Friday, December 02, 2022

Giving Thanks!


Gathered around the table, from left, Heather, Josh, Shira, Gary, Will, Jonathan, Scott (hidden), Sean, Ariella and Daniel. 

We had lots of reasons to give thanks this Thanksgiving. Although we were really sad to learn that our son James, daughter-in-law Morgen and youngest grandson Kolya were unable to join us for the holiday, we were grateful that they recovered from the RSV that caused them to cancel without the complications that have landed some children in overcrowded hospitals at this time of year. Our hearts go out to those families.

We did a lot of cooking with everyone pitching in. That's Jonathan, Scott, Shira, Heather, Gary, Will and Sean.

But we did have two of our sons and their families join us. Sean, Will and Will's Dad Gary came up from Boston, while Josh, Michal, Shira and Jonathan flew from Tulsa, OK to NYC where they picked up our two grandchildren attending Columbia University, Daniel and Ariella and drove up overnight. Of course we did lots of cooking and eating, but the weather cooperated enough so that we got in a couple of hikes and Josh and Daniel spent a day skiing at Killington. It was a wonderful weekend with lots of board games and the World Cup soccer to watch.  And we had a Christmas/Hanukah morning opening the many boxes of gifts that my sister Paula sent for everyone! We are truly thankful. 

My beautiful daughter-in-law Michal and equally beautiful granddaughter Ariella had fun making a lemon meringue pie together, shown here before baking.

Top row: Will, Sean and Daniel. Bottom row: Jonathan, Heather, Gary, Shira, Ariella, Scott and Josh

Hiking near our home over the "wedding 

The finished Lemon Meringue Pie.

Shira strikes a pose.

Watching the World Cup, Scott, Gary, Michal, Jonathan, Sean, Shira and Will.

Jonathan enjoyed the fun gifts that my
sister sent for all.

Sean attempting some difficult climbing
maneuvers on our hike.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

NY, NY - It's A Wonderful Town!

Our granddaughter Ariella "Cookie" is a freshman at Columbia and here she is pointing to the poster for the Sabor's Fall Show, Cartas de Amor, and that's our grandson Daniel on it!

 We have two grandchildren attending Columbia University in NYC now! It's been many years since Scott and I have been back to the city, but now we plan to do it more often. Our oldest grandson Daniel invited us to his Latin Dance Club's (called Sabor) Fall Show a month ago and we planned a weekend around it. Scott's brother and wife live in South Orange, NJ so we were supposed to stay with them. Unfortunately we found out Friday night that Brent had come down with COVID so plans changed. We managed to get a reservation at the Marriot Courtyard on E52nd St. so all seemed to work out. Happily Brent was taking Paxlovid and feeling better a few days later. 

Scott and I with Cookie and Daniel after the show!

We drove down Saturday morning to the University Parking Garage nearby. The very nice attendant told us it would be $200 or more if we left it there until Monday. But he pointed out we could park the car on the street free as long as we were back Monday morning in time for the posted cleaning schedule. Wow! Thanks! We drove out the exit and parked across the street. The Monday deadline wasn't until 11 AM! It was a quick walk down to the Student Union where we met Cookie and watched some of Daniel's rehearsals. Then Cookie took us for a tour of the school and we saw her dorm room - a really nice single with a view over the main courtyard. 

The dancers rehearse at the Columbia Student Union. Rehearsals lasted all Saturday and Sunday until the performance Sunday night at 7 PM.

Daniel had a brief lunch break so we had some time to visit. Then Cookie joined us for a Lyft ride to the hotel. But our luck broke down. I had made the reservation the night before after hearing about Brent's COVID and screwed up royally. I didn't carefully check the date on the confirmation and it was for the following week! And they were full at the hotel. But the very nice clerks searched around and suggested the Marriott Residence Hotel only a few blocks away where they had rooms. We walked down there and indeed they had rooms - but for $400+ a night! Scott got on his phone and started checking rates on Expedia etc. and found somewhat cheaper rates on the Marriott website. The clerks were again SO nice and spent a lot of time with us helping. Finally we ended up with a much lower rate (by signing up for the Marriott credit card) and by this time had made friends with Craig, the supervisor. He gave us an upgrade to a nicer room, and it was very lovely. It had a full kitchen with big windows overlooking the street. Cookie was a great help and visited with us for a while in our room. But it was too late for a museum visit so we said good night and made plans to meet in the morning at the Metropolitan Museum. After a nice rest, we had a good dinner nearby at a modest restaurant, Foxy John's Bar & Kitchen.

One of the many interior courtyards at the Metropolitan Museum. We had lunch at the Café in the back. 

The Museum of course is amazing and we managed to see a fair amount. A nice volunteer helped us plan our route through the Egyptian collection, the American Wing and the modern European art collection. Midway we stopped for lunch at a café.  Cookie had never been there and it had been many years since Scott and I had so we had a wonderful time discovering it together. 

That's Daniel on the left

And second from the left

Daniel got us VIP seats at a table at the front of the auditorium so we had a fabulous view. You can't pick Daniel out in this group shot. 

We went back to the hotel for a rest and then returned to meet Cookie at her dorm. We stopped at the car to pick up presents for her and Daniel. Her birthday was a few weeks ago and we decided we'd just bring them with us. We had dinner together at her dorm cafeteria and then went to the show. The auditorium was packed with enthusiastic students! This was the fundraiser for Sabor, Columbia's Latin Dance Club. They host a 3 day seminar for NYC underserved but ambitious High School students in the Spring. They provide workshops in the performing arts and college admissions during a weekend of dance. The choreography for this event is done by members of the club. Daniel hopes to submit a proposal for a dance next fall.  It was an amazing fun riotous evening with a hugely supportive audience.  
Monday morning was a relaxing one enjoying the excellent free breakfast at the hotel. Luckily Scott's cousin Lisa called us and suggested we stop and spend for a night with she and her partner Yosi in Amherst, MA. It was an easy traffic free trip from the upper west side where we had left our car out of the city and we met Lisa at a parking area near their home for a chilly but beautiful walk along the river. On the way back to their home we stopped to see the house they bought that Yosi is renovating to rent. It's a small former store and needs a lot of work, but Yosi is very experienced. Lisa made a fabulous dinner for us and it was terrific catching up with them. We were off the next day early for the trip home. What a great weekend!

Daniel after the performance

Lots of his friends came to congratulate him.

Foxy John's on E47th St.
Daniel's Instagram post re our present of a tool
kit that look's like Thor's hammer!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Exploring with our E-Bikes

Our second day biking was our first on a road but chosen due to little traffic. 

We've been enjoying a real Indian Summer here in Vermont these first two weeks in November. The daytime temperatures have been consistently in the middle to high 60's and for several days, into the 70's. And almost every day has been sunny! At first we headed out on the trails for hikes, but hunting season made that a little scary. So we decided to bike instead. This week we made two trips; first to Lebanon, NH for a trip on the Northern Rail Trail and second, on a back road in Tinmouth, VT.  The high these two days was 63 so we had to dress pretty warmly with gloves. 

Scott poses next to his e-bike and as you can see, he's dressed warmly. We actually had coffee sitting outside in the sun after our bike trip and it was very comfortable, but the wind while we were biking made it quite chilly.

The Northern Rail Trail is NH's longest at 58 miles. It goes from Lebanon to Boscawen. Plans are to extend it to Concord and White River Junction soon, for a total of 69 miles. The Friends of the Northern Rail Trail have been working with the State of N.H. to turn this former Northern Railroad line into a multipurpose 4-season trail since 2004. The Northern Railroad, begun in 1857, joined two earlier lines and ran from Concord to White River Junction. From there passengers could continue up to Montreal. Traffic on it ceased in the early 1970's. 

We did the first section starting in Lebanon and turning around at Lake Mascoma near Enfield.

The next day we decided we were ready to try biking on a road. We'd picked one out a while ago on our regular route from our home to the Dorset Playhouse. It's west of Route 7 with gentle hills, a smooth paved road and not a lot of traffic - no shoulders though, but we felt the visibility was far enough for cars to slow down if another car was approaching near us. The views are really lovely all along this way. 
Rolling hills and farms line the road through Tinmouth. 

On the way we stopped at site indicated on our Google map with a description on "Yelp" - the Giant's Table, or Table Rock. What a funny place. It's just off the road and the local fire chief with a good sense of humor  dreamed it up! 

Here it is? Right now there are only the chairs and "plates" but sometimes there are tall birch "glasses" and "food" on the plates.

The weather is turning rainy and we're headed down this weekend to NYC to spend time with our two grandchildren, Daniel and Ariella "Cookie" who are both attending Columbia University. We'll be staying with Scott's brother Brent and his wife Wilma in nearby South Orange, NJ.  Hopefully we'll get some more biking in when we return. Coming up - Thanksgiving with three of our children: Josh, James and Sean, along with their families - a total of 14.

This was our turn around spot at Mascoma Lake,
although not our photo as you can see from the 

Most of the trees are bare now. The Northern 
Rail Trail goes over lots of rivers and streams
with a variety of bridges. 

You can now get sense of the scale at Table Rock! That's Heather looking like a toddler.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Last of the Fall photos and visits

Debbie, myself and Judy

Here's a batch of photos from our Fall visits. After our trip down to Washington DC and Maryland, we met my first cousin Judy and her daughter Debbie for lunch at Calcutta's in Ludlow. Judy is the last of our generation on my father's side other than myself and my sister Paula. My father was the youngest of 6 children and he was almost 40 when he had me! So all of my first cousins, and there were tons of them, were much older. She is ten years older than I and baby sat me regularly. But Judy is doing really well and it was a fun visit. Debbie was our first Nanny when we had our son James!
Dick, Debbie, Heather, Ted and Karen in Woodstock, VT

Our next visitors came up for a long weekend. Marty from Concord, MA, Dick and Debbie from Plymouth, MA and Ted and Karen from Winchester, MA. We have all been friends for 50 or so years! Leslie & Dave were supposed to join us, but Leslie was sick and they had to postpone the trip. and Russ wasn't able to come. Our first full day we visited Woodstock, VT about an hour from us. Fall colors were still blazing as we walked around the town, stopping in to many of the shops to look around. The next day Marty joined us and we went for a beautiful hike at White Rocks nearby. The views from the ridge were amazing and a few of our group even continued on to the "ice caves", no ice this late in the season though. 
The view from the bridge over the White River in Woodstock, VT

Ted, Debbie, Karen, Dick and Scott pose on the 

Looking down at the bright yellow foliage.

Debbie, Heather, Marty, Scott and Ted pose at the viewpoint on the 
White Rocks trail. Dick took a pass on this trip.

And this time Heather takes the photo and Karen joins in.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Moving Into Fall


Here's the view of the back side of our former townhouse condominium at Marina Bay in Quincy. We bought it over 30 years ago as a rental property. Unlike our sale of the boat, this was a difficult experience. We had a great realtor who helped us manage 4 months of renovations while we were bringing the Scott Free up from Guatemala. Once that was done, the condo sold quickly.

Our big news recently is the sale of our townhouse condo on Boston Harbor in Marina Bay, Quincy.  Our realtor, Colleen Russo, was amazing. It was a huge relief to finally close on the property. So now we are down to The Hundred Acre Wood here in Vermont and our 24 foot trailer, Baby. We hitched her up to our truck, Junior, and enjoyed a 3 day mini shakedown trip to the southwest corner of Vermont. The Pine Hollow Campground was a lovely spot. We brought our new E-bikes and returned to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, starting in Adams, MA. The next day, which was rainy, the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown was our refuge for the day.  The Allegro Bistro in Bennington and the Cozy Corner Restaurant in Williamstown were excellent choices for dinner and the Chef's Hat for our last breakfast was perfect. The chef was mostly on vacation as well!

Here's the view from our site at Pine Hollow Campground. Our first day we enjoyed some lovely weather!

This fall we've continued to enjoy theater and music. Shrewsbury had weekend concerts up at our Meeting House and the day long Shrewsbury Day with a parade, lunch and music. Heather got to march in the parade this year with the Pierce's Store group! A fantastic Memorial to Robert De Cormier at the Grace Church featured 6 different choruses. This coming weekend we'll be at the Brandon Music to see the Swing Noir, a Gypsy Jazz Band from the UK. 

It looked like every resident of Shrewbury was there for Shrewsbury Day. After the parade, there was a free lunch and live music. Luckily we had perfect weather!

We took two trips to visit friends and family. First, to Gloucester to see Gail, Colin and Leslie Smith. Carol and Bill Fonvielle also came over for lunch on the porch one day. Again, we lucked out on the weather and took lots of walks on the beaches between wonderful meals over looking the ocean. Then we drove down to Maryland to visit my sister Paula and spend the weekend with our son James, daughter-in-law Morgen and grandson Kolya. They came for a brunch at Paula's as well. On the way back to Washington James' family and ourselves enjoyed the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Then Scott and I took Kolya off for a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We spent a week with Paula and took her to several medical appointments - between some wonderful meals and conversation. This weekend we will be hosting the Silversteins, Martins, Bond-D'Arpas and Wolfs!

Scott, Leslie and Gail enjoy lots of oysters out on the porch. Colin and I aren't fans, but loved the stuffed clams. 

The foliage is glorious now. Just walking our driveway is a treat. The farmer's market is awash in colorful peppers, squashes and pumpkins. But it has turned cold with a high in the 50's and evening lows close to freezing. Yesterday Heather worked (volunteered) at Pierce's Store, opening it up in the morning at 7:30 AM (the safe is a bear to unlock, an old fashioned one with a dial) till Noon while Scott attended his Quaker meeting. Then the two of us manned the gate at the Art in the Park event in Rutland for a few hours. 

Here's a few of the peppers for sale and the Rutland Farmer's Market!

Heather has spent a lot of time planning our trip south and west starting December 20th. We wanted to get camping spots in the National Parks so needed to have the trip pretty much organized. But we failed to get spots right in the four big parks we will visit despite being ready 6 months in advance at the opening time with both computers. So we'll stay outside the parks but nearby.  Our itinerary takes us down the east coast to Florida with visits on the way to Walt & Honoree Cooper and Steve & Kate Kelley. We have a lot of friends and family to visit in Florida before heading west to Arizona. We won't be going as far as California this year.

Take a walk up our driveway with Scott up ahead. It's late foliage time here October 9th with the leaves gone from most of our trees. 

Now looking back towards Spring Lake Rd.

A little further up the driveway, still not in sight of the house.

Still further up, the house is around the bend.

Sean & Will at Beziers in France during their 3 
week vacation. They visited London, Paris, the south
of France, and Portugal. 

Heather with her new folding E-bike!

The view from the Smith's porch in Gloucester.

The living room of our former condo in Quincy.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Summer Summary

Kolya dressed up for the wedding as
ring bearer.

 We got back to Vermont late this year on June 12 and as the result we've had a busy summer catching up with friends and family here and away. The first happy occasion was a visit from James, Morgen and Kolya, along with Morgen's parents, Kris and Karl. They had a wedding in northern Vermont and came on the way up and back. Next, it was time for our Fourth of July gathering. Zoë flew to Boston and drove up with Sean and Will on June 30th. The rest of our friends gradually arrive and stayed with the last ones leaving on July 7th.  We had good weather and spent lots of time at Spring Lake and eating outdoors on the deck. 

From top row left: Pat (Doug's girlfriend), Doug, David, Leslie, Heather, Marty (next row) Luke, Emma (Luke's girlfriend), Scott, Sean, (bottom row) Zoë, Julie, Jenny, Russ, Larry, Scott S., Calvin & Laura. 

Our next visitors were Scott's brother Brent, his two daughters Wandi & Vern, Vern's husband Sam and son Joseph. Our sister-in-law Wilma had to stay behind to manage construction at their home. The weather really cooperated and we swam and did some sightseeing. 

Brent, Wandi, Heather, Scott, Joseph, Sam and Vern at the Mountain View Inn for lunch. 

We had a full concert/theater schedule this summer. First was three performances of Opera North at Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish, NH. We shared these season tickets with our friend Sally Deinzer and Sean was able to come with us one night. They were a delight and again the weather cooperated and we had picnics on the lawn. Then we went to see "Wait Until Dark" and "Thirst" at the Dorset, "Steel Magnolias" at the Weston, Postmodern Jukebox at the Paramount, "Midsummer Night's Dream" NYC Ballet at SPAC, and a number of concerts at the Town Hall in Shrewsbury. 
Scott, Sean and Heather at La Traviata, Opera North at Blow-Me-Down Farm, Cornish, NH

Our next guests were Harpal and Jeannie Dhama, visiting from Winter Park, FL. Harpal is one of my oldest friends, my sister Paula's originally in college. We stayed at their home twice during our RV trip across the country in 2021. but they were in California so this was the first time together for awhile. I'm sorry to say I don't have a photo - I've been negligent at taking photos since my camera broke! 

Heather takes a breather during our walk at the Taconic Ramble State Park. The Japanese garden there invites you to do some meditation!

I'll admit this wasn't our most athletic summer (or year). We did have some nice but rather short walks and rented e-bikes again from our Senior Center and did the Rail Bike Trail in Burlington, VT. We are planning to buy two folding e-bikes this fall to take on our cross country RV trip next winter. 
Scott rests up at the end of the bike path causeway that crosses a section of Lake Champlain up in Burlington VT 

Our bout with COVID after the trip to New Orleans for the Tortugal Marina reunion ended with negative tests in time to travel to Tulsa, OK to see our oldest son Joshua and his wife Michal, and our grandchildren, Maya, Jonathan and Shira (the oldest two are both at Columbia University now). We also saw our cruiser friends Jerry & Debarah, who live nearby in Drumright. 
We visited The Gathering, an amazing park on the river in Tulsa twice. here we try out a few of the fabulous chairs there. Here we have our granddaughter Maya, now 15 and going to school in London.

Shira, Heather and Maya make Jamaican patties for dinner. We've been watching the Great British Junior Baking Show and were inspired.

Kolya tries out a water shooter at the lake

Leslie makes her flag cake every year at the 
Fourth of July weekend!

Scott and Sally at our picnic before the Opera North afternoon performance. Blow-Me-Down Farm is the National Park Service's only collaboration with an arts group and a very successful one. It, together with the Saint-Gaudens estate is a National Historic Park and was originally the social and creative center for the Cornish Colony. 

We love the Postmodern Jukebox. This is the second
time they have come to the Paramount in Rutland.

Scott is always involved in politics, mostly
local and here his friend Bernie Sanders
speaks in support of Becca Balint for U.S.
Representative. She won the primary!

Michal and Maya share a chair at
the Gathering Place in Tulsa.

Josh in a big hug with Shira and Jonathan
Looks like a serious discussion!
And Shira must be making a point!
Jerry, Debarah, Heather and Scott at the Woolaroc Museum
On the extensive grounds surrounding the museum a variety of animals roam free. Here some water buffalos graze along the lake.
The museum holds over 300 paintings, 600 bronzes
 and 2300 pieces of Native American art and artifacts.
Woolaroc was established in 1925 as a ranch
retreat by the oilman Frank Philips. He gave
the entire property, including his home, to 
found the Museum.
Josh took the 2 kids and Scott on a 
Art Museum tour of Fort Worth. Michal
and I had a day together.