Sunday, January 31, 2016

Soirée Musicale.

1-31-16 SHORT HILLS: NJPAC presented Orchestre National de France, Daniele Gatti, conducting, Friday night, and we were there. We heard Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and Symphony No. 5 by Tchaikovsky. For our Teutonic-shaped musical tastes, the program offered a look at and feel for different sounds. Julian Rachlin, the very animated violin soloist, plays a Stradivarius violin, one of some 500 still surviving. The audience applauded only once between movements of the concerto.

Cellos lounging around while on break during the intermission.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Snow Recedes

1-29-16 SHORT HILLS: January is almost finished. At the risk of seeming disloyal to my birth month, I’m not sad to see the end of it. The sun has begun its climb back to the Equator and will be half way back on Feb 21 and on the Equator on March 21.

Snowstorm Jonas [when did snow storms start getting names?] left us more than a foot, maybe two feet, of white. We did not lose power at any point, there seems to be little or no tree damage, and the snow pack is shrinking away. The dogs have made trails, we helped, in the snow. The birds drain the feeders daily. The afternoons have been in the forties and sunny.

The driveway is a maze of snow piles, but we can get the cars in and out. The local roads are still missing a lane, but the major streets are clear.

Three days after the big storm in NJ. Melting has started.

Five days after, more melt down.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cold Hot Air Balloon.

1-24-16 VERMONT: The NY metro area got some snow yesterday, we heard, but here we had not one flake. It was cloudy in the morning, but cleared in the afternoon. Today is beautiful, in the mid-teens, but with no wind, it was a fine walk. Judy used her snowshoes, I walked in her tracks with just winter boots.

Lily and Sam were here for dinner last night, and the previous night we went to the tapas place with Sherry and Dave. This afternoon we will see Steve and Diana’s slides from Africa.

We were very surprised to see a hot-air balloon yesterday. It kept sinking below the horizon and then popping up again. I bet it was a cold ride.

Hot air balloon surprised us on a cold morning. Mt. Lafayette behind the balloon.

The balloon dropped low about three times and rose again.

I'm guessing the air was too cold so it was too hard to keep the balloon hot.

Snowshoer on her rounds.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sunny Day in Vermont.

1-22-16 VERMONT: It’s in the twenties and sunny. Outside is nice until a puff of wind comes along. We walked around the pasture with the dogs. There are only a few inches of snow, except where it has drifted to fill hollows. If you walk off the path, you might find yourself knee deep on the wrong spot. Other years, usually, there are a couple feet of snow at this point in the winter. There was a nice, clear sunset last night.

Last light.

Moosilauke, snow covered, but orange at sunset.

So much to sniff.

Judy is in there somewhere.

Blue sky, blue shadow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snow Job.

1-20-16 SHORT HILLS: We’re not snow virgins any more this winter having gotten a half-inch of white a few days ago. By now, even though it’s been cold, most of it has evaporated. We’re supposed to get a real storm in a few more days, but we’ll see. Actually we will be in VT and won’t see because VT is supposed to be bypassed as the storm goes out to sea before or after hitting Boston.

On another matter, I turned on the TV this morning and Donald Trump was speaking in Iowa, I think, and I watched for about five minutes. He went on about how great his polling is, and how great he is, and how he expected to win Iowa, the nomination and the presidency. He never mentioned any issues, but talked only about himself. I suppose that is an issue. He’s just an egotistical blowhard. What’s the attraction?

First snowfall, about a half inch....

arrived in mid-January, but more may be on the way.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dinner with Gabriel.

1-16-16 SHORT HILLS: We were back in the city last night for a winter birthdays dinner with some of the kids and grands. Gabriel Kreuther, the restaurant, is on W. 42th across from Bryant Park and a few blocks east of Times Sq.

While it is a bit pricey, the food and service were magnificent. It has a Michelin star and rave reviews from everyone else. Without going into too much detail, let me say just that it was the best duck I ever had, ever.

Most of the other dinners had tickets for Hamilton, so we ate early to get them to the show. Poor ticketless Maggie took the subway back to Brooklyn after dinner, and Judy and I drove back to NJ. Two trips through Times Sq. gave us a chance to get a few new pix.

Lights and signs of Times Sq horizontally....

And vertically to the south....

And to the north.

Some hand-made signs make special requests....

And some offer special opportunities...

Skaters on the Bryant Park rink.

Friday, January 15, 2016


1-15-16 SHORT HILLS: We had a wild turkey in the yard for about an hour yesterday. He/She [They?] posed while perched on the fence.

Turkey, non-breeding state. You can see ear, eye, nose, beak and that unicorn-like horn between  the eyes and nose.

In this one, the turkey is blinking. Compare to the next one.

Eyes wide open.

About to say good-bye and hop the fence.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pêchers at the Met.

1-13-16 SHORT HILLS: Yesterday evening we had snow flurries on our way back to NYC for the opera. This morning there was dusting of snow in a few spots. It was cold and windy all day.

We heard Les Pêcheurs de Perles, The Pearl Fishers, at the Met—we both loved it. Visually the production is stunning with deep divers to the ocean floor, a typhoon, a burning village, day turning to night, boats on the ocean and a riot. Georges Bizet’s music, for this opera, hasn’t been heard in New York since 1916. Pity that.

Diana Demrau as Leila, Mariusz Kwiecien as Zurga, Matthew Polenzani as Nadir and Nicholas Testé as a priest of Brahma are the featured performers and were all in good voice in some great arias. The opera choir is always great, and Gianandrea Noseda, conductor, got some great performances from the orchestra including some good solos. The plot involves a virgin priestess, rivals for her love, betrayals, death sentences, fire, a storm, improbable coincidences and all the usual stuff of opera. It was great! The audience loved it.

Before the show, we had dinner at Café Fiorello with my Aunt Jean. We discussed a lot of family history.

The Met from the Plaza...


Packed house, there are people up there on top...

Big applause while the fire rages on.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Picasso and MoMA.

1-12-16 SHORT HILLS: We’re getting yo-yo weather again—Sunday there was a lot of rain with temps in the sixties. Since then it’s been cold and dry, down to the teens at night.

The tree people were back yesterday to grind the stump of the big ash tree. They use a machine that is like a circular saw the size of a washing machine that moves on tank treads. It rumbles back and forth across the stump turning the wood into a mountain of chips. I helped spread the chips on the raw ground—an attempt to avoid the mud when things thaw out. Parts of the yard were denuded by the bobcat that was used to remove the tree sections. Some of the sprinkler system was damaged in the tree takedown and will need repair in the spring.

Saturday we were back in NYC for the Picasso Sculpture exhibit at MoMA. There are 141 pieces from several different periods of his life ranging from 1902 to 1964. He used a variety of materials—bronze, ceramic, wood, sheet metal, plaster, wire, cardboard and salvaged and found objects. There are 11 rooms, more or less in temporal order. The objects vary from fist sized to huge. They mostly represent plants, animals and people, especially women. They’re brilliant, iconic, imaginative, surprising, inventive and misogynistic.

After the sculptures, we visited some old friends hanging around the museum. Then it was south on 5th to 12th St. to Gotham B & G for a great dinner, and we parked on the street twice.

Painted metal and old casters, 'Little Horse'.

Plaster, 'Bust of a Woman'.

Bronze 'Cat'.

Ceramic 'Owl'.

'Baboon with Young', bronze, the head is a toy car.

'She-Goat', bronze.

'Little Girl Jumping Rope', bronze.

Sheet metal, 'Woman with Child'.

Iconic 'Bull's Head' from bicycle parts, bronze.

Sculpture garden and skyline.

Five levels of MoMA.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

RPO with Zukerman.

1-9-16 SHORT HILLS: We’re back in the forties with drizzle this morning. Yesterday I repaired the Invisible Fence that the tree guys broke taking down the big tree, but they will be back on Monday to grind down the stump, so they will get a chance to break it again.

Last night we were at NJPAC for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Pinchas Zukerman conducting and playing the violin for Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219. Our seats were near the front in the center, so we could see every smile or grimace on the faces of the players. We saw the violins, violas and cellos, but none of the other players beyond the first few rows. We could, however, hear everyone very, very well.

They opened the program with Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and concluded with Brahms’ Symphony No.1 in C Minor, Op. 68, after intermission. Judy and I enjoyed all of it a lot, as did the rest of the audience, because there was enough applause to get an encore, which we thought was the overture for The Marriage of Figaro.

I forgot the iPhone so I couldn’t take any lousy iPhone pix of the auditorium, but here are a few flowers in bloom from the Paris trip, two weeks ago….

Some flowers from December in Paris, viburnum with bees....




Monday, January 04, 2016

Another Tree Comes Down.

1-4-16 SHORT HILLS: First post of 2016—Happy New Year! Shout out to Steve for his curtain call at NYGASP.

Last night was finally cold, in the twenties, but tonight is predicted to go to 10° here and -6° in Vermont. I think last night was our first hard frost. Definitely wintry, finally.

Franks Tree was here again today to take down another huge ash that is afflicted with leafhopper disease and already half dead. The tree is a double trunk tree, multi-trunks are fairly common for ashes. They had to take down a section of fence to remove the many cords of wood. For the biggest hunks of trunk, they used a Bobcat to carry them away. They will come back to grind the stump.

Before it got cold, we saw more forsythia in bloom and viburnums and roses also.

One trunk horizontal and sectioned, the other trunk still standing.

Trunk 2 being dis-assembled.

That's a big stump.