Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Cape Cod Christmas

One of the more unintentionally hilarious Christmas traditions on Cape Cod is the Mashpee Roundabout.  Mashpee is a young town by Cape Cod standards incorporated in 1870, and does not really have a cute town center like most Cape Cod towns. The town center basically consists of the Town Archives, The Country Store (the country is Pakistan), Dunkin Donuts, City Hall, one church, and the only strip club on the Cape. Because of this, the public decorations are pretty much confined to the Mashpee Roundabout. It's very sparkly and fun! It looks like every year sees a little more sparkle.

Shana and I celebrated Christmas Eve with dinner out at the Golden Swan Indian Restaurant in Falmouth. It's always delicious, and after a season of cookies and other rich goodies we are craving something spicy and exotic. We had planned to see a movie after, but the sidewalks roll up early on the Cape and the latest show at all of the movie theaters started at 7:00 pm. We didn't want to rush our festive dinner so we just went on home instead.

Christmas day after opening our fabulous presents we went on over to the House of Dobberteen to join in a family dinner and evening. We had a great time - good company, good food, and lots of family coziness and love. For once the dogs were not cranky and snappy and everyone had a restful and pleasant time.

My haul of Christmas loot was exceptional this year - the Jiffy Steamer that has been on my wish list for years appeared in person at my home (!!!). I've been thinking about sewing again lately and this, combined with my mighty Rowenta iron will make things so easy. I've just put a tailor's ham and seam roll on my wish list to complete my fabulous pressing equipment. Of course these days I seldom wear anything that needs these fabulous pressing skills.

I also scored house socks and warm gloves from one daughter, three skeins of gorgeous bulky alpaca from another, and HOT BOOTIES! As seen on TV! My chronic cold and achy feet are looking forward to using this item. With a giant coffee cup and a new book I am guaranteed a cozy afternoon. I also a received a pretty scarf to add to my cache of classic accessories - Shana got one too so we will be able to swap them and thereby increase the wearables for both of us. A bike basket, chocolates, coffee and hot chocolate, bourbon, cute cocktail napkins, two homegrown avocados and a pair of handmade earrings - the list of treats and treasures is a long one. A lot of cards made their way to our house with kind thoughts from our far away friends and family. We feel so blessed and lucky to have so much, and so many people in our lives that remember us with such generosity and kindness.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lost and Found on the Cape

Looking sad because Shana could not come
This morning after meeting friends for breakfast at the Optimist Cafe . I had heard it was a nice place for breakfast and lunch so I was eager to try it. Shana was unable to come, and although we missed her it was a nice meetup.

I didn't have to be at work until later in the afternoon, so I decided to take the long way home, or at least the slow way home. The Optimist Cafe is on 6A, the Old King's Highway. 6A goes along the whole northern edge of the Cape, and is the way to go if you want to see antique shops, homes, beaches, and interesting views.  With a little extra time to spare it's a much nicer drive than the newer Route 6 (the only highway on the Cape) from which you see miles and miles of trees and only trees. I thought that I might look around and see if there were restaurants and shops I wanted to visit at a later time with Shana. I also thought I might stop at Parnassus Book Service, a treasure trove of used books and one of my favorite places to browse.

Sesuit Harbor

Anyone who knows my legendary sense of direction will know what happened next. I was out in Brewster before I twigged to what would have been obvious to anyone else. I was going the wrong way. In my defense, 6A can be a bit like a p*rn movie - it looks the same backwards and forwards; every mile is peppered with antique stores, historic homes, and gorgeous marsh views. There is no excuse, however, for thinking the marsh was on the opposite side of the road from where I thought it would be and to keep driving in that direction. In a way driving on the Cape is like driving in Colorado - the sea and marshes are pretty obvious markers if you know whether you are on the north or south side of the Cape. No harm done - I had plenty of time to drive back after stopping at really nice store (Lemon Tree Pottery - I'll be back, and Soon) and an unfamiliar beach and harbor. The Sea Street Beach looks like it is probably residents only, so I'm glad I got a peek off season when everyone has access. I did make a quick stop at Parnassus, too. I thought I might stop at Titcomb's Book Store while I was out, but it's probably just as well! All in all a treat. I can't wait to revisit my discoveries with Shana.

This has been my lucky year for drawings. This time I won some beautiful yarn and a pattern booklet which I think came from Vogue Knitting. I won enough silk and wool blend yarn to make a cabled hat, arm warmers, and cowl in a beautiful rose color. I was not sure which drawing I had won and the suspense was fun waiting to see what would arrive.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cape Cod Christmas

One of the benefits of living on Cape Cod is the small town atmosphere in spite of being on the east coast. Once the tourists and summer people are gone its rural and small town nature is more obvious. Every town has Christmas activities, and everyone participates in a few. Because I am working for A Major Retailer commercial and official Christmas activities have limited appeal for me (constant Christmas music, anyone?) but it's still fun to indulge in a few.

I was not planning to see the Falmouth Christmas Parade this year. What I was planning to do was to run into Sage Yarn to pick up the additional needles I needed to complete my fourth and fifth attempts at a hat. I would have stopped at my local, but because that shop is a one woman operation it is closed on Sundays. As I drove towards Falmouth center I noticed that the traffic was thicker than I would have expected on a Sunday off season. When I saw people walking with lawn chairs I knew I was in for it and took a turn to the back roads to find a way to get closer. I optimistically left my car on the side of the road in a no parking area and headed for Sage. I finished my needle shopping quickly and after a quick gossip with the shop assistant I headed out to see what the Falmouth parade offered.

Let's reiterate right off the bat that this is a small town in the off season! That said, they were able to field a high school marching band, the obligatory vet on a motorcycle, and the local dance academy which apparently tutors every little girl in town. The defining unit was the town crier who announced the parade. Very fun, and very short. Thank goodness the downtown area is small because I had to scrounge around looking for where I left the car. You may have noticed that the band has actual warm raincoats. That says all you need to know about the climate of Cape Cod off season!

The hat? Well, it's finished and will fit a human head now after being too small to fit on my head twice and too large for a human twice. Like really too large. Like the size of a trash can. The yarn was a bit heavy for fingering and a bit light for sport and I did not swatch. I never swatch. I repent of my bad swatching attitude. I also fell prey to knitters' delusion and knit half of the hat too small (rip) half of the hat too big (rip) nearly the whole hat really big (rip) and a third of the hat tiny (rip again). I tried every size of needle I owned and ended up buying two more sizes to get the job done. I am now finished with gift knitting and am making tiny and easy projects for myself like sensible hand warmers and simple hats for my own use for walking the dog and other occasions when my alpaca beauties are too precious and delicate.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sweet November

Patience may be rewarded
We are coming to the end of November and the weather is gorgeous. The coming week will be cooler but mostly clear, so I can't complain. I will just pile on the hand knits and move mittens and mitts for myself higher on the list of things I need to make more of.

We did not eat these
Thanksgiving was fun - fabulous food and good company. With a crowd in attendance we had ample excuse to go all out and serve both turkey and ham, plus a big assortment of sides in including two kinds of dressing, two kinds of gravy, and oysters. No oysters survived the afternoon, but Shana and I went home with plenty of leftovers including pie. Nothing says Holiday Leftovers to me like pie for breakfast! My pictures of the day are almost uniformly terrible, I am sorry to say. It's seldom I have such a complete failure, but I'll have another chance at Christmas to do better.

Fungus Amongus
There was some kerfuffle on Thanksgiving among the dogs. With all of them jockeying for position to get to the most likely place where meat might fall Mitzi and Louie were at odds, which made Roxy look like the angel she assuredly is not. She just slipped around getting as many treats as possible. The day was so exciting for her that she was exhausted when it was over.

I'm deep into holiday knitting and shopping, with most of my list under control. As usual the knitting is backing up! I've done nearly all of my shopping online this year. There are not a lot of retail outlets on Cape to choose from and no power on earth cold get me into a store on Black Friday to shop, although I did work that day. Despite the lack of door busters, The Major Retailer where I work was quite solidly slammed nearly all day. I was on the floor all day and had a very few minutes when there was no one waiting to be rung up. I am happy to say that I did not have to witness any of the ghastly mayhem that is surfacing on You Tube this week. It's shocking to see the behavior that people think is appropriate and sobering to think that the commodities that inspire this behavior are so far from being essential to sustain life. How will these people behave after the Zombie Apocalypse?

And instead of the ravening hordes of Black Friday - here is a hummingbird snoring:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving - All at Once

Lots of people I know are participating in naming the things for which they are thankful every day. Being the disorganized and procrastinating person that I am, I  want to just blurt them all out at once, in no particular order.

I am thankful for my excellent health, which makes so many other things possible.

I am grateful not to have any physical handicaps.

I am grateful to have three children, and all still living.

I am thankful that all three of my children are in reasonable health.

I am also thankful that all of my children are gainfully employed.

I am lucky to have two beautiful grandchildren.

I am fortunate to have my mother still living and in good health.

It was my good fortune to have two parents at home, which allowed my mother to be an home with us.

`I am grateful that my mother taught me not only to crochet, embroider, knit and sew, but even more valuable: to think that I might be able to make anything I fancied.

I am thankful that I learned early the value of reading for entertainment and knowledge.

I was given the great gift of having all four grandparents nearby through all of my growing up.

I was blessed with a good education.

I have been lucky to have lived both in the country and the city and in several states.

I am lucky to have kept my love of cycling for my whole life.

I am thankful that knitting has brought me to meet so many wonderful women.

I am thankful that from childhood I was exposed to people who taught me the value of democracy and participation in public life.

I am thankful that I was brought up in a union famliy and understand to this day the value of labor unions.

I am blessed to be living in the United States.

I am fortunate to have been able to move to Massachusetts at this time in my life.

I am lucky to able to enjoy the outdoors.

I am so happy to have a paid for and decent car.

I'm glad I learned what good Mexican food tastes like before I moved to Massachusetts (!)

I am thankful to have a wife who loves me after all these years.

I am thankful to have cordial and respectful relationships with my ex husbands and their families.

I am luck enough to have a home of my own and one that I love.

I am among the very lucky who always has enough to eat every single day.

I am so thankful that I am assured of an income (however small!) for life.

I am thankful that my wife is also employed when so many are not.

I have been the lucky owner of a number of very interesting dogs, who have added so much to my life.

I am lucky enough to be able to take a part time job doing something that is fun and pays a little too.

I am grateful for the Internet, through which I am able to keep in daily contact with friends and family members who are not physically nearby.

Of course there are many things that are not on the list. I am lucky indeed to have been born in the place and time and to the family I was. I've had a lot of opportunities in my life and although I have not taken advantage of all of them I am still very well off indeed. Of course I "did not build that" alone, so today I am pleased to be able to feature the people I love most.

Monday, November 12, 2012

While the Fall Weather Holds

Fall continues to be beautiful here on Cape Cod. We made it through Hurricane Sandy and the  nor'easter that arrived conveniently the following week with only minor damage done by each. My apologies to those who had large limbs across the road or their cars, of course. My neighbor's tree had a big branch twisted  off with each storm; one fell over my side of the fence and one on his. They are just hanging there waiting to be removed. Everyone here on the Cape thinks the nor'easter was much worse than Sandy - two days of strong wind and heavy rain were not much fun, plus it was much colder. The wind speeds from the nor'easter were about the same as Sandy here, and I think there was as much beach erosion with it.  From inside my house I felt like I was living on the highway because the wind sounded like trucks going down the road. Poor Roxy almost blew over one morning trying to do her "business". The Cape did not get any snow at all, and I am not at all disappointed. Because I had to secure my deck furniture in advance of the hurricane some of my fall cleanup is done already. I have not had my faucets & irrigation turned off yet. Must do  SOON.

Today we are enjoying a warm day, maybe the last warm one this week. After I finished my errands Roxy and I went for a walk at the Lowell Holly Reservation to make the most of the day. We walked about half a mile in and came back. In that time we saw easily half a dozen other groups on the trail, most with dogs. No one wants to miss out on a chance to get out for a walk because no one knows how long the weather will hold. I gave up on Furnace Wars just before the nor'easter came in - I thought we would lose power and with colder temperatures coming in with the storm I wanted to be sure the house was at a reasonable temperature. Also I was going around the house with the hood of my sweatshirt pulled up. I have the thermostat set at 60 degrees, so it's hardly tropical in here.

Looks like Thanksgiving will be a large and well attended meal. I'm looking forward to it, and to enjoying the traditional foods. We'll be frying a turkey again, plus baking a ham. As I look over the menu Shana and Lisa put together I think I can safely forecast a lot of people laying around helplessly after the meal.

Holiday knitting continues apace, with a lot of progress happening. Of course as soon as I finish one project I think of something else I'd like to add to the queue. One of the yarn stores here is going out of business, so I was able to replenish some of my basic stash for a reduced price. I've been knitting mostly from stash for a year, so it was almost an "emergency".

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall in New England

The Elizabeth Montgomery statue in Salem
Pilgrims on the street in Salem
It's true what they say. Fall in New England is the most beautiful season possible, with cool crisp days and diamond clear skies (sometimes!). The fall color I grew up loving in Ohio is everywhere. Shana and I have made it our business to get out & about to enjoy the season. Because my work schedule usually includes some portion of Saturday and Shana is staying with her stepfather on alternate weekends we have limited time to explore together, but we are trying to make the most of it. For our most recent free weekend together we planned a day of college football and a trip to Salem Massachusetts. I love Salem. It's a beautiful little town where there is a lot to do and see. During October it's crazy busy, but we went anyway because there was an exhibit of Ansel Adams photos we did not want to miss. It was the last weekend of the exhibit so we could not wait until November. It must be noted that parking in a city garage cost $16.00 (!) If you can visit at another time of year it will not be as painful or necessary to pay for parking. We had lunch at The Lobster Shanty, as featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and were not disappointed. The Peabody Essex Museum was great. I hear that the gift shop there is wonderful, but I did not go in for a look. I really must minimize temptation! The PEM was also hosting a hat exhibit which was a delightful surprise, with vintage hats from many periods displayed next to modern creations of similar materials and a recreation of a millinery work room.
Provincetown Street Scene

Race Point Beach

U. S. Lifesaving Station
Yesterday Shana and I spent the afternoon in Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod. Provincetown is both charming and odd in about equal measure. You can visit the very nicest and most exclusive of galleries and the junkiest of T shirt shops in the same block. Restaurants vary from hot dogs at walk up windows to the very best of fine dining. We had an excellent burger and an equally excellent eponymous beer at the Local 186 (note the painfully hip website) then strolled along Commercial Street before driving down to Race Point to visit the beach and the Life Saving Station. Race Point features some of the most beautiful dunes on the Cape, and the beach is pristine and wonderful. Although it is on the Atlantic side the access does not include a steep climb down to the beach as is part of most of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  There is one access point where there is a hard surface access path which is much appreciated by anyone of limited strength or mobility. There are also conveniences including flush toilets and a bath house. In October the services are limited to a porta-potty, but the beach is virtually deserted and not less beautiful than in high season. Since I do not attempt to swim in the Atlantic at any location and Race Point is named for strong rip currents I find the beach equally attractive at all times of the year. We took Roxy with us so she could enjoy a beach walk as well. The U. S. Lifesaving Station was open this time and we got a good look at how those brave men lived.

Our day trips around the state have given me the excuse to avoid my fall yard chores, but I can't put it off much longer. Leaves are falling and my perennials are going to sleep.  It is clear that winter is coming. The Farmers' Almanac suggests we may have a cold one, and the old wives' tales insist that the huge crop of acorns we have this year means a cold winter. The huge crop of acorns is at the very least attracting the local turkeys to the yard. They were visiting Friday and knocked over my birdbath while they were here.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Too Short, Too Long

I copied this idea over from The Billfold because it is worth another look and thought! These are just my own personal choices of luxuries that are worth it or not; you'll certainly choose different ones from me.

Life is too short for:
Single ply toilet paper
Boring bread
Cheap shoes
Cheap bike shorts
Winter tomatoes
Pink hot dogs

Life is too long for:
Expensive cars
Expensive mascara - Maybelline FTW
Wasteful utility bills - put on/take off clothes instead
Mani/Pedis- YMMV, but I can do my own well & don't like to be touched by strangers
Trading in my phone every time a new model comes along
Fancy luggage
Musical Comedy

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Paulson for President!

How I wish he was running this year! It would be so nice to have something satirical and amusing to watch for a change.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


When I moved from Oklahoma to Cape Cod one of the biggest changes in my weekly routine is trash disposal. In Oklahoma I had two gigantic roller bins that I could fill to the brim and have removed every single week with no additional charge and the monthly fee was billed with our water. Every few months there would be a large trash pickup when all kinds of bulky trash would be picked up. Oklahoma has lots of land available for landfills.

Here on Cape Cod trash is not such an easy process. Our town has no municipal trash hauling. You can arrange for a private trash service to pick it up for you, but almost everyone chooses the least expensive option takes their own trash to the "transfer station". We call it the dump. All of our trash is trucked off Cape, so towns are very interested in encouraging recycling to reduce this charge. Our transfer station is set up so that you pass the recycle area on your way to the trash building. We have single stream recycling - plastic, glass and paper go in the same bin, with separate bins provided for cardboard and hard plastic. There are barrels where you can put your plastic bags. You can purchaser recycling bins for a nominal fee and lots of people do, but since you are dropping it off yourself you can put in in anything you like. The Department of Public Works sells compost bins for about half of the usual retail price, which encourages composting instead of bringing compostables to the transfer station. Reasonable amounts of yard waste go in a separate area, where you can take as much compost and mulch as you want for free. The amount of compost and mulch I take from the dump pays for my yearly fee! I used to have a bin of yard waste and one of trash every week in Oklahoma. Here I have one 30 gallon trash can every other week.

Recycling alone does not help much if we do not make an effort to use less, to repurpose what we already have and select recycled products where appropriate. Years ago we would do this without question. Used clothing was passed down, cut down, and finally used for small projects and rags until it was used up. Now we send it by the bale to Africa, where is has just about killed local clothing manufacture.  Reuse and repurpose does not have to mean dreary - Look at what this metal artist is making from used bicycle parts:

The pictures have nothing to do with the text unless you consider that using less means less land has to be put under production and more can be saved for beauty and refreshment. These pictures were taken at the Ryder Conservation Area in Mashpee MA.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Normal Life

I've had a really quiet week with little to report. No cycling, no parties, no fights, trips or adventures. The best thing about the week is that The Major Retailer where I work closes at 6:00 pm until the holidays roll around, so I have few shifts ending later than 7:00pm. I have most evening free now, which is very much to Shana's taste. I miss having a lot of days free to play outside, but the weather will not hold so much longer and indoor pursuits will be the order of the day.

I have been knitting quite a bit, but nothing much to show for it, at least in the form of finished objects. I've lost a lot of time down the Ravelry rabbit hole (I'm cinderellen over there) trying to match up my stash with new projects. If you've spent much time on Ravelry you know how that kind of research can leave you wandering in the wilderness of beautiful possibility. Looking at patterns makes you wander the Internet looking at yarns suited to that pattern - on and on. I came to my senses just in time to avoid buying both yarn and patterns, but barely.

I've been reading a fair amount lately too. What's on my nightstand now is The Night Circus. I have not finished it yet but I am willing to recommend it. The images it brings to life in my mind are magical - a combination of the writing style and the inventiveness of the author. It has the feeling of a dream. Magical Realism is one of my favorite categories, one which is nnot easy to do well. This book is enchanting.

To contribute to the general craziness of the presidential campaign Randy Newman has put out a little ditty that sums up some of the GOP hopes quite neatly:

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Out and About

Our Neighborhood Turkeys
It's fall here, and with the change of seasons comes a change in life on the Cape. On the day after Labor Day it was apparent that summer was over. Traffic has dropped off, not to winter levels, but noticeably. The kids have gone back to school and most of the vacationers have gone home. The summer workers are nearly all leaving, and the Summer People will mostly leave at the end of October, with the latest few leaving around Thanksgiving. The light is already different, and next week will see a few low temperatures below 50°. Our local flock of wild turkeys has been very much in evidence. One big Tom was sitting on our deck railing Friday morning, much to Shana's surprise. The Major Retailer where I work will be closing at 6:00 every night now, although I will still work a few late nights (until 11:30 pm!) here and there to reset floor displays when our customers are out of the building.

Oak Bluffs Harbor
Today is Shana's birthday, and thanks to the reduction in tourist population we were able to indulge in a  day trip to Martha's Vineyard yesterday. We took the Ferry out of Falmouth to Oak Bluffs because we were not taking a car across. Roxy stayed with "Aunt Lisa" for the day. Shana and I rented mopeds and spent the afternoon tooling around the island. Only a week earlier I would have hesitated because in high season it's a dangerous thing to do, but the traffic this week is largely locals. We visited Acquinnah to see the cliffs of Gay Head and the Acquinnah lighthouse. The cliffs are as beautiful as advertised and the ride was lovely, with intermittent views of the sea and intriguing glimpses of cottages among the dunes. We could not help but fantasize about how it would be to live there! As we approached the lighthouse we heard the unmistakable sounds of Native American song - this weekend Acquinnah was hosting the Wampanoag powwow. Next time we visit Martha's Vineyard we will bring a car and visit some of the other lighthouses and beaches. Philbin Beach is especially lovely, but it is private and we may not be able to go there.

Gay Head Cliffs
Today we went to the beautiful Coonamessett Inn for a champagne brunch for Shana's birthday meal. It's a pretty place, if a little "grandma", but the food is good and it was a place where Shana often went with her mother. We had a wonderful selection of delicious dishes and some very helpful advice from our Jamaican waiter on the preparation of callaloo. This my favorite cooked green, and thanks to a large Jamaican population here in the summer it is available at a local organic farm. I'm eager to try his recipe.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Day 2012

Labor Day is not just a day to fire up the grill. It's a day to remember the American worker and the fight for workers' rights which built the American Unions. Whenever you hear "right to work" you can substitute "right to work for as little as possible".

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Still Touring the Beaches

Dunes at Sandy Neck
Sandy Neck Beach
Around here we are still touring the beaches of Cape Cod. There are so many that we probably will not visit them all this year. Shana had wanted to visit Sandy Neck Beach in the town of Barnstable, so away we went last weekend to explore the beach. You approach Sandy Neck through the dunes, which are lovely. At the eastern edge there is seems to be RV access to the beach, which must be a wonderful way to camp. A day pass costs $20.00, which seems to be about what they are charging for beach parking around the Cape. Of course late in the afternoon you can go for free, and walk in access is free. The beach itself is easy to access and very flat. That's the good news. The bad news is that typical for beaches on the bay side of the Cape, there is a lot more rocks than sand. Down near the water it is kind of sandy, but I was not using one of our beach chairs and I found the large rocks somewhat (!) uncomfortable. The amenities at this beach were good - snack bar, Flushorama, and shower. Because Sandy Neck is on the Bay side there are not large waves, and the current ban on swimming off the Atlantic facing beaches (because of large numbers of shark sightings) is not in effect.
Beach Access at White Crest

This week I had Friday free and since the weather was good I went for a ride. I took the Cape Cod Rail Trail as I often do, and to the 70 miles I usually ride I added a leg of the Claire Saltonstall Bikeway in the middle to bring my total mileage to 80 miles. The Bikeway is a string of roads and trails that you can follow from Boston to Provincetown using bike trails and roads which are not too busy. The leg that goes on from the Wellfleet end of the CCRT goes along the Atlantic shore of Cape Cod with beautiful ocean views but very little traffic. What is does have is hills. I used to ride a lot of hills for training but recently I have done nearly all my riding on flat trails. It's amazing how quick you get out of practice! As soon as I headed up the first hill I started breathing hard and had to remind myself not to panic and to let the bike do the work. I actually did walk up a short stretch on the way back because I had mishandled my gears and ended up losing too much momentum. It was good to have some manageable hills on a road where I can ride without dodging all kinds of traffic. I stopped at White Crest Beach on the way to see if that would be one we wanted to visit. Although the view was breathtaking I don't think we will be spending a lot of time there. It's a significant drive and services are minimal - a bathhouse and a parking lot (Day pass $15.00). This is not necessarily a barrier to visiting - the Mashpee Town Beach has one Porta Potty and that's all, but the lack of services there is offset by the fact that the beach is flat and easy to access - right off the parking lot. Also the Mashpee Town Beach  and South Cape State Park are quite close to home so a quick visit to the beach before going to work in the afternoon  is an easy thing. At White Crest  you access the beach over huge dunes and this beach is really far below the parking lot - a treacherously steep descent down the huge dunes with a correspondingly steep ascent back to your car. In soft sand it's hard to exaggerate how strenuous that is. Some of the Atlantic beaches have stairs down to the beach which is much easier access.  The road, however, is a nice bike ride - great surface, hilly but not murderously so, with stunning views everywhere you look.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Not so Hot 2012

HHH100 2008, originally uploaded by cinderellenk.

This weekend is the weekend of the Hotter n Hell 100 in Wichta Falls Texas, I went for 5 years - 2 100K rides, 2 100 mile rides, and one memorable crash at about 30 miles.

Over the years this ride has meant to me friendship, achievement, and celebration. I always battled the heat and distance, but nothing could replace that magical and thrilling starting line where 10,000 riders hit the road. A lot of things have changed in my life. I always ride alone these days, but I still wish I was in Wichita Falls this weekend.

Monday, August 20, 2012

An Evening at the Melody Tent

After having our tickets to see k.d. lang at the Cape Cod Melody Tent for months the evening finally arrived. The Cape Cod Melody Tent is one of only two continuously operated tent theaters in the round in the United states (the other is also in Massachusetts!). No seat is more than 50 feet from the stage, which rotates during the performance. I had been curious about the venue and excited about seeing k.d. lang in this intimate setting.

The beginning of the evening was a Keystone Cops sort of event. On the way out the door I reminded Shana to get the tickets, which had been mailed to us weeks ago. They were nowhere to be found, probably because they were "in a safe place". After running around the house sweating and pulling out our hair we stopped at the grocery store where our bank has a branch to get extra cash to buy fresh tickets but our bank is not open Sunday evening. I could not use an ATM because I have no idea where the card is for that account. I purchased our tickets by phone on our way to Hyannis. We were meeting a friend in Hyannis for dinner before the show, but until we left home we were not sure where we were going to go. The address we gave our friend for the restaurant we chose was wrong. When we did find the restaurant we found that we needed reservations unless we wanted to sit at a traditional Japanese table, which had legs about a foot long. We were to sit on the floor. Shana and I tried it with rather hilarious results, but in spite of being fairly flexible our friend just could not do it. We  got back in our cars and proceeded to another restaurant for Indian food. Our dinner was delicious, but the large amounts of fresh garlic in my order left me wishing I had a mint, or 200 mints.

Shana and I stopped at the ladies' room before going into the tent, but she did not know I had gone in. When she did not see me when she came out she thought I had gone to my seat. When I came out she was nowhere to be found. At last we got together and went to our new seats to watch the opening act. At the break we went over to the section where our original seats were languishing without us and settled in near our friend watch the main event, only about 6 rows from the stage.

k. d. lang was WONDERFUL. Her voice is impeccable, and in the intimacy of this small venue her joy in performing and connection to her band was clear to see. She sang some of her old favorites, and some songs I was less familiar with and every song sounded wonderful and fresh. I had wondered if singing Constant Craving and Hallelujah over many years would make them seem dull and rote to her, but her delivery rather suggested that there is always something new and thrilling to be discovered in these songs.  The band was excellent, and the devotion of the crew to the comfort of k. d. and the band was wonderful to see.

I'm not much of a concert-goer. Large venues and big crowds really leave me cold. I do like a smaller venue, and to see such an artist in such an intimate setting was a wonderful treat. One more item in the favor of this venue - too often live music in a smaller venue is too amplified to be enjoyed. It is too loud to be understood and I find myself more exhausted than uplifted. This was not the case here. The volume and clarity of the sound was perfect, and the lighting simple and effective. We will absolutely be  making plans to see more concerts at the Cape Cod Melody tent in the future.

Sadly my pictures are not good, but I was only hoping to give an idea of how the tent looks up close and on the inside before and during a performance.