Archive for the 'travel' Category

city mouse, country mouse

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Driving home to Brooklyn we came through Times Square. Culture shock on a grand scale.

For months now I’ve been thinking of New York as a demon lover – the one who doesn’t treat you well, who throws you just enough crumbs to keep you stumbling along in the relationship, who endlessly promises and rarely delivers. The one you stay with too long, can’t find a way to leave.

I’ve had a growing suspicion that my relationship with this city may be over. I no longer feel a deep sense of relief when the pilot announces the approach to La Guardia. I crave a garden and limited entertainment options. I’m even nostalgic for driving, for goodness sakes.

Our trip upriver was not merely a vacation, it was as a scientific experiment exploring the city-leaving premise. I didn’t expect a clear answer but within a day I knew. I felt the wide open sense that I could leave New York. Walk away. Like the moment when you look at your husband/lover/partner, the person you see morning and night, who is central to all your days and decisions, and realize that one day, possibly soon, this entire life you’ve constructed together will be gone. This person will be friend or memory. Your paths will part and start new.

But before anything changes there is today. And tomorrow, and tomorrow’s tomorrow. M and I just shacked up; his job isn’t as portable as mine; we may never want to revisit the trauma of moving which is reason enough to stay put. It isn’t clear where we would move to, and it isn’t enough to want to go.

Who knows where this will lead.

bye bye vacation

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

We’ve been home for five days and still I’m posting pictures of our little vacation. Clearly I was in dire need of a break.

I took pictures of our room at the Country Squire. As I was looking at them, deciding which to post, I noticed the connections between some of the details:

Speaking of details – we visited Olana, Frederic Church’s house overlooking the Hudson.

The building is covered in ornament, inside and out. It reminded me of the work of Horta and Charles Rennie Macintosh; complete design with all the elements considered in unison. Makes me want to create a home that is in itself a work of art.

Unfortunately the guide was most specific in her veto of indoor photography and, as per usual with these things, none of the postcards or books in the gift shop showed enough of the detailed stenciling and carving that I wanted to run home and emulate. A six-month stenciling obsession nipped in the bud.

This’ll be my last “I’m in love with Hudson” post. I think. I’ll try.
“Be here now. Be here now…”

hudson on the hudson

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Hudson is very, very quiet; especially compared to New York. The silence made it easy to stop and notice the details.


Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Hudson has a full range of holiday decorations – from tasteful white lights to a Happy Birthday Jesus installation, complete with rosary-hung plastic pine tree. All tastes are catered to.

out of town

Friday, December 7th, 2007

We’ve skipped town; on Wednesday we hired a car and drove upriver for a few days. A break and a deep breath.

On our way out of New York we stopped at the Bronx Zoo since neither of us had ever been. I’m ambivalent about zoos, and wasn’t sure if it would be inspiring or upsetting. It turned out to be mostly inspiring.

My favorite parts were the Mouse House…

and the reindeer bottoms.

day of the dead

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007


I’ve been thinking about the Day of the Dead; maybe it’s all the leaves fallen from the trees. I’ve never seen the celebrations but I love the sugar skulls and brightly painted skeletons.

In France the day is La Toussaint, All Saint’s Day. When we were in the Pyrenees this Spring we stayed in a house that backed up to the village cemetery. I took pictures of the grave markers, many of which were metal. There was a pile of them stacked against a wall; their “Eternal Regrets” long outlived.

Sad and beautiful.

windows & doors

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

Vacation was over two months ago, but here’s a batch of French doors and windows from that time. I love the colors, both alone and in bold combinations.

The great apartment hunt of o-seven has begun, and I feel like an outsider looking in at door and window, “Could we live here? Or here??…”

The dictionary says moving means these things: the process of changing one’s residence and producing strong emotion. I think the first causes the second.

european iron

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Turns out that spirals are to be found everywhere I go, especially iron spirals. I’m beginning to think that there’s nowhere on this planet where I would be bereft of my twirly friends.

My favorite spirals from this trip were from the 11th century, covering a church door in a tiny French village.

Inside the sanctuary were a wooden Madonna and Child from the 13th century, of the kind I’ve only seen at the Metropolitan Museum, and a wooden Jesus on the cross, dressed like a monk and looking oddly friendly. He has been in this same church since the 10th century, with the first written account being from 1130-something when a monk came to see him on pilgrimage. Blows my mind – the longevity of handmade things, and the power of objects.

scotland to france

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

I hardly took any pictures in our busy 3 days in Scotland, but here’s the cupola at the train station in Edinburgh, taken as we ate breakfast before catching the London train:

During our handful of hours in London I apparently only took pictures of the ground. It amazes me what variety there was in just a few blocks. I took a couple more when we visited Perpignan, in the southern tip of France. I’m loving them all together in the mosaic.

And yes, those are my shoes. Oh how I love them.


Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I’m back. To two happy and demanding cats, sweaty temperatures, and the piles of everything that I was able to leave behind for a fortnight, now supplemented with piles of still-packed luggage, shortly to become piles of laundry.

As soon as the dust settles there will be pictures.