Monday, September 29, 2008

Attack of the surprise spider

On my way home from a meeting at work this afternoon, I had a bit of a freak-out.

On the freeway.

In rush-hour traffic.

Why, you ask?

Oh, just because a big, FAT spider appeared on my finger!

It went something like this: I'm driving along and I feel something move on my left ring finger. Thinking it was probably a stray hair (I'm always shedding these days), I lightly flicked my hand to shake it free. I felt it move and, thinking I'd nearly dislodged it from my fingers, I flicked it a little harder. Again, I felt it move, but it was still there.

That's when I raised my fingers from the steering wheel and saw it. The guy looked a little something like this:

(Only a LOT meaner and a he was even FURRY!)

That's when the freak-out began.

Frantically flinging my hand all over the place while screaming bloody murder probably looked kind of funny to other drivers around me. I wouldn't know — I was somewhat oblivious of most everything besides the fact that a deadly, venomous spider was latched onto my finger. The thing would not let go!

After about a minute of full-on frantic shaking, the spider went flying — but where, I had no idea. So after a moment of relief, freak-out No. 2 started.

Oh God. A huge spider was on the loose in my car!

I looked everywhere ... on my shoes (which don't fully cover my feet), on the floorboard, on the dashboard, on the console, on the seat next to me, on the window, ON MY LEG!!!

There he was, staring up at me. I jumped, reached for the stack of napkins I keep in my glove box and grabbed the guy without thinking. Not one to squish any kind of bug, I was quite proud of myself for my quick response! Ha.

I balled the napkin up and that was that.

Well, sort of. Now I'm petrified there might be more lurking in my car. Yikes!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ahhh ...

It's that time of year again ... finally! My windows are open, Anna appears to be permanently affixed to the window sill and a cool breeze is in the air.

Sweater weather is on its way, and I couldn't be happier! This year I want to enjoy the cheeseball autumn activities for some reason. I think I'll take in a fall festival or two. Carve a pumpkin for Halloween. Go through a corn maze. It all sounds like the thing to do this year.

What are your plans this fall? Are you guys as ready as I am for autumn to stay?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting there ...

The first day that I walked into my class I was so nervous. It had been about eight years since I graduated from my university, and I had no idea what challenges were ahead of me. But I could instantly tell it was going to be different from anything I'd experienced before.

My bachelor's degree is in journalism. So most of my college classes focused on writing, editing or learning about media law, history and so forth. I was at a computer for most of this, banging out story plans, contact lists and finally, a story.

I've always had an interest in design, though. Midway through my journalism school experience, I began to reconsider the career path I'd wanted to follow since junior high. But I pushed it out of my head because, you know, heaven forbid people know I may have had a second thought or two.

My creative outlet at that time was newspaper design (we were allowed to be a bit more creative on the college newspaper level), and that only fueled my desire to learn more about graphic design. So I bought books and taught myself little things here and there. But I'm a person who learns best from others. Teaching myself wasn't working very well at all.

Long story short, I always admired those who can make an idea come to life through visual outlets. Be it paint on a canvas, graphic design or sculpture, I love it all. And that's why I decided to take this class. I wanted to see if I had it in me, too. I'm still not certain that I do, but I'm trying. So I signed up for this class — to be taught by someone who knows his stuff. And, somewhat by surprise, I've learned a lot from my fellow students, who are all too happy to help an ancient 31-year-old through exercises on perspective and dimension.

A couple of you asked that I post my projects. I've been reluctant to do so because I don't think they're fantastic, but I am proud of myself for slogging my way through what my professor so aptly called our class: design boot camp. I'm not going to give up, even though there are artists around me who are far more talented than I'll probably ever be. But you know what? I'm not the worst in the class, either. I'm somewhere in the middle, and right now that's cool with me. I've got room for improvement, and I truly think I can get there. And that's so exciting to this girl.

So I've decided to share a couple pieces of my work. Like I said, I'm not fabulous yet ... but for my first ever art class, I think I'm doing alright. Opinions are totally welcome - I've already been through class critiques on both of these projects.

OK, so this collage was our second project. We were told to create something with a theme. My theme was the progression of the American Dream from our ancestors to now. Basically, what I was trying to convey is the idea that hard work over generations was stressed way back when credit cards and fast cash weren't an option. Today, with the swipe of your American Express card, you can have just about anything your credit will allow for. Anyhow, I used a variety of items in my collage, including an iron star, buttons from an old adding machine, an old post card and photo, string, paint, magazine pages, etc. I think it turned out alright.

Next up is my latest project. We were asked to design a "fantasy chessboard." Basically, we're learning about vanishing points here. Our instructor wanted us to create a chessboard, chess pieces and a "surreal" space around the game board. Because I was craving sweets that day, I opted to title my work "Just Desserts" and went with a sugar-packed theme. We had to do it all in ink, which was rather daunting for me. One slip of the hand, and it could be ruined. Scary thought.

Here it is:

So, that's where I'm at in school these days. Like I said, there is much room for improvement, but I am truly loving every minute of it.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I cannot draw. Well, I can draw shapes and add pretty colors to those shapes. But I cannot draw, say, a cat. Or a person. Or a freaking tree for that matter.

And now my professor wants me to design a fantasy chess board. I won't go into the details, but let's just say I'm expected to draw. And do shading. And make it look pretty.


Panic mode is at full-tilt.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm back

Between my dad's illness, school, work and life in general, this blog has taken a back seat. But I'm truly going to try to write more often.

Dad is recovering from pneumonia, a blood infection and a host of other issues. He's doing better, thank goodness, because there for a few days it was very touch-and-go. Facing a parent's mortality is something no one is prepared for, and I certainly didn't handle my dad's grave situation very well. I was a big, fat wreck for a good week, and I wish I could plop a million dollars in the laps of everyone who listened to me bawl or was the recipient of snippy comments here and there. They really put up with a lot, and I'm so blessed to have true friends and wonderful co-workers.

Now for the bulleted items, because I'm too lazy to think of good transitions from one subject to the next.

* My beat up, old Motorolla flip phone went kaput on Sunday. Darn. The little guy had been sputtering for about six months, so I knew it was going to happen sometime soon. So, I marched myself to the AT&T store with all intentions to NOT buy an iPhone. Silly me. I couldn't resist its allure, and the fact that most of the other phones looked so cheap and flimsy had something to do with paying far more than I ever thought I would spend on a phone, too. But it's absolutely worth it. I'm in love with my phone. And, yes, I may just marry it.

* The season is nearly over, so I had to get in one last trip down the Ocoee River. . Once again, I got stuck in the back of the raft, which is so annoying, but the trip was fun anyway (as you can see by the gleeful expression on my face ... such a dork.). I want a kayak. Badly.

* School is amazing. I love, love, love it. I really think I kicked butt on my last project, and am really enjoying learning so much about art and design. Going to art museums and galleries now will have a whole new meaning to me, which is very cool.

OK, back to work!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Taking a bit of a break

Hopefully I'll be back soon and all will be OK. In the meantime, I would be forever grateful if you would keep my father in your prayers.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

That wonderful kind of crazy

My life. Yep, it's crazy.
But good crazy, of course.

That's how I've felt lately. And it's been a pretty long time since I could say that I'm thoroughly happy with all aspects of my world.

I'm learning so many new, very cool things in my class. It's so challenging and very scary, but I'm loving it. My newest project is to create a collage from found objects to depict any issue I care to describe through art. I spent nearly two hours in an antique shop this afternoon sorting through all kinds of goodies. And when I walked out with my bag full of fantastic old photographs, postcards and thingamajigs, I'd only spent $6.50. Hooray for that!

Work is nuts lately. Who knew football season could be SO important to the lives of Southerners everywhere. It's crazy. So, I've been overwhelmed with learning all about the teams and lingo ... I don't have it down yet, but I'm getting there.

And I have been going nonstop, added on top of all of this. New friends have kept me super busy, which is wonderful. Girls nights and martini Mondays are too much fun. And plans are being made for a trip to San Francisco next spring!!! I can barely contain myself!

I'm so, so, so tired, though. And I'm still dealing with the insomnia thing, which is not cool. But I'm confident it will all work out at some point. It has to, right?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lately ...

So, I'm back in school. And instead of worrying with college-ruled paper, Bic pens and No. 2 pencils, my supplies list has expanded exponentially.

I'd never even heard of a Bristol pad two weeks ago. But now I'm counting on it to get me through this semester ... along with my brand-new Rapidograph pen that I very carefully filled with India ink. Oh, and my new t-square is a life-saver, along with that cutting mat instructor said we "might consider" purchasing. There's vellum, acrylic paint, scratchboards and even more fancy paper coming my way in the near future. It's really a whole new world for this girl.

The course is Design Principles. Silly me thought it would be a lecture class. Nope. I'm sitting in a room with about 15 other students (who are waaay younger than me) filled with not your standard desks, but instead high-standing drafting tables and swivel stools. It's an art class ... and for a lifelong wannabe artist, it's both heaven and hell.

I want my work to be perfect, but I've figured out that's not going to happen. I'm struggling a bit to understand concepts that seem to be old hat to most of my fellow students, who I'm guessing have taken an art class or two. But the exciting thing is that I'm actually learning something new. And, call me a dork, but I actually like school. So this is a welcome challenge.

That's not to say I'm not stressed. Because, oh my goodness, I am! So, wish me luck and say a little prayer for me on Wednesday — my first project is due!