26 November 2009

giving thanks (a post in novel-length form)

gratitude. gratefulness. giving thanks. yup, that's what today is all about! besides of course, the good food, the gathering of family and friends, and for some odd folk out there- the football (freaks ;-). maison21 doesn't want to lead off this 'happy thanksgiving' on a sour note, and overlook any of those good things. but honestly? what m21 most grateful for today? is that the arrival of the thanksgiving holiday means 2009 is thankfully almost over. as years go, 2009 was not our best.

wow maison21, what a buzzkill... thanks...

but even if 2009 wasn't the best year on record for us personally (or for a lot of people out there, we're sure), there are still plenty of things to be thankful for, so that's what we're going to concentrate on: the good stuff! (...and bringing the mood right back up again!)

we are grateful. truly, truly, grateful. grateful to simply be alive and fairly healthy. grateful to have a roof over our heads. grateful to have food to eat, and grateful for a hot shower everyday. grateful, grateful, grateful for these simple basic things that each and everyone of us take for granted every day.

we are grateful to be spending the day with family- one member has had serious health issues this year and has made it through, so we're grateful, grateful, grateful.

we are grateful for our amazing friends, who brighten our every day and are such amazing support during the trying times, grateful, grateful, grateful.

we are grateful to still have a business in these tough times, and grateful to our clients- both the new ones we took on in '09 (for a while there, we were scared there wouldn't be any of those), and for the old ones who have kept in contact regarding future projects once the economy improves. grateful, grateful, grateful.

we are grateful to have fulfilled a dream in 2009, and had our work published not in just one, but in three magazines this year. grateful, grateful, grateful.

we are grateful for this (the blog), and for you (our blog friends- and if you visit here, even briefly, you are my friend). at the beginning of this year, when i think many of us designers were wondering "is our industry dead?", writing this blog (and visiting others) gave me something to focus on: "heck, no, this industry isn't dead- look how many wonderful people out there are still as passionate about design as ever!" with your positive comments left here everyday, you helped me hold on to my passion for design until things picked up (and thank goodness they did), so i am grateful to all of you. grateful, grateful, grateful.

and of course, as ever, i am grateful to the two little friends who share my life, mona and richard, so in their honor, i'd like to reshare my first thanksgiving post, made when my blog was less then a month old (to those of you whose eyes are glazing over because you've read it a dozen times, i give you permission to go eat some turkey or watch some football). it's funny, looking back on this post- the style is so different to my eyes: m21 hadn't developed into quite the persona "he" has taken on ('the third person whine', as one of my detractors put it), some of the references are pretty dated, and the players have aged- richard is no longer a kitten, and mona is officially an older lady (deaf as a post, and a bit arthritic, but still happy and active overall); but the sentiments expressed in the post are exactly the same- i am SO grateful to have them in my life, and with mona aging, every thanksgiving 'anniversary' we share at this point is just added bonus gratitude...

so happy turkey y'all- i hope your day is a wonderful as mine will be, and i hope each and every one of you have more to be grateful for in your lives then you could possibly list. now, you can read on if you have the stamina- or if not, go grab some turkey and another glass of wine, and enjoy the holiday!

oxoxox- m21

giving thanks ('07)

this thanksgiving, i have so many things to be thankful for- great family and friends, a beautiful home, the ability to earn a living doing what i love- the list goes on and on. but hands down the thing in my life i am most grateful for are my two happy little furballs, mona and richard:

day in and day out, they provide so much affection and amusement, i couldn't be unhappy if i tried. an example: i'm one of those people that wakes up grumpy, and it takes a while for my mood to lighten and the happy maison21 to appear. well, grumpy isn't strong enough a word, my whole life, i've woke up pissed off- ready to bite the head off the first person unfortunate enough to cross my path. well, since mona came around, it's been rather hard to maintain the black cloud of doom every morning. being the good girl that she is, she never wakes me, but on the first signs of my stirring, she goes on high alert- if i yawn and stretch, she starts to quiver with excitement, eager to start her day. then, she comes to the head of the bed, smiling like crazy and showering me with hot, stinky dog breath to complete my wake up process. if i proceed to actually sit up or make signs of getting out of bed, pandemonium ensues as she can't wait to start her day! up and down off the bed about a dozen times- she can't wait to go outside and smell good stuff! she can't wait to get that same old bowl of dry food she gets everyday! of course her enthusiasm wakes her little brother richard the cat, who has no clue what all the excitement is about but thinks it's probably a great time to play (he's 18 months old- he always thinks it's a great time to play) and even more chaos follows. the black storm cloud of my morning mood lifts to partly cloudy with a chance of clearing before i've even left the bedroom.

mona came into my life 8 years ago the weekend before thanksgiving- she was initially supposed to be a purebred french bulldog- not a corgi with a highly suspect bloodline. i had made up my mind to finally get a dog several months earlier, and my heart was set on buying a french bulldog puppy. like pretty much every decision in my life, my choice of dog was based purely on aesthetics, and i thought french bulldogs were the cutest things going. my then roommate was aghast that i would buy a dog and insisted that i go to the pound to rescue one instead, but there was no way i was going to give up on my dream of a cute little frenchie. instead, i made an appointment with a french bulldog breeder while hatching a devious plan to satisfy my roommate and keep peace at home, but still get my way and get my designer dog. my plan was to go to the pound just once to shut him up- i'd report back that there was nothing there but german shepard-rottweiler-pit bull mixes, and since i needed a small dog for our apartment with no backyard, it just wouldn't work out and off to the breeder i'd go, obligation met.

well i put in my one-time-only visit to the pound and you know what? there really was nothing but large breed pitibull mixes, so i wouldn't even have to lie about it! but what i hadn't planned on was that they were all such sweet large pit-bull mixes, so excited to see a human, wagging their tails and pressing their faces to the chain link of the cages to get a little affection. just like that the plan changed, my heart melted, and i canceled my appointment to buy a purebred dog. i was now committed to decidedly non-designer mutt ownership.

i started visiting the l.a. county animal shelters, and the local humane society kennel every weekend. i really did need a smaller dog but this was pre-paris hilton lapdog mania, and there weren't many small dogs available. when they were up for adoption, there would be a waiting list- at one point i was number 13 on the list for a little chihuahua mix! i began to despair of finding a dog until one day at the humane society, i was trying to sweet talk the girl at the front desk into calling me first the next time they got a small dog. it must have worked a little, as she replied that they had smaller one right now, but she didn't think it was available- it was in the cat room as the other dogs were picking on it. the guy in charge didn't want to let me see it, as he said the dog was "unadoptable" but like with the french bulldog, i was going to figure out a way! eventually the nice girl volunteer and i wore him down, and he brought out a filthy little medium-sized dog, who cowered against the wall, running away in a panic if i even made the slightest move towards her. i thought maybe he was right and i wouldn't be able to adopt her after all, but just then a new visitor opened the door to the waiting room, and in her blind panic, she ran over to shelter against me, and when she realized where she was, proceeded to pee all over my shoes . well, it was love at first pee and we've been inseparable ever since.

over the years, mona has blossomed from a dog that wouldn't let anyone near her, and who perpetually wore an expression of terror on her face, into a dog that does nothing but smile and who thinks that everyone was put on this planet for one purpose- to pet her and praise her. there is no nice way to put it- she's turned into an attention whore in the worst way, and i love her even more because of it. when i think that this sweet little girl was given up by her first owner and was considered to be "unadoptable" it literally brings tears to my eyes but it also makes me forever grateful that she entered my life that fateful pre-thanksgiving weekend 8 years ago. thanksgiving really has a special meaning for me now.

so this year, if anyone out there reading this post is thinking about becoming a pet-parent, i urge you to give thanks for the abundance in your life and share it with a pet from a shelter or rescue group. take a look around and though you won't see the wagging tails in action like i did at the pound, you won't be able to resist the cute little faces staring out at you from your computer screen. even if you can't adopt a pet, or aren't ready yet, perhaps you could think about donating to an animal rescue group. i think that rescuers have received a bad rap lately because of the whole ellen debacle, and that's not fair- they really are a selfless group who devote huge amounts of their time and money to rescue animals in need, so they could really use some extra donations right now.

lest anyone think i'm ignoring mona's little brother, richard the cat, here's his story: one hot, sunny los angeles sunday, my former neighbor and i decided to go out for a refreshing beverage in west hollywood. after parking, we cut through an alley only to spot a little gray ball of fluff, followed by two more. instead of an afternoon spent ogling boys, we instead spent it bathing and flea combing kittens- not quite as festive, but far more rewarding. richard's two sisters were adopted almost immediately but no one seemed interested in a boy cat, so he ended up hanging around, completely winning the hearts of both mona and myself and was soon a permanent member of the family. he's grown from a tiny ball of fluff to a 15 pound behemoth of fluff, equally adept at making us laugh and making us cry when he destroys something we love (but we wouldn't have it any other way- fabric can be replaced, but the love he gives us is priceless). when he and mona wrestle and play, it's a sight both heartwarming and horrifying- mona caught in a headlock, and richard mock-ferociously gnawing on her ears, but all the while, mona is smiling and wagging her nubbin at a fever pitch, having the time of her life. at the end of the day, with richard on one side of me, purring like a diesel engine, and mona sighing in delight during a never-ending pet session on the other, i am truly contented.

god, i love them so, and am so very grateful to have them in my life. now go to petfinder, already! and have a happy thanksgiving!


Suzy said...

They are sooo cute Christian...what a sweet story. I can't imagine my life without our two cats either. They are like little people. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

Habitually Chic said...

It feels like just yesterday that I first read that post about Mona and Richard and it still brings a tear to my eye! I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving and here's to a fabulous 2011!

Pigtown-Design said...

Just lovely! I wouldn't ever get a dog that wasn't from the shelter. You don't know what problems they had before you, but they will never love anyone more than they love you.

As I sit here typing, Connor's endlessly re-arranging his blanket so it's exactly right!

xoxo to all three of you!

jones said...

Hi Christian, Every time I read the 2007 Thanksgiving post, I become more thankful. Yes, the "furry friends" do make life so much richer. It was requested that I leave Jones home yesterday--but what is that? He was perfect--only accidentally knocked over one toddler (didn't see her behind the sofa) and didn't steal any toys or food (although the turkey, I'm sure, I'm looked like fair game to him). Thanks so much for all of the great posts this year. Here's to new clients in 2010! xo, Mary

maison21 said...

suzy, i always say that people without pets in their lives are missing out on an essential joy. such unconditional love, and unlike children, they never learn to scream "noooooooo".

thank you for the thanksgiving wishes! is there a similar harvest holiday hong kong? or australia? i've never heard of it if so...

meg- mona does that all the time with her bed- several intense rearranging a night. i've always been curious about what she is accomplishing- i have it tucked under a console table in my bedroom, so it seems she moves it out to be in the center of the action!

did you have fun at your feast? mine was pretty darn fab- even the littlest of the rugrats were well-behaved!

chic- thanks- i still get misty eyed too. i think i might post it every year since i doubt i can top it.

and, do i really have to wait for 2011 for things to be fabulous again? can't we start with 2010? ;-)

mary- my sis makes a point of asking if mona will be attending- she knows we are a package deal, and you don't get funny lil brother/uncle without his fur kid!

and, yes, mona stole food right out of a 9 month old baby's mouth. i don't blame her, as he was really just playing with it, not eating it. thank god, he laughed when it happened, rather then cried bloody murder!

hope your turkey day was great, even without jones.

Suzy said...

Unfortunately always sounded like a nice celebration to me.

maison21 said...

suzy- it *is* a nice celebration, probably my favorite of our holidays. not overly commercialized and just about good food, good company and remembering the good things in your life.

Cyn said...


I just wanted to say that I am sure your faithful readers, as I am, are grateful for you and your blog. Always a pleasure...

I also wanted to say that I was one of the many people who bought from you on Ebay, and I still remember when I purchased a brass tea caddy and you sent the NICEST personal note. Seriously, you knew that I had bidded on a number of your lovely things and had not won (dammit) them and you said "I was rooting for you to win this" AND you included a similar item that had sold for much more. Truly beyond beyond!


The Decorated House said...

What a fabulous love story! Not sure how I landed here, but it was worth the trip to read this. We too have a rescue pup who makes us smile every single second. And seeing that fantastic picture of your pup and kitten certainly made me smile, as did the wonderful morning wake up routine.

Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

How could you ever say no to those little faces?

David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

Rdekko said...

Ok Lady! this is quite a family you've got. They are adorable. I was reading your post and the next minute i was looking out in the balcony to check on my dog. Pretty sentimental post.

Annie said...

This post brought tears to my eyes & I don't even know you! Mona is just the sweetest thing ever! I too adopted a black pug that was purchased & overly abused by her owners. She was peculiar, starved, and full of fear when I got her. I've had her for 7 years now and she's such a blessing to my life! Richard is adorable too - such a sweetie & a great find! Animals are such blessings in our lives & so many people are missing out on that! I would adopt 20 if I could!!