November 30, 2009

For what am I grateful?

  • That when I'm sick on Thanksgiving, I can lounge around in bed and read books.
  • That Jrex and I can survive a big money fight (I overspent the budget). I'm grateful that we've learned tools for listening that even allow us to learn more about each other and how we think in the process. My Mom always had money-related hissy fits. The sad truth is that as a child, it meant that I learned to let such rants roll off my back. Also, no matter how much she kept repeating that there was no money, there was always enough--so I don't have a sense of money as a static element. It's always felt very fluid to me. Because of that poor Jrex has had to repeat himself, re-articulate his points, find new analogies. Do that over and over to get through to me enough to really change my mindset. It's changed slowly over the years, but it's been a very hard process for both of us.
  • Smooth sailing with our new client. It's refreshing to have a smart, responsive client for once! Of course, that's also because it's a smaller show, so there are fewer approvers.
  • One thing that amazes me: we've only been here three years, but it already feels like we have a great community. That usually takes 4-5 years. I'm grateful to be surrounded by other people who are social catalysts instead of me being the main one.
  • A silly little dog who tries to make me chase her around the house. Has she still not learned that I'm not a morning person and such craziness needs to wait until the afternoon?
  • A new project that seems to be progressing well.
  • Jrex's mother joining us for over 2 weeks for Christmas and the New Year.
  • Climbing partners who push me past my comfort zone and who listen to life's ongoing dramas.
What's on your list?

November 23, 2009

Movie Nights

We actually had early enough nights this weekend to watch two movies. From NetFlicks, we'd ordered Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. It was really vulgar, but also really funny. During some scenes (rabid raccoon, flashing at the Asian party, the food gorging at the end) we just had to fast forward, it was too much. Yet the movie hit (and burst) almost every racial stereotype in funny, smart ways. Responsible, law-abiding, hard-working Korean? Check. Smart, geeky, trying-to-be-cool Indian guy? Definitely. Black men imprisoned for being in the wrong place with the wrong skin color? Check and check. Masochistic, power-hungry white guys? Too many checks to count.

We're looking forward to what they do in Guantanimo.

Last night we watched Definitely, Maybe. Now, we enjoyed it, but we both have a sap-factor and like romantic comedies. This one plays with expectations more than most, and I like that. There's also a great father-daughter relationship that is fun to watch.

Basically the daughter demands to know the story of how her Dad met her Mother. The Mother just sent the Dad divorce papers. He tries to wiggle out of telling the story with, "It's complicated". Then he tells his daughter that he'll tell her the story, but he's changing all the names and some of the facts. The movie jumps back and forth between the flashbacks and the Dad and daughter interactions. The complicated part comes from his tangled history with three different women over the 10 years before his daughter's birth.

The movie also begs the question: are Isla Fisher and Amy Adams the same person? (Isla is on the left)

November 20, 2009


What a day. One of the things keeping me really busy has been a confernce for 15,000+ people. It just finished. Anyway, I found out today that the C.E.0. had a hissy fit yesterday. People weren't going into his big speech session and he jumped all over our company and his own employees about it. He made them turn out the lights in every other part of the confernce centr to force people to go hear him speak. He screamed at his employees and called them idiots. He threatened to fire us as an agency. He made our senior executive here in the local office call our worldwide exec. The rumor is that our World Leader told the Local Leader that if the client was going to treat people like that, feel free to fire the client. Good answer. We didn't fire them, but it was a good answer.

Anyway, as of today, the client-side account lead, who bore the brunt of Meglomaniac's wrath has resigned immediately. I totally respect her, but she was the main person who buffered us from the client's craziness. I'm SO glad I'm not the lead designer on that show. What a mess.

On a much smaller, less exciting level, I worked until 9 pm last night but came up with three strong concepts to show a different client today. They really liked them. I'll spend next week polishing them and then we'll go back a week from Monday. It feels like it takes 4-5 days to work my way past the blank canvas and make something work. Then I think I'm fast cause I can pull together the presentation in two days. Yet I always forget how long it takes me to get there.

Jrex has been very sweet throughout the process: making food, picking me up when it gets late, letting me go climbing on my early nights. I love him.

Thank GOD I didn't marry a Meglomaniac!

November 17, 2009

Creative Process

As a designer, each time I have to come up with a new idea, it's terrifying. I'm always afraid I won't be able to think of anything. Over the years I've developed rituals that keep the fear to a low murmur. I eat some food, grab water to have near me, turn away from the computer and have a stack of smooth, creamy paper in front of me. With pen in hand and music on (at work, my iPod with noise cancelling ear buds), I begin to sketch.

No matter how afraid I am, whenever I take the time to sketch, I manage to come up with something. Then I work on refining it on the computer. The few times I've tried to go straight to the computer, I waste hours futzing around to no avail.

Right brain. Left brain. The keys to the design life.

Does anyone else have rituals that get them over their fear factor? Like a batter tapping the bat four times, spitting twice and then waving the bat overhead while waiting for the pitch, what gets you to the plate?

November 11, 2009

Brain Drippings

I like NaBlaPo (or whatever it's officially called). Lots of bloggers commit to writing one entry a day. Just when everyone gets tired and busy, there's a fresh energy injection into the blogosphere.

I wish I had the mental capacity to participate.

Blog posts I enjoy reading delve into emotions and events while reflecting on meaning. The reality right now is that I don't have time to FEEL, much less reflect! It's so sad. I finish work at 8:30-10 pm, stumble home, read a little and go to sleep, stumble out of bed, walk the dog and head for work. We're finishing things for a 10,000 person conference that opens on Monday, so that's intense. Plus, I'm creative lead for a new client. We are tasked with developing the show's theme and look and feel. They want to finish it up by Thanksgiving. Today I went down there with Hapless, our creative director and Energized Sadness, one of our account executives. We had a great meeting, and by next Friday I have to deliver mood boards and directions for the branding. I feel a bit rusty, but excited. I would just like the time to really think about it and come up with some fun, creative solutions, but see above . . .

Anyway, just wanted to tell you why my posts have seemed 'distant' (aka bland) lately. I'm hoping December will be a time of refreshing and recuperating from all this!

Other tidbits:
  • Our current Big Client gave away four round-trip plane tickets. I won one of them. I'll probably use it to visit my bro and sis in Seattle, unless we have some family emergency across the country again.
  • I'm getting a reputation within my department for being hyper-organized and for being everyone's favorite designer. It's nice to feel more and more confident in what I do, but I don't want that to be off-putting to my design buddies.
  • Jrex is close to resubmitting his paper! Can't wait for that to be accepted (pray, pray, pray)
  • The mutt grew a beautiful coat of fur for winter, and then we hit two weeks with temps in the 60's and 70's during the day. I looked down at her this morning and realized her fur was coming out in huge clumps. Stupid global warming.
  • Instead of going to LA to visit Jrex's sister and family for Thanksgiving, we found out last weekend that even though they talked about it, she's not really expecting us. Oh, and Mom needs to be with us for Christmas, that's ok right? We've adjusted to the surprise, but it was a bit of whiplash for both of us.

November 8, 2009


I've dropped off the face of the earth. Why? Busy enough at work that I don't have time to troll the internet. That sounds like a respectable reason. Oh, friends, I'm SO important and SO busy. Please forgive me. Blah. Blah. Blah.

The sordid truth? Well, I am busy at work, but at home I've been obsessed with finding THE laptop sleeve. It has to fit easily in my AWESOME messenger bag (mine just has black trim, not the blueness you see here) Which means, ideal at 14.5 inches wide x 11 inches tall. WITH a pocket to stash gear. AND handles in case I need to run out without the big bag. Oh, and look good without being too girly or too geek-head. PLUS under $30 would be great.

I swear I've looked at a hundred variations on the theme.

Built's Cargo Bag, $45. A little tall for my bag and no handles.

Cocoon's portfolio bag would be perfect, but it's too big to fit my messenger bag. $60 (but I wouldn't have to buy an additional bag for all the cables, power cords, mouse, etc.)
SFBags. Really, really boring, but snug fit and optional flap. $42. Flap is $15.
I might give up on the gear pocket and go with this one by Skooba. It's on sale for $18. Orange interior, plus the flaps open up and become handles. If I get this one, then I have to look around for a case for the other crap that goes with toting a laptop for travel.

Which brings me to the problem with the internet: I like to know all my possibilities. When I looked at houses, I wanted to see every house in the city that fit my criteria. It helps me to not have regrets later. Silences the what-ifs. Allows me to feel content with how I spent my money. If that involves seeing 20 houses, that's doable, even if it drives your realtor a little crazy. If it involves checking out three stores and then going back to the first one to get the third item I looked at? Also doable. Shopping online? It's overwhelming.

It also means I don't have a good reason for my on-line silence. Who has time for FB or friends when one is shopping every night! (oh, and reading novels, playing with the dog and waiting for a husband to finish working on his paper so one can chat for five minutes before going to sleep. Well, even that's a lie since I keep saying, "I'm going to stay up and 'work' a little longer, dear. Sleep well!").

Is anyone else this obsessive? I go to Goodwill and pull thirty things off the shelf and end up buying five of them. I do acknowledge how silly this blog post is! Which is why I haven't been blogging much. It's the case of only being able to write about what I'm thinking about. And if I write about THIS, I'll have to face how crazy I've become.

Ah, madness. And blindness. And now for sleep...