Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election 2010

I'm not really in a position to complain about last night's results. For the first time in my life I didn't vote. Not because I didn't want to... but because I couldn't get home in time to do so despite plans to leave work early.

I'm grateful that Jim Himes and Dick Blumenthal will represent Connecticut. I know them both and they stand apart as among the few with true character and sense of responsibility.

Still some lessons to be learned - at least my personal take:

1 - Money don't buy votes: witness the brilliant smack down of Linda McMahon and Meg Whitman. Combined, they spent nearly $300 million. That money could have been much better spent. Sorry that women are setting such a terrible example.

2 - You can't win just on your record -- Unfortunately, this is something my friend Peggy Reeves found out here in CT. She was the first local state rep to actually get something done in Hartford in over 20-years, yet she did not promote her victories with the local press. While I counseled her to write regular editorials, get in front of the public and put out regular press releases -- she didn't. Her opponent, however, did. I believe that visibility (and a lot of negative support from disenfranchised republicans), was what led to her defeat. Basic PR could have made a huge difference.

3 - Don't believe everything you read/hear from the media -- wild and often erroneous reporting at one point put Paladino in a dead race with Andrew Cuomo. During the race, I listened to a report on polling numbers that had them neck and neck. We have to stop relying on these polls. Cuomo's brilliant strategy, let Paladino lose the race just by opening his mouth.

I believe we get the representation we deserve. Sorry Florida. Sorry Wisconsin. Etc. More Gridlock is on the way.

And my last lesson. Next time I'm voting early.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Food, Love, Sex

Newsweek reports this week here about the differences between how men and women write about food. As someone who is an emotional eater, it hit a cord. It was interesting that the story only talked about the differences in how the sexes write about food, and not in how they eat or see food as a part of the larger cycle of romance, love and relationships.

The first book that delivered that message was Like Water for Chocolate. And it changed forever how I saw the relationship between love and food -- or feeding the heart.

I recently traded a batch of ginger cookies for work on my car. Nothing beats great cookies and it's amazing what men will do for them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lessons from My Dog

I know there is a book idea about what I've learned from my dog. Perhaps this will Chapter 1. Roxy is my first dog. I had dogs when I was growing up, but she's MY first dog. She's now 11 and she is dying of kidney failure. She's been dying now for about 6-months. She's not in pain. But she is rib-bone thin and sleeps 90% of the day. I decided when we first learned that she was sick to bring a little joy to her life every day. I started to take her to a little park not far from the house. She knows when she is going there. As soon as we pull into the parking lot she starts to make urgent moaning sounds to get out of the car. As soon as her feet touch down she wiggles with excitement and heads down the now familiar path at a trot. My other dog Kayleigh follows her. Side by side they run through the undergrowth, leap over branches and bound over rocks. They are happy and joyful.

I've learned from Roxy how important it is to have happy moments every day. A walk in the woods - even a 15 minute walk - clears your mind, brings you back to nature and provides much needed time to experience the moment. One small moment a day makes all the difference.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What Grows

My first year growing more than tomatoes and flowers in containers has yielded real crops. I ate my first cucumber today and it was delicious. Beans are slim and sweet. When will my tomatoes turn red?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bag Lady

I knew there was a problem when my Mom opened the extra large Saks shopping bag that had been carefully folded among a 10-inch pile of "collected bags," and her eyes opened with a mix of wonder and triumph. It was a really big shopping bag. But in her mind, it was a one of a kind treasure. For some reason it was easier for her to part with the Russian antique urn worth over $5000 than this large heavy duty bag with corporate logo.

She folded it back up and brought out a smaller, even sturdier grey bag from Saks that didn't hold the aura the much larger, more unique temple to shopping bags had held.

I filled it with lovely linen table mats and one old white tablecloth, and a few packs of paper doilies she begrudgingly agreed to part with during our purge of her drawers. We had spent several hours paring back centuries of belongings to make her move to a smaller apartment easier.

Somethings it appears, are harder to part with than others. Back to the bags.

My mother has mountains of bags. She has gorgeous pocketbooks with labels from Hermes, Channel, Judith Lieber, Ferragamo. The creme de la creme of leather pocket books. Then there is her collection of canvas bags amassed from golf outing goodie bags, airplanes, cruises, and who knows where. I'm guessing if we took count, we'd find over 100 such bags.

But the real "collection" is the Mount Everest of paper and plastic bags accumulated over a lifetime of saving. For some reason, these reminders of shopping trips past are not as easily discarded as the already mentioned antique. Or the slightly worn white channel now destined for a thrift shop.

I know she's not collecting bags to save the planet. Or to win an award as these enterprising Junior High school students did in Boise See here

In my search for the cases of this irregular compulsion, I discovered that the town of Newark actually held it's 6th annual exhibition of shopping bags in 2003. Open the bag exhibit here...

Bag Lady today has a different definition than it did when I was younger and it meant a lady who literally lived on the streets out of a bag. I'm hoping with therapy we can get Mom through the purge and convince her that tattered, useless bags over 10-years old are not worth moving to a new home. But that may be wishful thinking....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Garden

This beautiful Peony is from my garden. And I picked it. I have a habit of picking other people's flowers. Lilacs, Peony's a rose from time to time if I can maneuver around the thorns. But this one grew up in my garden. And more are blooming.

On my deck, the vegetables are all green thanks to the abundance of rain. My gardening lesson is to follow the sun. It took a while for me to realize that not everything was going to grow in my garden because of a lack of direct sun, that's why the veggies are on the deck. Photos coming soon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Philip Johnson's Retreat

Today I visited the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan. It is really more of an "experience" than a house. The house is actually one small part of the 47-acre retreat that Johnson and his partner David Whitney built into an oasis. The surroundings -- the trees, pathways, meadows, use of shadow, sky and horizon - all play a role in the experience.

The entrance is protected by a gate that features an aluminum bar that is the mast of a ship. The pathways are specifically designed to lead you down to the house and to enter the house at an angle. The grass surrounding the house itself is carefully mowed to be a "carpet."

Opposite the glass house itself is the brick house, the guest house. It has no windows that face the glass house because Philip Johnson didn't want to see his guests -- and he didn't want then to see him. The house overlooks meadow and pond with a vista of trees carefully planted. The property was farmland so when Johnson and Whitney planted the trees, they would sit a top the landing where the house stands and through a bullhorn, instruct those planting the trees exactly where to plant them.

An art gallery is built into the side of a hill and is constructed in a clover leaf pattern. Inside the clover leaf's form three circular spaces that allow the gallery to turn the walls and display different art work from the collection (Jasper Johns, Julian Schnable, Frank Stella - you get the idea). Then there is a sculpture gallery that is also wonderfully built to allow light to play of shadow and sun.

I ordered tickets 6-months ago. They only go on sale once a year. I got tickets for summer and fall - hopefully when we return in October, we can see it a new.

You can visit the site here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Speak- easy

You know you have a trend when you can cite 3 examples of the same thing. That's what happened today -- three different times the word "speakeasy" was part of the conversation. And in two of its uses - it meant a different thing.

First - a new Wall Street Journal section that they are calling "Speakeasy." A mash-up of culture, trends, the arts, style, etc that shows a softer side to the newspaper. I'm guessing it's their attempt to build readers online while the paper itself sticks to harder news.
You can see it here.

Then, I heard about a mobile marketing campaign for Remy Martin that was called "Speakeasy" a program that provided a mobile link to those who opted in to secret bars and clubs. You gain admittance by bringing your phone and downloading the secret invite.

Finally at the end of the day was the ultimate story about what a real speakeasy is in the NYTimes Dining section. Seems that the cocktail party of prohibition era is once again hot (which I knew from my sister and her neighborhood hot spot "Drink.").

You can see the NTY story here.

Personally, I've been obsessed with mixology since my first visit to drink where each cocktail came with ice carefully molded for each drink. Chopped, blocked or simply shaken and strained, each drink made as much out of the ice as ingredient as the tinctures, alcohol and mixers that were included.

Of course if you look at the etymology of the word, all of the cases cited seem to meet its meaning: From the online Etymology Dictionary a "Speakeasy" is:
"unlicensed saloon," 1889 (in New York "Voice"), from speak + easy, from the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police and neighbors. The word gained wide currency in U.S. during Prohibition (1920-1932). In early 19c. Ir. and British dialect, a speak softly shop meant "smuggler's den."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fish of a Lifetime

I grew up fishing. My father was a die hard fisherman. Every weekend, evenings in the summer after he came home from work, early in the morning. Whenever he could get out, he'd take us with him. My best memories are out on the boat with the whole family catching blue fish after blue fish.

The one fish that eluded my father was striped bass. He spent days and nights in search of this fish -- that in the early 70's had nearly been wiped out. We trolled, we used fresh bait, fresh bunker, every trick in the book. He never caught one. He caught his fair share of other fish. I have a huge Wahoo that was mounted that I watched him catch in Florida. And he'd go away and fish for Salmon in Canada and to the keys for bonefish with my mom.

I got the fishing gene. It is my favorite past time. I could be out on the water and not catch a thing and have a good day.

I broke the family striper curse about 7 years ago in Martha's Vineyard when we went out with a guide one early morning, and in a fog bound bay hooked into a mess of stripers. I called my brother who had just gotten a boat and told him that it was now his turn.

My brother has since caught stripers in the same fishing grounds that confounded my father. But until today, I'd never caught one in the Long Island Sound.

We got up early and left the dock about 6 am and by 6:30 were fishing off Rye Playland where a week before, my husband and friends pulled out a 40 pounder. Just after dropping our bait, my line took off. I jumped on the reel and brought in a beautiful striper. We continued for about 3 hours catching about 10 fish in all with my son pulling in the catch of the day at about 17-lbs.

A perfect morning, The sun not too hot, the water calm and the fish seemed to be everywhere. As we motored back to dock all I could think about was that I was a year older than my father when he died. And I wondered if perhaps he'd had just a little more time, he would have caught the one fish he had searched so hard to catch.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Office - Changing the Space

I have two offices - one at home that is my very favorite place. It comes with snoring dog, very short commute and allows for my day to start with Yoga, spinning or some sort of exercise.

The other office is in NY at my clients building - the photo above does not really capture the real beauty of the view. I've worked for this client for almost 11-years and it's taken me that long to finally get a really lovely office with a beautiful view of the Hudson River. I know this sounds weird, but when I open the door to that office I feel a calmness. I'm sure it's the proximity to the water and the view out the window. But I really love it. And now I have to leave it.

The company is moving into new space with an open floor plan. Instead of private offices, we will be sitting in an open space with cubicles - really just desk, chair and a drawer for files. No room for photos. No place for a calendar. No way to shut the door.

I am all for collaboration - but I actually think that open space is detrimental to work - at least the kind of work I do where if I'm not on the phone, I'm writing. And when I am on the phone, I'm loud. I once had a boss whose office was next to mine tell me to stop laughing -- I was laughing so loud. I'm not quiet.

Here's the conundrum: the open plan gives me the perfect excuse to work from home more. BUT, the more I work from home, the less I'm seen at work. This should be interesting. NOT looking forward to it. Move is Thursday.

Thought this piece from Wired was interesting on the evolution of office space. Wish it had answers on which space works best. Read it here.
Add to Technorati Favorites