Sunday, December 21, 2014

Airports, Security Lines, Jet-Lag.

12-21-14 AMSTERDAM: Here we are in Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands all fourteen of us, jet-lagged, waiting for our KLM flight to Kilimanjaro Airport. We flew in over-night on Delta. Ten of us started at EWR, and four of us started at SFO. We have a twelve-hour flight to Tanzania in a few minutes.

  East Coast ten at EWR.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tanzania Safari.

19-12-15 SHORT HILLS: We leave for Tanzania tomorrow—all 14 of us, children, children-in-law, grandchildren, for a safari. Judy set it all up and did all the heavy lifting with occasional suggestions, mostly disregarded, from me. The organizational guide is a company named & Beyond.

We fly from Newark to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro Airport, and then to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge after an overnight in Arusha. The next stop is at the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and finally we are on the Serengeti in a tent camp. Then back to Arusha, Amsterdam and Newark. Tanzania is on the east coast of Africa south of the Equator. We will be in and around the Rift Valley. All of us have their Yellow Fever Vaccination certificates and Malaria pills. Bring on the animals.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dvořák and Dogs.

12-12-14 SHORT HILLS: We’ve been back in NJ for a few days. There’s been another Nor’easter for most of this week with lots of rain and wind and some snow flurries but no accumulation. It has stayed in the thirties for the most part.

Maizie the dog was sick with a gastroenteritis and conjunctivitis after the trip to VT. She had three trips to the vet for exams, X-rays and finally an ultrasound, all of which were normal. Now, on antibiotics, she is well. The other two dogs, Gus and Bally, were also off a little. While in VT, they were all feasting on frozen horse poop, poopsicles, if you will allow me that, and the vet thinks that’s the cause of their problems.

Last night we heard Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Concerto [Opus 33] and the Symphony No. 9 From the New World. Christoph von Dohnányi conducted and looked very elegant with flowing white hair. At the other end of the age spectrum, the pianist, Martin Helmchen, made his NY Phil debut. Before the concert, we had dinner with Ina and Marcel at Cafe Fiorello.

I apologize for these two pix, the usual mediocre iPhone snaps. Perhaps it’s my technique.

Lincoln Center Plaza.

Avery Fisher Hall waiting for Dvořák to start.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Feels Like Winter Is Here.

12-6-14 VERMONT: Intrepid Vermonters, Donna, Jane, Phyllis, Ken Bruce and Arnie, showed up for dinner as the snow began and the hors d’oeuvres appeared and didn’t leave until the cheesecake was gone and three inches were on the ground. It was another great meal, one of many.

This morning Judy the chef and I went to the dump in the continuing snow and then into town on errands. It’s much warmer today, in the thirties, thanks to the southerly wind that also brought the storm. Everywhere is postcard beautiful in its fresh whiteness.

When we got home, we took the dogs for a pasture walk on snowshoes for the first time this year. There are six to eight inches of snow at the moment. None of the dogs needed snowshoes. They were busy sniffing, rolling, tasting and digging holes in the snow.

A snowy green at a small New England college....

More college.

Starting to feel like winter.

Bally in the pasture.

Is there something under the snow?

Snowy pond and woods.

Southerly wind.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Dark corner of the Year.

12-4-14 VERMONT: It’s a few minutes after 4 PM, the sun just set so I would guess it was December if I didn’t know. The Winter Solstice is approaching so the days soon will be even a little shorter. We had a short snow squall with a bunch of wind this morning, and the temps have hovered in the upper twenties all day, in spite of sun in the afternoon. Tonight will be in the single digits.

When we came up yesterday, we drove through fog occasionally with enough reduced visibility to make me slow down. There are three or four inches of crusty frozen snow on the ground and an icy driveway. The pond is frozen over, but we’re not sure how thick the ice is. The small pond in the pasture is only partially frozen.

Judy is doing a dinner tomorrow for some of the local geezers so I helped with the shopping today. We also made a run to the town yard to get sand for the icy drive. You don’t get a lot done with nine hours of daylight.

A little snow on the recently mowed pasture plus a dog walker.

Foggy day.

Dog walker heads to home and fireside.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Falling Snow.

11-28-14 SHORT HILLS: Another nor’easter swept in Wednesday and hung around til Thursday. We got snow, about an inch, with a bit of wind and temps hovering around freezing. There was enough for me to shovel the driveway Wednesday night. Elsewhere in the region people got as much as a foot of snow. Many folks holiday travel plans were shredded.

Fortunately, Alison, Dan, Lily and Anna got here on Thanksgiving in the afternoon having survived Manhattan traffic congestion. Everyone ate way too much, of course, but Judy’s feast is hard to resist. I baked a pecan pie to complement Judy’s apple pie and the pumpkin pie I bought [gasp] at the bakery. I expect tonight’s dinner will feature turkey and stuffing.

It seems to me that November here is usually snowless and not terribly cold, or used to be so, but the storms just keep on coming. Is this the consequence of climate change?

Snow falling on an apple tree....

And on a burning bush and another apple....

And junipers....

and a holly and others.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

PHC on Saturday Night.

11-23-14 SHORT HILLS: We’ve been in the deep freezer for several days. Puddles and standing water were frozen, and at least one day the temps didn’t get above the freezing point. Yesterday was milder, and today was in the sixties with rain scheduled for tonight.

Yesterday we saw A Prairie Home Companion at Town Hall, near Times Square, with our usual group—Lynn and Bill and Leeza and Roger—but with the addition of Val and Steve and Anna and Gardner. Everybody loved the show. There were two female guest singers, Kate Beahen and Kat Edmondson, an appearance by Guy Noir, news from Lake Wobegon and a lot of music.

After the show we went to dinner at Lattanzi on W.46th St. The fried artichokes and ossobuco were great. I must add that in our little group, all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are definitely above average.

Above and below - Garrison Keillor and the band warm up the audience just before airtime.