Wednesday, October 30, 2013


A year or so ago, I took a walk.  Earth shattering, I know.  Cliff shattering is more like it.  Cliff Walk shattering to be precise.

Mr. Betty & I were together on this walk.  It was before, during or immediately after the big storm (Sandy), though I'm hardpressed to recall the exact timeline.  I know we ventured out at night to watch an alarmingly high tide or surge or whatever it was creep up, over & across Bowen's and Bannister's Wharves.  I specifically recall the sight of the Clarke Cooke House steps with owner DR's topsiders fairly well submerged.  I specifically recall the canoes and kayaks paddling around à la Venice in an eerie, dark, strangely serene scene ....

But back to the Cliff Walk: the wind & waves were fierce. The Forty Steps were taking a beating.  We never got farther than that (we were soaked!), and that's a good thing.  As it turns out, the stretch between Ruggles and Ledge Road was significantly damaged and remains closed even now, a year later, much to the frustration of many seeking to walk the Walk throughout the spring, summer and fall, i.e., "the season" of 2013, which came and went just as quickly and decidedly as they always do.  

All that's nothing, of course, compared to Sandy-related difficulties and tragedies elsewhere.

Just thought I'd share....

Monday, March 18, 2013


I hate to think my reflections are limited to holidays, but it sure seems like that's been the case of late.  My thoughts, in fact, have little to do with St. Patrick's Day, which is not to say Mr. Betty and I weren't right there in Washington Square watching Saturday's parade roll by ... and it rolled for quite a while!  There were so many firetrucks in particular, much to the delight of several young men in green hats sitting directly in front of us on the sidewalk.  I wondered aloud why the parade had so many firetrucks, and Mr. Betty informed me that it had to do with the likelihood of Irish immigrants pursuing careers with the fire department, to which I replied that firetrucks appear in parades celebrating all occasions, not just St. Patrick's Day, but that's neither here nor there.  The point is there we were, in Washington Square — coincidentally known in early Newport history as "the parade" — along with hundreds if not thousands of other onlookers and participants, many sporting moustaches, green and otherwise, as that was the symbol of this year's event.  Seriously.  I guess it had to do with the Grand Marshall being George Jones, an Irishman with notable facial hair and a retired Newport firefighter to boot.  I tried to keep an eye out for this gentleman, but I'm afraid I missed him (like so many things).  I did manage to spy a few moustaches of interest amid the mix of assorted dignitaries and characters lining the parade route ...

The naval officer wanted to trade hats. 
The kids said, "No thanks."  
No joke.   

See the moustache?

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Some time in the recent past (a week or two or three ago?), I was walking along Division Street, one of my favorite cross-town routes for reasons including the pleasure of frequently spying something new, amid all the oldness, no matter how many times I've trod the same exact path.  And I did just that:  I spied something new.  It was a pink heart, drawn or painted on a homeowner's lamppost.  Hmmm, I thought.  I don't know if that's good or bad.  I mean, it's nice.  It's a heart. But it's graffiti, too.  Hmmm.  Then, in days and weeks that followed, as I embarked on more walks, I spied more pink hearts.  Perhaps they're all over town.  Must admit, I wouldn't know, as my winter walks tend to be limited to Historic Hill.  They do speak to me — these hearts — because I agree with the general sentiment.  And they're certainly appropriate to today, being Valentine's Day.  But after that?  Well, the jury's still out.  And I'm not the judge, of course, so I'll withhold further commentary.  It's my role simply to notice.  To enjoy. To keep a look-out ...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I'm really not sure how it got to be January — or the year 2013, for that matter — but here we are.  And since not much is going on in this chilly little seaside town right about now, it seems like a good time to look backward, to the extent that's wise, given the risk of perpetual wistfulness.  Maybe if I do it in small doses, it'll be OK.  Take New Year's Eve, for example:  Mr. Betty & I had such a nice time.  It was just the two of us, and we made a last minute plan as usual.  I'd been out taking a walk mid-afternoon and stuck my head into the Clarke Cooke House to ask if per chance they'd have room for us.  Ask and ye shall receive; they'd just had a cancellation for 8:30.  We ended up at the sweetest little table-for-two tucked into a windowed corner looking out over the entirety of Bannister's Wharf.  Lucky us.  Then, after a perfectly lovely din — all the better because we hadn't had all day/week/month to anticipate — we hung out for a bit, though not quite 'til midnight (leave that to the young'uns), to listen to music by the Honky Tonk Knights.  We've heard them before.  Love 'em, especially the guy with considerable sideburns who plays the stand-up bass.  He sometimes even stands on the stand-up bass. That night, though, the guitarist stood out, in large part (to me) due to his hat, which couldn't have been more perfect for the occasion, that being the eve of 2013.  Unless, of course, he was referring to the year(s) gone by ....

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I'm so far behind that I'm basically lost.  Let's just say the summer has been a blast thus far: from newfangled AC45s to oldfangled Tall Ships to tall tennis players (as in 6'9") to outdoor movies (on an inflatable screen!) to Surf Fest to Folk Fest to Jazz Fest to ... well, the general feeling is blink-and-you'll-miss-it.  But all that "big stuff" aside, I'm still partial to the little stuff, like an impromptu hairdressing session at Second Beach over which I stumbled sometime during the past week.  Seriously, I had to do a double take, i.e., what's going on here?  Then, once I'd figured it out, I was like, "Why not? Sign me up ... "

Monday, July 2, 2012

the cup

I tend to start each day telling myself (in spirit if not in actuality), "OK, today I will get my life organized."  But, of course, that doesn't happen.  It'll never happen. It's just way too beautiful out there, and there's way too much going on in the way of worthy distraction. Take this weekend, for instance. Newport hosted the America's Cup ... sort of.  It was actually the America's Cup World Series. Totally different animal.  A mere preamble (a very cool global preamble) to the real deal, set to take place in San Francisco in the coming year. Still, who can resist? So I hopped on my bike — despite having so much other stuff I really could/should have been accomplishing, and having already experienced the AC spectacle from the water a day prior — and pedaled out to Fort Adams to soak up the scene. Along the way, I passed some kids who had set up a lemonade stand.  I stopped, as it was hot, and lemonade struck me as just the thing. The cost was 75 cents.  So I handed this cute young girl wearing a red-checkered apron (with pockets! how practical!) a dollar and said what seemed the only natural thing to say: "Keep the change."

And that got me thinking ... about the America's Cup and all manner of things.  There's been so much talk about how "it's just not the same" and "remember when?" But perhaps keeping/embracing the change isn't such bad advice, to oneself or to anyone else.

And making lemonade is pretty sweet, too ...

Monday, June 11, 2012


I like to think I have good intentions.  I mean, I do have good intentions for the most part, especially on Mondays when a whole new week filled with the promise of time (precious time) to get everything done stretches ahead on the calendar. There's no erasing the past, of course, including what may or may not have gotten done during the weeks and weekend just prior. Not that anyone should want to erase the past ... OK, certain aspects of it.

This past weekend, though, was a BEAUTY.  All manner of boats, big and small, modest and otherwise, were out on the bay as participants in the New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta presented by Rolex.  Other boats were just tooling around, in the harbor and elsewhere, including a collection of Beetle Cats recently built and launched by students at IYRS (the International Yacht Restoration School). After a long gray stretch, all this was particularly sweet. Even the lost shoes ... leftover from a hopping Saturday night??

My impulse — as a person of good intentions, and that includes picking up litter — was to place them in the nearest trash can.  But I didn't do it, because I thought maybe-just-maybe someone would realize they were missing something and come back looking for them. Which reminded me of something (someone) left behind on a bench at the corner of Bellevue and Memorial last summer ...

And here we are again.

Summer ......