Saturday, February 28, 2009

March 1, 2009 - Pretty Pictures

Beautiful images from Clark Little Photography. Clark, 39, swims the seas and waits on the shore for the perfect shot. Sometimes risking his life. Many are shot on Waimea Bay in his home state of Hawaii. He loves the ocean. Can you tell? m

Monday, February 23, 2009

February 23, 2009 - Fine Jewelry News

Fine Jewelry News is a web site dedicated to fine jewelry, including in-depth style and trend features, profiles of well-known and up-and-coming designers, and information on how to make the right decisions in purchasing jewelry. One of the many features of the site is a bi-monthly subscription newsletter. I've been designing the newsletter for the last year and am very proud of the project. Jodi Goldberg is the creator and manager of the site and continues to find new ways to celebrate fine jewelry in all of it's imaginative forms. 

I have to admit I've never been much of a jewelry enthusiast. But now I'm starting to take notice. The creativity, the variety, and the craftsmanship have caught my attention and I truly enjoy seeing what's coming in the next issue. If you have any interest in jewelry of any sort it will be worth checking out the web site. 

So I invite you to visit the site, download a free issue, and browse the many features Jodi offers to jewelry enthusiasts. And it's my pleasure to support a good friend as well as show you all what kind of work I get to do. This month Brazilian jewelry is featured, one of the hot trends that sparkle on celebrity red carpets. The photo above is just one of the designers featured in the upcoming March/April issue of the newsletter. The piece is a catteya orchid pendant featuring a pear-shaped kunzite stone by Paula Crevoshay. Just one of many spectacular pieces featured in the issue. Enjoy. m

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 18, 2009 - What's going to happen now?

Everyday I listen to the news. I was always told that you shouldn't listen to the news because it's so substantially negative that it can't help but effect your life. In other words it's a "downer." So for the last month or so I hear nothing but how the economy is tanking. Many many of us have never experienced this much negative news and get daily even hourly reports of how it's all going down the tubes. Well. What's going through your mind? Just how bad is it? What's going to happen next? Should we panic? Should we remain positive? What can we do?

And yet, we live our lives the way we always have. At least some of us. You hear about how many people have lost their jobs, their homes. My friends have been hit with lay offs but they're okay. Things seem to work out. But when is someone you know really going to start hurting. When am I really going to be up against the wall. No doubt you already know someone or are someone. I'm on the edge watching so far. But I am on the edge.

At my lowest times I have this thought that what we're hearing is a day to day commentary on the demise of the US as we know it, your know, as it happens but without really knowing exactly where it's really going. That sounds obvious, but I guess what I'm trying to say is this. Say you're on a plane full of people and everything seems normal. Then you hit some turbulence and everyone reacts mildly and brushes it off. Then the speed picks up, the plane dives a bit and you all kind of look at each other, raise an eyebrow. Then a really big bump. It knocks you off your seat. Then you're swerving around, diving and climbing.  People try to make light of it but something's wrong. Some are losing it, and some are trying to comfort them. Some sit quietly and worry. Some try to take action. But all you can do is react to what is happening immediately because you have no idea where this is going to end. You can think the worst. Or you can go with the flow. Or with me, it's a little bit of both.

I feel very lucky right now but that could fly out the window pretty quickly. Yes, I have a home, a very nice home. I have enough for groceries and incidentals. I don't really think about buying a treat, a special meal, a bottle of wine. But. But. But. How long will it be okay?

In my worst moments I imagine losing my home. What would that be like? Would I handle it well or fall apart? Would my friends and family be there for me, give me a room, a handout. But they're going through the same thing. At least we're all going through it together. I guess. 

I had coffee with 4 friends this morning. Four of us are freelancing and one had been laid off a few months ago and is now thinking of what to do next. Perhaps freelancing. But everyone is very slow. One said "The slowest ever." They wanted to put a positive face on it but couldn't help admit that things weren't good. One's big project is ending and she's not sure what's next. One's main client has promised a job that was postponed earlier in the year but has been told it will continue soon. But when? We're pleasantly negative. And I feel like we're in the little bump stage but the bumps keep coming. Where will we be a year from now? It's all just building and building. How big are the bumps going to get?

And that's all I really have to say. I just wanted to put words to this vague, weird, up and down feeling the I'm going through. Ultimately we're in it for the long ride. We can't get off the plane. What will be will be. We have to deal with it the best we can. Let's hope we can handle it with a little grace and not go flying off into the darkness of panic and fear. 

And so I tell myself "it will all be fine." Really. No matter what. Hang in there because really, we are all in it together. And that's the way it's supposed to be. m

Saturday, February 14, 2009

February 14, 2009 - Happy Valentine's Day

Well, I don't have a special valentine but it's all about love and love comes in many forms. So I send my love to all my friends and family. I hope love can take a little more hold on the world from now on. It might save us all from a lot of grief. "All you need is Love."

I'm painting my living room. Or I should say I'm continuing to paint my  living room. It's a slow process. I have one more color to pick. It's hard to believe I've been here for ten years and haven't painted this room yet. After ten years I guess I've come to know what I want. It's looking good. Lots of color. And with a new arrangement of all my old furniture it looks really fresh. A great way to reinvigorate your surroundings. 

By the way, for all those trying to find the perfect gift, there was a recent study about what makes people happy. And it turns out that experiences can make you happier than possessions. Probably not a huge surprise. In a new study it turns out that experiences lead to more happiness in others than purchases did. A sense of relatedness to others—getting closer to friends and family—may be one of the reasons why experiences generate more happiness. People feel a greater sense of vitality and "being alive" during the experience and in reflection. Nothing like a great memory. But the good news is, for those of you giving a great gift today, is that gift giving is an experience. But do it someplace really special. Want more on the subject, go to CNN for a report on the new study. Have a great day everyone. m

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 8, 2009 - Writing in Thread

For those of you in the Madison area there's a wonderful exhibit at the Chazen Museum on the University of Wisconsin campus called "Writing in Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities." This is a rare collection of indigenous clothing in societies without written languages. Instead traditions and customs are orally passed from generation to generation. But the textiles, typically made by women, are a visual representation of their history, myths, and legends. Incredibly detailed silver ornamentation, made by men, complement the textiles. Together they visually represent oral traditions, record and transmit ideas and concepts that are important for the preservation and reconstruction of the identities of their makers and users.

I visited the exhibit today on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon. Suffice to say the exhibit is exceptional with over 500 pieces in 3 galleries. Madison is only one of three US museums that will show the exhibit. The exhibit runs through April 12 and then moves to Santa Fe, then on to Taiwan. Hope you get a chance to see it. m

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 6, 2009 - Snow Track Paranoia

Well I don't think we're going to get the 150 inches of snow that was predicted in the Farmer's Almanac. Thank God. In fact January has been very quiet but very very cold. I'm getting pretty tired of the single digit temps. But this weekend it's supposed to be 40 degrees! And maybe thunderstorms on Monday. I would love to see some of this snow and ice go away, please.

I was thinking about snow tracks recently. When there's no snow you don't have any evidence that someone was tracking through your yard, or perhaps, came for a late night visit to your door. But that all changes when there's snow. And sometimes it can be a bit of a mystery. 

One year we were having trouble in my neighborhood with someone getting into our unlocked cars, rummaging around and stealing valubles. I got used to not locking my car because there just wasn't any crime in our neighborhood to worry about. One morning I noticed things were definitely scattered and loose change was missing in my car. Kind of a shock. I gave a police report and starting locking my car. I had forgotten about the incident when one morning we had a new light snow on the ground and I noticed footprints coming to my car door then leaving up the driveway. Someone was checking my car door. A little more investigation showed that this person was going down the street and checking everyone's car as the went along. Luckily I had locked my car.

This winter in early December I was going about my business late one evening when I happened to look out my back door. The door is glass and I have a clear view of the small porch at the top of the outdoor staircase you must climb to get to the door. There was a pair of footsteps of someone who had obviously come to the back door. I found this a little creepy because 1) I rarely have visitors come to the back door. In fact my neighbor is the only one I could think of who might come to that door; 2) It was late, about 10:30 when I noticed and since the snow had started late in the evening the visitor must have come fairly recently as the tracks were very clear. Having a visitor that late at the back door was almost unheard of. Hence a bit of a shiver went down my spine. And I never found out who had visited, friend or foe.

One day I was sitting on my couch in the living room. I have a great view out my front windows to the sidewalk which is only 10 feet or so in front of my house. I live near a high school and it quite common for me to see young students coming and going to school. One afternoon a young man stopped in front of my house and was looking intently down my driveway. You could see his mind churning but I had no clue what he was thinking or looking at. I soon found out thanks to a recent new snow. A track of footprints went diagonally across my back yard, from the rear of my driveway, across my backyard and through my neighbors yard. The young fellow was looking for a short cut through the block. The silly thing is, he really isn't saving more than seconds as I'm pretty close to the end of the block and taking the sidewalk isn't going to add much time to the journey. But leave it to the young to cut a corner whenever they can. Do I sound like an old fogey? I have to admit I don't like people cutting through my yard.

But there is more. I also noticed tracks in my yard that had no real ryhme or reason. The tracks came in from a back corner of the yard, moved diagonally across, then made a spiraling curve turning back making a small loop. Then seemed to follow the same tracks back to where they came from. So what exactly were they doing? Did they just feel like making tracks in the pristine snow? Were they walking a dog? Animal tracks are pretty common, especially rabbits. I never thought of these tracks as ominous. It looked more like a kid who was having fun. I never have untouched snow in the front yard. It seems the kids in the neighborhood can't stand to see untouched snow and immediately trample the whole yard. SO it still makes you think, who was it and what were they doing.

Most of the tracks are mysteries that in any other season I would never have known about. So next time you have a new snow pay attention to the tracks. They might get you wondering. Bye for now. m