Tuesday, July 31, 2007

To All the Grandmothers

Queen Victoria was the grandmother to 42 grandchildren, including stillborn and adopted grandchildren of course. She did have 9 children with Albert, and I suspect a few of them had a reputation of running around a bit. (oh that Edward!) This is an original authentic late Victorian print of her that I have in my collection. I don't imagine her the hugs and kisses type, but I am sure they must have bought some joy to her austere life.

I was looking down at my fingernails today, painted light red, not too long, but long enough to look good in such a color. As I stared at them I thought of my grandmother, her arthritic hands with swollen knuckles with nails painted a similar red. Those hands worked some magic with knitting needles and crochet hooks. I still have the sweaters she made my brother and I in the early 60's. They are objects of veneration.

I did not see my grandmother much. For some strange reason my father did not like my mother's family, and, being a control freak, he did a good job of cutting her off from them. But the visits my grandmother did make every few years to our house were one ones of joy for me. She was Lithuanian, and could still yell at us in the mother tongue, but had the thickest of Brooklyn accents. She girded herself against my fathers dour nature and made me a very happy child when she came to visit.

My grandmother only died about 5 years ago, well into her 90's. I rarely saw her after she stopped coming to visit us when I was a teenager in the 70's. I did attend several family get togethers, but I never visited the way I should have. I was too phobic to drive into Brooklyn to see her, or get on the buses and subways to visit, and she sort of faded out of my life like the rest of my mother's family...which is still to this day. We see each other occasionally -- mostly at funerals.

I hope that I will always be a joy to my own grandchild, and that she will always remain close to me. I will sell my collection if I have to in order to be able to see any grandchildren I may have, especially Alanna as Larry and I have helped bring her into the world, and who have been an integral part of her life for the past 3 years.

My grandmothers gave me love, gave me hope. My therapist says if a child has just one person in their life like this, they will be ok. And she is right, after all, I am ok, aren't I?!

And the other photo is of my grandmother Anna on her wedding day. Nice to remember that all grandmothers were once young, in love and lust, and full of dreams.

TO All the grandmothers....patti

Monday, July 30, 2007

Going Underground

By the end of today the ole PMS monster reared its ugly head at me. I have been battling with nights without sleep. I lie there watching the clock tick, I feel like I am burning up, and am totally wired. I can't blame in on caffeine, one night I had nothing to drink, and I KNOW it is my hormones, and perhaps, maybe even the full moon. All I know is by 2 am I am ready for some sleep.

As the evening wore on I felt worse and worse and was beginning to feel like the scarey skeleton on the card. I HATE when this happens, and I am sure Larry does too. However, it waited till after my guests left (good thing cousin, no?!!) and the only one who has to deal with me are the cats and my husband. I got smart and locked myself in my studio for hours till I felt civil enough to come in.

Tonight's art work is a card from the 1800's. It is one of my favorite ones, even though it has been trimmed down and is probably not worth much. It is just so macabre, and right up my alley.

Got to get some shut eye tonight, and hopefully we will all survive the evening!


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday with Riccardo and others

Tonight's photos were taken during sunset after a rainstorm on my way up Route 28 to Woodstock. Anyone who comes to the Catskills is probably familiar with 28 as it is one of the main thoroughfares. I happened to have my camera with me for once. My guest Riccardo said we should put on our cameras before we even put on our underwear.

We went to hear Riccardo at the Center for Photography in Woodstock last night. Larry has been working with him as he is doing a residency there. He is 26 and lives in Puerto Rico. I was so fascinated with his ideas and his drawing/collage/photography work that I told Larry that we MUST have him over for brunch.

Those of you know know me well, know I am not much on entertaining. In fact I really downright hate it. It means I have to clean my house and make some kind of food. Lately I don't care so much about the house. I have resigned myself to the fact that my house is very lived in and has lots of stuff around, thought it is really interesting "stuff" to look at. I have also discovered that you don't have to stand in front of the stove for hours. People are very happy with a few different salads, some pasta, and a few other tasties. I am going to reformat the magazine REAL SIMPLE and call it DOWNRIGHT LAZY. hahaha.

So today I made a lovely brunch and spent a few hours getting to know a very spiritual and creative young man. We both inspired one another, and I hope to partake in a collaborative art project with him and others. Once I get his website information I will publish it here.

I had the good fortune of getting a seating at the Calico Restaurant's (Rhinebeck)once a month wine dinner. Very intimate (seats 24) where the many courses were carefully matched with a variety of wines. Canapes included mushroom soup, chicken liver pate, brie with pesto and red peppers. Appetizers were shrimp bisque and mushrooms stuffed with wild boar. Main dish was flat iron steak with a tomato and red pepper sauce, served with roasted potatoes and spinach (the last of which I could not eat). Final dish was some kind of lemon mousse cake with meringue. BLOAT.

So now I am ready for bed. Larry is just coming in I think with Riccardo. I am a bit tired so I won't last long, just long enough to chat for a bit, fix up the guest room and head to bed.

Another fantastic day here in the Hudson Valley!

Till tomorrow xxxx patti

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Celebrating the Feminine

I left for an overnight to my dear friend's house about 45 minutes away. I planned to stay overnight as we had much to talk about, eat, and we really needed a girls overnight slumber party.

Sharron and I go back to 1977 or so, when we met as art students. We painted together, sang Bonnie Raitt, had babies and married then divorced, and through the years we have made lots of memories together as friends.

This short trip celebrated our lives as grandmothers, friends, artists, planned our futures, and the most fun part -- rejoiced in the feminine.

She made a fabulous dinner and in between preps we ran outside and took pictures of one another, and talked about our ever changing and challenging lives. We support one another through honest dialog, and out of this we grow.

We had a great time, (too great as I did not feel 100% today, LOL) I tried on her fabulous dresses which made me feel like a character out of the movie Titanic. I painted my nails red again. It always seems like such a bold and empowering thing to do.

I arrived home JUST in time to meet my cousin and his son who attends Colgate at the house for some libation and snacks, then off to a photography lecture in Woodstock.

I sit here and smile, treasuring such moments of close friendship and love, and look forward to seeing her again.

Tonight's photos are of Sharron and I, and I HAD to take the one of her stuffing the manicotti. We made a very bad pun and called it manicocci. A pair of twisted sisters we are!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Alanna and Alana Co.

I spent a better part of the day with my friend Debi and her daughter Alana Rose and my granddaughter Alanna Sophia. In order to be able to call each respective child when we needed them for one thing or another, we had to use their first AND middle name in order for them to know who we were talking about.

Debi and I worked together 15 years ago and have kept up as friends well after she left. Sometimes a few years will go by before we see one another again, but we always manage to keep in touch.

A few years ago Debi gave up on finding a great guy to marry and have a child with. I agree, they are hard to come by, and I might have snagged one of the last ones of that model. Too bad we never had children together cause Larry makes one heck of a great daddy-o/uncle, grandpa, to all of the kids in his life. In fact, Alana, Debi's little girl, said "Larry is kind and gentle". WOW.

Deb adopted a little girl from China, and they came for their first visit. What a beautiful, smart, loving little girl.

I made lunch, then we went for a swim in a friend's pool. It was the first time Alana from China had ever been in a pool, and she LOVED IT. Afterwards off to dinner at a great local restaurant, and then to our fave spot for ice cream.

I have to admit, I am tired and was glad when they left. I have been running around like a nut since 8 AM.....and this heat is KILLING me.

But I will go to sleep thinking of these two little girls who never met, who played with one another all day, shared, held hands, and loved and kissed all of us all day. How beautiful is that. If only adults could be like them.........at what point does it become tainted?

Oh, and I learned how to use the movie feature on my camera. WHOA just you wait. Movies will be next on this blog!!!!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More on Art and Healing

Just a quickie as I am heading to bed.

A busy day, and a lovely dinner at friend's house whom we adore. They are younger than us, and I so love the energy and different perspectives that they both have!

I went to the doc today for my physical. Though I have to have a few standard tests done (like my cholesterol, and the "where are my hormones at test")she thinks I am in wonderful shape. The month off has done wonders for my mental and physical self, and at 125 lbs I am in pretty good shape. Won't ever run again, but I am finally physically active. My blood pressure is holding steady (I do take meds but it has been high even with them) and the rest of me is in good health.

I eat responsibly, do everything in moderation, and I think art does have a way of calming me and keeping me sane. I feel like I am returning to my body again. Amen.

Tonight's art is a digital piece which is way too compressed for my likes, but in person it is really really detailed and cool. Through my art (and writing) I also hope I can heal others.

To health, patti

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Art and Healing

I posted the bottom piece a while back, but it was not finished. It had been sitting around in my studio, and then would resurface in my back room from time to time. I never got the inspiration to complete it. Same with the little black box I started as a gift for Larry. (hard to photograph it and flash blows it out. I need a better lighting system, but for now this will have to do) Perhaps part of the reason for my not completing them was that I was entering dangerous territory.

The local art society is having a show titled Black and White. As I was cleaning my studio I thought hmmmm...these pieces will work. I still needed a piece here and there to finish them, but amazingly the pieces made themselves present, and they both came together.

I have also been dealing with some pretty heavy issues in therapy. I want and need to be DONE with all of the pain, anger, and hurt from my past. I am willing to do the work and even though I know it will be difficult.

For ME, part of the healing process involves art, and those who are creative often have an advantage as they have an outlet for their angst. I certainly feel that art is a cathartic for me and am grateful for having it in my life.

Of course, I keep telling myself, no one will get it, but they do draw one in and make them interact with the pieces on their own level. Much of my work is narrative, at least my collage work. I do go to the dark side, but without the dark, one cannot appreciate the light.

I will be partaking in EMDR which I have heard is amazing in helping one process traumas. In the meantime, I keep making art which enables me to face my past and process it in a way that is both safe and gratifying.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Mechanical Techno Girl

I am sitting in the Honda dealership, waiting for them to diagnose my car. I have to sit and wait for my car as I don’t have any other choice. Fortunately this time it isn’t 95 degrees in the waiting room as it was the last time I had to sit for a few hours.

It is always interesting going to a car dealership instead of my regular mechanic as they see a woman and think that I don’t have a clue. What they don’t know is that I used to be a small truck/trailer driver and safety mechanic, and though things have changed since I did that 28 years ago, I am fairly mechanically literate. Jamie my mechanic treats me like a person who understands what he is talking about, and I am always interested in the “what and how” of things.

Earlier this morning in preparation for the undetermined amount of time I will spend sitting here, I perused I-tunes and discovered Pod casts that I could download for FREE. I typed in NPR, and spent a good part of a half hour looking through the menu. I stumbled upon the Grammar Girls pod casts on writing which whet MY appetite, as well as music interviews. I did not have time to search what other pod casts are available, but I suspect more than I can ever listen to. And, in this world of super information, it is nice to be able to cut to the chase and obtain information instantly on about just about anything.

Of course I also bought my laptop. It is always interesting to see if I can pick wireless on an unsecured system, but the dealership is secure, and there are no other signals. BUT I can still write my blogs for the day, when that is done, I will listen to my I pod.

Well, the mechanic just told me that my car has to come back as they have to order parts. I am a bit suspicious when a dealship does not have basic things like a seal for the transmission and the basic electronic door lock mechanism. After all, it is only 4 years old and I saw at least 3 other CRV's in for service. Do I believe him? Not really. But I will call THEM at the end of the week!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Searching for Myself

After a morning of conversations with people I needed to call, or who called me, I headed out to the garden for some pruning, chopping, and mulching. I have decided it is all too much for me and I need to get someone in here to weed, mulch, and do yard work. I love the exercise and working in my little piece of land that I try and make paradise, but it is hard on my body all this ripping and hauling of heavy mulch and soil bags and tossing it about. I need to bite the bullet and hire someone.

I did take the later part of the day to work in the studio for four hours. I needed some time to get intimate with my work space again. After what seemed a long hiatus, I swept, framed, gessoed a group of panels, and finished up a few pieces.

Lately I find myself exploring my past and coming to terms with it through my art. I don't know that anyone will "get" what I am doing, but that is not important to me right now. I have sold some of these autobiographical mixed media pieces oddly enough. It seems strange to me that anyone might be interested in my sometimes sordid life, or in this blog where I leak out bits and pieces of my soul. But there are a handful who do and for that I am grateful.

Tonight's piece is a mixed media piece, a scrap of an antique paper girl whom I have looked at for a long time in my studio. She is pasted onto a little painting done looking out onto the Hudson from one of the estates.

I grew up on waterways and in the mountains of the Catskills. A very black time where my only sense of beauty and hope was in the beauty of the landscape and the forest. If was there that I found refuge, and hiked, wrote poetry, painted, and harvested the flowers and wild fruits that it bore.

My other blog, Catskillpaper also features some of the other work that I don't show here. Too many stories for one place!!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday Rituals

On a nice Saturday I can be found at the local farmer's market, buying my food for the week: quiche from Pika's, crab cakes, fresh mozzarella, eggplant rollatini from another vendor, fresh eggs, veggies, sometimes a glass of cold currant juice, maybe some home made soap. I love the market; no elevator music, no florescent lights. I know many of the people and sometimes fantasize that I am once again in the market in Florence.

After that Larry and I usually go for breakfast/brunch,only today I felt inspired to cook and made french toast and eggs.

The gardens needed attention so out I went to stake the tomatoes, as puny as they are, weeded, put some more moo doo in some of the beds and around the plants, ripped out the rest of my old lettuce in preparation for the next planting.

I took some time to relax and finish my book, then made dinner and just got back from a photography lecture by Sylvia Plachy who coincidentally is Adrian Brody's mother (Oscar winner for his performance in The Pianist).

I try and keep Saturdays calm, a time where I sculpt my gardens, dig in the earth, and enjoy its fruits.

I took a bunch of photos as the sun was setting. The light was not good and most of the photos sucked quite honestly. I need a tripod for such light, or else different settings on this camera. BUT I salvaged two which needed help in PS, but here they are for this evening's blog.

Hope you day was lovely and relaxing, you owe it to yourself!


Friday, July 20, 2007

This American Baby Boomer Life

I spent a lot of time thinking in the car the past 10 days. My odometer claims I had driven nearly 1,000 miles, and during that time I have done a lot of introspection.

I love the series This American Life on NPR. As I have come to face some of the intensities of my past while on the road, I have garnered many memories from that time....stories which touch so many of us who grew up during the 50's and 60's. There is healing to be found in shared stories, and many of us boomers are looking for peace and a way to make sense of it all as we approach our golden years.

On the way home a 2 hour trip took 4 hours due to an accident. I made use of my time listening to music, thinking, and reading. (The Mermaid Chair-will discuss that more at a later time) I took pictures of utility towers which have always fascinated me; they look like an image of a screen shot from a Twilight Zone episode which gave me nightmares for years. I took pictures of trucks bearing down on me like something from a Stephen King novel. Memories of road trips from my life flooded me; of horrid accidents, throwing up in my father's Mercedes, of escape.

Perhaps I will find the truth, answers, and peace on the road. And if I do, I will give you the mile marker.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

On Being Domestic

This is my sister and her beautiful 2 month old baby Alexander. My sister has a 12 year old, a 2 year old and the baby-she is going to be 42 in December! I find her quite amazing and don't know how she does it. She has to return to work from her maternity leave next week.

Her life is complex with she and her husband working in Manhattan, a child in Jr. High, one in pre-school, and the baby will be cared for in the home. My head spins watching all that she has to do and I have been helping out whatever way I can.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with my life, I am going to think of her and that will keep it all in perspective.

She talked to me about the re-occurring nightmares she has about not being able to get back to her family in Westchester from NYC. I am sure she has flashbacks to 9/11 when this happened. I can't blame her. I have told her to please call me if she ever needs anything.

I have fallen in love with a little boy who smiles with his entire being when he sees me. I spent some time in the yard with him this afternoon, rocking in a chair and singing to him while he held onto my thumb cooing. I shall cherish that for a long time: the warmth of a summer's day wrapped around us, safe from the distant storms, the sounds of children playing in the streets. It is a peace that I did not find as a young single mother some 20 years ago, and a peace that I want to revisit. I am glad to have found it here, today.

To innocence, love, trust and family.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Very Strange Day

I awoke early to bring Alanna to daycare and then head to Westchester for a few days to visit my sister. I have not seen her since she had her little boy Alexander in May.

It was pouring, and I did not relish the thought about driving nearly 2 hours in the rain. I listened to the forecast, and tomorrow sounded no better, so I figured, how bad can it be?

I periodically encountered mist and light rain on my trip until I hit the Hutchinson River Parkway. The sky got as black as ink, and looked very surreal. The heavens opened up, and thankfully I was able to navigate the roads in spite of the heavy rain. I could not read the signs but knew my way well enough. As I neared another split, I saw it was barricaded. Panic. I pulled off the side of the road and promptly called my sister for directions from the Cross County. I got lost once in Yonkers and the Bronx many years ago for hours, and did NOT want to repeat that experience.

My sister had been trying to call me on my cell which I do not turn on when I am driving. It is illegal to talk on a cell phone in NY unless you have an earpiece, which I don't have. She was trying to reach me to tell me that many of the roads to get to her were flooded from torrential rains.

I managed to get there just fine, but my sister was besides herself as the daycare flooded and closed for the day, as we had the 2 year old and the 2 month old, and her husband had still not left for the city.

Neither one of her children napped all day, which was unusual as normally they take long naps, especially the baby. So we played and rocked, and went for a ride when the rain stopped.

She got a phone call from Peter who said he was going to be late. She was upset as he would not get to see the children before bed, but so be it. A little while later he called to ask us to please go on the Internet to find out why there were heaps of firetrucks and police cars in front of Grand Central. Turns out there was a steam pipe explosion, which claimed one life and injured many others, and he had missed it by having to work late.

I am sure that scenes from 9/11 raced through their minds as she could not find nor contact Peter for a long time that day: he worked and lived downtown. The both of them were marooned in NY and were terrified much like many NYers.

All ended fine. Peter managed to get a train out, later than sooner, but he arrived safely. He was spared experiencing the blast by fate...

Both Mary and I agreed that the energy of the day was very strange, and even the children seemed affected by it. I am glad the day is over. I am sitting in my 12 year old niece's room (she is away) and am surrounded by the comfort of stuffed animals, books, and clothes. Tonight's picture is of the light in her room by which I type, golden and warm, and give thanks for all of our safety on such a strange day.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Everything Must Change

Judy Collins did the song Everything Must Change on her Bread and Roses album. I can't find the lyrics, but essentially the first two lines sum it up:
Everything must change
Nothing stays the same....

NOTHING. Especially the places, people and things that we often seek to find solace and comfort.

This especially hit me when I made a trip to a State park after my therapy appointment. I spent my tortured teen years in the Catskills and I figured I would find comfort in returning to the embrace of those gentle mountains.

I had been going to that park for over 30 years. I had surveyed the land and the trees there when I was 16 as part of an environmental youth group before it was even made and was forest. I took my children there as youngsters, and then went with my students up until about 6 years ago. There was a sand beach, a lovely small lake, and views of the Catskills all around. The beach was often full, and the ice cream truck came every day. I was looking forward to reliving such fond memories.

I arrived with my beach chair, my blanket, my Ipod and book, planning to have a mid afternoon retreat in the mountains. I was meeting a friend and her grandson up and we were going to have a grand old time.

I park and notice there is orange tape around some heavy duty construction equipment, and a pavilion being built. Hmmm that is new. I gather my things and head to ......where the hell is the beach???? As I walked closer, I saw that the "beach" area was now overgrown with sparse grasses and covered in goose droppings. Flies and bees hovered above their nests and the feces. Within 5 minutes, we had to leave. We ventured to the other end, by the dock, and settled in an area less infested with bugs, but still covered with geese poop. Well the hell, we paid to get in so we were not going to be deterred that easily. We set up a spot and managed to swim a bit, while the geese swam back and forth muttering to themselves, most likely about our invasion of their feeding grounds.

A far cry from the GORGEOUS kettle ponds of the Cape, but the company of a good friend and wanting to have a good time saved the afternoon. And the mountains were still soft and welcoming, both Big and Little Tonche.

I heard someone cut their foot on glass in the lake, so the State closed the beach.
Perhaps someone sued. It made me sad, but I will be back, because it will change again,as everything is apt to do....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Art and the Subconscious

I feel blessed that I have the most amazing therapist in the entire world; she practices Jungian psychotherapy, and is very well versed in EMDR, a therapy that helps process traumas that cause PTSD.

I have been in therapy on and off for years. The damages of my childhood and first marriage were far reaching and insidious in how it has affected my ability to love, trust, and have any self esteem.

Most people would never see that in me; I have learned how to go deep and hide it well. But from time to time things bring me right back there, and it is proof that I have much to unlock and set free. I work hard in my search for peace and spirituality (not to be confused with religion) in my life.

In my studio, after a particularly intense session, I came home and finished this piece. I was tempted to leave it without the NO....but then all it would have been was a pretty mixed media piece, and that was not my goal. I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to mix the pretty with the ugly.

NO you can't touch me.
NO you can't hit me.
NO, I am worth more than that.

I am learning to say NO.

This piece certainly lets me say it NOW.

Peg says much of my artwork springs from the unconscious/subconscious, much like surrealism, and I have to agree. Someday I will have a show, and it will tell a story about all of these things. The Illustrated Secret Life of P.A., or the art of letting go.....


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Art of and in the Gardens

My friend on the Cape is an artist in her own right-she just uses different media than I do. Hers is her house and her gardens, mine is the paints and the papers.
I have gardens all around my house. I call them my cottage gardens for the plants are quite like unruly children. I could really use some organization, weeding, and mulching of my gardens, but I don't have the time for that, so they just grow wild. They still look nice, but they are nothing like my friend's house, where they are well tended, and lovingly placed in beds that work for both the plants and the landscaping. My gardens are survival of the fittest, hers are mini works of art.

She has little sculptures about her gardens, and I took a few pictures before I left. Having been away from the computer for so long, I imported them into photoshop for some special effects.

Larry and I spent a few hours trying to tidy up the yard. We have lots of blue stone to keep weeded (weed whackers great for that) and I had to pull the bolted heads of lettuce and try and figure out what to do with the front of the house which looks like a mish mash of ferns, lily of the valley, vines, scraggly bushes....and more. I hate to pull plants, though I know many of them are out of control. I feel like I am killing live things. But something has got to give, and I did not pass horticulture class........so I will bumble my way about it and wish Carol were here.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stories from the Cape Part 1

I am back in town. I did not have much time to connect to the Internet as my friends are not the computer geek that I am, and it was OK, as a break from writing and art is important too.

The true joy of this vacation has been that I have been able to spend time with two good friends whom I worked with for years, but whom have left for bigger and better, and left me behind .

This year was a difficult year without them, but we have kept in touch and seen one another a few times a year. We have started a tradition of getting together to spend several days exploring, laughing, and exposing the deepest recesses of our hearts and celebrating out middle aged womanhood, which, by the way, is quite wonderful. Who said it sucks go grow older?! BAH.

We have an unspoken trust and caring for one another which we will have for the rest of our lives.

One of them lives in Orleans, so for the past two years we have gone to her house (a good 4.5 hours away) and explored Cape Cod in whatever way fits us.

One of the places that we ALWAYS go to is Provincetown, where we have whale watched, shopped, imbibed, watched fireworks and just wandered.

We have gone any number of places for an afternoon snack and refreshment, but we usually end up at the Mews Restaurant for a drink and dinner. One of today’s picture is of a sculpture in the garden of the Mews.

We did have one misadventure, and that was the journey into a store whose photo appears here, the shop called Giardelli Antonelli.

The door was latched and had a sign “ring bell for service”. We did, and the gentleman opened up the door and let us in. As we entered he sized us up and down for our clothes and our jewelry.

My friend walk over to a hat to look at it and he asks if he can help, in a tone which was very sharp. We said no, we were just looking for now.

We checked out the clothes. Lovely fabrics, but I commented to my friends that I did not like the necklines, but the fabrics and draping were stunning.

I headed over to the tank tops with necklines I would wear. As I was moving one out to see the fabric etc. he sharply said “these are handmade clothes, please don’t touch them.” I said “oh, I know about handmade” and he said “well then, you should know to use the hangers and not pull on the fabrics.” He was very nasty about the entire event. (I was not “pulling on the fabric”, rather feeling it and looking at the pattern) We all looked at one another, I said, let’s go, I will not look any further nor buy anything here, and this gentleman is a fool because he has no clue who we are”.

I am sure he decided we could not afford anything in his store which on his part was very foolish. If I had found something I had liked, I would have bought it. My friends and I appreciate wonderful things and will treat ourselves to something we love. And, we could indeed have afforded one of his designer pieces.

Instead I spent the money on a lovely handmade leather purse/backpack to carry my art and personal goods when hiking around. A much better investment, and the designer was a lovely person.

So Mr. Snobby shop owner/designer/salesperson, who ever you were, here is the story and a photo of your shop.

Buyers beware of elitism at its best in America.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

On the Cape

Have made it here safely. I am sitting in a cafe that has wireless. I have not been able to write as it is difficult to get connected and I don't want to burden my friends with having to find places.

Am heading out to Provincetown to play with my two girl friends, and Carol is driving the convertible with the top down.

Life doesn't get better than this.

Will write more later!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Heat Stroke

Poor repro of my painting, but this is how hot it feels in my back room. I am frantic with packing for a four day trip to the Cape. I have never been this disorganized. I guess having a busy day and a 2 year old and trying to function in a steam bath in a house that has no central A/C. (which makes me think of somewhere deep in Louisiana, swamps and bugs and the sounds that your feet make walking in mud)

My mind is fried, I am running around, trying to make sure I have everything I may need for my four days of R and R. I am so technically demented with all of my equipment that I must bring...iPod, laptop, digital camera, cell phone, and all the adaptors that go with them. Oh and my art supplies to boot, and books. And meditation videos for when I am awake while others sleep.

Perhaps I will use none of them and just lie on the beach and listen to the ocean. Novel idea, isn't it?

Will be reporting from further east....patti

On the Road

It has been unbearably hot here. Too hot to garden, too hot to be outside swimming.

I was feeling domestic (a rare occasion-I failed Martha Stewart school miserably) so I sewed a tablecloth out of some beautiful vintage cotton fabric I had been saving for years.

I was so excited, put it on the table, and alas, it was too small. I felt the wind go right out of my proverbial sails, and stared at the tiny tablecloth on the table. Not to be deterred or have my fabric go to waste, I found another tablecloth to go under it. THERE I thought to myself. I am going to MAKE IT WORK

Of course, I had the full intention of seeking out my William Morris print to make a curtain for a door into my sun room, but after that disappointment, I decided to save that for another day.

I headed into town to do some errands that had been awaiting me for a while. I figured my car has A/C, as do the stores, so I made cool use out of the hot part of the day.

One of the things I accomplished was buying a router and successfully installing it on my computer. Not rocket science, it all works, and now I can move about my house with my laptop. I am heading to the Cape for four days, so you will hopefully be getting posts from me on the road when I can find an open network or there is a great chocolate/coffee place in Orleans that has wireless. I suspect I may become a morning fixture there. I also have Photoshop on the laptop, so I can do all my digital photography work. Between my computer, my books, and my paints, I should be set to more than entertain myself in any down time I may have.

This photo is of the Kingston Rhinecliff bridge as I headed over to Lois' to get my mane cut. I had hoped that I could shoot the landscape from the car as I drove over the bridge, but going to the east side is inclined just enough that the railing interfered with any landscape photos, thus the wild shots from the car driving over the bridge.

Some people hate that bridge, it is also a bridge that people like to jump from. It is a beautiful view, and very high. I happen to love it, especially driving west, as the view of the river and the Catskills is splendid.

Off to start the day! patti

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Steamy Catskill Days

How does one start a Sunday in the Catskills? At the Thomas Cole house in Catskill of course, followed by an ice cream at the Candy Man in town, served by my very own niece, Erika!

Thomas Cole changed the course of painting in America. Previously considered the lowest of painting genres (#1 was portrait painting, #2 historical or genre painting, #3 still life and last but not least, came landscape painting) landscape painting was now elevated and revered.

He taught Asher B. Durand and Frederick Church. Sadly he died at the age of 47, but in that time period left a legacy of paintings.

Cole depicted the wild American landscape, and man's status and place in all of it. He also painted allegories and communicated the spirit of God in his work.

The first photograph is looking out to the Catskills from the interior of the Cole house. The ripples are from the old glass, not from photoshop. The second is a rare glimpse of Cole's mid 1800's artists studio. I do not have a mono pod and this was the only photograph that was not blurred as I was working with existing light as I so often do.

We were rushed through the house faster than my eyes and mind could absorb the art and decorative works, but I guess they make the tours for the general public, not for connoisseurs and aficionados of Hudson Valley art, decorative arts, and architecture.

We closed the day with a pool party at a friend's house complete with croquet. We had to leave when some horrid bug or pollen made me rip out one of my contacts and throw it away, and I was dizzy from seeing out of one eye...and the heat.

To the magic of the Catskill Mountains, Patti

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Faces of the Dead

The past few days whizzed right past. Gardening. Art. Alanna. Parties. PMS.

I say PMS because it puts me into another zone. It has its disadvantages and advantages; trying to navigate it is a challenge. I am often best off doing things on my own or by myself so that I spare others my dark side which borderlines on manic.

This morning I was in a bit of a funk but I figured out how to let go of my anger quickly-precisely 1/2 a block. As I was letting go of my frustrations, I drove past a man that looked like my ex brother in law who died of lung cancer a few years ago. His face, his essence, perhaps not his body, but it took my breath away.

I have had this happen several times. My friend Mary who has come to me via a few different people, my father, and my ex husband and son, both of whom are alive, but in some ways are ghosts in my life. Each time this happens I feel time, place, and reality slip away and for a brief moment I exist in a very surreal state.

Some of you may have had this happen, perhaps all of you. I hope someone has, otherwise there is something is very odd about how I think and perceive things. But then again, perhaps it is not so odd...

About the art: What I found really interesting was that I knew exactly which collage I was going to use and what I was going to do to it to make it work for tonight's blog. I decided to crop part of a larger piece and blur the face. Larry looked at t he piece and asked if it was my son's face. It wasn't, but the spirit of the person looking back at my was my child. And it was weird.

Isn't the subconscious amazing?


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Lorna's Naturals

I am a spoiled woman in some ways. I drink only fresh ground organic coffee made with filtered water. I bathe with preferably home made soaps that have little or no animal products in it. I use Aveda shampoo and conditioner. And, after the shower, there is the lathering on of body creams.

I have tried many creams. Larry periodically buys me Christian Dior scented lotions, but they cost a small fortune. I sometimes buy unscented Aveda lotion and add oils to it. But the BEST (and I have tested a lot), are Lorna's homemade lotions (and soaps, and shampoos etc.)

At nearing 50, my skin is thirsty for a very rich moisturizer for both my face and body. I have used her face cream, and all of her body creams. Each one is more decadent than the next: the Classic with lavendar, tangerine, patchouli and rosewood, the Gardenia cream, and the Lavendar and Sandlewood Cream.

I have been going to our local farmer's market where I had been buying her products for the past few years. This year she has not been there. :( BUT when I was on Broadway and 112th, in NYC, I entered this little boutique (which is very very cool...found a great skirt by TRIBAL which I fell in love with and bought) and found that they carried Lorna's creams.

I immediately bought the last jar of cream that was there, and have been looking for every excuse to lavish my body with it. I rubbed on some Gardenia cream hours ago, and my skin still carries the scent.

Visit Lorna's website I highly recommend the face cream, the body creams, and the soaps. Made in the heart of the Catskill Mountains of NY with spring water.

And, by the way, after I get the cream on, I need nothing else. My day is complete.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Sky for the 4th

I am not at Mohonk as it rained all day. Not conducive to swimming in the lake, hiking, or watching the fireworks. My friends are going to the spa, but even then all they could book was a reflexology session. And, like Bardet said: "at least having my feet touched is better than not being touched at all!"

I unpacked, worked in the studio and on the computer most of the day. I received several few phone calls from people who were in rotten moods or upset. There are some serious family issues going on, but I refuse to let them mire me down or make me nuts. I have learned to disengage, to distance myself emotionally while still caring for them in my heart. It is a bit tricky to pull off, but I get better at it as I get wiser.

I worked on a new painting - part of my sky series, and on an order. It was such a day for work as it was too wet to garden and have any outdoor adventures. That is fine as I am still tired from cruising around NYC.

This is an altered photograph of the clouds that were marching in as I rode home on the bus late yesterday afternoon, colored special for the 4th. Happy 4th to you all........

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Long Way Home.....

Am heading home on the bus as I type. I figured it was a good use of my time to compose my blogs while I am sitting on a bus for two hours.. I have been enjoying my laptop and slowly figuring out the changes made in Windows as well as the individuality of this laptop.

As I write on the bus however, the jiggling and bumping makes it hard to type, I keep losing my cursor, and opening windows I don’t mean to.

Twenty five years ago I swore I would never be tied to a computer. My ex was an IBMer who spent hours on our computer at home. We had a horrid divorce, and for a long time I abhorred anything that reminded me of him, and that included COMPUTERS.

It was not long after we split that I needed a job, and landed one as a medical claims examiner for Met Life. Those were the days of DOS and monstrous computers and screens with neon green text.

After that temp job ended, I secured a job coding and billing for three surgeons, and was introduced to a much more modern system and had to learn the program.

Mainly self taught I have learned Photoshop and a bit of Dreamweaver, built and launched my own website, write two daily blogs, and sell my work and collectibles via eBay and Etsy.

Here’s to technology and the computer age. Yes, I can be a bit of a geek, but it keep me out of trouble, and I have access to a world full of art and artists, and other freaks like me!!!

Viva la computer! Patti

PS: Image taken from the bus window on my way home. Splendid.

It's all Divine

The weather has been PERFECT. T-shirt weather, and I carry a jacket. 70's. No humidity. Crystal clear. Beautiful sunsets. Fabulous architecture, art, food, people. I was so over-stimulated yesterday at one point I felt dizzy with the intensity of it all. And that was BEFORE I had that great gin and ginger drink in one of MOMA's fancy cafes.

People have been so friendly. Of course, the three of us are giddy, delightful women to boot, but we have seen none of that New York attitude.Not on this trip.
From doormen to security guards and the local police (who I kindly had to ask where the neighborhood liquor store was...)we have been greeting with kindness and humor. Guess putting it out there really IS infectious!

We went to St. John the Divine. What a fabulous church. It is still recovering from the '01 fire, and I snuck open a door to get the middle picture. We hope to get to the Buddhist temple here on Riverside Drive today to check out that center of spirituality. If I lived here I would find refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life in these churches and buildings, and just sit quietly in the cool hushed seats.

MOMA was great; I had not been back there since they "revitalized" it. Great to see familiar paintings.

I have enjoyed the diversity in New York. We don't have that so much in the mountains. I love that I can order almost any kind of cuisine at 10 pm at night and have it delivered to my door. I love that I can sit in an outdoor cafe and sketch away sipping on a martini or seltzer.

The three of us mused what it must have been like, those artists in France, who also sat outside enjoying their libations, talking politics, sketching the crowds.

It's all divine. Patti

Monday, July 02, 2007

Art in the City

I am on someone else's computer. The laptop does not have a decent photo editing program on it, so I am struggling with editing the pictures I took, but was able to manage at least a few. (the Guggenheim, and the evening light in the apartment and a sunset shot out of one of the windows)

I had written an entire blog on it too, but it won't transfer from my flash drive to this computer, so I give up, especially after running on 3+ hours of sleep all day.

Dylan rocked, the walk in the pouring cold rain and the 4 hour ride back home didn't. But the weather today on the upper west side did, as well as the visit to the Guggenheim and the sketching Annie and I did while dining out at a sidewalk cafe.

Tomorrow another visit to Tom's Diner, of Seinfeld fame, then a walk to St. John the Divine's, a beautiful architectural gift to the city.

I hope to be able to figure this computer thing out. I can't get wireless Internet as everyone here in this building has it blocked (smart) and I feel handicapped while trying to learn this new Windows Vista shit.

It is all a learning curve, and I hope to be able to share the amazing photos I have of the sunset over the Hudson river from this most beautiful Riverside Drive apartment in NYC, a block from Broadway. And, as I say, it is all good.