Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grace Memorial Chapel

At the corner of Central Ave and Bayberry in Menahaunt Massachusetts (now a part of East Falmouth) there is a charming building called Grace Memorial Chapel.  There is no parking lot, and no sign out front, but it is one of the central buildings of Menahaunt society (along with the Yacht Club which is probably not more than 200 yards away). It's delightful from every angle, and although I pass it nearly every day when I walk the dogs I never tire of looking at it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Return to East Falmouth

After a weekend of camping we are back in East Falmouth.  As is usual with camping, we are back in town with loads of dirty clothes and linens.  It's just one of the many features of camping that make it just as much work to go out for one day as it is for a week.  For one day or a week you put everything into the car, set up the tent and campsite, purchase food and check your supplies of cooking gas, and do all the actions in reverse on the way home. Therefore my camping minimum is two nights out. We had to improvise a little bit, because although I was able to find our two big bins in the storage unit the big cooler with the rest of our gear was not to be seen.

We went to the Jellystone Park campgrounds at Maple Park. It's a short drive for us, less than an hour if the traffic doesn't hold us up.  This is a big campground with 400 spaces, but you never saw the whole campground at once.  Because we made our reservations late we did not have many to choose from, and ended up in a fairly crowded area. It was OK because we didn't have anyone close behind us and could orient ourselves so we were not really looking at other campsites. Amenities at this campground are pretty comprehensive: swimming and fishing ponds, baseball field, kayak rental, camp store, game room, movies and bingo, kids' activities of all kinds. "Live" appearances by Yogi and BooBoo,  free showers and flush toilets round out the offerings. We had a very good weekend, supplementing our lazy campground time with a bike ride along the Cape Cod Canal and some shopping on our way back home. We looked at kayaks - I think we've found a good source for reasonable priced kayaks for novice paddlers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One the Cape Cod Canal

This the Bourne Bridge wreathed in fog. Shana and I went for a little ride on the bike path beside the Cape Cod Canal today from the Bourne Bridge to the Sagamore Bridge, about six or seven miles round trip on our mountain bikes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Rugosa is in Bloom

It's Memorial Day Weekend, and the summer people have come back to The Cape. Traffic is unbearable, the corner pizza parlor is backed up crazy, and we are leaving town for the weekend.

When the dogs and I took our morning beach walk there were a lot of men standing on shore simultaneously fishing and talking on their cell phones.  Too funny!

I'll be out camping for the weekend, so probably no new posts will appear until Tuesday.

Friday, May 27, 2011


It's a pretty well known theme that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, but most of the time they don't really see see each other's lifestyle.  On the Cape because it's a pretty small community you do come in contact with how the other half lives pretty regularly.  For one thing, there are lots of magazines that feature the more spectacular Cape Cod homes. Jobs are not terribly easy to come by on the Cape, and lots of native Codders work at a variety of part time projects - lawn care, housekeeping, drivers and home care for the elderly.  They see the insides of the homes and characters of the richer citizens and snow birds. 

People from New York and Boston see the rural unpretentious beauty of The Cape and hurry on down to ruin it with their giant houses. As time goes by the modest beach houses and full time homes with water views or access get torn down to accommodate the standards and tastes of the fortunate. This house in progress will exceed 8,000 square feet, not including the oversized double garage and what looks to be two patios or decks.  The first houses on this road were in the 1,000 - 2,400 square foot range; there's only one untouched that I know of.  For scale I must add that the house we are buying measures 816 square ft.

One more point should be made -  after this house is complete the owner of this house will probably stay in it for two months in the summer and a few weekends in the fall.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Books On Cape

Lame pun, I know. I can't resist.  I have a couple of free afternoons every week, and I have been using them to get acquainted with Cape Cod.  When I don't have other errands to run I divide my time between yarn stores, parks & reserves, and book stores.

Cape Cod is host to only one big box book store that I know of, but many independent booksellers.  I have to mention Eight Cousins in Falmouth before I go any further - it's a charming store in downtown Falmouth that specializes in children's books.  With the only other book store in Falmouth closing the store will be carrying more adult books than they have in the past. Most other towns have their own special book store, and I hope to get to as many as possible.

With  a recommendation from a fellow book fiend and an afternoon to spare I went out to visit Isaiah Thomas Books, which happens to be practically around the corner from my soon-to-be new house.  Isaiah Thomas was a newspaper publisher in the early days of  our country - a perfect name for a book store. The outside is an eye catching bright pink which in no way prepares you for what you will find inside. This store specializes in used and rare books and the selection is overwhelming.  Books are stuffed into every nook and cranny from the floor to the ceiling.  They are in shelves, in stacks, on chairs, displayed on tables and on carts.  Books are shelved any way they will fit. Shelves of all kinds are wedged in everywhere there are a few square feet. Books climb to the ceiling and stack up on the floor. the most ordinary books snuggle up next to treasures. I would say that with a little time to spare serendipity is guaranteed.

There are also books downstairs - a huge assortment of literary criticism and foreign language books.  There are loads of those decorative sets of classic books that add appeal to a home, vintage books with beautiful covers that beg to be altered and made into decorative objects, and copies of those books you gave away or sold that you wish you could have back (now you can!). Their selection of local history books probably covers every town on The Cape and most of Massachusetts. There are books of every kind of art, and about travel to every conceivable destination. If you want to grow it you will find a book that tells you how.  A coffee table book from here would be a can't miss housewarming gift (hint?) for a bibliophile.

Shelves and areas are carefully marked with hand lettered tags and signs, so total chaos does not reign, but there is enough of a happy jumble to invite browsing.

What this means for the book shopper is that there are cozy corners with comfy chairs surrounded by books of every kind and vintage. Sit down to read a bit and you are cocooned in the scent and the sound muffling quality of books, snug and happy.  I spent hours prowling around, pulling out books of all kinds and settling down to read. There is a little corner with plants, and a lovely calico shop cat.  This store is just a little bit of heaven for someone who loves to be surrounded by books.

We're (still) waiting for the mortgage underwriters to work their magic.  With a deadline looming to have a commitment by next Tuesday and a holiday weekend in between I'm a little itchy, but the bank does not seem concerned so I'm not in a state of total panic yet. Homeowners' insurance is not nailed down yet either.  I'm trying to get GEICO to quote me since I've been satisfied with their car insurance, but so far we can't seem to be available at the same time to talk about it. I went over to the storage locker to drag out camping equipment for this weekend and I was quite distressed to find that the boxes felt damp (my books!).  I guess it's not too surprising considering that we've had rain most days and fog every day.  I'm crossing my fingers that most of my books will be OK; there's nothing else I can do. I must admit I did indulge in some minor weeping, and suggest that we might as well move into a yurt or the car because we won't have enough stuff left to furnish anything else.  Idle threat, because there is almost no possibility that we won't have plenty of "stuff".

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don't Panic

Me & My Towel, originally uploaded by cinderellenk.

It's Towel Day. Do you know where your towel is? Mine's in storage, most likely padding the box wherein rest my beautiful bedside lamps. The very soonest I might see it is July 1, when I will start moving boxes over to the new house. This is assuming that all is going well in Underwriting World.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Was Not Raptured

I was not Raptured up to heaven last night, and so far I have not seen any signs that anyone else was either. I suppose it's possible that this is just because I am in Massachusetts, where I believe there are more Liberals and union members than in some other places, so I'll be checking the news from around the Internet to be sure that other places with more true believers have not experienced Rapture.
I did go out to Persey's  for breakfast, to the Waquoit Farmers' Market, and to check some measurements at the new house (for which we STILL have not heard from the mortgage brokers). Later we went for dinner in Hyannis, but I don't think that would count as heaven, even though we did have some sun for most of the day and a pretty tasty dinner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Looking for Work on the Cape

So far my efforts at securing employment have resulted in a variety of emails informing me that the position has been filled, an interview with a young man about the same age as my youngest child (my guess at this point is no, I will not be hired for that one), and  threatening and rude comments from an Internet scamster who said I was lying about his not working on behalf of an oil company in Oklahoma City. To be fair I did let him know that the company in question was filing an Internet Crime Complaint against him and suggested that he not contact me again.  Somehow his threats to have me arrested rings hollow.

I'm not totally discouraged yet, and in the meantime I can go for a walk on the beach with the dogs every day and get around to visiting some of the many local nature preserves when I have free time. It's hard not to find that a big plus.  Besides, we are still waiting for the bank to finish up on our loan, so my daily expenses are pretty minimal.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The End of the World as We Know It

There's still time to learn the lyrics - The Rapture won't happen until 6:00 pm in your local time zone.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

I had a little free time yesterday afternoon, so I went for a walk in the woods.  The Lowell Holly Reservation is near the location of our new house, and I decided to check it out.  My GPS was not terribly helpful about finding the year round entrance (Mildred dragged me on a wild goose chase all around the back side of Mashpee Pond) and rain was imminent, so I didn't have very much time to spend, but I did have a lovely walk. There are some important stands of native holly which grows only on the east coast and a couple of especially fine views which I did not visit due to my time constraints, but the forest quiet and the beautiful trails through an old growth forest satisfied me.

Rain was threatening, so I did not meet with any other visitors until I was nearly back to my car. Then it was only one young man with a dog. The birds were mostly quiet and the trails covered with pine needles.  The quiet walk among the beautiful beeches was positively restorative. The only teeny tiny drawback was that little inchworms dropped from the trees and I was still finding them on my clothes after I got home. I suspect in summer it will be less solitary, as there is a beach on Mashpee Pond, but I think that a person who was willing to get out very early in the day will always find a little quiet time for herself in this little jewel of a park.

No word yet from our mortgage lender, but at this point I don't think the appraisal has been done yet.  If all goes well we'll have the keys to our little house in 43 days.  I am a little impatient, I must confess.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

And May Showers Bring

Lady's Slipper, Rhododendron, and other delights.  The trees are leafing out now; peonies and viburnum are beginning to bud, and still the rains come. The swans have moved on from Bournes Pond and the hummingbirds have returned.  In Oklahoma everything blooms the same week and then it's 95,000 degrees until October.  Here spring is a longer and slower procession of beauty.  The price is daily rain, cool temperatures and frequent fog.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Goats on Stuff

If you can't get enough of goats, Goats on Stuff is even better. Go there; take a look! This is one of my own goat photos - they are not on any stuff at all and are therefor rather boring.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Knitters' Day Out

The Cape Cod Bitchin' Stitchers headed out for a field trip this morning.  We drove to Fairhaven to visit Eva's Yarn Shop. The drive was fun, lots of yarn store talk and laughter as we got started on the road for our fun day out.  Once we left the Cape we left the clouds behind and we could enjoy a perfect sunny day.

Eva's Yarn Shop is an Aladdin's Cave of beautiful and special yarns.  The floor samples are beautiful, varied and inspiring. I was nearly induced to tackle an entrelac wrap even though it's a technique that has never really appealed to me. It might still happen! Most of the samples were knitted by Eva herself.  Eva is welcoming and enthusiastic with a distinctive sense of style that is reflected in her choices of yarns.  The customer base seems to include every knitter in town, from middle school girls to elderly ladies. One of our girls had called ahead to let Eva know we were coming and she was ready with extra help to accommodate and tempt us. They helped us choose patterns, cheerfully balled up the skeins we purchased, dug through pattern books and even whipped out an i Pad to show one of us how to find things on Ravelry.

After we made our yarn selections we walked down the street and around the corner for lunch, returning back to Eva's to pick up some yarn that was being wound. Fairhaven is a really attractive town, with a charming downtown area.  It didn't hurt that the weather was just perfect.  We had lunch at Elizabeth's, which was just far enough away for us to enjoy our walk.  Elizabeth's is rather small and really cute, with delicious food at reasonable prices. They were very accommodating to those of our party who had special requests, and the service was very good.  Definitely a good choice.  Conversation was general and we all had a good time. We walked back to pick up our yarn after a visit to Euro.  My personal opinion is that if you can't find it at Euro it's not any fun anyway.

Brahmin Handbags are manufactured in Fairhaven and not only do they have their outlet store there, but this weekend they were having a tent sale so we had to stop in for a look.  These are  upscale bags with prices to match, but from the traffic you would have thought they were giving them away.  Two police officers were needed to control the vehicle traffic.  We admired the bags, which were in every possible stylish shape and available in loads of strikingly beautiful colors but none of us were tempted enough to buy one.  I was mighty tempted by a beautiful bright  orange faux alligator envelope bag, but I'd rather spend the big bag money on basics and buy the fun colors at a discount store.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Spring Day

It's been spring by the calendar for some time, but so far the days that felt like it have been few and far between.  I think the cool damp weather has helped the spring flowers last longer, but when it's cold and windy I don't want to go out and look at them. Today it's brilliantly sunny, warm, and only slightly breezy.  I took the dogs up to walk on the beach for the first time in several days.  It was so pretty, except for the yucky dead jellyfish.  They are quite attractive when alive, but dead ones look like a giant snot on the beach.  Of course the dogs think any dead thing on the beach is interesting, so part of my beach time today was redirecting the little noses.  

Roxy got to bask outside in the sun for an hour this afternoon.  She loves warm weather.  The older she gets the less she enjoys the cold.  Basking, or indeed staying outside unsupervised for any length of time, takes place only in the afternoon.  Early morning and late afternoon it's too risky to leave the dogs outside alone because of the coyotes.  I don't want the dogs to become a snack for a wild animal. I called Falmouth Animal Control about them the morning one of the coyotes was stalking us down the street, but I don't think they took the call seriously.

We are now at the stage of waiting for our mortgage commitment to come through.  Even though we've been pre-approved the wait for the final word is kind of nerve wracking. We're counting the probable days until closing (48) and assuming we will be moving in. We're researching the changes and updates we want to do as soon as we get into the house, including wall colors, which items of furniture we'll need to buy, which (few) we already own and the ones we'll take with us from this house.  I've got garden ideas stewing in my head, among other entertaining plans.

Of course we are eager to get into our own place and get our things out of storage.  I've started interviewing for jobs although I have only one pair of non denim pants with me. If I get a job I hope they like those pants! I kept only a very small wardrobe with me and I'll be happy to see a few more choices.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Only Make Believe

Not only have I not been on my bike this year, but I have never seen this in any airport:

The home buying process proceeds with some kind of paper requirements every single day.  Today's could be handled over the phone, but tomorrow more signatures will be required.

The lady dogs are getting along much better; they were actually chasing each other around a few minutes ago.  What this means is that when it's meal time or walk time they get together to gang up on me.  I get two sets of implacable eyes on me until I bend to their will.  They think I should feed them now so they are both staring at me, when Roxy is not actually jumping into my lap to make her point. I am defeated.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

You Can't Make These Things Up

If you happen to need jewelry you needn't worry that the understandable haste of living through The End Times may lead you to making an expensive mistake.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

And on Closer Examination

Today  Shana and started our day at Betsy's Diner in Falmouth, which is very cute and conveniently located.  The tables are 1950's style dinettes, and a colorful mural which I really like.

Later we had our Home Inspection, a process which lasted about four hours.  I followed the inspector around, all over the yard, from the attic to the cellar, all over the yard, around the shed - you name it, we saw it.  We had the inspector and I with both Realtors, Shana, and a decorator who was there to meet with Shana about some improvements we want in make in the hard surfaces. It was kind of like a party, but without snacks. We're now exhausted! I took a lot of pictures for my own use, which mostly feature odd angles and/or unflattering pictures of our inspector.  I just needed a few shots which would give me an idea of size and orientation of rooms and areas of the yard  for purposes of selecting furniture or shrubs, nothing fit for public enjoyment.  I wish we were able to move in a little sooner, but at least now I do have some references for specific areas which were not featured in the Real Estate sales pictures.

I also picked up the chandelier for our bedroom, which is as pretty as I remembered.  The day we went to the shop to buy it the shop was not busy, but  today with the season starting up it was jammed hip to hip with shoppers. I was disappointed at first that our new house was off the track a bit, but now I am happy happy happy that we will be in a little out of the way corner!

Friday, May 06, 2011

A Person Could Do Worse

At the moment I have loads of free time, so I get the dogs out for a 45 minute or hour walk every day unless it's rainy.  Even on a rainy day there is generally an hour when it lets up so we can get our long walk.  Most days we walk up to Menahaunt Beach.  Once "the Season" starts dogs won't be welcome on the beach, but for now we can poke along barking at seagulls (the Girls) and picking up beach glass (me).  Every day we go to the same place, and every day it's different. Today was brilliant but cool:  just perfect for a walk.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Another Budget Idea for Us

I ran across an interesting little video about the current budget negotiations. Some of us are passing this around so our readers are likely to get a look at it, and maybe realize that Progressives are still around and full of ideas.

I've been frittering around on the Internet considering options for our new house and trying to put things into a reasonable order dependent on actual need and budget constraints. It's really hard to be ruthless, especially since Shana and I each have our own pet projects. On the garden front we are fortunate enough to be able to raid her mother's garden for a couple of mature hydrangeas and some additional "starts" from existing bushes. I'm hoping to also score some divisions of her perrenials to not only have a good beginning on our own gardens but also to have the sentimental pleasure of growing some things from her garden. We can also claim some household items to round out the selection we brought out with us.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

This Door Must Remain Closed at All Times

This particular door was in a little indoor mall in Provincetown, but I feel like it might be for my life - I've opened all the doors and there is some part of me that is not quite sure that I'm not just visiting.  But - I have a couple of job leads, a few new friends, and almost a house. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

Weekend Wonders

The weekend has been one of good news and wonder. Shana and I had planned to go into Boston and visit the Science Museum, but before we took off we ran a few errands, and were therefore available to meet with our Realtor.  The owner of the house we'd made an offer on came back with a counter offer, and we needed to meet with Sue to respond. We needed to stay on the Cape in case we needed to sign anything else, so we chose to go to Provincetown for the weekend instead. We came to an agreement with the homeowner, and we've got a contract! I need to get the ball rolling for our mortgage, but since we are preapproved for more than we'll need that should roll right along. This is the little house we've buying.  We should be closing on June 30.

We had a really nice weekend in Provincetown.  We had a nice dinner and an early night Saturday, and made a reservation for brunch and a whale watching tour Sunday.  Sunday was cool and brilliant, so we spent the time between brunch and our (sunset) whale watching cruise idling around town visiting the shops and galleries of Commercial Street.  There's a lot to see and it's a very attractive town.  One thing that I did not realize is that on the pier there is a Pirate Museum which I will surely visit next time we are in town.  Knowing that it would be really cold out on the ship we also bought some terrifying hats at Marine Specialties.  I have to go there every time I am in town - they sell everything from tide charts to vintage prom dresses.

What we did see was plenty of whales.  We saw about a dozen Right Whales - at a distance because they are endangered and ships are not allowed to come closer than 500 yards.  I should have brought binoculars but when we left the house we were not planning to need them.  Farther out we saw a group of  feeding Humpback Whales which we could observe at much closer range.  We stayed near them for quite a while - it was so exciting.  My pictures stink, of course, and don't give a hint of the thrill that the whales themselves provided. Really the best thing about my pictures is that the color is true - the Atlantic Ocean really is that beautiful deep blue. If you double click on my pictures you can enlarge them to get a better look at the beautiful whales. There was also a Fin Whale and a Minke Whale and loads of Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins, which look quite different to the Bottlenose Dolphins I've seen so often in Florida.