topiary cats

topiary cats

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Incarcerated Topiary

This incarcerated topiary was spotted while walking in Hudson with Dru.  We are not sure what it did to get behind those bars but it must have been bad.  It's definitely not going anywhere.

Incarcerated Topiary

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Lows

This is a hard time of year for me.  Every year.  Nothing is wrong, in fact things are pretty fine for the most part, but the Spring blahs always hit me. Maybe it is something biological; I don't know. But for whatever reason, I have a heavy sadness. It's just something I maneuver around.

Apparently this is pretty common.  And May is the prime month for suicides.

Almost two years ago I had what might be the worst conversation in my life.  Or maybe a tie for worst, I can't decide. Someone just absolutely ripped me apart, out of nowhere.  While I was at work.  They knew exactly what they were doing; they admitted it while they were doing it. I was told, among other things, that I try so hard, I make such an effort with people, reaching out, but all I really do is embarrass myself.  Because I am ignorant about the proper way to go about things. So I try and try, I get it wrong and they are just completely embarrassed for me.  Anyhow, I reacted quite badly and it blew up two family relationships.  Pretty much the last two that were standing.

It caught me completely off-guard and messed me up for a really long time. I worked through it but I discovered it is still affecting me.

It has made me very gun-shy, so to speak.  I discovered this from- of all things- sending a gift card to someone for their birthday.  It's a distant acquaintance, someone I haven't seen or spoken to for a long time. But I wanted to do something nice for them.  Even though we don't have much contact, I care very much for this person's welfare and, well I just wanted to do something nice for them. That's all.

And I just can't help wondering if I have embarrassed myself.  I KNOW it is crazy and irrational. But there it is.  I know exactly where it stems from, I can analyze and understand it all I want- but it is still there.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hudson: Olana

Olana was Frederic Church's house.

Dru and I went.  It was spectacular.  We went through the house tour.  The tour guide was....odd.  Very informative, but...odd.  Odd in an obsessive way.  No photography allowed.  No touching anything allowed.  No getting too close to the walls allowed. I got yelled at for accidentally stepping off the carpet.  All of this was reasonable except the no photography thing.

Of course I got some sneaky photographs in...

Here are my illicit photos!

 Dru looking pretty :)

 Frederic Church's paint box!

And his brushes!

The upstairs was closed when we went, so I have to go back.

The scenery up there is just gorgeous.  Here are some more pictures, all of them legally taken.  :)

And there were pretty tea sets too!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Knowing and Believing

I've come to realize there's a world of difference between knowing something happened, even knowing why it happened, and believing it.  Because when she cut off contact, yeah, I knew what happened.  But it took me a long, long time to believe it.

Some days, I still don't quite believe it.
                                    -from Where She Went
                                     by Gale Forman

You know how sometimes your mind and heart aren't quite in sync?  When your heart is going one way and your head another?  There's the old phrase "Follow your heart"...sometimes that is definitely the right thing to do and sometimes it is definitely not, depending on the situation.  Hearts are funny things.  Well so are minds, come to think of it....

The difference between knowing something (or not-knowing) and believing it can be so vast.  Belief can either be a liberation, a life raft, or the strongest prison.  It can be tricky to sort it all out.  Beliefs can be false; so can knowledge.  Both can also be true. Both can hurt, both can heal. They can both be empowering or dis-empowering.

While both knowledge and belief are strong, I think belief is a little bit stronger.  Minds are much easier to change than hearts. It can and will overrule knowledge. It will hang on long after knowledge has been assimilated.  It will reject solid knowledge if it wants to. Belief is where hope resides, whether it is false hope or true hope. It is also where faith resides.

Here is an excerpt from Mo's column this week:

Hope is that burning ember within us that urges us on, even in the face of insurmountable odds. Hoping for the best is what we do. Those of us with an interest in metaphysics are apt to embrace a philosophy of hope, because we know that everything can change, and often does.

The cycles of nature prove that hope is around us, every moment of every day. The return of the seasons, a withered plant revived, the blooming of flowers in the spring, all teach us that the potential for change is boundless. As long as we can keep our hearts and minds open, we can do almost anything we put our energy to.
Aside from being aware of our beliefs- those we choose and those which are instilled in us- it is important to periodically re-examine beliefs and make sure they are still relevant.  Letting go of beliefs can be scary as it is a falling away of structure- but as we grow in life experience, beliefs can also be outgrown.  It is important to make sure we control our own beliefs instead of letting someone else control and define them for us. I don't- er, believe- in holding on to beliefs just for the sake of them, because someone else tells you to believe, or simply because that belief has always been there.  They can be roadblocks and prevent us from expanding. 

Beliefs can also keep us hopeful in the most irrational of circumstances.

Sometimes I don't know if that is good or not. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Two Very Good Advices

After I locked myself out, I rooted around the internets for some NYPD safety advice.
Apparently, the NYPD has trouble with people not locking their doors.  Obviously I don't have that problem, but I have encountered people who habitually leave their doors unlocked, which I find stunning.  In one case, the person had some very intrusive neighbors who thought it was ok to just open the door and walk into the apartment when they wanted.  I said "Lock your door!!" but my advice went unheeded.

NYPD even has a QUIZ! on when to lock your door!  I took the quiz and the NYPD is very happy with me, apparently.

You can take the quiz too!

So, good advice #1: lock your door.

Back in 2009 when I went to London, I met up with the amazing and beautiful Soulbrush.  We went on a ferry ride down the Thames, and we stopped to get tea from one of those outdoor food stands.  (I loved that they had tea as a matter of course).  When we finished our tea, Joss asked me if I needed the spoon.  I said no.  So she took it, saying that her husband, Neil, said "Always carry a spoon with you.  You never know when you might need one."

Ironically, later that same evening in my hotel room I needed a spoon and there was none to be found.  So I remember that advice every time I travel and am not staying with a friend- I always pack a spoon.  And it has truly come in handy.

Good advice #2: always carry a spoon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Locked Out

Last week I acquired a New Life Skill.

When I was taking out the garbage, my door shut behind me before I could flip the lock into the non-lock position.  So I locked myself out.  In my jammas. I have a talent for doing this, which is why I always have 2 sets of keys in my purse.  But this time I had no keys, just an unhelpful bag of garbage.  And Daya was in New Jersey.

The super was not home and would not be for at least an hour.  My next door neighbors with the connecting fire escape were not home. I got creative and surveyed my resources- the super's daughter let me use their abnormally tall stepladder, and I also needed the 2 large plastic garbage/recycle bins from the laundry.  And some serious acrobatic skillz.

Millie might be very upset with me for posting this, as I had it on Facebook for a couple of hours and she guilted me into taking it down.  Because it made her anxious, and I don't want her to be anxious. I love Millie rather madly.  But really, I am not concerned about someone repeating my stupid and dangerous (but very clever!!) acrobatic stunt.  I barely made it, and if I was just a very little bit larger or less nimble, or less willing to be mostly upside-down on the fire escape I wouldn't have been able to do it.  It also caused a bit of commotion- inside and out.  My apartment is not window-entry friendly at all.

It actually makes me think about the fire escapes and how larger people could really get out (or not??) in case of emergency.  They are definitely built to go down, not up- and out, not in.  I guess they are meant to be used with fireman assistance.

I really would not have minded if a fireman came along and helped me out....

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Foot Undeez

Among the 7 dance classes Daya takes, one is Acro. Which is floor acrobatics. When Daya first started the class, she told me she needed foot underwear. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: What? foot underwear?  What's that?
Daya: It's underwear for your feet and I need a pair.
Me: It's actually called 'foot underwear"?
daya: Yes!

Well, ok. We went to the Capezio store and sure enough, they had these things called Foot Undeez.

They cost $25.

Of course the ones she has been using all year are the wrong color for the recital, so I will have to buy another pair of Foot Undeez.

$50 for foot underwear.

Foot Undeez

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Artistic Inertia

I have two (2) more Hudson posts, but I'm going to take a little break.

Carey sent me a text about her total lack of motivation, and if I thought she needed a big canvas to help get motivated.

I told her that yes, she probably does need the large canvas- but I have done exactly the same thing (for real!) and it didn't help get me motivated.  It might help her though, and I hope it does.

Sometimes Stape Kearns calls me to chat, which is nice because he is really interesting and, well, cool.  I enjoy listening to his stories and his perspective.  We had a nice chat the other day. He is a workaholic. Work, work, work, for him, constantly.  I wish I was more like that.  I am definitely NOT a workaholic, as much as I would like to be.  Stape has a lot of inertia- the movement kind. I have a lot of inertia- the still kind.  But then again, Stape's art is and has always been his livelihood.  I don't have that kind of pressure.

Time is not my problem.  Like Carey, I DO have the time.  Energy is not the problem- I DO have the energy.  I also have ideas.

What discourages me is when I do show up at the easel-  and I can't get it together.  So then I think why bother, showing up at the easel won't get the energy flowing.

Perhaps I need to go outside and paint.  When it is just a little nicer outside I'm going to go paint on the nature trail in the Bronx Zoo.  Dru and I are going to take a nice day trip to the river walk in Poughkeepsie. And the Hudson Valley in general is very accessible, especially now that I don't really have to get Daya at a certain time from childcare.  So things are opening up, slowly. New surroundings, new energy.  I need that.

What I think I am is overwhelmed.  That makes me shut down and I really think that is the heart of it in my case.  What overwhelms me? My stupid apartment is the first thing that comes to mind.  I need to get some semblance of organization.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Hudson: Eats

There is some really good food in Hudson.  Coming from NYC, I readily admit I am rather spoiled where good food is concerned.  But Hudson was absolutely wonderful.  We went out to eat because that way no one had to wash any dishes.  I may now have a serious addiction to French breakfast.  Luckily there are a few places near me that I really NEED to check out.  In fact, they are right by Daya's dance school, so...easy.

I did post this Tea vat before, but it is so awesome I have to post it again.  And also, I NEED a few of these. Tea, in good style.  They are on Amazon for about $20 each, but I'm going to look and see if I can find some for less.

Wonderful Tea Vat

 Spicy Mexican hot chocolate!

Daya wanted sushi.  No arguments from Dru or me!!

 We listened to the sign.

The bread you see was amazing.  The owner of the restaurant basically imported a French baguette oven over from France........oh the bread!

I think that Daya and I may need to have French brunch again this weekend.