Saturday, June 29, 2013

Need Some Help on This One

I've been reading about Google Reader going away on Monday, and after much research on line, most say the best alternative is Feedly, so I jumped the gun and did it.  My blog still looks the same, but who knows after Monday.  After trying about reading a few blogs on Feedly, what I found is that the wonderful backgrounds on your blogs doesn't come up.  Instead, it looks plain and boring.  Am I doing something wrong?  Will the days of pretty backgrounds be over?  And what have you chosen to do  when the reader goes away?  I don't want to lose you all.  

Friday, June 28, 2013


 Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them.  

John Shirley

Friday has finally arrived. Two weeks to go. After today, only 9 days to go.  We'll be off on July 4th.   We've a rainy weekend in store for us.  I At first, I was disappointed with the weather report.  I had plans for this weekend.  I'd planned on taking a trip to the bank in my old neighborhood where I have my estate account and afterwards was hoping to head onto my favorite store.  I'm still searching for those capris that I want. When I want something, I don't give up easily, and as I've grown older and more money conscious, I don't buy just anything just to say I bought.  I want this one style and nothing else will do.  

Fortunately, soon I won't have to worry about trying to cram everything into one day. I'll no longer have to face the disappointment of bad weather spoiling my plans.  I'll be able to get up in the morning and say "I feel like going back to bad for awhile," or "today I think I'll take a walk to the park...or go to the beach, etc."  And, as I told hubby last night, when the snow begins to fall this winter, I won't have to call in with some excuse to take off. I know.  I'm getting ahead of myself here. First, let's get through the long hot summer that stretches ahead of us.

So, I guess this weekend I'll lounge about and do some reading.  I need the rest.  A work, the state has decided to do a  surprise audit so it has been a stressful time.  Everyone is on edge.  My charts are fairly-up-to date, but there's always a little something that needs to be touched up. They couldn't wait until I was gone to do this, could they?  They just had to do it now, didn't they? It's kind of funny when you think of it.  They're not due until November when our license is up for renewal, but look when they choose to come.  I guess I needed one last audit.

Well, not much else I can think of to say except I hope you all have a wonderful relaxing weekend. See you all on Monday.

There may be difficulty at the moment, but I will not lose the Virtue that
I possess. It is when the ice and snow are on them that we see the strength
of the cypress and the pine. I am grateful for this trouble around me,
because it gives me an opportunity to realize how fortunate I am.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday Ramblings

The journey through life has many valleys that we can't just skip over, and also
many mountains to climb that we can't just jump over. It is also true that we need
the space and the freedom to make our own mistakes. Trial and error seem to be
the only way we can learn and grow. Life is first and foremost a process.
And this process is a zig-zag process at that.

John Powell
Well, the insurance has approved the procedure, and my lung biopsy is scheduled for July 22nd at 10 am. I'm really feeling anxious about this, but I know this has to be done. I could have waited and had another Cat Scan in six months to see if the nodule grew at all, but I need to know now so if I can begin treatment if necessary. There is a part of me that just wants to make it go away, that wants to wake up and realize that this was all nothing more than a bad dream, but I know that is fantasy thinking on my part. I've always been so darn healthy throughout my life, and I guess I always thought it would remain that way. I never lost that feeling of immortality that we have in our youth.  Well, at least I will have ten free days into my retirement before I have to have it done.  

Yesterday I went to the copy machine, and my boss was there.  He asked if I knew of a good CASAC.  He said, "I just can't find anybody to take your place.  No one can fill your shoes,"  and I swear, it looked as if he was about to cry. I felt very emotional after that.  It's nice to hear things like that, but I also wondered why he had to wait so long to say it.  Why do people wait to say these nice things until it is too late?  For several years now, I have been so unhappy with my job.  I've felt underpaid, overworked, and under-appreciated.  A word of praise during that time period would have gone a long way. Who knows if retirement would have still looked so inviting.

Yesterday was the last day of school here in the city.  I loved seeing the kids celebrating the last day of school before summer vacation.  There was a noticeable excitement in the air as students say good bye to the school year. It brought back memories of my own childhood and rushing out those doors, anxious to begin those lazy, hazy days of summer.  The heat and humidity didn't bother us back then.  We always had the lake, or the hose, or even a summer rainfall to cool us off.  Somehow I think I am going to have much the same feeling when I walk out of these doors on July 12th.  Summer is beginning to look real good. 

Once upon a time, I know not where,
I know not when. A dream, may be,
Out of a pine wood, unaware,
I stepped upon a quiet lea.

And on the quiet meadow I
Saw all around a carpet spread,
Far as the line where land meets sky,
Of motionless blown poppies red.

And on the blood-red carpet lay,
Regarded of a thousand flowers,
A lovely, tired summer day
In first sleep of the sunset hours.

No breath. No sound. A bird in flight
The air of evening scarce does cleave,
I scarcely see his stretched wings smite,
A black line in the fragrant eve.

Once upon a time, I know not when,
Long, long ago. A dream, may be,
But I can see it now as then,
The silent, purple poppy-sea.

Gustav Falke

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let the Magic Begin

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.  

Elizabeth Lawrence
Childhood is such a magical time. It's a shame that we lose that magic when we grow up, but the world demands it.  Unlike our ancestors, we live in a world where one must work to survive and sometimes, as hard as we try to fit nature into our busy lives, something always seems to come up.   Saturdays have been devoted to cooking and cleaning, and on Sunday after getting my clothes ready for the week, I am just too tired to do much more than plan my  upcoming week. 

So, I find myself living vicariously through each of you.  I so enjoy seeing the pictures on your blogs of your flowers and gardens.  It reminds me of a time that once was,  that time about 17 years ago that I was blessed to have one of those gardens where a dropped watermelon pit would take hold and grow, a place where I spent so many magical evenings and weekends, a place where the fairies loved to visit, but then the house was sold, and we were forced to move.

The next house we lived in had an amazingly large back yard, but the earth there did not hold the same magic.  And then, the yard wasn't solely mine as I found out the hard way.  When we first moved there it looked like no one had used the yard in years --weeds were waist high throughout-- and my landlady assured me that I could do as I wished, so I spend each weekend out there weeding, hoeing, and planting.  Turned out to be a huge disappointment though.  Not only did the vegetables fail to thrive despite all my efforts,  but the people upstairs decided they were going to use the yard for weekend cookouts and trampled over my plants, but the old man actually pulled my cucumbers, the only plant really taking off,  down from the fence, destroying them. 

Weeds can take many forms.  There were the weeds of that backyard, but also the people upstairs were weeds. They sucked the life out of me and refused to let me live.  Came to the point when I would tiptoe about the house so they wouldn't know I was home.   Needless to say, the following year and all the years following that, I chose not to have anything to do with the yard...even when it eventually became overrun with weeds again.

So now, as my career winds down, and my days are soon to be free, I'll finally be able to slow down and enjoy nature. It may not be the magical garden that I hold in my memories, but I do have that gorgeous park nearby, and I do plan to take advantage of it.  Who knows?  Perhaps if I find a quiet bench, away from it all, the fairies may once again grace me with their presence.  Let the magic begin.

How often do you take the time to enjoy nature?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Social Politeness....Wjhere Has it Gone?

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use. 

Emily Post

Whenever I get on a bus I  am always sure to 'good morning' or 'good afternoon', and when  I exit, I always make sure to thank the driver. If someone does something nice for me such as holding the door, I am sure to say 'thank you', and if I am the one being thanked for something, I always say 'you're welcome'.  If I want someone to do something for me, I always say 'please' before my request.  Please, thank you, you're welcome, good morning, good afternoon, etc. Simple words that mean a lot.  Being pleasant costs nothing, takes no effort, and can brighten somebody's day

Saying  'thank you' shows someone that you appreciate something nice they have done for you. And if you want someone to do something for you, always be sure to say 'please'.  For example, doesn't it make you feel better when someone says "Will you get me a soda when you go to the store?" rather than the "Get me a soda" a co-worker is notorious for.  The first one is a polite request, the second is an order...and I hate to be ordered to do something.  Grrrr!!!!

 And you don't know how irritated I get when I hold the door for someone and they don't even say 'thank you.' It leaves a knot in my stomach, and I find myself hoping to see them again, that next time I will allow the door to slam in their face, but I know I won't.  That's not me.  Two wrongs don't make right.  It's a shame that social grace and manners have all but disappeared in this day and age. I hear all the time that people have such busy lives that they forget the simplicities of life.  People are always so stress out and in such a hurry that politeness has lost a place in their lives.  You know what I say to that one.

I came across the following the other day while I was doing some research for a course I am taking on 'Old Age in the Modern Era'...of all things.  The question was asked....Talk about some of the changes you see in the way the elderly are treated nowadays and how they were treated in the past. Of course, respect and manners were at the top of my list.  And then I came across the following and found it very interesting.  At the turn of the century, manners were taught in our school system.  The following is a little game the teacher used to play with students:  

The players are seated, with the exception of five or six who stand at the front of the room. These standees are given "Golden Keys to Courtesy" (polite expressions), when they respond to the questions asked by the teacher.

The teacher hands a book to one, who takes it, saying, "Thank you, Miss Smith." (A Golden Key.)

Of another she asks, "Do you like history, Tom?"

The response may be, "Yes, Miss Smith." (The second Golden Key to Courtesy.)

To another Miss Smith says, "Good morning, Dick."

The response, "Good morning, Miss Smith," serves as the third Key to Courtesy.

The fourth is requested to pass in front of the teacher. This he does with an apology, "Excuse me," or "Pardon me." (The fourth Golden Key to Courtesy.)

Of a fifth she may ask, "How are you feeling to-day?"

The response may be, "Very well, thank you, Miss Smith." (The fifth Golden Key to Courtesy.)

Then the players, seated, name the five Golden Keys to Courtesy in order: 1. "Thank you, Miss Smith." 2. "Yes, Miss Smith." 3. "Good morning, Miss Smith." 4. "Excuse me." 5. "Very well, thank you."

Then, when all heads are resting on the desks and all eyes closed, the Golden Keys change places (two or three). After they have been rearranged the signal is given to wake up. Individuals are called on to name the Keys to Courtesy in their new arrangement. Those who succeed in so doing change places with those representing the Golden Keys to Courtesy. The game continues. Other questions and other responses are utilized.

Teachers Monographs: The National Journal of the Public Schools, 1917

My goodness, I say we need games like this in school today. Learning a little respect never hurt anyone, and the world would be a better place.
Thanks for listening to me today.

Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them. 

Bill Kelly

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Morning....14 Days to Go

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.  

Russel Baker

This morning I really don't want to go to work.  It's hot and humid, and I don't do very well in this kind of weather.  With my thyroid issues I sweat more than most and break out a rash.  The heaviness in the air also makes breathing difficult. I really do have to lose some more weight so I have been planning super healthy foods for lunch when I retire.  I can close my eyes and picture myself sitting on a bench under a tree in the park and munching on a homemade fruit bowl while reading my Kindle.  Ah, the good life is just around the corner.

This was a cooking weekend.  I was thinking that this would be my last cooking weekend, but my next paycheck actually comes one week before my last day.  Actually, though, it shouldn't be so bad.  I'll just cook for a week, and who knows, I may only need two or three meals depending on what I have left in the freezer.  It will 'definitely' be my last time ironing for work. I have three weeks worth of clothes ironed and ready to wear.  

It was a shock last week to hear of James Gandolfini's death.  He was a very special man and was very connected to my agency.  One of those few stars who had time for the underdog.  On Friday, my boss sent an email to all of us staff which really brought tears to my eyes.  Below is an excerpt from that letter....

'He spoke movingly of his own experiences of not having a place of his own to call home. And afterward he said he wanted to visit, and do more.

And he did, coming to our Chelsea residence along with his son, college friend and friend's daughter, to volunteer. They came quietly -- Jim drove -- and without any ceremony, to serve dinner. Residents would remark to him: "You look like that guy on TV" and he'd reply "I get that a lot." Until finally someone said: "Hey, that's Tony Soprano," to which he simply smiled and asked "Do you want some salad?" He stayed for hours, posed for pictures, talked with the residents, and shared his own personal experiences. Never did he think he was better than anyone else; just the opposite, he said, I'm just another guy like you; we all fall down and we all can pick ourselves up.' 

I will leave you with those powerful words. May he rest in peace.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blessed Litha and Happy Friday

Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and
the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those
days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world.

Ada Louise Huxtable

Ah, summer has arrived.  Unfortunately this  year I have to work, but next year I will be home to celebrate however I choose.  Yesterday was such a perfect day, not too hot or humid with a light breeze.  I was thinking how nice it would have been to pack a small picnic lunch and take my Kindle to the park  for the day.  But soon, very soon, I'll be able to do that every day if I so choose.  16 days and counting.

This is a cooking weekend for me, and something else that will be ending.  Since I won't be working I won't be rushing to make sure all the meals are cooked in one day.  Instead, I'll be able to cook every day and make some extra special meals again, something else I have been looking forward to.  I've always loved cooking, but throughout the years have grown to hate it because I hadn't had the time to enjoy it.  Now, I once again find myself looking forward to spending time in the kitchen.  Be prepared for pictures and recipes.

And with that, I'd like to leave you this morning with this lovely poem, so appropriate for today.  May your summer joys be many.

Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,
And a belt where the rivers run.

And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air’s soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.

I envy the farmer’s boy
Who sings as he follows the plow;
While the shining green of the young blades lean
To the breezes that cool his brow.

He sings to the dewy morn,
No thought of another’s ear;
But the song he sings is a chant for kings
And the whole wide world to hear.

He sings of the joys of life,
Of the pleasures of work and rest,
From an o’erfull heart, without aim or art;
’T is a song of the merriest.

O ye who toil in the town,
And ye who moil in the mart,
Hear the artless song, and your faith made strong
Shall renew your joy of heart.

Oh, poor were the worth of the world
If never a song were heard,—
If the sting of grief had no relief,
And never a heart were stirred.

So, long as the streams run down,
And as long as the robins trill,
Let us taunt old Care with a merry air,
And sing in the face of ill. 
Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Wishing you all a great weekend.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane

"We do not remember days; we remember moments." 
 Cesare Pavese

Remember the fun we used to have when we blew on the seeds off a dandelion?  Legend holds that that blowing the seeds off a dandelion is said to carry your thoughts and dreams to your loved one.  Or how about holding the buttercup under someone's chin to see if a person likes butter? Ah, the magic of childhood...and sometimes just when you think that the magic is gone forever, a miracle of sorts occurs. 

The first thing I have to say is that Classmates was worth the little bit of money I paid for it.  Not only have I gotten a  response from the party who told me there was no Santa Claus, but I also heard from an old high school girlfriend....and she left her phone number, to boot.  This weekend we're going to chat.  Here it was just a few short months ago that I was ruing the fact that I had no ties to my youth, and now two people who were important to me in my youth have re-entered my life. 

Carol had always lived a few blocks away from me, but we didn't develop any sort of friendship until I was transferred to the high school she attended.  Mom had made that decision.  Not that she worried so much that I was being bullied, but that I 'embarrassed' her by skipping school and ending up on suspension too often. Each morning I'd meet her at her house and then we'd head out to school, sometimes exchanging clothes before we went.  Of course, everything we did together had to be on the sneak because my mom didn't want me hanging around with Carol or her sister. I never did find out why, but it seemed to have something to do with their mother, but from what I recall, their mom was a pretty cool mom who did her best to raise three daughters on her own. But then mom had something against pretty much everybody.

I remember one time Carol and I met on a Saturday afternoon and walked all the way to my grandparent's home. We 'd been planning to go to a school football game, and since we were near their house, I thought it would be nice to stop by and say hello.  What a foolish mistake that was!  Oh, this visit went well. enough.  My grandparents were happy to see me, but when my mom found out,  she gave me one of the worst tongue lashings I ever endured...and, of course, I was 'grounded' again, but that was nothing new.  I spent almost my entire teen-age  years grounded for one thing or another.  Stupid things like having my coat unbuttoned was enough to land me in the house for a month. Needless to say, my teen-age years were quite an unhappy time for me.  My grammar school years were different, though.

As for my childhood friend, he remembered me clearly. His sister, my old peer,  had never married and was still living in New Jersey.  He also brought up so many wonderful memories. He spoke of my three-legged dog, Susie, and of the people who lived across the street from me.  Who could forget them?  They kept a monkey, who always stole our lollipops, in a playpen in the kitchen and horse in their garage. During the day the horse was allowed to roam on a small plot of the land next to their home.  One day they all went in for lunch and warned me not to touch the horse, but I always seemed to do the opposite of what I was told.   I wanted to feed the horse.  At first it went well, but then I made the mistake of putting too much of my hand in its mouth, and when it bit down, I screamed out in pain.  I'm really surprised it didn't break the skin. Everyone came running. My hand was bruised, battered, and painful, but surprisingly, it hadn't broken the skin.  But, to this day, I have a fear of horses.

"Life gives us brief moments with another...but sometimes in those brief moment we get memories that last a lifetime..." 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Monsters Aren't So Scary When You Grow Up

What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.  
Cynthia Ozick

Several months back I wrote about how, as I grow older, I have become more and more curious to find out what happened to my childhood peers. Actually, my yearning stemmed from a book I was reading, "Soul Sisters" by Pythia Peay, in which the author spoke about those friendships we make in childhood that last a lifetime. I felt saddened when I read this because  I had turned my back on my past many, many years ago and haven't looked back...until I read that book. Then I began my search in earnest.

I had several girlfriends back then, and I'm hoping to find them.  checked out Google and Facebook, but couldn't find any of them. The problem is, women marry and change their names which makes it fairly impossible to find them.  So, I joined a high school alumni group and I also broke down and joined Classmates who actually had a copy of my high school yearbook. Amazing seeing these faces after all these years.  And this weekend, I finally got a 'hit'.  An old classmate would like to be friends.  She was not someone I was ever close to.  We had several of the same classes, but ran with different crowds...but this is a start.  And it just gets better.

On the site,  there is a little box that says "See your visitors" which shows who has checked you out.  And there he was,  my cousin, the monster who had made my life hell.  He'd teased me unmercifully (now they call it bullying) and instigated others to do it as well.  School became a living nightmare  for me as I was forced to hang my head in shame, and eventually I dropped out.  He'd joined the site in April. His picture was there, but it was very small. "Do I click open his box?  Do I dare look the monster in the face? "  

I chose to open his profile, and  I'm so glad I did because he really doesn't look like a monster anymore.  He's become an old man, someone I need not fear.  In fact, it gave me a sadistic pleasure to see that he has not aged as well as I have. I could pass him in the streets and not know him. I also saw that he had checked me out as well, but he hadn't left a message.  That's okay.  I didn't leave one for him either. 

Older now and with many years of counseling under my belt I understand that when he spread those tales about my dad, he was only repeating what he heard at home. Children copy off their parents, and there was a lot of bad blood between his dad and mine.  My dad and his twin were taken from their alcoholic home and raised by my great-grandmother, while the youngest, my cousin's dad, was left with his alcoholic mom.  Resentments were there since childhood, so I can understand and forgive the hateful child that he was, but I can't forget the pain he caused....and  I can't help but wonder how different my life might had been if he had never moved into town.

Of course, though, I know that everything has happened exactly as it was meant to be. It has all been a part of my journey. Each small piece of my life fell into place to lead me to the life I am living now.  Yes, I am who and where I was meant to be.  

On another note, upon going down the list of people who had checked me out, I saw that one name that popped up more than once. He'd actually checked on me at least once a month since January. OMG!!! As I remembered, I was so overcome that I literally began to cry.  His sister and I had been childhood friends, and since he was only a year younger, he played with us, too.  It was a cold and gray November day. I was about 7 years old at the time. We were playing on their swings in their back yard when I began talking about Christmas and Santa Claus. I remember how he broke my heart by telling me there is no Santa Claus. I ran all the way home in tears, hoping my parents would say that he was telling a fib, but they confirmed it, and Christmas was never the same.  I sent a message for him.  I sure hope he responds.

Today I realize that, the magic of Christmas is special, and Santa is real to all those who believe. Keep believing.

In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out.  In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in.  
Robert Brault

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

18 Days and Counting

Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, "Here is an opportunity for you to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary. 
Anthony Robbins

As I woke up yesterday morning, that familiar "I don't want to go." Mondays have always been difficult for me.  And then it struck me that I only had three more Mondays to go.  The time is growing short now.  My first week into retirement I'll probably stay fairly close to home. I plan to do some de-cluttering.  My closet is so crammed with clothes that  I'll have no need for so the first step will be to clean out my closet, keep the necessities, and take the rest to the Goodwill Dumpster around the corner.  Then I will set about re-arranging my knickknacks and cleaning off my bookshelves. No books are going to be given away, but I do want to organize a bit better.

Of course, that will probably be the week the biopsy is done as well, and that will require some time to rest and recuperate. My work insurance is only good until the end of July so I want to have it taken of before that runs out rather than start over at this point.  Let's just get it done so I can get on with my life, and then worry about transitioning to Medicare. 
I've  been looking into Senior and Recreational Centers as well...and it looks like exciting times are in my future.  There is a City Recreational Center a bus ride away, and they offer  Bingo, Ceramics, Fabri-crafts, Oil Painting, and Card Games amongst other things...and all for $25 a year.  The Senior Center offers Stress Management, Day Trips, Movies, Current Event Celebrations, etc. Oh, am I going to be busy, but in a fun way. I am so looking forward to it. Hey, you never know, I just might become the next Michelangelo. Who knows?

And, of course, there are are lazy days hanging out in the park with my trusty Kindle.  Hubby said last year an elderly Asian man was always in the park playing some strange instrument.  He said the music this man made was so beautiful that it left him in a meditative trance.  I hope to see him this year.

Then there are afternoon matinees at the movies and trips out to Coney Island. I plan to do some window gardening now that I have the time and experiment with recipes as I did so long ago.  Oh, I cannot wait.  Retirement is definitely going to be a celebration...and I plan savor every moment of it.

 Celebration is a kind of food we all need in our lives, and each individual
brings a special recipe or offering, so that together we will make a great
feast. Celebration is a human need that we must not, and can not, deny.
It is richer and fuller when many work and then celebrate together.

Corita Kent and Jan Steward

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Morning This and That

The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.

Sloan Wilson

I had a wonderful weekend, and  soon, very soon, every day will be a weekend.  19 days and counting.  I contacted Social Security on Friday because I hadn't heard anything, and it is all set to go.  Things are beginning to fall into place. Now, to follow up on my pension and look into plans to offset my Medicare.  Yes, indeed, I am on my way. Anyone here a member of AARP?  Is it really worth joining?  They say it is good for those who travel, but I am a homebody. 

On Saturday I headed out to TJ Maxx., but I did not go home as a  'maxxinista'. Actually, I found the store a big disappointment, at least the one in our neighborhood. The only item I found in my size was a nightgown for $17. I started to pick it up and then decided against it. Nightgowns are the last thing I need right now. I have so many. And gone are those days of buying something just so I don't go home empty handed.Afterwards I walked over to Century 21. Another big disappointment. Three floors of clothing, yet they only sell petite, Missy, and for regular women. Nothing for a 'plus size' like me. Talk about discrimination...and oddly enough, from what I saw most of the women who were shopping there on Saturday morning could use a plus size and still others were more up in age like me. Those scanty items just weren't their style, and to be honest, most were, like me, walking around empty handed. Chalk it up as a lesson learned. I just won't go there anymore.

On Sunday afternoon my son dropped by with his new girlfriend.  She was so pretty and nice, and he is so smitten.  I worry about him because his heart breaks very easily, and he a habit of picking up women who are on the rebound.  Needless to say, none of them have worked out.  They all got back together with their original beau, and my son was left pining away for something that wasn't meant to be. But, who knows.  Hopefully, this one will be different. I don't know about this girl, and I haven't want to pry, so I haven't asked.  Besides, he is a grown man,  old enough to make his own decisions and  it is not really my business. I shouldn't be sticking my nose where it did not belong.  But, it is just I remember how devastated he was when the last one walked away. I felt his pain.

As a mom, though, it is hard  to let go, isn't it?   We're so used to cleaning their cuts and scrapes and soothing their tears that we want to continue fixing their problems for them, rather than allowing them to make their own choices. When our motherly instincts kick it, we forget that our adult children need the freedom to develop their own lives. They have to be free to make their own mistakes just as our parents allowed us to make our mistakes. Of course, it we see our adult child setting off on a very destructive path, it would be wise for us to step in and try to steer them in another direction, but relationship issues are another matter.   I can listen, sympathize when things go wrong, and offer ,my advice and support, but I have to step back and give my son the freedom to make his own mistakes and learn from them.  Otherwise, how will he grow?

Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations.  Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit.  
Robert Brault

Friday, June 14, 2013


Feelings do not grow old along with the body. Feelings form
part of a world I don’t know, but it’s a world where
there’s no time, no space, no frontiers.

Paulo Coelho

Wow, this week has flown by quickly.  Can't believe Friday is already here.  Nothing much planned for this weekend...yet.  I can always change my mind.  When I went to the doctor yesterday, I saw that the bus stops right in front of TJ Maxx, and I have never been there. Maybe I can find the shorts I am looking for.

Speaking of the doctor.  No news yet.  I'd been under the impression that once I got all my tests done it was only a matter of setting the date, so I figured that would be done at my appointment yesterday.  Well,  I'd misunderstood.  In actuality, the doctor was giving me the opportunity to make up my mind whether or not I was going to have it done.  The other option would be to follow every six months with a Cat Scan to see if the nodule had grown. The decision was up to me, and I chose to go ahead with the biopsy. I've filled with worry far too long now.  I want to know.  So, he's going to put in for approval from the insurance company, and I will have the biopsy in July.  My insurance will carry through until July and then Medicare will kick in  

I'm a little confused about Medicare so if anyone can help, please let me know.  Because I am still working now, I have been told I have to apply for Plan B.  What's the difference with the other plans?  And will I need to get a second insurance to help defray costs?  I told you I was confused.  Now I probably have you confused as well. 

So, the rains came down again yesterday, and not a drop of it ended up in my bedroom.  Thank goodness they fixed that crack when they did.  I would really have had a mess to clean up. Now, myself, that's another story.  I was dishevelled and drenched by the time I got to work, and the worst of it was having to sit like that all day...with the  AC blasting.  They say we are in for a good weekend.  Let's all keep our fingers crossed.  We've earned some 'fun in the sun'.

Wishing  you all a sunny weekend.  Let's get out there and enjoy.
Part of the problem with the word "disabilities" is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can't feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.

Fred Rogers
The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things To Remember

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Another Day, Another Storm

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Oh, what a special woman she was!  A woman born before her time. Her words live on forever.

Speaking of looking fear in the face, I'm off this morning for a follow up with the doctor to set a date for the biopsy.  Don't mind telling you I am scared.  Part of me just wants this over with and the other part wants to just wish it away. Deny it and it will disappear.  Of course, I the rational part of me knows that is not possible, and no matter what the diagnosis, it is important that I catch it early.  Remember I spoke about hubby's cousin? Hubby found out that the doctors told her they saw something on her lungs years ago, but she refused to follow upon it saying, "I'm going to die anyway," and continued smoking. Now, sadly, her cancer has spread to her liver and other organs. There is no hope. I don't want that happening to me.  Hopefully, this will not turn out serious, and I will finally be more at ease.  But if it should be the worst, I'll face it with courage.  At this point though, I'm more worried about getting my blood pressure down.

On another note, at least one fear has been wiped off my slate of worries.  We're due for another severe storm tonight, another one just like last Friday, and all I could picture was my ceiling caving in.  There no way it was going to hold up against another onslaught. Then hubby called to tell me the men had just finished fixing up the crack outside.  Oh my,  I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was.  I'd actually been picturing myself sitting up all night.  Who wouldn't if they thought the ceiling was going to come crashing down on their heads. The ceiling will be repaired once everything is dried. At least now it won't get any worse. 

And, what's with all these storms?  Maybe it's me, but I just can't remember this many back to back storms here in the city.  They said on the news this morning that scientists have predicted that the city will continue to get warmer and wetter as the years pass by, and that by 2020, more people will be living in the flood zone as it expands and stretches to other areas of the city.  And that's right around the corner.

Well, it's time to get a move on if I want to see the doctor before work.  Hoping you all have a great day, and if you are in the path of the storm, please stay safe.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lessons Learned

 Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.

 Al Franken

The above quote is perfect for today's post. Mistakes can, indeed, become valuable life lessons, and although it is too late for me to correct, I made sure that my co-workers learned from it. Do your remember when I mentioned that when I left my last job I lost a lot of hours that I hadn't taken?--156 sick time, 52 vacation, and 3 personal, to be exact. I just never took time off. Well, I vowed when I started this new job that it wouldn't happen again, that I was going to take my time rather than give it back to the company. Especially once I made my decision to retire. I vowed that I wasn't going to give my time up this time, so I took almost everything, aside from the vacation time I get paid for. The mistake was I didn't check with HR before I started calling in sick.

See, in my previous job we accumulated sick time; that is, each month we gained so many hours. Vacation hours and personal time were allotted at the beginning of the year. In my current job, it is just the opposite. Sick days, 15 of them, and personal days are allotted the first of the year. Vacation time is accumulated on a monthly basis. Yesterday I called HR to see how much vacation monies they would pay upon my leaving and was totally unprepared for the reply....but I do understand and should have thought about it before hand. At present I have 134 hours of vacation, plus the 7 that will be added this month. That will be 141 hours when I leave, four whole weeks of vacation time....but I won't be getting it all. What was explained to me is that because all my sick time and personal time I am allotted in January carries for the year. We get 105 hours sick. Because I am leaving after working half a year, I should have 52 hours left. I get 4 personal days so I should have two left. Because I only have 35 hours sick and 1 personal, I actually owe the company time which will be deducted from my vacation time. 

Needless to say, it is too late for me.  A lesson learned, yes, but one I won't benefit from, but it is not too late for the others.  I made sure none of them make the same mistake I did.  It just goes to show you that one should never 'assume' anything. I figured that I wasn't going to make the same mistake as last time, and I didn't.  Instead, I made a different kind of mistake because I 'didn't' ask, and because of this, I lost vacation time in a different way. I'm not going to beat myself up over it, though.  Things are going to happen, and it is how we deal with them that counts. I don't cry over spilled milk anymore.  Instead, I have now learned to take things and stride and move on.  Life is too short.  Sure, that extra money would have been great, but is it really worth worrying myself sick over it? 

Don't keep crying because of an mistake. Learn from it and move on. Don't waste your life blaming yourself because of something that's gone.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Ranble

 I've learned that things change, people change, and it doesn't mean you forget the past or try to cover it up. It simply means that you move on and treasure the memories. Letting go doesn't mean giving up. It means accepting that some things weren't meant to be.

  Lisa Brooks

It was kind of rough at work yesterday...emotionally.  I'm not only finding it harder to break the news that I am leaving, but, although I had expected strong reactions from 'certain' clients, I hadn't expected it in just about all of them. It has taken me by surprise.  So far I am about halfway through my caseload, and male and female have become teary-eyed when I told them...and, of course, when someone becomes emotional it sets me off, so tears came to my eyes as well.  I guess that is the week I have in store for myself.

I can't keep putting it off.  I realized this morning that by the time I take off the three days for the biopsy and the 4 sick days I have left, it's less than three weeks, and the 'employee' part of my life will be over, and the 'retiree' will take over.  This week I have to let everyone know.  So, I've been pulling each client aside  to tell them personally and asking them to keep it under wraps until I have a chance to tell everyone. I don't want them finding out second-hand news. That's not nice. I know how I would feel if it was done to me, but I also know that some clients find it hard to keep a secret, so it is only a matter of time before they all know.

It was really strange yesterday when I went online and found my job posting.  A year ago, I never would have thought of it, but many things have changed since then, and the decision had to be made.  One of my co-workers who doesn't want me to go was angry and said, "They could have waited a week or so. It doesn't seem right when you are still here."  I understand, though, and I told her so.  We're already so overburdened, they need to fill my space quickly.  

What a mess that rain storm brought with it on Friday. We had nearly five inches of rain. It rained so much that a small crack on the building wall has now become a huge gaping crack and water has been seeping in.  It  not drenched my bedroom curtains, but now my bedroom ceiling is about to come down.  And then, with more rain coming yesterday and more rain on Thursday, I am just keeping my fingers crossed. They say they will be here on the first dry day--Wednesday.  I'm really very angry about this.  They've known about this problem since November.  Actually, they had come to fix it back then, but it seems that all they did was put a band-aid on it. Now, it has become a major issue. I learned a long time ago that if you don't fix something right, it only becomes a bigger problem in the future. The whole ceiling will probably have to be redone now. I can understand this happening to someone on the top floor, but on the first floor? Who would have guessed? This is what my ceiling looks like now.

In closing, I'd like to share a couple of the wonderful good-bye quotes I found.  I'll be sharing them off and on until I leave the job.  

Good bye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be.
Walt Disney

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
Thomas Meeha 

Friday, June 7, 2013


Goodbyes are hard. It may be harder for the person leaving; but it's always hardest for the person being left behind. 

Well, another Friday rolls around, another week closer to retirement. Sometimes, the days seem to be passing so slowly, other times they just fly by. This has been a 'flying' week. That's because I have been so busy I don't even have time to think. I've begun weeding out clients to be discharged, updating charts and closing them out, as well as beginning to break the news to clients. I've managed to get through a few this week, and it hasn't been easy. In fact, a couple times, the tears were ready to flow. 

Heavy rain is on call for today.  I'm still trying to make up my mind to see if I want to go in or not today.  I've still 55 hours of sick time to take.  That's That's eight days.  There'll be three used when I get my biopsy, but that still leaves me five days to take in less than four weeks. I'll just play it by ear and see how the morning goes. 

Speaking of my biopsy, I got the medical clearance yesterday.  Now it is just a matter of  making the call and setting it up. This weekend, though, I am going to  do my best to sweep it out of my mind and enjoy my time off.  It will be a rainy Saturday, and although I have to cook, I'll still have plenty of time for rest.  Monday I will make the call.  I know this has to be done, and it will be. Right now I am just so scared. I just need this weekend for me.  I need to settle down from a busy week and bring some peace into my mind.  I need some quiet time for quiet reflection and prayer. 

Wishing you all a grand weekend. Talk to you all on Monday.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Spring Song

I discovered the most magnificent poet and wanted to share one of my favorites with you.

I am the Vision and the Dream
    Of trembling Age, and yearning Youth;
    I am the Sorceress Supreme.
    I am Illusion; I am Truth.

    I am the Queen to whom belongs
    The royal right great gifts to give;
    I am the Singer of the Songs
    That lure men on to live and live.

    There is no music like to mine;
    I sing in green, and gold and red;
    I pour from secret casks the wine
    That cheers the cold hearts of the dead.

    My harp it has a thousand tones,
    And makes the world with joy a-flood;
    The old men feel it in their bones,
    And life leaps laughing in their blood.

    The sourest mortal all in vain
    Shall try from me to keep apart;
    I have no commerce with his brain,
    I storm the fortress of his heart.

    I am the Soul of things to come;
    I make a lover from a log;
    I make a poet of the dumb;
    I make a seraph of a frog.

    The lover with a wrecked romance,
    The gambler by misfortune struck,
    I bring to them another chance-
    New life, new times, new love, new luck.

    My names are all the names impearled
    In all the songs my singers sing;
    I am the sweetheart of the world,
    I am Carissima-the Spring!

Victor James Daley

Wishing you all a wonderful day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

'Circle of Stones (The Mother People Series)'

From this moment on, each death, each birth, each animal that gave its life to feed them, each season of life-giving rain, each gathering of the earth's bounty, must be remembered and blessed.  That was the Mothers way, and she would honor it.  

This past weekend I began finished reading another fiction novel. It is the most wonderful book. I was unable to put it down and completed it by Monday.  Now, I am reading the second book of the series, 'Circles in the Sky'. You will usually see me read  books that take place during the Celtic times, especially those times of the Roman takeover and struggles of the Druids and the priestesses. This book also takes place in the past, but it begins on the African Savannah more than a million years ago. 'Circle of Stones (The Mother People Series)' by Joan Dahr Lambert tells the story of three wise woman, each named Zena, each born thousands of generations apart.  The book has been around for awhile so some of you may have read it.

The first Zena lives in a matriarchal society of late Homo Habilis, early Homo Erectus on the African Savannah during prehistoric times.  It was a time when women, peace and stability reigned under the rule of the tribal Mother, the healer. While still a child  Zena loses her mom in a flash flood, and what follows is her incredible story of survival.  She is still very young when she finds herself leading a small tribe and performing one of the first rituals  in the 'sacred circle of stones' to bring rain to the scorched earth. The hair on my arms actually stood up as I read about the birth of the 'Great Mother', and when I took a moment and closed my eyes, I was there right along with them.

Images drifted into her mind, of her mother, of the grandmother she barely remembered, of Rune.  Over and over, their faces floated past her.  It seemed to Zena that they were here with her, comforting her with their presence.  Strangely, though, they were not separate.  They were all in one, as if they had somehow merged into one mother, a mother who was much bigger, much wiser and stronger than any of them alone.  But even that was not enough to describe the mother they had become.  She seemed to hold within her all the females who had ever struggled to help those who depended on them, as Zena was doing now.  They understood; they could guide her, as her mother and Rune had once guided her.'

The  second Zena lived on the fertile shores of the Red Sea somewhere between 500 and 200 thousand years ago. She was late homo erectus, early homo sapien and lived side by side with the Neanderthals. This story begins at the time of 'the change' when humans are growing taller with larger heads and brains. Women whose body's have not yet adapted are dying in childbirth because these genetic changes are making birth difficult;  children are literally too large to be born. Zena is one of the first of the new breed to survive, and from the start she is different from the others in many ways including intelligence and the ability to experience mystical visions of the future.  In this story, the author convincingly finds ways to incorporate memories of the first Zena.

'The name suited the child, she reflected, glad now that she had chosen it.  Zena meant remarkable woman, one who would lead, and Kalar was certain that would one day be true.  It was an old word, and no once could remember its origin, but her grandmother had told her she thought it came from a long-ago ancestor who had served the Mother well.'

The third Zena lives  50000 years ago in the Pyrenees. This Zena was an early homo sapien. She lived during the period when the patriarchal raiders from the North were decimating the peaceful tribes of the Mother People.  She lived during the time when the world was changing drastically and the 'Great Mother' was being replaced by 'the Great Hunter' and the world began to change into one of fear, violence, and the victimization of women by the men who now ruled society.

'Year after year when you are shunned and persecuted and killed, you must pass the knowledge from mother to daughter, over and over again.  Sometimes you will not even know that that the one you worship is called Mother.  You will only know that a deep and fervent love for something you cannot name lies within you, that it is wrong to despoil the land, the waters, to take from those are weak and watch some starve while others feast.'

The 'Great Mother' is returning.  We see it all around  us. People are tired of the violence, of the cruelty. Our future will come from the past.  The tide is turning, and it is an amazing time to be alive.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Picking Wildflowers

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.

Native American Proverb

It's a lovely morning.  The oppressive heat and humidity are gone, and the air has a lovely, fresh feel to it. The rains came yesterday and washed everything away. This is the kind of morning that I yearn to play hookey and go running through the fields and meadows as I did when I was in my youth, picking wildflowers for my grandma. Life was so carefree back then. Who even thought of what the future would bring?  It seemed that childhood would go on forever.

My grandma was older than most of the grandmother's I knew.  She was older than grandpa by 11 years.  She didn't get married until she was 35, had my uncle at 37, my aunt at 42, and my mom when she was 46. Although women today think nothing of having a child in their late 30's, early 40's, back then it was nearly unheard of. My mom was born in 1926. Even when I was of childbearing age, I remember hearing that one should have babies no later than their mid-30's.  She was such a special lady.

By the time my memories began she was already in her 60's, but she was always there for me, and she still is. I feel her presence often.  She only had three grandchildren, and I was the only girl, so that made me special, but she also knew well of the problems at home and was always there to show me the love that my parents didn't know how to give me.  

Oh, how easy it has become for my mind to go wondering. How easy it has become for me to remember!!  They say as we get older, our memories of our youth become sharper.  But, I tend to believe it is not all due to aging. When we are young, we tend to live our lives in the fast lane and often find ourselves lacking in time; we are far too busy with our daily lives to take time to remember.  Bills must be paid and food must be brought to the table.  We have children of our to raise, so we tend to put our previous lives on the backburner.  Not that we ever forget our loved ones.  they are always in our hearts.  It's the little memories like picking wildflowers we don't seem to have time for.  Yes,  I think these memories were always there, but can only come to the surface when we begin to slow down and take the time and allow ourselves to listen to them.  

"Always remember to slow down in life; live, breathe, and learn; take a look around you whenever you have time and never forget everything and every person that has the least place within your heart." 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday This and That

The happiness which we receive from ourselves is greater than that which we
obtain from our surroundings. . . . The world in which a person lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he or she looks at it.

Arthur Schopenhauer
It's  a  rainy Monday. Fortunately, it's going to wash this oppressive heat away. I think it hit us hard because most of us weren't ready for it.  I watched as neighbors scrambled early morn to get their air conditioners in. I thought about how good it will be when August rolls around, and I no longer have to take that dreadful subway ride.  Underground stations are oppressive during the summer heat.  They smell of urine and body odors, and some stations can reach 100 degrees during a heat wave.

Went out early Saturday morning before the worst of the heat to do some shopping at my favorite fruit stand. Took some pictures for you.  You've all heard so much about it.  Thought it was time to show you. This is only 'some' of the fruits.  Down further is the veggies.  I swear, they have every kind of potato one could possibly want. And then, there is the inside of the store.  This is where you find all the herbs, some speciality fruits, cheeses from around the world, candy and cakes from around the world.  It is magnificent and takes me almost an hour to go through everything.  I would have taken more pictures, but one of the workers was looking at me strangely, and I got a little nervous.  Here in New York everybody is so jumpy so I figured it best not to push my luck.  There is always next time.

As usual, I came home loaded with loot. Those plums there are called California Sweet Plums, and when you bite in one, the juice actually squirts out. They are so, so sweet and yummy. I also bought some broccoli, baby spinach, and cauliflower to make a pasta dish for my lunches. It is far too hot for my homemade soups now, and even with the air conditioner, hot soup just doesn't sound right.  And the salad turned out scrumptious. It was so easy to make.  As usual, I found a basic recipe and changed it to suit my tastes.

1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
baby spinach
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley
garlic cloves
black pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese
pasta of your choice

While cooking pasta in large pot of boiling water, cook vegetables and drain. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute garlic. Stir in cauliflower and seasons. Drain pasta and transfer into large bowl. Toss in vegetables. Add Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley and serve.

There is plenty for my lunches this week. 

Well, not only is it a rainy day outdoors, but also a rainy day here at home.  I'm typing now at record speed as my computer has seen better days.  It keeps shutting off on me, and the monitor will say it is getting no signal.  This probably means a new one is in order.  I definitely cannot go without a computer. I've had this HP since 1996 and it has been well used, especially when my son lived with us. I can't complain.  I did get my money's worth from it. I just dread transferring everything from the old one.  Have to dig up all those discs that haven't been used since before the move.  Yikes, a horrid thought.  Can I even find them or did the movers lose them as well? 

It also irks me that this has to happen because I am trying to save for retirement.  I'm not going to be bringing in the money I am now, and even though it won't be so noticeable, it will cut out the extras that I have grown to love.  I'm already starting to re-train myself.  On Saturday I was going to head to Rite Aid just to see what I could buy.  Not that I needed anything. I have plenty of incense and scented candles. I don't need any toiletries.  I just wanted to shop.  I talked myself out of it because the time has come to learn a new way of living.  Not a bad change, a good one.   Material goods do not make one happy, and if they do, it will only be a temporary happiness.  The fact is, we cannot buy happiness.  True happiness is found within. It is about how we feel about ourselves in our hearts.

The happiness which we receive from ourselves is greater than that which we
obtain from our surroundings. . . . The world in which a person lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he or she looks at it.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Wishing you all a great week.  And be sure to take some time for you.