Tag Archives: universe

Not sleeping in Buffalo

It’s the second time I have woken this morning – a dream is responsible (more on that below). The first time was around 3AM, Seget Vranjica Croatia time, stars still dazzling the ink blue sky, Venus Paint the Sky - PRVIĆ - Šepurine & Lukadescending, the moon a silvery white sliver as it completes its latest transit. I drank water, had a piece of spirulina and oat superfood bar and went back to bed to reply to some emails and Facebook posts back in the United States, and then fell back into a soft cocoon of warmth that, unfortunately, did not involve sharing with the right man.

Buffalo snow

20 November 2014 Buffalo Central Train Terminal in background as record snows are cleared.

In my apartment back in Rochester NY I have a feather bed atop my mattress and box springs. Obviously, no matter how desirous of such comfort, I was not going to haul such a weighty and bulky thing with me, though as regular readers of my blog will recognise I did bring a queen size down comforter and one of my Anichini duvet covers along  with a mohair afghan purchased from Calzeat of Scotland many years ago with me. (Despite the body numbing of swimming in 17C sea water temperatures a pilgrimage of self discovery this might be but I am never going to be an ascetic.)    Thankfully my landlady also had outfitted my bed with a king size down and feather comforter (it weighs nearly as much as my feather bed back ‘home’ (though I am less and less sure about where home is these days). Hers is covered with two layers of satin brocade and then tucked into an equally heavy duvet of thick white cotton embroidered in white long the upper edge. There are matching cases for the dense feather and down filled pillows (which I use as a headboard, while I actually sleep on my own pillows). When I initially arrived two weeks ago I had folded hers in half and slept atop of it.   As those living in Buffalo NY (where I was born and lived for 29 years) know only too well, the weather can change dramatically in two days time. And so with temperatures dropping into the 40s at night (and no heat in the bedroom) I am now tucked inside the white one (sleeping bag style with all the pillows mounded above and around me) with my own down comforter over me and the mohair cloud with the colours of the Scottish Highlands holding my body heat in place. If I soft focus I can almost manifest the sublime joy of resting with “the he” in such an environment and fall asleep with the angels providing protection and sweet dreams.

Yesterday on Facebook an article appeared from  The Independent about how a woman has opened a “cuddling shop”, for $60 USD an hour she will hold your hand, stroke your hair, hug you and talk to you (without implications of sex). I thought about the loneliness so many experience (she received 10,000 emails of enquiry in her first week of business) and think she’s onto something. We, in the west, sleep alone. We do not sleep in a single room choke-a-block with 15 or more relatives. I think our isolation makes us hungry for touch – willing to pay for it to realise even an hours worth of connectedness with a complete stranger. While a tremendous economic opportunity for her what a sad commentary on the state of being in the United States.  I could have, or should have, cried in reading the article but I didn’t. While I might want to share my bed with the ‘right man’ I am not in need of sharing it with just any man. The truth is that I have not found a man I felt sufficiently ‘in comfort with’ to share my bed in more than twenty years. Want implies mutuality and a conscious decision to be vulnerable, to love unconditionally, to trust, to believe in the fullness of being which both partners bring to the intimate sanctuary of sleep. Whereas to need something (or someone) conveys desperation, an unquenchable hunger to possess that will ever leave the person demanding fulfillment void.

And so while nestled in my cocoon of sleep, just before I woke for the second time, a dream. I rarely remember these, I don’t write them down, and do not possess the skill to interpret their meanings, but this morning was different – this dream, ripe with messages stands out because for a couple of reasons.

I was sitting at a slatted wooden picnic table.  The light is from a campfire and a nearly set sun. There is a man sitting opposite me, his wife or girlfriend has just sat down in a chair to my right. Medieval Knights   On the table before me are silver spoons or slim decorative pieces each about 7″ in length – they are united in having a small scene at the top like old fashioned ‘souvenir of’ spoons.  Two I distinctly recall, one with a three petaled Trillium flower and the other with a group of men in Medieval clothing including chain mail on horses (knights?). The campfire is to the left of me, and a man appears there, speaks and then disappears. The woman gets a call, she has long hair and resembles a backup singer for a rock band the way she is dressed and is suddenly she is gone too. At the left of my hand there is a clutch of folded money, lots of it. The man opposite picks up the silver spoons/ornaments but leaves me with the Trillium and the Medieval men, Cardsand the money, saying only at his parting “it was foretold”. In a way that is true, my tarot cards were read on Halloween Eve (All Hallows Eve) my defining card at the centre being the Knight of Cups (more on this later). But in that reading, and as conveyed by three other friends within hours and days following was the same message – verbatim. I am protected by angels and guardians, human and Divine beings, I am surrounded by great love, that I must allow myself to release the energetic block I have toward wealth (rather than the spiritual and emotional abundance I enjoy, embrace and express gratitude for) and once I release the associate fear (of in having it turning into a world class jerk) I would have “all that I need” and more.  The universe is always sending us messages. I acted on a physical realm one this past Monday morning, and this morning, within a matter of two hours of waking, that action appears to be more than a possibility of becoming my new reality – and staying on indefinitely in Croatia (friends in the United States do not panic unduly I should be back by May to pack up and leave for good if this works out).

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the value of a cup of tea in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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The ferment of genius in a broken world.

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
― Anaïs Nin

Flee

Photograph by Massimo Sestini, accompanying the Italian navy in rescue June 2014

According to (nearly) universally held scientific beliefs human beings have traversed the breath of the Earth for over 60,000 years. Migration is not a new phenomenon, neither, sadly, is the terror of being a refugee, but the epic proportions of displacement are all too familiar across the globe certainly are new.

Somalis in Ethiopia

Somalis in Ethiopia

There can be nothing more de-humanising than to have your community scattered, the traditions of your culture destroyed, to experience the brutality of violence directed toward you because of your geographic location (and the covetousness for what lies beneath your feet) or your faith. That we, who are all ‘of one’, could do this to another and not understand that we are doing this to ourselves (for eventually we always reap what we sow) is beyond my capacity to comprehend.  Being assigned refugee status and then being forced to live in an encampment with tens of thousands of others who likewise are forced to accept this fate and ‘live’ on the handouts of NGOs is beneath human dignity. And yet, according to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, UNHCR, there are more than fifty (50) million people living this way. FIFTY MILLION PEOPLE living in tent cities and if you can read this from the comfort of a home, where water runs in your tap and flushes your toilet, where you can bathe, and cook, and sleep anytime you wish, a piece of you – in our common existence – is living this other life.

I believe in the ferment of genius.  That there are ideas floating all around us, destined to be pulled down because at a precise moment in time we see a problem and know with every fiber of our being that there is a solution to it that ‘we’ have been called upon by the universe to fix.  Goethe understood it too.

Destiny grants us our wishes, but in its own way, in order to give us something beyond our wishes.
                                                                                                     ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Because of her Lexus Design Award winning “Weaving a Home” project, I discovered the extraordinary work of Abeer Seikaly a couple of weeks ago. I have worked with artisans and Abeer_Seikaly_woven_tent_2craftspeople for more than a decade to find a way of taking their traditional skills and making them contemporary and commercially viable so, you can imagine how Seikaly’s efforts took my breath away. The conjunction of honoring the traditional housing of nomadic peoples everywhere, seeing in handwoven baskets a possibility for something more, and her training as an architect have created something truly innovative and worthy of the (all too often loosely assigned) appellation of genius.

In combination with “ovens made from old bath tubs” we might be able to fix some bathtub ovenpressing problems and build communities (and all the healing, dynamic energy which accompanies such) within refugee camps to restore a level of human dignity.

I have facilitated introduction between Ms. Seikaly and a friend of mine who is the CEO of Glen Raven (Sunbrella) fabrics.  I suggested that the integration of a rain collection and cooling system into the functionality of her design and they have now taken the conversation into the business development core of Glen Raven for direct conversations. I can’t know the outcome, but I see NO REASON why something couldn’t be developed for those living near salt water but within an arid environment to cope with increasingly demands on water resources. I am so very hopeful of something smart, and cost effective, will come of the connections I saw and acted upon.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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There will be light! An utterly incongruent story of six lamps.

As my dear friend Ken Herron said when I told him the story, “You can’t make this stuff up!” and while the following may provide evidence to the contrary I am not (as he said) a “crazy lamp lady”.

I will admit, I live on the edge of outright financial disaster, but surrounded by beauty (which makes up for a lot) and always in a state of gratitude. I have very little in terms of expectation, and I am ridiculously happy for my version of normal which for anyone else would likely bring about bleeding ulcers, nocturnal teeth grinding and require serious pharmaceuticals to abate sitting in the corner of the room rocking back and forth and drooling on myself.  I trace this ‘cause and effect’ back to the willful folly of a 17 or 18 year old me desiring something denied by my father who said no more times than not to me while rarely denying my brother a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, and my intuitive sense of navigation to find a way around an ‘in trust for’ passbook bank account and to the desired financial assets. (Whereupon my father announced that he was “washing his hands of me” – c’est la vie.)  I recall years later my mother saying something sarcastic about the fact that I always buy myself what I want by way of explanation for not receiving anything for my birthday, yet again. Sigh. I learned self sufficiency (for need and want) in an environment of disproportion; I am unapologetic.

intentionThat expressed, nice things happen to me. Frequently. Specialness that you could only put at the threshold of a universe that demands equilibrium.  A universe where intention manifests, despite the totally illogical, circuitous path traveled and where I find myself with (undeserved?) abundance. This is a true story about such. About how I “shouldn’t have, but did” and how in the end it worked out better than any rational human being assigning risk management theories could predict or that common sense would dictate. This story is about the universe saying yes when it should have denied me, and didn’t. This is the utterly incongruous story of six lamps and the unexpected, but very happy ending on my path to reinvention and relocation.

In 1992 I bought a pair of antique Famille Verte Chinese covered urns with mud decorations and battle scenes with carved rosewood stands for $99 (inclusive) in a junk cum antique DSCN9916shop in Buffalo, NY’s Allentown district.  I then took them to renowned antique dealer Dana Tillou (I have also been a customer of his nephew Jeffrey) to ‘see what I had scored’ only to have Dana gently suggest that given their value (at the time about $1100) I not drill them and turn them into lamps; which of course is precisely why I bought them and what I did. Elmwood Lighting (now out of business) did the honors and with the custom ecru silk lampshades the bill came to $161 and change (I had the receipt until fairly recently) all in $260.

Fast forward to 2013.

When I decided to uproot my life (to at the time destination unknown) last year I decided that I would start selling off my possessions to make the move easier, and with a new life would come a complete redo of my living-room decoration.  So I listed them on eBay, they had a buyer, who turned out to be one of those eBayers that give the company a bad reputation with sellers, for the $260 I had ‘invested’ after enjoying them for 20 years.  Alas, she opened a case and claimed “not as represented” (and then as broken) and eBay in their wisdom offered her a complete refund because I had insurance on the two boxes even while she had not returned the lamps.  I filed a claim with USPS, asked her to make them available to an inspector, to return them and hoped for at least the $200. Months dragged on, but eventually USPS issued a check for the $200 and a couple weeks later the lamps came back – not a total loss but time and money would have to be spent to find a replacement carved rosewood base and have the repairs done.  Eventually these would happily sell a second time for the same $260; net gain was about $170. Another lamp uneventfully sold for $260 putting my cash flow in the $430 range.

Obviously if you are selling lamps there is still the need for lighting to see after dark.  And my longest, dearest held girlfriend Doris (an age peer of my parents) once had a pair of reticulated Blanc de Chine ginger jars that had been wired and sat on her mantle that I loved.  The man that ran her downsizing household sale was having an estate sale in my DSCN0001neighborhood and I managed to score a reticulated Blanc de Chine vase, the base already drilled, from him for $18 (picture at right). I found an antique hand carved Chinese wooden display stand that fit on eBay (actually, eventually, two) for $60 and had my lovely local lamp repair guy Brian handle the wiring for me – $79 (brass fittings and labor, tax).  I shipped the new lamp to NYC for a custom silk lampshade as no local business to my current home does such work at a cost of about $50. If you are doing the math along with me here that meant that I was still ‘up’ $233 after using my other lamps for roughly 20 years, not a bad ROI.

After massive grief and delays (three months) in having the custom turquoise blue silk pagoda lampshade made the lamp arrived back in one box and the lampshade in another – fully insured thank God – bill $640 (I know, I know, I am insane but I beg you not to look at me that way) for the lampshade and the shipping back. Technically speaking the whole gorgeous lamp with the shade came at an end cost $417.) BUT, the lamp base arrived back to me shattered! (argh), receipts forwarded to FedEx, more grief, partial refund requested, more dialogue, more emails, more receipts, waiver on claim, still broken lamp and an expensive lampshade and no lamp and then finally, nearly miraculously, a check arrives from FedEx – not a partial refund but a check that covered the shipping, the lampshade that wasn’t damaged, and the lamp – for $825 and some change!  Now the net cost of the new gorgeous lamp is actually nothing, and I have “made” $408 in the process.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting.  I was looking for a lamp finial for the Blanc de Chine vase lamp – so off to eBay and that’s where I found the dragon porcelain lamp (see the Pinterest story by clicking here, start at the bottom to see what it looked like on eBay) and finiala lamp finial ultimately paying $215 (including the shipping). Alas, it had a serious ugly lamp cap and an eBay source sold me a solid brass one that is PERFECT for $3. The accounting? Still ahead by $190!  The finial turned out to be really big (for either lamp) at 3” in diameter and a bunch of research turns out that it is actually an antique carved Mutton Fat (white) jade plaque from China (quite valuable) turned into a finial likely late 1800s so I listed it on eBay (more on this in a bit).

My lamp guy charged me $30 to rewire (what turned out to be gilt ormolu mounted) the porcelain lamp, and I am still ahead by $160. My 2nd new lamp now needs a lampshade.  DSCN9991There is no way I can justify another custom silk shade so I try the blue one on this lamp and decide it looks perfect but the Blanc de Chine, now devoid of its custom pagoda shade, needs one. Back online to do research for something “in stock” and I settle upon a black silk shade with gilt lining DSCN9999but I am not spending $89 plus shipping. So back to eBay where, to my utter amazement, I find the perfect size, brand new, unused, oval, black silk with gilt paper lining shade originally sold in a town that I lived in out on Long Island’s North Shore – and I auction snipe it (bidding at the 30 second mark before the auction ended) and score it for $19 (including the shipping)! It looks amazing and despite all the energy expended my two new lamps have a total cost of nothing and I have made $141!!!

That is not the end of this story. Remember the carved jade plaque as a lamp finial? I sold it on eBay for $800. (Not factoring in eBay and PayPal fees) the universe has netted me two breathtaking lamps and I wound up making $940 – which, if I am truthful, should have been used to pay my rent in the first place instead of messing around buying lamps and that is where the money eventually went.

Both lamps have “cousins” on the 1stDibs website – the Blanc de Chine at $2250 and the gilt mounted porcelain 19th century French oil lamp that had been converted at $3000. A 60 watt bare bulb would ‘do’ for reading and no one actually needs a pair of lamps worth $5200 but I do love how the universe conspires to let me live with beauty – which is exactly what I ‘need’.

I still have this antique Paris porcelain one to sell with its custom silk shade – if you are interested. 😉

P.S. September 2014 – the Paris Porcelain one sold – $325 – bringing my grand total net gain $1265.

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I know you

I know you

rarely, but sometimes, your absence is felt keenly – not that I cry, not that I lament

between what was, then lost and the dream, a reality waiting to be – again

I know you, but in this lifetime

I have never looked in your eyes, never tasted your kiss, felt the stroke of your hand across my skin

or the power of your flesh parting mine and merging into oneness

yet, sometimes, I feel you as a sheltering physical presence as I sleep, your breath moves my hair and raises goose flesh

and when I consciously long for you, whoever you are, wherever you live, and cannot find sleep

I imagine you spooned against my back, warm solidity

your arm beneath my neck where, when I wake, a constellation can be made connecting the freckles near my cheek

I know you, the sound of your whispers and laughter, how you read to a child

I can hear your thoughts and nod in affirmation, smile, wonder

Yes, even beneath the turquoise dappled in gold reaching the depths I know you,

I see you stretching out to push the oceans waters past you

crystalline droplets on your naked body as you lay on a stone warmed by the sun man in surf

I know the boy you were, the man you are, will immediately recognise you old or young – once the universe aligns

until then, know this

my heart, it has always been yours

I will wait for you

ten thousand lifetimes if need be rather than compromise, to live with less than what I know is ours alone

this sacred trust I keep

because,

I know you

If you enjoy my blog please share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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