Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Through a Dog's Eyes

For anyone who loves dogs, I recommend this book!

My review of Through a Dog's Eyes

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our wedding video

Full post with text and photos to follow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Trip to Vermont: Final entry

Wednesday - September 15
After superb Eggs Benedict, Dan & I bid our goodbyes at Moose Meadow Lodge and drove to Shelburne to tour the Vermont Teddy Bear company. I remember hearing their ads on the radio in the 1980s, and I’ve seen their website, but I’d never been there before. The tour was lead by a long haired British gentleman. As we’d planned, after the tour we selected two Groom bears.

Then we headed to Burlington, which I’d visited with my father in 1992. It hasn’t changed much since then, a liberal college town - rather like a more urbanized Oberlin. Church Street has recently been closed to traffic and is an open pedestrian way - making it a sort of outdoor mall. The stores are more corporate than in the smaller towns, with a Borders that had a very ordinary selection. We didn’t stay long, driving to the edge of town to get a view of Lake Champlain.

Then I did something stupid: knowing that we planned to stop overnight, I programmed the GPS to take us back without using highways. Unfortunately, it took us on a route which had extensive roadwork being done, so that after two hours, I reprogrammed it to take us back to the highways. We made it to Seneca Falls, New York by 9pm and bunked in at a Microtel. Despite the cheap cost, the dreary, barren room made me pine for the Lodge.
Thursday - September 16
We were up by 6:30am, ate Microtel’s poor excuse for a Continental breakfast, and were on our way by 7:15. Save for some rain and construction, the drive from Seneca Falls to South Euclid was uneventful, and we were home before 12:30. After unpacking, we headed over to the West Side to get Mason, who greeted us with frantic high pitched whimpers. He loves his two daddies.
Later that night, we opened the registry presents we received. One was from a high school friend, the other from my older brother, Rob.
After being back in Ohio for a few days, my emotions tailspun into a depression. I have long said that the worst factor of Cleveland is that it’s in Ohio. The state in which I was born combines the worst aspects of small and large states: unfriendly, inconsiderate people, bad drivers with no respect for pedestrians, political ignorance.
Dan shares my feelings. We’ve settled for living here because it’s cheap, we have rather lucrative jobs and friends here, and Cleveland has a lot to offer culturally for a town of its size. But symphony orchestras and art museums will only get you so far.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trip to Vermont: Tuesday - September 14

Monday afternoon, Daniel confessed to me that he forgot to pack one item: his dress shirt. So, after asking Willie where the nearest mall was, we decided to head there Tuesday morning. The Berlin Mall (really a small shopping center) is about 30 minutes away from the Lodge, and near Montpelier, Vermont’s capitol (the only state capitol without a McDonald’s). We arrived at the Mall just as the stores were opening. After Danny got his shirt at J. C . Penney’s, we checked out various stores before stopping at the Wal-Mart (!) to get the candles for our ceremony.
We had plenty of time before the ceremony, so we headed up the road to Montpelier. Considerably larger than Waterbury, Montpelier is eminently walkable, and our stroll confirmed what I like about Vermont’s towns: within a ten minute walk, there were six independent bookstores and many other unique shoppes, without a Barnes & Noble or Borders in sight. Also like most other towns in Vermont, Montpelier is dog-friendly, and you can bring your canine companion into nearly any shop except food establishments. We spotted a rainbow flag on the corner of State & Main streets, and headed into Coffee Corner to grab milkshakes - which were made the old fashioned way - with ice cream, milk, a metal cup, and a blender. I chatted with the waitress and casually mentioned that Danny & I were getting married that day. She offered hearty congratulations, and brought out the owner who comped our shakes.

We were back at the Lodge in time to grab a nap before getting ready for the ceremony. Danny & I had worked out the details in advance, including our vows, the use of candles, and the rings. It was just the two of us - with Greg Trulson officiating. I looked deeply into Danny’s eyes, which were welling up as we proclaimed our love for each other, and commitment to each other for life. We took our individual candles and lit the large one, symbolizing our two lives becoming one. Then the ceremony was over and we were married.

Danny & I then headed for Hen of the Wood for dinner. This award winning restaurant is built in a former mill, and featured locally grown produce and locally raised meat. After some lovely wine and appetizers, we ordered our entrees: I had the Hanger Steak - my favorite dish - and Daniel ordered the rabbit, much to my surprise. (I once had a pet rabbit, and felt guilty when I sampled a bit of Daniels - which I didn’t like.) For dessert, we shared a piece of apple cake ala mode. Our diets were obviously suspended for the duration of our time in Vermont.

It doesn’t feel in the least strange to now be able to refer to Daniel as my husband, rather than partner. Indeed, it feels right.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trip to Vermont: Monday - September 13

After a good night’s sleep, Danny & I headed down the road to the Duxbury town clerk’s office for our marriage license. We brought our birth certificates in case he asked for them, but surprisingly he didn’t ask for any ID whatsoever. Upon our return to the Lodge, we entered the kitchen where Greg and Willie greeted us with embraces as if we were long lost friends. During our entire stay there, they set a relaxed ambience that made us feel completely at-home.
After breakfast, we discussed the ceremony with Greg, deciding to have it at 4PM Tuesday near the pond. Then Danny & I headed out for some sightseeing, starting with Vermont favorite the Ben & Jerry’s ice Cream factory tour. This was a hoot, and the tour guide was relaxed and humorous, even when a British tourist pestered him about the discontinuation of Rainforest Crunch (it was due to the supplier of the “crunch” retiring).

From there, we headed down the road to a local cider place before returning to walk around downtown Waterbury, which more than makes up in charm for what it lacks in size. A typical New England mill town, Waterbury is remarkably pedestrian friendly, with small shops, more restaurants than we had time to sample, and very amicable people - who actually make eye-contact with passers-by.

By now it was mid-afternoon, and we headed back to the Lodge for a nap before going to dinner. There are so many unique restaurants in town (not a fast food chain in site) it was difficult to decide where to go. In the end, we went to The Reservoir, a typical burgers & beer type place, with a Vermont twist: they offered a burger made from whatever wild game had been caught - in this case, Elk. I’d never had Elk before, so I ordered it medium rare. The taste is similar to Bison. Danny had the Fanny Pack sized Burrito, which was bigger than Chipotle’s.
We skipped dessert and instead got a pumpkin pie from the local grocery store, which we brought back to share with the Lodge. It was our last evening as an unmarried couple.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trip to Vermont: Sunday - September 12

Daniel and I went to Vermont for a combination vacation/wedding. We had planned this for several months, and it had been on my mind since 2009 when Vermont transitioned from civil unions to full marriages for same-sex partners.
We left Mason and Valdo with Mark Saturday night. We awakened early Sunday and were on the road at 6:23AM. The trip via Interstate-90 through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and most of New York was uneventful. After we left I-90, we found ourselves navigating a series of more rural and winding roads, eventually entering Vermont. Danny has never been to the Green Mountain State, and I was only there once previously, in 1992. It’s the only place I’ve ever been that actually looks like its own postcards. I find the mountains, country roads, and scenery very appealing.
We arrived at Moose Meadow Lodge just before 6PM. The Lodge is a very large log home on an 86 acre estate featuring extensive trails, a pond, and a sky view gazebo.

We stayed in the Creel Room, which was larger than I expected - it featured a balcony overlooking part of the woods. The bathroom has a two-person shower with a steam machine - which came in handy when I started to feel a sore throat coming on - which never fully materialized. The Lodge, on the border of Duxbury and Waterbury, is owned and run by Greg Trulson and Willie Docto, who’ve been together for nearly 20 years. Willie, an amateur violinist, also prepares daily breakfast for the guests - our three days we were delighted with omelet wraps, pecan pancakes, and the finest eggs Benedict I’ve ever eaten. Greg is also a Justice of the Peace and he presided over our ceremony - he also officiated over the first same-sex marriage in Vermont just after midnight on September 1, 2009.

We didn’t actually see Greg & Willie until Monday morning - on Sunday, they were out with friends, but they left the door unlocked with a note for us. (In that part of Vermont, people don’t lock their doors anyway). But Kelly & Kerri, a couple visiting from North Carolina were there, and they welcomed us and mentioned some places to get dinner. After unpacking our things, we headed to Zachary’s Pizza for dinner, including especially fine Chicken Alfredo pizza. By the time we got back to the Lodge, it was dark outside, and we watched some TV before going to bed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Horowitz and Beethoven

An article I wrote in 2004 about Vladimir Horowitz's Beethoven recordings (once posted on the now-defunct All About Classical website) has been reposted at The Horowitz Website, now the definitive repository for information about the pianists's recordings.

Here's a direct link to the article, which will be revised and updated with new material in my upcoming book, Toward the Flame: Reflections on Vladimir Horowitz.

Just for fun, here are the two infamous LP covers I refer to in the article, along with the cover from Horowitz's Emperor Concerto recording:

Pretty pink moon. Did the astronauts see that?

That's a very plain looking candelabra. What would Liberace say?

The original cover for this LP was very plain.
This was for a reprint using the same catalogue number.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Get Lost

The TV show, that is. The complete series has been released on Blu-ray and it's nothing short of spectacular.

My review of Lost: The Complete Collection