I made a new friend! (!!!) It’s the fellow weird food fan deli guy who I shared some of my homemade head cheese with a few months ago. When I was in the market the other day, he saw me and thanked me for the head cheese and told me how much he liked it (I hadn’t been back recently, so I hadn’t seen him since I gave it to him) and I mentioned that I needed a new weird food project and someone to share it with, so he suggested we go to A Dong on his day off! (He had never been there before.) I was a little surprised, but said sure! (So was he—he doesn’t normally ask random customers to do stuff with him! He said all the other market people were teasing him nonstop afterward. Haha. :-)

I picked him up and drove, and it was really fun. We looked at every aisle in great detail and picked out some cool stuff to try. (He got spleen, after I told him how great it is!) Then it was still super early, so I took him to China Pan and we shared tripe, bloated fish, and 100 year old egg with tofu. (Or thousand year old egg? I forget what they call it there.) They were all REALLY good, and it was fun being able to try a bunch of different things instead of just one thing like if I was there by myself. And he knows I’m married, etc., so that’s all good and he doesn’t have any nefarious intentions. He’s really nice. I’m glad he took a chance and asked me, and I said yes. It’s super unusual for me to meet someone I actually like hanging out with who shares my weird interests!

Oh, and the fact that hundred-year egg was actually good proves that when you try a weird food and it seems unappetizing, it’s worth trying again in another format, because last time I had one it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever eaten. Mostly because of the appearance, but even so, I was uncharacteristically squeamish about it. This time, it was great, thanks to the delicious sauce and to being cut up into pieces. See, I’ll have to try sea cucumber again some time. Maybe it will be good. Maybe.

P.S. The pigeon is still around! He seems to like hanging out on the peak of the roof when he’s not foraging. Maybe he’ll make friends with the doves?

There’s a new bird in our yard: a PIGEON with two leg bands on! One is orange and the other is yellow with something blue on the inside. He’s pretty tame compared to a regular bird and doesn’t fly away when I go out on the patio. He even tried out the feed tray and the bird bath for a drink, although he seems to prefer foraging around on the ground. Is he going to join as a new citizen of the yard?? Or return home from whence he came?

Favorite pictures of myself from Newport #3: arrival.

Why I like it:  this is my favorite picture from the trip, and it’s hard to explain why.  I just feel like it looks like me, the way I see myself.  I look sort of… anticipatory. Reticent. Balanced. And ready to appreciate small pleasures, as I always am.

Favorite pictures of myself from Newport #3: arrival.

Why I like it: this is my favorite picture from the trip, and it’s hard to explain why. I just feel like it looks like me, the way I see myself. I look sort of… anticipatory. Reticent. Balanced. And ready to appreciate small pleasures, as I always am.

Favorite pictures of myself from Newport #2: back in my room at The Attwood after my massage.

Why I like it:  I look pleased and relaxed, and I’m in a bright, cozy room I loved, the bed behind me strewn with my beach skirt and gravehounding shirt, proving I had a busy, happy day.

Favorite pictures of myself from Newport #2: back in my room at The Attwood after my massage.

Why I like it: I look pleased and relaxed, and I’m in a bright, cozy room I loved, the bed behind me strewn with my beach skirt and gravehounding shirt, proving I had a busy, happy day.

Favorite pictures of myself from Newport #1:  getting caught unawares by unpredictable waves in the ocean.

Why I like it:  I look surprised and delighted, a little cold, a little wary, a little thrilled, and I’m wearing my favorite jellyfish shirt, surrounded by diamond sparkles, foam, and swirling seaweed.

Favorite pictures of myself from Newport #1: getting caught unawares by unpredictable waves in the ocean.

Why I like it: I look surprised and delighted, a little cold, a little wary, a little thrilled, and I’m wearing my favorite jellyfish shirt, surrounded by diamond sparkles, foam, and swirling seaweed.

This.

Washing away the tension.

Considering that Sachuest Beach was fairly boring from a beachcomber’s point of view (mostly flat and sandy—I like rocks, tidepools, algae, washed up creatures, etc.), it had a decent variety of seaweed, some interesting conglomerate rocks, a couple of little jellies, and even one crustacean! (Okay, one crustacean is pretty pathetic, but he was cute!) That little guy is a decapod known as a mole crab. Naturally, I immediately liked Sachuest when I spotted Codium fragile, my favorite seaweed. :-)

All right, this is very silly, but I took photos of my outfits every day when I was in Newport. :)

1) Wednesday evening walk around town/dinner at Fluke.
B) Sachuset Beach (I was wearing my bathing suit underneath, and took off the skirt when I went in the ocean).
3) Thursday evening post-gravehounding. (I don’t have a good photo of my gravehounding outfit. It was the same but with a collared shirt so I wouldn’t get sunburnt! And my gravehounding shoes.)
4) Mansion visiting/drive home.

Every item of clothing showing in these photos, except my bathing suit and shoes, is something I either sewed from scratch (polka dot skirt), altered (stripey multi-layered skirt and all the tops), or am creatively misusing (the first two skirts—they’re really supposed to be halter tops).

This Weeping European Beech was my favorite tree at The Elms. These pictures cannot convey its grand, imposing beauty or how it felt to be inside its embrace.

Beautiful but ailing beech tree at The Elms mansion (barely seen in the background!). Love LOVE.

Beautiful but ailing beech tree at The Elms mansion (barely seen in the background!). Love LOVE.

My Newport mansions ticket allowed me to go to The Breakers + one other, and I wasn’t sure which to pick, but while I ate lunch I decided on The Elms, which is supposed to be one of the top four, and has an audio tour. It wasn’t anywhere near as good as The Breakers, but the grounds and ~~trees~~ were magnificent!

They aren’t elm trees—the elms for which the mansion was named succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease :-( —but are instead mostly hugehugehuge beeches: European Copper Beech, European Fernleaf Beech, and Weeping European Beech. Several of the giant weeping beeches have come together to form one massive shaggy canopy, and when you’re inside it, it’s like a shady enveloping mansion in itself. The audio tour mentioned three trees grown together, but I think I counted five trunks.

The huge above-ground roots and low branches that snake across the ground like roots are awe-inspiring, and mostly impossible to properly capture or even fit in a photograph. Some of the trees are beginning to fall prey to the diseases of old age, as was evident by an enormous stump (gorgeous in its own way) and a majestic beach struggling to hang on to its small shriveled leaves, nearly-bare branches creating a breathtaking shadow across the lawn, like a reflection on a green pond. I’ll post some more beech photos separately!

Okay, here’s the continuation of my report on the rest of my Newport trip! Friday morning after I checked out of The Attwater (after another delicious breakfast), I went to The Breakers, the finest of the Newport mansions. I didn’t know if I’d go to any of the mansions, but I’m glad I did. It was fantastic, and it was an almost unbelievably gorgeous day!

The audio tour was so well done; I was very impressed. It was detailed, but never went on too long or talked about boring stuff, and you could type in codes to hear more about other topics that you were interested in (which I did quite a few times!), then jump right back in where you left off in the sequence. My favorite part was that it was so well organized and easy to follow, I never once felt in danger of getting lost. I hate hate hate getting lost at museums.

They don’t allow photos inside the mansion, but it would have been too distracting, so I approved! And it’s the kind of thing where you really need to go and see the opulent gilded age details in person. Not the design style I would choose, but the materials they used were incredibly beautiful. I think my favorite part was the bathrooms, which had four spigots, so you could fill the tub using hot or cold fresh water OR salt water! I also quite liked how the rooms were laid out, and the neat communication systems, and how the lights were wired for electricity and gas, just in case the newfangled electricity failed.

The other great thing about The Breakers is its view of the breakers. There were even a few surfers down below on Friday, as surf is especially high right now. With the frothy ocean and blue blue sky, it seemed like the most beautiful day of summer.

I got my Tissot back this afternoon! It’s nice and clean and shiny and it feels good to have it back on my wrist. While it was getting its treatment, I alternated between wearing my Casio pool watch and my dear old Mido. My arm had fun wearing the Mido because it was like it was time-traveling. And it’s titanium, so it was very light and comfortable. But, it keeps SUCH horrible time! Unbelievable! I had only been wearing it for a couple of days when I noticed that it was five minutes fast already. I reset it, but, before I knew it, it was 10 minutes fast. Oh, Mido.

So I wore my white Pop Tone Casio to Newport, since I wanted to be able to trust my watch to get me places at the correct time. That was sort of fun too, because it looked cool and retro and ocean-y. But it isn’t as comfortable as my nice metal watches, and I’m glad to have my real watch back on my wrist again. It suits me best, keeps perfect time, is easiest to read, and feels the best on my arm. I’m glad I found you, Tissot. ♥

I got my Tissot back this afternoon! It’s nice and clean and shiny and it feels good to have it back on my wrist. While it was getting its treatment, I alternated between wearing my Casio pool watch and my dear old Mido. My arm had fun wearing the Mido because it was like it was time-traveling. And it’s titanium, so it was very light and comfortable. But, it keeps SUCH horrible time! Unbelievable! I had only been wearing it for a couple of days when I noticed that it was five minutes fast already. I reset it, but, before I knew it, it was 10 minutes fast. Oh, Mido.

So I wore my white Pop Tone Casio to Newport, since I wanted to be able to trust my watch to get me places at the correct time. That was sort of fun too, because it looked cool and retro and ocean-y. But it isn’t as comfortable as my nice metal watches, and I’m glad to have my real watch back on my wrist again. It suits me best, keeps perfect time, is easiest to read, and feels the best on my arm. I’m glad I found you, Tissot. ♥

!!! I was just looking through my postcard collection for something, and instead of finding it, I came across this. Where on earth did I get it, and when??  It’s pretty wonderful.  I mean, the swirly dressing gown, the pipe, the books, the chemistry stuff in the background, the rug, the dissipated look… pretty much everything.

It doesn’t tell who the illustrator is or anything!  It doesn’t even say it’s Holmes, but that’s obvious.

!!! I was just looking through my postcard collection for something, and instead of finding it, I came across this. Where on earth did I get it, and when?? It’s pretty wonderful. I mean, the swirly dressing gown, the pipe, the books, the chemistry stuff in the background, the rug, the dissipated look… pretty much everything.

It doesn’t tell who the illustrator is or anything! It doesn’t even say it’s Holmes, but that’s obvious.