Friday, March 30, 2012

This Mirror Life



The good you find in others, is in you too.
The faults you find in others, are your faults as well.
After all, to recognize something you must know it.
The possibilities you see in others, are possible for you as well.
The beauty you see around you, is your beauty.
The world around you is a reflection, 
a mirror showing you the person you are.
To change your world, you must change yourself.
To blame and complain will only make matters worse.
Whatever you care about, is your responsibility.
What you see in others, shows you yourself.
See the best in others, and you will be your best.
Give to others, and you give to yourself.
Appreciate beauty, and you will be beautiful.
Admire creativity, and you will be creative.
Love, and you will be loved.
Seek to understand, and you will be understood.
Listen, and your voice will be heard.
Teach, and you will learn.
Show your best face to the mirror, 
and you'll be happy with the face looking back at you.
--Unknown--

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. April showers will be headed this way tomorrow and Sunday, but I'll be busy in the kitchen.  These cooking weekends seem to be coming so quickly now.  I wish there was a way to slow time down, but, since I can't, just might as well make the best of it.  Speaking of time...

....the other night after I went to bed, hubby was watching a show about scientists searching for the Fountain of Youth.  Accordingly, they found an enzyme, the telomerase enzyme, which supposedly can make cells young again.  Unfortunately, it has also been implicated in  encouraging cancer.  So, we'll have to wait and see what the future holds.  Think about it, though.  Would you really want to live forever? 

Happy Weekend wishes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

The following poem has circled the world for years. It is especially known in the world of recovery.  Many or most have you  I have used it many times as an inspirational  way to start my Early Recovery group.  Many of its members are chronic relapsers, and this poem serves as a reminder that when we continue doing the same thing over and over again, we should always expect the same results.

I know that some of us are battling with addictions while many of us are battling with our weight.  We start out with all the best intentions, only to find ourselves right back where we started from a short time later. Why?  Because we keep making the same choices over and over again.  The poem tells us that we have 'choices' and encourages us to wake up and choose a new path.  



Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson ~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Average Day at Work...A Rant or a Ramble???



The beauty of work depends upon the way we meet it, whether we
arm ourselves each morning to attack it as an enemy that must be
vanquished before night comes--or whether we open our eyes with
the sunrise to welcome it as an approaching friend who will keep
us delightful company and who will make us feel at evening
that the day was well worth its fatigue.

Lucy Larcom


Oh, my, yesterday was so busy.  I cannot begin to tell you how hard I worked.  I spent the day trying to get a handle on the paperwork. And with a 'huge' caseload, I find myself eating lunch and typing my progress notes between bites. Business does make the days go fast, but really now, there has to be a limit. My vacation in a couple of weeks is very much needed.  I know I missed visiting all of your blogs,  I do apologize.  One of my great joys of the day is visiting you, my friends. Work is just becoming far too overwhelming.

Many of the clients we've been getting lately are so 'needy'.  Most suffer with severe mental illness. It breaks your heart to hear what they have lived through, and yet survived.  These are the clients with dreams for a better future, and you hope and pray that one day they will be able to realize them. These are the clients who offer to help you across the street or to carry your bags. These are the clients that you want to hug and say, "It's all going to be okay now."  

And then there are the others, the 'entitled' ones, who feel that everything is owed to them, that it's up to you to do all the work for them.  These are the clients who sold drugs for a living, have never worked a day in their life, but the world is expected to take care of them. These are the clients who complain that the breakfast we serve them (cereal, toast, juice, coffee, tea) is skimpy.  And, why can't we keep the coffee going for them 'all day'. They also complain that soup, salad, and a sandwich is not a proper lunch. After all, 'their medicaid' pays for it.  Not so. This comes out of a budget we set aside to feed them. I guess you can say it is a gift, something we 'don't' have to do. Needless to say, both types of clients can be draining...the 'needy' clients because they 'genuinely' need and the others who demand so much of your time only because it is owed to them.  Ask them what they did to earn it, and they'll tell you that "my medicaid is paying you to do this for me." Well, who do you think pays for your medicaid?  So, I guess what they are saying is that I am paying myself. 

And then, there is your average client. They're there because they are mandated by parole, probation, the HRA, Children's Services, etc. These are basically the easiest to work with. They don't want to be there so they want nothing from you.  Eager to comply with their mandates, they follow rules and regulations, and attend their groups.  The most they might ask for is a referral to our internship program so they can fulfill their requirement to work.  

Finally, we have the 'revolving doors'.  These are the clients that enroll in the program, attend a few groups, wait until after you've gone through the entire admission process, which by the way is about 19 pages of paperwork, and then they are gone.  Our funding source says we have to give them 30 days to return, so each week a note must go in the chart.  If, by chance, they happen to hit the 45 day mark (attend two weeks or more, then disappear), a treatment plan must also be provided.  Add to that the discharge papers, and you have a ton of work to complete for a client who never wanted to attend the program in the first place. 

And then there is the paperwork, the never-ending pile that doesn't have a bottom.  I'm not even going to get into that.

Needless to say, this is the work I 'chose' to do, and I have no regrets. This is what I was born to do.  According to my past life chart, in another lifetime I was priest in one lifetime and an astrologer in another. I guess I am just following my calling. There is nothing more rewarding than working with a client and helping him\her to turn their life around. It warms your heart to see someone come in dejected and hopeless and complete the program with head held high and hope for a better future. There are times, too, that even the entitled client does a complete turnaround and actually thanks you for your help. These are the things that make all the hard work worth it. These are the things that keep me from giving up.

On another note, on the eagle site, we  had a Pip and a hatch yesterday.  Amazing sight to see. I was so busy I didn't get a chance to watch it first hand, but there is a wonderful replay on Youtube. Already this year almost 5 million viewers, and the eggs have just begun to hatch. I watched this site last year, but not until after the eaglets had hatched.  This is a first for me. For anyone interested the site is Decorah Eagles

Like the star that
shines afar,
Without haste and
without rest,
Let each one wheel
with steady sway
Round the task that
rules the day,
And do their best.

Johann Wolfgang
von Goethe

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When Early March Seems Middle May



When country roads begin to thaw
In mottled spots of damp and dust,
And fences by the margin draw
Along the frosty crust
Their graphic silhouettes, I say,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When morning-time is bright with sun
And keen with wind, and both confuse
The dancing, glancing eyes of one
With tears that ooze and ooze--
And nose-tips weep as well as they,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When suddenly some shadow-bird
Goes wavering beneath the gaze,
And through the hedge the moan is heard
Of kine that fain would graze
In grasses new, I smile and say,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When knotted horse-tails are untied,
And teamsters whistle here and there.
And clumsy mitts are laid aside
And choppers' hands are bare,
And chips are thick where children play,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When through the twigs the farmer tramps,
And troughs are chunked beneath the trees,
And fragrant hints of sugar-camps
Astray in every breeze,--
When early March seems middle May,
The Spring is coming round this way.

When coughs are changed to laughs, and when
Our frowns melt into smiles of glee,
And all our blood thaws out again
In streams of ecstasy,
And poets wreak their roundelay,
The Spring is coming round this way.

James Whitcomb Riley

Monday, March 26, 2012

And What a Wonderful Weekend It Was!


Time is a very healing place, one in which you can grow. 

-Denise Tanner -


I just cannot believe this weekend is over already. My birthday has come and gone, and today I come to work another year older...and, old enough now to apply for a half-price fare. Wow!!!  Sixty-five.  Seems like only yesterday I was  young 'country bumpkin' getting my first taste of the Big Apple. Time flies so quickly it is important that we do not waste it.  Time lost cannot be regained.  We must make the most of every moment, every experience, rather than enter our 'golden years' with too many regrets.


My birthday was really special.  At work I was made to feel like 'Queen for a Day'.  Anyone remember that show?  It goes back quite a few years.  My grandma never missed it and got me hooked as well. The  flowers were a birthday gift from my co-workers.  Sent pictures from my cell phone to my son's phone, and he emailed them to me.  I really do have to take the time to get that wire for my camera.  Heck, right about now I don't even know where the camera is.  



The psychiatrist bought 3 pizza pies and another co-worker bought the above strawberry shortcake.  It was really good...and different.  The cake itself was pound cake, the icing real cream.  The strawberries were so ripe and sweet.  I could go for a piece right about now.  Another co-worker bought me a 10-pack of Pepsi.  I know, not the best gift for someone trying to lose weight, but it's the thought that counts.  She knows how addicted I am.  Another co-worker gifted me with the following scarf.  It's hard to see it in the photo, but it's all sparkly and 'springy'.


On Saturday I got up early and headed to my favorite discount store before the rain.  And did I ever find bargains!  I bought 6 summer tops, 3 skirts, a purse, wallet, 2 pairs of slippers, 6 undies, 2 bras, 2 6-pack packages bright colored summer socks,  3 long glass beaded necklaces, and 3 summer nightgowns...all for $146.   See?  You can find bargains here in the city. LOL!!!

Sunday my both of my sons came over.  My eldest gave me a $50 Amazon card to purchase books for my Kindle and my youngest brought me a basket of bath supplies.  For dinner we had a pasta dish, and I baked a chocolate cake.  Yummy!  Even my kitty got a gift...a new bed, and she is loving it.  It was nice to get all those gifts, yes, but for me, the most important part of it was the quality time we spent together as a family...the laughter, the joy of being in each other's company. It's so rare that we are all together.  Family time is so, so important, but it was all over, far too quickly...

...but, the memories I have of this birthday, I will cherish forever.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Well, I'm another year older today.  Hard to believe that a whole year  has flown by.  Some big changes for me this year...a move at work, a move to a new home, the first time in my life living in a building, and I am loving it.  Never have I felt so serene.  

Nothing special planned for this weekend. I do hope to do a little shopping for myself.  It's been so long time since I have been able to buy something new to wear.  Actually, it has been a whole year.  I usually shop for myself twice a  year, on my birthday and at Christmas, but this past Christmas we were in the midst of our move and saving for our furniture.  We all decided that this Christmas was going to be one spent just enjoying family and relishing in each other's company.  And it was great.  Just being with my loved ones is enough for me.

But, during our move, the movers lost several bags of my clothes.  I am only now discovering the full extent of the loss.  At first it seemed to be just my winter socks and some of my winter pants.  Now that the weather is warming up, I've discovered that many of my blouses (for this time of year) are missing as well.  It's far too warm out for winter sweaters and not warm enough for summer tops.  So, I'm hoping to find a few new blouses to wear to work.  


My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

by Christina Rossetti

May you all have a wonderful fun-filled weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Last Sunday in England


I am so excited.  Only 11 days left until the 1940 census is released.  I've anxiously awaited this for the past year.  The census is released every 72 years, and the next one, the 1950 census, will not be released until 2022. I hope I am here to see it for that will be the first census that "I" appear in.  I will also be able to trace some of the children I went to grammar school with.  It's been so many years, and so many last names have been forgotten, and I just know this will jog my memory. 


(My great great grandfather is buried here.  He was only 21 years old when he died.)

On Sunday, I sat for awhile and worked some on my family tree.  Ancestry always notifies me by email when something of interest is found that might connect to my family, and it is then that I always go there and check out my 'hints'.  This time I had some hints for my great great grandparents from Norfolk, England, Richard and Harriet.  And it set me to thinking.  I remember how hard it was for me starting over when I was in my twenties.  It had to be so much harder for Harriet...and I am thankful everyday for this woman who was daring enough to say good-bye to the only home she ever knew to venture to a new world.  It was because of her that I was born. 

There is an old poem I found awhile back, that I would like to share with you. It reminds me so much of Harriet. This poem is so powerful, it made me cry.  After reading it, I can close my eyes and picture that little church in Stalham.  I can see Harriet as she stands over the tombstone of first husband, Richard, saying her good-byes, on that, her last Sunday in England, a tear trickling down her cheek knowing that she will not come this way again.  Dear Harriet, I lost all track of you after 1910 and know not where your grave stands, but one day I know I will find you.

The emigrants kneel in the old parish Church.
For the last time, it may be forever:
They scarcely had known that it would be so hard.
The ties of a lifetime to sever.

For the last time they look on the ivy-clad walls.
For the last time they hear the bells ringing.
'Twas there they were married, and now to that church
How fondly their sad hearts are clinging!

They listen once more to the good Rector's voice,
They will try to remember his teaching:
And hope they may never forget what he says,
As they look in his face while's he preaching.

That voice they have heard by the bed of the sick-
That face they have seen by the dying-
At the altar, the font, and the newly dug grave
The means of salvation supplying.

For the last time they stand where their forefathers names
They read on the headstones and crosses:
There are newly cut names: and others so old.
They are covered by lichens and mosses.

Then a last look they take at a green little mound,
Where one of their children is sleeping.
And gather a daisy that grows at the head-
Then turn away silently weeping.

The neighbours are waiting to bid them "God Speed"
To think of them each one professing-
At the gate of the churchyard the old Rector stands
To give them his fatherly blessing.

He placed in their hands the best of all gifts,
A Bible and Prayer book, at parting:
They could not say much, but he knew what they felt-
To their eyes the warm tear-drops were starting.

"Keep these in your heart" as he gave them, he said,
"And trust to the cross of Christ only:
Then the Lord will be with you wherever you go,
And then you need never feel lonely."

Author unknown

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Aries March 21

We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season of which we are born. Astrology does not lay claim to anything more. 
--Carl Gustav Jung--



(March 21- April 19) 

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac.  It's element is fire, its quality is cardinal.  Cardinal signs not only initiate action, they also usher in the seasons. Aries is symbolized by the flying ram, which, in ancient mythology, was seen as a symbol of sacrifice. It is the sign of the Vernal Equinox when day and night are of equal length; it is a symbol of spring, of new beginnings, energy, and independence. It can be impulsive and daring. Aries possesses the characteristics of the ram and can become very headstrong and excitable. The fault most common to Aries nature is its tendency to scatter forces. 

Fiery Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is Aries' ruling planet. It is the planet of strength, drive, initiative, and passion. Mars is often referred to as the 'red planet' because it appears to the naked eye a deep red color; hence,  because the ancients associated the blood red color with warfare, Mars is named after the Roman god of war. In Greece he was called Ares. He was  the second most powerful god in early Roman mythology.   His sons were Romulus and Remus who founded the city of Rome. Mars was also regarded as the protector of the city.

Thou sister world, red planet Mars,
 How sweet you shine among the stars, 
So distant in the deep blue skies, 
Where nature's chiefest glories rise— 
Your mellow light and nightly gleam 
Reflected in our pool and stream; 
Thy world, like ours, I'm pleased to know 
Is capped with everlasting snow, 
And that eternal ice lies there
Which partly melts in summer air, 
From which bright streams and rivers now, 
As in the earth so far below; 
And there are lands and sparkling seas,
And grass and flowers and forest trees 
Whose foliage, by thy ruddy sheen, 
It seems is red instead of green— 
The azure sky o'er arching all, 
From which the rains of summer fall.
-Charles McGregor-


In mythology, Aries represents the ram with the golden fleece of the Ram that was sought by Jason and the Argonauts. Briefly, Phrixus and Helle were the children of Athamas, the legendary king of Thessaly, who afterward cast off his first wife to marry another. To help the children escape the displeasure of their wicked stepmother, Mercury sent a ram which took them on its back and vaulted up into the air, rushing off towards the east. In crossing the strait that divides Europe from Asia, Helle became frightened, lost her grip, and fell into the sea, the area of which was forever after known as the Hellespont. 

Continuing his flight, the ram carried the boy to the ancient Georgian kingdom of Colchis which was located on the eastern end of the Black sea. In return for his kind reception, Phrixus sacrificed the ram and gave its golden fleece to the king of the country who hung it in the sacred grove of Mars/Ares under the guard of a sleepless dragon. Many years later, Jason gathered a band of young heroes, built the ship Argo, and set out on a voyage into unknown lands and seas in search of this golden fleece, a symbol of the daring boldness of the sign of Aries.

Ye have heard what stirring thoughts
Roused the venturous souls of old, 
When Jason and his Argonauts 
Sought the fleece of gold.

Many a gallant youth of Greece,
High in hope, went o'er the foam, 
Weary sought the shadowy fleece, 
Weary wandered home.

Brighter than old poet's dreams,
We have found the region blest, 
By the Sacramento's streams, 
In the desolate West. 

We have heard the golden river,
Chiming with metallic sound,—
 Rapturous music which doth ever 
Make the spirit bound.

We have seen the level prairie
Sown broadcast with heavy gold,—
 Found the glittering realm of Faery,
 And the half not told.

Channels with its flakes are paven,
Sands are sparkling with its light, 
And the luminous land is graven 
With its ciphers bright.

'tis like dew upon the waste,
Here in scales and there in grains, 
And the rocks are interlaced 
With its ruddy veins.

Come, then, to these yellow sands,
Ye who drudge in sweat of brow, 
And no more through barren lands 
Urge the thankless plough.

Ye who ere the dawning rise
When the bell of the factory tolls,
Ye who blear and sear your eyes 
Over glowing coals,—

To these golden shores repair;—
Who would grudge the time or toil, 
When each mattock-stroke lays bare 
Heaps of glorious spoil?

Ye whose names the law has scored,
Te on whom opinion rails, 
Come where Justice drops her sword, 
And Fortune loads her scales. 

Tis a land without Bastiles,
Law or lawyer, priest or sage,— 
Where time rings in with merry peals 
Another golden age.

'Tis the grave of all degree,
Each man is his fellow's peer,
High and low, and bond and free, Change their places here.

Free from watch, and safe from warden,
Ye may wander where ye please, 
And no dragon keeps the garden
Of the Hesperides.

James Drummond Burns

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Prayer in Spring


"Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees."

-  Robert Frost -

Wishing you all the very best at this special time of the year.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day



"St. Patrick's Day is here, you see.

We'll pick some shamrocks, one, two, three.

We'll count the leaves and look them over,

And maybe find a four-leafed clover.

I'll sew green buttons on my vest,

Green for St. Patrick is the best.

I'll wear a green hat, very high,

And dance a jig--at least I'll try!"

- Author Unknown -

Friday, March 16, 2012

TGIF

Lord most giving and resourceful,
I implore you;
make it your will
that this people enjoy
the goods and riches you naturally give,
that naturally issue from you,
that are pleasing and savory,
that delight and comfort,
though lasting but briefly,
passing away as if in a dream.

--Aztec Prayer from the 1500's--


Wishing you all a weekend filled with love and laughter. I'm going to be busy with my shopping and cooking on Saturday, but on Sunday, I plan to enjoy every last minute of it. I am wishing the same for you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring, Beautiful Spring...and a Little This and That

The air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.

The fallows and the leafless trees
And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love, and Spring's
First puff of perfume mingled.

In my still heart the thoughts awoke,
Came lone by lone together -
Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love
A mere affair of weather?

Robert Louis Stevenson


What an amazing springlike day it was yesterday, and as I walked from the subway to work, I happened to notice that the trees were beginning to bud.  The birds were singing and flitting about.  It was such a joyous morning. Spring personifies life for me; it is a time of new beginnings. Everything in nature is rested and was rejuvenated, including myself. It is going to be a glorious spring. I just know it is.

Hubby and I were talking last night about the 'winter that never was'.  It has been an unbelievable season.  Thinking about it, I realize that I only wore my heavy winter coat ONE time, my winter scarves only a few times, and a hat twice.  I've not had to miss one day of work for icy walkways.  I wonder what this means.  Could this be a sign of things to come?  After all, it 'is' 2012, not that I hold any belief that the world is about to end.  But, we are, as a civilization destroying our environment....almost like one would commit a slow suicide.

Yesterday I was so sick all day.  Don't know why I went to work, but I did and really suffered.  My tummy ached so bad.  I'd eaten some bread pudding on Monday, the best I every ate, and greedy me just had to accept that second piece.  When, oh when, will I learn. My tummy can no longer digest certain foods. I know this, but sometimes I am not able to stop myself, but, boy, did I pay the price. The stomach cramps started about 3:30 in the morning and went on and on and on. By the time I left work later in the day, I had nothing in my tummy.  Fortunately, today is another day, and I'm feeling ever so much better. 

This will be my first spring and summer in my new home.  Don't know what to expect.  The real estate agent had shown us the courtyard and told us how everyone gets together and barbecues on the weekend.  I really do hope that is true.  For so long I lived in a place where I had no one to socialize with, where I felt like an outcast.  It would be nice to be a 'part of' for a change. I've also got my herbs from last year that I have yet to plant.  These are the ones that I had bought for my back porch garden, but never planted after we had the flood from the neighbor's awning.  Anyone know if the seeds will still be good?

Hubby got turned down for the job, and we are both so disappointed.  Well, he wasn't exactly turned down.  The position is currently on hold due to budget cuts.  So, for awhile longer, I will be holding down the fort.  Who knows what the future will bring?  It's pretty darned bad out there in the job market.  All I can do is hope and pray that something comes along for him soon. He's really starting to get restless and bored, and with that comes a bit of 'pickiness'.  I find I've had to set him straight on more than one occasion.  

You often hear me express my desire for retirement, but seeing how he's handling his time off, I wonder if I really could handle it.  Of course, though, they say there is a difference between a 'forced' retirement such as his and the 'chosen' retirement that mine would be. At any rate, I put in for a week's vacation mid-April.  The last time I had a week off here was right after we moved and were getting the house together.  I guess you can say this next vacation will be my first 'quality' time in my new home.  


Well, guess it's on to work for me.  Talk to you all tomorrow.







Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wealth is not all About Money

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country ...

... with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad." "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh Yeah" said the son. "So what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

With this the boy's father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks, dad for showing me how poor we are."


There is nothing more that I can add here. True wealth has nothing to do with money.  It comes more from the kind of life we live.  May you all have a blessed day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Day



If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.

-Walt Whitman-


'Don't carry all those books in that shoulder bag.  One day you will be sorry.'  'You'd best start watching your diet.  One day the weight won't be so easily taken off.'  'Stop wearing those cheap shoes.  Invest in something sturdy. You need support.'  'Stop smoking before it is too late. One day....one day....one day. Who wants to think of 'one day' when we are young and invincible young?  We believe that 'one day' will never come.   It won't happen to us.  But, 'one day' it does, and now we focus on the 'if only's'.  'If only' I had listened.  But we didn't, and now we must learn to live with the results.

When I was in my early twenties, Friday night dinner consisted of pickled eggs, a Slim Jim or two, a bag of potato chips, and a cold beer to wash it down. There wasn't much to do in my home town, so Friday after work we'd all gather at the neighborhood tavern for a few brews and our favorite snacks.  'Your body is your temple', a friend once warned me. 'You have to take care of it.'  Of course I shrugged it off.  After all,  back then we didn't know how unhealthy some of these things were for us. I'm talking 40 some years ago when we slathered butter on our bread, ate eggs for breakfast every day, and took Twinkies to work in our lunch box.  Cholesterol was a foreign word.  Cholest what?

And, of course, these meals were always topped off with a smoke. Bars and cigarettes were made for each other. Smokes were sold in a vending machine in those days, and even though they cost a little bit more, we were all willing to pay the price. After all, who wants to give up the fun to go to the market to buy some smokes?  Hey, by this time, the party was just starting to warm up. (((Sigh))) No one knew back then that the Marlboro Man would one day die of lung cancer or that years down the road we might suffer with a dreadful disease called COPD. Hey, back in those days, if you wanted to be cool, to be glamorous, you smoked. Why, I remember how they even came out with a cigarette just for us ladies.

But, that was then and this now, and 'one day' has become my present and my future.  Today I find myself at 60 pounds overweight and suffer from IBS (which thankfully I now have pretty much under control). I stopped smoking on July 4, 2009, my own personal Independence Day, but, unfortunately, after 40 odd years, the damage has already been done, and my life will never be the same. There are many things I once enjoyed that I have now been forced to give up because I always believed that 'one day' would never come.  

It really hit home yesterday when I left work. Such a beautiful springlike day, the kind of days I used to love getting out and about. The city sidewalks were packed with both tourists and New Yorkers, all out for a day in the sun. The park near the subway station was mobbed with people having fun.  There was a time when I would have stopped to be a part of it before my trek home, but now, all I can think of is getting home and safely into my apartment.

In December, when we moved to our new apartment, I found my self with a longer distance to walk to the train, both at my home stop and in the city, especially in the city. The first couple of weeks were especially hard on me, and I found myself having to stop to catch my breath three or four times on the walk to the subway after work and at least twice on the walk home from the subway. I began to wonder if quitting would be my only option, but as much as I whine about retirement, I do need to pay my rent. 

Fortunately, it did better as my lungs were able to adjust to this extra exercise. Now, I was only stopping once to catch my breath on the way to the subway after work and not at all from the subway to my home.  And, with all this extra walking, it looked as if I was finally going to get enough exercise to work on my weight issue. I'm sure my breathing would improve it I dropped all these extra pounds.  I was feeling pretty good about myself when it happened... 

...my back problems kicked into high gear, and my arthritic knees began acting up. This is when I really start to feel sorry for myself as I remember what once was. There was a time, over 30 years ago, that I had walked this entire city. One of my first jobs after moving here was going from store to store handing out fliers; I walked all the way from Battery Park to Harlem, walked over to the next avenue and made my way back downtown again. I walked from morning to night, every day, until the whole city had been covered.  

I love shopping, but have never really cared much about the quality of the shoes I wear, so I usually bought cheap. Never gave much thought to shock protection or the damage I was doing to my knees and back as I spent hours pounding the city pavement, a heavy bag of fliers slung over my shoulder.  'Invest in some good shoes, or one day you'll pay the price. You need some support,' people around me cautioned.  But, I had other things to spend my money on...like a new outfit, or some makeup.  After all...a shoe is a shoe, isn't it?  Or so I thought.  'If only' I had listened.

I've been walking with a cane for a few weeks now. Can't make it to work without it. Hopefully, one day I will be able to put it aside, maybe I won't.  I've accepted this and will deal with whatever comes. I'll be turning 65 in a couple of weeks and don't heal as quickly as I once did. Years ago the doctor warned me this day was coming. I had a slight fracture of the lower spine that never healed properly, and arthritis set in.  He warned me it would only get worse...and, now, all this extra weight I have to carry around sure doesn't help. 

But all is not so bad.  What's the old saying? 'When one door closes, another opens.'  Life before was lived in the 'fast lane'.  Today, I've been forced to slow down, and, in doing so, I've been able to turn my attention to the world around me.  Today I can find joy in the little things that I once had no time for. There are so many ways I have been blessed.  Life is truly a gift.

Wisdom comes from experience and learning from one's experiences. I have learned my lesson well, and perhaps it may be too late for me, but hopefully not too late for you.  If you haven't reached your 'one day', please don't wait for it to come.  Most importantly, ff you smoke, STOP.  They say your lungs will never be what they were before you smoked, but at least they won't get any worse. If anyone needs help and support in quitting, please feel free to email me privately.  I'll be there to help you through it. Take care of your temple.  It is the only one you will have.  Don't shrug when someone offers  you advise and say to yourself, 'It will not  happen to me'.  If you don't take care of yourself now, 'one day' will come.  And then, like me, you will be saying 'if only'.


To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise
we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and
keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds
the lotus petal, but does not wet its petals.

The Buddha





Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Monday...Already?


Analysis of workplace sickness reveals that Mondays in January are the most popular days for workers pulling a 'sickie'. Twelve of the twenty most popular days for sickness absence occurred in January.

(From my back porch in my old apartment)

And another Monday rolls around (((Sigh))). Wasn't it only yesterday that I was saying the same thing.  This morning was a wee bit harder than last week.  It was just so 'dark'. My alarm goes off at 5:45 am, and I expect it to be dark; in fact, I kind of like sipping my coffee and watching the sunrise.  And usually, by the time I walk out of the door at 7 am to go to work, the daylight has arrived. Today, the sun rose as I stood on the subway station. I do love the fact that it will stay light out later, but do hate leaving for work when it feels the nighttime has not yet left.

Didn't do much of anything this weekend.  Got up early on Saturday and went to look around in the 99 cent store.  I just love walking up and down the aisles. You never know what treasures  you will find.  I picked up a couple of scented candles--one rose and one lavender--and they smell better than the more expensive brands.  Also found a couple of hair clips, some plastic storage bowls, and some baking pans.  Then, I went home and waited for the furniture company to arrive.  It seemed they damaged our love seat on delivery (big scratch on the arm), and they were scheduled to replace it on Saturday from 11 to 7.  Well, guess what?  They never called and never showed up.  And, this is the second time they've done this.  They did it to hubby on Wednesday.  He sat in all day, and they never showed.  I'm about ready to have them take the whole thing back, but then, maybe I won't find one I like as much.

On Sunday I was determined not to lose an hour sleep, so I stayed in bed an hour extra. Just puttered around doing nothing when I got up.  My son wasn't coming, so I didn't do any baking.  Later in the afternoon, I sat in my rocker and watched one of my favorite all-time flicks, 'Fried Green Tomatoes'.  I remember back when the movie first came out.  The name didn't appeal to me so I didn't see it.  Then, a few years ago, I started watching a film and became glued to the screen.  Turns out it was the very same movie. Now I watch it whenever it comes on, which is rarely, and cry my eyes out every time.  

I especially love the lines 'All these people will live as long as you remember.'  Sends goosebumps up my arm.  As a genealogist, I love bringing my ancestors and their stories back to life.  It's like, when their story is told, they 'live' once again. I only hope my sons will keep their stories alive.  


The limbs that move, the eyes that see, 
These are not entirely me;
 Dead men and women helped to shape 
The mold which I do not escape; 
The words I speak, my written line, 
These are not uniquely mine. 
For in my heart and in my will 
Old ancestors are warring still, 
Celt,Roman, Saxon, and all the dead 
From whose rich blood my veins are fed, 
In aspect, gesture, voices, tone,
 Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone;
 In fields they tilled I plow the sod,
 I walk the mountain paths they trod; 
And round my daily steps arise 
The good and bad of those I comprise. 

 by English author Richard Rolle
 (written over 600 years ago.) 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finish Each Day

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.

This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wishing you all a wonderful, wonderful weekend. May it be filled with peace, love, and joy. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Full Moon and Then Some

Years ago, Native American tribes in the far north assigned names to the full Moon, based on the weather and seasonal events. Some of these names are still used today. The northern tribes knew today's full moon as the  'Crow Moon', when the cawing of the crows signalled the end of winter. It is also called the 'Crust Moon' because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. To early American settlers, it was called the 'Lenten Moon' and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter. 

In many cultures, it was known as the 'Worm Moon' because, as the ground temperatures began to thaw, the earthworms returned. To the Choctaw it was known as the 'Big Famine' moon as this was the time supplies were exhausted. And, to the Sioux, the March moon was 'When Eyes Are Sore from Bright Snow'. This is because of the reflection of the light of the sun on the fallen snow.

Today is also International Women's Day, a day that has been set aside to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations  Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.  


It was in 1908 that 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding  improvements in poor working conditions, shorter hours, better pay and voting rights resulting in the formation of the first American Women's union.  Then, in 1909 this strike was commemorated by the socialist party of America, and, finally, in 1910 at the socialist meeting in Copenhagen, it was voted that there should be a day to mark and support universal suffrage for women. And so it was that, in 1911, the  International Women’s Day was marked for the first time with groups of women and men demanding not only the right for women to vote but also women’s rights to work and to undertake vocational training.
  

Please light a candle today in  honor those women, our unsung heroes, who lost their lives throughout the years, such as the 140 women garment workers who died in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City because a lack of health and safety measures and locked factory exits forced the young immigrant women to jump from factory windows to their deaths to escape the flames.