Friday, March 23, 2012

Warm Cozies

We're averaging about two doctor/hospital/ER visits a week in our house, so needless to say March has stomped her way in and is throttling us by the neck.  Rashes, viral infections, and unknown abdominal pains need beautiful things to combat their miserable company.  Here is how I'm distracting myself:

Yeah, they did.  Prada put a rocket on it, and now my fever dreams are waaayy better than those silly old flying dreams I used to have as a kid.

I spent Halloween of 2011 on an incredibly long flight: final destination Osaka, Japan.  Once we arrived, I was both grateful and disheartened by the fact that this was a work trip, and said work would considerably cut into the amount of time available for shopping.  This was a dramatic, inflated understatement.  We spent all of 4 hours (of a 10-day trip) on extracurricular activities.  The onsen beat out the boutiques, but I did spend 20 glorious minutes trying on tunics at Marimekko.

Baby Alpaca Hot Water Bottle Cover 
Hand-knit baby alpaca hot water bottle cover.  For this reason alone you should own a hot water bottle.
This soup & cracker bowl from uncommon goods warms my toes just looking at the pictures.  Basil- Tomato soup?  Yes, please.  Oyster crackers on the side?  Don't mind if I do.  Oh, on your way back to the kitchen, could you just run a load in the dishwasher?  Just real quick?  I'll be right here, licking the crumbs out of this crevice...

  Hopefully the quarantine will end in the foreseeable future.  If not, next post will be comfort foods (and how to keep them on the inside).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feeling out the Edges

framed objects by the.
Everything looks better with the right frame.  I can't tell you how often I've seen an ordinary object transformed by just the right shade of mat, by a certain thickness of stretched wood.  I've also seen incredible works of beauty that have been dulled due to careless and cavalier approaches to packaging.   
The same can be said for people.  Presented within a certain context, people are more or less approachable.  More or less desirable.   We view our experiences and lessons by the emotions that border said events, and we understand the world around us by breaking it down into more manageable parcels of information.  Everything is contained, we just differ in our method for organization and appreciation.   
So why is it that we often find ourselves unable to recognize the awesome power of the individual frameworks that surround our everyday thoughts and actions?  What of the ways in which we frame our environments, our experiences, and our objects?  In the social sciences, framing is a powerful tool used to develop and enhance social and political movements.  It helps one to identify, define, and remedy issues by pushing forth a particular perspective.  What would happen if we were to utilize this tool not only in our social and political lives, but in experiencing the mundane everyday items as well?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Instrumental Shifts in Perspective

I'd like to compel you to immediately visit this site:

I'd post images here, but you really must see them all together as a collection (and I didn't have the patience to retrieve them all, in addition to trying to gain permission to repost the entire set).  I was blown away when I first saw the cavernous beauty of the instruments, and the soft light illuminating each photograph.  The simplicity of the message underscores the complex group of emotions I feel when gazing at these images.  

First, I am overwhelmed by the craftsmanship of these instruments; the loving care they so clearly receive on a regular basis.  Tending to the upkeep of these objects is, in itself, an act of art.  And then, I am struck by the process through which these photographs were captured, and the artful arrangement of such tiny little images.  But mostly, I am moved by the simple shift in perspective that causes the viewer to pause, and to assess the world from a whole new angle.  The impact that this one conversion has on the way in which we view familiar objects is powerful, regardless of how many times we have been exposed to this type of transformation.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Silent Gratitude

I am a huge fan of TED, and have been known to peruse the goods on a fairly regular basis.  What an amazing, thoughtful, enlightening resource that we have available to us, all for free!!  It seems like whenever I find myself grappling with a challenge, or frustrated by some prohibitive thought pattern or reflex, there is a video that addresses this open, internalized, tumultuous space.  So I keep coming back for more.  And whether or not the lessons stick, or the speaker's position falls in line with my own train of thought, when it is all said and done, I feel better for having witnessed that moment.

So two days ago I stumbled upon Shawn Achor's The happy secret to better work.  It's a fun video.  Achor's fast-paced style keeps the momentum going, and his genuine interest in his work, combined with some great one-liners, make for an easy, playful presentation.  It's light material, which means that you can watch it while folding laundry, or flossing, or whatever.   

 I'm intrigued by the ways in which Achor claims we can "retrain" ourselves to think differently, thereby creating more positive and advantageous outcomes in our work, our lives, and our happiness.  It seems overly simple, and yet, I can already see real-life examples of those who generate their own happiness and success all around me.   

So let's try out a little experiment.  We're going to test drive some of Achor's tools here in this space, and see what kind of an impact these activities make in a month, and then in a few months, and then in a year...  

Let's start with "3 Gratitudes".  I'm going to keep my gratitude list partially online, and partially in my own private journal.  Join me if you will, and post your own list of gratitudes in the comments!
  •  Morning brunch with new friends;  the nervousness and joy found in the company of brand-new relationships.
  • Listening to my daughter and my husband singing made-up songs to each other before bedtime.
  • Honoring the desire to write, and facing the difficulty in creating the space for doing so.
Gertrude Stein said, "Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." A perfect mantra for this new month.