Putting Paid to Summer

Lots going on, actually.

Two weekends ago (Friday, actually), C and I went up to Beacon, NY to visit our family. Back up, actually, because we’d just been there a month earlier to visit younger niece Allison. But older niece Samantha, with husband and kids and Rusty the dog, were coming in from St. Paul to visit her parents (C’s brother, Richard, and sister-in-law, Dottie) in the Catskills, and the whole crew was coming over to Beacon to visit A. So we came up on the train.

It was a really nice gathering. Allison and her gentleman friend live in half of this funky Victorian house with a view of the Hudson, and we spent most of the day hanging out on the porch, eating snacks and watching the kids play. We eventually moved inside for pizza and cake. There were two cakes presented – one for Rich’s birthday and one for our anniversary! (both in a week, and one day apart).

So that was pretty awesome!

Our actual anniversary was yesterday. We celebrated by going to a really terrific local Italian restaurant, first time since COVID. We got talked into ordering a special for two – lobster and seafood fra diavolo. It was good, but I kinda wish I’d stuck to my original ordering plan. We also had fried calamari and a caesar salad, tiramisu and bread pudding. Then home for gifts. The 7th anniversary is “copper”. He got me a copper heart ornament – it’s a little big for a Christmas tree, maybe hang in a window? I’ll have to figure that out. And three really beautiful roses made out of copper – one has a leaf that says “happy 7th!” I got him a copper bracelet and a copper watering can for the plants. I think he wins, though.

Next week is Mom’s ashes-scattering. I spent a ton of time last weekend reviewing every single damn photo on my hard drive and curating photos for a memorial album, which is being printed and should show up tomorrow. I’m sure I made mistakes and it’s not going to be 100% perfect, but oh well. If it’s super-egregiously bad, I can edit the design and order another one. But I like the flow of the pictures, going from childhood and college to marriage and kids, career, sailing (she adored it), travel (ditto) and retirement.

What else? We finished the 4 seasons of “The Good Doctor” available for streaming (we really like it) and are in the middle of “Mare of Easttown” now. I reread the first two of and then finished John Scalzi’s “Collapsing Empire” trilogy, which I really enjoyed.

Work is very busy, because I have a lot of testing that needs to happen before I leave on vacation, plus we got a new QA person who I’m training. That part is excellent, because I’ve been doing the QA up to this point, and getting her up to speed means I can concentrate on the job I was actually trained for. We’re going to be “returning to the office” the week after Labor Day, but that’s really only going to be (a yet-to-be-determined) one day a week, and I’ve been doing that anyway.

I’ve been practicing horn for the first time in a year – I’m playing the first QUO concert in October. Notable because we’re doing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and despite it being one of the most famous classical music pieces in the repertoire, I’ve never played it before! It will be fun, I think. Tricky to count, just like the 3rd was, but not as challenging (also, I’m not playing 1st this time). We’re also doing Jennifer Higdon’s “Fanfare Ritmico”, and that part looks pretty tough – I haven’t delved into it yet. Our first rehearsal was supposed to be tonight, but it’s been cancelled due to residual hurricane. I think we’re doing to do some sort of sectional on Zoom… that should be a learning experience in all senses of the word.

My rescue baritone is still in the shop – I’ll probably go get it on Friday, when it stops raining. The guys at the shop thought that it wasn’t a good instrument and not worth throwing money at, but I do at least want to get a case for it – gotta be stored in something, and it deserves more than a duffel bag and being wrapped in junk towels.

I was very sorry to learn yesterday of the passing of Bruce Dworkin. If you’re a “Will & Grace” fan, he’s the guy who offered Will a light beer at the hockey game – and he’d pop up in guest spots on other TV shows, including memorably on “Norm” as a recovering necrophiliac. (!!!) I first saw him as Hajj in Wildwood Summer Theater’s 1983 “Kismet” (one of the orchestra members was the daughter of a guy I worked with at my summer job). I decided to audition for Wildwood’s “Applause” the next year – Bruce directed it. And then I ended up as music director of 1985’s “Fiddler”, and Bruce was an excellent Tevye. (One of the reviews pointed out that, despite his age – all Wildwood folks are under 25 – Bruce was one of the best Tevyes he’d ever seen.) Bruce was larger-than-life, extremely talented and very funny. He will be missed by all of us.

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