Straight White Male.

PrintPRIDE week. Sitting in a coffee shop, I overheard part of a conversation from the table next to me, “When is MY day? I wanna know, when will there be a day for me, a straight white male. When will there be a day to celebrate me?!!!” Shocked, stunned and disgusted, I gathered my things and removed myself from the situation. At that particular moment, a response from me would not have been pleasant.

One Mother’s Day many years ago, as we were getting ready for church, I asked my mom, ‘’Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?” My mom answered, “Everyday is Children’s Day.” I nodded as if I understood.

Today I nod, because I do understand.

As children we assumed the world would take care of us, and for the most part, it did.  Adults looked after us, fed us, dressed us, protected us and provided a place to lay our heads. Television programs were designed for us. Family vacations were planned with our schedule and our enjoyment in mind. The world revolved around us, and everyday was “Children’s Day”.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are days set aside to remind us (children) that someone else (Mom, Dads and other adults) are out there working to make life comfortable, and safe for children.  They are days set aside for children to take a moment and say, Yes, you ARE an important part of my world and you help make me who I am. I honor and respect you as you have honored and respected me.

So… Dear Straight White Male, I say to you, everyday is Straight White Male Day!

Pride Week, Black History Month, Native American Month are special days set aside to acknowledge someone other than the Straight White Male, but they are days created for your benefit, for you to look closely at those who are not like you.

These special non ‘Straight White Male Days’ give you a chance to examine your privilege, your entitlement, your history, your place in this world. It’s a time for you to recognize the role diversity played in making you YOU! You can acknowledge the other people who struggled to make life work in a world that did not value their existence.

Consider the non-‘Straight White Male Days’ a time to renew your spirit and give honor and respect to those who have done the same for you throughout history.

Reflect and give thanks, we all have reason to celebrate.

Happy Pride.

 

The 57.

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When your birthday falls on a Saturday, what better way to celebrate than a good old fashioned house party with friends, music and a drink created just for the occasion.

 

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The 57. A Watermelon Martini:
Juice from half a lime
1 mint leaf
1/2 oz. of Monin Watermelon Syrup
Ice cubes
1-2 oz Hangar 1 Vodka
1-2 oz seltzer water
Mint leaf for garnish

Muddle the lime juice, mint leaf and watermelon syrup in the bottom of a shaker. Add ice cubes, vodka and seltzer water. Gently shake, then strain into Martini glass. Garnish with mint leaf.

Fun Times!

 

Words of Wisdom from Walnut Creek.

rainydayThe owner of the really cool green linen jacket that hung in the lifeless cubicle, finally returned to the office. I noticed the jacket when I began working a few weeks earlier. It was simple in it’s design, however, it was the unique color that attracted my attention. I wondered why the jacket was left to collect dust all those weeks. Perhaps it was meant to be a decoy in case the “boss” walked by, giving illusion that this person was at work, but simply away from his desk?

Brian, the owner of the jacket was an engineer who had been working in Lisbon collecting data that was to be included on a map my department was creating.

While we listened to music from a portable CD player, Brian would list off the longitude and latitude points where cell sites were located. I would find the points on the big gigantic map and stick on little yellow dots to represent the cell sites. For hours that turned into days, I would place yellow dots on the big gigantic map. The map would later be photographed, reduced, and finally used in a presentation that offered cellular phone services to the country of Portugal.

Before moving to the Bay Area from Southern California, I went back to school to hone my  graphic design skills and learn the computer just so I could get a job where I stuck yellow dots on a gigantic map.

groceriesBrian worked for the international side of the company and would travel often, sometimes for weeks at a time. When he was in Rome (having his pocket picked while giving directions to Bocca della Verità), it was his birthday and his mother arranged to have a chocolate cake delivered to his hotel room. I remember thinking how nice it was to have care packages and such while on these assignments. Kinda like being away at summer camp or in the dorm at college and grandparents would write and send the occasional treat to make you feel special.

I agreed to collect Brian’s mail from his apartment and send it to him through the inter office transfer system while he was away. Along with the mail I would include a personal “greeting card” that was printed from the computer. I’d create an illustration with a simple phrase that said hello. My own little Hallmark ; I called them “Words of Wisdom from Walnut Creek”.
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I remember printing one of the illustrations. It still needed a little tweaking, so I left that first version on the desk of one of the assistants. The next morning, the assistant saw my illustration and asked if I could print another copy because she wanted to give it to a friend. No problem. From that point on, I began making multiple copies of my “Words of Wisdom” which were being pinned up in cubicles throughout the office. I printed them weekly and it became a cheery little way to wish everyone a happy day.

I never considered myself an illustrator, but creating these helped me develop a style by scanning my doodles and tracing them in Adobe Illustrator. I’d thought of starting a line of greeting cards, but… well…. uh….

I’d borrow phrases I read somewhere and create an illustration to go with it or I’d use my own wit and wisdom to come up with a something. Sometimes I’d take a quote from the Bible and the illustration would be used for the cover of our church bulletin.

On the top floor of our building, the Executive Offices, there was a rotating art gallery. It was run by a gallery owner in San Francisco that brought in works from artist sall over the world. At one point the employees were given opportunity to display their own work. I printed a couple of my “Words of Wisdom” in a large format and they were used in that exhibit.

Recently I rearranged furniture, got rid of some “junk” and moved things into what used to be my son’s room to create a nice working space for me and my many projects. In a box I found some old Zip Drives the copies of my “Words of Wisdom”. I decided to update the files and save them into a more current format. A walk down a digital memory lane.

These files are nearly 25 years old. Brian and I have been married 22 years years ago. Time flies.

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Beautiful Mistakes

A couple of years ago I thought I’d return to work as a graphic designer. I stopped working about 13 years prior and the world of computer graphics had changed tremendously in my absence. I was surprised when I found a position with the hands on training I wanted in order to be competitive in the industry. My new employer was aware of my background and of the experience I felt I was lacking, but she was willing to take a chance. The job was to create graphics that were to be inserted into a website.

My first day on the job, I was informed that both my boss and the co-worker that was training me were leaving on vacation at the end of the week.  My co-worker gave me instructions, guided me and answered questions. Day two, I could no longer take up my co-worker’s time as she had her own stuff to do. I had a long list of steps to follow for creating the graphics and that was that.

For two weeks I followed the list and fell into a rhythm thinking things were flowing smoothly. It was in the naming of the files that I made my mistake. Somewhere along the way, I missed a beat. I was supposed to save the files with a (dot) after a (number) or something and at one point without realizing, I left out the (dot).  I developed a routine and for remainder of the time on my own, I created files and named them incorrectly.

When she returned, my boss began inserting the files I’d created into the website and they didn’t do what they were supposed to, so she fired me. She explained what I’d done wrong, and I thought, okay, I can correct that. But she said, she couldn’t afford to have me correct two weeks of error. I offered my time for free willing to do what was needed to get it right. I reminded her that no one ever checked my work prior to their leaving me on my own, and she said, no one should have had to check my work!

Fortunately I didn’t need that job. I wanted it and I was eager to learn, but I was in an environment where mistakes weren’t tolerated.

“Your mistake does not define who you are… you are your possibilities”  –Oprah Winfrey

More recently, a friend needed car seats for a hot rod he is rebuilding. He offered to pay for the upholstery class if I built the seats as my project. I agreed to what turned out to be a most exciting challenge. The seats were to be built from scratch. I only had the metal frames as a guide. With my instructors assistance I created patterns and crafted the seats to fit my friends 1937 Ford.

Many mistakes were made along the way. At one point it felt my sewing was merely a set up for seam ripping. It’s frustrating taking things apart and starting over, but at the same time, it feels good to solve problems and figure out how to make it work. I was grateful to be in a place where the mistake wasn’t considered failure, but an opportunity to grow.  I walked away feeling victorious in my accomplishments.

Too often we let our mistakes paralyze us when they should propel us to make a change.

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Welcome!

White potThere’s  a white pot sitting on the stove and it’s full of something yummy.

It’s a warm Sunday afternoon, they were out and about and decided to go to Edie’s. There’s always something to eat at her place. The friends have a drink, they tell stories, they feed their souls. They look at pictures, share recipes, talk about their week, they laugh. What a great visit!

I always imagined having a home where friends and family felt comfortable enough to stop by, even unannounced, because they knew they’d be welcomed. They could have a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine. They’d share from the pot. They’d talk of memories, they’d make memories, they’d bring light to each others lives.

It takes a variety of ingredients to give stew its flavor.  The stories, the memories and the laughter are what fill the white pot.

The White Pot is my blog. I have stories to tell and ideas to share. I hope to inspire, just as I’m hoping your contributions inspire me.

I have a new recipe I’d like to try. I’m working on a new painting, wanna see? Did I tell you about our drive down the coast? I saw the funniest movie last week…

I’m so glad you stopped by.