Monday, June 30, 2008

Truro, Dartmouth and Adventures Oh My



The sun rises early this far north. I was wide awake at 4:30-5 when the sun rose, and I did not sleep well due to Kathryn’s fabulous brownies with homemade goat milk ice cream eaten too late in the evening -- too much sugar and caffeine before bed, plus overcharged hormones.

Breakfast was a combination of Catskill Mountain granola which I bought with me, combined with fresh ground flax seed, nuts, raisins, and other strange crunchy things which I was sure were healthy for me. The goat milk was a bit odd tasting added to the mixture, and it took some getting used to. I have to admit that I added a bit of heavy cream to it to make it a bit more palatable. The last time I drank goat milk was in 1978 on a plane in Switzerland. That time I added Amaretto to the mix.

The day was foggy, but at times the sun broke through and it became humid and HOT. Later on it got really dark, and we had a thunderstorm (which there are not many of) and some rain.

Most of the day was spent wandering around used clothing stores, really cool hardware stores, and of course, the constant eating; fresh strawberries, oat cakes, lobster, wine. I think I have gained 5 pounds, and certainly have NOT exercised NEARLY enough to compensate for ANY of the food I have eaten.

This evening we sat and looked at Margi’s art books. Both Margi Hennen and one of my traveling partners Pamela Hastings have been published in the Lark book 500 Handmade Dolls, and are well known in the field. Pamela has also released another book A Moment of Pure Joy on an Ordinary Day (soon to appear on her website).

I have been inspired on many levels, both ideas for school, and ideas on some books I could self publish about my own art. One of the titles I thought of is “Who the Hell is P.A. Gibbons?”. I won’t tell too much as one should NEVER give too much away.

Off to bed. We are going to take off and leave Margi’s house in Dartmouth and head along the south shore of Nova Scotia towards Yarmouth. Tomorrow is Canada Day, and we are prepared with out little Canada pins which were handed out to us in the hardware store.

I have been warmly welcomed in Canada, especially when discovered that I did NOT vote for Bush EITHER time, and have enjoyed some lively discussion about American AND Canadian politics.

Till tomorrow,

Patti O Traveler

PS. Farmer and host Ed taken from the back of the van in the rain. He was chopping up fallen trees on his 200 acres with companion dog Maple. 69 years old and strong as a bull, and could out do most of us at anything I bet! The landscape is out of hostess Margi’s window…her house has multiple views of the lake. By the way, it was 9 pm at night! Don't forget to go yesterday's entry for the pics I posted.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On The Farm





I am too tired to find my camera cord to post pictures, but I have some fabulous pics from Halifax, and the 200 acre farm of friends Kathryn and Ed in the country about an hour or so north of Halifax that I am staying at tonight.

I feel like such a kid, and am amazed that in my 50 years of life I have never experienced the workings of a farm. I walked among the huge Percheron horses, watched Ed milk the goats while I pet them. We had a fabulous dinner of ham from their pigs, drank home made grape juice, and for desert Kathryn made goat milk maple ice cream. We spent a lot of time talking politics....and how we desperately hope for change in America, and have to pray for hope with Obama.

I also see the hard work that it takes to run a farm, but sense the joy of living off the land.

AND they have wireless, lol.

I will post more tomorrow when I have more energy and find the cord. The pictures will tell all.

patti o farmer

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friendly Canadians




After a quick breakfast, we left Calais and headed over the border. While on line for customs, we saw a huge gathering of motorcyclists heading back into the US. I think they were Harley riders coming back from a huge convention that we encountered in a city further up into New Brunswick. They were very friendly, waving to us, and this couple agreed to having their photo taken. The line coming back into the US was two hours long I heard, as it is the big Canadian holiday this weekend. I was glad to be leaving the US and heading into Canada.

We got through Canadian customs easily, laughing with the young customs guy. I can only hope that it will be as pleasant coming back as I heard that the US customs can be real ball busters. We had lunch in Sussex, at the Broadway Cafe, and met Becky, a spunky native girl who was our waitress, pictured here, who told us her customs story. She was going to visit her rich brother in Massachusetts with another family member, and was not allowed to come into the US because all she had on her was 300.00, and she and her family member were accused of going to come into the US to earn money instead of vacation. Her father knew someone in customs, the tape of the incident was reviewed, and the customs officer suspended from his job, but I guess there are more stories like this about the abuse of power at the US border. (Becky, you rocked and lunch was fab!)

Lots of American bashing goes on there, though my understanding is that the Canadian government has its share of abuses and stupidity. Politics aside, we were waved at by many people on our journey on the Trans Canadian Highway and I felt welcomed. Would NYers wave at cars with Nova Scotia license plates? I wonder. They would have certainly NOT had the patience that the Canadian drivers had when we were digging in the car for Canadian change in the cash only lane of the toll booth. (it took us a while to come up with .50 in Canadian cash as we forgot about getting small change!)

The other photo was taken in Sussex, where many of the buildings were painted with huge murals as part of a grant project. The town was quite cute. The other photo was taken as we rode through Nova Scotia.

The house that we are staying in is right on the edge of a huge lake, and it is beautiful. I heard it is going to rain tomorrow, but I don't hold much stock in the weather forecast. It is cool..in the 60's, a far cry from the heatwave back home.

Tomorrow will be some sightseeing here in Halifax, and a ferry ride. I need to catch some shut eye as all this sitting and eating and drinking has made me tired!
Patti O Traveler

Mainly in Maine



This will be quick as we are heading for breakfast, then through customs to the Canadian side. We are in Calais, one of the larger towns we have seen in Maine, especially alone Scenic Route 1 and 1A.

Most of yesterday was traveling, stopping only to refuel our car and body. In Brewer we had our first lobster roll at Jimmies, and a nice lobster dinner at the Chandler House in Calais.

I knew we were in Maine when I saw Moose crossing signs, SUV's atop with green canoes, lots of inlets, lakes, and I was amazed at the lack of dead animals on the road. I found that rather odd, and wondered what the highway carrion birds did for food! I only saw 2 dead animals the whole journey, and they were porcupines! How do you a eat a porcupine??!! I actually have decided that the highway department must clean up the animals right away, as well as any garbage because the roads are very clean.

Nothing exciting...which is good, thought I am extremely hormonal and I had a few melt downs when I spilled my water all over the car, had to rip out my contacts as my allergies are kicking my ass, but at least I finally slept last night so I hope I am good to go today.

Off to breakfast, next blog from the province of New Brunswick!

Patti O Traveler

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From Portsmouth, NH

Before I took off this afternoon, I happened to gaze at my main garden.

HORRORS. The zuccini flowers were gone, the tomatos were eaten, along with the hot peppers. I am guessing that the F-in woodchuck got pissed at us and climbed the fence and ate the veggies after getting a mouthful of hot pepper. DAMN. But now I am on on the road and there is nothing I can do about it.

Pamela has a taxi yellow Chevy something of a rental car. It is such a kid color, and we got many strange looks on the road. I was beginning to wonder if the license plate had something obscene on it......

Pamela had not slept in nearly 24 hours, so we kept her awake telling her our most outrageous sex stories, coupled with a rest stop at the state liquor store. (to go to the bathroom of course...) I mean, what else are the girls to do?

I am not sure if I will have any connections or availability in Nova Scotia, so if I disappear off the radar for a while, you will know why.

Till the next time, Patti O Adventurer!

Woodchuck Woes (aka where's the gun?)

I will be back later this morning once I reach school to tell the tale. Just wanted to upload the photo before I pack my photo equipment before the trip!

Ok, back in between paperwork for the last day of school.

Every year Larry plants tons of sunflowers. We love to watch the goldfinches and other seed-eating birds take up residence in the yard when the sunflowers are just about done and the seeds are ready for the eating. We leave the spent sunflowers up all winter long, their drooping brown heads a reminder of summer, and they store a hidden seed or two for birds during the winter who hang and peck at them feverishly in the cold.

This year the sunflowers were being eaten, piece by piece. We put netting over it as the deer population in our city keeps growing, and they systematically destroy various plants in our garden that years ago had been left alone.

Yet in spite of the netting, the young 6"-18" high plants were being eaten, leaf by leaf. Larry is cursing out the deer. I try to gently tell him it isn't deer. Bugs? Rabbits?

Then the other day I am sitting in my car, and I watch a fat woodchuck push his way under the netting and pull over a plant and eat the leaves. I get out of the car and run after him.

Larry found the hole (one end of it) and dumped all the gravel we have been saving from my sedimentary rocks into it. Pounds and pounds of it. Then he took the hot red pepper and sprinkled the plants with it, hoping that when Mr. Woodchuck takes a bite, he will spit it out, and run for his life.

We can't tell yet if it is working. There are a few plants left, and if he REALLY wants them THAT badly, he will dig under the metal fence where the other ones are and eat them too.

You can't discharge a gun in the city limits, and someone told me you can't put them in a trap and move them either (this is not verified yet). I am debating all kinds of devious ways to make him find another home....and will let you know how I made out. I am not beyond getting a slingshot and practicing on him either.

Remember Caddyshack? Where IS THAT M-80????

Patti O Varmint

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poop Poop and more Poop

My entire day has been centered around poop. OK, I am getting really personal here, but as I was about to leave for work, I put down my purse and books, and decided to make a pit stop in the bathroom. Ah....good thing.

Then out the door.

While I was at work, I was barraged by emails from my brother and sister regarding my mother's poop habits in the nursing home, and the fact that she is refusing a colonoscopy.

Several phone calls later with two MALE nurses, I had spent a few hours of the day discussing whether or not they had hard (or soft) evidence about how many times my mother is indeed pooping, and whether or not she has the right to refuse examination of her pooper.

Somewhere along the line, all of this talk about poop made me want to make another pit stop to the bathroom.

When I got home my daughter calls me and tells me to look at my text message on my cell phone. There, big and bold, is a photo of Alanna's poop on the toilet. Now this is a big deal as she has had some pooping issues, so I had to call her and tell her how fabulous her poop was. I had just sent her the book Everyone Poops (great I might add) and we discussed which animals pooped on the run, which ones pooped in the water, and which ones read the newspaper while pooping.

Then I got an email on the origin of the word SHIT, which was an urban legend, and had to send out an email proving the erroneous nature of the first email with the Urban Legends link.

So I leave you all with a few silly little jokes, all this crapped up head can handle.

What does the SS Enterprise and a roll of toilet paper have in common?
They all circle around Uranus searching for Klingons.

Why is it bad to hold in your farts? Because they travel up your spine to your head and that is where all your shitty ideas come from.

And last, but not least, If I wanted any shit out of you, I'd squeeze your head.

Here's to George Carlin. May he be laughing at all of us.

Patti o turd

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Living the Sensuous Life




Part of the into to my blog discusses living life sensuously, but when things get really busy, I sometimes forget to take the time out to do that.

With the ushering in of summer yesterday, I was reminded to slow down and enjoy life.

I got up late, had a slow morning, and before the heavens opened up and the thunderstorms hit, I wandered outside to pick flowers from my garden. This morning I had on a nightgown, which could masquerade as a dress in a pinch, and decided that even though I live in a city, I was going to go out and pick flowers in my sexy long flowing gown.

I wandered through my yard, carefully picking flowers from my beds, taking care to not take too many from this bed, or too many from that. Wild roses, rudbeckia, coreopsis, hydrangea, day lilies, yarrow, and larkspur.

Many of the flowers in my garden grow wildly. Some have self-sown, some have appeared out of nowhere. Some thrive, while others battle for survival from their predators..deer and woodchucks.

After gathering my bouquet, I made French toast out of whole grain bread, with a touch of Chambord, and a sprinkling of blueberries. Local REAL maple syrup of course, washed down with Mimosas made from "champagne" from the Hudson Valley of NY.

Delightful.

When we were ready, we wandered into town, where we did some Christmas shopping in June, along with a meandering through our fabulous local health food store.

I came back to the sun in full swing, and decided to weed my veggie beds, cut back my arugula and spinach, and prepare for another sowing.

Lois came over, we had dinner and drinks, and she bought in a dress for me to try on, a 5,000.00 Alicia Mugetti dress. I felt like I was on the movie set of The Other Boleyn Girl in this fabulous deep red silk/velvet dress, while Larry was snapping away with his camera. I think that is the MOST expensive dress I have ever had on my body, and after feeling it and experiencing the fit, I decided that it was worth every cent.....IF you had the money. Of course, for 5,000.00, I could buy SO MANY THINGS... for my house, for myself, for my family.

Anyway, back upstairs to continue watching the end of the movie, while the thunders rolls around the valley.

Patti O Glamour

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Precious Moments


I was DETERMINED to make the summer solstice a fabulous day.

Even though I had gone to two parties last night, I made sure that I did not let my Irish/Lithuanian party self get out of hand. After all, I had big plans for today. I was not quite sure what they were or how they would turn out, but I knew that I wanted to be clear headed, and not suffering with a headache, or lack of sleep.

I started the day off with a yoga class called YOGA FOR BONES, based upon ancient yoga techniques combined with Feldenkrais to help one build strong healthy bones, essential for us peri and post menopausal women.

It was fabulous as always. I especially loved working with a partner, and doing activities like skipping and rolling--things which I have not done since I was a child. At one point Donna told me that I was having problems being in my body....which I had suspected all along, which gave me understanding as to why I also have problems balancing in yoga.

At the end of class, she played some ethereal meditative music by Wah. I am lying on the floor, and the tears start to pour out of my eyes. In a moment of rare and pure truth, I knew why I struggled being in my body. In the first 30 years of my life, as a victim of abuse, I learned how to leave my body so I could not feel the pain. I can go back to those memories, and remember so very clearly how I did that as if it were yesterday.

The tears I shed were for the child that I left behind, for the damaged child. But now I can let that go, and I will work to rejoin myself with my body once again.

I went home to Larry, with appreciation of a man who is kind and gentle, and spent the rest of the day shopping at the Farmer's Market, and then rode to my friend Karen's house to hang out by the pool.

She has a large built-in pool, surrounded by woods, which borders on the rail trail. We sipped Sam-Adams Summer Ale-so apropos for the day, and threw ourselves in the cool water. We later took the dog for a walk along the trail, picking our way through the woods avoiding the dreaded PI (poison ivy) dressed in bikini tops, our bottoms wrapped in old beach towels.

It was a fabulous day in the Catskills, and I gave thanks to the gifts and beauty of the day.

I made a humble dinner from greens from the garden, and a ratatouille quiche from the market, topped with a creamy garlic dressing made from young garlic cloves, plucked early from their bed. I am sipping on "faux champagne" from the Hudson Valley, a gift from Bardet, and my husband awaits me upstairs to finish watching a movie. I am so blessed to have all that I do.

To the Solstice, to love, to friendship, and beauty. To the earth, to the great creator of all that is.

Namaste,

Patti O Peace

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm Mad as Hell


My day started off terribly. I won't get into the history of it all, as I will remain professional, but there are certain injustices that I can no longer keep me mouth shut about.

I am still sick, and after a long, aggravating day at work, I came home for a nap, and then to later sit at my computer to pay bills, write some letters, make some donations, and thought WAIT A MINUTE--I still have several letters to write about situations that need to be rectified, and tonight was the PERFECT day to resolve some issues.

Now I am not a difficult person to please, but when I pay a lot of money for things and get poor customer service, I must speak out. Besides, if no one tells them about it, how can they make right the wrongs?

I started with a letter to the Woodstock School of Art about a terrible class I took there last month, then to WDST about the gift certificate I had won from them that the store owner told us was never authorized by them, insinuating it was fraudulent.
I have yet to write the letter to the Emerson about the conditions of the spa during my massage there (you would NEVER find that at Mohonk!) and finally, the appalling meal I had at the Canal House. (see November 10th or about thereof blog) I know those two are really late, but I have nothing to lose.

I have had TONS of other great experiences, and I write openly about them too.

BUT I WILL NO LONGER SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY when I am paying for services that don't quite meet what they claim they are giving you.

And, my body is also disappointing me, so a phone call to the doctor is in order. DO YOU HEAR THAT OH WONDERFUL BODY OF MINE?

In partial jest,

Patti O Complainer

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

By the Grace of God


-19th century, author unknown. From an old Victorian Card
"by the grace of God, I am what I am".

I worked a solid 7 hours today, mounting art work, and then working on a report. I had intended to come home half a day and rest, but too much to do. Then when I got home I had to develop an mock web site for part of my end of year report, and it took me a bit since I had not used Dreamweaver in a while and left all my notes in school.

I managed to finish the project, and will have all ready for my boss by noon tomorrow.

I am glad that school is almost over. It has sapped both my energy and time. I have not written well, nor made any meaningful art. It has taken my health, and I need the two months off to recharge from having given so much for so long.

Though I am sad having to say goodbye to kids for the summer, and some for a much longer time, I am relieved. I have done my job, done it well, and I am sending them off into the world with love. This year has been made even more difficult with the illness of my co-worker, and yesterday by the death of one of my 15 year old students who went back to his district last year. I went to art school with his father, grew up with his mother, and worked for his grandmother. It was under sad circumstances....but it could be any of our kids. It could have been me. Many of us have been involved in some kind of risky behavior in our lives, and most of us survived it minimally unscathed. But there are always a few who don't, and this was one. And, not a month before, another child of someone from the small town that I grew up in, committed suicide.

So young....so sad.

I thank God for every day I get up in the morning.

And yes, by the grace of God I am what I am, and I accept and love every bit of me just the way I am meant to be.

Patti

Monday, June 16, 2008

From the Sick Bed

I seem to be getting worse. After four days this crud has settled fully into my head. I can't breathe..from my lungs or my nose, and I am totally miserable.

I came directly home after my last day of teaching. No top down, no side trips, except to the bathroom to stick a Zicam swab up my nose, to the fridge to down some horrendous tasting homeopathic medicine and then to the bed.

I slept some, but the weather alarm kept going off, and I had kept on the Weather Channel in case some tornado was going to pass this way. I got up and went into the studio for a bit as my client needed more cards, and I need money.

I am fortunate as I live in a valley...where the mountains often divert the storms to the north and south of me. I dread storms, especially since I don't think that the "fix" that the city provided me with is going to work to divert the water from my studio. But that is for another blog, along with a possible promotional radio scam as well as a few other letters long overdue to organizations that have not "delivered".

I did manage to eek out a few cards, and finish my book "The Other Boleyn Girl". The book was a fun read especially for a lover of historical drama. It has inspired me to re-read my Margaret George biography on Henry VIII, as well as my other books on the royalty of England.

Over the years I have read quite a bit of royal biography, such as those on Marie Antoinette, Edward VII, The Duke and Dutchess of Windsor, on Jennie Churchill and others. Perhaps I was a courtier in my past life...

Which brings me to a flashback of a King Crimson album, "In the Court of the Crimson King", an album introduced to me by one of my teenage loves. I recently had a dream about him..where he visited me in my present life, but we were in the bodies of our youth.

Ah, the ultimate. To have the wisdom of our present years, but the beauty of the bodies of our youth. Perhaps that is what nirvana/heaven is.

I have rambled on too long for a sick woman. I hope that the martini that Larry has made me will allow me to sleep for a few hours before I wake up with the coughing.

Perhaps a call to the doc is in order.

patti o sickness

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tales with my Top Down




It has been a joke these days about my having my top down all the time. The top on my car of course. Oh only if we lived in a society where I could drive with BOTH of my tops down..now that would be TRUE freedom. But in a country where sex sells everything but God forbid you show some flesh, I would be whisked away in a police car and make front page headlines about an immoral, immodest teacher. So I keep one top up and the one that won't get me into trouble down.

On the way back home driving over the Hudson River at sunset, some seventy something degrees, Larry said it was like being a kid again, driving in your go-cart, the wind rushing past you, zooming on four wheels. I have to agree, and this spring (it is still spring!)has been lovely for adventures with the top down.

I am sick....so it was difficult to maintain my positive happy mode all day when it felt like my lungs were going to be coughed up and my head was being seared with hot pokers, but I managed to make the day as mellow and fun as I could for Larry for Father's Day.

A trip to breakfast with my son Will. Then a trip to Woodstock to my amazing therapists party in the fabulous Catskill Mountains near Woodstock. She has been very sick for the past year and almost died. She still is not well, but she had a celebration of living party, and it was most lovely. She had some of it catered by BISTRO TO GO which is a fabulous place on Route 28. In fact, last night's party at Isis's place was also catered by them. I have nothing but great things to say about their food....

After that a trip to a private party at my friend Mill's house. He is a trip. He is Lois's friend, and we had a delightful time with him and his friends. Lois and I are relaxing on his hammock, and I look pretty good for a sick girl, don't you think?

After that we headed over the Hudson River for a delightful romantic dinner at Sabroso. The margaritas rate #1 in the Hudson Valley thus far, and the Latino based cuisine is delectable and "tasty as all hell" --- a direct quote from Larry.

After a nip of his Hanger One Raspberry Flavored vodka that I bought him for Father's Day, I am heading upstairs to relax to a new CD that I also bought him with Yogic music --- some of which is by Deva Primal Check her out and listen to some of the music samples!

Off to my healing and dreamland space,

Patti O Topless

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Boys

I fear that my blogs have been rather boring these days. I guess I have not had much time or energy to write, though I have much to say and there is plenty to tell about.

But at the end of the day, it all stays stuck in my head (sometimes that is better for all concerned) or I run out of steam.

After two days of a splitting headache and the crud settling into my chest, I decided that it is not allergies-I am sick. I am coughing to the point of gagging which disgusts me. I am doing Zicam, health food store remedies, and rest, but damn, this is kicking my ass! I made it through giving my art final yesterday, and then had to go to the senior dinner.

I invited some of my friends and co-workers over to my house for a little "pre-party". Just some light snacks/drinks, and some time to chill out together before we had to be "on" for another 4 hours with our seniors and their friends and families.

Photo is of Ruben, the lead singer and conga player from the Latin Band SONANDOI have worked with Ruben for 16 years and we are the closest of friends. The kids think we are like an old married couple, in spite of the fact that each one of us has always had a significant other in our lives. I joke that he is my work husband who cooks for me and looks out for me in school. Both of us have another 10 years left, and have vowed to keep one another going, laugh and remind one another that we are there for the kids. If you live in the Hudson Valley, and have not heard his band play, you are missing out on a real treat. Lots of salsa dancing music, and they know how to get you moving.

The other cutie, the younger man, is Jesus, my ex-student. He was there when I first started teaching and had a crush on me. Being a new teacher, I told him I was too old for him and I had two children---he would tell me "my grandfather says you are PERFECT for me". I used to be appalled and blush and tell him that he was being inappropriate. Now, some 15 years later, we laugh at those days. He and Ruben are best of friends, and we all get together once a month or so for some R and R. I asked Ruben to take a picture of Jesus and I together, but it was too blurry and I had to delete it :(.

With the ending of the school year, and a summer when we all go our different ways for a few months, I muse about how grateful I am to have such great friends in my life, and in my work place no less.

Today was yoga, shopping, and then I crashed for a few hours before I attended a birthday party for the amazing photographer Charise IsisShe currently has a show in NYC, and is running another Pin Up girl workshop next weekend in Kingston and one the following weekend in Connecticut. A fabulous feminine time for all!

Off to read and get my beauty rest. Tomorrow is Father's Day and Larry and I are going to a party, to dinner, and in between who knows what other adventures we may experience. Hope I feel better!

Patti O Partier.....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kingston Ramble




Sometimes I put myself in a position where I book my week solid, then burn myself out doing 10,000 things.

Today, my therapy appointment got canceled and I immediately filled the slot with a date to sail on the Hudson for a few hours. Who could resist?

While in the beer store (buying Lambic as a treat for the sail) I was multi-tasking, talking to my mother's surgeon and staff who have been trying to track me down for a few days. I explained to them that I have not been home, and that I was not sure if I could get reception in the middle of the Hudson River if they needed to reach me. The beer salespeople must have wondered what I was up to, discussing bowel movements, and colonoscopies. I ended up booking a surgery for her en route to the boat and giving consent while I had reception.

I met Ed in time, but, as the fates would have it, there was a problem with the boat, and we could not go out. Ed and I ended up sitting for an hour or so doing nothing, but enjoying each other's company and conversation. Imagine that..sitting still, sipping on a Lambic under a canopy on the edge of a creek, with the train passing overhead on the tressle, looking like some little toy 100 feet up in the air.

Once home I took a long walk in my neighborhood. My ramble took me down one of the oldest streets in our city, the walls still standing from the early 1800's. (pictured here)

Kingston was the Capitol of New York in the later 1700's for 20 years or so before it was moved to Albany. The city was burned by the British, but later became an important hub for the transportation of coal, bluestone, and other goods via the D and H Canal system which linked Pennsylvania to the Hudson River by way of the Rondout Creek. Kingston was home to IBM for quite a while before Big Blue pulled out and left the city a financial mess. 15+ years later, it is slowly recovering.

Here are a few pictures from my walk. I love where I live, and enjoy the beauty of the old homes around me. My house was built in 1928, but many of the houses surrounding me were built in the later 1800's. A few blocks away there are some 18th century homes, and you can visit the Senate House or have dinner at the Hoffman House to get a taste of historic Dutch Stone House architecture.

More another time. Allergies have gotten to me and I need to rest.

Patti O History

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blessed Be

I just drove home from the lower Hudson Valley in my car with the top down, 74 degrees, the sun setting red against the cool blue purple of the Catskill Mountains which were silhouetted against the blackness of the New York State Thruway. I am kicking myself for not having bought my camera with me.

I have Sirius Satellite Radio on trial for three months, and I have to say, I am loving it. So far my fave channel is Coffeehouse, Spa, and a Classical Station, but there is so much more to explore. Tonight I play whatever is most soothing and magical.

I have just spent the evening with one of my dearest friends from my art college days. We are so close...and comfortable with one another. I wish I could share such comforts and intimate stories, but this is a public blog, and I am a teacher, and I can't RISK someone taking something the wrong way and accusing me of something that I am not guilty of. I mean, if a teacher can lose a job because they showed a nude photo of a 25,000 year old fertility symbol, what would happen to me?????

Megan is still in the hospital, but thank GOD that Dole is back from Afghanistan (oh what a journey THAT was). Both Megan and Alanna must be thrilled that he is home and from the sound of both of their voices, they certainly are.

I walk on pins an needles. I try and maintain my composure through whatever means I can. Most people don't know much about my personal life these days..I keep it private in school, mainly because it gets so tiring to discuss and I must focus on the kids. But having a child in a hospital with a high risk pregnancy, having a dreadful cancer, and a son with issues of his own can eat at one's serenity no matter how hard i try to keep in balance.

So for tonight I keep serenity in my heart, and my manta is blessed be.

Patti O

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dog Days in June

when I pulled out of the parking lot at school, it was 104 degrees.

Schools had been dismissed early, and rumor has it that many will be closing 1/2 day tomorrow. Here in the great northeast, many schools do not have air conditioning. In my 16 years of teaching, this is a first (global warming??)

Our school does, but because we have many schools that come to ours, if they close, their students get sent home from our school due to transportation.

I came home to a non-air conditioned house. Central air is not the norm in many houses here, especially if you live in an older home like mine. I have A/C in the bedroom, which is a MUST, otherwise I would NEVER sleep, and in my studio.

I opted for going to work in the studio after teaching, as it was the only sane option. Besides, I had work to do.

Karen called me and told me to come over for a dip in the pool. No thought process here....I put on my bikini, not caring whether or not I had cellulite on my stomach, and whether or not a majority of my body was pasty white.

Who was going to see me? The chickens? Phil, who was as white or whiter than I?

The water was fabulous, and I think this is the earliest I have swam in the Catskills. I floated around long enough to cool off, then rode home in my bathing suit with the top down (on the car) and spent the rest of the afternoon in my damp bathing suit, sipping on an iced martini while making art.

Dinner was salad; afterwards we went to the local ice cream dive for our first ice cream of the season.

I am content, and plan to go read and get a decent night's sleep. I will get up early so that I can walk before the heat sets in...pre 6 am.

I don't know how people do it in the south or the midwest, where heat like this is the norm. I suspect that central A/C is the key to survival.

I wonder how our grandparents did it, not that long ago?

Patti O Melt

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Three Graces, or the Three Stooges?






I just got back from my overnight trip to Norwalk CT to attend Jonathan Talbot's opening.

It was a fun trip, an adventure, and I think Annie and Karen conspired to break me of my driving-in-strange-place phobias with a trial by fire. Though we took Annie's ever trusted Garmon Street Pilot, it still has its flaws, and I took several wrong turns. Sometimes I think I would do better with a map and a print out from Google Maps, but it was comforting that I would not get lost as it would re-calculate to get me to where I needed to go in spite of my errors.

Annie tells me it takes some getting used to, all this programming, watching the screen, following directions and listening---all while driving. BUT we got there and back, no major problems, and I know that I need to put that on my list of "must haves" if I am to be adventurous in my life. Ah how technology can put a mind at ease.

A piece of "old technology" that I had never used in my life and that my friends were shocked about, was an eyelash curler. Here is a photo taken by Annie showing me trying to figure out how to use it. Nice cavity view. I managed to figure it out, but not without making red marks on my eyelids that took a while to go away and giving my friends a good laugh!

The other photo is wild...Annie took that at the restaurant by the Sound and we got the waiter Elmer to take a picture of all of us. I tried to get a photo of him, but he said NO. I also tried to get the Harbor police to give us a ride in their boat, but all I got out of them was a chuckle and a flash of their handsome tanned grins. That was enough for us middle ages adventurers.

Of course this was tempered by the fact that Megan is in the hospital, which I wrote about in her blog MEGANAIDbut there was nothing at the moment I could do, and I so needed some fun in the sun and some time just for ME.

Later on I will post pics of Jonathan Talbot's art opening on my Catskillpaper blog.
A girl can only write so much.

Off to eat dinner...Larry has been cooking for what seems forever....making some wonderful salads.

xxx patti o partier

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Waiting Line


The past two days have been very intense.

One of our coworkers is dying of cancer if she indeed is still in her body as of my writing this.

We have worked together for 14 years; my son dated her daughter. I think they went out for a phone call or two, but he also got to know her as he attended my school for a year.

We are all devastated. She was with us through Memorial Day weekend, then she did not come back to work. We never got to say goodbye or tell her how much we loved her, although we all did so in so many other ways. I guess I just yearn for that closure, that goodbye.

She had breast cancer for many years, but this year it came back with a vengeance, settling into her bones. Yet she came to work every day, caring for the kids AND adults as the school nurse.

At times like these I realize how like family my co-workers are. They kept me sane when Megan was diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment. I went to work nearly every single day because their love and strength kept me focused.

Today we all hugged one another and cried. We dread tomorrow as we expect we will have to break the news to the kids and finally fact the fact that she is gone. Somehow we all hope for a miracle, but the news is, that her body has shut down and when the last of the family arrives, they will take her off life support.

Oh so fast. Here one moment, and a memory the next.

It makes us vulnerable, this dance between life and death. We cling desperately to one another, wondering...which one of us will be next? The waiting line.

Yet out of death we celebrate life and I squeeze as much as I can out of every moment.

To Christine, where ever you are, you were brave and beautiful and we all love you so very much.

Patti

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Seed Sense!


Only 9 teaching days left, YEE HA. The poor kids were horrid however today. Four fights, and lots of unrest in the air. I think it must be that the one thing that they have that is solid in their lives is school, and they will have to struggle on their own for a few months. Some have great lives, but some have parents who are sick in many ways.
Yet I need the summer to rejuvenate myself as I give so much to them during the school year.

I have an overnight trip planned for friday night, and then at the end of June, the day school gets out, I have a road trip with girlfriends to Nova Scotia. A few weeks later I head to Kentucky. Somewhere along the line I will travel to Boston and the Cape, with perhaps another trip or two thrown in. Of course there is work on the house, and work in the studio to be done, but I will allocate my time wisely and get it all done!

Today I had a great walk with two of my closest friends, Bardet and Karen. Later on I made dinner for Bardet who is working so hard to prepare her house to rent. The salad greens came from my garden: red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, parsley, and cilantro. The main course was either aspargus fritatta, or goat cheese/red pepper ravioli served with a slathering of vodka tomato sauce. Desert..homemade peach pie with vanilla ice cream. (most food courtesy of the Farmer's Market!)Soon I head up to read more about the scandalous life of the English royalty.

It was a splendid day. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful life.

Off to see my husband..who too is wonderful.
Patti O Excitement.

PS. This is a 1901 fab seed catalog I just listed on Ebay under the ID Catskillpaper of course!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Talbot Show and a brief commentary


My mentor and friend, Jonathan Talbot, is having an opening this Friday in Norwalk, CT at The Flow of Art Gallery on 16 River Street.

The workshops I took with him, along with doing the Artist's Way, changed my life forever.

I have much to be thankful for - his kindness, friendship, and the wisdom that he has given me over the past 8 years.

In honor of his first show in 4 years in the U.S., my friend Loel Barr and I will probably travel to the opening, arrive there after 6, and then stay the night somewhere as it is 2 hours away and I am not fond of traveling at night, especially in places I am not familiar with. Plus, I am ready for a night away with a friend.

The next day we will explore the Connecticut shoreline a bit before we head back north for some late afternoon openings in the Hudson Valley.

Please let me know if you are going to attend, as I would LOVE to meet you!

My blog last night received an interesting commentary from a Rev who basically slammed my comment on abortion and left a prayer for my evil hellish soul. At first I was going to delete them, but he does have a right to his belief, as long as it does not hurt others. And I don't believe that I am evil and going to hell, so what the heck, I let it be.

I believe in a God that is kind and would never punish a soul like me. And a reminder about the separation of church and state..because NO ONE person or groups religious beliefs (and the UNIVERSE KNOWS how many varieties there are of them)should make the laws for this country. I hope that our leaders will keep this foremost in mind.

The irony is some --and I say some-- bible-touting anti-abortionist Christians are the very same people who believe in capital punishment or killing innocent people (like the 1,000s of women, children AND men in Iraq) *reminds me of the same conversation I had w/a boyfriend...that was the night I took my "to go dinner" and left...never to return again*

Abortion is not an easy decision for most women or young girls. I have watched young girls get pregnant, have babies, neglect or abuse them, and the children are passed around from foster home to foster home. I have also seen young girls chose abortion,the decision is not made easily, yet they know that they did the right thing for the cicumstance. I have seen women raped.....and chose to abort their fetus, conceived in violence and hate. They have the right to do that without harassment....as does the person who decides to have their baby.

Again, if you don't believe in abortion, don't have one, and don't push your views on others who don't share you religious beliefs. If you chose to have that baby, make sure you can handle the new life you are about to bring into the world, cause honey, it isn't easy, and it gets harder and harder to raise a family in a society where two people have to work, just to put gas in the car, hahaha. Not so funny.

Patti O Preacher

Sunday, June 01, 2008

We Do


I delivered a few of my We Do cards Friday to the store I put my work in downtown Kingston called Beckon. For you Kingston readers, is it is by Next Boutique down on the Strand, and features work by local artists and artisans. Support your local artists by making a trip there instead of the mall for your present needs!

Yesterday Mary Ann called me to tell me "your cards just flew out the door, bring more!"

The problem is, that the design for the woman's WE DO card is on the computer which is fried, and I have not gotten my files off it yet. So, I had to redesign another card, pictured here. I hand color the roses and add a few tiny rhinestones to the card to make it sing.

Although New York doesn't perform same sex marriages, it currently recognizes same sex marriage status done in another state or country that allows it. Out of the countries and states that do allow it, only two, California and Canada, will perform the marriage if you are not a resident.

My friend Jay and his partner Brook, are getting married in L.A. next month, and when they come back will be recognized as a lawfully wedded couple, and will be granted the rights of heterosexual couples. They have been together as long as I have known them (10-15 years?), and though I cannot attend, I celebrate their joy with all my heart.

I do not understand what people have against same sex marriages. In the old testament it may have been a sin, but heck, that was back several thousand years, when it was necessary for the human race to be populated...which is NOT the case now. (I happen to think a lot of what is practiced as doctrine from the bible is based upon old outdated laws and regulations made to control and govern people that no longer works for us today) Like the bumper sticker says about abortion "If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. Same goes for same sex marriage. If you don't believe in it, then don't do it, but don't deny others what you would not do.

Off my soapbox.

Off to bed to read The Other Boleyn Girl. A fun, fast read. I love historical novels and such.

More this week..on an upcoming Buddhist retreat which may be of interest to some of you, and an art opening in Norfolk, CT.....

Patti O Preacher