Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

May 30, 2008

Fool me once, shame on you

Fool me twice and your ass goes to juvenile hall. At least that's what SHOULD have happened.

I'm sure you all remember Washington's favorite juvenile delinquent, Semaj Booker, who managed to talk his way onto 2 flights last year, after stealing a car to get to SeaTac Airport, the day after he was busted for stealing, and crashing, another car in a high speed chase. He was all of 11 then. Judge McCarthy, here in Tacoma, issued an order requiring the kid and his mother to stay in Pierce County and not leave, pending resolution of the matter. So what do they do? Fly to LA to appear on "Dr. Phil". Judge McCarthy cuts him another break, and tells him to stay out of trouble for one year....or else.

The little juvenile delinquent was just bagged AGAIN at SeaTac, on the ramp to a flight leaving for Sacramento. He was trying to get to Texas, just like he tried last year. Authorities have decided not to file new charges, although I am hoping that Judge McCarthy yanks the deal off the table and throws this little shit in juvvy.

First, let's start with his name: Semaj. It's "James" spelled backwards and pronounced "Semahjay". How STOOPID is that? But don't get me started on all the names I find to be completely, utterly and eyerollingly lame, or else I will get branded as a "racist". Second, what is wrong with his mother? Has she lost complete control over her 12 YEAR OLD child that she has no idea where he is or what he's doing, ever? Third, if the kid hates it here that much and wants to return to Texas, then why doesn't she just send him, and good riddance? God knows the taxpayers of Pierce County don't need to be paying for what is likely to be a life of crime. I mean, if he's stealing cars and savvy enough to watch the TSA at the airport to pick the most lax screeners, then you know he's only going to get worse.

And that brings up another point. The TSA. When I went to the Cape, my passport and boarding pass were scrutinized so many times that I lost count (of course I don't need a passport to travel within the states, but it's that extra measure of peace of mind when going thru security). Meanwhile Semaj manages to work his way thru the many security check points, metal detector AND gate without a boarding pass, luggage or any photo ID. What does that tell you about how secure our airports are?

And from now on, you all can call me Ennaoj...pronounced "Ennahahjay".

Disturbing commercials

So we're watching TV the other night, and a commercial comes on for one of the many bladder control medications. It shows a bunch of water balloons, dancing under a disco ball in a gym. The banner reads, "CLASS OF '68". 1968?????? Geez Louise! When I was young, I really thought we would stay young forever. There's no need to tell me that I have "Peter Pan Syndrome" because I readily admit it. I have watched my friends grow up around me, and decorate their homes "age appropriately", but I never moved past dorm room decor. Or wearing tie dye shirts and ratty sweats. Or caring about my appearance. I just don't give a tiny little rat's ass what other people think of me or my house. I yam what I yam.

And I SWEAR TO GOD, I was about to throw the remote thru the TV the other night when a Verizon commercial came on, and they were singing to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." It's fucking MAY! It's bad enough we will be subjected to this nonstop barrage of carols starting in October, so give it a rest already, Verizon!

Just plain disturbing

I read in a magazine that a new product has hit the market for babies. It's a rectal thermometer that plays the theme to "Spongebob Squarepants". Don't get me wrong, I love Spongebob and Brian downloaded the theme to my cell phone for it's ring tone. But really, a rectal thermometer that plays music? I do NOT want to see that kid's psychotherapy bill.


One of our clients was in his cups a month or so ago, and decided to order a ton of magazines for our office. His choices were really bizarre. A couple of the mags are celebrity related. I thumb thru them at lunch, or take them to the gym. But I am just disgusted by the kind of media attention these people get. WHO CARES????? And quite frankly, the Olsen Twins scare me with their vacant stares. Tom Cruise scares me too. Now there's an example of someone who has boldly gone where no man has gone before. Then we have the copious coverage of the various and sundry Pop Tarts: Britney & her tartlet sister Jamie Lynn, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, ad nauseum. We have the feud b/t 2 celebs I've never heard of over some sex tape, which I'm sorry, but if you make a sex tape and you are a celebrity, there is the reasonable expectation that it's going to be on YouTube in less than 24 hours. So qwitcherbitchin about it, you stupid skanks.

And speaking of celebrity mag rags, I find it so gross and offensive that they have pages of "best boobs after baby", or close ups of actresses cellulite in bikinis, or take shot at ones who gained weight. Meanwhile, on another page, they have "cutest paunch" for fat male celebrities. Take Kevin Federline. He looks like he ate his ex wife AND their 2 kids. But do they criticize him for gaining weight? Noooooo, of course not. This double standard has got to go.

Bikini Barista Battle a Bust in Bonney Lake

Killer alliteration, eh? And get it? "Bust"???? Several months ago, many small drive up coffee shops decided to feature young girls in skimpy bathing suits and lingerie. It's been somewhat controversial, with letters to the paper from people both for and against it.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Brian came home and told me that he saw a girl wearing nothing but blue butterfly pasties and panties at the Hot Chick-a-Latte stand near our house. Keep in mind, he was driving by at about 35 mph at the time. This from the man who "doesn't see" the dirty dishes in the sink or newspapers on the floor. Yet he was somehow able to not only describe the shape but colour of the pasties.

Apparently a mom w/ a couple of kids who were at the gas station next door, saw it and pitched a major league fit when her kids said, "Look mom! A naked lady!" KING-5 news was called and they came down to Bonney Lake to cover the story. They interviewed the coffee stand people and the woman who complained. The story got picked up by CNN and other newspapers around the country. Last weekend, a protest was planned for both Hot-Slut-A-Latte and the Cowgirls stand on Highway 410, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, all 3 days.

Brian decided to go down there for the protest, and broadcast it live on the Free World Pub, which airs on Sat. mornings on Blog Talk Radio. Unfortunately, no one from either side wanted to comment because they were really pissed at the media for blowing it out of proporation. I guess the woman that complained only was angry about the pasties, not the wearing of bikinis. But she was branded as the bad guy. The City Council is, however, looking into what constitutes indecent exposure.

It wasn't much of a protest anyway. When I drove by at 8:30 to do my errands, there was the woman, her husband & kids, and 2 other people. Meanwhile, Hot Slut-A-Latte had a line around the corner which kept up all day. The protestors were gone by 10:30, never to return.

What say you, my peeps, on this issue?

May 24, 2008

The Village

Here are the last of the Sandwich photos.

This was my elementary school, Henry T. Wing. When I went there, everyone from K-12 was in this one school, and I remember how small I felt, lining up for lunch in the high school section with all those big kids around. The new high school was completed in the spring of 1976, and my class, the Class of '82, was the first to start off 7th grade in the fall of '76 in the new Junior/Senior high school in East Sandwich.

The first set of windows on the left were my Kindergarten & first grade classrooms. They kept trying to expand the school, first by putting in "temporary" classrooms called Portables. For the first month of my 3rd grade year, all of us were in the gym till the Portables were ready. We moved in but it was short lived, because once the fall rains started, the flat roof leaked, so it was off to the gym again till they got the ceilings fixed. They built on another addition on the other side of the school for the 5th and 6th graders, but eventually, they had to build the high school. Now, there are 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school and Sandwich High. The Portables were never removed and I think are offices now.

This is a shot of what used to be the old cafeteria/auditorium. When we had lunch there, it was very old and musty. There was a piece of grey insulation sticking out of the high ceiling, and the "big kids" liked to torture us younguns by saying it was a mouse and be careful, it might drop onto our lunch tray. It didn't take too long to figure out that the "mouse" never moved. So then we passed the legend along to the kids who were younger than us! And who could forget the day we were eating and Peter Gill let out a bloodcurdling scream, as his fingers got caught in those heavy blue doors? In about '75, one of the other gyms was converted to a new cafeteria/auditorium, and this old one was used briefly as a youth center. I assume it's been renovated inside as well, but I haven't been in it since the late 70's.

Quail Hollow, across from the Wing School. It's really sad to think that I never patronized many of the historic places in Sandwich, and as a result, I have no idea what Quail Hollow is. Or does. Or sells. But every time I see it, I flash on a memory of being in first grade, in Mrs. Hart's classroom. It was either the last day or day before the last day, in mid-June. It was so hot and humid, and the windows were all open. I was wearing a sleeveless sundress. Since all lessons had officially ended for the year, she had us pull our desks into a circle and she read to us. The whole class was so sleepy from the opressive heat, and I remember just staring out the window at the bright yellow Quail Hollow building, spacing out.

This was Yesteryear's Doll Museum, and was white with dark red trim, when I lived in Sandwich. I loved the old doll museum, and it had the most amazing collection of antiques dolls and doll houses from all over the world. For awhile in the 70's, the clock's bell would chime the time on the hour and half hour. The building was falling apart and in the 80's & 90's, it was a blight on Main Street. It was built in 1703. I think it's a bistro/B&B now. The funds for the clock at the top were donated in 1808, by Titus Winchester, the last slave in Sandwich. I used to live in this building, from 1988 to when I moved to San Francisco. It's next door to the Doll Museum and across from the library. My apartment was on the 2nd floor, left. The two windows on the left were in my livingroom. The window on the same floor, but behind the main part was my bedroom.

I didn't shoot the side so that you can see the angle, but this is a large saltbox house, owned by the Columbo family. From K-12, I was in the same class as Joya. Her dad was my dad's dentist. My dad did all their plumbing. The plaque over the door has the year it was built, I think it was around 1697 or 1693. Although we knew each other from kindergarten, Joya and I had different sets of friends (she being from town and me being from E. Sandwich), so I've never been inside her house.

Another of the oldest churches in Sandwich, built in the late 1600's. It's called the First Church of Christ, or "The Christopher Wren" as it is in Wren's style. Senior year in high school when I was in chorus, we did a concert of Vivaldi's "Gloria" with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, in this church. All those months and months of practice in class and after school and it totally paid off. I have to say, Mr. Graham's Sandwich High Chorus kicked some serious butt that night, eh Liz?
The "Greco-Roman Piece of Shit" Sandwich Town Hall, as Brian calls it. I never really thought about it's imposing and out-of-place architecture as compared to the Ye Olde Sandwich Towne historic homes and churches till Brian mentioned it. But thanks to my cousin Bobbie, I now know why it was built in this style. Which is that in the early 1800's, after the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, New England towns were moving as far away from their English colonial roots as possible, and shunned that style in favor of the classical Greek and/or Roman architecture. (Did I get that right, Bobbie?). In the 6th grade, my class took a field trip to Town Hall and we were shown the 2nd floor dancehall. I bet very few people in Sandwich even know it exists. They had to close it to public events b/c the floor wasn't safe anymore. But there's a stage with huge asbestos curtains (which are probably gone now but they pointed them out on our field trip), and it was just used for storage. But I guess for awhile, it was one of the places to go for entertainment.

This is an Artesian Well, located at the Grist Mill, next to the duck pond. People always come to fill up their plastic jugs with this water. It is cold and refreshing and delicious, that's for sure. And I'm proud to say that my dad did the plumbing on this well till he retired.

At the grist mill.

Dexter's Grist Mill. It's open for tours in the summer. I think they still do stone ground milling demonstrations and then you can buy the ground corn meal if you want. At least they used to do that; not sure if they still do. Always loved the weeping willow tree along the creek. The grist mill is behind town hall.

I'm not entirely sure why this photo came out so tilted....I thought I was shooting straight at the time. I liked how it reflected in the duck pond. This house has a sign that says, "Newcomb's Tavern" and it was built in 1693. While Fessenden's Tavern (now Daniel Webster Inn) was the headquarters of the Patriots during the Revolutionary War, Newcomb's Tavern was the HQ of the Tories. Newcomb's Tavern is now a rental property. So if you find yourself with an extra $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket, that's how much it will cost to stay for one night. $5,500 gets you a week; $20,000 buys you a month. Now, the Webby may be pricey at a few hundred bucks for the suites, but it's not THAT pricey.
It was all I could do to keep myself from squealing with delight when two fuzzy little yellow heads popped up from the grass near 2 Canada geese. The geese let me get pretty close to the babies to take photos.
Maybe they are used to humans. Maybe they could sense I meant no harm and thought that their family was lovely.

Thornton W. Burgess Museum. He wrote a bunch of children's stories set in Sandwich, and included characters like Jimmy Skunk, Grandfather Frog, Mother West Wind, Little Peter Cottontail, Mrs. Peter Rabbit, Lightfoot the Deer, and his stories were set at The Briar Patch.

I shot this one from the bus, going back to Logan Airport in Boston. This is from the Sagamore Bridge, looking at the eastern entrance of the Cape Cod Canal, and the power plant at the Sandwich Marina. There are 2 bridges that link the Cape to the rest of the state by car, the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges. There's also a railroad bridge in Buzzards Bay, at the western entrance of the Canal, that stays raised to allow shipping traffic and lowers when a train needs to cross.

May 21, 2008

East Sandwich, A bit of Downtown & the Kids

My hometown is broken up into 3 villages: Sandwich, East Sandwich and Forestdale. Although now I understand that there are 2 other new "villages" within the town, but since I've never heard of them, they will get no mention. I grew up in East Sandwich, which was, at the time I lived there, still considered "far" from "downtown". It's really only about 7 miles.

Oh and yes, I have heard all the "sandwich" jokes so there's no need to say them ("is East Sandwich near the crust?", "You live in Sandwich? You're full of baloney!" ad nauseum).

This is an adorable birdhouse that I saw at the local artist's collective gift shop, on Rte. 6A. This was also outside the collective.

This is one of my fave rave stores in the world, Lavender Moon. I could literally buy everything in the shop. I came away empty handed this time b/c I couldn't narrow down what I wanted out of about 20 things, so I bought nothing. I wish they'd allow photography inside the shop itself because it's absolutely beautiful and magical. I can walk here from my mom's house. Too bad it didn't exist when I was living back there.
And what's a trip to the Cape without a visit to Sandy Neck Beach at low tide, to play on the sandbars and beachcomb?
Things that come second nature to children raised on Cape Cod:
* Using the word "wicked" to emphasize something (this is actually true of all of New England), i.e., if something goes wrong, it's a "wicked pissa". Something really good is "wicked good", etc.

* Education in boat and water safety, and for crying out loud, never, ever turn your back to the ocean.

* Swimming in icy cold water.

* How to pick your way carefully, toe-heel, and quickly, across the rocks strewn across the beaches on the Bay side. This is a point of pride for native Cape Codders. To be seen walking to the water's edge in sneakers, then taking them off to wade in, is clearly a tourist thing. Cape kids start toughening up their feet as soon as it's warm enough to go barefoot, so that we can show up the tourists by running across the sharp rocks to get into said icy cold water.
I have no idea what this is supposed to be. Is is art? Did it wash up on shore? Since bonfires on the public beaches are not allowed, I don't think it's set up to burn.
This is the Benjamin Nye homestead on Old County Road, not far from my parents' house. Can you believe in the 24 years I lived on the Cape, and passed by this place literally thousands of times, I've never been inside?
The East Sandwich Grange was once very active, when the Cape was more rural and had small farms. My parents were members of the Grange, but weren't that active in it. The only time I remember going is in mid-November, in the early 1970's, when the Grangers would host an early Thanksgiving dinner, and we'd go there to eat downstairs with a bunch of other town folk. It was nice and very small-town, "back in the day". Many of the Grange families trace their roots back to the original founders of Sandwich.

This is on the same property as the Grange. It's pretty beat up, but I thought it was picturesque.

"Green door, what's that secret you're keepin'....?"

Moving back to downtown, this is the Dan'l Webster Inn, where I worked during my summer vacations & other school breaks while in college. I was a chambermaid and also worked in the laundry. The "Webby" as we employees called it, is a 4-star hotel & restaurant. Mom and I had lunch here and I'm pleased to report that the chicken pot pie is as delicious now as it was when I worked there over 20 years ago.
The thing is, tourists would always remark at what great shape the Webby was in, considering it was established in the 1690's. It was at that point that I had to make the decision to let them live with that fantasy, or clue them in on the real story, which is that the original Daniel Webster Inn burned to the ground in 1971. This photo was taken in 1960. It was originally known as Fessenden's Tavern, in the early 1700's, and was a meeting place for local men to go and discuss their displeasure with the crown, and what they could do to separate from England. Thus, our country was born in places like Fessenden's Tavern. The tavern was renamed "Daniel Webster Inn" to honor its most famous guest.
My mom INSISTED I get into the stocks for this photo. That upper piece is really, really heavy and I was choking. She's all, "Joanne, I can't see your face. Can you look at the camera?" I go, "Mom, I'm being crushed to death by an extremely heavy board and I can't lift my head. Can you please just take the picture?" She thought I was joking.
This is at the entrance of the library. I always take a photo of it each year I visit because it's always wearing something different. One year it was in Red Sox gear. Some people actually make clothes specifically for this statue. And then there are the ones who have to ruin it by stealing the clothes.
Jarves Street, downtown Sandwich. The red brick church was the Catholic church in which I was baptised, received communion and confirmation. It's been de-sanctified and is now a bistro or B&B.

And no trip to Sandwich would be complete without a visit to Twin Acres Ice Cream. The day mom and I went, it was so cold and damp. But I didn't care. I wanted my soft serve chocolate/vanilla twist cone. My family started going to Twin Acres in the mid-1970's, after Frannie & George's Ice Cream closed. Now Diane carries on the tradition by taking her kids to Twin Acres too. That's my mom's car too, btw.

Back in East Sandwich, I had to make my pilgrimmage to one of my favourite places, Spring Hill Beach. I give the east coast one thing over the west coast, and that's the beaches. Better beachcombing, sand bars at low tide, and the salt marshes. My parents had a cottage at Spring Hill, which they sold in 1977, so that dad could funnel all the money into my college fund. I was bitterly disappointed when the cottage sold, although I am thankful for my education and the fact that I wasn't saddled with student loans.

So each year that I visit, I go to Spring Hill, even though it's a private beach and I'm really not supposed to be parking there and trespassing to get to the beach, but too bad. I still feel a sense of ownership & a right to visit Spring Hill whenever I want, even if the asshole who bought our cottage ripped it down and built an ugly home that dwarfs the quaintness of the other cottages.

Whenever I'd get tired of the beach, I'd drift back to the salt marshes on the other side of the road and play till I got too hot, then I'd go back to the beach. I love Spring Hill Beach. It's lonely, but a nice kind of lonely.

The small white sign says, "Beware of attack lobster".
I was so excited for Diane and her 3 kids Adam, age 9, Madison "Maddie", age 7 and Logan, age 6, to arrive from Maryland. Her sister, Sharon, and fiance Paul bought their grandparents' house which is down the road from my mom's. In fact, I was so completely stoked to see everyone, that I forgot to take a lot of pictures of them. I shot lots of pics of the kids, but I realized I didn't take one of Di & Sha together, or one of Sha & Paul, or a decent one of the 3 of us either, although Sha's turned out the best and I'm still waiting for her to email it to me.
Anyways, I cracked up when Adam did this, because one of my famous things as a kid was to put olives on my fingers and then draw a face under the olive hats, and do "changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace." I'm glad to see that zany sense of humor runs in the family and was passed down to Adam.
There's Diane, cozying up to her pitcher of mimosa's.
That's my 94 year old Uncle Dick (Di & Sha's grandfather), and Sharon's fiance, Paul. Uncle Dick is the patriarch of our family at this point, and when we sat around the large diningroom table to shoot the breeze, he occupied his time-honored place at the head of the table. He lives at the Soldier's Home in Chelsea. His choice. Everyone begged him not to go, but he wanted to live there and he really seems to love it up there. But Paul & Sha bring him down to his old home for visits whenever he wants. I don't remember my grandfather, and Uncle Dick was always around in my life and he's the closest thing to a grandfather that I ever had.
Logan wearing Boston Celtics mini-foam fingers.
Here's a shot of of the gang at Outback Steakhouse in Hyannis, left to right:
Adam, Sharon, Diane, my mom, Paul, Maddie, Irene (Di & Sha's mom) and Logan.

Diane, me & Sharon in 1968.....

....and making new memories 40 years later in 2008. Next generation, same (but newly painted) fireplace.
Adam, Maddie & Logan.

The Edward Gorey House

Down Rte. 6A from E. Sandwich apiece, in Yarmouthport, sits the Edward Gorey House. Mr. Gorey was an accomplished pen & ink artist, known for his whimsically macabre fine line drawings. He moved to the Cape in 1983 and died in 2000, which explains why I had never heard of The Edward Gorey House till a few years ago. Gorey was eccentric, never married and owned several cats. He liked to wear fur coats and large pendants. The tour guide said that Gorey always said that he liked to "decorate" himself. I like that expression.

He did the costumes and artwork for Broadway's "Dracula" in 1977 and received a Tony Award. He also did the art for the PBS series "Mystery", along with illustrating books by others, as well as writing & illustrating over 100 of his own books. And, I just found out, he also did the artwork for an album by Cape punk band, The FreeZe, and cowrote a song with Clif Hanger. Clif is an old friend of Liz's and mine and we used to go see The FreeZe whenever we could before we went off to college. Take a look at any animation by Tim Burton and you'll see the Gorey influence throughtout Burton's work.

Anyways, the house sits in a pretty little square off Rte. 6A called Strawberry Lane. The upstairs was closed off, so you can only see the downstairs. Still, there was sooooo much to look at, as he collected glass bottles, rocks, shells, skulls, etc. When he died, he had over 20,000 books. He lived less than a mile from this fantastic old bookstore called Parnassus, so I imagine he indulged his literary passions there.

The tall tree on the left of the photo is a southern magnolia. I think they said it's the only one on the Cape, as they aren't exactly a native species of New England. They keep a dish full of leaves inside the house and you can help yourself. I took one.

There was an art contest on the Cape where people bought, painted then auctioned sperm whales. (I blogged similar pictures of the bears in Vancouver). This was not painted by Gorey himself but by a group of students in his design and style.

Here is the "graveyard" of the Gashlycrumb Tinies, an A-B-C book about the untimely demise of 26 children.

All but Maud, who was swept out to sea.

On the porch.

He designed this weathervane.

The main room of the house, with lifesize characters from "The Doubtful Guest." Flash photography was not allowed but the pics still came out pretty well.

Window in the front room.

On one of the windowsills.Kitchen, which is roped off, but you can see some of his bottles, and a couple more Doubtful Guest cutouts.

Yes it's a real skull and no it's not Edward Gorey's skull.

A typical, old Cape Cod kitchen fireplace.

The parlour, with props from "Mystery". He also loved teddy bears. I wish they'd had that pop up book seen on the table available for sale. It's so cool.

The "Mystery" open artwork plays on a continuous loop on the TV.

Another pretty window with purple cup plates and old bottles.
Throughout the house, there are Gashlycrumb Tinies here and there. When children visit, they are challenged to find all 26. I didn't have time to do an indepth search for all of them, but these are the ones I found:

"G is for George, smothered under a rug".

"Y is for Yorick whose head was knocked in".

"A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs."

"C is for Clara who wasted away."

"H is for Hector, done in by a thug" (those would be that black mass near the bottom, which are two hands in black gloves holding a white mouth gag).

I wish I'd had the time to look for all 26.

All of the cats Edward owned during his life have passed away. He left the bulk of his estate to animal charities. However, this large fellow (27 lbs) adopted the house and is the official house cat. His name is Ombledroom, a name from Gorey's "Utterzoo Alphabet", because the Ombledroom is "vast & white".

This house is about a block away from the Gorey house and is a fine example of the grand old style of captain's homes. I think this may be a restaurant now or a bed and breakfast. As curious as I am to see what the inside looks like, the house creeps me out.

While parts of the Cape have been overdeveloped and are quite unpleasant (read: Hyannis and the Rte. 28 corridor), Rte. 6A has remained unchanged and is still very beautiful & historic. It's a shame the rest of the Cape has let the developers run roughshod over the once quaint towns.