Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Visit From My Swedish Friends Emma & Petra

 Me flanked by Stockholm photographer/journalists 
Emma Mattsson and Petra Kjellström

Emma & Zuzu by the stream

Hihi! (pronounced hey hey) 
At long last, my dear journalist/stylist/photographer friends Emma Mattsson and Petra Kjellström arrived back in New York for another trip to the Catskills and Manhattan for “reportage” (pronounced re-port-TAGE) in Swedish newspapers and magazines.

The story they did last October on my studio for Sweden’s Skona Hem (Beautiful Home) magazine should be out next month and they’ll send me a copy.  I promise to share that when I receive it.  

I swore I'd never post pictures 'Skickat från min iPhone' on my blog, but how else does one capture the little moments in life?

Here I am picking the girls up at JFK, sitting on the Cross Bronx Expressway for 1 1/2 hours (they thought I was joking when I informed them they should go to sleep), and the next morning in the Roses Brook Valley in Roxbury, NY.

I felt guilty the whole weekend because I made them cross the creek at 9 p.m. (3 a.m. to them) and trudge up a post-hurricane hillside in pitch dark after an 8 hour flight and 5 hour drive.  The girls were very sneaky about paying for my meals as I always refused, happy enough they were here.  When I dropped them back in Manhattan they actually tossed cash on the car seat when I wasn’t looking.

We started the day with breakfast at The Cross Roads Café in Delhi (blueberry pancakes piled with raspberries, chocolate chips, and whipped cream), drove across the Askokan Reservoir and down to The Mohonk Mountain House, and ended with a Middle Eastern dinner at The Falafel King in New Paltz.

They brought a wonderful set of gifts; a heart shaped pan, a gag gift of the royal family in tea bags (last year I wasn’t aware there was Swedish royalty), and my favorite: soft gum drops.  I shared them with the girls but couldn’t save any to shoot they were so good.  The flavor and color is natural and fruity ligonberry.

Old friends Jeff & Larry and their 5 dogs & cats of the much-celebrated High Falls Mercantile unfortunately haven't had power at their home for a week.  They opened their sophisticated lifestyle store when I lived near High Falls in my big old farmhouse, and I miss stopping in.  Flawless taste, sort of a masculine industrial farmhouse with lots of Jeanne d'Arc Living things like mannequins and French wire.  No bargains, but you'll find the dream version of whatever you're looking for.  Emma & Petra particularly loved the Italian soaps.

But it was The Barking Dog that ensnared Emma’s heart.  An excellent antiques & collectibles fixture in quaint High Falls for nearly 30 years, that fact alone would make it newsworthy.  But octogenarian owner Sue, hard of hearing, offerer of jelly beans, mother to dog Daisy and cat Ginger who blithely sleeps in the middle of the quiet street, is a character

The next day we visited my friend artist/raw food guru Michelle Premura at The Turquoise Barn (you will hear a lot about her in the near future here and in national press), and the funky-elegant Roxbury Hotel.  You have to see this place to believe it.  The ceiling of one room resembles a cream pie.  It’s Las Vegas only tasteful (yes the cream pie ceiling was somehow tasteful, even artful), elegant, wholesome, and affordable.

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

from Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Friday, the girls took my car to Woodstock, and of course everyone suggested they hit Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia for pancakes and great shots of the line waiting to get in on Saturday morning.  Sadly, they found the entire main street closed from Hurricane Irene’s rainfall causing the Esopus River to flood the poor little village. 

Main Street, Arkville, NY flood damage
caused by the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Irene

I've never seen the results of a natural disaster in real life.
It's horrifying.  Many homeowners near rivers own their homes outright due to inheritance.  They cannot get flood insurance for them either because no carrier will sell it to them or they cannot afford it.  Something like this happens...and what's to be done?  They can't sell, they can't get money to repair their home, and in the meantime they need to find a place to live.

When I got back to my cottage I hugged and kissed one of the porch columns.  

Emma and Petra said the most touching thing, though; they were moved by all the community fundraisers and outpouring of help to those in need.

Thanks again to those who asked about how I weathered the storm.  I was very lucky

I’ve been scarce in blogland, and I apologize.  It’s an extremely busy month with two photo shoots at my cottage.  October will be the next Vintage Video, so stay tuned.  I think pumpkins will be a good theme!

Tills nästa gång, stanna shabby!

PS - Some of you have asked ‘what happened to my story in the October issue of Romantic Homes’?  The answer: I have no idea!  I guess it’ll appear eventually.

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Vicki said...

Thank you for posting. I'm in a completely different part of the country than you are and it's very interesting to see your New York state locales although devastating, of course, to see flood damage. It didn't dawn on me that your place could be in jeopardy. We had tremendous flooding in our town over 40 years ago and I sometimes cross one of our major bridges and can't believe I once saw flood waters take it down.

Anna at the Doll House said...

What a great report. We can also buy the magazine here in Norway, so, I can't wait to see it.


Anonymous said...

Sandy i love these these real pictures,you are totally cute!
Love Zuzu in the water hope we all get to see these shots.
The flood picture breaks my heart i can not imagine how the families feel seeing their homes like this and the panic at how they were going to fix it or where to live,god bless them,
I posted some pictures of a cottage by a river while out walking here in the Uk at the weekend i think you would love it,
Love to you xxx

High Heeled Life said...

Gorgeous photos!! Love the naturalness of it all .. sad to read about yet another town affected by the storms...

Enjoy your time with your friends!! xo HHL

Sizzle and Zoom said...

I would love to be where you are and visit all these wonderful places. I really like your choice of poems today.

Katherines Corner said...

Love this post, it was almost like being there with you. I felt your joy in so many of the photos and the shock of Irene's devastation too. So happy to see you back blogging again, Big Hugs!!

Linda Carole Bloom said...

Hi Sandy,
Looks like you had a fun time. Very glad you weathered the flooding. It feels like it will last forever. 3 of my seven skylights are leaking. I need a new flat roof over the dining room. All the doggies are WET! Of course, one day . . . soon . . . it will turn to snow.
Seriously though, stay dry and Hi to sweet Zuzu. Love, Linda

Little Cottage said...

Such a great post, Sandy!
I am going on a little vaca to my home country, Norway, in a few days! Looking forward to see my family & friends.
Thanks for sharing your eventful time! I truly understand why your guests left gifts of $$ for you;- that's only the Scandinavian way of politeness :o)

Vicki said...

After I read your post the first time, and although of course the network news is all over the flooding in the N/E, I realized I needed to get caught up with what is happening since the first onslaught of the hurricane (Mom had a stroke, better now, but I sure wasn't watching the news). Anyway, it's so absolutely horrible and frightening to think of entire hamlets washing away. My grandfather was raised in the Hudson River Valley but I've never been there and I try to orient myself as to where the Catskills are, or where the Erie Canal is, etc. (geographically-challenged, I am). In happier times, and even in these photos you've posted with your Scandinavian friends, it is fascinating to see the small villages and landscape of the area you call Home; it makes it so real for me, thinking of my grandfather in those environs as a young boy at the turn of the last century.

You were talking about Roxbury and I guess Prattsville nearby has been completely decimated by the waters. I do remember several days ago reading about a covered bridge (Blenheim?) going down; such a loss of a historical thing but obviously nothing to be compared to loss of human life. I have never seen a vintage, covered bridge. As my mom struggles to speak after her stroke, she told me how the old bridges were covered to protect the floorboards from weather and to also keep the horses from being spooked as the wagons or carriages approached the rushing river or creek. And they'd often look like a barn entrance; something familiar to the horse.

Gosh, do be careful out there; no slip-sliding up and down slopes and hills! Just scary, with endless rain. I hope people can rebuild and feel more secure. I live in the West and we have similar problems with people not being able to obtain insurance for wildfire threat (a season which is upon us exactly now, and we've been in near triple-digit heat the past few days; also overdue for the Santa Ana winds which create havoc).

I wonder if everyone felt like they had a bad summer there in the N/E, bookended by such bad weather and, as the other poster said, winter not so far off.

Sending heartfelt thoughts and hopeful wishes for the drying-out; it's so hard to have to be continually on edge through a rough, too-long time.

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Lovely post, Sandy. So happy to hear you're okay.

What a lovely visit with your Swedish friends, can tell you had much fun. I am thinking Ruth sells that mag at The Beautiful Life, I will order when I know you're featured. Love the Maya Angelou poetry... her strong but gentle, honest words set the soul free!

Sandy, send me your address when you get a moment, I'm sending you a trinket from France.

Oh Zuzu, you're a doll as always, love from Zeke!

Rhonda said...

It is so fabulous when kindred spirits unite! All three of you are adorable and so talented.

I agree, disaster in real life is horrible to see.

Zuzu looks to be having the best time.

Norma said...

Well, the three of you sure did have fun!! And then to be confronted with the aftermath of the flood disaster, kind of sums up life doesn't it. Sunshine one minute, dark clouds the next, so best enjoy the sunshine to the fullest while one can. I can't imagine the heartbreak of having such destruction wrought upon the place one calls home. Same dilemmas here still after the Queensland flooding ages ago, and the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand.

NanaDiana said...

How wonderful to hear from you and know that all is well with you and your household. God bless all those that lost so much.

I am always transported back to that part of the country I grew up in when I read your blog. Blessings to you and I hope your weekend is wonderful.xo Diana

Bring Pretty Back said...

What a great report on all that is going on! That was so sweet of those two to bring you gifts and be sneaky with the cash on the seat and meals!
I also have never seen naural disasters up close - and as much as we think we undestand ... we don't .SO happy your studio is ok!
Hugs to you , and can't wait til we get to see more articles on your studio.
Have a pretty day!

cityfarmer said...

I've been thinking of you so much ...

hope life is well

A Cottage Muse said...

How fun to have your friends in for a visit! Happy to know your studio stayed safe during Irene. Can't wait to see some sneak peeks into the shoot! Have a nice weekend!

Jeana said...

I hope Romantic Homes post your story. I was so looking forward to it and was so disappointed it was not in the issue. I love your blog! You are such an inspiration!

Southwest Cottage Designs said...

I've found your blog today, and what a fascinating journey it's been reading and admiring the photos. I'm your new follower and look forward to visiting again.

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello again Sandy
Thanks for visiting
The small-leaved green plant you wondered about is Muehlenbeckia, (creeping Wire Vine).


Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Sandy Iphone or not still great photo's always sharing the best over here. Thank God you survived all the flooding! ! What a sad sight.

See you and all your beauty soon.


Katherines Corner said...

Hello sweetie, me again. Stopping by to invite you my very first blog hop today. Please link up your lovely blog. Big Hugs!

Curtains In My Tree said...

looks like the girls visiting was having a good time.

i am sure they got some good shopping in

Tania - Grange de Charme said...

I can see that you had a great time with your friends, so nice ... and it's so sad to see what Irene did !
Have a great weekend Sandy !

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Ah publishing! We'll keep looking for you! What a wonderful lark with your visitors. Thanks so much for letting me know you came by! I appreciate the feedback! Good to hear from you!

Mariette's Back to Basics said...

Dearest Sandy,

Great post and visit! It is always special to meet some blog friends. When we were in The Netherlands I did hand deliver, straight from the airport, some items that a Dutch blogger/seller ordered from me. Being in her store and meeting in real life was so special. It does bond us all together.
Success with all the photo shootings and hope the publication does come out!
Love to you,



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