Archive for the ‘Hygge’ Category

Letter from Claverack 07 28 2017 Needing places and moments of refuge…

July 28, 2017

 

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A gray, foggy morning yielded to a fairly sunny, rather cool afternoon; whenever the sun slipped behind a cloud I was tempted to come into the house from my perch on the deck while the cleaning crew spiffed the house.

Now, with cottage clean, I am sitting at the dining room table, sliders open to the deck.  Birds are singing and music from the 1940’s is playing on my Echo.

Returning from the Vineyard Tuesday, I made myself a martini, wrote a poem, and found myself purchasing Christmas presents from a site that emails regularly, from which I buy irregularly and, yesterday, had some things I wanted.  Saying there were only four available, I pounced.  I think they were being clever as the number available never went below four.

Insane for Christmas shopping in July?  No.  It saves so much stress come November.  In January, I saw something I thought would be perfect for my friends, Nick and Lisa, and thought: if not now, when?  And, you know, I have been back to that store several times and not seen the item again.

All this, the creek and future Christmas shopping, visiting my friends on Martha’s Vineyard, is very hygge.  And I need all the hygge I can get.

Monday or Tuesday I received a scree from a relative who supports Trump that was filled with things that made me flinch, a repudiation of most of the things I think are advancements.  Should we go back to the days of a segregated America?

And while I look out at my sun kissed creek, I read that Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, has published a 252-page pamphlet on how to deal with a North Korean nuclear attack.  That was something I needed to read a couple of times.  Hawaii is also preparing for such an event and I am holding my head to keep it from exploding.

Somewhere along the line in my now longish life, I read that one of the contributing factors in the fall of Rome was lead poisoning.  Romans lined their wine amphorae with lead which leached into the wine they drank and we all know lead poisoning isn’t good.

Sperm count has dropped by 50% in the western world in the last forty years.  Gives me pause to wonder what historians will say about the cause.  Pesticide poisoning? Another reason?

President Trump addressed the Boy Scout Jamboree this week.  What you thought of his speech probably depends on which side of the political spectrum you are on.

Speaking of our President, his relentless attacks on Attorney General Sessions seem to have many Republicans up in arms, particularly in the Senate where Sessions was a member for a lot of years and it’s a tight club.

Republican Senator John McCain, with whom I have often not agreed [particularly in his choice of Sarah Palin as his VP choice], made a speech for bipartisanship after returning from surgery for a brain tumor.  If you want to both hear and read what he said, click here. It reminded me of the times I have liked him.

Our president is not going to allow transgender individuals to serve in the Armed Forces.  It’s not necessary for me to elucidate the storm that has created, not the least of which happened in the Pentagon, caught off guard by a Twitter announcement of a policy change.

The president made mention of medical costs for transgendered individuals which turns out to be less than what the Army spends on Viagra each year.

The cynic in me feels it was announced to please his base and divert attention from all the White House chaos.

Hello, Anthony Scaramucci!

The world in which I live seems so mad on so many levels that I am grateful I have the ability to sit here and look out at my canopy of green, look down into my creek and see the bottom of it through the clear, clear water, that I can listen to music and celebrate it, that I have had the chance to stare out at Edgartown harbor thanks to the kindness of my friends who invite me to visit them, that, even though I think the world right now more mad than it has been since my adolescence, I have places and moments of refuge.

 

 

 

 

 

Letter from Claverack 07 22 2017 Still in the land of off, praying for souls…

July 22, 2017

It is Saturday afternoon; I am sitting where I have been sitting every afternoon since arriving on Martha’s Vineyard, on the veranda of my friends’ home, gazing out at the harbor, listening to the sound of boats motoring.  There is almost no wind and so the sailboats, if moving at all, are using their motors.

It was early that I woke this morning, nudged into wakefulness by a text on my phone.  A second text banished sleep and I laid in bed and read the NY Times, edging into the day with the Food section.  Hard news seemed too much for the early hour.

Joining my friend, Jeffrey, we went over to Behind the Bookstore to pick up some things to take to their outpost up in Vineyard Haven where Igor made me a powerful coffee drink with a hint of lavender.  Back at BTB with some needed ice, I soothed the caffeine edge with a mimosa.

Now, I am back in my favorite spot, reading science fiction short stories before starting the mystery I purchased at Edgartown Books this morning, “Moriarity,” about which I had read good things earlier in the year.  Yesterday, I finished a trifle of a mystery just before a marathon nap.

Jeffrey calls this the “land of off.”  It is; I am very “off.” It is a comfortable house in both physical terms and the graciousness of my hosts.  As I wandered into the kitchen to make myself a sandwich, I appreciated that.

Later in the day, I looked at the news and winced.  Today’s twitter storm seemed to be all about our President telling the world that he absolutely has a right to pardon anyone he wants, including himself.

Witnessing these things results in some attitude I have yet to describe, a mélange of incoherence, amusement, fear, incredulity and amazement.  There must be a word for it somewhere.

A friend forwarded me an article today; it is a portrait of the man who is leading a prayer group that includes most of our President’s cabinet.  It seems he believes God only hears the prayers of Christians.  My friend is Jewish.  Her only comment:  Oy!

I concur.

Sean Spicer left the building yesterday, resigning after the elevation of Scaramucci to the office of White House Communications Director, a move with which Spicer had vehemently disagreed.  But he was named and Spicer left, replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  It is hoped Melissa McCarthy can do as good a job with her as she did with “Spicey.”

The NY Times published a scathing, oh, really scathing article called, “The Mooch and the Mogul.”  You can read it here.

Googling for an article that praised Scaramucci’s appointment, I found little.  The closest was this, an article in Forbes, by Nathan Vardi.  You can read that here.  It’s not that great but best to be found.  Apparently, the NY Times called him “the mooch” because that’s his nickname on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, Congress has put together a package of sanctions against Russia that our president is not going to like.  It has broad bi-partisan support.  Imagine that?!  Insiders think the president won’t veto it despite how much he dislikes it.

John Heard, the father in the “Home Alone” movies, passed away at 71, while recovering from back surgery.  R.I.P.

And R.I.P. to Jamel Dunn, a disabled Florida man who drowned while five teenage boys recorded his demise, laughing and taunting him, doing nothing to help him.  They posted the video on YouTube and didn’t bother to alert authorities.  Florida police are searching for a statue by which to charge them.

It is a story which saddens me, sickens me and causes me to wonder about my fellowman.

Tonight, I will say a prayer for Jamel Dunn and for the souls of the young men who laughed while he died and light candles next time I am in church.

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 07 20 2017 Written from the “land of off…”

July 20, 2017

Edgartown harbor shimmers below me; boats bob at anchor on a quiet, very warm afternoon on Martha’s Vineyard – the warmest day I have experienced in the half dozen or so summers I have visited the island.  Seated in the shade, with a soft wind blowing off the water, it is tolerable though earlier today most people seemed intent on finding air conditioning, crowding cool restaurants and shops.

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Last year I was here to help with my friends’ bookstore, Edgartown Books.  This year, I am here for just a week, to relax, read, relax some more, eat, perhaps sail a bit with my friends, eat, relax, sip a martini, read, a wonderful and undemanding rhythm; my friend Jeffrey calls it “the land of off.”

Reading was too wearying for me and I went to my room and promptly napped, waking just in time for a conference call.

Sadie, one of the two Bernese mountain dogs who live here, is recovering from back surgery, making slow and steady improvement from a bad fall some months ago.  Every day, she has water therapy in the pool.

Sadie

Far above me, a bi-plane circles, taking sightseers on an aerial tour of the island.  It is soft, bucolic and very, very far from the madding crowd.

Which is why it is very nice, in these strange times, to be in “the land of off.”  The amount of news consumed is less.  Last year, the kitchen television played CNN.  This year, old movies run constantly.  In the background of my morning coffee, “The Great Race” played, starring Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis.

Finishing a trifle of a murder mystery by a woman who seems to knock off a book a month, I felt content with little demanded of me.

An exegesis of political affairs is a shade depressing, to make mild of a situation now more astounding by the day.

Donald Trump, Jr. is being described as a “good boy,” a “nice young man” though he is scraping forty and has five children.  It is a time honored American defense used by the Kennedys when Teddy drove off a bridge not far from where I sit and a young woman died, Mary Jo Kopechne, lest we forget her name.  It is a time-honored defense for American men though not for women.  Ponder that.

Railing to the New York Times, Donald Trump, has declared he would never have offered Jeff Sessions the job of Attorney General if he had known he would recuse himself from the Russian investigation.  Sessions has said, post Trump’s remarks, he’ll stay as long as “it’s appropriate.”  Geez, I don’t know if I would stay when I knew I wasn’t wanted, especially so publicly unwanted.

Today, at noon, Trump celebrated the six-month mark in office.  You make your own decision on how well he has done.  We are one eighth of the way through his Presidency.

In Palos Verde, CA, forty-one-year old Chester Bennington, lead singer of the group Linkin Park, was found dead, an apparent suicide, succumbing to the demons he was open about but could not, it seems, master.  Rest in peace.

Twenty-two years ago, I was in Australia when OJ Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife Nicole and her friend, Ron Goldman.  Today he was granted parole from a prison sentence resulting from an armed robbery.  He should be released in October.

Seeking comfort, I watch the newest season of “Midsomer Mysteries” and anticipate the return of “The Last Tycoon,” starring Matt Bomer and Kelsey Grammer, about a movie studio in the 1930’s, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last, unfinished novel.

It seems no wonder to me, we are immersing ourselves in some of the best television in history; we need escape, diversion and pleasure from a world that is more than untidy.

So, I sit, on my friends’ deck, watching boats bob at anchor or scud across the bay, with birds chirping while Sadie is ministered to, the future feels far, far away and the present oh so pleasant.

Letter From Claverack 07 15 2017 On the Auto Train outside of Jacksonville, FL…

July 15, 2017

It is closing on 6:00 on the 15th of July, 2017 and I am riding north on the auto train from Sanford, Florida to Lorton, Virginia.  Pierre Font, married to my friend Lionel, and I are bringing his parents’ car from Miami to Columbia County, which is where they will be living while they sort out their lives.

There are no stops.  Well, except for the one where one of the engines lost power but they managed to fix it and we are going again.  It is a bit like being on a cruise, having a day at sea.

Forty years ago, in Tehran, Maryam Mirzakhani, was born.  She is the only woman to have won the Field Award in mathematics, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize.  And today, she passed away, a victim of breast cancer, a brilliant mind gone quiet.  She has been a Professor at Stanford University since 2008.  RIP.  It is hard to lose such a brilliant mind.  By the way, she was Muslim.

Yesterday, one of my relatives sent me an email warning me about a young Muslim politician in Michigan.  It was, to me, both xenophobic and un-American, and I angrily deleted it.  We were being warned he might one day become President of the United States.  Today, I wanted to retrieve it but couldn’t seem to find it.  My relative’s unhappiness with the man was simply based on the fact he was Muslim.

One of the finest people I have known in my life was Omar Ahmad, a Muslim, who when he died prematurely from a heart attack a few years ago, was Mayor of San Carlos, CA.

There was a moment when I wanted to respond.  I didn’t because it would have no effect on him as nothing I say would change his mind.  This is who he is, xenophobic and un-American and he has been that way since I have known him.

Yet, I feel guilty at not having responded.

Such is life in 21st Century America.

The election of Trump to the Presidency has given lots of people more freedom to express xenophobia and racism and all the ugly things we haven’t dealt with in America.  And all the things that more and more of the world is having to deal with as huge populations move around the globe.

France was welcoming to Josephine Baker in the 1920’s; it could afford to be.  It looked down on the United States and its racial policies.  But would a Josephine Baker from a Muslim country today still find the embrace she did?  I’m not sure.

It is one thing to be a rarity in the 1920’s and another to be part of an encroaching potential majority in the 2010’s.

I am saddened and worn by all these things and grateful I will be gone before all this plays out.

It is possible for me to look back and think, gratefully, on what a life I have had.  It is my hope that the people who are younger than me will also have a wonderful life and that a solution will be found to all of this because if we do not find a way to embrace each other, it is not going to be pretty.

Letter From Claverack 07 14 2017 Thoughts on Bastille Day, from the creek side…

July 14, 2017

 

It’s Bastille Day today and that is also the anniversary of the opening of the Red Dot Restaurant and Bar.  Happy 19th Anniversary!

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Today, I woke to the drumbeat of rain upon the roof, another grey day in a summer of grey.  Last night, at dinner, friends quipped that the weather reflected our mood.  We discussed hygge, and we agreed it was a great defense mechanism in these days of our political travails.

Tuesday morning, I rose at five to catch the first train from the city home, ran around, prepared for that night’s radio drama [a success by all accounts].  I produced it, helped direct it and catered it, took some tickets, tended bar a little, set some lights, announced it, broke it down, cleaned up, came home, too wired to sleep and so when the alarm went off at 5:30 Wednesday morning, I just couldn’t.  By force of will, I made it to the station for my program but it was with the help of a great quantity of caffeine.

As I drove to the station, I thought, rather randomly about how amused, bemused, confused I am by everything going on in our political universe.  We have had days of the most amazing revelations regarding the actions of Donald Trump, Jr. during the campaign.

Tuesday morning, the New York Post, the mouthpiece for Rupert Murdoch, upholder of the Conservative Way, editorialized that the one takeaway from all these revelations is that Donald Trump, Jr. is an idiot.  Wowza!  The New York Post.  Mine eyes dazzle.

At the end of my radio program today, I spoke a little about hygge.  We need a lot of hygge these days.  This morning, I’m having it as I sit at my dining room table, sipping strong coffee, a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan beans, the land across the creek a verdant riot of green, leaves dripping water; there is smooth jazz playing and I am prepping for a quick trip to Florida to help a friend drive his parents’ car back to New York.

Last night, Dena, owner of Olde Hudson, which is the stalwart of fine food in Hudson, her husband, Dick, came over for a dinner we have worked for months to organize because of complicated schedules.

And that felt very hygge.

And I think we need hygge these days.

Our President, caught in the thrall of Russian scandals, real or not, is jetting back from Europe after spending Bastille Day with Macron in France.  The White House has released a partial transcript of the President’s comments to reporters on his way to France.  You can read them here.

And make your own judgment.

Tuesday, an iceberg the size of Long Island broke off in Antarctica, the map of which will need to be redrawn as a result.  It’s a big deal but it won’t cause flooding in cities.  Yet. We need to keep watch as the ice shelf is holding back the real danger and if the ice shelf goes there will be many cities that will be under water. It makes me think of my friends who own a condo next to the water in Miami.

Are they going to be okay?

Are any of us going to be okay?

Yes, I think so but we’ll need a lot of hygge between here and there.

 

Letter From Claverack 07 08 2017 Tornado Weather

July 9, 2017

Summer Dusk Sky Thunderstorm Silhouette Clouds

 

The sky yellow with

Whipping wind, dust stinging my face.

 

We called this tornado weather

Back home.

 

When I was young,

Sat an evening

On the steps of the house

called home.

 

The sky like this.

 

The ruby lipped neighbor,

Our local harlot,

Drew deeply on her cigarette, looked up and

Declared tornado weather.

 

Sagely, mother nodded as father

Cupped his hands to light his own smoke.

 

Before dawn, tornadoes came

Ripping roofs north of us.

 

Nights like this,

They’re familiar, frightening.

 

Letter From Claverack 07 07 2017 Musings on being home…

July 8, 2017

As I begin writing, it is twilight at the cottage.  The day began damp and grey, changing mid-day to blue and lovely.  Sitting on the deck, the torches burn to ward off mosquitoes and to give a sense of atmosphere.  It is lovely.

Of course, as soon as I typed those words, I felt the first of the raindrops and had to scutter back into the cottage.

Out there in the world, momentous things have been happening.  Trump and Putin met for the first time. Trump:  It’s an honor.  Putin: ?

It’s certain we will be hearing the parsing of the meeting for days to come.  They talked election tampering.  Putin: we didn’t.  Trump: okay. [At least according to some early reports.]  No agreement on Crimea.   Not expected.

We are to agree on a ceasefire in southwest Syria.  Good for everyone if it holds.

In Washington, Mitch McConnell faces the daunting task of passing the Republican version of healthcare legislation.  It seems to be the single most unpopular piece of legislation of the last thirty years.

Over the weekend, I listened to some interviews with people from around the country who were absolutely opposed to Obamacare and absolutely loved the ACA, not realizing they are one and the same.  It left me shaking my head in amazement and then, why should I be amazed?  We, on both sides of the fence, don’t always analyze and we just react, ideologically, and that seems to be on the increase.

In a bright moment in the world, Malala Yousafzai, a young woman targeted by terrorists, terribly wounded, and who miraculously clawed her way back, graduated from high school today.  She is also a Nobel Peace laureate. She celebrated graduation by tweeting her first tweet.

Amazing human being…

Closer to home, Etsy has cut its workforce by 15% and I wonder how that is going to affect the offices on Columbia Street in Hudson.  While that is happening, the stock has been upgraded to a buy by some brokers.

It’s interesting to me to walk down Warren Street and see all the businesses that are there that weren’t when I came and to see the ones that are still here, still pulling along.  One of my favorites is Carousel, next to the CVS on Warren.  One of my friends collects mid-century hammered aluminum pieces and I go in there and sometimes find things for her.

The Red Dot has been here since I arrived and I remember the transition of Brandow’s to Swoon Kitchen Bar.  Seems Ca’Mea has always been there since I arrived, though I am not sure about that.  That’s a little foggy.

It’s been interesting to watch all of this.  The cottage has been my home longer than any place I have lived, including the home I grew up in.  That’s sobering.  That’s rooting.  I like the sense of roots I have created here.

Yesterday, I had my car serviced at Kinderhook Toyota and ran into someone I knew.  At the Red Dot, I am always running into people I know.  Same for Ca’Mea.  It’s wonderful to go into places and be known or to know people there.

The places I’ve lived are many:  Minneapolis, Toronto, Carbondale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Eugene, OR, New York City and now Claverack.  The places I have visited seem innumerable. They’re not but…

Of all those places, including my hometown of Minneapolis, the only place that has felt like home is here.

And I am enormously grateful for that.  It is sweet and satisfying and that is how, I think, it should be as I enter this third act of my life.

Letter From Claverack 07 04 2017 Thoughts from the creek on Independence Day…

July 4, 2017

It is as idyllic as it can be here at the cottage.  On an achingly clear day, the sun shines brightly through the green leaves of the trees.  A bee buzzes somewhere, the creek is so clear you can see its bed, the air is filled with the thrumming of insects and a soft wind moves the leaves gently.

My coffee is strong and I am slowly rising into the day, the Fourth of July, 2017.  My nephew, Kevin, is asleep in the guest room and it is so wonderful to be here, in this spot, enjoying the beginning of this day.

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Kevin prepping for a game of backgammon.

            It has been a blessing to have been here this spring and now summer, to see the earth return from winter’s sleep, bloom green and touch the peace of this spot.  Not far away, a deep throated frog croaks, signaling.

All of this is a treasure and a privilege and a boon to my sanity.

As I sat here, on this day which celebrates the birth of the United States of America, I was thinking what a messy birth and history it has been.  It means so much to, I think, all of us and yet those individual meanings are all mixed and jumbled, and so infused with anger.  The Week’s cover for June 30th had a “Blue” and a “Red” American glowering at each other, with a line asking whether “Are Red and Blue America headed for a divorce?”  The article is about a culture of rage.

And, as we live through this time in our country’s history, with the very real sense of rage on both sides of the political spectrum, I am doing my best to remember that the history of this country, for better or worse, has been driven by a sense of rage.  From the Boston Tea Party through our current Trumpian dystopia, there has been rage.

We didn’t part peacefully from England, we warred our way to independence.

We fought a Civil War from which, quite frankly, I don’t think we have ever recovered.

We have assassinated four presidents and there have been numerous other attempts which didn’t succeed.  Yes, violence is in our American DNA.

We ripped this land from Native Americans, dragged captives from Africa to work that land as slaves, built our version of the Athenian Empire and are now, and may always be, attempting to reconcile all the ugly facets of America with all the beautiful things it has been and can be.

Immigrants have flooded here from the beginning.  Each new wave was met with hostility by those who had come before.

It is ironic but not surprising that one of our current flashpoints is immigration.

An acquaintance of mine, a young Rabbi, recalled his immigrant grandmother hiding as a girl as mobs ran through New York’s streets, screaming, “Kill the Jews!”

America has been and is an experiment and other countries are experiencing our challenges.  The relative homogeneity of Europe is being challenged by the flood of migrants sweeping in, seeking a better life as did the millions who flocked to America, also seeking something better.

Change is hard and unwanted change is often met with rage.  We are a country constantly changing so it is not surprising we are raging.  Because of the acceleration of communication capabilities, we are more knitted together than with greater challenges in finding veracity.

I savor my idyllic spot and cling to the hope that reconciliation will come.  Not in my lifetime, I know, but at some point, America will hopefully become what so many politicians have called us, the bright and shining city upon the hill.

 

  • President-elect John F. Kennedy said, in an address to the Massachusetts Legislature on January 9, 1961, “During the last 60 days I have been engaged in the task of constructing an administration…. I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set before his shipmates on the flagship Arabella [sic] 331 years ago, as they, too, faced the task of building a government on a new and perilous frontier. ‘We must always consider,’ he said, ‘that we shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us.’ Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us—and our governments, in every branch, at every level, national, State, and local, must be as a city upon a hill—constructed and inhabited by men aware of their grave trust and their great responsibilities.”—Congressional Record, January 10, 1961, vol. 107, Appendix, p. A169…”[4]

Let us remember this as we close out this year’s celebrations, let us face each other with the light and love Christ had when He, in the Sermon on the Mount, provided the base message for Winthrop, Kennedy, Reagan and others.

 

Letter from Claverack June 30th, 2017 Beginning the weekend of the 4th…

July 1, 2017

At some point, I decided this was the year I was going to get over my fear of grilling.  Last night, I grilled a steak using a Bobby Flay recipe.  And asparagus on the grill: c’est magnifique!  Put the spears in a plastic bag with olive oil, salt, pepper, a couple other spices and grilled them for three minutes on high.  I’m hooked.

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So today I went to the market and got boneless pork chops and was going to broil them about half an hour ago but thunder rattled the house and rain fell from the skies.  My mouth turned down.  However, the sun has returned and I am going to try it, pork chops on the grill.

It is Friday, June 30th, as I write, the beginning of the long 4th of July weekend.  As I ran an errand near the train station, I saw visitors piling off the train, bags in hand, being greeted by friends, relatives, lovers and others.  Zagat, today, sent an email which had an article about 8 reasons to take the drive to Hudson; all of them being restaurants.

You can read the article here.

As someone who is here most of the time now, I took a bit of umbrage with the list.  It included Grazin’, a diner restaurant with local beef and I will need to give it another try because when I was there, it wasn’t good and the wine was south of awful.

It included Fish & Game, which is, I’ve heard, a good restaurant and I haven’t been there because it opened with an attitude.  I’ve been around the carousel too many times to need attitude.  [Hey, once I had “my table” at Ma Maison in Los Angeles, which was cool while it lasted.]

It included, deservedly, Swoon Kitchen Bar.  I don’t go there often; my ex left me for one of the waiters there; that has weighed on me ever since but it is great.

It did not include, and I think it should have, my beloved Red Dot, which is one of the hubs of Hudson nor did it include Ca’Mea, which I think should have gotten a mention nor Vico, which has upped its game lately.

We are a food town.

And now, in a break in the rain, I did grill but not the pork chops I bought as most of the recipes for grilling told me I should brine the chops and that takes some time so I grilled some sausage and finished my asparagus.  Oh, so good.

Beyond my little world, it has been a bit mad.

Our President has created a twitter storm over his tweets about Mika Brzezinski’s “bleeding face lift.”

Even Paul Ryan found it too much.

Several news sources, including conservative ones, thought maybe he should have been in a meeting rather than tweeting.  But no, President Trump was tweeting and creating a painful moment for his party.

And, today, NASA had to issue a statement it was not operating a slave state on Mars; it was NOT sending children there to be body parts for future colonists, a claim made by a guest on “The Alex Jones Show,” which airs on 118 radio stations.  Alex Jones is most famous for claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged and was interviewed by Megyn Kelly on her new NBC show, which isn’t doing so well.

As I sit here in my very hygge cottage, I am astounded by what is going on out there.  We have a President who seems devoted to Twitter attacks more than he is about governing and who, according to a variety of reports, starts his day at 6:30 AM speaking to lawyers about that pesky Russian matter.

And he is going to meet with Putin at the G 20 Conference and has been asking his advisors what he can offer Vladimir Putin.  What?

There are times I feel I am living in an alternative universe.  And I know I am not the only one.

So, doesn’t it make sense I want to conquer my fear of grilling?  That’s concrete in a world that seems spinning out of control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 06 28 2017 Too beautiful a day to waste…

June 28, 2017

Yesterday, I determined I would go down to the city to attend the Producer’s Guild Annual Meeting.  This morning, walking out of the studio after my program, I made an abrupt determination that I was not going.  It is just too beautiful a day to be in the city; when I left the studio, I knew what I wanted to do was to be sitting on my deck, a good strong mug of coffee next to me, with my fingers tapping on my laptop, which is where I am now.

The sky occasionally greys over but it is still a pleasant day, a little cooler than I would like but not by much.

The creek is clear, meandering gently to the west where it will eventually pour itself into the Hudson River.  The coffee is a rich mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan beans, freshly ground, from Tierra Farm, a local business that is at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and from whom I buy my coffee.  Now that I know they have a retail store, I won’t need to worry about stocking up between the Summer and Winter Markets.

On Wednesday afternoons, during the summer, there is a smaller market in the park across from Proprietor’s Square.  Perhaps I’ll go down there this afternoon; I have friends who sell their flavored D’arcy butters there.

Once I made the decision not to go the city, I felt playful.  When I woke this morning, as the sun was just beginning to ascend in the eastern sky, I was thinking it would be fun.  Then I read an article about the deteriorating state of the subway system and remembered the achingly long waits for the C Train last time I was in the city but was still determined to go.

Until the moment I walked out and saw how beautiful it was and breathed in the sweet air and thought: why?  Yes, I would like to go to the Annual Meeting but was it worth a two-hour ride down and two hours back, an overnight stay, especially when my other meetings had cancelled or not confirmed?  And I decided the beauty of where I was would beat the beauty of where I was going.  I came home, threw my overnight bag onto the bed to be unpacked, made coffee and came out to the deck.

Opening my email inbox, I ruthlessly deleted anything that was not personal.  Delete, delete, delete to all the emails from all progressive causes pleading for money.  Delete, delete, delete to all emails referencing politics while savoring several teasing me with recipes I would like to make one day.

In the political chaos of our time, I have been seeking solace in the carefully laid out steps in recipes, promising a decent outcome if one follows the road map.  Out there in the real world, there is no real road map and anyone attempting to create one, is not having much success.

McConnell’s gamble on secrecy in creating the Senate version of the American Health Care Act, seems to have backfired on him, leaving him postponing debate and a vote until after the July 4th recess.  It does not go far enough for the conservatives and too far for the moderates while the Democrats are not having any of it.

The U.S. spends more than any other country on healthcare and, in at least some studies comparing it to other countries of similar economic status, comes out dead last in quality.  Just fix it, please. Go ahead, guys, get together and put together a plan that works. Republicans! Democrats! Please.  Aren’t we all Americans?  Can’t we do better?

Everywhere I wander on news sites today, I am flooded with ads for Pepper, a Soft Bank Robotics robot, that they are offering to help in retail and offices.  One package will replace your receptionist.  It’s about 4 feet high with big eyes, a wide range of movement and what looks like an iPad plastered to its chest.  They may be coming for us.

There is another ransomware attack hitting, mostly in Europe and Asia right now.  It’s called “Petya” and is derived from code hacked from the NSA.  Perhaps the next war won’t be fought with tanks, ships, planes and soldiers but by bunkered hackers working to bring their enemy to its technological knees.

Outside, it’s a beautiful day, a good moment, jazz standards are playing on my Echo and I am going to head to the Wednesday Market and see what’s for offer today instead of plying the subway lines of New York City.  Yes, that sounds like a very good idea on a beautiful day.

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