Saturday, May 14, 2005

Saturday, May 14, 2005
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Chiron Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Tuesday’s work was fine, both day work and the show. I felt so bad during the day, that, had there been anyone to cover me at night, I would have taken it off. But there wasn’t, and, fortunately, I felt better as the day went on and was able to do the show.

Got home, finished the last-minute stuff, but had trouble sleeping.

We got on the road a little after 6 AM on Wednesday. We hit some traffic around New Haven and then at Hartford, but, for the most part, it was smooth. Stopped in Kittery to do a bit of browsing in some of the outlets. Our favorite restaurant in York was closed, so we had to keep looking. We ended up eating at a fairly new local place called Norma’s – simple food, and a favorite with the locals, because of the low prices. It was good, and I got an interesting book of local lighthouse lore at the store.

We made a stop at a thrift store that yielded a great deal in November, but had nothing of interest today. That’s the fun of hunting through thrift shops and flea markets – you can’t plan that you’ll find something. You have to just hunt through and see what’s there.

Another stop – The Book Barn in Wells, one of my favorite stores. The guy knows what he has, which means his prices aren’t always the lowest. But what he has tends to be good, and, if I sort patiently through the shelves, I can usually find something reasonably priced that pertains to my research.

Today, I bought a box of books. An entire box. They weren’t all sitting prettily in the box waiting for me – but the owner had to give me a large box so that I could cart them all away. I think he was afraid I’d change my mind and return them if I didn’t toss them quickly into the trunk and go.

If I’d had more money with me, I’d have bought more!

It was an absolute treasure trove of the whaling books I need for the whaling saga. I have no doubt the research for this book will take at least two years. I’ve picked up some relevant research along the way during my article research in Montauk and Sag Harbor for other things, and while researching Charlotte. But most of it needs to be independent.

All the books I got are hard covers (hear me groan as I hauled the box up three flights of stairs): The Winter Beach by Charlton Ogburn, Jr.;, A Book of Sea Journeys, compiled by Ludovic Kennedy; Of Whales and Men by R.B. Robertson; The Year of the Whale by Victor B. Scheffer; The Story of Yankee Whaling by Irwin Shapiro; Folklore and the Sea by Horace Beck; and, the piece de resistance, The Nagle Journal: A diary of the Life of Jacob Nagle, Sailor, from the Year 1775 to 1841, edited by John C. Dann. This last one had a small printing, and this is a first edition! It was more expensive than I would have, ideally, wished, but I knew it would haunt me if I didn’t just buy it. So I did, and now it’s mine, and I can use it for information pertaining to both Charlotte and the whaling saga.

My grandmother is quite frail, which is worrisome, but she and my great-uncle were happy to see us. We all went out to one of our favorite local restaurants, Cole’s Farms, for dinner (sea scallops), and caught up. We had visitors that evening, for some more catching up, and a lively discussion about the best way to drive to Boothbay Harbor. I have a feeling that, no matter what I do, I will get lost.

I fell asleep listening to the frogs singing in the pond. We always called them “peepers”. They bring back happy memories of being a child visiting my grandmother when she had the house on the cranberry bog in Foxboro. In the summer, we used to set up camp cots on the screened in porch and sleep out there, and the peepers would sing us to sleep. Grandma told me that the peepers are all over the area, including down on Cape Cod, so maybe I can incorporate them into the Salt Marsh stories.

Thursday was a beautiful day, although much cooler than expected. I managed to get in a couple of hours’ worth of work on the Brother Joseph novella and read up on Thoreau’s experience in the Maine woods before leaving for Boothbay Harbor.

Brunswick really needs to fix their roads. Other than that, the trip was extremely pleasant. Bath looks fascinating – next time I’m up, I have to spend some time there. It could be relevant to the whaling saga. Wiscasset is a lovely little town, as is Edgcomb, which is famous for its pottery. The cemetery at Edgcomb is open, without walls. Yet, the central “entrance” is a large iron (I wasn’t close enough to see if it was wrought iron or cast iron) archway in the middle of the field, with all the gravestones lined up behind it. I now wish I’d stopped to photograph it. Next time.

My friend gave me perfect directions (always important since I have no natural sense of direction) and I found the soon-to-be-opened coffee bar without any trouble.

Here’s information and some photos for the Townsend Avenue Coffee and Wine Bar:

The beauty and attention to detail they’ve put in are wonderful. The counters a local blacksmith/artist created for them are stunning – I definitely have to find out more about this guy’s work. The colours are beautiful, and the atmosphere of the place is filled with love and joy. Considering it was once a funeral home, that’s a major achievement! They’ve done so much in only two months. I’m sure it will be a wonderful and popular local hangout.

They showed me their new house, as well – the dogs were so happy to see me again, and even one of the cats demanded attention. The house is perfect – it is truly their little piece of heaven up in Boothbay Harbor. I’m so glad they’ve followed their dreams in this, and are making their dreams come true.

It also gives me courage to follow my dreams of my relocation.

We ate at a lovely wharf-side restaurant, and then they drove me around the area – Ocean Point, some of the local islands, etc. It’s so gorgeous. They pointed out other houses they’d considered, and the ones that were still for sale.

I might have to set something in the area. It’s so stunning, how could one not?

And the place is very friendly.

I have no doubt the place will be an enormous success. And they certainly deserve it.

Drove back slowly. Stopped at the information center in Yarmouth to gather info for future travel writing.

A van full of Baptist men from Georgia pulled up beside me (I know they were Baptists because they had it painted on the van and it had Georgia license plates). They stumbled out of the van and staggered around the parking lot, reeking and making lewd, inappropriate and harassing comments. They may claim they’re drunk on the Lord, but it smelled like good, old-fashioned alcohol to me. Yet more religious hypocrisy at work.

Caught up with family in the evening. My grandmother’s intent on giving things away right now (alarming us), and threatens to throw it all out if we don’t want it. There are many photos from decades back. She says she can’t enjoy them anymore and no one wants them. I rescued what I could. I also used my digital camera to photograph some photos that I think the rest of the family will want (because the photos are relevant to them) and I didn’t feel I had the right to take them. I hope they don’t end up in the trash. That would be a tragedy. An historical society would be interested in archiving them, if nothing else. But my grandmother doesn’t believe me.

Turns out one of the relatives works as a shipbuilder in Bath – I’m going to have to pick his brains next time I come up. I want to learn all about it. And I want to poke around Bath.

One of the toilets stopped working, so my great-uncle and his step-son tramped down to the basement to work on the tank. Sitting in the living room, reading, I could hear the rise and fall of their voices. They came stomping back up the stairs about forty minutes later, grinning from ear to ear. There’s nothing boys of any age like better than to mess around with house stuff! (At least the toilet works again – for now).

There’s enormous concern that the Department of Refusing-to-Defend Us will shutter the base at Brunswick, which will have an enormously negative impact on the local economy. There are hardly any jobs outside of the tourist industry as is.

I haven’t checked yet to see if that happened, but on the drive home, I heard that they plan to shut the submarine base at Groton. I agree with Senator Lieberman – it is completely irresponsible to do so, on both economic and defense grounds.

Like I said, they are the Department of Refusing to Defend Us.

And, while it may save the government department a small amount of money, in perspective, over 20 years, it causes much more loss in economic hardships to the communities in which the bases are shuttered. But, of course, the immediate families of the people making the decisions aren’t affected, so, as usual, they don’t give a damn about everyone else just fighting to make a living.

The individuals who are in the military, actually in the line of fire, are there to protect their homes and families, in both the immediate and the wider sense. Unfortunately, those making the decisions are removed from the personal aspect (which is the only reason any sane person goes out to put him or herself in the line of fire—to defend individuals and families that have meaning), and move both the soldiers and the civilians around like chess pieces. This is not the Dark Ages, although it feels as though we are moving back there, and we are not all cannon fodder simply because we’re not millionaires. We are not peasants to be sacrificed so that the feudal lords – now called corporations –can continue to get fatter and fatter and feed off of the people actually doing the work.

The code from medieval days that I believe should be re-instated is that, if there is a war, the children of the leaders are required to fight in it. Maybe then the leaders would exercise a bit more caution.

It went down to 37 degrees on Thursday night! The meteorologists speculated it might get as cold as 21, breaking the record. But it didn’t.

We hit the road by 8 AM on Friday the 13th (one of my favorite days in the calendar). Instead of our usual route home, we decided to cut through Boston. We went over the new bridge – it looks like a piece of sculpture – absolutely stunning – and through the tunnel to get to South Shore. We drove around Duxbury and fell in love with it. I’m going to do some serious house-hunting there. The place feels right.

We drove on to Plymouth, and ate at one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, Carmen’s Café Nicole. I exchanged information with the owner – I want to write about the place. It deserves a wide audience – the food is fantastic, the service is great, and the vibe welcoming:

Instead of taking Rt. 44 West towards Taunton, which we hate, we continued down to the Cape Cod Canal and across through New Bedford and Fall River back to Providence, before heading down.

I saw the bridge I featured in “Impressions” – which was backed up for miles yesterday, due to construction! And I’ll have to plan a trip to New Bedford to take in the Whaling Museum. I visited it while my dad was still alive, which means before I turned ten. I have vague impressions of the exhibits, especially the ship’s figurines, but I don’t remember details.

And I need it for the whaling saga.

From Providence back to home, the traffic was disgusting. We left Maine at 8 AM and didn’t get back until 6 PM. Usually, we can make the drive in 5-6 hours. Even with checking out Duxbury and the hour or so stop in Plymouth, it was an unusually long return trip.

But I have to get up to Maine more frequently. I’m going to try to arrange things to get up in mid-July again. I don’t want my next trip up to be for my grandmother’s funeral.

The cats are happy we’re home. A retaining wall collapsed in NYC on the Henry Hudson Parkway, but, fortunately, no people were injured. There’s tension and worry and stress and fear and the usual state of siege around here.

It’s a sharp contrast to Boothbay Harbor and to Plymouth.

I need to make the move sooner rather than later.

I came home to find a big mistake in the Author-Artist contracts for the serials. I won’t sign them until it’s fixed. It was a genuine mistake, not a trying-to-pull-the-wool-over-our-eyes – but I’m still not going to sign it until it’s fixed.

Today, I have to write the pre-Preakness article and get it to my editor. I need to do some work on the serials, choose the cover art for Angel Hunt (far too many babes in bustiers in my choices), work on my blurbs for the novella tie-ins, and work on the actual serials. And, I have to work on my menteee’s novella.

A busy day. Better get started. Already did the grocery shopping and need to find time to do some laundry.

For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.


At 11:01 PM, Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

I speed read this when I caught a glimpse of the book treasures! Currently, I'm working more on my artwork than on writing, so I must tear myself away and finish printing reproductions of my paintings and photographs.

Hopefully, later this weekend or next week, I will be back, and read while making jewelry. Your blog writing style is well-done and inviting!


Post a Comment

<< Home