Christmas ayem

And today is Ruca's birthday


the sacred and the profane

On Christmas Eve


dear diary

YYesterday she made a list of what she had to do before getting in the car to come to New York. Once int he car, she began her report. Now she is making a list of things to do while in New York.
  It's a busy life. I can't even get it together to do my blog.


Elves arrive

With bells on! Merry mayhem!


happy solstice!

Katie's roses
I know I have promised my morose Christmas letter. I should have done it today, the longest day of the year and the day I feel most morose. But I am burning candles to bring back the sun and feeling hopeful, so, I dunno, maybe I'll do a morose year-end wrapup. Hannah et al arrive tomorrow so may not do much in the coming days—and may not feel morose—but I'll try to pull it out of the oven.


merry making

 A real Christmas miracle happened as Barbara and I started to carry the tree home. My super—after he'd already gotten his annual Christmas tip, mind you—offered to take the tree home in his car. Which he did, with good spirit, so all we had to do was put the tree in the elevator et voila!
   Then we made the eggnog, and Ed came over and made Irish (of course) stew and then people came over to eat and drink and talk story and play music and generally make merry. Around the festive tree—and Christmas Peeps.



Deck the lions with neck wreaths.

Deck the child with elf pjs.

What child is this who now has her own email address?
(We'll see if she can still use it readily once Net Neutrality is done.)

They all arrive on Friday, and let the joy begin!


we love art

 Kate Knapp's closing show at The Open Center took place in a hallway between an aromatherapy workshop and a presentation about how to find your intuition. Maybe appropriate given the fact that many of Katie's paintings are florals and all are guided by her intuitive sense of color. The few devotees of her art who showed up at rush hour in holiday season New York were wowed by what they saw.



Kate Knapp's show closing party. At the Open Center, 22 E 30th. Five to seven tonight. Be there!


at 67

Best birthday cards ever! (Also Hanukkah and Xmas)

They say it's my birthday.
Got a gift last night when sweet home Alabama went for a Democrat for the first time since—

I am planning a very special day today.
 I will do the wash.
I will pay bills.
I will fix the toilet seat.
Is that enough?

Self-check selfie at 67.


don't lean on me

I woke up from the dream laughing. In the dream I had been singing karaoke to Bill Withers' song  Lean on Me, but inverted it (a la ego rock) to Don't Lean on Me. It went something like this:

 Don't lean on me, when you're not strong
 I won't be your friend, won't help you carry on
 It won't be long til you're gonna need somebody to lean on.
Don't call on me brother, when you need a hand
(You always need somebody to lean on)

Cracked me up! The last time I woke up laughing from a song I'd revised in a dream was The Boxtops' The Letter:
Get me a ticket for an aeroplane. Don't have time to take a fast train.
Lonely days are gone, I'm a goin' home
My baby knit me a sweater


the christmas letter

Don't the tootsies get cold? And the tushie? 79th and Broadway
I love getting Christmas letters. Lately, however, they have been getting increasingly odd—kind of the opposite of Facebook. I have therefore made a template for those of you who wish to send one out. It’s not too late!
   In a coming post I will present my own, which would be a doozie this year! Let me just say that I was NOT blown up by a suicide bomber today! Good news for the holidays!

Dear Friends and Family,
    (SEASON’S GREETINGS/MERRY CHRISTMAS)! It has been quite a year! We took some great trips to (PLACE) and (PLACE) back in (MONTH) before (NAME) was diagnosed with (DISEASE). Ever since it has been doctors and tests and (TYPE SURGERY). I have had my problems as well with my (KNEE/BACK/OTHER BODY PART). The (TYPE THERAPY) seems to be working, when I have time to do it what with driving (NAME) to (HIS/HER) appointments every week.
    The kids are good. (SON/DAUGHTER) had their (FIRST/SECOND/OTHER NUMBER) child. (HE/SHE) weighed (POUNDS/OUNCES) and is called (NAME), after (WHAT RELATION). (SON/DAUGHTER) and (HIS/HER/THEIR) (SPOUSE/PARTNER) have (SEPARATED/DIVORCED). Of course we are sad, but it will all work out (FOR THE BEST/OK).
   Our (DOG/CAT) is doing great!
   We are thinking of you, and hope to see you in the New Year. Have a great (HOLIDAY) and love to you and yours!
                                                   THE (SURNAME)S


o tannenbaum

 So the kids went tree-cutting. That child above looks just like her mother (who took these pictures) did when we took her tree cutting.
We did not have any Santa hats, however.



Photo by Kay Maddux
"I had a day of cardinal sins," my neighbor announced. "I did not get dressed. I did not make the bed. I did not brush my teeth."
    She didn't take her calcium either. Though she did take a bath.
"Whose rules are these?" I asked.
"My parents, of course!"
Never mind that she's closing in on 80.
"Even though your parents are dead, it doesn't mean that you're not affected by their rules," she said. She was pleased that despite these moral failings she no longer believes she's going to hell.
   And speaking of failings, and not getting out of bed or getting dressed, I finally cut up the pineapple and tidied up the apartment from Thanksgiving—yesterday. But then, my parents were not whispering in my ear. This is the Apartment of No Regrets, after all. A better place to be housebound I can't imagine.


the house of contamination

Yeah, I know, I'm a big loser. I never call, I never write—and this in the season of conviviality!
I am still sick. Coughing all night, sleeping all morning and finally arising to meet the day. I am now capable of completing two or three tasks and maintaining perhaps one conversation though the sound is a little rusty. I have not been outside since before Thanksgiving. May attempt to buy milk today because the whipped cream I have been using for my coffee seems to have turned. (Unless it is my taste buds that have turned.) Anyway I have taken no new pictures. I guess I could go back into the archives—some 35,000 frames there by last count—but no. I think I'll finish making the turkey soup and maybe straighten up instead.


why not providence?

Furthering the family's reputation as, ahem, real estate magnates of Rhode Island, Hannah and Chris are purchasing Yet Another property on Providence's fashionable East Side and renting out their old one.
Here are the links to both. Dunno how long the new one will stay up on Zillow. Nor how long the old one will stay up on Craigslist for that matter! A great place!


great american eating ceremony 2017

 For the record, this year's crowd—minus Alaa and Kay, who hadn't arrived yet.
Sorry I didn't post before, but I am under the weather with what A Certain Friend says is my annual cold. Still thankful, though socked by the sale of Time Inc to Koch Bros. money.


ny frame of mind

Camilla will not be attending Thanksgiving in New York, though she has created a Thanksgiving decoration. She has big plans for Christmas-New Year's, however. Last year she wanted to visit the dinosos myoseeum, senchrel prak and a couple of other spots. This year, apparently, she has a new list of New York sites and sights.


the flying dog

We bid adieu to Oscar (and Peter and Jamie) this am. We'll miss them. And will bid hello to Chris and Lynn on Wednesday am. Between those times we have some shopping to do. Sitting down 18 for the Great American Eating Ceremony, it looks like.


woo woo woo!

 Fab pix of our little Woozie, who's birthday is today. Last night she opened in "And Then There Were None," an Agatha Christie mystery playing in Minneapolis. If you live near there, check her out! Love you, Woo! Happy birthday!


dropping by

 There have been houseguests—and some visitors who just dropped by as they repointed bricks on the building's facade. Some did pointed tricks as they danced for food (that's Oscar, the only animal currently allowed at the Dowling Intercontinental). (Oh, and Jamie, his owner.) Please scroll down for as many links as I can bear to post right now.
You can see Aunt Mimi's Usonia Frank Lloyd Wright house in the Daily Mail. I spent one Thanksgiving there asleep in the corner—except that it is a circular house so no corner. I guess you'd have to call it a perimeter.
A friend of Johnny's, Jeffrey Millstein has a new photo book out, aerials of LA and NYC.
Kate Knapp, my fave living painter, has some paintings up at The Open Center in Manhattan.
And for those of you envious of my clean refrigerator, yesterday was Clean Refrigerator Day, and the Times posted up some instrux for how to clean, too late for me, alas.


50 years!

So Robert and Ellen (at left, above, and yes that's Douglas, Johnny and Jane) were given a surprise 50th anniversary party by their daughters. When she thanked "our parents for giving us such a happy childhood," the elder daughter got tearful, as did we all.
And in a related thought. Fifty years?? I can only honor anyone who can conceive of being hitched for that long! And below are two couples who gave up after around 20 years but attended the party together, managing to behave as grownups for a few hours.


beautiful kauai

There's an island that calls across the sea, in the lyrics of Beautiful Kauai, which you can hear a version (and see a hula) of here. I don't know why as soon as I got home I started thinking about Kauai and my friends there. Maybe because there was a nip of winter in the air? Or the concept of home? Not sure. Anyway, I was homesick enough to Google up the Big Save grocery store in Waimea and look around to see if the "downtown" looked the same in street scene. Well it does. (PS Is that my truck?) I wasn't able to follow the Menehune road all the way to Ruth's castle, at the very end. But I am thinking of her, and of Jimmy and Connie and Owen and Pepito and all my friends, some dead and some living. I guess I better get back there.
PS My aged refrigerator still works.
Also, a great space for rent in Providence from Hannah's friend Mira here.https://providence.craigslist.org/apa/d/gorgeous-waterfront-apartment/6358286478.html


the big thaw

The refrigerator at Claudia's in Block Island is shut down for the season.
 My life is filled with refrigerators. I have five. One of them (the beer refrigerator I keep in the living room) came with my apartment and has to be defrosted the old fashioned way—with pans of hot water. The other one I bought when we brought Hannah home to New York at age one. That would mean it will be 35 years old in January. It looks pretty beat up (see below), but it is still running. And running. And running. I decided to give it a break, but I'm not ready to give it up. I looked at all the new ones that will fit in my space, and they all seem less than.
   The 1950s Frigidaire I had in Missouri worked pretty well, except for this habit it had of freezing my vegetables. And it was very beautiful. But after it went through the flood, I gave up and bought a new one that will likely last about five years.
   In Block Island over the course of the last 17 years at Claudia's, I have had to buy three refrigerators. At Hannah's I have already bought two in 10 years. Not a great record considering they only run for three or four months a year. There are brownouts and power surges; there is salt air. And it may not be good for them to be turned on and off.
   So I was worried when I turned off the 35-year-old in New York. It has run continuously since 1983—except for the famous blackouts. I guess I felt sorry for it, held together with duct tape as it is. Stay tuned for word on whether it goes back on.
The 35-year-old workhorse in New York is cleaned up and allowed to dry out.


woo hoo

Now with computer! Using my mom's, and back in business.


En train

Home again on the Upper White Side. Hit the ground entertaining and looks like that's how it will be until January. Hope to solve the computer thing soon. Maybe even tomorrow. 


Closing time

Seems like I'm always opening or closing. This time of year it's closing. Today was the first nippy morning, and I'm headed out. 


Storm city

Gusts up to 60 mph; steady 35-40. Rockin and rollin on Block Island. No boats. Big waves. 


Strange days

I must apologize for the brevity of these posts, but my two vices collided, and my computer was baptized with beer. Hence for the foreseeable future, this blog will be more pictorial than verbal. 


Stormy weather

Sam Savage (his real name) (when I made his reservation on the ferry the woman on the phone told me she had just made a reservation for a Sam Studley and we both got hysterical) hauled in from the mainland bearing storm doors. And sure enough he had to fight a storm to install them. Winds of 30 mph and driving rain did not make it easy, but he got 'er done. Bitchin, Mr. Savage!

Post time

I am having issues posting. Will keep trying! But not working on my phone and my computer is lame. 


the happy couple

I can't think of Pat and Marilyn one without the other. They were college sweethearts, and they entwined like honeysuckle vines for more than 50 years. Their lives were full of tragedy—they lost a daughter and her daughter to a congenital heart condition—but they had lots of love, too, and each other. They memorialized their daughter with a horse therapy program for the multiply disabled children at the Helen Keller center in Talladega, Ala. You can read about it in this article I wrote for People magazine.
   Anyway, while I was in Alabama in August, Marilyn had just been diagnosed with some bad cancer, so I didn't go to see them. But last Thursday I got to thinking about them and texted my cousin in Alabama to ask after Marilyn. He told me she had died the day before. I can't imagine what it must be to lose a lifelong partner. Pat and Marilyn.