Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mohonk Preserve Hike

After work Karen, Cody (the dawg) and I went hiking on the Mohonk Preserve. The rail trail is lovely, but it is flat, and can be a bit dull at times, whereas we have lots of choices of hikes on the preserve.

As soon as we pulled into the small lot on the farm, the most beautiful blue bird hung out a bit for me to photograph him. At first I thought it was a bluebird, but on closer inspection I found it to be an Indigo Bunting, which I have never seen in all my years of checking out wildlife in the Hudson Valley. It could be a Blue Grosbeak, but I think it a bunting. It was so fabulous, and the beauty of his color made me grin ear to ear.

Part of the hike is on old carriage trails, which have some good hills, and if you go at a good pace, affords a great work out. I am in decent shape and I still found myself winded several times. The hike takes you through meadows, woods, and along the Bonticou Crag, pictured here. I have hiked/rock scrambled this crag several years ago, after my rotator cuff injury, and right before my trimalleolar fracture. I will once again climb the crag, but today was not the day for that. We skirted around the bottom, did a loop, and took a steep and rougher trail back to the car. We hiked an hour at a moderate pace, and covered a good 3+ miles of terrain.

to hike the preserve is a modest 50.00 a year, 15.00 for an additional adult member of your family, and 5.00 for each child. There are several membership levels, and you can bike and technical rock climb on the preserve for an small additional yearly fee. Oh, and you can cross country and snowshoe too there. Much to photograph and paint, as well as get my exercise in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Off to go to the farmer's market for the first time this year. I hope to beat the rain, and they open in 15 minutes. I so love it here.........

xx patti o hiker

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Magic of Spring

I have been too busy enjoying the good weather, going for long walks, rides, and working in the garden or studio to be inspired to write. The weather has been glorious, and now that I am home, there is always so much to be done after work.

Yesterday evening I attended a fabulous soiree put on by The Center for Photography in Woodstock. It was a "welcome" party for the new interns who will be working there for the summer. It is always a pleasure to meet the young, mainly female college students who are here as photography and art administration interns from various colleges in the U.S. Woodstock is almost always a very interesting experience for these young impressionable students, and I think for the most part, a good one.

Great food, great drinks (yumm..those Caribbean Martinis rocked) and even better still, great company. I spent much of my time talking to photographer friendCharise Isis, and CPW's Education Coordinator Liz Unterman. I thrive on the passion that these women have for art, and the joy they get in the work that they do.

I had recently been accepted into a fall art show hosted by Jewish Federation in our city. The commissions that they get from the show always goes to a local charity, and is very well attended, with people coming with the intent to spend money on art. So, this afternoon, in some of my spare time, I visited the local art supply store to check out frames for some of the work that I need to start framing. Making the art is one challenge, and finding the appropriate frame to fit the artwork is another. Thankfully I have three months to paint, collage, and frame.

The photos for tonight are some from my garden. In full bloom are my lily of the valley, the wild miniature Japanese iris, columbine, and forget-me-nots. The garden at this time of year is so lovely as it is under control, and the grass is green and lush from the cool temperatures, and fairly frequent rains.

The temperatures have been in the 80's, sunny, and low humidity.

Ah, spring in the Catskills....and I rejoice in seeing another spring time lay itself at my feet.

Reporting from the fabulous Hudson Valley,

Patti O Flower

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back Home Again

It has been a whirlwind, but a fabulous whirlwind.

Sunday - baby shower, given by Megan's friends on base. They gave her a shower with all that they had, and I am proud that I have raised a daughter who cherishes sincerity, friendship and the love with which these girls showed Megan by giving everything they had to give her a shower.

These families struggle...I have seen some things that make me even angrier about how our government treats our soldiers. I cannot say some of this publicly, as I don't want to disclose some of the personal struggles of the people I have befriended, but those of you who know me personally can ask me about it. Our soldiers deserve thanks-from us but even MORE so, from the very government who hires them.

Though I don't think I would do well on a military base--it is a very different life than I am accustomed to living, I value the experiences I have had there.

I left yesterday, had a wonderful flight, even though it was heartbreaking to leave Megan crying, and Alanna whining that I was leaving. I will drive back in July (sooner if I am needed) and it seems that we can not stay apart for more than a few months.

Yet as I landed, and saw Mohonk from the air, the mighty Hudson River below me, and the fabulous landscape of the Hudson River Valley, I was glad to be back home again (to the tune of that old John Denver song). I have flown in and out of many airports, and Stewart and Albany are fabulously beautiful.

I walked to my car, it was 82 degrees, put down the top to my EOS, and headed home with the wind in my hair, and was glad I was heading north on the NY Thruway, as the southbound lanes were jammed with vacationers heading back to the burbs/city. And to think that I live here year 'round and never have to leave it.

Larry was glad to see me (and I him) and we headed to Catskill to pick up some Thai food and drive around his old neighborhoods.

Today I took a long walk along the rail trail with a good friend, went to buy some more plants for my garden, took a nap, and spent some time getting back into the studio. I have Romance and Cigarettes for tonight's movie, and look forward to some quiet time before I have to get back into the work routine.

Oh, and a very good movie --- The Waitress. That too hit a few nerves for me. It is a shame that writer/actress/director Adrianne Shelly met with such a violent death and never got to see her movie hit the theaters, but it is a poignant, touching, humanistic movie that moved me deeply.

Off to the movies,

Patti O Traveler
PS Photo of Megan and I taken by Dondra, our resident photographer!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Community Childhood Memories...

I had a day yesterday reminiscent of a day my mother might have had 50 years ago had she not been depressed/social phobic/drunk. While other moms were outside hanging out on their front steps or on lawn chairs while their kids ran in and out of each other’s houses and lawns, my mother hid inside, doing whatever she did. She did sit outside from time to time, but she never mixed with the other neighborhood moms…partly due to the controlling nature of my father, partly due to her own personal demons.

I don’t hold it against her, she was a kind mother, kept us dressed, fed, and off to school on time, only she was vacant, and a ghost in my life. She never did protect us against my father, that perhaps being her greatest fault, but back in those days men ruled the roost, women had little power in the home as a stay at home mom, and abuse and other family secrets remained locked deeply with in a closet.

I lived in a neighborhood in Long Island in the 50-60’s, filled with tons of kids. I had a great time running around with them riding bikes, roller skating (those were the days that skates had skate keys), playing baseball, football, flying kites. Many of them ran inside each other’s houses, but our family was rarely allowed to do that, so we watched wistfully from the street, wishing we were allowed to have more freedom. That became my mantra for 18 years.

Still, those days of romps in the neighborhood, Easy Bake Oven bake offs, playing Barbie, and making homemade kites brings a smile to my face. As I sat outside with the military wives in the hot Kentucky sun, and kids ran in and out of each other’s apartments, on and off bikes, and in and out of the communal kiddie pool, I remembered my childhood romps, and my own days as a young mother, talking about divorces, love affairs, smoking cigarettes, and those late afternoon drinks….and was grateful for the warm sun, the energy of the young mothers and their children and the joy of the celebration of each and every moment of my life.

Patti O Memory
Photo of Alanna peering into my camera in a brief moment out of the pool. She is like her Mimi who LOVES the water!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fantastical Journey

My journey was as smooth as silk. On time flights, pleasant people to sit next to, and a 2.5 hour layover in Detroit where I found a Tex-Mex restaurant to get a frozen margarita (4 on my scale of 10) and a few exotic tacos. There I almost finished my Allende book...(the book that seemed seemed no matter how much I read it, I never got any further in it!) I also read this month's issue of Art News, which focused on artists and their contributions to being green and changing the way we interact with our environment.

The coolest part of the trip was the psychedelic tunnel at the Detroit airport, which changed colors while abstract New Age music played. I heard a few people on the plane laughing about it, as I don't think they got it at all, but I think it rocked. I took tons of photos in it, and they are tonight's work. Two are touched up a bit in Photoshop, and one is posted as is.

The best part of the trip was being greeted by my two girls, and Alanna came running at me full charge through the airport screaming "MIMI!" and threw herself into my arms. Then, when we got to Megan's apartment complex, which is inhabited by young Army families, I was "entertained" as soon as I stepped foot on the sidewalk. No lack of Southern hospitality here!

Off to go back outside, where it is over 80 degrees. I think I will come home with some color, though I am being careful not to burn as I am so pale compared to the rest of the folks down here.

Till tomorrow! Patti O Blissed Out Lounger!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am rushing- doing laundry, scooping cat litter, packing, paying bills.

It takes a lot of work for me to leave for 4 days......between house, work, and business. I am rather stressed, and am using Larry's computer as mine is fried and my laptop is packed.

I am sure that once I am on the plane, and I have a glass of wine, or a Bloody Mary, I will feel better, and once I land and get picked up by Megan and Alanna, and see their joyful faces and gigantic smiles, all my stress will be erased. But that is proceeded by a day of teaching, writing sub plans, working on a deadline for a publication, dashing off to the airport (on a strict time schedule) and hoping that I have everything I need for four days, haphazardly thrown together into a suitcase and business bag.

I have also had a major melt-down, but I won't go into that.

Stay tuned for tales from Fort Campbell, where a liberal Yankee woman invades the Army base. It has been spring there for over a month now (here in the Northeast, I am not sure we have had spring except for the fact that the leaves are indeed on the trees, though I bet they think they made a grave error.) and no doubt I will be the whitest person on the block. (my girls all have sun tans, or so they tell me)

Till then,

Patti O Traveler

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keeping Green

Tonight's art is titled "How Green is YOUR Garden" and I should make another version, "How Green is YOUR House?".

I try and be as green as possible. Ok, I did go and buy a non-alternative fuel car, but I did make sure that my EOS was one of the top in its class for MPG..and at this time I have gotten close to 30 MPG on the one highway trip I took, and 25-28 in the city. So far so good and I got what I wanted...a four seater convertible. I hope in the next four years to have a larger offering of cars that are fuel efficient.

At home I do not use pesticides on my lawn or in my garden. I live in a neighborhood with perfect green lawns marked with little yellow flags. My lawn is greenish, though most of it is not from grass, rather from violets, crabgrass, dandelions, and other weeds that sort of blend in to make it green.

I clean most of my house with vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. I make my laundry detergent from Ivory Snow, Borax, and Baking Soda. I also use Dr. Bronner's soap as much as possible for washing.

One of the most difficult things about being an artist is the art supplies that I use. I try and use alternatives to paint thinners and turpentine when I use oils, and in my classroom I clean my brushes with veggie oil instead of harmful solvents. I have even started using water soluble oils at home. It is frustrating as most of my art supplies are toxic in some way, and I try my best to recycle my cleaning agents and use those which will minimally harm the environment.

Every little step that we take towards honoring the earth is important. It is hard as we have been conditioned to use super cleaners full of chemicals, keep our yards weed free, conditioned to eat perfect looking fruit and veggies. But the price that comes with that is too high to ignore trying to make changes in our life style, even if it is one baby step at a time.

Patti O Greenish

Monday, May 19, 2008

The First Harvest

Tonight Larry and I had our first salad from the garden. A combo of red leaf lettuce and baby spinach, garnished with some sliced red pepper, toasted pine nuts and goat cheese.

I think this is the earliest I have ever eaten out of the garden, perhaps because I got an early start one warm weekend.

My peas and other seedlings however are very slow this spring. Not enough rain, then too much rain, and now it has been rather cold so things are taking their own sweet time growing.

However, the cool weather keeps the greens sweet and from going to seed. To much heat bolts the cilantro, lettuce, and other greens, and I get to keep my chives around a bit longer too.

Off to bed. I slept horridly last night, and am tired so I will go up early, dig out the sweats, and settle in to read a bit more of my book.

I have some great prints by the way on my Etsy site. This one is a print of a River in Connecticut I believe. I wonder what it looks like now.....probably totally developed........


Sunday, May 18, 2008

What I Have Discovered

My weekend has been packed…packed with work, packed with discoveries, packed with the divinities of the universe.

I have discovered through my painting class that there is so much that I don’t know and I have so much to learn about painting in regards to color, technique, and structure. I have learned that I will only learn these things through hard work and perseverance and painting painting painting.

I have discovered through my yoga class that every time I incorporate movement, breathing and awareness in my life, I am doing yoga. May I remember this in my day to day activities, and boy, do my inner thighs hurt from my 2 hour yoga class.

I have re-discovered the value and joy of friendship and the beauty of having dinner with people that I admire in my life. Thank you Karen for this gift.

I am off to make my bed with clean sheets which is another gift. I love to slide under freshly washed cool sheets and close my eyes and breathe deeply.

To discovery and divinity


Friday, May 16, 2008

My Not-So-Still-Life

Today I took a 1/2 a day off as I had a painting workshop in the afternoon at the WOODSTOCK SCHOOL OF ART, which is finished up tomorrow afternoon.

The workshop was titled "The Poetic Still Life" and the description was right up my alley. A blend of landscape and still life in oil, a combination of Hudson River Artistry and the old Dutch Masters. The artist's work is well known, and beautiful, and I was looking forward to the class.

The supply list for the class stated that I needed to buy water soluble oils. Another 90.00 to buy, but I go out and get the supplies, even though it is nearly breaking my already low bank account.

The list for the class also stated that we need reference photos, which made sense since the landscape was also part of the class.

I go to print some of my most fabulous photos, and the printer runs out of black ink. No problem, I have bought a large box of various colored inks for my printer. Only one problem is as I discover, there is no black ink, only the primary colors. I try and command it to print using all colors to make black but NO GO.

I call Larry is a panic. Liz says, bring the laptop! Duh...the files are on the laptop (the desktop is done for) so I haul it along in the pouring rain to the workshop. I am a few minutes late.

When I get there, people, all three of us are arriving and setting up. A few moments later the teacher shows. We spend 1/2 hour of our precious three hours setting up a still life. I inquire about the combo still life/landscape class, and the teacher states it is a still life class.

NOW I HATE STILL LIVES. Had I knows this, I would have never taken the class. However, he is accommodating, and is willing to work with both.

As we are setting up and trying to figure out what to do, one of the students leaves rather disgustedly as she thought the teacher was going to demo how he works. He says no, and that seals the deal for her. She is out.

Now I paid 110.00 for the class, so I am sticking with it. I figure that I need to face my fears and my dislike of the still life. Plus, there is only one other student in the class, so we have the teacher's undivided attention. I find out that I could have worked in regular oils, and saved myself a lot of money, but in one way I am curious about these water based oils. So be it.

It was in interesting class, and I did learn some things. There is always something to be learned from other artists. I cannot judge it yet as I have only just begun my sketch and tomorrow's three hours could change my life. I do not want to paint just like the artist, I want to paint in my own surreal style. (ps my painting is seen above in a very early stage).

HOWEVER----the building was dark and dimly lit, unlike the other wonderful studio I had painted in, and was unheated save for a small space heater. It was 50 degrees out and quite rainy, making it quite cold and damp. I only had on sneakers for the cold cement floor, and a thin tee-shirt with a zippered hoodie for warmth. Fortunately I had JUST bought an adorable cap for my rides in the convertible, so I donned that for warmth.

After three hours I was ready to leave. I was chilled to the bone, and used my heated seats in the car for the first time.

I was thankful that I was going for a massage, and Gina had the heat in the room turned way up, as well as the wool warming sheet for the massage table.

I do not regret going, as I have indeed learned something, but I am disappointed that the class was not what it was advertised as, and felt that it was lacking in content.
I will write a letter, and request a credit towards another class. I spent money I could have saved, got a crappy cold space to work in, and can only hope that the spoken (not demonstrated)knowledge of the teacher will be invaluable by the end of class.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's final installment.

Peace out

Patti O Painter

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Eat Morels, Drink Wine

One of spring's blessings is the morel mushroom. It grows here in the Catskill Mountains, and it takes a trained eye and knowledge of its habitat to find them. Once you know what they look like and how to find them, it is an exciting treasure hunt for a mushroom which is heavenly in taste and texture.

Our local specialty farm market sells them for 50.00 a pound, and they were all gone when Larry went back to check.

Though I have gone out a few times with a friend who has a passion for both hunting and eating them, tonight's dinner was none of my pickings. My friend came over with a bagful and we proceeded to make a FABULOUS dinner (recipe enclosed) which was accompanied by an affordable bottle of Linderman's Savignon Blanc (South African)which I bought for under 8.00 a bottle, superb for both drinking and cooking.
Dinner was finished off with another one of Larry's amazing salads.

The mushroom grows all over the country, and a google check will give you more information. Right now here in the northeast, they are in season, and if you can't pick them, some of your specialty markets might have them. Here is the recipe. Of course, we never measure, so these are all approximations.

A bunch of morels, at least 20 I would say
About 2o thin stalks of new asparagus
a box of cherry or grape tomatoes, or about 4 plum tomatos
1 container of sour cream
ground black pepper
ground nutmeg (fresh if possible)
1 lb pasta of choice (we used artichoke pasta as we avoid wheat)
1/2 stick organic butter and a few tablespoons olive oil.
OPTIONAL: chopped up shallots
PS we use all organic ingredients when possible.

Steam asparagus till it is al dente, remove from heat
Heat butter and oil, saute mushrooms.
When wilted, add asparagus
Add 1 container of sour cream-mix well
Add the chopped tomatoes
add 1/2 c. or more wine
grind fresh pepper and nutmeg into it.
Cook down for a while, stirring constantly, adjusting ingredients as you taste it
(add some of the pasta water if you want to sauce if not thick enough).
Serve over pasta of choice

Oh and Shiva, our half Siamese cat, waits anxiously for his nibble of food, which is always served to him on the window ledge alongside Larry. Tonight he had morels, and cucumbers.

Off to read my Allende book, which seems to go on forever, though I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Patti O Cookster

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Putting my Top Down and Junk in my Trunk

I won't even BEGIN to tell you about the jokes I have had to bear over my car. How I can put my top down with one hand, and how the guys at work want to put their junk in my trunk.

Fortunately they are old friends who are just bad boys, and I have no problems cutting them down when I need to, but geez, give a guy a phrase, and he will see how many ways he can run with it. Too bad you can't give a guy a chore or a list and they do the same.

I have had some problems with my car, and I won't go into it, but when I did go back to the dealership, I gently told them in how I used to be a truck driver and safety mechanic and I had no problem getting down underneath the car, skirt or no skirt (as witnessed by the dirt on my hands from doing so.) They are fixing the problems, and I grinned as I shook their clean hands with my dirty ones. (while in a skirt/jacket and my fave Dansko wedges)

Pics of my front and rear. Enjoy.

Patti O Mechanic

Monday, May 12, 2008

Good Things Come to Those who Wait, and Wait, and Wait...

Larry and I spent the fading hours of daylight in the EOS, listening to the Allman Brothers and to Tracy Chapman's Fast Car, marveling over the cool neon blue and hot red lights that lit up the interior of my new car.

The car is amazing. It is beautiful, all that I imagined and more. A hard top convertible WITH a HUGE sunroof (no other car maker has this feature, not even Mercedes yet!) and bells and whistles above and beyond my imagination. Dual climate control, heated seats, Ipod ready, 10 speakers, good system, LUMBAR adjustment, 2 windscreens, an irridescent silver that reflects back the colors around it, with a hint of blue. Lightly tinted windows and roof, and my favorite part, a tiptronic transmission that lets you "shift" without a clutch, or use it purely as an automatic.

I have driven vans, utility vehicles etc. for the last 16 years of my life. At 50, I have finally bought myself a car that I could never afford as a kid, or as a single mother.

Sure, the payments are hefty, but I do not splurge on much, so this is the one excess that I have given to myself AND will share with my family and friends.

I know every morning that I head to work, that I will be thrilled with the ride, with the sound quality, and with knowing that I have gifted myself grandly after years of hard work. I know that there are years ahead, but it is somehow softened by an amazing piece of technology.

Larry and I sat outside, with moonlight pouring in through the sunroof. We giggled like kids, and even kissed each other in the dark. He is in love as much as I, and we look forward to many fabulous rides, with the top up, or the top down.

Thanks for bearing with me through this car ordeal. It has been hard to deem myself worthy of such a gift...something common to those who have lead the emotionally challenging life that I have led.

I can't wait till later tomorrow after school, when the temps are going to be 70, and I will put the top down, all-so-neatly folded into the trunk, pump up the music, and let my hair fly in the wind, even if it is getting a little grey.

To living!

Patti O Cruiser.

PS look for another unique car story in the near future...the story of a '68 Camaro...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

It is way past 2 am when I got woken up by some one's car alarm that must have gone off till the battery ran out. Hot, annoyed, and wide awake, I got up for some warm milk and 1/2 an ambien.

I have had the bottle since I had major surgery and could not sleep from pain for months, and only used it rarely, even then cutting a pill in half.

Tonight I am desperate for sleep as I had plans to get up early, and go shopping for Dole in order to get him out a goody box to Afghanistan.

I hate to shop and the only shopping I do is when I have no choice, or can go to a store that I like, which is usually the small farmer's stand, and generally a non box store.

I am going to have to put aside my phobias and dislikes, and pick up some food and supplies that will make him smile in a dangerous country far from his wife and children.

It seems the ultimate sacrifice I could make on Mother's Day for my son in law who has been good to my daughter. I will also go and visit my mother in the nursing home, bring her some flowers, and a movie or two. We will sit with her for a while, undoubtedly watch some TV until I can't bear it any more and have to leave. She can't talk, so there are many awkward silences, or else I prattle away. If I had my car at least I could have taken her for a spin w/the top down, but alas, no luck there.

I am obsessing about my car too. I briefly saw it today: silver and black. It is so different than the one I had been driving, the white on white, and the black with white seats. I picked a car that did not scream clean me all the time, as silver is fairly innocuous and can live with road dirt for a while, and black interior definitely won't show my laziness in vacuuming the car. I hope it is not too hot, and may have to pick up some cool towels to put down on the seats for hot day rides with the top down.

I hope I love it. I just sat in it, feeling a little cave like as compared to the lighter interior, and I wish I had the lighter color but KNOW my lifestyle and KNOW I won't keep up with the cleaning necessary to make it look nice 24/7.

I am sure once I see it with the top down, that I will be in love with it again. I guess I am still trying to internalize the color combo and the shock over buying it.
I tried to take a photo with my cell phone, but I messed it up and deleted the pics instead.

Back up to bed to see if I can sleep. I am treating myself to yoga in the morning followed by a trip to see mom, then coming home to work in the yard some with Will.
At least I will get to spend some time with my son, which happens rarely. Larry will make me his traditional Mother's Day Dinner,and I will welcome spring and the ability to plant as we should be done with frost now. Tomatoes here we come.

Happy Mother's day all, and here is a bouquet of dogwood for you as they light fades in the western sky.

Patti O Dinner Party

Friday, May 09, 2008

I am Nobody's Twin

This week was spirit week in school.

Every week for me is spirit week, but I love when we run special events.

I could not participate in every event, as I have so much going on in what seems to be every waking moment in my life. I told my students today that I felt like I was doing 80 in a 40 zone.

I participated in the 60's day. I wore a tye-dyed t-shirt by my friend Phillip Brown who has been making tie dyed shirts for 30 years. It was a tank top, and since it was cool out, I paired it with my fave short tee from the French Quarter in New Orleans that I bought the spring before Katrina hit and a slim pair of low cut blue jeans, with a microscopic zipper much like the one on my rust colored bell bottoms of my teenage years. I wore wedge sandals, similar to those from the early 70's, and finished the outfit off with a necklace that I made in 1969 when I moved up to the Woodstock area from Long Island. Funny how it never broke, and I have worn it for 30 years. ROCK ON.

Then I celebrated Beach day with a pair of madras shorts, my Teva sandals, and a white Haines t-shirt whose neckline I altered before I walked out the door. Covered in coconut oil, I was ready to jam.

Today was twin day, and someone asked me "whose twin are you???" to which I replied I AM NO BODY'S TWIN. At that moment I had a flash back to a birthday party I had with my previous significant other, who gave me a card that read "when they made you they broke the mold and beat the hell out of the mold maker".

I remember reading that outloud to the crowd around me at the party, and wincing a bit knowing that it was not meant in 100% kindness. It was his unacceptance of my free spirit that made him leave a list of "things I don't like about Patti" that I found while cleaning. Needless to say, I picked up my two kids and once again, left and moved on.....

I did not mean to say that with such an edge. Perhaps it was too early and I had not had my second cup of coffee. But as the day progressed, I celebrated my uniqueness as I did the students who touch my life every day.

I am nobodys twin.

Patti o.

Photo: shirt by Phillip Brown who ROCKS in the tie dye world! Thanks Phil!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Blame it not on the lilac

It is 4 am and I have been up for nearly 2 hours. Periodic hormonal insomnia I suppose.

I came downstairs to warm up some milk, but there was only enough for my AM coffee, so I made a drink.....tart cherry juice, vodka, and seltzer. I am feeling a bit tired, so I think that it may have worked.

My day was splendid, gave a series of heartfelt lectures to my kids about life and the importance of being present (physically AND mentally) and the power of positive thinking. They were receptive and I hope I reached a few of them. I really love my job. I feel I can give back to the universe all it has given to me though my teaching.

After work, I drove up to the mountains to my therapist. It is only a 20 minute ride from my city that sits at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. She works out of her house, a 19th century home that is filled with art and antiques from her former B and B in Hunter NY. She is a Buddhist, and a humble and brilliant woman. I have learned so much from her, and she has enabled me to go places I have never gone before. She is my mentor, my spiritual guide, my mother figure at times.

Before a late evening dinner I went for a power walk. As I walked I encountered a warm breeze that smelled sweet and slightly heady. I realized I was walking by a hedge of white lilacs in full bloom. I picked a small branch, and walked with it, raising it to my nose now and again to remind me of the beauty of spring.

Of course now, as I type, I cannot breathe out of my nose, but I will not blame it on the lilac, as it was just one of many pollens and allergens out there.

Off to try and sleep again. Tonight's photo is recycled from a walk through a back road in Woodstock. My camera and equipment is in the bedroom and I have already woken Larry up a few times.

Till tomorrow, Patti O Flower

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

In Praise of the Water Pick

I was going to write about my adventures in new car buying, about my daughter going into labor at six months and being shuttled in and out of hospitals 900 miles away, about my son having a car crash last night, about the melt downs I had while trying to use In Design, and about how I am rapidly using up my tools in my "life tool box".

But while I was performing my nightly routine, I decided to rejoice in the magic of the Water Pik.

Now at 50 I am proud that I have all my teeth save for the four wisdom teeth that I got pulled along the way, and that my mouth has very few fillings. I have always kept my teeth brushed well, and have had them whitened with the bleach solution a few times as I do drink a little coffee and like to boost their whiteness from time to time.

BUT I HAVE ALWAYS HATED FLOSSING, and it has caught up to me.

Over the past 5 years or so, I have had to endure the dental hygienist probing deep into my gums and shouting out numbers to her assistant. 2,3, oh no---this one's a 6, and so forth. At the end my mouth feels like it has been invaded with an alien probe, and I am bleeding profusely.

Finally, last year, my hygienist said "hey Patti, buy a Water Pik, that may be the solution to keep you out of our clutches with periodontal disease".

When I first started using this machine, I got more water in my face and all over the bathroom than into my gums. I had to start on baby strength as it hurt, and I bleed like a $%^$@* afterwards.

But over time my gums have gotten healthier, they bleed much less, and I just LOVE seeing all the little pieces of lettuce, seaweed, broccoli and other detritus that has stayed behind lurking in my teeth and gums, even AFTER I brush my teeth!

I still make a mess of the sink, but as the warm water pulses into my gums I smile knowing I will beat those pockets into submission!

Oh and I put my deposit down on my EOS. Silver, with black interior. I am still reading reviews....wondering ...did I make the right choice....but then again I remember--stay positive, this will be the BEST car you have ever bought and NOTHING is going to go wrong. Besides, they had a year to work out the kinks, I have a 4 year 48,000 mile warranty, and four years 50,000 mile road side service....

Stay tuned.

patti o dentist

Sunday, May 04, 2008

You Know It's Spring When......

You know it's spring when my dinner consists of salads. It is my favorite summertime meal, and I got the bug today, inspired by Larry making a huge pot of egg salad for the week.

I made potato salad, and a tuna salad loaded with fabulous things, recipe below. Since 2 things already had mayo, I chose to leave it out of this salad, and made a salad dressing with similar ingredients as the tuna salad.

The opening last night was wonderful. It was such a celebration of faith, bravery, of life. I saw many friends, some of whom I have not seen in a long time, and some whom I did not know had cancer.

After the opening I went to a very groovy tapas bar called The Elephant with a bunch of friends, and met up with even more friends. It became one big party fest.

Before we headed home, I went over to the building where I had a studio/gallery with Lois for a few years. They have been redoing it, and divided the old R & F Encaustic space into various sized studios. For the first Saturday art event Christina Vargas of Woodstock Vargas Gallery fame, filled the rooms with artwork by local artists.

At 10:30 at night people were still coming in to check it out and party.

I miss having that studio and gallery space, and fantasized about renting one of the studios just for painting. I make art in such seclusion, and it would be cool to still be secluded, but have others around me doing the same thing. Plus, I can't do really large canvases in my space.

But I don't have a few extra hundred dollars a month for the space, so for now I will make do.

Tomorrow is back to work, and the final test drive on the EOS. I will try and make a deal to get what I want for the price I want. We shall see how it goes.

Enjoy the recipes below. Just remember to try and buy organic, especially the items that rank high on the list for residual pesticides (see my previous blog on this)

Patti O Party

Tuna Salad
(PS I don't measure...I am a true collage artist in food also)
1 can of tuna in water
add the following
red peppers
fresh squeezed lemon juice
white balsamic vinegar
salt/pepper to taste.

Salad dressing
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White balsamic Vinegar
lemon juice

I use my litte tiny blender to mix up well.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Touched By Cancer

Today at 5-7:30 is the opening of the art show "Touched by Cancer" at Backstage Productions on Wall Street, in uptown Kingston, NY.

It consists of artwork by about 25 artists who have been touched by cancer in their lives, whether personally, or through someone they love.

I have not done much art other than design for my few clients and shops who keep me afloat, but this was one show I would not miss as my life has been touched, or rather groped by cancer for 31 years. It has effected me deeply-on an emotional level.

Upon sending my emails out announcing the show, I received several emails from people telling me about how cancer has literally "invaded" their lives, some rather extensively. Parents, in-laws, friends, themselves. My prayers and meditations are with you all.

The artwork I have done for this is intense. It is from deep within. It is powerful. It has healed me emotionally and spiritually.

I hope to see some of you there in this celebration of life and appreciation of the group that is putting it on..the social workers from our local Oncology group- and Jean Tansey for organizing and making this possible.

In keeping with the theme, here is a list of veggies and fruits in order of their chemical content. Remember to eat organic as much as possible, and I remember reading a list of MUST purchases of organic products....milk, apple products, meat/chicken, and ketchup. (peanut butter might have been on that list too)

Please wash all produce if not organic, though it does not remove ALL of the pesticides.

1 Peaches (highest pesticide load--100)
2 Apples (96)
3 Sweet Bell Peppers (86)
4 Celery (85)
5 Nectarines (84)
6 Strawberries (83)
7 Cherries (75)
8 Lettuce (69)
9 Grapes (Imported--68)
10 Pears (65)
11 Spinach (60)
12 Potatoes (58)
13 Carrots (57)
14 Green Beans (55)
15 Hot Peppers (53)
16 Cucumbers (52)
17 Raspberries (47)
18 Plums (46)
19 Oranges (46)
20 Grapes-Domestic (46)
21 Cauliflower (39)
22 Tangerine (38)
23 Mushrooms (37)
24 Cantaloupe (34)
25 Lemon (31)
26 Honeydew Melon (31)
27 Grapefruit (31)
28 Winter Squash (31)
29 Tomatoes (30)
30 Sweet Potatoes (30)
31 Watermelon (25)
32 Blueberries (24)
33 Papaya (21)
34 Eggplant (19)
35 Broccoli (18)
36 Cabbage (17)
37 Bananas (16)
38 Kiwi (14)
39 Asparagus (11)
40 Sweet Peas-Frozen (11)
41 Mango (9)
42 Pineapples (7)
43 Sweet Corn-Frozen (2)
44 Avocado (1)
45 Onions (best i.e. lowest pesticide load--1)

PS and I can no longer eat onions :(

Patti O Informer

Thursday, May 01, 2008

No Words Can Say.....

I had some interesting things to talk about, but all seems such frivolous idle chatter when you have people whom you care about being diagnosed with cancer, and things are not great.

It puts things into perspective.

Many things.

Cancer. A word that has invaded my life.

My father. My aunt. My daughter. A dear friend who died from it. A dear friend recently diagnosed.

What have we done to ourselves to make cancer so prevalent?

Chemicals in and on our food, present in our plastics which house drinking water as well as so many other things, making holes in our ozone layer,?

Technology has come to this?

I won't even get into war.

I am distraught.

Sometimes the human race disgusts me.

But I must keep positive and do what I can to change things.