• Upcoming trips

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

    October 20. Thanks to the invitation of our friend Francia, who is a member, we went to the Diller-Quaile School of Music to listen to a chamber concert given by the Diller-Quaile String Quartet. The program was comprised of Haydn and Debussy quartets; played magnificently by very experienced and talented musicians in an intimate. and perfectly designed, music space. Chatting with the musicians after the concert added to a first class evening.

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Ethel’s Birthday and Update


Today (July 21st) is Ethel’s birthday. I have no idea whether she has spent any previous ones in hospital but this one she will remember. Not only was she overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and get-well wishes in the form of cards, e-mails, Facebook comments and telephone calls from the US and abroad, but it broke the spell of complete and utter boredom from which she has been suffering–She says that every day in the hospital takes a year to pass! She asks me to thank everyone for caring about her and says that she will arrange to meet up with all of you as soon as she gets back home. Even Mt. Sinai gave Ethel a birthday bear!

I took my camera with me to the hospital but my photography wasn’t up to scratch–I think the residual chemicals left in my works after the surgery, somehow affected my eyesight?

Ethel holds a framed picture of Sammy, a rare canine friend!

Ethel holds a framed picture of Sammy, a rare canine friend!

Here she is holding the  card I sketched for the occasion--a reminder of our travel  adventures  . . . . .

Here she is holding the card I sketched for the occasion–a reminder of our travel adventures . . . . .

. . . . and the envelope I delivered it in.

. . . . and the envelope I delivered it in. (Can you see the hidden greeting?)


Jonathan and Emily (Ethel’s nephew and his wife) have completed their survey of the three sub-acute facilities which Mt. Sinai offers for extended rehabilitation therapy. On Monday they will transmit their selection to the Social Services department, who, in turn will have Ethel transferred as quickly as possible since the Rehab doctor is very anxious to reclaim the bed she is occupying.

               Ethel, of course wants to get back to her apartment as soon as she can but she does see the advantage of having therapy paid for by Medicare so long as she is making progress. She will be able to say “enough” whenever she wishes, however.






3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the photos, Ben. Sammy is indeed a rare find, but then again, so are you and Ethel! It was wonderful to chat with you, and we did reach Ethel to wish her a merry day. I love your drawing, and the message on the envelope was clever indeed. Wishing you both continued improvement and good health!

  2. As always, wonderful artwork, Ben. Ethel, I know there are better places to spend one’s birthday, but you look like you made the best of it! Much love to you both. Bonnie

  3. Claire and I are so pleased that Ethyl is making progress. We wish her a quick recovery and return to her good health and of course her apartment.

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