Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Remember

It's interesting how often we think about our parents even after they've been absent from our lives for many years, My father died in 1998 and my mother in 2007 and yet today, July 31st, will always be their wedding anniversary to me. I think about them every time I see the date written down, or hear it mentioned in conversation, or know that its approaching.  I think that no matter how long we are without them they will always be so much a part of our souls that they are never far from us because they're within us. Am I wrong about that?

I guess the early years of our lives, no matter how long we live, are always the ones that define us. We may better ourselves, we may pull ourselves out of our beginnings, we may even attempt to become more than we were, but it doesn't matter because we are who were became when we were children and our early lives determine our later lives. I totally believe that people can overcome their difficulties but I also believe that their early memories are with them forever.

It's a frightening thing to think about really - at least as a parent. We remember the mistakes we made, and wish we would have done things differently. We know we weren't perfect. We tried and failed many times at the one thing that was the most important we would ever do. Raising children whose pasts would not haunt them. I often wonder what I did that will be difficult for my children to overcome or forget. Because I know they may never manage it.

My parents were always a puzzle to me - a perfect mother and a flawed father. Call it fate or call it destiny - whatever it was, it put them together for a typically imperfect union. Like mine. Like all of them. Amazingly our children seen to survive them.

And on July 31st of 1948 a new chapter in the human story began. Four children, thirteen grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren later the story continues. What a crazy world....

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer socials

Summer is just crazy around here with the social season in full swing. It seems as though we could be out and around every night if we wanted to be - there are openings and fund raising events constantly, and weekends, well, you just have to learn to say "no". Sometimes it makes me a little crazy because I would love to any number of things on the same night, but we have to choose one, and I know full well that come January we'll be wishing for something fun to do on a Saturday evening!

The problem is I have not time to entertain and I love having people over when we can eat outdoors and grill something up for dinner. I love the cool evenings with candlelight and good company, but they are rare. I find I have to grab them while I can and so far this summer, any free Saturdays have been taken up with family. I'm not complaining - I'd rather be with family than anyone - but I am craving some "friend" time as well!

Soon enough - only a month now - we'll be back to our usual schedules, with more free time and options for our free time. I look forward to that - and I also am sad to see it come. Because being busy, and having lots of options, is like everything else, a mixed blessing!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Another

Yet another fatality this past week on the East End and it seems as though its a regular thing in the summers now. It wasn't that long ago that any fatality on the road was rare, but for quite a few years now it has happened multiple times every summer. It's disheartening and makes me afraid every time I set out on the roads from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

When we were kids fatalities were so rare. I remember them - the Air Force guys, the high school senior, the bridesmaid - they were memorable to a child because they were so rare and so horrified my parents. It was discussed at the dinner table. It was a community tragedy every time.

It's still a tragedy, but sadly its not all that unusual anymore. And that is the saddest commentary of all on how our community has changed.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ahhhh

Last week I walked out of my air conditioned bedroom to find that the air was exactly the same temperature as it had been inside my little refuge. Ahhhhh!!!! The angels sang. And I was so happy!

Of course I knew this wouldn't last - after all, we have the entire month of August to get through still - but it was such a nice treat and a peek at my favorite time of the year, the autumn. I love autumn!

And that day really did feel autumnal all day because it was overcast and the temperature stayed nice and comfortable. I was happy to get out and do things and I don't think I once had to wipe the perspiration off my brow. A good day indeed!

This has been a difficult summer here in East Hampton. With three really long heat waves under our belts already, my garden is choking with weeds and my house needs a thorough cleaning. I just haven't been able to motivate myself to take care of the simplest tasks in the heat and humidity. I find it completely depletes my energy and wipes me out emotionally as well. I'm not a fan!

This summer I've been dreaming of a little house on a lake on Prince Edward Island or some other northern locale. Dreams are useful - they're little escapes all in and of themselves. And they're free....

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rain!

Tuesday night we decided to do something we have not yet done but talk about doing every year - we went to watch the Sag Harbor Community Band in concert. Every summer they do an outdoor concert every Tuesday night at the American Legion building there, and the street is closed so people can sit in lawn chairs across to the marina. I've always heard what a nice way it is to spend an evening and we've always wanted to do it. After all, I have a brother-in-law and a son-in-law who both play, as well as others I know. So we gathered up the family, three generations, and loaded the beach chairs in the car to head north.

We had dinner first at our favorite Sag Harbor eatery, then walked down to the waterfront and set up our chairs. It was about twenty to eight when the first raindrops fell. There were clouds overhead but they seemed to be moving quickly and it was a light rain so everyone stayed put as it seemed to pass. Then, just at 8pm, when the band was set up and ready to start, the rain came back, and this time it didn't let up. The conductor announced that they were calling it a night and we all began to pack up when the sky opened with a vengeance. By the time we got the kids to the cars and climbed in, we were all soaked. We were laughing and cars were pulling out in all directions as we sped off for home.

Once we hit Route 114 the rain seemed to lighten up and, lo and behold, stopped completely. Once we were back in East Hampton we noticed that there were no puddles like the ones we just left behind and, in fact, the roads were dry. Not a drop fell at home.

Oh well! Summer rain is one of those things! It was a night to remember. Perhaps we'll try again next Tuesday....

Friday, July 26, 2013

Housework

I have never made any excuses for my dislike of housework. I've never enjoyed it, from the moment my mother had us do our daily chores to today. And I admit that I thought growing up that some day I would have someone else to do that work for me and never dreamed of having to clean my own house at my age.

Of course life does not always turn out as we plan and housecleaning services are not in the cards for this house, but I have learned to do the rudimentary cleaning chores quickly if not always efficiently. I admire the people who actually enjoy these tasks - I know they're out there because I've talked to them. But I find them to be strange creatures because I see absolutely no redeeming value in the work other than a clean living environment. It's not satisfying because it doesn't last. I'd much rather be producing artwork or some other thing that may outlive me. Somehow I doubt anyone is ever remembered fondly for their clean house. (Well, perhaps there is someone, but I have a hard time imagining it. I've attended hundreds of funerals in my life because I'm often asked to sing at them, and I have never once heard what a "wonderful housekeeper" someone was.)

I was able to get some things done yesterday when we had a short respit from the heat. I cleaned as much as I could in a few hours, and also did some weeding in the garden - there is plenty more to do!

Anyway, the heatwave really put me behind in the cleaning department and my house is badly in need of a good thorough cleaning now.. Between the new job and the weather I haven't had much time or energy for such things. But the roosters are coming home to roost soon, as they say. I think it's time....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Baby steps

Watching babies mature is a lot like observing life from a distance. I remember thinking about this when I was raising my own children, but the lesson is coming back now with more clarity as my life has gained both years and wisdom.

This week I watched the twins navigate the bottom step of my staircase, which is more of a landing than anything else, a large bottom step leading to the stairs. Within a moment, both of them had managed to climb up onto the step and were sitting there looking at me as if to say "Look at us!"

I remember the first time they crawled - one weeks before the other - and each quite pleased with themselves and their new found freedom. Soon it will be their first steps as they approach their first birthdays. I am reminded of a song we sang in VBS this summer with the kids that included this verse: "Like a newborn baby, don't be afraid to crawl; and remember when you walk sometimes you fall".

Indeed - life lessons learned from watching little ones take their tentative steps, wary and careful, but always moving forward, never afraid to push their boundaries. We need to always be so willing.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No regrets

There will be no regrets in this house when summer is over this year. Last week, in the height of the heat wave, someone posted a photo on Facebook that was the aftermath of a snowstorm, with a snowed in driveway and a plow driving by. The question was "Would you rather have this?" and the answer for me was simple: yes!!!

I am already looking forward to the cooler weather. I am happy to think about the autumnal air, crisp and clean while the apples get ripe and the pumpkins grow fat and orange. I don't mind imagining the first snowfall and the gentle way the flakes float to the ground. I think often of the nice sweaters in my closet just waiting for me to wrap up in, and the scarves that its been too hot to wear around my neck for decoration. I can hardly wait for the leaves to drift down to the ground.

No, I don't miss the summer. The only thing I ever miss about the summer is the extra room outdoors to spread out in, which makes our house so much more livable when there is a crowd. And I miss having the family around - the ones from Pennsylvania go home to school and I don't get to see them quite as often as I'd like. I miss them....alot.

But the heat and humidity - well - I'm more than happy to say goodbye to them. And good riddance as well...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Milk

When we were kids the prevailing wisdom was that every child should drink three glasses of milk a day. I remember seeing it on television and I remember my mother insisting - we drank a glass of milk with every meal, including lunch where we bought it for 3 cents in the cafeteria.

There was a period - probably between 13 and 23 - when I didn't drink it all that much. Of course it always went with brownies of cookies, but otherwise I was free to choose my own drink and naturally I chose water with my meals because that was the "adult" choice.

Then I began having babies and suddenly milk became an important part of my diet again. I drank it when I was pregnant and I drank it when I was nursing and since that was pretty much all the time for the next ten years, I became an avid milk lover. Which I still am today.

There were times when I tried to drink less milk because I was trying to lost weight. But then I learned to drink skim milk and suddenly I could feel free to drink it freely again without feeling as though I was over-indulging.

I think conventional wisdom must have changed in terms of how much milk children should eat because I notice my grandchildren drink a lot more water than they do milk. I don't question it because I assume the latest rules are different than they were when their parents were in my care. But I've been told to keep drinking milk because my bones need it. At least three 8oz glasses a day of it. And so the circle completes itself and just as it was all those years ago, a glass of milk goes well with every meal...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Time

This summer is flying by at an alarming rate - at least in my life! My grand
kids have been here over a month but it still seems like only yesterday when they arrived and I am not yet ready to see them go. The time with them is so precious and goes much too quickly.

How is it possibly that times goes so quickly? I remember when I was young how I longed for time to pass - I wanted to out of school, I wanted to have a family, I wanted to be grown-up! Now here I am on the other side of that, wondering where it all went and how it happened as quickly as it did. I'm amazed that one day I can be a twenty-five-year-old with a baby, just beginning my life's journey, and in a blink I am over sixty and wondering how many years I will still have to savor the people I love and see the places I want to see. It all just goes too quickly and there isn't a darn thing we can do about it for sure.

Except, of course, to enjoy it. Which I do. And will. Life - it is such a trip!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

VBS

Last week we held our annual vacation Bible school at the church and I'm still recovering. It is a huge undertaking, but we love it.

When I was a child I attended vacation Bible schools at my church as well as my aunt's church, and my memories of them are mostly hot times spent under a big tent making camp crafts and listening to Bible stories told with a flannel graph board and figures. But vacation Bible school has come a long way since the  and it is really exciting.

Every year we immerse the children in the culture of Bible times. One year we were in Egypt, one year in ancient Babylon - this year we visited Greece. While there we learned about the Greek culture through interesting crafts and  games, and we met a Bible character who had a story to tell. One year it was Joseph (he of the "coat of many colors") and this year  it was the Apostle Paul on his missionary journey. He told them his story, a bit each day, and while they were having fun they were also learning an important story from the scriptures.

Adults wore togas and we all snacked on middle eastern food. With 70 children in attendance and about 40 staff members we had over 100 people on the grounds of the church every night in the worst heat wave of the year. It was hot! But it was also invigorating, exciting, and lots of fun.

Every year when vacation Bible school is over we are exhausted and don't want to think about doing it again. But, like childbirth, we soon forget the work and smile at the memories that are so wonderful, and suddenly we are looking forward to finding out where we'll be traveling to next year when, once again, we time travel to a place in history that we all want to know more about.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thunder

I've never been so excited about thunder storms in my life. Generally speaking I don't enjoy thunder and lightning - I am easily scared by the loud booms and bright flashes. But this heat needs to end and the thunderstorms can bring that about so I say bring them on!

This has been a tough week. We've had Vacation Bible School at our church, with 70 children and about 40 staff members every evening. It was set in Athens so adults were wearing togas. Some wore bathing suits underneath! The kids were all in shorts and tees so they were dressed for the heat, and we were in and out of the air conditioned building so they weren't overly exposed to the heat, but we also made sure to set up a watering station where they could get cool water to drink, and we encouraged them to stop often and stay hydrated.

Walking in and out of the building was like walking from the refrigerator to the oven. The blast of heat hit you like a wall and almost knocked you off your feet. What a hot one this was!

Today they are predicting the cold air front will pass through bringing about the aforementioned thunderstorms and I'm very much looking forward to them.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mildew

The mildew has settled in. It's on my couch, my chairs, the baby jumper - everywhere in my house actually. This is by far the worst year ever for mildew. Yuck!

The only cure for mildew is bleach. So what am I to do with a beige couch or a blue chair? It has come to the point I am ready to go at them and just live with the white spots that will ensue. Of course, it will more than spots - it would be great swaths of bleached colors as the mildew is creeping along large portions of the couch and ottoman. Can I live with that? I'm not sure. But then, what are the alternatives?

Anyone have any ideas for me? I would love to get rid of the black spots on my furniture. And I would love to have my house smell less musty too. Somehow I doubt its going to happen. But I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Political

Generally speaking I try not to be political on this blog - I want to keep things simple and non-controversial. But the news is so full of stuff revolving around the Zimmerman trial in Florida that I've been thinking a lot about it. And I want to share a few things I've learned  in my life.

For instance - as much as we like to think we are color-blind, we are not. None of us are. That doesn't mean we are all racially motivated or prejudiced in our thinking, but to say we are "color blind" just ignores the truth. It would be humanly impossible to be color blind.

I remember being at lunch with a friend of mine who happens to be black. The waitress was annoyingly slow and my companion made a comment about it being a racial thing. I thought how interesting that was because it never occurred to me that it was racial, but simply a slow waitress. Aha, I realized, we come from different places with different experiences and therefore we see things through different eyes! Lesson learned.

I have also seen this with respect to women's issues. Many times in my role in politics I see how I am tuned into something that is an issue of prejudice but the men don't recognize it at all. For instance, an elected official speaking at a luncheon makes the comment that his town has hired a "woman lawyer" to deal with something. What? A "woman lawyer"? Has anyone ever been referred to as a "man lawyer"? I think not! I doubt many of the men in attendance noticed that, but I am quite sure all the women did.

I don't think the jury in Florida can be faulted because we were not in the courtroom and we were not privy to the information they were given or how the trial went. They may have made the only decision they could have based on the evidence as presented and the case before them. But I do think there is something wrong with a world where a young man, walking home from a trip to the store, can be shot for no good reason and the killer allowed to get away with it. I'm not sure where the fault lies - in local laws, in the lawyers cases, or what. But I also know that it is being seen through different eyes all over the world and whatever the filters are, few see it as OK.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Elderly?

I don't feel as though I'm "elderly". In my mind, someone who fits that description is a person who walks with a cane, hunched over, slowly, and with difficulty. It's the stereotypical little old lady with a gray bun in her hair and a shawl over her shoulders, painstakingly making her way down the street with care.

However, I know that in terms of the medical profession, I am now in the "young elderly" category and sometimes just hearing that makes me feel old. Amazingly, our mental state often guides the rest of our lives and allowing myself to think like I'm "elderly" can bring me to that place easily.

Lately, starting a new job has brought me to think a lot about my age these past few weeks. It's the weariness of both mentally and physically doing something new and adding to my already very busy schedule. I've considered that I may need to give up one of my other pursuits in order to do this job, but I hate to think like that because all my volunteer work is important to me.

Well, I suppose as much as I may consider myself still young and vital, my age does indeed come into play when it comes to being busy and running from one place to another every day. On a typical one I drive to Southampton, work a few hours at the hospital, drive to Sag Harbor to work there for some time, then home to prepare for an evening meeting of one kind or another. I'm thinking maybe I'll adjust to the new schedule. At least my body hopes so...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wet wet wet

Oh the humidity this summer!

I can deal with some heat - although I don't enjoy temperatures over about 72 degrees - but the humidity this summer is terrible!

I don't remember a summer when we had this much humidity this early in the season. Normally in July and August we have one or two weeks with the high heat and humidity making it miserable to move, but this year it started in June and has barely let up with the exception of a few lovely days. What's up with that?

I'm so grateful for finally having an air conditioner in my bedroom so I can sleep - a fairly new luxury for us - but downstairs my furniture is beginning to feel damp and there is the scent of mildew in the air. I'm beginning to see mildew all over my house. Yuck! It's not going to be a good year for my house and I appreciate people who say they installed central air just to keep the humidity out of their homes.

Well, maybe some day we'll have that luxury, but I don't see it in the foreseeable future. Maybe this summer will be the exception and not a glimpse of things to come. I truly hope its not part of the whole "global warming" trend. I'm ready for some dry air, that's for sure!

Monday, July 15, 2013

New

The great thing about starting a new job is that it makes me feel young. The worst part about starting a new job is it makes me feel old.

Ah, the dicotamies of life! As I sit at my new desk, struggling to read the computer with my failing eyesight, or feeling the ache in my back from sitting there for hours at a time, I truly feel like an old lady.

But then meeting new challenges, learning new things, stimulating the brain surely makes one feel younger!

I think at my age anything that makes us feel younger is a good thing. But things that point out our age...well...perhaps its just a matter of time and I'll get over that. After all, the muscles will adjust and I think a trip to the optometrist may be in my future. And after that things will be looking up for sure.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Breakfast

I  happen to love breakfast. I love eggs and bacon, french toast, pancakes, omelets - you name it and I like it. Unfortunately I married someone who has no interest in breakfast at all. Not very compatible!

So, one of the things I'm loving this summer is that the grand kids have been sleeping over at our house one or two at a time. And that means I get to take them out to breakfast. Which accomplishes two things: I get to do something fun with the kids and I also get to go out to breakfast.

On a normal morning I have a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I make my own mix of a Kashi cereal, a little granola, and some slices almonds. It gives me my daily fiber and is fairly healthy, so it's the same routine every day. I like it and it it, like all routines, simple and comforting. But when the opportunity arises, there is nothing better than throwing that routine to the wind and having someone else make me a beautiful place of french toast. Yum!

Sometimes its the simplest things in life that can give us the best sense of joy. Simple things like a breakfast eaten out at a diner or restaurant. Yes, I do enjoy that!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

More working notes

I spent the better part of an hour at my new job cleaning out the desk. It was shocking.

The office has a large double desk, with a computer on one desk and the other for writing and other type duties. So there were about seven drawers to clean and organize. And I could hardly believe what I found. I would say that there were the remnants of at least three secretaries in those drawers. I now this because I found a name on one of the items and I know that the person it belonged to worked there over ten years ago.

Among the things I found were: plastic knives and spoons, name tags, outdated stamps and files, old rubber bands that no longer stretched, scotch tape that no longer stuck, and old candy bars. I practically filled an entire trash container with things that should have been thrown out years ago. Including dried out pens and broken pencils.

First I emptied each drawer completely so I could wipe it out. Then I tried every pen to make sure it worked, tossing those that didn't. Then I looked at what was on top of the deck and made decisions about what was going to go back into the drawer and what would go someplace else. When I was done, each drawer was organized. And there were three empty ones. So I went to the supply closet and brought in some legal pads, envelopes, and other oft used supplies and placed them in the empty drawers.

Suddenly, the office felt like mine. It was a great feeling.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Another weekend

Last weekend was about as bad as it gets around East Hampton and I know we're in the worst eight weeks of summer now, but I'm still holding out hope that in comparison to a week ago this one will seem easy. Wishful thinking perhaps.

I'm not sure how much more traffic we can handle out here and I don't know how to deal with what we have and I have to admit that as an elected official it's this kind of thing that keeps me awake at night. We can hire experts to give us ideas and suggestions but how will any changes affect everything? How can you possibly know the end result of major changes? Or can we make small changes that will help the flow of things? Oh I wish I knew!

The summers present a real challenge around here and I wish there was a way to simply close the doors and not let anyone in once the roads are too busy. But...not sure that's possible. The big question is, what is???

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New beginnings

I started a new job this week - nothing big or earth-shattering, but a small part-time job doing work I used to do, an opportunity to put some money away for our retirement. And it is interesting how things have changed since I last sat at a desk.

I last did desk work about ten years ago when I worked in a church office. But those ten years are huge when you get to be my age. For instance, I pulled out my reading glasses to read the material I needed to enter into the computer, and I realized I also needed glasses to read the computer. But not the same glasses. So I'm thinking I'm going to need to go to the eye doctor and get some prescription glasses that are trifocals. The top can be clear because my contact lenses allow me to see distance fine, but I need something for the computer and something else for reading. Sheesh!

There is always a learning curve when beginning a new job and this one is no different. The computer programs are different. The players are different. The space is different. So I'll be learning for a few weeks, pretty much. I only dealt with a few phone calls while I was there the first day but I had no idea what to do with either of them. I'm sure it was annoying to the folks on the other end, but what can you do?

I think I'll enjoy this job - the people are nice and the work is easy but interesting (not boring!) so it should be fun. But I don't enjoy this period of adjustment when I don't know anything and now, ten years after leaving my last desk job, when I feel a bit long in the tooth. I need to deal with the issue of the glasses. I think that will help.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pools

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with swimming pools. I enjoy a quiet dip once in awhile, but they seem to be magnets for kids too, so that's a whole different issue.

I always found it stressful to be at the beach or the pool with kids. There was the constant head-counting and life guarding, and it was never relaxing and easy.  It was hard work.

I spoke to someone recently who had put in a pool and she said that she and her husband enjoyed going out at night for a dip. I can see the attraction in that. But then there is the maintenance, and the fact that if I had a pool it would take up all of my small yard, and that is not attractive to me at all. I love having a yard the kids can play kick ball in and enjoy the play equipment in. So here's what I think. I think if I had a huge yard (as many do here in East Hampton!) I would have a beautiful pool with rock formations and natural-looking elements within steps of my back door. But I would also have a nice big yard that was suitable for baseball games or Frisbee throwing. And of course there would be room for a pool house so no one would ever need to come into the main house with dripping bathing suits to use a bathroom....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Duty

Last weekend I was on ambulance duty on the Friday night of the busiest weekend of the year on the East End. Oy vey.

Our first call was at 8:30 and it was for an elderly gentleman who was having difficulty breathing. No wonder! We found him in his upstairs bedroom in his large home (which had the distinctive odor of an unkempt house lived in by an elderly person - experienced it many times!) and he had about six windows in that room, all opened about  inches on the bottom. Now this was a hot, humid day and his room felt like an oven. I had difficulty breathing by the time I finally got out into the evening air. Surprisingly enough he perked right up and went to sleep on the ride to the hospital.

Call number two was for the classic weekend happening - an "MVA" which is medic-speak for a motor vehicle accident. This one was on a small winding road in the estate section of the village and when we arrived we found a (formerly) lovely little black BMW which had smacked into a tree head-on, supposedly in an attempt to avoid a deer. (One never knows how these things actually occur, only what we are told!)

The driver was basically OK but dazed and bruised from the airbag deployment which is traumatic in its own right. Our issue on this call was the size of this man. He looked like a body guard, all six foot six and about 280 lbs of him. His shoulders were so wide we had trouble getting to the lift holds on the backboard. He was huge.

Our third call came in at 3am. At that point I'd probably been asleep about two hours. It was for an alcohol poisoning at a local club. So we dragged ourselves our of bed, looking like most people do when they get up from a sound sleep, and went to this place only to find hundreds of beautifully dressed and turned out people in the midst of their fun, all looking like they had just come from the prom. Our patient was completely unconscious and never woke throughout the trip to the hospital. Her boyfriend, who seemed quite put out that he had to ride in the front of the ambulance instead of the back with her, admitted that perhaps she had ingested more than the drinks since there was something called "mali" around the scene. We looked that up on our way home and learned that its a new popular drug which is a combination of ecstasy and speed. She didn't seem as though she was speeding, just drunk, but the hospital would learn more about that.

I finally crawled into bed about about 5am and managed to get a couple hours of sleep before the daylight woke me for good. Another crazy summer weekend in East Hampton. I really don't like the 4th of July very much....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Survival

So we survived another July 4th week here on the East End, which is a bit miraculous considering how crazy
the weeks leading up to it were. I don't think I can remember a June as hot and crazy as this one was, and I found myself singing "Hot time, summer in the city..." more than once during those weeks, channeling the Lovin' Spoonful, which was one of my favorite groups in the '60s.

Not only was it hot, but there seemed to be more crazy drivers and horrible traffic issues than ever for so early in the season, including a tragic accident that killed one of the communities bright and promising teenagers. We are still reeling from it.I'm not sure how we're going to survive the next 8 weeks when we've already had what I term "August behavior" in abundance out here this year. But, somehow, we always do.

Every summer the Adirondacks seem more and more attractive to me....


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Crazies

OK - it's venting time for this ambulance volunteer! Why is it that I seem to end up on duty every time there is a big holiday? I've been on for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day, Easter, New Year's, Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend - and now July 4th weekend! Sheesh!


I seem to remember one July 4th where we were called all the way to Cedar Point Park (I hate that drive at 3am!) for someone with a "wrist injury". It was the Saturday night of the weekend and it was very late - like 2 or 3 in the morning. Surely it would quiet in the campground at that hour, right? Wrong! It was like Brooklyn on a Saturday night! There were people everywhere, and when an ambulance appeared suddenly everybody needed a band aid or water or something. It was a nightmare.

Every holiday is a nightmare around here. It's the time the crazies appear, whether winter or summer, and its the time you really don't want to be on squad duty. Yet....it never seems to fail. I am busy at every one of them. I suppose that's just the luck of the draw and I don't get on those dates anymore than anyone else does, but after twenty-three years it seems like I always do....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Real Estate

A few years ago we stretched ourselves financially to buy a small house in Springs so my son and daughter-in-law would have a decent place to live for a price they could afford, which is a nearly impossible thing here on the East End. We took out a mortgage and charged them minimal rent and they've been living there since then. However, they recently moved and I'm learning that the real estate business is not so much fun.

Of course I knew that, because I actually held a real estate license at one point in my life. I hated the business - it was hard work for rare rewards. And now, being a landlord. I find the same level of frustration. It's not easy work!

And its stressful. Trying to make mortgage payments while looking for decent renters....well....that's the real trick to it all. And we're smack dab in the middle of it right now. Our son and his family have found a house to buy and they moved out of our little rental house last weekend. Now the real work begins.

Well....it could be worse. It could be my own mortgage I'm trying to pay. So I realize this is a complaint of the middle-class and many people would be envious of our problem. But my point is not that we are to be pitied, but rather that the real estate business, that everyone out on the East End thinks is so lucrative, is not as much so as they think. Oh, there are plenty of people who have made a lot of money in real estate, but there are literally hundreds who limp along trying to make it from month to month, either selling or renting real estate, and I am not envious at all.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rain, rain, rain

I hate the way the summer forecast always presents itself: hot, humid, chance of thunderstorms. Every day this week it was "40% chance of rain" or something similar to that. Enough already with the rain!

Of course the alternative is not good either. Hot weather with no rain means wilting plants and brown grass. Oh the joys of summer!

A few years ago we had the perfect summer weather. It was nice every day and it rained nearly every night. The plants were healthy, the grass was green, and we never had to cancel our plans. I am hoping for a summer like that again.  It doesn't hurt to dream, does it!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Parade

It's been many years now since we attended the July 4th parade in Southampton. That was the tradition in my house - every year we drove over in the station wagon and parked along one of the streets a block or two away and walked to Main Street just before the parade began. My father loved the instrumental groups that marched, oohing and aahing over every drum and bugle corps and laughing at the antics of the North Sea Fire Department, who always managed to get the crowd wet in one way or another.

For whatever reason we've lost that tradition and I miss it. I miss the excitement of the crowd and the music too. I miss all the great floats and the celebratory nature of the event. It seems appropriate, especially since we no longer have fireworks in East Hampton on the 4th, to celebrate with a crowd and the parade is a great way to do it.

I'm trying to find someone to go with me this year. So far no luck, but if I manage to get over there I'll blog about it soon. Because there will be much to see I know.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The shroud

We've had our share of fog this past couple of weeks - the heat and humidity seem to bring it out a lot and many days I could watch it rolling on over the empty field across from my house, turning the trees into hulking forms and wiping the cemetery right out of the picture.

Driving to Southampton one day reminded me so much or the drives west when we were children and there were more farm fields than anything else along the way. The fog then was truly like pea soup, obscuring the road to the point of traffic coming to a complete crawl. With all the open spaces between Montauk Highway and the ocean, the fog had its way for sure. Now, it seems to break up a bit as it crawls along between so many houses and trees.

Still, it feels like a shroud has been dropped over the East End when it comes in and gives everything in its path a little shower of moisture. Taking an early morning walk leaves one with wet hair and damp clothing before the perspiration does that job. But it also affords a cool comfort against the heat and that is a blessing. I welcome the fog on hot days in July. It's fun to look at and it feels divine.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Broadway Babies

My daughter and two of my grandchildren were given a unique opportunity last week. They went in to NYC and attended a workshop presented by the show "Annie" for young theater kids. My daughter has a number of voice students so she took some of them along with her eight-year-old son and her eleven-year-old  niece (my other daughter's daughter) both of whom love doing theater and have some talent in that area, to participate. They learned the choreography for one of the numbers in the show,  had a question and answer session with some cast members, then broke for lunch and returned for the matinee where they were able to see their choreography performed by the pros.

It was something I would have died for when I was young. I had cast albums for all the big Broadwaay shows when I was in 6th grade. I knew all the music by heart. When my friends were busy listening to "Murray the K" on WABC radio, I was playing my record albums and dreaming of being on the stage.

I love seeing my children and grandchildren experience things I could only have dreamed of. And I love it when I see them progress in their lives beyond where I ever went. It's one of life's greatest pleasures.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1st

July again. How quickly the months pass!

I cannot help but think about July four years ago when I had just completed my chemotherapy treatments. How tired I was! How worn out and washed up I felt. I wondered what the next month would bring. Would I ever feel "normal" again? Or was "normal" something different for me now? It was such a time of uncertainty - not fun!

But it was a good time for me as well. It was a time of much introspection, spiritual growth, and priority setting. I had plenty of time for contemplation and I took full advantage of it. In many ways it seems a long time ago now, but my new appreciation for life has not changed. It is a gift to be savored.

I recently did a job interview where one of the interviewers asked what I thought was an odd question. "What gets you out of bed in the morning?" I wasn't sure what the motivation was for the question or what it had to do with my job qualifications, but many answers floated through my head ("The alarm clock", "The birds", "my husband", "the need to visit the bathroom" were a few" but my ultimate answer was that since my cancer, I didn't need much motivation to get out of bed because waking up and feeling well enough to get out of bed was motivation enough for me. I've been to the other side of that and I'll never take my health for granted again. Nothing is as sweet as waking to a new day and being well enough to get out of bed! Here's to a wonderful July with lots of adventures to experience.