Archive | November, 2011

Where Have all the Clydesdales Gone?

25 Nov

These days the only commercials I can tolerate during the holiday season are those shown during NFL games. They seem to be the only ones with a smidgeon of creativity. This wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I loved Christmas commercials. The Clydesdale horses plowing through the snow filled my heart with gladness as did the McDonald’s and Kodak commercials which also hit a tender chord with the audience. While these commercials still represented a product, they nonetheless conveyed the true spirit of the season on some level. Now the only message the commercials seem to convey about the holidays is “buy! buy! buy!” I can’t stand it, particularly since I don’t give a &^^%$# about the commercial aspect of the holidays and typically don’t get involved in the gift exchange part of things.

“Where have the great Christmas commercials gone?” I bemoaned the other day over Thanksgiving dinner/t.v. watching. “Have we become that secular and materialistic?” My step-father attributed the phenomenon more to the fact that the culture has become so anti-religion and/or politically correct that companies are trying to create commercials that reflect nothing of the holidays except the secular components of them. I don’t know if I buy that completely. While it’s true the holidays have been much more slated to a Christian audience leaving out Jewish representation, I don’t think the lack of meaningful holiday commercials result from an attempt at sensitivity to other religions or people of no faith. If the latter were true, there would be no holiday commercials on the air whatsoever. I think we’ve just become a gluttonous, materialistic monster and that we use this time of year to feed that animal.

No I don’t need another sweater from the Gap, thank you very much! And although it would be nice for Santa to bring me a new car, I don’t think it is likely that that will happen, nor does a car have anything to do with the baby Jesus or spending time with loved ones. I will say though that last year I loved the Honda commercial that showed a group of friends going surfing on Christmas morning but then again that commercial was more about the message of friendship than buying a Honda. I latched onto people doing something kind of cool on Christmas morning that created fellowship – as opposed to the message “gimme, gimme, gimme a car!”

These ads feed us a subliminal message to want more and more and more. Quite frankly, I think all of this would make Christ sick to his stomach. I know it makes me sick to my stomach.

We Will Sell No Wine…

24 Nov

When I was a little girl there was a commercial for Galileo wine where a man would look into the camera and say in a deep voice, “We will sell no wine before it’s time.” Not being a wine drinker when I was ten, I didn’t really have a clue what all of this meant but now that I 1) drink wine and 2) know a little about how it is made, I appreciate the premise.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to doing things well – be that learning a language, writing a book, dating or fostering relationships. The best things in life – the ones most worth while – require their own unique timing. They can’t be manufactured by pulling an all-nighter and they don’t sustain without a foundation built. And the older I get, the more I realize this.

Here’s to a great vintage and to sipping slowly enough to enjoy what we’re imbibing!

Breathing Space

15 Nov

I actually read the New York Times today. There was a time in my life when I read the NY Times daily. In fact, I subscribed to it. In the days when I didn’t own a computer with internet capacity and when I didn’t check email, FB and blogs first thing in the morning, I would lie in bed with my coffee and the paper. I miss those days.

I also used to read the Oprah magazine when it first came out. Each month she had a column called “Breathing Space.” It wasn’t a column really. It was a featured photograph of somewhere breathtakingly beautiful strategically placed to make one pause and temporarily go there in one’s mind. It worked. All I had to do was look at the majestic mountain or river or field of flowers and suddenly I would feel calm.

We live in a world that is increasingly chaotic and where serenity seems threatened all the time. My latest beef is with the immediacy with which people expect others to answer a text or email or phone call (although the latter is becoming obsolete). People simply don’t phone each other any more. In fact the other day someone emailed me asking, “Would you like to do the old fashioned thing and talk on the phone?” How refreshing. I don’t mind texting for a quick basic exchange of information or sweet, “I’m thinking of you” but when did texting become the method of choice for long drawn out conversations and/or courtship with someone one doesn’t even know? Uggh. The other day I actually had to tell someone to please refrain from texting me. He seemed insulted. I kind of lied and said I had a limited texting plan (I don’t) but geez. I don’t want someone I barely know texting me at 6:30 in the morning. Likewise, when working at the hospital, I am away from both my phone and computer for hours at a time. Get a clue people. Not all of us have our smart phones wired to us as an appendage.

Yes. Today’s world makes many of us primed for a need for breathing space. Many of us long for a place where it’s quiet and still and there is room not only to think but to simply be.

Blank Canvas

7 Nov

During my twenties, I painted a lot. At the time, I hadn’t accumulated many possessions or clutter so I always had my water color paper and paints out on the table ready to go if the spirit moved me. I tried to keep my living environment clean and simple so that like a blank canvas, there was room in my psyche to create.

To give you an idea of just how clutter free I lived take note of the following: When I moved to San Francisco right after college, everything I owned fit into my Volkswagon Jetta. Then when I moved from San Francisco to New York City, everything I owned fit into two large army duffle bags (with the exception of books which I shipped). I don’t live like that anymore.

Last week I must have taken at least ten boxes of books and endless bags of clothing to Good Will. I also threw out tons of crap and hauled off a futon mattress and frame. It was exhausting and disturbing to me how cluttered my life had/has become. How does that bode for creating, not just art but the art of one’s life? How can new dimensions emerge if there is simply no space? I feel like with every item purged, some layer of energetic debris was also being tossed. And there is more to go through – filing cabinets, notebooks and do I dare shred two enormous tubs of journals spanning my life since I was eight? Gad.

I see light now on clean wood floors and think – hmmm. The lighting is good for painting…. Maybe it’s time for life to be a blank canvas again.