Friday, December 10, 2010

Double Negatives

When walking past the deli at Walmart today I overheard the lady restocking fresh corn dogs complain to her coworker holding a giant bowl of coleslaw, "This job is so stressful! I don't know how else I'm not gonna deal with it anymore!"

About a half hour later, the guy at the register numbly asked how I was doing, so I replied positively and returned the question. "Sometimes this job is the most annoying thing ever." This made me laugh. I told him that most jobs probably have that tendency, but they all have their upsides, too. "Yeah, like getting paid!"

I'm happy to have a job, but sometimes it can be stressful and annoying. However, after today's grocery shopping I have a new perspective. Jobs do not inherently come with stress or annoyances. People who do the jobs bring their own stress and annoyances. So your workplace is exactly as __________ as you let it be.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Joy to the World! (Sometimes)

Some people are ALWAYS cheerful.

I'm not one of those people, but I wish I was.

I wish I had that power to be happy and bouncy no matter the situation or company. I wish my smile was as quick as sunlight and lit up a room like the fourth of July. I'm not saying that I don't have my moments of spreading laughter and good cheer; I do. I just also have my moments of moping, brooding, sulking, and indifference. Joy is just not the core of my personality like it is for some lucky people.

I didn't really have a plan when I started typing this blog entry, and right now I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to put a positive spin on it or create a spiritual lesson out of it.

I'm stumped.

The perpetually cheerful and their premature laughing wrinkles will always have my envy. But at least I know this: God created and used a lot of people who weren't so optimistic. Some were skeptical, some were burdened, and some were downright downers. So if I'm not ALWAYS cheerful, at least I'm in good company. High five, Job.

Did you catch that? I managed to turn it around and find a positive spin after all. I could have a future in writing sit-coms.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Belt Notches

"And if it were not a sin against charity, I should say that I hope Don Quixote may never be cured, for with his recovery we not only should lose his pleasantries but his squire Sancho Panza's as well; and either of them can turn melancholy itself to mirth."
-Don Antonio, as spoken in Don Quixote, Part II, Ch. LXV

Finally I can add one more novel to the list of classic literature I have read! Don Quixote is the not the longest book I've conquered (Les Mis holds that honor), but it WAS a close second and definitely took the longest for me to me to finish! I've been working my way through Don Quixote's misadventures for over two years. That paperback stayed with me through four houses, three states, and two beaches. It was not quite the tale that Wishbone made it out to be, but it was satisfying nonetheless. I'm happy to be done with it.

Unfortunately, the big finale of placing Don Quixote snugly back in the bookshelf is overshadowed by the nagging reminder that I am not yet at liberty to begin a new novel. There is another book that needs finishing before I can tickle my fingers down the library shelves again. I began reading The Pilgrim's Progress about a year ago during a particularly dull stretch of Don Quixote. I quickly realized that Pilgrim's Progress was not a book I could casually read on the side. So I put it in the drawer of my nightstand with the promise that I would not forget it there. This afternoon I pulled it out and replaced the pink post-it note on page 28 with my best bookmark (a segment cut out from the cover of a wall calendar). Although dripping with detailed symbolism, I am convinced this will be a much faster read for me. It has a third of the page count of Don Quixote and its font is twice as big. Maybe only one year? :)

Next on the list, I hope to complete the Jane Austen collection by reading Emma. Looking forward to it!

"This Hill, though high, I covet to ascend,
The Difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the Way to Life lies here:
Come pluck up Heart, let's neither faint nor fear;
Better, though difficult, the Right Way to go,
Than Wrong, though easy, where the End is Wo."
-The Pilgrim's Progress, Page 49

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday's Doodle

I've made digital art in Illustrator for years, but I've never tried doing it in Photoshop. My past few blog posts have been a progression of my attempts to create original art in Photoshop. My first attempt, the flowers, were drawn with Photoshop's pen tool. I'm happy with the results, but not the method since I basically created it exactly as I would in Illustrator. The pen tool is not Photoshop's forte, but being more familiar vector art, it was the tool I was most comfortable using. So this piece broke the ice for me, but I knew that on my next one I wanted to use more of the raster tools and techniques that are unique to Photoshop.

So before my next doodle I researched online samples of original art made in Photoshop. There are some stunning photo-realistic creations out there! So I found a photo reference and began drawing these leaves with variations of the brush tool. Creating art in raster-based Photoshop is a completely different practice from creating art in vector-based Illustrator. I had to change the way I approached and thought about digital art, but this was a good learning experience.

After achieving some familiarity and intuition with the tools used to create the leaves, I was ready to try something freehand again. Queue today's post: Thursday's doodle. I spent several hours drawing this girl in Photoshop using the brush tool, the smudge tool, and the dodge/burn tools. The entire piece was drawn on only two layers: one for the hair, and one for everything else. She lacks the texture and tones to look photo-realistic, but I'm happy with it looking like a pencil/charcoal drawing. My next attempt will be to try drawing a face from a photo and doing it in color.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yesterday's Doodle

I meant to post this yesterday and ended up not having time. These leaves were created in Photoshop using variations of the brush tool. I do a lot of vector art in Illustrator, but the other day someone asked if I ever did art in Photoshop and I realized that I never do. These past two blog posts have been my first attempts at it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today's Doodle

Created in Photoshop with the pen tool.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Peppermint Latte with an Extra Shot of God

I once heard someone say that God is in everything that makes you happy.

It makes sense that we should find our Creator in all that bring us joy. The Bible says that there is "strength and joy in His dwelling place" (a). So the rush of joy we get from playing with puppies or riding a roller coaster is just a small taste of being in God's presence.

I also like what Nehemiah said to the masses: "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (b) Isn't that great? The people are told to go have a big party with delicious food and special drinks--and THAT is called the joy of the Lord!

It's easy to forget that our Creator is in ALL our joys; not just the ones that happen in church. For me these joys include (but are not limited to):

Sitting on our patio in perfect weather.
Long walks with Bryan. (or anything else with Bryan!)
Doodling pretty little flourishes.
Shopping. (Yes, God is in shopping! Maybe that will be my next blog.)
Making people laugh. (It's not my forte, so I love it when it happens!)
Family get-togethers.

God is in all these things! I wish non-believers could understand this concept of God being the Creator and Inhabitant of joys. It hurts to hear them talk about heaven and hell based on the centuries-old stereotypes. Many non-believers think the Christian heaven is just an eternal, boring church service and that the Christian hell has all the debauchery and edginess they know and love on earth. I pray that they will realize the truth beyond those lies. Our Creator and his dwelling place are the ultimate good time: complete ecstatic joy!

(a) 1 Chron 16:27
(b) Nehemiah 8:10

Monday, April 26, 2010

Summer Drought

I feel a little guilty about Bryan doing more housework than me. It wasn't always this way though, so for now we'll just consider that he's paying me back for our years in NC. When the payback is done I may have to pick up another chore or two.

I need a designer friend that I can meet with to describe my bad days at work. They would understand and commiserate much better than my mechanically-engineered husband.

Neck ties are for guppies and lawyers, unless you're getting married or buried.

It's funny to see the people that some people end up marrying.

Twitter is tired. Perhaps even expired. I don't understand why people still like it.

Wow, I can feel this Excedrin Migraine starting to kick in. This is the first time I've used it. It's like someone just poured iced coffee directly in my skull.

Bryan and I agreed that our first son's middle name should be Awesome.

I took one of those personality tests this week. It said I was "Situated at the intersection of the strong creative thinker and the practical executor...". Well done, personality test. Well done.

We adopted a blender this week. It has fluted glass, an ocher base, and tall beige buttons. I'm sure it was a great wedding gift to somebody in 1975.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Doodle Day

My doodles are poorly done, haphazard, and most are half-finished, but I generally think they're pretty cool. This is one of my favorites. It perfectly depicts those days when conversation fails me. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sleeting Outside and in My Head

I am resigned to the fact that I will have five girls. Mostly because I want the experience of raising both a son AND a daughter, and I doubt I'll be that lucky. Although I'm pessimistic about my chances to score both female and male offspring, I do think it's really cool in this age of knowledge, technology, and custom-anything that we still cannot choose the gender of our children. You get what the Lord gives you!

Bryan doesn't understand watching the same girly movies again and again. Sometimes I wish my college roommates still lived with me so we could giggle over the Mormon Pride & Prejudice late at night. At least my future five daughters will watch chick flicks with me.

I like that Gwyneth Paltrow has a long neck and makes it look good. I have a long neck too, but I blame mine on the neck-brace I had to wear after being in a car wreck in 6th grade. I'm pretty sure it stretched it out.

I am so glad I went to public schools instead of a private or home school. I'm convinced I'd be completely dysfunctional outside my church and home were it not for the secular exposure provided by public schools. For this reason I kinda feel sorry for home school kids. Then I remember the crazy scholarships they get for being so smart and my pity is gone. Why is dysfunctional spelled with a y? I suppose its spelling should be a little off.

I'm watching the old Emma now (which explains some previous statements). "I love John! ... I hate John!" The last bit of this movie absolutely transfixes me. "Marry me, my wonderful, darling friend!" Excuse me while I go give Bryan a kiss...

I assume nobody really cares to read this blog post. I figure you must be very bored to have read this far, and you must be glad for the reminder of why you don't share your own pointless thoughts with others. But I like writing. Not that I'm very good at prose, but I really can't stay away from it for too long. One of my favorite things at work is to compose emails.

I've been thinking about pulling out my old journals and blogging the quotes of my fourteen-year-old self. I'm convinced they would be very entertaining and almost equally embarrassing. But perhaps the distance of 12 years is enough to make me laugh instead of cringe. We'll see.

Surely I'm not the only one who thinks it's weird when couples say they're "trying to get pregnant". That phrase makes me uncomfortable. As it should.

And this is one reason (among others) why I have a strict personal policy against facebook friending people I work with. My blog posts link to my facebook Notes. This nonsense is not the kind of thing you want your coworkers reading. Hopefully none of them Googled me and found my blogspot and are reading this right now. If so... grrr. Not cool.