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  Roberto Tweraser Design 

The  toboggan was rarely put to use. Probably because the 6-foot long sled was approximately the same length as the only  hill around.  So when my mother pulled it through the snowy backyard when I was a kid,  I watched from the kitchen window, curious.  Did she develop a sudden urge to go sledding? Had she decided to give it away to those children we heard so much about? Children who actually appreciated what their parents did for them? And, if so, could I see these children whom I was beginning to suspect were theoretical if not flat out lies?

No, Mom positoned the toboggan close to the house, removed her heavy coat, kicked off her boots and stretched out wearing only a blue print two-piece swimsuit and a pair of thick wooly socks.

It kind of made an impression.

And not just on me. I'm pretty sure there are neighbors who could, if asked, recall Mom's Minnesota winter tanning.

Snow, apparently, makes an excellent reflector. Much better than aluminum foil-covered cardboard, according to Mom

When SAD news made headlines decades later, my mother suggested her suntanning might have been her intuitive, self-prescribed preventative treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder. The makes perfect sense to me. Especially,  in Portland where clouds hang over the sky like wet Kleenex and an entire alphabet of vitamins can't make up for my lack of D.  To make matters worse, I spend eight hours a day working with people who are adverse to any and all overhead lighting. They claim computer glare.  I suspect vampirism.  I've tried the mirror test to see if they have reflections. Results have been inconclusive. 

Poring over  beautiful lamps is my way of amping up my light exposure. It's either that or start pulling a toboggan through the puddles. 

Creative types seem to have fun playing around with lamp design. Case in point; the crazy Tipsy floor light by Roberto Tweraser Design that is weighted in such a way that it can be balanced in a most precariously looking way.  (See above) It makes me think of those old rolly polly inflatable punching clowns. You'd bop them down and they'd immediately right themselves ready for another punch.  Honestly, both those clowns and the lamp seem a little menacing.

et2-lighting-e20302-26Another beautiful/scary option is the Evolution floor lamp available through Globe Lighting. It's bronze and stands 70 inches tall with Tim Burton-style twisted branches (at left) that bloom with 2o flower-shaped glass shades.  Also the$1,588 price tag is a bit of a hair raiser. 

The bizarre shape-shifting, sun-powered lantern Lenka Czerova from Yanko Designs looks something like what NASA might have launched in 1982 and forgotten until Earth's pull took its toll. (Curse you, random space junk that threatens to fall from the sky!)  Its flexible multi-jointed design (below) allows it to bend into more positions than a yogi in zero gravity.

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EnvironmentalLights.com just launched a series of touch dimmers and controllers for LED strip lights. A house -- or office -- could have up to eight light zones  indivdually controlled to adapt to the color temperatures and brightness and illumination desires/needs of the person/vampire.  

"The body’s circadian rhythm is regulated by photoreceptors in the brain. Research has shown that warm light promotes relaxation and cool light promotes energy and focus,” comes official word from Alicia Cheng, director of product development.  “Optimize your lighting environment by working in cool light throughout the day and relaxing with warm light in the morning and evening.”

I think a lightbulb just went off over my head. 

Vivian McInerny is managing editor of Oregon Home.


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