life | keep looking up

hello, hello! thank you so much for your loving comments and emails about charlie. they are very special and i can't wait to show him. everyone's spirits are up and we're ready to play the hand we're dealt, i think. this week i'm super-busy finishing up a work project, but hope to be more human by next week. have a great one!

xo, cindy

ps as much as i miss my mom's laundry line, i'm not sure i would hang it out the window in the city and those containers of impatiens are up about 15 feet. cool.

life | bad news

hello. we found out yesterday that scott's father, charlie, does have lung cancer. it's a small spot and hasn't spread - good news. he's not strong enough to go through surgery and chemo though - news yet to be determined if good or bad. he & scott will meet with a doctor to discuss radiation and see what charlie wants to do, if anything. we know of someone who did nothing and lived 5 years, so maybe it will be ok.

the photo is kind of weird for this post, but i have nothing appropriate other than pure blackness. charlie would LOVE to get his hands on the dollar that fell through the grate, so it reminds me of him.

it's amazing how things can change in the blink of an eye. a couple of week ago i was so excited to finish my life plan and get busy. now, it's collecting dust. i've also not been good about visiting everyone this week and that's lonely. scott's pretty strong and methodical about it all, so i'll try to do the same. enjoy your weekend, everyone. don't waste a minute!

xo, cindy

nyc | beautiful sunday

Jet Skiing
we had beautiful weather this weekend and jet skiing on the east river looked so cool. the coast guard had a lot of boats around the united nations because there's a big summit this week, which will come with big traffic jams.

we enjoyed some lunch and people watching. i love salad bars where you can have breakfast, lunch & dessert all at once.

these two just made me laugh. she was doing some sort of tai chi while he kept touching his toes and looked like he was bowing to her. i love ny!

someone else saw this grasshopper and then it hopped my way before heading into the grasses. i love ny, again.

WWII Postcard
scott's father charlie on the left with an army buddy in hollywood during training for WWII. looks like they were training to be captured! he's been under the weather this summer, but most of his ailments are under control, except one. the doctors see a small spot on his lung even though he never smoked. he's getting a biopsy today and i just hope they don't puncture his lung. then, i hope it's much ado about nothing. i know charlie has some fans here, so please send him some good luck. hope you had a nice weekend!

xo, cindy

ps i was a guest over on wishful nals on friday with some favorites, including a terrific book all budding photographers should absolutely pick up.

fun | fall at the beach

Rockaway Beach
recently, we visited rockaway beach in queens. we've never been there and officially it was closed for the season with no lifeguards. the surf is usually kind of rough and filled with rip tides, so we wouldn't swim there anyway without life preservers, which would be pretty sad at our age.

Rockaway Taco
we read about rockaway taco and wanted to check it out. the fish tacos were delicious and i love the murals. they sell surfboards, too.

Rockaway Beach
there's something about this photo of the couple that reminds me of a cialis commercial. you know, the one with the two bathtubs?

Rockaway Beach
there were surfers who mostly paddled & waited and lots of shells. i never saw so many shells and was happy to find some grey ones, which is my new favorite color.

scott turned into hervé villechaize from that old tv show fantasy island - the plane, the plane! the rockaways are very close to kennedy airport so the planes go over head quite a bit. i love this pink one and a beautiful fall day at the beach with no crowds. not bad at all.

xo, cindy

life | flip it

Bitter Melon
hello, hello! my schedule is topsy-turvy this week, so just a bit of green, today. i've never noticed bitter melons as much as this year and love the looks of them. this one was in our neighbor's front yard! see you later in the week with a few photos from a new beach we visited in queens this weekend. have a good one!

xo, cindy

ps i have a new band for you. they're from iceland and called for a minor reflection. i usually like songs with lyrics, but they have a really nice, rich sound - love dansi dans. they refer to themselves as experimental, minimalist, rock. sigur rós likes them, so that's got to be good.

pps one of my photos from the farmer's market is included reading my tea leaves. thank you, erin! and, another on mortal muses. thank you, april!

life | tribute in light

Tribute in Light
Tribute in Light

last night, we went to see the world trade center tribute in light from long island city.
the first image represents what we saw.
the second represents what we felt in our hearts.

life | absent friends

when i take still life photos i always try to get two. i like pairs. balance. maybe that's why i loved the world trade center so much? two buildings. two views. tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of 9.11.01 and it's hard to believe it's been that long or that it happened at all. so many things have changed and yet so many remain the same.

zinnias have always been such a happy flower to me, but in the language of flowers they represent 'thoughts of absent friends'. i never knew that and will always look at them differently, now. enjoy your weekend.

xo, cindy

ps it would be a very good thing if everyone got aboard the peace train by yusuf islam formerly cat stevens. there's plenty of room for love, but please check the hate at the door.

work | that's a wrap

Institute of You
Institute of You
do you see the words on the pencil? explore. dream. discover.
i didn't plan it, just needed a green pencil for a prop!

hello, hello! i've completed the final phase, way forward, of the institute of you program, and it was a breeze. kind of like that victory lap athletes take after they're won the race or the stanley cup or whatever. this final phase helps you take all the work you've previously done and put it into actionable items in three exercises:
  1. my time - using the saying no & reprioritizing project exercises, you create a daily schedule of activities by allocating real time for the new projects you might want to work on going forward. i'm still fine-tuning this as there are certain activities i naturally gravitate to at certain parts of the day and i'd like to work that in.
  2. next actions - this exercise seemed a bit duplicative of the saying no & reprioritizing project exercises, so i didn't complete it (cheater!). i had created a detailed project planning list in the backcasting exercise and felt i had moved on at this point.
  3. get on a roll - this is the coolest exercise and it will be ongoing. if you've ever had a streak you know you don't want to break it. so, by checking off each day you work on one of your goals no matter how big or small you are nudged in the most subtle way to keep going.
{this post is my version of war & peace ... you'll see it never ends}

so, after completing the program, my personal vision statement is - i am working in the role of collector, where i am doing photography, writing & exploring. the people i work with are smart, authentic & loving. together, we are working to share my perspective on the pretty things in life, which makes me feel like jumping out of bed, everyday.

in the end, it's not that surprising to me or as different from my current snapshot as i originally thought, which is a relief. i'm still fine-tuning it a bit (not sure about the word 'pretty') and the reference to collector is meant to apply to many things - images, objects, experiences. i have a long list of things i'd like to do. some i will and some i won't, which is ok. here are a few -

things i will do
  1.  blog - change the name to replace 'handmade'; develop a flexible editorial calendar; expand my horizons for content.
  2. photos - develop a wish list of publications/sites to submit my work to and submit it; create a new blurb book all about flowers.
  3. me - stay focused; expand my network; celebrate the successes, minimize the flops and accept that they both will happen. 
things i might do
  1. blog - after the name change, migrate to a new address; advertise.
  2. photos - sell some; new blurb book/magazine with never before seen work.
  3. shop - open a vintage shop on etsy.
  4. me - get a pet - birds or a dog.
{see, this post is just like the energizer bunny ... it just keeps going and going}
    i hope i can do all of those things and then some. i've already submitted a photo to a very sweet blog (it was accepted) and had an inquiry for a blogging gig that i turned down because it didn't quite fit into my personal vision. i think having a plan is going to make all the difference. i really loved this program and got much more out of it than i expected.

    thanks to all of you for joining on me on this journey and your words of encouragement & advice along the way. also, thanks to trish from the institute of you for all of her help and support.

    xo, cindy

    ps this is a special playlist with a song representing how i felt during each phase. there are particular lyrics that resonated with me, but i'll spare you that much detail. official videos are included, when available.
    1. Aims - drive by incubus.
    2. Reflection - looking back by keane featuring k'naan.
    3. Reality - endless corner by lior. the camera work in this video makes me dizzy so i don't watch it. love those strings, though. my first choice was i'll take it from here by jonatha brooke, but i couldn't find a full version online.
    4. Options - in this phase i enter the darkness with crawling by linkin park, which contains  lots of screaming. lightness soon follows with breathe from anberlin. my eardrums were happy.
    5. Way Forward - my best days are ahead of me by danny gokey.
    {ahhh, do you hear that? the sound of silence, finally}

      fun | plan b

      hello, hello! sometimes, you have to go with plan b. scott really wanted to visit the new italian market called eataly on labor day, but it was closed. so, we went to shake shack across the street and there was no line, which is rare.

      cheeseburger, french fries and a chocolate shake - yum.

      saw some tennis on the big screen in madison square park, which reminded us of michelle & her husband who were in town to actually go to the open and were nice enough to let us drag them around the day before.

      headed down to union square we noticed a tag reminding us of where we were.

      flowers at the farmer's market - yeah!

      so many to choose from.

      nice fruit and an almost really nice photo, but the arm got in the way. my bad.

      some fresh veggies make a nice dinner by scott with my favorite maine root soda. yes, plan b was pretty good. hope you had a nice weekend!

      xo, cindy

      garden | late summer

      Asiatic Lily
      Shade Garden
      late summer blooms, plus some lettuce, acorns and a bitter melon at the new york botanical garden in shades of purple and green.
      Rose Garden
      Bitter Melon
      i've just ordered a new garden guide for new york city after hearing about it on npr and can't wait to find some new places to visit, the more hidden the better. enjoy your weekend, everyone!

      xo, cindy

      ps sara bareilles has a new album coming out next week, kaleidoscope heart, and there's an exclusive premiere of hold my heart here.

      work | choices, choices

      hello, hello! i've completed the fourth phase, options, of the institute of you program, and it was hard. whoa! this phase deals with identifying the actual steps you will take to align your current snapshot with your personal vision. if i had an 'ah-ha' moment in the last phase, this one was like a canon going off when i realized how far i was drifting. there are three exercises in this phase:
      1. saying no - this step was eye-opening and involves making a list of things you will say no to. they can be projects or habits like cutting back on checking your email every 5 minutes, twittering or getting your nose into everything because you need to know what’s going on everywhere like i do. they can also involve saying no to negative feelings like fear, complacency, lack of focus or worry. have you ever tried to assign a time line to your worries? it's very powerful to do so and see the opportunities that might be trickling right through your fingertips as you obsess over whether you're creative enough or if people will like your work.
      2. reprioritize projects - somehow, i have to reallocate about 20 hours a week to to projects that will be fulfilling and give me an opportunity for some financial reward. i'm very disappointed in myself for losing all concept of time management and have started to keep a daily log (love this one from muji!) and use our kitchen timer to keep me on course (i’m serious about the kitchen timer).
      3. backcasting - this is a sophisticated concept often used in corporate strategic planning and the only task that stopped me in my tracks. it involves filling out a large chart, in reverse! basically, you write down your current snapshot on one side (reality phase), your personal vision on the other (aims phase) and then work backwards to come up with a list of indicators and actions that will help you achieve your goals. then, pulling from the chart, you create a project plan of items you can work on over the next few months. some will be quick wins, which is great because when you look at everything contained in that chart it can be overwhelming.
      at this point, my personal vision is very clear and i’m not surprised to see where it’s going. i'm just about ready to move on to the final stage of the program and might actually be done with all of the phases by labor day, which was my goal and symbolic. the best is yet to come!

      xo, cindy

      ps brandon flowers from the killers has a new album. i love the song crossfire, although i'm not sure why charlize theron doesn't save him sooner in the video. maybe she does, but he keeps getting captured? boys!