Notes from a faraway island
February 10, 2008
February 1, 2008
Saying goodbye to old friends
Topic: my cat wants to kill me
Well, obviously Fridays are a good day for me to post. Lots has happened over the past two weeks. In fact, both Len and I seem to be busy all the time. This entry will talk about two items:
1) the bittersweetness (making up words as I go ;-)) of meeting great people and then they end up leaving the island to find their way in the world. Very common in college relationships, and especially normal for Nantucket. Another loyal reader and all around great person, Sarah Hinman, has left the island after gracing it for almost two years to continue school and reseacrh in KS. My guess is that I am one of the few people on island who can appreciate what she missed about the plains states. I for one always appreciated her smarts, smile, and willingness to pick up trash as an uber loyal member of the Clean Team. So happy trails, Sarah......hope to see you again soon.
Of course a ton of our friends also are enjoying themselves on cruises (DG) or down in the Keys (hi JoAnn and Steve)........we miss them short term but know they are coming back. You are coming back, guys......guys!?
2) Secondly, as you can see from the topic line, my new kitten BBQ wants to kill me. I don't think its entirely deliberate, but I have a broken little toe, black and blue foot, and nice tiny (but painful) scratch on my lip and one furball to blame. To be fair, the broken toe happened about a week and a half ago. The equation: foot winding kitten (feed me!) + beer + naturally clumsy person ≠ ballet! Old friends will be shocked to know that it hurt bad enough the next morning that I went to the ER. I know, not even a bullet wound typically entices me to go there. I did get to wear a stylin' lucky Tom Brady type boot that weighed approximately 20 pounds for 4-5 days until our first real snowstorm of the year hit and I decided socks would not cut it in the snow. I'm still limping, but I should be right as rain in another week or two.
Plenty more to describe (snowstorm photos and tales of hilarity as some very patient poets got stuck for 24 more hours than they planned), but it will have to wait until my next entry.
January 18, 2008
where do the days go??
Hello again. Well, I found out I have at least one fan who is checking this site regularly (Hi Andre') so as a reward for his loyalty and/or tolerance for my bad writing. I want to feature his web site today: http://www.pangaeapress.com/
Andre and his wife Anne have a home on Nantucket and one of their sons was a huge help to me as a volunteer research assistant this past summer.
Busy weekend ahead with MLK events and Sunday's Pats game. the past week has been busy with meetings and preparation for this years Annual Town Meeting. Some of my good friends on island have been suffering the loss of their parents, which is a sad but normal part of getting older. One of the absolutely best and sometimes worse parts of living here and knowing so many incredible people (at last count Len and I have met and count as friends or acquaintances perhaps 500-1000 people) is that almost every week, someone we know or someone close to someone we know dies. Young, old, its the intrinsic nature of this small island out to sea.
On a happier note, I heard from an old friend over Christmas who I had not spoken to in 10-12 years (not intentionally, just one of those drifted away folks). And, I have been asked to start submitting stories to one of our local papers, Yesterday's Island. After they come out this summer, I'll post links to them here.
Tonight, I am heading out to a girls night out event and Len is going to a potluck dinner, so for once, a Friday night will be special. I hope everyone out there is warm and dry.
oh, and go PATS!!!!!!!
December 27, 2007
In the land of root canals, ho ho ho
Topic: Back from the holidays
Well, we made it back on island last Sunday and a good time was had by all except for the X-Mas joy I had of enduring an absess that did not want to respond to pain meds. So today I am off island again to get a root canal and sad to say, I am looking forward to it. We had a great time at our old venue Poetribe on Saturday night. Our surprise arrival was their Christmas miracle. We got to hear some incredible poetry from many old friends and some new ones and a lot of the heavy weight wordsmiths from Boston made it down. We have a ton of social events coming up in the next 2 weeks, so we enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home. Latest news from my family, this video of my nephew wrestling in the 2007 Walsh Ironman event. He beat the #3 seed in his weight division, very cool:
Len's family was doing fine and we got to see friends and snow in the great white north area of Massachusetts. This weekend, the field station will be hosting the Christmas Bird Count.
During our trip off-island to America, we got a chance to see of couple of movies, quick reviews: "No Country for Old Men", one of the best movies we've seen in the past 5-10 years; "I Am Legend", decent start, then ran out of gas, see Omega Man again instead.
Happy New Years to everyone!
December 18, 2007
Topic: Holiday fun
Well, starting tomorrow, Len and I are off on a miniroad trip to visit friends and family scattered throughout the rest of Massachusetts. We've missed the majority of very bad storms although we have had our fair share of high winds which shut down both of the ferries and a few of the planes over the past few days. At least we have heat and light, unlike my friends and family in Tulsa who have endured 4-10 days of no electricity. Our thoughts go out to Chad Parenteau who lost his father earlier this month.
Hope all of you reading this have a wonderful holiday. I'll be posting right before Christmas when we have returned to ACK.
November 27, 2007
Christmas Stroll Events
Topic: Christmas Stroll Events
Boy, I would not call Sunday's night Pats-Eagles game a beating, more like a nailbiter! Fortunately, 8 Yackers showed up to stare at the TV in disbelief.
Christmas Stroll is upon us and of course, the Nantucket Poetry Slam and the Atheneum have a lot going on. This week, Regie Gibson performs Saturday at the African Meeting house at 2:00 pm with Robert Rivera and Eric Peterson (see below) and Richard Cambridge will be performing at the Nantucket Field Station at 2:00 on Sunday, December 2nd for our December Poetry event. We are thinking about changing the name of our venue, you'll hear it here first! And for information on Stroll events and activities, go to Nantucket Chamber of Commerce
December 1, 2007
Christmas Stroll Performance
Synesthesia: n. 1. A sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color. 2. A seamless marriage of word, song, chant, cello and, percussion. 3. What happens when an Irish ballad meets Moroccan rhythms; when a Shakespearean sonnet hangs out with classical cello and when modern American poetry hooks up with Egyptian Tabla. 4. An artistic offering premiering only on Nantucket.
Regie O’Hare Gibson: Word and African Percussion
Robert Rivera: Cello
Eric Peterson: Middle Eastern Percussion
November 25, 2007
Well, one of the best things to do one a long 4 day weekend, besides walking Nantucket's beautful trails, or going to the Festival of Wreaths, is to catch up one your Netflix movies. Currently, I am trying to make it through Richard Linklater's 2.5 hour Fast Food Nation. I have to agree with my favorite movie review site, www.rottentomatoes.com, that at best FFN is a 51% so so movie. I loved Linklater's "A Scanner Darkly", but this time he makes a "Crash" like attempt to link a variety of disparate story lines into a cohesive narrative, with less than engaging results.
Tonight, we'll meet fellow Yackers (www.yackon.com) at the Rose and Crown to watch the Pats put a beating on the Eagles.
November 23, 2007
Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day. Yesterday we had a lovely dinner with friends Jim and Anne Sutherland. Anne was just featured in the Independent's art section and of course, Jim is my stalwart volunteer. We also made two new friends, David and Laurie. Today, I be brining and cooking a turkey, cause there is no such thing as too much turkey. By the way, the link for the day is www.snopes.com
which is the best site on the web to dispel those pesky urban legends such as the one about turkey dinner containing enough tryptophan that it makes you sleepy. Don't say you didn't learn anything over the holiday. I am also grateful that I am not at some Black Friday shopping nightmare.
November 19, 2007
back in the saddle
Topic: back in the saddle
Hopefully an appropriate title after returning from a 6 day vacation to Oklahoma to see my family! A good time was had by all and I was able to spend some quality time with friends and family in some gorgeous weather (warm, slight breeze, 68-75, sunny). I also did some geocaching (www.geocaching.com) with my nephew Jerrod and I gave guest lectures in Zoology and Environmental Science at Broken Arrow High School at the request of my nephew Justin. The addition of a hot tub and sauna at my brother's house was the icing on the cake and of course we have a traditional holiday viewing of Saw 4 at the nearby metroplex. My lovely sister-in-law Steph, got permanent eyeliner that looks great and I'm jealous. And Alan is doing well and can ran faster than I can bike (uphill and in the wind ;-))
Of course while I was gone, Nantucket had one of the worst storms in the past 20 years (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyeonack/). We lost several feet of vegetated bluff here at the field station and I had the joy of watching the waves and storm long distance via web cam (http://22.214.171.124).
Yesterday's poetry show featuring David Surette (www.davidsurette.com) was excellent and we had a moving tribute by several friends and family who read the late Del Wynn's poetry.
As winter approaches, I plan to try to put on an entry almost everyday, so stay tuned!
October 11, 2007
Moving a lighthouse and more
Topic: Moving a lighthouse and m
arghhh, I just spent entirely too long writing a very detailed post, just to lose it all. Well, back to the drawing board.
This past week, 3 things happened on island that are indicative of a life on a faraway island, first and foremost, the Sankaty light was moved from the edge of a bluff to a spot 400 feet away. For pictures and info go to http://www.sconsettrust.org/ or to www.yackon.com (search for Sankaty) or either newspaper link below. Sadly, we lost one of our teenagers too soon and over 500 people showed up to grieve and celebrate her life (www.ack.net or www.nantucketindependent.com). And a group of investors banded together to save the Dreamland Theatre. Once again, Nantucket will have 2 movie theatres and perhaps more performance space.
And for the top 17 recent events:
- My college buddy Joel Seymour and his lovely bride Michelle welcomed infant Gabriel Zen Sept 25th, who was born at home in 5 hours. After speaking with a calm and strong Michelle the following day, I'll bet she made cookies later that afternoon.
- Dear friend Lisa is off to Galveston to do some environmental education work while hubby Markus heads back to Antarctica for more research.
- An alumni group of biology students from 1976 returned to the field station to share their experiences and reconnect.
- We got a postcard from Paris from world traveler Patricia. If there is a special place for friends who always send postcards, Patricia would have a reserved seat. I, on the other hand, bought 3 postcards in Maine from our trip there for Rachael and Sam's wedding in July that some friends can expect to receive around Christmas!
- My nephew Justin is now a senior in high school and is considering attending Johnson and Wales in nearby Providence (culinary school with a wrestling team, now there's a combo). My other nephew, Jerrod, is apparently, almost 7 feet tall ;-)
- Someone is turning the big 5-0 on October 28th, and it ain't me
- Speaking of older men, Len just finished a production of "12th Night" for the arts festival and is busy working on a new show.
- This weekend we host Eric Darby (http://www.ericdarby.net/) for the Nantucket Poetry Slam
- My buddy Tammy got another beautiful tattoo and I'm jealous. See her tattoist art work at http://www.myspace.com/riceworks
- SBPF meetings will continue in November, curtailling some of my travel plans. Friends and family can expect to see me in the beginning of December. If you don't know who SBPF are, you have wisely decided not to listen to my tales of 4 hour meetings 3 times a week
- Family scalloping started on island and my scalloper buddies kindly showed what they were catching to a Magic Years class who came to visit the field station (2-4 year olds who make great thank you booklets). I not only got the chance to teach the kiddos, but the scallopers shared some of their luscious catch with me. And the Scallopers Ball is this Friday.
- Len and I attended Tim and Rebecca's fantabulous wedding and reception at the end of Sept (pagan and unitarian ceremony, another nice combo). This year is the year of weddings as I'll be going to my 4th one in December
- I ran a booth with info on the field station for last weekend's Cranberry festival for the Nantucket Conservation Foundation (www.nantucketconservation.org). Over 2000 attendees.
The Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative Conference on Sept 22nd was successful with lots of naturalists and scientists in attendance. I am co-chair of the NBI and helped host the event. Go to www.nantucketbiodiversityinitiative.org for more info.
- We made some headway on our giant knotweed removal project, the Moby Dick for our Invasive Species Plant Committee group
- Len and I got a new ninja kitten named BBQ, a feral kittty with a docked tail and notched ear. very cute; Canada and Jake are not amused. Pictures soon.
- Good friends Kin, Amanda, and Annie coming to see us on the 19th.
Links for the week:
New link from our BIO class this summer. Great pictures, thanks to Joe Catricala http://gallery.mac.com/g/newer.html?url=http://gallery.mac.com/joseph.catricala/100021
Two weeks ago we installed a second web camera on the dorm/classroom. Go to www.umb.edu/nantucket to check this link out as well as our harbor buoy data. the second web camera link will be live there by the 17th of October. If you can't wait, email me and I'll send you the link.
September 19, 2007
Back from Texas
Topic: Field Station Conference
Sorry for the delay in posting for the past week. I've been out to Junction Tx at the Texas Tech University field station ( http://www.depts.ttu.edu/hillcountry/junction/) for the annual Organization of Biological Field Station Conference http://www.obfs.org
Click the TTU link above and then the photo gallery to see what the area looked like. The facility too, was amazing, plenty of room for 60+ participants, a dining hall, pavilion, technology classrooms, great rope challenge course, housing for 100-200, and of course, after the workshops and meetings, Shiner Boch draft beer! Although I don't miss the heat, fire ants, or cockle-burrs I encountered while living in Galveston, TX for 10 years and that I was quickly reintroduced to, I was happy to see all that open land, herds of deer, river rapids, rolling hills, cactus, tons of different birds, and west TX geology. If you are ever in the area, I also highly recommend going to Fredricksburg.
The Nantucket Field Station has been a member of OBFS for many years, but this is the first year I have been able to attend as the OBFS meetings tend to be the same time of year as our Open House. I was thrilled to meet my colleagues from around the country and a few international stations. Program officers from the National Science Foundation and the Ecological Society of America were also there to give tips and conduct workshops on field station funding and educational programs. I'll give more details about the conference in my next entry. In the meantime, check out my friend Linda Sonnonstine's blog at http://nantucketwashashorejournal.blogspot.com/
September 10, 2007
In memory of Jim Nettles
Topic: In memorium
Yesterday the Nantucket Poetry Slam hosted a very moving tribute to our master of ceremonies and dear friend, Jim Nettles, who passed away August 8th. Many thanks to the friends and family members who attended and to our featured poets, Victor D. Infante and Lea Deschenes. Jim was a special light in our lives, and his influence on members of the community will be felt for many years.
September 7, 2007
Day 1 of my blog
Topic: Never a dull moment
Well, even though I obviously have a million things I should be doing, I thought the best way to try to stay in touch with friends and family was to start a blog. As I am running 9-10 web pages, the least I could do is have one for me
I'll be putting on slide shows, links to my other web sites, friend's websites, and tidbits about my life. As usual here on Nantucket there is never a dull moment, even on a holiday weekend. Although relived that tourists and vistors are starting to return to "America" (the mainland), we still have our hands full here.
As an example, this past Labor Day, I participated in a marine mammal stranding on a 9 ' 7" bottlenose dolphin which had beached itself several times the day before on the north shore (near John Kerry's place, obviously a republican dolphin). On Monday morning a group of Nantucket Marine Mammal Stranding Team members with assistance from the New England Aquarium (over the phone) and a local vet from the MSPCA had to euthanize this beautiful animal, which had lodged himself into a mosquito ditch in a large salt marsh called the creeks. There was no way in which the animal could be turned around or swim out on its own accord and typically an animal strands multiple times only when there is something medically wrong. At low tide, the dolphin was almost completely exposed, and although it was easy for it to keep its blow hole clear for breathing, sunburn and exhaustion would soon take its toll.
It is very hard to euthanize a dolphin, difficult to find a suitable vein to administer the poison used to humanely kill it ("blue juice"), and hard on the animal, and the volunteers and vets, especially when you are attempting to administer aid while straddling a deep mosquito ditch in 2 feet of salt water underlain by quicksand-like viscous mud (fortunately, I have always like the smell of sulfur, draw your own conclusions - I tend to think that makes me a natural chemist). By the time the animal had expired (1040 am), the tide had gone out which meant we could not extricate the animal, and it was difficult to extricate ourselves. Our departure from the site involved some low impact marsh bushwhacking, which fortunately I have a lot of experience in doing through my research (comical pictures of that will be posted soon-very comical ones Emily has will be deleted).
Later the evening, during the high tide, I had my first chance to go kayaking (yes I have loaner kayaks here at the field station I never use) because we had to use kayaks to tow the creature out into harbor. So my first kayaking trip involved a surreal slalom course as MMST member Bob and I used a 2 person ocean kayak hooked up to Edie Ray's one person kayak to tow the Soprano-like dead weight out into the harbor into deep enough water where a crane or hoist could be used to haul it onto land. We had a lot of help and encouragement and few catcalls, everything went very smoothly considering the situation. Once again I am impressed by the stranding team members dedication, come join us in January when it is really fun!
We are grateful for the help of Adam Ray and his co-worker for their assistance to bringing a boat closer into the area and for Blair Perkins who was able to hoist the animal onto a payloader and into a waiting truck. The next step, was to perform a necropsy (animal autopsy) on Wednesday with experts from NEaq. We then must find a suitable location to bury the animal as it cannot be put back to become food for the life-cycle because it not die naturally and had poison in its system. Unfortunately, my work schedule kept me from helping or observing the necropsy.
.........and that is just one part of my weekend. Saturday involved a one hour Clean Team (www.ackcleanteam.org) clean up on Hummock Pond Rd (35 volunteers! we almost ran out of places to clean), a TV appearance on the Morning, Noon, and Night Show on plum tv (http://nantucket.plumtv.com/ for multiple videos and http://nantucket.plumtv.com/stories/bobwright for Saturday's show) and then 2 hours of knotweed and rubble removal for an invasive plant species project with the invasive plant species committee (subcommittee of the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative) and last but not least driving our UMass Boston BIO instructor (the lovely and talented Beth Boyle) to the ferry (all done by 2:00 pm). whew.
This weekend will also be busy. The Clean Team will attempt to Clean up Milestone road, we have more knotweed to wrangle, and the return of our Fall series of the Nantucket Poetry Slam featuring Victor Infante (and hopefully some poetry too from his SO Lea Deschenes) from 2-4 pm this Sunday (9th) at the Field Station. This slam is in memory of our master of ceremonies and very good friend Jim Nettles who passed away in early August.
January 1, 2002
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