at home with katie and mike

 Took the train up to Wassaic, through the Westchester County of my childhood and the Hudson Valley of my college years. Mike and Katie picked me up and drove me down Yonder View Road to their house in the Berkshires. Sadly, the pool is closed and cold, but the house is warm and welcoming. Also it seems to me that Katie and I studied at the same school of interior design.


donna at work

 Donna directs her helper to change the new order of the photographs for her book, Holy. It is now separated into three sections with a more emotional and less chronological arc.  Yes, this is the same book that was supposed to be out last January. It has a lot of breasts and genitals in it. Donna says she'll know it's a success when she starts getting death threats.


linked out

If you didn't see the test link I added to yesterday's post, check it out.

LMK where you come up. Maybe you already know.


testing, testing

 The elementary school spelling bee finals kicked off today with the No. 2 person in her grade (No. 1 was Kedar, right of Camilla) sitting on stage looking nervous. As well she might, not having studied the word list. Her mother (below, center, who last year tested into FedEx's small business winners circle) was even more nervous. Even her grandmother, sitting at home typing this, was nervous.
    She got "sawdust" and "fumble." On round three: "socials." Lots of kids are out. She's still in. "Comfort." "Scrambling." Only a few kids on the stage now. "Scattering." "Drastic." Still in. One of the few still left sitting onstage.
   Whoops: "Obstacles!" And she's out!
   But good show. Now rooting for Kedar.
   Well Kedar failed on the next round, he came in first of the third graders, and Camilla, second! And both of them beat plenty of fourth and fifth graders.
 In other testing news, my heart is fine, and I do not have lung cancer or colon cancer.

Oh, and in other testing news, if you would like to find out what Myers-Briggs personality type you are, you can take this free test. FYI, I was INFJ. Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging—the advocate, it's called. Let me know what you are.

Camilla, one of the few spellers still standing
Hannah and the Small Business People


gone fishin

 In my new life I live on fish and reps. I like the fish better. This very nice man served sushi to me and Barb, and it turned out he once worked at the place we used to go near the Time-Life building, (which is no more). He says that as young as five, he started cutting up all the fish that he and his family caught in Japan. His father thought he had better knife skills than anyone else in the family. And indeed, his knife skills are awesome. Alas, Fairway, where I buy my poke, is said to be on the verge of closing.


doing my rounds

 It has been beautiful but quite cold outside. but that's ok. I have been mostly inside having tests made that find a little something wrong here, a little something there. I must confess that I deserve it—haven't been to the doc in almost five years and typically refuse testing (for the reason given above)—but it doesn't make it any more fun. After all these tests I have to go back to the doctor so we can discuss. Meanwhile, I am trying a strict diet. No carbs, for high blood sugar. No salt, for high blood pressure. No fats, for high cholesterol. What am I left with here? I'm left with pretty much not eating and the gym. However, since this process began in fits and starts in November, I have lost almost 15 pounds. So there's that. I look thinner but older.
Waiting for my mam—ogram


bad taste

Don't do this! As pictured in some scolding site.
I'm kind of addicted to these sites that go "The Top 10 Things Interior Designers Say to Never Do" or "The Top 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Home" or "The 10 Things that Make Decorators Say Ugh."
   So imagine my delight wen on a list of The Top 10 Things That Are So Over," I find my very own table and chairs! (Well, actually, Frank and Dianne's table and chairs.) In fact, I liked almost everything on the list of deplorables, including pink bathrooms and aqua kitchen tiles. (I don't know who does these lists, maybe someone in Sheboygan, because they all seem to think that granite counters are still the happening thing.) So shortly after discovering the the table on the What's Not Hot list, I read in the New York Times (now, granted, they are not the most style-forward publication either) that colorful kitchens are Back! Yes, folks, everyone wants turquoise and yellow appliances and White is SO Out! To stay ahead of the trend, I guess I'll have to redo the kitchen at the Goose again. Fortunately, not due to last week's flood, which didn't intrude.


big doings

 This is what has happened in Hannah's back yard. The old garage is gone, replaced by this new structure which has recently had its windows installed. This is the view towards the house. The other sides have little in the way of windows. When finished, it will look like the architect's rendering below, with a staircase up to Hannah's studio. And yes, the dog is currently trapped on a line—the temporary fence is too easy to squeeze under.


out on the town

 It's been quite the whirlwind of entertainments this past month, and something had to give before my health did. So, alas, I have to quit drinking beer for a while. Off and on since Thanksgiving and then off since shortly after New Years, I have so far lost more than 10 pounds and weigh the least I have in probably two decades—or since I quit smoking anyway. It makes me look older, but ah well. I AM older!.
 My resolve has lately been tested by a series of social events at bars. There was the lunch with Ed and Ralph yesterday at Maison Pickle, which not only involved a martini and several glasses of wine for Ed, but also a carb-heavy menu. I drank maybe two quarts of bubbly water and staggered out of lunch at four-thirty-ish.
Donna videos, always the photographer, with Ulana and Johnny, who looks like god these days.
 The night before I went to a pickup gig Tommy V does once a month at a bar in Hoboken, NJ. I asked Donna if she wanted to come with me and also her husband of record, Johnny, and his partner in all senses of the word, Ulana. Donna calls the pic above "Johnny and his Two Mujeres." Tommy V was in rare form, his playlist has broadened since the last time I heard him, and his players are simply awesome.
Tommy V and the core group at the Turtle Sessions in Hoboken.


break time

Better than real life: Kate Knapp's portrait of my bedroom.
Hate to leave you hanging, but until there is some big development (stay tuned), the watch watch has stopped.  In the interim, I will attempt to fill in many events and visits that have occurred while I have been taken up with The Rolex Saga. These included a short visit from My Favorite Painter, Katie Knapp. You can look at and purchase her work here. 
   She took a picture of the chair I got from my son-in-law's grandmother (following?) that sits in my New York bedroom and painted it when she got home. Another case of improving on reality!
My photo—can't see shit!


the rolex saga, part six

Is this story interminable or what? You can see why I was stalling for all those weeks.
   OK, to sum up: My watch stops, I get a horrific estimate for repair, I write Douglas and Barrett.
  Barrett quickly responds that she will give me her identical watch, and Douglas quickly offers to either pay for repairs or buy me a new one. I refuse both offers.
   I then begin receiving from Douglas a million texts of other watches that I might prefer, and also texts such as the following.
 The blue is my response. But Jubilee bracelet strikes me as hilarious, since this is indeed the name Rolex has given my particular "bracelet."
   And bracelet is indeed the operative word, for the watchband is essentially jewelry. I don't discover how much it is jewelry until my son-in-law obligingly goes down to Fifth Avenue to fetch my watch (I had to all but notarize a document to get them to allow him to pick it up) for me, and I take another look at the repair estimate. They want $2707.50 for a new Jubilee bracelet. I didn't want a new bracelet! I just wanted the damn thing to sort of keep time (and date).
   Meanwhile Barrett is continually sending me links to watches I could buy from Gray and Sons, an estate sales place. I could get a "like new" version with a year's warranty for about the price Rolex has quoted me for repair.
   The turkey was delicious.
   And I am still having ads pop up on my computer from Gray and Sons. Maybe when I (finally) finish this saga and don't use the W word or the R word, they will quit.


the rolex saga, part five

Barrett created this beautiful gravestone.
Yes, brothers and sisters, the "rich people's problems" saga continues.
   I am sitting calmly at my kitchen table when the phone rings.
  "Hi, this is Ariana from Rolex. May I speak with Claudia Dowling?"
   Ariana (not her real name—I've forgotten it) tells me that a service estimate will be emailed to me very shortly, and that I need to respond quickly about whether and how I want to proceed.
  My email produces the following.
I look at nothing but the totals. I am in shock.
    I forward the email to Douglas and Barrett, the two people on my watch list who seem most engaged with my problem. Then I immediately attempt to respond to the email to say "no way."
    I have not mentioned that I have elided the time considerably. The whole issue started in October 2019, when my watch stopped. For the third time. Also I have not mentioned that it always ran slow, even though the Rolex people kept telling me over the years that it kept perfect time. It lost about five minutes a week, but I was used to that.
   By now, it is almost Thanksgiving. It's Mickey Mouse time indefinitely for me.


the rolex saga, part four

Barrett models real Rolexes plus the Walmart possibilities
 When I last posted, I was rendering unto Rolex that thing which was Rolex's for an estimate of the cost of repairs and contemplating life ahead without my watch. Barrett was contemplating it too, and so she wrote the following, titled It's About Time. . .My Life With (and without ) My Luxury Watch

You should take that $800 right to Walmart (or maybe it was Lowes ) and buy 40 more Disney-themed watches.  Then you could put on a new one each time the battery on the one you’re wearing gives out— for, say, the rest of your life! And just think of the money you will save by not having to spring for another 40 + years of repair work on your real Rolex!  

OMG!  Or: We can use the money you’ll save to fund one of those “true life”  docudramas that covers your life from when you got your first Rolex ‘til some future date, when you’ll be wearing one of the 40 Disneys on your wrist next to your Rolex , which has finally given up the ghost.

In the last, fade-to-black scene as your life story is obviously coming to an end, you and the Rolex representative who took us to lunch in Manhattan are sitting side by side in your respective wheelchairs in the nursing home, and the Rolex rep is now part of the family. He’s  spent so much time with you over the years trying to get your Rolex working that you and he have become husband and wife…( I do hope you saved the man’s card so we can find him and cast him.)

 With your great and great grandchildren at your knees, surrounding you and pretending to listen to your “glory days” stories which they've heard a hundred times, you hold your watch hand aloft and assume that  “crooked little finger “ pose you used to strike when looking proudly at your expensive timepiece. (I’m not sure you still do it now. I loved that pose—you tell me!) You and husband snort and chuckle while you try to remember your days on Everest, exploring Russia with Al and Tipper, in the water wearing your Rolex while Chuck makes his moves on you, on the road with Travis, interviewing Clint and Meryl. . .( FYI: Who says your autobiography won’t sell? Only you!!)  

Sound Great?  Our award winning documentary will sell in concert with your book, of course. Rolex will love the concept. The film will premiere at Cannes.  Got that? Why not? You’ve got the chops, and we got the time—all that Heaven will allow. 
Timepiece choice for the present: Saddam or Mickey. Barrett says my arm looks like a corpse.


my new year's resolution

My new year's resolution is to finish the damn Rolex Saga. Which is actually hilarious. I just keep hoping to do it justice.