Sunday, September 29, 2013

Poetically Speaking

I'm seeing an old friend today. Someone from way back when I lived in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and the prospect of spending the rest of my life in my place of birth seemed like a perfect way to envision my future. I had a serious boyfriend at the time, a poet, a true wordsmith who epitomized all the tortured ways of someone whose life is consumed by a phrase, a stanza, a feeling, an idea. He and I ultimately went our separate ways as he left to attend graduate school for writing in Iowa and I went to Rochester to pursue a master's in photography. Truthfully, I couldn't imagine being married to a poet despite his many gifts and good qualities. Too insular for my outgoing self.

But through him I met some interesting people including the poet and writer  David St. John. Today David is giving a reading at a library not too far from where we live and I plan to attend. It's been a long time since I last saw him, but in our mid-twenties we shared some leisurely fun-filled meals when we thought ourselves all grown up. I am excited to hear him read some of his incredible poems and I will try to find a way to say hello. Happy to know that his talents have served him well over the years. Something all artists hope for in the end.

David St. John after his reading at the Katonah Library

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Truth Hurts (except when it doesn't)

I'm contemplating objective reality. The dismal state of some global affairs. The lack of consideration for the general welfare of our planet and the mad pursuit of greed. The objectification of almost everything. Personal safety, access to health care, decent nutrition, discrimination, the glaring reality that the well to do have better opportunities to achieve everything. Well, tell me something we haven't already known for ages. 

No, we all just have to pull up our bootstraps. Try to love each other a little more each day and remember that in the end it's all ashes to ashes. Seeking comfort as we press further with the hope that through persevering, with good will and a little luck we can prevail in the end.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Philosophical Me (on the first day of fall)

I'm focusing on the little things- because maybe that's all that life ever really is. Hard boiled eggs deviled and devoured moments later.

Living with people you like more often than you don't. The flowers that flourish as the days shorten with colors unexpectedly sweet. Nothing more, nothing less.

Wishing you similar happiness wherever this day finds you.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A few words from a good friend

For many years I had a professional relationship with Kathy Moskal, who was one part of the dynamic duo that created HUE hosiery- a brand that redefined hosiery as an apparel item. I created many interesting images of their designs that were featured on their ground breaking packaging and along the way had the opportunity to take portraits of both owners. This is a far and away my favorite portrait of Kathy and something I am happy to publish here. When I told Kathy that I wanted to post this image on my blog- she had a few thoughts of her own that she wanted to share as well.

"We've all had the experience of looking back at a photo of our younger self and thinking "why was I so critical of my looks back then...I looked pretty good"... 
When you were THE photograher for HUE you took this wonderful image of me. In it you captured something so personal and special that I loved it from the moment I saw it. This photo gave me the feeling that I was "safe and loved" in your photographic hands...that I could trust you with my "self".  I think this is why you make such wonderful, telling portraits Dorothy....and in my case you showed me the Kathy that people who cared for me saw...the whole person......and it made me happy."  

Friday, September 20, 2013

"One Bite at a Time"

Another development to strike a chord of anxiety in our sense of well being was detailed in The New York Review of Books where a book on jellyfish was recently reviewed. Nature's delicate balance, meddled with by man, continues to be imperiled with no end in sight.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Date to Remember

20 years ago today I lost my mother, Sally. Her death was completely unexpected and occurred at home as she sat in her chair in one of her favorite spots, reading a mystery novel and sipping a cup of tea. The phone call from my father with the news is one I will never forget. There were no good byes- she was here one day and gone the next. So, September 18th looms large. This particular anniversary reminds me anew how sad I am that she did not live to see all the good things that happened for her five children (and their children) since she died.

Like many, I did not have a perfect relationship with my mother. It was fraught with complications and the stressors brought by our different personalities. But there is not a day that passes that I do not think of her, or wish I could call her and share the highs and lows of daily life. I miss her intellect, her voice, and her wise way of wrapping up an issue with her unique kind of clarity. I miss how happy just seeing me could make her and how her eyes lit up when one of her children or my father walked in to a room.

I only hope that wherever she is she knows how much I will always appreciate how she encouraged and reminded me to be my best self. In that way Sally was the world's best mom, a true feminist and one of the smartest people I have ever known.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our Town has its Premiere

Living in this bucolic spot along the Hudson, we were excited to learn last summer that the Fox network was going to broadcast a show featuring certain historic members of our beloved village and using our village's name for the title of the program. As a result there has been a lot of  local anticipation in the air. So, like many of my fellow residents, 9 p.m. last night found me glued to my chair watching our television (except during the many commercial breaks for products seeking spots in such a hot property).

We searched the show for actual elements of where we live, but The Old Dutch ChurchPhilipsburg Manor, Beekman Ave. (our funky main street)  and our popular diner were not in evidence. My husband insisted that the fly over shots were filmed here- and I did spot the ribbon of the river on one side of the screen and our famous cemetery (I think). It's possible they shot a key scene at Lyndhurst.

Well, it does elevate our village to the rest of the world but given the dire nature of our most infamous inhabitant, does not give me a warm feeling all over.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mom has a Birthday

Birthdays once you've attained a respectable age (let's say 30) take on a different character- and as you get older, they are often a chance for reflection. We spent the day doing chores at home and wrapped up the afternoon at the beach club soaking up some sun, admiring the boats, the clouds and the birds as they soared and dipped in their predictable fashion. My husband made a nice meal,  my teens sang me Happy Birthday, my eldest mailed a package of treats from school. and I heard from friends and relatives- so all in all- a perfect birthday for this wife and mother of 3. (and the chance to share a favorite image from Lake Champlain.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pop Culture and Me

I consider myself among the world's most dedicated home viewers of many iconic American tv shows, and America's got Talent is no exception. In the past, I have been enchanted by the talents and stories of previous contestants and this year's final six acts are a varied showcase of artistry, determination and desire. Next week is the finals (and this year I have two favorites) but they are all deserving. And Nick Cannon is always a pleasure to watch and a breath of fresh air as the show's emcee.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Make your mess your message" (& a memory)

Spoken by Robin Roberts during her touching speech while accepting Espy's Arthur Ashe Award for Courage last July. She is someone for whom I have a lot of respect  and admiration.
So, words to ponder. 

{Once, years ago on a small commuter flight from Detroit to Grand Rapids, I sat across the aisle from Arthur Ashe on a mostly empty plane. (He was retired from tennis by this time and due to a blood transfusion during open heart surgery had contracted AIDS. I knew of his work in promoting both AIDS prevention and funding research to find a cure.) 
He and I made eye contact, smiled slightly in acknowledgement, took our seats, and then read for the duration of the flight, which was completely uneventful. Still, from my seat, I felt the special presence of this amazing man. Upon standing to deplane, I told him that I knew who he was and that it was honor to have met him. He smiled at me again and then we each dropped our eyes. Another brush with greatness that I will never forget.}

Monday, September 9, 2013

Back to School

My two high schoolers are gone. Due in for a 10 a.m. start they headed out with their dad an hour early to have breakfast in town with friends and then head to school together. All the rituals change and it's a little bittersweet. But in my heart of hearts I am glad they are each on their way as their independent selves dictate. (And all I can hope is that as parents we are doing a good enough job to help them create healthy and meaningful lives of their own.)     

                   The photos above are from the first day of school 2006- a walk down memory lane!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our sojourn to Lake Champlain

My husband, James, and I with our two (reluctant) teenagers set out on a road trip last Sunday. We combined the break with bringing the rest of our daughter Nora's stuff to Burlington,Vermont for her new apartment. We made our way north and dropped off her cargo, staying overnight so James could help her paint her new room. The next morning we headed further up Lake Champlain to St. Albans where we had arranged to rent a cottage on the water. The rental was funky, the beds were lousy and the second night I observed a 1000 midges dancing around our bedroom's ceiling fixture (and the room's only source of light). I did sleep uneasily, it's true. The kids. missing their pals at home, were more than happy to leave early.
But the rental was located minutes away from Killkare State Park where we took a lovely boat ride via ferry to Burton Island State Park which has meandering walks and breathtaking water views. It was easy to fall in love with Lake Champlain and its many scenic wonders.