Saturday, May 30, 2009


The boys were at Pine Point at some jump-rope thing, so I took the two hours to walk the wetlands and woods of  Barn Island with my binoculars.  Redwinged blackbirds, barn swallows, osprey, white egrets, snowy egrets, yellowlegs, yellow warblers, yellowthroats . . . .  A cottontail nibbled in the shadows along the trail.  

A mink strutted out of the reeds five feet from the toe of my sandal.  A murdered field mouse dangled from its mouth.  It stared at me for a moment with its black and unreadable mink-eyes, then turned and slipped back the way it had come.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Porter made a bonfire in the fire circle -- filling a cardboard box with sticks and setting it alight.  It was a cool evening, but the aggressive spring mosquitos pushed me too close to the fire and smoke.  My naked ankles taunted and tempted them.  Porter methodically sharpened a maple stick to a trident of perfect tines, and he and Nico toasted marshmallows.  A woodcock whuttered rapidly by in the dimness with the cats in futile pursuit.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


I stayed up late reading a novel, but was shaken out of it by a shrieking, snarling brawl in the climbing tree.  Two raccoons were fighting -- or at least one was.  The bigger one, making plaintive-sounding noises would approach the smaller angry one, which would attack, snarling, chittering and biting.  The big one would just push on, infuriating the other one even more.  It's the wrong time of year for raccoon courtship, so maybe it was a pair of males fighting - or tough love from a parent driving off a young-un.  Whatever it was, they made a shocking amount of noise and had the whole house up at 1 a.m.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We brought out the grill on Sunday and had friends over for the beautiful, sunny, breezy day.  The kids played, the adults sat or wandered and chatted and drank their beer.  And oh, the shishkabobs were luscious -- lamb, pork and chicken, with grilled squash, onions, peppers, tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I can see this is going to be an adventure in medical technologies.  

Today it was an MRI.

After they have subdued you with paperwork, they strip you of your metal -- leaving you with your tooth fillings, your pants' zipper and the eyelets of your boots.  With cheery talk of claustrophobia, they immobilize your head in a vaguely spanish-inquisitionish device and slide you deep into a torpedo-tube.  At the last moment, they slip a panic button into your hands just in case.  (In case of what?  They don't say, but probably it has something to do with the bits of metal you've just claimed to not have in or around your body.)  With your eyes closed and a distracting injunction against swallowing or twitching overmuch -- it's hard to tell what's going on.  But judging by the sounds, they apparently bring out a dozen or so dwarves with pickaxes, tongs and jackhammers to go to work on the outside of the tube.

After an entertaining twenty minutes of that, they bring you back out, and if you don't have nice big sewer-pipe veins like I don't, they poke around with a needle until they can tap into your wrist so as to fill your tissues with gadolinium.  It's a rare-earth mineral that hardly ever ruins your kidneys and almost never gives you an exoskeleton.  It makes pretty tumor pictures.

The dwarves aren't visible within the still-immobilized visual scope, but they are still around somewhere.  And sure enough as soon as I'm reinserted into the tube, they start up with their jackhammering.  And so it goes . . . . 


Monday, May 4, 2009


A resplendent old turkey gobbler made his stately way across the yard, pausing to tug on a stem and scratch over a bed of leaves.  He hopped up onto the stone wall, stepped down on the other side and, blending gradually into the wet and shiny forest, strolled away.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I've gotten along by letting my body heal itself -- avoiding doctors pretty much. I am trying to recall how many doctors' visits I've had in the last 15 years. 2 in Rhode Island to get antibiotics for Lyme disease; before that you'd have to go back to an exam in Maine when I got on Colby's insurance system (2001); once in Kazakhstan because I thought I might have a hernia (1996); once prior to Kazakhstan to get our shots (1994). So (unless you count the pre-marriage blood-test -- 1996) 5 times in 15 years .

That spotty record is a product of equal parts skeptical philosophy, laziness and avoidance.

But now I must suffer medicine's clammy, unwelcoming embrace because I've got a parotid tumor along my jaw. Ignoring it for the past 2 or 3 years hasn't caused it to go away - on the contrary. And when George, our friend the M.D., finally spotted it, the jig was up. So, I'm probably looking at surgery coming up. 80% of these things are benign, so the hope is for a straightforward removal of the lump. I'll know more on Thursday, when I've got results from the biopsy and MRI.