Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Chad's Frankenstein's monster homage is so expressive and evocative. My headless horseman woodcut style pumpkin is perhaps too meta and overwrought. Once again, Chad wins pumpkin carving.

Happy Halloween. Be safe. Have fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BYOP 2014

The Sweet Things Table: Kettle Corn, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies & Apple Fritters

Pumpkin Carving Tools After Washing

Friday, October 17, 2014

Let's Do This

It's about to get real. Real pumpkiny. BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) party is tonight, and preparations began about a month ago.

That blue smudge is almost certainly (not) a ghost, right? I hope it's a friendly ghost.

We totally confused the fireflies. 

Without the ghost this time.

Hector, our giant spider, made his annual appearance.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

No Idea What I'm Doing & No Time To Do It

Hey. I have been quite busy with the new-ish full-time job as the Visuals Coordinator / Supervisor (yes, two job titles for one person & yes, two jobs to be done simultaneously) at a clothing retailer, a freelance stylist project for a property management group and trying to maintain a social life.

I am not in super-love with my new job, but want to do the best work I can there. When my self-imposed year is done at this job, a few bills are paid off and money is saved for school, I am wondering if I should become a certified veterinary technician with a future goal of becoming a pet physical therapist or if I should go back to "real college" (as in not a community college with a certificate program, but a four-year accredited college for another bachelor's degree) to study interior design with a future goal of becoming an interior designer who specializes in commercial spaces. (How was that for a run-on sentence?)

I find working with pets, especially shelter/rescue group pets to be so rewarding. I like to slow down and observe a dog or cat to get a sense of what they need to feel safe, healthy and loved. Purrs and tail wags more than make up for the lower salary that this career field might fetch. I also love designing spaces for form, function and aesthetic appeal. I would focus on commercial spaces for interior design, because I can't bear to work with bored rich people who have forty five names for beige and really just want you to compliment their great taste, not really to give up one iota of control to let you help them design their space. No thank you very much. I'm truly torn between these two options. Luckily, I have ten and a half months to decide.

BTW: Be sure to check out my instagram photos on the widget to the right of this blog or follow me "therealjennc" on instagram to see more of my work & whimsy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Previous Position

I miss many things about my previous job:

Most of my coworkers - a lively eclectic bunch of about 35 unique individuals

Music - (except for during Christmas shopping season, of course) we enjoyed a nice mix of alterna-pop & retro alterna-pop songs

The view - looking out eighteen-foot tall windows, situated on a clean corner of mostly new low-rise buildings

Parking - a clean parking garage with free parking and security guards who tolerated no foolishness

The surroundings - clean sidewalks, Whole Foods, Starbucks, other retailers aimed at clean customers.

Clean - Did I mention how clean it was where I used to work? It was really clean, and never smelled like drug-tainted urine. Not once.

Respectful workplace - I was not manhandled, squeezed, kissed on the cheek or subjected to unwanted pats on my perky posterior. Sure, there was the occasional (very funny) double entendre joke.

Half of the customers - Half of the customers were just great. Half of them were anxious messes who seemed to have magical thinking that the right toss pillow would fix everything in their life that was amiss.

If the alarm went off in the middle of the night, no one called me. No one expected me to drive down and assess the situation.

I have to remind myself why I left:

The crazy, unpredictable work hours - 3:00 AM to 8:00 AM? Never again.

The on-call employment situation - You want to call me into work with 90 minutes notice on what I thought was my day off? Then you want to fuss about it for a week when I decline? No thanks.

Half of the customers - the aforementioned anxious mess half, like the lady who asked me to gift wrap an item, then timed me, and fussed when it took six minutes, because I had to find a box for the misshapen item

The general lack of appreciation and lack of humanity of working for a publicly traded conglomerate

The lower pay

The variable quality of the goods we sold for moderate prices being hailed as upscale. It was not upscale. Everyone calm down.

The crazy swarms of customers that would descend when a yoga class let out. There were five yoga studios in a two block radius that apparently practice the type of yoga that leads to cranky consumerism.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heaven Forbid

Sometimes I have thoughts that might be considered morbid, but are actually emergency preparedness edicts. If anything ever happens to me where I go into a coma or a vegetative state, I need one of you to access my (like Facebook for readers) account. Find my "to read" list. Load audio books from my "to read" books list onto a listening device and play them in my ears. I can't think of a better way to spend time in case of a non-responsive state.

Thanks in advance. I'll owe you one.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

That's It. We're Moving to Abilene.

Don't freak out. We are likely never moving to Abilene. It's just the new thing Chad and I say in response to the overblown crowds, skyrocketing property taxes and ridiculous traffic of contemporary Austin.

Sometimes we long for a slower pace, lower cost of living and less crowded, more sincere way of daily living. Then we remind ourselves of all the conveniences and the energy that living in central Austin offers, and we try to calm down.

I want smallish town life with a decent smoothie bar and salad place. I want less traffic and crowds, but with cool stuff to do. I want to live in the smallest city that has a Whole Foods Market. I want to have time for hanging out with friends, and friends who have time for me, but also a decent vegetarian-friendly restaurant in town. I want a town with a 24 hour diner that is not a truck stop.

You guys let me know if you find that place. We can all move there together, and ruin it for the longtime locals.

Still Here

Working full-time downtown at a new job and keeping a house full of three cats and a big dog is difficult. I am tired. I have been reading only a few pages of magazine each night before passing out. I have just enough time to maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness in the 1952 House and get to the gym once a week.

Learning new routines, and deciphering new situations and personalities, is semi-exhausting. I am happy to be earning more money, to have more predictable work hours and to be working with two of my favorite sassy former coworkers again. My job title is Visuals Coordinator. Thus far I have been mostly selling clothes that are not exactly my style, and that are mostly tailored for men. I have done very little visuals creative work yet at the new place, and am excited to grow that part of the job. My goal is to keep this job for at least one year of fancy paychecks to pay off some loans and build up savings a bit. Then I hope to go back to school for an Associates degree in a creative field, such as graphic design with a concentration in illustration, or back to working in pet rescue with low pay, high-stress and high emotional stakes.  Warts and all, I keep drifting back to pet care and creative endeavors.

Maybe when this year of maximum earning is over, I can look back at it sheepishly as my "sell-out" year, or maybe I will learn to love my new job and stay longer. Right now, I'm trying to find enough daily joy to avoid over analyzing the situation.