Circling the Wagons

First, from me and my family, Happy New Year!


Oh my goodness, it’s been quite while since I’ve last posted.

I see a draft in my box saved called “When You Get More Than You Give” which was about our friend Melanie from inner city Bronx who came to live with us for a week (what a transformative experience it was) and the kid who I mentored as a young 20 year old living in Chicago nearly 20 years ago from Cabrini Green named Melvyn (I searched high and low for a picture of him, but don’t think I have one). I still wonder where he may be now and how he may be doing…But, as you can guess, the post was about getting more than you give, which definitely occurred through both of those experiences.  Since so much time has passed since blogging last,  I’ve decided to keep that post be buried into my private archives. Some things are best left there.


But there is a segue way here, it is a new year and always a chance for a little introspection.  So many people have expressed their feelings of contempt of last year.  An election that didn’t go the way most people I know wanted…too many unexplained violent shootings, acts of terror and other scary phenomenon.  Let’s be honest, it was a bit of a malaise, that 2016.

For me, I had a weird/frenzied December mixed with traveling, gift buying, decorating, consuming…you know the typical holiday chaos, while a health scare (that ended up being nothing) somewhat consumed me, much of the month.  Now that the dust/tinsel has settled (and again, thank god that scare amounted to nothing–once your health or that of a loved one is in question, everything feels murky), hopefully some of the unsavory-ness of last year is behind us, I finally have a moment.

I think about what I hope for in this year ahead.  Hopes for myself, for my family, for the world.

It really amounts to “Circling the Wagons.”


A friend/philanthropist who I really admire used this phrase with me recently when describing how her family reset after the financial crisis, in terms of setting their charitable priorities.  Not to be used in the sense of fending off attacks, or what not–but just reigning it in and putting into focus that of which is most important.  The phrase sticks with me.

I’m aiming to put a circle around my priorities or the wagons:)  Personally I’m striving for focus and calm, more ability to give back to my family, friends and to those Melanie’s and Melyns of the world.

Welcome to a New Year!


Hearts Wide Open

A few months ago while already worn down from the end of school year shuffle and plugging in family vacations, sports camps, etc. I wondered about a summer experience that would teach us something, bond us as a family and bring us together more than any trip could.

Serendipitously around that same time I read an article in our local town paper about the Fresh Air Fund (FAF). An organization based out of NYC (been around 200 years or so) that matches inner city NYC children with host families living in “friendly towns,” a.k.a. “in the country,” like where we live, for a week.

I had a few conversations with previous host families, did a little research while including my husband and kids in the process and suddenly we were pursuing being a host family for a week this summer.

Since our summer was already jam packed with activities, there was really only one week we were free, and it was on the early side of summer. So we hurriedly tried to work with FAF to get all our ducks in a row.  But as you would imagine, there is a lot involved in making sure due diligence has been done (interviews, house tour, background checks etc.) and they weren’t able to process our application/paperwork in time for our early summer “free week.” I was a little heart broken because I already started projecting what I thought the experience would be like.

Then it happened that plans for another week changed and we were open. We were able to “match” for another week a month later. We found out the name, age, gender a few interests of the child.  We had a facilitated conference call with the child’s mother as her family is Spanish speaking.  We knew little else (including whether she spoke English very well.)

The night before I can’t tell a lie.  I was so anxious, but trying to hide it.  The kids were already making me proud though as they readied her room and made welcome signs.  We began making loose plans for the week.  I tried to not have expectations, but many many scenarios raced through my mind, I hardly slept that night.

Suddenly it was the day that the bus left Penn Station full of eager FAF kids.  Sign and balloon in hand we waited for “M.” to arrive.


Off came the bus, this delightful little girl with a long braid, tiny body and HUGE grin.

Pretty much in the same amount of time, she walked off the bus and straight into our hearts.

We wondered if she would be shy, she wasn’t.  She was excited, and sweet as could be.  Driving down the country roads (we got a few miles before I realized she didn’t have her seatbelt on, a car is not a place where she spends much time) she immediately starts commenting on her new surroundings.  “All the green and flowers are beautiful.”  She has never been outside NYC.  We talked about Central Park and she tells me she went there on a field trip in Kindergarten.  Central Park is the closest environment that she can relate to the green of Connecticut.

We are about a mile from my house.  We see a deer on the side of the road, she shrieks with delight and the deer looks right at us.

We pull up to my house, she is confused that it is not a building.  She comes in and remarks that it is so cool that we have stairs.  She meets my girls.  There is an instant connection.  I can’t even put it into words.  Each day it deepens.


The questions, the experiences the relating, it is such a gift.  I look forward to writing more about this wonderful person and opportunity that has again serendipitously (especially because M. was also to be matched with another family early in the summer but had a cough and needed to postpone) come into our lives


Stay tuned as I share more about this amazing experience in vulnerability and connection.



Fine Looking Knockers

I know, I know, tacky title, but I couldn’t resist.

One of my favorite parts of going to Nantucket is the chance to observe the awesome attentiveness to detail in the homes.

So let’s knock around town and see what we find…

Anchors away knocker12

Allergic to scallops, but not this one


Enter if you dare


Sly as a fox


In case you are feeling blue


Daffy Days


Thistle bee the place

knocker1Oh say can you see

knocker5Talk to the hand…

knocker10Not quite a cowardly lion

knocker9Don’t drift, sail

knocker6No one’s lyin’ here

knocker4Eagle eyeknockers14 And don’t be crabby


Hope you enjoyed my Nantucket Knockers.  Happy Monday, enjoy the week!

In Bloom

Last week in Savannah I had the treat of attending a lecture with my Mom of Manhattan based floral designer Lindsey Taylor, as part of the Tellfair in Bloom series at the Jepson Center.

Lindsey spent early days in her floral-centered career as garden editor at Martha Stewart Living, where she shared tales of shooting arrangements at Martha’s Turkey Hill Farm (quick aside: speaking as a person who lives on a road named after a bird, not far from Martha’s old place–I can tell you these CT names are legit!) property, as they would work with local blooms grown on the farm and shoot on the fly in casual spots such as the chicken coop, according to ideal lighting, etc.


She then brought us up to her current post as contributor to Wall Street Journal’s “Off Duty” section and dazzled us with tales of her design process and how she finds inspiration.  Which lead to the demonstration where Lindsey riffed off famous works of art…


to be inspired by colors and textures of blooms, branches, and berries of all kinds and the ways in which they relate to the paintings.  With ease and confidence she grabbed and designed in a manner that she would describe as “off roading” in as much as she would create her own rules with composition, scale, surface and appearance.  The photos from I-Phone afar don’t do justice to how unique and beautiful her arrangements are, suggest you follow her @linseydtaylor to see for yourself.

Lindsey spent a fair amount of time talking about the vessels that she would carefully select for her arrangements. Lindsey further endeared herself to me and others when she mentioned several of those vessels she planned to use for the lecture were damaged en route to Savannah and how she found alternatives at Home Goods.  She had never been to Home Goods, (apparently they don’t have those in Manhattan) and marveled at the inventory, several times through out the lecture.

The lecture ended and we carried on to lunch that was meant to feel like it was set in the garden-


surrounded by flowersJTfrom many local designers

JT1of their interpretations of arrangements relating to paintings and art.


A truly inspiring afternoon (Thanks Mom!) well timed with Spring and abundant opportunities to create with flowers.

Happy Humpday!

Charmed Charleston

After coming to Savannah for over 10 years, we figured it was about time to get over to Charleston to check things out.

Plus some of our best buddies moved to the Charleston area, within the past year and it’s only about 2 hours from Savannah, so the stars aligned!


I thought I needed my own experience in Charleston as up to this point, my perception was limited to Bravo’s Southern Charm (and let’s face it, it is a little less than charming.)

Our buddies lucked out with finding an oceanfront home in the community of Isle of Palms.  The island is a casual beach town that suits them perfectly.


The tempo is very relaxed, with some of the biggest stressors including making sure all the right gear gets packed into the all terrain beach cart.  They tell me one must have a Yeti cooler to keep bevvies cold…a good note.


Then it is just a super short jaunt over to the beach.


The beach is wide, lovely and not crowded.  We watch dolphins jump in the surf and the kids discover all kinds of wonderful sea life, including a large sea turtle’s shell.


There are a lot of great restaurants in Charleston, but having a sandwich at the beach is tough to beat.

Have you ever noticed how nothing ever tastes quite as good as it does at the beach?


But life “in town” is a nice counterpoint to the beach pace. Downtown Charleston is not far off, just a couple bridges crossing ocean/ and marsh land.


Plenty of nods exist to historic times such stepping posts used to help get into horse drawn carriages that still remain outside the historic homes on The Battery.

charleston5Grand old mansions that have been in families for generations line the Battery.


“Stately” and “grand” are adjectives that come to mind.  charleston6

Though the air in Charleston is a bit more formal, they enjoy a bit of humor wherever it can be found


There is a plethora of shopping on King Street.  The day we were there it was reserved for pedestrians.


Natives from Charleston are also a good looking bunch.  Even their pups are pretty.


Dining is another scene not to be missed in Charleston.


Husk is transforming what would traditionally be thought of as southern fare with an emphasis on fresh southern produce and grains.


We brunch at Poogan’s Porch and munch delectable shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and fried green tomatoes.


with a celebratory cocktail to wash it all down.  Note: green juice for a while in t-minus 3 days.

I can’t wait to come back to Charleston again.  Thanks so much L&G!



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