Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Walpurgis Night


We know that our forefathers very generally kept the beginning of May as a great festival, and it is still regarded as the trysting-time of witches, i.e. once of wise- women and fays; who can doubt that heathen sacrifices blazed that day?"

(Jacob Grimm)


Today I am planning to wear my witch hat at work. My peers will think I have lost it, but tonight is Walpurgis Night, the other Beltane, the European Halloween, and I plan on celebrating tonight in honor of my German ancestry. Briefly, Walpurgis is a popular spring festival that falls on the eve of April 30th in some parts of Europe. There are some who say it is  'the dark side of May Day' because stories abound about  witches who fly about on their brooms and dance and sing around a bonfire as they await the arrival of Spring. The night is generally celebrated with bonfires, dancing, and feasting.  

It was originally celebrated as an ancient pagan festival held in honor of Odin, Freya, and the birth of Spring. Later, the Christians was turned the evening into a celebration to drive out the Pagan forces instead the spirit of Winter. Its Christian name was apparently derived from Saint Walburgis, a British nun who went to Germany in the 8th century to found Holy houses.  But, as the Christians soon discovered, the people were not ready to give up their beliefs in their Pagan gods. Hence, in order to  frighten them into converting, the Christians dressed up as devils and witches.It was then that the Church introduced them to Walburga as the protector from witchcraft and magic.

"Nine nights before the first of May is Walburga in flight, unceasingly chased by wild ghosts and seeking a hiding place from village to village. People leave their windows open so she can be safe behind the cross-shaped windowpane struts from her roaring enemies. For this, she lays a little gold piece on the windowsill, and flees further. A farmer who saw her on her flight through the woods described her as a white lady with long flowing hair, a crown upon her head; her shoes were fiery gold, and in her hands she carried a three-cornered mirror that showed all the future, and a spindle, as does Berchta. A troop of white riders exerted themselves to capture her. So also another farmer saw her, whom she begged to hide her in a shock of grain. No sooner was she hidden than the riders rushed by overhead. The next morning the farmer found grains of gold instead of rye in his grain stook. Therefore, the saint is portrayed with a bundle of grain."
(Rochholz,Drei Gaugtinen (Three Local Goddesses), 1870, p. 26-27)
 
Saint Walburgis is also credited with healing the sick and protecting women in childbirth. Today, Saint Walburga is considered to be the patroness against storms, diseases and plagues, rabies, famine and failed harvests as well as the patron saint of seamen, invalids and farmers.

As for my day, I plan to use some of my comp time and  leave work a little early so I can prepare a German feast for dinner--Sauerbraten, Hot German Potato Salad, and some red cabbage. I don't have the time nor the energy to make strudel, but if I can find some, I'll buy it. Later there will be lots of candles, and perhaps I might even try my hand again at tracing my German ancestry. I've managed to go as far back as my maternal 3rd great grandfather who migrated to the states from Saxony somewhere before 1840, but after that, the trail is lost. I've not been able to find anything about him before he left Germany.


I highly recommend 'Night of the Witches: Folklore, Traditions & Recipes for Celebrating Walpurgis Night' by Linda Raedisch for anyone wanting to learn more about this European Halloween.  It is a wonderful book filled with information about this holiday, including  folklore, recipes, crafts, and activities to fill the night.

I hope that you all have a splendid Walpurgis Night.

An excerpt from the book:

"Spring has come to the northern forest. The evening wind blows cold as the breath of the frost giants. Just overhead, there is a sound like the rushing of crows' wings. Can it be a coven of witches has flown over these woods? On any other night, you would probably swear that there was no such thing as a witch--at least, not the kind that streaks through the sky on a broomstick with guttering taper and billowing cloak. But this is no ordinary night; it is the thirtieth of April, the eve of May. Tonight is Walpurgis Night.'





Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Morning Love



I release any unpleasantness from the past and let it sail away.
I envision it going through the mists of my memories,
over the horizon, and out of sight. Love rushes in to fill
any empty places within my heart or mind. Now I am free
to do what is before me and free to do it better than ever
before. I am free to enrich my life and everything concerning me.

Unknown

Monday morning after a rather uneventful weekend which passed by far too quickly to suit  me. It's raining out.  I can hear it hitting the AC.  Wishing I had put in for the day off.  Saturday I cooked, and Sunday I tried to sleep late for a change, but Miss Minga had other plans for me.  What a rude awakening! She sits by her bowl and literally howls like a dog when she wants me to get up and feed her.  These animals!  What is one to do?  This little furball has me wrapped around her little toe, as mad as she gets me,  I love her with all my heart. As much as I would love to lounge about in bed as late as I want, she will soon be 21, and how many mornings will she wake me.  My eyes well with tears just thinking about it. Time to move onto something else.

This post is about love, all types of love.  Love of our fur babies, love of our children, love of mother to son, puppy love growing into adult love, and the love of nature. Quiet moments to myself. Loving life. I didn't plan on it when I started writing. It just happened.  Love surrounds us, envelops us, brings joy to our lives. 

Had a little birthday get-together for my eldest who turned 36 on Friday.  Oh my, is he that old already? I remember the day I first held him in my arms. As an only child from a small family, I'd never been around infants.  In fact, my son was the first I ever held.  And, oh, how that mother love kicked in. At that moment I became selfless, and my love for him was all that mattered.  Even today, he is still my baby, my firstborn.

Which reminds me, I guess wasn't exactly truthful when I said it was an uneventful weekend because I discovered, quite by accident, a bit of news about my youngest. But, let me begin at the beginning...25 years ago. He was only five when they moved next store, a family with a little girl a half year older than him. Because of that half year age difference, they never went to class together, but right from the start they became friends and were together from morning til night.  We'd laugh when they had their little tiffs because we knew they always ended up back together again.  We often joked that the two of them were going to get married one day.

But, as they began their adolescent years, I left my husband and they let go of their house and moved to Long Island. We all lost contact with one another. But then Facebook came along and  they found each other again. I knew they had been chatting, but it sure took me by surprise this weekend when I read birthday wishes from her to my son..."Happy Birthday to my future brother in law," and then from my youngest, "Happy Birthday, bro. Yeah, she is going to be a part of the family soon." I was totally taken aback and immediately on the phone.  "Why am I the last to know?" I demanded.  "Mom, believe me, there is nothing to know right now.  It is only in the planning stage. If it ever goes past that, you will be the first one I call."  Can you imagine that though?  My goodness, they loved each other at five.  Now, here we are, 25 years later.  They always say you never forget your first love. Have you ever wondered what happened to yours?

Moving on, to the love of nature. In front of my building are two large rectangles, about 6' by 15'. Last year this little bit of nature boasted the greenest grass on the block. So, when I discovered them digging it up this past week I naturally became upset. They were getting rid whatever roots and stones were there and smoothing it off, far too smooth, I thought, for grass seed. Then I came home Friday to discover that they  had built a two foot tall wooden barrier enclosing the little yards. It's really hard to explain, and I am sorry I didn't get a picture, but it sure did look  as if they were going to fill these little barriers with concrete. On Saturday when I left to do my food shopping, I found the men piling up  bags of concrete. My heart sank. 

So, by the time I got home, my curiosity had gotten the best of me, and I stopped to question them what they were doing.  Boy, was I very much relieved to find out that they were actually building planters that were going to be filled  with flowers and greenery. Already my mind has been think fold up chair so I can sit outdoors and enjoy their beauty.

Well, it is time to get ready.  Another week ready to begin.  Another week of work.  Another week closer to retirement.  Wishing you all a very happy Monday....and if you have to work, make sure you take some time for self as well.

Love has no claims.  Love has no expectations.  Most of us were raised
to become prostitutes.  We have the illusion that with good behavior, good
grades, lots of awards, pretty clothes, nice smiles, we can buy love.  How
many ifs were you raised with?  I love you if you make it through high school.
I love you if you bring good grades home.  Boy, would I love you if I could
say my son is a doctor.  You become a doctor or a lawyer, or what your
parents never were able to become, with the illusion that they will love you
more.  Love can never be bought.  There are people who spend their lives
prostituting themselves, pleasing other people in the hope of getting love.
They will shop the rest of their lives for it and they will ne
ver find it.

Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross
    



Friday, April 26, 2013

TGIF

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think,
all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends
I want to see. The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon
the beauty and wonder of the world. I hardly know which feeling leads,
wonderment or admiration.

John Burroughs


A sigh of relief.  Friday is here.  Another week in the books; another week closer to July.  If all is in order, I'll retire in June.  The sooner the better.  It is really getting unbearable at work.  And I am not alone. We are all disillusioned, and I am not alone with having health issues. I  Counseling is a profession that drains you.  Mental illness can be both heartbreaking and frightening. This work as taken everything from me. I have little left to give. I know I have made the right decision.

This is a pay week, so  you know what that means.  Saturday will be spent in the kitchen.  This is another thing I will no longer have to do.  I only began cooking and freezing for two weeks because it is so hard to cook everyday after work.  It's impossible to cook on my late nights when I arrive home at 8 pm and even on early nights, it is hard to find the energy to cook.  And then, one must account for the trains which give a problem a minimum of once a week.  Thinking about it, I'll no longer have to deal with all this cooking in one day.  Once I am home, I can fix meals on a daily basis and maybe I will begin liking to cook again.

There was a time when I loved fixing meals.  Hubby never knew what to expect.  One day he would have Chinese, the next German, to Italian, etc.  I even made my own noodles.  I made beaded  Native American jewelry, crocheted hats and scarves,  and embroidered my pillow cases.  All that has fallen by the wayside. I just have no time for me. 

Did you hear that those two brothers were on their way to the city to blow up Times Square?  It is scary, and the fact is, as much security as we have, there is no way to 100 percent stop a terror attack.  I actually found myself waiting for the next train yesterday because some guy made me nervous.  I haven't done that since the days after 9/11. I was literally afraid yesterday. But, hey, this is the weekend, and I am going to enjoy it as much as I can.

So, as far as this weekend goes, other than the above, I guess I will just play it by ear.  I am in the process of reading a wonderful trilogy by Ellen Everett Hopkins which I will talk about next week.  The books are totally engrossing, but they have stirred up a tinge of anger as well, but that is for another day.  For now, I have to get my butt in gear and go in to complete this week.  

I am wishing you all a fantastic weekend filled with relaxation and rejuvenation. See you all on Monday.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Ramble



Making a living is best undertaken as a part of the more important business of making a life. Every now and again take a good look at something not made of hands--a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world. 

Sidney Lovett




I read the above yesterday and knew I had to include it in my little book of positive quotes. It made me realize just how much I have been missing.  Granted, we all have to work to make a living, but there comes a time when we have to hang up the gloves and take a good look around us. After 51 years, I am ready to hang mine up and enjoy the world. Oh, it is not that I haven't taken notice of the beauty around me.  It's just that I'm either I have no time nor energy to really envelop myself in it. I've often spoken about going to the beach or the park and just enjoying nature, but when the weekends come along, I find myself too tired to do much of anything. I have faced the fact that I can no longer do as I did in my younger days, those days when I could work all week and spend my weekends traveling here and there. In recent years, there have been weekends I don't even get out of my jammies. 

Not to mention my health issues.  During those workaholic years, I'd often go to work sick, and hubby often said, "If you die, they will just put someone else in your place."  It sounds like a cruel thing to say, but I have always been hard-headed. He HAD to find a way to make me listen. They needed me.  This had to be done, or that had to be done, and no one else could do it like me.  Or, so and so was coming for their individual session, and they were going through something.  I had to be there for them. And then, when I left that job, I also left them with over 150 sick hours that I never took.  And, to add to the insult, they were ANGRY with me because they HAD TO PAY ME FIVE WEEKS VACATION AND COULDN'T HIRE ANYONE IN PLACE UNTIL THAT FIVE WEEKS WAS OVER. That's the thanks you get for being such a loyal employee.

As for my retirement plans, they are heading in the right direction as I continue to take it one step at a time. I want everything set in place.  I've contacted and received the necessary letter from my old job and have called the union.  A pension application is on its way.  If my figuring is right, I should be getting more from my pension than I had planned on, but I've learned not to count on things until they are in writing.  My applications for Social Security and Medicare are filled out and ready to go, and I've downloaded an application for a special New York Insurance plan for the elderly that will help alleviate some of the monies I would have to lay out for medical and prescriptions.  And since I pay gas and electric, I've downloaded a form for HEAP, a program that will send some money to offset utility bills. I've already received and been using my half-price fare card, and I already see the savings. There are so many other things I have to look into as well.

When I was in my 20's I took a course in ceramics and absolutely loved it. I'd love to do that again.  I also want to take a walk over to the senior center and see what they have to offer.  Then there is a program that will subsidize your rent increases so that your rent remains the same.  And food stamps to apply for.  I'm going to take all the help I can get to make it a comfortable retirement.  I've paid my dues and then some.

And with that, I bid you all a wonderful day.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dangerous Fads

The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time.  They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.  

Quentin Crisp


Today's post is slightly different from other posts being that there are no teens in my household, but as a substance abuse counselor, I have to stay alert to things.  I was shocked to learn the risks that today's teens engage in to get high.  Many of you probably already heard the methods they are using, some may have not.  I thought it important enough to share.

Yesterday morning while I was watching the news before work, the doctor on the medical segment was the latest teen fad...'the cinnamon challenge'. It seems that teenagers think it is fun to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water. The reasoning behind this I don't know. This senseless act is downright dangerous and has been known to cause choking, throat irritation, shortness of breath and trouble breathing as well as irritation of the lungs, including collapsed lungs. People with asthma or other respiratory problems are at greater risk. Not good.  

Seeing this news segment piqued my interest, and I decided to look into some of the latest crazes.  What I found made me cringe. 

One of the current trends at parties is what they call the 'alcohol enema' or 'butt chugging'.  This involves pouring alcohol through a tube that has been inserted into the rectum, causing the teen to get drunk more quickly than if they had drank the alcohol.  And, because the alcohol spills directly into the colon, it can lead to severe alcohol poisoning and death. For teenage girls, there is a variation of this is called 'slimming'.  This is when a female inserts an alcohol soaked tampon to achieve the same effect.  

Another of the latest crazy and dangerous trends is  called 'vodka eyeballing'. This involves pouring hard liquor directly into the eye to get a quick buzz. This can be very damaging to the eyes. Alcohol can burn and scar the cornea, perhaps even causing blindness. Yikes!!!  How unbelievably stupid can you be? Kids were never this stupid when I was a teenager. Yes, we experimented with alcohol, but we 'drank' it.  Isn't that what it is made for?

Kids today are even misusing something as seemingly harmless as marshmallows. In a game teens call 'Chubby Bunny' teenagers stuff marshmallows, as many as they possibly can, into their mouths and then attempt to say the words 'Chubby Bunny'. This fad has caused at least two deaths, both from suffocation due to the throat being blocked with marshmallows.  

Speaking of choking, teens actually choke themselves or each other to experience a temporary mild euphoria without using drugs and alcohol.  Some strangle themselves with a belt, a rope or their bare hands; others push on their chest or hyperventilate.Thousands of adolescence have died or suffered permanent brain damage as a result of 'the choking game'. There is also a chance of seizures or stroke.  Totally unbelievable, isn't it?  We used to see how long we could hold our breath, but never to the point of passing out. I think the most dangerous things we did was spin around until we got dizzy and couldn't stay on our feet.  The danger there was hitting our head or injuring some other part of our body.  But, haven't we all done this?
Teenagers have always engaged in the latest fads. but what the hell is wrong with these kids today?  Aside from the Hippie movement of the late 60's, the fads I remember engaging in during my teenage years were far from  dangerous. Our fads mostly had to do with our appearance.  Big hair was in, and we wore min-skirts with go-go boots.  Remember them?  And dancing. We sure loved dancing.  Those were the days of the limbo rock, the monkey, the jerk, the mashed potato, and the twist. Every Friday the school held a dance.  Sometimes I got to go.   We had frisbees, troll dolls, superballs, and hula hoops.  Getting high, aside from our first 'drunk' was beyond our comprehension. We did smoke, yes, but I don't consider that a fad.  That is a habit.  

I often refer back to my teenage years as a time when I was 'young and prone to making mistakes', but in those days, we knew when to draw the line. It is unfortunate that they  often decide that the benefits of risky behavior for immediate gratification or peer acceptance—outweigh the risks. I find it terribly sad that today's teens are taking such stupid risks and endangering their lives in the process.  What comes next, I wonder. What comes next?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We Return Thanks To Our Mother, The Earth


"We return thanks to our mother, the earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children."

--Iroquois--
A little late for Earth Day, but we should honor the Earth everyday.  Wishing you all a joyful Tuesday.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Morning This and That


We are all flowers in the Great Spirit's garden. We share a common root,
and the root is Mother Earth. The garden is beautiful
because it has different colors in it, and those colors
represent different traditions and cultural backgrounds.

Grandfather David Monongye (Hopi)


Today is Earth Day, a day  to honor our Mother Earth. How will you celebrate?
 
I had an awesome weekend. I slept, read, ate, and spent some quality time with self and my ancestors.  On Saturday evening when darkness came, I lit a candle and called upon my grandmother. No matter what or when, she is always there for me and has always been a such a great source of comfort and inspiration for me.  It is so hard to explain, but I can feel her, feel her arms enveloping me.  I feel so loved. Afterwards, I even went off my no sodium diet and heated up some 'Bean with Bacon' soup and had a glass of cola, just as I once did 60 years ago on Saturday nights. (Won't tell my doctor that one.)

 Did a little shopping on Saturday.  Found one pair of capris and a couple of nice little lounge outfits for the rainy days I don't feel like going out.  It's so hard for me to buy clothes.  Now, tops I don't have a problem with, but I've so many they are off my list for the time being.  I've lots of skirts as well, but shorts, capris, and pants?  Now, that is a different story.  For one thing, I'm past those skin tight legging type pants that everyone seems to sell.  Not only is my body not conducive to them, but with my back issues and fibromyalgia, I can't deal with clothing that I have to struggle to put on. Besides, I love the comfort of loose fitting clothing.  So, I've got a few little sundresses I bought last year, a few long peasant skirts, and two pairs of capris.  For now, that will have to do.



I had joined Pagan E-Books for Free on Facebook a while ago, and have been finding the greatest little books. This weekend I found  "Five Fifteen-Minute Fairy Gardens" by  Molly McKenna. Boy was I blessed.  It's not free anymore. The author gives step-by-step instructions for creating five different miniature fairy gardens that take only fifteen minutes to create. The author includes which plants to use, soil mixes, and places to pick up fairy-like accents. And the great thing is they can be done indoors.  Ideas are already running through my head.  I think, no, I know, I have found a new hobby. 

We are all here to serve in our own unique ways and to give back to the earth and
to life what we have been given. We are here to contribute the one thing that makes
us immortal: love. We cannot hold on to the tree of life forever and we cannot live
forever through our actions. But if we act out of love, the sacrifices we perform
will sustain those who come after us, and our garden will have many beautiful trees.
When we each make the choice to serve, no one will suffer because of someone
else's desires. No tree will go without nourishment or be cut down to fulfill someone
else's wants. Our garden will flourish because each seed will have rich soil
and each leaf will be free to display its beautiful colors for all to see. It will be
an awesome garden that will make the front page of every newspaper.

Bernie Siegel

Friday, April 19, 2013

TGIF

Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow
more bewildering and so each year we need all the more
to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities.

Woman's Home Companion (1935)

Oh my, is Friday really here?  This isn't a dream, is it?  I say that because on Thursday morning I woke from a wonderful dream about shopping, thinking the weekend had begun, only to realize during my morning coffee that it was, indeed, only Thursday, and I had two days of work to go.  What a drag?

I've not much planned this weekend, but have been thinking about taking my birthday money and doing some shopping for myself.  We all need to treat ourselves once in awhile.  In the past, there was no way I would have  held onto this money for two months like like this, but by my birthday, I had already made my decision to retire, so I knew  I wouldn't be needing work clothes anymore. So, I decided to save my for retirement clothes.  Believe it or not, I don't have one pair of shorts to my name.  I had no need for them. I hate to admit it but weekends were spent in my jammies

This should be my last shopping spree for the foreseeable future, and I plan to make the best of it.  It's been a long time since I have done something nice for myself.  And we all need to treat ourselves once in awhile.  It does a world of good for us to do something that gives us joy.  I've many things planned for my retirement years, but for now, I will just have to settle for my dreams.  Oh what a pleasure it will be to get up in the morning and pull on a pair of shorts and a top and head on out to the park...and not to have to call in.  
Speaking of the 'sweatshop', it's time to get ready to go. We were all  talking about it the other day and decided that is what our job has become...a sweatshop. We make less money for more more work, and when the new regs come out in July, changes will be on the way.  And changes only mean one thing...more work.

But it is time now to forget about what happened within the week. The weekend signals a fresh new start. Happy Saturday and Sunday to you and your family!  See you on Monday.

It’s simple things, like a glowing sunset, the sound of a running stream
or the fresh smell in a meadow that cause us to pause and marvel
at the wonder of life, to contemplate its meaning and significance.
Who can hold an autumn leaf in their hand, or sift the warm white sand
on the beach, and not wonder at the Creator of it all?

Wendy Moore

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'm at a Loss



Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me
learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect
tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

Mary Jean Irion 

I'm a little short on words today. Perhaps it is because of too much work, too little sleep. I don't know, but sometimes they just seem to flow; other times, like today, it is like a dam has been set up. This is one of those mornings. 

May you all have a blessed day.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Faces From the Past

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl


I believe it may have been sometime in February that I spoke old memories that had been triggered by a book I was reading, "Soul Sisters". Names of classmates long forgotten began coming to the surface, and I found myself feeling rather blue because they WERE the past, a past I'd cut ties with so long ago. And now I found myself missing them. And so it was that, hoping against hope to find someone, I joined the Dover High School Alumni Group and Classmates. I'd looked into Classmates before, and although I'd  hoped to find some childhood friends there, I didn't really expect very much. In fact, I'd just about given up and hadn't been to the website in weeks.

So, you can imagine the shock...and joy...I felt yesterday when they sent me an email "We have the Dover High School yearbook on line!"  Okay, I knew they had yearbooks online, but none that pertained to me, so I didn't open the email at first, but when I finally did, there it was, staring me right in the face-- "Tigers Class of 1965".  That was MY class. These were the kids that I went to school with 48 years ago.  Some I grew up with. The entire yearbook was available to me at no fee. I tell you, if I wasn't at work I would have cried.  What an amazing feeling!

Page after page, the faces of my friends were all there, jarring so many memories.  Old friends, peers, some I remember, some I did not.  These were people whose lives have crossed mine in passing. Face of those I knew long, long ago.  Yes, there she was...Mary Ann.  Remember when I wrote about her?  She was the one who I ate fresh tomato sandwiches with.  She was the last friend I ever spoke to just before I left home.  And then there was Elaine whose mom had taken me in when our house caught fire.  And Frank, my very first teen-age crush.  All of us girls melted whenever he looked at us, but he'd already been taken by the most popular girl in school. Well, we could dream, couldn't we? And there were so many, many more. 

There were pages and pages of classroom pictures as well.  For the girls, it was typing, sewing, and cooking class.  I chose typing and sewing.  I remember my teacher coming round and knocking your knuckles if you were looking at the keyboard when you were typing.  I hated her at the time, but she taught me well.  Today I can close my eyes and rest while typing an entire paragraph.  Boys, in those days, took wood crafting and automobile repair.  Girls were not allowed and vice versa. Oh, how times have changed!  All the girls had these bouffant hairdos which flipped up on the ends.  None had a hair out of place.  All so perfect, too perfect.  Hard to believe that the free flowing hair of the hippie era was right around the corner. 

But not all of my memories were good.  I'd always wanted to be one of the 'popular' girls and as they stared back at me yesterday, I wonder 'what if' I had been accepted.  Would my life have been different?  See, there was a difference between the 'popular' girls and the 'cool' girls.  The popular girls just weren't cool.  The 'cool' girls smoked cigarettes, wore too much makeup, and skipped classes whenever the mood hit them.  Having been taunted and teased throughout most of my grammar school life, I just wanted to BE someone.  I didn't want to just be one of the crowd.  And, since the 'popular' girls didn't want me, I became one of the 'cool' girls.  Last night when I sat back and thought about it, I realized that even they hadn't wanted me, not really.  All they did was tolerate me so I had to prove I was 'cooler' than the rest of them by skipping school more often, mouthing off in class, and smoking in the rest rooms.

And finally, there was my evil cousin, Gary...the one who had made me the laughing stock of my peers.  He was the one who had started all the teasing to begin with. He was the one who changed the course of my life.  Had he not made me feel so inferior nor taken away my self-esteem, perhaps my choices in life would have been different.  As I gazed into his face staring back at me from the yearbook, I wanted to hate him, but I found that I couldn't.  It wasn't 'he' that made me  drop out of school. By then we hardly saw each other. I had 'choices', and it was I who chose the life I was going to live.  And although it may not have been a perfect path with all of its twists, turns, and roadblocks, it was the life I was meant to live. It was my journey, land one I had to take because it made me the person I am today.  I wouldn't change it for the world.


My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me,
or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.

Steve Maraboli




Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Deep Peace I Breathe Into You

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families of the Boston Marathon explosion. May the bond of  peace one day prevail.


Deep peace I breathe into you,
O weariness, here:
O ache, here!
Deep peace, a soft white dove to You;
Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!
Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
Deep peace, grey wind of the west to You;
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!
Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you!
Deep peace of the Yellow Shepherd to you,
Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to you,
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to you,
Deep peace from the Son of Peace to you,
Deep peace from the heart of Mary to you,
And from Briget of the Mantle
Deep peace, deep peace!
And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father
Peace!
In the name of the Three who are One,
Peace!
And by the will of the King of the Elements,
Peace! Peace!

  Fiona Macleod

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Morning This and That



Pay attention to your feelings. They are there to help you; they are your friend. When you feel off, take notice. Gently observe your thinking. Where is it? If your thoughts aren't in the here and now, rather than being hard on yourself, or getting too much into details of your thinking (analysis paralysis!), simply direct your attention back to the moment. Don't allow your thoughts to pull you away from happiness.

Richard Carlson

(Took the above picture on Sunday morning as I made my way to Church.  Would have had more photos, but after this one, my battery was gone.  Forgot to recharge. This is the first I've seen this statue. She stands at the top of the stairs welcoming us.)

Saturday morning I rose early and went to the market.  Spent much of the day cooking and cleaning.  Later, I finished reading "Myth of the Moon Goddess".  I'm telling you, the book was mesmerizing.  I couldn't put it down. I ended up with a sore back from sitting in the same position for so long, and on Friday I even missed my stop when I was going home from work.  Luckily, I looked up in time and got off at the next stop which is in within walking distance of my home.  This weekend I began reading "Priestess of the Forest" by Ellen Everett Hopkins.  She was my friend  Elizabeth's favorite author, and I remember the joy she felt when I surprised her by inviting Ellen to our Yahoo group.  It was not too long afterward that Elizabeth passed, but the group still stands, silent, but Ellen has never left.

I'm not letting Thursday's news get me down. I can't do that.  First of all, a biopsy doesn't necessarily mean they will find cancer...although that is the first thought on our mind when we think 'biopsy'. I cannot let it overwhelm me.  If I do, I am just setting myself up to have a miserable time of it while awaiting the biopsy...which should be done around mid-May after I get authorization from my insurance, medical clearance, and make arrangements for some vacation time. In my eyes, the fact that the doctor is not pushing for an immediate date is a good sign because if he thought it was really bad, he'd get me in there sooner, I guess.    

Speaking of vacation, I also came to a decision over the weekend...this one about a permanent vacation called retirement.  I am not going to wait until July.  I realize now just  how fragile our lives really are, and  I want to start enjoying my life as soon as possible. I've been fifty years in the workforce, and I want some time for me.  Why should wait until July?  For what?  Seriously now,  a 1.1 percent bonus? That's all we are worth?  It would be different if I was throwing away a good some of money, but this bonus won't even add up to $20...and taxes will eat that up.  So, I am really starting the ball rolling now.  Perhaps by the end of May, early June everything will be in place.  I am so excited. 

It's just getting so much worse at work.  Believe me, as much as I complain, I can deal with the paperwork.  It's the clients we have been getting lately.  My boss prides himself on taking the clients no one else wants, and really, this is quite admirable because everyone deserves another chance, but when you start bringing in clients who threaten or are verbally abusive to your workers, that's time to take a step back and re-think your methods.  For instance on Friday, a client came for group, and he was ten minutes late.  He lives in the building, and this is a daily occurrence from him. And when someone arrives late for group, it is disruptive for those who are in group and in the middle of sharing.

So, on Friday, when he arrived late and tried to get into group, my co-worker informed him that he couldn't come in because group had already started.  He immediately took a threatening stance and yelled, "You fat black b..ch, you are not the boss here.  You can't tell me what to do."  And then he went on with a bunch of very derogatory expletives. And this is not knew. We're called all kinds of names by clients who have made to feel entitled and are babied by a boss who is desperate to keep the 'numbers' up.  I chose this career because of my desire to help others, but, I am sorry, this kind of abuse just sickens me, and it's definitely time to get out.  It is not going to get any better.  In fact, it gets worse with each passing day.

I'd like to close today with the following inspirational tale I've often used with those of my clients who continuously rue their 'bad luck'. Of course, they never usually see the part they played in it all. It is always someone else who did them wrong. I've found that this little tale has given some of them food for thought.

'There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

Well, she said, I think I'll braid my hair today. So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

Hmmm, she said, I think I'll part my hair down the middle today. So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

Well, she said, today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail. So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.


Yea! she exclaimed, I don't have to fix my hair today!'

The road you are traveling may be difficult and even heartbreaking. These seasons of life are inevitable. Yet, how we respond makes a tremendous difference. We can ask for God's strength to help us. We can choose the attitudes we live by, even on our darkest day. 


Unknown

Friday, April 12, 2013

TGIF


People are afraid when dark clouds gather and thunder clashes.
But clouds and thunder are nothing; they are only the sources
of rain for the hot and parched earth. Do not be afraid of clouds;
do not be afraid of difficulties. Keep moving straight ahead.
Give your hand to God, and he will keep you
in the light twenty-four hours a day.

Baba Virsa Singh 

All I can say is, "TGIF".   This has been a hell of a week, to be sure.  On Monday I had my appointment with my Endo, and that went fairly well.  I left there feeling a sense of relief.  Although I was told I still needed the thyroid biopsy, my blood pressure was down and my TSH level was normal.  Everything seemed to be going in the right direction. But then, yesterday I had the appointment with the specialist and that....

.... did not go quite as I had expected.  I guess you could say I was lulled into feeling that everything was going to be all right, that I'd walk away from the appointment with an air of relief, that I was going to be told that everything was fine, and a biopsy wouldn't be necessary. Then the bottom fell out. According to the specialist, "The nodule is bigger than I was led to believe. I'm afraid we have to do a biopsy."  And, to compound my worries, "If the nodule was located on the surface, it could be done very easily, but the nodule is deep so there is a 40 percent chance of something going wrong." He explained this could either be the induction of an air bubble which could collapse my lung or excessive bleeding, in which case they will admit me into the hospital.  Needless to say, I am not feeling very well at the present time, and this weekend will be spent gathering my thoughts....
 
 ...that, and cooking.  It's that weekend again, so on Saturday I will be busy for most of the day. I guess that is good because it will keep my mind occupied.  Sometimes thinking can be my worst enemy. And on Sunday, I am seriously going to the church.  I felt so at peace on Easter with our Mother surrounding me.  I am determined not to let this get me down.  Life is a blessing and I don't plan to spend it feeling sorry for myself.

I recently found the following and have adopted it as my mantra. I've printed it out and almost have it committed to memory.  I think it is great for any one of us going through hardship of any kind.

In times of adversity, I remember I am strong enough to meet the challenges
of my life. I am equal to every situation, a match for every difficulty. Sourced
in the power of the Universe, I allow that power to work through me. I meet
calamity with strength. I have stamina. Rather than draw on limited resources,
I draw on the infinite power within me that moves through me to accomplish
its good. I am fueled by all the love, all the strength there is. Loving strength
melts mountains. I am ever partnered and supplied by the universal flow.
Knowing this, I do not doubt my strength. I am strong and secure.

Julia Cameron

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Facing Our Fears



Fear is like a little garden spider that makes us jump back or the poor lost bee on the
steering wheel that we blame for our automobile wreck. The problem in fear
is our response -- the way we treat animals or insects that frighten us. . . . Fear is also
the universal scapegoat we blame when we take flight from intimacy or shrink up
inside ourselves in a thousand little ways.

Dan Millman


Feeling very anxious this morning as I have an appointment with the specialist.  I say 'specialist' because (1) he is; and (2) his title is so darn long it takes up half a line to write it. The 'me' that was would have ignored this.  My motto for many years was 'Ignore it and it will go away,' but that doesn't work for me anymore.  Through the years I've learned that ignoring something won't make it disappear. In fact, it will only make it worse. Life will happen, and what is meant to be will be.

Fear of trouble, present and future, often blinds us to the numerous
small blessings we enjoy, silencing our prayers of praise and thanksgiving.

Unknown
And so, last night, I lit my Sacred Candle and said a prayer.  Then I sat in the darkness and focused on the small blessings that I often take for granted. As I anxiously await word on my health, I realize how blessed I am to have people who love me.  Hubby, who makes me madder than heck at some of the things he does.  (His latest is to try to hook speakers up to the computer and messing up the sound altogether.)  I love him with all my heart and know that he will be there for me, no matter what.  And my two wonderful sons.  Miss Minga, my loyal companion for almost 21  years now (She will be 21 in July). And all my dear friends here in the world of blogs who have been praying and pulling for me.  I thank  you. 

Yes, I am truly blessed.  And with this, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes with you.

 Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby.
Ruth Renkel


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Let There Be Peace

Monday evening I boiled up some eggs and made the greatest egg salad.  I've never used salt in it, but love mixing some mustard, mayo, and black pepper.  Simple, and with a Pepperidge Farm  sandwich thin, one of my favorites. Was looking forward to lunch yesterday so you can imagine my chagrin when I took the container out and discovered I'd brought a container of corn instead of the egg salad. What can I say?  They're both yellow, were both in the same kind of container, and I was in a rush.  Luckily I had some jelly there at work so I put some on the sandwich thin, and that was lunch.  At least I had something.  It's far too expensive to eat out.

The new blood pressure medication is now also making me cough...and worse than the other one.  At least with the Lisinipril when I was up and about and active, the tickles didn't come, but with this Cozaar I can be walking to the store and the worst tickle comes out of nowhere.  Problem is it is working so well with my blood pressure, so what is one to do?

You should respect each other
and refrain from disputes; you should
not, like water and oil, repel each
other, but should, like milk and
water, mingle together.

The Buddha


Last night I went home after work,  lit a candle, and said a prayer that peace would prevail. With all the recent news from North Korea,  the world has become a more frightening place and one has to wonder what the future will bring.  If this standoff escalates, and I am afraid it will, I fear many innocents will be killed. Will there ever be an end to war? Will peace one day prevail.  I pray that it will. 

 Peace be around thee, wherever thou rov'st;
        May life be for thee one summer's day,
    And all that thou wishest and all that thou lov'st
        Come smiling around thy sunny way!
    If sorrow e'er this calm should break,
        May even thy tears pass off so lightly,
    Like spring-showers, they'll only make
        The smiles, that follow shine more brightly.

    May Time who sheds his blight o'er all
        And daily dooms some joy to death
    O'er thee let years so gently fall,
        They shall not crush one flower beneath.
    As half in shade and half in sun
        This world along its path advances.
    May that side the sun's upon
        Be all that e'er shall meet thy glances!


Thomas Moore


May there be no fighting, and no killing. Let there be peace for all..

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday Doctor's Appointments--Good News for One

People can learn to study their life force in the same way that a master gardener studies a rosebush. No gardener ever made a rose. When its needs are met a rosebush will make roses. Gardeners collaborate and provide conditions which favor this outcome. And as anyone who has ever pruned a rosebush knows, life flows through every rosebush in a slightly different way. 

 Rachel Naomi Remen 


My doctor's appointment yesterday went well.  My blood pressure was down to 136 over 86, the lowest it has been in nine months.  The new medication appears to be working well.  The tickles are still there, but not as much as they once were.  At least I can sleep at night.  And, the methimazole has stabilized my TSH level.  It is now normal.  The endo wants me to take the medication every other day now because he wants to regulate me to the lowest dose possible.  I still need the biopsy because the doctor explained I suffer from two unrelated thyroid conditions...an over-active thyroid and the cyst...neither related to the other. So, they are now working towards getting me authorization by my insurance company.  There is no way they can deny me a biopsy.  Next up is the specialist on Thursday. Susie, in answer to your question, I've never thought to ask if there is a connection between fibro and thyroid disease, but it is an interesting concept.  I do know that both fibro and thyroid present with a variety of symptoms.  I will bring it up next time I see my endo.

Hubby, on the other hand, didn't make out so well.  After all this testing and anxious waiting, he's not eligible for the liver treatment.  The doctor said his breathing is far too bad, and he could have adverse effects, including death because the treatment is so strong and goes on for a year.  In fact, he has been referred to a pulmonologist with a recommendation for oxygen several times a day. There is a new treatment coming out next year that has less side effects and is only taken for three months.  He's been told he will be first on the list for that one.  He's feeling really depressed because he is already in Stage 3 of liver disease and has banking a lot of hopes on this test trial.  Please send some positive thoughts and prayers his way.  I'm really scared, but have to be strong for his sake.



On another note, I found a fantastic book for my Kindle on Saturday...and for free, you can't be that.  It is called  "Myth of the Moon Goddess - The Aradia Chronicles, Books One, Two and Three", and it is by April Rane. (Fantastic name, isn't it?) What really caught my eye was the following review "Reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley in Mist of Avalon, Rane takes myth, legend and historical settings, weaves in elements of magic and the world of the unseen, and creates a rich tapestry of entertainment," and I know I have mentioned how absolutely captivated I was with Zimmer's books. 

This series of three books in one relates story of Aradia's reincarnation into three earthly lives, in a world of which she is not familiar. She has been sent by her mother, Diana, the Moon goddess, to teach mortal women to recognize and reach their potential during their earthly lifetimes. The first part has been filled with magic and fairies, and so far it is such an amazing read I cannot put it down. I had to pull myself away to do my taxes last night.

"Life is a journey," she said. "If you are not willing to take the first step, then the journey ends before it begins." from "Myth of the Moon Goddess"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Morning This and That

Is it Monday already?  Where has the weekend gone?  Hard to believe a new week has already begun, but rather than dwell on my 'lost weekend' I'd prefer looking at it as another week closer to retirement.  

 (This is my new paperweight, part of Saturday's loot.  How could I resist.  Although it doesn't show here, it is simply gorgeous.)

This week will be a busy one for me.  I have to leave work at 1 pm today to follow up with my Endocrinologist.  My bloodwork has been completed, but I was unable to get the biopsy as there was no authorization from my insurance.  Then, on Thursday I have my second consultation with the specialist.  Needless to say, as much as I like him, I am still feeling anxious about what he has to say.

I didn't make it to church on Saturday.  I've suffered for several years from fibromyaligia as well as from one of its many little syndromes...IBS. So, when Saturday rolled around I woke with the worst stomach cramping and after running out to the fruitstand and Rite Aid for some medication, I was feeling so awful that I didn't want to chance leaving the house anymore, so instead, I took some medication and crawled back into bed.    


 (Isn't she gorgeous?  More Saturday loot. I've taken her into my bedroom to watch over me when I sleep.) 

I love this Rite Aid and have to say, it is one store I never come out of empty-handed.  They've a great supply of candles and incense, and with most all of their household knickknacks always priced at fifty percent off, I love to go at the change of seasons and see what I can find.  I really lucked out on Saturday as you can see by the photos.  All are a part of Saturday's loot.  I also found a whimiscal mushroom for my fantasy collection, but haven't been able to get a good photo of it yet.  I can't seem to get both the snail and the ladybug into the picture, and they are what make it so special.  

(My newest angel.  She actually lights up and changes colors--blue, green, red, and gold.  I like the fact that she is encased in an apple, but haven't figured out if there is any significance to that).

By Sunday, I was feeling much better and a touch of spring fever came over me.  Began packing away heavy winter clothing that I know I will have no further use of this year and pulled out some of my spring blouses. The birds are singing and soon the buds will appear.  It is such an amazing time of the year.  I come alive at this time of year.

Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.
William Alexander

Friday, April 5, 2013

TGIF



Years should be nothing to you. Who asked you to count them
or consider them? In the world of wild Nature, time is measured
by seasons only--the bird does not know how old it is--the
rose-tree does not count its birthdays!

Marie Corelli

Another weekend is upon us.  Another week of work under my belt and another week closer to my retirement.  Yippee!!  On Saturday morning I plan on running to the fruit stand, but that's about all the errands I absolutely 'have' to run this weekend. I'm thinking about attending that blessing service at the church on Saturday, but haven't really made up my mind  yet. I'm very tired this week.  It's been so busy, and next week will include even more running around what with my endocrinologist appointment on Monday and a second appointment with the specialist I saw last week.  This week he will have reviewed my records and will give me his recommendations.  Needless to say, I am already feeling tense. 

I'm hoping, also, to catch up some sleep this weekend, to pull the covers over my head and escape to the world of dreams.  I usually do a little catch up during the week on my two late days--Wednesday and Thursday--but this week one of the neighbor's awakened me shortly after six. The woman upstairs and her two monster boys moved out, and it has actually been quite pleasant, but now, a neighbor on the other side has taken to hanging out her window to smoke, which is her business, of course, but does she really have to talk loudly on the phone as so early in the morning?  At 6 am in the morning?  Oh well, I guess that comes with apartment living.

And, I do love my apartment. Despite all, I've not felt so at peace in  years.  It's wonderful to not be walking on tiptoe, fearful that someone will hear that I am home and knock on my door.  Speaking of my old home, have I mentioned I saw that the place has finally been sold?  

Well, dear readers, the shower is beckoning me.  Have a fantastic weekend. See  you all on Monday.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Looking Forward


One way can be learned by starting to see the magic in everything. Sometimes
it seems to be hiding but it is always there. The more we can see the magic
in one thing, a tiny flower, a mango, someone we love, then the more we
are able to see the magic in everything and in everyone.
Where does the mango stop and the sky begin?

Joshua Kadison
Wondering if anyone has a recommendation for an online store where I can get hold of candles and other ritual supplies...at a reasonable price.  I recently completed an order at Amazon for candles and oracle cards, but the order, originally $28,  turned into $49 when shipping charges were added.  Imagine that.  $21 for shipping.  That's because, as I discovered, Amazon ships from different stores, and my order was being shipped from four different places.  Hence, I was to pay shipping charges from each place. Needless to say, I immediately cancelled it. I'm not paying that kind of money for 26 small candles, oracle cards, a Moon energy crystal with pouch, and a box of Precious Rose incense.

One of the things I want to do when I retire is to spend a bit more time on enhancing my magic skills, especially candle magic. I always have scented candles burning in my home and often use them for prayer and ritual, but I want to learn so much more about using them.  When I come home from work every evening I barely have the energy to eat my dinner, let alone work on magic skills. Taking a day off here and there just doesn't cut it.  But soon, I will be free to do all the things I have been wanting to do, but never finding the time.

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

And flowers. I want to bring more flowers into my life after I retire. I may no longer have a yard, but I can still bring their beauty into their home.  I could bring them into my home now, but I don't really have the time to enjoy them. Just look at the herbs I planted last year.  Nothing grew because there was no one there to encourage them. I have been reading "The Magic of Flowers" on my Kindle, an Ebook by Paul Gator, and according to the writer, even those who live in urban apartments can bring the magic into their home. One doesn't need an elaborate garden to feel it. Something as simple as a few potted plants on a window sill, a bowl containing blooming cacti, or a single bowl of strongly scented hyacinths can be a source of rest and peace,  enough to revive one's spirits and bring one closer to nature...and, if you believe, invite the nature spirits into your home.

I also just purchased the book "Magical Hearth: Home for the Modern Pagan" by Janet Thompson.  I wonder if anyone has read it. The author delves into herbs -both medicinal and magical herbs-, incense, amulets,  color, aromatherapy, crystals, purification, and recipes. I really intend to appreciate my home more once I have quality time to  spend in it.  When one works full time, it is hard to find the time.   Even weekends are spent  completing chores that one has no time for during the week.

All in all, I have a long list of things planned for when I retire.  I want to spend more time in the kitchen, start baking again.  I even thought of going back to my crocheting. I've always enjoyed that.  And then there are the places I want to go...the park, the beach, the senior center.  Oh, there is just so much, much more I want to do.  A wonderful life awaits me.

By slowing down and relishing the unfolding of every experience, you
aren’t choosing to be less accomplished or productive than others.
You’re choosing to be accomplished and productive in ways they may
not even understand. You’re choosing to change what’s within your
own heart and mind, thereby becoming a part of the solution rather
than a part of the problem. By no longer rushing through, you’re choosing
to stop focusing so much of your energy on the wanting and yearning,
the wishing it was done, the frustration with what hasn’t happened yet; and to make, instead, the most of every experience as it unfolds at its own pace.


Nea Justice