Monday, October 31, 2011


The weekend's rain and threat of snow put a real damper on Halloween festivities. Saturday night should have been a big deal, and maybe it was, somewhere, but not for Mr. Betty and me. We did go out — for a wet walk. We even considered going to Rocky Horror, which we've never done (gotta do everything once, right?), but ended up engrossed in drinks and conversation instead, at The Fifth Element. So there it is: another Halloween (and year) in the fuzzy rear view mirror. Almost. I mean, TODAY is the real deal. And TODAY is a real beauty. Not that we've made any preparations beyond my/our usual lame attempts or embraced the spirit in any significant way. Yet ...

In the interest of full disclosure, that jagged (uncomfortable) railing by the seaside isn't Newport. It's Boston. South Boston, to be exact. Castle Island, to be even more exact. And we did NOT end up seeing snow in Newport over the weekend, although it did appear — as creepy as that seems in October — in towns nearby, as evidenced by an image borrowed from a friend on Facebook (Thanks, Toni!).

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I heard tell of a little boy (the son of a friend) named Redwood the other day. I'm sorry, but that's adorable. And inspirational! I mean, we're all intent — as kids then as parents — upon the ideal of growing up big & strong. Having the name "Redwood" certainly would inspire one to eat one's all-powerful veggies, wouldn't it?

Related to that (sort of), Mr. Betty used to tell our kids, when they were small, on all those occasions when they faced without enthusiasm the spectre of broccoli on their plates, "Eat your trees."

Mr. B's mom said the same thing to him when he was a kid, apparently; he was just passing it along. No doubt about it: Broccoli looks like trees ... although I guess it's spinach that carries with it the greatest power-producing qualities, according to the Popeye principle. But spinach is more akin to seaweed; I can't imagine telling a kid to eat his or her seaweed. Not with any expectation of success, anyway.

Back to Redwood: In these parts, of course, it's more about history. Family history, local history. Hearing the name applied to a real-live, present-tense (little) person made me wonder, and I hate to admit that I hadn't thought about it with any specificity before: Who was that other Redwood? The original (not that everyone isn't an original)? The Redwood behind the impressive-in-every-way institution that is the Redwood Library and Athenaeum? Whatever happened to him? Or her?

Then there's what happens to trees ....

Those roots (^^) look like fingers, don't they? Clawing their way into the soil? Old and knuckly? They belong to the big (old) beech that stands before the Redwood ...

And that (^^), to me, is a sheep's face, not that there's much point in pointing it out ...

Monday, October 24, 2011


Mr. Betty & I took a really great bike ride over the weekend. It was more than we bargained for, actually, in terms of both distance and difficulty. And it wasn't in Newport or New York but in yet another new/old place: New Hampshire, where the day was gray, the foliage was past tense for the most part, we ended up with seriously cold hands & feet (having underestimated the need for gloves and non-mesh footwear), but no matter. It was GREAT. Why? I'm not sure. We'd traveled all the same roads at various points in the past, albeit on four wheels. I guess it's just a case of that age-old notion that one sees different things when crawling at a relative snail's pace (but at least we're still crawling!) up occasionally daunting hills on effectively deserted highways and byways, whatever "byways" are exactly. Honestly, this was such a good ride that even roadside signage struck us as interesting, so much so that we had to consider it in the closest possible detail. One particular sign, a historic marker of sorts, told a whole story: one we found hard to believe (!). Yes, this was just one of those days when even sights & signs bringing to mind the inexorable change of seasons weren't quite as much of a downer as usual ...

FYI: The Betty & Barney site is just past the Indian Head Resort, the "Indian Head" and the "Old Man" being two entirely different spectacles.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Grandma Betty & I hopped the train to a distant city earlier this week. It wasn't so distant, actually; just a few hours down the track. Anyway, once there, we set out to investigate a quasi-new feature of yonder city: the High Line.

After wandering as directed to West 20th and 10th — this is New York, of course (though it could be anywhere) — we came upon a dilapidated, elevated rail bed and stood looking up at it thinking, "Are we really in the right place?" We were. So up we went, up stairs & ramps, for the chance to follow along, feeling strangely above it all, for a delightful sunny mile or so through assorted vegetated habitats. Grandma Betty went so far as to quiz those busily tending grasses/flowers/trees about what they were growing and how it all fared in winter ...

And at the end of the line lay the meatpacking district, which wasn't at all what I'd pictured. I mean, there were signs of erstwhile meatpacking. Even a crime scene. Seriously. It was more than a little alarming to see crowds of people/tourists gawking and pointing cameras at an assemblage of police cars and yellow tape. It took Grandma Betty and I a good ten seconds to realize the situation wasn't what it seemed — thank goodness. We knew we'd been had when the sidewalk, along which we were moseying past fancy shops and eating/drinking establishments, led us directly behind a wood-and-canvas director's chair emblazoned with the words "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." And there was the victim, lying on the ground, except she kept getting up to fuss with her hair and make-up (largely red), then she'd lie back down for another take.

If only.

But the highlight, other than the High Line, of GB's and my all-too-quick trip was our visit with Super Son. We got to see his environment (!). Then he & Super Girlfriend took us to a club, somewhere on the Lower East Side, where one of their friends was playing keyboard in a band. We sat immediately behind said friend — a good view is critical, right? That said, the most compelling image of the evening may have been the jean-jacketed guy jumping around to take shots from every conceivable angle with impressive lenses all the while mouthing each & every word the singer was singing. Or maybe it was that pair of wallflowers who reminded me of home ...