Monthly Archives: December 2012

Holly Hoarding

I awoke early on Wednesday to snow, or at least that’s what they call it here.  Where I come from, we’d laugh at this.  ”Just wait ’til winter comes and the snow’s so high you can’t open the front door.  You’ve got to shovel yourself out, sometimes more than once in a day.  That’s snow.  This?  This is nothing.” That’s what my people would say, but here there was pandemonium.  Our room was cold.  I got up to feed the cat and put on the heater and then went back to bed.

When it came time to rise, the snow had stopped and frost clung to the grass, holding fast against the warming rays of the sun that intermittently came through the clouds.  Bits of snow still lay clumped and wet in beds of frozen leaves, but mostly it was gone.  I pulled on my boots, tied a red scarf around my neck, and shrugged on a green wool coat.  I packed a canvas bag with my camera and a pair of kitchen scissors and began my walk to the wood.

The path was muddy and slick with decaying leaves which forced me to plan each step carefully.  Where I was going was the small wood near the park.  To enter, one must walk through a field which is quiet except on warm days when the sound of children playing nearby is carried by the wind. Before stepping into the wood, I looked to make sure I was alone.  A woman was walking with her dog at the other side of the field, whistling for him to stay close, her breath escaping in a white cloud.  Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if what I was planning to do was legal, per se, and I was feeling the need for secrecy.  I felt a surge of adrenaline as I walked between the naked trees and found the thing I sought: a thicket of wild holly.

The air was still.  I could hear the woman with the dog coming closer as I took the scissors from my bag and carefully reached through the barbed leaves to cut sprigs that I found pleasing.  I paused as she and the dog walked along the edge of the wood.  Her boots broke small twigs with a soft snap and water dripped from the trees and bushes with a sound like spring.  The woman passed; I continued cutting.

When I’d finished, my bag was full of holly. I came into the clearing and saw that I was alone.  Walking carefully up the muddy path toward home, I passed a man hauling large branches toward the edge of the wood.  I assumed he must be employed by the city to tend to the common land and surely he would know what I’d done when he saw my bag.  I said hello and walked quickly away, half expecting him to call after me and make me confess my crime.  A sprig of holly poked through my leggings, making my skin itch and burn.  The man did not call after me.

Along the sidewalk grew more holly.  A different species, perhaps, with smaller, darker leaves and bright red berries.  I slowed my walk and when the road was free of cars, I again extracted my scissors, my heart beating excitedly as I whistled a tune.  Fa la la la la, la la la la.

With the help of my (maybe) illegal holly gathering as well as my favorite shade of red lipstick, I’m feeling a little more festive now than I was at the beginning of the week.  Cox Quarters could use a little more decorating before it truly exudes the spirit of the season and I’m thinking about doing some kind of birch display instead of a tree.  Another trip to the wood is in order, but this time I might need a bigger bag…

Bigger, Better

As an entrepreneur, you cycle through a great number of big ideas.  Big ideas about products, big ideas about operations, and big ideas about how your little company is going to change the industry, nay, the world! forever and ever.  It’s important to embrace big ideas and to confront them with big thinking, but it’s most important to know how to edit.

In many ways, growing a business is like working on a piece of fiction.  You start with a sentence, something bold and true that strikes fire in your heart and moves your hands to action.  From there, you build.  Sentences become paragraphs which become pages and then chapters; like so many bricks in a house, your words become something substantial.  And it’s in this moment of having something, something with weight and structure, that you must begin the most difficult task: editing.  Knock down walls, rip up floors and bury bits of what you’ve created.  Do not look back; edit what needs to be taken out.  And then start building again.

Sometimes, it will feel as if the fruit of your brainstorm sessions and the hours you spent creative thinking and building plans is all for naught.  Lord knows I’ve had hundreds of big ideas that I’ve laid to rest- some out of laziness, others out of fear, and some because they just didn’t fit with the rest of the story.  I don’t regret having these ideas, but I would regret not thinking them at all.  When you give up on big thinking, you give up on yourself, entirely.  When you stop having dreams, you’re not just asleep, you’re dead.

Right now, I’m working closely with David as we bring his big idea to fruition.  We’re thinking big, dreaming bigger, and, for every triumphant step forward, we shrink back an inch or two.  It’s fun, but it’s a lot of work.  Additionally, I’m working on some writing that I’m really persevering on.  It’s an old big idea that I’d set aside ages ago to pursue another idea that I just couldn’t commit to, but I’ve recently adopted it again with fresh eyes and a better perspective.  While I’m excited by the challenges and scope of both these projects- David’s and my own- I’m not excited about the editing, but that, my friends, is truly the most important part.

Think big, dear reader, and dream big, too.  And then edit.  It hurts at first, but it’s worth it in the end.  I hope…

Tuesday With Vous

I met Angie when we were fourteen.  It was our freshman year of high school and we were sitting at the same lunch table when I said something neat, like, “I love Cool Ranch Doritos.” Then, she said something funny, like, “I love the way they crunch in my mouth.”  And then we started a highly intelligent conversation about the crunchiness of Doritos that, at the time, was very funny. 

Eleven years later, and she’s still making me laugh.  She’s also: inspiring me to embrace power tools, slowly luring me back to Minnesota, and hanging out with her bearded fiancé, Chris, and their husky-lab, Cato.  During the day, she works behind the scenes on the breath-taking visual merchandising at Anthropologie and also runs an event design company on the side.  This time of year, she’s basically an Anthropologie Christmas elf, and today, we’re going to share a Tuesday with her.

From here on out, all italics are mine.  Everything else belongs to Lady Trygg.

Tuesday, December 4
 Angie Trygg Edition

Cato is the snuggliest in the morning which makes it very difficult to get out of bed. Upon my getting out of bed, she uses her adorable eyes and body positions to try to lure me back. Usually it works for at least 10 minutes.
I can’t believe people wake up this early.  Unless, of course, they have a plane to catch.
A plane to somewhere very fabulous.
The art room at work is currently overrun with sparkly, jingly, glittery piles.
I find that messes are much less overwhelming when they’re cute.
How many hours do you think you could tie jingle bells together before you’ve had enough?
My guess would be one.
I’ve done this for at least four.
Oh look! An adorable penguin cardigan has arrived in shipment!
 This is what our holiday windows look like when the sun streams through the large front windows. This paper forest is so much more exciting between 9 and 10 in the morning.
 Jo-Anns is completely sold out of silver jingle bells. I would have loved to use that as an excuse to never touch another jingle bell again, however, I am dedicated to my work and googled the nearest Michael’s.
This is where my day took an unexpected turn.
Michael’s is near my mother’s office. So I popped in to see Lor and BEHOLD! She now has a “stand-up” desk which she graciously demonstrated for me. Then we went to lunch.
Hi, Lor!
 Then, because my bright red plastic car didn’t look stupid enough, I smashed in to a parked car in the ramp on my way back to work. It sounds bad, but if I drew you a diagram of how this all happened, you would be like “Ohhhh, I can totally see how this all happened.” 
And if you were really a spectacular friend you would also say “I’ve totally done that before!”
I haven’t.
 Sadly I did not make it back to work. I was all flushed and stressed and bored with jingle bells, so I went home and broke out my handy car repair kit. It worked beautifully.
 Cato is adventurous by nature. We must constantly peek out the kitchen window to make sure she is not attempting an escape from the yard.
 I spent some time working on a wedding invitation on our gigantic new computer that I love. One must keep oneself distracted after a mini- car wreck. They are no fun to dwell on, which I have learned from the last few mini- car wrecks I’ve participated in.
 Christopher gets off work around 4 everyday which is an excellent time to drink beer, as it turns out.
 And while I’m at Namaste, I might as well get the cauliflower, peas and potato curry that I always get. With garlic paratha. 
This is a weird, unflattering photo of Chris.
Hi, Chris!
 One of my favorite activities to do around this time of year is to obsess over the gifts that I’ve purchased for people and imagine how delighted and impressed they will be upon opening them. This one is particularly delightful and impressive.
 Because I’m essentially a very old person, it’s time to wind down and watch an episode of the greatest show of all time: Agatha Christie‘s Poirot
(Amazing how many beverages accumulate on my desk.) 
Nearly bedtime.  
And there you have it, friends, the fabulous life of my wonderful friend, Angie.
She’s really marvelous.
You’re really marvelous.
Thanks for reading!

Christmas Drear

Yes, friends, it’s a Cox Quarters Christmas this year and, though I’ve yet to actually decorate, it’s all going to be about holly- which grows in great thickets in our local wood- and mail.  And wine, too.  Obviously.

I’m doing my best to be filled with the spirit of the season, but I’m having trouble getting into it this year.  Instead of decking my halls, I’ve been listening to Solange Knowles’ EP, True, on repeat, succumbing to DIY food poisoning (thanks, nachos), and drawing silly pictures when I should really be banging out website copy like it’s my job, because, well, it is.  Even Elf can’t inspire me to hum a carol or find some red to wear.

I need to get it together.  After all, it’s called Christmas cheer, not Christmas drear.

On a very cheerful note, however, I’m super stoked about tomorrow’s Tuesday With Vous and you should be, too!