From here to there

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So a little while ago, I had the distinct pleasure of working with a dear friend and amazing artist on a collaborative project for a client.

My go-to guy for anything painterly is Joel Watkins – a career commercial artist and all around fabulous guy.

We worked together on a map of the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, highlighting some points of interest as well as the wedding and rehearsal dinner venues for the happy couple. Joel sketched and painted the landmarks and I did some Adobe magic and viola – custom coolness…

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What an amazing keepsake for Rich and Kate. Thanks Joel! xoxo

Quote of the day

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Lest you think I am trying to trick you into believing that I will be posting a quote daily, let me say right up front that I will not. I do love a good quote, but frankly I know myself, and even if I were so inclined, I do not have the sticking power to commit to such a lofty goal.

Perhaps I should have titled this “Quote for today” instead.

Next time.

At any rate, back to the quote…

A career path is rarely a path at all. A more interesting life is usually a more crooked, winding path of missteps, luck, and vigorous work. It is almost always a clumsy balance between the things you try to make happen and the things that happen to you. – Tom Freston

For some reason, this totally resonated with me today.

It started me thinking about the vagaries of life. About how you start out going in one direction – down a path that seems to go straight to the horizon. You feel so confident that this path will lead to your goal that you take a moment to gaze at the scenery on your left. When you look back, you find yourself on a completely different path that seems to be leading to Detroit. You can’t think of a single reason to go to Detroit, but there’s all this momentum happening so you let it carry you, farther and farther from your initial goal.

Good? Bad? Both? Who can say. That’s just the journey.

When I look at my career, I realize that I am such a lucky duck. I get to be a part of the special events that happen in people’s lives. Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, showers, baptisms, etc., etc. And, as a bonus, everyone I meet with is typically happy and excited (with the rare exception of the person writing the checks…but, I am going to chalk that up to a quirky personality disorder).

Here’s the thing though –  I didn’t start out with this career in mind. Far from it in fact. A myriad of choices, life events, and a mondo crooked path led me to this spot.

And I couldn’t be more glad.

So,I just want to say thank you. To the people I’ve had the good fortune to work with. To the people that have supported me on the twisty journey. And to the universe at large that this is not, in fact, Detroit.

October is scary

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Who invented October, is what I would like to know. I would like to know so that I can surprise him (you know it’s a him) at his house and hit him in the face with a banana cream pie. My very least favorite pie. And, now, my very least favorite month.

I used to love October. What with all its freshy, freshness and that whole candy thing shining like a beacon at the end of the month. Fall has always been such an inspirational season. Back to school organization, crisp apples, even crisper days. A person can breath better in the fall. Well, apparently I was simply being lulled into a false sense of security. My new motto? October sucks. Tell your friends.

There have been several small crises (I had to look up the plural of crisis – who knew?) and a couple of major ones that, granted, could have been worse, but were still very unsettling. Highlights? Baby boy in a car accident (he’s sore and shaken, but miraculously unbroken), surgery on my Dad (recovering nicely – his nurse, my mom, may not survive), surgery on my friend’s Dad (doing much better), flood at the shop (what’s the saying? don’t cry over spilled, rusty, toxic water), cancelled vacation (still sad about this one), absentee husband (some nonsense about overtime) and, as ever, dealing with teenage shenanigans (I can’t blame October for that one).

Only thirty more hours.

And I still have that candy thing to look forward to…

Optimism, thy name is Jelly Belly.

It’s hot

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Unless you have been living under a rock, like those guys in the Geico commercial – not my favorite by the way, I like the one with the little pig who cries “Weeeeee” all the way home – you will have noticed that it’s hot. Is hot, has been hot, will continue to be hot for the foreseeable future. So hot in fact, that everyone, including myself, has become a giant cranky-pants monster. Apparently heat cooks the kindness right out of you. So hot, that we decided to cancel our annual 4th of July party. Even though ninety percent of our guest list responded positively, including some friends that have been unable to attend since we started this ill-conceived party nonsense – we altruistically decided to call it off. I will share with you our well-thought out reasons, as were stated in the cancellation email I sent:

Hello my friends,
 
It is with sincere regret that I write to inform you that we have decided to postpone the 4th of July party. To quote Cole Porter, a wise man if ever there was one, it’s just too darned hot. We are concerned about your comfort and health.
 
Initially, we concocted several ideas to keep you cool. These included, but were not limited to, sprinklers, squirt guns and lettuce misters – all of which we determined would be appropriate for a 10 year old girl’s pajama party, and not so much for an adult soiree.
 
Our ancient air conditioner barely keeps the five of us cool – to say nothing of the family pooch. It runs non-stop, yet has the cooling capabilities of two natives with palm fronds. Don’t worry about us, we’ll muddle through. It’s you I’m worried about. Even if I could bribe a sweaty repair man (with a suspicious bulge in his back pocket where wallets are traditionally kept) to exorcise said conditioner, there would not be enough room for all of you in the cottage we bought from the seven dwarves. Again, I worry for my friends.
 
I hope this change in plans doesn’t cause you any undue unhappiness. If you take umbrage and would like to vent to me personally, you can find me languishing on the porch, like a boneless chicken, fanning myself with Icelandic travel brochures.
 
We have set our sights on Labor Day for the new and improved party. At least we’ve got a fighting chance in September. Of course we will send out a new invitation (plea) to apprise you of all the important details. If we’re still friends….Please let me know that you have received this sad missive. I would hate for you to show up expecting something from the grill, only to find that the only things being cooked are the plants and grass.

P.S. Those of you with pools have been moved to a TBD status on the friendship ledgers.

I’m not sure why we started this annual stress fest to begin with. Every year we swelter. Are fireworks really that beguiling? Who can tell, what with all the sweat in one’s eyes.

So that happened

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For the first time in my life, I went under the knife.

Not the fun under the knife where you stand in front of a target wearing a sparkly bathing suit and a swarthy man dramatically throws knives at you while the crowd gasps in relief when you don’t end up impaled.

Nope.

It was the bad kind. The kind where I reluctantly went to the emergency room hoping for a quick fix and instead ended up having a man stick a sword in me. OK, the man was a surgeon and – to use some of my newly minted medical jargon – the sword was technically a scalpel. But, I was completely unprepared for the ordeal. And it was not one little bit fun.

I won’t bore you with all the myriad details, even though I have total recall of each. What I will say is that my cavalier attitude toward surgery has done a complete 180. I used to think “How bad can it be? They knock you out for the cutting part and then they give you lovely mind-altering drugs. Sign me up.” Such blissful ignorance.

What I learned is that hospitals are depressing. And boring. And frustrating. And designed to keep you awake. In fact, I think perhaps we are overlooking a veritable gold mine when it comes to modifying criminal behavior. Send those ne’er-do-wells to the closest infirmary.

Let me whine a bit more…. As far as the mind altering drugs go – big, fat lie. I don’t know why people pay for morphine. I was expecting to spend some time in the strawberry fields with the Beatles. I stayed right where I was (see above) with nobody but the night nurse for company. And she only wanted to make sure I wasn’t sleeping. Very disappointing.

Shall I go on? Did you know that when they do laparoscopic surgery they inflate your abdomen (with a bellows, I believe) until it is roughly the size of New Zealand and then seal up all the escape routes so you can double as the Hindenburg for the next few days? It’s very pretty.

Anyway. I got better. And my doctor and nurses were lovely. I think mostly because they knew they could go home as soon as their shifts ended. And, all in all, I came to appreciate how ridiculously healthy I usually am. I am determined not to take feeling good for granted. Also, as I was walking around the gray, cheerless hallways in the middle of the night, I realized that there are so many people who are really, really sick and who will probably not get better. So I am truly thankful for how blessed I am.

One more thing. I learned that while my family is comprised of very caring individuals, my unlicensed and, in one case, underaged children are not above using my car to joyride around while I lay prone in a hospital bed completely unaware. The girls tried to rationalize their complete disregard for the law by saying that they only wanted to visit me and bolster my spirit. Complete hogwash. The last time I checked, the mall was not on the way to the hospital. Considering the fact that we live about four blocks from the hospital, nothing is on the way.

We all survived.

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