Friday, February 17, 2017


Break

Yesterday was bright and sunny out and there was so much snow melt the day before that large patches of green were visible in the field across the street. My driveway is nearly clear now and that's always a big indicator of the warm weather because its in the shadow of the house next door and always take a long time to thaw. So we are clearly in the warmer days now and this weekend promises to be no different.

I'm not looking forward to the weekend really. Its a long one and I have no plans - none at all - and I fear boredom will set in. I have ways to combat that enemy, but they aren't very exciting and could be dangerous. Shopping, for instance, is always a possibility but money is tight and its not a good idea. Unless I shop for Christmas at all the sales. Then I can justify the expenditures. So that's a possibility.

The temperatures are supposed to be mild so a walk on the beach might be called for. Always more fun with a friend, but most people are busy doing their own thing this weekend. I rather anticipate doing some work around the house - I still haven't completed the closet clean-out and reorganization. Mostly out of laziness but I have been busy and its been shoved to the back burner. Perhaps that should be my main focus. I have lots and lots of empty spaces now so I need to vacuum, dust, and then start deciding how to organize my much smaller wardrobe. It could easily take me the entire day on Saturday but what a sense of accomplishment I would have by the end of it! I think that's my goal. I could use the sense of organization and place in my life right now. It would be a good antidote for what ails me.

OK - Its settled then. I'm spending Saturday in my room. I'll be cleaning, sorting, folding, and hanging for hours. And then I'll feel really good. And maybe a little lonely. But hey - its a good start for a long weekend! I'll report back later.....maybe even with photos.....

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Company

I'm trying to decide whether or not to entertain this weekend. I had company for dinner last weekend, and already have plans to have some next weekend, and wonder if I should take this week off or take advantage of the slow time of the year to cook again and have friends in.

My friends have been a real lifeline for me these past eight months and I love them for it. Within a week of my world falling apart, a friend called and said "Please come to dinner Saturday night. We'd love to see you!" It was the first of many invitations that have come my way and I treasure each one of them. Because they are expressions of love and I know they are the only way people know how to say "We're so sorry you're going through this but we want you to know you aren't alone" and that's the way I feel. Even on the loneliest nights I know there are others out there who would come in an instant if I called and said "Help!". It has sustained me as nothing else has, other than perhaps the love of my family. My children, my grandchildren, my brother and sisters and nieces and nephews - all have gone out of their way for me and done their best to help me through my crisis. Such things are never forgotten.

So company has become a bit of a lifeline for me. Having people come in has given me focus as I cook, clean the house, bake pies, etc. I think about the people coming and what they mean to me and I find joy in doing nice things for them. Its small thanks for all they've done for me.

But...I have been busy of late and it might not be a bad thing to take this weekend off. Thus the dilemma. Sit at home alone and risk feeling lonely, or spend Saturday working so the house can be full of laughter at night? Its a trade off for sure. 

I think I'll decide tomorrow. Because tomorrow is another day....

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentines

Yesterday was, of course, Valentine's Day, and I found myself all day thinking about the Valentine's Days of my youth. I wished I could return to grade school again, when we all loved each other and it wasn't about romance at all.

I seem to remember that every year we would make valentine holders of some type in class. They would be enveloped decorated with lace and hearts, or small boxes to keep our cards in. Then some luck person would be chosen to make the class Valentine box. I was able to do it a couple of times (my teachers all recognized my artistic bent from a pretty early age and I loved doing those kind of projects in class) and I remember covering a good sized cardboard box with pink and red tissue paper or construction paper and then decorating with hearts of all types and sizes. On Valentine's eve I sat at home with a class list and chose just the right little valentine for each one on the list. I signed them, stuffed them in their tiny envelopes, and then wrote the recipients name on the outside. The next day they all went in to school and into the big box on the teacher's desk.

At the appointed hour - no doubt after lunch and not long before school let out, the box would be opened and cards distributed. I loved opening them all and seeing the different sentiments and illustrations. There was usually a party of some kind with punch and candy or cookies. Then we would take our cards home and usually a gift for Mom and Dad as well. It made Valentine's Day about loving everyone in our lives and I liked that.

Once I became of age I knew what Valentine's Day was really about and for so many years I searched high and wide for the perfect gift for the man in my life. It had to be red, or pink, and I found all kinds of things to fit that criteria from sweatshirts to tools, always thrilled to find a perfect carpenter's level or nice corduroy shirt in bright red to wrap and give as a symbol of my love.

I don't have someone in my life anymore to give those expressions of my romantic love and I miss it. Its a sad thing for me because I still feel as though I have love to offer someone. But I do have people in my life that I love, and I still make sure my grandchildren get Valentine's from me so they know how much I love them. Its not quite the same as getting something from a sweetheart, but at this point it will have to do.

But if I could go back to grade school again, I would in a minute. Because I still remember those warm and fuzzy feelings when I came home with my stash of cards. Somebody loved me. Or at the very least cared what happened to me. And that was all I needed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Whiteness

We've had snow on the ground for days now and every time I drive down one of the lanes in the village I'm struck by how pretty it looks. There's something so clean and bright about the snow covering everything, and even though its fallen off the trees and they're winter-bare again, the side of the road is beautiful and every one's yards look pretty where the blanket still keeps the dirt and grass covered and the sun bounces around in every direction.

As I sit in my home office I look across the field to the cemetery and there's white everywhere. The tombstones stand out like soldiers against the backdrop of white and I can even see the individual pickets in the fence. Even the trees look nicer against the snow and I love that its managed to stay around a little longer than usual this time. The walkways are clear, the roads are fine, and its all good. 


The winter of 2017 will be a memory soon enough and we'll be marking headlong into spring in only a few short weeks. These are still not easy times for me and my heart is breaking more than its bursting with joy so I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. I know time is a great healer, but I also want to enjoy the beauty around me while I can. And that moment is now - never to return again. As I've learned all too well life is far too short. If only I had another 40 years left to re-do my mistakes! But alas, mine is reaching its end and nothing can change what's passed. The best I can do is savor the moments and enjoy every day, which is what I'm trying to do. I'm sorry the things I tried to do with my life turned out to be pearls before swine, but at the very least I can keep my head up and continue moving forward, enjoying moments of beauty and loving what I have. 

East Hampton is beautiful in the snow. And I'm loving it.    

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lincoln

Yesterday was President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. When I was young it was a day off of school - we had two in February: Lincoln's birthday on the 12th and Washington's on the 22nd. At some point when I was in high school (I think) they combined them into "President's Day", always to be celebrated on a Monday for ever after. I think we are missing something by not celebrating each of them as they were very special leaders in this country, and today with the sad lack of leadership we're experiencing it might be nice to be reminded of what good leadership truly is. And isn't. But - I am wandering into political territory here which I don't like to do, so that's all I'm going to say about that.

Regardless, I think the fact that we celebrated Lincoln's birthday every year led to more educational opportunities about him at school. I remember every year as we approached his birthday we would discuss in class who he was, what he did, and what made him a great president. Different teachers would find interesting ways to teach us about his legacy and the way his leadership changed the nation for the better so long ago. I wonder if that still happens to the same extent. We would often make art projects focused on his presidency and I remember more than one portrait of him being cut out and mounted over the elementary school years. I think its too bad we don't focus on him as much anymore.

Well it wouldn't be a bed thing to acknowledge, especially with our children, that honesty, integrity, and grace are the kind of attributes we value in our leaders. Abraham Lincoln had them in abundance. Perhaps if we stressed those things a little more we wouldn't be faced with the lack of integrity in our leadership today.

Of there I go again. Sometimes I just can't help myself....

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Entertaining

I had company last night. I made a pork roast in the crock pot, some scalloped potatoes, the homemade apple sauce made last autumn came out of the freezer, and a nice fresh chocolate pie together made for a nice meal. But more than that, it was reaffirming and encouraging to have friends in my home.

I've tried to keep a somewhat "normalcy" to my routine, despite the fact that my life will never be "normal" again as far as I'm concerned. But I want very much to move on and make a new life for myself, and a large part of that strategy is trying to do all the things I've always done and enjoyed. Some have been easier than others to accomplish but overall I think I've managed pretty well to do just that. Entertaining has been a big part of the effort.

My mother was a great entertainer. She loved having friends in for different celebrations and throughout my childhood I remember my parents having friends over on Saturday nights for dinner. I would hear the laughter floating up the stairs where we children were sent once the greetings were exchanged and we had politely said our hellos to whomever was arriving. I envied that "grownup" thing, entertaining and talking about grownup issues. And the laughter - always the laughter. So it was a natural thing to me to want to have people in to my home once I had my own. And I did.

I remember my first dinner party very well because I think I was overreaching a little. The first year of my marriage was spent establishing my relationship and being pregnant, so it wasn't until I had a two-month-old infant that I attempted my first one. I didn't quite anticipate how complicated that might be, and my husband and I spent the entire meal with a baby across one of our laps. She was not cooperative at all. Lesson learned.

After that I began to improve on my skills, but it took me years to relax and enjoy the process. For too many year I was uptight about the cleanliness of my house and how I might be judged. In time I learned that true friends don't care if there is dust on the mantel, and I also figured out that candlelight hides a host of things in its ambient glow. By the time I'd been doing it for twenty years I was finally enjoying every minute of it and company on Saturday nights became a regular part of our routine. Not every week, of course, but every few weeks we would gather friends and enjoy dinner around our little dining room table. Of course my dinner parties have never been as formal as my mother's, but that's a sign of the times. I remember my mother dressing in her nicest dresses, with lots of jewelry and make-up and everyone arriving the same way - suits and dresses and fancy accessories all around. The '50s and '60s were a bit more "dressy" than modern times and now my friends are more likely to arrive in corduroy and denim than silk and pearls. A little comfort is a nice thing! And I do like people to feel comfortable in my home.

Anyway, keeping that tradition alive has been a real gift for me this year. And last night reaffirmed my commitment to entertaining. The conversation and obvious affection of those around the table was affirming and wonderful and I went to bed feeling like my old self again. Then this morning when I got up and came downstairs to check my messages there was an email from one of the guests thanking me for the lovely evening. The last line, which I knew to be a word of encouragement and love, was :"Life can be good". I got the message. And indeed it can.