Archive for July, 2010

Fortune & the Prepared

I’ve always believed that if you do what you love with all your heart, you will find a way to make a living at it; the universe will provide. Last week, when Paulette and I were shopping (Shoes! Fabric! Wine! Furniture!), we stumbled across a serendipitous story of the universe doing exactly that.

When we walked into the the Gathering Fabric quilt store in Woodinville, we found some really gorgeous fabric neither of us had ever seen before. The designer, Julie Paschkis, had recently spent some time at the store and her story was fascinating.

Paschkis had been an artist and a children’s book illustrator for much of her career when one of the founders of In the Beginning Fabrics, an artisan fabric line, called her out of the blue and asked if she’d ever considered designing fabric.

Her response? “This is the call I’ve been waiting for all my life!” Or something to that effect. If she’d been recounting that response to a publisher, not a fabric store owner, her take on that might have been a bit different. ;) Still, it was a heartening story of creative success.

Fortune favors the prepared. If a gallery or a boutique saw some of my metalsmithing, or a publisher saw a snippet of my writing, and said “I love it, I want more!” I’d be stuck. I am NOT prepared for the universe to drop fortune in my lap right now. Are you?

I think I need to work on that.

Posted on Saturday, July 31st, 2010 by Jeri
Under: creativity, inspiration, quilting | 3 Comments »

Brilliance & Devotion

Yesterday I had a thought-provoking conversation with a friend, who will remain anonymous, about the concept of “brilliance”. I very much respect this person’s intellectual capabilities and achievements, although he/she is rather self-deprecating and feels that true brilliance is in another league entirely.

What is brilliance, truly? How do we measure and define it? It has often been identified by achievement in science, math, medicine, academia, literature.

Intelligence alone is an insufficient criteria. Brilliance is not a function of high test scores, talent or capability alone. Brilliance requires application. It requires hard work, perseverance, sweat equity, passionate devotion to a purpose.

On the subject of intelligence, however, the IQ metric has often been criticized as a culturally biased, one-dimensional measure of intellectual capacity. Harvard developmental psychology professor Dr. Howard Gardner argues that intelligence does not sufficiently encompass the wide variety of abilities humans display, and proposes an alternate theory of multiple intelligences.

The eight, multiple areas of intelligence Gardner suggests include:

People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence are gifted with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words and definitions.

This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, and numbers. People with this talent demonstrate reasoning capabilities, abstract patterns of recognition, scientific thinking and investigation, and the ability to perform complex calculations. This area correlates strongly with traditional concepts of “intelligence” or IQ.

Those gifted with visual-spatial intelligence have a strong ability to visualize, conceptualize and translate ideas into design. This type of intelligence tends to lend itself to art, design and architecture.

Bodily-kinesthetic talents include control of bodily movement, capacity to handle objects skillfully, timing and the ability to train responses so they become like reflexes. Those talented in this area tend to perform well in acting/performing, building, athletics, dance, law enforcement, the military, even surgery.

Musical ability includes high sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, music and may even include perfect pitch. The musically gifted are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music.

People who have a high interpersonal intelligence tend to be gregarious extroverts, sensitive to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and motivations, and work well in a group setting.

People with intrapersonal intelligence tend to be introverts and are skillful at deciphering their own feelings and motivations, strengths/ weaknesses, reactions/ emotions.

Those with this skill are gifted with nature, nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings.

I’d have to agree with this multidimensional picture of human capability. It shows respect for humans as many-faceted beings, with the ability to be brilliant, to be geniuses, in many different areas. The visionary artist, the star athlete, the consummate salesperson and the legendary philosopher are all brilliant in their own area.

Still, I submit that brilliance requires a combination of giftedness and devotion. The superstars in each area, the Nobel prize winners, Olympic athletes, National Museum artists, all wholeheartedly spend a lifetime pursuing their chosen profession.

I can say, without arrogance, that I have been blessed in the genetic lottery to be above average in a couple of the above areas. (linguistic and visual/spatial) Except where my profession is concerned, I am by nature a dilettante, so I have never devoted the time or energy to see what I am capable of.

Maybe I need to change that. Thanks, friend.

Posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: inspiration, work | 3 Comments »

Geek Women & Image

Always interesting blog The Hathor Legacy (about female characters in fiction and media) sent me on an interesting surfing journey today via their “Links of Great Interest.” I ended up at the fabulous new (to me) Geek Feminism Blog, reading a series of posts on Clothes and Geek Feminism.

The question is, professionally and personally, how do we as geeky women have to dress to fit in? And, as a follow-on, do we have to follow some unwritten dress code? The string of articles I’m referencing suggest that women might need to dress in a deliberately unfeminine and minimally businesslike manner to gain acceptance as a geek in the workplace.

I self-identify as a woman and a geek, and as so many other things as well. I’m creative, a bit of a nonconformist, a SF/fantasy fan, a traveler and an active person. My IT workplace has no dress code, other than business casual – very casual – and we spiff it up when we’re facing customers.

I have never found that I have to dress down, dress androgynously, for acceptance. I do think that an extreme pre-occupation with shoes, clothes and makeup would be counterproductive. Some worry about dressing like a manager vs. dressing like a hands on technical or knowledge worker – I’m not certain whether that can be a good thing or a bad thing. Still, I can wear feminine styles, colors, prints, skirts and heels as long as I’m able to do my job effectively.

Jeri SkirtDressing in flattering clothing is especially important to me because I’m a larger woman. I’m, err, Amazonian. Statuesque. I’ll never be small, although I can and do strive for healthy and fit. Presenting myself to the world with good grooming and in carefully chosen, attractive, appropriate attire is part of maintaining my self-esteem, of accepting myself and caring for myself on a daily basis.

I did make a conscious decision many years ago to dress in a more feminine style in the workplace. It’s who I am. While I enjoy the camaraderie of my male professional friends very much, I do not want to dress like nor be one of the guys. There’s a difference and it’s a very entertaining part of life.

This is not to be confused with excessively provocative or sexual attire in the workplace. One of my friends mentioned this a couple of months ago in a comment thread, and honestly, it had never occurred to me. I dress for my own pleasure and comfort, not to attract or repel others’ attention. Still, very low-cut, tight or sheer clothing is out of line and tremendously distracting in any professional setting, geeky or not. It’s quite possible to dress like a woman without dressing like a whore.

What about you – do you dress down to be accepted as a geek? Do you feel that there is a dress code for management “suits” and another for geeks? Or do you do your own thing, comfortable in your presentation, and the heck with what anyone thinks?

And men, weigh in here too. Do you notice what women wear as it pertains to professional credibility? Would you listen to a woman in a pink fuzzy sweater as readily as one wearing a black shirt with a flash drive on a lanyard?

Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: fashion, work | 8 Comments »

Celebrity Seraglio v.2

Hot Chick Janiece was searching for a blog topic earlier, and settled on the always fascinating celebrity seraglio. So, without further ado, here’s mine, because I know that if these wonderful men of achievement and industry only knew I existed they’d be all over me. ;)

Dr. Brian Cox, OBE, is a particle physicist on the large hadron collider project and a popular science television and academic/popular media presenter.

Richard Branson is a bajillionaire entrepreneur of Virgin holdings fame, as well as a noted adventurer and media star. He is at the forefront of privatizing space travel and believes in business making a difference in our world.

Laird Hamilton is an athlete and eco-activist, a big-wave surfer who lives in Hawaii and is married to pro-beach volleyball player Gabrielle Reece. If she ever gets tired of him, I’ll take a number.

Trent Reznor is a talented musician, one-man genius behind Nine Inch Nails. He’s a tortured poet and an outspoken advocate of DRM-free media.

Number one on my list, Liam Neeson, is a fairly private but well-respected Irish actor whose work in film and theatre spans decades. He too, supports many charities assisting children, the poor and the AIDS-stricken.

My honorable mention? Minor celebrity Evan Newkirk, beloved by UCF trollops across North America, is a tireless public servant, brilliant writer/blogger, and apologist for pygmy marmosets everywhere.

Please feel free to add your comments on the subject – pertinent, salacious, or off-the-rails.

Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: humor | 4 Comments »

Gratitude: the Big Picture

I am grateful that I live in a place and time free of drought, famine and disease, in a country whose standard of living ranks among the top 2% of the world.

I am grateful for indoor plumbing, electricity, spacious Western-style housing and all its conveniences, and my ability to drive or travel via boat, rail or air anywhere I need to go in hours.

I’m grateful for modern telecommunications. (I think.) I can call, text, picture-text or email anyone, anytime, anywhere. I can access the Internet anywhere via computer and handheld, and have Google and GPS at my fingertips.

I am grateful that I am a modern woman in a modern, free society. I can vote, drive, own property, dress as I prefer, work in any profession, marry and divorce as I choose (with the exception of a same-sex marriage) and have and raise children as I choose.

I am grateful that I live in a free country. I can speak as I choose, even if my words are unpopular. I can travel in and out of the country as I’d like, and live anywhere. I can choose to worship in any faith, or none at all, although, sadly, the latter choice is likely to disqualify me in the public eye from holding political office.

I am grateful for friends and family, and most especially for my amazing sons. I’m thankful for love, community, and hope. For work, medical care, and good health. And for the amazing future, full of possibilities, we have in front of us.

I am blessed.

Prompted by a post from Hot Chick Janiece, who is also counting her blessings today.

Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 by Jeri
Under: inspiration, Politics | Comments Off