Friday, April 29, 2005

Lesson Learned

I was so excited to get moving on a project for one of my clients. The time away from constant work had been good and made me realize again how much I love designing, learning, and creating, so I was eager to get back to work full-speed, all of my tools laid out before me.

I leafed through all of my papers: smooth vellum, textured linen, crisp whites and a plethora of colors, patterns, and moods. I rummaged through containers of embellishments, attachements, glitter, buttons, etc. like a rich man diving into a pool of money. I refreshed myself on the feeling of ribbons: satiny smooth that feels like silk against your skin; the slightly bumpy ridges of grosgrain; all in slender 1/8-inch to plump 2-inch widths. Ah, heaven for the paper crafter.

Feeling re-energized, I turned on the ol' Mac and set to getting ready for the busy week ahead. I'm still new at the Mac, but am falling fast for it. All I needed to do was a little housekeeping, tidying things up and putting everything in the best place for it. Create a few aliases on the desktop for quick and speedy access and voila! Off and running!

Somehow though, in the midst of my housekeeping, I deleted something kinda important: ALL of the files in "My Documents", including a treasury of recipes, the birthday/address list of all of my friends, and, oh yes, all of my business files.

Tears streaming and my thoughts/words coming out like blubber, my loving hubby pointed me in the direction of the nearest Mac store Genius Bar and I headed out, pleading with the "powers that be" the entire time, but somehow still in a state of disbelief and denial. Surely I could not have deleted ALL of my files permanently, right? Well, according to Mr. Mac Genius, the answer was decidedly grim. I bought an external storage solution and opened up the downloaded program which would answer the question repeating over and over in my mind. Some 40 minutes later, my fate was revealed: nothing listed looked at all familiar. My files were (and are) gone.

Today is a new day. Lesson learned yesterday. The same one I learned constantly growing up with two parents incredibly in-tune with technology. (We were the first people I knew to have internet! Back then called Bulletin Board System and very text-heavy.) I knew to back everything up. I know that these things happen, having experienced this same, painful lesson more than once before. But I admit to growing a bit lax in the past few years, thinking that technology has been improving vastly, so surely I and my computer would be safe. Well, the technology may be improved, but the users are still the same humans who make mistakes, tossing items meant to be kept, pressing the wrong button at critical moments, and thinking we know more than we actually do.

Thankfully I've only had my Mac for a few months and have been making the transition slowly, so I still have quite a few of my files on the PC in my office as well as hard copies of quite a few things. Hubby remains the optimist, whispering into my hair during a much needed hug that this next time I'll create something even better than the originals. Lesson learned: always marry a man who knows when to hug.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Look, up in the air!

Why is it that with planes being as large as they are (and really, even the small commercial planes are large enough) there has to be seating so close to the bathrooms? Personally, I can rarely go to the bathroom on a plane. Yes, if it's a very long flight with no layovers, say flying to Europe from the West Coast, then I will use the bathrooms, but aside from that, I'd prefer to hold it, thankyou.

I flew home from Seattle over the weekend and both legs of the flight put me right next to the bathrooms. Seriously, both legs? Half of the people forgot to close the door after they left, so not only did I get a whiff of the general odor of the bathroom (always pleasant), but I got whacked in the elbow countless times as the door flew open. I was already in an aisle seat, tucked in as much as possible to avoid being targeted by the beverage cart, but I was amazed at how far of a reach that bathroom door had! I swear, the next time I fly, I'm memorizing the info from this site so I can request a seat change as soon as I arrive. The only thing that made it bearable was that there were products from L'Occitane available to try. Of course, as soon as I realized that and was standing up, the fasten seat belt sign came on. Oh well, at least I can pee in the comfort of my own home.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Wall of Wonderings

Here is the Wall of Wonderings for April 24-30:
According to this article, two-thirds of the world's resources have been used up. In the past fifteen years, 40% of the polar ice caps have melted and in the next fifteen that number will rise to 60%. Already Americans use far beyond their fair share of the world's natural resources. What will remain in the next century?

What sorts of practices do you use to leave less of an impact on the world? If you had the opportunity to set up one program or event that might reduce our dependance on natural resources, would you do it? What would that one program or event be?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Too cool

My nephew is one cool little dude. Four months old and he already has shades. Wears them well, I might add. We took him to the Ben and Jerrys in University Village for Free Scoop Day, which amazingly enough for spring in Seattle was a gorgeous, sun-ripened day, perfect for eating ice cream. His chosen flavor was "Apple-y Ever After" and tasted just like apple pie with ice cream. (He unfortunately will have to wait a few more months before actually getting to eat it himself, but he did get his own dish that the other four of us happily agreed to help with.) I got Dublin Mudslide; a deliciously-ooey mess of Irish Cream Liqueur ice cream with Chocolate Chip Cookies and a Coffee Fudge Swirl. Sure, we waited for about 40 minutes because everyone and their neighbor was there, but it's not just about the free ice cream... It's the atmosphere. And my nephew was just as cool as the frozen treats.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wall of Wonderings

Yay! I remembered! Here is the question for this week. Remember, you have all week to respond and there are no stupid answers/thoughts/whatever. Feel free to share whatever you please!

Here is the wondering for April 18-24:
You've just been asked to write a children's book. What would the title be? Explain the plot.

Top Things to Know About A Baby

In the past week, my nephew (or sometimes more like ne-pew!) has taught me many things about the world of being a baby. In his words, here are the top things to know:
  1. As babies, we drool a lot. A LOT. Don't wear nice sweaters when picking us up.
  2. You can't entertain a four or five month old.
  3. Tummy Time is no fun until you learn how to cheat the system and flip yourself over after two seconds. This is best achieved without diapers on.
  4. I'm cute. I get it. Now put me down. (Actually saw this on a shirt! Love it!)
  5. If you think that I'm finally falling asleep and you walk away from my crib at all, I will notice and cry and cry until you pop your head over the side again. You think you deserve sleep or something?
  6. I have a handle!
  7. The best giggles are the ones where my body wiggles and my eyes squint shut.
  8. If it is within my arm's reach and I can get those stubby things on my my hands to work, it'll be in my mouth in no time. There are no exceptions.
  9. On Mom's boob is the best place to be.
  10. Germs spread easily to babies, whose immune systems are still developing. So if you want to kiss me when I'm sick, hey, don't say I didn't warn you about this cold with all that awful wailing!
Yes, the first thing he's given me is a cold. His Dad has offered me the use of the nebulizer, but judging from the way my nephew reacted to it, I'm not going near that thing.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Four hour schedule

Day One:
Arrive at the house at 8 a.m. (a bit earlier than my 10 a.m. wakeup time back home, but I'm eager to get the quality time with my nephew, so no complaints here!). Get last-minute instructions for the day before hearing those scary four words: You're on your own. Aaaughhh! Me and a four and a half month old infant!?! Who's the wise one who thought THAT might be a good idea?

The final reminder I was left with was simple: "Remember, it's a four hour schedule." Ok, easy 'nuf. So, with bouncing baby on the hip, a look at the clock after his nap showed 10 a.m. I didn't ace fifth grade math for nothing; next nap is in four hours - 2 p.m. We play, we sing, we dance, we read a few books. Arm is getting tired holding little angel, so I easily slide him into the bouncer chair. "Whah!" Ok, no bouncer. How about the swing? "Whah!" Feel like playing on the blanket? "Whah!" Last shot, the Baby Bjorn (front facing backpack for holding little tykes). Any complaints?


As long as I stay standing, that is.

Deviate from that position for any reason, say to grab a book to read, shoo the cat off the drying sweaters, tired feet, etc., and it is once again tears in babe-land. I swear, at one point, I thought the little dude was going to be the next great environmentalist out to save the world. He loved being saddled in the Bjorn, me standing so he could look outside, eyes glazing over in awe at the incredible places open before him. Just wait till he gets crawling; he's going places, I tell you. Well, we've been up for a while, it's got to be at least nearing time for the next nap.

Oh, if it were only that easy. It had been an hour. Three more to go. How do you entertain an infant? Especially one that is only happy when attached to your body? At 1:30 we both gave in - him to sleep and me to letting him have that sleep. Heck, I even joined in nap time for an hour after that ordeal. Four hours is a long stretch! And I'll be here for how much longer? All I can think, besides the fact that this is by far the most powerful birth control EVER, is that when Sister gets home, I'm going to ask her how she does it.

And now I know. The four hour schedule is a loop. His eyes weren't glazed over in awe. They were glazed over because he was in desperate need of sleep. And it's not four hours up at a time, then napping. It's a four hour cycle. It starts with a two-hour nap, then the next hour is waking, changing and eating. The fourth hour is play time or other activity before beginning the cycle all over again with that two hour nap. Get it? Every four hour period begins with a two hour nap. He's only awake for two hours at a time.

Oh. So that's why he was so cranky. I'm surprized I still got smiles after that torturous day. My sister and brother-in-law have material to torment me with for years. They both keeled over laughing when I guiltily admitted that I could only get him to stay awake for three and a half hours.

Note to self: when someone says that their baby is on a four hour schedule, ASK TO CLARIFY!

New Favorites: Baby Bjorn Carrier, Sandra Boynton, and The Baby Whisperer

P.S. I realized that yesterday, Sunday, was supposed to be my day for posting another "Wall of Wonderings" question. Sorry, got too caught up in "Gooos and Gaahhs". New question next week.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Wonderful Wet Washington

Ah, I have arrived safely in the land of rain. Mom picked me up and we headed straight over to see my nephew, who is absolutely adorable and SOOOO much bigger than the last time I saw him (surprize, surprize!). Then had a wonderful weekend out at the beach house, which is coming along quite nicely! It even felt like old times, working with my Dad to figure out how to hang the mile long blinds on three windows until midafternoon. The area they are in is just so gorgeous.

It was fun to compare the California and Washinton beaches, now that I have gotten to know some of the characteristics of both of them. Many of the people on the CA beaches have beautiful, sculpted and tanned bodies on full display in their tiny bikins and hip-slung swim trunks. Compare that with the folks in Washington who are quite often burrowed deep in multiple layers of clothing as they walk along the chilly, rock-strewn beaches. There are not nearly as many surfer dudes in WA, but you still hear a few phrases that begin with, "Whoa, dude...", just as in CA. Up here that is mostly attributed to laid back, somewhat hippie, pipe-smoking, tree hugging mentality, whereas in Cali, it's just the surfer way. I've even heard men in business suits in California using "dude" as an accepted form of identifying each other. "Dude, stocks are on the rise in pharmaceuticals. Buy, dude, buy!"

Drat, I just realized that I left my camera at Sister's house, so can't upload photos of the sweet babe. Well, tomorrow is my first day as nanny, so I'll no doubt have stories and pictures to share then. Am hoping to get some work done during nap time. Wonder which one of us will cry first...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Less than 24 hours

I'm leaving for Seattle in less than 24 hours! I am SO excited to see my nephew, sister and friends and family. The last time I saw my nephew he was only two weeks old. Now he is almost 5 months and I know that so much has changed!

I do have a lot to get done before then, though. Client projects to work on, designs to tweak, emails to send... And I still have to do laundry, pack, figure out what of my work stuff to bring with me and cuddle with my cats so they aren't too mad at me for leaving. I will be gone for two weeks.

While I'm in Seattle I'm hoping to get a fair amount of stuff done; probably more than I'll be able to while watching a baby. Two of my top priorities: 1) get supplies and shop at Paperzone and Packaging Specialties, and 2) hopefully meet up with some of these wedding professionals.

I'll try to post with updates (and definitely pictures!).

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Eighty-six sheep, eighty-seven sheep, eighty-eight...

Yes, it is 2:30 in the morning and I am here typing away. Why? Well, because I've become a night owl. I don't get it. In college, I was up at 4:15 every day during the week, 5:15 on Saturdays. Sure, back then I had a reason: I was a rower. Practice was at 5 a.m. and I remember how good it felt to finish practice, all the sweat still sticking to your body, at around 7:30-8 a.m. and realize that many people were only just getting up. I had a bumper sticker on the back of my car that read "Crew: we do more before 8 a.m. than most people do all day."

Now I've fallen into that category of people who rise at a normal time and think anything earlier is absurd. Oh. Drat. I say "drat" because I really enjoyed those active, early mornings. I felt that at least if I did nothing else all day, I had been productive. Now I'm still productive, but at other things and definitely at other times. Say, 2:30 a.m. for example.

I was cozy in bed. Hubby snoring away next to me. Cat curled up on my chest (I still don't quite understand why he has to be THAT close). But for whatever reason, that is when my brain kicks into gear. Maybe it's the fact that at all the normal hours of the day I have other things to focus on and am telling my brain what to do, that the only time it has to be free and be itself is when I'm letting go for the day and floating off to dream land. Of course, then it just starts talking away at me, telling me what my next project should be, or "how about this for a new design" and "Shouldn't I be getting a move on with the day?", etc. I think I should invest in a meditation or yoga class. Maybe that'll quiet the little bugger. Yoga is such a great activity anyway (I've at least got the tapes; that's a start).

The nice thing is that there are few interruptions. Every once in a while hubby will poke his head down the stairs and ask, "You all right, sweetie?" I love that he notices, but it partially makes me feel guilty. Didn't mean to wake him. He's the one with the early meetings. But I don't think he actually remembers anything about it in the morning.

So, I continue creating. At whatever time my brain decides to take over.

P.S. Mom, you know that there are a ton of adventures I'd love to take with you. Care to join me for a midnight cup of tea in the moonlight?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Quoteable life

I found this incredible quote somewhere (my thanks to whoever originally posted it!) by Nelson Mandela:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frieghtens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world.

Isn't this how all of us feel at some point in our lives (or many points in our lives)? We question what in the world could be seen in us, but fail to realize that everything exists because of us. What a lovely idea to sleep on.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Things I'd like to do

A list of things to do now, ten years from now or someday. And definitely not in any order.

  • Print up some of my stuff... and see it selling in stores
  • Get some good press on Oprah, Ellen, The View, Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple or some other such stylish place
  • Write a book
  • Publish said book
  • Buy a letterpress
  • Learn Italian
  • Take hubby on a backpacking trip to Europe
  • Have a baby (or two or three)
  • Open storefront
  • Buy Hubby a bulldog for Christmas
  • Learn to make jewelry
  • Knit my nephew a spendiforous blankie
  • Finish wedding quilt for Sis and my brother-in-law
  • Make some art for our house
  • Buy an old fixer-upper and fix it up before selling it for gobs of money
  • Move back to the PNW
  • On a random day, hand out flowers to strangers
  • Make sure my Dad knows how much I love him
  • Row again
  • Take vocal (jazz?) lessons
  • Sing the national anthem at a sporting event (yes, college game would be fine!)
  • Visit NY at Christmas
  • Live in a foreign country with my hubby and someday kids for at least a year
  • Retire to a quaint, smallish vineyard in Italy when I'm old and grey
  • Remember to explore. Always. Everywhere.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

New weekly

I've been catching up on some of my favorite blogs (see right) and finding some new great additions and I realized that one thing that I really like about some of them is that they draw their audience into the action. I'm not just talking about great writing, witty banter, etc. I like the way some of the authors have weekly questions, challenges or otherwise invite submissions and comments. So, with that in mind, and with the hopes of getting some audience participation, I am starting a weekly post, to be posted each Sunday with replies taken all week. It's the "Wall of Wonderings".

Here is my first wondering, the posting for April 4-10, 2005:

If you could spend an entire day doing just one thing, what would you do?

My hubby's answer: Xbox. Yes, I know. I gave in to the evil when I bought it for him for Christmas, but he's been begging for two years and he's already a huge technology geek (love ya, baby, but you are). I've actually joined him a couple of times and really, as long as we don't play forever, it's not too bad. The graphics can be astounding. I do reserve the right to veto certain games...

My dream day would be spent on the water. I was a rower in college and miss being out there in the early hours of the morning before most of the world has awoken, a silent greeting to a new day, blood pulsing after a hard piece, but ready to go at it again. It is honestly one of the most beautiful sports. I remember one specific practice when coach had us all "weigh 'nough" (stop) just to look at the incredible sight of the Northern Lights coming our way all the way down in Bellingham, Washington. If I hadn't been rowing, I wouldn't have seen it. Some of my best memories are out on the water. And that's where I met some of the best people, too.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Who's the fool?

Foolish things to do:
1) Leave a bucket of water precariously balanced over a door so that the next person who walks through will be doused. -- You'll likely just get sued because the bucket will inevitably hit them on the head, causing selective amnesia that allows them to remember the pain they suffered, but not the $20 bucks they borrowed from you the day before.

2) Pretend that you've been hit by a car and enter the emergency waiting room wailing and "bloodied" with ketchup. -- Another possibile lawsuit on your hands here, but a bit stickier to get out of. Plus, I think ketchup stains.

3) Think that it would be an easy task to round up a few boxes for a client project. -- Oh no, now it would just make too much sense to have a packaging place sell anything other than corrugated shipping boxes. Especially when you have a deadline.

4) Go to see a movie because the guy in it is cute, even though you haven't heard any reviews. -- Just don't do it. Period.

Today is April Fools Day. Did I get played for the fool? Well, it was box day. The search for the perfect box. I just need a few sample boxes to figure out exactly which size is right before I order them en masse online and I need them now. I have to put together the samples of boxes stuffed with goodies that will be sent out to my client's employees, but I have to get the samples together and show them to the client by Tuesday. Ummm... AND I have to do custom packaging? Again, "ummm..."

So today? And the boxes? And the fun driving? Yeah, not so fun. If it was Christmas and I bought some cute little knick-knacks at a few stores, I would be freshly supplied with boxes that I could use just for this sampling purpose. Instead, today I drove around to S-E-V-E-N stores in four different cities. Yes, seven office supply/packaging/paper/craft/miscellaneous stores. I think I put another 300 miles on the car today alone. Good thing there are tax deductions for mileage. And you know what? None of the places I went to had what I am looking for. Well, no, I take that back. I did find some food goodies at Cost Plus. They always have good stuff. I even found Razzles! Talk about an eighties flashback.

The other thing that made me the fool today? The hubby and I went to see The Pacifier. Oh. Ugh. I know what you're thinking, 'cuz it's the same thing I was thinking: "It's got Vin Diesel in it!" Gotta be good, right? Well, I think it would have been good if we were, say, 12? Or if we had kids that were, say, 12? Unfortunately, it was just us. I give this one a C, only because there are a few funny or heart-warming moments and you do get to see those pecks a couple times. Maybe Diesel is the fool for taking the part.