Archive for July, 2015

Letter From New York 07 31 15 A very Hudson sort of day…

July 31, 2015

At this moment I am sitting on my deck; the creek is mirror still and once more reflecting the foliage in all its green majesty. The day threatened to be agonizingly hot but turned out to be rather mild, humidity low, air clean and fresh. I sat on the deck and read, had a conference call while sipping lemonade. It was an idyllic kind of day.

Last night’s party for Ray, our conductor, was an outstanding success. Forty or so of the “Empire Regulars” showed up for the event. A beautiful cake was presented to him that had “Thank you for riding Amtrak” in icing on it. My “Ray Martin” cocktail was well received and there were some grand food offerings. We took over the unused café car and made it party central.

We forced Ray to give a little speech and he did so graciously. Most of the “Empire Regulars” get off in Rhinebeck but they rode on to Hudson and we took a group shot of all of us at the Hudson Station. Then the Rhinebeck riders leapt onto a southbound train and headed home!

It was a great success and a tremendous send off for Ray. I am totally delighted I could be there and be part of it.

Usually I don’t drive to the train station. I like to leave my car at the house so it looks like I’m there. When coming in on Monday, I did drive to the station but completely forgot. My friend James gave me a lift home and only then did I think: where is my car? At the station!

So this morning, I took a taxi into the Hudson, down to the train station to retrieve my car. Unlike New York, you often share a cab here with others. This morning there was a couple on their way to the Laundromat. They were obviously friends with the young woman driving. I had an interesting fifteen minutes of insight into their lives, full of drama, threats, and machinations. It was amazing. When I got out of the taxi, I told them I hoped all their stories had happy endings. The young man wished the same for me. There were complicated relationships with everyone knowing everyone else and everyone seeming to be related. It was dizzying and a little frightening.

After retrieving my car, I stopped at Relish, the little restaurant across from the Train Station, and had breakfast. There, too, was drama, all the employees gathered around one of them, giving her advice on how to handle her romantic situation, whatever it was.

I was beginning to think that this was going to be the theme of the day.

It hasn’t been. I took my car to be serviced, returned home after collecting the mail and have been cuddled by the beauty at the cottage for the rest of the day. In about an hour, I will head down to Hudson for a light dinner and then home to continue reading the book I’m engaged in.

Speaking of Hudson, Forbes had an article recently about the reasons you should come here. Below is the link for the article if you’re interested.

I have not been to Fish and Game. It’s been reviewed by my friends as a little over the top pricey, very good but has always seemed a little pretentious for my taste. I should give it a try and make my own opinion.

The sun is a golden orb behind me and I am winding down, getting ready for dinner. I have not commented on the world situation. It is too beautiful a day. I want a moment’s respite from the trials and tribulations of the world. Surrounding me are a couple of acres of the most beautiful places on earth and I am inhaling them right now.

If possible, the creek is even more mirror like and I am surrounded by the sounds of birds and soft jazz on the stereo. It is a perfect way to slide into a weekend.

I hope your Friday has been as delicious as mine.

Letter From New York 07 30 15 A party on the train and a missing dentist…

July 30, 2015

The moment I stepped out of the apartment this morning, my glasses steamed up. It was that kind of day. Stopping at CVS to pick up prescription, I exited into a torrential downpour. I stood for ten to fifteen minutes getting a cab, while balancing a suitcase, knapsack and CVS bag before one arrived.

The reason I was weighted down with all this “stuff” is that tonight is July 30th and I was appointed bartender for tonight’s Empire Regulars’ Retirement party for Ray, one of the most beloved conductors on the Empire Service. I think tomorrow is his last day; today is his last time conducting on one of our regular trains.

Emails have been racing back and forth all day about who was going to bring what…

Cheese and crackers and cold meats and Italian sausages, soft drinks and my “Ray Martin” drink, a concoction of limeade, seltzer, ice, and vodka, topped by a maraschino cherry.

It’s been my job for nearly ten years this fall to come up with a signature drink for our train parties. I did “Baby ‘Tinis” for a baby shower, held for a couple of regulars having their first child. One was pink; one was blue. They had opted not to know the sex of their child so I did one for each possibility. For a Halloween party, I created a “Pumpkin Tini” and so it has gone for all these years.

Ray has been great to all of us and we want to send him off in our signature style, a party on the train.

Not very much a party was Gay Pride in Israel. An ultra-Orthodox Jew named Yishai Schlissel stabbed six people in the Pride Parade. Just a few weeks ago, he was released from prison, having served his time for stabbing three people in the 2005 Pride Parade.

The plane part found on Reunion Island, a French territory in the Western Indian Ocean, is being closely examined to make sure that it is truly from a 777. If it is, it is probably from MH 370, as there are no other missing 777’s. There is no desire to give friends and relatives of the flight’s passengers anything but 100% certainty.

Ray Tensing, a University of Cincinnati policeman, has been charged with murder of a black man, Sam Dubose, after he shot Dubose following a stop for a missing license plate. Tensing was wearing a body camera. The Cincinnati prosecutor has called it “senseless and asinine.” Tensing has pleaded not guilty and is held under a million-dollar bail.

The Greek Debt Crisis continues roiling. Tsipras is being confronted by the far left of his party and he has thrown down the gauntlet to them. Germany wants the IMF to be part of the bail out. The IMP says not right now; it wants to know Greece can succeed. Who knows what will happen?

Tsipras remains incredibly popular, even after his U turn. He seems refreshing to the Greek populace, so used to career politicians.

Walter Palmer, the Bloomington, Minnesota dentist who has brought down the world’s wrath by killing Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, has disappeared. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officials have been relentlessly attempting to contact him. It’s not the first time they’ve been in touch with him. There was an incident a few years ago here in the States.

No success. Silent as a tomb, where some people would like him to be.

But if I am going to be successful at tonight’s party, it’s time for me to finish this and head for Penn Station to join my fellow revelers. Shhhh! It’s a surprise.

Letter From New York 07 29 15 Of missile launches, lion hunts and other things…

July 29, 2015

It is a sunny and blistering hot day in New York. I had a lunch today at Sarabeth’s in Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue. It is not a terrible walk but by the time I arrived there, I was more than damp and glad I had topped off with a cold drink of water before I left. Coming back, I caught the bus right outside the store and rode it to Penn Station, walking from there to the office.

When I left the apartment this morning, I turned off the air conditioning but it may have been wiser to leave it on. Heat warnings are in effect for NYC until tomorrow at 8:00 PM. People are to restrain outside activities between 11 and 4 and cooling centers are open for those who might not have air conditioning.

As the day begins to fade, I am gathering my thoughts about the events of the world.

Mullah Omar, head of the Taliban, has apparently been dead for the last two years, according to the Afghans. US Intelligence is examining the claim closely. Supposedly, he died in a Pakistani hospital of an undetermined illness. If he is dead, it may help the peace process. Or not. Some of his supporters have broken from the Taliban and proclaimed their allegiance to IS.

The murkiness continues.

Some parts of a plane washed up on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. They are being examined to see if they are pieces to the missing MH 370, the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared in March of 2014, leaving behind no trace. Despite huge search efforts, nothing has been found and the mystery has been unabated.

Another Malaysian Airliner was shot down over Ukraine. Effort has been being made to initiate a UN tribunal to look into the events surrounding the downing of the flight but they are being blocked by Russia.

Two young Florida boys went fishing. Their boat was found capsized 180 miles from where they started. The search continues, without a trace of them so far.

There is a religious festival that is held every five years in Nepal. Five hundred thousand [500,000] animals have their throats cut. It won’t be happening this year. Priests at the temple of Gidhimai have said that there will be an indefinite halt to the sacrifices to this Goddess of Power. Animal activists are pleased but don’t intend to lower their watch. I think it’s the use of the word “indefinite” that concerns them.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is an old saying that is not holding up between the Turks and the Kurds. Both are fighting IS but they haven’t quit fighting each other. Erdogan, President of Turkey, is concerned because the Kurdish party won 13% of the vote in the last election. Something it has never done. Erdogan is accusing some of the Kurdish members of Parliament of having ties to terrorism. The Erdogan accusations are getting a lot of play; Kurdish rebuttals are receiving little attention.

The Government of Kim Jong-un, everyone’s favorite pudgy little dictator, looks like it is getting ready for a new missile test, having just finished upgrading its rocket launch facility. It will raise tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world, again, and probably result in more sanctions. It will probably happen in October when there is a big political celebration.

Over the last couple of days, hundreds of migrants have stormed the Chunnel, between England and France, desperate to make it to the UK. Riot police have been called out. The Mediterranean problem is sweeping north.

A Minnesota dentist paid $50,000 for a big game hunt in Zimbabwe. He hired a couple of locals. They lured a lion out of a park and he was felled with a crossbow. It turns out the lion was a local tourist favorite, Cecil the Lion. The uproar is horrific. Walter Palmer, the dentist, is apologetic, saying he relied on the locals to ensure a legal hunt. But it looks like the website to his practice has been taken down and he has been thoroughly trashed on social media.

I was not aware that one could still legally hunt wild game in Africa. I thought the only shooting that could be done was with a camera. I was wrong.

It took the hunters forty hours to locate Cecil and to end his misery with a gunshot.

And in ending today’s blog, how better to end it than with an update on The Donald? He has gone on record saying he would welcome Sarah Palin in his administration.

Oh my.

Letter From New York 07 28 15 Wisps of fogs and matters of grieving…

July 28, 2015

It feels a little later than it is; the sun is shaded by clouds and I’m sitting in a darkish office in Chelsea, doing some work and getting ready to meet a friend for dinner.

It was a magic morning coming into New York today. Fog clouded the road from Claverack into Hudson, a wisp at every turn. As the train moved south, the fog followed; sometimes it was so thick it was impossible to see the river. Flotillas of pleasure boats floated on the river, shrouded by the fog.

The city was warm today and I lunched at the Bryant Park Café, outside, with Neva Rae Fox who works for the Episcopal Church here in New York in the Communications Department. Over the years I was working with Odyssey we became friendly and I haven’t her seen for a while.

We talked of their recent conference in Salt Lake City and the vigil that was held to honor victims of gun violence. It is one of the things they will be focusing on, that as well as racial reconciliation.

It seems strange to be back in the city after a week in the country. When I have been away from New York City for a week, I always have a little trouble re-inserting myself into the bustle and the crowds and sirens. So it was today. I gingerly left Penn Station and threaded my way through the rush hour crowds and felt I had reached an oasis of civility when I got to the office.

It is a languid time and a contemplative time, with my mind juggling all the opportunities for my future. Stay here? Live up in the country? I am allowing it to flow through me, as I know the answer will reveal itself. A friend advised me, should I go to the cottage full time, to give myself time to grieve for the life I was leaving behind. Thinking about it, I realized I would mostly grieve for the friends I wouldn’t see as often.

My “grief” is a very first world problem. The families and friends of 25 killed by a suicide bomber in Nigeria are experiencing deep grief, the kind that time softens but does not really “heal.” A fire in a furniture factory in Cairo also killed 25. Grief walks there, too.

In Yemen, a five-day humanitarian truce appears to be crumbling. At least 6.5 million people are on the edge of starvation and some are calling the Saudi Arabians “war criminals” for preventing supplies from reaching the populace. 21 million Yemenis, 80% of the population, is in need of assistance.

I am sure that grief is walking there, too. The Saudis have been relentless in their bombing. The lack of food is also partially because there is no infrastructure to disperse the goods, roads having been destroyed by bombing and no fuel delivered for vehicles.

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Col. Gaddafi, once ruler of Libya, was sentenced to death by shooting in a court in Tripoli. He was not there; he is being held in a prison in Zintan, a hundred miles away. The Zintan group hates the Tripoli group so much they probably won’t turn him over. It’s not that they love the son; they despise him. Famous for lecturing people and pointing his finger at his audiences, the Zintan group chopped off the offending finger when they captured him.

One of Trump’s lieutenants stepped in it. He said there was no such thing as raping your spouse. In fact, it is a crime in all fifty states. Michael Cohen has apologized. The topic came up because of a comment by ex-wife Ivana Trump some twenty years ago, one she has backed away from. In their bitterly contested divorce, she allegedly accused him of the act. Today she says the accusation is “without merit.” She and The Donald are “the best of friends.”

Mr. Cohen had some other choice words for the reporter who published the story in the Daily Beast.   He used several Anglo Saxon expletives.

The Donald is still leading in the polls and it looks like he will be in the first Republican debate. Not that will be something to watch.

Also worth watching is the clock. I’m getting close to the time when I need to be heading for the restaurant to meet my friend Mitch and get his take on his newly married life.

Letter From New York 07 27 15 From the side of creek…

July 27, 2015

As I begin to write this, I am seated on the deck. I realized I had the choice of writing at my desk or being here on the deck so I moved my laptop out here.

It is an elegant day in Claverack. The sun is glinting through the trees and the birds are singing all around me. Jazz is playing on Pandora. The creek is mirror like today, reflecting the green trees hanging over the water. It is warm and a shade humid but not uncomfortable.

I lazed around the house this morning reading and visiting with a friend who was up for a day and a half. Around two, I finally did the errands I had meant to do much earlier in the day and then it seemed too late to head into the city so I returned to the cottage to do a little work and write.

The New York Times’ T Magazine is up, shooting over at Jim Ivory’s house [Merchant Ivory Films], just down the road from me. I ran into Jeremiah today, a friend who is helping with the shoot while having lunch at Relish, across from the Train Station.

It is a day, here, of pastoral beauty.

The world is not quite like that. The Shanghai Exchange fell 8.5%, a move that rattled world markets. The Chinese government is intervening though it didn’t move quickly enough to stop today’s slide. There are market jitters everywhere because of China and the ongoing Greek situation, one that doesn’t seem resolved yet though not in the news as much.

Boston has terminated its bid for the Olympics in 2024. Resistance to the bid was rising among the denizens of the city. Everyone capitulated and that might not have been a bad thing.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock the last couple of days [and I have almost been] you will have known Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, died after months in a medically induced coma. She was found in a bathtub [as was her late mother] and never recovered. Tragedy follows tragedy and it is so sad. Did she have a chance? Probably but probably not many supported her in having that chance. The American entertainment industry has created a small industry of tragic stories, going back as far the dawn of the movies.

Huckabee, one the many Republican candidates for the Presidential nomination, said a deal with Iran would march Israelis to the ovens. Ouch. Lots of people are working to distance themselves from that comment. Though some are not.

In one of the most interesting stories I heard on NPR today as I was driving is that “Jihadi John,” a Kuwaiti born British citizen who fell in with IS, is now on the run from IS. He was responsible for some of the worst of the beheadings. Now that he has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, he apparently feels his value to IS has diminished and he is fleeing for his life. Prime Minister David Cameron so wants to bring him to justice…

The humidity has slipped away and it is remarkably pleasant sitting on my deck. A while ago mosquitoes began to plague me. I went to my iPhone and went to my apps and set off the mosquito repellant app and they actually have disappeared, hounded away by a noise I can’t hear but which makes them really unhappy. Have not seen a mosquito since I activated it.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India, and the foremost promoter of both its nuclear and space programs, died today. He is a personal friend of my friend, Howard Bloom, writer and theorist. Howard has been in my life since 2008 or so, maybe earlier. A producer friend introduced me to him. He has had a remarkable life. He was a public relations maven and handled Michael Jackson, Queen, Mellenkamp, you name it, back in the 70’s and 80’s, Bloom was the man for the big groups and individuals.

He’s amazing. So apparently was Kalam, who died while giving a speech. Not a bad way to go.

The sun is beginning to set. It is a perfect night in Claverack. Soft, cool breezes are beginning to blow across my land. The creek no longer is so brilliantly reflecting the trees; the sun has fallen too low for that.

The world is not content. I am.

Both Sides of Desire with Rickie Lee

July 27, 2015

A great tribute to a great artist…

Letter From New York 07 25 15 Thoughts on a Saturday afternoon…

July 25, 2015

It has been a resolutely beautiful day in Columbia County. I awoke late this morning, having been up late, cleaning up after a dinner party. Thursday night some friends were going to come for dinner and cancelled. I had food that would have rotted and so I called other friends and invited them for dinner Friday evening.

Serving a chilled avocado soup, followed by a salad, then a grilled chicken breast with sautéed heirloom carrots and potatoes, along with some dreadful sugar snap peas I managed to destroy, it was a dinner much enjoyed [except for the sugar snap peas]. Dessert was ice cream with chocolate sauce; it felt very summery and right.

I have always enjoyed having people for dinner and last night was a testament to that. It was mostly good food with great company, good wine and sparkling conversation. I went to sleep with a bit of a glow.

Awaking this morning, the sun was already fairly high in the sky but it was neither hot nor humid today. At this moment, I am sitting on my deck, looking over the creek, and thinking of how wonderful it is that I am in this spot.

The sun is now hidden behind clouds but it does not prevent the birds from singing or the frogs from leaping. This morning I found one on the side of the house; they are everywhere right now and I’m grateful.

Far away, I can hear traffic on 23, moving to and from the Massachusetts border. The green of the trees is luscious. All seems right in the world.

All, of course, is not right in the world. While it seems far away, it isn’t really. Events keep happening that keep shaping our world. Some of them are for the good and some for the bad. It is interesting to figure out which is which.

Obama was in Kenya today, homeland of his father, and spoke out for gay rights, which caused a very tense moment between him and the President of Kenya, Kenyatta. Kenyatta thought it was a non-issue and Obama did not. There has been a crackdown on gays in Kenya and it’s apparently not very pretty. Tomorrow Obama will meet with some of gay leaders in Kenya. Kenyatta is not happy.

But good for Obama! Yes, good for him.

Donald Trump’s campaign keeps trucking along. Right now he is mired in a bit of controversy as he has formed a group called “Veterans for Trump,” though some of the veterans named claim they have so idea how they got on the list. He is being accused of hiring actors to cheer for him. Gosh, it sounds a lot like ancient Roman politics.

He made a visit to Laredo, Texas and I was surprised in reading the reports from there how many agreed with him, including some of Hispanic origin. He is tapping into a vein of American discomfort and is doing well by it.

Duke, the Great Dane, whose family lives next door, just wandered onto my property. Two years ago he had been given two months to live by his vet. But he’s still here, seemingly having a good time. We’ve begun to think of him as indestructible. He just keeps going on…

The sun is setting, the green is fulsome; the creek glitters with the fading light. I find myself astonished at my luck in having this place to sit and write. A small plane flies overhead, flying south from Columbia County Airport. These are country sounds and moments.

I’ll be having more of them, suspecting that some time in the not too distant future I will be here full time. Sitting on the deck on day this week, I realized that I didn’t care that much about the life I’ve had though am interested in finding out what life I will have.

I’ve been here long enough to note the changes. Rosemary Schneider has passed away and her cottage torn down and rebuilt from the slab up. Harry Fonda has passed away and his wife is now in assisted care facility up near Albany and her daughter; new people live in their house. Lionel and Pierre bought their house across the street from long time residents I didn’t know well.

Time keeps changing things. I am treasuring this moment when time seems eternal. The creek reflects the light. The small plane flies south. I hear someone cutting their grass. It is a perfect evening on a summer night in Columbia County.

Letter From New York 07 25 15 Morning musings as the day warms…

July 24, 2015

I feel asleep early last night and woke early this morning, the sun bursting through the windows of the cottage. Getting my coffee, I went outside for a moment but it felt too chill to sit and sip on the deck so I retreated to my bedroom, went over the morning headlines, read the NY Times’ Briefing for today, and then went online to find a recipe for dinner tonight. Friends are coming over and I am grilling, a thing I always do with trepidation.

We will see how it goes, another adventure in the world of cooking.

There was another mass shooting last night, at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. Three are dead, including the shooter and nine are wounded, one critically. The film that was playing was “Trainwreck.” The suspected shooter, John R. Houser, was a “drifter” from Alabama.

Hours before the shooting, President Obama, in an interview with the BBC said that his inability to get gun laws passed was his greatest frustration.

It was a wide-ranging interview in which Obama also expressed his belief that the UK should stay in the EU that resulted in grousing from Britain’s anti-Euro factions.

He is off to Kenya shortly and said he will speak out “bluntly” on human rights while there.

Scrolling through the news as I write this, I’m glad I’m not flying out of LaGuardia today. A power outage of as yet unknown origin is causing three-hour delays.

Amazon has done something it rarely does: it turned a profit in the second quarter, astounding all and boosting tech stocks ahead of the market’s open. The uptick in its share price now makes Amazon more valuable than Walmart.

Turkey has authorized the U.S. to use its airbases in its fight against IS while at the same time it has begun its own aerial operations against them in various parts of Syria. Earlier this week there was a suicide bombing that killed 32 that has been blamed on IS, motivating Turkey to become more proactive in the fight against IS, something the U.S. has sought for a long time.

Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server continues to haunt her; two inspectors general have requested a criminal investigation. No comment from the Clinton camp and no decision on action from the Justice Department.

I haven’t seen “Jurassic World” yet and may not but it is the third highest grossing film in history and a sequel is planned for 2018. I am a fan of Chris Pratt and suspect he is getting a sizable pay bump for the sequel. I am looking forward, eagerly, for the sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Speaking of the pre-historic world, it astounded scientists when they discovered that an ancestor of the snake had four legs, used for grasping. The unusually complete skeleton was found in Brazil and is over a hundred million years old. Personally, I don’t like snakes at all.

Russia has sentenced the leader of a neo-Nazi group to life in prison; he was convicted of ordering the killing of five, including a human rights lawyer. Ilya Goryachev had been hiding in Serbia but was extradited.

Interestingly, on the political scene today, Pew has issued a report saying that Republicans have a dimmer view of themselves than six months ago. Their self-respect has dropped by 18 percentage points since January. 68% of Republicans approve of their party today.

Democrats think as highly of themselves now as they did in January; 86% of them think well of their party.

While many I know look at The Donald with astonishment, from both sides of the political spectrum, he is touching a vein of something in the American psyche. A friend called it “rage.” Whatever it is, it bears looking into because it is powerful, strong and a force in this election.

It has climbed fifteen degrees since I woke up this morning. I have some errands to run and then am off to a lunch with a literary agent that I met two weeks ago in Rhinebeck at the “T Space.” We’re meeting at Earth Foods in Hudson at one. In between there are things to do, places to go, adventures to be had.

Letter From New York 07 23 15 A perfect day in Columbia County…

July 24, 2015

In the west, the sun is slowly setting, a great golden orb pulsing through the trees and almost hurting my eyes as I sit at my desk typing. It has been a magical summer day in Columbia County. Rising early in a cool morning, I sat on my deck reading and sipping coffee, reminded of summer mornings when I was a child in Minnesota. Then the sun was glittering off the creek. Snapping a shot of it, I sent it to Nick Stuart, my friend who is currently touring Southern California with his daughter Francesca. He returned with a shot of a greyish morning in LA, with downtown Los Angeles visible in the background of the shot.

It is Thursday night and another week has slipped away. Last Friday night I was headed north, plumped with the excitement of having a full week at the cottage. Now that time has slipped away and it has been very sweet. Friends have visited, I have had friends for dinner, books have been read, shopping has been done and now that time is coming to an end. Next week I will be back in the city.

World events swirl around me while I am here and I make note of them but feel far from them. We have done a deal with Iran, something that seemed impossible. Republicans are going to attempt to derail it. Interestingly, the Ayatollah Khamenei seems to have decided he is okay with it. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Ash Carter, the Secretary of Defense, has surprised Baghdad with a visit to discuss the preparations to retake Ramadi from IS. How strange it is that I have become so familiar with such unfamiliar names of places like Ramadi. Years of war have caused them now to be tattooed on my brain.

Obama is about to make a visit to Kenya to address the Global Entrepreneurship Summit; Kenya is agog with excitement. Obama’s father was Kenyan of the Luo in the west of Kenya. “Mama Sarah,” his grandmother, will go to Nairobi to see him but he will not go to the ancestral lands of his father. Kenya is deeply invested in the success of Barak Obama. Schools are named after him; children are named after him. He is the “native” son who has become the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.

Ah, the sun has slipped down and the sky is now a soft pearl grey. Twilight has arrived while I review the events of the day.

NASA has announced the finding of a near Earth twin, Keplar 452b. Well, may be an older cousin like planet but one that holds the possibility for all the factors NASA believe are necessary for life. Heavier gravity, older than earth, but in the “Goldilocks” zone, it may well be a place where life has evolved. Hopefully, radio telescopes are looking at it to see if there are messages that might be coming from it. Unfortunately, it is 1400 light years from here. We will need warp drive to get there.

Donald Trump is in Laredo, Texas. I would so like to chat with my friend Alicia who is from there. Would love to get her take on his visit. He is causing constant conniptions in Republican circles, even more so now that he is thinking of running as a 3rd party candidate. They see catastrophe in front of them. The Donald is leading in the polls! And if he doesn’t get the nomination, he might not go away! Ouch!

How rich is he? Hard to tell from the forms filed but Forbes is guessing $4 billion.

The Euro is up on the progression of Greece obtaining new loans from the EU. Reading an article just now it seemed like it’s Peter borrowing from Paul to pay…I have to say it seems more and more like a house of cards that will only work if there is a reduction in Greece’s debt, which is unsustainable. The country can’t survive with the amount of debt it has.

The sun is almost gone. Evening is upon us. The light has turned on for the fountain in the courtyard. Soon it will be summer dark.

What a wonderful summer day it has been. I am going to curl up with a new book or a good movie and let the day slip away. Tomorrow I have lunch with a new friend and then dinner at home with my friends Susan and Jim; we know each other from the train.

Perfect. May your day be perfect too!

Letter From New York 07 21 15 Of cabbages and kings…

July 21, 2015

In the past eight hours, I think I have done at least eight loads in the dishwasher. Last night, my friends Alana and Patrick were here for dinner along with Jeremiah and Jim. In prepping the dinner and setting the table, I used many dishes and most of my pots and pans. The cleanup was formidable but worth it. The night was a success.

Since I am working from home, I granted myself extra sleep this morning and sat on the deck with my coffee and NY Times. The day has shifted from sun to clouds, with a spattering of rain about thirty minutes ago. We’ve been warned to watch for stray thunderstorms. I’m watching.

Before the sun was too high in the sky, I meandered through the neighborhood and spent most of the walk swatting bugs from around my eyes. But it was a peaceful, restful moment and I was glad for the time by myself. My phone was in my pocket but I was undisturbed.

Except for a few conference calls and emails, there wasn’t much on my agenda today.

I’m treasuring this week at the cottage, letting things flow through my mind, as they will, without the distraction of traffic and congestion and the noise of the big city. Today, I have not left the neighborhood.

It has been delicious.

When I went online to take a look at the news, it seemed all rather grim. Or maybe it is just the grey sky outside.

Though Donald Trump has managed to bring me a laugh or two today. He gave out, for who knows what reason, Lindsey Graham’s personal cell phone number whom then told him to stop being a “jackass.” No way that is going to happen. Let us watch the game play out! Bombastic and irrational, he is stirring up this race in interesting ways. Everyone wants him to go away but Donald is not going to go away, at least while he is leading in the polls.

Ohio Governor Kasich is joining the Republican herd seeking the Presidential nomination. He will be the 16th person seeking that party’s nomination. I don’t ever remember a time when the field was this crowded, on either side.

Stephen Hawking, who is, unbelievably, 73 years old, has launched a quest to find out if we are alone. Backed by US based Russian billionaire, Yuri Milner, a hundred million dollars has been committed to seeing if we can find intelligent life out there. Bravo!

Have you ever been to Ottawa? I was once, a thousand and two years ago. It’s the capital of Canada and is the place where 20% of the population is on, a website devoted to people who want to have an affair, highest percentage of any city in the world. Ottawa! You Canadians go! I’m astounded but not totally surprised.

Prince George is turning two tomorrow. Cute pictures of him are everywhere on the web. We may have declared independence from Britain but we still love their royal family.

There are no more splatters of rain. The sun is setting. We have a pearl grey night shining upon us. I am happy. Hope you are too.