Blue-Violet Iris Interior

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Springtime Walk

I hadn't intended to take a walk today. I'd wanted to, what with the sun shining and the temperature nudging up toward 60 degrees, but I had migraines all day yesterday and was well aware that I had only a limited fund of energy to draw on today. I have hundreds of photos that need sorting and then backing up and I wanted to make that my priority for the day. However, I did need to drop an order in the mail and I took my camera with me to the mailbox because if you don't take your camera with you, you don't get to take pictures.

Well, once I was outside and taking photographs of flowers in the neighboring yards, it made sense, while I was out, to walk around the corner to photograph some blue hyacinths that I knew were in bloom because the temperature is supposed to get close to 70 this weekend and that will likely fry all of the currently blooming spring flowers, and once I'd photographed the hyacinths, I was already halfway around the block, so I might as well go all the way around and capture those early-blooming tulips... The following photos are the result of my impromptu spring walk around my neighborhood!

Flowering plum blossoms.

Grape hyacinths.



Vinca minor (periwinkle).




Poor disappointed Abbey, who did not get to go on this unplanned walk, eagerly greeted me on my return home.

"Why didn't you take me?"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dog-Sitting...Like a Boss

Ten years ago, if you had told me that I would one day be the owner of two small businesses, I wouldn't have believed you.

But it's true. I am the owner of two small businesses. They are VERY small businesses--I am the only employee of both these businesses and I've never earned enough from them in a month to jeopardize my Social Security benefits--but they are still businesses, licensed at the state and city levels, official as can be.

c.creativity licences.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself. Owning a business requires the confidence to say, "I have something to offer that is worth paying for." It feels great to have that confidence.

Once upon a time, my anxiety made it difficult for me to show my art to people, but for three years now, I've had some of my photography for sale on the internet. Yeah, my mother may be my biggest customer, but I still collect and pay taxes, have business cards and a wholesaler's permit, and I intend to eventually expand into selling my photography for stock. I operate under registered trade name of c.creativity, which, not so incidentally, is the name of this blog and my Etsy store. I'm branding, people!

When I first started looking after the Ancient Kitty eight years ago, I never imagined that act would grow into a pet-sitting business. But when I was looking over my earnings from last year and facing the prospect of more clients this year, I realized that my little enterprise had grown beyond its informal roots and ought to be treated with respect. So I applied not only for licenses at the state level and in all the cities where I was currently and might in the future do business, but also purchased pet-sitter's insurance and bonding. Let me tell you, it makes me feel really good to get to say "Licensed, Bonded & Insured" on my business cards! I've made a website for the dog-sitting business, which I've named "Jolly Mutt Dog-Sitting," so prospective and current clients can check out my rates and my testimonials and availability. (I especially love the availability calendar!)

I'm licensed to operate my dog-sitting business in four different cities in the state of Washington.

It's official!

Do you know what else I love? Answering business-related emails. In my day-to-day life, I engage in very few "adult" activities or responsibilities: I don't shop or cook or clean, for example. Pretty much everyone I know would love to have FEWER work-related emails to respond to, but it makes me feel like, well, a boss to be communicating with clients and scheduling services.

The services aspect of dog-sitting hasn't changed, though. The dogs don't care if I'm officially licensed to be providing services in their city of residence, they just want to know if I'm going to play with them!

I did my first overnight with Cutie the Pyrenees a few weeks ago. As a two-year old, she has a lot more rambunctious energy than my elderly clients, but she snoozed more than she played and is a beautiful and friendly animal. I came home with drool all over my clothes and a resolution to teach her a thing or two about leash manners in the future!

Cutie at play...

...and at rest.

She's very affectionate and friendly!

I just finished up back-to-back gigs with Mr. Gorgeous and Sweetheart, which have kept me away from home and my own dear dog for nine days.

The first few days with Mr. Gorgeous were pretty rough because I was having a medication interaction that left me feeling really wiped out. Mr. Gorgeous, however, was in exceptionally fine form, having just been groomed. None of these photos comvey how soft and clean all that fluff was! He was also feeling very lazy, so the fact that I was feeling under the weather didn't disrupt his agenda of sleeping all day in his cozy bed. He was still interested in a game of slo-mo keepaway after dinner, but instead of leading me in a sedate and dignified jog around the house, he settled for "eluding" me at a walking pace. And thus was a good time had by all.

The well-groomed Mr. Gorgeous.

A friend's comment: "It looks like it could be a centerfold in a dog magazine."

Did someone say, "Handsome"?

Sweetheart, by contrast, does not have "sedate" or "dignified" settings, so she seemed to be almost cartoonishly expressive and demonstrative after six days with the extremely mellow Mr. Gorgeous. She watched my every move with interest and enthusastically licked any body part within reach! Forget "kisses": this dog, when happy, will lick hands, arms, your pants, even the top of your head! Oh, and she's pretty much ALWAYS happy. She's such a charming dog and always a pleasure to spend time with.

Sweetheart: "Why be dignified when you can be happy?"

The happy German Shepherd lazing in the sun...

...and chewing on a ball. Life is good!

I think this photograph perfectly captures her sweet personality: she's checking in with me, her eyes full of love and joy, to see what we'll be doing together next.

So that's the latest! I just can't resist announcing that my business is going to the dogs and I couldn't be more pleased. (Dog businesses and organizations rely heavily on puns, so it's only appropriate that I occasionally indulge.) The work may be no different from what I've been doing, but I'm proud to be doing it under the banner of Jolly Mutt Dog-Sitting, Licensed, Bonded & Insured, and not just as little ol' migrainey me.