Farewell teacher and friend.

Floral Tribute, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln

Radio silence. A whole week of radio silence…and I apologize.

I have been trying to sort our where the chaos has come from and why I cannot find the glimmers of interest in all the wonderful things out there. Its been like a stall with loads of work but no zing to connect with you and my world. I guess it is because of a text Alex Cassetti got.

Last Friday afternoon, Alex got a text from a friend saying that his dad had died of a heart attack. Alex came home stunned, silent, shocked. He was wooden and worried. Alex told me about this important man’s passing..and we both shook our heads and wiped our eyes in amazement and shock. We worried about the family and most particularly my Alex’s friend Alec.  What to do? How to respond? Give the family space or dole out hugs. Alex opted for hugs. He also suggested that he should pay a visit and take some candy (which he did after we went to the store and filled a huge shopping bag with corn syrup in every shape and unnatural color imaginable). How could he show he cared about this wonderful man

This man, Paul Bartishevich (1956-2012) was a vital member of the school community, particularly sports where we got to know him. He was an inspiration to me to be a better parent, to love each other,to build community whether it was a larger community or just cooking breakfast for a team his child was in. 

Paul taught me to be a coach and advocate for everyone—impressing on what is good, what is valid, what is right while quietly pointing up what could use some work in a friendly, collaborative way. He had amazing energy, a force to be reckoned with—blended with a sharp wit and intelligence, humor and laughter. It was always a party to be with Paul as he was such mensch— bringing you into his circle with stories of his family, his wife, his extended family from events to the traditional games of football (referred to as BartBall) on Thanksgiving. Paul exuded enthusiasm, and happiness—living in the moment and making me want to be swept into the current he was making in this little pool we call home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this loss to Alec and his family. The vortex of silence….the sudden whoosh and then life changes. The why now? the why? and the hole that will be in the fabric of his wonderful family he loved so much. And so many more holes left in different groups who had anticipated their moment in the Paul sunshine.  

But, his light still shines in all of us. You can palpably feel it. And in his children, you can see that flame, the energy and spirit of this man. Hopefully, I learned from Paul, to reach out, spread the love, and live in the moment we are granted every day. And know, that time is to be cherished. It slips away and is gone….sometimes before you even know it.

Blessings on Paul and the gifts he so generously shared. He will be missed but will live on through the carefully planted seeds he gave to each of us.

Farewell teacher and friend.

IthacaJournal.com’s Obituary>>

Coming home

Halloween Masks: Casper (the not so friendly, ghost), Q. Cassetti, 2011, Adobe illustratorFriday!

Its been quite a week. Tonight we have Alex’s performance. Rumors over Facebook have been positive about his skills and performance, so I am excited to see what he can do! I will also being doing double duty by shooting the drama for the yearbook. Better charge up the batteries!

Rob is home today to futz with slide presentations and the thises and thats he cannot address given his wild work weeks. We are plotting out our weekends in a strategic way between now and Christmas as each open weekend is another opportunity to see a school or travel in some other way. Dizzying.

Big J arrived last night (the big  HORSE) and was delighted by his travels and surprised by the new freedom he has  in a big pasture with a stream he can drink out of, grass he can nibble and other horses to watch and learn from. This is a horse from the desert who lived in a small pen at a public stable (nice but confining) and relyed on being ridden to get his exercise. He has come to a very beautiful farm with other horses…and if I had four legs and a mane, I would be dumbstruck. The only glitch to the whole thing is the electric fence which he is quickly learning about. Hard lessons…ow! From Gloria’s description, perhaps Justin, albeit a California horse, might have come home too. At least, that’s my whimsical way of looking at it.

Speaking of coming home, I was delighted to talk to Jacob’s dad yesterday. There is some desire that Jacob join us after Christmas to spend the time until he goes back to college with us. I posed that to the home team and the response was immediate and beyond enthusiastic. So, we are going to swell our ranks for the new year and have tons of extra friends and musicians dropping in to gather and hang out. Should make for a jolly holiday!

As you can see, the masks continue. I am still learning….and thinking about them, their iconography, the techniques and some of the stylistic tricks. Gotta pack that all in my small brain and then turn whirr on to see what comes out the other side. Should be interesting.

Just signed a pile of posters for the Ulysses Philomathic Library dinner for tomorrow night. They are selling signed prints of the Bicentennial Owl for $10. A nice way to raise a little money.

Gotta go.

Through the Looking Glass

Amy Brill by Sheryl Sinkow from www.totallybrill.comI had a lovely, inspired afternoon yesterday with Amy Brill. Do you know her? If you don’t, you should. And because of that, being the mom I am, I am going to introduce you to her and do all the talking. If you want to hear Amy, you can hear her at her lovely blog: Totally Brill, Amy Brill’s Blog.

Amy is cute, smart, funny, amazing, talented, creative (with an exclamation point) and an inspiration to me. She lives in Jacksonville (just down the road from Trumansburg) in an amazing big house on an impressive property with lily pads and lovely trees. She has two beautiful black Briard boys who keep her company along with the zillions of cool things she surrounds herself with from blue willow china, to stacks of boxes  buttons from the last pearl button factory in the U.S. to the sample cards from a button factory with the instructions on how to blend the dyes to get that exact blueberry grey color perfectly. She has posters of clowns (her mentors in a former life as a clown) along with photos of herself as a clown. She’s been a mime, a puppeteer and I am sure she held those audiences in her hands as deftly as she did me. She has boxes upon boxes of fiber she has designed and had spun in North Carolina which then is hand loomed (or machine knit) into these lovely, creative, versatile sweaters that can work one way for one look, and then in the world of flip up dolls, you turn it counterclockwise, button a neck and turn a collar and you have something else. The jacket becomes the pants, the pants become a hat and so on…and it really truly works. She is actively engaged in her sweaters and vests and throws and fibers as she puts them on, adding a button, putting a chopstick through the texture of the stitch and making another fastening…trying a new look. She loves her fashions, she loves the process, she loves the people who make her fashions and those that wear her fashions the to make themselves look the best they can regardless of shape and size.Wiggletto Vest by Amy Brill, photographed by Sheryl Sinkow

I am helping Amy get a new look to her company going. I am hoping that this, and perhaps a push with the social media and maybe some local trunk sales might build some awareness in this local treasure and the work she does. Who would know? Right? She needs to have the support to then drive more to the cash register to allow Amy to be as creative and prolific as she is able to be. I hope this is the beginning of my getting to know Amy, her work, her ideas and her influences. She has def. gotten me (and Kitty too) to sit up and take notice. Plus, I gotta get some of those great things she designs. So cool.

To learn more about Amy, here is her website>

Here is Amy’s fan page on Facebook>

Viva Swag on “NY Stylist Sandy Cohen’s Top 5 Underground Designers” citing Amy Brill>

“Okay, we know it’s Summer, but take a look at these and gear up for Fall or for those cold air conditioned offices.  Brill spins, twists, and dyes her own, mostly cotton yarns.  The sweaters are then knit using a knitting machine.   Nine ounces of yarn are spun at a time, a very time consuming process, but one that allows Amy Brill yarns to be unique.

Further, in addition to the incredible sweaters, she also does these cool “Be The Change” necklaces.