Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh Dear.

Two days ago, I didn't have to wait in line for my coffee at Espresso Love.

This morning, I was 15th in line for the morning joe.
Not only that, but my cup was 10th in line for the espresso machine.

Memorial Weekend on the island.
Gotta have my Espresso Love liquid gold.
That'll learn me lol.

Have a safe one. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

March to the Sea

I've never seen anything quite like it really.
Today, in the island towns of Edgartown and Tisbury, children leave their classrooms.
They gather flowers from neighbors' gardens and their own, gather them in their arms.
And they march.
March to the Sea.
To remember.
Loved ones, neighbors, friends.
People they don't know.
Remember courage, tenacity, service, sacrifice.
Their love, affection and longing.
Heartbreak and sorrow.
A tradition since the 1880s.
They march to the sea and cast freshly picked clusters and petals, lilacs and roses.
Into the sea.
A sea of soft blues and deep reds. Lush violets and vibrant oranges. Riotous pinks and yellows.
And for just a moment, they will dwell.
On a circle.
Life and death and rebirth.
From sorrow to a fresh new bud.
One fresh flower.
Of hope and renewal.

Remembering my dad, my uncle and my brother.

Have a safe one. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Escape from Alcatraz: The 3 Rules

Calgon, take me away!
Island Home

Yes, even paradise has its Issues.
I'm not going to bore you with the details.
But you know what I'm talking about.
Daily pressures, even on an island, can really get you down, you know?

Don't get me wrong.
I like the disconnect from Mainland Life.
Reason I moved here, really.
Most times.
But sometimes you just gotta get away.

When I lived on the mainland - easy peasy - just make the "rounds".  Coffee spot, bookstore, craft center, yarn shop, mall. An hour or three later, I'm refreshed, ready to face the world again.
Good. To. Go.

Not so on the Vineyard.
The ability to "escape" even if for a bit, is a trifle harder when you live on an isolated island.
No down to the mall and back.

And the Establishment, as it were here, doesn't make it exactly easy, either.
Take for instance, the Steamship Authority.
The only way off-island with a car.
First, they raise rates seasonally.
But second, they offer Preferred Status/Rates to islanders.
So you have a choice.
Plan seasonally, buck up and pay per trip.
Or permanently put a car over on the other side, in the Palmer Ave. Parking Lot.

Once off, you can get an "islander rate" at a few of the local hotels.
And for the more enterprising set, you can throw a quick trip to and from Logan Airport to pick up guests into the mix.

But most of us prefer the One-Day Only, 12-hour Dash.
Out on the 8:15am boat back on the 8:30pm boat.
When you finally do go off, you like to pack in as much as possible into your trip. To do that, there are just 3 rules.

So here we go.

Rule Number 1
Full Disclosure

Decide if you are telling people you are going.

If you do, expect lists.
I'm not talking your lists. I'm talking everybody else's lists once they find you are getting off the Rock and They are not.
As a result, people here don't easily disclose when they are going off, because they are regularly keyholed into doing stops for anyone not lucky enough to be going.

Exhibit A

I give you Exhibit A: Pictures from Uncle John's recent trip off-island, sent to the Left Behind according to their list:
Were these items on Uncle John's list? No. But did that stop him? No sir. He forged ahead to help others in need of one of the Top 10 Overpriced Items on the island - storage bins. We go far and long to find the best prices for these babies - take no prisoners and all that.

Rule Number 2
Respect the Routine.
Do not falter from the regular run - it will throw you off kilter, make you even miss a boat. The key here is rhythm and routine.

Depending on who you are these might be:

The usual stops
1)McDonalds for breakfast
3)Christmas Tree Shop
5) Home Improvement Box Store, if time
6)Gas station
7)Dinner somewhere everyone agrees on, not an easy task
6)Starbucks again
7) Race for the ferry

If you are lucky enough to get to Hyannis, you can add on Big Chain Book Store, and possibly Olive Garden. And if there's time, there's always a Target run.

For the preplanner in you, there's also the possibility of a wholesale club stop - out here on the Cape it's called BJ's Wholesale Club. This involves a requisitioned/repurposed but sterilized fish or dedicated beach cooler, packed to the gills with bulk items.

Rule Number 3
Arm yourself with Sustenance
Do NOT, I repeat, Do NOT give in to the Fast Food Chains (except for breakfast)
Your stomach will regret it exactly 15 minutes later, making Rhythm and Routine obsolete.
Good, expedient spots to eat, while on the Cape are:

In Falmouth
Besty's Diner
McNememy's Fish Restaurant
The Ninety Nine
Friendly's Restaurant (because they can take your order and serve you when you have a boat to catch within the hour!)

Daniel Webster Inn
In Hyannis and Surrounds
Olive Garden or Panera's (yes sometimes you just crave normalcy)
A little fancier, Daniel Webster Inn

 While Waiting for the Boat, you can try The Lee-Side, Woods Hole. It's across from the Steamship docks, convenient for a happy hour that doesn't like to quit. Get a beer and play the juke box.

The Lee-Side
If you happen to get stuck in Standby Line or try for an earlier boat and they tell you to drive around till your reservation, check out:
Captain Kidd, Woods Hole - good chowder, on the harbor

Consider it a job well done if you get even half of the stuff on your list, and everyone is still speaking in the car while waiting for the boat.

Here's the point. All this effort does one thing - makes you appreciate what you do have back on the island, even more. There's nothing like dragging a sack of double cheeseburgers for Gma and a backpack full of cheaper priced booze for happy hours clinking up the walk-on ramp to keep you humble.

I think when I lived on the mainland, I took a lot for granted sometimes.
So to all you landlubbers out there, take note.
Even when you come to visit, there still might be an off-island trip in the mix.

To Commuter coupon books and no Standby Lines.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

Have a Good One. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WIP Wednesday

To those knitters out there, you know what this means.
Work In Progress Wednesdays.
I belong to an online website - Ravelry  - for frankly anyone who uses yarn or roving or fleece to make things. It's free, it's a place to catalog my projects, meet other knitters, join groups etc., etc.
So. On Wednesdays, some of the members post their unfinished works-in-progress on their blogs, newsletters, and so on.
In that vein, I would like to post my unfinished projects since moving to the island - both fiber and otherwise:

My elderly mom's paperwork, meds, house projects

                                              Building and unpacking in the home office

a Christmas present

                                                               hanging pictures

lingering injuries

                                                      the usual suspects



my weight loss/physical therapy on mending bones and knees


                                                                       build my hat design business

storage issues

                                                         the landscaping

See. I bet you have a list exactly like mine.
Oh! One more.

Wherever we are, our work is never done. :)

Have a Good One.

Monday, May 2, 2011

5 Steps to Island Paradise

No, it's not what you think.
I'm talking about the strange and eccentric phenomenon Vineyarders like to call The Island Car.

I don't know how this happened, but my car is slowly turning into one.

Do not be mistaken; this is not a flattering picture.

I didn't mean for it to happen. I pledged and vowed and otherwise wrote my name in blood and swapped spit to avoid the perils of owning an Island Car. But despite the best of intentions, it is slowly happening. Like the little pods in the Predator movies.

My niece likes to remind me that, given a great economic or global disaster, one could easily live off the layers of stuff in an island car.

What layers, I ask? She hesitates, not wanting to reveal too much. I think she is just hoarding, in case the above events actually do occur. Finally she replies. The car tends to be like ... a moving time capsule, she admits.

You got your hay remnants from last year's July 4th parade. Then there are the greens left from, oh, more than one Christmas tree. Oh, and the to-go cups from the last and second-to-last, off-island trip that involved a drive-thru, a Big Box Store and the local wholesale grocery mart. Then you can add to that boxes of clothes to donate, leftovers from festival goody bags, a styrofoam to-go box from the Black Dog, and, well, you get the picture.

I think to myself: hmm, there's still a leftover Burger King drink container in the rear seat tray, from the last off-island trip 2 weeks ago. And I do have 2 cartons of donation clothing to go to the Red Cross Bin, when I get around to it. And then I noticed a small fir branch stuck under the back seat from when we bought our holiday wreaths....

So when do you know you have an Island Car?

In order of importance, but not appearance:

Has to be low, low, low. Not commensurate with percentage of rust.
My husband picked me up for our first date ever - an island BLIND DATE, mind you - in a 12-year-old, probably once gray, Toyota Corolla wagon. You could see the road whiz by, under my passenger footwell. In his defense, it was clean, and I didn't have to wipe sand off the seat when I got in.

And my son's younger island friend was just tickled pink when she got the family car recently - mileage? 34,000. Age? Late 80s. Rust - unimportant, but see for yourself. It runs great.  >

2. Age
Here on the island, as with most other things, age is irrelevant. Same with cars. New, old, indifferent. If it runs and will pass inspection - you are good to go.

3. Self-Sustainment
Can you possibly live off the usual debris in your car?
Has the backseat disappeared beneath layers of stuff?
Do you have at least one marine-related item in the way-back of your car?
Congratulations, you are on your way to owning an Island Car.

4.Town Decals
First off, here decals like off-road permits, private beach access, Town Dump stickers, are prime possessions.

If you think putting the garbage out in your b.v.d.'s at 6 am in the morning is bad - try having to go buy Town Garbage Stickers and hauling it to the dump - Wednesdays not included.

And a local beach permit or off-road access sticker is like crack in the ghetto. Showing off a string of these babies on you back window is like showing a pedigree. You have arrived. You are ... an island dweller.

5.Decorative Touches
A)You can always tell who has had their car on the Vineyard longer, by the amount of long, stem-to-stern score lines along car sides.

On the Mainland, these would be greeted with horror and insurance mayhem. Here they are proudly worn, a badge of honor here, for they come not from hooligans out for a night of mischief.

Nay, these are brush cuts - Vineyard Pinstripes, they call it - won from bumping along long, scrub-oak-lined dirt roads to and from the best kept secret fishing and swimming spots.

B)Various and sundry bumper stickers that may or may not include the following:
Think Globally, Act Locally
Love Is The Answer
Free Tibet
Question Reality
Please Don't Hit Me, I'm Not 100% Sure About My Coverage
Gun Control Means Use Two Hands
Got Bait?
Any fishing-related product i.e. - names of rods, reels, lures, boats, fish
Any previous decade political campaign stickers
Sports Team stickers - "Yankees Suck" is popular here

On the mainland, these criteria might indicate you're a mountain man hailing from northern Idaho.
Here? It's just another indicator of the island's insouciant way of life - they know what's important, what's not, and what to thumb their noses at.

No,  I didn't mean for it to happen.
Not really.
But that "It's All Good" sticker I got from our Hawaii trip is gonna look really good on the back bumper.

Have a good one. :)