2018 Life Logs, Day 285—Energy and Geopolitics

2018 Life Logs, Day 285—Energy and Geopolitics
Date: Friday, October 12, 2018
Weather: Heavy Rain AM, Cloudy to Clearing PM; High 64, Low 45 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Tonight was the second Falmouth Forum of 2018-2019 season. Each month the Forum presents a speaker sponsored by the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole and the general public is invited to attend. In addition to the general public, the audience is filled with scientists from the Woods Hole community making the Q&A most interesting. Tonight’s topic was Energy and Geopolitics presented by Ambassador Richard Morningstar. I attended along with Terry and Olivia White. Ambassador Morningstar is not a scientist. He is a lawyer that has served in various government positions, the last being as Ambassador to Azerbaijan from 2012 to 2014. He was also the Ambassador to the European Union during the Clinton administration. Tonight’s presentation included his reflections on the various ways he has seen geographic location affect politics and the way both affect the decisions various governments make on energy policies. And, of course, those decisions guide the way we are facing climate change. I was most interested in the various ways the world’s largest energy companies are, in some cases, leading the way, in the absence of leadership by governments. Unfortunately, this sounds to me like the blind leading the blind.

I spent the very rainy morning out running around. I had an early morning routine mammogram, went to the grocery store, and then came home and did some cooking. Focusing on food led me to watch a few videos from a digital docu-series on the Healing Power of Food. And that led to more food preparation. In between cooking and watching the videos, I texted back and forth with Heather whose flight from Providence, RI to Washington, DC was delayed due to weather. She arrived in a sunny DC this afternoon. She is attending a conference for science writers and will be home on Monday, so Jed is a single parent this weekend. I’ll see him at Ollie’s soccer game tomorrow afternoon and see what I can do to help out. The weather here improved this afternoon, but when I walked out the door this evening to go to Woods Hole, I had to come right back in and grab a polar fleece jacket. I was wearing a light-weight sweater, but even though the temperature was in the 50’s, but it felt really chilly to me. Fall is finally really here.

2018 Life Logs, Day 284—Busy from Start to Finish

2018 Life Logs, Day 284—Busy from Start to Finish
Date: Thursday, October 11, 2018
Weather: Overcast, Late Afternoon Rain; High 77, Low 61 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

This was a busy day from start to finish. At 8:30 am, representatives from National Grid came to do an energy assessment of the cottage. It was a two-and-a-half-hour affair and I was very impressed with their thoroughness and with what they offer to do to fix issues at very little cost to the consumer. The cottage mostly needs more insulation and some other tweaks here and there that would cost almost $5,000. But they supply the materials and do the work, and the cost to me would be less than $500. Sounds like a good deal to me. But before I can take them up on their deal, there is an issue with the hot water heater that needs to be addressed. My landlord, Shirley, has already said she will pay for that, so I just need to get a plumber here. Easier said than done! During the afternoon I attended a Newcomers Technology Tips class. Today’s topic was photo editing and I knew most of what was presented, but I learned how to edit photos on my phone which I have never done before. These classes are offered once a month and I will definitely return for next month’s class on making photo books. I have done this multiple times and have been happy with my results. But the process is always frustrating as I just do it by the seat of my pants, not really understanding the right way to do things. The instructor of this class is really good and it’s free. The class consisted of whole group teaching to one-on-tutoring to participants helping each other. Great resource. Then I ended my day by attending the monthly Newcomers General Meeting. This meeting usually takes place during the morning, but for some reason the October meeting is held at night. The speaker tonight was what you would call an “old salt” who has spent his life as a captain of ships, tugs, and ferries. He was involved in the design and building of some of the ferries that travel between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard and it was most interesting to learn what is involved in building and maintaining those ferries.

We had rain in the late afternoon, lots of it, and then it became misty. And it warm with temps in the 70’s. But that is going to change. From tomorrow all through next week, the forecast is for high temperatures in the low 60’s and 50’s and lows in the 50’s and 40’s. Ugh. I have been loving the warm weather. Hopefully there is more of it to come after next week.

2018 Life Logs, Day 283—Falmouth Trolley Tour

2018 Life Logs, Day 283—Falmouth Trolley Tour
Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Weather: Early Morning Fog, Turning Sunny; High 74, Low 66 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

A few days ago, a friend from the Newcomers group posted that she had an extra ticket for the last trolley tour of Falmouth for this season. This is sponsored by the Museums on the Green and is a two-hour driving tour highlighting all of Falmouth’s early history. I have lived here for seven years and have learned a lot about the town, but I jumped at the chance to learn more. It was a good decision because I really enjoyed the tour. I learned so many new things about this town and came home feeling very positive about this beautiful place where I live.

Our tour started at the Museums on the Green in downtown Falmouth. The Village Green is just that. A large green area that has been the town center since 1756. It is surrounded by homes dating back to that period and before. Next to the Museums on the Green is the Falmouth Congregational Church. I learned today that the first meeting house was built in 1700 or earlier near the Old Burying ground off Mill Road on the way to Woods Hole. I never knew that cemetery existed, but today we were shown the gate and told that you can walk in to explore. From that first meeting house, a second was built in 1717 and was then moved and rebuilt by 1756 on the Village Green. The current building dates back to 1857. The frame of the building on the Village Green was moved across the street and renovated. In its steeple it has a bell made by Paul Revere. In 1858, Reverend William Bates was the minister and lived just down the street. Unfortunately, he died a year later just after his daughter, Katharine Lee Bates, was born. She went on to graduate from Wellesley College and become a professor there. One of her poems, America the Beautiful, was published in 1895 and Americans still sing that poem today. Across the Village Green an Episcopalian church was built in 1890. It was funded by the wealthy Beebee family that moved to Falmouth from Boston. The two churches are very different in appearance. The Congregational Church is made of wood painted white. St. Barnabus is built of dark stone and looks like a small cathedral. But the stark contrast makes for a very interesting center for the town of Falmouth. As our tour continued, we drove by the homes of traders and whaling captains. Some of these homes have holes in them from cannon shots from the British ship, the HMS Nimrod, during the war of 1812. The Nimrod stood off Falmouth firing shots, but Falmouth fought back and no damage was done other than leaving behind canon shot. We drove on to Woods Hole, visited the Nobska Lighthouse, and drove through the Village of Woods Hole whose main street is lined with prestigious scientific research institutions: MBL or Marine Biological Laboratory dating back to 1888, WHOI or Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution dating back to 1930, NOAA and National Fisheries whose research began here in 1871. From Woods Hole we drove back to Falmouth and visited the Highfield Hall which was once the home of that very wealthy Beebee family that funded the building of St. Barnabus. While there, I walked down to the gardens and watched the Painted Lady butterflies. Beautiful. We ended our tour exploring parts of Falmouth Heights that I had never seen before despite the fact that I lived in that area for two years. I had no idea that there were homes there in the same gingerbread architectural design called Carpenter Gothic as those in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. It was a wonderful tour and certainly peaked my interest in wanting to learn more about this town. After the tour, I had lunch downtown with two friends. We ate outside as the weather was so warm and sunny. As I started the drive home, the fog was beginning to roll in from the Vineyard Sound, but it was still bright and sunny in East Falmouth. I stopped by Menauhant Beach close to my house and saw the last beach rose and beach rose hip of summer and then drove by homes with what I call daisy bushes. They bloom in late summer and are at their peak at this time of year. Daisies are my favorite flower, so I love these bushes. It was a glorious day. I will end with the words of Katharine Lee Bates’ America the Beautiful.

O beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountains majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee.
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

2018 Life Logs, Day 282—A Trip to See My Orthopedic Surgeon

2018 Life Logs, Day 282—A Trip to See My Orthopedic Surgeon
Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Weather: Overcast Early, Beautiful Afternoon; High 73, Low 65 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was my day to deal with my left knee issue. I had a 3 pm appointment in Hyannis and somehow this took the whole day. Since I was going to Hyannis, I had made an appointment to get a new passenger side airbag installed since the one I have was recalled. I was also supposed to get a new key fob cut and programmed, but for the second time in a few days, I got there and they still did not have the right key. I had explained what I wanted as graphically as possible, but they ordered only a regular key. I need a replacement for what I call ‘the clicker’ to remotely open and lock doors. I will have to return again for that and now that they say they understand what I need, the cost has gone up to about $275. Losing your keys is an expensive proposition.

I had some time between the car appointment and the knee appointment, so I headed to Whole Foods to do some food shopping. I got to the orthopedic center right on time, but I had to wait an hour and a half to see the doctor. I had a book with me and I enjoyed the reading time. The doctor assures me that the x-rays of my knee don’t match what he sees when I enter the room. He says I look fit and energetic, even though my left knee is beyond bone on bone and he doesn’t understand how I am walking without a cane based on those x-rays. He feels that I am an excellent candidate for surgery and promises that I will be so much happier when I can once again really use that knee. But he is also willing to go along with my attempts to do whatever I can to put off the surgery. I have not been a patient in a hospital for over 50 years and I am not looking forward to being one. But since his surgeries are booked six months out, he is suggesting that if I have a time that I prefer, I should book the surgery and then back out if I decide against it. I really don’t have time to get this done until February and he did say that he has an opening in that month as someone just cancelled. I will work with his scheduler to come up with a date. In the meantime, I got a cortisone shot to help with the pain, scheduled some PT sessions, and met with the technician to help me adjust the brace I have. I stopped wearing it, even though it helps, because it just felt too tight. The technician fixed that problem. So, I will continue to limp along with these supports, work hard at getting back to a scheduled exercise program, and hope for a miracle. The doctor tells me the evidence says this is just not going to happen, but I appreciate his patience in letting me try.

2018 Life Logs, Day 281—Cranberry Harvest and Birthday Lunch

2018 Life Logs, Day 281—Cranberry Harvest and Birthday Lunch
Date: Monday, October 8, 2018
Weather: Overcast; High 66, Low 55 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Once only known as Columbus Day, this day has now also become Indigenous People Day—not as a replacement for Columbus Day, but a different way of celebrating the day. Columbus Day is a national holiday, so there was no school today. Heather and Ollie spent the night again and Ollie and I really did sleep in this morning. Heather got up early and evidently tried to wake me up to tell me she was leaving, but evidently I was snoring happily and totally did not respond to her attempts to wake me. She snuck out to go pick up Sam and start her day of bathroom painting. It was almost 9 am when I woke up and Ollie slept until almost 9:30. When we did get up, we enjoyed our time together and then I took him home via the cranberry bog. Heather had texted that they were harvesting today. Ollie and I watched the harvesting for a bit and he enjoyed taking photos and videos of the process using my phone. When we got home, we found that Jed, Sam, and Jonah were all home from their weekend of camping . . . a bit tired, but all had a good time. I then headed home to get ready for my lunch with friends to celebrate Jane Woodin’s birthday. Midge Frieswyk, Olivia White, and I treated Jane to lunch at one of her favorite downtown restaurants, La Cucina Sul Mare. We all had Shrimp and Scallop Piccatta in a white wine and caper sauce. This is usually served over angel hair pasta, but at Jane’s suggestion, I asked to have this over spinach and everyone else had it over a mix of spinach and pasta. It was delicious and it was delightful to spend a couple of hours in the company of good friends. The fifth member of our little group, Karen Baranowski, couldn’t join us today as she babysits for her son’s children on Monday’s this month. We really missed her and declared to find a way for all of us to be present for the next birthday.

On my way home, I once again drove by the bogs and got to see the next stage. The harvested cranberries had been corralled and almost all had been sucked up into the truck waiting to take them to a processing plant. And the water from the bogs on the right side of the road was being channeled into the bogs on the left side of the highway through an under-road culvert. The fields on that side of the road will probably be harvested tomorrow, but enough cranberries were floating due to the influx of water allowing the ducks to feast. I love watching this colorful process which, for me, has become as much a part of fall as fields of pumpkins.

2018 Life Logs, Day 280—A Day with Heather and Ollie

2018 Life Logs, Day 280—A Day with Heather and Ollie
Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018
Weather: Overcast and Misty; High 70, Low 57 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Jed, Sam, and Jonah are still camping with 5,000 Boy Scouts from all around Massachusetts, so I had a day with Heather and Ollie. Heather’s goal was to get the upstairs bathroom painted, or at least get the primer and one coat of finish paint on. She also wanted to get started on repainting the dining room chairs, so I volunteered for that job. Ollie volunteered to keep us entertained and happy, so this was our plan for today. We had planned to sleep in, but none of us expected that we would all sleep until 9 am. But, in fact, that is what we did! We checked on the fish in the new aquarium, had breakfast, explored my attic to make sure there’s no way for small critters to get in, and then Heather and I watched a short video with Ollie. Afterwards, we set out for Heather’s and got to work. Unfortunately, my job got derailed. Heather’s dining room chairs are each painted a different bright color, and I was to lightly sand them and do a coat of spray paint to freshen them up. But the weather didn’t cooperate. It was supposed to be partly sunny and warm today. It was warm, but it was totally overcast and misty. I got two chairs sanded and then had to abandon that job for today. Instead, I was the support person. I did laundry, fixed lunch, and played some games with Ollie. Then late in the afternoon, I headed home to fix dinner for us while Heather did the last coat of paint on the bathroom ceiling. This bathroom has been torn apart for over a year and a half, so it is very exciting to see that it is finally coming back together. Heather and Ollie came over for dinner and Heather and I watched a movie with Ollie while we ate. They are spending the night again and I love having the company.