Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August gone

Today is the last day of August and it is a welcome day. I've been looking forward to September now for a few weeks and tomorrow at last, it will be here. Along with September comes Labor Day and this weekend will be our final, insane, busy days - we all deserve to have East Hampton back again and we can actually see it now. The end is near!

This has been a busy, busy summer and I enjoyed every minute of it. The grandchildren "from away" were here for a month, we attended a family wedding, we had old friends visit, we worked for a week at Vacation Bible School, and we did a 5K. We were running constantly and enjoying life and celebrating family. It was a great year.

On the down side, we almost never entertained friends on our back deck. I hope I'll find time in September to do that. I want to light the candles and grill the chicken and I want to laugh with people who I like to laugh with. Sometimes there is just too much life to fit in to the time we have to spend. And as I get older it seems as though time moves faster and there is less and less time to do the things we want to do. I'm thinking my bucket list is hopeless!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Children

Every year on my childrens' birthdays I think about what my life would have been - or would be - like had I never had them. I remember a poll that columnist Ann Landers did about twenty years ago where she asked readers if they could do it all over again would they have children. The results were overwhelming - they said "no". If I remember, the vote was about 7 to 3 with people wishing they'd never had children at all. How sad that made me then and how sad it makes me now.

I think having children was the best thing I ever did in my life. I have a good marriage and I think we could have been very happy (and maybe rich!) had we never had our four kids, but our lives would have been much poorer emotionally for it. I'm sure raising children is not for everyone, but for me it was a calling. My soul was fed by those little people and I've never regretted a single year I spent with them. Now that they're grown I miss their daily presence in my life but they continue to enrich it in ways I could never have imagined years ago. They make me a better person with their honesty and accountablilty and they hold me up with their support and love. I know that there were six things that kept me going last year when things were looking grim: God, my husband, and my four children.

Today one of my babies has a birthday. It was over thirty years ago that she was born but to me it seems like yesterday. It was one of the best days of my life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jitney joy

I love the Hampton Jitney.

I remember quite well the days when the only way to get into Manhattan was by train or car. the train took three hours. It was a long, boring trip with the change in Jamaica to deal with - always a source of stress to me. There was the whole "Make sure you get of the right side of the train in Jamaica" thing to think about. And it took forever. I was never a huge fan of the LIRR and the few trips I took in that way did nothing to ever change that opinion. In those years my husband made buying trips in and out a few times a year for business and the train ride was part of the deal.

Of course there was always the car option but that involved traffic, traffic, and more traffic. Once on Manhattan, there was the issue of finding a garage and paying the exorbitant price to keep one's car there for the day. It wasn't much of an option.

Then along came Jim Davidson with his ingenious little buses that would drive people in and out of the city - in less than three hours! Wonderful! Now we have these beautiful luxury liners running in and out all day, every day, doing what the MTA couldn't seem to manage despite all the tax money we send to them every single year. Today I'll be heading home from my weekend in NYC and at the end of a busy few days of training, that nice ride home on the Hampton Jitney will be a welcome chance to unwind. I don't use it often - ertainly not like some of the regular communters do. But when the opportunity presents itself, it's a wonderful thing!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lost weekends

This summer had been a series of lost weekends for me. We've had company, we've gone to weddings, we've had a yard sale, and our weekends have passed us by, one after another, with absolutely nothing done around our house or yard.

Saturdays are work days at our house. Generally speaking I clean inside while my husband works on the outside. In the winter there are painting projects and major cleaning/organizing projects inside. And always, there are toilets to clean, floors to vacuum, and corners to dust.

So...my house is a wreck. I have some major projects on the agenda for this fall, including a reno on our home office/sun porch. But it's looking more and more like it will never get done because I haven't found the time yet to get it cleaned out and ready for scrapping and painting.

My real dream? To be Samantha Stevens of Bewitched and have the ability to twitch my nose and make things happen. I could never understand her pledge not to use witchcraft because if I had the abilities she did, I would have used them to the limit. My room would be painted and redecorated, my yard would be raked and trimmed, and my house would never need more than a twitch to tidy it up. Now that would be a dream come true!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Phew~

Can't believe we're at the final weekend in August - what a crazy summer this has been! I feel as though I'm just getting off of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and my legs are a bit wobbly. I've careened from one weekend to another, busy on every one of them, with company in the house and trips out of town and many wonderful events to attend, organize, and appreciate. Compared to last summer, this has been a joyous gift - a summer of good health and happy memories and a very grateful heart.

I work at not complaining that I'm too busy or too tired, because even when I do feel that way I'm happy to be able to. Feeling well enough to work hard and play hard is a gift. I'll never take that gift for granted again. Ever.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

NYC

Today I'm joining a friend on the Hampton Jitney and heading west for the weekend. We're attending the state EMS conference and this is the closest its every been to us. Over the years I've been attending these conferences I've been to Albany, Syracuse, the Catskills, and Saratoga Springs - always we've had to get into a car and drive for hours and hours to get to wherever it was held that particular year. This seems to be the norm when you live at the far end of the island - we have to travel for just about anything. (I remember when I was involved with PTA and the Suffolk County officers always complained that we never came to their functions, which were held in Huntington or Bay Shore. Finally they agreed to have one in Southampton and - big surprise - no one from west of the Shinnecock Canal made the trip! I think our point was made) I'm thrilled that I can get on a Jitney and be at conference in two hours and can't wait to spend the weekend in good old Manhattan.

The biggest change in having conference in the city is we'll always have something to do. Most years, once you're in from dinner there's not much else to do other than play cards in some one's hotel room or congregate in a hotel lobby. In NYC we'll be able to choose from movies, Broadway shows, cabaret clubs, or lots and lots of little places where we'll be able to sit and have drinks and unwind. There will be many hours of classes every day, beginning at 8am, so unwinding is always nice. And its a great time for bonding with my fellow ambulance volunteers.

It's going to be a good week-end with lots of good training and a few good laughs. I'll be tired when we get back Sunday night, but it should be fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Counting down

Every year at this time I wish I had a cabin in the mountains to spend the last two weeks in August. Because this is when the countdown begins and we feel as though we can barely tolerate the final days of insanity here on the east end.

All weekend I kept saying to myself "Two more weeks....two more weeks...." as I battled the traffic and tried to get the things done that needed to be done. It seems impossible that we natives are expected to live our normal lives while all this craziness is happening around us.

And indeed, its easy now to look ahead to September and long for those beautiful days of warm weather and calmer streets, when we can get around easily from one place to another and not have to deal with the crowds wherever we go. Even the beaches will be more compelling, cool and comfortable and empty at any time. Ah yes, only two more weeks and it will be true.

Summer is wonderful here but even we who are used to it after a lifetime of dealing with the nonsense are ready for it to be over. Because September is the real summer for us locals, when we can enjoy the beauty of our home territory in peace and quiet, all by ourselves and content to be here. We tolerate August because we can taste September....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Travel time

It occurred to me recently on one of my many trips west that in the summer these days it takes as long to get to Southampton as it did to get to Riverhead twenty years ago.How crazy is that? Last week I made four or five trips to see doctors and have blood work done and the worst trip took nearly an hour. It truly blows my mind.

I'm not sure where this will lead in this crazy world out here but at some point when is it enough? Will we find a way to cap the number of cars that can traverse our roads, a la Bermuda? Or will we see a superhighway built over our little towns at some point, ruining everything we know and love here? I can't imagine how this will all end but I do know this: some thing's got to give sometime. We can not continue on this way or we'll be choking on the exhaust and expiring on the back roads, unable to get out onto Rt. 27 to buy groceries or see doctors. It's crazy out there and there's only so much more any of us can take.

Perhaps its time to declare everything east of the Shinnecock Canal a sovereign state and declare our independence. Then we can indeed be like Bermuda, stopping all non-resident cars before they cross over the canal and sending their owners on buses or trains to the east end. Residents would be allowed two cars per family and public transportation would be amazing. Sounds a bit like Shangrila, doesn't it?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ellen's Run II

Last year as I was recovering from chemo I responded to the urging of my family and put a team together for Ellen's Run. It was a great experience despite the fact that I had no energy and couldn't manage to walk the course myself. I was touched by the fact that my children, who were never big on exercise, participated for me, and had no idea at the time that for one of them it would mean a life-changing day.

My daughter walked with her son and she struggled to get through the three mile walk. When it was over she realized that she was out-of-shape and overweight and didn't want to spend the rest of her life standing on the sidelines. So she made some changes. We began going to the gym together every morning before the sun was up and she changed her eating habits. We both worked on getting healthy as my energy returned and her resolve strengthened. Throughout the winter we worked on our bodies and minds and vowed to make this a different experience this year.

This year we approached Ellen's Run with great anticipation as she's lost nearly 90 lbs and I, 30. Both of us knew we were going to find defining moments at the run this year and we did. Yesterday my daughter ran the 3.1 mile course and I walked it with the energy and strength that we had both worked so hard to achieve. For each of us, crossing the finish line meant something very profound and personal. And I was so proud of her - and so grateful for myself.

Life is to be lived to its fullest. And I think we are doing just that.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Early day

Last week I needed to be at the hospital for blood work at 7am and I was happy to be able to make the trip west at that hour. It was peaceful and beautiful and so made me long for the autumn.

By the time I came home it was nearly 8:30 so I had to hit the back roads. Traffic was already backing up to the CR39 intersection and I knew it would be slow going on the main roads. But all along the back way it was still easy to get around. I love Scuttlehole, with its beautiful open farm fields and meandering roadway. Even the new roundabout looks "rural" with its nice brick center and small diameter. I enjoyed every dip and turn as I worked my way back east, eventually rolling down Rt. 114 and coming up Cedar Street.

I was home by 9:00 and I felt as though I'd been out on a nice fall morning, when the traffic is easier and the weather is perfect. September cannot come soon enough for me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Treasures

In May my husband moved his office from one building to another in our commercial complex. That sounds simple enough, but for my siblings and me it's been a heady event full of nostalgia and the sharing of memories. The building being vacated has been in continuous use by the family businesses since the 1930s. We grew up visiting my father and grandfather there and it's been part of our lives, always. So emptying it out and seeing it deserted is much like seeing the family homestead stripped down and empty. Every corner, every room holds special memories - and all of our childhood is tied up in the place.

Today we are having a yard sale, unloading the things that didn't make the move to the smaller building. It will be sad at the end of the day to see it really empty, as it will be to see people walking off with pieces of our youth. But like all things in life, eventually logic must prevail and we move on. The space is too big for our needs now, and the building will demand a better rent on the market than the smaller space we can use. Sometimes practicality is such a drag.

Today will be bittersweet. It makes total sense to do what we're doing. But sometimes the heart just doesn't connect well to the mind...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Controversy

I have resisted talking about any community controversies over my two years doing this blog because I don't want politics to turn it into a soap box of some type. There's just too much to celebrate in life to allow disagreements to get in the way, but I have to say the most recent issue in the village has me tied up in knots. Sometimes when I think about it I'm physically nauseous. Without going into any detail, I just have to let off a little steam about how bad this kind of thing is for any community.

I work really hard at seeing both sides of every issue. Often, people who live near something are upset about noise, or traffic, or whatever and I always sympathize. I put myself in their shoes and know how hard it would be to deal with whatever it is. The most difficult thing about being an elected official is that I sometimes need to take my own feelings out of an issue and try to look at what works best for the community as a whole - not easy to do! The other issue that makes it hard for me is that I need to always keep my constituents in mind because they're the ones who put me in office. To do otherwise would be unfair to them. Of course its not always possible to gauge where the majority of them stand, but I try.

I hate things which tear a community apart and I've seen way too much animosity over this latest issue. I've seen neighbors angry at neighbors and former friends not speaking. In a small community like East Hampton, that's really tragic. It makes me want to get out of office altogether.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August weekends

Since we were away last weekend I've heard some horror stories about the traffic and crowds everywhere and I've decided it was a good time to be gone. August weekends are such a nightmare.

For some reason no one seems to understand, August seems to be the worst month of the crazy summer on the east end. I can't quite figure out what it is, because even when hotel rooms are sold out in July it just seems to be slightly more civil out there. But August - well - it seems as though there are no holds barred in August and its a real dog-eat-dog world out there. I'm glad I missed last weekend because now there are only two left and we'll be celebrating September!

I've always said if I could get a little mountain cabin somewhere to spend some time,, it would be for the month of August. As much as I love East Hampton, I would gladly leave then and come back home when civilization has returned. I don't like to wish time away but right now I'm longing for September.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Construction

We've embarked on a number of big projects around our house in the past year, which have involved a number of contractors, carpenters, painters, and other workers, and it's all led me to some conclusions about people who work in these fields. For instance, there seem to be some unwritten rules they follow - like these:

1. No matter how many empty parking spaces there are in the driveway, your truck should always be parked directly behind my car so I cannot get in or out without asking someone to move.

2. Your truck should always be parked at an angle so as to take up at least 2 spaces.

3. If a ladder is put up to the roof, it should always be placed right in front of a bathroom window, making the room unusable for the duration of the project.

4. Never bother to ask whether there is an outdoor electrical outlet - just run your cord through the door so it has to always be opened enough for flies to enter.

5. Always leave drop cloths, ladders, power tools, or other equipment wherever you want and the homeowner can just work around them when you leave.

6. Don't bother letting the home owner know if you are not coming. Homeowners have nothing else in their lives other than waiting around for you to arrive. So if for some reason you can't show up, its no big deal.

7. If you aren't going to come back for two weeks don't bother mentioning it - just don't come! Who cares if a homeowner is anxiously waiting for this work to be completed?

8. Always make sure you are juggling at least 4 jobs at the same time so you are never on any one of them more than a couple hours a day, making a two day job last at least two weeks.

I'm sure there are more I could ad here if I gave it more thought. After putting on a new roof, having six rooms painted, renovating a bathroom, re-doing a deck, and installing solar panels, I've definitely seen some patterns...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tractors

Last week I was rushing yet again to get to points west of here and running into all kinds of traffic. I hoped I had left town early enough not to worry about westbound cars but of course I was wrong and found myself creeping along Rt. 27 in the usual bumper to bumper action. When I got near enough to Scuttlehole Road I turned right and headed across the tracks to Narrow Lane South, hoping to at least be able to keep moving forward. Lo and behold, I turned a corner on that tiny little country road and came upon a big old green tractor taking up about 5/8ths of the lane, with one very aggressive car behind it itching to get past.

There was no way for this other car to get around for some time and the driver was clearly agitated by the delay. But I was thrust into waves of nostalgia as memories of growing up on the East End came flooding back. We were always behind tractors in those days and I doubt a trip west ever happened without at least one of them taking up much of the road. The other typical annoyance was the potato truck which always lumbered along with the speed of a snail. As kids we groaned whenever we came upon one of those behemoths. But on this day, watching a farmer atop his tractor made me smile. When the car ahead of me finally managed to get around to the left and pass, I could have made a quick run for freedom myself, but I decided against it. Suddenly I was having the time of my life, enjoying the view around me, and gladly watching neighbors give the farmer a casual wave as he passed.

It was as though I was transported to a simpler time here and I didn't want to leave.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer camp

My granddaughter went to sleepover camp last week so I went online to check out the place. I have to admit it made me want to go to camp. And that's really saying something.

When we were kids, our parents sent us to camp three times. Each time was torture to me. I've never been a big sports/outdoor girl. My interests always were more oriented to inside activities. like arts and crafts and reading. The camps I attended were so heavily structured that from the minute we woke in the morning (at the crack of dawn I may add) until we were in bed at night, we were herded from one activity to another, most of them not fun at all for me. And always, always it meant swimming in a lake or pond, which seemed really gross to this ocean girl.

But the camp I saw on the website last week was a far cry from those camps I attended. My granddaughter would be taking classes in photography, gourmet cooking, and crafts among other things. She would have free time to choose her own activities and she was able to choose between the bay and the pool when she wanted a swim. They can take musical theater - are you kidding me??? That would have been my idea of heaven! Even the video of the mess hall looked like fun. Where we were made to sit quietly for meals and not allowed to rest our elbows on the table lest we be made to run around the building three times, at this dining room there was laughter and entertainment, with counselors putting on talent shows and performing various skits for the campers, it looked like a great time was being had by all.

My entire life I have hated the very idea of summer camp. Here I am after all this time thinking I've been wrong. Isn't life interesting?

http://www.sandyhillcamp.com/
http://www.sandyhillcamp.com/camp_video.htm

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mad Men

Anyone who's at least my age has got to love Mad Men Sunday Nights on AMC. Every week we watch it and laugh at the authentic references to the 1960s. It seems as though every detail is right on the money, from the clothing to the television ads to the attitudes. I love it.

Last week one of the women was visiting a doctor. Before he even finished talking with her he'd lit up a cigarette. Can you imagine that happening today? And the way they treated the women in the advertising office - it's enough to make a modern woman cringe.

I imagine many of today's younger women look at this show as a piece of fiction. They have no memory of the things we older ones do. They don't fully appreciate what life was like for their grandmothers because, thankfully, the world is a different place than it was then. Luckily for us - even more so for them. There are things about the early 6os that I can surely look at with envy (like the hats the women wore, or the more formal style of dining just to name a few) but for the most part, I'm glad I was too young then to feel the sting of being unappreciated and underpaid as a woman, and I'm glad we no longer smoke like chimneys and drink all day at the office.

Life has changed, as it always does through the years - some for the better, some not. It's interesting in retrospect to look at those changes and see where we've come from. Hopefully we learn from the past.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wedding day

Today my niece gets married and weddings are always fun. There are few enough times of great celebration in life and weddings are among my favorite. It's so nice to see love in its early, heady stages and being there to send off a young couple on their life together is a gift.

We've had many family weddings over the years - the first of my nieces and nephews was married over 15 years ago now so with this generation alone there have been eight so far. Most have been at home on the east end but this will be the third we've traveled for. Sadly, we don't know this part of the family as well as the other simply because they don't live nearby. As our nieces and nephew were growing up we saw them about twice a year - but as things go it's been a few years now since we've seen any of them. It's especially sad for us because we know the difference - we're surrounded by family here in East Hampton and being blessed with the ability to be part of their lives intimately, and now to watch their children growing up, is very special. So we know what we've missed - and are still missing - in this case. We won't know any of their friends at the wedding and will definitely be the "outsiders" at this event. It will be a different experience for us.

We're looking forward to celebrating a special occasion today and making memories for a lifetime.And as always, I find myself being introspective, contemplating the meaning of it all.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The ferry

I love ferry trips. I always enjoy a trip to Shelter Island or Greenport and find the ferry rides such a relaxing part of it all. On a beautiful day there's nothing better.

Today we're heading to Massachusetts for a family wedding and we'll be taking the Cross Sound Ferry from Orient to New London, which we've been doing for years. When we were newlyweds we drove around because we couldn't afford the ferry, but when the gas crisis hit a few years later we began using the ferry because it was cheaper than the gas needed for the drive. And what a difference it makes in the trip! It doesn't save any time, but the wear and tear is so much less and there's no comparison when the choice is driving through Westchester or sitting on a boat watching the sailboats and fishing boats pass in the Sound. Over the years the ferries have become bigger and more entertaining, with televisions and game rooms - a far cry from the tiny little "Caribbean" that we had to back off of years ago. And the shore facilities have improved tremendously too. I would never make the trip around by car now if I had a choice. Especially at this time of year when the crossing is smooth and warm.

I think it's going to be a really nice weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The pool

My brother has a swimming pool at his house and I can pretty much use it whenever I want to. Which is nice because I really have no desire to have a pool of my own - I don't want the work involved with it, I don't want to lose my yard, and I don't want the responsibility of a pool at my house. But it's a nice option for getting exercise and I use his occasionally in the summer.

What I'd really love is a home large enough for an indoor pool. Something with a full glass enclosure, heated in the winter so I could swim in comfort while watching the snow fall. Wouldn't that be heavenly?

One early morning this summer I went down with my two daughters to swim laps and it was such a pretty morning. It was cool enough to call for pants over my swim suit and when we got to the pool we could see the heat rising from the surface because it was warmer than the air at 6am. We easily slipped into the water which enveloped me in warmth and almost felt like climbing into a bathtub. What a treat.

It really just confirmed my desire for that glassed-in pool where I could swim my laps while watching the snow fly.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August angst

Well about this time in the month of August I find myself wishing the final weeks of it away. There are simply too many people on the roads and it's becoming a real nuisance trying to get around. With Labor Day being so late this year it's going to be a real challenge to make it through with good humor and no nervous breakdown.

Everyone has stories by this time - many of them revolving around rude drivers and too much traffic. When I was a kid we always blamed the bad driving on "Jersey drivers" but I know that's not the case. I see as many plates from NY and CT with annoying drivers behind the wheel as from Jersey. I must say there is an inordinate number of cars with Florida plates that seem to be slowing things down though. Perhaps some of our elderly summer residents have a tough time making the transition to our more heavily traveled roads. I've been to Florida and even the cities there don't compare with what we deal with here in August.

August just seems to bring out the worst in people and I really dislike it for that reason alone. Locals are just as guilty as visitors because we're all tired of the mess and anxious to get our space back. Time for everyone to take a deep breath, breath in our wonderful salty air, and smile. Summer is nearly over and the best of life is about to come around. September and October are what I long for all year long!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Clothes

This weekend we're traveling to Massachusetts to attend a family wedding and I still have nothing to wear. I have no idea what I'm going to do.

Clothes shopping has always been a nightmare for me. I've been a large range of sizes in my lifetime and probably have at least 3 sizes in my closet at any one time. Plus, I've always been badly proportioned so I can never buy a suit and rarely find a dress that works for me. I normally buy separates so I can buy different sizes, but for a more formal occasion that doesn't work well. I would be a good candidate for a seamstress and I often do use one, but that gets pretty pricey so as a rule I try to stick with what works.

Add to all that the fact that I've lost some weight recently which means most of what I have in my closet doesn't fit and therein lies my dilemma. I don't know what I' going to do for this wedding.

I hate shopping for clothes because they so rarely fit me well it becomes depressing and I'm easily discouraged. I like catalog shopping because I can try things on in the comfort of my bedroom, and then send back what doesn't work. But the things I tried through catalogs didn't work and now I'm down to the wire with nothing to wear.

Could be an interesting weekend...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reading glasses

About six months ago I gave in and bought some reading glasses. It was like a new world opened up to me.

For years now I've had bi-focal contact lenses. Don't ask me how they work - I have no idea - but they seemed to do the trick up until this year and suddenly for whatever reason I couldn't read the fine print on anything. So one day when I was in TJ Maxx shopping I saw a pair of those generic half-glasses you can buy anywhere and on a whim I bought them. Well let me tell you, it was a wonderful thing to read the newspaper the next morning without struggling to make out the words. As hard as it was to admit it, I needed reading glasses. And in no time at all I was pretty dependent on them. So soon enough I was in line at CVS buying a few more pair so I could always have some within easy reach, in my purse, next to the phone, by the calendar, etc. It's a wonderful thing!

I hate being dependent on anything and the fact that I have to wear glasses at all has always annoyed me. I had my first pair when I was in the fouth grade and I hated them. At least with the contacts I felt more "normal" and didn't have to deal with the fogged up lenses from walking in and out of the cold or opening the oven door. Now I feel as though every time I put on these reading glasses I'm giving in to old age and that is especially distressing. I hate to think about getting old!

On the upside, I find that I really don't notice things like dust on the furniture anymore so I guess it's not such a bad thing to need reading glasses! And my husband's face looks as young and wrinkle-free as it did the day we wed. Amazing! And of course, when I look in my mirror I'm pleased to see that I haven't changed a bit in at least thirty years...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Hamptons" news

I always get a kick out of the weekly updates in the newspapers about "local"happenings. In the summer Newsday has a feature titled "Hot in the Hamptons" which inevitably shows celebrities at a local nightclub or hobnobbing with other celebrities at a fund raising event at another celebrity's home. They're places I've never been to and charities I've never given too, usually. I've never seen photos there of the real residents of this area working at the LVIS Fair, for instance, knocking themselves out and sweating like crazy to raise funds for the beautification of this place we live. Somehow, the really "hot" things only happen if you're rich and famous. The rest of us aren't too interesting, apparently, despite the fact that we're the ones who are really the residents here.

At least the more local papers usually cover smaller events that actually benefit local charities like the Historical Society or the Montauk Lighthouse. I'm much more drawn to photos of locals than I am celebrities - I like seeing people I know in print! But of course the celebrities don't attend those events so not everone thinks they're newsworthy.

When I start feeling this way I know its time for September to roll around. We all get a bit tired of it all by August...."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August weekends


August is unique in so many ways out here in East Hampton and I know for some friends its a time for a little depression. In a few short weeks they'll be back at work teaching, or their children will be back at school and into the year of schedules and activities which means the carefree, simple days of summer are over and reality is back. I think we all fall into that "September mentality"" where we think in terms of getting down to business and accomplishing things we've put off for the past few months. So August signals the end of the fun in a way. But for me August really is about weekends.

Every weekend in August I have some sort of major event on the calendar. I'm living from Friday to Friday with lots of planning in between and I think that's why August is fleeting and we feel anxious. There's a frantic mentality in the air and we're all rushing from activity to activity, fighting the worst of the traffic and crowds, and wishing we had another week or two to do it all. It's much like the holidays with too much to do and not enough time to do it in.

So here we are at the first full weekend in August. I wish we could add at least one day to it so I could feel a little more in control.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Guests

We have guests arriving today and I've been thinking a lot about how many people come and go from our lives while others seem to be around for the long haul. I remember a beautiful saying I read once about how some people come into our lives and then go while others leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. These friends who are arriving today are an interesting example of the latter.

We met back in the early 1970s when they were newlyweds and we were dating. They were only here for a few years but during that time they became like members of the family, attending all my mother's famous cook-outs and joining us for holidays when they couldn't go home to their own parents' houses. They were here for our wedding, for the birth of their daughter, and for the early months of my first pregnancy. So although it was a short time, there were major events happening and we share those memories,which seems to be a sort of glue when it comes to relationships. In addition to that, I think there are some people you just bond with in an unusual way and those bonds last a lifetime.

Through the years since they moved from the east end we've only been together a dozen times - usually for short weekend visits at one house or the other, or to attend the wedding of one of our children. Our kids have all grown and we share photos of our grandkids, and catch-up with each other's lives when we get the chance. We may go as long as a year with no contact, but when we do sit down together its as though no time has passed at all and we're still twenty-somethings starting our lives together, full of optimism and love. They have a good marriage, laugh together a lot, and it always makes me feel hopeful for life in general when I've been with them.

So this weekend will be one of laughter and conversation as we spend a little time re-connecting and just enjoying one another's company. It's the stuff that life is made of.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Amazing

Despite one of the warmest Julys on record, the past couple weeks have been amazing. A-ma-zing! The humidity has dropped, the temperature has been comfortable, and I've felt rejuvenated. I can only hope the entire month of August will be like this.

It was odd to be so hot in July. Somehow it made the summer feel as though it was flying by because it seemed like all the world that we were in the heart of August, not barely into the season at all. But now that August is actually here, and the weather is so mild and beautiful, it feels more like it's all ahead of us and there's so much to get done.

We're looking forward to a busy month. We have guests arriving this weekend, we're going to a wedding in Massachusetts the following weekend, we're doing "Ellen's Run" (a fund-raiser for the local breast cancer center) the weekend after that, and the last weekend of the month I'll be spending in Manhattan at the state EMS conference, hopefully learning how to take better care of people. So the weekends will go by quickly... and yet, I've not had company over yet to enjoy the new deck. I can only hope that September will be warm and lovely to give me a little more time to enjoy our outdoor space!

So far, this has been one of my favorite summers ever. Perhaps its my new appreciation for life and the obvious comparison with last year when I was going through chemotherapy. But whatever the reason, I'm loving and living every day to the fullest and its a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer slowdown

As I said before, summer has been challenging for me in the weight loss department. Having company here and being especially busy is difficult in terms of eating properly, and I find myself just trying to maintain at this point - focusing on the fall for serious forward motion again.

The one thing I've been pretty faithful about is working out though. I can't say I've been at the gym every day, but I've never let a week go by without getting to the gym a few times and I'm pleased with myself for that because I can honestly say that my working out has contributed more to my feelings of accomplishment than the weight loss has. I feel the difference in my body, my legs are stronger, my endurance better, and when I was at the cardiologist's office having a stress test recently they commented on how great it was that I could go as long as I did on the treadmill. I think I nearly fell over. I know I'm in better shape than I've been in a long, long time and the weight loss will come, albeit slowly. For someone who hates exercise as much as I do, I'm doing alright.

My head is finally in the right place and I'm ready to live life to the fullest. That's a great feeling. The summer slowdown is a temporary condition. Autumn is right around the corner.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Flower pots

I have a love-hate relationship with flowers which I've talked about before. I love the look of flowers in the garden, the window boxes, and the pots on the deck, but I hate the work that goes into keeping them look good all summer. My mother loved working in her garden and said the dirt and weeding made her happy. She didn't pass that joy on to me. I hate it. But I do love the way the flowers look and there's nothing quite as wonderful as flowers everywhere in the summer.

All that said, my big pots on the deck look pretty good thanks to my husband's faithful watering, but the window boxes are fading. The heat wave really did them in - we're never really sure about how often they should be watered in such extreme heat - and I'm not sure they'll come back looking as beautiful as they did in early July. We'll see.

I think I should have been born to money. I'm sure we all feel that way, right? But for me, the things I enjoy are the planning, the organizing, the process of projects and lifestyle. I love decorating my house but I hate cleaning it. I love planning a garden but I don't want to tend it. I should be able to afford a staff who can do all those things with me. I love to cook, but I hate to clean up afterwards and I don't much enjoy shopping. On the other hand I love being the person in charge of projects. I like administrative duties and I enjoy organizing anything. I even love the process of making up charts and graphs and I have no problem making phone calls and recruiting people for tasks. I know those are things some people abhore.

Like I said, I was meant to be born into money. I wonder if there was a mistake made at the hospital when I was born...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quiet house


The kids left yesterday. That marked the 5th week that two of them had been with us and the 4th since number three arrived with her mother. It's a huge adjustment when they leave after such a long visit.

Every summer when they come for an extended visit it takes me days to get used to the quiet house - and to being by myself in the morning, starting my day without hugs and kisses from little people. It's such a gift when they're here and I'm so grateful that they come. This year was especially poignant because the youngest, four-year-old Lucy, was recovering from brain surgery when she arrived. By the time she left there wasn't a trace of a headache or neck pain to remind us of the ordeal she went through such a short time ago. What a blessing that is to be able to say! Her smile is as bright and contagious as ever.

Tucker, at five, has become a very sweet, good-natured boy and he's a treat to be with. And Daisy, who's eight, is becoming so grown up I forget how young she is. She has an old soul and I love spending time with her, shopping or lunching like a couple of friends. Of course having their mom with us is an added bonus not to be slighted. I miss her so much ever day, but I know how spoiled I am to have three of my four living right here on the east end, so I shouldn't complain.

The great gift that these weeks bring every summer is time to really get to know these kids with all their personality quirks and the many gifts they each have. They are special children and we're so lucky to have them in our lives.

We're thrilled to have grandchildren that live right here in East Hampton - near enough to know intimately and appreciate for all their gifts. The time we get to spend with these kids "from away" enables us to know them in the same way and that is something I thank God for ever year. I know that not every grandmother is so lucky.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August

I'm really amazed that today is the first of August. It's probably because the family has been here for the month of July, but it seems as though it was only yesterday we were talking about the end of June! Now we have to prepare for the "August people", but we'll talk more about them later. Today I want to talk about the LVIS Fair, which was yesterday.

I've been working at the LVIS Fair since I was about 12 years old. I remember one year working behind the "Fishing Booth", where children would throw their lines over the top of the painted backdrop (the water) and those of us who were behind the scenes would hook their lines to a small gift which they would then pull in. In those days it was mostly games like that for children, along with the "Cake Booth", the "Salad Booth", the "Preserves and Jams Booth", etc. Things have changed since then and the children's activities are more rides that games: pony rides, a carousel, a giant slide for instance. I suppose kids today are too sophisticated for things like fishing booths. They'd figure that out pretty quickly.

What never changes is the spirit of the fair and I enjoy still being part of it, even though I've never been a member of the LVIS. I admire the work they do and appreciate the women who are the heart and soul of the organization. (There are only so many organizations one can devote their time to in life and I'm pretty sure I've met my quota!) I am more than happy to do anything they ask me to do and "The Fair" is always on my calendar in July.

Anyway, yesterday was "Fair Day" as they call it here in East Hampton. And I braved the traffic and the crowds to join the other locals, raising money for the good work of the LVIS and eating chicken at the Lion's Club Bar-B-Que for dinner. And it was a picture perfect day at that.