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.