Thursday, June 30, 2016

Falling short

I hate being disappointed in people.

I mean, I know that we are all flawed and that all of us have our deficiencies so I'm not talking about the kind of disappointment I feel when someone I like stumbles a little. What I really mean to address is what happens when someone you have known - or thought you knew - so well, admired and respected, even looked up to, when those people turn out to have feet of clay, or be less honest or kind than you thought. Like when the sheep's clothing starts to slide off of the wolf and you suddenly see what's been hidden so well for so long. It's incredibly ground shaking and spirit shattering.

At times like these I have to step back and reevaluate my own integrity. It really is a sobering time and so disheartening on a very basic level. What else do we not know? Who else do we put our trust in that doesn't deserve it? I mean, where does it all end? Is there anyone we can really depend on in life? Perhaps that's why the Bible stresses that we need to place our trust and faith only in God, because no one else is humanly capable of measuring up.

And of course, the good thing is that it makes me see where I need to guard my own actions and make sure my own failings don't trip someone else up along the way. I would hate to see that happen.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Schedules

Clearly it's been a busy week here for me since I've missed posting two days now and realize half the week is gone now. Suddenly it's going to be July and I haven't even fully taken in June yet. How the time flies.

We are bracing here for our big weekend, but not planning much outside the confines of our own home. The roads and the beaches will be packed, and we will welcome the family for our annual July 4th cookout. A typical summer holiday weekend on Accabonac I think. My mother always did a cookout on the 4th and it seemed necessary to continue that tradition. After all, holidays are about family.

Today I'm heading west for an early jaunt to Riverhead. I expect to be home before noon and don't know what the rest of the day will hold, but certainly anticipate it will include family again, as the summer months, with no school and great weather, seems to be all about family. Especially with my daughter's family in town for their annual summer visit. I long to spend every minute with them, but other responsibilities, along with the knowledge that too much togetherness can often backfire, means well chosen moments spent together. Perhaps tonight will be one of them.

Time to get on with the day now. Hope we all find blessings and love in ours.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Breezes

We have been having some glorious breezes here lately. I really love a good cool breeze!


When we went on our honeymoon we stayed at a hotel in Acapulco Mexico called "Las Brisas". I had been working as a travel agent and for a few years I'd been dreaming of going to this place, which I thought looked to be the most romantic on earth. I studied the brochures we had stacked in the office, with photos of couples lounging around their private pools, beside their "casita" or cottage. It was built on the hillside overlooking Acupulco Bay, high above the city and cool, with the wonderful ocean breezes tickling the trees and bushes.


It was lovely, and with my travel agent discount we enjoyed a luxurious trip we otherwise wouldn't have. Early every morning the pool man would arrive to lay fresh hibiscus blossoms in the water and scoop out the old ones. It was a little it of heaven, for sure. One of my best memories.

So on days like this, where the breeze is blowing sweetly through my house and keeping the temperature comfortable and light, I often think of how wonderful it is to live in a place with such nice "brisas". I may not get fresh hibiscus every morning, but the breeze is really nice.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Picture perfect

Picture perfect days are rare, but we seem to have had more than our share this month. With only one week left in June I'm going to be sorry to see it leave because I know what lies ahead in July and August.

Last night we had a photo session planned at the beach. I booked it two weeks ago, and honestly thought it might never happen. With the entire family all in town for a few weeks it was certainly worth trying, but what are the chances, right? I booked the first night I could get with the photographer, then sat back and crossed my fingers. And it was a beautiful evening when we gathered at Wiborg's, waiting for the photographer to arrive. The kids had a great time rolling around in the sand, getting rid of some of that energy while we sat in the dune watching.

The photographer was great and managed to get some beautiful shots of all the groups: everyone, all the kids, kids with grandparents, each family-we did it all. Some sitting, some walking, some jumping, some standing on the water's edge...she got the kids to cooperate and I can't wait to see the results. I know we have some good ones coming.

It truly was a "picture perfect" night, with blue skies, white fluffy clouds, sand, beach grass, surf-what more could we have asked? It's been years since we've managed to get everyone in the same place at the same time, with a person present who could capture it all. And it was well worth the wait.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Turns

I always find it interesting when life takes little unexpected turns and things change. It happens in big ways and small ways - job changes, relationship break-ups, disagreements with friends or relatives, all sorts of things happen that stop us in our tracks and turn us around unexpectedly. It certainly makes life interesting!

Recently I've been part of, or observed closely, such incidents and how people handle these abrupt changes is interesting to me. There is sometimes anger, sometimes resignation, sometimes hurt and dismay, but always its upsetting and makes the person involved re-evaluate their life, their choices, their very existence sometimes.

For myself, I'm a person of faith so I see things like this as change for the better, although I can't always see why. As difficult as things may look, I know that down the road there will be answers that are unseen now. Not all change is good and sometimes its painful, but as long as there is a bigger picture, a plan in some great scheme of things, I can live with it. Not always happily, but I'm OK.

I find myself sad though for folks who don't have that assurance of a future in someone else's control. It must be overwhelming not to be able to imagine a greater being somewhere watching over things here. And it makes me grateful that my mother taught me about the peace that comes with faith. I will always be grateful for that.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Internet

We've been doing a project on our driveway this week. We had earlier had it regraded and stoned and have been trying to figure out what to do with the apron. Its a long story and not terribly interesting so I'll spare you the details, but the result is that this week the masonry folks arrived to install pavers on the driveway apron.

They started Monday. As soon as they started cutting the stone the fuse blew and we lost our internet, television, etc. Husband came home and reset it. Tuesday I was out all morning but according to him, the same thing happened again. Now, wouldn't you think that at this point the mason might think to bring a generator, since clearly our house could not handle the power pull on this machine. But no, they returned yesterday and the same thing happened. Only this time it destroyed our router, our modem, our whatever, and we have had no internet for two days. Only within the past hour have I been able to receive my email and do some blogging.

We become so dependent on things, don't we? for so many years a telephone was considered a luxury item. Now every home has to have one. Computers are a more recent example of that same thing. When my kids were young it was rare to have a home computer. They were becoming pretty typical in businesses, but it wasn't until my children started learning about them in school that we decided we needed to save up enough money to get one for the house. That doesn't seem all that long ago now. And yet, here we are, lost when our internet goes down. I need a phone number....oops...can't go online...where is the phone book? I have to get a message to a group of people...hmmm...will have to wait for that until we're up and running again.

The one thing I still bemoan is the evite. I don't want to get an invitation to a party, or special event of some sort, on my email. I want a nice invitation to open, to take to my calendar and record the details, and then to hang on my fridge. Call me old fashioned, I don't care. Its true. But in this impersonal world I just don't think its too much to ask. But I also know that puts me in the category of Luddite, and an old fuddy duddy one at that. Oh well....

It is nice to be able to blog again....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Elections

So - today's election day in East Hampton Village. That means my job review day.

I've done election days before but they are always a bit stressful. Even at times like this, when we have no one opposed, there is stress involved. What if someone does a write-in campaign? What if no one votes? What if I get the fewest number of votes indicating they don't like me but have no choice? So many things go through my mind.

I am a hard worker when it comes to my elected position but I know that political office is a tenuous thing. It doesn't take much to change things and the "what have you done for me lately" attitude with the electorate is pretty  fragile. It really doesn't matter how good a job you've done for ten or fifteen yedars, if you've made one misstep in the past 6 months you could be out of a job. So I take nothing for granted.

The thing is I really love the job. I think of it more as community service than anything else because it doesn't pay much at all, its more of a volunteer thing than anything else, and I truly do it because I love my home and want to do whatever I can to preserve the best parts of it wherever possible. I know that change is inevitable, but working toward channeling the change is important.

By 9:00 tonight I'll know if my job is secure for the next four years. If not I'll find other ways to go my civic duty, but I really hope I can continue this way. I think I finally have it down now...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mondays

Forget Thursday on Facebook, sometimes Mondays are the real throwback days for me.

On Monday every week I watch my three youngest grandchildren. I love them more than life itself, as I do all my grandchildren, so no one should take this as a complaint because I'm more than happy to help out in this way. but some Monday's are beyond exhausting. Actually every Monday is pretty tiring, but some are truly like no others. And they remind me of how difficult it was to be a stay-at-home mother when I was raising my own little brood.

I would say that the majority of mothers were working back then so I didn't have a lot of company, and today it's even less popular to stay at home because the economy really doesn't make it easy. But I remember thinking how difficult it would be to come home tired after a day at work, only to have to deal with a whining toddler or surly pre-teen. It's just as difficult to deal with those kids all day long, but at least you don't have to worry about being fresh and cheery for them at the end of the day-you've had plenty of time to be the perfect mother, reading stories and playing games before the fatigue sets in after all.
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I don't think either option is easy for women, but I'm happy at least that I was able to do it while I was young. I had my first baby at age 23 and my fourth at 33 so I had a few good years of energy and health left to give lol! It's surely not easy, this parenting thing. It seems as though we're awfully good at judging one another and seeing everyone else's shortcomings when it comes to this area, doesn't it?

But Monday's are especially good for reminding me that we are all doing the impossible when it comes to raising kids: we're trying to be perfect. I get just as upset with myself now as I did thirty years ago when I don't think I was patient enough, or kind enough, or laughing enough. But we are all flawed people, and I guess that's what makes us human. Letting our children see that may not be such a bad thing.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fathers

Fathers Day brings many memories for everybody. Whether you had a wonderful father, or you were one of the unlucky people to have a flawed dad who possible did more harm than good, without them, we know we would not be here. So acknowledging them on this day seems appropriate in any case.

I especially think about my maternal grandfather on Father's Day. In my life, he was the most "fatherly" figure for me, in the most common sense of the word. He was kind, patient, loving, gentle, and all the other things you think of when you think of the kind of person you might want for your own father. He is the reason my mother was the same kind of person and I saw so much of her in him. I never heard him raise his voice, or speak unkindly of anyone. The few times he got angry, he spoke with a sharp edge on his voice and you knew it was not his normal tone so something was not right!

Grandpa loved to garden. He would walk me around his yard when I came to visit, explaining each plant to me and talking about the unique beauty it held. I can still see him in my mind with his gardening hat and clothes on - he never wore jeans of course, but he had is "work clothes"- a baggy pair of old pants and an old button down dress shirt made his look complete along with the hat. When he had those clothes in I knew he also had a pair of pruning sheers in his hand.

I was in high school when Grandpa died. He had been sick for some time but I wasn't aware of the extent of things. Now I understand he had colon cancer and probably suffered greatly before the end. I last saw him in the hospital (there was no such thing as hospice in those days) and he was trying to eat some soup. but his hand was shaking so much he could barely get it to his mouth without spilling all. In retrospect I imagine he was ravaged with cancer at that point because he died a few days later, never having come home from the hospital. I was devastated. I loved him so much and it was the first real loss like that for me. I still remember every detail of the funeral home, the funeral, the people, my family - it was traumatic and its all seared into my mind even all these years later.

I've thought so much about my grandfather since then. When I had children I wished he was still around to see them because I remembered how much he loved children. And even now I look at my grandchildren and I can hear my grandfather chuckling at something they do. He was my favorite grandparent and he was gone long before the others.

Sometimes life just isn't fair like that, right?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Deck

I just spent three hours on my back deck reading. This is unheard of.

My morning was filled with a board meeting at the local historical society and I'm the secretary so when I got home it took me over an hour to interpret my notes and write up the minutes. Then, because this is one of the top 10 days of the entire year out there, I completely threw caution to the wind, made up a plate of goodies (cheese, crackers, fresh strawberries, etc) grabbed my unread magazines and reading material for my hospital board meeting next week, and headed for the back deck. For the nest few hours I read, absorbed, marked pages, made notations, grazed through the plate of goodies, and simply relished in this perfect day. I barely lifted a finger all day other than to unload the dishwasher and do a little cleaning up. No, this was a day for me.

These are rare days these comfortable, sunny days in June. They are hypnotizing and sacred, drawing us into their spell and making us lazy but content. I feel as though I've been on a little vacation actually and probably could accomplish a lot if I decided to. But I don't think so. I think this is a day to simply enjoy what nature has to offer, to soak in the fresh air and let the mind wander, not thinking about calories or work to get done, but simply taking in the things that make the world special.

Especially here in our little corner of it. I think I'll head back out there now because there's still plenty of daylight left to enjoy....

Friday, June 17, 2016

Scenery

I have to say there can't possibly be a more beautiful month than June on the East End.

Every day I drive from one place to another and my eyes can't help but see beauty everywhere. From the swans at Town Pond to the ocean spewing foamy waves up onto the sand, with skies as blue as they can be and clouds dotting the horizon, it just doesn't get any better. The grass is so green, the air blessedly free of humidity, and the temperature dropping perfectly every night is just creating the perfect place for me.

Sadly, it's about to end. With July quickly approaching we know the heat will be rising. And no doubt the crowds are about to descend. But here, in the beautiful month of June, we are enjoying the place we love so much and thinking about how lucky we are to be here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Retirements

Yesterday I talked about this "retirement" thing. Today we attended a celebration for a friend who's celebrating his retirement. It's an epidemic with our friends. I guess we need to find younger friends.

I envy people who have careers that afford them the opportunity to retire at a young age and then pursue a second career-or at least discover a new "love" while they still have life and energy left to do so. One friend has developed a studio and is enjoying artwork. Another is doing some "house watching" which keeps him busy and continues to create income. People who spend years as a police officer, or teacher, or some other civil service-type job are fortunate enough to have pensions by the time they're in their fifties and then they are free to do something other than struggle to make a living. I have some friends that use their retirement for travel and adventure, and that sounds like fun too.

If we could go back and do it again I think both my husband and I would look for jobs with a municipality or school, and by now we'd be retired and enjoying the golden years in some other way. But that didn't happen so we'll continue to pursue our pay checks and hope someday we too can join the ranks of the newly retired. It's a wonderful thing to look forward to.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Late

So its after 11 pm now and here I am blogging. I mean, what else do you do when you can't sleep?

Honestly its my own fault I suppose. Its been a long week of emotional turmoil and it all culminated with an argument with my husband right before bed. The result is he's sleeping away and I'm wide awake wondering why it is that we can be so different in the way we handle things despite the fact that we've been together for 42 years - 44 if you count dating and engagement years. So what's up with the battle of the sexes anyway?

I think so many things right now are feeding into my own self-esteem issues, as well as my resentment toward what I have or have not accomplished in my life. There's something about the realization that your life is nearly over that makes you think a lot about what could have been or should have been and of course what still is to come. Its an odd age I think - this place between retirement and death where you just sort of are. Of course I'm not retired, but its the same issues. So many of my friends are retired and it triggers the same emotions in all of us. What to do with the rest of your life? That's the big question I think.

I don't like to dwell on those questions because I feel as though its not terribly productive. Better I think to get out there and continue doing what means something, making a small difference at least in your own world locally. But still...there are lingering doubts. Have I done enough? Have I permanently damaged my children? Was I a good mother? Have I made a difference in the world? Was my life worth living in terms of the footprint I'll leave behind. So many questions. Big ones that are not my own.

So, at 11:25 at night when I can't sleep I ponder these things. And then I write them down, figuring no one will really see them - but for me at least they're more settled because they're on paper, and then, maybe, sleep will come. And along with sleep comes a new day. And a new day means a refreshed mind. Ad all that means is, as Scarlett said, "Tomrrow is another day".

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Greening

The grass is incredibly green right now. I'm guessing the combination of enough rain and no real heat yet have worked to make East Hampton take on the look of the Emerald Isle. I've never been to Ireland, but from the photos I've seen our meadows and farms would be a pretty good match right now.

This month has really been really delightful for me-just the kind of weather I love, with cool, comfortable nights and days that quickly warm up to the low 70s with little or no humidity and sunny, blue skies. I've been savoring every one of them, opening my windows wide and not using the a/c in the car for the most part. I'm loving June.

I keep waiting for the ax to fall. The "ax" being those hot humid days I so dread. If we're lucky the rest of June will stay just like this and be a totally perfect month. My only issue is that even with the extra hours of sunlight, there simply aren't enough hours in these most wonderful days.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Clouds

As I write this I'm looking out the front windows of my house,matching the clouds roll by. The sky is bright blue and peaceful, but up high are fluffy white bundles of clouds, marching across the upper atmosphere as though heading to an appointment with a storm someplace over the Atlantic.

Meteorologists love to talk about clouds and what different types mean, from the cumulus to the cirrus and everything in between, they are studied and dissected to discover their meaning and message. I remember when we were kids my mother once lay our on the grass with us, looking up at the clouds and talking about what they reminded her of. Each of us would describe the animal or other object we could find, helping the others to see them too.  It was one of the few times I remember Mom totally letting her hair down and playing with us like that. I'm sure she did it more often than not, but that's the one I remember.

To this day I find myself looking for things in the clouds. Perhaps I just want to lie in the grass again without worrying about deer ticks or mosquito-borne illnesses. Or maybe I really long for my mother to come to me in her thirty-year-old youth, more carefree and happy than she was later in life. If we could lie in the grass again, looking for shapes in the clouds, perhaps we could find that innocent, happy place again. For both of us.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Family

I'm totally enjoying family time right now. By daughter and her children arrived for their annual long summer visit and its so great having them in house. I love it.

This morning they already left for the beach. Yesterday they were at the bay, today the ocean, just enjoying their time here doing the things they love to do. And I of course am enjoying their time here just having them around.

I love having the kids wander downstairs in the morning, one by one, still sleepy and looking for something to eat. I like time with each one alone to chat and find out what's on their minds.

And of course I love the time with my daughter, when conversation can go beyond the brief phone calls from hundreds of miles away. There's something different about the ease of face-t-face conversation, unhurried and mundane. We can talk about anything without feeling as though we're taking the other's time up with silliness. Its just a different vibe, that's all. I know when she's home she's always busy. Here she's relaxed and unencumbered.

These weeks will fly by - they always do - but I treasure the every year, knowing that each time could be the last. One of the great wisdoms of age is that one never knows what's going to happen tomorrow, so each moment needs to be treasured for what it is: a special moment in time never to come again.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Berry time

The strawberries are beautiful this year.

I know they've been out for nearly a week now, but only today did I get over to my favorite farm stand to buy some. They are so plump and such a beautiful rich red color they look like a painting-almost too perfect to be real. But they are and they are delicious.

I brought home eight quarts and spent the afternoon washing, hulling, and creating with those beauties. I have a dozen jars of jam sitting on the table. I have a pound cake in the oven and two bowls for shortcake. The only thing I still need to do is whip up some cream. It will be my dinner tonight. Not a terribly healthy one but it's a once-a-year treat and I refuse to feel guilty about it.

The strawberries will be with us for a few short weeks and I'll do my best to enjoy them while they're with us. There's no comparison to the tasteless imported ones we get in January from the west coast. So the jam will need to carry me over until the next strawberry season, which as things go will be here before we know it now, won't it?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Highs

Today is one of my favorite days of the year.

Every spring my daughter's family arrives in East Hampton for an extended stay. As soon as the kids are out of school, they pack up the car, grab the dog, and head east from Pennsylvania, crossing over Staten Island, and arriving here in about five hours on the road. Today is that day.

It's so great to have them coming for over a month, affording us time to enjoy each other's company without trying to get everything into a few short days. We get to share meals, go shopping, and play games. We get to reconnect on a level that's just not possible over a quick weekend or short holiday. There are lots of cook outs and pool parties ahead and many hours of fun in the near future.

And today, even though they haven't arrived yet, is my favorite day of their trip. Because it's all ahead of me now. As each day goes by we'll be closer to the day they leave. And all this time together will make me even more aware of how much I miss them when they leave. Today it's all good. And the anticipation is killing me.

Today is one of my favorite days of the year.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

On the move

One of the things I love about East Hampton is our appreciation for our history. Today was a good day.

Two buildings that have an important place in our history were moved today. For those that understand the Dominy family of craftsmen and their place in history, it doesn't get much better.

Many years ago-in the 1940's-the old Dominy house was set for demolition. It sat on North Main Street where the family had for many years designed and built furniture and windmills, and repaired and built clocks and watches. Luckily a local gentleman of means bought the two small wings off the main house, one of which held the clock shop and the larger the carpentry shop. He moved them onto his huge estate on Further Lane, connected them with a doorway, and turned them into a charming guest house. And there they've sat ever since.

Until today. As things have been going here on the East End these past so many years, people are no longer satisfied with charming homes set on large acreage. They have to have bigger and better, because they want projection rooms and work out rooms, rec rooms and pool houses. So when the property on Further Lane changed hands a couple years ago, plans were immediately drawn up take down the existing buildings and build newer, bigger ones. (Sigh)

Fortunately the village had only recently enacted the timber frame protection code, which forbids the destruction of any of the twenty-plus remaining original timber frame buildings within its borders.

And so the new owners, through negotiation and compromise, have donated these two small buildings to the village. Today, they were loaded onto trailers, moved off the property where they have resided these past 80 or so years, and slowly made the trip up Further Lane, turning left onto James Lane and onto the back field of the beautiful Mulford Farm where they will safely reside until coming to rest at their final location, back on North Main Street where they began.

What a very special day it was.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What happened?

There was literally no traffic today.

This was one of those wonderful June days in the middle of the week that make you love this time of year. After all, the weather is perfect, the landscape is beautiful, and there is so little traffic I could make a left turn onto Main Street mid-day with barely a full stop at the stop sign. I mean, really! What could be better than this?

June, like September, is a month to savor. The crowds are light (and limited to the weekends), the town is stunning, and everyone is happy. In a couple short weeks we'll be dealing with short tempers and too many cars and most assuredly heat and humidity. But right now, for these perfect few weeks, I can sleep with the windows open, get just about anywhere in a reasonable length of time, and run in to lots of people I know and like along the way. This month may be just ushering in the summer for some folks, but for me, it's simply sublime.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sea Breeze

The sea breeze is really knows caking up today and it's making for a really pleasant one. Watching the television weather reports and seeing how hot it is west of here makes me very happy to be living out here in the Atlantic.

I'm pretty much sheltered in place on Mondays, staying in the house with grandchildren on my babysitting day. But now that the kids are gone I'm enjoying the beauty of the afternoon light and cool air flowing through the house. A quick walk around the yard yields some pleasant discoveries: the light pink rhododendron is full of blossoms and the peony is covered in buds. This has been a banner year in the garden and I think that gift is going to continue from the looks of things.

With my husband off at a meeting and dinner, I'm alone with my thoughts on this beautiful afternoon. I'm enjoying the peace in the house now and resting after a busy day. I can make something simple to eat, watch some mindless tv, or spend some time ironing for the next few days. Summer clothes all seem to need ironing, don't they?

Yes, it's been a wonderful day. It started with hugs from grandchildren, with lots of little arms around my neck at various times throughout, and will end with a quiet, cool house, organized for the week. I think I can rejoice in my blessed life right now, and I truly do.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rhododendron

The rhododendrons are beautiful this year. I only have a couple small bushes in my own yard, but there are some big ones next door that my mother planted years ago. And I've noticed them all over the village in their best dress with loads of blossoms and colorful variation. Next door there are pick and fuchsia ones and they look beautiful in a vase together. I love the big white ones as well and have seen them in other places. The deer have made a mess out of my small bushes and I guess that's true everywhere, but the really big ones, where the blossoms are up too high for them to reach, look amazing.

I keep trying to find ways to build a heavy hedge of green across my back yard where we can see the neighbor's house. I wouldn't mind if it were a traditional building, but it's very contemporary and has large picture windows and doors, none of which have curtains or any other type of covering. Call me crazy, but I don't really care to watch what anyone else is doing in their own homes, and at night they just look like big squares of light. I really don't want to put up a fence, but if I can't get more green to cover the building I may be forced to. The problem is finding plants that the deer won't decimate.

It's too late to grow rhodos because the deer won't give them a chance to grow to the height needed to make good cover, so we'll continue to add evergreens of all sorts, hoping against hope that enough of them will grow to form the barrier we need. The question now is will I live long enough to see the end result? Perhaps not, but hopefully someone will enjoy the benefits of our labor some day.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Ali

Word this morning that Mohammed Ali has died brought a flood of memories for me.

I believe I was in the 6th grade when he burst onto the scene with his fight against Sonny Liston. I can still remember two of the boys in my class at school arguing about who was going to win that epic battle. Boxing was not something we watched at our house so I had no idea who they were talking about, but soon enough it was impossible not to. He was in the headlines constantly with his brash statements and bombastic personality.

Then he converted to Islam and all the headlines were about the fact that he was changing his name from Cassius Clay to Mohammed Ali. This was puzzling to me. First of all, I thought that his birth name was fabulous-it was made for headlines. I loved the way it rolled off the tongue and the alliteration was magic. But even more puzzling to me was that he would change his name for a religious reason. I knew nothing is Islam, or Malcolm X, in those days so this was a new education for me. I was an avid reader of the newspaper every day, not to mention Look and Life magazines, and this story was everywhere.

I learned to appreciate Ali over the course of my lifetime. Brash and bombastic he was,but also a family man, a man of conviction, and someone with a great sense of humor. He was difficult not to like. Now that he's gone, in a way, another little piece of my history goes with him.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hair

Today I have to get my hair colored. Which makes me think about the whole hair thing.

When I was young no one colored their hair. Except of course for those platinum blond bombshells in Hollywood. "Bleaching" your hair, as in "Her hair is bleached" was popular with the women my mother would have looked askance at in those days. They often had questionable character and "sexy" was not something to be strived for. Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo - those were the sexy girls back then.

The only thing that happened in my house was perms. There were regular perms for my mother who, sadly, had very difficult hair to manage. It was very thick and straight as straw. In those early years she gave herself perms - they called them "Tonis" in the 1950s. Then she even gave them (called "tonettes' for little girls) to my sisters in about 1960 because they also didn't have great curls and everyone it seems wanted curls. Fortunately I was spared that torture because the smell was enough to kill you.

I don't remember when my mother began coloring her hair to hide the gray but it wasn't until I was at least in high school. No one did that until then. Suddenly it became a widely accepted practice and evolved to the place where few women in the 50's or 60's would have gray hair. The result was that women look younger than they did in my grandmother's day. No longer were women in their 50's wearing long drab dresses and sporting gray hair. Now they wore jeans and had cute hairstyles in youthful colors!

When I was in my early 40's I began to show some gray. It didn't bother me too much but I guess it bothered my kids because one of them told me one day I needed to "do something" about my gray hair. I think being in high school makes you very sensitive about appearances and I was embarrassing them. So I started putting a rinse in my hair every 6 weeks or so.

Now, I go regularly to have my hair colored for two reasons: first of all, a professional does and much better job of making the color and cut look right, and second, I can afford small luxuries so why not?

So today I'll get hair color and a trim and come home feeling and looking much better than I did when I left. Life wasn't simpler back in the day. It's much simpler now. But definitely not cheaper.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Spring magic

The weather is perfection today-have I mentioned how much I love Spring?

Yesterday was one of those crazy days where I was running from one thing to another every hour or so. Many of my days are like that, since I don't sit at a desk all day, or teach in a classroom. I'm constantly going from meeting to meeting, back and forth between towns and buildings, often having as many as four buildings in an afternoon. Yesterday was one of those days. And yet I found I enjoyed it all because it was such a great day out there. Somehow the weather effects even our energy levels as well as our emotional health.

Today should be the same. It's comfortably warm and the sky is that perfect blue hue with nary a cloud in sight. With so many beautiful blooms in every direction there's plenty to please the eyes, from the multi-colored irises to the bushes packed with rhododendron blossoms, it's a fabulous time in our gardens and yards. I even have some buds on my peony that are ready to burst. I'm checking it every day in anticipation.

Days like this feed the soul with beauty and appreciation for our surroundings. East Hampton is at its best and the crowds have not descended enough yet to make that appreciation more difficult. It's all good and I'm enjoying every busy minute of it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesdays

Wednesdays have become my favorite days.

To me, this is my day off. Its the only day of the week I rarely have a meeting, or appointment, or any serious scheduling issue. I can get the grocery shopping done, the laundry done, my errands done, and catch up on all sorts of things, like paying bills and sending cards. I really love my Wednesdays.

Today the weather is beautiful and its a great day for running around town hither and yon, stopping at the stores I need to shop in and seeing the people I need to see. Later this afternoon I have some things to do but I have the freedom to say "no" to any of them if I so desire.

Saturdays are the traditional day off for most of the world but it never worked out that way for me. When I was young I worked retail, so those were work days. When I had a family my husband worked retail so he was working and I was busy with kids home from school. Sundays were church and family days. I have rarely had days that were just mine, to do with what I wanted, or do nothing at all if that's what made me happy.

Today, having a Wednesday makes me happy. I have plenty to do, but I got the exercise and grocery shopping in very early and now its all things I want to do. And that's the very best.