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I was a slug for most of the holiday weekend, which is not a bad goal for a holiday weekend, when you get right down to it. I can't even REMEMBER what I did on Saturday... oh, wait. I went running, okay, and then I did some art, and then I slugged. Yesterday, the remnants of Ernesto blew through (we had the clouds and the wind on Sat. but the rain on Sun.), so I totally stayed inside and slugged and contemplated art and watched TV and slugged some more.

Today, I woke up, and there was SUN. When I though it was going to be another wash-out day. So I got up and hauled myself out to the Deluxe Town Diner, where there was a big line but since I was only one person, I ate at the counter, which felt very diner-y indeed. They have the BEST thick-cut bacon, like, EVER.

After that, it seemed too nice a day to just go home, so at random I decided to drive to WORLD'S END, which is located in Hingham, and of which I have known for many years but to which I've never actually been. First, though, after I exited Rt. 3, I drove on Rt. 228 up through Hingham and Nantasket to Hull, which is one of those spits of hilly land sticking out into the water with which Massachusetts Bay is well-supplied.

Hingham along Rt. 228 is impossibly quaint and New-England-y. Nantasket Beach Reservation is this extremely long sweep of beach that gets very wide at low tide. It has a long, long seawall running along one side of the roadway, with lots of nice free parking and bath-houses and stuff, and along the other side of the street, charmingly, are just enough remnants of sea resort-town type stuff to be enticing (ice-cream and fried-food stands, arcades, miniature golf, etc.) There is also this big covered pavillion thing that partly houses a beach-food place and the rest of it is a band-stand, and as I wandered through, a whole bunch of people, mostly older people, had set up chairs and were listening to a six-piece combo, which played big-band songs like "Stardust Memories" while people got up and slow-danced.

So I sat on the sea-wall with the ocean at my back and listened to the music and watched the people wander in and out and start dancing, and I thought, yeah, this is a pretty perfect holiday-type day, here. Then some guy came on and starting singing "Country Roads" REALLY BADLY, and I had to wander the hell out of there...

Across the street from the pavillion, on my way back to the car, I passed the Paragon Carousel, which is an honest-to-goodness old-fashioned carousel inside this big old octagonal pavillion. It only has horses, and none of the horses look exactly pristine, but that's part of the charm of it, actually. It doesn't look too plastic and new. It looks like something that has been there forever, which it has. Some of its horses go up and down, too, which is important. (IIRC, all the horses on the big carousel in Central Park are fixed; I remember being disappointed by this, although in exchange, that carousel goes *really fast*.) I wandered in and sat down on a bench and watched parents take their kids in and put them up on the horses, and I thought, oh, I'll sit here and watch it go around.

And then it hit me: why am I being self-conscious about wanting to ride the carousel when I don't have a kid with me? If I want to ride the carousel, then I should ride the damn carousel, which, in fact, I proceeded to do, handing over my $1.75 and picking out an up-and-down horse in the middle. It was a fun ride. It doesn't go *that* fast but neither is it pokey, and it plays proper tinkly carousel music. I was glad to have done it.

I definitely need to drag more people back to Nantasket, to walk the beach and see if the arcades have skee-ball (I forgot to check), and eat bad food, and play miniature golf.

After that, I finally did drive to WORLD'S END (I just like saying that, because it's a wonderfully melodramatic name for a not-all-that-dramatic piece of land, which is *another* spit of land sticking out into the water alongside Hull. But it's all just parkland and paths to walk around. It was very nice. It's not wild or anything -- it was farmland up until the mid-20th century, I think. At one point at the turn of the century, they were going to put a housing development on it, and the owner had Frederik Law Olmsted landscape it, but the actual building never happened. Apparently at one point, it was on the short-list to be the site for the United Nations World Headquarters. (Boggle about that along with me, will you? Yes, instead of putting the UN downtown in one of the biggest and busiest cities in the U.S., they were once considering plunking it down on a rural spit 15 miles outside of Boston.) It also narrowly missed having a nuclear power plant put on it. But now it's a park, and it has a nice mix of rocky paths through woods, and these big meadowy hilly spaces ringed by trees. It's a very New England landscape, and I loved it.

I would probably have loved it more had I been wearing better shoes and not been tired of walking at that point. Still, it is open year-round, and I can definitely see myself going back there to walk around. I bet it would be pretty in a lot of seasons.

Then I got home, and here's where we get to the BAD CAT part.

Anyone who has met my grey cat, Emily, will have heard the story by now of how when I first got her, she had not the slightest idea what to do with mice. When I moved into this apartment, for example, when the kitchen was still empty, we had some juvenile mice get in there, and she was mainly perplexed by them. And this led to the priceless moment, which I witnessed, when she had this teenage mouse cornered and the mouse got away by -- no lie -- jumping up and boxing Emily on the nose. Brave mouse. Hapless cat. I just about fell over laughing.

Anyway, since that time, Emily has sort of figured out what to do with mice. So I had no sooner gotten home and was puttering around the kitchen, when Emily lunged under the table and scrabbled around the baseboard. (She had been staring in that direction earlier in the day, but I assumed she had spotted a thousand-legger, which the cats find interesting, but about which they will do nothing, except eat them, but only if I smoosh the bugs for them first.) I was astouned when she emerged from the corner with one foot and a tail sticking out of her mouth.

"Oh, EMILY!" I said, quickly disengaging myself from what I'd been doing at the sink, as she ran with her prize into the living room.... where, as any cat-owner will have already guessed, she decided to "play" with the mouse. And when I say "play", what I mean is, let it escape. ("Good cat", under these circumstances, would be a cat that *doesn't* drop the mouse, just so you know. Judith's cat Ewok used to at least hold onto the things, so that you could grab her and then grab the tail sticking out, and then when she would let it go, you'd at least *have* the mouse in hand.)

The mouse ran under a nearby book-case. Emily has been staring underneath it ever since, but I have news for her, that mouse is long gone. It's too low for Emily to stuff herself under (not that she hasn't tried), but there are gaps under there more than big enough for the mouse to scrabble through. I surmise that the mouse ran out the back while Emily was fixated on the front, and under the baseboard, and down into the basement or something. Now Emily is all HYPER-ALERT, and really, mice don't bother me, but I've had a long day and I just don't need the drama.

Huh. Here comes Morgan. You know, I have no idea what Morgan would make of mice. I've never seen her encounter any. I wonder if she would pounce, or if she would just watch avidly, the way she does with insects?

So, a good day. Despite the mouse.

Boy, do I not want to go back to work tomorrow.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 4th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
that sounds like an incredible moment in the pavilion.

and i used to go to the central park carousel with my grandfather. there's something very fine about the older ones, you're right about them not being too shiny and new. the one at wdw is actually a restored old one, amazing.

ah emily, punched by a mouse. i hope that this current mouse is truly gone and that morgan doesn't have to get educated about the whole mouse thing tonight. *hugs*

ps. scarlet never really understood mice either. but she liked any bug that got within reach. cassidy always tried to get *through* the wall to whatever mouse was on the other side. this was not a useful method. ;)
Sep. 7th, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is -- the moment in the pavillion was a really nice one, but in a way, it was also kind of a lonely one. Because I got this feeling as I looked around that what I was seeing was *locals*, not tourists, you know? The entire beachfront had that kind of feel to it. It reminded me, in its modest scale, of the island resort where my Mom lives, parts of which still feel like they're in a time-warp. The condos that replaced the old amusement park were ugly, and there was a big new hotel (not ugly) down at the other end of the beach, but the thing is, none of it felt *trendy* or slick or expensive, the way some places on the North Shore sometimes feel to me.

Anyway, the point is, it was a nice moment, it *felt* like a small-town moment, and I felt kind of... remote from it, too. Odd feeling.
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:17 pm (UTC)
you've described so perfectly the feeling i get in some small maine towns.

it's an odd collection of emotions...and sometimes i'm not sure what i'm left with. but it can be lovely as well as poignant. or maybe because?

Sep. 4th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you had a nice day. I love carousels but haven't been on one in years because our fair is so small we only get the kiddie version.

My cats are all country cats now and know full well what to do with mice (and assorted other small creatures) but when we were still in the city we had a cat who'd catch them, hold them down by their tails, and lick all their fur in the wrong direction. Eventually, the mice would die of embarrassment. (okay, probably heart failure)(but brought on by bad hair *g*)
Sep. 7th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
Good carousels are hard to find. They're pretty scattered. I was at the National Carousel Association website earlier and they said that out of something like 3000-4000 wooden carousels made in the US in their heyday (prior to 1930), only about 150 are left in operation. Though that doesn't count the new ones, I guess. Still, that's not a lot. Here you mostly find them in parks and stuff. I hadn't been on one in years and years and years, either. I'm thinking about it, and thinking that it has to be at least 20 years, unless I'm forgetting something.

The really stupid footnote to that story is, Emily survived on her own outdoors for 3 months before I got her. She was a local campus kitten abandoned at the end of the school year, and it was towards the end of Sept. when raqs took her in. So the question that immediately arises is: how was she feeding herself? Answer in part: not by eating small mammals, that's for darned sure.
Sep. 5th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)
World's End! I used to go sampling there, with the crazy Russian postdoc. We would take a little Boston Whaler from the campus dock, cruised through the bay, got things started, and then spent a pleasant afternoon waiting for our experiment to finish. And then there was a lot of mucking about in the mud.

Ah, those were the days.

And yeah, cats are good at *catching* mice, but aren't always good at the next step. Our kitty did pretty much the same thing once--he dropped the mouse, and it ran under the couch. He spent the night staring at the couch, and the next day, I moved it to prove to him that the mouse was long gone, but lo, there it was! He caught it again, and I promptly grabbed a container and somehow got him to drop the mouse into it. It's all a bit of a blur at this point.

But boy, was I astonished when he turned up with that mouse for a second time.

Hee. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
Sep. 7th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
Hah! *snort* I did sort of actually wonder if the mouse might indeed *be* under there, still, at the time. But my flashlight wasn't working so I couldn't see.

Now that I've been there, I'm *definitely* going back to World's End. Were you sampling in the recovered salt-marsh?
Sep. 5th, 2006 05:47 am (UTC)
she emerged from the corner with one foot and a tail sticking out of her mouth.

You sure she's called Emily and not Garfield? They probably have an arrangement where the mouse is only supposed to come out when you're not there ;o)

Sounds like a fab weekend, wish I'd been there.
Sep. 7th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
I think that the idea that they're edible simply hasn't occured to her. They're just a great self-propelling toy. I think it's a miracle she caught this one at all. She's really not skilled enough to do the catch-and-release-and-catch thing.
Sep. 5th, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC)
I love your cat stories. Makes me feel so good about Theo.
Sep. 7th, 2006 04:21 pm (UTC)
It's so true. Theo, with three legs, is light-years beyond Emily in vermin-catching terms.

(Great icon! :D )
Sep. 6th, 2006 09:16 am (UTC)
Ooh, it's a PTC. (The carousel, that is.) I like the PTC style better than the Coney Island, but I haven't *seen* that many of the Coney Island ones. There's another PTC in that big mall on the way to New York, but I can't recall what the name of the mall is right now, so I can't look up which one it is... Hmm. It might be #15 at the Palisades Canter Mall ? That's supposedly near the Tappan Zee... Check out:


They've got a database you can search, and some nifty galleries.
Sep. 7th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Neat! I didn't know anything about the different styles before. But you're right, I don't really like the Coney Island style that much, and I like the PTC style a lot. How cool that I got to stumble across one!

That website is really neat.

So interesting -- I looked up the Central Park Carousel, and it turns out that my recollections of it are *totally* wrong. Except for the thing where the horses are *huge*. Apparently that isn't just a memory from when I was smaller -- that particular carousel is unusual in that way. But I could have sworn I remembered that all the horses were stationary -- and they're not, in fact, most of them aren't except for a very few! I wonder what was up with getting that impression. Hmm.

(I can picture the mall you mean, on the west side of the Hudson just across the Tappan Zee. But I've never been inside that mall.)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )