Archive for the ‘Time’ Category

Service of Calendars and Miracles

Monday, January 8th, 2018


 I have permission of Tom Clemmons, editor of The Pawling Record, to run the piece below from the December 29 issue. I wanted to share the enlightened message of the author, Lucille Grippo, former client turned friend, as well as to celebrate this woman whose story is as much a miracle as her never-give-up, optimistic outlook is exemplary. My heart leapt with joy when I saw her email last week. It’s been a year and a half.

Jacqueline Muller, licensed clinical social worker, clinical director and owner of Dynamic Intervention Wellness Solutions, Pawling, did not exaggerate in her introduction to the newspaper article: Lucille, a young mother, has come back from death’s door with flying colors.

When I first learned about her condition, around Christmas 2016, Lucille couldn’t see words on the computer nor could she drive as a result of cardiac arrest that came out of the blue one summer evening and wreaked havoc on her body. Recently, her doctor declared that her eyesight is fully back and she drives. We have a date for tea in NYC this spring.

This was the article in The Pawling Record:


Jacqueline Muller, LCSW-R

As we launch into a new year many people are starting to make new year’s resolutions, and calendaring is a tool so many people use. This blog by Poughquag resident Lucille Grippo is a beautiful testimonial and confrontation regarding how we can over/underestimate the importance of the calendar. This remarkable woman, a mother of three, has literally come back from death’s door to tell us to make the most of our borrowed time.  (Get your tissues ready, and prepare to stretch your smile muscles.)

Why a Calendar Is So Important to Me

Photo: Polestar Calendars

January marks the start of a new year, and at every corner of the mall there are vendors hawking calendars, large, and small, monthly, daily as well as planners and themed. You name it, they sell it.

For some it marks events, meetings, and happy occasions. For others, it’s deadlines, flights to catch and work obligations. For me, a “calendar” means so much more. It symbolizes days to celebrate life. Borrowed time, so to speak. I used to check off the days on my calendar like a soldier checking his posts. That changed on June 15, 2016. That’s when my calendar stopped just as my heart did when it went into sudden cardiac arrest. For two months, dates on the calendar, time on the clock, and days of the week meant nothing to me. My cortical blindness prevented me from seeing the numbers and the days. My aphasia blocked the connections of what those strange symbols were and what they meant.

“What is today’s date?” the cheery doctor would ask on her daily rounds. Mostly I guessed and was way off.

“Do you know what month it is, Lucille?”

“May!” I would exclaim, so confident I was correct. For the last memory I had was of my daughter’s first communion in May. The doctor gently reminded me that it was July.

As the days and weeks ticked by, slowly it started to come back. The large whiteboard in front of my bed at rehab listed day, date, month, and year. I promised myself I would memorize the information when the doctor came. Alas, it was lost in my brain again.

Soon after, though, some things started connecting and making sense again. I began recognizing the symbols as numbers, and although I couldn’t retain the information for more than a few minutes, I still perceived it as progress. Some days were more frustrating than others, but with patience and determination it all came back.

I came home from rehab, and my trusty calendar felt like an old friend, warm and comforting. When I began writing and reading again, one of the first things I did with encouragement was to jot down my therapy and doctor appointments. I recognized how my calendar was packed with things that seemed so important at the time before my heart event, that had no meaning now in contrast to a near death experience. Instead of being a slave to my calendar, I now guard it and only the most important and precious things make it on there. Now I use it as a tool and one that will no longer rule my life. In fact, I may not be carrying it with me into 2018.

Note: Lucille Grippo is a marketing and public relations specialist. After surviving sudden cardiac arrest in June 2016, she found a new perspective on life. She resides in the Hudson Valley with her husband and three children and feels blessed everyday.

Do you know strong people, such as Lucille, who won’t give in or give up? Do you let your calendar drive your life or are you, like Lucille, in charge of your time?



Service of Eye-Catching Gifts

Thursday, February 4th, 2016


Qlocktwo wall clock

Qlocktwo wall clock


I’ve highlighted some of the products that caught my eye at NY Now that ended this week. I’ve covered this tradeshow since well before the International Gift Show changed its name. I’d need more than a day to see everything and I was there only four hours hence the warning: This list is imperfect.

QLocktwo wall clocks by Biegert & Funk  [photo above] were showstoppers. The handsome clocks tell time in words: “It is ten to eight,” for example. The sales rep said they are made in Germany and Switzerland. The exhibit was clearly so popular that the staff had run out of marketing materials. I noticed that there were plenty of other timepieces at the show both to wear and display, a curious trend given the universality of smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, automobiles and televisions all of which also display the time.

A French company, Cookut, introduced Creazy, a cup that you shake to make whippedRenova toilet paper cream in less than a minute. The secret: Three multi-faceted silicone beads. I stopped to admire myrenova’s toilet paper in juicy colors such as Marigold, magenta and lime. At the Ameico booth grownups had fun coloring a 71 x 39-inch coloring wall by OMY Design & Play.

Richard Upchurch founded and runs a two year old Brooklyn-based company, Brandnewnoise. He hand makes voice recorders and sound gadgets in his Red Hook studio.

sagegreenlife Edelwhite hydroponic gardenAt another booth I inspected the hanging indoor hydroponic garden, Edelwhite, made possible by sagegreenlife, [photo left], and had to touch Craft Advisory’s bubble wrap-like glass bowl [photo below] to confirm it wasn’t the real thing.

In the category of familiar if mislaid brands—I’ve not seen Louis Sherry chocolates in stores for years—I was glad that the 135 year old brand continues to sell its sweets in its traditional purple boxes [as well as boxes in other designs/colors]. My mother kept knickknacks in a kitchen drawer in a Louis Sherry tin box.

Whether or not you like to go shopping for gifts what catches your eye: Color, function, pattern, originality, or something else? With time evident from countless devices around us, to what do you attribute the burst of timepieces offered to the marketplace?

 Craft Advisory glassware

Craft Advisory glassware


Service of the Rules Are Not For Me

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

 above the rules

Some are above the rules. To illustrate the point I’ve chosen a public figure who doesn’t flinch at keeping countless others waiting; bicyclists who ignore traffic rules potentially causing others harm and an actress who doesn’t care if she ruins an irreplaceable museum piece.

Tick Tock Not

Mayor Bill de BlasioMayor de Blasio, [photo, right], holds up the works because he can’t get places on time. His actions tell the public, “Tough; live with it.” He hadn’t held the title long when his reputation was forged: He doesn’t like early meetings and tends to be tardy at any time. Headlines still track his arrival often over the real news–why he went or spoke somewhere.

Talk about Traffic Rules

Last week, WOR 710 a.m. morning drive radio talk show hosts Len Berman and Todd Schnitt addressed the lawless bicycle situation in the city. Schnitt, who just moved his family to New York from Florida, said he’s teaching his children to look both ways before crossing a one-way traffic street so as not to get hit. Berman reported once being almost downed by a bike outside a sports arena.

bike against trafficEvery night as I wait for the light at 53rd Street and First Avenue, where the new bike lane I recently wrote about threatens, I must remind myself to look both up and downtown as bikes speed by both ways.

Too Beautiful to Follow Rules

And then there’s Elizabeth Hurley, a British actress, who sat on “the 16th century Great Bed of Ware,” at the Victoria & Albert Museum to snap a selfie, Henri Nuendorf wrote last month on Artnet News. “The actress reportedly triggered an alarm when she took a seat on the priceless 10-foot wide mattress to capture that perfect shot,” he wrote in “Liz Hurley Kicked Out of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum for Taking Illegal Selfie on Antique Bed.” 

Great Bed of Ware

Great Bed of Ware

“The resulting image, which Hurley shared with her 164,000 Instagram followers racked up over 3,000 likes in only five days.” He continued, “The V&A has a strict ‘no touching’ rule to preserve its historic exhibits. Touching introduces dirt and oil from the skin onto an object’s surface, which can attract dirt to linger and degrade old and fragile objects.” Her objective was to generate publicity at any cost. She did. There must be better ways to do this while not potentially ruining something irreplaceable.

I don’t have to ask one question–I know the answer: “because they can.” What does it take for others to insist on a change? Can you share other examples? Are there exceptions where rules of civility by public figures or of safety should be bent if not broken?

Exceptions to the rule

Service of Time vs. Result: Is it Worth It?

Monday, April 27th, 2015

clock 2

I wonder if anyone remembers my dinner parties of yore: After a 60 hour week at work I’d spend all Saturday making a complicated main dish from scratch. As I saw my guests swallowing the food which was gone in minutes, I’d wonder whether those hours of prep were the best use of my time. Would anyone know the difference if I’d simply roasted a chicken? Would they have had a better time?

An actor friend immediately related to this. It takes hours and sometimes days to set up what becomes just a few minutes of film. Does the general public get the nuances? Do they add up to an Oscar or a great review?

photog shooting living roomIt’s the same with still editorial photo shoots. You warn homeowners that it could take all day to get three good shots of a single room after a team styles and lights each to perfection. The homeowner is baffled. Do those who see the result in a magazine or online realize the effort that went into what’s on the page? Are the editors trying to impress their readers or other editors?

photog shooting modelA friend who works with models says some will tell her, as they arrive on a job, “I’ll be done in an hour, right? I’m meeting a friend.” She’ll tell them “Cancel your date; you’ll be here for hours.” The results are in catalogs and on Instagram and in fashion magazines. Had the session been shot in a flash would anyone be the wiser?

Too much time spent on a project must be treated like shoes that don’t fit: More than annoying but forget it and move on. Do you always spend the right amount of time for each task? Do you feel that there are some elements of a project you could deep six and nobody would know the difference? Are some projects time sponges and there’s nothing you can do about it?

shoes that hurt


Service of Signoffs

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Fountain Pen

I don’t always sign every email with a “Regards,” “Best,” “XOX,” “Hugs” or anything else, especially after the first response followed by a rash of back and forth or if I’m dashing off a note on a subway platform using a handheld to update a friend or relative about a tidbit—but only someone from whom I hear almost daily. I’ll have to check; I think I add an xx before the jb or jm every first time.

So I disagree with Matthew J.X Madady who wrote on “You say ‘Best.’ I say No. It’s time to kill the email signoff.”

XOXIn the middle of his post he wrote: “After 10 or 15 more ‘Regards’ of varying magnitudes, I could take no more. I finally realized the ridiculousness of spending even one second thinking about the totally unnecessary words that we tack on to the end of emails. And I came to the following conclusion: It’s time to eliminate email signoffs completely. Henceforth, I do not want—nay, I will not accept—any manner of regards. Nor will I offer any. And I urge you to do the same.” [The bold is mine.]

Writing on smartphoneI empathize with the discomfort involved with writing on a smartphone or tablet but there’s no excuse about typing another word or two on a computer using a standard keyboard. In any case, his point is not about comfort on a tiny or slippery keyboard but about the time it takes to think of the appropriate signoff. [This from a writer?]

If Madady wrote this post to up the readership of he succeeded. I heard about his nixing “Fondly,” “Love,” “Sincerely” or “See you soon” on a radio program where the host, John Gambling, thought his assertion was atrocious.

shining spotlightAnother hint that Madady was looking at shining the spotlight on himself and Slate rather than to eradicate signoffs is that it’s so easy to add a generic one to a signature template–he’d never have to write another one again. Time? Not much. If that signoff is too cute and cheery when acknowledging news of illness or death–delete it. Time? Not much.

In any case, I hope he’s not serious. Courtesy is worth the time and distinguishes considerate humans from boors. How much more of a hatchet to civility will we tolerate and accept?

 child shaking hands with adult

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