Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What do you do? Expectations and Answering that question

When you're a jewelry designer, you're always "on." At the doctor's office, the bank, anywhere someone might ask, "What do you do?" As soon as you say, "I design jewelry," they're going to look at what jewelry you're wearing. That's where their attention goes. (Ladies, remember lines like, "Hey, my eyes are up here!" Well it's a little different if you want them to look at your necklace!)

Most of the time, I want to be wearing jewelry that I designed and made myself. I'm proud of it and would like to talk about it. I'd love to hear what other people are looking for. If I'm not wearing any jewelry that day or am wearing other artists' pieces, people have wondered why! In the past, I sometimes chose to answer the "What do you do?" question with what I did as an avocation vs my vocation.

Other professions are like this, always expected to be 'on,' and some to a greater extent. I was once at a party with a doctor who was repeatedly asked by others about different medical conditions. Comedians are expected to be funny. We might evaluate what fashion designers are wearing. Are artists who make and sell wearable art, fashion of any type our own walking billboards? Sure.

I'd guess there are people who prefer not to say what they do for a living when asked. Maybe it's due to responses they've received in the past. Do you work for a certain political party and don't want to get into a debate? I've had some people tell me where they work, but not exactly what they do.

Those who work at home and those who work outside the home sometimes can develop a rivalry, for a lack of a better way of putting it. I'm not sure why. Rarely does what one person has chosen to do have anything at all to do with what another is doing or is it any kind of judgment of what someone else is doing. Comparing and personalizing are real bugaboos.

I used to have a job with an ever-changing title, one of which was
Administrative Assistant. Interestingly enough, people didn't expect anything specific from my appearance or my personality when I announced that was what I did for a living. There were other ramifications that could sometimes come from saying that was what I did.

Is the answer to the question, "What do you do?" the same as the answer to the questions, "Who are you?" "How would you define yourself, your identity?" This is one reason I started answering the "What do you do" question with my avocation instead of my vocation. At the time, it said more about my goals, how I spent my time and who I was.
What I did during the week was just a way to pay the bills and fund my passion.

Peggy Seeger's
Lady, What Do You Do All Day? is on her CD, Peggy Seeger: The Folkways Years, 1955-1992 - Songs Of Love And Politics. The song itself which helps to explain some of what Stay-At-Home Moms (SAHMs) do during the day, can be downloaded in MP3 format for $0.99 from Amazon.com.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebrating 50 Years of The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling October 2-3

The Twilight Zone television show premiered on October first, 1959.

Celebrating 50 Years of The Twilight Zone is an interdisciplinary conference dedicated to the works of Rod Serling.

It will take place this October 2-3 at New York's Ithaca College.

The college is just 50 miles north of Serling's hometown of Binghamton. It's also very close to the family cottage on Cayuga Lake where, ­in an Airstream trailer behind the house, some of the most memorable Serling scripts in television history were crafted.

Ithaca College is home to the Rod Serling Archives, and Serling taught at the college from 1967 - 1975. You can follow the Serling Conference on Twitter.

There's a very good episode of the PBS series,
American Masters that focuses on Serling.

As a fan of both The Twilight Zone and old radio, I discovered these
Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, and you may want to check them out. Some are available on iTunes. Let me know if you know of a good web site for the original tv series.

Several sellers on Etsy have great Twilight Zone-inspired items in their shops. The program is eternal.

Final Score's Shop has a number of items, but the one that stood out to me was their WORDIX Rod Serling. It's subtitled "The Twilight Zone amazing framed text art," and is described
as "A picture of Rod Serling from far away but up close its the classic opening narration from the television show The Twilight Zone. The narration is repeated several times in the art."

CreativePal's Shop offers the Classic Twilight Zone Rod Serling Lamp and lamp shade with over 70 images and optional SOUND Rod Serling's show introduction. Rod himself stands 12 inches tall on the base.

RozDeMinion's Shop has a print titled, Asia DeVinyl - How to Serve Man.

So what is your favorite episode & why??

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Prêt-à-Portea: Fashionista's Afternoon Tea during London's Fashion Week

It's Fashion Week in London! Think of the designers, the new looks, the accessories, the parties, the after-parties, the mornings after the after-parties.... Think of the cookies!

The Berkeley Hotel in London is having its famous Fashionistas' Afternoon Tea, Prêt-à-Portea. It features cookies, cakes and petit fours inspired by current fashion trends seen on the runways.

The treats are designed to look like couture of some of the world's top fashion icons, and are based on fashions and also accessories. Pastry chefs visit London fashion week shows to get their inspiration for the colors and the textures of the new collections. Designers are pleased when their pieces are recreated by the chefs at The Berkeley.

From a 2004 Telegraph interview:

"Pastry chef Angela Esparasa visits fashion shows for inspiration and then sits down with fashion editors from magazines including Vogue, W and Harpers & Queen to fine-tune the key looks.

"'Some things translate very easily, but others can be really tricky. Not all fashion is edible,' she explains. An Armani choux bun was deemed insufficiently chic to make the final line-up this season.

"'The committee is very tough on us – it took weeks to get the exact shade of pink for a Matthew Williamson-inspired meringue.' International labels now clamour to have their accessories included. Fendi campaigned to have its famous baguette bag in the spring/summer collection and Chanel, which at first refused to allow its coveted handbags to be replicated, is now begging to be part of the tea."

This season's menu lists the following delicacies:

Lavin duo of blueberry and passion fruit mousse with flowing bright yellow meringue

Balmain almond macaroon jacket filled with white chocolate and pistachio ganache

Hervé Léger vivid orange bikini vanilla biscuit with signature criss-cross banding

Alexander McQueen ‘Elvie’ chocolate truffle tote wrapped in mint flavoured marzipan

Christian Louboutin coconut cream sponge cake shoe topped with metallic frill

Christopher Kane clementine bavaroise with signatureover-sized circles of pate de fruit

Oscar de la Renta black and white belted chocolate dress biscuit

Josh Goot blocked dress of strawberry pannacotta and mango crèmetopped with kiwi marshmallows

Michael Kors red and blue striped Regatta dress cake of rich Valrhona chocolate

Delivery service, via a Vespa in their signature colors of pistachio green and pale pink, is available in the London SW1 area is available this year.

The blog, WornThrough: Apparel from an academic perspective, has a great report on The Prêt-à-Portea experience.

The tradition was recenly carried on during February's Fashion Week 2009 in Café BG, Bergdorf Goodman’s restaurant in New York.

Reports were that the lineup of edibles included Michael Kors' red and blue striped Regatta dress done as a mousse, Chanel's quilted handbag as a petit four and an edible Christian Louboutin crystal pump complete with red sole.

What's Cooking in America has a report of the New York version complete with delectable photos.

Source photos from  Harper's Bazaar UK

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Respect for the Aged Day in Japan

Handmade Classic Japanese
Red Sakura Cherry Blossom
The third Monday of September is traditionally Respect for the Aged Day, a national holiday in Japan. 

In 1951 there was Old People's Day (or Old Folks' Day), Toshiyori no Hi. Some show its origins back as far as the 1940s. In 1966, it was designated a national holiday, Respect for the Aged Day or Keiro no Hi.

It's like Grandparents' Day in the US but a more serious holiday. The Japanese hold a particularly special place in their culture and their hearts for the aged in their society. Japan has the longest life expectancy of any country in the world.

The 100-and-over population is growing by about a thousand each year, and there were 7,373 centenarians in 1996. according to the Management and Coordination Agency, nearly one out of every six persons is 65 or above.

One major contributor to the the long lives of the Japanese has been thought to be their traditional diet. But this is also changing as more and more Japanese people add meat and other western foods to what they eat. 

Young at Heart 

City living also has been seen to cut lifespan as as pollution and stress becomes more and more a part of daily life. As Japan's society ages and nursing homes become more popular, it's speculated that being old may not be so special anymore, but rather the norm.

Because Respect for the Aged Day is a relatively new holiday, there are no customs particularly associated with this day. Through the years, more and more Japanese people have expressed an interest in celebrating the occasion. As the population of Japan is growing older, some of these traditions may be changing.

Origami Thousand Cranes Kit (below) Having a special birthday or other event? This is a very meaningful gift as it's something that you, your family and friends construct and decorate with yourselves. You may choose gold foil to create your cranes.

Annually, Japanese media take the opportunity to feature the elderly. They feature reports
which highlight the oldest people in the country.  A keirokai ceremony or show may be held. 

One article said that these ceremonies that used to be held for those 60 years old and over had changed as so many residents are over the age of 60 now. 

The qualifying age in one area has steadily increased and is now 65. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government pays a visit to Japanese citizens in the Tokyo area who are 100 years or older.

Some neighborhood volunteers distribute free obento boxed lunches to elderly people. Cultural programs and events spotlighting the elderly are held in communities. In some elementary schools, children draw pictures or make simple handmade items to present to their grandparents or the residents of nursing homes. 

Smaller villages will hold shows where the younger people and school children prepare dances and songs for the keirokai ceremony. The elderly attendees are also treated to a special meal.

Kanreki, Turning 60, Japanese tradition, Celebrations

Enjoy a song by The Zimmers

Content derived from a variety of sources.
Information intended to be accurate but cannot be guaranteed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What do you do for the world?

The question posed was, "Sept. 11 is the anniversary of a very tragic event. To make the world better what do you do? Charity donations or support, volunteering, living green or ?"

I'd like to say that I'm spending weekends rescuing people from horrid situations (though we did rescue a homeless cat and I'm very proud of that. We did it when we said we just couldn't do it. It had to be done, so we did that and care for her every day.) I'd like to say that I'm doing something exotic and life-saving every day.

I have friends who are fire fighters and police officers. Very noble. My niece is the a doctor. I used to diaper a doctor. Sheesh. Amazing. The other niece is a teacher. They're making the world a better place.

The first thing that came to mind when I read the question was to say what I'm not doing. Maybe that's a cop-out. Maybe that's the right answer for me, though, because I'm actively, on a daily basis not doing things in an effort to help to make the lives of the people I come in contact with at least a little better.

As much as possible, I try to think of the other guy -- or gal. If someone cuts in line, wants that particular shopping cart or parking place or wants to fight for a store dressing room, they can have it. I've witnessed Dressing Room Rage and it isn't pretty. I'll come back later when I have more time if necessary.

It's not a point of backing down in situations. It means not turning encounters with family, friends or strangers into some kind of confrontation. Remember what's important. Every little thing is not a competition.

When that person is making a cutting remark or glaring across the room, I check myself before I get my back up. There's a mental image, a snapshot ready to replay in my mind.

I think of when my mother was going through some of her worst time with Alzheimer's Disease. I was her caretaker and there came a time when, thanks in part to major lack of sleep, I'd reached physical and emotional burnout point. I uncharacteristically snapped at people, strangers and friends alike regardless of the situation. I never stopped to put on an "I'm in pain & stressed because I haven't slept in days as I'm caring for my dying Mother" T-shirt.

These days, I'll count to ten, breathe, remind myself not to take it personally. They're probably going through something in their lives, too. A lot of problems are invisible. If they're going to get some kind of satisfaction from a skirmish with a stranger, that stranger isn't going to be me.

WWMD? What would Mother do?
What would I want my Mother to see me do in the situation? Whatever it takes for me to keep it together and respond correctly in a given situation.

So yes, I do quite a bit of recycling. I do what I can to help the elderly, children and animals, and I donate to charities whenever possible. But maybe my main daily contribution to the world is a mindful attempt not to add to the stress, overwhelm and "life rage" that seems so prevalent in the atmosphere nowadays. The goal is to replace some of it with kindness.

A previous blog post was about anniversary reactions to significant dates.

Butterflies symbolizing celebration, memories, renewal

News was that the Monarch butterflies were to begin their fall migration late August. Butterflies are beautiful and graceful. 

The butterfly is often a potent symbol of the spirit or soul, of renewal and transformation. It's particularly meaningful to those going through loss, dealing with illness or major life changes.

Sometimes what we need is light against the darkness. Something so simple and pretty is the Chloe Lighting Tiffany-Style Butterfly Light.

Some say that when a butterfly or dragonfly lands on you it means good luck and wearing something featuring a butterfly can be comforting and empowering. 

The butterfly may offer hope and encouragement as we work forward past setbacks. Wonderful butterfly-themed items are not difficult to find.

You can get sets of Place Cards Wedding 8 Placecards
They don't need placecard holders. Fit on the rim of a glass.

Weddings and funerals sometimes feature butterfly releases, offering family and friends the sense of releasing sentiments and acknowledging beginnings and endings. Winged creatures in general, perhaps butterflies especially, often carry with them these ideas of transformation and perseverance.

Loss of a child sympathy cards, Birthday memory cards, postage to choose from  customize, create something special and meaningful. Look for butterflies.

The ancient Greeks, Aztecs and some Native American tribes believed that butterflies symbolized the souls of the dead. Psyche is the Greek word for both soul and butterfly. In Japan, the butterfly symbolizes young womanhood. In China, the butterfly symbolizes long life, regeneration and beauty.

The butterfly is one of the chosen symbols for October 15th, the day to remember Pregnancy and Infant Loss.

The numbers and colors of butterflies and moths may be symbolic in different cultures. Check in your area to see if any Butterfly-themed events are scheduled.

Late September is the annual Monarch Release at The Butterfly House in Whitehouse, Ohio.

Butterfly lights for your home, your child's room, butterfly lamps for the nursery.

The best event of all may be one that you create with your own friends and family out wherever you encounter butterflies.

The Butterfly Website lists Butterfly exhibits and gardens throughout the world.

Want to bring butterflies into your home? Butterfly wall decals in various colors and styles. Express yourself for an event or every day.

When looking for a way to remember, to celebrate, when seeking beauty, follow the butterflies.

Information provided was derived from various sources. Intended to be accurate, some is up for personal interpretation, and cannot be guaranteed.
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