Monday, September 15, 2014

Back in the Day

An Hawaiian Sojourn
(with strings)
Back in the day -- sometime in the early eighties, I worked for an insurance company in Philadelphia. It was called Fidelity Mutual, and they were located in center city across from city hall. I was their graphic designer. I worked there for 11 years, and toward the end of my tenure, they moved to Ardmore, in the suburbs. Up to this point, I had walked to work, and when they moved, I found myself doing the reverse commute on a rickety trolley called the Norristown Line.
Mind you, I had no formal training as a graphic designer, having followed the perfectly useless majors of art and English in college. But I am a quick study, and I needed a job -- so I learned on the job, while not letting on that I was learning on the job.

I was a kind of artsy handy woman at the company, and they asked me to do all sorts of things remotely related to being a graphic designer. For instance, I was expected to take pictures at company functions. This led to an invitation to attend the company sales conference, in Hawaii. The catch? I was to be the official photographer.

But what to wear? Richard and I took ourselves off to New York, to Henri Bendel, the hallowed hall of Geraldine Stutz. This brilliant woman had transformed Bendel's first floor -- creating a bevy of boutiques. The upper floors were awash in chic fashion too, with alcoves full of Jean Muir or Jean de Castelbajac. It was an exotic box of bons bons like no other.
Geraldine Stutz, President of Henri Bendel
from 1958 to 1986.

A saleswoman promptly took us in hand. We looked at Comme des Garcons first. Comme des what? The boutique was like a sparse store in a Russian-bloc country, with lonely items of clothing hanging at spacious intervals on the rack. I bought a white, cotton jacket.
Wearing my Comme des Garcons jacket.

But it was only when we entered that Ralph Lauren boutique that my heart started to flutter. "You are a Ralph girl," the saleswoman exclaimed. And so I was. I purchased a pair of deep-blue linen palazzo pants, a calf-length floral print skirt, a long denim skirt and a white-linen suit with a pleated skirt.
When we arrived at the Kona Surf Hotel on the big island of Hawaii, I debuted my new clothes. And it did not take long for my chic wardrobe to be noted among the chattering class.  One day I overheard a boring insurance salesman's wife remark in a stage whisper to her boring friend, "What's she got on now?" My self-esteem was only a little chipped. I knew I looked good.
Richard bought us each a genuine Hawaiian shirt.

And the photographs I was supposed to take? When the time came, I panicked and could not operate my camera, at which point, my boss said, "Oh don't worry, I hired a photographer."
Richard enjoying a cold brew.

Fidelity Mutual is long gone, but each month I receive precisely $118.22 from my pension with the company. Enough for several lipsticks from a Bendel boutique of yore.

À Bientôt!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Final Episode of Lazy Girl, Season 2

Best Scenes
from a Summer
We are back in New York City. But I cannot forget the beauty of the North Fork. Lazy Girl was part lazy and part ambitious. Just the right mix. Here are some outtakes from a vacation.
 Best dining.

Best dessert.
 Most Scenic Farm stand

 Best flowers, vase and color on a table.
Best hammock.
 Best broiled fish and fresh herbs
from our garden.
 Best food brought out on the jitney:
Mushroom ravioli with sage from our garden.
 Best tomato salad.
Best painting:
"Hi Mom" by Dave Markel
Best family picture.
Dianna Cramer, RC, and Richard Cramer
 Best girl on a bike with her puppy:
Sarah and Polly
 Best sign.
 Best floral arrangement:
at Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie shop.
 Best new friendship.
 Best puppy.
Best surprise visit from a Keleher
from North Tonawanda.
Our cousin, Amy Klaes.
 Mon meilleur neveu, who will be a
senior in high school, Jacques.
One of my best sisters, Jeanne.
 My other best sister,
serving the best cake.
My best brother, David.
 Best house in Orient.
 Best beautiful day in Orient.
(As if you could choose.)
 Most nostalgic farm stand.
(Where our grandma Sara used to buy peaches from Annie.)
 Most scenic old-time restaurant:
The Old Mill Inn in Mattituck.
 Makes me feel like I am dining in France.
Best sense of humor in a mailbox.
 Best old-school restaurant:
choice of mashed, fries or baked.
 Most fun resto and bar in a house.
Sophies in Southold.
Lazy Girl will be back next summer.....

À Bientôt!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lazy Girl, Episode 16

Fern is my sister Jeanne's black Lab. 
Fern is very sweet. She's a good girl.

Here's Fern Story by Jeanne
"Fern was born on October 5, 2006 at the Guiding Eyes for the Blind breeding center in Patterson, New York. She tested out of the program and was released from Guiding Eyes on December 4. We picked her up that afternoon, a little over a year after our previous dog, Uma (also a GEB release), passed away. 

Guiding Eyes assigns a letter of the alphabet to each litter of puppies. All of their names begin with that letter. Fern was an F litter. She was one of 10 puppies born to Ila and Evan. We thought we would change her name but finally stayed with Fern. 
Fern was immortalized, along with myself
and our laundry, on Googlemaps street view July 2013.
and on Munchkin of the Week on 6/11/2012..."
Fern is employed by a company which specializes in fetching newspapers for dog owners. It's called, Get the Paper Inc. Every morning she gets the paper for Jeanne. She is paid in biscuits.



Fern likes to play with toys. This brown squeaky bear is her current favorite. In this game you ask her to drop it, and then you toss it, and she runs and gets it. Then she brings it back to you. Then you repeat this, many times.
 Fern is smart. She knows which hand her biscuit treat is in.

 Fern is a dainty lady.
 When sunbathing, she prefers to lounge on a towel.
Fern also loves to swim.
She particularly likes to find a conch shell in the water.
Jeanne keeps Fern's food in a 
special container.
Fern loves her breakfast and dinner.
She also likes apples, carrots,
green beans and broccoli.
Rich Rojas,
I hope you like this post.

For information on Guiding Eyes
click here.

À Bientôt!