the pastoral life

Sometimes you just want to leave the big city for—Brooklyn. The people who live way the hell out there claim that quality of life is better than Manhattan. Note, however, that only the people priced out of Manhattan claim that.
   Still, Brooklyn has its charms. Less frequented (and less pricey) sidewalk cafes like Bar Tabac on Smith Street, for instance. As I took this picture, there were two guys doing some kind of deal just to the left of frame. I guess they thought I was taking their picture rather than that of a tree that grows in. . .  Anyway, by the time I put the camera down, they had both scarpered, and since one of them was in a wheelchair, that must have been some posthaste scarpering.
  So, yes. It was a lovely afternoon. And my lunch date has requested that I say "Yes, Ed, you were right. I am really looking forward to the gentle breezes, the vibrant street life, and the engaging social scene more regularly."
   I so am. Unfortunately, I will be out of town for the foreseeable future.


parking on 82nd

I have not been taking any pictures in NYC, which is my usual blog go-to when I don't feel like writing anything.
Let me just say that after spending from 9:15 this ayem until 12:30 parking the damn truck, including fights between drivers of other vehicles, a patronizing New Yorker who thought I didn't know the rules because I have an out-of-state plate and who managed to score my spot by talking loudly in a Long Island accent, a Craig's list person who wanted me to drive to furthest Brooklyn in the middle of the night to pick up a cabinet that she then gave to a neighbor, and a plethora of moving and mail trucks, I am basically done.
The truck is parked. I'm going to Brooklyn. On the subway. And then, soon,  I'm outta here.



At least for today, I'm gay.


split consciousness

I sit in New York, but I am working on Block Island: revising the rental site, rewriting copy, making lists of what's wrong, of turnover dates, emailing with tenants and cleaners and propane deliverers and fortunately not repairmen. Yet. Life on remote.
 It is weird to be in two places at once. Or three.


urban garden

Speaking of Van Gogh, I have not gotten a lot of culture since being back in the city, but I have seen many old friends. One of whom brought me this beautiful bouquet.


da bronx

Sat on the verahnda while the Yanquis game was going on nearby. I should check who won.


camping outfit

The Fairy Princess Ladybug roughs it.


second best shower in the world

Shower at Hannah's Hideaway
Though I don't know, the second best was looking its best when I left—with lilacs and iris, purple and yellow, in bloom. The whole thing is pretty great in this season. And thank goodness the walls are eight feet tall, now that we have a mansion hovering over us next door. . .



I, and the President of the Garden Club's peonies, were pretty much wilted by the time we arrived in NYC. The peonies have mostly recovered. Me, not so much.


and thems

Left the little family (soon to be bigger) to their own devices in Rhode Island and have now returned to the City So Nice They Named It Twice.
Many friends await me. And many bills. Anon.


goodbye to all thems

The push to get ready for season was over, and all that was left was the farewells. They got stuck with the howling winds last night but also with the green, the blue and the beauty.


the upside of rain

Don't remember ever seeing it so green. Can almost forget the ankle deep water around the house. . .


light at the end

So tomorrow I am out of here until—October? Doing touchup at Hannah's, with one more bed to make in the morning—mine. The iris bed never did get weeded and the driveway is one big puddle, but everything else is looking pretty spiff, thanks to all the help from my family. Now I leave it all up to my wonderful cleaners and hope for weather that will make everybody stay outside as much as possible! The sign in the sky last evening said all was well, and the deluge was over.

Check out the Wall Street Journal's  House of the Day, today featuring Hannah's grandparents' property.


family portrait

Chris Garrison took a great pic of his wife and child and my daughter and grand(s)!
Only four more beds to make. . .


deceptive calm

The placidity of this scene belies the chaos on the compound. Yesterday, the first day that has felt like summer, was particularly nuts, with me moving out of Claudia's to Hannah's, others moving out of Little Barn to Big Barn, various systems failures and a photo shoot for the Wall Street Journal that somehow required two dogs and a toddler and large dinners at restaurants, family-style. And when I say family-style, I mean the family that ate the world. Are we related to everyone on the island?


oh, deer

Yeah, I know, you can't see it. But I watched two gangly deer saunter up the driveway in broad but rainy daylight this morning, then fade over to the pond before leaping along the road to the neighbors' construction site. Alla you deer, get  outta my yard!


keep off the dunes!

Use pathways! Dunes are all that keep us from destruction. . .


design fail

This is the second complaint entry in a row. After this I'm done, I promise. Well, I may have a thing or two to say about mattress pads—being as how I'm now a vacation rental manager rather than an intellectual.
    But about French doors. I (or rather my brother) have now installed eight sets of French doors in two houses. The two first sets had to be switched out because they fell apart after a year.
    There are several problems with French doors in this location. a) they leak when rain and sand blow sideways leading to puddles on the floor that I find out about in the morning or in the spring, whichever comes sooner. b) No one knows how to use them and the way I designed them they have a wind tunnel effect. Slam. Bam. c) They have to be cleaned. d) They have to be painted (I'm doing that now which is why I'm complaining).
    Worst of all, I designed one room (above) that has nothing but French doors for ventilation. What was I thinking?


love those shades

When you have beach vacation and shades in the same sentence, you think of sunglasses. Unless you're a vacation homeowner, in which case you think of switching out moldy window blinds all with different hardware or untangling the damn strings that no one seems to know how to use.
    People, word: To halt a shade at a certain point, you typically jerk the strings left. To release, right. Also, with Venetian blinds, you twirl a little stick to make the slats horizontal before making the shades go up or down.
   How hard is this? Apparently it is beyond the grasp of most mortals. Hence the continual search for shades that are easier to use. (Curtains at the beach tend to get limp and yuk and pretty moldy after people leave the window open.)
   I have finally settled on vinyl blinds like these. You can wipe them with a sponge, you can switch them out quickly, the louvered light is beautiful—and they cost less than $4.
   Learn how to use them.


chin up

So the cousins from New Orleans (one of whom has a business card describing himself as a Soulless Automoton at TurboSquid (the employer of my dreams), headed out from Block Island towards more rels on the Great Northern College Tour. One more house to prep, and then I'm of here too.


the joneses

Can't keep up with these neighbors. In elevation they're a story taller than my houses. Full walk-out basement. The builders are moving right along, and hopefully by the time the high paying tenants show up it will be enclosed and roofed and the loudest of the outdoor work will be complete. Thank goodness I built the blind side of Hannah's towards it. And thank goodness I decided to use stockade fence for the outdoor shower Chris built. We're good.