The Great Plotnik

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We're Home!

Big house. Too few people in it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

BIG Hap'nins in Spring Glen

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hudson, NY

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bungalow Colony II

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bungalow Colony

Mowed grass, katydids, tree frogs. Lie on the bed in the bungalow, listen to thousands of 'em. Snuggle up Des, who is acting more like a little boy every day. I slap my hand on the couch twice and he slaps his twice. I hold him on my lap facing Staci and we pretend he is Fats Domino. He giggles, facing front, then turns back to stare at me. He's got huge eyes, big curls, arms and thighs rubbery with fat.

Dan, Bells and Barb are driving up from Brooklyn, Staci, Desmond and I took the train to Secaucus and another to Middletown where we rented a car and drove the remaining twenty minutes.

These bungalows are all just marking time, falling in, their rooves leaking, siding exposed, wiring faulty, appliances seeping gas. It is only a matter of time, a few years, maybe even decades, but the grass will be king again. 

But not yet. It's lovely here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Advertisement on the subway

It's discouraging to realize They are pitching adds to a generation whose language you don't even understand. 

But you've got to love the street ashtray.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We're Here!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On The Road Again

On the road again...why didn't I write that? Maybe because I can wait to get on the road again. I love where we live. When it's hot, like yesterday, and we can have our new Belgian neighbors and their kids over for tapas (including our padrons) and a rosé we found two weeks ago at Sorrelle in Lodi, it's hard to imagine an easier life.

Or maybe it's because I just didn't write that song.

The seats on Jet Blue are 'way roomier than on Southwest. Any Airbus is more comfortable than any 737. Except for Southwest's allowing you to change your flight at no charge, and the limited amount of cities served by Jet Blue and Virgin America, we would never fly any of the legacy airlines.

Lovely serendipity in this morning's NYT -- an article about the new excellence of Sicilian red and white wines, especially frappianos, in the southeast of the Island and around Mt. Etna. This should come in handy in October.  

But we are heading into the nest, not onto the Island. If all goes as hoped we will see our kids -- we have three now, you know -- plus one boyfriend, our grandkids, several old friends, and maybe even get in a museum or two. We'll spend time at the bakery in Ellenville, in the bungalow at Spring Glen, hiking in the mountains and swimming in lakes, and probably take a drive to Hillsdale to see Bob and Janet. We might even get to see Carey Mann, which is a completely different journey into an old story.

Carey is the younger son of my late friend Jonny. He turns out to be living in Red Hook and finishing up a degree at Bard. Carey sounds a little like the wild child his dad was, but that's always relative. We haven't seen him since he was a little boy. This is something I will try hard to make happen, knowing it may be awkward for him. This is for me. Something in me wants to know that Jon's kids know what a great guy their dad was. And that they're OK.  

Carey's brother Justin is in New Orleans. That's where we saw him last -- at Dan and Staci's wedding. He and Jon blew in and blew out --- if it weren't for that iconic Second Line photo we'd probably not even know they'd been there.

Jon was Dan's godfather, one of the grandest joke titles of all time. So I guess that makes Dan, Justin and Carey godbrothers?


We're here! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Happy Birthday, Bobo..." what he is thinking.

Also, "Yo! This is MY swing!"

But, mostly, "Happy Birthday wonderful Bobo! See you in a few days!"

Sunday, August 11, 2013


"So. It's your birthday tomorrow."

Plotnik is doing this now too. It seems like just a few years since "so" has replaced "well..." to open a conversation. Plot first heard it from his neighbors Athena and Carlo, but they'd obviously been doing it for quite awhile. So, when did this start? So, do you do it too?

It seems to be be how an implied question is answered, a little like in Japanese, where a short neutral word like "so" indicates politeness.

"So. We could go for sushi, if you like."

Sometimes Plotnik starts a sentence with "So..." and then stops. The Great Ducknik stares at him and says "So, what?"

This means Plotnik was thinking about something but then wandered off into the ozone and got caught.

So. Tomorrow is somebody's birthday. It will also be the height of the Perseids meteor shower. Last year we were in Glacier National Park. This year we are completely socked in by morning and evening sky-erasing fog.

"So. How far do we have to drive for clear skies?"

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Now, That Was Just Ridiculous

Friday, August 09, 2013

Two Phone Calls

The phone rings. It's Ray, across the street. He tells me that A, who lives three doors down, passed away last night. We know she's had cancer, but she has looked so good every time we've seen her walking on the street for the last few months. Shit. Now I have to say 'was.'

A was a really, really nice person. We went down to their house to watch the election returns in 2008, and the four of us danced around like happy puppies when Barack won. And now S will be in that great big, wonderful craftsman house, all by himself. Jeez.

Sixty seconds after that phone call, the phone rings again. This time it's The Great PD, with news from down in Stiletto.  Another old neighbor is near death. I don't have to say 'was' yet but he's in hospice. K is a harmonica player, a really good one. He lived down the street from us too, and has a son PD's age. The mom died four years ago and now nobody knows what's going to happen in that house. You can say there are some issues.

The thing is, you can always think of a reason not to get involved. Somebody else, closer to the family, will do it. And they will. But this is a sticky situation.

The Great PD wonders what he should do. So do I. We knew this boy for most of his life and he's got nobody now. 

But for right now, it's time to go down the street and talk to S and find out how we can help him. When you get to our age, you've been here before. You know what to do.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Best Travel Information

It's trip planning time.

Plotnik trusts people who got up at 4am to get to the fish market in Tokyo when it opened. He trusts people who went five hundred miles out of their way to taste the cheese. He trusts people who drank wine out of the barrel in the winery with no name. He trusts people who stayed over a few days extra to see Barcelona play Madrid.

He doesn't trust on-line forums much. It may be that the more you write on Trip Advisor, the less you saw.

He trusts Captain Crow to find the bluest water. 

He trusts Counselor Chick to do the best negotiations.

He trusts The Great Ducknik to smooth down all the rough edges.

Maybe they'll get home for Isabella's birthday.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Almost Broken

Racing through Breaking Bad Season 5 Part 1. Five episodes down, three to go, before the new and last half season begins. Season 5 is feeling to me like it's time for them to finish. With the official Big Bad Guys gone by the end of Season 4, the only Big Bad Guy left has to turn out to be our hero. So, it's a little less fun since it's hard to root for him these days. Not to say I've got anything against hijacking trains.

What a phenomenal show. But it's the rare show that can just keep building and building upon itself. Breaking Bad is the best thing Plot has seen since the Sopranos. But Walter White is not Tony Soprano. Nobody is.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Ninety Nine !

Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall
   Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer
   If One of those bottles should happen to fall won't be Rosie!

You can say "Mummy P. is doing great, for ninety-nine," or you can mean it. The Great Plotnik means it. She's got plenty of ailments, but they're annoyances that she can live with. If she hadn't been so DAMNED stubborn and refused the hearing aid, she'd be right in the middle of everyone's conversations just like she used to be.

OK, she forgets, she repeats herself, she asks you the same question several times in a row, and she doesn't remember your answer. But sit her down in front of a plate of food and look out. "Now, Dear, just give me a little bit. Not that much..." she SAYS. She MEANS: "If I were you, Dear, I wouldn't leave your finger anywhere near my fork."

Brother Shmeckl and Sister Little Bear opened up their home as always for the family, though this year we kept it to just immediates. Too many people and M.P. (and also her son Plotnik) tend to glaze over and check out. It was just right. Plot and Duck picked up one of those dark chocolate cakes from Destination Bakery on the way to the airport and she blew out all the candles before anyone could take a picture.

Bailey, the Devil Dog, was moderately well-behaved, but both of Plotnik's nephews have psychological conditions. Nephew Dominant Force is in the third stage of Cowboy-Corrosive Brain Failure (which means he'll even watch exhibition games) and Nephew Nefnik, who brought his dog Dakota to the party, may have contacted Southern Shmalifornia Dog Doofus Disease. It was not previously known to be transferable through generations.

It was wonderful to see Cousin Carver Two looking and sounding like her old self again. For once, Plot and Duck got to spend a little time with Sis Judy. Jude, if you're reading this, please send the photo of the three kids.

So. It's a good time to be alive, fellow Plotnikkies. Heredity, or blind luck, whichever it is, Plotnik will take it. Yes, it's true that yesterday's drive from Orange County back to Mummy P.'s house, mired in burning and stinking traffic and also having to get off the freeway twice in East L.A. to find some place where Mummy P. could, well, P, was exhausting.

But she hung in there, and we hung in there, and everybody is still hanging in there. And then there are those Plotzers.

So this is the Sermon for the Day: The longer you hang in there, the more chance there is that something good might happen. Pweeeeeg!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

First Padron Tapa

Okay, it wasn't a big meal. There weren't all that many Padrones. But these came from the Plot
Pepper Patch, and they were absolutely delicious fried Spanish style in olive oil and sea salt. Like with all padrones, one was hot. You never which it'll be.