Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Junk

How did my life get so full of junk?

Two weeks ago we cleaned our attic and threw away over thirty years worth of junk. Of, it wasn't always junk. In fact, when it was put up there it was treasure or it would never have been saved, right? I mean, why wouldn't it have been thrown out back when it was put in the attic in the first place unless it was thought to have value of some kind?

So how do things turn from treasures into junk? Some things are clear - the value of most things changes with time. Some things become more valuable with age - others less so. The baby clothes that I couldn't bear to part with thirty years ago suddenly don't seem as important as they used to be. To that there isn't still a great deal of emotional connection and the nostalgic factor never dies, but now, after all these years, they are stained, or fragile or simply so out of date that their value is only that. So, a few items can be saved but the rest, junk.

But others, like a grandparent's book or a mother's favorite Bible - well those values are more difficult to gauge and

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ferry

Last week I made my first trip over to the north fork since the new year. It was a beautiful day and we had a luncheon to attend in Southold so it seemed the perfect time for a ferry ride. Had it not been so nice out, and had they not been working on re-paving Route 27, we may have driven around, but instead it off to the slip in North Haven and across Shelter Island.

What a perfect day it was too. The water was calm, the sun was shining, and the trip was uneventful. But it always gives me a new appreciation for the East End when I do that route. In this case, once through the little village on Shelter Island as we came around the bend toward the north ferry the harbor stretched out before us in all its glory, with water like glass and just enough boats floating at their moorings to make it a picture perfect scene. What a great place to own a house, I thought to myself, where I could look out at that scene and walk to the stores. There is a beautiful street full of old Victorians right there and I looked longingly at every one of them.

Shelter Island has its charm for sure and I could easily be happy in that little spot. But of course the crowds have not arrived yet and that ferry line sitting in front of your house every Friday night and Sunday night must get old in a hurry. I think I'd like to have a two season house there - spring and autumn, while the seas are calm and the views spectacular.

The rest of the year maybe not so much. But I sure enjoy driving through there.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Make-up

I saw a magazine article recently that showed "before" and "after" photos of celebrities where one was without make-up and the other was with it. Wow is all I can say.

I've always appreciated the value of good make-up and never more than I do know as I get older. I've never been one to wear very heavy make-up, but I do "put on my face" everyday with the basics and when I'm going out to some special event I have extras I use, like eye shadow for instance. I learned very early on in my life that the most attractive women, the ones that I admired and thought were beautiful or exotic of interesting, all made use of some level of make-up. Not to hide their features but to enhance them. So I took the advice of one of them back in high school - she was a woman of about forty who was not beautiful but amazingly attractive and I was fascinated by her. She told me I should aways wear eye liner to highlight my eyes. And since that day I always have.

Now, as I attempt to age gracefully, I find make-up is my best friend. I lost my eyebrows to chemotherapy and they never grew back so eyebrow make-up is a necessity and I can tell you that a face without eyebrows is pretty bland! And, as age spots begin to appear in various places around my face, concealer is also important.

But nothing made me understand the value of make-up as much as this magazine article. Because clearly even the most attractive women in the world benefit from a little help.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Terror

I, as was everyone else across the country, was touched this week by the way the people who live in and around Boston came together in spirit after the terror at the Boston Marathon. It reminded me of the feeling that we New Yorkers shared after the events of 9-11, the months of grieving and the feeling that nothing and no one could bring us down. We knew that together we were strong and that as long as we shared our grief we would be OK. Never the same, but OK.

It's a spirit we've seen before and it show the best in humanity always follows the worst in it. People rush to help, to make things better, to support one another, and to bear one another's burdens. It's happened many times in our history as a country and as we look to places like Oklahoma City, and now Boston, we know its a universal human attribute - the will to help.

The other thing that struck me during this tragedy was that at the same time, in the same newspapers that I read all about what was happening, there were headlines announcing that there was a bomb in a country in the Middle East which killed over twenty people. And I realized how fortunate we are here in this country that such a thing is a major story that grabs the attention of all of us while in the other, it's a matter of course and everyone is so accustomed to such things that it barely makes people stop and pay attention. And that's a very sad commentary indeed.

The human spirit is impossible to conquer.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Best of both

Last week I was able to enjoy the best of family in one day. I had breakfast with my children and grandchildren and lunch with my siblings. What a great way to spend a day!

I am often torn between my immediate family of children and my immediate family of siblings. I love them all and I find that from my sisters and brothers I get intangibles that I don't get from my children, and vice versa. My siblings provide wisdom that only comes with age and experience, and a shared history that no one else in our lives will ever know. From my children and grandchildren I get a glimpse into the future and an appreciation for my own parents and grandparents. Each generation is important and my heart is full when I realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much family. Even the spouses that have been brought in have become part of my heart and I cannot imagine my life without any of them.

It really is the best of both worlds. And I recognize it for the gift that it is.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Buds

I noticed that there are buds on everything outside now. The lilacs are showing, and so are the beautiful buds on the cherry trees. The iris leaves are getting tall and soon those long stalks that hold the beautiful flowers will appear as well. I can't wait until everything bursts into bloom but I know its still a little early here.

Interestingly enough the forsythia has been in full glory in Sag Harbor for a week now and the cherry trees are already beginning to bud.I'm always fascinated at how everything is always about two weeks ahead of us here with only a few miles distance between us.But those few miles are further from the cool air of the ocean and it really is astounding what a difference it makes.

The cherry trees are usually our for Mother's Day here in East Hampton and the lilacs shortly thereafter. I am very much looking forward to both.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Laundry

I had an unusual amount of laundry to do the other day. It was a Sunday, which made it convenient, but the task took up the entire day beginning about 8am and ending about 9pm. I lost count of the number of loads but it included lots of bedding and all of the contents of our hamper.

All of which got me to thinking about how they did laundry back in the early 1900s. With no washing machines it must have been an impossibly back breaking task, and I would imagine the loads I did in one day would have taken at east a week back then. The large comforters and blankets must have been especially difficult to wrangle.

I remember clothes lines and I know what that job entailed. My mother-in-law used to recall the time in the winter when she washed her sheets ,hung them to dry on the clothesline, and cried when they froze solid and fell in the dirt causing her to have to wash them all over again. I can't even imagine that kind of manual labor.

And I know terry cloth towels would never be nice and fluffy after hanging on the line a opposed to being dried in an electric dryer so I imagine there were other fabrics that similarly came out stiffer when done by hand. The electric washer and dryer really freed women from the drudgery of that job - and also made clothes so much nicer to wear.

Of course, they weren't as quick to do laundry in those days...for all those reasons I suppose. I doubt they would have been quite so quick to wash comforters and blankets. Just as rugs used to be hung out and beaten to get the dust out before the advent of the electric vacuum,  bedding would have been similarly hung from bedroom windows to air out.

Ah...the good old days....nostalgia only goes so far.....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clean-out

So we tackled the attic last weekend. What a job that was!

We moved into this house in 1979 when we bought it from a family member after her parents had died. It's a house that was built by family so it was nice to be able to continue the tradition of family members inhabiting it. But we moved in with two little girls and not a lot of time to get things done, and there were many more important projects to do than cleaning out the attic. Up there when we moved in were clothes, books, and trunks full of odds and ends that belonged to the former owners. And they've been there ever since.

Then of course over the years we've stored all sorts of things in that attic as it really is the only storage we have. Being built in 1920 means very small closets - and being built over a high water table mean a wet basement, so that only leaves the attic for putting the things we seem to accumulate in life and don't know quite what to do with. So, all these years later, this full-sized attic has become a bit of a hoarders paradise and there was barely enough room to walk from one end of it to the other.

So the family gathered, a dumpster was ordered, and we got busy. Many hours (and aching bodies) later we had an attic with lots of open space and a dumpster filled to the brim with the stuff of our lives: old clothing, baby things, school books, pillows, cribs, etc

Were it not accessed by a pull-down staircase in the middle of the hallway I might be tempted to turn it into a retreat of some sort for myself, although I don't think local code allows it. Nevertheless, at least I know now where the Christmas ornaments are for next year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Irony

I was talking about this the other night and my husband said "That's a blog" - so here it is!

There are many things about being in politics that I don't like. For instance, I hate the public perception that all politicians are corrupt and untrustworthy. When you spend your life trying to be honest and a person of integrity, that's a hard pill to swallow. I also hate the long, boring dinners I often sit through, listening to speakers who may or may not be engaging talking about things I may or may not be interested in. So as much as I enjoy public service and the feeling that I might be doing something good for my community, there are drawbacks.

But there is also one really big bonus that comes with being around politicians and at political events. There is never a line in the ladies room.

Seriously ladies - when do you ever attend a major function at a hotel or restaurant when you get to walk right into the ladies room and there's no line? Never! Well - I can tell you that if you run for public office, you will enjoy the benefit of being able to walk right in to the closest restroom and be out in a jiffy, while more often than not the men's room has a line. I kid you not. I love it.

Sadly, this is  obviously because there are so few women in politics. And it is most obvious at the rest room doors. We still have a very long want to go....

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Routine

I'm always fascinated by how we are comforted by our routines. It's a matter of knowing what to expect, I suppose, and although we may enjoy an occasional surprise or deviation from the routine, we like to be ready for things most of the time.

Every morning I get up at the same time, eat the same breakfast, go to bed at the same time, etc. I like the fact that my daytime schedule varies as I have meetings but no regular "office" hours because it makes each day a new experience, but even when I was working at an office job I similarly looked forward to the variations that come from different things happening. But that said, I think we are creatures of habit and we like our regular routines to stay as they are. Why else would be sleep on the same side of the bed every night, for instance, or take the same route to places in our cars all the time? We feel comfortable an somehow more secure when we're doing the same things, in the same way, day in and day out.

And it must have physical benefits as well because I find that when I leave home for even a few days, and despite the fact that I might be relaxing the whole time I'm gone, I come home tired and ready to get back into the routine I know and like. It's just human nature I guess. It's who we are.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Terrorism

The events of this past week have brought the horror of terrorism to the forefront once again and people are understandably on edge. The thing is, when you're a member of the EMS world, it's never far from our minds.

Every three years I'm required to take a course called "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Every time I walk out of that class I try to forget everything I've just heard. Because honestly, I don't think I can stand to live in the state of constant fear that it easily may evoke. I don't' want to be always worrying about where I'm going and what I'm doing.

And I'm reminded of the song made famous by Louis Armstrong many years ago that says: "I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, they'll learn much more than I'll ever know - and I think to myself "What a wonderful World". My hope is in the future. It has to be.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Clean out

This weekend the big cleanout begins. Our children are gathering to help with the attic on Saturday and a roll-off container has been ordered to be delivered soon. We'll be sorting and throwing and trying to make sense of the mess that's up there, ther result of over thirty years of accumulation.

Once the attic is done I'm tacking my room. Every closet and drawer will be emptied and then sorted, hopefully with only half the clothing returning. And lastly I need to do the office again. My home office is a real dumpting ground and things tend to get thrown out there when there is no place to put them.

I'm not quite a hoarder, but I am a saver. I'm sentimental to a fault and don't like to throw things out that have any kind of emotional connection for me. "Things" remind me of people and people are what I love. How do I disconnect them?

I think there are savers and throwers in the world. I'm a saver. But I'm also a mother who doesn't want to burden her children with things to sort through when I'm dead and gone.

Time to get to work.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Music

We are a family enveloped in music. I've never known anything else because I grew up in a home where music was always at the forefront, both my parents being very gifted musically and a grandmother who was an amazing pianist/organist. My other grandmother wasn't much of a singer (she had a tiny, but accurate, little voice) but she is the one who pushed me in front of the congregation at church at the age of about five to sing a solo for the first time. So I don't even remember a time in my life when music hasn't been at the top of the list for me.

So with that in mind it's easy to see why I derive so much pleasure from watching my children, and now grandchildren, share my love of music.  Not only share that love, but pursue it as a career, which is something I never had the chance to do.

My children surpassed me in talent and training a long time ago, two of them actually obtaining music degrees in college. They can sing rings around me and do things I can only dream of doing. And it makes my hearts soar.The other two chose different careers, but I know that music is still a great art of their lives and they love and appreciate it the way I do. Fortunately I married someone with music abilities of his own and a great appreciation for this obsession of his family's.

Some families hunt or fish together and others are into athletics or hiking. Me, I dream of days when my family sings together - from the youngest to the oldest - sharing the joy of making music.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sterling

Last weekend I tackled a job I've been putting off since February now.

When we went to Buffalo and cleaned out my aunt's house, I brought home her box of sterling silver cutlery. I decided to keep some of it because it matches my mother's set which I have, and then try to sell the rest. I'm told that sterling silver sets bring in over $1000 these days, and the money can surely be put to good use so why not?

So, I got the two boxes out and began to sort and clean the pieces, making sure I had the right number of each because my mother had a service for 8 and I wanted to keep service for 12. I made sure to keep them separate so that I kept all my mother's and supplemented with my aunts (despite the fact that my aunt's was nicely polished and my mother's was not. My aunt was the type of person who would spend a Saturday polishing silver and it showed).

Anyway, I counted out carefully 12 knives,12 forks, 12 dessert forks, etc, to complete the set, including a few extra pieces "just in case". Of course I am a hopeless sentimentalist, so this is not easy for me, and I wanted to keep it all. Even the tiny little demitasse spoons which I know I'll never use. Plus, there were pieces in and among my aunt's which I knew had belonged to my grandmother, which complicated things further.

When all was said and done I had my complete set in one box and the extra pieces in another. I will eventually get them over the the precious metal dealer in Patchogue one of these days and see what I can get for them. Apparently silver is a hot commodity because its used in computers components or some such thing.

There were some odd pieces in the boxes that I really didn't know the purpose of, like tiny forks with splayed tines (for pickles?) and something which I have no clue how to even describe, and it made my husband and I wonder over how times have changed. they were a throwback to the Victorian age, I'm sure.

But the real treasure was at the bottom of my mother's box, along with the paperwork from the store where it was purchased in Buffalo nearly seventy years ago now: the original price: Service for 8 - $64.95.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring

We've had a nice taste of Spring these past few days and I must say these are my favorite days in terms of weather. I like it when it's warm during the day but not hot or humid, and very chilly at night so I can sleep with the windows open and the comforter pulled up. Yes - these are the good times, to last another six weeks or so and then not to return again until fall.

The wool sweaters are being put away and the cotton ones are coming out. The flannel shirts are being replaced by linen. And the boots and coats are relegated to the closet now for a nice long stretch.

I'm looking forward to the first lawn mowing. And to getting my hands in the dirt to plant the lily bulbs that I received at Easter. I have to find a place in a corner somewhere so the deer can't get to them. I used to have a beautiful row of tiger lilies along the shed in the backyard where they flourished for many years, but they've been gobbled up by our four-legged friends every Spring now long before I see a single blossom. I miss them!

Well the seasons come and go and the word around us changes with them. And life goes on....

Monday, April 15, 2013

Accessories

I really think I've missed the boat when it comes to "accessories" in my wardrobe.

I suppose it goes back to my mother and her frugal ways, but she always bought a pocketbook and used it every day until it fell apart. I've always done pretty much the same thing, using one in the winter and one in the summer and sometimes finding a neutral one that works in any season...and I use it forever. But when I watch television and they talk about pocketbooks to compliment the outfit, I realize I must be in the minority. Do most women own ten or twelve purses that they change out depending on what they're wearing? It finally occurred to me that I really don't spend much money on accessorizing my wardrobe!

Shoes are another whole issue and I do miss being able to buy pretty shoes, but then its always been that way for me so it's not a big loss. My foot problems follow a lifetime of dealing with very wide feet which don't fit comfortably into many shoes, and most of the cute ones do not come in EEE size! So I adjusted to that a long time ago.

Shoes and pocketbooks - well I'm not sure but I would guess I've saved a ton of money on those accessories over the years. Of course, I may have made up for that on all the costume jewelry....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Period dress

We've been watching a series on Masterpiece Theater lately and I must confess  that one of the great desires of my life is to live in an era where they wore wonderful clothes. If only time travel were a reality!

I loved the clothing of "Downton Abbey" - they wore fabulous gowns and elaborate coats and wraps. But now, on the series about the Selfridge Department Store in London during the women's suffrage era, I am totally in awe of the gorgeous clothing worn by the women. Of course the girls that worked in the store were all in black with white lace trim, but the women who shopped in the store, well, they were the very epitome of the "Gibson Girl". The amazing hats sit atop their beautifully coiffed heads while every dress and suit is elaborately finished with pleats and eyelet, lace and buttons, and crafted from the most wonderful taffetas, brocades, and linens. I drool over them every week, imagining how exquisite it would feel to wear them. I fantasize about looking as beautiful as the actresses in the show are in them, and imagine how much fun they have taking off the hangers in the wardrobe department and slipping them on over their heads.

We are definitely missing something today. I love my blue jeans, but my dress clothes are just not up to par.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Loss

I lost a friend recently and unexpectedly. It came as a surprise and, as these things always do, it made me reflective about life and its fragility. I guess as we get older we need to get used to this kind of loss, but still, its difficult.

This was not a close friend, but rather someone I've known for only a few years - but it was someone I liked very much and always enjoyed seeing. What I've been thinking about mostly is how much even the most casual acquaintances can leave a whole in our lives when they're gone. I've been remembering a time some years ago when the person who worked behind the counter at a store I frequented was killed in an automobile accident. I barely knew her name and surely didn't know much about her private life, but I felt a connection and when she was taken so unexpectedly it was a shock and I was incredibly sad. As I thought about that this week, and about this friend who is now gone, I realized how important every contact is in our lives. We are creatures of connection. We thrive on human contact and interaction, and when we find it we gravitate toward it. It's the people we connect with, who we exchange greetings with, and laugh with, and even shed tears with on occasion - its those simple human intersections that make our lives rich and full. And when any of those fragile threads are cut, we grieve the loss.

It's easier to deal with when people move away. We can look forward to Christmas cards with photos and the details of their lives and smile at the memories of times spent together. But when those threads are ripped away through death, well, that's a hard pill to swallow.

It serves us well to remember how quickly this can happen and savor them while they still hold strong. It makes one less likely to hurry, and more willing to take some extra time with the people who populate our lives. And that's a good thing.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nostalgia

There seems to be a lot of nostalgia lately for all things mid-century. I suppose it may have something to do with the aging baby-boomer generation, of whch I am part of, longing for their childhoods in the warm, fuzzy 1950s.  Whstever the reason, its everywhere.

I'm especially enoying it on television. There are a few shows that are set in that magical era and seeing the things of my childhood makes me smile. Ilove the furiture, the acessories, and the music of those years - not to mention the clothing. It was a time of great optimismm in this country and its all reflected in the "feeling" of the era. It comes through loud and clear on every television show I see.

On te flip side of that coin is "Mad Men: now set in the late 1960s, which was a time when it seemed as though the world, or at least the country, was coming apart at the seams. There were riots and protests, hippies and drugs, and the war Viet Nam. I watch that show and remember all the good times (since I was in high school then) but also remember so well that it was all set against a background of turmoil. Kent State, Watts, the Democratic Convention in Chicago - those are all titles that bring back the crazy memories. Can anyone who didn't lice through that time really imagine it> I don't think so.

Well anyway, I don't get nostalgic for the late 1960s, but the 1950s...well, they always elicit a smile.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Deer

The deer are destroying my yews and many of the other things in my yard.

Quite a few years ago now we planted a short row of yews along the deck where the parking area ends. They were pretty for such a long time, until a few years ago when the deer began to venture farther and farther into the village and thus, our yard. Now I have a hard time keeping anything flourishing, including the yews which have gone from a lush, full hedge to some spindly, sad bushes barely clinging to life.

Among the other casualties are a number of various species of evergreens which we have planted and are now dead, trying each time to find one that was not to their taste. The hydrangeas are taking a hit lately and there are precious few flowering bulbs or bushes left in the yard. Sadly, I hesitate to plant anything any longer for fear it will only make my yard more appealing. I need to find a way to move them along to some greener pastures, but so far no luck.

Ah well - there aren't many places left for them to wander into but hope springs eternal and I keep hoping. Perhaps someday I will have color in my yard again....and a hedge of healthy yews...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Seasonal changes

Last Saturday we walked the yard and talking about the things we need to do this Spring. There's the dogwood that needs to come out (diseased), new privet that needs to be planted (to shield the new development going in next door) and a few other things that need to be done to get the yard in shape for the summer. We don't have a very big yard, but it gets plenty of use in the summer and needs to at least look decent. I envy those people who have landscaping companies that come in every week and mow their lawns and weed their gardens, but that's not us so we need to start planning now.

What I was especially interested in was the mess in the back yard from the storms this winter. There was all sorts of debris, all from the trees and shrubs that surround our property, and all of which had obviously been blown there during the storms. It's obviouslly been there for some time as its now brown and dead - sticks and small limbs, scattered everywhere. It will be nice to get that all cleaned up and get the leaves raked out of the hedges soon. At least to start, the yard will look crisp and clean for the season.

In no time at all the weeds will creep back in and the lawn will need constant maintenance. I'm not ver good at that and soon enough it will be obvious that someone needs to week. But right now, as we move through the Spring and look forward to Summer, its nice to start with a clean slate. And I'll enjoy it while its here...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feverish

Now that the days are longer and the temperatures finally beginning to climb, I'll own up to a touch of Spring fever.

I don't like to rush the seasons. I'm all about savoring the moments we're in and enjoying each day. I don't anxiously await the first snow, I enjoy the autumn leaves. I don't fixate on the impending Spring, I enjoy the last days of cocooning in the house and enjoying the time indoors. But now, with Spring really here and the days increasingly warm and sunny, well, I'm ready not to get into the new season.

I have to find the good in the change because there's plenty to dread now. Every day I notice the streets a little more crowded and the crosswalks busier in the village. I can see that the simplest trips will take some planning soon, thinking about the busiest times on the road and how quickly we can get from point A to point B. And I imagine we'll be staying home a lot more on the weekends soon too.

Well, Spring is nice and I'm not anxious for summer. I'm perfectly happy right here and now for the moment.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Numbers

Am I the only one who has trouble with cell phone numbers? Memorizing phone numbers used to be so easy. Everyone in town had the same prefix so all you really had to remember was the four numbers of their exchange. I still have lots of them in my head and use them all the time. But I cannot remember all the mobile phone numbers that are now required.

Oh I know - they're in my cell phone so what's the big deal? Well there are a couple problems with that. First of all, I don't always use my cell phone. Sometimes I'll be sitting in my living room and pick up the phone to call someone and realize I don't know their cell number. I have to find my cell phone and scroll through the contacts - its all too cumbersome for me. One of my sons has no land line at all so I avoid calling him unless he's at work because I know that number without looking it up. The others I usually choose to leave messages on their home phones rather than track them down on their cells. telephone calling has become way too complicated.

They predict that some day there will be no landlines at all. I have a hard time imagining that but hopefully it will be after my time so I won't need to adjust to that. I still like my land line. I know it makes me hopelessly old fashioned but I've come to discover that I no longer care about being given that label. In fact, I think I've earned it....

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Traffic...already...

 It's started already. For two weeks now I've noticed that the traffic is already building along Montauk Highway, and it's too early! Can't we have at least another month of peace and quiet around here? Please?

I first noticed it on my early morning trip to volunteer at Southampton Hospital in the last week of March. I leave the house at 7am so I'm keenly aware of the light and traffic and it was unmistakable that day: along with the increase in daylight at that hour was an increase in traffic. And when I got to Water Mill my heart sank when I saw that there it was - the unmistakable eastbound back-up from the Princess Diner all the way to the Water Mill business district. Say it ain't so!

And of course the April road repairs have started with a vengeance as well, causing all the more upset with coned off areas and detours all over the place.

We all know the season is coming. But April back-ups and slow-downs are not fair at all.  I expect it when we get to May. But for now I want my roads to myself. I don't want to share them with visitors or construction vehicles and I want to be able to go where I'm going in an easily planned time period. But I think that simple wish is quickly coming to an end. Summer is coming more quickly than usual this year. If not on the calendar, for sure on the roads....

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Diets

So I finally got my mental act together and started eating right on Monday. I didn't like to say "diet" because I know it is a lifestyle change and I need to improve my eating habits. I've done it before and I know f I look at it as a diet I will fail. There can be no end.

Anyway, I have not been doing well with my eating for months now, probably beginning before Christmas, and the results are felt by me more than seen. I've had little energy and feel fat all the time. So - Easter Sunday with its overabundance of sugar did me in and Monday morning I swore off sugar. And I determined to get back to eating the fruit and vegetables that I know will make me feel better, as opposed to all the bread products I tend to gravitate towards. I went to the grocery store and filled the cart with all those wonderful colorful things and came home to cut them up and have them at the ready.

All day Monday I ate well. I kept my portions to a minimum and ate only the healthiest things - not a pinch of sugar anywhere. And....and amazing thing happened. Suddenly, by Monday night, after only hours in my new lifestyle, I felt like a new woman. I felt slimmer and healthier, as though a miracle had occurred.

What is it they say about it all being in your head? No doubt about it. My head is crazy....

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tulips

The tulips are always my first fresh flowers in the Spring. They are available readily, quite inexpensive, and last at least a week on my kitchen table.

There's something quite charming about the simple tulip. It has an uncomplicated shape that changes as the days pass, closed tightly when brought home and slowly opening wide before dropping petal by petal on tablecloth. When first put into the vase they stand up straight and tall, but the blossoms along the outside slowly droop toward the ground forming an umbrella shaped bouquet with no effort on the part of the arranger at all. They're self-arranging and always look fresh but not at all formal. There is no haughtiness about a tulip - its a simple flower that needs no other to make it look perfectly groomed.

I'm going out this week to buy a nice big bunch of tulips for my Spring table.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Treasures

A good friend is moving and it has become a bonanza for us. Because as the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Last weekend we went to his basement. There among the boxes already packed and the gym equipment ready to be moved, were piles of things being discarded. Was there anything I could use? Was there!

Our friend has impeccable taste and a beautiful home. Most everything is going from the present house to the new one, but as all of us do, he had managed to accumulate "stuff" during the time he lived in this house, and had also moved things from one place to another thinking perhaps someday  it could be useful. Now, it was time to get rid of the things that had not been needed and we were welcome to it. We came home with lamps, vases, centerpieces, rugs - all sorts of goodies that either I or my children will be able to use in our homes. What fun to look this stuff over and decide where we may be able to use it ourselves.

Of course the real question remains this: are we simply moving things from one place to another to be placed in a basement in yet another house, like mine? Time will tell I guess. But somehow the things that others discard always seem more appealing than the ones we already have.

Trash - treasure...such a small distinction...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Puzzle

Celebrating Easter this past weekend got me to thinking about a question that comes to me every year when I celebrate a Christian holiday. That is, why people who don't claim any religious connection with the holiday celebrate it?

Oh, I understand that some folks are not devout and it's only on the special holidays that they celebrate their religious heritage. They come to church on Easter and Christmas and follow the old "bred, wed, and dead" cycle of church attendance too. I'm not talking about those folks. I'm talking about the people who never set foot in a church or even have a heritage of belief behind them. There are many people like that who celebrate Christmas and Easter and it puzzles me because I wonder what exactly it is that they're celebrating.

So I ask myself this: If I lived in a Muslim community would I begin to celebrate Ramadan? If I moved to Israel would I celebrate Yom Kippor? I don't think so. I mean, I would gladly take a day off of work and stay home were I offered it, but I don't think I'd do the traditional celebratory things that go along with the holiday unless I were offered a seat at the table of a friend who wanted me to share their special time. I would be like my Jewish friends who go to a movie every Christmas day and have Chinese food for dinner.

Which continues to make me wonder why all those people buy Easter baskets and fill them with candy every year?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Planting

Time to do some planting. I'm in the mood to get busy with making my yard look summery and pretty and I'm longing for flowering bushes and colorful trees to bring on the season.

Some time ago now we planted a beautiful pink dogwood tree in honor of my husband's grandmother who passed. I have always oved dogwoods for their perfect shape and lovely flowers. It's been in the yard now for over twenty years and I've loved it, but it's time for it to go. Unfortunaately dogwoods have a problem with lower branches dying off - some type of fungus is involved I'm told - and ours has been slowly deteriorating year after year. I think the time ha come to take it down and replace it with something else that wil make me smile every Spring. I have a crepe myrtle in mind - the deep pink ones that look so stunning when they reach a certain size.

I have a couple azaleas in my garden but they are so small and take soo long to reach a good size, I really need to add to the Spring foliage. I used to hae beautiful tulips and hyacynths, but the deer have taken all of them and I'm left now with very little color until the later blooms appear. There is so little left that' safe from thee deer here I'm not sure what I can do, but I'm detrmined to find something.

April is planting time and I'm about to get to it here at my house!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April

How lovely to greet April this morning! I love April, despite the rain and chill that often follows the warm sunny days, because I look forward to the azaleas and daffodils and the greening of the world here on the East End of Long Island.

April is such a beautiful month that they actually name girls after it. No one ever names their daughter "March" but "April", "May", and "June" are pretty popular names for girls and its easy to see why. What's not to love about this season of sunshine and flowers?

This is the first day of the month but there are twenty-nine left to go and here's what I'm looking forward to: green grass, the first mow and the scent of the newly mown lawn wafting into the windows, the early bulbs and bushes flowering, yard work, sitting in the sun for lunch, brightly colored clothes coming out of the closets, the sound of kids playing outside, putting my winter coat away, grilling outside for dinner, getting the deck cleaned and ready and the outdoor furniture out, daylight lasting longer in the day and arriving earlier in the morning. And those are only the things I can think of right off the bat If I sat for a few more minutes I could undoubtedly come up with more!

Today is the first day of April. Let the fun begin!