Alla Famiglia

May 2011 bring you everything that your heart desires and more.  The Universe is shifting and from where I sit that means that the year holds possibilities that are infinite.

For many years my friends Ron & Rebecca have hosted a New Year’s Eve celebration that I define as epic.  There’s bubbly, lively, wine, ambrosial appetizers, fondue with crudites, delectable Dungeness Crab and mouth-watering Maine Lobsters.

Rebecca is a culinary force  and could teach a chef, or two, a few things about celebratory meals.  Ron is an impeccable host and his wine pairings are always spot on.  Their home is always welcoming and the circle that gathers are family.   Life just doesn’t get better and I am thankful to have such wonderful friends who include us as family.

We laughed, cried, played charades, danced in the kitchen, did crafts, talked about the old year and the possibilities of 2011, made loud noises with air horns at midnight to greet 2011.  It was the perfect closure of 2010 and a magnificent start to 2011.

Every dream is possible and the best is yet to come.  Welcome 2011 — I’m delighted to meet you.

P.S.  January 2011, all is quiet on the volcano, no lava, no tremors and the air is cold and clear.  You can see forever and the horizon is limitless.

P.P.S.  Michelle — air horns, the perfect accessory to the midnight revels.

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Five Perfect Gifts for the Unemployed Friend or Family Member

Hello from the North Slope of the Volcano.  Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it’s a cool 38 and dropping to freezing and there’s much ado in the studio.  December is a full-slate of workshops, art shows, and craft fairs.  I have Christmas music on to keep a Merry Noel going while creating.  I do a mean fused glass Victorian house to Silver Bells.

This is the financially hardest hit Christmas season I can recall for many people, including me.  The economy in Oregon continues to be sluggish however I believe in miracles and am quite sure that one is coming my way.  There’s a miracle waiting for everyone, you’ll know it when you feel it.

This year my 2010 list of holiday gifts for the economically challenged  includes new thoughts of how to let your loved ones know you love them.  We both know that these days it’s not about the desire to work, or how hard you work to find work, it’s about finding the right opportunity at the right time, in the right place and being the best candidate for the job and getting that elusive interview.

My gift list of favorites for 2010 starts in a unique office situated in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Number 1.  Job Jenny.  Jennifer Foss moved her corporate recruiting business from Detroit, Michigan, to Lake Oswego, Oregon, when an opportunity arrived that she just couldn’t let pass by and I am so glad she did.  What Jenny did for me is worth a cool million dollars but it didn’t cost anything near that much.

Knowing my resume needed a trim and independent attention ( I had edited it far too many times to see my voice on the page) Giovanni suggested I contact Job Jenny after hearing the inside scoop from one of his networking teams.  With a BA in Journalism, a MS in Management, Jenny is a master of the value of the written word and how to help you make your experience and talent shine its’ light.  She doesn’t stop there, her recruiting expertise gives you some tricks for finding the right place for you to search.

Not all industries post their mid-senior positions, not all industries use the same methods for recruitment and Jenny’s insights are worth twice her fee.  If you agree to pass it on to people seeking a “Tress” I will be happy to share my new resume with you so that you read the quality of her insight and service.  If you have a friend or family member who has yet to find their voice Jenny is now offering gift certificates and if you add “Santa Tress” to the optional info at payment there is an added benefit  http://www.jobjenny.com/gift-certificates.

Number 2.  If it has been a while since your loved one’s been job-hunting here’s a different vision for a gift certificate.  Spruce them up and I’m not talking about planting an evergreen tree.  Help give them a fresh fashion look.  A pair of earrings, a new blue shirt, a scarf, a blazer (for both sexes) and help them update their look for an interview.  First impressions are important and some fun shopping is a great morale booster.  Take them shopping, have a glass of wine with lunch, and help get that new fashion groove going.  Please note:  let them choose the items, they may need a specific “look” that is appropriate to the position they seek.

Number 3.  Mobile phone service.  If they need a new phone, with some critical apps and all of the content of the internet to help them with extended time and/or access or that updated piece of telephone equipment it’s a valuable tool.  Terrible cellular service can mean missing opportunities because they get lost in the ephemera of the invisible mobile network.

Number 4.  Simple — gas card with a couple of tanks worth of driving.  Don’t drive?  Mass-transit tickets or pass, cab fare or bicycle maintenance are also an option.

Number 5.  The best one of all… tell them you love them, let them know that you can see their successful future and help them keep sight of the path they are on. Whatever happens there is another road to take, an opportunity to grasp.  The best is yet to come and when they arrive there is a big bountiful reward for getting there.  Life ain’t easy but it sure can be sweet.

That’s it from the North Slope of the Volcano, Tress

Prefontaine Studio Holiday Schedule: http://www.prefontainestudio.com/xmzs.html

Mt. Tabor, located in Portland, Oregon, is the only US City in North America with a volcano inside city limits.

Posted in 2010 Christmas Gift List, Christmas, Make the world a better place, Prefontaine, Prefontaine Studio, Restoring Yourself, Unemployment | Tagged , | Leave a comment

James Taylor I Know You’re Out There… Call Me!

I’m one of those vocalists who people look at in the car next to theirs singing to the music and head bobbing to the beat having a great time in my mobile sound studio.  For years I have enjoyed perfect harmony with many internationally known performers and feel my harmonies are best with James Taylor’s classic songs and stories.  On a pleasant day I put the convertible top down and cruise along, just me and James and lots of stop lights.  The music never stops.

Move over James Taylor back-up singers (Kate – you are the greatest and Arnold… never pitchy and always well dressed) I made a stunning discovery and I just have to let you know about it.

While I was loading my kiln, and singing along with Sweet Baby James, I heard perfect harmony bouncing off of the fire-brick.  Great style,  perfect breath control and every single note was magical.  James, come on over and sing in the kiln it’s better than Carnegie Hall.  It’s not anything you could catch on a typical recording but knowing you are always testing a new sound you can use my technique.  Just add my name to the liner notes and I’ll be a happy collaborator.

The Troubadour CD with Carole King is a studio favorite and along with Covers, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits I & II and just about every other recording you’ve released where you are the featured vocal artist.  Your songs and the stories you tell inspire great works of glass art.  Artifiable (a new word) with a variety of colors, textures and chord progressions.

During studio workshops more voices join in the harmonious happenings of a vocal nature and everyone shakes a mean glass-cutter to Mexico or scores the glass to Sweet Baby James.  Which brings me to my next question.

What is Sweet Baby James Taylor II doing these days?  I love every version of the creative driving project becoming a cowboy lullaby story that I’ve heard you tell.  What I want to know is what’s he doing these days?  Did he go to college?  Children?  Will/did you write songs for them if they exist?  Are deep greens and blues the colors he painted his house/condo/loft/car?  Did he get glasses of beer and cattle when he turned twenty-one?   Is he Middle-Aged James with a mortgage?

Here’s the really good part….

To the angels in the wings that brought the miracle of my sitting next to the revolving stage opening night of your N. America Tour I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart. You know who you are.  Please know that I had the time of my life and have proof that live and in person the harmony is better than with my head in the kiln.

James, I know you’re out there and next time you are in Portland, OR, I’d be happy to share a stop light and duet with you.

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Digital Doo-Doo Is NOT an Aboriginal Music Instrument in Australia

Are you surprised to hear that college courses don’t include books over 200 pages because students have been dumbed down by the digital world?  Students are losing their ability to focus and stay on track during courses.  A Rutgers University admission representative is quoted on PBS saying only 6% percent of incoming freshman have the writing and reading skills needed to succeed at college.

The constant interruptions of IM’s, Facebook pings, Twitter tweets, text messages sent to the person you are standing next to and other activities have created a generation unable to compete in a global environment. Right now, in this immediate history and future, other developed countries are moving ahead of the USA by leaps and bounds.

What will help these students? How will we heal their education gap? A successful economy needs these educated, literate and well spoken employees to be a player in a worldwide free-market economy.

What have we done to our children and their children? This is not the fault of our splendid teachers who are doing their best to teach a world-class education and help students learn to lead the way into the next economy.

This is the fault of tour generation of parents that let television and technology become their babysitters that kept their kids out-of-the-way and on the couch while all of those wonderful cardboard boxes we turned into hours of fun into were fodder for a recycling bin.

Read to your children — it’s not going to help if it’s the computer reading to them. Teach your child to write their names, the ABCs and count to one-hundred. Get your children outdoors and into group play — call on others to have their kids join the parade. Reward your children for their creative and imaginative play with their peers. Teach them how to be socially adept and internationally accepting of cultural differences.

The internet is NOT the real world and the dragons and dwarves of games are a huge moneymaking segment of the toy and game market and they are making money off of their games. If these games are your children’s vicarious life don’t cry when you need assistance in your golden years and they want to link you up to a machine where you will have virtual health and still be bedridden. All they will know is their guild and they won’t be able to spell it.

We can teach the younger generations of technology users to be prudent and wise about choices they make and that’s our job. It is not the job of any technology company in the world and take your children back into your arms. Take care of our children — they have the life we built for them and our job is to make it a better place to live and grow and create.

For the next 60 days please practice making a person-to-person contact with the youngest members of our world-wide-family.  Share with them about you and where you live and what it was like when you were six, thirteen, twenty, first kissed, weddings, then ask them to tell you the same about their history.

If you are traveling take a book you can read to children along the way, heck if you are home do the same thing.

Have some vacation time? Use it and give the service sector of our economy a break and get some good ju-ju for your soul. Haven’t talked to a family member or friend for more months than you can remember call them and have a LIVE conversation.

Lost a friend along the way g try to find them and find out how they are.

If you know someone who diagnosed with a serious medical condition find out what’s on their bucket list. And, if you can make it happen, make it happen and go along for the ride.

Write letters to your children that describes your life as a child and young adult — was there running water? Did you walk to school? Wear a uniform? Serve in the military? Tell them how you love them and give them the gift of knowledge about your life that they could use when they make those benchmarks. Tell them silly stories, about a broken-hearted first romance — the first time you got kissed.

Give them life and write one to each child, put it in an envelope and mail it. This is not the stuff to have in a digital record that can’t be read in the future due to changing technologies. Take photos on film and make copies (another though that no photo files will last as digital technology goes forward) for everyone.

If you have an “enemy” out there that was your friend or family member — be braver and bolder and send an olive branch and suggest a healing of old rifts.

One last thought for this posting and that is if you love someone – your best friend, family, romances, teachers and other mentors write them a love letter and tell them what they mean to you. It s more priceless than a ten carat solitaire diamond set in platinum. Get those sheets of paper out, find a pen and envelopes, get stamps and let the mailboxes of your life see a love letter and not another advertisement for getting carpets cleaned.

I’ll update you in a month about the ones I am writing.

February 2nd, 2010 is Groundhog’s Day and I am delighted to let you know the Groundhog saw his shadow in Portland and there’s only six weeks of winter weather left.  Bring on the tulips and daffodils.

Posted in Brain Clutter, college students, Creativity, Good social skills, How to help the economy, Humor, humor, pets, life, cats, dogs, Life, Love your children, Make the world a better place, Musings, Prefontaine, Read to your children, Rejuvenation, Restoring Yourself, Spirituality, Sports, Technology, Too much technology, World Economy | Leave a comment

Buon Natale

Enjoy Christmas, gets lots of hugs, kisses, good wishes, warm cocoas and don’t forget that plate of cookies for Santa Claus. I celebrate Boxing Day as well, a day that originally was when the Lords and Ladies of the house would share the remains of the Christmas pantry with the staff. I have no staff but if you have really good leftovers I’ll be over on the 26th for dinner. Roast beef sandwiches and some au jus for French Dips… mmmm I can taste it now. Could I get sourdough bread with that sandwhich?

Merry Christmas,
Tress, John, Lola Blue, Scarlett Lilly, Greyson, Ibiki & Sugar

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President Obama Nobel Speach

If you have yet to hear the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech of President Barrack Obama I urge you to read the following link. His message has no political lines, talks about a global community and calls us to consider the costs of military action.

His message does not draw political lines, crosses all political parties and it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are in his global message. The White House has made the text of his speech available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-acceptance-nobel-peace-prize .

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Who Cares & Heroes

First — I don’t have a judgement on the morality of what Tiger Woods did, or didn’t do, and the state of his marriage.   Do I think that he should lose his endorsements?  Yes, he should.  Why?  Because the companies he endorses are paying big bucks to use his image and now they won’t get what they paid for.  Should those companies get dragged into the mud with him?  Yes on that one too.  When companies spend huge sums of money to perfect a Tiger Woods “clean-cut” image it’s just a mirage that they paid for and consumers believed them and nobody wins.

Who should get the $$$ that will be lost?  Let’s divide it up and give some to every person we know who has done something to make our world better a better place.  We could start with our families and then spread it around to some really great people and/or non-profit organizations and let the money take care of someone other than Mr. & Mrs. Tiger Woods (I wonder if they would give the $$$ to have some privacy?).

My hero is Mr. John Morrison who kept a clear head when I started choking earlier this week and successfully performed the Heimlich Maneuver.  Thank you Mr. Morrison, you are my hero.

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