Archive for March, 2012

March 28, 2012

Work

I haven’t gotten my infographic guide from my information design class, but trust me, I am on pins and needles. I am really anxious to see what I got! I did get my first book back from book design class, and I was pleased  by my grade 🙂 I also finally got Monica’s business cards in the mail. I am so happy with how they turned out, and thankfully, so is Monica! Aside from one typo (GRRR!!!) they look great. I am so mad at that typo- especially since I asked three people to proof read it. Sadly, Monica and I didn’t notice it until we were drunk. Ironic, isn’t it?

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March 19, 2012

Falling Out of Love With Home

Henri Silberman's Photo of New York- GLORIOUS!

I love New York. I love the lights, the sight of the bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, loudass people, endless possibilities for exploration on any night, the shopping, the food, the culture, and mostly, that I can bump into anyone and don’t have to say excuse me, because EVERYONE is rude. I fucking love New York.

William does not share the same sentiment.  We have two completely different viewpoints on moving back to the city. Both of our viewpoints are tinged by the completely different lives we lead before knowing one another. His, full of fond memories and sad losses, and mine, enduring the white bread problems of suburbia.

The topic of us relocating to New York comes up frequently. His grandfather, who just turned 90, would love to have us around, I love the city, and William does miss his family very, very much. But there is this hesitation in him I just didn’t understand at all. I know William very well, but I couldn’t peg why he is so ambivalent about it. New York is his home! How could not want to go home? Even with me picking at the subject in the annoying way that I tend to do, he just can’t bring himself to give me answers.

The only thing I can determine is that he and New York have fallen out of love.

Let me explain.

William is a native of the Bronxdale neighborhood, next door to the housing projects of the same name.  His Mother, Gloria, and two brother’s David and Marcel, along with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends, who might as well be blood related, are an incredible network of people who formed the wonderful memories of his childhood. Not all the times seem to have been good, but that is life for everyone. Having so much family around makes things easier.

When They Were Boys. From left to right, David, William, and Marcel.

Sadly, In 1996, William’s brother, David, was murdered. He was only 17. While at a party in Harlem one night, David made the “mistake” of dancing with a girl who supposedly belonged to someone else. Since some people can’t just accept that dancing is dancing, someone took his life, and shot him. The killer fled to Jamaica in an attempt to lay low after killing David. He was never brought to justice in New York Judicial system, but just like a tale from a movie, the street got him instead. He returned to New York when he thought it was safe, and was killed shortly after. No one knows for what reason, but my guess is, he has a lot of people who’s lives he ruined, and I’m sure a lot of people wanted him dead. What goes around, surely, comes around.

His family suffered through the worst heartbreak imaginable. It was that pain that prompted his mom to move him from NYC to Catonsville, MD later that year seeking a fresh start.  Marcel, almost an adult by then, opted to stay behind with his grandparents.

William adjusted well to being in Baltimore, even with a short time of feeling like a fish out of water. He made new friends and played lots of basketball, and Gloria, a former NYPD dispatcher, fulfilled her dream of becoming a chef.  To this day, I refer to him as the slowest New Yorker I’ve ever met. He likes the peace and quiet, is more inclined to spend a day in the country not doing much, than running around any city, and doesn’t  get why I am enchanted with skyscrapers and city adventures. Some city is ok- all city not so much.

William and his mom, celebrating eachother's passions- cooking and basketball.

Though William doesn’t say it, I think that David’s death has broken the love he feels for New York. Yes he loves it, as it is his home, but that love that makes some New Yorkers say, “I’m a new yorker for life and I’m not leaving” is gone. His mother, who passed away when he was just 23, has meant that WIlliam is here in Maryland with no immediate family. I am his family. My family is his family, and the rest of his family is in New York. He could have gone back, but the love is gone. I don’t know what that is like. My shitty little town of Laurel, MD has never presented me with such pain. The worst Laurel has to offer is a vacant mall and an increasingly sketchy population.

I didn’t understand it until last night before bed when I thought of my own best friend, who passed away a few years ago.  She is the most personal loss I’ve ever had, and surely the biggest tragedy I’ve ever experienced. She died  on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she moved to live with me while we were in college. For years, I couldn’t even go back, or cross the stretch of road heading into Ocean City where she lost her life in a car accident.

The Eastern Shore isn’t my home, but I think the sentiment I had for it in regards to Jessica’s death may be the same as what William feels for New York. The more I think of that, the worse I feel for not understanding it sooner. I can’t say for sure if this is exactly what he is feeling, but I’m hoping he will share that with me after the reads this post- no worries, I have is permission to write about his life in this post, so I’m not blindsiding him!

Instead of pushing him to be more adventurous in moving us into a city he no longer wants to be in, I should be happy his home is here with me. Amazing what I come to learn when I stop talking.

March 16, 2012

Its Friday! DING DING!

Well hello lovelies! Happy Friday to you all!

Here is a lovely little review of my week.

Monday, my love celebrated his 30th Birthday! I am so lucky to have this little devil in my life. I read a post on facebook recently that said “Don’t date a man unless you’d be proud to have a son like him.” And I would be. If I can brag about him for a minute, I’d like to just say that William’s heart is incredibly pure. He is loyal, kind, and giving. He is very patient with me, thank God, and has this amazing ability to win over anyone -young kids to old crotchety people. He also has a work ethic unmatched by any man I’ve met since my father. I love William, the gutterbird dearly.

To celebrate, I took him to Red, Hot, and Blue in Laurel. I got through a few catfish fingers, and maybe 2 or 3 ribs before I gave up. I felt ill. The place smelled like meaty yuckness and fat deposits, and I couldn’t hang. But I did get me some of that cake. The smallest piece measurable was satisfying enough. It was nothing in comparison to the huge hunk (1/3 of the cake, shown below) that William took. It was better than the ribs.

The Rib Lovin' Birthday Boy, and his rack of sweet ribs.

He would smack me for saying that.

Anyways, despite the rib sabotage, I did lose another pound bringing me to the 10 pound mark. HOLLER!

Nothing could have made the week more awesome than getting a good grade on my first book design project just before spring break. Now I can relax, and celebrate the weekend.

Tonight, I’ll be heading to the Boogie Down Bronx with my babe to visit family and celebrate more birthdays. Even though it isn’t my birthday,  I still am swindling Will out of a trip to the Bronx Zoo. I can’t wait to see the ORANGUTANGS!

March 11, 2012

What Starting Over Looks Like

Almost three years ago, I lost over 30 pounds. I had lost my job, was bored, and had nothing better to do than go to the gym for almost 2 hours a day, nearly every day. I was never the gym type, but I became the gym type because it gave me something to do. I didn’t realize how big I had gotten, and I didn’t realize how much weight I lost until I got to about 15 pounds. Not so much, you might think, but 15 pounds is a lot on me because I’m short.

I got on Weight Watchers, and lost even more. I was on a roll!. I found a new job, continued being motivated, and continued to lose weight. I was really happy, considering I’ve been a Chubberton my whole life.

Then I got busier and settled in at work. I was happy I had a job, but I really didn’t like what I was doing. Relationships were challenging, and the work never varied. I was doing the same thing every single day, day in and day out (three years later, I’m still doing the same thing) . I became depressed about it, and I didn’t even know I could let something affect me like that. I stopped working out, continued to eat, and the rest is history. Here I am, at the biggest in my, life starting over.

Still, it is OK! Because the beauty is, you can always start over again. I have a second chance. And  will have a second, third, fourth, whatever it takes until I am happy with where I am.

On January 21st, I started over again. I signed up for weight watchers at work. I started going to the gym again. And everyday is still very very hard. Still, I’ve lost 9 pounds, which is more weight than I have managed to get off in the past 2 years.

This is what starting over looks like.

Trips to the Grocery Store

Getting Off My Ass

Getting Off My Ass

Better Food

March 9, 2012

Weekday in Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday to all !

This week came with the usual riff raff and tomfoolery. Work had the same challenges, and personality conflicts, and some massive dramas, but…

I’m over it.

What I am really thinking about right now-what I am ECSTATIC about is that school was great. I finally got the first big project off my plate in information design. My info-graphic guide to outdoor escapes at the office was fully constructed and handed over. Now, my job is to sit and wait anxiously for my teacher to give me back the grade.

Two weeks ago I turned in my first designed and constructed book. That little labor of love has yet to be returned, and every class we have where she doesn’t fork it over stresses me beyond measure. At the same time, I realize there is NOTHING I can do at this point. Being finished makes me happy. No time to dwell on the old assignment as we are already on to the next.

This coming Wednesday is the first composition of our second assignment. I’m currently designing a book cover for an old book and turning it into something contemporary. This was so incredibly challenging for me last week, but I’m happy to report all that stress, combined with a migraine that wouldn’t stop , allowed me to step back and reevaluate my work. It did wonders. I went into class a lot more confident. Even though I had a few things to tweak, I had decided on my design, and that was most of my battle.

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March 6, 2012

Recovering from a headache, and from myself

This week was surely marked by the never ending migraine. Starting Thursday night, the stress of school deadlines, work normalcies, and sitting at a computer for 16 hours a day finally caught up to me. In protest, my eyes just gave up. They didn’t want me looking at any computer object- not my kindle, not my ipad, imac, or macbook- nothing. My ensuing deadlines didn’t agree, so i tried to take as much advil as I could, and work on my homework in 2 hour chunks. I did the best I could.

Luckily, some good came out of it. Remember that breathing room I was talking about in my last post ? Well, I got it. I had no choice but to breathe after I worked on something for two hours, and it actually did me a world of good. I stepped back, looked at my composition, my colors, and my text placement, and was able to complete the bulk of a book cover assignment. I sent it out on the listerv and got positive feedback.

I was incredibly relieved. I think that my “come to Jesus” with my teacher really helped me see what some problems are in my approach to school. This course of study is so time consuming. It requires a lot of money, a lot of time, more research than people think, and if you aren’t some naturally talented artist blessed with technical capabilities, it requires a lot of patience.

I get the impression that people think graphic design means taking the doodles in the side of your notebook, and making something out of it. Sometimes it can! But what I am still learning is that this field is just like any other, creative or not, in that you have people to please. How likely is it that I will become some graphic design extroidanarre, choosing assignments at my own fancy, never to receive a piece of negative feed back needed for revision? Not likely.

On that note, I’m still figuring out what I can do to make school assignments easier to work on (not easier, just easier to focus on). Everything is a work in prorgess, and when I feel stressed, or pushed to my max, I will click my heels and think of the amazing things that are coming up for me.

Pics to come of my recent school work!

xxxx

 

 

March 1, 2012

What I Don’t Know- Part One On a Design Discussion

You are probably wondering why my design and lifestyle (haha) blog has no design as of the late. There really is no big reason, except that at the moment,  just don’t like my designing.

Last night, before I left for class, I was already feeling so tired I could fall asleep standing. My head hurt, tired of sitting in front of a computer for all but 8 hours a day, and I was just in no mood to share what I knew would be less than stellar designs. For those of you who don’t know, I’m taking two classes with very construction heavy elements- Information Design and Book Design. Both these classes require the creation of projects from concept to construction. Entire books, infogrphic maps, presentations on designers, etc. They are workload heavy. I knew that going in.

You see, I became so disenchanted with design after my first year and a half, that I thought, “let me throw myself back into school work the way I did my first year, and remember the reasons why I fell in love with it to begin with.” Instead what happened was me feeling a sense of dread when starting a new assignment, and feeling like I lost my touch and inspiration.

There I sat in class last night, trying to explain why I made the choices I did when designing the front and back covers, front matter, and spine of a book. My book, Rex’s Stout’s Too Many Women, was set in the 1930’s. My job was to reinvent the cover with a more contemporary design so that it appealed to a modern day audience. I decided to go with a graphic novel theme, and for the past 2 weeks of drafts and comps, I have fallen short. Why am I such a shitty student this semester? Why don’t have I more of a concept of how to pair typefaces together? Why are they not seeing what I see in this design? WHY DO I HAVE TO JUSTIFY EVERYTHING?!!

I became visibly agitated at the feedback my classmates gave me on my work. Not because I completely disagreed and I didn’t give a shit what they said, but because I knew they were right. I was mad at myself, because I knew they were right. I never get to  REALLY look at my work until I’m in that room with all my classmates looking at it with me, and it’s unfortunate, because all the ways I could have made it better are GLARING at me.

After class, my teacher, Amy asked me if I was ok. Amy, who is a tough but knowledgable cookie, is really good at making me crack because she will just get the uncomfortable observation out of the way, tell me to calm down, and then tell me to get it together. I told her my problem. I feel like I was good at design before, I loved it, was passionate about it, and then all of the sudden, I am just…NOT. I feel like I’m not good at it anymore and I’ve lost my inspiration to create good work. She said that I didnt’ loose my talent. Her words were, “You are just frustrated by what you DON’T know.”

I really am.

Amy is right. I’m discovering all the shit I want to do, but can’t execute because I don’t know how.  There are things I want to learn how to do, and spend time exploring, but I can’t because I don’t have that many hours in the day. I want to study typography more, explore books in the bookstores and libraries, spend entire days perfect something I love, and I can’t. I don’t have that time, and it is frustrating. While I was talking to Amy, she asked what my workspace was like. I told her it’s all my own- my books, inspirational pictures, etc. She suggested I simplify it if I feel like it clutters my thoughts, and try not to sit at the desk the entire time staring at my work. Take a break, walk around, go do something else, and come back. Then those things I may need to change are more obvious to my eye.  Go to the library, the book store, with my laptop in tow, and explore the different types of covers, binding, typeface combinations, etc, and figure out which ones I like.

All I could think about on the way home is what I needed to changed and how this all happened. Essentially it is this- I’m tired. Staring at a computer all day and then coming home to stare at one is exhausting.

I get surges of ideas from about 8 to 10:30 and can’t work on them because I need to go to bed. I get up at 5 am and if I don’t go to bed, I can’t get up to go to work.  I also can’t come home from DC and act like there isn’t other shit to do around my house. I still need to make dinner, I need to run errands, work out if there is time, and do normal EVERYDAY things. At the end of the day, I am tired, eyes hurting in my head from staring at a monitor, and I’m sad that there is no time for what I love.  There is no streamlined process, so something has to change here.

Amy is right. I am frustrated by what I don’t know- design wise and time management wise. Something has to give, and very soon it will.