Happy Halloween

Hi Y’all and Happy Halloween!

   I’m sending this just in the nick of time.  Randal and I went to a Halloween party this past Saturday.  Here are some of the photos.  It is really a fun holiday though the price of candy has gotten astronomical and is terrible for your teeth.  Actually candy isn’t  good for much of you at all except for maybe  your soul!  I certainly loved Halloween as a kid when it was safe to go out around the neighborhood and no one worried about anything other than kids eating too much of their loot at one time.  I also thought it was fun handing out candy; at least to kids who were shorter than I am. 

So it goes…


Our friends Lois and Gerry really know how to throw a party.  They go all out and Halloween is a favorite.  I’ve written about their parties in the past.  This year I took photos when I could stop talking or eating long enough to actually pick up my camera. 


Welcome to the party!


My favorites were the Poison Toadstools and the Vampire Ribs.

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The candles stayed put and didn’t burn down the house


A friendly witch and Snookie from Jersey Shore


Bobbie and Luke dressed as tourist to celebrate their RV and sailboat lifestyles.


Captain Randal

On October 27, 2006 Lois and Gerry hosted a party with a “sailing theme” in our honor.  Everyone was given a “sailor cap.”  I had folks sign the cap in 2006.   We still have those hats so wore them as our costume and folks re-signed them again this year, October 27, 2012. 


Gerry stayed in the kitchen cooking and Lois raced around seeing to everyone and everything.

We had roasted potatoes, chili, salad, muffins, wonderful ribs.  And that was after the Witches fingers and Poison Toadstools.  Then there was the Pumpkin Cheesecake and pies and cakes and…….well, you saw the menu. 


Chatting and enjoying the pre-dinner nibbles: Poison Toadstools, Gnarly Witches Fingers, and Monster Eyeballs were some of the treats with the less gruesome names. 


The party’s almost over

Andrew, Helen, Lois, Randal, and Gerry                             The Skelton has energy but I’m all done in.


Gerry is Randal’s inspiration for his ponytail!


Gerry and Lois

Family and Friends in McLean

Hi  Y’all,

   So this is the last of the emails about our adventure “up north.”  We’re lucky we got back when we did and hope everyone we know in the path of Sandy is safe and sound.  I have already heard from our Massachusetts friends and they were quite lucky that mostly Sandy missed them.  Our time here in the US is getting short.  Friends in Turkey, at the marina have emailed us to make a plan for the big Thanksgiving Dinner that is being organized.  So though we will be sad to leave Roanoke, we do have lots to look forward to when we return to DoraMac.


The very last stop of our “up north” travels was a visit with my cousin Lisa and her husband Richard and also a visit with my first college roommate Eileen and her husband George.  Luckily for us they both now live in McLean, VA.  We gave them each about a 2 minute warning that we were in town and happily they could arrange time to see us. 


Richard and Lisa with me and Rey in the middle. 

Rey has a rather odd doggy expression on his face, but he is really very sweet and friendly.  We (but not Rey)  went off for a lovely Italian dinner. It was a really nice evening and wonderful visit.

The next day Randal and I spent toodling around Washington DC.


The White House

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Various groups of tourist on a variety of tours.


Renwick Gallery http://americanart.si.edu/

   We stopped in the Renwick Gallery which is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The best part of the Smithsonian Museums is that they are free!  We saw the “40 under 40” exhibit: sorry no photos were allowed of that exhibit.  I think my favorite was the glass window blown up to look like interlocking bed pillows.    You could take photos in the rest of the museum.

      “40 under 40: Craft Futures features forty artists born since 1972, the year the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s contemporary craft and decorative arts program was established at its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery. The exhibition investigates evolving notions of craft within traditional media such as ceramics and metalwork, as well as in fields as varied as sculpture, industrial design, installation art, fashion design, sustainable manufacturing, and mathematics. The range of disciplines represented illustrates new avenues for the handmade in contemporary culture.

       All of the artworks selected for display in the exhibition were created since Sept. 11, 2001. This new work reflects the changed world that exists today, which poses new challenges and considerations for artists. These 40 artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease.” http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/renwick40/


The United States Capitol Building in the distance….and flags along a street


I have no idea what it is but I love the architecture.


Same here with the round windows and “non-square” shapes.

From D.C. we drove back to McLean to visit with Eileen, George, Saadia, and Rambo.  Eileen and I first met in our door room in the John Quincy Adams Tower in Southwest on the campus of UMass.  Between us we knew every Chad Mitchell Trio song.  We had some crazy times.  Eileen, Sheila, my other roommate at UMass, and I could tell some stories.  (It was Sheila who drove with me from Poughkeepsie, New York to Tallahassee Florida when I went off to library school.  I had to say that because the article in the Roanoke Times when I retired said it was my sister and Sheila thought I’d forgotten.  I didn’t forget, Joe Kennedy, the author,  just got confused.” Anyway…..

Eileen and their adopted family member Saadia made dinner and we washed it down with a bit of booze.  So the photo I took of Eileen and George is a bit blurry for several reasons.  I did get one of Eileen the next day when we were all back to normal.  I tried to get one of Saadia and Rambo but he licked her face as I snapped the photo so they’re both a blur.  I hadn’t realized that I’d gotten such lousy photos until we got home so these will have to do.  And I can’t blame the botched job on the camera, just the photographer!


Eileen bright eyed at her desk                                     and Saadia giving Rambo a “dog cookie” from the jar.

Eileen retired from her government job and, rather than be bored,  went to law school and now has her own law practice. 

Quabbin Reservoir and the Yiddish Book Center

Hi Y’all,

     Looks like Randal and I left not only eastern Massachusetts just in the nick of time, but also the Washington DC area where we stopped for 2 days to visit folks.  We certainly are thinking about our pals there and our friend Carol who lives in New Jersey just where Sandy is looking to hit!  I checked the New Bedford paper’s website and read that the Hurricane Barrier that we visited would close the gates today.  Hope they do everything they need to do.  As for the story about the HMS Bounty that was lost at sea, Randal and I visited it while it was being refurbished in Boothbay Harbor, Maine several years ago.  I only hope that they find the two crew who are still missing.  Being on land for a storm is really bad; being on a boat is freakin awful! 


   When we left New Bedford, we decided to head north-west to drive the Mass Pike stopping at Quabbin Reservoir where I’d never been and maybe Amherst where I’d spent 4 years at the University of Massachusetts.  The Yiddish Book Center, Emily Dickinson’s home and the Eric Carle Museum are all located in the area.  I haven’t been back to Amherst or UMass for at least 35 years.  Well, I still haven’t been back to Amherst town or UMass.  We didn’t make it to the Eric Carle Museum or Emily Dickinson’s house.  (So Beth that’s why we didn’t call, we really just zipped on through.)  I think we were really feeling the need to get back to Roanoke.  We did make a 10 minute stop at Quabbin Reservoir where the visitor center was pretty well closed to anyone other than the 50 or so school kids there for a special program.  It was noon; we were hungry; so visited the restrooms, took a photo, and headed off for lunch. 


Randal at Quabbin

     “The Quabbin Reservoir, located in central Massachusetts, was built in the 1930’s to provide clean drinking water for the Boston region. Over 2500 people in the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, Prescott, and parts of seven other towns, were forced to give up their homes in the Swift River Valley to make this project possible. Today, Quabbin is recognized as one of the largest drinking-water reservoirs in the world, a remarkable feat of engineering, an "accidental wilderness" that is home to an impressive variety of wildlife, and a place that brings bittersweet memories to many who once lived here.”

Friends of Quabbin, Inc. • 485 Ware Road • Belchertown, MA 01007

(413) 323-7221, E-mail: email Friends of Quabbin

Copyright � 2005 Friends of Quabbin, Inc. http://www.foquabbin.org/

We drove from Quabbin heading towards the campus of Hampshire College where the Yiddish Book Center is located.  (The Eric Carle Museum is located nearby, but it is closed on Mondays and this was a Monday.)  We passed a cute little Café so turned around and went back.  We like to eat local rather than chains when possible; way more fun.


The Roadhouse Café   http://www.roadhousecafe.net/

We both ate the Tuscan Sandwich which was cheese and veggies on their homemade sundried tomato bread.  If you’re on the road between Quabbin and Amherst it’s on the right just before you turn left towards Amherst. 176 Federal St. Belchertown, MA

We let Gertrude Bell, our GPS, lead us to Hampshire College but then I had to figure out where the Center was as the signage didn’t make it so obvious.  If you go, turn into the campus and make your first left and follow the road a bit and there it is.

What is Yiddish?

     “Yiddish was the vernacular language of most Jews in Eastern and Central Europe before World War II. Today, it is spoken by descendants of those Jews living in the United States, Israel, and other parts of the world.

     The basic grammar and vocabulary of Yiddish, which is written in the Hebrew alphabet, is Germanic. Yiddish, however, is not a dialect of German but a complete language—one of a family of Western Germanic languages, that includes English, Dutch, and Afrikaans. Yiddish words often have meanings that are different from similar words in German.

     The term "Yiddish" is derived from the German word for "Jewish." The most accepted (but not the only) theory of the origin of Yiddish is that it began to take shape by the 10th century as Jews from France and Italy migrated to the German Rhine Valley. They developed a language that included elements of Hebrew, Jewish-French, Jewish-Italian, and various German dialects. In the late Middle Ages, when Jews settled in Eastern Europe, Slavic elements were incorporated into Yiddish.”


40 Yiddish words you might already know!

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/the-yiddish-handbook-40-words-you-should-know/ I recognized most of these words because they have become part of our everyday “American” language.


Yiddish Book Center

The Center is housed in a building designed to look like a 19th-century shtetl, a cluster of wooden buildings surrounding a synagogue.


    “The Yiddish Book Center is a non-profit organization working to tell the whole Jewish story by rescuing, translating and disseminating Yiddish books and presenting innovative educational programs that broaden understanding of modern Jewish identity.  Saving a million Yiddish books was just the beginning.  Our priority now is to advance knowledge of the content and literary and cultural progeny of the books we’ve saved.  We offer fellowships and courses for high school students, college students and adults.  We translate Yiddish literature into English.  We record oral histories and contemporary stories.

After three decades, we’ve emerged as one of the world’s largest, liveliest and most original Jewish organizations.  Read our story   http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/our-story  and watch

A Bridge of Books, a brief documentary about the Center’s work.”

I don’t know when I first learned about the Yiddish Book Center, but it was shortly after the 2004 publication of Outwitting History written by Aaron Lansky the founder of the Center.  Aaron grew up in New Bedford and my mom had taught him in Sunday School.  Their relationship was, let us say, interesting.  After reading the book I sent a donation in her name.  Now maybe she would call him a “mentsh”.


Aaron Lansky

     “Yiddish didn’t die a natural death,” he asserted. Yiddish culture and literature has been systematically destroyed by the Holocaust, which took the lives of half the population of Yiddish speaking people; Soviet purges and persecution; Zionist attempts to suppress the language and diasporic culture; and pressures of American assimilationism.

     He insists that there is no divide between literature and culture of the Jewish people. “Literature is what’s left of the culture,” he said. “They didn’t have a country, so books became sort of a cultural homeland for Jews.” If you save the books, you simultaneously save the history of which they are born.”



Jewish homes typically had books piled up everywhere which sounds much like our car and our boat!

Randal and I stopped at about a dozen used book stores and never walked away empty handed, well just once.  Our car was filled with bags of them.  Now we’ll have to fill our suitcases and then add them to the collection that is already overflowing in our boat. One day many will find a home in the Netsel Marina library.  Kindles are great, but they just can’t compete with browsing around a used bookstore. 


I like the phrase “Unquiet Pages.”                Boxes of books waiting to be processed.

There are books stored everywhere, some in storage buildings and some in university libraries around the world.  Many are being digitized so they can be shared more easily and preserved in a non-paper format.


The story of the Center told in the display that overlooks the bookshelves. Yiddish uses the Hebrew alphabet.


Almost every shelf has a dedication.

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Yiddish Printing Presses




The original “Dear Abbey.”

The newspaper, The Jewish Daily Forward, was popular with new Jewish immigrants to America. One of its columns was “Bintel Brief” (Bundle of Letters) an advice column for new Jewish immigrants.  The new immigrants, unfamiliar with “American ways” would write to and read the advice just as people today read “Dear Abby” and similar columns. 


Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library   

I think Spielberg should think about making a movie about the Center’s creation as the short documentary was really very entertaining and it’s a great “feel good” story.    


The reading area set up in the manner of a traditional study table and now the electronic version.

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You can watch old Yiddish language movies and listen to old Yiddish music.

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This display illustrates how Yiddish words were, and still are used at the dinner table.

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These answers make you shake your head almost as much as the answers during the Presidential debates!


The children’s area.


The Center Library

Some interesting articles related to the Yiddish Book Center concerning copyright issues and what direction the Center should take at this stage of its development.



These are some last photos from our visit with our New Bedford friends.

Hi Y’all,

   We’re back south so now it’s y’all instead of “you guys.”   This is the last of my “Massachusetts” pals story.  There are still some folks we missed but I’ll visit them with some  snail mail before we leave.

As you’ll see in this email, we spent some time across the river from New Bedford in Fairhaven.  Never went there when we were kids; well not very often anyway.  My father grew up in New Bedford and  he and my mom, and my sister Harriet  lived in an apartment building, The Huddleston, in Fairhaven until I was born a few years after my sister.  Then we moved way across the Acushnet River to New Bedford.    http://www.millicentlibrary.org/mrktn&ml.htm is a really interesting link telling of Henry Huddleston Roger’s relationship to Mark Twain and also to Helen Keller. Who knew?  Actually I knew the link to Twain as there is a “story” that the Huddleston Apartment building was once a home built to accommodate Twain as Roger’s wife couldn’t stand him.  Don’t quote me; that might only be Lipnik family lore.  (Lipnik is my maiden name.) 

   As I researched places in Fairhaven, I learned more than I’d known about the history of the area.  So it’s here for you to read also, if you want.  There are no tests.  You can skip it all and just look at the photos.  It was interesting to me.  I’m amazed it took this long for me to know it. 

   From Har’s we started our drive back to Roanoke.  We spent one afternoon in the Amherst area stopping for 2 minutes at Quabbin Reservoir and about an hour at the Yiddish Book Center.  I have stories about both.  We actually then spent the night in New Paltz, New York.  From there we visited folks in McLean, VA but that’s getting way ahead of myself.  So I’ll stop now.



Saturday we drove to Fairhaven to eat in Pumpernickel, which USED TO BE Randal’s and my favorite lunch spot in town where we would stop every year on our way to Har’s house.  (This year we’d stopped there on our way to Har’s from Julia’s, at noon Friday only to be told they closed at noon on Fridays.)  Har, Randal and I drove there on Saturday only to be told they closed at 1 pm on Saturdays. It was about 1:05.   Who knew?  We’d never had a problem before.  So we found a new favorite place to eat, Simmy’s https://www.facebook.com/SimmysFairhaven


Simmy’s where you can have breakfast all day.   I had tuna “on pumpernickel.”


New Bedford Hurricane Barrier


The Fairhaven side of the Hurricane Barrier

The gates are kept open unless bad weather calls for the gates to be closed.  While open ships can easily pass through.  You can see across the Acushnet River to the New Bedford side.


The protected inner harbor of Fairhaven.

May 21, 1966: HARBOR SECURED

By Charles Buffum Standard-Times Staff Writer

     “It cost $1,000 a foot, is long enough to span the 3.5 mile width of New Bedford, is as high (and wider ) than The Great Wall of China, and has enough steel in it to build a Navy destroyer. Its two huge steel navigational-sector gates weigh 400 tons apiece-each 35 tons heavier than the biggest locomotive ever built-and each as tall as a six-story house.”  http://www.westislandweather.com/thehurricanebarrier.htm

June 09, 2011 12:00 AM http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110609/NEWS/106090345

  “It is said to be the largest stone structure on the East Coast and the largest hurricane barrier in the world.  Properly presented, it could be one of the biggest attractions in the city of New Bedford.

The New Bedford Hurricane Barrier, built in the early 1960s to protect the city after the devastating hurricanes of 1938 and 1954, could provide a panoramic 3-mile-plus-long walk high above the city harbor.

With views of downtown New Bedford and Fairhaven, Palmer’s Island, Forts Tabor/Rodman and Phoenix along with the outer harbor, the rocky granite top of the hurricane barrier has the potential to be one of the city’s prime recreational sites.

Imagine a hurricane barrier with a paved walkway — park benches for more than a mile lining the views north, south, east and west — and period lighting that would be a grand welcome to New Bedford Harbor itself.

It would be more than sublime.

Unlike the hurricane barrier walkway that’s always been located on the Fairhaven side of the Acushnet River, the New Bedford barrier has never been enjoyed to its fullest by city residents and visitors.  It’s a utilitarian rocky top, forbidding to all but the young and spry as far as a leisurely summer walk is concerned.  But now that the Army Corps of Engineers has said the barrier can be recertified for hurricane protection, Mayor Scott Lang wants to move ahead with a plan to build a lighted walkway on top of the barrier with benches where everyone in the city could enjoy the million-dollar views of Buzzards Bay on a sultry afternoon like Wednesday.

The plan would be to join the barrier walkway to a conservation boardwalk on the adjacent pastoral outcrop of Palmer’s Island, which sits smack in the middle of the harbor just north of the barrier. The plan would also be to tie the barrier walkway to a more parklike environment at the Gifford Street boat ramp on the shoreline. If these plans were ever realized, the city of New Bedford, for a relatively minimal investment, could create a harbor parkway as grand in its own way as either Buttonwood or Brooklawn parks.  "It makes all the sense in the world," said Lang, explaining that a hurricane barrier walkway could revitalize a long-neglected area of the city.

Lang and I first walked the hurricane barrier together three years ago.  I’d had the idea that a walkway on top of the structure had a lot of potential for helping city residents better connect to their river. Lang, however, told me the city was already on top of the idea and had applied for a grant and the Army Corps’ permission to build the walkway.  Lang originally thought the walkway could be realized in a year or two, but then Hurricane Katrina struck and the Army Corps decided the barrier’s structure needed to be re-evaluated.  But all that’s done now.

Here’s the problem.

Three years ago, there was plenty of state and federal money around for urban revitalization projects like a parkway on top of the hurricane barrier. But now, with the country in the throes of the greatest economic slowdown since the Great Depression, there’s said to be no more money.  That’s a shame because a recreational upgrade of the hurricane barrier seems like the kind of natural government works project that you would want to undertake during a time of economic slowdown. Sort of like 2011 New Bedford’s version of the Cape Cod Canal bridges.  Ron Labelle, the savvy head of the city’s Public Infrastructure department, thinks an initial hurricane barrier parkway could be built for $250,000 to $350,000.

The city has a little money coming its way on July 1 when the new fiscal year will make $50,000 available from the Seaport Advisory Council for the initial stages of a hurricane barrier walkway pilot project.

The original plan was to match that money with something called "urban self-help" grants to construct the pilot section of walkway, but that money probably won’t be available now.

But Labelle, Lang and Kristin Decas, executive director of the Harbor Development commission, are not easily deterred. They hope to go forward with some sort of pilot section of the walkway anyway.

Labelle said the city once again can use its own Public Infrastructure department to do the construction work for the pilot sections — maybe it won’t yet have the park benches or the lighting, but it’s a start.

It would have to be constructed in roughly 20-foot sections, Labelle said, so the concrete structure could cure, but it could be completed over time, maybe a little bit each year, he said.  "We could continue to look for funding sources, but at least we could get the thing started," he said.

I’d like to see the city move a lot faster than that. I just think a hurricane barrier walkway has enormous potential for the city, both from a tourist and recreational perspective.

There are some impediments, to be sure.

New Bedford has evidently committed to using the Gifford Street boat ramp area as a staging location for the Cape Wind project.  And as that project continues to be tied up in court and with other bureaucratic delays, it seems like it’s going to be like commuter rail — taking longer rather than shorter.

I’d like Economic Development Council director Matt Morrissey to see if there’s another possible staging area, or at least preserve a portion of a boat ramp park and parking area for the walkway.

Also in the works is said to be a Palmer’s Island earmark from the last round of the Harbor Trustee Council money. Maybe there are some possibilities to link hurricane barrier walkway work to that project.

Of course, it’s all the political rage right now to proclaim that the country has to stop spending money in order to pay down the massive federal deficit. But that seems exactly wrong to me — as in the Great Depression, now may be exactly the time to do this kind of great public works project. Can you spell Franklin Roosevelt?

The truth is that this grand New Bedford hurricane barrier is an architectural wonder that many communities would be ecstatic to possess. It’s an engineering marvel that, besides its massive gates, actually includes a tunnel, seven stories underground, that weaves its way along the barrier.

Never yet tested by the kind of big hurricanes it was designed to endure, the barrier gates take a full 12 minutes to close just one side.

This edifice itself has enormous potential as a tourist attraction.

It’s one of a kind, New Bedford’s own little Hoover Dam.

It’s just a matter of us, and the rest of the world, coming to realize it.

Contact Jack Spillane at jspillane@s-t.com


Fort Phoenix, Fairhaven, Massachusetts

Guarding the Harbor of Fairhaven & New Bedford since 1777.

Fort History

On May 13-14, 1775, the first naval battle of the American Revolution took place off our shore when the local militia, under the command of Nathaniel Pope and Daniel Egery, captured two British sloops in Buzzard’s Bay.

Shortly afterward, the town petitioned for the construction of a fort at Nolscot Point for the protection of the harbor. The original fort was built by Capt. Benjamin Dillingham and Eleazer Hathaway between 1775 and 1777. It was outfitted with eleven cannon, several of which had been captured in the Bahamas by John Paul Jones.

The fort was attacked and destroyed when the British raided the harbor on September 5-6, 1778, landing 4,000 troops in New Bedford. The troops marched inland along the west shore of the Acushnet River to Acushnet, then came south through Fairhaven to Sconticut Neck. At this time the British drove a group of 34 local militiamen under the command of Timothy Ingraham from the fort, burned the barracks, broke up the gun platforms and smashed all but one of the cannons.

When the fort was rebuilt following the 1778 attack, it was named Fort Phoenix after the mythical bird which rose from its own ashes.

Shortly before the War of 1812, Fort Phoenix was enlarged under the supervision of Sylvanus Thayer, who later became the "Father of the Military Academy" at West Point. In June of 1814, the fort helped repel an early morning attack by British in landing boats from the HMS Nimrod.

Fort Phoenix was manned throughout the Civil War by troops who rotated duty between the Fairhaven fort and the newer Fort Taber in New Bedford. Eight 24-pound cannon were installed at the beginning of the war, five of which remain at the fort today.

Fort Phoenix went out of service in 1876. In 1926, it was purchased for the town by Lady Fairhaven, Mrs. Urban H. Broughton of England, a daughter of the town’s benefactor Henry Huttleston Rogers. Since then it has been maintained by the town as a public park.

In 1973, Fort Phoenix was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The guns of Fort Phoenix


Remember the grade school game: Duck Duck Goose?


I like seagulls and cormorants and most shore/ocean birds



Randal and Harriet at Har’s apartment and the view from the patio.  What a great place to be: overlooking Padanaram Harbor.  http://www.padanaramvillage.net/ is the website for Padanaram Village with lovely music to listen to while you read about the area.

We have another tradition while in Dartmouth and that’s helping get these guys’ sailboat covered up for the winter.  It had been pulled from the water and was on a hardstand but needs to be covered with tarps.  Last year we all worked on that task.  This year it was divide and conquer.  The sails also needed to be washed so Eileen, Har and I worked on the sails and Randal helped Bill gets the tarps in place on the boat.  It was a perfect day for both tasks. 


The lovely front garden at Eileen and Bill’s house.


The naughty sisters….or so they are described; but so cute.


Har, Eileen, Randal and Bill                                                Eileen, Randal, Ru and Bill

Someday I’ll figure out how to use the timer everyone can be in one photo.      

We also had to make our traditional visit to Horseneck Beach.  (Lots of traditions here in Massachusetts.)  Last year it was so warm that I actually went swimming with Har just so I could say that I’d done it.  Too cold for me, but Har really enjoyed it.  This year it was not so warm and a little too late in the day so we just enjoyed a walk on the beach. 

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Horseneck Beach: not just for summer swimming.  It’s a great place all year round. 

We stepped aside to let the horses pass and someone called out hello to Har.  Har teaches kindergarten and one of the riders was the mom of a former student! 



It’s a great place with lots of sandy beach and dunes; my idea of what living near the water should be.


I have no idea what Randal is doing; maybe playing some kind of shadow game.



In my honor, as opposed to the honor of the Red Sox, Har wore her Red Sox sweatshirt.  I’m wearing the lovely warm neck scarf (or hat in a pinch) Julia bought for me while we were in Hyannis.  It’s made from recycled water bottles.  I think I mentioned it before? 


Moon photo original and then autocorrected to show more detail. 

Marian, whom you met in Martha’s Art Group, knows lots about cameras.  She told me that if I caught the moon at the right time I could get great pictures of the craters.  I took this photo with my zoom and cropped it, but didn’t zoom it any more than that. I did also “autocorrect” it which made the sky darker. She also taught me this little fact about the moon in a way easy to remember: the older the moon the

later it rises.  She sent an email October 24th to remind me suggesting that I try about 4pm.  I had taken my moon photos the day before, the 23rd about 5:30pm because I’d remembered her suggestion from Art Group.  Really pretty neat.  I don’t know when the moon will change so you’d better try soon if you want to make some moon photos.  My zoom is 42x optical Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens (24mm-1,000mm). But I can’t zoom it all the way out and hold it steady, yet.  And I don’t know the best setting for zooming out.  More to learn.

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Loster Dinner with friends

Econo Lodge

Hi Guys,

  I just realized I’m writing two fish stories in a row.  This one tells about  the traditional lobster dinner we have when visiting our New Bedford friends.  Now all of those friends live in the small towns adjacent to New Bedford.  But New Bedford is where Harriet, Bruce (and Dick and Bill) and I grew up so I think of all of them as my New Bedford friends. Jean and Eileen grew up next door in Dartmouth just down the street.  It is still a very favorite part of my world and now Randal’s too.  I wish I’d taken more photos, real staged ones to capture everyone with at least one good photo.  But I was too busy talking and then eating and then it was too late.  Next year I’ll get everyone to pose!


    During one of the long ago visits Randal and I made to friends in Dartmouth he was introduced to a New England Lobster dinner.  He was instantly hooked and our friends have happily made us a lobster dinner every year since. 

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Eileen, the Lobster Queen


Eileen tackling the lobsters as Randal and Harriet watch.  Bill, Eileen’s husband, Harriet and Bruce.

    Harriet, Bruce and I have known each other for almost 60 years!  Bruce and I lived across Plymouth Street from each other so met before we started school.  Harriet moved to the corner of Burns and Plymouth when she was 6.  We’re all 62 this year…but I’m the oldest!   Bill, Harriet’s husband Dick, and my sister were in the same class at New Bedford High School. Dick grew up around the corner from Harriet.  Eileen and Jean are sisters.  Jean is married to Bruce.  Got that all?


Jean and Bruce and my lobster!

Earlier in the day Harriet had taken us to a great fish market where we got the lobsters.  It’s like watching a show as everyone comes in to buy all kinds of fish and the there’s no question that you ask that can’t be answered by someone behind the counter.  (I hadn’t brought either camera! Rats!)

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Harriet brings in some more boiled corn.    Dick watching the action; Randal enjoying his lobster!

A last evening with Martha and Jessica

Econo Lodge

Hi Guys,

   So we’re on our way home!  We had a great weekend with our friends in Dartmouth that went all too fast.  All of our visits have gone TOO FAST.  Today we made a superfast pass through western Massachusetts stopping for about 10 minutes at Quabbin Reservoir.  The visitor center was sort of closed for a school program and there was no one to interact with non-school visitors so we left to go find lunch.  We did stop at the Yiddish Book Center on the campus of Hampshire College and that was really interesting: a feel good story!   A took a zillion photos.

So soon the last (thank goodness) debate will be on and we’ll watch some of it anyway.

  This email are some final photos of our visit in Brookline.


  While in Brookline we’ve started the tradition of having dinner at Legal Seafood and inviting Martha’s pal Gerard to join us.  I met Gerard years ago when Martha first moved to Brookline so it’s always fun to keep in touch. 


Randal is the brown jacket and I’m the red reflection.  Martha, our helpful waiter and Gerard.


Pecan encrusted hake, roasted Brussels sprouts, and mashed sweet potatoes.  Yummm.  Funny enough from never having had roasted Brussels sprouts we cooked them at Julia’s and then I ate them at Legal Seafood.  I have to say the ones we cooked at Julia’s were a tad bit better and the salmon was every bit as good as the Legal Seafood fish, but Legal Seafood does a really good job too.  It truly is hard to beat a good home cooked meal.

Then stuffed to the gills (an appropriate expression when you’ve overeaten at Legal Seafood,) we returned to home for a photo session.  Jessica put aside her horror of having her photo taken and let me take a few.  She was as intrigued with my new camera as I am. 

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Martha and Jessica

Jessica is in the 7th grade at the Heath School


Enough was enough and that’s fair enough.

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Gerard and me Gerard

A very happy Randal                                                      

Boston Waterworks Museum

Visiting my growing up friends

Hi Guys,

Randal and I spent four days with Martha and Jessica in Brookline and then moved on to spend the weekend with friends Harriet and Dick and Bruce and Jean and Ilene and Bill.  I’ll write about our visit with them and our annual  ” Lobstah Dinnah” when I catch up.  Tomorrow we are heading towards home though not sure what route we will take.  I guess we’ll know when we get there.

This email is about our visit to the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum  across from the Chestnut Hill Reservoir just a short walk from Martha and Jessica’s house.  It was quite interesting and a lovely day for a walk around the reservoir too.



“The Waterworks Museum is located on the site of the original Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station. By the 1880’s, Boston’s water system couldn’t keep up with the rapid growth of the city and its water needs. Chestnut Hill was identified as the location for a new reservoir and main pumping station. The original station was built in 1887, but by the 1890’s, it was clear that demand had quickly outstripped the ability to transport sufficient water. The need for more water resulted in the installation of increasingly powerful (and enormous!) pumping engines, which operated every day until the 1970’s, when the site was taken offline, and Boston’s water supply shifted to the Quabbin Reservoir. The Chestnut Hill Reservoir, however, is still used as a back-up source of water in case of emergencies.”


The composition of the red stone used was soft so could be sculpted into decorative details.


You can see the Chestnut Hill Reservoir across from the Waterworks.



Martha and Randal with the Waterworks Volunteers.

The volunteer mentioned that Anita Diamant would be speaking at a Waterworks Wednesday.  I wish her talk had coincided with our visit to Martha.

Waterworks Wednesdays: Water And Faith     Wednesday, Oct 24 7:00p to 9:00p

At Waterworks Museum,Boston,MA

“Water plays a major role in almost all of the world’s major religions. It sanctifies, it transforms, it is holy. Headed by Anita Diamant (author of ‘The Red Tent’ and founder of Mayyim Hayyim) and includes Monsignor Liam Bergin of Boston College, and Dr. M.G. Reda of the Islamic Center of Wayland.

The “workings” or the waterworks, pumps and engines.


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There were different stations with short video recordings that explained about the design and construction of the building and the design and purpose of the pumps and engine.  The lighting of the   interior of the  building with the massive waterworks equipment is quite dramatic and stunning.  The equipment looked like Calder stabiles to me.  I told Martha that the museum should rent out space for parties to make money and she discovered a huge brochure in the entrance suggesting just that and showing examples of table placement and settings.


A short video presentation performed by Boston area actors explained the development of the Waterworks.  It was almost like watching live theater as you followed the performance shift among three large overhead screens.

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Looking down from the second story. Decorative wood was used to enhance the interior architecture.


The MBTA runs behind the waterworks building.

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Walking around the reservoir.

Art Group Wednesday

Martha and Jessica’s house

Hi Guys,

  I just remembered that “guys” is what we called each other as in “where are you guys going?”  It’s the northerners y’all.    Yesterday was art group and I took along my new camera.  But we were busy having breakfast and then talking and then “doing art” so I really didn’t take a ton of photos.  I want an art group too.


Wednesday mornings are Art Group and every time I visit I get included.  We leave Randal to his own devices and off we go.


Martha, Marion, and Kitty have been part of a group that has met for years.  Members come and go so at this point the group is Martha, Kitty and Marion.    Two past members, Pat and Claudia have both coincidentally moved to Philadelphia.  My nephew Andrew has actually worked with Claudia during an artisans’ exhibit held at the University of Pennsylvania. 


Kitty’s amazingly colorful wonderful house.

On the table is the breakfast buffet that Kitty provided.  The group members take turns hosting and providing breakfast before the real work begins. 


Kitty, Martha and Marion


Kitty, Marion and Martha studying the results of their “homework.”

It was quite an interesting assignment.  They each created a post card with a theme.  The cards were put into a hat and each person drew one out.  They then had to create a second post card related to the first post card and continuing the theme.  So far they have each created 3 post cards but are continuing the project for at least one more week. 


Post Card Art

They were all very inspiring and creative and sometimes I can pick out who has done what.  This time I wasn’t so sure.


Assignment for the morning session was to just “do something.”

Kitty brought out this dried flower arrangement as a subject if one didn’t have something else to work on. 


My sketch of Kitty and Marion sketching the dried flower arrangement.

And speaking of art, during our afternoon walk, as Martha and I passed The Heath School we ran into Mr. P.

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“Mr Pendleton” and Martha outside the Heath School and interacting with school kids.

Each year I’ve visited Martha I’ve gotten to chat a bit with Bernie Pendleton, art teacher extraordinaire of the Heath School that Jessica attends.  The kids love him and while we talked kept calling “Mr. Pendleton, look at this” or something to get his attention.  Every teacher should be like Mr. P. 

These photos were taken with my new camera and I think they seem a bit clearer.  I still know next to nothing about it other than the auto button, but I’m learning.  The photo program on the computer is also acting a bit weird when it saves photos.  I’ll have to break down and read those directions too.  Rats!

Today we visited The Waterworks Museum across from the Chestnut Hill Reservoir.  I took a zillion photos. 

Visiting Martha

Martha and Jessica’s House

Hi All,

  October 17th already!  Time goes much too fast.  I fear I’m turning into a blimp as we eat our way across Massachusetts.  Along with slowly learning the updated photo programs on my computer, I now have to learn the all of the options on my new Nikon Coolpix P510 camera.  My next email will have photos from that camera.  I already really like it but I think once I actually read the instructions I’ll like it even more.

So that’s it.


We arrived in Brookline at Martha and Jessica’s house Monday afternoon.  I’ve known Martha since 1979 when I began work at the Roanoke County Public Library.  Then in 1990 Martha took herself up to Boston to Simmons for a Masters in Children’s Literature.  She never came back so every year since then I’ve visited Martha; or Randal and I have visited Martha.  Martha meets every Wednesday with her art buddies Kitty and Marion.  I get to go too when we visit.  Wish I could go every Wednesday.

But speaking of food, Martha made some wonderful noodles with chicken and veggies our Monday night.  Tuesday night we had a very international dinner with leftovers from lunch at Al Wadi Lebanese Restaurant www.alwadiboston.com supplemented with some Mexican takeout from Anna’s Taqueria http://www.annastaqueria.com/   (Tonight, Wednesday, Martha made great fish soup; one of our favorites.  I chopped the potatoes and squeezed the second lemon to make juice for our seconds and thirds on the soup.)


Pumpkin Kibbeh from Al Wadi

Two layers of baked pumpkin puree stuffed with spinach, onions, sumac served over mdardara.

Mdardara is simmered rice and lentil topped with caramelized onions.

Martha and I each ordered the Pumpkin Kibbeh which made plenty of leftovers for Tuesday dinner and Wednesday lunch.  We had first been served some thin pita-like bread and some sesame dipping oil and then a larger than usual side salad.  So by the time our meal came we were much less hungry than when we had ordered.  The pumpkin puree is mixed with different flours and is pretty dense so very filling as is the lentil mdardara.  But it was really quite good and spicy. 


Our leftovers.

We actually weren’t quite sure what we’d eaten so I’ve searched it out and below is a recipe that would make an interesting side dish for Thanksgiving especially if your guests include vegetarians. 

“Pumpkin Kibbeh is one of my favorite recipes. It’s very popular during lent. I personally like it all year long or even for Thanksgiving. This recipe can be made into Kibbeh balls and fried too. This time I decided to bake it in the oven. This vegetarian recipe is healthy and full of nutrients.”


Makes about 5 servings (in a 9×9 inch baking pan):

For the Kibbeh:

2 cups of cooked pumpkin (I used the ready spiced canned pumpkin)

2 cups of fine bulgur wheat

1 cups of wheat flour

1 egg

Salt & pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of allspice

For the filling:

2 cups of cooked spinach

2 cups of cooked chickpeas

1 chopped onion

1/2 cup of pine nuts or chopped almonds

Some olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to rub the bottom of the pan (even if it’s non-stick)

– Mix all the ingredients of the Kibbeh and refrigerate for half an hour. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a skillet, add olive oil and onions and nuts let all cook for a couple of minutes or until the nuts start to brown a bit, then add the cooked spinach, then chickpeas, spices, salt & pepper. Cook until the ingredients combine together for like another couple of minutes.

– Get the Kibbeh mix and divide in 2 parts and spread the first part in the baking pan, add the filling then add the second layer, making sure that the same thickness is applied, same as any kind of pie made.

Bake in a 400F oven until it’s fully cooked and golden browned on top, which is from 30-40 minutes depending on the oven.

Serve with any green salad of your choice.


Serves 4


1 cup of lentils

1 cup of white rice

1 cup of olive oil

2 onions sliced (medium half circles)

1 tablespoon of allspice

1 tablespoon of cumin

Salt, pepper to taste

5 cups of water

In a pan, add the 5 cups of water and the lentils, cook on medium until the lentils are half way cooked, then add the rice then the allspice, cumin, salt and pepper. Let them cook on low. Meanwhile, in a skillet, add olive oil and the onions, season with some salt and pepper and let them brown but be careful not to burn them. After the onions are ready, drain the remaining olive oil and add it to the lentils and rice that are cooking. After the rice and lentils are cooked and the water is absorbed, transfer to the serving plate and add the onions on top. Serve with plain yogurt or a salad.

Brookline Reservoir .9 miles once around.  Twice around even better.


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Beautiful fall colors.


Watching the second Presidential Debate, Randal, Martha, and Jessica.

Jessica was watching the debate for extra credit for Social Studies.  “What was the answer?” she kept asking.  There was no answer was my response…..what a waste of time!  My opinion anyway.


Birthday Cake!

We re-celebrated my birthday with wonderful chocolate mousse cake.  I say re-celebrated as we had some cranberry bread dessert at Julia’s on the night of my birthday when MJ and Vinney came for dinner.  They brought the cranberry dessert and some Lindt chocolate balls.

Next email, Art Wednesday at Kitty’s house.

Visit with Julia on Cape Cod

Martha and Jessica’s house

Brookline, MA  USA

Hi All,

   We arrived at Martha and Jessica’s yesterday.  Martha (and I helped!) made a really good noodle and veggie dinner.  It required about all of her pots and bowls, but what the heck.  Tonight we’re having left overs from the Lebanese lunch at Al Waddi and takeout from a Mexican place.  Interesting combination  but everyone will be happy.  Then we’ll watch the Presidential Debate and hope everyone will be happy.  Jessica, who is in the 7th grade,  has to watch it for Social Studies extra credit.  And today I bought a new camera; a Nikon Coolpix 510.  It’s still in the box until I get the oomph to get it out and actually use it.  But it’s pretty straight forward and the camera shop guy was really helpful.  Amazingly it was less money here than in Best Buy in Roanoke.  Randal is excited that it gives the GPS with each photo but the camera guy says that uses lots of battery so we’ll just use it occasionally. 

So that’s it.


We’ve had a wonderful visit with our friend Julia here on Cape Cod.  We cooked wonderful food, met up with Roanoke pal Kathy and met new Cape Cod folks MJ and Vinney.  We walked on the beach, visited some craft venues, ate more good food. 


The best food is what you eat at someone’s house!

I’ve said that for years and it still holds true.  Great grilled salmon/trout* and roasted veggie leftovers sitting on the top shelf and grilled chicken leftovers on bottom shelf.  Our cheapo boxed wine there too. 

*It looked like salmon and tasted like salmon but the fish guy at the Star Market said it was farm raised trout.  Stah and Fahm is how they say it here in Massachusetts.


Cultural Center of Cape Cod is housed in a former bank. 

We went to see the Cape Cod Potters “seconds sale.”  Randal and this other fellow were way more interested in the vault doors.   We also visited the Shearts 4th Annual Fall for the Arts where I bought a few lovely pot holders and Julia treated me to a lovely, soft neck warmer made from recycled water bottles!  http://thesheartnetwork.org/


Even though the Red Sox have been truly terrible these past few years…….

We did see a car with a decal of a small boy peeing on a B

This car was parked at Jack’s Outback II where we went for lunch…..again so that makes us regulars!

Then it was off to Sandy Neck Beach to walk off lunch and to collect rocks. http://www.town.barnstable.ma.us/sandyneckpark/default.aspx


“Pandal” and Julia

Julia’s landlady in Virginia, who was a bit deaf, would call out to Julia, “Pandal’s on the phone.”


Randal and me….

I’m slightly tilting just to be cozy and not because the left side pocket of my backpack is filled with lots of small white rocks.  Randal’s sister had a jar of them and I liked the way it looked so I decided to collect some which gets addictive so you keep collecting.

Of course after our walk on the beach we were hungry so if was off to Momo’s for coffee and a snack.



One piece of pecan pie split three ways was just enough.   There were lots of tempting things but we were good and only had one piece of pie.


MJ, Vinney and Julia

MJ and Vinney are Julia’s pals and they came to dinner Saturday night at Julia’s when we had the salmon/trout and roasted veggies. 


Sunday lunch in Chatham.

We drove to Chatham and had lunch and then walked to the Yellow Umbrella book store. http://yellowumbrellabooks.net/     While Randal was waiting for Julia and me in the fancy schmancy clothes store (just looking) he started chatting with a man waiting for his wife.  Turns out the couple was on vacation from Dubuque, Iowa and had done Ragbrai.  The husband had been involved in the development of the John Deere marine engine which we have in DoraMac.  Small world!

Halloween is big in New England…..lots of pumpkin people.


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So that was fun and then it was time to return to Julia’s to go for a walk (me) swim (Julia) nap (Randal)  and then get ready to meet up with our friend Kathy for dinner at the Kettle Ho.


Kathy at the Cotuit Public Library

This is our other Roanoke friend Kathy whom we met Sunday night for dinner at the Kettle Ho in Cotuit.  Kathy and Julia were both bike buddies but at different times.  Now they are Cape Cod friends.  We’d all had dinner at the Kettle Ho last year so had a Kettle Ho reunion this year.  (But I was too busy chatting and eating so forgot to take a photo so this is one from our visit last year.)

   Our friend Julia is a physical therapist by training.  Every time we come to visit Randal leaves with more suggestions as to how he can “help his back, strengthen his core, work on eliminating the pain in his heel….etc.”  All great advice but you know what often happens with great advice…..not always so much.


Randal is supposed to roll the golf ball with his foot. 

Monday morning Julia went off to work and Randal and I packed up the car and headed off to Martha’s in Brookline.  We stopped off for lunch in Fairhaven and a quick walk to Fort Phoenix. 

But that will have to wait for another email.