Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Heading

We are heading in today. Heading in to the city in the pouring rain.

I have to see we have been very lucky over the years on our occasional forays into Manhattan. I can't remember a time we ever had to deal with bad weather. But today....well today is a different story. It's pouring right now and according to the forecast, it will be raining on and off all day. To add to the fun, it's warm, which means it will be hot trying to get from place to place in my raincoat.

My big question in whether or not to bring an umbrella. We'll be waiting on the street for the Jitney when we head home tonight and that could be unpleasant. It's no fun to get soaking wet and then have to sit in an air conditioned bus for three hours.

I suppose we can forget finding taxis so I'm not sure how we're going to get from place to place.

Oh well, I suppose we were due. After all, the sun doesn't always shine, not even on the Big Apple. It will be an interesting day....

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NYC

Tomorrow we're taking my ten-year-old grandson into New York to see a Broadway Show. We bought the tickets months ago and are excited to see the show and also to see HIM seeing the show. This is a kid who loves theater, takes tap dancing lessons, and dreams of a career on stage. So he will love this experience.


However, Manhattan totally overwhelms me and I'm dreading the fact that it's going to rain all day. That means looking for cabs, which will be few and far between, and waiting for buses, all in the rain. Yuck.

I think the chances are I won't be blogging tomorrow, but Thursday I could be full of stories about trying to keep track of a ten-year-old while jumping the puddles and looking for streets. Oh it could be an interesting day for sure.

Going in to the city is always a challenge. Tomorrow especially so.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chaos

It never fails, does it?

We've been working on a bathroom renovation for a month now. What could have been a three week job is now stretching on and on, and today has been the epitome of the "best laid plans" scenario.

Monday's are my babysitting days. I take my sons three little ones (three-year-old twins and a twenty-month-old) from about 7:30 to 4:00 to save his parents another day of daycare costs. I love them dearly, these special little people, but I'm clearly not as young as I used to be, and three toddlers does make for an exhausting day.

Well I love having them, and normally they all go for naps about noon. So this morning, what happens at 11:45? The glass people show up at my door to install the shower doors in the new bathroom. Yea! Progress! Boo! Naps! Well needless to say I am sitting here on the couch trying to get these guys to take naps, not in their nice quiet bedrooms, but here in the living room, where the workers are in and out, up and down the stairs, keeping the chilled amused...and awake.

Then, as if planned, a painter show up to look at the room and discuss options with me.

So far, no sleeping has occurred. But we do have nice new shower doors in place!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

First day

So yesterday was my last day in PA and today I'd my first day at home. It's been 8 days but seems
like longer. When I left I was wearing linen. Now I'm in jeans and sweaters. I was moved to get out my autumn decor as soon as I walked in-pumpkins and colored leaves and such.

We're on our third load of laundry. And I'm still working my way through the newspapers, but the mail was held and tomorrow we'll deal with that. Back into real life after a wonderful break. It's a good thing.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Last day

Today is my last day in Pennsylvania and it's been a quiet, relaxing one. We haven't left the house yet, although we may for dinner. I have eaten more this week than in the past month, I believe. So many great restaurants to enjoy. And great company to enjoy them in.

Leaving is always so bittersweet. I love heading home, where my own house await, the place of shelter and comfort to me for nearly forty years now. I also look forward to seeing loved ones back home, but seeing them means missing the ones here. And driving out of this driveway is always melancholy for me. I miss them terribly when I'm gone, but have learned to put the armor on and try not to think about it too often. It's how we survive missing the people we love I suppose.

It takes me about an hour on the road to stop thinking about how sad I am and instead begin thinking about what waits at the end of Long Island. I wash my sadness away with anticipation. And yet, those I leave behind will always be close to my heart and never far from my mind.

Love is such a difficult thing sometimes. But I wouldn't want to live a life devoid of it.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Vacations

Although this has not been a vacation in the traditional sense (no service people around to heed my beck and call, no tropical ports of call, no .....well you know what I mean) it has been a vacation from life for me and I feel so much better for it.

I do live a very busy life by choice. I like being busy, contributing to the betterment of my community and family, and making the most of my time on earth. And I enjoy it. But the stresses of that life can become overwhelming at times. Coming here to my daughter's house has truly been a blessing as I realized today I haven't looked at a calendar in a week. I live by my calendar at home. A typical day for me might be a volunteer shift from 7:30 to 9:30 at the hospital, a meeting at 10:00 in East Hampton, a luncheon date at noon, another meeting at 2:00, a couple stops for errands, and a meeting at night. A good part of my week looks like that, with weekends just as bad.

Here I don't even know what day it is half the time. I have to keep asking "Is this Tuesday or Wednesday?" I spend my days eating fabulous lunches out with my daughter amid hours of shopping or relaxing. I go to bed early in her beautiful new guest suite where I have my own bathroom, and the quiet of a retreat house. It's a pretty nice gig.

So I realize that I don't need a cruise to rest my weary mind and escape the demands of life. I simply need to take the time to get out of town. And besides, being with grandchildren is so good for the soul.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Longwood

Yet another beautiful here in Pennsylvania. September has been gorgeous so far and as we zero in on the last week it looks like plenty of good weather still to come.

We went to Longwood Gardens for a walk and lunch. Longwood is 1500 acres of beautiful gardens that were once part of the DuPont estate but now are public access and visited by thousands every year. There are constantly changing outdoor displays, changing with the seasons, and greenhouses full of treasures all year 'round. Dozens of people work to keep the flower beds weeded, the trees and bushes trimmed, and the visitors behaving. There's a wonderful gift shop, a cafeteria, and a sit-down restaurant. It's wonderful any time of the year.

We headed first to the restaurant for some lunch, and it was before noon so it was pretty empty. Service was great, the setting, surrounded by the woods of the outer gardens, was peaceful and serene. The food was delicious and lunch unrushed and I enjoyed the time to chat.

After lunch we took a walk around some of the gardens to check out the dahlias and mums. A good section of the gardens were closed to the public while they're working on the fountain area. Next time I visit they should be done and it will be nice to see the result.

Longwood is always a feast for the eyes and good for the soul. There's beauty in every direction and on a beautiful day like today, it just hit the spot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sightings

Here are some of my favorite sightings from this week in Pennsylvania:

The Amish boy - about age ten - collecting the mail at the end of his driveway in his gray shirt and black pants with suspenders and of course, straw hat. Adorable.

The store we went into that was housed in a wonderful 1817 brick building that used to be right at the crossroads of the "world" where everyone passed between Baltimore and Philadelphia. At one time it was a hotel and tavern. Next to the main building was a small brick building perhaps a stable, with a water pump still outside the door. Now it's on a back road in a small town, barely noticed by the world.

The tractor store we visited that was full of all kinds of farm supplies and had a corner dedicated to John Deere baby things like socks and bibs.

The pumpkins piled high at the local Lowe's with a price tag of $3.99 each. (About the per pound price at home)

The aisles packed with people loading the shelves when I went to the local Giant grocery store at 7am. Strangely enough, it doesn't seem to occur to our local grocers to get the shelves filled before all the customers pack the store...what do they care if you can't get through the aisles?

The Flyers paraphernalia stacked high at the local Costco.

And always, the Amish clothes lines full of laundry, neatly separated by colors and hung with precision.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Shopping

We did more shopping today and I was reminded anew at how much more fun it is to shop with another woman. Seriously.

Since my dear friend died an 2013 I have been loathe to shop. And she and I always did our shopping trips together.

I don't mean food shopping, although BJs and Costco are in this category and we often visited them - but mostly I mean other types  of shopping. Today my daughter and I wandered in and out of stores, sometimes spending a good amount of time looking and others barely staying five minutes. We went into clothing stores, furnishing stores, and discount giants. We bought accessories and housewares. I found the fabrics and notions I needed to make some special Christmas gifts. And we talked. It was the first time in a couple years I've had a nice shopping day.

Men don't shop well. They aren't interested in perusing shelves and racks and rooting out the things they didn't know they needed. I think they assume all those birthday and Christmas gifts just materialize out of thin air. They don't. They come home after careful consideration and much planning to add to the pile. In a man's world Christmas would be nothing more than envelopes stuffed with money or gift certificates.

It was nice to have shopping company again. I've missed that.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lancaster

We drove into Lancaster today, which is always a treat for me. My daughter lives not far from there, and we took advantage of the kids time at school to do some shopping at the outlets. In and out of a number of stores resulted in a number of shopping bags filling the back of the car.

My favorite part of that drive though is seeing the Amish going
about their everyday lives. We saw them shopping in their beautiful black aprons tied over brightly colored dresses. We saw horses and buggies traveling along the farm roads. And we saw children playing, or walking to school with their little tin buckets in hand holding their lunches.

Their farms are interesting too. Many of them grow tobacco and when it's harvested they hang it in the barns, rows upon rows of long brown leaves drying in the air, and the barns are built specifically for the task. Every two vertical boards are hinted at the top so they can be pushed out at the bottom and fastened to stay that way, keeping the air circulating inside to enhance the drying process. It gives the barns an interesting look, almost like vertical window blinds.

It's a unique part of the world and beautiful, rolling countryside, bright rich green in every direction now as autumn moves in. And I enjoy visiting.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday

Just a lazy Sunday here in PA today. Up early for church and then just enjoying my daughter's comfy house all afternoon. The kids are at various times reading, doing homework, and playing outdoors. I've been checking emails, texting people, watching the kids do their things, and playing games with them. It's a no-stress, easy, quiet day with no tv and no phone calls and I can already feel myself starting to relax. I needed this break.

I love my busy life. I like to feel productive and contributing to society. And I know that the day may come when I'll wish I was able to get out and do the things I always have, involved in my community and busy with many things. So I don't want to waste the time I have, while I'm still physically active and mentally somewhat together, by doing nothing. I'm not the retiring type.

But....a little R & R now and then is good for the body and soul. I'm looking forward to my week here in the hills of Pennsylvania, with no demands other than to just be here.

Pennsylvania

It's warm here in Pennsylvania, but the scenery is lovely. And being with the kids is always great.

Last night it was hard to sleep with the heat. I was enjoying the chilly nights at home but had to throw most of the covers off here as the temperature was a bit warmer than I like. Of course, the first night in a different bed is always a strange one for me. I'm a creature of habit and don't adjust easily to change. Perhaps that's a product of my age as well. I seem to remember being able to sleep on couches and floors when I was young, but that wouldn't happen now I don't think, unless I was completely exhausted. So the heat was a factor, but so was the circumstance.

They're predicting cooler days this week which should mean cooler nights as well. And as the week goes on the bed will become my own.

The grass is so green here, and the farm fields still beautiful. I miss the fields of potatoes and other crops back on the East End. I remember well how we drove through those fields as we went from East Hampton to Southampton, field after field all the way along Montauk Highway. Slowly those fields have turned into residential and commercial properties, and the open fields have become fewer and farther between. I love seeing them here in Pennsylvania-it always reminds me of "home".

I'm looking forward to driving around this week, especially in Amish country. The farms are plentiful and the memories sweet.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday

I'm leaving town tomorrow. It's time for a visit with the grandchildren in Pennsylvania so  Grandma is going to spend a week there. I do so with mixed feelings.

It's beautiful here this time of the year-my favorite time for sure. It's beautiful in Pennsylvania too though. I love the time with my daughter's family. But there are always things here I miss out on when I'm away. I always have conflicts and I always want to be both places at once.

So it's Friday-the beginning of a week away. Tomorrow I'll see the people I'm missing. And I'll miss the ones who are here. So I've come to the conclusion that the only solution is a completely selfish and impractical one. They just need to move here where we are. That's all!

Early to bed tonight because we hope to get on the road nice and early in the morning. Can't wait to get there. Can't wait to get back home. Life is certainly full of conflicted emotions, isn't it?

Road trip time.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Stunner

Another stunning day today. I'm running out of superlatives because I am loving this weather so much! I determined years ago that it was a waste of time to complain about the weather because
    a. There's nothing we can do about it,
    b. There are more important things to despair about, and
    c. Life is too short to whine about things like the weather.
But I never said I wouldn't wax on about how amazingly great the weather is when it's just the way I like it!

Well instead of repeating myself and going on and on about the sunshine and temperature, let me tell you about my walk this morning. I walk with a friend who meets me here at my house about 6:15 in the morning. We walk up the hill to Newtown Lane, down Newtown, back up to the parking lot, through the lot, then up Main Street to the library. From there we cross Main and head down one of the side streets. This morning it was Pondview, which is one of the most beautiful streets in the village. Because it's a fairly recent development, opposed to most of the roads that began as horse and buggy paths, it was designed with nice curves, reducing the temptation to speed, and while it begins on Main Street, it ends on Egypt Lane, the latter end with no houses but rather a small bridge that spans that portion of Hook Pond, surrounded on both sides by reeds and windflowers.

This morning as we approached the last houses we could see beyond them the sun beaming through the trees and illuminating the tall reeds around the pond. There was a morning mist hovering over the pond which softened the stark, tall reeds and gave the scene the look of a water color painting. It was a brand new day saying hello and beckoning us forward to complete our task and get on with whatever lay ahead.

It set the tone for my entire day and I smiled my way through the rest.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Another

Today is another beauty and if I were a beach person I'd be there enjoying it. I would have the entire beach to myself to enjoy, and just soak in the warm rays while noticing the cool breeze and lack of humidity. It's one of those days.

I love the last thing in the fall. The sun sits a little lower in the sky and creates beautiful shadows and dappled light as it dances among the branches and buildings. There's a softness to it that isn't there in the heat of the summer. It's glorious.

I have always loved September and this one has been outstanding so far. As long as the storms stay in the tropics and the temperate air stays in place, I will continue my adoration. The beaches are there for our enjoyment, and walking down
the quiet village streets early in the morning is peaceful,and cool.

Today is a beautiful day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Heat

I was a little startled this morning to walk out in the morning air and feel the chill. I love having a chill in the morning, but I just wasn't prepared for it. I knew the temperature was going to be in the 70s  so I was dressed for that weather, but driving through the village I realized I was cold. So for the first time in months, I turned on the heat.

It only took a few minutes to take the chill off and I was able to turn the dial to "off" again, and in fact later in the day I used the a/c for a few minutes to cool things down, but that early need for some warm air seemed a watershed moment. The season is changing.

I welcome the autumn. Especially on days like today where I need to carefully plan my layering options and dress to be comfortable throughout. The sun was shining, the world was glowing with the sunlight of late September, and life seemed rosy and fine. Pumpkins are appearing along the roadsides, and there are parking spaces everywhere. Ah, yes. I'm a happy camper.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Boom!

That was the sound last night when the transformer blew near our house. Boom! Loud enough to cause one to jump, and easy to identify if you've ever heard it before, which we have here at our house. Last time was a few years ago and at that time it was close enough to see as well as hear. But the end result was the same: no electricity.

We went to bed in the dark and got up in the dark. Flashlights helped, particularly as I was on ambulance duty all night and needed light to get dressed and safely out of the house to where I could get the car lights on.

It was after noon today before we had electricity again. Which of course means it was a morning with no television, alarm clock, Internet, refrigerator, etc, etc. we never remember how much we depend on electricity until we lose it, and getting it back is always a relief.

Just another of those luxuries we take for granted. And certainly a first-world problem...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Changes

There certainly has been a change in the weather here. After a summer if nearly no rain at all, we've been under showers and overcast skies for days now. We need rain so I'm not complaining, but I'd appreciate a drop in the humidity to go along with it. I'm tired of humidity and looking forward to more comfortable levels soon. Perhaps this week.

These are busy days as my calendar is full and the holidays are already looming so there's no moss growing underneath these feet. I'm taking a break to visit my daughter's family in Pennsylvania next week, but once I'm back there are things to be done. I don't have a lot of Christmas shopping left to do, but I want that done by the end of October. We have a fundraiser to put on in October, and a Memorial service for my aunt to attend in Buffalo the last weekend of the month, so October is already busy. And then....well...once October is over we know how quickly Thanksgiving will be on us.

Time really does go quickly, doesn't it? But I still remember when I was in treatment for my cancer and feeling poorly...time dragged then and I counted the days hoping to be done and healthy again. So I know feeling good means a busy life. And that's a very good thing.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Back again

Well it's been a glorious week around here. Traffic all but disappeared, left turns were possible everywhere. Lines were no where to be seen. It's really been great. I ran into a store today that I hadn't been into all summer because it's just too hard to park nearby in season. I felt as though I'd been on vacation and was enjoying seeing friends again.

Then today, there was a shift in the cosmos. By this afternoon traffic had begun to build again and parking was at a premium. I noticed a distinct change in the air as people jockeyed for position on the roads and searched for parking. Tempers began to fray and suddenly it seemed like August again.

Well, thus is the only of September. Wonderful weekdays and weekends that try our patience. But certainly more good than bad. We only have to get through Saturday and Sunday because Monday is right around the corner...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rain, rain, rain!

Finally, after all these month, we have rain. Real rain. Thunder, lightening, puddling type rain that is much needed.

I made a quick trip to Riverhead today with my daughter, enjoying the fact that we had only a few showers and there was very little traffic to deal with. We visited Costco and Target, and stopped on the way home in Southampton for lunch. It was a nice opportunity to chat with her (we don't have a lot of time alone together these days) and I was able to pick up a few necessities so it was a nice day.

When we got home about 1:30 I went to work on some administrative stuff and caught up on my paperwork....and the skies opened. It poured. It thundered. And the lightening was frequent. Our field across the street flooded and the ground soaked it all up and it felt good to know we had rain at last.

Sadly, tonight is a party which will be badly effected by this weather, but the rain is so badly needed that I really don't even mind. As I watch it right now pouring outside my windows, with its soothing sound and steady, unrelenting force, I'm smiling.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ugg

More humidity today but they're predicting rain tomorrow. Hopefully that will mark the end of the humid days for 2015. I'm hoping, anyway.

We need rain. We out irrigation in last fall and I'm so glad, because without it we would have lost some bushes and other growing things. We 're hovering around drought conditions now so if we don't get rain soon in some significant amount we'll be in trouble. Hard to imagine after so much snow last winter, but true nonetheless.

Well, too bad we couldn't pull some of the moisture out of the air right now and use that on the plants. Now that would be a nice way to recycle...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tumble weeds indeed

Today is what we call "Tumbleweed Tuesday" around here and it certainly lived up to its name. It was such a treat after a long weekend of too much traffic and too many people, and I soaked it all in.

Driving to Southampton early was so nice with no serious back-ups of incoming traffic. Heading east again at 10:00 I was pleased to be able to stay on Route 27 instead of heading off on the back roads, as there was no line of traffic trying to crawl through Water Mill. We slowed down, but we never stopped.

I met someone for lunch in the village once home, and lo and behold, the parking lot was only about half full. I parked right in front of the restaurant. There were seats to be had with no wait, and there was no problem pulling onto Newtown Lane when I left to go home. There was no traffic backed up in front of the house all day, not even during "rush hour".

I love September.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Another...

Here we are celebrating another Labor Day and the beginning of the another year mentally. I mean, it all begins with the new school year, right?

Labor Day is an interesting holiday. I never understood it's real significance until I was well into adulthood. I was told growing up that it's a day when everyone gets a day off from work. Which is really only half the story. But coming from a non-union family that was the message.

My family members were traditionally labor going back to my ancestors. Among them were blacksmiths, farmers, lighthouse keepers, railroad workers....but mostly they worked for themselves, owning their own businesses. Here in East Hampton there were no unions for many years and even now there aren't many. So while they worked hard, physical jobs here on the East End, they weren't union jobs.

My father was the first in his family to get a college degree and he started his own business selling insurance. My mother had a teaching degree, but never worked full-time after she had children, so again, no union members.

Now I have a number of children in unions between the teachers and the town civil service workers, and while I have mixed feelings about unions in general and the power they have, I appreciate the labor movement and what Labor Day stands for. Children should not be working and everyone deserves decent pay and good benefits. And I loved the movie Norma Rae! But somehow it seems strange that it's become a major retail day meaning so many people have to work. Seems a bit odd, don't you think? It would be nice if on,y essential people, like police and healthcare workers had to work today. That would be much more civil to me.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Perfection

What a wonderful weekend this has been here on the East End.

Last night we had friends over for dinner. Some we had not been able to sit and chat with for close to a year and some we see rarely, so it was a nice opportunity to catch up with one another. Food and wine are always the perfect combination for enjoying an evening of good conversation, but the ingredient that made it absolute perfection was the weather. It was comfortably warm, becoming a little cool as the evening wore on and we sat outside on the back deck. It was a delicious September night and will be remembered as such a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday weekend. As sirens wailed and car radios blared in the background, we sat in the relative peace of our back yard and reveled in the end of what will no doubt go down in memory of one of our favorite summers.

And it's not even over yet!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Last hoorah!

So here we are on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. It's been a really stellar summer, and the lack of rain is going to be a serious issue soon, but we cannot complain about the weather for sure. And here we are with a beautiful weekend to enjoy as we bid farewell to the summer of 2015.
We can only hope that our September weather is equally beautiful, but nature always seems to reverse itself so that gives me pause. We have a few months of hurricane season left and hopefully we escape again this year. But one way or another the rain (or snow) will come soon enough to. At least our basement hasn't been flooded and that's always a nice thing.

In. Few days we'll have our town back at least during the week, and that's really something to look forward to on this Labor Day weekend.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Today

I'm looking forward to today because today I get to devote all my time and energy to Piper.

Piper is all of five years old this year and next week she starts kindergarten. She is more than ready. She's smart, funny, and cute as they come and spending time with her is always a treat. She's a bundle of energy, always singing, dancing, asking questions, and just being her bright little self. I have mixed feelings about her going off to school, just as I did with my own children, because once they go to school they change in subtle ways. They begin to pick up words and sayings they hadn't been exposed to before. They experience things like bullying, embarrassment, and shame for the first time in their young lives, and they discover that the world is not always as kind as they thought it was all these years. Up until that age they've been surrounded by people who adore them and would never do anything to hurt them. That changes once they go to school full time.

Oh, of course they do see some of that in pre-school, but it's not quite the same as what they encounter in a big classroom, in a big school, with hundreds of other children. It's the age where they lose some of their innocence and are suddenly aware of others' opinions and ideas.

It's the beginning of life in the real world. But today, this last week before she heads off to school, I get to have her in all her sweet innocence one more time. And I'm going to treasure every moment of it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Good bye!

The meteorologists have promised that the humidity will be leaving today and I'm thinking that should be it for this season. Good riddance, say I! It's my least favorite part of summer and this year August has been a bear.

I'm also not sorry to bid farewell to the weeds that seem to grow faster than I can pull them out. I won't miss that at all! Nor will I miss the need to plan my life around the easiest times to get in and out of stores, grab some groceries, pick up a newspaper, etc., etc. we will pretty much be able to stop thinking "crowds" and just enjoy everything the community has to offer.

So good bye to the negative parts of summer and hello to the positive things that continue well into autumn. It's "our" summer and we've earned every minute of it. It truly is the best of times.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September

How could I miss September 1st? Well, it's been that kind of week but here we are in September and I'm thrilled.

I love this month! Even though the calendar says we haven't passed Labor Day yet, it feels like September. The mornings and evenings are cool, the days are warm, and the sun is still shining brightly. It feels like September.

Next week we'll officially have our streets back, at least during the week, and life will return to a more stable and easy pace. School will be in session, the autumn plants will be in bloom, the beaches are still beautiful and I can grab a sandwich at a local deli without standing in line. Life is good and the East End has come back to us. It's a wonderful time of the year!