Friday, August 31, 2007

A Magnificent Obsession

I bought a table today that I have been obsessing about ever since I saw it in the gift shop at Olana. It is from Morocco, is hand carved and painted, and the top is set with tiles.

I bought it for my back porch, which is a cozy room with a wicker chair, funky art work, and bits and pieces of Middle Eastern influence seen in the beadery of the silk pillows, a hanging lamp, a piece of cloth. Though not everything matches and is a bit eclectic, I had to get this table as a focal piece for this cozy space. The barbecue tools have got to go however...

In the winter, when backroom becomes the intermediate space between the woodpile and the fireplace, the chair and the table will go in my spare guest room which is empty save for a futon bed and a wool rug. They will face my Buddha and I will transform it into a winter meditation room. (I must buy lots of candles!)

The table was expensive, but as I thought about it, I know I will love it every day of what I have left on this earth. And, I am sure that someone will love it after me.
Put your dibs in now!

I am excited how the work on the house is coming. It is rich with color and I am working on decluttering and opening space up. I will post more pictures as things are finished.

PS Visit my Catskill Paper blog for some lovely Hudson River School type photos!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


We are done painting the walls in the kitchen. I need to decide what color is going behind the walls of my old pine cabinets that have glass and wood doors on the front. I love the red and I also love the green, except that the green tends to get very dark at night.

Bardet says I should paint the two lower spaces green, and the two upper ones red. I have three sets of cabinets I need to do. The red kicks out brightness more than the green does, but the thought of having BOTH colors is really appealling to me.

Larry thinks I might be a bit crazy with what I am doing, I think, hell, if I really hate it, I can repaint, no? Besides 2 artists live here and we should have fun with it.

Off to think about it, and about my lovely afternoon swim under a brilliant blue sky in the woods on one of the most perfect of summer days.

Mermaiden Patti

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More than A Muddy Cup

I started my day with strong visions from a dream. I was walking through fields of freshly plowed earth, my bare feet sinking in over my ankles with thick soft loamy mud. I woke up with the image strong in my mind, and proceeded living my day with it always on the brink of my mind. Strange how dreams can affect us all day long.

I suspect this dream was influenced by the book I was reading before I drifted off to sleep - The Poisonwood Bible. Set in the Congo in the 1960’s. it is a story about a missionary's family. It is intense and the author pulls you into the role of politics and religion during that time period. I find it very emotional for me as the obsessive religious zeal is too close to home at times. I drift off to sleep smelling the mud, feeling the dust , and smelling death.

Later today I took a trip to a local coffee place - The Muddy Cup. How appropriate to end to a day the way it began….with mud..

A new place, it is large, has lots of informal cool seating areas, and wireless Internet. No one seemed to mind that I was hanging out there and reading on the couch waiting for some friends to show up. I ordered an ice decaf, and I perused the counters looking for what I might want to eat. My eyes drifted onto a plate of bagels. One of them was coated in a thick layer of green fuzzy mold. I said to the girl “you might want to get rid of these bagels, they are moldy” and she answered “they are samples” and sure enough, written on the plastic wrap in red marker is the word SAMPLES. Moldy samples just left on the counter.

I shuddered. I decided that the drink was enough and I would never eat there.

The place was run by pleasant enough young women, but it was overly busy with young children running, fighting, pushing into our table, jumping up and down on the couches, and in the end, screaming at the top of their lungs.

I had enough, and excused my way home.

Perhaps I caught a bad time. Perhaps it is normally a quiet sort of place. I do know that I will keep searching for cool places to hang , eat, drink, and think , and the Muddy Cup is at the bottom of the list! Monkey Joe's here I come
Patti (tonight's digital photo Titled: Accidental Still Life While Painting)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Only God Shall Judge Me

St. John's Episcopal Church in Ellenville is beautiful church. Constructed in the 1800's, it's interior is wood, built in the Gothic style with pointed arches, and groin/ribbed vaults. While sitting inside I felt like I was in the belly of a huge ship.

Father Jeff is the most amazing man, and led a beautiful wedding mass. Now I was raised Catholic, and was shocked to find out that I was welcome to receive communion. In the Catholic church, only Catholics without "mortal sin" may receive.

I am destined for hell as I did not get an annulment for my first marriage. I certainly qualified for on according to church rules, but I did not believe that by paying money I was making it all OK to get married in the church again.

So Bardet married us, and according to the church I am living in a state of sin, but I don't think God is closing the pearly gates, being the benevolent loving God that he is.

I felt loved and in a state of grace in that church, and for the first time in years, I received communion. I would even go to that church again, and check it out further. Too bad it is so far, but Father Jeff rocks, and I certainly believe that everything happens for a reason.

I was also glad to see that Father Jeff was married, and I met his LOVELY wife. Did you know that the ban on priests marrying in the Catholic Church stemmed from the Medieval ages and it purely a financial decision? Since disease killed so many priests, they did not want to be responsible for the support of their families!!!! If they can't marry, then you have no obligations to their family!!

Megan has a tattoo that says "Only God Can Judge Me" up her forearm. Now I am not too fond of tats in general, but they are part of her, and it is her body, and it said much of what I felt the two days I was in the church, breaking Catholic rules.

Yes indeedy, only God CAN judge me.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Day at the Reservoir

My Catskill Paper blog tells a bit about my art day at the Ashokan Reservoir. It is a beautiful place, source of all of NYC's drinking water.

Here are a few pictures to enjoy.

Near the Woodstock area, it is a place to exercise, make art, relax and enjoy the splendid beauty molded both by the earth AND man. And, it is free!

Till tomorrow, Patti

Why I Need A Mansion

I have not been so great at blogging these days as I have been so incredibly busy. The preparation for the wedding was intense, and it is taking me a few days to unwind from the event.

Yesterday I relaxed, had Alanna the later part of the day, so we went to my friend's house. Karen and Phil are some of the most relaxed people you could ever know, and WONDERFUL friends, and you can often find them home on a Sunday afternoon hosting a small party by their pool, which is in ground, perhaps Olympic size, and very very private. They have a trampoline which the kids LOVE, a large well groomed yard, fabulous organic vegetable gardens (which I have been caught grazing in, LOL). Quite often we get a vicious game of croquet going, and everyone brings a dish and a bottle.

After 5 hours of food, drink, pool, trampoline (hey, that is some exercise)we went home and all crashed.

I want my own mansion...complete with pool, croquet course, gardens, and out buildings. I figured I could have BIG parties, (my house is smallish), and because my mansion will have a view, I could hold weekend workshops in photographing and painting the Catskills. I could have relatives come and visit any time as I will have about 7 bedrooms for them to chose from. The house would be so big that perhaps a few friends could live there and I would have to make an appointment to see them!!

I would have my own studio, complete with turret and north light. I could paint huge canvases because the studio is huge. The walls would be covered with art as I would finally have enough wall space to show case both Larry's photographs, my art, and all the prints I have collected. Each room would have a theme, and I would spend endless hours combing the junk shops and antique stores to find things to decorate with.

Of course I have an endless supply of money and no longer have to go to work everyday, because the only thing I do is work for myself.

Here are a few photos of a mansion for sale in Catskill. River and mountain view. Adjoins sanctuary land. A woman who has been successful in her life following her dreams think we should pursue this dream.

Instead I make my home my own mansion, for that is what I can afford. But I can still dream and decorate the rooms in my mind..and if I want that river view, I will head to Clermont or Olana.

PS photos by Larry

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Morning After

I just got back from brunch. A bit tired, sore from standing all day, but I have a smile of my face.

Megan's wedding was fabulous. The ceremony was beautiful as well as the church. The barbecue was wonderful in the outdoors on the edge of the woods on a mountain, in spite of the extreme heat.

It is always lovely to spent time with close friend and family in a celebration of joyful things. I think everyone had a great time.

I did not take one photo as I had too much talking and running around to do. Larry did shoot a few, so I have some for my future posts. Judi did all the photos and did an absolutely amazing job. As soon as we have them up online I will send a link!

This is a photo of Megan and Karen. Karen's daughter Zeva got married in Paris this past spring. It looked like a stage set from Titanic.

Off to a swim and barbecue, patti

Friday, August 24, 2007

Manicure Virgin

I give up. I have some great shots of Mohonk at 8:15 in the morning in the fog, looking like something from Stephen King, but for some reason the photos are really compressing horridly. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to it either. It was surreal, beautiful, and dark on the ride there.

I had my first manicure this morning at Mohonk with Megan for the big day tomorrow. It felt decadent, and my only regret was that my swim suit was in the car and I was parked too far away for me to get it and jump in the mineral hot tub. Megan and I agreed that we will get SOME spa service so that we can spend the day up there together (she gets 1/2 off as she is still employed till the 5th!!)and we will hike, swim, spa, and just have fun.

We worked really hard afterwards setting up the club, cleaning, decorating etc.
Later the rehearsal at the church, and back to Dole's house for a bite to eat. I put tags and ribbons on near 100 bags of homemade fudge, then made a huge tin of tomato salad.

I am going to bed, as I am EXHAUSTED. Almost too tired and overwhelmed to be excited.

But, with a morning jolt of java I will be back on track and reporting from the heart of the Catskills!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Note from the Universe

I subscribe to little daily blurbs from a site called The Adventurers Club. It is a site devoted to the "law of attraction", visualization tools, the power of thought etc. Perhaps a bit "New Agey" for some....but I am one who gleans philosophies from many different avenues and I take what I like, and leave the rest. The term Universe can be changed to "God as we know it" or any other deity which you believe in.

I really liked today's Note. It made me smile while the world is spinning out of control around me:

Daily, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second you are admired by eyes in the unseen, Patti. You are completely understood. Your actions and inactions are honored. Your thoughts and deeds are saluted. Even your fears and challenges are seen as they truly are: not as weaknesses, but opportunities you once crafted for gifts you can now hardly imagine.

And, I must say, having a connection with a soul as adventurous as yours gives us all ample reason to party like "the roof was on fire."

Thanks, from this side of the curtains -
The Universe

I want to write the universe a note back...Thank YOU for providing me with endless opportunities for learning how to live each day to its fullest, with passion and love. There is no greater gift.

I chose this random photo for today as I see the Universe as a very wise entity. And, you know, you don't get wise without putting on the years, afnd there is beauty is all stages in life, so here is to age and wisdom!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Into the Woods

Although I did post this to my art blog, I wanted to post this here too. This was my creative piece for the day for a Fatbook I am in. I was on a deadline, I had Alanna a good part of the day so I could not work in the studio; I went digital. The back of the piece is another digital illustration, with a snippet from a poem "Into the Woods":

Oh where have you been all day
That you have been so long away?
Oh, I have been a woodland child,
And walked alone in places wild.
Bright eyes peered at me everywhere,
And voices filled the evening air;
All sounds of furred and feathered things,
The footfall soft, the whir of wings. (by Dorothy Baker)

Oh I am indeed a woodland child, ripped out of Long Island and moved to the heart of the Catskills at 12 years of age. I spent my teenage years in the woods, finding solace from my rotten life amidst the crumbling stone walls of farms long overgrown, under ancient trees black with disease, picking blackberries in the fields where deer bed down at night. And no, I never EVER got a tick and the most dangerous encounter was a baby copperhead snake. I sketched, I painted, and I wrote poetry in those woods.

I just got back from the movies. I saw Stardust which was fun, humorous, romantic, magical, full of fun special effects and a cast that includes a brief appearance by Peter O'Toole as a dying king(bravo!), Robert DeNiro as a cross dressing pirate, Clair Danes as the "star" spirit, and Michelle Pfeiffer as a witch trying to obtain eternal youth. Swashbuckling adventure and a good old fashioned entertaining movie. And the previews look to promise some more fantasy coming to a theater near you. And I LOVE a good fantasy!

To dreams and adventure everyday of my life, Patti

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Very Rainy Tuesday

This week is a busy one getting ready for the wedding. Last night got my hair done-cut and highlighted. Dinner with my friends afterwards.

Today is phone calls, therapy, and I am debating as to whether or not I should drive to Poughkeepsie to do an overnight with a friend. I can't paint as it is too cold and damp and smelly, I could work in the studio, or I could visit my friend and play and go have dinner and a sleep over. After all, I did devote 10 days to Larry in a row, and he must be tired of me by now.

I don't want to bore you with the silly details of my life. How droll. I will be back soon with more exciting adventures, or musings about life.

Or about the interesting experience with EMDR therapy.

Till then, xxpatti
PS One of my strange surreal collages called "I'm Bugged". Fits with how I feel these days with all that has to be done!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Day After

I am posting really late but that is because all of yesterday and into the wee hours of this morning was one continuous party.

Megan's bridal shower went off without a hitch. We had so much food left over, but we did manage to kill all the champagne....

Then off to Jane and Marcel's post wedding party in the country town of Philmont near Hudson NY in a fabulous 1820 Victorian home owned by a very savvy business woman who rents furniture for props, and has warehouses full of furniture from nearly every time period. She has invited us to come on a candlelight tour of the old paper mill that she bought, or the handbag factory. That will have to be for another time!

The house had three floors and I lost count of the number of bedrooms. There was a great stable behind the house, grand enough to live in. Ah to dream on about owning one of these great homes! (makes me want to get that book on how to be a millionaire as that is what I would need to buy, work on, and maintain such a home!)

Afterwards back to my girlfriend's house for a hot tub party...under the stars, with glass of champagne in hand....steam rising, and at one point the pan of Tiramisu was floating around in the hot tub, with the guys eating out of it with a spoon.

We all met up for breakfast well after noon, looking a little tired, a little ragged, but all so very happy, which is how a love fest celebration should leave one........and it was good. Patti

Photo: late afternoon of the Victorian home. I still need to buy a tripod so that I can shoot interiors and not always have to use flash!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cat Yoga

Quick blog while I am waiting for the pasta to cook to make Pesto Pasta for Megan's shower. Have been very busy with house, shopping, wrapping, preparing etc. for this intimate event. I think there will only be about 12 people, but I have a few gifts from friends who could not make it.

Photo taken while Larry was doing his daily yoga. My sweet cat Raphaela is joining him. Sometimes I get annoyed that he does yoga every day no matter where he is and is in such good shape from it. Been doing that for 3 years or so now, maybe longer. I think, imagine what I would look like if I did that. Never too late I guess.....

I, on the other hand, don't seem to have enough time in the day to exercise the way I want to. Most of my exercise is mental, whether I am writing or designing or making art. Well, there is house painting,cleaning, and gardening. Let me tell you, that can be tough work at times. Can I squeeze out another 1/2 hour in the day for yoga???? Hmmmmmmmmmmm....

Wild heavy storms marched through here for the second day in a row, giving us much needed rain for the gardens. My second crop of greens is popping up quite nicely with the heat from the sun and the downpours we have had. In another month or so I will be enjoying the last output from the garden. Then from November to April, a long six months, when the gardens will be dormant and empty save for the few plants and herbs that might survive part of the winter.

The daylight is dimming was pretty dark at 8pm. I become so melancholy in the late fall and winter. No sun, no gardens, no verdant green. No daughter or granddaughter to distract me. Perhaps it will be the winter that I start yoga to keep my mind and heart at peace, and my body strong, and I too can get a hug from my cats.


Friday, August 17, 2007

The Best Things are Often Free (or close to it)

One of the things I realized over the time Larry and I have had off and not gone away, is that some of the best things in life are FREE.

After a second coat of primer, Larry and I headed up to Clermont to pick up my lost cell phone. We took a bit to time to paint and photograph; he in the gardens with his Diana camera, me on the banks of the Hudson with my watercolors and pens.

As I sat there and gazed upon the still landscape, with the warm sun upon my shoulders, I realized that this entire stretch of land along with its mansion is our collective public backyard, as it is with many of the State historic sites. Sometimes there is a 5.00 usage fee, but that is only on the weekends. And even at 5.00, which is nearly free, you can paint, picnic, sleep, read, on acres of mowed grass and beautiful vistas, and usually there is a lovely garden to be found on site.

Later we headed up to North Lake and hiked to the site of the Catskill Mountain House. Since it was so late, the gatekeeper waived our entry fee. The vista is splendid, and we watched the storms coming in from the west, while we painted and photographed. Even at 6.00, the two lakes, the hiking and vistas are worth every cent.

For dinner we grabbed a burrito from this little tiny ancient 50's trailer which is known for its knock out burritos for 4.50-5.50. It is located on Route 9G on the way to Tivoli/Clermont/Olana.

I hope to get to a few more historic sites such as the Vanderbilt and the Roosevelt Mansions in Hyde Park before the summer is over. I have amassed a quantity of wonderful photographs and spot sketches and hope to bury myself in my studio this winter and paint in the spare time I am not teaching.

So folks, you don't have to look far for beauty, fun, and adventure. Often it is right in your own backyard, and you don't have to spend much to access it!

PS sketch done at Clermont along the upper bank of the river...I loved the trees..they looked like they danced on the hill.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Buried in the Kitchen

If you wonder why so little from me, it is because we are totally caught up in working on the kitchen as well as my helping plan this bridal shower for Megan on Saturday.

I feel my world spinning out of control again. The shower, the wedding, the complications, the mini earthquakes, my son is in some trouble and worries me.

I drank too much coffee today. I need to take some deep breaths before my heart pounds out of my chest, LOL.

This is Larry with his photo lights working on the walls about 11 pm last night. I knew it was time to quit when I was getting paint all over the place, and all over me. Today we will get the second coat of primer on. I HOPE.

Off to change into my paint clothes and get the edge work done on the walls and ceiling.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Birthdday RUBEN

It was a long day yesterday....Larry and I spent many hours taping the kitchen, and laying down the first coat of primer on the ceiling and the walls of our kitchen.

We live in an older home, built in 1928. It was built very well, with a thick bluestone foundation and plaster walls, the plaster far thicker than some of the cheaper homes this age.

The kitchen had been wallpapered when I bought the house 16 years ago. It was nice once, but over time off-white patterned wallpaper in a kitchen gets stained, discolored, and looks nasty.

The paint underneath it was the institutional green I remember seeing in schools of the 60's and 70's. Not knowing what kind of paint was used, we had to use smelly thick primer to cover it.

The first coat is on, and we hope to be painting the walls this week, and know it will take 2 coats. I am settling on a color I used in my bathroom, a rich melon type of color that glows in any light. It changes color in the light from a more yellow orange, to a deeper melon with fading light. I am working from a William Morris palette, and hope that the colors I use will all work well together. I guess you don't know until you try it, and you can always paint over it, no? I will just make sure I get the main walls the right color, LOL.

Afterwards I went to a small intimate party for my friend Ruben's birthday. Ruben is the vocalist and drummer of the the fabulous Latin band SONANDO Ruben and I have worked together for 15 years and been through a lot together as close friends. He is a fabu cook, and I joke in the classroom that he is my "other husband who cooks for me".

One winter I broke up with my fiance and was living alone with the kids. We got hit with snowstorm after snowstorm. It was a winter of record breaking cold temperatures; gas lines froze on buses and we had more snow days than allotted that winter. We lost most of our spring break. I felt like I was being buried alive in snow and emotions. Tearful phone calls back and forth to my fiance, hours of staring out into the white wilderness feeling so very alone. Ruben would call me or when he could he would stop by, treating the kids to ice cream, or bringing me a bottle of wine and making sure I had been plowed out.

Happy Birthday dear friend. May you play and laugh and celebrate life in the jubilant way that you do for many many more years to come. Oh and the photo is of Ruben and his daughter Talia!


Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunset Photos

I am having some difficulties with Blogger these days; I publish, and my blog does not appear. I write on an almost daily basis, though not always at the same time each day. So I am trying to fix this so that it appears!

I have said often in my blogs how I love the Hudson River. In fact, I would say that I have had quite the intimate affair with the river this year, studying its many moods, many colors, many vistas, from its deep groaning freeze of February, to its murmuring whispers on hot summer nights. Last night's photos (since the blog did not publish) were taken at sunset by Clermont; the other from the hill/mountain top vista at Olana Saturday night.

I hope to get to the Vanderbilt and to Locust Grove this week also. I painted at Wilderstein last summer, so if something has to give, it will be that.

I laid my blanket on the ground in back yard last night and once more tried to view the Perseid meteor shower. I was fortunate enough to see four meteors in spite of the ambient light from our little city. I made a few wishes....patti

Vacationing in the Catskills

Larry has this week off. We could do some overnights or we could just stay home and do day trips. After all, we live in one of the loveliest vacation spots in the northeast. From swimming to hiking, to exploring historic mansions on the Hudson, the Catskills have it all.

Yesterday we had no choice but to spend the first part of the day taking care of the lawn and gardens. I ripped out two gardens down to the bare soil, and replanted a crop of lettuce, spinach, mustard greens and arugula. That should give me a fall crop, and with any luck they will make it into November as some of the greens are hardy past frost. I have to say, except for the front of the house, we have a good amount under control these days. My son has helped put in some of the sweat, and I am enjoying our little piece of city paradise. Though I live in a city, (how many people DOES it take to make a city?!) I am 20 minutes from the Catskills/Woodstock area, from Rhinebeck across the river, and within 5 minutes I am out of city limits and in the country. I have several organic gardens on my plot which is barely 100 x 100...with a two car garage and house on it.

Afterwards Larry had things to do, so I took off to my friend Karen's who has a huge private built in pool in the woods, about 10 minutes or so from my house. We floated about the water for some three hours, three women discussing our lives and challenges that we face on an almost daily basis. I feel no need for therapy this week after our float session.

Today's photo is in Karen's yard. The neighborhood chickens and other related fowl came wondering into the yard. I thought it was so funny that they were hanging out and eating by the barbecue. Suddenly, as if they could read my mind, they jetted back to the opening in the fence, screaming at one another on the way out.

At 9:30 at night we headed up with Bardet and Pix to the Ashokan Reservoir to watch the meteor showers. Sadly, there was a cloud cover that we watched obliterate whatever stars that were left when we arrived. It was a lovely evening however, laying on the blankets, staring at the sky, and watching house by house turn off their lights on the mountain. Perhaps tonight we will fare better.

Later with more adventures! Patti

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Day for the Senses

I have taken a short hiatus from writing these days. I still think about it, but I have been busy living life rather than writing about it which in turn gives me even more fodder to reflect upon and write about.

I have some local restaurant and product reviews I want to do, but after a long day I will save it.

Larry and I headed up to Olana for a picnic and to make art from 4-8. We watched and photographed the light, I sketched the landscape. (see my Catskillpaper blog for the sketches.) It was delightful to spend that time in the splendor of nature and amongst the many great spirits that walked on those grounds 100 years ago.

I think the top photo says it all for the day, and it could be titled "Sunset Picnic with Wine at Olana". The next photo is nearing sunset and Larry is taking photos, and the last one is a great shot of the sunset and lovely rosy glow of the light late the day.

I made three sketches, took many many wonderful photos and had a splendid relaxing evening, had a bottle of Smoking Loon (Cabernet), soft cheese, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, and salad.

I don't think it gets better than that, unless of course, I am in Tuscany.

CIAO! patti

Friday, August 10, 2007

Shelf Explosion

I feel like this should be on the emergency broadcast system, you know, the one that announces botulism in peanut butter, and lead on Dora toys. This one would be for a warning about those metal grate shelving systems that explode one day on you.

I am sitting at my computer, it is a rainy day. I am getting business done, packing up some prints from an Internet sale. I pull out an envelope from the pile on the shelf, and in the blink of an eye my 12 box shelving system explodes. Books go flying, a fur stole thrown at my face, envelopes, prints, more books, and lord knows what else collapses on top of me.

I am sitting in shock. I unbury myself, check to see if I am OK. Alright, one cut to the knee, but that is not too bad. Small bump. As I try and recover, my arm hurts, as well as my foot. The broken one. I think I just got banged up a bit and was thankful that Alanna was not standing by it. She would have been buried.

So how dangerous are these type of shelves? Just one wrong pull, one wrong twist put pressure on the entire structure, making every connection into those plastic connectors pop open.

Well, I had been wanting to move the stuff out of there. The only problem is, I have not prepared a space yet and need to now buy some kind of wood shelving unit for the spare room.

It is always something, isn't it. So much for soldering in the studio today!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Restorative Power of Water

I had a rough start to the day. I won't get into it, but it was one of those melt down days.

Whenever I am sad or feeling stressed, I head to the studio. A bit of music, a seltzer, and some A/C made the day bearable. I spent time working on a large order, and today I forced myself to do some soldering. I find soldering a bit tedious as it is more rote rather than a creative endeavor, but at this point in time, I don't have anyone to hire to do that.

I took my break at 2:30 and laid outside for a while with my book. Within a few minutes my neighbor's car alarm went off a few times and made quite a racket for a LONG TIME.

After sweating in the sun, and trying to cool off by dripping ice water and run ice cubes over my skin, I gave up and went upstairs to my bedroom where the A/C was on and laid down for an hour nap. I had only gotten about 5 hours of sleep last night, so it was much welcomed.

I had gotten up and was walking around in a daze when Karen came by and whisked me swimming at Onteora lake, this wonderful state land with NO RULES, no ropes, as someone said, it is a "drown at your own risk" kind of place.

I don't know if it was on old quarry, but the lake is quite deep and large enough to get a really good swim in. I am not as strong a swimmer as the other women I was with, but I did manage to spend 20-30 minutes swimming steadily out into the lake.

The water was warm, a bit too warm, and I could feel myself sweating while swimming. I used to swim 1/2 a mile or more at a time many years ago, and I enjoyed being in the middle of the Catskills, with a group of women swimming the lake.

When I got out and I felt renewed. I was cooled, my muscles were warmed up and felt alive, my head was cleared, and my soul washed clean.

When Karen dropped me back home I walked into the house with a smile. I had not had one all day, which is unusual for me, but the waters purified me and made me whole again.

The photo is not of the lake that I swam in, rather of a huge kettle pond on the cape near Orleans. Now THAT I would like to check out the next time I am out there. Kyacks and rowboats, another one of my past loves.

Patti reporting from the magical mystical tour of the Catskill Mountains.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Grandfather Stories

I have been reading Frank McCourt's book Teacher Man, a must read for any teacher, especially those who work with alternative or troubled kids. I have read both Angela's Ashes and Tis. He is a fabulous writer and I am thankful for his gift and for the difficult education on living as a poor Irish Catholic. Though I was not nearly as poor as he was as a child, (actually I was rich in comparison) some of the other stories rang true for me. He is a role model to me. A phoenix rising from the ashes.

My father's family, on his father's side were Gibbons, from County Antrim in Northern Ireland. They settled in the Philadelphia area, and they had servants. They must have had money at one point, and they were educated. I only know that my grandfather worked for the Post Office a good part of his life, which saved his family from starving during the depression. My father's mother's family was from Scotland, and I know little about the status of the McDonald's or Stewarts.

I remember my grandfather being called Bebop, and he was a tall while haired man, who remains a shadow in my mind as he died of a stroke, probably secondary to cancer when I was a little girl. I don't have a picture of him, only a wisp of a memory.

My mother's family was 100% pure Lithuanian. My great grandmother and grandfather came over at 15 and 16 (around that) as a young married couple. My great grandfather raised canaries in Brooklyn...that is all I know about him...and don't know if that is how he supported his family. My mother told stories about having chickens in Brooklyn as children, and the entire family all lived in the same neighborhood. My grandfather was a cop in Brooklyn, and that is how HIS family all survived the hardships of the times. I don't think my father liked him much (my father did not like many people, you had to pass some saint test or something) and I suspect that the Lithuanian side of the family liked to drink a lot as evidenced by the bag of photos my grandmother left behind.

Yet this grandfather was like Santa to me. He drove a big black car, filled with presents whenever he came to visit. I know my father frowned when my grandfather bestowed such gifts upon us. Perhaps he was afraid it would spoil us.

I remember him holding out a beautiful doll to me, and I was afraid to take it, afraid somehow of my father. I remember them fighting about it and my grandfather won -- I got to take the doll. Perhaps that explains my lifetime discomfort with accepting gifts gracefully.

That grandfather also died when I was young, which was so very sad for us all. The only role male role model was our austere father. Sometimes I think if I had loving doting grandfathers I may have fared better in life in my dealings with men. I had barely a taste of the love of a grandfather before they were snatched early from life.

So all you grandfathers out there, or grandfathers to be in the future, you are so important and so special. Love those little children. Your love is in investment in the future of our world.

To all the grandfathers.....patti

Monday, August 06, 2007

Thank You to my Readers

I have received some lovely comments and emails about last night's blog, as well as other blogs that I have written over the past year. It is gratifying to know that my thoughts and my experiences touch others, bring them to another time, give them something to think about.

Though we are each unique individuals, we have universal experiences and feelings, and it is those that I seek to reach out and connect with. In a cyberspace sort of way, I yearn to hold hands and celebrate our commonalities rather than our differences.

Thank you to those who have told me their stories and experiences. Please feel free to interact and share more. If you write me emails, let me know if I can publish exerpts from them.

Through our stories we connect, heal, and experience joy.

Namaste, Patti

Thoughts While Ironing

I am not a domestic woman. In fact, I joke about failing Martha Stewart school. But once in a while I am either forced to be domestic, or else something small calls to me and says I can stand to do it for a while, and I get caught up in the meditation of it or the memories of the action.

I had done a bunch of laundry and ended up with a pile of ironing. I usually get my things right out of the dryer as I am not fond of ironing. However today I had a pile of dinner napkins and linens that I had cleaned (a rare occasion) along with a beautiful white dress for Alanna, and a few things for myself.

I heated up the iron, started to work, and the wrinkles were not coming out. Ah, yes, I needed water for the steam. As I continued to iron, I remembered my mother's bottle that she put water in. It was an ordinary detergent bottle, but she had this little red top with holes, like on a watering can, and the bottom had cork on it so that it would custom fit into the bottle. I don't know if they sold these as a set, or if you bought the top to fit in your own bottle, but this was what she used to sprinkle the clothes with water before ironing. I am guessing that in the 50-60's there were no steam irons. She did that for years.

I also remember my mother ironing all my father's white shirts. Endlessly. When it came time for the handkerchiefs she was tired, and was all too willing to let me stand on a box and iron them.

As a small child I put so much love into ironing his handkerchiefs. I wondered if he could feel all that love in his pockets. Maybe he would be nicer to me and think of me when he took them out. I ironed them into quarters, patted them with my little hand and took joy in the process.

Then there was the time that my mother was ironing and I watched her put the iron down and start to cry. She said President Kennedy had just been shot and he died. I did not understand much of that, but for my mother to cry, it must have been bad.

I smiled when I ironed Alanna's dress, all those little pin tucks and ruffles and lace. I imagined her in her curly blonde hair and blue eyes running all over the place in it at the last party, and how she ate watermelon, the juices running down her arms and onto her dress till it turned light pink. It all came out in the wash, and is ready for the next party.

I thought about life and how messy it gets sometimes, and if we have the right attitude we can make it as white as snow, and with a bit of effort can iron out the wrinkles.

Out of an ordinary chore came some extrodinary memories and musings, and it is all good.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Yard Sale!!!

Yesterday was a long hot day. Up at 6, had Larry out at 7 to put up signs for the Yard Sale, and then to set up. There was my stuff, Megan's stuff, her grandparents stuff, and one other friend bought HER stuff! We made 150+ for the wedding, and promptly after the sale Megan went to Sam's club to pick up some of the the things she needs for the barbecue/reception. Yard sales are always fun, my friends stop by and say hi, and at the end I put out all that I did not want on my front wall. People are still stopping by to pick up things that they see, which is great. In the end I will box the remainders up and send it to the Salvation Army.

This time I only sold 1 antique print and one magnet that I made; it was not a sale for art things. Last time I did a sale I made nearly 400.00, but perhaps I had better collectibles for sale. We did move a lot of stuff, and I know I have tons more for a later sale. I don't know if I can pull another one off before the wedding; perhaps I can list stuff on etsy/ebay and give her 1/2 of the money.

We have always had to work hard for what we needed, but have no shame and don't mind doing it. Nothing has ever come easily to me without working for it, but it has taught me the ethics of hard work, appreciation for what I have, and faith that all will be ok. I am grateful for what I do have as I am richer than 90+% of the world.

I had to pay for both of my weddings myself, and friends were always generous in providing food for the pot luck dinners. Megan's fiance thinks that is tacky, so they are forced to work super hard now to try and finance this entire thing. I am not sure how they will pull it off. I will help with what I can, but our finances are limited.

I took last night's photo while eating dinner at 9 pm downtown Kingston. Live music drifted by, it was warm and the streets were bustling with people. Nice to see that in our small city. If only people would spend money on art the same way they spend money on food and booze.

I am going to my niece's 21st birthday party tonight and as part of her gift I am doing the photography. Practice for one of my possible next side lines when I retire!

till later, xxxpatti

Yard Sale!!!

Yesterday was a long hot day. Up at 6, had Larry out at 7 to put up signs for the Yard Sale, and then to set up. There was my stuff, Megan's stuff, her grandparents stuff, and one other friend bought HER stuff! We made 150+ for the wedding, and promptly after the sale Megan went to Sam's club to pick up some of the the things she needs for the barbecue/reception. Yard sales are always fun, my friends stop by and say hi, and at the end I put out all that I did not want on my front wall. People are still stopping by to pick up things that they see, which is great. In the end I will box the remainders up and send it to the Salvation Army.

This time I only sold 1 antique print and one magnet that I made; it was not a sale for art things. Last time I did a sale I made nearly 400.00, but perhaps I had better collectibles for sale. We did move a lot of stuff, and I know I have tons more for a later sale. I don't know if I can pull another one off before the wedding; perhaps I can list stuff on etsy/ebay and give her 1/2 of the money.

We have always had to work hard for what we needed, but have no shame and don't mind doing it. Nothing has ever come easily to me without working for it, but it has taught me the ethics of hard work, appreciation for what I have, and faith that all will be ok. I am grateful for what I do have as I am richer than 90+% of the world.

I had to pay for both of my weddings myself, and friends were always generous in providing food for the pot luck dinners. Megan's fiance thinks that is tacky, so they are forced to work super hard now to try and finance this entire thing. I am not sure how they will pull it off. I will help with what I can, but our finances are limited.

I took last night's photo while eating dinner at 9 pm downtown Kingston. Live music drifted by, it was warm and the streets were bustling with people. Nice to see that in our small city. If only people would spend money on art the same way they spend money on food and booze.

I am going to my niece's 21st birthday party tonight and as part of her gift I am doing the photography. Practice for one of my possible next side lines when I retire!

till later, xxxpatti

Friday, August 03, 2007

Wedding Shopping

Megan took these pictures standing on a chair in the Macy's dressing room. They are a bit harsh in color, and I look stumpy and short, but this is the dress I bought. She loved it, my sister said I look Mermaidesque in it. These photos do NOT do it justice (or me for that matter) I found a pair of lovely silverish ballet type shoes, Jessica Simpson brand (Megan knows who that is...I have only heard of her- generation gap). I think I will be OK. Not sure if a bare back is allowed in a church. I mean after all, the bride does not cover up HER dress! Well, I will see if anyone has a very sheer wrap I will borrow one in case.

I also bought her to Macy's to register for a few more gifts and we talked about the bridal shower. She has to know when it is due to her working at Mohonk, but we got the invites done, did some planning for the wedding, and then spent the afternoon making COOL yard sale signs for the neighborhood. That was the MOST fun part of the day as Megan really gets into making the signs fun, I got Dole and Alanna working on them too. I made a bunch of arrows and let Alanna color them in with crayons. Ok it looks like scribbling, but she loved it and we did too.

I spent a few hours tonight packing up some antique prints, gathering some leftover art etc. to sell. I always like to have some cool collectible and art items. You never know where it might lead, and a few people who know me will probably come right over to see what I have for collage goods and framing.

A few other people are bringing things over too to sell. Most of the proceeds are going to raise money for the wedding, and some of the art money has to go back into the business, but only to cover the cost of the materials I am selling. I hope some people come and that it is worth while. Otherwise I am donating/dumping/free cycling it etc. I can't stand the clutter. (except for the antique paper and prints-those I can sell and I don't mind dying surrounded by paper and art).

I still have not slept, my estrogen is at a peak and needs to crash so I can come back to as close to normal as I can be.



Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Quick Blurt

I just got in, it is too late too blog. I am still hormonally challenged in many ways....survived the rejection from the art gallery, but I did get one piece in and come to find out that I was lucky to even get ONE piece in as 50% of the applicants were rejected.

Larry got in no sweat. The curator said "oh what a great piece". I am glad for him. He is an amazing photographer who still works traditionally with an 8 x 10 camera. I want to do a show with him called "Telling Stories".

I did go to my German class after a 2+ month hiatus, where we swam, partied, and spoke SOME German. Too hot for "mein Gehirn" to work.

More tomorrow, xxpatti

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I Surrender

I figured these images were good follow ups from the blog of the other night, as the PMS is still persisting. The first image is a digital photo I made, and the second piece is a collage I did a while ago. Come to think of it, I have not seen that piece for a long time! Where the heck is it? Did Larry steal it away and hide it so that I could not sell it?

I am on day four of no sleep, and tonight I have the beginning of a migraine which can only mean my torture is soon over. I hope.

I managed to speak to my friend Jane in New Orleans today, (Algeria to be precise) and she said her bank is still in a trailer. She was telling me that people have had to put in their copper piping three times as vagrants come and steal the copper out of the houses being rebuilt for the scrap metal. Rows still of boarded up houses. Houses with nothing but 2x4s mapping out the rooms. Very very sad. Tonight's images remind me of the horrors that New Orleans experienced..just a few short months after my glorious visit there. I don't know how to tell Jane that I don't know if I can go back.

I want to write more about grandparents, but no energy. I am having problems seeing all my pictures, and I did see them yesterday! I think blogger is also having some issues...

So till tomorrow......