Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday Ramble




There is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as
a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap;
the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and
grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

George Bernard Shaw


I snapped the above picture of the Verazano Bridge as I was on my way to enroll in the recreation center.  Needless to say, it was a long, somewhat wasted trip.  I didn't even go in because I because I didn't get a good feeling about it.  First of all, it was a long walk from the bus, downhill going, but returning it was all uphill.  Then, it was a plan green building located in what I consider 'no man's land'.  It was so far from civilization that no one would hear you if you called out for help...and, there was no one around anyway.  It was just too dreary and depressing so I just turned around and walked back up to the bus stop.  At least I got to explore a part of Brooklyn I was unfamiliar with.

During my travels yesterday, I came across the quaint little Episcopal Church above.  It was so small and nestled so far back that if I hadn't been looking for an address, I wouldn't have found it. It would be nice to attend a service there, but the bus runs every 40 minutes on a weekday.  I can only imagine how it would be on a Sunday.

It was almost lunch time at the senior center so I headed on over.  For one dollar I had a meal of delicious meatloaf, real mashed potatoes, fresh string beans, fruit salad, milk, and juice.  Plus I had the added benefit of being surrounded by others.  I loved it.  We also stood and faced the flag and said the 'Pledge of Allegiance' and sang 'My Country Tis of Thee' before the meal was served.  Haven't done that since school.

After lunch I tried my hand at the belly dancing classes they offered.  Yes, 'old stiff as a board' me.  The old hips may not have moved that well, but it sure was a lot of fun, and it felt good to laugh.  Today it's needlecraft, bingo, and dance lessons and history...whatever that is about. This is so much better than work. 

Received a call from an old colleague yesterday. It was good to be remembered. Of course I asked about my clients, and she told me that the young boy I'd been concerned about has been missing.  The last time he was there was my last day when he came to say good bye to me.  Since then, no one has had word from him.  It had been my fear that he would take it hard.  He'd once told me that everyone he cared about always left him, and that's why he had tried so hard not to get attached to me.  But, then he began to trust me and trust that I would be there for him.  And then I am gone.  It is so sad, but there was not much of a choice for me.  The job was killing me, so either way, staying or leaving, I would have been gone.  And now, I have to let this go, as well. I can be concerned, but nothing more. I can only pray that he is alright. 

Prayer for worldly goods is worse than fruitless, but prayer for
strength of soul is that passion of the soul which catches the gift it seeks.

George Meredith

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Ramble

"Hope" is the thing with feathers--
That perches in the soul--
And sings the tunes without the words--
And never stops--at all.

Emily Dickinson


This is a picture of my new votive candle holder. Had to go to Rite Aid, and, of course, I always take the time to check and see what kind of trinkets they are offering for the day. Hummingbirds have always been one of my favorites, and I have found lots of joy in following Phoebe and her broods throughout the years. According to legend,  hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. A Mayan legend says the hummingbird is actually the sun in disguise, and he is trying to court a beautiful woman, who is the moon, and Pueblo shamans use hummingbirds as couriers to send gifts to the Great Mother who lives beneath the earth. 

I am determined to live my life and not sit around waiting to find out what's wrong with me, so I went to the senior center and registered yesterday.  Had to show my ID to prove that I was old enough.  Haven't had to do that since I was 26 years old and trying to buy a drink. Already I feel very comfortable there.  The people I met were so pleasant I am looking forward to going back.  I especially liked the fact that dreamcatchers and meditation mandalas were noticeably present.  Today I am going to go to the city run center.  There they offer oil painting as well as a swimming pool.  


Anyone ever try broccoflour?  It's a cross between broccoli and cauliflour.  You know me, always ready to try something different.  It tasted okay, but it's not something I would buy again.  And with that, I'd like to end today with one of my favorite little hummingbird tales.  It comes from the ancient Mayans.

'Tzunuum, the hummingbird, was created by the Great Spirit as a tiny, delicate bird with extraordinary flying ability. She was the only bird in the kingdom who could fly backwards and who could hover in one spot for several seconds. The hummingbird was very plain. Her feathers had no bright colors, yet she didn't mind. Tzunuum took pride in her flying skill and was happy with her life despite her looks.

When it came time to be married, Tzunuum found that she had neither a wedding gown nor a necklace. She was so disappointed and sad that some of her best friends decided to create a wedding dress and jewelry as a surprise.

Ya, the vermilion-crowned flycatcher wore a gay crimson ring of feathers around his throat in those days. He decided to use it as his gift. So he tucked a few red plumes in his crown and gave the rest to the hummingbird for her necklace. Uchilchil, the bluebird, generously donated several blue feathers for her gown. The vain motmot, not to be outdone, offered more turquoise blue and emerald green. The cardinal, likewise, gave some red ones.

Then, Yuyum, the oriole, who was an excellent tailor as well as an engineer, sewed up all the plumage into an exquisite wedding gown for the little hummingbird. Ah-leum, the spider, crept up with a fragile web woven of shiny gossamer threads for her veil. She helped Mrs. Yuyum weave intricate designs into the dress. Canac, the honeybee, heard about the wedding and told all his friends who knew and liked the hummingbird. They brought much honey and nectar for the reception and hundreds of blossoms that were Tzunuum's favorites.

Then the azar tree dropped a carpet of petals over the ground where the ceremony would take place. She offered to let Tzunuum and her groom spend their honeymoon in her branches. Pakal, the orange tree, put out sweet-smelling blossoms, as did Nicte, the plumeria vine. Haaz (the banana bush), Op the custard apple tree) and Pichi and Put (the guava and papaya bushes) made certain that their fruits were ripe so the wedding guests would find delicious refreshments. And, finally, a large band of butterflies in all colors arrived to dance and flutter gaily around the hummingbird's wedding site.

When the wedding day arrived, Tzunuum was so surprised, happy and grateful that she could barely twitter her vows. The Great Spirit so admired her humble, honest soul that he sent word down with his messenger, Cozumel, the swallow, that the hummingbird could wear her wedding gown for the rest of her life. And, to this day, she has. How did the humility of one long-ago hummingbird cause its descendants to sport brilliant colors?'
Have a wonderful day.









Monday, July 29, 2013

My Third Week of Retirement

Another Monday morning rolls around.  It's my third Monday into retirement. Now it no longer feels like I took a a two week vacation.  Now it hits home that work is no longer a way of life...and to be honest...it feels so good.  I wondered if I would begin to feel board as I had whenever I took a few days off work, but I am far from bored.  Even when I have nothing to do, I have plenty to keep me occupied.  Love this life of ease...and choices.  I had to mention that it feels good not to be limited in my choices and not have to wake up in the morning with only two to make--call in sick or go to work.  Now, as they say, 'the world is my oyster'.

No news about my tests on Friday.  Maybe today.  I did my best to keep my mind off of it this weekend, although, try as I might, it has crept in on occasion.  On Sunday I went to Church.  I find so much peace there and no longer feel like the intruder that I did in the beginning. I had felt strange, as if I didn't belong because I wasn't a Catholic, but that's all changed now.   After the service, I spent time with the statues and said a prayer with Our Lady of Lourdes.  Friday evening there is a healing service and a vigil thereafter. I plan to be there.


I made up a recipe for some red cabbage over the weekend, and it was so good I ate half of it before it hit the plates...as you can see by the half empty bowl. Very simple ingredients--red cabbage, low sodium chicken broth. garlic powder, and white vinegar--simmered in a pot. Delicious if I do say so myself.

This weekend I purchased a book which I had placed on my 'Wish List' long ago and  anxiously awaited its debut on Kindle on the 28th....'Shaman Pathways--Elen of the Ways-- – Following the Deer Trods' by Elen Sentier. The wait was worth it. I wasn't disappointed.   My only complaint is that the book was too darn short.  89 pages.  But the message found in the book was huge.  Wake up, humanity, before it is too late. Throughout the book, the author encourages us to seek and find a connection to the land. The author, a British Shaman, was  born and raised in a small village that continued to follow the old ways.  Her grandmother was a witch, her dad a Shaman who taught her his skills.  In this book, through her own personal journeys, Elen acquaints us with the old ways,the ancient Shamanism of Britain which today has been largely forgotten.

She introduces us to the reindeer goddess of the ancient Boreal forest, which covered Northern Europe and the Americas thousand so years ago, Elen of the Ways, a goddess who, I have to admit, I knew little about. Now I am eager to learn more.  She was predominant at the time when mankind belonged to the land, rather than the land belonging to them.  Throughout the book the author describes how we, too, on a spiritual level, can find that same connection with the land through ancient Shamanic practices.  She guides us by showing us simple practices that we can easily use to re-connect. such as tracking animals and birds, learning to read the landscape, and asking permission of the food we eat...just to name a few.  The following is a copy of the book description.  For $2.99 on Kindle, you cannot go wrong.

“Elen of the Ways is about the ancient shamanism of Britain. Elen Sentier grew up in a long family lineage of following the Deer Trods; in this book she tells of the old, forgotten ways of our ancestors. Through her own experience, stories, practical exercises and journeys with the deer, Elen takes you into the realm of the Boreal Forest, of which Britain is a part, to show how the Deer Goddess is the spirit of this land. To walk the Deer Trods is to realise how close and connected you are to nature and everything in this beautiful world which we share with our non-human brethren. You learn, too, that our everyday world and otherworld are intertwined. Elen of the Ways is both here and there at the same time. You will find her everywhere.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Everyday is Friday Now

One of the worst features about worrying is that it destroys our ability to concentrate.
When we worry, our minds jump here and there and everywhere, and we lose all
power of decision. However, when we force ourselves to face the worst and accept
it mentally, we then eliminate all these vague imaginings and put ourselves in a
position in which we are able to concentrate on our problem.

Willis H. Carrier 

Yesterday was the first day I ventured outdoors since my biopsy on Monday.  I was so sore all week I didn't feel much like doing anything, but yesterday was so cool and refreshing, a taste of fall, I had to get out and get some air.  The stress of waiting for results has been getting to me. All I did was take a walk to the fruit stand, but it felt good to be up and about...and it made me forget just for a little while.  Below is a picture of some of my loot...


I bought some sweet seedless black grapes, a few sugar plums, plums, and some vine tomatoes for a sandwich.  The large yellow plums are called 'King Midas Plums' while the smaller ones are called 'Honeysuckle Rose Pluots.  They are usually only available here from now until the beginning of August, not a very long time period, indeed.  They are ALWAYS very sweet. I love them.  The Pluots are crosses between plums and apricots, and they, too, are so yummy.

Death was walking toward a city one morning and a man asked, "What are you going to do there?"  "I'm going to take one hundred people," Death replied. "That's horrible!" the man said.  "That's the way it is," Death said.  "Well, we'll see about that," said the man as he hurried to warn everyone he could about Death's plan.  As evening fell, he met Death again.  "You told me you were going to take one hundred people," the man said.  "Why did one thousand die?"  "I kept my word," Death answered.  "I took only one hundred.  Worry took the rest." 

Contemporary Spiritual Story
  
How is one not to worry as the waiting game continues. I play my games, read, watch television, putter about, and now take little walks, but everytime that phone rings my heart drops and fear takes over.  I'd like to think that the old adage "No news is good news" applies here, but I highly doubt it.  My doctor knows how concerned I am.  I'm sure he wouldn't put me through needless worry, and hard as I try to stay optimistic, worry I do. 

Worry is like a rocking chair—it keeps you moving
but doesn’t get you anywhere.

Corrie Ten Boom
 

Wishing you all a wonderful, restful weekend.  If I should hear anything, I will be sure to let you know.

Haunted Buildings


Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea.... We are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light.

HENRIK IBSEN, Ghosts

Last night I was sitting in my favorite chair, reading, when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  That's been happening to me more often now.  I'm becoming more sensitive to my surroundings.  Perhaps it is because I am finally getting a chance to settle in.  Brought to mind a post published just the other day by my dear friend Aine at the Deepest Well.   She spoke about the 'Unseen'.  They are all around us.  Every house or building has its story. Even newly built homes are built over what once was someone else's home.  And it is a fact that some of us sense their presence.  Brings to mind the 'happenings' at my old office building.


I was always the first one to work, and I absolutely loved being in the empty building.  The quiet and solitude was a great way to start my day.  One morning I'd barely taken my seat and settled in when I heard footsteps in the hall.  "Darn," I thought.  I was actually disappointed that someone was trespassing on my 'quiet time'.  'Good morning, Denice', I called out.  No response.  'Hmmm, someone's in a bad mood', I thought to myself, determined to stay out of her way.  It wasn't until I headed for the ladies' room a few minutes later that I learned that no one else was there.

On another occasion, Denice was off, and there was an intense racket going on behind her locked office door.  My clinical superviser and myself stood outside the door listening.  'It's probably just a mouse' she said.  'A mouse', I exclaimed, 'making all that racket?  No, that is our friendly ghost.'

These are just two of many different episodes, enough to make me begin research on the building. I do know that in the basement there were many different doors leading to tunnels which, in turn, led to almost every other building in the area....a complete underground system. Some say these were part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War while others claim they were use as escape routes during to the time of Prohibition.  I've not found the answer to the underground tunnels, but I did find some history on the building. Here is what I found.

On June 15, 1904 an excursion had been planned aboard the SS General Slocum, a passenger steamboat built in Brooklyn, New York. Members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church were on their way to Locust Grove recreation grounds on Eaton’s Neck, a picnic site in Long Island. Many of these passengers met in front of my office building before heading to the pier to board of the boat.  




The ship got underway at 9:30am, but they  never made it to their destination that day.  It was just as she was passing East 90th Street that the boat caught fire in a storage compartment. The wind was strong on that day and fanned the fire until it was out of control.  The lifeboats were tied up and inaccessible, and the life preservers and fire hoses were rotting and useless.  Witnesses watched in horror as mothers put these old life preservers on their children and tossed them into the river in attempt to save them, only to see them sink beneath the murky waters. There was no escape, and most of the crew and passengers were burned to death or drowned in the river when they jumped into the waters to escape the flames.  

More than 1,000 people died that day in what was New York City's worst disaster until 9/11.  The community never recovered.  Many left the Lower East Side and the shock of losing so many loved ones devastated families so badly that the suicide rate rose to abnormal heights. 

The building itself had at different times been a social security office, a bank, and a boy's home.  I'd once believed that our office spirit had been one of these boys, but soon realized that I was sensing more of a female spirit in the building.  My guess is that she was one of the victims on that fateful day.  

Today the building has been totally renovated into high priced condos.   I have to wonder how our ghost is getting along.


It is wonderful that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.

SAMUEL JOHNSON, The Life of Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday This and That

Today I am feeling pretty much normal and keeping positive thoughts.  I plan to take a trip to the fruit stand and perhaps will sit in the park for awhile.  Retirement is to be enjoyed.  It is not a time to sit around and feel sorry for oneself. 

I had planned to head out to the bank and to deposit my checks from work and was wondering why they have yet to arrive.  Have to admit that it is partially  my fault.  I'd sent a copy of my new address up to HR when I moved, but did not fill out the formal address form.  I guess you can say we are both to blame on this one.  I shouldn't have been so lazy and taken a trip up to the 12th floor, and whoever got my handwritten copy of my address should have contacted me that there actually WAS a formal form to be filled out. 


The above is really a beautiful golden glass plaque I received years ago, but I  am still learning how to use this new phone, and the picture does not due it justice.  The camera on my new phone has zoom and other adjustments for day and night, but I've not gotten that far yet.  I've not even learned that I can't just turn the phone off after calling someone, that I have to press 'end', a lesson learned the hard way when I called hubby and it went on for 27 minutes.  He couldn't hang up because I had called him.  LOL!!!

I have, however, found and learned how to play the games, and play games I do every chance I get.  Candy Crush has become my new addiction. Oh my, I am surprised that I get anything done.  And, I find that I am not alone.  The other day on the bus it was the topic of conversation.  "What board are you up to?" we strangers were asking each other. Anyone else addicted to this game?  

Finally, a co-worker sent me the following last night...

These are my babies.  A client came and dropped them off about two years ago and I have been taking care of them ever since.  The two in the forefront are the girls.  They were about the size of the little one in the back...the boy who never seems to grow.  But, little as he is, he fights his own battles which are rare but they have happened.


This little gal was special.  They all had their own personalities, but she was kind of special.  When she saw me coming, she'd actually climb up on the rock and stand on her hind feet. I miss them terribly.  I wanted to take them with me but, alas, indoor turtles require a lot of work, and neither hubby nor I are up to carrying heavy aquariums and doing all the cleaning necessary.  It is good to know they are being taken care of.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Angels In The Early Morning"

    Angels in the early morning
    May be seen the dews among,
    Stooping, plucking, smiling, flying:
    Do the buds to them belong?

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

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson


Isn't she pretty?  She is one of my favorite little Angels.  Her name is Celia, and she watches over the animals.

The following angel in a glass bulb changes color as you can see...





 It took me forever to get a shot of the red one.


This is my Guardian Angel.  She is always watching over me. She has saved me many times during my life, and I know she was with me yesterday.

I'm feeling a wee bit sore today and planning to take it easy...doctor's orders.  Last night I was in so much pain I felt like climbing the walls, but after a good night's rest, and it's the first time I slept like a baby in a long time, I am feeling better.  I was awake during the entire procedure...much to my own chagrin.  Doctor said I had to be awake to control my breathing.  The needle with the anesthetic stung, but the biopsy needle itself was a dull ache as it entered my lung.  

My sons are both beside themselves.  They lost their father, grandmother, and grandfather within six months...two of cancer and one from emphysema.  Now they see their mom, all they have left, sick and they are scared.  It makes me all the more determined to work through this.  Last night, I decided that, no matter what the result, I am not going to take this lying down.  There are too many people who need me and too much life left for me to live.  

Thanks for being here.

  

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Done. Now Comes the Wait

Thank you all so much for your prayers and all your support.  I know they helped.  The doctor was able to get the tissue in one shot, and, despite the fact that he had warned me I had a big risk of an air bubble because of where the nodule was located, it did not happen.  I would have been home much earlier, but my blood pressure had shot up to 198 over 134, and they wouldn't let me go home until it was brought down.  Now it is a matter of waiting for the results...which isn't going to be easy. 

Thanks again.  I know your prayers brought me through this.  Now I am off to eat.

The Day Has Arrived

Yesterday I went to church.  I needed to. The last time I went to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, I realized that this was Her place, and yesterday  I needed to be enveloped  by Her.  And literally, She surrounds you as you sit in silent prayer. She didn't let me down.  I've wanted to go to church for awhile now, but my job was draining me so badly that most of the times I could barely dress myself on the weekends.  After the service I snapped some pictures of Her to share with you.

















This statue is enclosed in a glass case.  I didn't realize it at the time, but the reflection on the church was shining on the glass.  It's too bad because she is truly beautiful.

I bought the following statue of Our Lady of Lourdes at their gift shop yesterday and worked her energies in a healing vigil last night.


Well, I will soon be off to have my biopsy done. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. Truth be told, I am more frightened of the possible results than I am the procedure...but I am going into this thinking positive.  Please keep me in your thoughts today.

Friday, July 19, 2013

My First Friday of Retirement...Put it in the Books



Well, I made it through my first week of retirement.  Caught up on lots of household chores that had just been waiting for me to find the time.  I'm really quite the pack rat.  Would you believe I found my good-bye card from 1976?  When I first moved to the city I had tended bar for awhile and developed quite a following.  Imagine that.  From barmaid to addiction counselor. The changes that life brings.

Went for my blood work yesterday and am expecting a call this evening letting me know what time to go in on Monday for my biopsy.  There's a part of me that just wants to cancel and forget that all this is going on, but then I remember hubby's cousin and I know that is not the right move. 

More good news.  My blood pressure is down again....129 over 83.  It's getting so low that I actually asked the druggist if I had to worry about the medication bringing it too low...of which, he assured me it will not, to just keep doing whatever I am doing because it is definitely working.  Heck, I should have retired a long time ago.  

Speaking of prescriptions, I made sure I got a three month supply of all my medications. That takes a big worry off my mind for now I have three months to find the best prescription plan for me.  This is all so new to me.  I'm used to prescription plans coming with my insurance. 

I find myself chatting with anyone willing to listen and had some nice conversations at the bus stopand on the bus yesterday.   Of course it was about the heat.  We are all suffering so, but I find I walk around now with a smile on my face and take such joy in everything going on around me.  I also mentioned to hubby last night that I am just not so tired anymore.  I have energy to do things.  I'd been beginning to feel so bad that it really worried me.  That constant fatigue just would not go away.  I am learning now how to appreciate life more.  I am learning how to appreciate others.

What you put out comes back.
The more you sincerely appreciate
life from the heart, the more the
magnetic energy of appreciation
attracts fulfilling life experiences
to you, both personally and
professionally. Learning how to
appreciate more consistently
offers many benefits and
applications. Appreciation is an
easy heart frequency to activate
and it can help shift your
perspectives quickly. Learning how
to appreciate both pleasant and even
seemingly unpleasant experiences is
a key to increased fulfillment.

Doc Childre and Sara Paddision

Would you believe I was out there yesterday purchasing long flannel nightgowns?  Yes, in all this heat.  The other day I had stopped in the store to look around and saw that they had several in my size, but I didn't purchase them.  Then, after I got home I remembered the hard time I had last year finding anything in my size that went below the knee, so I grabbed a couple and put them away.  

My weekend is up in the air, but I do know one thing.  I won't be shopping and cooking all day on Saturday.  Matter of fact, I am about to get ready to head on out to the supermarket today.  They say storms are headed in our direction tomorrow so it's best to get it done today.  I never worry about myself; I always pity the poor delivery guy who has to deliver in the rain. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.  Let's hope this atrocious heat fades away and gives us all a break.  We certainly need one.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday Ramble OOPS!!!! See what I mean. It's Thursday.


The emotion that can break your heart is
sometimes the very one that heals it.

Nicholas Sparks
At First Sight


I'd like to start by thanking all of your for your comments on my little ramble yesterday. You all said it.  Time.  It is going to take time. Fifty years is over half my lifetime, and now I am adjusting to something totally new for me...a life of leisure...and don't get me wrong.  It feels wonderful not have to deal with those maddening trains and the constant chaos on the job.   But there is still a feeling of loss. Jo hit the nail on the head when she said 'we become so identified with work that we don't really know who we are without it.'  You are so right. For so many years, work was all I knew.  There was no social life.  I was always too tired for that. Now, it is just the opposite as I feel my way around as I begin anew.

And yes, I have found myself reaching out more to strangers.  I find myself striking up conversations with anyone who will take the time to listen.  Like the checkout girl at the fruit stand yesterday.  I'm sure she didn't care how long I had waited and how glad I was that the sugarplums had arrived, but she was polite and nodded, smiling, probably wondering 'who is this woman who is babbling on so much about sugarplums and black grapes?'  I even stayed dressed when I went home and went out to check for mail about twenty times in the hopes that someone from my building might be sitting outdoors and would be up for a chat.  But, of course, it is way too hot for that.  No one wants to leave the coolness of their apartment to go sit in that heat. 

In a private email yesterday a friend wrote that my co-workers will adapt to my absence more quickly than I will to being gone, and hard as it may be to admit, it is so true.  When I mentioned yesterday that I had texted everyone at work, I failed to mention that only my two bosses and the nurse answered me back.  On my final day of work, I had posted my email and phone number in our file room.  No one has contacted me since Friday. Don't get me wrong.  I so appreciate the tremendous send-off that they gave me.  It's a day that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life, but I'm now beginning to realize that that is exactly what it was....a sendoff.  I like to think that they are just giving me my space, but I think it is more likely that they are moving on.  It's time I do the same.

One thing that has been fun is cooking.  I absolutely love the opportunity to fix a meal every night.  I'd grown to hate cooking because when you cook so many meals at once, you can't put any love into it.  You just want to get done.  Now, I find myself going through recipes, making lists, and looking forward to shopping on Saturday morning.  Hey, wait a minute!!!! I am a free woman.  I think I will go shopping on Friday instead. 

Last night's meal.  A delicious beef stew made with beef, celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, green pepper, garlic, and cilantro, thickened with a wee bit of tomato sauce and cornstarch.   

One thing I have noticed is that I am finding it hard to keep track of the days. Each seems to run into the next one.I missed my show last night because I thought it was Tuesday. When I was working,  I had my early early days, my late days, my group days, and kept track of my days that way.  Without my work schedule to fall back on, I have to find a new way of keeping track of time.  But, I'm not complaining one bit. It actually feels good (except when I miss a favorite show) to have so much time on my hands, to actually slow down and 'smell the roses'. 

Well, it's time to get ready to head out for more blood work. Yes, more blood work, the same blood work I've had three times in the past two months.  Enough already.  Talk to you all tomorrow.  Stay cool and drink lots of water.

What is time? The shadow on the dial, the striking of the clock,the running of the sand, day and night, summer and winter, months,
years, centuries--these are but arbitrary and outward signs,the measure of Time, not Time itself. Time is the Life of the Soul.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Letting Go

I dialed a number and got the following recording, 'I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes.' 

Unknown

I love the above quote.  It's exactly where I am at right now....or, should I say,  exactly where I should be.  Because I am not there...yet.  I'm having a hard time letting go.  On Monday I couldn't make it to the afternoon without contacting everyone at work.  I just HAD to let them all know about my new smart phone.  After all, my obsolete flip top was such a joke.  But, I realized afterwards that that was just an excuse.  The truth is, I have not been able to let go yet. As I sat alone in my apartment, I was missing the companionship of my co-workers.

I guess this is something to be expected.  Transitions from  one life phase to another are never easy, and the journey from career to retirement is one of life's great transitions. After 50 years in the workforce, I wake with nowhere to go. It in itself is a great feeling, but, alas, I am also feeling a bit lonely. My co-workers were important to me in my work life. I interacted with them on a daily basis. They were a part of my network; in fact, they were my ONLY network.  And, that, my friends, is exactly where the problem comes in. They were not my friends, they were my peers, but they were there, and I was not so alone when I had them.

Retirement was something that I wanted, something that I needed, and I know I made the right decision. I know how I want to spend my time.  I have a long list of things I want to do. But, right now I am in limbo, standing between one world and the next. I've decided to wait to begin my classes until all these medical procedures are out of the way because, at this point, they are dominating my life.  But, soon, very soon, I will move on.  And, as I move on in life, I hope to meet some new people, only they will not be my peers, they will be my friends.

“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history but not a part of your destiny.”

Steve Maraboli

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Ramble

Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate.
The root meaning of the word art is to fit together and we all do this
every day. . . . Each time we fit things together we are creating--whether
it is to make a loaf of bread, a child, a day.

Corita Kent and Jan Steward

It always amazed me what great talent many of my clients had and how it sadly goes to waste. Many could play instruments, sing, write, and drawing. Before my office moved, we had plenty of room to do things, and each year we would hold a talent show. That all ended when we moved into the closet space they call a program, but art therapy still continued, and many clients showed that they were true artist. I wanted to share the follow two pieces with you.

This was done entirely with chalk.  Look at the blending of the colors, the shadow effect  of the land and trees in contrast to the sun beginning to rise.  This client is so talented.  It's a shame that he is also institutionalized.  He has spent so much of his adult life incarcerated that he finds it too hard to live in the outside world so he continues to either violate parole or commit other crimes just so he can go back to prison.  At the present time, he violated his parole by not complying with curfew and is currently back behind bars.


This one is amazing.  This client has so much to offer, yet he just cannot seem to get it together.  He is very paranoid, feels everyone is talking about him.  He believes that they are saying that he 'stinks',  and he points this out to anyone who will listen. "I don't smell. Don't believe them if they tell you that." It is an obsession with him. Every day, the same thing over and over again.  He has been either homeless and traveling about the country on foot or living in a shelter his entire adult life.  At one point, he walked all the way from Florida to New York and back again.  At the present time, It is unknown where he is.  The above was created entirely with colored pencils. It took him months of painstaking work, but he finally did get it done. Just look at the fine details, the perfection.

Meanwhile, I can't honestly say that my first few days of retirement have been restful.  I've spent a lot of time decluttering.  I also headed out on Sunday to get some new kitchen curtains, something I've been wanting to do for a long time.  Next on tap will be the living room drapes. I already took a bag of clothes to the Goodwill on Saturday and more will go this week.  I plan to be ruthless, with clothing as well as all these darned knickknacks I have been collecting for years.  Nothing, but my angels, are untouchable.  

Went to my endocrinologist yesterday.  The Methimazole every other day is doing the job.  Thyroid levels are normal so we will continue as is.  Still have to have the biopsy, though.  As he said, there are two different issues with my thyroid, and neither has anything to do with the other. The other good news is that my blood pressure was 136 over 83, the lowest it has been since we discovered it was high.  I watched my sodium and took my medications religiously, but we just couldn't get it down.  I knew it was stress.  That job really was killing me.

Also on my list is spending an afternoon sorting through my cocktail jewelry.  Buying beaded necklaces has been one of my addictions for years, and I have far too many with little use for them now that I am no longer working.  Guess many of them can go to the Goodwill as well. Speaking of creativity....


I've pretty blue marbles and some colored glass butterflies hanging about in bags for awhile now.  Was about to toss them when I thought of putting the above together.  Clipped off some artificial flowers from a batch I was tossing out and added them.  Not bad, huh?  Not quite a finished product.  I plan to seat a fairy in the midst of it.
Oh, before I sign off for the day, I wanted to say that my old, obsolete flip top phone finally bit the dust and hubby got a great deal from me on a new smart phone.  It's got a great camera, meaning some better pictures. The above is the first I have taken with it.

No matter how old you get, if you can keep thedesire to be creative, you're keeping the child inside alive.

John Cassavetes

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Monday Indeed



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

Good Monday morning on this, what I consider, the first full day of my new life. I woke up this morning thinking about the job and wondering what kind of reactions there will be when the first thing everyone sees is my empty seat. 

Friday was day I shall remember the rest of my life. Such an outpouring of love.  Old clients visited or called, old co-workers from my last job showed up as a surprise, workers from our other programs showing up on their day off. I told hubby that retirement is something one does only once in their lifetime, and mine was simply amazing.  From the time I got there until the time I went home, the day was amazing, just amazing. There were tears, yes, but there was just as much laughter as we sat back and reminisced the good times, before it got so crazy.


The clients in my early recovery group chipped in and bought me the above cake. I mean, we are talking about people on a limited income.  How special was that!!!  I was so touched.  They had some laughs when I left and came back with my phone to take a picture.  They told me my it was obsolete, and I should seriously think of getting an upgrade.

The menu included all my favorites: macaroni and cheese, homemade chicken lo mien, rice and beans, roast beef, tossed salad, avocado, sausage, and pizza with pepperoni.  I did take three small pieces of sausage and a bit of everything else, but was strong enough not to touch the pizza.  It was way too high in sodium. For dessert we had homemade chocolate cake, brownies, blondies, mini strawberry cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies.  Needless to say, I ate no dinner that night.

After we had all had our fill, the following arrived....


Followed by...


I am still overwhelmed about this. I wish the picture were better so you could see the details, but my phone is 'obsolete'. They are real Italian Euro coins on a 14k gold over sterling silver chain. They weren't sure I would like it because I rarely wear bracelets, so they left the receipt for me to exchange if I want.  I didn't look until I got home.  $450. I screamed for my husband when I saw the price.  I never expected it. There is no way I will exchange this.  It is a gift that came from the heart. I guess I was more appreciated by everyone than I thought.  I just wish I had known how much.

It still hasn't really hit me, I am retired, that is.  As for the first weekend of my new life, I found it so hard to slow down.  I am still on that mentality that I have to do everything at once. Cleaned out some of my work clothes and then went out early to drop them at the drop box, went the fruit stand, and then hit the 99 cent store.  Came home and was ready to go back out and look for some kitchen curtains when I stopped myself.  The day was hot and humid, and it's really not like I don't have any other time to go.  So, I stripped and stayed in.  Sat for a few minutes and then went to begin decluttering the bottom of my china closet. It's best to start on the inside and work my way out.  

Finally, we are in for another heat wave.  Made me breathe a sigh of relief that I don't have those long walks to the subway and that wait in a hot, stinky subway station.  No more subways for me. Yippee!!!  Another perk of retirement.

So, I am off now to enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast and plan my day. My future awaits.  Have a great day.   

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths
offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first
in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not
some place we are going to, but one we are creating.

John Schaar
   

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mission Accomplished...Almost


It's been an incredible ride. Mission accomplished. With that, I have to bid farewell. I'm the happiest person in the world right now. It's better than I ever thought it would be.
 Jerome Bettis


I leave the house this morning for my last subway ride to work.  My goodness, how strange Monday will feel.  Last night I found myself thinking about this weekend, and all the things I have to do, but then I remembered that I don't have to rush to do them all in two days.  Now, I have a lifetime to accomplish them. I also know that, as a workaholic, it may be hard for me to realize that and slow down, but eventually, I know I will settle in to a new way of living.

I can honestly say that, for all its ups and downs, this has really has been an incredible ride. At this point I don't know whether I want to laugh or cry.  I guess it is safe to do a little bit of both.  Gosh, I remember back when I made the decision to stop working for the rich and instead do whatever I could to help the poor.  And what better way, I thought, than to try to stop poverty in its tracks by helping others overcome those addictions that had taken away everything in life that ever meant something to them.  If I could only help one person, I thought.  It will be well worth it, and has hard as it may have been, it WAS all worth it.  

Before I close out to get ready for work, I wanted to share the following little story with you.  Yesterday, was art group for the clients, and they were all busy in there making farewell cards for me.  It was supposed to be a surprise, but I knew. (Nosey me knows everything).  Well, even if it was a surprise, there was one client who made sure it wasn't so.  He came out of group bustling with excitement and headed right towards where I was sitting.  "I made you a card", he said.  "Oh, maybe I shouldn't have told you." (This client is not only battling substance abuse and  mental illness, but also has some degree of retardation) "Please don't throw it away," he added.  I replied, "Of course now.  I shall treasure it and hold onto it for the rest of my life." 

Later, as he was signing out at the front desk, I heard him proudly exclaim to the receptionist, "I made Mary a card today, and she said she will keep it for the rest of her life." Tears welled in my eyes when I heard this, realizing that my words had brought him such great pride and joy, and I thought to myself, "Mission accomplished."

Have a great weekend!!! 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Day Before


Consider the trees which allow the birds to perch and fly away without either inviting them to stay or desiring them never to depart. If your heart can be
like this, you will be near to the way. 
Zen Buddhist teaching


Good morning on this rainy day. Hopefully, it will call it down like they say it should.  Something has to give. 

Well, tomorrow is it...my big day...the day that one world ends for me and another begins.  How do I feel?  Both exhilarated and sad. Saying good-bye to the job doesn't phase me at all, but saying good-bye to people, now that's a different story. All week as clients bid their final farewells, it just didn't seem possible that I would never see them again.  

I am also aware that both the clients and staff have something planned.  I can't help it.  I'm nosey.  I've heard clients talking of something special for Friday group, and on Tuesday, when I went into the file room,  I saw a list on the office manager's desk. Of course I had to look. Turned out to be some of the foods my co-workers were bringing to my retirement  party----ribs, buffalo wings, homemade chicken lo mien, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, sausage and peppers, chocolate cake.  Yummy!!!  Forget my diet tomorrow.  I'll just try a little bit of everything.

Hubby will be picking me up.  I hate making him come to the city.  The last time he picked me up it took us two hours to get home what with all the traffic.  I've not that much to carry.  All my little stuffed critters will be given away, each to a member of staff.  My books, I am leaving.  No need for these books anymore.  I'm not planning to work in the field again.  But, there will be little gifts and perhaps some of the extra food so it will be nice to be picked up. 

Well, it's time to get a move on.  Have to stop on the way in to get some blood drawn.  Forgot I had an appointment with the endo on Monday.  (It doesn't end)  I wonder if they will all be so anxious to see me when I am on Medicare.  See  you tomorrow.

Once we see that everything is impermanent and ungraspable
and that we create a huge amount of suffering if we are
attached to things staying the same, we realize that
relaxing and letting go is a wiser way to live. Letting
go does not mean not caring about things. It means
caring about them in a flexible and wise way.

Jack Kornfield

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Always Remember

As I was clearing some of the things off my work computer yesterday I found the following that I have used in my different groups many times during the  years I have been in the counseling field. I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you, the friends I love so much. Hoping you all have a joyful Wednesday.



Always remember to forget
the things that made you sad.
But never forget to REMEMBER
the things that made you glad...

Always remember to forget
the friends that proved untrue.
But don't forget to REMEMBER
those that have stuck by you...

Always remember to forget
the troubles that have passed away.
But never forget to REMEMBER
the blessings that come each day...

ARE THE CUPS HALF FULL?

OR ARE THEY HALF EMPTY?

Our perception will change with our choice of attitude.

We can decide to see the cups as "overflowing" by
shifting our focus to what's GOOD in our lives.

You'll make the world a better place
by making YOURSELF a happier person,
then, if you should see someone without a smile ...

YOU CAN GIVE THEM ONE OF YOURS!

-- Author Unknown --

Three days to go.