I have a friend. No, really. I hear you chuckling out there. (My computer has speakers!) I have more than one friend but this post is about my friend Mitzi. She brings out the….umm…something in me.

For a brief time, I worked in floral design. I never worked so hard and got paid so little but the perks were wonderful. There is nothing more magic than design work at Christmas time. That is until you work seven days a week for ten to twelve hours a day earning hardly anything and end up sick on Christmas.

The other perk is the people you meet. I know you think the design industry is full of gay people and yes, it is – wonderful, creative gay people. There are lots of others there too. People with art degrees working next to tattoo artists (yes, tattoo artists are very artistic) working next to people with business degrees. The owner of our shop was an accountant.

Creative people are generally nuts. They are temperamental and reactionary and drama queens. I love them. They are so fun. Mostly.

Artists have to deal with people judging a very personal part of them – their creative work. You can pour your heart out on a project and be so pleased only to have the buyer screw up their face (and not in a good way). That can destroy your whole day. Or the week.

Back to Mitzi – I met her during this design phase. She is extremely creative in a way that is different from me and I admired it. She also decided that I was going to be her friend.

There is no saying no to Mitzi. Besides, she made work fun. She could put two vases on her breasts (which didn’t need any additional extensions) and the whole place would burst out in laughter. Yes, I know. Totally inappropriate. Gross even but funny! Thank God I wasn’t in charge of Human Resources there!

She has a good heart. In an industry where your creativity is your livelihood, she would share tips and techniques and ideas. I remember one occasion where I was given gigantic clay pots and a lot of money to put together something “garden style” for a bas mitzvah. I was a little stumped until she suggested I nest them. Shazzam! It was a hit. Another designer would have silently hoped I would fail so they could rush in and be a star. Not Mitzi.

It’s been 15 years since we worked together but we still connect at least yearly. She isn’t in design work these days. She transitioned to computer work which is normally a stretch for designers but she “got it” easily. Now she’s the comptroller at a computer software company.

The guy we worked for has died but I am sure that he would be astounded that the two crazy designers (there were others, no one there was sane) ended up as a Comptroller and a VP of Human Resources!

We have gone through a lot of life changes – some good and some not so good. She is a grandma now (that makes her so much older than me!).

Our current project is finding a suitable guy for her drop dead gorgeous daughter who for some reason which neither of us can figure out, hasn’t been able to do this herself.


23 thoughts on “Mitzi

  1. I love absurd and “free” people…I wouldn’t even dream of putting vases on my breasts at home, let alone work. LOL! She sounds like a great friend. I’m a little concerned about the two of you thinking you can find her daughter a suitable husband. That might be a little scary! 🙂


  2. You do have some wonderful memories, and Mitzi is another special. I’m sure she can still make you laugh. I have a long-time friend like that – slightly insane and fun. Great post!


  3. This is great-and I already love Mitzi! I had some bizarre, low paying jobs before my corporate career, but there’s always something I learned that was useful, and no matter what, I always got at least one long-term friend out of the deal. I don’t even go outdoors, let alone garden or arrange flowers, but I probably could have been the Emcee of the shop.


    • You are so right. I had a corporate career then moved because of a spouse job change and took that as an opportunity to try design. I never regretted a minute of it. At the end of the day I went back into the corporate world but many of my fun work times were in design. Yes, you could have been emcee. In fact, with you there we would have been the triplets from hell!


  4. Kate — Tremendous travelogue of the Heart. Your 3 editors did really well with this one. Mitzi and Kate, ummmm? Lucy and Ethel or, Bonnie and Clyde-ette. Jury’s still out. Really wonderful bit of writing. Thank you – again. Dan


  5. Floral design – cool. It’s very problem solving-ish, spacial relationships, colors, textures – and dealing with picky clients that think they know what they want – but often don’t. I worked in store display/decorating in a large dept store – it was very much the same – even the people. Loved it, bit pay was lousy. But was Christmas and holidays fun! (all my friends and relatives wanted me to do their decorating)
    You two do sound like Ethel and Lucy! Good luck with the new project – hard to find a good guy now for some reason. But there’s one out there!
    Lovely read


  6. Sounds like you had a blast! And Mitzi sounds fabulous. And it feels like her bame suits her perfectly. Good luck with the man-hunt. I’d love to be a fly on the wall so I could see what the two of you get up to. Sounds like the makings of a great sitcom. Very Lucy and Ethel if you ask me. Hope you blog about it.


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