Tuesday, June 28, 2011


It's a special day because it's Sarah's birthday. Our lovely is 15. She had a few friends sleep over last night after lingering late at the beach club. I came upon their lazy shapes sacked out on the living room furniture. It was a sight to see and definitely delivered some quiet chuckles on my end. Her birthday is at the end of the month and always signifies the beginning of summer. We are doing the best we can to keep each other entertained and occasionally we succeed. Sarah is becoming quite a young adult with passionate opinions combined with the strength of her convictions. Vegan birthday cake, anyone?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our graduate

Yes, it is official now. Our oldest has completed the first installment of "life's requirements" and we are so very proud of her. Excited, amazed, and slightly fearful of the next chapter I observe her happiness and relief. At home, more the child than ever with a messy room and lack of concern I try to remember myself and my milestones along the way. One down and two to go and then there is the rest of it all. Hoping against hope that the challenges are doable and well being and happiness lay ahead.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Solstice Reverie

Everything continues along it's bumpy way but forward 99% of the time so we are going with that. Took a quick run to the beach club last night to take in the last of the day's rays. I have sentimental feelings about the Solstice for sure. Eating at home made going a breeze. A few items, bathing suits and a camera was all we needed. I thought about swimming but decided to indulge my love for making images instead. It was a lovely way to spend a special night of the year.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Almost summer

An evening at the beach club means relaxation and freedom from kitchen duty at home. As long as there are other kids to entertain mine, I can enjoy the light, the view, the conversation, the food and the wine. School is virtually over and a renewed sense of calm settles over my three. After homework, papers, Regents, lost textbooks, community service and finals we have arrived at the end. Life is good.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Working Holiday

I think we gave my husband something he really wanted for Father's Day. Group participation in the labor of moving 5 yards of dirt from the driveway to the back, reorganizing the slate and rocks that have accumulated there, planting the 5 rhododendrons that we bought and hanging the hammock. Sarah worked hard on Saturday moving dirt with the wheelbarrow and Jacob and I did our share of shoveling yersterday, moving the dirt, taking out the branches James pruned and all of us sorting rocks to new locations. On Friday, I filed a work permit to finish this area (finally) so James was inspired to get the dirt required to level it out. As I don't recall my dad ever buying dirt, James has some very different concerns. The contours of the property and the condition of the grass preoccupy our money and his time. After the weekend, the lower "48" looks awesome. Pitching in to help out made him feel very appreciated on Father's Day. He was a pretty contented guy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Old Money

Sometimes opportunities pop up to photograph truly unique places. Recently, while covering the opening day of our local farmers' market for the Patch, I met a young guy who had his own very nice camera around his neck. We chatted and I learned that he worked for Historic Hudson, a non profit that manages and promotes some architectural gems along the river. I mentioned that I had always wanted to document the gardens of Kykuit as they were created by William Welles Bosworth when the house was built by John D. Rockefeller in the early 1900's. My editor at the Patch was all for the idea and yesterday my new friend and I spent the afternoon roaming the grounds in an effort to capture the many amazing features of the estate. Nothing like having an incredible piece of property, huge reserves of cash, the smarts to hire a world class landscape architect to realize your vision and then 100 years to cultivate and maintain the design. This time I only had to drive 3 miles to enter a realm of visual splendor.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Must you?

You would think that after all the meals I have cooked and served, rides provided and yes, you can have that treat that I could hope for the kind of cooperation bestowed upon a queen. But no, I'm just their mom and in that capacity I can morph from angel to witch and back again in a blink of an eye. Sometimes a blink is all I need to get the image I seek. (Hopefully, when my back is turned it won't be erased and relegated to the land of the lost.)

Surprises in Passing

The city never fails to amaze me in all the ways a metropolis can. Old, new, weathered, mirrored and the surprise of a retail treasure box. This time a ribbon store, a fancy lover's wish fulfilled of every combination of color, plaid, and width all perfectly displayed on shelves that seemed to never end. Later near City Hall, I passed a demonstration of union workers. Looking at the faces of my fellow New Yorker's who were mostly open, willing and amused by my Lumix. A good day to be on foot with a camera in my hand.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Childhood's End

Okay, it's not really childhood's end per se. It's more that today is Nora's last day of school. I dropped my first born off at school this morning at 8:40. Arriving late (why should today be any different?), I was earlier reduced to the nuttiness of trying to get her out of bed. It's bittersweet and like many milestones I am reminiscing like mad. Am I happy to see her achieve this? Of course. Am I sad to realize she is soon to leave and spread her wings? Will I miss the incredible messes she can leave in the kitchen? (I wasn't going to go there.) Sarah and Jacob have years to go until they too plan their next set of moves. So, the household will still hum with their voices, friends, clutter and clothes. But, time is moving swiftly and mortality beckons. Her dad and I are amazed and proud. Sometimes, parenthood has its perks, for sure.

Friday, June 10, 2011


We just came back from standing in the broiling sun so we could watch the filming of an upcoming film with Melissa Leo,Tracy Morgan and Jesse Eisenberg. I had my little Lumix- nothing fancy. I took some stills of all the ways the crew killed time while standing around. At one point, a crew member came up and asked me not to take pictures. I reminded him that he didn't actually own the sidewalk I was standing on, and didn't have the right to tell me what to do. He gave me a full on stare. "So, I am asking you nicely not to take any more photos and disturb the actors and you're telling me you won't stop taking photos?" I managed a quick comeback and replied "I'll stop taking photos when I want to." (I was in no mood to have a complete stranger tell me what to do when I was not bothering a soul.) He glared at me and said "Really? Really?" and walked away.


It's another steamy day and I'm feeling hot and bothered myself. The mornings in my house in these last few weeks of school have bordered on the Valley of the Damned. No one (meaning my girls) seems to know how to fall asleep at what anyone would consider a normal time and as a result they are unable to get out of bed. Going to school has become something you do on a as needed basis. Senioritis runs rampant and my freshman has acquired her own case via osmosis. I am beyond frustrated and as full sized adult women, I am helpless when it comes to moving them along. They have mastered the art of the push back and my sense of self preservation requires that I refrain from engaging. The charming sound of their voices saying "Mom! I was up all night!!! I couldn't fall asleep!!! "I'm exhausted!!!" makes me doubt my own sanity. Newborns make it easy to be a parent. Satisfy their needs and you are rewarded with the thrill of watching them thrive. If women gave birth to teens, I can guarantee you, there would be a lot less people walking around today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Confession

Okay- as most people know I am a mother, a photographer, a businesswoman, a finder of lost things, an artist, a cook, a chauffeur, a gardener and personal shopper. Oh yes a wife, a friend, a sister and a distinct individual muddling through life as we know it in our slice of heaven on the Hudson. I'm not a very neat person, could be better at forgiving, and not able to not watch an unseen episode of Law and Order.
Does that sum it up now? Have another sip of that white wine or whatever and read a couple of cartoons from any issue from that pile of New Yorkers. You'll be up to speed in no time. And the shoes that you left sitting by your chair when you so casually kicked them off in search of more comfort and relaxation. Please please please put them out of harm's way. Because if there is one thing I hate to be, more than anything else, it's a nag. (to verify ask my kids or my husband)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Philadelphus lewisii

It's an exquisite June morning when doing anything but soaking up the sunlight and fresh air seems like a huge folly. Summer looms ahead with the promise of lazy possibilities. No homework, essays or clothing emergencies. Years back, when we filled the lowest tier of our yard I discovered a golden triangle of space and knew I could finally grow lilacs. I also craved other scents and planted a mock orange in a spot where I thought it might thrive. It didn't bloom its second year- but this year I fertilized and pruned the tree growing above it so it could leap more easily and now it's a sight to behold and smells amazing. When all else fails, gardening can provide a sense of satisfaction. Easy to share and easy to enjoy (no noticing the weeds please!)- and I am grateful for that.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Better Late than Never

I was at a community event yesterday and the hostess asked me to take a photo. My camera had no power (thanks kids!) and a guest offered up a digital camera that was, to put it politely, inexpensive 10 years ago. No matter who shot this camera, it was going to take a lousy picture. I declined and the next thing I know she is screaming at me and telling me "you are the least gracious person I know!" and "get off my property right now!!". (I should give a little history now, as this person and I have crossed swords in the past and barely spoke for years.) So, the problem becomes- why can't I say no? People say no to me all the time- that is their right. But, if I say no- it can drive some people crazy. It's more than not complying- now I am a bad person. My childhood reels back where my whole sense of self hinged on feeling loved. Disappointing anybody made me very anxious. Look, my purpose on this planet is not to make everyone alive happy. I'm here to live my life and sometimes I am going to do things that other people don't like. At the end of the day, it's not about how much conflict I managed to avoid. It's about how true I am to what I think is right for me.
It only took 58 years to arrive at this point and I'm sorry for all the years that other peoples' expectations held supreme over my own.

“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything, you are you and that is the beginning and the end - no apologies, no regrets”. Henry A. Kissinger

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nothing Personal

So, it's a sunny day and I am toughing it out. Nothing easy is coming my way. I'm not sure how to talk or whom to talk to. (correction- with whom I could talk).

I just spent a long interval link surfing. That curious cyberspace phenom when you visit a blog and start looking at the blogs on various reading lists and so on and so forth. It seems like every artistic female alive is photographing endlessly tender moments of lively dinners, blooming flowers, trips to farflung places while managing to create rhapsodic images of their children, pets, possessions (arranged just so) and extended family. Wouldn't it be great to read a blog that was called "Why I Hate My Life" or "My Husband- the Complete Stranger" or a personal favorite "I thought I wanted Children" (a cautionary tale).