Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 Year End Reflections

Best – light and blessings:
Happy Happy Joy Joy
News from Alison, Ian and Mariel
Prompted by the year end family summaries of several friends, I will attempt my first-time ever family newsletter. This one, admittedly, has not been reviewed, edited, or contributed to by my children. Hey kids, please pardon me.

Yes this holiday time is supposed to be a time of reflection and appreciation. (And of course being Jewish, I had some time for that during Rosh Hashanah- the Jewish New Year in September, along with repentance and asking for forgiveness.)

Yet there is room for more. So I will share some reflections and appreciations without the repentance piece… although I will happily accept any forgiveness for any distress I may have caused over the year, and let my sins be whitewashed away by new fallen snow.

2009 began with an intense focus on performance and completion of college applications and financial aid forms for Mariel. There was the Amherst Regional High Cabaret, and rehearsals for the March musical AIDA, where Mariel played a leading role. There also were rehearsals for the March Amherst Ballet production at UMASS Bowker hall.

Mariel was featured in a modern piece, and got to put out her pizzazz and demonstrate her social dance skills in a Latin/salsa number. Mom got to finally realize a choreographic idea that was germinated about 30 years earlier - a modern dance piece based on the Five Element Theory. It evolved through collaboration with a musician, John Cooper, and her boyfriend Carlos who developed a video collage of relevant images as a prelude. I worked both from improvisation and set movement sequences with five talented young dancers from Amherst Ballet and the piece opened the spring repertoire performances.

Meanwhile Ian was hard at work at Savannah College of Art and Design doing photography and also expanding his knowledge and experience of art history, design, performance installations, and blogging.

He also continued to submit to various magazines and win recognition and awards such as
2008 - Adobe Design Achievement Awards, Digital Photography
2008 - Four Honorable Mentions, Fine Art Portrait Series, Px3 Awards, Paris
2008 - Myshot 08, 3rd Place Greeting Card, Honorable Mention Calendar Design
2008 - CMYK Magazine Contest 40
2008 - Finalist, Best of College Photography

In the summer he attended The Adobe Design Achievement Award Ceremony in NYC as one of 3 finalists, and also worked on some book project such as his Israel by Land- with photos taken from his Summer 2007 Birthright trip.

Besides that he established a home residence with Beth and other housemates in Savannah near Forsythe Park and entered his senior year at SCAD. Oh My. Ian also managed some more scholarship aid, and pledged to try to establish more work to pay for his ongoing projects. He continued to be active through the fall with blogging and following and commenting on the Presidential election. YEAH Obama- change and hope!?

Meanwhile Mariel made her decision to attend Ithaca College in the Exploratory Program with a strong focus and interest in Psychology and Media. She received a scholarship and some substantial grant and loan aid. Marie had hoped to enter Park School of Communications, and may yet, as in her final year at ARHS she was also active taking and assisting in video production classes, and demonstrated a talent for video/film direction and editing. She also produced a documentary of and for Amherst Ballet.

In the summer Mariel prepared for her big transition while Mom escaped for a bit to Guatemala and Belize with Carlos. Reflections on that experience and photos can be read/seen here.

The truth was, that after such a busy and intense year (years), Mom was ready for rest. (years of it?) And the ‘vacation’ wasn't really all that restful. With a bit of anxiety around the upcoming major transition on the home front, and with the trying to absorb and take in the cultural differences, the trip was bit challenging. Also returning to the reality and economic upheavals of the fall have left Mom, me, with many emotions and issues to deal with.

So while Ian and Mariel continue to forge on with their lives away from home, I am facing, like many of us, the empty nest, and also emptier pocket to deal with it all. And while opportunities should truly be opening to consider the new use of my time, somehow I have found it very full just with work, an ongoing relationship, home, car, and health issues, (and yes some worry).

Of course I have been grateful for the companionship and ability to work out at the gym some, do yoga, and even dance here and there and. have been looking forward to more time to Tango- and salsa. I have been grateful for the spiritual guidance from Carlos, friends, colleagues, classes, books, and films. The stories shared and told do provide solace and some wisdom to draw upon on dark days.

I am also grateful that my folks, Ruth and Abe, are still hanging in at 89, although enjoying a bit more limited range of movement, and are mostly centered around their apartment in the Bronx. And I was grateful to see my sister-Steph and nephew-Gabe there this fall, along with my Aunt and Uncle, when we visited in their home. Before that we were blessed with a visit from the whole family, along with Carlos’s, at Mariel’s graduation. (Even Ian and Beth surprised us by secretly showing up for this June event)

And now I have been blessed with a holiday - in time for Hanukkah, visit from Ian and Mariel. Mariel made it back from Ithaca to enjoy a Puerto Rican Paranda celebration at a friend’s house where electricity was finally restored after almost weeklong power outage from ice storms. And I was truly impressed that Ian managed to drive over 10 hours to Pittsburgh with Beth, then fly the next day via Detroit to Bradley airport, 6 or so more hours, and then have his dad Rich fortunately pick him up and drive through snow and ice back to Amherst (5-6 hours of his time too) to make it in time for a Hanukkah dinner on Sunday….and dental appointments this week! Phew. Mom has truly forgotten what it is like to have the time and energy and willingness to travel for that length of time to be with family (or make medical appointments).

Of course then he and Mariel proceeded to be super-tired, sick, and need lots of sleep. And now I too have succumbed to a cold. Ah well. Such is holiday season. I think Santa will bypass our home and let me sleep in tomorrow!

Anyway here we are- not sure about everyone’s New Years resolutions, but know we are still working on resolving family relationships, and hoping for better times for us, our friends, our country, and the world.

Mom has hopes around writing more, in fact has joined a women’s writing group around midlife issues (while feeling at times already fast approaching the ‘elder’ category. We will discover whether Mariel wants to, and we can afford for her, to stay at Ithaca College (and perhaps what she will major in). We will cheer Ian on through his last quarters at SCAD and look forward to attending and enjoying his graduation. We will hope for good health for the grandparents and all those who are suffering. and hopefully we will continue to dance- for as Snoopy would say ’To Dance is to Live’ , Yet whether or not we (or you) dance - let’s live and let live.

Alison (Mom ) and Ian and Mariel.

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