Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Back Road Blues....and Pinks....

Back road blues.

(I take a long breath here...and sip on my raspberry martini---much deserved after such an arduous day)

Start of day: it is a bit above freezing, and I am driving along the creek. The fog is rolling off the snow. The late February sun is attempting to shove it's rays through the dense fog, and the snow seems to be going backwards into the sky from where it fell. Surreal.

Shit. No camera. Never, never, leave home without it.

Fast forward 10 hours later. I am driving along the Hudson and the sun is setting. The mountains in the background are pink and the snow on the river glows save for the one dark channel up the middle used by the barges. I am driving up steep driveways on ice and snow and enjoying the skittery playfulness I have with my 4-wheel drive. As I laugh, I have a flash back-1977, doing donuts in some mall's parking lot, bouncing off snow banks and laughing hysterically with friends.

20+ miles later I am heading home from dropping Alanna off to Megan's new temporary home, and I find myself on roads I traveled when I was 19. It was the year of leaving home, my father dying, falling in love, going to Europe, first year of college, and, my first apartment.

I don't know how I got home at times in those back roads. I remember some pretty wild rides home, in fog, in A fog....and some things that I would rather not remember.

I drove past the house where I lived with a friend of my ex's for a while. Peter was very eccentric, and recently was found dead in the house...probably for several weeks. I remember driving by....saddened by his death and by the life my ex chose to lead while leaving two children in the dust.

I shuddered as that was a very wild and intense time of my life. So much discovery, and so much pain.

I headed home on those old familiar roads, John Lennon singing in the background. I smile and think about the evening I will have with myself. A martini, a bath. A long sigh.

Love is touch,
touch is love,
love is reaching,
reaching love.
Love is asking,
to be loved.
Love is you,
you and me.
Love is knowing,
we can be.
Love is free.
Free is love.
Love is living,
living love.
Love is needing,
to be loved.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I am what I am.....


Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep living this day like the next will never come..

Words from Fiona Apple.

One of my favorite Victorian cards says "by the grace of God, I am what I am". (I like saying this with a southern accent..) It hangs on my wall over where I work in the studio. I know it does not excuse bad behavior, but it validates my individuality and the freedom and spirit with which I live my life. I really TRY not to do things that will get me in trouble, nor would I intentionally hurt anyone. That is not to say that in my younger, less mature days, that I did some things that I am not proud of. Some hearts got broken and I was like a dust devil, leaving a mess in my wake, but in general I am a kind and loving person who has a wild side to me that I never want to completely let go. I also know that if I ever ran into any of these people, I would humbly apologize.

Sometimes I think...if people ever knew...and I smile to myself.

I do walk the edge at times, like a tightrope, carefully maintaining my balance. Honestly, it's ok. I would not have it any other way. I like the rush, I like the intensity. It fuels my creativity and imagination. I don't know if Larry is quite in agreement with all of this since he has to live with me, but heck, he knew what he was getting into. (didn't you?) I think I counterbalance the crazyness with responsibility and give him many things that he might not get from a more sane mate.

With all that is going on in my life, sick relatives, a sick daughter, and being in the thick of middle age, ( I just deleted that I was approaching it..for heaven's sake woman, you are almost 50!!!!!) I HAVE TO LIVE EACH DAY WITH GUSTO and when I sleep at night, I know that I could not have lived it any better. I show love as much as I can, and have deep gratitude for all that I have.

I hope I am a good role model for my students and for my children, especially Megan who knows how precious life is. We have two choices, either to be joyful and celebrate life, or be angry and sad. Research has confirmed that the former is healthier, and besides, the latter creates more wrinkles. And, if any of you have watched the movie THE SECRET, it attracts more joy and love, and you know, I really like that. (the law of attraction, ah, that is for another blog)

So live life to it's fullest, rejoice in your individuality, love, and laugh. It's the only way.

p.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Love Song


"In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair"

That is a small portion of verse from T.S. Elliot's infamous Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a sad poem of despair, a solitary lonely man's failure to be able to reach out for and embrace love.

The title of this mixed media work is indeed LOVE SONG, and the text is included at the bottom of the piece, but since you cannot read it, I cropped it for here. It is a bizarre piece, features antique prints, an antique image of a sculpture by Michelangelo, an audience in the wings...static, distant from the figures in the foreground. The figures are dogs dressed as women. I don't even know why I chose that piece for tonight. Perhaps it is because I have been sick for days, and after last night's speech (which was most difficult for me to give) and being stuck inside the house all weekend for the most part made me feel rather morose. And, besides, who wants to give lovin' to a sick girl?

The little ray of sunshine today was my cousin stopping by and calling me from my fave restaurant wanting to know what I wanted for lunch. He came over with sushi and sashimi, and we had a lovely time and it was a good diversion from the day. THANKS JIM!!!!

I have so much to say, but no energy, so I am calling it quits.

I still however, have the images of the past few nights of dreams on my mind. I have been traveling in small boats, upon streams that range from smooth to dangerous white waters and waterfalls. The boat symbolizes our travels in life, and water is a universal symbol for emotions. So I am traveling in both smooth and rough areas in my life...no surprise there. The interesting part of the dream was that I was in control of the boat...and Larry was trying to pile stuff in the boat and I was throwing it out. Very very interesting. What a reflection on my subconsious!

Well off to bed early. I need to be able to teach tomorrow. I barely have energy to walk upstairs!!!!! To healing! Patti

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Speaking Out

I just got back from another one of my more intense afternoons in history. I spoke at a benefit for the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) where the movie The Ground Truth was shown. A month ago our art community hosted a similar benefit, showing the movie and both the IVAW and Megan split the proceeds.

Tonight's fund raiser was a bit different. The event was mainly for the IVAW,with a donation jar for Megan,(and oh how generous people were!) and I had been invited to speak. As I mentioned in last night's blog, I have never been quiet about my political views, but out of respect for Megan (as she was there with me at the other events, which were for her) I never publically spoken.

Tonight was different. She was not there. The focus of this afternoon's speech was not political; however, it is did not take a genius to sense my stance. Sometimes silence in itself makes a statement (as lectured to me by Larry on the way there). I spoke from my heart, from a mother who watched her 19 year old daughter go off to war, who saw through the smokes screens of insinuations and lies, and for over a year feared for her daughter's life. The rest is just history, and Megan is amoung the thousands who have come back from war damaged. Some have missing limbs and are easily spotted, others have emotional scars and diseases that eat from the inside out. And most of them are NOT being taken care of by our government.

What startled me most today (while researching and writing my speech) was a site that had the unedited version of the PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT ON
GULF WAR VETERANS' ILLNESSES from 2007, and I discovered that a 23 yr. old Veteran from the first Gulf War died of a similar sarcoma. He was a tank mechanic. Megan was also a mechanic. Coincidence? Read on.

At the benefit, Demond Mullins, (he is in the Ground Truth documentary) member of the IVAW, asked me if Megan had to tow and fix blown up humvees. "Yes", I answered, "in fact the day GW went over there on Thanksgiving Day, Megan and a select few others were sent out on a mission to recover destroyed Humvees...." It was a job she did almost every day. Demond reminded me that those very vehicles were covered in DU (Depleted Uranium), and it was breathed, consumed, and absorbed into the body. He also told me about rectal cancer being a problem for some of the soldiers he knew. The new tumor Megan has is in the rectal area. Easy enough to figure out how it gets into the body. Soldiers have to eat, drink, breathe and shit. Not rocket science.

The audience was silent while I talked. A few times I got sighs of sorrow and empathy. At the end a few friends of mine who did not know what was going on started crying. I had no agenda other than to be real. I sent a healthy child, yes child, off to war; she came home damaged goods. All of these veterans are damaged goods, and they are being deserted and cheated by the very government that made them all kinds of promises.

I am sure that there are diverse views by all of you who read this blog. Whatever your view is, you should see the movie THE GROUND TRUTH. Then imagine it being your child, or your husband, or your lover, or your best friend.

In peace and in black, Patti

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Deja Vu: To Julie

I am definately sick, and my ass is being kicked by my body. Slow down. Sleep. Don't move much. Heal.

I have no choice but to listen. I have paid the price of ignoring such signs.

My treat of the day was taking myself to get a bagel and a coffee in the late morning and sit in quietude for a bit, going to the bank, and then sat pretty much in one room all day working on my computer, (it needs some major tune-up work before my computer guy comes over...its like cleaning the house before the house cleaner comes....)I worked on taxes. I started writing my speech for tomorrow's benefit for the IVAW...Iraq Veterans Against the War, who help out returning vets.

I have not publically spoken yet, though my views about the war and the govenment are no secret to those who know me. My political activist and PR friend Jay gave my name to the head of the Women in Black chapter in New Paltz. She called and invited me to talk about being the mother of a veteran.

One of my dearest friends Julie who lives in Raleigh called me. I lived with her when I escaped husband number one (danger Will Robinson, danger!) and when almost husband #2 fell out of love with me , I once again left my home and moved into her house. She provided a safe haven for me and my children which helped me to rebuild my life, heal, and her friendship gave me strength. Plus we had some pretty fun times, and still do.

She offered her mother's house for Megan to live in. Her mom passed away last summerand the house is for sale, is vacant, and Julie thought it would be good to have it lived in and taken care of till there is a buyer. It is a sweet little house, set back in the woods in the country, about 20 minutes from my house.
That will take some of the pressure off her bills, and enable her to live quietly and comfortably while she heals during treatments. And also I hope it helps out Julie some too.

Megan's apartment is horrid.. Alanna has not been able to sleep in her room due to a ceiling leak which has bowed the ceiling, making it dangerous to sleep under. Yesterday there was no heat. Often there is little water pressure OR hot water to shower with, and baths are impossible. The driveway is steep and full of potholes. The refrigerator leaks. The downstairs tenents are crazy. Once they came up to Megan's apartment and strangled her because Alanna was jumping upstairs.

Megan so needs some good luck. I hope this works out for everyone.

I smiled with the memories of the kindness and love that Julie gave us, and here it is back again. I am constantly amazed at the workings of life, fate, the universe, God, whatever you want to call it. Julie, you have got lots of brownie points for the next life with all that you have given. I love you and I hope you read this.

Art: digital. Tough to illustrate a deja-vu. Patti

Friday, February 23, 2007

Apples to Apples


I am in a real funk tonight. I have been keeping it very together under great duress for weeks now, and the other day I started crumbling; a few minor bits and pieces altering the smooth fascade.

It started when my family doctor of many years saw me in her office for a routing BP check, and asked about Megan, whom she had treated for 20+ years. I told her in medical terms, keeping it cool and factual, but when she asked how Will was, a switch was flipped and tears rolled down my face.

In all the illnesses and heartache I have had in my life I had never cried in front of my doctor. But I am not the old me anymore, and I felt and acknowleged the sadness and grief I have been holding in for weeks.

Lynne has alwasy been a wonderful doctor, and she holds a dear place in my heart. She shoots straight, has empathy, and is a wonderful gift to her patients. I have so much respect and I honor her.........and I need to tell her that.

I went home and cried. I needed to do that. But a friend was coming to pick me up, so I shook it off and made the best of the evening.

Tonight I had another small meltdown. A few drinks with a friend who told me a story about a Christmas shopping with her family, and about how her son and her husband met Megan and they were both visibly struck by her beauty.

It is a double edged sword. My heart aches, and I mean physically aches, for my daughter whose beauty is tainted by the horrors of war, and a pernicious disease. In my raw state I saw my own mortality, seeing my spirit in her beautiful face, and seeing myself so many years ago..and I empathize and ache for her even more, and feel sorry for myself in some sappy way.....struggling with aging in all it's elements as I near 50...

We are so alike, the both of us, and sometimes it is hard to see myself in her because I know and feel the pain and the darkness with her, and have been on and still am on the search for love and validation.

I cannot help her; she needs to find her own path, just like myself. The path has been clouded by the reality of mortality at times, yet also been radiant with the joy of healing and love.

I am not feeling well tonight. My throat hurts, I am tired. I think my body is saying to "love thyself" and rest. I have learned how to listen to that little voice and say no to everything else.

I am going to cross post this to the Meganaid blog. It seems appropriate. I did post this picture of her the other night...

In quietude, Patti


.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Antics

My day started off with someone sending me an email full of philosophical musings. The one that struck me most was "the most powerful sex organ of the body is the brain".

It made me smirk because my friend and I were having a discussion along those lines over Sushi and Saki last night. We joked that as we have aged, sex existed mostly in our head---and our head was FULL of it. At times I feel like a teenager.

Am I regressing, is it hormones, or mid life crisis I mused? Does it have to be called a CRISIS, isn't it one immense power surge before our bodies FORCE us to slow down?

After watching the movie Venus, with Peter O'Toole, I realized for some, desire and sexuality never die and can be awakened at any stage in life.

But think about it...the brain. That complex mass of nerve pathways and tunnels and transmissions that fire from the constant imput of the senses. Then throw in chemistry and all the messages plowing through our body that are hard wired into our mechanism; reproduction, survivial, pleasure.

I thought about the movie What the Bleep do we Know , and flashed back to the animation of how the brain works. I sometimes wonder what mine looks like, as my mind drifts from place to place, scenario to scenario, making hundreds of choices during any given hour. Senses honed, observant, always processing and creating in one form or another.

Larry once came into the room where I type this and looked at me rather oddly and told me I was so rare because I was functioned full speed from both sides of my brain and he called me a genius. I looked at him like he was nuts, and proceeded to mumble that if I were INDEED a genius, I would not be working so much for so little. And where IS that million dollars??????

In parting, a great line from Talking Heads that just popped into my head:
And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? ...am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god!...what have I done?


(a playful art piece for tonight. I found it while going through my piles in the studio - it is a piece that surfaces on my desk from time to time, perfect for tonights ramblings.....)

patti

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This Finger's For....

I am not sure who this finger should be directed to...AOL or Roadrunner. I have roadrunner and AOL...and I just wrote this intelligent, honest blog....and just as I was about to end it, I heard GOODBYE and POOF, there were my words heaved into cybespace never to be found again.

I am pissed. I have such little time, and I make such an effort to write meaningfully and honestly and BOOM.

And, after having this happen several times now, you think I would save my work every few minutes just in case shit like this happens.

But it forced me to examine Jay's great words of wisdom tonight about writing. He told me to write freely, to write honestly, to write as if no one is reading. There I will find my voice and there will I be honest and truthful. So the universe took all of my carefully written thoughts and threw them into the cyber pit and said, well THERE YOU GO PATTI, put THIS in your pipe and smoke it! Didn't you hear what he was saying?

So goodbye to my 45 minute narrative and hello to brevity and dashing off something under time constraints because I am tired and pissy and over it.

I made this card years ago and kept it. I always thought I would use it as a break up card for some man who trampled my heart. Not only is her middle finger raised, but she is forming what I have called the "asshole" symbol. So AOL/Roadrunner Empire, little did I know that this card was sitting around for this moment, when I care enough to send the very best.

P.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Museday



Museday....those mornings when I go back to work after a holiday and no matter what day of the week it is, it is still monday....and while sitting on the toilet or taking a shower, I muse as to why the hell I have to work in the first place, how there are so many millionaires in the world and I don't understand why can't one of them be me.....and why can't I just make art and write all the time AND be a millionaire.

But for now I like the steady salary I am making after 15 years of teaching, and I muse myself right into my car and head to work.

Every tuesday is a museday as Megan goes for more chemo and radiation, or has more tests, and I think about her fate, her daughter's, my own fate, and how impermanent and fleeting everything is. I find myself frantic, trying to make every moment count in case tomorrow it has slipped away, morphed into a nebulous memory that drifts though the mind like a fog. I attempt to hold onto every experience, but it moves too fast and indeed all is in the moment.

So in the moment I make art, in the moment I write. In the moment I find someone to hold onto in case I lose strength, in the moment I seek love and wisdom to give me sight. In the moment I give my spirit and heart to anyone who will hold it sacred.

Namaste, Patti

Self Reflection: digital

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Innocence of Childhood


Alanna reminds me of my childhood, what it is be to a child full of discovery and innocence, and how to remember and keep it in my life.

This morning the sun was streaming in beams through the side window, and you could see the dust floating around in the light. Alanna saw this and darted about the sun beams to catch the dust. She would then run to me and hand me her "butterflies". I watched her dance and she looked like a little angel, her back lit blond hair a halo of light.

When tired of the game, she pulled out her blocks to build robots and gates (she loves gates......) and drew pictures and cats and other creatures on her easel. When I gave her water and a paintbrush she proceeded to paint over her drawings, as well as her toys, the toybox.......till the water ran out. Everything was new, everything a discovery.

Then I remembered running kites up and down the block, knowing that if I wished hard enough, my home made kite would get as high as the store bought ones.

I remembered closing my eyes and being able to see brilliant spots of colors dance before my eyes.

I remembered cracking rocks open to see the structure inside, always hoping for some really cool crystal.

I believed in fairies and Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny was a dud.

I felt the excitement and heard the roar of the rides at Adventureland.

And fairy tales where the windows looked like sheets of gold, from the reflection of the sun.

Then somewhere on the journey.....

Princes on white horses turned into men in black leather.

Romps in the playground turned into romps around the world.

My Rollfast turned into a Toyota.

Wishing upon a star is still wishing upon a star.

And dust is still magic floating on invisible currents



Art: Reflections at Olana

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My love affair with the mountains

I can't imagine living anywhere but here. I might go away for a month or two when I can no longer take the long winter, or my joints ache too much with the cold, but I know my roots are deep within the shale and dirt of the Catskills.

Though I am not a native (I moved from Long Island in '69 when I was 12) I consider myself pretty darn close as I had been coming up to the mountains since I was a baby. My grandfather had bought a little cabin which used to be a gas station after the depression, and an acre of land which bordered the Esopus Creek.

After my grandfather died when I was very young, my grandmother had a stroke. Though she could have learned to walk, her heart was broken, and she lost her will to walk and "live". My aunts would bring her up with my grandmother's two sisters, and they who would spend the summer in the little cabin, away from the heat and chaos of Queens. Being the oldest of all the grandchildren, I would get to stay in the cabin with them for periods of time. Ah those were heavenly memories, as I was nurtured, loved, and protected, a far cry from my own family life.

I remember many a day and evening on that porch, rocking, reading, crocheting, meditating on the "lone pine tree", a tree that stood at the edge of a ridge and looked like a cartoon character. I watched the kayakers come down the stream battling the white water in the spring races, caught fire flies in jars at night, played marathon croquet and badmitten games, ate concord grapes while catching snow flakes in my mouth in early October, fished in the creek, lay in the grass and breathed deeply of the earth.

When I moved upstate in my early teen years, I would hike deep into the woods, sit under a tree that was MY tree along an ancient stone wall, and write poetry and sketch. My first kiss was deep in the woods, as I got older I would hike along the railroad tracks picking blackberries then ride to my friends house on my bike to ride her horse, or gather with friends to party up on a trail.

Once I got married, had kids, then divorced shortly thereafter, I lost touch with the mountains and all they had meant to me for a very long time. My life was buried in working, being a mother, going to school and just trying to survive.

As my children got older, and relied less on me, I returned to the mountains where I again fell in love with their ever changing colors and shadows, intoxicated with the cool deep pungent scent of old conifers, the crisp autumn leaves on the ground, or tender green mosses. I returned to my painting, and took up a new interest under the tuteledge of a friend...hunting morels. (mushrooms).

In my fantasy world I am both a wood sprite and an eagle, untethered and free to soar above the earth. I wish for a cabin in the woods, one of my very own, where I escape to for solitude, healing, and art. Perhaps someday I will have that. In the meantime I painted my colonial revival cedar shake home a barn red, trimmed with earth colors of gold, green, and burnt orange. The informal cottage gardens caress the sides of my paths and house. Sculptures are scattered through the trees and gardens, and my studio overlooks it all. Though I live in the city just a hop from the mountains, I have made it my own mountain retreat in the valley.

This is a photo of the side of Olana looking towards the Hudson. I am in love with the blues of the sky and mountains and cold cold snow in the shadow. Next time there I will bring my toboggan!

May you too be touched by the magic of nature, Patti

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Three Amigas

OH WHAT A DAY. A glorious, fun, sensual, loving, adventurous, hedinous day.

Carol and I started the day with lunch at G's. We had such interesting conversation that the two women next to us stopped theirs and evesdropped the entire time. We talked about passion, about being middle aged but not middle of the road (!!!), what we want out of life and men, and the piece-de-resistance of the conversation was about food and sex. I of course, was totally involved in the conversation and had no idea anyone else had the slightest interest in what we were saying.

Fueled by our conversations, we met Fran and then headed north. We were set on terrorizing at least three counties.

We hit Olana first, the house of Hudson River Painter Frederick Church. It was a beautiful, crisp, cold day in the Catskill Mountains. We hiked up to the house from the lot, the trails of deer, snowshoes, and sledders dotting the landscape. The sky was a brilliant blue, the colors of Church's Italian/Moorish house brilliant in contrast against the sky. I took many photos which will be peppered in my blogs over the next week or so, and basked in the sunshine, the view of the Hudson River and the valley from our vista. The house was not open, so I knew I would be back again in the spring. It is a place of magic.

We hit Tivoli and tried to find a bar to have a glass of wine. We went all through town, from Santa Fe, to Madeline's and even to the Black Swan, but no one was open till 5 PM. I even knocked on Madeline's window as I saw them setting the tables. "Is the bar open" I queeried with a sad look upon my face? An equally sad nod told me to move on to another county - to Rhinebeck.

In Rhinebeck there were people. Terrapin was open for wine, gimlets and exotic calimari and such. After Terrapin - my house for snacks and more, then to Rosendale for movies. We saw Venus. WOW. What a strange, inspiring, sad, and comic movie, with an amazing performance by Peter O'Toole. A poignant commentary on ageing, purpose, love, and death. O'Toole makes perhaps his grand finale and examines his own mortality in this film and his last foray with lust and love, which transcends all ages, and makes us look hard at things which makes us uncomfortable.

I sit here, close my eyes for a moment, and am grateful for friends. The tears and laughter,the adventure and the support. Today I was blessed with the earth, sky, and the friendship of two very good friends.

And God, she said it was good.
patti

(photograph of Olana)

Brief friday musing..


It is late, and my post will be short and sweet. I know, unusual for me. But I could not go to bed without some sort of closure on the day before I get ready to dream.

I had a wonderful day, and what parts of it that were not good are readily tucked away somewhere safe. The day was light as many kids stayed home. After school I went out to celebrate Megan's 23rd birthday- we went out to dinner. There we ran into two very good friends of mine---who know me from my OTHER life time LOL, (one of which whose boat I commandeered to chase a date of mine around on the Hudson...) so we all ate together at one of our favorite spots. After dinner, the kids (are they still kids at 23? will I call them kids at 43?) wanted to see Ghost Rider. Not my favorite genre of movie, but I did enjoy the special effects and it was a joy to be there with her and her friends. Who the hell cared WHAT was playing.

The strangest part of the evening was an accident we witnessed in the parking lot where someone drove their car into the van of a woman who was waiting for her kids to come out of the theater. I won't get into it, but it was surreal.

My friend from Cape Cod is staying with me so for the next few days there will be adventures and lots of conversation and fun. I have not seen her in over six months, and we have so much to catch up on. Another friend from out of town is also going to join us and I suspect the Hudson Valley is going to be terrorized for a bit......Unfortuantely my cats did not appreciate her bringing the scent of her cat/s into the house, so ONE of the monsters just peed on her coat. MAN THEY NEVER DO THAT!!! Groan. How awful is that.

Hope you are all well and happy on this cold night. Patti

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Gift from the Universe

I was BLESSED with the gift of another snow day, and to boot, I had no one at home with me!!!! I stayed in bed till 9:15 reading The Kite Runner and sipping my coffee that Larry so graciously brought up to me so that I did not have to go downstairs. I spent an hour and a half reading, which is a pleasure I have long forgotten.

The day flew, doing sundry chores such as picking up dry cleaning, doing laundry, some abominable house cleaning, but then treated myself to a massage, a healing with my chiropractor, and lunch with a great friend. I cancelled my German class as I knew I had to be home alone tonight, doing whatever I wanted without anyone watching or caring. I am sipping some wine while still doing chores, but that and checking my emails and doing a little dance or two help break of the monotony of every day life. And sometimes I LIKE the monotony of every day life, especially since my life is so.....active.

Though it was very cold out, I did not seem to mind the wind or the chill; I was thrilled to be alone and a free spirit, even if only for a day.

Tonight's art is an oil painting I did in my friend Rob's studio under his tutaledge. It reminds me of stormy summers on the ocean. I have not been to the ocean since my Mexico trip in August; I am hoping that I make it someplace warm this Easter break. The only thing that could have made today better would have been a brief spell of sun and heat.

Anyone have a sun lamp?

Patti

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow Day Delights

The universe was kind to us today and gave us a gift of a snow day. I have been going at such a breakneck speed, that this forced me to slow down and take time to do some of the things that I have been ignoring for a while. Having Alanna for the past two days has REALLY s l o w e d me down too.

Megan called at 8 am and asked if she could spend the day here. I was delighted, and Dole dropped her off on the way to work. I got to spend the day feeding and nurturing her, and the organic pancakes and chicken soup I made actually stayed in her stomach all day. We made a fire, drank hot cocoa, Dole came by after work and got Megan and Alanna out in the snow for a while. She glowed with happiness and love and said "I have spent the day with the people I most love in the world". Her boyfriend Dole is a loving, kind, gentle man, who has been taking care of Megan and Alanna for several months now. He is supposed to go to Iraq sometime this year and I hope that some miracle happens, and he does not have to go. Megan is going to need him through this and he gives her strength and purpose to keep on fighting the cancer. I have no doubt that her stay in Iraq has made her ill in many ways and enough is enough.

I was not sad today, and I felt fulfilled as a mother. Larry and I have not spent any romantic time together, save for the exchanging of our Valentine gifts. But the evening is not over, if I can find out where he is hiding. Larry, of course, thinks every event is Christmas and gave me such lovely things to drink, wear, and listen to. The piece-de-resistance was the dark chocolate bar with a monkey on it, and the raspberry liquor. Oh, and Love's Illusion, 13th century songs performed by Anonymous 4, is quite inspirational. I will bring that into my art history class tomorrow!

The fire is still burning, I keep getting up from writing to stand in front of its warmth, and become mesmerized and lost in the dancing of the flames. I pull myself away, refocus and write for a while before the fire calls again.

So here I sit on the feast of St. Valentine, basking in warmth,love, and a surprising degree of peace in my heart.

May you be touched with love and peace today too... Patti

The photo: of my scarecrow whose clothes have faded over the year or two that he has graced my yard. Today he looked like a spector, a spirit of the winter and of the wind.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Joy of Flowers

Today was a long day fraught with stress and sadness for me. Megan went for her treatments, the colonoscopy, and was confirmed to have another tumor, the results being forwarded immediately to Sloan Kettering.

While experiencing this via phone calls, I had to face 7 classes of teens, abuzz with the talk of the storm, and Valentine's Day. The seniors raise money by making cards and selling flowers, and today was delivery day as the impending snowday was threatening to botch things up.

We worked for a good month designing, producing, and then finally delivering them to students and faculty. This year I sent a card and a flower to quite a few to both my peers and my students in appreciation of their kindness and beauty of spirit, and a select few got a fabulous CD I had made. For perhaps the first time I felt the real spirit of love and showing one's appreciation for such a precious gift.

The upbeat energy of students who got flowers was wonderful. They liked the cards and the candy, but it is the beauty and symbol of the flower that they held onto. Someone had said they cared.

Later on, I got a delivery of orchids from Larry. Throaty rich magenta, so perfect that they looked artificial.

How could I be sad? Laughter, pride, kisses and thank yous in a sea of perky pink and passion red. Oh, and let's not forget the chocolate.

After work I took my carnations over to Megan. I have Valentine gifts for her, but wanted to give her the joy of flowers. She got off the couch and found a beer glass vase to proudly display them.

At home I played with Alanna and made a lovely dinner. She was mesmorized by the orchids so I had to give her one small little piece. She smiled radiantly, and, to tell you the truth, so did I.

Patti

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Pit in My Throat

I have been hard to get in touch with these days...been running wild, probably because something told me to run and play while 1) my hormones are fairly stable and 2) I had some freedom from responsibility.

I think this weeks debauchary (well, not true debauchery in the sense of the word, but it is such a good word) is a symptom of my life; totally out of control. I had fun, so I guess that is all that counts these days.

H O W E V E R I feel it all coming to a screeching halt as once again our worlds are spinning out of control and being altered as I type.

Megan is really sick. She passed out last night from pain and fell flat on her face, put her teeth through her lip, etc. She called the doc who does not want her alone. The chemo is toxifying her brain they said, and she is in bad pain from the radiation. She has morphine when it gets too bad.

The docs have found another spot near her rectum. They are trying to move the colonoscopy to tomorrow because of wednesday's weather, and want the results immediately sent to Sloan. The ante is being upped.

She and Dole came over to bring me Alanna for a few nights. I was not prepared to see how ill and in pain she was. She could barely walk. I refused to let them see me cry. It would do no good anyway....and Alanna needs to see joy in her life, she has already seen too much pain and illness for such a little child.

I feel like I have a bit pit stuck in my throat at times. It is mostly sadness and fear. Sometimes I can't breathe and I feel like I want to run and hide under the blankets and never come out, hoping that when I awake, I find it has all been a bad dream.


Patti

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Little Louder Sir....

I’ve been trying this new technique with the phone solicitations that I constantly get these days. I am on the no call list, but certain organizations seem to be above that , ie: the Police Benevolent Asso., the Sherrif’s Dept., Drug Dog Fund, the Fire Dept etc. Oh, and various political and medical organizations.

Over the years I have donated to many of these folks, but I think somewhere along the line my name was sold to various organizations as a person who is a donor, and I am besieged with calls. And, have you ever noticed, that if you make a donation based upon a phone call or a mailing, that within a few months they are asking for money AGAIN?

However, I have a new technique which seems to have quieted things down a bit.

When the phone rings and I hear “how are you doing today?“ I tell them that I am really shitty and give them the worse scenario of the week. After all, they asked, didn’t they?! If that isn’t enough and they STILL ask for a donation, I tell them about my daughter and give them HER website for making a donation themselves . I ask them if they have any techniques they would like to share with me for raising money. By this time I have been thanked, cut off, or hung up on. If they still send me information, I put a MEGANAID card in the envelope and mail it off.

I feel a bit guilty saying all of this under the circumstances that I am having to raise money for my daughter. I promise that I am not mean, but I have JUST HAD ENOUGH of these dinner time calls from organizations I never hear of except when they ask for money!

I did get in the studio today to make a few cards (one for toight's blog) and visited Rob's open house in Marlboro. I am making a special present for my many friends for Valentine's Day...which has taken me hours to do, but it is with joy that I make them a gift.

I talked to Megan, some not so great news. I'll save that for her blog. (Meganaid)

Off to finish my gifties, Patti

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My Buddha

Wow. What an intense day I just had. It was intense in all senses, and I must find a point of balance and peace before I go to sleep.
I met up with my cousin and his wife and daughter for lunch. I had not met his daughter since she was a very young girl. She is in a crossroads of college decisions, and they wanted both Larry and I to talk to her about various options in the arts as we are both artists. My re-introduction to this young relative was one of a beautiful, elegant, passionate young woman who was a breath of fresh air in my life. I have no doubt that she will do well in whatever she chooses. She has the support and love of family. I have only recently re-connected with my cousin, and it has been a heart-warming experience.

Later on I had a party that was thrown in honor of one of my co-workers who is fiendishly battling a very nasty cancer that won't let go. A group of us gathered who have worked together or kept in touch over the past 15 years. It was a poignant time; I was not sure I could handle it. But strength and love took over and it was such a beautiful celebration of all of our lives as teachers, friends, and more....... I did not want to be sad, I wanted to rejoice in the moment for the life of my friend who was still here with us, and all of us were honored by being there with her.

I had much on my mind when I came home. Career paths, sickness, camraderie, and so much love and caring that I am still dumbfounded by it all. Things that I have been trying to manifest in my life come to life...and it is all powerful, good, and oh-so-sacred to me.

Larry is lending? me an extra digital camera he has to let me see if I like it. I hand held the camera w/out flash to get this picture of a wonderful Buddha assemblage I bought from a dear friend. I light candles near my Buddha when I am home, and stop as I pass by to reflect on the art and the peace and my path. Tonight I say thanks for the family and friends that I do have who love and honor me. To you all, I give unconditional love and everlasting devotion. In peace, Patti

Friday, February 09, 2007

Into the Fire

It's Friday night. It is bloody cold outside and I refuse to go out again, no matter HOW tempting it is. I’ve hardly been home this week as I filled it with meeting friends, dining, attending various functions and in general, letting go. I feel like I am in the eye of the storm; I take full advantage of this quiet time to spill into the world . Sometimes I wonder if I fill my time so that I don’t think too hard about things.

I’ve been starting my mornings kindly by embellishing my routine. Early morning has become a time to honor and prepare myself for the day. When the alarm goes off I spend time lolling in bed thinking of what I want out of the day, what I have to do, and let the dreams of the previous night slowly slip away. I get my cup of coffee, and today I lit a candle while taking a shower in a dark bathroom. It was scented with lime, vetiver and other exotic scents. Because it was soy, you can scoop out the molten soy from the candle and use it as a crème on your body. Imagine starting the day with your very own spa treatment. A salt scrub and a soy candle scenting, organic face cremes and exotic oil based perfume. I often let my mind wander and imaging what it would be like to have a "lady in waiting" who attended to my every need. Quickly my mind shifts gears (as the coffee is starting to course through my veins) and then I wondering about men-in-waiting. No matter, someone, anyone, doing that would be splendid.

I taught one of my favorite lessons today for Medieval Art. I turned out all lights, lit candles, burned frankincense, and played Gregorian Chant by the Hilliard Ensemble with the jazz saxophone of Jan Gabareck. The students came in for a lecture on the art of illumination, and they proceeded to work on doing some of their own, along with a little breakfast. The kids always love it, though they are a bit weirded out at first. Once they see no human sacrifice, they are ready for the experience.

I am grateful for making it through another week, this one unscathed. If anything, I have been a little wild spirit bouncing off the walls. Some part of it provides entertainment and distraction from the stresses in my life. Another part of it is simply irresistible and inspirational.

Hope you all have a fire in the hearth, and if not, this one is for you.

Patti

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sacred

At times poetry and lyrics/music influence my writing and art. I hear verse that intriques me and I think on it, absorb it, chew it. 100x at least. In fact, when I find a musician whom I really enjoy, I will listen to the CD till I am intimate with all its nuances. Over and over.

I have been absorbing some of Beth Orton's music like that. Similar to smell, music can take me back to a time period, a relationship, a memory-all in a split second. I have been thinking about these words from Central Reservation: "...everything and nothing is As sacred as we want it to be". I thought hard about the duality of the verse.

I spend much time thinking about mortality and the paths we travel in life, and our relationship to the universe and the possible beyond. At times I feel pretty small -a speck of dust on the wind, a zooming electron in endless space. As humans we want to make a mark on the world, but very few of us have history book lives; the work we do matters in the here and now. However I am thankful for innocence, curiosity, and love, which help me understand what is sacred, and what to hold most close to my heart.

The piece tonight is rather intense. Those who know me will understand. Those who don't-can guess or just let the art take them where they need to go.

Nothing and everything is sacred, and as long as you remember that, it's all cake.

patti

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

a Blue Moon

It is 11:30 PM and I am JUST getting to my blog. The challenge; to make a piece of art AND write something of worth in 15 minutes.

I am still focused on color and atmosphere. Today I drove along the Hudson at sunrise; the clear crisp blue of the sky was reflected in the river, creating tones of rose and turquoise on the ice. Puddles of cobalt were splashed upon the surface; I could not determine if they were breaks in the ice or clouds reflecting on the water, as the road is narrow,winding, and icy, and I so carefully balance my study and driving skills.

Once again I was frustrated that I did not have a camera. But I decided to give that up and enjoy the beauty of the morning and the flight of the turkeys in front of the car.

I crossed the river later today, to visit my friend in Rhinebeck, and go out in Tivoli, and wonderful little artsy town near Bard College. The sun was so intense reflecting off the ice on the river, and was blinding me in its reflection off my rear view mirror.

Once again I was honored by the Hudson.

These days the river has become my god/goddess. I honor her in her tides, her rises and falls, her ever changing moods, and the purveyor of past and future. She has become my comfort and inspiration.

Dar Williams has a beautiful song titled The Hudson and I have posted a few of the lyrics before:
"Where and when does the memory take hold,
mountain range in the Autumn cold
and I thought West Point was Camelot in the spring.
If you're lucky you'll find something that reflects you,
helps you feel your life protects you,
cradles you and connects you to everything.
This whole life I remember as they begged them to itself
never turn me into someone else"

The art....oh thank God for photoshop. A photograph of a sunset in my backyard, a filter. A color, a musing..... once in a blue moon..... patti
PS and It WAS DONE IN 15 MINUTES!!!)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Another Hudson Trip

Though this is unfinished, this is the start of a small painting inspired by my trips along the Hudson. Tonight's entry on Megan's blog talks about the trips I make to see her when she is sick from chemo, and now, radiation.

This painting was influenced by one of my photos one of my recent trips. I have been photographing the river when I can borrow a decent digital camera. I am seriously entertaining buying a Nikon digital 5 mp, which is far better than my six year old Olympus, at 1.3 megapixels, with no zoom. (it is only 99.00) I need a decent digital camera as I like to document my life through the landscape and whatever else might be an inspiration.

I received a wonderful post from last night's blog. It made me cry. Amber was right, I have indeed been loving broken people for a long time, and I still do. That is my modus operandi; to give myself less credit than I deserve. It must be the intense Catholic Jesuit influence my father left to me as his legacy; to flagellate myself and believe I am indeed not worthy. Funny how we can't shake those things. Larry calls it "shoe shit".

The evening with Alanna was fun. A friend gave us a huge container of large Lego type blocks and Alanna wanted me to build gates. I told her that she could be an architect. It was so funny to hear a two year old say "architect". She is quite smart, perhaps too much for her own good. She is animated and intense..guess the apple does not fall far from the tree as her mom is a wonderful yet intense woman, and I have been told I am much the same. Alanna will carry on our legacy of brains, brawn, and balls. LOL. But right now, Legos are perfect for her fine motor skills. The tag on the gift read " Every girl should have her own construction company". Rosalind, you are so right and thank you for giving her a head start!

Off to dream and fantasy land in the great northeast, xxpatti

Monday, February 05, 2007

Musings on a Cold Cold Night

Tonight's photo is for my friend Bertha who lives out in western New York, where it is undoubtedly COLD. I don't know if you are still reading this, but this photo's for you!

Several months back I posted a beautiful geisha print from the 1800's and talked about how I have a little geisha and doll collection in my dining room. A geisha paint-by-number from a garage sale, some vintage geisha dolls, some of which are damaged but still need a home, an assemblage, antique prints...and a collection of little dolls from around the world bought by my Great Uncle and my Irish relatvies.

Many of my old things are damaged; my Scottish doll has lost her hair, the Irish one is missing her hat, one of the vintage Japanese dolls is missing a limb, but I cherish them in their all their imperfections as they are still beautiful to me.

I look at them wistfully and wish I had learned how to love people like I learned to love things many years ago, with my children, my family, the men who walked though my life like ghosts through a portal....but I am thankful that I am learning this now, as it is never too late..

Soon I am ready for bed. Not much charge left in what Larry calls his Ever-Ready Girl. I have worked hard all day, worked my body sore, and my mind is wandering and losing steam. There is another fire in the hearth, and I will lie there and muse further still....

Sending love and hugs to you all, Patti

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Scorpio's Revenge


Larry worked today, so I found myself a free woman again. Karen called me to go to the gym, and I decided that it was a good Sunday morning activity. I had not been in a while and need to get myself back into the good physical condition I was in before a fell..over a year and a half ago. No skiing, no running, no high impact sports. So off to the gym and onto the elliptical and tread mill where I managed to pump out a few miles and wake up some of the muscles that have been dormant for a while. I need the endorphin rush too from a good workout these days and hope that it keeps me a bit more balanced. After a stretch and some great conversation, we took a sauna and then out into the COLD....Fortunately the sauna gets your body so warm that it lasted long enough for me to get some gas, the paper, and a few other things..then back home to the studio.

I started another small painting and got the under painting sort of figured out, and will work a bit here and see where it takes me. Not ready to post yet, but it always feels good to get out there and paint. The only thing to make a better end to the day would have been someone bringing me dinner and wine...some French Onion soup, filet Mignon, garlic potatoes.....

For tonight's art I posted a piece in progress. The figure is not part of it yet, just laid on top of it. Unfortunately the files I have to use here end up getting pretty compressed and you lose much of the detail in the work. You really can't see the fire burning on the right hand side of the panel. It a piece I have had hanging around my studio for a while in various stages and I am probably attracted to the figure as she reflects passion, tempestuous emotion, and revenge. If I can't take revenge in the "real" world, I can certainly get it out here. (you are probably thinking..good thing she paints!)

I am off to take a hot bath, the fire is roaring in the fireplace now, and I have some nice red wine. Left overs from last nights meal will be a quick fix for dinner, then lesson plans, a movie, or a book...The weekends are never enough time to rebuild and be ready for monday!


Stay warm, and for those of you in the great northeast, may your cars start in the morning!

xxpatti

Saturday, February 03, 2007

First Snowfall

I awoke this morning to the season's first real snowfall. Though only and inch and a half or so, it was heavy and lovely and I HAD to take a pic of it from my studio. This photo was taken about 10:30 am....with the sun shining strong and the sky the most beautiful cerulean blue. (I have to remember that I need another tube of it) I ran around town a bit, my usual saturday bank, Post Office, bagel, and art supply run and settled into the studio to make some cards. I have a few orders and a home show next weekend, and being that I just had the gas tank for my studio refilled, I figured I had better get into production. I REALLY REALLY wanted to paint as the light was wonderful, but I had to work on what I knew I could sell.

For a long time Ebay helped keep my business bills paid, but it has become more and more difficult to do business there; tons of competition and the prices that I am getting are making me wonder if it is worth my time in listing things, except to clean out my surplus goods or to list the occasional rare item that might sell. I have a few buyers who shop in my store, but even that is a lot of work for a small amout of money. I have to rethink all of this, and right now I take my life a day at a time with all that is going on. I do need however to keep the heat paid as well as a few other bills so that I can keep the studio open.

I took Alanna tonight as Megan was going out for the evening. We went to an art opening of children's art, and a show by local children's book illustrators. Alanna loved the jazz that was played by some local high school students, and we bought a book of course for her collection, and then took her out to dinner. She is deep in concentration coloring so I am taking advantage of it and blogging.

Yesterday I got an invite to spend 5 weeks at the Buddhist Monastery in Mt. Tremper, studying Zen training and art. My students were laughing at me as I was talking to myself, saying that though it is something I need and want to do, I have been told that I would be kicked out of the monastary becaue I don't know how to be quiet and empty my mind....(that's what Larry says to me). I did think about how incredible an experience it would be going to the monastery in the mountains, and practicing both art and learning a philosophy that is calling to me. But for a month? I don't know...but I can sign up for individual workshops and it is tempting for me to take the painting workshop. I think I can handle a week...the question is, can they handle ME for a week??? I will email them and ask for more details. It sure is tempting....

Off to put Alanna to bed and then I think I will try and finish Seven Years in Tibet, and hope that the movie gets a bit better...

sweet dreams, Patti

Friday, February 02, 2007

And the Spirits Were Angry

I am a bit frustrated right now. I wrote this intense expose blog eariler, and when I went to go back and publish it, it was gone. POOF...a work of art floating somewhere in cyberspace never to be found - by me at least. Perhaps it is just another example of our being "dust in the wind".

So, the blog will take on an entirely new rambling as I am not going to try and recreate the earier one.

The day was interesting to say the least. My students were vibrant, talkative, interested in stories and interaction with me. Sometimes I have to forgo art history for the student's own history, intertwined with mine. Together we forge a camraderie, understanding, empathy that crosses age barriers. The kids refuse to believe I am almost 50- they see me so much younger. Perhaps it is because I let them know I am human, have made mistakes, have not forgotten what it feels like to fall in love, to be loved, to experience something new. I do not pretend I know it all, have all the answers, though I have great wisdom that I feel can benefit those who are willing to listen.

I show them by example how to live life to its fullest and give them a glimpse of sensualtiy....in fresh ground coffee, breakfast offered on antique plates, lovely hand soaps and lotions. My students are nurtured and loved-----but they must meet my high expectations of them..and they usually pull through. I don't settle for mediocrity, and push them carefully to their limits of learning and experiencing art and life. Therein lies the beauty of my job.

This painting...ah, one of the most personal paintings I have made. Done while in grad school and undergoing the most intense and traumatic events of my life...my divorce. I have kept this painting hidden in dark corners, not given it the life it deserves. It is painfully potent in its tale...of isolationism, of disappointment, of great sadness and of magic. Influenced by trips to the desert on Indian Reservations, of court rooms, and trials. Of abuse and of healing.

I still wonder if I am on the outside looking in, in another realm and space, always analyzing, looking at life and relationships from another dimension; not bound to earthly laws, an arc of light, a flash of desire, a shower of musings, a backdrop of scenarios and dreams.....

patti

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pattycakes

Recently one of my students started calling me "Pattycakes". He said it was better than all the other names that kids call me, and I looked and said "WHAT NAMES do the other kids call me?" He laughed and said they weren't bad, only they didn't fit me..and Pattycakes was just right.

What he didn't know, and I later told him, that Pattycakes was my old business name from my other lifetime. I was an airbrush artist/designer and worked for a few companies before I started my own business designing children's clothes. I did really well, and had a rep - the whole 9 yards. I stopped when I had children, as I did not have the proper set up for spraying and could not compromise my children's health (nevermind my own).

But the name stuck for years. I could not go out without someone yelling HEY, CAKES is here, or some other derivative of the name. It took years for it to fade, and now the memory has been revitalized by one of my feisty students (whom I adore). It reminds me of a more carefree time, when I was young and exploring the vastness of what life had to offer.

I think about that period in my life; I was in my 20's, and life was so different than it is now. But in actuality the essense of who I am has not changed, and I am still following my passion for art; only it has shifted gears and changed mediums. Though I am another 25 years older in body, I have kept the spirit of youth and adventure in my soul. Perhaps it is something that is related to the life of an artist that helps keep me young. I am not jaded, and I still get excited over some of the most simple of discoveries and experiences. I have learned to temper my wild side, or else use it in a more productive way, but that side is still there. It just has shifted shape a bit, like the rest of me. I am still in love with love in all its forms, and each day I discover something even more beautiful than the next. I would not trade the treasures of experience for anything.

A few more people wrote me lovely emails and my friend Patrick, whom I have known from those Pattycakes days, (and even before that) picked me up and drove me to my class so that I did not have to drive tonight. It was a lovely, nurturing gesture. The simplest of things have become such a gift to me, and you all don't know how much I appreciate each and every kindness. I have learned who my true friends are, and I have learned about love in ways I never imagined.

Thank you, Patti