Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Amazing

Its hard to believe that tomorrow is June 1st when I'm still so cold in my house at night these days! Not sleeping - its actually this has been delightful sleeping weather - but trying to sit and watch TV or read at night has been downright uncomfortable lately!

I actually like these temperatures. I love wearing sweaters and socks and being toasty warm instead of overly hot, but I cannot bring myself to turn on the heat at this time of the year, so evenings are really cold. As much as I bundle up I often cannot get my hands warm and my nose is cold and I just feel as though its November instead of May. I'm hoping that June sees a change in this trend and we can enjoy some warmer weather ahead. Not hot mind you, but a bit warmer than this!

I know - I'm never happy I suppose. I laugh sometimes because I remember my mother saying she had a "very small comfort zone" of between 65 and 75 degrees. I thought that was silly at the time, but here I am feeling the exact same way these past few years. I wonder if the things we mock in our parents come back to haunt us in some kind of cruel generational karma, with patterns following our parents' lives that we never expected. There is certainly much more to DNA than we realized when we're young!

Poor Mom - I wish I could have her back and apologize now. I also wish she could warn me of what else is to come should I be lucky enough to live into my eighties the way she did!

Come to think of it, I'm only sixteen years away from the age she was when she died. Now that's a sobering thought, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Brrrr

Well it was certainly not the normal Memorial Day yesterday. Instead of a warm, sunny afternoon in the back yard we spend our day inside, freezing in the damp house with no heat on, trying to make the most of a dreary, rain-soaked day. And we did.

I'm always reminded of my father on these bad-weather Memorial Days. I think about the stories he told of snow falling overnight in the battlefields of Belgium, waking only to try and assess who may have frozen to death during the long, cold night. And I also think about the newsreels we watched in the 1960s every night on the evening news. We saw our troops in Viet Nam, slogging 


through muddy rice paddies in full combat gear, or lining up in the pouring rain as they went to the mess hall or ran to the helicopter, always looking wet and tired and as though they'd prefer to be anywhere else in the world in that moment. The images are still with me, and when the rain falls on us as we stand for the ceremonies on Memorial Day I think of them. And of my father in WWII.

It was a somber holiday yesterday, perfect for remembrance and reflection. We enjoyed family and had some fun, eating together and playing games at the kitchen table. But it certainly wasn't the warm and happy gathering of Memorial Days past. And that was OK. It was a good day.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Never Forget

           Memorial Day 2017 - A grateful Nation Remembers

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday

Well today turned out to be a better day than anticipated but tomorrow is not looking good now. Sigh...

Its been a very busy weekend with ambulance calls and certainly seems to be the beginning of the crazy time for emergency services. We do half of our yearly call volume in June, July, August and September, so now it truly does begin. There are simply too many people here from now until after the weather cools down again and there's no getting around it. I'm not sure what the answer is to the dilemma but I know its a strain on everything around here, these summer months. From the hospital to the volunteers to the police department, we all suffer, and the traffic just makes life miserable/. This has been my life since I was a child growing up here, but its worse than it was then, and becomes more intolerable every year. There was always inconvenience and there have always been crowds, but now, well, even the most stoic of us become frustrated and by August we're done. 

I've often said if I could, I would take the month of August and go somewhere. But I don't have the means and I'm not sure I'd know where to go. But I just may find some trips to take in the coming years during the month of August. A couple weeks at least would help to take the edge off.

This is only the beginning. We have a long, long way to go now.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Perfect

Well this morning dawned bright and sunny and its a small gift in the midst of this dreary weather we've had lately. I remember hearing the rain when I was up at 1am and then this morning - happily only the song birds were busy, bringing the sun up when I was getting dressed.

At 7am I left for a trip to the dump and then the grocery store, hoping to stay in the rest of the weekend for the most part. I came in with my two bags of groceries only to hear my ambulance pager going off so I headed out to take care of someone in an automobile accident before the traffic got too bad. Too late. The traffic coming home was dreadful. But, by 9:30 am I was back in my kitchen, gratefully eating breakfast and planning out the work for the day.

I have a good schedule of housework, yard work, and cooking to do, and I shall keep myself pretty busy all day. I'm grateful for that because I find holiday weekends to be particularly lonely now that I'm single, and I try to stay as busy as I can for that reason. But with the traffic to deal with its not easy because I need to stay busy at home. Where its lonely. Sort of a vicious circle if you know what I mean.  And so it goes in this single life!

But no matter really because its a beautiful day. And when all else is done, when my cooking and cleaning are complete and I'm feeling the walls close in around me, I'll head out to my new hammock, attach the brand new pillow that arrived for it yesterday, and lay in the sun enjoying the blue shy that's been such a rarity lately. And I think at that point I'll know: all's right with the world.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Damp

The best way to describe the weather here this week is damp. We've had rain and overcast skies and drizzle and mist and all sorts of wet stuff in all kinds of forms. And its getting old now. But they're not promising anything better to come.

I'm dreading a rainy Memorial Day weekend. It means all the cars will be on the road, looking for something to do, rather than being parked at the beach or in a driveway while its occupants are sun bathing in the back yard. Instead they'll be looking for places to shop, or sightseeing, or visiting local museums. Good for the store owners and cultural spots, but not for traffic.

I anticipate spending most of the weekend at home.  I have no reason to go out other than church on Sunday so I may hang close to home. If I need to go to the grocery store it will be at 7am when most the world is still asleep.

Monday of course is the parade. I haven't missed one in 65 years that I can remember. No reason to break that record.
 




Thursday, May 25, 2017

As expected

Yes the trip to NYC went pretty much as expected yesterday. I was exhausted when I got home.

The Jitney ride in was OK - lot of traffic during rush hour of course, but we got in only a few minutes after scheduled arrival time. But once in Manhattan things were crazy. There was one taxi ride that nearly sent me over the edge. Those drivers are so aggressive I can barely stand it. At one point the taxi was jockeying for position against a city transit bus and I swear to you, that bus was within six inches of my face. There were other skirmishes just as close, with big trucks and other taxis, everyone trying to get in front of the person next to them and no one seeming to want to back off. Yikes. It was a hair raising ride from 45th to 60th and down a few blocks from Madison to 3rd. 

I always love going by the park. I love the handsome cabs and I'm always amused at the way the different drivers pimp out their cabs with artificial flowers, trying to get the attention of anyone looking for a ride through Central Park. We did it once many years ago and it is a favorite memory of mine. The park is peaceful and green, a spot of tranquility in the midst of a crazy, noisy, busy city that has to be experienced to understand.

It was a busy day that even involved a tram ride to Roosevelt Island where my friend lives, and ending with a long drive home, once again during rush hour. New York City is a great place to visit. I'm glad I don't live there.

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.