Monday, June 30, 2014

Snacking

I admit it - I'm a snack person. I would rather eat all day long than sit for three big meals every day. So I am a snacker.

So the problem is snacking on healthy food. More often than not snacks are not the most healthy things - donuts, cookies, chips, crackers - the list is endless. And as much as I try to eat a lot of fruit instead, the simplest and easiest things are the ones that are not so good for us.

I am convinced that there is money to be made by someone, somewhere, who can come up with a healthy snack that is easy to grab and go with. I don't want to have to create a salad or make tuna fish - I want to be able to throw something in my lunch bag and head out the door, not spend fifteen minutes making something. Is that too much to ask?

I want to grab a snack when I go from one place to another, often in the car while I'm driving, so I want things that are tasty, healthy, and easy to accomplish.

Where are the inventors when I need them?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Twelve?

Tomorrow my eldest grandchild turns twelve years old. Seriously. How did that happen?

You know we all talk about how quickly our children grow up and leave us but now that I'm a grandparent I am bowled over at how the time is flying by and those babies that we just welcomed to the family are suddenly on the brink of adulthood! Yikes! Not only will she actually be twelve, she looks about 15, which is even worse! She is as tall as I am and a budding beauty and I am beyond amazed. Although I had nothing to do with her upbringing, I'm proud of how lovely she is both inside and out.

Two weeks from now our next oldest also turns twelve and he is as amazing as she is. Both of them will be in the 7th grade in the fall. Wow. Before we know it they'll be graduating from high school.

Years ago I read somewhere that "once you get over the hill you start to pick up speed". How true that is! Time is fleeting and it is definitely going quickly. Way too quickly.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Linen

I have become obsessed with linen in the past few years. I suppose it is an inevitable part of growing older, but the heat and humidity bother me more now that they used to, although I was never a fan. (I have never figured out why people enjoy cooking in the sun at the beach! I like sitting in the shade, where there is a nice breeze when the temperature climbs.) So linen has become my new best friend.

Interestingly enough linen was out of favor for many years - I never remember anyone using it when I was young. My mother didn't like the wrinkles and I suppose that must have been the prevailing thought here in the northeast, because I'm told that down south, where the heat became unbearable in the summer months, linen was ever out of style. There they were referred to as "expensive wrinkles" and linen was considered to be the high end and cotton for the more common folk.

While linen is quite affordable these days and I find myself living in it all summer. It does indeed wrinkle, and by mid-moring I am already crumpled and rumpled, but you know what? I don't care! It's all about comfort at my age....


Friday, June 27, 2014

Motown

I would love to go see the show "Motown" on Broadway.

I think the "Motown sound" has been one of my favorites from the time I was in about junior high school. That was at the height of the era-the early 1960s-when groups like the Supremes, the Rondelles, and the unbeatable Temptations combined their glorious harmonies with the smooth moves and great costumes of the times. As a child who grew up in a barbershop singing family, it was all about harmony for me! (In later years I loved the 5th Dimension, for instance, and Simon and Garfunkel.) I enjoyed singing along with the various parts and watching one of those groups on The Ed Sullivan Show was a real treat. There was nothing better. Even The Beatles, whom I adored, did not completely displace those Motown groups in my heart - or on my record player.

When my youngest son was a toddler, we had a CD of the Temptations greatest hits in our van and played it all the time when the family was on the road. We all sang "My Girl" with special fervor, changing out his name (Tyler) for the "my girl" in every line. I think he was rather disappointed when he grew older and realized the song was not actually about him.

I'm hoping they make the show Motown into a movie because changes are we won't get into NYC to see it in person. I bet the music is amazing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Haze

he haze was pretty heavy yesterday when we drove to Hampton Bays along the south road. The usually blue water was gray, only a few shades darker than the sky, and it was a rather dismal day. We were actually going all the way to Westhampton but wanted to make some stops along the way in Southampton and Hampton Bays, so the old Montauk Highway was a nice way to travel west.

Our weather has been pretty great so far this year - not too hot and lots of sunshine - but yesterday was not a great day. All day it felt as though the air was heavy, ready to pour rain on us. And of course it did overnight. But during the day it was simply dark and damp and unpleasant. But the rain continues this morning and so far at least, the sun has not appeared.

The weekend forecast looks brighter. Something to look forward to.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

No complaints

There are no complaints from me yet about the weather this summer. Although we've had a lot of rain, the humidity has only been here a couple days and for the most part it has been absolutely gorgeous. Sunny, arm days with cool nights and low humidity - now that's a recipe for perfection right there!

The rain is here now though and we need to get through a couple days before the great weather returns, hopefully for the weekend. I have to say this has been one of the nicest Junes I can remember. There has been enough rain to keep the garden flourishing and enough sunshine to make the humans happy. I haven't found much reason not to be happy this month and can only hope that July will be the same. I can only dream of a summer full of weeks like these past ones have been. But hope springs eternal and I do dare to dream.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hydrangeas

Every year I look forward to the hydrangeas blooming. And I already know this year is going to be a disappointment.

Apparently, all over the northeast the hydrangeas suffered during the extreme cold this past winter. We had so much snow and cold, and then it got warm in March and suddenly became frigid again - well it was a winter for the books for sure. And I'm told that all over the area the hydrangeas were not happy about it. They don't like extreme cold and they don't like extreme weather swings and we had both. So - they look a little sad this year. They are alive, thankfully, but not flourishing. Hopefully next year will be a better one for these, my favorites in the garden.

I'm grateful at least that I wasn't counting on them for a special occasion this year. At least twice we needed a good hydrangea year to make table arrangements for weddings to be held in the back yard. Those free flower arrangements were vital to our budget both times and we would have been in trouble had this happened then! So this year, while I will miss having them, at least nothing hinges on the crop and we'll survive without them.

But a year with few hydrangeas is a sad year indeed...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekends

We have had some really great weekends lately and this past one was no exception. Th weather was exceptional and the family was all here, plus a couple extra relatives visiting from out of state.

Friday night we went to a little league game - the last of the season. It was the an elimination game so of course the kids were sad because they lost and were therefore out of the playoffs, but we had mixed feelings about it. We love watching the grandkids in their sporting and school events, but after enough weeks of something like chilly baseball games, we aren't always sad to see a season come to an end.

Saturday was a mix of things - house cleaning and cooking took up a good deal of the morning. By 11 I went off to attend the grand opening of the new wing on the library, complete with dignitaries and ribbon cutting, and the rest of the family headed to the beach. I enjoyed the festivities despite the hot sun, and came home to an empty house, which I also enjoyed. I leisurely took care of a few things, like turning ground meat into hamburger patties and making flower arrangements, and took some time to sit and relax too. I loved it. The house was quiet and peaceful and it was the perfect way for me to prepare mentally for the whole crew to descend for dinner.

Dinner a simple cook-out with burgers and dogs and fun in the backyard with the kids. I enjoy having a yard and not a pool. I love that there is grass for the kid to run in and no worries for the adults about accidental drownings.

Sunday we entertained friends for brunch and I attended at wedding shower in the afternoon. The entire weekend was one of perfect weather - low humidity and lots of sun. And it went right up on my list of the best ever.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Farm stand

The summer has brought up so many memories of my good friend who died this past March. She spent her summers working at her son's farm stand and I visited her there often.

Because the stand was located in Wainscott I was able to pull in to say hi every time I drove to and from points west of here. I rarely went to Bridgehampton or Southampton without spending some time with her, catching up on every details of each other's lives. When her children were small we sat on her front porch together but as they got older the stand moved farther from the house and I had to bring a beach chair if I wanted to spend any time. We talked about all manner of things, from her sometimes bizarre encounters with customers to whatever it was one of our children were doing of interest at the moment. We went through their college years, engagements, pregnancies, etc, probably sharing far more about their lives than they would have liked, but we knew our secrets were safe with each other. She was one of those rare friends I never had to worry about-everything was safe with her.

I drove the the farm stand for strawberries last week and cried most of the way there. The loss is so great for me and she is the only person I can think if who would understand that.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sum sum summer

It feels like summer now and the calendar agrees.

This week the humidity has returned for the first time. I had to carefully choose my wardrobe every day based on where I would be, whether there would be air conditioning or not, and how much time I might send outside. I got all my linen clothes out in anticipation and I've been using it all, and I have a lot of it. I live in cotton and linen in the summer.

I think air conditioning makes things interesting. In the winter we dress comfortably for the indoor temperatures and throw on a coat when we go outdoors. Somehow that's easier than dressing for the heat and then being prepared for the frigid temperatures of air conditioned buildings. When I head to a restaurant, meeting, or work, I always make sure I have some layers to add if needed because bare arms can be pretty uncomfortable when the temperatures hover around 65 as they do in some rooms. I find I have to spend more time thinking through the wardrobe when I get ready in the morning at this time of the year.

So here we are, just heading into the hottest months - the months that most people have been longing for these past 8 months. Most people...but not me.....

Friday, June 20, 2014

Full house

Our house is full of the sound of children again and it makes me so happy.

I love having kids around. I love almost everything about children, the few exceptions being things like whining and the inability to get themselves places alone. All in all I think they are what makes the world go 'round. The bring us hope for the future, and along with it their quirky way of looking at things. Their worlds are simple: they need shelter, food, and love. And in return they give totally of themselves, freely and easily. Nothing is affirming as a hug from a child, pure and innocent and very dear.

They say that grandchildren are the gift we get for putting up with our children but I think its really more of an extension of the gift we got when our children were born. I can't imagine my life without any of my kids and now that there are grandchildren in the mix I can't imagine life without them.


My only regret is that I now I probably won't live to see of them grow into adults, which is the most satisfying things about watching your children age. I can imagine what they'll be like, but I have't been completely right about how my children would turn out so I have no reason to believe I have a crystal ball to see the future of the grandchildren. I hope to watch at least a few of them become adults and make lives for themselves. That to me would be one of the greatest gifts of all.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Elections

We held an election here in our little village this week. I believe fewer than 50 votes were cast. There was no competition so there wasn't much to motivate people to come out and vote, but still....

I remember when I was in high school during the late 1960s. The big push was to allow 18-year-olds to vote. The country was in probably the most turbulent era in many many years and we were in the midst of the Viet Nam conflict and high school and college aged citizens wanted some voice in the whole thing. The phrase thrown around the most was "old enough to fight, old enough to vote". The year I turned 18, the voting age went from 21 to 18. I remember it well because the Suffolk County Board of Elections came to Town Hall and my high school class went down there en masse to register. It was a celebratory time and we were giddy with the results of all those years of protest marches, sit-ins, and moratoriums. We had won a victory and we were excited about the fact that here in a democratic society it is possible to elicit change.

I have never missed voting in an election since that year. I value the right and don't ever want to take it for granted.

So...even when there is no contest and we are busy in our lives, I mourn the fact that so few people turn out to cast their ballots in a local election. Some would say its a sign that the public is happy with the status quo. I tend to think its more about apathy. And that makes me sad.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peeking in

Last weekend I worked yet another party at a large estate in East Hampton. And once again it was such a treat.

One of the perks of volunteering in this area is the chance to get "behind the hedges" and see some of the most beautiful homes here. There are gorgeous estates with big houses and glorious grounds, many large enough to have a baseball or football game on one part while entertaining friends on another simultaneously. There are spectacular gardens and  beautiful pools, wonderful patios and amazing out buildings. Being able to see them is more than fun, its a privilege, and I love it.

In addition, I get to spend a couple hours in a fantasy world with beautiful people, dressed to the nines and enjoying themselves in a wonderful setting. I can imagine what it would be like to live in this lifestyle, entertaining, socializing, and seeing the stunning vistas that exist behind those big hedges along Ocean Avenue, Lee Avenue, Hither Lane, and Middle Lane to name a few. Less than a mile from my own house and yet a very long way away.

Last weekend it was a perfect night weather-wise and incredibly enjoyable to sit under an umbrella, greeting guests, and relaxing in a setting that was to die for. It doesn't get any better!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heat

Well they are predicting that the heat and humidity will begin arriving today and continue through this week and naturally I'm not happy about it. I've really been enjoying the cool spring we've had and could live in this weather forever with no complaints. While others are waiting for summer to arrive, I'm enjoying the mild temperatures!

But, summer does come and along with it the heat and humidity so I'm bracing myself for it all. The air conditioners are in the bedroom windows and the outdoor furniture is ready to be used every night. July and August would be times I dreaded were it not for the nice long visit from my daughter every year - thankfully she makes it all worthwhile and she love the hot beach days so for that I'm grateful.

This will be the first week of the summer, although the calendar doesn't quite agree yet. But by the weekend it will be official and dates and weather will be completely in sync. I can hardly wait. Ha!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun times

Today my daughter arrives with her children for the net six weeks or so. These next few weeks will be crazy, busy, exciting, and such great fun!

It's difficult to live so far from this family. Early on I determined to stay in touch with the kids through phone calls on a regular basis, but I found that not all children like talking on the phone and its not a great way to interact with children. With young ones you need one-on-one time, making things, baking, going place - the way to bond is to be together, not talk on the phone. So although we occasionally do facetime on the iPad, and I sometimes chat with one of the on the phone, that's not the best way to "be with" them. Nothing quite compares to being there in person. So, we travel to their home as often as we can, which is usually every couple months for a weekend. They come here as often as possible too. But nothing compares to this great chunk of time that we are blessed to see them ever summer.

So for the next month (plus) we'll be eating, playing, shopping, beaching, and just having fun with family. While these out-of-towners are here the rest of the family will make a special effort to be around as uh as possible too. So that means lots and lots of exhausting, exhilarating family time. I can't wait for the to get here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's and sons

Both of my sons are fathers now and I must say its a wonderful thing to watch your children parent. They are very different people, my boys, and very different parents. But when I watch them play with their children and I see the love in their eyes I am gratified to know that my instincts were correct when I thought forty years ago that the man I was in love with would make an amazing father. He did and the proof is in those boys now grown into men.

My daughters also married wonderful guys who are equally good fathers to their children. All four of these men are so different and so unique and yet when it comes to their kids they are all the same: love drives them to be the great parents that they are.

There are so any absent parents out there, and dads that are more involved in their careers than they are their families. It makes me sad to see because I know firsthand how hard it is to be the child of someone who cares more about the money they can make than the love they can give. Roughhousing, cuddling, and playing with my own father were not part of my childhood experience. Mostly I remember him coming home from work, reading the paper, presiding over the dinner table, and leaving again for the night. And it still make me sad because I know what I missed.  I know that as flawed as every man (and woman) may be, when they put their kids at the top of their priority list, the results are amazing.

All I need to do is look at my sons and sons-in-law playing with my grandchildren to know that. They had great dads. And now their children do too.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

School days

A friend recently blogged about how sad it was to see their youngest grandchild graduate from the local elementary school where they live. I immediately began thinking about how interesting it is to go back to the same schools I attended, first with my children and now with my grandchildren. It is always a profound experience.

When I was in the 4th grade they opened the brand new elementary school here in East Hampton. When I was in the 6th grade our beloved principal died of cancer and within a short time the school was named in his honor. So when I go back to see my grandchildren sing in their chorus or play in their band at the John M. Marshall Elementary School, I am flooded with memories. I remember the teacher I had when I was in that very classroom and I think about things that happened in that room. I remember my music lessons in a little room off that stage, and the art projects I loved in that art room. The same thing happens when we go to the Middle School, the same building where I attended grades 7 through 12. Now those were memories! The spaces have not changed all that much in these 50 years and being there to see grandchildren is an amazing life passage.

There is something very special about staying in the same place your entire life. I guess I'm not a very adventurous person because as much as I would love to visit all the wonderful places in the world, I have no desire to live anywhere else. I think nothing would make me happier than watching one of my grandchildren graduate from my own high school alma mater. Hopefully some day I will.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The 13th

Today is Friday the 13th. I'm not sure when the last time this happened was but it happened today and people are buzzing about it.

I'm not a very superstitious person - I believe things happen in life but I don't think they happen because you walked under a ladder or saw a black cat crossing your path. My grandmother used to talk about not stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk. Another grandmother would tell us if we mentioned our hand itched, we were going to come into money, or if something else happened, which I can't remember at the moment, it meant we were going to tell a lie. Really? I think superstitions were a bit more prevalent in earlier generations, perhaps because they didn't have the knowledge that we do now about science and medicine, I don't know. I just don't hear those comments as often now as I did from my elderly relatives when I was young.

I've ever been one to worry about a day like Friday the 13th. I don't think it will even occur to me all day today to think about it. But if I see anything bad happen there will no doubt be people everywhere that will be quick to remind me that it is, after all, Friday the 13th!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Peonies

This has been a rainy week. Not constant rain, but overcast and rain all around if not right on us at any particular moment. We can use the rain. It's great for my flowers, but not so much for the weeds.

I noticed this week that my peony was blooming, which is thrilling. I tried a number of times to grow peonies. And a few years ago, despite the fact that I had swore off trying because it seemed to be a waste of money for me, I could not help myself when I saw a peony farm with the name "Peonies Envy" on the internet. I was so amused by the name that I decided to give it one more try.

When the peony roots came I decided to plant them in three different locations, hoping against hope that one of them would take, and that's exactly what happened. I don't even remember where the other two were planted now, but this one, a beautiful bright, deep pink, suddenly appeared a couple years ago with a single bloom. Now it has taken hold well and is covered with buds. I'm in heaven.

I don't know why I have no luck growing these things but I do love them! They are big and flashy and proud of it and I love that. Like hydrangeas, they always make a statement. Of course to me, the statement is pretty clear: "After all the money you've wasted on peonies over the year you finally succeeded in growing one!" Sigh.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flowers

This is by far the best time of the year in the garden.

Everything is bright green, beautiful bright colors of lavender and pink, yellow and red, and full of life and glory. Each new flower thrills me as it appears and saddens me when it fades and leaves. The weeds have not yet taken over so everything is lush and not choked out by the bad.

As the season progresses the blooms change and the weeds take over and I can't keep up with it all. But right now, in this wonderful month of June, the garden is at its best. And I try to take a moment to stand and look at it every day when I walk out of my back door, taking it all in and setting the image in my mind to recall later when snow covers that same garden and life sleeps beneath it all.

June is amazing. The world of nature awaking and filing the world with wonder

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tony's

I absolutely love watching the Tony Awards every year.

It's not about awards and its not about the show itself. The joy is in seeing live theater. I love watching the musical numbers, seeing the clips from the plays, and even the MC's performances are always magic. There is something about the lie theater that is like nothing else. It gives me chills and it makes me cry. I can laugh one minute and be bereft the next.

Fromm Hugh Jackman to Neil Patrick Harris, to Carole King and Indina Menzel - Sunday night's program was a feast for the eyes and ears and I love it all.

We have some amazingly talented people in this country. And they are talented in that raw, natural way (without the aid of auto-tune and fancy camouflaging aids of all sorts), and many of them are right here in New York City. Others are all around the country in their traveling troupes, or doing community theater as a way to feed their souls.

And every year when I watch the Tony's I remind myself that I really should make more of an effort to get into NYC at least once a year to see some of this amazing stuff in person. Because as good as the Tony Award Show is, it's not "in the flesh" and there is nothing like being in the audience hearing that opening strains of the orchestral overture. Nothing like it anywhere....


Monday, June 9, 2014

Encounter

I had such an unpleasant encounter last week with someone that it haunted me for days, and I'm still disturbed by it. Here's what happened:

I was driving to work but wanted to stop to grab a muffin for my mid-morning snack. It was 7am and I was coming down Cooper Lane toward Newtown Lane and the light turned yellow so I came to a stop. As I sat there at the light suddenly out of the corner of my eye to the right I saw someone waving her arms and I turned to see a woman crossing the street in front of me screaming at me and gesturing with her arms in what I interpreted as "What is the matter with you, you're an idiot!" Immediately I realized that she was upset because I had pulled too far forward causing her to walk out around me to cross the street. I hadn't seen her coming and she was absolutely right, I had pulled out too far, so I immediately mouthed the words "I'm sorry!" and gave her my best shameful face. Obviously she was pretty worked up over my mistake because she continued her rant and gesturing all the way across the street while I repeated my "I'm sorry" a second time. She was clearly unimpressed. I was tempted to roll down the window and say something like "I said I was sorry - you're right - I'm wrong - what more do you want from me?" Of course I was so horrified by the whole thing I didn't, I simply waited for the light to change and slunk through the intersection, vowing to be more aware the next time.

But I drove away wondering what kind of unhappy person she must have been. I mean, was it that big a travesty? I hadn't come close to hurting her or anyone else, I simply was being inconsiderate of someone I didn't even realize was coming down the sidewalk. It's not in my nature to willingly do such a thing - I always hold doors open and wave other people ahead of me when I'm driving, so this really threw me. But at the end of the day i though it sad that someone was not willing to accept another's sincere apology for a simple mistake.  What a terrible way to start a day. I wanted to tell her to chill - because life is too short to get that worked up over such a minor infraction. And the season is too early...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sundays

I'm not sure about other people but for us, Sunday begins with church. It always has in my case. In fact I don't remember ever missing church as a child - ever. Blizzards, hurricanes, you name it, we faced it! My mother believed with all her heart that a couple hours of her time on Sunday was a small gift for God compared to what she had received.  So I guess that rubbed off. Because I'm still hard pressed to miss a Sunday, unless I'm out of town.

The other part of Sunday that has always been part of my life is family. Sunday was always family day. When I was young it meant family dinner after church and then maybe a drive in the family car. Sometimes we drove to Montauk. I remember our first trip on the "new" Montauk Highway. Sometimes we drove to Sag Harbor or all the way into Noyac. We often went down to the water, either Three Mile Harbor or Gardiner's Bay around Louse Point or Promised Land. We learned our local history while we enjoyed the local scenery.

In later years it meant a family gathering at my folks house with all the grandchildren. It meant watching my nieces and nephews grow up and getting to know my siblings as adults instead of teen-agers. I loved those Sunday lunches.

We still try to get together on Sundays but during the summers we tend to take a break. Some go to the beach, others to their decks or on their boats, everyone enjoying the season and being outside for a couple months.

I'm not sure yet what today holds, but after church we'll see....


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Senior II

Speaking of being a senior citizen, am I the only person who is shocked when I see photos of myself?

I remember my mother saying it was hard to look in the mirror sometimes because she "didn't feel any different" than she had when she was twenty, but the mirror told the real story. I totally get it! I think one of the reasons that the mirror hits us so hard is that once we grow to adulthood - let's say into our twenties - we really don't change in our looks significantly until we get to be in our 50s. Then suddenly changes happen rather quickly. But for 30 years or more we've been accustomed to the same face in that mirror and to suddenly be looking at a stranger is shocking.

Now don't get me wrong - I embrace my age. I'm thrilled to be alive and feeling good. But its like a mind trick! When you look in a mirror, or happen to catch sight of yourself in a shop window when you're walking down the street, it startles you. For me, the first reaction is "Oh! Who is that fat old lady there - should I be saying hello? Do I know her?" But within a split second the realization comes that it is indeed me. No longer a twenty-five year old girl but an elderly lady. What happened?

A lot of living for one thing. And plenty of good things to show for it. What's wrong with that?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Senior

I've given in to the whole whole "senior" thing and embraced it. It took me awhile though.

Funny how when we're young we can't wait to be "seniors"! That means being top dogs, graduating from high school, moving on in the world. But when you reach my age it takes on new meaning as we begin being referred to as "senior citizens". It's only in the past year that I've been asked if I am one when I go into certain stores Some sales people are more tactful than others, but the message is the same: I look old.

I don't qualify for senior discounts in many places yet. But at my local grocery store the age is 62 and it means a 10% discount ever Wednesday for those of us who qualify. So for many months if I was there on a Wednesday I would be asked "Do you get the discount?" and I always said no because I'm not one who can lie, thanks to my mother's training on right and wrong. But in March I celebrated my 62nd birthday and since I wondered a few years ago if I would survive my cancer and even reach this age, I embraced it. And now I gladly shop on Wednesdays and take my discount for my weekly groceries.

The word "senior" still isn't particularly exciting to me because I envision elderly, walker-using old folks barely able to get around on their own, and so far at least, that's not me. But I also know that if I'm very lucky, some day it might be....

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Montauk

We had dinner in Montauk Tuesday night and I'm always reminded when I go there what a different place it is. The vibe is different, the weather is different, the look is different - it's like traveling to another world.

Montauk will always have a place in my heart because my great grandmother grew up there in the lighthouse where her father was the keeper for 33 years. Many family stories involved Montauk and the lighthouse so it always feels a bit like going home when I cross the stretch heading east.

But it also feels as foreign as foreign country to me on summer evenings when  we go there for dinner. I feel like a tourist in my own hometown. Its odd and somewhat unsettling for sure.

I like it best in the fall, when the sun is warm and the shops are getting ready to close for the year. The sales are great and the vibe then is laid back and comfortable. It's as though everyone is sitting back enjoying the calm streets and quiet restaurants. That's the Montauk I love.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June

This past weekend we nearly spent an evening out on the deck. It was just a little bit chilly once the sun went down, but it was so close....it was exciting!

Our weather has definitely turned toward the warmer side of things and it's wonderful. Right now the weather is perfect - warm but not hot, sunny but not stifling, and perfect for just abut everything. It's still cool at night and no air conditioning is needed. I could live in this kind of climate all the time if it existed, but I'm not sure it does.

The hot days are coming and I'm not looking forward to them. But now the flowers are blooming, the sun is beautiful, the temperature is ideal, and I am drinking it all in. So far June has been really, really nice. Isn't there some quote about a "day in June"? Anyone? I think there is and I think it fits. Well we're already a few days into it now and these next days will be fleeting. By the end of the month it will be a different story. But this is now and every day is to be savored. And so I am...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blessed breaks

The best thing about June is we get blessedly quiet breaks from the summer crowds during the week. I suppose until the children all get out of school the summer residents don't arrive in full force, ad its clear that weekdays are much quieter than weekends, at least until July.

It's a good rehearsal for the summer. We are learning to change our routines as necessary to survive with the crowds out here. We still have our week days to enjoy, but we're learning to shop early on Saturdays and stay out of the village as much as possible the rest of the day. We know enough not to attempt a stop anywhere that sells food around lunch time and we cannot bear to even think about going out to a restaurant.

Well the busiest of times will be here soon enough so we just need to enjoy those weekdays while we can. I can get to and from work with ease and shop when I need to. And that's worth celebrating.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cooking

I made a lasagna the other day and for some reason whenever I'm in the kitchen I think about my mother. When I prepare a dish I see her hands in mine and I remember sitting at the kitchen counter watching her work. I'm not sure why it is the kitchen I so closely associate with her - I certainly spent plenty of time with her in other places and have many memories of her ironing at the ironing board, hanging laundry on the clothesline, sewing at the sewing machine, and putting on her make-up. But somehow the memories from the kitchen are the most prevalent. Perhaps it has to do with the nurturing nature of food and mealtime, I'm not sure. But I can guess that has something to do with it.

My mother was a good cook and a wonderful baker. I often hear her in my head giving me advice about whatever it is I'm doing, whether its making a pie or icing a cake. And in her later years so often I sat with her while she made ziti or chicken a la king for the family who all arrived on Sunday for lunch that those dishes are especially connected to her.

It's a comforting thing, those memories. In the same way I remember my grandmother baking molasses cookies, these memories connect us from generation to generation and give us a sense of place in the world.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Litter

I am continually amazed at the litter that collects everywhere. Mostly I suppose because I was always taught to throw things in proper containers and knowing that people willingly toss them on the ground without concern for the effect that has on not only our visual sensibilities but nature itself, which often suffers for their carelessness.

Being in Manhattan the other day was eye opening. I saw people toss things on the ground without  second thought and no one said a thing to them. I would hop that wouldn't happen here - hopefully those around the offender would shame them into picking things up. I know once I made a point of picking something up that someone dropped in front of me and taking it over to the trash, giving them a "look" as I did so. They didn't respond but I know they got the point.

Isn't it an amazing thing that we can ignore all social norms and just do what we want? Well, I can't say "we" because I know I can't - but others seem to have o problem with it.

Ah well - the season is here. No doubt we'll see plenty of people who throw trash, ignore receptacles, don't pick up after their dogs,  and just generally ignore the rules that are so obvious when living in a beautiful place like this. Come on people - let's take care of our little piece of paradise, OK?