little world

Coming in for a landing at Queretero
He was on his way to Honolulu, I was on my way to Queretero. We met in Dallas, and TGIFriday, at got to chatting. Hawaii was on his bucket list, he said, because he had stage 4 prostate cancer and was going to do everything he wanted to. Ireland was next. He told me he lived in South Carolina but was originally from a town in Rhode Island he doubted I'd heard of.
   "Oh yeah?" I said. "I have a place on Block Island and my daughter lives in Providence."
    He laughed: "I'm a captain on the high speed ferry."
   "From Point Judith?"
   "Yep. I'll see you on the boat if I work again this season."



In the Jardin
In San Miguel de Allende, Candeleria, or Candlemas, is more of a pagan spring festival than a religious one (though it is that too). Maidens throng the streets in bright colors with garlands on their heads while the older folk buy flowers to plant in their gardens.
   I think I'll be ranked with the gardeners this year.


Up up and away

Taking off into the dawn. Landing in Dallas. Next: Mexico.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


news from all over

And I mean all over.
    Photog Keri Pickett has made something of a specialty of forbidden lands lately, with her umpteenth trip to Burma (she is interviewed on Burmese TV above) and then a trip to Cuba the first day it was allowed. Here's an article in the NYT that makes you want to go to Burma even more.
   Moviemaker Wesley Strick (old boyfriend) has been busy, doing a story about his ubertalented stepfather's burlesque popup book (best use of GIFs I've seen) and scripting a thriller opening this week, The Loft, first motionposter I've seen.
   Artist Jessica Rath opens her showA Better Nectar in LA this week, with human-sized honeycombs wired for sound. In other Ozark news, here are some great old photographs from Arkansas by Mike Disfarmer. Also, incredibly, there is a movement afoot to ban spanking in Missouri schools.
   In family news, Harry Kane made an outrageous documentary about his grandfather Walter's 100th birthday party. When I saw that I was limping around that badly two years ago, I instantly set about the process of a knee repair.
  And Hannah has debuted  another Calm-a-Mama product called Cheer, for the winter blues. That's it for now!



The view from here

John sends in a postcard from Block Island.

Yes, it did snow. A good ten inches, as a man would say—i.e. around five. Very disappointing. Subways have started running again, the roads are reopened. However, it's still howling in Block Island, and the power is out. And when last seen, my brother-in-law in Massachusetts was hunting for his driveway.



Bobby Alpert /Photo by Douglas Gasner
Love this picture of Bobby, drink (probably gin) in his hand, the good times boy.
   Love Bobby.
   He died of lung cancer this weekend.
   He tried to keep people away. "I am on my deathbed!" he protested.
   He wanted to be alone at the end as he mostly was in life.
   Douglas insisted on coming down to say goodbye. He saw him on Friday and said that Bobby kept closing his eyes and then opening them up to take a peek. "It was like he was hoping I would be gone when he he opened his eyes," said Douglas.
   As Douglas left the room, he said goodbye.
   "I'll see you," said Bobby. "I just don't know where."


i can't even

OK, I have so many things for my upcoming roundup that I don't have time to put them up before the dentist and renting the truck and moving the couch and having a dinner party. Monday, cats and kittens!
And done—at least til it goes to Block Island. Tnx, Pink!


like a charm

When reason fails, there's faith, and when medicine fails, there's miracle. Over the years people have prayed for my lungs, breasts, ears and now I've gotten a milagro for my knee. It feels better already! According to my doctor, I'm in good health, aside from needing to drop quite a bit of weight.
   Now, could somebody spring for some more body parts—say liver, kidneys and heart? Pretty please?


shall we blog?

Many people believe pictures of their kids shouldn't be on the Internet.
Well, here is the latest on the family front. Hannah's featured on this blog "I love what I do." There's a whole story on one of the New York Times blogs about how writing can be good for your health. But does that go for sharing on the interweb?
   I started this blog ten years ago, when I didn't really know what a blog was. So I made it up. At first I wrote mainly about my family and friends, using pseudonyms. I thought of it as a kind of soap opera serial. But then I got in trouble for that and started distancing myself. I decided to make the blog self promotion, about building and then renting houses on Block Island (this is the current wave in blogdom). Now it's kind of back to being what me and my friends are up too. Only with Facebook and the web and everyone blogging it is all public now, so I'm not really delivering any news. And of course I started several other blogs too, like The President of the Garden Club and Why  I Can't Stop Smoking. But nothing really ever took off.
  Now this blog has descended into a kind of record of where I was when, which is of little interest to anyone but me (although that has its value given my confounded memory!).
  So I don't know what to do. A decade is a long time.


out of hiding

Pretty hard to hide with a huge picture you took of your parents behind you on the stage at National Geographic with every photographer you've ever heard of in the audience. Oh, and a cover story on blast force.


in the news. sorta

This week's issue, courtesy of Johnny. Yes, that's Claudia's Surf City on the left. And for those who care, Claudia's  is booked out for the summer, except for August 28- September 4. Hannah's is totally booked. People like the higher price. And maybe the newer decor.


vassar girls abroad

Claudia and Danielle. Taipei, 1971
Learning another language and going to another country—the more exotic the better—can transform you. You probably have to be at an impressionable age, say between 18 and 25, when you don't  know exactly who you are yet as distinct from your family and culture. (There is a very funny article in the Onion about this called Search For Self Called Off After 38 Years.)
    You could be in the military or doing the Grand Tour or maybe just studying during a junior year abroad. I have friends whose lives were utterly changed—the woman who became a Tibetan Buddhist in Nepal and later adopted two Tibetan kids, the medic who served in the Vietnam war and made death into an art form, the kid who went to Africa and came back an adrenaline-junkie journalist for whom the smell of shit, petrol fumes and cooksmoke would always be perfume.
   I was studying Chinese in Taiwan, and my Vassar friend Danielle was visiting her parents, who were stationed there in the U.S. Foreign Service. I am not sure what effect it has to actually grow up trotting all around the globe as Danielle did—you'd have to ask her—but for me that six months abroad changed my brain. Along with taking acid and having a child, living in another language made me a different person. (No, I still haven't found myself either. Let me know if you run across me someplace.) It also gave me a serious case of wanderlust and a lifelong friend, Ping, who was a girl of my age in the family I stayed with in Taipei.
    Full circle, Danielle's daughter who is learning Chinese and working in Beijing is visiting Taipei. She will be staying in Ping's apartment. The apartment, like Taipei itself, has been transformed in the four decades since Ping, Danielle and I connected there—and so have we—but the process continues.



old tech, new tech

The scene

Inset of new additions
And also kind of medium tech, tech redux, low tech, outdated tech & etc. And by the by—Bill?—I could use a functional typewriter ribbon or two. . .
That refrigerator in the living room (often called "the beer refrigerator") (my nod to solidarity with my brothers and sisters in the developing world) is not self-defrosting, by the way. Defrosting a refrigerator is a skill that is being lost along with outmoded technology. For instructions, see previous post about my even older (and colder) refrigerator.


a fine time

View of the Compound (Johnny's barn) from Corn Neck Road. (BI Times)

Building of the fire. Bruegel eat your heart out.
 Ah. Ice skating on the property—could anything be  better? A great day on Block Island. A photo in the local paper created much excitement (and a few mis- identifications) on the Book, but here's the inside scoop from my brother-in-law.
View of the dunes from the Compound.


creatures of the imagination

Milla likes animals made out of vegetables and fruits, so we made some when she was here.
Here is a guy who makes beautiful work out of paper he finds on the  street.
Gil just got back from Cape Town and Zimbabwe. You can listen to his Cape Town Cutz here.
Here are a few thoughts from Mark Twain.
  The disconnect between what people are doing and thinking and posting on Facebook here and what is going on in Paris is giving me whiplash. Michele weighs in on the way creative people in France are feeling. As a former journalist and now teacher in a mixed high school, she observes societal tensions firsthand:
   "I have worked with 2 of the cartoonists that were shot, and with one journalist who is injured but alive. He can't talk (bullet in the mouth), but he can write.
It has been a couple of horrible days here. But today's demonstration was so big, so huge, so powerful that people (and me) feel better. Let's see what the next days will be... But it is very tense.
Destiny makes me a witness of all this in a very bad high school where students were unable to observe one minute of silence for the dead. We even heard some Allah Akbar during the ceremony, which was a real shock. It seems like the administration is so afraid that they don't' dare to do anything.
Envoyé de mon iPhone"


postpostpartum roundup

I know, the Last Birthday Party was already 8 days ago, but the visual tributes are still pouring in. And so I am getting around to a reprise of the event. (Who wants to go outside today anyway?)
  And speaking of 98 Riverside, here is the obit of our famous literary forger in the Times.
  Today, Little Amy Silva, our own Fall Rivers, Ma., funeral director is having her first call-in show "The Silva Lining" on the end of life. You can call her TODAY between 2 and 3:00 pm at  (508) 673-1480 or listen to her streaming live on WSAR. Donna Ferrato and I, famously, did documentary "Five Feet Over" for Oxygen about Amy's decision to follow in her forebears' footsteps to become a funeral director rather than pursuing a career as a comic actress.
  Photographer Lynn Johnson's website (with a writing assist from you know who) goes live today just in time for several weeks of honors and speechifying at National Geographic in DC and FotoFusion in Palm Beach.
  This horrifying story in the West Plains Daily Quill about a pseudo terrorist attack in the town of Dora, Mo., population approximately 3.  Just shoot me. No! I don't mean it! Jeez, doesn't anyone have any sense of humor any more???
  And #jesuischarlie  (which we all absolutely are), got the following message from a friend in Brazil: "Today so set about shouting at Paris .i m whact TV and cry .so bad .all smart guy." Yes. So sad.
The Younger Set celebrates Hannah's Birthday



Changping and I try to commemorate our ladies' lunch.
It's tough posing and pointing and shooting at the same time. Just ask Grandma.



Not to be a bummer or anything, but it is that time of year again. For everybody. I just follow the  trends. My plan last year was to become more healthy and less bossy, and I went to the doctor today to see if I'm any better about the first thing. I already know I'm not much improved on the latter.
   OK, I vow to be a better listener this year as well.
   So let me hear you. What do you plan?


piece of cake?

And so, once again, the birthday girl reclined on the laps of her friends and mate, attended by her faithful hound, and ushered in a new year for herself and the rest of us.
To the fans: Sorry for not blogging for so long. Multitasking is harder for me than the birthday girl, apparently.