Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Season Begins

Memorial Day weekend finds our resident teenagers attaining new heights of chilldom as their parents stay in motion doing maintenance (and trying not to butt heads with said lazy progeny). Chores completed (our lawn looks like a putting green and seeds planted in freshly turned beds) James and I headed down to our local beach club on its opening weekend. We arrived to a scene out of spring break with every member ( with relatives and or guests in tow) milling about, cups in hand, kids tearing around and a few hardy enthusiasts taking a dip in the river under the watchful eye of the lifeguard.  We bumped in to various friends (took a portrait to commemorate the day) until we found a quiet spot to sit and sip our beers and drink in the sunset. 


(Hopefully, the excitement will wear off soon and it will be returned to the laid back spot along the Hudson that we have grown to love and appreciate for its .....tranquility!)

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Glow

The property is alive in blooms as each day another flower, shrub or tree unfurls in a newly minted shade of spring. Twilight deepens their hues in mysterious ways that enchant the eye, soothe my soul and beg to be photographed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

First Cousins

We had a very nice family gathering here last night- my husband's nephew Justin graduated from Pace University yesterday and after the whirl of commencement events, he and his 2 brothers , Austin and Rex, and parents made there way here for a celebratory dinner. I always enjoy seeing Kenneth and Gayle, my brother and sister-in-law, but in some ways the best part is seeing Jacob with his first cousins. On my side of the family, there are many girls among my brothers' offspring, and with two daughters of my own,  Nora and Sarah have known the pleasures and perils of having a sister (and female first cousins). But Jacob, as our only boy and the youngest,  hasn't had much contact with his male relatives who are close in age. There is definitely a physical resemblance between him and his handsome kin, and it's nice to see him connect, enjoy and relax in their company.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Why I care (about what I care about)

Sometimes with the constant talk of real estate that goes on around these parts I have to wonder if in a past life I was a real estate agent and cultivated home owners for their listing while measuring their rooms to establish square footage. But when presented with my property, well lit and on a stunning spring day, instead of examining all the angles from which to best capture the essence of our home, I find myself examining the violas craning their faces toward the light in a tender jumble of happenstance.
I used to think the goal was to examine the particular through the universal, but at heart I am fixed on examining the universal through the particular. Maybe long ago I was an investigator and so asking questions in hopes of finding answers explains it all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Still Life Sunday

I spent a good part of the day working on some photographs for a website currently under construction for the wonderful jewelry store Shaylula located on Main Street in Tarrytown which is owned by the very talented retailer Colleen Goude. I forget sometimes how much fun it is to shoot beautiful objects "that never talk back" and (mostly) take all the direction I give them-  placement is everything!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The President Lands in Sleepy Hollow

There were a lot of excited people who gathered in numbers at the top of the main thoroughfare of our village today anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Commander in Chief. President Obama made a rare visit to our area to deliver a speech against the backdrop of the Tappan Zee Bridge at a picturesque spot  by the river in Tarrytown. Sleepy Hollow had an empty space ample enough for his security and the landing of the many helicopters that travel as part of the President's entourage. Mostly we saw a lot of official vehicles and personnel and snipers poised to protect, but there were no sightings of him. Still, knowing he was in a helicopter that flew overhead and that he was landing on our turf made everyone there feel a rush of importance. Maybe someday I will catch a glimpse of the man himself- or even be treated to the sight of his hand, raised in a greeting of hello.

3 A.M.

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and find myself turning things restlessly over in mind. Seeking comfort in the things that anchor us all I search for peace when I can find it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Garden Love (and why)

I want to go on the record that I am a loving parent. I would never wish that I hadn't become a mother to my three (at least not lately). It's not all rainbows and unicorns as anyone dedicated to any endeavor will easily share. But I think all in all, for me, having kids has been a worthwhile pursuit (especially if you have the means to feed them, educate them, clothe them and shelter them from harm and have the emotional stamina to endure the often repetitive and maddening nuttiness of tending to their needs). If you don't have kids, then you probably either wanted them and couldn't or never felt the urge, and whatever events that transpired, it's all good to me. A woman is certainly more complicated than her ability to reproduce, and face it, parenthood is not for everyone.

So, I am in the later chapters in this journey of raising kids. Two of them are driving, one is almost done with college. It's not about making sure they drink their milk, or do their homework (although I can inquire- usually without ever ascertaining the exact truth) and many times when they leave the house it's not really clear what they are up to when they walk out the door. So, I am freer all the time to work, to contribute to the family's bottom line and pursue my destiny, sans folding tiny clothes and making sure they still fit in to their shoes.

Yet  I love a lot of things about home life, especially the garden and all the events that transpire out of doors. Watching flowers unfold and bloom is its own kind of magic. And while my children's changing bodies and faces are a mystery as well, observing them, except in very discreet ways is completely off limits. So, I embrace the garden. The flowers that "pose" at all times of day and share their beauty without complaining- something I appreciate more and more, knowing how fleeting life can be.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The things we liked in common (for Mom)

Leanne Shapton published a touching piece in the NYTimes today where she asked a group of women to talk about something they wear that used to be their mother’s. The article featured photos of the items and a short narrative text in each woman's words. 

The article made me remember a wonderful purse that I found years ago at a local thrift store and bought on the spot. Returning to my folks' house, I showed it proudly to my mother. She gave it a quick look and remarked dryly, "That's a bag I just donated to that shop. You know you bought something that was once mine." 
Yet she was secretly pleased that even in the context of anonymity, I was eager to own something that had once been her's.  She and I could clash on matters large and small, but in matters of taste, I am definitely my mother's daughter.

What this Mom wants

This time of year the media is overrun with nifty ideas of what to buy mom, or where to take her and whatever you do, don't forget to do this!  But really, what do most moms want on Mother's Day? I'd venture to say not another bauble, or overpriced meal, or flowers guaranteed to fade. I'd like to think that your typical mom wants to feel appreciated, cared for and loved. None of which requires anything greater than paying attention, showing affection, taking the time to help with life's many mundane obligations and sharing simple pleasures. 

Just like all the other days of the year when you think about it.

Friday, May 9, 2014

For Moms (with frosting)

A visit to The Artist Baker often means finding some special offerings for her devoted patrons to buy and the weekend before Mother's Day promised some delectable treats. And there in her pastry case I spotted cakes finished in buttercream ruffles of spring pastels. A perfect surprise for those among us who mother at home, at work or at large and guaranteed to be savored and enjoyed.

Reuben (R.I.P.)

I found myself online long past midnight when an email appeared in my inbox from one of my brothers. He sent a link from my hometown paper of an obituary for Reuben Silver, a longtime friend of my parents who died yesterday. Reuben was a lifelong consummate theatre professional whose enormous talent for the dramatic arts was surpassed only by the love for his wife Dorothy and their three sons. Growing up, the Silver's lived down the street from us- mere houses away- and they were fixtures of my childhood.  My parents took us to countless plays in which Reuben and Dorothy either acted or were the director and their artistry made a huge impression on me. His voice carried a unique authority and he radiated an intensity when he appeared onstage. During my teen years, I sometimes babysat their three boys, and alone in their house, surrounded by the many books, scripts and artifacts of their busy lives I was transfixed. I remember how impressed I was that their house was often less than neat and yet they seemed happy and engaged. My mother once told me of her admiration for Dorothy who could ignore her domestic chaos and focus on her art, something my mother was unable to do, but I digress.

As a younger man, Reuben was a creature of huge appetites. My mother used to tell me to "Hide the corned beef!" when they came over as Reuben ate with a relish and gusto I rarely saw my parents display. Always when he greeted me, his eyes twinkled with a delight that warmed me to my core and made me smile.

The world is a lesser place without him in it and my heart goes out to his family as I know how much they loved and will miss him.  And I, whose life has taken me 500 miles to the east, mourn him profoundly. He was a very special individual whose time here improved us all and a rare man among men.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don't Remind Me

I know you have to de-emphasize the fun factor. The caring factor. The "let's chip in and get it all done as a team" factor. No, I'd be disingenuous if I didn't acknowledge that I am living the dream. (Well, depending on whose dreaming.) A talented, caring able bodied husband and three healthy offspring- a respectable house with real estate taxes that we can mostly afford. I aspire to find as many occasions as possible to appreciate all that is good until I am snapped back in to the reality of kids who could live in utter chaos and like it, while constantly be reminded of how conventional I am. Oh, good times!  Once upon a time, well, a while back, they were great company. For now, I can only hope and pray that one day they will be that again. Amen.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

20,000+ (bulbs in bloom!)

I periodically receive news from the Untermeyer Gardens Conservancy in Yonkers and when I learned that the 20,000+  bulbs which were planted last fall were in full bloom I had to make my way there to see this beautiful spectacle for myself. 

Each year, under the loving care of its staff and supporters, the garden continues to be transformed anew to the stunning place it once was when Samuel Untermeyer created this incredible spot along the river.  A true jewel along the Hudson!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Derby in the Hollow

In hatted finery we joined our neighbors at a local watering hole to drink mint juleps and watch the annual running of the Kentucky Derby. Inspiration was on display along with some bright colors- so nice to be outside at long last.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lunching and observing


The sun finally came out during a friend's literary gathering in Ridgefield, Ct. 

En route home I stopped to admire an old house with a new cladding which gave it a quirky gift-wrapped effect. 

Everywhere trees are budding in myriad shades of green. Maybe spring has finally arrived in the neighborhood......