Things are coming along with the wedding stuff, and it's pretty great. Venue for ceremony is locked in, venue for reception is all-but-locked-down (the rep is working up the contract as of now), I've asked 2 of my 3 desired bridespeople to be my attendants, and I got a fantastic dress for way under budget. It fits so well that I may not even have to alter the thing, which is frankly amazing. My future sister-in-law has been eager to help out with things, I think I have a cool idea for a bridal shower, and perhaps most importantly, I am not freaking out about any of this. Things are moving along, and I feel in control and not overwhelmed in the slightest. Let's hope it stays that way. ;)

Derby continues apace. The first part of the season was hard, because we had a bout very literally every other week for our first several games. And, coaching my juniors team on top of that has made it pretty time-consuming. But, we have a nice several-week gap between this past weekend's game and our next one in April, and my juniors will be ending their season on April 1st. So, room to breathe is definitely coming soon.

Also, I won MVP blocker a couple weeks ago, which I'm pretty stoked about. I feel like I've been actually improving and playing better this season, and I've gotten really comfortable with the inside line and forward-facing blocking. It's pretty encouraging to finally see progress, because last season felt like one big plateau.

Work has been a slog, largely because small businesses have had a hard start to the year, and thusly, so have I. I've been in my own head a lot, and have been dealing with a couple of terrible, time-and-energy-sucking sub-contracting gigs that I seriously want to quit. But, there are also some really exciting projects that are close to launch, and some exciting potential projects in the pipeline, so hopefully my mood will improve.

Today, I also joined a local co-working space and "social club," as they describe it. While I chatted with the owner, I told her something that I hadn't entirely realized was true until I said it: I don't really have a community around my work, and I'm feeling a need for that.

I have wonderful people in my personal life. I have a great community surrounding my derby life. But, aside from the people I pay to work with me--who are both awesome, to be fair--I don't have the same sense of community with my work life that I do in other parts of my life.

Swapping business cards at networking events isn't doing the job. I haven't found a place where I felt there was space for my whole self at any job or networking group, since I moved to Portland. This, however, seems like a thing that's geared towards ambition, balance, and genuine connections. Hopefully, this will be a step in the right direction, or at least get me out of my own head more often.

And holy crap, I need Spring to get here soooooon. The day-and-a-half of sunshine we had over the weekend was a wonderful lift, and I want MOAR. Preferably without some stupid "spring forward", sleep-stealing time change attached to it. ;p
It's been a pretty up-and-down couple of weeks, but I think (hope?) things are falling into place.

I went in for two interviews last week, and ended up with two new contract gigs. One hasn't started yet (and will probably be fairly easy once it does), but the other is predicted to be 10-20 hours/week through the end of April, and they had me come into their office to start working on things the day after our phone interview.

Being in an office after freelancing for the past 4 years is WEEEIRD, y'all. Even though my recruiter said suggested dress was, "casual," I spent half an hour debating what to wear for my first day, heh. I'm also slowly getting over being anxious about screwing up or being incompetent, heh. Woooo, impostor syndrome! They've asked me if I've worked with various utilities in the past--a couple of which I have, but a couple of others which I haven't. Still, when I do have to say, "No," they seem happy to help me get set up, and they just say, "cool, well, you'll get to learn about that, then."

That's one of two encouraging things about this gig: I'm getting to learn and become more comfortable with coding-related things that I'm less familiar with. (related: the more I work with SASS, the more I reeeeally like it) But, it's learning in a context that lets me also use skills I already have, so I don't feel completely out of my depth. The other cool thing is that they mentioned having some design work that they'd like to hand off, if I'm interested, and of COURSE I'm interested in that.

In other news, Travel Team tryouts are tonight, and I'm not doing it. I was on the list until a couple of days ago, and I had a lot of anxiety about it. Part of me wanted to go all-in and do it again, and another part of me was panicking, wondering if the only way for me to get consistent play time again was to get back on TT.

But, another part of me didn't want to make the sacrifices in all of the other parts of my life in order to do it, and that part was apparently the loudest. Getting the new in-office contract pretty much sealed it, and work in general has been pretty fruitful so far this year. I feel more in control of that, and of my time in general, than I have in probably years, and that feels important.

Anyway, TT Wait List will be there, if I get towards the end of my contract and have enough time and headspace for MOAR DERBY.

Also, in the several months since I joined my crossfit gym, I've front-squatted over 200 lbs., and I'm already being peer-pressured about A) doing the in-house competition, and B) competitive lifting, heh. It's something I've enjoyed a lot, though, so it's pretty much inevitable that I'll do it eventually, haha. At bare minimum, I've found myself a post-derby-retirement plan. ;)

SO, yeah. Doing Life Stuff. It's working for me.

Oh my god

Feb. 16th, 2016 03:07 pm
I just tried to take a call, but for some reason I must have just missed it, because they were sent to voicemail instead.

In their message, they basically tried to contend that we can't meet in-person to train them on how to use their web site (which was horridly built by someone else), because "[their] site isn't on [their] laptop, it's on [their] desktop."

And, because I reviewed it to answer a bunch of questions they sent, they already know that I was able to look at their site on both my desktop AND my laptop. Because THAT'S HOW THE FRICKIN' INTERNET WORKS. ::facepalm::

Yeah, I don't think I want to have this meeting anymore. :p
So, the theme that's emerging for 2016 is what I'm calling, "Kindness Without Excuses." Self-acceptance and forgiveness has been an important thing for me to build up--punishing myself and becoming an anxiety ball over every little thing was only going to wear me down to nothing, in the long run. In the process of adjusting my mindset, I've done a lot of things that I never thought I'd be able to do.

But, while that self-kindness has been wonderful to me, it's also becoming a reason to make excuses--an excuse to not do things. Or perhaps, to do the things I do, but without the capacity to be fully present for them, or to enjoy them very much. The fact is, to really grow as a person, you do have to push yourself out of your comfort zone every so often.

So, I'm looking to find the balance between pushing myself and being kind to myself. Moderation in all things, after all. That means being more focused and strategic about how and when I stretch myself, and how and when I give myself a break.

SUBTRACTING FROM MY LIFE:

  • Working after dinner. Working through the evenings has been a tempting thing to do, because I work well in the afternoons and evenings, but that also means feeling like I'm getting less down time. The reality is that I'll get that down time elsewhere, whether I like it or not--usually by accidentally frittering away time through social media or some other dumb thing. That's not really what you'd call high-quality down time And speaking of which...

  • Social media/e-mails before breakfast. I have gotten so incredibly bad at mornings that it's embarassing, and I know the Internet pit is 95% of it. I KNOW I can do better, because I did it when I had a day job. I just focused on getting ready, and worked once I got to work. I exercised and usually cooked breakfast and got there on time and everything. I mean, I wasn't *happy* when I was at my day job, but it's not really fair to say that mornings were the source of the misery.

  • Some derby things. I already started this (go me!) when I quit Travel Team, and again more recently by not re-applying for Officiating Committee, and I'm seriously considering breaking up with Web Team, as well. All of these were things that I felt passionate about when I started, but now enough time has passed that I'm burned out by them. Also, I think about the internet way too much already, so do I really need to dump volunteer hours into that? It'd be great to just focus on Captaining this season.

  • Working on weekends. I definitely want to be more vigilant about having full days off regularly, which means no work and no derby. Maybe even no social obligations, if Introvert Brain demands it. I already had the opportunity to do this last weekend, and it did put me in a much better headspace and made me more energetic about going back to work, and doing better work.

  • Things/people that suck up my energy and give nothing in return. It seems to be part of my narrative that I throw myself at things, whether they be projects or relationships, that just end up being one-way time-and-energy sinkholes, and yield little-to-no reward or fulfillment for me. If nobody cares what I'm doing, then I don't need to be spending my time on it. And if anyone DOES care what I'm doing, then they can do me the courtesy of showing it and making a contribution.



ADDING SOME THINGS:

  • A SMALL movie afternoon/night or other small-sized gathering, hopefully each month. Big parties are fun, sometimes, but smaller gatherings are what I need. It's too easy to float on the surface of loud, drinky gatherings, and make only tangential contact. And, I don't plan a lot of things, anyway, so if I'm going to ask others to put effort into our relationships, then I should try harder at it, too. My first movie night will be the day after the Season Opener, so it'll be awesome to lay around being sore and hang out with my bros and decompress!

  • A creative photoshoot every quarter. I don't want to say every month, because I want to pull together ideas that are more in-depth, and not just be phoning it in every month just so I can check off a box. I already have one in the planning stages, and I hope it'll be really neat.

  • Networking. It's been a struggle for me to find a networking group that isn't just elevator pitches and business card swapping, and that also has like-minded people in it. I don't like to be judge-y about what people believe, but I'm also reeeeally tired of pretending to be interested in numerology and DoTerra oils and other fluffy woo-woo things of that sort. SO, it seems that I've given myself the project of starting a networking group for derby people. There are a lot of people in derby who know each other on-the-track, but don't know each other's professional lives well (or at all). And, I know we already have a terrific culture of support in our nature, because that's a big part of what the derby community is about. I think this has a lot of potential!

  • Better eating. I wasn't exactly BAD at this in 2015, per se--my body composition has been pretty much the same, aside from getting more ripped when I started doing Crossfit. But, I did fall off the wagon in the Fall, in the sense that while I was eating a healthy amount of food, it was often eaten out and eaten in haste. I've started on a Freezer Meals project of sorts, where I use whatever bit of food budget I have at the end of a given week to pick up ingredients that I can bag up together and freeze, so when I get busy, I can just pull one out of the freezer and toss it in the crockpot before I leave the house in the morning--minimal thought and energy in those too-busy times that will inevitably happen. :)

  • Some kind of skill-building or online course. This may not happen until the off-season, but all the free evenings I had last summer were really nice, and I did good business in those months, so I think there'd be room for it. It'll likely be something in web development or web-specific design, because I'm fairly certain that any permanent job I'd have a shot at would be web-related.

Here's how October is shaping up:

Oct 1st: Client photoshoot
Oct 2nd: Draft Night
Oct 4th: Other, Different Client photoshoot
Oct 5th: First Home Team practice of the season
Oct 9th: Shoot at fashion show
Oct 10th: Team Fundraiser Party
Oct 14th-15th: Move to New Studio
Oct 16th: Get on a plane to Austin to skate with Travel Team (?!)

And that's just the first half of the month. And it also doesn't factor in design/coding deadlines.

Sweet jesus, I'm going to die. XD
I think I'm finally going to have to really, actually start setting restrictions on when I can and can't check my inbox.

Between draft, the fundraiser party, starting practices soon, and conversations between my co-captain and myself, I have written SO MANY GORRAM E-MAILS in the past week. And, that's on top of my usual round of work e-mails, personal e-mails, AND extra work e-mails I had to send during the few-days-period last week after my project manager injured her hand such that she couldn't type or mouse well.

I sincerely hope that my inbox will calm down after this week is over, or if not after draft, then after the fundraiser next week. But right now, my brain is basically melting.

Note to self: never let this team plan a fundraiser party this close to A) the end of summer, or B) a draft. NEVER AGAIN.
batskeets: (yan!)
Now it can be told: I signed a new lease for a new studio space today, and the move back to Portland's Eastside is on!

I checked this place out on a whim, and I slept on it for several nights, but there are just so many reasons to do it that I basically knew the second I walked into the place.

  • Rent is ~$200/mo cheaper than the current place

  • Utilities are included, which the current place does not do (that's another $100+/mo in savings)

  • I could potentially share internet with others in the building, which means saving on that expense, as well

  • It has good and proper heating and cooling, so my office will not be a gorram sauna anytime it's above 70F outside

  • I can get a reserved and monitored parking space for a fraction of what it costs to park downtown

  • I can hang a sign on the street side of the building, no permit fees or anything attached

  • I'll be in a neighborhood that I actually like to hang out in

  • I'll be in a building with other like-minded businesses

  • I'll (hopefully) not have an idiot mail carrier who mis-delivers my mail all the damned time

What am I giving up for this? A bit of ceiling height, and a bit of square footage. But, given how I'm using the current space, that's not losing much of anything.

AND, I will also be on the second floor--visible, but not as accessible. I won't have to wonder if a random vagrant will be sleeping on my doorstep when I arrive in the morning, and I won't have random tourists wandering in, asking if I can take pictures of their weddings or their babies. ;p

Basically, there's no real down side to this. I kind of wish I could move in right this second.

It's good to be excited again.

IT LIVES

Sep. 9th, 2015 11:26 pm
There is something immensely satisfying about having a bunch of wacky ideas, seeing them through, and having them be even better than you envisioned when it all finally comes together.



That's a test print from earlier today. I'll be using this template on my photobooth this weekend, and with any luck, we'll sell a grip of these 4x6" trading card prints and make a nice pile of cash. And even if we don't, at least I know now that the setup works, and can be used for other projects.

It's probably worth noting that I haven't been able to fall asleep at anything resembling a decent hour for the past several nights--and not for lack of trying, either. There's a definite sweet spot as far as the number of things I can focus on. Too few things means not being able to switch gears, and eventually burning out. Too many things means not being able to settle on one focus point for long enough to make any headway.

And, after having fallen into a (relatively brief, thankfully) depression not long ago, it's nice to feel excited about something. Hell, just being anxious was a welcome change--at least it was enough to get my butt in gear.

I guess it's a good thing that deadlines seem to shove aside a lot of the other negative and counterproductive stuff that happens in my brain, right?
This graphic (from here**) feels especially accurate in recent times:



I have too many ideas and not enough energy or mental bandwidth for them all. Just yesterday, I got an idea for a photo project that I'm feeling very serious about, and that could be the most important work I've ever done... but I'm preparing for a big event photobooth on September 12th, and I just got pulled in on a 48-hour coding project, and I just don't even know if I can spare a thimblefull of brain juice for this new idea.

But, UGH. It's so important, and it's about something I want the world to understand. It's about a thing that the world NEEDS to understand, if we're ever going to learn how to treat each other like real humans who deserve happiness.

The event photobooth could end up being a pretty excellent proof of concept, though. And all the setup energies going into this first one will lay groundwork for making future photobooths easier.

And, well, it's good to be busy. So there's that...?

** Can I just say? So many parts of my life and my history made more sense after my old therapist screened me for ADD. Even though I don't see myself ever considering medication for it, just knowing more about how my brain works allows me to better plan for it, and to be kinder to myself when things don't go exactly right.

Complaints

Jul. 23rd, 2015 01:01 pm
Client: "I want the photos to be taken from farther away this time; I definitely need a little more distance."
Me: "Sure, that's not a problem."
Client: "But I don't want my body to be in it, either. I just look huge."
Me: "...well, I suppose we can crop it in post, if you want us to...?"
Client: "Yes, let's do that."
 [later, after editing the final shot]
Me: "Here's the final edit! I've cropped it to match the crop you approved on the day of the shoot."
Client: "I want it cropped in more, I want my arms cropped out of it completely."
Me: [headdesk]

This was coming from someone who was very self-critical and hung up on her age and weight, and who also didn't seem to understand that, if you're going to take a photo from far away, and then crop everything out of it, then it completely defeats the purpose of shooting from far away. The distance affects how I compose the shot, but it doesn't make the subject look any younger, or appear any thinner, or do anything to minimize whatever physical feature they're fixating on.

------------------

Client: "Okay, if you can just make me look 10 years younger and 20 pounds thinner...!" [fake laugh]
Me: [also fake laughing because even though they're laughing, it is obviously not a real joke to them] "Everything's going to look great."

I never, ever like this kind of commentary. The client is going into the photo focusing on the negative, which makes them automatically more stiff than they'd otherwise be, and that ultimately makes those so-called "flaws" more visible. And, I'm obviously not going to say, "sure, I'll Photoshop the hell out of you so you look less like yourself!" I always do retouch, granted, but there comes a point where you have to either accept how you look, or make an honest effort to do something about it. Complaining achieves neither of these things.

And really, I can't remember a time when I've had someone walk in and thought, "oh, jeez, what an incredible mess this is going to be." Yes, humans are self-conscious, and I can absolutely sympathize with that--seriously, let me tell you about the 1-2 years it took me to get in shape, and then the nearly 10 years it took after that to stop constantly feeling like I was still a fat-and-lazy person. But in the end, 99% of that stuff is in your own head.

People are nice-looking, and age happens to us all, and it's all beautiful and okay. <3

Networking

Jun. 2nd, 2015 05:40 pm
I'm sitting here feeling terribly grumpy, and I'm about to skip out on Yet Another Networking Event, because I just can't handle other people while I'm in this kind of mood. (I'm already fatigued from my Monthlies, I couldn't sleep last night, and a stupid project bug basically ate whatever shreds of a good mood I might have had left)

There's another networking group that I haven't been to in months, and to be honest, I don't really want to go back, because the people there just don't do it for me--I can see how a group like that *should* function, because I see other members having those relationships with each other, but they and I are not even remotely on the same wavelength. It's not about being a nerd, either--common interests certainly help, yeah, but their values and mine are so different that it feels like we're always talking past each other. There have been a couple of instances when I left there nearly crying because I just wasn't making it work with the people around me, and you know? Maybe I'm not the only problem.

So, rattling off the beginnings of a list of things I'd like to see in a networking group:

  • People who are smart, savvy, and hard-working. I'm tired of "networking" with people who have no idea where their so-called business is going, or who aren't committed to it, and/or who don't really need to care because their spouse/trust fund is supporting them.

  • People who are HONEST, and kind, and genuinely interested in connecting. Maybe we won't end up being "besties," but hey, we don't have to be--as long as you're being real and being open, I'm going to like you all right and trust in your abilities. If you're too busy whipping out your 30-second elevator pitch to have an honest interaction, or to listen to what others are saying, you've already lost me.

  • People who are not overly spiritual. I absolutely don't judge people for wanting a spiritual aspect to their lives. It has value and it can help people get through hard times. But, I can only take so much hippie woo-woo, shamanistic, "soul purpose," guide-me-universe rhetoric--it's just not for me. I've met people who are very spiritual, and some are very sweet, but we never seem to click. I work hard to be a positive person, but I'm also quite grounded, and I like it that way.

  • A group of people who aren't all "coaches." Why is everyone trying to become a something-or-other Coach these days? Do we really need a coach for every aspect of our lives? I want to meet people who make things happen, who build concrete things, who produce tangible and valuable results.

  • Expects you to attend twice a month at most, on average. Carving out an hour or more each week is a tall order, especially if you're in more than one group that's demanding that kind of time! Monthly meetings are so much easier to manage, and still regular enough to be valuable.

  • Has some kind of structure. One thing that the networking group I've complained about does well is provide structure--there's a format that breaks the mob into smaller groups, and guides them to interact with each other. Having parameters makes it easier to manage. Unstructured mixers can fun, but only if my Introvert Brain isn't screaming at me, or if I buy enough booze to make Introvert Brain stop caring.

  • Not taking place before 9am. Because nobody should ever have to deal with me before coffee and breakfast. ;)

I'm not sure if my persnickety parameters make me impossible to work with, but I hope that's not the case. I've met some really awesome people through my work, but the vast majority of those haven't been through "networking." Maybe that can change.
batskeets: (j)
Well, it's March 31st, and I haven't done a monthly t-shirt design. Given how jam-packed my calendar has been, as of recent, that's probably no coincidence.

Not unrelated: I seem to have had a lot of very similar conversations, as of late. They're conversations about saying no to things, about prioritizing a smaller set of things, about doing what you need to do to care for yourself, about getting to a place where you just feel good about your life and what each day has to offer you.

Just last night, my teammate who hired me to design a logo for her finally confessed why she hadn't gotten back to me about the designs: she closed her small business. She wanted to prioritize a smaller set of things, and is really in love with her day job and with roller derby. So, she decided to stop stressing out about all the things she wasn't doing for her business, and just set it aside. (for now, anyway)

This, like other conversations I've had over the past month or two, have pointed my thinking towards the same question. I think I'm almost at the point where I'm ready to accept the answer. (and no, it's not the same answer as my teammate's. But it's an important one, nonetheless)

I realize how silly it seems that I'm about to throw down a sitcom quote while talking about Important Life Decisions, but hell, it applies: Ron Swanson once said, "never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."

Y'all, I'm beyond tired of half-assing too many things.
2014: Where Dreams Go To Die.
2014: Where Hard Work Means Ending Up At Exactly The Same Place You Started.
2014: Where People Who Are Still Getting Up Get Knocked Down Again.
2014: Where It's Not Just You, But Also People You Care About Getting Sucker Punched.
2014: Where Reality Itself Becomes Your Nemesis.

My last sleep of 2014 involved waking up at 5am wracked with nervous apprehension, and then having a terrible dream once I finally managed to get back to sleep. So, yeah, I'm in a pretty dark mindset on this last day of the year. Not that I wouldn't have been already, but, you know.

I wish I could say that I felt confident that 2015 will hurt less, but I can't. I know that some painful things lie ahead.

In my fit of restlessness last night, I came to the conclusion that I will, in all likelihood, need to move out of the studio. I have enough to pay rent for January, but beyond that, it's not looking good. And, even if I knew I could pay rent for February and beyond, I need that money to live on more than I need it for work. Maybe things will get better, and I can find a new space that'll hopefully suffer fewer broken windows. But, for now, I need to pull my stupid head out of the clouds.

And, that also means the likelihood of having a super-fun, "there may not be work here for you in February," conversation with my project manager, too. I've never had to lay someone off before, and I'm not looking forward to it. I feel sad at the idea of giving up, but after the parade of shit that has been this Fall and Winter, I just don't think I can squeeze out one more drop of optimism. The most hope I've been able to muster is applying for full-time creative jobs, and hoping that a halfway-decent one will take a chance on me.

But, the question of my life's work pales in comparison to my family's struggles. My grandpa's cancer has metastasized, and he was undergoing radiation treatments, while I was visiting him over Christmas. He also had a case of thrush in his throat--a common side effect of the steroids they'd put him on--so he was having difficulty eating, swallowing, even talking at times. He currently weighs less than I do, and his energy was low. He'd seem pretty normal in the mornings, but usually ran out of steam by Noon and wasn't up for much beyond sitting on the couch and watching TV or napping.

I kept busy trying to help out around the house, so my step-grandma and my aunt could actually have a break, but it was a visit punctuated by conversations in hushed voices. Through listening to (or overhearing) such conversations, I learned that, in short, the cancer is, "everywhere," in his body. It's sounding like it's less a question of curing it, and more a matter of extending and easing the time he has left. Guesstimates were made as far as timelines, and based on those, it's likely that he won't be there to see me turn 35 in April.

I try to be grateful that he's had 84 years on this earth, but I still get sad every time I think about it for more than a hot second. I know that I haven't been there as much as I should have. There was never the time or the means--I was either working a 9-to-5 and propping up one of my shitty exes, or riding the self-employment train and barely scraping by. I think about small things, like how lucky it is that he got to see me skate with Travel Team last summer, and I realize that there aren't going to be many more moments like that. No weddings, or great-grandchildren, or celebrations. We're out of time.

That might even be an accurate way to sum up where I'm at: I've run out of time. And I think maybe I lost my way, this past year. I'm in exactly the same place that I was at the end of last year--all but broke, overflowing with worry, casting about for new strategies or new ideas or hints of a miracle.

I can't keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Tomorrow seems as good a time to start changing as any.
I had a bit of a moment, recently. A series of seemingly senseless trials and mishaps have come at me, ever since that late-September night when my car was broken into. I am normally stubborn to a fault and don't quit anything before I'm good and ready, but as of recent, it's felt a lot like the world is out to get me, and in a not-small way.

When I got word that my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer, that was my breaking point. I thought about wanting to be there, wishing I had been there more in the past, realizing that I couldn't afford it and still can't, questioning all of the decisions that have led me to this place of struggle. And, at that point, I finally gave myself permission to just... stop. Just for a little while. And also, to be really tired and sad, because lord knows I had reason to be.

In the days since, something in me seems to have snapped. Or clicked. I'm not quite sure which, yet, but I chose those two words knowing that they have opposing connotations. All I know is, I'm tired of the struggle, and I know there is no good reason why I should continue to live like this.

I am not in a good place. When people ask, "how are you?" I can't quite bring myself to say, "good," because I know it's a lie.

I still haven't figured out how to tell my teammates about what's going on with me, about why I might seem checked out at practice. Hell, I haven't figured out how to tell hardly anyone. I've told a few people, and I was still feeling shocked and numb enough that I didn't start crying all over the place. But, you don't exactly have the conversation about how sad you are at a loud holiday party... so, people are left to guess. And, given that I'm fairly inscrutable, I'm sure only a precious few can tell that I'm not okay.

But, I keep going. I am keeping up with projects--I dare say that, if it weren't for my busted photo server (one of the many mishaps of recent), I'd be ahead on my projects. I am skating at every practice that my health will allow (which hasn't been my usual 100%, because I've been sick several times), and lifting huge at our new crossfit gym. I'm picking up extra shifts at the boutique, when I can. I am making attempts to be a social human, and also attempting to balance those attempts with proper sleeping and eating.

Something does have to change, though. I know that. I now have a solo portfolio in place, and I've begun to apply for jobs with it. I'm trying new ideas. (social media campaigns, oy vey) I can't keep doing the same things and expecting different results.

There are various social escapades that I'm considering scaling back on. I'm still trying to ascertain if they're things that serve as an escape from a less-than-kind reality, or things that I genuinely enjoy for the sake of themselves. There are people I love, people whom I want to see more of, but there may not be enough hours in the day for all of them AND for myself.

I'm becoming more and more aware that, hey, I am actually a legitimately good designer. In fact, for somebody who's largely self-taught, I'm a *really* good designer. I know how to balance the pretty with the practical. And, I've had the thought that, well, maybe I've gotten as good as I'm going to get on my own, at least for now.

There are times when I think that I've finally run out of hope, and that is a sad place to be. But, if it means that I'm going to fill that space with action and ambition, and stop settling for less, then... maybe that isn't such a bad thing.

Sigh

Nov. 10th, 2014 05:13 pm
batskeets: (finger)
I'm getting reeeeal tired of getting slapped around by the universe at large for no good reason.

10616142_10152597775683347_3939838092137830117_n

Bright side

Oct. 6th, 2014 01:48 pm
batskeets: (yan!)
So, this happened:

77X80

My photos are in a national publication that just hit newsstands a day or two ago. National. Publication. WHAT.

AND, it's doubly-excellent, because it's also national-level press for one of my favorite people. She's one of the major reasons why I have fashion clients--she's been my longest-standing one. I haven't seen the physical magazine yet, but I'll be on the lookout for it. Maybe I'll be able to score a few copies for my Open Studio Party tomorrow.

Oh yeah, Open Studio Party. It's my 3-year anniversary party. The adage says that the vast majority of businesses fail within the first three years, but, here it is: my company's 3rd birthday, and I'm not dead yet.

So, tomorrow evening, from 4-7pm, I'll be at my studio, making chit-chat and awkward robot arms at total strangers, and toasting to beating the statistics.
batskeets: (yan!)
I had a Saint Bernard on set for about 20 minutes, during a shoot this past weekend. He was clearly one of those large creatures that has absolutely no concept of how huge he is, and just wants to bounce and race around like a tiny puppy would.

He was the biggest, fluffiest, goofiest guy on the planet, and it was THE BEST.

SLG_7007_social
I'm fairly certain that my business account balance is the highest it's been this entire year.

Granted, that's not saying a whole ton, because things were looking pretty dire a couple of months ago, but still. PROGRESS.
batskeets: (yan!)
Today, I got an e-mail from the staffing agency, basically saying that they really appreciate how professional I've been with Crazy Client, and that I'll be their first call if any similar development work comes up in the future. (for a saner client, of course)

I'm currently editing a headshot I did recently, and gosh, I really like everything we took from that session. I really liked that client, and felt honored that she came back to me a second time, to get her shot updated..

And, I actually sold a runway photo, to one of the designers who showed on said runway. That basically never happens in PDX.

Last week, I taught a photography summer camp, and I taught the kiddos about shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, and even some studio lighting and post-processing. It was pretty exhausting, and keeping kids on task is not the easiest thing, but I got through it.

How did it go? Well, here's an actual interaction I had at Walgreens, while picking up prints of my summer campers' work so they could frame and mat them:

Employee: "The photos are beautiful! Did you take them?"

Me: "No, actually, I've been teaching a photography summer camp this week, so the kids took those."

Employee: "Oh, wow! When we looked at them, my manager wrote 'copyright?' on the order, but I said, 'no, they don't look copyrighted, they're just really friggin' good photos."


Yep. The kids' photos were so good that the photo counter staff at Walgreens thought they were possibly-stolen, copyrighted professional photos. XD

I also took some photos myself during the week, with the same camera the kids were using. I shot in JPG, which basically means that you're under even more pressure to get the shot right in-camera, because you can't fix anywhere near as many sins in post as you could with a RAW file. I got some great shots, considering the not-pro gear I was working with.

In short, I've had quite a few days recently that make me think, "dang, why am I so good at things?"

This feeling is extremely rare for me, but holy wow, do I welcome it.
I went out to the market and accidentally left my phone at home on the dining room table. Upon my return, there was both a missed call and an e-mail from this charming person, because they wanted me to fix something ON A SATURDAY. And they wanted it, "ASAP," of course.

Call me crazy, but I'm fairly certain that you don't get to terminate a contract with somebody, and then ask them to do more work. ON A SATURDAY.

I forwarded the e-mail to the tech staffing firm and asked them how or if I should respond, because I'm honestly not sure what the appropriate course of action is. And, well, I certainly don't want to engage with this person again, if I don't have to.

Jesus. Why do the crazy ones seem to find me?

EDIT: SO, after some advice from the staffing agency, I e-mailed the client saying, thanks, but no thanks, but I don't feel comfortable providing additional support, in light of the fact that the contract was terminated. I CCed the staffing agency on that e-mail.

The client just now e-mailed me (without the staffing agency CCed), asking if I can fix the issue, and that they will pay for my time. OH MY GOD. What part of, "No, thank you," do they not understand?

It's a freakin' Wordpress plugin that you can control through the Dashboard, and doesn't require any code knowledge to use. IT'S NOT EVEN THAT HARD.

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