~Saturday~ We had planned to check out the meat raffle to see what it was all about, but when we got to the Eastham Elk’s Lodge, where it’s held, there wasn’t anyone there.
Our next stop was going to be the Eastham Superette to pick up some champagne—in it, or in the attached liquor store—and to see what they actually carry in that little store for future reference. Outside the Superette was this little gem of a sculpture:
“Cape Cod Gothic” – 2016 (Anita & Seymour Codd)
Jamie DaLomba – Metal Sculpture Art; JJ Welding – North Eastham
Also nearby, I cannot lie, was this intimidating street.
and coming out of the store, we noticed that the Eastham Windmill, which we had planned to check out at some point, was right across the street. Also on “the green” near the windmill was a “Memorial Buoy Tree,” which is a tribute to its deceased creator, Eastham native James Filliman, who was “a clammer, a builder, a beach walker and collector, who enjoyed using things he found in nature.” Read Jimmy’s obit, if you’re interested.
Maggie, Bob’s niece—his oldest sister’s daughter—and her partner Phil arrived today from Dorchester, Boston for an overnight visit. Maggie’s a chef for a living, and she brought dinner!
Sweet Potato Cottage Pie: Spicy ground beef with olives and raisins topped with whipped sweet potatoes; Cauliflower: Roasted with browned butter, cilantro, pepitas, and lime; Mixed Greens: Pumpkin spiced-pecans, cranberries, crumbled goat cheese
After dinner and many cocktails, we played a fun game during which we laughed and laughed and laughed:
“What’s something you do that’s irresponsible? was one of our questions, which led to hilarity.
Saving pennies on the penny
Here are some of the words contained in our collective responses. Two of them were kind-of popular:
It was a real fun evening—laughing a lot and learning a lot about each other. And bonus—we got an extra hour of sleep afterward.
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~Friday~ I took a vacation day today, like I’m doing every Friday while we’re here.
We drove to Sandwich, MA to check out the Sandwich Glass Museum. We arrived right on the (11:00) hour, which is when the glass-blowing demonstrations start, so we joined one just a couple of minutes into it.
The gentleman made 2 pieces while we watched, the first was a small vase, and the second was a small pitcher.
After his demonstration, we walked around the museum, which was much bigger than it looked like from the outside.
After the museum, but before we left Sandwich to head back to Eastham, we stopped at the Bob O’Malley’s Whaleback Restaurant, and oh what a treat it was. The place looked much smaller than it did in the pictures on the web, and there were only 2 cars in the lot when we arrived, which we didn’t take as a good sign.
But inside, it was a quaint little place, and Beth invited us to eat in, since there was no one else in there. And she was so nice, and of course, very mask-cautious putting it on whenever she came to our table.
We ordered one seafood platter to share and each a stuffed quahog. It was all so delicious!
Once back in Eastham, we stopped at the Stop & Shop grocery store to pick up just a few things in anticipation of guests we’re having tomorrow and Sunday. Bob’s niece, Maggie and her partner Phil, who live just outside Boston are going to visit us for the weekend.
At home we played a game of IRL Scrabble, with which enjoyed some hot tea to take off the chill. It was pretty cold, windy, and rainy out there today.
We finished off the eggnog with some eggnog martinis for happy hour tonight, and had a light dinner, since we had such a filling lunch.
I’m declaring my second Friday vacation day here a success.
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~Thursday~ It was my “virtual Friday” and the highlight of my work day was listening to the finalists of the We Are Red Hat Week Open Mic event. Such incredible talent across this great company of ours:
A baton twirler—complete with 2 fire-burning batons—skillfully avoided catching any of her hair, body parts, or clothing on fire; a ballcap-wearing, fisherman-looking guy singing a song from a Broadway musical; and a whirling-Dervish-like dancer to Bollywood music were among my favorites.
The chair I’m using as a desk chair is, well, let’s just say it’s not very comfortable. In addition to the back support cushion, I’m up to 2 pillows on the seat to make it comfortable enough to spend 8 hours on.
I did a Google search on “office furniture rental desk chairs” and actually found a place that rents a pretty decent chair for $37 for a month. But then, I calculated that I really only have 4 more work days here (Mon – Thu of next week), and I might take Thursday off. The following week (11/7 – 11/11), and the Monday (11/16) after, I’m on vacation, so I’m just going to make it work for another 3 or 4 days.
Bob made a walking trip to the post office to mail some postcards, where he came across this “Stamposaurus” project —”a collection box for cancelled stamps was set up for school children for art projects and for stamp collecting for all ages”—that’s been going on for 30 years. You can learn more by clicking on the “How the journey began…” photo.
He also took note of the Eastham Public Libraries Activities board, and stopped by the General Store where they’re really getting to know him.
There is a 100% chance of rain, pretty much all day tomorrow, so we looked for something we can do indoors. We’ve settled on, temporarily at least, visiting The Sandwich Glass Museum in, well, Sandwich, MA, some time tomorrow.
I’ve made a note of a few restaurants near the museum in which we can stop for a sandwich in Sandwich. Two leading contenders are: Bob O’Malley’s Whaleback Restaurant and Bobby Byrnes. (Hmmm, I see a theme here with these restaurant names. Do you, Bob?)
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~Tuesday~ Each year in the last week of October, we celebrate “We Are Red Hat Week” at work, which consists of a lot of activities you can opt into. Today, I participated in:
We were matched up with 5 other Red Hatters we didn’t know, from around the company, and after introducing ourselves to each other (i.e., name, team, and time with Red Hat), we answered 7 ice breaker questions. Here they are with my answers:
2. What’s something you love about your work at Red Hat?
Getting Red Hat Rewards and my fun, creative, and smart team.
3. What’s the most special item on your desk or in your travel bag? If you have the item, show it on the video, if desired. Briefly share why it is special, or why you like to keep it with you at your desk or when you travel.
I have a 2-picture frame of my sister receiving her doctorate’s degree and the acknowledgments page of her dissertation, which includes a thanks to me for inspiring her research.
4. What is one of your workday morning rituals? Whether it’s working out, meditating, spending time with your children or pets, do you have something you regularly like to do before you start your work day?
I’m not a morning person, so all I do before starting my workday is shower and have breakfast. I do have an after-work ritual of doing the USA Today Crossword Puzzle online with my husband. (It’s an everyday ritual; we do it on the weekends, too.)
5. What has been one of your biggest challenges during the pandemic? Little or big, what’s something you’ve been challenged by during these strange times?
Not being able to meet my friends out at a local bar on Friday nights, which we did very routinely.
6. What’s something you would never want to change at Red Hat? As we grow, change is inevitable. But, what’s something about our culture, our norms, etc. that you feel is so special that you would never want to see changed? Why?
When we’re working in the Red Hat Tower building, free bagel Wednesdays in the cafeteria. Why? Because I love both bagels and free.
7. How do you describe life at Red Hat to your family and friends? Working for the world’s largest open source software company can be unique. When people ask what it’s like to work at Red Hat, what are some of the things you describe?
I usually talk about the flexible work hours, feeling like I’m seen and heard there, how great my team is, and how much I enjoy doing work that I love.
I really enjoyed meeting the people in our group and hearing all of their answers to these questions.
Bob went on a couple of walks today, the first included a stop by the nearby post office to mail some postcards and a greeting card. There are still plenty of flowers in bloom here.
On his second outing, he saw these 2 vehicles that surprised us because we’ve passed a roadside sign, several times now, that says “John Martin” on it, and we’d both assumed—for some odd reason—that the person was a realtor. But as it turns out, he owns a local excavating company.
One rather bizarre sign Bob came across was this:
Although we’ve never heard of them, meat raffles are definitely a thing. We might just participate in this one on Saturday if when we get there, it looks like it’s being managed safely with regards to the pandemic.
Snarky aside: Not exactly sure what that orange with the bone shoved up its hind end is doing in the picture, but whatever. 😉
Have you ever attended, or even heard of, a meat raffle? If so, do tell.
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~Sunday~ At about 9:30, we headed to Fall River, which was about a 1.5-hour ride. This is the city I grew up in until a year before we moved to North Carolina when I was 13. For the year right before we moved, we lived in Coventry, RI, which we’ll visit when my sister gets here early in November.
Our first stop in Fall River was to the Notre Dame Cemetery, where both sets of my grandparents are buried. We had a hell of a time trying to find my paternal grandparents’ grave (just like I did last year—and never did find it), and it turns out the person in the office had given me the wrong plot information—think way off, like on the opposite side of the cemetery.
Thanks to my cousin, Sandy, who volunteers there and who was in touch with us yesterday with a picture of the headstone, and who provided us with the correct section and plot number by text today.
Another of my cousins, Patsy, met us there, and together we located the grave. We’d brought some cleaning materials with us, and Bob ingratiated himself to my grandparents by spit-shining their headstone.
And as it turns out, my grandfather did have a middle name, which means my father really wasn’t a junior, but since I seem to be the only one devastated by that, I’m just going to let it go.
We also found (and cleaned off) my paternal grandparents’ grave, where I said a quick, socially distanced prayer.
Our next stop was for lunch at one of our favorite childhood eating haunts, and we passed Fall River’s “flat iron building” on the way. Doesn’t every big city have one of these?
They had a buy-5-get-1-free special, which we couldn’t resist. I got “sauce and onions” on mine (they don’t call it chili; they call it sauce), and Bob had ketchup, mustard, and dill pickles on his.
We wanted to stop at Amaral’s Portuguese Bakery while we were in town, but they were closed today. Fortunately, while at the cemetery together, we’d ask Patsy about places to get some sweet bread, and she said they actually sell Amaral’s products in the grocery stores, so we stopped at a Stop & Shop and bought some of my Portuguese/Fall River favorites:
On the way back to the Cape, just outside Fall River, we passed an exit that was very close to my Aunt Rita’s house, and I wanted to make sure she and Bob met, so I gave her a call to see if she was home and up for a short hello from outside.
She was, and we did. Love her to pieces.
An hour-and-20-minutes later, we were back in Eastham, just in time for happy hour, after which I had to have something for dinner on those sweet rolls we’d just bought. And what could be better on a Portuguese sweet roll than some chourico (Portuguese sausage)!
I know you’re glad this day and blog entry are over. If I say Portuguese one more time…
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And the second thing is why the fire hydrants here have antennas on them:
According to a Reddit discussion, they’re for when the snow drifts get high enough to cover them—so the fire fighters can find them easily and so that snow plows don’t hit the ones that are on the sides of roads.
Although, one Reddit user posits that the real reason they’re there is “so dogs can listen to the radio while they do their business.”
By the way, the colors of fire hydrants are also significant, if you didn’t know. The red ones, like the one shown here, have the lowest flow volume at fewer than 500 gallons per minute.
“Back at the ranch,” we just chilled out the rest of the day, enjoying the leftovers of yesterday’s clam fritter meal for today’s lunch. I read some, and Bob watched some YouTube entertainment.
After dinner, we put together our menu for next week, which informed our grocery store list for Bob’s Monday Stop & Shop trip.
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For those who don’t know: Edward St. John Gorey (February 22, 1925 – April 15, 2000) was an American writer and artist noted for his illustrated books. His characteristic pen-and-ink drawings often depict vaguely unsettling narrative scenes in Victorian and Edwardian settings. Many people know him for his artwork for PBS’s Mystery.
The curator was very knowledgeable and likeable and did a good job of giving us an overview of the house and the life of Mr. Gorey. In this public Facebook album, you should be able to see the just under 50 pictures I took in the museum house if you’re interested.
Upon leaving, we asked the curator if he knew where we could get some “clam cakes,” and he gave us a few possible places, from which we chose the Chatham Pier Fish Market, where we both ordered the “famous” clam fritters.
Less than a mile from this restaurant was the Chatham Light lighthouse, which a lot of people confuse with the Nauset Light lighthouse that’s on the bag of Cape Cod chips (which has a red section to it, and which we have a picture of further down in this entry), and since we were so close to this one, we stopped by for a picture.
On our drive back, we saw this amusing sign—which I at first thought was mocking my hips—as we entered into a densely populated area:
And then back in Eastham, we saw this sign, which we of course had to get a picture of, in the front yard of a house on the way to the Nauset Light lighthouse:
At the Nauset Light lighthouse, we used the bag of Cape Cod chips we bought specifically to use as a prop in this picture, and then I added the text to it once we got home.
Rounding off our “clammy” day, we had some fantastic clam chowder for dinner that we bought in the seafood section at the grocery store on Sunday.
I am going to go ahead and call my first Friday off here a big success. Tomorrow, we’re planning to go up to “P-town.”
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~Thursday~ I’m pretty lucky in that I usually have just 1-2 work meetings a day, and often I don’t have any at all on 1 or 2 days of the week. That was not the case today. I had meetings from 10:00 to 4:00, with 2 of them overlapping, which I had to choose between. Our team meeting won out, because it’s usually fun, and I love our team.
Bob took another walk today, this time to the east coast of the Cape where he encountered the Nauset Lighthouse of the Cape Cod chip bag fame.
Also in that area were The Three Sisters lighthouses, which earned their nickname because when looked at from afar, they looked like black-hatted women dressed in white. (Full disclosure: The hyphen is my own. I don’t think they meant “Black, hatted women,” and if they did, they should have capitalized the word black and added that comma. But I digress.)
And, of course, he found the Atlantic Ocean coastline.
I received an interesting message and photo from my first cousin about our paternal grandparents’ grave that I talked about yesterday: “Just thought I’d show you that our paternal grandparents’ grave is not buried. It’s one of the graves I monitor, and I just called the office to have the stone raised.”
Manuel Martin: 1893 – 1966; Mary Martin: 1903 – 1991
One interesting thing about this picture is seeing that “M.” in my grandfather’s name. It’s my understanding that he didn’t have a middle name, since my dad was named Manuel Martin, Jr.—and he was proud of that junior and always included it when he said/wrote his name. If my grandfather did have a middle name, and my dad didn’t, dad would not be a junior. I’ll have to follow up with my aunt (dad’s sister) about that.
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At the grocery store on Sunday, we saw this lobster already removed from the shells for just under $19 for the package. And in our typical fashion, we hemmed and hawed about spending that much money on something, but ended up buying it. It was totally worth it!
Happy hour: Eggnog-amaretto-bourbon cocktails, lobstah, and drawn buttah
We’ve begun to think about things to do this long weekend. All of my weekends while here are going to be “long” weekends, because I’m taking all Fridays off.
A couple of things we’re considering so far, one of which was suggested by a Facebook friend who knows we’re here, include:
The Portuguese Bakery in Provincetown: I want some malassadas (“Portuguese doughnuts”), which always remind me of my Portuguese paternal grandmother who used to make them for us as children. (She’d roll over in her grave if she could see what they’re getting for these at $3.15 a piece!)
The city of Chatham: At least 3 of my Facebook friends have spent time in this city, and we want to check it out.
Notre Dame Cemetery in the city of Fall River: I grew up in Fall River, and although we plan to spend a full day there when my sister and her husband are visiting later on in our stay here, Bob and I are thinking about going there on Sunday to most likely visit the cemetery where both sets of my grandparents are buried.
I visited there last year about this time, and this time I will bring a trowel with us to “dig out” my paternal grandparents’ in-ground headstone if it’s still in the same shape as it was then and shown here.
Yes, my paternal grandparents’ headstone is under there
(This is the grave in which my grandmother would be rolling over about the malassadas.)
My maternal grandparents’ grave
Getting excited about the weekend just creating this entry! Tomorrow’s my “virtual Friday.”
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~Tuesday~ Another successful work day. We experienced a short, mid-afternoon power outage, but fortunately, I had recently saved the document I was working in, so I lost very little work. This is the second outage we’ve had since we arrived. The first one was the first day, and it was in the middle of the night, so no harm done. Hopefully it won’t be a “regular” thing. UPDATE:Large power outage affecting the Outer Cape
Bob explored a little more today, taking a walk to the closest coast. Where we are in Eastham is a just a tad bit closer to the west coast of the Cape than the east coast, so he went west, following a sign for Cooks Brook Beach.