Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween

As I write this we are winding our way back downstate heading for Bonac. And I am thinking how nice it is not to be home for Halloween.

I feel like a bit of a grouch -or a grinch- whenever Halloween comes around. I really do not enjoy this "holiday" at all. Never did really. When my kids were young we had no money so I always had to plan ahead and make costumes for the kids. It meant sewing, or being as creative as possible (like outfitting my sons as a pair of dice after finding two large, square cardboard boxes, painting them white with black spots, and cutting out arm and head holes. It was a laborious project every year.

What's made it worse now is that sometime in the last twenty years Halloween suddenly evolved into an adult party day. Suddenly it seems as though every business I go into I find people dressed in weird costumes. There's something disconcerting about going into a bank and having someone dressed as a convict take your money. Call me strange, but I find it all rather unprofessional, not to mention that it's impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

I will miss seeing my grandkids in their costumes tonight. But I don't mind missing the black cat behind the counter at CVS or the zombie at the grocery store. Yikes. No thank you.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Road

Yesterday we were on the road all day driving to Buffalo for my aunt's memorial service. She died in July at the age of 92, my mother's only sibling and the last of her generation in our family.

Today we had to take care of some details surrounding her death and the service tomorrow. My aunt had no other family so we had to make a trip to the lawyer'so office to deal with some paperwork, and then visited the church where her service will be tomorrow. Then, we headed to Niagara Falls for one last visit.

Because my mother lived here and we've been visiting family here since we were young, I've been to the falls before. But every time, no matter the season, it's anew experience-truly one of the wonders of the world. This time we did something we've never done before: we rode the Maid of the Mist. It was incredible to be at the base of the falls looking up at that water rushing over the top with such power and fury. The roar and the mist was exhilarating. And being nearly close enough to touch it was a thrill.

It's abittersweet weekend. I'm enjoying the time with my husband and siblings, seeing the falls and talking about our childhood memories. It will be sad to say a final goodbye to one of the fixtures in my life and my last connection to my mother. But she lived a good long life and there is no sadness in that.

It's a lot to take in during a very short time,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wind

The wind picked up today. It's the first time since the leaves started falling that we had wind and it was startling. Driving down the road the leaves would suddenly swirl up from the ground like mini tornadoes, sometimes accompanied with a plastic bag or some other small piece of litter.

And my back door had a pile of them pushed up against it, with pieces all over the door mat to be dragged into the house by my shoes. Ah yes-the days of messy back doors entrances has arrived. Rain, wind, leaves, and soon enough snow will all add to the stuff dragged in every day. I wish I had an entrance - or a mud room - to save my carpeting, but that isn't to be. Instead we put out both outdoor and indoor mats, and often take shoes off to save the carpeting as much as possible.

The leaves will continue to fly tonight as this weather will stay with us until tomorrow. No doubt the trees will be a little barer tomorrow as well, foliage being stripped away by the forces nature will apply. Winter is creeping closer every day. This weekend we turn back the clocks and darkness will reign in the late afternoons from now until the spring.

The wind and the rain will be with us tonight, just as the darkness comes so soon. But winter is followed by spring, every year, without fail, and thus life goes on...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A day

What a difference a day makes. The color outside seems to have popped overnight and my drive home from Southampton was full of surprises.

Of course, it helped that I spent some time on the back roads for sure. Once you get off the highway the foliage is lush and bright and there are more beautiful places to notice. The traffic is also that much less, so enjoying the scenery is more possible.

The best trees are the ones in full color, although I also enjoy those that are half green and half yellow.

With the sun brightly shining and the special effects that occur when it's dappled and filtered through the other trees, the show is spectacular.  It's nearing the end now-November is days away and the heat will be on in my house by early next week I imagine. But just as summer becomes autumn, autumn winter, and winter spring, the display of our landscape every October never disappoints. I love it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Leaves

S
ome of the trees are bare now, but others are still in bright array. I'm not sure why there is such a broad range of them, some are still green even, but I never know what the next corner will bring. I love the surprise and delight of autumn-unpredictable and fun.

We're heading upstate this weekend for a memorial service and I'm anxious to see whether or not the foliage is gone already when we find ourselves north of the city. I'm sure it will be past "peak" but perhaps there will still be some beautiful landscapes spread before us. That would certainly make the otherwise sad trip a bit more enjoyable.

It won't be long now before the trees are bare and the sky takes on the greyer tones of winter. I don't dread that, like some people do, but I will miss the colors that autumn presents us with.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nothing

Some day, hopefully while I'm still able to enjoy it, I would like to have a day with absolutely nothing to do. I'm not sure how to find that elusive day. But I dream about it.

I think some people use Saturday's or Sunday's as days with nothing to do. They sleep late, they read the newspaper in bed, some I think barely get dressed before noon. Then they read a book. Or watch a movie. Or take a walk, if that's what suits them. I can't seem to do that. I'm up pretty early and there is always something that needs to be done. A house always needs attention. And I was raised to feel guilty if I sat around reading a book when there were things to be done.

I think I would have to be on a vacation, away from my house, to ever spend a day reading, perhaps with a cocktail nearby, and something to munch on. A waiter would be nice. And a bathroom I don't need to go far to get to.

It would be a real treat. For a day at least. I may be able to even manage two in a row. But after that I would either become so used to the new lifestyle I would never be able to snap myself out of it, or I'd be bored to tears. Either way I suppose it wouldn't be terribly healthy for me to even try it out. Just as well, because the chances are it will never happen.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Kids

when we were younger and dragging four kids around everywhere we went, we used to get some odd looks and comments. Like "Wow-I didn't think people did that anymore!" (Have so many children) Or "Are you DONE now?"

Today I realized why we had so many children...and how blessed we are now because of it. Today, they came and helped us winterize the house. They moved furniture to put down rugs, they emptied large flower pots and stored them, they stored the summer furniture, they put the storm door up and stored the screens...they took what would have been an all day-or multiple day job and turned it into a two-hour one. And all it cost me was some bagels and pastries.

And the best part of the day was the grandchildren that they brought along with them. The biggest bonus that comes with having four children is that they give you lots of grandchildren. I think having all those children was the best thing I ever did.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

West

Today I took my monthly trip to Hampton Bays, as always, taking the southern route past the back of the college campus and through the trail of reservation shops. It was a great day for it. The sky was blue and sunny, with only one small bank of clouds, a smattering of white in a sea of blue.

Traffic is so pleasant this time of the year. I left the house about 9:15 and was on Main Street in Hampton Bays before 10:00. I had to park and wait for the little boutique shop I frequent there to open. It's one of those places you always want to check because new items arrive regularly.driving home after my shopping and appointment, it seemed even brighter outside and I grabbed my sunglasses to shield the glare.

Pulling onto Main Street, passing Town Pond and driving along past our beautiful historic homes and huge, mature street trees, gave me a feeling of deep contentment and sense of place. I'm so connected to this place that it gives me the same relief and happiness that walking in the back door of my house does.

I love the East End, from Westhampton to Montauk, but this little village, well, this is my heart right here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Christmas

I am down to my last four gifts to buy for Christmas this year. And they are tough ones.

Two are for the fourteen-year-old grandchildren-one boy and one girl. What do you buy for fourteen-year-olds? I don't think there is a more difficult age really-not children but not quite adults-an age in the middle of no-man's-land. The girl is actually tough because when I was fourteen I would have wanted jewelry or clothes, but she doesn't seem too interested in those things. The boy, well, he loves electronics but I wouldn't know where to start with that. I'm considering gift certificates, but don't even know where to go for those. Like I said, tough ages.

The younger ones are pretty much done, although I'm still working on construction with three gifts. My sewing machine is getting a work out and I'm hustling to get those gifts done.

My plan is always to be done by Thanksgiving so I can concentrate on baking, entertaining, and enjoying the wonders of the holidays. I'm close, and feeling optimistic about succeeding. Here's to Christmas 2015!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hair

I so wish I was still in my 30s. Or even 40s or 50s. Because I would love to dye my hair some outrageous color.

I see colors of all types on heads these days. Lavender is a favorite, but I would love to do pink for breast cancer awareness month. When I was young, lavender hair was reserved for elderly ladies. Remember how we used to smile at their pale blue or lavender locks, which resulted from the rinse their hairdresser used to get rid of the yellow tinge that appeared in their gray. So being a "blue-haired lady" was not a compliment.

But today, the crazy colors are the property of the young and I'm a bit envious, because I love color and seeing those pretty hues on girls of all ages always makes me smile.

This month I had some bright pink clips put into my hair in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I keep thinking how much fun it would be to have a whole head of hair the same color.

I was born at the wrong time for so many things. And now, another one...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Energy

Today was not an energy efficient day.

Since the energy crisis back in the mid-1970s, we've been very energy conscious around here. We got into the habit then of leaving the furnace off between April 1st and November 1st each year, sometimes enduring some pretty frosty temperatures on our way to that magic date only a couple weeks from now.

But today I broke that rule when I came downstairs to find that the thermostat read less than 60 degrees in the house. With grandchildren arriving in an hour I knew I needed to take drastic measures. I flipped the switch at the top of the cellar stairs and the furnace rumbled to life.

I've been feeling rather guilty all morning as I play with the kids in this toasty house. But sometimes, you just have to break the rules.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chill

Today has been a real taste of Autumn as the temperature dropped significantly and jackets or sweaters were enveloping even the staunchest of folks. Most of the family went apple picking-the perfect activity for a chilly fall Saturday-but I has a meeting to attend so I met them back at our home when we were all done. We had lunch together and then got busy peeling apples and creating apple pies for freezers. It was a nice way to spend a Saturday in October.

Now, the gas fireplace is on in the living room and the blower is pushing nice warm air into the house to ward off the cold that will follow the disappearance of the sun, which will happen pretty quickly now. Up until this point we haven't really needed it, but tonight, I think, we will.

My mind is full of things to come as we plan a trip in November, prep for Thanksgiving, and look forward to Christmas. It really is the best time of the year...

Friday, October 16, 2015

Schizophrenic

The weather today has been abut on the bizarre side here on the East End.

I was up and dressed, reading the paper on my living room couch at about 8:30, when suddenly I heard a rumble that I attributed to a passing truck, because the sun was shining so what else could it be? Within minutes I heard another odd sound and turned to look out the window, shocked to see sheets of rain coming down so hard and fast that the window was almost impossible to see through. It was pouring. I was shocked, as rain was not predicted, so I turned the local weather channel on the tv and there it was on the radar right over top of us: a bright red spot no larger than the area from Southampton to Montauk, with noting but clear skies everywhere else.

I turned the tv off and walked to the back door to see hail bouncing off the back deck and water already forming deep puddles in the driveway.

It lasted all of about fifteen minutes and then, suddenly, it was gone as quickly as it arrived. Suddenly the sun was shining again and I have no doubt there was a rainbow someplace.

I'm glad there are still surprises left in the world, especially in terms of weather. It seems as though we know exactly what's going to happen days ahead of time, with some minor surprises here on the East End, but nothing quite like this mornings. It was weird and wonderful.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Etc, etc

More of the same, here. The weather has been stunning and I wish I could bottle it all up and save it for a cold January, or a hot August, day. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to "bank" things like this for use later when we just need it for our mental health?

I'm wearing sweaters when I get up in the morning, and I never seem to be too cold or too hot. The color of everything seems perfectly coordinated, as though put together by a decorator or artist, which I guess it has. The oranges and yellows are bright, the greens soothing, the blues calm and soft...everything seems to be just right. It's as though we're taking a big breath - summer is over, the holidays are coming, and this is our time to relax and just enjoy the beauty around us and the life we are lucky enough to be living.

Yes, October is a wonder.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Trees

I saw the first real signs of autumn here today driving around town. I counted at least five trees that have already turned completely yellow. Up until this point there were areas of color appearing here and there-swatches of bright orange and yellow in the midst of green trees along the highway. But now, it's definitely here.

This weekend I see the weather predictions are for pretty cold temperatures to arrive. Once the daytime numbers drop into the 50s you know the nights will be close to frost time, so that means suddenly next week we should be seeing the leaves in all their glory around these parts. I look forward to it.

The joy of autumn is soon to be here. It's short-lived, but so amazing. And I enjoy every minute of it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Surf clouds

This morning when I left for my hospital volunteer time it was raining outside. It was dark and wet and there were puddles everywhere, and I grabbed a raincoat to take along.

By the time I came home two hours later it was a different world out there. The sky was blue and I drove east enjoying the beautiful colors of fall.

Most amazing was the clouds. Because the storm was still moving out to sea, the clouds were abundant and beautiful, with bright blue sky peeking out all over the place. It looked as though a freeze frame of ocean surf, as though those clouds had been rolling in toward the shore like water and someone shot a photo to preserve the scene for all time. It was really quite beautiful.

The rest of the day has been grayer and cloudier, with less clear sky to see, but its warm and comfortable and the rain is gone for now. Its a nice time to be here on the East End, where autumn is a very special time.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Stunner

I
t was another stunning day in Bonac today, the latest in a string of perfect October days. The sun was shining and the sky was a deep blue, dotted with a smattering of clouds.

We took our granddaughter to the farm stand in Wainscott to let her pick out a big, fat pumpkin, and it was a riot of color there. Pumpkins of every shape and size were piled high on carts, while the shelves held brightly hued peppers of red, orange and green. Smaller gourds were piled in groups of spookies, swan necks, and multicolored species of all sorts: yellows, greens, oranges, beiges...it was so pretty. And the grass. Well, the grass is a more vibrant green than it has been in a long time. All that set against that gorgeous sky, with the ocean off in the distance, it just doesn't get any better.

October continues to be at the top of my "favorites" list. And today just cemented it there. It was a holiday made in heaven and I'm ready to conquer the world tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The best

Today was the best. What a glorious day to be alive, to be living in East Hampton, and to be able to get out and enjoy it. I am triply blessed.

Today was our first Sunday back on our "Sunday lunch" schedule. My family has been gathering for lunch every Sunday since my mother started having us all over when we were newly married. It was a chance for us to connect with family, get to know each other's children, share the lives we were living-it was a real gift my mother gave us. Now, with Mom gone, we have tried to keep the tradition alive and we get together on Sundays to share a meal. I'm not sure how often I'd see my siblings if it weren't for this tradition, and I know it would be more difficult to know my grand nieces and nephews without it. Life is too busy these days, and sometimes it's nice to step off the treadmill and get reacquainted with the people who are important to us.

And today, we were able to sit outside on our deck and share a meal. In the sunshine. On a gorgeous October day on the beautiful East End of Long Island. And life is good.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Long weekend

I'm looking forward to a nice long weekend.

The thing I love about Columbus Day weekend is that it comes during the best time of the year. The weather is always beautiful, and there are plenty of options of things to do...or not do...depending on how the spirit moves.

This will most likely be a simple, easy weekend, as we have nothing on the calendar and I need a little R & R. There may be some easy jobs to do around the house and if I'm moved to do so, I may tackle one or more of those. I might. Or not. Let's just see how the weekend unfolds...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Another

It was only a little over a month ago that my eldest daughter turned forty. Today my second child, also a daughter, turns 37.

Just yesterday I was looking through old photos of my kids and thinking how amazing it was that the years had passed so quickly. I remembered every one of those moments as they were being frozen in time by my uncle's camera, and yet, they were over thirty years ago. How is that possible? I feel the same way I did then, but when I look at those pictures I wonder where that young woman went. And I feel as though those children are still just out of sight, playing in the back yard or upstairs in their rooms. Yet they aren't here at all. They're off living their adult lives in other homes. Life is quickly passing by.

Today I'll be remembering a Monday morning back in 1978 when we drove to the hospital, anxious to find out whether this little person would be a boy or a girl, and what our lives would be like as we became a family of four. Little did we know how it would on,y get better and better. Baby Elizabeth was coming to greet the world, and the world has been a better place for it ever since.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday

I had a good mental health day today.

Today was one of those rare days when I had nothing on my calendar. All day. My first note is for dinner at a friends at 6:00. This kind of day rarely happens. In fact, tomorrow I have appointments all over the calendar, two at the exact same time, which is always a challenge.

But today...nothing. So "Great!" I thought. I need to get some ambulance calls in and I have things to do at home, so it will be a home day. I slept until 6:30, got up and leisurely read the newspaper, and then pulled out a sewing project I have for Christmas. I opened up the drop-leaf table and began the tedious process of laying out the many small pattern pieces. It took most of the morning to get all the pieces pinned and then cut out of the multiple pieces of fabric needed for this project (gifts for four of the grandchildren). Then I had time for some office work out at the computer before a late lunch.

The afternoon was spent working on a clerical project I'm doing ... and waiting for an ambulance call.   Naturally, the entire day went by, until 4:00, without a 911 call. At that point I couldn't go, naturally, because there wouldn't be enough time to get home and dressed to go to dinner-the only thing on my schedule. Figures.

So I never got to make an ambulance call. But I feel more relaxed than I have in weeks. It was a good day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Memories

I spent a bit of time in the land of nostalgia this afternoon, shuffling through old photographs, choosing appropriate ones to take to Buffalo at the end of this month for my aunt's memorial service. She died in August after spending a few years in a nursing home and when we cleaned her house out a few years ago I'd collected a number of old family photos to bring home. So, with the service coming up at the end of the month, I realized it was time to go through them.

I loved seeing the shots of Mom with her sister as they rode bikes, posed in their Sunday best, or sat in beautiful bridesmaid gowns for a friend's wedding. Their beautiful suits so indicative of the 1940s were striking, and they made a beautiful pair in the bloom of their youth.  Their faces were full of promise.

There were pictures of them side by side in every era-1950s, 1960s, 1990s.....each one with the same faces, but eyes somehow wiser with experience. They were the only children of my grandparents and when she died she was the last of her generation on that side of my family. She lived a good and happy life, but saying goodbye is always sad.

Photos can transport us to another place, make us smile, cry, or laugh, and most definitely help us feel the connection we have with our roots. It was a nice afternoon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Splendor

Today is the kind of day I would cat agonize as "autumn splendor". It was a stunning day. The sky was a gorgeous shade of blue, there were some pretty white clouds to accent the blue, and the sun was warm. I was in short sleeves most of the day, but as soon as the sun disappeared the jacket came out.

These are perfect days of weather, and amazing days in life. The best things about living on the East End are here right now: weather, activities, family, community-they all come together for me in October. I love the things around me and I love the anticipation of things to come.

October is my month. If on,y it could last just a little bit longer....

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mondays

Monday's are busy days here at our house. The three youngest grandchildren get dropped off about 7:20 and I have them until a little after 4. They are busy days with dozens of trips to the potty (3-year-old-twins), and diaper changes (the 20-month-old), building with blocks, reading books, eating, naps, and all that goes with taking care of little ones.

By the time 6:00 rolls around I find myself thinking about how early I can go to bed without being awake at 5am Tuesday morning.

Today is my husband's 64th birthday and all day, as I ran around after the kids, the words to the old Beatles song kept running through my head (will you still need me, will you still feed me, etc). All I could think about was how I could remember singing that song with my friends when it came out all those many years ago, and thinking about myself as a feeble, elderly women of 64 years.

Somehow I never imagined me running around after three toddlers, potty training them, comforting them, tucking them in to bed, making them toast and jam, and picking them up when they fall.

Sixty-four must be different than it used to be. Or we were just pretty clueless. Or maybe a little of both...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pink Party

So, last night was our fund raising party for women's cancers. This was our forth year for this event and I want to share a few impressions.

First I have to say that everybody looks good in the color pink. I know some people think they don't have the right complexions for it, but honestly, everyone looked fabulous in their pink clothes, men and women alike. It was a sea of pink and a beautiful sight.

Second, people are very generous. I am always impressed with the willingness of folks to buy raffle tickets and bid on auction items. When they know where the money is going, and it's a local charity, they are more than willing to open their wallets.

People love to see each other. And they truly like each other. Seeing friends greet friends, and strangers looking delighted to meet new people, gives me hope for the world.

And most importantly, the women who work to put this party on are amazing. This is a small group of friends, not all of whom knew each other to start with, who decided to join forces to create an event with the sole purpose of raising money for local charities. We have very few meetings because we are all busy people with complicated lives. But we go out and network within our circle of influence and get donations from a very generous community, resulting in a raffle and a silent auction that is second to none. I am privileged to know every one of them.

It was a great night. And we're already thinking about next year....

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Real men

Tonight is the forth annual cocktail party to raise funds for local cancer charities. A group of friends got together in 2011 and decided we needed to do something to help in the fight and to care for women dealing with cancer, often while trying to raise children and keep their jobs and clean their houses....

The first year we did this in honor of a friend who had died the previous year. Since then two more friends have died and their names are also on our flyers and they are in our hearts as we work toward this event. It's sobering to see their photos on the easel at the entrance.

This is a long day and the event is a lot of work. But tonight I will go to bed exhausted....and very happy. Happy to have raised money to help other women get mammograms and fund transportation for their treatments....and very very happy not to have my photo up on that easel yet. I'm a lucky woman and I hate cancer.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Storms

We are in the midst of a series of storms and it's been raining on and off for two days. By next week we should have had enough rain to nearly wipe out the deficit we've had all summer. We are getting lots of rain in a very short time. Hopefully my basement won't be flooded.

The rain has been coming down all day and at times it's been in sheets. I was home with kids all day so I was able to observe it all from the comfort of my living room, watching the puddles form and the flower pots fill up with water. At least it didn't keep me awake overnight the way it did the night before. It came down so heavily the sound was incredible and by 5am I simply climbed out of bed and got dressed for the day. We'll see what happens tonight.

If all this sounds depressing, it isn't we needed the rain, and I enjoy an occasional dark and stormy day. Plus, it seems as though we're going to be dodging a big one as the hurricane working its way in this direction is now predicted to head out to sea before reaching us, as opposed to earlier predictions that had it moving right over us. That's something to be very grateful for.

Well, a few more days of this kind of weather isn't all that hard to take. Because life is good. And I've lived long enough to see another fall.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Harvest

Today is the first of October and as far as I'm concerned there isn't a more beautiful month is East Hampton.

The landscapes are incredibly beautiful in their autumnal splendor. The ornamental grasses are tall and full of fluffy fronds. The greens everywhere are deeply hued and some have given way to reds and purples. Many bushes still have blossoms, like late blooming hydrangeas and crape myrtles. And the trees are still heavy with leaves.

It's a month of change though, and change is already here. Environmentally, physically, and emotionally. It's October. And I love October.