Friday, July 25, 2014

The city

Every time I go into "the city", which of course means Manhattan, I feel like such a country mouse.

Wednesday I spent the day there courtesy of my daughter who bought tickets to go see The Lion King with her kids (along with my niece and her kids). We had such a great day, despite the heat and humidity and my aching legs yesterday! But it never fails to make me feel insignificant in the world, and a little lost in that metropolis. Times Square is overwhelming with the numbers of people and crazy sights to see. Everything from "naked" cowboys to ladies dressed like princesses in purple sequins and tiaras - we saw it all.

The feeling of being small and unimportant cannot help but follow you, and yet there are also moments of personal connectiveness that make you happy to be human, like the theater manager holding on to the iPod left behind and returning it with a smile to a frantic twelve-year-old, or the waiter in the restaurant who was so attentive and kind. There is a touch of human kindness wherever we go, even in a city of millions.

I never feel competent in the city. I don't even try using the subway, although looking for a cab at rush hour made me which I had the guts to learn it. And I love that the best of everything i just within reach, like the amazing cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery.

Most of the fun was being with family, or course, but there is always adventure to be had in "the city".

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beaching

The kids have had plenty of days at the beach this summer - the weather has been pretty spectacular.

I always feel badly when the summer weather is bad. Every few years we have one that involved a lot of rain and overcast days, which are hardly the thing that we would call great "beach weather". I know the local shops may enjoy that weather - they certainly benefit from it - but the folks who pay a lot of money for their vacation on the sand certainly don't. There is nothing fun about being cooped up in a hotel room, that's for sure. So my sympathies are with them when that happens. But this year, at least so far, that has not bee a problem. We've had plenty of sun and blue skies.

Of course August could be another story. The one thing that's always true about the weather is it is uncontrollable. More predictable now than in years past, but still - it is what it is. Hopefully it will be beautiful in August too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ants

We have been plagued by ants this year. I don't know if its a local problem or only ours, but this old house seems to attract them and I find them very annoying.

Usually when they appear they are the big ones and they appear in the kitchen. But this year they are almost microscopic and they have come up through a tiny hold next to the shower in the bathroom upstairs. Suddenly there they were, swarming around this tiny opening between the wall and the floor, and it took days for an ant trap to do its work. Now its a matter of vacuuming up what's left behind.

It's always something - mice in the fall, ants in the summer - I suppose  should be grateful I don't live where the scorpions or lizards reside. I'm not sure I could handle that...


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Clouds

On Friday last week I remarked to my granddaughter that there was not a single cloud in the clear, bright blue sky. She and I were driving to Amagansett along Further Lane and it was a beautiful drive. I was struck by the colors of the green trees against the amazing deep blue and we both admired the wonderful summer day. The following day the sky was obliterated completely with clouds, an overcast and dark day. What a contrast!

We didn't mind the
clouds though as we had tickets to a theater production of "Mary Poppins" at the Patchogue Theater and it was nice not to have a perfect beach day to waste inside. Some of the family spent time on the water in their boat in the morning but by noon we were all heading west and it was a fun day for kids and adults alike. That show is a great family outing and a good time was had by all. We've been enjoying our family time this summer while the "out-of-staters" are here and the kid are all loving their cousin time.

Sometimes the clouds show up at the most opportune times. Saturday was one of the for us.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fleeting

Time is never more fleeting than these weeks when our daughter and her family are visiting from their home in Pennsylvania.

I think we are fortunate beyond measure that this part of our family is able to come spend so many weeks with us in the summer every year. Few people I know who have family in other parts of the country have this rare opportunity for being together. So I'm not at all ungrateful. But I have to say in some ways its harder to see them go after such an extended stay. We become so accustomed to seeing them every day, to being with the kids and laughing with them, playing with them, just being part of their lives, that the loss is felt even more painfully than when our visits are for a short weekend or just a few days. We become familiar with their uniqueness and find great joy in their presence. As I said, I know how lucky we are. But.....

I often think back to earlier times when no one ever wandered far from home, unless they were ministers or some other profession where they had to move from place to place. For the most part people were born, raised, married, and died in the same communities up until about WWII when our society became so mobile. I think I should have been born about 100 years ago. Then the longing for loved ones far from home would not even be an issue.

But alas, life has its challenges, and this is one of them today. So we face it and we deal with it and make the best of it, right? For me, these precious few weeks in the summer, when all my family is in the same place and we can sit around the deck on a summer evening watching the children play and laughing together, well they are totally the best of life.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weeds

Yes indeed, true to form, the weeds are beginning to take over at my house.

My mother was a champion weeder. She was constantly in her garden, even at the age of 80, on her knees in the dirt. She would be covered in brown when she was done, but it gave her actual pleasure to pull those weeds and work in her garden. I wish I had both her joy and the time to find it. I hate weeding, probably in no small part that I have arthritis in my knees and its downright painful for me to be on them for long, not to mention the difficult in getting up to an upright position when I'm done. So weeding is no small task for me. I try to do it standing, which takes a toll on the back in very short order, so my weeding times are not long. I assume if I do a few minutes here and a few minutes there it will add up to a weeded garden, but it doesn't. By this time every year things are looking pretty shabby.

Well, it is what it is. I wish I could afford to have someone come weed for me, but I can't, and as hard as I've tried to create a maintenance-free garden area, there really is no such thing. So I think August will forever be known around my house as the month of the weeds....

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Heaven

Yesterday morning I got up and dressed and realized I needed a sweater. Could this really be the end of July?

I'm not sure what we did to deserve this, but the weather has been outstanding this year so far. I am almost fearing August because it seems as though the heat and humidity must be lurking somewhere right around the corner. I mean, can this really be the most perfect summer ever in terms of weather or are we in for a miserable August, or a hurricane, or some other disastrous thing. I am a little bit afraid.

Well no matter - I am simply taking this one day at a time and enjoying this wonderful month of not too hot, not too humid weather and I'll take the next month as it comes. After all, half a wonderful summer is better than none!

As one of those rare people who isn't particularly fond of summer, I'm not at all unhappy.