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

Friday-Night-Music flamigosongs-2


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).


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.


72dpi Preview of 6-up GiftLabels-2009

Solvo Ex Libris (free bookplates)

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The statistics for the percentage of adults in the USA who read books for pleasure is surprisingly (and dismally) low at only 20%. The percentage of adults in the USA who are illiterate is 15%. I don’t know whether the latter group includes those who are illiterate or not but either way, it strikes me as rather sad that so many people seem to have stopped picking up a book as soon as they got out of school. Now, I’m not one of those who rails against television or movies as I certainly watch and enjoy my fair share. But as an avid reader (generally, a book every day or two when I’m not on chemo) I’ve always thought that there’s something magical about reading a good book that I just don’t get from watching some director’s vision of the author’s words. Imagining the characters, their voices, what they look like, the locations, and being somewhat in control of the pacing makes me feel much more involved in the story (be it fiction or non-fiction) as it allows me to actually feel the tale from the point of view of the narrator. When I’m just watching a film or TV show, it is extremely rare for me to get so caught up in it that I can actually smell the heroines perfume or the salty sea breeze or feel the snow falling on the tip of my nose. But a well-written book will do it every time.

Whenever I come across an especially fine read, I like to share it with my friends so we can talk about it. Consequently, I’m often loaning out my books or buying a second or third copy to give away as gifts. In either situation, I always thought it was both useful and classy to have a bookplate attached on the inside front cover that claimed the book as my own or which dedicated it to a special friend. So for tonight’s post, I’ve got something a little different: a choice of 24 different bookplates. The downloadable files are formatted for printing at 300dpi for a finished size of 3.5″ x 3.5″. You can print them out on any kind of paper you want, but they will look best if printed on a semi-gloss or glossy premium photo paper or label stock which is readily available at most office supply stores or via this link at Hint: If you want to write your name on the printed label, be sure to use a permanent marker like this one to avoid smudges.

Just like all of my other artwork made available for downloading on this blog, these are yours to enjoy whether on your monitor or printed out free of cost – but for your personal use only. (If you wish to re-post them elsewhere, the artwork must be attributed to me and you must include a copy of my Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. If you wish to use them in any commercial endeavor, whether in full or in part, please contact me directly to get an appropriate license. I appreciate your respect for those terms and my efforts. Thanks! and Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

The following image is a reduced size preview. Simply right-click (or control-click) on it to save a zipped file to your desktop that has 24 files (each image is in .png format for 300dpi, 3.5″x3.5″ printed size).