Monday, August 29, 2011

Safe and Sound

Our blustery weekend visitor, Irene, has departed, leaving us without power and with a yard full of debris, but everyone is okay. Our utility pole needs to be replaced before we can be hooked up to the electric again, but that should happen pretty soon. Our little village has it's own electric crew, so we are not dependent on the big power companies and repairs happen fairly quickly. We still aren't hooked up to cable, so I am dependent on my trusty iPhone still for posting here.

Jane and John, our next door neighbors, have power and have graciously run a heavy duty cord over to us to keep our fridge and freezer working. We have been using headlamps in the evening to read and rug hook. We even had hot water left to clean up with this morning. So all in all we have faired quite well. My sister Barb had a harrowing day in Connecticut, but I'll let her tell that story once she gets her power and computer back on line. She is okay, too, just exhausted from the pre-storm prep and her emergency evacuation.

We had an ice cream party with the neighbors yesterday. It was melting and we either had to eat it all or throw it away. So that's our new pithy saying around here: When life gives you hurricanes, eat ice cream!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

She's Here!

I woke at 5:30 to strong winds and rain. Turned on the electric kettle for coffee and just as it came to a boil, the power went out. There's a large limb on the power lines two doors down and the utility pole is leaning precariously. The police are here, and the village work crew is on it's way, according to radio reports. The weather report says Irene is moving much more quickly now, so we should be okay by afternoon.

I am posting this on my iPhone -- love you, Steve Jobs, wherever you are!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting for Irene

I spent most of yesterday putting up awnings, taking down swings, moving lawn furniture and potted plants, filling water bottles, gathering flashlights and batteries, candles and matches.  I went to bed at 10, I was so exhausted.  This morning Pete and I did a few last minute things -- putting the canoe in the garage, buying some ice cream to go with our hurricane pie which I plan on making this evening.  We're as ready as we can be.  

The village is abuzz with activity.  Stores are boarding up windows and closing early and neighbors stop to chat about their preparations.  The atmosphere is, amazingly enough, very festive.  There's a real "we're all in this together" attitude, what you expect in a small community like this.  I have checked on my older friends to be sure they are set, and I have offered a watchful eye to those who can't be here to monitor their vacation homes.  

The air is thick and murky and the first rain drops are starting to fall.  I love to watch the weather from the safety my window, but Irene isn't supposed to arrive until midnight -- too late to view.   We'll see what daybreak brings on Sunday.  Stay safe and dry, wherever you are.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sweet Summer

 The last few days have been glorious: sunny, blue skies, dry air, cool breeze.  We celebrated our neighbor's daughter's engagement under the stars on Saturday.  Sunday we canoed across Hallock's Bay and went clamming and swimming.  Clara came home for a visit and she and I cooked up a storm.  We made clam chowder while Pete shucked the little necks for eating on the half shell, then processed tomatoes for the winter with his new Squeezo, a wonderful machine that separates the seeds and skin from the pulp.  Then we made fried chick and a cucumber salad.  I picked zinnias and cosmos and put them in a turquoise pitcher.  All the colors make me happy.

Today, while talking on the phone with my sister Barb, the flowers started dancing and Barb started yelping.  Stuff actually fell off her walls.  Another earthquake shook the northeast.  There was one in Colorado yesterday, too.  Strange stuff.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are Your Ready for Halloween?

My sister Barb is up to her old tricks -- making whimsical folk art for Halloween.  This year her theme is the circus.  She has clowns, dogs, seals, cats, bears -- you name it!  You can see -- and buy -- her creations by clicking here: Barb's Wonderful Wooly Folk Art

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hugh Carey

Many years ago, when Clara was still quite small, our across-the-street neighbors treated us to dinner at what was then called the Island Grill (now Sunset Beach) on Shelter Island.  Clara was dressed in a sweet, summery sundress and pigtails and was enchanted with the view from the restaurant.  We were all enchanted with the food.  I noticed a fellow sitting across the room and said to everyone at our table, "That man looks like Hugh Carey, the former governor of New York."  We decided it couldn't be, since we thought he had passed away.  We finished our dinner and ordered dessert.  Clara was digging into a rather large ice cream sundae when the fellow I had noticed stopped by our table to talk to her.  It was indeed Hugh Carey, very much alive and charmed by my daughter.  When he discovered that Clara came from a long line of McNamaras (McNamara is her second middle name, as well as my last name), he broke into song.  The entire restaurant listened as he serenaded her, from start to finish,  with an Irish lullaby.  It was a memorable moment, a little gift from a rather important (and maybe a bit tipsy) statesman and the father of eleven children to a cute little girl in pigtails who had made him smile. 

I often thought we would run into Governor Carey again -- we spend a lot of time on Shelter Island where he had a summer home -- but we never have.  I was sad to hear he had passed away on Sunday.  He did many great things for New York while governor, but I will always remember him singing to Clara while the sun set on Crescent Beach.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rain, Rain, Come and Stay

I am a devotee of the sun -- I don't tan, but I need a lot of sunny days to keep me from being crabby -- but I was really glad to hear a steady rain as I fell asleep last night.  This morning we had a real downpour.  My lawn -- new sod last summer -- is the color of a crispy French fry right now.  Maybe this is the end of the heat wave . . .   I hope so.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Whale Wrap

Whale of a Tale ©2011 Tina Ackerman & Bonnie Smith, hooked by Tina Ackerman

I have taken many rug hooking classes since I started hooking 20 years ago -- McGown and ATHA classes; some local, some far way, but I have never taken a class as fun and as full of camaraderie as The Whale of a Tale class the Peconic Ruggers sponsored this past weekend.
Tina Teaching
We were 16 altogether -- 12 students, a teacher and her assistant, and a father and daughter support team.  Many of us have hooked together for years, but two were new acquaintances, and one was a complete stranger to all of us, yet we melded together like old friends.

 Betty Ann
It was beastly hot outside, and very humid, and the church basement was not air conditioned.  I thought that combination spelled disaster, but everyone was enthusiastic and intent on making the most of our time together.  We set up four fans around the room and provided plenty of cool drinks to keep everyone hydrated while they worked.  Everyone received a name tag hand-made by Tina's mom, Bonnie Smith of the Wool Street Journal, and a great goody bag, put together by our president Jen's daughter, 12-year-old Lizzie, who also unloaded cars, unpacked bags and boxes, and helped set up and break down lunch.
Louise at work

Tina Ackerman of g.woolikers is a great teacher.  She is funny and smart and kept things moving with the help of her sweet assistant, Betty Ann Horn.  Tina had everyone set up with a color plan before lunch on Friday.  I was lucky enough to have Tina and Betty Ann stay with me from Thursday to Sunday, and they were a delight -- even helping me shop for a new dehumidifier on the way home from the airport!  And they brought homemade pecan pralines and coconut cookies all the way from Georgia for an afternoon treat!
Rhona with a red-coated Jonah
We continued the fun into Friday evening, at the home of our treasurer, Sue, and her sister Sally.  They coordinated a potluck smorgasbord I wouldn't have thought possible: caprese & green salads, bread with olive oil for dipping, sausage and peppers, roast chicken, tuna casserole, potato salad, cole slaw, peach cobbler, chocolate cream pie, chocolate chip cookies, strawberry shortcake.  We ate what we could and then packed up the leftovers to add to lunch on Saturday.
Jennifer, our fearless leader
Saturday was hotter than Friday, but everyone buckled down to work on their waves.  Ken, our president's husband, made a Starbucks run with a list a mile long and kept us energized with cold, caffeinated drinks.  My daughter Clara, in town for the weekend, took lots of photographs for us.  Although the class was scheduled to end at 3:30, we started cleaning up at 3 , well, because we were hot and sweaty and many of us had tickets for the Southold/Greenport Rotary Lobsterfest on the beach at Founder's Landing later in the evening!  Because we finished early and didn't plan on getting to the beach until 6, I brought a couple of carloads of people home with me to relax in the air conditioning.  Clara and I whipped up a batch of mojitos and set out some snacks.  By 6:30 or so we were all dining on lobsters and mussels, sweet corn and watermelon, watching the sunset on Peconic Bay.  What a weekend!
Phyllis, who always wears a smile

Betty Ann and Tina left on Sunday to watch whales off of Montauk.  I have to admit that I took a rather long nap on the couch Sunday afternoon, and just finished unpacking everything this morning.  It was an exhausting but exhilarating weekend and I would change only one thing -- I would find a room with air conditioning.

 Name tags

 Goody bag

Founders Landing, Southold, New York

 Tina & Betty Ann in seafood heaven

The fabulous Lizzie on the beach