Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some Things (Never?) Change

A college friend sent me this 40-year-old photograph today. I haven't decided whether to laugh or cry but I was interested to see evidence of two of my most enduring interests. I wonder what was spinning on that "record player."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Movie Memories Jogged by Ms.Dee

The Syncopated Clock
This was the theme song for the afternoon movie show when I was a kid. Between this program and Million Dollar Movie, (theme song from Gone With The Wind) where it was possible to watch a movie a dozen times in the same week, and I did, films like Mighty Joe Young or The Thing (the original where James Arness is the thing) were indelibly stamped into my cinema DNA.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Where's Waldo?

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
John Lennon

So that's my excuse.
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, thank you friends who refused to give up on ever seeing another post from me.
I've been puttering along doing nothing that seemed noteworthy since returning from Anguilla last March.

Finished the school year,
had a party for Mondale,
ordered new computers,
patched up the database,
installed projectors and speakers all over the high school,
got a Smartboard for Listmaker,
spent the weekends in Quogue, marked mac-grandson's third B'day,
cheered for new baby Beck and the "parentibos"
started a new school year with two new tech staff persons (so great),
welcomed some great new classroom teachers to Burpie Cow Wow School,
mac-grandson started school (here) too (so so great),
he was a policeman for Halloween and for about three weeks post-Halloween,
went to a great wedding in the mountains of NY,
enjoyed Macgrandaughter's learning to crawl and climb,
had a reprise of last year's Mohonk tech conference,
and a reprise of sister-in law's Thanksgiving
right now planning a reprise of my 2006 Christmas Day Dinner for 30.
throughout it all, took regular peeks at everyone's blogs to make sure the wheels were still turning.

Will I get back on the wagon? It's almost New Year's for God's sake. I guess I should make the resolution.

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Gear Shifts

This is one of the most beautiful beaches in this hemisphere. There was a storm last night at sunset. Even rainy weather is appealing here but we return to the city tomorrow.
MacHub actually worked most of the week, spending hours on the computer, but neither his Blackberry nor cell phone function here and it is a wonder how much those devices control the person who is supposedly in control of them, for the working does not seem nearly as oppressive when you can choose to take a swim before you carry the laptop to the exact table near the pool that receives the best wireless signal.
I lolled around most of the time but I did rise early each day and walk for an hour followed by a swim. There was good snorkeling and good dinner each night. I read three books and listened to countless podcasts that I had saved up for the trip.
Having another week before school starts sounds good but I don't really have a week as most of it is booked up with installing Smartboards and catching up on dentist appointments (ugh). I really like April, May and June in Brooklyn. They're like wide warm stone steps descending to a sunny summer beach.
We start the final period of play in this school game and it goes fast and furious. We're all sweating and breathless when the buzzer sounds in June. Hey, usually, we all win.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Green

I took an early dip in the ocean after my walk this morning and then rinsed off in the pool. I was joined by this praying mantis. I've never seen one here before. The more usual wildlife being chickens, lizards and goats, lots of goats.
I was remembering the first time we took the kids here. It was 1986. MacDaughter, a sophomore in high school, was coming off mononucleosis and was in dire need of a little sun and air after spending four pale winter weeks in her room watching General Hospital. MacSon would have been a sixth grader, his first year at IS "FiftyOnes,"
At the "villa" MacHub and I were drinking beer in the daytime, as it was a bit overcast for the beach, while his sister was flat out on a lounge chair with her ears plugged into one of those bright yellow Sony Walkman things they all had. Probably listening to The Stray Cats or Joe Jackson.
Bored of us, he wandered away into the dry scrubby fields on the cliff over the sea and discovered a baby goat entangled in his tether and bleating loudly. No mama goat in sight. Being a Brooklyn boy he was wary of touching the thing. But his soft heart and life-long draw towards the helpless (which would become something of an issue later on) kept him near the goat where he (and he freely admitted this all the while knowing how laughable it sounded) sang The Greatest Love of All, it was the mid-eighties you remember, to the goat until it calmed down enough to extricate itself.

Anguilla Consumption log:
Dinner at the Rasta place. Excellent fish and lemon pasta preceded by some rum punch concoction that was a little too fruity for me so I had to wash it down with some dry white wine.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Basting Away In...

The east end of Anguilla (our preferred spot) is less developed. There are no real resort hotels and thus very few restaurants, but there is one tiny and delicious french bakery. It is best to place your orders for the week on that first morning of vacation because they sell out of the few precious items they bake. There are no croissants like these to be had in Brooklyn and their butter content is what drives me to fast-walk the beach every day for an hour as penance.
I can whip up a reasonable cafe au lait in the kitchen of our rental villa with coffee I bring with with me. I also brought a small stash of blood oranges – as fresh fruit and vegetables have the status (and often the price) of truffles on little islands with ocean reef soil and no rain. In the old days I used to bring lots of food, things I'd prepare and freeze and pack into cooler bags. Pickings were very slim on this island. These foodstuffs would be just about thawed when our bags tumbled off the small prop plane that was the last leg of the trip. We'd eat them the first few few nights because things didn't keep well, as the electricity was iffy and the refrigerator was often unreliable. The food is much better now.
We tried a new place last night, Picante, a Mexican restaurant, the island's first. This place is on the far west end of the island, a ten-mile, thirty minute drive from our villa on Shoal Bay East. The one road that runs the length of the island has been widened and paved in the last two years and all the speed bumps are gone. End of an era. Anyway, the margaritias were excellent and we had to have a few while waiting forty-five minutes for our table – because the place was packed.
Uma Thurman and her kids were sitting at the table behind us, my second vacation sighting of Uma this year – she was on our beach this past summer in Quogue, too. The fish taco, in a soft corn tortilla was good and smothered in finely chopped very red and flavorful tomatoes and Mac-hub's rib's and black beans were tasty and plentiful – we couldn't even finish them. Probably because we had filled up on a cheese-spinach concoction that we had ordered with the (heated up – a nice touch) chips and salsa at the bar earlier. The bar was ringed by pilgrims (exactly as you would expect them to be) to the Jimmy Buffett concert, which had happened a few nights before, and dotted with young-young golf pros and assistant golf pros from the nearby, outrageously expensive, golf resort run by St Regis. (Remember neither soil nor fresh water are indigenous to this island) the sprinkler system alone, geesh!
So it was - another successful day in my favorite zone-out zone.

Monday, March 26, 2007

R & R

It was spring break, in 1984, a 15 minute trip on a ferry from St. Martin brought us to this beach. At the time I was surprised that the place really existed, that beach that you see in your dreams – if you were so inclined to dream of beaches.
What was more astounding was that this mile long stretch was empty, save this one small hotel, no more than 10 rooms. It wasn't yet open, waiting on electricity to be run to this (then) remote part of the tiny island, Anguilla.
We managed to return, nearly every year since that day. And though the place has become developed (how could it not) it is still compelling. Every hotel, or villa we've occupied in those 20 some odd years has been great in its own way but this year we are staying, for the first time, in that original little hotel on the picture-perfect beach. It is an oldie now (like us) but no worse for the wear. It has modernized – wireless internet is available. I like to remember the way it was then.

Anguilla consumption log:
Night One-
Arrived very late -no bars or restaurants open on this beach but I had planned ahead and asked for our fridge to be stocked with beer and water. So, several beers went down along with olives from Blue Apron and prosciutto from A & S Pork Store which made the trip from Brooklyn with us.
Next Day - Breakfast and lunch were not memorable but maybe that's because of the rum punch at Gwen's Reggae Grill which seemed to induce a definite memory lapse. Dinner at Hibernia, our favorite restaurant on the island. Smoked fish and lobster appetizers, crusted mahi-mahi and swordfish entres accompanied by a nice Alsatian Gewurztraminer, house-made sorbets for dessert.
So first 24 hours - beer, rum punch, white wine.