Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodbye, Irene!

Can you see my mailbox?  It's in there.  The red spot in the center of the picture is the flag.  Nice, right?  I can't complain, though.  This is minor, really.  I heard some trees smashed into houses, cars, blocked roads and driveways...  we didn't have any of that.

We had a little of this:

a bunch of these, but not anywhere too worrisome...
(See the "tilter" toward the back in the middle?)

We had a few of these in woodsy places, but if it's in woodsy places, we can take our time taking care of them, right?

Mostly, we had a whole lot of this:

...and some other stuff too minor to even mention.  It was a drama-filled weekend, but I'm glad to say in my house, we were largely unscathed. 

Hope you were, too.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Craziness... waiting for Irene

Cedar Beach, Mount Sinai

Today I went to the store intending to snap some pictures of the hurricane fever that's gripped the East Coast and instead, it was relatively quiet.  Two days ago, I stopped at a gas station to fill up my tank, (I didn't stop because Irene was coming for a visit, I stopped because my gas tank was EMPTY).  I had to wait in a line of cars just to get to the pump.  I had also planned to go to the supermarket but I put it off after attempting to buy school supplies in Wal-Mart and seeing lines that rivaled those of midnight on Black Friday.  I finally went today and consoled myself with the thought that I'd get some pictures of real insanity in the stores, but when I got there, it was almost a let down. 

No one's out anymore.  The bottles of water and batteries have been purchased.  Everyone is hunkering down, waiting for Irene.  Just an FYI - my grandmother's name was Irene.  She would have been so amused by all of this.  I think my grandfather would be even MORE amused, however.  He might have even commented that Irene was kicking some ASS...

This afternoon, when I showed my daughter a tree stump from a huge tree that fell down and blocked the road during Hurricane Gloria, I realized that landmarks are going to change around here in the next two days. So never mind the pictures of the preparation madness, instead I'm posting some more of the pictures I took at the beach the other day.  We can all hope together that it looks just as good a week from now.

Cedar Beach, Mount Sinai

Cedar Beach, Mount Sinai

Cedar Beach, Mount Sinai

Cedar Beach, Mount Sinai

Stay safe, everyone. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh Brother!

If you are a girl, this, I think, is the essence of having a brother.  When I showed my daughter this picture, she thought her brother was trying to jump on her, but my son had already told me... he was trying to grab her belt and pull her into the water. 

I have three sisters, and I always used to wish I had a brother.  Brothers were something of a mystery to me.  They seemed so entertaining.  So funny, so... ridiculous.  They can definitely be a pain, but usually, their humor balances out their annoying tendencies.  I know this because now I have a son and a daughter, and even though I don't have a brother, I have an uncle who is just seven years older than me.  When we were kids, we used to play together.  Usually, this consisted of us fighting about what we wanted to watch on TV.  I always voted for cartoons, or something funny and NOT scary, and he always voted for Godzilla movies... which were bad enough on their own, but then he would launch into a very convincing rendition of a mummy with staring eyes.  He's stalk me around the living room with his arms out and say in a monotone, "YUM, YUM, EAT 'EM UP!" until I freaked out.  At first I tried reasoning with him ("Can you cut it out please?") and then I threatened to tell, which worked perfectly.  As soon as I threatened to tell, his normal voice would come back, "NO!!  No, don't tell, I'll stop, I'll stop."  Of course, this only lasted a couple of minutes. 

I see with boys, there is always a lot of poking, nudging, and physical comedy.  Girls... that's not naturally our strength.  Our silliness is less Three Stooges and more... I don't know... Friends? 

So when I took the kids to a local beach the other day in an attempt to "do" a few more things in the last bit of summer before the crazy routine of school and other obligations resumes, I was not surprised that while everyone had fun, they also managed to annoy each other, too. 

They complain about each other every day, but I really do think they really like each other.  I hope so.  They each miss the other one when they're not around.  After all, as I like to remind them, he was the first person on this Earth who made her laugh... 

Do you hear me, you two? you like each other... you really like each other.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday afternoon blues...

Even though we had so much to do this weekend that I felt like I should have put on my sneakers and a track suit on Thursday night, by late Sunday afternoon I had a major case of the Sunday blues...  Where are the laundry elves when you need them?  I was close to a mental meltdown when the hubby suggested we take a short ride out east to pick some raspberries, get some veggies, and maybe a pie. 

What a great idea!  I brought my camera but (stupidly) left it in the car while we picked berries.  Just in case anyone is wondering, here on Long Island, blueberries are pretty much done, blackberries are not quite at their peek, but the raspberries were wonderful!  We picked just one quart (enough to stain your hands in a somewhat alarming shade of red), but plenty of other people were picking baskets and baskets... some of them were even plopped down in the raspberry aisles, feasting on the contents of their baskets like kids in Willie Wonka's factory.  I should have taken the camera.

Next we stopped at a farmstand.  Everything looked so GOOD... made me want to cook (well, almost).

Look, it's my cabbage version of Monet's "Irises" painting.  Ha, ha!

Don't you want to make soup when you see this?  I'm thinking a nice corn chowder...

Gotta love those sunflowers!  Unfortunately, the deer at my house love them, too.

I made raspberry jam when we got home - forget the laundry!  I didn't use a recipe (I like to live dangerously sometimes).  It came out a little watery, but it tasted great ("Mom, this is the BEST raspberry jam I've ever tasted."  Thanks, son. It may be the only raspberry jam he's tasted, but who cares?  I'm glad summer's not quite over yet. I still have a lot of things (besides laundry) to do. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nyles - A Eulogy

I have struggled to write this for a week and a half.  I have been wanting to tell you the story of my dog, a much loved and integral part of my family, and that he has died. I’ve written drafts and thrown them out, rearranged them in my head and on paper, never quite satisfied that they would tell you the story of how much I and my family have loved him. Now, I can only see him in my mind, and I imagine him playing in the garden of God.
When he was a puppy, he was abandoned by his first family.  That summer day he waited on the side of the road until my sister came along and picked him up, according to God’s plan. I’ve wanted to show you how cute he was, with his black spotted tongue hanging out of his mouth, and his one black ear always folded down, even when he commanded them both to stand up, but I can’t show you, I can only tell you about it, and my words don’t feel like enough.
I want you to know that I’ll miss him because he made me laugh in spite of myself, like when he buried a ham bone in the yard, and dug it up a MONTH later when he wanted a snack.  I even had to laugh when he would pull my clean jeans off the clothes line and bury them in the yard, or run around with them in his mouth, trying to entice me into a game of Catch Me If You Can.  I like to think that once again he is young and energetic, now pulling God’s pants off His clothesline, teaching God his own version of flag football.
I know that he was not perfect.  He barked at the vacuum; he was afraid of our new refrigerator; he liked to sneak naps on the couch when we weren’t home (the warmth of one spot on the cushion always gave him away). He had a weakness for deli ham, even if it was in the supermarket bag, just dropped in the kitchen while the other bags were being brought in.  He also had an obsession with dirty baby diapers, which may have sent him to the Betty Ford Center if his supply had not been cut off when the kids were potty-trained. At least he had the grace to look apologetic every time afterward.
He was there for us.  He was always ready to play with my husband, to put his doggie-head on my husband’s shoulder as a gesture of affection as they both sat on the top step of the staircase each morning.  ‘I love you, Dad,’ it’s like he was saying. He was my compassionate listener, my companion who asked nothing of me except my presence, and maybe a table scrap now and then.  He would listen patiently to my complaints, and he never cared if I was cranky, had bad breath or was having a bad hair day.  He let the kids use him as their pillow, and once, my daughter even fell asleep holding his paw because I was unavailable to hold her hand.  I know that God appreciates these qualities now.  I know there are dogs in Heaven, because it wouldn’t be Heaven without them.
I will always miss his black, velvety ears, his soulful brown eyes and his bushy grey eyebrows, his obliging willingness to be a foot warmer in the winter and to walk with me to close the chicken coop at night even when the weather was horrible. I’ll miss the way he got up in the morning when one of us got up – even if it was 4:30 am.  I’ll miss his presence, and I can see it’s going to take me a long time to not see him in certain spots in the house, to not hear him breathing from his spot on the floor beside the bed in the middle of the night.  Just last night at 4 a.m., I had to convince myself NOT to check and see if he was really there. And I was fully awake.
Now there is nothing left I can do but offer this as his eulogy, my declaration of love.  I will miss him not forever, but until we meet again, when we will both play in the garden of God.