Tuesday, February 28, 2006

end of a short month

I realized that today is the last day of the month of February. Where did it go? Why is it that the lack of two additional days makes it feel so short? And why don't they think of a clever way to say it instead of tacking it hurriedly on the end of an otherwise simple rhyme?

Thirty days hath September,
April, May, and November.

All the rest have thirty-one ...

except for February.

continuing down the road less traveled

I called the guy today and told him I was declining his offer of employment. He didn't take it like I thought he would ... he tried to lure me back in by saying he was prepared to make a counter offer, and when I faltered he asked why and said he could tell there was more to my decision than just the money. He was correct, but you don't actually tell people that you've heard unattractive things about them and their company.

So, I thought he'd let it go, but he pushed for details, and I got a bit flustered and tongue-tied trying to think of something professional to say, when all I really wanted was for him to stop trying to reel me in! At last, I gave in and admitted that I had been facing a decision between accepting a job in the field and starting my own business, and had decided to go with my own thing. He backed down a little after that, but kept hinting that he was willing to pay me more. Being the open and honest person I am, I blurted out that, prior to the weekend, if he had offered me a guaranteed hourly wage that was $1 hr. more than I currently make, I would have been tempted to reconsider. He, of course, tried to use that comment to maneuver the conversation into a bargaining table.

Finally, I collected myself back together again and politely, pleasantly, but firmly repeated my intial refusal of the offer. He accepted that, but ended the conversation with an open invitation to call him back to discuss his counter offer, should I change my mind.

If nothing else, the whole process was a bit of a confidence booster for me in regards to my talent and abilities. Obviously, he knew, as I knew, that, after a little training, I would be a tremendous asset to his team--so much so that he was pushing for me to accept his offer. I kind of liked being sought-after!

You know what this all means? I absolutely, positively MUST start my little ol' business within the next 6 months, or else I will be a liar, a sluggard, and a wimp. I have just officially made a professional decision away from seeking further employment in my field (at least here in my small town), and must find another--more entrepreneurial--way to meet my needs.

You hear that? That's the sound of the whip cracking to get me back to work.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

dilemma update

Still thinking, still asking friends and loved ones for advice, and still praying ... but unless something literally drops from the sky to tell me otherwise, I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to decline the position.

This is because I found out that someone I know, whom I asked for advice tonight, has a family member who has worked at the particular company in question for over 20 years. The things she told me (from personal experience), about how the company is run and things the owner and management have been known to do, have me very concerned about the quality of the work environment. If even a small part of what she said is true, I am convinced that it would be a very bad move to accept the position they have offered.

opportunity? detour? bad idea?

Here I go again ...

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Three things I'm terrible at! I'm the girl who stood in front of the Baskin-Robbins 31 counter and found deciding among all those choices completely impossible. (In case you're wondering, I almost always ended up asking for Mint-Chocolate Chip, purely because it was a safe bet--I knew I liked it).

So now I have yet another BIG DECISION to make. One that will change the course of my life, or at least the next year of it anyway.

Here it is: the company I interviewed at (oh, did I forget to mention I had an interview?--two, actually) has offered me a position. It is, I should add, a graphic design position. Very low level, but still a job within my field. With benefits (health and dental). Sounds good so far. But wait--there's more.

It pays less than what I am currently making at my part-time jobs. That's right. LESS.

In other words, I'll be able to go once a year to the doctor for a check-up, and have my teeth cleaned twice a year, and have some protection against illnesses or accidents ... but I will still be unable to fix my car should it break down, have an emergency savings, or move out into my own apartment.

Part of me thinks I should most definitely get back in my field, if only to gain the experience needed to apply for better positions--six months is a loooonnnggg time to be out of the graphic design world. And that same part of me loves the idea of having health insurance!

But the other, more vocal, side of me is shouting NO! DON'T DO IT! I still want to have the freedom to pursue starting Ruby Red (which I wouldn't working full-time my first year without vacation time), or the ability to choose to go back to school, or any number of other options I've been mulling over lately. And would hate it if I came across a much better opportunity to apply for a job in my field at a pay rate that will actually support me.

I have to tell my interviewer (and potential boss-to-be) my decision no later than Tuesday. And I am far from being settled in my mind which way to go.

By the way ... fast-food workers can make more than what I was offered. I wasn't exaggerating when I said I couldn't support myself on the income I would be making.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

i *heart* old friends

Unexpectedly, out of the blue, I got three emails in one day from dear, old friends of mine whom I hadn't heard from in years. I smiled my way through reading their notes to me, and then wrote back to each of them with great excitement.

Have you ever had friends who not only loved you for who you were, but encouraged you to be what you could be, and weren't afraid to confront you or challenge you when you didn't meet your potential?

That's the kind of friends these girls are. And I miss them even more now that we've touched base after six years apart.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

how foolish

of me to disregard caution and consume so much sugar and chocolate in the past couple of days. My allergies flared up last night as a direct result of my junk-food fest. You'd think I'd learn!

Monday, February 20, 2006

something's brewing

I'm not sure why, but I have received two job leads in the past 5 hours. I may have to make some crucial decisions in the coming week about where I want to be headed in the near future. If both leads are positive, I might have a three-pronged Y in the road to contemplate and make a decision about.

When it rains, it pours.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

i'm not into religion

Shocking? Maybe. But true.

This is why the folks at NotReligion.com have my attention. They've stripped away the mumbo-jumbo and published a thought-provoking and possibly life-changing message. Love it or hate it--but check it out and decide for yourself.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I am appalled

by how materialistic I can be at times.

Just like Paul of the Bible, sometimes I can be exactly what I don't want to be. It's terrible. I have the designer's curse of being sensitive to good taste and desiring to be surrounded by visually pleasing things. And I also have the crafter's desire to make things and the entrepreneur's desire of making money from things.

The result? Sometimes I wonder if 75% of my life revolves around things: the collecting, displaying, making, and financially benefitting from things.

It's sad, really.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

4 ...

Oh, I've been tagged by Sarah at For the Love of Paper for 4 (yes, 4!) days now, and I had no idea because I have been a slacker in my blog reading lately. Sorry, Sarah, and thanks (I'm flattered!) at the same time. Funny, huh, that I found out 4 days later?? Hmmm.

Anyways, here I go:

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
1. Kitchen Staff/Gal Friday
2. Graphic Designer
3. "Paint-Your-Own-Pottery" Shop Sales Clerk
4. Library Clerk & Program Coordinator

Four Movies I Would Watch Over and Over:
1. The Incredibles
2. The Princess Bride
3. Pride & Prejudice
4. Pirates of the Caribbean

Four Places I Have Lived:
1. A gray split-level in East TN
2. A tan ground-floor apartment just south of Nashville, TN
3. A cabin on the lake in upstate NY
4. A yellow Cape Cod in Western MA

Four TV Shows I Like to Watch:
1. I Love Lucy
2. Wheel of Fortune
3. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
4. A&E Agatha Christie and Jane Austen stuff!
(it should be pointed out that I don't actually watch TV at all, unless I'm at somebody else's house, as I can't get reception and I don't have cable and I think it is almost always a waste of time ... but, having said that, I have watched a few other TV shows via DVD collections on occasion).

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation:
1. Germany in 1989
2. Chincoteague & Assateague Islands of the coast of Virgina/Maryland (home of the wild ponies) circa 1995.
3. Camping all over the South much of the early '90s
4. Universal Studios, Hollywood in 1994 (loved the Back to the Future ride!)
I haven't had a vacation lately. I need one!

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1. My webmail account
2. Paperpreneurs.com
3. CareerBuilder.com
4. MySpace.com

Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. Dark Chocolate/Mint-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (it's a tie)
2. Macaroni & Cheese
3. Lasagna
4. Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes
(am I sensing a cheese and starch trend here?!)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. The Virgin Islands
2. In my dream house
3. On a cruise anywhere warm and sun-shiny
4. Nashville, TN (I miss you!)

Bloggers I Am Tagging:
Punkin' Pie Productions
Being a Bean

the prognosis:

not good.

Methinks the lady doth attempt too much!

Looks like this little girl is going to the indie craft market ... but only to shop. I did begin to make my very first mockup blank booklet (3" x 3" w/a beaded marker and vintage fabric accent) on Saturday, and completed it last evening, but I am nowhere close enough to having enough to show in a photograph of my "display"--which basically consists of that one, solitary booklet! So, I am resigned to, yet again, attempting to do something which was a wee bit more than I could handle at the moment. Of course, I guess it didn't help that I have had a very full past few days at my two jobs!

Speaking of jobs, I'm working the "Candlelit Valentine's Dinner" at the tea room. It's going to be a busy, busy day in the kitchen between our normal holiday rush during lunch and the added task of prepping for the dinner at night.

Friday, February 10, 2006

one year ago today ...

... I first ventured into the world of blogging.

Ruby Red isn't yet begun, but I'm closer today than I was last year. Life has moved on. I've met new friends, learned new things, and begun healing from the hardship and stress that I was in the middle of last year.

God is good.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

reasons to shop thrift & antique stores

1. Where else, as a "chic, youthful woman" could I learn how to avoid that dreaded "skin-fatigue"?

2. Where else can you spot amazingly dated, yet somehow charming fabrics like these for $1 or less? (fabric samples from a recent Goodwill Stores find).

2. Where else can you gain such wisdom such as this snippet from an early 1900s advertisement booklet for Lady Pinkhams Vegetable Formula?

3. Where else can you find such splended "superflous" (go look THAT one up!) verbage in all its vintage glory??!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

crafty girl strikes again!

Before I turned 10 years-old, I was fearless. I could sell anything to anyone (except my postman--but believe me, I tried). I picked wildflowers and my mother's roses and bundled them together in bouquets which I wrapped homemade wrapping paper around and peddled to the little old ladies across the street. I decorated construction paper with markers and glitter and yarn and sold bookmarks at 5 cents each to the neighbor boy.

After the success of my bookmark and bouquet ventures, I turned to other crafty activities involving washed-out tin cans, popsicle sticks, and felt (among other things). I recruited a girl from up the street to help me assemble and advertise our wares with posters we tacked to the telephone poles. We sold them to whoever would buy one ... except the postman, who flatly refused.

When I moved to another state, my crafty side was undaunted. I left behind popsicle sticks and construction paper bookmarks and moved on to hand-stiched dolls and set to work crocheting scarves and a cover with handles for my Bible. Then I decided to bake cookies and make lemonade and set up shop on my front lawn.

I almost sold out of crafts and baked goods on my first day in business. So many neighbor kids came to buy things that I actually hired a couple, giving them a percentage of my earnings for the time they spent helping me hand out crafts and cookies to my customers. After two days of profits, I was ready for the big time--I had plans to make a quilt and other big-ticket items. Until, that is, I heard through the grapevine that the kids next door had gotten in trouble with their mother for spending their entire week's allowance at my little "shop." Afraid that I'd get in trouble with her too, I never set up my card table on the front lawn again.

As the years passed, I still dabbled in cross-stich or crochet or even the odd sewn item or two, but in junior high and high school a strange thing happened: I lost interest. By the time I was in college, crafts were the furthest thing from my mind.

And now, the crafty girl in me has awakened. She is getting restless, too. Suddenly, buttons and ribbon and pretty fabrics and cool new types of yarn have me excited again. Instead of boring pastel-garbed rabbits or flocks of geese with bonnets or footstools with hearts cut into the sides, I am envisioning edgy yet ultra-feminine decorative pillows, be-ribboned bookcovers, beaded lampshades, and funky yet functional art pieces.

My love for letterpress has opened the floodgates to other traditional craft professions. I would love to learn glassblowing, for instance. And sewing no longer seems like something restricted to "home ec" class. I want to sew usable aprons. Like they had in the forties--only better. And I'm remembering how much I loved my pottery throwing and handbuilding classes in college for my Art minor.

It's weird, actually, how quickly this crafty mindset has crept back into control! So much so that I am seriously considering going to a local indie craft market in May in order to try to launch my business. Hmmmm. Can I do it? The application is due in just over a week, but it requires images of the crafts I intend to sell--which means I have to get hopping on prototypes if I want to attend! I'll keep y'all updated on my progess, whether or not I succeed in my insane little mission.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

be remarkable

I'm a book-skimmer. I pick up interesting looking books (yes, I do judge a book by its cover) and flip through them, gleaning what I find helpful and ignoring what I don't.

This practise is, in fact, a valuable way to save money when on a tight budget. Give yourself at least an hour to browse the mega-bookstore, grab a few books and magazines that catch your eye, and then snatch up one of the few remaining cushy chairs to sit and skim to your hearts content. Some days you might buy one of the books, some days you might not.

On Thursday, I did. I went to Books-A-Million for some serious business book skim time and ended up leaving with a funny little purple-spotted hardcover book about how to stand out in the crowd, or, rather, how to make your product or company stand out. It's recommendation? Be remarkable.

I've yet to actually read the entire book that I bought, but I am eager to glean any tidbits about marketing and product positioning that I can learn from Seth Godin, the author of Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable.

And for more from Seth, check out his blogs: Seth Godin's Blog and All Marketers are Liars.

Friday, February 03, 2006

dear mom,

Happy, happy, happy 50th!

You are an amazing woman whom I am so grateful to know and have for my mother and friend. I missed telling you happy birthday before you left to go to class, so I hope you end up here sometime today before I get back from work.

Love you!

Thursday, February 02, 2006