Cat lovers love cat lovers

Who does it better, Eric Northman or Spock?


Hiring a graphic designer

What do you need to know when hiring a graphic designer?

You’re experiencing growth. Either you’re starting your own online business, going through a name change, or need a logo. Whatever reason, suddenly, you need a graphic designer. So what is there to know?


  1. Make an agreement that is fair to both of you. Have a clear time frame and a clear exchange.
  2. Trust them (until they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt you can’t trust them). If you don’t get a good feeling off the bat, move on! Not everybody is a good fit. But if you start off with an attitude of doubt, you’re not going to get very far, and nothing will make you happy. Trust them, they’ve been doing this a long time, and they want to make you happy. With that said,
  3. Don’t trust people who make crazy promises or demands. Make a payment agreement that you’re comfortable with. Most good designs take longer than just a few days, unless it’s really straightforward and you’re lucky.
  4. Don’t go with the cheapest one. Cheap doesn’t always mean good.
  5. Communicate. THIS IS THE TIME, Tell the graphic designer as much as you can, and show them as many examples as possible. This will be a huge time saver for both of you, and saves a lot of guesswork. The designer can come up with something that you will actually like based on what they see. So don’t show them something if you don’t really like it.
  6.  Keep an open mind. The designer might show you a sketch or a mock-up first, before proceeding to make the final document. This is the chance to offer your input. The sketch might look very crude or not be what you’re looking for. It might be in a different medium. Remember, it will look different when completed. Some artists show you a direction first so they don’t spend a lot of time creating something that you’re going to hate.
  7. Don’t flip out. The graphic designer wants to make you happy. They might miss the mark on the first or second try. That doesn’t mean it’s over. If you’re really not happy, see #5. It might take 10 sketches to get where you even want to be.  But do not, under any circumstances, after seeing one or two sketches, tell them their work is shit, and then give them your own artwork to deal with. I know what I said in #5 about giving them inspiration, but don’t do that in step 7. Don’t start filling their inbox with all your sketches and art when you’re quite far down the road. These are professionals. They know what they’re doing, and they are not going to be happy making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
  8.  After you’ve committed to a project, don’t go changing the rules in the middle of the game. Don’t mess with the price, or pick apart the design, when it’s gotten pretty far down the road. If you do, the designer might start to become very disinterested in your project. Not all artists are starving. They’re not starving for mistreatment. Unless, of course, they’re doing something very wrong.
  9. Remember art is subjective. Also, it’s difficult to work with people long distance. In this day and age of doing all of our communicating virtually, some artists struggle because they do much better getting a sense of who you are, what you do, and what you like, in person.

I work better in person than online because I am an empath, and sometimes I can get impressions, or actually “see” what other people are thinking. However, the world is changing, and I can’t always see my clients face-to-face.

Writing this was inspired by a blog about why Dog Groomers are calling it quits, and it really rang true for me, too, and probably with a lot of people in the service industry. Graphic designers probably don’t love to admit they’re in the service industry too, but that is closer to the truth. Of course my field differs from dog grooming. They can never groom their dog online. Groomers are feeling burned out, because of ungrateful customers. People, in my experience, have learned ill manners from the internet. And guess what? Dog groomers don’t want to deal with that any more. When I graduated art school, the internet was still in its infancy. I was lucky to get hired wherever I wanted, because I knew more about computers than any other artist I knew at the time. Of course, that changed, and when that changed, the market was saturated. Quantity not quality, in my opinion, and people couldn’t tell the difference of what was good, and what wasn’t. It was already a problem, to hear that clients would rather hire the “nephew of my childhood neighbor who just graduated art school” than to hire you, a seasoned expert, but now, the internet was causing more problems. Suddenly you were being sought after-and rejected-by complete strangers, day in and day out. Forget about developing any relationships – that was impossible now. With the click of a button you’d never see that person again.

You’ll hear the occasional story, “My friend’s been doing graphic design for 30 years,” but you know what I say, Beware of “compare” stories. You are not that person. You do not know what they know, who they know, what their circumstances are, you know nothing about this person other than someone saying, “She’s better than you.” which, the whole thing is probably total b.s. Some people are better connected, they spend their lives networking. Which is a reality of being a graphic designer. Network, network, network, and build those relationships, if that’s what you want to do. But that, of course, is for another blog.



Hip Cat


Do you love this amazing dress?

Cats, fashion, beauty, mid-century, vintage, what’s not to love.

It’s hard to tell from here but in a few days I’ll be changing venues, going from full time slacker to full time worker bee. Moving 150 miles in the process, from the east central Dingburg of Minnesota to the extreme-north, mosquito-infested, poison-ivy overgrown Border. Right now, I’m using this to procrastinate. So far I just blog about whatever comes to mind, with some focus on challenges with a lot of mention of Narcissism: identification and eradication. If anyone is reading, I want say if you’re easily offended, or don’t think I’m funny, then scroll on by (not this blog specifically. This shit isn’t funny).  I was told that Mercury and Mars are in retrograde, so I shouldn’t even try anything that has to do with communication, or a new job, or else I’ll be misunderstood. I have lived a lifetime or several lifetimes of being in retrograde, and I’ve been JUST FINE. I do my best to entertain and punish. Feel my wrath.


One of my worst jobs


-Credit, the INFJ FB page

Before I even knew what an INFJ was. I knew I couldn’t stand crowds, or storms, loud noises, etc. Well, one day, I had all of these experiences at the same time.

I got my certification to be a nursing assistant. I found an ad for an elderly couple in their private home. I knew I didn’t want to work in a nursing home. The job went from 5:00 Friday evening to 7:00am Monday morning. Monday morning I had to be at work as an office manager at a medical office, Monday – Friday. I was working 7 days a week. We needed the money.

The office job had its own challenges. It slowly dawned on me I was working for the biggest narcissist on the planet. He spent hours talking about himself, sharing mundane anecdotes. He told me about his trip, on a cruise ship in Italy, where he drank Mirassou wine every day, thinking it was something special. After I picked up a bottle at the local bottle shop 2 blocks away for $11, I felt our relationship strain. Here was in Italy drinking fancy California wine … it was like that guy at the party bragging about nailing a supermodel only to find out he really only fingered his cousin.

The elderly couple whom I cared for lived in a fairly nice, recently built house on the edge of their former farmland, having divided the property, their children lived in the original farmhouse a few hundred yards away. The property reached the banks of the St. Croix River on one side, and was bordered by Highway 95 on the other, in Shafer, Minnesota. The old timer, Mr. G, had lived here forever. I think it was his parent’s house. They were a good Catholic family with 11 children. However, none of the children were interested in taking care of their parents.

Mrs. G. seemed to be in fair health, except she didn’t walk.  Mr. G, who had early Parkinsons, needed help walking. Mrs. G. rode around the house on her Lark scooter, at all hours of the day or night. Among my many duties, I spent three nights a week there, and was expected to change my sheets on Monday morning. Which, eventually I just slept on top of the bed.

The woman, E, who worked Monday-Friday, had shaved her head bald. She had a pretty face. We did not get along at first, she would leave me petulant notes that I’d find on Friday evening. One time, I arrived just ahead of a storm. The minute I pulled my car into the garage, the sky turned black. A storm hit that was so violent, you could not see more than 5′ out the window, as if you were inside the twister from the Wizard of Oz. The house made terrible protesting sounds, and the power snapped off. E didn’t want to leave, so we were stuck there together, and we sort of bonded during that storm, at least, we no longer glared at each other or snarled our lips in each others direction. Eventually the skies calmed, the evening sun came out, and E left. I was stuck there without any power. It was very hot, and there wasn’t a fan, making it hard to sleep. Not that I liked the noise of the fan. I tried to avoid it. That wasn’t even the worst storm.

The next day two sons came by and installed a generator. So at least we didn’t have to worry about the food spoiling in the refrigerator, and I could make meals. I made 3 meals a day for both of them.

Summer nights were very short, through my blank, curtainless window, I saw twilight until midnight, and the start of light, the songs of birds, starting at 3am. The old man, Mr. G, slept in an east-facing room, and as soon as the rays of sun peeked through his windows across the flat fields of low corn, he was up and calling for me. Sleep was elusive and rare. He was afraid of curtains, said they caused fires. So there were no curtains allowed in the house.

His voice was very hoarse and almost incomprehensible, but nothing wrong with his hearing. dogVery keen. He could summon me with either a baby monitor or a bell. The bell was incredibly loud, it was terribly obnoxious like a fire bell, you felt as if you’d come out of your skin. Overkill.

Rush Hour

Mrs. G was deaf as a hammer. She reminded me of a hamster. Her lark was like the hamster wheel. She would stay up 2 hours, sleep 2 hours, be up 2 hours, and so on. In the middle of night, if a song came on she liked, she would crank the volume all the way up like a teenager. When the Gambler came on at 3am, she blasted Kenny Rogers so the roof almost blew off the top of the house. It made her happy.

One weekend I said, I had to have Sunday off because I was going to a wedding. I got ready in the morning as if it was a Monday. They said the Oldest Daughter agreed to come relieve me. She lived over in Wisconsin.

As usual I had made coffee, and Mrs. G. said I could leave the coffee in case the priest came over, he usually came over on Sundays and offered communion.

cleoOldest Daughter Arrives, surveying the palace, looking down her nose at the insolent slaves.

DarkCrystalThe Oldest Daughter was in the house, now, looking  JUST LIKE HER DAD. She said, “Are you done with that coffee?” as I was leaving out the garage door, hinting, that I should dump it and the grounds and get rid of it. I shouted back, “Your mom wants it in case the Father comes by! See ya next week!” I called, slamming the door behind me.

Summer was going by. The sunflower I’d planted in May was nearly 6′ high.

The next confrontation I had was with Mrs. G I’d qualify as Gaslighting. Mr. G loved watching the Twins and sometimes we’d be up until midnight if the game went into extra innings. I was allowed to take a break in the middle of the afternoon, so I’d usually go up to my room and try to get a nap in the bright daylight. But one day Mrs. G. confronted me. She said, “I don’t like how you put (Mr. G) to bed before the game is over. He says he misses seeing the end of the game.”

I said, “We stayed up and saw the end of the game. In fact we’ve stayed up and saw the end of every game.”

“He says you put him to bed early and so he misses the end of the game. He’d like to watch it.”

“Well, that simply isn’t true, and I think you both know that.” I shrugged.

She gave me a very disapproving look, and added, “Just make sure it doesn’t happen again.” clicking the button on her scooter to roll away.

I’d keep the baby monitor on the lowest possible volume when I was upstairs taking an afternoon rest. One day I heard Mrs. G. roll her scooter in to the other room -whirr, click, whirr, click- where Mr. G. was watching an afternoon Twins game in his room while Mrs. G. watched her shows – usually the Hallmark Channel- in the living room. In hushed tones she complained to Mr. G. about me. I turned up the volume. My heart began to pound. She said, that I was lazy, and was always upstairs (Even though they said when I started, even I could have a break once in a while). She said she was going to offer to pay me less money, adding they were struggling financially and were going to have to make some cuts. Mr. G. did not say very much, he just made sounds, like he was listening.

The next day, Sunday, before I was leaving, Mrs. G said she had something to talk about with me. She explained that she was going to have to cut back on how much she paid me and E, and, she said, E already said she was okay with it. I said, that was okay. But I was already planning, since I overheard her conversation, that I was going to resign. I acted cheerful the rest of the evening. I didn’t give her a reaction. I knew she was gaslighting and triangulating.

E mentioned the sheets on the bed didn’t seem like I had changed them. They were new on Friday, but I never slept in the bed, so they were the same sheets Monday morning. This was a problem to her. Our truce was over.

Most of the business arrangement was done through the Normal Daughter. I called her Normal Daughter because she was the one who appeared and acted the most normal, but I didn’t trust her as much as Crazy Daughter. At least Crazy Daughter was honest. I called Normal Daughter Monday and said I was putting in my 2 week notice. She asked if it was because of the money. I said, well, if you let me work Friday to Sunday, I would stay, and you could pay me even less. I would do it for less. She said no, that wasn’t going to work out. No one could fill in from Sunday night to Monday morning. I said, are you sure? Yes, they were sure.

I said, thank you anyways, but I am putting in my notice.

She was unhappy that I gave notice, yet happy that I didn’t just quit without giving notice. On the last weekend I worked, the whole G family was having a reunion at another farm in Almelund, Minnesota. I knew Almelund because that is where my Swedish ancestors settled from Småland, Sweden, in the late 1800s. At that time -which I had forgot- the Swedes not only didn’t get along with the Catholics, the Swedes didn’t even get along with other Swedes. If you were not from Småland, you were persona non exista.

Crazy Daughter arrived, and made a pan of bars to bring to the picnic. Crazy Daughter was always trying to make her parents happy but clearly she was not their favorite, she was probably the Scapegoat, problem child, a classic people-pleaser. I thought she was nuts for even thinking about bringing her dad to this event. She said, we would all just ride together, and wave to people from the car. “Easy peasy,” she said. “We’ll be in and out of there in 20 minutes.”

My instincts were, I wished to stay behind. For some reason, she convinced me to go. Of course when we got to the party, things disintegrated quickly. First, the “brothers” spotted Mr. G and dragged him out of the vehicle. They assisted him in walking  to a lawn chair. The entire crew was there, which, in terms of a Catholic family, is a mathematical equation. Mr. G came from a family of 7 brothers. Each brother had 9-11 children, each of those children were there, with their children, and so on, and so forth. Also known as a crowd, a horrible, horrible crowd, of people who somewhat resembled Mr. G.

The brothers had been successful business men. One of the younger brothers had a very spicy looking wife. She had perfectly coiffed blonde hair, gold jewelry, a loud, brightly colored jacket. She asked who I was, and where I was from, and immediately, figured out I was one of these hated Swedish Lutherans. “Oh!” she almost coughed, “You people, were against alcohol!” she screeched. “Oh, yes, Almelund was a DRY county for years!!! No fun. No fun at all!!! And no dancing, either!” she howled, very amused with herself.

“Oh, we’re not like that any more. In fact, I’ll have a beer.” I smiled.

“I don’t think so.” Crazy Daughter answered for me, bringing my attention to her dad. “Let’s have some food instead.” she offered, instantly worried she hurt my feelings.

By the barn they were having a barbecue.

The food … what can I say, was I in Narnia? How could meat that had immediately come from a barbecue grill, manage to lack any flavor at all? The food was so incredibly bland, I wondered if I was in a dream, and I’d wake up with a pillow in my mouth.

And from what I saw coming on the horizon, the dream was just about to turn in to a nightmare. Coming toward us, like a Japanese movie, was the largest, and blackest cloud I had ever seen. Blacker than the previous storm, and swirling, in a spirit-like form, a giant hand, reaching across fields, very close to the ground, swallowing everything up in its path, obscuring buildings, and the road, and the cars from sight.

I said to the daughter, “I think it’s going to rain. We should move your dad.”

She turned to her dad, and back to me, and said, “Nah.”

What does any good INFJ do in this situation?

“I have to use the restroom. Is there one in the house?” I asked casually, in my best impression of a totally calm and unconcerned person.

They directed me to the house, where I entered just before the immense drops of rain began pelting the entire picnic. The house was a mad scene of women in the kitchen, and a mania of children, rugrats, really, running rampant from room to room.

I locked myself in the bathroom. After I went, I lingered, uninterested in moving. The bathroom was a weak and ineffectual saferoom. Soon, one of the Spawn of Hell was knocking on the door to gain entry. The weaknesses of a large family gathering were all too apparent. I let the boy child in. I stood in the kitchen, doing my best imitation of a statue. Lightning flashed, thunder shook,  rain drenched. Women were gathered around an ipad at the kitchen table watching Stormtracker. “It’s gonna be over soon.” they announced.

Nobody asked who I was, what I was doing there, who I was with. It was apparent I didn’t really belong here, but maybe they felt rude to ask, probably wondering if we’d already been introduced.

When I finally decided it was safe enough to go out, I saw that a lot of college-aged kids had made a human wall with a tarp to protect the old timers seated in the lawn chairs. This was probably why the Catholics had so many kids. When the rain stopped, the kids began lowering the tarp. They were soaking wet and laughing, as if they’d really been through something together. Yeah, it was a miracle none of them was struck by lightning. In the East field, you could still see the departing lightning strikes and hear the low thunder growls. So what was that they always say about being struck by lightning?

Finally we packed it in, and headed back to the G home.

Leaving for the final time, that last Monday morning, I was overcome with relief. I had arrived six months earlier as a mild-mannered cna, but left as a battered hero who slayed a Minotaur in the Labyrinth. Unfortunately, the next creature I had to slay was still waiting for me …


I Would(n’t) die 4 U

Wish u were here.

The last couple weeks have been tumultuous around here. Not that Prince’s death affected me directly, but his life did. Around Minnesota, the unexpected death of Prince Rogers Nelson has been a sucker punch to many of us, no matter what level of fan. So we grieve collectively as a state. Yeah, it felt personal. I felt like I lost a friend. I can’t tell you how many times and places I’ve walked where Prince walked. I’ve been where Prince has been.

Pouring my heart and soul about my feelings on social media shines a light on an otherwise dark aspect of my life right now. It has been eye opening to the many dysfunctional relationships I have going on in my life. I find that as I get older I have less tolerance for some and more empathy for others.

So what strengthens a relationship and what breaks it? Is it, living through a series of tragedies? That depends on the type of tragedy and at what point it happened. Some tragedies bring some people closer, while others tear people apart.

When my mom died, I dipped my toe into the murky pool, testing the waters of whether I could find any connection with my remaining parent. Well, that question was answered quickly. Right away, my father made it clear that this was HIS loss, and that nobody else mattered, nobody else’s feelings mattered diddly squat, that was a fact. So I made a hasty retreat, learning at the tender age of 14 (my birthday was 2 weeks before my mom died), that I had to be very careful about who I trusted. Sure I had insecure thoughts, too. When he said, “Your mother CHOSE me, while you were just an ACCIDENT”, I learned to consider the source. Then I learned a lot more. Like, for instance, this is how Narcissistic Abusers talk to everyone. It’s not me. But, the lesson of being CAREFUL of who I trust, stayed with me.

A narc parent wants their child to stay in their preconceived role. For instance, when I was growing up my father wouldn’t let me listen to any music that he didn’t approve! That meant when I first heard Prince’s music, in the early 80’s, I had to keep it a secret. Like it or not, now, if my dad wants to be friends on social media, I will post my musical tastes, my religious tastes, political opinions, out there for him and everyone to see. Narcs hate this. Because they want you to eat what they eat, listen to what they listen to, like what they like, vote for their candidate, and go to their church.

To cope with the grief of losing my mom, it was Prince’s music that helped me through. I watched the movie Purple Rain over and over. Here was a man, who had overcome a painful past. He played a pivotal role in my healing, more than anyone I knew in real life.

The way my father scolded me, and lashed out when I played piano, suddenly I froze. I couldn’t play piano any more. I played jazz, ragtime, I was good, but my dad was jealous, or didn’t approve, I’m not sure what, but, after a while I was afraid to play.

In some ways your parent is your finest influence, but after a while, the parent has to let the child find his own views, likes and dislikes, and let the child tell parent about their views, or at least honor that the child is NOT an extension of them, that the child will make their own opinions.

Whenever I can get together with my son and hear his thoughts and opinions, which he feels free to express, I feel enriched. He is free to express himself without fear of rejection or condemnation. Just yesterday we spent the day together, which, I want to spend my last few days of freedom with friends and family who I am close to before I start my job. I felt so fortunate to hear my son’s opinions on the upcoming election, the current music he’s listening to, his favorite tv shows (which aren’t on network tv lol), and all the other things… sure he needs a lot of help right now. He’s not quite independent, he’s in this awkward stage between child and adult. I remember too well when I was at that age. It was a struggle, and then my narcissistic parent, and my sibling, decided to make it worse for me. I don’t think my brother did what he did on purpose, but he basically drove me batshit crazy. You could also say my NF didn’t do what he did “on purpose”, because I don’t think narcissists have an ounce of self-awareness.

In my junior year of college, while living at home, I met an exciting guy, who convinced me to move in with him, into an apartment in Minneapolis, where we lived among a collection of Minnesota musicians. It would have been a wonderful chapter in my history, if 2 things didn’t happen. One, my new boyfriend, turned out to also be a narcissist, who physically and emotionally abused me. The second, my NF viewed it as a time to “punish” me… this is what narcissists do, by the way, whenever you do something they don’t approve of. Which, this was the motherlode of doing something my family wouldn’t approve of. It would have been different if I had some tools to work with, but as it was, I never knew if I was the “accident” my father had mentioned, and I didn’t quite understand Golden Child vs. Scapegoat Child yet, but I was definitely being treated as the SG child at the time, so who wouldn’t want to get away? My dreamy new musician bf seduced me with promises of escape, glamorous escape. The sad part, I wasn’t making an escape. I was digging myself into a pit. I would say I was digging myself a grave, but it wasn’t a grave, I didn’t die. I just kept shoveling. It looked, on all outside appearances, as if I were on some great adventure.

The Minneapolis experience was symbolized by what happened in August of 1991, when we were carting the band Hot Sauce back and forth to recording studios in Paisley Park. I watched in horror through the window, as the drummer, London, loading the drums in the hatchback of my 1980 Honda Civic wagon, slammed the hatch down on his drum kit, shattering my window. I could see from my vantage point, the look of despair cross his face. But then, what he did next, was despicable, he didn’t take responsibility, he just denied he had anything to do with it! I said, I watched you, I saw you do it! I took them to Paisley Park again, and I enjoyed snooping around, and hanging out in a recording studio (I always secretly wished I was a musician), but then, my relationship was always tainted because London wouldn’t pay me back for breaking the window. I was a broke student, my wonderful exciting bf decided he was too special to find a job like a muggle. And my NF? He, more than anybody else, did what he could to make sure I was so deep in debt that I would practically never see the light of day.

Maybe what it symbolized if I analyzed it, here I was surrounded by all this wealth and talent, and I was sidelining myself, not respecting or believing in myself.  It wasn’t okay to sponge off me, and it wasn’t okay to be a doormat, and nobody could help me but myself. There was no magic ticket out of here. There was not a prince to whisk me away.

In his music, Prince tried to champion women’s strength. So in the spirit of the song  Pussy Control, I finished my degree, I got a high paying job, and I told all the losers to kiss my ass.

Of course that’s not what they wanted to hear. Since I was no longer a doormat, I don’t bow to status quo, I freely express my opinions, I don’t give what I used to, I’m nobody’s ATM and I’m nobody’s fool, they all seem to suddenly hate my guts (the haters). They only want you to be their version of what they’re comfortable with. So now, as I pour out my love for all to see, making tributes to my favorite Minneapolis icon, I feel the seething anger of my haters in the background, the narcissists, who tepidly comment and “like” my posts, but on the inside, wish I had fallen into that hole I dug. If they could have kicked me harder in the back, it would have been an easy grave. Too bad, you missed.




Between chapters

Preparing myself mentally and physically for the shift change that is about to happen in about 3 weeks. Somewhere between anxiety and panic, and happiness-positive outlook. Normal? When I found out I was getting a corner office, and this was going to be my view, I was elated! This will be my view. On the other hand … this will be my new view. 150 miles from my current residence.

Bill Holm, writer/essayist in the vein of Emerson/Thoreau, wrote about “Prairie Eye”. According to him, depending on where you live, and possibly your genetics, your eye gets accustomed to a certain view. From where I am writing this blog, I have a “Prairie Eye”, I see wide open land — oak savannah meets coniferous forest. The wind blows without interruption across miles and miles, sometimes it rocks the house, seeking weak openings, like a reed instrument, creating crude songs in the flap of a loose window, a crack between roof and wall, sighing, moaning, creaking, groaning.

People in the city have “Urban Eye”, mountains, have “Mountain Eye.” People in the woods, have “Forest Eye.” The same can be said, for desert, lake or sea. In 3 weeks I am moving from the prairie to the forest for a 5 month assignment.

Over the years I’ve known a lot of people with MEGA commutes. I also know people who do not understand commutes at all. I fall somewhere in the middle. I live in central Minnesota. I don’t mind going to the twin cities about once a week. The commute to Minneapolis is 3 hours round trip, which is do-able, people do it all the time. Ely, 150 miles away, is farther than that, but I will have a place to stay, 3 miles from the office. I could easily ride my bike. If I want to come back to my little farm, I can come back on the weekends. No problem. I used to live in Maine, and there were people who would drive to Revere, Massachusetts every week, catch a plane out of Logan, work at their job for a week, fly back to Boston, drive the hour back to Portland, Maine, every weekend. My dad, in the early 90s, used to work in Miami. He would fly back to Minnesota every weekend. My grandma picked him up at the airport every Friday and dropped him off at the airport every Sunday night. He did that for a few years, staying in his Airstream trailer in the Everglades. I guess you could say he had “Swamp Eye.”