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April 21, 2013 Leave a comment

 

Home-of-the-Brave-de

 

 

Art ~ Norman Rockwell

Categories: Art, Culture, Family, Gratitude, Life Tags:

Going On…

September 2, 2012 7 comments

This week’s re-post Diamond in the Rough is from November, 2011. I chose this one not only because it’s a favorite among readers but also because the beautiful journals that I mention below are very close to becoming a book. A Kickstarter Campaign has been started to help defray some initial start up costs. If you have a few minutes please visit

Going On: A Book About Life.

Diamond in the Rough

Gratitude.

This week I can’t help but be thankful for the people in my life, my children and our health.

It’s a tradition in the school I work at, to celebrate each year’s accomplishments at a Stepping Stones ceremony in June. Throughout the year some of the faculty collect beautiful stones from a wide variety of places for each student to pick from.

A few years ago, one of our senior graduates turned the tradition around. He’d gone mining earlier in the year and instead of just taking a stone for himself, he gave each member of the faculty and staff a Herkimer diamond. It was a touching gesture.

Mine, was stolen from a drawer in my bedroom a year-and-a-half ago.

He passed away a little over a year ago.

This particular graduate was an extraordinary human being. I knew he could write, memorize and recite complicated monologues. But it wasn’t until his memorial service that I discovered the breadth of his artistic abilities. It was there that I was given a glimpse into just how talented he was. I didn’t know he had such an incredible eye for photography or that he whittled the pieces of an entire chess set out of wood or fashioned a beautiful wooden flute for his mom. He also made grand bags out of leather and bark and created with glass. He made beautiful marbles and knives. He was quite the unique individual and his art reflected that. In this technological age of all things electronic, he was a breath of fresh air.

He was a diamond in the rough.

Recently, his mom who is also an artist, had an art exhibit entitled 100 Hearts in his honor. I have three.

I spent a few days with her this summer at our place in the woods Upstate. I read her beautifully drawn journals, the ones that try to put into perspective what her daily life is like now without her son, how her grief is endless and how grateful she is for the time she had with him. As a mother I am in awe of her strength sometimes and heartbroken by her loss, always.

Just before the Thanksgiving break, I was in her classroom and she handed me a small bundle of tissue. Beneath the folds of the carefully wrapped paper lay not one but two of the Herkimer diamonds her son mined that year.

One is clear and small. The other is larger and contains rare impurities. Both are beautiful in their own special way. Heart stop.

Needless to say thoughts of this young man and his spirit have lingered with me all week-long.

Gratitude. Be happy for what you have — right now.

This week in particular, I’m thankful for the people in my life, my children and our health.

Hug your diamonds in the rough today.

Going On: A Book About Life

Photo Credit #1 Hearts By Goldy Safirstein/Going On- A Book About Life

Photo Credit #2 Gratitude

Photo Credit #3 Stones

Photo Credit #4 ©Karen Szczuka Teich & Takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

Photo Credit #5  Children

Photo Credit #6 Book Cover by Goldy Safirstein/Going On- A Book About Life

Relax, Recharge, Re-post #1: Just Another Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

August 19, 2012 8 comments

Many bloggers take a break in August and so too shall I. For the next few weeks, I’ll be Relaxing, Recharging and Re-posting some of what my stats say are YOUR  favorite reads. 

Here’s one from October of last year….

Just Another Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

What constitutes a Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience?

I’ve been going back and forth on this for a while now, with my mom.….

…….and debated on whether or not to bring my kids.

But realized, this would be a Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience for them and me.

And my rather stubborn, 74-year old mother was not going to change her position anyway.

With or without me………………….

…………SHE was getting a tattoo!

Great job, Pepper -Thanks!


She – we, LOVE her first tat!

Not only did Pepper do a fantastic job on my mom’s tattoo. Everyone at Graceland was super nice to all of us. They let my kids sit on a couch close enough to be able to watch the process and they played Irish music in the shop while Pepper was inking Nana’s shamrock.

A little “shell-shocked”, they had no idea they were going to watch their Nana get a tattoo! Life is full of surprises!

When I asked my kids what was going through their minds while Nana was getting her tattoo, my daughter said:

I was thinking, ‘Oh great, now mom is going to want one, too!’

So maybe that will make for two “Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences.”  We’ll see.

Have you ever taken somebody to get a tattoo?

Photo Credits: ©Karen Szczuka Teich & http://www.takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

What the… Bindlestiff?!

August 12, 2012 16 comments

I went to the circus this weekend.

Well sort of.

Actually, it was a Cirkus.

A friend of mine won tickets at an auction to see the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus at a venue called a Spiegltent which is temporarily situated on the lush campus of New York’s Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. She asked me if I’d like to go with her.

My new mantra:

Just.  Say.  Yes.

…wouldn’t let me turn down the offer, even though I’d never heard of the Bindlestiffs and had no idea what a Spiegltent was.

Besides, I truly enjoy my friend’s company. So, after a delightful dinner in the Tavern Restaurant at the Beekman Arms Inn in Rhinebeck, the country’s oldest operating Inn, we continued to head north in search of this mysterious venue.

A Spiegltent, I discovered, is a traveling tent constructed in wood and beautifully colored canvas and decorated with mirrors and brilliant, stained glass. Primarily used for entertainment purposes, the Spiegltent was originally built in Belgium during the late 19th century and there are only a handful of them that remain in the world today.

It truly is a spectacular venue, worth seeing, regardless of the show playing inside.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the circus. As a kid my Dad took us once a year and it always seemed, noisy and smelly to me. I’d spend most of my time craning my neck, trying to see the main event in the Big Ring and wondering if the clowns were really sad or the animals really happy.

The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus it turns out, is no ordinary circus. First of all, “Family” refers to those persons who are at least 18-years or older. The Ring Master is a Ring Mistress who not only gets dangerously, drunk during the show, she can do disturbing things with her nose and a latex article used for well, clothing; kind of. This Cirkus has one kinky, krazy, sword-swallowing clown named Kinko, two nearly-naked but quite amazing acrobats; one of whom wears a fury G-string and monkey-ears and the other whose tantalizing tassels are sure to tease please. Their acts are accompanied by a three-piece band including an accordion player and a violinist.

Are you getting the picture here?

If it seems a little fuzzy or bizarre, you’re on the right track. Even though the “show” is billed as a Cabaret, it has a bit of a Burlesque-ish feel to it. Add a disco ball and dance music at the end of the evening and it becomes an all out party!

My mantra is:

Just.  Say.  Yes.

And I’m so glad I did.

Many thanks to The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus for re-posting this on their Facebook Page.

You can check it out here:  The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus and for re-tweeting @Bindlestiff

It really was a fabulous show!!

Have you ever seen The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus or been inside a Spiegltent?

Photo Credits #1-4 Google Images

Resting My Foot On Your Head

May 20, 2012 15 comments

In January my horoscope for 2012 advised me to ‘go forth in the way I intend to be.’ Taking that to heart, I’ve been very committed to being open to all kinds of possibilities while keeping it simple and spending my free time, well.

Storm King Art Center

After you pull up to the entry booth and dole out a $12 fee per person, a security guard will approach the driver’s window and give you parking options as well as the vitally important low down on where the porta-pottys and the onereal-restroom can be found on the over 500-acres of these magnificently manicured and cultivated grounds. Storm King Art Center featuring large-scale sculptures, in New York’s HudsonValley, is massive and totally worth the trip across the river, up from Westchester or down from Albany.

If you prefer a more docile adventure, you can hop the free tram that hugs the perimeter of the park and enjoy the ride along with the views. If you come with a friend to spend some time, give yourself plenty! You can walk and talk for hours. Trust me, my companion for the day was able to relay the entire storyline of the latest book he’s reading, and then some. His endless supply of words was equally met by endless intertwining walkways. Both of which, I enjoyed thoroughly.

If you’re looking for a more aggressive exercise-art experience, you can rent a bicycle for $20 and bike along the pathways.

A photographer’s heaven, you don’t have to be a lover of modern art to appreciate the pristine landscape and natural beauty that in a few cases actually is and in all cases surrounds, the art sculptors that reside along the footpaths.

After spending one day a week for the past five weeks exploring some great places in my own backyard, like the Walkway Over the Hudson, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, The DIA: Beacon and most recently, The Storm King Art Center; I realize, that although I didn’t plan it this way, this is just what I needed to help me put myself back on a more even-keel for living. In keeping with my resolution, I remain open and continue to move forward with the intention of not letting life pass me by but living it, meeting it and enjoying it, any way I can. I’m blessed with many beautiful friends but this one is different. And in these consecutive and consistent meetings, I’ve let myself get lost in thought and talk and walk, with someone who doesn’t really know me all that well; an impartial friend. It’s been refreshing to spend time away from the details of the past two years of my life.

I’ve allowed myself to leave myself and in doing so, I’ve come closer to myself.

Sometimes, The Universe knows what you need better than you do and provides it for you, whether you’re looking for it or not. You end up getting what you need and what you didn’t even know you wanted at the same time. 

Sometimes.

Yep. Recently, I’ve spent time resting my foot on this head and it’s been time, well spent.

Where have you been resting your feet and how have you been spending your time lately?

Related Post: Birthday Wishes

Photo Credits #1-9 Karen Szczuka Teich & http://www.takingtheworldonwithasmile.com/All rights reserved.

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