Tuesday, November 30, 2010

oh


I ran out of the house and down the back steps this morning past an assortment of little pumpkins leftover from Halloween in a mad dash for an appointment with my hair guy (whom I've mentioned before). Seems I'm always running late. Not a lot; just a little. Just enough that I'm rushing ...

And later — on my way to the grocery store for one of those dubious-looking green smoothies (also mentioned at some point) via brick sidewalks (mentioned) along historic streetscapes (mentioned) beneath inexplicable wonders of architecture — I passed a guy sipping coffee (oft-mentioned) while riding a Segway (yep, mentioned).

Which made me think ...

Mr. Betty and I went to a wedding a few weeks back; that's always enough to make you/me/anyone think about all the so-called water under the bridge. And as we were waiting to move from one stage to the next — from the cocktail hour to the dinner table out at Ocean Cliff, overlooking the bay, toward the bridge, just past sunset — we picked up a party favor with our names on it that told us where to sit. I liked it: the party favor (not to mention the clear sense of direction). I even saved it — a little wooden schooner — and had every intention of hanging it on the Christmas tree a few weeks hence. But its fragile masts snapped in two in my too-small handbag before we made it home, and it'd be difficult to glue it together again ...

Both kids — Darling Daughter and Super Son — were home for Thanksgiving. It was a swell few days, though it really got me thinking about time (again), and how it's not so much a continuum as a series of stages. In hindsight, anyway. Each child is fixed in my mind in steps: the baby, the toddler, the school kid, the junior high kid, and so on, but I have no sense of their moving from one step to the next. They just leaped (leapt?), or that's how it seems now. Tick, tick, tick — it's really not a smooth motion. Predictable, maybe, as it goes in one direction only, but full of stops. Starts ...

Steps.

As I drew to the end of First Beach where I'd been walking on Saturday — unlike the walk I took Sunday from end-to-end-and-back-again at Second Beach with Darling Daughter before she headed back to school — I ran into that river/rivulet/stream/whatever down by the ABC (and I don't mean the alphabet) where there's ongoing construction having to do with unpleasant matters exacerbated by storm run-off. I didn't cross. In summer, I would have leapt (maybe) or waded (maybe), but not now. Not into cold water. Not with sneakered feet. Not that particular stream. I just stood for a minute or two looking at a flock of gulls on the other side doing nothing-much-except-whatever-gulls-do and who stood looking back at me but paying no heed as if they knew I wouldn't leap so they needn't bother flying away ...

Which reminded me of time again. And how it flies, ticks, slides — sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly — just like all that (can't believe I'm mentioning it again) water under the bridge. Although here, in this spot, with no bridge in sight, the flow was going in both directions, almost cycling around (how many times have I cycled around?), in and out, out and in, which strikes me as a vastly preferable way of looking at things ...

So when I got home after seeing my hair guy — back to this morning, i.e., back to where I started — the tiniest of the past-prime pumpkin collection that's been sitting above our back door for a month or two without incident appeared to have fallen from its perch and was lying askew, but intact, on the step.

In case you're wondering what in the world (!!) I'm talking about, click here and notice the date. In typical fashion, I remembered something (an anniversary of sorts) one day late ...









video

Sunday, November 28, 2010

debris



I don't know why it struck me as odd to see leaves at First Beach on Saturday. Once they're cast off, leaves blow everywhere; it makes perfect sense that some would land in the water, then wash ashore ... right?? Still, it/they surprised me: maple shapes, oak shapes, easily and not-so-easily unidentifiable shapes. Probably because leaves are such land-based things, while clam shells and seaweed are such sea-based things. It was odd to see them in the same place — that's all. Commixed & commingled, as it were (are those really words: commixed & commingled? they look odd for whatever reason, as words sometimes do).

And it was odd to see a tennis ball in the foam — huh?? I imagine a dog had lost it, or failed to fetch it (too cold? too far out in the waves?), unless someone hit a really long shot from up the hill at the Tennis Hall of Fame.

Honestly, one never knows what one might see when one isn't looking ... both at the beach and later in town, as one attempts (unsuccessfully) to embrace the mood prescribed by the season that's all-too-suddenly upon us ...













Yeah, yeah: but it's so much easier to love the past ...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

beer



I'm so far behind — still thinking about last weekend. Not to mention last week, last month, last year. It's hard to look forward when there's so much behind. More and more is behind rather than ahead all the time, making it harder and harder to focus on the glass half full, as it's less than half full, though no less yummy, but anyway ...

There we were — Mr. Betty and I — down on Thames Street last Saturday night, though it could have been Friday or even Sunday for that matter, as all three nights featured "Deer Tick" at the Blues CafĂ©.

"They're a pretty big deal," according to Super Son, who knows his music.

"But are we going to feel old, ridiculous and out of place?" I asked him, having caught him (for once) on his cell phone in his distant city as we pondered buying tickets to hear this Providence-based band who made quite a splash at the Folk Festival two summers ago. "And will we like the music?"

Must admit, the latter was less concerning than the former.

"Yeah, they're pretty mellow."

So we showed up early (how geriatric), as we wanted a good seat. The "kids" wouldn't take seats; they'd crowd around the stage, as kids do, to get as close as they could. But we figured we'd be better off — more comfortable in every sense — upstairs looking down through a square, center well onto the stage. And, to do that, we needed to snag a bar stool. To establish (accept?) our place.

First a beer — Newport Storm, of course — then a bar stool.

We weren't alone. There were other "grown-ups" upstairs: parents of band members by the looks things, those things being mouthed words, anticipated notes, waving arms, barely contained enthusiasm. I totally got it, as Super Son and his friends once had a band — now defunct (sigh) — and I, too, knew every word, every note (still do) and could barely contain my enthusiasm, to the point that I suspect it may have embarrassed Super Son on occasion, and to this day listening to their music makes me dance around the kitchen ...

Yes, it was a little weird looking down on the whole scene: down on the instruments, the hands playing the instruments, the hands reaching for odd-looking bottles of Bud between numbers, the hands drumming the beat in the air, the hands waving in the air, the hands writhing (no other word for it) to the groove of the guitarist/singer whose hands were covered in tattoos. Things grew more steamy as the night wore on ...

We liked it (!), though we didn't stay 'til the very end; at some point, we wove our way downstairs and toward the door about the time the guitarist called his mom up on the stage to share a nice moment as the crowd warmly cheered ...













It bears repeating every once in a while (I think): images get bigger if you click on them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

19 (and a half)


Remember when ages were counted in halves?? That half-year was important. It put us in another whole age category, and we were so eager to get there. We couldn't wait to get there. We may even have added "and a half" before it was mathematically correct; it may have been only a third.

The older we get, of course, the less that "and-a-half" matters. Or the less we wish to announce it. I'll be 49 'til the very second I turn 50, thank you very much.

And I'm sure I'll feel the same as I ramp up to 60 ...

Anyway, revisiting the impressions of last time (if that's allowed), I wanted to fill in a few gaps, as there were more sights than I originally recalled. There always are. En route from Newport to Tiverton via boat on Saturday, Mr. Betty and I passed under all three bridges — that much is true. But did I mention that before we headed North we headed South? We thought, given relatively windless conditions, it'd be a fine day for going around the outside: beyond Brenton Point, past the reef, along Ocean Drive and the beaches, around Sachuest Point, up the Sakonnet.

But just as we passed Castle Hill — with all its empty chairs that were full of summer visitors just yesterday, or so it seems — and the vessel started bobbing and bouncing like a hobby horse in significant swells, Mr. Betty said, "It's lumpier than I expected."

So we turned and went the other way: up the bay.

And did I mention the shiny, new, impressive & inexplicably long ramp at Ann Street Pier? The leaves? The feeling of putt-putting out the harbor for the last time 'til next season? The revelation that aircraft carriers are BIG? As are wind turbines and the only skyscraper on our horizon (at Carnegie Abbey) but unlike Mount Hope — not the bridge, but the mount, which is more of a bump? The bumpers, for that matter? The ongoing construction over the Sakonnet? What's the name of that new bridge again? Then there's the old stone bridge-that's-no-longer-a-bridge for which I couldn't remember the name (Old Stone Bridge?). How 'bout the fact that we very nearly didn't fit under the last little bridge into Nanaquaket Pond?

I didn't think so. I was too focused on getting there, wherever "there" is. And, I dare say, it's nowhere in particular. Or maybe it's just a different place for everyone.

One thing that isn't different (I don't think) is the impression, with so much lying behind us, that time flew ...










That is Mount Hope, isn't it?? Hoping to be ... bigger??







But smaller can be better (e.g. for flying under the radar) ...




Sunday, November 14, 2010

19


I had every intention of gathering a few thoughts about the weekend — what a beauty! — but ran out of time. Maybe tomorrow. Meanwhile, I just spoke with Darling Daughter, age 19, who's in the midst of choosing courses for next semester and deciding her major, and it brought to mind a boat ride Mr. Betty and I took on Saturday. We passed under all three bridges separating Aquidneck Island from the mainland (i.e., Rhode Island from Providence Plantations) in the process of taking our happy little boat from Newport — where the harbor is looking really empty — to Tiverton for her long winter's nap. And we were zipping past a buoy all too quickly just like we zip past most things all too quickly or maybe just without thinking about them sufficiently when I saw something and said, "Wait, turn around, go back!!" And we did.

If only one could really go back ...