Thursday, December 29, 2011


I don't think anything quite spells relief more than waking up in your own bed after leaving a third world country. (as described by a tour operator at Stingray City.) Parts of Antigua were poorer than I had ever seen. Yet the beaches were amazing. Waters tourquoise, aqua blending with exceptional waves and fine sand. We made many interesting memories together and I'll cherish that a lot. (Upon departure in Antigua, before they let you emigrate out, you have to pay a departure tax of $28.00 cash per person. Thank you conveniently located cash machine!) In retrospect I liked most of the things that did happen on our vacation, no one got sick beyond bug bites and sun fatigue, we flew safely and got back to our cars, house and pets (thanks Ian!). Our family adventure (mostly) worked out better than I ever imagined possible.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Away from it all

We have come to a place of heartbreaking scenery with the stunning culture clash of life on an island. The only white faces we see are our fellow visitors, colonists, the whole 9 yards of the well to do with lots of the less well to do wanting to sell you something, drive you somewhere or just plain meet some need.
So, it's very eye opening for my kids to see what poverty looks like. I know upon our return all the many comforts, luxuries and amenities of our life in Sleepy Hollow will appear differently after our visit here. The beaches are beyond exquisite and no one has any interest in shopping or presents or accumulating a thing- except sea shells and memories. So, it's very sweet. It took traveling a fair ways for my children to realize how much they actually like being together.
No one runs off at meal time, or needs to call a friend, or doesn't feel like eating right now. We start the day by hopping in our rental car (yes my talented husband has managed right hand driving) with many prompts from the peanut gallery. "Dad! Watch out!!" "Dad, check out the goats about to cross the road!!" or best yet "Dad!! Speed bump!!!" My husband has risen to greater heights of gallantry as he corrals belongings and we trying to figure out what we want to do next. This is a very expensive place to vacation- excursions (like a boat ride to a neighboring island)cost $100.00 per person-so a $500 outing seems especially steep to us all. We have lived under such reduced means for so long- that spending money frivolously is hard. But, we are doing our best on our modest resources to enjoy ourselves as lavishly as possible. Christmas this year promises a lack of stress and no one will be disappointed with what they did or didn't get because there are no gifts whatsoever- unless you count the lazy days we are sharing in a place kissed by sunshine, warm breezes and tourquoise waters of infinite beauty and delight.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just In (sort of)

Ryan Gosling 'Coolest Person Of The Year' in Time Magazine.

I already knew that.

Life, Etc.

In the midst of the various holiday events and preparations happening (or not- as is the case around here) we are getting ourselves organized for an adventure to lands beyond our shores. It's sort of a big deal for us- mostly because any travel requiring more than a tank of gas and an overnight stay or two was beyond our modest, post surviving unemployment resources. So, today I need to work my list and plow ahead. In the meantime, I had the chance to do a photo story for the Tarrytown Patch about Mint Fine Foods opening in their amazing, spacious new location. I was glad to mill around the customers excited to be in Hassan Jarane's beautiful emporium of delicious everything. Months of what I can only imagine to be costly and complicated renovations have resulted in something unique, inviting and inspiring. So I tip my hat to the hardworking proprietor of Mint and wish him great success and happiness in his new home.

(To see an earlier photo story that I did about Mint in its previous location click here)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pin Money

At a recent rummage sale nearby I came upon these nice candlesticks marked .50 each which I promptly purchased. Did the internet search and found out they are a very nice item by a respectable maker. Just sold them on Ebay for considerably more than I paid for them. Fixing the roof (something desperately needed) has put a big dent in our finances and I'm inspired to look for ways to lighten our load and make some money. (At the same sale I bought a brand new copy of Unbroken from a nice couple at their table for a $1. James really enjoyed reading that immensely. Frugal living at its best.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Will Hanlon

In November, someone I know in our community, Will Hanlon, hired me to photograph his artwork and the peripheral images to create a website for his work. He wrote the copy and chose a hosting platform, Zhibit to host his online gallery. This morning we chose a template and began assembling the content. It was fun to bring the pieces together for an online portfolio of his interesting artworks. Creativity is a wonderful thing to explore and I appreciate Will's talent a lot.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Case You are Interested....

This Friday night, December 16th is Third Friday in Tarrytown* and I am excited to be taking part in Jenifer Ross' w@tercooler pop-up shop. I will be selling an assortment of holiday items (Kate Spade ornaments, anyone?) and small "artworks" that involve "nail polish". Developed and run by owner Jenifer (who is also a neighbor), w@tercooler is a co operative work space complete with conference room and a flexible floor plan. Workspace by day, during the evening events range from seminars, to pop-up shops, to community gatherings. It's amazing what she has created in the brief time since she opened her doors. w@tercooler is a true asset to our area (and best new business arrival of 2011). You'll find me and my fellow vendors, Jenifer, snacks and drink there from 5:00- 9:00 p.m. upstairs at 21 N.Broadway, so stop by if you can.

*Third Friday in Tarrytown is a monthly event (shops open late, gallery openings, Music Hall event, street entertainment et al are some of the many activities will occur).

To see my photo story about a body painting event at w@tercooler last summer click here

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Wish for Everything"

Over the years, I have made a lot of greeting cards (some of which feature me). With the holidays approaching, I thought I would start sharing some of my favorite efforts from the past. In the image above, the hands belong to the model Liza O'Keefe. The nail polish is Dior and the coach in her hands was loaned to me for photography. I bought the background fabric, to give you all the relevant details, at Paterson Silks on 14th Street and my model supplied the shirt. With a Hasselblad camera and lit in the studio, we combined our talents to explore this kitschy object displayed in the throne of her hands.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Thoughts

As the days of December peel by, the year speeds along its merry way. The holiday season raises all sorts of expectations and anxieties. Life with teenagers means witnessing a kind of blithe lack of interest in most festivities. It's all about the break from school. (My friend Liza's concept of doing Christmas every other year sounded very good to me. Very good.) In the spirit of adding to my family's modest vacation fund I am continuing to empty my cupboards of interesting collectibles and selling them on Ebay. Coasters anyone?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Studio Ways

During my New York City years, I primarily worked in photo studios creating images- often using the "blank canvas look" of seamless paper for the background. Between placement and lighting, a simple composition can be an interesting challenge to solve with a camera. I was lucky to work with a lot of talented, photogenic and spirited children. Letting them do what they want on the set often led to some fun times shared by all.