Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Backwards and forward

It's been a hard year and like difficult times not without sweet moments and glad tidings. My issues pale compared to many- we haven't had a highly contagious and lethal virus sweep our community nor has a weather anomaly threatened our well being.  Our offspring continue to grow and thrive and if our ability to get along could be better, we are hardly unique in that respect. As a recently elected official to the board of my small village I have witnessed behavior that would shock and mystify many- but supposedly among elected officials, this is nothing new. So not a year that will stand out for many positives. (Well, our middle child had a milestone year with graduating high school and heading off to college- but as most parents will attest- your children's accomplishments are theirs' and theirs' alone. Living through them is not recommended.)

So, I am thankful this year is drawing to a close. To my more experienced colleagues in the political game, you undoubtably have much thicker skin than mine- which might be a good thing. (The jury's out on that one.)

In the meantime, looking forward to a happier and hopefully less stressful new year. And wishing you and your's the best of everything and happiness in 2015.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Made of (leaded) Glass

Last fall my friend Sandra participated in the Tarrytown village wide tag sale- an event which typically takes place on a Saturday in late September and elicits a fair amount of anticipation from all those who love looking at other people's discards (hopefully attractively priced). My spouse was trying to raise money to meet his pledge obligation for an LLS Race for the Cure and so Sandra invited him to participate with her and sell some of our unneeded household items (and who doesn't have those?). 

Early morning, during the set up I noticed that Sandra had an assortment of Lalique crystal figurine items for sale- and the retailer in me knew this was not the right venue for these high priced objets d'art. I struck a deal with Sandra and I am happy to report that I just sold the last item on Ebay. Hopefully in the new homes they have found, they will be appreciated and enjoyed by their new owners. All's well that end's well as the great bard would say.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Back before 2

I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor this morning at NYU Langone. Almost 6 weeks since  my hip replacement surgery and I appreciated the chance to review my progress with him. Walking back to Grand Central I detoured to visit Lord & Taylor and drink in the fun of their holiday windows. Heading north I stopped in at the NY Public Library to check out their current photography show brimming with insights and treasures. The city never fails to deliver a chance to engage and I love the stimulation even a brief trip inspires.

Monday, December 22, 2014

(Holiday) News Alert from the Hollow

James found me in the kitchen to tell me that Santa Claus was picking up garbage so I ran outside with my camera to check it out for myself. Just a small news dispatch from Sleepy Hollow and one that I am happy to share.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My afternoon with Mia

I'm always happy to work with children whenever possible and I recently had the occasion to photograph my friend's Sara's daughter Mia at their home. She was a lot of fun in front of the camera and communicated wonderfully well. 

They recently came by to look at the images and Mia really enjoyed the animal members of our household, especially Comet. Watching her 3 year old self delight in the atmosphere of our home brought a flood of good feelings (and memories).

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thank You James

My husband did a great job this year of procuring, installing and decorating our tree and its presence and fragrance are welcomed additions. The holidays are unfolding and we are blessed to have our home and each other.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Had To

I've been staying on the down low lately when it comes to shopping- trying to keep it simple. But with Sarah home from school we indulged in one of our favorite activities and visited a local church's thrift store. It's been a while since we wee there and I was immediately drawn to a voluminous holiday area that they carved out of a corner.  I poked around a bit and gathered up a few things and noticed a box sitting back on a shelf. When I picked it up and looked inside I knew this was some kind of special jewelry box- wrapped in wool plaid, lined and tied with suede.

The box had little bits of glitter on it as though a little more magic was added to it, right before it was bestowed. I saw people smiling when I held the box in my hands and knew it brought happiness once upon a time.  It's sticker price read .50 and I ended up paying half that. Now that I have it, I have no idea what I am going to do with it. I'm just glad it's here.

Yes to All

When you're required to stay home and lay low, the Sunday New York Times is a reliable distraction (all those sections and supplements) and a recent "T" magazine did not disappoint with its coverage of taste makers and wunderkinds combined with the usual assortment of ads promoting luxury goods. Sometimes, the heady atmosphere of all the high priced sophistication makes me feel a little nauseated by the unparallelled wealth and conspicuous consumption.

I found the above ad for Reed Krakoff especially annoying as the model appears to have either just stolen the tote (available for $2645 for pre-order) or fallen in love with it, sporting a "Why are you staring at me?" look in her eyes. I know I shouldn't be shocked- high end designer bags have become the symbol of prestige. Especially when combined with a beautiful girl loaded with attitude.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Not the Original (but worth trying)

Last month my friend Liza and I had the opportunity to attend a book launch for Dominique Ansel of Cronut™ fame. His pastry creations have an avid following and people line up outside his shop at 6 a.m. for the chance to purchase and consume his legendary treats. As part of the event, he was interviewed and I found him articulate and charming- always a good combination.

I am not inclined to make the pilgrimage to Soho to visit his bakery. That's a lot of effort to sample something novel and newsworthy so when Dunkin Donuts announced the latest arrival to its menu- the Croissant Donut, I was game to try. If your sweet tooth inspires you to consume offerings glazed with sugar- this could possibly hit the spot. I'm sure Dominque Ansel's Cronut™ is far superior in taste and the atmosphere of his establishment is undoubtably more appealing than our local Dunkin' yet I hope he is comforted by the fact that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Our Lighthouse gets Lit

Located in Sleepy Hollow, the Tarrytown Lighthouse (don't ask) has been missing its light for as long as I can remember. Our talented Village grant-writer Fiona Hodgson combined her talents with a local fund-raising effort and the monies were gathered to outfit our lighthouse with a new light source. There are few makers for the kind of fresnel light that is found in lighthouses and the Village was able to secure the skills of Dan Spinella who engineered a new light out of his workshop in Florida. Earlier this month, the day of the installation arrived and with much excitement the light was put in to place, wired in to the electric panel and turned on. A beloved landmark has been brought back to life and it's illumination brings hope for renewal and the positive things that can happen when people band together to create something of value for all to enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Capturing the Past

I recently spent a few days at The National Arts Club located on Gramercy Park in New York City.

My purpose there was to document the rooms and architectural details that are still in their original state from when the property was home to Samuel Tilden- the 25th Governor of  New York who ran for U.S. President in 1876. He won the popular vote but ultimately lost the election to Rutherford P. Hayes by one electoral vote. In 1906, when the Club outgrew its first location on 34th Street, Spencer Trask, a financier, philanthropist and NAC Governor, helped the Club acquire the Tilden Mansion as its new home.

Much of the property has been transformed over the years as the Club has expanded but there are architectural details and period rooms that have remained intact and offer a history lesson in craftsmanship and design. A very special location in a bucolic part of the city and well worth the visit.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Not Feeling It

December is a month often fraught with expectations. Decorating one's abode becomes a stressful obligation, objects become the means of securing connection, and purchasing is the highest form of self expression. It's hard to know how to sort your way through all the merchandise and promotions that flood the malls, the internet and retail emporiums to tempt our senses and empty our wallets for more stuff that nobody really needs. Marketing at its best and worst dominates this season. No wonder we all need to eat and drink in excess to quell the melancholy the holidays so easily inspire.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Memories

When my kids were little, dance class was on the agenda to the extent that I could get them to go.
(My mother was also insistent that I take ballet lessons or, as she reminded me, more than once, "Who made sure you knew how to walk across a room?"...)

One of the more nerve-wracking parts of December was the annual Christmas Recital staged by their school which meant the week leading up was spent in a drafty theatre making sure my son wasn't up to any mischief backstage as his sisters waited patiently to rehearse, theoretically doing their homework in little clusters sitting in the empty rows. Leaving the theatre in the dark, a cold wind often blew up Main Street and we scurried to get in to our car, complaining about its cold interior as we hurried back to our cozy home.

When the actual event rolled around, and the various players assembled with hair neatly tied back and rouged cheeks and lips (and a sparkly costume to boot)- a well of happiness rose up, inspired by the excitement of the audience and the sweet sound of their applause at the end.

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Born Beautiful"

It's a parental shocker when your children mature and are no longer your babes in arms but wallet wielding young adults who make a plethora of decisions without any assistance from you whatsoever. I get that (mostly) and appreciate that is as nature intended even as I miss the closeness of their dependency (just keeping it real.) I knew that they would grow up- resemble us or not-be psychologically hardy or not- attractive or not- hard working or not and fun to be around or not.

When I saw this W magazine cover, I was shocked to realize how much our youngest offspring resembles the young man featured with a bevy of belles. The magazine headline reads "Born Beautiful." Here's hoping my son puts his good looks to good use and makes us proud. Something to hope for at least.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

An evening with Metropolis

Lately consuming culture is more appealing than consuming goods- so a local showing of Metropolis at the Tarrytown Music Hall piqued my interest and James was onboard. The theatre was mostly empty (I guess the mall was filled with many more temptations....) which made it perfect for stealth photographing from my seat. Only my husband was annoyed and he kept his grumblings to himself.

Filmed in the late 20's, this silent masterpiece is filled with moments of amazing art direction, utter overacting, grandiose set designs and montages that describe a future world of worker and magnate, occupying two distinctly different worlds and a chilling vehicle from the past that seems very relevant today.

Two and half hours later- we emerge in to the chilly darkness. I am often in awe of artistic efforts that survive the test of time and Metropolis proved to be a visual treat on many many levels.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Inside Looking Out

There was an incredible sunset the other night and the multicolored clouds made me pick up my camera to capture the moment. The panoramic setting on the Lumix allows me to combine images to create a panoramic image- a fun tool I can't wait to explore more.

I love when the sunset spreads its hue to the clouds overhead before night falls.

Monday, November 24, 2014


I've been keeping myself busy at home and as others might agree- being around one's house with the many repairs, chores and ongoing maintenance that beckon is often the least relaxing place to be. "Fix me!" "File me!" "Put me away" are only a few of the ad nauseum voices that go through my mind as I try to focus my energies. 

Given my inability to run hither and yon. distractions and treats have been a source of well being and friends and neighbors have been thoughtfully coming by leaving delectable edibles for us (and our son's friends) to consume. 

This makes me grateful and thankful at the same time for their concern and consideration. And I wish you all the same.....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 9

Ninth day home and restless feelings prevail- craving wellness and missing my routines of work, meetings, chores, errands and socializing beyond these walls. As the days unfurl in these very familiar rooms memories meander through my thoughts like the dancing rays of sunlight illuminating the sheers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

In the Zone

I've spent all week taking it easy and goofing off with my camera whenever I can. I'm happy to report that my family and friends have been taking excellent care of me and I think my recovery is going well. Hope you like these photos taken out our bedroom window. What a beautiful orange glow!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recovering in Sleepy Hollow

I'm on the other side of my hip replacement surgery and now have a very serious looking bandage on the front of my left thigh. The whole procedure went as well as could be expected and I was sent home after spending one night in the hospital.

I was very anxious going in (canceling certainly crossed my mind). Having had nothing to eat or drink for close to 14 hours, during my pre-surgery exam I felt lightheaded and poised to faint, something I feared would interfere with the procedure. But I rallied and after getting situated on the table in the operating room I awoke in recovery to the hum and blur of post op activity and found my husband and daughter Nora smiling at me with relief.

It was startling to me how many personnel tended to me in one way or another, upwards of 25 staff in about a 24 hour window. Thankfully I never forgot my name, my birth date or why I was there- which seems to be their litmus test of mental acuity. Now I am in the throes of recovery and while I am sore and bruised, I'm happy to be in the recuperative phase with physical therapy due to begin tomorrow.

And to Dr. Davidovitch and everyone at N.Y.U. Hospital for Joint Diseases, you have my appreciation and gratitude- more than you'll ever know.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Big Day

I'm off to the hospital shortly to have my hip replaced- so my emotions run high as I prepare to undergo this procedure. Moments like this remind me of how fragile we all are and how tentative well being really is. I am placing myself in the hands of an excellent surgeon and like many seeking care to repair their body, their souls and/or their lives I am hoping for an excellent outcome as I commit to doing the work required to help make it happen.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Facing the Unknown

I'm having surgery this week. Nothing life threatening- but a procedure that has loomed over me for quite awhile. So my cookie jar of fears has been upended and it's hard not to examine my life with an eye calculated to worry and regret at the same time.

Trying to take comfort in small things grounds me to the here and now. Never a simple task when the past and the future consume me. Here's to living in the present- for all those who know how to do it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Delicate Balance

For all of you parents of the teenaged set, you might have encountered some dangerous ground where your offspring are concerned- as in sharing anything remotely personal about them with anyone- even something as potentially harmless as the fact that you are indeed related. (I have witnessed many cringe inducing moments when my children have to acknowledge that I am their mother- and as a women of a "certain age" who has all her faculties intact and still looks respectable in jeans- well, I know they could have done a lot worse, but I digress....). This morning after a quick glance at someone's whose name I will not mention I noticed that a certain level of attention to his grooming might be in order- so I took the plunge and ordered him the above. If I am truly lucky (and given that he has no interest in this blog whatsoever) I will escape embarrassing us both with this post and bring the shadow of a smile to his face when the package arrives.

That's the hope if truth be told.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Battle of the Books (as seen by me)

I've had the pleasure to photograph the annual report for the Westchester Library System two years in a row and I recently completed the work required to bring this document to life. Along the way I've met many caring librarians and support personnel and a lot of interesting patrons who make libraries the vital community places that they are. But my personal favorite was covering "The Battle of the Books"-an event which involved teams of school aged kids who spent weeks reading and studying the titles selected for this lively contest. And the joy on the faces of the students who won- priceless!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Feathering the Nest

The end of daylight savings inspires a bittersweet Sunday- knowing that the glow of the afternoon will fade to dark by 5 p.m. It's a not so gentle reminder that winter and frigid temperatures await us as I cast a critical eye at what needs repairing before we find ourselves burrowing in to stuffed chairs, with books, papers, digital devices and daydreams constituting the weekend activities of choice.

I've been resisting tag sales with the goal of simplifying rather than accumulating but during our daughter's quick visit home from college she wanted to visit our favorite local Goodwill, so with a few hours to kill we happily sifted through piles and examined the racks of offerings. Among the assorted treasures I found this vibrant silk tie whose quirky pattern I could not resist.

And my husband was only too quick to tell me when I showed it to him- "Well, I'm not wearing that!"
What a surprise!! (Not.)

Friday, October 31, 2014

According to Yahoo...

...we live in one of America's best places for  Halloween. Wishing you all a few tricks and a few treats wherever tonight finds you. (We'll be home watching horror movies and answering the door- in case you were wondering...)

and thanks to our neighbor C. Gibson for his very inspired holiday decor!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

An Aerial Raven in Sleepy Hollow

Hilary Sweeney, the director of Westchester Circus Arts Center is staging a very sensual version of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven in a performance tent that's been installed on Horan's Landing in Sleepy Hollow for this weekend. It's a welcomed addition to the Halloween madness we call our village during October and an engaging twist to the many spooky events on this month's calendar. (and thanks to my fellow trustee Karin Wompa, our village administrator Anthony Giaccio and Lynne Ward and Joe Cotter of National Resources for their support of events that benefit the entire community..)