Monday, December 31, 2012

Eve of tomorrow

Tomorrow will be officially the new year of 2013 and I can hardly believe I've been on earth over six decades now. It seems like only yesterday when I was in grade school and counting the years until I would be an "adult" and now I feel as though I'm reverting to those early years, wondering what the future holds and worrying about how I'm going to live in it. For so many years in our lives the future is laid out before us: we marry, have children, and then spend all our energy and effort raising them to be good people. But then they're grown and gone and your future lays before you like a puzzle, with no real definates to speak of. the only sure thing is the unknown.

When tomorrow dawns I'll be reminding my husband that this will be our 39th year together, I'll be wishing everyone I see a "Happy New Year", and I'll be saying a little prayer of thanks as I remember that in two weeks it will be four years since my mammogram which diagnosed my cancer. I had no idea at the time if I had any future at all, and four years seemed like an eternity.

I'm grateful for these four years and for my life on this earth. And I hope that in the year 2013 I can make my presence here valuable to someone, somewhere. Because I like being here but I also want to count for something.

Here's to a wonderful 2013 to one and all!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dress code

I hate to sound old and completely out of date, but what's with this new fad of people walking around in their pajamas?

I was in Payless last week and in walked a girl about 16-years-old in a pair of blue flannel drawstring pajama bottoms with polar bears all over them. A few days before that I had been in K-Mart and seriously, there was someone walking around in a pair of the same type of pants that I had just seen hanging on a rack in the pajama section of the store. I looked long and hard at them to make sure I was seeing the same thing and there was no doubt - they were meant to be pajamas. Actually there were three of them together - all in pajama bottoms and some with slippers. I've even seen people that look as though they didn't even bother to brush their hair, either.

Maybe there's something wrong with me but I won't even wear sweatpants outside of my house (unless I'm answering a 3am ambulance call, and I promise, I have not been sleeping in them - they're just easy to pull on quickly and go!) I would be horrified to be seen in public in such attire that people might wonder if I'd literally rolled out of bed and out of the door. (Except of course on the aforementioned ambulance calls in the middle of the night - in that case they get what they get. But even then I brush my teeth and run a comb through my hair!)

Perhaps as a society we've gone just a little too far over the edge of what's appropriate in public. I don't mind seeing family members in their pajamas but I'm sorry, unless you're an overnight guest sitting in my living room I don't want to know what you slept in. And even then a bathrobe would be nice.....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Credit cards

I use my credit card all the time. And I think I was better off when I didn't have one.

For many years we didn't own a credit card. We were young and we had no money so who was going to give us credit? In those days you weren't able to get a credit card unless you could prove you had enough money to afford one. Somewhere along the line things changed and now it seems that anyone can get one, which I think is one of the problems with our economy. People are getting into debt who shouldn't. But that's another story.

Here's my issue. Now that I have a credit card I tend to use it. Big surprise, right? But I think I was much better off when I only bought something when I had the cash in my pocket to do it. I did without things, I shopped more carefully, I budgeted more closely, and we were not in debt at all (other than our mortgage).

I find that having credit ends up costing me money at the end of the day. I guess that's what "they" want after all - and it certainly seems to be working. I may get tough with myself and cut all my credit cards up some day. But not today....the sales are great this time of the year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Quiet house



The day after Christmas was sadly quiet at my house and as I sat in my living room paying bills and taking care of other end-of-the-year tasks, I couldn't help but reflect on how funny life is. Now that I have the perspective of the other end of things I can understand more clearly many of the things my grandmother, and later my mother, said to me when I was young.
I wish I had realized how lonely my grandmother must have been. After my grandfather died she lived alone and longed for our visits. We lived only a short walk away and could have made more of an effort to stop in and see her, but as with most young people, we were so involved in our own lives we didn't notice how she waited for us to come in the door. Of course she always told us she wished we would visit more, but it fell on deaf ears. We were busy! We had important things to do! We were self-absorbed and typically normal and just didn't know how little it would take for us to make her day.

My mother, thankfully, lived right next door to me most of my adult life and she and I both appreciated the fact that I saw her nearly every day. It took no more than 5 minutes to stop and say hello on my way to and from so many activities and I did it all the time. She became my sounding board and I would talk to her about everything that was on my mind. She was the person who held things together for me, with her wisdom and advice. I'm so glad I had her to bounce things off of, especially when my kids were teens and I had no idea what I was doing.

After my father died it became more about her than about me and my visits were important for a different reason. As active and involved as she was I knew she longed for her family. And now I understand that more than ever. Because there's nothing like having a house full of people you love. And when its empty it's as though a blanket is covering the entire building, blocking the sun and making it lonely. Christmas Day was a day full of life and activity and noise and food and love and all the things that make life special. The day after, when everyone was gone, it was oddly melancholy. I always feel the sadness when the family leaves, but never more intensely than after a holiday like Christmas.

The house is quiet. I'll adjust to the quiet, but it may take a few days....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holi-week

I love the week between Christmas and New Year's. In the years I had a "regular" job with "regular" hours (which I no longer do) I still loved it even though I had to go to work during that time, because I think we feel as though we're celebrating all week long from one holiday to the other.

In England they have "Boxing Day" the day after Christmas, which is the day they visit friends and family they didn't see on Christmas Day. They take gifts ("boxes") and they share a glass of holiday cheer. That seems like such a wonderful tradition - I wish we had it here! But even so, I think those days after the big day are full of visiting and sharing good wishes to all the people in our lives. Most places have only half a day on New Year's Eve, too.

This year, with both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve falling on a Monday it's a bit strange because following a weekend everyone has to work for half a day and then they're off again. But so it is. Wherever it is, we'll take it. It's a wonderful time of the year. And its a great week.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More LEDs

My post about LED lights elicited a response that suggested the problem with the new LED lights is that they weren't as "warm" as the old lights (which actually I had mentioned in the blog so I agree with that!) but here's the thing: it is still a matter of taste. Here's why I say that:

Not two days after that blog posted I was at a dinner party where a friend went on and on about how the village should go back to the blue lights that they used back in the 1980s. There was a period of about ten years back then where all the trees along Main and Newtown were lit with all blue lights. It caused a huge controversy at the time. Many people wanted the old multi-colored lights back and there were letters to the editor in the Star every year about what a travesty it was that they had ever been changed. Most people said the blue lights were "depressing" rather than cheerful. And also that they were "cold".

So naturally, these new LEDs that are much heavier in the blue and green hues and much lighter with the yellows and reds, would appear to be "cooler". It's the nature of colors.

And it also, as I said before, is a matter of taste. Some prefer the blues - others the yellows. Oh how opinions flow in a free society! But hey - its what makes the world go 'round!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Dates

I have no idea why December 25th was chosen as the day that we would celebrate Christ's birth. I;m sure there is a reason, but I don't know what it is. And I think in some ways its an odd choice.

Here in the northeast we equate Christmas with snow and cold. I think its safe to say it was not cold OR snowy when the baby was born in Bethlehem two thousand and thirteen years ago. It would seem more appropriate to celebrate in the middle of the summer when we could be thinking sand and sun, but forever it will be snow for Christmas in our dreams.

Well there won't be snow here this year in any case, but it certainly won't be warm and cozy either.  And being born in a barn would be out of the question.

No matter really. The fact of the matter is tomorrow is the day we celebrate and it's going to be a wonderful day, full of laughter, love, and gratitude for the real gift that keeps on giving.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Entertaining

Well my entertaining is all done with for the season now and from here on out its all about family. I'm especially looking forward to this Christmas. It will be the first in a very long time when the entire family is together.

For many years now my kids have been going in various directions at Christmas. Once married, everyone has other family to be with and that's completely OK with me - I do get them most of the year so how can I resent them leaving to visit others now? I get that. But Christmas is also never the same without your children present. So when they're gone we miss them.

But this year we are blessed to have them all here. I hesitate to celebrate that fact because my son and his wife, whom I adore, are only going to be here because she lost her father earlier this year and no longer has parents to visit. My sadness for her overrides my joy at having them here and it will be bittersweet for sure. But my other son simply cannot travel to his wife's home state because of their 3-month-old twins.

It will be crowded in my house this year, but it will be a house full of love and I can't wait. I'm feeling very blessed to have such a full house.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rehearsals

Being a musical type I find the major holidays a bit trying at times. Christmas and Easter all involve lots of music. And that means a big commitment on the part of anyone who makes it.

This morning is our final rehearsal for the Service of Lessons and Carols at our church. It will take up most of my morning. Last week was the church pageant which also took rehearsals. And then there were the extra rehearsals for solo work. It seems to be never ending when the holidays approach and much of my time is spent preparing to contribute to worship services.

I don't mind for the most part - in fact I consider it a privilege to be able to sing so I can't resent it, right? At others it can be burdensome though, like when there are things to be done at home, which there always are at this time of the year. Or I have other places to be. Everyone is busy at Christmas. If you imagine how busy you are, and then add hours of rehearsal time to those days, it will give you an idea of how crazy it can get. But always, when all is said and done, I'm so grateful for the gift of music. Because it gives me a special joy to be able to help lead worship during these wonderful days of celebration. I hope I never forget what a privilege it is. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Love

Such a tough week this is for so many people. My daughter-in-law comes to mind - she lost her father only a few months ago. Others who have lost loved ones also have a difficult time around the holidays. We cannot even imagine the grief of those who lost children in last week's tragic event in Connecticut. It's not an easy time to be in the throes of sadness.

But during the Christmas season after I lost my own mother six years ago, while I could not get her out of my mind and saw her smile in every ornament and around every corner because she loved Christmas so much, I remembered something a friend had said many years before. He had lost his child only a few months before Christmas and was still in the most tender time of grief. When I expressed my own sadness to him over the loss and dealing with the holidays he reminded me that we need to always celebrate Christmas, no matter what the circumstances. Because were it not for Christmas, for the gift of the Christ child, there would be no hope. Only through this gift are we given the future and the knowledge that someday we will be reunited with the loved ones we've lost in this world. Without that hope it would be a dismal place indeed.

So this week, as we approach the special day we've put aside to celebrate the gift of life through a tiny baby, I thank God for Christmas. And I celebrate those I've lost that I hope to be with again some day. What a gift indeed.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Horror

Nearly a week has passed now since the horror that occurred in a Connecticut elementary school and I'm still in shock. I think we all are. And mostly I think the majority of people, at least here in the northeast, can't understand it. Why do people need assault weapons? Why should anyone be able to buy a gun that can kill people so fast no one can even run away. Dozens of people. In seconds. Its not about hunting deer or turkeys, its about killing people. No one needs a glock to kill a deer.

I understand that there's a different culture out there that thinks being able to walk into a store and walk out with a lethal weapon is their God-given right as an American. But when its easier to buy a gun than it is to get a driver's license, there's something amiss.

I know that the community in Connecticut will never recover from this tragedy. The repercussions will last for generations. Children have lost their innocence. Parents will forever mourn the loss of their children. First responders will suffer PTSD and their lives will be in shambles. A community will be forever changed. And all because people think its OK that anyone can buy a gun of any kind and keep a small arsenal in their home.

God help us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hairstyles

Hairstyles come and go - I get that (I lived through the Farrah years, after all) but there is a trend in television that is just silly. Every professional woman on TV has very long, curly hair that looks ridiculous. Is there some poll somewhere that declared women who had long curly hair would be more popular on a television show or what? Because I find it annoying.


A perfect example is the female police officer in the show "Castle". In the first couple seasons she had a short, professional looking hair cut and it was a beautiful auburn color. Now her hair hangs down to her waist practically, and it's quite obvious that she just stepped out of the hair and make-up room because no long hair would hold its curl like that without constant curling iron touch-ups. And suddenly its nearly blonde. Give me a break. No police officer would be walking around like that.

Then there is the show "Rizzoli and Isles" about two other professional women - one a police officer and the other a medical examiner. Both have the same long curls hanging down in the way all the time. I ask you now, is there a woman alive who would be performing an autopsy with her hair hanging down into everything? I find it annoying. I think it takes women who are (or should be) role models and makes them look silly.

I have nothing against long hair and if I looked good in it I would have it myself. But I can't imagine I would be working on an ambulance call without pulling it back into a ponytail. And I don't seriously think most professional women would be bothered with the upkeep those long curls need. At least not those in the "upstanding" professions......

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jingle Bells

I have let it be known that the version of "Jingle Bells" done by barking dogs was not one of my favorite Christmas songs. However I have to say it must not be just the fact that it was "sung" by animals. Because there is a television ad on right now that I find quite charming.

The ad is for Brooks Brothers, but that's neither here nor there. There is nary a mention of the business and I wouldn't even know who was advertising if they didn't charm me into watching the whole ad and then the business name is shown at the very end.

So in this ad there are all these adorable little lambs, with colored scarves around their necks. And they "sing" a version of "Jingle Bells". Mind you, its actually sung - in this case by children - and not bleated as though it were actually sheep doing it. The voices of the children are so sweet and the lambs are so cute I find it really compelling. So I realize that the barking dogs didn't ruin me for any animal versions of Christmas songs. That said, I can't imagine too many animals being quite as darling as these little lambs. Hopefully it isn't the beginning of a new trend.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Instant wealth

The recent lottery that ended in two people winning over 200 million dollars each has made me think a lot about suddenly coming into money. Then I watched the "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS and realized that any large amount of money coming unexpectedly is a real dream for every person in the world.

I wonder if its possible to have too much money. I mean, no matter how well off people are, many who have much more financial means than I, they seem to be always worried about money. Perhaps we just always manage to get ourselves in over our heads, no matter how deep the water is.

People on "Antiques Roadshow" will suddenly discover that they have something worth money, whether it be $2000 or $200,000, and they are thrilled beyond belief. They all have the same reaction. And I'm fascinated by the intrigue of it all. We watch it with the thought " Wouldn't it be great if we have something here worth money?" and I'm sure watching that show has sent more than one viewer to their attic. We love the idea of coming into unexpected money - its like a fantasy every person has. At least every person who worries about paying their bills every month.

Once I saw an episode with a very elderly gentleman who discovered he had something worth $70,000. He was moved to tears. It was clear that to him it represented some security that he was sorely in need of and it made me wish that whenever someone came into money in this world, they would be people who truly needed and appreciated it. I know that will never be, but its my wish nonetheless.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

LEDs

There is lots of controversy here in the village about LED Christmas lights. There's no doubt they look a little different - much heavier on the cool colors for instance, and the whites are brighter and less warm. But I think mostly its a matter of getting used to the difference.

I find that change is very hard for people. In general, we are comfortable with things the way we're used to them. We like what's familiar - it gives us a sense of security knowing what to expect and knowing what's what. Any change can be threatening and makes us feel uneasy. Even change that may be for the better, which it often is.

Of course I'm equally resistant and I realize that. I don't like cell phones and I don't like portable phones. I don't think the quality is as good and I don't like they way they are always missing because there's nothing keeping them in one place. I also have a hard time adjusting to new computers, or new computer programs - once I've learned one or become comfortable with one I want to keep it forever. And new technology won't allow that. I don't like having to buy new appliances and learn how to use them. I prefer my old television to the new flat screen. But change is part of life and I learn to adjust/

But the new lights don't bother me. I love the idea of saving energy and I figure the change will eventually be unnoticeable.  But some people will take longer than others to be OK with it all/

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Telephones

The other I had a long chat with my daughter on the phone and when I hung up I had a flashback which reminded me of how times have changed. My daughter lives in Pennsylvania which is hundreds of miles from the East End of Long Island, and we were able to have a conversation that cost very little money and was easy to accomplish. How different life was when I was young!

I remember my mother trying to phone her sister who lived in Buffalo. First she had to speak to the telephone operator and request a "long distance operator". Sometimes that was not difficult but there were others when that meant waiting for a return call. I remember it was especially difficult when trying to make an overseas phone call. The wait for that call from the operator could take a few minutes. Then once the long distance operator called back, all the information about who the intended call was going to would be given, including their name and address and, if in this country, their phone number. If Mom were calling her sister she would usually be put through in a few minutes at that point, but it the call were going overseas an appointment would be made. I remember that part well because we had an exchange student from Norway when I was in high school and my father arranged for a surprise phone call for her to her parents on Christmas day. All was arranged ahead of time with the operator so the call could come in that day. And then everyone waited for the phone to ring. When the phone rang, the operator would announce that your party was waiting and then you could actually speak to the person you were calling.

All that wasn't the most difficult part of the ordeal. The worst thing was the cost! I remember when my brother was stationed in Hawaii in the early 1970s and every Sunday afternoon was the time for the phone call. (Rates were cheapest on Sunday afternoons!) He and my mother would talk to my brother but we were not allowed because, as he reminded us many times, "It costs a dollar a minute to talk to him!" Telephone calls were expensive and complicated not that long ago!

I'm thankful for the easy communications we enjoy now, not to mention the ability to travel easily on our modern roads and in our modern cars. Life has changed for the better in some ways.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Two more

I have only two more gifts to buy for Christmas. And they are two of the toughest ones on the list.


First there is my husband. I had bought him a really nice hammock for the back yard, which I knew he'd love next summer when the kids are around. Who doesn't love a snooze in a hammock in August, right? We've never had one and I thought it was a great gift. Anyway - its a no-go because he saw it when it was delivered to the back door and I had to give it to him ahead of time. So now what? I'd love to give him a nice watch, but he prefers the cheap ones he gets to anything I would pick out for him. He won't wear any kind of jewelry, which means I can't look for a nice ring. He doesn't need any clothes, that's fur sure. He uses neither bathrobes or pajamas and slippers. What do you buy for someone like this???

The other is my oldest and dearest friend, the only one I exchange gifts with. We've been exchanging since we were in high school and I normally have no problem finding something I know she'll love. I know her as well as I know anyone and our taste are very much the same. So why am I having so much trouble this year? I have no idea, but I'm really flumoxed. She's very special to me and I want a gift that tells her that. But so far....I'm blank.


There should be some shop that specializes in gifts for the people impossible to shop for. Unusual, one-of-a-kind treasures that will fit the bill. Another business I'd like to open.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Weeks

With only a couple weeks left before Christmas now I'm glad to say I'm ready. The cookies are being delivered this week, gifts have all been bought, and there are only a few things left to wrap at this point.

I often wish we could just stretch the holidays out just a little longer. The winters are long and dark around here and going a few weeks into January would be really nice. Maybe we should trade Christmas for Martin Luther King's birthday, right? That way we'd have a nice long weekend at the end of December to help with the preparations, and then when Christmas was over there would only be about 6 weeks left of winter. By the time the lights were all down it would be nearly March and then - Spring!

I like this plan and wonder how difficult it would be to get the rest of the country on board with it. After all, December 25th is sort of a random date chosen a long time ago to celebrate the birth of Christ so who's to say it didn't actually happen the third weekend in January?

Now...who can I get to help me with this campaign.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mending

I seem to remember a time when we rarely threw anything out and there was this thing we called "mending". When is the last time you mended a pair of socks?

I happened to think about this recently when my husband's beautiful dress gloves developed a hole and I said "I'll mend them". They were expensive and there is no way I would consider throwing them out! But other than sewing on buttons, I don't do a lot of mending. Thinking about it made me remember things from childhood.

I can remember my grandmother mending socks with a wooden egg-shaped thing on the end of a handle that she stuck into the sock so she could sew up a hole. he had a basket of socks with darning needles and this contraption (I know it has a name but I don't know remember what it is!) and when she had a minute she would sit and darn socks. They were never thrown out, they were mended. Since most socks were still being knitted by hand I can certainly understand why!

But I also remember patches on our pants. When the knees wore out, my mother would go into her sewing basket and find patches to sew on them. By the time my youngest sister inherited a pair of jeans they were well worn and covered with patches. Even when my kids were small I often bought the iron-on patches over at the Sag Harbor Variety Store and made their jeans last a little longer. Money was tight and who could afford to buy new?

I think in general we are in a much more "throw-away" oriented society than in years gone by. I'm not sure whether that has to do with cheap labor and therefore cheaper clothes or a more affluent population that can afford to replace rather than patch. But I do think we've lost something in the process. Nothing is better than an old, baggy, worn sweater for wearing around the house and if it has patches on the threadbare elbows, who cares? I think making do is a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Neighbors


Our neighbors are looking pretty good this holiday too. I went shopping in Riverhead a few days ago and enjoyed seeing how our the other towns are putting out the decor.

Riverhead along Route 58 always makes me grateful for our Main Street. The commercial buildings are big and impersonal and although decked out for the season they weren't too exciting. Perhaps Riverhead's Main Street looks nicer but I didn't get over there so I can't say. I like the Main Street there - it's very small-town in feeling and I'm sure the merchants there have done a good job of making it inviting.

Southampton is similar in that County Road 39 is crowded and hard to appreciate, although some of the businesses did look nice. Main Street is stunning though, with lights on all the trees and lots of beautiful window displays.

Bridgehampton Main Street is hard to even see because of the traffic and the attention one must pay to what's happening - I couldn't even glance to one side or the other so I have no idea what it looks like! It was pretty when I drove through after dark last week though, with Christmas trees along both sides of the road.

We also went through Sag Harbor and I must say they always roll out the Christmas spirit there. There is no doubt the small-town spirit is alive and well in the Harbor and never more evident than now, in December. Each store is beautifully decked out and we wanted to go into each one of them. It really is a Christmas village.

I love driving through our neighboring hamlets during the holidays. Next year I'm going to work harder to get to Westhampton and Montauk...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas trees

The trees look so pretty along Main and Newtown. Every year I love seeing them line the streets as I drive along at night. There's something very "small town" about having the multicolored lights illuminating the sidewalks and setting off the beautifully dressed windows of the shops along the way.

There are always a few "odd" entries in the holiday window displays and this year is no different. First there are the two 8ft neon pink Christmas trees in the small shop in the middle of the block on Main Street. Somehow its a bit jarring to see something quite so bizarre surrounded by the usual red and green. I've seen some pale pink trees that are pretty and sometimes silver can be lovely, but this neon pink is certainly different to say the least.

Then there are the odd neon sculptures in Ellie Tahari on the corner of Main and Newtown. Each is a jumble of twisted white neon and various cords all in one mess, and there are about half a dozen of them hanging throughout the store. I don't even think they're legal in the village according to village code, but at the very least they aren't terribly warm and fuzzy.

But most of the windows are lovely, with lots of greens and cozy winter scenes, making the nicest backdrops for the clothes and other merchandise being displayed.



East Hampton is always beautiful at Christmas. From the three windmills to the shop windows, its a special place to be in the month of December.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winning

A few weeks ago I received a promotional thing in the mail from Rose Jewelers in Southampton. My name is on their mailing list because I bought Pandora bracelets for all my girls one year and like to get them charms occasionally so at some point they must have taken down my mailing information and I get flyers in the mail every so often.

Anyway, I got this nice card announcing a special Christmas promotion to take place December 1st from 1 to 8pm. There was a key attached to the card and if you came in (no purchase necessary) you could try your key in the treasure chest and if it opened the box you would win a gift certificate of some amount. It brought back all kinds of memories involving similar promotions that local stores would do during the holidays and I could remember that sense if excitement that just maybe, my key would open the treasure chest. Of course it never did but the anticipation was wonderful!

Well I had to pick something up there anyway and rather than do it the following Wednesday when I was planning a shopping trip I figured why not make the trip then, just in case! Off we drove Saturday to Southampton and went in to purchase our gift. As we were completing our purchase I pulled out my key and watched as she tried it in the treasure chest. Naturally it didn't work. But then, she came over with a basket of keys and announced that because we were making a purchase we were entitled to take another key. I reached in, stirred them up, and came out with another little silver key. This time she put it in the lock and looked as surprised as we were when the lock opened. "You won!" she said excitedly. Really??? Then she handed me a basket of envelopes and I reached in an grabbed one. Inside was a $50 gift certificate. Eureka! We won $50! It went to pay for the bracelet and I walked out with my feet a few feet off the sidewalk knowing that we had just been given a gift. And in the background we could hear the various salespeople telling their customers "Those folks just won!"

Winning may not be everything but it sure is fun!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Weavers Hill

Postings have appeared on our local hometown Facebook page recently that reminded me of the years we went sledding on Weaver's Hill. That was the place we always went when we were kids, first with our parents and then later on our own when we were teens. It's been a long time since the property was accessible so I hadn't even remembered it for many years.

The Weavers, if that's what their name was, lived in Georgica Road just off Woods Lane. They were only in residence in the the summer and my father told me they gave us permission to use the hill in the back of their property to sled on. It was never overly crowded but certainly busy and mostly village kids were there so I imagine it was not a completely "open" invitation, but one select people had and passed along.

It was really a perfect hill for sledding, especially for kids. It wasn't too long, but had a nice slope, so it was safe - a really fun. We always knew everyone else there and I remember rushing over as soon as the snow stopped.

Today there is a house on Weaver's Hill. I have no idea where exactly it is anymore its been so many years since we took our saucers and flew on down. I'm thinking I need to make a nice slow drive down Georgica Road sometime soon and try to figure out exactly where it was and see what's there now. I remember our disappointment when we were no longer able to go there and I think that happened in the very early 1970s. I'm sure its unrecognizable now.

East Hampton was a special place then, with lots of open spaces and empty properties. There are still places to ride a sled but none of them can compare to the intimacy and fun of Weaver's Hill.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dreams and frenzy

Nothing sets people of like a big lottery jackpot!

I notice that there are two kinds of people: the ones who play regularly and the ones who only jump in at the end. Once a jackpot gets really big everybody wants to be part of it. I understand both sides of this issue because I've been on both.

I remember when we went on a cruise many years ago and my sister and I went in every afternoon and participated in the bingo game. There was a small cadre of us regulars every day and we enjoyed getting to know some of the other people on board ship. But the game had a rollover jackpot that built every day and by Friday it was a pretty big prize. Suddenly it seemed as though half the passengers on the ship were crowded into the ballroom for the promise of money and we resented it because suddenly our chances of winning it were that much smaller.

But my husband and I only buy lottery tickets when the pot reaches 100 million. At that point we jump in and buy a ticket and spend a few evenings dreaming about the things we could do with the money if we should ever win.

So - I see this one from both angles. And as they say in New York, all it takes is a dollar and a dream!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time crunch

This time of the year certainly presents its time crunches. It seems as though no matter how organized I am, I still need to worry about getting it all done in a timely, efficient manner.

I've gotten a good head start on my cookie making so far. I'm over half way done in that department and I think I'll be OK. I have most of my shopping done and there are only a few things left to do. But the big issue is the gift wrapping. Every year it gets away from me. I am determined to get it done over time, being done way before Christmas, but I think because its such an onerous job I manage to procrastinate and before you know it I need to get it done. I hate the wrapping, which is ironic since it used to be my favorite part of the process. Back when I was young and single and shopping for maybe 10 people, I spent hours wrapping. I would find a unique paper and matching ribbon and each gift became a work of art. I folded paper into little fans and rosettes and made each gift beautiful. I loved the wrapping!

However, now that I shop for about 25 and most of them get multiple gifts, the wrapping part has become a chore. I have marathon wrapping session always ending with a backache and a desire to have a "wrapping/craft" room in my house the way the wealthy do. Somehow my bed just doesn't make the greatest place to get it done.

Well-I have the paper and I have the tags.....time to get myself busy and start wrapping now....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Music

Holiday music is always fun because we only hear it for a few short months every year and even our favorites pieces are not overly played for that reason. So every year I look forward to hearing some of the classics, like Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

Of course there are also the ones I detest and some come and go which is a good thing. The one that comes to mind immediately is the dogs barking "Jingle Bells" - anyone else remember that one? It lasted longer than it should have but I honestly (and gratefully) don't think I've head that in a very long time.

I enjoy both the carols and the secular music of the season, and I'm not sure why songs like "Let it Snow" and "Winter Wonderland" are only played during December, but I never hear them once the new year unfolds despite the snowy days that are still to come. I guess that's because by February we no longer think of the snow as "pretty" or "wonderful" but annoying and an imposition. The music is still wonderful though and I'd be happy to hear it throughout the winter months.

We have only a few more weeks to enjoy our holiday favorites and I will.

 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mail

I have to mail packages to Norway every Christmas. It costs me a small fortune every year.

I can't quite figure out why its so expensive to mail packages to a foreign country.  If I mail something to California its actually about the same distance but it costs me twice as much to amil something east as it does west. I search every year for lightweight, small Christmas gifts to send off to my Norwegian "family" (the family of the exchange student who lived at my house when I was in high school) but after so many years I'm tired of sending tea towels and calendars. So this year I bought some puzzles - something international for sure! One looks very much like the house we shared back in the late 1960s, another is a map of the USA. Anyway - I found some nice puzzles to mail but I'm dreading the trip to the post office to get them sent off. I know I'll probably spend more to get them overseas than I did to buy them.

In this day and age you would think it would be a little simpler to mail packages from one country to another without it breaking the bank. Of course it would help if I were more organized and could mail them earlier - it would be cheaper at least. My "sister" mailed hers in early October and they've already arrived. I guess when you do that they go on a container ship instead of an airplane. But I just have never been able to get myself together quite that early.

Oh well - off to the post office!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Festive

I always love East Hampton when the lights come on for the holidays.

This week I'm taking in the sights as East Hampton transforms into a Currier and Ives print. There is nothing quite like it when I can slowly drive down Main Street at 9pm and look at the way the homes and businesses are decorated for the season. Most every place is tastefully lit and beautifully swagged in greens and there are beautiful sparkly things in every direction. (I have an opinion on those blow-up santas and snowmen, but I won't go into that here other than to say that between the noise they produce and the ridiculous scale they present I have been tempted to drive down the street with a pellet gun more than once during the past few Decembers.)

I appreciate the effort both individual homeowners and municipalities out forth every year and I'm always drawn in by new and different displays. As negative as people seem to be about the corporate stores like Ralph Lauren, you can't deny their gorgeous holiday displays. I actually have to stand in front of their windows and take the time to fully appreciate the little details. Some of them are simply spectacular.

We have only a few weeks to enjoy this bonanza of beauty and I make a point of doing that. Hopefully everyone else does as well! Its the kind of thing that memories are made of.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shops

This is the time of year when I really start to miss the old stores along Main and Newtown. I used to be able to do all my Christmas shopping right here in the village, and in fact we were taught as children to do just that. My parents always did their shopping locally and they told us that we did business in the village because we had a business in the village. In other words, we helped each other, a true community. I remember my friends going to Huntington to the mall - later it was Smithaven - but not my mother. She shopped at the Trude Shop, Pot Pourri, Diamond's, Fifth Avenue Fashion, Marley's and White's. We spent many hours going through sweaters at the Lou-Ann Shop and shopping for decorations at the 5&10.

It's not easy to shop locally anymore. There are a few places I frequent, like Steff's Stuff and White's (still there!), but for the most part I need to do my shopping on the internet or in Riverhead. When I can buy locally I do, despite the fact that things often cost a bit more, for the same reason my parents did. We own a business in town and we want to support other local business people.

But there is no longer a place to grab tinsel or garlands other than the corporate CVS. When I can I like to drive to Sag Harbor for a taste of small-town shopping again. I'm grateful that our Main Street is vital and alive and not boarded up like others around the country, victims of the big box stores and malls. But I really miss the stores of my childhood.