Friday, December 31, 2010


The most meaningful holiday gathering I went to this season was the end-of-the year meeting of Creative Conversations. This is a group of women visual artists and writers that I helped launch almost two years ago. We get together every month or so to explore different aspects of being women artists, and take turns facilitating the meetings. It is a fantastic group of women; everyone is supportive of everyone else in a totally genuine way.

Two women facilitated the first portion of the evening and called it 2010 in Review. There were three parts to the Review. They were as follows:

1. A look back at this past year's accomplishments. Each woman was asked to list accomplishments she was proud of in areas such as creativity, business/career, family/friends, finance, and adventure.
Some items I listed were sticking to a stretch routine and going to pilates classes; year one of marriage; putting together a great gift for my mom's 70the birthday; collaborating with friends on an art party; getting a job that I love; staying in touch with my great aunt.

2. What am I thankful for? Who? What?
We each wrote out a list and mine included my new job at PS 29; this group; my husband who is kind and funny; hot running water; episodes of Shean the Sheep ; nice neighbors; and The New York Times.

3. Looking to 2011: What do I want to achieve? What do I want to try? What do I want to do differently? What do I want to keep on doing? What old goals can I let go of?
On my list of wants was a fitness routine that I love in the company of friends; seeing friends more often; a new art form to explore; a second form of income that has some room for creative expression; a way to learn how to cook different dishes.

After each woman shared some of what she had written from these three items, we moved on to the Gift Exchange. Each woman had brought a wrapped gift which symbolized something that had given her creative strength or inspiration. Each of us took the wrapped gift which most appealed to us. Keep in mind that we did not know the content of the wrapping. Amazingly, each woman received a gift which in some way related to her goals/wants for the year 2011. Talk about serendipity!

This gathering was the perfect way to celebrate all the wonderful relationships we had built with each other over the course of the year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I decided even in the swirly whirls of the blizzard to go out to SoHo in Manhattan yesterday. On the way back, the train's last stop ended up being two stops short of my subway stop. When I got out, there was a man lying in the snow with one woman kneeling down beside him. It turned out that he was a city employee who was shoveling show off the steps descending to the subway. He had fallen into a big patch of snow against the wall at the bottom of the stairs and was afraid to move because he was in so much pain. It also turned out that he had a heart condition. The woman and I stayed with him and kept checking in to make sure his supervisor (very gruff guy) called 911. We kept hearing that 911 was extremely backed up and the wait for help could be hours.

The whole vibe down there with his colleagues was pretty rough. Kind of a dog-eat-dog vibe.

At some point, a male nurse joined me and the other woman and he was really great, a kind and gentle soul. Donald, the guy who had fallen, finally could not take the cold of lying in the snow anymore and asked us to move him out of it. Another bystander came and helped the nurse move Donald to a dryer spot. I said "Donald, you win the prize for having the worst Monday" and he laughed.

Donald felt light-headed so the nurse suggested we find something sweet for him to eat. I said "I have a pear and a lemon meringue pie in my bag." Lisa told me that while I was down the street getting the ambulance she gave him some of the pie and he said it was delicious. You never know when a lemon meringue pie will come in handy!

I went up the stairs to the top of the subway station several times to call Donald's family and pull in help. The third time I went up, his supervisor was waiting for an ambulance. I looked way, way down the street and said "Isn't that an ambulance down there?" I jogged (carefully!) down a couple of blocks and sure enough there was a volunteer ambulance just sitting there. I told them we had a situation down the street so they made a U-turn and came around. Just as I was walking back to Donald, a second a larger ambulance came. So this huge crew of people came at once and took Donald away to the hospital. As they were carrying him away, Lisa and I muscled our way past the crew of burly guys and said our good-byes to him.

Sometimes the inconvenience of a snow storm and the ways it gets us to slow down is a good thing.

Donald, Lisa, and Male Nurse - you are all in my thoughts!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Yes, it's quicker to order gifts online and have someone else wrap and ship. But, ya know what? It is ever so satisfying to hand wrap gifts (I like to choose fun, non-traditional colors in wrapping and tissue paper over traditional red and green) and then cover the boxes in smooth brown craft paper. Icing on the cake is creating hand-made shipping labels. Now the boxes look like they came from a person rather than from a huge factory.

Bonus: during the time it took to do all the hand-wrapping and mail prep, I got to watch Martha Stewart and Jamie Oliver cook up some awesome holiday treats on the telly while the mister and I made irreverant jokes.