Old Year

Last night Rosamond and I rang out the old year. Why not? It was a good year deserving of a retrospective. Besides, we have a fair idea of what last year was about, while next year is only a cliff, good if you are a base jumper but otherwise perhaps not.

Almost a year ago, we spent two weeks in St. Croix, walking the usually deserted beach, snorkeling, writing, playing games, a kind of annual honeymoon we enjoy away from New York’s winter cold. In February, I went to Montana to see Lorca and Vedra and their families and to ski. I can no longer ski from the lift’s opening until it’s close, but I am not one who sashays down the groomers either. Going fast is still irresistible, although I suspect that my grandkids will soon leave me behind.

In March, Rosamond had surgery to repair some arthritis at the base of her thumb. It worked, and she recovered for our trip to Europe in April. She had a conference in Paris, and we stayed in a small hotel on the left bank and ate at charming little bistros. She conferenced, and I walked around for five days. Then we took the fast train to Amsterdam for another five day conference. Except for living under sea level, the Dutch are so sensible about everything, although while we were there they closed the coffee shops to foreigners. Then on to Bologna where Rosamond gave a talk at the University. The business part of the trip completed, we went south to Sorrento with Dr.s Dan and Ann Moros. We took day trips to Paestum, a wonderful Greek city with three temples remaining, and Pompeii (the porn, which is mostly in a museum in Naples, is overrated but still has historical, if not priapic, interest), drove along the Amalfi Coast and took the ferry to Naples to visit the museums. Finally we took the train to Rome and spent a few days with our friends revisiting the Coliseum and the Forum and other musts for tourists before we flew home.

I started brewing my lager for the summer when we got back, and in May Rosamond gave some talks at a medical school in Sarasota where we also visited Barnum’s winter mansion. Then a week later we went to Boston, and Rosamond gave a talk at Harvard Law School. We spent the month of June in St. Louis because Rosamond received an NEH grant for a Summer Seminar at Washington University. We lived in student housing, and it was almost like being a student again.

At the beginning of August, we staged our twentieth wedding anniversary. The anniversary is actually around Thanksgiving, but that is usually a bad time to come to New York. So my kids and their families came from Montana and Seattle, and Rosamond’s kids and their families came from Manhattan and New Jersey, and the grandkids were playing and running around so much we hardly saw them. But we took trips to the zoo and the aquarium and to museums and the Lego store. A great time and sad to see them go. What is it about people living their own lives?

September was quiet except for brewing ale and oatmeal stout for the colder months, but in early October three palates of Going Up arrived, and, after a lot of time thinking I was a complete idiot and ready for the old folks home, I got this blog up and running. In the middle of the month, we went to Washington D.C. for a conference and saw the Lichtenstein retrospective. Then I went to the Oakdale Climbers Festival and saw old and new friends and got delayed on my return by Sandy, which allowed me to spend good time with Allen Steck and another old friend, Jim Sims.

Then in November down to Florida again, this time to Ft. Myers, for a wedding. Last month Rosamond went to Belgrade to organize a program for teaching research ethics in the Balkans and Black Sea countries courtesy of an NIH grant she was awarded. We will go back for a few weeks in early summer. I went to Montana to see kids and grandkids. Then last week we flew to Atlanta for a meeting of the American Philosophical Association.

So much for the itinerary, although the quality of the experiences is barely hinted at. Suffice it to say we had a lot of fun and even some edification along with quite a bit of aesthetic charge.

We started to ring out the old year last night by having a delicious lemon-peppered and herbed chicken with a 2006 Sonoma red. Somehow, we ended up watching several installments of “Portlandia,” a show I had heard of but never seen. It was wonderful fun, so full of surprises and ridiculous situations that jokes in the usual sense would have been superfluous. The initial sketch we saw  involved Jeff Goldblum as a knot salesman demonstrating that what seemed to be knots really weren’t, a slight of hand that could serve as a metaphor for life. We drank some Scotch and didn’t even switch channels to see the ball drop. And so to bed. Happy New Year.


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