Monday, April 28, 2014

Shaken, Not Stirred

In fact, I know she does.

Gin martinis, over ice.  Two olives.

And leave the shaker to James Bond because that wasn't her style.  Instead she preferred a few olive-skewered toothpick swirls to swish in that dry vermouth.  Every day, a well deserved reward for a well lived life, a stubborn indulgence that went without compromise.  Classy, classic - perhaps the drink describes the person drinking it more than we think.

I have two cats named Olive and Gin, and it makes me smile.  I think it would make her smile too.

I miss her.

Am I the only one who before going away on a trip, gets that queasy feeling?  Just a general unrest that doesn't completely go away until a couple days after returning to the security of home?

Yeah, I've got that now and I'm not even traveling anywhere.  Too much on my mind and too many reminders.  Sigh.

Next week.  Next week will be better.

In the meantime, maybe I just need a martini.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Strategically Grateful...

Of all the things to be grateful for, someone surviving the unimaginable is right there at the top.

Every night on the news there's stories of people who are affected by tragedy, heartbreak and devastation.  At times, it's hard to watch simply because there is more bad news than good.  However when you recognize the name, recognize the face that flashes across the screen in association with one of those stories, it takes on a different light.  It's real.

Even if you expect it, your stomach drops, your mouth gets dry, you hold your breath when the reporter speaks.

Yeah, bad stuff happens, but it isn't supposed to happen to people you know.  It's not supposed to happen to people you respect, people you see every day, to good people who you have come to consider extended family - simply because that's the way they welcomed you to that family.

But unfortunately, it can happen.

It does happen.

Strength isn't something you do, it's something you are, and it's something I've seen a lot of lately.

"Normal" has taken on a new definition because as we proceed, things aren't normal, but we continue as best we can.  A ship without its Captain, we're a loyal crew with as much determination and perseverance for the whole as we do for each other and we'll trudge on until the Captain can return to the helm.  Why?  Because we have faith he will.

So to hear that this person who survived the unimaginable will heading home after over a month in the hospital?  I'm ecstatic.  I'm over the moon.  I'm so damn grateful he's a freaking superhero (really, there's just no other explanation - bit by a spider, mad scientist experiment gone wrong - there is obviously some greater power at work here, insert your own opinion here).

Home is a huge step in the right direction.  It's easier to heal from anything when back on home turf.  Things may be different, from behavior and aesthetics, to the day-to-day and the way you're regarded, but it's still easier.  Familiarity helps.  Normality helps.  Honest.  I know from experience.

Life goes on whether we want it to or not, no matter where that constantly redefined path leads.  Some days are going to be tougher than others - for everyone - in one way or another, but today... today I'm grateful, for a lot of things.

Especially for superheroes.

Monday, April 21, 2014


I've got a lot on my mind these days, and I’m combating it with pure determination but I can't help but think of the consequences. 

I’m throwing myself that much more intently into my work – so much so that I've actually lost count of how many projects I've churned out so far this month.  My to-do list has become a daily thing instead of weekly, a check-list that I bounce around more than a steel ball in a pinball machine.  I've got enough on my plate that it’s hard to prioritize, but gratifying when progress is made and things get completed.

Outside of work (and my non-work-work), writing has been the best escape.  It’s the best way I've found to stop thinking about… well, pretty much everything that is just going to add to any alleged gray hairs I may or may not have.  All I have to do is start reading through where I left off and instead of worrying about “this, that and the other thing” it becomes “hey, what if this happened...” and I’m off on a new wild tangent, telling a story to some far distant future reader who may or may not be listening. 

Over the last couple months, this impulse has led me 28,207 words into my latest story.  (I apologize to the other 3-4 in-progress works gathering dust during this process – I can’t be blamed for inspiration leads me.)

It’s a distraction, and a good one at that.  

If it's not one thing, it's another, but I certainly try and be optimistic.  Think a little less, do a little more, and not let my ever reliable comfort zone turn me into more of a wallflower than I already am.  

That's not too tall of an order, is it?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Doing Bob Barker Proud

Gin - 3 months
Today, this little guy turned six months old - oh how the time flies!  It seems like just yesterday I brought him home and welcomed him to the furry family.

Can you guess how we are celebrating this auspicious occasion?  Why the best way ever of course!

Tomorrow, we pay a visit to the vet (shh, I still haven't told him) and stop the growing flow of hormones that have him already acting like an aggressive little bugger.

As comical as it's been to see him try and play with his adopted big sister - 11 years his senior - as well as the family's not so tolerant aging chihuahua, there comes a point when it crosses the line from funny to sad.  At six months, this kitty is taller than the chihuahua and still growing - it's no longer a fair fight, especially since she rarely sees the black ball of fur flying at her until it's too late.  As part Bengal, I have absolutely no clue how big this little guy is going to get so I have no qualms getting him snipped and crossing my fingers that his adolescence can proceed with a little less of a terror lurking behind those innocent eyes.

The only thing I am not looking forward to is tomorrow morning.  My boy here has a spectacular inner clock, one that has me awake by 6:30 a.m. and has food in his bowl by 8.  Unfortunately, as of midnight tonight, he can't have any food or water and I can't drop him off at the vet until 9.  Hence the impending trouble.  Between 6:30 and 9 tomorrow morning, I am going to have one annoying critter on my hands.

I kind of feel sorry for the vet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flipping Switches, Switching Gears

Some of you won't find this too surprising, but I happen to spend a lot of time in front of a computer.

(I know, shocker, right?)

"Got anything special planned this weekend?"  Asks... pretty much everyone.

"Working," I almost always reply.

Mind you, I like being busy, but there's gotta be a breaking point, right?

At work, it's a fine line.  On the one side, I'll be just busy enough that it's not a matter of what to do, but what's in need of being completed first.  On the other side, I'll be just slow enough to let my mind wander - not necessarily to activities outside of work, but more I can do to in the grand scheme of things that will in turn increase my workload.  (Nuts, I know.)

Outside of work, there's much more gray area.  "Work" takes on a different meaning outside the hours I spend at my job, in the sense that on top of a few personal clients, I also have the occasional self-imposed writing assignment (or obligation) that glue me to the computer as much as any design project that comes my way.

I realized on the way home from work today that I spend an average of one hour a day (my commute) without the internet, and that's only because I was conservative enough NOT to use my 4G.  I'm not sure if this is a sign of the times or a sign of a problem.

Within 15 minutes of being home, the computer was fired up and ready to go with no less than three browser windows open - a combined total of a minimum of 35 tabs (while a number of which are simply because I chose to "restore last session" it is still a good indication of my habits) in addition to two Adobe products (Photoshop and Illustrator), an FTP client, Microsoft Word (three documents) and Notepad++ (just in case).


I'd like to say that I'm not a computer addict, but I'll tell ya, back in my younger years my mom knew the best way to punish me was to change the password on the internet (AOL in those days - good ol' dial-up).  It worked way better than any sentence of being grounded would have - hats off to that one Mom - and looking back on those times, it really is no wonder I ended up in a field that is severely cut off at the knees without internet access; I quite suitably gave myself an excuse to not be able to go "disconnected."

I'm not entirely sure I actually have an off switch when it comes to work in some fashion.  I think I'm always on and just toggle between work time and my time, sleeping whenever fuel gets low.

This isn't complaining, it's an understanding.  If it was a complaint, I would shut off the dual screens of computer and enjoy "The Big Bang Theory" in more than just my peripheral vision.  But alas, that time has to be worthwhile and I'll be damned if I can't multitask.  Not only am I female, but I'm a Gemini: I was built for this shit.  (Excuse my French.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why are Mondays so... Monday?

Let's just face it, Mondays are brutal.  There's just no getting around it.  After a couple days of doing... well, anything but your weekday routine, there's a certain hurdle involved in getting back to the grind.

It starts with the alarm clock.  After two days of just your body telling you to wake up, that Monday morning jolt to alertness comes entirely too soon and no matter how many times you hit snooze, it just isn't enough sleep to motivate movement (unless you are one of those bizarre "morning people" I've heard about - I shudder at the thought).

Next, traffic.  Somewhere between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, roughly half the population out on the road forgets how to drive.  Between two highways and a freeway, there's no reason why my 13 mile commute should ever take 45 minutes, however if it's going to happen, it'll happen on a Monday.

Walking into work, my main Monday comfort is that everyone (well, almost everyone) has started off their morning pretty much in the same mindset, making a beeline to the coffee before being willing to form coherent sentences.

The workload on Mondays is always daunting - or at least appears daunting after being away from it for two days.  There's everything that perhaps wasn't completed Friday due to the "WEEEE, WEEKEND!" feeling at the end of the day, plus everything that trickled into the inbox while the office sat quiet and waiting for the hustle and bustle of the work week.

I kind of think there's no avoid it, but I sure can ply on enough caffeine to trudge through it with only minimal discomfort.  Once over the Monday hurdle, it's really all downhill from there.  Gather enough momentum and Monday's a thing of the past because Friday is barreling your way - just in time to start the whole process over again.

Fun times.  Bring on Monday!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Brushing Off the Dust

I'm still a designer.

I'm still flawed.

Not entirely sure why I let this blog fall off the map, especially considering I rededicated myself to it more then once in the few posts I managed to spare time for.

Alas, here we go again.

Catching Up

A lot has happened in the last year, some of the best and worst experiences I can ever hope to encounter and I can't help but realize the irony that it is almost a year to the day since my last post.

Right about now last year, distraction was taking forefront in a major way and it's likely the reason this outlet of mine that was buried at the bottom of the priority pile.  Don't worry dear blog, you weren't the only beloved self-imposed writing assignment that fell to the wayside - NaNoWriMo met the same fate.

No, I haven't given up writing - far from it in fact.  I have no less than four fiction stories in the works, each at the "novella" stage and aspiring to be novels.  I'd have a second completed novel by now if I didn't keep getting swept up in the different stories, but oh well - I work on whatever one inspires me most that day and eventually I hope to have something worthwhile.

While I can go on and on, I won't.  A writer writing about writing?  That has the potential to be an endless circle and that's a lofty goal for a "rededication."  For now, I'll stick to the broad strokes.

From Classes to a Career

Long story short of what you missed:  Graduated college, with honors.  Hired a week later, the day after my second interview.  Promoted three months after that and I'm now a full fledged web designer and copywriter.  (Seriously, that's my title and everything!)

I know, I know - who would have guessed that after three years in school studying web design and working as an editor on the school newspaper would have led to this awesomeness?  Not me, that's for sure.

I managed to find a home at a company that has not only welcomed me with open arms to the family (you know - like those family members that only occasionally embarrass you in public), but has also provided me with the opportunity to work with businesses of all kinds from coast to coast doing exactly what I spent the last few years prepping for and more.

Again, awesome.

On top of that, I still have a couple of treasured website and graphic design clients of my own who tend to keep my otherwise unoccupied time rather busy.

While I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate the long lost, forgotten art of a social life, if you were to ask me five years ago where I would be today, I would have never guessed this.  I didn't dream enough for myself back then, though I should have.


Now I have no reason not to dream and I'm looking forward to seeing where the stars take me.

If I don't post again soon, it's been good seeing you again dear blog.