by any name

Bear calls them bluebells; I call them grape hyacinths. Whatever, they're practically the only game in town this Easter.


nextdoor neighbors

You've met Bear. Now meet Trevor and Treyton, kind of the other end of the spectrum, who have lived in the rent house next door since, Treyton informs me, he was in third grade (he's in sixth now). Oh, and these are the New nextdoor neighbors, poms Dancer and Blitzen and—Poof. Or is it Poof and Dancer and Blitzen? Well, I'm pretty sure about Dancer anyway.


bear's yard

The car on the left is Bear's latest ride, and the one he uses. He bought the two-tone Chevy for the  body but seems unsure of the engine. He has hit three deer in the red pickup, and it's pretty much done for. See comedian Jeff Foxworthy's point #4 below. The Nissan I drove out here has been dubbed a deathtrap if it hits a deer and also the battery is dead (see #9 below and note that I just had to jump my truck after leaving the headlights on).

1 If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't even work there, you may live in Missouri.
2 If you've worn shorts and a jacket at the same time, you may live in Missouri.
3 If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Missouri.
4 If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Missouri.5 If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' and back again in the same day, you may live in Missouri.
6 If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Missouri.
7 If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Missouri.
8 If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you may live in Missouri.
9 If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Missouri.
10 If everyone in your family has been on a "float trip." you may live in Missouri.
11 If the phrase “I’m going to the Lake this weekend” has only one meaning, and everyone knows what you're talking about, you may live in Missouri.
12 If "Down South" means Arkansas and you know where Idiots Out Wandering Around are located, you might be from Missouri.
13 If "Vacation" means driving to Silver Dollar City, Worlds of Fun or Six Flags, you might be from Missouri.
14 If you ever rode a school bus over an hour each way, you might be from Missouri.
15 If you failed World Geography in school because you thought Cuba, Versailles, California, Nevada, Houston, Cabool, Louisiana, Springfield, and Mexico were cities in Missouri (And they are mind you!), you might be from Missouri.


on reading biographies

So do biographies by definition have depressing endings?
How about autobiographies?
I only wonder on account of dreading the last chapters of Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher.


and the winners

Who knew there was such an item?

The first round of this year's What's in the Truck? contest has been decided. Was there ever any doubt? Dada wins. Though he did mess up on the bananas. His prize: leather scraps to wrap his knife collection and a gluten-free catfish dinner at the River's Edge cafe.
Last year's winner, Bo, is this year's runner up. He never got his prize from last year (was it the Chicago Manual of Style? I forget.). This year he wins a railroad spike that hitchhiked all around this great land of ours in the years 1968-1973.
For D.R. : Three hand-selected Block Island stones and camo pj's
Dianne has already received her prize: The charming item above that mounts on your favorite tree to give it more personality, regifted from the Biologist.
Like any of us need any more shit to haul around!
Thanks for playing!


WITT : the competitors

Note: A pair of ratty hot pads, one water pik broken in transit, a toilet paper holder destined for the trash, an end of an artisenal (sp?) salami brought to NYC from Marin County, and Smoking Baby!
Zebra-coverted I ching found on the side of the road. Actually, the tapa-cloth covered one I found in Hawaii is in NYC. I have two other copies here.
A Mason-Pearson boar bristle brush, large size. Check. Two—one large, one small
Pumice stone. Already here.
Faded flip-flops. Yes. In camo.
Floral Hawaiian shirt in mauve with coconut buttons. Similar.
Wooden chop sticks from Ho Wan on Pell Street, NYC. I wish.
A brown Filson leather back-pocket wallet with curled edges. Well, you know I do, having given it to me!
One spare earring with a missing back. Not. But there is a single cut glass earring I found in the yard here.
A Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch that doesn't keep the right time. You gave me that too.

One sad banana, unpeeled. NO! For the first time in living memory I traveled without a single banana! (Which reminds me to put bananas on the Walmart list.) Also not in the truck: brakes, snow.
Four bags Zabar's dark roast coffee, whole bean. True, though two pounds are ground.
Red polish for toenails. No. Had a manicure in Alabama.
Two worn strips of fabric masquerading as a bathing suit. Won’t be needing those.

Brought seltzer maker from NYC to switch out with one here.

 I'd venture to guess DaDa has packed for you before! Sounds right on except he forgot the Zabar's Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Perfectly true. One for me and one for you.
Camo pants, camo shirts, camo gloves, camo hats, camo scarves, camo socks. Thanks to you! Plus camo flipflops. A Texas longhorn cookie cutter (in orange)?  In RI.

That's a fine looking piece of fabric...where is it going? Is it a chair??? I am jealous. That’s no piece of fabric! That’s the loveseat from my kitchen, being transported to an upholsterer in Missouri, along with three and a half brahma bull hides I bought in Alabama to cover it with. The fabric shredded. Sigh.

Hell’s Angel’s vest from East 3rd St. garage sale (winged logo removed). Carhartt sweatshirt.
Torn, creased map (paper) from Texaco Station on 10th Avenue: Route 66 marked in tangerine lipstick. Well, a worn paper road atlas  and Siri. My treasured Esso state maps are safe in NYC.
Corned beef cleaver with shamrock inlay. Alas, just the corned beef! Cooked yesterday. Must buy cabbage at Walmart’s
One (1) dented jerry can. Plenty of dented items all right!
Glitter. No but two gilded lamps made in occupied Japan.
Marvel Mystery Oil-stained repair manual for F-150 from last millennium. Spare engine.  I wish.
Richard Hell’s “I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp” Bob Dylan’s “The Girl From the Red River Shore.”
Thumbed over, pen-entry, Book of Names and Addresses. Check
Plenty of change for pay phone. In the cupholder.
Ratchet, sockets (SAE), extra spark plugs. No spark plugs. Extra oil on account of you can guess.
S&W Snubby .38 Detective Special. 
Explorer’s Club Swiss Army Pocket knife, emblem worn off.
Ankle holster with silver and turquoise peace symbol. Hammerhead black leather computer case.
Sweet Hitchhiker. Did not see a single hitchhiker the whole way.
Limbo stick and stand. !!!
Crow’s-nest build kit with #6 straw threader. Don’t know what this is but it sounds like it goes up in the air and I would be afraid of it.
Overhead boots with hooks. Ditto.
L.L. Bean stonewashed jeans w/nor’easter cotton. Levis with torn belt loops.
Grit. I hope.
Luck. Definitely! I made it!

Gift from someone's birth mother regifted to me for mysterious reasons.

Apparently I threw many things that should have been thown away into a bag  marked Missouri. Also brought here at great gas expense: 1940s lawn chair, a birthday gift; six billed caps for Bear, one with LIFE logo, one from the 1995 London-Mexico rally; Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan and an assignment to write about Edward Curtis this week; red duct tape and 25 yards plastic sheeting, now flying around the yard in the flurries; a rusty tea cart that probably should have been left on the street. So now I can throw all this useless shit out here, which means the dumpster in the Walmart parking lot in the dead of night.  And I don’t drive after five. There’s always the bushes. Or Dianne’s trash can.

Who will win?
 Faithful readers, thanks for your contributions. As you can see, Dada has the home team advantage. He knows the reality: I'm not as wild as I want to be. Bo portrays the fantasy Road Warrior. Who will win? And what will they win? Please vote and make suggestions for prizes. Tomorrow, winners will be announced.


note to competitors

This extremely close first round of What's in the Truck! will not be adjudicated until I actually manage to offload everything—tomorrow or the next day. It is sleeting changing to snow today. Yes, in the Ozarks, so I think I'll put me on some hair curlers and flannel and go back to bed for a couple days. And a foine spring to you too!


what's in the truck 2

I'll give you a hint: One of my neighbors gave me a going away present of a hunk of uncooked corn beef.
I kind of disagree with the notion of my being a packrat. More like a crow who flies around stashing sparkly things here and there.
Trying to make up my mind if the window before the spring storm of the century hits the midwest is long enough for me to make it to Mo today.
Looking at the weather report again.


what's in the truck?

Let the games begin! This spring, we will have three exciting rounds of "What's In the Truck!" The first commences in about an hour. There is one item that no one will guess. Well, possibly the Biologist, as she re-gifted it to me. But, like, it's an item that I didn't even know was an item until I incredulously saw it with my very own (not anyone else's) eyes. And it proves what a great country America is, that it could have such items in it. I think. I know you will be excited to see it when I announce the first round winners.


Not on the road

Here are some people from the early days of People. The guy who promoted me, the guy who succeeded me, the guy who amused me, the woman who intrigued me and the guy I brought on board--who is the only one left standing at this point. Viva Time Inc, home of smart people until Warner took it over! The smart people are still out there in the world. Just retired.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


when will what's in the truck begin?

Uh Oh. The stuff that's meant to be in the truck is all over the hall and living room, the truck is conveniently parked near the front door, the handyman is teed up to help load tomorrow ayem—and now what?
Now snow. Here, tonight. En route tomorrow. In Missouri for days. What sort of spring break is this?


Done deal

Yes, after a number of years I have finally succeeded in getting a re-fi! Which sounds better: 6.6 or 3.8? Bill came to the house to close. He looked at this picture and said, "Yep, that's me all right."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


happy half birthday

Milla got a half birthday cake for her two-and-a-half-year-old birthday. There was talk that she might not be able to celebrate her third properly, because she might be getting a baby brother or sister for that birthday. She ate the icing off two and a half cupcakes. It was butter cream frosting (with berries) and well worth eating.



Welcome to Woonsocket, home of many animals and toys. More on this auspicious occasion later.


pigeon carrier

The Port Authority bird waited at Gate 17, as I too waited at Gate 17 for the bus from Providence with the Mouse Child, my nice niece, who visited for less than 24 hours. The French Connection.  (Maybe I should call her l'enfant souris? Mon francais not too good.) Now today I follow the bird and mouse on their northward journey, arriving just in time for Someone's two-and-a-half birthday tomorrow.


in like a lion

Block Island today (John Gasner, photo)

Friday in New York City

And a paen to Block Island in April


live from paris

in Chinatown
On the Upper White Side
I met Michele over lunch with Elaine and Ed (of course). She was on an exchange program from Le Monde to Time magazine, back when that meant something. She was homesick for zee keedz, who were then quite small, and she told an amusing story about her sublet in Harlem, back when that meant something. She had ordered sushi and a crack delivery arrived at the door instead. She was making light of it, but I was alarmed for her—and the kids. "You better come live with me," I said. She moved in the next day, and we have been friends ever since.
     So great to see everybody again—zee keedz all grown up and zee parents 'appy to be spending time with their college boy down from Montreal.



My sister dressed Father up as king and took this picture.


now it can be told

photograph by Donna Ferrato
When this picture was made on January 1, both of these women were pregnant, though only one of them knew it. Fanny Ferrato (left) will give birth soon in Beirut, where she and her husband have lived since Damascus got too hot. Hannah Garrison will produce me a second grandchild due, appropriately enough, on Labor Day.


soup nazi

Before cheffing

After cheffing
There is nothing like a man with a knife. In honor of visiting Parisians, Ed prepared his famous bouillabaisse, made with tilapia, bay scallops and shrimp (and laced with Pernod). I was sous chef and made my famous roast chicken, my usual marginal salad, asperge and etc. Forgot to serve the beans. Probably ok, because no one but me seems to like beans. Do you like beans?


who will fix this?

Not looking too good, the cornice and the fascia board on Claudia's Surf City, as Dada points out. It was a smaller hole last year, but then the rain drove in and the sun shone —climate got it, if not climate change.
It's a tricky bunch of angles. I have all the requisite molding stocks, mouldering and primed under the house. I might even try it myself. Except for being afraid of heights.
Trying to find a carpenter willing to do this small and finicky a job on an island of carpenters getting ready for season will be a job in itself. Maybe duct tape.
Fortunately we have no squirrels on Block Island.


what's on the plane

Well, sorry about the lameness of posts, but without my computer it's tough. However, I am now back from a junket to Alabama. And on the plane was something I am going to put in the truck once I pick it up in RI. For those of you curious about my movements (or maybe the truck's), I am going to RI in a week, will then be there for a week, driving the empty truck to NY, loading up the first load—going to Missouri. The stupidest thing I have in the truck at that point I leave to your fertile imaginations. But let me just say that it's something I have to then bring back to NY, Truck willing.
And speaking of stupid, I will add the explanation of what that bird is doing (see previous post).