Thursday, May 31, 2012

May days

May has been a nice month and I'm sorry to see it go. Although not as warm as April overall, it's been a month with a little of everything and little humidity, which I appreciate. I am not looking forward to the dog days of July and August.

May has been especially nice for those of us here on the East End where we enjoy the nice weather without all the tourists. I guess I would have to say that May and September are among my favorite months for just that reason, East Hampton at its finest and all to ourselves most of the time. And this May was especially pretty with the foliage in full bloom and color everywhere.

No one knows what June will hold for us but May has been a good month and for that I'm grateful. The swans are swimming in Town Pond, the grass is green and lush, and there is beauty in every direction. Life is good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tall ships

Last weekend was a holiday weekend and normally we hunker down and stay at home as much as possible on such occasions. But Saturday was the exception. One of my favorite little villages - Greenport - was hosting some tall ships in the harbor and making it into a festival. So we loaded up two cars with adults and kids and headed for the ferry early in the morning.

I must admit to being enthralled with tall ships. I've been on them before, in Plymouth Massachusetts, for instance, and Mystic, Connecticut. But they hold an endless fascination for me and I couldn't resist this chance to take advantage of a visit so close to home. I remember watching them (on TV) descend on New York Harbor during the bicentennial celebration back in 1776, each one as unique as a fingerprint, and wishing I could see a gathering like that in person. This was my chance.

They didn't disappoint, with their amazing webs of rigging and miles of canvas sails, and the beautiful wood of their decks and railings shone in the sunshine of a beautiful day. Coming in to Greenport by ferry was especially exciting because we could see them all in port from a nice distance, imagining what that same harbor looked like back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The masts stood straight and tall and looked as much like giant toys as anything else. Seeing the small figures of people climbing into that rigging was something to behold.

I felt lucky to see those ships in port and imagine the glory of our nautical past here on the East End.It is something to be proud of.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pink clouds

Last Wednesday night I had a dinner to attend in Southampton at 5:30. When the dinner was over and I was driving home, it was about 8pm. It was still light enough not to need headlights, but the sky was amazing.

Beautiful blue covered most of the heavens with some bright pink swaths along the lower sky just over the trees. The sun was setting and putting on a real show in the process. The ribbons of pink dropped lower as I drove west, eventually disappearing below the tree line. But then the real glorious sight emerged.

Clouds - wispy, billowy, beautiful pink clouds danced along in front of me, reflecting the sun's glow, now out of sight, and making the sky a harmonious canvas of pastel. It was something that would be impossibly to re-create in paint and was almost hard to believe in person. Blues and pinks from lighter to deeper, creating a palette that was extraordinary.

By the time I got to the East Hampton Village limits it was all gone, and headlights were blinking on the cars as they approached from the other direction. It was a short moment in time, but one I enjoyed very much. It made me grateful to be alive.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays. Not because it ushers in the official season and we are enjoying the sunny days, but because it holds so many memories of small-town life for me. East Hampton is perfect on Memorial Day.

We throw a real "local" celebration in the morning, with a parade of armed forces veterans, boy scouts, brownies, and the high school band. There are no floats, no cheerleaders, no celebratory entries. It's a somber tribute to those who have served and its not a time to laugh and party. It's a time for quiet remembrance. And that's what we do.

I especially enjoy the ceremony at the green. The speaker is always inspiring, the firing squad is always startling, and taps is always somber. I walk home feeling grateful for those that made the ultimate sacrifice. I always feel in a way that its a shame more people don't attend. It seems a small thing to do, taking about two hours out of one's morning to honor our fallen. I don't know why so few bother. But in another way, I'm just as glad. It's more intimate and "small town" with fewer numbers. In fact one of my favorite ceremonies took place about seven years ago in a total downpour. The band didn't play, we sang the national anthem as a group, there were very few in attendance, and it was incredibly moving. I stood in the rain thinking about my father and his descriptions of the winter he walked across Belgium in the cold and snow. And the stories my own contemporaries tell of the tropical rains of Viet Nam. It certainly wasn't too much of a sacrifice for me to stand in that rain, soaked through my clothing, as a memorial to those who had no choice. That was a Memorial Day I will never forget.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Donuts

I've been trying hard to lose weight and to eat more whole foods. Going through cancer makes a person very aware of what it is we put into our food sources in this country and I do believe in organic as much as possible. However, I am weak-willed to be sure.

Last week a pop-up "Whole Foods" store opened in Wainscott. I was happily anticipating the availability of so much organic produce, and the day they opened I stopped to check it out. I happily perused the aisles , picking up fresh fruit and some dinner pre-mades like chicken pot pie and quiche. My biggest issue with the store was the parking area - and getting back out on to Montauk Highway, I was feeling pretty  self-righteous and was looking forward to having a nice healthy lunch when I got home.
Then I remembered I needed paper goods, like paper towels and toilet paper, and decided to stop at my usual haunt, the IGA. I grabbed the things I needed, including some flour and sugar, and then when I got close to the check-out counter, feeling hunger pangs as the clock inched toward noon, I grabbed a box of Entenmann's donuts. Oy vey.

All that wonderful organic, fresh food in my car and I come out with a box of donuts. What's wrong with me anyway? Not only are they full of sugar, but they are over-processed and full of chemicals, etc. Pathetic.

I ended up giving most of the box away....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Big time

Never has East Hampton looked better and never has it been any crazier. The traffic is here, the people are everywhere, and the season has begun.

We have new lighted crosswalks on Main Street. It will be interesting to see how they are accepted and how they work. We have baby swans on Town Pond - hopefully this year they will all survive the summer. Georgica Beach is slowly coming back, but for now Wiborg's will be the alternate guarded spot. It's just the beginning of the season, and there are many questions out there! Of course, we'll have answers to all those questions in a short time because the season is here and the days and weeks will fly by now.


Life is good. And the questions are what make it interesting. Bring on June!

Friday, May 25, 2012

M*A*S*H*

Last Sunday we were channel surfing when we came across an episode of M*A*S*H*, where we landed for awhile to watch. It is just as funny and engaging as it was when it debuted all those years ago.

We were total television addicts in our early years of marriage. Not because it was particularly good, but because it was our only form of entertainment. We had small children at home and no money for babysitters, so we watched a lot of TV. I found some of it mind-numbing, much like today's is, so I supplemented my evenings sitting beside my husband on the couch with knitting or sewing projects to keep me occupied.

But there were some shows I did love, and M*A*S*H* was one of them. It was smart and entertaining and very pertinent to the times while the country was still in the midst of the Viet Nam war and watching the horrors of war, even one set in Korea, was a political statement for sure. And I loved it.

There were others too, of course, like Magnum, P.I., and All in the Family. And of course there were the guilty pleasure shows like Dynasty and Dallas. But M*A*S*H* will always have a special place in my heart. I'm so glad its still in reruns so I get to catch it on a lazy Sunday afternoon....



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bikes

For my birthday this year my husband gave me a bike, and bought one for himself as well. I had made an offhanded remark about how nice it would be to go for bike rides together. He picked up on that and brought home two beautiful, old-fashioned bikes with one speed and pedal brakes, just the way we had when we were kids. I was enthralled.

Well it took us awhile to find the time to actually take a ride on our new bikes, but we finally took them out of the shed, determined to make it a weekly ritual. I was in for a shock.

First of all, I couldn't lift my leg high enough to get it over to the other side. The I had trouble lifting my foot high enough to get it on the upper pedal. What happened to me? More to the point, what happened to my body? Then it took me about 10 minutes to get myself into position and actually push off, scared to death that something would happen to cause me to stop quickly, knowing I could not easily jump to standing position.

Once we got going I was OK, except for my thigh muscles, which began to complain almost immediately - especially when we climbed the small hill around the corner from our house. We only did about a quarter of a mile and decided we'd had enough for the day - both of us feeling the use of difference muscles. We thought we were in pretty good shape for our ages because we both walk miles every week, but obviously our bodies didn't think so. Or at least, they were more aware of our age-related limitations.

I was humiliated and annoyed. "How come ________ rides all over town on his bike and he's about 20 years older than we are?" I lamented to my husband. Well, I know part of the answer lies in the fact that we need to gently acclimate our older muscles and in time we should be riding all over town in our colorful new bikes. But its a real wake-up call to realize how things have changed. It's probably been thirty years or more since I tried to ride a bike. And thirty years since my body has had the freedom to push itself to limits I never reached. Why did I wait so long to try?

Hopefully I'll be blogging soon about our long bike rides. And how much easier it is now to conquer that hill....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sleep

These cool spring nights have been perfect for sleeping and the weekend was as beautiful as they come our here on the East End. Friday night I slept like a baby and didn't want to get out from under the covers when 6:30am came along. I stayed right there until a little after 7, just because I could, and it was a treat. The day unfolded as a sunny, pleasant one, with the bluest of skies and greenest of grass. We planted our outdoor planters and played around getting the deck in shape in anticipation of a busy season living outdoors as much as in.

This is such a great time of the year - at least here on Long Island. We keep a sweater close at hand for cool nights but luxuriate in the warm sun during the day. Even the rain is tolerable because the results are worth the price and there is color everywhere.

This is our last week of peace and quiet here in East Hampton and I am going to enjoy every last hour of it. I don't mind the season or the tourists - at least not until August! We seem to enter into Memorial Day weekend with lots of enthusiasm because we love it here, where the ocean meets the shore and nature is the star. And in this season of optimism and joy we all enjoy its glow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grandma

I was watching tv the other day and there was an interview with Robin Roberts and her mother, who had just written a book together. Watching Mrs. Roberts reminded me so much of my one grandmother - she was a pianist and had many of the same standards and, well, she said some things that were just so much like her. The memories came flooding back. And I found myself thinking about Grandma and wondering about her life.

She told me once that her father was an alcoholic and life was difficult for her and her family because of it. My grandmother was born in 1898. Recently I learned that life was life difficult for women back in the early part of the 1900s because of rampant alcoholism among men - and the fact that women had few rights on their own so they were often victims of domestic abuse, with no way out of horrible situations. It's the reason that the suffragette movement started - and the temperance movement as well. Cady Stanton, one of the leaders of that movement, was a huge warrior for women's rights. So, my grandmother would have been growing up right in that era, when women could become virtual prisoners in their homes,  not much more than unpaid labor who suffered abusive treatment. What was her life like?

Did she see her mother beaten? Did she get beaten herself? She had 4 siblings ranging in age over twenty years, so her mother - my great-grandmother - was a busy woman for sure. The poor woman must have suffered terribly.

Sometimes I wish I could time-travel to visit my ancestors for a day in their lives. How much more appreciative would I be about the people they were, the challenges they faced, the fact that from them I have come, becoming the person I am in part because of their experiences. (For instance, my grandparents and then my parents were all teetotalers ) And how I wish my grandmother were still alive so I could find out more about her early life, and appreciate her history so much more.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Monday

I loved the Mamas and the Papas. They were one of my favorite groups back in the late 1960s. The thing I appreciated about that era in music was that there was a lot of good harmony and great melodies to be heard, and The Mamas and Papas were real experts at it. Mama Cass had a commanding big voice and the  counter melodies that they wrote around that lead were amazing. One of my favorites was "Monday, Monday" and every Monday morning that song runs through my head.

It's amazing the way music inhabits our souls and worms its way into our brains in such a way that it becomes part of who we are. The words and music pop up at the most interesting times, taking us instantly back to a time and place somewhere in our personal history.

And every Monday probably for the rest of my life, "Monday, Monday - can't trust that day...." will be on my mind. Thank you writer, whomever you are!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Coming

They are coming for sure. And this is the last week before they are here. We all know who "they" are.

I've already begun to change my route home from Southampton on Tuesday mornings. Soon enough the way west will also need to change. Once again we'll be winding out way through the back roads of Sag Harbor and Water Mill to get to where we need to go, and we all need to go west at some time or another. It's part of life here on the East End - westward ho! Going east is a destination - a trip to the lighthouse or a favorite restaurant. But going west is a necessity. And the summer makes it so onerous.

Well, this is our last week of sanity until Labor Day so let's just enjoy it! Soon enough we'll be sadly thinking about the end of summer so as always, we take the good with the bad and adjust to life in a resort community. And so it will always be!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Songs

Someone recently posted something on Facebook that really made me think about my childhood: the words to the Davy Crockett song. You know the one - "Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee..." etc. Those of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s remember hearing that song every time we got to watch an episode of the Davy Crockett Hour. We wore coonskin hats and fringed jackets and we all loved Davey Crockett!

That memory sent me off on a nostalgia path as I went through a whole medley of tunes in my head, starting with "M - I - C (see you real soon) K - E - Y (why, because we like you!)" and ending with something nobody else probably remembers. My brother had a record of children's songs. (remember how thick those records were in the 1950s?) and one of them was about a little boy who painted his wagon. The chorus went like this: " Bessie, Bessie, I'm a little messie, I painted my little red wagon green! I had no brush so I used my hands - I'm the messiest Mess you've ever seen!" Not only can I remember the words, I can still hear the voice on that record singing it.

It never ceases to amaze me how vivid out childhood memories can be! And how they can instantly transport us back to a time and place in our past as though it were yesterday. It's one of the things I love most about music.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Voting

Shortly after I turned 18 in 1970, we earned the right to vote at that age - a long fought and hard-won battle. I immediately registered and haven't missed an election since, whether local or national. When our kids were small we always took them with us to the polls, letting them accompany us in the booth to see democracy in action. After all, this is one of the most basic of rights that we have here in this country. With the history of the election process, including minorities having to endure many years without the same privileges as white men over 21-years-old had, I've always felt the need to exercise my rights, which came at a cost for those that went before me - especially the women of the suffragette movement back in the early part of the twentieth century. I won't forget them or how hard they worked for me.

But somewhere along the line I think I failed. Tuesday we voted for the school budget and candidates for the school board. At the same time, the same day I voted, I turned in my petition to run for public office here in East Hampton Village. It was a day I appreciated my citizenship dearly.

But I think I can safely say that none of my children voted.

How did we go from the activists of the 1960s and 70s to the apathy of the 2000s? I am feeling a bit sad and wondering where we as a generation went wrong..

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Damp

I've been feeling a little damp lately-almost like a humid day in August. Between the rainy days and the days that felt like rain, it's been oddly wet around here. The air often feels as though its going to burst with water and yet the skies don't always open up. Strange.

In between are the glorious days of spring. As much as April felt like May, May feels like April. Chillier, damper, and less sunny. So far at least!

Although everything seems to have bloomed early this year, I'm told the strawberries are right on time. The stands should open Memorial Day weekend and then the season truly begins. Every major road seems to be under construction now, from Route 27 to County Road 39 and everything in between. Hopefully they'll be done changing out the crosswalks on Main Street soon - the traffic tie-ups haven't been bad yet, but the hoards haven't arrived yet either. I can hardly believe Memorial Day is just over a week away now. Wow.

Hopefully this dampness will be burning off soon. If we have one of those miserably wet summer where the furniture feels damp and the mildew grows on every surface, I won't be happy. I'm hoping for the best!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spring garden

My garden has been such a delight this past week. The lilacs were out and the aroma was amazing. I cut them back last year because they were so tall I couldn't reach them for cutting, and this year I've enjoyed fresh bouquets every few days in the house.

Then my irises popped while the lilacs were still out and there was lavender everywhere. The tall, thin irises stood proud at about 2 ft off the ground with the tall, bushy lilacs as a background. Everything is green and fresh and the weeds aren't growing yet, so its the perfect time in the yard. I'm enjoyng every day of it.


Lilacs and irises following up the dogwoods and cherry trees - what a great time of year this is!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

EMT


I've been volunteering with the local ambulance association for over twenty years now. And as much as I still enjoy it, I'm wondering when it might be time to hang up my stethoscope. I worry about not knowing when to quit!

I suppose its normal not to want to let go of the things we love, and must be one of the greatest struggles of age. Retirement, whether from a job one loves, or a hobby one can no longer handle, or in this case a community service that is physically, as well as mentally, demanding, can never be easy! In this case its become a lifestyle for me. I do overnight duty every 8th night, being ready from 8pm until 6am to answer the call. That means planning around it, making arrangements for coverage when I have a conflict, and otherwise having my pager with me if I'm not at home so I can answer from choir practice or a meeting. It means going to bed half dressed so my response time is as quick as possible. And it means in the winter, covering the windshield if snow is expected. I'm used to the long days that follow due to lack of sleep, and the difficulty of getting warm in January after being out in the cold at 3am and climbing back into bed with freezing feet and hands that just don't want to thaw out. I'm accustomed to waking from a deep sleep when the pager goes off and immediately going into action. So like I said, its a lifestyle at this point and I can't imagine not doing it.

However, I notice the step into the ambulance is getting higher. And the duty nights seem to be longer. And my patience does wear sooner when I'm called out for the silly things that are non-emergencies. So maybe its time to start thinking about an end to this part of my life.

Recently I received my latest EMT re-certification card that means I am official until January of 2016. It would seem to be plenty of time to think about it but here's the rub: if I want to re-certify again, I need to begin classes this fall. Certification takes about 25 hours of classes a year and has to be completed every three years. So I really need to think about it now.

Oh, the little dilemmas that come with age. If only I was forty again.....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day tree

My mother used to call her cherry tree a "mother's day tree" because it was always in bloom on Mother's Day. But this year those beautiful pink blossoms have all fallen to the ground and even the lilacs are nearly gone.

I love those cherry trees and they are a popular one here on the East End. We see them in many yards and  even used as boarders along property lines. They line driveways - and appear in all sizes, from the smallest to the largest, some spectacular in their obvious age, confounding the normal life-span predictions.

At this point most of the pink carpets they create as the blossoms fall are also gone, dragged into homes on shoes and blown away in the rainy wind. Gone for another year, but always something to look forward to, usually right at this time! In this unusual weather year, everything is a little off, but whether they come in April or May, those cherry trees are always worth the wait.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May days

This month is shaping up to be every bit like April this year, with rainy days mixed with sunny ones, a hint of summer one day and every bit of fall the next. One needs to check the weather report every day to know how to dress. And April was totally like May usually is this year, with summer-like temperatures and bushes in full bloom.

I worry about our summer. I wonder if there will be too much rain, or too much sun, with humidity and heat in abundance. This has indeed been a bizarre weather year so anything's possible.

Whatever happens we'll survive. Those of us who have lived here forever have seen it all already and anything that happens will simply be another reference point, as in "This reminds me of the summer of '38" or "Remember when we had this kind of heat back in '75?"

The one thing we can never control is the weather. And a good thing too, since we'd no doubt mess it all up if we did.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sunshine

It's amazing how as soon as the sun shines after the winter leaves us, we flock outside. The same temperature that would cause us to bundle up with sweaters in the fall, seems to make us reach for tee shirts in the spring.

This past week I took my grandson out for lunch. I had long sleeves on and he had a tee shirt as it was a nice day in the low '60s. At the restaurant we were asked if we'd like to sit outside and I decided against it based on the fact that it was still a bit chilly and neither of us had a sweater or sweatshirt with us. We were the only one sitting inside and everyone else was out in shorts and short-sleeved shirts. 

I know if this were September and the temperature dropped into the '60s those folks would all be clamoring for tables inside. But here they were, pretending it was summer and trying not to complain that they were freezing.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tucker

This week we had our grandson Tucker with us for a few days - all by himself! This is a rare event, to have one all to ourselves for a nice chunk of time, and we took full advantage of it, spoiling him rotten and letting him get away with murder. Like all good grandparents would do!

Here's what I disliked about the past few days:

There was homework to do. All those years of the homework grind that we endured came back to me with a vengance as I sat with him at the kitchen counter cajoling and encouraging as we worked his way through some reading comprehension worksheets as well as some math ones. He's plenty smart but even I had to re-read some of the instructions to make sure I understood exactly what it was they were looking for.

I was reminded again about the whole bath and bed routine and what a relief it is to finally get them tucked away for the night. Phew! Another day done, with no serious injuries, no major meltdowns, no big worries.

I once again found myself saying things like "Tucker, have you brushed your teeth this morning?" and "Did you finish your sandwich before you put your plate in the sink?" which are thoughts I never expected to be voicing again since my youngest child is now approaching the age of thurty....

Here are the things I loved and will treasure the memories of:

Tucker climbing into bed with us early in the morning and snuggling in between us, just the way his mother used to do.

Having his company as I went grocery shopping, drove around town doing my errands, and while I cleaned my house. Tucker loves to talk and that makes for good company!

Just the simple presence of a child in this house once again - a house that was full of children for so many years and then, suddenly, silenced. Hearing a child's voice, and feeling a child's energy, is something priceless for sure. The house was hungry for a visit from someone younger than ten, and so was I. What a great time we had with Tucker!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice

I am loving the show "Celebrity Apprentice" on Sunday nights. I know the whole Donald Trump world is a major turn-off to some people, but I love seeing these "celebrities" (and I use that term loosely) in their real personalities. Although I realize these reality shows are all pretty well edited, there are some things you just can't fake and arguments and nasty comments are among them. Watching famous people behave badly is fascinating.

I also find it interesting that people seem to forget these people are playing a game - and trying to win. I'm constantly trying to figure out what is the real person and what is part of the game-playing. It's usually hard to tell.

I also love seeing the talents of these people outside their area of expertise. Singers may be great writers. Beauty queens might be incredibly smart. It's the incongruities that make it fun to see.

I have my favorites and I'm rooting for certain people to make it to the end. But only time will tell!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

History

I went into Corwin's Jewelry store last week in Southampton. I had never been in there before, simply because I don't shop that often in Southampton in jewelry stores, and when I do I've been known to frequent London Jewelers in East Hampton or Rose in Southampton. Anyway, that's neither here nor there, but I won a gift certificate to Corwin's in a raffle and a friend is celebrating a birthday so I stopped in and was very pleasantly surprised at what a nice place it was.

None of that has anything to do with my point though. As I was being taken care of by the nice owner, who is a still a Corwin, I noticed an old photo in a frame and mentioned it to him. He promptly took it down and handed it to me to look at and I was enchanted. It was a photo from the late 1800s of the Corwin Jewelry Store on Main Street. Same store, same family, very different Main Street! There was a line of horse-drawn buggies pulled up where now modern cars sit, diagonally facing the stores. Each horse had a nice plaid blanket draped over it, so it must have been winter, although there was no snow on the ground. The carriages were all small, with big wheels and small passenger compartments, not big wagons or buckboards. They were for one or two people with covers that came up from the back and across the top to protect the occupants from the rain - at least a little!

I stared at that photo thinking about the early days of our east end community and how vibrant and beautiful it was even two hundred years ago. How wonderful it must have been to see those horses tied up to posts while their owners shopped in the very same shop I was in, buying jewelry just like I was. It's a very special thing to live in the same place your entire life. It becomes part of your very being and looking at an old photo just makes you feel part of the past as well as the future, and it makes you hope you can leave something behind as special as the folks in that photo did.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rain

I was amazed when it rained last week that people were complaining about it. For weeks and months all we've heard not is how much we needed rain and how bad it was that everything was so dry. So Tuesday it poured. And every person who came into the hospital when I was doing my volunteer shift, carried on about how wet it was and how many puddles they had to jump over and how messy their hair was....oy vey! Can we never be happy?

I welcomed the rain. Of course it was messy on the roads and it was creating lots of streams along the curbs and sidewalks, but its only water! It dries off, and it doesn't stain, and we needed it badly. Now the lawns can green up and the flowers will flourish and spring is a little more colorful, thank you very much.  I thought it was refreshing and I don't mind wearing a raincoat with a hood - its no big deal!

I suppose by nature we are never completely happy. When its hot we want air conditioning. When its cold we want heat. When its dry we want rain. When it rains we want sunshine. All I really want is balance.

Ah yes - balance. I should be more into the metaphysical world I suppose. And probably doing yoga. Which I never have. But honestly, I don't mind the rain!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Favorite time

My favorite time of the day is about 4:30 in the afternoon. Not that I don't like the mornings or evenings, but the late afternoon is what I look forward to every day.

I love the late afternoon sun. I like the way it comes into my living room windows and warms me when I sit on the couch with my laptop or watching TV. I love the time to put my feet up after a long day and relax a little before my nighttime meetings. And I enjoy the fact that my husband is home from work and we can chill out together, catching up on our days with our feet up.

All this is amusing to me because it's the opposite of the way things used to be. Late afternoon was my craziest, most stressful part of the day. When the four kids at home, I was working on dinner, while trying to get each of them to get their work done, from homework to practicing instruments to their laundry, there were different things for each to handle and I had to be on top of them all. By the time my husband walked in the door I was exhausted and already thinking about bed.

I still think about bed every afternoon, but it has more to do with old age than a crazy schedule. And now, if I really want to, I can simply drift off for a few minutes to get my second wind. Oh, how times have changed!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lawnmowers

I dislike landmowers. There, I've said it.

I enjoy a well manicured lawn as well as the next person. It's beautiful to see a big yard beautifully mown and watered. But the noise they make is a price too high to pay I think.

I remember many years ago when my grandfather mowed his lawn using a small push mover with double blades that spun around when the wheels turned. It was hard work and it took a long time. I think most people took care of their lawns the same way and because it was so much work and so time-consuming, lawns were generally more ragged and longer than the ones we see now. Today, with gas-powered mowers, some a big as a small room, the job is done more quickly and easily and everyone seems to want a lawn that looks like Yankee Stadium.

Across the street from my house is a village green. When the team of landscapers arrive I know I can count on at least thirty minutes of non-stop noise, sometimes loud enough to make it difficult to talk on the phone or have a conversation in the house. With the windows opened, which they are all summer in our non-air-conditioned home, it  means an assault on the peace and quiet of our little world. Between the traffic, the airplanes, and the lawnmowers and weed-eaters, sometimes I think I'm going mad.

Thankfully my husband does not fall into the category of men who want perfect lawns. Once it gets long enough to look scraggly, he'll go out and mow. Trimming is another matter all together. Thank goodness.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nice

East Hampton is very nice right now. Oh yes, the temperature did drop last weekend and it seemed more like March than April, but it was sunny and the trees are all in bloom now, and I for one am not complaining. I'd actually prefer grabbing a sweater to being hot, so I wasn't annoyed!

The cherry trees have been spectacular this spring and everything is greening up beautifully, despite the lack of water. The ocean is beginning to look bluer and the sky is gorgeous. Our little town is beginning to put its best face on for the visitors that are coming and we're enjoying every minute of it.

Having the sun up so early is another treat, and my drives to Southampton early on Tuesday mornings are no longer started in the dark. When we take our morning walk at 6:30 its bright and beautiful and we're enjoying the vistas as we head up and down the village streets. I'm not looking forward to the heat and humidity to come - I like it just the way it is right now!

Soon the cherry trees will be green instead of pink and the annuals will be blooming. That also means the hedges will need trimming and the garden weeding. And so it goes, season after season, year after year, and life is good here on the East End of Long Island. What a great place to live.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Middle Lane

On our walk earlier this week we went up Egypt Lane, down Fithian, up Cross Highway, and back down Middle Lane to Egypt to head home. It was a nice long walk and we got to see some of the most beautiful lawns and homes in the village. As I've said before, walking gives you a whole new perspective on things and we see lovely views that are totally missed when driving by in a car.

Some of the homes have clearly been there for many decades, as evident in the beautiful, mature landscaping and old, elegant farmhouse-style architecture. They are as lovely and gracious as they were when they were built, no doubt seeing much updating and renovating over the years inside. Others are newer and more "grand" as seems to be the thing now, owners somehow needing to make some sort of statement about their wealth and grandeur. All of them are wonderful, but of course I prefer the older, less ostentatious ones. They're no smaller in size, but less ornamental, with fewer flourishes and accoutrement's. I find them more stately, but that's me!

The lawns and gardens are really the most amazing parts of these properties. Clearly some people bought multiple lots and merged them, as seen in the numbers on the mailboxes, and they have oceans of green lawn dotted with beautiful landscaping and outbuildings. Most have pools and many have garage apartments for domestic help or caretakers. All in all a lovely way to live!

I don't find myself being overly envious, although I would love the money necessary to never have to see peeling paint on windows or doors, or worn shingles that need replacing. And no doubt if anyone lives in a house that grand, they can afford hired help for the cleaning and lawn care - that would be nice! But other than that, I'm happy with my own house and yard. But oh, how the other half lives! And how lucky are we that here in East Hampton they're not normally behind locked gates and high walls, but we can enjoy their beautiful properties simply by taking a nice long walk.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

More husband...

Since I did a little complaining about my husband yesterday I decided I would give equal time to saying nice things about him. Because one day recently I was watching him do something around the house and was reminded of how important the little things are in a relationship. I think young people believe its all about passion and sex, when in reality its much more about the way someone makes you smile.

For instance: I love the way he takes the feather duster and dusts all the high places in the house for me. He looks adorable reaching into the corners and getting the cobwebs. I smile every time he leaves for the dump because I hate garbage and taking out trash. I enjoy watching him fall asleep sitting up on the couch every afternoon when he gets home from work, head bobbing up and down. And I absolutely love it when he asks me which tie he should wear, because it makes me feel as though my opinion is important to him.

See what I mean? It's all about the little things.So to all the young couples out there starting out, remember this: spend more time on the little things because if you're together, the big ones are already there. But those little things can make a big difference in the long run!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Multi-tasking

I've heard it said that men are not good at multi-tasking. I'm sure that's not true of all men, and there are certainly some women who are similarly challenged, but in my house it is a fact and a bit of an annoyance. For instance, my darling husband is not good at prioritizing tasks that need doing around the house, not because he doesn't work very hard every weekend doing things, but because he has trouble sticking to one thing and getting it done. I've encouraged him to make a list of things that need fixing or making or painting, etc, and not to jump to the second on the list until the first is done. That way we wouldn't have a half-painted window frame for a month. But this inability to multi-task means he is easily pulled from one thing to another and the first is then out-of-mind.

Another place I see this is the way I'm constantly picking up coins from the floors in our bedroom and bathroom. Now, the fact that men are always losing coins from their pockets is another issue worth exploring, but that's for another time. Right now I need to wonder why I'm the only one who can see these coins on the floor? Is walking and looking at the floor another multi-tasking challenge? How many times have I said "Why didn't you pick this up?" only to be told he "didn't notice it".....really? (I actually think this is "selective seeing", very similar to "selective hearing" in the male species)

Well, multi-tasking might be women's strength, but it seems to me it could be a learned skill. But how can we get them to want to learn it?

(And I now offer this space to my husband for equal time - no doubt he could rant about plenty when it comes to living with me!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sons-in-law

Both my sons-in-law are celebrating birthdays today. And it makes me pause and wonder how our lives would be sadder without them.

Since my daughters attended the same college and were both part of the music department, it shouldn't have been surprising that they should end up marrying a couple guys who were friends already - in fact they'd been suite mates at school. They both played trumpet in the school orchestral groups and liked each other a lot. So when the sisters began dating them, they were both happy at the prospect of being brothers-in-law someday. Life is interesting like that, isn't it?

We were very fortunate that our girls found these guys back in the 1990s because they are both wonderful husbands, amazing fathers, and good sons-in-law. We love them both and they are truly part of our family in every way. I can't imagine not having them in our lives.


So to both my sons-in-law, thank you for sharing a birthday, which makes my life so much easier by having one less date to remember and by giving me the peace that comes with knowing your precious children are being loved and cared for and we can be content in the knowledge that their lives are good. That means the world to me.