tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:/posts On Out & About 2017-12-10T15:45:56Z tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1205799 2017-12-10T15:39:50Z 2017-12-10T15:45:56Z The Mighty Oak

[Oops! Thought I had published this several weeks ago. However, discovered this morning that it was still a draft. I do not know how to set a publish date (or if it is even possible) so here it is, posted in December rather than on November 12.]

A towering oak, close to 100 years old by our count of its rings, was cut down last Friday to begin the process of clearing the land for the building of a house. This neighborhood was first begun in the late nineteen-teens; our house was built in 1925 and we have had the honor of living in this house for the past 29 years. During all that time the oak tree stood across the street, part of an extra-wide lot that actually consisted of three lots, with a stately house and its side deck taking up a little over one lot and the remainder of the property landscaped with the trees untouched.

In the wider photo below, the oak is the tree on the right.

The owners, their daughters grown and no longer living at home, recently sold the house to a family with children, and the oak tree's land was sold to a developer. And so the tree came down.

I had no idea it would touch me as much as it did. While the tree was still standing, Fred and I wrapped our arms around it and gave it a big hug. And last Sunday I alighted onto the oak's stump and shared with its spirit a poem by Mary Oliver followed by an homage I wrote. Then I scooped up some of the saw dust and released it to the air, as if it was fairy dust blessing the ground. Had I done my research sooner, I would have learned that Native Americans bless their trees before they are cut down.

When I Am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oak and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, "Stay awhile."

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again "It's simple," they say,

"and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine."

The dinosaur (well, it does bear some resemblance!) was not the tree chopper, but it has been parked on the property since the weekend, portending what comes next. And the small piece of wood is a bit of the oak tree, sitting in a new harbor on a small stone wall by the oft-used side entry to our home, a reminder of the mighty oak.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1214358 2017-12-10T15:39:07Z 2017-12-10T15:43:58Z Half Moon

December 10, 2017

What we saw this morning 

Which inspired this

And the sharing of these



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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1209186 2017-11-29T00:51:09Z 2017-11-29T00:53:41Z Another Husband Favorite

This morning was the second time (first time here) this Fall that my husband strongly suggested we needed a photo of my outfit. Indeed, as he took one and then another photo, he exclaimed "this is fun!" Ah, my fellow blogging buddy is now, dare I say it, hooked! Well, he is responsible for just about all of the outfit pictures. :-)

We had fun with this picture because, especially in the first one (nope, not posting it!), I was clowning around with holding aloft the mobile sculpture made by my husband and hanging above me. Also on the ceiling, at the opposite end of the room, is another sculpture by my husband, only in that one he has programmed LEDs. I will try to take some photos of his LED sculptures and post them because they are quite enjoyable to look at. More about them in another post.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1207235 2017-11-23T15:15:09Z 2017-11-24T11:30:19Z The Hudson River School

Last Sunday we entered the world of Hudson River painters Thomas Cole and Frederick Church. Cole was a founder of The Hudson River School of painting, a style that was tied to the eastern American landscape. Our interest in visiting the historic homes of both these artists was due to my husband's interest in art. 

Cole and Church lived across the river (the Hudson River, of course!) from one another, Cole in Catskill, NY, and Church in Hudson, NY. Back in their day they would take long hikes together to sketch, and traveled across the river by boat (now there is the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.) 

Cole lived in an unassuming home with a welcoming yellow exterior; Church lived in a self-designed house on a hill that is among the more curious homes I've yet to see, in particular due to the front entrance. Church named his home Olana, and I took more photos there simply because of the unusualness of the building.

This first set of Olana pictures is of the exterior including a southwesterly view of the Hudson and the Catskill Mountains beyond.

These last two pictures from Olana include a western view from a window that Church intentionally framed with decoration to look like a picture frame. At the time he built Olana there was no Rip Van Winkle Bridge, but how perfect that the bridge can now be viewed from the window as if it had been placed there on purpose. The second picture is of a window that consists of two glass panels with cut out paper nestled between the panes. This type of scissor cutting art is a German style called scherenschnitte.

Leaving Olana we headed across the bridge to Catskill for lunch at HiLo, a funky place with yummy food. And from there it was a few blocks to the home of Cole. The first picture is of a soothingly-colored mural hanging on the wall at the landing between the first and second floor. The second photo, of the chair with the candle holder, caught my eye for the lighting technology of their day. The final photos are from an exhibit in one of the second floor rooms that has been turned into a studio.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1205787 2017-11-16T23:35:53Z 2017-11-16T23:35:53Z Crystals

Purple and red. Mystery and fire. 

The unknown swirling of the cosmos and the deep heat of the earth. 

Orange and red.

My younger son wrote those words in his birthday card to me. I know how he enjoys crystals and am deeply appreciative that he chose to share that delight with me in two sets of earrings. This pair touched me as graceful and rather different from any earrings I've seen. And I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover that over the course of the day they actually felt lighter and lighter. 
The other earrings are purple and will find their way to a post within the next few days.

Smiling-from-the-heart Mom :-)
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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1205570 2017-11-15T21:10:12Z 2017-11-16T01:16:14Z November 15

Today was my husband's final day of jury duty, and he just happened to park in a significantly numbered parking spot, for today is also my birthday, and I subtly step from 62 to 63. :-)

And to kick off the morning, my email icon tallied at 63 right next to the recently opened calendar app, 63 on the 15th. :-)
To honor my Mom today, my Dad too but mostly my Mom because she is the person who gave birth to me, I wore three pieces of jewelry that she used to wear and gave to me – earrings, a necklace, and a gold bracelet that has her name on it. This is me with Mom in 2010, and I believe that is her Mom in the black and white photo on the bureau behind her.
And finally, the day in a dress I've been patiently waiting to wear for the first time since it arrived this past summer. It is a swirly dress from ModCloth, meant to be worn sleeveless in the spring, summer or on a warm fall day. Today was a bit too chilly for sleeveless so there is a cream short-sleeve tee underneath (a souvenir gift from Ecuador) and a burnt sienna sweater on top. I am certain that this dress will be worn again, and eventually it will be worn in warm weather where it's burgundy details can better be highlighted.
And the dress speaks swirls for itself. :-) 




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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1205381 2017-11-15T01:15:30Z 2017-11-15T01:15:30Z Season Mixing

A spring-to-summer dress saved just so I could wear it at least once in late Fall accompanied by leggings and my new red sweater. Not much more to say other than how much I like wearing dresses at this time of year. All that's needed for a blend of comfort and warmth is a good pair of leggings, a pop of seasonal color in the way of a warm sweater, and then the dress can shine!

I am wearing much appreciated yoga jewelry given in celebration of my 200-hour yoga teacher training graduation in June 2016 – the earrings from my daughter-in-law, son and their children; the necklace from my friend and fellow yoga teacher Stephanie, who strongly urged me to pursue my yoga studies.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post – it's the outfit I've been building to, newly purchased just this summer and not yet worn!

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1205380 2017-11-15T01:06:01Z 2017-11-15T01:06:01Z Autumn Colors

This outfit received many complements on Monday, and you might be able to tell from my smiles just how comfortable and pleased I felt to be wearing it. Everything felt perfect, from the textures to the lengths to the colors to the drape of the dress. My wonderfully kind husband, who has been taking the vast majority of the pictures of me for this blog, smiled when I asked for a second picture: The boots have to be included!

I have worn all of these pieces before, and they have each been mentioned in a blog post sometime in the past. Suffice it to say that the dress is a delightful reminder of a road trip taken to Montréal a few summers ago with my friend Ann. 

The wearing of a dress for the month of November, at least for the days that I teach, is all part of celebrating my birthday month. There was a slight glitch last week, however, with no photos because I didn't wear any dresses. And I didn't wear any dresses because I didn't go to school! 

A week ago Saturday I woke up with a rash on my front torso. Figuring it might have been bug bites (spider bites), I dealt with the discomfort, knowing that on Monday I would be heading to the doctor for my annual physical. During the physical I gave Dr George a heads up so she wouldn't be surprised when examining me. Lo and behold, not a split second after mentioning the rash, she told me it was not a bunch of bug bites; rather, I had shingles!

Further, after letting the school nurse know my diagnosis, it turned out I was not permitted to return to school till the rash had healed because there are several students who are unvaccinated. Shingles is contagious to anyone who is not vaccinated and pregnant women. In both cases, the exposure could cause chicken pox. Home I remained until this past Saturday, when Dr George gave me an all-clear and I returned to school yesterday. So there you have it, the explanation for why no dress posts from last week.

Now onwards and upwards to my birthday!

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1203097 2017-11-03T20:20:34Z 2017-11-03T20:24:12Z Burnt Sienna of Autumn

My favorite Crayola crayon color was burnt sienna, and this sweater – purchased years ago in a no-longer existent Eddie Bauer store in Manhattan – caught my eye purely for the color. It has been a stalwart, go-to sweater every fall, being warm, easy to wear and easy to wash. 

The dress is another purchase from years ago, this time from J.Jill, purchased for the fall colors, leaf pattern, super soft cotton, ease of wear and ease of care. This is the second in my November campaign of wearing a dress each day that I am at school, at least till my birthday, though likely will continue through the entire month. I even managed a dress today, though Friday is my day off, but since I plan on reprising the outfit on Wednesday will wait till then for a photo.

Lots of jewelry with this outfit so may as well identify the pieces. The orange earrings are dried seeds from Ecuador; necklace was made by my next-door-neighbor's daughter; orange-black-gold bracelet on my right wrist also made by my neighbor's daughter; lighter beaded bracelet on my left wrist was my Mom's, and the darker, multi-hued wood bracelet is from Peru. (Jewelry from Ecuador and Peru were gifts from my daughter-in-law's family.) And yup, those are the fabulously artsy and comfortable new boots from Baltimore, Hampden to be specific. 

And not to be left out, on the counter are two light sculptures made by my husband!

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1202570 2017-11-01T19:46:01Z 2017-12-06T18:00:21Z Red accents

November is my birthday month, and I have decided to wear a dress every work day up till and including on my birthday! This is a Gap favorite that I always keep out thru as much of Autumn as possible. It is short sleeved so there's a blue tee shirt underneath, paired with leggings and a new red sweater (from LLBean's Signature collection). Coupled with my red hush puppies and, for outer wear, red gloves and a Land's End red hat, and there you have the red accents!

The hat has been a long time favorite, with the red crocheted flower being added about three years ago. It was a gift from a colleague, her mom made it for her to give to me. The red flower represents the celebration of St George's Day in Spain. My friend and her family are from Barcelona, and they would always stroll the markets to buy books and flowers, hence the red flower.

Linking up with Judith at Style Crone to join in the hat sharing fun, and because I find her writing and the photographs inspirational.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1200549 2017-10-24T14:33:33Z 2017-11-27T11:35:44Z Hampden, MD

A little over a year ago our son and his family relocated to Hampden, Maryland, a funky neighborhood in northern Baltimore. WikipediaHampden Village Merchants Association and Live Baltimore provide an eye into this colorful town. (Last two links thanks to Brenda at Hanging On A Whim, described below.)

During the school year, we visit every other month. While visiting, our focus is entirely on our family, especially our grandchildren. We have been in Hampden for their annual Miracle on 34th Street lights, a sight to behold. My pictures from last December hardly do the street justice, but perhaps they suffice to give you an idea of the magnitude of the display. The entire block is aglow!

The main street of Hampden is called "The Avenue", and it houses the vast majority of the neighborhood's stores and restaurants. Our two favorite eateries are The Charmery, bastion of Charm City's homemade ice cream, including Maryland Mud and usually three vegan options, and The Golden West Cafe, best spot we've found for delectable breakfasts, including vegan choices, and our grandson is a fan of their decor.

All of our visits to The Avenue have always included our grandchildren. On our most recent visit we arrived while they were still at school and took the opportunity to stroll the street, walking along one side and then the other, with the other half of the block awaiting another visit. Well, it wasn't exactly serendipitous – I had been planning this stroll for several weeks! My destination?

Ma Petite Shoe is one of several shops in a cluster of colorful row houses, long since transformed to stores. Their sign has always caught my attention: Shoes & Chocolate. Seriously, what better combination! And of course, I had to go inside. And, for those who know me, it will come as no surprise that I had to try on something. I actually tried on two somethings, and purchased one of them, a brand completely new to me, L'Artiste.

We arrived home Sunday; I wore them to school on Monday. Turned out to be much warmer than anticipated, but still worth the wearing!

Another shop next door, which caught my husband's eye, is Hanging On A Whim, an artist-owned store and gallery of custom painted furniture and objects. I was immediately attracted to the whimsy and color of the furniture, some of it children's size but other pieces accommodating to grownups. I left Brenda's shop imagining a screened porch decorated with some of her furniture or a few surprise accents dispersed around corners in a future home.

There is also a yoga studio across the street from the shoe store. I will check this out on some future visit, and leave you for now with the aptly crafted exterior building art on the second floor of the studio.


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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1196638 2017-10-07T15:18:17Z 2017-10-07T15:18:17Z Science, my lad, has been… (Jules Verne)
Science, my lad, has been

built upon many errors.

But they are errors which

have been useful to make

for they have been stepping 

stones to truth.

Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1196055 2017-10-04T20:38:19Z 2017-10-04T20:38:19Z Fred's Choice

On Tuesday morning it was Fred's suggestion we get a picture for the blog!

Probably difficult to discern in the morning light, but I'm wearing a black short-sleeve top under the jean jacket (Gap). The black top has sentimental value; it was my Mom's, and has alternating diagonal cutouts down the middle and along the sides. Pants H&M, scarf a souvenir purchased in Brugges, Brussels, shoes Hush Puppy (gift from my daughter-in-law and her mom). Jean jackets, especially ones not overly frayed and worn, up the ante of just about any outfit, and black and cream make a classy combination. I guess it all worked because Fred insisted we get a picture for the blog. :-)

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1194862 2017-09-29T19:21:03Z 2017-09-29T19:21:10Z Color x2

Last week there were two outfits I wore to school that made me feel comfortable and upbeat. Each consists of a pair of pants that I enjoy wearing when not wearing jeans, and each consists of a favored top, the colours of which always make me smile. 

Red pants and red belt are from the Gap, top is Land's End, sandals are Earth Origins by earth.

Cream khakis are H&M, top is from modcloth, scarf from Brussels, a gift from my daughter-in-law's mother. Earrings a souvenir from a  Montréal road trip a few years ago. Do not recall if I was wearing my Danskos (red sandals) or my red hush puppies (Mary Janes) from Belgium, both comfortable and favorite pairs of shoes.

I purposely wore clothing that cheers me, as it was a tough week at school. Being used to spending my days with children and colleagues, due to a second year division head who has changed the rules of engagement for those in integrator roles (which includes me), I now have to follow protocols (that were nonexistent prior to his arrival) that have slowed down the spontaneity of what I do. Coupled with another new initiative the division head has instituted, massive testing (where before it was minimal) for Fountas & Pinnell literacy levels, the entire first month (and now edging into the start of the second month) of school has been focused on assessment (to soon be followed by Math assessment), which has also slowed down the rate of engagement and interaction with children. 

I have typically looked at my "job" as getting up in the morning to play with children and colleagues, so it was a stultifying September. I had barely any time with children, other than assisting with two sessions in each of the three third, fourth and fifth grade classes to introduce students to their Chromebooks so they could log in and set up passwords. My Makerspace colleague and I have turned our space into an amazing place with the introduction of new workbenches we have built and an array of improved organization. However, spiffying up a space does not provide the satisfaction that being with children provides. Hence, the need for cheering. It is going to be awhile before schedules permit the joy of learning and exploring to begin in earnest. Sigh.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1194686 2017-09-28T22:33:53Z 2017-09-28T22:33:54Z Yard Sculptures

I've surely mentioned the colorful, whimsical yard sculptures that grace our front yard and greet me daily as I return home from my day's outings. My husband has created them all, the 3D sculptures that sit atop wood poles, each one a silent flowering among the flower beds, and the twinkling sculptures that combine wood and 3D pieces, responding to breezes as they float suspended in air from the branches of trees. There is one additional pole sculpture in a flower bed further to the right, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

I have taken many pictures of these, yet most have been taken on sunny days, making it difficult to get any sense of them in the photos. The set below were taken later in the day, when the lighting worked to highlight the sculptures. Still, the images do not do the sculptures justice, as nature takes precedence. :-) But just to give you an idea…

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1194161 2017-09-27T00:08:57Z 2017-09-27T00:08:57Z Homemade Desserts…Yum!

Our daughter-in-law is a natural cook. She enjoys the chemistry of cooking, the way ingredients interact, how spices impact flavor, how the method of cooking impacts the outcome. Even more, she enjoys baking. I have stated several times that if ever she wanted to open a small bakery or, even nicer to my mind, a dessert cafe, I would happily help fund her. Okay, maybe that's just a gustatory dream of mine. ;-)

The first dessert made by her that I ever had was a phenomenal Chocolate Almond Raspberry Torte from Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner's The New Now and Zen Epicure. This was made for my son's birthday in 2011, when they were living in Brussels. I was visiting and had the delight of assisting (in a very small manner!) with the preparation and the delight of eating (in a not quite as small manner!) Alas, I could not locate the picture I took of the finished torte. However, it was more radiant than the one below, which comes from the cookbook.

Fast forward a few years to our granddaughter's first birthday. Having moved from Brussels to Ecuador, they were visiting us for two weeks in the summer. Nobody expected much to be eaten by a not-quite-one-year old, but the occasion did provide opportunity to experiment with making a cake out of favored vegetables… tomato and avocado. This cake was the result not of a recipe but of an interest in trying out an idea, from a baker who was, and continues to be, inspired by curiosity and a willingness to try come what may.

Eventually the family moved from Ecuador to New York, and then to Maryland. Along the way, either at our home or theirs, birthdays and holidays were celebrated together. Keeping in mind that all desserts have tended to be vegan (our son is vegan) or at least have vegan components, and that the most recent dessert was also gluten free to accommodate a relative who cannot eat gluten, and you will likely understand that to our baker daughter-in-law these just provided room for further inspiration. Plus she always takes birthday-cake requests from her children.

Cake for our son's 32nd birthday. 

It's not just about the food, it's also about the presentation, especially when children are the recipients! These are the requested cupcakes for our grandson's first birthday. Some were vegan and some were not.

For my 62nd birthday, knowing that I am a chocolate lover, and with November and December holidays just around the corner…

Then came the family Christmas that included my daughter-in-law's parents as well as her sister and her sister's children. A full house, 11 people, 4 of whom were children. So of course, that meant hot cocoa, but not just any hot cocoa. This came from a recipe which was altered to include vegan chocolate and marshmallows, plus a cookie bottom. Just imagine it with the hot almond milk added, chocolate starting to melt, the chocolate cookie underneath starting to get appropriately soaked…

More recently, in April of this year our grandson turned 2. You might notice a theme here – he likes cupcakes.

And finally, this past September, when our granddaughter turned 5. She is a big fan of ice cream. The cake and ice cream are home made and are vegan gluten-free. And none of it came from a recipe or style book. 

I didn't want to forget any of these desserts; to me they are akin to an artist's paintings. And they were delicious. Okay, perhaps the avocado and tomato cake wasn't exactly delicious, but it represents a willingness to experiment, to try something new and see what happens. And I admire that entrepreneurial spirit in the kitchen. I had a similar delight when watching our other son and his girlfriend make pizza in our kitchen this past summer. Hmm, maybe I simply like homemade food and spending time with family. :-)


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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1193255 2017-09-23T11:23:19Z 2017-09-23T12:38:28Z Grace Farms

About two years ago my cousin told us about a place in New Caanan, CT where it was lovely to walk around and, more interestingly for him and his wife, where they had gone to share a community dinner that takes place once a month. Fred and I have had it on our calendar to visit and kept pushing it off till yesterday, the second day of a a 4-day weekend, when the weather provided a sunny, windy 80+ degrees and we were eager to finally make the visit. After lunch we made the approximately 45 minute drive north and inland, and arrived for two hours of calming, walking the River plus a longer path around a pond, picture taking, and relaxing.

Grace Farms speaks for itself on its website, and the image of the River (a building) and their physical site is highlighted in the opening images. Nonetheless, below are our photos. [PS My husband was curious to learn more about the people behind Grace Farms. A little web searching led to Grace Community Church. On our visit to Grace Farms we were told that a church had a long term contract to use the auditorium. You can read more about the association between the building of Grace Farms and the Grace Community Church on the our history page for the Church.]

And of course, I always like to take a selfie of the two of us!

Most impressive to us was the inside of the 700 seat auditorium. The seats are perfectly aligned in a gentle downward sloping curve. Turns out that not only is each set of chair legs bolted to the floor, but depending upon where a chair is in a row its legs are customized to fit the location, i.e. curve and position in the row. Amazing. And the views from the auditorium's windows, the curved glass for which came from Spain, are quite intriguing.

Afterwards we ambled thru the town of New Caanan, stopping at a wood shop that sold various items made of wood as well as wood-like items made from recyclables. I can just picture my grandchildren (and all of the adults in my family!) playing with this elaborately crafted marble run. To complete our outing we had dinner at Farmer's Table (a cup of mushroom soup and 1.5 servings of the Beet Salad for me; a cup of crab/lobster bisque and Chicken Quesadilla for Fred.)

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1191270 2017-09-14T21:39:33Z 2017-09-14T21:39:33Z Pictures for School

Last week all faculty were invited to submit a photo of themselves on the first day of school, ideally from a lower school grade (also known as elementary school). Our lower school covers Pre-K through Grade 5, so I submitted a photo of me at age 10, which was in 1964. The picture is actually of me and my brother, but since students would have no idea who my brother is I cropped the photo to be just me. 

We were also asked, by a different teacher, to submit a picture of ourselves that we subtitle by completing the statement: I am… Submitting the first picture was fun; submitting the second picture required me (and 9 other faculty) being sent a second and third email, the last one reminding us that we were the only ones who had not submitted a picture and surely we did not want to be left out of the slide show. I succumbed and took this picture in the Makerspace, which is where I spend a large portion of my time. And my statement: I am playful.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1190171 2017-09-10T17:05:22Z 2017-09-10T17:05:22Z A delightful little art museum

This past Friday afternoon we went to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. This was a planned visit, as we were spending the weekend with my brother-in-law who lives in West Chester, PA, and then with him visiting family in Baltimore for the day on Saturday.

That's my husband, me and my brother-in-law draping ourselves over a bronze pig on the museum grounds after having walked through all the interior exhibits.

The Brandywine is a small, easy and comfortable museum to navigate, situated in an old mill overlooking the Brandywine River. We were interested in seeing the Andrew Wyeth retrospective. I was only familiar with one of his paintings, the one that is perhaps his most iconic, named Christina's World. The exhibit provided extensive background information on Wyeth, his family of prolific artists (beginning with his father), and the story of Christina. Early on in the exhibit I learned that, for the most part, Andrew Wyeth's paintings are deeply personal studies. And my response to the vast majority, in fact almost all of those paintings is they are dull, drab, and often sad. That's not to say that Wyeth didn't have amazing technique, for he surely did, it's just that his topics and how he saw those topics never resonated with me and my life experience or outlook on life. Nonetheless, since I had a response to his paintings, that alone speaks to his artistry and his ability to provoke and share via paintings. 

I enjoyed having the time to browse the galleries on my own time and my own terms, to read descriptions or not, to pause and linger or not, to be moved or to question or to appreciate or nod in understanding or disagreement. A testament to the power of art. 

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Back in January 2016 I completed the first #Make30Photos Challenge with Emma Davies. She is running another online class and over the summer posted a new set of challenges – 30 Days of Composition. I may (or may not) eventually post them all on one page, but for now am just sharing them as they happen. In this case, these pictures were taken at the museum, and while most of them appear to focus on patterns, shadows and reflections, they could meet any number of the proposed challenges. The fun for me is being prodded to pause, and to look at something with a non-typical perspective.


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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1189095 2017-09-05T22:48:49Z 2017-09-05T22:48:49Z First Day of School

Back to school on a sunny day in the high 80s – a gentle reminder that summer hasn't left us yet! My school has a comfortable dress code, meaning faculty may wear jeans, shorts, leggings and tunics, pretty much anything that counts as appropriately modest, clean and neat. 

I did not have any classes today, and actually will not have any for at least a week since my role as an Integrator means there have to be projects that lend themselves to STEAM integration. Since the first two weeks of school are given to assessments and getting routines established, those of us with the title of Integrator use the time to prep spaces and attend meetings.

I looked forward to wearing this outfit because it is the first wearing of one of the two tops purchased from ModCloth. Ever since Sheila (of the blog Ephemera) extolled the delights of pattern mixing, I have been a BIG fan, as you will see with the top and the shorts.

The top was quite comfortable, is made of soft, light weight material that does not bulk up when tucked in, and has a longer hem so it can also be worn untucked over leggings. The shorts are my favorite, oldies from the Gap, same for the orange sweater; belt is probably from the Gap or LL Bean many, many years ago. Sandals from Lands End. Earrings, of seeds, made in Ecuador and gifted by the sister of my daughter-in-law. I felt springy and comfortable all day long.


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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1188842 2017-09-04T22:50:56Z 2017-09-04T22:50:56Z 102nd Street

We went with one notion – to see Michael's bench, to sit and share a sense of grace. Ann and I remain stalwart fans of author Louise Penny and her Three Pines family, brought together by Inspector Armand Gamache. In July of 2016 Ann and I adventured to Canada to see first hand the places that inspired Louise to create this world of fiction, mystery, and murder, and powerful friendships.

Along the way we grew to know Louise Penny, receiving her monthly newsletter where she writes to us as if we were each her neighbor in a close knit town. This meant we also grew to know Michael, her wonderful husband, who died last September after living with dementia and Alzheimer's.

And so it came to be that Ann and I met at Grand Central Station this past Friday, September 1, having each traveled by our local Metro North line into the city. A perfect city day – sunny, blue sky, gentle wind, clean air, not overly crowded. We ambled and walked north, with minor detours to the west and east, from 42nd Street all the way to 102nd and Central Park. Stopping to purchase food for a picnic lunch in the park, serenaded during lunch by an impromptu jazz band, we eventually made our way to Michael's bench. And from there, after paying our respects, we walked onwards to 125th Street and the Metro North Harlem stop, parting to board our respective trains and wind down a wonderful day spent in the company of friends.

We began with a full on visit to the reading rooms of the 42nd Street Public Library, with Patience and Fortitude guarding the entry. No pictures taken because I was too busy "oohing" and "ahhing" silently over the wondrous interior. (Hard to believe this was my first visit there!!!) The first picture has Rockefeller Center in the background, a bit washed out in the light, perhaps looking less familiar than in winter when the ice skating rink is in full mode. We detoured through the Cooper Hewitt gardens and museum store, stopping just long enough to play in Alice's tea cups. Michael's bench speaks for itself. And on our walk north from there we passed multiple community gardens; the heart on this one summed up our day.


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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1188203 2017-09-01T23:56:49Z 2017-09-01T23:56:49Z Chuang Yen Monastery, Carmel, NY

Thirty-three years living in Westchester County, NY, and I continue to be surprised by how much there is to see in the surrounding area. The Buddhist Association of the United States, Chuang Yen Monastery, located in Carmel, NY, in Putnam County, is just shy of an hour's drive north and slightly west. Fred and I spent time there a week ago, Friday, August 25, walking the grounds and exploring The Great Buddha Hall, where the western hemisphere's largest indoor buddha resides.

Several years ago, when querying friends about interesting places to visit, I received this reply regarding the Monastery: It's not far, the grounds are beautiful and lovely to wander through. The temple is interesting, calming and on the weekends there is an opportunity to join for a vegetarian lunch. It's such a gentle place.

We, too, found the Monastery interesting. However, ten years ago we traveled to Todaiji in Nara, Japan, home of an extremely large bronze statue of the Buddha, which is housed in an extremely large wooden temple. Our expectation for Change Yen was definitely influenced by having our Japanese experience in the back of our minds. As a result, we were underwhelmed by the grounds, even though our friend had described them as "beautiful and lovely to wander through." We did appreciate the calm, and the sense of having stepped into a place that was off the beaten path and seemingly nestled away in the woods. And ultimately we were glad to have visited, to have given our senses a rest from the daily intake of sights and sounds.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1187232 2017-08-29T09:24:35Z 2017-08-29T09:24:35Z Opening Faculty Meetings 2017-18

This was me last year on the second day of opening faculty meetings. And here I am a year later.

This was a fun outfit to put together and, as Sheila often writes, a dress is the easiest item of clothing to style. The sandals are from Land's End several years ago; the sweater from Ann Taylor. Earrings, which you cannot see, are blue and green inlaid on silver drop earrings, a gift from a friend many years ago (maybe 20 years ago!) The bracelet and necklace both are hand beaded and were made in Mexico. The bracelet a gift from my daughter-in-law's sister; the necklace a gift from the sister of a colleague at school. Both are beautifully crafted pieces.

The backpack, a red Mountaintop Kid Backpack, is the same one that each of my grandchildren have (they each have different colours). It is the first backpack I have tried as an adult that actually fits the contours of my back and lands in all the right places. Most adult backpacks tend to be too long or too wide for my shorter torso/back.

And then there is the dress, a simple cotton sleeveless dress that is fitted till the waist and then flows to just the right length. This summer I discovered ModCloth, and this is one of two dresses I purchased. It is comfortable to wear, and I like the easy print and bold blue colour. Am saving the second dress to wear for the first time on my birthday (in November). And then there are the two tops I bought, which will surely make their debuts within the coming days or weeks.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1185125 2017-08-20T13:15:24Z 2017-08-20T15:22:14Z Early Morning Walkers

Earlier this summer I read an article about the beauty and benefits of rising between the hours of 4 and 6 in the morning, not an uncommon occurrence in our house as my husband is up between 4 and 5, and I rise between 4:30 and 5:30. We are avid walkers, though summer's hotter temperatures usually cause us to take a break from long walks. After reading the article, we decided to begin walking early in the morning, starting our day with the sunrise while benefitting from the quiet, calm, cooler hours of the day.

Recently, my favored walking outfit consists of long pants and sleeves to provide protection from early morning hungry insects! Years ago, perhaps in 2008, after his multi-year sojourn in Japan as a student, our older son traveled home via stops in SE Asia. One of the gifts he brought back were these Thai fisherman pants. For awhile they sat in a drawer as I wasn't quite sure what to wear them for or how to wear them. In the past four or so years I discovered how wonderfully comfortable they are for practicing yoga, kayaking, and walking.

As for the glory of mornings, even during winter my husband and I are early risers. We appreciate the quiet and calm before the sun rises, before the neighborhood awakens. In summer we listen to early morning bird song; in winter we cuddle in fleece blankets while reading. Year round, when not walking in the morning, I practice yoga while my husband reads, side-by-side, enjoying the quiet time together.

And now, off I go to join my husband for a kayak! (PS He also has Thai fisherman pants and just this morning decided to finally start wearing them as they are perfect for kayaking.)

Lastly, I am linking to Judith's Style Crone even though I missed the most recent linkup for a Hat Attack. When the next Hat Attack opens I will return to this post and add the link. My hat is from LL Bean, was once my husband's till he bought himself a similar one from some place else, and has been my go-to kayaking hat for the vast majority of our kayaks because it is lightweight, permits air flow, is unsusceptible to salt water, dries quickly, and has a strap that 99 percent of the time keeps the hat on top of my head in stronger winds.

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1184836 2017-08-18T23:03:42Z 2017-08-18T23:03:42Z SUP & Lavender Labyrinth

We live on a tidal creek that flows into Mamaroneck Harbor and from there into Long Island Sound. Multiple times this summer I have seen stand up paddleboarders heading out from the Harbor to the Sound. Turns out that SUP Westchester is based in the Harbor at the entrance to Harbor Island Park. I also have a friend in the neighborhood who launches her SUP from her backyard, much like we launch our kayaks from our backyard.

No surprise then, that SUP has been on my "I'd like to try that" list for the past few months. This week I had the delightful opportunity to try SUP at my brother-in-law's home in Lewes, DE, thanks to our niece who keeps her paddleboard at her parent's on their backyard dock. Their backyard abuts a long narrow finger-like branch of a large manmade lake created as a Mill Pond.

Not only did I try SUP and remain upright the entire time, but my husband tried, as well, and had the same satisfying experience. We are both rather pleased with our accomplishments! Okay, so the Mill Pond is quite calm, though filled in places with lily pads. But it wasn't all calm when I first went out!

The sky was cloudy and the forecast was fine, so off I went on the SUP with my sister-in-law joining in a kayak with my niece and her almost 4-year old son in another kayak. We reached the end of the "finger", with my niece having turned around earlier, amidst tiny raindrops. The raindrops began to turn to a light drizzle, then a stronger drizzle. Around this time a flotilla of niece and her son, my husband, and his younger brother joined us, each in their own kayaks. And then the stronger drizzle became rain. Not just simple rain but full force, in your face (and on our eyeglasses) rain, thumping down in large drops that I kept thinking might turn to sleet!

So back we went to the dock, arriving soaked from the rain. And then the sun came out! And it was my husband's turn to try SUB. And off he went, able to explore a bit further in the Mill Pond thanks to the sunshine lighting the way. Would have included a picture of my husband but there wasn't anyone around to take one.

During our visit we saw much of the Lewes-Rehoboth area, including stops at several beaches and swimming in one of them. We also visited Lavender Fields in Milton, DE, where my sister-in-law and I walked their peaceful and calming labyrinth. 

And for posterity, here we are on their back deck, content as can be :-)

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1184684 2017-08-18T13:48:51Z 2017-08-18T13:48:52Z Sax Motors Studebaker

Look what we found online!

My Dad's father owned a Studebaker dealership during the 1920s and 30s, as noted by my Dad in his memoires:

My father, as was common in those times, and owning his own business, spent most days at "The Place", which meant the Studabaker car showroom, located a 350 South Broadway, a short walk from the Park Hill Gardens.

[From The Yonkers Herald: First photo "is the exterior of the new car showroom and service station at 350 South Broadway" and the second photo "is an interior view of the same showroom." The exterior looks the same today, many years later, though the interior is now subdivided into multiple stores. There is also a vacant lot to the left of the building, and I wonder if it was used as a driveway in and out of the dealership.]

My Dad did a number of things for me that I never knew about until years later. To allow me to go to summer camp, he paid for it by paying the camp owner in the form of a car. He suffered through the years of financial depression, which contributed to his demise 16 days before his 52nd birthday. He, as others of his age, lived at a time when all the things we now know about healthy eating, exercise, smoking (cigars every day) and other health measures were unknown. These things plus the immense pressures of the 1929 market crash and the great depression of the 30's made Dad and his peers prime candidates for early death due to heart attacks about which doctors knew little. Thus, Dad and I only had 17 years together.

Last week I pulled out a box of clippings and papers stored in our attic, and found what I was looking for – copies of newspaper stories about my grandfather from The Yonkers Herald in the 1930s!

My grandfather was the president of Burton Motors (named for my Dad), located in Manhattan and the Bronx (though the area of the dealership is now part of Yonkers, which is in Westchester County, so perhaps the overriding locale changed over the years.) The images below are photos I took of the newspaper clippings, and the clippings themselves appear to be copies made of the originals.

From The Yonkers Herald, Saturday, January 9, 1932

From The Studebaker News, March 29, 1935
From The Yonkers Herald (date missing from the copy I have); take note of the lower right hand corner blurb; it attracted my attention simply because the paper found it newsworthy (and I took a picture to make it easier to read)

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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1184674 2017-08-18T12:49:48Z 2017-10-25T00:05:32Z South Broadway, Yonkers, NY

My Dad grew up in Yonkers, NY, a city in Westchester County (though for a long time I thought it was part of the Bronx, and thus part of New York City.) Sometime in the 1970s or 80s my Dad took me on a drive to his former neighborhood. I do not recall much of the sight seeing, but a recent visit caused me to dig out old newspaper clippings about my grandfather and his business.

My Dad and his family lived at 272 S. Broadway in an apartment building named Parkhill Gardens. (These many years later, I teach at a school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. On occasions when the highway is backed up, I exit in Yonkers and take the local roads, not far from my Dad's old haunts.)

Recently I traveled with my older son and grandchildren to scope out the apartment building as well as the location, a few blocks south, of the Studebaker dealership owned and managed by my Dad's father.

Of the three photos below, the two without the street entrance were taken on our visit. The one showing the arch from the street is from a Redfin real estate page. The Redfin page answered a question I had, which was curiosity over the street level entrance. On my recent visit, that lovely arch was no longer in place. Instead there is a white metal arched gate that appears to get locked in the evenings, a different set of steps leading to up the building's courtyard, and a small elevator on the right to permit access for anyone unable to navigate the steps. [Updated 10-24-17 – A picture of the current entrance, taken on our visit, has been added to the set below.]

In his 1995 single-spaced, typed memoire, here is how my Dad described the building.

They were called the roaring 20's, but by the time we hit the 30's, the market crashed and the great depression took over. The family was living in Yonkers, NY, and my Dad ran the Studebaker auto dealership there. We lived in a brand new apartment house on the 4th floor. Every apt. had a "dumb waiter" (a shaft that had ropes that went to the top floor into which each family could access by opening a door.) Newspapers could be placed in the dumb waiter and at the appointed time, with the signal of a bell a worker in the basement would pull on the ropes and pull down the papers to be discarded. Our Apt. house was called The Parkhill Gardens (272 So. Broadway).

We lived in the ParkHill Gardens for about 8 years, moving to a rented house at 68 Ridge Road. That move took us to the Park Hill section of town and a new school. [You can learn more about the Park Hill section of Yonkers here and here.]

In 1934 after 5 years in our house, we moved back to the Park Hill Gardens into the same size apartment and wing that we had been in before, being on the 6th floor in place of the 4th … The "Great Depression" took it's toll on many, including our family. My parents were suffering the same financial strains that everyone else was experiencing, but I at 9 years old was blissfully unaware of these events.

Indelibly etched in my mind is a story my Dad shared of antics on the roof. My Dad and his two cousins (siblings around the same age as my Dad, and whose family also lived at 272 So. Broadway) would scamper to the roof of their apartment building and toss water balloons down on unsuspecting pedestrians. However, no fun deed goes unnoticed by neighbors, and upon descending back to their apartments they were reprimanded by their mothers. Having visited the building, I think the "roof" in reference is the area directly over the storefronts, rather than the roof above the top floor of the building.

The picture below is of my Dad and the two cousins noted above. The photo was taken by Ada, my Dad's mother, "from the roof top building at 272, South Broadway, Yonkers, N.Y., shortly after the return of Burt [right], Paul [left] and Harvey [center] after 'all the boys' came home" from World War II. 
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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1183268 2017-08-13T16:34:12Z 2017-08-13T16:34:12Z a Documentary

Last week I met one of the two young women who produced this documentary and did the interviews. It is a poignant, relevant and important 20 minute film focused on opiate addiction in Mason County in the state of Washington. While this particular story is a local one, the topic is a national one. 

"Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody, or they really don't know that they know somebody that is affected by this epidemic."

"You've got to have support of law enforcement, you've got to have support of city management, you have to have support of community groups."


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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1183261 2017-08-13T16:15:46Z 2017-08-18T23:46:15Z Pizza

There is no pizza better than one handmade at home by people who know how to make pizza. About two years ago my husband began making homemade pizza using a vegan crust and making three pizzas – one with mozzarella, one with tofu (for the Vegans and cholesterol watchers in our home), and one mini marinara pizza for our grandchildren. The result was tasty and became quite yummy when he made some subtle changes to how he prepared and cooked the dough. Our taste buds agreed he had mastered the art of pizza making.

Last week we had two professional pizza makers visiting from Olympia, WA, where they make pizzas at Vic's Pizzeria. Not one, not two, not three, but four pizzas did this duo make for our group of eight, each pizza as good as the other. (Okay pizza makers, if my count is off, please let me know!) 

Pizza making tips from the pros:

  • use plenty of flour (even more than Fred typically uses) so the dough does not stick to the large wood pizza spatula 
  • and the flour can be cornmeal instead of flour 
  • use hands instead of a rolling pin to form the pizza shape
  • start with a ball of dough, flatten with palms, then use fingers to roll out the dough in a circle (I have video of Katryna doing this but haven't yet figured how to export from my phone and upload to here)
  • if the dough rips, use your fingers to "glue" it back together
  • bake in a 500° oven (they started with a higher temperature and then decided to turn it down; it cooks in a 600° oven at Vic's)

Katryna showed us a video taken by her Mom of her flipping a pizza dough three times high above her head as the dough spread out in a circle, growing in circumference with each toss in preparation for making a large pizza.

Definitely a fun experience watching the entire pizza prep! And the pizzas were delicious, each topped with different combinations of spinach, Shitake mushrooms, avocado, homegrown tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, tofu, cashews, red peppers, and broccoli. (Did I leave anything out?)

Pizza accompanied by Jacques Brehl, what could be better!



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tag:onoutabout.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1183248 2017-08-13T15:35:45Z 2017-08-13T17:12:55Z Nail Polishing - saga and success

On what looked to become a rainy summer afternoon, I checked with my daughter-in-law to see if it would be okay for my  granddaughter (almost 5) to have her toenails polished. My thought was we would walk to town and purchase some polish. This is when I learned about Piggy Polish, a less odorous brand that was suitable for children and adults. My granddaughter and I walked the 1.3 miles to town and purchased two polishes and polish remover. Then the saga began.

As we walked home, my granddaughter dragged the paper bag along the grassy area by the sidewalk. Two blocks later I noticed the bag was wet and when we investigated, the bag had a small hole. At that point, we should have looked in the bag! Alas, we continued on our journey and upon returning home went to show our stash to her Mom. Oh dear, one bottle of polish was missing! Despite me and then both of us retracing our steps, we never located the bottle of polish that had escaped thru the small hole in the wet bag.

We soon moved on to other activities, including conjuring up multiple stories about the adventures the escaped polish was having, and I put the remaining bottle of polish in a safe place where it would be available to us when we decided to polish our nails. Days passed. Rain came. We decided to polish our nails. Uh oh, where could that one bottle be? We searched, asked others in the house, all to no avail – the bottle was lost. We sighed and went about our day.

A few weeks later my daughter-in-law surprised us with a 4-pack of Piggy Polish. Yippee! My granddaughter polished my toenails and I followed suit polishing hers the same colours; a few weeks later we repeated the process. 

During the last week of family visits, Katryna asked if the three of us would like to have our nails done, so off we went to Pristine Nail & Spa where we each received a manicure. This was easily my first manicure in more years than I can recall, and it was a special treat for each of us - Katryna because she has a job in food service and cannot wear nail polish at work, my granddaughter because it was her first time in a salon (and she handled it with finesse as if she was a long time patron), and me because I satisfied two interests – French Manicure and a picture on my thumb nails. The pictures tell the story. :-)

We had a delightful time (Thank you Katryna :-)) and then headed off for a second treat at Chocolations only to discover they were closed, perhaps just as well as we had a tasty dessert planned for after dinner that evening.

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As of yesterday evening all our family and friends have departed for their homes. In cleaning up (not much to do since everyone had already done laundry and vacuuming before they left - thank you all!) look what I discovered on the shelf behind our bed. Ah, the most obvious of spots and one I never checked. The missing bottle of Piggy Polish!


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