. Enough said.
So I had a mild, "not for me" reaction to the show.

But then, one evening I happened to stumble across this Highway To Hell bit. Please, do not show-choir-sanitize the songs of the band that gave us Big Balls and You Shook Me All Night Long. I made it approximately thirty-seconds and retreated in horror. ACDC belongs cranked up in the back seat of a Camaro in the high school parking lot or at the Planetarium laser show in all of its fierce, Bon Scott & Angus Young glory.

Then the unthinkable happened. They messed with the funk. Bad. They really, really messed with it. Don't believe me? just listen. I get it that the show is fun and that the kids are super-talented and it it has some well-written dialogue. But this is a funk-travesty and those Glee producers got no respect for the funkology. We need to send them to Funk University, so they can learn proper respect and how to give up the funk (hint, it's not with show choirs and auto-tune). I hear that they also butchered Chaka Khan and James Brown on this episode, but I can't bear to look or listen any further.

When George Clinton asked us "Would you trade your funk for what's behind the third door?", he was already asking us about our white bread, strip mall, fast-food, auto-tuner mentality. Congrats Glee, you're the new third door. Thanks, but I'll keep my funk uncut. Now I am going to have to go deep into"If You Don't Like the Effects, Don't Produce the Cause", in order to recover.

Friday, May 21

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Finding ovarian cancer early means a survival rate of 60-90%, except that we don't know how to find it early…yet.

My mom participated in some early research that didn't contribute to her survival, but hopefully moved us closer to an effective screening tool and more survivors. The news in this article is just a blip on today’s newsfeed, but this is huge, my friends, huge.

Survival rates at the current late-stage detection are less than 30%. And for everyone that loved my mom, that percent equals a whole person. Every year, it equals 15,000 whole people; 10,000 of those people could still be here if their cancer had been detected earlier.

The bulk of this research, and its continuation, is being federally funded. If you wonder what our federal government is doing for us... well, they are doing stuff like this. Making sure we have more mommies, grandmas and crazy aunts.

Tuesday, May 11

Love your Neighbor

In case you haven't heard, we had a flood.

If you weren't here it's a challenge to explain what it was like. Friends and family from all over have asked me to describe it and it's hard to explain.

I have one snapshot: Sitting in my dry, relatively unaffected house, on the sunshiny day after the rains, I am watching continuous flood coverage on the the news. While providing an aerial view of Bellevue homes affected, the helicopter finds two horses standing in what used to be a field, now a lake. They are up to their neck in water and surrounded for as far as you can see by water. They keep returning to this shot and the newscasters are silent. What do you say?
Thirty minutes later. Finally, boats come. You can't talk to horses. encourage them to follow you, or hang on. Boats scare them. This doesn't look good. I have to leave the room, I can't take it. When I come back, they have somehow gotten the horses to cooperate and they are on higher ground. I breathe a sigh of relief.
And then I realize, so many helpless animals were trapped and didn't get saved. So many people, who sat huddled Saturday night, not knowing if anyone would come.

I am overwhelmed, helpless, and heartbroken. It's how a lot of us who didn't lose anything felt. It's why you see so many acts of kindness. The only thing you can do with that knot in your gut and that lump in your throat is to offer your help. We are trying to save ourselves. Let us help.

A lot of folks have said it better than I could, with words and pictures alike.


the rain, and more rain
then, after the flood I love the guy in his "Jesus, that's my final answer" t-shirt.
The Opryland Hotel, now.

Channel 4's photo albums on the flood

my friend Kidd
the widely distributed We Are Nashville from Section 303

If you live somewhere else and you want to help. Here's a few ways you can do that:

Give to the Red Cross, I have had my doubts about them in the past, but they have been amazing.

Hands On Nashville, has single-handedly organized almost all the volunteers in Nashville, in coordination with the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management. Giving them money means that they can invest in the infrastructure and systems to coordinate and organize. That has made a huge difference in our response efforts.

For a comprehensive list, go here.