Friday, July 29, 2011

Turkey in the Straw

Well, it's one hell of a note when you have wait in line at the bank drive-thru behind some turkey.
Of the animal kind.
No kidding.
Yes, For the love of Pete I had to vie for the bank drive-thru today with a wild turkey.
That's right.
A wild turkey.

By Tim Johnson/
For those of you who are not yet acquainted with this lovely Tom, it is also known as Meleagris gallopavo, a relative of the domestic turkey.

But domesticated it is NOT.
To put it into context - a true story that happened a few years ago. This same kind of bird made two grown men in police uniforms on this island run for the hills after it chased behind them, a few rounds worth, around a truck. They dove for the cruiser, but not before shooting the perp dead.

Apparently, the terrible Tom had menaced two people who were delivering rental baby equipment.

We have, from the actual article by Janet Hefler in the MV Times , the following (paraphrased and quoted):

"On Father's Day last Sunday afternoon, a local police officer pumped several bullets into a wild male turkey he feared was a threat to public safety."

The turkey, however, happened to be "Tom," a bird familiar to the next-door neighbors, who had been feeding him since he was an orphaned chick. According to a police report, the neighbor's protest over the turkey's death led to an altercation between him and the two police officers, who arrested him on charges of assault and battery and resisting arrest.

"I got out to help my partner deliver the rental equipment, and it charged me, so I waved my arms like a larger bird and said "Shoo" (it works with seagulls at the beach)," one of the delivery people wrote in the police report. "The bird then came at me aggressively. I ran into the van and the bird turned again to my partner, who also managed to escape into the van."

Then, according to the police report, the officers arrived, got out of their cruiser and spotted the rental equipment on the ground along with a female wild turkey. Suddenly a large male wild turkey appeared and charged the officers.

One officer jumped onto the cruiser's push bumper for protection; the other officer was chased around the the pile of rental equipment three times trying to peck the officer. After charging the officer again, the perpetrator was shot dead with a Glock 40-cal semi-auto.

Although the bird expired, the story did not.D

One patrolman heard the neighbors screaming from the woods, asking what was going on.  "This is the police and we are taking care of a problem turkey,'" the officer said.

"What are you, an idiot?" the neighbor reportedly asked. "Stop shooting my turkeys."

Described as "visibly upset," the neighbor approached one of the officers with a closed fist and then struck him in the mouth, the other officer said. The neighbor allegedly resisted the officers' attempts to restrain him, striking one twice in the chest with his fist and kneeing the other in the thigh, according to their reports. They arrested him and placed him in handcuffs.

"Whether or not this turkey was harassing the police, I still don't think that firing shots near people is appropriate, and I think it's very dangerous," the neighbor's wife said. "I think under the circumstances, we prefer not to talk about this, because there are serious allegations on both sides, and I think we'll wait until after we have discussions with the police chief, who is a very good and honest man, before talking to the press anymore."

"All things considered, it's a shame that a turkey had to be shot, but at least no humans were injured," the chief said. Further, since the officers were responding to a 911 call about an aggressive animal, if they had left without doing anything and someone was injured, the department would be liable. Trapping and relocating an aggressive animal is unlawful in Massachusetts.

"Tom" was stored in the police department's freezer as evidence. The neighbor asked if he could get the bird back to give him a decent burial. At the time the police chief hoped to comply with the neighbor's request. But, as he explained, they had to work with the game warden to see what they could do because legally you can't possess a turkey - dead or alive - unless it's during the turkey season and you have a permit.

Seriously folks, you cannot make this stuff up, even if you tried.
Talk about Keystone Cops.
No Perp Walk there, no sir.

So for the record, I did not get out of the car or shoo the turkey away.
I'm just not into fisticuffs at 9-freaking-AM-in-the-morning.

All in all, having to wait a little bit in the bank drive-thru line isn't too bad.
And I just don't think I ever encountered an issue like this on the Mainland.

But wouldn't you know, when I looked out the study window this morning, there were 8 wild turkeys standing in our yard?

 Have a good one. :)

Mark, this one's for you - you always did love a great story. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Take the Time...

To read.

I know.
It's hot, it's muggy, you don't seem to find the time.
And when you do, you are flat-out tired and all hinky feeling.
But enough is enough, Mister.

It's important to relax those gray cells in a way that allows calm, quiet and serenity into your life.
Even if just until you doze off.
It signals the body and the brain: "This is down time and it's well deserved."

Here's a list of interesting beach reads if you will, involving the island, and one series from my new fave place off-island the State of Maine.
Hey, it might inspire you to put our region on your next vacation to-do list.

Vineyard Authors
For mystery, I turn to Phil Craig and Cynthia Riggs - two different types of authors, if I ever saw one.
Ladies first.

C. Riggs website
Cynthia Riggs writes a mystery series featuring Victoria Trumbull, a "fiesty" New Englander, born and bred Islander, and amateur detective. The series of now-10 books, each titled in some way after an island plant, involve no jumping-out-and-scaring-you plots. It's a great, lighter mystery read, that you can pick up and put down, look forward to reading, even if for just a few minutes. What I also love, but this is probably because I am a writer, is that you can see the author's writing grow and evolve as the series moves along. The first in the series is called Deadly Nightshade.

the late Phil Craig
Phil Craig wrote island mysteries from an entirely different character viewpoint - former police officer and dedicated fisherman Jeff Jackson.  He was a sometime visitor to my parents' Salon Evening Series - authors and interesting people discussing interesting topics in my parents' living room. His 22-book series chronicles Jackson's fishing as much as it does his mystery solving. Over the length of the series you come to know pretty much what the issues are here on the island, even if done over in fiction form. And ladies, don't shy from these books, they appeal to an everyperson's sensibility. The first in the series is called A Beautiful Place to Die.

Geraldine Brooks
Geraldine Brooks has just penned an island historical fiction,  Caleb's Crossing. In it, a Puritan minister's daughter befriends the first Native American (and a Wampanoag) to graduate from Harvard College. If you liked any of her other wonderfully written novels, this one is a must-read.

Stephen L. Carter
Actually, so many island authors to mention. Yale law professor and author Stephen L. Carter is another. His legal thriller Emperor of Ocean Park involves upper crust African American society who summer on the island and the inner circle of an Ivy League school.

And romance fiction often finds a setting here on the island, too - Judy Blume, Jean Stone, Holly Chamberlain, Jane Blackwood, Karen G. Bates, to name a few.

Finally, I am currently hooked on the light read mystery series set in Maine by Sarah Graves. The main character is a former finance advisor to the Rich and Infamous in NYC. She flees Manhattan for Eastport, Maine, starts rehabbing an old house while falling into mystery and intrigue with a newfound friend at her side. Think Lucy and Ethyl in flannel and Maine accents lol. Sidekick Carol first lent them to me and I recommend them to anyone who wants mystery, a small New England town setting, an ongoing series, and interesting characters and plot twists.

That's my go-to list.

Have any books to add?

Have a good one. :)

PS: I know, I know. I could have shown their book covers, but hey, writers have family, too, you know lol. It's nice to be recognized for who you are.

Friday, July 22, 2011


First of all: what's better on a hot summer night by the ocean than to go get takeout, walk over to the docks and eat overlooking the harbor?

That's right, nothing! And that's exactly what we did.
Three times, three nights.

Quarterdeck Takeout
First night, for great takeout burgers that won't cost a vacation arm and a leg, we headed to the Quarterdeck, a few nights ago.

A nice warmish night, no need for sweaters, just comfortable. The thing to get at the Quarterdeck are their burgers and their soft-serve ice cream. We added an order of onion rings - thick, crisp, cornmeal-style crunch - and made our way over to a bench near the Mad Maxx sailing dock. Being Saturday, the Edgartown Yacht Club was at full mast, regaled to the hilt and so much fun to watch. It was simple, it was fun, and it was relatively inexpensive for island food.

Second hit - the kitchey gourmet takeout,  open late nights till 2am, Artcliff Diner's Silver Food Wagon, Vineyard Haven near the Bend In The Road. Usually owner Regina Stanley is behind the culinary wheel, with a bassline beat drumming in the background.

Lagoon at Night
Things to try (at least once in your lifetime): fresh-cut parsley garlic french fries - think the garlicky wonder of the sauce on escargot!), Turkey burger loaded, with chipotle mayo, the Pig sandwich and any of their hot dog combinations.

Although you can eat in their tiny garden area, playing ping-pong till your order's ready, we chose to do take-away and moved to the Lagoon Public Landing overlook.  Quiet, "islandy," and we watched a long line of adult ducks move into the marshy area for evening while we ate.

Third and final - Giordano's Takeout Pizza. True Italian, throw-it-up-in-the-air-before-your-very-eyes pizza. It comes out of the ovens doughy edge, thinner in the middle, but packed with ooey, gooey, cheesy topping over a melloishious (my own word - mellow tomatoey delicious) sauce. Eat it folded in two lengthwise like everyone else up from NYC does. Even just a plain cheese pizza slice to walk is worth the wait. This, we drove the 2 miles back home and ate in peace at our dining room table; but you could just as easily (which we have done frequently) head up to the Steamship Dock and Town Beach to eat overlooking the Oak Bluffs Harbor entrance. Heaven.

Also-ran: Nancy's Snack Bar in Oak Bluffs - If it's good enough for the President, well then....
This Calypso-Bar-Meets-Tourist-Hangout offers up those stringy, crispy onion rings you hanker for on vacation since to eat them at any other time is probably a sin.  Their scallops are huge, deep-fried to perfecton, but not greasy, and really anything we have ever had there has been good. You can sit on their open-air deck and people-watch harborside in Oak Bluffs. Honestly, it's a toss-up between Nancy's and Gio's.

Of all the food experiences on the Vineyard, the ones we've come to enjoy most are the simplest.

Have a good one. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lady Who? Redux

Ok, leave it to your trusty Snoop Sister here to get the straight skinny on Celebrity Gossip on the Island.
After all, I am well connected lol.
But whatever.
I am happy to report to those far and wide, that, indeed, Lady GaGa's boat is here, and, indeed, her boat is now happily anchored off Chappaquidick Island, very near to where it is alleged she is building an abode.
I will, in fact, be sending one commercial fishing venture close to the family (hell, it IS family, lol) to scope it out and bring back photos, if lucky.

Another stay tuned.

Have a good one. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lady Who?

Just last evening a rather large luxury superyacht arrived in Edgartown harbor.
162 feet large to be exact.
And the rumours began.

Was it Lady GaGa?

Crew of 11.
4 decks.$9,000 a day for the slip alone.
$225,000 to charter for a week.

Family saw crew dog-walking: a little poodle and a yorkie type,  all equipped for any doggie emergency, crew with walkie-talkie, their whereabouts always at a ready for pet parents.
Coulda' been a crew dog, I suppose.

Cabin interiors - walnut walls and cabinetry, marble inlay, under-floor heating.

You can drive playcraft into the bow.

Rainbow multi-colored, neon-lit rear name plate lights up the surrounding harbor at night, and underwater viewing bottom lights.
Makes the thing look like a floating casino for Pete's Sake.

Alledged  Location

She (Lady G) is "allegedly" building a getaway on Chappaquidick, a small island a stone's throw across Edgartown harbor, only accessible by private boat or small pontoon-style ferry.

So maybe she's checking out progress.
Stay tuned.

Have a good one. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Lesson in Crafting Humility: FO Friday

If you aren't interested in humility or knitting, look away and talk amongst yourselves.

The lotus blossom.
A symbol of birth and wisdom.

I shoulda' known.

I am not a beginning knitter.
I can, in fact, knit a pretty complicated pattern.
Color changes, no problem.
Cables, hey, just watch me.
Even lace patterns.
Ok, maybe not so much. lol.

But for everything else ... watch me go!
I, am a fearless knitter.

I thought.

Until... Padma.

A beautiful, symbolic even, hat pattern.
Padma - the lotus.
Wisdom and divine purity.
Unfolding petals of expanding wisdom.
Immediately I wanted to knit it.
It was everything I looked for in a pattern - challenge, coloring, slowly-evolving pattern, and even, dare I say, chartwork.

I even had a special recipient in mind.
I chose yarn from my stash, an alpaca that I had been using faithfully and had always performed for me. The colors were perfect - a deep inky black to accentuate the soft blue/gray/purpley color for the blossom design.

And I started.
Did I check gauge? Kinda.
Since it was a stash yarn, you know how that goes. I switched up the needle size, reknit a swatch and the stitch count width matched.

I was on the road.
I was confident, knowing.
And secretly, cocky.

Then life took over.
Put out a fire or two, and it was back to knitting again.

Ok first off, a word to the wise: when reprinting knitting charts, if there are important border lines in contrasting color, don't shortcut and rely on your memory, printing it in black and white.

Second, using page markers on a chart is good, just make sure if life intervenes, and you are picking up and putting down a chart a lot, they have good stick-em.

Third, do not, I repeat, do not, get all "I am king of the WORLD" on your knitting.

I found out.
I am not, in fact, all "king of the WORLD."

Simply, I did not, in fact, respect the knitting.
And I, in fact, did NOT check gauge as to ROW measurements.
Heck, it was a HAT.
I am an AARP card-carrying, midlife adult, for gosh sake.
I could TELL when to start my decreases.

Ah, and that, dear knitting readers, is the rub.

With a detailed pattern, decreasing is not just cut out a few rows and that is that.
I found that out - 7 times lol.

I will say I persisted. After rip out 3, I was determined.
After rip-out 5, I was dogged.
After rip-out 6 I was deadly determined.

And I persisted.
I got wisdom, alright.
I modified the pattern, shortened the crown, and finished the damn hat.
Last week.

It was a Christmas 2010 present lol.

3 words. (which can also be attributed to life)

Respect the process.

Have a good one. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Identity Crisis

It had been a trying week.
We were mostly head-to-the-grindstone.
Do this, be there, meet them, do that, figure out this, which impacts that.
24 hours wasn't enough, you know what I mean?

MV Gazette by Mark Alan Lovewell
And it hit us as we drove across the drawbridge separating Winter Town Vineyard Haven, from Summer Town Oak Bluffs.
Who are we now?

Are we stuck in that Neither-land of resort community living?
Have we moved from "summer people" status to "year-rounder"?
Are we a resident tourist, if you will?

In this dog-eat-hot-dog world we have been trained in,  it's just plain hard to let go of the everyday things and kick it.

Calvanistic attitudes die hard. :)
Don't have too much fun, don't relax too much, keep on keep on.

And of the many reasons we moved here - the ability to live in a drop-dead beautiful place, a small community with a "Vineyard takes care of its own" philosophy - a lifestyle by sand and sea was paramount.

We had been here one year, but for the most part, we hadn't taken advantage of it.
Houston, we have a problem.

This was worse than just being here in the summer, going home and hankering for it all winter.
What's the point of living here, if you aren't going to "live" here?
I don't know. lol.

So kick it we must.
At the top of the to-do list: Don't forget the "big" picture.
You do the same.

Have a good one. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ridiculously important logistical stuff no one tells you about when you are on vacation here

This is the stuff that makes life livable on the island, come summer or winter, temporarily or permanently.
Rain or shine.
With or without family.
Renting or not.

Don't let anyone tell you differently: the best apple fritters on the PLANET, hands down, can be had each and every evening at Back Door Donuts in Oak Bluffs, after 7:30 pm. This is the stuff stoners dream of lol. One of the Farrelly Brothers even went to bat (yes it's that Farrelly brothers team - think Something About Mary) at a town meeting when it was proposed that Back Door be closed due to noise and traffic. They didn't, and we are so glad. It's located in the parking lot behind the OB Post Office, off Circuit Ave. Open till 12:30 am, just in time for last call.

Back Door Donuts by Susan Safford/MvTimes

Do not do anything at 4:58 pm on this island on any given day, except open a can of beer or pour a glass of wine or make reservations.

To visit a grocery store on the island between the hours of 9am and 8pm in summer is to take your life into your own hands. In fact, it is a known fact that to do so gives one brain damage so severe it provokes the victims to stand in the middle of the aisle en mass, without moving, trying to create a shopping list.

A lesson from my good friend and wise person Sue from Dighton - it is oftentimes more worthwhile to get lobster all ready done than to struggle in the kitchen boiling lobsters, grilling corn and drawing butter... And make sure there are no vegetarians within sight of the dismembering of said lobsters.

Last mail of the day goes out at 3, don't check the box or general deliv. before 2, and taking candy in for PO workers assures summer people of getting mail in the correct box at least 85% of the time.

They do in fact enforce the time limits on every main drag of every town. The chalk stick Nazi don't cotton to getting in the car, moving the tires to make it look like you weren't there the last time they looked.

The food is superb at the Art Cliff Diner in Vineyard Haven, but be prepared to wait. And wait. It is so well worth it, though; even if you have to park down at the parking lot by Net Result Fish Market.

Do not travel near, on or around main thoroughfares in Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs when the Ferry Boat is due in. That is crazy-making time.

IMO, the best place and the best way to get breakfast sandwiches is to call in a take-away order at the Dock St. Coffee Shop at the foot of the harbor in Edgartown. Order it with sausage/egg/cheese on English muffin. Sublime, with the right amount of grill infusion. 508-627-5232.

The very best time to get a parking spot at Trustees of the Reservation beach Long Point, in West Tisbury, is before 10ish am or after 2ish pm. It is the best of both worlds - body surfing main beach, a pond nearby for quiet water swimming. It's my slice of heaven, away from my home.

Have a good one. :)