red sky at night

A string of bright days with the wind rattling the windows and banging at the doors and then one still, perfect pearl, proving, perhaps, the old sailors' weather prediction.


at the sign of the red bird

During prohibition, there was a miniature golf attraction here. But as soon as Demon Alcohol was again legalized (with apologies to Rebecca, the goddess of temperance, whose statue still graces the main street of town), the Red Bird liquor store went up. It was opened by a man named Brainard Day. Hence the motto: Buy from Day—today!
Or of course, don't, if you'd rather not.


walk on the beach

Lest you are confused about the difference between an amateur and the professional, consider the quality of this photograph above, @Fernando Cepeda, compared with those I take. Not only is Nano a photographer, but he makes mean chilaquiles. For more of his pictures, check out FernandoCepeda.com. For chilaquiles, try this recipe.


i heart the ferry

There is nothing better than watching the ferry come in out your window. I never get tired of it. As it gets busier, sometimes you can see three boats at once, some coming, some going.
Mostly everyone who was here has taken the ferry off now, although Neruda is planning to spend the night tonight. Thanks to Nano and Gil, we have plenty of leftovers. Why did we cook all that chicken, again?


fame at the block island grocery

So I was walking into the grocery store at 8 ayem, when a guy checking out at the register says. "Hey, aren't you Claudia? I read your blog!"
"Yeah," I manage.
"Claudia's Surf City, right? I read your blog every day. I love the pictures and everything."
I hope I said thanks to Stephen, who gave me his card (need a summer job on Block island? He's got the website Block Island Jobs). I about forgot my grocery list (beer, half and half, beer, cigarettes--my sis was with me).
Mind you, it's easy to be famous on Block Island. I have been through a few brushes with fame for 1) my wildness 2) my windsurfing shop, Claudia's Surf City 3) being Hannah's mother 4) my scandals. And of course there were about 30 years in there when I was never out of print nationally. But no one ever stopped me on the street and said, "Say, aren't you the Claudia who wrote that story about Everest?"
Now you can find Hannah, or at least her guitar-string bracelets, at the checkout racks of your local grocery store (see this month's In Style pp 164 right hand column, above, or on line at In Style Products). So perhaps I will soon be Hannah's mother nationally.
But yesterday, on Block Island, I was that Claudia of The Web.
I said to my son-in-law. "Pretty scary to think which pictures he recognized me from." And he said, "Yeah, he was probably looking at Claudia's Sex City."


stone soup weekend

Once again taking the Tom Sawyer approach to home entertainment, I got part of the porch railing painted, a new chimney hat administered, food and drink prepared and lawns mowed—all the while sitting on my rear drinking beer. What a productive weekend!



It was a lovely evening. We finish-lined ourselves through the last push to rentability at Hannah's Honeymoon Hideaway on Block Island, began drinking dark 'n' stormies and many Becks and Amstel Lights, welcomed Michael and family, picked everybody up at the ferry, lit a fire with the collected scrapwood when suddenly
A Stranger Arrived
And Threw His Shoes Onto the Fire



98 riverside

On Friday, I was sitting in the kitchen in Block Island with my ex-husband, with whom I lived for 20 years at 98 Riverside Drive. He had dropped by to give me a new book about a diary found in the trunk room of 98 Riverside (see redleatherdiary), when I got a call from a friend at 98 Riverside (sixteenth floor) that the friend who first introduced us to the building (fourth floor) had died suddenly. I put the book in my bag and left for 98 Riverside, where I am now (fifteenth floor) surrounded by trunks that I rescued from the basement.
I, too, am a writer, and I have read the book, and I am happy for the young woman who discovered the diary, and the old woman who had written it. I am sad for my friend who lost her husband, a writer, so untimely, and for myself, who lost a friend of three decades. There are hundreds of stories in 98 Riverside, and these are but two of them.



I took this picture of Frank Kendig with his new trumpet a couple years ago. Here is what Frank has to say about himself.



Headed off-island to sit shiva for Frank Kendig, dear friend of three decades. Big shock.


a family affair

Just a taste of what the reunion in Alabama was like. Pic by Chris.


before the wind

A beautiful evening with sculptors, and then the storm came. The ferry didn't run, the phone line went out for a day and surf was majorly up. Some of the mason's staging blew off the roof (fortunately with no one underneath), and the town had to dump a load of dirt on the dune by my driveway.


message to michael

Dear Michael,
Alas, this is what your holiday haven looks like right now--kind of a backstage glimpse. The mason has gotten the chimney through the roof, barely, and is now off-island, naturally. Not that he could work in 40 mph winds anyway. My brother is finishing up a loft, a pantry and some other sculptural touches. I am painting, as always, Shop-Vaccing, bushwhacking, going to the dump and mowing. The nesting birds get really mad.
You know the old saying about the omelet. I am counting the days before you arrive also, for a different reason. But don't worry, everything will be perfect by the time you are here--if only it would stop storming. . .
Albest, Claudia


building the suite

Well, J is right, guys.
How about a little feedback.
You think I do this blog thing for my health, huh?
How about a word now and then to just, sort of, encourage me to continue?
Or encourage J to keep playing what's in the truck.

The View From the Tub


the shad

The shad is blooming. Does that mean that the shad is running, and that for the brief period when Block Island is white with flower, Citarella's is selling shad roe? It would be nice if one could have both in the same location.


the bird's nest

There are now more beds in the Birds' Room thanks to My Brother Chris, who built a loft there.
Already first thing in the morning I hear the Trick or Treat bird, the T-shirt bird ("T-shirt, T-shirt, T-shirt"), the Booger Bee (red wing blackbird) and many others, most unidentified.
Once they start tromping around overhead and giggling and falling down the ladder I may have to move out.


up on the roof

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a scaffold and mason to counter my fears. And the chimney up it rose.


by popular demand

here's Simon, doing the guy thing


what's in the truck II

And the clear winner is:
Dada, with a combination of inspired guessing and years of observation. His only error was in thinking that I was making a trip straight up from NYC, which would have resulted in a more significant Zabar's run. The winning entry, annotated, is as follows.

5lbs. Zabar's coffee beans, dark roast (check, 25 points. also 1 pound decaf expresso). Three rye breads, seeded (15 points, I actually brought 4). One pound western nova (no. refrigeration issues). Two containers pickeled herring (no). One bag pistachio nuts, Zenobia white, salted 5 points). One flat, pansies (no). Six avocados (no). Half dozen ruby red grapefruit (no). Pound and a half cream cheese with chives (no). Two whitefish chubs (no). A bit of belly lox for Alan No). No nuts for Roberta 10 points). Fifteen rolls Bounty (at least, 75). Two cans Bon Ami (oops, should have, 20 points). One new broom (oops, need 2, 10 points). Nine chairs (only 5, 25 points). Eleven rugs (only one, 5 points). Two packets coffee filter paper, unbleached (10 points). Box of Cheez-its (5). Jar of marmite (nope, I have my blood pressure to consider). Can of herring bits (no). Bottle cucumber bath oil (actually, it was monoi bath oil, 5). Two natural sponges (no). Six wishes (60, I wish I had remembered the brooms). First mowing already done (10 points). One used surf board (no). Four mouse traps (oops again, 40). Quart of Clorox no--I have enough from last year!).
That's 295 points!
Mr. Li got 5 points for boiled peanuts (which I had to throw away). And nobody got the nieces and the $250 worth of junk food.


what's in the truck, I

What's in the truck I, Scored
If you recollect, this was the month-long Great Road Trip.

Ipods, 3 actually 2 (10 pts)
Macs, 3 actually 2 (10)
Cell Phones, 3 (15)
(chargers, 2) actually 3, I think (10)
Rolls of Bounty, 1 actually 4 (5)
Sunglasses, 4 actually more like 8, including clipons (20)
Rolex, 1 (5)
Coolers, 2 actually one (5)
Canon DSLR, 1 (5)
Misc Digital Cameras, 2 (10)
Bananas, 3 NOT! (-15)
Pocket Knives, 2 to begin, later 5 (10)
Zippos, 1 (-5)
If I added correctly, this comes to 85, making Dada the clear winner

Runner up is J, earning 10 points each for what should have been in the truck and five for what was in the truck: love (5), creativity (10), intelligence (10), compassion (10, humor (10), oneness of a kindness (10), cameras (15) for a total of 75. It could be argued that some of those things were in fact in the truck and she should get fewer points. Not for me to judge, however.

Neruda earned some points with food (5), computers (5), shovels (5) books (5), ipods (5), iphones (5), desire for spring (in abundanza, 10!) for a total of 40

Otra Rubia pointed out correctly that she was cheating by saying a case of Red Stripe (since I had said I planned to buy it, actually I bought two) but gets 10 points for 2 pairs of shorts.

Anonymous gets about 5 points a day for beer. Which may in fact make him the winner—I know who you are.

Nobody guessed the 5 dozen H & H bagels, two tents, three sleeping bags.

Tomorrow, I will score What's in the Truck II (seen in picture above) and III-- Something to look forward to.


internet interromptus

Issues with Verizon (and how!) now resolved. Back soon.