where I'm at

Breakfast with the champions.


do you know this man?

Howard Cohn, New York City, 2019

Some of you will recognize the Vassar English prof I have been friends with for a half century. I ran into him at the Apple store and he invited me for dinner the other night. We talked for seven hours, and I finally went home at three ayem or so, wondering what had happened to several of my Vassar classmates.
     I tracked down one with whom I am still a little irritated because she made me a human alarm clock to wake her up every day for breakfast for all of sophomore year. (She was later held responsible for the debacle of Time Inc.'s TV Cable Week, for which I briefly wrote before the plug was pulled after just a few issues.) But anyway, it was a shock to find her obituary.
    Coincidentally, while I was eating dinner with Howard, I got an email from a Vassar alum who is making a doc about the time 50 years ago, long before he was born, when Vassar began admitting men. I got booted out of my room after my first semester for the male transfer students. I found a boyfriend among them, now married to my best friend from college. (I will be seeing them in a couple weeks!) And later another one, now a scriptwriter in L.A. Saw him last year.
   And then I started recalling other things.
   Does the word parietals even mean anything to people any more?
   The thing literally called "The Face Book" that had pictures and addresses for every Vassar freshman. It circulated among, especially, Yale students who would then call the pretty ones and invite them and their pink suitcases for a weekend in New Haven.
    I remembered taking mescaline and giggling in the Vassar gardens.
    The time we took over the administration building to protest, I think, Dow Chemical's manufacture of napalm and the war in Vietnam/Cambodia.
    When I tried to meet some Vassar friends at Woodstock the summer after my first year but couldn't find them.
    When George wore a black tie and nothing else to a Vassar prom.
    The incident when one Vassar man dressed in drag picked up a guy at a West Point mixer, took him back to his room and freaked him the fuck out.
      Yeah, Vassar opened a can of worms when it decided not to merge with Yale, but to become co-ed instead.
Claudia Dowling, Block Island, 2018



night and day

People from other places think we cityfolk live confined lives. It is true that our living quarters are comparatively cramped (and that some of us have bathtubs in the kitchen). But we can entertain at any of thousands of fabulous cafes and restaurants. We can head to the gym for a steam or a sauna. We have architecture and culture up the wazoo. It is true that we cannot walk out of our front doors and be in the out of doors. But once we get there, we have astonishing geography and gracious parks. And the crocuses are blooming.



The serenity of the sunset belies my reality of the last few days: The computer nightmare.
   The sound  quit on my computer. That didn't matter to me  much, being deaf, but it was annoying not to know when I had mail or a phone call or wanted to watch a 30-second video (all I am capable of these days due to an ever- shortening attention span).
   I spent some hours on that serene evening on the phone with Apple support, wiping and redownloading my operating system. That didn't work, so it was off to the Apple store where the nice woman with turquoise hair had me Leave My Computer for Repair. (I ran into a friend from college there, though, and we're having din tomorrow, so that was good.)
   When I picked it up the next day, it had been totally wiped so I have had to reinstall Firefox, Word, printer software, etc. and enter or change about a half a zillion passwords. Then I had a fight with my printer and my WiFi. I'm not done yet, but I am exhausted and at the moment can do what I need to do. So all is well until I start fussing with DSL and printer again. I am so mad at Verizon I am going to cancel my WiFI. However, I cannot wire the printer to my MacBook because no USB port so on it will all go.


the lonesome goose

The Goose in Winter (photo by Dianne)

The poor Goose. Its winter aspect is looking pretty sad. However, for all those who have asked, the Eleven Point River has not as yet flooded, and I'm hoping it won't. The next time I'm wiped out by a flood, I'm not rebuilding. No, I don't have (can't get) insurance, nor can I get any help from FEMA. And the place is pretty valueless, except to me. So if it lives through this spring, c'mon and visit this summer!

The Goose in Summer.


back from venice

 Something about retirement seems to induce travel. Not that these guys are really retired. Lynn took a job at a private school after retiring from a public school as a music teacher. Chris is just on a hiatus between movies. But they jetted over to Venice for a few days and are back in NY for some Broadway before heading back to Santa Fe.


happy birthday, spring

The photographer told us not to smile.
   That's my stepson Adam, 11, in the foreground. It was 1981, and I was pregnant with Adam's half sister. Today is his 49th birthday—as well as the spring equinox. Happy birthday, A!
Thanks to Jock Sturges, via CBA, looking luminous, for the photographs.



Camilla poses with brother Isaac and Lamby. 2019
Camilla's mom, Hannah, poses with "brother" Sam and Lamby. 1986

The whole picture of the kids is even funnier. The rest of us were going to a wedding at the Plaza.



Douglas and Lynn and son Simon visit the big city for a cultural and shopping spree. Douglas was able to revisit his old neighborhood and apartment. Simon was able to visit Balenciaga and buy the most expensive pair of sneakers (?sort of?) I have ever heard of. And Lynn was able to stand in line for theater tickets that proved unavailable and go to the Guggenheim. See you in Providence and Block Island!


who dar?

Hannah met folksinger Dar Williams the other day to thank her for donating her strings to Wear Your Music. She also gave Dar a pendant and bracelet of her own guitar strings. The singer-songwriter has long had a large fan base. I always liked the song Wilder Than Her. Another tune is The Christians and the Pagans, a song about a Wiccan couple spending Christmas with a deeply churchy relative, probably inspired by Dar's study of religion at Wesleyan University (yes, her parents probably could have afforded to pay for her to get in but I doubt they did).

In other family/celebrity news, my brother Chris just finished a six-month stint overseeing setbuilding for a forthcoming TV series starring Ben Kingsley, who as far as I can tell is playing the opposite of Gandhi in this noir outing. You can watch the terrifying trailer of "Perpetual Grace."


it's spring!

A food blogger has aptly described shad roe as "looking like something a demon would eat." She shows a picture of it uncooked here. To me, however, it tastes like spring. Slightly salty, grainy, topped with parsley, butter and lemon, and maybe with a side of asparagus, it's a reason to hope.
   I just read that the Hudson used to teem with shad—a fish that, like salmon heads up freshwater rivers to spawn—and now has none. A gigantic, eight-foot sturgeon has, however, recently been sighted in the Hudson, so there's another reason to hope.
  Also, happy Pi Day! Check your neighborhood,  for pizza and pie offerings cheap.


about this blog

This picture looks crooked, but I still love it. The red backpack, the guy standing in a pool of light, the reflection, the pigeons and, not least, the fact that we still have a bookstore on our block.

Thank those of you who have made recent comments on the blog. I guess you could feel that I was fixing to complain. I only have a handful of faithful readers, and when day after day goes by with no input, I get downhearted. You don't have to comment on the blog—tell a story like CBA or comment on something you've done or the weather. It makes it more fun for everybody. Some of you email comments to me, but that doesn't amuse the others. I know it's a drag to jump through the posting hoops at first (though they eventually become easy), but it's doable! And it's a much more elite crowd than Facebook.


quality time

My main man crashes on the couch at approximately 5 pm when he visits.

However, Ed also buys me lunch.
Always great to spend quality time with friends!
    Which is mainly what I seem to do in New York, whether wall-to-wall out-of-town houseguests (this week and next my bro and belle seour from Santa Fe, with Douglas, Lynn and Simon between) or in-town chums.
     Well, I also do taxes, pay bills, go to doctors, bike at the gym, do laundry and get stuff in the apartment repaired.
    And eat. I'm still on a poke kick even here in NYC, and now I find ahi with wasabi at the grocery store.


time change

No, I'm not going to go into the arguments for and agin daylight saving. My body seems to anticipate the changes a week or so in advance. The clock time is an artificial construct. Spring, however, is not. You can feel the equinox approaching. The birds feel it. They're twittering all over the place, even in the big city.
    Perhaps they are feeling amorous. According to Wikipedia:"Spring fever is any of a number of mood, physical, or behavioral changes, which may be experienced coinciding with the arrival of spring, particularly restlessness, laziness, and even amorousness."
    When the morning sun comes through the window, I start thinking about hitting the road, heading south or somewhere warmer. Heading north to Block Island. Getting out of town, into the countryside, into the spring. At the same time I feel really lazy. Sleeping lots. Yawning. Saving up my energy for the big push. As for amorousness—not sharing!



So, Hannah launches a new website.

Chien-Chi Chang's photographs from the set of Alfonso Cuaron's Oscar-winning Roma are on Magnum's website.

Maggie Wong, formerly known in this space as Gallery Girl and now an instructor at the Chicago Art Institute, explains one of her own shows in this erudite interview.

St. Louis, Mo.,  comes in first as the murder capital (capital murder?) of the US.

A Block Island resident is also videotaped in the sex sting that caught Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

 On a lighter note, here are vacation rental complaints from the other side.

Donna Ferrato is off to Spain and then Dubai for workshops. She has also almost finished her book.


lo lite

Dorothy, Nancy Jo, me, Miriam
 I went to a lecture—all the way over to the East Side at Rockefeller University! It was about the reconstruction of temples damaged by the earthquake in Patan, outside Kathmandhu. But really it was about seeing the Lo Ladies, with whom I trekked 27 years ago. Miriam, right, was 62 then, younger than I am now, and she'll be turning 89 this year. Her son tells her she has to make it to 90 for her big party.
Beautiful if bulbous hall


mardi hardi

 These pictures were taken five years ago in New Orleans, when I was hosted by my cousin Glenn and family who spent most of the time dressed as bananas. I was a cow. Specifically, a Holstein. I can't believe they do this every year. But today is Ash Wednesday, and it's over.
Top bananas Glenn and Michael

Aging but not invisible

This krewe distributes toilet paper.

Some people don't like Mardi Gras

Some like Mardi Gras too much


the mall and the mountain

Not the view from most malls. And how about that hibiscus!

Same mountain, view from Lihue airport. According to report, fares to Hawaii have dropped precipitously on American due to Southwest's entry into the route. They were already quite low on Hawaiian.

Same mountain, takeoff over Nawiliwili two weeks ago. Feels like I was never there.


down by the river

By the Husdon River, last night
 It's midnight, and the snow is falling heavily. No one is riding a Citibike right now.
By the Waimea River, last full moon.
Drove my Camray to the levee and the moon it was high.