all hallows eve

The veils between the worlds are very thin at midnight tonight. The covens gather in Salem, Mass., to form a circle and cast off the old and bring in the new.
Once, Citichild sat shivering in that circle.
Once, her chart was read by a witch.
Once the woman with the blue spiral on her cheek gathered her coven.
Once, the stars watched as the witches struggled to be one with the all.
Now, the Day of the Dead arrives, with its sugar death's heads.
Now, the race cars spin out in Zacatecas.
Now, the living huddle behind their doors and bribe the demons with sweets.
And now, Citichild begins work, her mother quits smoking (again), and the fairy princesses and beatniks, Madonnas and ghosts don their masques and go out among the people with swag bags to collect the tax of childhood.


enough nature already

Nature is great and everything, but I'm getting a little sick of it. It seems to involve Fed Ex dispatchers that don't arrive, boats that don't run, enormous heating costs you can't afford and a giant tarp on the porch that is too hard to fold up in the wind.
Get me out of Claudia's Surf City and back to New York City.
But I can't leave yet. There's the Historic District meeting on the 8th, the trim to paint, the floor to urethane and, of course, the toilet to put back in. Sheesh.
And then again, the weather's supposed to be nice next week.
Why do you like to live where you live?



OK, so I'm sorry about all the dawn/dusk pix, but really, can you believe these skies? I swear I'm not photoshopping one little bit. It's all true. And the relief of seeing the sky at all is part of the obsession, I'm sure. Sometime soon, when I finish editing this book, I'll put up a film clip of the last storm, and you'll see why.
A friend just fought her way into the long night. Those of you who knew her might want to read about Cheryl McCall at the beginning of her struggle and the obituary from the end.


we are all one

"Went to church yesterday."
"Did the roof fall in? Har har!"
Even the unrepentant showed up for the harvest supper at the church. There's something about being marooned on a little island in a gale that makes exiles want to huddle together. Besides, the turkey dinner cooked by half the people on the island is pretty tasty. (And there's no takeout, Mr. Li.) So there was the Real Estate Lady, the Contractor, the Aging Rock Singer, the Architect—practically everybody I know on the island. And their families. I was with my family too. My ex bro- and sis-in-law and their kids. I sat next to my ex husband with his girlfriend and their kid. The roof did not fall in.
The lemon mirangue pie baked by the Real Estate Lady was excellent, the company was good, the chatter loud. And then we all ran into our cars in the rain and back home to shore up our separate fortresses.
And all the while, Citichild and Photochild were driving through the highlands of Mexico to arrive in San Miguel de Allende and safe harbor with more family.


gusting to 60

One day, la-la-la-la-la, everything is beautiful and the next day the boats are off their moorings, the sawhorses have flown across the porch and the garbage can is headed for the pond.
Don't think I'll be getting any packages for several days. Rotten takeout, anyone?


ordering out

Mr. Li, Please tell Lee Hong Fuk to send some wolverine chow mein out here. I'm marooned on this island with a pot of stew on the stove and no time to cook until I finish trying to make sense of the United Nations.
That's right, the United Nations. Make sense to you Mr. Li? All you want is free trade, right? Well you can't have it with me, because I am going to be very busy with this manuscript. I am told it has some problems.
Although not as many as the United Nations.
The stew is going to get pretty old by the end of the week. When the Chinese food runs out, I'll accept Indian curry or Japanese sashimi. I'm into multiculturalism at the mo. No Irish stew. I will have had enough of that.


so sorry, Mr. Li

Dear Mr. Li,
Your agressive marketing is starting to get on my nerves. Not to mention your spelling and grammer.
As you see, I have found a spot for the last item you sent me.
Please make sure this IS the last item. I do not wish to buy any more items. I do not want any more items even if they are free. I have enough items, of all kinds. And of this particular item, one is more than enough.
Please do not contact me again with your increasingly desperate self promotions.
I look forward to not hearing from you ever again.
Owner and Proprietor of Claudia's Surf City


what is this item, Mr. Li?

Mr. Li has sent me very fine beautyful item. Only problem: don't know what is for doing with. Pleas help humble lucky person recieving same to understand how using? Arigato.
And speaking of being in the pooper, found out yesterday afternoon that the Conservation Commission was meeting to consider my case. Went up to the Town Hall, but only one commisssion member showed up so no quorum so no meeting so no diceroonee. Then went to Planning Board meeting for THEM to consider my case. The junior lawyer showed up. The one I can get on the phone. With his girlfriend. He's younger than my stepson. But anyway, they voted unanimously to recommend approval of my plans to the Zoning Board.
What is this item please? Need some helping of understanding.


what's on my head?

A bird just landed on my head. At first I thought it was a really huge fly. But then I saw it. A tiny chickadee, it hopped from the twigs on the chandelier to the branch that the pots and pans hang on to the surfboards on the ceiling, trying to get away from me as I attemped to capture it with a dishtowel.
Then the phone rang, and it was Citichild telling me she had just watched sunrise/moonset on the top of Cheehaw Mountain, the highest point in Alabama. During the night they had also driven past the highest points in North Carolina and Georgia. She wanted her grandfather's phone number. If she had been a bird she could have flown directly down the mountain to his rustic palace in the woods.
And speaking of birds. How did this one get inside and when? I've had the door closed most of the time due to either rainy or cold weather. It finally managed to find the open door and fly away, to find some real twigs and branches.


outdoor plumbing

The Queen's throne—en plein air. Waiting for the floor to dry out (maybe by spring) so that I can sand, urethane and reinstall the fixture. Maybe.



He was wearing a T-shirt that showed a picture of a couple cutting a wedding cake with the words "Big Mistake." And then the Liquid Plumbers rocked out: "Set me free why doncha, babe," "Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand." The crowd roared: "Free Bird! Play Free Bird." The highlight was when the plumber held aloft a pair of wire snips and ritually cut his wedding band, then put it in his nostrils like a prize bull.
First time I ever head of a man throwing a divorce party, but he allowed as how it was actually a female friend who had the idea.


sailor's delight

But lo, what light from yonder window breaks?
Omigod, it's the sun.


flush with success

"Don't faint," the voice on the telephone said. "It's (mumble)."
"Pardon me?"
"The plumber."
Give me a sec," I said. "I need to take a few deep breaths."
Background: While this plumber has opened and closed my house for years, he has never once responded to a phone call, nor even a long and elaborate series of increasingly frantic phone calls. Questions, problems, emergencies—I shouted them all out into the void. Magically, every fall when I wasn't there, the elves would turn off my water and blow out the pipes, put antifreeze in the traps, unscrew the showerheads and drain the hot water heater. Magically, they would restore services in the spring, at a time of their own choosing. But I never knew when this would happen, because the plumber would not ever call me.
My last call had been to say that a toilet seal was leaking and could he at least call to tell me if he couldn't fix it. It was a plaintive call.
Now he was on the phone.
"I'm busy pumping out basements," he said. "Can it wait until I shut down?"
"Which will be when?"
"Oh, probably the first week in November." Breezily. Like I don't have to plan my withdrawal as far in advance as American troops from Iraq.
"Well, maybe I'll do it myself," I said.
Then he invited me to a party he was throwing for his "renaissance," I think he said, or "liberation" or something that made me think of the gossip I had heard that he and his wife had split up. I was still in shock that he had called at all.
"Will you play?" I asked. The plumber is also a rock 'n' roll guitarist.
"Yes," he said.
So I took out the toilet myself. It's sitting on the front porch.


lavender blues

I'm beginning to dislike this blue viola color. Hope I like it better when I'm done or when the sun comes out, whichever comes first. Doomsday, belike.
Gotta go buy more moldings, cover up those errors in cutting.
Gotta go to town hall, fill out more forms.
Gotta go to the P.O. I hate going there because I see everyone I know on the island, and it can take a while. But the lawyer must be paid. I see that he gets $47.50 for every e-mail he gets from me and does not respond to. The same amount for the phone calls he doesn't return. Am I lucky to have him or what?
PS: If you think the Indian accent is as funny as I do, check out
Curry-N-Rice Girl.
PPS: The Nice Town Department


stormy weather

I pulled the dropcloths aside and slept in the guest room last night. My own northeast bed was rocking, and the spritz of rain coming through the window just wasn't, like, conducive. The guest room is southwest facing, as far from the Neptunian action as possible in this place. Far enough, though, granted, it is 6:30 in the morning. Maybe I'll go back to bed. Southwest, for sure.
And the planning board meeting last night was postponed (presumably for lack of mainland attorneys) until Monday.


wild night

An ecosystem of earwigs, a school of silverfish have come in out of the rain. The house shuddered and shook on its piers last night as 40 mph winds screamed in over the heaving ocean. The tarp covering the beadboard has blown across the porch, and the outside umbrella has broken its neck. I somehow doubt "my" lawyer will be making it to the planning board meeting tonight. The ferry's not running.
No cutting wood today, so I reckon I'll paint.
Yesterday, the woman at the hardware store lent me a very cool little gadget that uses a laser to determine which Benjamin Moore paint color (among thousands) you painted that pesky wall. I took the thing up to the House of Hat, made a lot of readings resulting in about four different colors and ascertained that the one I so admired (OK, House of Hat Owner, envied) was Blue Viola #1424. But since my room's exposure is south (not that you'd know it at the moment), it will look somewhat different. I painted some splotches on the wall and decided it will be just fine.
I hope all of you like the color as well, because a) it's the guest room and b) I'll be wearing it for weeks.


angelina, please don't marry him

This is Spogga.
Unfortunately, you can't see his silver-banded dredlock.
If you'd like to see more of Spogga, check out SPOGGA.
And, Angelina, maybe you'll reconsider.

spogga rocks

OK, YouTube isn't working that well. But if u can't wait to see Spogga singing "Angelina, Please Don't Marry Him" you can link here. Am still trying other methods.


look out, brad

Yes, we have a new music video soon to appear on the site, if I brought the right wires with me to the island and can remember how to do it from that last memorable video, "All I Want to do is Build a House With You."
This time it's Spogga doing "Angelina Please Don't Marry Him."
The Him referred to is, of course, You Know Who.
Wait for it!
Meanwhile, check this monster out.


homeward bound

Jeez. I just realized that the past six pix have been window pictures.
What's up with that?


this is new york

This is a mourning dove. Coo coo, coo coo, Photochild.
And speaking of photos, saw a selection of Jane Evelyn Atwood's life work and Jane herself at the Leica Gallery last night. Wow. Is it too late to become a photographer? Let me point out that I did NOT take this one. However, Citichild DID capture the moment. And, Photochild, it is NOT Photoshopped. Coo coo.



These are the bright blue days, the best of the year. The sea is warm. The light is beautiful. The crowds are gone.


relative explosion

Yesterday, while attending her first Catholic mass, my four-year-old niece tugged at my sister's arm and said, "Mama, Mama, I think they're almost done, because he's bringing out the beer and crackers!"
And speaking of my niece and my sister, they arrive today with my other niece, their babysitter, their dog and hopefully a gallon of Kilz. Also expected: My daughter, her intended, their friend Nano, possibly my daughter's future mother-in-law and hopefully my mail. It's going to be a little tight here.
I better finish covering up that insulation right now!