Thursday, September 21, 2017

Storms

Yesterday and today we are being brushed by former Hurricane Jose and we're watching Maria very carefully as it churns around in the Caribbean right now. I believe we are approaching the anniversary of the famous "Long Island Express" as the Hurricane of '38 was called, and that always makes me think about what could happen here with a similar storm. So many things have changed since 1938, most specifically the number of homes in harm's way, and the number of people who would be affected by something so disastrous.


Of course spending my life in a family attached to the insurance business makes me especially sensitive to things like storms, but also the stories I grew up hearing about that particular one never leave me. I hope never to experience one firsthand of that magnitude.

The next few days will show where Maria is headed, and then we still need to get through September before we can relax a little. Cooler ocean temperatures will lessen the threat soon and only the occasional n'or easter will be a worry after that.

Storms are part of life, but being in public office, and the insurance business, make them a nuisance as well. Let's hope they stay away for yet another year...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nostalgia

Last night I had my three youngest grandchildren overnight. Their parents went into the city for a concert and stayed overnight and I'm the lucky one to have these little darlings from the time they got home from school until they get picked up tonight. It's been fun!

Last night I had more than one flashback to the years my children were little. I think that's one of the greatest things about living in this house for so many years-the memories that are associated with every nook and cranny of it.  I put the kids into bed in the same rooms my own children occupied so many years ago, and the memories were with me throughout the process. When I herd the tell tale thump of s child jumping out of bed and into mischief, I was transported to the many nights we sat downstairs listening to that sound. We had no monitors or electronic assistance then but we could tell what was going on. More than once we had to head back up those stairs to chastise an errant child, as I did last night, putting them back into their beds and tucking the covers in again...and again...


Those are happy memories for me - of my favorite time in life, when my children were small and my life was full of love and happiness. I miss those years, but I'm grateful to be able to relive them even for short periods of time with all the amazing grandchildren I've been blessed with. And when I have each of them a hug and kiss when I said goodnight to them I remembered the precious little faces I did that with once upon a time.

Those rooms upstairs are neater and cleaner than they used to be back in the day, but they're emptier too. I'd trade the cleanliness for the full house in a minute, but I might not survive it for long. Today, I'm tired...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Allergies

I've never had a hard time with allergies, but as I've gotten older I do notice more sensitivity to thing in the air. Right now something is causing me to be so stuffed up as to make it hard to breathe.

I noticed it first in bed the other night while I was trying to sleep. I had to turn over on my back to let things grain so I could sleep. I'm not a back sleeper so it wasn't my preferred position, bit sometimes its inevitable. I found myself blowing my nose CVS for some benedryl sometime during this day. Perhaps that will provide me wit some relief. I hate to use it because it makes me tired, but I can do it right before bed anyway.
all day yesterday just to breathe, but the relief was short-lived. I'm thinking I should stop at

I pity those who suffer greatly with allergies because this little attack is laying me low. I know some people who have issues much of the spring, summer and fall. I'm lucky - and hopefully it will all pass soon.

And in any case, its not the kind of thing that keeps you from doing any of the things on your list. Life goes on, ragweed or tree pollen aside. So lets get on with the day and try to forget about it because its not going away. At least not today...

Monday, September 18, 2017

Daylight

I'm late today in getting to my computer to write.  I don't know why really, although the ambulance calls that kept me up all night could be a factor. Somehow without sleep I'm never quite on my game ad every hurdle seems higher - every task a bit more bothersome. Sleep is miraculous. And I need some of it.

Tonight I'll get in bed early and hopefully get a good eight hours because tomorrow the grandchildren arrive for an overnight. Just in time for a tropical storm to arrive. This could be an interesting week.

It's only 6:30 as I write this and already its pretty dark outside. Clearly the days are diminishing and the nights increasing. In another month we'll turn back the clocks and then it will be time to start getting out the winter throws and heavy comforters. I'm not sorry about the change of season, only the passing of time. It just goes too quickly these days.

I think the hardest thing about time slipping through my fingers is the feeling that I'm not making the most of whatever I have left. There are so many places I wanted to see and so many things I wanted to do. My bucket list will stay just that - a wish list unfulfilled. Time is running out.

I hope my children have more of the things I long for. And that's the way it supposed to be, right? We work hard and struggle through life so our children will do it less and enjoy it more. So if that's the end result I'm OK with that.

Its almost completely dark now. Daylight won't come for another twelve hours and my Tuesday mornings traveling to Southampton will soon be in the dark again. And so it goes....winter following autumn, autumn following summer, and another year gone. If only we could just slow it all down a little bit...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Checks

I was trying to pay some bills yesterday and I had a thought: do people still use checks anymore? 

I had been doing most all of my bill paying online when I was married. So I was used to not writing checks very often. But then last year I had to open new accounts at the bank and I bought checks and never bothered to sign up for online bill-paying so I've been writing checks to pay my bills throughout this last year. But I suspect I may be one of a dying breed. How many people out there are actually still doing that? I suspect only those over a certain age and that puts me clearly in a category I prefer not to enter, but here I am nevertheless.

I comfort myself with the knowledge that I did pay all my bills online up until recently, so I'm not hopelessly out of date. But now, I guess I've taken a step backward, haven't I? I try to be current and not become one of those old people who just can't seem to keep up with the times, but I find myself slipping into that territory more often than not. 

I may have to set up online bill paying again just to make myself feel better. But I must admit there is much more satisfaction in putting a check in an envelope and dropping a pile of bills in the mail than there is in pressing a button on the computer to do the same thing. I may very well be old fashioned, but I also know enough to take my small pleasures where I can get them these days. They're few enough so I need to enjoy them!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturdays again

I really don't like Saturdays anymore.

I went to the dump early this morning - 7am as the gate opened. I had lots of recycled things to donate, like newspapers, glass bottles, plastic containers, etc so I quickly delivered all those things and was home by 7:15. And then I read the newspaper. And then I ate some breakfast. And then I wondered what to do with myself the rest of the day.

I know there are lots of things to do out there. And I know there are lots of people who have no idea why I would hesitate to do any of them. But I'm just not comfortable doing things alone and I feel as though, if I'm not used to it by now after almost 15 months, I may never adjust to life alone.

There's a music festival in Montauk. Bluegrass music. I happen to like bluegrass music. I'd go, but.....

There's an artist studio tour today. I think I'd enjoy seeing the various studios and speaking with the artists, but....

There are always yard sales. I love yard sales. I could head out to look around at some yard sales, but...

There's am exhibit opening down at the Marine Museum - one of my favorite places - but...

The funny thing is I used to do some thing alone, like going to yard sales, or exhibits, but the fun is gone from those things now. I've considered the fact that I could be clinically depressed, but I'm really not. I have no problem getting out of bed in the morning and doing the things that need to be done. But there just doesn't seem to be a lot of joy in the things that are for fun.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I don't like Saturdays anymore. I think I should start staying up late Friday nights and sleeping through Saturdays. Now that's a solution! Hmmmm. I wonder how late I could stay up tonight and sleep through tomorrow....

Friday, September 15, 2017

Remembering

For some reason when I sat at the computer today I fixated on an old photo I have hanging off my wall calendar. I found it recently and was intrigued by it so I stuck it there. This morning its caught my attention.

The photo shows my late aunt with my second child sitting on her lap. Aunt Elaine has her knees bent - I think perhaps she's sitting on the floor leaning against the couch at my mother's house - and Elizabeth, who looks to be about 18-months or 2-years-old. is lying against her knees facing her. Her little hands are in Elaine's and they must have been having a chat about something. The thing that grabs me is the delight on both of their faces.

My aunt was never able to have children of her own, and therefore we were her chosen children. She and my uncle spoiled us rotten, with carefully chosen Christmas gifts every year and in so many other ways.  She spent untold hours knitting or crocheting outfits for our Barbie dolls when we were young, and I have two hand-knitted shawls in my closet that she made for me. If I never wear either one of them, they'll always have a place in that closet because they represent love to me.  

They both showered my children with that same love and when I see that photo it always makes me smile. Because it reminds me of many wonderful truths. It reminds me that the people that love and value us are not always the ones that are the closest in relationship or place. And it reminds me that if we love and value children it changes them. The sense of self-worth that those two people gave to me has carried me through some pretty tough times lately. And for that I'm forever grateful.

My uncle left this earth quite a long time ago now, and my aunt a few years ago. But the legacy they left remains in my heart.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Twins

I have ten grandchildren and they are all precious to me. Each one unique and special, and each one with a place in my heart that could never be filled by another.

Today is the fifth birthday of the only set of twins in that group. And that makes me think about what a special experience its been to watch twins growing up.

These girls are as different as day is from night - both in appearance and personality. They're fraternal. so that's to be expected, but being able to observe two children, born the exact same time and raised in the exact same environment is nevertheless a special treat. Its  like a front row seat to see how each one of us is so special and unique and each a special, loving creation by God.  They are so different, and yet I adore each one the same way. 

It says something as well about our capacity as humans to love. It seems that no matter how many children, or grandchildren, we have, our hearts can accommodate enough love to surround them and to fill us. Its a wonderful thing.

The twins are only five this year, so I hope I'll have many more years to watch them grow and change and become the adults they're destined to be. It will be a thrill to be able to watch them up close and personal. I hope its a privilege I enjoy. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Shared grief

Seeing the images from Houston and Florida truly hits one in the heart and I think its more here than some places. I know that because I haven't experienced earthquakes, as sad as the damage is and as much as we decry the loss of innocent lives when they happen, they don't ring the same bell that hurricanes do simply because we can relate to them so personally.

Those of us who've grown up here have many memories of hurricanes, some pretty devastating. We know that the clean-up is like, with debris of all sorts littering every place you look from the yards to the beaches to the rooftops. We understand storm surge and we know about downed trees and we appreciate life without electricity. We've been there and our hearts go out to those who are suffering the results now of the two killer storms that have marched up into our land in the last couple of weeks. We also understand boats being washed up on shore, and buildings hanging over the edges of dunes. 

As I sat at the waters edge yesterday enjoying a beautiful September morning, I couldn't help but think about that ocean that connects us with so much of the world, and how deadly it can be. One day it can charm you like crazy, the next pull you under and hold you down. It's a sociopathic phenomenon. And as much as I love it, I'll never be unafraid of it.

'Tis the season of hurricanes. And we wait it out cautiously, hoping they don't find their way this far north this year....

Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11

This is always a sad day for those of us who remember it so well. Just like December 7th and November 22nd, the date will forever be connected with something traumatic and sad and a national day of grief.

Today is similar to that day in that it was sunny and beautiful this morning. Just like the best of September days, it was a stunner. The skies were clear and bright blue and life was good.

And then the first tower was hit. And the second. And then the Pentagon, etc and life as we knew it would change forever as we become more and more aware of the dangers around us, or terrorism and they way it was changing everything, and we took our new awareness and tried to do things better with it. 

But the world is still a scary place and terrifying in its ability to shake us to the core. I had my own 9/11 in 2016 and it has had, and will continue to have, huge and lasting effects on me. Gone is my sense of security and joy and I most likely will never know either of those things again. Just as we as a country have changed, so have I. And I think its a sad day when the rose-colored glasses come off and the worst part of life hits you square in the face. Sad, and terrible.

Some anniversaries are meant to live on forever in our hearts, be they national, or universal or very personal. But they all bring the same sense of unsettled grief and pain. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dinners

One of my favorite things to do is entertain on my back deck in the summer, and often take the opportunity to stretch those evenings in autumn when I can. This past summer I haven't had company as often as I would have liked to for various reasons, so I'm hoping the weather holds long enough to allow me to do it a few more weeks in September. 

The Friday night I had folks in for dinner and we were able to sit outside enjoying the crisp September evening. It was definitely sweater weather and I wore socks with my shoes - no more sandals in the evening I think - but the night was still and lovely and the company warm and convivial so it was a great time. I guess I'm a social animal because I do like entertaining more than being alone. Not everybody does I know.


One of the things I haven't done much this summer is grill, simply because I've never been the grill person and its new territory for me. I'm learning, but not feeling completely confident yet at it so I usually defer to items I can cook ahead. Friday might that meant chicken salad as a main dish, which allowed me to spend time with my guests as much as possible. I have a low-stress approach to entertaining, learned over many years. I like to enjoy myself as much as possible, although eschewing alcohol is a necessary part of the equation. I like the relaxation of a drink but it tends to make me less attentive and tired, which isn't the best state to be in when you're in charge of other people's meal! I don't mind though - conversation and laughter is worth that small sacrifice.

I guess my opportunities for entertaining on the back deck are coming to an end quickly but this weekend at least, I made good use of the weather. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September....ahhhh

The morning has broken on an absolutely gorgeous day here on the East End and these are the times I live for. I sat at the ocean for an hour earlier, I have painting to do outside on the deck, and it just feels like a great day for mental and physical rehabilitation. And I can use both.

The light is never prettier than it is in September. The shadows are coming earlier in the day, but the morning surf and the evening sunsets are a gift from above. Today my heart is going out to the residents of Florida as Irma bears down on them, and looking out over the Atlantic today, with perfectly formed, beautiful waves coming ashore made me think about how that amazing ocean can turn so deadly in such a short time. Storm surf is incredible and mesmerizing, but so dangerous and so frightening all at the same time.  We are enjoying the same ocean here that is terrorizing so many people in the south right now. Sometimes the world is not such a big place at all.

Well I don't know if we have any hurricanes in our future here on the East End this autumn, but at the moment the weather is perfect and I'm going to try to spend as much of the day outside as I can because I don't want to waste a moment if it. Gifts like this are to be treasured, and I think I shall do just that.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricanes

There's been a lot of focus on hurricanes this year already and I've been reliving some of the most memorable in my mind all week. Of course the recent ones are easy to think about, but I like going back to the late 1950s and early 1960s when it seemed they were plentiful and there are many interesting memories to pull from.

I remember two that come in the same week. I think I was in the second grade so it would have been right around the time of the new decade. I think one was named Donna because I remember all the teasing my friend Donna received at the time. We had two days off of school and I remember doing homework to the light of a hurricane lantern.

We always had the hurricane lanterns ready at our house. They sat in the basement full of oil for use on a moment's notice. Three of them did the job for our family and one was all I needed to do homework by. They were very old - had probably come with the house, passed down through the family, much as the ones I have in this house were. I have two of them also ready for action if need be, although I also have flashlights and candles to assist when needed.


If we get a direct hit this year it will mean a lot of damage this early, with the trees still heavy with leaves. Later in October they stand a better chance. But in either case I'm prepared. As much as I can be.

I've never had to wait out a storm alone in this house and I think I just might be tempted to go to the firehouse to sit it out should it happen. Somehow being alone is not something to look forward to when there's no electricity, no TV, no internet, etc. But let's just hope I never have to face all that - at least this year!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Time

Time seems to be slipping away from me these past few days - between having company at my house, the holiday, and trying to adjust some of my mental issues, I'm worn out and not doing a very good job on my blogging! Perhaps we can blame it all on the full moon...

Last night I had dinner with good friends and we talked a lot about life and things I'm dealing with. When I left them I noticed how beautiful the moon was and decided to go down to the beach and sit a spell, just taking it all in. It was well worth the twenty minutes of my time. It was dark there and I felt a bit vulnerable all alone on the beach, but I tucked myself up into the dunes and just got lost in my thoughts as I surveyed the beauty around me. The full moon was reflected on the water, highlighting each wave that came ashore in the most spectacular way.

I loved being there but after some time I began to feel lonely, enjoying all that beauty by myself with no one to share it with, and I knew I needed to leave before I slipped into that morose and sad place that so easily comes to someone like me. I wanted to leave still smiling about the gifts of this place we live, which are so plentiful and easily attained by anyone, no matter how much wealth we have. It doesn't take a house on the ocean to sit and enjoy its magic spell. At least not here in this little piece of heaven. Its easy to take things like a full moon for granted. Last night I made sure I didn't.

Time is slipping away quickly and I feel its passage more acutely now that I'm at the age I am. I've known too many people who never attained this age and even fewer that reached those beyond it. So I'm trying to make the most of what I have and not take anything lightly. I have this time to live. And I intend to do just that.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Chilled

I happen to love this kind of weather - but I'll admit to being a little ill prepared for it so early on. I've been scrambling to gt out sweaters and light jackets, long-sleeved shirts and jeans, and as sure as I'm shivering in the morning I know the heat is returning because there's no way these cooler temperatures are here to stay!

I expect I'll be looking for the short-sleeves soon enough and I love a nice Indian Summer. So the tricky thing about this time of the year is the need to keep so many things close at hand in the closet and drawers. Layering is key and I have plenty of pieces to layer with, but its also nice when you know you've made the transition to wool or cotton and can leave the wardrobe static for at least a couple months.

But this is transition time and until November things will be questionable every day. One day warm and shirt-sleeves, the next cold and sweaters. Its autumn at its best.

Today isn't terribly promising so far but they are telling us it will get better and tonight may be a stellar one. But I do think I'm going to need a sweater...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Classic

Two things have coincided to make me think a lot about lost dreams of my youth! First is the  photo exhibit at Clinton Academy produced by the East Hampton Historical Society of young Jackie Bouvier (Kennedy) in her days growing up here during the summer months when she was active in horse shows and riding. She was a gorgeous child and in every photo of her those famous eyes are on full display, along with her obvious love of all things equine.

The second in the Hampton Classic Horse Show arriving once again. Today I'm attending a noon event there with family members, taking the opportunity to introduce grandchildren to the beauty of these animals.

My lost dream is the one where I used to want to learn to ride and have a horse of my own. I remember my grandfather, who was always the most attuned to my thoughts when I was young, entering a contest on the back of a cereal box where the first prize was a pony. He proudly showed me the form he had filled out to mail in and informed me that if he won the pony was mine. Of course knowing my father I never would have been allowed to keep it anyway so its best he and I didn't win that pony, but it was a dream of mine that was never fulfilled.

In fact, I don't think I've ever been on a horse. Ever.

So - looking over Jackie's photos and attending the classic today will both go a long way toward reminding me of those early dreams that are never realized. One of many, of course, but they do die hard and somehow I still think anything is possible....

Friday, September 1, 2017

September...again

I find myself in a place of confusion today. I love the fall and I have never minded the winter so I'm exited about the coming weather, the holidays, and the return to life as we like it here on the East End.

On the other hand, last fall and winter was the worst of my life and I'm dreading the long, dark, lonely nights to come.

There's something wonderful about the way summer makes us feel in terms of all the light and the long days where we can sit outside until time to turn in. Reading a book in the hammock, entertaining on the back deck, attending any of the many outdoor events offered - those things all add up to a quick few months of a very busy life, which helps distract from any sadness or loneliness that creeps in. The time has gone quickly. But this time is about to end. And now I'm apprehensive about what the next six months will hold.

I don't enjoy being alone. I'd only lived alone for about three months of my life up until July of 2016, so being by myself has been a huge adjustment. Of course there are things I like about it - but having the remote to myself gets old! In a hurry! I miss having someone to talk about the days events with and I miss having someone to take walks with and share dinner with. So looking ahead to the long, isolating winter ahead is not exciting to me at all. 

Well - before the darkest days come the autumnal ones - and there may be apple picking and a visit to Pennsylvania and lots of other things along the way before the holidays keep me busy and focused. Rather than dread the days ahead I need to plan carefully for them and ward off the negative stuff. Its a new year and those are becoming more precious to me now that I'm getting closer to the end of it all. And I don't want to waste any of them feeling sorry for myself. So I won'
t!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

History

Today is a big day in my history. Today is the day I became part of a family. Not my birth family, but my new family. My own family. Today is the day my first baby was born.

When I said that to one of my grand kids today they said "No - you and PopPop were a family before my mom was born" to which I replied "We were a couple, not a family - there's a difference!"

Family life was my happiest time on earth. I loved being a mother and sharing the parenting duties with someone who was enthusiastic and fully a partner in the experience. I couldn't have asked for a better father for my kids back then. And when he got home from work at night he was more than happy to pitch right in, giving baths, reading bedtime stories, helping with homework. We truly were a "family" and that was a wonderful thirty years of my life.


I remember every detail of this day in 1975, from what I ate for dinner the night before to being wheeled through the new addition of the hospital by a security guard on the paper laid over the floors that weren't quite open to the public yet.  And most of the days after that are pretty sharp in my memory as well. (Once there were four of them my memory gets a bit fuzzier, but these early days of motherhood with a brand new only child were surely amazing!) 

We learned together, my husband and I, how to be parents to this little gift. We were so young - only 23-years-old, and pretty stupid truthfully. But we managed to keep her alive and now she's an accomplished and talented adult with a nice brood of her own. And she still makes my heart sing when I see her. Even after all these years.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Storms

My heart goes out to Texas today. Seeing the devastation there makes me remember so many storms here over my lifetime, but none of them quite match what they're going through. Its terrible.

This is the season when we start thinking about hurricanes and nor'easter. Its not fun stuff but it happens when you live on the coastline up here on Long Island and we're prepared as much as we can be for the inevitable. I'd like to say we won't have to deal with that this fall, but of course we have no idea at this point and the future is always a mystery. Every year I cross my fingers and hope for the best.


Last year, being alone for the first time, really made me nervous about the season. This year I'm a little more used to being a,one, but the idea of having to suddenly put away the outdoor furniture and get the house tightened up to deal with high wind and heavy rain, well, I'm still not looking forward to any of that. I hope we get through yet another year without that.

Yes, today it feels as though autumn is upon us, although I'm sure there will be more hot days ahead. But these days of cooler temperatures and overcast skies remind me of the storms of autumn and make me stop to wonder what will come. We have two months to get through now - let's hope for the best! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Differences

What a difference a day makes!

Today the world looks much better to me, but I'm not sure why! I can tell you that I am loving this weather! Its a nice glimpse of my favorite time of the year and I'm ready for fall! I'm sure this won't last and the warmer temperatures will return for another week at least, but the end if near and I'm happy to see it. I love to get my sweaters out and put my jeans back on!

Today I'm going to spend some time on my hammock - that's the first thing I'm going to do when I get back from church. My hammock time is going to soon be a thing of the past and I'll be taking it down for the winter. I don't enjoy the work involved with changing out the seasons, but I do like the weather changes. Its the packing up of furniture and putting things away that makes me cringe. Too much manual labor for someone my age and with my limited abilities. But fall is certainly in the air so my guess is I have another 6 weeks before everything has to be packed up and stored because outdoor living will be passing for awhile.

Time seems to go too quickly now that I'm old enough to collect Social Security. I think when you know your life is winding down, which your body reminds you of on a daily basis, time speeds up to a sometimes dizzying level. I wish I could go back and know I was likely to have a good thirty or forty years ahead of me, but I can't, so I spend a lot of time lately wondering how I want to spend my final ten (if I'm lucky! My father didn't have that much time - I wonder if I will).

Life is a puzzle and I seriously doubt anyone has solved it quite yet. And time doesn't help. Because just when we get to the place we may have a clue, its over. But this is going to be a good day and I'm not going to waste it.
 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Passages

There are some periods in life when its just too difficult to sit at my computer and write anything. I call them the "passages" - when nothing seems like its worth doing and everything seems heavy and sad. Am I the only one who goes through those times?

I never know what might trigger these periods of lethargy and self-absorption and I wish I did because if I could know they're coming I might be able to ward them off. But I don't so I endure them and eventually they pass. And that's the best part.

It always makes me think about people who live in a constant state of depression. How difficult must that be? I cannot imagine how hard it is for folks with real problems like that having to get themselves out of bed every day and function when they are feeling like they're walking in mud that's knee deep and everything they have to do is a burden.

I'm happy to say mine never last that long. But I am going to start trying to figure out what the triggers are and write down the things preceding these times I struggle. I think that might help, knowing what's coming and how to deal with it when it does.

Mostly I try to stay busy. And nothing helps more than that! Because a busy life, for me, is a good life. And now, I'm going to get out of my house and get going!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Two weeks

Two weeks from today the local schools will be back in session. Wow that was a fast summer!

I'm not quite sure what to make of this year in terms of how quickly its passing. Last summer was honestly a blur to me. Perhaps that's part of it - I had a horrible year and I barely remember any of it. But then this summer seems to have gone by so quickly and I'm not sure if one has anything to do with the other.

I think perhaps time just moves more quickly as you get older. It reminds me of when you grab a huge pile of sand in your hand and its overflowing its so heavy. But if your fingers are not tightly closed together it quickly begins to disappear between the cracks and before you know it poof! Its gone. In the beginning you barely see it leaving but by the end those grains are flying out so quickly you barely have time to react. I think that's the way life is. I feel it quickly leaving now, flying out of my fingers so quickly with no chance to slow it all down. I can see the end, and the pile is long gone. Life is short and no one knows it better than someone my age!

Two weeks will be gone in a blink. And then I'll be bemoaning the passage of yet another holiday season. And so it goes, month to month, year to year, and I think I wish I'd had a mid-life crisis years ago and run away like some people do. Because now its too late. And my life is nearly over. And there's no time left for a do-over. Sigh...

Yikes. Way too morose and heavy for a lovely Wednesday morning! I hear the weather is going to be cooler this week! Now that's something to smile about!!! And a smile is a much better way to start a day. So I will!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Changes

I'm always fascinated by the way that change of any kind throws off the fine balance of life. Whether its illness, trauma, or simply not having your morning newspaper to read, when we are used to something one way it upsets the apple cart when that changes.

There have been many changes in my life this past year, mostly set off by one major one. When my husband and I parted ways it changed so many other things that my entire world was rocked, from my relationships to my children and other family members to the way I turn in for the night and how I take care of my house. Everything really changed. It reminds me of the science that informs us when a butterfly flaps its wings on this side of the world something is effected on the other. Its rather amazing really.

Yesterday I attended a ceremony marking the change at our local hospital which is now affiliated with a much larger one. Its good change, for the most part, and yet there is a great deal of concern among many people about how this will alter their worlds. Not only staff, but patients have voiced questions about how things will be different, and I'm reminded once again of how we are creatures who love things to be the same. We like the predictable and we value "sameness" in so many ways. Its a comfort zone for us, its what we know and what we understand.

What is it they say, "better the devil you know than the devil you don't"?  I think many people feel that way. And perhaps its true, but not necessarily. Sometimes we just need to sit back, take it all in, and adjust to a new normal.

Easier said than done... 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The run

Today is my eighth annual Ellen's Run. And its a celebration for me every year.

Eight years ago I had just completed treatment for breast cancer and when I as asked if I would work at Ellen's Run I gladly said yes. It's a fundraising 5K race that was began twenty-two years ago by the wonderful Julie Ratner in honor of her sister Ellen who died of the disease in her 40s. Of course I would help!

Not only did I help but I organized my first team. There were about 33 of us if I remember, and it wasn't an "official" team because I was such a novice I didn't realize you could register as a team! But we had matching t-shirts and did our part to raise money for the cause. I didn't yet have the energy to do the walk myself but I donned my pink wig and worked the registration tables and saw my team off at the starting line. 

Every year since they I've done the walk, winning the "largest team" award three times, but not doing a team the past two years. I found that it was such a hard job putting the team together, and I had started an event in East Hampton held in October to raise money for the same charities that was bringing in more than my team did in terms of dollars, that I determined to put my energy toward that instead of putting a team together. So this year, like last, I'll be walking with the Southampton Hospital Team instead.

Its a wonderful day, a great event, and although I don't like missing church, I've made it a priority to be there every year for eight years now. And hopefully I'll be able to be there for many, many more.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rainy days and Mondays

The Carpenters were in my head all day yesterday. It began when the deluge started in the morning and stayed with me the rest of the day, an ear worm that I couldn't dislodge and made me even more depressed than I already was.

What is it about rain that makes us sad? I think its the combination of not wanting to go out in it and the fact that the sun is behind the clouds and its so dark out there. All day that gray sky made me feel lower than I have in while and I wanted to crawl into bed and sleep the day away, which sadly was not an option. 

I think being alone also factors in to the equation these days. Because there was a time when I didn't mind rainy days. With my kids at home it was a day to make forts out of blankets or bake cookies. When I had a partner here it was a day for binge watching some television show we hadn't had time to watch, and making popcorn to enjoy the screen time with. Yes, rainy days are definitely more fun when you have company. Alone they pretty much stink.

If I had my own studio I would use that time to create. But I don't, so instead I read or watch TV ... alone. And I think I suddenly realize the reason for my funk yesterday. It wasn't really the rain at all. It was the fact that the rain was reminding me that I was alone.

And being alone stinks.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sisters

I was reminded again this week how important our families are to us. My two sisters and I met for dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate one of their birthdays. And it was a refreshing time of peace.

There is safety in family. Even when you're not getting along or in some sort of disagreement, you are always pretty confident in the bond of love that exists. Its a bond that seems to outlive everything else, petty arguments, major family blow-ups, whatever. Oh I know there are families that are broken irreparably and that is sad, but for the most part we seem to be able to overlook each other's faults and come back to a place of peaceful coexistence if nothing else. There's something about our shared histories that makes for a pretty strong bond, even though we don't always remember things In exactly the same way! Family lore is just that sometimes, but it always takes on a bigger role when stories are re-told over the years, right?

My family has been a source of strength to me, but also, sometimes, a source of pain. During the most difficult times we don't always know what the other needs or wants or desires and sometimes we misstep. But always, I find, we have love at the core and that's what its all really about.


Next week another birthday to celebrate. And that's something to look forward to. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Counting days

I know this gets old, and I know I do it every year, but I truly am counting the days until August is over.

And just to be really annoying, Labor Day is late this year and it isn't even over when August is over. Sheesh!

Traffic is incredible this month and the frenetic nature of August is wearing on me. I think we're all so patient for such a long time that by now, we've had it. How much can we take in our quaint little town?

I can't get out of my driveway, I can't get a place to park anywhere close to work, I can't shop at the grocery store after 8am....the list goes on and on. And forget trying to head west after 2:00 in the afternoon! Or anytime for that matter!

Well we're officially half way through the month now and Labor Day is only two weekends away, so I guess we can survive it. These are the waning days of the season and soon enough we'll be wearing sweatshirts to sit at the beach, right? I don't mind that actually - I love the autumn! But for now its about surviving this summer . Yes, we can do it! The question is, can we do it all again next summer?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Perspectives

It's always amusing to me how different one's perspective is from time to time in life. 

When I was young I so looked forward to sending my kids off to their grandmothers' houses. I enjoyed the time to get things done and they always had fun with their grandmothers. 

Now I'm the grandmother and I'm getting some of those kids today and I'm very excited about it!

I'm already planning the events of the day. This morning I have only the 8-year-old so we'll go off and do some fun things together. Perhaps we'll go out to breakfast, or at the very least grab a bagel and go sit at the beach. Closer to noon the younger crowd will be joining us and at that point we're here to stay so I see lunch together, baking cookies, and playing outside all on the agenda. Its supposed to be a beautiful day so we'll have a good time here at home. They always like to do puzzles and play games so those activities may well be part of the festivities too.

My perspective has changed for sure. Rather than being happy to leave them with someone else, I'm thrilled to have them left with me. Hopefully they feel the same way...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fleeting

It seems that, more and more these days, I suddenly look at the calendar (or in this case my blog) and realize that time has gotten away from me and suddenly I'm days late - with a bill payment, or a phone call., or a blog post. What is happening to time these days?

It is a fleeting thing, isn't it? It seems as though whenever you turn around a grandchild has grown a couple inches, or a plant that you just put in the ground is huge, or sadly, someone leaves this earth too soon. Time  is one of the great mysteries of life. It just goes on.

I sometimes feel as though an entire year of my life has been wasted - maybe even many years actually, but I try to remember that good things happened even during difficult times. But I honestly have so few memories of the past year that it really does seem to be lost to me. I suppose you could compare it to childbirth and say its a good things that the memories of that kind of pain diminishes over time, but the other memories, of special times with children and family memories are sad to lose.


I hope I have enough time on earth to make lots of new memories that will stay with me for years to come. That truly is the best way to erase the bad ones. I'm holding on to that idea.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Icons

We lost a couple music icons this past week and it's made me think about the effect that certain people have on the world and on the people of their generation.

I remember whenever Glenn Miller's Orchestra came on the radio or television my parents would stop what they were doing and listen. I understand it now. Because WWII was such a huge part of their lives, and that band was such a major player in the music of that era, that hearing them play must have brought a flood of memories to them. I'm not sure whether they were remembering combat, or blood drives, or wrapping bandages with the Red Cross, but their faces clearly reflected that they had been transported to a pivotal time in their lives simply by hearing the first few strains of a familiar tune.

I feel the same way this week as certain songs and voices have flooded the airwaves in response to the passing of two musical legends. 

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time

And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

This words haunt me now. They mean more than they did fifty years ago - and they are quite profound. 

Each generation has its spokespersons. For mine it was Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Glen Campbell, among others. They spoke for us and they moved our hearts and they feed our spirits as only music can. And it makes me sad to say goodbye to any of them. It was a sad week for sure.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Another Saturday

Saturdays used to be my favorite days. Not anymore.

When I was younger they were days home from school. I could sleep late, and have fun with friends. They were the best days of the week!

When I grew up they still special days because my kids were home from school and we could have family time. I loved weekends but Sundays were about church, so Saturdays were the "free" day and having no schedule was always nice.

Saturdays are not so much fun anymore. With an empty house there is no one to enjoy all that free time with. Oh, I'm sure many people love to be alone and have their "alone" time, but I'm not one of them. I'm a person who likes to socialize, to have company, to just be with people. I am lonely when I'm alone. I'm not meant to be a solitary person. And I do my best to fill my days with stuff - but Saturdays....well....they're empty days now.

So here we are at another Saturday. Its rainy so I can't go to the beach and be with family, its too busy out there to want to be on the roads to go shopping or whatever, and here I sit. Time for creative thinking! I'm going to start my book. I've been talking about writing a book for years. Maybe the time has come to do it.

Then again...I could clean up my office, which is what I really need to do....

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lessons

In attended a very intense workshop recently that dealt with a lot of introspection and self-analysis. I learned skills to help me figure out why I do and say the things I do, and how to correct behaviors that aren't healthy or productive. It's been a tough time since then as I over-think everything I say and try to adapt things I do. I'm not sure I'm young enough to still make myself a better person! LOL

Honestly I'm open to improvement. I was told at a pretty early age that I wasn't perfect so I've never had an over-
inflated opinion of myself. And I've always looked for ways to be a better person, both through spiritual work and simply by listening to others criticisms or suggestions. So its not completely new to me to work on myself. But this work is more intense and pointed than any more casual work I've done and I must say its hard. When you already have low self-esteem, it takes you even lower. Seeing yourself as others see you is very humbling. But humility is a good thing so I say bring it on.

I think this past year has been one of real destruction in terms of my sense of worth and I'm hoping that by improving myself I can begin to feel better about who I am and how I live my life. I'm not sure, but I hope so anyway. Because if we ever stop learning, ever fail to want to better ourselves, I think we're in trouble. We may as well check out of life at that point. And I'm not quite ready for that yet. And so the new chapter begins...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August

I say it every year, but August is the worst! 

Traffic is horrendous. Crowds are everywhere. Lines to buy groceries and lines to buy stamps. There is no small town here right now - this is crazy town.

I have always said if I could escape one month out of every year here, it wouldn't be February like most people - for me it would be August. I dream of a cabin on a lake in the mountains, with a screened-in porch and a little dock with a small boat tied up at the end. I  picture pine trees and crickets and peace and quiet, and never a need to go into town unless the quiet becomes overwhelming. I think of marshmallows over a fire pit and a warm down comforter to ward off the nighttime chill. THAT'S where I want to be in August!

Well that's the dream but the reality is I'm here. So I plan my trips through the village early and I drive around the outskirts as much as possible. No Montauk Highway if I can avoid it. And no grocery stores between 9am and 6pm either.

Its not easy to liver here in August, but its the sacrifice we make for the other eleven months of the year. And as of today, there are only three weeks left... 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bills

I'm sitting in my office with a desk full of bills to pay and its depressing me. When do the bills ever stop doing that?

I've always said that to me, a stress-free life would be one without bills that can't be paid. Not worrying every blessed month about how to pay bills would be heaven to me. But I imagine its nearly an impossible thing and not many people have that luxury.

When we were newly married we had to look at the bills every month and figure out who got paid that month. Sometimes we had to pay on a number of large bills, like car repairs or pharmacies, as much as we could every month until they were paid off. When money is tight, something like an unexpected brake job or child's medical costs can put a real strain on a budget. I remember paying a local mechanic $10 a month for a couple years. And when my husband had his heart attack we spent 5 years paying off the bill from the heart surgeon - $100 here, $50 there. It was a strain for sure!

Fortunately I'm not quite there at this point, but still I am sometimes late with a payment and that about kills me. I don't like being late with anything, no less money! But they do all get paid eventually.

Today my goal is to get most of them pain and to come up with a plan on those that aren't. With a tax bill sitting here I know what I need to do first. And then, I'll take it as it comes. Life can be a challenge in so many ways, not the least of which is, for most of us,
paying the bills! 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Home


After a few days of traveling I'm grateful to be home in my peaceful, happy place. 

I'm always amazed at how I relax as soon as I step back in my door after a trip. Its not only an emotional things, its a physical thing. I could feel myself relax and settle in and just knew all the stress was leaving my body as I came through my back door. I had to immediately re-enter my world, knowing the dryer was broken and I had to call the repairman first thing in the morning, and there was a pile of laundry to do, and I had no clean clothes...but still...I began to feel like like everything was OK. I was home.

Travel is fun - an adventure - but the real joy of travel is the return. Because home is truly where our hearts are - in every broken knob and every loose handle, every comfortable pillow and every box of tissues that are just within reach when I need them. This is my space. And I'm grateful for it.

And I'm not leaving it anytime soon. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Summer travel

Summer travel is not fun.

I guess that's why when you live in the northeast, people tend to stay home in the summer and travel in the winter. Because its hot out there right now!

Everything seems more difficult in the extreme heat, from carrying suitcases to renting a car. And with air travel being as unpleasant as it is now, I can't say I enjoy the procedure. Gone are the days of comfortable seats, served meals, and nice lounges at the airports. Air travel has become more like a cattle call than a special event - its something we have to endure in order to get where we want to be. I much prefer a long car trip to a short plane ride, but it is what it is and sometimes we just need to bite the bullet and get onto a plane.

So here's my rant for this trip: Why do they charge you for checking your bag when they could save time (and money - not to mention aggravation) by charging for carry-on bags in order to urge folks to use the checking system? I'm so tired of all the time wasted waiting for people to stuff those overhead bins to capacity, making everyone in line wait for them not to mention endangering everyone in close range as they wrestle those bags out later often coming close to conking someone on the head. I seem to remember a day when those overhead bins were reserved for coats and briefcases, hats, and sweaters. Gone are those days! Good luck finding a space to stow anything in one of those overhead compartments anymore. I would estimate it takes an extra fifteen minutes loading and unloading because of those suitcases - how what would that savings amount to in scheduling flights?

OK - rant over for now. By Monday I may have more. But right now I'm just praying for decent weather and no waits on the hot tarmac....

Friday, August 4, 2017

Hammock time

We were certainly blessed with some beautiful weather this past weekend, despite the overcast skies on Saturday. Sunday was one of the most spectacular days I can remember in a very long time.

There are a few days every year that you just wish you could bottle up and save for pull out when you really need them, like for a wedding or other very special event, or just because you need to spirit lift. Sunday was one of those days. I went to church, spent time at the pool with my children and grandchildren, and lay in my hammock reading a book until it was beginning to get dark. It was a picture-perfect day and made me think, even if only for a moment, that life would someday be happy and beautiful for me again. I haven't felt that way much this past year so it was a nice change.

I think if I could have that day again, knowing ahead of time how beautiful it would be, I would begin it by watching the sunrise over the water at Montauk Point by the lighthouse. Then breakfast in Montauk, working my way along the stretch to Amagansett and perhaps for a walk along the bay side. Lunch someplace outside would be nice, maybe in Sag Harbor along Main Street, followed by a walk along the street and out to Long Wharf. I think I would work my way west a little more and end in Hampton Bays for dinner at one of their outdoor restaurants on the ocean. I would save my cocktail for home, coming back to East Hampton and walking to The Palm for a cocktail before wandering home for a good night's sleep after a very long day. But what a day it would have been.

My dream life. Happy and beautiful again, maybe....
 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hydrangeas

Has there ever been a better year for hydrangeas on the East End of Long Island? I don't think so! At least not in my memory!

This has been an amazing month with the hydrangea bushes in full bloom. After a few years of paltry offerings and few blossoms, this year the hydrangea bushes have outdone themselves with full,m fat blooms, completely covering each specimen from the lace caps to the pee gees and everything in between. I've seen more variation in colors, from the deepest purples and pinks to the beautiful blues, and more variety of types, than ever before, and all of them are spectacular.

Hydrangeas have always flourished here on the east end, and I remember my mother taking cutting
s from my grandfather's bush many years ago where it now grows by her back door. I'm sure the folks who live in that house have no idea the bush's pedigree, but when I look at it I see my grandfather in his gardening clothes, lovingly pruning his bushes and beloved begonias that he planted surrounding his house just down the road from me.  Just as my lilacs will always be "my mother's lilacs" because I took shoots from her bushes to plant here, that hydrangea I can see from my driveway by my mother's back door will always be "Grandpa's" bush. Its out memories that keep us content in our later years, isn't it?

Well this truly has been a banner year for our hydrangeas and I don't know why (no doubt some connection to spring rainfall or winter cold, as these things always are) but I'm enjoying it very much. They are one of my favorite flowers and to me, they always will say "home".

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Travel

Today is travel day for me and I'm a bit apprehensive about it. I'm not much of a summer traveler, preferring to stay at home and never leave my house during these crazy busy months of the year. I suppose that's the resort mentality I've grown up with, but nevertheless, I rarely leave East Hampton and I never fly in the summer.

I hope to change that pattern soon though. I hope by net summer I'll be doing a regular August trip of some sort. I've always wanted to see more of the country and it seems as though this is the time of year to do it. I love to drive the Pacific Highway, for instance, and explore the badlands of North Dakota. I wold also enjoy more exploration of New England and the western states. So perhaps I'll find more travel in the summer as these years pass. We'll see.

For now at least, I worry about the travel time to Kennedy airport, the heat and humidity of my destination, and the long delays that seem to be a regular part of air travel in the heart of the summer. We'll see how it goes. I'm not expecting smooth sailing. But I will be relieved to get where I'm going in one piece.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New day

Today is a new and exciting day for East End residents as the Southampton Hospital officially merges with Stony Brook University Medicine. Its been a long time coming, and its a welcome culmination to a drawn-out process.

This change will be a good thing for everyone who lives out here at the end of the earth. (So it seems when we need help, right?) With the era of telemedicine and the new availability of all sorts of specialists in their system, our little community hospital is going to become a formidable partner in the health system out here on the South Fork, for sure. 

We have always been very fortunate here to have generous benefactors who have kept our hospital healthy and up-to-date in terms of facility and equipment, and we are also blessed to be a place that people want to live, including doctors who have the same issues of affordable housing that all of us do. But many are willing to make the sacrifice to live here and enjoy the beauty all around us. But now we are stepping into a totally new era of availability in terms of what we will have access to here on the East End. And I'm grateful for that.

Congratulations to the administration of Southampton Hospital for their hard work to get us to this place, and to the residents of the East End who will be the real recipients of the gift. Its a very good day.

Monday, July 31, 2017

31st

Today, July 31st, is the date my parents married way back in 1948. And I always think about them on this day.

I heard the story many times. They met in college and married when my dad graduated (he was a year behind Mom because of WWII and she taught school for a year while he finished up) Dad was from East Hampton but Mom was from Buffalo, so they were to be married in the big Baptist Church there where my grandmother was the organist. At this moment I am wracking my brain trying to remember the name of the church - I knew it for so many years and suddenly can't seem to come up with it. It no longer exists, but should be part of the story! Perhaps by the end of the blog it will come to me.

Anyway, my father's family made the long trek upstate, which is 1948 was not an easy one. My uncles and aunt were in the wedding, along with some of my parents' friends from college. I've seen the photos and it looked to be a lovely wedding party. The one thing that they talked about more than any other though was the heat. Apparently despite the fact that the wedding took place at 7:00 in the evening, it was brutally hot and humid, in the days long before air conditioned churches. Mom told me once that at one point the minister pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to my father because he was sweating so badly. Imagine being in a white dinner jacket with cummerbund and bow tie in that heat! Apparently they were also worried about people passing out.


Photos in the wedding album show the reception in the church hall and the happy couple leaving in their traveling clothes amid a shower of rice, her in her dark suit and huge white orchid corsage and him in his blue double-breasted number, both of them looking handsome and full of the hope and expectations of their age and the event. They had a simple honeymoon in a cabin someplace in upstate.

I remember the story and I replay it in my mind every year in honor of my parents and the optimism and love they shared at that moment, on that day, so many years ago. Life hits us all pretty hard with reality soon enough, but that was a magic day for them and so for me its a wonderful memory, even though I wasn't there.

Oh, and yes, it was the Prospect Avenue Baptist Church. If I ever get to Buffalo again I'm going to search it out and see what's there now. Because its really where my story, such as it is, began.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Window boxes

I have been struggling for years now with my window boxes. I wish I could find an answer for them.

We added window boxes to the front of our house quite a few years ago now. With white shutters and trim and a brown shingled house, window boxes seemed to be just the right touch to add a little color and interest to our otherwise neutral exterior (other than the front door, which I seem to change every few years. Its been red, yellow, blue, and now, green.) But nothing we plant in those boxes seems to be the right formula.

I think the problem is that the lower boxes get more sun and the upper boxes get more shade. One of the upstairs boxes is completely in shadow as its under a rather large Japanese maple tree. So what do you plant that tolerates both shade and full sun well? We've tried geraniums, impatiens, coleus, ivy - all sorts of different things, none of which look great in all the boxes. This year my lower boxes are thriving and full and look beautiful and lush but the ones upstairs are scraggly and limp and simply look horrible. 

Now I imagine that they all have different needs in terms of watering and assume perhaps the ones upstairs need either more or less than they are getting. But since I have to water them from the bedrooms (through the screens in the windows) I can't stick my fingers into the soil and see if its too wet or too dry. So I go with an every-other-day schedule. But it doesn't seem to be working.

I wish I were a more educated person when it comes to flowers. I long for beautiful, full, colorful window boxes to make my house look lovely all summer long. My mother had a wonderful green thumb and if she was still around I might have some help in this area. But I'm on my own. And not doing too well.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Fair

There's a saying here in East Hampton that it never rains on the LVIS Fair. I remember more than a few times that it did indeed rain, but today looks like it might be the perfect day for a record setting income. Right now its very overcast, its cool, its not a beach day, and although the rain is threatening, I don't think it will be anything other than a shower here or there. Nothing to keep people away from the fair, and in fact, enough to make attendance pretty great. After all, they aren't going to be flocking to the beach, and there isn't all that much else to do around here on a day like today.

The LVIS (Ladies Village Improvement Society) is a venerable group of women here in town who began over 100 years ago in an effort to get the dust down on the village streets. They banded together to buy a water wagon that would sprinkling the streets every day and keep them wet enough to make the usual dust storms unlikely. It was a good effort and apparently they decided there were other things they could do to improve life here in our already pretty lovely town. Today they tend to some public greens, plant and care for trees, and look after many of our beautiful spaces among other things. And every year a good deal of their support comes from the proceeds of this, their annual fair.

Since I was old enough I have worked at the fair, although I'm not a member of the LVIS. (When I finally had time in my life to devote to volunteer work I weighed several options for my energy and when it came down to the LVIS and the East Hampton Historical Society, I chose the latter simply because the former seemed to be doing just fine without me, but I knew the historical society could use my help!) As a child I worked behind the scenes at the fishing booth, attaching prizes to the fishing lines of younger children who were looking for something special to pull out of the "pond". As I got older I always donated a layer cake or pie to the baked goods booth. I've even been in charge of a booth myself. But in the past twenty years I've been stationed upstairs, our of sight for the most part, counting money and enjoying the often much appreciated air conditioning. And that's where I'm headed today.

So the bottom line is, I don't much care what the weather is outside for this event, because I'm usually not effected by it. But I do want the organization to make as much money as they can today and I'm thrilled that it looks to be an absolutely great day for the fair.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The kids

My grandchildren are one of the great joys of my life, and this summer was an especially fun one. I spent more time at the beach than in past years and enjoyed watching them play in the surf or building sand castles. There's great freedom for kids at the beach and their joy there is infectious.

The great thing about being a grandparent is that you really get to sit back and enjoy each stage of childhood. Without all the stress that goes along with child rearing, you can simply sit on the sidelines and watch. In my case I have them from the ages of 15 all the way down to age 3 so there's a great range of all things to enjoy.

I remember back to when my oldest went off the college. It was a sobering year for us, realizing we had one that was ready to leave the nest and knowing we weren't ready to let her go. Also realizing that we were getting along in years and time was passing us by too quickly.  I was happy to have an eight-year-old still at home because we could go from watching a college concert, to a high school show, to a middle school event, and finally to an elementary school activity. And getting to go back to the elementary school made me feel as though perhaps I wasn't quite done with parenthood yet, and I liked that. Because being a parent was what I enjoyed most about life.


Sadly those years are past for me now, but watching the grand kids grow beings back so many memories and and seeing their joy in the simple things helps keep me focused on the things that are important in life. I hope to be around long enough to see a great-grandchild or two, and be able to start the cycle all over again.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Down

Today is one of the saddest days of my year - my daughter's family is heading home after their nice long stay here. I'll be a bit depressed all day and working on keeping myself busy.

I trust the weather will cooperate. Yesterday was one chilly, wet day - so much like the fall that I was walking around with a zip-up fleece all day in my house. It was a very odd time for the end of July!

I must say the flowers are gorgeous right now through! We've had some rain and some sun and everything is beautifully in bloom. And for the first time in quite a few years now I've had blossoms on my yellow day lilies. I'm not suite sure what that means.


I planted these lilies about ten years ago and they were so lovely for the first four years. They border my walkway to the back door and always made me smile. But about 4 years ago the deer discovered them and ever since they've been total no-shows. For whatever reason I went out this year and, although many former buds had clearly been chewed off, there were some fresh ones that looked promising. I immediately hit them with my deer spray and lo and behold, I've had at least half a dozen bloom. I'm thrilled because I thought it was a lost cause but now have hope that perhaps I will again see those day lilies flourish. Perhaps the deer have found better feeding grounds, or maybe the herd has thinned out - I have no idea the reason. But for this year at least, I'm grateful. And optimistic even for next.

No doubt the hot and humid weather we had less than four days ago is going to return. After all, we still have all of August to get through. But we've also had a taste of autumn and in four short weeks it will be September. My how time - and life - goes by. We need to enjoy it as it passes, gathering our lilies while we may. 

I am missing my kids today. But so grateful for their visit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Swings

Talk about swings in the weather! One day I'm dying in the heat and humidity and today I need to go find a sweater! Yikes!

The cloud cover today is making for a dismal day anyway, but this cool temperature is annoying. I don't mind comfortable numbers but this is downright chilly. I'm sitting here typing and shivering and I need to go grab a sweatshirt out of the closet before I continue....

Now that's I've made myself more comfortable I can say this reminds me of late September. And I noticed this morning that it was much darker at 5:30 than it has been, which means the days are getting noticeably shorter already.  How can it still be July?

I think this summer is flying by with the speed of my life these days - it does seem that once you get over the hill, like me, you begin to pick up speed. I have no idea how many years I have left on the earth but if this year is any indication they'll be zipping by like the scenery in a fast-moving train. There ear so many moments when I just want to freeze everything and be ale to enjoy it a little longer, but such is the nature of life. Time passes and that which is wasted is never to be reclaimed. I feel a bit as though this past year has been wasted and I resent that, I have to admit. Of course its been a learning experience, but it hasn't been fun, and I can't even remember much of it. And that makes me angry. Life is too precious to waste and throwing any of it away is not my desire. I wish I could get this year back, or return to an earlier time and do things differently leading up to it, but what's passed is passed and its gone forever now.

Rather like this weather - one moment we can be happily going along with life, enjoying our moments and treasuring them all, and the next it all disappears. I can only hope for better days ahead.

Monday, July 24, 2017

MRI


Today is "Annual MRI Day" for me. Because once you enter cancer world, you never get out.

Every year, as a cancer survivor (of course we're never really a cancer survivor until we die of something else! LOL) I have to have an MRI. I hate this test. Its long, its loud, and its uncomfortable. And worst of all, they meed to get an IV in me, which in my case can be torture before the actual test even begins.

Anyway, I need to do this every year, and this is the day.

But I think even worst than the test itself is the inevitable return to the unknown. Because we are forced to consider the "what ifs". 

After eight years I really don't think about cancer all that much. Not like the early years where it was never far from my mind. But now, its only the doctor's visits, or the annual tests, that bring it to mind. And that comes along with the fears and concerns that always accompany the thought of cancer. Its such an insidious thing. And in this case, today is one of those days. 

So I'll soon head over to the hospital where I'll undergo an hour of uncomfortable, unpleasant procedure, and then I'll relax a bit until I get the all clear signal from the doctor's office in a couple of days.  Cancer world. Many of us live there. Those who don't have no idea...