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My quote of the day

…today and everyday for that matter because it comes up so much for me:

“The root of the word “jealousy,” is actually an old French word, jalousie, meaning “enthusiasm, love, longing.”

from Alexandra Franzen’s post, sent there from another Cape Codder’s blog (she packs some good leads) — rather funny, because it’s a topic I revisit constantly when I venture online.

Not jealous of this girl though, only happy and proud — my daughter’s off on solo travels this minute en route to Bali for 6 weeks. A huge thank you to my Squam pal, Cheryl, for hosting her in San Francisco before today’s departure.

The Cottage on the Beach

“D” for Dinky. We landed in East Sandwich off Ploughed Neck Road in a wee cottage with a big “D” on it for identification. “D” for dinky we said. How were we, a family of six to fit into such a tiny shack at the edge of the ocean? For a whole week!
Well, we did and we ate taffy, ran in and out of ice cold ocean water (it was June), and we bought sweatshirts at King’s Department Store in Hyannis to combat the gray chill damp drizzle that foreshadowed the weather to come that entire summer and fall.

We went into Hyannis to “People Watch,” a favorite past time, checking out the hippies and the obvious tourists (it’s always the men and their socks that makes them easy to spot).
We went to the Doll and Glass museums in Sandwich Village.

Next thing I knew, my parents had bought a house in Hyannis from Joe Coughlin, and we weren’t going “home” to Virginia.

House

Marty and I sit here in our house every day and express our thanks to each other (and to my father who helped make it happen), we love this little house so. As did Leona, her previous owner who dreamed of returning here for more than a decade, finally succumbing at the age of 96 to selling it to me. I’d written to Leona almost 15 years ago, back when I was still raising my kids and longing for a house that could be our home again — a place to grow roots, yet not become root bound. And here it is. At the epicenter of the transportation center of Cape Cod that is Hyannis, where planes buzz overhead, cars rumble in the distance, the trains screech into the station (along with the buses), and the ferry horn sounds for the last boat to the islands every evening. Bliss.

Writing

I am writing today and have all my notes scattered on my table. It’s hard work, but I’m lucky to have a virtual mentor in Camille DeAngelis, and a real world mentor in Diane Hanna.

Camille has some great video tutorials on her site about the writing process and these have helped me tremendously. Her teaching style is conversational, calm, grounded and practical. Simple tools to help me map out my story and process. I keep returning to what is the story I am trying to tell? What is my focus? Paying attention to those two questions brings me back when I feel overwhelmed with too much information. I began writing a survival guide a few years ago. It’s also developing into a field guide and in the end I believe it will ultimately again be a survival guide. To surviving changes, good and bad and learning to find the best amongst the changes.

Pasta Club

For Christmas, my daughter and her boyfriend gave me some pastalicious gifts — a pasta making class, and pasta club. The pasta class has me on the hunt for a manual pasta maker, preferably unused, in the box, sitting in one of our local thrift shops. (I gave mine away years ago thinking I’d never use it! Wrong!) Fresh pasta is now like fresh local grapes were for me when I first had them…nothing but fresh and local (my own kitchen if possible!) will do now.

But, in the meantime, I have pasta club and this past Saturday was my first day of it. Major yum and so simple! I picked up fresh tagliatelle, grated butternut squash, fresh thyme and basil, a plug of butter and olive oil, and salty toasted pistachios in several little containers. Included was a take and bake baguette, also!

To make the entree: get your pot of salted water boiling for the pasta. In a cast iron pan, heat the butter and olive oil on medium heat until hot, then add your shredded squash, stirring occasionally as it cooks. When the water’s boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain most of the water out, leaving a wee bit. Dump this in with your squash, lowering the heat and giving it a good stir. Add grated Romano or Parmesan if you’d like, toss well and serve with pistachios and crumbled herbs (I used the thyme…so delicious!). Mangia!

A Calling

My word for 2012 when I picked one (choosing amongst plenty is so very difficult for me) was FOCUS. And upon reflecting today, I realized that while I am distracted by an endless list of interests, I have managed to pull some focus. What helped was moving away from the Cape to New Bedford for not even a year (!) and learning that I missed my family and the community I have created here. Terribly. And that it’s also okay to miss Vermont after 15 years, but that Hyannis is now my home, for better or worse, and I am ready to commit.

Having a house with a bit of land certainly helps with the commitment factor, but I returned here with no thought of ever owning again, and I was fine with that. Then a well-loved house down the street from my Dad’s (Home has been a vision I’ve held in my heart for close to the 15 years I’ve been back here) manifested. I am fortunate to have a generous father. He’s a quiet, simple living, traditional and conservative sort of guy, but he is so good to my sisters and me. And if that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.

The folks I sold my Vermont home to sold it this past year (I dreamed about buying it back) and that probably helped me move forward too. And there is a vibrant community here on the Cape, I had just dropped out of it for several years. Got tired of working at it, the ups and downs, slips and slides, big fish in a small pond syndrome, cliques, and all that. But not anymore. Belonging, to myself, to a community, to the landscape, is WORK. And it is my Work. I thought my word for this year was going to be HOME, but after writing this I am not so sure. My word for 2013 may be WORK. It is a good 4 letter word.

Millbillies and the Mainstream

 I keep putting off this post but every week that goes by I want to write something for Siobhan. I have never watched American Idol except in occasional blips when my daughter’s had it on telly.
When I have caught it, I find it to be a rather cruel show like many of these competition shows seem to be.

That being said, last week was glorious and sunny, and I decided to finally get out and take photos of all the banners around town supporting Siobhan. At the vet a few weeks ago, my son, John and Susan (our vet and his wife) were reminiscing about the high school days when Anthony would be jamming in the basement with Colin, Rory and Mike, while Siobhan ran around upstairs chasing Colin’s younger brother Miles. Molly came home from school one day in high school and said to me, “remember Anthony’s friend, Rory? you should hear his sister sing — she should be on American Idol.” And so here she is today, a big girl on American Idol. Marching to the beat of her own drum. Which is very hard to do in our culture with more “I don’t get you Simons” out there than “this is who I am Siobhans.”

Perhaps Simon would “get her” if he knew the context of this place called Cape Cod, where Siobhan is from. I left for almost twenty years, and when I came back I felt like Rip Van Winkle. Many of the players were older but they were the same players running the show. And when they weren’t the same, it didn’t matter — it was still the same act, just a different face and name. Sometimes, I feel like an outsider here among the SUV and hydrangea painting fans. But there is an underground offbeat culture that permeates the backside of this peninsula and that is where I feel most at home. I’ve found it through music, dance, nature, offbeat cafes and other venues of creativity. I seek the subculture out as best I can.

There’s a dusky mauve Cape in Marstons Mills with a big banner for Siobhan in the yard — possibly her house, as it looks like a house that has lots of kids and energy (she has about 5 siblings). It’s a burst of magic in the midst of the mediocre. Many years ago, when I first saw her dad at one of the boys’ concerts on the town green, I was thrilled to see a long-haired, tattooed sleeves guy (also a musician). The whole family is a quirky, talented and creative blend of renegade Cape Cod natives, something I’ve sorely missed. It’s good to still find it here.

** You  might have to click on the collage to see the whole thing…

You Can’t Go Home Again


Isn’t that the name of a book? I think so, one I read back in my college years. It’s true you know. You can’t go home again. It stays the same and yet it’s never the same.