Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Samhain/Halloween, oh how I looked forward to this day, but at this point, I've lost most of my interest.  I've stressed myself trying to find a way to work today, but in the end, I had to give up and take another vacation day. The buses are running on a limited schedule, and, of course, there are delays, and they are packed in like sardines. I cannot do it. I just can't move around like I once did.

It is hard to believe that just last week at this time that we'd been planning for a surprise Halloween party for our clients.  I'd bought my witch's hat and was all ready to have a wonderful time of it. The wind has been knocked out of me. 

The autumn wind—oh, hear it howl!
Without—October's tempests scowl,
As he troops away on the raving wind,
And leaveth dry leaves in his path behind,
Oh, hear him shout,
He is making the old trees bare;
Oh, cruel he,
To the old oak tree
And the garden hedges fair!
Oh, a wild and tyrannous king is he
When he playeth his frolic in every tree
And maketh the forest bare.

I know that a tyrannous rod is his
When he maketh the forest bow;
But worse, far worse are his tyrannies,
For he tameth the spirit now!
Oh, hear him shout,
October is going away!
'Tis the night—the night
Of the grave's delight,
And the warlocks are at their play;
Ye think that without
The wild winds shout,
But no, it is they—it is they.

The Spirits are pulling the sere dry leaves
Of the shadowy forest down;
And howl the gaunt reapers that gather the sheaves,
With the moon o'er their revels to frown.
To-morrow ye'll find all their spoils in your path,
And ye'll speak of the wind and the sky;
But oh, could ye see them to-night in their wrath,
I ween ye'd be frenzied of eye!

by Arthur Cleveland Coxe

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Worst of it is Over; Now it is Time to Rebuild

If things are tough, remember that every flower had to go through a whole lot
of dirt to get there. So do not grieve about a bitter experience. The present
is slipping by while you are regretting the past and worrying about the future.
Regret will not prevent tomorrow’s sorrows; it will only rob today of its strength.

Barbara Johnson

We dodged a bullet last night.  At about 8 pm we heard an explosion and our power began to flicker.  My son and I looked at each other with that 'well, this is it' look, but we never lost power.  My son and I remained glued to the television for most of the night, and when I did go to bed, sleep was a long time coming.  My emotions are running high this morning. The tears of sadness flow.  My city has been decimated.  Lives have been lost, homes destroyed.  The subways may be down for weeks.  

I am blessed.  I have my power. I have food to eat.  I have my family. I've not been able to reach my co-worker in Staten Island, and I understand they were hit very hard.  I pray for the safety of her, her husband, and their little doggy.  Please let them be safe.

We knew this was coming.  They have been talking about it for years. Our public officials handled it to the best of our ability. I commend them and those who are now working on the front lines. Now the rebuilding begins.   

Monday, October 29, 2012

Signing Off

The mayor just had a press conference, and he said the worst of the storm is beginning now so I'll be signing off for now. I'm fearful of an abrupt stoppage of power.  The winds are howling so badly now that it sounds like someone is playing the flute in the courtyard.  We all had to stop and take a look.  I've never heard a sound like that before.  The water is rising now and some areas of Brooklyn are flooding.  I am on higher ground so, as I said previously, flooding should not be an issue.  We've plenty of food and supplies.  My son bought more on his way here.  We've all we need, and if we stay indoors we will be safe.  I will do my best to check in in the morning, but know that if I don't, it is because we have lost power and not that something bad has happened.

Thanks all for your well wishes.  It means a lot to me.  So, for now I'm going to sign off and hunker down for what looks to be a long night.


A Higher Power truly has been watching over my son.  At this moment, he is in a cab and headed here to my home in Brooklyn.  We may lose power later, but we're on high ground so fear of flooding is out.  The mayor is on now announcing that everything will continue to be shut down tomorrow.  The storm continues to intensify.  Already the FDR and parts of Coney Island have been flooded.  Power is down is some areas.  Bridges and tunnels will be closing in a few hours, as soon as the winds pick up, which, by the way, should be about 90 mph with gusts of 115 mph.  I'm scared, but blessed that we will be together.  My younger son is in a totally safe area.  Thanks for your positive thoughts and wishes. 


It's morning now, and the storm has begun.  Last night I totally fell out to a deep sleep soon after my head hit the pillow, but was awoken about 4 am from the winds as they blew a metal gate door open and shut. Because my apartment windows open out to a confined courtyard, it doesn't appear so bad out right now, but I know the brunt of the storm has yet to begin.  

I worry, too, because my son feels that sense of invulnerability that many if not most of us felt in our youth, so he has chosen to remain in his home in one of the "A" Zones of the city.  I am angry because he just refused to listen and fearful of his safety.  Yes, he is, as he says,  only one block from the safe area which may make his area only a precautionary measure, on the fifth floor, well stocked with storm supplies, and he is not alone because most of the residents chose to stay (which is why I think he chose not to leave.  Fear of being broken into). And, because he is so high up, I try to focus on his being all right and coming through this unharmed, but all kinds of thoughts run through my head when I hear about 11 foot storm surges. 

Oh, the folly's of youth. How well I remember putting my own self into dangerous situations when I was young, like hitchhiking to and fro never giving thought to whose car I was getting into and driving over High Point Mountain in the middle of a blizzard rather than find a place and hunker down.  I know there was a Higher Power watching over me.  Please let the god/goddess watch over my son as well. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm: Updated

(The mayor just ordered evacuations.  Now I am worried about my son.  He lives in Zone A, and I haven't been able to reach him.)

As I sit here Sunday morning during the calm before the storm, I realize that I am in a much better place than I was last year during Irene.  I am closer to the ocean, yes, but I am on higher ground so I do not fear a flood. My apartment is also situated in the back of the building, away from all the trees. My windows open to a small courtyard which is completely surrounded by ours and the building next door so the heavy winds should not reach me, although there can be quite a crosswind in the courtyard.  I also feel safer living in a building with a super who treats it like it is his baby.  Not only is this building well taken care of, but I also won't feel so alone.  In my old house, I had no friendly neighbors per se, and the sons upstairs were alcoholics and addicts.  

I went out shopping early yesterday to beat the crowds, and there is plenty of food in the house. I made sure to stock up on items that do not need refrigeration. That is my main 'personal' concern during this storm--losing power. I have candles, batteries, flashlights, and a battery operated radio.  I also made sure my Kindle was fully charged, as well as my phone. My kitty has plenty of food so I feel pretty I am pretty much ready for whatever should happen.  When the storm begins, I will not be on my computer so I am checking in now to let you all know that I am prepared. 

I do worry, however, about those people here in the city who live in low-lying areas.  Yesterday, I watched our mayor's press conference, and he just did not seem to be taking this storm as serious as he should.  He did not handle the big snowstorm of a couple years back very well, and people died as a result. Then, when Irene arrived last year, he went into full disaster mode, and Irene bypassed us.  The naysayers criticized him for his handling of that one, too.  Now, it seems he is handling this one with far less caution and taking it for granted that like Irene and will basically pass us by so there are no evacuation orders.  In fact, schools are still open on Monday, and he is telling us to go to school and work on Monday.  Now, the weather service is calling for life threatening storm surges in New York harbor.  That's well over 350,000 people in harm's way. I pray that he wakes up and does the right thing today or the governor steps in, and it better be soon.  There's a lot of people to evacuate.

So, as I sit here in the quiet of my home, I light a candle and say a prayer for those who find themselves in harm's way.  Won't you join me please?

Grant, O God and Goddess, Thy protection;

And in protection, strength;

And in strength, understanding;

And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences, the love of God and the Goddess.

The Gorsedd Prayer

(Once the storm begins, I will probably not be on my computer.  I worry that if the power goes quickly, my computer will crash as my television did several years ago when a manhole blew and electricity went off quickly.  Know that I am safe and will check in as soon as possible.)

Friday, October 26, 2012


The world is full of men and women who work too much, sleep too little,
hardly ever exercise, eat poorly, and are always struggling or failing to find
adequate time with their families. We are in a perpetual hurry--constantly rushing
from one activity to another, with little understanding of where all this
activity is leading us. . . . The world has gone and got itself in an awful rush,
to whose benefit I do not know. We are too busy for our own good.
We need to slow down. Our lifestyles are destroying us.
The worst part is, we are rushing east in search of a sunset.

Matthew Kelly    

New York City is an expensive and  busy city where everyone is perpetually bustling about as they struggle to make a living. Rents are high and food prices are through the roof.  One has to work  hard and long hours just to survive...unless, of course, you were born with a 'silver spoon' in your mouth, and they, too, tend to overwork just like the rest of us because it is as they say, 'the more you have, the more you want'.

They tell us that we should eat dinner no later than 6 pm and get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Perhaps that was possible in our parents and our grandparents day, but it is only a pipe dream for those of us who are up at the crack of dawn and out the door sometimes before the sun even comes up...and I'd say that is about 90 per cent of us. I can't even remember the last time I got 8 hours sleep, let alone sleep right through the night. (Sigh) Perhaps it I could retire....but March 23, 2014 is a long way off. That's when I can collect my full benefits, and I am determined to stick it out. 

And now, as another Friday rolls around, I begin to think of weekend plans, and unfortunately, there will be little time for rest. This is a cooking week for me so Saturday will be spent shopping, chopping, and cooking. Last time I made lots of soups and stews and plan to do much the same this time around. I really enjoyed them, even without the sodium. They were great for dinner and even better for my lunches. And cut up a slice of avocado and put it on top? Heck, I'd better stop talking about food right now.  I sure am making myself hungry.

I put in this morning for a vacation day on Monday.  Hurricane Sandy is headed our way.  So far they say it will not be a direct hit, but it is going to hit us with heavy rain and wind nonetheless.  And the more I hear about it, especially when they speak of 'the perfect storm', the more anxious I become, especially after reading items such as the following: 'An unusual nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm that forecasters are now calling "Frankenstorm" is likely to blast most of the East Coast next week, focusing the worst of its weather mayhem around New York City and New Jersey.' 

Needless to say, I'm not about to let worry ruin my weekend.   I'll prepare for the worst, but I won't allow myself to be stressed over something I cannot control. Hallmark  has a wonderful lineup this weekend in its countdown to Halloween.  On Saturday, there will be a marathon of all the "Good Witch" films, including the debut of "The Good Witch's Charm". Sunday will feature such films as "Time After Time" and "Edge of the Garden" along with a redo of the "Good Witch's" films.

And speaking of Halloween/Samahin?  Is everyone ready?I know I am.  I love this holiday, absolutely love it.  Won't be doing much. It's a late work night for me, so I am not expecting to have any  'trick or treaters'. But, I do plan to have some fun at work.  Then, in the evening, after a quiet dinner, it will be a night for candles, reflection, and honoring the ancestors.  

Well, it's off to a training for me today.  Will see you all later.

I wish you all a great week and take care my friends and visitors. Thank you all for being there for me and putting up with my rants. Love you all. See you on Monday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are you a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime?

Today is the birthday of someone who was very special to me, my dear friend, Elizabeth. She was a joy to know, and although we never met in person, she was very close to my heart.  She loved lavender and made her own lavender soaps, chocolate covered cherries, Avalon,  animals, and life in general.  I used to love hearing her talk of her menagery of pets, animals she saved from the brink of death.  As I recall she had about 8 or 9 dogs, including a blind collie named Merlin,  5 cats, and any number of rabbits. 

On December 1st, 2009 she wrote me and told me she had gone to the doctor.  The good news was, in her words 'I am anemic, have a low blood count, and a bunch of other small problems.  (always trying to make light of things) The bad news is I have wide spread liver cancer.'  She died December 16th, 2009. It happened so quickly that I never got to say good bye.

She was a beautiful and wise crone who will always have a special place in my heart.  I love you, Elizabeth.  Please know that you will never be forgotten.  Tonight I will light my lavender scented candle, just for you, and with fond remembrance, celebrate your life.

The following is for you, Elizabeth, as well as for all my other wonderful online friends.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

 -- Unknown --

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October's Bright Blue Weather

O sun and skies and clouds of June
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And goldenrod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When gentians roll their fringes tight,
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks
In idle, golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunt
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers hour by hour
October's bright blue weather.

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

by Helen Hunt Jackson

Haven't seen much of those bright blue skies lately.  It's been gray, dreary, and warm here in the city.  Not quite my idea of a lovely autumn.

It is one of those days for me.  The words are there; they just won't come. We all have these days on occasion, don't we?  We find our minds flooded with bits and pieces of what I call 'this and that' kind of information.  We become scattered as we try to focus on too many things at once.  This used to happen to me on occasion when I wrote plays, and I would push myself to write, to write anything, but the words that came out just didn't seem to fit in what I was trying to get across.

So now, this is when I tell myself to back off for the day.  Give the mind a chance to get its thoughts together.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Reprieve of Sorts

Although the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

A bit of relief is in order here. Hubby got up yesterday and went straight to the Department of Labor yesterday and demanded to know why he was cut off unemployment nine weeks early. It turns out that it was a clerical error. However, it will take until next week before his case is reinstated.  When he began to complain that he shouldn't be penalized for someone's mistake, the worker promised to try to get his funds released at some point this week.  Although I agree that he shouldn't be penalized, I do feel a ton of weight lifted from 'my' shoulders.  This will carry us through January, and hopefully, by then, hopefully, hubby will win his battle and disability will kick in.  Thanks all for your kind words and wishes yesterday. 

As far as the food stamps go.  That's a losing battle, but the Medicaid is worth a fight.  I cannot afford to add him to my insurance.  I'm already paying a little over $200 a month plus co-pay just for me.  And, they pull a slick one on that as well.  I chose this plan because it has a low co-pay $10...but then about a month after a doctor visit, I receive a bill in the mail saying they paid everything but $42.  Of course they don't call it such, but that appears to be a $52 co-pay to  me.  But, there is no use complaining.  They have me over a barrel, and they know it. I need the darned insurance.

On another note, I was sitting by the window last night in quiet reflection, thinking about all the changes this past year has wrought. According to the Celts, the new year begins at Samhain when nature appears to be dying down.  As I recall, it was last year at this time that I discovered they were going to sell my house. Anyone remember what a panic I was in? Why, that had been my only home for 15 years.  What was I to do? But, then the games between the two owners started, and I was put in the middle of the family feud.  Made it very easy for me to pack up and say good-bye, and I have been happy in my new home ever since. 

My son moved out and went on his own.  I knew the time had to come, but it wasn't easy to deal with.  I missed him so.  And,he had spoiled me. All I had to say was, "I feel like an iced coffee", and he'd head out and buy one for me. I'm blessed to have two wonderful sons. They both have had their trials and tribulations as well lately, but learning how to work through their issues and not running home to 'mommy' is how they grow.  Letting go of my need to take care of them has not been easy, though.

Healthwise, there have been some changes. To begin with, I finally started taking care of my health, and, in doing so, I've had to face and accept that I am no longer the 'spring chicken' I once was.  As the doctor in the emergency room stated, "When you reach a certain age, things start to fall apart", and that they have.  I've had to accept that I will never run about the city as I once did, that my back is just 'not' going to get any better, and I have recognized that I will be relying on my cane for more than just getting a seat on the train as some people do.  But, isn't this what life is all about?  

Change? Nothing in life remains the same. It was never meant to. Think of how boring life would be if we had no changes. None of us is the same person we were yesterday, and we are definitely not the same person we were in our youth when our lives stretched out in front of us. Everything has to change, and living is about learning how to change with life and embracing the changes we face.  Change is not always going to be comfortable, but one has to learn how to adapt. Do I relish and embrace the faltering of my health?  No, but I embrace the positive changes it has forced me to make. Celebrate change. It will only make you stronger.

One must never lose time in vainly regretting the past or
in complaining against the changes which cause us discomfort,
for change is the essence of life.

Anatole France

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday This and That (Warning. It Turns Into a Rant)

Sometimes, the problems you must face are more than you wish to cope with, and tomorrow doesn't seem to offer any solutions.  You may ask yourself "Why me?" but the answer is sometimes unclear.  You may even tend to feel that life hasn't been just or fair to burden you with such obstacles.  The roads any of us choose to follow are never free of bumps or curves, but eventually the turns lead to a smoother path ahead.  Believe in yourself and your dreams.  You will soon realize that the future holds many promises for you.  Remember. . . difficult times don't last forever.

Geri Danks

Weekend is over and another work week is set to begin.  Didn't do much at all this weekend.  Hit the fruit stand and Rite Aid for some needed items, but forget shopping for myself. That's  on hold for the time being.  It always seems that just when we begin to get ahead, something happens to knock us back down again.  Here I was, beginning to seriously think aboutmy retirement plans, and now life throws us another whammy.  Hubby's employment benefits have been cut off. According to the records, hubby's unemployment has run out.  It shouldn't have, he should be able to collect until January, but his balance says 'zero'

In addition, they closed his food stamps because unemployment pays him too much. No notice.  No chance for appeal. Imagine that!!!  And forget Medicaid.  They say he is not eligible. What the heck? Social security disability is giving him the runaround. The man has a terminal liver disease and needs treatment, emphysema, and glaucoma. We've got a lawyer to fight it, but even they can't seem to light a fire 'under their butts'.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared.  I don't know if I can handle this all alone.  Living in New York is quite an expense, and moving, at this point, is out of the question.  Hubby needs to be near his doctors.

Out of suffering have emerged the
strongest souls; the most massive
characters are seared with scars.

Edwin H. Chapin

I am also very angry that it seems to me that we, who work all our lives and pay our dues are penalized while those that have never worked benefit from the monies taken for our salaries all these years. I've worked for fifty years and go to work in pain every day, yet I cannot quit because the monies I can collect from social security won't even pay my rent...and forget about social security disability.  If they tell a man with a terminal illness that he is 'able to work, what will they tell me? Yet, a 24 year old client of mine who has never worked a day in his life 'plays' that he is depressed and has everything is handed to him...$1600 in Social Security Supplemental Income and some other benefit he receives.  He only pays $400 rent, gets $200 food stamps, medicaid, and has everything handed to him.

Forgive me for saying this, but there is definitely something not quite right with the system. What the heck did hubby and I pay our dues for all our lives if we can't use it when we need it?  I don't support my grown sons, yet here I am at 65 years of age supporting someone else who is well able to go out and earn a living, but he chooses not to because the system makes it all too easy on him.  Makes me want to quit my job and find one that is 'off the books'.  After all, the money I am paying in to 'supposedly' benefit me is used instead to benefit drug dealers and criminals.  Yes, that's blunt, but I see it every day...and that is what has me so riled up.

Granted, I do understand that there are those out there who truly DO need help and have never worked, not because they don't want to, but because they are unable to. I see that everyday to. I have no qualms about that.  It's those who know how to 'work' the system and do so every chance they get that I have a problem with.  And what gripes me the most is that the system makes it so easy for them.

Meanwhile, I'd wanted to do some shopping for myself this weekend, but a heavy dose of reality has set in, and, at this point, I have no idea what the future will bring.  I do know this, though, hubby and I  have been through our troubles and tribulations before, and we have not only survived, but have grown stronger because of it. And THAT is going to be my focus during the upcoming weeks.  Thanks for letting me share today.

Unfortunately, all is not beauty and peace. I don't believe I've ever met

a person who hasn't been challenged or wounded by something. Difficulties

present choices: we can either waste away from our wounds or use them

to grow our souls. My husband, for example, is a survivor of the Second

World War. As a child, he suffered through six years of bombings, near-
escapes, and concentration camps. Part of his soul work has been the
gradual transformation of this deep well of grief and pain. As he heals
himself, he also participates in healing that terrible idea of war in others.
I have always said that no one heals alone--we heal through and for one another.

Joan Borysenko

Friday, October 19, 2012


"The shape of my life is, of course, determined by many things; my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gift from the Sea

What a special lady Anne Morrow Lindbergh was, and this book, 'Gift from the Sea' was one of the best I ever read. Once started, I couldn't put it down until it was finished. Written by this remarkable woman over a century ago, I often find myself reaching for my withered copy when I am feeling down, and it continues to inspire me today. If you've not read it, do get hold of a copy. I can almost guarantee it will be with you forever as it has for me.

“Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.” 

 Anne Morrow Lindbergh 
Gift from the Sea

As we come to another Friday I once again find myself contemplating just where has this week gone.  October is nearly over already, and each day seems to pass in the blink of an eye. I ask myself, "Why does time have to speed up as we get older?  Why does it seem that one day just melds into another?"  The other morning I found myself dreaming of my lost youth and the beautiful young 'maiden' I once was. As the years passed, she became the 'mother' and now has become the 'crone'. And I continue to find it hard believing that almost 66 years have passed in my journey of life.

And now, before I become too melancholy, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful joy-filled weekend.  I've nothing planned.  Still debating if I want to go out and do a little shopping.  Depends on what the weather brings.  They change the forecast so much this time of year that I'll just play it by ear. Not much else to do.  No cooking this weekend, summer clothes have been packed, and winter clothes are ready to go.  Perhaps it will just be a weekend to stay in jammies and rest.  Yesterday was a 10 hour workday so lounging about sounds pretty good about now.

See you all on Monday.

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.” 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
 Gift from the Sea

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ladies of the Lake

“The Goddess does not shower her gifts on those who reject them.” 
― Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon

I have begun my course for the 'Ladies of the Lake' study group.  I just know I am going to love it.  Avalon has always been close to my heart, and although it is believed to have been a mythical place, I believe that Avalon once existed.  Perhaps it wasn't the Avalon that we read about, in my heart I know that such a place once existed, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's books awakened some long-forgotten memories in many of us.  

I remember my first experience with Avalon.  I was still deeply into Yahoo groups at the time, had never even heard of Blogger.  Ladies in the groups were all 'oohing and aahing' over 'The Mists of Avalon'.  I'd not read it and didn't plan to.  This was  during a time when I scoffed at fiction.  Well, to make a long story short,  I walked into Barnes & Noble one day and sitting there right in front of me were stacks and stacks of this famous book.  "What the heck", I thought as I walked over to the table, picked up a copy, and began flipping through the pages.  Needless to say, I walked out with a copy and forgot the book I had gone for.

Right from page one I found myself mesmerized, unable to put the book down, and before I knew it, Avalon had begun invading my dreams.  I was there.  It wasn't exactly the Avalon in the book and none of the characters were in my dreams, but when I awoke, I know that I had been there before. This was more than 'just a dream' to me.

After finishing the book, I bought the entire series: "The Forest House", "Ancestors of Avalon", "Priestess of Avalon", "The Fall of Atlantis", and "Lady of Avalon".  I read the series first backwards from the 'Mists' to 'Atlantis' and then forward from 'Atlantis' to the 'Mists'.  I kept a notebook beside me and became obsessed with tracing the main characters through their series of incarnations.  And, throughout the years I began to read much on the Arthurian and Avalonian traditions.  I especially loved Dion Fortune's 'Avalon of the Heart' and 'Avalon Within' by Jhenah Telyndru.

And now, here I am, seemingly coming full circle as I once again delve into the mystical world of Avalon.  The book for this course is, very appropriately chosen, "Ladies of Avalon" by Caitlin and John Matthews, two of the most prolific and knowledgeable writers I know of. I can't seem to put it down and find myself getting ahead of the lessons.  The course itself involves studies of the nine ladies of Arthurian legend--Igraine, Guinevere, Morgan, Argante, Nimue, Enid, Kundry, Dindraine, and Ragnell. It involves using intuition, the Arthurian tarot, and going within, for Avalon is, indeed, found within.

As I said before, the course itself is free although you have to buy the book.  I found it at Amazon for $14.  They also have used copies at a much cheaper price.  The 'sponsors' of the training is the "Daughter's of the Sacred Grail"on Facebook.  They also have a website  

“They have not forgotten the Mysteries,' she said, ‘they have found them too difficult. They want a God who will care for them, who will not demand that they struggle for enlightenment, but who will accept them just as they are, with all their sins, and take away their sins with repentance. It is not so, it will never be so, but perhaps it is the only way the unenlightened can bear to think of their Gods.'

Lancelot smiled bitterly. ‘Perhaps a religion which demands that every man must work though lifetime after lifetime for his own salvation is too much for mankind. They want not to wait for God's justice but to see it now. And that is the lure which this new breed of priests has promised them.'

Morgaine knew that he spoke truth, and bowed her head in anguish. ‘And since their view of a God is what shapes their reality, so it shall be–the Goddess was real while mankind still paid homage to her, and created her form for themselves. Now they will make for themselves the kind of God they think they want–the kind of God they deserve, perhaps.'

Well, so it must be, for as man saw reality, so it became.” 

 Marion Zimmer Bradley, 
The Mists of Avalon

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thank You

Friendships are those fruits gathered from trees planted
in the rich soil of love, and nurtured with tender
care and understanding. These trees are
never subjected to drought.

Alma L. Weixelbaum

Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your heartfelt prayers and support. It all went well at the doctor's office, and he somewhat put me at ease. The goiter is pressing against my esophagus, but not to the point where surgery is imminent. It doesn't interfere with my swallowing, breathing, and hasn't changed my voice. Perhaps medication will shrink it. I'll be altogether at ease once all these tests are done, and I have my answers.  I know that your prayers are helping.

And then, there was the issue with my phone. When I went to work on Monday, lo and behold, my phone sat right on my desk where I left it.  Someone took the turtle food off my desk, but left the phone.  Whew!!!  What a relief that was.  Why would they take turtle food you may ask?  Heck, why did they steal one of our baby frogs?  They take just to take....and this is staff I am talking about, the weekend maintenance workers. 

Again, I know your prayers and positive thoughts were with me this week.  And thank you for your friendship. You all mean the world to me. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Dawn Song

Doctor's appointment went well yesterday. When I first walked in his office and saw three other doctors with serious faces, my reaction was "Uh oh".  Turns out that they were interns, however.  The doctor himself was a chubby jolly fellow who immediately put me at ease.  He looked at the scan, but doesn't see the same thing the radiologist and my doctor saw.  He felt my throat and did see a swelling which may indicate goiter, but didn't feel any lumps.  Good sign.  My TSH levels are low, another good sign.  I'm scheduled for a sonogram in early November which should tell us more, but for now, he is fairly certain it is not thyroid cancer. 

I just wish all of this were over.  I've never been so poked and prodded in my life.  I know it is for good cause, but heck, it doesn't make it any easier.

With Autumn settling in and a morning chill in the air, it's been getting harder to drag myself out of bed and ready myself for work.  The night is longer now, and it seems as if I am now rising in the middle of the night.  Now, the first rays of dawn don't appear until long after I have had my coffee and showered.  Not that I am complaining.  The dark time has always been my favorite part of the year.  For me, it is has always been season of inner reflection and solitude. It is a time to reflect on where I have been and where I am going. 

For so many years now my life has coasted along on an even keel. Each day blended into the next.  Oh, there were times in recent years that I would have liked to find another job, but they were only thoughts.  No serious decisions to be made. Even last December when we found out that they were going to sell our home, there was nothing to 'think' about.  We had to move, and so be it. And so, life as it was just chugged along.  

But now, as we approach this upcoming dark season, it will be different.  I'll be 66 years old in March.  I'd like to continue to work until I reach the full retirement age of 67.  I earned my benefits, and, by golly, I want the full amount I am entitled to.  But, as I settle into my Autumn years, health issues have begun to crop up, and the pain in my back just never goes away anymore. To be honest, I don't know how long I 'will' be able to carry on...and do I really want to or can I, continue to put myself through this every day?

Yes, this will be a season of decisions for me, important life-changing decisions. But for now, I will be content to sit back and enjoy the dawn.

While the earth is dark and grey
        How I laugh within:    I know
    In my breast what ardours gay
        From the morning overflow.
    Though the cheek be white and wet
        In my heart no fear may fall:
    There my chieftain leads, and yet
        Ancient battle-trumpets call.
    Bend on me no hasty frown
        If my spirit slight your cares:
    Sunlike still my joy looks down
        Changing tears to beamy airs.
    Think me not of fickle heart
        If with joy my bosom swells
    Though your ways from mine depart:
        In the true are no farewells.
    What I love in you I find
        Everywhere.    A friend I greet
    In each flower and tree and wind--
        Oh, but life is sweet, is sweet.
    What to you are bolts and bars
        Are to me the hands that guide
    To the freedom of the stars
        Where my golden kinsmen bide.
    From my mountain top I view:
        Twilight's purple flower is gone,
    And I send my song to you
        On the level light of dawn.

By George William Russell

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Morning This and That

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Good morning.  Twas an unusual weekend weatherwise.  Saturday felt like Winter had arrived, and by Sunday we were back in the 70's.  On Saturday, I woke early, dressed, and headed to the market.  Cooking weekend, you know. I honestly did not want to go back home.  I wanted to savor the freshness of the air, and, of course, my mind was identifying at least a dozen things I am going to need for fall and winter, but alas, we have to eat so head on home I did. 

The cold weather was a blessing, and spending the entire afternoon in the kitchen over the stove was not as grueling as it was in the summer when I was running back and forth into the living room to get in front of the AC...and cooking in the nude. Not a pretty sight.  I made two pots of hearty stews--one chicken and one beef-- for myself and was pleasantly surprised about how well these recipes, which, by the way, I made up in my head, came out.  

Couldn't take any pictures for you.  Left my phone at work, on my desk, and spent the entire weekend saying a prayer that it was still there when I returned.  Weekend maintenance workers are known for their sticky fingers.  Would you believe they actually stole one of our baby frogs  right out of the tank as well as my 99 cent bottle of hand sanitizer, my hand cream, pens, staplers, etc.  In other words, they will take anything that is not nailed down.

This afternoon I meet with my Endocrinologist.  He'll be the one make the final decision as to whether or not I will need a biopsy on the nodules on my thyroid.  My doctor stated she is reasonably sure that these are benign nodules, but he might want to take a look anyway.  Although I haven't spoken about it, this has been a rather frightening time for me.  First there was the nodule on my left lung and now three on my thyroid.  I voiced my fears to the doctor, and she stated, "You'd be surprised at what is inside of our bodies.  Your lymph nodes look fine." My pulmonologist nearly assured me that my lung nodule was benign as well, but I won't stop worrying until I have a definitive answer. I want something in black and white. 

Of course, I know that that is my hypochondria acting up again, but I am determined not to let it  get the best of me.  I may worry, but I continue with life and do not let my health concerns get me down. Sometimes I look forward and realize that three-quarters of my life is over now, and no matter how old one is, we can never know how much time we have left.  Life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed.  Life is indeed a gift and one that we should always treasure.

If one burdens the future with one's worries, it cannot grow organically. I am filled with confidence, not that I shall succeed in worldly things, but that even when things go badly for me I shall still find life good and worth living.

Etty Hillesum

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've
been, but also where you are going.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

Nancy Simms

Another week has passed by at record speed.  Alas, I try and try to slow it down, but time continues to push forward on it journey.  The only thing left for me to do is to slow down and stop moving so fast.  For awhile there, I'd thought I had it licked, but now I find myself falling right back into the speed demon I once was.  That is good in that it means my lungs are strengthening and the extra walking is making me healthier, but it is also making me miss out on what I am passing by.

This is a cooking weekend for me.  With the cool weather, I plan to make a lot of soups and stews.  I love soups and stews, but most have too much sodium, so last cooking spree I tried my hands at my own chicken stew, salt-free, and I have to say it was 'delicious'.  I used skinless chicken legs, chopped for soup, 2 packages of fresh soup vegetables, 3 stalks of celery in addition to what came in the package, tomatoes, new potatoes, onions, and various colored peppers.  The only seasoning I used was some garlic powder. After washing and chopping the soup vegetables, I tossed all, including the handful of fresh herbs that came with it, into a pot and let it simmer. By the time all the seasonings melded together, it really didn't need any salt. It was fantastic. Even hubby ate it. 

This week I plan to make more (one can never have enough chicken stew) and a beef stew. My mouth is already watering.  I've also been craving some Sloppy Joe's and a nice hamburger will taste good right about now. The rest I will play by ear. Of course, that's only my foods.  Hubby has his own salted menu.

Best wishes for the weekend ahead. Whatever your plans, be safe and be happy. See you all on Monday.

Trick or Treat--1950's

Jack-o-lantern smiling bright,
Smiling bright, smiling bright, 
Witches flying in the night, 
It is Halloween! 

Ghosts and goblins, cats and bats,
Cats and bats, cats and bats. 
Witches with their funny hats, 
It is Halloween!

Are we there yet?  I have to chuckle when I think of that commercial.  It reminds me so much of me, only that wasn't the question I was asking.  No, I was harassing  my mom with, "Is it time yet?"  We'd already had our dinner, and she'd be at the sink doing the dishes.   I'd ask that question over and over again, and surprisingly, for that one night, she didn't get agitated. "No, not yet.  Some people are still having their dinner, and you don't want to interrupt them.  Besides, it's not dark enough yet." Imagine that. There was once a Halloween where children couldn't go out until it was dark.

Halloween night in the 1950's.  Hard to imagine in this day and age that we couldn't go out until it was dark, and we were permitted to go without supervision. We lived in a much safer world! We worked hard at carving our pumpkins, lit them with candles, set them out to our front porches, and knew that no one was going to come around and smash them. We didn't have to worry about razor blades in apples or needles in our candy bars.  It was so safe back then that as long as we stayed in the neighborhood, we didn't even have a curfew. 

Houses were close together in our 'cookie cutter' neighborhood, and we went from one house to another for blocks on end.Houses were decorated, and no one turned us away. There were no delinquents about to rob our bags, and we even made drop offs at home when the loot got too heavy. Treats  consisted of apples, homemade cookies, tootsie rolls, candy apples, lots of suckers, pennies, (which meant something back then), mellow cream pumpkins (tasted like candy corn), jelly pumpkins, Sugar Daddy Pops. Salt Water Taffy, Neccos, and an occasional Mars or Hershey bar. There  was oh, so much more, but these are the ones I remember the most. 

Children today may have their Halloween fun, but it is indeed unfortunate that they cannot celebrate with as much freedom as we once did.  No longer can a child wait until after dark.  It's not safe out there anymore.  And, to go it alone?  No way.  Too much danger in those streets.  Children now go out immediately after school, with their parent, and usually only 'trick or treat' in  the stores.  I've not bought candy in years, because I know that no one will come. For the past 15 years, the only youth to come ringing my bell was a group of rowdy teenagers who grabbed handfuls of candy, then ran away. 

This year I will probably by a bag or two.  There 'are' some children in my building, but they, like everyone else will probably be snug in their homes by the time I get home from work. After all, it falls on one of my late nights, and children just can't go out 'trick or treating' at night anymore. How sad that the world has changed so!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Respect: My Unofficial Research Study

As many of you know, one of my biggest pet peeves is the lack of respect. Call it respect or call it manners, to me it means the same thing. As I entered into my Autumnal years, I began taking notice of how we, those of us in our advancing years, are treated by those who are young enough to be our children and even our grandchildren.  And, now, since I walk with a cane, I take even more notice of how we are treated by the younger generation.  Oh, I definitely do get offered a seat about 90 percent of the time, but I think it's more because of my (what I hate to call) my handicap than my age.  And, I realize, as well, that not everyone will show respect...even to someone who is handicapped. I especially love those who are getting off at the next stop which is about three minutes away, but will NOT get up until we pull into the station, and then only when the train pulls to a stop.  Makes one shake their heads.

So, I decided I was going to engage in my own little unofficial research project.  And that is why, during  the past month, I have been taking not of who  will stand and give up their seat to an older woman with a cane and who just can't be bothered.  I found the results fairly interesting. The following is what I found:

Teen-age girls, either alone or with their peers, will NOT get up and give you a seat. They'll glance at you and quickly turn away.  My intuition tells me that each would LIKE to offer a seat, but fear being ridiculed by their friends.  For some reason, it is not considered 'cool' to show any respect for matter how old they may be. 

Teen-age boys will RARELY, and I do mean rarely, get up and ONLY if they are alone. One should never expect a seat when they are with their peers...or when they are playing a video game.  Only one during the entire month got up and offered me his seat.

It varies with young women in their early to late twenties. Oddly, it is those who appear to be on their way to or from work, those who are dressed  professional attire, who will usually hop up the minute you get on the phone. Those who are casually dressed and appear to be headed  nowhere pressing, will NOT get up and offer you a seat.

Men in their early to late twenties will very RARELY get up, whether dressed in a suit or in casual wear.

Women in their 30's, 40's, and early 50's will give you a seat 85 percent of the time.

Men in their 30's, 40's and early 50's RARELY will get up and give you a seat. 

Women in their 50's and older will offer seats.

Men in the 50's and older RARELY will.

And, don't be a male with a cane.  They have it even rougher than we females do.

So, there you have it.  The ladies of all ages win out, except for teens, and believe me, the ones I see are not ladies.  It goes to show that we women are more sensitive and more caring than our male counterparts, at least here in New York City.* As for our youngsters, I find it very sad that society has lost its ability to train these young men and women to be courteous, respectful, and polite.  Simple courtesies like opening doors for women and giving up your seat when a woman, the disabled or the elderly can't find one should be a no-brainer. Aren't these the kind of courtesies one wants to see extended to their own mom or grandmother?  So, why not extend them to someone else's mom?  Isn't it the right thing to do?  Or, doesn't that matter anymore?

*The above are statistics I see on the subway traveling to and from work. This has nothing to do with men, in general.  No offense intended.