Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween

Ah...Halloween. How I hate Halloween!

As a child I loved it. I looked forward to it and I planned for it - I was creative enough to want to make a great costume and in those days it was much less competitive than it is now. Most children has store-bought costumes, which consisted of a simple coverall that went over the clothes and had the imprint of some character's outfit or an animal print - and that went with the simple mask which told you who or what the child was. I prided myself on putting together my own costume which was usually something like a gypsy or other fancy girl that I could create from my mother's wardrobe, or from clothes in the big trunk in the attic.

But something changed about Halloween and now its a major event where children need to spend exorbitant amount of money for silly, extravagant costumes. The pressure as a mother was horrible. My children challenged me every year to create some amazing costumes because they wanted to be a ghost buster, or an astronaut. Since we didn't have the money to go spend on four fancy costumes every year I was the one who would have to figure out how to transform cardboard boxes and scraps of fabric into whatever it was they wanted to be.

So my dislike of Halloween began when my children were young, but it continues today because it seems a bit over the top. When I go into a pharmacy to buy some aspirin and the staff is dressed as zombies, that seems a bit much to me. I don't want to be worried about some strange person jumping out of a doorway at me and not knowing whether they're a good guy or not. Who wants scary people everywhere you look? Perhaps I'm old and grumpy but I'd much rather buy my goods from regular people, thank you very much. No zombies for me....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why?

I've been an EMT for twenty-three years now and I often thing back to the early days when I first joined the ambulance and how enthusiastic I was about getting up at 3am to go help somebody out. Last week when I was on duty I was reminded of that early enthusiasm and wished I still had it. But experience has stolen it from me. So many years of feeling taken advantage of and not appreciated tend to do that to anyone, in any position, but a volunteer one is especially vulnerable. Here are some of the questions I ask myself every time I leave my house in the middle of the night:

If you fell on your knee at 9:00 last night, why did you decide to wait until 4 in the morning to call for the ambulance?

If you have felt sick for three days, why couldn't you wait until the sun came up instead of getting us out of bed when the stars are still in view?

If you find a tick on your hairbrush, what makes you think you suddenly have Lyme disease and what do you think makes it necessary to call an ambulance to take you to the hospital?

If you've been drinking for hours with your friends, why not just take a nap on their couch instead of trying to drive home?

When you built your house with a spiral staircase how did you think we would be able to get you out of your bedroom in an emergency?

If you want a house with twenty-three steps leading to the front door, why wouldn't you at least brush the snow off of them so we can get to you with a stretcher?

If you want to live in seclusion, why ask for an ambulance when there isn't enough room to get by the huge trees that have overgrown your driveway?

When you built and landscaped your house did it never occur to you that it might be difficult for people to carry you out on a stretcher around all those bushes, across the pebbled paths, around the pool and fences, and down two flights of stairs?

If you are well enough to pack a suitcase, do you really need an ambulance to drive you to the hospital? Don't you have a fried or family member who could do that?

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Perhaps I'm a bit jaded after all these years but honestly, it makes me wonder where people's head are? Is this society today so self-absorbed that we think nothing of getting four or five people out of bed on a cold winter night to trudge through the snow to help them when they really don't need help, or clearly haven't made it easy to assist them when they do need it?

Oh well - life is full of "whys" but not so full of answers I suppose.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wine

I don't enjoy wine. And I wonder why. I mean, people all around me seem to love the stuff. They talk about it, they drink it, they love it - and I don't. And it makes me feel as though I'm outside looking in.

My parents were non-drinkers. They didn't drink alcohol at all. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. Perhaps because I never tasted it until I was an adult - instead growing up on sweet things like soda. To me wine is sour and unpleasant.

Coffee is the same for me. No one in my house drank coffee so I never even tried it until I was quite well along in my life and again - yuck. Someone once told me I had to "develop a taste for it" but I thought "Why?" I mean, why take the time and effort to develop a taste for something that isn't even that good for you? It's not like I don't already have plenty of vices, you know? Who needs anything else to worry about?

But still....I wonder what it is I'm missing when everyone at the table seems to be enjoying their wine. I must be missing something....

Monday, October 28, 2013

Stress

We have been under a lot of stress lately at my house. There have been many things involved in this, from family issues, to medical issues, to obligations to fulfill - but the bottom line is, we are under a good deal of stress and I don't see the end in sight. And it makes me wonder: how do you stop the treadmill when you want to get off but you can't reach the switch?

Life is a funny like that. We can go for stretches where everything goes along smoothly and all is well. But then suddenly everything hits the fan and it seems as though things could and may fall apart at the seams at any moment. It's exhausting.

My heart goes out to people who spend their whole lives under the stress of money issues. We have a few of them and I know how difficult it is to worry about money. But I also know we are far better off than many and that makes me realize that others must suffer intolerably with that stress.

I also feel for those who have the stress of work that they don't like doing, day after day, returning to a job they hate. I know how much I detest housework and know if I had to do it as a career I would not want to get out of bed in the morning.

My point is that the one positive thing that comes from stress is the knowledge that as tough as it sometimes is to see the other side, one can always be thankful for the blessings in one's life. And there are so many. Perhaps that's the blessing of stress!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Food

Cold weather makes me think a lot about food. Not that warm weather doesn't - I suppose I think a lot about food whatever the weather. But right now, as the weather is changing from warm to cold, certain foods are on my mind. A lot.

I am thinking about the crock pot and those meals that cook all day and fill the house with amazing smells that greet you when you come home in the afternoon. I'm thinking about big crocks of macaroni and cheese and trays of lasagna. I find myself dreaming about warm pie and cookies. And I know that chili is in the future here at my house.

Pot roasts, casseroles, one-pot meals....and a big, well-browned turkey are all in the future here. None of them have been created in this kitchen for months now, because the grill has been taking on the work and the farm stands have been providing so many goodies. But that's over now and I want the kitchen to be warmed by the heat of the oven and the scents of winter feasts.

Food. I think way too much about food.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trees

The leaves are falling quickly this week which is disappointing because they've only just begun turning the glorious colors of fall. I was told it has to do with the drought like conditions we had in July, and I have no idea if that's true or not, but something has made the season different this year. The colors are short-lived and the leaves are falling nearly as soon as they change.

Its disappointing to me because this is my favorite time of year and I so look forward to the colors of the season. I love the bright reds of the maples and the yellows and oranges alongside are so stunning. Its like a stew of every hot color on the wheel and when its mixed together its a fabulous thing. Sometimes its almost too much to take in and my eyes race from tree to tree hoping not to miss anything.

I guess that's why my favorite ones are the loners - the beautiful single trees on expanses of lawn, first ablaze with color and then when those leave fall, a bare branched beauty with a huge puddle of brilliant hue at its base, mounded around the trunk. It's stunning. There's one like that across the street from my house and every year I stop at the end of my driveway whenever I go to leave it in my car. I sit for 30 seconds or so just taking it in. It only lasts a few days before the wind takes the leaves and scatters them in every direction.

I'm glad I'm working in Sag Harbor this year because I've been able to see the fire of those colors light up the woods along Route 114. So although its been short-lived, I've fully enjoyed every minute of it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Diet

I've been working hard to provide my husband, who recently had a brush with heart issues, with a healthy diet. It's not an easy task.

Nineteen years ago when he had his first heart attack and by pass surgery, I changed the way I cooked for him. Everything became low fat and I worked hard to make sure he ate well. But times have changed and I no longer make a meal every night for him - he prepares his own food most of the time.

Now - that may be shocking to some people, but there are many reasons for this. In the first place I cooked a complete meal every night for over thirty years for my family and I tired of the whole thing. And of course there's the issue of wanting him to be more independent in case I'm not always here to make his food for him. But at the top of the list of reasons is that I now suffer from gastric reflux and cannot eat a big meal at dinner. When I occasionally do so, I pay a price in lack of sleep later so I do it as little as possible, mostly only to be sociable. Instead I eat a larger meal at lunch and eat a simple snack at dinner. Thus - no cooking at night. So for a few years now I've helped him learn to cook for himself. But he tends to be pretty lazy in the menu planning department. He eats no vegetables, little fruit, and thinks potato chips are the perfect side for a small steak.

So since he was in the hospital I've been stocking the fridge with lots of good healthy food that he likes: tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, apples, etc. And still he barely touches them.

Well, as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but.....

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Community

A few days ago I wrote about Main Street and Newtown Lane and then a friend did a blog titled
"Community" and all of it has had me thinking about my own community. And interestingly enough something happened Saturday night that highlighted my thoughts about it all.

I listen to people who have moved away bemoan the changes in East Hampton over the past twenty years and I agree - it is a different place that it was. But not all changes are bad and not everything has changed. From the outside that's not so easy to see because the real "community" here is not what people are looking at when they drive through our little villages. What they see are the high-end fancy stores and big mansions. What they don't see are the people.

Last Saturday night we took our son and daughter-in-law (along with the three-year-old granddaughter, of course!) to the Rotary Club spaghetti dinner that was held at the Amagansett Fire House. All the money went to the Rotary Club for the many things it does in the community and we knew many of the people working the fundraiser. My daughter-in-law has lived here since she married my son nearly five years ago now but she's never been to the Amagansett Fire House and she was excited to see yet another place in town but she was unprepared for all the familiar faces she would see there. We greeted nearly everyone on our way in - all people we knew - and then stopped at the raffle table to buy tickets from some neighbors. Once inside we began to sit with some other acquaintances until we realized they needed some of the empty spaces for others coming, so we settled in the the table next to them. Within minutes other friends appeared and when they spotted us they came and joined us. We had a great dinner, served by familiar faces, and left feeling full and happy to know we'd contributed to a good cause. All the way out we exchanged greetings with more of the folks working the event, including the family doctor and her family.

As we walked to the car my daughter-in-law said "That was really fun! I had no idea I'd know so many people here! I really love this place!"

I couldn't agree with her more. It's called a community.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

B & Bs

I've been surfing the web lately dreaming about a weekend at a B&B somewhere to celebrate our anniversary. It's largely an exercise in fantasy because we probably won't go anywhere, but its fun to think about the possibility.

Anyway, I find it amusing to read the descriptions of rooms and inns on the internet. Words like "charming", "cozy" and "romantic" must be required text for any B&B because they all include them in the descriptions. Of course photos tell the real story, and some of the "over-the-top" Victorian decor tells a different tale. Words like "frilly", "fussy" and "lacy" come to mind.  Now I don't mind a little victoriana bit a little goes a long way and when there's too much of it I think I would feel more smothered than romantic.

I love the rooms with fireplaces. And I love the rooms with canopy beds. But my number one request of a great place for a weekend getaway would be one that's located on a nice Main Street with cute shops, a museum or two, and some really nice restaurants. Maybe a few attractions within driving distance would be fun too. Old Saybrook, CT seems to fit the bill. And maybe Williamsburg, VA. I envision a day of walking around, shopping, seeing interesting places, learning new things, and then a nice early dinner with an evening in the room, in front of the fireplace, eating chocolate covered strawberries and drinking champagne.

Yep - pure fantasy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall produce

The farm stands are ablaze with color now, from the reds and yellows of the peppers and apples to the oranges of the pumpkins and greens of the gourds, brighter and more vibrant than at any other time of the year. The shelves are more interesting as well, filled with the shapes and bounty of autumn, from the long-necked swan gourds to the fat, round pumpkins the wagons overflow with interesting things.


There's a sadness in the autumn produce to though, clearly a sign of the end of the harvest and beginning of winter. Soon the seeds of tomorrow will be frozen beneath the surface of the cold earth, laying in wait to burst into life when the ground warms up again in Spring. It's one of the miracles if life we see when we're surrounded by farms and one of the great things about the cycle of life.

I love the autumn and I welcome the changes that are happening all around us. Only a few months now before the snow falls. And only a few months more before the whole things starts again.
Its the message I hear every time I drive by a local farm stand and the fall produce practically jumps off the shelves and into my thoughts.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple picking

Last weekend we went apple picking with the grand kids.

We never went apple picking when we were kids, other than raiding the tree next door when the apples there were ripe. But they were small and wormy and not very tasty so it was more for the fun of it than anything else. There were no apple orchards here then that I know of - our farmland was still devoted to potatoes and lettuce and such and apple orchards were mostly upstate NY. But in the past number of years enough apple trees have been planted that we have some nice mature ones now that produce some beautiful fruit in every possible type from Golden Delicious to Macintosh. My own favorite is Jonagold, which of course is a cross between Jonathans and Goldens. I love their texture and taste and can eat them by the bushel.

Of course its fun to do this with the kids. For myself, I could simply go to the Milk Pail in Water Mill and pick up a bag of any kind whenever I need them. I don't need to fight any crowds and they're all nice specimens. But its something to do with the kids, a combination of family activity and learning experience (they grow on trees!), so we went.  And it was fun.

Now I have a lot of apples here. I plan to bake a couple apple pies as a thank you to the police officers who assisted my husband when we called 911 a week ago, but other than that I have no specific plans for them. I actually like my apples raw - not cooked - so I may just work my way through the rest of the bag on my own...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Main Street

Many people bemoan the changes that have taken place on Main Street over the past thirty years, and while I miss many of the old stores as well, I don't feel quite as sad about it as others do. Because I've traveled enough around places like upstate New York and rural Pennsylvania to know how lucky we are to still have a vital, beautiful Main Street. So many small towns around the country have lost their vibrancy because of the lure of big box stores and huge malls within easy driving distance. No small town hardware store can compete with Lowes or Home Depot. Nor can a children's clothing store compete with Target or WalMart. I've driven through many places where the downtown areas are sad, depressed places with peeling paint and boarded up windows.

Our Main Street may be full of expensive stores and I many not be able to shop in most of them, but it is still beautiful. The paint is fresh, the windows are well dressed, and it looks as bright and vibrant as ever. When Number 1 Main Street was bought a few years ago by big name Elie Tahari, they came to the Village Design Review Board with plans to renovate, including large plate glass windows and modern entry doors. When they learned that this was an historic building dating back to the early 1800s, they did a complete turnaround and restored it to its original beauty, re-opening bricked-in windows and moving the doors to their original place. When Ralph Lauren began to renovate the building that once housed a hotel in the middle of the block, and the framing that belonged to one of East Hampton's very first houses was uncovered, they changed their plans and saved the framing, which is now visible to the public, and incorporated it into the plans.

Very few small business owners would have had the wherewithal to do those things and for that I'm grateful for the money that has become our Main Street. It's enabled us to protect our heritage in a unique way. It may not be the Main Street of my youth, with Marley's and the 5&10, but it is still my East Hampton and I love it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dusk

I was sitting near the window the other night when I realized it was 6pm and dusk was falling. It would soon be dark outside and it seemed so early. But then - this is October, so 'tis the season. The negative side of autumn!

I always have mixed feelings about the early dark of winter.  I like being able to crawl into my robe and not feel guilty about the fact that I'm ready for bed by 7pm. But I also miss the long days and the extra hours to do things, especially outdoors. Yes - it is a mixed blessing, these dark evenings and long nights.

Dusk is beautiful and watching it fall, very often accompanied by a beautiful blazing sky outside my living rooms windows, is a pleasure to savor. This time of the year it happens at a good time to watch it, as comfort food sits at the ready and home is welcoming with the scents of the season. Dusk. Its a magic all its own.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October sky

I read a blog recently that made mention of the sky being one of the writers favorite things about October. How true for me as well! I love the October skies!

One day it will be bright, deep blue - a color you don't see in the summer or the winter. Winter skies are grayer and duller and in the summer the light out here near the water makes the sky almost ethereal - misty and pale and beautiful. But in October the deep blue is something to be amazed at.

The next day it will be overcast and look more like winter is coming, but the clouds can gather in an instant and disperse as quickly.

There is a beauty in the October sky that is unmistakable and wonderful and it's one of my favorite things about this time of year. That, combined with the cool, crisp mornings and easy sleeping weather, makes it my ideal. Which is why I don't bemoan the end of summer the way many people do. For me, the best is yet to come. And right now its here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wow

Here we were looking forward to October when things would "calm down" a little, and suddenly we are more than half way through it. How did that happen?

Life throws us so many curve balls along the way and when we get to be our age we get a bit accustomed to getting one tossed in our direction, and yet still we get  complacent and when anything stops us in our tracks we re-evaluate everything. This has been a month like that. Time simultaneously stood still and flew by, as it tends to do during times of stress and trauma. So here we are, suddenly looking at the end of yet another month and wondering where the time has gone.

Well the holidays are ahead of us and I know how quickly this time will go so I'm hoping to slow things down a little and enjoy these coming months. I try so hard to savor each moment and yet, with a busy schedule, its not easy. I think I may need to stop rushing around so much and try to spend a little more time simply enjoying life.

So much easier said than done.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Newtown Lane

I recent post on Facebook has got me to thinking about the Newtown Lane of my youth. It's changed somewhat since then, but its still recognizable and I love walking down that street and remembering the things I do.

When I was in kindergarten I walked from my house on Accabonac Road, along with my brother, to school on Newtown Lane. He would take me as far as the Odd Fellows Hall where our kindergarten classes were held and then would continue on to the brick school where 1st through 12th graders met at that time. I never attended that big school until I entered 6th grade because this was the era of the baby boomer generation and it was bursting at the seams. From 1st through 3rd grade I was at a temporary school in rented space down in Skimhampton, and then we moved into the brand new elementary school which is now known as John Marshall and still houses the primary grades. Anyway, we walked up together and, since kindergarten was only a half day back then, I walked home alone.

So my early memories of Newtown Lane began then and when I entered the 7th grade in the 1960s and attended the big school from there through 12th grade, I would get to know it even better.

My early experiences included Conklin's Store, which was gone by the time I entered 7th grade, so I don't remember a lot about it. I remember Mr. Day's shop and I remember Ross M. Fanning Jewelers. Rowe's Drug School was a favorite stop in high school and Fifth Avenue Fashions was also an important place. All of them are gone now. In fact, there are no businesses left now that were there then - no Parson's Electric, no East End Hardware, no barbershop or Speed king's Luncheonette. All gone with the times.

But the memories remain and whenever I go into any store on Newtown Lane my mind takes me right back to the place that used to be there - the people, the goods, the window dressings. And that's the wonderful thing about memories. Nothing - time, money, sickness - can take them away from us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Personalities

I've enjoyed having children and learning about how human beings grow and progress from birth through adulthood. It was a constant source of wonder and adventure, seeing their personalities develop  with their age, watching them grow and learn and become real people. I was always amazed at how much of their personalities came with them. I mean, we hear so much about "nurture" vs. "nature" and have the feeling that we can somehow form these little minds as we have them in our care. But after raising four of them I wonder.

And now, having had twin grand daughers I wonder even more. Because at one year of age they are as different as day and night. Here there are, two toddlers with all the same stimuli and surroundings, all things being equal, and yet they are not alike at all. One is outgoing, one more shy. One is aggressive, one passive. They look different and they act different, and again I am wondering - how much do we really have to do with the adults that our children become? Are we merely caregivers or are we molders of their lives?

Unfortunately the only way to know the answers to those questions is to take the same child and have it raised twice, by different sets of parents and under totally different circumstances. Which is impossible So we may never know how important we are as parents after all.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Kicking back

This past few days we've been kicking back at my house. Which, for people like us, is pretty much unheard of.


Oh we do know how to relax, and we often sit in the later afternoon and watch TV together. but this was different. After my husband's hospitalization last week he as instructed to take a few days to rest and recuperate, so we didn't do much of anything over the weekend. I had some things I needed to attend to, like work hours on Friday and a board meeting on Sunday morning - but other than that we did nothing. We spent all day yesterday on the couch and today will be much of the same. It's very unlike us. We are busy people and we like to be in motion much of the time. but I have to say I haven't minded the break.

It might be because we've never had the luxury of time off. We rarely get vacations and anytime we go away its usually to visit the grandkids in Pennsylvania, so R & R is not something we know much about. It doesn't come easily to us because we don't practice it. But at the same time its been kind of fun.

I do wish my husband enjoyed things other than TV though. A good game of Scrabble would amuse me. Or maybe Trivial Pursuit. Or maybe a good game of Hearts. But, he loves his television so that's what we do. And conversation isn't his strong suit either.

But then again, there's no one I'd rather be watching TV with.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall cleaning

One of the things I've always enjoyed doing is moving furniture and rearranging rooms every season. I get that from my mother who was always moving things from her "summer" to her "winter" settings, moving pieces closer to the sunshine in the winter and changing the flow of rooms regularly. We would come if from school and everything would be moved around.

So I come by it naturally and totally get that. In my house I only have one room I can really move furniture around in - the others are pretty much unable to be changed, with sectional couches to fit the space, for instance, or bedrooms too small to accommodate beds in any other spot. But my back room, what some might call the family room, well that one gets changed around all the time.

I have about four configurations I can use and its fun to pull everything out and clean well, then put it all back together into something different. It makes the room look brand new.

Of course as age creeps up on us these major moving projects are not as simple as they used to be so yesterday when some of my adult children were at the house I grabbed the opportunity. They were game and we stripped the room, cleaned, and put things back together in a new way. It looks fresh and clean and winterized now and it didn't cost me a cent. The perfect kind of redecorating project.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Unexpected joys

Our unexpected trial this week - a trip to the hospital for serious reasons - brought unexpected joys with it. For me at least it was a special pleasure to have my adult children around me throughout, something that didn't happy when he had his first heart attack nineteen years ago. Then I felt very much alone as I drive back and forth on the Long Island Expressway, my small children staying with my parents and my teens working at their summer jobs. This time was quite different and I didn't even need to drive, just climb into the back seat and settle in for the long ride.

Then another unexpected pleasure arrived in the form of my daughter who lives in Pennsylvania. We assured her it was OK not to come, but come she did and that turned the whole weekend into a special occasion. How nice to spend time with her when it was unexpected.

Yes, life does have its surprises, both good and bad, and being able to roll with the punches is important.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A week

This was a week I hope not to repeat in the near future. My husband had a mild heart attack and we spent most of it at Stony Brook Hospital - to say we're exhausted would be a huge understatement!

It started overnight Monday night - well actually it started before that but we just didn't realize. Since its been 19 years since his heart attack and by-pass surgery we were getting a bit complacent - there were signs that he ignored. But in the middle of the night suddenly his implanted defibrillator went off, waking us both up - him from the shock and me from the yell.

As soon as I realized what had happened we headed to the hospital, he in the ambulance and me in the car. When blood work revealed a heart attack we knew the next step - transfer to Stony Brook Hospital.

We spent the next few days there where he had an angiogram and some stents placed into the newly blocked veins that had been part of his by-pass grafts. Long days in the hospital can be exhausting, both physically and mentally, and we are.

But also very grateful to see yet another day. Life is funny, right? One never quite knows where it will take you. This week it brought us both back home and for that I'm very grateful.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cool

The weather this week is cooling down a bit and I'm not sorry. I love October. I love every part of it - from the first to the thirty-first. And I don't mind the cool air that's descending this week. It feels good.

These weeks are going quickly and I wish we could take a trip to get away for a few days. We've been particularly busy recently for a number of reasons and I could use some time to just unwind. One of the problems we have with going away is that our interests are pretty diverse, so finding someplace to go isn't easy. He loves the beach - I love historic places. He loves sports - I love shopping. So travel is not always easy for us. He will go anywhere I want to go but I know my choices are not his.

I do love the fall foliage and would like to head up to New England but where? For me it would be Old Sturbridge Village. He would probably prefer Fenway Park. It is a beautiful time to travel north though and the drive is half the fun.

Well in any case, I'm enjoying this month and we have plenty to get done around our house so if we don't go anywhere else I'll still be happy to be here in beautiful East Hampton, enjoying this incredible weather.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

1978

I know that every year I mentioned each of my children's birthdays - well almost every year - I try to resist for fear of repeating myself too often - but it seems to be all I can think about on these days. Because when you've had children those days become major red flag days in your life and its all you can think about when the calendar shows certain months and days like it does today.

Today was the day my second child - and second daughter - was born. I was so thrilled with my first little girl that I secretly longed to have another one, although I would never verbalize that wish because I knew how special any child was, especially a healthy one. And I also knew I would love a boy as much as I did my girl, so at the end of the day it really didn't matter. But I was thrilled when it turned out to be a girl.

She was a pretty little thing, although because she was so big her face was pretty pudgy. At nearly 10lbs she was chubby and had cheeks like a chipmunk. The nurses joked about her size, announcing that they had a preemie when they brought her into the nursery. My roommate later recounted how all the new mothers went out to see the preemie when they heard that and were surprised to see my big baby in there instead.

Each of my children has amazing attributes and each is as different from the next as is possible. Sometimes I'm surprised they come from the same home. I could spend time raving about each one but in the interest of not bragging I don't do that often. However, in light of what today is, I will say that this child, this daughter who was born so many years ago to a young mother who was still trying to figure out how to do the job competently, brings me an amazing amount of joy with her gentle and kind spirit, her sense of fun and adventure, and her beautiful soul. More than I ever could have imagined on that Monday afternoon of October 9th back in 1978.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hair color

Is it just me or do other people love the fact that hair color is changing? I see pinks, blues, lavenders, and greens and many hues that do not occur in nature. Years ago that would have looked pretty weird and only the teens looking for attention would have worn them. But today I see them everywhere and I love them! I have always been a "color" person so naturally, I'm enjoying this trend.

I wish I had the nerve to dye my hair lavender. I recently switched to a dark auburn red color and am enjoying the change. But its not a color that's particularly head-turning and could conceivably be a natural one - if not on my than on someone else.

It all reminds me of the years my eldest son was in high school and his hair color would change rather regularly. My favorite color was a bright orange - we allowed him to make it any color he wanted as long as he kept it neat. The orange was pretty wild - a nice color but one that certainly turned heads when he walked in a room.

I remember when we made a family trip to Williamsburg, Virginia during that time and it was actually very convenient because I could always find him in a crowd. He's a tall guy and that bright orange hair was very easy to spot above all the others as people walked down the street.

Well - like I said - I'd do it in an instant if I weren't so old. At my age, lavender hair has a whole different significance.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Weather

Oh my gosh. I don't know about anyone else but I think we had the best stretch of weather last week that we've ever had in my memory. Ever.

Every day was sunny, warm, and comfortable. Every night was cool and quiet. If I could find a place like this where the weather was always so glorious I might actually consider moving. Of course that's a safe thing to say because no such place exists. But I can still dream.

I am loving October this year, just the way I do every year. It is by far my favorite month of the year and I am reminded every autumn of the truth of it. I love the weather, I love the colors, I love the atmosphere, and I love the stress level. The holidays are coming so there are fun things to look forward to, but there is no hurry to get anything done quite yet. Ahhhh.....I love October.

In another week I'll visit the local farm stand and get some pretty multi-colored gourds and pumpkins to decorate around my house with. I can't put anything outside anymore because the deer have discovered they enjoy eating pumpkins. But I can pile them on my tables and strategically set them out to show the best of the season.

Yes - it's still early in October - and I'm going to enjoy every day of it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bedtimes

When I was young I used to wish I could go to bed later. Whatever my assigned bedtime was, I always argued with my parents over it. Why couldn't I stay up until 11 when all the best television shows started at 10?

When I was old enough to be away from home and live with friends we often went out on Saturday nights and didn't get home until 2 or 3 in the morning. And I would still get up at 8am to get to church in time. Boy those were the days.

Now it seems as though anything after 9pm is way too late for me to go to bed. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Celebrating

Today is my husband's birthday. Most people dread their birthdays but for me, with my perspective, they are wonderful days.

In 1995 my husband had a heart attack followed by quadruple by-pass surgery. It was shocking for a 43-year-old to be on death's door, literally, and I had four children at home to think about so the idea of them losing their father at their ages was really terrifying. I knew they needed their dad around and I begged God to spare him. He did and thankfully my husband seems to be the picture of health all these years later.

None of us knows how many birthdays we'll celebrate in our lives. But both my spouse and I know from experience that however many there are they are a gift. We've been at a place in our lives where we wondered if we'd ever see another one - and we've both been lucky enough to see more than one since our medical emergencies. We know what birthdays mean. They mean life.

For him its been almost twenty years - for me only four - but I know I celebrate his birthday in a way that's unique and special. I begin the day with a prayer of thanks - for all these years I didn't know I'd get with him back in 1995. Life is to be celebrated every day. And especially every year.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Blogging

It's been a few years now since I started the process of "blogging". At the time, way back when, it was a new concept and I barely understood what it meant to "blog". But I liked to write and thought it would be a great way to indulge that love I've always had. So I sat down with my husband and started this blog.

Little did I know that it would take on a life of it own! Not only do I have about 400 regular readers, but they come from as far away as China and Russia occasionally, which is a complete puzzlement to me. What could someone in China possibly want to read about that I would write about? My guess is that it has to do with them trying to learn English, but I'm not sure. I can't imagine how the East End of Long Island would interest anyone outside of this area, because I spend a great deal of time talking about this area as opposed to sharing ideas about politics and religion, which may or may not be more interesting to an outsider. But whatever the reason, from around the world they come! Fascinating!

I love to look at the statistics of the readers and learn, for instance, that most people read this blog during the week as opposed to the weekend. The weekend numbers go down, and the Monday numbers rise, which tells me that many readers step away from their computers on the weekend (good for them!) and catch up on Monday morning. It's easy to see how trends and habits can be learned with statistics in this world!

Well sometimes I think I've written enough and sometimes I'm surprised when I realize that someone else is actually reading the things I've written, and that always makes me stop and think about what I've been doing. What have I said, who have I mentioned, and what should I be more careful about in the future?

It's been an interesting exercise. Mostly for me. I feel like an author. My dreams fulfilled.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sea time


"Sea Fever" is one of my favorite poems, learned when I was in the sixth grade class of Mrs. Violet Webb in East Hampton Elementary School (not yet called "John Marshall as he was the principal at the time and still very much with us!). She was a formidable teacher and wonderful woman who taught me so many important life lessons along with the curriculum of the sixth grade! A love of poetry was one of them. Anyway, I love that poem and this morning its running through my head because this afternoon we are heading out onto the water with some friends for an evening sail and dinner on their beautiful 42t. Tartan sailboat.

Today the temperature is supposed to climb near 80 degrees and the evening will be cool and lovely as we head back to Three Mile Harbor to the breakwater by the light of the moon lit sky. So when I leave work I'll meet my husband and we'll head down to Halsey's Marina to jump on board and head over to Cocles Harbor for a dinner on the deck of their wonderful boat. An afternoon/evening with friends on the sea. What could possibly be better than that?


Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Appliances

Last weekend we had to go shopping for appliances. What an ordeal that is.

I don't think there is an easy way to shop for appliances around this end of Long Island. K Mart has them, but good luck getting someone to wait on you there. Lowes and Home Depot sell them but that means a trip to Riverhead. So off to PC Richard we went in Southampton. I never enjoy those trips.

We had four appliances picked out and ready to order within about twenty minutes. One was a floor model, two were in the warehouse, one needed to be ordered. No big deal, right? Well - an hour later we were still sitting there waiting for the salesman to complete our order. Not because he was incompetent - he was very nice and seemed to know his business. But the hoops he had to jump through for their computer program was ridiculous. He was entering numbers like a crazy man. He was asking for a phone number so the address would be pulled up, which it was, and that made me think this was going to be a piece of cake but no deal. It took forever....

Now I have no idea what is so complicated about placing an order for appliances and I would be willing to bet that before computers it would have taken all of about ten minutes to write up that order. Even the salesman kept apologizing for how long it was taking.

And here we were told how much simpler our lives would be with computer technology.....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Food

The mere mention of chili yesterday made me ponder all the food I crave at this time of the year. I love cold weather meals where comfort foods abound and the kitchen smells divine all day lone.

Of course, I rarely cook anymore - I did my time cooking for six for over thirty years - but every so often I do get inspired and buy all the fixings for some autumnal feast. I already promised the family that if we all go apple picking I volunteer to make the pies.

So here are the things I'm thinking about: chili, soups of all sorts (especially chicken), roasts (especially pork), macaroni and cheese, stews, chicken a la king (a family favorite), lasagna, and lots of baked goods. No doubt there will be more that come to mind as I flip though the autumn magazines. Corn bread.....biscuits....roast beef and gravy....