Saturday, May 29, 2021

Glass Art

I visited the famous Corning Museum of Glass. In addition to teaching you about glass, the museum displays beautiful artwork made by contemporary artists using glass. 

Here are some of the amazing items on display.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Sonnenberg Gardens

150 years ago a wealthy woman, Mary Clark Thompson, built a summer home in Canandaigua. Situated on 150 acres of bucolic land the home has not only a 40-room mansion but 15 separate outdoor gardens. I visited the property yesterday (Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion); it's overwhelmingly beautiful.

Mary, the daughter of a Governor of New York State, married the man who founded Citibank. The couple lived in NYC and had, in today's money, $300 million to play with. And no children. After their deaths, a relative sold the property to the government; it was later turned into a historic park. Now ordinary folk like me can wander and enjoy its delights.

The mansion is full of art from around the world. Unusual for the time Mary collected Japanese and Chinese art. While admiring what I thought was wallpaper depicting birds I realized, on closer examination, it is actually oil painting covering the entire wall. (Photo attached.) Similarly I saw what looks like a small castle in the garden and learned it was actually an aviary where Mary kept hundreds of expensive exotic birds. Receipts on display show Mary spent a million bucks buying rare birds.

Interesting side-note: Mary had a ticket for the ill-fated Titanic voyage but cancelled her trip at the last minute to attend a flower show. Lucky girl!

Sunday, May 23, 2021


The pandemic has hindered my outfit-posts so, for this occasion, I aimed for glamour. Did I hit the target?

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Canandaigua Lake (NY)

Now that I'm fully vaccinated, I feel safe to hit the road again. I'm continuing my quest to visit all Finger Lakes in upstate New York. So far, I've seen four of them: Seneca Lake (three times), Cayuga Lake, Keuka Lake and Skaneateles Lake. The hardest part is figuring out how to pronounce their Indian names.

Next week I'm riding up to my fifth Finger Lake -- Canandaigua Lake. The water there is super-clean and used for drinking. There's a chic town on the lake filled with attractions (e.g., State park with gardens and 1885 mansion; horse carriage museum; local brewery). On the way back, I'll stop in Corning and finally see the fabled Corning Museum of Glass. I've gone to Corning four times but never had time to visit the museum. Now I will.

Hope your week is fun!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021


One of my closest friends, Suzanne in Canada, just lost her beloved father. He was her hero and the loss is acute. She's traveling from her home in Toronto back to British Columbia to be with her family.

Although Suzanne ended her blog and withdrew from social media to focus on business, many of you remember her from past events. When Suzanne was actively blogging, she put lots of energy into her friendships with other bloggers. She certainly built a lifelong bridge with me. Plus, Suzanne has great fashion sense so enjoying her outfits was always a delight.

If you know Suzanne and want to offer condolences, contact me for her e-mail address.

Sunday, May 16, 2021


During the past three years, I've been plotting my future. Conceiving it, researching approaches and scoping out options. I'm pretty clear now on what I want to do with the next thirty years. I just need to pull the cord and set plans in motion. That will hopefully happen in 2022.

The process involves several transitions. Some I've talked about, some I haven't (yet). They include: (1) public gender identity/presentation; (2) shifting from my work as a lawyer to playing with art (broadly defined); (3) diving into subjects that interest me, like anthropology, archaeology and the past; (4) contemplating and writing about intellectual issues and philosophy.

One transition which affects many others is money. Not just the use of it but my mental relation to it. 

Money is a complex subject for all of us. We're taught an attitude in childhood which becomes deeply ingrained. Some of us revise or change that attitude in adulthood, but most of us keep the attitude constant throughout our lives.

I was raised by immigrants who were highly anxious about survival. Money was a huge topic because it often meant the difference between comfort and disaster. My family was lower-middle class all of its existence. My parents strove to raise kids with limited funds. They succeeded but not without stress and persistent effort. 

I inherited that anxiety. I was taught to be frugal, not to waste money and to be minutely concerned with its presence or absence. During my four decades in the workforce, I managed a reasonable life on a middle class income. I live in a modest home in an ordinary suburb. I've enjoyed few indulgences and even my passions (e.g., motorcycling) have been done cheap. In short, I'm like most people -- a struggling worker who puts in full-time hours 51 weeks a year. I can't remember ever taking more than a week off for vacation. 

My goal for the rest of my life is not to have to worry about money. I want to render it a non-issue. I don't want my choices or options affected by concerns about making or losing money. I've wasted too much mental energy on it already; I want to check out of that anxiety.

So my plan for the future involves precisely that. All my activities will be within my financial means. I won't have to worry about paying for old age. I've stockpiled enough cash to last me the rest of my life no matter how long I live or what happens to my health. I'm set.

I achieved this position by saving money during the last decade of my career (when I was earning the most) and investing it very wisely. I took a chunk of cash (roughly equal to one year's income) and multiplied it forty times, turning it into several millions. When I start the next phase of my life, I'll convert 80% of that fortune into cash which will protect me from any fluctuations in the stock market or crypto-currency world. I'll sit on top of a pile of cash that will enable me to draw from and not worry about disappearing. Again, the paramount goal is to be financially situated so I don't have to worry any more.

The challenge now is to adapt my thinking to my reality. To not scrimp by habit. To stop depriving myself of small luxuries I can actually afford. I'm working on that. It isn't as easy as it sounds but I'm conscious of the problem and committed to making necessary change.

How do you relate to money?

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


On my way to a second vaccine shot today I stopped in Sayville to pick up spices at one of my favorite stores (Sayville 'n Spice). They had some spices I've never tried before, like Berbere, Shichimi Togarashi, and Tuxedo Sesame Seeds. It's fun to experiment with new ones. Have you heard of these?

And I got some more good news -- the owner says they're adding cheese to their selection of spices and hot sauces. Now I have another reason to return. I love cheese more than anything!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Vans Sneakers

At any given time I have 3-4 pairs of Vans sneakers in my closet. I like their style, comfort and reasonable price. Today I'm wearing my Vans shirt and shoes in honor of company founder, Paul Van Doren.

Paul died this week at age 90. A high school drop-out, he started the shoe company in 1966 with his brother and some friends. Despite initial hardship, they hung in there and eventually prospered. The company now sells $2 billion dollars of shoes each year. Vans initially caught on with surfers and skateboarders; later they catapulted into the sky when Sean Penn wore them for his character, Spicoli, in the 1982 film, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Paul published his memoir two weeks ago ("Authentic"). I haven't read it yet but plan to. Rest in peace, bro.

Friday, May 7, 2021


I miss travel. The pandemic really hampered that. But, now with the vaccine, I'm starting to imagine new trips.

One place that sounds interesting is Newfoundland, a big island off the east coast of Canada. Amazingly it didn't become part of Canada until 1949 -- 1949! Three quarters of its inhabitants don't identify as Canadians; they still consider themselves Newfoundlanders. Culturally it differs from everywhere else in North America.

The first Europeans to visit North America arrived in 1000 AD, led by Norse explorer Leif Erikson. Later Europeans came from England, Ireland, Scotland and France. They built a society unlike the ones they had left which also differed from other new settlements in the North America. Newfoundland developed distinctive customs, beliefs, stories, songs and dialects that sound fascinating.

Have you been there or heard of it? I'm collecting information. There are no bridges or tunnels connecting Newfoundland to the mainland so you have to take a long ferry to reach the island. It looks very scenic.

One of my motorcycling friends rode there twenty years ago. His pictures of that trip further inspire me to visit. Here are some of them.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Spring Flowers

I attended the Long Island Tulip Festival at Waterdrinker Farm in Manorville, NY

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Pandemic Suffering

The length of pandemic restrictions has exceeded everyone's predictions and is having serious effects on our emotions, our attitudes toward work and our psychology in general. Even those who don't acknowledge the effects are suffering from it.

Scientists now confirm this empirical fact. In truth, it ought to be obvious -- you take a population, totally disrupt their lives, take away their hope for the future and... what do you expect?

Researchers are learning many people have lost enthusiasm for their jobs and fail to find joy in the little things that used to make them happy. Many are fearful and carry inescapable anxiety. Not knowing what is safe and what isn't produces cognitive confusion. I've certainly been affected these ways. 

How 'bout you? How has the pandemic affected you?