Notes from a faraway island
October 14, 2008
finally slowing down
Topic: how summer becomes fall
I am even worse about keeping up with this blog than I am about working out. Oh well, better late than never. Lots has been up in the past 10 weeks. I went to a conference at the Black Rock Forest which is located in a beautiful part of the Hudson Highlands in NY state near Woodstock. Got to hike in the Catskills and see the Shawangunks (remember google is your friend ;-)) I'll post pictures soon. Swung by on the way back to see Susan and Jay's bright shiny new kiddo Rowan. Rowan really dug me, in fact, he slept more the night I stayed in Niantic than he ever has before in his short life. Jay and Susan wanted me to stay forever so they would have hope of sleeping, but sadly, I had to return.
My good friend John Stanton wrote a very nice blog entry about me in his islander blog (http://blog.discovernantucket.com/?p=23). I really enjoy John's blog, he gets the whole feeling of small town island right and as a long time member of the community he manages to sense when things are afoot and how best to frame an argument or a moment. If you have the time, definitely check out http://blog.discovernantucket.com. John is an excellent film-maker, fun to be around, married to an uber intelligent woman, and an all around good egg.
Scallop season has started out looking pretty dismal; hopefully when commercial season starts we'll find more adults hiding out in the deeper spots.
I am writing this on the slow boat. It's one of the few places where I can find time to catch up. The past few weeks have been hectic, with bio students down for Columbus day, some traveling, several speaking engagements, our new green lecture series, and, oh...about a hundred other things going on. As the weather turns colder, most of us here on the Rock are able to slow down and enjoy the island. I still am writing for Yesterday's Island, and looking forward to reading more and spending time with friends just emerging from the summer hibernation.
I have reconnected with even more old friends from high school on Facebook recently. Hopefully their interest will be a reminder to me to keep this blog updated.
well, we are almost in "America"; tune in next time!
July 28, 2008
Welcoming Rowan to the world
Topic: new pea in the pod
No not me! I did not just have a beautiful baby, but two of my favorite people on the planet did last Friday (the 18th). Susan and Jay are the proud parents of Rowan, who weighed 9 pounds and was 19" long (just slightly bigger than Susan).
I got lots of cute pics that I am really tempted to post, but don't want to hog their glory. I've heard they'll do a blog for the grandparents and maybe I can link that. Gave me a good excuse to buy some hip organic baby clothes and toys!
As it often is, one life comes in, one goes, so tomorrow I am going off island to Woods Hole for the funeral of my first friend in Boston, Dr. Harlyn Halvorson. It should be a huge funeral, Harlyn was internationally known. Read more about him here: http://www.mbl.edu/news/obit/obit_halvorson.html
Harlyn and I were officemates at UMass Boston and we co-wrote along with a lot of other folks a book/conference proceedings on aquaculture. I have made a poitn of seeing Harlyn and my other friend Flo at least 3-4 times a year even after I came to Nantucket and he was also full of helpful advice, the ultimate mentor, incredibly intelligent and more than a bit rascally. His stories ran the gamut from Watson and Crick to the Pope. The world's definitely a little less radiant, but being an optimist, I am sure the hole will fill (no pressure, Rowan).
gotta run, hope all who are reading this are doing well. Later this week I'll post an update on reconnecting with high school and middle school friends as well as the goings on, on island
July 18, 2008
Topic: reconnecting with friends
For those who don't know much about Nantucket in the summertime, it's beautiful here, warm, lots of beaches and natural beauty and very very very busy. Kind of like Christmas week for retail shop workers; we all try to squeeze in a year's worth of research, or capitalism, or talks, lectures, walks, family visits, beach hikes, symposiums, annual meetings, events, fundraisers, fun runs, vegetation profiles, plant and animal sampling, swimming, cocktail parties, three jobs at once not sure what your name is..........craziness. I have to admit, right now I am pining for October, when the weather is still warm, and I am still working 50-60 hour weeks, but not 80 hour weeks, and I can stop to smell the beach plums. Fortunately, I have a lot of volunteers and a great intern and also a very helpful husband who is picking up the slack and helping lead educational groups here at the field station and do the 9-10 research projects and umpteen other things I managed to put on my plate. We have a great group here which is part of Tulgeywood, differently abled kids and their counselors who windsurf, horse back ride and do many other all access sport type things that you might not expect folks in wheelchairs to do.
I've had quite a few friends and acquaintance write me on Facebook this week and reconnect after 28-30 years. One person asked me what I have been up to, and I thought, wow, how can I get that down to 1 page (not sure I could condense it into one book). I am sure a poem might be able to say it, and i figured, i need to try and condense it into something lyrical which has to save more words than my usual (verbose) articles do. Stay tuned, I am working on it.
The past two weeks, I helped to rescue an entangled female juvenile grey seal and I identified a beautiful moth (whitemarked tussock moth-very cute ....see)
that is eating the invasive plant purple loosestrife down by Sesachacha (pronounced "sack o joe' don't ask) Pond.
Nantucket has been in the news because a great white shark washed up on our southern beaches (dead, 6.5 foot female, sad), some folks think it is a prank by a local fishermen to "thin out" the herds of summer visitors. It probable was caught in a long line or net, and got cut out and discarded. Important to remember for nervous nellies that in over 350 years, only 4 shark attacks (3 fatal) have occurred in Massachusetts. You are more likely to be run down by an ice-cream truck..................which may not sound half bad.
more soon! Cue music from Jaws please.......................
p.s. i do know how to insert music clips, but hate when they come up on web pages and start hogging all the bandwidth ;-)
July 3, 2008
red, white, and blu
Topic: happy 4th
Wanted to do a quick update before another 100 years passes. Nantucket is already knee deep in tourists and summer residents. We all have crazy stories to tell of people going the wrong way down one way streets (with every 3rd person stopping them to tell them their error) and the offender typically breezily says..."oh, I am not going far!"
Another great one is the person pushing the stroller in front of your car, and when you look in the stroller.........yes, you have plenty of time to look, in our localized, I guess you would call it micro-traffic (like microclimate), you have time to check your tire pressure at intersections........you notice a dog, not a tot and a dog, just a dog. I am waiting for my stroller even as we speak ;-)
We have been lucky, it's been warm and sunny forever. Both Len and I have nice farmer's tans/controlled burns right now. There is hope (dim but there) that I may be able to take 1/2 a day off tomorrow, and of course if you are reading this, you may notice I have a moment to update my blog!
more stories tomorrow.
have a happy and safe, although not obsessively nationalistic, 4th!
June 15, 2008
actually had time to read a book!
Topic: Happy Father's Day
Happy Father's Day to those of you who have the good fortune to have a living Father. It's cold and rainy and gray here on Nantucket (the Grey Lady) but after a somewhat hot and then beautiful few days, the grayness doesn't bother me and hopefully I can get some work done.
I actually read a book (Water for Elephants, excellent and a quick read) in 2 days and took some time off last night to watch "The Savages". A little ironic as the article in the Indy last week outed me for being a "workaholic" which of course is no news to pretty much anyone who knows me. I'll be sending an email out to my peeps reminding them of my blog in case anyone wants to do an RSS feed.
Happy birthday to my nephew Justin!
June 14, 2008
Tim Russert dies
Topic: a great journalist
Nantucket, the nation, and the world suffered a very unexpected loss yesterday when island resident and world class political analyst and newsman Tim Russert passed away of an apparent heart attack at the age of 58 while recording voice overs for this Sunday's Meet the Press. All over Nantucket, those who had met him were saddened by the news. Both Len and I had the good fortune to meet Tim and Maureen on a 2-3 occasions which ranged from Boys and Girls Club soirees to encounters at the airport and at our local Planning Board meeting. Maureen and Tim and I were there to speak about a nearby subdivision perilously close to wetlands. Not only is this a tremendous lose of a giving and caring person on island, but we have also lost one of the few political journalists who could conduct a fair and incisive interview and who always did their homework and avoided pandering to our most base instincts. In addition, Tim's death was a big wake up call to Len and I, both larger, slower and in worse shape than we were 2-3 years ago. I even took the evening off last night and read a book and we took a long walk together.
on a much more happy tone, the Nantucket Independent, a local newspaper, featured me in a long article (front page!) this week. Go to
for the article and for breaking local news.
I am also enjoying writing for Yesterday's Island and I'll put more links to recent articles there tomorrow.
May 25, 2008
my trip to CT
Topic: visiting Jay and Susan
well, centuries later, skeletons were found.
it's been a long time since I posted, somehow spring has morphed into summer. I did get a chance to get down to Niantic Ct to visitme friend Susan and Jay. Susan is the cutest pregant woman I've seen (I am a bit biased) and Jay was his usual entertaining and fun self. They have a great place and it was very relaxing. We did 13 geocaches in 4 days in the Rocly Neck state park right by their home and also in other nearby state parks (Devil's Hopyard and Harkness). The beach was only a block away; saw tons of birds, played Wii, ate incredible food made by uber chef Susan. That trip will hold me until my next day off this Fall.
Check out the photo album 2008 trip to CT
thanks guys, for a lovely time!
April 10, 2008
Yesterday's island article
Topic: a good week
This week has been successful one for me and my committee peeps at our Annual Town Meeting. After 2.5 years, dozens of public hearings, hundreds of comments and emails and letters and conversations and testimony and research and........you get the point; we finally passed 4 articles protecting current use of our waterfront for the community and the public. We had a large cadre of lawyers speaking against these articles for their clients and it took a lot of planning, chutzpah, and some well worded and passionate speeches at town meeting to garner the 2/3 majority to pass these zoning changes. Check out these links for details: www.nantucketharborplan.com and www.ack.net or www.nantucketindependent.com
next weeks town elections will be VERRRRRRYYYYYYYYY Interesting (a little D. Anne lingo for those who frequent our local and lively chatroom www.yackon.com).
The Clean Team is ready to swing into acktion starting April 26th (daffodil weekend, don't ask) check out our kickoff events at www.ackcleanteam.org
Also this week, I had an article printed in Yesterday's Island, a free newspaper available from April to Decemeber each year and very popular with tourists and ACK residents alike: http://www.yesterdaysisland.com/2008/features/torpedoray.php
until next time, here's to a warm spring day!
April 2, 2008
Now on Facebook
Well, I have a million updates to do to my blog, but recently I got on Facebook and have been locating old friends and new friends. Lucky for me I can post an rss feed on Facebook and also send it to folks on my contact list who may (or may not) wish to get the latest greatest ramblings from this blog.
This Saturday, April 6th, in honor of National Poetry Month, we will be doing a special show featuring Jack McCarthy. Check out Jack's work at www.standupoet.net
and go to www.nantucketpoetryslam.org for details
see you soon!
March 14, 2008
Topic: anniversary fun
Len and I bought a Wii for our third anniversary. We figured it would not only be fun to do together, but also would help us get some exercise. It is one of the best things we have ever bought ourselves. It comes with some very basic games and we got the sport pack that includes bowling and tennis and golf and basball. Now we are locked in a head to head bowling competition and we are both pretty darn good if I say so myself (ranked pro after 3 weeks) typically in the 150-220 range. And the first weekend, we bowled about 30 games and then took 2 days to recover because you do make the same movements and pull the same muscles as if you were really playing. Now, in my very limited free time, I am playing Mario galaxy. The tennis is a lot of fun too, baseball's not bad, billards are great, we both suck big time at golf. This weekend I am giving a talk tomorrow and Len is heading off the Rock to hear Robert Pinsky at our old venue Poetribe (www.poetribe.org). It's been a busy and stressful week, but spring is right around the cover!
March 8, 2008
more from Plum
Topic: spring ahead!
Actually right at this moment, on a rainy Saturday, I am working with my lab intern Thomas; he is patiently sieving sand and I am writing water quality research reports. Last month has been super busy as usual. One of our many community hurrahs we helped out on is the "One Book One Island" events (Len did the finale, I did a presentation on Santiago's voyage.)
Check out the finale and other videos and photos here: http://nantucket.plumtv.com/stories/another_chapter_closes
We also had a dolphin rescue attempt which was featured on Plum TV (they did a great job!) at http://nantucket.plumtv.com/videos/dolphins_stranded_madaket_harbor
and Plum TV did two small short films on me this last week. Check this one out (shows my family) at http://nantucket.plumtv.com/videos/plum_life_sarah_oktay
so the wonderful people at Plum seem to be inadvertently or maybe even deliberately documenting my life ;-)
tune in next time for updates on friends, family, movies, etc.
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!
Newer | Latest | Older
3 Jan, 11 > 9 Jan, 11
15 Nov, 10 > 21 Nov, 10
23 Aug, 10 > 29 Aug, 10
11 Jan, 10 > 17 Jan, 10
23 Nov, 09 > 29 Nov, 09
7 Sep, 09 > 13 Sep, 09
13 Jul, 09 > 19 Jul, 09
11 May, 09 > 17 May, 09
12 Jan, 09 > 18 Jan, 09
5 Jan, 09 > 11 Jan, 09
29 Dec, 08 > 4 Jan, 09
22 Dec, 08 > 28 Dec, 08
13 Oct, 08 > 19 Oct, 08
28 Jul, 08 > 3 Aug, 08
21 Jul, 08 > 27 Jul, 08
7 Jul, 08 > 13 Jul, 08
16 Jun, 08 > 22 Jun, 08
26 May, 08 > 1 Jun, 08
14 Apr, 08 > 20 Apr, 08
31 Mar, 08 > 6 Apr, 08
17 Mar, 08 > 23 Mar, 08
10 Mar, 08 > 16 Mar, 08
11 Feb, 08 > 17 Feb, 08
4 Feb, 08 > 10 Feb, 08
21 Jan, 08 > 27 Jan, 08
31 Dec, 07 > 6 Jan, 08
17 Dec, 07 > 23 Dec, 07
26 Nov, 07 > 2 Dec, 07
19 Nov, 07 > 25 Nov, 07
15 Oct, 07 > 21 Oct, 07
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10 Sep, 07 > 16 Sep, 07
31 Dec, 01 > 6 Jan, 02