Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lesson from my Mother

There are many things in life that my mother has taught me. Some of them I apply on a daily basis. Some of them I have just forgotten, only to remember them suddenly in the midst of something else.

But she is a loyal reader of this blog so I feel I must do right by her complaint. She said that she loves me and my blog. But she takes offense at the "F" word in my blog post last night on mascara -- of all subjects. She thinks that words like that do not have a place in blogs.

Well, I guess I've just been reading too many f-ing blogs! Because the ones I read have the F-word and worse all the way through them. One of the blogs that I follow for work uses the word "Douchenozzel" every other sentence.

But I think my mother has a point. I don't need to use those words to convey my sentiment. It's actually very lazy. So I apologize to you Mom, and to my readers. I'll only use it when I really need to. And usually that's just yelling at my husband or my son...


Sunday, January 25, 2009

My buy of the Week

I'm not an overly girly girl. But I do require make up to look like a real person these days. It's an over 40 thing and probably an intense lack of sleep.

But like any woman, I am always looking for the best mascara. And by mistake this weekend, I found it. I'm serious. On a whim I bought this new Maybelline xxl "volumne + length" MICROFIBER mascara. It has two parts. You put part 1 on first and then part 2. It doesn't clump, but makes your lashers look long and full. (Sheesh, I sound like a fucking ad - that's what working for ad agencies will get you). Anyway. I had to share.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Taking the Train

Sorry for the poor quality of the photo but this was something you had to see to believe. I've been taking the train into NY lately. Between my son wanting/needing the car and my car having troubles -- not to mention my environmental karma points -- the train has been an ok change in routine. (It used to be my daily commute for 15-years until I started working on the West Side).

I've been getting a ride with my neighbor Scott to the train so I have a commuting buddy. When we got off the train in grand central on Friday, I noticed this guy. It was hard to believe a businessman was wearing Rodney Dangerfield golf pants to work. He was in front of us as we walked through the underground tunnel and then went left when we went right. Scott took some shots, but it was dark.

We wondered, what could he do? Golf writer? Garmento? Who would go to work dressed like that? Then as we were parting to head to our respective offices, the guy walks past us on 6th Avenue. That's where Scott got this picture.

I still prefer to drive, but the sights and sounds of NY come into much sharper focus when you take the train.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History - Shared

Today I watched the inauguration in a room full of agency employees packed in as tight as could be. Every race, color and background seemed to be represented. I watched as co-workers male and female sat with tears streaming down their faces. The room held its breath as the oath was taken - giggled as Judge Roberts rushed it, and the as it turns out, read the oath of office in the wrong order. Our gallent new president repeated the words - still in the wrong order - back, knowing the Judge made a mistake.

NPR today reported on a 105 year old woman who spent 5-hours in the cold, wrapped in a sleeping blanket to watch the event.

It was a wonderful moment that I will remember as one of the most significant events I witnessed.

The balls - a fashion frenzy:

see here

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I've Forgotten

My son is going to a formal dance in two weeks. We had to go rent a tux. I wish it had been that easy for me to find a dress. Black tux - what could be more simple. Of course he had no idea what his date was going to wear so when he asked about a red vest, the very smart salesman said, "why don't you wait to see what your date is wearing. Black goes with everything. And you can match her with your boutonniere."

So all of sudden, thanks to him, I realize my son needs to get a corsage. Who remembers wearing a corsage? A wristlet?

Where did the word even come from? My son had no idea what a corsage was or a boutonniere. But he dutifully sent an instant message to the girl and promptly discovered she was wearing a navy dress. They decided on white roses for the corsage. Which means a white boutonniere for him.

To show him what these look like we went to google and sure enough, you can now get lovely corsages, boutonnieres and whatever online, overnight via 1800 flowers, ftd, you name it.

I somehow don't remember it that way. But still it is a nice old tradition that somehow seems to endure. I will be away visiting my mother when the Cadillac Escalade limo that a bunch of the girls have arranged for their transportation arrives to pick my son up. My husband will probably forget to take a picture. But if the magic moment arrives and the stars align, I'll post a photo. Don't hold your breath.


Sugar Pie Express

My friend Michelle started her blog - Sugar Pie Express - just before me. There's a link on the left under blogs I follow.

I love her blog. So this is a call out to my girl Michelle. Not a fan of her boot choice, but then I go for the high heals and she is all about walking tough.

One of the things she wrote about was "5 Things I Love Everyday." Top of her list was having coffee with her husband. Sweet. They are still newleyweds. I hope that continues til forever, but as for my husband of 23 years, morning is not good -- at least until the medicine kicks in.

But still I think 5 Things I love Everyday is a good exercise. Here's mine:

1 - The first cup of coffee
2 - Being greeted by my dogs when I walk in the door (unconditional love is the BEST)
3 - A kiss goodnight from my son (at almost 17, getting a kiss everynight is meaningful)
4 - Looking outside the window and looking into other windows - the view beyond my own four walls is always refreshing
5 - My family and friends

Friday, January 9, 2009

Layoff Mania

I am still decompressing from a bad week. But at least I am employed. Some out of work "cranky editor" has actually created a website with a daily list of companies that have laid off workers
See link here

At least he offers info on companies that are hiring.

When Google fires 6,000 people it means that we are all in trouble. When the US was at the depth of its recession in the 1930's, unemployment was 25%. We are still in single digets but it feels like a bomb has gone off everywhere.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Combat Journalism

It has been a long week. My oldest and largest client had the biggest layoffs its ever had.

Lesson 1 - as a PR person, push the point that in the age of transparency -- when we tell others that they need to be transparent -- WE also need to be open, honest and direct. If you know in advance that the shit is going to hit the fan, have a statement that puts in in perspective.

They refused to issue a statement and provide a figure of the employees cut. I didn't have the correct figures. In fact, they didn't even have the correct numbers until the CEO of the holding company created a shitstorm and insisted that the right numbers be provided because the blogs, online press and others overinflated the figures.

As a result, every article has the same erroneous figures as the first. Now I'm like a stupid dustbin trying to clean up their mess.

Lesson 2 - never underestimate the sleaziness of the press

As employees were leaving the building, the leading trade magazine sent a reporter over to the office to talk with employees on their way out. Now I understand when they did that at Lehman and others. But hundreds of companies have had lay offs. Why do that to innocent people on what is probably one of their worst days? Has our need for the ultimate human interest story taken us that low?

Now some think this was an obvious and smart way for this publication to show another side of the story. But I think it's tabloid journalism of the worst kind. In fact, it feels to me like combat journalism with no place to hide, no way to protect yourself and the shells and hits keep coming.

I need to stop taking work so seriously.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life Goals

My husband's friend Dan from grade school recently achieved one of his life goals - he bought and completely renovated a house 100 steps from the beach in Westport, Ct. Last night he had the "opening" night party at his renovated "cottage."

With an amazing eye for detail and desire to create a model true to the "Arts & Crafts" bungalow, the home embraces and calms as one discovers unusual touches -- hand-tooled hinges, a copper kitchen sink (bought on e-bay for $795), images of mermaids playfully hidden within tile, a coupula with beautful stained glass images and a weathervane that has followed Dan to each new house he renovates. The bookcase in his office is filled with books on Arts & Crafts archetechture and bungalows. He did his homework and with help from his girlfriend designer extraordinnaire, has created a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. (I'll get a photo and post later).

I remember sitting down with Dan at one of the many gatherings of our crowd several years ago. He talked about how having a home on the water was one of his goals in life. Intrigued, I asked if he had a list of things he wanted to do. And he did. Travelling to great places and climbing mountains like Kilimanjaro is one - checked off and done. For his 50th, he's heading to Patagonia.

Last night he asked a bunch of us what we wanted to do with our lives. It's a hard question to answer. Getting through each day sometimes seems enough of a goal. But as I've spent time with Dan, I have started thinking about the things that I want to do. Travel is an obvious. There are places I've never been and want to see: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, etc.

But when I think about my goals, I think more about what I personally want to make happen. I too want to live on the water - a home by the sea, a lake, a stream even -- is at the top of my list. I want to learn to make cheese. I want to learn to fly fish. I want to catch a permit (it is part of the 3 sport fishes that consititute a grand slam in the keys and I've already caught a tarpon and bonefish). I want to discover a new career path. And more.

I'm not sure having an actual list gets you there faster. It works for Dan. But I do think keeping track and thinking about what you want to achieve is what will make your life richer and more meaningful. I'm working on my list.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Year

We brought back an old tradition this year - the New Year's Day family and friends party. After the crazy celebrations of High School, New Year's Eve has been a somewhat quiet time for us. Dinner, watch the ball, go to bed. What's the big deal?

But New Year's Day always seemed a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and family in a low key moment. A "check in" and reminder of friendships.

We had a nice gathering that started at 1pm. Our last guests (who also were the first to arrive), left at 9pm. I've never had a party like that. And while there were just four couples who stayed to hang out well past "closing" time, it was so much fun and so more intimate. We had eaten everything and even had to order pizza!

We've been to parties at these friends homes and I think what made this a special time was that it was our home. We don't have a mega house. But it is very comfortable. We can get 7 or 8 comfortably on our sofa. Our living room is a "living room" with big screen tv and old album covers as art work. Our parties are a little more contained. Less spread out. I think that makes for a more engaged and connected party experience. Whatever the reason -- maybe it was just the good food, drink and friends -- it augers well for moving forward in a New Year.
Add to Technorati Favorites