Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Four years prior to that I had been working full-time and had almost full-time college course work in musical flute performance on my schedule plate, too. During the years between 1984 and 1987 I had played as third flute on what was then the Denver Symphony Orchestra stage (now the Colorado Symphony) on numerous occasions, sang and played for weddings and funerals and formed a flute/guitar duo with a Denver Public School teacher. I had started taking lessons when I lived in San Diego back in the early 80s and felt that I wanted to master my sound on it. This led to college even though I wasn't really looking to get a degree. My musicianship blossomed with every course I took whether it was theory, lab or an ensemble. It was a busy and exciting time for me but I always managed to find time to write poetry and composed my own songs.
I traveled extensively for years after 1983 attending trade shows for my profession in California, Arizona and even Massachusetts adding new services to my menu with each class. Very few nail technicians offer as many different mediums as I do so I took my artisanship in nails to the highest level. ( I know every type of artificial application whether it is acrylic extensions, gel, silk, linen, fiberglass or paper overlays (the latter of which is very passe'.) To this day I maintain my inventory to offer everything that is in my scope and capability. My vacations usually coincided with shows and classes but one year I really took a "time-off" vacation to Jamaica in 1989 which I found intriguing but also beguiling. Perhaps relaxing vacations were meant for other types of individuals. I remember renting a car and gallivanting all over the island!
A fond memory of learning about airbrushing comes to mind from the originators of the practice of doing this medium on nails. The people collectively owned a company called Colormist ( TM) and they developed the special airbrush stream to be 1/100th the usual width especially for nail art. The designs below show how muted and elegant the designs were and you could make your own templates to create the unique designs. We were only limited by our imagination. Imagine my dismay at what passes for airbrushing designs today. I don't care for most of them because they don't appear elegant to me. They get paint all over the fingers which has to be wiped off. The designs look crude and ostentatious. It may be a matter of taste but the designs below speak for themselves. Today I still do all my nail art with individual brushes to do hand-painted art and I have had many people tell me that my work is unsurpassed. I enjoy doing it my way and not the cookie-cutter method which prevails now.
After eleven years of working both in Colorado and California as an independent contractor (primarily) I took a month off from my daily schedule for a writing sabbatical to set about the business of getting my first book of poetry published. I'll never regret the time I took to find out what the life of a writer entails. The work is very solitary but quite fulfilling. I'll have to say that it is not the life for a loquacious individual unless you become a journalist. Otherwise, it is quite a bit of isolation combined with the fortitude of a nun and a very exacting business as well.
My book Seasons of the Heart was published in July and I did several poetry readings. When I went back to my work as a nail technician I found that my nail clients were the people most keenly interested in my book of anyone. They made my sales phenomenal for a first run book by an unknown poet. (For people outside of the literary world, poetry is the least money-making of all books published and they rarely print more than a few thousand copies even for well-known poets. My book paid for its own printing with the first one hundred sales!)
A little more than a year later, (1990) I decided to get serious about starting my own salon and I found a storefront in which the location was virtually untapped. There were no nail salons in the area and it was a prime business location. Two minutes after signing the lease contract with the owner of the strip mall I had a deja vu moment that told me I had made a decision that would change my life.
When I opened my doors on the first day half my clientele dropped off, telling me that they wouldn't drive as far as my location even though they all had followed me around a ten or more mile radius away from the location I'd started working when I returned to Colorado in 1983 ! I was a little stunned because it was obvious the snob factor had set in, of course. However, I rebuilt the missing clientele within a short time, due to constant prayer on my part and a faithful fortitude that I attribute to being the offspring of a long line of entrepreneurs and business owners.
After three successful years my lease was up and I started looking for a new location since my landlord decided to triple my rent! The only negative factor that I had experienced with salon ownership at that point was finding good, steady employees. This was very frustrating but I found that with being in charge I could make up for the lack of their standards with my own. Since I set the standard there was no one over me with any inhibiting factor of lack of expertise affecting the clientele. It was a great position for someone of my professional stature to keep.
Sure enough, I found a new location only three blocks away and I expanded my service and added a boutique. My biggest profit year occurred at that second location and I enjoyed it more as well. Because the space was quite small and cozy I felt it was necessary to completely redecorate it and I watched my clientele increase. I learned more about my capabilities in those seven years than at any other time of my life. If you want to build your character ( or test it!) start a business !
All during the years that I owned my salon, which was during the years 1990 to 1997, I used my flute playing skills by going back to a church I had attended many years before, on the strength of my mother's preference for the pastor's wife's teachings, to play in their orchestra. This is Marilyn Hickey's home base (ORCC) where I played flute or sang for their church for more than thirteen years! I also involved myself as an actress in the plays the director, Scot Aspromonte, ran from 1998 and really found my niche, I believe. For an interlude during the years '95 to '97 my flute playing and singing took a detour to a little church not far away from my relocated salon which was called "Good News". I was able to utilize my session playing very well there and had a very appreciative crowd for my solo singing, too.
More to come from The Castle Lady ! ; )
Saturday, June 27, 2009
From Spring of 1977 up to two years ago my steady source of income was the profession of manicuring and artificial fingernails. What most people consider tedious and menial work was a creative and financially well-rewarding vocation for me. Even when I started my own nail salon in 1990 I knew that I'd never become a millionaire- busy as I was- but the rewards were in the personal service of people (mostly women) achieving their individual beauty goals- a perk unmatched in any other personal service industry, in my estimation.
I never consciously gave up the profession. I'm still licensed and stock the materials to continue at any time ! The changes to this industry, however, have brought the standards of the practice to an all time low and the evidence of that is empty nail salons with one or two idle Asian "nail servers". Their unsanitary and dangerous practices have placed the integrity of the profession to the point of non-existence. Most of the "discounters" are not licensed and the public remains ignorant that this is a requirement in nearly every state of the union.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
You're probably thinking that I have a wee bit of Irish in me and you would be right- on both sides of my parentage. I think that makes it official.
Something I have never understood- until recently- is how words like hooligan came to be thought of as Irish. The ironic part of this is that it came from an Irish name which was originally O' hUallachain. In English we say Houlihan which eventually morphed into hooligan when a rowdy street gang run by a family of that same name terrorized London during the 1890s. Even a song was circulated in the pubs making that name stick officially for any hoodlum.
The English probably knew how to deal with a slew (sluagh, Gaelic for crowd or army) of hooligans. Just break their pints of ale to smithereens ( from Gaelic, smidirini) and put the kibosh (from Gaelic, cie bais) on their drinking galore. (from Gaelic, gu leor)
Now here's a word you might not expect and it even surprised me! Cairn is an Irish word you don't hear very often and possibly not at all on American shores. A cairn is a pile of stones set up as a landmark, monument or possibly even a grave. St. Patrick is buried along with another saint underneath such an edifice. I wrote very recently about these curiosities on my Castlelady Live Space in January. If you read the entry which was titled "Castlerigg, Stonehenge and other Stone Circles" you'll recall that I mentioned Carnac in Brittany, France.
The similarity of the words did not escape my attention and I'm sure you noticed it, too. What you may not know, however is that Ireland and Brittany do not belong in the same branch of Celts. I can hear you ask, "There's more than one?" yes. The Celts are, in fact, made up of two families. The Irish, Scottish Highlanders and the Manx (Isle of man) are of the Goidelic branch,- the true Gaels. The Welsh, Bretons and Cornish are of the Brythonic branch who spoke the Briton language. You will find variations between the Brythonic languages which make these quite different even amongst their own but what you normally don't see are the words that suddenly appear quite alike- such as cairn and carn- outside their respective branches.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
You see, the U.S. economy has been taking serious hits ever since a policy was instituted in this country of giving tax breaks to businesses that took their industries out of our borders. Outsourcing has been one of the most harrowing economic blunders ever to hit this country in its wallet. Just to illustrate this for everyone, fiscally, it is like giving your child an allowance for feeding your neighbor's dog while ignoring your own. So how do we fix the problem?
Well, first we need to take away that ridiculous tax break they've been giving to these businesses who don't care about Americans or their livelihood or how they're going to pay for all that stuff pouring in from Asia. The second action is to institute a special import tax for all those goods coming from our outsourced supply which comes from many countries. The tax break should go to those who are investing and banking on our own fiscal health right here in the good ol' USA.
I have had several people ask me, if I went into politics, what my own key issues would center on. Several ideas come to mind including the one above but in all honesty I have felt that the insurance industry is one that has needed serious reform for decades. The reason why insurance is such a financial burden on this country's citizens is because the office that was supposed to regulate the agencies and companies does nothing of the sort. As a matter of fact, if you call the Insurance Commission on most issues you will find that they work in close alliance with the insurance companies-not with the people, who they were instituted to represent.
The insurance companies claim fraud eats into their companies' coffers when, as a matter of fact, they spend more money on investigating fraud than the so-called fraudulent claims cost. The real issues are on the amounts of money it exacts from consumers while giving nothing in return and, with the help of the Insurance Commission, making it impossible for many people to get the money entitlements they deserve. You won't see any commercial for that on T.V. It's not fair for an insurance company to penalize those people who pay their insurance premiums faithfully and don't make any false claims. State Farm and all the rest would have you believe that they have no choice but they do.
If the average person looked at the insurance budget he is on currently and the policies he's signed, he'll find he is over insured in many areas- including his automobile insurance. Not only that, he'll find that any amount of income he could have used as truly discretionary (i.e. to buy luxuries) is sunk into insurance premiums which are never returned to him in any amount. To me, this is almost feudal and somewhat like having to deal with the Mafia.
A more honest system of insurance would be rebating. What do I mean by that? Well, in essence, any and all policyholders who pay for their insurance in installments would, after a certain time period, have a portion of their premium money returned if they have made no claims on their insurance. This could jumpstart the economy in a way never before seen just by putting money back into the hands of the person who earned it. This is the only fair way to reward someone who has managed to live in a responsible way. I would call it the 'good citizen' rebate. I would like to see this happen with every type of insurance with the possible exception of life insurance which works on a completely different basis.
In conclusion, I'd like to mention that an economic recovery for this country is going to take time and a lot more effort if we really want to turn every aspect of the problems around. It may take more than four years of Obama's administration but if we all work together on the issues a lot can be done in four or eight years. The Clinton administration proved that so let's get to work. Okay?
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
- You are never too old to hold hands.
- Never go to bed angry with each other.
- Don't take your spouse for granted. Keep the courtship going perpetually and learn to be romantic.
- Keep a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
- Stand up for each other when facing down or to the world.
- Do things for each other in a spirit of joy not an attitude of duty.
- Your independence should be equal, dependence mutual and your obligations, reciprocal.
- Don't expect perfection in each other and have compassion for failings and faults.
- Speak words of appreciation and demonstrate gratitude in thoughtful ways of your own.
- Learn to forgive and forget.
- Don't forget the words "I love you" and say them as often as you feel necessary- or more often.
- Half of marrying the right partner is being the right partner.