Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of A Year

Tomorrow night is New Year's Eve. Like every year for the past 4 or 5 I will watch the ball come down in Times Square at exactly 9 pm my time. I'll watch it on my computer thru Earthcam and I'll be very nostalgic, especially seeing the crowd of revelers. You see, I spent the first 36 years of my life in that area and although I love California I sometimes miss the east coast a LOT!

Tomorrow people will start camping out along the Rose Parade route in Pasadena, CA. How they manage to survive this is beyond me but they do it and they all seem to enjoy it. I've lived here over 30 years and have never seen the Rose Parade in person. The sad part to all of this is that it marks an end in time. End of the year and end of yet another season of good will. I miss that as people settle back into their work and their businesses and into their day to day worries again. This holiday season will soon be only a memory - the lights will go out, the decorations will come down and the worries people shoved aside temporarily will come trudging back to weigh heavily on their shoulders again.

If only we could bottle up this feeling of good will and give everyone a teaspoon full each morning.....

I'm going to make a prediction. I feel good about 2010 and I think its going to be a year where a lot of folks will enjoy a least that is my hope



Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Predictions for Ebay 2010

Back in January 2008 I anxiously awaited John Donahoe's speech as the new CEO of Ebay. I think we all had high hopes back then....but we were not prepared for the icy cold slap we received. I'm sure small sellers realized they built Ebay into what it is today and they could never fathom that someone would come in and call them "noise" and seemingly want to do away with them. That was unthinkable! Now, two years later, we all know the unthinkable has arrived. Most of us have lost our business and our sales on Ebay. Something we could not possibly conceive would happen. We've been pushed aside to make way for giant retailers, with miserable sell thru rates, who are definitely pampered by Ebay. We have been put to the mercy of any buyer who may be having a bad hair day. Many small sellers finally left - not much business happening and they wanted to keep their spotless reputations intact. Today, many thousands of good sellers - the very people who made Ebay unique and interesting, are gone - leaving buyers to wander around and finally leave without buying. I hear complaints on Ebay's discussion boards of buyers who can no longer find their favorite sellers. Management seems to be oblivious or have absolutely no clue!

It seems these days whatever goes wrong Ebay will blame on the small seller. To that end more and more outrageous rules have come out and more are on the way. Ebay is no longer a place where you can get rid of items you have no use for. Sellers have less and less control over their own listings - yet at the bottom of each listing Ebay has seen fit to write "Seller is totally responsible for this listing." Today a small seller runs a gamut of hot coals between Ebay and their buyers in order to make a sale and receive their money from that sale. The Ebay/Paypal duo is more and more a place where a seller can lose his item AND his money and pay high fees to boot! It is a place where one nasty buyer can destroy a seller's long-term spotless reputation! Present policies, search manipulations and a downright nasty attitude toward small sellers have managed to destroy the fun and the community that was once Ebay.

After painting such a dismal picture, is the future any brighter?.....NO! Now, two full years later - one just has to wonder why?...why did the powers-that-be leave a multi-billion dollar company in the hands of the present management. Even more so....why is this destruction still going on?

My prediction for Ebay for 2010?.....much much more of the same. This will not stop on its own. In my mind, the future of Ebay is very uncertain...and even if they manage to turn it around it will never ever be the outrageous success it once was.

Sorry if my post sounds more like a vent then a prediction...but its the truth as I see it.

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Grannygoodpaint's Memories of Christmas

"Where's Santa"

I remember the days when our family was large and most of us were pretty young. Mom started cooking for the holiday three days before. Her and dad would go to Mulberry Street in Newark NJ to buy chickens and produce and nuts and cookies.

I would help mom make what she called "ribbons". These were made from thin puff pastry she made from scratch then she would cut them into ribbons, make them into bows and toss them in hot oil. They immediately puffed up and became golden brown. It was my job to fan the large pot of oil to keep it from going over and to take out the ribbons when they were done. Mom would place the ribbons in a large box lined with wax paper. Then she would drizzle honey all over them and powdered sugar. What a treat!

Christmas Eve was "fish night". Mom would fry tiny smelts that had been dredged in flour salt and pepper. They were SO good! She served them with salad and spaghetti and salad. Christmas Day was chicken and ravioli and antipasto - the ravioli was made days before hand, dried a bit then frozen. OMG - I can taste them right now and never ever tasted the likes of them since.

We had a tree, such as it was, that was so full of tinsel and ornaments and lights that you couldn't see it was pretty sparse. Everybody brought gifts to put under the tree. Christmas Day people came and went....neighbors and friends and the table was set ALL day.

One year when I was still quite young, the local carpenter came on Christmas Eve with a folding artist's table for me. It was to be a big surprise. When he came in the door with it and saw the large table set and everyone eating and laughing he burst into tears. Mom put her arms around him and hugged him. He said it brought back memories of when he was young and still had a large family.

These days, not much of my family is left. Mom and dad passed on many years ago and mostly on this holiday it is now just my son and me. I cannot help but remember the old days and now I understand exactly why that carpenter burst into tears. Be thankful for what you have, enjoy your family and enjoy the holiday!

My painting for today is called "Where's Santa"