bored-ness gone away

this weekend had three major points to it... it feels like there is too much to say, so much laughing and adoration and late-night calls to owen. frosting and song dedications and strange british men; storytelling and catching up with family and now blogging in front of the fire, going back over these fresh pictures and feeling very content.

1. mandy's bridal shower

fresh flowers, fresh food

mandy and her mom

carrie's mom made the signature book
(blue fabric & seahorses to match wedding's nautical theme)

serving up dessert

this cake from Dominics has a famous side effect... everything within three feet of it turns blue. tongues, teeth, lips, fingers, clothing, floors, countertops, everything. we discovered this when we used to work summers at the Starlight Theater at Gilson Beach. one cupcake led to another, and at one point frosting dyed our hair blue. so making every person mandy loves eat it at her shower was kind of a personal victory. grown women speaking like adults with their wild blue tongues.

2. bachlorette party: Howl at the Moon

i really dig this place. i'd never been before and thought it sounded good; turns out mandy's a regular down in florida where she's been living. oops. i didn't know. it's a dueling piano bar where you submit songs - the more you tip the bigger the show they give your music - and we got them to do a triple-threat-smackdown of the three versions of "i can't help falling in love with you." this picture is the back of mandy's head (that's what the veil is all about)

disclaimer: none of us are big drinkers. seriously. i know i'll talk about bars, drinking, etc, but this is only documented because it's mandy's first shot EVER. that's how much we're not big drinkers. but anyway, we had one here and it was very good.

so this unhappy looking fellow in the middle of us women was a brit we met. he was part of a dozen guys from england who took their boy out across the pond and to chicago for some stag fun. dude, if only i could handle taking mandy out of the country :)

3. visiting madeline rose hernandez

madeline rose, aka Maddie, tiny little sleepy thing who curled up on me and slept all afternoon. it was heaven. she's so sweet. she's the two week old baby of my cousin jeff and his wife effie.



SO BORED right now. i'm sure it won' t last long.
realized i haven't posted in a week
and realized the past four days have been all work and no play.

let's rectify that, shall we?


more from the new setting

today was amazing, as is every sunday. just you wait until they start streaming the sunday messages from the church's website, i'll link to every last one.

today, dave was teaching from ephesians, talking about submission and what it meant in the way that paul was teaching it. dave said, "we have amazing human rights that we fight for, we're told that not fighting for them is a sign of weakness... [dramatic pause] ...we even have to fight for our right to party."

"just making sure you're all still with me."



another chapter in the dispatch story

so for happy hallmark lovers day, instead of having a boy to have fun with, i had fun with a bunch of boys at Schubas tavern... pete francis ("formerly of dispatch") and his entourage were rocking out a valentine's day show and playing some classics.

this saxaphone player, "craiggie d," is magnetic.
he's fantastically fun to watch.

and then there is pete.

this is the best valentines day in a long while :)


took off to california

after this post is the Target story. i don't really convey in it how or why i was disappointed, but after talking with julie, here's what i'm settling on as the great disappointment: my Wunderman job is not a graphic design job. it's the Interactive Coordinator, which means i kind of run the account and make sure we're on time, within budget, that kind of thing. but after not having any job last longer than six months (except the architecture firm), and with the past four months of interviewing being completed without fruition, Target would have been the ultimate validation. i'd considered it a career job, one where i could be for years. and instead i'm taking the non-design job at the place i really enjoy, where it might segue into art direction in a year or two. part of me wants to totally walk away, but a bigger part of me wants benefits and regularity. ultimately, pervasively, i'm scared out of my mind that i'm not really any good at this but almost-good enough that i can fool most people.

so to escape this cloud over my head i took off for the weekend and went to see my amazing friend and college buddy Julie. this is julie:

she's living out in san diego, where it was 75 degrees and next to the pacific ocean, two things that are the opposite of Chicago right now. julie asked me what i want to do, anything i had in mind, and instead of going with snorkling or the San Diego Zoo, all i could think of was a lyric from Counting Crows "Long December" which goes, "It's been so long since I've seen the ocean... I think I should."

so that was the big event on saturday. we got up, met up with julie's friends for breakfast, then spent three hours collecting shells and talking about life on the beach. it was the most unbelievably perfect thing for my state of mind. julie's so good with me, we've seen each other through a lot and when we're together it's like, nothing matters enough to change us. we could meet at the beach or on the moon, and it would always be us, and it would always be easy.

so i'm back in chicago now, it's valentine's day, and i'm a little more settled than i've been. my feet have put in motion again, and even if i'm not buying the direction yet, there is one and that's something. i feel like i've lost track of what i want out of life, like why am i working and to what end? which are new feelings and questions for me, i'm usually one to be all "one day at a time" and zen or whatever. i'm typically an in the moment type of person, but suddenly the 25th birthday is two days away and the next ten years are looming. and i'm scared by my not having any clue what they'll do to me.

and on that note. crazy life events have always come along rapid fire, and i'm too used to that to stay with these feelings for very long. despite my apocolyptic forebodings, i'm pretty confident the fog will lift soon.


breaking the Target silence

so, children, today let's look back over what's happened, mellow on it, and move on.

my last post was put up the day before my big Target interview. that day i flew in to Minneapolis, was picked up at the airport by a guy with my name on a piece of paper, and taken to the Raddison Hotel. it was lovely and a little overwhelming to be given a king-size bed.

i woke up at seven last tuesday morning and got all prepped up, going over my responses to the usual questions and putting putty stuff in my hair. at 8:30 i was picked up in the lobby by two Target employees, and the pair took me on a hike through the skyways, which was unfortunate because i thought we'd be outside. i had heels, an overcoat, a scarf, and we were indoors. i showed up a sweaty mess, mortified.

thankfully the first thing i had to do was take the SATs; seriously, there were math and verbal sections. now, the woman i've been referring to as Target Lady has been telling me that this is not a test, per se, but an "assessment of how a person learns." then the Target soldier that escorted me to this point asks if i had been told about this. "Not a test, but an assessment," i parrot to her. she chuckles. i flinch inside. "It's a test," she assures me. "Then the last part is a personality test." i flinch again. then i sit at the computer for about an hour and click my way through fractions and reading comprehension.

after my non-test testing, i've regained some composure and have my first interview. i meet with the creative manager, who looks startlingly like Silent Bob. he's very nice, engaging, shows me a lot of what Target is up to, and explains the job. i'm totally buying it. we chat design and part ways another hour later. it's now about 11am. Target Lady and i finally meet, she's gorgeous and seems very fun. she's very encouraging, but keeps asking me "how it's going" and i'm not sure how to answer. to say it's great might be cocky; to say it's not is weird. so i go with a humble middle ground, saying i'm enjoying myself and enjoying learning about the work. she seems satisfied by that.

she took me up to see Silent Bob's boss, with whom i discover i have much in common. we're both from Chicago, have lived in Boston, and she's familar with three of the firms on my resume. all good signs. we have a very lively conversation in which i explain how i've had so many jobs in so little time, and how that's led to me either being entirely cog in the system corporate or a solo flyer. i've never led a team, and looking back i think that, ultimately, was my downfall.

Target Lady picked me up from boss-lady's office around 1pm and she walked and talked me to the front door. we expressed the usual closing remarks, nice to meet you, thanks for the opportunity, etc, and she told me to call Friday for an update if i didn't hear from her by then. at this point i'm realizing that i'll know by the end of the week what my next big direction will be. Wunderman at this point had given me a soft offer, laying out the package for me but not asking me to formally sign anything until the big dogs in New York approved the deal. so as i said to my HR person at Wunderman, this was not a plan A / plan B situation, but two plan A situations. it would be decided this week what would happen.

i bummed around downtown Minneapolis for a couple hours, got some lunch and called some people from a Barnes & Noble cafe. i wasn't feeling particularly confident about everything, but hearing myself talk about my work helped me realize that even if i don't get this job, i might still be a worthwhile designer.

i called the transportation company and had them come get me at 3:30 instead of the arranged time of 5pm. i got to the airport early, got to my gate, got comfortable, and read for a while. the flight home was uneventful, my mom was there to get me at O'Hare and we talked about everything on the way home. the next three days were pins and needles, i was high strung and paper-thin as i tried to imagine every senario. some of my good friends at work asked about things, and i made a point to avoid speculation, promising to share the news when it came.

thursday there was a voicemail on my phone, Target Lady asking me to call her back. the last time Target fell through, i received the rejection on a voicemail, so i assumed this might actually be the call with the offer. Friday i called back and she said they enjoyed meeting me, enjoyed my energy and passion, but were looking to go in a different direction. they were looking for someone with other experience. "Other?" i asked. "As in, more experience, or difference experience?"

"Well, different, I guess," Target Lady offered.
"I didn't get much feedback from them."

which was, to me, almost insulting. if you don't tell me where i'm lacking, how can i fill the gaps? tell me what's wrong, so if i really want to work there i'll fix it and call you again. instead, Target Lady suggested i keep checking the Target site and let her know if i see anything else i would want to apply for. Target Lady is "my recruiter," after all.

right. like i want to get strung along a third time.
that's kind of unfair, i won't deny it. i totally am taking it personally that they are HUGE and maybe can't pay attention to every little thing.

it's funny, though, now that i've accepted the Wunderman gig (still a soft thing right now, but hopefully in about a week the ink will be dry) some of my friends are telling me they didn't see me as a Target person in the first place. and i'll admit, some things about Target are frightening. like that the building they occupy (the one of eight i was in) is run like a city, with it's own dry cleaner and post office. it's very button down and professional, meanwhile i'm sitting here in my jeans and pumas. i think this place suits my personality more, whereas Target's work would suit me a lot more. right now our clients are Applebees and Jack Daniels, ConAgra foods. i would have loved to have clients like the Target House.

ah, well. that's the Target story.
heartbreak on valentine's day, it's so poetic.



last weekend was awesome.
visiting my sisters is always magnificent because they are so beautiful and sparkling and their friends are so nice and hug a lot and buy me drinks and talk to me about marketing. seriously, like three in-depth conversations this weekend about the finer points of target marketing. while drinking. and during the day saturday, our family celebrated dad's birthday and my impending one by painting a serving dish at one of those places where you glaze it and they fire the clay in their kiln. it was awesome.

but on to today. this week... i got to work early again today, half the office is out of the office dealing with unrelated matters (off-site meeting, death in the family, just plain sick, etc). and i'm leaving IN ONE HOUR for the interview that might change a lot of things. very, very scared. my eye started twitching today. i just need to think of this like i think of other interviews, like deal with it as though i'm just going in to chat, imagine that there are no reprecussions. have no expectations and nothing will let you down. which doesn't mean i'm not hopeful, i am very hopeful and excited. but i can't psyche myself out any more today.

wow. tonight i'll be in Minneapolis.


birthday bash

to retro-post, i'm going to show a couple of highlights from the
miami univeristy weekend of birthday fun:

anne found us a dinner spot that was up on a mountain. mountains in ohio, you ask? it was awesome. it's this somewhat quaint town (i forget the name, sorry!) with a narrow roads and nice pubs. this restaurant is a former potter's factory, and the tables are situated inside what used to be the kilns used for firing the clay. so each table is in this little brick enclosure and they're all painted in bright colors and have their own acoustic quirks – like the one we were in sounded like everyone was wearing microphones when you stand in the doorway.
AND they served water in mason jars. that's a cool point right there.

after dinner we bummed around, freshened up, and met up with a bunch of my sisters' friends at a bar where a sweet college cover band happened to be playing obscure grunge songs that were my favorites in early high school. like Toadies "Possum Kingdom". i was under the impression that i'm the only person who remembers that one. and THEN THEY SANG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dad and i, which was hilarious.

so it was the usual fare, dinner and drinks with the family.
happy birthdays all around.



gave in to the cherry coke.
it's fantastic.

i scheduled a nap:
five hour drive to ohio has room for at least one nap.



my world is self-destructing

for the past three days:
get up at 5am
leave for work at 5:40am
get to desk at 6:45am
status meeting at 9:15am
lunch around 11am
meetings from 1-4pm
home around 8pm
phone calls 8-9:30pm
bed 9:30pm.
rinse, repeat.

today's mayhem is sponsored by Starbucks Iced Green Tea. It's the only thing keeping me fresh right now. i found out yesterday that the vending machine in the office kitchen i've never seen before carries CHERRY COKE (awesome), but the last thing i need today is a sugar bomb. i have the butterball site to map out, i'm momentarily procrastinating by blogging about it, and if i ingest any refined sugar i'll need a nap. and that's just not in the schedule.

also keeping me fresh: upcoming trips. and lots of 'em.
2/3 - 2/5 ... miami of ohio
2/6 - 2/7 ... MINNEAPOLIS
2/10 - 2/12 ... san diego!
2/16 ... my 25th birthday. that's a trip, believe me.
2/18 - 2/19 ... mandy's bachlorette party (downtown)
pictures of everything to come...