New York City Marathon 2013

The NYC Marathon officials have the wheelchair entrants begin before the thundering herds of runners spring forth.  By the time the first wheel chair contestant races up First Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, he or she (but usually “he”) is already well past the halfway point.  Halfway is in Long Island City, a part of Queens, one of the five boroughs that comprise New York City.

Early on, and, I suspect, the farther you are from the race’s start, there can be long lag times between cheering on the first contestant and waiting for the next.

NYC Marathon2FemaleFrontrunners 2013 ©WendyJournalista -11-03

In the circle, the two female frontrunners, Buzunesh Deba and Priscah Jeptoo.

But it’s worth the wait.   In the red circle, above, are the two female front runners, Buzunesh Deba and Priscah Jeptoo.  You could see that clearly from on high, right?

There is a great band playing between 80th and 81st Streets, and this is a sonic backdrop to the rise and falls of cheers as each runner passes.

Eventually, great masses of people – folks who run for the love of it, or for personal challenge, or in honor of someone, but no longer for prize money or their names in the headlines – thunder by.

New York City Marathon 11.3.13 ©WendyJournalista

The People’s Marathon

In a marathon, there is always the clash of hope and despair, training and surprise, stumbling and triumph.  Our last two marathons – New York’s in 2012 (cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy) and Boston’s in 2013 (the bombing) – were enmeshed in tragedy.  Whether we participate by running or by watching, we can’t help look over our collective shoulder to what went before….  There are metaphors to give us strength and lessons to be learned.  The City said that they beefed up security – not that this is intrusively apparent.  Well done, City.

After most of the runners are long gone, kids and parents play ball in the traffic-empty streets.  For a while.  Until just after dark.

It is a beautiful day of anticipation and celebration.

New York Magic

The romance that is New York, I love it.

Last night, for no apparent reason, fireworks appeared in the west.

©WendyJournalista Fireworks

NYC Fireworks!

OK, the fireworks could have had something to do with the upcoming Marathon, or they could just be magic meant for me.

And then, today, the color magic continued, thanks to the New York Botanical Gardens, voilà:


This sustains my soul.


Some Autumn Leaves at the New York Botanical Gardens


Unexpected Leaf Delight at the Nexus of Branches

Finnegan Begin Again, NaNoBloMo, Day of the Dead, and Me

Ah, November 1st.

Holiday decorations are already stacked on store shelves, Thanksgiving plans are being finalized.  After a stretch of gentle days, it’s time, in New York City, to bring out our winter coats and find our winter gloves and hats.  All of that has begun to take up some real estate in my brain, but November 1st has its delights/challenges for two more reasons.

The first is Dia del los Muertos.


My Dia del los Muertos 2013

Dia del los Muertos wasn’t as much of A Thing in New York a few years ago, but we, the people of The City of New York, are up for a celebration – and a complex one at that.  Dia del los Muertos is about setting aside mourning for loved ones we have lost and, instead, celebrating their lives and continuing contributions.  I’m in.

The second is that November 1st begets NaNoBloMo – National November Blog Month – a dare to blog every day in November.  Last year, I wrote about the extra courage and planning that many of us feel in taking on a new project in November of all months!  After blogging, then not blogging, and now blogging again, my inner radio is playing the nursery rhyme “Finnegan Begin Again.”  Did you learn this one when you were a child?  There are many verses and many versions, but the one I’m hearing is:

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan,

He kicked up an awful din-again,

‘Cause they said he must not sing again,

Poor old Michael Finnegan.  Begin again!

Blogging through November?  Shorter and still sweet may be the answer.   Finnegan, begin again!

Are you taking on NaNoBloMo?  I’m eager to hear.

New Jersey Road Trip after Hurricane Sandy

Behold, the Jersey shore.

Jersey Shore Post Hurricane Sandy 11.10.12©WendyJournalista

It’s too soon for voyagers to travel through the worst-affected areas, but here are some images from other locations along the shore.  Signs may be down, trees may have crashed into porches, planks and blades of windmills (an ice cream shop) may have been torn away, but those folks that remain are thankful and in a rebuilding spirit.

The photos were put together in the “Photo Frame” app.  I’m sure there’s a way to do something similar using just WordPress, but I’m not there, yet.


Art Makes Us See Differently

Sometimes, an artist makes you “think different.”

Artist and classmate in Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s online class (live, last year), 30 Days in Your Journal,  Catherine Scanlon, is one such artist.  (For the record, it’s not as if we know one another; I’m just an admirer of her work.)  For one assignment, she simply printed the negative of a photograph and used it as the basis for a journal page upon which she painted and wrote:

Catherine Scanlon's Negative Photo Journal Page for "30 Days...."

This is a technique I am longing to try for (at least) two reasons.  First, I find the negative image aesthetically pleasing.  Second, I am interested in looking at a familiar “scene,” differently – both visually and metaphorically.  Why not look at the same ol’ setting, with the same ol’ elements, but in a new light?  In looking at the “negative,” I’ve been able to narrow in on elements that, previously, I had taken for granted.  Those bare branches?  How beautiful they are with the focus of new light.  And, hidden in the negative, there are surprising bursts of color.  What else is exciting and “new,” and right before our eyes  – if only we view our familiar situation differently?

Fast forward to today.

We were driving on the Palisades Parkway today after the snowstorm after the hurricane.  For those who are not familiar with this highway, it runs north-south above the cliffs that form the eastern edge of the land of New Jersey (the actual state border extends half-way into the Hudson River).  Every time I look over to those cliffs from the New York side of the river, I think about the melting glaciers, ages ago, cutting through rock to create spectacular topography.  Ahhh….

I prefer the westerly route, driving on top of the cliffs rather than heading north on the New York side of the Hudson.  The Palisades Parkway is a pretty road in any season.

The recent storms are the top story for all news outlets here, as well as among friends and neighbors.  Therefore, it is with a mix of dread and – dare I say? – awe that I viewed the passing landscape.  Of course, I was on the visual hunt for huge trees uprooted, and for other evidence of our two horrific storms.  On the other hand, I am a city kid.  We don’t usually get much snow.  Snow is a big deal on a good day – on a “Hey, we have a snow day to play,” day!  Until it turns mushy and brown, the white ground and branches in New York City are novel and especially beautiful because of their rarity.  I was also looking for the beauty.

Here’s a short video as we headed north on the Palisades Parkway.  On the radio, you can hear WCBS-radio reporting on relief efforts to help those affected by the storms.  Our stomachs are in our throats thinking about, seeing, the losses to family and friends.  We are grateful that our own experience was not worse.  And, at the same time, I am struck with seeing a newly white scene – with so much color.  I thought of Scanlon, of being startled by familiar images, being struck by color where it hadn’t apparently been, of seeing a potentially threatening scene’s loveliness.  What do you think?