Saturday, January 31, 2004

Tonight I put the first page in my online portfolio at News Page Designer. Strangely enough, I was hesitant. I mean people see my work almost daily. But the idea that my peers (and my betters) would be checking it out was a little nerve-wracking. But now that it's done, I plan on keeping it up-to-date and adding more pages from the past. I hope to see some improvement as time passes and get some pointers. But I hope the comments are gently phrased. ;)

Friday, January 30, 2004

Caffeine fix
Starbucks comes to town. While there are some benefits in living in a mid-size town, one of the downsides is things take a little longer to get here. Well today, I paid $3.50 for a grande cappucino. Oh I've had over-priced coffee before in other places. But I must say I enjoyed having it served right here in my own hometown. Even if the poor west Texas kid behind the counter didn't understand coffeespeak.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Out of sorts
I've been grumpy and lazy lately. Not the best of the seven dwarves. I'm not sure what is going on. Maybe it's the Winter blues. Maybe it's because I'm trying to organize my life and get my finances in order -- which I've never been very good at either of those. Made a stupid mistake that wound up on the front of the local section and I hate that.

But I'm trying to snap out of it. I'm working on some ideas for the blog. I wouldn't mind doing some movie, book and tv reviews. I have lots of stories to tell, lots of opinions to spout and lots of top 10 lists to share. I promise it will get better. Don't bail yet.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Ten things guaranteed to send me over the edge:

Yes, I know some of these are irrational. But we all have our quirks.

10. Fast food order takers who interrupt. I'll tell you if I want extra cheese, if you will let me finish my damn order. Here is how I like it to go down: Listen to the order, repeat the order, give me the total and say "Thank you, please drive through." Is that too much to ask? And no, I don't want a hot apple pie to go with that.

9. Readers who bend books. Well, my books to be precise. What you do with your books is your business.

8. Clerks who pencil tap while I'm making a transaction. It will only take a second to write my check or swipe my debit card. And the this-job-is-so-boring fidget drives me nuts.

7. Drivers who honk the second the light turns green. If I've sat through the red light, then you can honk and feel free to give me the finger. But if it took a second to get my foot off the brake and onto the gas pedal, there is no need to blare your horn.

6. People who are touchy-feely the minute I meet them. I don't mind a handshake, but I don't need them to hold me while I talk. I think I have personal-space issues.

5. Movie-goers who chat throughout the movie. The repeating of dialogue or the singing of songs is especially discouraged.

4. Celebrities who whine about how tough their lives are and how inconvenient fame is. I pretty sure if you make a career of singing or acting you know you will get some attention. A recent whine from Ashton Kutcher prompted this entry.

3. Speaking of celebrities, Michael Jackson who puts red veils over his kids. Whether he is guilty or innocent, those photos of his kids under red lace veils just creeps me out. It gets at least a few minutes of tirade every time I see it.

2. People who assume they know my politics because of my gender or my profession. I'm especially irritated when they want to push their views without listening to mine.

1. Callers who phone before 10 a.m. I work late, I want to sleep late. If you call my house before that time, I expect a medical emergency or an emotional crisis. A double rant if you are calling to sell me something or remind me of an appointment.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

A pox upon our house
We've all got a nasty cold except for the puppy. She sees no reason why the sick people should (1) not take her out every hour and (2) not play non-stop unless it is time for her nap, of course.

So in honor of our sickness, I declared a "no housework, no cooking, no do-anything-constructive day." I've alternated the puppy's outside breaks with my naps and spent the rest of the time Web surfing. Here's what I've come across so far. - 'TV crack': Pop culture eats itself - Jan. 22, 2004 I think this is a great headline, mainly because I'm addicted to 'TV crack.' As a child of the '70s and a teen/young adult of the '80s, I've enjoyed the series on those decades. I will even admit to watching them in reruns. - Foxlife - Out There - Don't I Know You From Somewhere? I love these kinds of idiot-crooks stories. This one is an oldie but a goodie. Apply for a job, come back rob the store, and go to jail because they have all your info.

Happy Year Of The Monkey Today is the start of the Chinese New Year. I am a monkey ;) And I love that this site calls us monkeys "erratic geniuses."

I guess that's enough for now. Time for more cold medicine and a nap. COLD-EEZE take me away.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

A professional
Today, I received an important package. Well, it was important to me anyway.

It was the information on my first professional membership. You would think as an educated woman who worked as a radio announcer, a MHMR case coordinator and an advertising designer would have joined a professional organization some time in the last 14 or so years. But I didn't. Maybe it's because I never really considered those other jobs as my profession.

When I graduated from college with j-degree in hand, I expected to be a reporter bringing down scandalous politicians ala Woodward & Bernstein.

I couldn't find a newspaper job in my hometown. So I took a job as a radio announcer for a tiny station. Every other paycheck bounced. But I will say this for it, it brought my husband and I together. I got offered a job at a small-town newspaper, but turned it down for love.

Finally got tired of the paycheck situation, so I switched careers to social services. I worked with people with mental retardation for a couple of years. While that was rewarding, it wore out pretty fast. So I took a job at a classified paper.

While I did get to do some designing it was all ads. Plus I had to work the front counter during the slow time -- which I hated. But I put up with it for almost 8 years.

When I tried out for my current job, I didn't think I would get it. Journalism school had been a long time ago and everything had changed. But from the very first day, it was like I should have been there all along.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Blogger Faux Pas
I know I should be posting daily, but my computer time was limited the last few days.

Reason 1: Sweet child o' mine (see previous post) is here for the weekend. So we have had lots of fun kid stuff to do. Reason 2: A large portion of today was spent in the car. We traveled to pick up our latest addition. Basset baby girl Lucy has been a big hit with adults and child alike.

On the way home I did find blog fodder though. I always can tell I'm in rural west Texas during hunting season when I see a sign for "deer corn" in a convenience store window. You can buy your six pack of beer and slim jims for refreshment in the deer blind and the corn to lure Bambi in all in the same store. Now that's convenience.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Sweet child o' mine
Sometimes in life things don't go according to plan. And sometimes that's good.
Babies are often unexpected, but my son was more so than most. I didn't give birth to him; I didn't adopt him. But he's mine nonetheless.
As with most stories, it's best to start at the beginning. Seven years ago, my husband and I were having some marital discord. Scratch that. We were fighting like cats and dogs. I knew something was up. I was unhappy; he was unhappy. So I left.
A few days after my departure, I called the house to tell him I had my half of the divorce filing fee.
And she answered. It was liking hitting tilt on the pinball machine. First, I thought maybe I had the wrong number. No, he was there. She was there. One of the worst moments in my life. Yes, I moved out. Yes, I was unhappy. No, I wasn't prepared for someone to be in my place so soon.
So I did a stupid thing. After they (yes, they) came by to get the money. I went to my former home to get a few things. They were my things and I still had a key, so it wasn't breaking-and-entering. But it probably wasn't a good idea either.
And there it was -- sitting in my former living room -- the crib.
When he found out I had been in the house, he called. It wasn't one of the worst fights we have ever had. A few months later, they came into my former workplace. Normally, I wouldn't have been at the counter. As luck (bad) would I have it, I was. On the day they got their first sonogram. Over the next year, I talked to him one time when he called to tell me a family friend had been in a wreck. And an ugly letter I sent him about getting the divorce finalized and telling him to quit stalling it.
The baby was born -- a boy according to the newspaper. I dreamed about him. I did a very strange thing and bought him a present. But it was never sent. It remained in the bottom of my dresser drawer.
About 7 months later, I get a phone call while in the shower. I was staying with my grandmother who needed a little extra help and my brother was in town for a visit. My brother answers the phone. He shouts through the bathroom door. I tell him take a message and then he says these four words: "I think it's Ken."
I don't know why I took the call, but I was glad I did.
We talked for hours while he drove into town. The new relationship didn't work. She was gone, the baby boy was two hours away. He was coming back from a visit. He asked me out on a date. A date with your ex-husband is a very strange thing. But it was a good thing, the love was still there.
Once the former girlfriend realized I was back, she refused visitation. So we went to court and we won back his father's right. While we were at it, we remarried.
And we picked up his son. He was (still is) the most beautiful child. Big brown eyes, his daddy's smile. I was worried -- what if this 9-month-old child didn't like me. But when I held him -- it was right. He wasn't born of my body, but he was a child of my heart from the very beginning.
For him, this is normal. He has a mommy, a daddy and a chriss.
It's so matter-of-fact for such an incredible bond. He writes me notes, saying "These are just for parents." When he dropped something on the playground, he told the other kid, "That's okay, my chriss will get it." He jumps up and down when I tell him I don't have to go to work and can stay home with him. He has my crooked little finger, defying all the laws of biology. And he has my heart.
No, sometimes things don't happen the way you expect. Sometimes they're better.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Reality check
Heaven for sale
People who buy stars are getting ripped off. Who would have guessed? Apparently when you buy one of those "name-a-star" kits, you don't really get the star and the name you give it isn't its official name.

I have two questions about this:
1- Did people really think they were buying a star for $49.95 plus shipping?
2- Do people really care if the star isn't theirs legally?

I once bought my husband one of the Adopt-a-wolf kits. We knew from the get go that we weren't going to be dancing with wolves. It was fun and it supported the pack in Yellowstone. Didn't matter that we wouldn't be bringing a our wolf pup home (probably wouldn't have got along with the rest of our menagerie anyway, especially the rabbit.)

At least some people with their own stars feel the same, a women mentioned in the above-linked article said she knew it wasn't official and doesn't care. She got a map, a certificate and a unique connection to her slain brother. Surely that's worth $49.95

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

And in the news ...

Surely this must be one sign of the apocalypse: ACLU Comes to Rush Limbaugh's Defense

Is that a snake in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?:Man Bitten After Putting Python in Pocket

Ewww: Condom-in-soup case resolved

Monday, January 12, 2004

Does it make me a dork if I am looking forward to the "Survivor: All Stars?" Why yes, yes it does!

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The school of hard knocks
I didn't go to an Ivy League school. It wasn't that I didn't have the scores. SAT, ACT -- while I won't say that I aced them -- were quite respectable. But I chose to attend a community school. I was not going to put my family or myself in debt, so I chose a reasonable school were I could live at home. Yes, I chose this and I have no regrets.

I still had to do the work. I had professors who were from prestigious schools. I went the extra mile -- worked on my school paper, found my own internship, etc.

Yet just a day ago, I heard someone talking about MY school. Something about a relative was coming home to get an 'easy' degree from my alma mater. 'Easy' from someone who never stepped foot in one of my classes.

I wouldn't say my education or my life have been 'easy.' Nor would I say they were 'tough.' Tough is living in a third-world country with no running water or being abused or having a terminal illness. But somewhere between easy and tough, I learned a few extra things besides journalism and poli sci.

Lesson 1: You don't always get what you want. I would have loved to have gone to an Ivy League school, stayed in a dorm and experienced traditional campus life. I would have loved to have a high-paying job waiting for me to graduate. Neither of these things happened though. I didn't die; I adapted.

Lesson 2: You have to work for what you get. There are no free rides even in an 'easy' school. And there are no free rides in life. If you want it, be prepared to do what it takes. Unless you are born independently wealthy, stunningly beautiful, highly intelligent and overwhelmingly charming, you're going to get a little dirty now and then.

Lesson 3: Life doesn't follow your timetable. Things happen when the time is right (usually after you've paid your dues and worked your butt off) and not a minute sooner.

I may have went to an easier school, but I learned a lot more.
So I'm sitting next to my twenty-something co-worker tonight when she bubbles "I wish I was 24." (sigh) My thirty-something self suddenly feels very old.

Friday, January 9, 2004

Meet the blogger
I've been sitting here playing with fonts and colors all morning. Then it suddenly dawned on me -- this isn't page designing. It's blogging. So write something! Actually I probably will continue to mess with design -- it's in my nature.
But for right now, here are few things you should know about me if we are to have a successful blogger-bloggee relationship in no particular order:
- I am more conservative than I ever thought I would be, but still more liberal than most of my family
- The only virtue I require in another person is honesty
- I believe in soulmates
- A certain 6-year-old can wrap me around his finger
- I am overly critical -- of myself and others
- I get along with animals, better than people most of the time
- I am a worrier
- I am a pessimist, but I wish I was an optimist
- I have little tolerance for stupid mistakes
- I'm more emotional and sensitive than people would suspect
- I wish I had more friends
- I'm very disorganized at home and very organized at work
- I'm not a girly-girl
- I like hockey and football
- I wish I was more creative
- I'm a packrat
Well that should get you started. If you want to read some of the best writing on the Web (much better than anything you will ever see here), I highly recommend tequila mockingbird. I will post more links as time allows.
So here's the deal. I was once a writer who became an editor and needs to write again. Thus Chriss' Case is reborn from the ashes of my college journalism years and thrusts its ugly head into the present. Alliteration was popular back then. Besides a case can be something that you make or something that you throw junk into. This blog could very well qualify as either if my mind is working in its normal fashion. Despite my profession, I wouldn't expect perfect grammar or spelling. Everyone needs an editor.