Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I was fast asleep when in the distance I awoke to a sneeze. It sounded at least a few houses away.

Nothing huge and explosive. Just a polite, sweet little.. "choooo". I rolled over on my back and stared at the ceiling wondering if I whispered god bless you would that person hear it? If I could hear the sneeze. Then, couldn't he hear my response back?

I was nervous to find out, so I rolled back over and fell back to sleep.

I told that story to a friend and he rambled on and on about how sound travels on cool, windless nights and that a low noise could be heard as far as six miles away.

Six miles away!

I mentioned that to another friend who thought that was absurd!

But, I didn't.

Because there is nothing more resounding than an expected phone call that never rings.

Or the deafening silence that follows the question, "you still love me, don't you?"

Or hearing a heart shatter into a million pieces after hearing a loved one has died.

So ... no. All of a sudden, six miles doesn't seem so far away.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Suggestions anyone?

In this month's Sunset magazine, there's an article on Palm Springs. Have you read it yet? I'm going to to take that issue with me on my upcoming road trip down south. I've been there a few times and have always enjoyed it. And at the beginning of Spring, I'm taking an out-of-state friend with me to that desert town where she has never been. She's also a fan of the cool, retro 1950s/1960s style that Palm Springs is so well-known for.

She already booked the hotel in Palm Springs. "I worry," she says to me. "I need to book everything two months in advance..."

I tend to go through life by the seat of my pants. This trip I don't want to do that. (Well. She doesn't want me to do that). My job is to plan two nights and two days anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area.

As soon as I pick up my friend at the airport, we'll drive straight down to L.A. I'm thinking of booking our first night in Santa Monica. There's a hotel I've stayed at before, but it could be fun to go somewhere new. I tend to only go to the same places whenever I'm down there. On the last day before we head north, we will also stay in the L.A. area.

I'm curious. Can I trouble you to suggest places to see or stay? A restaurant to people-watch or a place to eat with a view? I want to know about the tourist-places as well as those places only the local know about. Do you know of any fun stores to browse through but not malls.

In other words, if you were going to entertain guests from out of state, where would you take them? If you feel more comfortable sending me a personal email, please do, but if you want to post a comment, I'm sure others could benefit as well.

Even a link to a website would be helpful.

I really appreciate it. Thank you!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More fabric

This was a fun and easy design to do for fabric. This is classified as a coordinate fabric to go along with the Dick and Jane fabric I designed. Ya know what made this most fun? I put in names of friends and family members. Can you spot your name? The fabric is a bit blurred because I snapped this photo off a bulk in our NYC office and felt bashful so took the picture without a flash. This pattern comes in a zillion different colors... including various pastels and primary colors.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

James Brown

My mom leaves me the funniest phone messages sometimes. Here is one I received today:

"Shawwwnnaa Maria! Shawny! Shawwwwnnnyyy! Are you there? It's nothing important. But I was just gonna tell you.... Can you believe John Brown's body.... or whatever his name is.... is still at his house?! He died at Christmas! And they're just gonna move it some other place and it's been in his house this whole time! Man! I can't imagine! I just can't imagine such a thing!

Okay. I just wanted to share that important message to you. Okay. Talk you later. Bye!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

These friends of mine

Ever wonder if your life is random or deliberate? Are we all living out a script that has perhaps already been written for us since time began?

I've been telling people since I was old enough to talk that I picked my mom to be my mom before I was born. I still believe that.

There are people I meet who are so familiar to me. My soul recognizes them instantly and there is a rich, deep connection. It's as though I have known them more than a lifetime. They are friends of mine that have always been.

I squint my eyes and think long and hard and try to remember them from before I met them.

Sometimes when I'm walking down a crowded sidewalk I wonder if I could have met or seen any of those people before. Masses of seemingly unfamiliar faces passing me by completely unaware of my presence and me of theirs. But perhaps I have connected with a few of those faces before. Perhaps we met while on vacation somewhere. Or maybe we have driven behind each other on the highway or they are a cousin to someone I know or I went to kindergarden with them or I read their blog or we've exchanged emails back and forth.

A friend and I have an agreement to pay the other person $20 if either of us runs into someone we know while we're on vacation together. It will happen at some time or another. I really believe that. I want to be the one who wins.

(not for the $20 but I want to run into someone I know in some obscure place far, far away.)

In 1987, I drove up to Seattle from San Francisco all by myself. Between Shasta, California and Centralia, Washington, I noticed the same car passing me at times and other times, I would pass them, but we drove alongside, behind and in front of each other for a long stretch of hours. They were my traveling buddies. Then... without any warning, they exited off the highway without even a wave or a toot-toot of the horn.

I remember missing them the rest of my drive. I thought they could at least motion to me through the window that they were exiting. Give me the option to exit, too. I laughed when I just wrote that. What a silly imagination. But their traveling beside me really did help me feel safe and the journey didn't seem as long. They were like my angel friends. Unknown people who help me on my way.

I believe our life is lot like that journey. There are people just like the travelers, who come into our lives at a particular time and they complete the job they are supposed to do and then move on. Others stay the course; we can not imagine not having each other in our lives at all times.

There's another set of friends we disconnect just for a time. Be it a marriage or a move or a life change that has distracted us being friends for a time. I really believe we will all be connected again.

Have you ever dreamed of someone you haven't thought of in years, and the following day you bump into them at a grocery store. Or they call you on the phone. See what I mean?

A couple years after I solo-drove to Seattle, I was flying home from a business trip in Chicago ... but stopped in Denver to spend New Years with a friend in Aspen. It was a fun flight; the plane was nearly empty so the flight attendants passed out complimentary champagne to everyone while we sang auld lang syne. I sat next to a woman who worked for Hewlett-Packard. Two years later, I am on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco and in mid-flight, she turns around in her seat and sees me sitting there across the aisle and behind her one row. She says, "Weren't you on that fun flight to Denver with me?!"

Such a small world! We talked a few minutes, waved and went on. But that wasn't the end of it. Maybe it was another year or two that had passed and I boarded a crowded airport shuttle to take me home when I see her sitting there next to an empty seat. We both recognized each other instantly and she motions for me to sit with her. She still worked for Hewlett-Packard but had gotten a job transfer near my home. What a coincidence! Again! She handed me her business card and I told her I would show her around town. I meant to call her. But. I got busy and the house needed cleaning and I had to do laundry and go on that road trip and eventually I misplaced her business card and time went on.

Later that year, while reading the newspaper, I read about a horrible car accident and a woman was killed. I recognized her name as the same woman I kept meeting over and over again. The shock and sadness soaked my shirt.

Who was she? Why did we keep meeting in so many different places? What did that mean? Would my life be different if we ever became friends? Is my life already different because we missed that connection?

Friends in my life. Friends for all time. Friends still unknown and unmet. You and I. We are connected. And I appreciate you. More than you'll ever know.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hungry for more

I walked into a deli to order a sandwich when a sweet voice asked, "Is there a seat I can sit where it is warmer?"

No one responded to her, so I turned to look toward the voice and instantly recognized her being blind. "Noo, there aren't any seats any warmer than the one you are sitting in." I said to her.

"What's your name?" She asked me, eager for conversation.
"My name is Shawn." I replied. "What is yours?"
"My name is Suzie." She smiled. "Are you enjoying your day so far, Shawn?"
"Yes, " I replied. "Are you?"
"Oh yes! I come here once a week for a sandwich. Do you come here often, Shawn?"
"No, it's my first time."
"Did you have a nice Christmas, Shawn?"
"Oh yes! Did you?" I inquired.
"Yes! I got leg warmers!"
Right then, the guy behind the counter told me my sandwich was ready.
"My sandwich is ready. I need to go now," I said to her.
"Shawn? Before you go, can you see if I've dropped any food on me? I tend to get so messy..."
I look down and there is a scattering of crumbs and tomato slices and lettuce remains. I ask for napkins behind the counter and cleaned her blouse off. "Thank you, Shawn. What do you do for a living?"
I said, "Today I'm designing fabric."
"Oh Shawn! I LOVE fabric!" she said.

I know she was more hungry for friendship than she was for her lunch. But I felt I had no friendship to offer a blind woman. I felt instantly small and puny and selfish.

I said goodbye and wandered out into the parking lot and as I drove off, I turned back to peek inside the deli window where Susie sat all alone. The napkin where I cleaned her off, was still crumpled in my hand, reminding me of what just took place.

I thought about Suzie and wondered how she got up the courage to eat at the deli each week by herself. I thought of her seeing a person as they really are without judgment. And I thought of my judgement without really seeing the person. I wondered how much more she sees than most of us ever will see.

I ate my turkey, bacon, avacado sandwich and when I was through, I looked down at the empty wrapper, still noticeably hungry for something more.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The haunted house

Everytime I walk past this house, chills tingle down my spine. Whenever I walk along the sidewalk out in front, I feel frightened. It feels ... well, it feels haunted to me.

I never stop to linger. I walk rather quickly along my way feeling nervous and afraid feeling the hairs on my arm rise.

I'm never sure what street this house is on, but whenever I'm on a walk and notice it, I cross and walk on the far side of the street.

I went on a walk with a friend last night. We had our cameras with us and he spontaneously decided to snap the photo of this house I fear.

He sent it to me in an email stating he didn't know what those round things are in the photo. They didn't show up anywhere else on his other photos.

In google, I typed in ghosts and clicked on a site and couldn't believe what I saw!

Do you believe in ghosts? I think for now on, I'll trust my instincts and I'll just miss this street altogether on my next walk. Well, wouldn't you?

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Buzz (around)

I love the word Buzz.

It has an assortment of all sorts of meanings.
For instance, you can say "give me a buzz" to someone you want a phone call from while sitting in a barber chair and walk out with a completely different haircut than you intended.

"There's a buzz in the room" could mean... "do you hear the excitement in the air?" or it could mean "watch out and don't let that bee sting you."

And, feeling a buzz can mean something different, too. You won't want to feel a buzz if you're putting in a new light fixture. But a buzz is kinda nice when you're sitting in front a fire with an adult beverage.

Another meaning of Buzz is to move. Zip around. Scoot around. Buzz around.
So here is my scooter girl buzzing around Paris with a buzz in the air and one in her hair.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Beginning a new year

What a year this has been!

I didn't write down any new resolutions, because I do that all the time. I call it my wish list. I carry this small black book around with me everywhere I go and jot down my hopes and wishes and dreams every time I think of one. It's not every day. It's not every week. But it's always there for me so I don't forget it when the wish happens to me.

I have loved 2006! I know I will always look back on this year and feel warm. My Nana used to say every Christmas. "We're all here this year and we need to give thanks because we never know who might not be with us next year."

As a child, my eyes would dart around the room staring at everyone there, wondering their fate. Worried. For a moment, I would forget about Santa and his reindeer and presents. I would run and hug them all.

"Please don't leave me!" I would silently pray to each of them.

As I get older, I worry about that much more.

I am knowing too many sick people. Cancer is a thief. It steals time. Our days are already short with worry. Then comes this relentless disease, unfair as a hailstorm at harvest time. I feared it for myself this past summer. Now I know a handful of people I love dearly who are battling this.

This I know for all of us: Life is short. Days spin by much too quickly.

Take more time to be with those you love. Let this be a year of slowing down this maddening pace we all live in. S--L--O--W down. Look up at the moon. Use your best china. Soap yourself with that fancy soap shaped like a rose, collecting dust in your fancy unused soap dish. Light your unused candles. Call that friend you swore never to call again "because I'm always the one who calls". Don't hold a grudge. Don't resist a "thank you" because someone's behavior is what you expected and felt deserved. Say "i'm sorry" more and "you owe me an apology" less. Enjoy your friends. Be grateful for those who love you and treat them with care because there will be days you will need them the most and you will have been glad you didn't shoo them away. And be. Simply be. Be grateful. Laugh hard. Remain sensitive. Seek out the beauty in things.

I will be doing the same.