Thursday, February 28, 2013

The universal through the particular

The prodigal (meaning our eldest daughter) with her possessions has arrived safely at her destination in rural Guatemala where she will be spending the next three months doing volunteer work.  In the midst of waiting for her email that she had travelled without incident on a six hour trip from the airport in Guatemala City via private car and boat ride, I wandered the house in a restless fashion trying to concentrate on everything else that required my attention.  A few distractions appeared, camera in hand, of a bouquet of flowers, an offspring hiding behind their computer and a raging fire in the hearth. Nothing and everything resides in these quiet moments. Happiness is knowing your loved ones are sleeping someplace safe and sound.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Diagramming feelings

After driving my daughter to the airport through the dark and pouring rain for an early a.m. flight  (she is traveling to Guatemala on a 3 month adventure) I return home only to realize I miss her already.

All your photography questions answered

Now I understand why photography has lost its luster as a serious profession when you can purchase this kind of know how with a 100% risk-free guarantee. Personally, I thought my vocation required well over 300 essential skills (like 310?), most of which are knowing how to do business in a market place over saturated by too many photographers.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Case Study

Somewhere, there must be some research project where I could be a participant. Where they are gathering up educated, well intentioned women and men who for some impractical reason decided to stay home and raise their children themselves. Abetted by my husband who has a decent job and this mom's willingness to forgo ever buying anything again for herself at full price in an upscale retail establishment, I am fortunate enough not to have a family member facing a life threatening illness and lucky as well to have a spouse who comes home on a regular basis and is not tempted himself by the ponies or the local saloon. So, if you put all these factoids together you might arrive at someone like me, who has a fair amount of intelligence and talent and made the irrational move to mostly put her career on hold to be a stay at home parent. And yes, I made the decision myself, there was no gun held to myself or to anyone else. I take all the blame.
Yet, the kids are growing, they will leave the nest sooner than later and I am restless to be meaningfully engaged in the world and make a contribution through my skills. Putting this next equation together presents untold challenges to my psyche in an economy where too many capable people are looking for work. I'm working on working as they say and trying to stay excited despite all the uncertainty.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What a dress!?

(Why I am actually posting anything about the Oscars from my berth in Sleepy Hollow seems a little ridiculous after all the other great minds have weighed in. But comment I will...)

So, why do we care about the red carpet? Unless of course you are in the jewelry, evening wear, entertainment, glamour and/or media business. Or, possibly, have nothing else to think about. No judgement intended. 

(At least I wasn't alone in finding the dress worn by the above member of the "Hollywood" community a tad bit strange.)

I did once risk the boundaries of intelligent behavior and did a live transcription of the commentators during a previous Academy Awards red carpet. If you have any interest you can read that post here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

(Some of) The things I've seen (with a camera)

At one time, when carrying a big camera everywhere I went seemed like a good idea- before kids supplanted the contents of my vehicle and I filled my bags with film, lenses and a light meter instead of snacks and wipes, I sought out places of various scale and description and tried to capture a moment in time.
Now, with the advent of digital cameras, things are no longer as complicated and nerve wracking. You can see your results immediately and adjust your settings and position accordingly. You can make use of photoshop to up the pleasure factor that was once so elusive and quantified by your understanding of what your equipment could do. So, maybe a little suspense has been diminished. I remember excitement, worry, frustration and elation when it came time to see my film processed by the lab. Like most who self edit- I'll leave those less memorable results to remain in obscurity. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Not me (at least not now)

I was listening to Leonard Lopate on WNYC talking up their current fund drive. Today's gift with a donation of $120.00 is a copy of  The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Its various selling points were that it is based on the blog by the same name, beautifully written and beautifully photographed by the author. A huge wave of wistfulness passed over me. I aspire to something similar although my subject matter is how does one put it, diverse. Well, all artistic efforts have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. Just saying.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My 13 episode love affair

Like many of my fellow Americans (according to a poll on Huffington Post), I recently had a obsessive passionate engagement with Netflix watching House of Cards. Okay, I'm not really sure if I loved anybody except the nice characters and they were few and far between  (and didn't seem to get much screen time.) But whatever. It was an addictive way to spend a weekend glued to my laptop. Luckily my respective family members know their way around a kitchen so nobody starved. (to the best of my knowledge as they say in some circles.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

On Family Size

There was a very poignant essay in Motherlode by Beth Apone Salamon last Saturday written from her perspective as an only child contemplating what being a "singleton" meant for her. I was one of five children, but in my own way was "an only" as well- an only girl to four older brothers. So, I knew a kind of distinct loneliness in the midst of my male siblings and I remember begging my mother to have another child. I was certain it would be a girl and the sister I craved. My mother was not at all inclined to have another baby, which I didn't particularly understand. There were so many of us- why couldn't she just have one more? And when I asked for a dog my father quickly chimed in "that 5 kids were animals enough." So, while I was part of a boisterous tribe where many things were shared and adventures occurred daily, I did not have the cohort of my dreams.

When I became a parent at 40, I knew that if at all possible I was determined to have more than one child. My upbringing had it's share of nuttiness but the excitement of being part of a clan as we were, was very meaningful to me. And when my mother died unexpectedly, and all five of us pooled our concern and resources to tend to my father, I saw the strength contained in numbers.

I myself could not fathom having five children. After three, I hit a metaphysical wall. I saw the cost to their dad and myself of bringing them to adulthood, the necessities that nurture entails, the expense of college and I drew that chapter to a close. But I am grateful for the children we have despite the many fears and frustrations of parenthood in our modern times. Often, in the peak of a sibling incident, one will announce, "Why couldn't I be an only child?" Why did you have to have him (her)?" Yet I also know in their heart of hearts that there is a kind of companionship they offer to one another that is priceless in its own way. So I appreciate the three complicated souls that are my progeny. Most of the time, at least.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

An artful stroll with a pal from long ago

I made a quick trip to Boston with my daughter Sarah so we could attend a day long event about the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. While she was busy learning about the college's programs I slipped away for a few hours to the museum with my friend Cheryl who lives nearby. We'd lost touch after being close in high school and the years have brought us both our share of highs and lows. Wandering the amazing galleries in the company of a treasured friend from the past was an unexpected and much appreciated treat. (and Sarah loved the school.)

Friday, February 15, 2013

That went well

Photobomb courtesy of Sarah
Valentine's Day saw little trauma. The internet didn't go down. I wasn't interrupted by an unplanned emergency. James and Jacob went food shopping. My husband prepared a lovely dinner and my son assembled and served dessert (I wasn't even allowed in the kitchen). We had a harmonious meal which satisfied both the carnivores and vegetarians in our group. James bought Valentine cards for all and a nice bouquet of flowers graced the table. The perfect amount of effort in a household that tries to maintain a wary relationship with Madison Avenue.
After spending the day mailing out my Valentine greeting trying to remember everyone I could (sorry if I forgot someone important- my imperfections are many) I got some lovely responses to this year's effort. In the afternoon I took a break to attend a rally in support of ending violence against women- something many know too much about.
Now it's back to pressing obligations, work, photography and contemplating what needs to be done next. Another Valentine has come and gone in the life of this artist, mother, wife, sister and friend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Love Day to You and Yours

After much teeth gnashing and editing and working with my very talented web designer Tim Thayer of Eyebuzz, my Valentine was finished this morning just in the nick of time. I'm not sure exactly why I feel the urge to create a greeting for this holiday every year. Chalk it up to a hope for world peace, harmony and love.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snowy Hollow

Like many in the Northeast who experienced the blanket of snow Friday's blizzard delivered, we spent our fair share of time shovelling, laying low, and then emerging outside to enjoy the winter landscape.

Sunday, my husband with other dedicated villagers hosted a Winterfest at Rockwood Hall. The junior set (with their elders) turned out in droves to take advantage of the beautiful weather and perfect sled conditions. And me, with my camera, visualized my own kind of Seurat image of cold weather enthusiasts by the river on a snowy day.

Friday, February 8, 2013


New York City brims with activity and a day there can mean executing a fast paced list of errands and shopping along with a few delicious stops to fuel your momentum. Rushing along the avenue, the sight of a business that harkens back to another time inspires a token of the past in the city that relentlessly pursues the future.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Early February means only one thing

A little more than a week to go and I am busy bringing this year's Valentine to life. The first hurdle is coming up with an idea worth executing. Next comes making it happen- all the while wondering if anyone is going to like it. Anxiety, stress, and excitement- the perfect combination to push me onward. Here's hoping it works.