by the sea

The waves are rolling in and so is the weather. It's starting to rain, the wind is gusting to 30 and the guys are trying to button up the roof. Hopefully no one will blow off or I really will need the services of Nose Bite Kittie Esq. But John assures me that he has enough pounds of nails in his tool belt to anchor him. The guy's a hero.


ugliest house on block Island

The Ugliest House on Block Island
Location, location, location. This spread might be ok in certain subdivisions in Colt's Neck, N.J., but on this eyelant it's an eyesore. A pavillion? They obviously haven't got a whiff of the dump down the road midsummer. Or the howling winds at other times of year. The trucks going to and from the dump (transfer station) clank from 7:30 am on as they bump along the road. The 12-foot cypress insta-hedge ain't gonna cut it.
   Yes, there are other ugly houses on the island—the flying saucer comes to mind—but over time we've grown accustomed to their place. We may grow accustomed to this one as well.
   But not the driveway. If you want a driveway like this, don't build on an island of dirt roads.
    The owner is said to be the owner of a limousine company (!) with houses all over the world. He  makes my industrialist neighbor—who used a local architect, local construction company and local vernacular (and who so far has a dirt driveway)—seem the prince of taste.


up on the roof

Goodbye wood shingles

Hello man-made materials
When I could see daylight over my bed last spring, I knew I had a problem. But spring is a bad time to get a carpenter on Block Island: Everybody is jamming to get ready for season. So I planned for fall. Didn't happen. But yesterday the crew showed up to rip off the second half of the roof at Claudia's Surf City. They toiled through several showers—not what you really want with no roof on—and almost finished stripping it. I hear hammering right now as the rest is removed. If the weather is kind, we may be done by the end of the week


the joneses (not keeping up)

They have sod; I have the invasive weeds (phragmites).
The neighbors have unrolled their lawn. Yes, the junky side with the weeds is mine. Instead of a welcome wagon, they got a dead deer near their border—now gone, thanks to the manager of the transfer station. It has been a long haul for them: destruction of the old house, construction of the new, and easily half a million bucks of yard work. Looks nice, though, no? Bet they're wishing they picked a better neighborhood. Except that there is no better neighborhood—but for those damn nextdoor neighbors with the truck.


almost famous

Yes, we are featured in the current House and Garden issue of the Block Island Times. Quite a nice (and long!) story by Judy Tierney, which you can read on page 27 of this PDF of the newspaper. And now I'll go back to making my place full of life and light. And deviled eggs.


sea level and high altitude news

And at high altitude, high drama. Doubtless you have been following the tragedy on Everest, when the deaths of 16 Sherpas in an avalanche terrified the mountaineering community. I have just been trying to figure out if any of the Sherpas were on the Himalayan Experience team led by my friend Russell Brice who runs the biggest commercial operation in the place. See Jon Krakauer's piece for The New Yorker. Nonetheless, I'm sure Russell is involved, with four teams in the Himalayas right now and a close, 40-year relationship with the Sherpas in the Khumbu.
  In other news, Hannah will be hosting a retreat for small business owners in a familiar location this Columbus Day.
  Also at sea level, the Block Island house of a former Time Inc-er in on sale with seven acres for $10 million. And in Thomasville, Mo., a rock house and barn and 30 acres on the river are for sale for $225,000. One hopes it's a lot safer than West Plains!
  You can now read (some of) the West Plains Daily Quill on your phone.
  And speaking of Missouri, here are some companies that you should support if you're a good Christian (Loew's) and shun if you're on the devil's side (Apple).
  Our own Madison is hailed as a champion in riflery!
  Our own Milena Pastreich had feature film Below Dreams, for which she was director of Photography, screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. 
   An old friend of Elaine's from WBAI just died. Not mentioned in the obit was  the longstanding rumor that he was the son of Malcom X.
  Oh, and the guy who runs the dump came and got the dead deer  for $35. Bargain. 


happy earth day!

My greetings are a trifle late, due to the iffy nature of the Internet on Block Island and at my house in particular. I am sorry to say I have not spent a great deal of time admiring nature today. The odor of deer carcass that pervades my immediate neighborhood precludes outdoor activities in my own environment. Iffy Internet; whiffy Nature.
   But we had some nature-lovin' a few days ago with the fam, on an expedition to view the hosts (no shit) of golden daffodils at the Maze on Block Island. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for off-Islanders and a once-a-year experience for kama'ainas ("child of the island" in Hawaiian). Feel the aloha, with the halfs, exes, granddog and etc. We are family!


I had an absolute fit last year when the Block Island Easter Bunny did not deliver. For the history of this longstanding tradition  (certainly since I first moved here in 1980), check out my blog There Really is an Easter Bunny  and  On the Bunny Trail.  I have never known who is doing it, and presumably the guard has changed over the years, but on this Easter morning there was an Easter surprise on our door knob (left).  And for Camilla and Isaac, many more baskets and surprises too. It was almost as big as Christmas. SHOUT OUT TO THE BLOCK ISLAND EASTER BUNNY!
    And here is the article dispelling some of the mystery in the Providence Journal.


loading the boat

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This ayem. An this was BEFORE the Ikea stop. . .


casting nasturtiums

So what do you think? Living color? Or black and white? Frankly, Kate Knapp's painting looks good both ways, though her genius for color is one of the things that keeps us coming back for more. Check out her blog for recent work from Sicily, St. Croix and, of course, the Berkshires, and her website for more. The colors are especially nice in this interminable whiplash gray weather.
  And speaking of art, my brother-in-law sent me a link to this painting, an homage to his house next door to me in the Block Island compound. We're all trying to monetize our art, and—damn—it ain't easy.


spring forward

Spring cleaning turned up a prized edition of the "House of Mystery," with a villain called Douglas Dowling, a name that also appears in assorted novels—yes, we know the authors.
Roundup city:
Spring is here and Rhode Island is locavore central!
Get your two minute spring cleaning of the mind!
Get ready for spring's outdoor topless pulp fiction read-ins!
And don't forget this spring's two eclipses, the first lunar eclipse tomorrow!


for the record

Certain people claim that I don't visit the outer boroughs, specifically Brooklyn. And the Bronx. And Queens. I'm sorry, people, but I am Manhattan-centric and can't help thinking of them as "outer" and of a trip there as being as far away as one to Sheboygan, Michigan. But in order to keep people quiet, I do pay the occasional visit. And it is exotic. For instance in Brooklyn we went from croque monsieurs at a French sidewalk cafe to mojitos at a Cuban place (above) to oysters and fancy brews at a hipster place to guacamole and margueritas at a Tex-Mex place. Traveling widely without leaving a small area on and around Smith Street.
   So now perhaps certain people won't bug me about it for another six months or so.



We used to go across the street to the muffin store in Woonsocket—practically the only viable emporium in that blighted town. But the muffin store closed, and our family moved to the higher end East end of Providence, and we had to find a new venue within walking distance. We decided on the Duck and Bunny, a Snuggery. This is a seriously high end cupcake shop with sea salt caramel frostings and actress Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) sipping the occasional cuppa. (Well, "snuggery" says it all, really. Probably should be "sugary.") Sadly, Miss Cupcake, overwhelmed by the choices patiently explained by the dude with tatoos, refused to speak or discuss which cupcake she wanted. So we took half a dozen assorted. Fortunately the playground was en route home.


tis the season. . .

. . .to be moving. I don't acquire that much new furniture. I just stir it all around. The love seat came from Hannah's to New York. Now I have to make room for it by moving a bunch of stuff from New York to Block Island and Missouri. . .
    And around and around we go.


up on the roof

Oh, yeah. That's what I'm talking about!


nice nieces

I decided not to post up the pix of the basement after the party (which I did not attend, hiding out on the main floor to party with a book). Only two ex-boyfriends were in attendance, but the male-female ratio was still highly favorable to the females. Air hockey and silly-string fights were the entertainment. Madison gave it a 9. The upstairs party for the younger set featured horror movies. All three floors featured junk food. And tomorrow the party is over. The cats come home, and the bad auntie heads back to New York.


all-american style

Take that, Mark Bittman! Eva and I went shopping for junk food for Madison's party. And we got two cartloads! Potato chips! Prepared salsa! Sugar cereal! Hershey's kisses! Reese's peanut butter cups! More chips! Cookies! Donuts! Ice cream sandwiches! Soda pop in half gallon jugs! And tonight—it's party time! So chow down, chow hounds, you spring cleansers and Tuesday fasters, on your tofu fingers and spelt.  This weekend we're all having a good time, junkfood style!


loco parentis

The thing is, as an auntie, you don't have to steer them on the straight and narrow. Indulgence is not only tolerated but encouraged—for a long weekend anyway. And this afternoon, we shop. Before karate. And after tennis.


in loco parentis

Well, the President of the Garden Club is leaving me in charge of her teenagers. It's been a while. Do you suppose they will take advantage? I have been given the rules and regs (no smoking, no drinking). Others are not sanguine that I will be able to adequately control the grounds. I'm better with teenagers than gardens, though.


apartment, hmph!

This is a screenshot of the Craig's List ad. I should have saved it before flagging it, as it came down practically as I watched. There are a few other ads for Block Island rentals still up that I suspect also were not placed there by their owners. If you answer any of them, I suggest you speak with the "landlord" and ask plenty of questions about the island and anything else you can think of before paying out any cash money.