Sunday, September 30, 2007

Blogging in Bed

One of the best things that I did for myself this summer was to buy a laptop, install a router, and be able to do things like blog in bed. I sit here with my bedroom window open as it is warm out on this early fall morning, listening to the neighborhood dogs barking, the whistle on the train sighing in the background. The streets outside are quiet for the most part, with an occasional car zooming by. The early autumn sun is not strong enough to light up my room, so I must light it with my reading lamp, and a cup of tepid coffee sits on my night table.

I sit here and glorious this moment is.

I just read a comment from someone on one of my blogs. I don't' know if it is the reader I had some banter with over a local eatery, or if it is someone else. This person was not anonymous however, and though he commented that he often has different opinions than I (good thing boring it would be if we all thought the same!) but he also said that he enjoyed my blog and thought it was one of the best out there.

Being the humble person that I am (I really don't have much of an ego, that got destroyed as a two year old early on, and there is not much hope of getting it back, but who needs one anyway..) I hardly think the my writing or blog is that good, but I do speak from the heart and soul, and perhaps it is my honest writing that piques people's interest from time to time. Thank you John. What a nice way to start my day.

My party yesterday was delightful. I have come in my middle years, to be close to my cousins on my father's side. I have always loved these three boys who were full of piss and vinegar. Though never mean or hurtful, they were the epitome of the trickery, teasing, and games of boys. That joyful banter was not allowed in our family amongst four children. We were subdued, lived in fear of punishment, and on some very primitive level, of being seriously hurt. Fortunately I had spunk as a child, and my father could never quite beat all of it from me. It is what keeps me going and makes me the zany woman that I am.

I got to see all three of my cousins yesterday, and we had a great time. I photographed the party, but then Larry stole the show with his 2,000.00 camera, and super large special zoom lens. Bigger and better always seems to steal the show in life, but I can still shoot a mean picture with my 200.00 Canon.

I had five lovely young girls to photograph, and we had a blast making pictures under the trees in their yard. I will post a photo soon as I am too lazy to get out of bed and hook up the camera equipment to the computer. Besides, the battery in this thing does not last too long, so I will upload and put up a photo later.

A funny aside, I asked the girls, WHERE ARE ALL THE BOYS??!! They laughed with an edge, and I knew they had figured them out very early in life. They didn't need the boys/men to have a blast at their party. In fact, they weren't invited!!!!! At 21 they were pretty grounded and off to good starts in life. Sometimes I wish...who would I be if....... but shake my head and know that everything is the way it is because it had to be. And it is all ok.

Off to blog about art and try to figure out how to make myspace classy...Patti
PS a photo of me working with the girls.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Off to Visit Family

Am falling a bit behind on my blogging these days. Just too much to do.

But at least I still have stories to tell, and they will have to wait.

Off to New Jersey to atttend my cousin's daughter's 21st birthday party.
I am photographing the party; it will be my third party that I have photographed in the past few months. I don't charge for it as it is my gift, and I do enjoy doing it, especially with young people who are full of life and fun. And, maybe someday, I will get some business and make some money with it!

Today's photo is not one of my family, but I have adopted them for the day.
I will probably sell it on etsy, where you too can adopt a family or person and give them a new life. Sometime I will post some of my art pieces using these photos. Usually humorous and surreal, and I have fun making new out of old.

However, now I must run.....till later, Patti

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Gorey House

In today's Catskill Paper blog, I wrote a brief blurb on a visit to the Edward Gorey House. Those of you who appreciated humor, oddity, and being slightly eccentric and twisted, this house-turned-museum is for you.

It is a beautiful old Mansard roof Victorian, which he named The Elephant, due to the texture of the paint on the old house. He collected many kinds of figures and objects, and was an admirer of elephants as well as cats, frogs, balls, etc.

The photo is of a room in the house with his actual couch marred by the claws of his many cats, and on it is seated a life sized stuffed animal bear from FAO Schwartz which lived on the front porch I believe.

Gorey was the artist behind the PBS's Mystery Theater, designed the stage set for Dracula, amongst being the writer and illustrator of many books, posters etc.

In Yarmouthport, right off 6A on Strawberry Lane you can find this most intersting museum and gift shop.

I used the bathroom there before I left, and as I looked around I wondered if this was the bathroom for visitors, or did he sit on the same bowl that I was upon!

May the brilliance wear off if it was!

To osmosis, Patti

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sail Away......

I was with a good friend this afternoon and got hot, wet, screamed, and it lasted three hours. THREE HOURS.

Such is sailing on the Hudson on an early fall day with the temps near 90, and a brisk warm velvet breeze that caresses one like a velvet glove.

Ed let me do most of the steering while he worked the sails on his 30’ boat. I think it was the best wind I have sailed in yet, and I whopped with delight and with a bit of concern when the boat listed a bit too far. I got it up to 7.2 knots, which is the fastest I have sailed thus far.

There was little traffic on the river, and I don’t think that it could have been much better conditions to sail in. The sunset was beautiful, and the views spectacular, the breeze constant, the company excellent.

I have worked with Ed for 16 years now, and have become the dearest of friends. We have laughed and cried, and since he is an avid sailor, I have gone on many a sail with him over the years. Each year I learn something new, and am now a participant rather than the seated guest on the boat. Save for the occasional breaks to take photos, I am happy behind the wheel.

Water is such a balm to my soul, whether lake, river, ocean or pool. I am not sure how I am going to find the healing that water provides in the winter unless I head somewhere warm during winter recess. That I have never done, and perhaps it is something I should consider in order to get me through the winter.

In the 1800’s ice-sailing was popular. I have never seen this, but it seems like a wild idea. Ice scares me, and I would have to be guaranteed a solid river or lake, but imaging holding on for dear life, while your iceboat races along the river. I am not sure women partook in this affair, but I can fantasize about skimming along the ice, bundled in fur from head to toe, (pre-PETA days) . I found a Currier and Ives Print on eBay for sale, and am posting the link and the photo here. It is a 50’s repro, and really like it. I may just have to bid.

To smooth sailing…patti

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Those Lovely Bones

On my way to therapy, I was half listening to my iPod which was playing through the stereo in my car.

A Joni song came on, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” which is based upon a poem by Irish poet W.B. Yeats.

One of his poems, The Lake Isle of Inisfree, was inspiration for an art lesson. Once I knew this poem by heart……

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.”

And I will find peace there. I will find peace. I will. Find. Peace.

The line from the Joni song jolted me out of my fog:

“Raging and raging
It rises from the deep
Opening its eyes
After twenty centuries
Vexed to a nightmare
Out of a stony sleep”

Oh how apropos a line before I go in to face my beasts I thought...

After my session I met up with Karen and we did a three mile walk up a country road.I walked hard and fast, almost as if I were trying to keep two steps ahead of the beast I left behind.

We passed through small family farms, rotting trees precariously overhanging the road. I almost stepped upon some creature, which had its head snapped of, probably under the tires of a car.

I stared at it. I knew then why I had hauled my camera with me. As I am shooting this poor animal, the lines echoed in my head…”Surely some revelation is at hand”



Monday, September 24, 2007

What to Say

I am sitting here with three great blogs to write, but Larry holds the key to each one of them. Either the photos are on his camera, or he has the card with the info on it. He is not home tonight, so I am stuck.

And I am really stuck. I have nothing to say. Amazing, eh?

So being blocked at the moment (only for the moment) I think I am going off to list some things on Etsy and eBay. And burn a CD for one of my students.

Till tomorrow, Patti O Silence

Corporation Beach, Dennis, MA. Watercolor

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'm Baaaack

Tonight's sunset lasted a long long time it seemed. Miles - a bunch of songs on my iPod. It was beautiful, and looked like someone was painting the sky with a huge calligraphy brush. Oranges, violets, blues.

The perfect ending to what turned out to be a lovely weekend.

Time with good friends. Visits to a most lovely Stationery store in Wellfleet; a visit to the Edward Gorey Museum in Yarmouthport. And, of course, art and photos, some of which I will talk more about on my art blog.

Three different beaches in three days. Corn chowder, lobster rolls. Walks during low tide. Movies (one of which was Little Children. Wow---) Reading, thinking, absorbing the sun into every pore I could expose.

But I am tired and need to sleep. I work hard and I play hard, and tomorrow is a work hard monday. The travelogue will have to start tomrorow! Till then, Patti O

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Road Trip

Road Trip

My hormones made it a challenging five hour ride at best. I sat for most of the time in silence, thinking about life, and reading a really fun book called Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. It is a “neo-Victorian book” written in a style perhaps like Dickens. It takes place in England during the 1800’s and is full of intrigue, lust, twists and turns. I have taken to carrying it around with me and reading it at any chance I have. It is some 600 pages, but I am nearly half way through it and I have only started it a few days ago. My brother in law bought it for me for Christmas last year. What a perfect choice and I really love getting a gift that someone has so carefully picked out.

I spent the five hour trip to the Cape in silence (it was so much safer for both Larry and I that I not speak as I feel possessed by devils) I thought about the road trips I took as a child. My brother and I would look out the back window and wave to all the truck drivers, thrilled when they would honk their horns. We read in the car, played car bingo, and colored. We had to be quiet and not too loud as my father would read us the riot act if we weren’t.

I remember eating raisins in the car. It was the only food we were allowed to carefully eat in my father’s 1965? Mercedes 190D I must have caught a stomach bug on one of the trips and threw up all over the back of the car. I was terrified of my father, and remember the stony silence on the ride back to the house.

I was young, perhaps 5 or so when it happened. After that I was plagued for a good 35+ years with a nervous stomach whenever I went on a trip. I am over that now, and am grateful that I am no longer handicapped by something that I kept a secret and which tortured me a good part of my life.

The trip was sunny and warm, until we pulled into our destination. The Cape was fogged in. I was bitterly disappointed . Five hours of travel and no sun. We went to Nauset Beach anyway, and we went for a walk. I was bare legged and cold after the long walk., but most of my stress melted away, and I felt human once again. Lucky Larry.

We met a fabulous couple, whose story I will tell about later. Larry is waiting for me to finish, and off we head to Wellfleet and perhaps Marconi Beach if the sun is strong enough and it is warm enough for me to read or paint for a bit.

Till tomorrow, Patti

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mars in the Morning

6 am the phone rings. It think who the heck is this at this time in the morning. Even my Aunt does not call this early. I am too fuzzy to even think it might be an emergency. I don't know what to think.

The little voice on the other end was Bardet telling us to look at Mars in the eastern sky before the sun rose.

I am one who is big on stargazing and viewing astronomical phenomena that only happen once every gazillion years, so I dragged my tired sorry ass out of bed (the cat threw up again at 4 am so I was awake for a good hour after that)slid on some clothes warm enough for a cool morning, grabbed the camera and went outside.

Surprisingly Larry followed suit.

There, in the eastern sky, was Mars, shining bright as dawn was beginning to color the morning sky.

I still don't have a tripod, and I was too sleepy to think about finding something steady to lean on, but here it is, untouched by photoshop.

Try again tomorrow morning, about 5:45-6AM if you are on the east coast. It's worth it.

Off to the Cape tomorrow for the last beach weekend of the summer. I can smell the ocean and feel the sun already. Hope to be reporting from there...patti

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pandora's Box

I came home angry. I do not like feeling this way, but as I have previously mentioned, it is part of the healing process. I have spent much of my life blocking emotion behind a lead wall….so even feeling anger gives me hope. The problem is, too much of any one thing leads to a pattern in the brain, and it takes hard work to change the pathways and responses that no longer serve us.

I am in what might possibly be the most difficult time in my life- facing my demons. I have stuffed them way down into the bottom of my baggage, buried way below disappointment, illness, pain and loss.

The catalyst in the desire to face my past came after finding out my daughter had cancer last November. Twenty three years old, with a three year old daughter. I faced our collective mortality, feeling the deepest pain from watching her suffer. Since the survival rates of this cancer are a 50% chance of living 5 years, things had to change-and fast.. Our relationship was wrought with pain; only those who know me well know what happened in our 18 years together. Even fewer know what happened before that. And even then, I am only finding out some of the things that the subconscious keeps well hidden for safety.

I am a good actress. People often shake their heads and say “ Wow Patti, you are an amazing woman. Strong in the face of adversity, impassioned and driven by your art and business, while you teach art to damaged teens. “. I am a successful professional. I have a nice house and husband. Age has been quite kind to me. But inside I am twisted and my soul cries out for healing.

I am a workaholic. If I work hard enough I will not have to think. If I don’t think, then I can avoid feeling the pain. The only problem is, it seeped into areas of my life like a slow poison and threatens all that I do, especially in my relationship with men.

But what I am learning ever so slowly and teaching my students, is that out of the pain always comes a lesson. How we use this lesson determines the quality of our life and our growth.

Now that Megan, Alanna, and Dole are 1,000 miles away, I find myself alone a lot, the only person I have to take care of is myself. I don’t think that I have ever done that. In my journey I am conscious of the dark, and am learning how to bring in the joyful light. Both my daughter and I have learned this together. I am letting out the demons one by one in my Pandora’s box and I hope that someday she too can do it.

To the light-and an empty box. Patti

A quick painting I did for a project and then gave to a student who really liked it. One of my demons let loose!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Photography Obsession

Today was a particularly difficult session. ACOA is bringing up a very painful past and pointing out faults and behaviors which no longer work for me. I am angry, and it is necessary to feel it and process it before I can pass into the next level of healing and spirituality.

Nasty family secrets uncovered. More questions, more to process.

On the way home I stopped by a field which I have passed over the past year as I travel to and fro to therapy. The field with the unknown mountain which is always present, and changes with the season and the light. It has become an anchor, a symbol of healing.

Today I found a safe place to pull off and photograph it, even though it was in bright light. The tractor sits idle from its most recent circles around the fields. The sun is lazy and warm, the sky a brilliant blue, the mountain showing off atmospheric perspective at its best.

I have become obsessed with photographing the landscape, my life. Grasping at moments of beauty and memory. Freezing the work of an artist far greater than any of us, encapsulating my emotions.

I often print them up and post them in my classroom. I find the students gazing at the bits and pieces of my life. They ask questions. They admire, they ponder. I look and remember. I feel the excitement of the moment, smell the hay in the fields, feel the cool breeze. Present as long as the photographs last.

To the captured image, Patti

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Best Friend

I still felt a bit of "gloom and doom" over my head after I left school. In my heart I knew that the sun was shining, it was a wonderful afternoon, and as I crossed the bridge over the Hudson I felt guilty for feeling so morose.

I worked hard on turning it around, after all, I was going to visit Lois and catch a movie.

There is nothing like laughter and a feel good movie to make me smile and forget my misery. We saw the French movie My Best Friend at Upstate, and it was delightful. Story: antique dealer (and do I know a few of those being an ephemera dealer myself) realizes he is despised by all. A bet is made that he has no friends, and the next hour and a half consists of his journey trying to find a friend, and learn what makes a person desirable as a friend. He gets his lessons from a gregarious taxi driver, and what happens I won't divulge, but there are poignant scenes as well as lots of double edged humor.

The end is delightful, hopeful, and warmed me all over almost just as much as Chris's margaritas at Sobroso.

After the movie I realized how blessed I am with friends, and felt sad for all those who lack the love of true friends; friends who would do anything, anytime for you.

Photo is compressed and blurry, but is a pic of myself and one of my best friends, Bardet taken through a screen in her kitchen window by Larry. I have so many friends, and I love you all, and thanks from the bottom of my heart. Patti

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Art is my Savior

Not good. Headache now going on the second day. I am cranky, tired, slept poorly and my head feels like it is stuffed with pillow fluff dipped in hot pepper sauce. I think the ragweed is getting to me.

I did not come out of my funk till I got home around 4 and worked on my orders, and primed and painted a frame for a piece I think I will call Magritte's Cantalopes. It will hang in my kitchen as it goes PERFECTLY with my walls. I did not plan on it that way, as I don't make art to "match things" but it works so well that is deserves to be framed.

I also worked on the piece which I posted on the blog.The light was at an angle so color and intensity are incorrect but I am NOT going back out there to re-shoot. You get the idea.

I feel much better after spending time in the studio and I am sure on some level Larry was glad to get rid of me. I was really a pain in my own ass.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring a better day! patti

Saturday, September 15, 2007

American Symphony Evening

Last night we were graced at the last minute with a pair of tickets to see Leon Bottstein, the president of Bard college, conduct the American Symphony. We had two minutes to decide if we could go, five minutes to get ready, and 10 minutes to get to the other side of town where our friends were waiting in their Lincoln Town Car to drive us there.

Of course we went.

The evening was amazing. Brahms, Dvorak, Ibert and Saint-Saens. Stunning piano by Taiwanese pianist Shun-Yang Lee whose entire body echoed the Saint-Seans "Egyptian Concerto".

Afterwards great conversation and snacks in Rhinebeck at Terrapin's Bistro.

I sat absorbed in the music, the musicians and conductor. Beautiful evening, enchanting in all ways.

Only problem was I got home at 2 am, the cat threw up on the bed about 4 or 5 and I had a really hard time falling back to sleep after that one. Headache and allergies all day, and my hormones are a tropical storm gathering strength for the onslaught.

But I managed to get into the studio for a bit, went shopping and met up with friends for some light fare at a local restaurant, and it is all good.

Tomorrow the forecast is sunshine, which is fabulous even if I have to wear a sweater!

in bliss, Patti
Photo is of Gills Farm in Hurley, NY where I painted the other day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In the "Plein Air"

It was another lovely late summer day. One more week and fall will arrive.

Rob called me and asked what I was doing. I had enough of cleaning and doing work, so I said..LET'S GO PAINTING.

We packed up his van with our easels, chairs, paints, and I made a quick lunch.

We drove not far from my house to Hurley, home of large farms. We stopped at Gill's Farm stand, which I have been going to for 20+ years. I knocked on the farm house door, and we introduced ourselves to Mrs. Gill. She was very gracious in allowing us to drive the van into the fields to park and paint. She also warned us where we should not go as that family is not keen on anyone being on their land.

We found a good location and painted for a few hours.

Rob and I go back 30 years to when we were both in the same painting classes in college. He had just lost his mother, and I my father. There have been long periods of time where we have lost track of one another, but have somehow found each other over the years.

Rob is an incredible artist and his art can be seen at Artroof. He has a brain tumor which is affecting his sight, and several awful tropical diseases still linger from his trips to Bali. But when he feels well, he can be found in any number of fields and vistas painting. He has been my teacher, mentor and friend. THANKS ROB!!!!!!

Off to bed. I am tired from all that fresh air. Perhaps I will sleep tonight. Patti

The Morning After the Night Before

They have arrived safely in Kentucky. Megan, Alanna, and Dole left my house around 12:30 am yesterday and headed south. I promised I would call in between classes to see where they were and how they were doing.

Last phone call they had arrived at Scott's house, who is Alanna's father. They are staying there, which I find really weird, especially since he is her ex-lover, she is meeting his wife, and now her new husband is being thrown into the mix of it all. Alanna is meeting her father for either the first or second time. It is all too mind boggling for me, but it is her life, not mine.

My girlfriends took me out last night to the movies to see Two Days in Paris. It was a fun, light film with some good laughs, which I needed. Afterwards a drink at Terrapin in Rhinebeck.

Today I have off. It is a beautiful day, and I just spoke to my friend Rob. We are going out to paint plein air for a few hours, and I am looking forward to that. I will pack some food and drinks and bask in the late summer Catskill landscape.

I also have a myspace account. Just click on the link and it should take you there. I am having a bit of difficulty setting it all up, but I welcome friends to invite themselves.

I think it will be an adventurous day, and I look forward to the distraction and the healing of the paint, the landscape, and a good friend.

Till I return, Patti
PS Dawn over San Franciso from Sauselito (at Bardet's place)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Depths of Sorrow=the Heights of Great Love

Out of the depths of great sorrow rise mountains of great love.

It was difficult to teach all day after a night of intense emotions. I felt raw, unraveled, on the edge.

Dreams have been difficult to come by these days as my sleep has been interrupted and light at best. As I try and unwind from the day I play the CD Namaste, which is amazingly diverse and transcends me to another place… which influences and shapes the space between sleep and wakefulness.

I travel to unknown places, feel emotions unclear to me. I don’t know the purpose of these journeys yet, but they become part of my being, and I am open to the learning.

One of the songs, which I have mentioned in my blog, is called “The End of all Suffering”. I strongly urge you to listen to it if you haven’t already. It has given me solace in times of great sorrow and unrest. I am not affiliated with any religion or organization, but I recognize what is divine and beautiful, and has potential for transformation and healing. And this is one such piece. It happens to be Buddhist.

I sit here and await my family to say goodbye. I know I will see them again, and I am glad that they have given me the opportunity to love deeply and dearly. I know my sadness will not kill me, and perhaps for the first time in my life I have given myself over to love.



Monday, September 10, 2007

Melt Down

I am having a total meltdown. One step further and my fingers will pour into the keys, and I will be a puddle of water. I am not one who cries easily, never mind sobbing hysterically, and really wanting someone to talk to.

The only people I could call and trust to pour my heart out to aren't home.

Megan called and said they are leaving for Kentucky tomorrow night. She needed whatever clothes I had of Alanna's, and a few toys which they wanted to take.

I was angry that she was having her last night's dinner with her father-in-law, and not with Larry and I, though they are coming over for dessert. That in itself bought up a host of feelings and disappointments within me, but in reality what is bothering me is that Alanna is leaving.

Reality hit me hard when I had to put all the baby's clothes in bags. I had to empty the drawers in the spare room that have been dedicated to her for three years. All of a sudden I broke down. Alanna had become the child that Larry and I never had together. She has been our joy and our strength when Megan was so sick. She was life that came from a war that may be taking her own mother's life slowly.

I also worry for Megan. She is in remission now, but what if....?

Though our relationship has a history of being rocky, she and I have a strong bond that is deep and tenacious. She carried my picture under her helmet when she was in Iraq and told me how when things got really bad, and she won't talk about how bad it was, that she would take it out and look at it. There's no place like home.

I have to let go, but I also know it is OK to grieve, and I don't always have to be the strong woman who holds in her sorrow and pain. The melt down did not kill me, and I have let a lot go. I cried for Megan's cancer, I cried for all the times I could not cry. I cried and I cried. And it was OK. (except for the not-being-able-to-breathe part)

Off to take a bath. That seems like the right thing to do. Till tomorrow..


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Getting my A** Kicked

Today was the day for Megan and Dole's send off party, as well as Alanna's 3rd birthday party.

We rented a local park which has rolling hills and a view of the river. The weather held out; the sun broke through on and off, and later the clouds rolled in with a cool breeze, but no rain.

I left around 5:30 with the kids still playing poker, and headed home.

First thing I did was go to bed as I felt like someone sucked the life out of me. I drank a tiny bit of white wine, and did not feel like any more, so it wasn't the wine.

I have decided that I have gotten my ass kicked this year by allergies. I don't know what kind, but man, I have no choice but to take medication like Claritin as needed so that I can survive. (going for one right now). I have gotten so sick from it that it leaves me no choice. Larry asked about homeopathic stuff, but at this point I need the relief that drugs provide.

I did look it up on a a state website for pollen counts, and locally the weed and grass concentration is above average, in the orange zone. Another site said that ragweed, plantain, and nettle pollen counts are high, as well as lamb's-quarter, cocklebur, pigweed, and Mexican fire bush. OH MAN AM I IN TROUBLE. I think my lawn has more plantain than grass!

Well, I am dragging my boring sluggish stuffed up cranky butt upstairs to sleep some more. Something to look forward to in the allergies!
PS photo of sweet darling little granddaughter who is 3 today!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

I headed off to a meeting in Woodstock with my friend Bardet. She and I have been through so much together in the past 15 years, and we are the closest of friends. We have also had many zany adventures together, some of which have been posted on this blog.

On the way home, we stopped at the lake as I wanted her to see it. It was very hot and muggy, making it a perfect day to go for a swim.

We parked in the lot..only a few cars there, and the owners were hauling their kayaks and canoes into the water several hundred feet away from us.

We had to put on our suits, which was easy enough when you have a dress on. For the most part. The top to my suit is rather complicated and rather difficult to put on underneath layers of clothes. Even though Bardet has taught me the art of dressing and undressing without anyone seeing anything, I was having a difficult time pulling this one off.

No one around. OK. I can take off my dress and quickly put on my top. After all, we are in the woods. Bardet asks me if I would like her to hold up a towel as a screen.

I shake my head saying, "there is no one here, who is going to see me?"

As I am standing there, in my bathing suit bottom and my top off, an entire bus pulls up. It if full of autistic adolescent boys.

I am horrified.

We scramble together to get on the top.

Hopefully they did not see a thing, only some commotion going on behind a car.
I do hear at one point a boy saying "there is a nice date".

Bardet and I emerge from behind my car, suits on, a bit twisted nonetheless, but we march to the water and throw ourselves in hysterical laughing.

Life can be a pisser at times....and this will be one mountain swim that will ALWAYS give me a chuckle in the midst of the coldest winter.

Here's to laughter and making the best of a bad situation! Patti

Friday, September 07, 2007

Lady in the Lake

No matter what I do I cannot get this panorama to show at a decent size. I know why it has to be sized down so small, mostly because of its width and the size of the blog page it is allotted.

But you do not need size to see the beauty of the lake, which I sought after a long week, and a hot day.

After school I went to Woodstock to see my amazing therapist, who is my guide through this next stage of my life. Over the year I have been seeing her I feel empowered, and so much more at peace with myself and my life, in spite of the challenges I face. She is brilliant.

It was in the 80's, late afternoon, and I happened to have my swim gear in the car. I felt the urge to go on a mini adventure, and I pulled off the main road home into the long narrow dirt road that leads to my favorite natural swimming spot, a beautiful lake, long and deep, filled in from an ancient quarry.

I took photos before the cooler evenings give it an entirely different palette. I met up with my friend Karen there, quite by accident, and after my swim, we sat for a while, sharing stories about our life.

The water was delightful. Perfect. Invigorating. Sensuous.

The beauty of nature is soothing, meditative, spiritual. I am glad that I took the time out breathe, listen, and look. I am not so sad about the end of summer as it has been kind as it slowly eases out the door. It has given us a gift of beautiful days this week, and I know it will continue to gift us for a bit longer.

To late summer swims, Patti

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On Being Anonymous

If you read my blogs and some of the comments, you might find that there has been some banter back and forth between me and an anonymous reader/commenter who must live in the same county as I do.

It is very strange to communicate with someone who remains anonymous in their correspondence. I am used to open dialog face to face, no matter how difficult the subject may be. It would be sort of like talking to someone who insists on putting a paper bag over their head, but I am sure that the person has a good reason for being anonymous, and I respect that. However, if you want to contact me further, you can do it through my email link on my profile page....

But I will answer to Mr./Ms. Anonymous here since there is no other way of writing you...yes, I am all for business in the mid-town section of my city. I have supported many of the businesses over the years and have become very fond of all of Kingston. And in answer to your question about have I ever invested money in that part of the city, yes, and more. Not only did I invest money, but a huge chunk of my life and energy to provide a venue for the public to show art. The only reason I had to leave was that my daughter was coming home from Iraq, after serving our country, and she was ill and then some, but that is for a future novel that perhaps one of us will write.

As far as my art being moldy, I am not offended. Art is so subjective. I have a following of people who love what I do. But even that does not matter to me...I love what I do and that is the only thing that counts.

I took tonight's photos in between school and class in my yard. I have not walked in my gardens for a while, and I enjoyed the warm late summer air and fading sunshine. I hope to get another swim in, whether in the pool or the lake. Tomorrow is Friday, and if I survive this week, all will be well.

Till tomorrow, Patti

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Reinventing Ourselves

I got the inspiration for my first art lesson from a conversation I had with a friend while lounging by the pool after a delightfully cool dip. Donna was talking about how when the fall comes she finds it a time that she reinvents herself. I spent some time thinking about this, and thought, we are ALL constantly reinventing ourselves.

I thought about how after a summer we are all changed. Children come back older, taller, more mature and always different.

I have returned wiser from my summer, more appreciative of life and friends, thankful for my health and what I have. I am altered from a summer of discovery, healing, laughter, and tears. Change is a constant - it is one of my tools for learning.

I have an art project which allows the kids to focus on themselves, their summer experiences, and gives them a visual way to tell their stories. I hope that they enjoy it.

Off to rest and get ready to inspire these great young minds. Even though I am having a rough time adjusting back to my school life, I remember very quickly why I chose this job, and smile knowing that I DO make a difference in their lives.

PS I did this self portrait by scanning my face and then altering it in photoshop. I really love this piece as it has a Zen-like quality about it...part of what I hope to instill in my being.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ode to my First Day Back

When Larry bought this picture dripping out of the dark room I knew it was the artwork for tonight's blog. (and you have got to check out the photo of Alanna on my Catskill Paper art blog)

It epitomized my feeling of my first day back to my art room. Though I love my job, it is very hard to come off a summer of artsy Bohemian living and go back to the 8-4. It is like the living color just got sucked out of my beautiful landscape.

The photograph was taken at North Lake, at the site of the old Catskill Mountain house. The storms were rolling in, and you could hear the thunder rumbling throughout the mountains. Old Rip bowling again.

Still refusing to admit I am back at the job, I worked in my studio and then took off to the Elephant, a delightful tapas bar uptown. (more on that tomorrow). I stayed way too late and now have to head upstairs to read for a bit, then get some sleep. 6 AM comes fast.

In mourning, Patti

Monday, September 03, 2007

Last Day of Summer

It was a beautiful late summer day; crystal clear cerulean sky, warm temps, a soft breeze.

I was sad today as I know I have to let go of summer, and get ready to shift gears. School starts tomorrow.

No more sleeping in. Less time in the studio and on the Internet inventing myself as an artist. The close of swimming and afternoons hiking or lounging in the sun. I still have some time for plein air sketching when I have time after school, before the light starts to fade, and it gets too cold to sit and hold brush or pen comfortably.

I took myself to the pool in the woods for a few hours. Larry went on his own search for a way to celebrate the end of summer making photographs. I was content sitting alone with my iPod, my art books, and a lunch that I packed for myself. When I got to hot I jumped into the cold water of the pool, instantly revived and refreshed. I swam a few laps each time, sad that my time in the pool is drawing to and end. I wonder if I swam every day, would my body gradually acclimate to the colder pool water temps enough for me to still enjoy the swim for another month? I remember swimming in 55 degree water in Maine--my body was numb, but I was much younger and wild then, and nothing seemed too radical or impossible to do.

A photograph of the remaining last images of summer. I think it speaks it all.

I will keep telling myself ….breathe………


Food for Thought

I recently got a comment on my blog for "bashing" a local eatery/coffee shop in my small city of Kingston. I thought about it for a bit, and decided that I had not bashed it-I said nice things about it, but also pointed out that the lack of concern about moldy food for display and the disturbances caused by the children and friends of the workers which had colored my vision of what had potential to be a really cool place. I call a spade a spade.

I probably will return there at some point in time, (but not eat the food, sorry) and give it another chance. But the place IS a franchise which opened up in a city that has a wonderful established coffee cafe less than a block away, as well as a Starbucks and three ? Dunkin Donuts, and I would like to think they want to be successful. Leaving moldy bagels on a counter and letting your kids and their friends run wild while you are working is not a way to build clientele.

Our little city is actually not a void as the person who commented on my blog called is rich with many places to hang out, eat, and be entertained. The arts scene is active, there are many restaurants worth noting, festivals, music events etc. We have a nice waterfront, uptown district, and I ran a gallery for a year+ in the same building that the Muddy Cup is housed in. Not a great section of the city, but I never had any problems there and loved the time I spent midtown.

Sure there are poor sections, as there are all over America, (hey GW..think of what you COULD do with all the money you are robbing from us for this war?!) and gang and drug problems, but I do not let that color my view of the city that I live in and love.

When I comment on things I leave myself open for criticism; I do not moderate my blogs, and allow anyone's comments to be posted as it is a free world.
But I find it funny in one sentence a commentor chides me for "bashing" an eatery (with due reason)and in the next sentence bashes the entire city. Go figure.

Hope some of you went to the Hooley on the Hudson yesterday. I was still recovering from my horrid allergy attack, and trying to rest up for returning to school.

Till later, :P
patti who will spend her money at Monkey Joes, a fine coffee roaster and eatery in Mid Town Kingston.

PS the Collage is a piece I did for a show "Food for Thought". It is about bio-engineering of food and is available for sale.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


In spite of my being horridly sick with allergies, I went to my first ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meeting with a close friend .

I am no stranger to 12 step programs, as I have attended them a few times in my life. I have had and still have more than my share of “qualifiers” in my life. The program, as well as good therapists AND hard work, have kept me out of the psych ward, and given me strength to go on when I did not think it possible.

I have always attended these meetings in times of crisis, and this is the first time I going when I am not in crisis, but wanting the tools in order to be ready for the next one. And I know there will be a next one.

Interesting that after all these years I never addressed the fact that my mother was an alcoholic. She was very quiet about it, and I was so innocent and ignorant about it that I did not even realize she drank until I was in my mid to late 20’s, when she drank herself into a severe stroke. I just knew she was vacant, and was having a lot of “accidents” and did not protect us from our father.

Now as I near 50 I am desperately searching for serenity and peace in my life. I have come to see the workings of dysfunction in my life and how IN SPITE OF all the hard work I have done, I still have ghosts and deeply entrenched habits and thought patterns built upon living with those sick with alcoholism and mental illness.

I am willing to work hard, no, even harder than ever before. It is challenging at times, often painful, but out of that comes healing, and I hope to find peace.

Here's to peace in all of our hearts, Patti