Category Archives: Events

Photoblog: SWIMMING IN A KANSAS SKY

I grew in the late, great, state of Kansas–the actual middle of the continental USA in a section of the state where instead of being flat (as people expect)we have rolling hills that meet the endless sky at the horizon all around you.  Every year I go home for a few days, and take pictures trying to capture the vastness of it all. Yesterday, I happened to be in a car on the highway at sunset and was able to take some of these shots. I can’t wait to blow them up….

Photoblog: Enjoying Lily Ponds…

Last week, I finally braved the NYC heat wave to see the Lotus ponds in bloom at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  Of course, since my favorite color is yellow, and I was giving my chakras a boost I was all in yellow–including carrying a yellow parasol(sun umbrella, to you)……

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AN APOLOGY TO ALL STREET FUNDRAISERS AND SURVEY TAKERS

 

street canvassers

For the past eight weeks I have been working for a fundraising company, stopping people on the street and asking them to contribute to a non-profit.  Living on the East Coast for many years, I have seen such people almost daily, and although I have seldom contributed to them, I never imagined what it was like from their side.  I’ve always watched construction workers and wondered how they stood being outside during the worst weather.  Now I have some idea what they are going through out there, and I’ll never ignore a street canvasser again.

Street canvassers aren’t born knowing how to do this job; nor did they teach it to them in schools–and it is a real skill, which is difficult to learn.  First you learn the speech–who or what you’re representing, and what they need the people you stop to do.  Perhaps not surprisingly, singers and actors do well at this because they’re used to memorizing texts.  Then you have to figure out how to get people to stop–short of sticking out your foot to trip them as they go by, or just jumping out in front of them on the sidewalk.(No, the companies frown on such tactics, darn it). You have to make sure you’re heard above the street noises–buses, carts, trucks, sometimes construction equipment–and nearby loud conversations.  No day is too hot, cold, windy, snowy or wet.  Once you’re out there you’re expected to get out there and try.

The next obstacle is the people you’re trying to reach.  Some are amused by your efforts to get their attention, some are outraged that someone is on the sidewalk interrupting their day–or somehow getting in their way, although you have the rest of the sidewalk to travel on.  It’s hilarious the great lengths some people go to avoid acknowledging  the canvassers; I’ve seen people actually step into traffic, run into other pedestrians, duck into nearby stores or restaurants, or walk for nearly a block with their heads carefully turned up and away in the other direction, or even break into a quick jog; just to avoid eye-contact. (Honestly folks, after standing all day in the heat, the canvasser doesn’t have the energy to run you down like a lion chasing a gazelle. Just say, no thank you, or just shake your head.  We get it.)  A favorite pedestrian tactic in big cities to suddenly claim they don’t speak english when you’re half-way through the introduction

An unfortunate encounter is when you run into someone who’s just been waiting for an opportunity to vent their spleen; sometimes about your company, but most often,  on completely irrelevant subjects, and the canvasser provides a perfect target.  After all they initiated the conversation, and getting away gracefully is difficult–you don’t want to set them off on a new tangent, because time spent with someone you know won’t contribute is literally money wasted.  The canvasser could have used that time speaking to someone who did want to contribute.  By the way, a canvasser speaking to you on the street is not asking for sexual harassment–be they female OR male(I’ve seen it done to both sexes).  Amazingly enough, the homeless–not all are dirty,smelly and ill-dressed by the way-will sometimes stop if they’re interested in a cause, and offer money from what little they have.  It’s very humbling.  Since you’re in front of their place of business occasionally store owners will ask you to move, but occasionally restaurant or cafe owners will actually bring you cold water, and the use of their restrooms.  I thank all of you who were so gracious to those of us working in the heat.

I’ve stood outside for five hours in sunlight on the hottest days of this past summer, and it’s no joke.  Aching feet, dizziness, headaches, sore throats from yelling over noise, leg pains, dehydration, sunburn, burning eyes, frustration from spending  a full day repeatedly reaching out to people without a single contribution while pretending each rejection doesn’t hurt, then elation each from success are all part of the experience. You might not realize that the canvassers aren’t necessarily getting a percentage of what they raise. But in all cases, keeping their job depends upon being consistently successful in getting people to participate.

Now when I’m out in public, and I see someone out on the sidewalk with a tablet or a clipboard trying to get my attention, whether I want to contribute or not, I give them a quick smile and nod as I go by. I’ve literally walked in their shoes.  I get it.

Photoblogging: NYC First Day of Spring 2015

According to the calendar and the newscasters today, March 20, 2015 is the First Day of Spring. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

As I trudged against the wind to the bank in midtown, I found a statue in front of the American Bible Society’s museum that completely captured the situation.  FYI: The figure, partially covered in snow, is actually seated facing forward but by adjusting the angle from which I shot, he looks like he’s facing sideways…

Snow Statue

Photoblog Assignment #1–Home

Although I grew up in Kansas, I’ve lived in the New City Area over twenty years. Whenever I fly back into the city from elsewhere, I love taking pictures of my new home…here are a few favorites…

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The Frick Museum–I could stay here all day

 

LaGuardia over the plane wing

LaGuardia over the plane wing

looking south on st. nicholas

190 and St Nicholas, edited

Looking west to Wadsworth from 190 and St Nicholas

 

spirit of the heights (190th and St. Nicholas)

spirit of the heights (190th and St. Nicholas)

My favorite cherry trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

My favorite cherry trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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Thank You Leonard Nimoy and Spock

After days of rumors, they confirmed this morning that Leonard Nimoy passed away at his home. I’ve adored him for years, and wrote this tribute to him last summer. R.I.P. Leonard.

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February 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of “The English Invasion”, when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones arrived in the USA for televised concerts.  The images of hundreds of screaming Beatles fans from their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show are part of music history burned into people’s minds.  As I watched them, something has always puzzled me: Why were the girls all screaming?  The answer to that question came to me as a result of watching Star Trek.

The show was scheduled against the hit show “Bewitched”, and it was not an immediate hit; at least not with me.  However, after watching a few episodes, I found myself (pardon the expression) fascinated with the alien character, Mr. Spock, as played by Leonard Nimoy.  Tall and thin, with shining dark hair, deeply set dark eyes, pointed ears and steeply slanted eyebrows, and yellow complexion, he was not as universally handsome…

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I MISS LENT!

woman with ashes

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I miss the old catholic traditions for celebrating lent…and I just realized why.  This morning I dashed into the nearby church and did the quick in and out circuit to get my ashes.  It’s a NYC tradition.  Ash Wednesday is when all the lapsed catholics “come out of the closet” so to speak, and indulge their religious leanings,  just in case….We are too busy to stay for mass, much less stand in line a long time to get the yearly ashes on our foreheads, so downtown churches make it as easy as possible. One has the priests standing ON THE SIDEWALK in front of the church, and people need only pause for a second to get their ashes on their foreheads…at another, bigger location, they have Mass celebrated in the upper church, while a line of priests stand ready in the lower chapel to distribute ashes…if you time it just right, you can make a straight circuit from the sidewalk, downstairs to the chapel, get your ashes, and be back out on the sidewalk again without even breaking stride.

My favorite was a church on Wall Street that had special accommodations for the stock brokers and traders.  Just after communion, the priest walked to a small table  on the side of the altar, piled with little white boxes, and announced ” Would all the people designated to bring ashes back to their offices please come forward?”  Yep.  I worked down there as a temp for several months, and people on the trading floors seldom leave their desks for anything: food, massages, dry cleaning, and all other needs (they don’t have chamber pots, but I’m sure catheters were considered at one point).  Some secretaries were going to take the ashes to work and give them out.

Catholics aren’t required to do a lot of the things we used to when I was a kid, but I’d like to bring back a few. Skip giving something up for Lent.  It’s just planning to fail, like your New Years Resolutions.Not for the sake of religious fervor, but as a break in routine, celebrating the change in seasons and to give myself something to look forward to.  For the 6 weeks of Lent, I don’t eat meat on Fridays, follow the custom of fasting (1 full meal)and abstaining(no meat) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and before going to the Easter Parade, I go to Mass on Easter.  Churches used to cover all religious figures and pictures with purple cloth during lent, skip all the big music during mass, and only use a few candles on the altar.  Then on Easter Sunday, you would walk into the church and everything was uncovered, the church was full of flowers and many candles, and the choirs were allowed to sing in their full glory.  The changes from the last six weeks made your heart fill.  Just as mulching your flowers during winter makes them bloom with more vigor in the Spring, I think some of the traditions of lent can do that for the soul, psyche, spirit, or whatever you choose to call it.

Just a thought…..