Samara O'Shea

Archive for September, 2011

Friends in Stylish Places

Friday, September 16th, 2011

I am feeling honored this Friday: My friend and former co-worker, Tisha Leung, wrote a very nice bit featuring my letter-writing services. Her blog, TISL Style, is a lifestyle haven for anyone wanting inspiration regarding fashion and home décor. It’s dessert for the eyes!

Tisha and I worked together at Country Living a few years back. We were part of the inaugural Country Living Fair in fall of 2006 (I think!). As part of the set-up committee, we spent one afternoon tying corn stalks to the poles of the tent where the vendors were setting up. I can honestly say that Tisha is the only person I’ve ever done that with.

On Beauty

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

I walked into a convenience store last night and noticed a woman I’ve seen a few times before. She’s tiny and in a wheelchair. Her arms are about half the length of mine, but she has hands. Every time I see her I smile and try my hardest not to stare. It’s unfortunate that staring is the inherent behavior we have to fight against. Also last night, I happened upon this trailer for a documentary called On Beauty. They speak the truth: if we were exposed to people—all types of people—in media images everyday then the instinct to stare would go away. We wouldn’t look twice because these unique and wonderful people wouldn’t be different anymore, they would be what they are: fellow human beings.

Making Nonsensical Sense

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

At this point, I’ve decided to keep my 9/11 thoughts to myself. The weekend came and went and I hope everyone commemorated the anniversary in a meaningful way. The only thing I’d like to comment on are the memorial pools themselves. They are amazing. I was expecting two shallow reflective pools the same size as the buildings. What they came up with is breathtaking—an extraordinary way to honor the victims and first responders.

The names on the memorial appear to be carved in random order, but fascinatingly they are not. Check this out: Commemorative Calculus: How an Algorithm Helped Arrange the Names on the 9/11 Memorial.

Alive and Well

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Hello ~ I’m writing to say I know I haven’t written in a weeks’ time and to assure you that all is well. Reader Masa said he was afraid I was swallowed up by Hurricane Irene. No, she came and went (for me and my street anyway). I have several things I’ve wanted to write (including a September 11th tribute); I just haven’t been able to make it happen. I will when I can. In the meantime, please enjoy Jackie Kennedy’s recently released audio recordings. More will be released as the week goes on. She is always and forever a point of elegance and interest.

This is Bad

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Um, we might want to get our Christmas cards out now . . .

“The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.”

Read full story at the NY Times

No Summer No Cry

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

I’ve overheard many laments this week about summer reaching its end. “It went by so fast,” is a phrase on constant repeat. Truth be told, I’m psyched about the season change. Autumn is my favorite. Here’s what I’m looking forward to. . .

• Foliage

• Fires in the fireplace

Missoni for Target

• My 32nd birthday

Terror Behind the Walls

Pumpkin Spice Latte

• Possible trips to Dallas & Chicago

• The September issue of Psychology Today

• Watching Brad Pitt enter the Robert Redford phase of his career in Moneyball

• Figuring out what warm place to visit during winter

• Living in sweaters and jeans

For those of you not looking forward to the season switch, you have twenty official days of summer left and a long weekend ahead. Enjoy!

Guilty of Spreading the False Words

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

It’s no secret that I love quotes. A few wise words strung together can make a difference in someone’s day, or reinforce a private notion that a person has been afraid to admit s/he had. I cannot promise that all the quotes I pass along are credited to the right person, however. Since the Internet is one big game of Whisper Down the Lane, the origins of the quote or even the words themselves easily get lost. Evidence of my own misquoting exists here.

On Wednesday, Brian Morton wrote a spot-on op-ed piece for the NY Times called Falser Words Were Never Spoken . He examines how quotes get twisted, turned and, often, attributed to the wrong person.

For the most part, this isn’t a crime—or even a misdemeanor. If you like the quote, enjoy. On any given day, on any given blog, it probably doesn’t matter where it came from. There are other cases, however—when writing a book, academic paper, giving a speech, or erecting a memorial to someone—when you’ll want to get it right. Yesterday, Maya Angelou made her frustration known with having a Martin Luther King Jr. quote altered on his memorial. This is a case where one word altered the whole meaning of a sentence, and it’s sad that Martin Luther King Jr. (!) wasn’t quoted verbatim.