Another Vacation One Sentence and one Image

  When going to a baby shower for a boy, have a proper love for pink.

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Vacation Art Inspiration: Mud and Glitter!

My 17 day vacation officially ended yesterday afternoon when I returned to NYC and went back to work to see evening patients…

It was a great vacation, again like last year, at the same place, the froggy pond cabin in upstate NY near Cuba, NY, spending time in the woods, far from the city, watching frogs and crayfish and other beings on the pond, making fires at night, making art by myself and with my five year old, reading and venturing out on a few different kinds of adventures, including for the first time, blueberry picking, which I found to be quite addictive. Once you start picking you can’t stop!

Anyway, last year, my post vacation post was about death and necklaces. This year I made sure to avoid books too close to my work, although I read most of a memoir on insomnia, called “Wide Awake” and another memoir in graphic novel form. I also read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with my daughter which was great fun and quite inspirational.

This year I did not do much jewelry making although I brought my beads and bought a lot of new beads. I did use beads in my art though. Every year we make expeditions to Joanne’s Fabric, a great craft supply store that I only go to online when at home, so it is lots of fun to explore what they have in the store. Also there is an amazing Dollar Tree Store next to JoAnnes that has pretty cool art supplies for a dollar. It really is a dollar store and everything is a dollar! This year’s discovery was fine glitter. I never even knew “fine” glitter existed. At the dollar store it comes in little bags; for a dollar you get several colors in tiny bags. We also got regular glitter in all colors there and some other fun cheap art supplies, and splurged at JoAnnes on the more than one dollar things there. JoAnnes is one of the few stores that has really great glitter paper which I discovered last year and got more of, but fine glitter is a level of fun I was very excited to discover with my daughter. It comes out like sugar out of a packet.

The other surprising material was mud! It rained off and on while we were there, more than usual, but not that much that it ruined our vacation. Some enjoyable summer storms and showers in between sunny days. The ground around the cabin was super muddy at all times as it did not dry much between rains. At some point over half way through the vacation after a short walk up the hill to look at strange new mushrooms and collect rocks, I realized I could take mud and smear it on canvases and then add glue and gravel, pebbles, and twigs. Then to top it off, I poured glitter, small beads on the muddy canvas and also glued rhinestones and mosaic tiles to it. It was fun mixing natural materials with the opposite: glitter especially!

The other cool art project that was not my idea involved collecting “clay”, meaning digging a hole in the mud to get to the more clay like mud and then using it to make ceramic pieces to “fire” in the fire pit. What a crazy idea! But it worked. I made two pieces, a bowl and a sculpture, both with mosaic tile in them, fired them in the fire by placing them deep in the fire pit where they would get the most heat all night over night. Then next morning you get to search through the ash to find your “pot”!

Of course, I added glitter to my ceramic pieces. What a much less expensive and complicated process to fire real mud clay from the ground without a kiln!
Below are several images of the canvas pieces mixed media described above, the ceramic pieces, and a heart box made with my daughter on our last night there, painted and then drenched all over in all kinds of glitter!

Tonight I made something in my studio that was inspired by my vacation art. I will post it in another post… Enjoy!

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Probably Last Post Before Vacation! Should Be About Vacation!

What to say about vacation this year that I did not already cover about a year ago?

I am following my new rule about taking at least 14 days off. I will be away from the afternoon of Friday, July 12 through the afternoon of Monday, July 29, which turns out to be actually 17 days if you count the two half days at beginning and end as one day, so I am pleasantly surprised as I thought this year I could only miss two weeks of work. Essentially I will miss the two weeks and maybe a few more hours total.

Why care about missing days? For one, Money! Money, as I have blogged about it before, is quite important, especially when planning a vacation. First of all, I don’t get paid vacation days or sick days, so every day off is a day I am not making any money. In addition, vacations always cost money. This year, like last year, there are no expensive plane flights, just car rental and gas costs. Staying in a friend’s cabin upstate means no extra hotel costs, so it is a pretty low budget great vacation. Those of you that enjoy camping and being outdoors in the middle of nowhere would appreciate my choice of going again to the Froggy Pond Cabin in upstate NY near Cuba, NY which is close to the bigger town of Olean, NY. Another reason to care about days I will be on vacation is really just that I discovered the hard way that one week is not enough for me. It takes me a while to get used to being away from the noisy energetic city and adjust to the relative peaceful, calm and silent aspects of the woods. Then coming back involves transitioning back to civilization, so usually there is a visit at the end to old friends in Ithaca, which is a small town but not in the woods in the middle of nowhere!

Some of the great things about taking this same vacation for the third (I think it’s three, might be more) year in a row is that I get the same benefits at a low cost: being in nature, away from the city, for the most part away from the internet though I check emails from time to time, but it’s really a vacation from the annoying distractions of TV and internet, then the frogs again. Going there in end of July is a perfect time to hear the frogs wonderful chorus, especially at night! Plenty of time for art making out doors and making art on vacation is different from making art in NYC. This year wanting to pack light, I will not bring a ton of materials but will have the fun of shopping at JoAnne’s, which is really fun, as usually I get things from there online. There is a Joannes in Staten Island but I have no idea how to get there. Plus shopping on vacation is more fun anyway. There are cool dollar stores with odd kinds of things and surprises, plus JoAnnes which has a lot of crafts materials, and once in a while some random shopping mall has cool outlets to check out. There is also some planting to do, so going and buying soil and flowers and stuff like that is fun and different.

Each year we try to think of new things to do. Last year we went to a drive in movie, which I think was the first one I’ve ever been to! So we will do that again. Maybe some berry picking and hiking. For me always there is reading as I love reading but seldom have time to really read a whole book. This year I am being strict with myself, no books related to my work, so I will bring some kind of book of poetry, one or two graphic novels and maybe a memoir…

Ok. I’m off to a movie, so I will actually post again before vacation! as I haven’t finished with my thoughts on vacation…

Death and Neckaces

Ok. I started a very long post a few days ago and it got erased!  Then I spent a lot of time finishing the post and part of that got erased! Major frustration!!! I’m feeling blog post guilt for not posting in so long!

I thought of calling this post “Death or Necklaces”, but, as is the way of blog writing, I know there will turn out to be some connection between the two topics. Already they are connected, as the main topics related to art therapy and psychology that came up while I was on vacation in the woods upstate.

On my vacation, I brought only several books with me all of which were related to therapy; luckily I was reading “Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass” out loud to my daughter every night to offset the fact that I didn’t bring any “vacation” books, such as novels. (Note: good rule for next vacation and for other therapists, only bring books unrelated to our profession when going on vacation or staycation.) The main book that had a huge effect on me was Yalom’s “Staring at The Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death”. I started reading it the first night and couldn’t stop myself from reading it every night, until about page 248, when I had to stop, as it had become too overwhelming. I think this happened somewhere in the middle of vacation. I found myself thinking too much about death, dying, death anxiety, and loss. I know the book brought me to the point of tears, but oddly I can’t remember what it was that I was reading in it that did that. I’m also not sure what I was reading about when I put the book down. I had already read his chapter about his own experiences with death and death anxiety…

Oddly enough, a long vacation already has an element of loss and awareness of how the present slips into the past and how the future is limited, as the “longer than a week” vacation has a beginning, middle and end. Having about 18 days away afforded me the kind of reflection about the vacation itself that was due to its length and my being hyper aware of the vacation’s having an end date, the “death” or “expiration date” of the vacation… For, in contrast, with a short week’s vacation, one barely has time to get used to it before it is over. So this book topic oddly resonated with my having my first long vacation as a therapist, and as an adult actually, as I never before took such a long vacation,at least in the past 15 or 20 years…

I spent most of that time in the woods with my family, on a small pond populated mostly by frogs and a few crayfish. The frogs were a highlight of our stay at our friends’ “Froggy Pond Cabin”. A daily activity involved going out in the paddle boat and spotting frogs. As they are well camouflaged both day and night, it was very exciting to find a frog at the edge of the pond, and then just sitting and watching a frog, as, surprisingly, many of them sit quietly in the same place not moving at all, even hearing us talk to them and about them or at night shining a flashlight on them. Each evening as the sun set, the place was filled with a chorus of frogs croaking, calling to each other. At times I could also hear frogs in some other nearby pond. Their voices were wondrous and strangely had no connection whatsoever to the “ribbit” frog talk in the English language. (At least “moo” is a close enough approximation to a cow’s real sound!)

I mention the frogs to start the topic of being far away from the city in nature and strangely, very close to death all around us. The first night we were there I was not that surprised to find the corpses of 2 dead mice in the house, which had decayed to such a point that their skeletons were viewable. Last year, staying at the same place, I had found a mouse newly dead and seen some live mice, so I was very aware that I would likely encounter a dead mouse. I have seen many dead mice in my lifetime but nothing like these two. They looked like they could soon become fossils. Somehow the extra time of their being dead, the idea that they had died long before we got there, to discover them like that was very strange and the eerie feeling it brought up stayed with me as the vacation continued. They were under a bed, and I developed an irrational fear of seeing them again, as well as guilt at the edge of my mind that I wanted to clean up this mess, but couldn’t bring myself to do it as they seemed enmeshed with the carpet. There was something very spooky about accidentally spotting them with my flashlight at bedtime with my daughter, who may have even asked to look at them. It was also strange as Alice in Wonderland encounters a live talking mouse soon after arriving at the bottom of the rabbit hole. The aliveness of the creatures in that book was even more interesting as we encountered some out in real life, both alive and dead. We saw live moving caterpillars and dead ones, all sorts of spiders, mostly alive, and many other insects including some creepy variety I was unable to recognize, as well as one dead frog found at the end of vacation, which was saddest of all, as we had become so friendly with the frogs.

I go on about dead animals as well as live ones and fictional talking ones because dead creatures of other species are all around us, and usually we remain unaware of them. Of course every time you enter a supermarket, no matter what you eat, there are dead animals there… The first night when I began the book with his introduction to the concept of death anxiety, I had a premonition that I would have a dream about death, and I did.

I dreamed about having a dog that was only 2 and dying of cancer. I was talking to the vet who was telling me it was over and I had a hard time believing her because the dog was so young. The dog was the same kind of unusual dog my close friend had and recently lost in a very traumatic sudden manner a few weeks prior. Also, in the dream, my own dog, who died in 2009, was there in the background, a kind of ghostly presence. It was a very sad and emotional dream and very vivid.  The dream resonated on many levels. The obvious one was that it was about a recent loss my friend experienced that touched me, and about my own loss of my dog. What did not occur to me until now while writing about it is the idea of the dream being about my own death anxiety, if I look a little deeper or apply the idea that everyone in the dream is me. Perhaps I was telling myself to live as though I had very little time to live. A few days later, when I told my daughter about the dream because she was curious, I was struck by her saying, “Oh you had that dream because you are do sad about Claude (my friend’s dog who died suddenly and traumatically), and you think about it a lot.” She was right in terms of the vivid urgency of the dream and seemed more aware than I about the effect of Claude’s death upon me. Her short life experience of death is of my own dog’s death, so she senses a lot about my own sensitivity to dogs. She remembers him and learned a lot about death because of it. My own experiences of death that I remember, besides having turtles and a hamster, happened when I was much older and lost my first beloved grandmother at about age 13, though I am sure I thought a lot about how strange death is and what happens when you die, and other typical childhood wonders about being put in a box in the ground, etc. Being a native New Yorker, I have more vivid memories about my concern with garbage and where it is dumped. (Recycling did not exist.) I remember spending a lot of time being freaked out by the idea that there is a limit to the space on earth, and how do we manage to keep generating garbage, where does it go, and why does it not overpower us because of the constant continuance of it. What will we do when we have no more room to put the garbage? I think this coincided with my wondering about dead bodies accumulating and a limited amount of space for them. It still bewilders me that at some point there will be no more space for cemeteries…

What struck me about this book was the author’s philosophical approach to death and death anxiety. He is a therapist, but quoted a lot of philosophies to his patients and discussed philosophers and philosophy a lot in the book, as they deal a lot with the subject of death and human existence. Questions arose about what makes a life meaningful, how do we deal with the fact that many years from now even our most famous authors and philosophers may not survive? Our art will likely be eventually destroyed, millions of years from now, so even the idea of living on through what we make is ultimately an illusion and delusion. The only thing that can save us from the anxiety of nothingness and not being or even being remembered is his idea of the concept of “rippling” like water in a pond, our effects upon others in our relationships, whether as friend or mentor, that is, to, in life, have a meaningful effect upon others. I agree with Yalom that when we die we cease to exist. That’s it. Concepts of reincarnation or after life are just false comforts for death anxiety. To really deal with our death anxiety we have to face our mortality and accept that we will disappear completely. Although unlike Yalom, I believe in synchronicity and unconscious connections and sometimes maybe in some idea of fate or that things happen for a reason, ultimately I have to agree that death just happens and that’s that. There is no explanation for babies and children dying. Or our pets dying too young or dying at all. It doesn’t happen for a reason. The only way to deal with the fact of death and our own mortality is to live as much as possible in the present moment. It’s why we are drawn to dogs, cats and children. They bring us into the present moment so we can indeed be here now. Sex functions the same way. I have seen countless movies where people seem to be inexplicably drawn to having sex after a funeral, for the obvious reason that it is a way to move away from thinking about dying and that our lives will end like blowing out a candle.

“Staring at the Sun”, Yalom calls this book because we really can’t do it for too long, or we get blinded. We need to be aware of our own anxiety about our own death, but we can’t be too preoccupied with it, or we will cease to live. The only unanswered questions I felt he did not address were about suicide and suicide fantasies. Those people who fly straight into the sun and have their wings melted, what about them, the people who deal with death anxiety by trying to control death and take their own lives? He does not grapple with that subject, though he has plenty to say about his experiences of working with people who know their time is limited and that they will die soon, and how much he has learned from these very awake people. I was also just curious about other aspects of suicidal ideation, such as people who fantasize about being dead and at peace as well as the phenomenon of a person failing at a suicide and reporting that in the middle of it, s/he changed his/her mind about it. Did  death anxiety save such a person, or the desire to have more life? Probably these two ideas are tied together.

We all fantasize about peeking in at our own funerals. What would people be saying about me? we think. Another useful fantasy is to imagine that you are told you have a month or a week left to live. What would you do differently? If your answers look very different from your life right now, you know you have urgent work to do in therapy and in your life. If your answers are close to your present life, you are living more fully, but there are always changes to make and ways to awaken yourself more now here while you are still breathing. In my family we have a goodbye ritual when any of us are leaving the house, that, though a quick one, serves as a way to ensure that even if tension was in the air about something, we know we acknowledged our bond before the possibility of ultimate separation. As I not only live in NYC but close to Ground Zero, I am hyper aware of the concept of leaving the house or someone else leaving and never seeing each other again…

Bringing me to the topic of necklaces… On my vacation I made a lot of art with and without my 4 year old, so my art was very influenced by the materials we used as is usual. The one different thing for me was a sudden desire to use beads and make necklaces. It probably started before vacation when I took my daughter to Beads of Paradise in New York City, and we picked out beads and made necklaces. I had thought of it as a fun activity to do wuth her, but when I got home, I hunted out my beads that I bought years ago on a trip to new Mexico and made another necklace. It was then that I had that “aha” moment when you do something without thinking about it, and suddenly you really like it. So on vacation I brought those beads with me and got obsessed with not only making necklaces but getting more beads and sorting the beads by color and starting a kind of collection of beads. It became my alone meditative time at the cabin because my daughter did not show interest in beading.

Sitting outside and putting beads on a string was a discovery similar to my discovery of knitting many years ago. I didn’t take jewelry making of any kind or beads too seriously when I started learning about art therapy. I had the usual bias that somehow it wasn’t as creative as drawing, painting, sculpture and collage. That bias disappeared over the years as I witnessed the therapeutic effect of working with beads and other media traditionally thought of as “crafts” rather than “art”.

In any case, I had a few stray thoughts about beading as a process and what makes it so enjoyable and therapeutic. For one thing, it is like origami in that it is shown in the moment. While origami can be a performance akin to a magic trick, the necklace is also “finished” and has a definite end point. Wearing your own art can be empowering, and I’m sure it’s a part of what inspires people to become jewelry designers. Making a necklace out of colored beads also has the feeling of taking part in folk art and traditionally thought of as “woman” folk art activities such as quilting. The necklace, like the vacation and the life span, has a beginning, middle and end. I was making long necklaces so the middle became the focal point where I had the most fun picking out the extender and the special beads to put on it, and then continuing up the other side, carefully trying to copy whatever pattern I had invented for the first half of the necklace. (Note: this is where my writing got erased, so I’m not sure I remember everything I said on this topic…

For some reason, making these necklaces (see below for some photos of some of the ones I made), reminded me of the three fates in Greek Mythology. Definitely one of them is spinning something that has an end to it and is meant to represent the individual’s fate, life span, etc. Interestingly, the three fates are older unattractive women:

The Moirai were described as ugly old women, sometimes lame. They were severe, inflexible and stern. Clotho carries a spindle or a roll (the book of fate), Lachesis a staff with which she points to the horoscope on a globe, and Atropos (Aisa) a scroll, a wax tablet, a sundial, a pair of scales, or a cutting instrument. At other times the three were shown with staffs or sceptres, the symbols of dominion, and sometimes even with crowns. At the birth of each man they appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life. (Quote lifted from Wikipedia.)

Besides the meditative quality of the repetitious action of beading, there is the linear quality to it, with one following another. When I made mistakes I had to take out all the beads up to the mistake and start again. Of course now I think I had some profound thoughts connecting death awareness to necklace making, and I have no idea what they were… Another interesting point Yalom makes in his book is that we often live with a false presumption of immortality or of death always being far into the future. He uses the example of starting to write a book with the assumption that one will be alive to finish it. I would even venture to say that some procrastination connected to writing or finishing a written work may be related to an underlying death anxiety. Anyway, making these necklaces is not quite the same process as they do not take so long to make. Another interesting point is the accidental dropping of beads and sudden loss of a pattern.

Ultimately there are many connections between actual death, death anxiety, separation and loss, hyperconciousness, forgetting the fact of one’s own death, the living dead, etc. One thing that struck me as sad is the difference between a memory, which in some ways represents a lost moment in the past, that one can never have back, and the gaps in memory of one’s own life story; for some reason, I get sadder at the idea that so much of my life involves moments and episodes of living that I have no memory of. Having a dim memory or an awareness that the memory may not be factual is not quite as bad as the “blackout” of moments of life. However, memory and time could be a whole topic on their own…

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Pre Vacation Blog Post Topic: Vacations!

As a human being, one needs to get away from one’s daily life, no matter how fulfilling and happy it is, or how stressful and difficult it is, and recharge one’s batteries. One of the most important things my supervisor/teacher ever said was, “As a therapist, you need to take vacations, and make them long enough so you don’t burn out.” As actions speak louder than words, he also always took the summer off, granted, part of it involved him teaching in other places and travelling to Europe to work and teach workshops, but a good chunk of it involved going somewhere with his family and making a lot of his own art.

So as a supervisor myself, I am now modeling to my supervisees how important it is to take a good long enough vacation. (And of course modeling the same thing to my patients, but as a supervisee of other therapists, I have the unique opportunity of giving them the same anti-burnout message that my supervisor gives me annually.)

One of the most important facts about taking a vacation is knowing the difference between visiting versus having a real vacation, whether you go somewhere far, near, or right here. A staycation is adequate if you absolutely cannot afford to go anywhere. However, when you take a staycation, it’s a good idea to act like you went away. Check your emails and social media at most once a day at the beginning of the day so the rest of the day is internet free. Try taking a vacation from TV and Netflix. If you want to watch a movie, go to a movie theater, or better yet, if you live in NYC, go to one of those outdoor movie nights they now have here in various neighborhoods or to a drive in movie, or to theater outdoors. Take a picnic to the park. Go on outings without your cellphone or with your cellphone turned off. Catch up on all the cultural events and shows that everyone thinks you go to all the time because you live in NYC, the capital of museums, theater, etc. but of course when you are working, you are too busy or tired to catch up on culture. Take the ferry to Governor’s Island and rent a bicycle for a day or half day. Go to the beach. In short, do vacation-like things that you can actually do right here in NYC. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and go to the far ends of boroughs or areas of NYC you are not familiar with. Never been to Coney Island? Get your towel and an umbrella and spend a day out there on the beach. The water is cold but clean; I just went there this past weekend! There is something very vacation like about taking the subway to the very last subway stop on one of the subway lines, and my favorite last subway stop in New York is the Coney Island stop. So those are some basic rules or tips about having a “Staycation” that feels really good and relaxing.

Another big vacation tip: Going to weddings or family reunions or other similar events outside of the city in which you live absolutely does not constitute a vacation. Ditto visiting any family members, no matter how close you are to them, unless they lives somewhere exotic, and you are primarily going there to have your vacation in that location and stay with them for convenience sake. Sounds cold, but visiting family, at least 80% of the time, just is not the same thing as taking a real vacation. Indeed, many people report that visiting family members helped them realize that they needed a vacation upon their return!

Contrary to what some of our patients think, (ie. It’s August in NYC, doesn’t that mean all the therapists are away for vacation?), therapists often have a great deal of difficulty taking a vacation, even though it is great to model for one’s patients and supervisees that vacations are essential to being a good therapist and avoiding burn out. Often we are in jobs that only give us a few weeks of paid vacation a year. If we are in private practice, it is often a hardship to take an unpaid vacation as one loses that income and still has all the same bills to pay, plus extra vacation expenses.

I admit that for many years, I have avoided vacations and used my dog as an excuse, as it was hard to find anyone with whom to leave an old dog with various medical issues, daily medication and lots of other complicated requirements. Eventually towards the last year of his life, I was able to leave him with trusted relatives with several pages of instructions around how to take care of him, and even take him with me on vacations that involved driving to destinations. By then I had gone many years without taking any real vacation. Last year, over the summer, I took one week of vacation to go to a lovely cabin in the woods upstate. At present, this is the ideal vacation for me: to go somewhere where the auditory stimulation consists of frogs croaking and other nature sounds, and the visual stimulation in the environment involves seeing the sky with only trees in the way, and nightly staring for several hours at a big lovely crackling fire. Basically, as a native New Yorker, my current requirements for a real vacation involve getting away from urban life altogether and being somewhere in nature without much to do besides the basics. That constitutes a real vacation for me, and I confess, it usually takes a few days for me to settle into vacation mode and relax. Last year, I learned that one week away was definitely not enough, so this year we are going away from June 28th until July 16th late afternoon. That is 18 days! A big first for me. I don’t think I have taken such a long vacation since I was in college! It results in about two weeks or so of lost income, but of course it is worth it. And it is very timely, as I notice in little ways that I really need a vacation… I won’t go into details, but about at least a week ago, I started counting down the days until vacation with my young daughter.

It’s never too late to have a more healthy attitude about vacations, as my example proves. (ie. It is not ok to skip a vacation; one must plan at least one vacation per year, ideally at least two weeks long, but at least one week if you absolutley cannot afford more than that.) I am planning to do what we did last summer for one week, but just have so much more time to do it, and more time away from everything else in my life!

Also a small note to all creative arts therapists out there: I think a vacation also involves bringing your art supplies or musical instruments or whatever you need to feed your creative self. As an artist, I try to do some form of art making daily, but life sometimes gets in the way. A vacation for me always means pack a lot of art materials, more than you expect to use, so you have lots of choices of media. It’s the perfect opportunity to do whatever you want and straying from your current series of work or media is a great thing to try to do…

A vacation is a time to recharge one’s batteries, spend time with people one lives with and loves, or if you go alone, a time for enjoyment of solitude and even adventure. Having a family, I know the vacation will be good for me to have time to really appreciate my family and not have the usual daily routine and time away working, etc. What would I rather do right now than, for example, set up a table in the backyard near the pond with lots of fun art supplies and make fun art projects with my four year old? And make fun projects of my own alongside her, as that was also what we did last year, and I definitely believe that there is no substitute for making your own personal art. Making art with other vacation companions is just icing on the cake. Even when she was only three, I modeled for her that we could do art together but she could also have her own canvas to do whatever she wanted on it and so could I.

Or all go together on the paddle boat on the small pond to watch very small frogs. You need to stop the boat and look really hard as the frogs can recede into the green grass, reeds, but once you get adjusted you can see them as well as the odd crayfish. Or watch my daughter tend to the garden she planted last year by the pond and add more flowers and plants to it… And of course, the fire watching and star and moon and sky gazing. A great big dose of nature, quiet, peacefulness, away from all the noise, stimulation and crazy energy of New York City.

It will be interesting to see how it is to stay an extra ten days or so. I’m assuming when I come back, I will not feel that dissatisfaction of having had just too short a vacation, the “I just got used to being there and relaxing and suddenly had to come back,” feeling. And when I come back, I can take with me the vacation feeling and apply it to my life over the summer, so that I go to the beach on Coney Island or somewhere nearby at least once a week and find other fun inexpensive ways to remind myself that the summer is not over just because it is July 16 and I am back in downtown NYC. Another important lesson learned from taking a good and long enough vacation. Year round, it is important to get that same feeling in smaller doses, and contrary to popular belief, New York City, including all boroughs, has a lot of vacation stuff to offer for day trips etc.!!!

So goodbye until I return. I imagine I will not post on this blog during my vacation, as I am not even sure how much internet access I will have, and maybe a vacation from blogging is a good idea. I may still write ideas for this blog and posts that I can work on when I come back. I trust all my old and new readers will still be there mid-July when I return to my life as an art therapist and artist and New Yorker!