Thursday, April 30, 2015

April out

Time to say goodbye to April and hello to May.

Rarely do months fly by any faster than this one has. Perhaps it was the crazy weather, of maybe it had to do with my busy April schedule. Regardless of the reason, April is now to be a memory and May is stretching out ahead of us, all open and ready to be enjoyed.

My May will go quickly because I am traveling for a good chunk of it. I am leaving with my daughter and granddaughter to fly to Norway on the 14th so these next couple weeks will be filled with preparation and details. Then when we get home it will be Memorial Day weekend, and poof! May will be another memory. I will be visiting with a dear old friend-an exchange student who lived with my family when I was a junior in high school. We have stayed in contact all these years and visited back and forth a few times, but the last time I was there was over thirty years ago now. Time - again - so fleeting. We are both older and I wonder how she has changed. I know I have. It seems at my age I see changes nearly every day when I look in the mirror.

So I welcome May with nervous anticipation. I look forward to sharing my journey when I get home. I'll be without electronics by choice, and that alone will be worth blogging about!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Forgetful

So I'm not sure whether I'm losing my memory completely or I just don't have much to say these days because I forgot to blog, which has been a habit for quite a few years now. I wonder-and worry-about which it is. Because simply forgetting something is never a big deal when you're young, but when you get to be my age, forgetfulness sets off all kinds of alarms. Old age is a scary thing!

In the same way, every new ache or pain, which probably be brushed off ten years ago as just a pulled muscle or some such thing, suddenly becomes a cause for alarm. Could it be arthritis? Or bursitis? Or worse? Is this the precursor to a knee replacement? Or worse? As my father used to say, aging is not for the faint of heart.

Well, eventually I did remember that I need to post a blog so I assume that means all is not lost. But we'll see what tomorrow brings...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fire

We had a fire on Main Street last week.

Fortunately it's been a long time since we've had a fire in the business district. The last was at the VFW In the 1970s and before that was the Edwards Theater in the early '60s. The restaurant Chez Labbat was destroyed sometime in there too, but I can't remember when exactly.

This fire was in one of our oldest buildings, wood framed and housing a clothing store now but a hardware store when I was growing up. It was in the rear and would never have been discovered early without the fire alarm installed at some point. Had it not been for that, we might have lost a good section of the east side on Main Street. But with modern alarm systems it was caught early and although most of the rear of the building is gone, others were saved.

In prior times it would have been a disaster. As it was, we were lucky. The building, and all those around it, are still with us. A beautiful historic building was preserved. And memories of prior times, when there were no alarm systems, and fire fighting was more difficult business with the simple tools available then, were sparked and shared.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Blink

Yesterday I talked about how quickly our children grow and leave us-in the blink of an eye as the saying goes. My, how true that is.

When you're in the midst of it - the parenting and the discipline, the bath time and stories, the homework and lessons - it seems as though this is "your life", and thus it shall ever be so. It's impossible to imagine any other life. For me, with four children spread over ten years, it was a matter of over thirty years before our children were all grown and out on their own. So now, it still seems odd to me to have such a quiet house.

Of course, when there are children here and I am busy watching them, it's tiring and I do feel my age. Surely this is why children are meant to be born to young parents! But the other side of it is that they bring an incredible energy to the house and I love it when they fill the house again with laughter, noise, and curiosity.

Grandchildren truly are a gift to us and I am so grateful for every one of them. I loved being a mother. And I love being a grandmother too.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sundays

Sundays are certainly different than they used to be.

Just the other day I was telling someone with small children how quickly these years will go. For so many years, our Sunday's were busy days, with afternoons full of games and homework, among other things. It seemed as though those busy days would never end, with four children in the house. And yet,in a link of the eye, here we are....alone.....spending our Sunday's in a quiet house. Yes, Sundays are quite different than they used to be.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Little league

Last night was our first Little League game with the grandsons. And it was freezing there.

I used to think sitting through my son's games was one of the things we did as parents to support our children and make them know they were loved and important. And I endured the freezing cold, windy baseball fields, thinking in a few years my job would be over and they would be grown and gone. What I didn't think about was the possibility that some day I would be lucky enough to have grandsons who were living here, and there would be more little boys looking into the stands and smiling when they see me watching.  

Somehow those faces make the cold less horrific.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My mother's hands

Lately, when I look down at my hands, I see my mother's hands.

Of course as we age we all see our parents, right? In our faces, in the way we walk or talk, in our body types. But there is something especially touching about recognizing my mother's hands. Because when I do it immediately brings back some wonderful memories.


I think about her hands as they held her Bible early every morning when she spent time reading it and praying for her family, friends, church, town, country-so many things on her list! I remember her putting her black gloves on right before she walked out the door in the winter. I think about the way she applied hand cream every time she finished washing up in the kitchen after dinner. And I remember those hands applying her lipstick in front of her mirror after dressing for an evening out.

She had soft, well-manicured, but not pampered hands. They worked hard. But she took care of them. And I try to do the same. And when I glance at my hands, or watch them carefully to make sure I'm getting the hand cream worked into every spot, it makes me smile. I guess that's what they mean when they say your parents are always with you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Breakthrough

Yesterday started out as a dreary, wet day, but turned out beautifully.

It was what I would call a "breakthrough" day as it begins one way but after the breakthrough ends in a completely different one. I drove to Southampton at 7am in fog and rain. It was damp and gray, with a few rumbles of thunder thrown in for effect. When I drove from Southampton to Sag Harbor a few hours later the rain had stopped and it was clear that the sun was attempting a comeback. By early afternoon it was beautiful day-sunny, warm, and boasting blue skies and green grass as only the spring can. It was lovely.

Spring presents us with days like this - contradictory and unpredictable. Fog is a constant as the air and ground meet with divergent temperatures. Mornings are chilly, afternoons warm. Who was it that said "if you don't like the weather, just wait-it will change"? Well whomever it was just might have spent sometime on the East End of Long Island. Because we know it well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hook Pond

One of my favorite scenic views in all of East Hampton is very close to home for me. All I need do to see it is turn left out of my driveway and head south about a mile. Once on to Highway Behind the Pond it doesn't take long to reach the spot where the road passes an entrance directly on to the pond. The road turns sharply to the left here, but the pond in just there on the right, with easy access for ice skating in the winter.

This is my favorite spot. Looking across the pond are some of the most stately homes in the village. On a good day, there might be swans on the pond, and there may be a few golfers walking in the distance. But mostly it's a view of the pond, with all that's included in that, like reeds and phragmites all around the shoreline, and ducks, swans, whatever wildlife is present at the moment, enjoying the scene as much as I. When the sky is a gorgeous blue, with a sprinkling of clouds as white as snow, and the grasses surrounding Hook are bright, healthy green....well....there's nothing prettier anywhere.

I don't know why that scene came to mind this morning, but I suddenly feel the need to go visit it. And lucky for me, it's easy to do.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Baby days

Monday's are busy days for me. I take care of four of my grandchildren who range from 1 to 5 years old, and I'm pretty tired by the end of the day. It's a day I look forward to, and yet I need to brace myself for it.

Today was rainy all day which means the house was dark. The screens were put on the large front windows just last week, which also cuts down on the light coming in, so today, with the dark skies and damp air, was chilly and dreary. The grass is beginning to green up though, and spring is making itself known. It's a welcome sight.

Having the kids here brightened an otherwise dull day, and it was nice not to have a reason not to venture out into the weather.

Mondays are baby days. At the end of this particular one I'm tired. But also counting my blessings.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

East

Today we head east back to Bonac. We came down to southern Pennsylvania late Friday to watch our grandchildren performing in the show "Annie" and now we need to hustle back to East Hampton to get ready for the week. Tomorrow is a babysitting day for me and office day for my spouse. And thus begins an
other long week ahead for both of us. In fact the next month is going to be an incredibly busy one for us. Lots of good stuff, with "lots" being the operative word there.

I cannot resent the busy times because I'm grateful to have them. I never forget how close I came to not being here and I'm grateful for the chances I have to experience the world. But fatigue does set in and my age reveals itself to me more often now than it did a few short years ago. New aches and pains appear on a daily basis and I know my physical being is not what it used to be.

I treasured this short visit to my daughter's and love being with her family. I also love being in my own home, my own bed, surrounded by my own beloved things. Not to mention the people I love in East Hampton. There is a constant pull when one or more of your loved ones live away.

Always it's sad to say goodbye and always it's blessed to say hello. The nature of life.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blessed

Today I'm feeling incredibly blessed to be here. It's been 6 1/2 years since my  cancer diagnosis and today I am able to see two of my grandchildren in theater productions. A third I will see in a dance recital next week.  These are the things that make life special and I don't take any of it for granted.

As I sat watching my 8-year-old granddaughter sing "Tomorrow" at the top of her lungs, I couldn't help but shed a few tears of joy, tempered by sorrow knowing that my dearest friend in the world will be missing these special moments in her grandchildren's lives. It's been one year since she lost her battle with the same disease and I'm not sure why I'm still here and she isn't, but I promise never to be blasé about it and to always say a prayer of thanks that I have been so blessed.

Every day is a gift. Every day is a gift. Every day.....a gift.....I will never forget that.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Clean up

Spring was so late coming this year that suddenly everyone feels the pressure to get things done. Our house needs work, the yard, the paint -so many things to do in a few short weekends before we'll be wanting to be outside. Just today the screens went up on the two front windows, following some very warm days. There is more to do.

The landscapers and other seasonal trades are suffering from the long winter. I was speaking to someone who services cesspools and they said their business is backed up because all winter every job that would normally take an hour took many more. There was snow to shovel and many frozen lids to pry off. The weather effected businesses we don't normally think of. So everyone is behind.

We are off this weekend and thus another opportunity is passed to get ahead. But then, there is always next week. And eventually it will all be done.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pot holders

Reading a friend's blog the other day brought back a memory I hadn't thought of in a very long time.

It was the late 1950s - I would have been in elementary school. I was walking home one day with a friend when they wanted to stop at the Republican Headquarters building on Newtown Lane and grab some freebies. We stopped and the people inside were happy to give us pot holders, pencils, and a handful of "I Like Ike" buttons. We were happy to take these gifts home with us and spread the propaganda around to whomever would take them. Of course we also visited the democratic headquarters, but those gifts were not as warmly received by my parents. I was more than happy to use the pencils though.

The memory reminded me of how times have changed in little East Hampton. Back then there were always empty spots along Main Street and Newtown Lane for the parties to rent space and maintain their headquarters for a few months. That would never happen today.

It's also been a long time since anyone offered me pot holders with candidates names emblazoned on the front. I still have a few from the 1960s in my drawer here, but I haven't seen them in awhile now. Today we get slick flyers in the mail and robo calls at dinner time.

I wish we could go back to the potholder days.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Taxes

So a couple days ago we signed our tax forms. One we owe on and the other we get a refund on so although it's not a wash, it's not too burdensome. And paying taxes always makes me pause.

Everyone likes to complain about taxes. In this country we don't pay as much as others do, and we pay more than some. But although I sometimes question certain taxes, overall I am grateful for what my taxes pay. I'm grateful for roads that help me visit my daughter and her family because without those well-maintained road it would be a more difficult and rarer journey. All I have to do is travel to a third world country and that message is loud and clear.

I'm thankful for clean water, free schools for our children, safe and efficient utilities, snow removal, clean streets and sidewalks, a safe food supply, a strong military to protect us, and all the other things that my taxes provide. Are there things I don't like paying for? Absolutely. But that's the nature of a democratic society.

All things considered, I'll take it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wardrobe

Mentioning wardrobe yesterday made me think about my upcoming trip overseas.

I have not traveled to Europe in over thirty years now and since we'll be gone for 10 days I'm trying to work out the appropriate pieces to pack. Everything will need to be worn more than once so white and khaki are out. I'm going to stick to black basics and try to add colorful accessories. It may not be "Springlike" but it will be practical. I have plenty of underwear and socks and they don't take up much room, but pants and sweaters certain,y do.

The other thing I'm wrestling with is electronics. Should I bother taking my cell? Or a computer? I should have access to one there so maybe I'll simply unplug for the week I'm gone. The last time I traveled like this there were no cells or computers. Life has become easier in some ways and more complicated in others.

I have a few weeks left for planning. It's going to be an interesting inner dialog....

Monday, April 13, 2015

April -finally

It's finally feeling-and looking-like April.

I'm told that everything is weeks behind in nature this year. My mini daffodils are finally fully in bloom so I guess that's true-usually I see them at the end of March. The weather is finally about right-I was able to leave my coat at home once the rain stopped this week.the days are warming up nicely and the nights are still comfortably cool and sleep is easy. These perfect weeks of warm days and cool nights don't last nearly long enough for me. I love them. This week is looking beautiful and we have some lovely days to look forward to.

Time to start evaluating my wardrobe. Woo lens need to be put away and linen needs to be hauled out for cleaning and pressing. Not today, but soon. Summer hits quickly here as Spring is slow to come and short to stay.

And this year could be worse than usual. But for now, I'm just enjoying things as they are.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

More


It's another beautiful day here in East Hampton and the sun is welcome for sure. The entire week to come is looking good and we're more than ready for a nice long stretch of good weather.

The sun has an energizing effect on the soul and as much as enjoy weather changes, I don' t think I'd want to live in Seattle or some other place that has more rain than sun. In some places in the world they practically worship the sunshine when it appears and people find every possible way to sit outside in it. Norway is like that. When we had an exchange student living with us from Norway many years ago I was amused at the way she would rush outside to sit on the patio whenever the sun warmed the air. In her country it was a short and treasured season when summer finally came, and they did not take it for granted. I think of he on days like this one. It's still a bit chilly, but I know she would be doing something outside to take advantage of this day.

I do like the sun. I like the feeling of warmth on my face and the way it makes the world around me glow with the light of it. It's going to be a good week!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Veiled

Yesterday was an interesting weather day on the East End. A fog covered everything all day, creating odd shadowy forms in every direction.

For nearly two years now I've been working at the Old Whalers' Church in Sag Harbor. I go a couple mornings every week to put together their bulletins and sort their mail. I enjoy graphic design so it's a good fit for me. Anyway, yesterday morning I was walking up the long center aisle after dropping the bulletins in the front foyer, and I glanced out the window at the adjoining cemetery. It actually stopped for a few seconds to enjoy the view because the ground has a significant change of elevation from the back to the front and the cemetery is quite hilly. Looking out the old original window with the wavy old glass was like seeing a framed photo of the ancient headstones and monuments on their sloping ground. It made me grateful to live in this place with such a rich history. My mind was swimming as I looked at that sacred ground, wondering about the funerals held and the whalers buried just on the other side of the glass. Our churches hold so much of our past - a wealth of stories within their walls: marriages, births, deaths, joys, tragedies, dramas....life revolved around the church and it all was celebrated or mourned in those buildings.

Later I was driving home from Southampton after heading over there for an afternoon meeting. The fog was heavy enough to slow the traffic but not enough to be dangerous, and when I got to Bridgehampton I made a quick decision to turn right off the highway and enjoy the back roads home. It was a perfect decision as I soaked in the incredible landscapes along the way. Fog hugged the ground on all the fields and reduced the trees lining them to hulking shapes in the distance-clearly trees and yet indistinct in their veil of gray.

I love the East End. In every kind of weather.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dates

Isn't it interesting how some dates just stick out in your mind? I know, for instance, that this date,  April 10th, is somehow significant to me. But I can't for the life of me figure out why.

Perhaps this was the birthday of a high school friend from long ago. Or maybe it was a date of some significant incident in my past. I don't know what it is, but I know it is a date that means something.

This happens to me every so often. A date will click off some sort of memory thing and I'll wrack my brain trying to figure out what it is I'm forgetting. Is it someone's birthday?  An anniversary? What?

I may never remember why April 10th has some sort (or had some sort) of significance in my life. It's possible it was one of my grandparents' birthdays -I know one was March 11th and another was July 1st but the other two I have lost. Perhaps one was born on April 10th. Or maybe it has nothing at all to do with birthdays...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gaining time

I'm looking forward to gaining back some time in my life soon. I've been working about 10 hours a week in Sag Harbor in a church office and that job will be ending at the end of April. So in addition to the 10 hours a week that will be free again, I'll have the travel time, plus the time on either side of those work hours that are taken up by needing to be ready to go. I mean, I can't go on an ambulance all for at least two hours prior to having the be at work or I won't be back in time. So that means many hours are suddenly going to be freed up in my life.

Now the question is what to do with those hours. One of my goals is to get on the website "Ancestry.com" and start doing some research on my mother's family. Another is to start spending regular time on doing some online work perhaps taking college level classes.

Then there is the chance that some new opportunity may present itself that I would not have been able to take advantage of prior to this because of my obligations at work. For instance, I could go visit my daughter in Pennsylvania more often. Or travel.

I think about traveling a lot these days. I'm at the age where I know time is closing in and I need to see some of the places I've always wanted to see before its too late. I know that traveling will become more of a challenge as age becomes more advanced. Sad, but practical. Plus, my best friend, who used to talk with me often about traveling "some day" when we were older, is no longer with us among the living so I may have lost my partner in crime. Unfortunately my husband does not have the same open schedule that I do. There will be no cross country car trips in our future.

I think one of the hardest things about getting older is giving up some of your dreams. And now that I'm here I don't want to do it. But soon I'll have no choice. I am gaining some hours in my weeks coming up. But not enough to make up for the years already lost I'm afraid.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Aches

Aches and pains are fairly common occurrences when you get to be my age. Sadly, we get rather accustomed to waking up with twinges and odd feelings in the body we thought we knew so well. But  this week I've been really hit hard with a back issue I can't seem to throw off and it's really making me feel old.

I have, on more than one occasion, been asked by doctors if there is "anything new-any new pain or problems?" And I never know quite how to answer that. I mean, it seems as though every week brings something new, but is it noteworthy? What is just a natural part of the aging process and what should we be concerned about? How do we know? It's all beyond me.

Until this week. This week I know something needs attention. The problem now is getting answers. A call to my doctor resulted in a wait of over a week to get an appointment. Not good. But not worthy of a trip to the ER either.

What to do? If only I knew.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Showers

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day, sunny and warm and very springlike. Today is rainy and gray and very springlike. And so we know it's April.

Actually April has been pretty typical so far, with showers and sunshine, warm and chilly, bright and dreary-a month of contradictions. Soon the daffodils will be out in force, thanks to both the sunshine and rain. It takes both to make the flowers as in others areas of life, sometimes the things we need are not always the things we want.

I'm not a big gardener. I don't enjoy weeding and caring for plants in general. I love the results, but not the process. But there is something especially gratifying about bulb plants. I love putting bulbs in the ground because I can plant them and forget them, and suddenly, a year later, out of the ground comes green shoots and then bang! A beautiful flower appears. It's like a little magic - assisting God with one of his miracles. So this year I have more bulbs to plant. And something to look forward to next Spring when I've forgotten all about them.

April is a month of magic.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring

We surely got a taste of Spring this past few days here on the East End.

What a great weekend we just experienced. It was perfect for Easter, really - a bit chilly still -but beautiful. Yesterday was sunny and bright with a beautiful blue sky and grass beginning to green up with shoots appearing all over of the coming colorful flowers of the season. The church alter was ablaze with color, filled with potted tulips, daffodils, and Easter lilies. It was a sight for sore eyes after a long winter of grays and Browns and we all enjoyed the sight.

For me, Easter is always the true herald of Spring, whether in March or April. Now that it has come and gone, Spring is truly here in my heart. Winter is over and the light of new birth has brightened our days. There is much to look forward to in the weeks to come.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Somber


It's a busy week-end here in East Hampton. With both Passover and Easter falling together on the calendar I could see the streets getting busier today. I imagine everyone with a second home will be here for a few days, the unofficial beginning of the season. They'll assess the damage from the winter, contact their maintenance people, order new lawn furniture, etc, and start getting things ready for their return Memorial Day.


But it's a somber time for many of us as we prepare ourselves spiritually for this Sunday's celebration. Because we can't fully appreciate Easter without first walking through Holy Week. Last night we attended a quiet and contemplative service and today at noon I'll be in church again, meditating on those days that led to Easter morning. It's these dark days that make us truly rejoice over the glorious light of the resurrection.

A somber weekend and a busy one too.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Waiting

I am still waiting for my
mini-daffodils to emerge. They're a little late this year, which is not surprising considering the weather. But the green shoots are visible and the blossoms are quite close to popping open so I'm wondering if they might appear for Easter.

Some people have had crocuses, but mine are not apparent. In fact I wonder if they aren't gone forever. I only ever had a few, but I see no signs of them at all. Perhaps they were inadvertently destroyed when we had the landscaping altered this past fall. I wouldn't be surprised at all. Fortunately I can see that the mini-daffy are still there, so any moment now they'll join us. I look forward to it.

Once those first flowers appear its a quick succession of color and the real heart of Spring will be here. Now that is something to look forward to...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

First

So today is April Fools Day. I have no plans to celebrate.

Somehow this day is not as much fun as it was when the kids were young. Back then the kids and I could always come up with fun things to do to fool their father and they were eager co-conspirators. But now that they're gone there just isn't the same level of enjoyment because there's nobody here to enjoy the joke.Except me. And with no audience everything loses something. Including April Fool's Day.

I suppose that's why television shows that feature surprises and pranks pulled on people are so popular. There aren't many people around anymore who remember "Candid Camera", but I still think they did it best. The pranks were so innocent - never mean-spirited or degrading - just funny. Even the pranked enjoyed it in the end. Not so much anymore - at least what I've seen seems more unkind. Perhaps it was a kinder, gentler time then, I don't know. But I still love that show.

Well April Fool's Day will go unnoticed at my house. Unless there's something up I'm unaware of....