Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Color of Summer in the Catskills

                                        In stark contrast to a long white winter, GREEN!!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Climate Change

From a tropical sunset to frosty winter in a day. Returning home to orchid blooms on the windowsill as snow fell outside warmed the room, as if the tropics followed me home forgiving dramatic changes in latitudes.     

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Theatrical Arson and Architectural Hoarding in the Hudson Valley

Kingston, New York claims a spot in history for being burned to the ground.
As the birthplace of the State of New York, Kingston became the target of British retaliation during the American Revolution.
Reenacted in a biannual extravaganza including fife and drum marching, red coats, boats and mock battles serves to remind the British that they ravaged a quaint little town in America long ago. The 2017 celebration of torching the town begins the evening of Friday the 13th in October and continues through the weekend. Payback is a riot.  

Architectural Salvage 

Another jaw dropping experience in Kingston is the fabulous Zaborski Emporium. Imagine that your garage is ten times bigger and four floors high. Fill it with items from 10,000 yard sales of centuries past.
Dismantle hundreds of older homes, then stack the pieces ten shelves deep starting with the largest and heaviest items on the top floor. Create a labyrinth of salvaged doors in the basement so patrons must ardently search for an exit.
Then go home and organize your garage, which will feel like fluffing pillows by comparison. 

Admirable is the monumental effort to acquire enough stuff to sink a cruise ship. It was impossible to choose one thing over another. Some items required loving hours of restoration while many were in excellent shape. Generations of friendly family members materialized in the maze to offer guidance. 
I asked a worker to find me before they locked the doors for the night and he assured me they call out before turning the lights off. 
Zaborski Emporium is a museum of deconstructed homes. It wasn't a shopping opportunity for me the first time through, because it was overwhelming. A woman trundled passed towing a bathtub on a dolly and as I stepped out of the way (impressed by her fortitude) she said, “Everything in here is old.” I think she meant us too.  

A whimsical chandelier looked like a tacky plastic import, although further investigation revealed hand-crafted tin berries. I doubt the artisan had access to plastic fruit during its creation, but the effect was comic and surprising in this century. For $450 it is sadly still there, but I do want it. I left glad to have seen their amazing collections of chairs, lamps and hardware hanging from the ceilings like bats, awed that so much could be crammed into one building. I felt small in their larger than life collection and deliriously happy. 
Their prices could be considered a service to compulsive junk collectors. Finding that one thing that you have longed for might be worth the price. It is a mystery worth exploring. 

      Zaborski Emporium 


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Large Travel Trailer For Sale

     We drove across the country in early spring. Full of dreamy notions about seeing America’s wild places I bought a truck and trailer. Firsts keep life exciting. In answer to my questions about towing a mechanic advised, “Just put the hammer down and don’t look back.” I felt confident ignoring him. Another friend didn’t want me to go without a handgun, but I didn’t shop for weapons either. 
       We moved to the Hudson Valley because property is affordable, history is apparent in the architecture and the natural surroundings are strikingly beautiful in all seasons. Now that I’m here people ask with a wry smile, “Why Kingston?” I wonder what they know that I don’t. I suppose people dream about warmer climates coming out of winter into the rain, bug and mud season. Every place has its foibles. It is still cold.  
     Towing a large trailer is a memorable experience never to repeat. The truck howled going uphill. I wore ear buds to dampen the roar. RV parks are ugly.
My lousy turning radius limited exploration to truck stops and pull through parking spaces. Longing for stretches of straight level highway is as dull as wishing all coffee cups were Styrofoam. The air in Texas and Oklahoma smelled like cows, either their crap or the wafting aroma of steak houses. The air ripe with bovine misery. I suspected five states of no longer providing driver’s education.   Narrow construction zone cement barriers allowed mere inches on either side of the trailer, some stretching for miles over radically uneven pavement. In Saint Louis a drop in the road shattered a trailer window and my head bashed the headliner.  Adrenalin loses its magic with age. Where it used to provide vigor, it now calls for a blood pressure cuff and a nap. 
     In Missouri a road sign announced that hitting a highway worker would result in a $10,000 fine. I’m not sure what was most offensive, the audacity of naming the price of a life on a road sign or the hideously low value placed on road workers. We passed several enormous crosses that dominated the landscape, large enough to flatten a Walmart. I launched prayers for improved highway etiquette and longevity for roadway crews.

     The best sightseeing moment was spotting a roadside sculpture in Texas after replacing the phone that I dropped in a toilet in New Mexico. The original Cadillacs, buried in a field in Amarillo by two artists from San Francisco in 1974, have undergone a surprising transformation. Repainted so often they resembled the texture of tripe in vivid colors.
Hundreds of spent cans littered the ground. The field and roadway nearby tagged with initials added color, but the cars held a presence not undone by anonymous contributors wielding cans.

     The manly tire store where my phone drowned in their odd little bathroom (decorated in the pastel crafter school) shocked with contradictory merit. The best dinner; a Peruvian inspired restaurant in Springfield, Illinois called Cuzco. Simply amazing food. The restaurant idea and menu inspired by the owner’s trip to Machu Picchu. Great story, murals and they served Faun a plate of shredded chicken that made her eyes roll.

         We arrived in Kingston on a sunny day. The excitement of seeing our new place dampened somewhat after finding the ton of junk the previous owners left behind. Mold grew on the walls and we discovered a dirt floor in one room when we took up the carpet. Faun lightened the mood by bolting after a large turkey treeing the bird in under a minute. She trotted back tall and proud. Blue stone rock walls zigzag through the woods. Soggy dips in the forest support numerous terrapin.
Abandoned quarries in the neighborhood create ponds for lollygagging carp Woodchucks shriek, which explains why they are also called whistle pigs.

     The old mobile home will eventually be replaced with something from this century. Song birds calling for mates and woodpeckers rattling their brains ring through the forest. Wondering in the woods is a crap shoot as ticks are plentiful this year. The ground did not freeze long enough to reduce their numbers. Lyme disease is all too common making bug spray the cologne of choice in the Catskills. Skin tight white clothing makes ticks easy to spot, but dressed like that I wouldn’t go out of doors anyway. On a nearby hilltop bears are waking in their dens. Surrounded by woodland mysteries makes it thrilling to be here.

     Moving is stressful, although in time routine will replace the upheaval. The travel trailer was a fine idea, only the reality sucked. I could not have known without trying. Videos extolling the virtues of gas guzzling recreational vehicles are made by people trying to sell them. While this might be the worst sales pitch ever, mine is currently available. 

When they said 'Let's go for a ride' I was sure they meant to Petco   
Faun’s alien encounter in New Mexico

Ohio Chihuahua mini golf hazard

 Absolutely not willing to get out of bed...

...without a winter coat.