On Becoming a Septuagenarian!

Such a mouthful that word is! This is the year I turned 70, becoming a septuagenarian, a person who is from 70 to 79. Ugh. I rather dreaded it. However, I decided that it would take me a week to transform into this septuagenarian person (Hmm, I suppose that it actually took 3,640 weeks to reach that status.)

With a birthday in September, it is often spent on the water. Two of those years we left for the Bahamas on my birthday, 2013 and 2015. My birthday request for 2022 was to go back to Block Island for a week in September when it would be quieter, just like three months ago in June. There are 10 blog posts about Block Island over the past 9 years of writing this blog so this post will be more birthday-based than Block-based. 😉

Al brought me flowers to take on the trip. I cracked up when I peaked at the card tucked into the bouquet! He had not noticed that it was a “Grandparents Day” arrangements. I thought the cute elderly couple was quite appropriate! 😂

It was a lovely September Friday as we left for Block Island.

Passing through Watch Hill Passage
Cutting Class, with Marcia and Dan aboard, on the way to Block island to join us for a week of fun.
Block Island ahead! On our way there, Al saw a whale spouting and we both just caught the body slipping back under the surface. So cool!! But no photo of that.

September’s full moon, the Harvest Moon, reached its peak on September 10th at 5:58 am.

Our view of the Harvest moon before the peak on Friday, September 9th in the evening, 7:30 pm.
The Harvest Moon looked pink to our eyes but the camera didn’t always capture that color.

Al has been working on another project, this time for the dinghy. He decided that the dinghy would be safer and easier if there was a bar to grab (Does this have something to do with being septuagenarians??)

Installed though the seat, off to the side. It is off to the side so that there is room to sit and enough space to move beside it. The PFD bag also slides over the handle bar which keeps it accessible and out of the way. Another Watson design!
Makes standing quite easy and works fine while sitting. Getting into and out of the dinghy is quite easy. 😍👍

Back to Saturday and more fun in the sun.

Marcia and I went kayaking.
Beach time! It was a lovely warm day. I haven’t done my “TEAL toes” in many years so it was time to revive that tradition. TEAL = Take Early Action and Live, a fun initiative to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer by painting your toe nails teal, especially in September.
Surf’s up! Marcia got tumbled and somersaulted in the waves. I decided that was a warning for me to stay on the beach and do my water workout back at the boat. The surfers enjoyed the waves and they did not keep Dan out!
Sharing dinner reminded us of our fun times together in the Bahamas back in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016.
Al and a sunset serenade on the conch horn.

The sunshine of Friday and Saturday faded on Sunday, leaving cloudy skies and humidity. We stretched our legs with a walk.

We stopped to say hello to Joe and Ann on Magic Moment. It’s been a while since we have seen them on the water. Magic Moment is an Orient Mariner 38 like our former Kindred Spirit.
Dating back to the 1600s, the Island Cemetery(also know as Old Cemetery) covers the hillside.
The view across the pond to the path into town.
A different fish silhouette is carved into the siding in the various peaks of this house.
Dan wanted to try his hand at mussel hunting along the outer edge of the harbor so Al went along. Sadly, it appeared that the seals had enjoyed the mussels, leaving none for the people. The guys reported that there were a lot of seals hanging around out there.

The weather wasn’t awful so after lunch we dinghied over to the Coast Guard beach with Marcia and Dan. It is always fun to watch boats come and go. We sat there for a short time with brief periods of drizzle and then decided it was time to head back. But first, we all dinghied out farther where we thought we saw some seal heads poking up.

Marcia and Dan looking for seals – see the heads popping up in the distance?
Searching for those heads popping up.

We had fun watching for the seals and it seems that they were just as curious as we were. If they had cameras they would have been trying to “shoot” us too. Most of the photos were too shaky (bouncing dinghy) or too far away, but I did get a few close-ups.

Three in a row.

They didn’t look like the typical harbor seal we see up here. We asked at the BI Maritime Institute and learned that these are gray seals. “Gray seals are distinguished from harbor and harp seals by the distinctive shape of the head. Gray seals have an elongated snout with a flat or slightly convex profile, in contrast to the shorter, concave, “puppy-dog” snout of the smaller seals. In some areas of Canada and the British Isles they are sometimes called ‘horsehead seals.'” (Marine Mammals of Block Island)

Monday, September 12th – the BIG Day. Marcia started my day with egg sandwiches.

What service! “Breakfast in boat” is as good as “breakfast in bed.”

Next for this birthday girl was to open the silver birthday ball from my sister, Lisa. We have been passing this back and forth on our birthdays for years and years. Each year we search to find something small enough to place in this silver ball.

The fabric bowl was made of a sea motif fabric, but what was it? I had to call Lisa to find out – it is to hold a small bowl in the microwave so that you can handle it when it is hot. Thank you, Lisa! This was a good find for the ball.
A birthday toast with good friends.
Dinner at one of my favorite BI restaurants, Dead Eye Dick’s. Opened in the 1940s, it is one of the oldest restaurants on the island.
For the foodies out there, from the upper left, going clockwise, salmon, seafood fry diabolo, shrimp & grits, and lobster fettuccini. Marcia took a chance that a northern shrimp & grits could match the southern versions. It did, and Al and I plan to have that next year.

The afternoon had been rainy, but paused long enough for us to have dinner and get back to the boats.

Rarely, very rarely, is the water that calm and flat in Salt Pond.
Kindred Spirit and Cutting Class

Tuesday was a day of near constant rain and wind.

A dreary day. One day like this is ok, but just ok.

It was nice to be rafted on a town mooring so that we could chat from time to time, in between napping and reading.

Oh dear. Those rain spouts that Al created worked quite well to keep the rain from landing in our cockpit, but the rain was so heavy and fierce that the spout shot it across and over onto Cutting Class. The downside of rafting?

The rain cleared out and brought a beautiful sunny September day on Wednesday, although the winds were still on the boisterous side. Time for a walk into town. As we walked through town we noticed that most of the businesses were decorated in anticipation of  the second annual Pride weekend. “The mission of Block Island Pride is to remind people that “All Are Welcome” to live and visit the island. 

Block Island’s “Rebecca” was festively decorated with a rainbow cape for the upcoming weekend. Rebecca stands at the center of the Old Harbor traffic circle. “This Block Island lady was put in place in 1896 by the local Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, which hoped to curb the consumption of alcohol on Block Island. …. The white statue was recast in 2001, and it still succeeds in reminding us to consider the negative effects of alcohol consumption.”
Hmmmm, I am not sure I would say that it has succeeded in reaching that goal here on Block Island, would you?
We stopped at the Farmers Market in the Manisses parking lot.

The goal for the day’s walk was to visit North Light Fibers a micro yarn mill at the 1661 Farm, just up the road from the Manisses. We toured the yarn mill there in 2019 and recently stopped by in June with Don and Cindy (Limerick.) (I still can’t find any old posts about the fiber mill. Can posts disappear??? I’ll drop a few photos in here.)

From the website — “Our goal is to make world-class handcrafted artisanal yarns from exotic fibers and demonstrate that year-round manufacturing can work in a highly seasonal location like Block Island. We love working with fibers and making the yarn 100% on Block Island – from washing and dying to carding, spinning and finishing as well as producing hand knit and handwoven garments and home décor. “

Raw fiber on its way to becoming yarn.
Sven Risom, cofounder of North Light Fibers, gave the tour.

Marcia and Dan gave me a gift certificate 😃 so I was like a kid in a candy shop here. Sven was there and very helpful in discussing my yarn choices.

So many colors and textures!!
I chose Water Street, 40% cashmere and 60% super fine merino, in violet and creeping phlox. I promised Marcia that I would weave something for myself.

North Light Fibers is right in the middle of the 1661 Farm, where you can find exotic animals and gardens of flowers and vegetables. The exotic animals include alpacas, camels, llamas, Scottish highland bulls, kangaroos, emus, yaks, sheep, goats, zeedonk, a turtle……

Feeding time – everyone runs to the fence at the sound of the caretaker’s voice.
Bactrian camel (either Lucky or Rusty) and an African sulcata tortoise named Tank.
Cindy is a “zedonk” born in 2003 as a result of the intentional pairing of a zebra stallion and a donkey mare.  The ram has doubled horns which look rather uncomfortable to me.
A four second video of me feeling more like a 5 year old than a 70 year old.

As we wandered back on Water Street, we paused by the Empire Theater, all four of us reminiscing about seeing movies here years ago, complete with a live piano performance before each film showing. The Empire is still an active movie theater, but something funny/odd caught my eye. “WHERE THE LOBSTERS SING”??? Below that, on the left, is the poster for “Where the Crawdads Sing.” ?????? 🤔🙄😁

Lots of walking that day……. which meant that Al …..

Needed a hot fudge sundae! Instead of lunch. It had been 6 days since his last ice cream (is that a confession or cry for help?)
This week, Block Island was the center of our world and we were really loving it!

The winds from Wednesday calmed down enough to pack a picnic lunch for the beach.

Now that’s the way we like our beaches! What a great day for a beach walk.

There was one other item on my BI to-do list for the week – have a ‘Gansett sitting outside at The Oar. We aren’t Oar fanatics, I can take or leave the place, but I really wanted to sit outside, drink a beer and look out over the harbor. It wasn’t hard for everyone else to indulge this birthday wish. 😉

A ‘Gansett is a beer brewed by Narragansett Brewing, a Rhode Island company with many ups and downs since it first began in 1890. For the beer connoisseur, check out “10 Things You Should Know About Narragansett Beer.” Dan taught us the famous old jingle, “Hi Neighbor, Have a ‘Gansett” and shared the old advertisement, now on YouTube.

‘Gansetts may not be the best beer, but The Oar serves it icy cold and it tastes pretty darn good.
Al did not get a ‘Gansett. He had a mudslide which I believe counted towards his ice cream quota for the week. A quota that he was sadly unable to reach.

Friday and it was time to depart early and head home.

Good Bye, Block Island! We love it here but only in June and September. The beauty is there with out the frenetic pace of the summer boats and tourists.

My birthday week-long celebration did not end on Friday. After packing and then unpacking, doing laundry and groceries at home, my children had a family dinner for me on Saturday.

Enjoying the cool afternoon around the fire pit.

As hostess, Addie decorated the front door and the house as well as chose this party activity – digging a plastic mermaid out of the seashells. It actually takes a long time and kept them occupied!
Surrounded by love.
Birthday portrait!
Birthday cards with a sea theme. The grandkids associate anything sea, ocean, mermaid, or shells with me. Can’t understand why they think that……?

So, here I am, 70 years old, and I am ok with it. I’m kind of surprised. You really can’t do anything about getting older; it just happens, ready or not. When things I can’t change have happened to me, I just step up to it and do the best I can. Here I go – septuagenarianhood!

5 Responses

  1. Karen LeBrasseur

    Dear Michele – what a beautiful blog this one was – I am living your life vicariously – that was a lovely birthday celebration vacation for such a young chick as you – Get ready for the ride – once we turn 70 get ready for the fast forward button – zoom – but you and Al will have a great ride – Happy Birthday , dear girl. Have a great year and keep these great blogs coming! Love from one of your biggest fans…..

  2. Claire and Dick

    Wonderful birthday week! And to top it off with the family! Super!! Happy belated birthday!❤️

  3. Ann

    Happy Birthday..
    70 is the new 50..and silver hair is the new blond.
    Great celebration with family and friends
    Xoxoxo

  4. Ellen Seltzer

    what a wonderful blog post…i loved all the pictures. i never like block island before – maybe it was because i was always there will a million other people…your comments make me want to go. i’m so glad you had a great birthday week…being 70 isn’t really bad…it’s certainly better than the alternative! you look great and happy and have things that you love to do so it’s all good. do we get posts during the winter months – or only when you are on the water? this is fun…thanks as always for sharing and welcome to the 70s…xo

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