Monday, November 26, 2012

a visit to new york

It is the 25th of November and I arrived back in the hollow yesterday after a fine trip to New York. Picholine was superb and I walked up from Macy’s to Central Park and then to the restaurant on 64th street. One of the two elderly men next to me said he knew me but I have no idea how. He was a friendly guy as was his friend but soon it was clear that his friend was suffering from Alzheimer’s. They were off to the Metropolitan opera but I spoke with the first one quite a bit and I learned they had an apartment in the city and a farm in Pennsylvania. They had both gone to Yale and I was very sorry about his friend’s illness, and I told him that when his friend went off to the bathroom. I did a quicker visit on Wednesday to the city and walked up to the South Street Seaport and then over to the Brooklyn Bridge, which was under construction, but that didn’t prevent me from walking halfway across. I sent Kate three pictures during my travels, including one from the bridge, and she enjoyed all three. My visit to John’s mother went fine even though I was worried that he would rant against Obama but he was pretty calm. I chatted a little with Kara and her friend Frank (who was working for FEMA) and overall it was a decent visit. The next day was the football game and I had an okay time. John and Kevin didn’t play so there was no fighting and that was nice. I left at the half and drove to my cousin Pat’s house in Wilmington, but I wasn’t able to find an open golf course and instead I took a bike ride in a state park near her house. Dinner was quite entertaining especially the Chinese couple who came and were very interesting. I had a lot of fun as did my Aunt and Pat, and then Marie and I watched Secretariat on DVD. The next morning I left around 9:30 and was able to play 9 holes at furnace bay near rising sun and ended up riding my bike in the parking lot at the comfort inn in Catonsville. Seeing Kelly, Alfredo and Lucia was a lot of fun and that little girl is quite a character, very smart and a lot of fun to play with but exhausting to her parents. A day with her would have probably sent me to the hospital. We went to a seafood place in Catonsville and then to visit Kelly’s Mom and Theo for dessert. I played a lot with Lucia and the other adults were able to converse freely. Back at Kelly’s I had a chat with her while Alfredo was putting Lucia to bed at around 10 and then when he came out we all chatted until 11:30. The next morning I started driving at 9:30 and arrived at the hollow by 3:30, very good time. My greenhouse was still okay and the batteries were 100%.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

new york city

My trip to NYC has turned out well, with the only complaint that I ate too much yesterday at Blue Smoke for barbeque lunch and then at Gramercy Tavern for dinner. The three kinds of ribs (Texas, Memphis, and KC) were excellent as were the side salad and beans. After that lunch, I walked and walked (probably close to 6 miles up from the ferry, through Chinatown, through Little Italy, then up to GT at 20th) but by dinner I was still not that hungry so Gramercy was not the treat I had hoped. I am going to try to eat very lightly today so I will fully enjoy Picholine tonight. The drive up from Virginia was decent, and I played the Hershey Links (a very challenging course with several ravines one had to shoot over) on Sunday and shot a 48 from the reds. My room at the Comfort Inn in Staten Island was fine, just very small. I have finished my grading for Monday and I just have to do the 200 reading.

Friday, November 16, 2012

finally Thanksgiving break

It is Friday, the 16th of November and I am off for Thanksgiving break. I have had Dennis Anderson, the forester with the department of forestry, out to evaluate the land and he agrees that getting rid of the Ailanthus is the major concern. I of course also want to protect the smooth coneflower. When I went up with Dennis, I saw, for the first time since July, how that July windstorm clobbered the left side of the right side hollow where some of the biggest and most beautiful trees were. I had Andrew come out from VOF to see if it would be possible to horse log the fallen trees and use the money for the Ailanthus eradication and thinning the forest where the coneflower is. He should get back to me shortly. I did my evaluations in the 203 and the graduate class. I am worried that the grad students didn’t give me a good evaluation but I guess there is no sense worrying now—I will find out soon enough. I still have to do my 454 class and I think I will get good marks from them. I cut the grass today (or rather I cut up the remaining leaves) and that should help the grass. I also took a hike this morning and fixed up things in the house so tomorrow I will be able to leave by noon and stay in Winchester. Then I plan to stay in Bethlehem, PA and that way I can be in NYC by 11 so I can spend the whole day there. I talked to John and we joked a bit and I will see him on Wednesday at 7:30. My stomach was pretty upset for the past week or so but yesterday it settled down and today it was fine. I must have had a virus of something. I have two not too bad weeks of teaching and then a week of finals (only two) and I am done for a month. I hope I can do some writing over the break. I did send my return to kayaking poem out to Floyd County Moonshine and I hope they use it. Walked last night with Rob and I will walk with him tonight. Fay and Noah are totally out of control and he isn’t sure what to do. There may not be much he can do.

Friday, November 2, 2012

fifth anniversary cancer free

Another Friday has come and this is a big one, the fifth anniversary of being clean from cancer. To celebrate it, I had a good dinner with Rob and Becky last night at Greens and I will also see them—and meet Becky’s daughters—on Sunday at 3. My graduate class went very well with a very good story and a fine poem, such a difference from the week before. The students were much more relaxed and so was I. I have made it clear what I want in the stories so I hope the good work continues. I talked with Herb this morning and he was very defensive about my fairly simply requests: no more handyman work, a visit from him and Susan, and a different view of my accomplishments at Parnassus (no more a “box carrying yokel from Staten Island” to “the first intern to write two pieces for the magazine. I did back off on my request for them to visit since it would require Herb to fly in a small plane into Roanoke even though he flew in a small plane to Albuquerque. He was rambling in his defensiveness but I think he understood the gist of my complaint. The paper I am going to deliver in Durham was pretty sloppy but I have almost finished revising it and it reads much better. I also sent in a proposal to give a paper in Savannah in April at CEA. Gloria may fly there to meet me. I played golf on Wednesday with the cold wind howling (43 degrees) and no one else on the course. But with my wonderful jacket I was able to shoot a 46, a pretty impressive score considering the conditions. Today I played again and it was almost as windy but warmer and I shot a 49. I played my sand wedge like a croquet mallet. I go my equity line for 180K and that should be enough to cover me until I retire. I sent Gabe a check so he should be able to expand his business, and I sent money to Americares and to Heifer.