Posts Tagged ‘Rhode Island’

I am feeling the pressure to crank out these babies and I’ll tell you why.

Babies, of course, referring to items on the list. Not actual babies.

“Avoiding doldrums of winter” is the list. Refer to past postings for the other seven.

The reason I am feeling pressure is because the winter is flying. In about eighteen days the clocks in my house will “Spring Ahead!” by an hour. We will blink and there will be crocuses popping out of the ground. It will be Easter and then it will be the Fourth of July.

That sounds like good news. Besides the fact life is going by quickly.

So is my list even necessary?

Probably.

Because some winters are longer than others. Some are colder. Different regions experience different weather.

So here goes.

#8

An eye catcher. 

Usually that’s me. But for the purpose of this list I will stick with inanimate objects.

Have something that brightens up the joint. Something visible that catches your eye. Lifts your mood. Each and every time. Acts like a dopamine drip.

We surround ourselves with furniture and a lifetime of dust collectors. How often do we actually acknowledge them? Even notice that they are there?

Yes, most of us are generally happy with our space. The overall feeling when you walk in the front door. Believe me, some days that feeling of contentment and “I’m in the comfort of my own place” vibe is enough for anyone.

Maybe looking for something more is asking too much?

Nah.

We have to continue working on the “shaking the blues” list! Something more than the same old thing is necessary.

This always works for me.

thumperwatching

But not everyone wants or is able to have a pet and I promised to stick with inanimate.

There are a few things around the house, other than husband and dog, that I really like and always seem to brighten my moments.

I’ll share one today.

painting

This is a small painting by a local Rhode Island artist named Kathy Weber. I have it displayed on a wall in a high traffic area near the front door.

Different things appeal to each of us for a variety of reasons. That is what makes the world go ’round.

When I look at this piece of art I am immediately transported to the town where I was raised. Sure, this could be a winter street scene from any New England working class neighborhood. But it looks exactly like mine. I also love the colors Weber uses in her work.

I found it at Neville Fine Art and Framing in Warren, Rhode Island. I chatted with Donna, the owner, back in the summer while admiring the shop and its nicely displayed pieces.

This little gem caught my eye and then I left without buying it.

I don’t know why. What’s wrong with me? It’s probably because I am a Libra and any decisions I ever need to make practically have to involve a congressional hearing. It’s no joke. So hard for me.

Then I started having these pangs of what I guess could only be described as the opposite of buyer’s remorse. Non-buyer’s remorse.

I knew then I just had to have it.

So a few days later my friend and I headed to the shop. Of course, we showed up after business hours.

The following week I was with another friend and drove to the shop. Had every intention of arriving home with my new bundle of joy. Nope. Didn’t happen. The place was not open on this particular day.

I was about to go down another road. You know the one. It’s called, “Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”

But I didn’t.

The third time was the charm. Whew!

Okay, I can’t make decisions to save my life. But once something gets stuck in my head it’s going absolutely nowhere until I deal with it. If a person looks up the definition of “dogged” in the dictionary my eye catching face will be staring right back at them. My Dad used to say, “Watch out when she gets a bee in her bonnet.” He wasn’t lying.

Thank God it’s only the small stuff with me.

Imagine how tired I would be if I was going for world peace? Or bringing down the number of mass killings in the U.S.?

As a side note. It won’t take you three times to gain entry into Donna’s shop. That was just me, flying by the seat of my pants, without checking business hours and days of operation before hopping in the car. Expecting the world to revolve around my whims. 

If you are in the area stop by and see Donna. You’ll be glad you did. Tell her I sent you. Just say, “Mary, the lady who loves that your shop smells like Christmas all year round.” She’ll know. 

I bought the painting and I love it. It is a bright spot on a winter’s day.

Obviously, a painting is not going to do it for everyone. But there will be something. You’ll find it.

The eye catcher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

#7

On my list of things to fight the winter blues.

Take a walk.

Blessed with a day that is not considered, “Dangerous conditions?” Then you should take advantage of it.

If the sun is shining just bundle up and walk. Grab a friend. Discover things you would never find driving in a car. Make new acquaintances. Appreciate nature. Stroll around town. Visit the shops. Or a local park. Read the historical plaques.

I live in the Northeast. Basically, that means a person never really knows what tomorrow’s weather might bring. Have to enjoy the good days when you can!

This was yesterday.

snowbunny

But the rest of the photos were taken the day before yesterday. Or sometime during the previous week.

Our Thumper. Loving life. Every single minute.

thumpcolt1

Mussel heaven.

bris3

Barrington.

barrington

Swans on thin ice in Warren, Rhode Island.

colt9

The swans started bickering with each other. This one had enough and hightailed it out of  there. It’s like seeing a giraffe fly. Never gets old.

colt10

Dinosaur bones. Okay, found these a couple of months ago. Not last week. Poppasquash, Bristol.

dinosaurbones

 

dinosaur

Tankers and ships are a common sight on Narragansett Bay as they head into the Port of Providence.

bris12

Donkey and sheep in Bristol.

colt5

Bristol Yacht Club.

colt8

Clam digging.

bris4

New England scene.

bris6

Last week I saw sheep, clam diggers, tankers, swans, mussels, a donkey and so much more. In the middle of winter.

Share your discoveries!

Happy walking!

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

In my last post, I promised to share more information about a couple of the books that are in this photo.

bookslibrary

Going to the neighborhood library and appreciating your tax dollars at work was #5 on Mary’s “Wintry Mix” list.

In that same vein (sort of) I respectfully piggy back on the reading theme in this post for #6.

Go local.

Okay, I really wanted to type “Go loco” above instead of Go local. But I didn’t.

Support not just your local library but the local authors and bookstores. And authors who write about your locale or community.

Honestly, not sure why but I always feel like I’ve got some skin in the game when I’ve got one of those books in my hands.

Like I get all, “That’s my neighborhood. My town. My state. My people.” You can just imagine me with a puffed out chest. And not a puffed out post menopausal belly. Full of pride.

About two months ago I met Jeanne Mc Williams Blasberg at this literary event in Providence. She was on her own so there were a couple of extra chairs begging for middle-aged occupants. Jeanne was kind enough to allow me (and a friend) to sit at her table.

Got chatting, as one does, and I absolutely did the whole Rhode Island thing. That is to relentlessly dig until you find out what or who we have in common. I usually have the energy for it. That night was no exception.

Well, we are both mothers, both lived in California and both did the expat overseas gig. Okay, sure, that could be enough to keep a semi-decent conversation going between people who just met- before the event and during intermission.

Then I found out she was an author.

Wait, what?

She has a book “Eden” floating out there and a new one being published soon.

Truthfully, between you and me, I think I might be an authorphile. You could put me in a room with Tom Brady and a writer and I be like, “Tom, I will totally hook up with you in a few. I swear. Just gotta catch up with Jeanne here.”

Tom Brady dropped like a hot potato by JBM. True story. Ain’t gonna lie.

I’m always curious about every human being but now I have questions galore for this stranger at my table. Her table. She was there first.

“Wait, how do you spell your name? Plasberg? Is that with a P? What’s it about? Where does it take place?”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I might have been a little loud because, well, I am loud. That’s who I am. And it was in a dark bistro (I know that dark should not matter for sound but neither should immediate radio music turn down when looking for a house number while driving) with a crowd of other ladies all excited to be at a watering hole with their ilk. So their noise level didn’t help mine.

“Eden” is set in my home state of Rhode Island. A fictional coastal town many natives might recognize. A novel about a family and secrets. How the lens might originally be black and white but gets a little grainy and gray (Thank you, Jesus!) with each new generation.

I really enjoyed it. Jeanne incorporates historical events-whether economic collapse or a world war-as a back drop to give the reader a feel for the time and its social mores.

Okay, Jeanne is not native to Rhode Island but she has a place with us now. Not everyone can be born here. We just don’t have the room. But as people leave or the older folks depart then spaces open up and we need to be welcoming. And then supportive.

When I was at the library poking around I noticed they had a section, by the check out desk, that had books written by local authors or about the area.

Well, why wouldn’t I read them?

I brought home Mary Cantwell’s “American Girl: Scenes from a Small-Town Childhood.” Mary was an editor and columnist for the New York Times but grew up in Bristol, Rhode Island. This book is filled with lovely memories of her childhood in this seaside town during the 1940s and 1950s. It’s like finding someone’s diary. I feel like everyone has a story. Hers was a pleasant one. Added bonus was I had a better understanding of the town’s history after reading this simple, old-fashioned memoir.

As you can see in the photo I had also grabbed Bernie Mulligan’s, “I Made It.” A story set in the town of East Providence where I was raised. I didn’t read it yet but I will. I had too many open books at the time.

This book is about a woman who was fully paralyzed from polio. She also had four sons under the age of seven when it happened! Can you even imagine?

I am so surprised I never knew about this. It’s a story of family love and commitment. Her husband fixed up an old bus so that she and her family could travel. When he passed away the neighborhood kids collected 6000 books of Green Stamps to buy a Winnebago. Or a caravan for my European readers. The newly licensed young neighbors all took turns driving her across the country to the Pacific Ocean. Oh my gosh. That’s God’s work right there. Makes me proud to be a Townie. I definitely have to read this.

Couple of books from Ann Leary in that photo. Northeast girl living in New England. I love her books. She just gets me. LOL I mean, I just get her. She’s married to comedian Denis Leary but I feel like she actually might be the funny one in that relationship. These two books (in the photo) were good but I loved, “The Good House.” I remember laughing out loud while reading it. Very few authors make me LOL. I also really liked her book “The Children.”

Not in the above photo but here is another book I recently enjoyed. Staying with the local vibe.

tenemental1

When I was born my parents lived in a tenement. I get it. When my husband and I bought our first home it was in Providence. A condo on the East Side. In a freaking tenement! I still haven’t heard the end of that one. But when I walked in, after the Boston group that owned it did their rehab and tagged the three floors as condos, I fell in love with the original wood floors gleaming on a sunny day. I coveted the fireplace that had been there for ages.

We’ll take it!

What I didn’t consider was that the bathroom had no heating. At all. That original, like the drafty windows we could barely open, wasn’t always a good thing.

Still. So many fabulous memories in that place. No regrets.

Anyway.

I consider the purchase of this book a trifecta. I supported a local book store Twenty Stories, a Providence author and really enjoyed this memoir. Filled with quirky tenants, boyfriends and lore.

That’s it for my #6 on getting through winter! Enough about books already. I’ll lay off bookspeak for awhile. I’m exhausted. Yes, it has to do with books. I will tell you why in another blog posting. Not the next one. But someday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Number 5 on the “Wintry Mix” list.

Honestly, yesterday it was 53 degrees (Fahrenheit) and I was riding my bike. I have no right to complain about weather at all. I was practically skipping the day before that with my winter coat wide open while on the nearby bike path.

What should be on the list is this. If it’s not freezing or raining then get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors. If you get that pseudo Spring day then run with it.

Today, it’s a little cooler but still lovely.

Now that you know the current weather report let me proceed with my original list of things to combat seasonal blues. This is number 5.

Visit your local library. 

When I first moved back to Rhode Island it was one of the first things I did. And walked out with my shiny new library card.

Reading has always been an enjoyment of mine. So it’s only natural that I would love a place that’s chock-full of books.

But I also find it’s so much more.

No cover charge. Not a soul trying to sell you anything. Sounds like a coffee shop except that in a coffee shop you usually need to buy something if you are hogging a seat.

A couple of weeks ago it was slamming down rain and chilly. I hurriedly entered the library shaking out droplets like a dog just out of a bath.

It was soooo cozy, dry and warm.

I perused the titles as I ambled through the aisles. Reserved some books on their computer system. Checked out a bunch with the librarian.

Then stood at the community board for twenty minutes taking in all of the events and activities. They have an open mic event, local author night, classes for all ages, free blood pressure checks, an educational talk on DNA, assistance with taxes, brochures for seasonal/local events and more.

I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Wait, is this the place to be?

I’m thinking yes.

This is the group of books that busted out of the dusty prison and escaped home with me. A furlough for just a few weeks.

bookslibrary

There is more I want to discuss about a couple of these books. But that will be next blog posting!

If you are experiencing cabin fever or feeling blue due to the season then bundle up and head to your local library. You will appreciate the change of scenery.

Remember, it doesn’t cost a dime. It’s absolutely quiet and peaceful. It’s educational and a great resource for community events.

If that is not enough to convince you then digest this.

Reading fiction makes you a kinder and more compassionate human being. I read it in a study. 🙂

So how about that?

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

I have said it more than once.

Autumn came so quickly.

pinkleaves.JPG

Seemed like I was just sitting on the shore, drink in hand and watching the evening sunset.

summersunset

Then this. Wham! My youngest was heading back to university.

Once the kid left it seemed there were changes every place I looked. Of course, I found some sadness in this. It was like a scorecard I was keeping. Yup, check off one more not-so-happy thing.

Keep in mind, I was also experiencing a New England autumn after being away twenty-four years during this very season. Lot of transitioning. On many different levels.

Leaves on the trees turned glorious, riotous shades and then fluttered to the ground. Skeletons in their wake.

yellowtree1

yellowtree2

The ice cream shops were now sporting signs like “Closed For The Season” and “See You In The Spring!”

Del’s, an extremely popular Rhode Island frozen lemonade business, shuttered their stands and trucks instantly went into hibernation.

The birds, who were annoyingly loud outside our bedroom window in the wee hours of the morning, silenced overnight.

All of the neat little nests dotting our yard and stuffed under the eaves had “vacancy” signs on them.

No more pleasure boats zipping down the bay. Now they are white, shrink wrapped objects perched on steel stands and peppering boatyards all over the state.

The sun setting just minutes after my afternoon tea. Okay, I don’t have an afternoon tea but it sounded so good. My point is the sunset was no longer an evening thing.

Even our compost bin eventually went quiet. Crickets. Anyone who composts food and plant scraps knows you practically need a pair of goggles or a gas mask when you open the lid in the summer. Especially if it wasn’t recently turned. Smells and a million, billion fruit flies make a fruit-line to your face. No activity, at all, once temperatures drop.

compost1

But there was one thing that really made me realize the wonderful summer season came to an end and it sort of made me sad. Not as sad as the youngest leaving or as sad as losing and missing our loved ones. But still. Like it was the last and final straw of summer.

The osprey left.

Ospreys are magnificent birds of prey. Huge raptors. Looks like a big hawk or eagle. Moonlight as fishermen. Has a few young ones in the Spring. And then once autumn arrives it quickly flies off in the direction of South America. The ginormous nests, a convenient five minute walk from our house, are in the marshland and built on tall wooden roosts. Now totally empty.

ospreynest

When I saw the empty nest my eyes filled up. Silly really. Because I know they are coming back in the Spring. I also realize it was some type of temporary Mommy transference phenomenon.

Summer was truly gone.

So, what to do?

The only thing is to shake if off and approach autumn with gusto. Enjoy every minute. Be glad of the different seasons because it is a continual promise. When one ends another beautiful season begins.

Sometimes that is easier said than done. Especially when the afternoon sky is dark and it gets cold. Autumn quickly becomes winter.

In the coming days I will share things that have enhanced and cheered my autumn and winter. I’m normally a happy sort and have been enjoying it. It does not have to be gloomy. It’s all up to me. It’s all up to you.

While we sit and wait for the osprey’s return.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

“A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”

I’ve read that quote more than once and I believe this to be the absolute truth. You all know how I feel about family. If we share the same blood/family we are members of a very special club. Ain’t nobody getting kicked out of it. Even if we no longer see each other very often.

I have more than twenty-five first cousins. But when I was a kid most lived in Ireland and some in England.

So, sadly, I didn’t share a childhood with all of my cousins. But that was just reality.

The ones who I did share my childhood with consisted of three families who lived in the U.S. like me.

They were my Dad’s sister, Rose Marie and her family in New York. In Rhode Island we had the families of Mom’s sister, Patsy and her brother, Jimmy.

Summer holidays and other times during the year were spent with the New York cousins.

Christmas, Easter, cookouts and regular Sunday visits to the grandparents were spent with the Rhode Island cousins.

Oh, what fun we had when we were young.

There were the older cousins in our (my brothers and me) age range and then a few younger ones came along in the 1970s. That was pretty exciting for us. Everyone liked babies and they were just absorbed. Welcomed into the fold.

That’s the funny thing about babies. They are not like the future in-laws who take awhile to break into the family. To be a part of the club and inner circle. Going through the initiation and all.

But a baby? Born into the family? The bouncer just lets that little bundle of joy right into the club! Like a celebrity with status. No stopping at the door, stamping its hand or questioning their right to be there. They’re totally in!

One of my baby cousins died on March 18th. John was just shy of his forty-seventh birthday. He will be interred tomorrow with his beloved mother.

I last saw him when he made the trip to Rhode Island for my Dad’s funeral three years ago. Even though it was a sad time I was really happy to see him and so many family members. These days everyone lives in different places and reunions are not always easy or frequent. So weddings and funerals are the “go to” places for the big catch ups.

John was a beautiful child. An adorable kid with a mop of curly red hair. He was intelligent and good humored. He was a nice and decent boy who grew up to be a nice and decent man.

He died young. Too young.

For the record, I think all deaths under the age of eighty are sort of tragic.

Today is no different.

John died because he was a human being. Lest we forget -we are all afflicted with that title.

A death reminds us that we are all human. Some might dodge the bullets of life. Others aren’t so fortunate and get hit head on. But we all know, really, that sometimes we just have no say or control. Our expiration date, like a milk carton, might (I say might) have been printed long ago. Even if we argue or beg that it could have been/should have been different.

It’s still tragic. It’s heartbreaking and sad.

One of the benefits of being in the cousins’ club is that there is only love. No jealousy or judgement. We’re family and are grateful for the shared and special memories. We take joy in the success and happiness of each other. We are sympathetic when one is experiencing family problems, job loss, illness and other maladies of life.

There is profound and utter sadness when we lose one of our gang.

When John was a baby I was sleeping at his house one weekend. Poor little thing couldn’t pronounce my name (Mary Beth) but he tried. In the morning I heard a little voice coming from the crib, “Maybell?”

Since then it’s been “ours” and we didn’t ever let it go.

So every year on our birthdays and other Facebook messages we used Maybell instead of my real name. Now, I’m wondering if he actually ever knew what my real name was.

Anyway, it was like we were little kids. He in his forties and me in my fifties. In a way, a simple word brought us back in time and kept us young. Even if it was for a minute. It was a shared memory.

See, because a cousin is a little piece of childhood that can never be lost.

John will always and forever be a part of my childhood that can never be lost.

We will miss you, John. Rest in peace. Like one of your sisters said, “Rest is not so easy right now on this side of Heaven.”

The club will no longer be the same, little cousin.

With all my love,

Maybell

 

 

In memory of John J. Kelly

1971-2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »