Pinkies Up in Appreciation of You

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When I was a kid, the phrase “proper etiquette” was never too far off the tip of my mother’s, teacher’s, and other authority figure’s tongue. There was just this set of certain rules you had to follow else you’d be considered uncivilized and therefore shunned from society, along with your parents who obviously were at fault for not teaching you better. So I learned the rules, such as to always place my napkin on my lap, never put my elbows on the dining room table, send thank you notes to those I received gifts from within 24 hours, wear white gloves when going out to a restaurant, and never wear a white skirt or slacks before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. There were a couple hundred other rules just like that, as well.

When I became a teenager in the mid-1960’s, at the height of Haight-Ashbury’s heyday, I rebelled against the rigid rules of my parent’s generation (which seemed to have gone back to pre-Edwardian manners). I had a problem with even the concept of anyone making rules of how I should dress or with what hand I could hold my fork as such intrusions on my personal liberty seemed to me to be completely against nature, despite how trivial those particular rules were. The fact that no actual harm to anyone or anything would occur if such rules were not followed – other than harm inflicted by those intent on punishing such “wrong” behavior – struck me as grossly unjust and a symptom of an unimaginative society trying to place everyone into their little labeled boxes so they (society) wouldn’t have to think too hard or have to actually examine the logic of their beliefs. I was hardly alone in that rebellion as even a quick skim through any news archives around the world will attest to.

Every generation since the time of Plato, if not before, has recognized that teenagers, in general, feel their parent’s generation are “old fashioned” and overly strict and that they (the younger ones) are far more intelligent. Yet it has been relatively rare for the specific focus of such rebellion to outlast not only the teen years but to continue on through subsequent generations as well. I’ve no formal education in this area, but I would venture a guess that the reason for this rarity is simply due to the fact that on the road to maturity, we experience the natural consequences of what happens when we or others do not follow certain rules of civility, until it finally leads to an “Aha!” moment – and then the cycle begins again with us as the old-fashioned parents instead.

The rebellion against society that came to the forefront in the 1960’s was far more complicated that this “usual” type of teenage angst and rejection of tradition though, as it included far larger issues such as racial and gender equality, isolationism, responsibility for our neighbors, and even the very existence of God. In reality, those issues had actually been in the making since the 1840’s when Darwin and the Industrial Age gave rise and opportunity to ponder such existential questions. Thereafter, it was only due to the advances in communications technology (i.e. television, transatlantic telephones, etc.) that permitted the questions and debates in response to them, to be shared with the masses. And most spectacularly of all was that, for the first time in history, the masses were largely literate and educated enough to join in the conversation, which in turn forced serious consideration and decisions upon our elders and our governments.

Fifty years later, we’ve come a long way but as is typical for humans, it’s been a journey of three steps forward and two steps back. So we’ve still got a long, long way to go in figuring out which rules of society go to the heart of what it takes for individuals to live and work peacefully and productively together and which rules only serve to divide us. For isn’t that the weight we should be measuring such rules by?

With that standard in mind, On my own personal journey to maturity, I re-evaluated each of those rules of etiquette embodied in books by the likes of Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, and Letitia Baldridge. In raising my own child, I threw out the white gloves and rules about what color you could wear at what time of year and such but I did return to the “rules” about writing Thank You Notes and other such niceties as I came to understand the importance of taking the time to let people know you appreciate their acts of kindness and generosity. And like many of my generation, I’ve tried to take this concept even further by ensuring I tell people that I simply appreciate them – for who they are – and their presence in my life. For it is through these small but sincere gestures that we all have the power to help another feel good and to make the world a little more pleasant to live in. It is an act which tends to infect the actor, the receiver and even those who merely witnessed its’ occurrence. Now that’s an epidemic I’d love to spread!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

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Happy Notes!

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Been working on updating some of my older icons to work better with those systems that can use 512px images in QuickView. Trying to update some of the styles, as well. Does anyone out there still like the old glossy, plastic-y 3D style or have y’all moved on?

I’m a bit short on time today so I’ll catch up tomorrow and write something a bit more substantive. Meantime, Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

Pair-o'Happy-Notes RedPair-O-Happy-Notes-2 Yellow

Pair-O'-Happy-Notes-3 Red & Blue

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flamigosongs

The Courtesy of Strangers

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I’m just feeling happy with the load on my shoulders a little bit lighter due to the kind generosity of an attorney I met through his website, who spent a great deal of time talking with me, sharing his knowledge, experience and thoughts. Some of you might think that he acted as any good businessman would. While I agree it’s smart, these days it seems to be more and more rare that we come across people who show courtesy, respect and actual interest to strangers, potential clients or not. And for some reason this seems especially true amongst those in the legal and medical profession. Maybe it’s due to the overwhelming pressures of their jobs that they don’t feel they can afford the time to be kind or maybe they think that their time is more valuable than us mere commoners. I don’t really know but neither of those reasons strike me as an acceptable excuse. We ALL face our own overwhelming pressures and regardless of whether we’ve got a job that pays less than minimum wage or $2000/hr or have no job at all, nobody on earth has either more or less than 24 hours in their day and none of us knows when we’ll run out of those days. Time is really the only true measure of value because without it, nothing else matters.

So use your time wisely tonight and enjoy the weekend!

Tonight’s free icon offering is a collection of images suitable as backgrounds for 3-stage buttons (link,mouse-over, and mouse-down).

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The following is a reduced size preview. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the entire set in a zipped file to your desktop. Each image in the set is 512px X 512px in .png format). Create Commons license applies (see sidebar for details)

Preview-Slicker-Stickers

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Printable Gift Tag

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For those of you wondering where is the rest of my Nuevo-Deco series, I promise to resume posting the next batch this weekend. In the meantime…

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I’ve created 6 different styles of gift tags and laid them out for printing on a single letter-size (8-1/2″ x 11″) sheet. Document is saved as a high-quality, 300-dpi Photoshop-.pdf. It is not necessary to have Photoshop to open and print the document but the benefit of opening and printing it in Photoshop vs. Preview or Adobe Acrobat or other .pdf reader is you’ll have access to a few more options to adjust color and other settings. For best aesthetic results and ease of use, I recommend you use peel-off sticker stock that is made specifically for ink jet printers for best results. (20 sheet pack or 100 sheet pack) Finish size of each sticker is roughly 2-1/2″ square. Please Note: because of the high-pixel density required for the best printing, the file is rather large (28.5mb before zipping).

Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save a zipped file to your desktop that contains all images in each preview group (each image is 512px X 512px in .png format) or, in the case of the individual icons, do your clicking on each one you’d like to download.

GiftLabel-5_72dpi_Preview

72dpi Preview of 6-up GiftLabels-2009