Thursday, July 31, 2014

Good Morning

The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn’t, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there. 

Monica Baldwin

The days here have been delightful.  The humidity is gone, and the temps are almost cool.  This has been a great summer. A couple uncomfortable days and then back to the pleasant weather.  Hopefully it will be the same in August.

Have to rush this morning.  Hubby has a very early doctor's appointment, and when he gets the bathroom, he can't seem to find his way out.  I'd rather take care of my shower before.  That way I can do so in peace. Talk to you all tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Being Yourself

Good morning all.  We've been having some lovely weather here.  Low humidity, cooler temperatures.  Unlike last year where we roasted for days on end.  I'd forgotten yesterday when I posted that I was scheduled to attend a nutrition class yesterday.  It was on healthy snacks.  I already know about healthy snacks, but this gives me something to do...and maybe I might learn something I didn't know.  I've always loved classes and was in my glory when my job would schedule me for one.  During the last few years, though, there were no outside courses, only those taught by our nurse or director and those left a lot to be desired.

Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our life trying to satisfy other people's demands. We have learned to live by other people's points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.

Don Miguel Ruiz
Anna is a volunteer at the senior center.  She is also a client and a friend. Anna is only signed up to monitor the two stationary bikes in the gym area (actually the bikes ARE the gym) from 11 am to 12 pm on Mondays, but not everyone who signed on to help does so.  Most are not reliable, and to be honest, they know that Anna will always cover, even giving up her beloved Bingo game. (She loves Bingo more than anyone I know). 

Anna also signed on to help with the lunch.  It is her job to hand out the juice. Afterwards, someone else comes around with the bread, butter, and plastic utensils, another serves the coffee, tea and water, another serves the milk, and finally someone comes around with the lunch.  Most of the lunch volunteers eat a half hour earlier than the rest of us, but Anna chooses to hold off on hers so that she can eat with us. And, she should have plenty of time to do so. By the time lunch comes around, her job is long over.  Problem is, she never ends with her job.

Anna takes it upon herself to go from table to table asking if everything is all right, did they get their milk, do they need ketsup, etc.  Meanwhile, her food is getting cold, and she never does get to eat.  Anna is a 'people pleaser'.  Her entire life has been devoted to satisfying other people's demands while putting her own wants and needs on hold. She really could use some new clothes, but she buys Bingo cards every day for a number of people who don't contribute, gives her gifts away, and buys coffee and cookies for everyone at the table in the morning.  She offers me, but I always refuse.  I have my yogurt instead. 

Everyone abuses her.  Her children, her friends, her neighbors.  I listen to her when she speaks, and from what she says, she is at the beck and call of her neighbors as well, even to the point of giving away her food.  Anna is a Saint.  But, is she taking her giving nature to the extreme?  It is definitely better to give than receive, and I know how good I feel when I make someone happy, but where does one draw the line?

I was a people pleaser who set my own needs aside for many years. I did everything for everyone, even when it left me feeling unhappy. A neighbor's husband went into detox leaving her totally, and I cooked and carried her a plate every night. When his check came in, and he walked out of the detox without completing, the two of them treated me like I had done something wrong.  We never spoke again. And that was the way my life went. I loaned people money for lunch while going without myself and never did get it back. I gave and gave and gave until I had no more to give.  But when does giving from the heart become people pleasing.  I think it is when giving makes you feel crappy, and you sense, no, you know that you are being used.

I guess I thought that I had to give for people to like me. Part of my childhood insecurity which followed me throughout much of my adult life.  Always being the odd little girl left out, the one that no one wanted on their team. If only they would like me I would be happy. Not true. One of the things I have learned is that real happiness  depends on being glad for who you are and not for what you can do for or give to others.  Oh, there are times when I catch myself, but lifetime lessons are hard to change. The key to healing came from finding myself, learning how to like myself, learning to be alone with myself and be comfortable with myself.   It doesn't come from pleasing others.  It comes from pleasing the self.
Once you have found yourself
and accepted your aloneness,
then the greatest blessing is to share
the love that arises within you.
Each new moment presents
the richest opportunity to be loving.
And you can share love
in the simplest of ways.
Be soft and gentle.
Be caring and kind.
Be loving in an ordinary way,
without any sense
of wanting anything back,
Life offers you
the most precious gift.
The gift of allowing you
to be present and share love. 
Leonard Jacobson

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Random Thoughts

 Shedding late-summer tears for the end of cherry season. Patiently and hopefully waiting for pumpkin pie season.  

Terri Guillemets

Good morning, everyone.  The humidity has broken, and it looks like we are in store for a lovely day. Yesterday was gross.  The humidity was high, and in the morning, as I waited for the bus, there was no place to find any shade. Wouldn't you just know that the bus had to be late as well.  I waited 25 minutes out there and was just about to go back home when I saw it down the block.  Seems as if they are always late when the weather is bad. 

Not much happening here.  Yesterday was the first time I went out since Friday.  I felt so bad this weekend that I didn't even get to Church.  Tummy problems.  That is one of the little nuisances that come along with fibro. I'm beginning to feel better.  Just have to watch what I eat.  Actually, I shouldn't wait until my tummy is on the fritz to watch what I eat.  Should be doing this every day.

The bagel, an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis.

Beatrice and Ira Freeman

When I came across the above quote it triggered a long forgotten memory. As you all know, I was born and raised in a small town, and when I moved to the city 40 years ago, I was really naive about a lot of things. There was so much I'd missed out on when growing up.  I can't believe that I didn't even know what a bagel was.

I am no longer addicted to pineapple.  The addiction has run its course.  My new addiction is cherries.  What am I to do when cherry season is over.  I will be shedding some summer tears for sure.

I'm learning to let things go that I have no control over. It only raises my blood pressure.  So, my peer takes dinner home when she doesn't need it.  Not my business.  She has to make peace with herself.  Or, my other peer who uses her age to ride the bus for free.  Not really my business.  If the bus drivers allow it, then so be it. It's not easy to ignore these things, but I cannot change them.  As long as I know that I am honest and don't abuse age or physical handicap.  I am learning to put the focus on myself.  I may stray once in awhile, so please forgive me if I do.

I've recently purchased and am reading "The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons" by Jill Hammer.  I am absolutely loving it.  

Book Description:

Throughout the ages, Jews have connected legends to particular days of the Hebrew calendar. Abraham’s birth, the death of Rachel, and the creation of light are all tales that are linked to a specific day and season. The Jewish Book of Days invites readers to experience the connection between sacred story and nature’s rhythms, through readings designed for each and every day of the year. These daily readings offer an opportunity to live in tune with the wisdom of the past while learning new truths about the times we live in today. Using the tree as its central metaphor, The Jewish Book of Days is divided into eight chapters of approximately forty-five days each. These sections represent the tree's stages of growth—seed, root, shoot, sap, bud, leaf, flower, and fruit—and also echo the natural cadences of each season. Each entry has three components: a biblical quote for the day; a midrash on the biblical quote or a Jewish tradition related to that day; and commentary relating the text to the cycles of the year. The author includes an introduction that analyzes the different months and seasons of the Hebrew calendar and explains the textual sources used throughout. Appendixes provide additional material for leap years, equinoxes, and solstices. A section on seasonal meditations offers a new way to approach the divine every day.
For as long as I remember I have been fascinated with the mystical side of Judaism.  There is so much to it that we don't understand. 
And with that, I am off to get ready.  Forgot I wanted to leave a bit early to stop at Pathmark.  I bought a couple of new foods for Miss Minga on Friday, and she absolutely adores them.  Have to pick up a few more.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. 

Anatole France

Good morning.  Monday has arrived, and it is time go back to our weekday affairs.  For some of you it is work.  For those of us who are retired, the week is filled with a hodgepodge of daily events.  I've given up on Qigong, for now.  It wasn't for me.  It partially due to my inability to concentrate on my breath, but I just didn't feel comfortable in the place.  There wasn't a good aura there.  The people were not really welcoming, and I was so far behind everyone else.  Perhaps in the future I will try again.

My goodness, here we are in the last week of July.  How quickly it went! Lughnasadh will soon be here. Time to celebrate the first harvest of the season.  Time for me to dig out my harvest recipe books "Serving up the Harvest" and "Favorite Farmer's Market Recipes".  This year they will be put to even more use since the price of meats has gone sky high.  $9.15 for four cube steaks, one of the cheaper cuts of beef.  Hubby's aware that meatless meals will soon be appearing on the table.

It's also time that I begin seriously planning about how I will keep up with my intake of fruits as the luscious summer fruits begin to disappear and the winter fruits take their place.  Try as I might, I just don't like winter fruits. They just don't appeal to me.  I absolutely adore fresh melons and berries, but apples, pears, and oranges don't do a thing for me.  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I didn't do much of anything this weekend.  Friday was the best day of the weekend, and I had planned to head over to Coney, but by the time I got back from food shopping, there wasn't a part of my body that didn't hurt. On Saturday they predicted showers, and alas, it didn't start to come down until late afternoon.  Blew that one.

Saturday's dinner was not exactly a healthy one--hot wings, steak fries, corn bread.  Cucumbers with sour cream on the side.  I can't justify going off my healthy diet in any way.  I just wanted it.  Wanted it so badly it was all I could think about all day.  A true food addict. 

For the past few years I've spent many hours watching the hummingbirds and eagles on Livestream.  The people who had the hummingbird cam have moved away, and the eagles have already left the nest. There was an awful gnat infestation this year, and sadly, the three eaglets were forced to leave the nest before they were ready.  One landed on an electrical wire and was killed, another has a broken wing and is currently being nursed back to health at SOAR, and one is doing well now.  Now I have discovered kitties.  

I can spend hours visiting Tiny Kittens and Cute Foster Kittens on Livestream. I also follow them on Facebook along with  several other sites linked to them.  This weekend they had a cat and kitten roundup.  People were encouraged to bring or call about unwanted felines and they managed to roundup 34 cats and kittens who were not wanted or living on the street. Needless to say, I was glued to the computer. What I love is that one doesn't have to say good-bye when the babes are adopted.  Facebook accounts are set up for them so we can follow their progress.  Watching these little miracles has made me seriously think about signing up as a volunteer.  These little toss  need so much love.

Well, it's time to get ready to mosey on down the road.  I'm headed off to the Center today.  Talk to you all later.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Wishes

Happy Friday everyone! May your weekend be filled with adventure, cheer, laughter, loved ones, and may the start of next week be a long ways from here.  Talk to you all on Monday.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Acquainted with the Night

The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb- time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.

- John O’Donohue in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Had a good day yesterday.  Our pasta and meat sauce lunch was fantastic, and I won the jackpot.  Yep, I finally got the full card.  Made myself ten dollars.  On a busier day it would have been more.  It's a little over a year now since I retired, and I think I joined the Center a week or two after that so I'm at or nearing my one year anniversary.  The year flew by.   

'The world rests in the night'.  There was a time when I used to wait for everyone to go to bed, and then I would step out my back door and become 'acquainted with the night'.  I loved the quietude.  Sometimes, it the weather was bad, I'd turn off all the lights, the television, and sit in a darkness lit only by candlelight.  The night has been my time for as long as I can remember.  I can still picture that little girl I was sitting up in bed playing with paper dolls by moonlight.  Or those nights my friend and I slept outdoors in my backyard.  I discovered an entirely different world out there...and even then the quiet of the night was special to me. 

Even while I was still employed, I still found time to enjoy the night.  Yet, ironically, now that I am retired and have nothing to pull me out of bed early in the morn, I find that the latest I go to bed is 11 pm, and I usually fall out as soon as my head hits the pillow.  And, I am up and about early morn, sometimes before the sun comes up.  

Speaking of the night, 'Acquainted with the Night' by  Christopher Dewdney was a fantastic read.  I've already read through it twice and often skim over some of the chapters.   The  book is arranged in 'hours' of the night, starting with 6 PM and ending at 5 AM. Within each hour, the author focuses on one part of night, such as night creatures, dreams, insomnia, fears of the darkness, children's view of night and  ancient and modern night celebrations. Indeed, everything to do with the night is found in this book from the stars above to night in art to creatures who live in caves or the abyss under the sea. Just talking about it makes me want to dig it out again.

Wishing you all a blessed day.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Wee Bit of Hodgepodge

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. 

Frederick Keonig

Good morning. It's pretty humid out there today, but when I look back at how bad last year was, I have no reason to complain.  There's been no extended heat wave here this year...yet.  We have a couple of hot humid days and then the coolness returns.  Today we are supposed to have some storms and more coming tomorrow.  That might be a good day to stay home and relax. 

The nurse from my ex-job returned from the Philippines yesterday.  She has been on sick leave for quite awhile and has decided that she is not going to return to the job either.  The stress of the job almost killed her.  That's the way it was in that place.  Good workers were not appreciated.  Instead, we were pushed to our limits and pretty much forgotten once our health issues force us out of there.  She, though, has not yet learned that they just don't care.  She is trying to get us altogether for lunch.  I already told her not to expect me, that I'd love to get together with her and Jane (another co-worker who ran into health issues because of the job, but I cannot sit down and 'play nice' with a bunch of liars and hypocrites.  All knew I had health issues and not one called to see how I was doing.  That hurts, but I guess deep down it was expected.  I saw it happen to the others who left.

I swear this plant gets stranger and stranger looking every day.

Everyone waiting for Bingo to start.  I won yesterday.  Trouble is, whenever I win so does someone else, and the winnings are already small. So I ended up with $2...just enough to buy tomorrow's lunch and cards and at least I had a chance to call out 'Bingo'.

Each summer high school students come from around the country and volunteer their time.  They help with the cleaning and mingle and chat with the clients.  Each group stays about 4 weeks and then a new group comes in.  See the two boys at the nearby table?  They are part of a group that recently came from Canada.

Yesterday's lunch....chicken cutlet, noodles, and mixed veggies. Not bad for a dollar.  Trust me.  The chicken tastes better than it looks.  Speaking of yesterday's lunch, I'm wondering if I am too critical.  One of my friends that sit at our table has heart issues, is nearly blind, and is hard of hearing. When she had her own place, not only did she get her lunch for free, but she would bring a container, and they would give her dinner to take home. That never bothered me.  But now she lives with her daughter who cooks for her every day.  The daughter escorts her to the Center now, and they both sit at my table.  The daughter often talks about the meals she has cooked.  My friend is blessed now to have home cooked meals, plenty of snacks, and someone to take care her.

So why, I ask, does she still march into the kitchen with her container for food to bring home the moment she gets to the Center?  She certainly doesn't need it anymore. There are others there who are still in dire straights, and lunch is their only meal of the day.  They don't get this special treatment.  It just doesn't seem fair to me. 

May you all have a day filled with laughter and love.