Thursday, September 30, 2010

Uncertainty



I wish I could say with utter certainty what I am doing with my life. I admire the Anna Wintour's of the world, the Hillary Clinton's- both of whom I imagine wake-up to the personal trainer, the hair and make-up artist or the secretary at the ready to prepare their boss for their very important day. No, somehow, I am in the awkward position of not really knowing what I am doing, where I am headed. So the luxury of knowing is not mine. The day unfolds, usually with a certain amount of expectation (by others) and hopes (of my own) but I wrestle with that in-between. The determination to make the day memorable, and the concern that my importance is so infinitesimal, that it's easy to get lost in uncertainty. Babies are nice, toddlers are better, dinner is great and obligations are perfect in that they give your life a purpose. So, how to find the purpose driven life? Or more importantly, how to create one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Masquerade


So here's the deal. Fake happiness and hope that real happiness steals in and makes an appearance. Make the lovely vegetarian dinner for the difficult vegetarians of the house. (I understand dietary restrictions based on health, but the many requirements of my brood can make me more than a little crazy). I don't remember posing any special requirements of my parents except that they not abandon me. Nowadays, well, it's a lot different.
While the beans cook, I surf the web to check out websites, blogs et al. All of which has me a little dazed. I wish I knew where I fit in. Or where I intended to insert myself. What a comforting thought- to feel like I belong and then expand from there. My natural reticent prevents me from steaming full ahead. Can I pretend to be someone else and and slowly assume that identity? A brash gal, a take no prisoners kind of talent who won't let any self-doubt cloud her brain.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

17

It's amazing how much you don't know when you are the parent of a 17 year old girl. She is the soul of all understanding and wisdom, especially in her mind. Having a conversation means enduring a lot of "I don't know, Mom" or "Don't ask me now Mom." I know I wreak of obsolescence, but at the end of the day, her father and I pay for all her needs, wishes and desires. It's a delicate tightrope that we walk- one combined with absolute dependence on one end and absolute independence on the other.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Miracle (sort of)

                                

There was a remarkable event today here on Evergreen Way. One could almost call it a miracle. The other day, Sarah took possession of the clock radio that has been the sheriff of our weekday routine. Well, the rooster is the better way to put it. (Sarah has become determined to get herself up in the morning so as to have ample time to beautify for school) Today, at 7:57 I woke up to discover all the kids dressed and ready to leave. Quite a shocker!! I was convinced, having overslept (well, we no longer have our alarm clock) that I would be hustling some very irate kids out the door while madly writing notes to make up some lame excuse why they were late for class. Instead, I came downstairs to discover them getting their affairs in order while bossing each other around. What an odd and luxurious feeling to be relieved of personnel management for one morning. Kind of strange to realize they really are capable of taking care of themselves if necessity requires. Maybe we have been doing an okay job as parents after all.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest Moon


Woke up earlier than usual. The best thing about my house at 5 a.m. is that no one is going to stop me in the middle of something that seems really vital to me and ask "where is my other shoe?" or "why isn't there anything good to eat?" or better yet, "I need a ride, right now!". So there are certain advantages to the off hours. The harvest moon is glowing and while I don't have an enormous lens and can't organize my thoughts to assemble a cable release and tripod- I will go stand outside in the dew-drenched grass and make my own homage to the beautiful full moon hanging low in the sky.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Busy City Day






Spent a busy day on Friday with my friend Ellen in Manhattan. She wanted to take me out to lunch for my birthday and look at art. On the way to eat we made a quick stop to see the Jil Sander store in Soho (truly, a museum to retail). It was so nice outside that we ate our lunch seated in a lovely courtyard surrounded by the chic set. After our meal we took an inspiring tour of some Chelsea galleries. We managed about six shows including a beautiful installation of these lit books by the artist Airan Kang at a gallery on 24th St. and saw the Marc Newsom show next. Wow! So much fun to see an amazing motor boat among other large scaled items placed in a gallery setting. We headed back back downtown by walking on the High Line where we revived ourselves with gourmet ice pops. I had my Lumix camera in my bag and found myself taking lots of photos. So many diverse types you encounter along the way. On the train ride home I thought about the pleasure that comes from creating images that are completely spontaneous.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our New Addition




I am happy to announce the most recent addition to our family, Lilith. She is the type of bunny that stays pretty small. It's hoped that she'll become a companion to our first miniature rabbit, Napoleon, who doesn't seem to be very happy living in his new outdoor abode alone. (Lilith also appears to love to eat flowers. Such a girl!) The other day, my husband saw some very cute bunnies at the pet store. Later, he took Sarah and Jacob to see the new arrivals. Sarah fell in love with this very sweet creature and paid for the bunny herself with her own earnings from babysitting. So, she is officially Sarah's rabbit. Here's a little detail I should probably share. Lilith is not spade and the plan is to breed her and Napoleon. After the babies are old enough, Manny at the pet store will buy them and sell them in his shop. The prospect of animal husbandry has now appeared on my horizon...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday chez Nous


My husband is currently out sailing and I am doing chores. Nora's in Nyack and Jake's biking at Graham Hill. Hopefully Sarah, upstairs, is actually doing her homework. In that case, I can rest easy for a moment. I am sure it is beautiful out on the Hudson and James will come home all happy and refreshed. Not to mention the 9 holes of golf he did first thing this morning. He does crave fresh air and activity. Sometimes on boats, I can get violently ill and that's nothing I want to feel today ( sick like clinging to the bottom of the boat until the boat returns to the dock). Today I got to fiddle around. After photographing the yard I made a nice birthday bouquet for Sandra in a vase that I wanted to give her. The light was so pretty in the kitchen that I grabbed a snapshot before Sarah and I delivered it to her. She was happily surprised and pleased with her gift. Now it's fine to be here and go about my business. Nothing like not being interrupted to improve my mood.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Farewell


James and Sarah and Jacob just left to run errands. One of the more important stops is to give Eloise, Sarah's pet rat to the pet store owner, Manny. He has agreed to find Eloise a good home. Hopefully, she will maintain her status as a pet beloved by someone else and not well, a snack for some much larger creature. Out of all the pets we have had as family members, Eloise gave me the most aggravation. Truthfully, she is very smart and sweet. However given the opportunity she will climb out of her cage and settle on my side of the bed. Under the covers. I have woken up on more than one occasion with something crawling around my legs in the middle of the night. Okay, I scream. I get a little agitated. I even make threatening remarks. So, it should come as no surprise that the other day, when our newest arrival, the lovely bunny Lilith came home, Sarah agreed that it was time for Eloise to go. Now, I am a little sad that she is gone for good. Don't ask me why. I must be an old softy at heart.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Birth Day



I am having a low-key birthday today and it suits me perfectly fine. Sometimes more stuff is just that and I'm not craving anything of note. (Well, I do like these amazing Chanel Khaki nail polishes and would love to paint with them but at $23.00 per it's a little extravagant for our modest means). James and I did sneak out to the movies yesterday and saw a late afternoon show of "Inception" which mesmerized us both. Great twist, an unconventional story line, completely unbelievable but tender at the same time- so hats off to Christopher Nolan for his amazing creation. I'm trying to manage a sore shoulder so James was also my driver and personal assistant. It was very good medicine to be on the receiving end of his attentive care. While it's not wrapped up in paper and tied prettily with a bow, the gift of feeling loved by my family is plenty for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

School Daze

                                        

When it's 8:00 a.m. and the house is buzzing with activity you know there has been a sea change in our routine. Nora, the professional driver, blasted out the door at 7:30 yelling out "Why didn't anyone get me up?!". Suddenly, other voices are chiming in "What time is it?". When people actually care what time it is, we have entered a new reality. One completely thrilling for me. The day is mine to work, squander, create or run errands without having to think about my children adrift around the house complete with their friends, unwashed glasses, plates and wrappers scattered along their paths. The goal today is to learn how to use my new scanner. I want to take a fresh look at the many fashion images I shot once upon a time when I primarily shot the Hasselblad and film was the only game in town.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to School

                                             





It's 10 a.m. and to the best of my knowledge all three of my children are in school. True to form, Nora hustled out the door, car keys in hand and off to pick up her friends to get them to school. Sarah took the longest to get ready, was happy to pose for her photo and actually ate breakfast before she left the house. Jacob refused to allow me to photograph him face to camera and seemed the most anxious about the return to the penitentiary...uh school. It's been a while since I've been able to really concentrate. I love my children dearly but I am happy to work without all their distractions again.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

6,620 uploads in the last minute



I wandered on to flickr and I thought, this is something I should consider doing and then I went to the homepage to look at the number of uploads. The amount never ceases to amaze me. So then I think- this is crazy. The whole world is photographing all the time, uploading their images on to flickr and then commenting on each other's images. What a big love fest. I love what you do and you love what I do and isn't it great? I'm not sure what it all has to do with anything except you get to see your images on a computer screen and in that context, your photos seem somehow more legitimate, more noteworthy, more real. I am not exactly grumpy (maybe a little) and contemplating what should be my next photo. My next big thing. The mind reels forward to the vision of three kids going to school (tomorrow!) and imagining their next big set of complaints. Homework!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11


It's September 11th. Such an ominous day for one and all. Nine years ago, we witnessed the tragedy and mayhem of the hijacked planes, burning buildings, and loss of life. That day was truly beautiful weather-wise. Much like today with warm temperatures, clear skies and brilliant sun. I remember sitting outside with Jacob, watching him play in the garden as the butterflies and bees went about their business. Our little patch of suburban eden was untouched by the terrible events unfolding beyond. Observing all the well-intentioned folks going about their daily routines, I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. Fear would be our new companion and worry its constant associate.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Almost the End

                              

It's the last Friday of the kids' summer vacation. Monday, the gauntlet comes down full force and they'll be dragging their sorry asses out of bed- undoubtably grumbling all the way about the injustice of it all. I, on the other hand, will be relieved to see them go out the door and into the arms of demanding teachers who will give them lots of schoolwork to occupy them when they get home. It's not that I don't like vacation. It's just that I am not all that equipped to find fascinating activities which they are actually willing to do. School creates routines, opportunities and stimulation for which I am very grateful. Homeschooling is not my thing.
So, they lay around the house feeling fully justified to take in the last of their utter lazy ways. Or head out the kitchen door in search of a friend and adventure. Me, I am hiding downstairs, typing away and drinking in the delicious smell of the autumn clematis blooming outside my door. Children bring you all sorts of pleasures, but flowers bear unique gifts. Their shapes, abundance and fragrance which they appear to effortlessly create. It's its own kind of bliss for sure.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Gathering of Fashionistas





I went to the city today to attend a conference about blogging- specifically fashion bloggers. I think I could say with 100% certainty that I was the only person there who didn't twitter. Still, with a website and a blog I didn't feel quite so obsolete. It was interesting to learn what the speakers considered to be their message. Of course, in the fashion world, what you are wearing is considered content. The audience's ears perked up when the panelists shared what labels they were wearing, down to the brand and color of the nail polish painted on their nails. I did enjoy soaking up the presentations and assuming the guise of a professional woman instead of my standard i.d. of harried mom, wife and homemaker. I appreciate the forum that blogging has created for me but I'm not sure for whom I am writing. Hopefully, it's the process that will matter the most in the end.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Boys Arrive



Sunday, Max and Tim arrived from their summer long road trip and they will be staying with us until they secure a place to live in the city. They seemed worn out and happy to be back on the east coast. It seemed only reasonable to take them to the beach club to relax and take in some fresh air after their long car ride here. The crowd was very friendly. Lots of folks showed up to take in the beautiful night to commemorate the beginning of the end of summer. The clink of wine glasses and yummy snacks to nibble on. Both kids and adults full of smiles. It's nice to have the guys here- a little distraction for everyone. Max has known me since I was 17 and has seen me through a lot of good and bad times. Sometimes, feeling understood is the best support of all.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Neighbors


The other day we went over to visit the Gibson's. Lucy was off to college the next day and a certain kind of bittersweet happiness hung in the air. You could tell that Lucy was beyond excited in her own understated way. Her anticipation of all the events to come made her smiles wide and eager.
All the changes that life brings. Watching your kids grow up and make their way in the world. As a parent you are relieved to see them make all these transitions but as their parent there is also the anxiety of redefining your own existence. As long as there is a child in the house to nurture and protect- you know what to do. It's what lays beyond that can be so confusing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Angst

I wish I could write something about contentment and love. Okay, I feel love. But contentment. No way. No any which way. We keep it going. There are the lovely dinners. There are the flowers from the garden. There are the smooth sheets and soft towels and fresh running water. Yes, we are blessed with all the modern amenities but lack steady employment and the security that brings.

In the moments of my utter darkness, there are my (handsome) husband's arms around me when I am weary of difficulty and trying and not feeling the worth of trying again. Is it this time of my life? Not knowing how to proceed but knowing I must. Oh, go improve something, help someone and through lifting someone else hope to lift myself. What turned? What old injuries continue to injure me now? And where do I go to be healed?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dinner at the Beach Club with Family

                             

                              




We had a really nice dinner by the river last night. The gathering went well after dark and we sat around and talked by the flickering lights. My husband's brother, Kenneth, and his wife, Gayle,drove up from Texas to deliver their son Justin to New York where he is entering Pace University as a freshman. Lucky for us, one of the other brothers, Rex, came along for the ride. Sarah and especially Jacob have been delighted to have Rex to hang around with so that's been great. He has an easy rapport with them and seems to enjoys their company.

The beach club was a beautiful spot to share with them and we all went for a swim. The river felt cool and refreshing. Earlier in the day, Rex and Jacob went shopping for ingredients for dinner. Kenneth and Rex cooked an amazing meal- the Santo's came down for their dinner as well and we all ate together. I think my relatives are having a good time and I know how happy that makes James.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Worry

I'm bowled over today by anxiety. Maintaining a positive outlook demands a certain amount of stamina and sometimes my own reserves are less than adequate. I can look around and see the many things for which I am very grateful but still- I know we are operating a leaky boat that needs to be repaired or abandoned.