Dumpster Diving

Photo of the Day!  I received some great advice from my friend, Maureen Drennan, a brilliant photographer. The great thing about photographers is they are always friendly and willing to share information, unlike many other professions. She said, when you find something interesting, pull out your camera and wait for something to happen.  So, I did that.  I saw a huge dumpster on 23rd Street that has never been there before and I waited.  What I snapped was interesting…!

Art at the Consulate

I love the Polish Consulate.  The Consulate in New York is located in this beautiful mansion on the corner of Madison Avenue and 37th Street.  The ceilings are high, there is red velvet on the stairs and banisters and they always have really interesting events, with interesting people in attendance.

Tonight, I watched a famous jazz trumpeter, Tomasz Stanko, play several mesmerizing songs.  His music was appropriate to the theme of the night, an exibition of work by photographer Andrzej Tyszko, famous for his jazz album covers.  I loved the use of shadow and light on the photographs.  It gives me ideas for portrait shots.  I haven’t done a lot of those, so it might be fun to play around a bit.  It’s always great to be inspired by other photographers.

Breakfast: Crepes and Spinach.

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich with Carrots. Warmed in the oven on a 100 calorie multigrain bread.

Dinner: Chicken Pesto, Vegetable Medley and Home Fries. A satiating experience for only 300 calories!

One of Those Days...

Today was one of those days….you know those days.  One of those really hectic days where you feel like you’ll never get it all done and wonder if you will actually get some sleep on this night. It was a day where all I wanted was a big hug from one of my parents.  I’m very close to my family.  I talk to my brother every day, my dad at least once a day and my mom about four times a day, if only for 30 seconds.  The only time I’m radio silent with them is when I’m traveling!  Although this is a great city, it was SO difficult to move here from Chicago.  Most of my family still resides in Poland and we’ve had to sort of create this patchwork family in the years we’ve lived in the U.S, so as you can imagine, leaving my family and living 800 miles away can wear on a girl!

Last year, I only got to visit my family one time all year. And it’s looking like one of those years again, which is hard to take.  It killed me to look at my schedule and not see a time when I can visit my fam until September. Because I was so upset with this and had one of those days...I broke down, ate a sandwich from a street vendor, probably 500 calories and then went to Trader Joe’s and ate a icecream cookie, which was around 420 calories.

I guess we all have breaking points where we falter with our diets. But, this is day 17 and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me to stay on track. Time to just get back on the wagon. On my way home, I passed this crazy van. It’s not a wagon, but it will have to do! I made it all these wild colors to make it look like I feel today!  Time to get back on the wild colored van-wagon!

My friend, Monia, accompanied me to a Women in Microfinance meeting this evening to give me a bit of the Polish culture that I miss from Chicago and made me feel a bit better today. She distracted me with her stories of her huge romance and made me laugh a lot. We had fun meeting several people and learning more about volunteer opportunities in microfinance in Ghana and Peru. For those that aren’t familiar with microfinance, it’s a movement to lend money to projects or people in developing countries where bank loans or credit is not easily available. I remember becoming interested in this topic a while ago.  My friend, Tony Senese, got me involved with Kiva.  I had heard of Kiva, but had never participated until Tony and his beautiful wife, Keri, got Ray and me a gift certificate to this fantastic organization. Forever grateful!

It’s incredible how many countries exist where credit markets are not established–I guess it’s no surprise, even my parents grew up in a system without credit. My father was telling me today that he first saw a check book when we moved to the US in the mid-80’s.  He had to learn what a mortgage was, how to balance a checkbook and what interest rates were, just a few years ago. It was only in recent years that credit has become prevalent in Poland and even now, the interest rates are so high, the incentive is low to get credit.

Breakfast: Blueberry Granola and Skim Milk.

Lunch: Tofu and Sweet Potatoes.

Dinner: Badness that is not pictured, since I was falling off the wagon and not thinking about staging and photography!

Dinner and Theatre

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Raisins and Tea. After a little bit of sleeping in, I grabbed a scrumptious and filling breakfast.  About an hour later, I went to noon Mass where a phenomenal singer, Donnell Adler, displayed her talent and Fr. Patrick Curley gave a fantastic homily on kindness and love.  I guess the theme of this weekend is love!

Lunch: Turkey Burger with Brocolli, Lima Beans, Green Peas, Carrots and Cauliflower. After running some errands and buying beautiful lilacs that make the apartment smell heavenly, I ate a quick lunch.

Dinner: Turkey Breast with Sugar Snap Peas, Cauliflower, Goat Cheese and Pecans. Tonight, I went to dinner with some friends, so I wanted to eat the proper portions before I went out.  We went to Don Giovanni’s, where the portions are extra large. I know that in a place like that, I have very little will power, so it’s good to go there on a full stomach.  I ordered tea with lemon, so that I could socialize with others and made it clear that it did not offend me or make me feel hungry when I was sitting there with others, while they were eating. It was the truth!  I felt fine and even happy that I wasn’t getting off track, but still able to be with friends on a beautiful Sunday evening.

Theatre: I saw C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters for a second time this evening (the first time was a few days ago with my mom).  If you’re not familiar with C.S. Lewis, he is most famous for The Chronicles of Narnia, which was recently turned into a popular series of movies.  He’s a brilliant writer and the play was very interesting. It’s about a correspondence between two demons and their ideas on making their “patient,” a man, turn away from God.  Each letter presents a regular aspect of a person’s life and how easy it is to be tempted or falter, or how easy it is to stray from a good relationship and be distracted from the things that really matter in life.

The play was originally set to run only for three weeks, but it was so popular and has been selling out that it was extended to 11 weeks.  There are 10 of us that decided to go together, so we got a great group discount.  I definitely recommend the play.

Walk: After the show, the remaining group walked through Times Square and to the subway station. Something was definitely going on as there were at least 15 fire trucks in Times Square. Perhaps precautions were being taken after the scare early this morning?

We took the subway to 23rd and 5th and started walking along.  One friend in the group, an architect named Hans Roegele, had a key to Gramercy Park, so we were able to go in and walk around.  Gramercy Park is one of two private parks in New York City and you must have a key to enter the park and leave the park.  A membership can cost around 400 dollars a year and you can only get a key if you live in a building adjacent to the park.  We stayed there for about an hour, chatting and enjoying the beautiful evening.  What a perfect end to a perfect night.

Police in Leather

Walking through Times Square I couldn’t help but take a photo of these policemen clad in leather. For some reason the city seemed to be filled with police tonight – it seemed like there were hundreds of them on Broadway!

I played around with this photo in OnOne, using a Holga effect preset. I really think it turned out neat, and adds some movement to the photo. The B&W also shows off all the black leather the officers were wearing.

Not Gonna Jump

All over New York, there are 31 iron men in different positions.  Some are ready to jump behind the Flatiron building, some are just standing in random parks. Already, the NYPD has been called by people believing these art pieces are about to jump.  These life sized pieces were created by a British artist named Antony Gormley.

I took this photo of this man right in front of Madison Square Park.

Grieving with Poland

As we all know, a tragedy of large proportions occurred this past Saturday, where Polish President Lech Kaczynski, First Lady Maria Kaczynska and other top officials and clergy were killed in a plane crash in Russia. They were on their way to a ceremony commemorating the massacre of Katyn 70 years ago. Their blood was spilled on the site where thousands upon thousands of people were slaughtered in the past.

This week has been extremely emotional for all Polish people, whether in Poland or living in other countries. We are all grieving and mourning for this great loss.

Today, I went to the Polish Consulate in New York to write in the Book of Condolences and I had the chance to photograph our way of dealing with this painful situation. While I was there, the Consul General of Albania came, along with other people representing various nations. I saw people crying, bowing to the photograph of President Kaczynski and his wife and lighting candles.

Due to this horrible tragedy, Speaker of the Sejm, Bronislaw Komorowski, has declared the national mourning in Poland to be from April 10th through April 16th, 2010.

Please come to the Polish Consulate, located at 233 Madison Avenue (at 37th Street), NY, NY 10016. Currently, the hours for the book signing are as follow:

– Monday-Tuesday (April 12-13th) from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

– Wednesday (April 14th) from 12:00-6:00 PM

– Thursday and Friday (15-16th) from 2:00 to 6:00 PM

– Saturday and Sunday (April 17-18th) from 10:00 AM to 4:00PM

Good Friday Procession with the Franciscan Friars

Click either of these photos to see a slideshow from the Good Friday Procession.

Catholic Underground

When I first moved to New York City, I wondered if I could find a good Catholic community, just as I had in Chicago. Luckily, I found so many groups and ways to celebrate this side of me in this great city. The first Saturday of every month, I am always at Catholic Underground. I actually tend to schedule everything around going to it because I love it that much.  It gives me so much strength to meditate for that hour with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.  To look around and see a fully packed church with 600-700 young adults all praying, meditating before the Eucharist is one of the most incredible experiences I have had and get to have each time I go.

To give you a brief rundown, outside the church, you see a lot of monks, nuns, priests and young adults gathered around and chatting before the evening starts.  If you don’t know who the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are, there is a great article written about them in the New York Times entitled, Monks Who Play Punk.” After you enter Our Lady of Good Counsel (located on 90th between 2nd and 3rd), a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal gives you a booklet, filled with evening prayers or vespers.   At 7:30PM, the evening begins with hundreds of young adults chanting the prayers from the booklet, which are directly from the psalms in the Bible.

As one brother told me, “The psalms give you a way to communicate with God. They let you express every emotion you have–from joy to anger to love to any other emotion you have in your heart.”  Soon after, all the lights go out and candles light the altar, while a whole host of monks play music and an Irish monk sings and leads the way through the meditation hour. Every person I’ve talked to, who has experienced this form of prayer, has told me that it was surprise after surprise and a great emotional experience.

After the meditation portion is over, everyone goes outside and downstairs into the basement of the church to hear a musical group play. There are always people who want to go out afterward to grab something to eat or go sing karaoke.  No one comes away from Catholic Underground’s meditation without enjoying it immensely.  I highly, highly recommend this experience.

Shooting a Barn in New Jersey

Yesterday, I explored a neat part of New Jersey and took some shots of a barn.  Here’s an HDR image I made of this barn that’s pretty cool.

Page 5 of 6« First...23456