• Beach Bits,  BIG news,  Life Lessons,  out out out of the house!,  Shop Talk,  spilling my guts

    I’m back! (with a vengeance)

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    The last two months have been very turbulent for me. As you know from my last post, I lost some friends that I cared deeply about, and THEN! a few weeks later, I was let go from a job that I was invested in and very excited about. The company took a different direction, and I was left by the wayside, wondering where I had gone wrong.

    The thing is, I didn’t go wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. The company changed directions, and I was not part of that change. It’s such a weird thing to have happened, but I’m sure this happens a lot. People change their minds. Big companies change their minds. Not everyone will like me, no matter how loveable I might think I am. This was a bitter pill for a died-in-the-wool people-pleaser like myself, but it’s been a huge lesson for me, and I’m thankful. It’s forced me to get stronger.

    I admit it took the wind out of me for a bit. I felt lost and confused. But now that I’ve had a month to sit with it (and maybe it’s still too early to say that I’m already over it and moving on but), I think it was probably one of the best things that has happened to me in a long time. Hard things tend to work like that. I was forced to regroup and look deep inside myself to find purpose and a plan.  It was tempting to give up. I wanted to move home with my parents, stay in bed for a year, and cry…But you can’t give up when you are a single mom living in an expensive apartment with a teenager, and your parents live in an HOA that doesn’t allow for grown children under the age of 55. Giving up is not an option!

    So you know what I did? I rebranded.

    SAJ is back and stronger than ever. Check out my portfolio! I packed it with my latest work and I hope to add more. Matt has been a long-suffering excellent (web designer!) partner who has spent countless hours poring over code to override my quirky WordPress problems. But I love it now. Secret Agent Josephine is a one-woman creative agency, and I’m adding clients already.

    I can survive on my own! Isn’t it amazing? I’m so happy, lucky, and grateful to have options like this. I might not be “the corporate jet setter working woman,” but I’m me, doing what I love, and most importantly: I’m okay in a super stressful, financially unstable time. That’s what matters; I’m okay.  Everyone said I would be, but it was hard to see that when I was in the murky depths. Now I see.

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    Guess what else is back?

    Slideshows! Sorta… Click on those squares, and you’ll see a slew of photos. I stumbled across this little plugin in the long, arduous process of learning how to create a better portfolio. Now I can have slideshows within my blog posts, and they aren’t grainy automated gifs!

    I’m still learning and tweaking but pretty cool, right?

    Bug and I went to Crystal Cove this last weekend and spent some time poking around the tidepools and enjoying the coastal super bloom. We love where we live, and I’m so thankful for time with my teenager before she’s all grown up and moving on.

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    Another comfort during these last few months has been my tiny little patio garden. I’ve spent many hours here watching the plants grow and contemplating my next move. I’m thankful for this little spot of peace. Bug and my mom decided to plant tomato seedlings a while back, and now I have twenty-some full-sized cherry tomato plants growing knee-high on my tiny patio. It’s going to be a jungle soon. I can’t even imaging what it will be like late summer.

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    Then there’s my cozy room. I did a massive furniture rearrange because that always does a spirit good. I’ve also spent many hours cuddling with my crazy hugging cat. Who has a hugging cat? I do! She’s so funny. I can’t sit down on my bed without her climbing up on me, tucking her fuzzy purring head under my chin, and reaching both paws around my neck. It’s quirky, weird, and sometimes even annoying, but I think she’s a special gift sent from the universe to help me get through the tough spots in life.

  • heavy on photos,  out out out of the house!,  photography,  travel,  working woman

    Corporate Jet-Setter Woman

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    This is me coming up for air. I’ve been busy traveling and working and pretty much being that boring person that everyone hates because all they do is brag about how great their life is. I don’t want to be like that. But I will say that I am happy right now and very, very thankful.

    When I quit working ages ago to freelance, it was hard. It was twenty years ago. (!!) I didn’t thrive. I fumbled. A lot. I didn’t make a lot of money. Sometimes I did but most of the time I didn’t. I had to rely on men in my life to carry me, which I’ve always hated. I hate groveling for money. I hate asking for it. I hate taking it! The root of all evil is the LACK of money in my opinion and it has plagued me my entire life. My parents struggled. I’ve struggled.  I’ve always wanted to be successful on my own and most of the time I’ve been able to pull it off except for those times that I didn’t and those times were awful.

    So now that I am back in the corporate world after being out of it for so long, it feels really good to be taken seriously. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back here. It’s hard looking for work at fifty. I loved being a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom and I don’t think I would have done it any other way but I am really happy to be back at work. Now I just have to keep this job!  Eeeek!

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    I can’t really talk about what I am working on but I can share that I traveled to Yountville last week to scout around and take pictures of the property. It was so much fun. I mean, there are a lot worse places to go to work.

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    Even in the cold wintery rain, this place was beautiful. The sun came out one day and I was in heaven. Flowers! Blossoms! Estate kitties!

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    You know me. I love exploring and taking pictures! It’s one of my favorite things to do!

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    I walked that little town back and forth and back again. It’s really just one main street and very very small. Small, quaint, and beautiful!

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    I explored the cemetary.

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    I sampled all the fancy food. Matt came into town to explore with me. I can’t believe I got paid for this job that feels like a vacation.

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    Will I ever get tired of this? I doubt it. Some of my coworkers seem a little tired of travel but I don’t see that happening to me.

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    Then I come home and my cats clobber me with affection because they’ve missed me. Bug missed me too, which was really, really sweet. You know how teenagers usually are: Mothers are so annoying etc.. But when they aren’t around to do your laundry or cook and do the dishes, they suddenly become more appreciated. I like being appreciated.

    Not that Bug doesn’t appreciate me. We are closer than most mothers and daughters, I think. Here are some photos from a while back when we walked back bay together.

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    Since I work so much I’m kind of a homebody when I’m home but Bug convinced me to get out and see the spring flowers in bloom.

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    Even though it was cold, it was the best thing for my health. I haven’t been able to get my three-mile walks in as I used to and I really miss all the exercise I got from working at Ralphs. It’s going to be a challenge to get my regular workout routine back in.

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    If you’re waffling on getting outside, do it. Just go outside, breathe that cold air, and take some pretty pictures. Spring is on its way and before you know it a super awful hot summer will be smacking us upside the head. I have a feeling it’s going to be worse than it’s ever been.

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    So lets enjoy this while we have it!

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    Next week I’m in Amsterdam! I’ll explain more later.

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay