The Loss of “Nothing”

yellow cab

I want my tenure as President of NCIDQ to stand for something. After long discussions with the other officers and staff, I chose to make it about leadership. As the volunteer leader of this non profit board that certifies interior designers, I want this team to work like a well oiled machine. So at our first board meeting of the year, which was face to face in Washington, DC, I gave out homework. Each board member was required to bring a song that identified who they are. The playlist was very interesting and spread across the generations from Aretha Franklin (since Interior Designers are always seeking “Respect” for our profession) to Kelly Clarkson (“Miss Independent” and “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”). We learned a lot about each other from our music choices.
I chose Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi because I am an environmentalist at heart. The music speaks to my soul. I remember overhearing a cowboy in Wyoming one time lamenting the loss of his personal wilderness: “When I first moved out here there was nothing, and now it is all gone.”
My belief in stewardship led me to buy a Toyota Prius recently. I couldn’t pass up this cream puff vehicle, a 2008 with 21,000 miles on it. My other vehicle is a Chrysler Town and Country van for hauling sofas and antiques. But I never feel myself in a van, as I am definitely not a soccer mom type. I go zipping around in my Prius getting 49 mpg and singing ” you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone”. I notice people are passing me when I am going 92! It feels like I used to feel after one drink too many in college, driving along going 12 with one eye closed, wondering why everyone is leaving me in the dirt. Or is it similar to life which seems to be going faster and faster while I struggle to stay current? Then I realize that I have accidentally hit the kilometer button instead of the trip odometer. It helps to read the manual…

Localvores

localvoresI stayed at a lovely organic lavender farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico a couple weeks ago. NCIDQ held its annual council of delegates meeting at Los Pablanos. The setting was lovely and fit me like an old tennis shoe. Because it is a working farm, I had the feeling that I was back on my Aunt Louzina’s farm where we spent so much time as children. That self sustaining farm in Liberty, North Carolina also had livestock, chickens, and produce. Although I was born a city girl, I always feel more grounded on a farmĀ  or in the wild.

My husband and I grow a lot of our own food and subsist off of the deer and fish on our property. We process it ourselves. I find myself increasingly buying the local organic meat for its flavor and safety. We cook with the rosemary and herbs from our landscaping. If it weren’t for the Airedales, I would have chickens and goats.

When anyone asks me what I plan to do when I retire, I tell them that I planĀ  to slow down to 40 hours of design work a week and add a chicken coop and bee hives. Maybe I will become a plein air painter and potter. Maybe I will sit still occasionally, but I seriously doubt it.

Tragedy in New Orleans

cropped-photo.jpgI attended the IDEC (Interior Designers Education Council) in New Orleans in March. We landed on Fat Wednesday and we’re amazed at the beads still hanging in the trees and wrought iron balconies. We did all the tourist things and spent a long afternoon at the MOMA New Orleans. What an amazing museum! The outdoor sculpture garden was enchanting. After the museum visit and a glass of wine, a past president of NCIDQ and resident of New Orleans picked us up and took us on a driving tour of the town. We spent a lot of time discussing the tragedy and recovery from Katrina. When driving through the garden district, we asked our guide if the waters rose into these magnificent homes. Our tour guide (who will remain nameless), replied that this area was spared from the flooding, but lost electricity. All the five star restaurants here lost refrigeration and consequently all their fine wines. Only a local would see it on this level. Katrina spared no onenew orleans sculpture!