2017 Life Logs, Day 253: Hurricane Watch . . . Again

2017 Life Logs, Day 253: Hurricane Watch . . . Again
Date: Sunday, September 10, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 66, Low 52 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

First it was Puerto Rico and then today I spent my day watching Hurricane Irma’s march through Florida. Everyone in Mark’s family will be affected by this storm, but at this point, it looks like the worst damage from storm surge has been minimized by hurricane wind velocity and path. I will have to wait until tomorrow to find out if everyone is safe. Things are looking much better than expected, but I’ll just have to wait see. There was no way I could focus on anything other than the hurricane today, but I was able to motivate myself to do some closet clean out and organization. Somehow, I didn’t manage to get rid of anything, but reorganization made room for more things. That was not the goal!

I had hoped to do something with Heather and family tomorrow afternoon to commemorate the one year anniversary of our loss of Mark, but schedules don’t seem to allow that to happen. So not sure what I am going to do.

2017 Life Logs, Day 252: A Wonderful Day Doing Nothing

2017 Life Logs, Day 252: A Wonderful Day Doing Nothing
Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017
Weather: Sunny; High 68, Low 53 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

I had a wonderful day doing absolutely nothing. It was great and the weather was beautiful. It was a little cool, but the only wind was from coming from an easterly direction which meant I could sit on the dock and be totally protected from the wind. I had a nice long conversation with Ed and Lynne while I sat on the dock in the sunshine and I was actually hot. Loved it! I watched Hurricane Irma coverage and worried about my Florida family, but hopefully they will be fine. And tonight, I had a back and forth text conversation with Sam on Windbird and with Justin. Justin and Jo are back at home and they have electricity. Hurray!!! They still have no water, spotty Wi-Fi, and loads of work to do, but they are making progress. Sam and Dawn are still in Cape May waiting for the transmission to be rebuilt. Dave Laux came to visit them today to give them a few pointers on reinstalling the transmission when it returns on Tuesday. He is such a treasure and I am so very grateful that he has been willing to help Sam and Dawn. It is now looking like Jose, the hurricane that has been chasing Irma, might actually head toward the US East Coast near the Chesapeake. That won’t happen until next week, but Sam and Dawn will want to be out of Cape May by then if that becomes a reality. But for now, I’ll keep my focus on Irma.

2017 Life Logs, Day 251: Labor of Love

2017 Life Logs, Day 251: Labor of Love
Date: Friday, September 8, 2017
Weather: Sunny and Windy; High 77, Low 53 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

I spent my day making marinara sauce and then canning it for the Goldstones and myself to have during the winter months. I call this a labor of love because I could go to Costco and buy organic marinara sauce for half the cost of buying locally grown organic tomatoes and making it myself. Others might call this stupidity! There are many reasons that I do this, but it is mostly because I love doing it and because I am dedicated to supporting my favorite local organic farmer–Carrie Crichter at Peach Tree Farm.

While making and canning the marinara sauce, I watched coverage of Hurricane Irma. As you are probably aware, this monster hurricane is now looking like it is headed straight for the area of Florida where most of Mark’s family lives. His sisters in Bonita Springs have evacuated, but his brother Steve and his two daughters in the Fort Myers area are staying. I told Steve I would think only happy thoughts, but I do worry. I heard from Justin tonight and they are in a hotel with electricity and Wi-Fi, neither of which they have at home right now. Justin said he is hoping to do a week’s work tonight before they return home tomorrow. He promised to send a more complete update, so maybe I’ll have more information to share tomorrow. The important thing is that they are safe.

2017 Life Logs, Day 250: Thanks and Praises to the Most High

2017 Life Logs, Day 250: Thanks and Praises to the Most High
Date: Thursday, September 7, 2017
Weather: Cloudy and Windy, Clearing in Afternoon; High 71, Low 57 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco are safe and sound. I know that last few days of preparation in anticipation of this monster hurricane bearing down on Puerto Rico made for an emotional roller coaster for them. But at the last minute, Irma made a turn to the north sparing them from the worst. Thanks and Praises to the Most High. When Justin was in college he wrote and performed a song by that name. Ever since then, when I am truly thankful, that song plays over and over in my head. And that song is what I heard this morning when I got the ‘all clear’ email from Justin. I breathed a sigh of relief that I’m sure could be heard ‘round the world. In Justin’s email, he stated all was well, but that the storm left their yard looking like “someone did some very aggressive pruning all over the yard and forgot to clean up.” That can be cleaned up. But they have no electricity and no water. Rain is in the forecast for part of each day though next Monday, and rain is water that can be collected. Electricity is another problem. If they go up on their roof, they can get internet, and the only way to charge phones is by running the car engine and charging off the battery. This is okay for a day or two, maybe even a week, but the reports are saying that some parts of Puerto Rico could be without power for four to six months. Yes, months! You can certainly survive that, but Justin’s business requires that he is on the phone and internet all day every work day. So, we’ll just have to wait and see if Justin can get their solar back-up working and wait to see if their part of Puerto Rico is back on the grid quickly. But more immediately, the worry turns to Florida. My sister-in-law and all of Mark’s family live in Florida. I’ve been in touch with all of them over the past couple of days and can only wish them the best as Irma comes their way. It’s going to be a long weekend.

Speaking of weekends, Heather and family are headed to Maine tomorrow after school. Jed’s aunt is having a 70th birthday party, so this a perfect time for Heather and Jed to go for a weekend visit with Jed’s family. I’ll spend tomorrow getting those 30 pounds of tomatoes turned into sauce and canned and then spend time reflecting on the past year. Monday is the one-year anniversary of Mark’s death, and I have to admit that I am not looking forward to that. I’m going to spend the weekend trying to think of a positive way to spend that day in his honor.

And speaking of days, today Ollie and I had a very special time together. We just hung out at my place this morning, but this afternoon we managed an invitation to go behind the scenes at the National Marine Life Center. This is the center just on the north side of the Cape Cod Canal that takes in seals and turtles that have been hurt or abandoned. There they are rehabilitated in order to release them back into the wild. Earlier in the summer, Ollie and I visited the Marine Life Center and adopted a young harbor seal, Rachel Carseal, named after the world renown conservational Rachel Carson. In May, Rachel was separated from her mother and stranded at Chebeague Island, Maine. When I contacted President and Executive Director of the Center, Kathy Zabzebski, she invited Ollie to come see Rachel in person before her release. We got to tour the animal hospital and see all of the seals and turtles there. Then we went to nearby Scusset Beach for the release of Rachel, Ralph Waldo Emerseal, Seally Ride, and Emmy Rosseal. Finally, the sun was shining and it was a lovely evening on the beach. Ralph Waldo Emerseal was the first in the water with Emmy Rosseal. Rachel and Seally Ride were a little slower to head out, but when they finally dove in, Ollie wished them a “happy life” in the sea. Then he insisted that we go see Kathy Zagzebski to say goodbye. What a kid!

2017 Life Logs, Day 249: Happy Anniversary to Heather & Jed + Hurricane Watch

2017 Life Logs, Day 249: Happy Anniversary to Heather & Jed + Hurricane Watch
Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Weather: Overcast with Thunderstorms; High 77, Low 66 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Today was Heather and Jed’s 14th anniversary and they invited me to join them for an anniversary dinner downtown at Anejo, a Mexican bistro. Dinner was fantastic and we celebrated the 14 years. But unfortunately, the celebration was dominated by the weather. It was overcast and stormy here today and because of a water leak, I had no water. So as Hurricane Irma spent her day bearing down on Puerto Rico, I felt a bit like I was in a storm zone as well. But it was Irma that kept all of us on watch all day long.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who called or sent texts and emails inquiring about Justin and family in Puerto Rico. So far, so good. Justin and Jo worked so very hard to be super prepared. Justin sent a photo of their home all boarded up with no outdoor furniture or kid toys lying about. It looked abandoned, but it was not. Everyone was inside hiding from the oncoming wind and rain. They got a break this evening by the fact that Hurricane Irma’s eye stayed north of the north coast of Puerto Rico. At 11 pm, Irma is moving WNW at 16 miles an hour and is currently located 85 miles NNW of San Juan. Even though it wasn’t a direct hit on San Juan, Irma is packing the strongest winds ever recorded in an Atlantic Ocean hurricane and is more than a couple of hundred miles wide. So, its impact will be felt across all of Puerto Rico. In my last contact with Justin via text, all was well. I’ll check in first thing in the morning and hope for only good news. And then I’ll turn my attention to family in Florida. No matter what Irma does, things don’t look great for them. But at least they have time to prepare.

2017 Life Logs, Day 248: First Day of School

2017 Life Logs, Day 248: First Day of School
Date: Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Weather: Sunny with Lots of Wind; High 81, Low 68 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Today was the first day of the 2017-2018 school year for Sam and Jonah. Ollie went for a one-hour introduction to kindergarten, but tomorrow will be his first official full day. Ollie and I spent a fun day together, and at the end of the day, all three boys reported that they loved their first day of school. Fantastic!

I picked Ollie up at East Falmouth after his hour-long intro to kindergarten and we headed to his house to pick up his bicycle. He went to get his bicycle out of the shed but came back with his little John Deere tractor. He loves taking that to the parking lot at The Studio where he can ride to his heart’s content on pavement. You peddle the tractor like a bicycle, but it is really hard to peddle on grass. So, we took the tractor and the bicycle and spent the next three hours riding the tractor. We had lunch on the dock and finally took off for the planned trip to Trunk River to check out the rock cairns and ride bikes. About that time, I got an email from Carrie from Peach Tree Farm asking if I would like 30 more pounds of organic sauce tomatoes. But going to pick those up cut our bike riding short. I’ll have Ollie again on Thursday as he has only two full days of kindergarten this week and maybe we can get our bike ride in then. Ollie built a small cairn and we also hope to return on Thursday to add to that. He rode his bike for a short distance and then it was time to go pick up tomatoes and meet Sam at the bus stop. It was wonderful to pick-up such a happy fifth grader. Sam loves his new school because they have a 30-minute recess—the important thing about school! Jonah walked home from school with Heather and Molly, Joey, and their mom Melissa, and all of them were cheery about their first day of school as well. They celebrated with wild rides on the slip and slide in the backyard and I slipped out to go home and start processing those tomatoes.

I have been in touch with Justin a few times over the last two days and I had a Skype video call with the whole family this evening. They are bracing for Hurricane Irma, but thankfully it is looking like there won’t be a direct hit on the main island of Puerto Rico. I sure hope this ends up to be the case as Irma is one scary looking storm. Justin thinks they have done everything possible to secure their home and property and I’m really hoping they will be able to communicate with me after the storm passes to let me know all is well. But they have been hearing that more than likely they will lose electricity and it could be days, weeks, even a month or even longer before power is restored. Justin knows a ham operator, so if all else fails, at some point he hopes to be able to contact me that way. Naturally I am sitting on pins and needles hoping that all is going to be fine. This would have been the fourth week of school for Ziggy and Coco, but school has been cancelled until after the storm. I didn’t have photos of them on their first day of school, but now I have those and share them here belatedly. How lucky they are to attend a school on the edge of a beach . . . except when there is a hurricane with storm surge. Hopefully damage will be minimal. Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco and the whole menagerie of plants and animals that call Finca Maravilla home . . . I love you so much. Be safe.