Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cooking with Tamar and Kevin

Today was an epic day - I was visited by Tamar Haspel and her husband Kevin, who brought with them huge bounty of shellfish. We're talking a boat-load of clams and oysters, for which I am eternally grateful.

If you're not familiar with Tamar, you should be. She blogs over at Starving Off the Land, where she talks about her and Kevin's move from Manhattan to Cape Cod, where they now raise oysters and keep a bevy of farm animals. If you're interested in the adventures of two people who are extremely passionate about knowing where their food comes from, you should read their blog.

With the shellfish they brought today, Tamar prepared one of her favorite clam recipes: Goan Clams. This dish is incredibly rich and flavorful, using some of my favorite Indian spices, cumin and coriander. I'm a big fan of pungent spices, and I can't recommend this dish enough. I'll be dreaming of today's lunch for the next few weeks, that's for sure.

Thanks, Tamar and Kevin! I really enjoyed your company today and I'm looking forward to further adventuring. :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Struggle to Protect Cape Drinking Water Continues ...

As the end of January approaches, the sun is setting on the window of opportunity to stop the utility company from polluting our sole source aquifer. Today I wrote a letter to the Boston Globe. My neighbor, Femke Rosenbaum, is getting creative with banners and she does not even live in Wellfleet year-round. Non-residents can support our cause, too.

Have you called your legislators yet about the regulation of toxic chemicals in the environment? If not, please do so now.

How can regular citizens like you and me take action to protect our drinking water? By spreading the word. Let your friends know how important this issue is.

Call NStar and say, "Mow Don't Spray, Cape Cod!"

Check out Laura Kelley's latest video, produced by Cape Cod Cast TV. The video is being broadcast four times a day on Yarmouth Community TV in January and will be shown up to 200 times a day on other local channels, staring in February:

Wellfleet Selectmen Okay Green Task Force Proposal

Have you ever been to a Selectmen’s meeting? It’s a strange beast. We can now watch the bi-weekly meetings on our local channel. Or, you can attend. The photo above, taken from the back of the room by Stephanie Stiavetti, gives an idea of what the scene was like. People get up and talk. They are nervous or not. The Selectmen listen and try to make decisions that are good for our town. Unfortunately, I was in a class during the meeting on Tuesday, so I asked Lydia Vivante to report back. She presented for the Green Task Force (thank you, Lydia!) and wrote me afterward:

“I went through the 5-point proposal at a pretty fast clip. Tracey Hunt was great and tied in her experiences as a commercial-district business-owner to things that had come up earlier in the evening, specifically parking issues in the Town Center: ie. 'Have problems with Main Street parking issues? Encourage your staff [and others] to carpool, walk or bike to work.' Dale Donovan was especially supportive of the Green Conferences idea.” (Go, Dale!) “I made sure to ask for a Green Commitment from the Selectmen to implement the proposal. Ira Wood was supportive and gave the board’s ‘blessing’ but did ask for more specifics. A public educational program is also needed,” (which is the workshops-part of the proposal).

The Green Communities Act had been discussed earlier in the meeting. "This is a real opportunity for the town,” Town Administrator Paul Sieloff declared.

For details on these new developments, I suggest the Banner.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ban on Plastic Bags Proposed in Wellfleet & Theo Colborn Video

Above, a photo of my grandchildren. They are why I fight so hard to protect Cape Cod water from contamination by toxic chemicals. Tomorrow I will report on the Selectmen's meeting where the Green Task Force, represented by Lydia Vivante, presented its proposal. In the meantime, some good news: today, in Wellfleet, the Recycling Commission decided to vote next week on Bethia Brehmer's proposal to ban plastic bags, after the issue was referred to them last night by the Selectmen. Then, today, a Facebook friend posted this amazing declaration by my hero, Theo Colborn, author of Our Stolen Future and creator of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange. Please watch and tell your loved ones about this important and informative You Tube video:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I was lucky enough to have visitors this past weekend! Sandy and Sven came back for a night, and my dear friend Casey came out with her husband Dan. We all had a great time eating, drinking, and watching movies. I was sad to see everyone go all at once.

And as soon as company left, the temperatures plummeted. This week there have been record lows here in Wellfleet, which means I haven't been venturing out much. I took the above photo Sunday night on my walk back from the market - I was struck by the way the colors of the sunset bounced off the frozen marshland. Truly, it was freezing out.

So, in the spirit of these low temperatures, I'm going to start a list: Top 5 things to do when the temperatures dip into the single digits (or lower!).
  1. Play Bananagrams

  2. Curl up with a blanket and watch movies while sipping herbal tea

  3. Do laundry to keep your pipes from freezing up

  4. Read a good book

  5. Make soup!

What do you do with your days when it's too cold to go outside? What do you consider too cold?

When H2O = Help 2 Oppose

I have been thinking about Cape Cod water a lot recently. One reason is Cambridge water tastes awful, despite filtering. I have to force myself to drink it. On the other hand, Wellfleet water is sweet and delicious. It comes from our sole-source aquifer, not a reservoir. We take Wellfleet water for granted. I hate knowing that the utility company has already done a limited amount of spraying in our town, before the protests began, and will do much more starting in April.

Some background: Federal law requires the removal of vegetation under the power lines. State law allows the use of herbicides. Due to the state preemption laws, promoted by chemical companies and enacted after Hudson, Canada succeeded in banning herbicides, our town cannot stop the utility company by itself. What citizens like you and me can do, however, is spread the word.

In case you hadn't noticed, our whole country is in a corporate stranglehold.

Glyphosate is one of the synthetic chemicals that will be a part of the spraying cocktail. Glyphosate is better known by the name an advertising firm invented: Roundup. This toxic chemical is made by Monsanto, the same company that has been assiduously buying up seed companies and waging a silent war on organic products.

What I don’t understand is how executives can put profit ahead of health. How can anyone be in favor of endocrine disruption? (Read more at Theo Colborn's Endocrine Disruption Exchange.)

Public understanding of these issues is growing, although they are rarely reported in the media, which also genuflects to corporate power. Thank goodness for the Internet, and blogs! (Read about the scandal of toxic chemicals being detected in pregnant women's bodies at Living Large in Our Little House and check out the latest on the pesticide killing our pollinators at Safe Lawns.)

On Wednesday night, in Hyannis, there will be a talk about chemicals in the environment, and how to protect the Cape Cod water supply. This talk is being held at the Hyannis Golf Club, which makes me wonder whether the Hyannis golf course has already banned herbicides?

As I left the State House last week, dollar bills, marble columns, and poisoned babies spun through my head like in a slot machine. What would be the magic combination that would stop the utility company’s plan to spray herbicides on Cape Cod?

Tonight, at the Wellfleet Public Library, the Green Task Force will ask for a commitment from Wellfleet Selectmen to take our town on a greener course. While economic reasons will be presented, education of the public is a major component of this plan. Across the country, communities need to unite, think local, and Help 2 Oppose corporations like Monsanto ... In the words of JFK: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." The famous quote works against corporate power, too.

Do you still use Roundup, or have you found an alternative that is less toxic to the environment? Does it bother you that corporations are taking over our world? What do you think of the latest merger, ComCast's purchase of MSNBC? Do you think former corporate leaders should be allowed to hold government jobs? Do you worry about toxic chemicals in drinking water and GMOs overwhelming organic crops? Will you speak out and H20?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Empty Streets, Empty Beaches, Empty Inns

Sven and I made a brief trip to the Outer Cape over the weekend, zipping in and zipping out. Above, the house at Ballston Beach in Truro, which seems to totter above the shore, as if disappearance into the ocean were only a matter of the timing of high tide during the next winter storm. No beach walkers to be seen there today. This coming week a more sensible method of exercise will be skating on the ponds. I must admit we were surprised to see how empty the Outer Cape felt. No people walking around due to the cold, streets empty of cars, except for the occasional pick-up parked in the wrong direction on Main, while its owner ducked into Wellfleet Marketplace for a cup of hot soup, or the liquor store for a six-pack of beer. To my surprise, Box Lunch is closed, an unusual occurance. On the door, a sign saying they'll be back in spring. The parking lot at PJ's is torn up, as if a new septic system might be in the offing. Route 6 is clear of snow, but Old King's Highway was covered with half an inch of ice. The ice and bitter cold makes it harder than I expected for Stephanie to get out and take photos. When I picked up Sven's New York Times, the friendly folks at the Marketplace told me Janet has sold Stone Lion Inn to a family and that it will no longer remain a bed and breakfast. This loss is considerable for Wellfleet, since Stone Lion remained open all year and provided excellent accommodation. Here's wishing Janet all the best in her next endeavor...

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Cape Must Protect Aquifer from Effects of Pesticides"

Laura Kelley's latest Letter to the Editor was published this morning in the Cape Cod Times. I'm reprinting her words here, in case you missed them:

"Many residents are concerned about the quality of drinking water on Cape Cod and want to see it protected from the adverse effects of pesticides. Emerging science indicates even small amounts of synthetic chemicals can affect the endocrine system, reproduction, genetics, sperm production and susceptibility to cancer.

Pesticides are made to kill and have not been fully tested with regard to the future of our environment, effects on wildlife and risks to public health. Toxic runoff will contaminate drinking water, fish and the foods we grow.

We must educate ourselves about the risks and seek alternatives when treating our land and choosing household cleaning products. Please join a Capewide effort to protect residents, tourists and our sole-source aquifer from contamination.

We are the stewards of Cape Cod. Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, golf course superintendent or landscaper, each one of us matters in helping to preserve and protect our unique habitat! What we do today affects the near future."

Let's hope this letter sparks a greater awareness of the toxic effects of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, all synthetic chemicals introduced after World War II, and will motivate everyone to seek alternatives!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Missing Wellfleet ...

Okay, I admit it: I miss the ocean. Sometimes, when it's too cold to walk, Sven and I will simply sit in our car and look at the beautiful mass of blue on the horizon. We are often not alone. Many pick-ups would stand idling at the far end of the LeCount Hollow parking lot, before the fence was removed by a winter storm. But now we are on vacation, breathing in diesel fumes, rather than salt air, as we walk up Massachusetts Avenue to run errands. I've noticed one is more apt to walk here than on Cape Cod, even long distances. If you take a car, you have to park it. Not so easy in the city.

I have been getting a lot of good work done but miss our pretty little town. I will not be at the Selectmen's meeting on Tuesday, because one of my writing classes meets that evening. The Green Task Force's proposal to the Economic Development Committee will be put before the Selectmen by Lydia Vivante, chair of the Recycling Commission. If you can, please attend the meeting Tuesday, January 25, and support our town's going green!

Do you miss your home town when you spend time away?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Mellow Week

This week has been very mellow for me. The rain has kept me indoors the past few days, but I have noticed that the snow is melting away, which makes it easier to walk around without slipping. I've been taking the bus a few places, mostly to Orleans to sit at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow to read and write, and I've noticed something here that I've never seen anywhere else in the country:

1 - You can flag the Flex bus down wherever you want in town, and it will stop for you.
2 - If you call ahead of time, you can get the Flex bus to take you off the beaten path, as long as it's not more than .75 miles from the regular route.

This is fascinating for a big city girl like me, who is used to bus drivers who wouldn't take the time to spit on you, let alone go out of their way to help you. The bus drivers are so nice -- in fact, Grace, who drives the bus that picks up in Orleans at 6:30pm, loaned me a flashlight tonight so that I'd be able to find my way home from the main road. Turns out the bus won't fit down this old dirt road where I'm staying. Don't ask me how we know that. That was not a particularly good experience, for me, the bus, or the bus driver.

I've also made a new friend, Laura Kelley. She's a wonderful lady, and we have a lot in in common! Tomorrow my friends Casey and Dan are coming up from New Jersey to check out the area. Funny how I went to from being completely alone to having a social calendar!

I hope you're all staying warm and preparing for the cold weather that's blowing in this weekend...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MLK March Kicks Off Greening of Wellfleet

I missed the Martin Luther King march this year, since I am up in Boston. Sounds like it was a marvelous community event. Harriet Jerusha Korim reports her impressions at Cape Cool. The marchers left Town Hall and arrived at the Wellfleet library for a potluck lunch. Over 100 people were in attendance. Cape Cool showed the famous Martin Luther King clip, in which Dr. King spoke about his dreams for America. Then those present were treated to a short speech by our new MA State Senator. Dan Wolf said it's up to us to hold him (and others in office) to making those dreams come true. The MLK march kicked off the greening of our town. Did you attend? Care to share your impressions?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dyer Pond Sunset

Today I went for a walk up to Dyer Pond. I've been reading a lot the past few days, and today I felt the need to get out and walk a bit. So I grabbed Sandy's handy-dandy directions to the pond and set to hoof'in it.

The weather today was perfect for a quick hike. Not much wind to speak of, nor any falling snow or rain. The sky was a gorgeous clear, pale blue, shining in the cold air. I met a nice dog along the way named Lucy, and her owner, Michelle, was bundled up to her eyeballs, as I was. All three of us were loving the cold air on our noses, which for Michelle and I were the only parts of our bodies exposed to the cold.

The pond is frozen in the middle, though the ice is melting along the banks so that you can see the frozen layer rise and fall in the gentle current. Footprints and bike tracks (!) leading across the surface alluded to the fact that someone had recently traversed the ice, which blew me away! I live in fear of falling through a frozen body of water, and honestly, that ice out there didn't look thick enough to bear the weight of a person, let alone several. Yikes!

Tomorrow I'm thinking I might head into Orleans to get some coffee at The Hot Chocolate Sparrow. At home in California, I spend a great deal of time in coffee shops, where I work, read, write, and just generally relax. I'm really enjoying my time in Wellfleet, but I wish there were a cafe within walking distance right now!

Boston Update: Meeting Dan Wolf & Cleon Turner

Last week I accompanied Laura Kelley to the State House for an impromptu meeting with Representative Cleon Turner and a scheduled appointment with Dan Wolf, MA State Senator for Cape Cod. It was my first time inside the splendid building with its awesome marble floors and busy employees, rushing here and there. What fun to experience a space where so many important decisions for Massachusetts and our country have been made!

Cleon Turner happened to be present when we stopped by to say hello to legislative aide Elysse Magnotto and patiently listened to Laura’s pitch on the risk synthetic chemicals pose to the environment. Several times during the meeting, Rep. Turner rubbed his fingers together to remind us to follow the money. He suggested the utility company might behave differently if the petitions signed by 2000+ Cape Codders had been deposited on the CEO’s desk, rather than delivered to Scott Soares at DAR, and urged Laura to find a way to “work” with N. I was impressed with his grasp of the situation.

Then down the hall we trotted. Dan Wolf, from Harwich, greeted Laura warmly, as did aide Seth Rolbein, from Wellfleet. Laura reviewed what Cape Cod citizens have accomplished since August 2009 when the herbicidal spraying plan was detailed in an Eastham auditorium, then provided a description of how extensive herbicidal spraying will affect our sole-source aquifer, contaminating drinking water for generations. Laura pointed out the utility company would get praise if it truly goes green, as GreenCAPE has suggested. She explained herbicides destroy soil biology and said that, as an organic landscaper, she expects replacement of power-line trees with more appropriately sized plants to be iffy at best: better to remove root systems with power equipment or by hand, as Wellfleet’s pruning brigade did this fall, under the leadership of Town Administrator Paul Sieloff. Laura also brought up emerging science on glyphosate, known to most of us as Round-up, one of the synthetic chemicals in the proposed toxic cocktail destined for Cape Cod's power lines. (See Chemical Pesticides for more information on health effects research.)

From all the nodding, it was clear the two men have already done a lot of brainstorming on this issue.

“I’ve got three daughters,” Dan Wolf said and raised his hands, palms upward, as if the conclusion for any parent were obvious. “You don’t need to convince me.”

Rolbein told us he feels we are reaching a tipping point with regard to synthetic chemicals, loose in the environment. (Last week there was a Time Magazine blog post about the chemicals detected in the blood of pregnant women, which should make us all sit up and pay attention. Read in USA Today how the American Chemical Council still insists there is no reason for concern. For further links and information on the study, go here.)

Our conversation lasted an hour. State Senator Wolf zeroed in on the fact the utility company is not the only entity polluting our aquifer and said a Cape-wide effort is required. Businessmen/women, golf course managers, cranberry growers, municipalities, and homeowners all need to take this health threat seriously. A public education campaign would help Cape Codders become better stewards of our precious sandbar.

Before our departure, Elysse Magnotto gave us a guided tour of the State House. The corridors are decorated with portraits of famous statesmen from the past, a very inspiring place to work, without a doubt. Elated by the day’s encounters, Laura and I headed home, our work cut out for us, with only three months to go before the spraying is to commence …

Do you worry about endocrine disruption from toxic chemicals in the environment or is the subject simply too overwhelming for you? Are you ready to give up herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, etc. and use alternatives? Do you already choose green options inside your home, making a statement with your wallet?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shucking My First Oyster

When Sandy and Sven left for Cambridge earlier in the week, they left a sack with a dozen fresh Wellfleet oysters in the refrigerator. I'm a lover of oysters, so I sure as heck wasn't going to let those babies go to waste! Unfortunately, I've never shucked an oyster before. After some poking, prodding, and copious amounts of expletives -- it's a good thing oysters can't blush -- I finally got them open.

I ate a few raw, because that's just how I roll, and then figured I should cook the rest. I decided to follow Sandy's lead from the day before and make Oysters Rockefeller. I wasn't able to use breadcrumbs because I have a food allergy, so I opted to use cornmeal instead. The final product was delicious and very rich! So rich, in fact, that I gave myself a stomach ache. Turns out that eating almost a dozen buttered and battered oysters in one sitting isn't a great idea. They tasted so good, though, that I'd probably do it all over again if given the chance. ;)

If you're interested in seeing the recipe or hearing the long version of the story, you can check out my other post here: Oysters Rockefeller Recipe (gluten free!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Update from Boston ...

Sven and I have settled into a more sedentary life in Boston at last, and I hope to start working on some of my writing projects now. I attended my first session at Grub Street yesterday evening and was highly impressed. The fiction class is taught by Scott Heim. Feels like I may get a lot accomplished and learn how to write a novel ...

We traveled back to Wellfleet over the weekend, in order to show Stephanie around. The pier was covered with ice, and a frigid wind off the harbor made walking Mayo Beach impossible. We treated her to some oysters, drove up to Provincetown, walked to Dyer Pond. As you can see from yesterday's post, we are all going to have fun with Stephanie at the keyboard. I look forward to her discovery of our marvelous little town. (Stephanie continues to write her own blog, too, and yesterday described how to store carrots, and yes, over the weekend I made carrot sticks, which we ate while waiting for the oysters!)

I had another reason for being in Wellfleet: an important Economic Development Committee meeting. On the agenda, a proposal explaining how going green could be of economic benefit, with specific suggestions, as requested by Sam Bradford of the Finance Committee in late November. Lydia Vivante, chair of the Recycling Commission, sat beside me to offer moral support. I'm glad to report the proposal was accepted. Lydia and Sarah James, another member of the Green Task Force, will present the proposal to the Selectmen on January 25. Here are the five talking points:

1.) Development of the Eco-Expo in May as a town-wide weekend event.

2.) Green workshops where Wellfleet experts would volunteer to share their knowledge on everything from green cleaning or landscaping to foraging and how to obtain a micro-loan for a green business, keeping chickens to green building/weatherization techniques and the risk toxic chemicals pose to our environment.

3.) The creation of micro-loans to develop green enterprise in Wellfleet. (Lydia suggested taxpayers could opt to contribute a dollar on their tax bill.)

4.) A town-wide effort to reduce solid waste. (Wellfleet recycles 30% now and the Recycling Commission’s goal is 60%. A Green Commitment by the Selectmen would help realize this goal.)

5.) Wellfleet as a site for a green conference, of which there are many, in a month when accommodation and restaurants are available, say April, May, or September.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Greetings From A Wellfleet Newbie

Hi everyone, this is Stephanie Stiavetti. As Sandy mentioned recently, I'll be staying here at Chez Sven for January and some of February while she and Sven are away in Cambridge, tending to matters there. While I'm here in town, I'll be posting to the Chez Sven blog about what it's like to be a new person in Wellfleet (especially during a time when half the business are closed)! I'm excited about visiting, and who knows? Maybe I'll fall in love and stick around forever like a few of the locals I've met so far.

A bit about me:
  • I'm a freelance food writer hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • I'm also a freelance web developer and SEO consultant, but that's not really what I love to do.
  • I dabble in public radio, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things in the world. Do you write or produce radio? Then we should talk.
  • I'm 33 years old.
  • I love to cook and spend most of my waking hours thinking about, preparing, or eating delicious things.
  • I've got purple hair (yes, you read that right).
  • City life doesn't suit me and my interests tend more towards rural permaculture, including gardening, farming, foraging, etc.
  • I'm shy at first, but once my personality takes over, I'm bubbly and love to talk.
  • I like bullet-point lists. ;)

If you want to learn more about me, you can find me at my food blog Wasabimon - though one of the projects I'm working on while I'm here is to move my site to a new domain over at The Culinary Life. You can also find me online at The Huffington Post, Bay Area Bites, and on Facebook and Twitter. Considering my interests, you'll most likely run into me at the grocery store or library, where I'll probably spend most of my time. If you see a gal walking around with purple hair, please stop and say hello!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Now Taking Reservations for 2011 ...

I made four reservations this week, one for spring, two for summer and one for fall, so it's about time I announced officially that reservations are now open. Every year, at this time, I look through last year's reservation book, and remember all the lovely guests we have had. Check out some more of the happy faces ...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

In Which I Turn the Keyboard Over to Stephanie ...

There will be no more walking at the beach for Sven until the end of the month. Stephanie Stiavetti has moved in and will soon be sharing impressions of Wellfleet in quiet season. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thoughts on Innkeeping Year-round in Wellfleet

As many of you know, I have been a member of the Economic Development Committee for two years. One of the first recommendations of this committee was a comprehensive Web site that would promote Wellfleet as “a town for all seasons” rather than merely a summer destination. I have come to believe that while this is a worthy goal, most tourists will stay away in "quiet" season. Chez Sven’s foreign guests start visiting the United States in March but attracting American visitors at that period of the year is much more difficult. Before the recession, we had guests in Seagull Cottage every weekend. Now no one even inquires about rates. The good in this is that Americans are saving money, rather than spending it. The bad is that running a year-round business on the Outer Cape has become even harder. Anyone who wants to open an inn or B&B here needs to know winter will be a struggle. The same is true for most restaurants. Many restaurant owners choose to close in either December, January, or February, or some combination of two of these months.

As we enter 2011, I would love hearing from you with suggestions of topics to cover, or locations in Wellfleet that you care about and want to see in winter garb. Today marks the 5th anniversary of Chez Sven Blog: Wellfleet Today. Quite incredible!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What's New On the Bookshelf?

Friends gave me the books above. No Impact Man is a memoir of a one-year effort to have no impact on the environment. Colin Beavan, who lives in New York City with his wife and toddler, goes from take-out to homemade, locally sourced leek and potato soup. What begins as a crazy idea for a book project morphs into a new approach to life. The subtitle says it all: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process.

Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes describes the movement back to the land, away from 9 to 5 jobs and consumerism, and how such a choice can improve quality of life. In Part 1, Hayes presents arguments on why we must relearn the skills our ancestors possessed in a text that often sounds like a well-written PHD thesis. (“As we realize the impact of each choice we make, we discover ways to simplify our demands and rebuild our domestic culture.”) In Part 2, she explains how to go about this worthy goal, using, as examples, a dozen “radical homemakers” who offered their stories to her for this project.

Wealth doesn’t buy happiness, or does it? What these two authors suggest is that disengagement from the myth, and the consumerism it engenders, can improve your life and help save the planet, too.

No Impact Man is an easier read, but Radical Homemakers made more of an impression on me for a number of reasons which I do not have time to detail here. I recommend that all the local food advocates reading this blog, and especially anyone considering such a lifestyle change, study Hayes’s book for validation and encouragement.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Habitat For Humanity Provides House in Wellfleet

Fish TV sent me this video on the ceremony that took place here last month. Habitat for Humanity is a marvelous group and deserves our support. The clip may be a bit long, but it is worth watching to hear the good words of Habitat For Humanity officials, Dale Donovan's impromptu speech, and the grateful response of the young mother who now has housing in Wellfleet.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

What's New On the Bookshelf?

Around the holiday NPR suggests books to read. One memoir mentioned this year was Half a Life by Darin Strauss. I bought this book based on the excerpts read aloud that day and was not disappointed: the writing is excellent. It’s an unusual topic for a memoir: The first chapter begins, “Half my life ago, I killed a girl.” That statement alone makes us think, murder? No, the writer was behind the wheel, at age 18. He was not drunk. His car hit a girl on a bike, a member of his high school class, and she died before he could reach her side. Was the death an accident, or suicide? What is it like to live with the idea of having been responsible for the death of another person? Does one feel guilt? Was Darin responsible? How does one behave in front of the bereaved parents? Should one attend the funeral? Half a Life provides answers to all these questions. Celine’s mom tells Darin, “Whatever you do in your life, you have to do it twice as well now. Because you are living it for two people.” Such a memoir might be expected to be maudlin but this one isn’t. I look forward to reading earlier books by Darin Strauss who has been called “a brave new voice in literature” by the Wall Street Journal.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!