Friday, November 07, 2008

Getting back in the groove

There has been so much happening that I don't even know where to start, except to say: I'm exhausted. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

And I'm ready to move forward with my life. I think I need to sit down with a cozy blanket, some jazz, and a composition book and plot the next points in the map that is my future.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The First Day of Autumn is Bittersweet

Dear friends, perhaps you did not know … but my mother blogs, as well. To know what is going on in MY life right now, you need only read what is going on in HERS. She explains things so much better than I can.

http://edifications-cjf.blogspot.com/2008/09/liver-failure_22.html

I love you, Mom.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Numb

So, I went to the second of my dental sessions today. Yesterday I got three little cavities on my left filled. Today it was the three little cavities on my right. I found out yesterday that my upper jaw doesn't numb quickly when I felt the drill a little bit. A shock of sudden cold and sensation is scary! So today, when I had TWO fillings to go in up top as opposed to yesterday's one, I was nervous. Would it hurt again?

Sure enough, she had to add more numbing agent about 2-3 times to get me numb enough to continue drilling. Also, on the bottom, she hit a nerve or something, because it shot straight into my tongue.

My face is tight and numb from the middle of my neck up to my right eyeball, and even a little bit of my eyebrow. I can barely swallow. And I have a headache.

That's my whining quota for the day. I hope that I start feeling normal by tonight, because I need to clean the kitchen big time. And MJ is coming over to help me assemble my Target pre-fab bookcases.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Trip Time!

August 5th was my last post? AUGUST 5th??!! How could I be so verbally inadequate? I haven't blogged in 20 days? Goodness gracious.

Lots of excitement and intrigue has ensued. Busy season at work is busy again. I feel a little lazy because we're caught up and two other people are helping me do the work of what was formerly mainly the job of one person (me.) Granted, my old coworker did so much in the background that I think we will never quite know just how much he did. He was superman of the catalog season.

I had some scares. But God helped me bounce back. And I had the support of friends and family to get me through it.

And now, I look forward to the exciting times of the weekends over the next month. Oh really, you say? And why is that? Because I get to hang out with some people I really enjoy and don't see often.

Happy Weekends, you'll make busy season a little more bearable.

*contented sigh*

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

In Praise of Peter Rabbit

Google pointed out that today is Beatrix Potter's birthday.

I couldn't imagine my childhood without Peter, Benjamin, Mopsy, Flopsy, and Cottontail. Mrs. Tiggywinkle was my favorite laundress. Jemima Puddleduck taught me the perils of trusting strangers and not thinking for myself. Tom Kitten became part of our family (literally!). Anna Maria and Samuel Whiskers made for some great times of quotations and laughter. And Miss Potter's gorgeous, timeless watercolor illustrations are indelibly marked on my memories of childhood.

Thanks, Beatrix.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why bother?

So, here it is, 9:58 a.m. on Friday morning, and I am hungry, and I'm about to eat another yummy Snyder's of Hanover hard pretzel ... the big, fat, crunchy, salty kind. And as I reach for the box in my desk drawer, I realize that my coffee mug is still 3/4 full. Almost two hours after I trudged to the kitchen to pour myself a cuppa joe blended with two packets of powdered creamer and a smidge of sugar.

I realized, at this point, that I hardly ever finish a cup of coffee, if it isn't from Starbucks and filled with lots of foamed milk and caramel syrup.

Honestly, why do I even bother?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Colons

Colons have been on my mind lately. Granted, there are two equally true meanings to this statement. One has to do with my mother's cancer. The other ... grammar.

My Eats, Shoots & Leaves daily grammar tidbit calendar had this lovely little quotation for yesterday. I thought I'd share:

"Like a well-trained magician's assistant, the colon pauses slightly to give you time to get a bit worried, and then efficiently whisks away the cloth and reveals the trick complete."

Come to think of it, my life has been a bit of a colon lately. A big, dramatic pause. I eagerly await the Reveal.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The I Haven't Blogged In A Long Time Blog

Nothing much to say. Figuring out life. Wish some things were less complicated.

Pray for me?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Now or Later

For my friends who hit up Go USA a few weeks ago ...

I just had to let you know that I just ate my last Now and Later. It is orange flavored, but tastes slightly like chemicals.

I found it in the bottom of my purse. And I thought of y'all. Especially the part where we played Ski-Ball to earn those tickets!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Miss You

Yes, you. You, who used to write me regular emails, or at least responded to my tidbits quickly. You know who you are. You've been awfully quiet lately.

I miss you, too. The other you. The you that I used to write to more often. I should write to you again. I'm the one slacking, here.

Funny how the electronic age has made it so easy to contact each other, and yet we don't. But I wish we would, more.

Keep in touch!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blogging Isn't Always the Best Idea

I just read a couple of articles that made me stop and think. I know that only a handful of people read this blog, and I'm so glad to keep up with friends and family this way, but how beneficial is it for me to be writing out my life online?

I have always tried to maintain a semblance of anonymity. Sometimes names slip out. For the shy, like myself, I try to go back and adjust as necessary. But the result has been a nearly four year documentation, not just of my life, my ideas, my dreams, but also of God's working and faithfulness. I can look back at posts from previous years and see how, even though I feel like I'm just treading water, God has moved me (sometimes literally) from point A to point B, and it has been for my ultimate good.

But is online taking over the real world? It's something to think about. I never, ever aspire to be "A Blogger" ... the ones who end up on CNN or Lifetime or, as in the case of one edgy social blogger, Emily Gould, on the virtual pages of The New York Times online magazine, spilling her emotional guts in black and white and 0's and 1's. Have I followed in the footsteps of the over-sharers of the online world? Have pixels become the new red carpet? Glamorous, dangerous, exposed?

Sketch Your Own Furniture From Your Imagination Into Reality!



A coworker sent me this link, and I had to share it. Crazy, a little clunky, not so beautiful, but completely amazing nonetheless. (And Aaron ... I'm waiting to see what you come up with, my furniture designing and oh-so-industrious friend!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Random Things I'd Like to Do One Day

- Own and drive a completely refurbished old convertible. You know, the kind that they drove in the 1930s or something.
- Take my picture standing just inside a bright red covered bridge somewhere in New England.
- See New York City with somebody who knows his/her way around.
- Make art in Portland, Oregon.
- Go shopping in Savannah, Georgia.
- Pet a monkey ... you know, one of those professional dancing monkeys, with the cute little hats and jackets.
- Watch a monarch migration in progress.
- Dress up like a pirate. And go somewhere totally non-piratey. Like, I dunno, Cracker Barrel. Or the Washington Monument.
- Win at dominoes.
- Invent a board game that becomes a national phenomenon. Retire rich.
- Speaking of games, I'd like to buy a high-quality croquet set and actually use it. On a manicured lawn. While the hedgehogs watch.
- Read Les Miserables. And like it.
- Drive across the country.
- Walk into an airport, randomly buy a ticket, and go. No luggage.
- Have a perfume named after me.
- Count how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pop vs. Soda

Forget whether or not to vote Republican or Democrat this year. The real burning question is whether that carbonated beverage you are drinking is a Pop or a Soda?

Vote today.

Laugh, Don't Cry



"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward."
- Kurt Vonnegut


Monday, June 16, 2008

Let the Networking Begin

I am going crazy in a dead-end job that a high schooler could do with little difficulty. The busy season hits in two months. Do I still want to be there when it happens?

No.

Crystal and I were talking, and I'm wondering if taking a couple (a few?) part-time jobs here in the 'Boro might be the best way to go while I figure things out. I hate the idea of leaving a professional job yet again for the unknown of part-time, but it seems the only way to economize on gas while at the same time allowing for flexibility in case I get an interview.

Then the question becomes: where and when do I begin interviewing? How soon should I start sending resumes out? And to where? Should I answer newspaper ads? Online ads? Craigslist ads?

Probably.

But there is also the factor that I won't truly be happy until I at least have gone all out and tried to start my business at last. I don't want to regret never starting it, that's for sure. Will it be risky?

Yes.

So I'm torn which direction to turn. I do know that I thought starting a business was the way to go three and a half years ago, but that did not turn out as expected for me, obviously. Plus, there is the little problem of my consumer debt (ok, a big problem) and bills and expenses, such as the car problems I need to have investigated. Having a well-paying job in an affluent area for a few years might be the best thing to do, just to pay off all my debt, get a car that is decent and will last, and have some spare money set aside to live off of for the first few months.

But then again, if I always wait, I will never do. There is never an ideal time for starting a business. And, as Crystal pointed out, It's not exactly like I'm being impulsive about this. I've only wanted to own and run my own business since I was about 4. That's only 24 years in the making!

In the meantime, I wanted to send a shout-out to all of my friends, family, and random readers, I am looking for a job in one of these areas:

- copywriting
- marketing
- advertising
- account/brand management (least favorite option, but I can't argue that I don't have experience. This is what I've been doing the past two years).
- creative directing
- online marketing
- freelance writing
- desktop publishing/publication design
- library work. Hey--why not? I liked it when I was a clerk years ago. I could do it again.

If you hear of anything, let me know. I'm looking nationwide, with a preference for big cities in a good cost-of-living area that is entrepreneur/boutique store friendly and warmish climate. I've heard good things about Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. And I'm still open to the Nashville, TN area, as well. However, it has become increasingly obvious to me that the kind of store I want to start is not one that will go over very well in Nashville. I need a more metropolitan, artsy-fartsy vibe area, with lots of money to spare for home furnishings, art, handmade items, vintage and antique items, indie designer clothing lines, and excellent books and journals. Either that, or lots of mid-sized businesses that might need freelance copywriting/publication design help.

Please pray for me. This is a huge decision for me. And I'm scared I'll make the wrong choice. Or even that I'll make the right choice for the wrong reason. But if you know anybody who knows someone who knows someone who needs a creative, hard-working, honest, enthusiastic worker ... let me (and them) know!

Agree With Obama? Shocking!

An interesting thing to come out of this insane presidential race: I agree with a staunch Democrat about at least one thing about this country's foundational makeup.

Kids need Dads, regardless or race, religion, creed, or political bent.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day



Happy Father's Day, Dad!

(p.s. Just read "wo"man in the appropriate place during this little clip ...)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Well. Here We Are. I'm 28.

And another year comes around. Whoop-dee-do.

Actually, this has been a pretty fabulous birthday. I've gotten fun and heartwarming e-cards, emails, texts, and phone calls. A few people at work who are in the know have wished me well.

When the work day is over, I'll meet up with friends for dinner and a movie.

I feel loved.

Thanks, y'all.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tic Tac Commercial

So a coworker told me he had seen the new Tic Tac commercial and thought the girl in it reminded him of me. I have to admit ... she's quirky, and impish. Like I am, on a good day.

What do you think? Any resemblances of look, expression, or attitude?

(Watch the "Bounce" spot for Tic Tac on TV.)

Gas Prices Hit All-Time High; My Wallet Hits All-Time Low


Just a shot from yesterday's USA Today front page. In case you hadn't already heard, we've set a new record—the average price for regular unleaded is now $4.02 nationwide. Here in the Nashville area, it is hovering around $3.94-$3.99.

The other day I was reading about the highest commuter gas costs per day by city. I think the average high was $6.50 a day per commuter. I spend $10. That beats out L.A., Houston, and Chicago!

I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to afford coming to work. I've already cut out the majority of entertainment expenses. Next up will be to cut out all eating out, despite the fact that I tend to spend less on food when I do (since I generally split all meals into at least two portions, and don't waste anything).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

At Rest

It's been a long, long weekend. Make that a long month or so.

I figured it out: in the last 40 days, I have been in Tennessee, Washington D.C., Connecticut, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts.

Yesterday was grandma's graveside memorial service. It was so strange to see the dirt for the two graves still fresh, side by side. Perhaps because I had already cried so much the week before, or perhaps because it was harder to see the casket at grandpa's service, I did not cry much this time around. Yet silent tears began to trickle down my cheeks when my aunt and uncle and mother choked up and cried during their eulogies. The prayers, poetry, scripture reading, remembrances, and Mom's singing of "Be Thou My Vision" in honor of her mother's Irish heritage (and fledgling faith) were heartfelt and beautiful. I'm glad we didn't have a traditional service for her. It seemed so much more personal and loving this way.

At last my mom and dad can go home and recuperate. At last we can all return to "normal." This also applies for my aunt and uncle who have spent the past 2-3 months alternating weeks to care for my grandparents as their health deteriorated and they finally passed away.

Now ... life goes on.

Up next for me: pray, pray, pray for guidance. Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Seek advice, but ultimately follow my conscience as led by God. And put out lots of feelers for job opportunities.

And ... I'm thinking about business stuff again. Thanks to the prompting of brooklyncs and my mother. Maybe ... just maybe ...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Note to Self: The Grass Isn't Always Greener

Today's featured article at Boundless.org hit home. When I'm restless, I seek change. But am I seeking Christ? And am I giving Him my all in whatever current situation He has placed me in?

While I still believe some exciting changes are in my near future, I am equally convinced that I need to be content while still chewing on the grass in my own backyard. That's the green pasture the Shepherd has placed me in for the time being.

Excuse me, I have some Middle Tennessee grass to go eat.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bouncy Balls in San Francisco - Sony Bravia



A little blurry, but stunning. An advertisement worth watching.

Luddites Unite!

(Image of print from Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee)


I think I am becoming something of a Luddite.

It started with my fascination with letterpress printing. It popped up in my realization that I dislike the scrapbooking industry because it feels too commercialized and fake compared to spur-of-the-moment collages and old fashioned journaling. Then it became clearer as I avoided fancy cell phones that did everything except make the perfect cappuccino in favor of plain jane flip phones that acted and felt like real phones.

Give me an apple over apple-flavored juice any day. Let me write on paper so I can avoid staring at a screen. Share a laugh with me in the open air. Go to the symphony before you buy the CD.

Be real. Be free. Be Luddite.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A New Frontier

I know that one of my chief flaws is indecision, and it is something I've been working on improving. However, as brooklyncs pointed out to me recently, while I am the worst for wavering back and forth when I'm trying to make up my mind (a decision can take a day, a week, a month, a year ... or longer), once I have made that decision, I spring into action. Perhaps this is for fear of changing my mind again, but I generally feel an overwhelming sense of relief and purpose immediately after a decision. It's like pulling a Band-aid off as quickly as possible. Just get it over with, already! Change invigorates me. It keeps me on my toes.

Two years ago, I was chomping at the bit to move to the Nashville area and get back into my church and find a job. I did all those things. I guess I thought it was a choice for the rest of my life. Now I'm not so sure. In fact, I think I've made up my mind about a new direction to take.

I have decided to look nationwide for my next "career move", with an emphasis on still trying to stay in a warmer climate. The reason is simple: Nashville cannot meet my financial needs at this time. While there are a few jobs I could apply for in my field in this area, they are either upper-level management positions or entry-level grunt jobs. I've put in my share of grunt time. Now I need to develop the skills I've accumulated and use them in a position where I am hired for my capabilities and not just my eagerness to enter the field. This, combined with the fact that I would either have to move to the Metro area or Brentwood /Franklin in order to economize on gas, has made me realize that it does not matter where I look—I will still end up separated from my current church family by distance. It is too hard to faithfully serve and attend when you have to drive over 30 minutes in order to get to church on time. I know. I've tried.

What I am evaluating:

- Opportunities for growth in my field. If I am not able to start my business right away, I need to find a city where I don't have to move yet again in order to better my salary and position.
- Entrepreneur friendliness. I need to find a city or region in which a new business would thrive, whether a retail boutique or a freelance copywriting/publication design service.
- Availability of solid, Bible-believing, vibrant churches. I need to be able to plug into a local church quickly so I can grow and serve under sound spiritual guidance.
- Likelihood to meet like-minded Christians my age for much-needed friendships. Iron sharpens iron.
- Cost of living. If the city has many opportunities, but it costs too much to live there, that's a big no-no. (Read: unless God writes it in neon letters in the sky, I am not moving to NYC or L.A.)
- Commute. I never want to have to drive an hour to get to work again, if at all possible. I would need to know that there is adequate housing not too far from my place of work.
- Salary opportunities. In order to warrant moving out of state, I would need to have a certain salary. This is to cover the cost of flying back to see my parents on occasion, as well as to help with my primary objective: get out of debt. I hate the bondage of debt, and never wish to be enslaved again. My current job only helps me tread water with my payments. I want to drain the lake.
- Enjoyment of job. I have a job I can "tolerate", and I've been in bad jobs that I "couldn't stand," I think now, that I still have a job, is the time to try to find that elusive thing ... the job you like. It needs to be for a company or non-profit I can wholeheartedly support, or at least stomach. It should be a new, challenging position that enables me to use my talents and requires that I am fully engaged with the process.
- Extracurricular activities. Though hardly the most important part of a city search, I think this is important, as well. It can be lonely and frustrating to have nothing to do on the weekends other than browse Barnes & Nobles (as wonderful as that is, it only is wonderful for so long). Ideally, there would be musical venues, a symphony, pro sports, a theater, well-kept parks and historical locations, and great shopping (i.e. not just the chain stores, but also fun boutiques).
- Length of time it would take to visit family and friends. I'd prefer to keep travel time to 4-6 hours max. That's what it currently takes to go see Mom and Dad (and Kevin), Elliott and Morgen, and even extended family in Pennsylvania or Rhode Island. I'd like to keep it that way. Anything more is too exhausting, and would drain all the enjoyment out of a weekend visit.
- Educational opportunities. It would be ideal to live in an area with a university that has a solid M.B.A. or M.A. in Mass/Corporate Communications program or even an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. I still fully intend to complete a master's degree at some point in the next few years, although I doubt I will ever again attempt full-time classes while at a full-time job.
- Good Community. As a single woman, safety is always of great importance to me. The cleanliness of the city, as well as the pride and care in its upkeep by residents is also important to me. And eventually, if I am still in the same area and God sees fit to allow me to be married and raise a family of my own, I will want to know it is a place that is safe for children.

My main concern is how this will affect my family. Especially after the death of my maternal grandparents, I've found that I value the closeness and camaraderie that only family can provide. We need each other to get through life, that much is certain. However, after initially discussing this with my Mom, she has been incredibly supportive of my plans. She affirmed my decision to move on from my current position. The wonderful part about growing up and becoming true friends with your parents is that you value their wisdom and advice so much more, and are pleasantly surprised when you discover you can have in-depth discussions about life and come away feeling energized from sharing a dream, not drained from defending your point of view.

My next post will be about the reason I have finally decided "Enough is ENOUGH."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Swimmy: A Correction of Fact




I told the gang at Aaron's over Memorial Day weekend that Swimmy had been my favorite children's book when I was growing up. I attributed this work of genius to Eric Carle. I was mistaken. It was the artistic triumph of Leo Lionni. And the world is a better place for it.

Thanks, Leo!

(and thanks to Random House for the borrowed image.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Bubble Tea Adventure

MJ and I needed some time off from life, and thought Nashville's Centennial Park would be the ideal place to throw out a blanket, sit quietly, and read or journal in the sunshine.

The first thing we had to do was find some Bubble Tea. MJ hadn't had any since she lived in Chicago, and was craving some. I just happened to remember Fat Straw in West End at the new Edgehill Village. We got some, she loved it; I didn't. But perhaps Passionfruit smoothies are not my style.

So then, off to Centennial Park ... except when we arrived, there was some sort of event with tents and lots of people and news crews. Tents with rainbows of balloons.

I looked at MJ and said, "I hope you don't mind if we don't stop in and set up the blanket today."

We went to Long Hunter State Park, instead, and sat out by the lake.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Loving Memory

June Robadue

May 24, 19?? —
May 29, 2008 at 12:40 a.m.

My parents tried, but they didn't make it all the way up to Massachusettes before she passed.

The world today doesn't prepare us for this kind of thing. The grass on the grave site has not yet grown back where she will be buried next to my grandfather.

One month, 3 days later.
An empty house.
Our family grieves in double.

I await news of the funeral.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Shadow of Death

MJ reminded me about Psalm 23 today, and it is amazing how a passage I have known my entire life--one that is traditionally associated with comfort during times of mourning--is still as relevant to me today as it was relevant to David thousands of years ago.

I don't wish to sound morbid, but the nature of death and loss has been indelibly imprinted in my thoughts lately. We buried my grandfather two weeks ago. And now, his wife is slowing slipping away, as well.

When I found out the severity of the situation, I called to speak to my grandmother today. My aunt answered the phone and held the phone to my grandmother's ear, so she could hear me. I told her I loved her. I told her I was doing well and shared a bit about my life. I told her I loved her again. She heard me, and had responded in little raspy-breathed moans to what I said, but I could not understand a single word. When my aunt took the phone away from her ear and spoke to me, she began to cry. My heart was heavy. But yet, tears did not come to me until after I had hung up. I don't know why I respond to sorrow with numbness. I don't want to. But then the tears hit me when I least expect them to. A sudden feeling of awareness stops me in place, and if I move or speak, or acknowledge that feeling, I begin to weep.

I wept Sunday night while at Aaron's. We were singing "It is Well With My Soul," and I could not bear to sing the words. I couldn't stop thinking about my Dad and how it is his favorite song. I couldn't bear to think about the pain he is going through, watching my Mom struggle with inoperable cancer. I couldn't bear to think about how that song, the song we used to sing as a trio--me, Mom, and Dad--as a special during church services, is now a song that can describe our family's fears and sorrows and pains.

I'm crying now, as I type this. I've never felt so vulnerable, and scared, and confused as I do this year. So much has happened.

I may well be attending my grandmother's funeral in the week to come. Hospice has come to help her, and she is barely able to breath. It hurts to hear her in this condition. I think back to the stories she told of her childhood ... of running freely through the woods like a wild child and playing impish pranks. I think of tales of her teaching my mother as a child how to can corn or pick raspberries. I think of her as a young grandmother, watching my brothers and I and teaching us how to blow large, rainbow-colored dish detergent bubbles that shifted and bulged and danced across the open air above the freshly mowed lawn while my grandfather tended his garden and pulled out fresh carrots to be watered down by the green hose so we could eat them. I think of her as frail elderly woman, still as opinionated and cantankerous as ever, telling us how to eat healthy and speaking out against errant grandchildren's crazy grown-up ways. I think of her grief-stricken face as she mourned the loss of her husband while clasping the folded flag given to her in his honor by the humble American Legion representative as the wind blew a storm in.

I love you, Grandma. And I'm going to miss you.

Dear God ... please get us through this valley. I can't see the way through these tears.

Eeeetssss Gooood!

I broke away from life for a weekend and went with MJ, RachelBaby, Ali, and John (who doesn't exist online yet) to visit Aaron of Pursuing Pineapple fame in the natural state of Arkansas.

And oh, what fun we had! It was a weekend of quotes, board games, cooking, movies, and Sing-Alongs-With-Aaron time.

For four whole days, I was able to take the focus off of my own life and just chill with good friends. It was a welcome break from work stress (two people from my team quit, leaving me the only one who knows what's going on with a big new project).

I'll write more later, once we decide how to get our planned "Round Robin" blog up and running, but until then I have just a few things left to say:

"It's Good!" "Benny and the Jets." And ... "Yes! Respect for Self!" or "Tastes Like Liberty!"

Oh, yeah.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Living Life in Real Time

I've found that the more I experience, the less I write about it. The less that words, my old, dear friends, seem capable of painting the portrait of the moment.

In my mind, it all gets jumbled, until a moment of clarity shines through like a beam of light through a dusty window in an abandoned farm house.

Suddenly, all is clear.

These sunbeams are all too rare in my life these days. I need to open the window and let the ambient light in.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Emotions

There is so much going on that I don't even know how to write about it. So many things flying through my mind. So many things unsettling my heart. So many wishes and dreams and goals that seem to have stalled in the air.

I just want to get it over with, pick up my things, and plunge forward into the great unknown. Change is good. Change gets your mind off things.

But why can't I just have a good solid crying session and get it all out? I'm such a weird emotional person. I feel intensely, but I can't express it at all the right way. It gets all muddled and confused and tucked into corners of my mind that refuse to let go.

Life is never easy, is it?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Exhaustion

It's been a long week.

Life certainly has a way of smashing you in the face and then leaving you with a million questions afterwards. It stresses you, hurts you, frightens you, saddens you, encourages you, supports you, confuses you, and surprises you.

At least, that's what my life has done this week.

How 'bout yours?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jazz Music and Open Windows at Night

Happy first official drive-at-night-with-the-car-windows-down-and-jazz-music-playing-on-the-radio day, everyone!

It's probably one of my favorite parts of spring and summer.

Growing Pains

I have tried to write this post several times now. And yet, it hasn't gotten any easier to type or think through.

At the point where my own life has started to grow and bloom, I am being faced with the fragility of life in the face of my mother's stage 4 cancer and now, my grandfather's imminent death.

How is it that joy and excitement and hope and laughter can sit side-by-side with regret and sorrow and mourning? Or that bills and budgets and grocery store lists must continue to be attended to while dreams or fears or uncertainties take over my mind.

But life ... my life ... goes on. And, as I look back over the past four years, and especially the past six months or so, I find that I have changed, even as I think I am not changing. I have changed. It is almost surreal. But no, it is very, very real.

I think it is all just called "growing up."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy God Made Earth Day!

It's beautiful. It's precious. It is an amazing display of God's creative power.

And, when He was done making it, He said it was good ... so, I should probably try to take care of it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tenderness

Am I tender? Am I willing to be shaped and molded by Christ? Am I willing to be pruned, guided, watered, checked and balanced?

I was pondering this as I sat in Panera working on my report this afternoon. I overheard a mix of conversations over the hours I spent at my table, typing away. Some people were annoying and loud; some were quiet and sweet; some were gregarious and pleasant; some were self-absorbed and important. I could hear it in their voices. I could see in their faces.

What could they see in mine? Would they see a tender heart surrounded by a woman of character?

It was food for thought.

Engineers and Cats. Who Woulda Thunk.



Just wait 'til you see the yodeling. Impressive.

Friday, April 18, 2008

IHOP

So, the roommate and I have a new tradition: IHOP on the weekends. Late. Really late. Like, when she gets off work late. (That would be 11pm.)

Do you know what amazing things you can find at IHOP at 11pm? Let's just say, it ain't pretty. But it's pretty hilarious.

Last week, we overheard the two guys behind us discussing relationships and breakups. The one guy was hanging on to every word of the other guy, as if his life depended on it. If it weren't for the fact that they were sitting in the booth immediately behind us, I would have busted out laughing at some of the things I heard. Retract that: I did laugh. I just covered my mouth and choked back as much of it as possible.

We wanted to turn around, tap him on the shoulder, and say, "Excuse me? Just so you know, everything this guy is telling you is WRONG. Don't believe a word of it. He obviously doesn't understand women AT ALL."

But we didn't. We held our tongues.

So, I am about to head over to IHOP. Free wi-fi and cheap decaf coffee galore while I type my paper that is due Sunday. And, of course, people watch. You never know what you'll see next. My prediction? Prom couples. The roommate just sent me a picture text with four girls in prom dresses she met in Wal-Mart. Classy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

The rain is not improving my mood. I woke up late and got to work very late. I am not doing so hot on the database. I am crabby about school. I am wishing life would hurry up and magically grant me my wishes. I am being ridiculous.

I am better now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Occupational Hazard

Inkpox.

Alarming blue spots all up and down my lower right arm. I will post a picture later.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Clothespins

I saw an article recently on how to decorate clothespins and use them for holding pictures when strung up on a line or when glued to a wooden backboard.

Now, I've done the stringing photographs by a line thing with clothespins, but I've never decorated them that I recall.

I thought it would be a wonderful little project. I've decided to attach strong magnets on the back, so they can stick to the refrigerator and hold notes or photos. I'll post pictures when I do, and I have considered posting sets of four on sale on Etsy, if I am pleased with the result of my artful endeavor.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Grammar Nerd Humor

From my Eats, Shoots & Leaves daily calendar page for today:

"The day after the abolition of the apostrophe, imagine the scene. Triumphant abolitionist sits down to write, 'Goodbye to the apostrophe, we're not missing you a bit!' and finds that he can't."

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I Mowed the Yard Today

Aren't you impressed?

First time I had operated a lawn mower since approximately 1992. Front and back lawns are doing fine. I, however, have a blister between my right thumb and forefinger.

I'm counting that as my workout for today. According to one calorie counter, I burned approximately 424 calories for my one hour of activity. Not bad.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Book People

Book people are intriguing creatures. They come in all shapes and sizes, but have particular habits all their own.

Have you met the comic book and manga readers? Their aisle in Books-a-Million has grown quite a bit over the past couple of years. They could be 14 year-old boys or 22 year-old women. They might look Emo. They might look Goth. They might look completely non-descript. They might even have a sketchbook and pencil with them, to copy their favorite characters and learn how to draw anime.

The magazine readers filter to the back and scope out their favorites, browsing through page after page while standing in front of the rack, completely oblivious to the world (and the person next to them who is trying to reach across and grab the newest Runner's World or Southern Living).

Forty-something bestseller readers with classy tortoiseshell glasses and perfectly coiffed hair wander the aisles looking for a good read from the favorite authors. Perhaps this year's Mary Higgins Clark, Tom Clancy, or Patricia Cornwell for that trip to Daytona Beach or Boston.

There's always a supply of down-to-earth hikers, bikers, and travelers pouring over the travel and adventure guides. They are easily identifiable by their fleece vests and trendy hiking boots.

The kids are kept company with a favorite movie in the children's reading area. Those who don't watch the latest Disney favorite are begging for the new American Girl book or Lemony Snickett tale.

Huddled in one of the back aisles, two philosphy lovers, themselves in love, flip through the pages of serious-looking hardcovers with long titles and obscure authors. The two huddle head-to-head, smiling and nodding and seriously discussing something utterly important.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Long Weekend at Home

After three busy, busy weekends (Chicago, East Tennessee, Nashville birthday jaunt with Crystal and MJ), I am at home for once, and I plan on being at home until I go to church on Sunday. Unless, of course, a friend calls and begs me to leave my self-imposed hermitage.

I've just been so busy lately that I really need to pay some attention to little things like taking time to read a book, or actually study for those tests next week, or clean the house. Do laundry. You know, the mundane stuff.

So, the plan for tonight is to get into my pj's, grab a book, and curl up under a blanket on the couch and just enjoy the experience of reading for pleasure for once. I'll probably listen to some quiet music in the background until I'm done, and then the music will have to go upbeat so I stay motivated while cleaning.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

One Last Post: Tonight's Collage



I finally did another collage. This one is multi-media; oil pastels, old photographs I discovered at an antique shop, felt flowers from something vintage, and charcoal pencil on three 5x7 canvas panels.

I don't have a name for the series yet, but it was incredibly relaxing. I think I should make this a weekly activity.

The Fam

The result of the Big Surprise over Easter weekend.



Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Mom, Dad, brothers, and sister-in-law?

Observations from the Gym

What's up with talking on the cell phone while working out? Better yet ... what's up with talking on the cell phone while jogging around the indoors track?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Avoiding Work at the Moment—Don't Judge Me

So, I'm doing my accounting homework yesterday afternoon before class (I get off work early on Mondays and Tuesdays for this very purpose), and I need my computer professor dad to help with some Excel stuff.

We're supposed to calculate how much I'd have to have in an 8% savings account as of this month in order for me to have $1 million to my name by the time I am 65. I get one number; he gets another.

Turns out, he's pre-aged me. See, I figured I would have 38 years to earn this interest. He said I had only 37. I said, "but I'm not 28 yet." He said, "yes, but you will be in a month and a half."

That stopped me in my tracks.

How could 27 have gone so fast? I liked 27. It was good to me. I'm gonna miss it. Guess I'll have to live it up for the next month or so.

Thoughts on a Sunny Day

Days like this I want to skip out of work and go to a state park with lots of grassy knolls and open spaces. I'd grab an old blanket and a book along the way and head out to soak it all in, while watching kids play on the playground and walkers make their rounds.

Which reminds me: I need to buy a bike. I miss biking.

And I miss Valley Forge State Park in Pennsylvania, and the kite flyers I used to marvel at there. Stunt kites, whimsical kites, box kites—any kite you could imagine, really—were flown there on days like this.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Penguins Can Fly

I may have already e-mailed this to some of you, but I couldn't resist posting this here for everyone else:



Only the BBC could come up with such an elegant nod to April 1.

Bach and Yo-Yo Ma

Are good for the soul. The mellow sound of the Cello Suites soothes and inspires me in a way that nothing else can.

How to Make a Blue Quilt and Ruin Somebody's Life During Grad School While Hosting a RubyRed Breakfast Bridal Shower at Tiffany's

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: what on earth?

Google Analytics does a nifty job of tracking where my visitors come from, what they search for, and how long the stay once they find it.

Oddly enough, I get the most hits from the following terms:

- Rubyred (duh)
- How to throw a drop-in bridal shower (makes sense, considering I used to talk about working at the tea room)
- Breakfast at Tiffany's bedding. (Again. Makes sense.)
- How to ruin somebody's life (this one scares me! Who actually searches for this kind of thing? Seriously. Please, if you are reading this ... don't. Just don't. I was only being sarcastic about my job when I wrote about ruining somebody's day.)
- How to go to grad school while working. (Ahh, don't! Just kidding.)

Looks like I need to write more "How To" posts ... they seem to draw the most interest.

So Much for Straight A's

Aaaack.

I'm such a bad student this time around. People keep getting in my way. People I care about. People I'd rather see/take care of/be around than study/do homework/go to class.

So grad school hasn't been the best experience so far, but I still believe in it. I just wish there was a way I could do it without working full-time to pay expenses, so that I could spend week day daylight hours doing schoolwork instead of evenings and weekends.

But I just forgot to write a deadline in my planner, and so I didn't realize until an hour before the assignment was due that I had not read and responded to an article on Global Communication.

Yikes.

Yeah, I got a half-hearted response in 15 minutes before midnight, and then worked on a couple responses to chapter discussions. I don't expect a good grade from any of them. And you know what? I'm not devastated. This is so weird. The only thing that bothers me is how much money I borrowed from the government to do this.

*sigh*

C'est la Vie.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Database Monsters

So, I'm in the D's and I have to get to the Z's when I add companies listed in a tradeshow directory into a new database.

Somehow, I keep typing "New ork" for "New York."

Better watch out, y'all. Those Manhattan Orcs can be particularly vicious. I hear they eat each other.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Notes to Self

-Schedule GMAT? GRE? Neither?
-Austin Peay? Search for other business communication master's degrees?
-Ethnography? Why couldn't I have discovered it earlier?

-Coming up: March 31, BLAW test; April 8, ACCT Exam #4; April 14, BLAW test; April 17 BCEN Long, Formal (12-pg) report due + Cover Letter & Questionnaire; April 28, BCEN Final Exam AND BLAW Final Exam; April 29, ACCT Final Exam

-Work out 5x this week. Or else.
-Look into that online craft/vintage shop idea. Sounds cool.
-Start a new collage. Actually plan this one.
-Set up an Etsy account
-Organize garage
-Fix car windshield
-Vacuum car (including trunk)
-Take Claritin every day
-Where on earth is that library book? Find it.
-Before school is out, go to the music building and enjoy a lazy afternoon of playing on a keyboard in one of the cool sound rooms. Maybe even buy new sheet music to try out.

-Read the Bible. Repeatedly.
-Pray for friends, family, yourself. Daily.
-Do something silly at least once a week.
-Don't stress.

-Focus at work. No, really. FOCUS. Even when there's nothing to do ... make something up and work at it with all your heart.
-Which reminds me: fish around to see if I should start shopping for some trade-show clothing for the end of May at JCK (booth, dinners, after parties). Get a "cocktail" dress that is decent.

-Free weights and Sit ups. 'Til it hurts.
-Write at least 3 chapters of SFAIG.
-Get a haircut/dye job. It's about time. Last one was, what? December?
-Get a manicure. Just 'cause.
-And a pedicure wouldn't hurt, if you've got the cash.
-Try the tanning salon to clear up skin for summer?
-That's enough girliness for now. Now, go read a Psychology book or something. Improve your mind.

-Don't Panic. (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Reference!)

Bonus Points: Be Extraordinary!

And remember ... try to do at least 6 impossible things before breakfast!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shelia Dwyer Wants To Sell Me a Ph.D

"Are you getting turned down time and time again for the job of your dreams because you just don't have the right letters after your name?

Academic Qualifications available from prestigious NON-ACCREDITED universities.

Achieve your Bachelors, Masters, MBA, or PhD in the field of your expertise."


This is fantastic. All I have to do is send you a check, Shelia? Thank you so much for spamming me this message! Where were you ten years ago, when I first started college? I could have saved so much time and money.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gary, Indiana

GARy INdiANa / Gary INdiana /Gary IndianA

It's a bit of a song from "The Music Man"—you know, that musical with the infamous 76 trombones?



For over a year now, I have unconsciously collected phrases that can be sung to this tune. I don't know why. There is no reason. I am just strangely and inexplicably bemused whenever I find one. I discovered a new one today ... chicken quesadillas. It was very exciting.

So, that brings me to:

Elbow Macaroni
Denver, Colorado
Fargo, North Dakota
Chicken Quesadillas

Can you think of any others for my collection?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Grand Surprise!

It's been fabulous.

Mom and Dad knew that Uncle C and Aunt G were coming down from Pennsylvania for Easter. Aunt G then called me and asked if I could make the 4-hr trip out from Nashville; I said, sure!

So, when I knocked on the door and hit from the peep hole on their front door yesterday afternoon, my Dad answered with a puzzled expression on his face, which turned immediately to shock and he jumped--yes, JUMPED in surprise.

Surprise #1.

I then went to Arby's with Uncle C and Aunt G to go pick up salads and see my youngest brother, Kevin, who was working behind the scenes. I asked the girl at the front if I could talk to Kevin. She tells another girl to get him. When he peaks his head around, his face is shocked. We hug across the counter (all of his coworkers are watching with undisguised interest. Kevin is hugging a GIRL.)

Surprise #2

Then ... Sunday morning Elliott and Morgen sneak in and fall asleep in the living room before anyone else gets up. They had driven from Connecticut overnight. When Dad and Mom saw them, Dad went practically speechless, and Mom, well, let's just say there were tears of joy.

Surprise #3

It was worth every minute of the homework I wasn't able to do.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to Stop Worrying

I have always struggled with worry and fear in my life.

As a young girl, I learned the hard way that girls my age were wrapped up in their own cliques and cattiness. Even the church girls. Actually, especially the church girls. Looking back, I thought I was shy. I was wrong. I was introverted, yes, but not exactly shy. I just didn't have the opportunity to shine in my own way for most of my school years. Up until 4th grade, I was fearless and just assumed that everybody loved me. But then I woke up to the realization that every girl but myself in Sunday School had a group of friends that she sat with, while I sat alone. It was a startling revelation. From that day forward, I longed to belong and be admired by my peers. It was a futile desire. The few friends I had were equally ostracized by the popular group. I was ignored by most of the rest of the kids I knew, and even bullied by a few. While I worried away my school years, wondering why nobody liked me, I was wasting precious time in developing my character to become more like Christ's ... not like Lisa's or Michelle's or Nicole's or Ann's. It took until my freshman year of college to understand how wrong I was to base my worth on the opinions of others.

Then, when I gained some weight in Bible College (stupid pizza bites and pre-plated brownies in the cafeteria!), I worried about how I looked to other people ("fat" was a new thing for me... I had been too gangly until college) and got into an obsession with comparing my body shape to every other girl's around me. It was like an addiction; I couldn't make myself stop. Do I look like that? Am I fatter or skinnier than her? Am I uglier or prettier than her? If she is less attractive than I am, will I appear more attractive when I am around her? Finally, I felt so guilty, I asked my resident assistant to call me out on the issue and hold me accountable for breaking the cycle of negativity and--let's face it--covetousness. With a lot of prayer, God's grace, and a few uncomfortable accountability sessions, I did finally overcome my unhealthy obsession.

After college, I walked into my dream job. A dream that you who have followed this blog for the past four years know turned into a nightmare. Once the nightmare began, I felt overwhelmingly incompetent and stressed. My body turned against me. I felt sick to my stomach every morning I went to work. I had nightmares and sleepless nights by turn. My health deteriorated. I went through what was probably a clinical depression. When at last I realized something was terribly wrong, I took immediate action: I quit my job, broke my lease, and moved in with my parents while starting over and going through a healing process mentally and emotionally. Once again, it took a lot of prayer and guidance and clinging to scriptures to bring me back into balance.

The past two years have been ones of positive change for me. I moved back out of my parents' house, found a job in which I can excel, and formed some friendships that challenge, inspire, and encourage me. Slowly, slowly, the worries slipped away.

Yet, recently, I have found myself caught in a cycle of worry and confusion. Part of it is simply that so many parts of my life are up in the air at the moment ... in a good way. Is it time for me to move on and find a better paying position in which I will continue to be challenged? If so, should I consider applying to jobs in other areas of the country? Should I continue to take graduate classes, or should I hold off for awhile? If I decide to move to advance my "career", what will happen to my parents while they try to sell the townhouse? Will the decision I make put my roommate in a bad position? What about other people?

And, perhaps the worst question of all: what if. As in, "what if I make the wrong choice?!" or "what if _[random event]_ doesn't happen?" or "what if _[random person]_ thinks I'm crazy for this?" or "what if they don't understand?" or "what if I offended her/him/them/it when I said what I was thinking?" or ...

What if ... what if ... what if. I could worry for a lifetime about those whats and ifs. But today, while taking some time out to pray and take a few deep breaths (Thank goodness for ladies' rest rooms in offices!), I realized, yet again, that my cycle of doubt and confusion and worry was completely against the commands of God. Seriously. As in:

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’" Matthew 6:30-32
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthymeditate on these things." Philippians 4:7-9
"... bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ ..." 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

Friends: hold me accountable in this area. I am really struggling. The future is so complex, and I am such a control freak that I want everything to be absolutely perfect, which I know is not only unrealistic, but also a dangerous attitude to hold. In essence, when I worry like this, I am operating in fear and accusing God of not being in control. AND I am putting more value on the opinions of others than of His. What a slap in His face.

Wow. This post sounds a little more negative than I intended it to sound. I'm happy to have come to this conclusion today. I'm more than a little glad I took some "time out" sitting on the floor in the bathroom with the door locked and my head in my hands, praying to God. I know it is going to be a struggle for me, but I am excited about clinging to my Father's arm when I slip and stumble along the way. I know He will catch me and lead me in His way.

And so, to end this lengthy post, may I quote that wisest of the wise men: Bobby McFerrin ... "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back From Chicago!

I couldn't wait ... Walgreen's developed my pictures today, right after coming home. Unfortunately, they didn't do the best job. And I didn't take the best pictures to begin with. But some did turn out well, so here's the cream of the crop.


The Chicago Sign by Day ...

... and Night.

MJ Looks Out Over the Chicago River.

"The Bean"

"The Bean" Up Close

The Fountain Face in the Park

Outside the Lego Store

On the Bridge ... The Tamest St. Patty's Day RevelersMJ and RubyRed on the Train




Thursday, March 13, 2008

Chicago!

I fly out via Southwest this evening with MJ. In the meantime, I'm trying to quickly wrap work stuff, so I don't have to feel guilty for leaving anything behind.

I'm currently in the midst of a Color and Mood whitepaper.

Monday, March 10, 2008

March is Craft Month. But There ARE Some Limits!


"Anybody caught selling macrame in public should be dyed a natural color and hung out to dry." —Calvin Trillin

Sunday, March 09, 2008

About That Snow ... And Then Tomorrow ...

Random posting-out-loud moment, here. First of all, a quick re-wind in time ... I caught the drama of Friday night's snowfall here in Middle Tennessee when I walked out to my car after hanging with the girls at T.G.I.Friday's (how appropriate!), sipping a Diet Coke while my roommate ate her very late dinner after work.

Big, fat snowflakes floated through the air, and my car was coated in crusty, frozen white stuff. I called it. I really did. I said that we'd get a snow "storm" after the daffodils began popping out of the ground. Bingo! Exactly what happened. Poor daffodils.

I remembered I had recently found my camera again, and it was, at that very moment, sitting on the passenger seat of my car. I grabbed it and snapped a quick picture of the effects of snow on my hair and sweater. Brrrr. See?




So, anyways ... tomorrow. I go back to work and school. I do not want to do either. I have two tests tomorrow, and so far I have only studied for one. (Yes, I know. I shouldn't be blogging right now. Some call it procrastination. I call it protecting my sanity.) As for work, well, it's work. And I'm not feeling very challenged/inspired by it at the moment. But it will get better. Busy season is just around the corner. Soon, I will barely have time to think.

Fortunately, I have this weekend to look forward to. MJ and I are hitting up Chicago. We fly out Thursday night, staying at her parents' house for the weekend, and then have three glorious days to do nothing but soak up culture and local flavors, plus maybe a little live jazz, if I'm lucky. I plan on going to as many tiny independent boutique stores as I can, for inspiration. I had originally pulled MJ into this crazy, impulsive trip because I thought I would attend the Country Living Magazine's Women Entrepreneurs conference. Alas, it was sold out when I called to book my spot. But we're heading to Chi-town, anyway, so the boutiques will have to suffice.

Four days. Four short days, and I will be free again.

NashVegas

So, MJ and I went to Nashville on Saturday in search of a t-shirt we couldn't find. Though we drove away empty handed, we did run across a belligerent street performer, some scary tourists, a man dressed in orange and white checkerboard overalls, and Elvis in a glass display box, dispensing his "hunka hunka burning wisdom" for 50 cents a session.

What Elvis has to do with Nashville is beyond me. They could have at least caged up Johnny Cash or Reba, for goodness sakes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mark His Words

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." —Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Once Upon A Time, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away ...

I-24 Hates Rain

I swear, Nashville drivers cannot handle even the THREAT of rain. Overcast, misty days are automatic accident causers. And the ridiculous traffic piles up as drivers slow down to stare at the poor unfortunate, stupid souls stranded on the side of the road next to a car with an accordion for a hood.

Hello!? It's called "leave enough room between you and the car in front of you to stop on a slick road," people!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Grad School, Hockey, Roommates, Life, and God

Well, I got my Economics professor to give us all an extension of time on our due date. He gave us from Friday until Sunday. Then, he gave us until Monday, due to a technical difficulty. I really needed that extension. I've now completed part of 6 out of 10 questions, after having spent about 13-15 hours of work this week alone on the homework. I feel like I can complete at least two more, and add the excel diagrams to the homework before the deadline tomorrow night. But I am worried about the quiz, since I have expended all my energy on the homework, which is on one topic, while the quiz is on another entirely. This is what drives me crazy about that class! It is so scattered ... ahh, but I *do* feel better about it, in the long run this week. That is an improvement, to say the least. I actually learned quite a bit.

On Thursday night, I went to a Predator's game in Nashville and watched with excitement as the game went from BORING to EXCITING, all the way into the anti-climatic shoot-off that gave the game to the Canuck's in the last seconds. There was a fight in the middle of the second period. Blood was on the ice for the rest of the game.

In other news, my roommate and I interviewed another girl today to share the house. We're so used to each other that it will be a little strange to have a third girl around, but we will get used to it. Splitting the utilities will be nice. We'll be able to afford more reliable Internet access than our nice neighbor's free wi-fi access, which is usually a very weak signal.

Speaking of signals, I'm trying to figure out my life ... again. I'm asking God to show me which direction to go. There's been some interesting developments lately that have influenced my perceptions of the present. Work is getting increasingly frustrating as I become more and more adept at doing more in less time. I've essentially worked myself into a corner: I can't grow, and I can't leave. Meanwhile, I've been re-assessing my school situation (is an MBA really the way to go?) and my roommate and I are both questioning whether or not we want to even live in the Nashville area past this year. Jobs in non-health care or educationally related fields are shockingly hard to come by.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rant

May I just say: I DESPISE MY ECONOMICS CLASS.

Or, more accurately, the homework and quizzes. The general information isn't so bad. But the absolutely RIDICULOUS amount of work and study needed to pass this class is beyond insane. When am I EVER going to use these functions, calculations, and theories? NEVER!

(OK. I'm done now.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Shall We Dance?

It was a slow movie, but this was the best part:

Quotes From IHOP Tonight

"I know I just ate a waffle, but I kind of want a cheeseburger."

"Hannah Montana is taking over the world, and I'm not okay with that."

"I just got back from Nashville, but we could always go back to Opry Mills and play Whack-a-Mole."

True Friends

-Come over, see your messy house, and don't care.
-Can talk about nothing, and have it mean something.
-Never question your urgent need for dark chocolate or mint chocolate chip ice cream.
-Bring flowers.
-Tell you what to do when you can't decide. And are right.
-Know the importance of a good chick flick fest.
-Tell the truth, even when it hurts.

You know who you are ... thanks!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Winter Wonderland


So, this is a way blurry shot from my little Nokia, but I found these icicles on my mailbox when I got home tonight. Icicles. In Tennessee.

H2O in Flake Form

It snowed, and then it dissapeared.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Little Life Lesson from Economics

According to the lecture slides from my online Survey of Economic Theory class at MTSU,

People reveal their true preferences by what they do (an action), not by what they say.


Thank you, Dr. Graddy. I'm not sure if you were aware of this or not, but you just made an argument that supports the Bible.

But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:17-18)


Amazing, isn't it, how knowing God enhances our understanding of the way the world works?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Night Owl is Sleepy

I have found myself longing for bed sooner in the evening, lately. This is a little disturbing to me, since I have always been a night owl. I dislike getting up at six o'clock in the morning. I dislike driving an hour to get to work after getting only five or six hours of sleep. I wish I could stay up into the wee hours of the morning doing research online, crafting, collaging, or blogging.

But I can't. I must sleep. Amazing how my brain protests these days when I push it to its limits.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

How I Juggle Working Full-time and Being a Full-Time Student

Grad school is hard.

I have questioned myself many times over during this first month of classes. Is this something I really need to be doing? Is the fatigue and stress worth it? Will something good come out of this? I still believe in what I'm doing, but I do admit that it is harder than I ever thought it would be. Add to that the personality conflict of my artist/idealist dreamer personality that is in stark contrast to the give-me-the-facts/numbers-don't-lie hard-edged business world, and I have an interesting dilemma: can I survive business school with my true self intact? I know I'm only doing this for my own reasons, but are they enough to get me through?

I only reduced by work week by 4 hours, so I still am considered a full-time employee. Since I am limited as a graduate student to 12 credit hours per semester, I thought I was taking it easy. After all, as an undergraduate, I took a minimum of 15 credits per semester and worked in at least one part-time job on the side.

Little did I know. Those 12 hours are pushing me to the limits of my strength. Only six of my hours are graduate-level, and they are online classes (Business Report Writing and Survey of Economic Theory). The two evening classes I take (Legal Environment of Business and Survey of Accounting for General Business) are undergraduate, but equally time-consuming.

As one of my coworkers pointed out, I live two, if not three separate lives all at once. There is my work life, my student life, and my personal life. All three lives require an investment of time, energy, and emotional strength. My brain is being over-clocked! No wonder I crash into my bed and groan when the alarm goes off each morning.

Resenting the time my homework and studying consumes is a new emotion for me. To apply a theory from my Economics course, the opportunity cost of my schooling is the time I get to sleep and/or be with the people I care about. It's a steep price to pay. I have a decision to make each evening when I get home from work: do I crash and watch TV for an hour or two, call a friend to chat, clean house, or study. If I choose any one of those options, then all of the others is neglected. It does not make for a very balanced existence.

Granted, I can use the accounting and business report writing classes, in particular, to further my career or use in any business I choose to start. They are tangible talents. Knowing my way around accounts receivable and unearned business revenue or being able to whip out a professional marketing proposal in a flash will, inevitably, be good for me. Meanwhile, having a basic knowledge of the legal environment is inarguably beneficial, and knowing the economic principles behind business decisions is equally useful. If I can just get through the semester with decent grades, I will happy. Yet, I still wonder, at what cost am I getting this education? Will it truly provide for me three or four years from now, when I am approaching banks for a small business loan, or applying for marketing director positions at mid-sized firms?

Time will tell. In the meantime, I am doing a lot of praying!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I'm a Mutant

Well, science has finally proven what I already knew: I'm a mutant.

I'm not sure what this all means for my gray-blue eyes, but supposedly all people with blue eyes can be traced back to a single mutation of pigment in the iris.

Of course, I know that I have only two ancestors, anyways, so no big shocker there. But I wonder which son of Adam or daughter of Eve was the first to develop this distinctive trait of all fellow blue-eyed mutants of the world?

More Wal-Mart Atrocities



Two shirts in one. What a brilliant idea. I NEVER can find that silly white button-down top when I need it. Now I'll never have to look again! It's a twop! TWO-tOP! No adjusting the sleeves to poke out just so from under my sweater. Maybe it's a swop! SWeater tOP.

Whatever it is, it should never have happened.

I'll bet it was made in China!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cheap Flights

Skybus has just released their new $10 flights for summer. Check it out!

They only have ten $10 seats per flight, which sell out incredibly quickly, and they only fly to smaller airports, so you might have to book a couple of round-about flights to show up at your desired destination, but it is well worth it.

I plan on trying to get in at least one just-for-the-fun of it trip this year for $50 or less.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Apple Has Done It Again

Not only am I once again entranced by a product release (Mac Fan, here! Want an Air Book!), I am also once again entranced by the music behind the ad.

Yael Naim, whom I think I actually heard of BEFORE the ad (vaguely remember reading something about an up-and-coming Israelian who sings in Hebrew, French, and English), is featured in the lightweight laptop's introduction to the world. I looked her up and loved this video. It's so charming, upbeat, and sweet. What's not to like?

Darling, Do You Love Me?

Prove it. Buy me an over-sized Teddy Bear from China holding a pink satin heart with a ridiculous amount a lace and poorly stitched words of endearment.


Try Wal-Mart. It'll make me even happier that you got a deal! Go to the front of the store and find these cheerful guys all lined up by the checkouts with care, in hopes that St. Valentine soon will be there ...

The SNL folks would be sooooo proud!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

from the top, now ...

I choose to hope. I choose to believe. I choose to dream.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

from a bemused mind, despite the ill body

One benefit of being sick is that it forces your small, aching brain to focus on one thing at a time. Like, the urgent need to make chocolate pudding, or read a book, or browse through magazines you've stored away for obviously important reasons that you've now forgotten, or listen to random why-on-earth-do-I-have-this-electronica-song tracks TWICE on iTunes, just because.

You also get to think. A lot. Even though it hurts.

For instance, I keep thinking about making collages and mixed media assemblages and 3-D art from randomness that I find in my ever-so-random world. Which reminds me. I missed this month's flea market at the Tennessee Fairgrounds. Shame. I alway find great ephemera there, along with buttons that old men are practically ready to throw away because they mean nothing to them. Once, I scored some wonderful purple glass bottles. I need to put them up somewhere in the sun sometime soon. Really.

I also need to try my hand at letterpress for once. My school actually has a class. The problem is that the class is in the daytime. I work in the daytime.

Then there's this nagging desire to start my own business. What business? Well, three years ago, I would have said stationery (has it been three years already? How time flies!). Now, I say I don't know. I just want it to be mine. And I want to make just enough money to pay for the bills and a little extra and finance all the international travels I'd like to make. Don't get me wrong: stationery is great. I love stationery. I am so happy for all my Paperpreneur friends who went on to stationery greatness while I lagged behind.

And writing. Can't forget that. The one thing I can do to make something from nothing and possibly collect a profit from my efforts. Why I don't pursue it more than I do here is a mystery to me. It's only the one lifelong obsession I've had.

Oddly enough, I'm not restless, like I've been in other years in which I've posted my heart on my ... blog. I'm actually doing something proactive. (Going back to school, that is.) On Monday nights I suffer through a business law class. On Tuesday nights I am actually astonished to find that I ENJOY accounting (so far, anyway). This bodes well for running my own show one day. On Sundays, I meet with 4-6 other grad students to study for an Economics course, that, despite being the death of me and a constant source of mathematical frustration, is still fascinating stuff. And in between all this, I cram in some Business Report Writing homework time and upload homework.

Am I crazy? Maybe. Okay, more than likely. But, despite this miserable flu, I'm actually happy. Next, I'll join some student networking organizations, and, once my head is back to its normal self, I'll sit down and figure out ways to meet other business women who can help mentor me in my endeavors.

I'll also start crafting again. Collage has definitely attracted me. I think I have found my personal artistic medium at last. Maybe I'll sell some stuff on Etsy. That would be a step in the right direction. And maybe I'll write about it and see if a publication bites.

Ah, the hopes and plans of an influenza-riddled brain.

The Cons of Going to School

#3 No more free time
#2 Feeling old sitting next to 18-20 year olds
#1 Catching the latest flu bug and being laid low for an entire week

Yep, it's all happened.

Just lovely.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A New Way to Brainstorm

"I'm going to church in my head, y'all." –Me

We were coming up with product names for a piece of religious jewelry. I was trying to come up with words I associated with the idea. That is what came out. It ended up on the white board in the conference room, in quotes.

Incidentally, I'm not fond of the current culture of "Christian" products that so saturate the market. It makes me feel like the true meaning behind it all has lost some of its sacredness and mystery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Things That Should Never Have Happened



This image is brought to you by the good people of Cracker Barrel. I found them sitting on a display full of similar items. I don't know what is scarier ... that people actually buy these horrific saccharine creatures of pastel ceramic, or that they exist in the first place.

My Nashville, Part I

Sunset on the "Batman" tower (at&t) from the alley.


Textures from Nolensville Pike. Subway parking lot.

Monday, January 21, 2008

how to ruin somebody's otherwise perfectly fine day

File this post under sub-category: "Vent of the Day"

Thoughtless managerial dismissals and elitist ambiguity lead to the propagation of the ordinary.

a.k.a.

Please Adjust Your Tunnelvision Immediately. There's a World of Alternate Channels Out There That You Just Can't See Through The Snow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

so true Q O'D

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

-Albert Einstein

Monday, January 07, 2008

Elliott & Morgen - January 5, 2008


So, two of my favorite stubborn people got married to each other on Saturday. As with any wedding, it had its miniature disasters (now I have a KT Tunstall song in my head!), but it was beautiful and joyful all the same. And now, they are off skiing on some excruciatingly high mountain somewhere for the next week.

Cheers!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

So, where are my keys?

First day of the new year, and I've already lost my keys.