Thursday, December 27, 2007

Little Miss Smarty Pants

What does one do when experiencing the longest, most uneventful, most boring day in your work history?

Why, take an online IQ test, of course. I scored 130, aka "Gifted."

Mensa won't be calling anytime soon (Their cutoff is 132), but then, according to the "test" I took, I'm still in the 97.5 percentile of the population, brain-wise. Not too shabby.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Moving Forward


I got my "Welcome Grad Student" letter from MTSU today. That was quick, considering it was only Thursday afternoon when I took a half day to go and push myself through all the red tape. I've registered for 3 classes ... need to find one more to go ahead and select.

In two weeks, Elliott and Morgen are getting married! I've been looking for an appropriate dress to wear. Man, that's hard to do. However, I did go today and got a much-needed haircut and I changed up my hair color while I was at it. The blondish highlights from the summer were getting old.

So I took a goofy pix of myself with my phone ... in case you were wondering what I look like now. ;^)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stressed?

Go plant a virtual flower garden. It's oddly soothing and a little bit addictive. I couldn't stop until my garden was a field of wildflowers ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Official!

For those of you who haven't heard ... my bosses have all OK'd my taking grad school classes while working at the agency. I'm taking a half day sometime next week to take care of all the administration stuff at MTSU. Now, I just need to get a Pipeline account so I can register, and my financial aid has to go through, and I need my classes to fit around my work schedule so that I am not reducing my hours by too much.

I'm too excited for words right now!!!

My Favorite Christmas Song This Year

When I first heard this song, I teared up a little bit. It really hit me the truth they are singing about ... I hope it blesses you, too, and I hope you have a chance to hear the beautiful music on your own ...

How Many Kings?
by Downhere


Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected
A child in a manger

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for?

'Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior
All that we have whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he’ll suffer
Do you believe, is this who we’ve waited for?
(It’s who we’ve waited for)

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

All for me
All for you
All for me
All for you

Monday, December 10, 2007

OK Folks, It's Officially Christmas!

The tree is up. The lights are on.

And, even better? My bedroom is almost set up. Crystal helped me put my bed on its frame at last, and I rearranged, and it looks so cute and grown up in there.

Ah, inspiration.

And now? Bedtime. I'm pooped.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

For Elliott

Christmas Party '07

Have a mentioned how fabulous my friends are? Dave can rock a tacky Christmas sweater, Jackie knows the three nutrients plants need to survive, MJ has tons of self-esteem, Ricky listens to the married men and got the gift his fiancee asked for ... PLUS he accessorizes with ease by turning leftover Easter Eggs into a fashionable bracelet, Rachel makes heaven-flavored pineapple dip, Karen is devious, DEVIOUS I tell you (pig's feet! disgusting!), John is (almost) smarter than a 5th grader, Crystal walked my dog when I was cooking, Ali cracks me up (the pinwheel/Easter Egg re-gift? GENIUS!), and ... if I haven't mentioned the others, it's only because there is simply to much to write.

What a great Christmas Party.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Few More Baby Steps!

My friends, you who know me well know of my life goals.

Well, I am two steps closer to achieving one today. Yesterday, I took the first. Today, I took the second. Hopefully soon, I will take the third and fourth steps, and then I will be on the brink of walking into my new future.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to be a little secretive, but it's terribly exciting. You should ask me about it!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Melinda J + Franklin + Antiques + Christmas Shopping = GOOD TIMES!

Oh what fun it is to shop on warm December day ...

Melinda J and I hit up downtown Franklin for some girl's day out fun on Saturday. We've both decided to skip the mall scene and do all our shopping at small boutiques and online. We both scored some finds, but half the fun was the people we met and the odd antiques that cracked us up.

We met several babies who LOVE Melinda. Love her. They smile and coo and make funny faces whenever she walks by. It's like magic. We also met a fabulous lady from Austria who owned a shop in the Factory at Franklin. We met a lady who was telling a friend how she had scolded Miley Cyrus in Target for walking around without shoes on (only in Franklin! Oh how Nashvillians love their celebrity sitings ...), and we met an adorable older shop keeper who was wearing an oh-so-fashionable jacket and just beamed when we told her it looked great on her. We met a three year-old who tried to practice his kung fu skills on us with his beads for the Christmas parade.

So, here's what we took pictures of:


1) A real bronzed Adonis. Who wouldn't want this "antique" Greek god
to display hats and scarves so handsomely? (I laughed until my sides hurt and
I cried when I turned the corner and found this fella in an antique store).



2) A hat. Yes, this is a hat. Not a flower pot filled with silk flowers.



3) A ... I'm not even sure what to call this. But it's "antique" too.

Good times. Good times.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm Supposed to be Cleaning Right Now

But I'm not. 'Cause I'm tired. Okay, in just a few minutes I will do my laundry, wash the dishes, and unpack some more boxes. I also need to prop my bed up on its frame, instead of it being directly on the floor like it is now.

Tomorrow is the first non-crazy work day. I wonder what I'm going to do, outside of prep image files of the catalog pages for use in websites. When the web guy and I get done doing that ... I am not sure WHAT I'll do.

But that's tomorrow. For now, I'm sitting on my bed and being lazy. Huh? What's that. Ummm ... the answer to that smart-alec question is, "because I can."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Feed the Hungry. Feed Your Mind.


Amazing. For every word you get right in this fun, educational, self-paced vocabulary quiz, a sponsoring company donates 10 grains of rice. Not that much, perhaps, but keep playing and you've filled a bowl, and added new words to your everyday life!

WE'RE DONE!!!!!

The last catalog just went out the doors to the printer about 30 minutes ago. I'm FREEEEEE!

And now ... only 9 months until our next ones begin to print.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And We're Slowin' Down

Well, as is the normal way for the company where I work, we have gone from mind-numblingly slammed to almost (but not quite yet) mind-numbingly slow. Actually, I was working at a normal pace today, which to me felt like I was going at the speed of a tortoise. I'm going home at 5 o'clock on the dot on a MONDAY.

This is cause for some serious celebration.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

After three long months. Wait. Is it November already? Make that FOUR long months, the busy season is finally winding down at the catalog company. Now it's panic time as we MUST have those lovely catalogs sent to their appropriate areas of the nation no later than Christmas. Factor in printing and binding and ink-jetting addresses and shipping and mailing and delivery times.

Yeah, we're pretty much going insane right now.

It's been a weird insane this week. Slow all morning, busy after lunch, and slammed by 4 o'clock, just in time to remind me I'm still not my own woman, I still don't get to go home and have a life, and I still have to stay past 5 or 6 or 7 to get it done. I'm not whining, am I? Why would I do that? I've only given my company 1/3 of my year.

And then, by Christmas, we'll be so bored out of our minds that I will beg for work to do.
Somebody please remind me to slow down and take the time to fill out my FAFSA before this month is over?

And to my dear, patient friends and family, I promise I'll hang out more again. Ali, I might actually make it to one of your hang-out-after-Sunday-night-church times at your place. Melinda_J, we should most definitely do another Starbucks, conversation, and prayer night. Crystal, you've seen me through most of this and bossed me lovingly back into sanity. THANK YOU! John and Aaron ... thanks for the laughs. Those wigs at the Murder Mystery were AWESOME! Mom (yes, I know you read this), I'll be home by this time next week. I LOVE YOU! And don't stress out over Thanksgiving. I'll help as much as possible, so you can rest and recoup.

So, guess what, everyone? Fun, not-so-stressed me is about to return! Hooray! (Who knew diamond rings, pearl necklaces, and extravagant bangles could be so exhausting?)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Talex is a really BAD breakdancer!

So, I totally tried to bust a move tonight at the 80's Murder Mystery Dinner Party, but I kept falling asleep, so it didn't work out that well. My boyfriend, Shaggy-Goo Oxide, was jealous that Moe Jontana was so interested in me and my dancing. I swear, I was only talking to Moe because he knew Hollywood agents he could introduce me to.

Anyways, when Moe turned up dead, and I was found asleep not too far away, people thought I had done it. Even I thought I had done it. But I didn't murder Moe. It was that silly Samantha Pinkman. The Rubiks' cube gave it away, but still nobody accused her of it. Huh.

Well, after the perfectly marvelous murder during Maqua-Net's Hair Aid fundraiser, Jeven, Patty, Gladdona, and myself went out to grab a bite at everybody's favorite late-night place to crash ... IHOP. Patty's tulle skirt and Jeven's hair band 'do had people staring and even laughing. I, in my leg warmers, tights, cut-off sweatshirt and teased hair, looked fairly normal compared to those two. It was very amusing.

See why I love my friends? We can do crazy stuff like that, even though we're all twenty or thirtysomethings (some of us are even fortysomethings).

The only bummer was that I couldn't find my digital camera because of the move, so I have to rely on other people's pictures in order to have memories of the night. I wanted to show you my fab outfit!

Monday, October 29, 2007

C'est Moi


I am about to enter the insanity for my 3rd year of relentless typing and frenzied plotting. I will not plot until Wednesday, I think. But I do intend to make a fun image this year that promotes my WIP (work-in-progress).

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Just Really Expensive Carbon

The insanity continues. FYI, I will never, ever wear this junk I put in the catalogs. Guys? Are you listening? A $450,000 ring will not make me happy. Just get flowers. Or buy me a subscription to Writer's Digest or something. Much cheaper, more useful, and a lot more my style. (Now, if you can AFFORD a $450,000 ring, that is impressive. But please, avoid the urge to splurge.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday, At Last

Well, it was a crazy week. Melinda_J asked me how much longer the catalog season is supposed to last, and I figured it at right around eight more weeks.

Eight weeks of continuous insanity. Eight weeks of frantic activity. Eight weeks of "Wait! Is that custom vendor page approved in that catalog? Don't send it to press yet!" Eight weeks of answering endless accusatory questions from marketing directors in various NYC offices who have chips on their shoulders the size of Manhattan and the personalities of runway models on steroids who have taken lessons in charm from Al Gore (side note: do not ever attend a lecture on any topic if Al Gore is the speaker if you don't need a long nap. I learned this lesson the hard way back in college when I attended his special lecture on Freedom of the Press, only to hear a rambling tale of why it was just a rumor that he and Tipper were buying out Denny's).

So, now it is 4:49pm Central Time, and I am counting down the minutes until I am free. Of course, that freedom is short-lived. I have to be in again tomorrow.


Overtime. Overtime. Overtime.
The mantra by which I survive my seemingly never-ending 6-day work weeks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Too Bad

Random Thoughts on My Life:

-It stinks that that had to happen, but it will make me stronger.
-I will be the office superwoman if I pull it off.
-Somebody give me a "Most Patient Woman Alive" award for this.
-I'm gonna kick it into gear this weekend. January will bring more than just another new year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Day Late for the Environment

Yesterday was Blog Action Day. I was supposed to have participated, in a worldwide blog event supporting the environment.

And I forgot.

Actually, I didn't forget; I was too busy. It sprang to mind during my commute both ways from work (in which I didn't carpool), and then I just didn't have time either before or after business hours to blog away. I was just preoccupied with printing out pages to proof at work, using electricity to keep me going, eating food that was pre-packaged, and throwing out my trash.

When I was on the way home, I went to Wal-Mart and bought snack food that I carried out of the store in plastic bags.

In short: I didn't reuse, reduce, or recycle a single thing.

It's funny how easy it is to be a wasteful, planet-harming consumer. It's all about MY convenience, MY needs, and MY desires. How selfish of ME! I don't stop to think about how the chemicals I pour down the drain (paint, nail polish remover, bleach, any cleaner) affect my fellow community members. I don't think about how much I rely on plastic to get through my day, or how that plastic is made. I don't even concern myself that much with the exhaust coming out of my car. And yet I wonder why so many people (my mother included) get cancer, or have severe allergies, or come down with a headache. Shame on me. Shame on us all.

Sometimes Christians shudder at the thought of PETA or the Sierra Club and how they place animals and vegetables above Humans.

But, let me ask you this: what was man's first job? Taking care of God's creation! (Genesis 1, if I need to remind you). It's not just a silly, liberal conspiracy started by Al Gore; it's reality. We have trashed our world.

It's time to wake up, accept responsibility, and start tending the garden!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

May I Move in Now?

Ohhhh ....

Dad finished painting my room today and installed my curtain rod. After I received the "all clear" from him, I sat down in the middle of the floor and just absorbed how nice it was to have walls that weren't apartment beige.

I chose a mid-tone gray with a hint of blue in it. Against the white trim and doors it looks very elegant. My parents had been skeptical, but even they acknowledged it looked good, much to their surprise. I can't wait until this coming weekend, when I'll bring in my furniture and hang the sheers.

It is so weird to be moving BACK into the house I had shared with my brother. This time, however, there won't be any motorcycle helmets hanging out on the kitchen counter, or dirty work boots chilling by the coffee table, or random college friends wandering in and out for Halo parties until the wee hours of the morning. LOL.

I'm also excited about my appliances. Oh, how I have missed those appliances! The stove has the flat surface burners (or "eyes" as they're called in Tennessee), the microwave is mounted above the stove, and the refrigerator is nice and big and has the freezer on the bottom, so you don't have to stoop to take the milk off the bottom shelf. My new roommate and I both love to cook, but we hate to cook for just ourselves ... so I anticipate many yummy meals in the near future, now that there will be two of us eating there. I'll break out my stellar mac n' cheese, or a hearty lentil soup, and she'll wow me with artichokes and chicken and pasta. I'm already looking forward to entertaining in our place. We will host dinner parties, if anyone is interested in coming and enjoying the fruits of our labor ... and I always have that St. Patty's day event ... and after church lunches could be arranged, with enough begging ... :)

And we have a dining room table. A real dining room, with a real table and chairs.

If God would just work it out for me to work in Murfreesboro, instead of Nashville, my dream of living and thriving in a community will come true. This is because my roommate and I have all but shaken hands on a pact: no moving until we are either married or my parents decide to sell the house. We are both sick and tired of moving. And do you blame us? I mean, I myself have only moved ... let's see ... well this move will make it SEVEN times since 2004. It's getting old.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Job Security :)

So, I got a big thumbs up from the owner of yesterday's retail store that we were trying to get the catalog to press for. It didn't happen, but it turns out the deadline was backed-up by him so that everything would be ready by next week.

He told me on the phone that I had been wonderful, and then (here's the BEST part) he called and told my boss, as well, who later came by and said that the retailer had "sung my praises."

I guess I did good.

:)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mountain Moving

Today I worked on a target catalog.

By this I mean that it is supposed to be printed and ready to go in an insertion order by next Wednesday. This makes it my number one priority, because in order to get there by then it should have printed ... yesterday.

From 11am until 6pm, I was typing and clicking and answering the phone as fast as I could. The owner of the retail store was calling me, giving me updates on his own efforts. His son was in on the deal, too. I called the president of our company in an a couple issues. Our entire team was focused on getting that catalog, and that catalog alone, ready to go to press and 100% signed off on. As soon as changes came in from the vendors featured in their pages, I would forward it to our art director or retoucher, and then trot down the aisle to follow up and either explain or oversee the changes. Once made, I would make a pdf and whip it right back to the marketing person on the other side, all the while answering e-mails, making phone calls, and occasionally checking my own personal e-mail to see how the ongoing "conversation" between myself and some friends planning a Murder Mystery Dinner night was going.

I still don't have approval on a few pages from different vendors whose merchandise is featured in the retailer's catalog, so I a have to send urgent e-mails, and make last minute phone calls, and sic my boss on the non-responsive ones!

I had 5 companies I was working on getting copy and approvals from today. I got copy from 4, and approvals from 3, and I should see the final fruit of my labor in the morning, when the Advertising & Marketing director of a Big Company has promised to have an approval of the layout and copy waiting for me from their Merchandising department.

So, tomorrow at noon we send the files to the printer. They will burn the plates, load the presses, and get that baby off to the mailing house ASAP, and I will desperately wish for some down time to relax, but will instead IMMEDIATELY begin working just as hard on the next one. Back to moving mountains. I have to admit, my adrenaline starts pumping hard a few hours before deadline. My mind clears, and my actions are all focused on that one task ahead of me: get the catalog approved. But once that file is off to the printer and out of our hands? I wilt. The adrenaline is gone. The fatigue sets in. Suddenly, I long for my bed and a good book.

Incidentally, the Murder Mystery Dinner night is going to be fantastic. Now that we've all rehashed the stories the last time we did one, I'm psyched to find out who my character is and plan my costume and have a blast.

I might even post pictures!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Red Wrists

I showed a coworker my red ink-bespeckled arms from where I have rested on my To-Do list and the pages I'm correcting. Hazard of the job, I guess. I've had spots there for 2-3 days now, and simply cannot get them out. They look suspicious—at first glance, it could be taken as blood spots on my wrists.

She just laughed. "No! Don't do it!" she said in mock horror. "It isn't worth it! It's just a catalog!"

Yeah, but there's 98 more ... and less than 60 days ...

LOL!

Monday, October 01, 2007

How I Spent My Sunday Afternoon







Cake decorating can be frustrating, but ultimately very rewarding ...

The Escape


This is what I drove while my car was getting fixed.

I'm not a huge Ford fan, or that much of an SUV fan, for that matter ... but, let me tell you, this baby was fun to drive! I actually miss it!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm Too Young for This




My brother is getting married. Did I mention that? Yeah, so the middle one, the one 3 1/2 years younger than moi, is getting married. I'm very excited for him, but I still feel a bit astonished that he, of all people, has found Ms. Right already! And I do mean Right. He really couldn't have special ordered a better match. My future sister-in-law is feisty, sporty, level-headed, frugal, down-to-earth,and head over heals for him. Who could ask for more?

I have to buy plane tickets before they get too pricey. If anyone hears of great deals from Nashville to Connecticut, let me know.

So, because I love 'em both, I'm showing them off. Cheers to you two!

(Pictures from the engagement party I threw for them last week.)

Just Because

I'm feeling good today. Mom's doing better, my car is getting fixed (at no cost to me), and I've had contact with good friends and encouraging people lately.

Couldn't ask for more, really.

*looking up at the sky*

Thanks, God. I needed that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Know Who I Am - Do You Know Who You Are?

For all the days when I wonder what the point is, or why I'm here, or whether anyone cares, or if I just feel let down, or sad, or lonely ... I need to come back to this post and remember who I am. (Thanks to Melinda J for letting me copy her! And thanks to the encourager who put this together in the first place!)

I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt. 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil.3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor.5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom.8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor.1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16).
I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).
I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1).
I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14).
I have been adopted as Gods child (Eph 1:5)


I belong to God
Do you know who you are?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

No, Yes, Maybe

Person: No
Place: Yes
Thing: Maybe Soon.
Idea: Wait. What was I talking about?

So I Got Rear-ended Last Night

THAT was fun.

Just some paint damage, and maybe my bumper has separated from my tail light a bit. Nothing major to the car. I think I got hit by a girl going maybe 10-15 MPH. Not much.

I did scream in surprise, because the impact threw my face into the visor, but it felt like the steering wheel and I thought I'd be bruised this morning. Today, my shoulder (from the seatbelt), neck, and back are sore and stiff and feel a bit ... loose between the bones.

Still trying to figure out if I should go to the doctor like a stupid hypochondriac or not. I just don't want to be held responsible for the cost of fixing me up. Really, a chiropractor is what I need.

And a good nap. I still feel shaken, like my emotions aren't quite back in place. If anyone crosses me, I might just cry. Shock waves. That's what I chalk it up to.

Monday, September 17, 2007

yes or no?

Two words that can change a life.

I am hoping for yes and worrying about no. The strange thing is, this statement is applicable to an infinite number of levels in my life. I am waiting for positive answers about a person, a place, a thing, and an idea.

I feel like I should be standing beside Vanna and Pat. (May I buy a vowel?)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

When I Grow Up

I want to live in a real house with a real dining room and a real dining room table and an extra bathroom just for guests. I want to clean my kitchen and have that be my job and not my headache. I want to dust just for the fun of it.

I want to hang out on the back porch and enjoy my yard. I want to have somebody plant beautiful gardens around the house, but they'll have to take care of them, too, because I don't have a green thumb on either hand. Not even a green pinky. I kill plants, so as a rule I avoid contact with them—I love flowers too much to see them needlessly die!

I want to cook and have people eat what I cook. I want to drive to the grocery store in the middle of the afternoon and shop when the lines are short.

Wouldn't that be grand? To just LIVE?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I remember

The eleventh day of September.

This day, six years ago, I was driving to my biology lab early in the morning and overheard commentators on the radio deliberating if Nashville was adequately prepared for an attack. I thought it was a role-play show. Or an advertisement for some political figure. And then the radio announcer said "... this just in ... a second plane has hit the Towers."

And I realized it was all for real.

We all stood around the televisions that day, at MTSU. Like moths to a bug lamp, we were drawn to the terror and couldn't look away as the horrific images flashed before our eyes. After seeing the figures of people dropping through the air, and the clouds of smoke, and the collapsing of uncollapsible steel and glass, we were numb. What had happened? How had it happened? And WHY? I still don't understand.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thinking back and forward



Oh, to be this little girl again. To have a messy room be the worst of my problems. To be fed, and cared for, and housed, and loved just for being me.

They never tell you how complicated being a grown-up is.

My Favorite Beach Bums



You make me happy! Destin '07 was a weekend to remember.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Now, this sounds familiar ...

Might be moving again. No, let me rephrase that: I might be moving AGAIN. This blog really ought to be called "Ruby Red is a Gypsy.

The townhouse hasn't sold yet. Five months after I moved out, and it is still sitting on the market, despite having been reduced in price twice. So, since all of our leases are up in October, myself, my roommate, and a mutual friend are considering moving BACK into the house. Well, back for me. It will be new to them. They were pretty excited about the house. I mean, after all, it is a HOUSE, not an apartment. We got into discussions about colors and room delegations, and when to get patio furniture. It has yet to be determined if we go any further than just discussing. We have to decide soon though. We have to give 30 day notice if we aren't going to be in our apartments. That only gives us about two weeks to make the final decision.

In other news, I'm still up in the air about grad school. I really need to take a half day sometime soon and hand carry over my transcripts, if I can. If not, I have to order them. Really, I should have done that already, but I didn't. If it weren't for the money/debt payment/car payment issues, there wouldn't be any flip-flopping in my mind. I want to go to business school. It just costs a lot of money. Money that I'm not sure I can afford right now. That being said, if I graduate and am unable to start my own business right off the bat, I could qualify for positions paying at least double what I make now. Double sounds good. Double sounds VERY good.

So, this post is more like a journal entry than usual. My own personal "to do" list.

Hop to it, girl.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I just walked out of Best Buy and into the 21st Century

I bought a laptop. Or, more correctly, I owe Best Buy $713 towards said laptop.

I am currently sitting in Panera and rejoicing that I no longer have to get up super early just to be able to get to work and sneak in some personal computing time. Woo hoo! Hopefully, my blogging will be more frequent, and I'll be able to once again have fun on sites like my favorite forums and blogs ... without shame. ;)

Still getting used to this keyboard, though. It's an HP, not an Apple, and it's a laptop, not a traditional keyboard. The shift key is too small! I keep hitting enter, instead of SHIFT.

LOL.

Oh, this is too much fun!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Long Live The King

This afternoon, I don't know why, I began to hum the tune to this song in my mind. Over and over, particular phrases of the melody repeated themselves. Finally, I pulled out my earbuds and turned on my iTunes and listened to the song in its entirety.

While the melody caught my ear, the lyrics, I discovered, had caught my heart. It spoke to me in the weariness and exhaustion of the day to day, the pain and worry of my mother's battle with cancer, and the joy I find in knowing I am held where nothing can harm me, in the palm of His hand. This song is the prayer of my life, at the moment.

Enjoy.


***NOTE: I found Aaron's own lyric notes with references he listed line by line. Even more powerful! ***

"Long Live The King"
From: Whispered and Shouted
Artist: Aaron Shust

My heat keeps beating even though I can’t control it
My lungs keep breathing; I admit I don’t know how [Job 14:5]
Bring the flood or bring the fire in this lifetime
I’m ready for the altar or the plough [Luke 22:31-34]

There are always days when I don’t feel like singing
There are always days when I don’t care at all [Psalm 42]
But I know the King of All Creation reigns completely
Over every moment great and small

Long live the One who gives us
Life and peace and hope for tomorrow [Jeremiah 29:11]
You’ve given everything we needed
From the palm of Your hand [Hebrews 1:3]
I’ll give my life to the One
Who pledged to cancel my sorrow [Revelation 21:4]
All I have is Yours Long Live the King [Revelation 19:15-17]

Humbly we approach Your throne of Mercy [Esther 4:11]
Aware that we’re unworthy of Your Grace [Romans 3:23]
But You have offered pardon and forgiveness [Esther 5:2]
Grievances are gone without a trace [Psalm 103:12]

You restore our lives even though we don’t deserve it
And You’ve given us a love that’s not our own [I John 4:7]
You assemble all our broken, shattered pieces
More beautiful than I had ever known [Colossians 1:18-20]

You shall reign forever and ever
You shall reign, You shall reign
Forever and ever and ever and ever and ever [Revelation 11:15]

Q O' D

"If you don't see me here, I'm at the beach!"

-Ruby Red

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Need Destin

Oh, how I need the soothing sound of the ocean, accompanied by several days of nothing but down time. My body is exhausted. My mind is exhausted. My heart is burdenend. My soul is weary.

Ironically, despite all of those things, I really am in a good place. I am just so ... tired. I've been pushing myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically for a couple of months now, and it is really starting to show. In some ways, this is a blessing! I've been more consistent with my walk with the Lord, I've seen good friends turn into amazing sister-friends, I've taken on more responsibilities at work, I've lost a little weight, and I've stepped outside of my comfort zone.

Now, I just need to "be still and know" for awhile. Just a little while. Just enough to reboot, recharge, renew.

For the space of five days, no wondering "what ever happened to him?", no hearing answering the "you have a call on 101" pages, no worrying about the client who likes to ask me "well, why can't you do that? It's so simple. Let me talk to your designer. I can tell them what to do," and no 45-minute commuting!

*sigh*

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

This Stinks

I woke up at 4:30am today and couldn't go back to sleep. So, I did what any normal girl would do. I got up.

And went to work.

Barely 6:15, and I'm sitting in my cubicle. How pathetic is that?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Q O' D

(Quote of the Day)

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

-Thomas Edison

-----
Every day at work, I put a new quote up on my whiteboard that faces the hallway. It's become expected of me ... if my coworkers don't see a new one, they ask me when I'm going to put it up. This is today's. I really like it!

Dissapointment

Things I don't want to happen, do, and things I do want to happen, don't.

That's life.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

One Week Until Destin!!!

I just realized that, as of today, I have only one week until my friends and I leave for Destin, FL over Labor Day weekend. Having not been to the ocean since I was 18 (nine years ago, but who's counting?), I am very, very excited.

We are packing up the van next Thursday evening after work and heading out into the night. We plan on arriving Friday morning, crashing for a few hours to catch up on whatever sleep we didn't get while on the road, and then relaxing at the condo or on the beach for the rest of the weekend.

We're all pretty laid back, so I don't think we'll do much site-seeing. The primary purpose of the trip is to be a Bible study retreat for my church's singles' group, but we'll probably also watch some movies, play board games, and eat out a few times. I do believe dominos will be involved at one point or another. Trust me—with my friends, that alone will take HOURS. We take our dominos seriously.

Now to go make my packing list ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Water is Viscous

Viscosity.

What a great word. It's fun to say, and it's even scientific! I love viscosity, don't you? It is so tenacious ... yet another great word. Water clinging to water. Molecules acting as a single unit that flows and pours and molds itself into whatever container it occupies. It never holds back.

I'm not sure, but I think there might be a metaphor for life in that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

31 Things That Make Me Happy

1. Blank composition notebooks
2. Genuine compliments
3. Checking off my "To Do" list check boxes
4. Odd year ages (17, 21, 25, and 27 were all good)
5. Extra Fine tipped COLOR Sharpies
6. Expensive brands of water and their classy bottles (Currently, I'm drinking "G Beneath the Rainbow" from Scotland. Its bottle is absolutely scrumptious, and award-winning to boot)
7. Guys that wear screen-printed t-shirts under sport coats and with jeans.
8. Jane Austen--nuff' said.
9. Dark chocolates from an independent gourmet chocolatier
10. The smell of a book store
11. 6am Starbucks runs for Grande Caramel Lattes before work
12. Purse shopping
13. SEPHORA stores
14. The sounds of a rain storm
15. Walking my dog
16. Boating on a lake
17. iTunes
18. Dad hugs
19. Text messages from friends during work hours
20. Flip flops
21. Air conditioning in my "new" car
22. Flying
23. Random quotations
24. Sitting by a babbling brook with my eyes closed and just ... listening.
25. Automatic car washes
26. Children's laughter
27. Flea Market antiques
28. Pedicures!
29. Sunshine and a breeze
30. A job well done
31. New friends

Monday, August 20, 2007

2 Posts, 1 Day, 4 Real

After two months of nothingness, writing two posts in one day seems excessive, but somehow I don't care because somehow I have this incredibly complex universe of thoughts flying around in my head at the speed of, well, thought. Which means I'm pondering things again. Which means I have a lot to figure out. Which means I'll probably have enough to say to fill up way more than a mere two posts per day.

So, there.

Life has this wonderful way of creeping up on me and then jumping out from behind the nearest bush while yelling, "BOO!" Aaa! I didn't see you there, Life. Where ya been?

I've been focusing all of my energy on the upkeep of relationships lately, and it has begun to drain me. I've been tired--more tired than I should be, actually. I am not saying I will for one second stop focusing my attention on the wonderful people around me. I am only saying that I have had to stop and take a few deep breaths and say a few deep prayers in order to have the strength to recharge. It's like I have batteries that have been drained, and my system has sloooowwwwwwed down in order to conserve energy.

What's been going on in the lives of people I care about for the past few months? Break-ups. Make-ups. Birthdays. Job hunts. House hunts. Engagements. Weddings. Family trips. Phone tag. Chemo treatments. Births. Spritual awakenings. Heartaches. Tests. Car troubles. Money troubles. Work troubles. Girl/Guy troubles. In other words: LIFE.

Rain

What a blessing! It finally rained last night here in Middle Tennessee. I wish it would rain more ... our poor crops and fields and lawns are thirsty.

I was outside walking my dog as the lightening approached from the distance. There's something exhilarating about feeling the wind pick up, seeing the flashes of bold, white light, and hearing the low rumble of thunder grumbling as it approaches. The air seems crisper and I always feel more aware of the enormity of the Earth and, in a small way, the awe of knowing that God has formed nature to do amazing things, from the cellular to the universal level. Every little part works together to form a whole that is, quite simply, incomprehensible.

That's a lot to ponder from just a few raindrops.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back Again

I realized today that life had been so busy that I hadn't journaled online in a very, very long time. Such a shame, considering how much I love to ramble.

So, quick update ...


GOOD STUFF:

- Job is going well, and I enjoy it for the most part. I've hit the busiest season of our year, in which I will have to live, breathe, and think "Catalog Season," that faster-than-the-speed of light time when we pump out more than 80 custom catalogs with over 200 custom pages in less than four months. Ahh, the insanity.

- Dog is good. Still acting puppyish out of pure joy since becoming a house pet. You'd never know she's a grumpy middle-aged woman in dog years.

- Got a raise.

- Got a NEW CAR!!!! YAY!!!

- Hair is a different color. Got highlights, and like it a lot. Don't think I'll go back.

- And, on a random note, it is ALMOST the one-year anniversary of my breaking my right foot, my car tags expiring and then failing emissions so I can't get new ones, and my car breaking down, all within two or three weeks of each other.


BAD STUFF:

- Still struggling with paying off debt. It is an impossible hampster wheel of activity from within a prison cell.

- Mom's cancer has stopped responding to her current regimen, and is now spreading, growing at a pace that is frightening. I keep praying for God to heal her and give her strength. Sometimes, I am ashamed I forget about her illness while I'm busy with my life. Other times, I am so overwhelmed with pain and sorrow that I don't know what to do. But I am so enormously grateful that she has made it this far. Was it only last October that she was diagnosed?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

History in the Making ... The Age of YOU

This post is an anomoly for me. First, I haven't blogged in a loooonnng time. Second, I can't remember ever blogging about politics. Third, I have never browsed YouTube.

Which is exactly why I find this so intriguing.

YouTube is accepting submissions from everyday people who would like to ask one or all of the presidential candidates a question at the upcoming, nationally-televised debates in July.

Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/debates#utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-hpp-na-us&utm_medium=hpp

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Wee Bit of Breakfast at Tiffany's




I am almost 100% moved into the new apartment. My roommate is great, and my Zoe-girl is loving her new life as an indoor pooch. I swear, it's like she dropped 10 doggie years in the past three weeks! She runs up and down the hall with puppy-like glee, plays soccer with her little pink ball, gnaws on her favorite chew bone, and has even played tug-o-war with me and her fleece chew toy.

As for me, I have finally begun to really decorate, just for the fun of it. My apartment is one of those strict no-paint places, so I had to innovate ... I hung black silky fabric with a black-on-black floral pattern across the longest wall and pulled the black picture frames with white mats from out of storage.

Taking my cue from a poster of Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the fact that my old coverlet fell to pieces in the washing machine, I bought a stunning Tiffany's turquoise blue bedspread from Target. I acutally hunted down a Tiffany's ad in a bridal magazine and carried it with me through the bedding section to get the color right. My bedspread is a shade darker ... but who cares? The poster now resides above the head of my bed. Once I scrounge up some black-and-white print pillows, and possibly some round pink satin ones (for the fun of it!), I think the full effect will be quite stunning.

After getting the bedding right, I decided to paint, after all ...

A canvas, that is.

A co-worker had told me of this amazing art store in Antioch, TN–Jerry's Artorama. It is fabulous! I spent at least an hour just browsing around before I forked out some of my tax return money to get an easel and paint. I already had a canvas I had painted a very basic pattern on a few years ago, so I simply went home, assembled the easel, pumped an up-beat CD through my surround sound DVD system, picked up a brush, and had at it.

Several happy hours later, I had the background for my new piece of art. By the next day, I had completed it. It isn't going to win any awards or even ever see the light of a gallery, but I love it.

Fans of the movie will recognize what is roughly sketched in black paint across the right-hand side of my canvas. And the gold-leaf paisley and faucet are pure joy.

The effect is just so preeeettyyyyy. I am going to have to paint more gold leaf on acrylics. Any ideas?

Friday, April 06, 2007

MOVING DAY

This Easter weekend, I move in with my new roommate.

I have boxes stacked in my house, yard sale stuff assembled in the living room and waiting to be moved out tomorrow morning into the brisk air (of all weekend for it to only be in the 40's!).

Tonight, I'll transfer as much stuff as possible over to my new master bedroom. I've never had a master bath before, so this will be nice. And I'll do a few loads of laundry. Oh, bliss!!! To not have to endure the humiliation of the public laundromat or begging laundry privileges off of friends any longer! We have a washer and dryer in the apartment!!!

My commute will be a mere 10 minutes shorter, but that is 10 minutes I don't have to be in traffic on I-24. Have I mentioned my distaste for I-24 during rush hour?

On non-rush hour drives, however, the difference will be amazing. Drive time to Nashville will be minimal, and I am equally close to shopping, restaurants, and ... STARBUCKS!

Yeah, I guess I'm quite happy. I'm keeping my expenses about the same (thank you God) and my new roommate is pleasant, and doesn't mind my dog! Can't ask for much more.

Now to work on asking for that raise I so deserve ...

What the Hooligans Did








We're so baaaaaaad!

Monday, April 02, 2007

i *heart* friends



You make me happy!

Good times.

(Nothing like a late-night Wal-Mart run, 25 pinwheels, 225 plastic Easter eggs, and 500 Post-its, and one empty home of a friend on vacation to make a Saturday night to remember!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

purple bird



This little guy makes me happy.

Made on a recycled wool sweater I got at Goodwill, I shrunk the wool at the laundromat (on purpose, for once!).

This fun little birdie is felted wool and embroidery thread. I got a felting needle tool at Hobby Lobby and let loose–it was great fun!

May I just say, crafting is good for the soul.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Crashing back down to reality ...

I hate being broke.

Just when I was beginning to get comfortable with my new life, I run aground ... AGAIN.

May I rant for a minute?

My business, the one that I poured every spare cent into, has not done well. I did recently sell a shabby-chic mirror, but the things I thought were cute are still sitting on the shelves. I'm still excited to even be doing this, and I don't regret it, but I'm beginning to realize that doing this while being broke and yet full-time employed is not going to work.

My car, the one that broke down twice in the span of one week last year, has broke down yet again, leaving me stranded on the side of a busy intersection, without my cell phone, and making me very, very late for work Friday morning. To make matters worse, when I went to look into buying a newer car yesterday, I quickly found out that I can't afford one. Period. The one 2002 Ford Focus I found that was in my price range had just as many things wrong with it as my tired old 1996 Toyota Camry. I'm sorry, but I'm not going into debt for four years AND have to fix my new car right off the bat. I'd rather just fix the problems I know my current vehicle has-without the car payments.

I had a bad week at work. I love my job, and thoroughly enjoy the people I work with, but it was just a bad week. One that isn't made any better by the realization that burger flippers in Connecticut make the same amount per hour as I do here in Tennessee.

Speaking of Connecticut, my brother with whom I shared a house just moved there. Connectictut, that is. He got a good job as a pilot at a private charter jet company that wisks the uber-rich to work in NYC every morning. Imagine that-commuting by jet. Sure cuts down on rush hour traffic-something else I hate.

The traffic for my commute is driving me crazy. What is normally a 30 minute drive sometimes stretches into an hour and a half.

One last rant ... Housing. How does anybody afford it? With my former roommate/brother moving out of state, I'm left with the rent. Our family is putting the house up for sale this week, leaving me to hunt for apartments. I had a sweet deal with my parents to be able to live in such a nice home. Now, I have to find the impossible: a cheap apartment within driving distance to downtown Nashville, in a safe neighborhood, that allows dogs, with washer/dryer hookups. Do you know how impossible that is?

Oh, and I've got to start saving for a car. This is just getting ridiculous.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rainy Days

It's raining in Nashville as I type this. I woke at 5:00 to the BOOOM of thunder, and we have a tornado watch in effect.

I was out of portable lunch food when I left for work this morning, so I ate at the place across the street. Macaroni and cheese–good rainy day comfort food. If only I was at home, lounging on the couch in my pj's with a mug of coffee and a good book!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Short Synopsis

For my loyal readers, who know the whole story, let me clarify my current position:

1. CraftLuck is my newest venture. It's non-profit, and, as I mention in the previous post, grassroots.
2. Declaration Vintage is my business. I'm thinking of re-working the name and will explore selling indie-crafts along with my antique and vintage items more aggressively than I am now.
3. Ruby Red is my avatar/personna. This is my personal blog, the one with all the history. If you've read my posts since the beginning, then you know about my journey and how I've gotten here. (If not, start at the beginning!) Ruby Red is the writer, the vintage postcard collector, the crafter, the design enthusiast, the entrepreneur. Ruby Red is ... me.

Something New ...

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I have stepped out of my comfort zone and started a whole new kind of grassroots craft movement. It's a local concept, for now. An indie-driven, freestyle, one-of-a-kind event called CraftLuck. Basically, crafters in Middle Tennesse can participate in a potluck-style meeting in which participants bring craft supplies to share with the entire group for the duration of the event.

Unlike a stamping party, nobody is selling the products used. Unlike a scrapbook meet, more than one kind of craft is being created. Unlike a traditional potluck meal, you can't, well, eat what everyone else has brought (unless, of course, they brings snacks to share, too)!

What you can do is have fun. I'm hoping that people who don't normally spend time crafting will come and enjoy themselves, as well. I want to get the word out that crafting is for everyone, and that you don't have to be perfect to be creative.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday!

It's Friday, I'm heading out of the office .... YAY!!!

Actually, though it's been a long, hard week, and my allergies are killing me, I'm sort of excited: we are in the process of renovating the office. I have a brand spankin' new cubicle that is BIGGER than my old one (by quite a bit, actually!). And a new Mac mini.

So that's good, right?

(It's just that every Monday reminds me again of why I can't wait to have my own business).

*sigh*

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Long (and Overdue) Update

I’ve switched out most of my inventory in the showcase and have changed gears yet again. Out are the majority of the purses and all of the costume jewelry. I loved them, but obviously the market was not right for them at the antique mall. So, I’ll sell them another way, perhaps online or in a trunk show. I’m losing money on rent, but the past three months have been an incredible learning experience for me!

So far, the antique shoppers of Nashville have liked (and, more importantly, bought) the following: baroque-style gold mirrors, end-of-the-day Bakelite, vintage belts, vintage wicker and leather purses, blue glass, and a decorative fan.

I’m trying to be the bootstrapper of bootstrappers and the guerrilla marketer of guerilla marketers, considering my budget is, well, nonexistent. Sometimes, I think I’m going to go crazy, because even when I’ve stopped intentionally planning, my brain takes over and I can’t concentrate at work or go to sleep at home because new ideas spin around and around and around until I have the compulsion to write them down or make a new phone call contact—immediately.

My business has gone through such a metamorphosis, even in the past year, that sometimes I stop and wonder if I’ve completely lost it. How will I ever stick with one idea through to the finish line? How many other ideas will I hotly pursue, only to drop later on down the road without so much as a tootle-loo?

More importantly, will I ever start to make a profit?

Yet I can’t deny that jumping in and making the financial commitment to sign a 6-month lease, however small the space, has been the best thing I’ve ever done. Even my little showcase has transformed me from dreamer to do-er, and that one small change has affected every aspect of my life. Instead of buying clothes for myself, I hunt down vintage finds to add to my collection. Instead of blogging as much as I used to, I spend my spare time making labels and pricing my stock (a task I have been surprised to discover I dislike!). Instead of taking a leisurely lunch break, I take at least one lunch per week on the run when I drive over to check the booth and rearrange things to keep it fresh looking. Instead of reading a book, I write marketing plans.

And, for the final, and most unusual change to my business daydreams: the boring stuff is taking precedence. Since I’m so small, I have yet to print business cards (albeit they are next). Instead, I am determined to learn small business record keeping and my next step is to set up a cash-flow statement and an inventory database to keep track of sales, trends, and current stock. How mundane. How tedious. How absolutely necessary!

Who woulda thunk that I, the graphic design enthusiast, would put the image-making stuff last!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm a Compulsive Creative

So, today we were talking around the lunch table and I was told that I was a true creative because I compulsively have to create things. Makes sense, I guess.

It certainly would explain a lot about my childhood! LOL! Selling wildflower bouquets to little old ladies, dictating poetry before I could write it, and teaching myself to play the piano ... sounds pretty compusively creative to me.

I ... can't ... stop. Must .... post to ... Blogger ....

Ahhhh, the life of a right-brainer.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Oh, Incidentally ...

http://www.myspace.com/declarationvintage

Check it out.

I feel official, now

Last night I was checking out at Target. The girl ringing my purchases up asked how I was doing, initiated the usual cashier chit-chat, and commented on the magazines I was buying (Domino, Lucky, Country Living, and Mary Engelbreit's magazine).

I admitted, a bit shyly, that I am a magazine addict, but justified my purchase by explaining that it was research for my business.

"Oh, really?" she said, all interested. "Do you mind if I ask what kind of business it is?"

"I sell vintage accessories and decorative items."

"That's so cool!" she said.

And there you had it, I'm official, and now I'm dying to design and print business cards.

Whoooaaaaa, Bessy. One thing at a time. You gotta pay the February rent first!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wednesday = Friday's Coming


Why has this week been so long? I don't know. Maybe because I'm working on updating a client database. Long, drawn-out, and, well, how can you get around saying it? Boring.

But it's all good.

'Cause I have things like this (I believe) blue moon Bakelite bangle to make me happy.

Of course, I'd be even happier if it sold!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Will this day ever end???


4:53pm. At Work. Pleeeeeease clock turn to 5:00pm. I am exceedingly bored!

4:54pm. Posting this image. It makes me happy. Did I mention it was from my vintage booth at the antique mall?

Uh-huh.

You can buy any of these things, folks.

Snatch 'em up!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Picking up speed

I am taking a break from work for just a minute to update my blog. I probably shouldn't be doing this, but my brain is all fuzzy from concentrating on my current marketing work-in-progress, so I need a break.

That being said ...

I've decided on a name for my new official business and have just registered for a MySpace account again. I haven't done MySpace since late last spring, because I found it a waste of time, but the amazing power of that online community is undeniable for my targe demographic of 18-35 year-old indie and/or vintage minded young adults (not to mention the free "toot your own horn" PR for a newbie business!).

I also posted my first Craig's List ad for a vintage Bakelite bangle I have for sale.

Yesterday, I updated my antique mall display case and filled it with vintage bangles, a couple of vintage plastic bead necklaces, and vintage purses.

I fully intend to handcraft my Ruby Red line of cards and sell those, too.

All in all, it feels uber-good to be taking these newest baby steps toward boutique-shop ownership.