Thursday, December 24, 2009

How to give away other people's money

Following up on the post below-it was announced  yesterday that "Pets Alive" won in their regional category! 
As donating to one's causes became difficult with the economic downturn  , I became interested in the opportunities out there to give away other people's money to the causes I believe in. It seems that many of these grants are yearly and there are probably others out there (that I would love to know about and participate in so clue me in if you know of these things!) so it is worthwhile to keep things like the Animal Rescue Site on your Radar for 2010. 
If you have a Facebook account you can friend Chase and vote in their grant giveaway . I am leery of having  hassle of Facebook in my life so I set up an account for this type of use and then activate and deactivate as needed. Chase is an interesting situation as you can nominate organizations to this process if they are not already listed.
Also of note-Tom's Of Maine. Their grant voting just ended too and ,happily, one project devoted to animal welfare-"Corridor Of Cruelty" won! (I voted every day=so that made my day!) You can check out this years results and if you are a part of a non-profit organization this might be a good resource to investigate for 2010. I found out about this particular grant through The Creative Center (Formerly The Creative Center For Women With Cancer-and arts organization I work for in NYC)  one of the many organizations that were in the running this year.
I wish there was more of a way to organize support behind organizations in these situations as some of this seems popularity driven and the organizations themselves are not great at getting the word out. To that end I'll investigate what is out there and if I come across anything I'll post it. I like helping -I like that the process could not be easier and I like giving away other people's money to the causes I love. Win-win-win!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vote for "Pets Alive"

Some of you may have read about Oreo the dog-she was recently put to sleep by the ASPCA after it was determined she could not be rehabilitated -having lived a terrible life so far. I crossed my fingers that someone special would step forward to save her. The organization called "Pets Alive" did  but for some strange reason the ASPCA ignored the offer of help. I am no animal expert but I do feel animals have a right to their lives & we should do all we can to help heal those that have been abused. 
Pets Alive is currently vying for a $20,000. grant. I think they more than deserve it. You can vote once , each day until Dec. 20th & weather you vote for Pets Alive or some other worthy animal shelter-it's all good. 
Go here to learn more about Pets Alive. Follow the link to vote on their page. 

R.I.P. Oreo

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I love each season here in N.Y. -for very different reasons. Fall can be hard as the day light dwindles . Each sunny day is precious in that sense. Fall is also a time to save seeds. I have done this for years and it can be amazingly easy (marigold flowers) or awfully hard ( the year I tried saving the seeds from my grandparents pear tree... a nightmare ). Walking around the neighborhood these last few weeks , many plants going to seed have caught my eye. At the High Line on Friday evening I had to restrain myself  from reaching out to collect some! Seeds beckon to me in some life affirming way. Pictured are 2 of my current favorites -the black and very sculptural "La Valle CorkTree" wins my VOTE*  for most exquisite & can be used as a year round decoration once it has dried.  Also shown are  my collection of saved seeds-packaged for gift giving. 
As you walk around , keep an eye out for the many types of seeds and if you feel like some free fun-pick, clean and store them in a cool , dry place. Come spring you can plant them in the ground and begin the cycle of life , plant world style. 
As an artist many of my silkscreens feature plants and leaves and some of my textile designs are inspired by seed pods and patterns... 
* (P.S. Did you VOTE today? I did! )

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy! Halloween!
Happy! Fall weather!
Happy! Extra hour of sleep! 
Photos taken at the quaint & delicious Eddies Sweet Shop & from an outside display at Danny Brown's. 
Saw "Amelia" last night and went to Eddies for hot chocolate & ice cream (with real whipped cream!). The T.V. had the Yankee game on and when A Rod hit his home run a soda jerk came round with a tray of egg cream shots for everyone to celebrate. Very quaint, sweet & heart warming. 
After the Yanks won again tonight comes a dilemma-would you want them to win tomorrow=away from home or would you rather they lose Monday night just so they can return to NYC and win here at home...hard choice. Since my memories are of them winning here I would have to go with that one as there is nothing like winning at home with the fans. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Recipe for a perfect fall Sunday : Sunshine, large birds on stilts, flowers , berries and beautifully colored leaves. Every year the N.Y. Botanical Garden has a lovely Halloween party for local goblins (this year there was music by Mecca Bodega!) & it is a great way to begin Halloween & celebrate fall...and the birds on stilts were inspiring & enchanting ! 

Friday, October 9, 2009


I woke up this morning to some always appreciated good news:over night, the Nobel committee had announced the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace prize : the president of the United States , Barack Obama.

I was going to write about something that at first seems totally unrelated to this event : seeds. (Around this time of year I save them for planting next year...) I'll write more on that subject on Saturday but as I have listened to NPRs morning coverage of the peace prize story and how it was being awarded to "promote ... the positive processes ..." I thought again about "seeds" and the principle of planting "seeds" in hopes of new growth in spring and in hopes of fulfilling dreams for one's self and the world in general. & so it seems fitting to me to be ruminating on the glory, wonder & magic of "seeds" of every type today. As child I was told "You reap what you sow". Metaphorically speaking, it is my dearest wish that the Nobel committee , the president & all others will work harder to sow seeds of hope, love & peace.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Smith & Hawken...R.I.P.?

Did you hear? Smith & Hawken is going out of business.
I have been a big fan of this company since it's stunning & enticing catalogs began filling mailboxes with such lovely and needed items for true gardeners & lovers of everything garden related. Each time their catalog arrived I would pour over their photos , dreaming of the day I would have a garden of my own . Fresh fruit, flowers and vegetables -all organic of course! That was the dream. It did not hurt that they had amazing & functional gear too-my all time favorite was the Japanese gardener pants, in such lovely deep blue plaid. My 3 pair wore out years ago...
A store moved into Manhattan -a bit out of the way but a treat to visit. There is a lot to be said for being able to see & touch the things you are thinking of adding to your home. One of THE reasons I will never be a big Internet shopper is what something really looks like is so important for me. Photos can sure sell but they are often deceiving & seeing an item is what tells me if it will or will not fit, work, be useful. (That store's closing was my first indication that something was up at S. & H.)

Over the years the company changed (you can search on line for the history of the original Mr. Smith & Mr. Hawken-their reaction to the closing of their company is very telling...) and in the recession sales slipped & the current owners decided to close. I will miss them. They did represent the dream for me. The life of my parents & grandparents : where you raised your own peaches, apples & pears. A life where dinner's recipe ingredients were right outside the back door, waiting to be snipped-not a grocery store's trip away. (and really, the basil does not always look so good in the stores, just when you desperately need it!) A life based on COMPOST & self self sufficiency and the smell of raked leaves , cut grass , worms, butterflies, lady bugs & fire flies. It is so interesting to me that a store & it's items could invoke so very much. More interesting : that a business begun so long ago & it's original concept could create such lasting=life long customers / followers.That is why, when I last went to visit, I felt my heart break just a bit. I was not there to get great bargains. I was there to say "good bye" to an old friend who will be much missed. &, of course, opening the mail box will never be the same.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What does "public radio" mean to you?

October 8, 2009 / 8 p.m.

postscript: I dug up my big old Walkman radio, put in some batteries & took it with me to silkscreen class on Thursday evening. Coming up, out of the subway at about 7p.m. I tuned in to WQXR to listen to their last broadcast hour. It was sweet & sad. Come 8p.m. the station did something unexpectedly heartbreaking-they played back their end of show announcements / sign offs. Some I had not heard in years but that only served to trigger some very old memories that made me even sadder that this great N.Y. station was about to become history in just seconds . Then I tuned in to the new "Q". I heard the faintest of voices. Realizing that I would not be able to get audible reception from the printshop located on 21st Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues, I turned the Walkman off and listened to the music playing on the nearby C.D. player. End of an era , as "they" say.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Highline!

Yup. Went there. Saw it. Will go back again to see it as the seasons change. Can't wait to see it in snow & ice!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Guess where I went today!

I had been meaning to go here for WEEKS! With each passing day I knew there was something to be seen, something I was missing out on. (In this particular case that is especially true as this is a seasonal situation-think Christo's "Gates" in Central Park several years ago.)
You know how it is : something appears on the cultural landscape, you hear rumor of it and vow to go. And happens and time passes and before you know it life has passed you BY. In N.Y.C. this problem is compounded by one huge factor : crowds. Everywhere you go you are bound to find everyone else. That makes things very hard to enjoy. I love the empty , the open , the relaxed . When you add urban numbers to any event, the outcome can often be waiting in lines, hassle , and an inability to process what is going on around you since the main goal seems to be acting like Salmon as they swim up stream to get where they need to go. BIG bears chopping at them. (Thank you , Ken Burns)
So, you put things off until the Times article impact has worn off & the crowds have died down a bit. I do this ALL the time. And sometimes it means I miss things. NOT TODAY.
So here are some images from my pilgrimage. Can you tell where I finally went and explored? I purposefully chose stuff to mislead you. Or maybe I want to open your eyes just a bit to the alternative views that are to be found. The hidden vistas the N.Y.Times & the web site and the publicity tornado have ignored = the stuff I look for and love to find whenever I go exploring. But where is it?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Did you see this?

This is what happens when life (on the 4th floor)gets busy: the blogs are the last thing to get attention...& since so much is happening out there that IS such a shame. "Cause then I find myself mentioning amazing things-after the fact. Like this wonderful & inspiring series-the latest by master story teller, Ken Burns.
This week his breath taking story of America's National Park system ran on my local PBS station and the hair on my arms stands on end just thinking back on it. The history of the system as a whole, each park itself and the personal tales of how these sacred places have touched people and moved them to act to protect the land, plants and animals for us all, forever-what a mammoth undertaking this must have been ! And what fun to do-Ken Burns did an interview on Charlie Rose this week and to hear him speak about this project was itself enlightening.
So this is after the fact but if you get the chance to see this series you will be left with such a sense of wonder, gratitude and amazement ... and being in N.Y.C.-far from the sites and immersed in car traffic and tall skyscrapers and no vast sapphire blue lakes, snow capped mountains , wild flower filled prairies or herds of sheep all I can say is we all do need these protected and well managed spaces -now more than ever.
P.S. One of my favorite thing about this series: it is a tale of the actions of individuals. The classic story of one person making a difference and transforming their own personal experience into an action of good for their country . It left me wondering why life, now-a-days seems so empty of this sort of person and action.....................

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What being lucky enough to be able to vote means to me:

A memory from my childhood: mom ALWAYS took my little brother and I with her to vote in each and every election. We would go with her and stand in line and watch her as she signed her name in the book before voting. In those days (we are talking decades ago) there were these huge books and in them was every signature you had ever signed, for each and every election. This row upon row repeatition of my mom's name struck me as amazing. It impressed me that she was so devoted and diligent. It was such a wonderful record of her participation in this simple yet profound demotcratic act.
I took some time to become a registered voter. I was in college , on election day and one of my printmaking professors asked me if I was going to vote today . When I told him I was not registered to vote he wisely encouraged me to do so. I do not remember what he said so it can't have been profound but it did the trick.
I have not missed an election -large or small, since. To this day I carry around that memory of that little girl inside of me who saw her mom vote and saw that long list of signatures-filling the entire page. And now that I am older, I know the history behind the right to vote in America. I know we all did not always have that right-impossible as that may seem. I know people fought for and died for this right.
And as I listen to the world news these days I hear stories-wonderful stories-about other countries holding elections & people risking their lives to cast their vote. They are intimidated, threatened and risk retaliation -all for exercising their right to vote. And they go through all of this KNOWING their vote might not even be fairly counted. My heart fills with admiration when I hear this and it feeds my own desire to vote.
I know many people do not vote. I know they feel their vote does not count. Or they believe they are abstaining in protest. Or they do not vote because their person / side never wins anyway.
I understand those feelings and even can agree with them but still I go and vote. Because voting, for me, is not about wining , losing , counting or protest. It is about my having a right that has been paid for with the blood and lives of others ...
One other thing to consider : I can not tell you how happy it makes me feel to vote. It is my chance to be a part of American politics and it is exiciting to pull that large level to the right, switch down all the little levers besides the names of folks that I may never meet (or who live down the street from me!) and then haul that big lever back to the left. I actually feel a rush as I exit that booth. I have just woven my vote into the fabric of our country.
So I encourage everyone who can vote to do so. It is such a privaledge and our country needs everyone to vote for it to be a real democracy-reflective of us all.

Monday, September 7, 2009

On the plinth today...

On the plinth today, all the way from the U.S.A.! Can you guess what this is and where it is located?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


50 years ago today Edi & Bob got married! Happy anniversary & many, many more mom & dad!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The dream shall never die

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." dark passages & in bright days...

And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:

"I am a part of all that I have met
Tho much was taken, much abides
That which we are, we are--
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rest In Peace

"Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dangerously ... delicious

We had a small gathering this past Sunday-just a few folks getting together.No big deal as we are NOT celebrating my parents
59th. Just keeping it low key as per their request.
We did end up with 4 cakes! One coconut covered confection was made by Rachel & Joanne. Another fondant covered 3 tier (with marzipan flowers) was created by Jean. Cake 3 & 4 were cheese cakes and a peach cake. Talk about an embarrassment of riches!
Please note:we did have water melon & not just for show! It tasted amazing and that says a lot since it followed the cake eating contest portion of the evening.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Edi & Bob

The cousins / my dad's side of the family - on August 29, 1959 . Looking at all of the faces I see laughter. I would love to know what the photographer said to make everyone so happy in the heat.
It is hot & humid here today. My husband's brother-in-law's side of the family is having a wedding today and we wish them the best on this day & always. I hope they are comfortable in this weather & that everyone has such smiles on their faces today.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In 9 days...

In 9 short days my parents will have been married 50 years. Successive generations of my family have married "later" in life & as this milestone approaches we joke with each other that none of us will get to celebrate 50 years of marriage.
For the past year we have tried to get a sense of what my parents would like to do to mark this date & this has not been an easy task.
My cousin Helen recently sent me some slides she took of that day & I found out this evening that you can use your computer screen as a light box-who knew!
I have been given this one memory of this day in New Jersey : it was VERY HOT & HUMID. You can not tell from looking at these photos can you?
When I got married I asked family to bring / send photos of their wedding day to me. I framed the photos and we scattered them throughout the inn we were married in. In part this was done to introduce my husband's family to my own (and vice versa) through photographs. But the photos served another very important purpose:many folks in the various photos were no longer with us . By photograph they were "there" & able to share the moment with us all.
I look at the 8 slides taken on this day and see the usual things:the beautiful dress, the handsome men in their suits, the lovely flowers, the serene surrounding and the smile filled faces. Then I notice the people who are gone & that more than the term "50th anniversary" bring home the passage of time. The years flown by. One by one. Day by day. How amazing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A petition we urge you to sign:

Here on the 4th floor, we love all of our animals very much.Nicki & Sandi helped to make our apartment an actual home and they shower us with fun, love and some very basic lessons about a life well lived.
In light of my love for animals I am posting another petition here , this time regarding the signing of football player Michael Vick to the Eagles. I happen to feel signing him sends the wrong message & I agree with those who say this:if Vick has been a lesser talent he might have been banned from returning to football all together. Perhaps the N.F.L. would have been wiser to have banned Mr. Vick for life , taking into consideration the impact players have on the children who naturally view them as role models. I also think something like this points to the prevalence of violence in some forms of sports. It almost seems like the more violent and cruel you are the more successful you can be & I would like to think that it is who you are as a person that matters most-NOT what you are able to accomplish on the playing field. (My grandfather always told us grand kids: it is not weather you win or lose but how you played the game that counts) Our society needs good, solid, well rounded role models to lead us (and our impressionable children) and to inspire us to be better ourselves. I do hope that Mr. Vick may one day attain that status but I have the feeling he is still playing the victim .
If you watched "60 Minutes" this past Sunday perhaps, like me, you were offended by Mr. Vick's assertion that he had found God and that he really was sorry and had learned his lesson. I sensed a script was being read. One we have heard before and it had the usual hollow sound to it.
*please note that the petition has a very graphic photograph of one of the dogs that suffered at the hands of Mr. Vick. I found it disturbing and did want to warn folks as it is very sad.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dinner on the 4th floor in summer often includes salad. The salad itself includes all sorts of things & to keep from getting bored I mix something different up each evening. Usually there are some greens & there always is some sort of nut:walnut, pine nut or sunflower seeds are favorites. As my husband has a sweet tooth, I  often add either raisins or cranberries. Lately I have been inspired by the simple bean salads of our local diner "Shalimar" . I have been putting a can of Goya beans into a large Ball canning jar, adding spices, vinegar (organic cider or balsamic) , some garlic powder, good olive oil, freshly crushed pepper and some well diced onions , then toss and set in the frig. to marinate. I use this as my salad dressing, spooning 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture on top of each salad. YUM. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life IS funny sometimes

Back from vacation in Istanbul & Paris, I went to work today with an open mind.(an open mind is the frame of mind I default to most often when teaching as you never know what to expect & an open mind leaves you OPEN FOR ANYTHING)
I work in a hospital, teaching art & creative process to patients so there isn't much I can say about the individuals I work with due to privacy  considerations but the day was full of surprises, like a roller coaster you have never been on before. Unexpected turns here, mind blowing speed there...suffice to say much good work was done , fun was had by all  , new vistas were opened and explored. These types of days can  be the exception but when they occur it is as if the planets have aligned =akin to an athlete saying they are in "the ZONE". & they are so very wonderful to be a part of!!! Since I have been home from Paris for several days now, the impact of the trip itself has receded  as everyday reality sets in. But as I fastened the necklaces each patient had made onto their necks for the first time I did find myself, saying without thought, "Voila". I had not used that word during the entire trip but it did feel as if "Voila" was just the smallest bit of Paris poking it's way back into my  day now that I am "home". 
(The photo above was taken in one of the lovely little gardens at Versailles . We had just eaten our simple picnic lunch and were resting in the shade before heading over to Marie-Antoinette's  residence when these sweet birds came fluttering down to gobble up any stray bread crumbs. )

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Something to think about on this day

Something to think about: This news story came out in the midst of N.Y.C.'s collection and gassing of geese  & it did make me stop and think. Read one account of the story here   . Another here. & here you'll get the view of "Wild Earth Guardians" & here for a view from "Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility" . 
If the news of an seemingly increased use of violence against animals here in the U.S. concerns you , as it did me, you'll find the petition to protest the killing of geese here in N.Y.C. here, along with several other petitions regarding the welfare of both wild and domestic animals in the U.S. and abroad. 
On an up note, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the dads out there. If you want to read a recent collection of thoughts about fathers go here. You'll find me among the list but don't tell my dad. It is kind of sentimental. 

Friday, June 19, 2009

Geese Peace

Each day here in NYC there have been follow up stories on the number of geese being trapped and killed here. (one of the most up to date accounts can be found on the blog Queens Crap )Today one organization and their solution came to light: GeesePeace . Read about their concept here. (And as an artist, I love their logo and  site art so they must be on track!)
In the good news department, the petition to protest the killing of geese is growing. If you have not yet signed , you can find it here. And many thanks to all of those who have already signed , from all over the country and our world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

animal lovers

I am and always have been an animal lover. I was brought up with many lovely cats and other "pets" and living with animals taught me much as a child. As a result, I love all animals and hate the idea of anyone treating them cruelly . 
Last winter a plane went down in the river after a bird strike. In response to this N.Y.C. has announced a plan to kill 2,000 geese in the next few days. This plan has been criticized as an expensive and misguided "solution" (See here for the Humane Society of  The United Sates reaction ) and a petition has been created to protest the city's action . (see here) If you love animals as I do you'll want to do what you can & add your voice to this protest. 
P.S. Who knew there was a petition site? What an interesting way to reach people and communicate about your cause! 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Whatcha Doin'?

I have had many jobs. Sometimes several at the same time. Usually art is somehow involved. One of my favorite jobs has been working for an organization that places professional artists in area hospitals where we teach art to patients . The motive is to entertain, distract, involve, engage and enrich. I found out last week that funding for one of my hospitals had not (yet) been acquired and my last day of work would be the following week. A stinging blow . I began work on a card to thank and say good bye to the folks I had worked for and with. As I worked I listened  to NPR's Evening Music with David Garland. He happened to be asking listeners what they were doing as they were listening to the night's program and it made me feel like part of a community of listeners. I sat down at my computer and added my own activity to the list and found myself sitting by the small kitchen radio to hear my words read by David. It was kind of magical and it did take some of the sting away.  
To read more about what folks do as they listen , go here

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

We made a trip to a family grave to lay fresh flags  for Memorial Day 2009. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Birds, birds, birds!

Seems we have some visitors in this neck of the woods! See here for more :

Friday, May 1, 2009

Where is my desk?

If you lived with an artist, your home might look like this right now! My spring  semester ended at School of Visual Arts last night and I had an outstanding evening  of a good printing . But the prints came home tacky & are spread all over to dry and my desk has disappeared! Too see more go to my Artworks blog. Fun, fun, fun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Returned to Atlantic City on Sunday. A windy day, we strolled the beach (and made friends with the very talkative bird community there) & the boardwalk. If you search you will find many interesting and somewhat unappreciated treasures. A tribute to President Kennedy, lovely architectural details hidden here & there and a colony of feral cats . Some go to A.C. for the gambling. I go for the quaint seahorse reliefs. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lady Liberty in the P.M.

Saw this after dinner last night. Quiet & peaceful.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The eternal quest for the perfect lawn...

As Passover continues,Good Friday descends  & Easter approaches , signs of Spring are everywhere. Nearby, the eternal quest to cover the entire earth with a lawn continues. (I call it the annual pigeon feeding but that is just me. Certainly the local birds seem to agree. )
 The first dandelion. 
The first bee. 
An in bloom magnolia tree. 
All of these things sing spring to me. 
Here on the 4th floor a wish is being sent to folks everywhere for a very happy, safe & healthy holiday season. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

post Earth Hour report

I am chained to my desk doing dreaded paperwork for my job & I just saw a bird walk by and up my fire escape. I could not get the camera out quick enough and now no one's gonna believe me. 
So, it is the morning after Earth Hour 2009 and here is what I did: making dinner a little too late to trek into NYC I lit candles (which some have now said was not helpful from a carbon foot print point of view) and sat by the window waiting for 8:30 to come so I could see  all of the lights in my view go dark. Like many folks will tell you -none did. So I went for a stroll just to see what was going on in my own neighborhood. I think I can safely if unscientifically say there was 99% noncompliance. There were lights on everywhere I went. 
As 9:30 hit I made my way home and turned on the computer to check the Earth Hour website and there were all these fantastic photos being loaded from all over the world by folks observing this hour of recognition that "we" need to do something major to save our planet. While those images were uplifting , I was sad more was not done locally to promote this event and to create support and action. I hope next year will be different. Especially now that the United nations has gotten behind this movement. I will say this:I enjoyed myself & the feeling of solidarity that I sensed with folks all over this earth. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Today is EARTH HOUR & that translates into all lights OFF this evening. Even the cool colored holiday lights! For more information on Earth Hour go here .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

cut paper hearts

A new project I am working on, involving over 150 cut paper hearts. I am trying to fill a found glass jar with the hearts and it is taking many more hearts than I  thought it would !