Showing posts from September, 2009

From Megan's Blog

Tonight's blog is a paste from what I wrote on the blog I keep for my daughter, who is hopefully STILL in remission from LMS. I repeat it here as cancer touches so many of our lives.

When someone you love dearly has cancer, each time they get sick or experience an ache, it wrenches your heart. You never rest easy as you know how insidious cancer is, and it becomes an ever present shadow that quite never goes away.

Each time Megan has a test I get worried, though the doctors think that as long as she keeps her lupus at bay, they can keep the likelihood of metastasis at bay.

Lately she has been having severe neck pain, tunnel vision, and had knocked herself out cold from hitting her head on things as her vision is skewed. The doctors were giving her muscle relaxers etc., but not giving her the necessary tests to show what is wrong. With her history, I see that as gross negligence on the part of the medical doctors.

Finally, after crying and telling them that she can't do this anymo…


Seems this week is destined to be a walk down memory lane. I never expected the stroll to be so intense-in mostly good ways.

Summer of 1969. Little catholic school girl gets moved from Long Island to a remote town in the Catskills. She leaves behind her first boyfriend of any significance, (though not her first crush), who is good at marketing and selling her handmade things door to door in the neighborhood. She leaves behind a handful of "approved" friends, and a whole neighborhood of constant entertainment in her micro managed world.

1969. The summer I left behind my innocence, as a new world slowly yet steadily unfolded itself to me from that point forth. It was a summer of change.

I was a clean slate. Innocent. Sheltered. Controlled. Monitored. Again, so innocent and unworldly.

What my father couldn't control was that we had moved below a large commune called The Children of God. The people walking down the road and the music which played into all hours of the ni…

My Old Shandaken Home...

I have been too busy to blog. Work, Union stuff, house and garden things to do. Bills. Laundry. Allergies which bring on lethargy. Lethargy which brings on naps. I have done nothing in the studio which is making me very sad, but I am hoping that I will get some time once the weather turns colder and I won't be gardening or tooling around the Hudson Valley enjoying some last ray of sun.

On my trekking around the countryside last weekend, I had Larry drive up to my old house, the one that I grew up in as a teenager, when in 1969 my parents moved us from Long Island to a little town in the middle of nowhere.

The house is bounded on three sides by state land, and the other side has an acre or so that my father bought and attached to the deed of the house. It is a small house, some 1300 sq. feet, smaller than the house I live in now. It sits at the base of a mountain, and has a view of another mountain from its wrap-around deck. It is a simple house in a lovely setting, 30 minute…

Catskill Jaunts, Part II: Andes

Paisley Boutique
Inside the Andes Hotel
Christie Scheele at the Chace-Randall Gallery
After our visit to the Pakatakan Farmer's Market, Larry and I headed further into the Catskills to a little town called Andes. Past Arkville by a few miles, this lovely country town was charming.

We were starving and hoped to find somewhere that served a late lunch, and we landed in the Andes Hotel where they serve lunch right up until dinner time. Larry and I ordered two lunches to share: local smoked trout with a tomato relish and horseradish sauce, and beer battered shrimp with a spicy pepper dipping sauce. I am not a big fan of fried food, but the batter on the shrimp was light, and the shrimp were not oily and greasy like other fried shrimp I have had. The trout was excellent, the relish unpretentious and tasty. The Hotel offers outside dining/cocktail area on the porch, the bar is a nice size (with a pool table!) and it features entertainment too! There is also a hotel behind it where a…

Catskill Jaunts: Part 1: The Pakatakan Farmer's Market

Larry and I were supposed to go away for the weekend, but with my hormones not cooperating, and me not wanting to drop a few bills on a nice B and B while feeling horrid, we opted for staying home and touring the Catskills.

I have been buying my skin care products from Lorna at Lorna's Naturals for years at the Kingston Farmer's Market. However, since she can't be in two places at once, she no longer does that market, and sells at the Pakatakan Farmer's Market in Halcotsville, NY, just outside of Margaretville, which is 30 minutes or so west of Woodstock. I have been out of face, skin cream, and soap for a long time, so I was determined to find her.

It was a flash back, riding up Route 28 and gazing at the country side that I grew up in. The church I used to go to, now for sale and overgrown. The portal, where the waters is discharged from the Gilboa dam further north, into the Esopus creek. Roads I used to travel. Mountains, trees, trains, new businesses as well …

Pirates on the Hudson

Today was pirate day at school, and thanks to Rhona, I was well equipped to pull off some nearly authentic Arrrrrs in school.

Many of the staff dressed up, as did Rhona. She was the most splendid pirateress of all, and I was willing to take second place besides her. One of the students said: "you look like a peasant next to her!", and I have to agree. But what a happy peasant I was.

I love participating in events at school; it shows students that we know how to play, and how important in life it is to play. I am so adamant about teaching kids to get excited by the simple things in life, and to be in touch with their inner child. Do they think I am a bit nuts? Sure, but they smile, laugh, and even one of the boys coveted my corset.

After school, I went down to the Rondout (the waterfront on the Rondout Creek which feeds into the mighty Hudson) to have some photos taken by the boats, and walked by a few threatening the owners with absconding with their vessels.

Walking abo…

If I were a Baby Boy

This photo is what I feel like right now..if I were a baby boy.

Poor Randy, my little grandson, is done with his spaghetti dinner and really wants to go to bed. Patti is also done with her dinner and wants to go to bed too. Only I have my shirt on and am not quite so dirty.

After a long day, topped off with a Union meeting that has made me even more nuts, I am ready for some R and R. I can't WAIT till I retire, and in the genre of Frank McCourt, I am going to write a book called "Teacher Woman". You'd never believe the shit that goes down where I work.

Estrogen still crashing, and I am debating as to whether or not I am going to go away w/Larry for the weekend. At the very least, we will do some day tripping, and get some meals along the way.

Hey, that could be a song from the Estrogen Devils... "Meals Along the Way", aka, "Yep, You Wanted him Gone"....

Feeling evil. Be scared, very scared. Another song on the CD: "Methinks I have made some E…

The Estrogen Devils

I think if I were to be the lead singer in a punk rock band, I would title it "The Estrogen Devils". You know - the kind of music that makes you want to kill your own kid, or the puppy that just pooped on the floor.

My estrogen is crashing, as is my reasoning, my patience, my ability to laugh.

Then again, sometimes I question if my recent outbursts of standing up and shouting I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE is my hormones, or is that I have reached the end of my tolerance for ignorance, abuse, shoddy workmanship, laziness etc.

Today I reached a new low and though the sun was shining and it was 80 out, I was slumped in a chair, feeling like nothing could make me happy. My school day ended up with the sink flooding in my art room, ruining things, and making a horrid smell from the trap. After writing letters to my supervisors *this has been going on for a year and maintenance hasn't fixed yet" email...I slunk home looking a bit like Wiley E. Coyote behind the whee…


I finished my first week back to work at school. I am still in shock, and it has given weekends a total new meaning.

I still am not used to getting up at 5:30 and being in bed before midnight, and don't have the food thing together. Once I am settled in, my classroom is very cozy as I make it my second home. I have a refrigerator, a microwave (both thanks to Larry), a toaster oven, coffeemaker and grinder (got to have fresh organic coffee), water filter, my art on the walls, photos I have taken during my summer adventures posted, as well as opening post cards and more.

I try and teach using as many modalities as possible. Video, music, lecture, notes, hands on, discovery learning, etc. It takes a lot of work at times to do all of this, especially since I teach 6 classes a day, and four of them are different! (never mind trying to make, show, and sell art as a second career)

I raise the bar high in my room, realizing that some will be thrilled with the challenge, while others wil…

Woodstock Openings this Saturday

I am thrilled to have one of my new paintings, never shown before, at the Woodstock Art Association/Museum show "The Other Side of the Mountain" which opens at the gallery this Saturday, from 4-6.

It is one of my larger 24 x 30" oil paintings of an Olana sunset - mostly sky, with just a hint of mountains at the bottom. A small acrylic sky was rejected at the Small Works Show, but I have to say, if I were to choose between the two, I would rather have it be the upstairs/main gallery showing.

This makes the second painting to get into a show. I know you probably think...what's the big deal, but as someone who has always beenan insecure painter who didn't paint for a very long time, this is a joy.

I can't think back to my past, as it does no good. But once in a great while I ponder, "what IF my parents supported my art and my paintings" However rather than the what-ifs, I chose to go with "look what I am doing NOW".

The other two pieces are…


I am desperately trying to figure out how to live the life I was living when I wasn't out of the house teaching for 8 hours.

I hit the floor running at 6 am, and have not sat down to rest till after nine the past two nights, which leaves little time for any decent R and R, never mind socializing! After a full day of teaching, there is still gardening, harvesting, preserving and cooking to do, as well as things related to my art shows and studio, laundry, cleaning, blah blah blah. Oh, and my blogs and Facebook! What do I give up?

In a way I look forward to rainy days that keep me inside, and the winter months that the gardens lay dormant. Though I miss the fresh greens and veggies, I am tired of the work that it takes to procure a good harvest, and of maintaining the yard. I am even OK with closing off the back room as it is one less room to clean.

Off to bed to preview some art films, and then try and get some reading in.
Oh, and try and fix my Itunes..which won't open and I …

The Last Big Hurrah

I have packed in an awful lot this weekend.

Dinner with Larry Friday night, then Jazz Fest Saturday evening after a day of chores/work, on Sunday a hike to Poets walk with Larry and then dinner at our house with Karen and Phill, and today was a trip to the Renaissance Faire with Rhona in Sterling Park, NY.

I am exhausted. Laundry needs to be folded, and I need to figure out what I am going to wear to school on the first day..which is just meetings and such.

But I will sit there, a bit shell shocked, but smiling, because I know I filled up every moment of my summer with many experiences...and will continue to do so every day AFTER work and on the weekends. (my new mantra to help me get through the difficult days..)

I am sure you wonder..gee..does that woman EVER sit still?

Not much. Ask Larry.

In fact, I had better find him to spend the last few minutes of the day.

Till the next one, Patti OOOOOOO

PS Playing dress up in Rhona's closet was TOTALLY fun, and I partook in my first parad…

Making Amends

After a second in two days close woodchuck siting, I decided to take heed and pay attention to the fact that it could be one of my spirit guides, and they are connected to altered states of consciousness and dreams. I am on that journey, have very intense dreams, one of which I had last night.

I had the usual stress dreams about school, which I have had all summer. They are usually involve my difficult students (and some staff..) and can involved insubordination, throwing art supplies, and sometimes violence. I have to find a way to resolve this as it has caused me some anxiety and I have to put in at least another 3 years there..before I can make any major life decisions. I need to be able to work there in peace and in joy and let the craziness wash over me.

But the dream that was etched on my mind most, was a dream about two people in my life who are sick, but who came to help me out in spite of their ill-health. They had stopped by my house, and finished all the unfinished odd…

Another Woodchuck Story....

Another spectacular day in the Hudson Valley.

I forced myself to take the car to the car wash, so I could vacuum, wash, and wax it. I had a few cups of coffee in me, so I was able to get it done in an hour, including the drive time to the car wash.

After that, off to Gadeleto's for a lunch meeting with a group of local artists, which included good conversation about the art world, and life in general. Then off to Hurley to visit Meredith, where I had a very strange occurrence with a woodchuck.

Those of you who follow this obscure blog, know that I have huge issues with woodchucks living under my porch, living in my yard, raising their young, and sometimes being very smelly. (they have a toilet area of their burrows, and I suspect that last year that spot was under my house) I trapped one and re-located it last month, only to find more had appeared. (spouse/kids?). I don't mind them, but they do like my garden, though not as much as the deer do, and I really don't like…

A Beer, a Book, and a Bikini

I was restless today after coming back from three days of go-go-go in NYC.
After a doc appt in the AM, I took myself out for breakfast at my local bagel joint. Not Brooklyn Bagels, but the closest I will get to them here in Kingston.

Once home, I harvested beans, swiss chard, and tomatoes, cleaned up the house after being gone for a spot, organized the studio, and wondered what to do with myself till my 5pm Woodstock appointment.Everyone was working or busy, and I found myself alone without a plan for the afternoon.

Too nice to hang in the house, so I headed up with top down to Mermaid Lake with an Oktoberfest Beer, my book written by friend Heather Rolland (and takes place in the Hudson fun!) sporting my bikini.

Cerulean sky, no one on the banks, with a picnic table to serve as my lounge chair. (forgot the folding chair...)

I spent the majority of two hours, undisturbed save for a few plops of jumping fish, and the slight buzz of bees, wasps, flies and flying grasshoppers. …

At the End of the Hudson: a Chelsea Slog

I have returned from three glorious days in the Big Apple, visiting a dear friend of mine who is one of the lucky ones who retired and lives out her dream life with her husband in Chelsea, NYC.

Besides being nearby to so many wonderful places, Chelsea is a happening scene. A quick walk brought us to the High Line walk, and Chelsea Market.

We strolled along the High Line,which is a lovely park in the process of being developed on the old elevated train tracks built in the 30's. It is in the old meat packing center of the city, 30'in the air, and though still under construction, you can enjoy a lengthy stretch of lovely flora and fauna, sit on stone benches, some in the shape of chaise lounges for some city sunning.

Chelsea Market is another fun jaunt, resurrected from the ruins of the National Biscuit Co. and features amazing food shops like Elani's cookies (at a mere 75.00 a box on the high end..) a great kitchen supply store, various specialty food shops, art, music and…