Monthly Archives: August 2012

This Blogging Thing… It’s Hard Y’all!

Remember that time I wrote a blog post almost every day for at least 2 weeks?  Yeah, I could start a blog post this way at least a few times a year.  Lately I’ve been baking way more than I’ve been blogging.  My middle doesn’t appreciate this.

Sometimes I just do not have anything to say.

I don’t use my blog as a place to unload my brain for the day.  However, now that I’ve written that down, it doesn’t sound like such a terrible idea.  I like for my posts to have some kind of theme, to fit within a topic, to have style and flair.  These goals are harder things to keep up with than you might think.

Okay, so I might be preaching to the choir.  Perhaps everyone who reads this is a blogger and you’re nodding in agreement and sending me a silent “Giiiirrrlll, don’t I know it”.  Maybe you aren’t a blogger but you’ve chosen the non-blogging route because you don’t want the commitment of keeping a blog.  So then, I suppose you’re also sending me a silent “Giiiiirrrrllll, don’t I know it”.

Oh, you don’t say “giiirrrllll” as much as I do?  Perhaps you’re sending me a silent “Yeah, I know, move on, new topic please”?  I’m sorry, but no new topic, just go with it for a minute… humor me why don’t you?

My first blog was updated quite regularily.  It lasted for the majority of my college years and college was full of tons of things that needed to be written, apparently, but I was never short on words.  I was apparently emotional then too.  I suppose that happens to a girl in her early 20s.  Old boyfriends, new boyfriends, professors that were mean, professors that inspired, old boyfriends not leaving me alone, Barenaked Ladies lyrics written JUST FOR ME!!! Yeah, I know, emotional.

Being a grown up, functioning adult, participant in this society of ours just doesn’t leave time for emotion, I suppose, because when I sit down to write, it just doesn’t always come.  I guess that is why I’ve targeted my blogging towards work/life/creativity and how I balance the three.  However, is this the right way to go?  Would another direction give me more to write about on a regular basis?

Well, I’m here to announce that I’m going to attempt to answer that question this weekend.  A coworker of mine invited me to a bloggers conference this weekend.  The Arkansas Women Bloggers is a great collection of women bloggers in, you guessed it, Arkansas that gather for occasional meet ups and this is one of their big events promising to be chock full of good ideas and hopefully a bit of blogging inspiration.  Besides it being nestled in a gorgeous part of our state, I’ll be surrounded by women seeking the same inspiration and good ideas.  This should be a good weekend.

And with all good blogging events, it comes with some awesome sponsors.  Ziploc was just announced yesterday and if you know me, you know I love food organization!  I have a cabinet full of vintage pyrex fridge dishes and boxes full of Tupperware (trying to phase out the plastics).  I know, I know, why am I excited about Ziploc if I’m trying to phase out plastic?  Because, guys and gals, they have a new glass product!  I’m stoked.

I’m also stoked about…

…wait for it…

COWBOY BOOTS!  Yup, this Texan transplant is finally getting herself a pair of cowboy boots.  Country Outfitter (an Arkansas company, BTW) is sponsoring giving a pair of boots to every participant and then, and this is the best part, we each get a chance to give one of our readers a pair of boots.

YES, you heard me correctly.

One of you will have the chance to win a $150 gift card to Country Outfitters to use on a pair of boots of your choice.  I find this perfectly good incentive to start following my blog, you won’t want to miss out on this giveaway.  I won’t tell you win I’ll post the giveaway, but I recommend you start keeping an eye on this space immediately!

I can’t wait to return to blogging with new inspiration and new boots.  Stay tuned, amazing things are sure to come!

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Kids.

I have to say, thank goodness kids are not a topic that come up in my conversations often.  I don’t have a dad that ends every phone conversation/email with “can’t wait to have grand kids” and if my mom were still alive, I doubt she would say that to me.  My siblings all have their own (and look at how cute some of them are in the picture above… circa 1997) but don’t bug me about producing any of my own.

Thank goodness those awkward conversations don’t come up.

However, the older I get, the more a small bubble of fear builds up inside of me.  What if I turn 45 and regret not having them when I was younger and able to run after them for all hours of the day.  What if I’m 70 and longing for grand kids?  What if I’m 82 and need someone younger than me to love me and help me make my meals each day.

What if?

How do you know what you’ll need/want 20 years from now, 30 years, 50 years?  Why can’t we be given a cheat sheet when we’re old enough to understand it?

I know 100% that I do not want kids right now.  I’m not patient.  I don’t share well (nor do I want to).  I like my stuff/rooms/space to be just a certain way and I like having time to myself most of the time.  I don’t like being on someone else’s schedule and I don’t like waking up early.  I just don’t think kids are right for me and vise versa.

This is not a problem most of the time.  But on occasion, the small ball of fear taps me on the shoulder and say “Hey, Erin, you’ll be 32 in November… are you sure you don’t want kids?  The clock is ticking.”

UGH

I don’t even want a dog, little ball of fear, why on earth would you question that?

There are a few blogs out there written by beautiful people who are living their lives kid free.  Thankfully there is this outlet because when I look to my friends, I have to also look to their little ones.  Hard to get advice from someone who is toting their very own designer diaper bag.

UGH

Designer diaper bags?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure kids of my own aren’t in my future.

But I will take another cat.  Those are an 17 year commitment on average.  I can commit to that.

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Did You Know

While talking to some colleagues today about some of the things my active participation in the world of social media has brought me, I was left trying to answer the question “Why don’t we know about this stuff!?!”

Huh… I suppose I don’t know.

So, in an effort to help the masses “know” this stuff, I suppose I’ll tell you.

So, here are 5 things you might not know about me (not all of them because of social media):

I’ve worked at the Super Bowl.  Super Bowl XLVI to be exact (that was just last January if you aren’t keeping track).  My jacket says “NFL Transportation”, which I suppose is accurate since I helped transport people through security.  Really, the jacket should say “NFL walk 17 miles a day around this facility because it really is faster than trying to get around on a golf cart” or “NFL did you think you were coming here to get sleep because 3 hours is your sleep ration per day” or “NFL don’t even think about trying to watch the LMFAO concert because you’ll barely survive the scariest concert experience of you life even if you only attempted 10 minutes of watching them”.  Volunteering with our small team is on my list of Top 5 Favorite Things Ever and I hope upon hope I’ll get to do that again in Jaunary in New Orleans – I have a love affair with NOLA… and oysters… and Bloody Marys… all of which taste really good while chilling on a balcony in the French Quarter… but I digress.

I’m published.  Last summer I wrote a closing article for an industry magazine called Facility Manager.  It was based on a speech I gave at a conference earlier in the year.  If you follow my blog, this isn’t news to you, but new readers might not know this.  Okay, okay – so one article isn’t exactly War and Peace or Gone With The Wind but it’s a pretty big deal to me.  Actually, I lie, it’s a VERY big deal to me.

I adore my line of work.  It’s true.  I’m one of those people who actually love the work I do.  No, I’m not talking about contributing to the big picture here or a feel good kind of thing, but I love planning my days,  coordinating events, solving problems, fixing problems others should have solved before they happened, teaching people, inspiring people and basically just figuring things out.  I love all of this.  I’m still not sure when this happened and it kind of scares me that I’m THAT person, but there you have it, you can hate me if you want but it’s the truth.  I love my line of work!

I don’t like being dirty (uh, like grease smeared on your face kind of dirty… what kind of blog readers are you guys?).  This borders on ridiculous.  If I go through a thrift store, I want nothing more than to wash my hands for 18 seconds in hot, soapy water as soon as I leave.  If I sweat for 5 minutes, I fret until the moment I step into a shower to rinse off.  Do not even get me started on gardening.  As much as I love it, dirt under my nails is enough to send me to a psychiatrist.  I just do not like being dirty.  And YES, I wash my hair while camping.  I cannot help it, I just cannot help it.  Once I left my toothbrush at home when I was traveling and didn’t realize it until I went to brush my teeth before bed at 3AM.  I was devastated, completely devastated.  I counted down the minutes until morning came and I could make it to Walgreens to buy one.  When I finally brushed my teeth with something other than a washcloth, I celebrated by dancing the jig of good dental health.

No, I won’t show you how to dance that jig.

No, my not showing you how to dance that jig is not the 5th thing you might not know about me.  Although, I suppose I could count it.  So let’s call this segment the 6 things you might not know about me.

See, I’m spontaneous and am able to adapt as things go.  That’s one of my strong suits on my resume.  Now I’ve proven to you that it is true.  I like to back up what I write.

Wait, that makes 7… I better wrap this up.

3 times in my life I failed to pass auditions for drum line participation.  Once was before my sophomore year of HS when I didn’t make the cymbal line and was cast out to the pit (and then I had a vibraphone solo because I seemed to have mad skills for a bassoonist playing in the pit for the first time, so that was kind of cool I guess).  Then again my junior year of HS when I didn’t make it again (this time I turned my nose up at the pit and marched around with a mellophone I didn’t play – I refused to not march a 2nd year in a row – I’m determined at least).  Then again my freshman year of college.  I was DEVASTATED!  Actually, not making Longhorn Band my first year  in college was one of my deciding factors in moving back home and going to UTAlmost (Arlington for those who don’t know/get the reference).  Thankfully I not only made the cymbal line there, but was put in charge of it and we went on to win best cymbal line at PASIC in the fall of 2000.  That’s a pretty big deal and totally proved that those section leaders who didn’t put me on their lines obviously didn’t know what they were doing (I’d say I’m kidding, but really, I’m sure they didn’t, okay, I’m kidding… maybe).  And speaking of PASIC, check out this terrible video of our AWESOME floor routine.

I know not everyone is boss enough to want to sit through a bad video of a drumline floor routine you can hardly see, but humor me, it was a BIG day in my life.  I even remember what color nail polish I had on.  Strange thing to remember.  Oh, and since all sad stories need a happy ended, I did move back to Austin and auditioned again for the Longhorn Band not only making the cymbal line, but heading it up my final year of college.  See, happy ending.

So, there you have it, 5 things you might not have known about me.  I hope I’ve entertained you a bit this evening.  I know I had fun sharing these memories with everyone.

Actually, I almost always have fun talking about myself.  At least I admit things like that.

Some people don’t admit things like that.  Those people bug me.  I don’t want to be those people.

So, all of you bloggers out there, I challenge you to share 5 things with the world that we might not know about you.  Come back and post a link to it in the comments of this post.  I’d love to to learn more.

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When Not At Work

You would think with all of this talk of work and conferences that I never have down time.  Sometimes I think that, but it really isn’t true.  I’m the kind of person that loves to fill my time with stuff.  I say “stuff” but it really is stuff.  I have tons of hobbies, tons of activities, sign up for everything and do not like just sitting.

One of my favorite things in the world is running a flea market booth with my sister.  As I’ve previously mentioned, the two of us make up Junque Rethunque.  This was a business that she started with my mom, but I took over after my mom decided that brain cancer wasn’t as glamorous as some people claim.  I’d like to think we’ve done part of it justice.

We go junkin’.

In fact, we’re so good at junkin’ that we bring home a ton of fabulous finds each and every time.

We also live in houses that have their limits which means we can’t keep everything we find.  That’s where the flea market booth comes in.  We’re able to search out treasures for the booth and continue to fill the void that not going junkin’ creates.  However, this is only a portion of the Junque Rethunque concept.

The other portion is finding treasures that are completely lost to the common eye and transforming them into something new and wonderful.  That’s the part that is lacking right now.  We’re full of ideas, we just haven’t really jumped onto that ship yet.  Maybe it’s due to a lack of space, or perhaps due to the fact that we both have full time jobs (and my sister has a family and goes on paranormal investigations – right?!  How fun is that!?).  Whatever the case it, we just haven’t fulfilled that part of the business yet.

Fret not – we’ve been re-inspired!  This past weekend we moved into a new shop and we’re convinced we’ll be sold out within the week (okay, maybe not, but it’s nice to dream).  The picture above is from the new space, pretty kickin’, eh?

We’re game for anything.  We’ll turn old door knobs into picture holders, we’ll decoupage old furniture to give it new life, we’ll turn odd objects into lamps – the sky is the limit.  So tell me, what is the coolest “re-purposed” item you’ve ever seen?  I’d love to hear about it.

Wish You Were Here

No, really, I don’t wish you were here.  This happened today.

In my head.

But it might as well have been at my desk where everyone could see it.  As long as I’ve been at Walton Arts Center, I’ve been the “go to” for a large portion of the staff.  Heck, it’s kind of my job as Director of Events and Patron Services.  I better know what’s going on, right?

But that doesn’t mean you have to ask me about it all of the time (I kid, I kid, ask away, I’ll answer, I promise, and I won’t complain about it in a blog… at least, not after today).

I just needed a chance for my brain to process information.  I had a fabulous meeting with my supervisor talking about why some people easily get customer service and why it’s like pulling teeth to get some people to just smile.  I left that meeting with a ton of good ideas regarding training exercises that would be both fun and educational.  My brain was on a roll, I tell you,  a ROLL.

That is, until I step foot back into my building.  Then the questions started.  They aren’t earth shattering questions.  Sometimes things as simple as “where should we put the trash can, here or 2 feet to the left of here”.  Okay, I made that one up, but those are the types questions people rely on me to answer.

When I’m out of the office, that trash can miraculously finds a home without my input, what’s different when I’m actually here?  And please don’t tell me not to answer when I’m here.  Then that picture you see above will actually be a live scene here in Fayetteville, AR.

I think everyone is allowed a day where they can throw up the yellow police tape and just do their job.  One day a week might be too much to ask for, but at least a couple of month might be nice.  Think of what might get accomplished on those days!

It blows my mind.

In that place, I just solved world peace.

Give me that day and you’ll thank me later.

PS – the irony is not lost on me that in order to think about customer service I would have to shut people out.  It is not… lost… on… me.

When I Fail, I Go All Out

The stage was set.  I had mixing bowls, fruit, bags of sugar, a perfectly vintage Foley Mill, my HUGE canning pot, sterilized jars and all of the small, fun supplies necessary for a beautiful batch of marmalade.  Hours passed by as I skillfully mixed the ingredients, keeping a close eye not to let the sugary mess boil over and in the end, I was proud of my 10 beautiful jars of sweet, orange marmalade when all was said and done.

While gazing lovingly at the jars, in my head danced visions of lazy mornings spent enjoying homemade english muffins dappled with spoonfuls of sweet, orange goodness.  Those mornings were perfect.  Happy news articles would be read aloud.  The Schmoo Cat would be perfectly curled up on my lap.  No politics would create arguments amongst those in the room.  It would be perfect harmony and the marmalade would be fantabulous.

And maybe the iced coffee would be fantabulous as well.

That all came to a screeching halt this morning.  I skipped down the stairs this morning fully intending on popping open one of those sweet jars of perfectly crafted marmalade only to discover the sugar had not set.  What I poured into the jars the night before looked nothing like what I discovered in my kitchen this morning.  I was horrified, I couldn’t even look at the sad excuse for marmalade that occupied 10 of the cutest little jelly jars.

Disgusted, I ate the best homemade caramel apple butter that has ever sat upon my tongue instead.

It’s all about compromise in my life.

I learned a long time ago that you have to leave room for fantastic failures every now and then.  I can try my hand at marmalade again, it won’t be the end of the world.  What fantastic failures have you experienced lately?  Did you learn anything from them?

It’s just another 6 letter word

How do you deal with stress?

It’s a common question.  You get asked this question in a myriad of settings.  It’s common in a job interview, in a meeting with your boss about managing touch situations, your friends ask you this when they are consumed with jealousy because you always just seem to blissfully out of the situation.

However, the answer is not so common.  Depending on who you ask and when you ask, the answer could be one of a million things.  My answer has certainly changed over the years… and thankfully it’s changed for the better.  I used to deal with stress by breaking out into hives around 11PM at night.  I first experienced this in elementary school (really, what was so stressful back then?).  I was visiting my grandma in Arkansas and my flight back to the DFW area was cancelled on a Sunday evening.  That would have put me back there Monday morning and GOD FORBID I be late to 5th grade class.

God forbid.

The next few times were throughout high school and college and usually a result of something pretty big being out of my control, much like my flying situation of 5th grade.  Once I graduated from college and took on my first job, I learned to deal with stress in different ways.  Mainly I learned to not let it get the best of me and send me home looking like I’ve had a serious allergic reaction to something.

As the years have passed, I’ve noticed that stress hasn’t been a problem for me… like… at all.  Something someone mentioned to me this morning made me think about this.  Where has the stress gone?  Did someone take it?  Did it go away?  Why don’t I notice it anymore?

Now, don’t get my wrong, there are days that are completely off the charts with crazy and I’m left exhausted by 4PM, but I’m not stressed.  Even when it seems like the 1800 people around me are going to revolt at any time because they didn’t line up early enough to get a seat to see Elie Weisel, I’m not stressed.  What in the heck happened?

I’ve been called “the eye of the storm” by a few people at work.  I can’t tell you how I do it.  I can’t give you any breathing exercises to control the stress.  Heck, I can’t even promise you that going home and watching trash tv at the end of the day will help control the stress.

I can only tell you that it doesn’t bother me at work like it used to.

Now, when I’m in the passenger seat of some people’s car, the stress level is through the roof.  GIVE ME THE WHEEL, people, GIVE ME THE WHEEL.

And I refuse to say this is a control issue 🙂

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