stormy weather

Painting at Hannah's
Hannah's bedroom with Kate's hat.
It was a dark and stormy day, and Kate Knapp had been looking forward to painting the ocean. Outside. But with uncooperative weather, she was forced to condier alternatives, and came up with windows. First she hung her hat at Hannah's, prepped for the advent of Hannah herself  today, and painted through the French doors.
Then she went home for lunch.
When she got back she painted from my bedroom window at Claudia's. Hopefully, this afternoon when the rain stops she will have a greater choice of locations.
My bedroom with Kate


tub with a view 1

When the cold, nor'east wind blows, after a hard day of painting and washing and mopping and carrying and fixing and sawing and screwing and brewing, there's nothing like a soaking.


another flood zone

Things are opening for the season on Block Island, and Everybody was at the Oar last night. And what a show we got. An epic sunset, good food and a chance to table hop with Islanders who are just crawling out of their shells and cottagers just opening theirs.
  Sadly, somebody's beautiful 1780s house just exploded. Nobody was there. Gas leak. The house was down the road from Katie and Mike's (left). The house was not burned, just shattered into smithereens. Katie tried to rescue a painting from the shards of someone's summer dream.


goose, cooked

The former kitchen (above) and bathroom
 My neighbors salvaged what they could, and the Christian Aid Ministries, very charitably, took out ruined dry wall, power washed and sprayed fungicide all over the place. Alas, just as the Goose had reached operational perfection, it is a shell, embryonic even. 
  No windows, doors, electricity, appliances, plumbing. Don't know about the well, the well pump, the septic system. The foundations of the columns look a little shaky as well.
   And I bet there's some wildlife in there. 
  What I need is one of those TV home makeover shows to come in. I could certainly start over! Alas for my pink floor. . .
    Rebuilding makes the polyurethaning I'm doing here in Block Island look like a piece of cake.
So what should I do? I'm taking votes. The upstairs is fine. The building is 16 by 22 feet. But still, to reinstall all systems would take an army of tradesmen—if I could find any who were competent and would show up. The latter usually presents greater difficulty.
   And if I did rebuild, the next thousand-year flood could come along in a year or 20. When I toured flooded towns (Grand Rapids, ND, Mississippi River towns in Missouri with Tipper Gore, New Orleans) I was bemused that people could think it was a good idea to rebuild in a place that had already been washed away.
   But now I understand the impulse. I'm torn. I love the place, and I did a lot of writing there. I know the hummingbirds miss me, and I miss my friends. I hate to just walk away. But it would be cheaper to rent than rebuild. Rational v. Emotional
  I'll still have to pay that $48 property tax every year. And for mowing.
  Should I rebuild or cut my losses! Vote early! Vote often!

Upstairs untouched—unless the squirrels have moved in. Or skunks.



When I was young and vigorous, I felt like the neighbor's daughter who twirled around in joy when she arrived on the island. This past weekend, the first that cracked 70 degrees, there were birdwatchers and cyclists, even people in the water. And there were summer people, opening up their houses for Memorial Day.
    Block islanders and people who rent for the summer seem increasingly frantic. Deadlines approach. My high school friend Jamie flew in from a funeral. Her daughter's  boyfriend is shingling the roof, there's a washer/dryer problem and a leak and a cleaning crew. Plumbers are much in demand. Yesterday, with brilliant weather (top), summer felt like a real possibility. Today, in heavy rain, with the heat back on, it feels like a long slog.



Mother's Day morning. Photograph by Donna Ferrato

 As always, she brought her camera. And knew how to use it. But of course it ain't the camera, it's the eye. And she brought that to Mother's Day weekend also.
   The big mamas stayed at my house, while the little mamas—our daughters, their husbands and children—stayed at Hannah's. The weather was cold and rainy and howling, and it was cold. But we did a lot of cooking and eating and chatting. And, with four professional photographers  among us, taking pictures.


 Placidity is on the surface: Underneath it was a weekend of whirlwind love and togetherness. There were the knocked-out teeth, the dark and stormys—drinks and weather— the junkets, the bagels, the cooking, the stories, the new minivan and the disfunctional dishwasher. There was talk of aging, of Syria, of art, of eroticism, of learning and reading and, of course, photography.  And now, there is quiet and much polyurethaning.



A little nininap for mamadonna on the Pt. Judith boat. We got here, and at the moment all the plumbing seems to be working.


the goose, before and after the flood

 You may be wondering why it was called the Goose. This is why, though I did not name it nor did I paint the picture on it. In its time, the Goose had been a gas station, the post office, a cafe, a gift shop and a home.
 The Goose was at its finest last summer after I painted the floor pink.
In the middle of the night on Saturday April 29-30, a 7 plus foot wall of water swept through Thomasville, Mo. Fortunately I wasn’t there or I would have been one of the 70 people being rescued by boat. The state declared it a disaster area, but whether the feds do depends on Trump. A vacation home gets nothing from FEMA anyway. I have no insurance. Nor do most people there. My neighbors, who had lost their houses—and moreover homes—pitched in to help clear out. Pix from the West Plains Daily Quill, Frank's longtime newspaper, here. Neighbors very kindly gave me the number for Christian Aid Ministries, which is power washing out houses. The answering message says, "Thanks for calling, and may god bless you."
   I am waiting to see if anyone else in town is rebuilding, but I doubt I will, having lost kitchen, bathroom, living room, antiques, art, furnace, air conditioner, doors, windows, hot water heater, dishwasher, well, pump, septic system and entire town. And the old Marlboro signs Danny gave me.
 Once the bridge was open, Dianne and Frank Martin very kindly went over to Thomasville to take pictures of the damage for me.
 This (above) is the back door. Kinda jammed up.
 This is the cafe across the highway from my house last summer. The hummingbirds will be missing us.
 The cafe used to be called The River's Edge Cafe, which was certainly true, never more so than on the night of April 29. It's name was changed to the Eleven Point cafe, named for the river that did it in. But all the people who had been in town forever called it The Store. Back in Thomasville's heyday, it was a general store and the bank building.
And this picture from the Quill shows what happened.
 I think that's my friend Bill's shed.


the city so nice

I would not ordinarily be in Times Square of a Friday evening, but since LynnO was in from Santa Fe and had invited me to the delightful Present Laughter by Noel Coward, there we were in the middle of the crush. And my dear, it was a crush!


flood warnings

Now there are flood warnings in New York! I think I'll be safe on the 15th floor, however. Just cancelled my power and phone in Missouri. The Howell Electric woman said she was "sorry for your loss." The North Carolina Century Tel woman said there were  tornado warnings there.
Weather. It's something!


by dawn's early light

Headed to New York for a short visit by the  first boat.
Will post pix of the Goose when I can bear it.


the tub, part over

 It has been many long nights since I started worrying about this stupid tub. After recent events, I can't but wonder why I thought it was important. However, it was rolled up the stairs, installed, corrected for leaks, and I just had my first bath. Glory glory hallelujah! And this morning the shad popped. So beautiful. I drove around the island to see something that made my heart sing instead of sink.
   I talked with neighbors in Thomasville and got pix of the flood destruction. More abut that later. Meanwhile, enjoy the day.


Can you see the frieze of little grasses atop the rebuilt dunes that are all that is keeping the sea from swallowing us? With the inundation that has traveled here from the Midwest, the plants are getting plenty of watering. Maybe climate change won't take us down just yet. I salute the volunteers who devoted their days to planting this protective barrier. 
   In big news on Block Island, yesterday, at 5:30 in the morning, we began getting our power from the windmills offshore. It is very tranquil without the noise of the generators.
   In other BI news, Daniel Berrigan, the peacenik priest who was captured on the island while on the run from the law, has died at 94. His obit in the Providence Journal.
   As to personal matters, Hannah, Isaac and Chris are in physical (and emotional) therapy after the car crash, and all of us are in grateful mode.


we're all alive

Hannah and Chris's Toyota Highlander
So this happened on Friday. That's Hannah and Chris's car. Today at preschool Isaac said, "Did you know bats sleep upside down? I was upside down!" He was hanging from the ceiling in his very excellent car seat as Chris cut himself and Hannah out of airbags. Yeah airbags. Yeah seat belts. Yeah car seats.
And then on Saturday this happened. My neighbor across the street in the Ozarks was asleep when the river swept through his house. "It was seven feet deep in my house, over my head." He went back the next day to fetch some filthy clothing and found my number and called me. My house, like Hannah's car, and Bear's house, and Bill's house and Thomasville, Mo., is totaled.
But, hey, we're all alive.
And I still have other waterfront property, and Hannah still has one car.
My across the street neighbor's house in the former Thomasville, Mo.