Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Last Post Explained

The coupon I misread (mentioned in the last entry) was for Borders and the fine print was in regards to David Sedaris's new book "When You Are Engulfed in Flames."

Mystery solved.

So I received three packages today. More 13x19 prints (they look fantastic, if I say so myself), a book on Art Shows (much of it already rings true after just 1 show), and my new credit card imprinter (wallet-sized). Everyday is like Christmas over here.

New folding chairs are also on their way, more large mats, a new bookmark style, and probably something else. I forget. Oh yes, new print racks, but I may have mentioned them. Which reminds me, I need to sell what I was using before.

No plans as yet for the weekend, but I'm guessing note cards will be involved since the 4x6 prints arrived.

Just a reminder: I'll be sending out occasional discounts to subscribers of the On Focus Photo mailing list, along with upcoming event info. If you want to be included, the sign-up page is here:

What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Today on Adventures with Christy, I misread fine print on a coupon. See if you can spot my mistake:
25% Off the List Price of One Item...
40% Off the List Price when you are engulfed in flames

Now I don't know about you, but that's just too big a price to pay for only 40% off. I am however willing to entertain counter offers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

MSN: If you've got something to say, say it

The context-targeted ad at the bottom of my instant messenger window pleads: "Baby on board? Get must-know pregnancy info." A few days prior it expressed concern over my sexual health.

Anybody know where I can find an "Establish Boundaries" option or a "WTF" check box? It seems to be missing from my preferences panel.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Christy's Rule #2

Lately I've been trying to go with my gut more; turns out hunger isn't a good motivator.

Christy's Rule #1

The number of jobs a person can perform in a day is directly proportional to the cups of coffee she can consume in a 24-hour period.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Two Windows and a Password Away

I finally updated my list of links under "blogs i read." It isn't an exhaustive list, but it's better you believe I only read that many instead of the hundreds I actually do. I couldn't decide (still) whether to post Lily's blog, but I have to ask her first and I'm lazy. So, Lily, if you read this one, let me know? E-mail is like, two windows and a password away.

No leaving of the house occurred yesterday. I worked on the photo store and got my photo blog posts together. Here is today's picture:

I took that at the Japanese Garden I mentioned in yesterday's entry. The water photographed with a polarizer as murky green, but a little "Auto Contrast" in PhotoShop helped turn it black. Plus some liberal application of the paintbrush to cover up the detritus in the water, and a wee color boost, and there you are. Took awhile, but I'm happy with the outcome.

The rest of the afternoon was spent updating the store. I replaced the color scheme, created a new logo, and added sub-categories to the picture list. w00t. Later, I ordered some note card prints (and about 5 new 13x19 prints) for the Fremont Fair and bought 2 canvas print racks to replace what I used to display matted prints at the last show.

Is it correct to say "Happy" Memorial Day? I've said it a couple of times and it sounds wrong, like it doesn't imbue the right amount of reverence. But it sounds even worse to say Sad Memorial Day. Or Enjoy Memorial Day. I will have to trust you understand I don't mean: enjoy the fact all those men and women died in military service. No, I don't mean that at all. Have a good 3-day weekend or enjoy your day off, is what I mean.

On the Internet, you can never be too clear.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Snoqualmie Falls and the Japanese Garden

Friday night Jer picked me up after work and we drove to Snoqualmie Falls. The only other times we've been were later in the year, when the falls were much gentler. This was a crush of water, spray redirecting upwards, blanketing the observation deck in thick mist.

I alternately whipped out my camera and a small rag to remove the droplets from the lens. It was a losing battle. The mist came in waves, and with each fresh blast I turned and huddled protectively over my camera, then spun around and snapped in the half second before I was drenched again. Jer said it looked like I was shooting a model. "Show me sexy!"

We relocated down the fence a bit, where the spray was less fierce. One or more of those pictures will be on the photoblog in the coming days.

On Saturday we used two free movie tickets to see "Iron Man." I'd received the tickets in March from Safeway for purchasing frozen food, I think. I don't really understand the promotion but I'll take the tickets, by gum.

It was one of the more (maybe most) entertaining superhero films I've seen. Robert Downey, Jr. made the role.

We ate lunch at the Mongolian Grill and then drove out to the Japanese Garden at the Arboretum, over by the University. It was our first visit. Admission to the gardens is $5 per person, and it is a lovely, relaxed, quiet space, beautifully landscaped. Most of it is shaded, perfect for the 80 degree day we had yesterday. I took some pictures and Jer wandered around. It's not a big place. Quite a few other visitors, sitting on the benches, enjoying the strong floral smells, the sounds of trickling water, and large ponds with koi and turtles.

Other movies we watched this weekend were "Elizabeth 2: The Golden Age," and "Rent." Although I was pre-disposed to want to love each of them, neither really did it for me. Cate Blanchett was fantastic with what she was given, and she alone made "Elizabeth" worth watching. "Rent"... well, I disliked one of the actor choices. And -- this is a problem peculiar to myself -- all of the speaking when they should have been singing grated on me. I think I'm still too close to the songs to be objective about the movie.

Also, I'm getting older and I have way less sympathy for a band of struggling artists who refuse to pay rent. I wondered why they all just didn't get jobs. Why did they expect to live in their apartment for free just because their old roommate married the landlord's daughter? What gives them the right to be so entitled? And when their friend Benny does try to help them, they get all uppity about compromise and settling and embarrass him in front of his investors.

I have a complicated relationship with the plot of "Rent." Let's leave it at that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What it would look like to put a door on a B&W pumpkin

This is cheating because it's my photoblog picture for tomorrow, but I just made it and I love it beyond reason:

The subject is a door in the Seattle Underground. A fisheye lens caused the distortion and then I edited it in Photoshop to turn it black and white. I would like to thank Dar Williams' "My Better Self" album and my recently consumed White Russian for providing the night's enthusiasm.

The Other Side of Normal

I'm just starting to feel normal again after last weekend. The fair was awesome, but I was so focused on getting ready that I didn't allow myself to relax much in the weeks leading up to it.

Even my dreams were about linen hinge tape.

So here we are, assisted by a tab of Claritin, the next festival a month away. I need to re-focus on my health -- cut out some of the caffeine and work out more than twice a week. Maybe eat a vegetable? And I need to find an accountant. I wonder if anyone else has that as their to-do list?

I submitted 30 more pictures to Alamylast night, after a several month hiatus. I've decided to categorize more of my pictures as royalty-free and see if that makes a difference. There's so much competition out there it seems like the only viable strategy is to have a lot of solid images and practically give them away. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I also need to go out and shoot some more; it's been a whole month since the tulip festival. I'd like to go out to Snoqualmie Falls or experiment with a food shoot. I have a small setup with diffusion panels and a couple of lights that would work well on the kitchen table.

As an aside, I thought it was interesting how many people asked at the fair if photography was my full-time job. For the record, I would live on the street and probably starve if that were the case. I do it because I love it and maybe because I'm obsessive. Two-thirds love, one-third mental illness... Now you know my terrible secret.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Last Commercial

I set up an e-mail list for On Focus Photo tonight. Subscribers will receive event news and special offers throughout the year. The subscription page is here:

I've also decided that, for now, I will concentrate on selling prints through the Web site that are not matted. This has two benefits. First, I can cut the price of each print by almost forty percent. Second, I can have the prints shipped directly from the lab so the customer receives the print faster and it's packaged in the most professional way possible. The lab I go through is awesome and I have full confidence that they will do a superb job.

And that's the news today.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How It Went

The University District Street Fair was a great experience. I posted a photo of my booth on the On Focus Photo Blog, if you'd like to see it.

As I wrote over there, I met a lot of people, learned some things, and got to spend some quality time with Jer. All in all, I'd say it went well. And I have some ideas for my booth that will make the next show even better.

For one, next time bring more water. Also, food. Saturday was tough. It was hot with no breeze and by the end of the day I was dehydrated, but I don't think it was outwardly noticeable to anybody else -- except Jer. Not a great recipe for driving home. It ended okay though. I made an awesome tuna sandwich with dill relish and swiss cheese, drank about five pints of water, and went to sleep. Glamorous!

Sunday morning I made a quick detour to a convenience store and bought a few bottles of water and a pack of travel wipes. Travel wipes were also an important lesson. I also opted for a skirt and sandals instead of jeans and closed-toed shoes. As a result, Sunday was much more comfortable.

We also managed to pack nearly everything in my wee car, with the exception of the wire card rack and a wooden print rack.

I started this entry about 2 hours ago and I got sucked into television. I can't figure out how to make "House" record, I've apparently exceeded my limit and MythTv is punishing me. So now I must watch.

As we were packing the car, a guy stopped me and showed some interest in the large matted prints. I showed him the bookmarks and he bought 3. That was neat. And then one of Jer's coworkers showed up with a whole crowd and they bought 9 bookmarks. That was neat too.

We got home about 8:30pm, unloaded the car, I settled out all the transactions, posted the photoblog entry and fell asleep. And that's my small business tale. I didn't even get the pleasure of framing my first dollar. It was a credit card transaction.

Maybe I will frame the merchant copy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

University Street Fair (Last Day Tomorrow)

It was a good day. A long day.

I have a picture of my booth on my camera, but it is far far away or I would surely share. I had a fair (heh) amount of visitors, sold some things, and Jer was extremely helpful. A couple of friends stopped by to say hi, which was awesome. It was a hot and crowded day.

Tomorrow it happens again, if you missed it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Please come see me tomorrow at the Univ. Street Fair

Tomorrow is the big day! My first festival!

I'm a little worried about Jer. He's decided not to sleep again until tonight so he can be ready to leave at 5:30am tomorrow. That means he got home from the late shift at 2am and stayed awake, and plans to stay in that state through this evening. When I left this morning he was drinking coffee.

I'm excited and a little nervous, but I've done everything I can think of to get ready. It will be a huge learning opportunity and I just want to have as much fun with it as I can.

Last night I made table signs with the prices listed, I added product info sheets to my nine 18x24 mats (13x19 prints inside). I packed a bin full of 8x10 prints in 11x14 mats and 5x7 prints in 8x10 mats. Still need to pack the 4x6 prints in 8x10 mats and note cards. Bookmarks can stay in their cardboard box.

I did not unpack the awning or organize my canopy stuff. It's pretty well organized anyway. I called American Express this morning for some merchant info and yesterday I got the "bank" to make change with -- in the event that cash is still king.

I bought a small hobby kit from Walgreens that included pliers and a couple of screwdrivers. I bought heavy duty paper clips and duct tape. I grouped more stuff together, including my table cloths and print bins. I still only have 1 chair, so Jer and I will have to take turns sitting. I plan to stand most of the time anyway. He will probably be exhausted.

I don't know if I've done enough, but I feel as if I've done as well as I could under the circumstances.

Show Reminder:

SHOW: University District StreetFair

WHAT/WHY: Visit my booth "On Focus Photo" where I'll be selling matted prints, bookmarks, and note cards

WHEN: Saturday, May 17 (10am to 7pm) and Sunday, May 18 (10am to 6pm)

WHERE: Located in the heart of the University District on University Way NE; Seattle, WA


Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Free" Chicken Sandwich

You're probably already aware of it, but today is "free" southern-style chicken sandwich day at McDonald's. To receive your sandwich you have to purchase a medium or large drink.

The special goes until 7pm this evening, Thursday, May 15.

I just had one and it was okay. Its claim to fame is that it has pickles on it. I am a pickle fan from way back, so they've already bought my love with pickles. My chicken was served very hot, the patty was a little bit crispy, and the meat was identifiable as chicken. Not too bad for McDonald's, though if I'm going to splurge on calories, I will probably stick to breakfast, Big Macs, and cheeseburgers.

I'm just an old-fashioned gal at heart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wicked Gym Deal

My gym just had this weird (but wonderful) sale: Pre-pay 12 months, get 12 months free, along with 5 free hours of personal training. Since I usually buy training anyway, and my current membership expires in November, my ears perked up.

My monthly fee is $29.99. If I pre-pay 12 months and include all the taxes, that's about $392. Five hours of training costs anywhere from $47/hour to $70/hour. Let's say it's $47. That's about a $260 value, including tax. I would've bought the hours anyway -- it's my big monthly luxury expense -- so it's really a pure discount on my dues.

$392 - $260 is $132. That's $132 for 2 years of gym membership, or about $5.50 per month. For the last couple of years, at a minimum, I've been going twice a week or 8 times per month. (There were a rocky couple of months in there, but I always ended up back on track.)

If I maintain a twice per week schedule, each gym visit will cost $0.69 until November 2010.

I run the risk of having the gym close down, which is possible; it's happened before. But for that price I am willing to risk it.

I always hear people say you should give up your monthly gym membership to cut costs, but damn. $5-6 per month to workout? At a decent place downtown with subsidized parking? And TVs and DVD players on the cardio machines? I'm sold.

How Not to Succeed in Business

I'm crammed in the elevator with about 6 people, holding a Starbucks cup, standing next to a person of high distinction in the company -- like, the highest possible distinction. He jokingly turns to me and says, "Is that my latte?"

"Uh, no." I say, "It's dirty coffee."


"Black." I mutter. "Black."

I have NEVER in my life called coffee dirty. Way to start the day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Odd Dreams

I've been having these odd, vivid dreams that leave my brain stuck between floors. This morning there were a couple. In one, Jer and I were looking for a place to live and we were interviewing our potential roommates. There was a chance we'd have this room the size of a football field, with actual grass underfoot, and a frosted plastic ceiling. So much light. Like camping in your bedroom.

I remember standing in the kitchen and wondering where my stuff would go. They said something like, we don't really need anything. So I started worrying if I could put all my stuff in storage and if I could deal with that. I followed the girl around, whose room we might have, and helped her dice the vegetables for dinner. The floor plan was open, like part of a large hotel, people wandering between rooms and halls, out to courtyards.

I often have dreams of a community-type-hotel plan. Everything indoors and convenient. Just take the escalator to the mall level.

If the rooms were sound-proofed, I wouldn't mind living there now.

Yesterday's dream was about my Dad. One of his friends was trying to cheat him out of a coin. It was very odd. Very real. I knew the friend from years ago. As with most of my "home" dreams, they always take place in the house I grew up. I haven't been inside in 16 years.

Since I wake in the middle of these dreams, I never completely surface. I'm just stuck.

I had some bad news about a juried contest I entered -- neither of my prints were accepted. But, you know, I've had lots of luck lately and I'm sure the competition was pretty fierce, so that's that. Better than cutting register tape out of a mailbox, I'll tell ya what.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mailbox 1, Me 0

I just cut a package out of the mailbox. I never thought I would say that.

We have one of those sets of mailboxes where the whole front comes off and the mailman stuffs envelopes (and the occasional package) in it. Apparently when it's closed again, packages that just barely fit in the slot don't necessarily come out again. When that happens, it sucks. Let me tell you.

Rather than leave a note for the mailman, I decided to cut the package out. Because I'm impatient. Plus I knew the box contained many rolls of thermal paper for my credit card machine. And I wanted it.

Aaaaaand I'm only bleeding a little bit as a result. I guess we'll call this one a victory!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Malicious Scripts, Oh My

Every Sunday morning I pre-post the photoblog photos for the week, however, this morning there was a hitch.

Someone uploaded some nasty files to a particularly unguarded folder, which I think I caught in time, and so I've been dealing with changing passwords/permissions and upgrading and all sorts of fun. If you've noticed some downtime on the photostore or blog, this is why.

I apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced, and we should be back to normal now.

This has been a disappointment of sand.

"I would like to return this bag of sand. It did not meet or exceed my expectations."

The above quote comes out of Jer and me brainstorming our (imaginary) reasons for returning a 50 pound bag of sand to Home Depot. The sand was fine actually, if a little damp and clumpy. Turns out we only needed 100 pounds to fill the weight bags and not 150 like we'd purchased so we returned it, but the real reason sounded way too boring.

At Home Depot I also bought some wooden shims, "S" hooks, an inexpensive plastic toolbox, a couple of Velcro straps, cable ties, and... scene. Then we went to Taco Bell, followed by OfficeMax where I bought the rest of the items on my booth list. Things like: sign paper, a small calculator with a Tax key, an accounting ledger, pens, a plastic container to hold the 11x14 mats, a small clipboard -- you know, really fun, really exciting stuff.

After this part in the story, we veer off course in the telling, and Jer and I filled bags full of sand on our balcony for days. Then we returned the extra bag, ate delicious Greek food for dinner, stopped briefly at the Thriftway (nicest grocery store ever), and came home. Jer made more bookmarks (we appear to have infinite bookmarks), and I matted prints until after midnight.

Then, inexplicably, I decided to communicate all asides via parentheses until the end of time. (I learned it by watching you.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

7 Days Until My First Show!

I had high hopes for the day -- setting up my booth in the backyard for one final test -- but it's cold and gray and drizzly, and that sounds like the worst plan ever. Instead I woke up at 6am, and hopped on the computer. I sent out a few e-mails to local friends who might not read the blog or know that next week is my first festival. Then I posted a bulletin to my MySpace friends about the show schedule. (If I missed you, I might not have your e-mail address. Sorry!)

You can "friend" me here if you like and receive future bulletins: On Focus Photo on

I got home from work last night and Jer was making bookmarks. How awesome is that?

I spent the last couple of evenings framing 14 matted prints I'll be using to decorate the booth. The first night I watched a documentary on East German teenage girls being involuntarily doped for the Olympics. My nightmares were strange.

There are still some tasks I need to complete before next Saturday. I need to buy 160 pounds of sand. And some s hooks and some c clamps. Possibly a director's chair, since I only have the one. Um. And probably figure out how I'm going to transport everything I need to transport.

My brain pretty much doesn't stop spinning now. I hope I don't blue screen.

Exciting times!

Show Reminder:

SHOW: University District StreetFair

WHAT/WHY: Visit my booth "On Focus Photo" where I'll be selling matted prints, bookmarks, and note cards

WHEN: Saturday, May 17 (10am to 7pm) and Sunday, May 18 (10am to 6pm)

WHERE: Located in the heart of the University District on University Way NE; Seattle, WA


Friday, May 09, 2008

A Plan of Action for Someone Who Has No Retirement Savings

I sent this e-mail to a friend I'm trying to convince to open an IRA. He knows it's a good thing to do, but he doesn't know where to start. So I outlined one possible path for him and thought I'd reprint here for a wider audience.

Dear Friend who Doesn't Have an IRA Yet but has $1,000 to Get Started,

First, go to Vanguard:

Then open a Roth IRA (you can apply online):

More info on what a Roth IRA is:

An IRA is just a container for the money. Once your money is in there, you then select a fund to invest your money in. Most of the Vanguard funds you'd want to buy require a minimum of $3,000 -- except for the Vanguard STAR Fund (VGSTX.) VGSTX is what I recommend you buy into at the start. It requires a $1,000 minimum for your first purchase, and then additional investments have to be at least $100.

More info:

So once you have $1000 handy, go ahead and open your Vanguard Roth IRA and buy VGSTX. What's great about this, is you can set up automatic investments, so once a month you buy into the STAR fund with at least $100. The more automated you can make your purchases the more likely you will stick with it.

More info here:

I would suggest you continue buying into the STAR fund (VGSTX) until you have enough to "exchange" about $3,000 worth for another fund. You should do some research on index funds so that you're comfortable knowing what they are, but basically Vanguard has the lowest expense ratios (fees) for index funds and offers highly respected choices.

Vanguard funds I invest in:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares (VTSMX)
  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX)
  • Vanguard 500 Index Fund Investor Shares (VFINX)
  • Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares (VGSIX)
If I were you, my strategy would be to buy into the Vanguard STAR Fund (VGSTX) at regular intervals until you have at least $4,000. Then use the Vanguard tools to exchange shares for one of the index funds I mentioned. I would start with the total stock market index fund (VTSMX), the first one in the list. Then I would buy the total international stock index fund (VGTSX), the next one on the list. The important thing is that you buy a few different funds to cover all your bases. That's diversification in a nutshell. It will take awhile to get enough money to buy into these funds, but you have to start somewhere.

How much does it cost?
$20 per year for EACH Vanguard fund account with a balance under $10,000. This fee does not apply if you sign up for account access on and choose electronic delivery of statements, confirmations, fund reports, and prospectuses.

How do I get money into my Roth IRA?
You can do an electronic bank transfer by providing your checking account number and routing number. Or you can mail a check.

Long-term strategy:
I would pick some or all of the index funds from the list I made above and decide how I wanted to split up all of the money in the long-term and work towards that. There are usually transaction fees to sell or buy into funds, but one of the great things about going through Vanguard for Vanguard funds, most of those fees are waived. So to recap, my suggestion for you is:

  1. Take your $1,000 and open a Roth IRA and buy into the STAR fund (VGSTX).
  2. Make automatic monthly investments of at least $100 until you reach $4000.
  3. Exchange about $3,000 worth of the VGSTX funds and buy into the total stock market index (VTSMX).
  4. Then start saving in the STAR fund again until you have another $4000, at which point you exchange $3,000 worth of the STAR fund and buy VGTSX.
That should keep you busy for awhile.

I have to add a disclaimer. I'm not a financial professional. These are just some things that have worked for me, but you should really do your own research and make your own decisions. The important thing is that you start saving for retirement as soon as possible -- even if you can't save much. $100 a month would be a great start. After awhile, you can gradually increase the amount.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fun with Credit

I decided today was the day. Today I would learn how to use my wireless credit card terminal. I arose at 5:30am, bleary-eyed and zombie-like, hair in disarray, stumbling over cats -- so a typical morning. I fed the felines and showered -- forgot my towel which is always a comedy of cold -- and managed to dress myself in clothes that mostly match. Then I sat on the couch with my precious machine, and dialed the training line. At 6:30am.

For the next 40 minutes, I went through all of its functions I could remember to ask about. I re-learned how to make a sale, void a transaction, refund, print batch reports, force a transaction, and settle.

Just like riding a bicycle. If the bicycle was made out of paperwork.

Then I realized I never received my welcome kit from the other processor so I don't have the right support numbers. Not a big deal. I remembered to call them and request another kit, which they offered to overnight. Sort of a pain since most of their IVR paths were designed never to connect you with a human, but I persevered and the human I reached was very helpful. All this while I ate my reward breakfast at McDonald's, after a pleasant water taxi trip across the bay.

There's no real reason I kept putting this off. Mostly I just didn't want to wake up earlier than normal, but I'm glad it's done. I will be able to accept credit and debit cards in a week and a half, and that is super dandy.

In other news, I sure do hope this McDonald's coffee kicks in soon.

And here is your first invitation: Please come see me on Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18 in my On Focus Photo booth at the University StreetFair. I will be in spot 431, which you can see here: StreetFair Map. I have a premium space near the Big Time Brewery Beer Garden, so you can come visit me AND have a beverage. Also, the elusive husband Jeremy will be in attendance, so you can put faces with names if you're into that sort of thing.

Oooh, and I will be wearing a "waist pack!" Like a fanny pack but totally for grown-up, fashion-forward individuals, who are confident in their ability to pull off the bulky look. Go me!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo! And now for the credit cards...

It's been about 4 years since I last worked in customer service, but it feels like almost yesterday. I was assistant to the manager (not assistant manager) in a small university ticket office for a year and a half. Every morning -- in the off season it wasn't as frequent -- I would count the cash from the previous day, reconcile the charges with the POS system, zip the money up in a locked bag, and walk it across campus to deposit.

Our office got very hot in summer and rather cold in winter, as it was a World War II era bungalow with no insulation. Only one window opened, but no air came through. We had fans and space heaters that didn't work but looked good. Often we would tilt back the little piece of plastic that covered the hole where you slid the tickets through the window, and *will* the air to circulate. I remember one day there was an earthquake, and the floor wobbled and the wooden blinds shook. The walls were covered in green carpet, so we could Velcro the latest show posters to the wall. It was unpredictable, but not too bad.

I spent a lot of time in that little space crammed with too many bodies, taking phone orders, taping ticket stubs to a piece of paper that inevitably disappeared into a filing cabinet, and updating 4 databases with address changes for the mailing list. It was a nice break from all that pesky computer support I'd been doing previously.

But I sure did enjoy counting their money.

I am reminded of this now because in the living room is my new credit card machine I've plugged in for the first time. It's bringing me back to batches and settlements and reconciling transactions, and it's making me a little bit nervous that this time it will all be on me. No one else to call for help. Or blame. Just me.

As a result I am reading the 65 page Merchant Processing Guide, and the machine operating guide. Once the battery is charged I will call in for training, but I have to do that at 6am some morning this week. That is unfortunate. Eastern time is unfortunate, I say.

The sun set awhile ago and I realize the brownies I ate for dinner are no longer sustaining my desire to grok merchant accounts. So off I go.

As for Cinco de Mayo, it makes me ache for really big, really good, really messy burritos wrapped tight in foil and bursting with rice, beans, cheese, carnitas or carne asada, sour cream, and hot hot salsa. And guacamole if you have it. Yes, I realize the day stands for more, but right now it just makes me miss the food.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

That's MISTER Control Freak to You

Jer's been incredibly supportive of my photography. Besides all of the trips he's accompanied me on, waiting while I take 20 shots of a flower in an acre of identical flowers, he's now pushed his way into bookmark territory.

Last night he stickered 400 bookmarks with my identifying info. Meanwhile I assembled 48 note cards and put four 13x19 prints in 18x24 mats. We worked until 1am at the kitchen table. I said, "Welcome to my Friday night for the last several months."

I really appreciate it whenever someone offers to help, but it's hard for me to accept because I know what I'm like. And that would be: a perfectionist. I don't want to unleash that side of me on another person. It wouldn't be fair. It's better if I just sit quietly and mutter to myself about the angle of a label or the quality of my archival mounting corners. Great for the customer, bad for friendships.

Of course the problem with this approach is that it means I'm a complete control freak. And when I applied for insurance last week I looked up the attendance at some of these festivals I'll be working and I had a lapse in confidence. Jer was great, as always, and got me back in reality. So this weekend is all about making product. If I have too much then I can use it at another festival. If I don't have enough, well, lesson learned for the next festival. It's my first time. I'm allowed to make some mistakes.

In the good timing department, I received another shipment of prints yesterday, so "making product" is my weekend in a nutshell. Once the hashbrowns defrost, I'll cook some potatoes and eggs and pour myself a big mug of coffee. I've got "Constantine" playing in the background -- been on our fake TiVo (MythTV) for a month or two and it seems like a great Saturday morning flick -- and that'll be that.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Rebate Time

My government rebate was deposited into my account. I'm going to blow it on liability insurance and picture frames!

What are you going to do with your rebate?

Rebate Time

My government rebate was deposited into my account. I'm going to blow it on liability insurance and picture frames!

What are you going to do with your rebate?