Friday, August 31, 2012

The milkman

Sometimes I get nostalgic for the sounds of my youth and recently I was remembering how nice it was to hear the milkman arriving in the morning. There was the sound of the truck in the driveway first of all, which was unusual, especially early in the morning. People didn't have as many cars or spend as much time in them as they do now, and the sound of a vehicle in the driveway always caused one to stop and listen.

Then there was the sound of footsteps coming up the walk and the very distinctive clinking of the bottles as he moved them from his carrier to the container by the back door. "Clink clink...clink clink....clink clink..." as each bottle came out of the wire basket and into the metal box. I can still hear it in my head.

Now the only sound like that is the one made by the mail carrier as she opens and fills the copper mailbox by my back door. It's also very distinctive, with the catalogs dropping into the box and then the top clanking shut all add up to mail in my box. With the money problems that the postal service is having these days I wonder how long that sound will still be heard. Perhaps the day is coming when we'll be picking up our mail at the grocery store, the way we do our milk and baked good now.

I wish we could go back fifty years and still have our milk and bakery goods delivered, not to mention the eggs and vegetables that other vendors used to bring around to my parents house. I miss the delivery trucks and I miss the people who drove them. And most of all I miss the sounds of living in the golden age when life was simple and East Hampton was a little bit of paradise.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Life changes

On this date in 1975 my life changed forever. I think I grew up that day. I know I became more human. This is my first child's birthday.

Looking back I realize now how young I was back then. I'd turned twenty-three in March and had only been married since the prior fall. I thought I was all grown up, of course, just as all twenty-somethings do. But with the wisdom of age I know better now. I was a baby myself.

But the wonderful thing about becoming a mother is it causes one to grow up in a hurry. Not only do we need to learn to be responsible and take care of this new life that has been put into our hands, we need to learn to give up everything in favor of this other being. We no longer think of ourselves first. We cannot stay in bed when we have the flu or simply want to sleep in. We can't decide we aren't hungry so we won't bother making lunch or dinner. We can't run out of the house on a whim to go see a movie or run to the store. Suddenly, as a twenty-three-year-old girl, all my own wants and desires took a back seat to those of this new baby that I was going to bring home from the hospital in two days. My body, my home, my life was no longer my own, they were hers. Life would never be the same.

And neither would I. I would become more kind, more giving, more loving, more generous, more thoughtful, more insightful, more intuitive, more wise, and more everything good. I would become less selfish and far less concerned with my own life. My biggest concern over the rest of my life would be my children, and now, their children, and it would change everything.

This is the anniversary of the day I really became an adult. This is the day I learned what real love is all about.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Closing

Summer is coming to a quick close here on the East End and I'm ready.

I absolutely love September in East Hampton. I love the warmth of the sun, the lack of humidity, and the blessedly quiet streets. I love seeing the "Schools Open" signs posted all around the village and the school buses as they carry the children to classes. I love hearing and seeing those same kids crossing the road to Herrick Park or walking home at the end of their school day. I love high school football games and the need for sweaters in the evening. I can't wait for those crisp autumn nights when the windows can be open and the sleeping is great.

September makes us look forward to the wonderful holiday season as well and we know that there isn't a better time of year here on the East End.

This is the final weekend coming up now and as sad as it is to say goodbye to yet another summer season, I think we are all rejoicing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vacations

I am definitely feeling the need for a vacation. There is something about going through the summer here on the East End, surrounded by people on vacations, that makes one want to get away from it all and enjoy another part of the world.

I'm thinking a trip to Hawaii in January might be nice. Or a tour of the keys in Florida in February. Or maybe just a return to Charleston, SC - I could surely go there every year and be more than content to enjoy the restaurants, absorb the history, and drive around the countryside of that part of the country with no problem. I still want to see Savannah. I have yet to get to New Orleans. And I've always wanted to make the drive up the coast of California, from Los Angeles up into wine country. And of course there's the Grand Canyon but that's not a winter trip I don't think. Maybe October would be perfect for that.

Many years ago a group of ladies in East Hampton formed an organization called "The Ramblers". Every month someone would research and then do a report on some wonderful part of the world that none of them would ever see in person. They "rambled" around the world every month, learning and experiencing places they would never see in person. That organization still exists, although they don't do as much about exotic locals as they used to. After all, many people do plenty of traveling nowadays. But the idea still fascinates me. If I can't go on a real vacation and see the places I've always wanted to see, perhaps virtual trips will do. I think maybe a trip to the library is in order.....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weather!

Last week was perhaps the most gorgeous weather week of the entire summer. The days were sunny and warm, with amazingly blue skies and beautiful fluffy clouds, no humidity at all, and for me at least, no sweating! I was in heaven! It makes me want to move to Hawaii, because I think the weather there is closest to what we experienced here all week - warm, sunny, low humidity and just perfect.

Here's the problem with moving anywhere else. If I were to move anywhere else in the country, I would suddenly become one of the people I've spent my whole life resenting: someone "from away".

I know that every place changes. And every person who grows up in that place resents the change. And the focus of their resentment is always the folks who have moved to the area - the non-natives if you will. In Hawaii they call them "haoles" and its not a nice designation. They don't use it with love! Here we call them "citiots" or "summer people" or people "from away" and we also don't use the terms with affection!

So, as perfect as the weather is on those wonderful South Pacific islands I think I'll stay where I am. And when we manage to string a few amazing days together here at home I'll simply enjoy them. And since most of my friends here on the East End are "non-natives" I'll remember that they aren't all bad!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lighthouse

This past week we attended a ceremony down at the Montauk Lighthouse celebrating its designation as a National Historic Landmark. It was a really nice occasion.

The day was perfect as most of this past week as been. The sky was blue with beautiful white, fluffy clouds, the sun was bright and warm but there was no humidity and it was comfortable sitting under a huge tent on the grounds of the lighthouse. The mood was festive, with white tents topped with flags and music playing as we arrived. Once settled in to our seats we listened to politicians and lighthouse board members as they extolled the wonder and virtues of the lighthouse, all against the background sounds of the surf rolling in at the bottom of the cliff. A cool breeze blew across the grass and for an hour-and-a-half in the little hamlet of Montauk on a Wednesday evening in August, all was right with the world.

It seemed especially fitting during the busiest month of the busiest season of the year that there was this wonderful little break in the action and a tent full of (almost) all natives to this place we call home, gathered in celebration at the foot of the Montauk Lighthouse. My great-great grandfather, who was the lighthouse keeper there for 33 years, must have been bursting with pride. I know I was - on his behalf...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ellen's Run

Last Sunday was the fourth year we've participated in Ellen's Run. Of course, this event has been taking place for 17 years now, but it was never really on my radar. First of all, I had no idea that it was OK to "walk" in a "run" and that most people in fact did just that, among them many children walking with parents and grandparents and babies in strollers and people with dogs on leashes. I'd always assumed they were for runners only so I never gave them a second thought when I saw one advertised. I was always more than happy to donate to someone else who was running, but I've never been, and never will be, a runner. So I just didn't pay any attention at all. Up until 4 1/2 years ago.

That was shortly after I had gone through my breast cancer surgery and was in the midst of chemo treatments. We were at Sunday lunch one week when my niece said "We should all do Ellen's Run as a team!" And that was the beginning.

Every year for four years now we've walked (some run!) in Ellen's Run. Since that day I've learned how much the event means to the local hospital and how much money has gone into the breast center there to make it a state-of-the-art facility for local women. With the breast cancer rate among the highest in the country here on Long Island, it's something we need for sure. And we have one to be proud of. And I've learned about Ellen Hermanson who died of breast cancer in her forties, prompting her sister Julie Ratner to forma foundation in her memory and to carry on her fight for her. And I've been proud to walk in her honor.

This year the team gathered to take a photo before the race began and my heart was so full of gratitude for my family and dear friends who support me every year in this endeavor, making me know how very much fighting cancer is a group effort. Without them I'm not sure if I'd still be here today.

And I also said a prayer of thanks for the fact that I was once again healthy and able to walk (lumber might be a better word) to join the effort to wipe out breast cancer - and every other kind of cancer - for the sake of my children and grandchildren. Hopefully by the time my two-year-old granddaughter, who was our youngest walker, is my age, Ellen's Run and all the breast cancer fund-raising events like it, will be unnecessary and it will indeed be a thing of the past. We can all hope for that. And in the meantime we can thank God for the kind of people who take time our of their busy schedules to walk or run in Ellen's Run.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Pirate's Den

Lately Montauk has been getting a lot of press about its night spots and the noise they create in neighborhoods. One in particular was in the news recently and when I was reading about it I was trying to figure out where it was - I haven't frequented night clubs in many years now and all have changed hands and names many times over since I remember them. Anyway, buried in one article was the fact that this spot, called the "Sloppy Tuna" (an unfortunate name, I think) used to be known as the "Pirates Den".

Oh my word, the memories came flooding back with that one! When I was young the drinking age was eighteen, so once we were seniors in high school, and throughout the college-age years, my friends and I often made the drive to the wilds of Montauk where the nightclubs were plentiful and craziness was better tolerated than it was here in the village. It was the 1970s after all and it was a crazy time! The Pirate's Den was one of our favorite spots in Montauk - just a block off Main Street and still a bit secluded, separated from the motels enough so as not to be a factor. We loved that place! There was usually live music and we would sit at a table for hours, laughing and drinking like there as no tomorrow. (I wasn't a big drinker but some of my friends certainly were, as I guess twenty-somethings still are today.) I'm sure my children have a hard time imagining me as a single girl out with friends, but I did hvae a life before they came along....

I remember some specific events there, like a good friend's break-up with her then serious boyfriend. They were both in college at the time but we'd all gone to high school together. She was devastated that he wanted to date in college and I'm still convinced they were meant to be together, but that's another story!

Montauk was like another world and we could spend an evening there feeling as though we were in another time and place. But as its grown and houses have moved into neighborhoods that were then pretty sparse, things have changed and its not the wild west (east?) anymore. The Sloppy Tuna may be having its problems with Code Enforcement but The Pirate's Den will forever live on in infamy, at least in my mind.,...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Glitches

Computer issues can be the most annoying of all. Probably because we can't just bang on the side of the computer monitor and make it work again. Or maybe because the whole concept of the internet is too hard to really comprehend anyway. I don't know, but I DO know how frustrated I get by any computer glitch.

I'm working on a fundraising event in October and someone gave me a website to use for buying tickets  more cheaply than I could anywhere else, so I jumped right in. First I ordered event tickets and then I ordered raffle tickets. Everything was fairly simple and easy and I accomplished both in no time at all. Then, a few hours after the initial order I decided I should get some flyers. I toyed with the idea of photocopying some myself, but I realized  could never make then as colorful or attractive as they ones on the website were, so I did it all again.

This time the water was not so fine. I meticulously designed the flyer, making sure I included dates and event details, many lines of copy carefully chosen and placed. But then I was unable to complete the transaction and I tried over and over again - pushing buttons for :"order" and "complete", trying to get it all done. No luck.Then I went to the "live chat" and spoke to someone who was even kind enough to call on the phone. Still no luck - no record of my previous order anywhere, nor of my registered account. I was none too pleased and told her to forget the whole thing and I would go someplace else for my business. She apologized and we hung up.

Imagine my chagrin when I discovered the following day that I had actually been on a completely different website to order tickets and raffle books. Surprise! It was all my own fault and now I wanted to call and apologize for the mistake. I had successfully ordered what I needed and the site where I could not manage to order the flyers was completely different. No problem, I could find another place for the flyers.

Sometimes the biggest problem with computers is the dumb humans using them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More sisters

Today is my other sister's birthday - the baby of the family - and as I've blogged about before I resented the fact that everyone but me had summer birthdays which meant no snow storms and lots of outdoor fun. But all that aside, (I guess it's time to let go!) I have to say sometimes I think the youngest among us in my family turned out to be the most wise. It took a long time to stop thinking about her as the "little sister" but now that we're all well into middle age - actually I'm moving into the "elderly" category if we want to be specific (at least according to medical standards) - its time to stop thinking about any of us in terms of birth order.

But there are some things that are undeniable. I have memories of my sisters as little girls. I remember going to the hospital to pick up my youngest sister when my mother had her. I remember her birthday parties from the very beginning and I remember everything about her as a little girl: the way she used to walk around in old high heeled shoes with a woman's pocketbook slung over her arm when she was about 5, for instance. I doubt that either of my sisters have any memories of me when I was young - it would be impossible really. My brother may since he was older than I, but I doubt that as well. I don't think he payed much attention to me!

So birth order does make a difference. I was born into a family of 3 whereas my youngest sister was born into a family of 5. All those additional relationships! And each child needs to adjust to the newer one's arrival.

I have no idea what my younger siblings thought about me growing up. I know I was bossy and probably intimidating to them. My poor self-esteem expressed itself in many ways. I was incredibly jealous of both of them, thinking they were cuter and more lovable than I. But now I'm so glad my parents decided to have a big family. I love them all, my sisters, my brother, and all the nieces and nephews and spouses they brought in. I'm not sure what I'd do without them sometimes.

We tend to get so caught up in our lives we don't tell the people we love how much they mean to us. I don't want to be guilty of that. Here's to a wonderful birthday for my baby sister - and many, many more for all of us to celebrate together.....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Soupy

I think summer rain is what the term :soupy" is all about. It's warm and it's wet.

Getting up early in the morning for a walk means sometimes discovering a rainy day. I don't put my contact lenses in until after I'm dressed so if I haven't already heard heavy rain I sometimes get all ready for my walk and then come downstairs only to discover its raining. Since its a little dark earlier in the day now I can't tell from the light that it might be raining, so it can be a bit of a surprise to find its messy outside.

Recently I came down to a message from my friend on Facebook that it was too wet and she wouldn't be coming for a walk. I nearly went back upstairs to change but then thought better of it. I watched and listened to the traffic outside my front windows for a minute, finally deciding that although the road was wet, no one had their wipers on so the rain must have passed for the most part. I decided I was going to sweat anyway so why not? I headed out for a walk alone.

I was quickly reminded of why I like having a walking partner. I was bored immediately and didn't walk nearly as fast as I should have. Hedges and bushes beside the sidewalks were heavy with water and I got wet every time I brushed against one. And I just lost my enthusiasm pretty quickly.

I hate exercise. And I don't enjoy doing it alone. I know I need it and I know I feel better when I'm done with it, but I hate every moment of the process. Especially when I'm alone. My walk was short and pointless and I came home wet, but not from sweat. Lesson learned. Soupy days are best for staying in bed.....

Monday, August 20, 2012

Addictions

I've found a new and dangerous outlet for one of my addictions - shopping. I've always loved to shop, and I've been able to keep myself in check over the years through various ways. First. there was no money, which surely helped. Then as money became more available I wasn't happy enough with the way clothes fit me and my kids were too old to shop for, etc. So its an addiction that's been just below the surface for some time. Now however, it's reared its ugly head big time. Because now I have granddaughters.

I'm having a great time shopping with my granddaughters. Oh, I've taken the grandsons shopping too. but there isn't quite the same amount of pleasure in that because they don't get very excited about buying clothes, which is of course my favorite thing to shop for. But the girls are another story altogether.

Last week I was babysitting for two-year-old Piper and decided to make a trip up into the village and see what Ralph Lauren Kids had to offer. It was a Monday, so the streets were fairly quiet for August, and it was a beautiful day for getting out of the house. So we headed out to shop together. Once inside the store I told the salespeople I was looking for a dress for Piper (that was her choice) and gave them the size and also my price limit (an important factor in a place like RL). In no time at all she reappeared with some adorable little dresses in Piper's size and I went through them, looking at price tags and styles. I settled on a cute little blue corduroy number, warm enough to get her through the winter and very nicely styled. Piper was thrilled. She wanted to put it right on. So we went to the dressing room and we pulled it on over her shorts and she admired herself in the mirror. She twirled, and she hopped, and she looked at that dress from every possible angle, admiring how cute she looked and smiling the entire time. Even the salesgirl was grinning ear-to-ear at the adorableness of the scene.

We walked out with the dress in our nice RL bag, looking forward to sharing it with an equally enthusiastic co-conspirator, Piper's mother, when she got home from work. And I came away thinking that having granddaughters was truly dangerous for me. With two more coming in September, raising my granddaughter total to five, my husband should be worried.....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More muggy

The house not only smells musty now, it feels wet. All my upholstered furniture feels as though its been out in the rain and there's no relief in sight until September rolls around.

It reminds me of our first summer together as husband and wife. We were living in a tiny little house in Amagansett - no more than about 800 sq. ft. altogether. It had two tiny bedrooms, a bathroom, and small living room/dining room and small kitchen. We were happy there - newlyweds generally are - and it was our first time playing house together so everything was an adventure. Like the time I tried to defrost the freezer(remember those days?) and poked a hole in the wall of it with the ice pick, releasing all the freon and making it useless. And the times we would sit out on the front porch listening to the live music coming from the American Legion Hall across the street - the only entertainment we could afford at the time. We were literally living on love and it was fine.

But back to my story: I had bought a beautiful dress the year we were engaged - more expensive than my normal purchases but it was so pretty and there were so many parties coming up I couldn't resist. It was one of my last big purchases before the wedding. I can still see it clearly, a long, white shift style that was popular at the time, with pretty abalone snaps going all the way up the front. Across the top was a collage of brightly colored fruit appliques which were quite stunning on the white dress. It doesn't sound as pretty as it was and styles have changed for sure, but it was a really nice dress. Anyway, it was hung in the bedroom closet along with the few other dresses I owned at the time, and I barely looked at it that first summer because I was pregnant and wearing only huge muu-muu type dresses at the time. Until sometime near the end of August when I pushed it aside to find something I needed and there it was: mildew. All over the wall of the closet and all over my beautiful white dress. It was ruined. I was heartbroken. And I would never wear it again.

And every year about this time, when the house is musty and the furniture damp,  I think about that dress.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Costumes

Lately I've noticed the catalogs are starting to arrive for the fall and winter and some of them are full of elaborate Halloween costumes. Is it just me or has the whole Halloween costume thing really gotten out of control and lost some of its fun?

When we were kids it was a challenge every year when school started to begin contemplating the Halloween costume for the year. What could we make for ourselves? How would we create magic? It was up to us to think of a costume idea and then execute it. We could sew it, or find the right clothing or fabrics to drape and tie and pin and cut. I often went for a gypsy look because it was fairly easy to put together with my mother's wardrobe. A long skirt, a ruffled blouse, a draped shawl and headpiece, a hoop earring made from a curtain ring - it was easy to accomplish. Once I found a discarded skirt in fabric with hearts all over it and that became the basis for my "Queen of Hearts" costume. Witches were popular, and for the less skilled, ghosts were easy to make out of old white sheets.

Half the fun of Halloween was in the costume, which cost nearly nothing. Now people spend $50 at the drop of a hat for fancy, fur-covered or princess creations and they look fabulous but the fun, for me, is gone.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sisters

Today is the first of my two sisters' birthdays, the second of which will follow within a few days. Both my sisters are younger than I so I probably remember all their birthdays, beginning with the actual days they were born, at least for the youngest. Since one is a mere eighteen months younger than I, perhaps I don't remember that occasion, but I probably remember every celebration after than. I remember them both as babies and attended all of their joint birthday parties.

Now that we're all older I think our birthdays take on a different importance. It's no longer about presents and parties but about milestones and gratitude. We've made it this far, we're all still fairly healthy and happy, and we're more than glad to raise a glass to celebrate our lives.

Perspective changes in so many ways as we age and I think that's one of the saddest things about youth. The perspective of age would have been so helpful to have back when I was a young wife and mother. I would have stressed less about the things I would later learn were not so important, and I would have rejoiced more in the small miracles that occur when we're not paying attention.

And that's truly the real treasure of age - the realization that life is a treasure and if we're not careful we'll miss some of the best parts of it. So today, and in a few days, I'll be toasting my sisters for the gift that we have: love, life, and wisdom well earned. Here's to you both! May we see many more, each of us.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tornado warning

Last week we actually had a tornado warning here on the east end. It's not the first, but it is unusual out here on the end of Long Island. And a friend who moved here from the mid-west a few years ago wondered why there were no sirens.

I seem to remember reading once that tornadoes here, while they can do damage, are not deadly like the ones in the Midwest are. Apparently a tornado draws its strength from the vast land masses that the middle states offer, and we don't have that here. With little land to draw from, any rotational action here might result in a few uprooted trees and downed branches but no missing houses or destroyed neighborhoods. I am fascinated with weather and at one time wanted to be a meteorologist, so I remember this because I was interested. Our weather on eastern Long Island is totally dominated by the water that surrounds us. It cools us in the spring and warms us in the fall. If its too warm it can draw hurricanes north. And apparently it helps us avoid deadly tornadoes as well.

I don't think we'll ever see tornado sirens here in East Hampton. Although we might see water spouts occasionally off shore. Which is just fine with me/

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Anonymity

Am I the only person who hates the anonymity of the internet?

I read posts all the time from people who spout hatred and anger in comment sections of newspapers and online sites simply because they can do so anonymously. I know most would never be so bold as to say the same things in person, or with their name attached to them! They are rude, and mean, and I am really tired of it.

I think there should be a rule about this kind of thing. No one should be able to say anything anonymously that they wouldn't say with their name under it. Of course I suppose that's the appeal, isn't it? People can show their true colors and nobody can judge them for it. They can be bigots and hate mongers and spew all sorts of vitriol and no one can turn their backs on them or deny them their business or any of the other prices one might have to pay for being not very nice.

Personally, I prefer a return to civility and manners myself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hope springs

I can't wait to see the new Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones movie "Hope Springs" that just came out. The reviews are good, the topic is appropriate, and I am a huge Meryl Streep fan.

I don't think I've ever seen a Meryl Streep movie that I didn't enjoy. "Sophie's Choice" was hard to watch, but she was brilliant. She's been brilliant in every one I've ever seen, among my favorites "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Iron Maiden". She delivers lines like nobody else can and it s always difficult for me to imagine anyone else taking on the same roles. I think Tommy Lee Jones is an interesting match for her. I've never found him particularly attractive myself, but I enjoy his work as well so I think they will probably have the right chemistry as two brilliant actors.

There's something so great about the movies and when the combination is right its the best. A great way to escape the world for a few short hours and just enjoy. Can't wait to get to the theater...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nature trail

The Nature Trail in East Hampton is truly one of our treasures. When I think of the things that have been left behind for us by our wealthy benefactors over the years I'm a bit amazed at how their generosity has shaped our beautiful community. They were people who loved East Hampton for its natural beauty and had the means and foresight to be able to help preserve it. Our Nature Trail is a perfect example. It was once the gardens of a large estate, gifted to the village. In the same way Clinton Academy and Guild Hall were given to the community, the Nature Trail was presented for all of us to enjoy forever. In Sag Harbor it was Mrs. Russel Sage who was the benefactor and she left behind the Whaling Museum, Pierson High School, and the  library among other things. How great is that?

I hope that if I had plenty of money and was able to be a benefactor I would be. I'd love to be able to leave behind some nice scholarships for high school students, a beautiful piece of open space for everyone to enjoy, and perhaps a nice building that could be used as a museum or other community space. How much better a legacy would that be than building a monument to myself in the form of a huge home that blocks ocean views and takes up more space than anyone really needs?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer smells

Two things which stand out for me this summer are the smells and the noises. I am annoyed at how noisy it is with the windows opened. I can't hear someone talking to me in the same room when the mowers are working across the street or the hedges are being trimmed next door. And I notice that the traffic is so much worse than in years past, with more beeping and more screeching than ever.
But on the pleasant side, the aromas have been wonderful. I love the smell of the privet hedges and the honeysuckle. I notice how sweet the smell of the flowers and bushes are when I'm out walking in the mornings. And I even seem more aware of the wonderful aroma of freshly mown grass is when it wafts into the windows. Summer is rich with so many sensual pleasures for the ears and the eyes, but not all are so great. I'm working on accentuating the positive, as they say, and trying to overlook the negative.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Overcast

We've had our share of overcast weather lately but I'm not complaining. Sometimes its a blessing to be able to great away from the direct sun any way possible. And clouds work as well as anything! Overcast skies are a bit different in the winter months, when that direct sun lifts not only the temperature but our spirits.

We don't like it when the cloud cover causes us to lose contact with the heat source and we're shivering in our parkas and woolen mittens. It's interesting how a few months difference makes us look at things from such a different angle! Just the fact that the same 65 degrees that causes us to take off our sweaters in the Spring makes us grab for one in September shows what fickle people we are and how easily we're swayed form one side to another is an argument. It wasn't that long ago - May perhaps - that a heavy cover of clouds would make me cover my arms with something warm and now I'm welcoming it and more than happy to feel the cooler air against my skin. There are the final breaths of summer now and soon the clouds will make us think of autumn leaves and football stadiums. But for right now, they're a cool respite from the heat. I'll take it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mornings

There's a very modern sound that seems to accompany the morning now - the sound of sprinklers. As more and more people install automatic sprinkler systems to keep their lawns green and lush all summer, it seems as though half the neighborhood is watering at 6am and sometimes I make the mistake of thinking its raining because the sound is so prevalent.

We don't have a sprinkler system at our house. It would be nice for the summer plantings to have one but I know my husband is more than happy to have the grass not grow so fast since he does the mowing here. So I doubt we'll ever have one. I think it would be nice to keep the grass green and perhaps be able to get rid of some of the weeds which actually seem to grow faster than the grass anyway, but that's another discussion altogether.

When we take our walks in the morning we see the sprinklers everywhere - especially along the streets closer to the ocean like Middle and Hither Lanes. Those huge expanses of lawn are beautifully kept and the sprinklers are often hard at work keeping them hydrated in the early morn. I takes me back to the days when everyone had sprinklers they attached to their hoses and moved from place to place throughout the day, trying to get all the lawn covered. There was a distinctive sound to each model, from the "swish, swish, swish" ones to the "pssshhhhttt, psht, psht, psht, psht" ones. Now they're all the same and they all sound like rain.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olympics

I don't think I've blogged yet about the Olympics, most probably because I've barely seen any of it.

We've always loved the Olympics in our house, watching them every night and seeing as many events as possible. But for whatever various reasons, this summer has been tough. We've been too busy to see much of the games and I find myself looking to the early morning news to get the latest medal counts and see what went on the hours before.

I wonder if the Olympics lost some of their fervor when they moved the summer games to not be in the same year as the winter ones. It seemed that back then there was more of an urgency to watch whatever we could because there wouldn't be another opportunity for four more years. And I would think with the ability we have now to record things I would have been recording everything when I was out so I could watch it later, but I never have. I'm not quite sure what its all about, but it does seem to be a "down" year for me in terms of the games and I'm a little sad about it. Perhaps I'm too busy and perhaps I'm too jaded anymore. Who knows?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More August

Our weather this summer has been intolerable for me. I normally don't mind our summers because the hot and humid days are limited and I can bear them. But this year....not so much.

We've had more than our share of the heat and humidity and I'm rally done with August already. I'm longing for September and the cooler breezes that will accompany it. Combine the warmer summer with the unbelievably mild winter we had and I see trouble ahead. I  worry now about global warming and in the immediate future I'm looking to the heart of the hurricane season. None of it is good.

We have even had discussions at my house about central air conditioning lately. I can hardly believe it. We've never talked about that before - never really needed it and never really wanted it. Now I'm thinking otherwise.

Well, we're only a few weeks away from September now and it can't come fast enough for me. If this weather doesn't break soon I may start thinking about a summer house in Maine...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Movie love

Many people have favorite movies and I'm no exception. Where I differ from many is that my own favorites are golden oldies. And Sunday I got to watch one of them.

It was the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death over the weekend and AMC was showing all her great movies in her memory. Many are favorites of mine: "Bus Stop", "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", "How to Marry a Millionaire" - they're all up there on my list. But the one I recorded to watch Sunday afternoon was "Some Like It Hot", which is, in my opinion, one of the great movies of all time. And I loved it as much on this showing as I have in the past.

To me this movie was magic: perfect story, perfect direction, and amazingly perfect cast. I cannot imagine anyone else ever doing any of those characters as each was drawn to perfection. No one could replace any of the players here and hopefully no one will ever try to do a remake because it would be a mistake for sure.

Some things are meant to last forever and to go down in history as the best of all time. This movie will, I think, never be topped in the comedy category. There was plenty of sex without it being x-rated, plenty of action without anything blowing up, and plenty of laughs without anyone farting or making a fool of themselves in any way.

Magic doesn't happen often but when it does it's forever.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Musty

When I walked down the stairs the other morning I realized the "musty" smell is back. It happens every year about this time when the humidity and heat begin to take their toll and all the furniture takes on that unmistakable smell of summer.

I think it's more evident to me this year because we have an air conditioned bedroom now, which we didn't up to a couple years ago. Before that the whole house would take on that smell, but now I walk out of the bedroom, hit the stairs, and as soon as I cross the bottom step it hits my nose. The house smells musty.

I don't imagine people with central air even know what I'm talking about, but those who've been around long enough will remember when it was normal for everything to take on that mustiness in the summer. Everyone's house smelled the same way and it was simply the scent of summer. It almost make me nostalgic, reminding me of my grandmother's house which didn't get much natural light because of the proximity of so many large trees and took on that smell very early in the season.

Well, the "musties" are back at my house. I actually don't mind it. It smells like summer here.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Accidents

This has been a terrible year on the east end in terms of accidents. We've had a number of pedestrian deaths and many auto fatalities since Memorial Day and I'm beginning to fear even going out on the road. It seems as though people are more careless and he roads more dangerous than ever before and its an alarming trend.

I'm not sure what it is about our local roads that make them so dangerous. They seem to invite speeding and reckless driving like never before and I'm not sure what the answer is. Perhaps there are simply too many cars on our roads and the only solution is to get rid of some of them, but how do we do that?

I've said it before but it bears repeating: Bermuda has the right idea. Only residents can own cars and only one car per family. Public transportation is wonderful and even school children take it to school and back every day. Their roads are curvy and dangerous as well, but the speed limit is 30 mph and it is adhered to. I like that way it works in Bermuda.

I hope some time soon we find a solution to the problem that has become our roads out here. I don't think we can handle too many summers like this one. I know I can't anyway.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In an instance

One of the things that is brought home to is over and over again in EMS is how things change in an instance.

Last weekend there was a devastating accident on Route 114. A pick-up truck and car collided head-on and the driver of the car was killed, his wife and daughter taken to the hospital, the drive of the truck also off to the hospital. Just a devastating was seeing the rest of the family arrive on scene within minutes. The story quickly unfolded: Father, mother, two daughters visiting from Virginia, staying at his mother's house in Amagansett. They wanted to go to dinner in Sag Harbor but grandma needed to run to the dump so mom, dad and one daughter headed up 114 while grandma and other daughter went to the dump and then headed that way them selves, only to come upon a horrible scene. There was no mistaking the car involved, now in shambles, surrounded by ambulances and fire trucks and police cars. They were held back until finally a police officer came to give them the awful news: dad/son was dead. There was screaming and hysteria and understandable grief. I took the family members to the hospital in the ambulance and held the daughter all the way to Southampton as she cried for her father, alternately screaming and crying. It was an emotional ride I'll never forget. When at last I said goodbye to the daughter we both cried.

I couldn't help but think about my own family members and how many times we've driven that road to dinner in more than one car. Empathy hardly begins to describe it.

Life is a vapor, it says in the Bible, here today and gone tomorrow. How true and how hard it is to learn that lesson. I'm grateful for the reminder to hold fast the ones I love and not ever take them for granted.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer rain

We've had some storms in the recent past and I don't much like heavy rain in the summer. When it rains hard we have to close the windows to keep the furniture dry and when its hot and humid that's horrid. But last week I sat at my computer out in my office and a soft rain was falling and it was lovely.

It was dark out so I couldn't see it coming down, but I could hear the gentle sounds it made: the cars passing and sending up spray; bouncing off the window boxes, and hitting the leaves and bushes just outside the window. It was soothing and lovely, and it cooled the air enough to be comfortable in my un-air conditioned house. It was a welcome relief from the heat of the day.

I don't like lightning and I certainly don't like thunder, especially when they're close at hand! So rain storms can be a mixed blessing. But this evening it was nice to have a little rain coming down. I enjoyed it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The fair

Last weekend was the LVIS Fair. I work upstairs in the office every year doing a two-hour shift counting money. Sadly, the rain on fair day took a toll and we were not as busy as usual this year.

I remember when the fair was held at the Mulford Farm. It's been many years since that time and I think in some ways its better where it is now with the exception of the traffic issue.  Traffic was especially horrible last week as it was a rainy day and everything came to a standstill in front of the fair. At least when it was down the street a bit the traffic was spread along Main Street, but now its concentrated in a short little space and gets pretty crazy.

The fair is an amazing event, a hundred years in the perfecting and runs like a well-oiled machine. The ladies know what they're doing.

I can only hope that next year is a sunny day for the LVIS Fair. It will bode well for the coffers of that worthy organization, and might keep the traffic a bit calmer a well. All those people looking for something to do when the beach isn't an option....


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August

August now - oh boy. August is the strangest of months for me, weather usually nice but people not so much. I sometimes dream of having a place to escape to in August.

I think I'd like a small place on a lake somewhere - upstate or CT or NH - not too far to drive but a world away from the hustle and bustle of the East End. I envision a rustic place (easy to sweep out and keep clean!) with a big screened-in porch where we could eat dinner and look out over the lake as the sun sets. There would be a little dock too, with a small motor boat for fishing or exploring. An island would be nice - in the middle of a lake - but anything remote and secluded would be OK.

I can see it in my mind's eye, probably because that type of place has been the setting of so many movies over the years. I think I'd prefer it north of here so it would be accessible by ferry and not necessitate a drive through NYC to get off Long Island.

It's a dream only and will never be a reality. I know we'll never have a summer place anywhere, and if one has to be "stuck" someplace I think this is as good a place as any. The early village settlers had it right when they all owned "camps" down on Three Mile Harbor or around the bays. They'd rent their village homes for the summer and move to Lazy Point where they "vacationed" peacefully away from it all, while still being able to go to work every day when necessary. What a perfect life that was, walking the sand in the evening and waking to the sound of the water lapping the shore. It was a special time back then, when people "from away" had no interest in being in those more remote places and they were pristine and lovely.

It would still be a nice way to spend the summer. At least for those of us who live in the village! Yes, a little shack at the end of Cranberry Hole Road - or a cabin on a lake in New Hampshire - that would be very nice.