We seen to have been so busy lately, doing lots of stuff -- and busy at work also -- that I just don't seem to have had much time to write things here...
I've been taking Thursday and Friday as vacation days and we have been enjoying playing tourist on some of those days.
On Thursday last week (a week ago today) we took the ferry out to Block Island with Jill and Eli. Our idea was to bike to Block Island's North Light. (On previous trips we had always visited Southeast Light, for example, two years ago.)
I took my bike and Jill used Jeremy's (her bike needs a new tire) and Nancy decided to rent one on the island because her bike dates back to her college days and is harder to ride than a modern bike. Eli brought his bike but had a mechanical problem and also ended up with a rental bike. Eventually we were on our way out of town and along Corn Neck Road to the light house. It was a beautiful ride through green summery countryside. When you come to the end of the paved road, there is a long walk along a beach and then on a sandy path to the lighthouse.
The next day (Friday) Nancy and I started out our day by stopping at a book sale at one of the branches of our town library, and then we set out to play tourist by visiting two historic sites we have always wanted to visit but somehow had never found the opportunity: the Gilbert Stuart birthplace museum and Smith's Castle.
Gilbert Stuart was an American artist and, if you live in the U.S. you are certainly familiar with his work -- the one dollar bill carries his portrait of George Washington. His family home when he was born was also the site of a snuff mill -- a water-powered mill for grinding tobacco leaves to make snuff. The same millpond also powers a neighboring gristmill. After taking a docent-led tour of the buildings we also took a walk along a nature trail on the grounds.
Smith's Castle was not a castle in the sense of some medieval structure with stone walls and a moat; it was a trading post and a house built by Richard Smith in 1637. It is believed that the house was both rather large and grand compared to the small and primitive log cabins in which most English settlers were living and also apparently was fortified, and thus people called it "Smith's Castle." It was burned during King Philp's War in retaliation against the English settlers for the Great Swamp Massacre. A new house was built by Smith's son, what really was perhaps the grandest house in Rhode Island at the time -- of course, since the time was 1678, this was still all rather relative. Over the years, succeeding generations made changes and additions to the house, covering the rough hewed 17th century floors and beam to suit more elegant and refined 18th century tastes. Sixty years ago the house was empty, the farm was being subdivided, and the house was almost demolished. Some history buffs saved it. Today it is open for docent-led tours, different rooms being furnished as they would have been at various points in the building's long history.
We were back home, enjoying a very late lunch, when one of Nancy's sisters called from her cell phone... she was coming to Rhode Island (from New York) with one of her granddaughters and was getting near East Matunuck beach. Would we care to join them for a walk on the beach. So off to the beach we went and enjoyed a pleasant walk along an almost empty beach (of course it was well past five o'clock by then). As we walked along we saw a couple approaching us from a distance. That almost looked like Nancy's sister Janet and her husband Tom (Rhode Island dwellers)...as they got closer we saw that it was, indeed them. They had decided to meet at the beach to take a walk together after work.
Saturday I bought myself a new electric weed-wacker and enjoyed chopping down some weeds and unwanted undergrowth around the trees at the back of our backyard. That night (well, actually, starting at 3:45) we were at the Towers to be attendants/docents/building caretakers for a wedding. Didn't get out of there until just about midnight. And then when we got home I fixed myself a sandwich and opened a beer and sat up with Jeremy watching a movie so I didn't get to bed until well past two in the morning.
Sunday I can scarcely remember. Slept in until nine or so. Read the paper. Went grocery shopping. Went for a run with Jill and then lifted weights, etc. Watched a movie on HBO. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday work, work, work. I had lots of photographs that I kept wanting to select and organize and post here but I never seemed to be able to find time. Today was a vacation day and Nancy and I spent some time this morning working on a project we have been talking about for some time now but never actually getting to it and at last we were able to do some productive planning and brainstorming. Tonight we went to the movies to see Live Free or Die Hard -- the fourth in the Die Hard series. We wanted to see it on a big screen because we thought it would be better there than waiting a few months to watch it on television -- and we were right. There is nothing deep or believable about this movie -- each stunt scene is more over the top than the one before -- action so extreme that you would almost expect Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner to suddenly dash across the screen -- so outrageous that we had to laugh, but we were laughing with Willis, not at him, sort of like laughing while riding an amusement park ride or going down a water slide.
So... that's what we've been doing the past week or so...