Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Considering New Home Ownership

Well, we made the move and now we have bought a house! Though still finalizing details, all appears to be moving in the direction of a January 2006 closing. We feel so grateful to be able to make such a purchase ~ a simple yet lovely home on 7 wonderful "acres of North Idaho paradise" (as the listing agent claims!). The location is a quick minute from where we live now - just down Sunnyside Rd., right across from large parcels of Forest Service land and the bird sanctuary. The land contains both woods, pasture and lawn. It feels just right for our little family!

Here are a few photos. We will have plenty of space still for visitors, so please come and visit.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Travel Considerations

Time passing...simply slipping away. Though it may appear there have been few considerations of late, this is surely not the case. Perhaps more than my novice mind could handle. But all is well in these northern woods and we are getting back on track. So for starters, a few photos of recent travels to Maui with Shannon's family and our first grand snowfall here in Sandpoint.

For those awaiting a small social-political recommendation, please watch "Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price." Astounding what these folks get away with. And if you want to borrow mine, just let me know!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Considering the Why

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why did Shannon and Diana decide to move to Sandpoint, ID in the first place? What is there that is so cool?" Well, I thought you might want to consider this link and check out our local lore. http://www.sandpointonline.com/index.php

Ready to come join us?

Considering Fall Images

Friday, October 21, 2005

Considering Lo Cotidiano

Too much time has passed since my last post -- it feels like this is the state of things here in Idaho...busy, busy days and many things yet to accomplish. For those seeking an update on "lo cotidiano" or the "dailiness" of our lives here, I will provide a brief recap: Shannon has been traveling like a fiend -- Tully's has her flying region to region to set up new store locations and train the staff. When she is home, she is fighting dial-up internet and enjoying the funky new Spock-like headset that becomes afixed to her ear until at last I pry it off so that we can put our work days to rest. My schedule is no better. I am working quite steadily on Coldwater Creek's new Manager In-Store Training Series, traveling to the Colorado market to observe the stores' Holiday meetings and am being challenged to put together my 2006 budget in tiny numbers on a huge spreadsheet (this, my friends, is not one of my skill sets!)

We are still finding time for play -- most of it centered on family recently. Momma Linda came for a long weekend and we took her on a car ride through beautiful scenery in nearby Montana (see photo). We also had Deb and the boys come up from Spokane ~ Noah has mastered his unicycle with fine finesse and Jack is reciting memorized poetry right from the heart! We have been down to see Marilyn at the big purple house and she has graciously welcomed Java into her home as if he were her own (she seems to delight, as most do, in observing Java watching t.v. and chasing shadows through her den!)

I have been enjoying the fall colors set in. The 6pm light casts a glorious glow on the yellows of the birch and aspen. The air has the crispness of a changing season in it ~ nice to feel against my skin on morning Java walks up the hill behind our home.

Things we are looking forward to:
Using our new Schweitzer season ski passes, our trip with the Barnes' to Maui for Thanksgiving, the first big snow, possible babymaking, Christmas and Hannukah with Deb, Ed, Jack and Noah, and a fantabulous week in Oaxaca celebrating the New Year with our dear friends Lara and Melissa! We have so much to be grateful for!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Considering Montage

I discovered a new photography program that is keeping me busy while Shannon is away. Fall colors go particularly well together, I think.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Movie Star Considerations

OK, so perhaps "movie star" is taking it a bit too far -- but I filmed my first two scenes for the film being produced right here in Sandpoint (Famous film guy comes into town, holds auditions for any local talent, works super low budget to re-create "Laugh In"-like comedy vignettes...) The process was entertaining in and of itself. The scenes we shot were of the "Fix-It Wife and her "I'd rather be at the bar" husband" and the "Jewish (but don't say this out loud) Mother and her "I have finally found the girl I want to marry" son". Shannon was a superstar and helped me rehearse my lines over and over again -- unfortunately, I cannot say this was true of Joe, my scene husband, who seemed a bit overwhelmed by the lines (perhaps he'd already had a few drinks that morning?). We ended up needing to shoot 18(!) takes of the Fix-It Wife scene -- of which my favorite line is "Heellllloooo! Do you see Betty Crocker written across my forehead? I don't think so!"

In the next scene we shoot, I will be a school principal -- go figure, a wife, a mother, a principal...I guess that is why they call this "acting!"

The film should be edited and ready by spring 2006 and will play at our local film house, The Panida Theater. I am sure there are tickets left, but you may want to buy early... ;-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Racing for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen Foundation sponsored 5k race in Couer D'Alene gave me ample opportunity this weekend to run off some work stress and get meepy reading all of the "In Memory" signs aback the racers. I took on a near 70-year old toward the finish line and, ego fully exposed, darted passed her for a 25:08 minute finish (15th out of 133 in my age group!). I know, shameless.

I recommend the event to everyone -- it was quite powerful to be surrounded by so much "survivor" energy! You can read more about the foundation here: http://www.komen.org/

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Considering Corporate Responsibility

I had the opportunity to have lunch with Kelly Leary, a Director of Sourcing, who is responsible for corporate responsibility/compliance in our overseas manufacturing. He is a lovely man -- used to work in logistics, then owned an Irish brew pub, and returned not more than a year ago to bring CWC into regulatory and social compliance with its operations abroad. The job is a tricky one, as I am learning.

As I understand, the merchandising teams travel to Europe to find the next-best trend and then sends it to our design studio in New York. There, they come up with a CWC version and work with in-country fabric sourcers to determine what materials are needed and what is available. In the past, they then farmed it out to middle-men buyers who would commit to getting the garment made (completely unregulated as to where and how they do so). The product would arrive in bulk miraculously in some warehouse in Jersey and then be shipped to our stores to our customers' delight.

Today, however, the process is changing. Our Sourcing department is not only trying to replace the middle-men and go in-country themselves to do business with the factories -- they are also requiring transparency on the part of those buyers who remain to disclose where the products are being made, including what factories are used. This then allows CWC to actually see the methods of production, to tour the factory floors and determine whether or not they meet certain health and safety standards. It seems like such an obvious part of doing business, yet this view into the "buyer's sourcing" has not previously been scrutinized.

We talked for over an hour about cultural relativity, "First World" arrogance, and the need to be conscientiously cautious when building relationships with the factories overseas. It occurred to me that so many of my own perceived horrors about "Latin American sweatshops" are very tied in with my own ignorance about blue collar factory work and my own myopic denials of class privilege. I appreciated our discussion about our culture's obsession with material consumption driving the changing landscape of global manufacturing. I also was struck when Kelly reminded me that was not so long ago that his grandfather was working in unregulated coal mines in Montana right here in the USA, underpaid and underprotected.

At the end of the conversation, he directed me to the Business for Social Responsibility website and told me that I might find some interesting reading material there -- so I pass this on here: http://www.bsr.org/CSRResources/FeaturedResources.cfm#50904

Just a few more things to consider on yet another day at the job.

Evening Considerations

It is one of those thoughful evenings here in Sandpoint. Shannon is working in Seattle, I have been to the local pub with my co-workers for a beer, and now I am settling in at home. Last night was a movie night -- cried myself through Life is a House with Kevin Klein and then made Shannon swear she would never die of cancer...I know, futile attempts to avoid life's pains through our grasping at impossible measures of control...

I went to the gym this evening and looked at the "balance board" that I see every day and I heard a voice inside me say, "You can't do that." So, of course, my next move is to prove myself wrong -- alas, within seconds, I was thrown up into the air and down onto the ground, flat. And though no one saw me, I was embarassed and in pain, lying on the ground next to this seemingly harmless piece of wood and plastic. You just never know what is gonna get ya, do you?

The other night, Shannon and I had a lovely dinner at our friend Rafe's house and I found it fascinating that we rode the journey of conversation through French hip hop music, to kismet relationships, to Big Bud tractors -- here are some visuals for the novice city slicker: http://www.meissners.com/pages/bigbud.html I can't quite tell you what it is like to be taken into hysterics by a man telling 900 horsepower tractor stories. I must be transforming beyond my own imagination living this Idahoian exisitence.

Dad was visiting this week, and Shannon and I got to take him to see March of the Penguins at the local art film house. Now, if that does not leave you with some questions of purpose and existential musing -- come on -- can I really say that there is no god when these penguins have marched for centuries again and again in order to fulfill their innate sense of duty and obligation to progeny and dare we say "love?" Can it really be true that the baby penguin -- freshly hatched -- can find its one in five hundred dad by the unique sound of his vocal calls? The story of these animals is unbelieveable. A testimony to perseverance, teamwork, commitment and faith. It was a lovely post-engagement film to see with Shannon by my side.

Now, I settle in for the continuing saga of Mormon Fundamentalist murder mayhem and a hefty dose of kitty love from Peep and Sam. These are the simple pleasures of life in the country.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Proposal!

I have had many considerations of late on the aftermath of Katrina, portraits of the displaced, our national racism, dear president Bush...

But to my surprise, a wonderful and transformative event took place on our trip to Banff and Lake Louise this past weekend...Shannon proposed to me! The glee of this moment was as grand as the mountains by which we were surrounded at 9,200 feet high! So, I thought I would honor the week with some uplifting news and leave the heavy critique for future considerations...here are some photos of the amazing day!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Considering Fundamentalism

I have finally begun reading John Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4629074 It has spurred many thoughts and conversations at work about religion, fundamentalism, belief systems, and, believe it or not, South Park! My quick research into Mormon Fundamentalism, the UEP (United Effort Plan), and polygamy yielded interesting reading. Here are a few sites to consider:
http://www.rickross.com/reference/polygamy/polygamy65.html -- Bountiful, BC is rather close to our new home. We may have to make a trip soon!

The book poses deep questions about the zeal of fundamentalism, religious patriarchal hierarchies, abuse in the name of God and the interplay of church and state. It is not lost on me that the U.S. is sending troops to their deaths overseas to stamp out Islamic fundamentalism, at the same time turning a rather blind eye to the abuses of various churches right here on our soil...

Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Scotchman Peak

Our friend Carla came to visit and we took a gorgeous hike up the highest peak in the Idaho Cabinet Mountains. Lovely views and great stone art up top. The girls were so excited to be up top, they were dancin'!

On Sunday, we took a long, but lovely drive to Christina Lake in Canada to meet Shannon's relatives -- definitely worth a stop if you are in the area: http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/explore/kootenays/boundary.html

Friday, August 26, 2005

A new tact...

Here is one company trying to change the means of production...http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/articles/20020827lvreviewjournal.html

Or their website: http://www.americanapparelstore.com/?gcid=c3010x054

Of course, they are using sex to sell...ah well.

Corporate Interests

I have been inspired to continue my investigations of "the corporation" due to recent conversations at work with Dennis Pence, the founder and CEO of Coldwater, as well as some friends in the merchandising department. There seem to be conflicting opinions as to the nature of our relationship with our overseas suppliers and manufacturers. It seems Dennis believes that the company is conscious and intentional (or at least seeks to be) in ensuring that the factories which produce our products are "healthy" and in compliance with health and safety standards. According to some folks in the sourcing department, this may not always be the case. So, I have decided to investigate. I made a lunch date with the VP of Sourcing, who is currently in Guatemala and will also try to speak with others involved in these matters.

My intention is less to stir the pot internally and cause rebellion -- but more to get a better understanding of the complexity of "First/Third World" dependencies when it comes to manufacturing. I also care to avoid the comfort of ignorance -- to be at least somewhat accountable for the decision to work within a corporate setting and the impact it is having. I want to know when the earnings are announced and the stock jumps 4 points in a day that this is not at the expense of many other lives. Perhaps I already know the answer to this truth...perhaps I already do know that this is the case -- but I want exposure to the details. I realized yet again the other day that I pay taxes to a government that I really do not know -- that I am ignorant as to my participation in what the U.S. does around the world. Such powerful collusion that keeps that average "American" dis/mis-informed...

So,there will be a few postings coming on the subject. I was ashamed at my first visit to Wal-Mart recently -- only underscored today reading this article: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html
I am continuing to consider "accountability by participation" and the complexities of it all. More soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Motivational Message of the Day

"I can't spell success without 'u'!"

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday in Sandpoint

My first Sunday at work...we are preparing for tomorrow's start of the Coldwater Creek University -- a week-long manager training extravaganza. The whole team is here, getting ready...it feels good to be part of a team that is psyched to work together, even on the "sabbath..."

A few recent highlights:
Check her out -- she is an AMAZING fiddler from Cape Breton. What a show! http://www.nataliemacmaster.com/

Shannon and I met a slew of new friends this week, which bodes well for our future and continued enjoyment of Sandpoint.

We also found a wonderful location for a new Java joint by morning, wine store by night which I think would be a fabulous gig for Shannon! It is operated in conjunction with the local art/film house, the Panida Theater. Anyone want to invest? We were thinking we would host "Stay out of Starbucks Sundays!" Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Considering the Corporation

Took a night out to watch the first half of the documentary, The Corporation -- an indictment of the "corporation" defined as "a legal person under the law." This classification, the film explains, allowed for the business entity (and all its constituents) to be protected by the 14th Ammendment, which was instead designed to free and enfranchise African-Americans from the devastations of slavery. The film likens this "corporate" body to a psychopath and features many brilliant minds giving commentary. It is a must-see. http://www.thecorporation.com/

Watching it made me long for the days of active theoretical discussions about Foucault, about power structures and about "exposing the apparatus." It made me squirm a bit to find myself back inside the corporation; and, at the same time, asked me to consider how Coldwater Creek is attempting (to the extent possible given its corporate imperatives) to create structures to give back to it employees. HOWEVER, and this is one big however, I am disquieted this morning in my imaginations of the environments in which our clothes are being sewn, the cottons are being harvested, the dyes are being processed...it recalls the Sweet Honey and the Rock song, "Are My Hands Clean?" Listen here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000000MF5/qid=1123775115/sr=8-3/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i3_xgl15/103-7925046-0377421?v=glance&s=music&n=507846

Of course, my hands are not clean -- for even if I am not working here, training managers to sell more of our clothes and serve the customer with grace -- I still wear products produced by corporations, still eat foods manufactured by corporations, buy gas, pay utilities, purchase cds, drive a car...so you see the ubiquitousness of it all...right back to Foucault's "subtle madness of Western institutional logic."

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Coming Attractions

Locals and non-locals alike flood to Sandpoint this week for a festival of music and art. Shannon and I are going to see Natalie MacMaster and the Be Good Tanyas tomorrow night when she returns from Seattle. Should be great! Then Saturday, we peruse art down at City Beach, as we get set up on a "blind date" with other lesbians that our friend Bob the Bartender wants us to meet! The fun never stops!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Morning Feelings

The last 24 hours I have had unsettledness in my mind/heart. I felt moody without cause or predisposing event. It was frustrating me as I drove into work this morning -- then, I remembered that I was a 4...

Some things, you just can't fight.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Local Birds of Prey

The birds here are incredible. Yesterday, as I was swimming, I watched a bald eagle hunting over the water. The most plentiful bird of prey is the Osprey -- Pandion haliaetus. They are swift, large and create huge nests atop electric poles.

Then there are the moose...one of the greatest automotive hazards in the area...http://www.mooseworld.com/

"It's Elementary, My Dear Watson!" or "I think we may have a problem..."

We are trying to work with Shannon's brother, Chris, on more appropriate early child education for his son Watson...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Playing Cards

This morning as I drove amidst the early mornin fog back to Sandpoint, I was considering the origin of playing cards. The thought-train went something like:

Recollections of the dream that I awoke to in which my house in Seattle was falling into its foundation -- How things change when we are not there to see them -- Impermanence -- A house of cards tumbling -- Illusory control -- Deconstruction -- The fleetingness of youth -- play -- playing cards -- When did playing cards arrive on the scene...

So, to spare you the whole journey: http://i-p-c-s.org/history.html

Priest Lake with the Barnes Crew

Family reunion of the Barnes gang -- Buddy and Bonnie hosting kids and grandkids to a lovely weekend of fun, sunshine, food, wine, chatter. This will be the same gang that will travel together to Maui for Thanksgiving.

Buddy was center stage with the wine tasting on Sat. night. We sampled an array of Tandem "Peloton" wines -- Pinot blends from 2001, 2002, 2003. Opinions varied, but the 2002 seemed to prevail. We learned that the Cabernet is the "king" of wines, while merlots are more the red-headed stepchild...go figure, I love merlots.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Morning Poetry

Two of my favorites from Rumi

...the way of love is not a subtle argument.
The door there is devastation.
Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling, they're given wings.

A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden's beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.

About Rumi
"Rumi was born on the Eastern shores of the Persian Empire in 1207 (in the city of Balkh in what is now Afghanistan), and finally settled in the town of Konya, in what is now Turkey. His life story reads like a fairy tale. A charming noble man, a genius theologian, a brilliant sober scholar, meets a wandering and wild "holy man" by the name of Shams, and almost overnight is transformed. It seems that the universe brought these two opposing characters together to remind us for eternity that it is never what you expect when it comes to personal transformation. It is impossible to know where your next inspiration may come from, or who will become the conduit for your transformation. For Rumi the life of mystics is a "gathering of lovers, where there is no high or low, smart or ignorant, no proper schooling required." Rumi and his spiritual friend Shams left an undying legacy of the way-of-the-heart triumphing over pure, cold logic." --Shahram Shiva

Thursday, August 04, 2005

For those who do not yet know her...

This is the lovely Shannon Elizabeth Barnes...

Java's First Skunk Detox Bath

Recipe for Success:

Hydrogen Peroxide + Baking Soda + Cider Vinegar + Dawn Dish Soap + a lot of scrubbin'!

A view into our world

Here is a mini-tour of our living digs. We are 8 miles out of Sandpoint proper, 6 miles away from Coldwater Creek. We love our home and the surrounding area. We have our own little beach cabana down at the lake; and we are walking distance to the bird sanctuary.

Shannon has become adept at mowing the great lawn...I am becoming the family cook. The animals are exploring new ways of being. As Shannon often says, "There is nothing else I would rather be doing and no one else I would rather be with..."