Thursday, November 24, 2011

Small Business Saturday

Here in the United States, we have a late November tradition called Black Friday, on which any shred of good will and tranquility imparted by what was once called Thanksgiving and has now apparently been renamed Pre-Black Friday, vanishes in a cloud of panic and greed as shoppers with less and less money attempt to take advantage of more and more tempting sales and bargains offered by stores that now open their doors Thursday night before your turkey dinner has even made it far enough down your digestive track to require unbuttoning your pants.

Introducing Small Business Saturday. I’ve been seeing a lot of television commercials in recent weeks about an attempt to reclaim the holiday weekend with a shopping experience that does not involve trampling your fellow man in the aisles of a megastore. I’m pretty sure there is some sort of dishonorable agenda or soulless corporate entity behind it trying to profit from a seemingly good deed, but the message is a good one, and if it works, it will also benefit small business owners, so I am happy to support it. Plus, the logo was free to download.

So, I urge you this weekend to shop local, shop small, and avoid any vendor attempting to interrupt your dessert, or spoil your sleeping late the day after a feasting holiday with family you only see once or twice a year, with the lure of a flat screen television reduced to one tenth its original price, and probably marked up a few thousand percent the week before.  Spread the word, this weekend, and beyond, and maybe we can send a message that individual craftsmanship and shops whose proprietors actually have faces and live in your neighborhood are what a good American product and a strong American economy are all about.  And yes, buying something from your favorite starving artist counts as supporting small business!

 Happy Holiday, all. Next time you hear from me I will be living in Vermont!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here to There

You CAN Get There from Here

As followers of this space know, I am in the midst of a move from a place I’ve occupied for almost ten years to a new place in a part of the country that has always felt like home. This might be why I have been very busy these past few weeks, but not at all nervous or sad regarding this relocation. I’m going somewhere I have always loved and leaving behind somewhere I have never quite felt a sense of belonging. If I shed any tears on moving day, they will be tears of joy that something I have always hoped would happen is finally coming to pass.

 Through a Glass Darkly

Brian and I have made three trips up north in the past six weeks, each with its own agenda and outcome. Back at the beginning of October, a weekend originally planned for leisure became our first opportunity to view a potential new home in Vermont. That opportunity fell through, but thanks to some timely conversations with friendly Vermonters met as we explored the local night life, soon after our return we learned about a new property in a different city and were making plans for another visit.

 Unexpected Opening

In mid October we drove to Rutland one morning, viewed what would prove to be our new home and by sundown were back in Somerville waiting to hear whether our application had been approved. It was, and ten days later we were driving north again to sign a lease.

 Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

It was then that I allowed myself to see the apartment with eyes not protected by cautious doubt and fully embrace the reality that I would be living in Vermont, a place I had spent much time in, but never as a longtime resident. Last weekend we drove up to Rutland one more time to drop off some possessions we did not want to leave for the movers to handle and also to drop off some pieces at the Chaffee Art Center where we will both have work exhibited in their annual members show opening this week. I no longer felt like a visitor in town, but a native. I bought myself a new winter coat which will be the perfect attire for Vermont winter. As we drove back, and again passed by the herd of Jacob sheep that has been grazing alongside Route 4 as long as I can remember, I told myself that the next time we make the trip north it would be a one-way journey, bound for home.

 Herd Mentality

As of this writing there are only 12 days left before the apartment I am now occupying is emptied and Brian, I and Little P head home. But before I can get there from here, I have to get everything boxed up and ready to go. Hard work yes, but happy.   


Until next week, I wish you all hard work and happiness.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Long Farewell

One Small Sale

Greetings everyone. This will be a brief update with a more substantial post promised for next week, along with more visits to the wonderful blogs I usually comment on more regularly and have so shamelessly neglected lately. Things have been busy here as the days until Moving Day dwindle down. Last weekend, I brought all my scarves, wrist warmers and photo calendars to the Burren for one final market. Thanks to the unprecedented October snowstorm here in the Northeast that day, customer turnout was low and so were my spirits when I made only one sale, the wrist warmers you see pictured above, proceeds from which covered the vendor's entry fee but not what I drank to pass the time.

 Shake it Loose

The day turned from bad to worse when I visited a local pub for some Halloween fun. No sooner had I managed to shake off the gloom of my poor sales with some uninhibited dancing among costumed strangers than I discovered that my black winter coat had mysteriously disappeared in the drunken madness of the celebrations. I will never know if it was mistakenly grabbed, or stolen on purpose. It was not an expensive or a cherished item of clothing, but walking home coatless in the wet snow at 2am made me feel that the city of Somerville itself was aware of my departure, and providing me one last spiteful act of unwelcome, which only served the purpose of making it that much easier for me to leave.

Open Studios

Looking on the bright side, this means that on my next trip up north to Vermont to drop another carload of small possessions, I now have an excuse to go shopping for a new winter coat, bought in Vermont and made for Vermont winters, my first experience of which I am greatly looking forward to. I may even have to learn how to snowshoe! But before that can happen, my attention this week has been getting the studio Brian and I share ready for our last local appearance as Somerville artists. Vernon Street Open Studios takes place this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Nov 5th and 6th. For anyone in the area, please do stop by. I’ll be offering my matted prints, calendars, books, wrist warmers and scarves and as the weather is predicted to be cool and dry, we are hoping for a good turnout and brisk sales. Full report next week.  

Buy now while supplies last! 
That’s all for now. Have a great weekend, one and all.