Entry Date On-Line Journal - January - February 2002
January 1st   January 29th   February 6th   February 15th   February 24th  

Journal Archives

02/24/02 Sunday
I've been trying to get myself to write all week - and only now am getting to it. The week was very warm and soft. Tuesday when I returned from lunch (and the accountant) I heard robins singing. I sat outside for awhile so that I could be sure, and then walked around to the garage area, and actually saw one of them. In addition, many of the maples are in nearly full bud, and daffodils are coming up in many places. One part of me is happy to see all the signs of spring, and another is apprehensive because it is just too early. Several people I've talked with lately have a nearly superstitious sense of something being out of kilter.
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02/15/02 Friday
Mom's birthday today - Pam's next Monday. February is the birthday month in my family.

Kingston Cooks was quiet yesterday when I had lunch there. I was a bit later than usual, so I missed the Valentine's Day crowd. I made a point of going because it was Lisa Marie's last day cooking there and I wanted to say goodbye. A fine cook, and always full of laughter, she has been one piece in a mosaic of pleasures that makes lunch there so enjoyable.

A year ago my main lunch place was the Stadium Diner. I always enjoyed it (they make a good cheeseburger) but would emerge reeking of cigarette smoke, feeling tired, and somehow saddened, as I walked home, by the day moving toward evening. Kingston Cooks has been an entirely different experience. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is very low key and friendly. Since I tend to eat lunch late anyhow, it is not crowded when I get there, and I can take as much time as I want - spending a bit of time reading with my dessert and chatting with the folks that work there. With the kitchen open to the dining area, even overheard conversations are a treat, ranging as they have from comments on the size of the carrots in a recent delivery to the necessity of pain tolerance in making mozzarella cheese. When I leave I am energized and looking forward to the rest of the day.
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02/06/02 Wednesday
Today is my birthday. I celebrated by having a root-canal done. Now, as it is about to become tomorrow, my tooth hurts. Well, this really wasn't my choice of a way to celebrate - it was simply the earliest appointment I could get and I knew I would be in trouble if I waited too long. So.... Happy Birthday to me! But, tooth and all, I am happy to be here, and feel fortunate to have all I have, and the time to enjoy it.

More on bears. I found an online article on Hoppy Quick and his bear carvings . Hoppy has carved more than a thousand bears - though that has taken many years. No wonder I've been noticing them around and about Kingston.

The article was published in the February 2001 edition Haybalesof "The Catskill Mountain Region Guide" a hardcopy magazine that is also available online. It is full of information and images (such as Bleecker's Haybales) especially about the Hunter Mountain region of the Catskills - a beautiful area. The Guide details events, people (like Hoppy), and places as diverse as goat farms, and mountain top resorts.

“Haybales,” photograph by James Bleecker on exhibit at the Carrie Haddad Gallery

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01/29/02 Tuesday
Well, I've reached the point at which I write ‘2002' without thinking about it, on checks, on letters, and I still haven't made a second entry here for this year. I'm at a stage when I seem to have very little to say, and very little impetus to get anything done. Winter doldrums?

At least the winter itself has been very mild. Not much snow, and what fell quickly melted. For the past week it has been quite spring-like. Yesterday was so balmy that no one seemed to know quite how to dress - I did not need my gloves - or my hat, but I wore that anyway. The mail-woman delivering mail up on Wall Street was making her rounds in shirt sleeves and skirt; a businessman walked past me with no coat other than his suit jacket, but shod in buff suede Timberland boots; kids just out of school skate-boarded by in tees and baggy pants.

Leaving January, I feel as though we have turned the corner of winter and now it is a straight run into spring. But I would be foolish to think this is what really will happen. Who knows?
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01/01/02 Tuesday
A very quiet New Year for me. Some prayers as a way to ring it in. As I sat it struck me that this is New Year's day in only one of the calendars that people follow - in others it is just an ordinary day. In fact there is nothing but convention to distinguish this day from any other - it is a line on a temporal map, based only on our slow progression around the sun, and nothing more immediate; its purpose: to give us a regular parade of weeks and months marching forward evenly for another year.

But that convention does have the virtue, for me, as for many others, of bringing to mind the passage of time and the possibility of new beginnings, new energy. I did not feel inclined to make any resolutions - I usually leave those for the Tibetan New Year (on February 13th this year.)

Wonder what will happen this year? It could be almost anything.

In last December 7th's entry I mentioned seeing a number of carved bears around Kingston. Hoppy Quick and bear Well, today's Kingston Daily Freeman had a photo of one of the carvers: Hoppy Quick. I was delighted to find one of the people behind these works. As you can see, these are very fine bears. I called Mr. Quick, in part to make sure he wouldn't mind being mentioned by name here, and we discussed his work a bit. He has been carving bears and other creatures for more than fourteen years and takes a lot of pride in his work. He enjoys spending the extra time to do each piece well. There is more about him and his works on his web-site.
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