Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

We made it through.
Our second non-hurricane, hurricane, if you count last year's Labor Day storm.

Mostly tree branches, leaves, sticks and a boatload of storm food left over.

I do think we need to rethink the Hurricane Preparedness List.
A well-thought-out list, to be sure, but maybe not tailored to meet our needs - exactly.

What I have learned about hurricane preparedness lists so far that I will remember and modify before the next storm approaches is this:

Things On Their List -
Water - a gallon a day per person.
Canned food - can be prepared on a grill or eaten cold. (Cold??? Are they kidding me?)
Preserved meat - beef jerky, canned tuna, even Spam are high protein and good choices.
Paper products - for preparing and distributing meals.
And the usual things you need in a storm - tape, tarps, batteries and things to lash down stuff with.

My Amended List:
Ok, yes, yes, all of the above plus:
1. Coolers that don't smell like fish.
2. A lot more recipes on hand that include the ingredients hot dog, beans or Dinty Moore Stew. In my defense, I WILL have winter storm food on hand this year :)
3.Preserved meat products such as Spam will likely not be a hit at our storm dinners.
4. A small, but powerful supply of food-like items with the name Debbie, Snow, Ho-Ho or Pinwheel in it will be, however. (You know you are gonna crave them, so you might as well go ahead and buy them.)
3. You have batteries yes, but do you actually have the flashlights they fit into?
4. Find a raincoat that actually repels rain.
5. Make sure I have enough yarn for projects. OK, I have enough yarn already to spill out a closet, but this is exactly the kind of legitimate excuse to buy more that I am always fishing for.
6. A hubby who might just be a "bit" less cavalier when preparing for said hurricane, not one who has "lived through many of these hurricanes growing up ... didn't I ever show you the picture of me my parents took when I was 10, hanging onto a tree horizontally?"
7. Take someone with you to the market so you have help in righting the shopping cart that tipped over because you put too many cases of water in it.
8. Identify items on the real preparedness list BEFOREHAND - i.e. - WTH is this, and where in God's Name do I find it?
9. THIS is not a drill. I repeat: this is NOT a DRILL. Make sure your Emergency broadcasting radio is in good order. Wait, what? Emergency broadcasting radio? We have one? OK, how about actually finding the emergency broadcasting radio before the storm, not after.
10. OMG, did you even remember a lighter?

Interesting observations about how Real Island Yankees Do Hurricanes:
1.They buy gap insurance and don't worry about the cars.
2. They park their beloved boats in the middle of the high school parking lot, where there are no trees to do damage, since they bought all that gap insurance for their cars.
3. They do wait to the last minute to get batteries, tape and beer.
4. They don't wait to get their trucks gassed up, so they don't have to wait in line with the rest of us greenhorns.
5.They know how to hole up for several days on end without getting cabin fever. This has to do with the men having selective hearing, the women cooking a lot during the storm and both having the ability to play cribbage for hours without end.
6. They know that Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, gets in the way of a Red Sox Game.
7. They actually reschedule Wind Festivals for calmer weekends.
8. They find it more important to buy ice for the bait freezer than for the house freezer.
9. In order of importance: Buy booze, buy backup cigarettes, complain, watch the Weather Channel.
10. That all of the above is based on the assumption that predictions are, in fact, wrong, the weathermen are fools, and that the hurricane will, in all likelihood, peter out before it makes it this far north.

Hopefully, I will take the time to prepare a comprehensive kit suited to our family needs, well in advance of the next storm.
Hopefully, it will never have to be used.
And hopefully, I will find it in time for the next storm.

That said, I will add that when we moved to the island, hubby did find the anti-terrorist emergency supply kit I put together after 9/11.
Shoved way back into the farthest corner of the basement.
And let's just say, it wasn't pretty.

Have a calm and clear one. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Look, Don't-Try-This-At-Home-Kids or The Dawning of The Age of Reason

We saw it coming.
Yes, we did.

Our neighbors rent during the summer.
And the renters are quiet, quiet, quiet.
But one week each season they allow their young adult child to use the house.
With friends.

Last year, the young adult child and friends serenaded us nightly.
Till at least 2 am.
Usually "Kokomo."
But sometimes, other badly sung, but otherwise popular ditties from the 70s - 90s.
Accompanied by a rather loudly played acoustic guitar (I didn't know this was even possible).
Think high school singing group.

Eventually, they quieted down after some gentle prodding.
And all was well.

Until yesterday.
365 days later.

Now in this land o' vacation plenty, one rental unit does not a large complaint make.
There by the grace of God go I and all that.
We may have hit the limit.

Said Neighbor's Young Adult Child came back, lol.
Again, with friends.
Another year older, and wiser, we thought.

Think again.

It all started rather innocently.

We had had a guest over the weekend, and were busy doing touristy things, so at first we didn't notice.
But since our guest was a bit on the youthful side, she noticed first.

A bit o' flurry at the neighbor's.
Raised voices, laughter, floating over the acreage. All ok.
Until the canoe.
In the backyard.
And some busyness with lots of tape and garbage bags.
Ideas fueled by a hot afternoon of alcohol and whatnot.

We discretely "peeked" as we headed out the driveway.

In all its glory... an honest-to-goodness homemade, adult Slip n' Slide.
Complete with portable outdoor shower appliance attached to the garden hose, to grease the skids, poised at the top of the "ever so slight" incline of their back yard.

Which incidentally ends in a woody, shrubby strip that abuts our long gravel driveway.
And Filled With Poison Ivy.

At the end of the yard? Propped up by two rather large logs from the woodpile was a looooong metal ladder, blocking entrance to the poison ivy. Just to make sure it was solid when they hit it. Lol.

And the kicker?
The full-length canoe back at the top.

This was accompanied by the all important overheard shout, "Do you think anyone will get hurt?" Ensuing laughter.
Good question.

Our Better Parent Instincts took over.
Hubby and and I looked at each other, then at our Youthful Guest.

"Don't even touch it," she said with the wisdom of youth under her belt. At this point,  they wouldn't be listening to reason anyway, she speculated.

We went on to supper and entertaining....

At about 10:30 pm we heard it through the muffled sounds of the room a/c (and they don't live that close).
Cheering, cheering, cheering, Thunk.
A short cry out.
Listening, listening, listening, nothing.
No tearing out of cars headed to ER.
No 911 lights and action.
No police cars with bubble lights.

They were, ehem, somewhat safe.
Our Better Parent Instincts relaxed.

In the morning, we glanced over again, as we headed out for morning coffee.
Forlorn garbage bags, somewhat askew, ruffling lightly in the wind.
The canoe, nowhere in sight. Logs and ladder plowed down.

Eventually, we sent Hubby over for - we will admit this blatantly - a little safety recon, and to introduce himself.
"Are you enjoying yourselves?" G asked with the innocence of a father with a kid.
"Oh yes," they returned.
"How'd the Slip n' Slide go?" G countered.
"Pretty good!" they admitted with laughter.
"Anybody get hurt?" G asked.
"Oh... I did," a rather sheepish-looking young gentleman confessed.
They all had a good laugh at that, and G returned to our house, satisfied all was well.

I am happy to report, the rest of the week is going swimmingly with the group next door.
Just a short hootenany and keg standing the next night.
Then the Age of Reason took over.

Until next year.
We figure she has to grow up sometime lol.
Bye, bye Miss American Pie. :)

Have a good one. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Glorious Night

Living in a resort area does have its rewards.
But not what you think.

MV Times
During the summer we get, not one, not two,  but three sets of awesome fireworks here on the Island.
Starting off - fireworks for Summer Solstice.
Next up - July 4th fireworks over Edgartown Harbor - which sometimes get fogged out.
And last night.
The Big Kahuna.
The Oak Bluffs Fireman's Association Fireworks.
By Jenn Wiggins

All summer long you see the fire guys out on the corner of Circuit and New York Ave., most summer weekends, taking in donations and selling t-shirts to fund the end-of-the-season explosive extravaganza.
It's hot. It's humid.
But there they are, with one cause in mind - the OB Fireworks.

And lest you think these are some small time pop-offs, think again.

This tiny organization puts on one of the best displays of fireworks in the region!
I would compare their show to a JackAss episode, but not for the reasons you think.
It's professional, it's colorful, it's loud and it's CLOSE with a Capitol C.
Staged slightly (and when I say slightly I mean SLIGHTLY) offshore opposite Ocean Park, with its Victorian Bandstand, old-fashioned boat pond and a lush, green acreage surrounded by Old School, Big-A** summer houses of the old-time rich and famous.

If you sit at the front edge of the park abutting the beach road and the Steamship docks, you are in what we like to call the "fallout" zone.
As in watch-out-you'll-get-your-freakin'-clothes-ignited-with-ash zone.
This gets filled in first lol.

As the show unfolds, it's everything you expect in a local fireworks show.
It's got pyrotechnic stars, ground salutes, waterfalls, even a drunkin' man toddling and weaving his way across the firey ground.

But wait! There's more!
Huge roman candles!
Peonies! Chrysanthemums! Dalhias! And all the colors of the combustible garden of fireworks.
They have Willows.  Yes, those spherical breaks of colors that turn silver-white and trail like a weeping willow tree. The kind you go "Ahhhhhhhh" to.

And they have Kamuros. As I live and breathe. You may not recognize its formal Japanese name - meaning "boy's haircut."  This is not your brother's buzz-cut by any stretch of the imagination. You can recognize it by its dense burst of a glittery gold or silver ball, stars leaving a ponderously heavy trail of glitter behind as they fall.

And those SPIDERS! The "OOOOOOOO" factor!

by Charles Kernick/MVTimes
Anyway, last night was the fireworks. And they did not disappoint.

The ground rumbled.
The skies lightened.
The crowd oooooh'd.
The mortars boomed.

At last! A chance to hold summer before you, until it reaches a fever pitch of light and sound, and heavy clouds of gunpowder and sulphur hanging in the air a minute longer... then the echoing to silence the only thing you hear.

 And...the crowd erupts in hooting and hollering.
And the horns honk their approval along the beach road.

Have a good one. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Grand Illumination

Night of Wonders, really.
Once a summer, the tiny, mostly seasonal community of Victorian cottages here on the island celebrate the closing summer through a magical tradition, Illumination Night.

A little back story.
This community of small gingerbread-style houses originated over 150 years ago.
First a religious summer settlement.

Then it grew. Tents once pitched for a week, became tents with wood siding standing, and grew to cottages that still endure. Despite wind, water, hurricanes and progress, the cottages remain much the same today.
Illumination Night, once held to mark the then Govenor of Massachusetts' visit over a century ago, now means something entirely different, but equally momentous. The colorful Chinese, Japanese and handmade lanterns line the eves and porches of the carpenter-gothic style cottages for just one evening a summer.

In the center of it all,  an open air, ironwork building, the Tabernacle, stands and is surrounded by a lush and peaceful park setting.

Many events take place in the Tabernacle over the summer, but none so important to the community, the culture, the island as Illumination Night.

Preparation is feverish. Will it rain? Will the old lanterns hold up, one more time? Will the electrical cords reach?

On Illumination Night, a traditional band concert and community sing start off the festivities.

And when it is just dark enough, the oldest member of the community steps forward to light the first lantern of the evening. Then... magic!

From the tops of the original tent poles to the gardens below, glowing fireflies of lights twinkle - some candle-lit, others electrically charged.

Crowds follow the lights around the circle of cottages, like moths to a gentle flame - taken in by the awe, the wonder, the aura of something never known, but instinctively felt.

Yes, it is the essence of summer.  Days spent at the beach, nights spent under the stars. Of family visitations, vacations of a lifetime. Of a weekend's respite from the heat radiating from the asphalt sidewalks of the city. That last snatch of childhood, held like a dancing firefly, in the palm of the hand.

And then... let go.
The local fire engine rounds the circle, letting the cottages know, it's time to close up shop.

For the night, the week, for the summer....

Have a good one. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Just Sayin'.

If there is a double-dip recession comin', I am not seeing it.
I am very excited to report that traffic is maddening, there are people everywhere, and bikes and mopeds abound.
And the residents of this Island couldn't be happier.
One way to enjoy traffic....

It only means one thing.
Ok, two things, lol.
1. People are travelling and spending their spare money.
2. The Secret Service People are already here, and we are hosting another Presidential Vacation.

And also, maybe there's a slow turn lane in front of Stop & Shop grocery store.

But really.
Sidekick Carol pointed out that the Euro is stronger, and therefore more domestic travel is on the plate for America this summer.
Personally, I think people are just throwing their hands up and vacationing because whatever... we are in this for the long-haul so we might as well enjoy ourselves along the road.

VH Grace Episcopal Church's Awesome Lobster Rolls
But mostly, we island residents are just happy people are here and spending.
When it comes right down to it, island residents purchase roughly, only 1/3 of the goods and services provided annually.

I do not care if I have to wait 10 minutes to get into Edgartown Proper.
I do not care if I have to play Bumper Car with my grocery cart in Cronig's to get through the aisles.
And I especially do not care if I have to wait in line at Waterside Market to order my lunch.

Waterside Market, VH
Because, dear readers, gas prices be damned, America is travelling. (And Waterside makes a killer Supreme Grilled Cheese sandwich - cheddar, provolone and swiss, with avacado, grilled tomato and onion!)
And people are vacationing.

And it's Standing Room Only at all the fancy restaurants.

In 60 days' time, the lines will dwindle and the roads will clear, and  2/3 of our annual spending on Martha's Vineyard will have occurred, thanks to our summer visitors.

So when you think of that little cup of Cappuchino waiting for you in Rome, don't.
There's an even better one waiting for you at Mocha Mott's, americano-style.

Have a good one. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

For WIP Wednesday: Uh-Huh, It's Crazy-Making Time

For those of you who are knitters, WIP is no stranger to you.
To the rest, let me explain.
WIP = work in progress.

And this is what's on my to-do plate right now.

1.Since my mom has moved to assisted living, we are cleaning out her place and getting it ready for sale. And we are preparing for her yard sale at the same time.
the basement at Mom's - just look away lol

2.The backlash from that is finding a place for the little things we want to keep, when we haven't yet unpacked the little things from our move last year.

3.The backlash from that? Rearranging the guest room furniture to fit in the blue desk my mom gave me.

Yep they are still there
4.The backlash from that: all cleaning/grocery-shopping/laundry doing at our house is on-deck.

It's just like a baseball game around here.
Who's on first. What's happening on second.
Who's at bat. What's on-deck.
What project is in the bullpen.

We also had my mother-in-law visiting, and my husband travelling, and my son fishing, and my thyroid going lol....

Ok God. This is so not funny to me lol.

But I am remaining hopeful, productive and hell-bent on finishing something this week.
And I am definitely not missing meditation!

Who said this was a simpler life?
Oh. Me.
Stay tuned.

saving one for me...I think

Have a calm one. :)