Friday, July 31, 2009

Life between lives . . . where are you?

Today while I was out walking, something glittered up at me from the sidewalk. It was a smashed side mirror from a van, a good metaphor for the normal day-to-day life that is fractured for many of us. So what to do while we are looking for work, whether corporate or freelance? What do we do with our unstructured time until the economy recovers and we are back into a more "normal" work life? Job hunting, especially with big doses of rejection pouring in, requires some down time. What kind of life do we live between lives?

With our wallets in this free fall, even I, the consummate "multi-preneur," can feel its impact. Years ago when the economy slowed, my work life as a freelancer, independent contractor, or, shall I say, entrepreneur, rarely slowed. I had enough income streams to keep things going. That was my past life. Those days have come to a screeching halt.

My current assignment: to live within my means. No more credit cards, only debit. Maximize my diminished cash flow— color my hair myself, eat home most of the time, walk away from the magnetic pull of unnecessary plastic objects, and keep upgrading my old Mac for as long as it continues to breathe, thereby controlling my techno-lust as much as possible (so what if I won't be able to load snowleopard because I don't have an Intel chip?).

I'm more fiscally conservative than I ever have been in my life. Many talented friends and acquaintances can't find jobs, and I suspect other freelancers are pumping up their social networking muscles in hopes that the next Tweet will be sweet. (I just signed up at Twitter this morning. I have no idea how to use it.)

We've got to put vacation moments into every day . . .
We've got to find ways to feed our confidence, to lift our spirits, to take what's happening and to enjoy it the best we can—to make this "life between lives" as full as we can. Celebrate the free time you always wanted. Maybe you'll be able to begin some creative venture for which you never had time. Worry won't solve problems. Taking a vacation from them, even if it is only "vacation moments" in your day, can go along way to forestall a full blown depression. Taking a walk works for me. It gets me out of my muggy apartment—haven't connected the AC yet. Today I re-discovered two interior courtyards where you can go to relax, recharge yourself and just get away from it all: The Boston Public Library and the Inner Gardens at the Prudential Center.

As you can see, the walls of the BPL courtyard provide a reprieve from the corporate world's oppressive heights and restore a sense of classic beauty and design that goes back to ancient times.
The space inside the Prudential complex cuts a much more meandering path. The vegetation is more free flowing, less patterned, mimicking what you might see in fields of wild flowers. It's a great escape from the city without leaving it—just like I'm suggesting an emotional escape within the economic challenges we all face without fully ignoring them. These two interior sanctuaries are certainly available for internal retreats. Admission: FREE.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Scenes from my returning son Aaron . . .

This is just a tiny sampling of some of the shots Aaron took on his travels through Spain and Italy over the last two weeks. We've got some doors, some architectural details, and upon his reentry to NYC, we've even got a shot of the "cat man" who wanders around the city with, well, the picture says it all. . .Enjoy.

A doorway in Seville

More classic Spanish Tile you see everywhere in Seville.

An entrance from a building the Quartiere de ? in Roma.
Another classic detail (he looks a bit like Donald Sutherland) from a Roman building.

And finally, a re-entry picture from NYC.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer in the city . . .

Back of my neck getting dirt and gritty.....can't remember the exact lyrics of the Lovin Spoonful, but it was something like that. Major reconstruction going on just a block from my place: Corners of Boylston and Mass Ave are about to reaveal some sidewalk amenities in a few days or weeks.

And to wash off any of that dirt and grit, just walk through the fountain on the mall of the Mother Church next to the long reflecting pond.

Now I ask you, is this next image animal, vegetable, or mineral? Worms or sausages or what?

Look a little closer and you can figure it out. . . .an old abandoned chain along the sidewalk.

And on a more colorful note, here's the latest image from Aaron's iPhone: Positano.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Nature walk in the city . . .

A meditation on the landscapes of bark along the Charles River.

A lone lily pond whose roots are mired in the mud continues to produce the lotus flower:

A Couple of Jamaica Plain Highlights . . . and a touch of Budapest, too.

Officially part of greater Boston, Jamaica Plain is teeming with great restaurants, a very diverse population, lots of intriguing shops and an urban pulse that still has pockets of quiet residential charm all mixed in. Recently, a visitor to Eliot Street which runs from the Jamaicaway to Centre Street, I took these shots of the Footlight Theatre, the oldest community theatre in the U.S., that has been functioning since 1877.

Across the street from the theatre sits a great stone church with an ancient burial ground.
Here's a shot of its stone clock and bell tower.

Crossing the Atlantic via the internet, here's another door from Phil. It's from an apartment building in Budapest. If you want to devour the details, click on the image so you can see more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Meditation on Green

Friday fragments . . .

Not much walking today so there's only a few shots and no profound thoughts about the secrets of the cosmos as expressed in the disintegrating sidewalks of Boston. First, two doors from a Church in Žďár nad Sázavou Czech Republic as donated by Phil:

Along Beacon Street, just as Brookline turns into Brighton, I saw this architectural detail preserved in time:

And on the sidewalk in front of the building, in the exact same tones, but in the fragility of decomposing fabric, I saw this particle of what once was a piece of clothing worn on someone's back:
Late in the evening, this image came in from my brother who's just back from Australia and a visit to his friend's alpaca farm there somewhere near Canberra. The tones are soft beiges, but the subject matter is so different and the hue so much warmer than the stone details above.

A few feet away from the Beacon St. building, just near the entryway of another row of connected early 20th century condos I saw these vibrant periwinkle blue hydrangeas.

And a few moments later, shot this picture up into the canopy of a tree as the light was disappearing for the day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Body Arts, Body Parts in surprising places

The most interesting thing for me to notice as these blog entries evolve is how seemingly unrelated images can find common themes. The first images are close-ups of actual tattoos on one of my yoga students who happily allowed me to photograph his arm. Art in unexpected places. As you see, this tattoo art by Tony Ciavarro of Stinky Monkey is extremely masterful.

In the shot below, however, you see a couple of people putting their body parts at great risk as they dangle their legs over the edge of a roof on Boylston St.

Continuing on on my evening walk, I encountered yet another body part; this time a chair sculpture in the shape of a hand outside of a shop on Newbury Street.

Tomorrow I'll be up in Gloucester. I'll take my camera with me as usual to see familiar places there with my new blogger's eyes. Until then, enjoy your art wherever you find it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Week end update slides into Monday . . .

Pull up your chair, folks, I've got a lot of images to share with you from my walks around Boston and Somerville. You've seen an infinite number of postcards like this one of the Boston skyline on a sunny summer day, but I wanted to show you mine from my walk along Memorial Drive on Saturday.

Here's the door of the MIT boat house. Followed by a close up of some rusty junk that was piled up on a corner of its property. The oxidation gives it a gorgeous patina.

Then walking along the "Salt & Pepper Bridge," (which is really not its accurate name, but its nickname because it has little towers that look like salt and pepper shakers) I took a close up of some peeling paint on the iron trim. This and the shot above both fall into the category of: the aesthetics of decay, a term I try to apply to myself sometimes when I look in the mirror.

As I headed through the Public Gardens and up the Mall of Commonwealth Avenue, I began to notice memorial plaques in the ground in front of trees. Here's one that took my attention enough to want to show it to you.

Sunday night as the sun was setting, my friend Sholeh whose art studio is right next to mine in the Vernon Street Studios in Somerville, led me up to the top of Somerville to Prospect Hill Park where I discovered more plaques and some fascinating local history. The tower was actually a fortress from which was flown a flag of defiance (below).

Here's one of the doors to the tower which is no longer open to the public.
As the sun set, the clouds took on a deep pastel parade of colors, promising the sunny day we've been enjoying today.

On my walk today in the South End, I discovered a great little bakery and sandwich shop on the corner of Appleton and Dartmouth streets. They make their own roasted veggies, soups, and even their own bagels. It was as least as good as the ones I had in Montreal that were made by Fairmont Bagel. Marcy at the Appleton Bakery Cafe (below) filled me in on how to avoid the crowds: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30, the place is swarming, but after 3 you can have a quiet cup of coffee and just catch up with your newspaper reading.

The color scheme of bright chartreuse and orange and white has an energizing and warm rather than enervating effect. I had to include this lovely lady in blue against the other walls. So many hidden little corners of culinary delight in this great walking town of Boston. More to come.