New Word Wednesday

It’s the final New Word Wednesday and I’ve chosen to spotlight the word LITTORAL. No, not “literal,” although I like the way it sounds.

The “littoral zone” is the part of a body of water (sea, lake, river) that is close to the shore. The word “littoral” is used both as a noun and an adjective. It’s derived from the Latin noun litus, meaning “shore.” Synonyms include onshore, alongshore, coastal, and shoreside.

Rhode Island is known as The Ocean State, smallest in area and second most densely populated (New Jersey is first). It’s okay, though, there’s room for you to visit!

Rhode Island’s beaches line the 384 miles of tidal shoreline across the Narragansett Bay. We are, indeed, quite littoral.

Music Monday – Vote for your Favorite!


It’s the last Music Monday this month, and what better way to end than with a summer song. There are plenty of them out there, but I’ve chosen three. And you can vote for the one you like best!

First up, from 1964

Second song, from 1963 (hey, I’m nostalgic):

And finally, a cover of 1969 hit by Sly and the Family Stone – from 1985:

It’s summer! It’s hot! Hope you make the most of it, because the days are getting shorter already 😉

Tempeh and Seitan

Thursday was one of those days where I convinced my husband to take a break. It’s important (to me, at least) that he have one day where he’s not caring for elderly and/or dying people. Weekends at Hospice, weekdays for his father. The guy needs a day off! And this week it was Thursday.

Korean tacos
Korean tacos

He slept. He read the newspaper. He took his dog for a romp in the park. And later in the day, we went to the Garden Grille Café. No, we’re not vegans (I was for eleven days in 2010) or vegetarians, but this restaurant is just so good! We started out sharing the Korean Tacos. Every time I’m inside this place, I order the Korean Tacos. They’re made with tempeh, cabbage, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha mayo, guacamole, and salsa, wrapped in a small flour tortilla. Just perfect. I followed that with a seitan and mushroom burger that was out of this world! If you’re ever in or near Pawtucket, you have to go to the Garden Grille. You’ll thank me later. I could do vegetarian if their chef made my meals.

Photo(s) Friday

Music Monday. New Word Wednesday. And now, Photo(s) Friday.

I took these pictures years ago at Ballard’s Beach on Block Island. Just in case you didn’t know, Block Island does belong to Rhode Island! It’s in the Atlantic Ocean about 13 miles south of RI’s southern shoreline, and about 14 miles east of Montauk Point on Long Island (NY).  As of the 2010 census, there were 1,051 living on the island, an area of 9.734 square miles.

photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds
photo by M. Reynolds

Is it summer where you are? If so, enjoy! Make a splash!


Oh! The Places I’ve Been – “Y” is for YARMOUTH

Bass River, South Yarmouth - photo by John Phelan
Bass River, South Yarmouth – photo by John Phelan

Ah, but which Yarmouth?

  • There’s Yarmouth, or Great Yarmouth, in Britain, on the eastern coast near Norwich, an old fishing port now servicing natural gas rigs. Never been there.
  • There’s the town of Yarmouth in Maine, northeast of Portland and bordering Freeport (LL Bean area). Been there, great New England town.
  • There’s a Yarmouth in Nova Scotia, located in the heart of the world’s largest lobster fishing grounds. Want to go!
  • There’s another Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, one of the island’s earliest settled regions. Would love to visit sometime.
  • No, this Yarmouth is close to home, in Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. The town itself is made up of South Yarmouth, West Yarmouth, and Yarmouth Port. As the land was inhabited by Native Americans prior to English settlement, many of the tribal names remain and are familiar in the region: Wampanoag, Cummaquid, Algonquin. And the town is named after the first Yarmouth listed, Great Yarmouth.  The land was used to raise pigs, sheep, and cattle until the late 19th century, when developers began to turn it into a fashionable summer resort. Hotels and summer cottages sprung up along what is now Route 28.  Yarmouth Port boasts the headquarters of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the very first Christmas Tree Shop.
Judah Baker Windmill, South Yarmouth - photo by John Phelan
Judah Baker Windmill, South Yarmouth – photo by John Phelan

For us, it’s always been a great getaway destination, but only off-season (I wouldn’t go near the Cape in the summer!).

Okay, there’s your “Y.” Tomorrow is the last day. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………………..  🙂

(I’m kind of happy to be) Saying Goodbye to Summer

Today my friend John Walsh wrote about the assumed end of summer in his always-brilliant blog post. Read it here:

John, I’m not sad to say goodbye to summer. I know, I know. I can hear it now: “Martha, are you nuts?” “You want winter, and all that snow and slush?” “The shorter days?” (Okay, I’ll give in on that one. I do enjoy twelve to fourteen hours of daylight.) But not the heat, the humidity.

It’s not my fault. My people came from England and Ireland. There’s no Mediterranean blood in me, even if my culinary taste does lean towards Italian, Greek, and Provençal. Fortunately, I’m married to a man who feels the same way I do; otherwise, there would be big trouble. We’ve run the air conditioning for months now, it seems, and I look forward to that first day – you know, that first day when the breeze is brisk and chilly. When I can open all the windows. When I dig out the sweatshirts.

Tomorrow is September 2nd, and I’ll hit the beach. Channel 12 says sunny, dry, and 77 degrees. I hoping for ten degrees cooler at East Matunuck.

This Past Week

Some of the past week’s highlights:

  • Still battling a little bit of dizziness in the morning when I get up.  Not vertigo, because there’s no spinning, but I do feel light-headed and a little off-balance.  My dear friend Geri sent me some wonderful information and exercises, and I’m going to start doing them.

  • On Tuesday, my husband and I had a day together (rare!).  We decided to drive to Old Saybrook, Connecticut (about an hour and twenty minutes south of us).  Beautiful summer resort town.  A close friend used to take a summer rental there, and we shared some great memories.  But, summer is summer, so there were traffic delays, and it was hot, and some people are just rude.  Still, we found a great bookstore selling paperbacks for fifty cents and hardcovers for a buck.  Although we both read e-books for the most part now, it was fun to pick up a couple of printed books.  We had lunch at a place called the Penny Lane Pub, and I guess they follow the English tradition of not really cooking the bacon.  My turkey club ended up being a turkey sandwich.
  • I’m learning to be patient about the launch of my debut novel, “Chocolate for Breakfast.”  All things take time.  Hoping for the novel to be online by mid-August now.  What I cannot control, I must accept!

  • Tried a new recipe that proved to be a keeper.  Actually, I didn’t follow a recipe; I rarely do when I cook.  Took a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut a pocket in each.  After removing the stems, I chopped up some baby spinach leaves.  Also chopped up some sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, added them to a bowl and mixed in some feta cheese crumbles.  Add more olive oil if you need it.  Stuff the chicken breasts with the mixture and bake.  I added cooked bulghur wheat and served the chicken on top of more baby spinach leaves.  Delicious!

  • Watched the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.  Brilliant!  That Danny Boyle (director of Slumdog Millionaire) is a national treasure.  With so much troubling news in the world, here is an opportunity, for a couple of weeks, to focus on good.  The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”  The motto was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin on the creation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894. De Coubertin borrowed it from his friend Henri Didon, a Dominican priest who was an athletics enthusiast. The motto was introduced in 1924 at the Olympic Games in Paris.
  • Inadvertently threw away a generous gift card that was enclosed in a birthday card.  Put it in the recycle bin.  Trash pickup is Friday, and my husband always gets up early to bring the bins out to the curb.  Only this week he slept late and missed the early-morning pickup.  I thought the gift card was lost.  It wasn’t; it was still in the recycle bin, at the bottom.  There’s some luck for you!

  • Wishing you good luck all this coming week, as we move out of July and into August.  The heat will remain, undoubtedly, but the sunsets come earlier, and one morning, weeks from now, you’ll wake to a cooler breeze and know autumn isn’t far away.

Of Sunburned Shoulders and Sandy Feet

Rhode Island is known as “the Ocean State.”  Big ocean, the Atlantic.  Small(est) state, Rhode Island.  Lots of coastline.  In fact, we’re only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, but our shoreline runs for 400 miles along Narragansett Bay and that Atlantic Ocean.

The “Visit Rhode Island” website lists 57 beaches, but they include landlocked sites as well as “real” beaches with sand and surf.

With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, and the “official” start to summer (ha! we had a temperature of 72 this past March 12th), I’m thinking back to some memorable days at the beach.

As a kid, there was only one beach: Sand Hill Cove.  It had a giant parking lot, cracked and grassy, and you didn’t have to pay to park.  My dad drove a Ford with vinyl seats that were so hot at the end of the day, you had to lay down your damp towel to sit.  Rubbing my feet together, sand fell to the floor.  I rolled down the window and let the salty air blow my hair dry.

As a teenager, Scarborough Beach was the place to be seen.  Sherry and I would lay on big towels and talk about boys, and drink Fresca.  I hadn’t yet grasped the necessity of sunscreen.

Narragansett Beach courtesy

As a young woman, I’d spend my days at Narragansett Beach, one of thousands packing the shore.  Still thinking I’d tan as well as my olive-skinned friends, I’d blister and peel the summer away, smelling like Noxzema from June to September.

Before I was married, I’d drive to the Charlestown Breachway early in the morning.  With a large hot coffee, a blueberry muffin, the newspaper, a book and sometimes a sweatshirt, I’d sit alone, in the lifting fog, reading and sipping and reveling in the solitude.  The fishermen on the breachway were quiet, too – all of us respectful of this time of day.

Or, Geri and I would spend the day at East Matunuck Beach on Succotash Road, talking about men.  I was getting better about sunscreen and a hat.

The summer after we were married, Jim and I took the ferry from Galilee to Block Island.  At Old Harbor, we made the short walk to Ballard’s, and rented white chaise lounges for a few bucks.  They were ours for the day.  Jim would go to the bar at Ballard’s and bring back frozen drinks – it was like being at a resort.  Later, we ate fresh bluefish before taking the ferry back to the mainland.

Ballard’s Beach courtesy

Now, we prefer to drive down Route 1 south in the afternoon, when Route 1 north is a parking lot.  The beach is emptied of all but a few, there’s no parking fee (an outrage to any native Rhode Islander), and we can walk, swim, picnic at the best time of day.  And at five in the afternoon, no worries about sunburn.

Going for Ice Cream

What’s better in summer than going out for a cone? Today my younger sister Mary Beth stopped by and invited me out for ice cream. It was early afternoon, and I hadn’t had lunch, so I was game. (I know, none of us really needs ice cream, but you have to agree it’s hard to say no!). Of course, summer means hot weather. As kids, we didn’t care if the ice cream dripped down the cone and onto our hands, our wrists, our arms….unless you were a fast licker, that cone didn’t stand a chance in 90 degrees. Today, I suggested a spot nearby where we could sit inside, in air-conditioned comfort.

When I was about seven years old, we visited my Uncle Carter and Aunt Betty, and their children, our cousins, all of whom are older.  Aunt Betty suggested to my older cousin Susan (the oldest of the cousins, and therefore the most important and coolest) to take my sisters and me for a drive, “get the kids a cone.” Susan, who would have been sixteen at the time, probably rolled her eyes, but figured she had the opportunity to drive, so she grabbed her girlfriend, put the three of us on the red vinyl bench seat in the back of the car, and drove to Goddard Park, a jewel in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, on Narragansett Bay. There, she bought each of us a cone. Well, my older sister Ann could make an ice cream cone last for 45 minutes if she had to, and never ever have a spill or a stain. I, of course, would be done with mine well before everyone else and never gave that cone a chance to drip. And then there was Mary Beth. At three years old, I can still see her in her adorable little yellow sundress, sitting in the back of the car on a hot summer day, chocolate ice cream on her face, her tiny hands, and all over her yellow dress. She was grinning and laughing and having the best time – because she was eating ice cream! And if it dripped on the car seat, so what? It’s vinyl! Wipe it off!

A Sunday ritual in our family was taking a drive for ice cream. This usually did not take place in the middle of the summer, because we’d be at the beach, but in the spring and fall, after Sunday dinner, Dad and Mom would put the three of us in the back seat (always the same seating – Ann behind Mom, me behind Dad, Mary Beth in the middle), and we’d drive to the Newport Creamery on Smith Street in Providence. Dad would get the cones and bring them back while we waited (not so) patiently in the car. Then, eating his walnut fudge ice cream, Dad would drive through the “old neighborhood,” which consisted of New York Avenue in Washington Park, over to Narragansett Boulevard, past Saint Paul’s Church, over to Spring Green, then Apponaug, and finally home. And by the time we arrived back home, Ann would just be finishing her cone.