Another new year is upon us, of course. I’ve seen in 2017 here in the Catskills, a low mountain range about 100 miles north of New York City. They are scenic, as well as awash with history – including literary history: for example, New Yorker Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” (which Irving wrote while in England) “lived” here.
Our Christmas house guests have returned to London. They landed at Heathrow several hours ago. Fortunately, they got on the upstate New York roads and down to Newark Airport yesterday before…the snow hit:
Back on Monday we headed to the small Windham cinema and saw Rogue One with one of those house guests – my youngest nephew. He’s 14 and a Star Wars fanatic. I thought it was a better film overall, in my humble opinion, than Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
On Tuesday night, eight of us sitting in front of the tele, we happened to catch Bogart in The Maltese Falcon on TCM. I told that nephew that Falcon is THE detective film of all time. Every detective film since then pretty much owes its existence to The Maltese Falcon.
Unsurprisingly, he’d never seen the film. Afterwards, on another channel we watched a much more recently made Marvel Captain America. I don’t recall which film it was exactly; I admit I lose track. One scene I recall saw Scarlett Johansson running around on a bridge, guns in both hands, spraying bullets at bad guys amidst bystanders’ cars crashing and bursting into flame and people running for cover.
Lovely to look at and fortunately not enough to be a major driving problem. English relatives will be arriving here later today, driving up from Manhattan where they’ve been sightseeing for the last two days. We’re prepared:
…I decided to have mostly a “social media-free” day yesterday. I know: how ridiculously quaint, right? Largely cutting oneself off?
I needed to have my car seen to over something minor and to prep to leave for my dad’s. Dad’s is where I am now again this morning – at his house a hundred or so miles away in Pennsylvania. The first part of the journey back to Britain has started.
And, as that Instagram caption notes, yesterday was my mom’s “anniversary” – she died a year ago. Dad, my sister and I went out to have a quiet dinner near his place last night. We all must carry on:
I’m taking a few days away from my writing to do some reading and have a mini-break to recharge the batteries. So I wasn’t going to post today at all. But you know me…once my mind starts going as morning gets going…
Although I did some writing on the plane over, I’ve decided to give “Robert,” “Carolina,” “Henry,” and “Marie-Thérèse”, and the others a rest for a few days. They probably could use a short “break” from me, too. 😉 While it’s said you should write constantly, you do have to pause now and then and clear your head.
Moreover I don’t want to veer into “killing off” any characters accidentally because I’m feeling briefly somewhat “off” myself. With my mother’s one year death anniversary on the 26th, I’m trying to find a real-life “happy place.” I suppose these Catskills are one of them:
I snapped that photo yesterday afternoon. It doesn’t look like that outside now, I assure you:
I’m flying to New York (alone) next week for a 10 day visit to check on my father in Pennsylvania and also check on our house and “lock it down” for a Catskills winter – where temperatures can easily fall to -10C (14F) for days on end. Hopefully, no “local guests” have eaten it completely since I was there in June! You may remember what was awaiting me the last time…
This dawned on me as well as I explained that plan yesterday while I was answering a message from a cousin in Connecticut. Now married with two young sons, she and I grew up living around the corner from each other on Long Island – where none of our families now live any longer. With my mother’s one year anniversary upon us, she’d written me asking how my dad is doing these days.
Well, my absentee ballot has arrived here in Britain. The election is almost upon us. I vote in New York state, in the 19th congressional district, which is located upstate partly in the Catskills where our house is:
Let me offer a quick explanation of that ballot because this fact might baffle some people. The United States does not have a presidential election as such. It has essentially 51 presidential elections simultaneously – separate elections in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (meaning Washington city, which is not in any state but is the national capital named after, OF COURSE, HIM!).
As I vote in New York State, I vote for electors – locals whose names one rarely knows – who gather at Albany in early December. They are pledged to cast THEIR ballots formally for the pair of candidates who had received the most votes back on November’s Election Day.
You never know who is reading you. Something I wrote about the Catskills a couple of years back attracted a response from a Turkish woman. She wrote to me that she knew the area well: she had attended (of all places) the State University of New York at Binghamton!
We had a laugh. She had also left the US recently and was living once again in Istanbul, but remained interested in south-central New York state, where Binghamton is located, in particular. Occasionally, she’d ask me about the snow and frigid temperatures – she didn’t miss either in Istanbul! she always said – and inquired harmlessly about other aspects of life thereabouts. She also knew I-84 pretty well, and we’d joked about that “endless” and “dull” highway.
We ended up following each other on Twitter. She tweeted mostly in Turkish, which left me mostly at a loss. But she did offer an occasional observation in English and/or a link to something in English; usually it was innocuous and apolitical. Often what she shared was humorous.