2019 Life Logs, Day 258: Computer Blues and Country Music

2019 Life Logs, Day 258: Computer Blues and Country Music
Date: Sunday, September 15, 2019
Weather: Sunny; High 82, Low 59 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

A great part of my day, and of Heather’s day, was spent dealing with the fact that I haven’t been able to send or receive emails on my computer since Friday. The computer blues, once again. I could send and receive emails on my phone, but not through Outlook on my computer since Friday. With persistence, Heather figured out the problem, so thank you, thank you, Heather. But computer issues are so frustrating and time consuming. If I were a talented writer, I’m sure I could write a song expressing the feelings you have when technology just isn’t doing what you want and need it to do. But song lyrics are just not my strength. I must say, however, that watching the first two hours of Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary tonight encouraged my creative side. In this first installment of the series, the history of country music up to 1933 was covered. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I heard songs tonight that I grew up listening to, whether I wanted to listen to them or not. And whether I wanted them to become a part of my very inner soul or not, they are there. Learning the history of how this music evolved is fascinating and I love the way the story is being told in this series. But the one unexpected thing that I heard tonight was the link between church music in this country and the church music of the South Pacific today. One of the joys of sailing across the Pacific was going to churches on Sundays and listening to the fascinating harmonizing of the church congregations. Everyone in the church would start singing and then people would just start singing different parts resulting in fabulous sounds. In the documentary tonight I heard that exact same kind of singing in the churches and tabernacles in this country in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I had never made that connection. There is so much that connects all of us on this earth and it is a beautiful thing.

2019 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday to Justin

2019 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday to Justin
Date: Saturday, September 14, 2019
Weather: Sunny, Rain Late; High 75, Low 65 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I mentioned Justin’s birthday in last night’s log, but since today is his birthday, I want to once again say, “Happy Birthday, Justin.” It is also his Uncle Steve’s birthday, Mark’s brother, so happy birthday to Steve. And Mark’s sister Jeanie has a birthday tomorrow. It is Handley birthday time. Justin and Jo are playing in a music festival in Dixon, New Mexico tonight. There is nothing he would rather be doing than playing music, so I know Justin is enjoying his birthday.

I woke up to the happy sounds of little boys (actually not so little any more). We had breakfast and then Heather came for Sam at 8:45 as he had a Scout commitment. I took Ollie and Jonah home in time for them to get to their respective soccer games. I went to Ollie’s game as it was in town, but Jed had to take Jonah to an away game about an hour or so from here. When they returned Jonah was beaming as he scored a ‘hat trick’ which is three consecutive goals. But back to the afternoon, all I can say is that it was a big crazy. Jonah and Jed didn’t get back home until 3:30. Heather had a party to attend with folks from her work, Ollie had a birthday party to attend, and Sam had to go to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor and then to his soccer game. I helped out by shuttling Sam around, but I didn’t get to go to his soccer game as I was going to ‘dinner and a movie’ in Woods Hole. And that was fantastic.

The Woods Hole Film Festival showcases independent films during a dedicated week in the summer and then monthly showings throughout the year. Tonight, the featured film was Maiden, the story of British sailor Tracy Edwards who skippered an all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in 1989. It was a first for the Whitbread to have women in the race and the documentary uses video taken during the race by one of the crew members. Much of the sailing in this race is done in the southern ocean which is unbelievably challenging and the video really shows what they had to endure. These women did the unthinkable, even in 1989. The Guardian and other British news outlets didn’t believe women could do this. They thought they would be out in the first leg. But those young women prevailed. What a great story.

2019 Life Logs, Day 256: Goldpebble Overnight

2019 Life Logs, Day 256: Goldpebble Overnight
Date: Friday, September 13, 2019
Weather: Sunny; High 72, Low 52 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Beautiful day, especially considering it was Friday the 13th. The moon will be full just after midnight EDT, but two hours earlier Mountain Daylight Time where Justin is in New Mexico. But we’ll still say he got a full harvest moon for his 42nd birthday tomorrow. I talked to Justin briefly tonight and wished him a happy birthday a few hours early and we talked about how special it is to have a full moon as a birthday present.

The Goldpebbles are sleeping over tonight. Heather and Jed went out to a show written by Sam’s drum teacher and two other people. It is called Black Inscription and the reviews tell me it is a music concert that mixes arts and science. Using music, sound, and imagery, it takes the audience into the oceans. One review said, “Part documentary and part rock opera . . . The music is evocative and as undulating as the water self: its effect is hypnotic . . . mesmerizing . . .” I’ll be really anxious to hear Heather and Jed’s review. Sounds fascinating. Tonight the boys and I watched a movie called Oddball, a true story of how a dog saved a small colony of fairy penguins in southern Australia (called little blues in New Zealand). We all really enjoyed it because there was a lot of comedy even though the story line was serious. Tomorrow is a soccer day for all three boys. I’m afraid I got them to bed a little later than normal, but I’m hoping that they might sleep in tomorrow morning. I know that is asking for a small miracle, but the first couple of weeks of school have been exhausting for them and a little extra sleep would be a good thing.

2019 Life Logs, Day 255: Wonderful Dinner Honoring Granddad

2019 Life Logs, Day 255: Wonderful Dinner Honoring Granddad
Date: Thursday, September 12, 2019
Weather: Overcast with Rain in the AM; High 73, Low 54 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I attended the first Newcomers meeting of the year this morning and signed up for way too many activities—a walking group, a hiking group, a biking group, a health-issues group, a tech-issues group, a gardening group, a book club, a wine explorers group, a women’s dining group, a singles group, and I think a few more. So, I should have no problem keeping busy this year! But the highlight of my day with dinner with Heather, Jed, Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. The first year after Mark’s death, in September of 2017, we had dinner at the Flying Bridge on Falmouth Harbor in honor of Granddad. Last year I was traveling and had dinner in Philadelphia with Kevin and Claire and Claire’s parents who were visiting from Canada. And this year I invited the Goldstones to have dinner at the Chart Room at Kingman Marina. It is a little north of here, but still on the Cape. Back in the 1990’s we kept our then sailboat, Skybreaker, at Kingman even though we lived in New Hampshire. And during graduate school, Heather lived aboard Skybreaker there for a year. The boys had never been there, so it seemed like a good choice for dinner.

Heather was in Boston today, so she was going to meet us there. I went a little early to pick up Jed and the boys, played basketball with Jonah, and then waited for the boys to get dressed. Jed just asked them to wear a collared shirt, but they all looked really spiffy. I was honored to take such handsome young men to dinner. We all had wonderful meals and the boys enjoyed sitting at the piano bar and listening to the music. And I think the piano player enjoyed their attention. We had a fantastic waitress who asked each of the boys where they go to school. When Jonah said that he goes to Morse Pond, she asked him if he knew a particular teacher. Just so happens the teacher she asked about is his homeroom teacher and he is also the weekend bartender at the Chart Room. And his children work there as well. I think Jonah began to feel like a part of the Chart Room family. Sam was delighted that he could make requests at the piano bar and Ollie looked absolutely love struck watching the piano player. Jonah pointed out that we had to have dessert in Granddad’s honor as that was his favorite part of any meal, and Jonah’s as well. So we did. After dessert, the boys went out to take photos of the boats on the dock and in the anchorage. The moon was beautiful, just a little shy of full. It was chilly tonight, but otherwise, I don’t think it could have been a more perfect evening . . . certainly an evening Mark would have enjoyed.

2019 Life Logs, Day 254: A Day for Remembering

2019 Life Logs, Day 254: A Day for Remembering
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Weather: Overcast AM, Sunny PM, Windy; High 79, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

It was a day for remembering the victims of 9/11 and their families, for thinking of my good friend Lynne Kirwin who lost her mother on this day a few years ago, and closer to home, a day dedicated to thinking about Mark who passed away on September 11 three years ago. I headed to Falmouth Heights Beach thinking I would spend most of the day there sitting on the water’s edge relaxing, reading, and reminiscing. But that plan was foiled by the wind. This was what Winnie the Pooh would call a blustery day. The wind was blowing right onto the beach and was strong enough to make you feel like you were being sand blasted. Plus, there was no sunshine. It was just miserable. So, I walked along the water and then down Falmouth Heights Road to where Mark and I lived once we moved off the boat. I followed the path we often walked together which took me along the harbor and through MacDougalls’ marine where the wind was whistling through the masts of the sailboats at the dock and on moorings. It was a very familiar sound. But somehow today my thoughts weren’t focused on our sailing years. I kept going back to when Mark and I first met and made the decision to head to Alaska in hopes of buying land and building a life there. We were to become part of the 70’s ‘back to the land’ movement. My mind probably went in this direction because I am reading a non-fiction book by Mark Adams called Tip of the Iceberg. It is a story about the author’s contemporary travels through Alaska retracing the 1899 Harriman Expedition. Harriman, a railroad magnate, gathered a large group of America’s best scientists, naturalists, and writers and put them all aboard a steamship that took them to the far reaches of Alaska. Reading this book has reminded me of places Mark and I visited in 1974 and today’s ‘remembrance’ gave me the chance to relive that adventure. I think I would have to write a book to tell the whole story, but the bottom line is that in March of 1974 we drove our white Ford truck, with everything we owned in or on top of it, about 1,800 miles from Bloomington, Indiana, to the Canadian border in Montana, and then another 1,600 miles through Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon in Canada to reach Haines, Alaska. This whole time, we slept in the back of the truck in the freezing weather and I learned to cook frozen food on the camp stove. It was March, but it was not yet spring in the north lands. The trip was not what I would call fun, although it certainly was an adventure. But the further north we got, the harder it got. The snow-covered gravel Alcan Highway (the Alcan in Canada was not paved back then) stretched out in front of us for what seemed like forever. The days were dreary making our photos look like they were taken in black and white, not color. There was just white snow and what looked like black trees. Nothing looked green. Our first stop in Alaska was Haines as it was first on our list as a place to live in Alaska. Everything we had read indicated that the beauty there was overwhelming, but all we saw was more white and black. There were a few eagles and huge mosquitoes sitting on the snow, and we immediately found that the people who lived there were just not our cup of tea. We just didn’t fit in. We left our truck near Haines and hopped on a ferry to Juneau. Still not our kind of place. We drove to Anchorage and all the way down to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula, again supposed to be drop-dead beautiful, but it just didn’t look like that to us. Then we headed north of anchorage to the Matanuska Valley where we finally saw a little bit of sunshine, but by this time, we were pretty certain that Alaska was not the right fit for us. We drove through the state park part of Denali, through McKinley Park, and on to Fairbanks. By this time the snow was melting and this part of Alaska looked like a desert. I’m not even sure we stopped in Fairbanks. We headed southward as fast as we could to get back to the Lower 48. The book I am reading makes we want to return to Alaska during the late spring or summer months so I can see some of the beauty I hear others rave about. But until I do that, I will continue to think of Alaska in the black and white and rough and tumble terms that Mark and I saw in the spring of 1974.

By the time I had walked all through the Falmouth Heights area and back to my car at the beach, it was almost noon. I drove to the other side of the harbor and just sat for a bit trying to decide where to go to get out of the wind and then I thought of Quissett Harbor. Why didn’t I think of that sooner? It was our home on the water for three summers and the inner harbor beach is protected from southwest winds. As soon as I thought of this, the sun came out. Perfect. So, I spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach at Quissett and finally got to relax, read, and reminisce some more. But even though I was looking at our old anchorage, I continued on with the Alaska theme. It was ironic that I got a text from Justin and Jo during this time. They had just arrived in New Mexico for a visit and had gone directly to their converted Greyhound bus that is still there in storage. They had found Mark’s old felt hat. It was fairly new when I met him and he wore it all time. Justin sent a photo of Jo wearing the more than well-worn hat with the peace sign and broken gun pins still in place. That brought back more memories and when I got home I searched for a picture of Mark wearing that hat. I found it hard to believe that I could find only one picture. Surely there are more, but I’ll have to dig a little deeper to continue that search. And that is for another day. I didn’t get to see the Goldstones today, but I just got a beautiful email from Heather telling me about her bedtime discussion with the boys about Granddad. As Sam said, “Sad but okay.” We will be together for dinner tomorrow night at a restaurant on the water in honor of Granddad.