Savoring Summer Locally

My oh my, where has summer gone? It can’t be over this soon, can it blah blah blah? You’ve heard it enough. And you’re not going to hear it from me.


As a matter of fact, I had one of the best summers of my life, and summer’s end did not creep up on me unaware; I had made an intentional point of finding something special to savor every day.


I didn’t go on vacation. So much to do for Good People film launch, and summer holiday fund was depleted when one week of my T’s gymnastics camp turned into two. (Gymnastics is very expensive. Parents, be warned.) But no complaints. When you live in a summer destination point (in my case, the Berkshires) every day can feel like a vacation getaway if you put your mind to it.


And what delights did I find? I found things big and small. Let’s start with the big. Solid Sound at Mass MoCA. Beasts of the Southern Wild with Live Score (also at MoCA). Animal Crackers at WTF with my daughter.  Winslow Homer and Clark Remix. And listening to Tanglewood concerts on the radio. No real need to be in the shed or on the lawn. My living room is fine. I can lie back and swoon in privacy. Just knowing that Tanglewood is a mere 40-minute drive away feels familiar and good. Hugest Tanglewood highlight of the summer: Lang Lang playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Wow! I repeat: Wow!


Then there was the small stuff. Running in the woods accompanied by my dog Pippi. Standing on the fallen tree trunk that blocks the path so that I can adult-pretend to master the balance beam — a decidedly zen experience. And enjoying wild raspberries as I walk the brambled path to a silent dirt road.


And what would summer in New England be without its seasonal bounty?  Butter&sugar corn, yellow peaches, watermelon, summer squash, zucchini, cukes, and all things green and leafy. Too good to be true it seems. Breakfasts of Bola Granola, hemp milk and cut-up peaches, lunches of locally-made mozzarella cheese and locally-grown tomatoes and basil, casual summery dinners of burgers topped with farm freshness partnered with multiple ears of corn-on-the cob (butter and salt optional – corn from Chenail’s Farm needs neither).


Loved it local at my summer destination point. Ah, my Berkshires, my summer-wonderful home.



My sammich

Seeking a Snail’s Pace

delicious discovery

delicious discovery

Ah, the humidity. So thick that the clouds burst in the late afternoon, yet fail to wash away the dirt and grime of the day. Hardly a refreshing pause, and because the rains are momentarily torrential, if you are not luckily located, you will get drenched, as I did today when forced out of a cab. Would that I felt that I could let the meter keep running…

I had hoped to step out into the golden late-afternoon sun to steal a few minutes for a quiet walk around the block before I ran off to my next appointment. Instead I ran for cover –unsuccessfully. I was soaked. Had to run back to my very part-time apartment, and make a quick change into dry clothes.

It never fails these days. I lose my cherished foraging mojo when I come to New York. I am forced to abide by the rules of New York time, and I plunge into into the speedy flow of a booked schedule in Manhattan with time just not on my side. Notice that I don’t say Brooklyn. In Brooklyn I can forage. Not so Manhattan.

I used to love living like this. You have to keep moving if you’re going to get where you need to go. Then when you get there, there’s no time to lose. Get down to business. Get going. Keep going. Move on. Next.

I still thrive on this. But not full-time. There’s a reason I moved to a small town in Massachusetts. I do like the slower pace. And, yes, to raise my kid in the fresh air. Maybe not the better choice, as many friends’ kids are flourishing as metropolitan sophisticates. Also, we have been priced out. I don’t want to think what I paid for my last apartment in the city back in the late 90′s. What can I expect in this new New York, this borough of 21st-Century One-Percenters? A return to Manhattan? Not gonna happen.

Last NYC apt.

Last NYC apt.

But there’s no time to stew over this. You stay or you go. Lately I’ve been wondering if it makes sense to locate to the scene of an amazing story, enroll T in a local school, and just hang out for a couple of years and film, film, film. I think of fillmmaker Danielle Beverly. I recently saw her at a Women Make Movies pitch workshop. She made a dynamic quick pitch to Jenny Raskin of Impact Partners. Danielle, this incredible documentarian, uprooted herself a few years ago, and moved lock stock and barrel to Georgia to live with and film  the residents of a changing neighborhood whose last African-American holdout faces her not-so-friendly new neighbors, members of a confederate-flag-waving college frat house. It promises to be a compelling film. Hope Impact joins forces with DB.

On the same trip, I visited my dear friends at Final Frame to add epilog text to my film. When I took a lunch break, I did not head to my usual lunch spot on 7th and 22nd. I had to head east and deliver a tip to my dedicated color genius on Fifth and 22nd. I’d had “color refreshment” done there the day before, and had no cash to properly acknowledge her deft handling of my tricky root system, and, of course, I’d had zero time to run to an ATM machine.

Right across the street from Marie’s, what did I spy? The Cinnamon Snail, which is quite possibly the best food truck I’ve ever encountered. At first I thought I’d have to give it a pass. The line was long, and I had to get back to FF as I was leaving for Mass. that afternoon. No time to waste. No time to dawdle. But Cinnamon Snail has taken care of that for me and for all their time-tight patrons. Everything is made to order, of course, but they’ve got it dooown. Soon enough I left with my delectable treasure: Maple mustard tempeh on grilled millet flax bread with roasted garlic aioli, kale, tomato and onion.  Mmmmm.

My sammich

My sammich

Who tended the garden? Who baked the bread? Who mixed the aioli and the mustard sauce? Who weighed and measured the bags of flour and seed that went into the baking?   Thank you, kind folks of The Cinnamon Snail. You did it. You make us busy  concrete-pounding, earth-loving, organically-inclined wanderers soooo happy!

Cinnamon Snail's friendly funsters

Cinnamon Snail’s friendly funsters






Why am I starting this blog? It’s simple. I need a(nother) break.


where I often walk

where I often walk

We need those workday breaks, right? My daily grind consists of hours spent primarily in front of my laptop (you too?). There are the never-ending rounds of emailing — whether I’m soliciting, explaining, responding, negotiating, begging and borrowing, or accepting (rejection). Or whether I’m  following the model of an ever-expanding universe to do the required research to make a documentary film, I wind up bleary-eyed and lightheaded. Yes, it’s all part of the daily routine.

I only allow a certain amount of low-blood-sugar dizziness and malaise to set in. I struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome for a decade, so I listen to my mind/body.

I eat something nutritious, of course. A typical lunch is a hummus or egg-salad wrap from Wild Oats swallowed down with L-theanine-rich iced green tea or my own raw fruit/veggie blasts. Required equipment: NutriBullet — This was an infomercial that lived up to the hype. Recipe: Layer kale, spinach, banana, apple, lemon, flax or sunflower seeds in a pint container. Add a bit of raw honey or agave to sweeten if you wish. Whip into a frenzy and drink!

At some point in the day, I will take time for inner balance: mental and physical.

My mind/body breaks always feel like more work at first. They only become pleasant once a few endorphins become active or serotonin levels increase. I take rigorous walks or runs in the woods with my dog. Now that summer is upon us, I’ll also be riding the local hills on my bike. When the weather is just too foul, I do yoga with a Rodney Yee dvd. Better not to stray too far from my laptop.



Of course, I take a few minutes to check Facebook and Twitter. I usually like a few posts. Often enough I add a quick comment to a friend’s post. Must also take time to sign petitions and support friends’ causes. Right? Please do so whether you’re signing a petition to advocate for the removal of all corporate lobbyists from Washington or visiting Kickstarter or Indiegogo to support a friend’s crowdfunding campaign with a few dollars. Please do it. Take a break and take the time.

How about kid breaks? Coming home from school breaks?

My daughter has a pretty crazy after-school schedule. Four days a week she races off to a 3-hour gymnastics practice. She gets off the school bus at 3:20, and must do homework and eat dinner before 4:45. One note: She has a severely limited palate and claims that she is a vegetarian, though she doesn’t seem to like vegetables. I watch her eat peas one by one to ensure that she receives sustenance beyond the adored pasta diet. And I also sneak in my word-game break: Words with Friends, Scramble with Friends. And when she’s really just too painfully slow with her veggies, I make a desperate move: I play Letter by Letter. By the way, if you want to play me on any of these games, my moniker is bolacherries.

My kid heads off to gymnastics. I can concentrate again. Excuse me, a query about my film just popped up on the screen. Must answer pronto. Oh, and that hum from my iPhone. Need to check that text. Who wants what now? Can’t go too far for too long.