Monday, May 30, 2011

Fun Times Hiking

A lizard on the trail

Hiking is one of our favorite outdoor activities. Lucky for us since there are endless options for hiking in our part of the U.S., specifically, San Diego County. In one day, we could, theoretically, hike in the mountains, in the deserts, at the beach, in the valleys, you name it. We've hiked several times and in several locations the first time we lived here from 1999-2003 and a few times since we moved back a year ago. This last time, we decided to go to Mission Trails Regional Park. We've been here lots of times, but it's such a large preserve, approximately 5800 acres according to their website that we still haven't hiked all the available trails. This time around, we hiked the Old Mission Dam and then we hiked the Oak Canyon Trail/Fortuna Mountain trail. This hike is rated a 3 which means that it's moderately challenging but not impossible for the average person. From start to finish, we hiked six miles total. The elevation gain was only about 300 feet though which isn't too bad. It was a great workout is what it was.

On the hike, we saw several types of lizards, lots of birds (we even saw a mating pair of hummingbirds) and two different snakes. The first snake was very thin, very long, and it was swimming in the San Diego river eating bugs. It was pretty nifty. The second snake we saw was the biggest snake I have ever seen outside of a zoo. We were walking along when all of a sudden, the youngest started having a fit and said that there was a snake on the trail. Sure enough, we look ahead and there is a big ol rattlesnake crossing the trail in front of us. We noticed it when it was about ten feet ahead. That is the closest any of us have come to a dangerous animal in nature. That we know of, lol. It was freaky and none of us wanted to walk past where it had disappeared into some brush, but unless we wanted to turn around, that was our only choice. We gave the snake a few minutes to move away from the trail (we hoped) and then walked as far as we could on the other side, lol. It sure made for an interesting hike.

We're hoping we can get a few more hikes in before it starts to get too hot.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Burn Out and Taking Time Off

The Pier at Avila Beach, CA

Burnout, specifically where work is concerned, is such a real thing. I pretty basically worked without a break for three years straight. I do my best to take weekends off like a normal person and most major holidays, but when you have your own business, it's hard to take true time away. For many reasons. First and foremost, when I take time off, I don't get paid. It's not like I have a vacation plan, lol. I only get paid for the actual hours that I work and I certainly don't get paid vacations. Secondly, it's just hard for me to step back and let things slide. I have a responsibility to my clients and they have expectations.

In the last three years, the family has taken two vacations to the Outer Banks and one trip to Ohio, and I also flew to Ohio by myself to be with my dad when he had surgery a while back. During each of these events, I either had work to do or school work to do or both. During our family trip to Ohio, I took a business call in the middle of a corn field. When I was at the hospital with my dad, I took a call outside of his room in the hallway. Working from home and being a business owner has made it incredibly difficult for me to separate my work life and my personal life. Even when I'm not actively working or "on the clock", I'm thinking about things that I need to do for my clients. It kind of sucks, to be honest and it resulted in burnout. I hated my business, the work I was doing, and my clients. I was unhappy all the time and I started having insomnia again, and migraines. I hadn't really felt like that since Vermont.

So, I took some real time off. The Mister and I took an honest to god vacation to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary earlier this month. I gave my clients plenty of notice, (one of them had a year's notice and still bitched and complained when it came time for me to "leave".) both of us left our laptops home, and we went away by ourselves for a week to Paso Robles, CA and then another week just to be home and off of work. I didn't check my email, personal, business or otherwise, the entire two weeks. It was fantastic. Out of this world, fabulous, straight out of a dream, GREAT! We ate too much fantabulous food, drank too much wine, lounged by the pool and read books, and generally we were lazy slugs. We stayed out as late as we wanted each night and slept in as late as we wanted each morning. I can't even remember a time when I had absolutely no responsibilities. Oh. I forgot to mention that our mothers (yes, you read that right) flew out from Ohio to stay with the girls the first week while we were in Paso Robles. So that first week, we were able to do what we wanted, when we wanted, without having to worry about work or school, or about getting dinner on the table for the kids. I need to remember to do this more often than once every three years, lol.

How's the burnout? Well, to be frank, the jury is still out on that. Personally, outside of my business, I'm feeling fab. Then, when I sit down in my office to take care of client tasks, I start to wonder in which direction am I headed. Do I still like the work that I do? I'm starting to wonder if my vacation, rather than solving the burnout issue, it gave me some perspective instead. Time will tell.

Oh. In addition to the pic at the top, I have uploaded vacation pictures to my Facebook account if you'd like to see them. Central California is beautiful.