they came, they ate, they painted, they left

 Memorial Day is a kind of trial run for the summer. Everything that can shakedown, does—with just enough time to fix it all before The Guests Them. Or not. At least there's time to make signs warning them about all the dangers that have been caused by our "improvements."
   And then the rels leave, and it's me and the last laundry til October. The whole island takes a breather until the weekends and then the massive invasion end of June.



All was better than broom clean for the two-wave invasion. The first tenants arrive in a week. But first—the family.


magic morning

After a day of rain and a sudden warmth of sun, the dew and the fog were heavy. Edie asked if i could come over to her beautiful old house (her grandfather built it and a year or so later got married—"he got the cage before he got the canary," she says) to take pictures of her tree peony. It was fully flowered—better late than never—and a gorgeous color.


soft opening

The weather is still chilly, so the waiters at the Oar let down the shades.

Roberta and I enjoyed a lady's lunch at the Oar.
 Block island is prepping for the coming weekend. Wait staffs are in training, carpenters are hammering, painters are touching up, cottagers are cleaning for the rental season, crews are trying to finish the lines for the wind farm and the stairs over the dunes.
   And Islanders are checking out the new season's just-opened restaurants. Me, I stuck with the sushi at the Oar and the last free clam night at the Yellow Kittens. And one night the thought "ice cream!" popped into my head. Maybe Aldo's is open, I thought. Drove down to town and not only was Aldo's open for the first time, it was free ice cream night. Ah, some people are the fortunate ones.
The Yellow Kittens is still deserted but for a gaggle of old-timers clustered around free clams at the bar.


the graduates

I love this picture of my beautiful niece, Madison, and her childhood friend, Nathan, going off to the prom. So many years, and still friends. Graduating from high school. Oh my!
   Then there's nephew Noah. He was helping me put down hay bales to build Hannah's Hideaway nine or ten years ago. And now, as of yesterday, he is a college grad.
  Mazel to all!


sunset over the compound

From left: Hannah's; Claudia's; John's Big Barn, Little Barn, Big House and Kite Store; Douglas's Little Brown Jug and shed (rear).

Former tool shed behind the Kite Store, emptied
 When Mr. Hopkins died and we bought the place, the four buildings on the right were all there was—the big house Hoppy had moved to that spot, the kite shop, which he had left to his mistress, the little house by the tidal pond where Douglas and I lived and Douglas's shed, site of the first Claudia's Surf City. That was 1980.
John had vision, and he dug a pond and built and helped us build. Douglas built Claudia's and Claudia built Hannah's, and here we are—until last month, when John sold the tiny corner of the property that has the Big House and the Kite Store. Not visible in this aerial are the two brand new mansions that bracket the former compound (known to the locals with deep political incorrectness as The Gaza Strip). The new owner plans for the Big House to continue as a summer rental. The Kite Store will become a flower shop.
Big House and Kite Store on right, from Claudia's.


license to kill

 So yesterday I received the following from that perennial thorn in my side, Nose Bite Kitty, Esq.—or as I prefer to think of him: Many Spurious Suits Pain-in-the-ass Esquire. The message was in French, of course, and I have translated it for you. What I really take it to mean is that I can whack carpenter bees with a badminton racket, pour hot water into anthills, pay a dime to young children to swat flies, kick dogs, chase cats and do whatever I want to members of the animal kingdom—with impunity—for the next four months. I'm goin' in. . .

Dear Madame Dowling: Thank you for your kind testimonial about my human benefactor, Ms. Andrews. She indeed has many fine qualities, and I am glad you appreciate her as I do.
Since you have been so thoughful and expressed your sentiments so publicly, I and my firm, Les Felins por la Justice, grant you immunity from proscution for the period of four months. Sincerely yours, Nose Bite Kitty, Esquire


presenting: the birthday girl!

Sisters in crime

I forget how old she's turning today, but I know she's a hair older than me, and I'm 65. In any case, we've been clowning around for almost 40 years. That's a long fucking time. She can still make me laugh—so hard—which is about the best thing I can say about anyone. I also don't know anyone else who would spend hours composing the perfect response to a scamming email, seek for buried treasure in adulthood, ask her psychic what color truck I should buy (you should have seen the poor Ozarker salesman's face when she made the call) or spend all night watching a serial about mass murder and then all day composing a review to post on Amazon about how bad it was. 
   One of a kind. Love you, B!


where in the world

Do you recognize this place? I am glad to see that I recollected the first rule for a writer traveling with a photographer: Stay out of the frame! That's the legendary David Burnett in the khaki pants. We were traveling on Air Force 2 with Al and Tipper Gore. Late '90s. This picture was likely taken by Tipper herself, Burnett thinks. He got it recently and sent it on.


the rail road

Sam Savage (his real name!) installs.

From Holliston, Mass.

to Block Island, RI
 It started with Erin measuring back in the fall. Then her pal Sam made the railing inserts at his house in Holliston. Then Erin and Flip painted them. I picked some sections up, Sam brought the rest and installed them. Hopefully they'll be good for another 16 years or so, at which point I won't be the one worrying about them!
Et voila!


a new dawn

By dawn's early light
I love a construction site. And now I have one in my front yard. The barge laying the cable from the power station to the windmills appears to be towed by the bitty boat. Judging by the blazing lights, they work all night. If I were a journalist, I would get out there onto the barge and the windmill platforms and find out what's really going on (never mind the politics about the Manisee Indian firepit the on-island trench ran into). But I'm not, and so I just watch and wonder wotthehell is going on.


the evening

If you look carefully, in the middle window you can see the ship that is laying cable from the new windmills to Block Island. Plenty of people are pissed, but I am not among them. I am hoping that this wind energy will not only be a template, but also reduce my electricity costs, which are—high.