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


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.


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