Neither Here nor There

We are in Rochester, in our apartment until October 13 – Here! The coach is in Covesville, VA, Malena and Dan’s yard – There! This is strange state of affairs for us. We have been separated from the coach only by international travel, for the most part in the past several years. We drove the Jeep through from Covesville to the apartment in a total of under nine hours stopping only for fuel, three times, and to eat our lunch which we had packed. The audio book, A Monstrous Regiment of Women: A Novel of Suspense by Laurie R. King, swept us along the highway so the time and miles passed almost unnoticed. This is the second novel in the series about Sherlock Holmes and his new, young assistant/partner Mary Russell. We started it in August and listened in bits and pieces as our road time permitted. This run was uninterrupted Interstate time and the spell did not end until we were making the turn into Pleasant St where the entrance to the parking lot is. We listened to the closing credits as we were shutting down the engine. Perfect timing.

Our time in Covesville was jam packed with farm life activities and celebrating Rosh HaShana. We did not get out to see people as we had hoped because we were busy spending wonderful time with Malena and Dan and especially with Alex and Corey. I had forgotten how to play Hearts in the interim since graduating from Brown, but I certainly have not lost my ability at Backgammon.  I refused to accept a challenge to play Scrabble, they play constantly and I fear I have lost my edge there too.

We have booked a whirlwind of activities for our time in Rochester including a day at Niagara-on-the-Lake to see two plays and stay the night in a B & B. That started because we have to go to Niagara Falls to complete the process of renewing Carol’s Nexus card which includes Trusted Traveler and Global Entry, both very important for our travel plans this December and January. So while we were already going to be in the Falls, it seemed just a short hop to N-O-T-L and a play or two and who wants to start a 90 minute plus drive back to Rochester after an 11 PM curtain.  We used to do such things, but . . .

Doctors, Dentists and friends and oh yes Book of Mormon another play will occupy us in the time not taken by Yom Kippur and the Goldberg Lecture in Neurology. Then back to Covesville on the wings of another audio book, to be selected.

Random Thoughts, Written on my new Laptop

Scotland will not be independent from England, not sure how that affects me in either the long or short run, but it seems to be the right answer. We are going to drop some more bombs on somebody we think needs to have bombs dropped on them in the Middle East and Congress gave its permission. They actually voted to do something the President asked for, how unique. Men who batter women, well make that men in public life who batter women are getting appropriately treated by society, even a judge. Just how great is that.

I was taught it was not permissible to strike little girls when I was 4 or 5 (at least so I remember) it may have had something to do with with the arrival of my sister, Sandy. I don’t remember being taught not to hit boys. Knowing my mother I assume there was was more to the former than just the arrival of Sandy, but that was a long time ago and I managed to extend the message to ALL people along the way. I suspect that I have found other ways to establish my position in any pecking order that does not require physical contact or aggressive behavior.

If this looks like stream of conscience it is because it is. The news has been mostly dreadful and I am dreading the coming election with its endless ads, endless lies and endless name calling. Not to mention the possibility of a result I do not want to see, the Republican take over of the Senate, is not at all unlikely (I can’t even say that in the positive).

We have been in Dan and Malena’s yard since Saturday the 13th. We will be here until the 27th and then drive the Jeep back to Rochester for a couple of weeks before returning here. Our current plans include a trip to Charlotte NC to visit Leigh and Patrick (and Hazel) in their new home before continuing on to Red Bay. While sitting here I have made some improvements to our setup. With permission, I bought a nice new drinking water hose that I have attached to the nearest hose bib to provide continuous water rather than my former process of running out a collapsible 50 foot hose and filling the tank every 3 or 4 days. Makes showering a lot more pleasant as we don’t need to take navy showers. I even removed 6 very sharp pointed self threading screws from the deck plate in the  utility bay so I won’t pierce a hose or my hand and replaced them with stainless steel bolts and locking nuts. Thank you to the guys on Tiffin RV Network for that recommendation.

Dinner last night at Al Carbone just north of Charlottesville. Wonderful Peruvian Mexican fusion. Friends of Dan and Malena treated us to a barbecue a couple of years ago as they were working on recipes for the restaurant and they have launched it. Chicken grilled low and slow over green charcoal with an amazing sauce had me licking  my fingers  and the plantains were heavenly and I could not get enough of the grilled jalapenos and onions. Carol had corn on the cob with mayonnaise and cheese which she really enjoyed. Everything else that came to the table was consumed by the six of us. Want to wish them good luck and I am sure we will be eating there again.

Quick note on the new computer. I was able to restore almost everything the way I had it on the old computer. Just a few more programs to locate and install. I am writing this on it and getting used to the key board being shifted to the left to make room for the number pad which I really do like. I think I got my first number pad as an add-on for my Apple //e back in the dark ages and really find them a preferable way to enter numbers. The solid state hard drive really works to bring this machine up really fast.

I will not report on the weather, it just is.

Delaware plus incuding an episode of Perils of Paul

Our day in Philadelphia did NOT include the Barnes after all. We had failed to plan ahead so it didn’t happen.  Instead we stopped at a private gallery, Seraphin, on Pine St.  I actually found a parking spot not too far away so me made that the center of our walking tour which took us to Rittenhouse Square. We arrived as the carillon was playing which was fun and did some shopping as we walked.

We returned to the Elks Lodge to find that the Armstrongs were back and Kiki was squalling up a storm complaining about her abandonment. It was great to get together with Dan and Beverly who we last saw in Rochester over the summer.  We found a reasonable place for dinner after some happy hour on the parking lot. We parted the next morning about 10 as we headed to Georgetown DE for some total r&r. We were so busy in NY and there was no sewer so we were over a week behind in cleaning and laundry.  Our plan was to stop at Homestead Campground for two nights and get caught up.  The rainy weather has abetted that cause and we haven’t even disconnected the Jeep 24 hours later. We may drive around the area later this afternoon.

I left that post four days ago without finishing it.  All the laundry is done and we moved on from Delaware after taking a drive in the Jeep to Rehoboth Beach.  Yet another town with too many tourist shops and a lovely boardwalk on the beach. We drove around Chesapeake Bay to Cherry Hill Park, a large lovely campground in College Park MD with public transit right on the premises.  Our first day we drove to Bunny and Alan Bernstein’s home in Pikeville. From there we went to Baltimore Inner Harbor for the beginning of the celebration of 200 year anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. There were tall ships and naval ships and enough people to make it feel festive.  We took a water taxi to Rusty Scupper for dinner and then back to their home where we parted after begining to make plans for a trip to New Zealand in 2016.

Thursday we took the bus and subway to the Mall area where we started at the US Holocaust Museum.  I had managed to avoid going there for 21 years and now I needed to see it. My first thought was to just walk through,  after all I have been to Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem many times and visited several concentration camps and other sites in our travels. This is so well done and so heart breaking that even with all that I took two hours and that felt like I was running through, barely acknowledging the horror of the era and our own country’s failure to do even the least to mitigate the carnage. Today’s treatment of refugees/immigrants call them what you will is a reminder that our government has learned nothing from its past. The hate for the “other” is no less.  I will terminate my rant here.

We went on to the Sackler and Freer Galleries to experience some enlightenment before returning to Gee Whiz for dinner. Friday started with one of those house failures that seem some how more magnified in a motorhome.  The hose to the shower head had sprung a leak. Would the campground parts area have one to fit?  I left planning to continue on to Home Depot of they didn’t.  Fortunately they had just what I was looking for and I returned
triumphant to make the simple replacement. It went fine until I turned on the shower head which promptly disintegrated, spraying water all over the shower stall. Back to the store where I found the shower head I wanted in brushed nickel to match the coach and discounted because it was the last unit in stock.  It works fine!

We met Susana, Malena’s mother for lunch at the Old Angler’s Inn. The weather was perfect as we dined on the patio. The meal and company were excellent.  We followed Susana to the Torpedo Factory Art Galleries in Alexandria. After touring several galleries we saw her off into rush hour traffic and proceeded up the street we were on to Steven and Daisy’s house where we were expected for dinner.  This was a lovely evening with delicious food and even more delicious news of their planned wedding in June. I cannot imagine a more perfect end to a brief visit in our nation’s capital.  We have moved on to Covesville VA Dan and Malena’s home and I am sitting in the coach in their yard after a wonderful dinner as I write.

and we kept walking

The past couple of days have continued to be wonderful and have been horrible and have brought not so minor stupidities as well.

The horrible,  the Glazers!  While not close friends by any measure we have known them well for most of our married lives. They were an integral part of our communal lives both on the greater community and the smaller more personal community.  God how they will be missed.

The almost trivial stupidity,  I crushed the screen of my laptop using the hydraulic extension of the passenger side living room slide for my weapon. The last time I tried this I merely broke some trim, I must have repaired it too well as it held and the laptop didn’t.  Cost to replace the screen is about the same as a new laptop. I have a new laptop on order and will pick it up at Dan’s in a week.  I spent a few pennies more and got a solid state hard drive (ssd) of good size.  It should be very fast.

We are now in the Marlton Elks where we will meet up with the Armstrongs for dinner. Marlton, you ask,  that’s in NJ about 30 minutes or less from Philadelphia. We plan to go in to see the Barnes Collecton in a bit.  The Armstrongs’s coach is next to ours and Kiki, their resident cat, is waiting for their return. They will pay a price for their absence I’m sure.

Back to our NYC experiences.  We took ferry and subway to Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn to visit Donna Rosenthal,  a friend of Carol’s from childhood.  It was fun for a variety of reasons.  She lives in a building on W Plaza where my roommate Jon Kerner grew up.  I last visited that building in the Fall of 1963 on my way to Brown for my senior year (even then my travel routes were indirect). Donna treated us to lunch and then hired a car service to give us a tour of Brooklyn. The tour ended at the Brooklyn Museum where we saw some of the collection there being no special exhibition on.  Then we left Donna in the coffee shop while we took some time in the adjacent Botanical Garden. She dropped us at the entrance to the subway and we made our way back to the ferry past Whole Foods and thence to a light ‘dinner on board.  The heat continued unabated.  Carol did not object to running the  air conditioning.

Friday was one last day walking in the city.  From the ferry we took a subway up to Washington Square in hopes of seeing something of the area we remember from 50 years ago. There is very little left besides the street names and the Blue Note. We eventually found a coffee shop with good coffee,  but the atmosphere was altogether different. The area is now dominated by NYU. We continued walking to the lower entrance to the High Line where we met cousin Molly Ornati as planned.  We finally got to walk this unique Park  atop and old elevated rail line way over on the west side.  The landscaping and design makes you feel at If you have stepped into another world

With glimpses of the world of Manhattan from above. 
This was the end of our NYC tour for this year. We concluded with dinner at Blooms, a wonderful vegan restaurant where we were joined by cousin Lee and Alice.  I can only say we will certainly be back now that we are comfortable with Liberty Harbor RV as a most convenient home base. 

Too Much Thinking Too Tired Feet

This was an OAT kind of day with lunch and dinner on our own. We set out to catch a 10 AM ferry from the marina to Wall Street only to find that the last ferry from that pier left at 9:45, oops. We walked over to the Liberty Ferry pier and caught the 10:30 to the foot of the World Trade Center. So our first stop was the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Tower. For many this is a familiar view. We walked into the Memorial area

and viewed the very moving inverse fountains with the water flowing down from the top into the negative space on the footprint of the towers. With the names of the responders who lost their lives on the railing
this is a very moving tribute to the willingness of our first responders to go into harms way to save others. 
What I have to say next may offend, I do not mean in any sense to do so, but I understand that many people will disagree with me. The entire construction of this elaborate and well done memorial does as much to remind me of the dedication and commitment of the vilest people on earth, the perpetrators of the inhumane crime that brought down the towers. Their leader, those who survive, can look at this memorial and see the impression they have made on the psyche of the American people and in their warped minds they can revel in it. It would be almost better if we had done what Israelis do when a suicide bomber exploded amidst civilians, they clean up the area thoroughly and restore it to its former state rapidly so there’s no place for the family of the suicide bombers to look to as a memorial to their heinous act. I do understand the need for the families of those who died to have a memorial, but I question the result. 
On to less serious matters if you are still with me. We walked. We walked. Somehow we made it from the Memorial into SoHo stopping for lunch on W Broadway at CentoNovo, an Argentinian Restaurant where we both had salads before we continued walking. We roamed SoHo looking for the many galleries we remember from years past. There are a meager few remaining with most of the best locations taken over by shops you can find in any mall in the country, actually in the world. Does the world really need another Old Navy cheek by jowl with you pick a name from your nearest mall? Ack! Boring! And we walked. And we did find a few galleries and had some interesting discussions. In one gallery which had a pushy salesman and a lot of familiar looking limited editions on paper I turned a corner and was confronted with a Miro which hangs to this day in our apartment. I was stunned to see the asking price of $22,000 as we have it insured for about $6,000. Of course mine is numbered in Arabic numbers and this one was XVII/ LXXX which I am sure makes it worth so much more than ours. I told the pushy salesman that we live in a motorhome so no amount of pushing was going to have any effect on my having a place to put any art. I refrained from suggesting he go play in traffic as it was his gallery.
And we walked. Have I mentioned that we walked a bit? Eventually we stopped in a coffee shop on Greene and Houston, Amor, where I had an iced cappuccino and Carol sat still for a bit. We thought of taking a cab to the ferry, I even signed up for Uber and found nothing available. We located a subway station only two blocks away and we walked to it. Once we got off the train we had to walk to the ferry and from the ferry we walked to the motorhome. According to my pedometer we walked just over 10 miles. 

Two Art Galleries – Two Many

Well not really, but we are both tired. We set out this morning just too late to catch the 10:30 Ferry so we took the PATH to the NY Subway System ultimately getting out into the sunshine at 59th and 5th. We had decided to start our day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th at 80th so we were looking at a 22 block walk, just over a mile. The day was fine and hot so we walked along the Central Park side of 5th past endless food carts with the zoo and many playgrounds in the park. Our intention was to take in the Garry Winogrand retrospective along with anything else that might catch our interest.

Our first mission was to locate restrooms, no mean feat in that huge HUGE museum. The signage is limited and as many people as they have the place is so big they are pretty spread out. Then we had to get some lunch,THEN we could get to the exhibits which naturally was at the other end of the building. It is hard to run through the Met because every room you enter has so many items to capture the attention. Eventually we found our way to the Winogrand Retrospective and spent over an hour looking at the work. Although we both know his work, there was much to see that has not been generally available even in books. He left several thousand rolls of film undeveloped when he died, he had never even seen the contact sheets of the negatives. Much of the work included in the exhibit was from those rolls, well annotated. We went on to the rest of the photography on exhibit. It is a limited presentation but the work shownm is exquisite and challenging. Somehow we found ourselves working our way through the modern and contemporary art galleries. As we sort of moved toward the exit. You know you have seen too much art to take in much more when a room full of Picasso and Matisse takes just a passing look. We slowed down for the Surrealists and for Miro, but by then the brains were beyond taking in much more.

We sat in the park for a while just resting our feet and our brains before heading back to . . .  well we were not sure so we walked over to Madison Ave and turned downtown. Oh, would you believe we were passing the Whitney where there is a retrospective of Jeff Koons work. There was no line. We hemmed and hawed and finally said how can we just walk on by. Not only will the exhibit be gone but the Whitney will have moved out of the building before we get back here again. It was only 4:15 so in we went. Five floors of Koons’ work later we were just a bit slap happy so I

 took this selfy:

I’m not sure you can see the back of my head in the item behind me. Carol did not want to be in this picture.
We crawled out on to Madison Ave and walked to Lexington and uptown a couple of blocks to catch the subway to put us back on the PATH to Jersey City. Carol is about to make some dinner while I write this and savor some very nice Hornida Tequila on ice. It is still over 80 as the sun has set. 
Tomorrow we drive to Pound Ridge to see the Kerners, Jon was my roommate for a couple of years at Brown and he and Peggy got married the same day we did way back in June 1964. Really it seems like only last decade.

Anon. . . (refer to prior post)

Storm King Art Center is one of those must see places. I am not sure why we had not even heard of it until my sister told us about their visit. So now I have been there and you have heard of it. It is a vast sculpture park with a large variety of outdoor venues, most although appearing natural are created and sculpted into being over time. Even the Calder hillside was created and shaped for the placement of the Calder stabiles. At every turn there is a surprise if you turn your head from the main item in your view. As we climbed the Calder slope at the end of the day returning to the Museum Hill Area I looked off to the side behind me and saw this picket fence in mirror:

The newest item on display in the Maple Room is Three Legged Buddah, part of a larger exhibit of Zhang Huan’s work. 
As I talked to Sandy we agreed that much of the work has a 70’s feel to it although the work in the North Woods area seems far more current.
The next day, Thursday, we hung around the coach in the morning catching up on things and I made some minor repairs and improvements. It seems there is always a hinge or a catch that picks an inappropriate moment to cause problems.  In this case the drawer that contains the garbage pail decided not to latch closed also it would not retract all the way so we couldn’t close the door. Five minutes of getting my fingers greasy from the slides and I had located the sticky latch, freed it and lubricated it so it is good for another couple of years. I seem to be out of industrial strength Velcro to resolve a couple of other minor issues. It is on the shopping list.
After lunch on board we ventured into Rhinebeck to see what it is about. It is a fairly typical small town with some lovely shops where Carol found a pair of earrings that filled a need she had.  One gallery we visited, a third floor walkup, was quite lovely and the owner took a lot of time with us. The work is mostly landscapish and I really liked the sculpture on display. Back to the coach for washup and preparation for a dining experience.
OMG CIA is huge. I never quite envisioned a large college campus when I thought about one of the oldest cooking schools in the US. We turned in on Chive Ave and continued on Campus Drive to the parking garage to find our restaurant Caterina de Medici (we left on Parsley Way). We were seated immediately even though we had arrived a few minutes early. The staff were very welcoming and helpful. We were seated in a room off to the side of the main dining room with one other party of 6, Italian speakers who added to the atmosphere with their broad gestures and apparent enjoyment of the moment together. Our waiter Steve was young although in his last semester at the school learning the “front of the house” by waiting table as part of the educational rotation. Neither of us was up to ordering a full five courses, but we did indulge in two courses each and a shared dessert. 
Yes, that is a foodie picture. I know I don’t usually include them even though I do take them sometimes. The portions were small by some standards, but we were quite satisfied and Carol brought part of her main dish home. The tomato and bread soup she had was marvelous, but filling. and my leg of lamb main course was heavenly, although the presentation as a group of meatballs (or so they looked) in a tureen with marvelous vegetables was a bit off putting at first. Tips are not permitted but a 17% Service Fee is included.
The next day, Friday, found us heading into a nightmare of roads in the north Jersey area with Carol at the helm and me at the GPS trying to figure out which of the four ramps to the right it meant by “bear right now” OY! we did get to the campground and here is a view from the office:
Yes, that is the Statue of Liberty just off in the near distance.
A brief comment on the birthday party we are here to attend. Carol’s brother, Arthur turned 85 on Monday September 1. We wanted his Aunt Dorothy, only 6 years older, to be able to attend, but the trip from Hamilton ON would have been a bit much so we arranged with her son Mitchell to have a Skype session which ended up going on for 30 minutes. This was a highlight for everyone, especially Arthur and Dorothy (make that Art and Dodo). Everyone in Moshe’s house got to see and talk with Aunt Dodo and with Mitchell. 
Enough different stuff for one post. The NYC adventure starts now!