Monday, December 31, 2012

Musings of the Moment

A funny thing happened today, an odd little occurrence that I am sure no one noticed.  After running some errands before settling in to wait for the ball to drop at midnight, I carried this thought with me for most of the afternoon until now, when I decided to sit down to share it.

Picking up the essentials at the pet store - dry, canned and a batch of Busy Bones, I watched as an employee went about the task of cleaning the glass on the parakeet compartment. What an odd thing to see. I stood back and watched so he wouldn't see me, aviary voyeurism at it's best. I wondered what he thought as he swiped at the glass. Did he enjoy being in the space with the feathered friends of so many colors flapping about - or was he trying to keep out of the crap that I am sure was flying as well. 

An interesting euphemism on the final day of a very long year. This past year I've had some life events occur that have changed me forever. Some relationships were let go, some new ones were embraced. Opportunities opened up that I hadn't ever considered and long open doors closed firmly with a dull, heavy thud.  

But I wonder, if looking at each segment of life as it happens - could each situation be viewed as a feathered friend or as a mess that has to be cleaned up? Which point of view will create an experience in which to build on? If you are cleaning up the mess, perhaps thinking about how the mess got there in the first place is the real place to start.

Still mulling the event over as I left the pet store and headed home, I sat at the green light as a funeral procession went past. Yet another solemn reminder of how precious each day is. And time grows short, just like the days of winter ahead.

And so as this year closes, I wish you the best of the new year to come. Count your blessings - one and all. Make friends with those little birds that land on your shoulder. One day they may teach you how to grow wings and fly.

Next time I'll be back to the business of design and trends. But all of these observations of color, of movement, of moments are, in truth, whats fuels the creative process.

Monday, December 17, 2012

And so this is Christmas...

Another year almost over.  A trip for the all important tree selection, then to bring in the boxes of decorations.  Each ornament tells a story, some from family Christmases past - a very few still survive.  One, a hand painted rose on a tear drop globe was a favorite of my Fathers' and is over 50 years old.  Two Snoopy ornaments from 1960 that got lost over the years but found their way back to me. Seahorses, red headed mermaids and butterflies, all glass, from a trip to Cape May NJ.  The itemization goes on. A yellow duckie in a Santa hat to signify the birth of my grandson. The Radko Radio City Rockette kicks in a memory of that same Christmas Show with my Mother.  The fabulous lunch at the now defunct Rainbow Room with it's glorious skyline view.

And the many many Dalmatians that litter the tree, in a not so small nod to all ten that have pranced through my life.

These are not merely decorations.  They tell the story of the years past.  Of people that have come and gone, some of their own will, some not. These ornaments are the glass blown quilt of my life.  As I lift each one up I hold dear the memory of the moment, the loved one or event duly noted.  Like the hand made red glass ball decorated and selected just for me weeks before the pancreatic cancer took her life. "Which one do you want?" she said. "Pick the one you want me to have" I replied.

Just like these ornaments, I am grateful to have these interactions, these relationships that I can call to mind and reflect as I give them each their own place of honor on my tree.  A singular, solemn act that gives me pause and presence at the same time.  One day these will all belong to my son and his son.  My wish for them both is that they have found a true and unfaltering love, a life rich with happiness and that they cherish each ornament as I did, for they mark the passage of our time together.

This year, this time, hold your loved ones tight.  Hold them in your heart.  Hold them in a place of honor, and never never let go.

Merry Christmas to all.  As fleeting a season as it is.  Hold your loved ones dear.  For that time with them goes by in the blink an eye.  In the very heart beat that holds us all together.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The elusive four door refrigerator....

No, he is not supposed to get his own ice cubes.
It all goes back to ergonomics with me. Well, ergonomics and education. My refrigerator of 15 years is close to gasping it's last breath. Kamikaze shopping on a Saturday is not my favorite way to spend the day but a few free hours allowed the hunt to begin.

First came the education part. The research, the recon, looking for the elusive four door counter depth 69-1/2" high, 36"wide, water and ice inside the door stainless steel refrigerator. Easy peesey right? Three stops later I'm breaking out the duct tape to hold my sad old fridge together.

Four Door
 The ergonomic end of this is that I like the French Door Fridge, but I think that the bottom drawer is heavy and the black hole of frozen foods. Since I try to buy fresh all the time, I don't need a large freezer. A two drawer freezer fits the bill. The top one is easy open to hold that Ben & Jerry's. Bottom one for things you will eventually throw out.

So let's talk. I went to one big box appliance/electronics store, one old faithful everything store at the mall and one locally owned. Let's begin with the big box. After being stalked through the aisles of ice boxes, the boy in the red shirt finally approached. "What can I do for you? Oh we don't have that here". And off he scurried. No commission for him today. Mouth still open to speak, I turned on my heel and went on my way.

Ice and water inside. Clean look
and someone that is spotted
can't help himself.
Now the MALL. I hate malls. I call them "mauls". The old faithful department store wasn't bad. Not bad at all. Decent selection and the salesman left me alone. He did online searches and showed me the features and benefits of various floor models. Prices were comparable to the first store. When I slipped and told him what I did for a living, he started asking me questions about the market and trends. At least he was interested in what he was selling. He then apologized to my husband for "picking his daughters' brain". Ha. I'm sure that's the first time he used that line. All in all, a pleasant experience.

The locally owned. After an hour of price comparison, features and benefits, floor demonstrations, checking on availability, coffee, water or soda, list of items reviewed with pricing and a list of competitors that carry brands they don' there any choice here? The Macy's and Gimbles tactic at it's best! Overwhelming knowledge of what was on the floor, what was coming out in the spring, what is selling, new trends, input on use....the staff in these stores REALLY do this for a living. Not only that, they have their own in house installation staff. What? Full service in a bare bones price gouging cut throat down & dirty industry?
This locally owned store came out on top and squeaky clean.

I'll go back to that locally owned store. These are people who know their product, view their job as a profession, and educate themselves on how these appliances are used in the home. Ergonomics AND education. When you are investing in an appliance that will last you 10 or more years, who would you trust? A neighbor, trusted advisor, informed and on trend professional, or someone else?  Shop small, stay local. Stay community strong. It is where you live isn't it?