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.