Notes from a Jersey Girl

by Lisa G Westheimer

Cape Cod, June 2015

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We usually go to Cape Cod twice a season, once around Memorial Day and once around Labor Day.  We are crowd averse, not fans of hot weather and not known to sit on beaches so these dates on the cusp of either end of the summer suit us fine.  We also detest traffic, so we usually travel to and from on a weekday, after rush hour.  We’re also pretty boring and predictable once there, so in addition to being in Truro while the gainfully employed masses with children are otherwise engaged, we are usually alone while here, except for a few intrepid, unencumbered friends.

Our time is devoted mainly to riding bikes both on and off road, jogging, horseback riding, (sometimes all in the same day,) occasionally trying to drown each other in a 2 seater kayak, eating and sleeping, with a few local cocktail parties thrown in for color and texture.  Oh and lets not forget the endless list of minor repairs requiring attention in the 7W shack held together by duct tape and baling wire.  This year we went the first 2 weeks of June and from the last day of August until September 11, that auspicious day, known as Bill’s birthday.


Was COLD! No matter, the house now has a propane fueled fireplace insert that makes the place, along with the closing of strategic windows and doors and creative layering of warm weather clothing, tolerable.  If it gets really cold while at the house I also bake a cake.  This year, since the horses were still at Sheila’s farm, and Petey and Riley are both are old enough to be somewhat mellow and more inclined to be homebodies, we took both dog and cat with us so we could close up the house in West Orange completely and save money on pet sitting.

The last time we took Riley the cat with us was when Moochie the cat was still alive.  Traveling with Mooch was easy- just show him his litter box, food and water dish and he was good to go.  He didn’t like the car ride but once there could be depended on to hang out tranquilly, and once daily he did a lap around the outside of the house to check things out before settling in the sun on the deck for the rest of the day.  Moochie was one cool cucumber.

Moochie supervising packing

Moochie supervising packing

Riley, on the other hand, is a handful.  He cries the entire 6 hour drive.  He cries when the surf is up.  He cries when unattended.  He also has been known to cry plaintively and relentlessly all night long while standing on the threshold of our bedroom.  He also is terrified of anyone other than Bill and I, and would spend the entire time we were in residence hiding between the 4 inch gap between the first floor ceiling and the second story floor, until my brother-in-law Kevin, who should be sainted for this small miracle, put up a screen in the opening to the left of the top of the stairs.

Well, we figured he’s 14 now and old enough to have settled down somewhat or at least gone deaf and too tired to get into trouble, so we took him.  He cried almost the whole way but not the entire trip.  And found a nice safe hiding spot in between the mattress and box spring of the day bed in the second floor great room.  He spends the nights on the bed on our feet (to make sure we don’t leave without him in the middle of the night) and the days alternating between the floor of the bedroom closet, under the bed, or in the little lair in the day bed.

Is the coast clear???

Is the coast clear???

To keep the beagle in  his place Riley’s food is in dishes placed on top of the bedroom dresser, and his litter box is on the floor right there in the corner on top of layers of garbage bags and old towels JUST IN CASE HE MISSES.  I put his scratching post there until I caught him peeing (wtf?!!!) on it.  (Thank God for the garbage bag!)  Cats, I swear.  They are out to kill us humans one way or another, if not by tripping us on the way to the bathroom or down the stairs in the middle of the night or giving us heart attacks by their bathroom behavior in a house you share with many other people.

Anyway, in June it was COLD!  You can tell how cold it is by how snug the furry animals are.

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Author: Lisa G Westheimer

I am a ceramic and glass artist living and working in West Orange, NJ, USA. I have a masters degree in ceramics from Montclair State University and teach at the Montclair Art Museum, both in Montclair, NJ. Prior to this I was co-owner of "The Manhattan Expedition Inc" and was a NYC Building Code and Zoning Specialist in Manhattan, my main claim to fame as a Loft Conversion Specialist in Soho and Tribeca in the 1980's and 1990's, and a specialist in Landmarks Preservation and Special Places of Assembly, particularly the Fashion Shows in Bryant Park and any weird sort of thing happening in Manhattan worthy of getting thrown out of the Commissioner's office. But mostly I'm a Jersey Girl, born in Rutherford, schooled in a private school in Montclair, did a stint living in Greenwich Village then Soho before fleeing to Llewellyn Park in West Orange, NJ where I learned how to clean and restore stuffed bald eagles!!!! I can mostly be found in my studio or on the campus of The Montclair Art Museum (where I teach) or on the back of my horse Buddy, either in my backyard or at a farm in Sussex County.

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