Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Woman's Day

I wish I was having this woman's day. Warmed by the sun, cooled by the ocean breeze. Deeply engrossed in a compelling story. Free to put the book down and simply sit and watch the sailboats dance by. Secure in the knowledge that my ample thighs have been given a makeover of such artful, glowing brushstrokes that I am beautiful to behold. These thoughts confirmed by my companion as he returns from the cabana bar with tall drinks for two and a wink just for me.

I wish I was having this woman's day. While strolling down this lakeside path, having all the time I could possibly need to enjoy the beauty all around me, I decide to take a nap on the cool, lush grass. Wouldn't you? I shade my porcelain skin with my parasol and listen to the leaves rustle, the birds sing. I think deep thoughts like "hey, that cloud looks like an adorable baby bunny" until I drift off to sleep the sleep of a carefree child. Blissfully unaware that there is anything wrong in my world.

I wish I was having this woman's day. Or, perhaps, the day she has already had. For hours, she busied herself with creative pursuits and was satisfyingly rewarded for her efforts. Now, it is evening and she is simply waiting. For her love. For her children. For whomever it is that pleases her most to come into her beautiful room and share with her the stories of their own productive day. With nothing pressing weighing on her mind, she will give them her full attention and thoroughly enjoy their company.

Instead, I am having this woman's day. A very long string of them actually. Fragmented. Disjointed. Pulled in several directions, not sure which way to turn first. Trying to get too many unpleasant things done from a very uncomfortable chair. I really wish I had paid more attention to my hair and wardrobe just in case someone sees me here, shoulder-deep in paperwork and unexpected complications. It wouldn't have made any difference though because, look, someone has made me wear a hat. I hate hats.

Lots going on right now, Friends. Some of it pleasant and welcome, much of it disconcerting and chaotic. Daughter is home for a few months til she heads up north to a new college, a household's-worth of stuff and one naughty cat in tow. New projects in various stages of incomplete, both for our own home and a client's. The middle of a project—the part where everything's undone and messy—always makes me feel unsettled. And yet, I have no time to finish what I've started in my own house because of client work (good) and changes in my "day job" (not so good). The day job is more demanding than usual right now because the contract I've worked under for fifteen years has come to an end. Much longer work hours are required from me each week until all accounts have been audited and closed. How long will that take? 30 days? Sixty? More? And then what? Tracy needs a new job, that's what. I'd love to leave the world of claims and codes and insurance companies behind and move forward into something creative again. That's been the plan all along—work at home til daughter grows up and out then find a home and design related job that allows for part-time decorating work. Great plan, bad timing. Our current economy might make this process more difficult than I imagined but still, I'm looking forward to seeing what's out there for me. Stepping into the unknown is scary for sure, but exhilarating at the same time, right? That's what I keep telling myself anyway—"This is so exciting, isn't it?!"—a big hopeful grin masking my inner terror.
To my readers who are bloggers, if I've been absent from your comments box recently, this is why. I've been visiting you, but my brain is simply too overloaded to form thoughtful, witty remarks. To everyone reading, at the risk of seeming selfish, I'd like to instead ask for your comments. Thoughts. Advice. Direction. Help! Where, in Southern California, on the eastern edge of LA County, can a 40-something woman with loads of professionalism, design acumen and an obsession with furnishings, fabrics and finishing touches earn a regular paycheck helping people turn their houses into homes during a shaky-but-slowly-recovering economy? Any suggestions? All are welcome.

Three lovely ladies by Marie Fox, Edward Cucuel, John Maler Collier, and one amazingly accurate portrait of me by Pablo Picassso.


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I wish I could help, Tracy, but I have a "day job" outside of the house and do my interior decorating business part-time as well. Wouldn't I love to have the resources to not have the "day job", but that is realistically impossible.

Have you thought of maybe working with builder as a designer on staff type of thing? Even home boutiques in my area are touting "designer on premises", so you could put yourself out to them, too.

Good luck in whatever you decide!

The Zhush said...

Gosh, I REALLY wish I had some great advice for you...but I truly feel you are on the right track...even if its just thru blogging right now and putting these thoughts out there into the universe. What about writing for a local design magazine? You could show them this blog as your resume? It could be a start.

La Maison Fou said...

Great news and the unknown is a wonderful place.

I too am thinking of change and it's unknown surprises.

I love the first image. It reminds me of the swimmer paitings in "somethngs gotta give". The woman in the bathing suit and sunbathing. like em....

Thanks, & good luck!

Tracy F. said...

Thank you for a wonderful post! Not only do I love the pictures, but your comments are priceless. Not only do we share a name, but we seem to currently share a life filled with chaos and uncertainty. May times change for the better, in the near future, for both of us!

gail@roomingwithgail said...

I'm feeling ya Honey! It's the world we live in at the moment. We are self employed and I do the office work for our business, I have my own decorating business which at the moment is almost non exsistant, and a part time job that is taking up way more time than I thought it would. That's just the 'jobs', not counting what we all do as women. What ya gonna do? Well, you put one foot in front of the other, do what you can for that day and rest, knowing God has your back. I truly hope you are able to find a fulfilling outlet for your creative side that also brings in some moola. My family always knows when I haven't had a decorating job in awhile,how? My house gets an overhaul!
Seriously, always remember, this to shall pass. Then you'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about, that life is good and God had it all in control.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

So sorry to hear that you are in turmoil, Tracy. The economy has hurt so many people, my own kids included.

You are so creative and I hope you you can get to express yourself that way. Maybe you can do party or event planning or something for media? Maybe be an art director's assistant or work in a mueseum? Keep brainstorming and networking. I rooting for you!

♥ Pat

pve design said...

Love this post! Firstly, I suggest you pick up "Sixteen Weeks to Your Dream Business" and gather with two people you value most and come up with a plan with accountablity. Make a time line, business cards. List what you do, services, and figure out a price chart.
Start doing it all, then elimating to what you really do best and is most profitable.
Blogging is a great start. Plans, goals, time-lines and focus are all going to send you in the right direction even in the most uncertain of times.
Good Luck!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I loved the painting and all the beautiful words you put with it.

Transition is hard...doing what I enjoy does not yield the paycheck I once enjoyed doing what I disliked!

I think pve had some very good advice...or move to Va. and work with me...HA!

Sending good thoughts your way!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy. I feel your pain. Transition is SO hard, but sometimes it can bring you to places you would have never imagined, but actually end end up loving. I think Kathy and PVE had some good ideas. You are a fantastic writer and, if it's something you would be interested in, I think that would be a great angle to pursue as well. Best of luck in your efforts. You're a very talented lady so I'm confident you'll end up in a good place (even though it may take some time).

the gardeners cottage said...

hi tracy,

i've been busy too. i think you resemble the lady on the chaise!

i'm in the process of quitting my current job myself. it's like i'm in the mob, they keep pulling me back in! but seriously i really need to quit b/c my back and wrists are killing me.

my advice to you would be to go to work for an established design firm. or (don't cringe) a place like pb. you would move up so fast through that company b/c of your design knowledge and professionalism. you would be able to move to a more creative section of the company. my son has done just this at rl. he started as a salesperson and is quickly moving up b/c of his talent. give it some thought. you never know.


Kim@Chattafabulous said...

I am precisely where you are in this venture. For years I did all of the design work for a family business that renovated and sold historic properties. The real estate market eliminated my job! I am now trying to pick up clients who need design help in their homes. I have started a blog, (made up post cards promoting the blog and sent them to those who recently purchased a home in my area) , made up some business cards and took them to every fabric shop, paint store and decor related retailer that would allow me to put them out. Finally, I have a side business in a thriving antique/home decor mall where I am remaking vintage furniture with paint & upholstery and setting up small vignettes that reflect my style. Of course all of my marketing materials are in this space. The thing that is nice about this is my furniture pieces are selling pretty quickly which brings in some cash to supplement the upstart design business. Sorry for the long comment - just want to help! Love your blog and I'm your newest follower- best of luck!

kay ellen said...

Hang in there sweet Tracey~~
Never a dull moment...right?!
Take Care~~~

My business currently is filled with re-modeling bathrooms and kitchens..No one is moving!
Everyone is staying put!!Until the econmy changes...
Window coverings are strong for me right now too~~~because summer is coming!!

Kay Ellen

Love Where You LIve, a blog celebrating design, individual style & decorating. said...

All will be good . . . you will see, all in due time! One door shuts and another opens. I believe that to be true. Take care, -s

Struggler said...

I don't have much wisdom to offer, but I do wish you the very best with whatever path you choose.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog!! and at a quick glance, on my way to bed! blogging takes s lot of time! - I love it!!! I am nearly at the same place in life that you are. The first child will leave for school in two years . . . ? What do I do then?? and I love your art! especially the "Girl Reading" an old print in a gorgeous old frame was given to me years ago and I have loved it since! I'll be back soon!!