Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 Color of the Year

I see green.

Soon everyone will be seeing green, not only outdoors as spring approaches, but indoors as well.

The color green – more specifically the color christened ‘greenery’, Pantone color number 15-0343 – is the 2017 Color of the Year.

Every year the Pantone Company selects a color that, in the company’s words, is-

a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.

Never hear of Pantone? Headquartered in my home state of New Jersey, the company acts as the world’s – or at least the country’s - coordinator of color, matching colors from various manufacturers to ensure exact matches.

Choosing a color of the year is a serious undertaking. Pantone sponsors a conference and gathers professionals from various companies and countries. The meetings are held in a different European city each year.

It is with humility and genuine commitment that I offer my services to help choose the 2018 Color of the Year. I believe, because of my extensive experience reading, writing, communicating with individuals around the world, tapping into the mood of the people, as well as experience choosing colors for artwork, homes, and clothing, my input would be meaningful. And I love to travel. Give me a heads up and I will begin taking notes for the conference. But moving on…

Personally, I find greenery boring. If the company bothered asking me, I would probably have recommended a shade of red, reflecting my recent emotions of anger and frustration. Or perhaps a blue hue, since following the frenetic 2016 election I definitely feel the blues.

But green it is. And maybe boring, uninteresting, unexciting is what the company sought in this year’s choice. The color greenery, a yellow-green worthy of neutrality, oozes calm and, anticipating spring green, new beginnings.

Stores will soon advertise spring merchandise. Greenery will be everywhere. I must admit it is better than some choices of previous years, such as 2006’s sand dollar (boring beige).

I have a feeling my relationship with the 2017 Color of the Year will mostly involve observing greenery outside. Although spring is not quite around the corner, I cannot wait. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Let it Snow!

The first fall of snow is not only an event,
 it is a magical event. 
You go to bed in one kind of a world 
and wake up in another quite different, 
and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
- J. B. Priestley
The first weekend of 2017 ushered in bitter cold and the first snow of the season. It may be the only snow this winter – our now pristine-white corner of the Jersey shore does not receive copious amounts of snow. 

When the snowfall ended, more than 10 inches of feathery white stuff covered my world. Hub and I hibernated most of the day, reading, doing laundry, watching TV, carefully avoiding political broadcasts - instead watching old movies, including the iconic The Maltese Falcon.

By mid-afternoon the pull of falling snow became irresistible. And although the refrigerator was well stocked, we decided to venture out for lunch. A call to an Italian restaurant about four blocks away reassured us our dining destination was open.

It took more than a few minutes to suit up – long underwear, pants, thermal Vermont sweatshirt, ski jacket, gloves, boots…I was exhausted before setting foot outside.

The local temperature registered 22 degrees. indicated the wind chill made it feel like 9 degrees.

Tentatively setting foot outside, walking slowly to (hopefully) avoid falling on ice beneath the snow, we found ourselves alone on a deserted, silent street. Approaching the main road, an occasional car passed. The sidewalks were devoid of pedestrians. Most businesses closed by noon.

On the way home I took my gloves off to take pictures, but after a couple of shots my hands got so cold I had to put the gloves back on. No more pictures.

Returning home I peeled off the layers, donned my stay-at-home outfit of sweatpants and sweatshirt and returned to my comfy couch. As long as I avoid the constant news rants about DJT, I am a happy hibernator. I may remain in hibernation until Inauguration Day. 2021.

Falling Snow
Amy Lowell
The snow whispers around me 
And my wooden clogs 
Leave holes behind me in the snow. 
But no one will pass this way 
Seeking my footsteps, 
And when the temple bell rings again 
They will be covered and gone.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Quiet Drive and An American Flag

Driving along the coastal road through almost-deserted resort towns on the last day of 2016, quiet streets and few cars marked the landscape, so different from the traffic-clogged roads of summer. Gray-green ocean waters glistened under the cloudless sky. Low, shallow waves rippled, overlapping, collapsing onto the sand and finally disappearing back into the sea.  

A gentle last day of a chaotic year.

Many shore businesses close during the off-season, shutting their doors in September or October and reopening the following spring. A few businesses remain open all year, catering to construction workers building new homes, road crews, repairmen, weekend visitors, and the few souls making seaside resort towns their year-round home.

Pizza shops advertised with lighted open signs and every town’s Wawa (convenience store) boasted cars in the lot. One town’s main street defied off-season abandonment, decorating and open for business during the holidays.

In front of a seafood market obviously closed, windows shuttered with a large sign on the door thanking patrons for their business and looking forward to seeing everyone next spring, a flagpole in the parking lot caught my eye. An American flag fluttered in the slight wind.

A quick drive-by piqued my curiosity. At first I thought the light gave the flag an off-color, but as the car approached and passed I asked hub to turn around for a closer look.

Hub parked in front of the flagpole. I leaned out the window. Now I was sure my eyes did not deceive. A black and white flag with a blue bar replacing one white stripe flew from the flagpole. I snapped a picture and we drove on.

What would we do without Google? I googled on my iPhone “black and white flag blue line,” and a slew of responses immediately appeared on the small screen. I had never seen the flag before but discovered it is not a new configuration, flying from various places around the country since 1988.

The flag honors law enforcement, memorializing the fallen and honoring those currently serving. My guess is a member of the family that owns the seafood market where the flag flies is a police officer.

Controversy, a typical American reaction to…everything, surrounds the flag. Some people consider it a desecration of the traditional American flag. But Amazon, among other retailers, sells flags, T-shirts and other items featuring the blue line flag.

Hub and I continued our tour of shore communities, relishing the quietude. The march forward is unrelenting, and come summer the world will once again intrude on these peaceful islands.

It would be lovely if this year stable, calm times, like a long winter at the shore, lasts much longer than the ugly domestic and world events upsetting our lives too frequently nowadays.

My hope for 2017 is a year of more smiles than sadness. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Here's to a Happy New Year

A retrospective of 2016 
in the words of men and women wiser than yours truly.

Last year we said, 
'Things can't go on like this', 
and they didn't, they got worse. 
- Will Rogers

The New Year is a time for optimism...

You’re off to great places
Today is your day!
Your coffee is waiting,
So…get on your way.
- Dr. Seuss

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. 
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

and hope.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” 
Albert Einstein

Cheers to a new year and another chance 
for us to get it right. 
- Oprah Winfrey

I hope everyone enjoys a happy, healthy 2017