Monday, July 26, 2010

What if Syndrome

"Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."
My favorite Aunt joined the wave of half million other Facebook fans last week. Her recent photos provided me the opportunity to longingly look at pictures of my family I have not seen in years. Cousins that have not grown up before my very eyes, but are so grown up I can't believe my eyes.
Living on the opposite side of the country was as close as I wanted to be back then. Family to employment slowly filters through my what if syndrome these days. What if I had not decided to 'see' the West Coast, and remained in my home town... or not leave my adorable cottage in San Francisco in order to buy a house in the country. Regret and happiness are like oil and water.
I can miss my family but just for today I will embrace the fact that I live in paradise here, the community, the events and even the weather I occasionally blog about.
Life is good.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Paying it forward

As I begin production on the August issue of Young at Heart I'm aware of the fact that over past year + that I have been redesigning and producing the paper, it has been an exercise in learning and earning ...even if the earning has been inconsistent. The previous owner retired in April and as a result, the past three months have been about creating a whole new standard of quality -mainly in content. Before the paper was filled with articles supplied by the advertisers, it was all part of the draw to SELL a display ad, now I am working with 'an Editor' (an Editor with integrity and creative passion) we have established themes and its a whole new ball game. This past issue was on travel and great places to getaway to in Oregon. The papers have flown off the racks and we have been flooded with emails and calls complimenting our efforts.
This August issue ahead is on Pets and Ms Kitty and Maggie will be the cover girls. There have been some fantastic submissions by our readers for the best pet picture contest we are holding and I am excited to be riding this wave of production on through to my press date in a week. Thanks for all the inquires as to 'what up? ...'I have had little time over the past few months to update my blog, I have been updating the Young at Heart website, sales sheets, email blasts and redesigning the Media Kit for the upcoming fair in October. Changes indeed!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Change and happiness

"Change is not merely necessary to life - it is life."
-Alvin Toffler

I have been questioning if my blog has turned into a whine-a-thon. A venting outlet of frustration with my clients and general unhappiness with the creatively under challenged part of my life and effective ability to make a living. In case any of you are wondering, despite my power of intention, plea bargaining with God, and candles lit, I have not heard a peep from Google, or any of the other two places I sent resumes outside of the Rogue Valley. My burning desire for a design position is evolving, by necessity into what I have been seriously considering for more than a year, sales.
Volunteering at the Britt selling raffle tickets was one of my most rewarding positions, I loved the people contact and especially outselling my competition by a landslide.
When I first contacted Young at Heart, it was with the intention of selling display ads for them, until the owner saw my design work. After a few months of revising their marketing materials and ad design, I was hired to redesign the publication, which snowballed into planning the content, photography and writing a monthly column. I think it was the pinnacle of personal and creative satisfaction, unfortunately it was also accompanied by a disturbing pattern of non payment and questionable business decisions made by the employer.
I am excited to be working with two new clients in a sales capacity, its taking a little time to get my creative side and my Muse along for the ride, they are throwing tantrums in the back seat like a couple of two year olds.
I am working on a new game plan that will allow for some creativity in other ways, like formulating marketing plans for my clients and helping them decide where their advertising dollars can be best spent. I am wrapping my mind around the fact that creativity comes in as many shapes as people, and my happiness depends on seeing my glass half full instead of half empty.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The BuG or the WindShield

"well it's a strange old game
- you learn it slow...
one step forward and it's back to go.
sometimes you're the windshield,
sometimes you're the bug"

I can't tell you the amount of times I have been taken in by the seductive lines of a client, the lure of the words: "unlimited budget, anything goes, need it right away".
Thinking I am the windshield I fly, throwing myself into the creative process with total abandon. Days spent immersed, swallowed up from concept sketches to the final designs sent off.
I think this won't happen again, and it does. I am again, a client not paying, not responding to emails, and in the middle a friend who called me initially to help out his son, and now... I am the bug once again.
Not thinking I needed a contract, money upfront, just thinking about their needs.
Ouch, squished again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

American Woman

Randy Bachman explained the origins of this song in an interview with Words & Music magazine, Spring 2005. Said Bachman: "We were playing in a curling rink in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada), and I broke a string. I was up there alone, tuning up my E an B strings on an old Les Paul. I started playing that riff and in the audience, heads started turning. The band got up, and I said, 'Keep playing this, I don't want to forget it.' When Burton had run out of solos, I yelled out, 'Sing something!' So out of the blue Burton just screamed, 'American Woman, stay away from me!' That was the song, the riff and Burton yelling that line over and over. Later, he added other lines like 'I don't need your war machine, you ghetto scenes.' Before America knew it, it was a #1 record and it was a protest song."
Do you remember the song American Woman by The Guess Who? I wore the groove out of that vinyl album when I was in college and knew every song lyric by heart. I was just on You Tube looking for the video to add when I stumbled on a hot Lenny Kravitz version, smoking guitar licks ...and it makes the Guess Who version look like a bunch of overweight middle age geezers at a Tea Party rally. Now you are probably ready to leave and go looking for it so I will have to include a link in order to keep you here, so hang on.
Fact: due to the anti-American lyrics, The Guess Who was not allowed to play this when they performed at the White House for President Richard Nixon in 1970.
I have a new client, she came to check out my available studio rental and while it was not quite right for her we got talking and it turned into a business connection. She does online resource sites, successfully launching three over the past few years out of Denver, Colorado. Her next site is called American Woman and features products and services, yep all made in the USA. Her logo, website design, and social media application art are all in the works and here are two of the four designs for her logo I just completed. Not sure which one will be the pageant winner, but feel free to weigh in on your favorite.
Speaking of websites, I would like to thank Jess the gal who takes my designs and makes my clients' websites happen, not just an excellent html coder, but SEO expert who is a total joy to work with. Responsible for my latest website reincarnation, you can see some of her work linked HERE.
Fact:The song American Woman was featured in the Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy, where it appears in a Karaoke scene, and American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey rocks out to it while going through a mid-life crisis.
Oh and that Lenny Kravitz video, fasten your seat belt, I WAS going to provide a link to YouTube, but instead the code embedded the video ....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life in the Short Lane

Every vertically challenged individual has seen it all and heard it more than necessary.
"How tall are you?"

"Ahhh.. are you writing a book, or is this just a random act of curiosity and rudeness motivated by needless insensitivity."

The man I have been with for eight years is above average in height, I often see the look, or their eyeballs going from one of us to the other, up, down....yep, we are a wonder to behold, a long tall drink, and a wink.
" Mom was tiny too he says, unfazed by my diminutive stature" lovingly unable to comprehend my insecurity packaged with a closet full of cruel shoes I never wear anymore and a lifetime of double takes, finger pointing and bad jokes.
Pocket size... I see myself through the eyes of others and compare myself more than I would like to admit. I'm so grateful for the love that lifts me up and helps me not take myself too seriously in spite of myself.
Recently there has been a story in the news about a high school girl who killed herself after being terrorized by fellow students- bullying has been honed to a whole new level. Thankfully I look back on my childhood and see a much easier level of emotional boot camp from peers than the current times require. My torturers were the eyes and cruel words from parents of my male friends who targeted me and my DNA, threatened by imperfect grandchildren and potentionaly destroying their future Christmas cards even when dating or kids wasn't even on the table or in our minds.
Why do the hurtful words stubbornly remain when the compliments don't.
"don't get too serious with her, I don't want midget grandchildren"
Forty years later those words still sting, but not like they used to. When you are young and impressionable one sentence from an adult can take you down a path of personal torture unparalleled by your peers.
A gentle reminder to teach your children to love and live as you would want to be treated in an world where we are all perfect, and loved just as we are.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Last evening was the second of a two night gig volunteering to paint signs for the upcoming Earthday celebration in Ashland. Magic Marker fumes aside it was a wonderful experience starting with discovering a fabulous new place, The Ashland Art Center. What a great resource for artists in the area, run by some awesome individuals and showcasing some amazing artwork from clothing to hand painted tiles, so incredibly inspiring.
Working last evening with a dedicated group of artists and non-artists it was a reminder of the power of community even on a small level. Production moved briskly along to some Tom Petty music on the boom box and Marsha Bashfords' support and enthusiasm. Leaving Ashland around 9 PM with the aroma of delicious food in the air from restaurants lit up like Christmas trees, I felt exhausted but delirious. Volunteering has that effect on you, its something you do for others but feeds the soul and returns the effort in an unmeasurable way, and its lingering effects are so richly rewarding.