An afternoon by the lake

summer windowThere’s a book titled A Summer’s Day by Joel Meyerowitz.  It’s filled with casual photographs of his summer home taken with his Deardorff camera in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The Deardorff is a rather cumbersome 4×5 film camera used by few these days.  When I page through the book I can almost taste the salty sea air and yes, I am reminded of many of my own summer days along the shores of Long Island.

I think that book must have been my inspiration as I photographed our vacation home in the Berkshires weeks ago.  My father needs a lot of naps and so quiet hours were enforced.  Most of our little group read but I roamed the house and photographed the quiet corners.  A quest in capturing the details of a wonderful time in our lives.  I used a Polaroid Land Camera which proved to be a bit tricky too.  Snap and wait to develop.  That ritual had it’s own zen quality to it which I think added a calming element I hadn’t expected.

Otis dark light on chair  This was the year we had to watch for my father.  Fainting spells the month prior had us using more focused eyes when it came to his strength.  Admittedly, we messed up one afternoon when each other had thought he was slathered in sun screen.  He subscribes to the old adage that real men don’t wear lotion.  A small detail we had forgotten.  He sat one afternoon on the dock as we swam in the lake.  Completely covered except for his hands, they slowly baked in the sun.  I was horrified that night by the sight of them.  They have since healed.

Summer CookingI returned home a week later and then work took over with a rip tide effect.  Swept out to sea is what I’ve been for the past few weeks.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nothing a few needles couldn’t fix

Flowers Pink

Way back in May I sneezed.  There were repercussions.

My chiropractor said it effected vertebra 1 and 2.  I had a headaches that felt like my brain was freezing.  It would happen randomly.  I’d be walking up stairs from the subway and bam… brain freeze.  She adjusted me a few times and the brain numbness went away but three of my fingers and part of my arm would tingle towards numbness. This happened often throughout the day and at times woke me in the night.  I would talk about it and that dreadful sneeze.  I hold the back of my neck now when I feel one coming on.

I knew more should be done so I called in the big guns.  Well, not exactly but I broadened my care to another practice.  Last weekend, I met up with my acupuncturist at Sloan.  He said something must be leaning on a nerve.  While he was at it he thought he’d get the lymph moving too for my arm.  He did his magic sticking me with needles here there and everywhere.  I fell into a mellow state as I lay on the table.  By the time I left, a two year old could have mugged me.  I was that relaxed.  I’m not sure that is the best analogy but I think you get my drift.

As I departed my doctor said to go back to the chiropractor for another adjustment and I did the next day.

Crack, snapple, pop…. the sensations are just about abated which is perfect timing.  I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow!

Flower in Yard

We’re headed up to the little house on the lake.  Our yearly family get together with all of my siblings, nieces and father gathered in one place.  This is the week when we talk about what we are bringing.  Planning, we’re all into the planning.  This year we’re staying close to the house.  My Dad has had dizzy spells and we know we can’t wear him out.   We’re fine with this as it gives us an excuse to do nothing.  I’m bringing art supplies that are encased in dust.  It’s time to sketch and paint again… maybe even write a few extra posts!

 

Posted in Essay, Father | 9 Comments

It was a blast

Love Wins wall all drk

Last Sunday my neighborhood was filled with rain, rainbows and love.  The Gay Pride Parade marches past my block here in Chelsea.  This year it was particularly joyful.

 

Birds by the sea

June was a delightful month.  I made an effort to keep my work and life in balance by not traveling   I even played hooky for an afternoon and took off for the beach.  I met up with my friend Vita and we drove out to her cabana by the ocean.

When I first started working my mother and her siblings used to meet at the beach every Friday afternoon.  They’d gather under a purple umbrella along the edge of the shore at Field 5.  Anyone was welcome to meet them there.  In the cooler was extra food and under the umbrella, extra towels.  Many a Friday I wore my bathing suit under my work clothes.  If I was going to escape, not a moment was going to be wasted changing clothes.  I can’t tell you how many times I walked across a sandy hot beach in a work dress headed for the purple umbrella.   In a matter of seconds I’d peel that dress off to my beach attire underneath.  Afternoons like that were perfect.

This past Monday was kind of perfect too.  I didn’t wear work clothes to the beach but I had my suit on.

Lunch in June

I’m back on the road again come Monday.  A big sigh from me.   Still, it was heavenly just sleeping in my own bed every night.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Asparagus

Asparagus in Circle

Asparagus is in bloom.

I bought a bouquet at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and brought it to J’s house last night.    We grilled it and ate it as an appetizer in her backyard as the rest of dinner roasted in her oven.  J lives in an attached house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  Feral cats lurk in the shadows in her yard.  They climb the fence and run along the shed roofs from one yard to the next with practiced stealth that resembles a ballet.  We sit at a metal table closer to the house watching as the evening light grows darker and the cat dance becomes livelier.

I have declared June the month of intentional balance.  For months now I’ve been carrying Buddha’s Book of Stress Reduction on every trip I’ve taken.  Subconsciously, I seem to think just having the book with me will work wonders.  It doesn’t.  Taking the time to actually read it and even apply some of the strategies would help.  Instead, I’m always lured in by the headlines of People Magazine, Vanity Fair or some other publication.  Buddha’s book sits quietly in my case meditating on it’s own.  It’s a very calm book.

Julia's KitchenOn my last trip to Canada, we had boarded a very small plane with tiny seats and large people.  Elbows and knees jabbed into the softer parts of neighboring passengers.

“Excuse us folks,” the pilot announced after we had all been seated, “we left a piece of the plane on the runway.  You’ll have to depart until we figure this thing out.”

That’s when I decided I needed to take a break from travel.  Stay within a radius of my home to allow me to enjoy the comfort of my own bed.  The plane eventually took to the air but not until a few hours had passed.  I imagined the glue needed that much time to dry.

In that amount of time, I had reworked my schedule allowing myself the luxury to catch up with friends.  Adjust the scale to add a bit more of life and a little less work to the week.  The roses pictured above are in J’s kitchen and denote the end of a love affair.  The details all of which were discussed at length while watching the cat ballet.  This morning I met with a friend who lost her job months ago and is desperately looking for something new.  We sat on a park bench nursing coffees as she unfolded the trials and tribulations of interviewing.  Tonight I meet up with yet another friend who will introduce me to her new love.  They are planning a great escape to California.

Throughout all of the conversations pieces of me reemerge.  I have been so focused on the daily trial of sales that I forget the dreams and desires that truly propel me.  The reason I am working at all.  How to balance it all remains a daunting challenge.  Maybe, I need to read a book or two about it!

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday and a life more balanced than mine!

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A little of this and that

I know, another ball.  This is the last one for a bit!

I know, another ball. This is the last one for a bit!

I have to admit, my travel schedule is without relief lately. It is for the “greater good” of my career.  At least, that is what I tell myself. Before you moan in anxiety for me, I will confess one of the days this past week was devoted to golf. Much to my enjoyment, the group I was with didn’t care that I don’t know nor want to know anything about golf. Instead, we laughed like loons, lost balls in shrubbery and were voted the noisiest team in the tournament. What was even better was my phone didn’t have good reception on the course. I missed much of the days trivial messages and instead found a zen like peace while raking the sand-traps along the way. One of my teammates had an uncanny capability to land his ball square in the middle of every trap the course had to offer.  My balls never got that far.

I got a much needed break playing golf.  Hence, that is why I featured yet another ball above.  It’s another nod towards fun.

Seedlings

Two weeks ago I was in my friends garden and the maple tree was dropping seeds all around us. Thifp, thifp, thifp as they twirled like little helicopters in search of fertile ground. I felt an excitement for them as it is a dance of taking root, a beginning. Admittedly, some will grow in the garden and my friend L. will end that adventure in favor of her preferred plantings. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is never a good thing. Still, there are others that the wind will carry across the street where the chances are greater of growth going undisturbed for years to come.

I have to admit, my blog is a bit like those seedlings. It was originally started as a way to voice my cancer story. I managed to have a mastectomy and a hysterectomy without notifying the company I work for.  Five weeks of vacation used well will mask the most intrusive of operations.   Statistics are that most women don’t keep the same job they have when diagnosed. Part of it is they move on and part of it is they are moved on. Adding to my own fear of advertising on the job was the fact that of the first 10 friends I told, two walked away immediately. I knew as I was telling them they were pulling away. It was as though I had died right then and there. I’m in sales, I can’t afford customers pulling away. So, I kept the ordeal to myself and am pleased to have done so. No one at work tilts there heads and ask, “How are you?” with a long pregnant pause afterwards.

My secret did need a voice and that is how I came here to write openly about things, connect with others whose history is much the same as my own. It has been a great joy. Of course, the surprise is, many others I have connected with love photography or just the written word as I do. I didn’t expect to have such a large conversation with so many different people.

The thing is, what was so important 5 years ago isn’t today. I think my seedling blog took root across the street and is growing a bit wild. I’ve long since lost the focus and am not even sure it was ever really clearly defined. Instead of taking out the pruning shears, I thought I’d let it grow organically to see what happens.

The point of all this is to admit openly, I’m finding my way and to thank you for keeping me company as I do!

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Play ball!

Soft Ball

It’s that time of year again.  The snap of the bat, cheers from the crowd and summer evenings that beg never to end.  Years ago I tried, really tried to engage in one sport or another to find the one I was good at.  Soft ball, flag football, baseball, volleyball and soccer.  I’m sure if I thought long and hard the list would be even longer.  The inevitable truth is, I’m not athletic.  Once while playing flag football, we were all out on the field and someone screamed, “What position is she playing?”  My teammate screamed back, “Nuisance!”  That summed up my abilities on the field.  I ended up dating the guy who called me nuisance which was probably one of the reasons I was out there in the first place.

Last week I sneezed and it blew my neck out.  I was away on business and couldn’t get to my chiropractor until yesterday.  She played my spine like it was a piano.  I couldn’t lift anything too heavy all week.   I told my Dad about my neck and he said, “Wait until you sneeze and your teeth fall out.  It’s not a pretty sight!”

“What other horrors await me?” I said in mock horror.

“It’s all still worth living for.”  He’s celebrating his 92nd birthday in a few weeks and often says he has no regrets.

It’s obvious with my various parts falling out of place and my vision less than what it once was, I will never play on a team for sport.  I will always enjoy cheering in the crowd.  There is nothing like a summer evening that begs never to end.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Mother’s Day

IMG_0012

We had celebrated Mother’s Day with my sister Colleen on Saturday.  Well, it really wasn’t a celebration.  My niece M. has challenging feet and the three Day sisters met up at Harry’s Shoes on the Upper West Side.  The store was filled with weathered souls whose feet had the look of gnarly winter branches.  In amongst the winter grey heads was M.  looking overwhelmed as the youngest client in the room.  On the cusp of adulthood, her foot challenges have damned her to shop in places with those beyond her years.  There will be no stories of dancing the night away in 4″ heels or any fanciful shoe purchase.  Hers is a future of sensible shoes.  We were there to rally her on and catch a visit with each other amongst the footwear.

As luck would have it we met Amhed, the shoe salesman for problem cases.  He held M’s foot, asked her where the pain usually was and diagnosed what shoes would be best for her.  He had such a magical manner that we all wanted to put our feet in his hands.

We imagined asking, “Tell me what is best for these feet Ahmed!” Eyes batting naturally as this is a dream sequence.

You’ll be pleased to know we resisted the desire and let M. be Cinderella for the day.  Ahmed searched the store keeping in mind her young age and brought back boxes upon boxes of shoes.  “He asked about the comfort of her toes and arches while we three sat on the sidelines swooning.  Eventually, he found her 3 pairs of shoes and one in particular screamed adorable.  A girl damned to sensible shoes at an early age rarely can look down and see such cuteness wrapped around her toes.  We three were so thrilled that all of the shoes were purchased.  M starts her summer internship in a few weeks and we wanted her to start with her best foot (wear) forward.

St Peters Church back garden

I am so sorry that I didn’t take any photos of the purchased shoes.  Instead, I am showing photos from a week ago of St Peters Church in Chelsea.  Warmer weather is here and the flowers are just beautiful

Switching topics completely, this month marks the beginning of my 5th year of being NED (No Evidence of Disease).  This is an anniversary that is celebrated and noted in my head only.  You don’t throw parties to remember moments like your lumpectomy or mastectomy.  I don’t even want to think what the cake would look like.  I digress.   My big Woo Hoo has been dampened with the diagnosis of Osteopenia.  I don’t have Osteoporosis yet but if things keep up the way they do it is likely going to be part o my future.  I’m now in the midst of testing and will be seeing a physical therapist to learn what exercises I should be doing.  As it turns out, Pilates and Yoga don’t build bone strength.  I will let you know what I learn and welcome suggestions from those who are facing the same challenge.

In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying the month of May.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments