Speaking Of “Suh-talk-ett”

Being English, my wife takes pride in correctly pronouncing place names from around where I grew up:

Excerpt from "Frontiers." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Frontiers.” Click to expand.

Long Island, New York is that fish-profile-resembling island that extends east from New York City. My parents lived in New York City and on Long Island all of their lives until moving to Pennsylvania in 2011. I was born in the city and raised on the island.

Screen capture of Wikipedia.
Screen capture of Wikipedia.

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A Not So “Ordinary” Girl

A new follower caught my attention the other day. She did so not so much because of her amazing blog. Rather, I was struck by her utter lack of one.

In her WordPress gravatar she calls herself an “ordinary girl” and writes that she’s not social, but uses social sites to explore. She says nothing about her age or where she lives. She also notes she hopes to travel someday, but hasn’t had the chance.

Statue of Liberty and World Trade Center's Twin Towers, from the Liberty Island ferry. [Photo by me, 1991.]
Statue of Liberty and World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, from the Liberty Island ferry. [Photo by me, 1991.]

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It Takes A Village (In England)

I had a haircut in the village yesterday. The woman who cuts it regularly has previously told me she’s 22 years old. She also has a half-brother who lives in the United States (in the Midwest) and is married to an American woman.

Let’s call her “Sophie.” I don’t know much about her non-work life, only that she grew up in, and lives in, nearby Hitchin. But I was surprised when she told me that despite where her half-brother lives, she has never been to the U.S.

Our rainy front garden. Hertfordshire, England. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Our rainy front garden. Hertfordshire, England. [Photo by me, 2016.]

I had increasingly taken it for granted that most English younger people travel on some level internationally, especially to the United States. She said she has been to “the continent” – to France and to Spain. But that’s it.

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A “Timeless” Place

Aside from posting that Instagram photo of our 2014 visit to nineteenth century U.S. President Martin van Buren’s Kinderhook home…

…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 prepย 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:

Self-explanatory. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Self-explanatory. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Home(s)

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

What porcupines can do. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2016.]
What porcupines can do. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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.

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Fifteen Years Ago

Part of a personal experience of mine, placed in September 1994 for fictional purposes:

Excerpt from "Passports." Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports.” Click to expand.

That indoor observation deck was indeed superb. (I’m a bit better with heights now than I was then. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) The roof walkaround just above it was reached by escalator with no guided escort being necessary, and was a more “open” viewing experience than the Empire State Building. There was no problem seeing from the top of the old World Trade Center:

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Our Catskills Oasis (Except For That Porcupine)

Hello again! I know in the last few days I’ve popped my head up only a couple of times over on Instagram and Twitter. Sorry no new posts on here (until now). Since I’m in the Catskills just a short time before I have to drive back down to my dad’s in Pennsylvania, I’ve been running around doing “stuff.”

And “stuff” needs doing. Yes, our house here is fine. Well, it’s mostly fine:

What porcupines can do. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2016.]
When a porcupine is interested in your sliding door. Catskills. [Photo by me, 2016.]

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Stages Of Grief

This morning I’m driving my now widower father, and my 44 year old sister (she lived with my parents, and so now lives with my father: let’s please not go there right now), up to our (my wife and mine’s – and I know that’s ungrammatical, but I don’t care right now) place in the Catskills for a few days.

We probably don’t have to do this, but I desperately want to. Dad agreed. He needs a different view and I think he knows that.

And I have to get the hell away for a while from this (my nowย late mother’s) October 26 place of death. Increasingly, I can’t bear this f-cking house. I never wanted them to move here to Pennsylvania (it’s not about PA itself; but let’s not go there either right now), and my late mother is “everywhere” here still, of course.

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Those Facebook “Slips”

Ah, trying to keep a secret when there’s Facebook…. and novelist uncles who forget and post things to your wall that you had made absolutely clear to him you didn’t want all of your family and close friends to know.

“How’s the writing going?”

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Never In A Million Years

Laura had been born in upstate New York. She died August 26, 2004 on Long Island – 11 years ago now. Only 52 at the time, she’d died in her sleep of a previously undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm.

For those of us who grew up fans, she was like a local gal who’d “made it.” I saw her perform live once, and won’t ever forget it:

A sneak peek into "Distances." Click to enlarge.
A sneak peek into “Distances.” Click to enlarge.

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