Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Step back in Time well Played

I admit it gets a little hum drum hanging out with three teens and the pets while managing work and the household demands- so when I learn of a free cultural event that piques my interest I try to get out. This evening Ossining Public Library showed a classic silent movie called Grandma's Boy starring Harold Lloyd. For this occasion the film was accompanied by two talented and inventive musicians, Donald Sosin on the piano and Joanna Seaton who provided vocals and sound effects.

Sitting in the darkened auditorium I was grateful for the opportunity to enjoy this memorable film along with the live contributions of such wonderful players.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Joe Q.

Okay, it's always a certain boost to see one of my photos reproduced in a publication as notable as 
The New York Times. The subject, Joe Queenan, lives nearby and has written many books and articles for major publications. I took this image quite a while ago and he ended up using it for his author photo on the book jacket of his latest offering, One for the Books. (You can read The Times review here. ) He's a bright and entertaining guy, especially when you keep your exchanges focussed on his favorite subject. I'll let you guess that one.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A chill indoors and out

On top of the cold of winter, and things that require attention and the ever present to do list, we awoke this morning and knew from the chill that the furnace was not humming along in its usual fashion. We checked the oil tank and discovered it was low, and I arranged a last minute delivery, but still, even with plenty of oil to meet our needs, the furnace clicked on only to shut itself off. So, we huddle by the fire with an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and the girls are under their covers fighting off the frosty air, as we wait for our beloved furnace mechanic to come and bring our heating system back to life. I heard a piece on NPR the other day about residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy and are still without heat. I have a rough idea now of how hard that must be to bear. One day of living in a house where the temperature indoors has hovered at 50 degrees reminds me of how lucky we are that things mostly work as well as they do.

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's that Cold

No, not the one when you sneeze and feel insecure without a box of tissues nearby.  It's the cold of frigid winter temperatures and eyeballing the outdoors with the "I guess I can if I have to" sort of resolve. Transitions are the hardest- that first blast of icy air, the pain of starting up a car and waiting to feel your body unclench from the plunge into the chilly atmosphere of a parked vehicle. Still, there is the sight of the frost inside our windowpanes glistening with the sparkle of sunshine- a reminder of the magic that can reside in the most unexpected of places.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's all a matter of your point of view

I'm trying to be truthful
I'm trying to maintain the best outlook
I'm trying to disregard the forces that make me sad
I'm trying to look at the big picture
I'm trying to find things that are positive
I'm trying to relax when adversity overtakes me
I'm trying

Monday, January 21, 2013


I think when it comes to considerations of curb appeal, Downton Abbey appears high on many lists of properties that make the average viewer turn some shade of green (with envy) over a lifestyle experienced by the very few.
My favorite character, the Countess of Grantham played by Maggie Smith, often delivers the best lines in the series with the most remarkable tone of understatement.

"Vulgarity is no substitute for wit."

"No family is ever what it seems from the outside."

"Hard work and diligence weigh more than beauty in the real world."

"If only that were true."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Chance to Unwind and Refresh

Like most people, I have my share of acquaintances. When our paths cross there is a kind of easy banter. Exchanging updates as tasks and obligations carry us along through our routines. Yet there are a few people with whom a conversation becomes something more. There is an exchange of ideas, dreams and conflicts and when you part, the world seems a better place. My friend Kathy lives upstate and when she comes to NYC I am always happy when we can find the time to meet. Yesterday we dined at the Bryant Park Grill for a leisurely lunch topped off with a shared (and very delectable) dessert.

Sometimes, in the whirl of keeping it all going forward, I forget the comfort and joy that friendship can bring.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Talking points

What if, at any point, you could begin anew? Let history stay in the past. Let prior events dissolve in to meaninglessness. The blank slate of the freshly minted. (But with a little residual wisdom.- this is my fantasy after all.) You'd get a free pass on the unresolved pain and confusion- and only the good would survive.  All the hardship then, would push out so far in to the edges that the pillow that holds your head at night would yield nothing but the promise of what lays ahead. Something to imagine, if nothing else, when having something better to imagine seems like the greatest prospect of all.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I'm pondering the many things that mystify me lately. I know I am not alone with all the complicated feelings that events deliver. The friend who has been too busy for years to come visit but then wants to tell all about the fabulous trip she just took. The friend who doesn't respond to your dinner invites and then blogs about the lovely dinner with friends they had at their house. These minor events stir up their share of unresolved issues for me. You want to be happy for the people you care about- you just wish somehow they cared a little bit more about you.

Since childhood I've been told I am too sensitive. Driving back from another round of errands it dawned on me that I probably am too sensitive- but then again- too sensitive for whom? The hardest part for me is the only way to manage my pained feelings is to withdraw. I can feel better about how things play out as long as I diminish how I feel about the players involved. There isn't going to be a day of reckoning and there shouldn't be. Everyone lives their lives according to what works for them- I figured that one out a long time ago. The idea then is to keep my head down, stay true to what I believe and try to maintain an even keel despite the hurt of bumps over which I have no control.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I am happy to be well enough to type, to step outside, corral teens to school and look at my to do list with enough energy not to feel utterly exhausted at the mere thought of doing anything productive. For the past few days I have been in my bed, replacing my husband's form who similarly affected, infected me and so the story goes. This was the kind of influenza where sunlight made my eyes ache, chills swept through me, and ginger ale was the only form of nutrition I could muster. The kids would pause in the door of my bedroom with a gaze of anxiety as I warned them, "Do not enter! You do not want to get this!!"
The return of health has brightened my outlook and I am grateful for that.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I was thinking about resolutions. Make them. Not make them. Disregard the calender altogether.
Imagining goals and ways to implement the next chapter. Looking back, I see how my life was driven by the necessities of desire- get an education, establish a career, find a life partner, make a home, have children, raise them, and then? We are still on the parental curve. No longer worried if a stray pin will be the undoing of a toddler, now it's more eyeing their behaviors, associations and activities and hoping they are on a path that will sustain them well. And what's next for this mom? We have to get them educated and of course college remains the expensive hurdle that looms in the future. But what are my next set of moves? Sometimes, the not knowing makes my head hurt. I can contribute, volunteer, dedicate and all the good that remains in being useful. Yet if I am true to myself, I do have burning ambitions of my own. I see a future that is freer from all the obligations of the past, and while I am no longer a kid, I have the goals of one. Therein, as they say, lies the rub.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Return to our Routines

It's 8:30 a.m. and the teens in question are back in school- vacation has ground to a halt. There were the usual "smiling faces" and "genteel sounds" of young adults up before noon.
Time to get back to work as I'm always relieved when the holidays are over.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quality Time (with our cast of characters)

One thing I have discovered as the years roll by, is that we are not always good at doing things as a group. We can absolutely struggle with consensus and while my husband and I don't mind throwing our weight around as parents, little things, like going out to take a family portrait on a frigid day using the camera with a self timer on a tripod caused no end of grousing from the teenaged set. (What a surprise- I didn't see that coming. Not.)  Luckily, we got a few snaps worth sharing (not including the sassy one below.)


Sometimes, you have to wonder. But then again, a resolution is a resolution. (I guess)