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'guana
jwg

Our recent trip to Guana Island

We've been home for several days after a wonderful trip to Guana Island, a fabulous resort in the British Virgin Islands. This was our 24th trip there - the first one in 1983. It is a private island of 850 acres with a ~800ft peak (Sugar Loaf) and a 450ft peak (Pyramid). The dining room and dwelling houses are at about 250 ft and higher. There is a gorgeous beach - close to 1/2 mile long with white sand where you swim, etc - it is called White Beach. It has a coral reef that is no longer in good shape. There are several other beaches at various points. Lots of trails - many of which we have hiked. They will drive you up and down the hill to and from the beach, but we always walk on various routes.

View from the terrace in front of dining room

There are usually between 20-40 guests, many of who have been there before. The dining tables seat 8 - there are private opportunities - and we were mostly with 3 other couples who we have been there at the same time as us.

The food is excellent - there is an orchard and the orchard keeper and the chef cordinate their work.

It was devestated by Hurricane Irma and was closed in 2018. Roofs destroyed, furniture blown out to sea, much of the vegitation messed up. But restoral has been done and much of it looks like it did before. A big tree near the dining area is gone and the tree at the beach that provides shade is much smaller. The owner is a wealthy person whio is really committed to keeping the place thriving for guests, staff, and wild-life so he made sure the funds and other resources were available for restoral - many other BVI resorts are still not open. In October there is Scientist's month.

There is a salt pond near White Beach which has flamingos - there used to be 7 or 8, but this year we counted as many as 38. It is hard to count accurately since they are often clustered in the distance.


There are also some Rock Iguanas roaming around; they are almost extinct - only 100 of them according to the placemats and some are on another nearby islands.

And lots of pelicans - I love watching them dive.

huh?
jwg

My indirect connection Martin Luther King

This picture has the the late Rev. Ira Blalock on the left, MLK in the center and Rev. Gordon Gibson on the right. It was taken shortly after they were released from the Selma jail.



Ira Blalock was the minister of a UU church in Wellesley that I used to go to. One of my housemates had been in the Appalachian Mountain TrailCrew and another member was the organist and choir director there. A bunch of used to go regularly and then meet in our apartment in Belmont for lunch.

He was a very interesting and moving minister. At the end of the service he would step down off the pulpit and engage congregation members in brief conversations. Then we went to the Parish Hall for refreshments.

For my first marriage we wanted Ira to be the minister, but he had moved away and suggested Gordon Gibson who had a local parish. So we had the ceremony in the MIT chapel and then retreated to our apartment (now our house) for the reception.

Hippo
jwg

2094 Headline: Amazon goes out of business

As I read about Sears stores closing I remember the old days when you got a Sears catalog in the mail every few months. It was a big fat book with just about everything you might need: clothes, tools, household appliances,... You could order by phone if you had a Sears card or mail in an order form with a check. And the stuff would get delivered in a few days or you could go pickup the stuff at one of their centers.

So I anticipate the above headline in 75 years from now. The article explains that no-one has enough money to buy much and delivery by boat over flooded streets to houses that sometime vanish between the time the order is placed and when it is delivered is too difficult and costly.

Gloucester
jwg

Where I slept in 2018

In our houses in Cambridge and Gloucester
7 nights at Sugar Beach in St Croix for Tropical Dance Week
2 nights at Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs for the Dance Flurry
4 nights at Parc 55 in San Francisco
2 nights in Monte Toyon in Aptos, CA for Queer dance Camp
1 night in the Dylan near SFO
2 nights at YMCA Camp Woodstock in Woodstock, CT for LCFD Spring Dance Camp
1 night in Turkish Airline Fl 382 from Boston to Istanbul
3 nights in Ambassador Hotel in Istanbul
10 nights at Orien-Royal Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia
2 nights at ?? hotel in Yerevan, Armenia
4 nights at Hotel St Andre in Montreal for the Motss Con XXXI
2 nights at YMCA Chimney Corners Camp in Becket, MA for LCFD Fall Dance Camp
3 nights at Dan and Gretta's house in Philadelphia

ArmGrip
jwg

Where and When I danced in 2018

18 nights at JP Gender Free Contra
19 nights at JP Gender Free English
15 nights at BIDA in Cambridge
1 night at BIDA Spark in the Dark in Somerville
6 nights at Thursday Night Scout House in Concord, MA
6 nights at Challenging Contra at Scout House
3 nights / day at Scout House Special events (incl New Years eve)
1 night at Cape Ann Contra in Gloucester
7 days at Tropical Dance Vacation in St Croix
3 days at Queer Dance Camp at Monte Toyon in Aptos, CA
1 day at Peterborough Snowball in Peterborough, NH
3 days at Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, NY
3 days at NEFFA
3 days at LCFD Spring Dance Camp in Woodstock, CT
3 days at LCFD Fall dance Camp in Becket, MA
2 nights at Harvard Square English (I thought there were more but not in my calendar)
1 night at WAGLY (LGBTQ youth group who requested a dance) in Wellesley Hills

95 in total - a bit higher than usual

WeddingDay
jwg

Christmas 2018

Our usual household tradition is for all the people in the house to come down and over to my couch to see the tree.




To make sure that no-one is forgotten we have an attendance list. (A few years ago James got left in Gloucester when we moved back and we didn't discover it for several months when we went to rescue him.)



Then we had a nice Christmas dinner.

Here is the menu:

After having enough Christmas music on the radio I selected a CD of Klezmer Music, and then a Voice of the Turtle CD: From the Shores of the Golden Horn

Here is the description: "The first to welcome Sephardic exiles was the Ottoman Empire, the heart of which was in Turkey. "Shores of the Golden Horn" resounds with the blending of Jewish and Ottoman musical traditions. You will here the influence of Ottoman court music, para-liturgical maftirim, and the popular songs of the vibrant communities of Istambul, Izmir, and Edirne."

And then to cap it off we went to see the Christmas Revels last night. This one had a Nordic theme. It was splendid. Brings back memories of when I was in the Revels - in 1979 and one other year as a member of the Quadrivium - an early music group.

people
jwg

Saturday's MIT Class of '60 mini-reunion

Every year for the past few years there has been a MIT Class of '60 Mini-reunion: lunch and a speaker. This year the speaker was Robert Dimmick, who is an Etiquetteer. He gave an amusing talk about the evolution of the Dinner Party from Queen Victoria to the Kennedy Administration - proper dress, appropriate food and serving procedures, etc. (I jokingly commented to him and the organizer afterwards that we should have invited the staff of the restaurant to this so when we have next year's event it would be more elegant. It was at the Glass House restaurant in Kendall Square.)

This brought up some memories of my childhood. When my parents had dinner parties we used special dinnerware, fancier silver cutlery, we had a live-in cook and a chambermaid-waitress who wore fancier uniforms than the usual ones and we dressed up. Many apartments in NYC had a small suite of maid's rooms behind the kitchen - ours had two small rooms and a bathroom. I still have some of the plates which we use when we have guests for dinner.

Near the end there was a drawing for a door prize and I won. This year it was a delightlful beaver (the MIT mascot of course). Last year I also won the door prize which was a very interesting book by Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission and another author titled Building Old Cambridge. Sullivan was the speaker for that lunch.

The beaver has joined our family. He told us his name which is Barton. He was named after William Barton Rogers, the founder of MIT.


BigDigDowntown
jwg

License plate replacement

The license plate on my car - which might be 50 years old because I think it was on my 1967 Volvo 122S wouldn't pass inspection.. I checked the Massachusetts RMV several times which posts wait times for all their sites - for registration and for licenses. Once it was over an hour, at 10am it was only 4 minutes. So I drove there - 40 minutes. There were lots of people waiting in the waiting room. But I went to the greetings line and had to wait a minute; they sent me to a nearby window. I had to wait a half minute while the second clerk was logging in. I handed her my registration - she reached under the table and got a set of new plates, stuck an expires in '20 sticker on it, typed onto a computer, reached into the printer and handed me the plates and new registration form. And I didn't have to pay.

Now I have to memorize it and un memorize the old one.

moi 1946
jwg

My first job

Yesterday susandennis posted a "What was your First Job, and did you like it".

My first job was when I looked like this icon- I worked for my father (his food exporting business) addressing envelopes for Christmas cards to his customers. I was paid a token payment.

My firsr real job - sort of - was a a camp councillor at a summer camp - actually two camps, for 7 years. Job? it was lots of fun getting paid to have a summer away from the city, hiking, canoeing, being among a nice set of peopke - kids and peers.

While in grad school at Columbia (Physics) I had a part-time teaching 7th and 8th grades science. It was enjoyable and hard. At the end of that year I decided I didn't want to be a teacher, a physicist, or a mathemetician. While agonizing about what to do - and not get drafted, my father said "you should take a computer programming course" (this was in 1961). I did in the fall and after about 4 weeks I knew what I wanted to do for my career. In the spring I took several more as a special student at MIT thinking about continuing there, but I applied for a real job. The other one-sentence piece of advice from my father that I remember was when I was thinking about where to apply to college, my father said "you are going to MIT"

I was hired. I got a verbal offer at the interview and on the way home I stopped at a bank to get a loan application. When I got the real offer and accepted it and shortly after this I took out the loan and bought my first new car, an MG-A. The job was to write the code-generator for a Fortran Compiler and started in June 1962. I loved it, the project, my peers, and was good at it. A more detailed description of that project. This was really my first real job. And thus my career was really launched.

ArmGrip
jwg

The JP Gender Free Contra dance

One of the things that I do a lot is to go Contra Dancing (and English Country dancing).. I am one of the organizaers of the Gender Free Contra Dance in Jamaica Plain (Boston). Today's Boston Globe had an article about our dance with a picrure of me and rsc.

The reporter campe to our dance on July 28 and interviews quite a few people. We are getting ready to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this dance series in September.


- I'm on the right, Robert on the left. -