Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NYC

I'm spending the day in NYC today and I'm always a bit apprehensive when I do that. I am not, by any means, a city girl.

Sometimes when I'm in the city I'm so overwhelmed by it that I want to run into a corner and hide. Literally, I wish I could find someplace to just cower because its all so huge and impersonal to me. Then every once in awhile I make a very personal connection in that huge impersonal city and that warms me no end. Like the time we were in the front row at the Lincoln Center theater and the orchestra conductor turned around and had a conversation with us because my grandson was with us. Suddenly the city was a much friendlier place than it had been. Of course it doesn't take long after one of those nice encounters to see someone sleeping in a doorway that everyone walks by as though they were invisible. And suddenly anonymity returns.

It is an amazing place, and I do enjoy an occasional foray into the streets of Manhattan. You can literally find anything you want there, and if you can't find it there it probably doesn't exist. I love the energy of the place, and the amazing experiences you can have there. And sometimes, once in awhile, when you come from a small town where everybody knows your business, a little anonymity can be a very nice thing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Confusion

I will admit that this has been the most confusing time of my life.

I remember so well those teenage years when the questions never stopped: Will I have a family some day? How many children will I have? Will anyone ever want to marry me? What will my career be? What should I study in college? What do I believe about God? What is my purpose in life? And on and on and on....always questions about the future and the present - never about the past.

Now my questions are often about the past: Did I make too many mistakes? Did I marry the wrong person? Should I have pursued more education? Should I have waited to start a family? Should I have moved to another community? Again, lots of questions...but mostly not about the future. Because at this age, our future seems to be determined by our past to a large extent. And our past is what generally predicts our future.

I'd like to think there is still time to do something different with my life because I don't feel as though I've accomplished much with it so far. But it seems as though time is running out. And while I thought I was doing something important in my life, now I question that assumption and as I said in my first sentence, confusion abounds.

I do believe that God can still use my life for good in this world.  Perhaps I haven't lived up to my potential at this point and maybe I've failed to do what I should have been doing all these years, I don't know. But more important at this point is how do I figure out where to go from here? And what to do with what's left?

Oh the questions never end. And the confusion never wanes. What a weird time this is for me! I'm hoping for clarity one of these days. But maybe this is just the natural order of things. Its just difficult to go from feeling content and fulfilled one day to realizing so much of what I knew and loved was nothing more than a fantasy the next. And that certainly doesn't create contentment and peace now, does it?

Well...maybe in the next life...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Glorious

The best thing I can say about the weather this past week is that it was glorious!

The definition of glorious: having a striking beauty or splendor that evokes feelings of delighted admiration.

Yes indeed - it was glorious spring weather: warm but not hot, no humidity, cool at night - what's not to love about that?

It seemed to be a long time coming this year. For whatever reason that "in between" time of cold but no snow, wet but not ice, just went on and one and we felt as though winter would never end. I have never before put my gas fireplace on in May - we've had it for about 7 years now and this was a first. But it was so cold some evenings that short of going to bed I had to do something to warm myself up. I was glad to have the fireplace so I didn't need to keep the heat on.

But now I think the fireplace is off for the season and we can rest assured that the potted plants will be OK. I'm happy to say I've put the wool sweaters away and only have a few lighter weight ones out now for the cool of the evening and morning. O think we're most definitely on our way to summer now and that's OK with me. I'm ready for the change. (I'll feel the same way in August, but then I'll be looking toward fall!)
 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Stressors

I think the most stressful thing in my life right now is the process of paying my bills.

When we were first married bill paying time of the month was always very stressful. But we lived so frugally and had so little money it was just life to us and we did what we had to do, paying a little at a time until things like the drug store or the auto mechanic were paid off, doing what we had to do to make ends meet. I thought it was very stressful at the time!

Those were much easier days I must say.

Now I struggle again every month to pay the bills, mostly because there are so many more of them now, and because I can't keep up with them. Life was simpler before owning a home, that's for sure. Now I have to replace broken appliances, do maintenance on all kinds of things, and try to keep my house looking presentable enough, all while working with way less income than I had a year ago. So every month I sit at my desk and try to decide what to pay. Its like stepping back in time forty years and I hate it. "This bill I can pay a portion of..." "Maybe its time to let the cable go...." "I wonder if I can do without this now..." "Do I really need flood insurance?" These are all thoughts that run through my mind and I truly ponder as I sit with the check book, looking at my bank balance on the computer screen, trying to figure out how to make it all work.

In some ways I've stepped back in time to the place I was when I was first married. Only this time I'm A. not seeing any improvement in the future and B. in it all alone. I'm thinking about selling my house. I never thought it would come to that. But hoping I can find a way not to. There've been enough changes in my life this past year without having to move now. I try not to ponder that thought too long.


Who knew that at this point in my life I'd be back to square one again? Life certainly does take interesting turns now, doesn't it?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Busy season

This weekend is a perfect example of what's wrong with the busy season here in East Hampton. There are simply too many things on the calendar to try to squeeze in. Today is a perfect example.

This morning there is an EMS Breakfast at the hospital in honor of EMS Week. I always try to attend but this year, impossible. We have a village street fair all day along Newtown Lane and Main Street and I hope to spend a good deal of my morning there.

At 1:00 I have to attend a memorial service at St. Luke's Church. At 3:00 the newly restored Life Saving Station in Amagansett has its official opening. I want to go there! I must attend a retirement party at 5:00. And I think there's something else on my calendar in that time frame as well. I know I can't do both so although its written there I can't retain it because my mind is too cluttered.

To top off my day I'm on ambulance duty at 8pm for the rest of the night. And I'm tired before I even start. Not enough time to really enjoy any of these events, and that rather stinks now, doesn't it?

Its only the beginning. In another week we'll be saying goodbye to May and jumping into June and then things really begin to heat up. I think I need a vacation from the summer already... 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Waning

The lilacs are beginning to wane now. Its one of the saddest days of the year for me.

The scent of lilacs is like a gift from heaven. Its full of nostalgia and the headiness of spring and I look forward to them blooming every year. When I was a girl my grandmother had three kinds of scent that she wore: when she dressed for dinner she put on Shalimar. But for every day, she had bottles of something called "toilet water" which was a light scented thing that women used regularly - referring to the term for their cleaning up and getting ready for the day back in Victorian times - toileting. It was the last thing she used every morning before being ready for the day, dabs behind each ear and one on each wrist. Her toilet water came in two scents: lily of the valley and lilac. I used to take the tops off those little glass bottles and smell them, drinking in the wonderful fragrances, and to this day my lily of the valley and lilacs bring all those memories right back to mind. I'm sitting in my grandmother's "dressing room" (who has those anymore?), watching her put on her scent of the day, and letting her dab some behind my ears as well. Those are wonderful memories because my grandmother was one of the people I knew loved me unconditionally and completely and I loved her right back.

So my lilacs are special to me. They are Grandma Warren, the dressing room, the little glass bottles, the whole thing. And I grieve when they wither away for another year.

I put a bunch of them in my white enamel pitcher yesterday and plopped it on the coffee table on the back room. I think I may get one more bunch out of this year's crop, which has been abundant. If I do that will mean I had them in my house for two whole weeks - a banner year for lilacs. 

And then, I'll be dreaming of the day they come out again, next May, right around Mother's Day to remind me of the strong and wonderful women I had in my life. Lilacs can do that to me. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mornings

My morning walks are especially enjoyable at this time of the year.

In the summer, its too hot and I'm happy to get them over with so I can shower and wash the sweat off for the day. I hate heat and humidity so summer is not my favorite time of the year. Winter is so cold that walking is often a challenge when the wind is in your face and it bites your cheeks and waters your eyes. I warm up quickly, but its so dark when I set out that its just not conducive to enjoyment. Its work in the summer and winter,

But spring and fall, well those are totally different stories. Right now there is a little bite in the air but I'm wearing lighter work-out clothes and I'm comfortable in the cool morning air. Its light out by 5am and my natural body clock kicks in so I'm up and ready to go by 5:30. The streets are quiet then and its such a treat to walk through the village neighborhoods, noticing the latest flowers to bloom and the new color someone has painted their house. Every day there's something new to see, and passing the same folks every day on their own morning walks is nice when you can see them coming and nod as they pass. The crowds at the Hampton Jitney stop are growing with the season and they are there reading their papers and hanging on to their briefcases, waiting for the early bus to arrive. And the smells - the smells are amazing from the eggs and bacon coming from Josh Pappas to the lilacs in the yard I'm passing. And I haven't even mentioned the birds yet. There's nothing quite like the early songs of the birds.

Sometimes there's a mist that hangs over the earth - the fog that rolls in from the sea to cover everything in a veil of gray. Not a heavy fog, just a light covering over the ground obscuring the road and bushes. Its magic in the way it changes everything and I'm fascinated by it. But its gone quickly and not everyone gets to see it - its a special gift for early risers.

It is a great time of year for walking outside in the morning, enjoying this place we call home before it wakes up for the day. The sky is ablaze with the early light and the grass is never greener. What a way to greet the morning.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tulips

Well yesterday turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day so I decided to take advantage of the sudden improvement in the weather. 

Southampton Hospital recently did a "renovation" on its Memorial Garden. This area was created many years ago as a place for meditation and relaxation for family and staff - really for anyone needing a break from the often stressful times at any hospital. As we all know, hospitals can be stressful places! (As someone who has spent many days there keeping watch over a loved one in the ICU, I know it very well. What a wonderful thing it would have been to have this little oasis in place back then!)

Anyway, the garden had become a bit overgrown and not terribly inviting so hospital staff and volunteers joined together to clean it up, remaking it into an amazing space. And yesterday I made a point of arriving early for my volunteer shift, leaving enough time to walk through the newly opened Memorial Garden. And was I ever glad I did.

What's been gifted to the community on this small plot of land next to the old hospital entrance is a beautiful, colorful place of serenity and peace in the midst of a busy, frightening place where sometimes the fears and realities of life can be overwhelming. I walked along the brick paths marveling at the beautiful tulips of different types and color ranges, interspersed among the small azalea bushes and other greenery. There were benches and tables, comfortable teak chairs, and a lovely water feature that produced the most relaxing sound of running water - and I felt as though I were miles away from the hospital - there wasn't a white coat in sight anywhere! What a wonderful gift this Memorial Garden is, for staff members to enjoy on their lunch hours and for visitors to escape to at all times of the day. And what a great community effort it was - yet another gift to the East End by some of the residents who give back so generously. If anyone is nearby, make sure to stop and enjoy it for a few minutes... or more....   

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Coming

The temperature has been downright cold lately and many people have talked about putting their heat on. Its May for goodness sake so I won't go that far, but I will confess to turning on the gas fireplace to take the shill off a couple times in the past week. I'm pretty aware of expenses these days so I don't leave it for long, lest I pay a big price for it when the gas bill comes, but its difficult to sit and enjoy your house when your hands are freezing and you can't warm up unless you go to bed.


But they are calling for summer temperatures later this week. Talk about being bi-polar! A little something in between would be nice, right? I could us some nice high 60s or low 70s before the 80s appear. I need time to adjust to the change and to adjust my wardrobe. I need to get used to the idea that I don't need a sweater to leave the house for a few months at least. Nothing like jumping into the season!

We never have a nice long spring here and its not unusual to have hot weather surprise us, but this year is exceptionally odd with such cold weather sticking around for so long. Its going to be a shock for sure when I suddenly need to open all the windows and get rid of the quilt on my bed. But then, the calendar says its time so I suppose its good for us to catch up.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Remembering

Many years ago now, my mother said something to me that I'm only now remembering. It was after my father died in 1998 - probably a couple years later - and it was the day after a holiday, but I don't remember which. She said something along the lines of "It's never lonelier in the house than when everyone has been here." I think that puzzled me at the time but yesterday I realized that was exactly the way I was feeling.

I think we adjust to being alone for the most part. We become accustomed to the quiet, the silence of an empty house. We tend to leave the television or the radio on for company and welcome the mail man arriving with a package, but all in all its something we are used to. But then suddenly the house is full again. Its a holiday or some other special occasion and everyone is "home" again. Its a reminder of the happiest days of your life, when your family was all home and the house was alive with activity and craziness. You remember the best parts - not the difficult ones - and you feel more alive than you have in awhile because there is life in your house: laughter and noise and general activity. There are voices and there is love and its everywhere, from the spilled food on the floor to the humming of the dishwasher. Its what you remember, what you had for so long, and what is no longer your reality. And it makes you happy.

And then just as suddenly as all that activity and fun arrived, its gone. Everyone leaves. You pick up the crumbs on the floor, you unload the dishwasher, you brush off the kitchen table and put away the toys, and there you are. Alone. Again.

I love those moments when everyone is here and I wouldn't change them for the world. But they do remind me of the things I miss. I know it will pass, but it does make me a little melancholy for awhile. And yesterday, as I sat on my couch watching something or other on TV and smiling at the memory of something one of the little ones did or said, I suddenly remembered my mother. And I wished I could go back and stay with her a little bit longer, after everyone else had left, and keep her company for just a little more time. Funny how we don't realize these things until its too late.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

On being "Mom"

Every year Mother's Day is a day I reflect on my own mother and how much she shaped my life and made me the person I am today - and how much I miss her now that she's no longer with us. But this year I'm taking a different tact and want to talk instead about what it's meant to me to be a mother myself.

I could never have imagined one year ago what this year would bring into my life. Of course, the circumstances were already in place, but I was unaware of them and therefore blissfully ignorant as they say. (Blissful ignorance has its benefits, but I prefer the harsh light of truth, which is exactly what I got...sadly with both full barrels...) Because of these events, this year I look at Mother's Day as the true validation of my life. Because without my children I'm not sure how I would have coped with any of what transpired.

Each one of my babies was a true blessing. They were all concieved in great love - I adored their father! I threw myself into every pregnancy with abandon, studying books about childbirth and preparing by sewing and knitting and creating a place for them to come home to. They were as different and as special as they possibly could have been, each was a beautiful baby and all delightful little people as they grew, bringing me new joy every single day of their too-sort time in my house. Each one began, and continued, with their own personal strengths and special personality quirks, and each one has grown to be an amazing adult, bringing me so much joy and meaning along the way. I love being their mother and I adore them all. I was blessed to be chosen for the task of raising them and could do it all over again in a heartbeat - this time with the wisdom of age and lots of experience, hopefully doing a better job for their sakes!

When the horrors of this year unfolded, from the very beginning, they were there for me. They've done as much as they possibly could to ease my pain and make my life move in a forward direction. They've been there every step of the way and they've seen me through some of the most unimaginable pain and deepest, darkest days, and they've taught me many things along the way. All the same time suffering their own pain and trying to cope themselves.

I've learned so much about myself, and my children, during this difficult year. I've learned that I need to stand on my own feet and not depend on them for things they aren't capable of, despite their most earnest intentions and desires. I've learned that children can only understand so much about their parents, who have more life experience and less time ahead of them than they do.  And I've learned that as much as they want to, they can't always be there. They have lives of their own, and that's as it should be. Its what we want for them after all! So I've learned to lean less and stand taller alone.

But most importantly I've learned that they are amazing, strong, loving adults who will step out of their own comfort zone to help me whenever they can. I've learned that my life, which I sometimes look at with disappointment, was worth so much more than I thought it was simply because my life produced theirs. And that alone gives me the purpose and validity I thought I lacked because I didn't have a career or in some other meaningful way give back to the world. I may not have invented the cure for cancer, but I made the world a kinder, better place because of these four people I gave to it. Not to mention the ten grandchildren that also came from my own humble beginning. Who knows what any one of them might do in the future? Maybe that's my cure for cancer!

This year has made me a better person, a better parent (I hope), and much more aware than ever before of how very lucky I am to be mother to these four. And I thank God for that. Every...single...day. Happy Mother's Day indeed. And thank you to Amanda, Elizabeth, Joshua, and Tyler for letting me be theirs. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Skies

Yesterday I had to attend an event in Southampton at lunchtime. Driving home I hit the back roads through Water Mill and then Bridgehampton, trying to avoid the weekend traffic that was beginning to build up on what was a beautiful day. I hadn't gone far when I was struck by the huge, very bright blue sky peeking out between some clouds.

The sky doesn't often grab my attention, but this was an unusual exception. The color was so bright and the clouds so beautiful that every corner I turned it was more beautiful. I reminded me of the description of Montana as "big sky country", because along these back roads there was so much of it to see. There were farm fields that stretched to the horizon and then, the big, blue and white expanse of sky that just shouted "Look at me!". It was distracting enough to make me take my eyes off the road too often, but thankfully I was pretty much alone on these back roads in this day.

By the time I got to Wainscott I had to stop at my favorite spot, the field across the old Osborn farmstead that looks to the pond and then to the ocean. Its one of the most gorgeous places in all of East Hampton town and I always take it in when I pass by. The day that vista disappears may be the day I give up on this place, that's how much I love it. It embodies old East Hampton with a beautiful old, modest farm house standing guard over open fields and water views, just as it was everywhere here a hundred years ago. 

I'm attaching the photo here for everyone to enjoy. I wish it did it justice, but there is nothing like the real thing... 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Commuting

I am becoming to have a great deal of empathy for people who commute every day. 

I worked in Sag Harbor for a couple years but not every day, so I can't really compare that to people who drive to and from work over twenty minutes or more all...the...time. But this week I have been to Southampton or Hampton Bays every single day. And its getting to me. 

Not only is the time on the road becoming tiresome, but the gasoline usage is really annoying! I don't particularly enjoy filling my gas tank. I never used to mind it so much when I started driving nearly fifty years ago now. But those where the days when a nice man came out of the gas station, you exchanged a few friendly words (because you were a regular and he knew you), he cleaned your windshield and often the back window as well during the time the pump was working, and it cost about $5.00, hardly a dent in the spending money account.


Now things are different of course. I have to get out of the car, wrestle with the hose, punch in lots of numbers, stand there in all kinds of weather because the pump can no longer be set to pump and walked away from, and by the time you leave you've spent more money in five minutes than you have during the last two trips to the grocery store combined. Its just not fun anymore.

So between the time dealing with traffic and the gas usage, I'm sure I don't want to commute to work, ever. Fortunately at this point in my life I am guessing that won't be a necessity.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Internet

My internet has been down for a couple days now. Or maybe its just my computer that wasn't working. I'm not really sure which - but I wasn't able to get into my blogging site in any case. It was frustrating.


I love writing but I hate doing it longhand. I have only really been able to write a lot since computers/word processors became a home necessity. I started a book quite a few years ago and had quite a bit of it written. But I lost it along the line somewhere - through a crash of a hard drive I believe.  But blogging has met a great need and I'm enjoying the simplicity of writing a small essay every day and just letting loose with my thoughts and concerns as they come to me. There's no thread other than East Hampton in my blogs. And that makes things simple.

I would like to write a book though. I need to learn how to save everything whenever I write though. A zip drive? Is that what's its called? I need to learn how to use one of those. And I need to start writing again. I already have a book in mind. Its fiction, but based on my great-grandmother's life. She was the daughter of the lighthouse keeper at Montauk, and her memories have been passed down through the generations. I think they are the basis of a good read.

Now....the internet....I still don't understand it...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Frustration

Retail can be very frustrating.

I decided to try to get new slipcovers for my Pottery Barn dining chairs rather than get rid of them because they're good chairs, sturdy and well made, and who can't use a couple extra chairs now and then? So I went onto the website to see about getting a couple new slipcovers. I searched every where but this particular chair does not seem to exist anymore. So I called customer service. Perhaps they would know about this style of chair. No luck there either. Apparently they are no longer making this chair. So what, I ask myself, was the point of buying slip covered chairs, with the understanding that the slipcovers couple be replaced, if they are not going to carry those slipcovers by the time you need new ones? Seems a bit silly, doesn't it?
Sort of like a bait and switch in my mind. Sell you these, then later sell you more because you can't get the thing you need to use these anymore.

OK so now what to do? I wonder if I could dye these slipcovers to make them look better? Or, I wonder if bleach would take out the beige color and then they'd be white? I hate to ruin them and they do say "dry clean only" but I seem to think it might be worth a try. After all, if it doesn't work I can get rid of them, as I was trying to do to begin with. But its annoying, the whole thing.

I think I'm going to try bleach first. Who knows? It might work! And if not, I may try dying them a darker color. But I'm only going to try one at a time...then again...maybe I can find a similar size chair on another website that has a slipcover that may fit. I need to do a little more legwork on this one. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Selling

Part of getting new furniture in to my house involved moving old furniture out of it. So the bench left yesterday - on its way to my daughter's house in PA this weekend. 

I have five chairs to get rid of. They are all good chairs but they're a mish mash of different styles bought at yard sales or handed down. So I out the on Bonac Yard Sale, which is a Facebook site here locally where you can buy and sell items like you would at a yard sale in your front yard. Its a great site and easy to navigate. So far, I've sold two chairs. I still have three left. One I don't mind holding on to for my back room. If I get rid of it I'll look for something to buy on the same site myself - something in an upholstered piece, small and easy to move. Of I'll look for something at Home Goods or Pier 1. I hate to just throw out the chairs I have if no one wants them, but I'm not sure what else to do with them. 

I've never bought a house full of new furniture. I've purchased new pieces over the years, mostly couches and upholstered chairs, but very rarely and never done a whole room. Instead I have to match what's still good and try to find other pieces to fill in around the stuff that's standing up well and I can't see throwing out. Its a matter of money and also conscience. My parents were children of the depression so that mentality certainly does get passed down. And its not a bad thing! In fact, I've recently been trying to replace my saran wrap and aluminum foil with re-usable containers so I don't create as much waste. What goes around comes around as they say! My grandmother, who used to wash out and re-use plastic bags, would be proud of me! (I won't go quite that far in terms of food storage, but I do re-use good plastic bags when I can!)

So - out with the old and in with the new....to an extent. The new has to match the old that's staying. I wonder if there's a life-lesson there as well?!


Monday, May 8, 2017

Independance

OK so the furniture is all moved into place and I like the space in terms of the way things fit. The new table and chairs are perfectly proportioned for the area I have and the old table went into the office to await an overflow crowd.

Now to repairs. There is one captain's chair with the set - the kind with arms - and one of the arms is broken off. So yesterday I sent about beginning the process of fixing it. I toyed briefly with the idea of taking it to an expert but then thought better of it and decided I could save the money and do it myself. With some borrowed clamps from my brother and a new bottle of wood glue, I began the process. I've never attempted such a thing before but I've seen it done. How hard could it be, right?

Well it wasn't easy. Not that it was complicated - it is not complicated at all. But I needed at least one more set of hands.  With a clamp, two pieces of wood to act as protectors of the chair on either side of the clamp, and the two pieces of chair to hold in place, it was impossible.  After twenty minutes of trying every possible way to held everything in place while turning the screw on the clamp (yes, I tried duct tape) I gave up and got rid of the two wood pieces that were meant to keep the clamp from making marks on the wood of the chair. The arm will just have to deal.

So that was yesterday. Today I undid the clamp and admired my work. Then I had to screw the arm into the repaired piece, turning the dowel until it went in to the now tighter hold that it has to be in, and went about trying to clamp the end together, again holding the arm and the piece that had come off, three things in all that needed to all line up and fit together. This time only a ten minute process, adjusting and re-adjusting as the clamp was tightened. Now its sitting there for the next 24 hours to set up and my chair will be done. I went online and ordered some wax sticks in the right shade to fill in the crevices and make repairs to the table and chairs where they're a bit scratched or worn. That and some Old English ought to do the trick! The seats, thankfully, look brand new. Otherwise I'd need to shop for new fabric and get the staple gun out. Small favors....



I will soon have a nice old (1950s), new dining room set for my kitchen. I've never owned a brand new dining room set in all these years (married in 1974) but this is close. And I'm enjoying it. And feeling very independent!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Furniture

Yesterday I did a little furniture switching at my house. An elderly friend died recently and I'm happy to be the recipient of her dining room table for my own home. Yesterday my boys helped me accomplish that task.

I don't have a real dining room at this house. I have a large kitchen with an eating counter, and at one end there is a drop-leaf table that can be opened up to accommodate eight people. Its a bit crowded when the table is opened, but it suffices for having dinner company and for family gatherings. The table I've been using is one I found on ebay ten years ago - its made by Stickley and its a pretty honey color, a very nice light hue that suites me well. It's served well all these years and I hate to move it out to the home office for occasional appearances on special occasions when I need extra seating, but it is getting a bit wobbly from all the leaning bodies of hungry grandchildren as it has just a single gate leg that pulls out on either end to support the dropped leaves. The new (old) table that came from my friend's house is a very dark, 1950s wood - not nearly as pretty as mine - but has double pull-out supports for each leaf and will be a sturdier place to put my guests. Part of me grieves the loss of my pretty table in such a visible spot, but the practical me says this makes much more sense.

And so the furniture moving took place, leaving me with a different look in my kitchen, and happily with six new dining chairs to replace the mismatched ones I've been using all this time, bought in bits and pieces at yard sales over time.

It seems a bit of an illustration for the changes taking place in my life as well. Old ideas and comforts are being replaced with others - not necessarily newer but better in many ways. Its sad to see the old pushed aside, but knowing something new is a better fit makes it easier to bear. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Backsies

OK - I want the sun back!

Ye
sterday sent us enough rain to last awhile and today the overcasts sky with drizzle and dampness is enough to make us crazy for the sunshine to return. I need some bright light in my day to find off the blues and I need some warmth to take the chill out of my bones. Enough already - its May!

There's a mindset that comes with each month and it effects the way we see things, The same 60 degrees that sends us to the closet for a jacket in September makes us pull out a short-sleeved shirt in May, right? Just as the 70 degree day seems a welcome relief in August and yet still seems to call for a sweater in June. Its all in the head, as they say, and truer than anything. I see it - and experience it - every year. Yesterday was no exception. I saw that people turned their heat on to ward off the cold and yet if it had been that warm in January we would all have been so pleased!

So here we are, waiting for the sub to appear, after some heavy rains and lack of sun. We welcome the rain when its needed and curse it when its not. And after way too much of it these past weeks we really are ready for it to leave for while. The flowers are healthy now - so we can do with some sunshine for a few days, right?

And they say next week the temperature is going to drop into the 50s again. You won't find me turning my heat on, but those wool sweaters will be getting a good work-out for sure...

Friday, May 5, 2017

Deluge

They've been promising a deluge today, but so far nothing. I woke this morning wondering if I'd be able to get my walk in, and although the ground outside was wet, it wasn't raining. So the walk was easy. The temperature these days is so delightfully conducive to walking outside! Cool enough to be comfortable and warm enough to not bite my face as I go along my merry way. So good enough - exercise for the day accomplished. 

So I've been puttering about the house all morning thinking any minute the skies would open and it would be miserable out there So far no misery. At noon I'm picking up a friend for her birthday lunch with me and I can promise you this: it will begin to pour at about 12:05.

Well no matter. A little rain cannot dampen my day. I'm enjoying the month of May already and its only barely begun. Once again I sense the air of excitement as we head into the season and signs of preparation are everywhere, from the village greens being pruned and planted to the smell of mulch and dirt when I walk outside my door. And the lilacs are just beginning to bloom. That alone can make me smile.

It's May. And its merry. And I like it!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

More

This morning looks promising in terms of the weather - the sun is shining and it looks beautiful outside - but the rain is coming back again. With a vengeance. Tomorrow.

Well the spring can be difficult can't it? I remember the one a few years ago when we were pumping water out of our basement for months. The rain never seemed to let up and we paid a big price for that, living in a low lying area of town. Hopefully we're not headed in that direction this year. Hopefully I won't need to deal with that this year as well!

Actually I'm beginning to feel a real peace about my life now, much more so than I have for some time now. It hasn't been an easy time, these pasts ten plus months, but it has been a time of great growth for me personally, both emotionally and spiritually. And there is something in that to be grateful for. I like knowing I'm never too old to become a better person, and hopefully never beyond improvement. Sometimes it seems we are so set in our ways that there is nothing that can ever shake us out of our complacency. But now I know there is. And although I would never want to go through the pain I've been through again, I'm grateful for the lessons learned and the personal growth and improvement that came as a result of that pain. I feel stronger and wiser than I ever had, and those are good things to feel. I am constantly reminded of the scripture reference "...man meant it for evil but God meant it for good..." and I'm grateful that God can take the worst things in life and cause them to make us better people through the pain.

So maybe the sun won't stay out for long today - apparently the clouds will be closing in this afternoon - but my life changes will last because they, I know, are permanent. And as wild and unpredictable as the weather may be, so is life. We never quite know what the next day will bring. And so it goes.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Phones

So here we are, on the most beautiful day in awhile now,  and between the blue skies and the perfect temperatures I must say I am loving it! 

And I'm stuck at home.

Here's my story: Last week when I picked up my home phone (yes I still have a land line and I will not get rid of it because the quality of sound is infinitely better on it than on my cell. Cells are convenient but not better in my opinion!) and there was a horrendous noise coming from the receiver. Loud, scratchy sounds that made any conversation inaudible. Then I noticed it would occasionally ring one or twice and then stop - as though cut off by some unknown power - or lack thereof. Yes - this was a problem. No one could leave audible messages and I was unable to use my preferred method of communication. So I went online and right to the Verizon website. There I signed up for a service call - the soonest I could get was ONE WEEK AWAY! Dear me! Do I not remember when a telephone repairman was there within a day? What is going on?

Today was the day I scheduled - and was informed I needed to be home between 8am and noon to receive the repairman, despite my certain knowledge that the problem was out on their line, not on my phone. So OK I wrote it on my calendar.

Yesterday as I was driving home from Southampton I received a call on my cell/bluetooth. I answered and it was a robocall from Verizon confirming my appointment and then asking me to
press 1 if I want to confirm this appointment". They called my cell. My Verizon cell. Don't they know about bluetooth? How am I supposed to drive and press a number that isn't there? How about a voice option? None. When I did not respond the robot informed that if I did not call this number "808-XXX-XXXX" very soon y appointment would be cancelled! I was furious! How dare they cancel my appointment! How dare they make it impossible for me to respond?  (And there is this whole thing about having to reconfirm appointments! Really? Another blog for another day...)


When I could I pulled off the road and redialed the number that had called me. I knew it was not the same as the one they gave me, but I had no other choice. The woman (when I finally got to speak to one) was polite but had questions I could not answer. What was my account number? (I'm in the car) What was my pin number? (Again...no idea) and eventually said she could not "access the account" without the information. Again - I'm boiling mad and trying to be polite and kind to the unfortunate messenger. 

When I finally got home I was able to go online and confirm the appointment before it was cancelled and this morning at 7:30 the repairman called to say he was on his way. He called on the phone that isn't working. I yelled into the phone that I could not hear him but that I was home and please, please do come! He showed
up an hour later and went to check the lines. He was outside at a pole for another hour and a half and when I just went to look he had gone. Strange he never let me know what was going on or that it was fixed, I thought. I picked up the phone. No dial tone.

You just can't make this stuff up.

So now - can I leave the house and finally get my errands done? Or do I need to stay here to see if he returns and needs to get into the house? We're burning daylight here and I have things to do. And Verizon is not making me happy at all. And its such a beautiful day....

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Screens

I've been wrestling with screens lately. I'm not enjoying it.

I determined that a number of my screens needed to go in for re-screening a few weeks ago. They really needed it last year but for various reasons it never happened so this is the year. I went out into the shed to take stock, determined which needed to go, pulled them out and dragged them to the deck, and then walked around the house to check the ones that stay on all year. Sure enough, I found two that needed replacing as they had large gashes, probably made by a squirrel or raccoon trying to scale the side of the house. 

First I had to figure out how to get those two screen windows off, which was no small feat in and of itself. They are from windows on the sun porch which we replaced quite a few years ago now with new ones. It was not a simple project at all. First I had work my way close enough to the house to touch them, which meant squeezing between bushes and trying not to destroy the landscaping. Once close enough to work on them I had to try to figure out how to get them out of the framing they were in - again a tricky job. It took me probably 1`5 minutes to work those two windows out and I still haven't figure out how to get them back in. Perhaps we should have saved the instructions that no doubt came with the windows initially. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

So now I had eight screens to transport to the local hardware store. I wasn't sure I could even get them in my care because some of them were pretty large, especially the french door inserts, but putting all the seats down and carefully loading them through the hatchback, I managed.

Then I got to the hardware store. Another challenge. I could only carry a couple at a time which meant four trips into the store. I didn't want to leave the car unlocked all that time, so it meant opening the hatchback, pulling two out, closing the hatchback, dragging them in, coming back out and repeating the process. Did I mention that some of them were heavy? The french door screens were metal - they'd been installed over thirty years ago now - and this was a challenge.

OK so now I wait two weeks and then reverse the whole process. Fortunately with the new, lightweight screening, the french doors are lighter now and easier to carry. 

I have them at home now and I've managed to at least get the french door screens in place and the storms pulled out (much heavier than the screens by the way), and I feel pretty good about that. But the others are a different challenge. I have no idea how to re-insert the ones on the sun porch, and the large front window screens need two people because one has to place them in the frame from the outside and one needs to hook them into place from the inside. What kind of a design is that anyway?

No one really appreciates the challenges of being alone until they face them. Life as a single may sometimes seem like a nice thing, but in reality it's not so easy! It has made me more resourceful, for sure. And my arms are starting to get really, really strong! 

May Day

Yesterday I was reminded of a day in May many years ago that made me smile. It was May 1st and it must have fallen on a Saturday that particular year. My mother was telling my sister and I about a May Day tradition from her own youth that fascinated me. She told us that when she was young the children would collect fresh spring flowers and put them into little handmade posies, then go to a neighbor's house, hang them on the door, and ring the bell before they ran to hide and watch the delight on the face of the person answering the door.

Of course we had to try it. So we went to the house next door - it belonged to a family member so we thought of it as an extension of our own yard really - and we picked some of the beautiful wild violets that were growing in abundance under the trees there. We brought them home and Mom had managed to come up with a pretty lace doily and some lavender ribbon. She showed us how to shape the doily into a cone and attache the ribbon along with a tag that we wrote "Happy May Day" on, and we filled it with our stash of tiny flowers and headed back outside with our beautiful bouquet. Then we crossed Montauk Highway ( imagine letting your children ages 7 and 6 do that today!) and walked to the home of my first grade teacher from the year before, Mrs. Clark. There we sneaked up to the front door, rang the doorbell, and quickly ran for cover behind her hedges. Just as my mother had promised when Mrs. Clark opened the door and discovered the gift she smiled, probably at her own childhood memory so much like my Mom's.


It was a very small gesture, something fun to do on a day off in the beautiful month of May, and it was greeted with just the right amount of enthusiasm. And for me it was also a lesson in graciousness. Because I learned that day that it doesn't take lots money or fancy possessions to delight somebody special - all it takes is a little love and creativity. And that's something we all have to give.

Maybe some day someone will leave a May Day nosegay on my door.  

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ready

OK so here we are! It's May! Now where are the flowers? And are the showers really over?

So far the flowers have been right on schedule coming in nicely - the daffodils are pretty much gone now and the weeping cherry trees losing their blossoms, but the lilacs are ready to pop and the other cherry trees are getting ready to be in full bloom as always, for Mother's Day. There is plenty of glory to come here with our spring and I'm marking every change I see. The pleasures to come will surely equal the ones passing by.

May is a lovely month - the one where the weather is great and the hordes have no yet arrived in this little resort town so we can enjoy it all to ourselves. I'm looking forward to these next weeks - busy but exciting - as we prepare for the summer to come. I love the temperate climate where I can throw on a sweater or light jacket and be content to sit on the beach without the intense heat  of the sun or the too-hot-to-walk-on sand. I like the fact that the windows can be open and the fresh air circulates throughout the rooms.

Yes - May is a lovely month. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Imitation

There are times when nature makes the perfect imitation of life and I saw that on Friday morning. 

It was a chilly, rainy morning when I woke to thunder at 5:30. "So much for my walk", I thought! But once I got dressed into my workout clothes and opened the back door I was delighted to see that although the ground was wet, it seemed as though there was no rain falling. So out I went.

About a third of the way into my walk the rain started again. It wasn't a pelting rain and it was light enough that I decided to complete the usual route rather than turn and head home. Once I arrived at my back door I was wet but not soaking and rather pleased with myself for getting that walk in.

And so it went for the first few hours of the day, until about 10:00 when BAM! the sun appeared. Suddenly it was bright and warm and what began as a dismal day was now quite lovely. And it struck me that my life has followed a similar path these past long months, as the storm clouds obscured the sun for what seemed like forever, only to have the light break through just when it seemed the day was going to end the same way it began.

Life is strange sometimes. And at others it follows a very logical path. Sadly we never know which direction its going! But then, that's what makes it interesting, right? And for the moment, I'm enjoying the warmth of the sun.   

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Turns

Life has certainly taken some strange turns for me lately and as much as I'd like to think I know what tomorrow holds, I certainly do not.

Its been awhile since I blogged much about my private life, assuming that people would much rather hear about my surroundings and all the things I love about East Hampton than the trips and turns of my existence on the earth. After all, we all have our burdens and difficulties and who wants to take on someone else's? But there are times when they are overwhelming in that we can only think about what's happening to us, and everything else - the beautiful weather, the spring flowers, whatever is happening in the world - simply takes a back seat to emotions and circumstances. And so life goes!

These past weeks and, actually months, have been wild ones for me. After struggling with so much turmoil in my life over the past ten months I thought I was settling down to a more simple and peaceful place. And I have. But at the same time there is much more to do before I ever feel at rest again. Because relationships, and families, and all that they entail, are complicated. We humans can be difficult to navigate!


Sometimes I wish my children were little again. I long for the days when they would curl up on my lap and listen to everything I said as though it were the smartest thing they'd ever heard. I wish I could kiss their boo boos away and make them smile again when they're in pain. Those were the easiest years in terms of making them content! They were happy with food, and a warm bed, and parents who would hug them and make them feel as though they were the best things in the world.

It was simple then. Now not so much. They are still the most important things in the world to me. But my hugs and reassurances don't go as far as they once did. Because they're adults now. And just like me, face reality in an adult world. 

But still... I wish I  had my own mother to sit with and cry with. Now that would be a true blessing. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Foggy mornings

Its not unusual at this time of the year to have the grassy field across from my house shrouded in fog. In the morning, when I look out my front windows, sometimes its like a veil of tulle has been dropped in front of them, like the scrims that they use in the theater to project on - sheer fabric that you can see through but also lays a layer of white over everything behind it.

On other days I can watch the fog roll in, creeping and swirling across the grass only a few feet above, looking more like a horror movie where everything is slowly enveloped in thick heavy white. But it never fills the air like the other kind, rather sitting just above the earth like a down comforter protecting it from the cold.

I love my front row seat to the fog here. The open field and my proximity to the ocean make it the perfect observation point. I see it in every form and always love the nature of it. Its fascinating and its always changing. And this time of the year its with us often here on the East End as the air above and the earth below begin to regulate their temperatures in the changing season.

As long as I don't need to navigate far I really do love the fog.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Books

I have become a bit of a bookworm these past ten months. I think I've read more books in the past year than I had in ten years before that. I never seemed to have time to read, and in this small house it was never easy to find a quiet spot to do it. I need quiet when I read. I need the television off and the house serene and I need to concentrate on what I'm reading. Being alone has provided me with more peace and quiet than I know what to do with.

So back in the summer I was reading books that were helping me through the difficult time I was facing. I read books about addiction, about sexual infidelity, about marriage, about anything that was remotely connected to my own life then. I found a lot of help in those books and they certainly assisted me in getting through some difficult days. For me, knowledge is powerful and understanding circumstances enables me to cope with them. Books give us that kind of power.

Now, and since the first of this year, my books have become more spiritual in nature. I've been reading about getting my life on track, about God's plans for us, and most importantly, how to center myself spiritually so I have the peace that only comes with that kind of place in my soul. I am a woman of faith and my faith is the center of my life. Only in the times I've allowed myself to lose sight of that center have I faltered. Now I'm back where I need to be, thanks to some of the books I've gotten into that have helped me find my way back. I was literally in the wilderness for months, flailing around, trying to find my way. Now I have my compass back and it makes all the difference. 

So, first thing every morning I sit at my table, just as I saw my mother do for so many years, and I open my Bible, and whatever book it is that I'm working my way through at the moment. And I start my day the right way. Its my new life and I love it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The same

Today the rain continues and we are feeling a bit soggy around here. I know its great for the grass and the flowers, but too much rain can become more than a little tiresome. Not to mention I have to worry about flooding in my basement.

Last fall I needed to replace my two hot water heaters in the basement and when I did the plumber raised them a few inches for me. That's because when the floods come, and they do, I have no hot water. The pilot lights is easily extinguished by the water that creeps up the sides of the tanks. For an entire summer about eight years ago we had three pumps going 24/7 to keep the level down low enough to retain our pilot light and have hot water. Hopefully if the flood waters return again the problem will be solved, but I'm not sure. It remains to be seen at this point.

Well so far we're not at the danger point but two days of this steady rain certainly raises the red flag for me. Its been a very wet April and I'm hoping for a drier May. Because even a few inches may not be enough if this keeps up...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Done

OK I'm done with the April showers now. After this past weekend, and a prediction including rain for the next two days, I'm thinking its time to see the May flowers. Please.

Of course the rain certainly has had its benefits. My lawn is nice and green and the colorful foliage is everywhere. Soon we'll have azaleas to enjoy, followed by irises and other pretty things. Right now the tulips are lovely and the growth on my lilacs makes me look forward longingly to the days those beauties will be in bloom. Every year I look forward to that. My son-in-law is allergic to them and I think that must be a terrible thing as I can't think of a better scent to fill my house with. I bring them in by the bucketfuls.

Yes the world is wide awake now and the threat of snow or freezing temperatures is over, at least here on the East End. Its a beautiful time to be living here, and May is as beautiful as they come. There are so many good things to look forward to, and this month is especially sweet, before the hordes arrive to take up our parking spaces and clog our roads. 

I suppose its time to go into Village Hall and get my beach sticker for this year. Soon enough I'll be needing it. But not today. Today I'll be dancing among the raindrops, trying to stay dry....

Monday, April 24, 2017

Winding down

So April is winding down now - this is the last week of the month - and May is about to burst on the scene. Living in East Hampton we know that means the season is upon us.

Last week when I traveled to my volunteer morning at Southampton Hospital I knew it was here now. That was the first time I came over the hill to meet CR 39 and saw the traffic backed up to the traffic light, causing me to make the immediate decision to turn right at the light and wind mys way along the back roads through Water Mill. There is that first time every year when it hits me and I know my route is now changed for the duration of the season. It will be October now before I can once again easily traverse the highway without looking for ways to get around the mess of cars, trucks, and construction.

May is always a beautiful month here and I welcome the weather and the excitement of the coming months. It isn't with dread that I face the coming season, only with caution. After all, its been my life here for over sixty years now so its what I expect. With April comes traffic, with July comes tourists, etc, etc. Life on the East End, simple as that. But I do make adjustments to my way of thinking and to my efforts to get around town. There will be no more left turns onto Main Street, for instance, so that has to be figured in to the equation whenever I plan my route around the village. Small changes, different mind sets, all doable but just necessary.

May is coming whether we like it or not. And as I approach the one year anniversary of my new life I do so with the knowledge that I've survived. Now its time to thrive. And I will.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Family

I'm with family this weekend having traveled to PA with my son and granddaughter to see the high school musical my other granddaughter is in. So I'm in my happy place right now, surrounded by family and enjoying every minute of it.

My daughter recently moved to a new house so I'm enjoying her new guest room and beautiful wooded surroundings. My son drove down with me so having all that time with him was great - a rare thing to be one-on-one with an adult child for that many hours. And of course being with the grand children for any length of time is always a treat, so all in all this has been a special weekend for me. When you get to be my age, family is what makes life joyful. Its where we find out peace and our contentment and the place we feel most at home. I can see why my grandmother was always so delighted to see us enter her back door when we were young - I actually wish I'd understood it back then because I would have made an effort to do it more often. Actually there are so many things I wish I'd realized when I was young - too much of our wisdom comes too little and too late as far as I'm concerned! What a difference I could have made in the lives of my parents and grandparents had I only been more insightful back in the day! With age comes wisdom, I've always heard that, but somehow we think when we're forty we've already obtained it. Phish! Little did I know. Little do any of us know.

Well I'm only here for one more day so I'm going to enjoy these moments with the special people in my life. I've been truly blessed with each of them and I'll never take any of it for granted. Ever.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Confusion

Yes its that time of the year again. The weather is so confusing I never know how to dress when I get up in the morning. Even watching the news and weather first thing leaves me puzzled because I can't always tell from the posted temperature just how comfortable I'll be. It was fairly warm the other morning but because it was raining I was still chilly when I failed to dress in enough layers. The house held on to that chill all morning and the sun never broke through to make it comfortable enough. With the heat turned off I'm at the mercy of the weather and my wardrobe is not helping.

For a few more weeks at least it will be a guessing game, trying to predict how warm or cold it will be throughout the day. Once the sun appears it warms up nicely, although a twenty degree shift from one day to another is not unheard of.  This is the way of our shoulder seasons, both spring and fall, moving from one wardrobe to another and not sure which direction to go. I always know in the winter I'm wearing a sweater. In the summer the linen is never wrong. But now, in April, anything goes.

Well I do love these two seasons of change so I don't mind it too much. I'm always ready with a light jacket or sweater to throw on if need be. But I do think it would be nice to have a simple method of knowing when I climb out of bed early in the morning exactly now to prepare for the day. These are days of wonder, never with exact answers, and so it will be. Just another imitation of my life right now in general. I may not know what tomorrow holds but I can find a way to simply enjoy today.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Scheduling

My life has fallen into a pretty regular weekly pattern which makes me feel a little old because I remember my mother having the same type of schedule when she was older. I think its largely because with no kids around life becomes more regular, or more predictable, as there are fewer special events to work around. No play practice, or sports, or after school activities for instance. Piano lessons, dentist's appointments, and extra school work don't factor in to my own schedule so I can pretty much know from week to week how things will go. Surprises are unusual and for the most part I know exactly what I'll be doing every Tuesday morning at 9am for instance.

Wednesday morning is grocery shopping day. It used to be that I'd stop at odd times of the day and week, whenever I saw an empty parking space, for instance, as I passed by the IGA near my house. But now that I get a discount on "senior" day, I try to only go on Wednesdays. Its worth it to hang on to my shopping needs until then to save on my total bill.

I always go to the dump on Saturdays to do the recycled stuff so if I need to go in between times I do it Mondays and Thursdays. That way I never have any garbage sitting for long in my house waiting for that fateful trip to the recycling center. 

Tuesday morning I volunteer at the hospital so that's always the same, and Thursdays and Fridays are the days I often have meetings for my village work. Saturdays are also for house work and entertaining and Sundays for church, so there you have it - my week in review! Of course there is plenty of fill-in around all those things, like meeting a friend for lunch, or running to K-Mart for something or other. And the occasional trip to Riverhead thrown in.

I think I feel a trip to Lowes coming on soon because my outdoor pots really need planting. Its a little early yet, but in another few weeks for sure....

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cherry blossoms

One of my favorite trees is the cherry. Because no matter which one it is (and I have a couple different types within eyesight of my house) they are stunning at this time of the year. From my home office window I can see the weeping pink cherry in my yard, a white one across the green, 

and the kwansan cherry that my mother planted so many years ago. They're all gorgeous right now.

I will admit to a special fondness for the pink varieties, although all the flowering trees are beautiful. My crab apple  is beginning to show signs of life but its not out yet, and the apple trees are similarly just beginning to perk up. They also are a lovely display.

Spring is awash with beauty every year and my only regret is its so short-lived. One week and most trees have lost their flowers, the pink cherries turning the ground into a puddle of bright pink petals surrounding the base. I don't like the way they get dragged into the house on so many shoe souls, but I love the look of them from a distance. Its that pop of color in the waking world that really stirs my soul. Life is returning to the earth, and we all get a front row seat. It doesn't get any better than that.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seasonal

Sometimes the change of seasons makes me very philosophical. I am definitely feeling that way right now.

I suppose this has to do with my life and all the changes I've experienced over the past almost one year now. It began in the heat of the summer, when I was shocked at the revelation that my marriage was about to dissolve. How could that be? After all those years of loyalty and love? Impossible! Why?

By the fall I had fallen into despair at my new reality and by the time the winter hit I was in the depths of it completely. I had a hard time moving from one day to the next, always keeping a good face on for the public to see but inwardly feeling as though my life was over and all that had to happen now was the funeral. 

But then as winter came to a close and spring began to show its face, new hope dawned. Call it the seasons of the soul perhaps. New hope was springing up as new life was emerging. It came in the form of a spiritual awakening, and then the confidence that nothing was happening to me that wasn't in God's control. I realized that my new independence was making me stronger and tougher than I'd ever been, and it wasn't such a bad idea to learn how to make it alone in the world. After all, I've got skills and abilities and I'm not a stupid person. Why should I depend so heavily on another person anyway? I was beginning to come out of my hole with the hope that I can and will be OK, whatever the future holds.

Now that spring is completely here I'm feeling more optimistic and looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I've no idea where its taking me and I don't really care. Because I feel confident in the fact that I've grown stronger and smarter and no one will ever again be able to fool me  into thinking they care more about me than they do anything else. Somehow I thought that just because I was giving my all, it was coming right back to me! Silly me! I'll never make that mistake again. The only person I can count on is myself and that's the way it will be from here on out.

My year of pain and heartache and self-discover is nearly over now and I'm happy to see it come to an end. Not because I think its over, because I'm not sure those things can ever be completely over. But because I'm ready for anything now. I'm my own person. Not some body's wife, or mother, or daughter - I'm just myself. And I only have myself to please. I'm not worrying about anybody else at this point. Its time for me now. So look out world - here I come!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bills

Paying bills has become more of a challenge now that I'm single. I know I'm not the first person to deal with this, and I am certainly not the last, but I'm still figuring all this single life out and paying the bills is only one of the many challenges.

I used to pay most of the bills so I'm not a complete neophyte on this area, but there have been some surprises. For instance, my husband used to pay certain bills and therefore when they began arriving I was shocked by them. I had no idea how much car insurance was, for instance! And then there is the issue of paying taxes, another thing I haven't done on my own for over forty years. That has been another learning curve for me and I'm dealing for the first time with estimated payments and other little details I was able to ignore for so long in my adult life. It must be nice to have a staff to handle such mundane things as this!

Bills in general are easy enough to pay as long as there's money in the bank to pay them with. But there are times now, just as there were in my earlier days, when there isn't quite enough to go around. So then its a balancing act trying to figure out what and how much to pay. I've been sending payments to certain people when I can and they've been graciously waiting complete payment, understanding that things like new hot water heaters and cesspool pumping are don't necessarily fit into a very tight budget. Thankfully its a small town and people are generous about such things.

But here's the thing about bill paying: it never ends! Its seems as though I just finish sending out a batch of payments and suddenly the new ones start pouring in. Those utilities want to be paid every month, can you imagine? And so do the credit card companies! Shocking!

I'm beginning to feel as though I have a good handle on things now, almost a year into my new single state. The first few months, I think, I was in shock really, and I
don't even have much memory of paying my bills then. But these past few are finally beginning to create a new reality for me and I'm feeling more independent and in control than I had in a very long time. Sometimes its nice to give control over to somebody else, but as far as the bills go, I need to know when they were paid and how much was paid and exactly what I was paying for. And I do. Now. Its a whole new world for me.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Sunday

Well yesterday was certainly a picture
perfect Easter Sunday if I've ever seen one. It was sunny and warm and beautiful and fit the occasion as if scripted by a screen writer for a motion picture. It was one for the books for sure.

I was up early and began the day by making lists as is my habit when I have lots to do. Then I started tackling said list, beginning with the table setting and food prep. Once I had everything ready for the oven and all the dishes organized I set out to ready the back yard for the egg hunt planned for the kids. First the youngest  - all easy to see and quick to lay out. Then the more challenging ones for the older children who needed more of a challenge. I tried my best to think like a ten-year-old and put some in places like under the grill cover and hidden in tree branches. Hard enough for a challenge but not impossible to find since I might have to help otherwise.

With the egg hunt completed I set went back into the house for my morning scripture reading and completed the lenten series I had started way back when. Now I was mentally prepared for the worship service to come. (I woke too late for the sunrise service but still had plenty of time before I had to arrive for the regular one.)

After breakfast I watched a little television, then finished getting ready for church, put the food in the slow oven, and headed out the door.

Church was wonderful as it always is on holidays. There is a distinctly different flavor of things on holidays because there are so many visitors. We seem to be on our best behavior, and don't get to see our usual friends because of the crowd, but its always nice to welcome new people in to fill the pews which are rarely crowded. The music was great, the flowers gorgeous, and the sun shining as we walked out the door made for a wonderful morning of worship.

Once home preparations went in to high swing once again as I readied the house and finished the last-minute food prep. By the time the family arrived I was in good shape and simply enjoyed the rest of the day with the people I love.

By the time everyone left I was happily on the couch with my feet up, thinking how  blessed I was to be living this life. All in all a very nice day.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

HAPPY EASTER

                                       HE IS RISEN!




                               HE IS RISEN INDEED!!!

             The hope of the world when we truly need it most....

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Busy times

This has been a busy week for me - as it has been for everyone I suppose - but for me its been downright crazy. Every day this week I wrote out a schedule. Wednesday, for instance, looked like this:

     Walk 5:45am
     Grocery shop 7am
     Baby sit 7:30 - 11:15am
     Meeting in Southampton noon
     King Kullen - pork roast
     Make cake filling
     Make applesauce
     Start filling Easter eggs
     Art studio 5:30

Every day was like that, bouncing from one thing to another with little time in between for anything else. In fact I found the newspaper in the driveway when I finally got home Wednesday night at 8 and it had been run over by my car a few dozen times during the day. I don't remember if I got to read it or not - I think I went right to bed.

I addition to the preparations for Easter Sunday celebrations there was church to attend, because after all, if we lose sight of what it is we're preparing for we kind of lose the point now, don't we? So Thursday night and Friday night I attended services for Holy Week.

Easter and Christmas are both like this for me, but somehow Christmas seems to be more fun because simply there are more parties connected with it. That means I get to just go have fun some of the time and don't always need to do all the work myself. Plus, its stretched out for a whole month, not concentrated into one week like Easter is. So Christmas is a bit different in that respect. Easter is quick and a little crazy in its burst of energy, coinciding with the arrival of warm weather and the need to get outside and start working on other things.   

Well, the week is nearly over now and once the gang goes home tomorrow night it will be very, very quiet in my house, and I'll have nothing to worry about but the clean up. And I'll wish I was busier again. Life!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Church

I'm always truly blessed by the comfort I find in routine. I'm a person who thrives on the known and the things I can count on. Nothing much throws me off as much as some trauma that changes everything and makes life confusing and unpredictable. So I find a lot of comfort in church.

There is much to be said about church in terms of its mission, its presence, its failures. But there is also much to be said in its favor. It provides us with a place to worship together, with like-minded people, in a community where there should be love and support and a whole lot of teaching and direction. It sometimes fails and it often falls short, but all in all, its a place I chose to go when life hits me hardest. Its the place of comfort and it feels like home.

Easter week is an especially wonderful time to spend at church. I find comfort in the ceremonies, in the routines, in the regular schedule of Holy Thursday followed by Good Friday followed by Easter Sunday. Its steady in its teaching, the same scriptures we read together every year and the familiar story we love. Church is my centering place.

Of course church would be meaningless without God, but He is always there when I look for him. It doesn't matter the denomination or the structure - He always meets me. And in fact I suppose I bring Him with me. Because I have him with me at home as well.

But there's just something special about a church. And this week I'm taking full advantage.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holidays

This weekend is a big holiday for Christians and I always look forward to a beautiful weather stretch, which we usually have. However, this year looks like possible rain on Sunday so I'm not too happy about that.

There's something very important about sunshine on Easter morning. First of all, if one wants to attend the sunrise service at the beach it really is important as the meaning of that sunrise over the ocean takes on special significance as we ponder the story of the resurrection.

Secondly there is something about the sun that makes us reflect on the reality of renewal and rebirth at this time every year, at least when you live here in the northeast where we've been slowly climbing out of our sleepy winter season.

And of course there is the colorful delight of the children dressed in their Easter finery, all brightened by the light of the sun as they run from the church doors after worship. Its a sight I never tire of. The combination of color, sunshine, and all that enthusiasm (albeit perhaps a result of too much sugar consumption earlier in the morning) is really unbeatable. So the thought of rain is a bit depressing.

Of course the weather doesn't change the story, does it? And the story is one of hope, of transformation, of forgiveness, and love. And that never, ever gets old.