the original kStyle blog.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Well Then, F-You, Too!

I'm a lot less depressed, which is a relief after two weeks of sobbing. But I seem to have come across some anger, rescued an inner badass or something. A mild badass, not a wild badass, but still.

1. Day Job expects me to arrive at 8:30 sharp. Never mind that I'm often there 45 minutes to an hour late because of all the work and the ridiculous deadlines.
solution: I'll show up right on time, and walk out right on time.

2. My colleagues at Day Job are doing sloppy work, and it necessitates multiple rounds of revisions.
solution: I'm not checking the revisions.

3. The work bully is very mean and I hate her. Today I brought a problem to my supervisor's attention. She said it needed to be brought to the Work Bully for resolution. Do you want to talk to her, or shall I?, she asked.
solution: I don't want to talk to her. You can. Thanks.

Yes, I'm electing myself a timecard employee: Check in, check out, do no more than is required, and less than is asked.

I'm not very good at this...yet.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Nuts to cure nuts

In case you haven't read between the lines: my winter depression is kicking my ass this year. I don't know why. I'm doing all the Good Things I Know To Do, but they aren't creating that lovely gestalt of contented peace they normally do. And my husband, not usually much bothered by SAD, is almost (but not quite) as much of a wreck as I.

I figure it's the high level of stress we're both under, plus recent car repairs ($$$) for both of us, plus...winter sucks! It just does. And not to mention the Unethical Lunatic being in full-force at work.

Today I woke up, both angry and miserably sad, and realized that I really must take action. I can't go around crying at random things every day. Jokes make me cry. Touching stories make me cry. Dropping things makes me cry. It's all very pathetic. One second I'm holding it together, the next I feel my face crumple for no apparent reason and the tears press behind my eyes. The Happy Bulbs--even the ones that didn't break--and the walking outdoors daily and the flax seed oil and the meditation and the sublingual B vitamin complex and the staying warm...not helping this season.

I had a choice to make. I could take the obvious route and visit the physician for antidepressants. But I have serious moral questions--not, I emphasize, toward antidepressants or people who take them--about the pharma industry. Ethical objections, environmental objections, and big health questions. The pharma-industrial complex. The FDA. And so on.

I could also go the herbal route. I decided that this would be the better route for my needs, given my ambivalence toward Big Pharma. It also falls more in line with my philosophy of healing, but this is a separate and very complicated discussion I'd rather not do here.

So I drove around the rotary to the Natural Gourmet store and found the owner in the herbal section. I explained that the winter had me down. She was very kind and compassionate, and spent some time showing me a few products and offering tips. I thought I'd just buy fish oil--which I did--but she also gave me the excellent idea to find an essential oil with a smell I find uplifting. And she told me that Brazil nuts, 6 per day, have a positive effect on the winter blues (it's the selenium). She also helped me to select a mood-lifting herbal formula that suited my needs.

I'll report on how these solutions work, or don't.

Let's hope they do.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Week

I'm having the kind of week that makes me wonder what I did in a past life. In addition the the Unethical Lunatic With No Perspective tormenting me at Day Job, I've had a string of poor luck: Tuesday, my desk lamp with the Happy Bulb* took a nose dive off my desk, shattering said Happy Bulb; Wednesday, I slipped on ice (painfully) bringing the mail in; this morning, my travel mug took a digger off the roof of my car, pouring my would-be tea (my one morning consolation) out all over the ground.

I've been very weepy.

I've also been contemplating the best quick, painless death for the Unethical One. I've decided that electrocution in the bathtub would be ideal. A victimless crime. I hope that karma will mete out her just desserts quickly, as I'm in no position to add "hitman" to my resume when already so busy. (Other contenders: bullet in crossfire, stepping on a rake, incorrectly labeled medication, new shellfish allergy.)

But, as dear Eric pointed out in an email today (presumably sent during a quick breather while running away from ethnomusicologists): 30 Rock is on tonight. Laugh therapy.

*full-spectrum, to chase away winter blues

Sunday, February 18, 2007

About Cake

I always feel like I should do some deep reflection on my birthday, about the person I am and was and hope to be, about growth and challenges and blessings of the past year...crap like that. But usually, I've just done those things for the new year, a month and a half before, so I let myself focus on the confectionary aspects of birthdays instead, both literally and figuratively. It's a day for Pretty Things, for whimsy. Shiny packages, a museum exhibit of pretty blue objects, and sweet lovely cake.

I called La Provence yesterday morning. "Bonjour, bleu bleu bleu," a man answered the phone. He was speaking French, and I don't understand the lovely language of the Sun King, and the words I don't recognize all become bleu in my mind. "Bonjour, do you speak English?"

Man with French accent, slightly wounded: Yes, of course!
me: Oh, sorry--I thought maybe I called the wrong number. It's my birthday.
Man with French accent, now cheery: Happy birthday!
me: Thank you. I'd like a cake.
Man with French accent: Which one?
me: I don't know what it's called. It has lady fingers on the outside, and it's very creamy.
Man with French accent: It has cream on the outside?
me: No, lady fingers.
Man with French accent: Oh, the zuppa?
me: I don't know its name...
Man with French accent: It must be the zuppa! We have one left.
me, salivating and slightly nervous that I might not get my cake: Can you hold it for me?
Man with French accent: Yes. What is your name and phone number? And what time do you think you will pick it up--just an approximation?

I told him the info, with three tries at the phone number before he got it--and even then, he said a digit wrong, but I didn't have the heart to correct him again--and said I'd be there around 11 AM. I then left my folks a message, telling them I had a cake so they shouldn't bring one.

At noon, we were finally getting out of the house. We reached La Provence at about 12:15. Their lunchtime crowd was in full effect, happily eating quiche, jambon de Paris sandwiches, luscious salads, palmiers...

I waited in line, patient in the way of a sticky little kid trying to be good. Sure enough, the cake display case had no zuppa. I got the last one. I whispered in my head. Ooh ooh ooh, it will be so good. I noticed the other attractions in the cases--smooth, shiny croissants, deep crimson beet salad, whole wild mushroom quiches, dark green salads like miniature gardens, almond nougat on the shelf--and I won't lie, I was tempted to get a little treat. But I pushed on like a suitor waiting for his true love, next to whom all the other pretty maidens paled.

Finally I reached the front. A pleasant American teenage fellow greeted me. "I'm here for a cake," I whispered with something like awe. He asked for my name, ducked into the back. Returned.

There's no cake with that name on it, he said. Could it be under a different name?

A slight wave of panic, the crushing blow of defeat and deprivation hovering over my head. Could it be that we were too late at 12:15? I nonetheless pressed on. "No, it couldn't be another name. It's the zuppa, I think..." I squeaked.

"The zuppa anglaise?" he replied. "I think so," I said gamely.

He went to the back, emerged with a white box. "Fran?" he asked. I shook my head no. Then...a miracle...he read off my phone number, every digit correct.

"That's my number!"

I got my cake. It was elegant and cheery, cream top accented with a ring of raspberries, a pink ribbon tied around the powdered lady fingers.

Later that afternoon, picking up my sister from the commuter rail for dinner, I saw a dog that looked just like a grizzly bear, its giant giant scary giant head emerging from a truck's passenger window. No one was with me in the car, though, so no one believes me. It looked just like a grizzly bear. I think it probably was a grizzly, but I didn't know that it was legal to drive with one in Massachusetts.

My parents bustled in at 4:45...Cake box in hand. They didn't get my message! They had an altogether different sort of cake, delicious in its own way, from the bakery that helps us celebrate all family occasions, including my wedding last summer. It was an eggy, fluffy yellow cake, covered in sweet white buttercream and purple flowers, an exuberant "Happy Birthday, kStyle!" scrawled across its face. The kind of wonderful frosting that is slightly gritty in the teeth.

After enjoying Gerard's cooking, we reconvened in my living room for cake. Two cakes could not be more different. The zuppa was dense and moist, little layers of alcohol-soaked cake and custards backing up to fresh cream and airy lady fingers, telling a rich-but-subtle story punctuated by a few well-chosen raspberries. The yellow cake was forthright and sweet, wearing its heart on its sleeve.

I loved them both.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

They say it's my birthday...

Ann and I share a birthday week, and I love that she goes first. I admire her thorough enjoyment of birthdays; she inspires me to break out of my Febuary Grouchies and my general birthday-self-consciousness/malaise and have some fun.

And by the way: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANN! I hope you got something in the mail; I'm not able to track that package cmpulsively and it's driving me nuts.

I go today. Here's what I intend to do:

First, G. and I are going to the Concord Museum. He'll only go to a museum on my birthday, so I must take advantage. They are having an exhibit called "A Splash of Blue", and also serving tea at tables set in blue and white. They'll also have a storyteller, but he's performing at the same time tea is served, and you and I both know my priorities.

I'm eager to see the pretty blue things and just indulge my visual sense.

And then, my parents and sister will visit, and we'll have dinner at the charming French restaurant across the street.

(Note that their URL says "floofiedog" at the end!) Gerard, the chef, prepares very traditional French dishes--nothing "fusion" or too fancy, just good French cooking. No towers of food, where escargot is stacked vertically on an asparagus mousse balancing on a single poached carrot with wasabi and two quail eggs or anything like that. I like and respect that about Gerard. Once he visited our table, and although he's lived in Massachusetts for over 20 years, I could only understand every third word for his charming French accent. We nodded and smiled and praised the food, and later it turned out that G. understood even less than I!

And then we'll have cake from the French bakery in Concord, which might be the best cake I've ever had.

I hope I get presents. I want the pretty packages, really. Shiny things.

I received some whimsical and charming cards in the mail yesterday. One was made from sheep poo! It's awesome!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Back to Basics

I've had a frustrating week, full of tension and too-much-to-do.

There's the impossible tower of work at Day Job, but then there's also the flurry of marketing, business plan class, and phone calls for my practice.

And so today, first, I've been giving the house a good scrubbing. Not as good a scrubbing as I would like, and surely I won't get to every room (even in our tiny abode), but it feels good. Orderly.

And then, I just had a shiatsu client. I got to spend a blissful hour doing the work I do best and love most, and it was just what I needed. Sometimes it's important to get back to the reason why.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Logo Tales

Some things I'd like in a logo:
Engage senses—esp. touch—incorporate a texture?
I prefer logos with an icon—a stylization of a concrete “thing” or a symbol

Playful/whimsical type treatment and overall feel—see Fish Eye Pinot Grigio logo.

Would like to use the color RED to stand out from the pack (also it's a good luck color in Chinese culture) and something ROUND to represent cycles, earth energy.

Logos I like:
Good Earth Tea, Fish Eye, Apple, Subaru, King Arthur Flour, Blogger, Expedia.com, FireFox and Thunderbird, IST, The Nature Conservancy, Kusmi Tea. And I admit it: McDonald's has a fantastic logo.

I also like that neat little box around the Econo Lodge logo. Makes me feel tucked in and secure.

Steer clear of:
Anything too trendy—In five years, “trendy” becomes “dated”
Shiatsu design clichés:
-papyrus font
-Asian characters

I think I've found a perfect graphic artist to design my logo.
It's been a hard thing because many of my friends are talented graphic artists. But I love love love the second version of my shiatsu school's logo, so I looked up the designer. Google tracked down her web page for me. I admire all her work, and it would turn out that she designs logos using feng shui. Awesome. My gut says that her fee is reasonable, but my brain wants me to think it over a little more.

Ta-daa, problem solved.

Looks like my Blogger login woes were caused by Cookie Confusion. G uses Google Calendar in Firefox, and when I tried to tell Google/Blogger, No, it's me, not him, Google/Blogger/FireFox just couldn't handle the apparent contradiction.

So here I am, happily blogging to you via IE, no problems.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Logos, Campaigns, and Such

Dear readers,

What are some of your favorite logos? Ads that stick out in your head? Clever marketing campaigns you enjoyed? Tell me about the last time you purchased a new product and why.


Budding Entrepreneur (aka kStyle)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Technical Difficulties

For some reason, this new version of Blogger, which is now owned by Google and has been imposed upon yours truly, will allow me to sign in to post but not to comment. So, I'm not ignoring the precious comments posted here. I just can't reply.

UPDATE: Apparently I can reply if I'm already logged in. Bizarre.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sex and the City

I've had a little Friday night tradition for a few months now, wherein I stay up late (for me!) and watch the 11 PM syndicated episode of Sex and the City.

I used to like this show.

Now all the characters piss me off. They're immature, they're selfish, they are all style and no substance. And I'm supposed to identify? On tonight's episode, Carrie was an immature wench about the possibility that Samantha might die from cancer, all but singing "lalala I can't hear you"; and Miranda asserted that she could live no where in the world but Manhattan--and especially not Brooklyn (an irksome running theme of the show). Of the other two main characters, Samantha doesn't much bother me and I love Charlotte, the hopeful WASP ingenue, the only reason I keep watching.

I'd like to punch Carrie, though, and she's the show's focal piece. It's getting to the point that I even want to strangle Sarah Jessica Parker in those Garnier ads.

I should just stop watching. It's partly, though, that Sex and the City is my antidote to G's lineup of Friday Night Guy TV Viewing: Las Vegas followed by the geeky guy show Numb3rs.

PS There's very little sex on the show, despite the title. Has anyone else noticed this?

Bragging Rights

I just ate the best scone I've ever had--flaky, buttery, meltaway--not at all like the dense, mealy rounds I've had before (including in England).

And, oh yes, I made them.

Dentist Tales, Part 2

I've been dreading--dreading!--returning to the dentist for the rest of the work that got interrupted. The appointment was scheduled for noon today. It's a ridiculous 40-minute drive to this dentist, because inertia and formerly good service have kept me going there even after I moved 2 years ago. It's a drive I make only once every 6 months, after all.

I did. Not. Want. To. Go. But part of me said, It makes financial sense--they completed all but three x-rays.

Maybe it was reading about the festival of Imbolc last night that made me decide this was a dumb approach; maybe it was the feeling I was being made to do something I really, really didn't want to by some stern inner Mommy; maybe it was learning about the customer-relationship management in my online business class. In any event, I called G first.

"I'm really, really busy," he announced anxiously in that pre-grad-school-advisor-meeting way.
"One question," I replied, "Would you go back to that dentist?"
"Okay, I'm canceling my appointment."
"Good!" he said, sincerely.

I called the dentist. The receptionist was, to my surprise, totally on my side. She was appalled that Dr. Goldberg would ask if my near-faint at the hands of an awful hygienist was "morning sickness". She told me exactly what to do to get my records and which tooth needed filling (17D).

Also, funny this, turns out my appointment was scheduled for Tuesday the sixth, not today. Happy Imbolc to me. The Goddess works in mysterious ways.

Earth Mother begins to stir from Winter's sleep, as the sunlight grows stronger with each passing day. The first signs of renewal appear. Seeds that have been resting in the earth crack their casings and send out a root, initiating the discovery of individuation. Hope and faith sustained through the cold and dark have turned to certainty. [...]
This is a time of personal individuation. Declare who you are! Out of the dark earth, close to the heartbeat of the Mother, define, name, and claim your spiritual path. What are your spiritual goals for the coming year? What is stirring inside you that seeks to grow, and how will you nurture this growth?

---from Women's Rites, Women's Mysteries (c) Ruth Barrett 2004; found in We'Moon '07 calendar