March 1, 2018
Of course I had every intention of updating this chattings page a lot more frequently than once a year. But let me think back over the last year or so and share some of the highlights.
My Iceland trip culminated in a very magical journey. I had made a new friend through Facebook who lives in Arkansas. She was going to be there at the same time as me, and we planned an excursion by car to Vik. Melanie was the perfect travel mate. Since we made our plans so far in advance, we had an opportunity to meet in New York when she came here on business, and I also accepted her invitation to visit Bentonville right before Christmas. We have visited each other a few times since then and I hope to be able to celebrate her upcoming wedding to Joe later on this summer.
Let me say that Vik, where Melanie and I did our excursion in Iceland, is one of the most charming places I have ever visited. Apparently it has a population of 200 people that swells to 2000 tourists during the high season. Our hosts at the B&B, Mani and Andrew and the dog they looked after were intriguing characters. The black sand beaches and volcanic outcroppings made the place otherworldly. The disgusting fermented fish delicacy we tried were a good excuse to drink the alcohol provided afterwards.
At Vik’s “Knitting and Games” night (the only thing going on in the town at that time) we met a few other colorful local characters, one of whom invited us to go ice climbing on a nearby glacier the following day. I had already booked the glacier trip the day after, so I ultimately did it twice. The first time, I took loads of photographs. The second time, I just enjoyed the journey and the amazing experience of eating ice that was millions of years old. Sadly, we were informed that the glacier is melting at a very rapid rate. The parking lot was a very long half-hour dry walk to the get there as it had melted so much since they built it.
After Iceland, I flew to my home town (London) for a few days, and one of the highlights was a family brunch where I got to meet more cousins and their children and grandchildren. This trip was closely followed by a 4 day visit to join Robert (my Dad’s cousin) and his wife Dorothy at their house in Lanzarote (Canary Islands). They took me to see the landscape, and we enjoyed the delicious fish restaurants, played scrabble and enjoyed watching the sun rise and set from their beach view hideaway. Lanzarote actually reminded me a bit of Iceland because of its volcanic origins.
The rest of the winter and spring are a bit of a blur, but last summer I had the very good fortune to be able to rent a place in Lorgues, South of France for three weeks. The plan, which I would say was 100% successful, was to paint. I brought with me 20 9×12″ hardboard panels and a suitcase of acrylic paint, and the plan was to complete all these pieces during the visit. The place was glorious — a swimming pool, and good friends in the main house to hang out with – Katia and John. I got to meet their friends around the area, and Katia (who I’ve known for decades) and I took several trips, including day trips to Nice, local villages, walks in the forest, Lorgues market, Marseilles and a few very enjoyable swimming trips to lovely destinations.
Upon my return to NY, the only thing I could think about was to plan my next trip. With Iceland off my list, I realized that I actually completed my list of all the places I wanted to go. So I simply started a new list.
Top of the new list is Zanzibar (Tanzania). And so after some research, I have booked a flight and will be heading there in July, 2018. The trip will be for six weeks, and I have yet to plan it all, but I hope to meet the Masaai people, do some volunteering, visit some animal sanctuaries, attend the Zanzibar film festival, go on a camping safari, and will also visit Kenya before returning to NYC mid August.
One project I’ve taken on is producing a TV show entitled “Live Life Your Way” featuring a friend of mine who is a Personal Life Coach. Noreen is a very wise person, who loves to share her knowledge and wisdom and hysterically funny and poignant stories, to move people beyond their potential. The show appears once in a while on the local access station Manhattan Neighborhood Network. I also have been throwing in my original music for the intro and outro, and using my South of France paintings as backdrops. I will be recording a new show next week.
January has flitted by so quickly, I almost forgot about updating my blog. Having landed an office job for a couple of days a week has got me out and about with a little extra cash in my pocket!
Rehearsals have begun with The Brearley Singers, and I have also been busy editing their Holiday Video, which has about fourteen songs on it. Will be a lot of work, as there were a lot of cameras capturing various angles, as well as a few different sound tracks to sort through.
I have been in packing mode for Iceland. Taking a bag that gets checked in I thought would make this trip a little easier, but in fact it is just as difficult to pack a large bag as a small one – especially since I’ve decided to make a stop in the Canary Islands – so I will be dealing with three different climates. Iceland, England and Spain .. close to Morocco! I will be landing and going straight to the famous Blue Lagoon before heading to Reykjavik. I have booked some sightseeing tours that will get me out of the town, and then I will join my Arkansas friend for a two day road trip to Vik.
Although I had predicted a busy month, I didn’t realize how much fun it would be. Not only did I have the good fortune to spend a few days with a new friend in Bentonville, Arkansas, I also got to reunite with Alan, my 1970s boyfriend with whom I arrived in the USA many moons ago.
My good luck connected me with a young woman who is going to Iceland at the same time as me, in February. She kindly invited me to visit her in Bentonville, and since I had the time (and airmiles) I obliged. I already knew some history about Bentonville – it being where the headquarters of Walmart is situated, and that the Walton family (founders of Walmart) have bestowed a beautiful art museum in the lovely town. Also a hotel with an art collection to rival the Museum of Modern Art is also just off the town square. We also were lucky enough to stumble across a performance by the blugrass group, Sad Daddy, who are the embodiment of what the best bluegrass is about. They just blend their beautiful singing tones into their instruments and forge a mix that is sublime.
Montreal is where I spend several days, where I got to see the gorgeous townhouse that Alan remodeled. With several inches of snow, hiding treacherous ice, I didn’t venture very far afield, but also met up with old friends who were visiting their family at the same time. Lots of great food, great wine, and lively conversations, and a good amount of laughter. Although the temperatures plummeted down to below 0 Fahrenheit, I was warmed by the company and just the right amount of reminiscences to contemplate.
What’s going on, and what’s coming up:
It’s been a busy month so far … I am attempting to get my sleep patterns under control so as to prepare for Election Day when I have to get up at 4am, and work at my polling center all day and do my best to stay alert until I finish, hopefully before 11pm.
I have also got back to writing music – a few new instrumental pieces are in the works, and two of them are posted on my Music page. I’m also working on completing some new sculptural works, entitled Facets.
I’ve got a few social commitments with entertainment attached, and this month has been quite unusual with so many of them.
Joining Blue Hill Troupe (as a backstage worker) has so far proved to be a joyful experience. Soon I will get to see the fruit of my somewhat limited labor – a couple of hats made and some set painting – Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. I’ve seen a rehearsal and I’m very excited to go see it next week.
Tonight I’m going to see The Other Mozart, an off Broadway piece about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s sister. Will write more about it later.
And last night I saw Who Will Sing for Lena, an off Broadway play about a woman of color put to death in the electric chair for killing the man – her boss – who raped and terrified her, back in 1950s Georgia. A powerful one-woman show, which needs to be put on again — it was a one-day event. She was posthumously pardoned in 2005.
Tomorrow evening I will be attending a cabaret of music by members of the Peace of Heart Choir.
I am also going to begin another course at Manhattan Neighborhood Network, a public access TV Station, learning how to produce field TV shows. Will report on that after I start on Monday.
Monday evening it’s back to rehearsals with the Brearley Singers. Due to a scheduling snaffoo, I will miss our own concert, but I will be hard at work working on editing the resulting video from their December concert.
During the election, my dear cousin, Stuart Acker Holt will be staying with me from Europe, while he is doing a short film about getting the pulse of New Yorkers on the day of and the day after. I suspect that most people will be too exhausted and perhaps exasperated to talk about it, but hopefully he will get some lively and interesting footage as he cycles in a heart-shaped route around the NYC area to collect his sound bytes.
December will no doubt prove to be a fun month, too. Using some dusty old airmiles that I’ve had forever, I’m heading into the heartland of America to visit a new friend – and will be exploring Bentonville, Arkansas – with its world class art collection by the Walton family, founders of Walmart (Bentonville has Walmart’s headquarters), closely followed by a nostalgia trip to Montreal where I will see an old friend who I haven’t seen for several decades.