26 July 2017

Books From The Army Of Good

Books From The Army Of Good

Thanks, Army Of Good, for all the books, they are still arriving (I think we have enough but they are huge success.) Connie has her mysteries, Barb has her romances, several of the men have their history books, and there is a care in the hallway stuffed with other books that have come in from all over the country.

Because of these books, the Mansion is expanding and updating its library, and these books are already being devoured, thank you.

And thanks for your donations to the air conditioner fund. I am order two Portable Units for two rooms on the lower floors, they are urgently needed.  One will go to Art and the other to Tim. The situation upstairs is more complicated, giving window and other issues, I am working on that, only window air conditioners can be used up there. I have enough fund to buy the portable air conditions, and I can't say enough about how wonderful you are.

And Summer the cat is recovering from her spaying surgery and resuming her life as Queen of the Mansion, choosing a different room to sleep in every night.

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Portrait: Sylvie At The Mansion

Sylvie At The Mansion

One day I hope to do a portrait show of Sylvie pictures from the Mansion. It will probably never happen, that world is gone for photographers like me, but I am blessed to have such a willing and open subject, her face tells a thousand different stories. When I first met Sylvie, I thought she would throw a book at me when I asked her if I could take her picture, but we have become close friends and are always delighted to see one another.

I love her face, it defines the idea of character. She is a voracious reader, she always has a magazine with her. She told me I needed to take a photo of her smiling, I promised to do that tommorow.

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Just Bought “Fancy House,” by Peggie Osgood From The Mansion

"Fancy House"

I was at the Mansion this afternoon with Red and Gus and saw this painting, titled "Fancy House" by Peggie Osgood and I asked her if I could buy it. "Sure," she said, "for $100." I asked if it was negotiable, and she said sure, "20," and I bought it.
"I was just kidding," she said. Peggie has a wide smile and a rich sense of humor.I love the brightness and color of this painting, it reflected Peggie's buoyant and positive spirit.

Peggie loves life, she lives it to the fullest, every day. It will hang in my study.

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VIdeo: Robin’s First Words: “Uh-Oh”

Robin's First Words

 

Emma sent me a brief video of Robin speaking her first words. Come and see. She is coming to visit on Friday, leaving Saturday morning. I think we have everything she needs. Robin's first words are "uh-oh" which somehow seems fitting. Come and see.

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The Farm Dog. And Dreaming Of Hialeah And The Horses.

The Farm Dog

Every day, Gus becomes a bit more and more of a farm dog. He goes out into the pasture, hangs out with the donkeys, follows Maria around as she does her chores, and sits in when she has her chats with her beloved donkeys. Maria is the center of a love circle that defines and inspires our farm.

Gus has joined the circle. Today, Dr. Jack from Hoof N'Paws is coming by the farm to give the donkeys their rabies and tetanus shots. Tonight, Maria and I are going to see "The Clean House," a comedy at the Williamstown, Mass., Theater Festival. I often miss the things New York City offers, yet we sit in the middle of some remarkable communities – Williamstown, Mass., Bennington, Vt., Dorset and Manchester, Vt., Saratoga Springs, and Glens Falls, N.Y. and the Adirondacks.

There is plenty to see and do.

Almost everything is 30-45 minutes away, but that no longer seems like much of an inconvenience, and it takes longer than that to take the subway around Manhattan sometimes. I'm getting an itch to go to the race track in Saratoga soon. The season opened July 21.

I haven't much written about it, but for a time in my young life, I made a living betting at racetracks up and down the East Coast, from Hialeah outside of Miami to Saratoga Springs, which is close to our farm. I never won a lot of money or lost a lot of money, a good record for a betting person. I always made enough, and a little more. The trick was to do your homework, be restrained and willing to quit the second you made enough money for dinner and a hotel.

Last night, I had a beautiful dream about going to the track. I I must have been at Hialeah, there were palm trees and a sunny sky, and waiters in tuxedos and gorgeous women with their binoculars,  pink flamingos flying overhead, gangsters and the tanned rich from all over the world.  I was drinking a rum punch, my favorite drink down there (I had a favorite drink at each different track). I had just come from the paddock where I always sent to look at the horses and see who looked spirited and who was too skittish to bet on.

I remember in the dream that I bet $100 on a horse named Golden Arrow to win in the fourth race

I must have won something, because the crowd was on its feet cheering and I was yelling and clapping and holding up my ticket. I could go crazy cheering the horses on. My best friend at the time, Al, an award winning reporter and gambling addict was standing next to me, he had lost again, owed a lot of money to his bookies and looked like crying. Then I woke up.

The beautiful park, once considered the most beautiful track in the world, has had a sad and difficult history recently, it was closed, then re-opened as a casino and quarter horse track. The stables were demolished and of the complex is in disrepair. There are no flamingos any more.

It was my favorite place in the world for a few years, I used to drive through the night to get there, and I miss it still. I was startled, my eyes got moist as I was writing this. I dislike nostalgia, I see it as a trap, often an illusion. We always think the past is better than the present, but I love the now, and that is where I live.

I don't go often enough to the track now to bet too much, but Maria has had a string of good luck when we  have gone. When I get the itch, I need to scratch it. I love the life I had playing the tracks, hanging out in bars, the stables, the paddock, the clubhouse,  meeting some amazing men (and women.) At some point, I settled down to my career as a newspaper reporter, and then got married and  had a child.

The track had no place in that life, I thought, so I gave it up. And I loved reporting as much or more.  There was a broader acceptance of what the truth was, then, and we always thought we were truth seekers.

I have had a lucky life in many ways, I've always loved my work,  for all of the inevitable bumps. In life, danger is always at the threshold. The goal is to open up to the mystery of your own life.

I smile whenever I think about the friends I made and the beautiful horses I saw during my track years. I suppose it was my first introduction into the animal world. I want to always have a rich life I look back on fondly.

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