Monday, April 30, 2012

Beltane Blessings


"Now the bright morning-star, Day’s harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.


John Milton, 'Song on a May Morning'

According to ancient belief, Beltane (great fire) is a Spring fertility festival associated with light, flowers, and Maypole dancing. the wearing of colorful clothing and garland crowns of flowers and greenery. It is the last of the three Spring fertility festivals--the others being Ostara and Imbolc--and marks the beginning of Summer.Traditionally, the day was used to bless the newly plowed fields and spread the seed for that year's crops.

According to Celtic tradition, it actually begins the night before May 1st—April 30 by our current calendar. Beltane is a time to connect with nature, to give thanks for the newness and celebrate. Rise early and step outside to watch the rising sun. Have a May Day picnic. Feast on fresh fruits, oatmeal cakes, bread,chocolate, wine, and spring greens. Prepare May baskets by filling them with fresh flowers for festive decorations or to leave on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors. 




And what better gift for Beltane than the gift of new life.  This morning I noticed that my herb garden has begun to sprout. What a thrill.  My indoor garden is on its way.  I will be sure to keep you all updated.

Beltane blessings to all.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Avery's Gift


The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we
make of them; a person may live long yet live very little.

Montaigne



I usually don't post on Saturday, but before I head on out to the supermarket, I wanted to share a little something with you.  Warning beforehand.  It's heart-wrenching and will make you cry.  But there is also a message to be learned from it...life, no matter how long or short it may be is a gift, and we should treat it as such.  This message changed my day.  


I'd gotten up sluggish and tired and griping that I had to get dressed and head out to the supermarket.  I'd forgotten for a short while that there are some who are 'never' able to head to the supermarket because they have no money for food. I've truly been blessed, and rather than look at this as a chore I don't want to do, I should change my thoughts and be thankful that I am able to do it. Some of us will never have the chance.


I always say that everything happens for a reason.  I wasn't even going to turn on my computer this morning, but I did anyway.  After glancing through my Yahoo emails, I hit the wrong button and found myself back on the Yahoo face page.  And there was the story looking me smack in the eyes. I wasn't going to read it, but I was drawn to it and it was through this story that I found the blog of this blessed little girl.  Avery's blog  opens up one's eyes to the importance of not taking any moment for granted, for moments are all any of us have.  

Avery's Bucket List

  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Quote



When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you,
till it seems you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up
then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe


I'll be pretty busy this weekend.  It's once again. Time for shopping and cooking.  Gosh, where do the weeks go. It seems as if lately I am 'always' cooking, but it's been a bit more fun in my new home.  I've room to work now and have become a bit more creative with my menus.  

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend on this the last weekend of April.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Fence


There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said "you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one." 

You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later.
- Author Unknown -

Not too long ago, I was feeling pretty darned burnt out, more than I realized. Hubby and I had a few words, and I ended up saying some things I immediately regretted. It was really my first time losing control like that, and I couldn't believe those words came out of my mouth. He was deeply hurt, and I told him how sorry I was, but the wound was already there. Each day when I came home from work, I'd try to draw him into conversation, but although he was civil, he was distant, and I began to wonder if maybe I had gone to far, that maybe the wound was too deep to heal.

When we were children one of our favorite sayings was:

Sticks and stones will break my bones, 
but names will never hurt me.

How wrong we were! Names will always hurt us. Bruises and broken bones may heal, but hurtful words will stay with us, sometimes for a lifetime. Anger is a natural emotion all people feel. However, using mean words or hurting others when we're angry is never okay. Losing one's temper and saying mean things will only hurt others and maybe even end friendships. I think that not many persons mean to hurt others. Some people have a habit of saying things innocently, without thinking that such comments might hurt others' feelings. 

For example, I work with a woman who has the personality of a 'prison guard'. I know it is wrong to stereotype, and if any prison guards should read this, please believe no harm intended.  One day as I was going into my group, she said something about 'Staff being more mindful of the things group members did; ie, charging cell phones, running in and out to the bathroom.'  I don't believe in airing our differences in front of clients, so I sat through the group holding it in.  Afterwards, I approached her and said, 'You really hurt my feelings', and went on to explain how it felt to be reproached by another staff member in front of clients.  She apologized and told me she really hadn't meant any harm.  In fact, she not only hadn't realized she was coming off that way, but it wasn't even meant for me.

I think we've all spoken out of turn at one time or another, and because arguments hurt, apologizing and forgiving is of vital importance. If your hurts are not resolved, they accumulate and eat away at you. In the process, relationships are destroyed. It's hard, especially while in the heat of anger, not to explode and let our words fly unrestrained. But we have to make that conscious effort to think before we speak. By doing so, we will avoid offending others by not flying off the handle and saying things that we later regret.

Fortunately, hubby and I have a strong relationship and it took about a week, but things are back on track.  He has forgiven, but has he forgotten?  That I may never know, but what I do know, and what I did learn from my outburst, is that when you hurt the one you love, you hurt yourself as well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday's Poetry Corner






Life's Scars



They say the world is round, and yet

I often think it square,
So many little hurts we get
From corners here and there.
But one great truth in life I've found,
While journeying to the West-
The only folks who really wound
Are those we love the best. 


The man you thoroughly despise

Can rouse your wrath, 'tis true;
Annoyance in your heart will rise
At things mere strangers do;
But those are only passing ills;
This rule all lives will prove;
The rankling wound which aches and thrills
Is dealt by hands we love. 

The choicest garb, the sweetest grace,
Are oft to strangers shown;
The careless mien, the frowning face,
Are given to our own.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best. 

Love does not grow on every tree,
Nor true hearts yearly bloom.
Alas for those who only see
This cut across a tomb!
But, soon or late, the fact grows plain
To all through sorrow's test:
The only folks who give us pain
Are those we love the best.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We all experience hurt in our lives. That's a given.  No one gets through this life unscathed.  And, while others  may cause us pain,  the pain that hurts us the most comes from the people we care for and love the most -- parent, child, sibling, spouse, etc--just as we, too, have hurt the ones we love the most.  These are the people we expect good things from, so when it happens, even the slightest hurtful thing or hurtful word, it hurts far worse than if the same had been done to us by an enemy. It doesn't have to have been intentional, but the hurt was there nonetheless.  (Sorry the poem was kind of depressing today, but I love Ella's works.  She writes from the heart.)

After a sleepless night, last night was a bit better.  I agree it is definitely age-related. 
It wasn't until I got older that sleep problems began to occur. I've always been a 'light' sleeper, and noises that others would sleep through, have always awakened me. Today, between the more frequent potty trips and pain from fibromyalgia and sciatica, I find myself waking up several times a night.  When I was younger, I used to be able to fall right back to sleep. I can't do that anymore.  Now, I can lay awake for hours before getting back to sleep, if ever. 

I stopped yesterday and stocked up on my melatonin.  The best sleep aid I ever used was L-tryptophan, but you can't get that over-the counter anymore.  I also found my Moonstone and placed it under my pillow.  

Before ending this post, I wanted to take some time to make you aware of  something I learned from Fox 5 news yesterday.  It seems there is a major bug out there that infects both Macs and PC's.  It's called the DNSChanger, and the FBI has been investigating for several years now. This malware has already made millions of dollars for the criminals who put it out there. Already six people have been arrested. What it does is redirect unsuspecting users to fraudulent websites, which, by the way, look like the real thing.  It also makes one's computer vulnerable to other types of malicious software.  This one is a biggie or I wouldn't even mention it.   In fact, it is so big that as of July 9th, if you have the bug on your computer, you will not be allowed to access the internet as per an FBI crackdown.  From what I read they got a court order to shut down the internet on all infected computers on that day.  Seems it will help them trace the culprits.  

Fortunately, there is a free  service available now that you can use to see if you have the bug and get rid of it.  The website is http://www.dcwg.org/   After July 9th it is going to cost money to get the virus remover. It's easy.  You just push a button and it will let you know.  You don't have to download anything.  Then, if you have the bug, there is an equally simple way of ridding yourself of it. I checked mine out, and my computer is safe.
Be sure to check yours. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Insomnia

Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking. 
 -Clifton Fadiman-


Well, my first day back to work was rather uneventful, not as busy as I had expected.  I'd forgotten that when a counselor takes a week's vacation, the client takes two.  It's been that way since I first began this career. And, because I had completed all paperwork before I went on vacation, there was no unmanageable pile to return to.

I had a terrible night last night, though.  Insomnia.  I'd expected to sleep well because I was exhausted, but it just didn't work the way I planned. My mind tends to fixate on things, and I can lay there and ruminate all night. Irrational thoughts.  Last night would be just 'silly' if I didn't feel so darned miserable this morning.  Hubby was complaining that the computer was too slow and mentioned that he'd like to get a new one. Now, it's not 'that' slow, but he expects it to come on immediately.  He has no understanding of how they work; they have to warm up. Much as I'd love a new computer, my mind began working overtime on the programs I have installed on this one, especially my Legacy.

That is my family tree program, and although I haven't used it for awhile, I've got over a thousand names on there, and do plan on one day continuing with my transfer from the Ancestry site to Legacy where I can prepare everything in book form.  What happens to that when I change computers?  How can I not lose everything?  Where is the original disk?  I ordered the program five years ago. Did it, too , get lost in the move? What if I can't find it?  I know my son will know how to transfer things. That's the rational part of my thoughts.  The irrational part prefers to play the worry wort.

And then my mind would move onto something else...such as 'How am I going to work with no sleep?' All these insane, nonsensical questions played over and over in my head all night long. And then there is the clock watching.  It's an awful feeling to look at the clock and realize you have to get up in an hour or so, yet haven't been to sleep.  Had I not been on vacation last week, this would have been a sick day for me.

So, there you have it.  I'm going to think positive thoughts.  The day will go better than I am expecting.  I just know it is.  

A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky -
I've thought of all by turns, and still I lie
Sleepless.
and soon the small birds' melodies 
Must hear, first utter'd from my orchard trees, 
And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry. 
Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay, 
And could not win thee, Sleep, by any stealth: 
So do not let me wear to-night away. 
Without thee what is all the morning's wealth? 
Come, blessed barrier between day and day, 
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!


William Wordsworth, "To Sleep"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Morning Ramble



All work is empty save where there is love.


--Khalil Gibran--

Monday morning has arrived, and vacation has come and gone. Too soon, too little time. I enjoyed the time I had off.  Aside from shopping  and being pampered in a beauty parlor, I was able to spend my first quality time in my new home.  My herb garden is planted, and fingers are crossed, hoping that it will grow.  I loved this past week, being my own person, rising whenever I wished, resting whenever the need arrived.  I could very easily get used to it. 


Mother Earth received some much needed rain here yesterday on her special day.  I live one block over  from a small wooded area which has been looking very dry. With cars whizzing by and tossing lit cigarettes out the window, it's been a little unsettling, to say the least.  People just don't think.  I hate to think that it is that they just don't care.  I celebrated Earth Day in front of the television with a 'Frozen Planet' marathon.  Oh, how breathtakingly beautiful the poles are, but oh, so cold.  It amazes me how people manage to live there.  If  you missed it the first time around, be sure to catch it the next.  It's well worth watching.


My eldest will be turning 35 on Thursday so we had a little get-together for him over the weekend.  I baked him a cake and made his favorite meal.  Wow, it seems like only yesterday that I held him in my arms. I had a rough delivery with him.  Actually, I had it rough with both my sons.  For my youngest, all my labor pains were in my back, and if any of you have ever had that, you know how brutally painful that can be.  As far as the 'birthday boy', his is an interesting story.  


Throughout my pregnancy I'd been seeing a midwife.  We got up into the 8th month when she told me she felt two heads.  Either my baby was going to be a large breach baby or I was having twins.  So, there at the last minute came all the tests and a battery of doctors, specialists, who assured me he wasn't twins and that, yes, he was breach, but, according to these so-called specialists, he 'wasn't' large enough to turn so we had to let nature take its course.


Boy, did they ever have it wrong.  He was, indeed, a rather large baby by all accounts--8 pounds 3 ounces and 21 inches long--and he hadn't turned.  In fact, he came out 'butt first'.  We laugh about it now, but, at the time, it was no joke.  Thank goodness the cord wasn't wrapped around his throat.  And, it just goes to show.  All the specialists had it wrong, but a midwife had called it correctly.  Makes you wonder, doesn't it?


Speaking of hubby.  I still don't have a camera.  My son thinks something happened to it in the move, and that is why we can't download pictures.  So, I took the following picture of hubby and I on my cell phone.  Please forgive the poor quality of the picture. It's the phone.  This picture was taken 19  years ago on our first anniversary.  We had such a special night, new outfits, professional photographer to take the pictures, and dinner at a very expensive restaurant out on Sheepshead Bay.  Somehow, after that anniversaries were never the same.




By the way, before I forget, I ran into a brand new problem with Blogger yesterday.  Well, perhaps not brand new, but it is for me.  Usually, once I post, I love going through my 'Reading List' and seeing what all of you are up to.  I may not comment all the time, but I do read.  Well, as I was going down the list I came across a number of posts, actually over twenty of a blog I had never heard of.  It was called 'Jewelry Insider' and there was post after post of things that, although they might interest someone else, hold nothing for me.  


And, it was so bad, and there were so many posts, that I couldn't find the blogs that I usually follow.  After all, I am already having a problem with the new setup and find my 'Reading List' far more difficult to follow.  Well, I emailed Blogger forum for help, and lo and behold, I was answered.  From what I understand, abandoned blogs that one doesn't delete are in danger of being taken over.  I was told how to find the culprit blog, but, well, with new blogger, I cannot find where it says 'All Blogger Updates'.  So, what I did was went to the list off to the side, and one by one, opened the blogs I was following. Those that haven't posted in months, I deleted from my list.  I did find the culprit blog as well as another one.  Deleted them both and was pleased to see that all messages disappeared as well. A word of advice.  Go through your blog list and rid yourself of those no longer in use.  You never know who will take it over.


It's a wee bit hard getting myself started this morning, but I do  have to get myself in gear. I'm not kidding when I say this, but the first day back can actually be a rather traumatic event.  All the clients seem to hold all of their emergencies until my return, and then, it is one after the other. That, and all the paperwork that is probably waiting.  Hmmm!  Maybe I should call in sick.


Wish me luck for an easy day.    


(Forgive the huge gaps in paragraphs.  This new blogger setup has made it very difficult to fix.  Anyone know how to do it?)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day


April 22 is Earth Day, an day to celebrate human-nature inter-dependence. It is not a day of tribute to Man the Master, but a day to celebrate our great Mother Earth who provides us with so many blessings. Dedicated to Mother Gaia this day marks a time when we remember our responsibility to the environment. It is a day to thanks for the fruitful blessings of the Great Mother Earth.

Let this day be a special time thanksgiving for Mother Earth. There are many things you can do.  For example, you might.... Plant trees and flowers. Celebrate the Earth by not wasting its resources.  Create new things from items that you would usually toss away.  Clean up the streets.  Conserve energy. Walk rather than drive your car, if possible.  And with that, I will end with my favorite prayer. 

Earth Teach Me to Remember
Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth Teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep in the rain.

Ute, North American

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Quote

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation,
sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly
appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around
you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.

Ralph Marston



My last few days of vacation.  Hard to believe it is almost over. I never did make it to the beach.  They're working on the tracks so no trains are stopping at my station.  To get there, I would have to go back three stops and then grab another train.  So, I decided to put it off until a later date...when it gets warmer.  

I did go to get my hair cut yesterday, and, boy, was I in for a treat.  The Dominican lady who used to do such a good job on my hair is gone, and the new person did such a horrible job that I decided not to go back.  Now I live a block from what is called Little Chinatown (Big Chinatown is in Manhattan).  There's a beauty parlor on the corner that's always busy, so I decided to give it a shot.  I told hubby I was going to get a little pampering.  Had no idea I was in for a 'lot' of pampering. 

There is no such thing as a shampoo and cut in that shop.  Indeed, I had a total scalp massage with special attention paid to pressure points (middle of forehead and temples), neck, and shoulders.  All this while she was shampooing my hair.  Talk about finding heaven.  And what a fantastic cut. Wish I had my camera, but my son took it to find the part we need for it.  She used both razor and scissors, and it is perfect.  And, all that for only $17.  You'd best believe I'll be going back.


Afterward I found another, different type of little trinket place.  They were having a  'buy one, get one free sale' so I ended up buying two Chinese perfumes.  I cannot begin to describe how beautiful and long-lasting their scent is. And soothing.  Bought an enormous bottle of totally natural hair shampoo made with camellia, a wonderful flowering plant found in Asia. 


Well, this is it.  Today.  I'm staying in and resting for the last few days before returning to work.  Sleep has been rather elusive, and it's not from sleeping late in the daytime.  I seem to be hitting one of my insomnia spells again.  I awaken two or three times a night, and am then unable to fall asleep for an hour or so.  I hear every noise that surrounds me.  My mind starts working overtime.  It's no fun watching the clock all night long.  


Well, my kitty is carrying on.  She wants her food, and she wants it now.


Hoping you all have a joy-filled weekend.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Legend of the Pheonix


With an Earth sign right around the corner, I'm a little late getting around to this article about Fire and Aries, so please forgive me.  

Each of the twelve astrological signs link symbolically with one of the four fundamental elements--Earth, Air, Water, Fire. Aries is a both cardinal and Fire sign; it is ruled by Mars. The element of Fire corresponds with the spiritual plane; it  links us with our spiritual selves. Of all the elements, Fire is one of the most dominating, and, because it is an element of change and transformation, it can be both a creator and a destroyer. Fire both saves and destroys.

Fire gives us warmth. It is the element that comes from our Sun. Thus, it is the light, heat, and energy that gives life to all things.  We use fire for cooking and for warmth in winter. Without it, life on Earth would be impossible. According a famous Greek myth, in the beginning, Fire was reserved for the gods alone, lest humans might become too powerful.  But clever Prometheus deceived Zeus. He stole the fire from heaven and gifted it to man. With Fire, mankind gained power over the natural world and the elements, and, in today's modern society, it gave us the power to travel beyond our world and into the heavens. Indeed, in some ways, Fire has turned each and every one of us into a god.

The mythological story of the Phoenix is powerful and has been transmitted from century to century and from generation to generation. It is the most famous of all rebirth symbols – that of a legendary bird that endlessly renews itself in fire. According to legend, the Phoenix is a mythical bird the size of a huge eagle with a tail of brilliant gold and red and purple plumage. It has a 500 year life cycle, and at the end of its life, the Phoenix constructed a nest of cinnamon twigs in a myrrh tree and set itself on fire.  From the ashes of its body and nest arose another Phoenix, perfectly formed. Hence, the Phoenix has been adopted universally as a symbol of immortality.

Then by life-giving death destroyed, its form
Grows hot, the heat itself produces flame,
And from the distant sun conceives a fire;
It burns, and into ashes is dissolved.

The story of this bird is ancient, its pagan roots reaching back into the distant eras of our earliest history. It is attested to by many ancient writers, both Christian and Pagan. The Book of the Dead contains several references to it, and the Phoenix is represented on a number of tombs and coffins of Egyptian origin.  The mythologies of many Asian peoples contain the story of the Phoenix in some form or other. 

To this day, the Legend of the Phoenix remains a symbol of rebirth and new life. It is a sign that each of us, no matter how troubled,  can rise above or out of the ashes of pain, our soul being the ashes from which the Phoenix rises. And, in the same way the mythical Phoenix rose from the ashes, Fire transforms us, and we, just like the Phoenix can rise from the ashes of our old life as we are rebom into a new and better one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Poetry Corner




A Saxon Epitaph

The earth builds on the earth
Castles and towers; 
The earth saith of the earth: 
All shall be ours.

Yea, though they plan and reap
The rye and the corn,
Lo, they were bond to Sleep
Ere they were born.

Yea, though the blind earth sows
For the fruit and the sheaf,
They shall harvest the leaf of the rose
And the dust of the leaf.

Pride of the sword and power
Are theirs at their need
Who shall rule but the root of the flower
The fall of the seed.

They who follow the flesh
In splendour and tears,
They shall rest and clothe them afresh
In the fulness of years.

From the dream of the dust they came
As the dawn set free.
They shall pass as the flower of the flame
Or the foam of the sea.

The earth builds on the earth
Castles and towers.
The earth saith of the earth:
All shall be ours.

Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthal

Well, today was going to be a beach day for me, but it's only 50 degrees out there and always colder by the ocean. I really would prefer some warmer temps so to get some color on my arms.  Friday looks like a better day.  I really don't like the sun and never overdo.  My skin is pale and turns like a lobster.  But, I do like to rid myself of some of that 'winter paleness', go back to work looking like, well, looking like I was 'on' vacation.

My co-worker emailed me that my little fish finally gave up his fight.  Yes, he was still alive until Monday.  He had his bad days and his good days, but by the end of last week, I knew when I came back from vacation he wouldn't be there.  So, Friday I said my good-byes.  I know this is all for the best, that he was suffering and only a shell of what he had been, but one always has that hope, and several so-called 'fish experts' had told us he was going to pull through.  

On another sad note, since the eaglets hatched, I've been following them more than the hummingbird babes.  Actually, thus far this year I've already seen two fledges from Phoebe's babes, so rather than watch day after day, I've checked in on them off and on. What I found  was devastating. It was all gone. On the 15th, a large bird, either a crow or a hawk, had attacked the nest and carried it and the babies away.   I started to watch the video of it, but once I saw those two little cuties lying peacefully in their nest, eyes open and looking around, I just couldn't do it.  I had to turn it off.  But, devastating as it was, it was, in fact, a necessary part of life.  

Mother Nature is beautiful, amazing and sometimes cruel. She demands life in order to give life. She doesn't always 'fair' to the human eye, but just as the hummingbird babes have to eat, so do the crow/hawk's babes. She who creates, destroys, and re-creates again The way nature works, Phoebe will go on and make more beautiful babies for us to enjoy.

All things in nature work silently. They come into being and possess nothing.
They fulfill their function and make no claim. All things alike do their work,
and then we see them subside. When they have reached their bloom,
each returns to its origin. . . . This reversion is an eternal law.
To know that law is wisdom.

Lao-Tzu

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don't Dwell


Don't dwell on what might have been or the chances you have missed.
Or the lonely nights that lie between the last time lovers kissed.
Don't grasp too hard the memory of the things that never came.
The door that did not open or the wind that killed the flame.
There is still time enough to live...And time enough to try again.
Be Happy. 

Author Unknown




I really love the above quote.  Whoever wrote it, really got it right.  Whatever the past was, it's gone, and there is nothing we can do to change it. I often write about my memories, but that is not the same as focusing on what might have been. Dwelling on the past contributes nothing to what we need to do for now. It weighs us down and keeps us from moving forward. We have to let it go.  As the quote says, there is still time enough to live.
On another note, I had a wonderful day yesterday.  Found a little trinket shop not too far from my home, and I told the owner she has made a new friend.  One of my addictions is fancy little clips for my hair and beaded necklaces. And, most of them were only a dollar. She had so many little rhinestone clips in all colors, shapes and sizes that I could hardly make up my mind.  I ended up buying ten of them plus three headbands.  I sweat profusely in the summer, and even though my hair is short, I still like to pull it back.  Problem is that headbands usually give me a headache so before the day is even half over, I am yanking it off my head. These were different, though.  They were thickly padded with cloth and actually quite soft and comfortable.  I'm already thinking of my next trip there. 

I then hopped on the bus and went shopping at a store I hadn't been in for fifteen  years. There was no direct route from where I used to live, and taking three buses to get there was a bit too much, so I just gave up on it. Now, in my new, it's close enough for me to get there, and boy, did I ever have a ball.  The store I've been going to for so many years is great, but they mainly cater to thinner women.  Their plus size tops are super, but one needs a bottom to go with it.  My old store had 'everything', absolutely everything I've been searching for so long.  Take half slips, for example.  It's like they don't make them anymore. I can't understand why stores will sell skirts and dresses that one can see right through, but don't sell slips for those of us who don't care to show our private parts to the world.  

Ah, yesterday I found them and bought one of each -- white, tan, and black.  I found bras and panties for plus sizes in every shade imaginable and cotton gowns.  Oh, how I love my cotton gowns in the summer, but they must be roomy.  I found two sundresses for weekend wear, and now that I have the slips, I can also wear the three that I bought last year, but couldn't wear because they showed too much.  I also bought three summer skirts, and one new top.  Now, aside from shoes, I am set for the summer.

It's going to be 80 degrees today so you know I won't be hanging out in the house.  It's a great day to visit Mother Ocean, but banking and shoes have to come first.  Sadly, my feet are so bad that shopping for shoes is no picnic anymore--ugly bunions, weak ankles no heels, nothing between the toes, blister prone so must be soft, --but I am not giving up hope. Aside from the slips, I also found an old favorite 'Campbell's Bean with Bacon' soup that I haven't seen in years. Grandma always kept that on hand for me.  She knew it was my favorite.  And, OMG, did it taste good.  All that was missing was a glass of coca-cola.  Now, that is a part of my past, but that is a part that is well worth remembering.

Monday, April 16, 2012

On a Pleasant Monday Morn




A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in. 
--Robert Orben--



It's Monday, but there was no crawling out of bed in the wee hours of dawn for me.  This is my first full day of vacation, and it felt good to lounge about for awhile this morning.  Mind you, when I sleep-in I  never make past 9 am.  In my youth, I was one who could sleep the day away if you'd let me, but now that I am older, too much lying in bed stiffens my bones.  
This is my first 'real' vacation since last April. Yes, I did take two weeks in December, but that was at moving time.  The first week was spent finishing up the sorting and packing in the old place; the second week was spent unpacking and arranging in my new home. The first Saturday in the new place just happened to be a cooking weekend so, when you look at it,  Sunday was actually my only day of rest.  That was definitely not what I look for in a vacation.

I made myself a promise that I'm going to spend my time relaxing and working hard to stay in the 'now'.  There are hard times ahead at work, and it is important that I take this time to clear my head before it 'all breaks loose'.  One of my co-workers got a promotion, and she will be leaving at the end of the month.  Two of her clients will be added to my already overwhelming caseload of 30. I'm also inheriting a rather needy client from another co-worker who just cannot work with her. That, and an intake that is already awaiting my return will bring my caseload up to 34.  And that's not the whole of it.

My co-worker also runs three groups a week. In addition, our nurse has been given permission to take a month's vacation.  She just happens to run groups a week; luckily she has no caseload.  And, to add fuel to the fire, our intern will be leaving on May 3rd. She runs three groups.  That's thirteen groups that will have to be covered. I already have four groups.  It worries me because I see a major case of burnout coming.  At 65, I cannot handle the workload that I once could.  Age  has slowed me down.


 Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right nowwithout wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without
holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant
without fearing it will always be this way (which it won't).

-James Baraz-


But, look at me.  Didn't I say I was going to stick to the 'now'?  My objective is to forget work for this 'one' week and focus on 'me' and my needs. There's clothes shopping to do, hair to be cut and colored; I've decided to add a bit of red to my hair.  Not a bright red, but a very light auburn. The reddish shades have always made me look my best.   I'm also planning to hop on the 'Sea Beach Express' and head on out to Coney Island. Haven't had a 'real' Nathan's hot dog in  years.  Oh, there is so much fun to be had...and great weather to boot.  Who could ask for anything more?

We don't stop playing because we turn old,
but turn old because we stop playing.

Satchel Paige

Friday, April 13, 2012

TGIF and Vacation Almost Here: Hip Hip Hooray


When the first light dawned on the earth, and the birds awoke, and
the brave river was heard rippling confidently seaward, and the nimble early
rising wind rustled the oak leaves about our tent, all people, having reinforced
their bodies and their souls with sleep, and cast aside doubt and fear,
were invited to unattempted adventures.

Henry David Thoreau 
And oh, vacation is so needed.  I'm burning out.  I can't believe how tired I am.  After a Saturday of cooking, my week of self-time is on. Only a few plans for the upcoming week.  I'll be shopping for some weekend clothes and a hair cut is on my list.  Have to go back to the old neighborhood to deposit some checks, so, of course, I will visit my old favorite 99 cent store.  Otherwise, I'll be packing away the heavy clothes and digging out the summer things....and sleep.  I'm hoping for lots and lots of sleep.

Hoping you all have a great weekend.  I hear some warm weather is on the way.  Be sure to get out and enjoy it.  See ya on Monday.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Rainbow: Thursday's Parable


Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, the favorite.

Green said 'Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves - without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.' 

Blue interrupted: 'You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.'

Yellow chuckled: 'You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun.'


Orange
started next to blow her trumpet: 'I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and pawpaws. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.' 


Red could stand it no longer. He shouted out: 'I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood - life's blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.'

Purple rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: 'I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do notquestion me - they listen and obey.'

Finally, Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others. 'You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.'


And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening - thunder rolled and boomed. 

Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort. In the midst of the clamor, rain began to speak: 'You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me.' 

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands. The rain continued: 'From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.'

'The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow.' And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

It is too bad that we are often  so busy that we take people  in our lives for granted and forget to tell them how appreciative we and how much they mean to us.  It doesn't have to be something big, and  you don't even have to spend any money on it; it's not the material item or value that counts. It's the little things that we do that make a difference -- a smile for someone who has been feeling down, a heartfelt 'thank you' when someone does us a favor , a hugor 'would you like me to run to the store for you?' when someone is under the weather. These are the things that show that we care. We have nothing to lose by being nice, and it sure could make the other person's day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Poetry Corner


'Over The Land Is April'



Over the land is April,
Over my heart a rose;
Over the high, brown mountain
The sound of singing goes.
Say, love, do you hear me,
Hear my sonnets ring?
Over the high, brown mountain,
Love, do you hear me sing?

By highway, love, and byway
The snows succeed the rose.
Over the high, brown mountain
The wind of winter blows.
Say, love, do you hear me,
Hear my sonnets ring?
Over the high, brown mountain
I sound the song of spring,
I throw the flowers of spring.
Do you hear the song of spring?
Hear you the songs of spring?

Robert Louis Stevenson


Hoping your week is going as well as mine has.  Very busy here in preparation for vacation, but also a sense of excitement. Diligently working to tie up all loose ends before Friday. Looking forward to the upcoming week off. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Miracles by Walt Whitman


"As for me, I know nothing else but miracles, 
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, 
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, 
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water, 
Or stand under the trees in the woods, 
Or talk by day with any one I love, 
Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love, 
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon... 
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, 
Or of stars shining so quiet and bright, 
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring... 
What stranger miracles are there?"

Part of the magic of childhood is the belief in magic--Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, the Man in the Moon, monsters, fairies and unicorns. Oh, what a wonderful, magical time.  But, then, we grow older, the adults in our lives don't think it is so 'cute' anymore.  They tell us it was time to grow up and accept life for what it is.  They tell us that magic doesn't exist.  So, we stop believing.  Reality sets in and takes away the magic of our youth. We grow up and no longer see the pictures in the clouds or the wee folk hiding in the rose bush or  the wonder we see in the twinkling of a firefly and the magical excitement of Christmas.  It just seems to happen. One day you notice something is gone

Our ancestors believed that the world was a magical place. The earth was sacred and was treated with great respect and reverence. They saw magic and magical beings everywhere they looked. Thunder was the voice of the gods, clouds are the spirits of our ancestors, and the earth was a living being and the mother of all life forms that exist on the planet. The natural world was alive with spirits. They saw magic everywhere.

Sadly, the natural world has been pretty much neglected as of late. When we lost our magic, we lost our sense of wonder and  our ability to see all of those little miracles that take place in our daily lives. I believe all of us need to reclaim that sacred relationship to the natural world that surrounds us. It exists for us now, just as it existed for our ancestors.There is ordinary magic all around us.


All of the seasons have their magic, but there is something about Spring that is extra special. Take some time to look around you today.  The  trees are blooming,  the birds are singing, and the grass is green and rising. The daily passage of the Sun over the sky and the nightly procession of stars are magical. There is magic in the sound of Spring's light rain.  For me, it is the ocean. It both inspires and fascinates me. I feel its awe and power. The Moon also holds an intricate part in my life. Her beauty never fails to astound me. I feel her presence in my life. 

We should all follow the example of Walt Whitman and open our eyes to see. There's magic everywhere; the universe is full of magical things. Take some time to explore the natural world and  get to know its wisdom. Remember, it's all right to believe like a child, no matter how old you are ...

(The above photos are an example of some of our 'city' magic. They were taken on my cell phone, sent to my son, and sent back to my email.  I really do need to think about getting a new camera.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

As Monday Comes Again


As another Monday arrives, again I sit back and wonder where the weekend went.  Three days passed by as quick as a flash and once again I find myself getting ready to return to work.  Friday seems so far away at this point, and, because next week I will be on vacation, I'm not looking forward to a quick-moving week.  Isn't that the way it is?  When one is eagerly waiting on their vacation, the days just seem to crawl on by.  So, why do the holidays come and to so quickly?  A bit of a paradox there I have to say.

The 1940 Census is finally here. I've waited years for this. It hasn't been fully transcribed, per se, and you can't look up your family members by name, but Ancestry now has all of the  1940 U.S. Federal Census images online, and, with a little bit of patience   lots of patience you can find your family and if you know where to look.  It's actually pretty tedious work going page by page looking for a familiar name, and then, when it is found, you jump and clap for joy before moving onto the next person.  On Friday, I managed to find my maternal grandparents, mom, and her sister and brother, and my maternal great grandma. I also found my paternal grandparents, their children, and my great grandma, Constance Mary...not to mention all the aunts and uncles I came across during my search.

Before the day was out, the tears were beginning to flow, not from hours of searching through some pretty sloppy handwriting at times, but  over the sense of loss I began to feel.  Maybe loss is not the correct word.  You cannot lose something that you never had. And that is the key.  There is a large portion of my family that I was never given the opportunity to know. Mom had been adamant that I was not to be brought around 'any' of my dad's family, and aside from one visit to my grandmother and one visit from one of my dad's sisters when I was ill, I had no further contact with aunts, uncles and cousins. 

It wasn't until I got into genealogy that I realized they were there, but 'seeing' them on the 1940 census, alive so close to when I was born, brought it all into reality.  There they were Constance Mary, my dad and his twin, their brother Willard and his wife, and their daughter, and all of them gone now.  There were cousins who died young, leaving children I wouldn't even begin to know how to find. It's times like this that I feel so very much alone. Yes, I have my hubby and my sons, but that's all I have.  I have many wonderful memories of my maternal grandparents but, there are nothing except from the few little tales  I've gleamed of them since working on my tree. 

Otherwise, I had a rather uneventful weekend.  After some housework, I took a long, long nap on Saturday afternoon to catch up on some much needed rest.  Sunday morning I baked a cake for Easter, a chocolate sheetcake with little blue  'peeps' for decoration. My eldest dropped by in the afternoon for a short visit; my youngest has a life of his own, but that is what we raise them to do.  In days past, the Easter bunny would have visited while the boys slept on the evening before Easter, and when the rose on Easter morning, the Easter bunny has hidden eggs, a symbol of renewal, rebirth and new life,  around the house and left behind candy filled baskets.

We grow older, and our children move on to start their own lives. One day they will have their own children, their own eggs to color, baskets to hide. We have passed the torch, and the journey of life continues. But, some things will never change. The Easter baskets may be no more, but, by golly, I still do love chomping into one of those big old chocolate Easter bunnies. And, just as I did as a child, the pretty little candy eyes are the first to go, followed by the ears.  So, in a way I guess I can say, tradition does continue.