Monday, August 31, 2015

Mondays

My Monday's are busy days. I babysit for my three youngest grandchildren and sometimes their five-year-old cousin is also here. It's a non-stop, active, fun day that exhausts me.

I remember that exhaustion when I was younger. With four children I was always tired at the end of the day. Often I would fall asleep right after the kids went to bed. I would gamely sit on the couch next to my husband to watch television, but it was a fruitless effort. Today will be like that. I'll be busy running toddlers to the potty, changing diapers, keeping everyone in view, putting them up for naps, coloring with them, feeding them, getting drinks and snack and playing with blocks and reading books....well...you get the idea.

Monday's a busy, busy days. They keep me young but make me feel old.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Birthdays

As of today I have a child in her 40s. How is that possible?


I remember celebrating my fortieth birthday like it was yesterday. I remember feeling very old, but also very blessed. I had four children still at home, life was full and busy and very happy. How could so much time pass in such a hurry? How could this tiny baby that I brought home from the hospital be forty years old? Good grief. Time is moving too fast. Life is flying by.

I was only 23 when my first was born, but I was 33 when number four came along. Having him helped me feel younger. Hopefully that still works-after all, he's only thirty! I am the mother of a thirty-year-old! I'm not all that old....

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Noise

OK -here is the number one thing I absolutely will NOT miss after Labor Day: noise.

Most of the year I absolutely love living in the village. I love being so close to everything. I love walking the quiet streets first thing in the morning and driving to the beach anytime I want to. I love the convenience of being able to walk into the post office or grocery store or up to see a movie at the theater.


But at this moment, I am so tired of hearing the street noise here at my house. It's a constant thing here in this part of the village because it's one of the busiest streets in the municipality. All day when the windows are opened we listen to trucks, trains, motorcycles, planes, cars with no mufflers, trailers, radios, and now, people loudly talking on their cell phones as they slowly walk by. It's a steady barrage of noise all summer.

So now, after all these weeks of having to put the TV on pause to let the worst pass so we can actually hear the dialogue, I am ready for weather cool enough to prompt the closing of windows and peace returning to my home.

It's time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

One more

So we're down to the final countdown now and none too soon.

It's been a long summer. And we feel it now because Labor Day weekend is as late as it ever will be this year. Which results in an extra week of summer. And it feels like it. This is the weekend  we should be celebrating, not next. But instead we have to endure one more week of traffic, crowds, and the unbearable presence of people who have an amazing sense of entitlement.

Of course, not all our visitors fit that category. And there are certainly people that live here that do! But by the time August comes to an end, we've just seen too much and we're weary of the whole thing. We want our home back.

One more week. We can do it!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Overload

There is simply too much traffic on the road.

Three times this week I've been to Southampton and every time the traffic was so bad that it took me 45 minutes to get from my house to Southampton village. It didn't matter whether I took route 27 or headed to the back roads. There simply is too much traffic. It's choking us.

Today all the way home we sat in bumper-to-bumper, stop and go traffic, crawling along at a snail's pace, and I'm thinking the whole time "What can we do about this traffic?"

I think it will take a real visionary to find a way to cut the traffic out here, but without some way to do it, we are doomed. Because it's crazy out there....

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Changes

I was shocked yesterday morning when the alarm went off at 5:45 and I saw how dark it was outside. It's as though someone suddenly closed a window blind or something....

It is beginning to feel like fall in subtle ways. The humidity and heat are still saying August, but the clearly shorter days and change in the morning air are signaling September. After all, this coming weekend would normally be Labor Day Weekend, but the oddity of the calendar this year has pushed it forward and it won't happen until next weekend. So Monday is September 1st. It is definitely here.

So, no more cook outs lasting until 9pm and no more morning walks in full daylight. But there are so many things to love about fall that the only thing to regret is the passing of time. Because that certainly happens way too fast.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Forgiveness

I think of all the things we are instructed to do in the Bible, forgiveness has to be the most difficult. At least that's what I'm thinking.

Watching the television show "Who Do You Think You Are", where famous people delve into their ancestry and learn about the people who make up their family tree, and doing some work myself on the website Ancestry.com have taught me that forgiveness is important even when dealing with the people in our past. Because the Biblical reference to the "Sins of the fathers" being visited on the sons is, I think, a reference to the fact that those who do not learn the past are doomed to repeat it. We need to learn from our past history as a family.


Sometimes on the television show people learn that they had ancestors who were, for instance, always leaving their families. There are patterns that emerge when you are able to look at long threads of generations. And I know myself that patterns exist in my family that explain the ways my relatives functioned. It's only through those discoveries that we are able to come to terms with where we've come from, and forgiveness is the only way to break patterns.

I'm not sure if it's easier to forgive those we know, or those we never met. But it seems difficult in either case.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Boston EMS

I'm enjoying the show on tv called Boston EMS. Basically it follows ambulance crews around the city as the run from call to call taking care of people. It's fun to see a city EMS system. But the thing that strikes me as most interesting is the fact that there are so many similarities.

Honestly, most the things they see in Boston (and probably any city) can be seen right here on the East End in the summer. With the exception of the train/subway accidents, we've seen just about every type of call that I've seen on the show: same MVAs, same elderly calls, same drunks, same everything. Just more of it.

I guess it isn't surprising since people are the same everywhere. But somehow I expected it to be more intense in the city. I guess they just have more people to handle it all. Other than the uniforms, (and a paycheck) I think we're pretty much exactly the same.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Shopping

We braved the crowded roadways today after church and headed to Riverhead. With a bathroom renovation in progress we needed a toilet, sink, and fixtures so it was time to visit Lowes. We had a granddaughter with us so our first stop was Friendly's in Hampton Bays for what we thought would be a quick lunch. Little did we know it would be packed and service slow. When the strawberry milk spilled all over me as I was trying to get the straw in it for my granddaughter, I made a trip to the bathroom to try to clean up but it was a hopeless effort. The hand dryer was all that was available (no paper towels) and while I could hold my shirt up to get close enough for some results, the pants were impossible. They were soaked. And the shirt, while dryer, was now stiff and sour smelling.

After we ate (in some discomfort) we back-tracked a couple blocks to my favorite women's boutique and I grabbed a new pair of pants and a nice top, changed out of my wet clothes, paid the bill and once again we were moving west.

Once in Riverhead we stopped briefly at Bed, Bath & Beyond, then grabbed the toilet, sink, and faucets and loaded up the pick-up, and turned the truck back east for the trip home. Of course all the traffic was heading in the other direction now so the return was easy and uneventful.

All in all it was a successful day. We have what we need for the new bathroom, and a new outfit as a bonus.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Christmas in August

We wrapped Christmas gifts today. People get annoyed when I tell them that I'm wrapping gifts in August, but it's pure survival to me.

Our family has gotten big and there are now 20 of us in the immediate family. I like to buy more than one gift for each of them. And I have extended family that has a gift lottery type thing so I shop for that person at the last minute. Of course my husband needs multiple things to open. Then there are the special gifts for people I like to remember. So it all adds up to a lot of gifts to buy.

I learned many years ago that the best way to enjoy the holidays is to reduce the stress associated with them. My goal every year is to have most of the gifts bought and wrapped by Thanksgiving. I don't always have it all done (children's special requests come in at the last minute) but the majority is done now.

Here are the advantages to having my gifts bought and wrapped already: I get great buys by buying early. There are sales and bargains galore in January and February! I get wrapping paper and tags half price right after Christmas so I'm ready to go. And because there are no gifts left to buy, I enjoy attending Christmas programs, baking cookies, and going to parties in December. It's really my favorite month of the year. All fun and no stress. Try it sometime-you'll love it!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hurricanes

The first of the tropical storms have formed on the Atlantic and we are beginning to already be on alert here on the East End. With beautiful weather surrounding us this summer, it's hard to even think about hurricanes.

Of course, hurricane season begins in June, but we don't see them here in the birth until August at the earliest, September or October normally. I remember as a child missing school more than once for hurricanes, and most the ones I remember in recent memory have all been in the fall with the exception of Bob, and that one hit in mid-August if I remember correctly. So now is the time we start looking south to see what's developing. We have disaster plans in place in both town and village, and we're as ready as we'll ever be out here. I've seen how those plans get set into motion before and it's comforting to know that there are people who are well trained to handle whatever comes our way.

So, as hurricane Bob works its way across the warm waters of the southern Atlantic, we'll watch with interest, make sure everything is in place, and rest easy knowing there's not a whole lot we can do about the weather so there's not sense in losing sleep over it, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Optimism

So I am optimistically thinking that this is the end of the high humidity for the year. Or is that crazy?

We really have had a beautiful summer so I don't want to complain. We've had beautiful sunny days and plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the season. But I am done with the humidity, and I am sincerely hoping it won't be back until next summer now. Of course there is still opportunity in the next couple weeks, I think we're done. I'm just going to look forward to the perfect days of September, which will be here in no time at all. In less than two weeks actually. And I love September.

So hopefully, we are coasting through the last weeks with sunshine and cool breezes, and nice, low humidity. And I will remember this as one of my favorite summers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dinner

My husband and I eat out far more often than I ever imagined I would. Which isn't that often, but when we were young I never thought we'd be able to eat out, ever. Because with four children, and one income, and household expenses, I could barely manage to put food on the table. Eating out was a special treat that only happened when my father wanted company and called us to be his guests.

Now we eat out about every other week. Not at fancy places, but local restaurants that are open year round and reasonably priced and dependable. Most nights I don't even eat a regular meal at night-I tend to eat by big meal at lunchtime, not at dinner.


But here's the thing: sometimes, when I'm eating a simple meal at a local restaurant, I feel guilty. Because I think if we saved the money we were spending on that meal, and ate at home like we always used to, I could probably do something amazing with that money after accumulating it for awhile. Like feeding hungry children or something.

It really makes it difficult to enjoy the occasional meal out....sigh....

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesdays

I love my Tuesday mornings.

For the past 4 1/2 years I've been driving to the hospital every Tuesday morning at 7am for a volunteer shift as an "ambassador". Ambassadors are people who wander around the hospital problem solving and helping where needed. We transport patients in wheelchairs, we make sure waiting rooms are stocked with magazines and tissues, we watch for people who may be lost, or confused, or looking for guidance of some type. I really love it.

My favorite part of it is helping people navigate the hospital, or sitting with people in waiting rooms who are clearly distressed and giving them someone to talk to. It is so gratifying to spend time with someone who clearly just needed someone to be with them. I like to think of us as the human touch - taking someone for coffee, showing them where their loved one's room is, or getting them a cup of coffee.

Sometimes its the simplest thing that touches someone: a smile, an offer of help, a hand on a shoulder. And those are so simple to offer. I love Tuesday mornings.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Final days

Like it or not, we are counting down the days to the end of summer here on the East End. Of course, there are still a few weeks left, but we are more than halfway through the month of August now.

It's been a beautiful summer overall: sunny, warm, and very pretty. The grass and flowers have needed plenty of help as rain has been rare, but very few events have had to contend with unpleasant weather, that's for sure.

Of course, the end of August means the beginning of September, and that's my favorite time of the year. I see cooler nights and quieter streets in the very near future, and that's a really great thing to look forward to. No matter how sad we are when we come to the end of something, there is always something exciting to look forward to. The silver lining behind every cloud if you will. And that's a good thing.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The run

This morning was the 20th annual Ellen's Run. Well, for us it was the 6th, but for the run it was number twenty.

Ellen's Run was started by the sister of Ellen Hermanson, who died of breast cancer while in her forties. She was born the same year I was and she was in her early forties when she lost her battle with breast cancer.

My battle began in 2009 and the first year I was still recovering from chemotherapy so I didn't have the energy to walk myself. I had no hair so I wore my pink wig and worked at the registration tables, then cheered my family on as they headed to the finish line after walking or running the 5K. I remember it well.

Since then, we've walked as a team, called The Strong Connections as a tribute to my family who suggested we do a team, and as a nod to the many connections represented on the team (family, friends, work colleagues, etc). Three years we won the trophy for largest team, registering over 80 members. This year I didn't put the team together, making the choice to put all that organizational energy into our cancer fundraiser in October instead. But my family joined the hospital team, and once again enjoyed the energy and friendship
of the morning.

I always think about Ellen, and how many other lives are touched by cancer. And I say a little prayer of thanks for being here for yet another run.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Facebook again

It would be impossible to believe, looking through Facebook, that the election is over a year away. Good grief! It's filled with posts about candidates and issues and nastiness. I hate it.

Here's the thing: as a true independent, I have voted on both sides of the aisle. I've probably voted about the same for democratic candidates as republican, in both national, state, and local elections. I vote my head and my heart. I look for integrity, honesty, intelligence, morality...in short for the person more than the issues. And good people are found at both ends of the spectrum.

Which means I have absolutely NO idea who I will be voting for in November of 2016. And probably won't until about September of next year. There is a lot to learn about people between now and then.

All the nonsense on Facebook is simply noise. Annoying noise at that...

Friday, August 14, 2015

Broken record

how is it possible we've been blessed with such great weather these past few weeks? I don't really know, and I feel as though I sound like a broken record saying this, but it's been heavenly and I am so enjoying it. Low humidity, sunny skies, and cool breezes. What is there for anyone to complain about?

Oh, I know about the negatives. I make the trips between here and Southampton regularly. Traffic is horrible, crowds are everywhere, people walk across the streets talking on their cell phones and not even looking. In fact, today, I stopped for someone waiting to cross the street, not even in the crosswalk, and she barely looked up. Not a nod, or a wave, or certainly not a mouthed "thank you" or smile sent in my direction. Really? Not even a smile? Wow.

Yes, it's August....and there is plenty to complain about, should you be so inclined. But I'm not. Because life is good, the weather is amazing, and I love where I live. For me, it's all good.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tired

Three sleepless nights equals one tired lady.

Sometimes there's just no logical explanation for the sleepless nights. Others I can point to caffeine, or an overactive mind for instance. But this week-no idea. Which is more than a little frustrating. Tossing and turning is annoying, to say the least. In my case I fall asleep, but wake about 1am and then can't get back to sleep for a few hours. Watching the clock, trying to turn off the endless trail of thoughts that meander through my restless mind, well, it makes for long days with never ending yawns and the strong desire to stretch out on a nearby couch for forty winks. I resist the urge.

Well, hope springs eternal, and perhaps tonight will be the night. A good long sleep would be such a treat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer crazies

This has been the craziest summer ever. I don't remember ever being busier or having as much fun, but it is flying by. A busy life is a blessed (i.e. healthy) life, so I'm not complaining! But I would love to step ff the treadmill every once in awhile and be waited on. I villa somewhere with a staff maybe. Or a resort with a cool spot to read and a guy to stop by occasionally to see if I would like a drink or something to eat. Yep - that would be my idea of a great vacation.

I've actually never had a vacation like that. I think in order to do it you need to be of the manor born. So other than a cruise I have never experienced such luxury. And even when we've been on cruises there's always been the concern about budget. What must it be like to never have a concern about how to pay the piper for our fun? I have no idea, but I'd love to find out.

Well, I know there are lovely places to go where every need will be met and there are books to be read and tropical waters to tread....I can dream about them! Can't we all?

I'll have a tropical rum punch, please.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Naps

I'm not a napper-never have been. It's a rare day when I nod off, because I usually feel worse when I've napped than when I haven't, regardless of how tired I am.

But kids are another matter. All my kids were pretty good nappers, and I always looked forward to that peaceful afternoon nap time, as precious for me as it was for them. I looked forward to nap time all morning, not because I needed one, but because I needed the break from the kids. Sorry perfect moms-I admits I needed a break!

Now I have the kids on Mondays and I have to make an admission here. I can actually fall asleep and prepare for the afternoon if I want to.  They wear me out and I feel old. And here I thought grandchildren were supposed to make you feel young.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Clouds

Well the clouds rolled in yesterday but it was still a lovely day, with low humidity and breaks of sun peeking through the clouds. When the sky appeared it was bright blue and beautiful, and the livin' was easy. I am liking this August.

Yesterday was a family day. The crew came over in the afternoon and we did our traditional take-out from the Calvary Baptist bar-b-que. I miss going there to eat, here we see everyone we know sitting at picnic tables under the trees, but until the little ones get a big older it seems best to keep them corralled right here where they stay in the yard. A few more years and we'll get back to Spinner Lane, which always reminds me of all those years growing up when we always made the trip down for the best ribs ever.

It was a busy weekend. And a fun summer time.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Montauk nights

Last night we went to Montauk. My old friend was having an art exhibit at the old train depot and the opening party was last night, so we drive down to stop in. The venue was great-I've never been in the train station there-and it is a charming little building. We bought a piece of her artwork and said hi to a few friends, looked at everything, and enjoyed a beautiful breeze that was sweeping through the little building on this beautiful night.

From there we drove out to Gosman's and sat in the front on the house where we could watch the boats coming and going in the inlet. Then we headed back to the village where we stopped for frozen yogurt before we drove back west. We enjoyed the drive, past the overlook, through Neapeague, crawling through Amagansett, and home before dark.

It was a nice departure from the norm for us, and pretty much a perfect Saturday night in August. I loved it.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Continuation

And so the perfect weather continues.

I'm not sure what we did to deserve this amazing stretch of weather. I usually don't enjoy August a whole lot. But this? This is perfection all around. I could take this on a regular basis, no problem.

So...what does that, on  a Saturday in August? It means working around the house. It means re-arranging the deck,. It means weeding the garden. It means being able to move and breathe and enjoy this wonderful, sunny day. No complaints here.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cell phones

I have such a love/hate relationship with my cell phone. I love the convenience of having a phone with me/I hate being so accessible. I love the ability to take it out and play a game to pass the time while waiting for a doctor's appointment/ I hate that it costs money and presents security risks - who needs that? I love that it is so portable/I hate that it often has a terrible reception and I can barely understand what people are saying. I love.....while, you get the idea. There are things that are very nice about having one. But do I really need it? In this day and age it seems a requirement. I have mixed feelings about it.

So I use it selectively. I often drop it in my purse, but don't always have it on. I rarely have the sound turned on so its more a convenience for when I want it, not for when anyone else does. I have the need to be in control. So it helps to keep it all in check.

The cell is not the only modern convenience I have a love/hate relationship with. But its the only once so far I seem to have under control.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

More

Today was more of the same. Gorgeous, low humidity sunshine and total perfection. I'm a happy camper this week.

It's been nice also to have a very low stress week, with very little on my calendar other than a meeting hear and there and, last night, a show to attend at Bay Street. So I've had time to enjoy myself in many ways. I've done lots of driving around, site seeing, shopping, ocean watching, and just simply sitting at home enjoying the comfortable weather. I would love to find a place in the world that was like this 99% of the time.

I think we have a couple more days of this and then who knows? No doubt there will be more humidity to come. But we are already into August far enough that we can see the end of summer looming. Backpacks and lunch boxes are on display everywhere and clearly, the "back-to-school" mentality has arrived. Parents are looking for school clothes and mentally preparing for the inevitable.

I don't like to look too far ahead. Especially now, when we are enjoying some of the best weather we're ever likely to see.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Green

Everything is so green right now!

In a few weeks, once we get timid-August, most likely we'll be seeing some brown around town. It seems as though every year our window boxes look great...until the middle of August. There is something about the relentless heat of August that seems to suck the life out of plants and grass in the dog days, and even the well-watered lawns south of the highway sometimes show the wear and tear of late summer with a random brown patches. The lush greens of July give way to the beiges of August and we know it's time to get ready for the new school year.

But today, everything, the bushes, the ornamental grasses, the lawns and flowers, all a rich, dark green. Almost Ireland-like. Another Emerald Isle. And it looks so nice.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Beauty

It's a beautiful time of year here on the East End, and I feel badly for the people who are so busy complaining about the crowds and the traffic that they can't see it.

The most amazing thing right now is the hydrangea bushes. They're everywhere, and they're fabulous. From white to purple to pink and blue, I've never seen one that I don't love. Those big showy mop heads of color just jump out at me when I'm driving down any road, often distracting me as I swing my head to see them and check out their spot on the color range. There's nothing better.

Right behind the hydrangeas are the spectacular lawns here. I can't imagine that there's a place in the world with more beautifully manicured, more expansive lawns than here on the East End. When I walk in the early morning with a friend, I am always struck by the glorious green lawns we pass along the way.

And of course there are the beaches, beige and empty no matter how busy the weekend-there are always places where you can find solitude, watching the waves, listening to the birds, smelling the salt air.

August has many charms and they're all on display right now when the weather is lovely and the livin' is relatively easy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

August

Another August is here. August always reminds me of certain things. Always.

There were the daily trips to Albert's Landing with the family when I was growing up.

There were birthday parties! Both my sisters were born in August.

There was the Calvary Baptist Church barbecue.

There was the humidity, so thick you could cut it with a knife and creating mildew in the back of closets and other dark spaces.

There was the smell of the beach that permeated everything-our bedrooms, the car, our clothes.

The smell of sun tan lotion and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches packed in the cooler. And cool aid punch in the thermos.

And the smell of the fish factory at Promised Land when the wind was right.

Some things stay with you forever, and the sights and smells of summer are surely among them.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Quiet

The house is so quiet today. The visiting family has left after a nice long visit.....and I keep waiting for them to come in from the beach and bring the energy and chaos with them.

At the age I am now life is constantly changing. We are alone, we have a houseful of company, we are busy, we are bored, we have an empty calendar, we are running all over the place....much different from the years when the kids were young and every day was pretty much the same: school, practices, rehearsals, homework-there was a rhythm to it all, day in and day out. Now, there is not a lot that's the same from day to day. Even our meal times are no longer regular. Schedules are rare.

We've had weeks now with family company and more scheduled lives than normal. But they're gone now and we'll return to our usual, oddly unscheduled lives. Busy enough, but different all the time.

The house is so quiet today.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Last night

Last night we were invited to dinner at the Devon Yacht Club and it was magical.

I love Devon. I love the setting and I love the rustic charm of it, sitting right there on the bay. We were at a table on the end of the deck, tucked in between the dunes and the rest of the crowd. The company was wonderful and the food delicious. At a certain point in the evening a bell rang, everyone stood in place, and the flag was lowered to somber silence. Once safely down the announcement was "As you were", the conversation resumed and dinner continued.

The conversation was convivial and light and we laughed and shared stories...and suddenly, with the sky turning pink in the west across the water, all gleaming in the dusk, we looked to the east and there, peeking out between the dune grasses, was the most spectacular full moon I've seen in awhile. It was huge and bright and absolutely stunning. It was as though there was too much to take in as My eyes swept across the horizon from sunset to moon rise, back and forth between breaks in the conversation. It was a little piece of heaven for a short time, but a night that I'll remember for a long, long time.

Sometimes, just like last night, life gives us a gift of a special memory. And they are to be treasured.