May 30, 2009

The end is nigh

Whoo-hoo. Finally on-site. All the signage looks great. Just survived my first client walkthrough on The Little Bastard show. I really wasn't required in terms of any decisions or content, but the client loves joking around with me so the Account Exec asked me to come along to help him be in a better mood. Seems to have worked.

The best part for me is that I'm wearing my hiking boots and running up and down the stairs in the conference center. Sure I'm getting hot and sweaty, but I'm in training for hiking in Whistler next week. No matter what happens on-site or how many times I have to run back and forth to the staff office, I'm cheerful as I think of that.

Tomorrow night is the walkthrough on The Big Show. I'm looking forward to grammar battles between the Big Boss and the Marketing Lead that I work with. Lots of power struggles and hidden drama. Fun times.

As has been said before, "Why can't we all just get along?"

So. The grammar question is, if I want to credit the above quote, should it say, "Thanks Rodney" or "Thanks, Rodney"?

May 29, 2009

Special Sauce

I've intended to write this since Sunday night! Sheesh.

On Monday, Memorial Day, Jrex headed into lab by 8 AM. By 10 AM, I sat at my computer to work on more 'hot' elements due to the printer by first thing Tuesday. We were due at Smart Girl's Memorial Day BBQ by 4 PM. By 3:15 PM, I'd uploaded files and jumped up to make my 'whole grain salad' (Smart Girl's request when I offered to bring something).

I had a vague notion of a salad, but hadn't fully figured out the details and timing. I rushed into the kitchen and started chopping garlic. Jrex was home, though still working on his computer. I was distracted, rushed, and chopping garlic...and...oops. I looked down and saw part of my fingernail and a bit of the side pad of my fingernail were gone. I grabbed a paper towel while cursing loudly. Jrex jumped up and asked if I'd hurt myself.

"Yes." I answered in a tense voice. Unfortunately for him, he's used to the follow-up question, "Do we need to go to the emergency room?"

"No," I responded, "There's nothing to stitch." For some reason, he thought that meant it wasn't that bad, and I was (apparently) in shock, so in my mind, I still needed to get ready for the party. Jrex came into the kitchen to take over the chopping and prep work, and I went to wash my hair. I'll spare you the details, but one handed hair washing while elevating and applying pressure was very 'interesting'.

I came back to the kitchen and directed Jrex as he finished the salad. It turned out great:

1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
Saute in pot on medium heat.
Add finely chopped red bell pepper until just tender.
Add 2 c water, 1 cup Quinoa. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop 2 heirloom tomatoes,
dice 2 bell peppers (one orange, one red)
1 Belgian endive
Put into large bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tb Basil, 1 tsp fresh ground pepper, 1/2 tsp salt.
When Quinoa mixture is done, dump on top of fresh veggies and spices.

Optional: one small section of finger...

Line a serving platter with fresh mixed greens. Heap Quinoa mix on top. Top with crumbled feta and lightly toasted pine nuts.

When Jrex finished the sauteing and final chopping, I mixed it all up and plated it all. He handled the saran wrap (no more sharp edges for me). Then he cleaned up and got ready to dress my wound. As he peeled back my pressure bandage (aka paper towel), he exclaimed, "I thought you said it wasn't bad!" I snapped back, "I said there's nothing to stitch! I never said it wasn't bad." shock...great for loving communication, right?

He cleaned it up, bandaged me up and we went off to the party. Everyone loved the salad.

The best part? It's my left middle finger, which I've had to keep elevated. It's been the perfect week to be able to flash that at everyone!

May 22, 2009

...and on...and on...

Dad was here for a week, but I only really saw him last weekend. Sigh. He got to pal around all week with a friend he's met here, so he seemed perfectly content to be neglected. Now he's off to visit my sister and her family and my brother for the next week or so. I'm jealous. It's been too long since I played with my niece and nephew.

Things are finally winding down for the show. Every day contains some form of fire-drill, but we're surviving. If this wasn't the last one, I'd be in the pits of despair.

Hopefully soon, this blog will return to it's former schedule and quality! Thanks for hanging in there during my hiatus in the Sunny Swamp!

May 16, 2009


We're coming down to the wire with all the design for the two shows in June. All the big stuff is dealt with, just lots and lots of little things.

I've realized that part of why I've been enjoying my design life (if we take out the managing/juggling elements of my job) of late is that I've been able to focus on the Big Show and not deal with the TOTAL chaos of the Little Bastard Show that is happening in the two days leading up to the Big Show. Little Bastard has a client who is one, and an event manager on our side who is emotional, passionate and very scattered. Oh, and English is her second language--so when she gets emotional or stressed (often), her communication becomes even more confusing. Little Bastard also has a head marketing guy who is vague in his directions. He always thinks things aren't that big a deal, so he doesn't force himself to get the info until it's a fire-drill. I've been sucked back into signage for Little Bastard as well as a couple other little things.

No wonder I hated my life before leaving for surgery: all I worked on was the Little Bastard show. On the Big Show, I've been given free reign as a designer. I've earned the trust of both the account exec and the client-side branding woman. Most of what I do gets one or two tweaks, but it's been a very quick, very organized process. Plus, this year, I will get to see two entire buildings covered with graphics I designed. How cool is that?

The other redeeming feature has been the knowledge that because the company is being bought, this is the last year for either show. It's neat to be part of the grand finale and I will be more than overjoyed to wave goodbye to the Bastard.

Just think, three weeks from today, Jrex and I will be in Vancouver (Lord willing and circumstances permitting...). I knew I would need a carrot to get me through this final sprint and between those two (the ending and the vacation), I'm able to make it.

In other news, my Dad is here for a week before heading up to Seattle for Blond Niece's birthday. I don't think he believed me when I warned him that I might not have much time to hang out on the weeknights during this sprint phase of the project. He's about to find out...

We're having a fun weekend before I disappear. Today was the open house at the US Geological Society. I kind of expected that they'd have the map room open and we'd wander through one building. Instead, they had six tents, numerous buildings, displays, talks, demos, food, bands. We got to sit in an earthquake demo trailer (that was a front for a group selling earthquake emergency kits). We heard a talk where the guy used a crank system, surgical elastic, sandpaper and bricks to explain the physics of earthquakes. He also passed on a tidbit: get a flat whistle that you can attach to your key chain so you always have it with you. If you're trapped under fallen debris, you have an hour or so you'll be able to yell, then you'll use up all your moisture and be unable to continue. If you have a whistle though, you can continue for hours. Plus, the sound carries better than any yells.

The other tip for the day is to go see "Every Little Step", a documentary about the casting of the revival of A Chorus Line. We just got back. I've got songs I'm completely unable to sing stuck in my head, dance moves I can't even imagine going through my mind and a very satisfied feeling after seeing it.

May 7, 2009

The person is more important than the task

That's been the phrase I've repeated over and over and over in my head all this week. When the phone rings and it's a coworker asking a question that I've answered in three email responses in the last hour. When another coworker comes by 'just to vent'. Twice. When my creative director asks me to drop everything and help 'scrub' a document of all client references in order to put it in a proposal. When I get three instant messages (from clients), a phone call, and five emails at once.

The person IS more important than the task.

Yes, we need to get this show out the door. Yes, the ground shipment leaves from Detroit on Monday the 19th and everything needs to get to the printer by tomorrow (always by tomorrow). Yes, I have an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with to-do items on it divided for the next three days and in order of need. Yes, my blood pressure goes up every time the phone rings. But . . .

The person is more important than the task.

May 4, 2009

The Weekend Report

Well . . . no camping after all. Turns out the forecast was for rain this past weekend. Anywhere else in the country, you'd just grab your rain gear and head on out. However, in California . . .

Really, the other three families all have young kids so, if no rain is a realistic option, it's worth waiting. I wanted to go anyway, but Jrex (wisely) thought about what a wet dog in a tent might be like. So, we wimped out with the rest of them.

Instead of a camping weekend, we did a Cowboy-themed cookout at one couple's house. I baked cornbread in a skillet! Chili in a crockpot for the main meal. Dessert had nothing to do with cowboys and everything to do with Trader Joes, but it was fun anyway.

Sorry for the boring post. I'm waiting for edits and in the thick of a ton of deadlines. Ugh.