Tag Archives: New York

Fafa

baby

My husband/guest blogger Jamie “Punky” Buhr wanted to accommodate my photo tribute and I couldn’t resist. He’s only allowed on here once every couple of years though . . .

I wanted to provide proof of how much I loved my cat, and I think this does the trick:

I am opening myself up to well deserved ridicule, but I don’t regret the 3-4 hours I spent crafting this on a snowy drive home from Minneapolis last year. While the fact that I’m a little weird goes without saying, you don’t rework silly lyric after silly lyric, practicing multiple takes into the iPhone voice memo to get it JUST right, for some ordinary house cat.

My love affair with Baby AKA Fafa AKA The Striped Prince was one I never could have foreseen in 2003. I’ve always had a dislike for cats, especially when I met Lucas, who was Abbie’s cat. He didn’t exactly welcome me with open arms when I moved in, and it was clear he wanted no part of me once I was there. When Abbie decided she wanted to get another cat to keep Lucas company during the day, the conversation went something like this.

Me: You want to get another one of THESE?!?!

Abbie: Come on, this one will be more like our cat.

Me: Another Lucas…

I didn’t even go with Abbie to pick him out. I slept in, as I’ve often been known to do, and when Abbie arrived home she proceeded to tell me about our new cat “Antonio”. She had actually wanted this white Calico (breed talk) but “Antonio” would not let her get to the other cat. I still have dreams that she picked the other cat, and I’m so thankful Abbie saw what she saw in him. When someone from the shelter came to drop him off, I barely got a look at “Antonio” because he hid so quickly. After another few hours of still only having one cat, I turned to Abbie and said something like: “Great choice, we’re never going to see this one.”

An early snapshot of Baby, probably blurry because he was about to bolt out of frame
An early snapshot of Baby, probably blurry because he was about to bolt out of frame.

Things began to change fairly quickly. One, his name was in constant flux, Antonio was quickly followed by Henry. But because he couldn’t meow, managing only a pathetic squeak whenever his mouth opened, we simply started referring to him as The Baby and eventually just Baby. A second thing that changed was his presence in my life. When it was just Abbie and I at home, Baby was a regular on the futon or in the windowsill. But whenever a stranger was in the apartment, he knew it before anyone and would wedge his body into hiding spaces I didn’t believe were physically possible, even after I had witnessed them firsthand.

One day I awoke and Baby was sleeping next to me. Actually, right on top of me. I think Abbie had left for an early run and it was just the two of us. He stared at me for a moment and then got into what would become his prime napping position; a perfect circle with his tail safely tucked away. baby ballI still remember trying not to make any sudden movements, as I didn’t want to blow this new-found closeness. My position on cats began to evolve. Well, not on all of them, pretty much only Baby who I eventually mostly started calling Fafa. Lucas and I were still barely on speaking terms, but Baby quickly became a constant companion. When you’re around someone or something for that amount of time, it’s hard not to fall in love. Especially when the cost is simply providing them your love in return. That love is now burned into my memory through countless images I hope will always endure.

I can still picture how he sat in every windowsill, in every apartment we ever had. There were four in New York, two in Chicago. Baby Window Upper East

The back window of our apartment on West 29th street was like his own personal Botanical Garden, when the sun illuminated our back porch he would spend hours just watching the world around him. This one of him in the window of Abbie’s apartment on the Upper East Side before we moved in together is perhaps my favorite image of him (of Lucas too, it’s hard to be mad at him right now):

baby lucas window

I love it because it reminds me of everything that lay ahead in those next ten years Baby was in our life. I love the way he’s looking up into the sky. In that one look, those coming years always flash through my eyes. Our apartments, our cities, the dogs we did not yet have, the friends we did not yet know. I always think of my wedding day and then finally, of Leo. I’ll always be grateful that Baby lived long enough so that I have this photo:

Couch Nap

I’m also grateful that nine of the ten years I spent with Baby were before we decided to have kids. For what seemed like so long, it was just the four of us, then the six of us, and finally the seven of us when Leo was born last May. I’m grateful there was a time where it was just us, because things change before you even have a chance to catch up. This became evident when I was scrolling through my iPhone a couple days ago, desperate to round up every picture on every device we owned in case Baby’s prognosis became worse. The vet said his kidneys were failing and there was an unknown growth on his liver, potentially cancerous. She called his blood work “scary”.

The pictures on my iPhone told how the story had changed. There were plenty of pictures that sprang up of him in New York, our move to Chicago, our old Sedgwick apartment, during Abbie’s pregnancy, and then they just stopped. I didn’t want to believe it, but as I furiously scrolled throw my library I knew what I was seeing. The day Leo was born, the pictures of Baby stopped. I knew it wasn’t intentional, but it was the emptiest I had felt since the first moment I learned just how sick he was. It wasn’t guilt that my love for him had dissipated (please see above video again) it was the simple reality that a new baby changes things more than you even realize. That is why I’m glad there was a time it was just us.

Baby (here on Sedgwick), always loved a good pile of scarves
Baby (here on Sedgwick), always loved a good pile of scarves

I will forever remember Baby because he was my first pet. He was the first animal I ever loved, the rare soul that always wanted to be around me, no matter how foul a mood I was in. There was rarely a time I could go 20 minutes on the couch without him eventually joining me. And if he wasn’t with me on the couch there was a good chance he was attempting to lure me off of it, either by bringing me a foam ball to play our favorite fetch game on the stairs, or by squeaking at me until I could ignore its cuteness no longer. It will take some time for me to get totally used to my life without that squeak, but I am no doubt a better person for having heard it for close to a decade. Although I know I will never forget the day I held his paw for the last time, as if fate was just making sure, hours after Baby breathed his last breaths, Leo took his first real steps across our condo floor. And like with so much of life, a chapter ends, a chapter begins.

Love Always.

Baby in the bathroom waiting to play with floss.
Baby in the bathroom waiting to play with floss.
Baby and Maeby napping next to each other one afternoon.
Baby and Maeby napping next to each other one afternoon.
1) Baby being adorable as usual. 2) A typical evening in the Buhr house; Pia and Baby on the Couch with Punky, 3) Fafa could never resist hiding under an open umbrella.
1) Baby being adorable as usual. 2) A typical evening in the Buhr house; Pia and Baby on the Couch with Punky, 3) Fafa could never resist hiding under an open umbrella.
Baby rarely ventured outside, but sometimes he was extra brave.
Baby rarely ventured outside, but sometimes he was extra brave.
Baby and Lucas fitting together so perfectly, sitting in the window on Cornelia.
Baby and Lucas fitting together so perfectly, sitting in the window on Cornelia.
The striped prince was never too shy to expose some of his beautiful stripy belly.
The striped prince was never too shy to expose some of his beautiful stripy belly.
Fafa posing on the cat tree one winter.
Fafa posing on the cat tree one winter.
Loving a nap on the bed in the sun.
Loving a nap on the bed in the sun.

Tiny’s

On a recent trip to New York, I went to dinner at an adorable restaurant in Tribeca called Tiny’s. Everything from the space, decor and food- I recommend the kale salad and meatballs for starters- was cozy, charming and unique. However, my favorite part was the branding and stationary of the restaurant. I happily took a postcard, pen and matches so I could study them later, and i’m glad I did since now I can share them with you! Also, the menus were attached to individual wooden boards that were carved with the design on the back of them. Maybe they were laser cut? I wanted to steal one and hang it in my apartment! I love the use of pink mixed with greys and blacks as well.

tinys-group

Try and get a seat in the back by the fireplace if you go in the winter. More of the adorable illustrations on the back of the matchbook.

tinys4

tinys2

Tuesday Morning

This is the first September 11th that I’m not living in New York. It’s pretty hard to believe it’s been almost ten years since that day. It was the beginning of my sophomore year at SVA and I was living in the dorms right on 23rd st and Lexington Ave. After waking up oddly early for my noon class a little after 9am, turned on NY1 like I did everyday, saw what was happening and stuck my head out my window to look downtown. Sure enough what I saw on the screen was right before my eyes a few miles downtown. Moments later Jenna came to my door and we spent the next hour glued to the tv in her room and going up to the roof to get a better view. After the first one fell, we were all pretty much in shock since it had never occurred to us that that would be the outcome. I remember wondering how they were going to repair them, but never that they were going to fall. The rest of the day everyone in the city walked around like zombies, and school was canceled the rest of the week.

A few snapshots taken during trips in high school-

pre

The following images are some I took the days and the weeks following with my 35mm Minolta and 400 tri-x film (being a photo student I was deep into my black and white film phase). There’s also a few random color ones mixed in. The armory was a block away from our dorm room and became sort of a home-base for family and friends to go and wait to hear some news about their loved ones. Army tanks lined Lexington for weeks. Right afterward you couldn’t go all the way downtown. They had it blocked off from Canal street I think for about a week, and then every few days they’d open up a few more streets little by little. It was so strange how there were no cars anywhere and I just remember the sound of people’s feet walking towards downtown, trying to get some answers and see for themselves (us included), what had happened. There were makeshift memorials set up everywhere, especially at Union Square and Washington Square. People just didn’t want to be alone, stuck inside their apts.

groundzero

I remember struggling a lot with how much I should have been documenting what was happening. I still think about it sometimes, if I shot too little, but I didn’t want to be exploitative. People everywhere were really hurting and I was lucky enough to not be personally effected by it. Sticking a camera in someone’s face who may have just lost someone was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. Also, sometimes you don’t need to take a million photos, just going through the experience is enough to remember it by.

nypost911b

I know it’s a sad and depressing thing to think about, and not to be dramatic or corny, but we really should always try and remember what happened that day and to not forget it. And not just because it’s the anniversary.

NYC Evening

nycnight

One of my last nights of work, my coworkers had a little going away party for me at a bar. After leaving, I had to walk across town and became nostalgic as I kept getting closer to the ESB. Even thought I’ve seen it a million times, knowing I wouldn’t be able to be gaze at it whenever I wanted made me a little sad. I couldn’t help but take a few photos, and it was also a beautiful night out so that didn’t hurt.

Goodbye New York

postcards

I can’t possibly sum up my feelings about leaving New York in one post with one photo, but this will have to do for now. As most of you know the time has finally come and we are moving to Chicago. It’s very bittersweet to say the least, but I just wanted to say I’ve met some amazing people that I will truly miss seeing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. A few weeks ago I asked my wise friend Chau Vu what the hardest part was about moving away, he said “saying goodbye” . . . I couldn’t agree with him more. Thank god for the internet, and everyone please do your best to stay in touch, and I promise to do the same.

abbieny

Clover’s Gallery & Alexis Trice

Monkey Painting

I entered the art buying community recently when I made my first official purchase of a wonderful painting from Clover’s Fine Art Gallery by the artist Alexis Trice. The show just ended and I was finally able to bring it home and have already made a place for it on my wall. Coincidentally, Alexis graduated from SVA the same year as I did. I was originally there to visit and take portraits of one of my oldest friends Charlotte who works as a curator at the gallery.

Portratis

charlotte-tri

Please check out her website, and also her adorable pet portrait site, Welcome to the Doghouse. Thanks Alexis! I promise to take good care of it and cherish it forever.

Clover’s Fine Art Gallery

Charlotte Mouquin, who was literally my very first New York friend, is the curator at a beautiful gallery in Brooklyn called Clover’s Fine Art Gallery. I stopped by recently one evening with my friend Liana to say hi and was pleasantly surprised to see there was also some live music happening (which is a frequent thing). It’s a great space that also has a cafe in front which is something I love. Being able to have a drink and a small bite to eat while checking out some new art, how easy is that!

Clover’s Fine Art Gallery is located at 338 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY. See more pics HERE.

Wall Photos at AH

AHWall

I’m proud to announce that my photos are officially up at Animal Haven! The new “float wraps” will be a permanent fixture in the front of the shelter for hopefully years to come. Stay tuned for official gallery opening details, it should be in the next few weeks and I’ll provide lots to drink and maybe even some food. Thanks to the crew at Animal Haven for giving me this wonderful opportunity!