10.29.2014

ozarks on the island

Martin and Denise are visiting from Missouri. Amazingly, Denise will be one of the few people who has ever been to every one of my demesnes. We took a six-mile hike led by the indefatigable  Ana Santana yesterday.
   She had to tame herself for us—she usually runs the trail through "my jungle." We call it the Maze. Ana remembers when she was first taken on the trails and did not grasp the beauty: Her native, tropical  Dominican Republic seemed so much brighter and more lush. But now she appreciates the Northeast's more subtle palate. "This is my jungle."

10.27.2014

goodbye/hello

Hannah & family depart on the Block Island ferry.
Do not expect much from me this week—I am very busy. Houseguests, carpentry, closing up and then, of course, waiting for my lone trick 'r treater. Also plan on taking a lot of pictures. The fall light is so beautiful I can hardly stand it!

10.25.2014

just—elaine


She loved a party.


It doesn't feel like a year since Elaine Rivera left us.
Feels like forever or yesterday.

10.23.2014

block island blow


video
In Hawaii they would say it's blowing like stink. here it would be a bit of a blow. Whatever you call it, it shook the house and threw the garbage cans all over the yard and likely there will be no mail or milk delivery today.  And now to report an Internet outage. . .

10.22.2014

roll call roundup


Every year on Block Island, a turkey dinner is held at Harbor Baptist Church. Most islanders (and a few ringers like me) show up to be counted. Students from the school bus the tables and pass the pies. Everybody knows who makes the best lemon meringue (I'm not telling) and tries to get there early enough to score some. Pam usually makes one of the turkeys. This year she had oven issues, but with many ovens on the property, she bailed it out in time.
Meanwhile, lots is going on elsewhere.
Hannah bows her put-down-your-phone-bitch class tomorrow with support from rapper prince ea. You can still join for $35. Yes, she appreciates the irony of a person with Internet business hosting this. . .   She recently appeared on an ABC interview and in the Providence Journal about Wear Your Music.
Speaking of social media, Hannah's brother the Defense Lawyer Adam Gasner talks about social media and evidence on TV.
Photographer friend Keri Pickett debuts her new website.
Photgrapher friend Todd Hochberg gets CNN kudos as the eminence grise of bereavement photos.
Also: The Times discovers the Ozarks. Love this map about the best book set in every state, except that I have read few of them.
There are more, but that's it for today. Wind is howling outside.

10.21.2014

invasive

Phragmites: invasive but so beautiful in the autumn light

Lawn King Glen Hall surveys theirs and mine.
It is the time of year when my thoughts turn to brush. As in poison ivy, pokeweed, blackberries, rosa rugosa, grass, bayberry, Virginia creeper, bittersweet, Russian olive and phragmites. Like the deer, many of these plants were introduced to the island and have gone wild. And I mean that. (Why on earth do deer prefer my hydrangeas to pokeweed?)
  Glen Hall came over to help me out. He mows most of the lawns on Block Island—and will be doing mine next year, now that Dada has opted out. I met Glen's sister Georgia at Vassar years ago. It was the first time I ever heard of Block Island, and the family has been here since forever. There are seven siblings, and all have G names—GayAnn, Gloria, Gail, Gregory, Geoff.
  Glen confessed that an aunt Liz was responsible for introducing Japanese knotweed to the island and that hereabouts it is known as "Lizzy's bush." Edie once admitted to me that her sister introduced Rosa multiflora. I would like to murder both of them, but it is too late now.
   As for my yard, which is more of a sculpture than a lawn and relies heavily on these invasives for privacy, Glen professed himself ready to go.
   "It's not like my neighbors' suburban style," I warned.
   "People now like it that way," he said.
   "Well I like it rough."
   "I understand."

10.20.2014

deserting in droves

Leili throws stuff in the back of the truck. T minus 18 and counting
I have engaged to drive my friends to the ferry. It seems like only yesterday I picked them up. Well, it was the day before yesterday. They brought dinner over last night, and Ballard joked about giving him a wakeup call.
  Well, I couldn't, since he had his phone turned off. Also his alarm, apparently.
  When I showed up to take them to the ferry this ayem, the door was locked and there were no stirrings. I knocked. I hollered. Nothing. I honked the horn. I called both phones.
   Suddenly, Leili was coming outside to throw a bowl of salad in the bushes, muttering about her alarm. Ballard was emptying out ice and turning off the refrigerator and the gas. Both were stuffing suitcases.
  The whole thing gave me agita. This is SO not how I close up. My closing is staged for weeks. This, then that. The soap and candles discarded so as not to entice mice. Diatomaceous (sp?) earth for the silverfish. The outdoor furniture in. The pathways clear for the plumber who drains the pipes. Etc.
   But everyone does it differently. My cousin Roberta scrubs and cleans everything. I don't. Barrett packs up all the linens in bags. I don't. So my ways probably make everyone crazy as well.
   But you can totally see who is who when it comes down to
   crunch time.

 

10.16.2014

ducks on a pond

wtf ducks?
The mallards have me in a puzzle
The pond has shrunk into a puddle
But now by the dozen they huddle
And paddle
Maybe finding food now is like shooting fish in a barrel

10.15.2014

damn deer

Broad in daylight
A doe and a big bambi. Right there through my new window. In my yard. Munching on my shrubbery. Probably the hydrangeas, by the looks of them. They do say that there are now more deer on Block Island than people (winter people population 900). It's bow hunting season. Go get 'em.

10.14.2014

now starring

Things get distinctly odd in Block island at this time of year. Everybody who was anybody turned out for the clinic fundraiser, a performance of "Gold E. Locks and the Three Deer." The prosecuting attorney representing the three deer, who were suing Gold E. Locks for eating their porridge,  was played our own Edie Blane, former town warden, real estate agent and officiant at Hannah and Chris's wedding. The judge was played by Richard Parsons, former CEO of Time Warner and therefore my one-time boss.
When worlds collide. Only in Block Island

10.13.2014

season's end

The culling begins
Today is the official end of the summer. Stores and restaurants are closing. Cottagers are shuttering. Block Island becomes once again home to the 900 or so (fewer than the deer!) misfits and retirees who make this their official address. It's time to repair the casualties of the season—or throw them out. The dump will be filled with beach chairs and boogie boards, grills and bicycles, stoves and lawn mowers. I'm switching out rotten windows. No building permit. Don't tell.

10.08.2014

the witches of new shoreham

They gathered to set fire to land and sky.
And I cannot tell a lie.
There was a fire extinguisher involved.