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2015 was similar to many other years for me. Travel included the normal trips to conferences, with a special treat of a 5000-mile road trip to the VRA and ARLIS/NA conferences which were held, with a few days between, in Denver and Fort Worth. I decided to drive via Cleveland and Iowa City to Denver and then Albuquerque between Denver and Fort Worth. This allowed for visits with several friends that I hadn't seen for a number of years. Museums and architecture all along the way, as well as North Loup, Nebraska, where we lived when I was in high school. My extra special trip this year was joining a group from College Art Association to go to Cuba in May. Visiting Cuba as relations with the U.S. were normalizing was really incredible and enjoyable. I made some new dear friends and some of us are getting together in NYC this coming week. I also got to Provincetown and Maine, as has become habitual for several summers. Last week, I went to Chicago for the Architecture Biennial and had a great time: loved the Biennial and other exhibitions, love Chicago, visited friends, found several new bookstores. There are posts on my blog (http://shermaniablog.blogspot.com) and pictures on Flickr (http://flickr.com/photos/56294332@N00/) with more details.

I haven't been getting to NYC as much as I anticipated before moving to Alfred but I have enjoyed a number of trips to Rochester and Buffalo, getting an urban fix. Some of the Rochester trips have, alas, been for treatment of skin spots, and more to come. Otherwise, my health is good and I get in a three mile walk almost every morning when I'm in Alfred. The walking is also a time to think or not think. Hot health concept of the moment: mindfulness.

My goodreads.com account shows that I've read a couple dozen books this year, usually alternating between fiction and non-fiction. Some books read real fast; others seemed to linger. Favorites may be Deventer by Matthew Stadler and Russell Shorto's books on NYC and Amsterdam. Zealot: the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan was especially compelling at this moment of strife between some Christians and Muslims. I happened on E.M. Forster's biography of Marianne Thornton and enjoyed it. Many of these books have to do with place and time, and I guess that's my regular theme. Or maybe it's most books.

Films and music are a bit thin here but Netflix and recordings provide an outlet. I do miss my concerts at Carnegie Hall and Miller Theater at Columbia. Dance is good here but I still miss the Joyce Theater and Danspace and other dance venues in NYC.

2016 is the 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymus Bosch. The Noordbrabants Museum in 's-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) is putting on a big show with several dozen Bosch paintings, including some triptychs whose panels are in different collections and some that have been recently restored. I already have my flight reservation to Amsterdam and a hotel in Den Bosch for the first few nights. I am not sure where I'll base myself after the first few nights, probably Amsterdam or The Hague. My first trip to Europe in 1967 included a side trip to Den Bosch to see where Bosch had been based. The cathedral there was the first gothic cathedral I ever saw so it will be fun to see the town again. It's not too far from Eindhoven and I want to get to the Van Abbemuseum. The Mauritshuis in The Hague has gone through a major renovation, as has the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The situation at home has switched around a bit. I have consolidated my stuff upstairs. Well, much of my stuff; there are still a number of bookcases downstairs with my books on them. This house has been the residence of family members since it was built in 1874. Sometimes multi-generational, sometimes siblings, occasionally one floor has been rented out. The new resident downstairs is my ex sister-in-law Jeanette. It's working out nicely since we are both readers, respectful, and a bit of a hermit. Well, I'm probably more hermit than Jeanette is.

It is nice to be near my brother Doug and to not be too far from sister Carol and her partner Barb. Doug and Jeanette's son Ian started at Alfred University this year, living in the dorms. He seems to be thriving which is not to say he finds it easy.

I send you warm greetings with hopes that the holiday season is rich and enjoyable. May the new year bring you good times, adventures, and health. For all of us, I wish more peace and justice.


Sherman Clarke - 33 South Main Street - Alfred, NY 14802
sherman.clarke@gmail.com
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