Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Seriously?

The last day of September? Are you kidding me? How did that happen?


It seems as though we were just talking about Labor Day and now here we are four weeks later, thinking about Columbus Day weekend and Halloween and I am wondering how time seems to pick up speed when we get older. Wow - a month gone just like that. Is it any wonder the Bible says life is a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow? It's the perfect illustration.

Well September was a lovely month and I loved it. Save fore a few very humid days early on, it was comfortable and perfect for me. And October is usually the same so there are good things head. If we can get through this coming month with no hurricanes we will rejoice in another year without a storm and then it will be all about the holidays. We're taking a trip at the end of October so I know these next weeks are going to fly by. Nothing like the details of a trip to take up both your time and your mental capacity so I know I need to get things in order.

Life is good right now in our household. We're having a good run and I hope it holds for while, at least. I'm enjoying it too much to let it go too soon. Bring on October - I will enjoy every minute of it.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mondays

Mondays are my days with "the girls". I babysit for my granddaughters that live in East Hampton -
the two-year-old twins starting early in the day and then joined by the four-year-old after her pre-school is done in the afternoon. They are cousins and watching them enjoy one another is so much fun.

For so many years of my life I felt tethered to my house. I had four children over the span of ten years which meant for fifteen years I was home nearly every day doing childcare. I enjoyed my years with little ones, but I will confess to many moments of cabin fever and the desire to just jump in the car and take off, as I could before I became a mother. Responsibility becomes oppressive to everyone at times I think, and we remember our care-free days with nostalgia. I think that's why we all paint a rosy glow over memories of childhood - those responsibility-free days of our youth. Fortunately, as adults we learn to recognize the difference between nostalgia and reality and know we are happy where we are, not wishing to really return to the times when we were the most awkward and riddled with issues of self-confidence and doubt. At least most of us do.

Anyway, my Mondays are very reminiscent of those fifteen years where I was home all the time. I cannot put the girls in the car for a drive or even take them for a walk easily as there are two of them and they are toddlers and,,, well you get the picture. So we play together. (Not as easy as it was thirty years ago mind you...getting up off the floor has become an exercise in planning) We color, we build block structures, we eat, and we laugh. And that is what I loved about those years I was home. There is nothing quite as much fun as spending time with kids.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Apples

Apples are one of the pleasures of autumn. Today we're planning a family trip to the local apple orchard to pick a few bushels which we'll being home for putting into apple pies. Tonight will be pie time. I'm not a lover of apple pie, but I do love the process and I adore the aroma of one bubbling in the oven. There is much to look forward to today.

Other pleasures of autumn are the colorful pumpkins and squash everywhere, cornstalks o front porches, and of course the glorious weather. When I was young I used to try to find the most perfect colorful leaf every year and press it between waxed paper in a heavy book. I had quite a collection at one point but I have no idea where they went. Probably in the trash when my mother cleaned house after I left home, and who could blame her? But I wish I still had them so I could recall the times I found them. Each one had a memory attached to it and seeing them would jog those moments in time I'm sure. All kinds of "things" do that for me, from small pieces of paper with quickly jotted notes to silly things like bent paper clips and old dried up flowers. I am a sentimental person by nature and tend to dissolve into waves of nostalgia easily.

Apples cannot be saved though so there's no danger in today's memories being wrapped up in saved treasures. The memories will all be in my head. And my stomach.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Unexpected pleasures

We are anticipating an unexpected pleasure this weekend. Our daughter told us the other day that she and here family were coming for a quick visit. Not much could make me happier.

The last time I saw these five was at the end of July as they left after their long summer visit. So its been close to two months now - and I'm missing them a lot. I miss the hugs and the laughs, but mostly I just miss seeing their faces. The kids grow so fast and the eldest is heading into her teen years, and from one visit to the next I see how she is becoming a young woman. The changes are more apparent when you go for so many weeks between visits, as opposed to those that live here and I see weekly.

Knowing that they're coming will make this day seem interminable. And then make the weekend go by like a blink. And so it goes...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rain

We are getting some much needed rain today - but I'm not sure it will be enough. The ground is so dry and the plants so wanting that it would be nice to gt a steady rain the entire day  not a deluge, but a nice steady rain. So far the sky has not opened up and from the looks of it we may not get more than sprinkles.

Isn't it interesting how nature always reverses itself eventually and that brings another worry - hurricanes. Hopefully we won't get that kind of rain to put things back into balance. The other option may be a lot of snow this winter.

Well the day is dark and chilly and certainly feels damp out there, but so far, no rain. We'll see what the rest of the day brings

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day off

Today I am enjoying a much needed day off. I plan to catch up on a number of things in my life that need a little attention. And I expect to enjoy it immensely.

Life is such that we appreciate it more through the eyes of our experiences. We enjoy a free day more when we've been working hard. We appreciate our health more keenly when we've been unhealthy for a time. We tend to take things for granted until they are not available to us, and we learn through experience that life is good.

Today will be a day of renewal and gratitude for all that I have and all I appreciate so much. And I will savor every moment of it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Late

I'm late today - one of those crazy days in my life!

What a day it has been though. The weather is absolutely perfect for me and I'm loving the energy and life I get from these early days of autumn. The sky is a beautiful shade of blue, the air is crisp and clean, and the only thing we need is some rain to water the plants and grass that are badly in need of it.

I think I could happily live in this climate year round and never regret it. But then again, I would miss the snow, and the the spring flowers, and of course the color of the summer sky and sea...but I do love the temperatures right now -not cold enough to need the heat on and chilly enough to sleep like a baby under my comforter.

Ah yes - the glories of fall. I am soaking it all in...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Saturdays

Last Saturday I was reminded of the fact that my mother mentioned to me once in her later years that Saturdays were her "worst days". Once I knew that I made an effort to spend some time with her on Saturdays, especially as the afternoons stretched into evening and I knew she was alone.

My mother was a busy person. She had many things in her life to keep her busy, and she did not have a whole lot of what we call "down time". But Saturdays were most often days when she had nothing on her calendar, and those were times she felt the loneliness of an elderly person who has lost a long-time spouse. It s a difficult transition in life - I don't think she ever got used to that.

I understand it. Last Saturday we worked together in the morning doing things around the house. Even though we were often working on our own, we were never alone. But he went out on a boating adventure just after noon and I was alone for the afternoon. I confess to feeling a little lonely.

Funny how we only really appreciate our parents' lives when we reach the ages they were and experience the things they did. We suddenly realize how they felt, what their fears and aspirations may have been, and how life treated them in general.

More of that circle of life stuff....

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Waning

I love this time of year when summer days are waning and fall is at our doorstep. I love everything about it, from the weather to the color of the sky to the feeling in the air out here on the East End that we are at last in our element again, after the crazy months of summer when we rarely see a familiar face or get to chat leisurely on the street with someone we know. The frenetic weeks of August are behind us and before us are the glorious holidays.

As we say goodbye to summer I do so knowing it is another year past for me as I also look toward the end of my life. I hope to be here another twenty years or so but I know there are no time lines set before us and once we reach a certain point there is unknown territory ahead. I am prepared for that and I know its true, but there is a sadness as each season leaves simply because it marks the passing of time. Time seems so much more precious as we have less and less of it.

These final days of warm weather remind us that winter is coming. I don't find that sad, but a little melancholy. Simply because each day is a gift and eventually the gifts stop coming. So I've learned to savor each one as it comes. And not waste a single moment of any of them. Rushing headlong into autumn means there is so much to enjoy, and I intend to do just that.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Family

Tomorrow we are attending the baptism of our niece's little girl. I talk a lot about "the circle of life" these days and I hate to sound like an advertisement for "The Lion King" but I think there's good reason for that song to bring tears to the eyes of so many folks when its done on the stage in New York City. The reason is because of the truth of it all and the fact that we see in our own lives how that circle does indeed exist. It is one of the most amazing thing about life.

Now that we are in the most senior generation in our family, with all our parents gone, it becomes more and more apparent that the circle is what affirms us and strengthens us as we witness the future and see what is to come. I've often wished I could visit my great and great-great grandparents to see what their lives were like and also talk to them about their hopes and dreams. I think that is part of the fascination I have with ancestry and generations past. Could they ever imagine my life? I doubt it.

But then again, I can see a glimpse of my descendants now as I sit in a pew and watch my niece's baby baptized, or go to a school function and see my grandchildren perform. It truly is a circle, this life of ours. And a blessing in both directions.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sprinklers

We are thinking about putting an irrigation system at our house. This is big.

For many years my parents, who lived right next door to us, had a sprinkler system in their yard. Their lawn was always lush and beautiful and my father loved to make comments about our browning grass as the temperate days of June became the hot days of August. When we planted a new bush or tree we had to lug the hose out to water every day, hoping to give it the right start.

Recently we've been trying to create more landscaping as the property next door is going to be developed and we are looking at years of construction noise and visual pollution to come. We hope that we can build up a nice green barrier to all that stuff and I once again was told by a landscaper "You know, you really need irrigation here". She is right, of course. It would make our lives simpler and certainly assist with the job of getting plants established.

So, we actually got a price from someone this week to install irrigation. And it looks like we may very well be moving in that direction.

If only my father could see this....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

More mornings

Tuesday mornings I drive to Southampton every week to volunteer at the hospital and I enjoy watching the seasons change on those morning dries. Because I lea the house at 7am I go from the bright sunshine in August to the dark of January through the year, and this past Tuesday I noticed how pretty the light was as we move through this transitional time.

The sun comes up behind me as I drive west, and I could see it's reflection in the back of the car in front of me. The light was beautiful as it was filtered through the trees, fully illuminating everything in front of me but leaving things in shadow behind me. The colors are different early in the day - and everything looks fresh ad clean.

I know in only a few short months I'll be making the trip in the dark on Tuesday mornings But right now I am enjoying the beautiful light and as I drive myself down Montauk Highway I just enjoy the trip. And that's what life is all about, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Walking

I finally found someone to walk with again and we've been leaving about 6am for an hour walk o the days we are both available And once again I am enjoying the early morning beauty around us.

This morning we probably a dozen deer, some very young ones. As the sun came up we saw the tops of the trees and the shaft of light beaming through branches and leaves on the eastern side. Heading down Pondview Lane we could sell the pond as we reached the Egypt Lane end, and enjoyed using the roads with little interruption from passing cars. It truly is one of the best times of the day.

I look forward to the cooler days to come, to peeling off layers as we walk and watching the leave change with the season. I do love the fall, and walking in the early morning is the perfect way to enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two

Our twin granddaughters turned two this past weekend and it give me the opportunity to again wax on about my love of two-year-olds. There is something magical about the years between two and five, when the world is one big mystery for discovering, and brains are just waiting to soak up everything they can see, smell, taste, experience around them. It's a wonderful time in life!

I wish I could remember anything from those ages, but I can't. I can however observe and after four children. lots of nieces and nephews, and now ten grandchildren, I still am in love with this age of discovery. I love hearing them use new words, and I love seeing the magical look on their faces when they suddenly figure something out for the first time. There is wonder in their eyes and curiosity in their heads as they literally careen around the world, feet often moving faster than the rest of their bodies can keep up with. They find joy in the smallest things, and comfort in strong arms and hugs. They still love to cuddle on your lap and read a story, but are happy to run away when the spirit moves them. Like I said, a magical time.

After these girls move beyond these wonderful few years we'll have only one more grandchild to experience it with, we think. Of course that could change! But if not we have been able to once again observe one of God's miracles from front row seats, and for that I'm very grateful.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cool winds

The weekend brought some cool winds with it and morning hours were cold enough that I went around closing the windows in the house. These are the difficult days to dress for because it is chilly early but warms up later in the day. I sweater is needed, only to be discarded later on as the sun warms the world around us.

It's a busy time in the yards right now with people getting things ready for the colder months ahead. we're talking about putting in an irrigation system - something I didn't think we would ever do - but now that my daughter is having the lawn mown by professionals for us, there's no need not to have it lush and lovely. With a new housing development going in next door we want to add to the buffer between our house and the neighboring ones, so it makes sense to give our investment the best possible chance at survival. We'll see what the estimates come in at.

A friend is getting rid of some mature landscaping, which is a wonderful opportunity for us to get some. That, along with a sprinkler system might help a lot in the coming years to deaden the ever increasing traffic noise in our neighborhood. Lush and green surroundings do seem, to make for good neighbors....

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Baptism

Our youngest grandchild is going to be baptized this morning.

I am in awe when I stop and think about the fact that I have ten grandchildren. And I am humbled by the fact that the eldest is in her 13th year on earth. How does that happen? How can we be sitting at home rocking our own babies to sleep one day and the next, watching our grandchildren play in our yard, of be baptized in the church? It is such a mystery to me.

We do our best to stop time by photographing every moment of it, don't we? and we hope that the memories will comfort us as we get old. But the fact of the matter is our best memories, and the ones that are so crisp and fresh in our minds, are the ones we treasured as we made them, savoring each precius moment, never to be forgotten, I'm so glad I knew even way back then how important those fleeting years were.

Today our youngest grandchild will be baptized

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Long sleeves

I find myself rummaging through my drawers for long-sleeved shirts lately. It's that time of the year when the sweaters come out and the linen shirts and tee shirts just don't cut it anymore.

Mornings are especially cool and comfortable. I like this weather so I'm a happy camper. In fact, I get somewhat annoyed when I dress for the early temperatures and have to begin stripping off layers by late morning. I like my sweaters and lightweight jackets! I want them on all day. There is something comforting about wrapping my arms around myself, all cozy in a nice sweater, curling into the comfort of fall.

It will be only weeks until the sweaters will be left on all day, and weeks after that when they'll be replaced by wool and other warm weather fabrics. As week goes into week and month into month, the seasons progress to remind us of how fleeting life truly is. Don't close your eyes for a moment or a month will have passed! When did summer end, anyway?

Life is a roller coaster and an hourglass. We hang on tightly for the ride until it begins to slow down to an eventual stop and then we want to do it all again, despite our terror as we mounted each  high point. And then we climb off that ride and see the hourglass, sand quickly passing through to the bottom and leaving less and less on top. At my age we see it for what it is: soon to run out. Yes, I'd take that ride again, terror and all....

Friday, September 12, 2014

Remembrance

Yesterday was the anniversary of 9-11 and of course the television was full of all the ceremonies and events that commemorated that awful day. One woman I saw interviewed expressed the fear that memories will fade and wanted to make sure that no one ever forgets.

But I think her feelings echo those of generations of people who came before us. Just imagine the horrible time following the Civil War. Or in my grandparents day, WWI. For every war that we have ever fought, throughout history, people have wanted to make sure their sacrifice, their pain, and their suffering is never forgotten. That's why we are reminded not to forget on certain dates every year: Pearl Harbor Day; Memorial Day; D Day; etc. Those who lived through the horror, who lost loved ones, who gave the ultimate sacrifice of loved ones, desperately want the validation so necessary for us to go forward, to live life, and to share our pain.

Sadly, with time we do forget. Oh, we may always mark the day and we may always take the time to memorialize a time that was terrible in our history. But we do not, and cannot, have the passion that those who lived through it did. And that is the blessing. Otherwise we could not bear the weight of it all.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Energy

The energy has changed out here. As I drove from Southampton to Sag Harbor on Tuesday morning I could feel a definite change in the feel of the air and even when I was volunteering at the hospital I could feel it. Like a curtain being lowered or raised, everything feel and looks different. Autumn is here and our little corner of the world is back to normal again.

I love the East End in the autumn. I love the color of the sky and the farm stands and the "energy" that is palpable. The kids are back at school our schedules have settled into some sort of normalcy. and life feels right again. There is something about summer that is just "different". Like stepping out of time for a couple crazy months. And ow, we've returned to where we belong.

Already the air is cool at night and we close the windows while watching TV but open the wide for sleeping. Life is good in September.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Autumn bliss

I think the heat and humidity has finally left us for this year and I am happily enjoying my favorite weather - autumn. Already the air feels better, crisper and lighter without that oppressive humidity, and the sky is a beautiful shade of blue. As the sun changes angles you can see the subtle changes to the color spectrum and the color of the fall is my favorite.

I am looking forward to the cool days ahead. I will be getting my warm sweaters out and looking forward to comfortable nights of sleep. And I love the colors of fall as well. I don't mourn the end of summer other than to be sad that time goes so quickly!

Well its all ahead of us right now and for me at least, its something to look forward to.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Low week

I've been working in church offices for nearly 10 years now on and off and one of the terms they use is "low" and "high" Sundays. A "high" Sunday would be Christmas or Easter and a "low" Sunday would be the weeks following those high ones. The meaning was ecclesiastical but what it means to me is fewer people in attendance (fewer bulletins to print" and less pomp ad circumstance, i.e. easier days.

So I think of this week as a low week in my life. Summer has ended and the big event that we worked so hard on these past months is over as of this past weekend, so I am taking it easy and letting myself rest for a few days.

I am grateful for a low week. And I look forward to time to regenerate and recharge my batteries. I am not making any plans. I am doing the work I need to do and just enough around y house to get by. Other than that I can be found in my house, or on my deck, just soaking up the autumn weather.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Exhaustion

Saturday night I knew what exhaustion was all about. After all the planing and leg-work, after all the set-up and preparation, after the hours spent on my feet greeting friends and neighbors, collection money, and cleaning up, I came home from our fundraiser and was in ed by 9:00. And then I slept for nine hours.

Sometimes it feels good to be exhausted though and for sure after working on something positive and seeing great results for all the work, it was well worth the feeling. Now with this event in the past, I am feeling relaxed and pleased, and comforted to live in a community with the kind of people who willingly give of their time and efforts to plan such an event, as well as those who come to support it with their money and their presence. And this week will be a time of relaxation and I plan to do something nice for myself. Maybe lunch at the beach. Or a shopping trip. We'll see what develops. And enjoy the afterglow.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

More community

Last night I experienced yet another example of community at its best. It was the "Real Men Wear Pink" party that was launched three years ago by an amazing group of women who volunteered to help me throw something together. And boy did they ever!

We had an amazing silent auction and a great raffle and about 170 people come to the Maidstone Tennis House to support our local cancer charities. It was a great party.

The thing that so many people said to me as they left was "It was so nice to see so many friends here and enjoy a beautiful night at the end of the summer with them! And it was. Most faces I knew and many were dear friends. So

many smiling faces. And when the party was supposed to end (7:30) nobody seemed interested in leaving. In fact, at 8:00 there was still a crowd that the employees were working around as they broke down the tables and chairs. A sure sign of a great event - nobody wanted to go home!

I am blessed to live in a place that cares enough about the friends and neighbors living around them to come to a party ans spend a lot of money to support them in their time of need. In addition to the local breast center, this party supports charities that help with transportation, cleaning services, and end-of-life care and comfort for people dealing with cancer.

We are indeed a wonderful community.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Community

Today I am reminded what a great community this is.

Three years ago I decided to do a fundraising event for local cancer charities. With a handful of friends who wanted to help, we put together a fun event and welcomed about 100 people. Local business people generously gave for our silent auction and raffle and we raised $24,000 for our charities.

Last year we moved to another venue, worked harder, and managed to give away just about $30,000 from our event.

This year, with a larger committee and an awesome auction and raffle, we hope to have closer to 200 in attendance and we want to give over $30,000 to our charities and I think we'll make it with no problem. Ticket sales are brisk and people seem excited to be coming. Hopefully is will soon be the event everyone wants to be at because knowing that all money stays in our community is a powerful motivator. And this year as we prepare for tonight's party I am reminded once again that this place we call home is a generous, caring place. It's one of the things I love about living here.

Friday, September 5, 2014

September?

This week has been a hot one and I found myself looking around in amazement more than once and saying "This is September?"  After a mild and lovely summer we found ourselves in heat ad humidity that was more fitting in August and I was disappointed not to be enjoying the cooler days of a normal September.

Well  know it won't last and the crisp days of autumn at fast approaching. I welcome them and I hope to have a day for apple picking and pie baking soon. And I think that will be quickly followed by decorating with pumpkins and corn stalks. This is my favorite time of the year for sure.

Now if this humidity will just depart I'll be very very happy!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

School days

The official "back-to-school" week always stirs memories for me. I think about all my "first days" of school, from kindergarten to adult classes, always with the mix of anxiety and excitement with anticipation and self-awareness. Will I make new friend? Will people like me? Will I like the teacher? Will I do well? Am I smart enough, good enough, cute enough? From the very beginning we think about how we'll be perceived and accepted. There is stress and there is fear, but there is also joy and great fun.

I relived those years when my own children went off to school ever year, always keeping a smile on my face despite hating to leave them behind after having them all to myself for an entire summer. I worried about whether their teachers would like them, and whether thy were smart enough and would make friends, etc. How life does circle back on itself!

Now I look at the photos my children post of my grand kids heading off to their first days of school every year and I no longer worry about how they will do. I simply look at those beautiful little faces and think about what miracles they are and how lucky I am to have them in my life. And I know they'll be fine and they'll do well and that life will be good for them.

Ah the benefits of age.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lazy day

Well I'm late today. I actually stayed in bed until 7:30. Unheard of!

Last night was a "squad night" which meant I was on ambulance duty, so an alarm at 1:20 in the morning meant a not-so-great-night in terms of quality sleep. So I took full advantage of this day when I wasn't working and had no early commitments to just be lazy. and it felt good.

So I stayed in bed, I rose like a lady of leisure, taking a long bath and shampooing my hair. I ate breakfast and then headed out for my morning duties. I had tickets to sell for our fundraiser this weekend and I had to pock up a prescription, stop in Village Hall to catch up on business there, and stop at CVS for some supplies. I haven't yet gotten to IGA but I will before the day in done. This is like a mini-vacation for me. And it is mini for sure because tomorrow it will be over! Tomorrow I have village meetings and Friday I go in to work early - Saturday is our fundraiser so there will be work to do setting up and getting ready....well...you now the routine. Life. It's all life.

And life is good. Especially when you get to stay in bed until 7:30am.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to it

Now suddenly life seems normal again. Summer is over and school begins and we feel as though our schedules are set now and we are back to it.


Funny how our lives mentally revolve around school forever. Perhaps that isn't true for everyone, but for me, who was in school myself for so long, and then had children following the school calendar for over twenty years, my life has become totally about September to June. Other people may think of January as their new beginning, but for me, its all about September.

So on this day, this second day in September and the day before school starts, I am immersed in the idea that this is a new beginning. I am cleaning out the closets both mentally and physically. I'm organizing my files and making y life a bit more calm as I settle into my normal schedule. And there is something very comforting about that.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sleeping in

This is our third day in a row being able to "sleep in". For us, that means staying in bed until about 7am.

I remember the days of my youth when I could easily stay in bed until 10 in the morning. My mother would be amazed that we were still in bed so late on Saturday mornings.But it was easy to do back then and I suppose I needed the sleep.

Life changed once the children came along, not to mention real life with jobs and other obligations. Suddenly sleeping in wasn't quite as easy as it used to be. After all, jobs mean responsibility and children need to eat, no matter how tired we are. After so many years of getting out of bed early to get our kids off to school and feed babies, well we have not been in bed after maybe 7:30 in a very long time.

I don't mind though. Although I'm sorry to miss some of the nighttime fun, and there is plenty of that, I prefer being up for the early morning. There is something so refreshing and invigorating about the morning light and the cool clean air first thing in the morning - not to mention the blessed quiet that is all too rare living here in the village. I find I get a lot done between 7 and 9 in the morning, and my energy level is usually great. So although I used to call myself a night person, I am definitely a morning person now.

So - for three days we sleep in until 7. And enjoy the decadence of it all.