Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stand Out in a Crowd

Stand Out in a Crowd
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Photography is something I really enjoy. I used to hang shows, make photo cards, call on shops to sell photos, make my own prints and matte and frame my own photos. In fact, I've exhibited work internationally in 38 shows over 5 years, received 7 awards leading to 5 speaking engagements and 2 TV appearances and have had 6 photos and 4 critical essays selected for publication. I even went so far as to apply for and receive copyrights from the US Patent Office.

But, once I went back to work for companies on the NYSE, I didn't have time or energy or enough drive to do photography the way I was doing it - doing everything myself.

For some reason, this week it finally clicked that the tools existed and had for some time to have a store without a physical footprint, without having to own and run my own website, and without having to do fulfillment.....enter CafePress!

As of today, I now have my very own store where I can offer my best images on anything from aprons to greeting cards and prints (greeting cards are a personal favorite). I hope you'll visit me at


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passionate about Peonies Part 2

Here's an update to my last post on this topic: I've got 23 shoots and 3 tiny buds! 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Serenity Garden

Serenity Garden
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
The 2009 SF Flower and Garden Show is being held for the first time at the San Mateo event center, a space better known for antique shows and the Make Faire. I went after 3pm yesterday because ticket prices fell from $20 to $13. That helped make up for the $10 parking. Ouch.

A very non-floral but polite picket line greeted me. According to the pamphlet they handed out, San Francisco Garden Expositions and Special Events companies refused to hire local labor. Instead they brought workers in from outside the area so that they could pay them less. The San Mateo County Central Labor Council and the 5 affected unions are asking that these workers be paid prevailing area wages, effectively wiping out the advantage.

This show is a microcosm of the global stage where cost arbitrage is a central plot line. The dichotomy of the hands of those who work to bring you flowers and the hands of those who consume them shows that the serenity of gardens are bought with a price.  Raising some interesting philosophical questions.  Is the distribution of wealth equal?  Should it be? Given that it's not, what's my responsibility towards others who are both less fortunate and more?  Should I feel glad that my delight in and enjoyment of flowers helps provide jobs or sad that those jobs aren't better in some way?  In what way should they be better?

I'm reminded of a show I saw a few years ago at the Arnolfini in Bristol, UK that raised the same questions. It juxtaposed photographs of and interviews with the men and women who tend the flowers in the fields with a floral arrangement that ran continuously along all 3 walls of the gallery.  

While I missed the entire pavilion devoted to the sale of individual plants, I did manage to buy a 1 year old Kamata Nishiki, a tree peony grafted onto a bush peony from Lily Pad Bulbs from Olympia, Washington.  Tree peonies don't need a cold winter so if my 23 bush peony shoots don't bloom, maybe this will.

My next flower outing will be the Fiori D'Amore in Oakland held May 2nd through May 10th.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Running Well

I've been away from running for 3 months healing from a high hamstring injury and have put the time to good use figuring out both how to heal and how to prevent injury.  Running Well has a great section, Part 3, called Damage Limitation that reviews what to do if you get hurt in the back, hip and pelvis, upper leg, knee, lower leg, foot and ankle.  Each sections starts with a pain symptoms map that flows from Where, When, What, to Diagnosis, Cause and Quick Fix along with explanatory text. Here's a gem from page 132: 

"Hamstring strains often occur as a result of poor gluteal recruitment, forcing the hamstring into a dual role of stabalizing the pelvis and providing power to extend the leg.  Poor gluteal activity, in turn, is often caused by overpronation - when the leg turns in, the gluteals are put in an inefficient postition and can't function properly." The authors go on to state that hamstring overload "tends to be exacerbated when the body is fatigued, as the pelvis tilts forward, putting further strain on the muscles at the back of the leg."

I've combined the advice from this book along with that of other FocusnFly members Helen, Vanessa and Karen, pointers from  Stretching Anatomy and core strengthening exercises from recent issues of Runners World into a group of stretching and strengthening exercises for my own high hamstring healing and injury prevention program. I'm sharing it in case it's of use to you.

Collected exercises: Strengthening hip stabilizers
standing hip lifts on a block
supine bent knee fallout
supine knee lifts
plank, side plank
kneeling hip extentions with bent knee and straight leg as well
ball squats
crab walk
ball bridge
supine leg lowering

Collected exercises: Stretching
sciatic nerve slump
long sitting
What has worked for you?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hyperku Challenge

I thought it would be neat to turn haiku, an abbreviated form of poetry, into a form of collage glued together by hyperlinks.  But since this sounds like "cold dead fish" instead of the more marketable "Sushi" and "hyperlinked haiku" wasn't much better, my husband helped me turn this idea into a buzz word: "Hyperku" - hyperlinked haiku turns haiku into collage.  

Make, or take with proper credit, any haiku and turn each word or phrase into a hyperlink to a site that represents those words to you for the reader.   

Here's an example hyperku using a haiku by Marjorie Buettner that I found on

Post your favorites to comments to share.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Longer Long Tail

This book by Chris Anderson does a great job of explaining in simple economic terms the impact of what's been happening over the last 10 years in the economics of markets and why "the future of business is selling less of more".  The basic points are: 

1. First, increase supply by making everything available. (SUPPLY)
Once you convert products from physical atoms (a book) to digital bits (a listing on Amazon) you reduce the costs of distribution (no real estate store front) and remove the ROI/square foot constraint of limited shelf space. Even the biggest book store has limited space but an on-line store can just plunk down another hard drive and list thousands more books. Lower distribution and shelf space costs mean it's more feasible to offer more variety. As a result the monopoly of mass market hits is reduced and the availability of niche work rises. 

2. Second, with all this massive supply of things out there, I need help to buy. (DEMAND)
As a consumer, if I can find it (using search) and I can be assured of its quality (by using reviews, votes, diggs, etc) I am more likely to buy, driving up the income from niches relative to hits.

The Longer Long Tail describes the interaction of these demand and supply factors in industries such as music (Rhapsody vs Walmart), books (Amazon vs Barnes & Noble), used stuff (E-Bay) and others by using data that shows the shift in revenue from hits to niches.  

The fragmentation of demand has always been there because everyone is a unique individual but the tools to find, harvest, and make more affordable singular taste to the niche degree have only recently become available.  It's a very good time to be alive.