"What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come." Oprah
Maybe it is lame to quote Oprah, but I'm desperatly hopeful
that she's right. This blog is really to try to deter the premature insanity that was beginning to emerge while I am learning web design, and following my passions. If you have a strong stomach, and good sense of humor, or are one of my friends or family (not optional for that group) please enjoy the ride.
The story starts with post #1, and continues to present day. I will keep you posted (pun intended), with the lasted chapter daily. Also, I will share my reviews of the books I escape with along the way.
Please, read, enjoy, comment, link, or message me. I'd love the feedback, it makes it seem less like I am just talking to myself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dreaming in HTML

Yesterday I had web design class. This was not just any class. It was as my teacher put it "down and dirty" coding. I admit it, I have been avoiding the code aspects of learning to design websites, cause it is very intimatating to me. I never really grasped math concepts, so when I see math problems on paper, they all just sort of jumble, and I am overwhelmed. Well, that is how code seems to me, also. Just jumbling of symbols, and letters, that I did not have the answer key to understand. I like the creative side of designing the web sites, but I really wanted nothing to do with the coding of it all. Robert (my teacher) has other views. He creates sites in code, and feels that you have to know code to make clean, error free, compatible sites. He also was on to my stalling, and said, no more excuses, you're not getting out of it, You are going to learn how to code in HTML.
So, I cussed my self for this crazy web design career idea, and went to class. Poor Robert spent most of the class explaining everything four or five times. Occassionally he had to draw pictures for me, since I am a visual person. He would say "do you follow me?" I think to be nice, and I would say "no", so he would start all over. He was very gracious. Me, I would have quit on the spot, and said "lady, go back to nursing "cause they don't make web design in special ed, and you are hopeless". but he did not. So after a mind numbing two hours I finally understand the BASICS of HTML. More importantly I have pages of notes that I can refer back to when I forget what the heck I am doing.
Now, you are wondering what does that have to do with the photo? Well, since it was an exhausting day, I went to bed early, hence no post yesterday. Instead of resting, my brain decided to review, and assimilate all the information into my dreams, so I woke up this morning exhausted, having dreamt all night about code, in code, and with code. Sometimes it was the background of my dreams, sometimes the foreground, but it was all night, code, code, code.
Normally, this kind of thing would cause me to panic some, for fear that I might be in need of some professional help, but this time I am going to take it as a good sign. Maybe some foreshadowing that I am going to understand, and that my old brain is working extra hard to learn something new. If I start speaking in code, then i will go ahead with the original idea of some professional help.
Oh, and yes, since learning the basics of code, I was able (with Robert's help) to remodel the blog. That is something that i have been wanting to do since I started it, but wasn't sure how. I hope you all like it. Now it is more reflective of the I just finished site, and not so brown. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Inspired Design

Lotus bud 2
Originally uploaded by tanakawho
Today, the second day of my new career, I needed business cards. My mother, the writer, was scheduled to attend a writer's luncheon at a local country club. She graciously asked if I, the now self employed, would like to go with her. Heck yeah, I wanted to go. I needed an excuse to change out of my PJ's at least once this week. It seems like wearing your PJs to work is a perk, but actually by day I was feeling like a slob.
Off I went with make up on, hair curled, and earrings. At least I looked like I was making money. So, we have salad, and meet the others at the table. It is going nicely. The director of the IABC (International Assn of Business Communicators), the group sponsoring the lunch, starts things off, and wants all the guests to introduce themselves. Yeah, that was me. Shit, shit, shit! What was I supposed to say? And, I am sitting in the front of the room, since we were the last ones in the room. Yep, Mom, the one with actual credentials goes first, then me. So, off the cuff I say that I am a freelance writer, since I got that great job writing yesterday, and have done a tiny bit on elance, and web designer. Just moved to the area from Austin. Okay, so I didn't say web designer in training, since that sounded lame, and I was nervous. But I have designed some stuff, so it was sort of true. Anyway, they guy talked, it was mildly entertaining, and the food was good. Then, it was over, and I started gathering my stuff to leave. Since Mom knew some people there, she was mingling, and I was gathering. THEN, here is what happened: two people came up to me and asked for my business card. Yeah, like I had a business. Except, wait, I guess I do have a business. I just have to start thinking of it like that. I make a lame excuse that I was having them printed since I just moved to the area, and promised to have some next time. (they do the lunches monthly, and I WILL be there next month) Once I finished gathering, my mom's colleague said, "since you are doing web design now, maybe you could be the webmaster for our writer's group". Me "gulp, yeah, of course I can do that, I would love to", her " and we have been meaning to redesign the site as well, that would be great". Me "Yes, that would be great", as I am feeling the water going up over my head.
So, after I regained my composure in record time, and accepted my reality check, that I was a freelancer, and had my own design/writing business, and needed to represent myself that way, and network, I got my teacher on the phone and said, " Robert, we need business cards, and our professional web sites up by this time next week, since we are going to have work to do."
Needless to say, we both worked the rest of the day on our personal professional sites, and designs for business cards. That is the reason for the picture. I have used this photo, and a series of the lotus opening up, for the buttons on my site, since it is called Inspired Design, and I think it is inspiring and pretty. The lotus is cloaking in all kinds of legend of enlightenment, and inspiration, so I think it is fitting, and the colors match the seedling picture I am using on the banner. I wanted you guys to have a preview. I think the cards with be black border, with this picture, and then the writing. I will post it, as soon as I have the prototype, and the site should be up by next Thursday.
Hopefully, soon I will have more work than I know what to do with, and be hiring help! So today is another thankful day, and progress in the right direction. Stay tuned for tomorrow, plus I have some reviews to post!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's official, I've hung up my stethoscope!

Originally uploaded by happysnappr
Last night, I formally quit my job. It was really tough on many levels. The family I was working with are the best a nurse or friend could eve ask for, and my patient was the best little miracle baby I have ever seen. But, at the end of the day, she has a loving family, who will always take great care of her. I however have to take care of me and my family. Working nights was holding me back. So I stared today working for myself.
My web design teacher took me after calls on Monday to meet with a contact he has that needed some freelance writing done. We met, and I offered to do a couple of articles to see how he liked my work, so today, I cranked them out. I was nervous, but the reviews were great, and the money offer more than expected!
On other news, my website template is done, at least for now. I am sure i will be tweaking it more in the future, and now I am adding pages. Actually I am starting with the book pages, cause that is the part that interests me most right now. Then I will go back and add some of the other less fun pages, like user agreements.
This is the participation part of the blog. I am begging for input form you readers to suggest what books, or authors to add first. There are thousands, so I need a starting point. Any suggestions, or best loved, most favorite? I was going to start with my favorites, Katie Mac Alister, Kim Harrison, Janet Evanovich, Patricia Cornwell, of the top of my head. I would love more direction, or suggestions. This site is for the book lover, so now it is time to show the love!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

"Between the Tides" by Patti Callahan Henry

Catherine's life was shaped by one tragic event and the memory she had of that defining day. Her father's sudden passing left her to fulfill his last wishes. In an attempt to honor her father she is finally release from the stronghold that the tragedy had over her and her ability to love or be loved. She revisits the life she loved as a child and is shocked to discover the love her old friends and aquaintances still feel for her. Cappy relives the tragic memory and is exposed to the truth surrounding her families sudden move from the Lowcountry that she felt so secure in. When her life seems to be falling apart around her she is pleasantly suprised by the love from her past that still lingers. Patti Callahan Henry took me on the most descriptive journey throught the Lowcountry and the ways of life in the small Southern community. I was completely consumed by the scenery and the hospitality of each character. The book left me wanting to pack my bags and drive to the coast for the weekend.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fred the Mermaid

MaryJanice Davidson is one of may favorite authors. She has a humor that is young, and sarcastic. Since I am young and sarcastic, well perfect. All of the MaryJanice Davidson books I have read have been the vampire paranormals. This new series is about a Mermaid named Fred. Fredrika, actually, and she is only half mermaid, but still, great byline! Since I spent much of my childhood convinced that I was actually a mermaid stuck with legs, and could not for the life of me imagine why Disney's Ariel wanted legs when she had the best gig ever with the tail, and princess thing, it didn't take one single arm twisting for me to pickup this book.

Fred is a hybrid mermaid, marine biologist, daughter of a hippie named Moon, and she had blue green hair. Did I mention that she was allergic to seafood. That might account for her general foul temperament. Fred is grouchier, more sarcastic, and self absorbed than most any I have read. She is also one of the most original.

The book is a quick read, with fun anecdotes, and laugh out loud one liners. In short, a great escape from my life for a few hours. Even better if enjoyed while in the bathtub. That is just a personal preference, though.

For the pure and simple entertainment value (yes, I read for that reason), Sleeping with the Fishes a 4 of 5 stars, for the simple laugh out loud factor. (Oh, and 'cause I like mermaids)

Currently reading the sequel, so look for the review soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It' the Flu!!!

44/365 - Quarantined!!
Originally uploaded by Geekgirly
Okay, maybe a gas mask is overkill for the flu, but when i was being exposed to it, I would have taken the gas mask. I officially have the flu, and this is day #5. If I don't improve soon, I am going to ask to be put out of my misery like a dog. That would be the civil thing to do, since I already feel like death warmed over. Sick with me, and in a day or two, either I will be moving forward, or dumdumduummm. Let's hope the buckets of medicine I am taking start working soon!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Time to Write Content

hard work
Originally uploaded by silas216
Well, we are home from vacation. It was great, but a mean case of the flu went around, so I am home sick with my turn at it. We all had a case, at least mine waited until we got home. So, I have been sitting on the couch staring at my computer screen trying to shake off the fog in my brain to get something done. Nothing. I have nothing.
What I did figure out is that Monday at class we will be stepping toward going live. We will be writing code for the site. I am nervous, and have much doubt in my own ability to understand code, but my crazy smart teacher has no doubt that I will do well. He also said it will be fun, and I have a sneaking suspicion that his idea of fun is a little sick and twisted. We shall see.
What that means though, is that I have to up the focus on writing content. It is time to get the bulk of the pages written for the site.
That is my plan for the evening, soak in a very hot bath, keep trying to clear the brain fog, and write or rewrite content on my site pages. It is an exciting time. Wish me luck. I have decided that creating your own web site is far more challenging than creating someone else's. It means knowing what you want, and not having doubt in what you want or like. Overthinking the whole thing is driving me crazy. I originally had a basic logo, banner, nav bar theme going. Then I had to get all inspired with photoshop, and now it is a crafty little pice of art, tat I hope is unique enough to be successful, and not so far out there that people nominate me for the worst web site awards site. Stay posted, and soon, very soon, you can rate it yourself!!!!!!!!
Off to write content!.....