First look at the Behomoth

The mighty oak was felled this past Fall. A magnificent tree, close to or just past 100 years old, was cut down to make way for a developer-built home, better known as a spec-house.

Here we are months later, having just entered Spring, and the spec-house is rising. This is the view from one of our living room windows. Yes, Spring was ushered in with snow. This new house will be 4,000 square feet; more than twice the size of our home.

Spring 2018

I know it has snowed in Springs past, having always been on Spring break during the last two weeks of March (that's when independent schools tend to have vacation, rather than one week in February and one in April.) I can recall one Spring taking our young sons to Washington D.C. amidst snow, and one Spring hoping to begin gardening only to be foiled by snow (hmm, just like this one!)

Here, for posterity, is this morning's scene, snow begun yesterday and continued through the night. This is the view from our kitchen window; the colors are a reflection of the light sculpture made by my husband which sits atop a shelf over the refrigerator. Our backyard abuts the Westchester Land Trust property of Otter Creek and surrounding salt marsh (formerly Nature Conservancy property.)

There's about 8 inches on the street side. This photo was taken early in the morning looking diagonally across the street. Our red cars are in the driveway..



In Pursuit of Silence

My husband and I ventured out on a weeknight last night to our local Emelin Theatre for a Larchmont-Mamaroneck Center for Continuing Education screening of the movie In Pursuit of Silence. The film explores the human relationship with and response to silence. It is a film of inspiring images and interesting interviews, which made me think about the beauty and importance of stepping away from the "noise" of a busy life and into the refined silence of the natural world around me. 

Is silence the absence of sound? Or is it the absence of noise? Or something else?

At the conclusion of the screening we were invited to remain seated for approximately 20 minutes and participate in a video chat with the director and producer who were out west in California (we were in New York). Moderated by Cheryl Brause of 2bpresent, we learned that the young man in the film who took a vow of silence and walked across the country from Nashua, NH to San Francisco, CA, was intercepted by the filmmakers during the last portion of his journey. They had heard about the young man thru an acquaintance of the producer and were eager to learn more about him.

The director contacted the young man's family and were told that the young man's father was able to track his son's progress by logging in to his credit card account to see where charges were being made. The father gave the last known contact information to the director, who then headed with his crew to the convenience store. Making inquires at the store led the crew to attempt to track the young man which, somewhat to their amazement, they successfully did in a relatively short time.

The young man, who appears in the film several times, hand wrote his responses (in a lovely print that I admired). The director told us that to be respectful of the young man's vow, the director decided to hand write his questions. Soon thereafter, the young man explained via a note that it was not necessary to hand write questions, that the vow was taken by him and not by the director, and that it would be more expedient for the director to verbally pose the questions.

The audience was curious to know if the director knew what happened after the young man arrived at his journey. It turns out, he decided to rest briefly and then begin his return by walking back home to Nashua.



Quite the Excitement.

My nephew (my brother's son) is a pilot and a flight instructor. Yesterday he had quite the excitement, giving his family quite the excitement. 

That is my nephew in the light gray sweatshirt and that is the plane that he landed after a mechanical failure in the engine. Nobody was injured, which is why there was quite the excitement. Not the "yippee" kind of excitement but the kind that you really don't want to have to have, but if you have to have it at least it has a positive resolution. Whew.

Given the Boot

Given the boot, hmm, well, given the fact that I already had two pairs of boots, perhaps it is a bit over indulgent to now have three pairs of boots. I'm not talking about snow boots or rain boots (I have both of those, as well.) I'm talking about leather boots. I went from 12+ years of non-leather (a $39 purchase) boots that eventually gave out after multiple repairs to within the past year having three pairs of leather boots. It does sound indulgent, I admit.

However, the first pair was purchased upon the demise of the $39 pair, one knee-high substituted for another knee-high. The second pair was purchased in Baltimore this past fall, striking, slightly higher than ankle height, dress boots. And the third pair were a gift, sort of. A colleague at school had purchased them and they turned out to be a size too large. After I complemented the boots, she suggested she should give them to me if they fit me better than they fit her. Well, they did fit me better, so she gave them to me to try out and I wore them for a weekend and decided the fit was perfect and the wearing of them quite comfortable. However, my conscience wouldn't let me just take them since they did cost her money and she was intending to replace them in the proper size. So they became mine for half the original price. Considering they had been worn perhaps five times, it was a win-win for both of us.

Along with the boots, the outfit received several complements, most likely due to the way all the various patterns of blue – in the dress, long sleeve top, leggings, boots and earrings – blended in harmony. 

And the light on the right – that's the newest light sculpture by my husband. It is a prototype for a light he is planning on creating for my Aunt. (Good thing she doesn't know about this blog, so the surprise has not been spilt!)

The C.I.A. (not THAT one, the OTHER one!)

Delightful outing to Poughkeepsie today to meet Ann and Ave at the C.I.A. – the Culinary Institute of America. We had lunch at the American Bounty Restaurant, one of many restaurants operated by the students as part of the C.I.A. Restaurant Group. The meal, service, and ambiance were delicious, friendly, and unhurried, causing us all to agree we would eagerly return to try out another restaurant.

The menus change regularly to reflect seasonal and local offerings. For today's lunch Fred and I had:

Cannellini Ricotta Ravioli - Acorn Squash, Pecan Crumb, Carrot Emulsion

Pan-Seared King Salmon - PEI Mussels, Sunchokes, Baby Artichokes, Saffron Cream

Grilled Meiller Farm Striploin - Sweet Potato Purée, Heirloom Baby Carrots and Turnips, Black Garlic Jus

Pumpkin Panna Cotta - Poached Pears, Spiced Oat Crumble, Pear Sorbe

Spiced Pineapple Napoleon - Coconut Meringues, Rum Ice Cream

Hot Scotch - Hot Chocolate, Kahlua, Dewar’s Scotch Whiskey, Whipped Cream (minus the Whiskey at my request!)

The first image is the Napoleon (Fred's), the second is a Chocolate Tart (Ann's) and the third is the Panna Cotta (mine).

And now for the people pictures, with thanks to Ann for the one of Fred and me with our desserts!

Afterwards we perused the gift shop and then headed off to visit The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar. We were all quite bowled over at the gallery's impressive art collection and particularly appreciated the lightness and brightness of the gallery, and the manner in which the various works of art were grouped together. The art was varied and included a large number of well known artists that we hadn't anticipated seeing. Much like the restaurant at the C.I.A., the gallery offered a relaxed and friendly atmosphere that added to the positive experience of the space. (Again, thanks to Ann for these pictures.)

Just a few steps away was the Main Library, another interior that wowed us both for the extensive collection as well as for the interior layout and light, bright settings. We four all found it interesting that in our many years of living just 90 minutes away, and in having college age children at one point in our lives, Vassar never crossed our line of reference. The college was a pleasant discovery as adults in our 60s! (Yup, thanks to Ann for this collection of photos from the Library!)

I leave you with this photo of Spring from one of the pieces at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.


2018 Women's March

Last year's hat, this year's March! (And this year's best marching buddy ever!)

Last January I marched in the 2017 NYC Women's March. Fast forward to this January, where just this past Saturday Fred and I marched in the 2018 NYC Women's March. Both marches were blessed with glorious weather, calm crowds, upbeat feelings, and an amazing sense of camaraderie and purpose.

Fred and I took the 9:37 morning train into the city and had ample time to stroll our way from 42nd Street northwest to 68th Street and Columbus Avenue. Along the way we marveled at the ultra-tall, ultra-thin towers that have been, or are in the midst of being built along 57th Street; it's been awhile since we had walked in this part of the city. With plenty of time till the 11:30 start of speeches, we decided that rather than continue walking for what could be many blocks and a limited view of the happenings, we would turn around and head into Central Park, eventually finding a sunny bench across from 61st Street where the stage was set up. Turns out we made a good decision as the marchers were spread north from 61st to 86th, and the speeches took approximately 90 minutes, making our seats a nice respite in between the walk we had already done and the march we would soon do.

The highlight for Fred was Batala New York, an awesome all-female drumming band that began the March and led it all the way to its conclusion at Bryant Park. You can see videos here of them performing and learn more about them and their music here

An absolute delight and surprise for me was the final performer MILCK. Her song Quiet was the break-out anthem of last year's March in Washington D.C. I first heard it on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and then went down the rabbit hole watching numerous videos since then, including this one and this one. This page has a number of the videos plus the lyrics and a kid-friendly version that swaps two lines.

I Can't Keep Quiet is also the name of the site (and fund) that MILCK created to champion the rights of others or, as the site states:

The #ICantKeepQuiet Global Community is made up of Gentle Rebels who bravely express themselves on behalf of the Misfits, the Survivors, and the Dreamers. We are dedicated to celebrating our unique voices and identities, in an effort to break the cycles of oppression and fear perpetuated by today’s state of affairs and media.

The video below is of the entire speaker set from the 2018 NYC March, and MILCK begins her performance at the 1:35 mark. (In case the video doesn't embed, you can view it here.)

Back to School

Today was the first day back at school after a 17 day winter vacation. I had to mark the day in some way as it seemed rather daunting to return to school after such a long, refreshing, rejuvenating and satisfying vacation. During the first week our older son and his family came for a splendid visit that included celebrating holidays; seeing the Bronx Botanical Garden train show; a visit from and meal with my brother, his family and my Aunt; and a visit to Long Island to see the newest member of the family, a 7 week old.

For most of the second week my husband and I huddled indoors, aided and abetted by frigid temperatures, almost a foot of snow, howling winds and wind chill that made it difficult to walk more than half a mile. Nonetheless, we found ourselves contentedly reading, feeding the birds and watching their comings and goings, and munching popcorn as we watched a movie or two. With intense dedication to completing the job, I went through every single folder on my laptop resulting in a better-organized, less "bulky" laptop.

Making the switch to a schedule no longer determined by me, I chose an intentional outfit to make me feel comfortable and uplifted!

Speaking of uplifted, and it being winter, I am looking up at Fred's most recent sculpture: The Four Seasons. And in a nod to Sheila of Ephemera, I looked up the last wearing of this outfit and it was in November 2015. Scroll down for a closeup of the sculpture.

Voting Day 2008

The national weather service has upgraded today's weather to Blizzard Warning. What better way to spend the day than perusing and organizing files on my laptop! (Plus occasional hot cocoa with marshmallows.)

 I came across this Keynote presentation made after the 2008 election. The head of the middle school where I was then teaching had asked if I'd be interested in sharing how I spent election day. (I had asked for the day off in order to help get out the vote in Pennsylvania.) 

The Hudson River Museum

Second week of winter vacation, yippee! My husband and I took a drive cross-county to Yonkers to visit the Hudson River Museum, a first visit for each of us. I had been interested in seeing the permanent exhibit of the Hudson River that several teachers at school had told me about and my husband was interested in seeing the art.

What wound up interesting me even more than the exhibits was Glenview, the building next door to the museum. Alas, it was closed for removal of holiday decorations. I was curious about the home because it initially housed the museum, which opened in 1924 one year before the birth of my Dad (who was born and raised in Yonkers.) My husband and I realized there was a possibility that my Dad's parents might have taken him to the museum when it was housed in the mansion. Fun to ponder the possibilities!