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I'm writing this in New York, but will set it to appear on Thursday, when I will be waking up as I land in Barcelona.

Plan: Mercè will meet me, we'll catch the high-speed train to Madrid, then another half-hour train to Toledo, where we'll be for a couple of days, mostly to see as much El Greco as possible. (We're even staying at the Hotel Pintor El Greco.) He's been my  Read More 
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Getting ready

I'm packed for my trip to Spain, leaving in just a few hours. Trying to decide between a very small backpack & a slightly roomier one. I like the idea of traveling featherweight not just light, but will probably go with the bigger one, which is still a pretty small carry-on.

I'm looking forward to  Read More 
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I've been pondering what it means to be a citizen. Here's a couple of reasons why:

* My mother, after living in the States for 70 years, finally became an American citizen last fall. I always thought of it as a technicality: she has lived here since she was 20, she was American in all but the papers. The way people who've lived together for 30 years are—but aren't!—married. But a meaningful distinction.

* I remember a joke-but-not-really about a Jew in Nazi Europe staring at a globe for somewhere to emigrate to, after being told there was nowhere that would issue a visa to a Jew. At last he said,  Read More 
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Elizabeth Murray

Great to see the small (but large!) show at Pace. I liked that there were quotes on the walls, especially one about "falling in love with Bob" at the time. She had the quality of connecting—I think anyone who spoke with her for more than a few minutes felt like they could become fast friends. I know I did, & it didn't seem like it was us hitting it off, or me as Bob's old friends, but a quality in her of stillness & listening. Of wisdom held for you if you wanted it.  Read More 
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Another Sunday, another B&H breakfast

Johnny wore his raven head for the calendar & friends photos a couple of weeks ago. Among Johnny's many great qualities is that he gets breakfast for me every Sunday morning (although sometimes he makes me go). I pretty much always get either a Greek omelet or a cheddar-apple omelet, but today I asked for pierogis. He brought back blintzes. He gets rice pudding, & eats most of what I order. He doesn't want to bill to be more than about $12 because he wants to give them $20, no more no less. He refuses to vary, which is among Johnny's many strange qualities.  Read More 
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Walking in New York

Just a mail dropbox that someone artified.
I was reading about how Charles Dickens walked 10 or 20 miles a day, & I thought I'd maybe be inspired if I walked a little more. So I set off. But I really only like to be in my neighborhood, plus my leg is still bothering me, so I didn't get that far. Although I did see this cool mailbox; & I went to the New Museum, where I liked the 6 large pieces by Australian artist Helen Johnson (who would fit right in in South Dakota, where Johnson & Anderson are the two most common surnames); & at the MoMA store on Spring Street, I bought a couple of presents; & passed Rice to Riches without veering in (but yum!); & felt happier than I had in a while: looking at—& feeling part of—the city world around me always does that.  Read More 
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Thanksgiving poem

I guess my holiday tradition is posting this poem, which I love & "stole" years ago from a friend's email, making few changes beyond line breaks. The grandmother, mother, & father are all dead now, the daughter married with several kids of her own, & I no longer speak to the former friend (recently exposed as a Holocaust denier) who wrote it. I guess that's part of the tradition now too....

Thanksgiving Almost Found Poem

Many years we go to my grandmother's in Virginia.
My mother, father, aunts and at least two of my brothers are there.
My son has a football game that morning.
My daughter is home, but needs to get back to school this weekend.
My wife doesn't want to ride for nine hours and turn right back.
Sometimes I have gone alone, but not often.
A couple of neighbors were vying for our company.
One of those my daughter’s boyfriend’s family,
Which we did last year and had fun.
But this year it will be another family,
One we have visited on two or three other Thanksgivings.
I have a turkey freezing in the garage.

Nothing to do with it. Read More 
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I knew that if the girls told Mrs. Wooten, that day's playground monitor, it had to be true.

I ran home ducking my head, waiting for the sky to fall.

Would my mother's best friend have killed herself if it had happened a day earlier?

In the Midwest, we liked how he talked: his vigah.

My mother almost crashed into another car when her hands flew off the steering wheel at hearing the news. The other driver gave her a dirty look but at some point that day understood. I imagine it was part of that woman's story of the day for the rest of her life. It's part of Annie's story, now. How often we are bit players.  Read More 
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So entirely satisfying to cross off pretty much everything on my to-do list.

Not that there was much more to the day than that.

Does every day have to be the best EVER?

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Technology on the move

Much as I lament, at times, the end of the internal combustion engine, the recent electric-vehicle advances are pretty cool.

For example, last week Tesla showed the prototype for its battery-powered, nearly self-driving semi that they say can go up to 500 miles on a charge—not good enough for long-distance trucking but terrific for many routes, especially as the truck is exhaust-free and cheaper to run than diesels. Read More 
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