real estate dilemma

Is that how you spell dilemma?
Today I meet with the guy who's selling the Goose.
Yesterday, Hannah put in an offer on this property.
Hannah wants me to invest my money and energy in her place.
And she wants to know what you think.
Please weigh in on one of Hannah and Chris's possible futures.


obama plays missouri

In a place where "yes we can" is more likely to mean "we put up tomatoes," all 45 of the Democrats of southern Missouri turned out in greater West Plains (pop. 10,000). OK, so there are a few more who stayed home to watch CNN. The Obama office on the courthouse square—the first campaign office in West Plains in living memory—was shuttered as the (poorly) paid help threw an event in a neighboring town, but the rest of the faithful gathered at a nearby coffee shop to wave signs and chant along with the TV audience in a ballfield in Denver.



OK, folks, what do you say? I offered $20,000. The owner came back with a price of $22,000, what he paid for the place a couple years ago, before putting in new plumbing, electrics, deck. There's probably $5000 worth of work I would want to put in, for a tiny pied a terre a thousand miles from my home with no rental or resale value. Oh, and the roof leaks in one corner. Deal, huh?


wild horses

This friend, tending a colt's injury with her ribbon-winning daughter, is in the quarter horse business. But she and other breeders here tell me that horse prices are at their lowest ever. The reason is not only the high price of feed (ethanol) and gas (horse trailers), but animal activism.
Horses live 20 or so years (I think, don't know much about horses), but their breeding/working/showing lives are over much earlier. And there are always the duds. Breeders used to sell these horses to slaughterhouses for their meat—much prized in France. But in this post-PETA world, horsemeat for human consumption has been outlawed. What that means is that owners must pay vets to put the unaffordable animals down and backhoe operators to inter them. This too is expensive. So around here, many people have selected another alternative: They trailer their horses to the Mark Twain National Forest and let them loose, where they starve to death. Nice work, PETA!


ozark weekend

TJ's was open, thank heavens and I made my second visit there with Bill, after seeing his new paintings. I should have taken a picture of those. We ate dead animal flesh (to quote Frank) and Texas toast and iceberg salad bar. At-CHOO. The next day Carly (who I actually met through this blog) came down and we went swimming with the crawdads and minnows at Bill's river cabin in T'ville (nice work on the river-access steps and bank, Bill) and had hors d'oeuvre with surprise (and not really invited) guest Bear Walker from across the street. Then the next day—but I'll reserve that for tomorrow.


mo fauna

Last night I saw an armadillo rattling around the yard of the Goose. And on the road today I have seen dead turtles, skunks, possums, armadillos, racoons, frogs and birds. One of which it smells like Dianne's min pin has been rolling in.
People have lots of domestic animals here. Mostly horses and cattle. Dianne has Tennessee Walkers (one injured mare, one pissed off stallion, among others) (and ps the foal that looked like it wasn't going to make it when I was here last year is just fine, tnx) and black angus. And of course there are always dogs (two) and barn kittens like Yoda, the one with the six toes.


just so you know

Went out to Thomasville yesterday and did some mopping and spent the night in the Goose, aka the Old Post Office, the Cafe, etc. The quarters are a wreck except for the corner mopped and photographed.
Also see pic of Bear Walker's house, across the highway. He has lived there since he was eight years old. His is the one on the left; the one on the right is uninhabited.
The guys on the top lived there before Bear. Two are brothers, and I think the other one is a cousin. They hang in the River's Edge Fish and Grill across the street. Their picture, I mean, not their bodies. Sorry, the swarming hummingbirds are distracting me.


loosey goosey

I think Oceanluna Photoshopped my name in here. I think she's trying to suggest a use for the Goose. Actually it used to be a cafe. However the River's Edge Cafe is right across the street, and I don't think they're doing too much trade. Dianne suggested that I buy up the whole town and rename it Claudia'sville. But the other hundred or so people who really live there probably wouldn't appreciate it much. I am moving out to the Goose today. For those of you who care, that means no cell reception. And some really hairy neighbors. . .


at the spotted goose

That was last evening at about 4:30, having hauled from Dayton, through the cornfields and past the arch of St. Louis, down to the surprisingly booming West Plains and the totally derelict Thomasville.


the exit not taken

No, I rolled over and through and around the hills until the land smoothed out and I didn't stop until Dayton, where I selected a motel in which, if the arrest record posted on the lobby desk is any indication, lovers can be had for hire. In abundanza.


what's in the cruiser?

Alas, I wish it were another game of What's in the Truck, but I'm just not sure the truck is up to a long road trip. I leave for Missouri today, and I'll give you a hint: There are no bananas in the Cruiser. I'll give you another hint: I am planning to camp out in the gas station of my dreams. It's sans Internet access (and possibly cellphone), so I need to know just how much you want me to weigh in along the way.
Cruiser, faugh.


my car, myself

"I'm just not a PT Cruiser type of girl," I told the rental car agent.
I had been forced to rent the hideous, ersatz-antique automobile because it was the only economy car on the lot. It proved to be economical to rent, but not to drive. And as I was planning to put some 3000 miles on the thing, that kind of defeated the purpose.
Worse, I discovered that PT Cruiser drivers are the kind of people who wave at one another without mouthing, "Sucker." After renting cars for years, I thought I was so over identification with the make of car I was driving. But that was before someone invited me to step into a PT Cruiser. Gag. Now I could understand my sister's instinctual revulsion when faced with a minivan.
So there I was, back at the rental office, trying to switch the thing out for another car. This time, there was a probably-better-on-gas-mileage Suzuki (who knew? I thought they just made motorcycles) available.
Candy apple red.
I looked at it and thought, "Speeding ticket on wheels."
And climbed back into the Cruiser.


the shack

This is my last weekend at the shack. The shack has almost everything you need, except for running water. (And electricity. But you don't really need electricity. Or running water, for that matter.) So after an afternoon at the beach, when the skies opened in the evening, I took a shower in the rain.


presto pesto

If you'll recollect, a few weeks ago you saw Wolfen's garden put in the ground. She sends this pic of a quick harvest.
And speaking of Rhode Island, I am going back up there today, Rosalee in tow, for the last big two-house two-week turnover of the season.


air conditioning

Have there ever been such outrageous skies as this summer? Thunderheads rolling across the rivers and the ocean, violent rains and hail. And then the sun comes out.


ukulele lad

A little something for those of you who have laughed at my koa wood ukulele.


baby hanny

Perhaps you have heard me moaning about an article I handed in to a parenting magazine almost a year ago about dreams during pregnancy. The problem with writing it in the first person, of course, being that I was last pregnant about 27 years ago.
I fudged this as best I could in the article. But then came requests for a bio pic. I first sent them a recent head shot. Nope. "We'd like a picture of you with your baby."
I wrote, as I sent this one in (after the baby's husband had scanned it for me), "You do realize that my baby is now 26 years old."

The photo researcher grasped that, but not the art director. So we sent in this. Obviously not current by Hanny's dreadlocks and my glasses and weight, but closer.

And this, along with another more obvious wedding photo.

It looked, for a while, as if we were going to have to meet at the ferry dock as I was leaving and she was arriving and grab a shot. Fortunately, since H made the boat with seconds to spare, the magazine declared itself satisfied.
For a freaking bio shot one inch square.



Somebody caught a lot of fish in Block Island—a 34-inch striper across the street and a bunch of fluke at the Cut. You can tell, too, because the new refrigerator smells of nothing but.
And on the way in and out of Point Judith, I admired the names of the boats for whom fish is a living, Provider and Perception. Hard to Handle and Heritage. And then all the classics: Debbie Ann, Rebecca Mary, Caitlin and Bigread, Briana-Nicole, even boys' names like the Conor & Michael. And then there was something that looked like--but couldn't be--Gorilla & Fudge.


back to block

Out and back the next day. Turnaround.


everybody out of the water

Doesn't anyone else have anything to report? Why is it always me me me???

Or Paris, of course.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


press clips

Soon coming to the side of a city bus near you:
Also, more Wear Your Music news. The MTV movie opens next week: If you have any pre-teens, don't say I didn't warn you.
And The Artist Known as Chang and I write panels for his upcoming exhibition at The National Art Museum of Singapore.


good morning new york

Hot town, summer in the city. The night and the shoulders of the day become more important. Beautiful skies lately, and dense dreams.


debby does da bronx

So the radio personality, the internist, the headhunter and the magazine journalist gathered overlooking the two Yankee stadiums for a fast-setting sun and an equally quick-moving thunderstorm. The problems of the world were not solved.


cover girls

This may get yanked since I don't have signed releases from the stars. One of the girls' mothers made the video so that they could enter a lip-synching contest.