Wednesday, July 27, 2005

taking a break from worry

If there ever was a time to take my mind off the stresses of the present and focus on a pleasant topic, well, it's now.

I promised I'd talk about my other love: words and writing them. I am currently in the process of doing the final edits on a 400+ page (double-spaced, that is!) YA fantasy/adventure novel. This venture has consumed more of my time in the past five years than even Ruby Red. Maybe I'm slow, but my average editing speed is 3-4 pages every 15 minutes. At currently around page 165, I have a ways to go. You do the math!

I loosely based the setting for the book on the way of life in early Renaissance Italy. In a nutshell, it's a classic trio of characters: a prince, a beggar, and a gypsy-like maiden, who join together under unusual and frightening circumstances to save the City from a ring of fire surrounding its walls, and the prince's parents from a mysterious mercenary who has turned their people against them.

I like happy endings, so my book has one. The prince learns to be a humble leader, the beggar becomes who he was meant to be, and the maiden discovers a secret that will change her life forever.

Of course every author is the biggest fan of his or her work, so though I like my story, the best praise I've ever gotten from those who have read portions of the manuscript was the praise my (then) 16-year-old baby brother gave me when he said he had stayed up until 2:00 a.m. reading the rest of my book with a flashlight so that our parents wouldn't catch him up that late!!!

Friday, July 22, 2005

well, this is one way to make a decision . . .

okaaaaaay.

Yeah, I'm not getting an apartment right now. Or a house. OR a condo. Not even a roommate.

This, my friends, is because as of next Friday, July 29, I will no longer be getting a regular paycheck.

For I have lost my job. Literally. It no longer exits. Kapoof! Gone. The New Job is now officially The Old Job. The other Old Job has now achieved Really Old Job statis.

Those of you who are fellow Paperpreneurs may have read about it over there. For those who haven't, the summary is as follows:

8:25 a.m. Arrive at work.
11:30 a.m. Finish an ad
11:45 a.m. Called in to the VP's office, along with rest of staff
11:47 a.m. Staff meeting called by VP's father (the owner/founder) begins with the words "We called you all in here to let you know that we are closing this office."
11:47:30 VP's mother, eyes red, dabs with an already sopping tissue at the tears running silently down her cheeks.
11:47:45 It actually registers that I have been laid off. My first thought is of my looming bills. My second is, "well, I guess I don't have to worry about where I should get a house out here.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm going to rent

I think. Maybe. Probably?

I've given it much thought over the past couple of days, and probably over 100 miles of driving around looking at areas around the city to get a "feel" for it.

I found a decent apartment complex about 15 minutes from my favorite parking garage. It's a studio apartment. Tiny doesn't even begin to describe it! But that's OK because they allow dogs (I won't part from my Zoe girl), and the rent is less than what I'm currently paying for gas and my lease-break payments from my former apartment in Nashville. This means I can afford it. That is a very good thing. :)

Oh, and I can PAINT the walls!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that makes me happy! I HATE generic white apartment walls.

p.s. I actually called the number on a FSBO (For sale by owner). It was a cute little cottage that had been fixed up. The guy asked me if I had looked into financing yet. I mentally panicked! While I quickly explained I was only just beginning to look around, and he was very gracious in response, I realized that at this point in my life I'm not so sure I'm ready to make that kind of long-term commitment. I felt like a bride having pre-wedding jitters!

Monday, July 11, 2005

I think I'm going crazy

There are so many options right now, and I don't have the time or willpower to process them all. But, the facts remain: I'm broke, in debt (though much less than others I know), and worn out from my commute.

My options:

1) Continue living at my parents house and just deal with my commute (oh, did I mention I hydroplaned on the interstate last week during a particularly rainy morning?? And almost hit the car next to me?? As well as a near miss with the cement road divider??)

2) Rent and have absolutely no available $$$ for anything beside a roof over my head and gas. The real estate equivalent of driving down I-40 and tossing hundred dollar bills out of the driver's seat window.

3) Somehow beg my way into purchasing a condominium or teeny-tiny old house downtown so I can walk or take the trolley to work, hence saving money. (But how to get that pesky down payment and closing costs? And how to pass the credit check when my savings account is on a starvation diet? And how to convince the loan officer I AM over 18, and thereby able to sign a legal document??)

4) Forget the whole life-supporting job thing and jump into the business head first. Convince a SBA person to loan me enough to rent a commercial space with an apartment overhead so I can "open up shop" and collect printing supplies to work with while living in the same place. Zero commute. But living in danger of repossesion!

5) Shelve my beloved Ruby Red for a few more years, keep doing research and preparations while focusing on becoming a better and more recognized professional in the design field, and continue to write, in hopes of earning enough from an advance and royalties to get my business started. (Did I mention I have a dozen or so children's and young adult projects in the works? Betcha didn't know that! In fact, for a change of pace, I think I'll write my next post about THAT part of my life).

6) Bury my head in the sand. Or move to Venezuala and hide in the rainforest. Or take a vow of poverty. Or run into a handsome billionaire on the corner, "twist" my ankle and be carried to the nearest hospital, where, of course, we will fall in love, marry in the chapel, and immediately relocate to Bermuda, where he will buy me an entire letterpress print-shop with cases and cases of type and dingbats, gallons of brilliant inks, and truck loads of fine papers! When I am not smudging ink on my nose, he will find me snorkling among a school of bright blue fish.

Personally? I like the billionaire angle. Positively polictically incorrect, but a girl can dream!

I'm begging for advice here, fair readers. If you were me, which would you choose????

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

did I mention?

There is an absolutely fabulous used bookstore in the city of my New Job. It is already probably in the top 5 of my favorite places to be there. May I just say that this store is, as a one of my co-workers would say, "ginormous." You can wander aisles and aisles of 8 ft. high bookshelves filled with all sorts of books, or CDs, or DVDs, or even computer games. You can trade in your used items for cash or credit.

Today was my first time to trade in. I got 3 books for free with my credit! One book was for Neenah papers, showing how ink prints in different ways on different types of their paper. I can't wait to page through it.

Last week, though, I came across the Paperie book by Kate's Paperie. I immediately snatched it off the shelf and hugged it close, almost afraid some other paper-lovin' gal would fight me for it! I haven't had the opportunity to absorb it all, but I'm looking forward to some Saturday afternoon sitting down and taking it all in over a mug of coffee. Yum!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

boxland must go!

So, I spent the 4th unpacking the last pesky boxes stacked around the perimeter of my bedroom. Or, rather, the pesky boxes and piles of random stuff littering my floor AND covering the perimeter walls.

I am happy to report I can now safely walk through my room. I can see the whole rug (minus under furniture), and I can find my business and design books quickly on their new designated shelves. Three cheers for organization! Now . . . on to the deadly stacks of paper that must be filed in my new (hand-me-down) filing cabinet!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Let Freedom Ring

Freedom is such a precious thing that I, for one, take for granted every day.

And, as an entrepreneur, the ease of starting your own business, even with all of the red tape and taxes and regulations, is, when you think about it, completely amazing. Were it not for a few good people who went against the flow 300+ years ago (more, if you go back to Columbus!), we might not have the opportunity to be doing what we do today.

It's not all been good, and there are those even in our own lifetimes who have horribly misused this freedom.

But, despite it all, I'm still grateful to have the privilege to go about my own business (literally!), hold my own opinions, speak out with my own voice, and worship (or not) as my conscience sees fit.

So this is my "Thank You," to those who made it possible.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Yeeeeeee Hawwwww!

That got yer attention now, didn't it??? Yep. I thought so. :)

After work today, I walked down to the world-famous (OK, maybe not the WHOLE world, but at least anyone who reads HOW magazine) Yee-Haw Industries in downtown Knoxville. They are a letterpress company that has their shop in a storefront. The great folks of Yee-Haw even let visitors walk past the check-out counter into the actual workspace to watch them at work.

I walked down an entire wall of old wooden trays full of metal type and miscellany. It was fantastic!!! This was my first time ever in an actual shop atmosphere. I even got a mini-lecture on the workings of an "old Vandercook model" letterpress while the girl, roughly my age, was printing sheets of a light brown color paper with bright red ink.

I was in a letterpress-lovin' heaven! It only increased my desire to do the same thing one day (in my own style, of course!).

While at Yee-Haw, I even bought a couple of letterpress printed postcards. The first one reads "My Grass Is Blue", and the second one says "Knoxville Girl". You see similar products (although, unfortunately, not the exact cards I'm talking about) by checking out Yee-Haw for yourself at their website: Yee-Haw Industries.