Monday, December 27, 2010


Yes, I know: it's over. It happened so fast. No sooner was it Thanksgiving than it was Christmas. Correction: it was the day after Christmas, and I was walking down the hill with Darling Daughter to make a few returns (all just part of the routine). Just to complicate matters, it was snowing. Or slushing. It may even have been raining at that point; this was a weird storm in the way it switched back and forth as the temperature kept fluctuating. It really wasn't much of a blizzard — not here, anyway — although the media would say otherwise (and, in all fairness, I don't know the definition of a blizzard, so who am I to say?). All I know is that it was storming sufficiently that the stores were closing faster than we could get there, and that was putting a real crimp in DD's & my shopping/returning plans. Everything about it (about this whole holiday season, if I'm being honest) seemed a bit off, a bit late, ill-timed, including the it's-over-and-yet-another-year-is-behind-us realization itself. Seriously, I was just beginning to notice assorted colorful wreaths and decorations and doorways (who won the Newport Doorway Contest, come to think of it?) and — wham — it was over, gone, done. Fortunately, the kids were on top of it, all of it; they held our whole little Christmas concept and semblance of tradition/history together. They made lists, wrapped gifts, filled stockings, thought about things long before the last minute and were just generally unbelievably thoughtful and organized. Super Son (now relaxing in warmer climes with Super Girlfriend) even endeavored to choose one his favorite images from the past year and have it enlarged in the coolest real-life wrap-around way, as he thought it'd be just the thing (for me). And it was. Of course, there are other things that might be just the thing in the larger (less self-indulgent) sense. They'd be – some would go so far as to say there's only one thing anyone wants as a gift around here – key ...

We're hoping for a green light, of course.

And Super Son may have chosen this particular pic to enlarge/preserve because it had to do, tangentially, with his favorite band. All I know is I can't believe (really, I can't) that it was a year ago, almost: that day in the sand.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's hard to know how or why one thought winds it way to another ... sometimes. Other times, it's not hard at all. Like the other night, when I was standing before the bow of an Oldport launch dressed in winter finery (the launch, not I) in the parking lot behind the Clarke Cooke House. It was all too easy to remember taking a launch (one of the older ones, probably Can Do), its driver dressed in summer finery, to a mooring. I remember marveling, as I always do, over the expertise of the too-young-to-be-expert driver taking us precisely where we needed to go — though I will admit to feeling puzzled and maybe even a tad unsure about the fancy shirt-tie-belt ensemble, as it was a departure from Oldport-in-Newport attire ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010


There are some seriously big ol' trees around town. And while I recognize that it's sometimes scary to have a big ol' tree looming over one's house — we've actually been in that situation and had to make the wrenchingly difficult decision of having a big ol' tree taken down before it fell down (on top of us) — it still gets me every time.

So, when I happened upon a traffic jam (relatively speaking) on Kay Street Friday morning, and I could see a crane looming overhead in the not-so-distant distance, I suspected the worst before turning around and driving the other way. At the end of the day, coming in the other direction on Kay, the crane was still at work, along with a few orange-clad men and several noisy pieces of equipment.

This was a seriously big ol' tree ... the kind whose absence changes the landscape (and skyscape) and you just know another will never re-grow in that spot in my or your or even our children's lifetimes.

And it reminded me in some strange backward way of the ritual chopping down of a Christmas tree, something Mr. Betty and I had done two weekends back under somewhat more joyous circumstances — despite flying solo, or duo, with no kids (or dog) in tow — at a farm across the bridges with several of its own noisy pieces of equipment, designed to make getting a tree in the house as easy and mess-free as possible.

So, why is it joyous?? Chopping down a tree?? So that it can stand, albeit decorated, and undergo the slow undeniable process of dying?? In the LIVING room?? It made me think twice about all those poor little less-than-shapely (thereby lucky) trees that never get tagged at the tree farm ...

And in the midst of that admittedly bah-humbug thought, as various on-lookers hung around watching the weathered-to-the-point-of-mushroomed tree disappearing segment by segment before our very eyes (it almost hurt) on Kay Street, and I was about to turn toward home feeling slightly shaky and wondering how in the world I was going to recover sufficiently to finish the chore (yes, it became a chore at some point) of decorating our own drying/dying tree, and that maybe in fact I'd delegate the job to Darling Daughter and Super Son who would both be home later that evening, I did a double-take upon noticing the name of the outfit who'd come to do the tree trimming (ahem, felling) honors ....

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Oh, the weather outside is (I hate to say it) frightful. Or, more accurately (as I'm not afraid of wind and rain so much as depressed by it), dreadful. Maybe it'll snow soon; that'd be delightful (don't you think?). Meanwhile, I set off this evening in search of holiday cheer after seeing an intriguing light display from the Pell Bridge as Mr. Betty and I were headed back from yonder shores (being Warwick and Cranston), where we engaged in Round One of marginally-successful holiday shopping (gasp, we should have shopped locally, though in truth I did a fair amount of that yesterday). Anyway, right there beside the bridge (just to the North) is a decorated dock worth noticing (in my opinion). It wasn't until I'd figured out how to get there (it's a little tricky) and was standing looking right at it that I realized (ding!) it was in fact a likeness of the bridge. Some things (even obvious things) take an alarmingly long time to realize. And, after that, I figured I'd just keep going, in search of more holiday spirit, as it was otherwise so dis-spiriting in the wind and rain, especially after a comparatively beautiful day yesterday when (it's hard to believe now) I took a bike ride around Ocean Drive (in response to Mr. Betty's wise words: "Whenever you get a bike ride in December, it's a bonus). And, just past Hammersmith Farm, I happened upon a mother and child ...

Monday, December 6, 2010


As we were tying the Christmas tree onto the car roof this weekend, I was struck out of the clear blue sky (however that happens) by some sort of parallel ...

Sunday, December 5, 2010


How many times have I walked the Cliff Walk?? No clue: many times.
And how many times have I read or even noticed the graffiti?? Um, never.

Some of it's beyond comprehension, and I've never quite understood the motivation, and the context makes it even more puzzling, and maybe I didn't notice it on purpose (as it's easier to focus on all the pretty stuff, until/unless one adjusts one's notion of "pretty"). But some of it's not all bad .....

There's a message there (there^), however faded, that has to do with loyalty to a certain surf shop, the bend at Ruggles being a prime surf destination. But not today. Today, given calm-ish conditions, I saw just one lone paddler navigating the rocky shore with his back to the sea. Which doesn't seem like a great idea, if you ask me ...