Saturday, April 30, 2005

suddenly, my life is feeling different

It hit me Friday that, in exactly one week, I will be writing this blog in another house. Except for some random papers and clothing that needs to be put in the wash, I'm packed. Really. My room is soooo empty right now! Just furniture and a few paper business things I couldn't live without.

So, for the second time within the span of three months, I am moving AGAIN. I will probably be staying with my parents in their new home for at least the next 6 months or so, but we'll see. I'm done trying to predict the future.

Speaking of future, I just read the weirdest "true story" I've come across in a very long time. I should preface the link I'm about to post by saying that I am a writer, as well as a stationery business girl. I have been writing since about first grade. I don't often write science fiction, but I just happened to recently, and it dawned on me that if I wanted to submit that story to a magazine, I'd better make sure my "science" in the fiction is accurate, or at least passable for something remotely possible. So, since my story is about the affects of time being warped, I thought I'd do some research and see what others had to say about so-called "time waves," "time fields," and "time shields." To my (silly) astonishment, there *was* stuff out there with my ideas in it. What??!! You mean I'm not 100% unique in musing about time and how it might (not) work?

Stuff like this: http://johntitor.strategicbrains.com/TimeMachine.cfm.

I'm not sure whether to laugh, cry, or sit dumbfounded that, from all appearences on the website, a conversation with a supposed time-traveler from almost thirty years in the future is actually being taken seriously. I mean, I consider myself as open-minded to unusual facts of science as the next person, but come on, people …

So, back to the present.

Monday, I start work at The New Job. I'm excited and nervous, all rolled into one.

Tuesday, my parents have the final walk-through at our new house. My Little Brother goes to work.

Wednesday, my mom is driving out to my old college town to pick up my brother (the middle child) from his apartment so he can help us move. Middle Brother is 3 1/2 years younger than me, yet he is 75% through his Grad School training in Aeronautical Education. He is already a certified flight instructor with several students. He's looking for a job with a regional airline. I am in awe of my genius Middle Brother, and occasionally jealous. But I love him, and we're pretty close, and I haven't seen him since my last move, so I kinda miss him. (We shared a 2-bedroom apartment in college).

Thursday, the Guy From New Jersey who is buying our house has *his* walk-through. That evening, we will pack the moving truck, sleep on inflatable mattresses, and eat who knows what! (OK, probably pizza if my brothers have anything to say about it).

Friday, I have the day off so I can help with the move. I think I am going to end up the keeper of the animals, as we and our pets are going to be in house limbo in between closings. I will probably drive to the new house with them and try to keep the cats in the shade and my dog happy. After closing on our new home, I expect we will unpack what we can from the moving truck and either install our new refrigerator (if we have it delivered), or go buy one.

Saturday, Little Brother goes to work again, and Middle Brother drives home in his "new" car. Middle Brother's current car is what some would call a boat, otherwise known as a 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis. It has ceased to be able to drive above 55 MPH, creating some difficulty driving on any highway! He will now be the proud owner of my father's Honda Civic, which is significantly younger and in much better driving condition. (I suspect the gift of a car was my parent's bribe to get him to help us move. LOL!)

Sunday. I have no clue what will happen Sunday. We will all probably either be too exhausted to move from our (newly set-up) beds, or perhaps brave visiting a local church. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

thinking about that long commute

I found a cute Cape Cod for an absolutely incredible price not even 15 min. away from The New Job. Gorgeous inside pix with white mantle over fireplace, french doors between living and dining rooms, little "chandelier" in front foyer, and hardwood floors throughout. All this, and only a hop, skip and jump away from interstate ramp. Amazing.

Then I did my research.

Let me just say, there's reasons it's so cheap.

1) Somebody posted the inside pictures to an entirely different house on the "more pictures" tab. It's not as cute as I thought. Sure, it still has hardwood floors, but they're underneath carpet. Yep, it's a cutie, but it needs a bunch of TLC.

2) The road that runs by it is my New City's drug and prosititution corridor. Oh joy.

Serves me right for looking into buying a house before I've even started the job (or have down payment $$ saved up! It's just that I timed my commute today … and found out I had misjudged the time and distance. I'm going to have a MINIMUM of a 45 minute drive. If I actually do the speed limit, that number increases signifigantly.

*sigh*

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Friday, April 22, 2005

plain vanilla is a-ok with me

I went to the second interview, took a design/computer "test" in Quark, and was ushered into the VP's office by the Assistant Graphics Manager (my first interviewer) to get asked a few more questions and then, without any warning or warm-up small talk, offered the job. I accepted!

True, it's not as much as I made at my last job. I'm going to have to really get creative with my budget. But I think I'm going to enjoy working with the rest of the staff—all 7 of 'em. Met all but two yesterday.

On the way home I did a take two on my vanilla milkshake celebration. I got vanilla this time and savored every bit of it. It's kind of a metaphor for my new job, I think. I had the "strawberry" prestige job fresh out of college, but it ended up being too rich for me, with little chunks of strawberry that got stuck between my teeth and didn't taste as good as I thought it would. Now I'm going into my plain-vanilla job and, yeah, vanilla might be boring, but it's predictable and yummy. Here's to plain vanilla, as both a job and a dessert!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

strawberry is NOT vanilla

The interview went well, I think. A few hours afterward I got a call from the guy I interviewed with asking me to come back for a second interview with his employers tomorrow. It's at 2:00.

I am really getting to know this city. I've already been to the library twice, and circled around downtown trying to find a parking meter that is opened. I braved a parallel park today, pulled it off perfectly, and was very pleased with myself. Now to learn which streets are one-way, which have construction, and which will be full to over-flowing during football season when a certain very popular college team begins playing again.

On the way home, I celebrated by buying a small McDonald's vanilla milkshake. As I pulled back onto the highway to drive into my town, I sipped at my shake and mused, "hmm. They must have just served a strawberry shake before I got mine. I taste strawberry."

As it turns out, there was a reason it tasted strawberry. It WAS strawberry. And I have to be really, really in the mood to buy strawberry. I wasn't. It was. I was dissapointed.

Interview!

I have an interview at the real-estate publication Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. EST!

I did a test-run today to make sure I know how to navigate the city it's in, and discovered that when the girl I talked to on the phone to get directions said, "you can't miss us, we're in the tallest building downtown," she really meant it. I was expecting some old refurbished 4-story building and ended up taking the elevator up 16 stories in a small-scale skyscraper! Whew. That was a first for me.

The offices are in a bank building, so I went to a nearby mall and picked up a nice black suit (on sale!) to wear to the interview. I might be overdressed, but I really want to make a good impression. After all, it's not everyday I have a chance to work in a building where the downstairs plaza includes a Chik-fil-A and a gym.

I am determined to be positive, self-assured, and articulate during the interview.

But, if nothing else, I had a reason to go clothes shopping for the first time in months!

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Phone Call

I was driving in town today; running errands, paying bills, etc. I picked up a map of the city I'm applying for jobs at now, so I could do some studying of the major streets and traffic patterns, and then I headed home.

I had forgotten my cell phone, so it wasn't until I got back that I found out that I had gotten a phone call from a potential employer. Talk about fast! I had only emailed my resume to them this morning. It's a layout/design job for a real estate publication. Nothing glamorous, but that's OK. I don't want glamorous. I want a salary, and benefits, and vacation time (so I can attend NSS next year, hopefully!).

I called back, and got the receptionist. My contact was in a meeting. So now I'm on pins and needles, hoping for the best, anticipating the worst. It would be great to continue working in my field, but I'm still nervous about it. I'll call again tomorrow morning, and if I get asked in to an interview, I'm going to have to drive 2 hours to get there.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (so to speak), today was the last day for the library job application. I hope to hear from their HR department within the next week.

Whatever happens, time's a-tickin' away. In a mere 3 weeks, my family and I are moving into our new home. Maybe I'll have a new job by then, too! Maybe.

and here I thought we tried to *prevent* monopolies!

This just in: Adobe has bought Macromedia. They're saying they want Flash capabilities and are interested in mutual growth, but I personally don't see how this isn't a little too Bill Gates-ish politicking for me. After all, a buyout is the perfect silencer!

But, according to this story at Bloomberg.com, "Adobe Chief Financial Officer Murray Demo said in an interview last month there are 'too many software providers out there chasing too few dollars.' He said 'customers basically want to have fewer relationships with software vendors.'"

The article further said that "the Macromedia purchase, Adobe's biggest-ever takeover, brings together two 'complementary' products."

Ummm, let me see: what's left? A sudden coup of the QuarkXPress stronghold? Are we consumers so terribly confused that we can only buy software from a single company?

I'm insulted.

God Makes No Mistakes

I really believe this. Even when I'm about to pull out my hair in frustration, or don sackcloth and ashes in protest of my now officially two months of joblessness. Even when I get letters like this polite, hopeful, yet (if you read between the lines) firm rejection from a health-care facility that I applied to be a receptionist at, with comments by me:

Dear Ms. ______:

Thank you for your interest in career opportunities with ________ Health Systems. This letter is to inform you that your application has been received and will remain active for a period of 90 days. In the event a position comes available that match or mutual needs [note from me: this is my favorite part! Our "mutual needs!" What a way to put it! You're broke—we need slave labor, let's chat over coffee! But I digress . . . back to the letter], we will contact you for an interview [Yeah, right]. Please visit our web site (www.____________.com) for future employment opportunities. We wish you the very best in your career pursuits [since you won't get hired here anytime soon].

Sincerely,

[Signature Here]
HR/Recruiter

Oh well, they weren't high on my list of "mutual needs" anyway.

In the meantime, I truly am trying to trust that God has a plan for my career while I work at getting Ruby Red off the ground. If there is one thing I've learned in my life so far, it is that when I least understand what's going on, that's when He brings things into focus and I go, "Ohhhhhh . . . now I get it!"

Sunday, April 17, 2005

better than a lemonade stand

So I did a little searching and found this game that I played when I first starting "surfing" the Internet back in 1995. It's had a bit of a face-lift over the past ten years (did we all have Java back then? I can't remember!), but it is still the smart little addictive game I remember it to be.

For the entrepreneur in all of us, it's an old-fashioned Lemonade Stand without the lemon juice stinging your eyes, and no sunscreen required! Give it a whirl!

Friday, April 15, 2005

If She Could Do It, You Can, Too

Here is the story of a young woman who started making Valentine's Day cards in the late 1800s and turned it into a $100,000 business, a very tidy sum at the time. In an age when men ruled the business world, Esther Howland's accomplishment was oustanding and nearly unheard of.

Logo Progress

Well, it was a long, late night (or should I say early morning?), but between my restless mind and the Diet Coke I had, I just finished my rough sketch of the Ruby Red logo. It has taken me nearly four months to settle on a design.

I now have a couple of to-scale comps, which I am about to begin bringing into Freehand to make into an EPS file. Now's the time I really, really wish I had a scanner, but it looks like I'm going to just have to take a trip to Kinko's. I have promised myself that as soon as I have a steady income once more, I am buying a scanner. I am!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Rain, Rain, Go Away


zoe
Originally uploaded by andregirl.
So it has been pouring all morning and afternoon. My poor Zoe girl had been tied out on the porch and I didn't notice the rain until she had already taken refuge underneath the stairs and was beginning to get quite wet. I felt horrible!

Incidentally, here she is, my pride and joy, my baby, the adorable spaniel mix princess herself, Zoe.

This picture was taken by the Humane Shelter I adopted her from, before she was Zoe. They called her Lola. I just couldn't envision myself calling, "Loooolaaaa!" every time I wanted her to come. I mean, that justs makes me think of Looney Tunes.

Dear God, Never Again

I just watched Hotel Rwanda this evening.

I didn't cry much until an hour after the credits had rolled across my television screen and then the tears slipped down my face unheeded as I realized how much I have just to be free from that kind of fear, and how little I truly know about my world.

There have been horrors before, and there will be horrors after, but I had no idea that in my lifetime nearly 1 million people could be slaughtered in the space of 100 days without so much as a tsk-tsk from the global community. Some of the most devastating footage was in the special features of the DVD, in which the real-life Paul Rusesabagina returns to the Hotel in which he saved the lives of 1200 refugees, and when he visits the memorial of a mass-grave of 45,000 people, from an attack that only 4 survived. Officials found bodies, preserved by lye. These bodies—real, not plaster—are on display on tables for visitors to the memorial to see. The machete gashes in their skulls and crushed bones of their limbs a silent testimony to the atrocities that were done to them.

I am still sick, just thinking about it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

blog stuff

I'm playing around with my blog today. See the new template? (Of course you do!) I still am dependent on Blogger for my artwork and coding, but I'm learning little by little. One day this place will really look like it should. One day!

a-choo!

*snuffle, snuffle, sniff*

Okay, this is just getting plain ridiculous. I pump myself full of Claritin, take a pain reliever or two, and I still have a horrible headache, swollen throat, fluid in the ears, and what feels like every nasal cavity ready to explode.

Ahh, Spring.

Uggh, Allergies.

Oh well, as the French say, "C'est la vie." Such is the life of a hay-fever sufferer come the prettiest months of the year. Having said this, I'm feeling a little reflective today. I have an amusing (true) anecdote or three pertaining to this topic. I will tell them in story form.

Story #1: Little Red Runny Nose

Once upon a time, there was a young girl with a very, very red nose. Nobody could figure out why. She would go outside to play under her favorite maple tree, and, invariably, every spring the effect would be the same.

"Aaaaachoooo!" she would say, "achoo!"

This happened every day, until one day, she watched a Maple flower float to the ground. "Hmm," Little Red Runny Nose said, "My what a lot of pollen you have."

"The better to tickle you with, my dear," said the Maple flower.

So, being the brilliant child she was, Little Red Runny Nose picked up the yellow Maple flower and sniffed. Bits of pollen tickled her nose. She felt an itch coming. "Aaaaaachoo!"

Little Red Runny Nose ran back inside her house. A kind mother with a box of tissues rescued the sneezy girl and tucked her up in her bed to recover, spooning Cherry-flavored Children's Benadryl into her mouth. The End.

Story #2: A (Bad) Poem About A Hike

Up the Mountain Forest we went,
Huffing,
Puffing,
Until my eyes
swolled nearly shut.
Rubbing,
Rubbing,
I tried to calm
the nagging itch
that wouldn't
go
away.
I cried; 'til
Daddy's handkerchief,
dipped in spring water,
placed across my forehead,
soothed my eyes.
I wore that handkerchief
All
The
Way
Down.

Story #3: Is it Contagious?

"I'm sorry," I said after sneezing as politely as I could, "I have hay-fever."
He looked alarmed. "Is it contagious?" he said.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Milestone #2

It's the little things in life that count …

I just made my very first product mock-ups for a line I'm developing of mini-journals and notebooks. I am very, very excited!! It feels so good to have them all neatly packaged, just like I want them to be one day soon. Granted, I used papers on hand and not the real deal, and my "labels" are hand-written, and the gold-foil "seal" is just a recycled larger sticker from a different product that I cut in two, but still!

Since they are going to be hand-bound (at least at first), I can foresee actually beginning to sell them in the next few months, once I have set up Ruby Red legally, and once I can find a wholesale paper supplier that has papers I like.

So, my current goal (other than find a job to support myself in the meantime) is to begin working on a website and promotional literature, plus finishing the plans for my upcoming lines. I am determined to have my business up and running, even a small scale, within the next six months.

But for now, I'm keeping my mockups in full sight so that every time I look at them I feel just a wee bit more encouraged.

and, since I am feeling so elated

Here's a link I got from various sources. (marketing book, college classes, online directory)

Color Marketing

I heard about these people in my Mass Communication classes several years back. They are responsible for forecasting (and thereby influencing) the trends in color for nearly all industries. If you ever wondered why once a color gets popular you see it EVERYWHERE, they're why. It's so, if you really felt led to do so, you could match your sofa slipcover's floral pattern color to your dress, which, in turn, obviously matches your new summer sandels!

You have to register for the most up-to-date forecasts (2004-2006), but 2003 is there for the looking.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Long Time No See …

The job hunt has been all-consuming. I'm over/under qualified for most of the administrative jobs, clerical jobs, medical receptionist jobs, data entry jobs, etc., etc., etc.

I've submitted resume after resume, filled out one application after another, gone to interviews, sent thank-you notes, and been filled with a sense of inadequacy, swiftly-approaching poverty, and dread.

When, oh when, will I ever save up the $$$ to start this business-o-mine? Student loans, gas, car insurance, and "break lease" payments are already eating up my tax return I got this week—the last source of income I have. It's enough to make a paper-lovin' gal throw up her hands in defeat.

I have had one positive lead for a graphic design position, but the hiring VP is out of town for a few weeks. Meanwhile, I just found another non-design job at a public library that I completely fit the qualifications for, and the pay and benefits aren't bad; it's just the commute that's killer.

I'll keep you posted, as long as I keep my sanity that long!!