Monday, January 16, 2012

WHERE CAN YOU SEE SNOW ON PALM TREES?

I have been thinking a lot about snow globes lately.  I'm not sure why.

My sweet Southern Mama began collecting fancy snow globes the last ten years (or so) of her life.  They were large, glass and contained very intricate pieces inside. Several of them were also music boxes that played music that went along with the figurine inside.

The ones that were most memorable to me was Scarlett and Rhett in a sensual embrace...and shiny snow fell upon them as the "Theme from Tara" played. (why was snow not included in Gone With the Wind?)

Another was the mask from Phantom of the Opera (Slightly creepy) as the snow and glitter gently floats down as Music of the Night played. 

These snow globes were beautiful and were lovely souvenirs of precious times, however you had to use great, GREAT caution to get the snow falling.  The children broke the globe of the Phantom globe when they tried to shake it up to see the snow.  Fortunately the figurine of the mask survived and with no globe, it was still a fine figurine mounted on a beautiful stand.

But those are not the snow globes I've been thinking about. I'm thinking more about the small, plastic ones that have palm trees, alligators, hula girls, the Eifel Tower, and cities inside a piece of plastic, drowning in water, mineral oil, glitter, and grits.  Well its not grits because they would swell in the water but look closely...The snow looks like grits.

Shake it. Not gently. Vigorously. Watch the snow fall slowly, no matter how vigorously or gently you shake it.  Shake it again before the snow completely lands. Or see if you can tilt it and make all the snow land in a pile.

Mesmerizing. Why? Why are these silly objects so popular as souvenirs? You went to Florida and did NOT see a real alligator. You did NOT see a hula girl. You may have seen palm trees but NOT with snow falling on them.

This is the only place Palm trees will ever experience snow. Same with hula girls and alligators. 

It does snow on the Statue of Liberty. When I saw her from the ferry, the first thing I remember thinking was the best way to capture this moment would be to shrink her very tiny, put her in a plastic globe of water and watch her with snow and glitter floating down upon her. 

That's what I'm thinking about today. How about you? Do you have an odd souvenir that reminds you of a wonderful moment?




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Get Out of the Way!

I've got several (more than one) websites that I am currently trying to manage. I have been bombarded by messages and suggestions (more like commands) that I must TWEET.  Ugh....I've been ignoring it but now that I'm actually doing commerce on one: VelvetHatbox, I broke down and decided it would just have to happen.

I set up a Twitter account in 2010, back when this blog was still just a Baby Blog (hasn't she grown up lately?) and found out, I know just as little about tweeting as a did back then.

SET UP ACCOUNT
It asked me my full name and I'm already intimidated.  The last site that asked my full name was a trick! When I got inside the activity portion of the website, everybody was going by all these pretend names like "BAware" (took me five days to realize it was 'be aware') and "QTme"  (I was thinking all this time it was "quit me" but not that I've typed it I see its actually "Cutie Me" ...imagine me sticking my tongue out making a gagging sound)

I went ahead and typed in my name anyway and then it asked me my 'username' so I put my name in again. "Sorry that name is already taken" "Of course its taken! That's my name!"  I gave in and added a - or a _ to my name, which would disappoint my parents because they did not name us with dashes and underscores.

This certainly was not the only disturbance I had with Twitter or that I have with other "social networking sites" (I even hate that phrase). Here's a breakdown of a couple of things I have problems with:

False Sense of Superiority 
When a machine tells me that I can't use the first name that I want to, that the name I've been given is "not available" I feel a sense of  "aw, rats!  I thought I was being so creative! How could someone else already thought of  myusername as their username?:"  

When  I finally came up with something ridiculously confusing, to keep others from stealing my password, that I will NEVER be able to remember, I thought, "HA! How do you like them apples? I'm the only one in the universe with THAT username" 

I'd share it but I'm afraid my computer will explode since it warned me like 18 times: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SHARE YOUR PASSWORD WITH ANYONE!   Ahem, Who would I tell, and who cares, and I can't remember it anyway because it was a jumbled mass of letters, numbers, with a couple of # _ = and - thrown in!"

So here I am with this new superiority complex, believing that I have finally arranged the above mentioned symbols, letters and numbers into a pattern that no one has ever come up with before! MuWahahaha! (evil scientist laugh) 

Greeeeat...... You're better than everyone else......riiiiight....


False Sense of Loyalty 1
I finally got signed in and got my very own original username. Then it asked me to choose five people to follow. I didn't recognize any names on the list at all except for three: Beyonce', Michelle Obama, and Snoop Dog.  

The first question was how was this list compiled? Did they assume from my brilliant username that this must be the list of people I may want to follow somewhere?  My next question was HUH?

I don't pretend to be the brightest knife in the drawer or the sharpest tool in wood shop, but I do know a couple of things about following folks and that is "Are they worth following?"   So I'm thinking that I like Beyonce' all right, but I don't really know if she's leadership material. Snoop Dog? I don't think so.   Of course Michelle Obama is worthy of being followed but I really don't think I care so much about when or where she's shopping (using my money, no less) and apparently if I want to know what she's up to, I have only to turn on the tv to Sesame Street, iCarley, and others. (REALLY, MICHELLE? REALLY?! I can't imaging Jackie Kennedy on iCarley...I'm Just saying)

I've heard people say that they "follow" all these different celebrities and politicians and talk about them like they are BFF's (oh my lord!)

"Oh! Adele said she finished a cigarette!"  "Marc Antony and JLo are getting back together! "  "Newt Gingrich is giving up the race already!"

Duh, duh, and  duh.

You're not their "friends" just because you click "follow" on tweet. They don't know you now and won't ever.   Even if you know their personal tidbits 10 seconds before it goes on public TV! Who cares?!
  
  You're not smarter than me, you're not better than me, you're not more popular than me just because you follow 631 people on TWITTER.  It means you apparently have more time than i do, and/or you will just follow any old Joe where ever he leads you. Because where she/ he leads you'll go.

So I wondered if Jesus was on Twitter and I'm sure that He was (I'll bet it was someone impersonating Him though, what do ya think?) but I'm not going to "follow" Him on Twitter the same way I'm supposed to follow Beyonce', snoop Dog and even Michelle Obama!

I finally decided the only people that I thought would make trustworthy decisions, that were worth my being a follower, was my family members and a couple close friends. I know what they stand for and I'm not afraid they'll lead me astray.


False Sense of Loyalty 2
I'll keep this one brief. When you Follow a company or industry on Facebook or Twitter, its a little thing we used to refer to in Marketing as FREE ADVERTISING! and believe me, the companies know this.


False Sense of Leadership 
Look at me! I have 624 friends on Facebook!  I have 232 followers on Twitter! THEY LOVE ME! THEY'RE FOLLOWING ME!  

They became a follower the same way you became a follower....CLICK!

Remember when classes were taught on being a good leader? Remember all the books that were printed about what makes a good leader?  Now books are written on how to get more followers, which has to do with getting more people to recognize your name and has nothing to do with your leadership qualities.

Here in Middle Georgia we have a fellow that comes on the news twice a week in the early morning called Dr. C's Leadership. He is an ancient white-haired fellow in a tweed jacket sitting in front of a green chalkboard (look it up if you don't know what a chalkboard is) looking very OLD SCHOOL. And he gives leadership tips. He says things like "Leaders listen to their followers. A good leader cares about their followers. A good leader chooses carefully, knowing people are following.  A good leader is humble. (look it up, PLEASE) and he finishes every segment saying "You, too, can be a good leader if you want to."

He has never mentioned social media and the false sense of leadership.  People who pat themselves on the back because 427 or 19,000 people recognize their names are not leaders. They are self-promotional but not leaders.

To Lead or Not to Lead?
The marketing class I mentioned earlier? We learned the difficult and expensive task of making flyers, designing better business cards, producing commercials and print ads to get your name noticed as often as possible.


Now, marketing is basically free. Will I take advantage of that?  You bet your sweet, patootie!  I have goods to sell at my online store! The more people that recognize VELVET HATBOX means more product moved out and moved in. Its a great time to be in business. No expensive rental fees or utilities. Overhead is generally nothing. And advertising is a matter of Click and FOLLOW!

But I want to be a good leader. I want to do business honestly. I may never meet my shoppers personally but I want then to be repeat customers. I want them to know that they can trust that if there's a problem, I'll do my best to make it right. 

My name (particularly my user name) is irrelevant, but I do want them, you,  to remember "Velvet Hatbox". It was inspired when I looked three feet in front of me and saw the gold velvet hatbox, that belonged to my mother, and possibly my Grandmother, sitting beneath my coffeetable. I put it there because it is lovely, its unique, and its "old school". 

Women used to NEVER travel without their hatbox, that obviously carried a valuable possession: a special hat that made them uniquely stylish, uniquely feminine.
A woman with a hatbox was a woman you wanted to follow.

MOVE !
 I used to hear all the time "Lead, Follow, or GET OUT OF THE WAY!"

It meant don't just stand there.  It recognized not everyone is a leader and not everyone is a follower but you MUST DO SOMETHING!  

To me, the recent Social Media Phenomenon is a TON of people who are calling themselves Leaders and Followers but are actually doing Jack S#*@.      NOTHING!

SO MOVE ALREADY! Get out of the stinking way and let those of us who are actually, true leaders LEAD! Those of us who choose to follow will choose wisely whom we should follow and will follow with gusto and our WHOLE HEARTS.  

A true follower of something or someone, doesn't just believe in the person they follow, they believe in the cause that the person represents.  


And with that being said...

Yes, please! Follow me on Twitter at DoubleWideMom and Velvet Hatbox (click on icons, of course!)




Next time I'll whine about Facebook and ask you to sign up for that. 
I know, How Self-promoting can you get?
                                                   

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

GOWISHALUTIONS for 2012

Did you hear anyone say "I sure am glad to see 2011 go?"

Can't say that I do, except to press forward!

Yep, I'm back and have a new fortitude! New outlook! New material and new news!

I won't catch you up on all that has gone on in my life in just one blog. I've got enough to cover a couple of months, believe me!  I'll just hit a couple of things today.

I've lost a few pounds so I wouldn't quite consider myself so much "doublewide" anymore, more like double-trouble!! (ha..yeah, I'm keeping that!)  AND I no longer live in a DOUBLEWIDE!  I know, right? What the heck? I'll save the details for several blogs down the road but I'm now living in a Double-story Townhouse.

Will I change the blog name? No way! It is me. It fits.                                                                              (And I probably wouldn't have many readers without it...)

With that said, I want to introduce you to a word that describes what I'm working on right now:

                     Gowishalution!     (This word was inspired by my newfound fellow blogger, Havi Brooks) Goals, wishes, and resolutions all rolled into one.  There are so many wonderful aspects and differences to each one, I decided I'd mash it all up. These are tasks I'd like to accomplish and above all I WILL NOT berate myself (or anyone else) if I only get 1/2 done or if I don't even think about it after today. (I'm pretty sure that should be my first gowishalution!)

My Gowishalutions for 2012  
1. Please see above. Read that stuff about not berating myself, blah, blah, blah.

2.  .A year ago I wanted to start my job by letting my clients be themselves and appreciate their idiosyncracies instead of trying to “heal” them. Yet here I am, doing exactly the thing I didn’t want to do because it’s “the program” and I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall, and I can see the frustration in their own faces.….so tomorrow I will return to my original plan, my original calling, my original purpose which was to help them appreciate themselves and help them find their own unique purpose.    
I wrote this yesterday and did, indeed get back to basics with them and had a GREAT day!

3.   This week I will feel. Friday marks the end of a 24 year long very memorable journey, as well as the beginning of a brand new peregrination (now there’s a word for 2012!). I will give myself permission to be hurt, angry, devastated, confused and elated whenever the mood hits, even if they hit ALL at the same time.

4.   I will dust off all those unfinished, NO! I will relish in the gestational moments of the numerous projects that have been maturing and nestling as a mother experiencing the internal nudges of her unborn child striving to escape its nurturing cocoon. Just as a baby is delivered and a butterfly emerges at a perfect moment, so my projects will also emerge when ready.  (More on this later...)

5.  I will accept that I am a great person, worthy to be cherished by the Right People who appreciate just how special I am.

Please come back tomorrow when I will try to be funny.

Some things I plan to talk about are the overuse of !!!!!!, the overuse of the word "amazing", snowglobes,
champagne, Simon & Garfunkel (yessss!) pirates and time machines.

Have you made any gowishalutions this year? (No, because you just learned there was such a thing.)
Just for fun, leave me a few so we can cheer each other on.

Thanks for being here. Thanks for staying this long. And we'll get together soon!

P.S. I missed you.