Monday, March 31, 2014

Light!

The late day light is throwing me off a bit these weeks. I find myself sitting on m computer mindlessly checking emails and facebook messages, or writing a blog, and suddenly realize its 6:30 and I need to be somewhere for a meeting, or choir rehearsal, or whatever at 7:00. Here I thought it was about 5:00! It's not easy to adjust to the change.

We are never quick to adjust to changes in life I suppose. We like our habits and we live lives of repetition and comfortable sameness. We eat about the same time every day, we wake up and go to sleep on a pretty regular schedule, and we buy our groceries and gasoline at the same places every week. We like our routines.

The whole time change thing is difficult to adjust to every fall and every spring because instead of a change of a few minutes every day we suddenly have to change both body and mind in a single day. And for me it just doesn't happen quite that fast!

And lately I've bee having a hard time getting to my evening events on time. I may need to start setting an alarm clock.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Traditions

I spent some time at the funeral home last week and at the same time I was working on a lecture for the local historical society. The lecture involved readings from the diaries of a woman who lived on Main Street in East Hampton during most of the nineteenth century. And she talks about the funeral for her friend and how crowded all the rooms of the house were.

I was reminded of how differently we deal with death today. We have depersonalized it as much as possible by taking it out of the home and putting it in to funeral homes. For so many years in history, loved ones were laid out in their beds, in our homes, and friends visited and then gathered to celebrate their lives and grieve together in familiar surroundings. They were never left alone until the time their bodies were put into the ground.

So why did this change? Why do we now send them off to special places to be processed and viewed and kept until burial? Is it because our homes are smaller now? Is it because somewhere along the line it was decided to be too hard to "entertain" and sit with the deceased for so many days? I want to find out. I am on a mission to discover how our society changed in this way.

I'm not sure the way we do things now is better than it used to be. It may be easier to have others do all the work. But I'm not sure it helps with the grieving process.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Village life

I am lately having a love-hate relationship with village life. I have always enjoyed being close to everything, being able to walk to the movie theater or grocery store, or get right to the main roads when it snows. And having no problem parking in the middle of the summer is among the advantages we enjoy. But the past few years have brought village life to a different place and its not as enjoyable as it used to be. Noise, traffic, and general hustle and bustle are beginning to take a toll.

Both my husband and I grew up in the village so its what we're used to. For others no place is quite like the quiet of the woods, I know. But living in the village is a far cry today from what it was when we were small. We used to be able to ride our bikes on Montauk Highway and walk to school, something not terribly safe to do anymore I dare say. And my mother never worried about us paying outside as traffic was sparse and we were safe. Even by the time my children were small I needed to keep a pretty close eye on them when they were in the yard and now, when the grandchildren are here, I want them in sight at all times. The traffic is nearly unbearable. It seems as though every siren-wailing emergency vehicle of any sort passes by our front door and in the summer its nearly non-stop.

I'm not sure I'd be happy living in the woods, but it might be nice to have a retreat there. I wouldn't mid spending my weekends - or even July and August - some place outside of the village. Ah well...not likely to ever happen - but one can dream!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring?

I know the calendar says its Spring but it certainly doesn't feel like it yet. With cold air and bitter winds this week it could just as easily be January 1st as the end of March - but I sense we are on the cusp of change now and April is in sight. We are all ready for change right now.

As I've said before, I love the seasons, and as far as I can tell there is no perfect place to live in terms of weather, although Hawaii seems to be about as close to paradise as possible. Even there it can be too hot but the trade winds make it more tolerable than some similar climes. No - I'm happy to watch the seasons change right here in East Hampton. And the time has come now.

We're used to late Spring here on the East End, with being stuck out in the Atlantic the way we are. It seems to take longer to see the azaleas in bloom but when they do perhaps we enjoy them more, I don't know. I do love spending time at my daughter's in Pennsylvania every spring because I often get to appreciate things like the short lived lilacs both there and then here, thus extending the season nicely. There is something especially enchanting about the Spring with sights and smells unique to the time: newly mown grass, lilacs, hyacinths, and lilies of the valley to name a few. They are short lived but glorious.

Yes, we are ready for Spring. Now if only it would appear....

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Working

I have to say working at a paying job that has regular working hours makes me feel more productive as a member of society. And that sort of goes against everything I believe. Go figure!

I spent 15 years at home raising four children. I totally believe that those years were among my most productive and fulfilling. I worked. HARD. I cooked a big meal every night, I kept the house as clean as I could with a houseful of kids, I volunteered as a class mother, I held administrative positions in PTAs, doing paperwork and keeping track of finances and all that goes with that. I also sewed clothes for the kids and made gifts for others - like I said - I worked HARD! And I always thought there was great value in that.

After the kids were all in school I went back to work, taking various jobs that required little in the way of skills but bringing home a paycheck.

Then I was elected to public office. I enjoyed doing something new, something that I thought had value, and bringing home a small paycheck without having too many required hours was a bonus. By that I mean my hours were flexible. I put in plenty of them but never know from week to week when I would be attending meetings or going in to check my mail and talk to other board members-or members of the public. So I work hard at that job too

But last summer I took another part time job where I am required to put in a certain number of hours every week in return for my paycheck. And I have to say there is something every concrete about the feeling that I am doing something worth being paid for. I mean the expectation of being a certain place at a certain time, always being on time, being dependable and responsible all tied in there loosely...well I haven't quite figured it out yet but I'm working on it. Because I've always tried hard to put in the time to make sure I'm giving my all to every job I've had.  So I wonder what role society plays in my feelings of self worth. Is it society's expectations? I mean, the question "What do you do?" is like a constant thing. I struggled with the answer to that for so many years! Now its an easy answer. I always felt as though I worked hard and did important work but I was never sure anyone else thought that. But why should I care? I don't know. Interesting though.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Frozen

I finally watched the movie "Frozen" this week with my four-year-old granddaughter. I must say she is a bit obsessed with it! I enjoyed seeing it after hearing so much about it and of course, watching it with her was especially fun. She knows it nearly by heart and sings along with the songs, making it an especially fun experience. Nothing like a four-year-old singing at the top of her lungs with the joy and un-selfconciousness that only a child can exhibit. Its a wonderful thing to be able to sing like no one hears you and dance with abandon! When is it exactly that we lose that zest for life anyway?

Well one of the things I enjoyed the most about watching this movie was the clear references to the setting in a Nordic country. Although never mentioned, it had Norway written all over it! I spent three months in Norway back in 1970 and the clothes, the fjords, the stave church - all were clearly in Norway.   Even the decorations of the sled and buildings were examples of traditional rosemaling.

I enjoyed my short visit to Norway and I guess until I can afford to make the trip back there in person, that little visit in my mind will have to do. It's an incredibly beautiful country, full of friendly, strong people. I can't wait to see it in person once again!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Friends

I lost a very dear friend this past week. It was very sudden and unexpected and therefore traumatizing and I have been grieving as though for a family member. And that has made me reflect on the people that habitate our lives.

There are our families - the core of our existence. We have our birth families, whom we don't choose, but are usually those near and dear to us. We don't always agree with the, we aren't even always much like them, but we love them for our shared histories and memories. And for the people we know they are that sometimes no one else knows about. We know where they started and how far they've come. Watching the baby of the family become an amazing adult is a wonderful thing!

Then there is our closest circle of friends. They are the ones who hold us accountable, the ones we call when tragedy strikes or we just need a shoulder to cry on. They are the ones who we connect with on a soul level, who are often more like us than our siblings are.

That's the kind of person I lost a few days ago. We had been friends since we were teens and we knew each other better than anyone else because we confided in each other more completely and honestly than in anyone else. We knew the good and the bad and we loved each other in spite  of that. It was a relationship like no other.

I am forever going to miss this person but I know enough to be eternally grateful that she was part of my life, even if for too short a time.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Democracy

The best thing about being an elected official is that I get to see democracy in action up close on a regular basis.

The worst thing about being an elected official is I get to see democracy in action up close and personal. The thing is I think perhaps I'd rather be a monarch or dictator - it would be so much simpler! LOL!

Democracy is not easy business. It's complicated and its messy and it can seem chaotic too. But it is truly interesting. And its the only way I'd want to live (unless of course I was the the dictator!) It is tricky, but it is also beautiful. And watching it work, seeing people work it out and make it happen, is wonderful.

It may not be perfect, but it is the best thing out there.

Of course I do love seeing the wardrobe that Princess Kate wears...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sun

The sun is making short appearances and its making everybody happier and more optimistic than they've been in months now. There is something very healing and uplifting about sunshine. It makes us feel warmth and joy and human. It is an amazing tonic for our souls.

Everybody knows I'm not a big fan of the heat and summer is not my favorite season. But I do love the sun - more so in the other seasons than during the hottest time of the year. It even soothes me when I see that bright light bouncing around the yard and through the trees. I think its a natural human reaction to a life-giving source for those of us on earth.

The sun is teasing us a bit right now - brighter and warmer some days than others - but its enough to keep us going.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Age

I've finally decided what the worst thing about growing old is. In a word: grief.

When I was young grief was a rare thing. I lost my grandfather when I was in high school and I loved him very much. But it would be many years before I would lose another grandparent and I was well into my 50s before I lost one of my parents. But since then, it seems as though grief has become a constant visitor and sometimes the ache it causes is unbearable.

At my age I hear of people every day who are suffering physical issues - many fatal. Even the non-fatal ones are frightening and grief-causing as we face the fear of losing someone we love. In my own case I've dealt with cancer and my husband has had two heart attacks so we know about this grief that comes from age.

Now I learn that another dear friend is dying and I am totally unable to come to grips with it. Why do we need to loose good people? Why do terrible people live on and good ones die young? So many questions I have to ask God some day. I am making a long list. And in the meantime I am leaning on Him to get me though the painful times. Because there will be more - many more if I live long enough - to come. I need to spend some time with my grandchildren to bring back the joy...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sleep

This year I seem to be having more trouble than ever adjusting to the time change. I think it may have to do with the fact that I've been getting up early in the mornings and haven't had a chance to catch-up with a little extra seep at all. It's one thing to get up every morning at 6am. It's another when your body thinks its 5am.

Of course maybe it's yet another sign of age that I can't seem to adjust as easily. I'm so tired of hearing doctors say "At your age...." about one thing or another - but in this case it may be true. That's depressing to consider.

It's been two weeks now and its time to get over it I know. Of course I can always just deal with it until November when I get that hour back again. But that would make for a very long summer. Perhaps this weekend I'll sleep in Saturday morning until 8am. I wonder if I can....maybe 7 is a more doable goal.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fruit

Since I've made myself sound like a complete glutton in the last couple of days, talking about sugar and stress eating and all that, I should point out that I do really love some of the fruits that I can buy at certain times of the year. But - they are not all good all the time and that's frustrating.

I think navel oranges are my favorites. There is nothing quite as satisfying and the taste of a juicy orange. They're sweet and have great texture (I am a texture person!) and I absolutely love them. Until they aren't quite in the right season anymore. And at times they just aren't as good as others. I have recently seen them in the grocery stores again and bought them a couple times but at this point they are still a bit mealy and not as tasty as they should be. It's a huge disappointment to bite into a beautiful orange, after going through the effort to peel it and clean it the way I like it (I prefer them completely naked!) and find it to be tasteless or dried out.

My other favorite is the purple seedless grapes. Again, when they're good there is nothing better. The small, sweet variety is amazing. But then those go out of season and we're stuck with big, chewy ones that sometimes taste good and sometimes they don't.

I suppose this is what you'd call a "first world" problem, isn't it? I mean really! Here I am able to walk a few dozen yards to the nearest grocery store and take my pick of any one of dozens of fresh fruits and vegetables. Far too many people in the world don't have that opportunity. I'm embarrassed to even complain.  Mealy oranges indeed!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Leftovers

I was never a big fan of leftovers growing up, and we ate them a lot. Nothing was ever thrown away - no amount was too small to re-use, and my mother was very clever when it came to using them. She would take leftover mashed potatoes, for instance, shape them into patties, and fry them in a little butter in the frying pan. They ere delicious! Added to a meal of hamburgers, or leftovers made into a stew, was pretty common. We were not wealthy people, but we never went hungry, thanks to Mom's clever use of every penny she had.

Now I use leftovers a lot and love them. Of course, the big difference s that I don't cook the initial meal. The leftover I use now come from meals at restaurants. We are lucky enough to be able to eat out every couple weeks and I always bring half my meal home with me. So I use those leftovers for lunch or dinner within the next couple days and I get to enjoy that meal all over again.

So leftovers are now one of my favorite things. I savor the food both in the beginning and then the second time around. Yum! Leftovers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Peeps

It is peep time again. Easter is prime peep time and I am enjoying it immensely. Hooray for peeps!

From the time I was very young I have had an obsession with peeps. They were the best thing in my Easter basket and I savored them, eating every one of them Easter Sunday, then going through the next week eyeing the ones in my brother's basket, wondering if I could get away with stealing one without him knowing it. Because once Easter is over I would not have these delecacies again until Halloween, when the orange pumpkin peeps would appear on the store shelves. It was a long wait from Easter to Halloween.

Now that I'm an adult I don't have to wait for Easter Sunday to enjoy a few peeps and I confess I pickup a box of them every so often when I happen to pas them at the grocery store or CVS. I don't always buy them - I do have some measure of self-control after all - but not a lot. I've indulged a few time already this season.

What's really fun now are the many colors peeps are available in. It used to be they came in basic yellow. Now I can buy both chick-shaped or bunny-shaped peeps in a variety of colors - green, purple, blue, yellow, pin, purple - you name it! I confess I vary y colors - after all variety is the spice of life.

There are only a few weeks left now before the peeps disappear for the summer, not to appear again until Halloween is in sight. Time to make hay while the sun shines.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

I've never really gotten the whole St. Patrick's Day thing. As far as I know there is no Irish blood in these veins and I never knew what corned beef and cabbage was until I married my husband. Or soda bread for that matter. So we didn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day and never really appreciated it so much.


Then about twenty years ago I made friends with someone who was born and raised in Scotland. Well, and England. anyway, we were having lunch together one time around St.Patrick's Day and she was sounding off on how annoying it was that they made such a big deal about it in schools these days. She was remembering one year when her youngest came home and was talking about how he was supposed to wear green the next day because it was St. Patrick's Day and the teacher said that "Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day!"  She promptly declared that "Not in this family they aren't" and went out a bought orange shirts for her three boys to wear to school the next day.

That's my favorite St. Patrick's Day story and I although my friend no longer lives close enough for us to have lunch together, I think of her every year with a smile when Irish eyes are smiling....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sugar

I had a really bad day last week. I learned of a dear friend's illness, I dealt with some issues at work, and I was having a hard time dealing with my emotions and stress. So what did I do? I bought a box of Entemann's donuts and ate nearly the whole box. Brilliant, huh?

One would think that someone like me, who has struggled with weight issues since the beginning of life, would have found better ways to cope with stress by now. After all, there are other coping mechanisms out there! People recommend exercise (a nice long walk maybe?) and yoga for instance. Somehow for me, nothing eases the pain quite the way sugar does.

Which makes me wonder why. I mean, why does exercise work for some people but not others? Why does food seem to do the trick for others? What is it about our physical or emotional make-up that causes these differences?

I know without a shadow of a doubt that some of us are hard-wired to eat when times are tough. It may be a holdover from cave days, I don't know. But there is no way that a long walk will have the same immediate satisfaction that a donut has. Maybe it does for some people but perhaps, just perhaps, we are wired differently. And besides donuts are so much easier...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sleepovers

When I was growing up I did a lot of "sleepovers" at my grandparents' homes. (Three of them actually lived in the same house - my paternal grandmother in the upstairs apartment and my maternal grandparents in the downstairs apartment. So handy!) I would get the urge and call, usually the downstairs grandparents, and ask if I could come over for Friday night. They always agreed and I have many wonderful memories of those times, from my grandmother's molasses cookies when I arrived to my grandfather's popcorn and root beer float snack times later in the evening. I was blessed for sure with wonderful grandparents. I knew they loved me and I knew I was always welcome there.

A few times we've had grandchildren here overnight but not often. It's not that I don't want them here - they are just busy and so are we. When they ask and we can do it they are more than welcome - I adore them all and love having them over. I wish they'd ask more often but I know how busy the family is! Mostly I'd enjoy the one-on-one time with any of them without their siblings.  I think that's a healthy thing for any relationship!

Which brings me to this weekend. We have our three grandsons here while their parents are away. They arrived yesterday and will be here until Sunday afternoon. I've been anticipating this all week and enjoying every minute of it. Well - maybe not every minute - they are three rambunctious boys after all - but its been a lot of fun. They are growing up so fast and I know that before long they'll be grown and gone and all they'll have someday of us is memories. I hope theirs are as fond for them as mine are of my grandparents.

Sleepovers are a great way to spend time with your grandchildren. I've loved them for a long time.

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Bossy"

I am fascinated by the new move to stop people from using the word "bossy" in reference to little girls. Because I was told many times when I was a child that I was too "bossy".

So I've been thinking about this a lot. I think being told I was bossy definitely changed me. I've worked hard at being a "kinder, gentler" adult. I don't think that's a bad thing. But the assertion that we are somehow turning our potential female leadership into lap dogs does resonate with me. I know how reticent I am to sometimes assert myself, or say what I'm thinking because of all those years of being put down for being pushy or authoritative.  And I never heard any little boys being told they were too bossy. Which makes me think there is some validity to the issue.

It seems to me that the best thing we can do for our future generations is to treat boys and girls equally in this area as well as others. Why can't we concentrate more on channeling those leadership qualities? We can teach boys and girls how to weigh their words, to be firm but kind, to stand up for what's right while also keeping in mind the harm we may do with our words. If we can do that, our future leadership will be healthy and the world may be a better place...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Projects

Once again we have embarked on a home improvement project at our house. In some ways it feels as though we've come full circle in our marriage - the last month of our engagement we spent painting and improving the little house we were going to move into. We painted every room (it was a small house), built a kitchen eating counter, and I busied myself sewing curtains for the windows.

When we moved from that house to a larger apartment, again we built new counters, painted rooms, and just made it our own. We moved into this house in October of 1979 and spent the first week demolishing the 1920s kitchen and adjoining dining room. For three months we recreated most of the downstairs. And that was only the beginning. Over the years we have taken every room down to the studs, adding insulation, replacing plaster with sheet rock, removing walls, replacing windows, redoing bathrooms, etc, etc. One of the most difficult thing we ever did was an upstairs bathroom with a cast-iron tub. Not the nice Victorian-era footed tub, mind you - just a small ugly one. Taking that tub apart and getting it downstairs to go to the dump was not a job for the faint of heart. Mind you, I take no personal credit for that job - my husband had some friends to help with that heavy work. But I have done my share over the years.

It used to be just the two of us working together, calling in male friends to assist when the work was too heavy for me to handle. Then when the kids came along it was more he than I doing the work because I was working hard to keep the kids out of his way, no small task in itself. Now once again, its the two of us here, although the grown children can be a tremendous help when needed!

The biggest difference now is our age. We tire more easily and don't have the strength or stamina we used to. So far we've been working together to strip the sun porch and pack everything into boxes so we can create a nice home office. But now that the cabinets have arrived my boys have had to lend a hand as I simply can't lift them the way they can. I'm going to sit back while the cabinets go in and then jump in again to unpack the boxes, putting things in their new places, and helping with the finishing touches. There is paint to be chosen and applied, after all, and we're pretty expert at that by now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Signs

The signs of spring are all around us this week, from the tiny green shoots showing up from the early crocuses to the warmer temperatures we've had this week. But this is the deceitful month, March, and we know there is still winter around to kick up its heels before it makes its exit for the year. When will the snow fly again? I predict at least one more snow event before the season is past - maybe even two.

March has always been an odd month - a bit psychotic, swinging from cold to warm to cold again and teasing us with some beautiful day. The sky  bluing up nicely and I see thee end in sight - or the beginning, depending on which way you look at things. Spring is a wonderful season and I welcome it, as I do every season with open arms. I'm always ready for the change and always happy to see it happening. March is full of anticipation and amazing miracles - all around us nature is bursting with life. It never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grandfathers

This date was my grandfather's birthday. We never celebrated it with him, the way my family celebrates birthdays together now, but I was always aware of it because it was so close to my own. Apparently there were people in the family hoping my birthday would be the same as his, but I came earlier than planned so that didn't happen.

When I was pregnant for my son in 1982 my mother-in-law was praying he would be born on her father's birthday, which was March 9th. My father was hoping he would be born on his father's birthday, March 11th. Fortunately my son was politically adept enough to come on the 10th and not show any preference to either side of the family. That was a huge relief!

I remember going to my grandfather's office on his birthday to with him a happy one. (That was the only place I ever saw him growing up due to odd family dynamics including divorce and remarriage). I didn't know him well - not as well as most children know their grandparents. But in his later years he did live with my parents for a time and I learned on one of those birthdays that his favorite cake was coconut. My mother, being the kind of person she was, learned this fat and made him a beautiful coconut cake for his birthday. Not only did she make the cake from scratch, she grated fresh coconut, choosing not to use the  pre-packaged kind that most of us would have.

Well - she taught me that birthdays were special celebrations of special lives and I try to continue that spirit today. The larger the family gets the trickier that is. But everyone deserves to be celebrated at least once a year.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Boys

Today is my son's birthday, which of course are always days of reflection for me. Today I'm thinking about what a change came into my life when I had a son.

I already had two daughters when I became pregnant for the third time. I was so torn about what I wanted to have next - it would be wonderful to have a son since I didn't have one , but of course I sort of knew what I was doing with baby girls and boys would involve a new learning cure. Little did I know that the infant stage was only the beginning of the changes that boys would bring into my life, because eventually this son had a little brother and there would be two of them.

Boys are very different from girls. That should not be a big surprise, I suppose, but it was. Just as an example: I baked cookies with all my children but he was the first one to turn the spatula into a gun and try shooting me with it. (We never had toy guns in our house - where did he get that idea?)

Of course as my boys grew the differences became even more apparent and they became the men that they are today. So this day, back in 1982, was the beginning of a whole new adventure for me. Viva la difference!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Time

It's amazing to me that we've already changed the clocks for daylight savings time. I seem to remember it was the second or third weekend in April that we used to do that am I right? To be doing it in March is too early for me.

Here's my issue: as long as its light outside I feel as though I need to be productive. There's something about daylight that makes it seem as though I need to be doing anything, from dusting to cleaning toilets - there's always work to be done!

But once night falls and the sun goes down, I feel no guilt at all when I settle in o the sofa with a faux fur blanket, in front of the fireplace. It's nighttime! It's dark outside! It's time to relax and watch a little tv or read a nice book! And knitting is also done in the winter!

But now, with daylight lasting as long as it is, I must do something. Time to do an online la for EMS continuing education, or work on the minutes I need to type up for a meeting. No wasting daylight! Time's a-wasting!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Birthdays

We are celebrating birthdays tonight at my house. There are four family birthdays within a week so we decided to have one celebration for all and we'll gather for dinner and cake and blow out candles.


I remember when I was pregnant with my son I sincerely hoped he would not be born on my birthday. I knew if he was I would forever spend my birthdays working hard, throwing birthday parties for children and baking fancy birthday cakes. Fortunately he was not!

When my granddaughter was born on my birthday four year ago I had none of those fears - after all, her parents are in charge of her parties! And I love having someone to celebrate with. Some day it will be a strong bond between us. I hope I'm able to celebrate many birthdays with this special little lady - I know with her there will be many adventures to come.

Few things give me as much pleasure as celebrating the birthdays of the people I love. I want them know how much those days mean to me! And the bigger the family beoomes,  the more days there are to celebrate Its a wonderful thing....


Friday, March 7, 2014

Cold

The one thing I look forward to in the spring is warmer air. I spend far to much time in the summer and winter trying to dress comfortably. I'm always too hot in the summer and in the winter I bundle up and climb under the blankets to watch television. The perfect temperature seems a bit elusive!

My mother used to say she had a "5 degree comfort zone" and I find myself getting closer and closer to that truth as I age. I am most comfortable when the thermostat is at about 70 degrees, which is rare. Spring and fall, therefore, are my favorite seasons! Our home is never warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer.

I'm sure my mother is smiling down ironically at me now, remembering how I used to make fun of her as she sweated all summer. I should have known better! It seems that all the things we find amusing about our parents eventually come home to roost. I wonder what else is in store.

I'm sorry Mom.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Signs

I passed a planter on the street the other day and noticed something that thrills me every time I see it - little green shoots pushing up through the soil.

I am continually amazed at the renewal of life every spring. Seeing those little green shoots coming up through the soil when it's still so cold and still very much winter seems almost like a promise. It's as though God is saying "I know its winter now, but wait! Spring is coming!" Similar to the promise of Good Friday that says "Its a sad day and we are in mourning - but Easter is coming an then we rejoice!" Somehow spring seems to be a message from God and its one of the reasons I love the seasons. They seem to me to be a mirror of life and each one a glimpse of what's to come.

Soon the crocuses will be popping up through the ground by my back door. And we'll be dreaming of spring. It's nice to look forward to!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Idina Menzel

I'm sure Idina Menzel is rather used to having her name butchered - after all, anyone with a less-than-normal name has it misspelled and mispronounced more often than not, I'm sure. I have certainly seen my share of mispronunciations of my last name since I married my husband. But the incident in the Oscars the other night was a bit disturbing.


First of all, John Travolta is a professional. And its not as thought he had multiple names that he had to remember He had one person to introduce. One person. One name to learn and remember.

Second of all, Idina Menzel has been a huge name on the Broadway stage for a number of years now. It's not like she's a newcomer to the world of theater. All theater goers and I dare say most New Yorkers know who she is.

Third, this is the Oscars for goodness sake! If there is ever a time everyone deserves to have their name pronounced well its at the Oscars - the world stage. Much like the Olympics, where sportscasters work for months to learn all the foreign names well, everyone who is participating in the Oscars ought to know their part!

Not only did he not know her name, he used a name that was not even close to hers. I had no idea what he was even saying.

I always liked John Travolta. I liked him from his Welcome Back Kotter days. I liked him in his movies. And I am still disappointed in him. Come on John, was there really no time in your day to spend a few minutes learning this person's name?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Five

I am five years old today.

Well - not exactly - I was born in 1952 so technically I'm 62 today. But this is the 5th birthday I've been blessed to celebrate since my cancer diagnosis in January of 2009 and at that time I had no idea whether I would ever celebrate another birthday so to me, I'm five today. Five years older than I once thought I would ever be. And I'm so happy to have had those five years.

After my first year I thought back on the past months, on all the things I'd experienced since my diagnosis, and thought how lucky I was to have had those experiences. Now, after five years, I can look back on so many more with gratitude. For instance, in the last five years I have:

Held four brand new grandbabies in my arms.
Celebrated with five couples as they were married.
Spent five Christmases with my family.
Watched my oldest grandchildren become pre-teenagers and get a glimpse of the adults they will become.
Welcomed a number of grand nieces and nephews into the family.
Made some wonderful new friends.
Spent some great hours with old friends.
Taken on a new job.
Seen too many beautiful sunsets, snowstorms, and summer moons setting over the ocean to begin to count.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg. I should have been keeping a diary - but I can go back through my blogs from these years and get a glimpse of the blessings I've known. It doesn't take much to see I am a lucky person. And I don't forget that.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Home

As much as I love being with my family, which means traveling away from home, I also love getting home. I love being back in the routine of things. I love my bed and my couch and I love the feeling of being in my own space.

There is a real pull when you have loved one who live at a distance. We love being with them. We love being  at home. We can't have both. One of those conundrums of life.

Now that I'm home I'll be missing those kids like crazy. I'll be longing to talk to my daughter, and I'll be wanting to play a game with my grandkids. And I'll wish they lived closer to home. But such is life and we manage to make the best of it. After all, nothing makes us happier than seeing our children living happy, fulfilled lives. And if that means we don't get to see them as often as we'd like, well we can live with that.

And home is a great place to be.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

PA

Now that our week in Pennsylvania has come to an end I am reflecting on some of the high points. These are the things I'm remembering:

Driving the kids to school in the snow - one of those snows with big beautiful flakes - and pulling up behind an Amish horse and buggy at a traffic light.

Noticing how each of the kids has changed in subtle ways since we last saw them: this one has grown about an inch and suddenly doesn't look like such a little boy anymore; that one seems more confident and poised; the eldest is suddenly around less - sending more time in her room doing homework and reading. She's not withdrawn - just maturing. Clearly they are growing up when we're not around.

Shopping in a "super" Walmart. Wow - what a store!

Touring Winterthur with the curator emeritus - and learning so much about early American craftsmen.

Looking across an open field toward a barn with double silo, shrouded with snow and appearing like a Christmas card.

Watching my daughter be such a wonderful mother. I am amazed at her grace and her heart.

So many memories. At my age I hold them very close

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Vortex

It seems as though the weather people are trying to do some publi relation on our weather. Who knew the weather reports needed some pumping up? Were ratings lagging? I always assumed weather was one of those things that were perfect just the way they were. We watch because we need to know what to wear, how to travel, and what other implications may be affected by whatever is happening outside.

The latest new trend in weather reporting is the "polar vortex". Why is it I wonder why I've never heard of this phenoenon before this year? Isn't this the same thing that they used to call the "Canadian cold front"? Suddenly that's not good enough anymore? Who made that decision?

Suddenly our weather reports need new terms I guess.