July 26, 2012

I love compliments

Yesterday I cranked out two more look/feel options for The Big Conference Gala. My Creative Director, Sauron, had given me two very rough comps. When we discussed his concepts, I suggested a key change to the second one. Then as I started working with it, I realized the visual elements he'd suggested needed to change as well. I roughed it up in Illustrator and sent it over to make sure he agreed with the concept. I did the same with Idea One and sent that over.
He LOVED the direction I'd gone with Idea Two, but was a bit disappointed with the concept roughs for Idea One as they didn't yet have the 'wow' factor he wanted. I wasn't worried. The Illustrator part was just for adjusting complicated text placement. Next I took those elements into Photoshop and used spray paint brushes to generate art that looked like it had been painted onto a cement wall. The poster feels very rough and hand made. For Idea Two, I also brought it into Photoshop and added texture.
Five minutes after I sent the final art, the phone rang.

"I LOVE you!" he exclaimed, "These are perfect. I just showed them to the design intern and told him that you are who he wants to be when he grows up."

This morning we discussed the RFP that I'm working on through Tuesday. During the conversation he mentioned, "I went through the office yesterday showing people my rough comp, what you sent from Illustrator and the final art. I told everyone, 'This is the genius I came here to work with, this is how I want things to go! My crappy comp, a solid concept back and then a final that hits it out of the park."

What a great way to start the day!

July 25, 2012

Percolating and Cookin!

Behind all the ordinary splendors, I've been thinking about big picture vs. small picture. I haven't had time to sit and write it out, but the whole tragedy in Colorado brings up a lot of stuff. I'm hoping to write something cohesive soon.

In the meantime, looks like my summer will be insane. The Big Annual Conference is in mid-September, so most of my co-workers are buried in that. They'd thought to keep me out of it so I could work on RFPs or emergency client work as needed. However, one of our freelancers flaked out and so I'm back on the Gala. This would be fine except the creative director, while someone I love as a person, in work mode I call The Eye of Sauron. As in, "It's passing by, hide or he might notice you moving! DUCK NOW!" He is Mr. Intensity and expects the same of all who work with him. As of yesterday, I'm revising the three initial concepts while generating two wholly new ones. Both new concepts are a bit vague and (I think) a bit cheesy. That's all due by day's end today. Then I jump right into an RFP that's due on Tuesday. I told them I will NOT work on this over the weekend.

Saturday is my birthday. We're planning to go to Ft. Worth to expose Brex to the paintings of Lucien Freud (literally. He does a lot of life-size nude portraits). Jrex is looking for a place where we could do a fun lunch with the baby. Then we'll grab take out for dinner, have a sitter come in and go catch a movie. Either the Avengers at the dollar theater or Dark Knight.

Last night was the open house at Brex's new day care. Jrex met us there. Brex happily scooted around looking at new toys while they gave us the overview. Overall I'm happy with what we saw. The only down side is that they don't support cloth diapers. The thought of us contributing a mountain of filth to a local landfill makes me ill. The dilemma is whether to keep the diaper service. Maybe I'll buy some cloth diapers so we can use those on weekends? Sigh... I just don't know. The other down side is that we have to label all his clothes, hats, bottles, etc. Looks like a fun Sunday afternoon (we also have to install the car seat)!

The next dilemma is that they need a "PTA" person for the classroom. I'm thinking about volunteering. It sounds like a role where I forward emails to the other parents, create social opportunities (fun!) and attend a once-a-month PTA meeting. Since I miss seeing people, that might be good. Also, if I do want to do freelance, networking opportunities are usually a good idea. Downside is adding anything else to my to-do list. On the upside, the other parents look like an interesting crew. There's another Caucasian/Asian couple, a Chinese family, a couple we're already friends with, an African couple, an Eastern European family and two Caucasian families. Brex and the African girl are both 10-months old and one of the other boys is a big 9-month old, so he won't be the oldest. After him being the ethnic representative in the local day care, it's fun to have an international posse for him to be with for the next few years.

Again, I'm sorry I don't have the time/energy to go deep. I'm heart sick, humbled, weirdly hopeful and tired all at once. Hope you are all doing well.

July 18, 2012

Site visit!

There have been a few times thus far at my job when I've had the chance to go and do site visits. The most glamorous (debatable adjective) was to Las Vegas. Usually it's just been to local convention centers.

Well, I'm involved in a global conference this summer that does a "Hu b and Sp0ke" model. It means that the main speeches are filmed at company headquarters and broadcast around the world to other employees in remote cities. The remote locations then have their own speakers and activities to help with the annual Rah-rah mood. Well, the Dallas Sp0ke is happening in Texas Rang3rs Stad1um in late August. I'll be going as an Assistant Pr0ducer (basically as a go-fer for the local event production company). It'll be a good chance to see how the event works on a local level.

I'm doing a site visit tomorrow. It'll involve walking through the space and taking lots of photographs to send to my team in California. It's essentially outside my real job scope, but it'll be a fun change of pace. For the August event, I thought we'd be in a VIP suite overlooking the field during a game, but it sounds like we'll be in their Ha11 of Fam3 room instead. Essentially the stadium has nothing to do with the event, they just have a space the right size for our group. Ah well, good thing I'm indifferent to baseball, huh? Otherwise I'd be disappointed. 

What's strange is that I have to leave my house for work! And do my hair. And makeup. For clothes, I think I'll wear a company branded polo with dressy capri pants and my fun Earthies heels. Aside from not being Texas style, it's too hot for a suit! I think I've forgotten how to be a professional.

July 13, 2012

Little punk!

I'm not sure whether to title this post, "Little Punk!" or "That was easy".

Two nights ago when I went to feed Brex, he took a few sips then flung himself away from me and started to cry in protest. I'd taken a shower with a new soap, so I shrugged and made him a bottle. He grabbed it and chugged away and then finished with a big grin. He might as well have wiped his mouth with his sleeve and rasped out, "Thanks, Sugar!"

The next morning, he fed as usual at 5 AM. Then for his 8:30 AM feeding again he arched his back and flung himself away from me. Even when I tried to wrestle him into position, he just screamed and glared at me instead of eating. I glared back. When I picked him up to go downstairs to make a bottle, he stopped crying. No fussing at all while I made the bottle. Again he leaned back in my arms and lounged away as he held and chugged his bottle. Jrex had speculated that the formula tasted sweet? As an experiment, I took one bottle of formula and one of breastmilk to daycare. I asked later if he'd had trouble with one of the bottles? No.

Same thing that night. This morning. Tonight.

This evening, I fed him breastmilk in the bottle, just to repeat the experiment. Happy as a clam. In fact, he tried out every position he could drink from: leaning back against my body, sitting next to me, back arched over my legs, sitting up on my legs and facing me as he drank and finally chugging the last two ounces on the changing table. He might as well have been saying out loud, "I DO. NO, Mommy, I DO!" I have no idea where he might have inherited an independent streak!

This can't be unheard of, but I've never heard of a baby just weaning cold turkey. Is this a sign of things to come?

At 5 AM this morning, Brex almost started normal feeding, but then he seemed to remember it was against his principles. More screaming. Jrex came in to make sure we were ok and I asked him to give the baby formula while I pumped. Of course, the irony is that Jrex complained later about how tired he was from the interrupted sleep.

Ya think?

I'm not bitter, just amused since I've done all the night stuff with only as-needed emergency interventions from Jrex. It seemed silly to me to wake Jrex up just to change the diaper in between sides. Well, I guess he'll be joining the rest of the family for our early feeding now! (Really, I have SO much sympathy for Jrex in this matter. Can't you tell?)

The true bummer is that I'd been looking forward to giving up pumping and just having the morning and evening feedings. Then I'd assumed we'd have a ceremonial day when at long last, breastfeeding was over. Apparently Brex is reading from a different script!

I know, I know. It's in the official rulebook for parenting that just when you think you have something figured out, the kid shifts to something new. One part of me wants to try to fight to save the breastfeeding, that part also feels like I should be grieving now. I keep trying to dredge up the grief, but it's maybe 1/7th of my brain. The rest of me is just happy to not have to figure out the weaning process. Brush my hands together and move ON!

I guess that means the real title for this post is "That was easy. Strange, yes. But definitely easy."

July 10, 2012

Making connections

In addition to a family visit and going to visit one of my best friend's from college, we've had a lot going on socially in the last few weeks.

Brex and I have hung out with B-boy and J-mom just about every weekend since we met them. Thus far, I really enjoy her. She's gone backpacking, likes the outdoors, isn't squeamish about using the neighborhood pool and could care less if the kids grab (and mouth) each other's toys. She likes having another Mom who doesn't want to ONLY talk about children. She's a lawyer who is staying home with their son for now and her husband works even crazier hours than Jrex. She's tried to connect to other Mom's in the neighborhood, but apparently many of the Mom's in the neighborhood 2011 playgroup are Mormon so that's a limiting factor. That playgroup meets during the day, so I've only gone once.

Last night we met at the pool with the boys. Neither one of the kids do much kicking or splashing. J-mom and I have comforted each other with the boys' lack of physical prowess. They both seem to be mellow kids who are perfectly happy playing with what's in front of them and don't seem particularly driven to crawl over to something new. B-boy is just two weeks older than Brex and it's cute to watch them sitting together.

That said, I've found out that Brex has the capacity to be a little punk! At our house, B-boy would pick up a toy and then Brex would try to grab it out of his hand (over and over). I kept making Brex share and J-mom kept saying it was fine, but so much for my mellow baby! Where did that little obnoxious kid come from?

In fact, when Aunt A and family were due to visit two weeks ago, they called in the morning to say they'd be late. I texted J-mom to see if she wanted to bring B-boy over after his nap. She did and so was here when Aunt A, Uncle D and the ferrets arrived. Talk about excitement! The ferrets stayed in their cage, but I think both boys (and the mutt) were fascinated.

This past Friday night we hosted the neighborhood "Wine Appreciation Group". One couple was our buddies, the Mommies from daycare. I'd mentioned our knowing F&C, another lesbian couple who live in the next block. The Mommies snorted that F&C were way too high class for them. Well, of course that meant that F&C were also here on Friday--they didn't seem at all snobby to us, so we think that any issues are in the Mommies' heads more than in F&C's attitude. We were joined by a fourth couple whom we'd never met before.  The fourth couple ended up staying until 11:30 that night! Turns out that Jrex and M bonded over cooking and brewing beer and N and I bonded over being in the Dead Mother club. We've been invited to their place in a couple weeks. (I'm obviously too tired to think of good nicknames anymore, huh?)

What's so strange for me in all this is that it's the first time since college that my friendships aren't forming around church relationships. That's always been how I've found community. In fact, it used to bewilder me to think about how people might form community without that built in bonding factor. As I've mentioned before, this neighborhood really does feel like a small town. The great side of that has been that people are eager to connect. The downside is people know your business. In fact, N and M had toured our house when it was for sale and F&C had been dying to see the inside for the past five years. Thank goodness I'd straightened up the upstairs since they definitely wanted the full tour.

I really like that Jrex and I as a couple are the kind of people that others want to get to know better. It's strange that our social calendar is full most weekends when in my mind we've barely started to put in roots. I guess they're happening anyway, huh?