Graphic Artist? Me?

Right now we are binge watching Mad Men on Netflix. We are nearly done with season five. This show – I love it. It took about a season and a half to really get sucked into it. Watching the show reminds me so much of my time in television. It’s similar on many levels. Maybe it’s because of watching Mad Men or maybe I am ready to admit to myself that I know what I would love for my next job to be. Graphic Art and/or Design.

Unfortunately I feel that a lot of graphic design jobs would be more layout like newspaper or ads than something else. Although I wouldn’t mind that. It’s just those jobs are few and far between. Newspapers are sill around, right? However, businesses will always advertise, so maybe it’s more web ads than print ones that are being sold now.

Either way I have felt a calling to this for a while. I just wish I had started putting together a portfolio then. Still while this may add something else I want to learn, it’s something that I feel is where I really want to be. My husband is supportive but has reservations about a new career, but I don’t see it that way. I’ve done graphic work before and really enjoyed it. In fact if it hadn’t been for working with PhotoShop cleaning up graphics, I never would have went back to college. So I’m not starting over; just rediscovering I suppose.

I plan to do more graphics and start posting more since I haven’t had any of this work experience in quite a few years. Still it will be fun and challenging also it’s an interest I’ve had for years. It will be nice to finally pursue it with direction.

I am a Writer

I hate to admit how much I enjoy writing. Why? It’s hard to explain because – well – I’m really not sure. If I really give it some thought, I believe it has more to do about my past than my future and maybe by admitting that I can actually move forward.

My first job out of college was at a television stations, and I loved it. I worked in TV for seven years. At different times I did different jobs. Most of my titles required writing in some form or fashion. It was enjoyable. The only real problem was the pay – it sucked. I wanted to make more money, so I went back to college majoring in computer networking.

Now – years later – I find myself dissatisfied with working with computers. I just drives me crazy to sit in front of a screen for eight hours. I can’t take it anymore and am ready to switch to a different line of work. But what? Practically every job these days is tied to a computer. Especially writing. While I do own a typewriter, I do not see me pecking out anything of substance. Writing is more than just writing. It’s planning, thinking, and researching. Researching is a broad term which could be Googling information to staring out the sunset from the back porch. Research to me is also inspiring. I love it but find when I sit down to write, the words do not come. Possibly the reason for this is not acknowledging that yes I do want to write.

I’ve switched jobs and am now in software development. I have really no working experience, so it’s really scary that my employer is paying me to do something I barely know how to do. When I feel overwhelmed, I just think of writing code as just writing. The syntax is basically the style guide that must be followed or expect rewrites. I just ache to write, but I need to focus on other things like development. If I could combine both then that would be perfect. I fear development is not for me although I spent a long time thinking it was. I’m not sure a well written program would bring me the same satisfaction as a well written story. If I am serious about writing then I need to write more. Write in my free time and drive away the distractions.

I plan to write at least 500 words a day. It could be a blog post or a story, I also need to read about writing more. I find when I read more I want to write more as well. We have a shelf full of great writing books.

On this blog I will post a daily update of what I’ve done. I may move to a weekly update if I can prove to myself that I can write without daily accountability. This post will serve as today’s word count of 500. Tomorrow I might work on a children’s book idea and maybe some humor writing as well. I don’t want to schedule too much because I always fall behind and that leads to frustration. This is an exercise in gaining good habits.

More to come tomorrow!

Moving

I really hate the idea of moving again, but with rent going up and other expenses, it’s just not worth it to live here anymore. The problem is the rental house is quite large -at least to us, and we are downsizing to an apartment. We know we will have to get storage space but really hope to mainly keep large items and not too many boxes.

We are moving in three months, so I have a fair amount of time to cull through our belongings. It’s a daunting task that I would much rather someone else do.When we first moved to San Antonio, we brought the essentials plus two storage bins each of whatever we wanted to bring. This worked out great as the apartment was pretty much always clean. The problem happened when we moved into a house and had so much more space. We brought another truckload of stuff from Mississippi. That was a big mistake. A lot of that stuff has just sat in the garage untouched. It’s definitely time to let go of some things.

The garage will be the last area to tackle as I don’t want to make room for stuff from the house. I am going through the house room by room with a goal of getting rid a lot of the stuff we are not using. I have to be honest with myself and just let things go. It’s only stuff – stuff I am not using – and ultimately it’s making me unhappy. Unhappy that my house is a cluttered mess. Unhappy that I bought this and never use it.

Last weekend I worked in the downstairs closet. It was a small task. This weekend is the guest bedroom which has a lot of craft supplies that must be dealt with. I dread it was it could be the most difficult since it is all of my stuff. Time to make some tough decisions.

Housekeeping Boot Camp

A military friend of mine keeps a well organized, always clean home. She can’t help it. She’s in the military and used to strict routines so having a home ‘just so’ is second nature. I envy her. I’ve always lived in clutter and disorganization. I know I lack discipline. Sadly I am too old to join the military, so I cannot get it that way. If only there was a housekeeping boot camp.

Possibly the next best thing is Fly Lady. Fly Lady is a gem of a website that really helps you develop better housekeeping routines. I discovered Fly Lady years ago. I had started the baby steps and enjoyed it. Not sure why I stopped. I probably faltered and never got back on track.

So while thinking about how great a housekeeping boot camp would be, I remembered Fly Lady. The website is still there and content is still free. So today I will start with baby step one. It’s an easy one – shine your sink. Just make sure that kitchen sink is clean before going to bed. I look forward to making this a routine in that I love having a clean sink. It’s amazing how little things can have a big impact.

So while I may not be in an official housekeeping boot camp, I plan to really give more attention to the home. More quality attention that hopefully will produce better results for a clutter-free way of living.

I survived a day out in August in Texas

The heat is ON here in San Antonio. I know it’s a dry heat, but it’s still heat! Today we ate somewhere new and then went to two local attractions: the Kiddie Park and the San Antonio Zoo.

The day started with breakfast at the Mad Hatters tea house and cafe. It’s a charming little place in downtown and very close to the King William district. I didn’t try the tea but did have a bagel. My daughter got a pancake that was as big as the plate and tall as a table. Well not that tall but still a huge, fluffy, sweet pancake. She didn’t like it because of the sweet part but am glad she ate a few bites at least.Some of the other folks we were with feasted on the pancake as well. I meant to get a bite of it to see just how sweet it was.

After Mad Hatters, we went to the Kiddie Park which is a cool little amusement park just for kids with old, metal rides. Today it was half off the regular armband price. Rae rode two rides I think and got her face painted which was extra.

Then it was onto the zoo. It was great to go with people with memberships that included guests! By the time we left the kiddie park, it was already hot. As we walked around the zoo, it just got hotter. We arrived at the zoo at around 10:30am and stayed until 2:00pm. I’m not sure why I wore denim Capri pants, but it was a big mistake. I thought I was going to pass out at the kiddie beach. After the kiddie beach we left but only after I bought a Gatorade since water was doing very little to make me feel better.

Today’s venture just proves I need to be in better shape – lose weight and exercise more. It was a fun day and while the heat is tiring it shouldn’t wipe me out so much. We survived it though, August is usually the month we just stay inside. Now that I know I will not melt, we will have to get out more.

Retiring from Christmas Shopping

It is already August, so you know what that means. Yep, it’s time to plan for Christmas 2015. Last year I crocheted a lot of the gifts which went over really well. In fact I had this grand plan of doing it again for 2015 but starting in January working on one or two gifts a month because I barely finished. Then the months started to pass, and I still hadn’t begun crocheting gifts.

I am hoping to take my crochet ‘to the next level’ and by that I mean actually sell some crochet items. This is a big step for me because I have wanted to do this for a while but was paralyzed by fear that no one would pay me money for something I made. But that’s just silly to think that without at least trying to sell something. With those projects taking up my crochet time, I still haven’t begun making gifts, but then I had a brilliant idea. This year I plan to make Christmas as stress free as possible.

Everyone on my list – excluding my daughter (or maybe ever her!) will get money. Good, old hard cash. Gift certificates are too fussy but cash is king. I could just hit the ATM on the way to the Christmas party and be done. I might pick up some cards to hold the loot. I have bought gifts for years and stressed about more than one purchase. Most gifts are well received – or at least people seem to like it. Without a doubt they will love money.

All family will be getting money. Any dirty santa gifts will come from LootCrate goodies that we aren’t using. That just leaves a few friends to actually buy for. Yes, Christmas is going to be easy this year. Happy Holidays!

Too Many Computers

Being a geeky family, we have never thought we had too many computers. Friends who haven’t been to our house in a while commented on the number of computers we own. What’s funny is that we are thinking of adding another one this fall.

There are three of us. Both my husband and I have desktop computers. Our old desktop (Windows 7) is still in working order. I have a laptop and a Chromebook. We both have Surface Pro. So yeah, we have a lot of computers. My computers serve different purposes. My desktop has become the YouTube viewer for my daughter. My Chromebook is for Internet surfing while on the couch. When I’m working I use the Surface Pro. My laptop doesn’t get much usage but as a learning playground for Linux.

While we may can only use one computer at a time, it’s nice to have different options for different computing situations. So yeah we may have more computers than most people but it works for us.

A Dance with Dragons DONE

After the first season of A Game of Thrones had ended, I started reading the books. The first book took months to finish as it was pretty much what I saw from season one. The next two books took a few months to read as well but I made it through. Then I hit a wall with A Feast for Crows.

This book was really difficult for me to get into. I just couldn’t get that interested in it. My husband had read it and finished A Dance with Dragons at this point. I could tell that both books were disappointing to him.

I had started over reading the book about six months ago determined for finish before the next season. I had found a suggested reading of chapters for both Feast and Dance. I began to follow that and started to make progress. Sadly I did not finish in time for the new season.

So the new season aired with some twists that aren’t in the book. But a lot of what happens in the book is in the series, so some of my joy from reading was spoiled. It didn’t bother me, though, as I don’t mind spoilers.

I read for a few more months completing A Feast for Crows and making it really far in Dance with Dragons. Tonight after skimming two chapters and finding myself unable to focus in this book any longer, I gave him and read the rest of the chapter summaries online.

While I had hoped to properly finish Dance, it feels great to have the book behind me. Now to find some lighter reading. I need a small, 200-300 page book I can get lost in and read really fast. Looks like it’s time to see what Amazon has to offer.

2015 Goals Update – June

It is June! Why am I making no progress? Summer is here and it’s time to get busy.

Freelance full-time
(Feb)Still would like to do this but exploring options right now.
March – Still wanting to do this and thinking either by the end of the year of next spring is my goal to make it happen.
May – This month I plan to actually do some writing for two content websites. I’ve worked with them before but it has been a while. I plan to write 2-3 articles for each.
June – I want to make money blogging and article writing on certain topics. Now to go forth and just do it.

Debt Free
(Feb)working to dwindle down the smallest student loan which should be paid in March. Two more to go and then the car. This goal is pretty much on track.
March – The IRS wants more of our money for taxes so this will hinder paying this off until April.
May – Got the IRS their money and also knocked out another student loan. 2 more to go. Both are $2800 so should be relatively fast. Then it is just the vehicle.
June – Been saving a bit. No big debt payments made.

Save at least $3K
(Feb)I haven’t started saving this yet.
March – no change. Haven’t started saving.
May – Sadly no savings.
June – Yay! more savings! Finally.

WRITE
(Feb)Have written very little. Have to do more.
March – Have done a few blog posts and have an idea for Camp Nano which will start in April. I have a goal of 15,000 words.
May – Failed Camp Nano. Had less than 3K words. But I am working on a novel idea and a short story.
June – So many ideas. Working on an idea for Camp Nano in July and hope to blog a lot.

Draw
(Feb)I’ve drawn a little bit and bought a drawing book that I’ve yet to open but looks promising.
March – I try to draw everything – at least something. My new project is work on one comic for a week and then post the best drawing of it.
May – I haven’t drawn much. Have plenty of ideas but just can’t get them out of my head. ARRGGHH!!!
June – I have drawn a little bit. I plan to draw more and do a few comics.

Lose Weight and RUN!
(Feb)have gained a pound. Must tighten up this even if it means doing a diet like Atkins to get started just to see some progress.
March – Not much progress here. I did buy a stepper exercise thing that I enjoy using and am gaining some stamina. Now that it is better weather it will be time to get out more. That is if the pollen doesn’t dictate otherwise.
May – Have lost 9 pounds but haven’t started running yet. The goal is to do a 5K by September.
June – I start walking tomorrow. School is out and I have the time in the morning to add this.

Organize and clean house
(Feb)House is still an utter chaos but have started working on a plan.
March – The living room is now in order. This weekend we will shampoo carpets, wash curtains, and rearrange furniture.
May – Downstairs not bad – The big stuff is done but still plenty to do.
June – This needs more attention. I hope to eBay some stuff we no longer use. Just got to get stuff together.

(Feb)While I haven’t had a lot of progress, I hope the next update to have the clutter under control and to have lost 5 pounds. Baby steps are better than no steps at all.
March – Not too many updates and not where I’d hope to be. But that is the whole reason for doing an update is to remember these goals and to work on them.
May – I feel good about where I am. Ofcourse I would like more progress on the writing and drawing but I feel the more I do to organize our home, the more focused I can be on other tasks. Here’s hoping for a great May.
June – I hope for a productive June. I am hoping to really make progress with freelancing as I would love to move up my timeline to leave full-time work. I had been conflicted about pursuing a possible job change at work. Now I know what I want to do so I feel a lot better about that. It’s time to make 2015 count. Here’s to an awesome June.

New Person

If you have ever wanted to be someone different, just wait until you reach your forties. Recently I’ve come to realize just how different I am from my twenty – even thirty- something self.

Our work space is open. There are no cubicles. You have a small desk and close neighbors – the better to cram as many people in a room as possible. My team is made up of mostly twenty-somethings who still have dreams and aspirations -seeing this job as just their first on the path of a great career. Ah I remember having that job,too. The one that would launch your career to greatness.

So they have a lot of energy – which is good because to advance at this company you need to be willing to socialize. That means attending after hour events or better yet helping to plan those after hours events. I’m too cynical to care anymore about ‘climbing’ a corporate ladder. I have a sneaky suspicion that all that is waiting at the top is a noose.

Since we sit so close together, I can’t help but overhear their many conversations which usually lead to laughter and giggles for five minutes. That is fine on occasion but this is all day, everyday. I would like to think the twenty-something me wouldn’t have even given this a second thought. It’s just people talking at work. That is still allowed, right? The thirty-something me might have not been thrilled with it but it wouldn’t have bothered her. The forty-something me finds this distraction completely annoying and here is why.

It’s disrespectful. Have some common courtesy for those working around you. Take a break if you want to talk about gossip, other employees, or the latest funny YouTube video. I feel like I’m in high school again. It would be alright if I felt eighteen but instead I feel forty-something knowing this behavior shouldn’t be accepted.

That felt good to write it all out. I doubt it will improve but at least it has shown me that I am a different person than I used to be. Let’s hope that is more of a positive than negative.