Thursday, January 31, 2008


My French Bulldog photo is now on display at somewhere other than my apartment. At lunch I walked up to the Baguette Box in Capitol Hill -- I recommend their roasted pork loin with apricot aioli baguette AND truffle fries -- ordered lunch, and asked if I could put out my photo in its frame. They said, sure.

Baguette Box has lots of dog photos on display, of all skill levels, so I figured they wouldn't turn me down. As such, it wasn't so much about displaying the photo, rather, I wanted to get in the practice of asking.

So there you go. If you want to see my work in person, it's on display at 1203 Pine Street for a limited time. And don't forget to pick yourself up some truffle fries while you're there. Possibly the best fries ever.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's Official!

I received my UBI number in the mail. I am officially registered to operate a business in Washington state!

I will now celebrate this auspicious occasion by immediately going to sleep. Because that's how I roll, daddy-o.

The Papercuts

The theme of the day is papercuts. I don't remember how I got the first one, but the second was from dusting a piece of glass for a photo frame.

A couple of blocks from work is a restaurant that used to (and I'm gambling still does) accept dog photos for display. I was dusting the glass from a spare frame so I could put together this photo of Jolie, a French Bulldog, to donate:

I also received a new shipment of test photos from the printer tonight and I think I've got my sizes down now. To carry out the actual test, I matted my Yosemite Tunnel View photo:

8x10 print in 11x14 white ragmat, Yosemite National Park, Tunnel View

It worked great. Then I realized I hadn't used my snow white blank cards yet, so I made this one:

I wish I had more supplies on hand so I could really tackle matting prints properly. But first I need to get paid again, so I can afford all my shiny, pretty things.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Crazy-Obsessive-Booth Lady

Today I learned that "QuickBooks Simple Start 2008" has a free version. I just downloaded it and I'm playing. If it works well enough, I've just saved $100. And that's a lot of mats.

I am torn between canopies, still. Do I buy the really expensive one? Or the semi-expensive one? I am leaning towards really and not semi, and my logic is this: festivals are competitive, I have to present myself in the most professional way possible, and is it too much to ask for a double-wide skylight? And maybe a wind vent?

Bah. Although I have become the crazy-obsessive-booth lady, I am of the firm opinion that this photo sale stuff is actually keeping me sane. I feel like I have a purpose and I can see results, which is more gratifying than... uh... a kick in the face.

Wow. A kick in the face.

Yesterday I did indeed spend the day with my husband. We watched television and I was obsessive about photos and then I cooked pork chops and we drank wine, which was all very nice, though the pork chops could've been better.

My next project I think will be to start writing short descriptions for each photo I plan to sell, so I can create its Certificate of Authenticity. I may even use mail merge! Stand back, world, I've got acid-free lignin-free stationery and a dream!

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Am Away

I am taking the day off. This was a last minute decision arrived at while waiting for my bus on the ice crystals for a half hour (okay, 20 minutes), which has been happening with increasing frequency, so I'm taking it as a sign to spend time with my husband before I don't get to see him again for another week.

And maybe I can lower my heartbeat at rest if I take it easy today. It was around 80 beats per minute last night and that's getting a little high for comfort. Stupid thyroid.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Deep in Details

I ordered more prints to evaluate my printer's metallic paper option. I put together a spreadsheet that breaks down how much it costs me to produce each item, how much sales tax will cost me if I include it in the price, and my potential "profit."

I put profit in quotes because it will be awhile before I break even, let alone make a profit. Luckily, I still have a few weeks to spread the costs out over, before all the applications are due and I need everything ready.

Did you know booth application fees run anywhere from $200 to $1000?

The spreadsheet was kind of fun. I figured out a formula to work backwards from the price I want to charge and determine how much I would have to pay the government in taxes out of that amount. Probably pretty simple if you know Excel, but I am only passable in it, so it felt like an accomplishment.

Today I plan to drag Jer to Costco, Walmart, and maybe Target. I've framed it in a different way however. "Hey, Jer," I say, "How'd you like to go to Fry's?" And then I mumble, "and Costco and Walmart and Target and maybe Ikea..." At least that's how I hope it will go when he finally wakes up.

I also upgraded my photostore to the most recent version. It was nice because the upgrades were free, but it ended up being seven or eight different zip files I had to upload and apply individually to the server. What a pain. I think it overwrote some of my customizations so I have to dig in again and fix it. Also, I have an ugly logo and I need to fix that too...

As you may be able to infer, I did not get off the computer when I said I would and watch Torchwood last night. I sat here for another two hours and did stuff. I'm glad I haven't installed Visio on my computer yet or I would be creating a 10'x10' block to identify table sizes to maximize booth space.

Tell me straight, Internet. Did you have ANY idea how obsessive I can be?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Step Right Up and View the Prototype

To sum up my day: About 2pm, Jer shakes his head and says, "I can't think about canopies anymore." Which is to say, I did more research today. And I made these prototype note cards:

Balboa Park Rose Garden, 4x6 print on 80 lb recycled cover stock, natural, 5x7 (includes envelope and plastic sleeve)

Memorial Candles, 4x6 print on 80 lb recycled cover stock, natural, 5x7 (includes envelope and plastic sleeve)

I'm pleased with how they're coming along. I just ordered a custom stamp so I can mark the back with my copyright info. I also wandered around Staples this morning and found some cheap business card holders and a heavily discounted stack of Sales receipts with carbon copies. Then I priced canopies for awhile, which is where Jer's quote comes into play. And then I wrote down a list of local festivals and their application due dates.

I'm in the mood to rewatch season 1 of Torchwood, so I think I'll do that and stop running numbers in my head. Though next on the agenda I need to research making a Certificate of Authenticity to include with each print... and price cash boxes... and research folding tables... and consider buying QuickBooks... and consider sending in another print order to test their metallic paper option.

With luck I won't wake myself up at 5am thinking about all this stuff again. Time for Torchwood!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Photos for Fun and Profit

I'm spending Friday night at the kitchen table, where we never eat. My polybags are piled high beside my mountboards and sample mats. I have linen hinge tape, a pair of scissors, a pair of gloves, a pile of prints, and plastic corners. Here is what I made:

Sunset at Discovery Park, January 2008 (5x7 print in 8x10 white ragmat)

Salmon at Ballard Locks, Fall 2007 (4x6 print in 8x10 white ragmat)

Sunrise at Poipu Beach, Kauai, September 2005 (8x10 print in 11x14 white ragmat)

Pretty good for a first crack. I'm not 100% sold on the corner mount things since they take so much time and are too easy to see. I either need to reprint the photos with margins or go another route.

Also I'm noticing the photo of the matted salmon print is showing up yellowish in blogger, but I'm not going to fix it. Just imagine it is less yellow please.

All three of these prints are on sale at On Focus Photo, but I haven't offered mats yet. I'm still in testing mode.

Have a great weekend.

Revisiting the subject of Icy Hot

The background: On Wednesday, I decimate my leg muscles while exercising with the personal trainer.

The result: A mad stumble around my apartment at 2am in search of Motrin and Icy Hot.

The surprise: Vash, weirdest cat of my acquaintance, is deeply affected by the smell of Icy Hot. For the next hour, he claws and nips at the duvet cover to get at my legs. I push him to the floor. He jumps back up and nuzzles my knee. Sleep, tinged with the menthol smell of Icy Hot, happens eventually.

Obvious conclusion: The main ingredient in Icy Hot is catnip. Gentlemen, start your rumors.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm a Real Boy!

Ack. The government knows I exist!

I just applied for my first business license.

If all goes according to plan I will be legally allowed to operate in the state of Washington, and two cities in particular. Here we gooooo....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sandcastles at High Tide

I received the first batch of test prints from the printer I'm evaluating and they look fantastic. Sharp and vivid color, couldn't ask for more. I expect to receive the mats, mountboard, photo corners, and hinge tape in a day or two so I can put it all together and see the final product. (I went with all conservation/archival quality materials.) I also ordered some blank note cards and plastic sleeves so I'm excited to see how that turns out.

Business cards should be here any day now. Guess I'll have to actually apply to another festival to make this worthwhile!

I'm watching the Biggest Loser again. This season is more about mind games than I remember previous seasons. I'm not sure I like it as much.

I've got a bunch of people shaped holes in my heart right now, which are slowly filling up again. I am trying to notice details more and myself less. Went to the grocery store and picked out some pork chops. I've never cooked pork chops before, but I've eaten them. I think that qualifies me to try.

My sister is in Morocco. I hope she doesn't mind; I will share part of an email she sent:

visiting the atlas mountains tomorrow and the coast next week. already been to casablanca. already bartered for bowls made of camel bone dyed with saffron and rimmed in silver, copper and brass. very fun.

Best words I've read all day.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Conversation at 1 AM

On Friday night, I notice Jer is home a little before 1 AM, which is when he usually gets off work.

Me: It's not even one yet. Did you leave early?
Jer: Nope. I found a faster form of travel.
Me: ...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

two-thirds rant, one-third why

A couple of people I encounter on a daily basis have started lamenting, frequently, that we're in a recession/depression. They actually interchange the words, and at least one is a reasonably well informed, educated person.

I just don't see it yet. Yes, the stock market isn't doing well, but that's a lot of psychology there. Home prices are finally correcting after reaching insane levels. But everyone I know who wants to work has a job. It's true, people who bought what they couldn't afford are suffering the consequences -- no judgment there, just fact. It's sad but not unexpected.

And using the word depression for what's happening now, seems like a tremendous insult. I've heard my grandmother's stories, and my life is way better than what she and her family experienced during that time.

Maybe I have been insulated from the economic fallout?

Beyond the bandying about of these terms, these people also use them as an excuse not to do anything to change their current situations. Why change jobs and be the first on the chopping block somewhere else? Why push the envelope and risk a stable situation now even if unhappy?

The way I see it, there will always be something. Some reason not to do what you are afraid to do. You just have to be smart and prepare for the worst. If the worst is losing your job and not having savings, then cut back and save, learn to cook, and be patient. And stop being melodramatic while you still have a job and your health.

At least this is what I wish I could say, but instead I nod and switch topics because it's easier to change the subject than to change their minds.

Friday, January 18, 2008


In the end I was not offered the thing I was semi-worrying about and that was making me not-think. But I'm not as broken up about it as I thought I'd be since it would require a lot more work and stress and maybe I can put that off a little while longer now. I am only a little sad for the sake of another rejection, since it's been a long string of varying kinds of professional rejection over the last couple of years. So with the exception of a slight sting to the ego, I'm right as rain.

At lunch I worked out hard on the Stairmaster and stationary bike for 45 minutes and then went and bought a Baja Bowl at Taco del Mar. (where del stands for delicious, no joke) And because of the ego thing, I threw in an Oreo Brownie just for the heck of it. Soon I'll probably finish off my Diet Dr. Pepper and let the sugar and caffeine see me through the afternoon.

Window washers are outside my window. Eerie to see people hanging by ropes on the 16th floor.

At least I don't have that job.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cooking Like a Bachelor 101

I bet my dinner was weirder than your dinner. I ate a tuna melt and a bowl of baked beans. Can you top it?

I've been indulging in the time honored art of not-thinking. Not thinking about work. Not thinking about photos. Come home, turn on reruns of "The Biggest Loser," and sleep.

I sort of went and did a thing this week and then was interviewed and now I'm waiting to hear the outcome. This is mostly why I'm not thinking. Because I worry when I think and it's easier not to think than to not sleep because I run all the worst-possible-case scenarios through my head and conveniently forget about the good stuff. You dig?

Change is scary. Even when it could be good change. That's the crux. I like my moorings firmly anchored, thank you very much. Except when I don't.

Maybe I will eat a pudding cup while I wait for my gym clothes to launder. Seems like a fine addition to the weirdest dinner ever triumvirate.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Adventures in Seattle

Today was clear and sunny, so Jer and I made a trip out to Greenlake -- along with everybody else apparently. Unlike everybody else however, it was our first time. We wandered around and I took some mediocre pictures and we went to Peet's for a latte and mocha. We also watched a man feed the ducks and pigeons.

Foot traffic at Greenlake

One thing I noticed about the people at Greenlake, is that they are not very good at observing the "stay to the right" rule. People walked all willy-nilly with their dogs and their strollers. It was too much chaos for me.

Due to a slight miscalculation, next we drove to Discovery Park. It was also our first time there and it was beautiful. We arrived an hour before sunset and hiked down close to the lighthouse and back. Jer spotted an eagle in the trees and I took more photos.

Bluffs at Discovery Park in Magnolia

After Discovery Park, we went to Kerry Park, which is where I actually wanted to go. We arrived shortly after sunset and it was also beautiful (this town is damned photogenic). Here is a sneak peek of what we saw:

Seattle skyline from Kerry Park

Do me a favor and pretend to be surprised when this photo appears later on On Focus Photo.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Feminism versus Efficiency

Under a gray sky and in between light showers, I walked to the corner of 9th and Lenora from 5th and Pike, entered a nondescript brown building, and took a number. Twenty minutes later my social security information was updated with my new name.

From there I walked to 2nd and Spring, the location of the Department of Licensing. Roughly 20 minutes later I walked out with a paper copy of my new license. The man helping me was very friendly with a dry sense of humor, and instructed me on how to stick my chin out for a more flattering photo. For the record he knew of which he spoke.

From the DOL I walked to my bank at the corner of 4th and Pike and opened a new account, because my old account was based out of California and there are problems updating accounts between states.

There are many more agencies I need to contact, but now I've done the big ones and I have my base set of documents in order. I have a new last and middle name and briefly considered changing my first name as well. It's always slightly irked me that Christy isn't short for anything, but when all was said and done I kept it.

It is a strange thing to have a different name. To insist that people refer to me as a Mrs. or by this foreign surname when all my life I was pretty sure that would be decidedly unfeminist. And I suppose there is still some truth to that, but come on. My new name is way easier to spell.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

myspace... i surrender

I created a myspace page for On Focus Photo. You can see my hasty creation here... and if you're already a myspace enthusiast feel free to add me as a friend. I am ever so lonely.

Mostly I am searching for bands and authors I like and then inviting them to be my friend. Is that weird? Or is that normal? I promise not to believe they are actually my friends. I won't invite them to private tea parties and force finger foods down their throats. I won't accost them on the street and ask them if my pants make me look fat. Or cripple them and keep them locked in my barn. No, sir. I know they are just using me for free advertising.

The only problem I've run into so far is that the name of my business has a Javascript term contained within it, and Javascript is filtered automatically by their WYSIWYG editor. So I can never post a direct link to my site, as far as I can tell. This sort of defeats the purpose of myspace for me, but I will hang in there and see what happens. I am feeling loose, limber, and ready to hang for an extended period. Sock it to me, myspace.

I have a tentative plan to change my name tomorrow, which should probably be acknowledged for posterity. I expect long waits, tedious paperwork, and some quality time spent in various governmental agencies.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Uppers and Downers

My best work friend and fellow West Seattleite has taken another job. The loss is a big one as she's been with the company five years and knows all sorts of things that other people only pretend to know. I'm extremely happy for her, but sad for myself that I can no longer make faces at her from across the hall.

The new year has not been particularly kind, what with late or nonexistent buses and surprise office moves, but hopefully it will turn around soon. I feel more positive today than I've felt in weeks. But that might just be all the caffeine talking.

In my downtime I come up with the most outrageous life choices possible and then fill in the blanks.

In short, I subscribe to the life philosophy of Mad-Libs. Adverb that.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ta Da

This afternoon I applied to be a craft vendor at a local festival and sell my photos. The judging process takes place in a couple of weeks, so I guess I'll find out in a month if I need to invest in a lot of inventory or not.

The whole process is new to me and I'm afraid I sound amateurish. But I did it. And that's my small triumph for the weekend.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The latest batch of images I submitted to the stock photography site were accepted. Now to keyword them. So that's good news.

Jer is hoping to switch his night shifts to Monday-Friday from Tuesday-Saturday, which means we'd see each other all weekend. So that's good news.

Across the bay, windows in the Wamu building are lit up in the form of the number 12. Wamu wants you to know it supports the Seahawks.

When I'm not nursing a vague, angsty sensation in the pit of my stomach, I'm thinking about words and sentences, Francine Prose and Robert McKee. I'm idly thumbing through a Documounts catalog for pricing on clear plastic bags, periodically pausing Suze Orman to get my thoughts together. Writing sentence fragments on my blog.

Normally when I write something twice, such as "So that's good news," I'm setting you up for a third iteration. But I just can't think of anything else. Tangentially, I am craving sugar and chocolate like crazy. It's probably a good thing I don't have the car tonight or I'd be on my way to Taco Bell and Krispy Kreme post-haste.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I spent the evening researching different photo printing options for On Focus Photo and in the end, I'll probably stick with what I'm doing now. I considered drop shipping my prints, but I think that would relinquish too much control over the final product. I am still planning to add white mats as an option for purchase in the future. I already chose a vendor for that though.

If I wasn't intent on keeping my current domain there is an option where they'd handle the printing and shipping. The only problem is it strips out the "brand" -- I'd become a subsidiary of this larger service. I don't like that idea.

Work has been interesting lately. I'm in the process of moving to an office directly next to my current office. We're playing musical chairs...

In a sort of funk. The extra vacation days have made it difficult to get back in the 8-5 swing. Getting impatient about my progress on different personal projects. Frustrated by time. Plus my hands are cold.

What a world.