Tag Archives: journey

incunabula


incunabula n. the early stages of the development of something

Tiffany-Grace-tiara-shop-at-selfridges-fashionhorrors-3

When I came upon this word, I thought of mitosis. My brain instantly snapped to the images I used to stare at in biology textbooks in high school…the ones with the little pink chromosomes so neatly dividing themselves. I suppose the inference is accurate as cells are undeniably the early stages of development of something – whether it be a child or an illness. It can have both a hopeful or sinister context, like so many things in our lives. All of my unfinished knitting projects also come to mind. They are like little physical manifestation of incunabula.

Creating things excites me. My entire career has been about making things and nurturing incunabula into something tangible. Many years ago after my dreams of becoming a writer fell off due to lack of funds, a budding accounting career at Deutsche Bank proved to be the wrong path,and a job writing advertisements for clinical trials was just too boring, I fell into the role of product development for a watchband company in Rhode Island. It was a small, family oriented company. My first months were spent making spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Somehow I had become a computer whiz at Excel and I believe that was one of the reasons why I was hired. I also got to correspond with vendors in Asia, which was my favorite part. I had a wonderful boss who gave me opportunity and the ability to see and learn about the genesis of product. From drawing and concept, manufacturing and samples, to the final packaged consumer good. It was like magic. I loved seeing something come from nothing. Every trip to a store became like a museum visit, looking at things for seam lines and country of origin, trying to figure out how they were made. I fell in love with the process. Back then, I worked on watchbands and some small jewelry items, but I still treasure those years.

Later I moved on to a job at a curtain rod company with more responsibility. This time I was the driving force behind the product vision. I worked with a designer who became one of my best friends in the world and together we came up with so many ideas and worked to make them into tangible goods. I traveled to mainland China and toured the factories for my projects and my life was changed. I remember calling my husband after a long day at a resin manufacturer, crying hysterically having seen the factory dormitories where the workers slept – 6 to a room on bunk beds – in a room smaller than the average bedroom. Yet they were so sweet and courteous – and I was incredibly humbled. All of those products on those shelves were no longer inanimate objects. People made them and when I was directing my projects, these people that were grateful for a crowded bunk and a bowl of rice were responsible for the outcome. To this day I do not view the things I buy the same way.

Later on I went on to work for a tabletop company handling their crystal and glass product. Glass blowing was like watching incunabula in action. I traveled all over Eastern Europe visiting small glass factories and watching small glowing blobs of sand turn into beautiful glass vases and bowls by someone turning a pipe, blowing and making it look so easy. I traveled in cars across the rolling hills of Poland and Romania visiting places that are probably gone as the art of glass blowing and making has shrunk considerably. Even back when I was there the workers would talk about how so many of them had moved to cities to become taxi drivers or other working class professionals as the money was good and they didn’t have to worry about factories closing. The American taste had changed and no one really spent money on handmade, lead crystal or glass. I feel special having been able to witness such a beautiful art and to have met such amazing artists.

The culmination of my product career was at a company best known for it’s signature blue box and amazing jewelry. Way back when I started working with watchbands, I remember coming home my first week on the job, completely excited and overwhelmed, and saying to my husband “Someday I could work for Tiffany.” And then it came true. I worked on dozens of wonderful projects, some of the finest things I have ever held in my hands. Last night while I was watching Downton Abbey and noticed all of the ladies wearing diamond tiaras, I remembered the tiara I last worked on before I left on maternity leave and it made me incredibly proud and happy.

I have been part of many an incunabula over these years. My career was very much my child and now it is all grown up. I made the choice to stay home and nurture a new incunabula – my son, Graham – and the journey will be no less difficult or rewarding. Through these many years of working I have learned how to bring an idea to fruition and nurture it to completion. In a way I was training for this all along.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

beezer


beezer adj. excellent

As you can imagine, I subscribe to the OED online. I bought a small version of the dictionary for $40 and it came with a free subscription. It’s fun to play on the site and today I found a way to look up British / English words. “Beezer” is a British adjective meaning excellent and I just love it because it’s so happy sounding. It really embodies “so very good” in a way that “excellent” doesn’t. Excellent has the connotation of excelling or beating someone or something else. Same thing as outstanding – I feel like it has to be so great that it “out – stands” the rest of everything.

Beezer reminds me of Beezus Quimby from the Beverly Cleary books that I absolutely loved as a kid. She was the next door neighbor of Henry who had the annoying little sister Ramona. However, I think it a bit ironic because Beezus was the wall flower older sister who was out shined by Ramona. So this is probably a bad reference for recalling the meaning of beezer…good books though.

The problem with looking up British words is that when you say them with an American accent they sound completely un charming. I found myself saying beezer with a fake British accent which is pretty sad. But when I said it with my normal accent, it just sounded like some thug frat boy language. Imagine it in a Boston accent – beezah! (I almost want to go to Boston and start a trend.)

Anyway, back to beezer’s counterparts – excellent and outstanding. Does something have to stand out amongst everything or beat out all else to be considered very, very great? Do we decide what is wonderful only through comparison or can something be intrinsically great just because it is – with out reference to something else that has or had existed? I don’t think it can. Which would mean if we are constantly striving for excellence we are in constant competition…and where is the day to day happiness in this?

When I think about an excellent day it doesn’t depend on just one element. To me a beezer moment could be a rainy morning where the Keurig machine spit out an unexpectedly sublime cup of coffee and I enjoyed hearing the raindrops hit the windowpane in such a way that they sound musical. Maybe I picked up a Harpers and flipped to a poem I didn’t expect to find while sipping my coffee and found a new poet that quickly became my favorite. Even on the small scale – even if I am talking about just a beezer 5 minutes – is it not excellent because it was better than the five minutes before? Or the 5 minutes I had at exactly the same time yesterday morning- perhaps it was sunny but my coffee sucked and I stared off into space worrying about what the day beheld…

Today I shall use beezer to humble my competitive nature. Competition is good…great perhaps, but it’s where you set the bar. If you set it high – perhaps someday you will reach the height of beezerness. But what’s the point if the road to get there is miserable and unhappy because you are constantly trying to out do yourself. It could be a century of unhappiness and disappointment before you get to your excellence.

I’ll take my excellence in small doses each day. Minute to minute and hour to hour…and when things get gradually more and more wonderful I’ll have had a beezer journey instead of just one excellent day.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
The Electric Oracle

by Clodagh McGinley

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Carter and Toby

a 'tail' of two friends

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

The Grumpy Aristotelian

Unearthing truth, virtue, beauty and joy amidst the dreck

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Bri Bruce Productions

Design | Publishing | Photography | Art

seoheekoh

Life full of Jewelry and cats

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

Perfection Pending

Stories of Perfectly Real Moms

Black. Bunched. Mass. Mom.

Raising Two Bi-Racial Boys in Suburban Massachusetts

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

The Overstand Podcast

"Overstand the definition, then write your own."

The INSIDE

Delving Further

Momamorphosis

Adventures in Motherhood

Mum's the word

a blog about real life. the good, bad and ugly.

A Small Press Life

Not just a blog, a philosophy