Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue moon

Tonight there will be a "blue moon". That brings back memories to me!

When I was in the 6th grade I remember the class walking over from the elementary school on Church Street to the high school on Newtown Lane to see a band/chorus concert. It was the one they used to do for the school in the afternoon-like a dress rehearsal-before the evening one for parents. I guess the school population was small enough in those days that they could fit the 6th graders in the auditorium as well as the 7-12th students, and figured it was a good way to acclimate us to the school we'd be attending the following year.

In any case, I was a music nerd, so of course I was enamored with everything about the concert, but one thing totally transfixed me. There was this beautiful high school senior who had a gorgeous singing voice. In those days they really dressed for such events and she had on a lovely color-blocked gown with spaghetti straps, one of which kept falling off her shoulder, and she sang a solo that was in Italian. Wow-I was impressed! Then she stepped out again to sing with the jazz band and she did a song I'd never heard before titled "Blue Moon". You know the one-it was popular in the 5Os: "Blue moon, you caught me standing alone...". I imagined a moon the shade of blue, with no idea what the term really meant! Anyway, I was totally bowled over. The song, the voice, the singer (her name was Diane), all perfection to me and just what I aspired to. Some day I would sing with that jazz band, I told myself!

Well I did sing with the high school jazz band eventually, but wasn't as crazy about the song I had to do, and never looked anywhere as pretty or sounded nearly as good as Diane did back when I was in the 6th grade. It was a lot to live up to, that early memory! And when I hear mention of a blue moon, like the one we'll see tonight, it all comes back to me in vivid, technicolor memory. I'll be thinking of Diane tonight when I look up into the sky.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Leavings...

Only two more days until my daughter and her kids leave to return to their home in Pennsylvania. Sigh....

Oh I know-I'm a lucky woman. They come every summer and spend six weeks here. It's wonderful. The problem is I get so used to having them here it is even harder to see them go. There's something so different about the experience of them being here for such a nice long stretch of time. There's far less stress-no need to squeeze everything into a few short days on a long weekend, our usual visits. We have time to do lots of fun things together.

But now, I've had a taste of life with them living here. And it's such a tease.

I love these long summer visits. And I hate them too. Well, not the visits...just the leavings....

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A/C

I am so torn about air conditioning.

It has only been four years now that we've had any air conditioning in our home. We finally broke down and bought units for the bedroom windows, first for the guest rooms, then two years later for our own bedroom. It seems as though we really don't need it all that often, yet we become dependent on it pretty quickly. And in my old age I find myself becoming intolerant of heat and humidity. So gaining some good nighttime sleep has been a great blessing, for sure.

But now we are having discussions about putting air conditioning in the rest of the house. Those discussions revolve around something called a "split system" which I really don't quite understand yet. But it means the comfort of air conditioning in the entire house, which certainly has some appeal.

But there are downsides as well. Once the house is closed up, I have a feeling the a/c will be on most of the time, even when not really necessary. It's costly, and non-environmentally friendly, and besides, I like fresh air and natural breezes. But who wants to constantly be walking around opening and closing all the windows?

So....my mind is whirling with questions and trying to get a handle on what exactly the answers are. I wonder when I'll ever find them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

HHH

So apparently, following an absolutely beautiful few days of weather, the triple H weather is returning for another run. The heat, haze, and humidity are back starting today and most probably following into the weekend.

According to the weather experts, tomorrow will be the worst day, with temperatures heading toward 90, at least in the city.

This is my least favorite kind of weather and I'm not looking forward to it. I may have to escape to the movie theater again, or eat out a lot. I have to visit the hospital in the morning for a test, and it's always nice and cool there. The only reason I might look forward to climbing into that MRI machine....

Yes, there is always a silver lining to every cloud if we choose to look for it....

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wake up call

I've come to the conclusion that everyone should have a "wake-up" moment in their life after the age of fifty. Because my brush with death has changed me so much I want to share my new-found appreciation for life with everyone.

This past weekend, celebrating a wedding with family and friends once again reminded me of how lucky I am to have gone through cancer in my '50s. Because I approach, and then experience, each special event with such new appreciation and joy. I sit watching grandchildren on stage or on the playing field, or attend a wedding like Saturday's, and never stop thinking about how special life is, how amazing love, family, and friendship are, and how blessed I am to be here to appreciate it all that much more. I think of my cancer as a gift now, because it has given my life new meaning and great focus. Colors are brighter, beauty is more striking, and joys doubled for me.

Everyone should be so lucky....

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Winding down

So my daughter and her family have been here from Pennsylvania since the end of May. And this is the beginning of their last week with us. After all this time you would think I would simply be content to have had them with us for so long. So what is this funk I'm in?

I've come to understand that the problem is that these long summer visits get me very accustomed to having them around. I see them all the time, I get to enjoy long conversations and leisurely afternoons. There's no feeling of pressure to "get it all in" during a couple shirt days.

And, I fully realize what I'll be missing as soon as they leave. I know now how amazing it would be to have them live right here, within a minute's drive, so I could babysit, and attend school programs, and help with projects....

And YES, I know I am beyond blessed to have them here with us for such a nice, long stretch of time. But wow, I hate to see them leave.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Weddings

Today is wedding day. I love weddings.

The wedding we're attending today is a family wedding, which makes it especially wonderful-a "circle of life" moment. And what's so unique about this one is that my nephew is marrying a young woman that I've also known her whole life. Her parents have been good friends of ours since she was very young and she was in my son's class in school-they were good friends as well. So now, to have a nephew marry her is a real special moment. It's a lot like family marrying family only without the incest part! Of course my nephew did not know her as a child-they attended different schools growing up. But as sometimes happens, fate steps in and here we are. I'm thrilled that this person will now officially become an official member of the family.

So off we go, to celebrate with family and dear friends, a very special day indeed. Two lives, and two families, joining together in marriage. It's a wonderful thing.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cake

Today I have a big job ahead of me. I am putting together a wedding cake for the seventh time.

Wedding cakes are total labor  of love. They are time consuming, difficult, and very stressful. The work begins weeks ahead as layers of cake are baked, wrapped, and frozen for future assembly. It necessitates finding additional freezer space to store as they are unwieldy and bulky. So it all began two weeks ago as I baked, night after night, four chocolate layers and four vanilla layers of cake. This morning I will run to my nephews house to collect some from his freezer, and lay out all the ingredients on my kitchen counter. I've been getting all the tools in place and now the counter will hold cake, confectioners sugar (boxes and boxes of it), a gallon of milk, dowel rods, cardboard layer dividers, large cake platter, mixer, and various decorating tools. Icing will be made and spread, layers stacked, decorating tubes filled and emptied, and by the end of a long morning, there should be a completed cake ready to be picked up and taken to the reception hall.

I only do these cakes for family - my children, my nieces, my nephews....perhaps someday a grandchild if I'm really lucky. Like I said, a total labor of love.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More

Another gorgeous day here on the East End with low humidity and blue skies. Even the traffic seemed lighter, probably because everyone was at the beach enjoying this fabulousness, but regardless of the reason, I am loving it. Yesterday I sat in my front window and the breeze was floating through, making it one of the most comfortable days of the year so far. If I could I would package up this weather and sell it.

The vistas are stunning this time of year and combining those with the perfect weather makes it a downright sangri la. Green lawns, flowers everywhere, and freshly painted houses are the hallmarks of summer in East Hampton and even ours looks good this year after a fresh coat of paint on trim and doors. It feels good to have things look good.

Now, let's just enjoy this day....

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Precious time

Yesterday was a great day. The weather was very hot and humid, but I had grandchildren with me and I barely noticed it.  Which is saying something.

Quite a few of the adults in the family went in the NYC for the day and I had three of my granddaughters for most of the day, two for the entire day and then overnight last night. What a special blessing that kind of time is.

The fact that I barely noticed the heat, on what was one of the hottest days of the summer, and in fact traveled along all the major highways and through three villages during the heaviest times of both auto and pedestrian traffic without as much as a brief moment of annoyance, is certain proof that being with the most amazing blessing in my life is the best time of all. I am so consumed by love for them all that I think about when I'm with them is how lucky I am.

Today will be a total let down for sure. But I will be thinking about the fun I had yesterday for a long time and that will be enough for awhile. Who cares what kind of traffic there is or how hot it is when you have love all around you?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Oy

Oh, the humidity!

I think I had been lulled into a false sense of comfort this summer because the weather has been so gorgeous up until this point. We've had such nice temperate days and such low humidity levels that I can honestly say I haven't been miserable at all.

But then yesterday everything changed. Suddenly it's so hot and so humid I feel as though I want to climb into my refrigerator and close the door behind me. I feel like a wet sponge that has been wrung out and set on the side of the sink to get all moldy and slimy. Yuck. I' pm happy to say I was not one of the multitude of people who were crying for the summer back in January. No, not me! I keep thinking now about how I would rather be snuggling up underneath a nice warm blanket rather than sitting on my couch sweating.

Oh well, autumn is only about 6 weeks away...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Musicals

When my daughter was five she was watching operas on television. I knew then that she was going to be a music lover for the rest of her life. Because I totally identified with her obsession.

For me, it was the Broadway musical that grabbed me when I was young and continues today to be one of my great loves. When I was in the 6th grade, my mother, bless her heart, recognized my musical leanings and did something I shall forever be grateful for. Back in the late '50s and early '60s, grocery stores were competing for business by giving away things for people to collect. For instance, every week there would be a new piece of dinnerware offered for anyone buying at least $20 worth of groceries, let's say. (Gas stations did the same thing). Anyway, Mom shopped at Bohack, and at this particular time they were selling record albums for $.99 to anyone who bought a certain amount of groceries, each week a different album. I can still see them in my mind's eye, because I treasured them. They were white album covers with a picture of Ed Sullivan on the front, and the words "Ed Sullivan presents the original cast album of ......" And I had them all. I played them every night in my room, memorizing the words to every song, and reading about the musicals on the back cover. Among my favorites were "Guys & Dolls", "South Pacific", "The Music Man", and "My Fair Lady". I learned in those years who Robert Alda, Mary Martin, and Barbara Cook were, and I became a critic and lover of this unique American music genre.


Yesterday, the movie version of "Guys & Dolls" was on television and since it was Sunday, I could sit back, relax, and enjoy. Of course, Marlon Brando was no Robert Alda, but still, it was a joy to watch, for maybe the 100th time, this Broadway classic. And as always, I thought about my mother, who I know didn't always have that extra dollar to spend, but she did it anyway. She's here to thank in person, but hopefully she knows how I feel...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sultry Sunday

Today they are calling for uncomfortable levels of heat and humidity for this sunny Sunday in late July.

Well I knew it was inevitable, but this has been such a comfortable summer up to this point that I suppose hope springs eternal. These are the days that I really dread during this time of the year, and that make me look forward to the cooler days of sun and fun in the early autumn.

I'm grateful to live out here on the East End, where the breeze off the ocean is a lifesaver so often. And I love the beautiful summer sky, so bright and blue, with the diffused light that makes the world look magical. Today that light will most likely be replaced with that famous haze that comes from heat that hangs overhead.

Well the day is young. We shall see what's in store and deal with it, because, as Scarlett O'Hara famously said, "tomorrow is another day"!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday

Our first rainy Saturday in while and it feels a bit odd. Not much impetus here to get out and do anything, and although there is plenty to accomplish right here in the house, energy levels are never high when the low pressure systems are in control. It would be a good day for reading. I wish I had a good place to do that.

My dream is to have a reading nook someday. Oh, I have comfortable spots for delving in to a good book, but there are inconveniences. My husband is not a reader so the television is always on. That's not conducive to reading, at least anywhere within earshot. If I go upstairs there is a great reading chair in the guest room, but as soon as I settle in the phone will ring. I can ignore it, but it will be picked up downstairs and for sure, it will be for me. That means getting up and going into my own bedroom to answer it. I need everything within arms length to make the perfect reading spot: a phone, a small table to hold a drink, and maybe a snack. And of course a good source of light. Heaven, right?

Well it won't happen today. Maybe some day.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Comfy

These past couple days have been absolutely perfect in the weather department. I mean, perfect! This morning I was so delighted to wake up to such a comfortably cool temperature that I grabbed a bathrobe when I got out of bed. And I took a sweater out of the closet to take with me when I headed downstairs.

The sky was a beautiful color blue and the air so pleasant that I didn't even mind the traffic, the crowds, or the crazy people out there on this beautiful summer Friday in East Hampton. Maybe the perfection of the day made my sun glasses more rose-colored than normal, because I didn't even mind the fact that it took me an hour to get from Southampton to East Hampton at 9:00. I can't even imagine what it was like as the day went on, this first day of a beautiful weekend in July. I don't really want to know-would much rather stay right here in EH and enjoy the day.

I know this kind of weather can't last. The humidity is sure to return soon enough. But in the meantime, I am just going to enjoy this day.







Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday

We've been running a VBS (Vacation Bible School) program at our church this week. It began on Sunday night and today is our final night. It is exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.


There is a lot of work involved in this project every year. There is planning, training, set up, decorations, nightly prep and activity, and then take down. All of which should be accomplished by folks younger than we, but they seem to be in short supply these days for some reason. Anyway-that's another topic for another blog. So, it's exhausting because it's a lot of work, but exhilarating because it's so much fun once the kids are there and they're excited about it.

So much in life is like that. The exhilaration of a performance makes up for the hard work of the preparation. Makes all the work worthwhile. Thankfully.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Elders

A few days ago we received word that my mother's sister died. It felt life altering in some small way. She is the last of her generation in the family.

Aunt Elaine was my mother's only sibling. They grew up in the area around Buffalo where my grandfather was, at first, a teacher, but later (during the depression) worked for the postal service, sorting Mail on trains. Mom met Dad in college and moved to East Hampton, and her Elaine married a fellow "up-stater" and settled into a little house in the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca.

As their lives developed, Mom had four children, the second of which was me, who carries Elaine's name. Elaine was unable to have children and they spent all their holidays and vacations here in East Hampton, where my grandparents moved after Grandpa retired. It must have been difficult for Elaine to have her entire family live so far away-they spent about 12 hours on the road every trip back in the late '50s and early '60s (when road travel was not quite as easy as it is now). They loved being here at Christmas, enjoying the chaos of family.

My uncle died about twenty years ago now, and Elaine spent the last years of her life in a nursing home. Despite pleas from Mom, she would never consider moving here. Her life was upstate.

I last saw Elaine three years ago when we went up to clean out her house so it could be sold. She was still feisty and spry then, although clearly not able to live alone. Knowing she's gone makes be feel about adrift. All ties to my mother, to her chi,shoot, to her history....gone now. And now, we truly are the elders of the family...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Memory

Well I just realized its been a few days since I last blogged. A few days. Boy is my memory slipping!

It has been a busy time here, with family visiting and grandchildren on baseball teams, and this week, Vacation Bible School at our church. We are both committed to the program at church so it means a week of hard work. We are tired and very busy. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Of course, I prefer that to the "my mind is slowly deteriorating" one.

Regardless, it is a busy time and whether or not I blog everyday is neither here not there. After all, if I have nothing pressing to say, who cares anyway?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July Saturdays

Starting last week the Saturday schedule changed for the season. From now until Labor Day, all errands will be completed early in the day on Saturdays. No mid-day runs to the grocery store, or any other other place that means driving through the village, looking for a place to park, and navigate the check-out lines. My favorite sandwich shop is out of the question. From now on we shop early, or not at all. Because if it's after 10am, it can wait until Monday!

I will quickly adjust to getting to the grocery school before the whole staff has arrived. And to taking the morning walk before the garbage has been collected around town. It's called survival this time of the year.

I don't mind it, really, because I like the early morning. I love the dappled light coming through the trees, and the smell of the air before its full of exhaust. And the quiet....well that's just heavenly.

So the schedule changes, but not the joy of living here. Because it's magical in the morning.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Riverhead

Yesterday my daughter and I ventured to Riverhead.

Normally Riverhead is a fun trip, and it was fun. I enjoyed the one-on-one time with my daughter, which I haven't had much of lately. In fact, one-on-one time with any of my adult children is a precious commodity and fairly rare! Anyway, it was fun to get alone and just talk for all that time on the road. But the traffic was abysmal. Summer out here has become a traffic nightmare no matter what the day or time it seems. Route 58 was busy. Route 27 was busy. Even Main Street in Hampton Bays was busy. There was a lot of traffic everywhere.

July is here. The difference is obvious. Clearly, July and August have become traffic nightmares and not fun at all for those of us who aren't used to sharing our space with quite so many other people. I realize it's only eight weeks out of the year. But right now, it seems like an inordinately lengthy eight weeks. I am still smiling, but the mouth is beginning to waver.....

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lunch

I think I'm in a bit of a rut in terms of lunch. Which is maybe why it's my favorite meal to eat out these days.

When lunch time rolls around, I long for a in pace big, crunchy salad. Or a grilled chicken sandwich. Or maybe even a small bowl of macaroni and cheese. None of which I have around my house.

I think of all the luxuries I would like to ask for were I to find a magic lamp with a genie popping out to ask my special wishes, I would ask for a chef. I truly believe if I had someone to create great meals for me every day, I wouldn't have a weight problem and I would be thrilled to have appealing, wonderful creations to enjoy at mealtimes.

So, if any of you out there have any leads on a magic lamp that needs to be uncovered, please, let me know. I love a good treasure hunt. And a good lunch.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Angels

M
y mother used to love to quote scripture and one of her favorites was the one where we are told that we may be hosting angels without being aware of it. It was her way-and scripture's way, of telling us that we need to treat everyone with love. I always loved the idea that there might be Angels here among us on earth. Perhaps checking me out at the grocery store, or begging by the side of the road. How would we treat people differently if we knew this to be the case?

Today I'm hosting an angel on earth, but I'm fully aware of it. My 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter is feeling a little under the weather so she's here with me, while her twin sister and little brother are at their usual day care. What a treat it is to have her here, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I never get either of the twins alone. They come as a pair, and there is always plenty of competition for attention. Today it's been just the two of us, and we've both enjoyed the opportunity to be alone together.

And being able to take special care of her when she's not feeling well is another treat. I love taking special care of little ones, who truly are angels visiting with us here on earth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sports

We spend a lot more time watching sports in the summer. I suppose that might be normal since it's warm and there are more daylight hours. I guess the big difference is that we watch more live sports, as opposed to on television.

This summer we've been watching games at a local adult kick ball league. And Little League games have been going on for weeks now. The beginning of Little League season is always frigid, to say the least. We sit wrapped in blankets and hoodies, trying to stay warm. Finally we've moved on to more comfortable weather now and don't need coats. But just last week I wished I had brought a sweatshirt with me, so we're certainly not suffering in the heat!

I enjoy sports that are live and I've never been much for watching them on television. With rare exceptions they lack the excitement of being there in person. So for me, sports are much more enjoyable in the winter.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer


It was a busy weekend and I feel as though I still have a lot to catch up on.

To begin with, the stores were all crazy already by Thursday, so I avoided them completely and now I need food in the house.

Then there is the house. It needs some cleaning after all the people that were in and out of it.

And I am still suffering from the lack of sleep that I was subjected to on Friday night when I was busy answering ambulance calls. I tried to get a little more Saturday night, but still felt pretty foggy all day yesterday. I imagine it will be a few days before I'm back up to feeling normal again. I find that the older I get the more difficult it is to adjust to missed sleep. Age affects so many things.

This week looks easy though, and although there are plenty of things on the calendar, it won't be frantic. There is time to get it
all done. I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Celebrations

I was thinking today how differently I look at holiday celebrations today compared to when I was a kid.

Holidays like yesterday used to mean one thing to me: no school and parties. There were cook-outs and picnics and parades....and lots of fun.

When I was a bit older it was about time with friends. Maybe we'd go to a bar, or have a beach party. Or maybe just hang out together, enjoying the time off from work.

But things have come full circle now as I enjoy sitting back with my family, watching the kids play in the yard, and listening to their parents laugh and enjoy each other's company. And luxuriating in the fact that my life is very full indeed.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4th

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekend

The holiday weekend arrived yesterday. Traffic was horrendous and all I wanted to do was sit at home and hide. Which doesn't give me much hope for today.

Well I imagine most people have arrived already since today seems to be a day off for most folks. So yesterday was their getaway day and that they certainly did. They got away by train, by car, by bus-they were arriving all day and I could hear the difference just sitting in my living room as the traffic noise was deafening.

Well I don't blame them for wanting to get away for a nice long weekend. I wish they didn't all want to come here, but what are ya gonna do? Just relax and enjoy...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Breezes

I love a nice cool ocean breeze. In fact, that is probably the one thing that makes me love living here on the East End.

Yesterday morning the rain was coming down hard when I climbed out of bed at 6:15. My morning walk was off and water was everywhere. By the time I got downstairs to go to the grocery store, I realized that it had been pretty stormy overnight as there were small branches and leaves scattered around the yard from the wind. It wasn't easy to get into my car because the drivers side sits in a low area of the driveway and I had to ford a small stream to do it.

I didn't mind the rain. In fact, I didn't even bother with a raincoat as the temperature is nice and warm and a little water never hurt anyone. I got my shopping done and sat to read the paper, and by the time I looked up again the rain had stopped. By 10:00 the sun was shining, the puddles were disappearing, and a beautiful, cool breeze was making for a gorgeous day.

And I determined to spend a little time out in the rain more often too. It felt really good....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July

Here it is, the beginning of the crazy summer season, and with things the way they are, the holiday making a long weekend and all, things are destined to be bizaare here for sure. I predict many folks arriving tomorrow and staying through Su
nday. Others perhaps for the entire first week of the month. And from here on in its the busy season. There's simply no getting around it.

July has its pleasures. I love all the outdoor time because it makes the house seem bigger and the yard is never crowded. This year we just had all the trim on our house painted and things are looking spiffy for sure. We'll get the flag out this weekend to hang from the front windows, an independence day tradition for us. And we'll remember what we have to celebrate here in the US of A.

The crowds may come and they may not leave until September, but no matter. We are loving summer here in spite of the crowds. Its all about planning around them. And we've gotten pretty good at that! No matter how many cars on the road, the ocean is still beautiful, the ponds alive with water fowl, the grass green and lush, and life is good when you're healthy. So I'm not complaining about a thing...