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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lucky Days

I don't play the lottery, but occasionally I hear a story about winners of big piles of lottery money. Last Saturday's Mega Million Jackpot was $319 Million dollars, and it was won by a group of office workers in Albany. Over the radio this morning, I heard about the group who won the huge jackpot. They were a group of seven people who regularly pooled their money together in hopes of winning a huge sum. Evidently this group of workers  played frequently and usually had eight members, but someone opted out this time, claiming he was feeling unlucky. A decision that cost him millions, so he was right in his feeling that it wasn't his lucky day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Encore: An Apple a Day

Last week I posted that it was my anniversary of one-to-one sessions at Apple 67 — or Apple USW as "they" say, and today I'd like to tell you, dear reader, that the response to my efforts from the Apple trainers, greeters, cash-wrappers and security guards has been touching and somewhat overwhelming, and if any of you "out there" have ever toyed with the idea of expressing your gratitude towards someone, I encourage you to do so. We are living in tough times. Maybe we can't send dollars to Libya or Japan, but that should not stop us from reaching out to those in our own world, by sending them a card (and I have a wide selection in my store-front). Let's heed the warning in the (I'm showing my age now), song by Three Dog Night, Easy To be Hardand if we truly care about the issues at hand, there is always something we can do for those right in front of us, and I am suggesting, sending a "snail-mail" card (for starters) to warm the hearts of anyone in your life that has helped you move forward.

And with that thought, I leave you with this "reprise" — a video (short, short), in honor of the wonderful training I have received, produced by yours truly (with some techie assistance). The animated "show" starts out with all the people I've met during "class-time" (represented by apples with the individual's name on each one) and cuts to the ones that I first worked with (and many of those are acknowledged an on-line brochure). This cuts to the clapping/applause that you will hear as individuals leave their position at Apple 67, and this occurs every time someone employed by Apple 67 moves on to their next endeavor — often a sad moment for me, but a ritual rooted in Apple 67's (excuse me, Apple USW) spirit of encouragement and good will. Then the newer apples enter, each contributing a unique perspective. Thanks again.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Perspectives on the Arrival of Spring

Springtime is a theme that I've used in my black and white photography (both in my collection of impressionistic note-cards and in my original prints like Springtime in the Greenhouse, which can be seen at the top of this post).

But signs of spring are not limited to first flowers, first buds, or nuances in a greenhouse. Signs of spring are not even limited to temperatures. Signs of spring often appear in subtle ways such as the arrival of spring as seen by E.B. White:

"SPRING ALWAYS USED TO ARRIVE in midtown in the window boxes of Helen Gould Shepard house. Something about the brightness and suddenness of that hyacinthine moment said Spring, something about its central location, too. The other day we passed the Gould House and shed a private tear for olden springtimes. Spring struggles into Manhattan by other routes these days; Rockefeller Center has pretty much taken the occasion over. Rockefeller's is different from Helen Gould's. Less homey. More like Christmas at Lord & Taylor's — beautiful but contrived. One never knows where one will encounter the first shiver and shine of spring in the city. Often it is not in a flowering plant at all, merely in a certain quality of light as it strikes the walls. We met ours quite a while back, late one afternoon in February, driving south through the Park; in an instant the light had lengthened and strengthened and bounced from the towers into our systems, hitting us as a dram of tonic reaching the stomach, and, lo, it was spring."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On N'tl Chocolate Covered Raisin Day — During Lent

If you follow my blog, then perhaps the cartoon posted above looks familiar to you as I included it in an entry that I posted this past January, when I discussed my correlation of New Year's resolutions with the resolving to give up something for Lent. And at that time I confessed that I was not usually successful in fulfilling either intention, but had been certain, like the sentiment expressed in the Dilbert comic strip, that there are folks in my life who would like to tell me what I should resolve to do (in the case of a New Year resolution) or strongly advise me on what I should resolve not to do — or what to give up for Lent.

Last Sunday, March 20th, was not only the first "official" day of spring, but it was the second Sunday of Lent, so I am returning to the Dilbert sentiment today, because, besides the fact that Lent is  currently being observed by some people, another fact was brought to my attention this morning: today is National Chocolate Raisin Day. Today's "holiday" was pointed out to me by someone who knows I design invitations that preserve a moment in time, program covers that enhance an occasion, and cards that are about more than communication. With the information on this "holiday" came a note that expressed the idea that "the timing of this holiday (occurring during Lent) was ironic given that many Christians give up chocolate for Lent."

I am not sure what people who observe this season resolve to give up, but sacrificing the agony of not having chocolate raisins would be an easy resolution for me to keep — giving up chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered expresso beans, or chocolate covered cranberries might prove to be harder . . . 

On another note, I still think that taking on a charitable action (visiting the homebound, assisting in a soup kitchen, helping a friend or even helping someone that is not a friend) during Lent (or anytime) is more virtuous than giving up chocolate covered raisins. I once heard a priest say, "Woe to the parent who tells his child that if you eat chocolate before dinner, God will punish you, because in reality, a loving God would say, 'see that chocolate, go ahead' . . ."
So, as far as National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day falling during Lent, well . . . 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Apple for the Teacher: Celebrating Apple's Variety of Gifts and One Spirit

It has been written that there are "a variety of gifts but one spirit," and while, in this instance, it is the spiritual gifts from God that are being referred to, I would like to equate this passage with a place— a place where there are a variety of gifts and one spirit, and that place is the Apple Store on 67th and Broadway, in the Upper Westside of Manhattan, where the variety of gifts are from the talented people who work there, and from their common spirit which seems to be a willingness to share knowledge. Today I will be "celebrating" my anniversary of one-to-one sessions that I began taking at this location on March 22nd 2010. I heard about the one-to-one program from a man named Orlando whom I met (at that time he was an Apple 67 greeter), when I wandered into the store last March.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig — Saint Patrick's Day (Enhance any of your celebrations with . . . "Dogwood Yawning")

Top of the mornin' to you, dear reader, with a salutation that you are likely to hear on this day, Lá Fhéile Pádraig — Saint Patrick's Day ( a day which provides an excuse to hoist a green beer to celebrate), but did you know that this greeting actually comes from New Zealand and not Ireland? This bit of trivia was brought to my attention when I spent time in Galway, Ireland, some years ago, and learned that New Zealanders coined the phrase — because they believe they are at the top of the world. Whether the phrase belongs to the Irish or not, the color green seems to, and the city of Chicago honors the Irish by dying Lake Michigan a kelly green color.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Unexpected Consolation from Lantana camara

This morning I was having a real where-to-turn moment when I spotted some flowers in an array of colors (a lovely orange, yellow, red and pink) that had come up quite unexpectedly from my Lantana camara, which is on the top the armoire in my kitchen where it is making its winter home with some of my succulents. 

My armoire — a family treasure from before the 1900's — has served as a space for my plants from my roof extension garden that need to be brought inside during the winter season, while the others remain outside wrapped to protect them from the harshness of the season as I've stated in previous posts. I've grown varieties of Lantana in my urban roof extension garden over the years —  especially in my early days as a gardener — before I moved on to other types of plants and shrubs.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Station Identification: Pending

The screen-shot posted above (from a J Peterman catalogue) is included in this blog post because the sentiment spoke to me, and perhaps it will speak to you, dear reader, when like myself you find yourself having to explain (as a career consultant has asked me to do) who your "audience" is for your product and or blog.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Doesn't God know its my birthday?"

The photograph posted above is of yours truly with one of my sisters. Today is her birthday, and being born in the month of March, her birthdays have seen springlike temperatures as well as bitter snowstorms. I will always recall one such birthday when inclement weather ruled the day.

We were children, and a raging snowstorm turned to heavy rain and caused power wires to come down, endangering the safety of our neighborhood. My sister, anticipating her party favorite — Angel Food Cake and Peppermint Ice-cream — looked forlornly out the window and inquired, "Doesn't God know its my birthday?"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In like a lamb . . .

Approximately a month ago I posted an entry about the fact that  Chuck and Phil, the famous groundhogs of the northeast, were in agreement that an early spring was in the works. However, the weather since that time has been very cold.

At least today, the first of March (which is coming in like a lamb so may go out like a lion, delaying spring), brings the promise that there will soon be more daylight. (Daylight Savings Time begins in twelve days on March 13th 2011). 

I am still not ready to unwrap the shrubs and trees that we wrapped in bubble-wrap as well as burlap (from on-line fabrics) this past December (as seen in the photo posted above this entry taken at that time) to prepare them for winter and will probably not do so until April — even if Spring Fever attacks. I have learned the hard way about the consequences of having an eager-beaver-green-thumb, and can almost be certain that other gardeners have done the same, especially after a long dreary winter.

All I can say to my urban gardener comrades is this: those that wait upon the onset of warmer temperatures renew their strength and benefit their gardens.