Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Changes

Today is my eldest daughter's birthday and since I'm in a totally life-changing period in my life right at thsi moment I can't help but reflect on what a life-changing moment it was in 1975 when I gave birth to her at Southampton Hospital.

I was only 22 years old when I married my husband. Almost 23, but nevertheless I was young. To find out only a few months after the wedding that I was pregnant was shocking to say the least. I was in no way prepared for that. I'm the type of person who takes their time reading, learning about, and generally being totally in control of every situation I find myself in. I was not prepared for pregnancy. Or parenthood.

In the midst of my trauma I did exactly what I'm doing during my present one: I threw myself into the process of learning everything I could. I read books, I study the LaMaze method (still a fairly new concept back then), I went to classes, I picked my sister-in-law's brain because she was pregnant for the second time then, and I did everything I could to make up for lost time. I immersed myself in the process of pregnancy and childbirth and raising children. Because I needed to feel as though I had some control over this situation! Of course as everyone knows there are some things we have very little control over and childbirth is one of them.

Nevertheless, I thought I was ready. I wasn't. Bringing this precious, perfect baby home from the hospital was terrifying. I had no idea what I was doing. I somehow managed to keep her alive and learned on the job (as most of us do) and my life was forever changed. This tiny being taught me about love in a way I never imagined was possible. I learned what it means to lay down your life for another. I discovered that I was less self-centered than I thought I was and much more tuned into the needs and wants of another. And I learned to suppress my own needs in favor of giving everything I had to her. I was so in love with this child that I gladly had another, and another, and then even one more. Because I knew that just like lighting a new candle with the one I already had, it wouldn't diminish the light from the first, but only add to the glow as each new one was lit.

I'm beyond blessed in my life to have four amazing children. Right now, in this new time of change and trauma, they are my lifeline. I'm indeed warmed by the glow of their flames, which has only grown as they have added even more wonderful people to my family throughout the years.

Yes, August 30th, 1975 was indeed the beginning of my real life. And so it continues today. Happy Birthday little girl!

Monday, August 29, 2016

New car

I bought a new car yesterday. New for me but not new in years - its a 2013. But I'm excited about it.

I had a car that was only a 2010 but it has proven to be a real burden, and I had to put a completely new transmission in it this summer which set me back a good amount of money. I decided I needed someone smaller, cheaper, and more reliable. So yesterday I went shopping with my son.

I'm not crazy about the whole car shopping thing. It seems to me that there should be prices on cars just like there are on clothes. If there is a sale occasionally to cler out dtock that's fine, but all this haggling and negotiating gives me a headache. Why shouldn't the price be the same for me as for anyone else without that nonsense?

Wll anyway, Wednesday I'll go pick it up and be very excited to be bringing how something newer and more trustworthy and with lower monthly payments. That will make me very happy.

What's better than a new car, anyway? Like discovering all the funny perks your new spouse has. Only in this case much easier to trade in.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rant

OK I try to keep my blogs light and uplifting but I have to say today I am going to rant a little. Not because I'm having a particularly bad day or because I'm especially unhappy but just because I'm a bit overwhelmed with something that people keep doing: giving me advice.

I'm a bit amazed at the number of people who feel qualified to comment on my situation with unsolicited advice or opinions. I mean, there are very few people in my circle of friends (and family) who have been where I am right now. And yet many of them seem to think they know better than I what I should be thinking and doing in this situation. Really? For instance, I've had people recently tell me I should: sell my house, move out of town, file for divorce, do one terrible thing or another in retribution, and even offer an option on how I should conduct my business, travel, or spend my money.

Now here's the thing: I know that 99% of those opinions and suggestions are well meaning and come from a place of love, or at the very least concern. But honestly, no one knows where my head and my heart are right now and unless I am specifically asking for help or advice, I don't need it. When I do need help I ask for it. And I go to the people I know will give me the wisest, most considerate answer.  I'm overwhelmed enough with my life at this particular moment and your suggestions often just add to the chaos in my brain.

So what do I need? Well, a shoulder to cry on, non-judgmental compassion and understanding, an offer to lend a hand if you see a need, or even just a smile and hug would be really nice. Its so much easier to just "be there" than it is to try to think of just the right thing to say, isn't it? And that's something you can never "do" the wrong way....

Just a word of advice! LOL

Friday, August 26, 2016

Traffic

The August traffic is nearly unbearable here this week. We all know that August is the worst month of the year and this year is no exception. I am so looking forward to Labor Day now!

I drove the ambulance to the hospital once today. One trip was all it took to assure me I didn't want to do it again, despite the fact that the alarm went out at least another 8 times after that. Struggling to get through traffic that has no desire to get out of your way is frustrating and maddening and its all I could do to keep my cool. Once was definitely enough!

Now as I write this blog I'm looking at stop and go traffic, bumper to bumper, right in front of my house, trying to get through the intersections on either end of my spot here and not having much lunch with it. Tomorrow will be worse and I have to drive to Southampton in my car in the morning, i.e. no lights and siren to get me anywhere! Once I get home though I hope to stay. That will be my pleasure for sure.

Labor Day is next week. It simply cannot
come soon enough for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

4am

So its 4am and I've been awake for an hour now. I finally gave in to the insomnia and am downstairs doing the things I would normally be doing at 6, which right now means blogging and getting my bank deposit ready. and thinking about things other than the ones keeping me awake.

I've dealt with insomnia before. There was a period of five years right after my cancer treatments ended that I was on a medication and one of the side effects was insomnia. But in that case I would wake every night at about midnight or 1am and then be awake for two hours. It was awful. But at least I would eventually go back to sleep and have a couple hours before I had to get out of bed for the day. This latest torture is worse because I sleep until 3 or 4 and then I awake just enough for my mind to begin churning. With the issues I'm dealing with now I just can't turn it off. I am so full of unanswered questions that its like a slow torture. The thoughts just turn over and over in my head, and none of them can be answered by me so there is never any resolution. If I could go to my computer and look up the answers I could go back to sleep, but that's impossible, so I mull them over, and over, and over ad nauseam. I hate it.

So today my decision was to just get up and start my day. At 4am.

And I know I'm going to regret it tonight...

Good morning all!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fall-like

These past few days here on the East End have been absolutely fall-like and I'm loving every minute of it. The humidity is non-existent, the air is cool, and I can comfortably work around my house with no trouble at all, not to mention the fact that with non-working a/c in my car I'm not dying every time I get into it.

I know the humidity will return for at least one spell before we're done with August, but I am loving the comfort this stretch ha afforded. And its making me long for those crisp fall days where a sweater is called for and sleeping with the windows open is such a pleasure. Its the smallest things in life that I treasure. Sometimes they're the only things to hang on to, but at the very least they make life so enjoyable. I find myself watching the sun go down earlier every night and thinking how nice it will be when I can curl up on the couch and simply enjoy the fireplace.

I'm worried about hurricanes this season. I don't know why exactly, although it seems my run f bad luck does put me into the "If it can go wrong it will" category recently since that's the way its going. But the warm water is concerning and an already busy tropical season has me wary as well. We may be due for a bad one but I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. Just putting away the summer furniture is going to be a huge chore for me this year.

Lots of new things or me to deal with. A new season is only one of them. And so...life goes on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Artwork

When I was in school I dreamt of being an artist. Or an art teacher. Or maybe a graphic artist. I wasn't sure what exactly, but I wanted to pursue art.

I had a guidance teacher that thought otherwise though

So I never was able to pursue my love of art and I have missed it terribly. But I'm happy to say I've reawakened that passion lately thanks to a friend with an art studio and her willingness to share her knowledge and materials with me. I have discovered the art of glass fusing.

I'm able to spend a few hours in her studio every couple weeks and its been so fulfilling. I'm learning new techniques and vocabulary, and I'm finding my first love again. Its making me very happy. The nights I come home from her studio are my most contented times and during this especially stressful time in my life its been very centering and makes me happy, if only for a time.

Who knew? Of course Grandma Moses was pretty famous once she hit about 80 so maybe I still have time....

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ellen's Run again

Yesterday I walked in Ellen's Run again. It was the seventh year of this event for me, although the first year I was too tired from chemotherapy to actually walk, so it was my 6th year participating.

As always, it was a hot and humid day and I didn't deal with it well. I think I got pretty dehydrated and began to feel nauseous and headachy at about the 2 1/2 mile mark. It was tough going at the end and my lack of planning left me feeling pretty yucky the rest of the day as I'm sure my electrolytes were off and it took my body awhile to recover. It wasn't until this morning that I felt really good again.

Despite that it was a great day. I walked with 7 family members and we had a good time together. We went for breakfast when it was over and the kids enjoyed their usual pancakes and eggs, eating with abandon and enjoying every morsel.

The thing is in this 7th year I still love this event. There's a wonderful love that permeates every moment of it, from the volunteers who work at the registration tables to the folks that bring up the rear of the finish line, there's a palpable feeling of purpose and meaning to it all. As much as I'm sure there are serious runners who don't really care what the money goes to, there are so many people there who have lost, or love, a breast cancer patient/survivor. Clearly not all the participants walk 3.1 miles very often and some of them struggle to make it in. It is a labor of love, completely.

It's a very special event. And I'm thrilled to be part of it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

New life

So I'm discovering many things in my new life alone. I'm finding an independence I didn't know I still had after all these years. I'm beginning to appreciate peace and alone time. I'm learning to do thing for myself, that I want to do and when I want to do them. And I'm learning that there are adventures out there I can still explore. I'm adjusting to life alone, just as everyone told me I would.

I would never have chosen this change in my life. I miss my old life and I hate that this happened to me. But I am in general a positive person and I'm not the type to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I have my moments, but I don't allow them to last. I pick myself up and move on, knowing that attitude is always half the battle. I've faced other challenges in my life and I've always managed to deal with them. I know I can do the same this time.

Lately I've been reading a lot. I always loved reading but found it difficult to do in a small house with no quiet space. But now, I find myself curling up on the couch with a good book and suddenly hours have passed. I started a new novel yesterday by Dan Brown and already I'm having a hard time stopping to go to bed at night. Its a pretty long book but I think I'll have it done in a week. I need to start looking at the NY
Times bestsellers lists again, something I haven't done in many years now.

I also started a project here at the house, prepping a room for painting and working toward some other home projects as well. With cooler months ahead its a good time to work on physical challenges. We did all the work on this house when we were younger, and as much as I've enjoyed being able to pay other people to do these manual jobs in more recent years, I can and will manage them myself. As much as I resent being put in this position at this point in my life, after working so long toward  more comfortable and easier retirement years, I am capable and I will persevere.

I'm feeling pretty energized at the moment, reminded of my skills and abilities and working toward accentuating the positive, as the old song encourages us to do. Because I don't want to spend my final years being sad and living with regrets. Hopefully I'll be beyond the sadness soon. Because there's still a lot of living to do.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Predawn

This has become my favorite part of the day: the hour before 7am.

I never used to get out of bed before 6 and often stayed in until 7. This was because as in so many areas I deferred to my husband who wanted to get up and out by 6:20 so I simply put my own desires on hold and stayed put, waiting for him to vacate the bathroom and leave for the morning. Now that I'm alone I have forever recaptured that hour for myself and find that I'm never in bed after 6am,  most mornings I'm up earlier, about 5. For the first time in over fifty years my own needs and desires are coming first. And I'm rather enjoying it.

I love the darkness first thing in the morning and I love seeing the light slowly come up in this part of the world. There's something magical about that emergent world and everything seems fresh and new. As the light slowly appears, vague, dark shapes begin to define themselves and come into sharper focus. The air is quiet and cool and my spirits are buoyed by a good night of sleep and plans for the day ahead. I find I'm never more upbeat and ready for whatever I'm facing than in those early moments before dawn.

The light is amazing too as it streams through treetops and forms shadows everywhere. And here I am, not even 7:00 today but I'm all ready to head to the dump, stop at the grocery store, and get myself organized for a busy day.

This is my new time of day and I'm never giving it back again....

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday

As I write this the sun has not even begun to show itself and darkness surrounds me in this office where my desk and computer are. I'm facing two walls of windows here and I see nothing outside of them other than blackness.When I went out to get my morning paper I saw a beautiful moon hovering over everything, almost full and beautifully bright.

The streets are very quiet at this hour with only an occasional vehicle passing and very little noise even from the highway that's usually so busy with delivery trucks and other noisy things. It reminds me of a song from the musical "Guys & Dolls" where Sky Masterson sings about his favorite time of the day - just before dawn. It's a wonderful time to be up and around, before the busyness of the morning, while the world is quiet and peaceful even on this busy corner of it. August doesn't give us a lot of peace here in the village so I welcome it right now.

Friday is always a welcome day as well because regardless of how busy it is, we know Saturday and Sunday are coming. Those are days of rest and refreshment for many of us, and we welcome them.

My weekends are not as much fun as they used to be, when I had a companion to spend them with. I miss that very much, but I still enjoy the fact that there are generally no schedules to follow, or at the very least not heavy ones. This weekend I have a meeting for one of my volunteer organizations and a funeral to attend, but that's unusual to be sure. Other than that I'll get some cleaning done and maybe organize a closet, but otherwise I'll be reading and relaxing and that's always a treat.

So Friday is the gateway to a couple of easy days when we
regroup and refresh, and for that I'm very grateful. We need that, every week, to keep our spirits strong.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Emotions

It always amazes me how our emotions can create such a roller coaster in our lives. Right now, as I work my way through a particularly difficult time, I find I go from one day feeling so sad and desolate to the next where I think I have totally got this and I will prevail! It truly is like night and day sometimes.

I suppose that might be one of the ways our bodies protect themselves against despair. We are such complicated beings and its so easy to drift off into days of despondency. But if we are generally healthy, and our bodies know how to best ward off all the bad things that can come our way, it makes sense that our mental state does the same thing as our physical state does. It sends "antibodies" to the place it needs to in order to keep from getting a fatal infection. Our minds can certainly tell when we are slipping into a black hole and can find ways to avoid such a disaster. I totally think its true - call them "mental antibodies" if you will. Whether its a conscious or unconscious effort on our part, we know how to keep ourselves in a healthy state regardless of what infections are floating around waiting to attack.

So here I am at the start of a new day, feeling upbeat and positive. I've taken steps mentally and physically to protect myself from the things that are involved in a full frontal attack on my well being and I'm feeling pretty positive about where I'm heading. I think its going to be a very good day....

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Kids

Today I had four of the grandchildren for another day. I normally have them on Wednesday, but today I was needed unexpectedly and was happy to take them. But I'm tired now.

Kids have a wonderful way of realigning our thoughts, don't they? It seems as though even in the midst of the worst week just being with children can bring us out of our funks and make us look at the world in a more positive way again. It helps us to remember what's good about the world and forget for a few hours the people who make the world sometimes a miserable place to be. It shifts out focus. It makes us smile again.

I adore my grandchildren. The same way I adored my children. And I was never a "child" friendly person honestly. I mean I wasn't one of those women who reacted to every infant with glee, or bent down to speak to any child in a store of on the street. There are some people who are just drawn to children. I was never one of them. I wanted a family, I just always imagined I would have a career outside my home and kids wouldn't be my main focus in life. Of course, once I had the first one I was hooked and children definitely became my focus for the thirteen years that followed that event. I loved spending my days with them, constantly amused and fascinated by the things they said, the way they learned
, their development and personalities. I loved doing kids! And now with the grandchildren providing me with an endless stream of amusement and love, I can't imagine my life without them. Where else can you get unsolicited hugs and kisses and the kind of affection that only comes from the purest of hearts.

So today, this minute, while I may be tired and slightly cranky after my long day of childcare, I probably feel better about life in general, and mine in specific, than I have in a a long time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Deluge

I was driving home from Southampton at 10:30. I'd done my volunteer time at the hospital and been to the doctor's for a regular check up and I was heading home. Suddenly, as I got to Bridgehampton, the sky opened up and the rain came down as heavily as I've ever seen it. It poured.

All I could think of was the wide open windows I'd left at home. As the rain came down so hard that the windshield wipers threw long streams of it off the windows and the cars in front of me were barely visible, I worried about that was happening to my couch, my knitting bag, all the things that I'd left exposed by leaving those windows opened.

I had watched the weather before I left home. They said we might have deluges but not until after noon. I thought I was safe in leaving the windows. And closing windows in an unairconditioned house in August is not something I like to do. It would be oppressive when I returned.

When I got home I ran into the house in the rain and ran to grab a large towel. Once I got to the windows I was shocked to see that there was no rain inside. Well, maybe a little bit, but nothing like what I expected. The rain must have been coming straight down because very little had come inside. And I was so grateful for this small miracle!

I left the house as soon as I closed all the windows and by the time I drove out of the driveway the rain had slowed to a shower. When I got home an hour later I threw those windows open again and let the fresh air come in. And once again thanked God that there would be no mildew this time....

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The dump

The East Hampton Town dump, formally known as the recycling facility, has become a place of fascination for me. To us old timers who remember the days before recycling, when there was a big hole in the ground that we all pulled our cars up to and tossed our garbage in, it will always be " the dump". That old facility is now a small mountain covered with grass that I pass every once in awhile. I always ponder what could be done with it. What a great sledding hill it would make!

But now that I'm taking my own garbage I'm beginning to enjoy seeing what the dump is all about. It seems to take on different personalities on different days of the week and at different times. I like it best early in the morning-before 7:30. There are so few people there that we acknowledge one another with a wave or a smile, sometimes even assisting with something awkward or heavy. One morning this week a nice an came over to help me with a large cardboard box I was stung going to get out of my car. I had folded it down and it became an awkward piece of cardboard, but he grabbed it with a smile and I thanked him profusely.

This morning I arrived after 8 and the whole tone of the place was completely different. It was busy and cars were cheek by jowl packed into the spaces while their drivers hustled around doing their thing, completely oblivious to anyone else in the vacinity. I prefer the early version myself. Because if you have to go to a place like the dump, you might as well have fun doing it, right?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hot mornings

I usually love my mornings in the summer because they are cool and comfortable and easily used for getting work done around my house. Not lately though.

We've been in a real brutal heat wave here and my house is showing the results. It's too hot for doing much and even the slightest effort physically results in a full flop sweat, with hair askew and makeup non-existent. Its not a good time for working at all.

This morning I went to the dump at 7am. It wasn't a particularly difficult task, only some flattened boxes, the weeks newspapers and glossy junk mail, and one bag of household garbage. Simple enough you would think, But by the time I got home from that simple task I was done.
cardboard

I would like to do some vacuuming and dusting in this house that is sorely in need of same, but I hesitate. I'm just not in the mood for it right now. And sitting in front of the fan with a good book is so much less strenuous!

I think first I'll head out to the home office and pay some bills. And then, maybe a book is just the ticket for me today....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Jam packed

Yesterday was a busy day for me. So jam packed in fact I had no time for blogging.

From the moment I got out of bed until the time I climbed back into it, I barely had time to think about where I was going, running from one thing to the next. It's good to be busy and everything I was doing was good. But today I'm more than happy to have a less frantic day.

My caution, if you will, is that I not use "busyness" as a drug right now. I don't want to be numb from the fact that I'm not slowing down long enough to "feel" the things I need to feel, working through the emotions that I have and moving on to a happier, healthier place. Being busy can be a very good thing, and I've always enjoyed it. I'm not a "leisure" person and have no desire to spend hours at the beach or lying in a hammock. But at the same time, there is value in being alone with your thoughts and knowing your head.

These days I'm actively working on being busy. At the same time I have to make sure I leave time for meditation and reflection in every day. Right now, more than ever before, I think my life and health depend on it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Weeds

Weeds have become the bane of my existence. I hate them.

I love a beautiful garden. But I hate the work that goes into having one. I've tried to fill my garden with perennials and ground cover to keep the weeds down, but no matter what I do, the weeds seem to overrun everything and they make me feel beaten down and weary just looking at them. I don't want to use weedkillers or pesticides at my house, so those are out of the question, and the idea of being on my hands and knees trying to clean out the over
gown garbage just makes me ill. I don't know how my mother did it because she was wedding and pruning her beautiful gardens up until the day she died at 81.

Not everyone is meant to love gardening, I realize, but I wish I could enjoy it enough to keep what I have looking nice. Or that I could afford to have somebody else come and do it for me. Because I do want a lovely yard and nice flowers. I love coming home and seeing Black-eyed Susans at my door and hydrangeas around the yard. But these weeds. I just can't abide by them any longer.

I'm thinking astro turf and silk flowers might fool a lot of people...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Busy

I've always needed to keep myself busy, but never as much as I do now.

I remember back in the '60s asking what the term "rolling stone" meant, because of the band I suppose. I knew there had to be some meaning behind the term. My father related it to the saying "A rolling stone gathers no moss" and it made sense to me. I guess I've always wanted to make sure I don't gather any moss because I've always been a person who wants to work, be busy, be productive, achieve things. When I was home with my kids we spend a lot of time doing crafts and reading books because it was as much for my enjoyment as theirs.

Sometimes people say to me "I don't know how you do everything that you do" but I always smile and shrug my shoulders. The truth is I like being busy. It's not altruistic or self-sacrificing, its fulfilling for me. I can enjoy reading a good book and taking time to rest and relax, but its not what I want to do all the time. In fact, a fun vacation for me would never be sitting on a beach all day. I prefer sight-seeing, exploring, moving all the time. I could sit for hours in a train if I had scenery to study, but being in a plane with nothing but clouds to look at is pretty boring to me.

So now, during this difficult time in my life, I find that being "busy" is more important than ever. I need to keep myself occupied lest I dwell on things I don't want to. I work at always having a focus and never letting that proverbial moss grow between my toes. Being idle is not the best thing right now. And the times when I am are neither healthy nor happy ones.

So here we are on a Tuesday morning and I'm heading to the hospital to volunteer. It will keep me busy for hours and that's the perfect antidote for what ails me. Nothing better indeed.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Morning

Today I'm remembering the scripture verse about weeping and sorrow lasting for the night but joy coming in the morning. I think its in Ephesians but I'm too lazy to go onto biblegateway.com and look it up!

Saturday was a hard day for me. I was lonely, sad, and generally thinking life was over for me. It was a day of grief and anger.

But then Saturday night I was able to get out of my funk, be with good friends at a party, enjoy the music and community that are so vital to life, and today I feel like a new person. Isn't it amazing what a difference a day can make?

As I sat in the tent Saturday night - and I do mean tent! It was the size of a circus tent with about 700 people in it - I looked around at all the people eating, dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves and I remembered what one of the wise counselors in my life told me only a week ago: with love always comes pain. And its true. But pain loses its grip eventually, let's us down slowly, and allows us to move on to new realities and better days. It may leave scar tissue, but it won't always be as sharply painful and debilitating as it was in the beginning. That thought made me smile and I knew I was looking forward to my life as it is now, or as it will be, whichever that may be. I don't know where I'll be next year, or next month even. But I know I'll be happier and more whole and feeling much more like the person I know is inside here. And I look forward to that.

Weeping and sorrow may indeed be part of my life for this time. It's part of the process, I know. But joy does truly come in the morning. And for that I'm very grateful.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Clowns

This was a sad weekend for me. I was busy, and socializing, and trying to have fun...but there was a deep sadness that ran through all my busy days. I'm feeling very much alone right now.

Yesterday as I ran around doing things like going to the dump and watering the outdoor plants and window boxes, I remembered a song from my youth called "The Tears of a Clown". It talked about how we put on our game faces, smile for the world, but when no one is watching we do nothing but cry. I can so relate to that right now.

I remember quite a few years ago now - maybe 15 - someone telling me I had such a blessed life. I agreed that I did, but added "I don't like to think or talk about that too much because it seems as though it could all go away at any time and I know its not anything I earned so I'm afraid of losing it." And I was.

And I have. Its that harsh reality that makes me sad. I have moments where I think I'm in a bad dream and will wake soon. But then I know its real and there will be no waking from this nightmare. My spirit is crushed and my soul is aching.

So I put on my game face - because no one wants to see the tears. And I go out into the world and smile and laugh and pretend that I'm fine. But I wonder if I'll ever be fine again.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The hospital

Tonight I'll be attending the annual fundraising gala for the Southampton Hospital. And I'm honored to do so.


I was born at Southampton hospital. When I was in high school I saw my beloved grandfather for the last time at Southampton hospital. I gave birth myself there in 1975 and have visited many friends, family members, and others there over the years. Recently I was given life-saving surgery there when I was diagnosed with cancer. And I've held new grandbabies there seven times. A small community hospital is a touchstone for the people who grow up in the surrounding hamlets and Southampton is no different. It provides us all with life-saving measures when needed, comfort when necessary, and a haven when in search of one. Like our schools and houses of worship it provides us with some of the things necessary to maintain life.

Without things like the annual gala it could not survive. Philanthropy is vital to its health and this is one way we can support it. So tonight I'll head to Southampton to be one of the many who are there to offer support and love to this place we local citizens love so much. Here's to the future of our hospital which is so important to the future of the East End.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Candles

I've started a new craft that I'm enjoying in my free time. I've been making candles.

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, candle making at home was a huge thing. I remember friends creating candles for gifts, and I enjoyed making them myself. It was the hippie era and candles were very much "in" then. In fact, we had a store in East Hampton that not only sold candles, but sold all the necessary tools to make them. I remember wax in large sheets about 2 inches thick. They were heavy and bulky to carry, but necessary for the process. Along with the wax we bought dyes and scents and various other things needed to create lovely homemade candles of all types.

It was not without its challenges. In order to make candles we needed some type of double boiler set-up because the wax had to be melted on the stove and carefully handled because it as scalding hot. However, we enjoyed making these things that took us "back to the earth" as we liked to say back then. Nothing like sitting in our bell bottoms, burning a homemade candle, while knotting a macrame belt or embroidering flowers on a denim work shirt.  Ah yes, those were the days!

Well the entire process has become much easier, as I learned when visiting my daughter a few months ago. I watched as she and my granddaughter made candles and it peaked my interest in this long-lost craft of mine. I came home and got onto Amazon and now, here I am. the new soy candles, the whole thing is so much easier. Flakes of soy wax come in bags of 5lbs or 10lbs or more. The wax is simply poured into a large Pyrex container and melted in the microwave. Five minutes later its all melted and all I need to do is pour in my chosen scent, add some color, and pout it into whatever containers I've found to use.
With

I love candles and I'm thrilled that its so much easier than it used to be. Because I'm not twenty years old anymore and all that mess that we used to deal with is no longer an issue. I'm making candles and feeling a little bit like a hippie again and that I do like.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Lessons

Despite the fact that lately I feel as though life is over for me - at least the life I knew and loved - I see signs of hope and renewal everywhere. This morning it was right by my back door. The Black-eyed Susans that the the deer have deflowered at least once already, are suddenly in full glory. They've had to summon their resources and come back to life, showing the world - and me - that sometimes its just a matter of time until we can manage to overcome.

I believe in new beginnings. I believe in renewal. I believe in redemption and restoration. I wouldn't be much of a Christian if I didn't embrace those basic principles, would I? But sometimes, especially when you get to be my age, you tend to think you're at the end of your time here and there isn't all that much renewal that's possible. I'm thinking those flowers are telling me a different story today, because I thought I was never going to see another blossom on them - at least this year. But nature had something else in mind.

And I'm grateful for the lesson.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Perfect

Today is one of those rare perfect days in the summer: sunny, comfortably warm with low humidity, low traffic because its mid-week, and not a cloud in the sky. Total perfection.

I'm not sure how other people are spending today but I'm simply taking it in. I had a few errands to do this morning which I was done with my 10:00 and since then I've been sitting out on my deck, reading, snoozing, looking at my beautiful flowers...whatever the spirit moves me to do. I am just enjoying this time of perfection on the East End because I know it won't last. The humidity is returning an the air conditioner will need to be turned back on in order to sleep again.


I rarely take "lazy days" but this one certainly is one. I'm not going to waste it, although there was a time in my life where I would have thought sitting around reading was the very definition of wasting the day. No, I'm going to continue doing exactly what I am right now. Only what I want to do, Perfectly in sync with the weather, just drinking it all in.

And why not?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Washing

The rains came this morning and the air feels as though its gotten a good washing. It's clear and cool and downright autumn like. I'll take it.

There's nothing like a good rain to make us feel as though we will weather any storm. Its the afterglow of the feeling, that the water has brought life to everything, that its washed the streets and sidewalks, that the humidity is gone, that the sky has given what it can for the continuation of the world and all that's good in it. Its a clean new start.

There are still clouds up there keeping the sun at bay and in August that's a good thing. I can do without the heat right now! But I know it will be back for a few weeks at least. I'm already looking forward to September when the cool crisp air returns and everything is as I like it once again. I love the fall. And I can already imagine a day of picking apples with the kids and doing some fall cleaning in my house. Again, the sign of new beginnings. I'm ready for that. I really, truly am.

Monday, August 1, 2016

New life

I actually feel as though today is the beginning of my new life.

It was only the first of last month that my life took an unexpected (shocking really) and different turn and I suddenly found myself alone. Like a death, only worse because it was someone's choice to leave. But the life I knew is over and I need to create a new reality - a new future. Up until this point my daughter has been here with me, visiting with her children, and they left yesterday. So suddenly the fact that I'm alone is pretty much in my face now, unbelievably real and undeniably sad.

So today I am thinking about new beginnings. I've had new beginnings before - when I left my parents house, when I got married, when I had children, when they all left home. But none were as dreaded or as difficult as this one. This was not my choice and not what I had hoped for. Nor was it something I would ever ask for. So I find myself thinking about how I want to craft this new life of mine. Do I want to, or will I need to, go back to work somewhere? Do I want to look for new volunteer opportunities? Or do I want to simply enjoy my new free time by organizing my closets, reading books. creating artwork....all things that could help fill those newly empty hours and days.

On the one hand it seems as though its all ahead of me, a book unwritten and ready for chapters to come. On the other I'm feeling as though there were so many wasted years when I could have already been composing had I only known. I wish I was at least twenty chapters in right now.

But life it unpredictable and each year a mystery. So I'm taking one day at a time, which is all any of us really can do, isn't it? Stay tuned. The adventure is just beginning.