Sunday, September 30, 2012

Winding down

There's something very special about this time of the year. I think it has to do with the knowledge that these beautiful sunny warm days are numbered now, not laid out before us in months but limited to a few weeks or a couple months, depending on how Mother Nature decides to close out the year here on the East End. So we want to enjoy every one of them to the fullest, being in the sun and spending time outside, drinking in the beauty of the ending of the warm and lovely days.

Last weekend we went out to Montauk on Sunday. It was such a beautiful day it seemed wasteful not to do something special with it. So we headed to Gosman's for lunch. So few boats were moving in and out of the harbor we remarked about what a change it was from the last time we were there, only a few weeks ago. There were people everywhere but not in the numbers that were evident in August and everyone seemed to be a bit more mellow and content. There was no frantic feeling and no one seemed in much of a hurry to get from one place to another. It was the best of the year as far as I'm concerned - a gorgeous, comfortable day looking out on the water, enjoying the place we call home.

Coming back to East Hampton I made myself a promise that I would make at least one more trip to the eastern most end before winter sets in - I think I need to walk around the Montauk Lighthouse once more this year. Just to remind me that this is my place, this end of the island I love so much. It's my place and its where I want to be. And I don't want to ever leave.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Autumn

I know exactly when fall arrived in East Hampton as far as I'm concerned. It has nothing to do with the calendar or the vernal equinox or the leaves changing - I have my own way of judging these things. Autumn arrived in East Hampton overnight last Sunday and was here on Monday morning. Because that was the first morning I could barely stand to push back the covers and climb out of bed.

As I woke from deep sleep early that day I knew immediately that something had changed. The comforter was pulled up tightly around my shoulders and the air on my face was downright cold. The temperature had dropped into the 50s overnight and with all the bedroom windows open, it was downright cold in my room. I stayed there much longer than usual, willing myself to get out of bed. Once I finally made the move I dressed in a hurry, anxious not to let that cold air ruin my morning.

I knew then it was time to close some of the windows overnight and only allow enough air in to keep the room fresh but not freeze us out. There is nothing as comforting as being warm and snugly under those blankets and nothing harder that willing yourself to make the move out of that soft, warm world and into the day. It's a sure sign of fall for me. And it arrived Monday morning.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Comments

When I started this blog, quite a few years ago now, it was fun to read comments from readers and those who had newly discovered it. As my readership grew, so did the comments. Some posts would elicit three or four comments and others only one or two, but it seemed as though every other post would bring in some thoughts from some corner of the world.

As time has passed, and I've posted over 1600 of these little "thought bytes", there seem to be fewer and fewer comments coming in. And I'm puzzled by it. Because according to the statistics I check occasionally, readership has remained steady and new readers come on regularly. Yet no one seems to want to voice an opinion or thought. And I wonder why.

I'm thinking perhaps I'm not posting comment-worthy thoughts, or folks have become bored with my little ramblings. It's doesn't matter, really, because I write for my own pleasure and would be doing it even if no one was reading. But I assume the content is the issue and wonder what it is people would rather read about. Should I talk more about nature and our surroundings here on the East End? Or should I strive to be more controversial and thought-provoking? I worry about writing too many blogs about swans and clouds! And I don't want to annoy anyone first thing in the morning. Again, it doesn't really matter because I write what I'm thinking, and it is what it is, but I'm curious to know what a difference it might make. And I do like to write for my readers.

I enjoy writing regularly. And if I ever get a better office set up out on my sun porch, I swear, I am going to write that book.....

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Midnight

I seriously think one of the reasons I still get up at all hours of the night for ambulance duty is because I see the most amazing things.

Last week it was a clear, brisk night when the pager went off at nearly midnight. I went and did my duty and didn't notice the sky until I got home. But then, as I get out of my car and closed the door I was surrounded by darkness and for the first time I looked up. The night sky was fantastic. The stars were bright and the moon not even visible. I have no idea whether it was behind my house or what, but the fact that so few lights were on and the moon was not taking any of my attention made the stars practically jump out at me. I actually stood for a minute and just took it in, enjoying the peace of a September night and knowing how special it was.

I've definitely learned to stop and smell the roses and, in this case, appreciate the night sky. Every once in awhile its worth it to climb out of bed in the middle of the night just to see what's out there. Sometimes there are things worth seeing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Compensations

I had a moment of true reality the other day, knowing that as much as I don't m iss the heat and humidity of August I'm also not excited about being cold. I was taking a shower and realized how glorious the hot water felt and it occurred to me that I hadn't felt that way in awhile so that meant the air was noticeably colder. And then I remembered how good that hot water feels in January when its really cold and how I wish the temperature could stay just the way it is now - chilly at night and up into the seventies by noon. I love it.

So I was feeling a bit sad that these perfect months last such a short time. But then that same day I had to drive to Southampton and decided to take the main road over but the back roads coming home. And then I felt totally compensated by the visual pleasures in every direction. I enjoyed the farm fields stretching to the sea, full of bright orange and yellow pumpkins. I looked at every produce stand I passed it, pulled in by the visuals of corn stalks and swan gourds. The great variety of pumpkins now is another beautiful thing - to think they used to all be orange! The sky that day was the most gorgeous blue and the clouds as white and fluffy as marshmallow fluff. There are only a few places left where I can see the ocean from the road, but they revealed water almost the same color as the sky, just a bit darker - calm and beautiful.

The autumn prepares us for the winter to come. We feel the changes but we are comforted by the rhythm of the seasons, enjoying the best of them and knowing each is followed by another, over and over, in the perfection of the universe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Autumnal splendor

Nothing is as beautiful as the East End in September. And autumn is by far my favorite season.

The Hook Mill has been up and running recently, arms turning slowly with sails unfurled. After the major restoration that was done, it's been necessary to make sure everything is working properly. It looks magnificent when its moving and against a beautiful blue autumnal sky its absolutely show-stopping. Every time I drive by when its moving there are cars stopped in all directions with people snapping photos on their cell phones. Everyone is enchanted by the incredible genius of the men who created such amazing machines. And I immediately go back in my mind to the days in the 1800s when wagons carried the goods to the miller and he worked hard all day to make his living grinding them into usable bags full of flour or corn meal.y ancestors lived within sight of the mill and I have no doubt that they passed it regularly in their daily lives, stopping to chat with the miller about whatever was happening around town. I can hear the ocean in the background and the mill as it creaks and groans, arms waving at the entire population as it meandered down hook.

I love to imagine times past and its easy to do here where we're surrounded by reminders in carefully preserved buildings and open spaces. And in autumn, when the weather is darn near perfect and we're all out enjoying it all, I'm grateful for each one of them.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vacations

When do people find time for vacations?

I've been searching the internet lately for cruise bargains. I love a good cruise and we haven't had a real vacation in a very long time. There are great bargains to be had if one has the patience to look for them, but my issue is time. How do I find time in my schedule to go away?

I was looking over some schedules the other day and every one I found conflicted with something I had on the calendar.  If there wasn't an important meeting there was an event of some sort. Sometimes I feel as though I'm pulled in so many directions it seems impossible to get away, ever, for more than two or three days.

But then it occurred to me that my problem is not time - it's responsibility and the heavy burden of taking mine too seriously. It's something my parents instilled in me - the need to "always follow through" and not get into anything I didn't plan to complete. It gave me an overly strict mind-set when it comes to the things I do and I have a very difficult time telling anyone I can't be at something or can't complete something I've started. I do think age has helped me get better at this, but still, telling anyone I have to miss a meeting or anything else I'm supposed to do make me cringe.

I think I just need to plan farther ahead. Because if I can tell someone I already have a conflict, that's OK. "Sorry - I can't come to that because we'll be away" is much easier for me to say than "Sorry I have to back out because we've decided to go away". I guess that's part of the "prioritizing" my mother also instilled in me....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Extensions

The older I get the more pleasure I get from my extended family.

My parents had four children and we had lots of cousins but we rarely saw them. I was always sorry we didn't have closer relationships with our cousins because I envied people who had lots of them and I could see what a special relationship it was. So when my own children were growing up my siblings and I made a real effort to get together regularly. Our children grew up knowing and loving their cousins and I'm so happy about that. It saddened me that some cousins lived at a distance and it wasn't possible to have the same contact with them.

Now, as I've gotten older, some of my greatest pleasure comes from not only watching those cousins mature and make wonderful lives for themselves, but to reconnect with my own extended family and feel closer to some of my own cousins and other extended family members. Somehow family ties are special - a relationship like no other.

As my nieces and nephews get engaged, or married, or have children, I am filled with joy for them. I feel the family connection strongly and rejoice in their accomplishments. I watch their children grow and smile at the knowledge that my parents' legacy continues. And I especially enjoy knowing that the family is still strong on the East End of  Long Island, where they arrived so long ago and made their home. Could my great grandmother, who grew up in the Montauk Lighthouse as the only surviving daughter of her immigrant parents, possibly have imagined that her children and grandchildren would some day number over 100? And that nearly that many would still live right here, almost in the shadow of that very light? It's truly a very special thing.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Family crisis

There are crazy times in life when things just all seem to happen at once. We've been going through one of those recently at our house and I'm happy to be able to say that since my cancer I am able to keep things in perspective much better than before.

In the past month my daughter-in-law lost her father, my daughter's mother-in-law has been hospitalized, my son had twin daughters, we had renters coming and going, and we had visitors to our home. It's been a crazy time. Calm and peace has not been the norm, for sure!

Somehow going through cancer diagnosis and treatment makes one a bit more cam in times of stress. Things that used to upset me aren't quite as horrible as they used to be. I tend to let things roll off my back more easily and see them in a larger perspective. There are difficult times in life and sometimes life can be sadder than imaginable. It's not an easy road. It can be lonely, it can be difficult, and it can make us think its too much to handle. But when you've looked death in the face and known its reality, every day is sweeter and even the worst experiences, as painful as they may be, are easier to handle.

It's been a difficult time for our family, but its been a mixture of joy and sorrow and the joys help temper the sadness. I'm grateful for the human emotions because they make me know I'm alive.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Closets

I was watching a show on TV today and I saw the closet of a celebrity. It was about the size of my house - the two floors put together on one level. I was in awe. I want that closet space! I could have lived in that closet space!

Closets have always been an issue for me. The first house we lived in was tiny and the closets the same. Fortunately we were poor and didn't have much to store so it wasn't bad. The second had nice double-sized closets and I loved them, but then we moved to this house, built in the 1920s, and it has small closets too. Each bedroom has a small one, appropriate for the two house dresses and two church dresses most people owned in the 1920s. But they are a bit inadequate for today's wardrobes.

We put an addition on the house back in the 1980s and there was closet space added, of course. It's never been enough though. With an attic that's difficult to access and a basement that gets wet, storage is a big problem here. And here's the result: I feel as though I have too much. I look at my stuffed drawers and crunched closets and think how horrible it is that I have too many things to store. Because I realize that if I had more space, I would simply fill that up as well.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heavenly

To say I've been in heaven with this autumn weather would be an understatement. I've been dragging all my sweaters to the top of the drawers and trying to fit the jeans back into the space where the linen pants were. Now I'm afraid Mother Nature is going to throw me a curve ball and bring back some heat and humidity. If that happens I'm going to be very disappointed.

I am truly a cool-air person. I love the brisk mornings and chilly nights and I'm all about layers of clothing. I like wool and tweeds and hounds tooth prints. I like corduroy and suede and leather and all the winter clothes, like jackets and sweaters and wool dress coats and scarves and hats. So I'm happy to be on this side if winter.

The sleeping has been phenomenal and I'm loving the cool air in my windows in the morning. I'm NOT enjoying the noises that also come in, but its always a trade-off.

I think this September has been about as heavenly as any I can remember. And I'm hoping October is the same.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Photos

Recently I came across an old photo that had been in the local newspaper back in about 1956. I was in it, along with my siblings, mother, and some friends with their mothers. It had to do with encouraging people to vote on a referendum to buy a piece of property for what is now the elementary school here in the village. I have no idea whether the photo helped sway the vote or not but it certainly has sparked some conversation!

I was able to identify everyone but one boy in the front and couldn't for the life of me remember his name. I knew if I heard it I would remember it, but couldn't come up with it myself. So, I did the logical thing and posted it on a Facebook page devoted to natives of this area, some still living here and others in far reaching places. Did anyone know who this boy was? I had no idea how many responses I'd get. I think he's been identified as at least twenty different people at this point, with various discussions about why it was this or that one and how sure the person was of the identification. I'm more confused now than ever. And I don't think anyone has hit on the correct answer yet.

Which all goes to show one very important thing: one should always put names on the backs of photos. Because there won't always be people around who remember those faces!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chill

We definitely have the fall chill in the air this week! Every year I long for it in August and then when it comes I'm taken aback.

I get up about 6am most days and its dark now at that hour. Not only is it dark but lately its been pretty brisk in my bedroom with the windows wide open. I get up quickly and grab some clothes, as opposed to a month ago when I leisurely walked around in the comfort of the warmer air. It's invigorating and it gets me going, but it is also a harbinger of things to come and soon it will be downright cold in the mornings. This is great walking weather but its hard t dress for it knowing it will be warm and sunny in a few short hours.

I love the fall and I do enjoy this cooler weather. But I'm finding I need to adjust a bit. Perhaps its my age because change just does not come as easily as it used to. Suddenly my mother's words haunt me again as I remember her saying "I'm just set in my ways, that's all!"

And so I guess am I.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Generosity

I think the American people are amazingly generous. I don't know whether its because we know how blessed we are or i there is some other underlying reason, but I am always taken aback by how people open their wallets and give of themselves so freely.

Recently I decided to do a fund-raising event in East Hampton for the local cancer organizations. I did a simple request for help on Facebook and immediately had a dynamic committee of eight woman who jumped right in with all sixteen feet! They have spread out into the community seeking donations for raffles and a silent auction and the bounty is incredible. Local business people have given generously and it promises to be a very successful night.

This is similar to the response we see every time there is a crisis somewhere in the world. An earthquake, a tsunami, a volcanic eruption - America goes into action. We collect clothes, we send food, and we give money for the sake of people halfway around the world that we will never know. It really is inspiring.

Whatever the reason I'm always proud of my fellow citizens and the way they step up to the plate when needed. It's a really good thing.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall cleaning

At my house growing up every fall was heavy-duty cleaning time. The couches were pulled away from the walls, the baseboard were scrubbed, the walls washed - everything got the once-over as soon as the weather cooled. So this week I stated to do the same thing at my house. Only I'm no where near the cleaner my mother way.

I do a half-hearted job of fall cleaning. I pull some furniture and vacuum, emptying cushions of various coins and pencils as I go, and managed to get to some of the woodwork I haven't hit in awhile. My bedroom and my sun porch always need attention because as the non-public rooms they tend to be easy to neglect for long periods of time. So, they're getting taken care of now.

My mother always said her home was clean enough to be healthy but not as spotless as others. She wasn't OCD at all and we were never made to avoid certain rooms or spaces to keep them pristine. I don't think I'm as neat as she was though. I vacuum and dust weekly and clean the bathrooms and kitchen, but I don't do the deep cleaning some people do every week. I've always hated housework and when I was young was convinced that some day I would pay somebody to do it for me. Well the dreams of youth don't always come to fruition so my house is what it is.

The up side is I don't wear things out too quickly from excessive vacuuming or washing.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In love again


Yesterday I fell in love again.

Love is a funny thing. You experience it and its amazing. It can totally encompass you. And yesterday, when my son's wife gave birth to twin girls, I knew it all over again. When I held each one in my arms and stared into their precious little faces I knew how amazing it is that humans have so much capacity in their hearts to love unconditionally and give of themselves totally. I would already die for these little girls. And I have seven other grandchildren I feel the same way about. Incredible.

As each child has come into my life I've felt blessed in an amazing way. And that reminds me of something I saw on a TV show the other night. It was the show "Parenthood" and a father was explaining to his son that he didn't believe in God and why that was. But then, strangely, at the end of his speech he made the comment "But I know I am so blessed". I thought to myself "Really? Blessed by whom?" Somehow counting my blessings makes me more and more grateful to God for my life and the things that are part of it. And today I'm thanking God for two beautiful little girls who have already worked their way into my heart.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Aaaahhhhhh

I am loving this September weather. The cooler days and nights are just what I've been waiting for and the air conditioner has been turned off and the windows open wide. I love the breeze flowing through the house, freshening the air and making me feel alive and part of the world. I don't like being locked into a house for either heat or cold - I love having an open back door and hearing the screen slam shut.

The days are still warm enough for short sleeves and sitting on the deck, but the evenings call for sweaters or sweats. The covers feel so good pulled up to my chin in bed and I wake to the sound of the birds again.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love September?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Road time

We were on the road last weekend,driving to PA to visit with my daughter's family. Being on the road is always a treat! I think its a challenge for every married couple, especially when the kids are grown and its just the two of you in the car for hours at a time.

I find that knitting is a good distraction. When there is no conversation, which happens at times, I have something to work on and keep me busy. It also helps keep me from thinking about what's happening on the road, which is stressful for me. I consider my husband a good driver, but no one drives exactly the same way and slower braking or more lane-changing can be hard to take quietly. I don't want to be a "back-seat-driver" so silence is my goal.

I also enjoy having the GPS to play with, as well as the cell phone, and I think keeping myself busy with a magazine or other thing is the best way to stay happy for both of us. It also works best for him to do the driving because he isn't as good at keeping his thoughts to himself.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And another thing....

After writing yesterday's blog I thought about something else that has really driven me crazy this year on the roads - impatience!

Every summer we deal with issues on the roads here that are associated with overcrowding. There are simply too many vehicles on roads that were never meant to handle the numbers. Every summer it becomes more that something must be done, but no one has come up with a solution yet.

One of the effects of this overcrowding is impatient drivers. The visitors are impatient because they want to get to wherever they're going quickly - after all, they're on holiday! They don't want to waste their time in a car! The locals are impatient because a road trip that should take them twenty minutes is suddenly taking them forty and they're annoyed at the change in their routines. The result can be disastrous.

Three times this summer I had a similar experience. I was sitting at a stop sign waiting to turn right onto Montauk Highway. Traffic was heavy and there were very small breaks but cars were traveling fast and I was afraid to pull out without having enough time to merge in safely. I find that its better to sit for an additional 30 seconds than cause a driver to hit the brakes. So I wait patiently for the opportunity. I may not be as speedy as some but I'm no old lady driver yet either. I can merge quickly, but I'm cautious. Anyway, each time, in three different places, I was sitting and waiting at the stop sign when another car pulled up next to me on the left side and I assumed they wanted to turn left. But no - they proceeded to hit the gas when the next small break appeared and pulled out, turning right, in front of me. Each time I was aghast at the illegal move, grateful they hadn't caused an accident, and annoyed at their impatience. Within a few seconds I was able to pull out safely and had they been a little more patient they would have too.

I'm so glad that summer is over and (hopefully) civility has returned to the roadways here on the East End.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Driver's Ed

Is it just me, or are they teaching things differently in driver's education these days? Or do they not even have that course anymore? Or do people just not remember how they're supposed to be doing things?

Here are some inconsistencies I've observed:

1. Am I wrong, or is you turn signal supposed to warn other drivers that you will soon be braking and then turning? I can't believe how many times I'm driving behind someone who brakes, slowing to a near stop while I'm trying to figure out what they're doing, and then suddenly the signal goes on or they just simply abruptly turn. Isn't that defeating the purpose?

2. I seem to remember that when approaching a green traffic light that turns yellow you are supposed to stop at the light. It's to warn you that the light is going to turn red and you need to stop and not enter the intersection. If already in the intersection (or very close to it)  you should proceed through it, but you should be driving at a reasonable enough speed to stop otherwise. It seems to me that now a yellow light means "speed up and hurry so you can make the light before it turns red and if it turns red before you get there, well, no problem - just keep going!". I think red light infractions are becoming epidemic and extremely dangerous.

3. When did they change the rules about passing on the right? If you stop for someone who is turning left and wait for them to clear the lane, everyone behind you passes you on the right. In front of my house people do it all the time when I'm waiting to turn into my driveway and they've created a path on the grass. I don't think that's what they're supposed to be doing, is it?

I know it was a long time ago when I went through my driving classes, but some things you don't forget. And I dare say some of the new trends are dangerous and I wish they'd be clamped down on. Any thoughts out there?

Monday, September 10, 2012

East

Today we head east. We've been in Pennsylvania all weekend with family and its time to get home. I hate the trip. Every time we make it I like it less. But I love my family so much it overrules my distaste for driving over the Verrazano Bridge and down and Jersey Turnpike. Even saying those names makes me wince.

I'm grateful we don't need to get on a plane to visit the people we love, but I wish they lived in Rhode Island where a quick trip on the ferry would be so much easier! But they don't and I'm happy we can be home in less than 5 hours. They live in a great place and Pennsylvania is lovely this tine of the year. And if we time it right we can grab lunch at Ruby Tuesdays on Long Island, which is worth the delay. Its just that lousy turnpike that stands in the way. Always the big unknown!

Well, home is calling and its time to get on the road. And get it over with....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Calendars

It always seems as though the year should begin with September to me. It's the time of new beginnings despite the fact that the year doesn't change for  few more months. So I seem to feel the need to buy a new calendar every September. I even stopped at a calendar display this week but realized how silly it was to buy one now.

That said, I know in another month I will be looking for one in earnest. As the year begins to wind down, I need to find a place to put my plans for January and February for safekeeping. Once I start making notes about dates in 2013 its time to buy a new calendar, which will happen before you know it.

I'm fussy about my calendars. I want a certain amount of space to write things, I need to be able to see my week laid out for me on Monday, and I don't want it to take up too much room on my counter. I tend to save them every year and put them away in my home office where some day my children will find them and think what a stupid use of space it was. But to me they represent a year of my life. I occasionally come across one and flip through it, remember the birth of a grandchild, or the funeral of a friend. The things I wrote on those dates were all important, if only to me. And I can't just toss them out. I leave that for someone else to do.

Perhaps this coming year my calendar will have some really special pages filled out. I certainly hope so anyway.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Saturday

This is the first Saturday of the "off" season, if there is such a thing anymore! Oh the roads are nice and quiet all week long after Labor Day, but come Friday they come back in force! Saturdays are much like Saturdays in May and June, except those who visit our town seem less upbeat and we seem less patient, so its not always a good combination.

Well-I'm still OK with weekend traffic because by this time of the year we're well used to working around it and if we only need to deal with it on weekends so be it. It's a small price to pay for being here where the days are still beach-worthy and the nights still warm enough to spend the dinner hour on the deck. I like it.

It is hard to believe that the first week of September is already over though. How did that happen? Time really does start to pick up speed as we get older. And right now its at a lightening speed.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Helicopters

One of the things on my bucket list is to ride in a helicopter. That may sound silly, but I've always been fascinated with choppers - I like the "whop, whop, whop" noise the blades make as they cut through the air, I love the way they can land on a dime and take off straight up into the air, and I find them romantic and heroic all at once. And I'd love to ride in one.

I used to love the opening sequence of "Magnum, P.I." where the helicopter swooped around the islands in and out and around mountains on sightseeing tours. I wanted to be in that helicopter!

I've been pretty close to helicopters many times, loading patients on and off for medivac missions. And every time I see one take off I wonder what it would be like to be on board. I may never know, but I'd like to think maybe some day I'll get my chance. As long as its not in one of those - I want to be sitting up front watching everything!

For now its on the bucket list. Whether it ever gets crossed off is questionable. But who knows?


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Unexpected joy

Last weekend we were gifted with unexpected joy: our daughter's family surprised us with a visit from PA.

They've never come for Labor Day weekend before. General consensus has always been that holiday weekends are not the best times to travel when you live in a resort area. So they've never tried it before and I never expected them in a million years. When they appeared at the house early Friday morning it was truly a special surprise.

And it was a weekend of fun. Lots of family time was enjoyed. And since my eldest granddaughter was diagnosed with Lyme Disease shortly after they left East Hampton at the end of July, she was not able to go to the beach (the medication makes her extremely sensitive to the sun), which meant she and I had lots of time together while the rest of the gang spent the days in the sun, (I've never been a sun worshipper and now that my own kids are grown and I don't feel obligated to take them, I rarely go to the beach when the sun is out) She and I went shopping, had lunch out, baked - we just spent hours together talking and enjoying one another's company - I was in heaven.

It's the unexpected joys that are the sweetest. There's something really satisfying about being swept off one's feet in the moment, which is why so many people with whirlwind romances end up married I suppose. All I know is that it was a great surprise and I loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

School days

This week of back-to-school festivities always brings back so many memories. I can remember every first day of every school year beginning with Kindergarten. There was a great feeling of anticipation and anxiety, fear and joy, as we enjoyed seeing old friends and getting to know new ones.

The new teacher was always a bit of a fear. It was a small school and we knew all the teachers, but our impressions were not always accurate and we sometimes worried about the person who would be with us for all those months. Fears were always unfounded and we always loved our new teachers, but the first day it was an issue that caused jitters.

Then when we grew up our worries centered on our children's fears as they started each year and all our old concerns resurfaced as we projected them onto our kids. We smiled and feigned delight as they went into their classes, often crying all the way home as we marked yet another year of their childhood gone.

Now I relive it all as I listen to my grandchildren talk about their new teachers, new classrooms, and new friends. It's a week that will always be full of thoughts and emotions for all of us. I'm so glad I don't need to learn yet another locker combination!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day

This Labor Day weekend just passed was one of the best I can remember. The weather was perfect, with sunshine and low humidity and outdoor temperatures galore.

It was especially delightful that my daughter and her family arrived on Friday morning to surprise us - I can't remember when they were last here for Labor Day, if ever. So the weather was a perfect accompaniment and we enjoyed lots of family time with cousins swimming and playing and adults enjoyed many meals together. And the fireworks on Saturday night to mark the end of the season were spectacular and celebratory. I can't remember a better time on this weekend.

Now we are into September and there are more things to look forward to. The weather only gets better now and the air conditioner can be turned off in the bedroom in favor of the best sleeping weather of the year. Fall colors will soon surround us and the holidays aren't far behind. While some people may find the end of summer depressing or sad, I welcome it. This is among my favorite times.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Home again

Being in East Hampton during the summer seems more and more like being away. It's as though we've all been on a trip to some other place, transported to a strange town with people we don't know, trying to find our way around traffic and crowds everywhere. I feel as though today, I'm going home again. All this past week I've been looking forward to this week, when I finally feel at home. And now its here.

It's been a long and difficult summer. The crowds were horrid, the EMS system overburdened and all its members burned out with accidents and tragic deaths. Even in the smaller world of my family and friends there have been deaths and illnesses and it seems as though things just didn't go right.

Along with the negatives were so many positives. We had family visiting, great weather, lots of fun activities, and an appreciation for life in general. It was truly the worst of times and the best of times, just as described in "A Tale of Two Cities". It was a season of extremes.

There is so much to be thankful for in life that I don't like to wish any time away, ever. But I have to be honest and say I've been hoping for September for a number of weeks now. And I'm glad its finally here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Perfect

I week ago I had what I could call an almost perfect day.

First we went to church where my daughter and her ten-year-old son sang a duet. What mother wouldn't be overjoyed to experience that? Then since both my daughter and her husband had professional music jobs to do, we took our grandsons for the day. It was a great afternoon, starting with lunch at Gosman's watching the boats come and go, then ice cream on the dock with the seagulls, and back to East Hampton to go swimming for an hour or so.

When we were sufficiently tired out we came home to crash where we watched a fun movie together. Then their mother arrived along with my son and his very pregnant wife. We ordered pizza and ate on the back deck - the weather was gorgeous and it was great to be outside without high humidity.

By the time everyone had left I was able to take a hot bath and just reflect on what a perfect day it had been.  I realize that the older we get, the more important family time is and the more precious each moment spent with the special people in our lives. Its a lesson we learn a little late but hopefully in time to savor the ones still to come, which I do. The only thing that kept that day from being a 10 out of 10 was the fact that my entire family wasn't all present. Had they been, it would surely have been one of those rare exceptions - total perfection. But it was surely close enough to count.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Corn

One of my favorite things about summer is the corn-on-the-cob. I like the frozen kind OK, but there is nothing sweeter or more satisfying than a good ear of summer corn, fresh from the field. I could make an entire meal out of it.

There are other pleasures, of course, like the melons and the peaches - fresh string beans and tomatoes - but for me the corn outranks them all and I have to fight with myself not to have it every night of the week. If I could I would, and probably put on a good twenty pounds in the process. The butter alone is a killer. But there's nothing quite as wonderful as a bright yellow ear fresh from the pot, slathered in that butter and plenty of salt and pepper. Yum!

 I've only had corn four or five times so far this summer. Like I said - I try not to overindulge. But I'm thinking that this, the final official weekend of the summer, might be a good time to have it again. It's full and meaty now and the flavor is to die for. I surely must get some for a cook-out on Monday!

Ah yes - corn-on-the-cob for a picnic Monday. Sounds like Labor Day to me...