Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PERSONAL NEWS #200
[NOTE: A mini milestone has been reached here at “Hanging out with the Duchess”. As you can see, I’ve reached the 200th posting in regards to “personal news”. Another milestone was reached in August, which marked the Duchess blog 9th anniversary. My sincere thanks to all my regulars; whether you are new or been reading my blog for some time. I greatly appreciate your patronage!]

Thursday, Sept 1st, I attended the monthly TGTSNBN meetup, which was held at Belvedere Castle in Central Park.

Sept 2nd to 5th, I visited the family in upstate NY for a nice, relaxing Labor Day holiday weekend. Felt good to get away from the NYC for a few days.

Tuesday, Sept 6th, I really enjoyed the monthly Peace Alliance conference call this evening, especially the guest speaker [Stephen Dinan from The Shift Network]. He talked about the unifying vision for a planetary "Summer of Peace" in 2012. A summer of education, reconciliation and celebration focused on transitioning to a culture of peace. This is exciting news and I am totally jazzed by it.

Thursday, Sept 8th, I attended the monthly BFP board members meeting held at The Commons.

Saturday, Sept 10th, I did some cleaning and organizing of my apt. Really felt good to clear out several items that I haven’t utilized in years, and was just taking up space.

Sunday afternoon, Sept 11th, I volunteered with other members from WCW to participate in a virtual memorial of works of art in memoriam to the victims of the US war on terror and a gathering at City Hall Park. Our grief is not a cry for war!

Afterwards, several of us headed up to Revolution Books for “The Juggernaut of Empire and the Need for a Whole New World”. The event started off with a brief talk by Jacob George, who served 3 tours of duty in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2004. His story was about "A Ride Till the End" (ARTTE) a collective of veterans, artists, and activists who have been riding bicycles around the U.S. as a protest of the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan since May 1, 2010.
Then we were presented with a talk and slide presentation of outstanding art created in response to 9-11 from "Redact This! Artists against Torture" by David Schwittek. And then lastly, a talk by Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books NYC, regarding George W. Bush said that America was attacked because "they hate our freedom," and then he unleashed a decade of war, torture and repression that continues unabated. Why did 9/11 happen, what has changed, and what is to be done.

Wednesday, Sept 14th, I attended and participated in the productive monthly BFP PF committee meeting.

Thursday, Sept 15th, after work I hoofed it down to the Union Square B&N to purchase the new “Pearl Jam Twenty” book, which marks their 20th anniversary on the music scene.

Saturday, Sept 17th, I spent the afternoon in Manhattan with my friend Judith. We had a delicious lunch at Nanoosh, went to see “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows 2”, shopping and then dessert at Europan. After Judith headed back home on her bus, I did more shopping down on 6th Avenue and then wrapped it all up with a nice manicure.

On Sunday afternoon, Sept 18th, I volunteered with other BFP members at the annual Flatbush Frolic that takes place on Cortelyou Road. BFP had a booth along the “frolic” route. We engaged folk in the “penny poll”, asked them to fill out postcards to NY senators Gillabrand and Schumer about ending the war, plus selling t-shirts and buttons. It was a terrific afternoon, plus I did a wee bit of shopping at the Flatbush Food Coop.

On Wednesday evening, Sept 21st, I participated in the first meeting of the newly formed BFP A&C committee. Veronica is the chair of the committee and I am co-chair. We met at Wild Ginger in Cobble Hill for our meeting, and ate some really good vegan food while fleshing out “mission statement” and other particulars. It was a very productive meeting.

Thursday evening, Sept 22nd, I participated with other members of BFP at the “Peace Party and Mixer”, which was held at the Brooklyn College student center.

Saturday, Sept 24th, started out with Dana cleaning my apartment, and telling me all about her vacation in Poland. Then I headed into Manhattan, and while switching trains at Times Square got to ride on a vintage subway. These vintage subway trains were built in 1917 and retired in 1969. It was a blast riding it from Times Square to West 96th Street, and I took several photos. TGTSNBN was playing quidditch in Riverside Park near 108th Street and I was score keeper. Afterwards a group of us had a late lunch at Mel’s Diner, and then I strolled through a street fair with Irvin. Then down to Union Square to volunteer with others for City Harvest at the farmers market.

Sunday, Sept 25th, I was supposed to meet up with Pat C at the Broadway Flea Market, but somehow we never connected. Mostly my fault as I was late to our rendezvous due to transit issues and trying to find meeting spot. I checked out the Broadway Flea Market, as well as continue to look for Pat C for another hour. It was another warm, humid day and it wasn’t agreeing with me at all. Jumped on the cool, a/c subway and went down to Canal Street to pick up art supplies for upcoming workshop. Then back on subway down to Brooklyn Heights for lunch at Vegetarian Ginger on Montague Street. Afterwards strolled around promenade, took pix of some lovely architecture, and did some shopping along Montague Street. Spent rest of the day in my air conditioned apartment relaxing.

Monday, Sept 26th, I headed into the city around 1pm and checked out a few protests. The one over by the UN wasn’t that intriguing, so after a quick stop to check out winter coats at Dress Barn, I took the subway down to lower Manhattan. Got off at City Hall and walked down to Liberty Park were “Occupy Wall Street” protest had been going on for about 10 days. I hung out with “Granny Peace Brigade” and Julie from WCW. [Stay tuned for pix of OWS.]

Wed – Mon, Sept 28th – Oct 3rd … Despite being abit unwell [lung & stomach issues], I decided to go ahead with my Cape May [NJ] portion of vacation and attend the watercolor workshop. The bus ride down to Cape May from NYC was pretty much uneventful and arrived at my beloved seaside resort around 1pm. Took taxi service to Macomber hotel and lodged myself in my fav room with a view of the beach. Some nice changes have occurred at the Macomber since last year with a digital upgrade to the A/C, new flat screen TVs and small refrigerators in every room. Sweet! Put that last item to full advantage with a visit to the Acme grocery store. After a productive “photo shoot” walk around part of Cape May, plus picking up dinner at Cape Orient, I ran into Regina from Twin Gables B&B and we chatted for abit. She was out walking her two dogs [ie: Brandy and Rascal] when we met up. Regarding the cable TV in hotel room; I enjoyed catching up on some TV shows and movies. Films I watched during the evenings, while visiting Cape May were … Disney’s Aladdin, Ghostbusters1, Mad Max Thunderdome and Pirates of the Carribean1.

On Thursday morning I walked to the CVS to speak with the pharmacist on duty about some meds for my health. Heading to and from CVS I was able to check out some of the shops and boutiques. Visited Regina at Twin Gables that afternoon for an hour and we caught up on news. I also started work on a needlepoint project I had purchased day before at Washington Street Mall. Took a nap and then freshened up before heading out at 6pm with Franklin [workshop acquaintance] to check out the sunset at the cove, then off to a delicious dinner at the Blue Pig.

On Friday I rented a bike for the day, as the weather turned out nice and sunny. Amen! Up until then it was overcast and humid. Ugh! Pedaled off to the Laundromat on Texas Avenue to do some laundry, write checks and write in my journal. I dropped off my clean, dry clothes at hotel room. Then some tea and toast at Zoe’s before pedaling over to Emlen Physick estate for a tour of the latest exhibit and gift shop. Love checking out this place every year. Stopped by the post office to mail my checks and then on to Congress Hall “bike rentals” for a lengthy visit with my buddy Joe. We caught up on news, laughs and now “friends” on FB. He had some good news for me … Joe and his fiancée are getting hitched in November. Hurray! Later that afternoon I learned from Franklin that the workshop “intro” at Chalfonte was cancelled that evening, due to Barbara Cox having a car accident. Nothing serious, but meant she wouldn’t be at the Chalfonte that evening, and will still be teaching the workshop over the weekend. Whew! Change of plans and Franklin invited me to Stone Harbor for dinner at Erik and Susan’s home on a charming cove. Erik is another workshop acquaintance and avid painter. I had quite an enjoyable evening at Erik’s home, tour of house, 40ft boat, delicious dinner and then back to Macomber for quiet night.

Saturday & Sunday [watercolor workshop] … Lung issues are not improving, but I amble on like a trouper, as I did not want to miss this workshop. Upon arriving at the Chalfonte and the workshop room, I saw that Leslie is back and said it was all due to my email of early August. Its great seeing her again, though bummed to hear she’s been out of work since April. But on a positive note, she’s been dating a really nice chap since January, whom she met while hiking and he joined her during this weekend. There were a total of seven workshop participants … Leslie, Mary, Tonia, Joyce, Erik, Franklin and myself. Overall it was a terrific two-day watercolor workshop. Barbara Cox, our instructor who replaced Marge, was brimming with lots of tips, plus gave us many instructive demos. Part of Saturday, while the weather was still nice, we took the workshop outdoors to sketch The Abbey. I’ve tried to paint this “subject” in the past with no luck, but this time around I came away with a decent sketch. After several informative demos by Barbara, we worked on painting our sketches for 2.5 hours. Then the Chalfonte set up a table of wine, crackers, fruit, cheese and olives for the belated “intro” segment and “happy hour”. I finally met Michael, who is Leslie’s beau, and much socializing with everyone. Sunday dawned with overcast skies and much cool temps. Layering up on clothes was the order of the day. At the workshop room we decided to “stay in” and the Chalfonte turned on the heat for us. Amen! Barbara spent a good portion of the day providing us with demos and discussion. One of the demos, Aspen Birches, was our painting subject for the afternoon. Also, that afternoon, Barbara did a critique of everyone’s work and a raffle of some of her work. Plus she handed out free goodies from “Cheap Joe’s” art supplies. Afterwards Erik, Franklin, Leslie, Michael and I met at the King Edward lounge for a “happy hour”, though I stuck with lemon water. Then we parted company and I had quick dinner with Leslie and Michael before they drove back to PA. Next day it was back on the bus to NYC.

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