Thursday, January 31, 2008

No Time

The past four days have been a whirlwind for me. To be honest I am still reeling from everything working out so beautifully. The only downfall is that I have gone from zero to eighty in an incredibly short period of time and am still trying to transition.

The best way I know to try to give an overview of my current job(s) is to go over a PROS and CONS list of my week.


PROS

1) I can carpool with Daniel (we rode in together twice with his bike attached to the bike so that he could bike home. He rode his bike once both ways and once he drove in separate.

2) I can eat lunch with Daniel downtown because his office is less than 1 mile from mine.
This is especially handy on Mondays and Wednesdays when I teach in the evenings and don't see him until 10 p.m.

3) I have a new Mac with a huge screen and I get to use Leopard and Adobe CS3.
(If you are a Mac user or Designer, you will understand why this is a wonderful thing)

4) I finally have an office.
Actually they are in the middle of building it right now. They literally built the walls around me today and yesterday. I am calling it an office instead of a cubicle b/c it has 10-ft high walls and a door, but it is not much bigger than a cubicle).

5) The colors on the walls make me feel like I am at home.
The wooden parts of my "office" are painted the same color red as my kitchen. One wall of the Creative Area is the same blue as my bedroom. Another wall is the same green as my guest bedroom. And yet another wall is brown - and my hallway and living room walls are different shades of brown!

6) Enventys has a Latino Division to the company and if you want to learn Spanish - there are plenty of people around to teach you.
I think it is awesome that every department seems to have someone who speaks Spanish.

7) I am getting to work on types of projects that I have never worked on before. With the amount of new products coming through our doors, it is an amazing and wonderful place for innovation and I find that incredibly inspiring.


8) I get a consistent paycheck.


9) Hopefully within a week or two I will be able to bike commute to work with Daniel on the days that I don't teach.


10) We play wii at work.
In the center of the Creative Area is a large flatscreen TV. Yesterday, for fun, we took a break for bowling. I actually just watched, but the fact that we all stopped as a group to play is an awesome perk.

CONS

1) I was really worn down after the first day of working 7 hours then driving 30 minutes to Rock Hill, SC to teach 3 night classes at York Community College.

2) By Wednesday night I was pretty much worthless after three 15-hour days in a row.


3) I have no time to wash dishes, clean house or do laundry or anything of that nature.
Thankfully Daniel is picking up some of the slack. It will probably take us a while to learn new routines.

4) I did not have time to grocery shop this week.
Truthfully this affected Daniel the most as Monday and Wednesday I am not here and he had to fend for himself. Again this is something that we will have to work on together.

5) I have not yet figured out a good time to exercise.
Unfortunately this has gone by the wayside this week. I am hoping to get over this exhaustion and start getting up early to work out OR rely on biking with Daniel for my exercise.

6) I came down with a cold Monday night.
This not necessarily because of work, it is just that time of year and I am in a transition period and probably more prone to such things.

I am sure there are other PROS and CONS to my job, but this is just an at-a-glance based on my first four days. I have really been enjoying teaching college. I wasn’t sure what to expect and the preparation really takes a long time, but I love the interaction with my students. I love answering their questions and seeing that my excitement about what I do is contagious.


As for
Enventys, there is so much to learn and see. The company had a total of 9 employees four years ago and now the Creative Department alone has eight employees and two interns. The company as a whole is growing by leaps and bounds.

I love to walk down the halls – it is an incredibly friendly place. Most of the employees are in their twenties. There are public relations people, a sales force, a commercialization group, programmers, web designers, photographers, cinematographers, people that work on the magazine, engineers and probably many, many more that I have yet to learn about. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Its been a long day...

Started my first day at Enventys - so far so good. Tonight I am at class and very exhausted. I started losing my voice halfway thru the second class and was thankful that I don't do any lecturing for my last class.

I am amazed, my students are working on their current assignment and the person that I thought would have the least creative ideas really blew me away with her concepts for CD covers. I guess I better not judge a book by its cover...


I am ready to go home already... this 15 hour day is tough.

Friday, January 25, 2008

When it rains it pours.

Several weeks ago I had begun to pray for rain for this region of the country and also that God would rain down his blessings on me in regards to finding a job.

Yesterday I was speaking with different people about all the things that have happened to me this week regarding jobs and potential offers and several people made the comment
when it rains, it pours. Normally this statement would have a negative connotation, but in this instance it was truly a blessing.

After much prayer and waiting, God has rained on me in the form of a job with Enventys. I received the call at 5:00 tonight and I will be starting on Monday.


As you may remember, everything was put on hold while Enventys tried to figure out if they could negotiate with me directly and circumvent a contract I had with a creative staffing firm. After much waiting, everything has worked out and I am so very blessed.


This past Wednesday I actually received an offer for a company in Lake Norman. They needed someone immediately and out of fear of not receiving any other offers I said yes. So yesterday I commuted one hour each way and came home with a serious headache and desire for something better.


I had told them that I could not work today or Monday since my sister is visiting for the weekend. So once I let them know that I will not be returning, I am clear to start the job that I truly desired.


Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement during the last five weeks while I waited.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Compliment of the Day:

I just walked into the teaching staff office to check my mailbox. The secretary monitoring the area thought that I was a student. I explained that I was an adjunct professor and she apologized and said that I should take it as a compliment and that she would remember me in the future.

First Test

Tonight, traffic was bad so I was running behind for my Digital Photography class. I walked in 5 minutes late with my test saved on to my flashdrive. I quickly went over some information about upcoming projects and quizzes while printing copies of the tests.

I handed out the tests and was looking over my student's photoblogs when one of my students asked me if I had meant to hand out the tests with all of the answers highlighted?


I had accidentally printed off the KEY so that they all had the answers. So I had to take the tests back up. Reprint the student version of the test and hand them out again...


oops

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This drives me crazy...

The Charlotte Observer continues to throw sample papers into our yard on a weekly basis - I suppose this is supposed to help drive up readership.

Well I have news for the Observer - they are wasting there time, not to mention trees. When I want to read the news, I will go online to the Charlotte Observer web site and read the articles for FREE and at my own convenience. I think it is completely ridiculous that I keep having to pick up papers that are in the street gutter in front of my house.


The other thing that is a waste is all of the junk mail I receive. Can we please put a ban to spam that comes in the mailbox? It is a complete waste - at least I can recycle...

Die-Hard PC Fan

This post is not directly about me, it is about a guy I know who works for Microsoft and is a die-hard PC lover... This past Sunday, he was going on and on about how PCs were better than Macs and why. I don't generally getting into debates with die hard people, because often you cannot win these debates.

Anyways, I work on both a PC and Mac platform. I prefer a Mac, but I am perfectly adept at working on a PC. On Sunday, I was asked if I had ever had problems with my Mac crashing or programs freezing up. The answer is no.


Well today, I was working in Microsoft Word (on my Mac) and the program froze up on me. I have never had to force quit a program on my Mac and here I found myself having to force quit a Microsoft program. I just thought that was kind of ironic and funny considering Sunday's conversation...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter

The weather has been odd this year. We had a week of bitterly cold weather about 2 weeks ago and then a week of warm, spring-like weather. Now we are back to really cold again. I don't mind the cold, I just wish we would have some consistent weather. Right now I am thankful for the electric blanket on my bed. Nothing feels better on a cold night than to crawl into a warm bed.

Note to self:

Don't go grocery shopping on a holiday...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Prayer of a Child.

Tonight, my mentor came and told me a story... Her 8-year old son has been praying for me every night. Specifically, he has been praying for the disappointment that I must feel from having been offered the job with Enventys and then it not working out.

How can an 8-year old have that kind of insight? I have never let on to him that this has been a difficult road. I expect the adults to get it, but an 8-year old? I am completely blown away.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Reading Books

As a child, I was an avid reader. The only way that my parents could probably truly punish me would be to take away my precious books or make me turn off the light to go to bed at night (not that I got into trouble that often).

I was just realizing that the types of books I read has changed over the years.

As a child I went through my
Baby Sitters Club and Nancy Drew phases and I always had a strong love for classics such as Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, The Secret Garden and The Little Princess.

In my early teenage years, I read as many books on the holocaust that I could get my hands on, including the
The Diary of Anne Frank and Night.

As I continued with my education, classics such as
The Pearl, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Jungle and Animal Farm became a part of my reading.

During high school I grew to love the works of
Jane Austen and Shakespeare. At this time I also had a love for John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark. Though now I would consider those authors too systematic in their writing - I always had an idea of what to expect.

Now as an adult, I find most of my reading revolves around non-fiction topics that I am interested in. Somewhere along the line, my desire to read fiction grew into a desire to know more about the world around me.


Occasionally I will still pick up a work of fiction, but non-fiction rules my life. The
Bible has been the one book that has been a constant in my life.

Random Thoughts for Thursday

Most mornings, I spend time sitting outside on our deck in the sunshine with my laptop. Even if it is cold out, I bundle up and enjoy the sunshine. Today there is wet snow everywhere and no sunshine so there will be no deck sitting today...
I am really enjoying teaching my classes. They are small and most of the students genuinely seem to want to be there and have tons of questions for me. The one thing I am struggling with is this: I have been working from home for a year now and for the past several months have been looking for full time work again which has proved to be difficult. So there is this part of me that feels guilty for teaching these students subjects that may or may not help them to find jobs. I have a 4 year degree with over 5 years experience and I am struggling to find work. I have no idea how a 2 year degree from a community college is going to provide them with work in a competitive market...

The Pathfinder has a lot of rust on it - we were aware of that when we bought in NYC almost 4 years ago. It was cheap and has served us well. The rust seems to be getting worse, so we are seriously considering selling it and getting another vehicle... Financially this is a terrible time to have to do this, I really need to find a full time job...

My Thursday aerobics class has been a lot of fun. We are doing step aerobics with a partner. You can click on these links to get an idea of what it is like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeeQpwlGoRU
http://revver.com/video/353252/lethal-leslie-stepjunkie/

Monday, January 14, 2008

Scheduling Conflicts

Now that I am teaching at night on Monday and Wednesday, this pretty much guarantees that I will see little to none of Daniel on these days (I won't be getting home until 10 p.m. and the chances are that he will be in bed already).

Also, on Tuesday nights, he goes to a bible study with some guys from our church and is basically gone all evening... so this means that from Sunday when we go to bed until Thursday evening, we will barely see each other.


Not sure how I feel about this, but we will get through it.


The craziest thing right now for me is that I have to come up with all of these lesson plans. Creating quizzes and lecture material really takes a LONG time. So I haven't had time to go to the grocery store, the dishwasher needs to be unloaded and reloaded, laundry is piling up... I cannot imagine teaching a full load for the first time - I would have no time to get anything done. At least for now, I have 3 days off to take care of stuff around the house.


The other issue is eating dinner. Since my classes go from 5 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. the only time I can eat is during the breaks between classes and that means I have to prepare ahead of time to take things with me... This is so much more complicated than working a 8-5 job that does not require "homework."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Photoblog

My first assignment for my Digital Photography class is to keep a photoblog. Throughout the semester, each student is required to take a minimum of 3 photos of different assigned subjects. Then all photos are to be posted to a personal photoblog.

The first subject is to take photographs based on their favorite color. I am also keeping a photoblog, for fun and for demonstration purposes. My favorite color is red, so here are my images for this week's assigned subject: 

Friday, January 11, 2008

Parts Car

The other day I heard on the radio a woman talking about how her husband had purchased a parts car to fix another car that they owned. Then he sold the "other car" and still had the parts car. So now he was considering buying another parts car to fix the original parts car so that he could drive the original parts car.

Whew - that was a bit confusing. Anyways, I can relate to this woman because we have a parts car sitting in our driveway (behind the house). It is Daniel's original Altima that got totaled a little over a year ago. We bought a newer Altima and kept the old one for parts.


Originally the goal had been for Daniel to strip the old Altima and store all of the parts in the garage, but alas, the house renovation has been too consuming so the vehicle sits intact behind the house, ready for the day parts will be pulled from it and put to good use.


I can't complain too much though, our newer Altima has already been blessed by some of the parts from the old one, saving us quite a bit of money.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First Time Teaching

Last night I taught my first classes. Overall it went really well. The first class of the evening was Digital Photography. As I went over the syllabus I was really feeling out of my element. But then I handed out the first assignment and I became more at ease as I talked.

The class is small - only 4 students. My first assignment for them is to keep a photoblog for the semester. Each week, they will be expected to take 3 different photographs on an assigned subject and then post the images to their photoblog. Class lasted about 40 minutes and I let them go early.


The second class was Intro to Design. I had 8 students for this class. I went over the syllabus, then talked about how design is all around us and how much design affects our lives. All of the students seemed really interested in what I was saying. Then I gave them their first assignment. They are to keep a critique book of good and bad samples that they are to collect and asses throughout the semester. They all seemed interested in the assignment and asked lots of questions. Again, we ended after about 40 minutes and several of them stayed to ask me more questions.


The third class was Photoshop II. There were only 3 students for this class, all over the age of 40. Thankfully this is the second half of the Photoshop book so they are familiar with the software. I went over the syllabus and then had them work through the chapter assignment while answering any questions they had about how to do things - it is amazing that I know so much and can answer all of their questions (so far). I am choosing to let the students work through the projects at their own pace since I know that everyone learns differently. I also showed them this
speed painting in Photoshop video on YouTube to inspire them. It is amazing what a gifted and experienced person can do using Photoshop. This class lasted the full time and actually went 10 minutes passed the allotted time.

Two of the three students in this class were with me all night. These students are non-traditional and are learning a new field as they have been laid off of their jobs - mostly because jobs have gone oversees... It puts a different perspective on things for me to be working with these people who have been so affected by the economy changes in our world.


I think that my biggest challenge will be to not be the teacher that is so nice that I allow the students to walk all over me. I feel that I am a pretty firm person, but I also have the (human) desire to be liked.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another Job Update

So the job hunt has been a difficult one. I had another interview yesterday that did not pan out - though the company liked me, I am not corporate enough for them... I have had other interviews where I was perceived as being too corporate. I guess all of that is in the eye of the beholder. I am becoming quite adept at interviewing, but it would be great to finally land a job.

The past couple of months have really been a roller coaster of ups and downs for me - I am too this, I am not enough of that... Flying to Texas for an interview that did not pan out. Another company telling me that I was hired on a Friday and then on Monday pulling out due to factors that existed beyond me personally. There are so many forces that exist outside of me as a person and my work that I have no control over. It has definitely been a challenge to wait for the right thing to come along. I know that it will, but it is still a struggle.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Procrastination

One of my worst habits has to be procrastinating. I don't know why I can't get motivated - even if it is something I truly love to do. I think part of the problem is that I enjoy working under intense pressure and in an effort to create that pressure, I let things build up until the last minute and a deadline that forces me to complete my project.  My teaching experience begins in two days and I cannot seem to get my syllabus done. I have all of the ideas for my projects in my head, but I need to get them on paper for the students AND, ideally, I need to get a lot of the information online as well...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Outdoor Adventures | 2007 edition

Daniel and I had a bit of an epiphany in 2007. We realized that we were fighting a lot and it seemed to be directly tied to the amount of time we were spending renovating our house. In an effort to lesson the frequency of these fights, and to just be generally happier, we made great efforts to do more things outside, together. These hobbies have always been the glue in our relationship and we were missing it.

February
Hitch Hiking in Western North Carolina
Crowder's Mountain | Kings Mountain, NC
Backpacking at Linville Gorge | Linville, NC

March
Chainsaw Accident | Charlotte, NC

May
Hilton Head, SC
Trek Demo at US White Water Center | Charlotte, NC
Car Camping | Fall Creek Falls, TN

June
Summer Solstice | Charlotte, NC
Rained Out Bike Ride | Kings Mountain, NC

July
Adventures in the NC Mountains | Cherohala Skyway, Tsali, Nantahala
Weekend Warriors | Charlotte, NC

August
Home Improvement | Charlotte, NC 

September
OBX | Outer Banks, NC 

October
Gabes Mountain Trail | Great Smoky Mountains, TN

November
Surprise Birthday Weekend | Asheville, NC   
Bike Commuting | Charlotte, NC  


Dan In Real Life


Last night, Daniel and I went to the dollar theater to see Dan In Real Life - what a great movie. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what made me love this movie, but it is definitely a new favorite.

We were laughing so hard through some scenes that I was almost crying. The love story was good, but I think the thing that touched me the most was the way the family interacted. It really reminded me of my own family... playing games, eating breakfast together, spending an entire 3 days being almost inseparable as a family unit, complete craziness, helping each other... that is definitely what it is like when I am with my family (both immediate and extended).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

salt

I just ate low-sodium soup for lunch, so that means I can eat as many crackers as I want to... right?
A good friend of ours lost her mom today to cancer. I know that her mom is in a better place without pain, but it makes me sad for my friend and her family.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A few of our favorite things and I am exhausted

Stay in bed until 9:30.

10:15: Bike 5 miles to
The Original Pancake House in 40 degree weather.

11:00-ish: Share a western omelette and pancakes.


Bike 5 miles home, get home at noon.


Shower, drink a gatorade.


1:00-ish: Leave for
Inner Peaks for 3 hours of indoor rock climbing.

Go to
O'Charley's for an early dinner at about 4:30.

5:30-ish: Come home to crash for the evening.


If we weren't so tired, we would probably run out for a coffee, but I foresee the rest of the evening to be spent watching movies at home...

First Day of the Year

Daniel and I slept in and were lazy today until we got up. Then we decided to bike to our favorite breakfast joint combining two of our favorite things (ok, I will admit that breakfast out is one of my faves and biking is one of Daniel's). Anyways, we geared up to ride the 5-ish miles (one way) in the 40 degree weather. It was much better than I expected - very exhilarating to ride in this temperature, really wakes your body up.

We are still debating what to spend the rest of the day doing... we considered hitting the indoor climbing gym, but we think it may be slammed, so we will wait and see.


I start teaching in 8 days so I have a lot of preparation to do: like create the projects, start writing quizzes and just deciding on an overall format for the class. It is an exciting prospect and I am looking forward to doing something so new to me.

Among Trees

Last weekend was a long weekend (Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving) and I was determined that our family should do something together ou...