May 9th, 2013
Growing up, gifts were purchased, and came with pretty paper and bows. No one ever thinks of, or saw what their parents do as a gift. It’s time and life that adds perspective and poignancy.
Even though I lost my mother at a young age, I see it every day, when I look at her wedding ring, on my left hand. No matter what my parents’ own personal problems were, they raised three children who somehow each knew to pick exactly the right mate, and go on to have loving relationships, and productive lives.
What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-One Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most is a collection of personal essays, reflecting on the gifts of wisdom, courage and strength they received from their mothers. I am 1/31st into it, had to stop and write this: Buy This Book
“How They Do it in France” by Elissa Schappell is a funny and warm portrait of her mother whose choice of substance over style she saw manifest itself in baked goods. Other titles include The Plant Whisperer, The Gift Twice Given, The Unicorn Princess, and Never Too Late.
If you’re looking for a special way to thank mom, or the mom-like people in your life, buy her this book. If you’re looking for a really special way to thank her, buy this book, read a chapter or two for inspiration, then write your own story.
April 27th, 2013
While I’ll always be an Ossining gal, have been graced to live on the perimeter of Turnure Park in White Plains for many years now. And for thirteen springs I have literally had a front row seat to the White Plains Annual Cherry Blossom festival. Always a wonderful and uplifting event, but tomorrow-Sunday April 28th 2013- will host the best ever-do not miss it!
Organizers at The Japan Education Center have worked just as hard behind the scenes…the entertainers will be just as enthralling…the White Plains’ DPW crews have busied themselves just as mightily this year-repairing damage from the ravages of this past season, then seeding, edging, mulching, planting and such…so why will this one be the best ever??
Two reasons…first: Mother Nature is cooperating. Am certainly not an expert, but like most flowering trees, the blooms of the Cherry Blossom trees have a short span.
Too many warm days speed up the process, too many cold days, or back and forth weather yields mild or uneven blooming. This spring has been on the cooler side, with a gentle trajectory toward warmer temps, PERFECT. Looking out my window as I write this, tomorrow will be MAGNIFICENT.
Other reason it’ll be White Plain’s best Cherry Blossom Festival ever? We are SO READY.
This festival celebrates the beginning of Spring- always an uplifting time of renewal. But this year, we are REALLY READY. Ready to see neighbors, and share new experiences. Ready to wear just one layer of clothes, and to feel the warm sun on bare arms. Ready to breathe clean, crisp air under clear blue skies, stroll and linger under canopies of fluffy, cotton-candy pink flowers. Ready to put the collective heaviness of the last 6 months behind us. Ready to be HAPPY.
Free, and open to the public, vendors start setting up early, but festivities run from noon to 5. The park is one block in off of Broadway, between Main and Lake Streets. If you’re driving, I recommend parking at one of the municipal lots like Hamilton-Main, (by Wal-Mart) and walking the 2 or 3 blocks…trust me, you’ll spend at least that much time stuck in traffic behind others who keep circling the block.
The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in White Plains is a celebration of Japanese culture: music, singing and dancing will abound. Storytelling, and other events are suitable for kids of all ages, and popular food and beverages will be available for purchase. TODAY might be a great day to find and dust off (or go out and buy) those folding chairs that you can carry in a fabric tube, on your shoulder, as sitting space is minimal.
Am always so grateful to The Japan Education Center, and the City of White Plains for this event.
LIKE it now on FB now to see photos and more details. It will be the best ever, do not miss it.
April 25th, 2013
Did you know almost 80% of the U.S.’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) last year came from the service sector? A big number, but not a new trend.
Defined as an economic activity that does not result in ownership, or provide physical goods, the service sector is admittedly a wide field. But how to explain an intangible product, whose value is ultimately subjective? Welcome to my newest series: Who, Why and How.
Service is often equal parts knowledge and skills, as well as physical ability to get something done. Most are personal services, but there is ‘personal’, and there is PERSONAL; I’d say Professional Organizers fall into the latter category. Many have specialties, each has their style, but share common goals: to replace chaos with serenity, and to add hours to your days.
According to NAPO the average person spends one full year of their life looking for lost or misplaced things. YES. One. Full. Year. Our lives are busy, our activities and commitments are many, and our days are fragmented; we are distracted, and otherwise engaged, it’s easy for nice, perfectly fine things to accumulate and morph into clutter.
“Organized” is the relationship between people and their stuff, so for many, the first step is acknowledging the stuff is affecting productivity, or happiness. Trust is established first. Most organizers work collaboratively, shoulder to shoulder, talking things out, taking small but solid steps to facilitate changes that will stick. A number work by the hour, usually in pre-determined time blocks of several hours, but some prefer to work by the project.
Tools they utilize could include organizational materials like files, labels, and containers. Their niche could be photos, closets, paper systems, books, or behavior modification. Resources are just as likely to be a vetted donor list, an Ebay seller or an auction house-or burly men with dumpsters.
Many will seek the help of a Professional Organizer when their life, or their needs suddenly change: The birth of a child, an elderly parent or adult child coming into the household, an illness, even someone suddenly working from home all place new demands on an existing space. Many times I see adult children who’ve used their parents’ space as a repository for stuff they can’t/won’t deal with on their own. Some may be just chronically disorganized, others dealing with loss or grief, unable to let go.
Asking around my own circle, the biggest misconceptions or fears are they will be judged, or that they will lose control, and be forced to throw things out, or adjust to a generic system. OK, sure-the less that changes, the less will change…but at their core, Professional Organizers are kind, but pragmatic problem solvers, with your best interests at heart. Overwhelmingly, being a witness to the positive transformation in people’s space, their lives and relationships are what floats their boat.
Bottom line-we all realize life is short. Whether it’s lost bills, not being able to park in the garage, tense relationships in the household or repeatedly buying replacements for things you know you have but can’t find-you can find your own best answers by taking the first step: talk to friends, or other trusted home professionals like Realtors or Home Stagers. Have a conversation, ask for some recommendations, then get on with your life.
April 19th, 2013
Shortest FAQ answer in this series yet: YES. But perhaps you have a more burning question: Why would this be part of a discussion with a Home Stager?
Home Inspections-where a trained professional goes through a house checking and evaluating the systems and infrastructure of the house- are typically initiated by a buyer, most often after their offer has been accepted by the seller. But the number of sellers now choosing pre-sale inspections are increasing: one inspector, speaking at a local WCR meeting recently estimated it was 25% of his business now.
Financing still takes months, even for an above-average qualified buyer, so it’s in no one’s best interest to spend any time going down that road, only to find conditions that could derail the deal.
Properties that show a clean bill of health in from Day One stand out, and shine a little brighter in the eyes of a buyer. Sellers can also remedy any conditions found to need attention faster, and almost always for a bunch less money than a buyer will estimate. And in that vein, you are not training the buyer to look for problems.
Buyers will often pay to have their own separate inspection down the line, but that is a conversation best left to the principles, their attorney and their agent.
Still wondering how Pre-Sale seller inspections are part of this Westchester County Home Stager’s inital consult?
The Refreshed Home believes preparing a property for sale is a thoughtful strategy that considers ALL the circumstances. Homeowners and agents hire TRH to address and develop a plan where together, we examine and discuss what makes sense, as well as what looks good. Why spend time planning, why advise a seller to invest funds on anything of cosmetic or discretionary value if a buyer’s inspector is going to find there’s about 45 minutes of useful life left on the roof, or the basement has mold?
Sometimes Home Staging IS about adding the green flags that add visual appeal, but making sure the red and yellow flags are remedied have got to be a sellers’ first priority.
March 17th, 2013
OK, I know it’s been a while-I’ve been very busy!-but here’s the latest new addition to my Staging Kit that will absolutely put money in your pocket.
According to the just-released National Association of Realtors 2013 Profile of Buyer’s Home Feature Preferences, garages are HUGE draws to Home Buyers, a full 78 % purchasing a home with one last year. And according to The Refreshed Home, buyers want their new house to fulfill their dreams, as well as their needs.
At first glance, you might not think of the lowly garage as the embodiment of a dream, but for many it’s the launching pad of other dreams: a place to store the bikes, the yard and garden equipment, outdoor furniture, and can’t forget the ubiquitous work bench!!
A well-lit, cleared-out and organized space will catch a buyers eye…fresh paint on the walls and ceiling take it another step further, but if you want to draw buyers in, paint the floor. Oil-resistant plain steel grey is the expected, but for WOW, use California Paint’s Tuf-On. It’s a waterborne epoxy gloss enamel, and in a separate bag-like confetti-are flakes of color. About 4 different color combinations, all you do is you paint a section, sprinkle, paint another section, and sprinkle.
Completable in an afternoon, walkable in 24-hours, curable and drivable in a few days, it is such a quick, easy and inexpensive way to add value.
It’s a fresh, and well-maintained look, but it’s also QUITE forgiving if the floor is a little rough, or permanently discolored. Abrasion, chemical and solvent-resistant-and so low-maintainence, it’ll elevate and add value to your space whether you’re selling OR staying!
December 3rd, 2012
Broad tables laden with fine table linens and bed coverings…well-organized shelves, full of all things tabletop….unusual accent pieces of every price point imaginable, filling in whatever space is left….If you enjoy big warehouse sales with a wide selection of products for the home, get thee to the annual Casafina Holiday Warehouse Sale, starting tomorrow, Tuesday December 4th.
Importers of hand-decorated ceramic and glassware, stoneware, and such, Casafina Warehouse Sales have been a local and easily accessible treat for about 25 years now I think.
We live in an area where there are a lot of shoping choices, so if you’ve never been, let me tell you why a trip to Casafina will be worth your while: First-it’s a great physical set-up. The space itself is like a set of those Russian dolls, just when you think you’ve seen it all, you turn the corner, and there is something else to see.
It’s well-lit, and from the parking to the wrapping station, well-organized. No clawing around, hunting for whatever. Product is laid out by type, then color and patterns, and attention is paid to keeping it orderly, and replenished. Everything is sold separately, but there is usually enough of everything that you could purchase a complete set of something, if that’s what you wanted.
The merchandise is both current, and retired patterns of stemware, tableware and serveware. And the assortment is wide: there are things like hand-painted glass tumblers for the powder room, ceramic pet bowls, piggy banks and wall clocks. And cement statuary…and handmade throw rugs…and hostess gifts of every caliber. And OHYES< nice pricing, too!
Sale is rain or shine, 9am to 6pm Tuesday 12/4 through Saturday 12/8, and 10am to 5 pm Sunday 12/9. Minutes off exit 8 of 684, click here for directions. And make sure you sign up for their mailing list, to get future notifications and special offers!
November 29th, 2012
Legend has it that when when Winston Churchill was advised to cut funding for arts, in order to help support the war effort, he replied ‘than what is it we’re fighting for?’. Historians debate the authenticity, but it’s good enough for me, one of the reasons I am so fond of Churchill.
Art is good. It soothes, and makes you feel alive. It nourishes, inspires, and challenges. It can make you laugh, cry, ponder or react. But mostly art can make you happy.
This Sunday, December 2, Westchester Arts is sponsoring their annual FREE ARTS DAY. As good as art is for the soul, FREE ART is even better!
You and the kids can make bowls at Clay Art Center in Port Chester (LOVE you guys at CAC!!) , or jewelry…or beads at Westchester Arts Family Art Workshops in White Plains, or screen A Christmas Story at Jacob Burns in Pleasantville. Sample dance and fashion sketching lessons, or experience Play Theater Group workshop
For more grownup tastes, you can tour Caramoor, or the Historic Hudson Valley lamdmarks; visit almost every museum and cultural center from Mt. Vernon and the Pelhams to Peekskill and Purchase, View The Marriage of Figaro in Pelham, even catch YCP’s performance of Nora Ephron’s play Love, Loss, and What I Wore. ALL FOR FREE. Seriously.
Your (inner) child will have a blast, and work through some serious ya-yas in this uplifting and creative format.
50 events, 21 locations! Click here now to see the entire listing, and plan your day. Some events might have limited class or audience size, so I’d call ahead and find out the logistics on your favorites. GO-you’ll like yourself a lot for it!
November 11th, 2012
Furniture Sharehouse is Westchester County’s own furniture bank. Run by volunteers, Furniture Sharehouse collects unwanted clean, basic furniture, and re-distributes it FREE to clients of about 40 different Westchester County agencies.
Every month, on average, 7 to 8 Westchester County veterans are helped to ease into permanent housing by Furniture Sharehouse, through the Veteran’s Affairs arm of WestCOP (Westchester Community Opportunity Program).
Donations (furniture, time, funds) are always sought and welcomed, but right now, your online VOTES are #1 ask.
Larchmont’s own Kate Bialo, founder of Furniture Sharehouse is one of 10 National Finalists vying for a $25K grant from L’Oreal’s Women of Worth event.
Now, through November 21, everyone can vote once a day (per email address) HERE.
Veterans are just one segment of the client base who typically receive 8 to 10 pieces of clean, basic furniture, things many of us take for granted: a sofa, a kitchen table/chairs, a dresser, a bed.
Regular readers know I am absolutely shameless when it comes to asking for support for this wonderful cause. If you are reading this, please, you have all the tools you need to help right now. Please click on this link to VOTE, then share it with your friends as well. WHatever you can so, thank you for your support!!
November 8th, 2012
Regular readers know I’ve written about Furniture Sharehouse before. It’s our local furniture bank, where basic, average unwanted furniture is collected, then re-distributed to clients of about 40 different agencies, FREE. Donors re-claim space in their home while getting a receipt for their taxes, and perfectly usuable furniture stays out of landfills.
Clients include individuals and families transitioning out of shelters, seniors and vets, foster kids who ‘age-out’ of the system, and fire/flood victims. To date, nearly 2500 Westchester County families in need have received FREE FURNITURE through the efforts of Furniture Sharehouse founder and Executive Director Kate Bialo.
Kate is now one of 10 National Finalists in L’Oreal Women of Worth 2012 event, which has already won her a $10,000. grant for Furniture Sharehouse. But now there is a bigger prize at stake, and she needs online votes. LOTS of them. Whichever candidate gets more votes between now and November 21st will win an additional $25,000. for their cause.
Here is the link. You can vote once a day, every day, between now and November 21st. PLEASE:
- Make it a favorite, and vote everyday
- Share it with family, friends, colleagues
- Like and Share on FB, and ask the same of your friends
The timing of this event is especially fortuitous, as many in our area are just starting to pick up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy; the need is certain to escalate in the weeks to come.
Sandy has brought many of us to our knees the last week, in more ways than one. The 15-20 seconds it might take to vote each day could help make a world of difference to a neighbor. Thanks in advance, and stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted
November 3rd, 2012
The first holiday solicitations arrived around Columbus Day. A package with holiday wrapping paper, some thematic greeting cards, and (still more) personalized address labels.
Most of these mailings were not inexpensive. Had donated to some of these causes in the past, but several came in my maiden name-which I have not used in 18 years. That I received them at all can only be attributed to my having the same address, and mail carrier-for that long.
Pricey, or repeated unsolicited mailings always make me wonder about the overall value of the organization itself (like how much service I’ll really get from an insurance company that every week spends money to send me something telling me how much money I’ll save by switching…!) or in this case, how wisely, how effectively does a charity utilize donor funds.
Need and giving are hugely emotional issues that touch our core; under ‘normal’ circumstances the next 6 weeks is high season for giving-and asking. But now we on the east coast have come to know Hurricane Sandy.
In the days and weeks to come, chances are we will be asked, and perhaps motivated and able to make a charitable donation or two. We all want to be sure our donation will be used properly and efficiently, here are two ways to give with our heads as well as our hearts.
To get an overall, independent read on different charities, try Charity Navigator. http://www.charitynavigator.org/ acknowledges charities have different services and programs, which leads to inherently different cost structures. They break over 10,000 charities into classifications and rate them on their efficiency, in their classification. Their top ten lists feature the effective, as well as the overpaid, and the broke; eye-opening and interesting reading, to say the least.
www.bbb.org/charity Just like BBB certification, charities that want to belong apply and provide vital info like contact info, their history, size, structure as well as a financial statement. BBB will tell you if the charity meets their 20 standards for accountability, and if their info is vetted, a Wise Giving Alliance report is issued, good for 2 years.
Best for providing a snapshot of , and credibility for a particular organization. Because charities have to apply, it is unlikely any less than stellar ones would. Seeing your favorite here is a positive, but not being on the list isn’t necessarily a negative.
Both sites are very useful , and for those who are really interested-The Chronicles of Philanthropy is a great source of info for non-profits www.philanthropy.com.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and the harsh realization we were just a few towns away from total destruction, I keep coming back to this quote, incongruesly from Dr. Seuss: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
October 27th, 2012
“Westchester County” is often spoken of in rarefied terms, the proverbial land of milk and honey. It’s all I know, I’ve lived here my entire life.
Last Sunday the Journal News’ lead feature was called Hidden Hunger, and featured six personal stories of local residents who are clients of local food pantries. According to the article, in 2010 roughly 1 our of every ten residents was food insecure-that is, they didn’t know where their next meal was going to be coming from.
It’s said that big issues with big numbers ‘read’ as incomprehensible, unfathomable to others-but when names, faces and specific circumstances are shared it becomes real. A big thank you to these reporters, and to those who shared their story. If you missed this series, please follow the link above and check it out.
Hunger is not a new, or seasonal issue.
Being hungry puts a lot of other things in perspective.
I know a lot of people, and see many faces in the course of a day. The thought that 10% of them might be juggling, trying to find a way to feed themselves and their family really hits my core.
Last year Janet Jones, a Stager friend in Hawaii wrote about her volunteer efforts for the Maui Food Bank, and suffice to say, I am inspired, and in the days to come will be laying the groundwork, and announcing The Refreshed Home’s commitment to give back.
Meantime, if you have any upcoming gift-giving opportunities, please consider making a donation to their local food bank, on the behalf of your gift recipient. Be they clients, family or friends-it will resonate in ways you cannot imagine. Here is how you can help, how you can make a difference in our area: Food Bank of Westchester , or the Food Bank of Hudson Valley for Rockland and Putnam counties. Gifts of funds, food and yes, your time are all welcome. And stay tuned.
October 10th, 2012
Channeling Mark Twain here, and NO, not talking about me, but rather a store.
The rumors started this spring, when a tractor-trailer backed into the front of Stickley Audi on Tarrytown Road in White Plains.
The sign came down, boards went up, and the whispers started.
Then there was the Clearance Sale. SIGH. Where herds of professional store-closeout
bullies salespeople did little to dispel the rumors.
But alas, the truth came out…a long-needed facelift had been in the works, the tractor-trailer just got it on the fast-track.
The store has remained open during the renovations, and they still have a while to go, but the early reviews-OK, my early review-is that it’s great.
A very welcome change is evident the moment you step into the lobby: Look up (fabulous bubble chandelier), look down (sleek leather upholstery), then look all around (a serene oil over the sofa in muted tones, and a truly wonderful, very fashion-forward color on the walls).
Wander through the rooms and although many are still in the throes of being rejuvenated, you will like what you do see. Three of my favorite things:
A really neat drafting table/desk (with a big cogwheel to adjust the angle!)-under $600.00!
A spacious, professional Design Center.
And this sofa!! My goodness!
As I had written about earlier in the year, the big messages at this springs’ Architectural Digest Show was Sexy! Metallic! Organic! and this sofa is IT.
The lighting wasn’t in place yet, but even from this snippet of a rear view, I think you can see where this is going…
The curvilinear frame, in a shimmering pewter velvet, complete with shiny nail head trim and YES those are genuine mirrors attached directly above the skirt.
You can tell by even just this small amount of detail that this console table is something special…a sophisticated burnished finish, and a mirrored top.
It’s not certain when the work will be completed, but hopefully it will be soon. But if you are in the neighborhood, stop by and take a walk through-you will be delighted, and like me, be impatient for the rest of this beautiful package to be complete.
October 3rd, 2012
161 games over six months, and for 3 teams in the Active Rain Baseball Junkies Fantasy Baseball League, it all comes down to tonight.
The lead has see-sawed back and forth for the last two weeks. This morning when we woke up, Bill Feela’s Minnesota Rain was in first place. My husband Doug-who TORTURED me last year with his ‘advice’- was a point and a half back, while my Good Guys were 4 points back.
But it could be anyone’s win tonight…two of us had bad pitching today, and
my team the other one of us is having a decent day of both hitting and pitching (hee-hee).
Regardless of how it all shakes out, it’s been a blast, and I thank all the managers who participated: From Tracy CA, Susan “Team Princess” Golding, and her co-manager Reily; AR’s own Kerrie “Yanks All the Way” Greenlaugh, and Carey NC prodigy Craig “Raleigh Carey Apex” Rutman.
Stanislaus county’s CA finest Jim “Jim’s Team” Patton; from sunny South Brevard county FL Jeff “JD’s Mets” DiMuria; from cold and rainyWestchester county NY Phil “J Train” Faranda. Last but not least, the original founder of the AR Baseball Junkies-the pride of Columbia River Gorge, Mel ‘Tinkers2Ever2Chance” Ahearn…and MEL-one of these days, you’re going to have to explain that team name!
Thank you one and all. It’s been a great season, and I have so enjoyed it.
…and only 135 more days til the start of Spring Training!!
September 20th, 2012
Fairfield County residents-sorry, I’m letting the cat out of the bag…
Moments off exit 8 of I-95 in Stamford CT is Juliska, one of the most lovely gift and tabletop stores I have even been in. Even better-this Saturday starts their annual warehouse sale!
A company store year round, Juliska is nestled pretty much in the center of Stamford’s antique shop district. Carrying primarily their own lines of china, crystal and other tableware, but augment it beautifully, seamlessly with product from other vendors. The displays are creative and engaging, full of unusual finds, at very reasonable prices. Under the best of circumstances, it takes me about an hour to go through this shop….I just don’t want to miss a thing.
For the sale, they are expanding into the parking lot, filling a 5,000 sf tent with all sorts of product-ceramic, table linens, lighting and more. Some seconds, but many retired designs as well.
All I can tell you is it’s a perfect place to shop anytime, but if you have gift-giving occasions coming up, be there when they open at 9am, you won’t be disappointed.
Juliska-465 Canal Street, in Stamford. 203.316.9118 Have fun…and make sure you hit Barry and Fred’s next door while you’re there!
September 11th, 2012
I remember a lot of that day eleven years ago, but more about the days after. Vividly, violently confronted with the previously unimaginable, people in the NY metro area clung to each other in their horror and grief. From this vulnerability came tenderness and kindness.
In the days-weeks-months that followed, I remember reading reports on how many took definitive actions. Actions that affirmed who you were, what you believed in, and what you wanted from your precious, remaining days here on this earth.
Some enlisted, others made life decisions they had been dallying with, deciding to marry-or divorce; to have children, or to change jobs. Six weeks after the attacks we bought a house.
Last year the media here was brutal, beating the sensationalistic drum for the tenth anniversary remembrance for a month before. Inescapable, I was conflicted and angry-what, I’m not sad or grief-stricken enough? and guilty-with such close proximity to NYC, how was I spared any direct loss? and how can whatever I feel be of any importance, compared to what the friends and families of those that were killed have to live with every day?
Loss, grief and ways of coping are all very personal. While I respect and honor others’ feelings, and their time table, just being passively sad does not work for me. I feel it’s a waste of the wonderful gift we have, when we wake up every morning with oxygen in our lungs.
My good friend Heather does a 9-11 memorial stair climb, where she prays while reading the names of those who were killed, while climbing 110 flights on the Stairmaster. I like that a lot. And I love that more and more this time of year calls attention to service.
As much as we wish otherwise, we cannot change the past, we can only shape the future. Using the memory of that terrible time can collectively spur us on to make better days, and help us to live our best life on September 12th…January 10th…April 30th…etc. Taking action. Giving back.
Each and every one of us can ‘do’ something, even if it’s quiet prayer, or sharing a kind word or gesture with a stranger. Those in the Hudson Valley looking for a more substantial connection could find it in The Volunteer Center. They match your time, talents and interests to a specific local need. They are also a year-round entity, so no worries if your availability does not coincide with a memorable day. Kindness matters…pass it on.
August 26th, 2012
Tomorrow marks the start of the the US Open in Flushing Meadows Park, in Queens, New York, which means yesterday was Arthur Ashe Kids’Day.
The annual kick-off event for the US Open since 1993, it’s a combination tennis-entertainment-charity event that commemorates tennis legend Ashe’s commitment to reach, and help kids through tennis.
Free events make up the first part of the day, where kids can attend tennis clinics, play on the courts, meet some of the pros, and enjoy other kid-centric activities.
Tickets for the afternoon entertainment, a concert held in Arthur Ashe stadium are modestly priced at $10.00-20.00. This year recording artists Carly Rae Jepson, and the group The Wanted played to a sellout crowd.
Ashe was unquestionably a talented player and a trailblazer, but he always used his celebrity as a means to help enrich others, address and end inequalities.
When winnings were not on par with the explosion of growth in the industry, he supported the formation of the Professional Tennis Association.
When denied a visa-preventing him from competing in the South African Open-he used it to call attention to apartheid. Later, after his retirement from the pros, he co-founded the National Junior Tennis Association.
Arthur Ashe passed away in February 1993 from AIDS-related pnemonia, after contracting the disease from a blood transfusion during heart surgery in 1983.
He announced his illness to the world in 1992, and even in the last year of his life, did what he could to call attention to AIDS sufferers world-wide. After his death, his body lay in state in the Govener’s Mansion in Virginia, where he was born….an honor last bestowed on Stonewall Jackson, during the Civil War.
He is the kind of person I wished I had been more aware of while he was alive, but every year this event helps keep our memory of this kind and extraordinary man-and his dreams for a better world- bright.
During his life he said a number of simple, yet profound things, this is one of my favorites.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
August 20th, 2012
Facts have never been as intriguing to me as people, and their personal experiences. I am a curious person, and understanding another’s circumstances fully paints a more complete and memorable picture.
For several years now Doug has wanted to see the WWII vintage planes at the annual traveling Wings of Freedom exhibition, but as convenient as the Westchester County Airport is to get to, something else always got in the way. Til yesterday.
WOW. You’ve got to go.
Standing next to the planes is one thing. Walking across the open belly of the plane, on an suspended 8″ wide strip, in between (faux/de-commissioned) bombs…standing in the top gunner turret, looking down to see the paint worn away from the platform, where so many brave had stood…seeing the under-gun turret: understanding men were enclosed in this approx. 3′ in diameter bubble, then lowered out of the plane during flight spinning 360 degrees to protect the plan from all angles…WHOA….
There are two planes that are open for walking through-a B17, and B24-and several others to ponder. There are Air Corps personnel dressed in gear of the time, to answer all your questions about whatever-the planes, the history, the experiences of the time.
There was a real cross-section there, people of all ages. Most civilians, but a few small groups were scattered throughout the crowds…veterans who came to see, to remember, and thankfully, to share. Luckily, we met Frank.
Frank Honigman served late in the war, in the US Army Air Corps. He was married and with a 5 year old child when the family moved to a base in Mississippi. And yes, he trained as one of those guys suspended from the bottom of the underside of the plane, a bottom gunner on the B24, in a Sperry Ball Turret.
Frank will be 95 next May, and was there yesterday with his daughter Brenda Jeselnik, and her husband Joe Jeselnik. All Westchester residents, it was Brenda’s first time really seeing the things her dad had talked about all these years. Here he is (in plaid shirt) looking up into the bomb bay with Joe’s help.
We spoke for a bit, he explained about his training, how the ball turret worked, and what the risks were. Sobered, and with a mix of awe, gratitude and sadness for it all- we shook his hand, and thanked him for his service.
This traveling exhibition is sponsored by The Collins Group of Stow MA, and will be at the airport through Wednesday. Parking is free, and admission is $12.00 for adults, $6.00 for children 12 years and under. Go. If you’re lucky, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet, and thank a veteran like Frank, and their family- yourself.
August 14th, 2012
While waiting in line at a framing counter some years back, I noticed the woman next to me had some very striking canvases in her cart.
We started talking about framing them, that’s how I met oft-honored Westchester artist Lorie Gurian.
Lorie started taking art classes in 1995 while still teaching, but when she retired, her avocation flourished.Now a full-time artist, Lorie works in oils, acrylics and watercolors, and with nature.
Lorie has a great eye for color and detail. Viewing her paintings in person at the very well-attended reception last night, I felt both serene and focused.
What makes for a really neat back story is Lorie’s husband Bob. Partners in everything, Bob comes up the cool names for Lorie’s shows…Natural Fractions and (several) AfterMath shows, all nods to Lorie’s first career as a math teacher.
Go, you’ll see! Exhibit is free and open to the public, and may be viewed during regular library hours
August 10th, 2012
As an institution, The Refreshed Home holds an individual’s right to vote very dearly, and decries anyone who wants to mess with that. ANYONE.
As we journey through the last weeks of summer, November seems oh-so-far-away. But anyone who treasures this right as much as TRH does need not be concerned about November at the moment. It is the here and now.
Deadlines to register to vote are fast approaching. Do it now, or lose it. Here is the link to get you started in NY State.
Realtors and Movers: Want to reach out to your clients in a meaningful way? Anyone who has changed addresses in the last few years should hear from you on this, send them the link to your local Board of Elections with info on how they might register in a new area.
College-bound? Citizens who will turn 18 by Election Day can register. Use your FB page to remind your peers to register before they leave-and also to inquire/make arrangements NOW about absentee ballots. Post links, and ask others to like and share.
Friends, parents, neighbors: Know anyone whose status/address might have changed? How to quickly and easily register in your municipality is one google search away. Your one tweet, your one post can make a difference.
Similarly, your own status as an eligible voter is not to be taken lightly. Even if you are a regular voter, the rules in your state may have changed without you being aware of it. In the last two years, a whopping 16 states have made changes in their voting laws. That’s right, it’s not just about Florida and Pennsylvania.
At this writing, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin all have changes on the books; Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas have laws that are being challenged.
Legal challenges to these laws will certainly continue after the election. But if you want to make your voice heard in November, you need to be prepared in the way your state now requires. Is there any greater reason to make sure you are able to vote now, that your future interests will be protected??
If you have any reason to question your status, now is the time to check with your local Board of Elections. PLEASE. Here in Westchester County, a quick phone call to the Board of Elections (914.995.5700) can confirm your eligibility on the spot.
Deadlines are fast-approaching: Do it now, or lose it.
President Lyndon Johnson delivering remarks in the Rotundra of the US Capitol after signing the National Voter Registration Act, August 6th, 1965.
LBJ Library/Photo by Frank Wolfe
August 7th, 2012
Many possessions are difficult to part with, but having another place where said possessions can go and be loved and utilized often eases the distress.
Unwanted pianos though are notoriously difficult to adopt-out. They are big, and difficult to move; often in need of some restorative work. Hyper-local facilities like churches, schools, Boys/Girls clubs have usually been the best options.
There was a helpful resource article, Where A Condemned Piano Can Win An Appeal in this mornings NYT. Stagers, Realtors, and Movers-should take special note.
A follow-up actually, in response to comments to an earlier article about old pianos being destroyed because of lack of options-For More Pianos, Last Note is Thud in the Dump
The resources are all over the country-Sacramento and St. Paul are named, as is an online clearinghouse and even an artist in Maine who gives new life to old piano parts (all links in article)…it’s still not going to be like dropping a shopping bag of clothes off at the local thrift shop, but for the passionate and the determined, if all local avenues fail, something else to try. Good luck!!