I have been told time and time again that I live my life like I'm skipping through the daisies. And while this this is probably true, no patch of daises has ever been as wonderful as the one I just skipped through. I just returned from four days in Monterey, California and this dreamer has seen few other places on this earth quite as inspiring. My camera never left my hands during the short trip as I vowed not to miss a thing. I grasped onto the experience with all my will and drank it in fully.
The shutter would click time and time again with each image acting like sun infused vitamin D, bringing summer light into what had previously paled over the course of winter.
This slice of heaven contained an abundance of animal life that is too often missing from our everyday landscape. The balance of life and landscape created endless opportunity and challenge for photographic perfection. None of this is taken for granted though. Over the past few years, I have seen some cherished friends fall ill and become homebound. I'm always thinking of you as I skip along and point my camera. Grab my hand and come see the places we'll go.
NOTE...uploading on here takes forever...whats not in here, I overflowed onto facebook.
I walking through Hell's Kitchen on the High Line in NYC early in the morning. As I meandered along NYC's new jewel, I stopped to snap a picture. At the same time, I looked over saw and another person that was taking a picture of the same vista. The main difference was that my camera weighed 10 pounds and his was 10 ounces at the most. He smiled but he was probably laughing at me. I was torn for the rest of my stay in NYC. Did I need the monster Nikon to capture the sights or should I give my camera-worn lopsided shoulder a break and pull out the iphone? Help me decide? For capturing my son wilting in a woman's clothing store, nothing seems to beat the iPhone. On the other hand, a wide angle view of NYC's big pictures scream out for my 14-24mm. Life comes with a limited one time offer, perhaps I should carry both.
The Polaroid style shots come from my iPhone(except the cat one) and the rest are from the DSLR.
Wednesday at the Bronx Zoo is free day! The only reason I know this is because I went to college across the street from the Bronx Zoo. On this day, I would jog out of the Fordham University gates and head diagonally across the street for what I called the jungle run. I would traverse the property first saying hello to the sea lions and make sure to always visit the polar bear, all while making my best animal impressions. Running through here during those four college years hold some of my favorite memories of my youth. It never gets old really. Twenty years later, I enjoyed saying hello all over again.
After 83 marathons, my husband has endured almost every type of marathon experience. Some have brought him the highest of fist pumping highs while on other race days, I have found him slumped over with hollow and empty eyes at the finish line. It's an endurance event, and you come to expect the unexpected. But the unexpected that came with his 12th Boston Marathon finds us stunned.
While all marathons have different endings, most of them start the same way for Chris. He's up early, eating a cinnamon raisin bagel and a Power Bar. Like every other runner who does marathons, the same predictable pre-race routine gives you comfort, because the race itself is always so unpredictable. Marathoners are really one in the same. No matter what your marathon experience, at the starting line everyone has the same goal in mind, to get to the finish line. We run united in our cause. Chris would chip away the miles quickly today, reveling in the cooler weather and the lightness his legs were feeling. Most who climbed the famed Heartbreak hill at mile 21 didn't realize at the time that the hill would truly have leave them heart-broken at the end of the day. Chris would recall that the usual frenzied cheering from Wellsley’s women on the hill as even more spine tingling than ever as a T-Train driver stood on the train horn simultaneously. This course usually wrecks him, but not today. The scene was electrifying and it propelled his feet to hardly touch the ground. He was reminded at mile 26 of his good fortune in life as he ran past a Newtown Memorial. The famed blue finish was within sight. Doing his final surge down Boyleston Street, tired but in a state of adrenaline induced hyper-alertness, he finished in 2 hours, 45 minutes and thirteen seconds. It was a good Boston, starkly different from many past races he’s had there. At the finish line he would encounter the many happy faces reaching out to care for him after his efforts. The mood in Boston is typically euphoric on Patriot’s Day and today was no different. Wrapped in his metal space blanket, he would be congratulated over and over again as he weaved through the dense crowds of revelers.
At home we had been tracking him all day. A race for Peter had kept us out of Boston so we had divided and conquered. When 9/11 happened, we all remembered where we were. Today would be similar. I would be getting into the car to bring Peter to run with a friend. I wasn’t sure what to say to him. A new line had been crossed. The innocence of the sport we love has been shattered. But innocence was staring me in the eye and he wanted to run. So I let him do it.
This was our 9/11. We were safe, but no one felt so. I had stood in the same place where the bomb had went off more times than I can remember, holding my kids high so they could get a glimpse of the world’s best runners. It’s an idealistic place of tearful joy. I couldn’t get it out of my head as yet another freedom had been torn away. Both on 9/11 and today, my immediate family and extended human family had stood on the cusps of tragedy. We felt rattled.
I was floored as our extended running family reached out via facebook and texts. I walked around Coginchaug’s new track responding on my phone that the family was safe. In this town, I’m bringing up a new generation of runners and I somehow felt responsible for the well-being of my young runners as they swallowed this unfortunate reality. To our community of runners young and old alike:
Endurance runners endure, that’s their nature. We’re taught to endure pain, inside and out and to accept uphill battles. The monster that did this doesn't realize that (he or she) is messing with the wrong crowd. We know pain and don't fear it. We have been known to embrace it actually. Despite the pain in our hearts right now, our community will endure and come out stronger and more united than ever. Frankly, despite what happened, there is no place we would rather be than running over the finish line of Boston Marathon. We run towards a finish line, not away. We run because it balances each of us within and it unites us with our world and with each other. While one may think of the runner as a solitary figure, we are the furthest thing from it. We are the unbroken spirit that gets it.
Lace up your shoes and Go Far.
Eastes Rocket: $23
A8-3 Rocket engines :$7
Recovering wadding (that we realized after the fact that we could have used TP ) :$5
An explosively awesome beginning my boys' vacations: Priceless
What do you do when your a kid and every one you know is down in Florida on vacation for a week? You go to the hobby shop with dad and hit the Estes rocket aisle. I have new nicknames for the father son duo who have found yet another thing in common. I'm not sure who was more excited chasing the rocket down, Rascal , Hi Jinks or Miles?
Kate had an online prompt to write tonight. On the top of the page it said CBAS-CT, something new and foreign to this parent. This paper was to be drafted by Kate and corrected by a computer. My concern was, how could it know her heart? The question it posed was this: Your family might describe you in one way, while your friends would describe you in a different way. Compare and contrast your family's description of you with your friends' description. Be sure to develop your response fully.
She came down stairs after writing the third draft with mascara running down her eyes and tears flowing freely. Distraught, she told me that as she wrote, she had to make the whole story up because normally, she acts the same way around us as she does her friends. She was cautious to write what she really thought because she was afraid the computer would be score it poorly for having no contrasting argument to the posed question. She had written what in her heart, was a lie. I have seen her writing before. This was choppy for her, almost forced. She scored poorly and believed she did, not for misplaced capitals and commas, but because of her confused message. She was distraught that her favorite teacher and her parents would be disappointed. While she waved her white flag in surrender, it waved a red flag for me.
As she sat next to me, I did my best to calm her. Unlike Kate, I don’t ever attempt to consider myself a writer. It doesn’t complete me like it does her. Somehow though, it still makes me feel good. In 8th grade, it would be a tragedy if writing didn't do the same for her. I’m a messy writer. I missed the memo on contractions and sometimes I’ll leave out verbs because I forget to use them. But I do know one thing. If your not going to reach deep into your heart when you take pen to paper or tap away on a keyboard, then there’s no point to writing.
I know this girl’s soul despite our many differences. I see it in her eyes each and every time I take a photograph of her. I know her in a way that only a mother can. She is good.
On first glance, I can’t help but wonder if this CT CBAS entity is just a bully, designed to force capitals and commas, and not freedom of thought on our kids. Parents, beware of this unfortunate new teacher. I feel for any real educator that must climb this mountain because it's big and it threatens their real ability to teach. With this, I fear a disconnect as a keystroke does what a red pen once did. I still do believe in the teacher and urge the profession to come from their hearts, or they too will wave a white flag. May our teachers never forget that they are a direct extension of a parents' protective arms that wraps around a child. They carry an important torch. Kate will prevail because despite what the computer may read, the people who love her can read her better.
There is a certain unbridled joy that comes when you run with your dog. I run like a klutz, wobbling like a fighter on the losing end just before the last knock-out punch. Often, I wimp out on hills and look more labored than one in a shackled chain gang. It's not a pretty picture to paint, but it's my reality; I have no wings on my feet. I run because despite all that's ugly on the outside, I'm transformed on the inside. No one knows this better than my dog Miles. He is the ultimate, judgement free, life long friend. He grins from one floppy ear to the other, feeling joy that I took the time to play with him in this great game of life. Our mutually shared adventure is one that will end with muddy paws and dirty sneakers. Because of our run, we wont get caught up in our usual pent up behavior like eating some window trim, or in my case, eating what ever lives in the fridge. Running is good for you. It can make places so close to home feel exotic and new because their are always slight changes around us. The hardest part about running is lacing up and tearing yourself away from the many "important" things on the to do list, while in reality, the most important thing begins right outside your doorstep. Ask your dog, he knows whats best for you.
Thanks to those that participated at this years CVEF Trivia Bee. Here are some shots from the wonderful evening that raises
Written by Michael Hayes: Patch editor
Photos by Jen Schulten
Original Story on Patch
David Zemelsky of Starlight Gardens picks carrots. The farm will offer a 21-week summer CSA starting in June. (Photo: Jennifer Schulten) The seedlings have returned to Starlight Gardens in Durham. And so has hope.
The certified organic farm owned by David and Ty Zemelsky suffered a devastating loss this winter when February's historic snow storm damaged or destroyed five of the farm's six hoop houses and forced the couple to halt their winter CSA and prevented them from offering one this spring.
But Starlight's Community Supported Agriculture shares will return in June, a result of the couple's perseverance to rebuild what had taken them over a decade to establish.
"We're just moving on," said David.
By Friday, workers had nearly completed what will become the farm's primary hoop house, a 96-foot long structure that David is optimistic will withstand future blizzards.
For now much of what is being grown at the farm is sheltered from spring's colder temperatures by low tunnels that have replaced the much larger and more permanent hoop houses. "They're more of a 35 year old farming [technique]," David explained.
While most farms have yet to break soil, Starlight boasts rows of carrots, arugula and radishes, with potatoes and garlic soon to follow.
As if the collapse of the farm's hoop houses — each of which was named after one of the couple's grandchildren — hadn't taken enough of an emotional toll, the farmers suffered another setback when a friend's greenhouse used to grow Starlight's highly sought-after tomatoes burned to the ground this week.
"We're definitely known for our tomatoes but we're going to be hard pressed to make a big impression this year," said David.
Still, with the return of spring, the couple is looking forward to getting back to growing and sharing the farm's bounty.
"The CSA is going to have a lot of stuff, a little bit of everything," said Ty.
Starlight Gardens' 21-week summer CSA will begin the first week of June. Regular share or small share options are available. Click here to join.
Last night was an unusual one for District 13 in that kids from grades 5 through 12 collaborated together for a project. Choral groups from Memorial, Strong and Coginchaug Schools all gathered together on stage for a shared musical performances. School choral directors, Alan Schulenberg, Michael Meurs, and Lisa Larson led the groups while special Guest Director Jon Noyes of Fairfield Schools enthusiastically conducted the final act. Speaking to the audience, he explained how District 13 goes beyond teaching to the test as many schools do these days. Music programs like the one witnessed last night is a testament to the well rounded successful student. Upon walking into the Coginchaug cafeteria before the performance, it appeared like a busy hive of activity as kids laughed, chatted and spent time warming up their voices. The collaborative acts opened with the classic performance of Rogers and Hammerstein's, "Do Re Mi" and concluded in a energetic display up the auditorium aisles singing the African tune, "Siyahamba". Here is a glimpse of some of the students getting ready to perform.