Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Supplemental Income

In these times of economic uncertainty it is important to have a backup plan should one find oneself in the unfortunate position of being unemployed. I take this piece of wisdom to heart and have been working on my financial security through what I have come to realize is a flawless source of income:

Cat Portraiture

Yes, I have a passion for photography, and a passion for cats. When you combine the two, you have a fiscally responsible business plan that is sure to provide for the family indefinitely.

This little venture started just two years ago when several family members came to Springfield for my birthday. Our cat Murphy was lounging by the decorated tree, gazing up at the beauty and no doubt pondering the miracle that is Christmas. My brother Mike snapped several photos of him, and that was the first moment that I realized that I had the goldmine that is a photogenic cat. You just can’t keep a beauty like this to yourself. You must exploit it so that others can enjoy it as well. Here were the results of our first Murphy photo session. You may have been the lucky recipient of the Christmas card that resulted:

Murphy was the perfect subject and we were not really looking for a new muse, but one day Maisie showed up on our porch just begging for work. After some serious discussion and deep reflection we decided to schedule a photo shoot.

We settled on a prop shoot and in the grand tradition of the McCulloch Cat Modeling Agency, decided to use a Christmas theme. The fear on her face and the glow of her eyes was just not going to sell, and while we wanted another cat, we did not want a charity case. If there is one rule that remains in our household, it is that you will work to earn your keep.

One thing that I have learned with photographing cat models, it is that you have to set a tone. I decided to give Maisie another shot, and really concentrated on this. The results were astounding!

I would say: “Give me cattitude Maisie!” and she would produce this:

I would say: “Be thoughtful! Think of the future!” and she would give me this:

Maisie really developed, and of course Murphy continued to turn out consistent work:

I have focused on Murphy and Maisie throughout this post, but I assure you that I can achieve similar results with your favorite feline. I can bring out the glamorous side of any cat. Murphy and Maisie aren’t special, they are just lucky enough to have found me.

Packages start at only $595.99 for 3- 8x 10’s and 24 wallets. If you truly love your cat we can customize a package that will showcase their beauty within.
Cash and credit cards are acceptable. No personal checks please.

Contact me at your earliest convenience to book your photo shoot.

Carrie McCulloch
CEO, CFO, Chairman of the Board
McCulloch Cat Modeling Agency
P.S. Modeling is also available for the less cuddly, tempremental cat, but an extra fee and sedation are required:

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Long Awaited... Things That I Love About Springfield!

Welcome! First of all, thank you for following me to my new blog site. I must say that the ease of use is much better with blogger. Also, I really wanted a cute background and Wordpress just was not cooperating with me. This is much more me... don't you think?

The move from Wordpress is the perfect timing for this post because I am going to be talking about my move to Springfield, Missouri from Dearborn, Michigan. As you will remember, I had posted an entry about things that I miss in Detroit. Today, I will let you all know why I am glad that I live in Springfield:

1. The People!

My first week in Springfield was a little rough. It became abundantly clear from the moment that Mick and I arrived here that people were as a whole, very friendly. Take for example our trip to City Utilities the first day to have the utilities switched to our name: We went to this city-owned building expecting to find a run down office with lines out the door, tired, over-worked, and rude employees. Instead we walked into a brightly lit atrium where we walked up to a desk and were greeted by a giddy young woman. She observed our licenses and upon seeing that we were from Michigan, exclaimed: "Oh welcome to Springfield! You are just going to LOVE IT HERE!" She could not have been nicer and Mick and I walked away...bewildered. Clearly, there were friendly people in Springfield, but how was I going to meet them?

Enter: The Zackrisons and the Kirks (and Paul too, but he doesn't live here anymore.) We had been living in Springfield for about a week and just that morning I had been whining on the phone to my Mom about how I hadn't met anyone in Springfield yet and how homesick I was. I just wanted more than anything to go to Costco and Ikea with my Mom and Sister and end the day with a big meal at an Arabic restaurant. Instead... Mick and I had just gone to this new restaurant that we had heard about called Cheddars. (You can stop laughing now, Springfieldians.) As we were getting out of the car, the "group" descended upon us.

The first person I noticed was Eric Zackrison because, well, he is hard to miss. I would describe him as one of the most likeable people you will ever meet, with a bushy beard, a tall stature, and a really great laugh. His wife Julie is incredibly friendly, outgoing and equally likeable. They own Patton Alley Pub and it was easy to see that we were going to be frequent patrons and friends of theirs. Next were Steve and Tammy Kirks. Steve is one of the smartest people I have ever met with a quick sense of humor and a love of food. Tammy is a scream and is so creative and funny that it would make your head spin. The best part about meeting these people that night? They like beer and invited us for one! We had so much fun getting to know everybody that night that the next morning I called my Mom to very casually let her know that we had "met the neighbors." (Though internally I was the kindergartner shouting: Guess what Mom? I made a friend! I made a friend!) These friends of course led to more friends and I was so grateful because it was when we made connections in Springfield, that I knew that I was going to be okay.

Another group that I am so glad to know are my co-workers. I truly work with a wonderful group of women. Aside from the amazing (and I do mean amazing) things that they do professionally, they are a talented group in their personal lives as well. They are funny, thoughtful and creative and I am so glad that they are my friends. Some of us have gone on to form Squirrely Girls (see my old blog) and yes, we do hang out on the weekends!

I can only begin to tell you about all of the wonderful people that we have met here. We are so lucky!

2. Branson!

I mean... come on! How can you not love the cheesy atmosphere that is Branson, Missouri? It is miles of awful souvenirs and even worse shows, and I love every last inch! Well, okay, I've really only gone to Dolly Partons Dixie Stampede, but I go to the outlet mall often! Branson is the dream getaway for any active senior citizen looking to kick up their heels, get an early bird special, see a show, and be in bed by 7:00.

"The Strip" is really the best part. It starts down at Branson Landing which is an outdoor mall/ entertainment venue. It was built just a couple of years ago and has quickly become a destination for shoppers and diners. It is supposed to be upscale and modern and is inhabited by a bunch of young whipper-snappers who like to drink the devils brew and shop for revealing outfits that show their ankles and such. They put the Landing down at the end for a reason!

You then progress up through "Old Branson" where you land on one of my favorite little Branson gems: Dicks 5 and Dime. Oh yeah! The first time I took my Mom to Dicks she exclaimed that it is how most dime store were when she was a kid. I am the type that adheres to any family heirloom/ memory that is thrown at me, so I was instantly attached to Dicks 5 and dime. The floors are creaky, the soundtrack is ancient, and the merchandise is priceless! Have you been looking for a fancy hankerchief, a book of paper dolls, or some old-lady undergarments? This place is for you! They also carry the wide selection of Branson junk that is found in most establishments on the strip, but the classic goods really make it worth the trip.

Our drive continues and we see more Branson staples. There is of course, the Dixie Stampede and Dick Clarks American Bandstand Theater. (Do not, I repeat, do not eat at the ABT diner!) Coming up are the various theaters for people you have never heard of. No really, you have never heard of them and somehow these seniors keep filling the seats! Have you heard of Jim Stafford? Moe Bandy? More importantly... would you pay to see them? Off of the strip you will find other shows such as Yakov Shmirnov (who ironically makes me want to yak), Shoji Tabuchi and the Kirby Vanbirch show which stars Kirby the magical unicorn. The oldest show is the Baldknobbers Jamboree, which stars these guys:

'Nuf said.

3. The Creative Community

Creativity is a vital part of the culture here. My friend Tammy owns Red Bee Designs (click on the link to the right.) Her jewelry is phenomenal and I am happy to say that I own quite a bit of it! I have also met Jen and Nate Falter who own Springfield Pottery shop. It contains some unique beautiful pieces. There are numerous art galleries in town and the first Friday of the month always garners an art walk. The downtown really comes alive as the businesses host and showcase local artists. It is so much fun to get a great meal (at Patton Alley of course) walk around downtown and see some original art.

It isn't just the actual artists community that breeds creativity though. The crafting community is alive and well in Springfield and I am proud to say that I am a part of it. Just down the street a few doors from my house is a business called She's Crafty that is packed every weekend! And of course, there are the Squirrely Girls...

In Detroit, I can't say that I really have any friends that sew or knit. They thought that it was neat that I did, but I didn't have anyone that I just got together to craft with. Then one day at work, it was mentioned that my friend Ashley knitted. Soon after, I found out that Jessica, Allison and Amy did as well. It wasn't long before I joined the circle. Allison is also a sewer, and soon the rest of the group joined she and I in the sewing club as well. Frankly, Carla went nuts with it! Go Carla!

The champ of all crafters is none other than Sarah Kerner (her link is beauty school dropout) I am constantly in awe of her work. This is not just because she turns out the most beautiful and intricate pieces that I have seen, but because she does it in such a speed that frankly... Well, I can't imagine how she does it. I could learn a few tricks from that girl!

Well, I do love Springfield. Detroiters, you really should come to visit. Those of you that have certainly have not been disappointed. Springfieldians, feel free to add your favorites as well! I could go on and on about the things that I love, but frankly, I need to go to bed! Good night everyone!

P.S. Comments are a girls best friend ;)