Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day

Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, some done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Not sure what year this was, but it was way back when.  My great grandfather was a fireman in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  I wonder if he was there.

Celebrated on the first Monday in September, Labor Day is dedicated to the American worker and, for most of us, marks the unofficial end of summer. Today the beaches and city pools are set to close.  Doesn't matter if it is hot as heck. Summer waited until September to arrive.  They are predicting at least two weeks of this hot and humid weather.  When I was working, it always meant a three-day weekend to look forward to.  Funny, how old habits die hard.  I said to hubby on Friday, "Hooray for three-day weekends." He pointed out that every day is a weekend day for me.  I guess for him that may be true, but I've got classes and groups I attend.  Granted, they are not mandatory, but they are part of my weekly schedule, and I take them very seriously.

This time of the year always stirs up some childhood memories, especially those days that fall right after Labor Day.  The first day of school was always one of the highlights of my year, despite how the other children treated me.  I guess I always hoped that this year would be different. When I see the 'back to school' sales I am reminded of those carefree days of youth when choosing an outfit for the first day of school was my biggest issue. Always first on the agenda were the  stories about what we did on our summer vacation.  Not that I had anything much to say.  Basically, each summer was pretty much the same for me. My family NEVER went on a trip, so mostly  I spent a lot of time at my grandparent's home. It never quite hit me until now that I never went anyplace with my parents.  So sad. 

I don't plan on doing much of anything today.  It is far too hot and humid to go out anyplace, so it is just going to be a day to put up my feet and find some marathon to get lost in on television. For many, this is a time to squeeze in a last minute summer vacation, have a picnic, or a barbecue. And others will be busy at the malls seeing what goodies that can pick up at the Labor Day sales.  Those crowded stores are not for me.  How times have changed.

When I was growing up, we would never think of shopping on Labor Day.  Actually we couldn't even if we wanted to shop. Stores were always closed on holidays and Sundays back then.  Then again, we had different lifestyles back then.  Most of our time was spent outdoors. Beside,  who would want to spend their day in a store when they could be out there watching the parade and spending a last day of swimming at the lake?  

But, with time, everything changes, and the world moves on  But our memories are with us forever.  Have a good one.
Wishing you all a very happy Labor Day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Roundup

Friday has arrived, and it signals the beginning of a long weekend, the last long weekend of summer.  Some, myself included,  consider this weekend the unofficial end of summer.  While I was still working, I always looked forward to these long weekends.  Now, every weekend can be a long one if I so chose. 

I've nothing really planned for the weekend.  I've got to run to the bank tomorrow so while I am there I want to run to the store and hopefully find some bathroom curtains.  It's like they just don't make them anymore.  Has anyone else noticed that?  And my bathroom window is a real pain in the butt.  Most curtains, including the one I have now as you can see, don't fit.  They just need an inch or two.  I just can't seem to find the proper length...and I cannot afford to have them special made.  Now, if only I had learned to sew.

Other than a little shopping and a visit to the fruit stand, there is nothing else on my agenda.  What an exciting life I lead! Actually, I had lots of excitement in my younger years.  Quiet and solitude are just what the doctor ordered for my Autumn years. 

As far as the past week, nothing to report.  At the center we did have a visit from our local assemblyman.  He was talking about the senior picnic the city pays for each year.  There are so many seniors here in the city that all cannot attend so each Center is given a number of tickets which are then raffled off so there are no guarantees that I will be able to go. 

Sometimes I still find it hard to believe I am a senior citizen.  I remember back when I hit fifty.  I still hadn't come to terms with the aging process.  I've always been blessed to look at least ten years younger than my actual age, so I was able to pass for someone in my late thirties...which I did. Even now, just the other day I was talking with one of my peers, and she couldn't believe I was 67.  She thought I was in my late fifties. 

Today I don't lie about my age.  I am comfortable with who I've become.  Sometimes  I may complain, but that is because of the pain I am in, not because I have become an 'oldster'.  Retirement has really helped me come to terms with my age.  As most of you know, all of my peers on the job were at a minimum 20 years younger than me,  and even though it was probably done unintentionally, they really made me feel uncomfortable.  Things like planning after work and weekend get  togethers and not including me because they didn't think I would fit in, or when one of the male workers asked me if I had any Motrin.  When I gave him some, he thanked me profusely and said in front of everyone, " Thanks mom.  I just knew  would have them."  He was in his late forties.  Now, if that don't make you feel old.

Fortunately, although I may be younger than the others, I am in a place now where I fit in and am accepted, and that has allowed me to become more comfortable with myself. And with that I am going to sign off for now.  Otherwise, I could ramble on forever. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So Many Scams

“Between a fellow who is stupid and honest and one who is smart and crooked, I will take the first. I won’t get much out of him, but with that other guy I can’t keep what I’ve got”

Lewis B Hershey

Good morning.  The long weekend will soon be here.  It's the unofficial end of summer.  Had so many 'to-do's' on my list for this summer, and accomplished very little.  I do want to get out to Coney Island again, but September will be a better time to visit, after the kids all get back to school.  I don't like crowds.  The beach and amusement park will be closed, but there is still plenty to do.  The boardwalk is open year round, and there are plenty of little eateries around.  

The other evening I received a phone call..."Hello, this is Jane Doe calling from the New York City Board of Health.  We are conducting a survey about health concerns in the different areas of the city.  Before we begin, can you please tell me your zip code?"  Okay, I don't usually participate in surveys, but I DO have a lot of concerns about health care so I gave my zip code.  No problem with that. "Thank, you", she replied, "Now, can you please tell me how many people over 18 reside in the household?"  "Two" I respond. Nothing out of the way with that question.

 "May I ask the sex of each individual?"  "One male, one female" I reply.  "Oh, the computer has chosen the male.  May I please speak to him."  I inform her that he is not available, but I am willing to take the survey. "Sorry, she says, "the computer has made it's choice. What time should I call back?"  I inform her "never" because I know he will NOT take part in any surveys.  I inform her again that I will take part in it as health care is a very important concern of mine.

She then starts into this spiel of how the computer has chosen and then proceeds to tell me what I should tell hubby as if she is SURE once he hears this he will gladly participate. I tell her to forget it. I am not listening.  She is wasting her time.  At this point she got the hint, thanks me. and hangs up.

Now mind you, I'm more than a bit annoyed.  I had so much to say, was practically begging the woman for the opportunity, and she turned me down. Grrr!!! But once I pick up my book and start reading, I forget all about it until about an hour and a half later when  the phone rings again.

"Hello, this is Jane Doe calling from the U.S. Department of Commerce.  We are conducting a survey about "  This is sounding a bit familiar so I stop paying attention.  Sure enough, the first question..."Before we begin, can you please tell me your zip code?"  I come back at her by repeating the questions from the previous call and informing her that I am aware the computer will chose the male.  So let's forget about it right now.  And I hang up on her. 

Another scam.  One can never be too careful.  I could kick myself for almost letting my guard down.  I am usually so careful.  Of course, I am grateful now that the computer supposedly 'chose' the male, but it shouldn't have gotten that far.  And why the male even though a female was ready to participate in the survey?  My only guess is that even in this day and age, males are usually the 'head of household' and perhaps handles financial matters?  I don't know.  

Last night it was the National Marine Fishery Service conducting the survey. "I don't even like fish." I grumble and hang up.  And then, later in the evening while I was watching television the phone rang again.  Fortunately, when you have cable/internet/and phone all through Cablevision, the number of the caller comes up on the television screen.  The number was....000-000-0000. Unbelievable.  How the heck did all these people find me...and all at once...or, are they the same people trying different angles?

Just be careful.  There are far too many crooks out there attempting to take advantage of people. They're either trying to get your money, get your information, or both, and they will target you  through phone calls, emails, online banking systems, text messages and online transactions. 
Do NOT open text messages and emails from people you do not know...although I did get a text message from my son one time that intuition told me not to open.  Indeed, when I contacted him he said he never sent it.  Do NOT call back unfamiliar numbers.  You may be hit with charges.  Do NOT reply to messages asking for personal or financial information.

Sadly, this is the way of today's world, and all of us must always be on guard.  It can happen to any of us at any time.  Be wary.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'Hump Day" Ramble

Cultivating a generous spirit starts with
mindfulness. Mindfulness, simply stated,
means paying attention to what is actually
happening; it's about what is really going on.

Nell Newman

Good morning, everyone.  Well, we made it to 'Hump Day'.  It's very humid out there today, and if I didn't have to get Miss Minga some food.  I do whatever necessary to keep her strong.  I feed her breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Breakfast she usually eats fairly well...if it is something she likes.   Lunch is so-so most of the time.  But, I got her into the habit of having a special dinner with me.  Not people food, of course, but a more expensive chunkier brand of food. I take a spoon and mash it a little before serving her. (Usually I give her classic because  she cannot chew like before).  On Monday I bought her two of a new brand and several of her usual brand.  She refused to eat her usual and has eaten both of the new brand.  So, I must get her more.  It does my heart good when she eats.  I am always so worried about her.

Thanks to all those with advice about my dream yesterday.  Fortunately, last night he was gone. It was all so strange, a television character taking up residence in my dream.  My dreams were as they usually were,  with me doing some kind of farming, but always in the background was this sobbing male voice.  They didn't  scare me at all.  It's was all just so weird.  But, I will definitely be careful what I listen to before falling asleep from now on.

Yesterday after helping a blind man get on the bus, I got on myself.  The bus was quite crowded, and no seats were available.  I know many of you have heard my public transportation woes before, but lack of respect is one of my biggest frustrations.  

So, when I get on the bus yesterday on one side sat an elderly man with a cane, a 30ish Asian woman, and a boy of about 10 (probably her son).  On the other side sits the blind man, a girl in her late teens, and an Asian woman of about 45.  Guess who got up to offer me a seat?  After I stood hanging on to my cane with one hand and the pole with the other for one long stop, it was the 45 year old Asian woman who got up for me. 

Usually I don't say anything.  I remember that crazy lady who went off on me last time, but yesterday I hurt so bad that I just blurted out to a woman standing nearby, "It should be the young ones who get up.  They just don't learn manners anymore."  Another woman standing nearby said rather brusquely, "Just be grateful you have a seat."  She then turned to her daughter and said something in Spanish.  The daughter asked 'who' and the woman nodded in my direction.  The daughter just shrugged and gave me a nasty look. I kept quiet until I was ready to get off, then turned to her and said.... 

"Yes, I was very grateful for a seat, and you should be grateful as well.  Had a police officer been on the bus, you would have had to pay a hefty fine for your daughter taking up a handicapped seat while a senior with a cane has to stand.  Next time you may not be so lucky. It's just that I feel disillusioned that young people have no respect anymore.  And, by the way, I understand Spanish (I don't, but she doesn't know that) and I feel sorry that you didn't take this opportunity to educate your daughter on proper manners and respect, but instead you chose to make me a bad guy. One day you are going to be a senior like me, and I can only hope that you never have to suffer from the amount of pain I do, but if you do, I also hope that you get more respect than you and your daughter gave me."  And I got off the bus before they could respond.

Needless to say, I am pretty proud of myself. I think I handled it very well. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Strange Thing Has Happened in Dreamland

In dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own.

Steven Kloves

Good morning, everyone.  Tuesday.  Tiu's day.  Tiu  is the English/Germanic god of war and the sky. He is identified with the Norse god Tyr. In ancient Greek it was 'day of Ares' and in Rome, the 'day of Mars'. The weather has been great, a little more humid than I would like, but it has been clear and sunny. And the nights have been cool.  Good sleeping weather.  Speaking of sleep....

Aside from a few rather serious, lucid dreams, most of my recent dreams have been about farming--growing vegetables, raising animals, etc. Usually, I can never seem to get caught up, and I take some flack from the boss. I never really see this boss. But he is always issuing orders.  For the heck of it, I posted one of these dreams on a dream site and was informed that these are probably some past life memories trying to come to the surface.  Interesting concept, but far from the truth.

Actually, I have become addicted to the farm game 'Hay Day' where you raise crops and raise animals for eggs and milk.  And, as you proceed through the levels, it becomes harder and harder to keep up.  There are my dreams in a nutshell.  They are a continuation of the game.  This is why when one tries to analyze a dream, it is important to consider what is going on in the person's life at the time of the dream. 

The dream did spur me on to do a search for on my first boyfriend.  Remember, he came up in a dream not too long ago?  Well, his family were farmers so I spent some time yesterday on Google Earth searching for the farm.  No luck.  Then, I went on to Ancestry.  I did find someone who could possibly have been him.  Too bad my memory of him is so bad.  I do remember that I was a year older than him, and the Richard I found was born in 1948.  Unfortunately, he passed away in 2011.  No family members are listed in the information I found so I may never know.  

Now, back to the dream.  It's taken a turn that I am not too happy with.  Over the weekend I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  Hubby had fallen asleep with the television on again.  I just didn't feel like walking around the bed to get the remote to turn it off so I just climbed back into bed.  The television doesn't bother me.  So, I am lying there and listening, and I hear this man crying.  "I killed my wife because she killed my children.  She had to die."   There was something about this man that made me shudder.   Hubby said it was actually, a good movie, 'Shutter Island' with Leonardo DiCaprio.  Most likely it is, but not when you are in that mysterious space known as 'threshold consciousness.'

SO THE NEXT THING I KNEW THE MAN WAS IN MY DREAM.  Yes, there he was crying about killing his wife in my dream.  And, it didn't end there.  He showed up  in my dream on Sunday night and then again last night. This has never happened to me before, and to be honest, I don't want him there, but don't know how to get rid of him.  Any suggestions?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe. 

Thomas Keller

Good morning. As we start this new week I hope you are all rested and raring to start a new week.  What a beautiful weekend it was!  Saturday actually felt more like fall than summer.  Doesn't bother me any.  I am grateful we haven't had those heat waves like those of last year.  They say the temp is going to rise on Thursday, but by the weekend it will be comfortable once again.

Not much to report this Monday.  Had a rather quiet weekend.  Did the usual... trips to the fruit stand and Rite Aid, tidied up the apartment after my walk on Saturday, and went to Church on Sunday.  My sons came for dinner on Saturday.  Meat has gotten so darn expensive, it was so hard deciding what to buy so I settled on some Italian sweet sausage and spaghetti in garlic and oil for dinner. I just get tired of throwing together a pot of sauce every time they visit, and although they never say anything, I am sure that they are more than eager to have something else.

I also put together a nice salad.

And made my own special salad dressing

Funny how little things bring up memories.  It must have been about 17 years ago that we had one of hubby's friends for dinner.  The poor guy was enormous while his wife was so tiny and petite.  It was the 'Odd Couple' to be sure.  So, I  cooked my spaghetti with garlic and oil and roast two large chickens.  Oh my.  He ate so much that his wife felt she had to apologize to me.  Here I'd thought I'd be able to make some chicken soup with the leftovers, but he cleaned every last bit of meat from the bones of both chickens and at two big plates of the spaghetti.  I'd not thought of this in years.  

Hubby and I laughed about it for years.  It was one of our 'remember when's'.  I don't know what happened to the friend and his wife.  They moved away soon thereafter and were never heard from again.  Just another example of how people come in and out of our lives.

You know, I do enjoy cooking when it comes to making something special for guests, but I'm not too enamored with everyday cooking nowadays.  I first began cooking in my early teens. My mom and dad both worked, and when I got home from school, it was one of my chores to fix dinner.  No one taught me how.  I learned it on my own, and throughout the years became quite a good cook, I must say.

In fact, many years ago I took up a certification course in catering, and worked along with my sister-in-law had a little wedding business.  She set up the hall, did the decorating, and even taught the wedding party how to dance.  Meanwhile, I did all the cooking. Any cuisine they chose...Spanish, Chinese, Greek, Italian etc.  I could throw together a five course meal.  It was a lot of work, especially after working all week 9-5 and going to school 3 nights a week, but I enjoyed it.  Of course I had so much more energy back then.

Even hubby never knew what to expect. I even used to make my own noodles. I'm just not into cooking anymore.  After all, I've been cooking for over 50 years. It's time that someone cooks for me.  Of course, realistically, I know that is never going to happen.  But, one can dream, can't they?  Hoping when the cooler weather comes about, I'll have more interest.  I really do want to bake this year.

Sunday I stayed home.  I just didn't feel like going out.  No stores.  No Church.  Just a total 'me' day.  Watched 'Candid Camera' and 'The Golden Girls' on TV Land.  Had more than a few laughs and enjoyed the old memories that 'Candid Camera' stirred up. 

Well, that's about it.  Time to get a move on over here.  I like to shower early so I can have an hour or so to sit with Miss Minga before I leave.  She expects that in the morning.

Hoping you all have a good one.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Roundup

 If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. 

Mother Teresa

Good morning, and a happy Friday to all.  We're in for some nice weather here this weekend, and I am looking forward to getting out and enjoying it.  I was thinking Coney Island, but this weekend is going to be packed.  I stay out of crowds as much as I can.  I just don't have the patience anymore.

I stayed home from the center yesterday, and I am not going today. I needed some time to figure out how to handle a situation that happened on Wednesday.  Remember I told you about the peer who comes bowl in hand and gets free dinners to bring home...even though she is now living with her daughter who cooks and feeds her?  It was just last Thursday that they were talking about the Chinese food they had had the night before, and the daughter was talking about the eggplant parmesan she was making that night.  And just as she was talking about it, the cook came out of the kitchen and handed my peer a bowl of food to take home with her.  We hadn't even been served lunch yet, but the cook saw to it that my peer was served her dinner first.

I become frustrated when I see people take advantage like that. And I have seen for myself that the first thing my peer does when she comes in is head into the kitchen to leave her bowl to be filled.  It wouldn't bother me if she really needed the food, but she doesn't.  She is making out very well now.

So, it really bothered me on Wednesday when I saw another woman begging for some food to take home because she had no food in the house....AND THEY REFUSED HER.  Oh, I am so mad.  I wanted to march in and really let the kitchen staff have a piece of my mind, but there are times we have to hold our tongue and that was one of them.  There have been people barred from the center, and in all other respects, I love the place.  I also thought of going to the director, but she wasn't in.  Besides, who knows how she would react if I came in snitching on the kitchen staff?  

So, instead of creating waves, I told the woman that after lunch I would take her to the corner store and buy her a sandwich and a juice for her dinner.  She asked if I could give money instead so she could go store by her house.  No, I do NOT give money.  You never know what they are going to use it for.  And I informed her very nicely that I will not give her cash.  If she wanted what I had to offer, she would let me buy it for her.  Well, she didn't meet me after lunch.  Oh well, I guess she wasn't so hungry after all. 

I was glad then that I didn't act impulsively and burn bridges.  But, I am still upset that they so easily give to someone who doesn't need and turn someone away who does need.  Obviously this woman didn't need as badly as she said she did, but maybe the next one will.  So, yesterday I  decided that I will write it down and slip it into the suggestion box when the hall is empty.  Someone will see it, but no one will know that it was me who wrote it.  I just can't sit around and do nothing.

Hoping you all have a great weekend.  Summer is almost over so be sure to enjoy some outdoor time.