the way things are

This is the way things are:
The plasterers are slogging and slopping away.
My brother is packing up.
The window casings are done.
The doors are hung.
There are a few things left to do. Downstairs floor. Cleanup. Urethane. Cleanup. Painting. Cleanup. Fireplaces. Cleanup. These things will probably not get done until spring. The painting alone could take me a year (window casings, doors, interior walls, floors, stairway, exterior trim, railings).
I am going off island on Thursday to take my bro to the airport, then to NY to see the subway singer perform that evening.
Kathleen Mock will be at Makor, 35 W 67th Street at 7:30 on November 2, for those who wish to see her. www.mockmusic.com
Then I am coming back to the island to see how much I can get done before I have to shut down.
That is the way things are.
Superficially, anyway.


just one more

phototgraph by Donna Ferrato


but that was yesterday

The ceremonial lowering of the flag and raising of the fake flowers takes place on Neruda's last golden weekend on the island.
Today, we are expecting up to two inches of rain with gusting to 65 mph. The ocean is heaving and who knows if the boats are running.


here's ben!

Thanks to the groom, we found Ben.


getting plastered

There is some discussion about whether to paint or seal with a masonry product like Okon. Also about tinting plaster. Thoughts? Think quick. . .


venus in scorpio, avian style

The birds have gone crazy. They seem to think it's nesting season. They are flying around like nutcases (nuthatches?), flying into the house and out, around and around the house, through the porch. They're doing this all over the island. I mean, the apple tree started blooming and then the shad bushes and now this. I'm freezing my ass off. Don't these dumb birds know it's time to go south for the winter and not time to nest?


where's ben?

photograph by Donna Ferrato


point c to point b

Pulled myself out almost bodily from a dream (does everybody dream like this?) to realize I'm late starting to move stuff back to from where I moved it from the last time so as to make room for the plasterers to start work! Tomorrow! On this island, when a group of workmen say they have a week's availability, you jump on it, no matter how inconvenient. I have a bit more insulating to do as well, and Cowboy is finishing out the window sills and casings. Better get out to Point B so I can move stuff back to Point A!
BTW the leading contenders for names at this point are East and West (thanks Phil—so dignified, though the allusion to Frank Lloyd Wright seems boastful) and the somewhat less dignified Claudia's Surf City and Hannah's Beach Party or Hannah's Party City.
Whaddya think?


stairway as heaven

So, do we paint the railings white? aqua? leave them natural? We are going for the look of a waterfall of wood, here.


lights, action

What is this item, Mr. Li?
This very fine item came from China, touching down in a San Diego warehouse. I bought it on line based on a 2 x 2 inch photo, knowing very well that I was taking a risk. But it wasn't very expensive (a closeout sale, no big surprise), shipping was free and the thing was guaranteed for a whole while.
It was installed months ago, but last night I was able to treat myself to my first spa evening. Mind you, you can have lights or action, but not, apparantly, both at once. I also don't dare use the heater for fear of blowing the whole scene to kingdom come. But I was able to sit there in the bubbling rice bowl feeling like a cannibal's next meal. "All you need is some giant chopsticks," Photochild says. And I know I'm really asking for it here, but it seems like giant chopsticks are something Mr. li might stock.


moved out

All that's left is curtains, a linoleum rug or two and thousands and thousands of words.

proof sheet

photograph by Dorothy Reilly
The mystery photog provides proof of her baby-portrait skills.



So I had this dream last night that when I was out to lunch (as ever, some might say), the ocean broke through the dunes and flattened my old house. The new one was still okay, but I cried because I had loved the old one. This dream could be attributed to guilt about becoming attached to the new place or about owning two houses at all but one thing it cannot be is prophetic, since the old one sits much higher than the new one.
Which brings me to the real issue: What do we call the two places? Not as in painting signs (how twee is that?), but for purposes of clarity in speech and writing. My bro-in-law's places next door are known as "Big Barn" and "Little Barn," but this nomenclature is way out of date, as Little Barn is not a barn at all any more, but a house. Likewise, in ten years, "New House" and "Old House" are not going to cut it. I have been calling the new house the Barn, the Site, but these are likewise no longer descriptive. The Sculpture might be more accurate. If this was Hawaii, you would call them the Makai House (for towards the ocean) and the Mauka House (for towards the mountain, or inland) but this is not Hawaii and naming things in other languages is kind of show-offy, I feel. We could go with the strictly true but counter-intuitive plat 3-6 and 3-1. Or we could go for the rather more straightforward fire numbers 109 and 110. Or we could call the old place, as I often do, Claudia's Surf City. Or the Mothership. Or CSC I and II. Or--but I give up.
Your turn.


hey, baby

I thought it was time for another baby picture. I can't remember who took this one. Kate? Doro? Oops. so much for photo credits.

off off and away

Looks like we're headed off island for the day to check out the property of E's dreams. Angelina is coming with us too—are you jealous?—and we will likely spend some quality time at Home Depot, buzzing back in time for the last boat at 5:00 pm so as to be here for the electricians bright and shiny in the morning. If it doesn't rain. Which it's supposed to.


the last barbeque

probably of summer, but certainly at Rosalee and Peruko's house. They have sold up and spent yesterday moving out, to spend more time in Peru and on the mainland. There goes the neighborhood, alas. We have had many a fine party at the Beach House and will miss the hosts with the most, not to mention their habit of wandering down the beach to our place.


sorry, another sunset

But wasn't it amazing? Last night.

For Hannah and Chris's wedding announcement:

Sorry. No idea why this won't link properly, but if you cut and paste it will work.


when the frost

... is on the pumpkin, that's the time for [all in-laws finish rhyme here].
It's also the time for a touch of cabin fever, the type that makes one a trifle snappish with loved ones and filled with a great longing to get out of town. Or, in my case, back to town. Meanwhile, there's always making soup.


the redo

Not even done, and starting to do stuff over again already.
Urethaning floors, ok, understandable.
Moving pipes, though? Before we even have our inspection? My brother wants me to bring the water line in two feet away from where it is presently.
Unplumbing the rice bowl hot tub? Yeesh. Thanks to Wolfen howling at them, the hot tub people sent us a new electrical package so that hopefully we will be bubbling. Only trouble is, to try it out, we have to take the tub out (meaning that the plumber has to come over from the mainland), replace the electricals, put the tub back in and fill with water to check if it works.
It had better.



Cowboy contemplates his vision for the stairway. He designed and built the waterfall railings at his studio in Santa Fe. He is still seeking the perfect rock.



Since the wedding, days on the island have been like a string of sapphires or topazes with full moon nights like—maybe I've taken this too far.
Anyway, after rain for the wedding there have been a lot of days that have made me want to set off explosives screaming, "Unfair."
Still, it's hard not to take advantage of a weekend like this one.


this is block island?

I saw a guy wearing fluffy angel wings jogging down Beach Avenue towards the ocean yesterday. What's next? Diversity?

For wedding pix by Keri Pickett, go to



The apple tree has come back into bloom.


get back to work

We had to get the big items upstairs before the railings went on. That included the tub, the beds and a motherload of sheetrock, which arrived yesterday. The Cowboy helped offload it, then completed the porch railings. I, on the other hand, am still dogging it.



Underneath one of those chairs on the left is the chrysalis of a monarch butterfly. The groom found it during his honeymoon (honeymooning with the moms? lucky moms) and took its picture. It was a beautiful green, with a jeweled necklace and buttons, more beautiful than any made by—oops, didn't mean to say that.
Anyway, the happy couple toured the island by motorcycle and as part of a tour given by three experienced Island taxi drivers, one of whom gave us a piece of info we hadn't had before, i.e. that Block Island was so called because town is a block long. We learned many other interesting things to0, and found on a historical marker a possible name for the couple's first born: Precious Spring.

After a week the honeymooners left. We kept checking every day, but the butterfly still hadn't hatched out. Yesterday, though, I found the tomb empty and the newborn on the ground, trying to find purchase on a blade of grass. I let it walk on my finger and conveyed it to more solid ground (the chair) to dry its wings and fly away.
I won't belabor the point, but I think it was headed for Mexico rather than Providence.


at the rehearsal dinner

Kids of all ages had a really good time.


undress rehearsal

Bridezilla rehearses the troops for the beach wedding that never happened and is not regretted.


just married

photograph by Lynn Johnson

what they saw

photograph by Unca John


gather ye rose petals

photograph by Keri Pickett

So the grandbaby thought that the thing to do was to sprinkle the groom's feet with flower petals. And it was probably a really good idea.

the grown-up world

photograph by Kate Stalzer
Bet you when she grows up she'll want to be a pretty princess just like Wolfen.