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December 19, 2014 / pjcharles

Urban Christmas Tree


Tis the last Friday before Christmas and celebrations are bountiful. Have a great weekend!

December 18, 2014 / pjcharles

A rose

tossing flowers

December 17, 2014 / pjcharles

Our Piece of the Sky

The City 1

We settled into our little piece of the sky over the weekend. The boxes are unpacked and as I sat on the couch Sunday afternoon I reflected on this year. I never expected to begin and end the year in different places – but that is part of the great adventure of life. I found such strength in my family – as LT made her journey and as JP makes his. I found comfort and love where I always find it – CF. And friendships for which there just aren’t the right words – PD and AMS. I appreciated that photography has helped me to stop and look and relish those little moments that surround me and while I wish I could have learned that lesson earlier, I treasure it now. We are adaptive beasts – me and my CF – and are learning to like the living in the sky despite a deep belief that we are grounded people. Perhaps that is a life adventure to be learned now and savored later. I see the advantages differently in a world where walls close in as they have on my Dad.

December 16, 2014 / pjcharles


In the middle of Downtown Dallas sits Tony Tasset’s “EYE” an unsettling and (pun intended) eye-catching ocular installation. Dallas continues to grow and thrive. I reflect and consider the ceaseless construction around this small but distinct sculpture garden as the building of a “socket” that surrounds and protects our vision of the city as it changes before us.

December 15, 2014 / pjcharles

Cautionary tale

cross with care

It’s Monday December 15. The Gate is coming crashing down on the last 10 days to Christmas. For more years than I care to count I have run a sprint these last days to Christmas. My favorite day has been December 26th because it was the only day with no sales reports. I would wake up each morning after Christmas and immediately begin thinking about the next year beginning that first week of January.

Through the years I have learned better. Now, I appreciate each day for what it is and try to pick where to place my concern. A better balance and a happier state of mind during the holiday season are the result.

Now, my only concern is to find the perfect gift for those I love…..

December 14, 2014 / pjcharles

63% Romantic

This is 63% romantic

I really want to know….. What is 63% Romantic? Is it when he proposes and the ring is bad? Or he fumbles and drops it? Is it when you have a romantic evening planned at your favorite restaurant and you get all dolled up and he shows up in jeans and a tee-shirt? Is it a picnic when it rains? And importantly, what makes a person think of such a thing? Who knew romance was graded on a curve and you could get a D? Seems a bit judgey to me. I prefer to think of romance as those kindnesses – whether grand or small – that rock you to your core because they are random, unexpected. The hug – just when you need it. The random “you look really pretty today”. To me – those don’t take much but are a 100% romantic no matter the delivery.

December 13, 2014 / pjcharles

Shake Shack

Shake Shack

The year CF and I lived in New York was also the year that Union Square Cafe opened. From our apartment around Grammercy Park we would walk over to the Union Square Farmer’s market each Saturday for fresh local food. We had a small studio apartment with a camper’s grill my Mom had given us. It was fueled by a tiny butane tank and we set it on our firescape. I remember that grill producing some of the best dinners in the city. All these memories are flooding back as we settle into the temporary housing apartment that will be our home for the next 3 – 4 months. I digress…..

Right around the corner from the Square was Danny Meyer’s restaurant – Union Square Cafe. It was then, as it is now, a wonderful and delicious experience. Years later Danny Meyer wrote a book – Setting the Table. It was an incredibly inspirational book and only furthered my infatuation for the man and the values of hospitality he represents. I actually met him once when he came to speak for one of my businesses. It is so nice when you meet someone and they are exactly what you hoped they would be. The way he closed his letter to me afterwards is one of my favorite closings ever! “Thank you for your loyal friendship to our business.” Isn’t that the best way of thinking about a long-term business relationship?

It was about the time we engaged Danny for our business that he was opening Shake Shack – arguably one of the best burgers I have had. I was a big fan of the one on the upper West Side, and of course the one in Grammercy Park. On this particular very cold day, I was in the Shake Shack in Philadelphia with the adorable Little a. and J. and their parents. It was a moment of levity in an otherwise daunting day. I was reminded that it is holiday after all and we should be thankful for our many blessings.

December 12, 2014 / pjcharles

The importance of Coffee and the Bagel Guillotine

Too much coffee

Friday mornings and Monday mornings are the parenthesis of the weekend and need a bit more coffee for my “get up and go” to get going. I saw this little set up on a morning walk and thought to myself that it deserved a bit of recognition if for no other reason than the tiny sign asking everyone to clean up after themselves. The angle of the shot is a bit off, but that is totally how I felt that morning so I decided to release the photo anyway. Happy Friday – let the parenthetical weekend begin.

December 11, 2014 / pjcharles

Chain link

Behind the fence

December 10, 2014 / pjcharles

Ombre trees

textured trees


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