Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Traditions

It was a somber but wonderful Memorial Day.

I don't remember the first few years of my life, but as far as I know I've attended every parade since I was born. My father was a veteran, of course, and though he was not active in the local VFW in the years I was growing up, we knew that it was an important day to him.

When I was in the 6th grade he took all of us to visit the parents of his best friend from the war years who was killed in action in Europe. He had been, for the first time, to visit the places he fought, and while overseas he visited his friend's grave and took a photo for them. When he contacted them to tell them about the photo he wanted to send, they invited him to come for a weekend instead. His friend's father was the chaplain at West Point, and that's where we went. I remember sitting in the living room of their home on campus (attached to the beautiful chapel) and staring at the large portrait of their son which hung over the mantel. He was standing tall in his uniform, forever young and handsome. It could have easily been my father's face, but fortunately for me, it wasn't.

It dawned wet and windy this year. We went to Main Beach at 9 for the flyover wreath laying, but visibility was too low for flying, so the wreath was taken out by surfboard and set into the water beyond the breakers. It seemed fitting for this community.

It was pouring at 10:00 so I took my big umbrella and went to gather with other officials at the reviewing stand. By the time the parade kicked off the rain had slowed to a drizzle and we were able to stand and watch without hoods or open umbrellas, walking down to the green then and standing for the short ceremony.

Things have not changed much on Memorial Day here in East Hampton. The kids no longer ride their bikes in the parade, and the veterans from WWII are old and few now. But others have taken their place. The community still comes to remember the ones who didn't return. Like my father's friend. I still remember his name.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering

This is the day we honor the fallen.

Some folks seem to confuse it with Veteran's Day and send out thanks to everyone for their service to our country, which is well meaning and always appropriate, but not what today is about. Today is about the millions of soldiers who have died in defense of this place we call home, this America that we love so much, from the Revolutionary War to the War in Iraq and beyond. Its in honor of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, many from right here on the East End.

And more than even that, its to remind their families that their sacrifice was mourned by us, and that it will not be forgotten.

And its to remind us that there is a cost to this freedom and we must never take that for granted. Too much blood has been shed over time in the interest of keeping us free, and no one should ever forget that.

On this Memorial Day I thank God for those who were willing to stand on the front lines, or cross into enemy territory, or serve on a ship headed into harm's way, or drop bombs on cities to prevent them from being dropped onto ours, or face an enemy face-to-face on my behalf. I thank God and I pray that I will be worthy of that willingness and make the most of my time here. May it ever be thus.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Salad

What is it about the summer that makes us want salad? I'm making potato salad for the family cookout tomorrow, and this will be the start of salad season.

I guess its supposed to be "cooler" to make salad. But for me it really isn't. Cooking a five pound bag of potatoes is not cool. The steam that comes off those puppies is brutal! I sweat more making a potato salad than I do making baked potatoes, that's for sure.

I'm guess the "cooler" is in the eating. It certainly is more appetizing to dig into a nice cold macaroni or pasta salad than it is a baked potato or cooked veggies. And its easier to get on the table once the work has been done hours before hand.

Well its also cooler not to eat at all but I suppose that would be impossible, although in my case it might be a good idea. I know on hot, humid days I don't feel much like eating, so that's helpful. But there are times it doesn't matter - food must be prepared and put out, and that means work.

Well today I'll get the salad made for tomorrow. That along with the hamburgers and hot dogs from the frill will make the bulk of the meal. And then the cold, cut up fruit will really be a welcome part of it all. Yum.

It's a holiday and that means family and food. So time to get ready for both....

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cleaning

It may be a holiday weekend for the thousands of folks who've arrived on the East End in the past two days, but here its business as usual.

Today I'm cleaning my house. And getting ready to entertain tonight and Monday. Friends who have sold their house and are leaving town are coming tonight for one lat dinner here. It will be a bittersweet night as we remember a good friendship and many evenings spent together, while sharing their joy in a new adventure as they move to Connecticut.

So, cleaning it is. And although the heat seems to have arrived, it hasn't been bad so far, with healthy breezes coming in off the water and keeping things pleasant. Despite the fact that there is work ahead, I'm looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Whiners

One of the things that bothers me no end is when people leave this area and then have nothing nice to say about it. I mean, you are welcome to live where you want to live, but you don't need to be critical of other people's choices!

It reminds me of someone who might come to your house, leave the next day, and then trash your decor and housekeeping online to all their friends - where you can see it. Really?

I belong to a group on Facebook whose members all grew up on the East End. They supposedly all share a love for the place they grew up. But many of them have nothing nice to say about it. I can't quite figure out what they're doing there. If they hate it so much why bother thinking about it, or visiting it, at all?

I think the issue is they are nostalgic for their childhood. They want to return to the place they grew up,  but it no longer exists. And that would be true no matter where you grew up because everyplace changes, unless its Mayberry, a fictional place that is always the same. No place in this country is the same way it was in the 1950s or 60s. Times change, buildings change, empty lots disappear, people move....this is life in America. So what they really want is to return to their home town and find everything exactly the way it was 50 years ago.

There's a saying that "You can't go home again". Maybe that's what it means. But here's the thing. At the very least remember that some of us still live here, work very hard to make it a great place to still live, and resent it when you trash talk about it. And I don't think I'm being overly sensitive.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

In the air

Although the weekend hasn't officially started yet, there's no denying that the feeling is in the air. I think this must be unique to a resort community because it's not the same at, say, Presidents weekend in February. I think it has to do with the hustle and bustle all around as people get their homes ready for "the season". If you call any business about having something done, the answer is the same: "Is after Memorial Day OK?"


Of course for us it always is. With prior experience in retail, we understand in this house how everyone who Summer's out here wants everything in place by Memorial Day. The house must be clean, the lawn immaculate, and the fridge stocked. Because when they arrive Friday night they want to be ready for their fun.

But as those of us who live and work here know, it's just business as usual.

And so regardless of what's "in the air", it's just another Thursday here on Accabonac Road...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Philosophically

This time of the year makes me philosophical. The tourist season is upon us,many the complaints have begun. I find the natives get pretty restless...and a lot impatient.

I've lived here my whole life, so I'm used to the summer crowds. They've always been with us. Of course worse now than fifty years ago, but hey-nothing is the same way it was fifty years ago! I've learned to adjust to it all. I don't make left turns, I find ways around the busiest places and plan around the busiest times. I shop very early in the morning and I don't try to go anywhere on the forth of July. This is where we live and I love it 9 months out of the year. I tolerate the other three.

But sadly, others who live here allow themselves to get angry, impatient, and stressed. And that's not good for any of us because they get equally impatient and angry with us. It's as though someone claims open season on all of us and no one is safe from the crazy driving and unpleasant language, regardless of who lives where.

I guess I have a hard time understanding why folks who are that miserable don't go someplace else. For me, the joys of this place far outweigh the other side of things. If it didn't I would go.

I much prefer to see the bright side of things. After all, I live in a place that people pay a lot of money to visit. I love it here and I feel very fortunate to be here. And a little traffic is not going to make me sad about that!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nostalgia

I always find it interesting how a brief or chance encounter can send me into a long nostalgic period.
It's another way that our brains play with our emotions and show us how closely related everything is in our minds.

This morning I was contacted by someone via the Internet who was looking for contact information on someone who I knew over thirty years ago. I didn't have the information they wanted but I knew I could find it, so I promised to see what I could do.

All day I've been thinking about these people. In fact, that's about all I've been thinking about. I've been remembering good times shared, and other friends we shared back then. I've remembered specific events and conversations, and I've longed to reconnect with them for some reason.

And I'm thinking that it has more to do with a longing for the past than anything else. There's something very appealing about being young again, when all of it was ahead of me, and life was good. After all, a young body, young love, and plenty of future would be pretty sweet.

While waxing nostalgic is not always productive, sometimes it's inevitable.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Children


Image result for grandchildrenBy this time on any given Monday, I'm pretty much exhausted. I watch my three youngest grandchildren from 7:30 to 4:00. Every week it reminds me that I'm not as young as I used to be.

But spending my Monday's with little ones is a real education for me. Which seems odd since I raised four of my own. But I guess I was so busy in those days I didn't see the things I'm seeing this time around. The fact that I'm less stressed and more mellow may not give me any more energy, but it does allow me to step back a little more often and watch. And I do.

I'm fascinated with the inborn personalities of these three. Each one was clearly born with their own temperament, sense of humor, and personality perks. Since there are twins in this group, I've been able to watch two who are exactly the same age, growing in totally different directions. One is as outgoing as the other is laid back. One is as quiet as the other is load. And then there is the third, who follows these twins, and rather than what I would expect, which would be a very pushy kid trying to get his own needs and wants in there, he is the sweetest, mellows St child you can image. I could never have predicted these personalities based on what I've read about birth-order and personality traits.

But it reminds me of what a wise doctor said to me when my eldest' blue eyes finally turned brown about the age of two, which was rather unexpected. He laughed at the surprise and said "Fortunately, kids don't know what the rules are!"

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Funday

Today was a "Sunday Funday" for me.

We attended the baptism of two children in the family today. Two of my nieces had babies and decided to do something together, so baby Thomas and baby Sadie were baptized in the beautiful, historic Old Whalers' church this morning. It was a lovely service, which I had the privilege of performing at with other family members, and we rejoiced in the births of these beautiful new members of our family.

After church was over we met at my sister's home for food and it's been awhile since I've seen some of those family members so this was a special treat. Watching the youngest generation playing together, as we would folks sat and enjoyed our conversations, was life-affirming and heart-warming. It was such a joy to be with people I love.  And to celebrate life and family.

I kept thinking about how my mother must have been smiling down on this crazy, wonderful bunch that she was responsible for. I hope she was watching.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Clouds

Today is a bit bipolar I think. The morning was bright and sunny, warm even. I wore a long-sleeved shirt but no layers as has been my usual lately. Simple cotton was all I needed. It was a nice day to get out in the yard and work on projects.


Here it is late afternoon now though and its cloudy, cold, and downright depressing out there. It looks as though rain will begin falling at any moment, and I suspect that's exactly what's going to happen.

May has been a strange month this year. We get glimpses of summer, with warm days looking every bit as beautiful as a day in July. The landscapes are never more beautiful than they are right now, all bright green grass and lovely spring flowers in every direction. Even the beach looks inviting, although I'll admit I'm not a huge beachgoer. I do love t look at the surf though, and it was beautiful today, with slowly rolling waves creeping up onto the shore. The sand has been replenished from the ravages of winter and clearly we are ready for the season to start.

There's that undeniable "thing" in the air right now - the feeling of the season getting ready to burst into full view, with crowds descending and parties plentiful. Riding through town today it was evident as crowds were beginning to appear on Main Street and bikers were everywhere. Yes, its coming at us quickly now. Not much time to waste if we aren't prepared for it.

The clouds are going to be with us for a few days I guess.It seems to be a pattern we're in right now. But by the end of next week the sun will break through again and truly usher in Memorial Day, when it rarely rains. Time to hunker down...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday

It's Friday. The best day of the week. We have the entire weekend to look firward to and life is good on Friday.

So far today I've met a friend in the village for breakfast, put a cake in the oven, and picked a huge bunch of lilacs for my kitchen table. There are still quite a few wonderful blooms on my bushes and I may get one more good bouquet before they're done for this year, but it may rain tomorrow and I want to make sure I have some fresh ones in case it's heavy rain and marks the end of these beauties. It's been a banner year for lilacs and I'm so happy because I love them so.

The cake is for tonight. The family is coming for a cookout and we'll be breaking in the new grill. With this the best weather day of the weekend it seemed like a good idea. I still need to take some chicken out of the freezer and stop at the store for bread.

I'll leave the house as soon as the cake is done so I can do a couple errands before going to work at 11. Then home to finish the first potato salad of the season and get ready for the crowd.

This is the beginning of the season and it will be a great one. Because I'm going to make it one.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Overnight

Well we got our rain...overnight! The perfect time for rain. The walkways and grass was wet this morning when we went for our early walk, but now the sun is shining and the skies are beautiful. This is how we like our weather!

Tomorrow is supposed to be a perfect day and we always love to hear those forecasts.

This morning I went into my computer and booked flights for our trip this coming November. We're taking our two eldest grandchildren to Disney World for a weekend. This will be the third year in a row to visit that magical place, and it's a bit of a record for us. We haven't been able to take regular yearly vacations throughout our life together, so flying to Florida three years in a row is pretty exciting.

Now that I've made the air reservations I'm getting excited about the trip. I love that place and having these two grandkids (and their mothers) with us will be really great. I've found that anytime you get a few family members together it's a special treat. I love the chaos of having everyone at once, but breaking things down has pleasures of its own. We'll be making memories again. I love to do that. When you get to be our age you realize that memories, at the end of the day, are our best friends.

And it's really nice to have something to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

No rain!

It seems as though everyday this week they've been predicting showers on and off. So far we haven't had a drop of rain.

Weather out here on the end of the island is always it's own thing. It's as though we live in a bubble, creating our very own weather patterns as various systems hit the water and suddenly move north or south,or break up completely. So every time I watch the weather predictions I do it with a grain of salt. If there happens to be a heavy, large system barreling through, we'll no doubt get it. But these little variable systems aren't much of a threat usually.

There's still a few showers passing in the next day and we'll see what happens. Maybe one will actually get to the ground, but I'm not too worried. And Friday is supposed to be spectacular, so even if the rain does find its way here tomorrow, the sun will be right behind it. And that's the best thing about the weather! It's here today, and gone tomorrow, always changing and never totally predictable. At least here on Long Island.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Peers

One of my favorite things to do with my time is to sit in a peer group of women. I get to do that on a pretty regular basis with the knitting group at my church. We have a ministry knitting prayer shawls. These prayer shawls are not the kind you wear for prayer, but rather shawls to envelop a person who needs to be reminded of our prayers -and God's love-for them. We give them to folks in the community who are going through rough times, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. We give them to dear friends who are moving away and leaving our fellowship, or who have lost a loved one. They are a gift of love.

Anyway, we meet on a regular basis and knit together for a few hours. The group is made up entirely of women, not because men are excluded, but none has ever shown an interest in joining. We are all middle-aged/elderly women, again, not because anyone is excluded but simply because those are the people that seem to be interested in participating. So there you have it.

Being with one's peers is freeing in a very real way. We are comfortable because we're with our peers, and we're in a "safe" place: we trust each other. The conversation is honest, free-flowing, and intimate. It's one of the few places I can go and not feel guarded or patronized. I love being with other women who aren't catty or gossipy or belittling. We support each other and encourage each other. We care about each other.

Maybe I've been in politics too long, but I find it all so refreshing.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Moving on

It hardly seems possible that we are halfway through the month of May already, but how quickly the days are flying by. They do seem to move more quickly as we get older. Even the long days go by so fast. Each one is to be savored and none to be frittered away.

This time of the year is especially easy to enjoy, and I am. My yard is full of lilacs and lilies of the valley, two of the most fragrant and beautiful things that grow. I take the time every day to look at them, and to stop and drink in their scent. It is heavenly.

There are garden spots popping in every direction and they are a treat for the eyes following a long winter. I think by August we take it all for granted and hardly notice, but now, as each bloom bursts open, we rejoice. Spring is much sweeter because it follows winter. Now is the best time to enjoy the view.

We are moving on from the showers of April and soon will be ushering in the warmth of June. What a perfect time of the year this is.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Breaking through

Today has been a mix of sun and clouds with some blue sky breaking through every so often. Its colder than normal for this time of the year, but warmer days are predicted for the rest of the week so we have that to look forward to.

And looking forward I am, with less on the calendar and more time to get things done this week than last. Coming back from a week away is always difficult and last week was no exception. But now I'm caught up and ready for the days ahead.

I'm liking May this year. The weather has been enjoyably unpredictable (can you tell I like things to be unpredictable?) and I'm happy that the heat has not set in yet. In a matter of weeks the traffic will build and the heat will be turned up and things will be much more regular, with heat, humidity, and cars everywhere. I'll take this right now - I'm liking it a lot.

This is a lazy Sunday here and I'm happy to be just relaxing and staying close to home. I may even bake something. Hmmmm...now that sounds like a plan....

Super Saturday

This is my idea of a "super Saturday".  The weather is spectacular-sunny, warm, pleasant. The sky is the color of hydrangeas and the breeze is light and refreshing. The trees and grass are bright green, flowers a popping all over the place, and the screen door is bringing in fresh, clean air to the house.

This morning was taken up with a seminar I had to help with, but once home I was able to get two of my planters done so now there are flowers on the deck. I put out some hanging planters a few days ago, along with a couple large geraniums, so the deck is starting to look beautiful, inviting and sunny for the months to come. Once the window boxes are done, the weeds are pulled, and the rest of the pots are filled, we'll be ready for summer. Its been a good day of work and as far as I'm concerned this is what a "super Saturday" looks like - forget the sales and special events that advertise that way.

Tonight we have dinner with friends and then we go see a jazz concert in a small, intimate venue with some talented musicians. Its a great day and it doesn't get much better.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lilac time

My lilacs are finally blooming. I went out this afternoon and cut some stems to put in my white enamel pitcher in the kitchen and I was happy to see that most are still tightly closed, but there were enough just opened to make a nice bouquet. The smell is already filling the house.

I should have lilacs for at least the next week or two. Fortunately they will be around long enough to bring me a great deal of joy before they fade for yet another year. I need to prune them back a good deal because some are too high to reach and cutting them back will help bring them all down to a reasonable height for next year.

Lilacs are one of the gifts of May, followed by the azaleas which bring such a variety of color with them. I wish I had some white lilacs to mix in with the lavender but I don't. Maybe I'll go to the nursery and see if I can find one. Hum my. I sense a mission.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Melancholy

Today is a melancholy day for me. It's the birthday of my friend, who I lost to cancer two years ago. We always celebrated birthdays together, so today seems pretty empty.

I've discovered why it is that I miss this friend so painfully. I realize that there were two people in my life who accepted me as I am. They listened to my hopes and fears, shared my joys and sorrows, and understood my strengths and weaknesses. They wanted to know what I was thinking, how I was feeling, and helped me make decisions. They were my sounding board. They knew who I was, where I've come from, how I've grown, and where I want to go. No one else on earth fit that description.

So, I still feel a bit disconnected from the world and miss having someone to be my sounding board. I love my children, but I would never burden them with the things I wish I could share with someone. And because my history is all behind me now, it would be impossible to find anyone who could fit this bill.

Loss is hard. We all experience it, but it becomes more tragic for most of us as we get older. For so many reasons.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Busy days

Now that the weather has cleared and the sun is out my days are busy. There are plants to buy, curtains to hang, lots of spring duties and house maintenance issues to manage.


Here is a typical day in my life: 7:00 am -Head out to the hospital for volunteering; 9:00 am -Run back to EH for an executive board meeting at village hall; 10:30 -Grab some groceries to fill the empty cupboards; 11:00 -Run to the pharmacy to grab my prescription; 11:30 -stop to get a couple signatures on my voting petition; 12:30 - Get something to eat; 1:00 - Meeting for a church group at private home; 3:00 -Home to put my feet up; 4:00 - Possibly a Little League game or some such thing; 5:00 - Home to change clothes; 5:30 - Head west again for a dinner obligation; 8:30 - Home for the night; 9:30 in bed. And so it goes, more or less, with that as a typical day in my life. Oh, its different every day - in about 15 minutes I'm heading to Southampton for a meeting at the hospital, then home to watch my sweet granddaughter for awhile, then dropping her cousins off at their house after picking them up at various places, etc.....each day different but each very full.

I love this life. I love the variety of it and the busyness of it and I don't want it to be any other way. Its especially enjoyable when the weather is perfect the way it is right now, with the sun shining and the temperatures comfortable...I am a happy camper.

I think the most difficult thing about being sick, having chemotherapy, or a chronic debilitating illness, or injury, is simply that it takes us out of what we do that makes us who we are. We can't do errands, or the activities we enjoy, working, or playing - its alters out lives and we no longer have control over what we do. Its devastating.

Right now I'm healthy and doing all the things I love to do. And grateful for the blessing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Morning walk

Tomorrow morning is a walking morning. A friend and I walk for 45 minutes or so three mornings a week. She comes here at 6:30 and we head off into the village, walking one of a number of routes that we have worked out, walking and talking as we get in some cardio and work up a good sweat.

I hate it. And I love it.

Tonight, knowing I need to get up and walk in the morning, I am not happy about it. I don't like getting out of bed and I don't like exercise and I don't like sweating. Tonight I hate it.

Tomorrow about 9am I am going to love it.  By then I will have gotten my exercise in, washed my hair, put on make-up, and I will be feeling proud of the fact that I got up early and walked. In fact, I will most likely be feeling a bit superior about it. But mostly I'll be glad to know I did what I needed to do for my health, and that feels better than everything else.

So tonight I am not happy. But tomorrow I'll be very happy. And thus my love/hate relationship with it all.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Make-up

This has been a heaven; day for me. I called it a "make-up" day. Because I normally babysit on Mondays but today I was given the day off so I had a free day, all to myself, with no plans on the agenda. And after a week away I needed it.

To top off this free day, it is simply perfect weather. The sun is shining, the temperature is pleasant, I am wearing long sleeves but no jacket (my kinds of day), and traffic is still nice and tolerable with only we locals tooling around. I did all the things that needed doing: sorted a week's worth of mail, threw a load of laundry in the machine, visited the local flower store to order something and picked up three hanging planters while I was there, stopped at the pharmacy, went to village hall to check in and met with some folks there to discuss roads and parking issues, met with someone who I needed to make plans with for this weekend's seminar that I'm helping with, paid my town taxes, wrapped some Christmas gifts, bought groceries.....it's been a most satisfying day! I simply took each task that needed doing and checked them off the list, one at a time, completing each and then moving on to the next. I feels good to be organized and feel as though I've actually done something other than race from one thing to another. And to top it all off, tonight is a free night too! (With the exception of the fact that I'm on ambulance duty, but that's something that could be no bother at all...we shall see!)

I would go so far as to call this a "mental health day". Its not the kind that some people take, which amounts to sitting around in pajamas reading a book or whatever, but it was a day to get things done, move forward, and feel good about where I am. And all that was accomplished.

The rest of the week is a busy one, with plenty to keep me hopping. But for right now, for today at least, I feel very much in control. Its been a good day.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers

I miss my mother. Everyone who has lost her mother misses her, so I'm not alone there. It's a universal thing, right? Our mothers are pretty special people in our lives.

But today I've been thinking about women in general and the way we connect with each other. I feel such a special bond with all the women in my life. My mother was the first and most important, of course, but there have been, and still are, so many others. I had two grandmothers, both of which gave me special gifts in terms of my self-esteem and my feeling of being worthy of love. There were aunts who also showed me love and for that I am so grateful.

But the women who are still in my life, are still helping me along this path we're all on, are the ones who are my contemporaries, and my descendants. First came my sisters, and as everyone knows, siblings share a special connection borne of shared histories and growing pains. Then there are my daughters, who hold a piece of my heart in their hands. And the women who my sons brought to me, my daughters-in-law, who also have special places in my heart.

There are the special friends who have seen me through some pretty tough times, and even those that are only connected through the experiences of life, the ones we work with, or go to church with, those we socialize with and went to school with. They are all parts of the tapestry that make up our lives and each is important in their own way.

On this Mother's Day I'm incredibly grateful for all the women in my life, young and old, living and dead, amazing all and loved by me.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Life

The best thing about spending time with the family here in Pennsylvania is that it is intense togetherness. At home I see my family often, but in smaller bites. We see them at dinner, at church, at ball games or school programs. We have children overnight for for a day. But here we live in their home, in this case for an entire week.

Living with them means watching the ordinary moments in family life, like packing lunches for school, hurrying out the door for play practice, heading to bed after a long day. It reminds me of what a gift it is to have a family and be surrounded with the energy and life of youth. It reminds me of the years when my own children were small and climbed into my lap for comfort, or love.  It reminds me of how they needed me then, and makes me smile to see how my grandchildren need them now. It's a time of self-examination and gratitude, of introspection and sometimes, regret. It's a time to cherish.

I wish they all lived close to me, these children and grandchildren. But since that's not possible I appreciate the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. And hopefully continue to grow in the experience.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Time

It's too easy to lose track of time here away from home, off my schedule, out of the routine. Suddenly I look at the clock and it's suddenly time to turn in for the night. Where did this day go? What exactly did we do? And what day is this, anyway?

Our days are full, but not our normal. We are busy with the things used to do, such as dropping kids at school and other activities. We are also shopping and enjoying some of the things we don't have at home, like shopping centers and big box stores. And most important of all, enjoying the company of our family. We don't see them enough, living so far from them, so the days are precious here. Time is not to be wasted.

We still have a few days to enjoy here and then we'll be back home and into the familiar routine of it. Life goes on and we have our place in the world. It's a good place and I'm happy there. But happy here as well. And that's truly the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bedtime

I always look forward to bedtime. I remember when I was young and it seemed almost like a punishment to be sent to bed. I hated going to bed. But how that has changed!

Of course I still hate missing anything. Life is so short that wasting so much time sleeping seems a shame. But trying to appreciate anything, or do anything, when tired and badly in need of sleep is worse than missing out. I look forward to recharging, to having a sound sleep, and recovering from the busy day.

Today has been one of those days. We've been busy and I'm tired. I'm ready for bed and not at all hesitant to miss anything that mught happen while I'm gone,

Its time now. Sleep is welcome and its bedtime. And I no longer look at that as any kind of punishment at all.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Old friends

We've visited with three old friends this week: one Monday at breakfast and one today at lunch. It served to remind me that some friends are destined to stay forever in your lives, having left indelible impressions on our hearts in years past and left us wanting to reconnect again and again. It is the shared memories, the easy conversation, the pleasure of like-minds and similar hearts that connect us and seeing people like that again is always a joy.

Monday we ate with a childhood friend. This was someone I went to school with for thirteen years, working our way through the difficult years of moving from childhood to adulthood together and creating a strong bond along the way. Shared childhoods is a rare thing to take into adulthood, usually limited to our siblings and other family who manage better to stay in touch through the ensuing years.

Today it was a former colleague, someone who I shared an office with for seven years and continued the friendship outside of work after that up until they relocated and connections became more tenuous. It takes work to stay in touch with those from away. Our lives are busy and full. But friendships are worth the effort.

Three friends in one week, all of which we haven't seen in over a year. And being with our family from away as well. It's been a very good week so far.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Manners

Visiting in Pennsylvania  makes me question why New Yorkers have such bad manners. And I don't mean New York City folk-I mean all New Yorkers.

We were in a fast food restaurant for lunch today. The folks who took our order were incredibly friendly and full of smiles. While we were sitting down eating our lunch, not one but two people came by to ask how everything was and if there was anything else we needed. Then as we were getting ready to pack up our stuff and leave a nice gentleman came by and said "You have a lot of fries left there - how about I get you a bag and you can throw them in the oven when you get hungry later for a snack!" And he did. Then he grabbed a couple ketchup packets and thew those in too. By that time we had piled our tray with garbage to be dumped into the container on the way out but he took that from us and did it for us.

I was reminded of the last time I went to McDonalds in Southampton. The female voice from inside the box at the drive through chastised me for not pulling up to the second menu board. I hadn't even ordered - or uttered a word for that matter - and I was already getting yelled at. Talk about demoralizing!

We left today smiling. I'm not sure that has happened at a fast food restaurant in New York in a very long time....

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Travel

Today was a travel day as we drove to Pennsylvania to visit the family there. It was a good trip with little traffic, with the exception of the rain, which is always challenging. Fortunately the light traffic made it less stressful than usual and we made good time coming down.

Of course visiting anywhere means being out of one's usual routine, with a different bed, shower, routine, etc, and that is always a challenge. As I've said before, when I was twenty I could sleep on the floor with no problem. Somehow with age (I.e. Aches, pains, and being "set in our ways") we become less flexible in so many ways, and it always takes me a couple nights to settle in. So I expect tonight to be a restless one, but our accommodations are exceptional and being here is a joy because I miss these family members. I would sleep on the floor if I had to, but fortunately I don't. I'm glad to be here.

I'm looking forward to being here, spending time with people I love and having fun sharing their family life with them for a short time. It's not easy being away from the special people in our lives, but I'm lucky enough to be able to do it regularly. I know it will become more and more difficult for them to come to us, as their oldest enters high school in September. Their lives - and schedules - are about to get very complicated. Hopefully we'll be able to continue coming in this direction for some time because otherwise we will see less and less of them, as is what happens in the natural scheme of things.

I consider that to be one of the sadder results of this modern world.