Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Hey, thanks! Thanks for answering my question on places you like and keeping the conversation going. Somebody from Portugal even wrote something! Almost like being in an airport and nodding hello to someone from across the globe.
I wish you could stop by for a coffee. Or meet in a fancy hotel lobby. It's not probable. But I've found a coffee pot big enough, just in case.
Hey, danke! Danke, für die Antworten auf die Frage nach Orten, die Dir gefallen und für das Gespräch. Sogar jemanden aus Portugal hat etwas geschrieben! Fast als wäre frau im Flughafen und jemandem von der anderen Seite der Erdenkugel "Guten Tag" zulächelt.
Es wäre nett, wenn Ihr zum Kaffee vorbeikommen könntet. Oder im schicken Hotellobby treffen. Es ist nicht wahrscheinlich. Aber eine ausreichende Kaffeekanne habe ich für den Fall gefunden.
I was really happy this morning.
Happy, but not happy in a good way.
It was Schadenfreude putting me in such a good mood. Oh, yeah: Schadenfreude. No, no, no: Love and peace pseudo-Euro California sewing hippy mommy is not above enjoying a little misery of others, especially if well-deserved. Karmic right? I mean, the upside to all that spiritual doctrine promising punishment is the Schadenfreude, that the bad guys will get their payback, if not in this lifetime, at the very latest when they spend the afterlife surrounded by pitchforks and brimstone and Kenny G’s Greatest Hits. Right?
Or wake up as a platypus. The runt of the litter platypus. The platypus that all the other platypuses make fun of. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Right? This particular person upset me so much, that it occupied my thoughts for days. At the time, I was so preoccupied, I completely forgot about a field trip to a helicopter factory, to which my son was so looking forward. But now this person’s choices, which so negatively effected me, had lead this person into some tough times. How about that.
So, I’m sitting there, waiting for my little girl’s soccer game to start, pretty darn pleased that a certain person was getting a healthy slice of humble pie, served with a side order of crow and in this lifetime. And then I glanced upon happiness. Real happiness. Good happiness.
The soccer field, for which we were waiting our turn to use, was occupied by teams comprised of special athletes. Some of the players were lurching cumbersomely with walkers. Others were pushed over the pitch in wheelchairs. Another player’s body was so tiny, that I mistook him initially for somebody’s toddler. Other than these differences, the game was like any other game on this Saturday morning. Then again, the game wasn’t quite the same. It was a really, really happy game. Parents cheering prouder, coaches never reprimanding, many more high fives, lots of spontaneous hugs and a really, really long parent tunnel. There was one tall lad with strawberry blond hair who seemed to dance with joy the whole time. He made me want to dance, too. These are really good people. Genuinely happy people. And they have it tough. And they taught me something important.
Watching them, I felt happy. But a good happy. And I felt suddenly very silly for being so smug. And very ashamed of my Schadenfreude. And very thankful for so much. Including the lesson these special kids just taught me. And maybe, in a very round-about way, I am even thankful to said person for the initial trouble that brought me to this realization.
You. Yeah, you. You out there. You know who you are: I want to wish you learning from this experience that will lead to better decision-making and a good and fulfilling life for you. I don’t want you to become a runt platypus. Not really. Just happy.
Ich war heute morgen richtig glücklich. Hab’ mich richtig gefreut.
Aber nicht gut gefreut.
Nein, meinem Glück lag Schadenfreude zugrunde. O doch, Schadenfreude. Nein, nein, nein, pseudoeuropäische kalifornische Liebe-und-Frieden Hippy Nähmama ist dem Genuß von Schadenfreude nicht immun, vor allem wenn wohl verdient. Karma, nicht wahr? Ist nicht die eine Münzenseite der ganzen strafenden Glaubenslehre, die Schadenfreude, dass die Bösen und Dreisten doch nur mit Schwefel und Feuer und Kenny G-Musik das Jenseits verbringen?
Oder als doch Schnabeltier wiedergeboren werden? Ja, als das Schnabeltierkümmerling, das von den anderen Schnabeltieren verspottet wird. Ja, genau … Zu dem Zeitpunkt war ich wegen dieses einen Menschens dermassen mit den Gedanken woanders, dass ich den Termin für einen Rundgang durch einen Hubschrauberfabrik, auf den mein Sohn sich sehr lange gefreut hat, völlig vergessen. Mann, war ich sauer auf diese Person. Und nun führte sich diese Person durch ihre Entscheidungen zu schwierigen Zeiten. Na, also.
So sass ich mit der Welt zufrieden, wartend auf das Fußballspiel von Anna, und ich dachte glücklich daran wie diese Person noch in diesem Leben ein gesundes Stück ins eigene Fleisch schniedet und nun klein beigehen muß. Und dann erblickte ich Glück. Echtes Glück. Gutes Glück.
Auf dem Feld spielten zwei Mannschaften bemannt von Kindern mit besonderen Bedürfnissen und körperliche Behinderungen. Einige sind mit Gehwagen über das Feld getaumelt. Andere würden in Rollstuhlen gefahren. Ein Spieler war so winzig klein, ich dachte zuerst, dass das ein Kleinkind sei. Ausser diesen äusserlichen Unterschieden, war das Fussballspiel wie jedes andere Spiel an diesem Samstagmorgen. Und dann wieder doch nicht. Das Spiel war insgesamt glücklicher. Ein viel, viel glücklicheres Spiel. Die Eltern haben doch stolzer zugejubelt, die Trainer waren nur positiv, viel öfters würden high-fives und spontane Umarmungen gegeben. Ich habe einen grossen Jungen mit leicht rötlichen Haaren gesehen, der die ganze Zeit am Feld vor Freude getanzt hat. Er hatte mich fast selber zum Tanzen getrieben. Das sind gute Menschen. Glückliche Menschen. Und sie haben’s nicht einfach. Und sie haben mir etwas gelehrt.
Während ich zuschaute hatte ich ein Glücksgefühl. Ein gutes Glücksgefühl. Und mir ist eingefallen wie kindisch und kleinig ich bin. Meine Schadenfreude war mir richtig peinlich und zugleich war ich wegen so vielem dankbar, einschließlich die Lehre, die diese Kinder mir lehrten. Und vielleicht auch, über drei Ecken, bin ich sogar für den Ärger, der diesen einen Menschen mir verursachte, dankbar, denn ohne diese Person käme ich nicht zu dieser Lehre.
Sie da. Sie wissen wer Sie sind: Ich wünsche Ihnen aus der Erfahrung das Lernen, dass Sie künftig bessere Entscheidungen treffen um somit ein gutes und vollkommenes Leben führen. Ich will nicht das Sie Schnabeltier werden. Nicht wirklich. Nur glücklich.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I like airports. I even like airports I hate, like LAX and Heathrow. I like the modernity and the feeling of disconnection from travel while in an airport, whether you're traveling or not.
Just some random airport images. What places do you like? I'd like to know. I'd like to start a conversation again. Libraries? Grocery stores? School buildings?
Ich mag Flughäfen. Ich mag auch Flughäfen, die ich hasse, wie z.B. LAX oder Heathrow. Mir gefällt die Modernität und das leichte getrenntes Gefühl, das man hat während man sich im Flughafen aufhält, ob man reist oder nicht.
Hier beiläufige Bilder aus Flughäfen. Welche Orten gefallen Dir? Es würde mich interessieren. Ich möchte wieder ein Gespräch führen. Bibliotheken? Lebensmittelgeschäfte? Schulgebäuden?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
About 12 years ago, after a long, taxing overseas Delta flight, the passengers disembarked and were herded into a "roving lounge", a sort of a very airport-specific vehicular creature, which resembles a wide fat bus for transporting passengers between the aircraft and the terminal. On the floor of the roving lounge behind several seats in the front was painted a thick white line. All passengers were to sit or, most likely, stand behind the Thick White Line. The roving lounge was becoming quite full behind the Thick White Line. All the seats were quickly taken, although, a seat was not much of an advantage, when the carry-ons of the standing passengers were hanging mere centimeters from your face and the seated passenger having no room to dodge or duck. As such, the arbitrariness of the Thick White Line was subconsciously, spontaneously being called into question, as first carry-ons, then a toe and perhaps a whole leg or shoulder ventured over the Thick White Line. Last to enter the roving lounge was the aircraft crew, several of whom reminded the passengers of the Thick White Line and need for safety and would the passengers please step behind the Thick White Line.
Person in uniform.
These in combination are so deeply engrained, that we passengers obediently leaned, wiggled and worked our collective way behind the Thick White Line. Because, of course, also "I'm not the rube, who doesn't understand the etiquettes of international travel, so, of course, back I shall step!" As best we could, because it was tight in there.
With all passengers safely standing behind the Thick White Line. The aircraft crew took their seats in front of the Thick White Line. Three members of the crew remained standing (voluntarily, as they could have taken one of the empty seats, and comfortably, with oodles of elbow room). Two were flight attendants (okay, I wrote "flight attendant", but in this one instance I'm thinking "stewardess") and one of the three had three stripes, I suppose the co-pilot. These three were less than a foot away from me. But on the other side of the Thick White Line. Whatever safety function that line had, it did not include being a sound barrier to the post-flight prattle of the crew.
"I hate Economy Class passengers."
(nods all around)
"I only like working Business or First."
"I swear, I was about the smother that guy with his stupid pillow!"
I don't remember exactly or all of the exchange, but "hate economy passengers", "smother" and "stupid pillow" stick in my mind to this day. I thought for sure the one with the stripes would lean over and suggest leaving that talk for the bar at the Ramada Inn. Nope, nothing.
Well, so, okay. "Safety" aside, I lean over the Thick White Line and say, "If you don't like customers, if you have a notion to asphyxiate customers, I will leave you alone. And never fly Delta."
I haven't flown on Delta since.
We all have customers. People who have expectations of us and to whom we have obligations. We all are customers, people who purchase goods and services have expectations of others. Our work, that for which we receive some reward in return, fungible or not, is in the tasks of meeting and exceeding expectations.
Contrary to the Delta crew, I like my customers. They pay me, sure, which I like. But, I really like these people! If they never purchase another pattern, I'd still love to chit chat and see pictures of their children growing up and hear how their lives are going. In addition to my personally liking these people, I am immensely grateful and astounded at the work, effort and belief they put in me, studioTANTRUM and Farbenmix. Without them, there would be no Farbenmix and studioTANTRUM in the United States. They take the risk in these unusual designs and techniques, promote, answer questions, participate in forums and really put a lot of individual attention and effort into giving the end customer a great, creative experience using Farbenmix and studioTANTRUM.
From a business perspective, I have several and welcome more retail customers. Farbenmix and studioTANTRUM relies on different service and merchandising strategies unique to each retailer. Each retailer seems to find, develop and many times restore and create niches. We each have our preferences in product and expectations in service. I cannot risk exclusivity with only certain retailers, no matter how much I like the retailer personally, as I cannot hitch my wagon to her singular merchandising and service strategy, which may or may not be successful. What I can do, however, is promote and encourage retail sales. I do not like practices which circumvent the retailer. I have wholesale incentive pricing in place to encourage bulk buying. On the other hand, I do allow purchases in smaller quantities, with that pricing disincentive mind you, so that I do not saddle the retailer, a small, independent Mom-and-Only-Mom shop, with the carrying cost of slow-moving stock. What I want to see and encourage is that you, the end customer, purchases from Corie or Suzanne or Kristina or Tina or Susan or Jen or any other amazing and courageous retailer I missed mentioning off hand. What I want to discourage is co-operative purchases which translate into buying not from Corie and Suzanne and Kristina and Tina and Susan and Jen ... Yes, they are middlemen. But there is a lot of work done in that middle that makes Farbenmix and studioTANTRUM possible.
I have on a past occasion unwittingly filled a co-op order. And I will probably do so again. I can never truly know how the patterns are distributed. I can require a fixed retail price for the reseller. And the Supreme Court recently upheld price fixing (at the behest of the oil industry, so I'm not really all that stoked about that). But, do I have to?
Moreover, it's not a fat middle. It's a pretty skinny middle. We all understand the value of a dollar and many of us have lean times. But, if you like independent design, this is the wrong place to save a buck. Let's give the retail partner her buck or two on the pattern. And also maybe take a look at her carefully and meticulously selected fabrics and notions. Co-op purchases do not beat "the man", they hurt the mompreneur.
If I ever do become "the man" and you see my high falootin' fine Fledge self all over Saks and Barney's, go ahead, do what you can to cut out the fat. I'm with you on that.
I take this stand at the risk of upsetting the end customer. Ultimately, there is no Farbenmix or studioTANTRUM without you. The comments section is open and I welcome your thoughts.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I've had this Netflix DVD for 3 weeks. I've watched it probably 10 times. I don't want to return it and get my own copy. I don't want to be without this DVD.
While many artists strive for permanence, Goldsworthy seems to not only to understand that beauty is temporal, but he celebrates that fact.
I'm inspired to go do something. Something like this. A random, temporal act of beauty.
Rivers and Tides: Working with Time (2003). I highly recommend it. But I won't let you have my copy.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
When Anna said she wanted to try the sushi, I should have dropped everything right then and there and gone straight to Arigato or Sushi Sei. But, okay, sure: Try this factory-made California roll. And try the chopsticks. We all learn, ultimately, by doing. Her reward is the little set in the top photo: I don't know what they are called. They are little boxes with surprise things inside. Here, her surprise was a table setting with little chopsticks to remember this adventure.
I'm trying something new, too. Up until this time, I have been the Tantrum Factotum. I did it all: Design, sew, market, photograph, translate, make tutorials, print, pack, mail, account and other stuff I'm sure I've forgotten. Because that's what I would do: Forget stuff. Or worse, not forget, but just not do, because my day only has 24? 27? 30? hours. I forget. I looked over my goals for this year and, um, have not been pleased with my progress. But everybody's got problems and my problems are good problems to have. Too many sales? I like that problem.
It has been my experience, that when problems arise, those problems open your mind and your eyes and you can find solutions. As it so happens, the very woman who first sold Farbenmix and studioTANTRUM in the United States, who answered my feeble and apologetic invitation to sell these strange patterns with enthusiasm and encouragement and with whom I credit much of my success, has acquired the exclusive rights to wholesale the fabrics of a fabulous European manufacturer. As Nicole moves from retail to wholesale, it makes sense that she manage the logistics of these patterns. We have tested this out and I think Nicole is doing a better job than I have done so far. Nicole lives just a few hours away, allowing us to meet regularly. Plus, Nicole has online ordering and accounting systems in place, which will be a huge convenience and benefit to everyone.
Until further notice, orders can still come to me. They will be forwarded and processed. If I drop my chopsticks while making the transition, I want to apologize in advance.