grinch stuff

Sorry, Christoween always gets me a bit cranky. I'm all for evergreens and cookies and carol singing and candles and eggnog and hot cider and even midnight mass (atheist as I am). But I am not into consumerism. At all.
    So for others with similar urges to puke when mama goes mouth-to-mouth with Santy Claus, I offer up the 2016 Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalogue.
  I am sure that other such misanthropic sites exist. Feel free to flag me or weigh in.
Take that, Santa Baby


the doctor is in

Now saving the world one person at a time.

Miriam's outsider artist sister, one of whose fabulous works
 Miriam was a reporter at Life magazine when I met her. Elegant and beautiful, she didn't resemble the ink-stained wretches of legend. And she wanted something more than a career in journalism: She wanted to help people. It was a hard road of late-night math classes and serious testing—between stories—but she got into medical school, specialized in psychiatry and opened up her practice while
is here, was part of Miriam's inspiration for a career change.
having twins—and a husband dying of cancer. Talk about multitasking. And all of that in her late 30s.
      And here she is today: Supershrink. A doctor, mother, wife and all round good person. A story in herself. Fortunately for me, she has moved her office into my neighborhood so perhaps I can see her more often. Her gentle, caring presence alone is curative.

"So, how's it going?" Miriam in her office.


upstate to hudson

Janet welcomes us to  Mansion Row—and suite.
 The Hudson River is a grand one, and by train you travel right along it, up from the city, past the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges, past the town I grew up in and Sing-Sing prison, and West Point and Bear Mountain and Poughkeepsie where I went to college and Hyde Park and on up into yuppie country. Ed and I touched down in Hudson with plans to see Katie's latest gallery and our old Life buddy Peter. We immediately went out to lunch (it's what we're good at) with Peter and wife
Janet, moseyed down to see Katie and Mike, back to Peter's for a party which became so lively that we blew off the train home.
   I was given the future B-and-B suite, which was great, while Ed had to be contented with the guest room. And we got to  head back to town in the daylight and enjoy the Hudson River Valley all over again. A swell, if unexpected weekend.
The LIFE crew must have communicated about the shirts.


deer in the headlights

The Artist Kate Knapp picked a winter scene that I quite liked for the window of her gallery on Warren Street in Hudson, N.Y. That is, I liked the picture but for one thing: the deer in the foreground. It turned out she had added the deer later, feeling that an element was missing. And she liked the way the deer's antlers referred to the tree branches, as her husband Mike points out (above).
I don't think I would be able to tolerate critics like me if I were an artist. But Katie listened patiently to all praise (left) and criticism.


the book of nyc

 They came,
they saw,
they walked.
And they took in
 a lot of cultcha,
as you can
plainly see
from Bill's
tiny (3-by 4-inch?)
letterpress  book
(very cleverly
folded from one
sheet of paper).

It wasn't like the Ozarks,
 nor yet Arizona.
It wasn't
Los Angeles or
North Carolina.
It was New York, New York,
the city so nice
 they named it twice.
So they hadda walk.
And buy epsom salts
for the feet.


rounding up

Hannah and ze kidz in the departure lounge at Queretero Aeropuerto.
A lot going on lately.
Hannah got trolled on Instagram yesterday when for Charity Tuesday she donated 15 percent of sales to Planned Parenthood. Some said they were no longer buying Calm-a-Mama products, many more cheered her on.
Here is a link to Donna Ferrato's Vanderbuilt University show about domestic violence. You can also see my panels of text under the exhibition link.
Meanwhile Peter Meyer is all about education these days. He has a compelling newsletter about  college level that ranges from the Yale-Harvard football game to self-censorship on campus. In addition he has started a program called School Life News to teach young kids journalism so that they can learn skills and be better able to distinguish false news. You can see a video about the program here if you enter the password slmvideo.
Found a new mag I like, The Bitter Southerner. I'm not sure if it's in print as well as on line, but I like the writing and the pix.
A doc is coming out on photographer Harry Benson. I'm pretty sure Ed already has his copy. Trailer here.
And speaking of Harry, Donna ran into him at the Time magazine do for The 100 Most Influential Photographs of All Time, where they were both being honored. You can see a video of Donna and her subject being interviewed about the picture.


the ugly horse

This painting is one Douglas's father and mother acquired (for reasons unclear to me) that he thought I might like to have. They were emptying the barn, so it needed to be stabled somewhere, if only the dump. It was covered with cobwebs and mouseshit and held together with duct tape. And deplorably brown. But there was something about it—I think the size and the frame—that fit into the old men's club ethos of the Dowling Intercontinental, New York City. So, with some little trouble (and help from Doro who cleaned it), I took it off island and installed it in the hall. What do you think?


it begins at home

Mind you, the sign was produced by another. But the silencing was her idea. No one told her to be quiet (at least not then), but they will begin soon enough. Good little girls are seen and not heard; little boys are rambunctious. This message comes even from us, the die-hard feminazis who had to fight to get every word in edgewise. It's just part of the cultural cloud, automatically downloaded. It is doubtful that Mr. Trump will off the patriarchy, so it's up to the rest of us to teach Camilla that every voice matters.


great american eating ceremony

Yep. Here we are again! I notice that we're skewing younger—only three medicare types in the group this year (including myself). Many beautiful people. Not enough diversity except in age, where we did pretty well. Love you all, and very grateful for my intimates.


great american eating ceremony begins

The Saga of the Love Bath will be continued at a later date (it ain't over til it's over). Meanwhile, it is the commencement of The Great American Eating Ceremony. The shopping and lists have begun in any case. Mo' later.


the tub, part 2

The tub, the truck and I made it from my sister's house to the ferry. Thinking ahead, I called Ana for rescue and help unloading. She has some strong guys in her family.
Made it onto the boat, though I must confess I asked the guys to back it on. I am poor in reverse at the best of times, and given the lack of line of sight in the current instance, decided to bury my pride.
From this point on, my documentation is poor. Mainly because I was terrified. Not only that the tub that had come all the way from mainland China to Hong Kong to New Jersey by boat, to Boston by truck and by my aegis to Block island would be already broken, but that the guys would get hurt.
They rolled it home. After uncrating on the porch (appeared undamaged), they rolled it indoors. Then, slipping and sliding, as we argued about whether to get some more guys (the thing weighs about 500 lbs!), they rolled it over rugs up the stairs to the second floor. I was so scared someone would get killed that I did not take any pictures, instead running around with pieces of carpet and wringing my hands.
And them, miraculously, it was done. Rub-a-dub-dub


wtf's in the truck

The saga begins.
 I blame myself. But I also blame my daughter and son-in-law. I have a tub. A nice round tub. From China. But the Jacuzzi jets don't work because the touchpad doesn't work. I have  new set of electricals for it, but it has to be unplumbed and turned upside down to get at the electricals. Also to get at the faucets. Which, my son-in-law told me, were loose and needed to be tightened. He suggested cutting a hole in the side to get at them. I decided to get a new tub that would be easier to repair and have no jets to malfunction. Rental house.
But then my daughter posted a picture of the old tub on social media and there was an outpouring of yearning. So I thought, OK, another round tub. On line the only round tubs I could find were from China. Seemed cheap too. And after all, my other tub had come from China. Free shipping right to my door on Block Island.
Enter Danilo.

I did not realize at first that due to the fact that my original tub was already sitting in a California warehouse my second experience would be quite different. That I would become (pre Trump!) an importer of goods from China and would wind up paying more than double the quite modest cost of the Love Bath itself in fees and duties. Not to mention that I would have to fetch the thing from customs in Boston. The timing sucked—houseguests in New York and Thanksgiving next week and a $60-a-day fee to leave it in the Boston warehouse. So as soon as I got clearance and paid up via wire, I drove through the pouring rain praying that I would find someone to help me load the thing sideways in a too small truck. The kid from Montego Bay said I needed to get another truck. I begged. He got his boss. I begged some more. I signed my life away in case of breakage, and  they figured it out. Maybe because it was prominently labelled "Love Bath." And then the kid from Montego Bay loaded it and helped me strap it down. In the pouring rain. I was going to drive to my daughter's in Providence and let her see what she had wrought, but they all had the flu, so I went to my sister's instead. Driving very carefully.