yet another vote

OK, final ruling. This one or the flaming sky for season's greetings to the tenants?


outdated technologies, 2

When I began working as a writer, I used one of these.
    For you people under 25, it's called a typewriter.
    I used a carbon set, which was several pieces of paper with carbon paper in between to make several copies topped with a piece of copy paper with little numbers and lines on it so you could tell how long your story was. You had to wham the keys to register on the bottom page.
    The old newspaper writers among us could write a 28-character hedline to the letter just by the feel. I got fairly good at estimating length as well, and since my hunt-and-peck typing was of the two finger variety, I also got pretty good at getting it right the first time so as not to have to retype.
   Now I have to learn to type very lightly using just my thumbs on a tiny piece of glass.


little bear

Camilla had her first visit to New York City (her second is coming up in about a week and a half), and she enjoyed it very much. Especially the parties.


first thanksgiving

and the winner is. . .

I've made something of a tradition of bad Thanksgiving pictures, but this one really takes the, er, pie.
   Maybe Chris got a better one.



Happy Great American Eating Ceremony!


guess who's coming to dinner?

A couple of hints (above). And here are a few more:
Four parents with children.
Three divorcees.
One set of siblings.
One lesbian couple.
One pair of college friends.
Two childhood friends.
Four out-of-staters.
One birthday boy.
Four men and six women for a total of about half the usual.
We're calling it intime. . .


anna, alas

Here is Anna when she stopped at the Goose on a cross-country road trip last year. She had already been dealing with metastasizing growths for many years; I used to tell her that she was living proof that a good attitude didn't cure cancer. At the time she was having a respite, traveling with her daughter. She didn't stop long, because the road called.
   The road called again yesterday. I wish she could have stayed longer. Anna made everything fun—the world sparkled when she was around to shed the light. May she travel well.


another vote

You wanted beachy summery.  How about one of these snaps? Ok, I know the quality is not up to snuff, but does one of these have the spirit you all wanted? Vote now, vote often.
Me, I'll be sitting here all day watching your votes roll in and waiting for Verizon to not show up. Again.



If you were a summer guest receiving a holiday greeting from me, would you prefer this picture of the North Light?

 or this one of Claudia's Surf City?
Both by Christopher Garrison.
Vote below.
I thought so. . .


the temptress

These are porcelain versions of the Original Apple, the Kazakhstan Elite, which still grow wild in that country. They, however, like many other apple stocks, are endangered, mostly because people use them for firewood. The Plant Genetics Resource Unit, part of Cornell University, collects and nurtures such genetic treasures. An artist friend of mine from L.A., Jessica Rath, has received  a grant to photograph the trees. She is selling these limited edition apples (15 healthy pink and 15 endangered black—look at them on her website as this pic doesn't do them justice) for $100 each plus shipping to partially pay for the project. Just one little bite. . .


but not in me

Had my tooth pulled.
Got my drivers license.
Had the DSL "fixed"—except for when it goes out every couple hours.
On the bright side, went to a musical improv club (above) and saw Lisa Jolly, who was fab. Have had real warm weather and been able to wear shorts. To the gym. Have already made cranberry sauce. So soon it will be time to play Guess Who's Coming to Dinner!


the confectioner

the confectioner
Chocolate excites certain people. I recently read a study saying that it caused a greater release of endorphins than sex. Personally, I have not found that to be true, but then chocolate is not my drug of choice. Some people like it enough, however, that they are even willing to to take up the culinary arts to produce chocolate bars sweetened with stevia that fit into their low-carb diets.


back to the future

I am living in DSL hell. I have been very patient, but it has been over a week with no functioning Internet. I have been spending my life on the phone with India while piggybacking. The low-speed person carrying me is probably going to get sick of it. The phone went out this morning. Now I can't upload pictures. A tech has been here once, and another is supposed to come tomorrow. And to think, just a decade ago I could have cared less! Meanwhile, I also have to go to the DMV and have a tooth drawn. I'm not sure which is worse.


puzzle pieces

My mother has become a Poetess, as I may have men- tioned. She has now finished a Second Slim Volume and is awaiting news of its acceptance from her publisher. At 84, she doesn't like to wait. The name of the new book is Puzzle Pieces.
    All I can think of is the Rolling Stones song: "Me I'm lying here so patiently/ with my woman on the floor./ We're just trying to do this jigsaw puzzle/ before it rains any more." As a teenager, I attached a purient meaning to that. Still do.


don't go hungry

Big excitement on the Upper White Side! We can hardly contain ourselves since the opening of our very own Trader Joe's! The other ones in NYC are way down on Union Squaresville and out in Foodielyn. Now we can hoist our backpacks and push our doublewide strollers down to 72nd Street to buy our Organic Delights. I loaded up with pre-Thanksgiving supplies, wishing I'd eaten before I went down there. "I bet Fairway's running scared," I said to the cashier kid. "They're just a farmer's market," he said dismissively. "We're the rock star."


working mom

Yes, it's busy season at Wear Your Music, and the elves are jamming. Did you want a John Mayer guitar string bracelet? Keith Richards? Pete Townshend? Bonnie Raitt? Ani DeFranco? Widespread Panic? Order now, before the elf ranks are utterly slammed. With the ranks depleted and two newborns in the mix, the office is more like Wear Your Baby.


the money chair

I have spent a lot of time in chairs like this one, and indeed in this very chair, which has a view of birds and squirrels in the back yard as well as the TV. Which is usually off.
   I have spent a lot of time with dentists, too, and this one, Dr. Sam, is my favorite. After one creative crown, I  told him that it seemed like his job required as much craft as medicine. He said, "That's why I like my job so much!"
   I was floored. A dentist who loves his work?


kalling kafka

      I found a mysterious charge on my mortgage bill in the amount of $131.25. Yesterday, I learned the following from the mortgage company:
     At the end of March 2010,  FEMA declared Rhode Island a disaster area because of river flooding. FEMA sent someone out to Block Island to survey the damage. Since we have no rivers on Block Island this makes no sense to me, but whatever.
     While on Block Island, the FEMA inspector reported that one of my houses was vacant. (As it chances, I was on the mainland at the time—looking at the flooding!) Since my houses are summer rentals, it’s not really surprising that no one was there at that time of year. Probably three-quarters of the houses on the island were closed up.
     Somehow the FEMA report that my house was vacant got to the mortgage company.
     They hired an appraiser to investigate my house.
     The appraiser ascertained that the house was occupied and not, in fact, vacant.
     And then the mortgage company charged me $131.25 for the appraisal.
     Why? Don't  mortgage companies have enough public relations problems already?


land of opportunities

Have you got a dream and a little cash? Tired of working for the man? Thinking about a creative change of direction?
    You must be an American, whether legal or undocumented. The old white boys trying to stay in power are past it: Americans are strivers.
    There are opportunities everywhere to design yourself a new kind of life. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't—that's called risk. Right now, on opposite ends of the East Coast, are two possibilities, a tabula rasa in Rhode Island and a curated collection in Georgia.
 And if you think I'm talking bullshit, here is a bullshit detector website that you can run my words through.
Go ahead. Dream large.


have yourself a merry little baby

Just in case you or someone you love is in the market for a very special portrait. . .



One door closes, another opens.  One phone shut off, another turned on. Three houses closed, one opened up. Goodbye to Block Island, the traveling circus has returned to town.



Talented baby can now recognize her parents, squeak and gurgle, blow tiny bubbles and enjoy splashing at bathtime.


frost on the pumpkin

Time to leave the island. On the 12:30 boat, in fact.


far from the polls

. . .with a banjo on her knee.



A knife activity on Halloween. Then there was the powerwashing, trick or treating and some Milky Way gazing.