All Hands on Deck

I’ve been working on the rail-road!

Well not really, but I don’t know any songs about working on the deck! Plus, now you get to have the rail road song in your head all day!

Mrs. Working Stiff and I have been slaving away on a project to refinish our back deck. It has been almost exactly five years since the last time so I guess we can’t complain too much.  The phase of scraping off all the loose junk is complete.  Let me tell you, if you can avoid doing that – avoid it!  It is knuckle-scraping, back-aching, sweat-breaking, sun-baking work.  Not to mention time-taking.  Hopefully though, the result of all this hard work will be breath-taking. read more

Reflections on The Summer of Debby

My blog has to date been mostly a happy and lighthearted thing, sometimes silly and sometimes irreverent. I hope that it has been funny and entertaining at least on occasion, and – who knows – perhaps even informative. Today’s topic is much more serious for me though.  You see, my sister Debby got really sick really fast this past late spring and into the summer, passing away on August 20th just about 11 weeks or so after first going to the hospital due to various symptoms and finding out that she was seriously ill. She was sixty-eight, the oldest of my family’s generation of siblings and cousins and was too young to die.  Let me take a moment to recognize and to thank my other sister Alex, who is a nurse, and her daughter Jessica for taking such good care of Debby in her whirlwind last few months.  Their hard work and devotion made it possible for Debby to remain in her own home, surrounded by family, friends, and with her nutty little dog. read more

Scared Stiff

cemetery6

The young boy was frozen with fear, the sheet mostly covering his face as he lay still in the twin bed, afraid to make even the slightest movement that might reveal the fact that he was only pretending to be asleep. Just coming out of an early morning deep sleep cycle as the bright Block Island sun streamed through the bedroom window, he had come fully awake at the creak of the bedroom door as the mutilated killer had pushed it partially open to peer into the room.  He knew the intruder must be looking at him and his older brother, still asleep in the other bed across the room, watching for any signs of movement and deciding who to attack first.   The boy didn’t understand how the killer, one of his legs no more than a mangled bloody stump, had managed to steal so silently into the house. read more

Landscapes of Block Island, RI

Pathway to Mansion Beach
Pathway to Mansion Beach

Block Island is a beautiful and magical place! It has been described as looking a lot like the countryside of Ireland or of Scotland, and has frequently been called “The Bermuda of The North.”

One great aspect to the island is that so much of the land is protected from development.   The island has long been on the list of The Nature Conservancy’s “Last Great Places,” with about 40% of the island land protected. Several local landowners over the years have either donated land for conservation and/or have done land swaps of land parcels in order to allow larger contiguous areas to be protected. read more

Block Island – Island Outlines

Sign on the side of the hardware store
Sign on the side of the hardware store

I have never been to any island or town that markets and exploits the actual shape of the place more successfully than Block Island does.  You see that shape everywhere and on just about anything you can imagine!

I have heard the shape of the island described numerous times as being something like a pork chop.  Maybe a crooked pear would make sense also.  It helps that the island is situated so perfectly, with Sandy Point at the northern tip pointing very close to due North towards the Rhode Island mainland 13 miles away. read more

The Empire Theater – Block Island, RI

The Empire Theater on Water Street, Block Island
The Empire Theater on Water Street, Block Island

When we arrived on the island on Sunday the 13th, we were thrilled to see that the historic old Empire Theater appeared to still be open for business! On other trips here in recent years we have learned that the owner typically shuts down fairly soon after Labor Day, so this development was a pleasant surprise. It was a bonus that there was a movie playing the next night that was something we actually wanted to see, so we made plans to attend the theater the following night.

Pre-show stage decorations
Pre-show stage decorations

I had not been to a movie there for easily 20 years or more, largely because the family has generally gathered on the island in September and we seem to always miss the last few days of the movie season. read more