Monday, October 31, 2011

The Veil Is Getting Thin


As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a whisper whispering.
I heard a whisper whispering,
Upon this fine fall day...
As I went out walking this fall afternoon,
I heard a laugh a'laughing.
I heard a laugh a'laughing,
Upon this fine fall day...
I heard this whisper and I wondered,
I heard this laugh and then I knew.
The time is getting near my friends,
The time that I hold dear my friends,
The veil is getting thin my friends,
And strange things will pass through.
--Unknown--


Blessed Samhain.  Happy Halloween.   The day is finally here, and I am loving it.  I found myself a long black wig, streaked with orange, over the weekend, and here I sit at my computer anxious for the festivities to begin.  There's candy bags to handed out to the clients and karaoke waiting to be sung...and tonight some horror flicks just aching to be watched.  Don't you just love this day?

Happy Halloween to all.

Friday, October 28, 2011

On All Souls' Eve



Oh, the garden ways are lonely!
Winds that bluster, winds that
shout,
Battle with the strong laburnum,
Toss the sad brown leaves about.
In the gay herbaceous border,
Now a scene of wild disorder,
The last dear hollyhock has flamed his
crimson glory out.

Yet, upon this night of longing,

Souls are all abroad, they say.
Will they come, the dazzling blossoms,
That were here but yesterday?
Will the ghosts of radiant roses
And my sheltered lily-closes
Hold once more their shattered fragrance
now November's on her way?

Wallflowers, surely you'll remember,

Pinks, recall it, will you not?
How I loved and watched and tended,
Made this ground a hallowed spot:
Pansies, with the soft meek faces,
Harebells, with a thousand graces:
Dear dead loves, I wait and listen. Tell
me, have you quite forgot?

Hush! They come! For down the path-

way
Steals a fragrance honey-sweet.
Larkspurs, lilies, stocks, and roses,
Hasten now my heart to greet.
Stay, oh, stay! My hands would hold
you . . .
But the arms that would enfold you
Crush the bush of lad's love growing in
the dusk beside my feet. 

--Fay Inchfawn--

Weekend is here, so last night I stopped being such a chicken and the landlady and tell her about the key before these guys show up at my door.  I know that is what she would have done if I didn't  respond.   Besides, from 8:30  to 8:50 I had two long-winded voicemail from her.  I had just gotten home from work at 8 pm.  Now, to me, that's harassment.  She didn't take it easy and kept trying to sway me and finally I had to say, "Listen, you are not the one who has to live here.  Right now we have some peace.  I don't want that disrupted for the short time I will be here.  Your guys have access anytime they want.  They just have to ring the bell."   Her response was, not in an unpleasant manner and directed at me,
"It's my house and they have to understand, I can give my keys to anyone I want.  I'm calling their lawyer tomorrow and putting a stop to this."  Then she went on and on about how she's not going to be pushed around by them, and she is going to show them that she means business.

On another note, they approved us for the apartment and are already making up the lease..  Unfortunately, it is the apartment that is too small.  I'm not giving up on it yet, though.  We're going to go take another look at it on Saturday and see if there is a way to fit the table and the china closet in.  It's a good feeling knowing that I have a place to go.  Don't know if we are going to take it yet, but at least now I know I can pass a credit check. 

Wishing you all a great weekend.  Have fun and get some rest. And thanks for being there for me.  Means more than you know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This is Only a Test

If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched.  
--Terri Guillemets--


I hope that is all it is.  I've really been trying hard to keep a stiff upper lip, but I have to tell you, life has not  been easy lately.  I am trying to focus on Halloween, my favorite time of the year just to keep myself from screaming.  Hmmm!!!  Actually, maybe a good scream might do me some good about now.  But it just isn't easy.  I can't seem to find the fun anymore.

Too begin with, I just can't seem to keep up at my job, and perfectionist that I am, it's really getting to me.  When we made our move to the new office, we lost a few clients and our census went really low.  When the census goes low, we are in danger of losing our grant, hence a few workers, if not the program itself.  Fortunately, the building we moved in also houses our new 200 bed shelter so intakes have been coming in hot and heavy.  I've had 7 within the past two weeks, and have 3 more scheduled next week.  Actually, I am booked until mid-November so you can imagine how it feels to see no relief in sight.   

Each intakes involves quite a bit of paperwork, including a 19 page psychosocial.   One problem is that we are short of workers right now.  One of my co-workers has been out on sick leave...just had her colon removed.  And then, they let another one go on vacation for two weeks at the same time.  They take the nurse's caseload away and divvy it up between the rest of us so she can run more groups, but the fact is, the assign US more groups as well, so it's not as if this takes any of the load off us.  Oh, did I mention that, at this point, all these new clients are going to only three of us.

I was just telling hubby the other day that, no matter how miserable this job may be and how overworked I am, I am actually 'blessed' to have a job what with all the places closing up.  I happened to run into a co-worker from the last place I worked, and he was telling me how badly they were doing there and expressed fears of being out of a job.  This is happening all over the city.  My agency is in no danger, however, as we work very close with the mayor's office and the city, and they actually beg us to take over shelters that are failing to get them back on their feet again.

And then, there is my crazy landlady to contend with.  I've finally got to admit it, the woman is off the wall.  I'm tired of being put into the middle of things.  We're tenants, that's all.  I just want some peace in my life for the short time I am there.  Now she is calling, or should I say harassing since I do get a number of phone calls daily.  To make a long story short, there are two  storage rooms in the basement.  One belongs to my landlady and the other to the co-owner.  My landlady's storage unit was 'supposed' to be for me, but I never got to use it.  Well, it seems that the son who was blasting the D.J. equipment downstairs had busted her lock and set up his D. J. equipment in there.  

What she wants is for me to make a key to the front door (not our apartment) for her uncle and a friend of hers so they can come in and place a lock on her storage room.  The guy upstairs, her cousin) told us in no uncertain terms that if she asks for a key we shouldn't do it.  He said that all they had to do was ring his bell and he will let them in.  He's right, too.  These men are strangers and with a key, they can wander in and out of the house at will.  Personally, I don't feel comfortable with that.  But then, she does own the house and has the right to give a key to anyone she wishes.  And that's where my dilemma comes in.  If I give the key I run the risk of alienating the two sons who now have been very supportive of us...even the one with the D.J. equipment.  They realize that once we go, she's coming back, and they don't want that, so they are on their best behavior to keep us.

Besides, like I said, I don't like these men coming in and out, either.  And then, if I refuse to make the key and give it to them, she can get real mean and give us a short deadline to move out, but I know she just can't put us on the street.  She has to go to court first.  Then, I thought about her giving us a bad housing reference, but that's absurd  as well.  Why would she keep us for 15 years if we were such bad tenants?  It's just that I don't want to go through all the hassle of court or clearing my name, so I didn't pick up the phone last night, just listened to her voice mails (There were three of them and that's harassment).  And, I have to deal with this after busting my butt at work all day.  I broke down in tears last night the third time my phone rang.  I really don't know how to handle this.  Again, I am in the middle.  If I give the key, the brothers can make my life miserable; if I don't, she can.  I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.  Need some advise from you guys and gals on this one.

On the housing front, we went to look at a place last night.  I loved the neighborhood.  It's close to transportation, stores, etc.  The place had such a good aura about it. The super was so great he actually set a lower price for the apartment.  I was giddy about it, and left with such a sense of fulfillment.  Then reality set in.  The place is way too small.   My son will be moving to Connecticut so that's not the problem.  The rooms were basically too small for my furniture, and I cannot afford to by new.   So, the search is on...and meanwhile I am forced to deal with the unnecessary stress of being the middle man of a feuding family.  

The following is a great definition of a difficult person and most fit my landlady to a tee.  I think we all can identify people like this.   A difficult person is one who:

Makes us lose our cool
Forces us to do things we don't want to do
Prevents us from doing what we want or need to do
Uses coercion or manipulation to get their way
Makes us feel guilty if we don't "go along"
Makes us do their share of the work. 
Basically, a difficult person, in short, is someone who creates difficulties for others.


Thanks for listening to me today. So sorry for complaining so much when all of you are trying to enjoy your Halloween.  I'm trying to, believe me I am. Being pulled by too many forces at once...both at home and at work.  And I am tired, just so tired.  Better days are coming.  I know.  I've been through hard times before only to find better times waiting on the other side. 


* Re: the furniture.  If it were furniture I could get rid of, I would gladly do it, but it's my kitchen table and a china closet that means the world to me.  The kitchen is too small for either and there is no room in the living room to have both the table and a sofa.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christmas in October


Well, it's that time again...my annual Christmas in October rant.   And this year it's even a little earlier...because this year Christmas has come even earlier.   One day, about a week ago, I was shopping at the CVS near my job when I happened upon the perfect wig for Halloween.  I always do a little something special at work and this metallic blue waist-length wig I found would go perfect with my witch's hat.  I didn't have the money then, and since there actually was quite a few of them,  I figured I'd pick it up at a later date.   To my shock, yesterday, the Halloween stuff was nearly gone.  Not only were the stock clerks putting away the Halloween stuff, they were putting out Christmas candy. Can you imagine?  Kiddies come to your home for 'Trick or Treat' and walk away with red and green candy kisses.

Oh, where does it end. Halloween hasn't even passed yet, and already the are starting to display all kind of Christmas goods. Are they for real? How can we possibly be in the mood for Christmas if we are still planning our Halloween parties with pumpkins, ghosts, witches and spooky items? I don't know about you, but time is already passing far too quickly. Why make it go any faster?



In my world, Halloween is a day all its own, and Christmas doesn't come until  after Thanksgiving. I remember my childhood excitement when, the day after Thanksgiving, the holiday season began. 
Shopping started in earnest with trips to the mall in December, shops were full of happy people humming their favorite carols while we children would rush about looking for presents to buy for Mom and Dad with our saved up allowance.  Our tree only went up the day before,  and  mom and dad  spent Christmas Eve decorating it while I was snug in my bed...or so they thought.  Presents they had sneakily wrapped and hidden were  popped under the tree and that great air of great excitement on Christmas morn. 

But, that was then and this is now.  Commercialization! Can't fight it.  Much as we may not like it, it's here to stay.  Perhaps if all of us shoppers stood our ground and refused to buy Christmas before Halloween, things would change.  Maybe they will. And, as for Halloween this year, I can always go dressed as Santa.
 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dumb Supper


As a child, I celebrated Halloween like most American children. I dressed up, went out, and gathered candy and other treats.  I still love Halloween...the costumes, the decorations, the candy.  But, today, Halloween has become a severely commercialized holiday.  Ask anyone  about the holiday and most will tell you it involves involves costumes, gathering and scarfing candy, and parties.  Yes,  everyone is familiar with the celebration of Halloween but Samhain is generally not known to the masses. 

Samhain is a more spiritual day. It is a day for ancestors and to bring attentions and worship to those people. It is a time where the world is caught up in an in between. It is when those who had passed on and impart wisdom and blessings on their family and can bring good fortune to those of their bloodline. 
Many believe that with the worlds so close, our ancestors can come and dance with us on this night. It is a day to honor those who came before us, and one way of honoring the dead is to have a 'dumb' supper on Samhain.

'Dumb' has nothing to do with one's intelligence; it means that these meals, and any communication therein, are conducted in silence. Essentially, it is a supper by the living, for the dead which is performed on  the night that the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest, Samhain/Halloween. This tradition dates back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The 'dumb supper' is a solemn meal, aimed at inviting those who have passed away back to the world of the living for the night. It is a sign of respect to those who have come before.

It's easy to have a dumb  supper.  First,  prepare the meal with the intent 
  of honoring those family members who have died.  It's always nice to include some of their favorite foods.  The dinner table is set for a dumb supper, often held at midnight. An extra place is set and left for those ancestors that may visit. The head of the table should certainly be left open for the spirit of an important ancestor or family member. Here, the tradition varies.. When it is time for the meal, turn off all unnatural lighting and light candles. 

In the places of the dead, specific candles can be lit--either black or white. After a silent prayer of thanks, everyone should begin eating in silence. When the meal is done, the live guests should all silently thank the ancestors who appeared. While the plates of the living are removed from the table, those of the dead should remain until morning, so that they may eat their fill through out the night.

Afterward, divination can be done and the spirits who have come to be with their family may be willing to help. Bring out a scrying mirror, tarot cards, or runestones, and do some divination about the year to come.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scorpio October 23-November 21

There is a place above where Scorpio bent,
In tail and arms surrounds a vast extent.
In a wide circuit of the heavens he shines,
And fills the place of two celestial signs. 




Scorpio is the eighth sign of the Zodiac. It ushers in the advent of winter. It is a fixed water sign which is traditionally represented by the Scorpion.  It is ruled by Pluto with a strong supporting influence from Mars. Some of you are probably wondering how this can be since Pluto was declassified as a planet in 2006.  Well, to answer your question, before Pluto was discovered, Mars was, indeed,  Scorpio's ruler; then,  when Pluto was discovered in 1930,  it was became Scorpio's ruling planet because it shared so many traits with the sign.  The fact is, Pluto hasn't changed, only its classification by astronomers is different.  Named for the mythological god of the afterlife, the realm of the dead, it still carries the same meanings--transformations, death, the underworld, the unconscious mind, and deep spiritual matters.

As a sign of transformation, Scorpio ushers in the advent of winter.  It is most associated with birth, life, death, sex, and  sensuality. The Scorpio experiences emotions more intensely than any other sign of the Zodiac. Although vibrant and passionate, as a fixed sign, they are not very adaptable, and would much prefer to keep things as they are.  The water element symbolizes emotion, and as such,  Scorpio is a sign of extreme emotions, but is also highly private and secretive Lying underneath is tremendous power, and the Scorpio will dominate and control anyone that lets them.  Scorpios struggle to transform some aspect of themselves. This is the sign of secrets, power, and intensity. The key phrase for Scorpio is 'I create'. 


Scorpio is one of the most ancient of the constellations, originally much extended in the direction of Virgo, the claws of the Scorpion occupying the region of the sky where we now see the constellation Libra.
  It originates from the constellation Scorpius which lies between Libra to the West and Sagittarius to the East.  In early times this sign was represented by various symbols, sometimes by a snake or crocodile, but most commonly as a Scorpion. As an example, in very ancient astrology, that of the Egyptians, Chaldeans,  and Hebrews,  the constellation was represented not by the familiar scorpion, but by the serpent.  In the Hebrew zodiac, Scorpio is referred to the tribe of Dan because it is written, 'Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path.'  The Arabs knew it as 'the Scorpion's Heart,' and even now it is often called 'Cor Scorpii,' the heart of the Scorpion.

The heart with lustre of amazing force
Refulgent vibrates; faint the other parts,
And ill-defined by stars of meaner note. 

It is referred to in the Epic of Gilgamesh we find Scorpio as the dark guardian of the threshold of the Otherworld when, on his journey, Gilgamesh must   travel through the land of the Scorpion Men who guard the mountains he must cross to enter the Otherworld.  In India, the serpent is associated with Shakti, the feminine aspect of God. 

In the Book of the Dead seven scorpions accompany Isis, when her son,  Horus,  was bitten by one scorpion of the most deadly species, her scorpion friends saved her son out of love for her.  The scorpion also stands for Seth, the Trickster and brother of Nephthys, queen of the Land of the Dead.  He is the nemesis and opponent of Osiris, and Isis the Magician, and  Serket  was originally the deification of the scorpion.

To the ancient Greeks, the constellation Scorpius was related to the death of the hunter Orion
, the Greek hunter who was rumored to be the most handsome man in the world.  In one version of this myth, Artemis sent the scorpion after Orion when he tried to rape her. Both Orion and the scorpion were placed in the sky, but on opposite sides so that as the scorpion rises in the east, Orion, as if in fear,  flees below the western horizon...   


...and, to this day, it looks as if the scorpion is always chasing after Orion in the nighttime sky  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apologies to All


Yesterday I posted that the clocks go back tonight.  Big boo boo on my part.  The other day I was listening to Fox 5 news before going to work, and the newscaster mentioned that this was the weekend to set the clocks back.  I didn't even think to question it, but it seems that they were wrong. Thanks to all who pointed it out to me.  I would have been in a real mess...moving along in a time that no one else was.

So, DO NOT set your clocks back until November 6th.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ghosts


I am almost afraid of the wind out there.
The dead leaves skip on the porches bare,
The windows clatter and whine.
I sit here in the quiet house. low-lit.
With the clock that ticks and the books that stand.
Wise and silent, on every hand.

I am almost afraid; though I know the night
Lets no ghosts walk in the warm lamplight.
Yet ghosts there are; and they blow, they blow,
Out in the wind and the scattering snow.-
When I open the windows and go to bed,
Will the ghosts come In and stand at my head?

Last night I dreamed they came back again.
I heard them talking; I saw them plain.
They hugged me and held me and loved me; spoke
Of happy doings and friendly folk.
They seemed to have journeyed a week away,
but now they were ready and glad to stay.

But, oh, if they came on the wind to-night
Could I bear their faces, their garments white
Blown in the dark around my lonely bed?
Oh, could I forgive them for being dead?
I am almost afraid of the wind. My shame!
That I would not be glad if my dear ones came! 
--Fannie Stearns Davis-- 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.  Sorry about the clocks.  Wish there was an extra hour sleep.  Fox News announced it yesterday morning so I just went with it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sort of a Rant

Trusting our intuition often saves us
from disaster. 
-Anne Wilson Schaef-


Last night we went to look at another apartment.  It was late, and I really didn't want to go.  Now, I wish I hadn't gone.  They fact is, I fell in love with the place.  It is four rooms, not too far from the water, on a different side Brooklyn. It's a great neighborhood, a block from the train station, and near all shopping.  There's plenty of windows, four walk in closets, and it is only $50 more a month than what I already pay.  I definitely want it...so why am I feeling so bad?...

....because I just don't think I'm going to get it.  I know I should be thinking positive, but I my intuition is telling me that we don't 'measure up' to what they are looking for, so to speak. I've always lived in private homes, never in a building, so I had no idea what to expect.  In private homes, they just ask the basic questions, and, of course, want to speak to your present landlord, but that's about it.  I was shocked when I was handed the application for this building.  They want to know:

...Where I work.  How long.  Salary.
...They want to talk to my employer.
...My bank account...and its number?  Don't feel comfortable with that one.
...My credit cards and how much is owed.  
...Savings accounts.  401 k's, and stuff like that.  How far I went in school.  ...What degree or certificates I have. 
...They want to see my present utility bills.
...They want a copy of my social security and drivers license or state I.D. ...They want to come and check out my present apartment.
...And on top of all that, they are going to do a credit check...and all this is going to cost me is a non-refundable $100.  


The more I thought about, the angrier it made me.  Granted, I haven't been turned down, and there is that slight chance we might get it.  15 years of never been late paying your rent has to count for something.   But I was thinking about all the others, all those people out there looking for a place to live, those people who may not have a diploma or a GED, but they do have a decent job.  I understand that the building owner wants to make sure he has decent, rent-paying tenants, but I do think this goes a little bit above board and is actually quite discriminatory to people who may actually turn out to be great tenants. There is far too much homelessness in this city.  I spoke with several of my co-workers who live in buildings, and this seems to be the norm.  Could these new stringent rules for rentals contribute to the homeless situation?  I have to wonder how many people are out there who tried for housing, but were turned down because they did not meet up with the standards.


I'm so leery of this because hubby is unemployment, and my intuition is telling me that, although I make enough to cover the rent, the word unemployment is a dirty word to them...that and the fact that I really have no savings. I don't have $100 to just throw away.  This move is taking everything I have.   Funny thing, when I went to bed last night, closed my eyes and tried to visualize the apartment all hooked up, I couldn't see it.  Try as I might I could not see the herb garden in the windows, etc.  I take that as an omen that it isn't meant to be. 


Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's. 
-Billy Wilder-

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The River of Life

I've often said that time appears to be speeding up. Remember when you were young how long it took the holidays to arrive?   Now they come and go before we know it.  Now, we all know that time isn't actually speed up, at least that's what they say, but, by golly, it sure does feel that way. I've always wondered why.  I came across an interesting concept this morning I'd like to share with you.  I was reading "The Secret Life of Water" on the way to work today, and the author said, "Your life had meaning and you were so busy living that time was forgotten.  Then adulthood set in and you put those things away and locked the door."  Make you wonder about all those deadlines we have to face as adults.  It seems that time is always on our mind.
 
 

The more we live, more brief appear
     Our life’s succeeding stages:
A day to childhood seems a year,
     And years like passing ages.
 
The gladsome current of our youth,
     Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
     Along its grassy borders.
 
But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
     And sorrow’s shafts fly thicker,
Ye Stars, that measure life to man,
     Why seem your courses quicker?
 
When joys have lost their bloom and breath
     And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death,
     Feel we its tide more rapid?
It may be strange—yet who would change

     Time’s course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone
     And left our bosoms bleeding?
Heaven gives our years of fading strength
     Indemnifying fleetness;
And those of youth, a seeming length,
     Proportion’d to their sweetness.

--Thomas Campbell--



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Pumpkin



We're getting closer and closer to my favorite day and I am getting so excited.  I've always loved Halloween, perhaps even more than Christmas.  Pumpkins are a symbol of Halloween.  Every year when I was  a wee girl, my friends parents would take us to the local pumpkin farm to pick out one to carve on Halloween.  It was always such a difficult choice for there were pumpkins as far as the eye could see, and I just HAD to find the perfect one.  

The pumpkins of the 1950s and early '60s were pretty much standard with triangles for the eyes and nose and a mouth with crooked teeth.  Nothing fancy.  We just carved the face and stuck the lit candle inside.   Everyone in the neighborhood had one, and on Halloween eve, it was quite a sight to behold.  We didn't have to worry about rowdy teenagers smashing them back then.  

The carving of Halloween pumpkins, also know as Jack-o-Lanterns, is a very old Pagan custom which dates back to the days of the ancient Druids. They believed that the spirits of the dead returned to the world of the living on this night.  Most of these disembodied spirits were deceased family members or friends who were welcomed , but some of the spirits were of an evil nature and greatly feared.  So, for protection, candlelit faces were carved out of turnips and carried as lanterns from house to house to scare away the evil spirits.

There is also a bit of folklore surrounding the term Jack-O-Lantern. It originates from an old Irish lore about a man named  'Stingy Jack'.The tale involves Jack making deal after deal with the devil, tricking him with the temptation of the man's soul, only to wind up being tricked himself by the prankster.  After Jack died, he wasn't allowed into heaven so the devil got revenge by not allowing Jack into hell. He's roamed for all eternity, with only a burning coal inside a turnip to light his way.


Pumpkins were a mainstay in Native American culture and in fact, the entire pumpkin was used not only for food, but Native Americans would also make mats and other products from the shell. Pumpkin-like seeds dating back about 8,000 years have been found in Mexico. These seeds, which are rich in many vitamins such as magnesium, phosphorous, protein, niacin, and iron, were once used for medicine treatments. The seeds were used to treat intestinal infections and a variety of kidney problems. The flowers were used topically on cuts and abrasions.The Apache baked pumpkin blossoms into cakes; the Navajo used them as a seasoning for soup. The Iroquois Indians believed corn, beans and pumpkins were a gift from their Sun God. 


Sadly, I no longer see pumpkins as I once did.  Not only do most people in my neighborhood not celebrate Halloween due to religious convictions, but those who do are afraid to put them out for show.  Here in the city, Jack-o-Lanterns attract rebellious and destructive teens who take pleasure in destroying the pleasure of others, so people don't carve pumpkins anymore.  

For those of us who grew up in the 50's or  60's, Halloween and Peanuts go together almost as much as older traditions such as trick-or-treating and outrageous costumes, thanks to the beloved 1966 TV special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.   Charlie Brown is thrilled that at last he's been invited to a costume party, and  Linus makes preparations for the arrival of The Great Pumpkin, whom he believes will rise from the pumpkin patch and deliver presents to all the good little boys and girls. 

Halloween is a such magickal night.  You can just feel the electricity in the air.  I think  Linus said it best, "I believe in the Great Pumpkin."   So do I, Linus, so do I.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The greater our hurry, the longer the way;
the greater our patience, the sooner we reach the goal.

German proverb


As another Monday rolls around, another week of work looms ahead of us.  I'm doing my best at the new place.  Actually, I've adjusted to everything but the noise level.  I can't do my best when I cannot here myself think.  We've decorated for Halloween, and I really have to get some photos to show you.  Battery in the camera was dead this morning; I tend to let those things lapse.  (Sigh)

Had a busy weekend.  On Saturday I cooked and did some sorting and packing.  Seems like there is no end to it.  Sunday we went to look at a couple places.  The first was far too expensive; it was four rooms, but  much too small for the price she was asking.  No closet space.  A 2nd floor walk-up, which, in itself isn't so bad, but there are days when I am really short of breath.  And, it was only a few blocks from where I live now.  I've spent 15 years here living as a minority.  I want out of here now. 

The second apartment was my dream place.  5 large rooms, windows galore, great view, great neighborhood, the same rent as we pay now.  In fact, when I stood in the kitchen I was able to picture my herb garden growing in the window...and the bathroom was double the size of the one I have now.  And best of all...it was only two blocks from my beloved ocean.  So, why didn't we take it?

It's easy to jump into things, especially a place as picture perfect as this.  We tend to look at the outer beauty and not take into consideration its  hidden side, that what we cannot see.  In my youth I would have jumped at it, but age brings wisdom, and I have to look at all sides of the picture and question why such a gorgeous place is going so cheaply.  First of all, it is not convenient...to anything.  The subway is  quite a hike away, and, with winter coming, I have to think of the snow and ice.  Hubby should be back to work by then, and I can't depend on him to drive me everyday.  What if we work at different times?  And then there are my late nights, walking all those blocks in the dark.  Sure, it is a great neighborhood, but let's face it, this is New York City, and bad things happen in ALL neighborhoods and to all ages.

Then, there is the shopping.  The nearest deli is about as long a hike as the subway station...and the supermarket even further than that. I don't like the idea of having to depend on someone to take me where I need to go...and it's not worth getting my license and a car at this stage of the game.  Don't even know where the nearest pharmacy is.   I can just picture myself wanting a bag of chips or needing something from the drugstore and having to sit and wait for hubby to come home to take me.  I'm far too independent for that.  

So, I decided that I had to let it go.   For awhile I will probably think about it, and as I lay in bed at night visualizing what might have been, wonder if I made a mistake.  But, I know, deep in my heart, that this wasn't for me.  Somewhere, out there, the new home that was meant to be is still waiting for me.


Trusting our intuition often saves us
from disaster.


Anne Wilson Schaef











Friday, October 14, 2011

Beautifiul Autumn

October, here's to you.
Here's to the heady aroma of the frost-kissed apples,
the winey smell of ripened grapes,
the wild-as-the-wind smell of hickory nuts
and the nostalgic whiff of that first wood smoke.

Ken Weber


Autumn is,  by far, my favorite time of the year. The days have cooled down, the leaves have turned, and the world is busy preparing herself for winter.  The leaves changing colors and falling of the trees. There's something magical about the clear brisk days.  As a child, we'd rake up all the leaves into a big pile and then we would jump into the pile and spread them all over again.  Later, after we had our fill of fun, our parents would rake them up in a final pile, set them aflame, and for awhile we would enjoy that   pleasant woodsy smell that perfumed  the air all around.  

There was once a time when apples were my favorite fruit; now I can't stand them.  My cranky neighbor had a huge tree.  We used to marvel at the blossoms in spring, and then, in the fall,  we would sneak into the yard to pick them, laughing giddily as we ran away with our treasure. It always amazes how something as juicy and delicious as an apple can come directly off the tree, into my hand and into my mouth, just like that. 

I vividly remember attending wearing our school colors of orange and black (how appropriate) as I cheered on our football team on crisp, clear Sunday afternoons.  I remember hay rides and running through the corn field, laughingly calling our friends to find us.  Because my parents weren't into Halloween, I was always invited along with my friend, Kathleen's family, for picking pumpkins in the pumpkin patch.  And then there was Halloween, the thrill of picking out the perfect costume, anxiously waiting for the sun to go down, going house to house with friends, filling bags, returning home to empty them, and then starting out in the other direction.  You have got to love this time of the year.

What childhood memories do you have of autumn?

There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellowed richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lessons From a Tree

I  think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep.  --May Sarton


When running my Recovery Group at work, I not only focus on drug education and relapse prevention techniques, but also try to spend some time focusing on what goes on inside...emotions, feelings, etc.  I am a firm believer that if one does not work on self, one will not be gifted with a strong recovery.  That's a lesson I learned the hard way...a long, long time ago.  So, I try to make it fun by finding little quotes and readings that make  one dig deep and think.  Yesterday we did the following:


"How can I do what you say," asked the child, "and still be me?"


"Look at me," said the tree.  "I bend in the wind, droop in the rain.  Yet, I always remain myself, a tree."

"Look at me," said the man.  "I can't change."


"Look at me," said the tree.  "O change every season from green to brown to green again, from bud to flower to fallen leaf.  Yet, I always remain myself, a tree."

"I can't love anymore," said the woman. "With my love, I have given away all that I am."

"Look at me," said the tree. "There are robins in my branches, owls in my trunk, moss and ladybugs living on my bark. They may take what I have, but not what I am."

Whether we know it or not, we are like the tree. Only our pride hangs on to a false sense of self, wanting to keep everything, refusing to follow advice or orders. What we do doesn't matter; how we do it is what counts.


--Author Unknown--

We had some great conversation on this one. In our society, which is full of  stereotypes, expectations and conformities, we are often so busy trying to be what other people want us to be that we forget that we are a 'self'. We all want to be liked, accepted.  To be different is to be somewhat viewed as an 'outcast' amongst the general population. As a result, many of us find ourselves at a point later our lives where we finally realize that we have wasted many years following a path that was not meant for us .  As a result, we  end up not knowing who we really are.

I was one of those who really had to learn the hard way how to 'be myself'. Growing up as the child of an alcoholic, more  than anything I wanted to fit in with my peers, yet the more I tried, the more I failed.
During my 20's well into 40's, actually until my early 50's,  I still tried to fit in by doing things that I noticed other people doing and acting in the ways that they did.  But, I was never really happy, and that was because somewhere along the line I had lost myself.  

In counseling, I began to take a good look at myself and what I really  wanted, what I liked and how I felt, and I learned to stop caring about what other people thought and spent more time being myself, and as I became happier with who I saw in the mirror, I discovered that others began liking and respecting me more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Learning to Be Patient

No person can think clearly when
his or her fists are clenched.

George Jean Nathan


Oh my, let me tell you about patience.  Since Friday I've had to use every last ounce of it I have and now am feeling as if one more stressor comes my way, the pressure cooker within will burst.  To begin with,  I'd looked forward to this past three-day weekend for weeks; it was going to be a time of sleeping late and catching up on some much-needed rest.    Between the office move, the packing at home, the stress of looking for an apartment,  I surely needed it.

So, Saturday comes along, it's 7:30 am in the morning.  I lazily gaze over at the clock, stretch, and roll over in the hopes of catching a couple more hours.  Not meant to be.  Just as I was about to doze off, there was such a commotion in the hallway that I flew out of the bed.  The men were there to paint and lay tiles in the hallway, making the house look 'prettier' to sell. Now mind you, they were supposed to have begun on Tuesday, and the job would have already been finished, but they decided they were going to wait for the weekend to start.  Gee, thanks!!!!   Ironically, I had just said to hubby the night before "Watch, they probably waited for me to be home to do it."  A lesson learned...be careful what you say.  It just might come true.

So, to make long story short, they worked from about 8 am to 1 pm...and they did this on all three days of the weekend.  Grrrr!!!  Really wanted to let them have it, but really, what would have been accomplished?  Anger does nothing but destroy the angry person and all those around him or her. The guys were just doing their job.  How were they to know I had a special weekend planned for myself?  I ended up kissing my sleep good-bye and utilizing the extra time to do some packing...and really got a lot of it done. 

Fast forward to Tuesday morning.  I arrive at work at 8:20 and find clients already in the program and eating their breakfast.  No staff is on the premises.  The cleaning lady let them in.  What a huge 'no, no' that is.  Guess what happened when I mentioned it to the boss?  His reply was, "Maybe we will have to start opening a little earlier."   In the old place, clients were not allowed upstairs until 9 am.  Here it has been 8:30 am.  Now, he's talking about it being earlier.  We have clients who live in the building.  Perhaps we should start bringing our jammies and spend the night.  Didn't tell my boss what I was really thinking, that he spoils these clients too much.  Instead, I marched back to my desk and got out the Halloween decor I had bought over the weekend and had a great old time setting it up.

And, last, but not least, was speaking to my landlady last night.  Do you know what she said to me?  "Do you really want to move?  Because I don't want to sell."  Can you believe it?  I've been tormenting myself for weeks, packing, searching for a place, worrying about the future, and now she comes out with this?  "No, I really don't want to move," I responded, "but I honestly cannot keep going on with this seesaw...selling, not selling, etc.  I've already resigned myself to moving, and I just can't go back now.  We've already been told once that we can stay, only to have the rug pulled out from under us a few weeks later."   Before I hung up, I assured her that I won't leave her in a lurch, that once we find a place, we'll be sure to give her ample notice, but in my mind I was saying, "I refuse to be anyone's yo-yo anymore."


So, that is what has been going on with me.  Hmmm!!!  Wonder if these negative energies have something to do with the Aries Full Moon.  If it does, I think I channeled my anger very well.

The most extraordinary thing about the

oyster is this. Irritations get into its
shell. It does not like them. But when
it cannot get rid of them, it uses the
irritation to do the loveliest thing
an oyster ever has a chance to do.
If there are irritations in our lives
today, there is only one prescription:
make a pearl. It may have to be a pearl
of patience, but, anyhow, make a pearl.
And it takes faith and love to do it.

Harry Emerson Fosdick



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Aries Full Moon: October 11th




This Full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon. It is the first Full Moon after the Harvest MoonHistorically, since the fields have been reaped, and with leaves falling and the fields bare, it was easier to see to hunt under this Full Moon. It is also known as Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon because of the blood shed by animals while being hunted.  This Full Moon is also called the 'moon of the changing seasons' and the Falling Leaf Moon. 

During this time of the month when the sun is in Libra,  the Full Moon occurs in the sign of Aries.
  The Full Moon, the sign that is in opposition to the Sun's sign, is the time of culmination, when things reach their peek, so to speak.  The lunar cycle has ended, and it is a time to tidy up loose ends and sort out problems which may not be so easy with this Full Moon.  In fact, this might indeed be a rather trying time for some. 

Aries, the first astrological sign of the Zodiac, represents new beginnings, adventure, leadership and strength. An Aries Moon promotes energy and ideas. Its element is fire, and with Mars as its ruler, it  is the sign of the warrior which certainly gives the Full Moon a charged up and energetic feeling.   The keyword for Aries is 'I am'.  Aries are action oriented individuals and one of the energies of Aries is independence and a willingness to do things on one’s own.  The Full Moon in Aries sees the daring, and few signs are as fearless. 


When the Sun in Libra opposes the Moon in Aries, it signals a time  that we will be asked to balance the self-assertive, independent desires of what we want for ourselves versus what we need to give to others.  Libra, with Venus as its ruler, wants peace and balance.   Generally speaking, though, Aries symbolism, especially during a Full Moon, is anything but patient, and it wants what it wants when it wants it and there’s no compromising.
The Full Moon in Aries encourages you to be yourself, to trust your intuition and to boldly try something new.  This sign gives boldness, energy, and unfortunately a tendency toward impetuousness.  You may want to explode with frustration, become impatient and feel depressed because your energy is being stifled.  Thus, is is quite possible that during there may be some irritability, angry outbursts, short tempers and flare ups at this time to release the energy.

Work with the Aries Full Moon when you want to bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to whatever it is that you may be planning, or when you want rapid success in a new venture. The lesson to be learned here is how to balance assertiveness with compromise.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Quote



Faith...
When you come to the edge of all the light you have,
and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown,
faith is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on,
or you will be taught how to fly.

~ Patrick Overton ~

Just taking a moment to wish you all a great Monday.  Hope you all have it off like I do.  I will  be spending much of my day packing.  Nothing new on the housing front, but I do want to be prepared.  Unbelievable how much one accumulates in 15 years.  

In keeping with the above quote, I am about to step off into the unknown. My emotions are mixed at this point.  There is a gladness about the opportunity to start anew, a new beginning, but also a sense of sadness of this part of my life that I am leaving behind.  Fifteen years is a long time to live in one place, and after awhile, you start to think of it as your own.  But, it is time to let go.  Changes are in the wind, and I am looking forward to learning how to fly. 

Wishing all my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Visit From Wisdom

I  can't believe it...another weekend  upon us. Not complaining, but just remarking how quickly time is passing. It's been a hectic week, and this three day weekend is very much needed. I did want to let you all that I checked the blog of the Reverend whose name was being used in the scam and was glad to see a post and warning notice about the apartment.  Hopefully, people will check out the blog site like I did before shelling out any money.  It  gave me some relief to know that action was being taken.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.  I will leave you now with the following wonderful poem....



In the stillness of night Wisdom came and stood
By my bed. She gazed upon me like a tender mother
And wiped away my tears, and said : 'I have heard
The cry of your spirit and I am come to comfort it.
Open your heart to me and I shall fill it with light.
Ask of me and I shall show you the way of truth.'

And I said : 'Who am I, Wisdom, and how came
I to this frightening place? What manner of things
Are these mighty hopes and these many books and
Strange patterns ? What are these thoughts that pass
As doves in flight? And these words composed by
Desire and sung by delight, what are they? What are
These conclusions, grievous and joyous, that embrace
My spirit and envelop my heart? And those
Eyes which look at me seeing into my depths and
Fleeing from my sorrows ? And those voices mourning
My days and chanting my littleness, what are they ?

'What is this youth that plays with my desires
And mocks at my longings, forgetful of yesterday's
Deeds, rejoicing in paltry things of the moment,
Scornful of the morrow's coming?

'What is this world that leads me whither I know
Not, standing with me in despising? And this earth
That opens wide its mouth to swallow bodies and
Lets evil things to dwell on its breast? What is this
Creature that is satisfied with the love of fortune,
Whilst beyond its union is the pit? Who seeks Life's
Kiss whilst Death does smite him, and brings the
Pleasure of a minute with a year of repentance, and
Gives himself to slumber the while dreams call him?
What is he who flows with the rivers of folly to the
Sea of darkness? O Wisdom, what manner of things
Are these?'

And she answered, saying :
'You would see, human creature, this world
Through the eyes of a god. And you would seek to
Know the secrets of the hereafter with the thinking
Of men. Yet in truth is this the height of folly.
'Go you to the wild places and you shall find
There the bee above the flowers and behold the eagle
Swooping down on his prey. Go you into your neighbor's
House and see then the child blinking at the
Firelight and his mother busied at her household
Tasks. Be you like the bee and spend not the days of
Spring looking on the eagle's doing. Be as the child
And rejoice in the firelight and heed not your Mother's affairs.
All that you see with your eyes was And is for your sake.

'The many books and the strange patterns and
Beautiful thoughts are the shades of those spirits
That came ere you were come. The words that you
Do weave are a bond between you and your brothers.
The conclusions, grievous and joyous, are the
Seeds that the past did scatter in the field of the
Spirit to be reaped by the future. That youth who
Plays with your desires is he who will open the door
Of your heart to let enter the light. This earth with
The ever open mouth is the savior of your spirit from
The body's slavery. This world which walks with
You is your heart; and your heart is all that you
Think that world. This creature whom you see as
Ignorant and small is the same who has come from
God's side to learn pity through sadness, and knowledge
By way of darkness.'

Then Wisdom put her hand on my burning brow
And said:
'Go then forward and do not tarry, for before  walks Perfection.
Go, and have not fear of thorns
On the path, for they deem naught lawful save Corrupted blood.'

Khalil Gibran

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Childhood's Home


I grew up in an amazing small town.  Everything around me was magical.  When you are surrounded by dirt roads, infinite acres of land, ponds, creeks, and animals, you are never bored.  My childhood days were tightly packed with activities that my friends' and I created. We did not have the video games or cable television back then; therefore, we had to utilize our minds constantly. And we learned to create.  We learned how to have fun, 'real' fun.  It's no wonder I find myself today, growing older and living in the city, wishing I could go home again.

When I think about childhood, it brings me back to an era when innocence reigned. The only 'monsters' we had back then were those in our imaginations.  We could play outdoors from morning til the darkest of night and not worry about someone trying to hurt us.  We climbed mountains, played in the woods, and and swam in the ponds.  I remember my first kiss.  How innocent it was!  The boy and I were sitting on the swings, and he leaned over and gave me a quick kiss...right on the lips.  To this day I remember it as if it was yesterday. (Sigh)  

I have tasted each varied pleasure,
And drunk of the cup of delight;
I have danced to the gayest measure
In the halls of dazzling light.
I have dwelt in a blaze of splendour,
And stood in the courts of kings;
I have snatched at each toy that could render
More rapid the flight of Time's wings.
But vainly I've sought for joy or peace,
In that life of light and shade;
And I turn with a sigh to my own dear home-
The home where my childhood played!

When jewels are sparkling round me,
And dazzling with their rays,
I weep for the ties that bound me
In life's first early days.
I sigh for one of the sunny hours
Ere day was turned to-night;
For one of my nosegays of fresh wild flowers,
Instead of those jewels bright.
I weep when I gaze on the scentless buds
Which never can bloom or fade;
And I turn with a sigh to those gay green fields-
The home where my childhood played.

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fighting Back


Many of us go through our daily lives and never come into contact with the evil of this world. We see it on the news, read about it in the papers, but it doesn't happen to us so it  doesn't exist.  Having lived here in New York for more than 30 years, , you would think I would be more aware of the 'badness' around me, but I always tend to look for the good in things... that is, until I began searching for our new apartment and came face-to -face with something that previously been non-existent  in my picture-perfect world....scam artists...the monsters who prey on others in an attempt to take everything they worked hard for away from them.

Hubby and I decided that we're going to do all we can to avoid realtor's fees in this apartment search.  Everyone has to make a living, yes, but we cannot afford to pay a realtor a month's rent at this time.   That's probably going to be about $1200.  We barely have enough to move, and I'm seriously thinking of getting a loan...although I do hope I can avoid it.   So, we've been looking for Apartment for Rent signs in windows and checking on a few online services.  You can imagine my initial surprise when I found this:

Rent Per Month: $1000 (Including Utilities)
Security Deposit: $600 (Refundable)


The apartment is a 2 Bedroom and 2 Baths apartment. It has a Large living room, High Ceilings, Refrigerator, Stainless Steel Kitchen Appliances, Dining Room, Hardwood Floors, Internet and Cable, Dish Washer. There's a Heater, Dryer and Split AC Unit. There is also a Laundry Washing Machine in the Building and a Private Parking Space.

Sounds great, doesn't it?  But, I had a bad feeling about the place right from the start.  In my book, if something sounds too good to be true, then it must be too good to be true, but what the heck!!!  Sometimes gifts seem to fall from the heavens when we least expect it, so I responded to the ad.  I received an email the next day from a party claiming to be a Reverend who was currently working, with his wife,  as a missionary in Kenya.  He even included his blog address...just in case I doubted he was who he says he was.  Well, I'm not stupid.  Anybody can make up an email address and say such and such blog is theirs. 

He even added in his response that he and his wife were not interested in monetary values which was why they were letting the apartment go so low; all they wanted was for someone to live there who would take care of the place.  He even went so far as to say that he and his wife NEVER planned on moving back there, so it would be ours for as long as we wanted.  (Sure, he probably read on my application to the website that we had to move because they were selling the house so he was telling me what I wanted to hear).  By now, my radar is really up.

He included a small questionnaire.  He asked  for name, type of work, how long, pets, smoker, etc.  I noted that there were no  financial questions.  Sure, good way to lure someone in.  This guy or gal is a pro.  They know that if anything about finances is asked from the beginning,  their mark will probably back off.  That will come later after you fall for the following...of course, we will have to make arrangements for you to retrieve the key to see the apartment and sign the documents.  Still no mention of money.  I didn't allow it to get that far, but I am sure if I had, I would have eventually asked to wire some money before I got the key...and you know what that means.  SCAMMED!!!!

But, they really didn't know who they were messing with when they tried to mess with me.  Not only did they try to relieve me of my hard earned money, but also used the good name of a family who has dedicated their lives to helping others.  I thrive on fighting against injustice whether it concerns me or not, and once my dander is up, I don't back off.   I've worked hard since I was 16 years old, and now 6at 4, I still go out to work every morning,  no matter how much pain I may be in or how short of breath I may be.  And NO ONE is going to try to scam my money away and get away with it.  Here is what I did:

1.  Upon further investigation, I found the true owners of the said apartment and contacted them about the scammer.  (By the way, it's a million dollar condo.  I saw the pictures on the net, and it is simply gorgeous.  But, maybe the moron is not so smart after all.  Why go for something so out of reach?  Why not choose a more modest place?  It's more realistic.)

2.   I did further research and found the email address of the party whose name was being used and contacted the Reverend and his wife in Kenya and informed him that someone was using his and his wife's good name in a scam.  Heard back from them prolifically thanking me and assuring me that now that they know about this, they will find out what steps they need to take.

3.   Notified Craig's List of the scam.

4.  And probably most importantly,  contacted the Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI and provided them with all the information including original ad and the email I received.

I can only hope that these actions save someone else the heartache of losing their money.