Goodbye Pullman, it’s been nice.

It is my last day at work. I sent out a few good-bye emails this morning and have had a fairly steady stream of well-wishers all day to complement the pinging of new emails. This is a good way to leave. I like them (well, most of them), they like me, and they won’t discover all of the little pieces of paper I haven’t filed until long after I’m gone. Heh heh.

Lots of feelings right now, too many to write in the short space of time that I have. This blog will be silent for a while as we drive. We plan to go through Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and maybe a few more states for good measure. I have decided that my little Canon is just not up to the challenge, so I am bringing…da da dum…my old Nikon N65! I am using film again, baby. After sorting through countless photos and thinking that my analog days were over, I am going to do it anyway because it just looks better, at least when comparing it to a digital point ‘n’ shoot. I am really excited about this.

Husband.

Dog.

Suitcases.

Corolla.

Film.

Highway.

Florida.

Freedom.

See you in a few weeks!

P.S. In case you were wondering about the hair…
Then:

Now:

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End/begin.

Moving is such a watershed event that it is hard not to time the rest of your life around it. Before we move, I must do this…after we move, I must do that. It seeps under every door, touching each area of your life.

We are still not done packing (an activity that has taken, oh, about the last three months) and when husband and I were filling a few more boxes the other night I told him that I was tired of ending things and ready to start beginning them. It was one of those comments that comes out lightly, and then after you say it you realize that it’s not light at all. I feel as though so many of the things I have done in the last few months have been part of a huge cycle of ending that won’t stop until we leave the driveway next Tuesday morning. And I’m kind of sick of it. I want to see a friend and know that I’ll talk to them again next week, to go to the store and know that this item can sit on a shelf and not in a box. I want to start something, not finish it.

This is not to say that I’m not excited about the possibility of beginning over. In fact, it seems like a gift, a opportunity that is not given to every person. I’m even going to change my reflection in the mirror: my long hair has an appointment with a stylist tomorrow and will (hopefully) look quite different afterward.  No, I think I’m just impatient. I want to be gone now. I don’t want to have to finish these projects at work, pack those boxes at home, say goodbye to everyone one by one and cry a little with every hug, wondering when I will see that face again. I want to be on the road, with nothing to do that day but get 500 miles closer to Florida. No emails, no paperwork, no cardboard boxes.

But I must have patience. The end is almost in sight. And then the beginnings can start.

All the small things.

There are times when I don’t know how design bloggers do it. How do you stare at a litany of purchasable objects every day and not break your bank account? I was trying to put together another design board but ended up running across a lot of small things (plus a few good bargains) that I thought I’d pass along as-is in case you are looking to pep up your own place. They’re not all particularly gorgeous, but they might make your place a little more organized and can be surprising affordable!

For the kitchen:


Container Store double cabinet shelf (7.99-9.99)
No more stacking plates + bowls on top of each other…


Container Store polytherm undershelf baskets (5.99-7.99)
Same idea, but takes up even less room


Container Store Expand-A-Shelf (9.99-12.99)
Who likes jumping up and down to see if you have a can of beans in the back?


Ferm Living tea towels (14.00)
From the people that bring you gorgeous wallpaper (but much more affordable)


Tikoli tea towels (10.00)
So pretty, why not frame them? (Of course, tea towels for framing could be a whole post of its own…)


Bamboo instant storage boxes (24.95)
A bit expensive for what they are, but much nicer to look at than tons of magnets!


Sparrow S/P set (8.95)
Very Charley Harper-esque – why not display instead?

For the closet:


Container Store double closet rod (9.99)
Ridiculously cheap and doubles your hanging space – how have I not discovered these before??


Container Store solid shelf dividers (6.99 for 2)
Imagine nice little stacks of sweaters that don’t fall over…


Blue Stripe Crunch Can by Umbra (19.99)
Note the handles for carrying to the laundromat

For the living room:


The Conran Shop embossed white clock (26.00)
Mm, I think I’m going to get one these


Spine Book Tower (99.99)
Takes up very little floor space and much cheaper than the Sapien

For the patio:


Uforia white patio chairs (98.99 for 2)
How I wish they had a rocker at the bottom!

A worthwhile link.

In addition to furniture (heh heh), I have also been thinking about what it will be like to spend a lot more time at home in future months, whether working or home-making. So when I came across this post today, I thought I would pass it along.

Is that not the most freeing of quotes?

Have a good weekend, all — more design boards next week!

Furniture on the brain.

I have been spending a rather unbalanced amount of time lately thinking about furniture. You have to admit, beds + chairs + sofas are much more fun than packing and forwarding your mail, right? Unfortunately, however, I think this is bordering on obsession. I check the Pensacola craigslist several times a day. I scan the West Elm sale section frequently to make sure that the item(s) I want haven’t gone out of stock. I check CB2 to see if anything I want has magically been reduced by 75%. I dream about cavernous Salvation Armys and Goodwills full of Saarinen and Eames chairs.

Like I said, it’s kind of obsessive.

Remember that inspiration board I did a while back? I’m trying to take the general idea into Photoshop and use some of the gazillion photos that I have found while poking around the internet and saved to my desktop. I still like the old board quite a bit, and the grey, brown and ochre palette is still much to my taste. When approaching the new place, however, I knew that I had to pick a color scheme and stick with it from day one or I would end up with my usual mish-mash. And as I don’t happen to have a lot of grey, brown and ochre and I do have a really lovely blue, orange and gold lithograph, the latter won out. And I plan to stick with these colors, no matter how tempted I am by someone else’s room done entirely in creamy whites.

So, I thought I would take some of the ideas that have been spinning in my head and try to see how they look together. This is not to imply that I will (or can!) buy all of this stuff as I am hoping to mix a few inexpensive new pieces with some one-off stuff from the thrift store, which means that I won’t have a photo in advance since I won’t even know that I’m looking for it until I SEE it and realize that it’s absolutely perfect (at least, I hope it works out that way…). So those things aren’t included, just in case you decide to do the math and realize that there’s no way that our budget can accommodate all this stuff. But I think I manage to get a few new pieces of furniture, and if you have any opinions I would love to hear them. :)

Living room design board.

Given the parameters of our apartment (600 sq ft, 1 bedroom), it quickly became apparent that the office/computer stuff will need to go in the living room, along with our sofa, tv, books, tons of cds, floor lamp, etc. I have been eyeing the Expedit for a while, trying to figure out how to justify the shipping cost since the nearest Ikea is quite a ways away. But I like how it looks so much! And it’s white! And could hold all our books + cds!

The Marimekko tea towel is one that I bought a while back and plan to frame and put in the living room or kitchen. The colors seem to fit right in, eh?

The desk is the one that I look at frequently to make sure that it’s not sold out. Mmm, that orange. As long as West Elm still has them in a few weeks, I think that I am definitely going to get one of these since I have liked the design since I first saw it. Plus, it will look soooo good with my white Mac on top. The brown chair in the photo isn’t that hot, though…might try to find something Queen Anne style (for contrast) and paint it white.

Living room design board.

What to do for a sofa has been bothering me for quite a while and has led to some Craigslist discouragement. So many posts have titles like “white leather couch in good condition” or “nice suede sofa for sale” and then turn out to be a) incredibly lumpy, b) incredibly oversized, c) burgundy/forest green, d) involving wicker or rattan, or e) made by Ashley, Broyhill, or one of the other apparently popular furniture companies whose products I have come to dislike intensely. Ick. I think a new sofa is probably out of our reach, but these two options are on sale at West Elm and are on the verge of being affordable. I think the Heyward sofa is lovely and would serve as a very nice bed for visiting friends and relatives (hear that, Tim?). I don’t love the brown, but it will certainly look good longer than the white sofa of my dreams. The square metal sofa is meant to be outdoor, but the shape is so nice. They are out of orange cushions but have a very lovely bright blue.

The second most difficult thing to find seems to be some sort of cabinet/armoire to hold our tv, stereo, and record player. I would really love to have those tucked behind doors when guests (and small children) come to visit rather than on open shelves as they were in our last apartment. The Trollsta has a great shape but only comes in black (phooey) and the last thing I feel like doing when I get a brand new piece of furniture is painting it. We went to a friend’s house last night and saw her ingenious entertainment center that’s built into an old armoire (someone added shelves on the side where you hang clothes, and all her things fit perfectly). I think that if I found an old armoire that was cheap and not in the best condition, I would be willing to spend some time and money giving it a coat of nice, fresh white.

Any other ideas?

The last of the work posts (really).

Sorry about the lack of activity around here. I have had some flu symptoms + a dull headache for the last five days that escalated to migraine on Monday morning and didn’t truly go away until I woke up this morning. Seeing as I was ready to seek physician assistance (yuck), you can imagine how happy I was this morning when I awoke to a blissfully pain-free head. Ahhh.

Given that I just missed almost three days of work, I expected things to go very badly when I was called up to my boss’s office this morning. But when we discussed the plethora of projects that I need to complete before leaving, he was amazingly sympathetic and reasonable (don’t try to do that, you don’t have enough time). He asked for my opinion on a few things, and I gave it. We talked about the future of the program. And then when he asked if there was anything else, I gathered my courage and mentioned hesitantly that I had decided to stop working for WSU after leaving town. He asked why. I said that I wanted a fresh start. He asked what I was going to do. I said I’d try illustration for a while and then possibly look for another job. He said okay. And that was that.

I didn’t have to argue. I didn’t have to say that I didn’t want to work for him. I didn’t have to use any of the many phrases that I have been inventing for the past few weeks while brushing my teeth.

It’s over. After July 25, I will get to move away from this.

Thanks for listening.

Work (work work), work (work work).

Anybody remember this song from the Antshillvania record? (And did anybody else listen to this record incessantly as a child?)

I was going to apologize for writing yet another post about work when that’s probably not what you’re here to read, but then I realized that — hey! — work is a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately and I’m going for a spot of honesty on the old blog. I mean, why try to make you believe that I’ve been thinking about art + stuff when I really haven’t?

So, the long and short of it is that I’m going to quit my job after all. Uncle T offered some very good advice in the comments of the last post which I recommend that you read if you are in a similar situation. It would make much better sense fiscally to remain employed while looking for a new job, but it is realistically unfeasible because (a) it would require someone to go through a lot of trouble and paperwork to create the position for me (which would make me feel lousy if I quit 2 weeks later), and (b) I would still need to buy a fairly expensive program and go though a lot of work to get my computer set up. Both of these scenarios also involve the fact that if I announce my intentions to leave now, I think that I can do so with minimal hurt feelings and good recommendations afterward. But if I decide to do so in a month, well…the situation might be different.

I spoke with the manager at our new apartment complex yesterday (hooray, we have a place to live!) and she recommended temping for a while. I just saw Working Girl so I’m not sure how I feel about that, but after asking around I’ve heard some reasonably good stories and might give it a try when my pockets are empty. Until then, I am going to take a renewed stab at the art/illustration/design world and try doing some things like promoting my Etsy shops and other original ideas to see if I can make them more profitable.

I could actually start drawing and painting again.

And not have to look at a computer all day.

And see if my headaches start to go away.

Life is sounding better already. Anybody need some drawing or painting done toward the end of August?

Thanks.

Many thanks to those who chimed in with advice on the last post. I had actually (more or less) made up my mind to quit, but when I was blindsided during a meeting by a segue into “work you’ll be doing for us after you move,” I didn’t have my little speech about how I’m sorry, but I just can’t work for you ever again ready to go and I didn’t say anything. Which is probably for the best, right?

Now I have to do a lot of budget-related planning, like deciding if I can last longer on our old Mac or if I need to get a new computer (which will also require a new set of software since I’m using Adobe CS 1 and they’re up to 3.3 now). This is going to cost quite a bit of money, even if I find something used, and kind of negate the benefits of the job. But the old one is sooooooo slow!

Unfortunately, I already know that the position will not be entirely graphic design related given the kind of projects we were discussing. It will also involve maintaining databases and emailing lots of people, the kind of stuff which I hate about my current job. But maybe it won’t seem so bad when I’m sitting in my living room instead of in my office chair.

Okay, enough pondering. How about something fun and artsy-craftsy? I sent in a belated entry for the new PikaPackage, and you can see my stuff here. The PikaPackage (and Pikaland in general) is SO awesome — be sure to look at the rest of the contributions. I think that you get entered in the drawing if you subscribe to the mailing list, which something that I would seriously consider doing.

I hope you all have a good holiday tomorrow…I hope to do a lot of house-cleaning before we head off for some afternoon/evening fun. We are heading to the “west side” on Saturday to see family, so it will be a few days before I’m back. Sorry I’ve been such a lousy poster lately — everything feels really topsy-turvy right now. But that’s what moving is always like, eh?

Well, that was exciting.

Hulloo, I’m back! (Er, I guess I didn’t go anywhere. But you know what I mean.)

A few kind friends + family have asked how the conference went, and the answer is that it had an unusually high number of snafoos. Almost everything seemed to work out okay in the end, but the first couple of days included a bunch of event-planning nightmares, such as:

  • dorm room keys that don’t work
  • dorm room keys that don’t exist
  • people without rooms
  • people unhappy with their rooms
  • people unhappy with our university’s ridiculously complex method of accessing the wireless internet (the instructions are literally 8 pages long)
  • a boss who is unhappy that other people are unhappy and asks you to call the IT director at home at 8 pm
  • give-away bags that show up with the wrong logo
  • reprinted give-away bags that show up 3 days after the conference starts
  • give-away pens that don’t show up because the warehouse was flooded and nobody bothered to tell us
  • reprinted give-away pens that are a) the wrong color, b) missing one logo, and 3) work for about 30 seconds before dying (hereafter affectionately referred to as “the POS pens”)
  • a boss who decides two days before the conference that it is absolutely necessary to serve danishes and cwoissant during morning break and that the local options are too expensive, therefore requiring a kind staff person to drive 80 minutes each day to the nearest Costco
  • the same boss noting 30 minutes before the first break that it would be best if said danishes and cwoissant were cut in half and arranged on little plates
  • all manner of computer problems that I didn’t have to solve because — for once! — I was not Tech Girl (tra la la)
  • all manner of other problems that I did have to help solve because I was Program/Registration/Website/Lodging/Transportation Girl
  • general lack of advance communication regarding when and where to move heavy objects, what to do about posters, when to serve meals, etc.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I think you get the idea. Sigh. The good news is that most people were only aware of 2-3 problems out of this list, so I think that we psyched ’em into thinking that everything else was going great. At least, I received some feedback to that effect. :)

Every time I have to work really long, hard hours at work, I go through some similar psychological stages. There’s the one where I really utterly dislike my boss (which I really don’t, by the way), the one where I swear that I am going to quit as soon as this is over, the one where I decide that all people are mean, the one where I decide that all people are nice, the one where I feel like I’m doing a really terrible job, the one where I feel like I’m doing an astonishingly good job, etc. Anyone else do this, too?

In the end, I always seem to end up incredibly exhausted and yet elated that we pulled everything off so well. Unfortunately, I am really good at a job/career that I don’t want. I think I mentioned before that there’s a chance that I will continue to do some graphic design work for my current employer after I move to FL. The details aren’t fixed yet, though, and I go back and forth as to whether or not this is something that I actually want. On the plus side, it will pay quite well, be part time, and I will really be able to help some people out since I think that a number of projects will get dropped or significantly stalled when I go. On the down side, I am pretty sure that it will not be entirely graphic design and that I will get pulled into a lot of work that I would really like to leave behind and never see again.

One of the things that I am most looking forward to about moving to Pensacola is the chance to start over in a lot of areas. And if I keep parts of my job, there will continue to be significant ties to the big ol’ pile of stress that is The Office. And yet, it’s really hard for me to brush away the money issue and the idea that me doing less work is going to create a lot of problems for my overworked supervisor, whom I really like.

Any ideas or suggestions? Have you ever faced something like this, and if so, what did you do??

[ Lest I forget, a thousand apologies for not responding to any comments (and some emails…) for such a long time. I am rather behind on everything — email, Etsy, blog, laundry, cleaning — right now, and it’s going to take me a while longer to dig myself out. Your patience + understanding are much appreciated. :) ]