Behind in my blogging, and so much is going on I’d better just do one big post.

It’s September 11th.

Charles was not a writer, but he was moved to set out his account of what our 9/11 was like. For years, I’ve posted this on social media with the caption, “Still alive. Still together. Still blessed.”

This experience changed us both forever, but Charles in particular. He carried the effects for the rest of his life, and I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that he might be alive today if he hadn’t gone through this.

But we were certainly blessed to have each other, and I’ll always have that blessing.

Charles had two best goilfriends (as RuPaul sometimes says), ladies he worked with back in his restaurant days. They are my dear friends now, too, of course. Tessa lives in the city, but Patti lives with her husband Peter up in Rhinebeck, up the Hudson, where they raised their two remarkable children. We had planned for months that Tessa and I would come up for a long weekend in late August, which we did.

T and I came up on Thursday night, Metro North to Poughkeepsie, and took Patti out to dinner at a local brewery-type place. I’m not a beer lover, but at that sort of place, I’ll get a beer flight if they have it, and they had several. This flight had a raspberry beer, a cucumber one, a cocoa one and a couple of others. Usually in a flight, there’s only a couple I like, but I liked all of these and finished the whole thing off, with a little help from my friends.

Patti’s mom had lived with them for the last quite-a-few-years in a mother-in-law apartment they’d added to the house. Lillian passed away earlier this year, and now this side apartment is a great guest suite and place to hang out and watch TV. Tessa got that space, while I slept in Child #2’s room upstairs in the main house, having the entire upstairs to myself. (both kids are adults and moved out)

Patti had just had hip replacement surgery a month before, but she was doing fantastically well, so was able to come with us on Friday to the Dutchess County Fair.

Patti, Tessa and Peter plus tractor

We had a great time wandering around, and timed it nicely so the sudden rainstorm happened while we were having lunch in a roofed area of picnic tables. My favorite part of the fair were the old-time farm machines (video from a previous year).

That night, Peter made a feast and we were joined by JJ (their older kid) and his girlfriend Alyssa, plus my niece Allison, who lives about an hour away. Allie’s vaguely known this set of C’s friends all her life, but lately (since the thing), she’s been pulled more into that circle, which is great.

Saturday, Peter had to fly off to a gig in Vegas (among other things, he produces industrial shows and conventions), but P, T and I went out to brunch in Rhinebeck at the Beekman Arms, then headed to Hudson NY to do some exploring and antiquing. That was a lovely little trip, particularly because Hudson is across the river from Catskill, where my mother grew up, and I was delighted to realize that, probably 75 years ago, when Mom was 10, she probably was exploring Hudson Main Street at some point just like I was.

We then went to a gallery show by James Ransome, an illustrator who also does really interesting fine art. He’s a friend of P&P’s, and we got to meet him, delightful charming gentleman. I love doing stuff like that. And I don’t remember what we did for dinner, but we probably went out – oh yes, we went to a seafood place by the river. (Don’t remember the town, but it was not far from Rhinebeck.)

And on Sunday, we went out for a great diner brunch, then T and I got the train home. Lovely!

Since then it’s been about job, life maintenance and getting ready for ‘the school year’. Horn out of the case and practicing now. My orchestra is auditioning new conductors, and this first concert of the season, four of them are conducting two pieces each. It’s a lot of interesting repertoire, and we four horns are being rotated around the section so we have a balance of high and low playing and each have some juicy bits. I’m playing the solos in the Barber of Seville overture, which is fun, and which I’ve only done in the band arrangement before.

I got grabbed to come in and sing the bass role of Sir Marmaduke in a low-pressure no-rehearsal concert of The Sorcerer at the local Gilbert & Sullivan society meeting on Friday – that will be fun. I’ve sung the same role in this sort of setting before, so I just have to review it. The trickiest bit is the very funny duet, “Welcome, Joy”, but I’ve performed that quite a bit, so it’s in there.

And I’ll be prepping this week for my Cape Cod trip, can’t wait!

Keep calm and carry on, my friends.

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