Thursday, December 30, 2004

If My Voice Were a Color, It Would Be Red

After calling to my beloved on the house intercom tonight to ask him if he wanted to join me in tea, he added that mama's boy (Bacchus) wanted to talk to me. When Andrew put me on speaker phone, Bacchus got confused. While we thought he might run upstairs to greet me inside my open studio, he instead ran to his food dish -adjacent to the fireplace- to squat and gobble.

Nostalgia swept over me as I thought about my late Clawedmeister who was being kittysat by my friends 4 years ago, 'the Hobbles', while on Christmas vacation in Michigan (God, I can't believe it was four years ago!). However, Jan called me the night before I was due to return to tell me that Clawed wasn't feeling well and that he hadn't eaten the last couple of days. I had Jan place the phone next to Clawed's ear to hear me call his name and talk to him. Immediately, he ran to the food dish to eat. Jan was amazed. Perhaps she was amazed that I knew him so well or perhaps that I had some secret Cat Whisperer talents unbeknownst to friends.

When I returned home the next day excited to see Clawed, I realized that his end was near. His battle with Feleuk was imminent and his demise quickened the one week I was gone to visit friends. Having Pablo die 3 years earlier and understanding the breathing antipode of his lungs and lower GI, I looked for this frequently within Clawed. The next morning I had rushed him to the 24 hour emergency vet clinic across the street only to have the doubly expensive x-rays reveal his fast-approaching exit.

It was New Year's Eve. How was I to cope with loneliness and the ongoing bereavement of my little, only cat that had not yet died? I won't go into the details of my apathetic boss or my arrangement with my vet to prolong his little life until I could ready myself to the personal surrender of his euthanasia Saturday morning. I was utterly crushed.

Two most bizarre parallels occurred that I think I must share:

a) I became unexplicably ill that Friday before returning home; the very night Jan called me to alert me of Clawed's predicament.

b) The date of her call and the date of my call downstairs to Andrew on the intercom are 4 years to the date.

Have I mentioned that I don't believe in coicidence?

Three months later (March)... I met Andrew. Five months later (May) I/we were the proud parents of two adorable tabbies. My colleague had forwarded a photo of 'Mittens, Boots, & Marmalade' and from that very photograph, I knew I wanted Bacchus. That mischevious sprite of a 4 week old kitten had the personality I wished to treasure. I could see his rebellious character weaseling his way out of the two large, masculine hands that held the trio. When the tabbie brothers were delivered Sunday afternoon, I knew Mittens and Boots would be ours -permanently.

Beyond that day, I swear that Bacchus is the Clawedmeister incarnate. He exhibits every characteristic Clawed ever had and very much enjoys being a cat. It's almost as though he knows he's free from the Feline Luekemia and is exhilarated by the very essence of feline existence.

How does this story associate with the color red? Well, as a graphic designer and an interior design enthusiast, I learned that the color red encourages hunger. With both instances of the cat(s) hearing my voice and both running to the food dish upon hearing it, it seems that their need to eat would be associated with my voice. Hence, I've concluded that if my voice were a color, it would be red.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Personality of the Thirsty Lizard

Be prepared to feel like your head met the side of an oncoming train while you drink this tasty shiraz from Australia.

More to come.

The Personality of Shiraz

We can't leave you hanging with a bad review, so we'll voice our enthusiasm for Crocodile Rock, another Australian Shiraz on Murray Valley.



We have found that Croc'Rock is a gentle, yet versatile shiraz that pleases all palates. One can feel confident serving this with tomato based Italian dishes to red meat. While I don't make a habit of eating red meat, we make sure to buy this favorite by the case -specially when your local merchant has a 20% off case sale. Nevertheless, this particular variety is full but the 13.0 alcohol content allows one to maintain rationality. (Please drink responsibly)

Our local Wholefoods market sells the bottle ~$5.99. A great value -again, with the regular 10% off case, it averages $5.40. Great deal.

FYI for you trivia folks: The name of the wine was inspired by not the deadly creatures found within the continent, but the songwriter Elton John. Aside from the melodic inspiration, I also love the wine label (an aboriginal rendition of a crocodile overlapping red duotone crocodile skin).


Monday, December 27, 2004

The Personality of Wine Labels: Fowl Products

As a designer, I love wine labels. I also love stamps. They're tiny works of art that are entitled to framing. They define the character of the wine, even tell a story, if you will.

As an artist, I learned from my professors that an artist creates 2 kinds of art: the pretty kind that sells and the kind an artist does for oneself. As a creative, the artist has to continue to feed and express the soul -even if no one else views it. It doesn't matter if anyone ever sees the piece created because the theraputic value is priceless. Even a MasterCard commercial cannot compete with 'priceless' provactive art.

Additionally, as a marketer, I also know that pretty art sells. We create attractive art to attract customers. This includes wine labels -and stamps.

Let me move forward to my personal experience with buying wine -solely on the merit of the pretty label. Like anyone, we go thru phases of likes and dislikes. This includes drinking nothing but shiraz one season and merlot another season. Some decision making might be strictly from the design of the label. This is where I must tell you about fowl on bottles.




I have learned, from a personal tasting experience, not to purchase wine with fowl on the label. Why? They stink. Okay, remember, this is from a personal experience. I expect a consistent experience from any winemaker product or any product for that matter. The fact that I have tried nearly all wine with fowl on the label is consistent -it's just foul. Unfortunately, it also includes a bottle we picked up yesterday: The Little Penguin Shiraz from SE Australia.

Our issue was that it had an overpowering cherry odor at the initial front end then trailed off to a finish of nothingness. We were also eating prime rib and feel that a shiraz, a good shiraz, can match the meat very well. This one, however, did not. We were sorely disappointed in the fruitiness of the overall experience.

Make no mistake, it was not a 'bad' wine, I just wouldn't buy it again. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Overture Phrase

Remember Grumpier Old Men where Walter Matthau asks Ann Margaret, "So, you want I should wash your windshield?" Paying homage to Walter, we've come up with our rules for defining the saucy overture phrase.

What was the last task you did?

Madame: Sort Your Packages
Dr. Bob: Pack Your Trunk
Andrew: Screw Your Cuphooks
Lisa: Vacuum Your Floor, Uncork Your Wine

You want I should uncork your wine?

Tell us yours!

Boxing Day: Bad Girl Grooves

After reading my new Bad Girl 2005 Calendar, we have revealed our true aliases.

My barfly name is Coconut Wine. Additionally, I have coerced my out laws to face their bad girl groove with several alias. Here are a few:

Madame's:
Barfly Name: Gorp Martini
Dating Diva: Chocolate Water
Porn Star Name: Chiffy Tremoy
Road Trip Name: Quiche Camp
Girl Dectective Name: Kitten Charlotte

Dr. Bob's:
Barfly Name: Gorp Martini (yes, the same as madam's)
Dating Diva: Peppermint Chlorox (ew!)
Porn Star Name: Pal Chestnut
Road Trip Name: Quiche Maine
Girl Dectective Name: Pup Athens

Andrew's:
Barfly Name: Truffle Wine
Dating Diva: Chardonnay Coffee
Porn Star Name: Kiki Robmont
Road Trip Name: Coffee New York
Girl Dectective Name: Kitten Atlanta

Mine:
Barfly Name: Coconut Wine
Dating Diva: Truffle Port
Porn Star Name: Cindy Silverlake
Road Trip Name: Eggs Tennesee
Girl Dectective Name: Kitten Kalamazoo

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Greetings

I have finally send out my holiday cards today although my husband has not. Oopsey. Well, his friends are already awaiting cards from holiday 2003 and now they get double -after Christmas.

We're sending out previews of what will be available to the general public. The previews stem from the holiday treats showcased this year at Boylan Heights Art Walk.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Christmas Curb Appeal

It's 10:41pm. George Winston's piano permeates the background. I can hear the wind bluster outside my studio window. My mouth is parched from the green tea just consumed as my feet are attempting to acclimate to the inside temperatures.

My husband has successfully installed the new storm door and I have donned as much Christmas cheer as I can -in the yard. To my misfortune, I cannot hang my rope garland from the eves because the gutter gards Andrew installed earlier this year prevent me from doing so. I was able to adorn the mail box with natural green, hang the lighted wreath (after cutting off the malfunctioning light strand and wrapping a new strand), and wrap my little ivy-laden obelisk with white lights.

It's not as festive as some of the houses in the 'hood, but it does convey pagan aspirations. Speaking of secular, our blow-out holiday is Halloween... and the folks on this block know it.

Doh! Now on to the holiday cards that are becoming excruciatingly late.

The Bargain

Following the door inventory bust at Lowes, we wandered thru the Christmas section since all of the Christmas inventory was discounted 50% or more. We've got a great nose for bargains -most of my personal belongings have been heros of bargain hunting- and we also know when to say no. I had been hankering to do a little house decorating but realize that purchasing a tree and the bows could rack up a tidy sum.

Not seeing any signs, I approached one of the staff and opened with, "I've got a ballsy question" as another employee revved up the chainsaw to cut the trunk of one tree for a customer. "Are your trees on sale?" as I raised my voice so I could hear myself speak. Matching my crescendo, the effeminate individual indicated that not only were they on sale, they were $5 and $10 at best. All of the wreaths and rope garland were $5 and I could have all the trimmed bow from the bin free. Hot damn! I love a good deal. No wait, make that a great deal.

The bows and rope garland now sit in a plastic bag on the porch awaiting my creative hands.

The Door

After much deliberation of Christmas gift(s) for Andrew and the realization of the holiday being next week, I decided to make a purchase for the house. This gift would result in not only a curb appeal enhancement, but serve as an energy efficient tool; a cost savings for our utility bill. A storm door for the front of the house.

Who says frugal isn't sexy??

This decision was made as I review the results of our labor during my monthly yard stint. This broken down, worn hard door has seen many a predecessor. Who knows how it accomodated the owners, children, dogs, cats, and visitors. We hold it open with our expanding butts while we exchange money with the pizza guy or cringe at the thought that the full-length window was forgotten when the rest of the house was being cleaned for that night's party.

I oscillate my body as I stand on the walk with my garden gloves scrunched inhand, my eyes survey the contour of the property, wondering when our friends, Ann & Mike, are going to uproot the selected plants from the yard to enhance their newly established abode. I was exhausted with the same frequent wish I made aloud to my husband, "God, I want a new front door." Our banter would be the same: 'No, not the big front door, but the lighter one, you know, the storm/screen door that doesn't lock, has no latch, and is basically good for nothing.'

Eros escaped out that door a few more times than I care to remember. 'Ah, yes, that door. Yes, I wish we had the money for it, too.' he'd murmur. Ah, yes, I love it when life boils down to money. How about when my client's pay me? Sigh. Alas, I had great success at the Boylan Heights Art Walk with the CalligraphyPets two weeks earlier and with this, I knew I could afford this imperative luxury.

It may take us awhile to make a decision, but it isn't from the lack of understanding. When our minds meet, we drop everything and hit the road in commitment of that objective. In this case, it meant changing into our to-be-seen-in-public-clothes and jump into the car to Lowes. We had window shopped for this door several times prior, so we knew exactly what we wanted. My husband asked me what my budget was for this door as we sped down Duraleigh. Budget? Ha! I know exactly which door we want and it better be there.

After discussing inventory logistics with an employee, we learned we would have to zoom to Crossroads to pick up both door and hardware in the morning. That's fine, we'll settle in with wine and a movie for the night.

It's funny how home purchases can become an exuberant prelude to America's date-night for the married.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Exercise Resolution

Several years ago, I made resolution not to make any further resolutions. I, like everyone else, would breach the contract within days. Today, I am breaking this resolution.

Is it coincidental that for the first time in years Dick Clark won't be celebrating in Times Square with the rest of America? Nah, I don't believe in coincidence. It's because I had my Accord's radio tuned to NPR and heard that our beloved Commander in Chief had just had his annual physical exam. He works out 6x daily and gained only 6 pounds!

A few days later, I read this:

"Your business will always model your own physical and emotional health almost exactly. If you're bummed, your employees will be bummed, your customers will be bummed, and your income statement will be bummed. The key word is health. The key idea is that the health of the business follows from the health of its owners. There is no way your business will be as successful as it can be until you make your first priority your own physical and emotional health." -- Great Harvest Co-founder Pete Wakeman (from Bread and Butter)

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. However, how does this affect the current health status of the US when ‘W’ works out 6x a week, gaining only 6lbs over the last year?

How? HOW??

So, I resolve never to allow myself to holiday from exercise. If 'W' can continue pushing the US into the ground and work out daily, dammit, so can I. Aside from that, I need to get into my chinos by January.

Blogdom Validation

So, my wonderful husband comes home from this inspiring conference I have dubbed, "Happy Camp: A Meeting of the Minds." Trite, yes. However, if I were invited, I would have thoroughly enjoyed myself. The camp was actually a summit for the brainiac friends of Tom Peters, enjoying an organized banter of equals and for those who 'get it.'

Jealous? Absolutely.

But the great thing about this summit is that I not only get to hear his personal experience first hand, but the folks who were involved as well -through their blogs. You see, when Andrew returned from the Summit, his compulsion to start a blog was astounding.

Really? I remember asking his advice earlier that year about augmenting the ecstewart site with blog, since Tom Peter's had done the very same. Ecstewart could benefit from that constant stream of thought to illuminate the eat, breath, die design mentality to my clients and potential clients. They could finally understand how a creative starts and ends her day. They could be John Malcovich, er, Lisa Stewart.

"Well, forge ahead" I urged him, not reminding him that it was I who approached him with the viable idea months earlier. Sometimes, I feel as though I am in my own commercial. The bubble pops up over my head as I stand in the kitchen smiling, "I want to thank Tom Peters for his written respect for women and our ideas to integrate personal mindsets with the business plan."

Not So Hostile

Okay, so yesterday's post was my inaguration to blogdom. I needed something quick, but not so banal to insert -just to verify it works. The blog thing, that is. If I can't choose something sweet to say, it usually turns my cynic inside-out. I'm truly nice, although, it doesn't come out as such. Damn you cynic!

Monday, December 13, 2004

I've been blogged

Day 1 and this is my rant:
Copernicus, not Galileo, founded the truth about the Sun. Period.