Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Enough

Well I must say I'm totally on schedule for the holidays so far. I've purchased and wrapped all the gifts, the decorations are up, I've mailed out my Christmas cards, and I've started baking Christmas cookies. I'd say that since its not even December yet I'm doing pretty well.

And yet - I'm always at this place on this date and somehow the panic still sets in at the last minute, every single year. Suddenly Christmas will be two days away and I'll be stressing about whether I've forgotten anyone, if everything is wrapped and ready, if I've picked up enough stocking stuffers, even if I have enough food in the house for the family that will be here. For whatever reason I worry too much about being organized enough, being prepared enough, basically just being "enough". And I think that's really what it boils down to at the end of the day. I wonder if I'm ever enough.


And this is the biggest concern I have for myself during this unsettled period in my life. I worry that my sense of self will be damaged beyond repair and I'll never again feel as though I get close to being "enough". Its something I've been striving for all these 64 years, and I still haven't quite gotten there, and now...well let's just say I've taken a major step backwards in the process.

So during these next few weeks, when I'm keeping myself busy and trying to get everything done on my multiple lists of things, I'm going to be stressing about meeting my own expectations as well as those of the people around me. Because I have always been, and will always be, my own worst enemy in that area. And the holidays, when I want everything to be perfect, are an invitation to failure. Recognizing that is the first step. Perhaps this year I'll finally realize that I am enough. And if anyone, including myself, doesn't get that, well too bad.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Time

So here it is nearly 9:00 Tuesday night and I've forgotten to post a blog today. Well I supposed if there's nothing important to say that's OK, but this has been a day of deep thought so I may as well share some of it.

As busy as I am in my life, I still think I need to be busier. I find that idle time is dangerous, especially when facing life-altering decisions and difficult days. I remember my grandfather saying that "idle hands are the devils tools", which I totally didn't understand at the time, but now makes perfect sense to me. I would add to that saying, making it "idle hands and minds" because surely when I have too much time to think its not healthy for me.

What do I do with too much thought? I over-think things. I tend to attribute thoughts and motives to other people that are probably completely false. This I know from past experience. And yet I still do it. I think its called "projecting", or attributing my own thoughts to someone else. I assume if I feel that way, so would everyone else, right? Wrong. I know its not right but I do it anyway. When I have an idle mind.

I also tend to go places in my head that I shouldn't go, whether its questioning some one's motives or wondering about some one's actions. I think in general its just best to keep one's mind as occupied with important things as possible lest, in my case at least, I "major in the minors", as my grandmother used to say.

Come to think of it, my grandparents were pretty smart people. I should have listened more intently and learned my lessons better when I was sitting at their knees...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Powder keg

It was a busy weekend full of stuff to keep me busy. I've done my best to stay in a busy state these past months and the effort is going to ratchet up even higher now that the emotional holidays are here. But so far, so good - I've been handling it all pretty well. Actually I think I've been handling everything pretty well considering what I've been dealing with these past 5 months now, so I'm pleased with my progress. I find myself feeling sorry for myself less often and looking forward to the future more often and those are both very good things.

This week is another powder keg for me though as my 42nd wedding anniversary is Wednesday. I know that will be a difficult day for me and I'm already working on ways to fill it. I find that just as in sports, the best defense is usually a good offense, and I'm working toward that as much as possible. I find ways to be busy and not spend too much time thinking about things lost and all that stuff. Negativity is not my nature and that's been one of the most difficult things for me recently.

So this week I will be baking Christmas cookies and making plans for the weeks to come. I hope to fill my days as much as I can with fun things and celebrate the good things in my life as well as the reason for the season. I think as long as I stay the course I'll really be OK and will come out the other side a better person for it.

Here's to the month ahead and all that it holds.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ornaments

Decorating the Christmas tree was more emotional than I was expecting yesterday because I had forgotten that every ornament in the collection held a memory.

It started with the ones my great aunt had made and gifted us with for our wedding, which was in November of 1974. Then there was the one I bought in Mexico on our honeymoon. And of course all the ones the children made for us throughout the years at school. Even the store bought ones held special meaning as we were usually together when we purchased them, like at Disney World or on another trip somewhere. Others were handmade gifts from my mother or mother-in-law, or sisters-in-law, or whatever. All special with very personal meaning to me. All part of a life shared with someone. All part of the pain.

I did my best not to get too emotional with the kids here. I had children and grandchildren to think about and the last thing they needed was to see me getting all teary-eyed when they were working so hard to make things nice for me. They've really been amazing, my kids, and as much as I know they're hurting too, they are thinking about me and concerned about me. I love them so much for that. So I try hard not to add to their burden. But even writing about it now brings tears. So many memories. So much pain.

But it was a difficult day for sure. And I think, maybe, its only the beginning of a long and difficult season ahead. As much as I love Christmas, I approach it with trepidation. Its going to be a bumpy ride...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The tree

Today my kids are coming over to help me get the Christmas tree up. We've developed a bit of a tradition here over the past few years, putting the tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving and then the ladies going on the Annual East Hampton Historical Society House Tour in the afternoon. So we'll do that today.

It wasn't always this way. For most of my life with the kids we waited until the second weekend in December, and many times would travel to the North Fork to a tree farm where we would find a nice fresh tree to cut and bring home. It would last for weeks because it was so fresh and by the time we took it down it was still not dropping so many needles. Plus I loved the whole family experience of making the trip and doing a whole day. If we didn't have time for a trip north we would go to the local nursery and pick one out.

But then we were given an artificial tree a few years ago and although I had always resisted the idea I grew to love not getting a real tree. The clean up is so much easier, I don't worry so much about leaving the lights on, and it can go up as early as we want it to.  And so, a new tradition was born. Now with little ones for grandchildren they love helping decorate and I love having them.

Truthfully I wasn't sure what I was going to do this year with the way my life has turned. It would be far too difficult for me to get the tree and ornaments out of our difficult-to-access attic so had the kids not offered I would not have decorated at all. But when they asked I jumped at the chance. I may not go all out this year as I have in the past in terms of decorating, but the basics will get done. I'm not in a terribly celebratory mood this Christmas, but the reason for the holiday has not changed so I still need to celebrate despite my circumstances.

It may be a lonely Christmas for me, but I'm still grateful for the baby born in Bethlehem. And that's what I'm trying hard to focus in on at this point.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Main Street

I haven't been on Facebook all that much lately, having made a decision to spend less time on my computer and more on other things. Not that's its made much of a difference since I have not accomplished any of the things I thought I would with all that extra time in my days, but hey, its worth a try, right?

Anyway, yesterday morning since I was alone and all the preparations had been made for dinner later in the day, I put on a nice warm sweater, tied a matching scarf around my neck to ward off the chilly wind that always comes down the hill, grabbed a pair of gloves and headed into the village on a little walk. It was really a delightful time as there was literally no traffic at all at 8am - I barely needed to glance in either direction when I crossed each street. The wind had died down considerably since earlier in the week, the sun was shining, and it was quiet and peaceful in the village. I took only my cell phone with me, more an emergency tool as anything, and headed for a bench on the south side of Newtown Lane first. There I sat and contemplated my life for a few minutes, enjoying the beautiful morning and the lack of traffic in every direction.

Then I got up and walked to Main Street where I was struck by the beautiful window displays for Christmas. One of the nicest things about all the high-end stores that populate our business district is the fact that they use professional window decorators and their displays are always wonderful. Christmas is, of course, outstanding. So I pulled out my phone and started snapping photos of the various windows as I walked along.

When I got home I posted the best ones on the local page on Facebook and someone asked about which one was Marley's. I didn't think I had one of that storefront, but in no time at all someone else posted a photo of the current Marley's, now a real estate business. The storefronts are still recognizable because they are protected by our local Design Review Board. So Marley's is still there, it just has a different name and stuffing.

It reminded me of a meeting of the DRB a few years ago when a business owner came in with a request to change out the windows of her store. This particular shop I remember as the Pot Pourri Shop when I was a kid, run by Tess Marascca if I'm not mistaken (and I don't know if that's the correct spelling of her name). She was a wonderful lady that I was very fond of as a kid. My mother shopped in there often and although her shop was small she must have been a good buyer because it seems as though Mom always bought something. It was a real boutique with dresses, accessories, and all kinds of gift items. I used to go in there to shop for my mother every Christmas and Tess would ask me how much I had to spend. Whatever it was - usually about $3.50, she would look around until she found something that was exactly that price that she was sure my mother would love. I have no doubt the price tags were not what she said they were, but she was that kind of person. I remember one bracelet in particular that had a little music box hanging from it and you could turn a tiny handle and listen to a tune. I loved it.

Anyway, I am way off topic here. The thing is this new shop owner (the shop is called "Roberta Roller Rabbit and sells clothes and pillows and bedspreads all made from a designer's fabrics) wanted to take out the present windows which are divided with wood strips (are they called munions?) into smaller sizes, and put in solid glass windows without the dividers. She explained that it would display her goods better.

The members of the board were unmoved by her pleas and explained to her that this was a store dating back to the 1800s with considerable history along Main Street and the windows would stay exactly as they have been for all these 200 plus years. She left without her new windows and I think about that every time I look at the shop. The windows are beautiful, beckoning you in toward the front door with divided panes of smaller glass panels
.

And I can see her products just fine.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Turkey Day

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Preperations

So today is major prep day here and in many homes. I have done most of the shopping, yet I needed to run to the store this morning. I've planned things out pretty well, and I need to clean the house, bake a cake, get the potatoes peeled, move my table out, get the dishes ready, etc, etc. Yes - preparations are important.

Just as I have always been a planner, which I know is all about control in my case, my plans are in place. All I need now is the plans to go smoothly as they should. And before we know it the holiday will be over. Just like that. Planning, prepping, over, as quickly as you can imagine.

Of course even the best plans often go awry and already mine have been curtailed. I had planned to stop at the dump early this morning but when I got there I remembered that they are closed on Wednesdays. So much for that idea. I brought the bag of garbage home. What do I do with it now?

I'm heading out again shortly to run to K-Mart and the nursery. I need to make a trip to the cemeteries where I'll lay wreaths on 5 graves: my parents', my in-laws', my grandparents', my dear friend's, and the child of friends' who no longer live here. I try to remember her every year in their absence and today was her birthday.

So I have a full day ahead of me and I need to get to it. Or before you know it, Sunday will be here...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving

I'll admit to struggling a little this year with the holidays.

In many ways I feel as though I've experienced a death and that's what is driving my emotions and actions these past 4 months. And indeed is was a death - the death of security, the death of happiness in everyday living, the death of a relationship, the death of life as I knew it. And that's what I struggle to deal with at times like this as a holiday approaches. It's no different than an actual person dying in many ways. And as I come to Thanksgiving I struggle with the dichotomy of not liking this new life of mine and yet being thankful for the things I have.

Its so easy for people to say "Look at all your blessings" and expect that those wonderful things in your life will outweigh any loss. Its rather like someone telling you "You'll have more children" when you lose one to tragedy. Clearly you cannot replace a child because each one is unique and special and has a piece of your heart that will never be filled by another. Does that make you less grateful for any other children you may have? Of course not. But the loss does not disappear. This feeling is similar to that.

I do have many blessings. I have a family that I love, extending in many directions. Does that replace what I have lost? No it does not. For over forty years I have awoken on every holiday with someone special to celebrate it with. I have been grateful for that person's presence in my life and loved having them to share every intimate moment with. That presence will be woefully missed on Thursday morning when I wake to an empty house where I will putter around alone, preparing food and setting a table by myself. Am I glad that my table will be filled with family later in the day? Of course. Does it make me miss the other person less? It does not.

And so the dichotomy of the holidays begins. And it has already started to impact my sense of security and joy. But Thanksgiving is about being grateful for the things we DO have, and that's what I will try very hard to do this year, when its so easy to focus on the thing I don't.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mothers and friends

All week it seemed as though people were mentioning their deceased mothers' birthdays. Perhaps it was unusual or perhaps I only noticed it because my own mother's birthday was Thursday. But it struck me in any case that most of us miss our mothers when they are gone.

And that made me wonder about my own children and ask myself whether or not they would miss me when I am gone. I'm sure if we don't do a particularly good job of parenting, our children will not grieve too badly for us when we leave the earth.  And I imagine that if as adults our children are forced to take care of us or deal with our issues that may be another problem that would inhibit their grief some day. Even physical issues can be a problem because I know it can be a relief to finally say goodbye to a parent who has been in pain, or mentally unaware, for years sometimes.

My own mother was a great person, a strong Christian woman who lived her faith every day. I remember times she suffered through difficulties with her marriage and life was not always easy for her, but she rarely faltered in her walk with God and was always an example of the kind of person I wanted to be. She was a wise woman.

I fear I have failed to live up to her example and with these past months being so painful and difficult for me I imagine my own children are tiring of my needs. And that saddens me not only because of my imposition on them, but because I'm not being the strong person I want to be. I see how important it is to hide my emotions and be strong for them, but I fail as often as I succeed.

I am going to work harder at it because I know they need peace in their lives. And I want that for them too. Even more than I want it for myself. I just miss having the person in my life that I always confided in. And losing my best friend from childhood, my mother, and my husband means all my confidants are gone now. I miss them. The three people I basically shared everything with are all gone and as often as people suggest a therapist I know I'm not good at talking to strangers. Probably because I had these three people in my life up until now. Talking to someone who knows you well is not the same as talking to a stranger. That's a foreign and unpleasant
idea to me.

I certainly miss my mother now more than I ever have in the (nearly) ten years since she's been gone, and her birthday really brought that to mind. I wish I could talk with her one more time and get her advice and support as I navigate these treacherous waters. But I can't. And that's the biggest regret I have right now. Oh to get a bit of her wisdom one more time!!! And oh to be as wise as she was.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Seriously

My friend "anonymous" had posted again on one of my recent blog posts and advised me not to "take life too seriously". What an interesting concept!

I think that life is pretty serious myself. I feel as though we are put here for a short time to make a difference in the world and in the lives of the people we are in contact with. While I agree there should be fun in life and we need to laugh and enjoy ourselves, I also think its not to be taken too lightly lest we waste what little time we have here on earth. I think we should all have the goal of making the place better for our being here.

Of course that all goes to the purpose of life and that's something we can easily debate. As a young Christian I was taught that our purpose here is to love God, to worship and fellowship with God, and to be kind to each other. Of course its a little more complicated than that and we are given many instructions about how to live our lives, but that's basically it.

And I can certainly love God without taking life too seriously. But then if I don't get too serious about it what is my purpose? To just have fun and not worry about the things I've been given to take care of and nurture - my kids, my grandkids, my possessions? I look at those things as blessings that I've been given and its a big responsibility for me to do the best job I can with them. And what about my abilities and talents? What is my responsibility there?

Well I totally understand what "anonymous" was saying and I don't want to over think things too much. I do need to find the joy in life even amidst difficult times and that's biblical as well. But I love the fact that the comment made me think about life in general and what I'm charged to do with it. And that's why I love to blog and hear opinions from different places, all of which give me the opportunity to stop and reflect. That's what interaction is all about, isn't it? So I will give it some more thought. And try not to take it all too seriously...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

17th

My mother's birthday was this past week and I tried to let it pass without too much thought because it always makes me a little melancholy. But that was not to be.

First of all my niece posted a video of her on and I watched with tears in my eyes as I listened to her voice and heard her laugh. It had been years since I'd heard her voice and I miss it - and her wisdom - very much. She was my best advisor and this year has been especially difficult to navigate without her words and prayers. Her prayers would have been most welcome as the Bible tells us that the prayers of a wise woman are especially needed.
Instagram

Then, when I finally was able to sit and read the local weekly paper at 4:00 in the afternoon, who should appear on one of the pages but my mother! I was shocked to say the least. It was in the "recovering the past" section where an old photo from years ago is posted and people are asked to name the subjects. This was a picture of the Sweet Adeline chorus that my mother was a founding member of back in the 1950s and she remained a faithful chorister for over 50 years. This particular photo was taken in the late 1960s I would guess and I could name most of the couple dozen ladies standing on the risers, preparing for their annual show.

How special to see her smiling face on her birthday not once, but twice, in totally unexpected places. I'd like to think it was her way of connecting with me and saying "It's OK - I'm still here thinking about you and praying for you! I know life isn't easy right now, but it will get better!"

Well, I have no idea if that's possible but I like to think it is. Thanks Mom.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Crock pots

I wish I'd had a crock pot to use when my kids were young. It's a wonderful tool and a real lifesaver sometimes!

Tonight I'm having folks for dinner, but I'm literally busy all day. I cleaned the house Wednesday so I'm fine there, but normally when I'm having company I spend my day cooking. I can't possibly do that today. So out comes the handy crock pot! Already I've chopped apples and sliced potatoes, coated pork loin chops with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and flour, and put them all into the big crock pot. Before I leave home later I'll simply turn it on and voila! Dinner will be ready when company arrives at 6pm.

We did have crock pots when I was a young mother, but they were very small and not conducive to family cooking. And by the time the large family sized ones appeared on the market I was in no position to buy one because they were expensive. So it wasn't until my family was grown that I managed to get one of these giant-sized appliances and I love using it whenever the crowd comes for meals. And, on days like today, when company is coming.

So, dinner is nearly ready. I'll just need to take the home made apple sauce out of the freezer when I get home, throw the pre-chopped salad into a bowl, and heat up some rolls and I'm ready to go. Oh, and cut up the nice pineapple I bought for dessert because two of my guests are diabetics who watch their sugar. No pie for dessert on this go 'round.

Crock pot. Its what's for dinner!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Uncertainty

I think by far the most difficult thing about this time in my life is the uncertainty of it all.

I have always been an organized person. Sometimes to a fault, for sure! I need things to follow their order, to be checked off the list, to be as planned. That's not always a good thing and I realize I need to sometimes be more spontaneous and loose with my time and energy.

But its not always a bad thing and the fact that my life has pretty much always followed a pattern of control and predictability is certainly working against me now. Because right now I feel as though I don't know what's happening from one day to the next.

I am really floating in the ocean without a paddle. I have only my Bible to guide me if that makes sense. I am using God's directions as much as possible, but that's sometimes like trying to find your way to a specific place with only a sexton to guide you: it may send you in the right direction, it may keep you from going too far off course, but the rest ifsa matter of luck and tenacity. Right now I am feeling completely out of both those things.

I'm not comfortable with this feeling of floating along not knowing which way to paddle. I need some guidance but its not forthcoming recently. I am learning to lay back and look at the stars and stop worrying so much about which way I'm going, but at the same time, I know if I don't get to land soon I'll probably drown. Hopefully a life raft will come floating by soon....

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trees

Its a treat that the trees here on the east end still have their leaves. Upstate they are bare and I imagine most of New England as well. But here we still have beautiful red and orange maple trees filling the sky with the autumnal splendor.

We have a green Japanese maple tree in our back yard that is always still in bloom during Thanksgiving week. Its the last holdout and I notice the red Japanese maple in the front yard still has all its leaves as well. They are a deep magenta now and a beautiful orange and make my day whenever my eye catches sight of either one of them.

We're in the final week now and by this time next week they will be losing leaves as well. But for this moment, today and the rest of the week, I'll be enjoying the final stages of their metamorphosis as they prepare for winter. And I as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Agendas

Well I'm home and well rested after a long weekend of walking (I think we walked about 5 miles every day, no exaggeration) and good family time, and I am home with a new agenda. I am going to wean myself off of my computer.

Well, I'm not exiting completely. I will keep my cell phone with me for emergencies and I'll continue to blog every day, but I'm going to stop using Facebook and do as little texting as possible. In fact, anyone needing to get hold of me had better email or actually call my home phone (imagine that!) because I won't always have my cell with me anymore.

There are a couple reasons for this. First of all the issues that came to light in my own personal life a few months ago came largely from the computer and social media. With all I've read about the issues my husband was dealing with, I realize that all this technology can be used for evil purposes and needs to be kept in a very special box in every one's life. Just like alcohol, something that can be used to leisure or socialization can also be used for negative reasons and cause tremendous problems in some one's life. I want to put it back in its place in mine. Not that I have an issue with it, but there's a principle here.

Secondly I see it as a time-drain that has effected me negatively. I need to make better use of the time I have and not allow myself to get sucked into spending so many hours on Facebook or even just surfing the web. I can do better things with my time.

I'm not swearing off all use and will continue to blog, for instance, and make use of my desktop for email and business. I no longer own a typewriter so I think it is a necessary evil! But I'm going to be more mindful of my use. I made a point of not taking any electronics (other than my phone) along on my trip this past weekend and I wish I had even left the phone at home. Who needs to be reminded of what was left behind? Sometimes I think we are too "connected" anymore and long for the days when going on vacation meant maybe a mid-week phone call back to home for business or family updates. We probably enjoyed our time away much more and it was no doubt healthier.

So - from here on I'll be going silent. Not completely, but hopefully enough to make a difference in the state of my heart and my mind. After all, I do love to read a good book....

Home

As always, there's nothing like being home. Even this lonely, empty house of mine is my favorite place to be other than with my family. Being with two of my children and two of my grandchildren this weekend was great. I loved every minute of it.

I think that people have the impression that since three of my children live here in East Hampton I am with them all the time and that's not true at all. Don't get me wrong, I love being close and able to see their concerts and stop into their houses whenever possible, but its not like we all live together. I actually haven't seen most of my grandchildren in weeks now - since Halloween for the local ones (other than the one on the trip) and longer the ones from away. So I miss them.

The great thing about traveling together is there is a lot of forced togetherness. I'm not at all sure the kids are all that thrilled about it, but I hope that some day trust that it will be a happy memory. Its nice to be together for meals, and seeing them early in the morning and then at night before bed. Its a different experience than the quick hugs we get when we stop in the house on our way by.

Yes, it's always good to get together with family. It truly is what makes life as rich and wonderful as it can be. And its always good to be home again.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Flight

Today is my least favorite day of any trip: the flight home.

I used to love flying. When I was working as a travel agent it was always an adventure to fly anyplace in the world, but now, since things have changed so significantly, its not so much fun anymore. They pack us in so tightly that its impossible to be comfortable on a flight of any length, and there are not the distractions they used to offer, like meals and movies. At least not on shorter flights. I remember years ago when a flight to Florida meant a nice meal, breakfast lunch or dinner, depending on the time you were flying. Now we're lucky if we get peanuts or pretzels.

No, flying is not the fun it used to be and I spend most my flights just wanting to get there. I no longer enjoy the process, just look at it as a necessary evil. And tomorrow morning I'll be waking up in my very own bed, so the fantasy is soon to end.

Yep. There's nothing worse than the flight home...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Final day

This is our final day here at Disney and I'm planning to get everything in that I can. Once we get on that place tomorrow it will be back to reality and all that means to me right now. Reality bites sometimes.

Today will be out final opportunity to take advantage of all that's offered here and truthfully, a few days is not enough. But we'll make the most of it and try to enjoy the ride.

I think the absolute best way to enjoy Disney World would be to come for an entire week, and have different aged grandchildren visit at different times with us. The older ones could come first, and then they could leave and the younger ones could come. Because the experience is totally different depending on what age you're concentrating on. Older kids want to do the crazy rides like Space Mountain and Tower of Terror. Younger ones love It's a Small World and the Country Bear Jamboree. And I, personally, love all of it - especially when seen through the eyes of kids of all ages.

Today will go too quickly and before we know it we'll be home again. But in the meantime life is to be lived with gusto and enjoyed while we have it. And that's what I intend to do.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Exercise

No doubt about it, a trip to Disney World means lots of exercise.

We are walking miles every day here and as sore as my muscles are, it feels good. It certainly will help with the extra food that's been going into my mouth as well, and that's a good thing! But I remember one year when we were here estimating that we walked a minimum of 5 or 6 miles every day.

Of course Disney makes it seem easy. They are masters of illusion and as we wind our way around and through every line leading to every attraction, from the monorail to Space Mountain, we forget we are waiting in a long line and spend out time looking at the many distractions they officer along the way. Around and around we go, slowly working out way to the cars or other transportation we need, and since everybody is happy to be there (as opposed to waiting for a rush hour train in the city or sitting in traffic on Route 27) we smile and chat with people around us.

Disney World really is a bit of a fantasy and as much fun as it is to be there, with people anxious to make sure you're always having a good time and seeing to your every need, its not real life. But what a great place to visit. ....
Ahhhh

Friday, November 11, 2016

Mickey

I'm very happy to say that I'm presently in "the happiest place in the world". At least that's the way they advertise it. I imagine its all relative, but it is a great place to be and I'm thrilled to get out of East Hampton and away from my difficult year there if only for a couple of days.

Disney World will be a wonderful escape. I'll be with family and I'll be enjoying time with people I love. There's plenty to do here and we'll be busy for sure. With two 14-year-olds it will be an adventure of its own - the first time I've visited without young children since I was in my early twenties.

My first visit was as a travel agent and I went with a friend to check out the brand new magic kingdom which had opened only a year before my visit. There was only the one park, and it was surrounded by woods and swamp land, and we rode on a bus for at least 10 minutes through those 27,000 acres before we saw the gates to the magic kingdom. It was a magical experience then, and although its huge now and there aren't many woods left to drive through, it still is. No one knows how to make you feel at home and taken care of any better than Disney.

We'll be here for only a few days, but they are just what the doctor ordered for me.

Magic indeed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Packing

Preparing for any trip away from home is always an exercise in memory for me. I need to be sure not to forget so many things and I always get stressed about what I may or may not remember to put into my suitcases. My daughter chastised me once for worrying so much when I was coming to visit her because, as she put it, "We don't live in the jungle you know", assuring me that whatever I forgot could be easily replaced once I arrived. But still....I worry.

Leaving for a long weekend is easier than some trips because only limited outfits are needed so I can concentrate instead on the essentials like make-up and hair products. Once I choose my couple outfits I'm done them and then can take my time working on those little cosmetic bags that I fill with medications, blush, eyeliner, and other necessities. Toothbrushes may be easily replaced, but my favorite perfume? Not so much.

I grabbed my carry-on bag out of the attic yesterday and today I'll lay out my clothes and get everything ready to fit into the small space so there won't be a need to check baggage. I hate to carry on because its a pain in the neck getting suitcases in and out of those overhead bins, but for a short trip its much more sensible. Of course all the new regulations about liquids and what you can take on board do add an extra level of stress in it all, but hey - we do pay a price for our fun don't we? I think I'll manage.

Now if we can just get that plane on the ground so I can enjoy the trip....

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Post-election fatique

I'm so over politics right now I want to scream.

I think most of the country is feeling that way right now and I hope perhaps we may usher in a time of reflection and change in how our process is carried out. I love the idea of limiting the length of time that candidates can stump for their respective posts and leaving things until the last few months so we don't have to go through this long, drawn out mess every four years. It seems as though we just get through one election and suddenly we're thrust into another one. We need more time to forget our differences and concentrate on our similarities.

I am disappointed in this election simply because its proven to me what I basically already knew: there are way too many men out there who cannot fathom the idea of any woman being in authority over them. Oh I'm sure that's not the only reason the woman lost, but that has enough to do with it. I heard the sexist comments and I know its an issue. I actually heard one man say "The least she could do is wear a skirt once in awhile". I looked at him incredulously but I doubt he even realized how misogynistic that comment was. Racists and sexists rarely see themselves for what they are.

As a woman in politics I've seen enough and experienced enough to know that those feelings run deep inside of people and its hard to stamp them out. New generations are our hope. I had truly thought perhaps we had turned the tide. Now, I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sounds

Last week, for the first time this season, I heard one of my favorite autumn sounds: geese flying south for the winter. I literally stopped in my tracks and looked to the sky because I wanted to enjoy the full effect of this, one of nature's wonders.

Long Island seems to be a favorite stopover for these migrating birds and every year the distinct sound of their honking fills the fall sky as they make their way from the farm fields of Sagaponack and Water Mill to the more southern climes they need to get through the coldest months. I pity those folks who don't get to enjoy this annual display because it is a wonderful way to mark the season.

I've read a lot about why they fly in the distinctive "V" formation and its fascinating for sure. Looking to the sky when we hear them passing is always inspiring in its display of the way God imbued each creature on earth with the instinct and ability to take care of itself. Self-preservation of each species. Its fascinating and for me at least, points to a higher power at work.

Yes, they have started their move to kinder temperatures and at the moment, we here on the East End are the lucky ones who get to enjoy this distinctive, wonderful sound as they move toward survival and we prepare for winter. And I'm just enjoying the show.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Early light

And so there was light. This morning its nice and bright out there for the early morning walk. We can finally head down some of the side roads which we've been avoiding because its too dark to walk along the roadways. We love walking down Pondview or Huntting, or maybe David's Lane after we've gone to the library and back down Main Street. We've missed that these past few months as the darkness crept later and later and we had to stick to the business district where there is always plenty of light.

It will be much easier for me to climb out of bed now too. I seem to wake with the sun and its been difficult to drag myself out of my bed in the pitch dark of the early morning. Things will be better now.

I'm heading to Riverhead with a friend today. I need clothes as none of the ones I was wearing a year ago fit me and I must have a few nice things for the holidays. The outlets await, as well as BJs where I can get supplies for my cookie baking that will commence in a couple weeks. The holidays are a busy time at my house and I need to be prepared.

Yes, the light is welcome now, and although I may be in the minority on this, I don't mind the darkness that falls by 5:00 at night. It gives me the freedom to climb into my robe and PJ's and settle in for the night. And that's a rather nice thing.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Light and family

So last night we turned out clocks back an hour. And its beautifully light out this morning. I've been waiting for this and I'm glad its here.

Last night I had so much fun attending a local trivia contest with some family members. My brother, sister, and various members of their immediate families were there so we had a team of eight. We did well - first place in fact - and I won a nice gift certificate to a lovely local restaurant that I'll be using with friends this week.

But the real gift of the evening was being with family and the reminder that no matter what happens in our lives, and no matter how betrayed we feel by people we know, our family is the one constant. The people you grew up with, and grew old with, are the same people who will be there in the middle of the night if you need someone. At least that's the way it is for me, and for that reminder I'm very grateful. We had a great time together because no matter how much time passes, you are connected in a very organic way with the people you shared a lifetime of memories with.

These days its a reminder I very much needed.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday

Its still dark outside as I prepare to leave the house for the day. I'm looking forward to having it a bit lighter beginning tomorrow when we turn our clocks back an hour. Being a morning person makes the time change a big deal and as much as I like it to still be light at 5pm, I would rather have it early in the day so I'm ready for the change.

As I prepared to leave for Southampton I was checking the hours at the local gas stations and am now regretting my decision not to fill up last night. I was sure I could do it in the morning but it seems that the earliest I can get fuel
is 8am and I'll be busy by then at my meeting. So I hope I have enough to get me there and then back to a station afterward, probably after lunch. I'll be crossing my fingers. It never occurred to me that gas stations didn't open by 7! This is one of the downsides of being up so early everyday - I tend to think the rest of the world should be as well.

So off I go now - to the dump first to get rid of my newspapers and magazines, and then to my meeting west of here. By this afternoon I'll be ready to sit on my couch and read the newspapers...and begin filling up that newspaper bin for another week...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Color

There is a tree across from my house that is a beautiful beech tree, planted in memory of my cousin Anne who was killed in an automobile accident almost 40 years ago now. This tree is particularly beautiful this time of the year.

Well, it is a lovely tree at any time of the year really, because its one of those trees that has a wonderfully perfect shape and has grown quite large in the nearly 40 years since Anne's death. Its very full and nicely rounded with great foliage Spring, Summer, and Fall. Even in the winter it maintains a beautiful presence here on Accabonac Road and I especially enjoy it because I get to look at it every time I pull out of my driveway as its almost exactly opposite, situated perfectly on the village green.

Anyway - its never more stunning than it is in the fall when the leaves have turned their fabulous orange color. It simply lights up the day with its bright mop-top and I savor it every time I leave my house.

There's something really transformative about the change in the foliage in autumn and I am struck by it every year at this time. The bright yellows, hot reds, and blazing oranges are stunning and I find myself constantly looking at the roadsides when I'm driving along. I often wish I had the time to stop and take a photo but I always seem to be coming or going on a time schedule and need to keep on my stated course.

It will be empty before we know it - once those leaves change its only a matter of time before they're gone. But if there's one thing I've learned in my life its this: I always need to take the time to see what's around me. Otherwise I'll miss some of the best gifts from God. And autumn leaves are one of those...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November

Its overcast and dreary outside today but still feeling a bit warm for November. I'm not complaining, mind you, as I still haven't turned on the heat in my house and I'll be enjoying the savings in my gas bill for sure. But this weather has been a bit psychotic and I look forward to knowing how to dress a little more easily. Sweater? Jacket? Wool? Long sleeves? Every day I stand in my room and wonder what to put on.

November is one of my favorite months as it brings in the holiday season. I'm already thinking about Thanksgiving and menus and Christmas cookie baking and entertaining and all the things that go along with the season of magic. I love the holidays.

I will admit to some apprehension as they approach this year because of the change in my status but I'm hoping for the best. I'm not sure how it will all work out, but I'm hopeful that the joy I always feel at this time of the year will still be there for me. After all, the reason for the celebrations has not changed, just perhaps the form of them. All remains to be seen, but I'm hopeful for a good time. I will still be surrounded by family and still have plenty of love in my home.

Yes, November is ushering in a wonderful time of the year. This one may be a bit different, but it will still be wonderful. I have made that promise in my heart.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hot water

Today I am getting my new hot water heaters installed. It seems like a gift from the Gods.

This year has been my year from hell and nothing could have prepared me for what I was to face when it began back in January. And the latest event in this horrible year happened last Saturday when my son discovered a flood in my basement. The hot water heater was leaking.

There are actually two hot water heaters in this house. The one that was here when we moved in was inadequate and with a family of six we often ran out. And guess who was the person who was usually left without? So some years back we added a second one. Due to low ceilings we could not accommodate a larger one so there are two that are tied in together.

Now one might say that since I live alone now I could go back to one, but it really doesn't make sense when I have family visiting often and the potential for a crowd is always there. So when they went to check out the one that was leaking (spewing would be a better term) and discovered that not just the one but both of them were rusted along the bottom, it was time for replacements. Fortunately the one was still functioning and I've been able to have plenty of hot water all weekend, but it will be good to get new ones in and have them raised at the same time, since that's been one of the problems all along. We get ground water in our basement during times of heavy, prolonged wet weather and even with sump pumps the heaters could be sitting in water.

It's one more thing to add to my unfortunate year, but I am choosing to look at it as one more measure to improve my life. It may be a struggle to pay for it at the moment, but it will all be better in the end.

And, the year is nearly over. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

No heat

Well I still haven't had to turn the heat on - no switch flipping here! These past days have been warm and lovely with lots of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. I'm happy to be into November now without the furnace on. Its a very good thing.

I spent most of my marriage trying to be frugal and save money wherever possible. It seemed as though money was always tight so we needed, like many families, to watch the budget closely. Now in retrospect it seems that the other part of this equation was not being as honest about money as I thought and perhaps I worked so hard unnecessarily, but regardless, I learned to do things like wear wool sweaters late into the season in order to avoid turning on the heat. It hasn't always been easy, but this year it seems to be. Its a nice change.

Perhaps its a sign of things to come. Maybe someone up there is trying to tell me that life could get easier instead of harder, which is what I've been worrying about. I'm not sure if its a sign from above or not, but I'm taking full advantage of this break in the weather and leaving the furnace off. No doubt it will come to an end soon. But every day is a bonus right now. And I'm really in the mood for a little bonus of some kind. I'll take this one.