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Departing Soon

Today was the last day for a colleague.  He decided to retire after 37 years.  He follows two other peers who left last month.  Another will leave in June.  I’ve known these people for most of my career.  It seems to be time for my generation to turn the reigns over to our successors.  Watching the end of an era makes me sad, but also hopeful for the next chapter in my life.  The departures remind me feeling I don’t want to be the last one at the party.  I hope to make my exit in two years, if I can last that long.  I want to leave before I’m perceived as hanging on past my expiration date. 

A New Etiquette

Spending a quiet evening at home after a long day of yard work and errands allowed me to enjoy the beauty of the flowering crabapple trees in the neighbor’s yard. I ate dinner on the rear terrace while muted sounds of conversation from another neighbor’s small al fresco dinner party provided atmosphere. Hearing people enjoy their yards, in what I hope, is the final phase of our pandemic was a trophy on the mantle of proper pandemic behavior. It feels like what I speculate getting out of prison must feel like as I’ve never been in prison or jail. Just rewards for limiting personal contact while wearing masks.

At the art openings last night, there was a new etiquette on display. The art crowd is slowly starting to emerge from hibernation. Most conversations started with an inquiry as to the vaccination status of those involved. If fully vaccinated status was disclosed, people actually hugged. It was a small, but remarkable, sign that our lives are slowly returning to our pre-pandemic normal. A normal I welcome with open arms.

It was a tough week. Work was like hell with a paycheck.  I fielded endless texts from Bruce as his relationship ended on the day of his mother’s funeral.  A double whammy of loss for Bruce.  A break up two weeks after buying wedding rings at David Yurman.  On the bright side, Bruce’s mother funded his private jet travel for the foreseeable future.  What a parting gift!

I was in need of art.  Bart and I attended Space Gallery’s 20th Anniversary opening/celebration. The art was stellar.  It brought peace to my soul.  I ran into an old friend who recently moved back to Denver.  He immediately zeroed in on Bart after introductions were made.  Bart could have cared less as the man didn’t look like an emancipated meth addict, his favored body type.  Odd, yes, but there is so much about Bart that is odd.  This was the second time in as many weeks that I introduced Bart to a man who immediately started hitting on Bart.  Bart wasn’t interested and it clearly showed.  If anything, Bart is a man magnet. 

Here’s my favorite painting of the night:

Patricia Aaron, Nothing But Blue Skies (Cape Town, South Africa), beeswax, pigment and mixed media on panel, 36 x 36, $6,500, Space Gallery.

Bittersweet

One friend experiences an emotionally uplifting day when he finishes cancer treatment, while simultaneously, on the same day, another friend experiences an emotionally devastating day when his mother succumbs to cancer.  I’m torn between being elated for one while helping the other grieve and be supportive. Why does life have to be so bittersweet?

An $800 Bar Tab

I woke up this morning with the cat purring next to me.  The bedroom was filled with chilled air thanks to a window I cracked open before going to bed last night.  It was one of those great mornings after a night of deep sleep.  The bed felt unbelievably comfortable. I had fond memories of Friday night’s adventure. I texted a safe travel message to Bruce who was sitting on plane at DIA waiting for departure.

Yesterday, Bruce received a call from one of his sisters advising him his mom had taken a turn for the worse and would be entering hospice care.  He was a wreck.  Many texts back and forth.  LA, for some unknown reason, was being uncommunicative.  Bruce and I talked several times.  Bruce was arranging flights to Iowa.  I agreed to watch his dog until Mike could take the dog to his house.  The plans changed relentlessly.  The final plan was for Bruce to fly out first thing this morning.  LA would arrive Saturday afternoon.  Bruce’s neighbor, Jill, would watch the dog until LA arrived.

Bruce was a mess.  His mom’s rapidly declining health along with relationship issues put Bruce in a glum mood.  I suggested having dinner.    

We had dinner at an upscale chain restaurant in Cherry Creek.  I steered the conversation to real estate in order to avoid talking about his mom’s pending death, or his issues with LA.  Bruce is a newly licensed real estate agent in Denver.  He’s building his brand and trying to develop a clientele.  Discussing real estate soon had Bruce in a much better mood.

Bruce had secured after dinner reservations at a private speakeasy deep in bowels of one of the new chic boutique hotels in Cherry Creek.  After dinner we dropped his car off with the hotel’s valet and searched for the unmarked entrance.  After some effort we found a doorbell next to an unmarked door in the alley.  Soon we were being escorted two floors underground to a beautifully decorated lounge with dim lighting and a semi-circular bar.  The room evoked a long-forgotten era.  We settled on two different elaborately-concocted gin cocktails.  Both were very tasty.  The conversation turned to his relationship woes.  Two hours later Bruce picked up the almost $800 bar tab (two cocktails and two very expensive shots of scotch, neat).  We headed upstairs to get a private tour of the hotel’s art collection because, of course, Bruce knew someone at the hotel.  The tour started with complimentary top-shelf tequila shots on the rooftop deck next to the pool.  I knew many of artists whose work hung in the hotel.  It’s an amazing collection. 

After the tour, Bruce retrieved the car from the valet and drove me home.  Despite Bruce’s relationship woes, it was a most enjoyable night.  I managed to put Bruce in a better mood.  We had good food and outrageously-expensive liquor along with seeing stellar art.  It was a great way to start the weekend.

The Exposure

I hit the galleries by myself last Friday.  I needed a break from Bart.  I get tired of hearing his misogynistic opinions and insulting comments about rich people.  I saw some great art in the two hours I was out of the house.

I worked in the yard most of Saturday afternoon.  My neighbor, Mrs. D., stopped to chat with acceptable social distance since I was not wearing a mask.  She invited me for cocktails at 5.  Being a psychiatric nurse, she managed to work the high rate of suicide by single men into the conversation.  I assured her I was fine and would see her, and her husband, at 5 for socially-distanced cocktails.

I came into the house around 3.  I had a notification on my iPhone advising I may have been exposed to Covid on March 19, which was two weeks after my first vaccine shot.  I called Mrs. D. to cancel cocktails due to my possible exposure.  Just before 5, my doorbell rang.  Mrs. D. was at my side door holding a silver tray of hors d’oeuvres and a gin and tonic.  Since I couldn’t come for cocktails, she brought the party to me.  Such a nice gesture!  She set the tray on the side porch and scurried across the street to greet arriving guests who have been fully vaccinated.

I sat on the porch enjoying a very refreshing gin and tonic and hors d’oeuvres while googling quarantine protocol for exposure after the first vaccine shot.   Google can be a blessing and a curse.  Search results supported 7, 10 and 14 day quarantines.  I was already on day 8 so I decided to go with 12 days since I have no symptoms. 

While I’m grateful for the notification, it seems odd that it came 8 days after the exposure.  I guess it depends upon when the person self-reports the Covid diagnosis.  I’m also grateful I’m not sick.  I only left the house on the 19th to attend two socially-distanced gallery openings with a handful of other patrons.  I’m guessing that’s when it happened. 

Quarantine has allowed me to skip the gym without feeling guilty.  Just a few more days and I’ll be back at it.  In the meantime, I have plenty of yard work to keep me busy.

Scottie Burgess, Brand Power, extruded polystyrene and paint. Seen at Pirate Contemporary Art.

And Now Boulder

Columbine High School, Aurora Theater, Highlands Ranch Stem School, and now Boulder’s King Soopers grocery store. The mass murders have to stop. And to think that a newly-elected Republican female representative from Colorado recently ran a political attack add which ended with the sound of gunfire. I hope her reprehensible behavior results in a single term in office.

Out In The Blizzard

A little over two feet of snow fell during the blizzard.  Mike and I took his g wagon out in the snow to see how it would do.  It did amazing well until Mike managed to get the car stuck in a snow drift sideways on an unplowed residential street in Cherry Hills Village. One of the security guards walked down from the main gate to see if we needed a tow.  After about ten minutes of rocking back and forth the vehicle was unstuck.  After that ordeal, we had a late lunch at bar on South Broadway.  There were very few places open.  The bar was populated with day drinkers. A $15 tip was left on a $25 check which delighted the waitress. 

Monday was bright and sunny.  My garden gnome can finally poke his head out of the snow.  It lightly snowed again last night and a few flakes are falling today. The rest of the week should be clear. 

Out Before the Storm

Is it really spring?  The weather forecast calls for up to 4 feet of snow in the higher elevations with perhaps 18 inches in the city.  The snow will continue until Monday morning. These types of snow storms are normal for March in this area.

Friday night I hit the galleries with Bart and TC, who is a retired landscape architect.  It was a most enjoyable time as all enjoy viewing art.  The evening was one last chance to get out of the house before the storm, which, was originally due to start on Friday night.  The gallery crowd consisted of serious art lovers and collectors.  The lookie loos have not returned to art scene.  The spring art season is off to a good start even though winter is still here.

There was a buzz in the air.  Everyone was excited to be out of the house.  The evening was a small escape from a world dominated by vaccine and pandemic talk.  The focus was on the art.  And there was some stellar art to see.  

I found two pieces I would like to acquire but I need to think long and hard about buying more art.  Something will need to come off the wall to make room for new art.  I recently sent my tax papers to the accountant. I’d better not purchase any art until I find out if I owe additional taxes.  I also need to fund my SEP Ira for 2020 out of my regular savings.

After three gallery openings, we stopped in Blackbird for a late dinner.  The restaurant was not crowded which allowed us to isolate in a booth.  The waiter was friendly and attentive.  The food was tasty as always.  This restaurant consistently sets a high bar.

I’m headed out to shovel.  It’s best to shovel several times rather than try to tackle 18 inches of snow at one time.  It’s a heavy wet snow, not the fine powder of earlier season storms.  It’s also good exercise in place of a gym workout. 

Enjoy a few art pics while I shovel. 

Madeleine Dodge, Sanctuary, indigo on wrapped steel paels, 108 x 84, $17,496. Space Gallery.
Wendy Kowynia, Sea of Clouds 2020.38, woven fiber form with indigo pigment, 56 x 60 x 6, $26,000, Space Gallery
Mona Ray, Morning Comes to Consciousness, oil on canvas over panel, 53 x 40, 6,000, Walker Fine Art

The Painting

Here’s the abstract landscape painting Bruce gave me. It’s now hanging in my dining room.

Meghan Wilbar, untitled, oil on canvas, 36 x 40