Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Good Things To Come!

Check back soon for a new series I'm doing as a thank you to everyone who reads this blog. It's a Christmas present of sorts . . . I hope you'll like it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving


Take a slice of virtual pumpkin pie, fresh from the oven, courtesy of mseikaly at stock.xchng. I've got some whipped cream around here somewhere to put on top. . . and if you like, help yourself to the pot of coffee.

Otherwise, have a good time with family and friends, as I do the same. I'll post again next week.

Grateful for Friends

I have so many friends with whom I have been blessed. Many times, we've gone our separate ways and have not written or emailed or talked in sometimes years. I can think of former college friends and roomies (Hi! I can't believe how many different countries I have friends in!), ministry co-laborers at a Christian youth camp in Ontario ('00 and '01 were the best summers of my adult life!), my oldest friends from high school, now spread out across the globe (Has it been this long?!), other singles and newly weds from my last church (I miss you all!) and new friends that I have had the pleasure of getting to know and/or work with over the past few months (let's talk!).

Not to mention all of the wonderful people whom I have had the opportunity to get to know online via Paperpreneurs, Verla Kay's website for Children's Writers, and other random places on the web and in my Inbox. I'm glad to know ya!

So this little blog post is just to say "Thanks." I appreciate each one of you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Randomly thankful for

-lower gas prices
-friendly smiles
-good friends
-happy doggy
-sound night's sleep
-fun blog comments!

Snow?!?

It actually snowed for a few minutes here in Tennessee. I was very, very surprised.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Blog Stuff Considered

I'm getting tired of my blog look, and seriously thinking of purchasing a domain name and hosting space for my own website. I want something that I can update my blog as easily as with Blogger, but with a better look.

Any suggestions?

A Thank-You Letter for My Family

Today I'd like to thank my family for their love and support.

MOM
You are one of the people whom I respect most in this world. You sacrificed so many things to make sure your three kids turned out as well as we have. You're brilliant, and you could have done any number of things other than put up with the three of us, but you chose your family instead, and I can't thank you enough for it. You're one of my closest friends and you challenge me to better person every day. Plus, you make the best pumpkin pie EVER.

DAD
What can I say? You've worked so hard to provide for us all, from Pampers to college. Sometimes you forget to stop and have a little fun, but when your goofy side rises to the surface--watch out! I'm impressed that you can still wrestle with your sons, tease me mercilessly, and kiss Mom every day after coming home from work. You're the most honest and hardworking man I know, and your correct posture can't be beat!

MIDDLE BROTHER
We spent our youngest years being inseparable (remember when you wouldn't go outside if I didn't come? LOL!) and then our older years trying not to scream when people assumed we were dating every time we went somewhere together during college. I can't believe how much you've accomplished in your 22 years. How is it again that you've completed earning your Master's degree this semester? I'm so incredibly proud of you, and I hope that you will accomplish everything you've set out to do. Any airline that doesn't hire you would have to be crazy for passing up such a wonderful candidate.

YOUNGEST BROTHER
You're no longer "the baby of the family." When did you get so tall?! I helped teach you to walk, and now you're driving. When did I get so old?! You constantly amaze me by how well you understand the mechanics of things, or the strange facts that you store away for a rainy day. I know that, unfortunately, I too often told you to go away or stop talking while you were growing up (and even sometimes now that I'm living at home again), but I'm so glad I am having the chance to spend more time with you now. Whenever I get my own place again, I'm going to miss our 10:00 p.m. runs to McDonald's for late-night ice-cream cones!

I love you all.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thank You, God

It's Thanksgiving week here in America. And I would like to start it off by thanking God for getting me through uncertain times and keeping my future secure in His hands.

This morning, the pastor at my parent's church began the service by reading Psalm 27. I felt a bit of deja vu when he reached the last verse, and then I remembered why it sounded so familiar--not only had my father taught me this verse as a young girl, but I had also rediscovered it on January 1, 2004, when I was looking ahead to a year that I knew would change my life (turns out, I was right!). I was looking toward graduating college and heading out into "real life," and I was beginning to feel a bit impatient about it!

And that's when I read this, and it became a passage that I held onto throughout the year. So, here it is, for anyone else out there who needs reassurance that Someone cares:

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. ~ Psalm 27:14 ~

Gettin' Down to Business

I've been thinking quite a bit about Ruby Red lately. Nearly a year ago this week, I began thinking and planning for it. I would come back to my apartment from my graphic design job, walk Zoe, grab something to eat, and then sit on the couch with the TV on, or candles lit in my fireplace,or just some fun music playing, and I would grab my red sketchbook and start drawing whatever came to mind. I spent hours trying to select just the right name, and even more time working on developing my logo.

I would stay up much too late, and then drive to work by 8:00 in the morning the next day to a job that increasingly made me sick to my stomach just knowing that I would most likely be confronted by my Type-A supervisors shortly after walking through the door.

I am a talented designer. I know in my gut what is good or bad design, and I have a knack for combining elements that are unexpected or elegant. It's a wonderful gift that God gave me; in fact, I think he prepared me for it from a young age. My mom tells me that by age 3 I could already tell the difference between pink and peach!

But there is a big difference between raw talent and experienced skill, a difference that affected me profoundly at my workplace. In the end, I decided after much soul-searching to quit my job of six months . . . a job with a better-than-average entry-level salary, 401(k), good benefits, a genuine lunch hour, and a certain level of prestige.

I hated the fact that I was going to quit. I was scared to let go of the money. But when the very thing I loved to do . . . would spend hours doing just for the fun of it . . . design, became the thing I dreaded to do, I knew there was something seriously wrong.

So I told my coworkers and supervisors that I was going to start my own business, and I left in February. You know the rest.

The business has yet to begin, but I'm currently trying to decide, based on what I've read from others in the field, whether or not I really want to get into manufacturing and wholesale, or whether to just do it for the fun of it as a small online boutique, and focus my efforts on writing or looking for another job in my field.

The interesting thing is, my situation in life right now is so transient, so unpredictable, that I am forced to be fluid and willing to adapt to whatever comes my way. In a way, that is the best thing that has come out of my quitting and moving to live with my parents. I have the flexibility, once my credit card debt is paid in full, to do whatever it takes to move on to the next thing. And whatever the next thing is (God only knows!), I'm working on being ready!

I wish I could have a soundclip here, but the music that best suits what I am trying to convey is sung by a new favorite Christian artist of mine, Kendall Payne. This is a quote from the lyrics to the song "Stand" in her newest album titled grown:

Here I am still waiting, For how long I don't know
It's a long way back from where I've been
But there's no where else to go

So I'll stand With my face to the wind
And my back to the world
I'll follow you
And I'll go where you tell me to go
No I won't be afraid, No I won't be afraid ...


Every time I hear this song, despite the cold November air, I feel like opening the moon roof on my car, rolling down the windows, taking my untameable curls out of their ponytail holder, and singing at the top of my lungs.

Thanks, Kendall. You've sung a battle song for me!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Darth Vadar and the Pumpkin Roll

It's movie night in my household. We are watching the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, when Anakin finally turns into the famous villian, and then we are immediately popping the Episode IV: A New Hope DVD into the player (although I still think of this one as "the original Star Wars.")

And I bought a yummy pumpkin roll to enjoy during the show.

Daa-daa-daa, dumm-da-da, dumm-da-da.

(Yes, I am a girl, and I like Star Wars.)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

$1.99!

I almost couldn't believe it when I was driving home from my tea room job this afternoon. Regular Unleaded gas has dropped below the $2 mark here in East Tennessee!

The BP down the street has it at $1.99 a gallon--just in time for a fill up.

I'm excited, but, man, I still remember my senior year of high school when I got my first car, gas was a mere .80 cents.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Technicolor Handprint



This is me, waving hello. It really is my hand. I scanned it into Photoshop and adjusted the curves and levels until I found this unusual piece of "art."

Hi, world.

The Agony of Da Feet

This is just a rambling little post.

* I served today, and, when the rush of people came in to the Tea Room around noon, I was triple sat, which meant I had about 11 ladies waiting for me to come and take their order, all within about 10 minutes of each other between the three tables. Meanwhile, I had this wonderful woman who had been such a pleasure to serve. She asked me for a to go box and her ticket. Guess what I forgot to get for her? Both. After taking the 11 orders, I realized my mistake and found the money for the bill on the table. I felt terrible. I haven't ever done that before, and it just killing me that I was so forgetful! At least my feet weren't sore, like the other poor girl who served today. Ouch!

* I am, at this moment, still at only 15,000 or so words for NaNoWriMo. This means I am going to be doing nothing but write this afternoon, because, ladies and gentlemen, November is already HALF OVER, and I am not yet halfway through the novel. Yikes!

* I'm done Christmas shopping. It feels a little weird. I mean, shouldn't I have to wait in lines of impatient, demanding shoppers in order to have the complete Christmas shopping experience? Oh, wait: that's what I get to experience over the next two months while cashiering at Ye Olde Big Retail Store.

* Right now, at this very moment, I am in a mood to eat a grilled cheese sandwhich, a Diet Pepsi, and apple pie.

* As for Ruby Red Design, well, I'm still working on it. I wish I had the $$$ to print the Christmas cards as planned, as a sort of debut, but I don't think I'll be able to. Yet again, I must be patient and push things aside for just a little longer.

Over and out!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Coffee at Fido's

Miranda lives near Nashville. This is for two very simple reasons:

1. I used to live there, too, so I know where most things are, which makes for a much simpler method of describing places within the book. Plus, it gives me a way to relive all my fave places and things to do.

2. Because I said so.

So, for an upcoming meeting with certain persons she has suggested Fido's, a mucho popular coffee house in the Vanderbilt University area of Hillsboro Village. This is a real place. Go there NOW! (The High-Heeled Hotties know exactly what I mean, don't ya, gals?)

She will most definitely order a Dalmation. If my memory serves me correctly, this is a delicious white chocolate drink with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top. I am salivating as I write this.

Three barks for Fido's! Oh, yeah.

----
Word Count: 15,375/50,000
Sanity: 71.2% (It's been a looooonnnngggg day).
Color of my new pair of shoes: black, with silver buckles.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Heart Still Pounding

I was driving home from a shopping excursion about 10 minutes ago, when I noticed a strange change in the near-black darkness surrounding my car. It looked like a rectangular piece of the night sky above the mini-van in front of me had turned brownish and was spinning toward me.

I slammed on the brakes and swerved onto the shoulder as a sheet of plywood, which would have hit my windshield head-on, flew at me, narrow end first. As it was, after swerving, it missed me by only a foot on the driver's side.

I was shaking the rest of the way home.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Miranda Meets a Guy

OK . . . so he was her older brother's best friend in high school, whom she barely remembered.

----
Word Count: 11,399/50,000
Sanity: 99%, actually
Food I'm Craving RIGHT NOW: a big, fat, juicy hamburger.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Think Pink!

I should be asleep, as it is 12:55 a.m. and I must go and work in the kitchen eight hours from now.

Really, NaNoWriMo, I love you, but you are awfully dangerous for a girl who works so early in the morning with sharp pointy objects!

Ahhh, well. See what I mean about my creative zucchini? It grows and grows at night, and I can't stop! Must sleep! The zucchini will be there in the morning, you dingbat! (pardon my letterpress language).

Anywho: Miranda Celeste has had an epiphany. It involves the color pink, and she is about to try to take it into international fame.

----
Word Count: 8,800/50,000
Sanity: 82.3%
Number of Jelly Bellies Eaten: At least 25. I think. Yay for Buttered Popcorn!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Creative Zucchini

Sometimes, ya'll, I seriously feel like a squash plant. Zucchini, to be precise.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you. "Do what???!"

No, I am not going insane. I am merely illustrating a point. My mother had a garden years ago in which she planted a whopping 4 zucchini plants. That doesn't sound so bad now, does it? I mean, we had something around 15 tomato plants, but only 4 zucchini.

We only really needed 1/2 of a zucchini plant, for they are the most prolific plants on the planet, or so it seemed. We ate zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, zucchini pancakes ... you name it, we had it. (Did I mention I despise zucchini to this day?)

The thing is, despite the fact that you could LITERALLY have zero zucchini one day and about a dozen or so the next, you never saw the little green buggers coming. If you were patient enough ... reeeeaaaalllly patient ... you probably could watch a zucchini grow overnight, but for the rest of us it was like magic. Poof! Zucchini!

That's what creativity is like. A little bit goes a long way and even though it requires a great deal of patience and effort, it appears like magic overnight--a mysterious and mystical zucchini of inspiration. The hard part is filtering out the excess inspiration. Unlike those zucchinis, I hate to see any go to waste, but if I try to work it all into my life, I become overwhelmed.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Must. Plot. Book.

Five days into NaNoWriMo and I am beginning to lose steam. I have a general idea where the story is heading, but the way I write best is when I know the complete ending ahead of time and write toward that . . . otherwise I'm just floundering around in words.

So, Sunday I'm going to work out the specifics and then I hope that I'll shoot out another 4,000 words. Aarrrgggh! According to the NaNo people, I need to have 10,002 words by tomorrow evening in order to be right on schedule.

So, a little Miranda Celeste update here . . . today she went out to lunch with her best office friend and they comiserated about their boss over some great Italian food, but MC isn't letting her friend know just how much she is frustrated by her job right now. She wants out. She wants something big, but she's not sure what.

Well, that's where the 22 Incredibly Easy Ways to Become Famous come in. And folks, I'm afraid that's all I can say at the moment! (Publishers frown upon having too much revealed about plot . . . even by the author).

-------
Word Count: 6,103/50,000
Sanity: 94.3%
Sleep: I'm only gonna get 5 hours tonight. That's what Sunday-after-church naps were invented for!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Double Discount Days

I just saved over $97 at the Big Retail Store during our employee Double Discount Days. Like I joked with the store manager a couple of weeks ago, I don't know why I even bothered to pick up my paycheck today. It pretty much all went back to the store, since I was saving up to get a much-need fall wardrobe boost.

So what if I don't have health insurance--I've got purchasing power!

My favorite buys: two dress coats (one black, one camel), two big-button cardigans (one cream one pink), a big brown purse, and new-word-a-day calendar for 2006. I'm big on learning cool new words!

5,000 hits and counting!

Yee-hawww ... ruby red begins has had 5,000 visitors since February. Now, I know there are blogs out there that probably get that many in one day, but for little ol' me it's a super fantabulous number!

Now to figure out how to celebrate ...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Back to Business

You wouldn't know from reading this blog lately that it started out as a way to chronicle my journey into being a small business owner. It's funny how life gets in the way, huh?

Lately, I've been getting tired just by thinking about my start-up. I love ... adore ... working on designs and making beautiful/interesting products, but I get so worn out trying to think of ways to finance the venture. I'd only need, by my estimations, about $5-10k to do pretty much everything I was intending to do, but that is a steep sum for someone like me who is lucky to have an extra $20 in her wallet to buy a hamburger and fries with!

So I've been procrastinating, assuring myself that now that I'm used to the flow of work from my two jobs, I'll start working on initializing my plans in my "free" time.

Then, you know, I go and sign up for a crazy novel writing competition this month!!! I'm glad I did, and writing for a living has always been another serious goal of mine, but it still does take away that mere 2-3 hours I manage to squeeze out of my days somehow.

Ahhhh ... life.

p.s. Paperpreneurs is back!!! I now have accountability once more. This is good. This is very, very good.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

22 Incredibly Easy Ways to Become Famous

That I've done any of them ... but that's the title of my NaNoWriMo book.

It's chick-lit, which some people despise, but I secretly enjoy, as long as it is clean overall and uplifting in the end. I promise, should this book ever find its way into the public eye, you will not be depressed, frustrated, or bored by the exploits of Miranda Celeste, 26, a young professional who is depressed, frustrated, and bored with her predictable and unremarkable career and life.

Today she raided the company supply cabinet for a computer screen-wipe-thing. You know what I mean. That fingerprint was distracting--she couldn't get any work done, obviously, with a fingerprint there.

Word Count: About 531/50,000.
Sanity: 99.5%