Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Song for the Seasons


When the merry lark doth gild
With his song the summer hours,
And their nests the swallows build
In the roofs and tops of towers,
And the golden broom-flower burns
All about the waste,
And the maiden May returns
With a pretty haste, -
Then, how merry are the times!
The Spring times! the Summer times!

Now, from off the ashy stone
The chilly midnight cricket crieth,
And all merry birds are flown,
And our dream of pleasure dieth;
Now the once blue, laughing sky
Saddens into gray,
And the frozen rivers sigh,
Pining all away!
Now, how solemn are the times!
The Winter times! the Night times!

Yet, be merry; all around
Is through one vast change revolving;
Even Night, who lately frowned,
Is in paler dawn dissolving;
Earth will burst her fetters strange,
And in Spring grow free;
All things in the world will change,
Save - my love for thee!
Sing then, hopeful are all times!
Winter, Spring, Summer times!

Bryan Waller Procter

This past weekend I was watching television when a 'Back to School' commercial came on, and I immediately thought, "My goodness, is it that time already? Where has the summer gone?"  My co-workers daughter will be heading up to her college at the Canadian border in a little over three weeks from now, and Labor Day is right around the corner.  Not that this has been a great summer for me. The unbearable heat and humidity have made me feel miserable, and I've had to bypass some of the things that I had planned on before the summer began.  I realize now that my intolerance to heat and the soaking sweats are a part of my thyroid disorder, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with the discomfort.

Tomorrow we celebrate Lammas Day, an Anglo-Saxon word that means "Loaf Mass".  Doesn't it seem like just yesterday that we were planting the seeds in the ground? This day was originally celebrated by the ancient Druid priests as the festival of Lughnasadh in honor of the Celtic sun god, Lugh. Lammas is a tradition which comes to us from our Celtic ancestors who celebrated the harvesting of grain and the first loaf of bread made from the new harvest. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is always celebrated on August 1st. 


This is a time to pause and think about the blessings we receive, the Celtic Thanksgiving. One way to celebrate is to have a feast which begins and ends with gratitude and blessings for the food and wine. I like to celebrate with fresh produce and although I have to work and cannot bake any bread, (not that I would anyway; it is far too hot.  I will be having some Healthy Harvest spaghetti and a homemade meat sauce I made from peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes on the vine. I've lots of fruit for dessert. Some fresh grapes will taste mighty good.

Manhattan is a city of districts...garment district, diamond exchange, etc...and I am blessed to work near the flower district.  In fact, I pass right through one of those blocks as I make my way to and from the subway.  Friday as I was walking to the train I notice a display of sunflowers, and I plan to stop on the way home today to purchase some. A vase of freshly cut sunflowers on the table is a marvelous decoration for Lammas.

Earth colors such as golds, yellows, browns, and orange are used to symbolize this time of the year, and I usually light a gold and yellow candles. This year I found a wonderfully scented orange candle with that fills the room with the scent pumpkin and spice...and it hasn't even been lit yet. 

Lammas is special to me, for although the summer's heat and humidity are usually at their height, we know that relief is on its way.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday This and That



The world of reality has its limits;
the world of imagination is boundless.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau


I had a quiet weekend.  On Saturday, I slept late for a change and later took a walk to the fruit stand.  I was hoping to find some more dinosaur plums; I fell in love with them, but it seems that every week they have different deliveries.  Donut peaches seem to be on their way out and there have been no more cherry plums, but I did find some nice red velvet avocados.  Also bought salad ingredients, some gorgeous tomatoes on the vine, some carrots, red, green, and orange peppers, and some brocolli rabe.

Spent the afternoon cooking some toppings for my foods, hoping to add some taste.  Tried one on Saturday's chicken, and it did make my food more interesting.  It was simple to do.  I chopped up the peppers, an onion, and two tomatoes and sauteed half in one pot and half in another in a little olive oil. I added some garlic powder in both, and in one I added some Mrs. Dash's Extra Spicy and in the other, some garlic and herb. Added a wee bit of water and let everything simmer for a few.

Bought a new Kindle book...."Believing in Fairies, A Manual for Grownups" by Marcia Zina Mager.  As children, we believe in magic, but as we grow older the adults laugh, or chide us for our silly beliefs,  and we begin to believe that there is no such thing as fairies or nature spirits.  And, by the time we are adults, we find ourselves trapped in the world of reality, unable to get back to that magical world we once knew. The following is part of the review: "This book is uniquely different. It is a modern day instruction manual directly from the mystical realm itself; a 'Celestine Prophecy' brought back from the natural world. It takes the reader on a rare journey into a kingdom governed by ancient principles and powerful truths that can change our planet. Believing in Faeries promises to alter the way we view the world."

Needless to say, I  had a hard time putting the book down, but I did want to spend some what I call 'dark time'.  This is that time that the television goes off, the Kindle put aside, and the lights turned off.  Only a candle remains lit.  The curtains are pulled aside, and it is only me and the darkness of night.  This is 'my' time, my very special time when the cares and worries of the day are brushed aside as the darkness surrounds me and protects me. The world about me is sleeping, quiet, and I sit alone, gazing up at the beauty of the night sky and feeli
ng a sense of peace and wholeness and connection with the universe.

Sunday was rather uneventful, quiet time, getting ready for work...nails, laying out clothes for the week, cleaning out purse, etc...all those little things that have to be accomplished.  I look for little ways to avoid that morning rush to get ready.  There is nothing more frustrating in the morning than taking out a blouse and finding it needs ironing, or searching for an essential accessory such as a scarf or necklace.  It seems that the older I get, the more organized my life becomes.  Perhaps that is because the effects of the passage of time such as back aches and knee pain forces us to slow down, or perhaps it is because we finally realize that life passes by far too fast, and if we don't slow down we will miss it.

Wishing you all a great Monday and a sensational week.

The Flowers

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames--
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, July 27, 2012

TGIF

Reflection is in many ways a lost art. It is an eyepiece to a world hidden
away, the world within ourselves which is alive with truths and beauties
and darkness we have never glimpsed. It seems sad that we slice our
time too thin for dreaming long dreams and thinking long thoughts.
We've grown uncomfortable with that sort of thing. For a long time
I had been uneasy left alone. I would snap on the television or grab
a book or make brownies. Anything. I suppose we are restless all
alone with ourselves, all alone in a room with a stranger. What if we
face ourselves and find we don't like the person we meet? I didn't
even want to spend much time in prayer because God might
confront me and I'd have to look at myself.

Sue Monk Kidd


Friday came very quickly this week, not that I am complaining. Looking forward to some quality alone time. Hubby will go visit his son on Saturday, and I will have the day to myself. After a trip to my favorite fruit stand, I've really nothing pressing that just HAS to be done. I'll probably chop up some red, yellow, and orange peppers, onions, and garlic and saute with a little salt-free tomato sauce and some Mrs. Dash to make some kind of flavorful topping for the foods that I find extra bland.  In the beginning, it was thrilling to try out new foods with new and different spices, but it is becoming a bit boring right now.

I am so trying to get this diet together...and now there is a second diet that I have to include...a diet for Graves Disease.  From research I have learned that certain foods aggravate  the thyroid.  Seafood, aside from tuna, is not a problem.  I don't like it anyway.  But dairy products are another story.  No more milk, even 1 percent, yogurt, and cheeses...not that I like lots of cheeses; in fact, the only ones I eat are Swiss and cheddar. It seems that our dairy products are loading with iodine, toxic for thyroid issues.  Almond milk here I come.  Anyone ever tried it?  

So, I guess what I am trying to say is this will be a weekend spent on food, but in a good way, finding healthy alternatives so I don't feel so left out when I see my office mates eating the foods that I once and still love, but are not on my menu any longer.  

Before closing, I've a question to ask.  It's personal and feel free not to answer.  This thyroid issue is all new to me, and I am wondering if anyone here has had to deal with it.  I'm especially frightened of the thyroid scan they scheduled for me on August 9th and 10th.  Taking something that is going to make me radioactive, albeit only a small amount, is really scaring me, and the more I read, the more frightened I get.  I've a hubby and an old kitty at home.  How do I steer clear of them?  I've only one bed now so one of us will be on the floor, but how do I keep a kitty who loves my feet away?  I also read in several sources that RAI treatment has, on occasion, made the condition worse. Seriously, I'm thinking about asking for other alternatives.  And perhaps, I am just worrying too much. And doing too much reading.

But hey, I am not going to let this spoil my weekend.  After all, the test is still a couple weeks away.  For now, I am going to relax and enjoy and treasure my special alone time.  Bought some of my favorite scented candles, a Kindle recipe book for making comfort foods with low sodium, and some new body lotion to pamper myself. 

Here's hoping you all have a fun-filled weekend?
 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sometimes by Herman Hess



I love the following poem so much that I just had to share it with you.  The words are so special, so meaningful.  It speaks to me of a time, so long, long ago, when man lived close to nature, and  man consciously viewed   all life  as interconnected. This was  a time when all life was sacred. Man and all other life forms--plants, insects, stones, rivers-- were powerful allies connecting in a heartfelt thought form to communicate what was best or necessary for all species. Our ancestors performed rituals in sacred groves of trees to ceremonially connect with the divine. They knew the power of nature. We were all a part of the Great Mother from whose womb all of life came forth and to whose womb all life returned at death.

So, close your eyes. Imagine yourself living during the time of your ancient ancestors, before the days of computers, cars, cell phones and television, a time when civilization young, and people lived close to nature. Imagine, if you will, the magical forests through which our ancestors followed winding paths, fairy folk and nature spirits stirring amongst the oaks and elders. The veil was thinner then, and spirit and man lived side by side.  Nature was alive and mankind revered her.


I like to believe that Herman Hess’s poem describes what it used to be like:


Sometimes, when a bird cries out,
Or the wind sweeps through a tree,
Or a dog howls in a far off farm,
I hold still and listen a long time.

My soul turns and goes back to the place
Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
The bird and the blowing wind
Were like me, and were my brothers.

My soul turns into a tree,
And an animal, and a cloud bank.
Then changed and odd it comes home
And asks me questions. What should I reply?

Herman Hesse
Wishing  you all a great day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Angelic Visitations

Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth 
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep.

-John Milton, Paradise Lost-



Each one of us has a personal angel for a friend, that special soul friend who  watches over us all the time. In Celtic spiritual tradition this soul friend is called your Anam Cara. According to the late John O'Donahue, an Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic priest, "You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy and definition. When you are blessed with an Anam Cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home." They look after us, heal us, and comfort us. They protect us on a day-to-day basis. Do you believe in angels? Have you ever seen your angels?  I have.

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.


-George Elliot-

When I was young I suffered from bouts of tonsillitis.  Each time I came down with an infection, the doctor would say, "Next time we are going to take them out", but next time never came, each time the same thing was said, and, needless to say, I still have my tonsils. Today, at the most, they appear to be the culprit behind the dreadful tickles I still get in my throat, but, fortunately, the infections no longer come.  They stopped when I hit my early twenties. 

I remember one bout that occurred when  I was about 16 years old.  It was about 90 degrees, yet I was cold as could be. Mom was having a cookout, and I was lying on one of the lawn chairs, covered with a quilt, yet still trembling.  Finally, I just had to give up and go get into bed.  It was somewhere in the wee hours of the morning when I woke up, my mouth parched, but too weak and sick to walk to the kitchen for a drink.  She came to me then, this beautiful, gentle woman, and asked if I needed help.  I responded that I really needed some water, and she went to fetch me a glass.  She brought it back, helped me to prop myself up on the bed, and then held the glass to my mouth.  Afterwards, she sat silently on my bed.  

When I awoke the next morning,  the half-filled glass of water still sat on my night stand, but the woman had disappeared.  When I told my mom about the, she said that I had probably been delirious.  No mystery ghost woman had brought my water; I'd probably done so myself and not remembered doing so. After all, I was very sick, wasn't I?  My mom was never a believer.

Another incident occurred when I was in my thirties.  At the time, I was suffering from sleep apnea. For any of you who suffer from it, you know how frightening it can be. Many a night I would awaken, not breathing, and sit bolt upright in bed struggling to find my breath. One night it was especially bad, and I was sure this was going to be my physical end. My breath would just not come.  It was then that I saw her, a beautiful figure dressed dressed in white, standing at my doorway.  A strange thing happened then.  My breath began to return, and as it did, she gradually faded away.... I never again suffered from an episode of apnea.

Angelic visitation or imagination?  I believe in angels.  I believe that they are always there for us, cheering us on, and willing to step in and help us, if only we ask.  I believe in magic. Nobody ever took that away from me.

Angels, in the early morning
May be seen the Dews among,
Stooping—plucking—smiling—flying—
Do the Buds to them belong?

Angels, when the sun is hottest
May be seen the sands among,
Stooping—plucking—sighing—flying—
Parched the flowers they bear along.

Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Greatest of My Grandmothers




When I first read the book, "The Seven Daughters of Eve" by Bryan Sykes, I knew I had to be tested.  I had to find out where I came from so, when I finally got hold of some extra cash I sent to Ancestry to have my mitrochondrial DNA tested. Mitochondria are present in eggs but absent in sperm; hence, everyone gets their mitochondria from their mother. Men and women both have it in their cells. But only women can pass it on to their children.

It takes awhile for the test to be completed, but it was finally done and   as I read the results, I have to tell you, I was totally unprepared for my emotional reaction as I was introduced to my first and greatest grandmother.  I literally burst into tears.  Yes, I am a very emotional person, but this was something that caught me off guard. This is the woman who was at my very beginnings. Thousands of years later, she is still a part of me. 

I discovered that my ancestry stems from a branch known as 'The Travelers' in  Haplogroup U. 
Haplogroup U descends from a woman in the Haplogroup R branch of the phylogenetic tree, who lived around 55,000 years ago. She literally is my first grandmother. It was her descendants who gave birth to several different subgroups who migrated to new areas and formed subgroups. Most likely originating in central Asia and spreading into Europe in a very early expansion. The presence of Haplogroup U in Europe pre-dates the expansion of agriculture in Europe and may even have been come in contact with Neanderthals living in Europe at the time.

The following is from my report as well as some research that I did:


From Ancestry 'You belong to the Travelers, Haplogroup U, which emerged around 60,000 years ago, not long after the first modern humans left Africa.  Because the Travelers are so old, they've had many descendants who migrated to new areas and formed subgroups." 

The maternal ancestor of this haplogroup was given the name Ursula. The following excerpt is from "The Seven Daughters of Eve".

Sykes begins his first narrative, "Ursula was born into a world very different from our own. Forty-five thousand years ago it was a lot colder than it is today, and would get colder still in the millennia to come leading up to the Great Ice Age. Ursula was born in a shallow cave cut into the cliffs at the foot of what is now Mount Parnassus, close to what was to become the ancient Greek classical site of Delphi." 

Ursula, whose name means She Bear, lived about 45,000 years ago in what is now northern Greece. She was among the first arrivals of a new, modern human to set foot in Europe. She was slender and graceful, in marked contrast to the thickset Neanderthals with whom she and her clan shared the land for another 20,000 years. Her kind brought with them a new and more sophisticated type of stone tool with which to hunt and butcher the abundant game, animals that soon appeared on the walls of limestone caves as the first expression of human art. They spread right across Europe, west across France and north as far as the British Isles.

As the climate deteriorated 25,000 years ago, the clan began its long migration south; eventually reaching Spain and founding what became a refuge for all humans during the coldest millennia of the last Ice Age. As the climate warmed, the scattered clan led the march back to the North to reclaim the once frozen lands. They reached the British Isles and left an indelible record in the limestone caves of Cheddar Gorge. In 1998, DNA was recovered from the famous skeleton known as Cheddar Man and our analysis showed that it belonged to the clan of Ursula. In a dramatic demonstration of genetic continuity, we found that a teacher at the local school, only a few hundred yards from the cave entrance, was clearly a member of the same clan.

The following, when Sykes speaks of Ursula's death, brings tears to my  eyes:

"Ursula had no idea, of course, that both her daughters would give rise, through their children and grandchildren, to a continuous maternal line stretching to the present day.  She had no idea she was to become the clan mother, the only woman of that time who could make that claim.  Every single member of her clan can trace a direct and  unbroken line back to Ursula."

"Today about 11 percent of modern Europeans are the direct maternal descendants of Ursula."


Ursula, per se, was not a real woman, but the clan mother was.  This great woman did live and die thousands of years ago.  And, because she lived, I live.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Graves Disease

Just got back from the doctor, and that is a new diagnosis. Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder.  It does, however, explain many of my symptoms--increased sweating, intolerance to heat, insomnia, muscle pain, rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, anxiety, and the list goes on and on. In fact I have almost all of the symptoms aside from weight loss, which the doctor says is a misnomer when it comes to the thyroid, and puffy eyelids.  Now it will be the endocrinologist as well as the pulmonologist I have to see, plus a two day scan on the thyroid.  

Amazingly, with all the crap I put in my system, my cholesterol level is perfect.  I am pre-diabetic, but the doctor said with my new diet, that should be well under control and not to worry.  Blood pressure was back up to 166 over 110, but I did have a stressful situation while on the way over to her office.  The moment I left the house it started to pour, thunder and lightning, the works.  The bus stop is across the street, but the bus was a long time coming.  When it arrived it was still pouring, and my umbrella was difficult to close.  The next thing I knew I had sliced my finger open on it.  So, when I got on the bus, the blood was dripping, the umbrella was dripping, my metrocard gave me a rough time, and nobody got up to give this old lady with a cane a seat. 

When the doctor heard that tale, she said "No wonder."  Needless to say, my medication regimen has been changed. 

Weekend Roundup




What lovely weekend weather we had. The sky was blue, the clouds white and floating slowly across one's view. The humidity gave us a welcome break and the temperature dipped into the 60's and 70's.  If everyday was like this, I would never complain.  But, the heat and humidity are on their way back and all one can do is deal with it; that, or take off work and hybernate in front of the air conditioner.  

Spent Saturday shopping, cooking, and cleaning.  On Sunday I awoke early, sipped my coffee in silence, and then added out for a nice walk to our local Rite Aid.  I was running short of incense, and they have a nice sampling to chose from, as well as a supply of the most wonderful scented candles imaginable. Stopped at the fruit stand for some cherry plums, but they were out so I came home with some white cherries, yellow plums, and dinosaur plums which are, by the way, one of the sweetest, juiciest fruits I have ever eaten. They say they are a cross between a plum and an apricot so they are loaded with vitamins.

On Saturday, I take the bus back and forth from food shopping.  I wanted to walk back this time, but my lower back has been aching. Well, to make a long story short, by the time we got to one stop from my home, the bus was pretty crowded.  I was seated at the front on a seat for three.  A young girl got on and sat at the other end of the seat, leaving a space between us, so when a rather fragile older man got on and did not see the vacant seat, I tapped him on the arm and motioned for him to sit.  At that, the girl said, "Oh, this seat is for my mother." 

Needless to say, I'd already caught a glimpse of the two before they got on the bus, and the girl's mom was no more than 45 years old. This old man had to be 75 to 80.  I've seen, and personally dealt with, so much of this lately that I could not contain myself, "But, he is an old man.  He deserves a seat.  I understand about you wanting this seat for your mom, but you are a young girl. How can you sit there with any conscience and watch him stand?" The girl just sat there.  "Oh well," I said, "If you won't give him a seat, then I will," and I proceeded to get up with my cane to allow him to sit. 

At that time, a party across the aisle had seen all that was going on and put her child on her lap so the man could sit, and I was able to retain my seat. The next stop was mine, but before I got off I saw an older woman get on the bus, and the girl, seeing her, immediately rose and gave her the seat. I had to smile. For most of us, common courtesy is something we don't have to think twice about, but others need to be taught. I smiled as I climbed down out of the bus, knowing that by speaking up, I had opened a young girl's eyes and taught her the valuable lesson of respect.

We learn by example and by direct experience because

there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.

Malcolm Gladwell

It just reinforced for me the importance of speaking up when we see any kind of  injustice happening in the world and doing the right thing instead of just witnessing or even going along with the crowd, and the best way of doing so is by example.  

Later today I have an appointment with my doctor who should have the results of my blood tests.  It's already been established that my thyroid is enlarged, and I'd be willing to bet that it is sluggish...and I have to say I am dreading my cholesterol results.  Hey, but I've nobody to blame but myself.  For years I went on eating whatever I wanted without a thought to the consequences.  And the fact is, when we don't pay attention to the final outcome, we have to be ready to face the results.

Got an email from Ancestry.  My test results are ready, so I am off now to meet my oldest grandmother.  Will tell you all about it tomorrow. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekend Blessings



May the sun
bring you new energy by day.
May the moon
softly restore you by night.
May the rain
wash away your worries.
May the breeze
blow new strength into your being.
May you walk gently through the world
and know its beauty all the days of your life.
Apache blessing

Happy Friday friends.  Hope it's a great one! I'll be trying out some new low sodium recipes this weekend.  Cooking has become fun again.  According to the weather report, the weather will be cooler so it won't be as brutal as it was on my last cooking day.  I wish you all a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Gladness of Nature



I'm pretty much at a loss for words today. Sometimes the words just aren't there. Yesterday we had a storm to remember.  It was late afternoon, and we were in a staff meeting when the sky opened up.  The thunder rang out, and the lightning struck over in the roof garden across from us.  Next, came the hailstones beating against the window.  Needless to say, I'd taken a spot near the window to admire the storm and quickly changed my mind, moving my chair to a position where I could watch the show, but far enough away to feel a bit more secure.  Don't forget, we're up there on the 10th floor.  Even on a calm day one can hear the whistling of the wind. 

Thankfully, the storm which actually blew over fairly quickly not only lowered the temperature, but also the humidity level.  It was so much more pleasant when I left the office last night than it had been in a long time. Mother Nature blessed us with a much-needed reprieve.  And with that, I will leave you to the following wonderful poem.


Is this a time to be cloudy and sad,
When our mother Nature laughs around;
When even the deep blue heavens look glad,
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,
And the gossip of swallows through all the sky;
The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den,
And the wilding bee hums merrily by.

The clouds are at play in the azure space
And their shadows at play on the bright-green vale,
And here they stretch to the frolic chase,
And there they roll on the easy gale.

There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,
There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree,
There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.

And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles
On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,
On the leaping waters and gay young isles;
Ay, look, and he'll smile thy gloom away.

William Cullen Bryant 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Morning Ramble


Take the breath of the new dawn and
make it part of you.  It will give you strength.

From the Hopi


Missed the sunrise this morning.  It's my late day at work, and I slept in.  Got a couple extra hours of much needed rest.  Problem has been that I go to be at 10 or 11, fall asleep generally with no problem, then awaken about 1-2 am. My mind goes into overtime, and  I toss and turn for about an hour, fall asleep, wake up about 4 or 4:30, toss and turn and fall into the deepest sleep of the night only to be woken shortly by the shrill sound of my alarm. Today I was able to take advantage of that deep sleep and stay in bed until 7:30.  

Last night rather than dwell on what could go wrong, I instead took some time to go over my blessings...a loving husband, two wonderful sons, wonderful online friends who are my greatest support and never get tired of my whining.  I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, and food on the table.  I've never wanted more.  Financial wealth was never one of my dreams.  I only want to live comfortably, and that I am. There are so many more important kinds of wealth, so many other things out there to make one happy.

It's dreadful outdoors as we find ourselves in the midst of another heatwave.  It felt like it was over 100 when I left work yesterday, so oppressive.  Later today they're predicting showers which will usher in some cooler air...if one can call 86 cooler.  I guess what will make the difference is a lower humidity. 

On a plus side, yesterday was a real test for me, and I passed with flying colors.  As I've previously noted, I'm beginning to get some 'pep back in my step'.  In other words, I now find myself passing others on the sidewalk rather than them passing me by.  I have to remind myself that I am not racing to a fire. Slow down and take notice of what is surrounding me.  Otherwise, I will miss out on so much.  

I spoke with my doctor  yesterday.  I have an appointment next Monday after work.  I'm not feeling as anxious about this visit as I was the last time.  Those emergency room doctors had me shaking in my boots.  To my husband..."Make sure she gets to the doctor ASAP.  She's going to need a biopsy."  And on and on they went with the scare tactics.  I guess they had their reasons.  I'd already admitted to them that I don't go to the doctors much.  They wanted to make sure I followed up.

Well, I've been doing some research on the Pet Scan my doctor was sending me for. According to the billing code the test she had ordered was for 'other diseases of the lungs'. She also advised me that she was going to refer me to 'the pulmonologist'. Perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part, but I felt relieved when she didn't say 'an oncologist'. I just want this to be over. It's the not knowing that is driving me up a wall.  

And for now, I am going to stop harping on this, and wish you all a wonderful day.  If you, like me, are in the midst of a heat wave, please do take it slow and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. This weather is no joke. People are dying out there.  

If a culture treats a particular illness with compassion and enlightened
understanding, then sickness can be seen as a challenge, as a
healing crisis and opportunity. Being sick is then not a condemnation
or a moral judgment, but a movement in a larger process
of healing and restoration. When sickness is viewed positively and in
supportive terms, then illness has a much better chance to heal,
with the concomitant result that the entire person
may grow and be enriched in the process.

Ken Wilber

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How Beautiful a Summer Night


Oh, how beautiful is the summer night, which is not night, but a sunless,
yet unclouded, day, descending upon earth with dews and shadows and
refreshing coolness! How beautiful the long mild twilight, which,
like a silver clasp, unites today with yesterday!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
 
As I begin this post it is late evening.  Despite suffering from a sleepless night yesterday, I am finding it hard to lull myself into a restful sleep.  So, rather than lie around tossing and turning I figured I would type up a few words, turn the lights and computer out, light a lavender candle, toss open the curtains, and connect with the night.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?  The heat and humidity have made a comeback here, and although it had been breezy and comfortable when I left for work in the morning, the air was so thick by the time I went home that one could almost 'cut through it with a knife'.  I can't remember a summer like this for a good long time. Autumn is going to feel extra specially good to me this year, as it probably will to many of us.

(Getting late now.  Time to take some down time in the hopes of eventually falling asleep.)

(Well, morning is here, and I wish I could say it was a better sleep night for me, but sleep has become illusive.  Being a night person, I've always been a bit restless, but lately it is getting out of control.  Time to speak to the doctor.)

Last night had me wondering if this summer is a warning for us, a sampling of what is to come if we don't begin to watch our step. Not that Mother Nature means to be cruel; indeed, she is far from it.  Since the beginning of time, she has always been there to nurse and nourish mankind as well as all of her other creatures.  It is we who have been the cruel ones with our indifference to the consequences of overcrowding,  biological extinctions, groundwater contamination, ozone depletion, and whatever else we may have done to destroy her. Perhaps this is only a warning, but in the end, Mother Nature will determine our destiny.

I received a letter yesterday from the insurance company. It seems that they're not going to approve my Pet Scan because the doctor didn't show proof that I had cancer. But, that wasn't the sole purpose of the test. My doctor wanted to check my bones as well to make sure all was okay. Goes to show you the difference between huge corporations having control of our health care rather than medical personnel who know what they are talking about. It's all about how much they can save and not at all about one's health. I guess about all I can say right now is...to be continued.

I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, and compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thought,
You return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.

Tao Te Ching

Monday, July 16, 2012

Some Pep in my Step...and other Monday Rambles

Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.

Nora Roberts


Greetings.  The weekend has come and gone without event.  Didn't really do much of anything. Early Saturday morning I took a walk to Circle Fruits.  It's almost like a Farmer's Market there, plus it is a blend of fruits and vegetables from all different cultures.  One can buy some Turkish bread, Star Fruit from the Philippine's, a Haitian mango, Mexican Jalepinos, to name a few.  In fact, you can pretty much find  'anything' you're little heart desires.  I was like a kid in a candy store and came home with some donut peaches, cherry plums, grape tomatoes, raspberries, peaches, cherries, star fruit, and apricots.  Also bought fresh broccoli, cauliflower, Romaine, Green Leaf, and some baby leaf lettuce, cukes, vine tomatoes, watercress...and some walnuts and chunk of low sodium cheddar to boot.

I'm finding that now, already, with the loss of 11 pounds and about 50 to go, my step is picking up.  My breathing has improved, and I no longer find myself having to stop several times for rest. Of course, I've not yet dealt with high humidity. On Friday I found my old impatient self beginning to make a comeback, and although I am pleased as a peach, I do have to keep watch over myself. 

Speed was always my middle name. It was go, go, go. If someone in front of me was too slow, why I'd immediately feel my stress level building up...and we all know what stress does to high blood pressure.  There was a time when hubby would refuse to walk to the store for me because he could not keep up, and I could not slow down.But life has a way of stepping in and forcing us to take the time to 'smell the roses'. The hairline fracture on my lower spine became arthritis riddled, my knees ached, the fibro went out of control, and years of smoking took their toll, and my body forced me to slow down.

And above all, watch with glittering
eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets
are always hidden in the most
unlikely places. Those who don't
believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl 

In doing so, I began to realize how much I had been missing all these years.  I began taking notice of notice of my surroundings and realized that, although I live in a city, there is still so much nature around me.  I took notice of the trees, the flowers, the structure of a beautiful building.  I took time to watch the birds, savored the cool breeze as it brushed across my face, and found magickal beings hidden in the shape of a cloud.  I don't want to lose that magic that entered my world when I finally took time to slow down and notice.

The world is full of magic things, patiently
waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

W.B. Yeats 
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

TGIF

We ourselves cannot put any magic spells on this world.
The world is its own magic.

Suzuki Roshi
 

Well, it is that special time of the week again. Another weekend is upon us. Aside from a trip to the fruit stand, I've nothing else planned for the weekend. Supposedly we're headed for another heatwave, so time to slow down. And it that is not enough to make one slow down, with both Uranus and Mercury will be turning stationary retrograde, it's definitely time this weekend to slow down and turn inward. 

Got some good news to share with you.   I've lost 11 pounds on my new diet.  I'm eating healthy, low sodium foods and watching my calorie intake, no more than 1200 calories a day.  It's the choices of foods that I am eating now. I'm don't stay hungry.  I am eating well and feeling full.  And I am also learning how to say 'no', something that was always difficult for me when it came to food.  Take the other day, for example.  Everyone at work was ordering from Boston Market, but I'd brought in some of my steamed vegetables and chicken.  In the past, all someone had to say is "We're ordering from...", and my food would have stayed in the refrigerator to be thrown out at the end of the week.  This time though, and I love Boston Market, the first thing I did was look up the nutritional values on the food on the menu.  What I found was despite having many low calorie choices, all of their foods were super high in sodium.


I think what is most important now is that I am paying attention to what I put in my body. I am taking responsibility for the choices I make regarding the food that I eat.  Eating had become an addictive activity for me.Rather than paying attention to what my body needed, i was it with junk...and lots of it. I guess you can say I am cleaning house.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Dawn Song



I hear a twittering of birds,
And now they burst in song.
How sweet, although it wants the words!
It shall not want them long,
For I will set some to the note
Which bubbles from the thrush's throat.

O jewelled night, that reign'st on high,
Where is thy crescent moon?
Thy stars have faded from the sky,
The sun is coming soon.
The summer night is passed away,
Sing welcome to the summer day.

Robert Fuller Murray

I have to say that dawn has become one of my favorite times of the day...yes, this from someone who has admittedly been a night person all their life. The city still quiet, the light in the sky a sort of grayish-blue as the world rises out of darkness, and there is just something special about being awoken by the cheerful song of the birds rather than the harsh shrill of the alarm clock.  Dawn signifies rebirth, new beginnings.  It is an ideal time for cleansing oneself--physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Don't get me wrong. I haven't forsaken my beloved night. It will always remain my special time. There is something magical about standing outdoors under a star-filled sky.  I find comfort in the dark; it gives me a sense of inner peace. The darkness is needed. It is our chance to recharge.  The day tires us, but it is the night that rejuvenates us and makes us whole again.

Maidens Dancing In Moonlight

Then, as the broad moon rose on high,
The maidens stood the altar nigh;
And some in graceful measure
The well-loved spot danced round,
With lightsome footsteps treading
The soft and grassy ground.

Sappho

What is your favorite time of day? Are you a morning person or an evening person?

Not much going on in my life. Still trying to iron out this issue with my health care. Work has been extremely stressful, and I am trying, oh so hard, to keep my stress level down. Something has to give there. This lack of boundary issues with clients is too much for anyone to have to deal with on a daily basis. The AC is down again as well. That certainly doesn't  help; with stress.  It's only our floor and our half of the floor that doesn't work. The men who take care of it don't seem to know what's wrong with it.  Well, in that case stop being so cheap and call someone else.

Sharon, a Canary Melon is similar to a Honeydew only it is bright yellow on the outside and a pale flesh on the inside. They are common in the Asian countries, so, with my living a block away from little Chinatown, it is easy to get one. They are so juicy and super sweet. I totally love them.

By the way, has anyone been watching the new Dallas?  What do you think of it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dreams



I wake each morning with the thrill of expectation
and the joy of being alive. And I'm thankful for this day.

Angela L. Wozniak

 
Yesterday I'd mentioned I had a dream about my mom, but before I begin, I'd like to give you an update on the fiasco at the lab yesterday. It seems that the bright people at the insurance company approved me for an MRI of the lumbar region.  How they got that out of orders for a Pet Scan of the lungs I will never know.  Today, I have to call and find out exactly who these 'members' are who will be calling me. You'd think they'd try to rectify THEIR mistake as soon as possible, but we all know better than that.

Have you ever dreamed of a love one who has passed on?  I've had many, but the dream I had the other night was perhaps one of the most wonderful dreams.  As you all know, I've been under a great deal of worry and stress about my health, so finding myself back in the home of my youth, with the pets I loved, brought me back to a time before cares and worries became a part of my life, that time of my youth when life was so carefree.  And then my mom showed up, but she wasn't the warring figure that I remembered.

My mom and I never had that close bond that mothers and daughters have. Sometimes I wondered why she even bothered to bear me. Her words to me were cruel and targeted to beat me down.  What I remember most though was how she was never there for me. She'd work all day, come home for dinner, and back out,leaving me in the care of my dad who spent his evenings nursing his six-pack in the bedroom, and not returning until I was fast asleep. I used to wonder how she could spend more time with that other child than with her daughter, and then, as I got a little older I discovered it wasn't a child after all.

When I got older, I left home, first to live with a friend and eventually there came to move to the city.  Mom and I chatted on the phone, but it was obvious she liked my being gone, and for many years, I was glad to be gone.  But, there comes a time in every woman's life when they begin missing their 'mommy', and many a night I found myself crying for her, but it was too late for she was gone.  We'd let far too much time go by without saying we were sorry to each other, and now we would never have the chance, until....

....until she came to me in my dream.  And I was able to put my arms around her and say I was sorry and I wanted to come home.  "Not now", she said.  "It's not time".  And as we stood there, holding each other, she and everything around her faded away...and I woke. I tried hard to go back to the dream, but I realize that I had been given a great gift, the joy of knowing that my mom really is watching over me. 

So, no matter what may come my way in the future, I know I can deal with it.  Whatever its meaning, I don't know.  All I can say is it gave me the gift of hope.


I think these difficult times have helped me to understand better than before
how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way,
and that so many things that one goes around worrying about
are of no importance whatsoever.

Isak Dinesen

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fit to be Tied...A Rant

Woke up early this morning, showered, and took some time puttering around before heading out for a day of tests.  First I headed to the lab for my blood work.  No issues there, and I must compliment the wonderful woman who drew my blood.  She was good.  Then, I had to head in the opposite direction for my Pet Scan.  Didn't go so good there.  Seems that my insurance hadn't approved it as yet.  According to what was told to me, being that I am in a "Member"? plan, I have to wait for someone from member services to call me before I can make an appointment.  What the heck does that mean?  Who the heck is member services?

This after I stuck with a no-carbohydrate all day yesterday and nothing, not even a cup of coffee this morning. I'm not even going to mention my shattered nerves from worry. By the time I received this message, I was queasy, weak, and very cranky, but I credit myself in not taking my frustration out on the lovely woman in the lab.  

Needless to say, I am peeved.  I've paid my dues, almost $200 a month from my check, plus what my employer lays out to make out the different.  For six years I've done this and never used my plan. Now comes the time when I really need it, and they make me jump through hoops. I shake my head here in wonder.  There is definitely something wrong with our health care system.

Thanks for listening. I needed to get it out. Going to go take a snooze now and pretend today never happened. 

Tuesday Chatter

Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.

Carlos Castaneda


My life has undergone so many changes lately. Changes in diet, in exercise...changes in the way I experience life, changes in the way I look at life, changes in the way I appreciate life. When the emergency room doctor told me that  they found a nodule on my lung and that I should follow up on it as soon as possible, well, one suddenly discovers that they are not immortal after all.  Compound that with a dangerously high blood pressure reading, and one realizes we have taken our health for granted for far too long.  Changes must be made, or we will die, simple as that.

But, changes in diet and lifestyle are not the only changes I have to make. The fact is, one change I have to make is learning how to keep my 'trap' shut.  I think it's my job to save the world and what happens is that I tend to push my opinions on others whether they want them or not.  If I've done that to any of you, please do accept my apologies.  I mean well, and it is only because I care.  

Yesterday I believe I lost a blog friend because I overstepped my boundaries and told him something they didn't need to hear.  I logged on and noticed that I'd lost a follower in each of two blogs, the two blogs this person had been following.  When I went to check out their blog, and found it was gone.  Later, through the grapevine, I learned that this person started another blog, and certain people were invited; others weren't.  That tells me that I did it again, and I've only myself to blame for losing a friend.  I overstepped my boundaries.  

A long time ago, I learned that we were all placed on this earth for a reason, with lessons to be learned. We have our assignments, and everybody has their own responsibility for completing theirs. Yet, here I am trying to interfere by telling others what they have to do. We all make mistakes.  Isn't that the way we learn?  And, as I sit here this morning writing this is that I realize one of my mistakes is trying to tell others how to live their lives.  

If I've done this to you, please accept my apology and know that it wasn't done to hurt you.  It was done out of love.  Perhaps it is that I haven't had that many friends in my life. It's been hard for me to reach out. So, perhaps I am still learning how to be a friend. Whatever the reason, I'm asking you now that if you EVER feel that I am overstepping my bounds, please feel free to let me know.  I'd rather that than lose another friend. And if, by chance, the friend I lost should read this, please forgive me.  I'd like another chance.

Well, it's time to get showered, dressed, and get ready to get out of here for my test. I'm scared, but I know this has to be done. Thanks for listening to me today, and thanks for being here for me. Sometimes I just feel like such a big baby.  Had a dream last night that I will tell you about tomorrow.  It was about my mom, and was something so very, very special.

In our instinctive attachments, our fear of change, and our wish for certainty
and permanence, we may undercut the impermanence which is
our greatest strength, our most fundamental identity. Without impermanence,
there is no process. The nature of life is change. All hope is based on process.

Rachel Naomi Remen