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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Outside the Box

Thinking "outside the box" is a cliche,
Indicating a solution to a problem
Which apparently is contained by
Parameters resembling sides of a box.

Presumably, you can't go outside the box,
And if you try to do so, you may
Create a chaotic situation that will be worse
Than the problem you are attempting to solve.

However, these solutions often create
A whole new reality, as they come to
Be accepted as normal within
A certain set of circumstances.

Consider the American revolution which
Broke the back of territorial boundaries
And led to an established right to be
Free and independent in a new state.

Consider the resistance of Luther
To centralized control of Christianity
And led to the founding of denominations
Based upon theological differences.

Some radical solutions, such as Marxism
Or its gentler cousin, socialism, do fail
With great damage to society,
Whereas unfettered free markets thrive.

But when progressive ideas fail in the arena,
A backlash may bring back historical practices
That again become popular and
More suited to present conditions.

So we should not be afraid to think
Outside the box, even if it may lead us
To look back to earlier times for answers
That might now be considered inconceivable.

For example, do we really need a prison system?
Has it truly rehabilitated inmates, or instead,
Helped to create a permanent criminal class?
How else might society keep safe from crime?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Plan for CCMA

Published in Letters to the Editors, Cape Cod Times

Plan for CCMA

As a former professor of strategic planning, and husband of
an honorary trustee of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, may I
observe that the museum has no possible "strategic plan" in
its present condition.  The museum has no fungible assets.
The building sits on land leased from the Raymond Moore
Foundation, which refuses to consider selling the land.

The art collection is not owned in the conventional sense.
Aside from a few purchased items, the paintings and
sculptures were donated by owners or their creators.  As
such, they cannot be sold or used as collateral for loans.

As a corporation, the museum only owns the building
itself which may not be used for any other purpose, according
to the terms of the land lease.  Thus the various proposals
recently bruited about to turn the museum in its present
location into a performing arts center may contravene the lease.

Elizabeth Ives Hunter was absolutely correct when she
stated many times that the museum had to be moved, to
be reestablished in a location more accessible to the
public.  This might be rented quarters, or space in an
existing arts complex.  So pack up and move may be
the only viable option.

Patrick Kimball
Yarmouth Port

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I like British expressions;
They enliven the English language.
Some achieve common American use
In such abbreviations as "fridge" and "telly."

One of my favorites is "gobsmacked."
There is no way you can translate it;
Yet as soon as you hear it,
You know exactly what it means.

Great German expressions are also untranslateable,
Therefore you have to fit the original to the situation,
Such as "weltschmerz", "schadenfreude",
Or that happy little "gemutlichkeit"!

The British take first prize with "bloody-minded,"
Because it describes so accurately the condition of the world.
So many examples of bloody-mindedness abound
That it is difficult to enumerate them all.

I'll make a simplistic stab at definition:
Bloody-minded is, "I'm going to have my way,
Even if it brings the house down on me!"
Sound familiar? Let's look at:

The failure of the recall election in Wisconsin,
Wherein the voters ratified the achievements of the governor
In pulling the fangs of the public employees' unions;
Thus making their futile gesture a harbinger of decline.

You alread have read my accounts of
The headstrong drive to organizational suicide
By the leaders of the Christian denomination
That I used to belong to.

Now turn our attention to the U.S. Congress.
High on the list of egregious failures
Is the decision of the Senate to
Forgo passing a national budget for the past three years.

Europe offers vivid pictures
Of citizens rioting in the streets
Because their governments are broke and
Can't afford the handouts people demand.

I could go on, but it's too depressing.
Perhaps we should just tend our gardens,
Fix the broken windows, fill the potholes,
And try to restore confidence in who we are.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Knees 'R Us

Shortly after our 1600 mile drive
From Venice, FL to Yarmouth Port, MA,
My elderly love blew out her left knee
Which had been troubling her for some time.

Thereupon began our tortuous adventure
In the replacement of bone with steel.
Our local trained mechanics in such endeavors
Were booked until September.

So off we went to a rendezvous with
A cocky young orthopedist at a Boston hospital,
Which specializes in joint installation,
To be scheduled for an operation in three weeks.

On the way, though, we suffered
A fender bender on the streets of Boston
And had to be towed the 75 miles
All the way back to Cape Cod.

Our next visit, via the proletarian bus
Was for "pre-screening," wherein six persons
Grilled us for four hours, to ascertain
Any reason why the surgery should be verboten.

Having run the gauntlet successfully,
We reported a day before surgery for a "stress test."
She has a heart as strong as a mule, so the
Test was clearly aimed at revenue and liability.

Pre-op preparation began at six a.m. the next day,
And involved the same amount of form entries.
The anesthesiologist was particularly suspicious
About coping with an 82 year old lady.

The operation was a grand technical success
According to the surgeon, and so it may be.
Then the recovery process, being so short,
Was what used to be called "intensive care."

A two day recovery before discharge was
Clearly insufficient, so another day was added.
Record-keeping rivaled personal care
For the attention of the nursing staff.

The surgeon has a policy of
Sending his patients home rather than to rehab,
On the theory that they will be motivated
By circumstances to get up and be active.

In theory going home directly makes sense;
In practice it makes difficult demands
On caregivers, in our situation,
A capable daughter and an elderly husband.

But we coped, and managed to comply
With the mass of discharge instructions,
And subsequent advice and directions from
The doctor, nurses, therapists, and hospital staff.

Yes, the patient is progressing nicely.
She shows true grit in
Performing the required exercises
To restore mobility and flexibility.

(One curious footnote concerns transportation.
Medicare will only pay for an ambulance to rehab.
I insisted on hiring an ambulance to take us home.
Then we learned it may be covered as a "necessity.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Motor Vehicle Accident

At about 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 9, 2012, my wife, Barbara Rockefeller
and I, Patrick Kimball, were driving on Tremont St. in Boston to an
appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital.
She was driving; I was navigating by following a Google map and directions
from Cape Cod.

The map shows Tremont St. turning right. We did not see the small sign
on a post at the right that indicated where Tremont St. turns right until
we were close to it. We assumed that the right lane would turn right,
and that cars in the left lane could turn right also, or continue straight
ahead on Route 28. This is a configuration that we are used to.

I told Barbara to turn right from the left lane that we were driving in.
At the moment that we were starting to turn, an unknown vehicle
traveling in the right lane passed us and was scraped by our right front
fender. Presumably, the driver intended to drive straight ahead from
the right lane.

After completing the turn, we stopped at the first safe place to inspect
the damage, and to wait for the other driver to appear to exchange information.
No one showed up, so we proceeded slowly up Tremont St. to the traffic
lights on Parker St. As we stopped, a young woman with dark hair banged
on the side window and exclaimed, "You hit me!"

Barbara motioned her to follow us, as the light changed. We assumed
that she was right behind us, and would follow in her car. There was no
safe place to stop again until we arrived at the hospital, a few blocks away.
We never saw her again. Assuming that she noted our license number, MA
133CS2, we notified our insurance agent immediately upon returning home,
so that the other driver could reach us.

Patrick Kimball
May 10,2012

June 13, 2012

Today we revisited the hospital, for a followup appointment with the
surgeon. We were driven by a car service from Cape Cod. Following the
same route as in the accident, we noticed three signs on the right before
Tremont Street turns a sharp right, reading: "Right lane must turn right."

Of course, that doesn't explain the circumstances of the accident. We have
no idea what the intentions of the other driver were. We only know that
she didn't turn right after the accident. We are mystified as to how she
managed to squeeze her vehicle between a solid line of parked cars and

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two Wall Street Journal op-ed pieces

To USMA, Darcy

You will like this, even though Stephens may be a bit harsh. I have a granddaughter
who considered applying to USMA, but decided that the swim team was not up to her
times, so she opted for the University of South Carolina. She gave up competitive
swimming after two years to concentrate on her major in foreign relations. Spending
the fall of her senior year in Switzerland and Croatia, she graduated early with a
Phi Beta Kappa key. Since the first of the year, she has transitioned from an
internship in D.C. to a temporary job at the NATO event in Chicago, with promise
of leading to full time employment with the security concern she works for.

My point is that the discipline of getting up every morning at five to swim for an hour
and a half, every day for 12 years, gave her extraordinary control. Her personal
life includes a relationship with an ROTC graduate from USC who is on active duty
and aiming for RA status. There must be many others in the class of 2012 who have
their heads together like her.

I like the quote from the USMA grad that "wearing a uniform helped her figure out
what it was that really distinguished her as an individual." Brava! I have been asked
many times: "How could you stand such a regimented existence for four years in
college?" My reply always was, "West Point defined me and made me who I am!"


You will not like this. It has sparked intense controversy and debate. I happen to
agree with it, insofar as banning applies to varsity sports that are a travesty.
Participation in sports that have little promise of professional remuneration are
entirely different. See above for one example. You could also say that all college
sports at the Division Three level are worthwhile for the same reasons.

That's why I gave up my AAA membership when it became a big time booster
organization for Army football. The steps being taken to improve the caliber
of the team are especially worrisome, as has been discussed in these pages.


Monday, April 30, 2012

History of Homes

When we got out of the Army in 1954, we moved to an apartment in Lodi, New Jersey,
so that I could commute to my job in Edgewater. Mom was anxious to buy a house so
we looked all over and settled on a new Cape Cod style in Washington Township,
Bergen County. It had only two bedrooms on the first floor, and an unfinished second
floor. We bought it for $14,300, with a $700 down payment from the Hicks. Moved
in shortly after Darcy was born in 1955. I did little with the house except have a front
walk laid with concrete, and build tree wells in the back.

Then came the interesting stay in Loveland, Ohio, in a rented house with a brick front
and a cistern for storing water under the garage slab. Next was the farmhouse near
Hamilton, Ohio, across from a cornfield. In 1958, we bought the ranch house in
Forest Park, a new development, for $18,700. There I put in a brick patio and
planted a live Christmas tree. The neighbors were our friends.

Mom and I had already scouted the Chicago area, before we moved in 1961, aiming
for the best schools. We found 585 Lincoln, next to a building of medical practitioners,
right in the heart of Winnetka. There, of course, we immediately became acquainted
with the Gundlachs, next door. We risked 25K on an 1878 antique at 299 Walnut Street,
buying directly from the owners. Everything went wrong with that house. I couldn't
wait to get out of it. (The market value is now estimated at 858K, with taxes of 18K.
Darcy drove past it on a visit and said it has been extensively rebuilt and added to.)

On to Scarsdale, New York, to another rented house on 9 Church Lane, at the foot of
the churchyard for our Church of St. James the Less. Having no equity from our
previous homes, I borrowed 8K from my mother as a down payment on One Edgewood
Road, which we bought for 38K. That was a glorious house to live in for three teenagers
plus Amy. When I said, "Go to your room!", they all could retire to separate quarters.
Living there from 1966 to 1975, we made lifelong friends (many now gone).

The three older children graduated from Scarsdale High School with a splendid
preparation for college. I was too busy to do much work on the house except paint
a few rooms. We sold the house privately to a Pakistani airline pilot for 60K.
(The market value is now estimated to be 908K, with annual taxes of 18K. We saw
it on our reunion visit to St. James. Looks exactly the same as we left it).

With the two boys out of college, and Darcy in college, we downsized and moved to
Mahopac, paying 46K in 1975 for the house at 21 Sycamore Terrace. It was an odd duck.
Sort of a Cape Cod style on the outside, but with a large living room leading off to a
patio. The other rooms were small; the two bedrooms on the second floor were
reached by a steep staircase. I transformed the house on the outside, covering up
asbestos shingles with Adirondack cedar shingles, and staining them grey. I painted
and wallpapered the rooms twice. Retiring to Cape Cod in 1993, we sold it to a
couple from Queens for 175K. (The market value is now estimated at 362K).

We bought 81 Maple Lane for 125K. It had been on the market for two years. I
did everything possible to that house, inside and out, except install gutters, which
the new owners have done. It is their vacation home, and they wrote me recently
how pleased they are with it. We did a lot of living in that house, but it became
a lonely place for me after Mom died. I held out for 365K when it was on the
market in 2009 and am pleased that the present market estimate is 363K.

Now I share a small corner of a grand house, designed and built by the owner,
who has it in trust for her daughters. With our two incomes, we can manage the
operating expenses, though they are steadily increasing. The price of oil is a killer,
but we can't get natural gas on this road. Since I moved in, we have already
invested 50K in capital improvements. I lent the owner 25K; she has a line of
credit for 20K. How long we will be able to stay here is problematical,
depending mostly on the state of our health. She has long term care insurance;
I am self-insured by investing the proceeds from sale of my house.

Anyway, it is a beautiful surrounding we live in, so we enjoy it as much as possible!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Venice -- A Look Back

Venice, Florida, that is.
The weather is perfect,
No doubt about it;
High 70s to low 80s with mild breezes.

The road traffic is abominable.
Two six lane highways blast through the town;
One a bypass with all the car dealers and such,
The other stops cars at interminable lights.

You have to know exactly
Where you are going and how to get there,
And become proficient in making "Uies"
From one direction to another.

Venice has the only dog beach in Sarasota County,
To which we took Tippy on numerous occasions.
She didn't like it, or the smelly, wet dogs,
And barked to be taken home.

The Venice island center is beautiful,
With handsome buildings carefully
Designed in Italianate architecture,
Along streets encouraging pedestrian use.

Local shopping is a delight,
Particularly the Publix supermarket.
The Venice Regional Medical Center
Runs a quick response walk-in clinic.

Superb bicycle trails abound in Venice.
A wide concrete trail borders the waterway,
Allowing dog walkers a safe path.
A converted rail trail leads to Sarasota.

The cultural delights of Sarasota,
As well as upscale shopping areas
Are an easy, fast drive from Venice,
Provided your destination is carefully planned.

Fort Myers is about an hour away;
From there it is another three hours of driving
Across the waist of Florida
To Palm Beach on the East Coast.

Renting in Venice is surprisingly easy.
Houses, condos, mobile homes
Are available during the winter season.
Apartments require longer leases.

Would we go back to Venice next year?
Probably not, too many variables to manage.
We are looking at a winter cruise from Miami
To Barcelona, Pisa, Rome, and Venice (Italy).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Venice Diaries XII

As promised, our recent activities have been local.
We did get up to Siesta Key to have lunch at The
Lobster Pot. Things change in five years. The
restaurant is much the same, but it is now a small
entry in a large concentration of eateries with open
air verandas.

The Cape Cod motif is gone, though we did chat
briefly with the proprietor, whose parents owned
and operated The Lobster Pot in Provincetown.
And I did have a grouper sandwich, while Barbara
ate a Maine lobster roll.

Siesta Key is a trip in itself. I wouldn't recommend
it to anyone over 30 during the season. The beach
is huge, and so are the crowds. Night life must be
considerable. So are the beautiful young things,
who might compete in the bikini contest posted in
a nightclub. Lots of young families, too, with small

We attended a presentation in the historic train depot
of Venice on Saturday, where Barbara's cousin was
one of three ladies portraying Bertha Palmer. After
her husband, Potter Palmer, died, Bertha bought most
of Sarasota County in the late 19th century, and then
sold pieces to various developers, while urging the
extension of the railroad to Venice. When we lived
at 1366 N. Dearborn in Chicago, during the war, the
Potter Palmer castle was still on the shore.

Fate, or as I prefer, the hand of God sometimes is
evident in our lives. At a St. Mark's parish breakfast
on Sunday, I introduced us as Barbara and Patrick from
Cape Cod. Across the table was a couple from West
Barnstable. And we promised to get together in the
fall. When we discussed our present rental here, they
told us about Bay Indies, where they stay.

So we decided to check it out. For various reasons,
attempting to rent again from the cousin would not be
indicated. Bay Indies is a huge mobile home park
with a pleasing appearance and strict standards. Each
building is on a pocket-sized lawn facing the street,
much different from the conventional image of a trailer
park. We left our names for the possibility of renting
in January through March next year, God willing.

We will be out for dinner early tomorrow night.
Barbara is taking me to Outback, my choice.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Venice Diaries XI

Our drive from Venice to Wellington on the east coast of Florida
was a breeze. Florida Route 80 runs directly from Fort Myers
to Southern Boulevard in Palm Beach County. It is mostly four
lane, with a short stretch pending expansion. We passed from
the Mexican town of LaBelle to the black town of Clewiston
at the foot of Lake Okeechobee. We could not see the lake
because it is dammed all along the south shore. Then through
a wide area of agriculture, so flat and treeless that you could
see the curvature of the earth.

Arriving for a late lunch, we began a hectic whirl of activity which
is standard for Sue Millard. Including a high school friend of
Barbara's from Pompano Beach, we were treated to a seafood
dinner at a black storefront restaurant. It has been discovered
by the white elderly residents nearby. They all looked like
immigrant progeny from New York and New Jersey. This in
contrast to the vacationers on the west coast who are mostly
cornfed midwesterners. Lots of Canadians there, too.

Next day, we went first to the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach
to see the exhibit of Tiffany lamps. Barbara had just read a book
about Clara Driscoll and the women who designed and made the
lamps around the turn of the 20th century. Awe-inspiring, these
expensive artifacts were the rage among the rich during the early
uses of electricity in the home. Revisited some of the rooms in
Flagler's mansion. He was an original "big oil" man along with
Rockefeller. Barbara's husband, Winston, was distantly related
to John D.; the name gets people's attention. She still uses
Barbara Rockefeller as her name.

Sue then took us to The Breakers for lunch. When we tried to
go in there three years ago, we were turned away. It was a treat
to tour the place as her guest. Then to the Four Arts Center of
Palm Beach for a fabulous exhibit of art and artifacts of the
Wild West from a private collection. Ending the day with dinner
at Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant (obviously), which has
a pictorial display of Italians and Italian-Americans that is
impossible to descibe.

When we drove back the next day, the transition between the east
and west coasts is sharp, mainly in the sudden emergence of trees
and groves in the west. Having sampled both coasts, we prefer
west by far -- except for the crazy pollen. If we come down next
year, Barbara plans to get allergy shots before we leave. The
rest of our stay will probably be spent in local activities,
although I would like to have lunch at The Lobster Pot on Siesta
Key. It is a Cape Cod derivative which I found on a previous

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Venice Diaries X

A potpourri:

The Venice Theater put on Avenue Q in their small theater,
so we had to see it again. And it was just as good a
production as what we saw at Cape Rep last summer,
including a couple of numbers not seen before.

Energetic young people again made the muppets come alive.
The part of "Christmas Eve" was played by the same
Japanese woman who was in the Cape Rep cast. It is the
rare show that you become sorry that it ends, and wish
for more.

Friday the sixteenth, we drove across the Sunshine Bridge
to St. Petersburg, to have lunch with Roz and Charles
Jacobs, old friends of Barbara from Woodcliff Lake, N.J.,
who also have a house near Tampa. We toured the Fine
Arts Museum first, small, but well-organized with some
good American pieces. We always do museums. I had
been there before, five years ago, and recall a poignant
event which occurred in an empty gallery.

Lunch afterwards at a restaurant on Bay Shore Drive.
The St. Petersburg waterfront is still as beautiful as I
remembered it -- a model of civic improvement. We
window-shopped the area, and entered several shops,
not including Bruce Watters, the jeweler.

On Saturday, we accomplished one of Barbara's greatest
wishes on this trip: a visit to the Southgate Mall in
Sarasota, to shop at CHICO'S. Having been to Chico's
several times, I can state that they specialize in making
real women look good. That was followed by soft
ice cream at the Nokomis Orange Grove, an authentic
grower and major tourist attraction.

We will drive over to Wellington on the East Coast on
Tuesday to spend a couple of days with Sue and Frank

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Venice Diaries IX

A day in the Myakka River State Park was spent in seeing
and exploring primitive Florida. Situated just east of
Sarasota, it features a "wild and scenic river, wetlands,
prairies, hammocks, and pinelands." We might call them
savannas and jungle.

In the first series of photos (see link below) we are on a
nature trail through a dense forest of palms. They are huge,
compared to those in commercial areas. Then we ascended
a "canopy walk," giving us a picture of the density of the
forest, and a view of its extent. Apparently, that's what
Florida looked like centuries ago. No wonder the Seminoles
were never defeated by the white man.

Then a visit to the usual commercialized visitors area where
we had a surprisingly good lunch of fresh, local grown
ingredients. Having seen the land close up, we opted for
the ride around Lake Myakka in a large air boat. Like those
that tour the Everglades, it has a very shallow draft and is
propelled by a huge air propeller in the stern.

The lake is very shallow; one could walk across it. Not a
good idea, as an estimated 1500 to 2000 alligators, large
and small, populate its waters. You may see some of them
in the photos, forming an escort to our boat. Surprisingly,
people paddle rented canoes and kayaks all around the lake,
right alongside the alligators. I guess they are careful not
to tip over.

There were some flocks of birds near the dam. We walked
out to see them, but my photos do not illustrate them well
enough. Not being a birder, nor having Peterson with me,
I can only recognize the egret, the roseated spoonbill, the
white pelican, and the black vulture. There is supposedly
a better spot for bird-watching, but by that time we were
surfeited with nature and wildlife. In the last two photos,
we look like we are ready to depart!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Venice Diaries VIII

What a glorious (and exhausting) day in Sarasota yesterday!
I expected the traffic on Sunday to be a little easier -- wrong,
everyone was going somewhere. Still, we made the center
of the city (It is a real city), in an hour, early enough to park
across the street from the opera house. Then time for a stop
at a restaurant serving genuine gelato, better than the house
in Venice.

The opera house is a lavishly remodeled movie theater,
looking exactly like a provincial opera palazzo in Italy.
I was especially interested in seeing "Otello," because it
is one of Verdi's best, and is rarely performed. The acoustics
were not perfect, but the house is small enough to project
every note to the far reaches. We were in orchestra center,
about two-thirds back from the stage.

The leads, Otello and Desdemona, although a little porky in
stature, were sound in every way: timbre, pitch, tessitura.
Otello is not easy on the tenor, who has to sing with full
power thoughout the opera. The fellow playing Iago needed
to learn how to act; he sang all his arias flat-footed, knees
together, facing the audience. Beautiful sets, which drew
applause at each scene change.

I noticed in the program that Suzanne and Henry Foster
were listed, and pictured, as Season Sponsors, which
probably means heavy hitters. We were friends with them
in Brewster before Mom died, sharing an interest in the
Brewster historical society. I knew they spent the winter
in their home on Longboat Key. Suzanne was trained as
an opera singer and performed in some regional venues.

Roger and Mariarosa Rockefeller had invited us for dinner
after the opera, at their condominium on Longboat Key.
That was very nice and much appreciated, including the
attendance of a cousin of Roger's (and Barbara's husband,
Winston) whom Barbara knew. The condo complex is
a gated high rise right on the beach, to which we had to
be admitted by a lengthy procedure of identification.

On the way home, we decided that living in such a place
would be like being in a prison. I characterized it as
a "project" for the well-to-do, with a whole bunch of
equal "projects" nearby, lacking only graffiti and drug
dealers. A couple of days earlier, we looked at an
apartment complex just to see what was being offered.
Although nicely appointed, Barbara said it would be like
living in a closet, good for one person, maybe.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Venice Diaries VII

With Roger and Mariarosa Rockefeller (Barbara's brother-in-law)
we explored the Marie Shelby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.
Situated on a spectacular point overlooking Sarasota Bay, the
house and its gardens became a major attraction years ago. The
house itself looks like Tara, and is now a museum.

Shelby Gardens specializes in tropical plants (no surprise) of
worldwide origins. A separate greenhouse contains an orchid
collection. On the grounds are hundreds of different species.
Most impressive were the banyan trees from Asia. Many visits
would be required to study them all. I liked the little
bonsai collection, too.

In the pictures below, you may get some impression of the
display. One photo is of banana trees with bunches of bananas
growing. That was a first; I had never seen a real banana
tree before, even when I was in Panama City, Panama in 1973.
Some of the large shrubs looked like they could grab you if
you got too close.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Venice Diaries VI

Venice Diaries VI

Photos at: https://picasaweb.google.com/116843928190236062311/2012PatrickSFloridaTrip

Getting to jetBlue Park in Fort Myers was a breeze. About 60 miles south down I-75
to an exit near the airport, then a short drive to the park where legions of yellow jackets
waved us into parking. The new spring training facility for the Red Sox is a gem! This was
the first game to be played in the park. It is a small replica of Fenway Park on the field, including
the ricochet corners and the fabled Green Monster. The latter has "monster seats." Like Fenway,
the seating is very cramped -- not for the obese!

The Red Sox were playing a day-night doubleheader, first with Northeastern U., then
with Boston College. These are traditional games where the score is meaningless.
As expected, the Sox hit the Northeastern pitchers like batting practice. Only a few
of the starters were in the game we saw, namely Lester, Gonzales, Pedroia, Ellsbury,
and McDonald. Substitutes who were trying out for roster spots came in frequently.

It didn't matter to us what the outcome was, or who played. We just wanted to see
the new park, to sit in T-shirt and shorts on March third, to hear "Sweet Caroline"
on the PA system. Barbara has been wearing a surgical mask when outdoors to sift
out the pollen. Downtown Venice had a huge arts show today, so she looked like
a tsunami refugee as she toured the booths with Tippy and me in tow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Venice Diaries IV


I thought I would let you know why you haven't heard from us since we arrived in Venice. It is quite an epic.

First, as we tried to leave NJ on Rt 80 in the midst of a blinding rainstorm on January 27th I needed a rest room. We left 80 on the road to Blairstown and the car went dead!! Thank God we were off of 80 or we might have been also.

We called AAA who took us to a good garage where we sat all day waiting for a new alternator. It came so late we had to stay over in Newton. Mind you, we are traveling all this time with Tippy so we have to find Motels that will take dogs. Newton didn't.

Next day we drove to visit Laurie and the day after to visit Allison and see our new Great-grandbaby, Raven, who just delightful!

We then drove down to Jacksonville and thence to Venice where we arrived on Feb.1.
Claire wasn't quite ready for us and spent the next two days removing her stuff from closets,etc.
Monday we drove down to the Venice Post Office to see why I wasn't receiving my mail. We parked at the PO and the car went dead! Again! We called AAA and were towed to a local shop who said it was our alternator. Three days later we got it back and decided to get rid of the Hundai as it was 10 years old and becoming unreliable. We think it was the computer causing the problem. Anyway we started looking at cars and found a cute Hundai Elantra Touring car in bright red. We bought it on the spot, or so we thought until Massachucetts wouldn't let us register it. We drove it for a week with out our knowing it was unregistered. Finally Hundai let us use their dealer plates until the car got properly registered in MA. My insurance agency person finally got it set up, but because of the holiday couldn't get it registered until today, Tuesday. Mind you we bought it on Feb. 9th. today is the 21st.

Besides all that, we just got down here and I came down with a serious allergy attack and had to go to the Emergency room for medication. Three medications later I thought I was recovered, but yesterday it came back with a vengence and I am now on an antibiotic for 10 days. I don't even know what I am being allergic to. This never happened on the Cape!

Then, at the end of the first week Patrick started having urinary problems, so back to the Emergency room and he was on an antibiotic for a whopping urinary infection. He's OK now. But thank goodness the hospital is just across the highway from Claire's house and they are very efficient and fast.

Actually, we love the location of the house, it's walkable to the Publix, the hospital is very close, the Episcopal church is just behind the hospital and is very nice and we are only blocks away from downtown Venice. They even have a Paw Park for dogs right on the beach. Tippy loves it here!

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln.......

So that is why you haven't heard from us. The only friends we have seen at all have been Roger Rockefeller and Maria Rosa (who have become quite the artists) and who came down from Sarasota to visit for an afternoon. We will be going up to go painting with them next week.

So, brother, that is my tale of woe, which was actually only a lot of inconveniences, and I hope that we will be able to get together with you and Sue sometime in the near future!



Venice Diaries III

Celebrated our third wedding anniversary with dinner at
Cassariano's, an "authentic Italian eatery" (a literal translation
of "Osteria") along with hordes inside and out, on Valentine's
Day. We now have 106 years of married life between the two
of us!

Explored the Venice Art Center, which is a working museum
and educational facility for recognized and would-be artists.
Venice also hosts a large community center, library, and
theater in buildings of contemporary Italian design. At the
theater, we saw "The Music Man," featuring a large, local
cast and experienced principals. Splendid production!

Friday, we were joined by Roger and Mariarosa Rockefeller
for lunch at the Cafe Venice, and an afternoon of family
reminiscences. Roger is Winston's younger brother. Both
he and his wife have become recognized artists. They want
to get Barbara painting again, as do I, and have invited us
to spend a day with them in Sarasota/Bradenton.

On Sunday after church, we became Jews for a day, along
with hundreds of others, by attending the annual food festival
at the Jewish Center. Lunch was authentic pastrami and rye
while listening to a klezmer band.

No trip is complete without a visit to a mall, in this case,
the Port Charlotte Towne Center. We had Macy's gift cards
from our trips. Lunch at a Ruby Tuesday, which I remembered
from 1993 when Mom and I reconnoitered Florida. We
were impressed then by being able to eat outside in February.
That didn't happen again until Siena in 2002.

Enjoying St. Mark's particularly. Shrove Tuesday pancake
supper, then the Ash Wednesday service today. Later in the
morning, authentic Stracciatella gelato at a shop in Venice
that has an Italian gelato maker. In Italy in the summer, you
have gelato at least once a day.

I am attaching Barbara's letter to her brother, Frank, for more
background. They are in Wellington, near Palm Beach. We
will probably drive over there some time on Alligator Alley.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Venice Diaries II

Feb. 9

Looked at new cars at the local Kia dealer yesterday, then drove up to
Sarasota (20 miles) to see what was available. The Kia Soul was a gas,
but a bit too trendy for old folks. Success: A floor model Hyundai
Elantra Touring. Fire engine red. Who knew? At least, we won't miss
it in the parking lot. Drove it home after an all day round of financing,
insurance coverage, registration, piles of documents.

The Elantra Touring is a five door wagon with lots of room. The floor
model had features that B especially wanted, to wit, leather seats and
a moon roof. Besides, the controls are very similar to what she is
used to from her Hyundai that we traded in. Now we can begin our
Florida stay in earnest, without car worries. We had AAA service
three times, fortunately being able to stop in a safe place each time.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church is a joy, reminiscent of Christ Church,
Winnetka, with a large choir, lots of clergy, and over 200 people
at the service we attended (one of four). On Wednesday, we
went to the weekly parish dinner with about 125 unmistakable
Episcopalians. Haven't seen so many at once in a long time!

Feb 13

Another setback! Alarming symptoms sent me to the Venice Medical
Center on Saturday. Fortunately, hardly anyone was waiting, so I was
out promptly. A young, no-nonsense lady doctor said that they start
with the most obvious causes and proceed from there, a pattern with
which I heartily approve. It was a urinary tract infection, that Darcy
says responds quickly to antibiotics. Mom used to get it frequently.

So I felt well enough today to go up to Sarasota to deliver the title to
the old Hyundai, which Jesse had forwarded overnight from the Cape.
Then we drove to Holmes Beach, at the far north end of Long Boat
Key to see and buy art works by Barbara's brother-in-law and his
wife, returning to Sarasota to tour the Ringling Art Museum.

Some glimpses of small town life in Venice: A pasta dinner at the
Italian Club, along with hundreds of retirees. A quick dinner at
a hamburger emporium which was hosting the awards dinner for
the girls' basketball team from Venice High School. We clapped
at appropriate times, but forewent having a piece of the sheet cake.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Venice Diaries I

Feb 2

Arrived in Venice about two p.m. yesterday, with time to visit the famous dog beach
and the Chamber of Commerce. Celebratory dinner at the Cafe Venice. Still a
little chilly to sit outside. High of 71 today, warmer tomorrow. R&R today in
our rental house. Running around in shorts and T-shirt.

Had very worthwhile visits with all of Barbara's daughters and families, on the way
down. Used up one of our non-travel days having an alternator replaced on the
Hyundai. Otherwise, very fast driving all the way, for about 1600 miles.

Feb 4

79 degrees and partly cloudy. Walked Tippy on the bike path across the street,
that follows the Intracoastal Waterway on the west side. We are on Venice Island,
separated from the mainland. The little ranch house we are renting from Barbara's
cousin is in a section settled in the 50s.

B developed a sinus infection on the trip down, so yesterday we became very well
acquainted with the Venice Regional Medical Center, spending two and one-half
hours proceeding through the medical bureaucracy. But the people were all very
nice to us, and the the PA who ultimately took care of her seemed to have a good
handle on accomplishing a cure without antibiotics. Today we were able to raid
the Publix market for supplies, at prices noticeably less than on Cape Cod.

Walking around the old shopping district led us to Cassariano's, a superb
Italian restaurant to which we will return on Feb.14th, our third anniversary.
Tomorrow we will grace with our presence St. Mark's Episcopal Church for the
principal service.

Feb 6

Disaster! The Hyundai died very conveniently in a parking space next to the
Venice post office. Alex, the AAA battery service technician with a pronounced
Russian accent, kindly replaced the battery, which was dead. Then he checked
the output of the alternator that we had installed last week in New Jersey.
Also dead. Then with enough juice to drive to a repair shop, we found that we
will have to purchase another alternator. We have determined to take the ten
year old Hyundai to a local car dealer to buy a new car for Barbara, break it
in here, and drive home in it.