Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland: Navigating the storm

Winter Wonderland: Navigating the storm: "The TODAY show aired a segment this morning on how to drive in the snow. Alot of us forget how to do that when the first flakes begin to fal..."

Navigating the storm

The TODAY show aired a segment this morning on how to drive in the snow. Alot of us forget how to do that when the first flakes begin to fall. Scared silly panic and gripping the steering wheel within an inch of its' life (if indeed a steering wheel has a life) becomes the norm till the daffodils poke their little green heads out of the mulch patch. 

"If you have ABS don't pump your brakes - the system will do it for you" the reporter firmly stated. Well that strikes fear in all of us that learned how to drive without ABS (Automatic Braking System) or even power steering. I would assume it also strikes fear in the hearts of Prius owners. It seems the Prius has a mind of its'own when it comes to acceleration and braking.

"If you start to spin out turn your eyes to the solution, not the problem. Look where you want to go, not into the spin. That is the direction you will take." WOW. Are we talkin' about cars here? Because I think that little gem of handling wisdom could potentially touch every aspect of my life. Heck, I may even have a plaque made to put on my desk or needlepoint a pillow for my couch. Turn your eyes to the solution, not the problem.  I think that is my new motto for 2011. 

Happy New Year All!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Just a small town...

Driving home one afternoon in early December just about the time the sun turns magenta and starts to set, I was privileged to come across a scene so inheritantly American it stayed with me all evening. 

Being an artist I tend to see things that could be translated into a painting.  This was one of those rare moments, all ten seconds of it and I knew would make Norman Rockwell proud.  On a small street in the middle of the block in Dallastown PA a snippet of time stood still.  Dallastown is “Every Town USA”.  It is lined with well kept homes that reach the sidewalks, some Victorian, always adorned with flowers, sometimes a wreath on a door or banners that read “Welcome Friends”.  The folks all know each other and probably will until they depart this world.  Shop owners greet each other on the streets and open and close with a fanfare relegated to the silver screen.   

At this point in time, sitting at the red light close to “the square”, a woman was closing up shop for the evening.  Her consignment shop“Little Blessings” for children’s garments and outgrown highchairs was shutting down for the night.  The double doors were held open by the owner on the left and flanked by a young girl on the right.  Into her shop she was pulling a playpen that would be sold on another day.  The young girl, school aged in feet too big for her awkward body, in knee highs and plaid school skirt, khaki green sweater pushed up at the elbows with mousy brown hair falling across her soon to be beautiful features leaned back on the door.  She was picture perfect in her preteen aged stance.  The sun was turning the sky a deep pink and added a blush to her cheeks already reddened by the December cold.  The interior glow from the filmy incandescents fell out onto the sidewalk emphasizing the shadow and light of the scene.

In a world gone mad with cell phones, ipods, instant messaging, identity theft and road rage, a rare glimpse into the ghost of America past was revealed.  Have we strayed so far from what is really important?  What happened to keeping our children safe, getting a good education, and owning a piece of the American pie?  Have we really changed so much as a culture that these common threads of our society have become unwound? 

With the Holiday Season upon us and the shopping frenzy in full swing – can’t we all just stop and see the sunset, see that small town and begin to create our own Americana in our hearts?  Who knows - that glow in our heart may reach out to touch even the grinchiest Grinch and give us all pause to think about what is important in our lives.  I ask you to take a moment and give thanks for all that you have been given.  Remember those that can’t be with us, those that are no longer with us and our soldiers who haven’t seen their own hometowns in now ten years and counting.

So Merry Christmas to you all.  On my Santa List my item is but a small request – that you may fully enjoy the moments spent with family and friends this Holiday Season.  And when I raise a glass in toast to the New Year, I will have you all in mind, with wishes for the best life has to offer. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

You get me: Laughing all the way

You get me: Laughing all the way: "Currently I am working with a lovely customer to coordinate materials in her new kitchen and her exsiting baths. Her kitchen is an exo..."

Laughing all the way

Currently I am working with a lovely customer to coordinate materials in her new kitchen and her exsiting baths.  Her kitchen is an exotic veneer, Anigre, that will be stained fuschia - or hot pink. Countertops are a honed Black Absolute granite with a dropped down baking center sporting a grey marble with natural white veining. To top it off an Ice Pink Illuminations Corian countertop that will be under lit spans the elevated bar area on the island. 

Crazy right?

Her comment to me was "When I walk into these rooms I want them to make me laugh.  Do you see that?". Yes, I did. I replied "You want these spaces to be so unique, so beautiful that it makes you giggle out of sheer delight".  Her response "You get me".  

Some of the best relationships are simply the mutual understanding of who we are. While we strive for individuality we still want to be understood.  "You get me."  And it's just that easy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


It's a wonderful life

Is anyone else out there stressed to the max over one single day that rolls around on the same date every year? I just realized that today is December 16th, 9 days from the main event. There is no tree in my house, the decorations are half way complete and the gift list is long. I have no menu planned for my Christmas eve guests, not a cookie baked and I think maybe my hair is starting to fall out.

Sound familiar? I have never, not ever, been this far behind. I need a Clarence. I need an angel and an angle to figure it out this year. Part in blame is the puppy that stole my heart and my sanity that now lives with me, the other part is that I resigned one job to do my own thing and fortunately ended up being busier than I ever thought.

But yet I have had time to wonder what would have happened I had never been. The list of naughty and nice could be long, but I think of the little things in life that have hopefully made an impact. Years ago I met a young man that worked in a telemarketing room where I was employed as the marketing person. He came to me distressed because he wanted to resign his supervisor position to apply to medical school. I sat him down, told him to look at the big picture and wrote him a glowing letter of recommendation.  His father later contacted me to tell me he had been accepted to med school, so proud and happy I could hear him beaming through the phone.  I wonder where that young man is  now. I wonder about the lives he has touched. I wonder if Clarence would approve of that moment in time.

'Tis the season to pay it forward, and sometimes it doesn't cost a dime. Maybe that is truly the best gift of all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

All wrapped up....: Tinsel and bows

All wrapped up....: Tinsel and bows: "You've got to hand it to Martha. Her take on gift wrapping is quite inventive and often uses resources that are readily available. And are o..."

Tinsel and bows

You've got to hand it to Martha. Her take on gift wrapping is quite inventive and often uses resources that are readily available. And even eco-friendly. After all, who doesn't love a beautifully wrapped gift under the tree? I sure used to. Until the gifts were opened and the wrapping paper was all over the floor and stuffed into big green trash bags. Then onto the landfills and wastes and dumps. There was a time I spent as much time decorating and accessorizing a gift as I did selecting the gift itself. The outside was as pretty as what was on the inside.

As I become comfortable in my own skin, I focus less on the packaging. After all, the wrapping has wrinkled and the package isn't as sturdy as it once was. When all the focus is on the exterior, we begin to miss what truly counts - what's on the inside of all those lovely trimmings? What is the substance underneath the glitz? Is the gift sincere? Honest? Will it stand the test of time? What is the value, the true worth?

So often that excitement over the packaging overshadows the product, the "crux of the biscuit", the core, the marrow. We miss the true gift, one that has taken years to develop. The true gift of Christmas doesn't come in a box. In comes from reaching out a hand to another in a gesture of kindness and goodwill. It comes from the heart. And asks to be returned.


Saturday, December 11, 2010


Come what may...: 2010 the year that was...

Come what may...: 2010 the year that was...: "Usually I write more than a blogger should. This week I've attached two links that don't need alot of words. The first is Time Magazine..."

2010 the year that was...

Usually I write more than a blogger should. This week I've attached two links that don't need alot of words. The first is Time Magazines' photos from 2010. View the photos, then click on the utube link.
Nuff said. Welcome new year, come what may.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

At the end of the day

We called them the Pantry Pride Princess and the Duke of the Deli. They met at the local grocery store where they both worked - she a widow, he never married. Marie had raised two girls single handedly and he grew to love them as though they were his own. They made their home on Mayfield Ave off  "BLAIR Rd" (the correct pronunciation if you're from Baltimore. Also know as "Belair Rd") in a row house with a concrete back yard. Goetze's Caramel Cremes were perpetually mounded in the candy dish, replenished as soon as they were devoured. With lamp shades and furniture protected by plastic, sweaty in the humid city summers, Gert & Gare (as we called them fondly) settled into their own safe haven.

And safe it was. His number one job was to look after her. She never drove, never had a drivers license, he took her everywhere. Diners and bingo and the Meat Cutters Union Hall were the norm, a visit to the VFW on occasion. A daschund named Sandy resided in that brick house. She resembled a loaf of bread on legs and was renamed "Lutsie Girl" or "Little Girl" ironic though it may seem. Life was low key but full of love.

On Mayfield Ave we knew we were cared for, comforted, secure. Tonight at the funeral home we said our last goodbye to Gary. Marie - at 90 - sat in a chair, tears in her stoic eyes. "Are you OK?" we asked. "As best as can be expected" was the answer. After over 40 years of companionship the long rides together had come to a rest. The words on the ribbon draped across the flowers on the casket did not read "Spouse" or "Husband" or "Father".  They read "Beloved Friend". Two simple words. Two words that told the world what they were to each other. Simple, succinct and safe. Just as they were in life.