LIFE INSIDE THE CONE OF UNCERTAINTY

Have you ever experienced the Cone of Uncertainty?  It is a scary thing, the uncertain unknown . . .  MUSICA

the garden

That’s our garden this morning, from the upstairs bedroom window, it looks nice and peaceful.

Jackie!

And here’s Jack, in front of the window, patiently waiting for me to put down the camera and pay attention to him.  The only thing he’s afraid of is that I might leave the room before I shoot his rubber band across the bed so he can catch it in mid-air with his two paws, put it in his mouth and bring it to me and show me what a very good boy he is.  He should never worry about that. I am his slave.

storm

But things around here weren’t all that good a couple of days ago.  The Police Departments canceled everything on the island for the Fourth of July, shut down the ferry’s to and from the island ~ the parade and the fireworks were rescheduled for the fifth, which was nice because it gave everyone something to look forward to.  But first we needed to deal with a small problem.  A hurricane was coming.  Pouring rain was forecast but nobody birdknew what other damage Hurricane Arthur might do.  There were some grim predictions. The news media was saying Martha’s Vineyard was inside the “cone of uncertainty.” (If you can say that with an echo in your voice, you will probably understand how it sounds to people inside the cone.) Uncertainty is such a scary thing.  All we knew for sure, before the hurricane came, is that it was HOT.  Hot, Humid and Miserable.

hot weather

rain!

We closed the house up, turned on the air conditioners and hunkered down to wait out the storm.  I can’t imagine what the tourists did; the island was packed for the holiday weekend. They couldn’t very well go to the beach.  I’m sure the weather my diaryreports put them in a little bit of a panic.  We were lucky because we live here so we had a perfectly lovely day.  I climbed into my time machine and wrote on my book for a while, and went through old photo albums sorting photos to be scanned for the book including the one I took of the tree that fell on my house in the hurricane of 1985.  I marked sections from my diaries that I hope to include.  I took pictures for this post while Joe tinkered at his workbench in the barn — later he went across the street to visit his sister and keep her company so I took advantage of the moment and mooshed into the sofa with the cats and watched Miss Potter for at least the 37th time (that’s what Joe would say) while the wind blew and the rain washed over us.  It was coming down harder than ever when we went to bed.  I hoped we’d still be here in the morning. That cone of uncertainty hung heavy in our dreams . . .

morning

Early the next day, the minute it got light, I took my camera outside to survey the damage.  The storm was just rolling out and the clouds were moving fast . . . it had stopped raining, but the winds were still gusting, and best of all, it was so chilly I had to put on two sweaters.  The storm had blown away all the heat and humidity; cool, dry air had come in and it was glorious.  It felt like late September.  It made me fall in love with Hurricane Arthur.  

U n t i l   I   s a w   t h e   d a m a g e . . .

linden blossoms on car

Oh yeah, it was a wreck… disgusting linden-tree blossoms were all over my Volvo . . .

storm damageThere were leaves in the bird bath!!!!! I have no words for this.

yikes!Shockingly, the backs of the lawn furniture had been caught up in the deluge and had been blown forward.  BOOM!  Must have been a real racket when that happened.

leaf litter destruction 2014

I don’t know if you could see it in the last photo, or even this one, but close-up, the leaf litter situation is dire.  Tatters all over the lawn.  A real mess.  And then there was this:

our new hibiscusOur new hibiscus. Dead in the driveway.  (Well, maybe not dead.)  I was almost afraid to go upstairs and check out the rooms in the house to see what had gone on there.  But as homeowner, it was my job to know.  I steeled myself — for good reason — as I found out, the worst was yet to come.

Jane Austen

Wait, don’t you want to see the worst?  Squinch your eyes together and allow yourself to get used to this painful sight slowly.

more damage

I’m not kidding. This happened. We forgot to close the window.  Wind took ‘er right down. So sad. Must go fill out the insurance papers.

the barn and garden after the storm

But the most amazing thing is how quickly Mother Earth can heal herself.  Twenty-four hours later, even after something like that, she is green and beautiful again.

earthbirds

garden in repair

much betterThe island is coming back to life.  :-)  I hope all our hurricanes can be this wonderful.  And all the hurricanes in all the places in the world.

Edgartown FireworksThe next evening, on July 5th, the Fourth of July for those living inside the Cone of Uncertainty, we went with friends to the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club to have dinner next to the water and watch, from far far away, the Edgartown fireworks.  

fireworks

This has royally messed with our Cone heads because now we don’t know what the date is anymore.  We are in utter confusion.  But we took it like men and quit fretting ~ what difference does it make?  Just let the soft breezes and salt air brush over us and watch the boats come in, and soon, it was like 1934 and we were beyond the reach of mundane modern-day concerns like what day it is.

wish

ferry

Fireworks going off behind the ferry has got to be a quintessential Vineyard view wouldn’t ferryyou think? I imagine the people on board feel like they just stepped into a movie.  What if this was your first time ever to arrive on the island?  Wouldn’t that be unforgettable?  This is the work of the Vineyard elves I told you about in one of my first books.  Running ahead, putting visions like this out for anyone and everyone to see.  I might have been homesick when I first moved to the island, missing my friends and family in California, but once you know about the elves, it’s very hard to leave.

ferry

Sometimes there are nights that are so beautiful you actually forget to take pictures, and this was one of them.  We got these few, and this one of a yacht coming in . . .

border

ship

But, sadly, we forgot all about pictures of the dinner and the dancing. It was actually a dinner dance at the yacht club, and I shell candlecan’t tell you how much I wish I’d gotten a photo of so many things, including the HUGE bowl of fresh strawberries, the other HUGE bowl of whipped cream and the platters filled with shortcakes they put out for the dessert buffet.  

It was an old-fashioned island dance, women wore summer dresses, men had on ironed pink shirts.  Like a country dance being held in a garden, only this was the shore. The music was heavenly,  the air was cool, we walked out on the pier and looked at all the blinking lights around the harbor and heard the water lapping on shore, it was a lovely evening, and it didn’t matter one iota that no one knew what day it was.

border 

“I bought a dress, a romantic dress, a purely summer party dress: white, splashed with large pink dots, a floppy full skirt and bared shoulders.  A dress for a summer tan, a summer dance.”   Alice Adams

pink-perfection

my frog is green now

Then yesterday, for a change of pace, I painted my Prince Charming porch frog green.  I always wished he was green, because I thought green would make a better contrast (from the beige he was before) to our white porch rail.  So there he is, green as can be.  Still all heart, sweetness and light.

new blotter

There are lots of COMING ATTRACTIONS in my future I thought I would share with you.  This is one of them, coming soon . . . this is our new Blotter Calendar.  I just got the first one, hot off the press ~ I have to tell you, it turned really nice. Look how much bigger they are than they used to be.  I put that paper clip there for size, can you see how big this is?

border

sizes

Here’s a better way to show it . . . this is my new wall-calendar on top ~ Kellee told everyone on Facebook they arrived last week, but just in case you missed it,

greeting

 They came in last week!) ~ you can compare the two sizes here.  I have a better idea . . .

old and new blotters

I just realized I could use one of the old blotters for comparison.  This really tells you.  The new one is 22″ x 17″ to be exact.  The Wall-Calendar, Two-Year Purse Calendar, Mini and Magnet are already in . . . and the Blotter is coming soon.

contract for Chinese Rights

And I’m celebrating because today I send in the signed contracts for the Chinese Publishing Rights to A Fine Romance.  This is the first time any of my books will be translated into another language and I’m very excited about it.  They are going to copy the entire book using a “Chinese Handwriting Font”  – I can’t wait to see it.  It’s probably going to take months to do it, but watch this space because someday I’ll show you (and me) what our book looks like in Chinese! If I get an extra copy, I’ll sign it and we’ll make it a give-away.

camera

On our way to Ellen Terry's

More coming attractions start with “Yesterday,” when I had the very difficult assignment of going through our old Trip-to-England photos ~ I’m being reminded in this photo of the serendipity of deciding whether or not to go on and follow that path and see what’s at the end, or turning back.  Of course we went on! Look at that place! How could we not?

photos for PBS

The reason I was doing this is because I was asked by PBS Rhode Island Television to cohost a “Brit Com” Night next September 9th from 7:30 to 10:30 pm with Kathryn Larsen.

The Queen

How fun!  They are a PBS station that shows lots of wonderful English TV, such as Doc Martin, and (dare I say it out loud) Downton Abbey.  I hope they stream our show so everyone can see it. I don’t know if they do yet.

Dove Cottage

They want us to talk about where we went and how I wrote A FINE ROMANCE and to give away lots of signed copies of it and also the new Ten Year Anniversary Edition of AUTUMN and Calendars too!  The give-aways will be for people who send in pledges to the station, and they’re going to show lots of photos of the trip too ~ my only trouble was choosing which ones to send! My hope is that everyone watching will end up . . .

Falling in Love

J U S T    L I K E    U S  !

ellen terry's garden

I don’t see how they could help it.  It should be a lot of fun, I’ve also never been on PBS before, so of course I am instantly on a diet. We’ll talk about that later. :-)  

And one last thing:

Library Days

I get to go back to the public library!  My favorite summer thing to do!  On July 14th (just around the corner I think …. if I knew what day it was I’d know for sure) at 4:30 in the Stanleyafternoon, I’ll be speaking, signing A Fine Romance and answering questions at the West Falmouth Library on Cape Cod ~  You can read more about it HERE. Just in case some of you are in the neighborhood, I’d love to see you.  I promise we’ll try not to have any hurricanes.

There are even more coming attractions, but I will save them for next time! Hope you are having a wonderful day everyone, Byeeee for now, XOXO

with-love

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 388 Comments

Being Lazy . . .

Rabbit Rabbit, I’m back Girlfriends, didja miss me?  I been busy, oh so busy, doing nothing, being lazy . . .  MUSICA bunny-bunny

Hello Everyone

Each day I come to the studio with the intention of writing a new blog post, but the windows are wide open because the weather has been so wonderful and it gets light so early in the morning and the breeze is coming up from the harbor and the garden looks so pretty from the kitchen window so I go look at it, and what do I see, oh my, weeds, so I sit down to pull a few (under that awning they call the sky), and then it’s time for lunch and then I start writing my book and I can’t put it down until it’s time to go for a walk.  I think you get the picture. I needed what Gladys Taber said we all need . . .

Timetodreamquote

 And so that’s where I’ve been.  Taking a long deep breath of home. Peeping through the deep tangled wildwood . . .  

hanging the wash

Hanging the napkins and tablecloth to dry on the line . . . while dreaming . . . 

planting

planting flowers (Calibrachoa) while remembering . . .

canyoudigit

garden

Eating lunch in the garden. For those who read this blog, you probably remember — first we went to New York and when we got back I girl paintingneeded to prepare my AUTUMN book for publication, and then it was time to think about the talk I was giving at the Gladys Taber Reunion, and when we got home from that I got everything ready, made salads and plans for my four high school girlfriends who were coming from California for their first visits to the island. So it’s been go go go. And after they left, it was the brown birds and the butterflies that became the problem . . . it was this . . 

I meant to do my work

the garden

I didn’t fight it. I couldn’t, I needed to breathe it in and girl wateringrefill my inspiration cup, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Not really lazy.  So let’s start here, in the garden, and why not, It’s July! We are in the midst of summer.  Summer!   A little of this, a little of that, and we’ll be all caught up again . . . so here we go. Finally the roses are blooming . . .

new dawn rosesNew Dawn roses on the arbor ~ Joe put up the twinkle lights for the girls.

Rose

our walk

This is what our walk in the woods looks like right now! I took the girls every day they were here. I wish I could describe how wonderful it smells, all piney and woodsy, leafy and green, I think you can see why I love it so much.  A mile and a half out to the water and a mile and a half back.  Perfect.

out to the water

The reward at the end of the road.

Rose

I’ve been bringing the flowers from the garden inside so now I have a cottage garden outside, but my “kitchen garden” is now IN the kitchen.

hydrangeaSheri sent me the new Emma “jug” otherwise known as a “pitcher” ~ so adorable, it’s called “Rose and Bee” and there are matching mugs and tea towels too, I had to carry it around a bit, it’s been in every room in the house, but this is the spot I love it the best. Mrs. Rabbit-Rabbit agrees. We can keep our eye on it here.

lovely

garden

guess who

Jack kept his eye on me while I was out cutting hydrangeas. And Vice Versa.  See him?

Just Joey and Just Jack

My first Just Joey rose is in bloom!  And Just Jack Just Loves It!

kitchen garden

 Every time I go outside I have to get out another little vase, I’m going to need another shelf soon.

jack and the birds

Jack keeps his eyes on the birds.

hummingbird

garden

This is how the garden looks as the sun is coming up . . . sunlight brushes the tops of the pickets, and puts a bright spot on the golden cypress.

hollyhock

The delicate yet bold old-fashioned hollyhock.  Take a deep breath of that. (I already checked it for bees, you’re safe.) The crown of any cottage garden. I have two this year but they’re already on my list for next year, I need more, because I am berserk for these. They grow over six feet high and still manage to look very sweet.

flowers

flowers

Flowers.  The glory of the earth.

flowers

clover's in bloom

Even a lawn filled with clover flowers and flitting bees is lovely.  If you’re new to this blog, you might wonder about how my picket-fence garden came to be and if so, here’s my How-To Kitchen Garden.

catching up

You can blame these guys for my absence too.  I had to schmoosh them.  It kept me very busy.

Girl Kitty

Girl Kitty prefers her schmooshing to be very soft and gentle.  She likes to be carried over my shoulder like a baby and have her ears rubbed. Her mantra?

too much of a good thing

IMG_5354

Jack would prefer to run and play, have me hold him up to look out of windows, have me bring in grass for him to smell.  His mantra?

Play

IMG_4958

They have been patient while I made salad dressing 

wooden-spoon

counting time

Jack

This is Jack, asleep on my art table next to Gladys Taber’s Especially Father book.  He fell asleep waiting for me to throw his rubber band. And then just as he thought he might get me back, I did this!

Girlfriendsforeverart

Lynn, Marilyn, Cathy, and Karen

natural beauty

But how could I not???  SO much fun!  The kitties have been very patient waiting for me to get home!  This is Lynn (above, from the left), Marilyn, Cathy and Karen (Karen I’ve known since I was nine . . . she’s the one I met the Beatles with, everyone else I met in Junior High School) . . . we are, as you can see, at Nancy Luce’s grave in West Tisbury, a Vineyard must-see as far as I’m concerned.  (If Nancy Luce doesn’t sound familiar to you, you can read more about her HERE.  Sometimes she’s known as the “Chicken Lady,” but she’s so much more than that.)

waves

at the Blue Canoe

We had such a great time, dinner on the water and dinner under the arbor; after lunch on the harbor in Edgartown, we walked up North Water Street and looked at the old houses with Widow’s girlfriendsWalks, laughing about being on the drill team, our outfits, the routines, Miss Robathon, making our pom-poms at Marilyn’s house at a slumber party, going to Lake Arrowhead on spring break, boys we had crushes on.  It’s actually quite surprising how little I really knew about everyone. Like if they were the oldest or the youngest in their families.  Or how many brothers or sisters they had. Or something about the lives of their parents.  Things I would think I would know.  That’s because an amoeba has no brain and when I was in high school I was an amoeba, single-celled, as yet unformed. It was so fun to compare memories and meet each other as grown ups.

little necks

We ate icy raw littleneck clams and fresh hot steaming lobsters; we went shopping, we went to the Campground and to the lighthouses and to Menemsha . . . to every spot of interest we could think of.  We sang in the car, windows down, winding on the island roads, old songs, Like this one . . .still my most favorite thing to do in the world, sing in the car with the windows down, and it’s because of these people.  They started it.

us

It couldn’t have been better, but too soon it was time to

saying goodbye

say goodbye, waaaah.

wave bye bye

flower border

petunias

. . . and suddenly it was quiet and we were alone with no place to go . . . it took some adjusting . . .

clover garden

I could almost hear the clover growing.  It’s a very lovely sound.

whistling cup

 You can also blame my new book for my absense.  Because as my inspiration cup is filling, I wake up full of dreams, I make my tea and then I start to write and sometimes I can’t seem to stop. Every day a new detail gets added, a phrase, word, painting, photo, thought, remembered conversation, or song — I don’t want it to end. (“Reaching for the infinite.” GT)

BUT . . . here we are, hard to believe it’s already 

July

The fourth of July

Now it’s time to hang the flag . . .

bird

I found it! And celebrate the birth of our nation.  I’ve been saving this to show you . . . I found it written in crayon on the back of an old Christmas Carol book.  This seems like the perfect time for it!

red white and blueTime for the red white and blue.

ending the night with a BANG

Time for fireworks . . .

Packing for the fireworksTime for a picnic . . .

cold rice salad. . . and all kinds of wonderful picnic foods . . . What are you bringing? . . . How about cold Lemon Rice Salad with lots of flower petals, delicious AND beautiful — here’s the RECIPE. 

Pineapple upside down cake

or the best picnic cake of them all . . . tender and moist, not too sweet . . .

Yum!

 Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with a sticky brown-sugary edge and vanilla bean sauce.  Yum!  Here’s the recipe for that…

Picnic Squash Salad

Or, fresh from the garden, Squash Salad with Nasty Nasturtiums.  Easy, quick, delicious, the squash stays crisp, like pickles.  Try it!

squash salad

Before I go, in case you haven’t noticed, if you have my wall calendar hanging somewhere in your house, something is hideously girlartmissing from it.  You’ve probably figured it out, but if you haven’t, try not to look for July 31 because it’s just not there.  I have a weak, limp excuse and/or reason, and here it is, it comes also with a strong, forthright FIX . . . so go there to read more and add that little something to your calendar that all calendars should have.  The last day of July.

And one last little reminder for all of us
housework
As Jack would say
Play
Love you XOXO GO US
Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 404 Comments