Thursday, December 14, 2006


Ok, ok....
I've had requests to publish this holiday tale! (LOL it is funny) I think the "88 cent sweater story" may become a blog-holiday traditon (somewhat like the movie Christmas Story with it's famous line "you can't have a beebee gun - you'll shoot your eye out" :-)
This story of mine is many years old now, but I admit, it still makes me smile...
I have a funny story for you..
I have a long history of being 'hard to buy for' when it comes to gifts. I'm not fussy and it's not about price at all it's just that I have 'quirky' taste in everything from clothing to dinnerware - maybe it's the artist thing or maybe it's just me, lol.. In fact, after years and years of struggling with my husband (who loves buying surprises) and subsequent returns he finally agreed to pick out gifts for me together - and it's turned into a great tradition of lunch and 'it's all about me' shopping (LOL) for a few hours two times a year.
So anyway, the few hold outs in the family who still determinedly purchase are kind enough to enclose receipts for return allowing me to cater to my quirkiness via exchange. Works well, till last week.... :-)
Last week I happily made my way to the nearest mall (almost 40 miles from here) the item, gift receipt in hand and a bit of 'exchange funds free shopping' lol in mind... I was stoked for several reasons. First, the obvious fact is due to distance I don't just 'swing by the mall' - too far. Second, my lunatic schedule prohibits much time for shopping anyway and if I do actually steal a few hours to shop I'm by nature more interested in odd, one only kind of stores - so the mall is a rare bird trip for me.. But back to my story.....
So there I am standing in the endless 'return line' You know, one clerk who I'm fairly sure HATES her job looking over at the growing line with a deer in headlights expression... (me hoping she doesn't just abandon her post before I make it thru, lol) The line itself, is full of women who are vaguely disgruntled (who enjoys the returns credits department scenario?) There is no happy chattingering, just lots of foot shuffling and sighing.
At last I make my way to the counter. The prize ('free' shopping a la' return credits) is at nearly in my grasp! My tired (from standing in line for half an hour) feet are feeling rather happy-dance-ish...
But wait - I see alarm and or confusion in the expression of the 'deer in headlights' clerk facing me (and mind you the delay is calling the FULL attention of the standees in line as DELAY is not DESIREABLE). The line is now fixated on my transaction as they want to know WHAT the hold up is... The clerk fusses and fusses and calls the manager and then another department head (oh my gawd is the sweater stolen?! lol I think to myself!??) what could possibly cause this kind of three tier management hubbub? The powers that be and the clerk talk as in the background I hear the mob in line plotting my death if this takes much longer. Finally the clerk and assorted management come back towards the counter and the clerk (who's now been abandoned by supervisory staff) clears her throat and loudy announces as if the town crier the following:
"I'm sorry maam, but apparently your gift was purchased at sale price so I can't refund you the full price". I'm relieved - that's ok, just a bit less replacement shopping. I say 'no problem' and smile. She looks at me with great seriousness and repiles (a bit loudler still as she's stressed to the max by now) "you don't understand - your sweater was purchased on sale for ............88 cents.... and I can't even issue a refund for less than a dollar..."
There was an audible gasp from the mob at the line. The clerk is nearly in tears (poor thing). In the retail gift giving world, time stopped...... EIGHTY EIGHT CENTS you say?All eyes were on me, and for me at least (after the initial thump and annoyance of being the receipient of an 88 cent gift) it was just plain funny..
I ran various options thru my mind. It occured to me to say 'call 'The world book of records people'!
I thought of simply giving this sad little 88 cent sweater to someone in the line as I walked by them on my way out.. :-)
I thought of asking the clerk if I gave her 12 cents if she'd give me a credit for one full dollar? (but decided the humor would be lost on her and the last bit of stress would kill her...)
In the end I simply said 'thank you'for your help put the poor 88 cent wonder sweater that had stopped retail time back in it's bag and it's home here with me now...
Acutally I hate to admit it, but I feel sorry for it. And you know me, once pathos enters the picture, the item has a home for life. At least some good came from it all - I didn't shop funds free, so it was a short trip. I was able to morph the planned shopping time into meeting my husband for a rare, unplanned and very enjoyed late lunch.
I've long ago moved past being worried over 'public embarassment' (one of my friends said 'weren't you horrified all those people in the line heard you were given an 88 cent gift?") Actually no, as in the scheme of things it's just not that important - abit of a sting? maybe - but hey in the stream of life, no biggie.
In fact, pitiful sweater saved my life. The mob in line would most certainly have KILLED me for the time the whole transaction took had it not had the 'tragic 88 cent' ending it did - yep, saved by the 88 cent sweater.
You have to be amused by the irony of the entire story, really you do....
So 'sweater' has become one of those bittersweet funny little stories that comes up now and again for a laugh, and will (every time I wear it in all it's not-my-style-ness) remind me of the stolen chinese lunch with my husband that day, the deer in headlights clerk, and the fact that life is too short to fret over things that don't go the way you think they will.
Yep, oddly enough I think pathetic 88 cent sweater (who is now living in the studio with me) and I are going to become good friends....
Hope your day is a good one :-)

Monday, December 11, 2006


I came across this quote in the way one does on the internet - one toe in the sea of cyber leads to wave upon wave of interwoven links. A click from 'here' leads a merry wander to 'there' and unexpected treasures are discovered. My only regret is that my system locked prior to my noting just where I was when I found this quote.......
The reson I found this quote by Kent whispering to me was that it IS in fact the way I feel when at the torch, in the midst of the 'process' of creating and why I find it ever fulfilling.
Tho the quote refers more to the 'appreciation' of art I think it curiously interesting that
the the emotion behind the PROCESS and the emoiton of the APPEAL of the outcome may be more alike than I'd ever thought.......
What do you think?!
(Read the quote below)
"The thing about art that delights and confounds us is that it never happens again. This delights us if we have learned how to look because the esthetic experience allows all of our human faculties to be absorbed in the environment of the present
and for a while to be fully alive without reflecting, without turning back or looking ahead.
Uniqueness confounds us because there are no rules for guides. There can be no science of the particular. In a sense this confounding is a delight because it puts us in touch with that aspect of reality which is described as uniqueness--the fact that nothing ever happens twice in the same way in every respect."
corita kent

Friday, December 01, 2006


I'm always bemused and caught a bit off guard by the oddity of things that trigger 'light bulb moments' for me....
Take red rat dog for example.
How I came to meet red rat dog is a long story, so I'm going to head directly to the interesting part(s). I've never had nor do I at the moment have dog - cats when I was a kid, cat when first married and outside cats now. I'm not 'un-fond' of dogs, just never had one.
As we entered the domain of Red Rubber Rat Dog, I heard barking, but no dog in sight, more barking no dog, louder no dog.
Then, moving at the speed of light appeared an astoundingly energetic daschaund ~ enter "red rat dog"... Tail flying to and fro like a single windshield wiper stuck on high, lol... Once he decided he approved of my DH and I he stopped barking, and after a bit of watching us he vanished, back to his regularly scheduled routine I assumed. But I was wrong. He reappeared in a bit with what was explained to be his prize posession, a red rubber rat chew toy, almost half his size. Most of the middle of the rubber rat's tummy had been chewed out, so it was quite the curious visual, lol...
Red rat dog (not his real name of course but what he'll always be named in MY mind, lol) stood in front of us with his beloved red rat drooping from his mouth, windshield wiper tail going so fast now I felt certain it would fly off his little posterior at any moment.
His owner explained he loves to play fetch with red rat - but there's a trick to the game - 'you'll see' she said and smiled. Sure enough after a few more minutes of studying us, he dropped the rat at our feet and my DH reached out to grab RedRubberRat for a toss.
BUT, red rubber rat dog flew forward and grabbed it first. The process repeated several times (getting a bit funnier with each attempt) till my husband got the timing right and was able to get and toss RRR for a rolicking chase and return :-)
As I watched Red Rat Dogs curious game it struck me how much I had in common with him. He's a contral freak like me, lol.
There's the desire to play, yet the need to set the structure. There's the joy of sharing beloved rat yet needing to be in control of who and when it's released .... A great game, just has to done in rat dogs way.
For me, it's not a queston of contol of a red rubber rat, roflmao, but interestingly, I could see myself in this odd moment of clarity (see I told you gain insight thru the strangest of things!) For me, actually watching Red Rat Dog shone a light on issues such as learning to delegate without too many 'constraints or guidelines...' I had to laugh at both Red rat dog and myself because I do the same thing he does! If something doesn't get done quickly enough or just the way I would do it I snatch it back and do it myself which makes it pretty darn challenging for anyone offering to assist me, be it my accountant, or my advertising rep, my UPS guy, even my DH!
My tail keeps wagging but because I routinely jump in to do the task on MY timeline in MY way, I end up holding the rat most of the time, enjoying the toss and run a lot less often.
My rule, my choice.
I learned a good lesson from RED RAT DOG ...
If the rat sits a moment or two that's ok - there may be more to be said for the toss and the run than red dog or I think. Maybe (just maybe) Red Rat Dog and I should ease up our 'game rules' a bit (grin)... Maybe sometimes life should be less about 'control' and more about fun. A truth that's especially hard for self employed business owner(s) - and perhaps people in general - to remember.
I'll have to get Red Rat Dog a nice treat (maybe a green rubber frog?! lol...)
Hope your day is a good one :-)