Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Morning

Activity and rest are two vital aspects of life. To find a balance in them
is a skill in itself. Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have
activity, and how much of each to have. Finding them in each other--
activity in rest and rest in activity - is the ultimate freedom.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar tR
Celebrating Silence


As Friday morning rolls around, it occurs to me that  I have yet another weekend with nothing planned. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about it at all.  It's nice that those days that I had to accomplish a week's worth of housework and errands in two days are gone. Oh, how I remember those cooking marathon Saturday's where I barely had a chance to sit. Would never trade in my idle Saturday to go through that again.

Yesterday in our group on yoga and meditation, we discussed how we felt about being a senior, and the many ways we can make these golden years better for ourselves. Last week we had discussed the importance of staying active and not allowing ourselves to fall into a rut. This week we discussed the benefits of keeping a healthy balance in our lives.  The weekly question was 'what areas your life do you need to focus on to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle?' And, we were all in unanimous agreement that while keeping an active lifestyle is one key to health, it is equally important to take time out for rest and relaxation as well. This is a lesson that I am finally beginning to learn.

And so, this weekend, I plan to put into practice what I have learned...and not feel guilty about it.  So what that my closet needs cleaning, and the bookcase needs to be dusted.  They can wait until I take care of 'me'.  That's been a long time coming.

Wishing you all a safe and restful weekend. See you on Monday.

 Life is best enjoyed when time periods are evenly divided between
labor, sleep, and recreation...all people should spend one-third
of their time in recreation which is rebuilding,
voluntary activity, never idleness.

Brigham Young

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday Rant...Sort Of

When life's problems seem overwhelming, look around and see
what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself fortunate.

Ann Landers 

I played hooky yesterday. The air was heavy,  hot, and humid with threats of rain,  and I just didn't feel like going out. Instead, I spent the day taking care of practical matters... contacting the Union regarding the holdup is in my pension and basically making some calls and doing some research on what other programs is available for a seniors. And here I thought I had it all together.  Boy, was I fooled.  Never did I realize how complicated this whole retirement thing is. Applying for Social Security was easy.  The worst was yet to come.

I've still not chosen a plan to offset my medicare, so, at this point,I have no prescription plan nor dental. There are just so many to choose from, and all of them seem to offer the world.  Knowing that I'll be tied in for a year, has me scared about jumping into something. I want to choose what is best for my needs.   Fortunately, I have enough medication to last me until the end of October, but I still have to act quickly. 

Everything is tied to everything else.  Food stamps, HEAP, the state insurance program,  and Scrie are tied to my income which is tied to my pension plan. I cannot do anything with any of them until I have a letter regarding my pension income.  Income is also tied to  how much I pay Medicare and the plan that I choose. Everything has to be done in order, and I am just so confused at this point.

Even my rent increase has me more than a wee bit confused.  I received a letter yesterday about my new lease. I cannot believe two years is almost up. How quickly it passed by. The letter says that if I renew for one year  I will pay $1159, but if I choose a two year lease my rent will be $1201. Does this mean if I sign for two years I have to pay $1201 for both years? Personally, if this is the way it is, I don't understand why anyone would  sign anything but a one year lease if that is the case.  Somehow, it seems to me the tenant is being ripped if they choose a two year lease. I've never had a lease before.  Can anyone explain why it is done this way?

I don't want to turn this into a rant, but I when I think of my clients, not those that 'really' need the help  because there are many who do need help to survive.  Mental illness and drug addiction are a b..tch. This is directed toward those, such as my young drug dealer who has nothing physical or mental wrong with him and has never worked a day in his life, yet has many more entitlements than I do, and I worked for fifty years. He plays the system to get what he wants, and the system goes right along with his game.  I just don't understand a system that will basically throw out a red carpet for these young, healthy people who are playing the system and make it so difficult for those of us who have more than paid our dues.  There has to be a better way.

To be continued....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some of My Favorite Things




The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? - it is the same the angels breathe.

Mark Twain

I took the above photo yesterday morning while waiting for the bus. It was only 9:15 am, but it sure did look like very early morning or dusk.  It was so dark, but even though the sky may have looked quite ominous, not a drop of rain fell.  
I am really at a loss for words this morning.  Sometimes that happens. When I was playwriting, it was called 'writer's block'.  I guess it's the same thing with blogs. So, I hope you don't mind, but I went a wee bit camera happy. The following are a few more of my favorite things. 
The above candle holder is actually quite old.  I purchased it when we first moved the house where I had my magic garden. I guess that was about 18 years ago.  They are real dried flowers in the bowl.  They stay intact because the bowl is sealed shut. We have moved twice since I bought it.  That was my favorite place to live.  It wasn't much, but it had that garden, and I was able to work magic in it. 
Hubby purchased the jolly little salt and pepper shaker chef for me not too long ago.  He just 'knew I had to have it.'  He is often surprising me with these little special gifts.

I bought the above when we moved into our last apartment.  It didn't have a bathroom window so this little wooden window box planter provided did the trick.  While snapping this photo, I realized it is badly in need of repair.  It could do with a nice little paint job, and that glob in the middle is a piece of the ribbon that was broken off during our move. I'll be sure to show you when it is done. It's actually about 15 years old, so I guess it is time.  And finally....

The above is older than the candle holder, and I actually spent more on this little merry-go-round with its little crystal than I should have, but I had to have it.  I've always been a child at heart and this little gift to myself brought me great joy.  It doesn't play anymore, but I will never part with it.  Partly because of the childhood memories it brings, the magic of a carousel as seen from a child's eyes. 

When I was a child there was an amusement park called Bertrand's Island.  It was a once a week treat for me.  At that time, I 'even' was brave enough to ride the old rickety roller coaster, but there was nothing like riding those horses on the carousel and reaching over to collect those rings.  Carousel music is truly the happiest music in the world.

Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.
G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book of the Month

The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles,
it distracts, it excites, it gives you a knowledge of the world and
experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.

Elizabeth Hardwick


As most of you know, reading is my passion, and every once in awhile I come across a book so good that I just have to share about it with others and I found 'The Flight of the Sorceress' by Barry S. Wildorf an exceptionally good historical novel.  I purchased it on my Kindle Friday evening, and by  Sunday evening had completed all 232 pages and was wishing for more.

The story takes place in the fifth century AD. during the time  when the  the Roman Empire is coming to an end and tells the story of two women--a Celtic healer and a pagan librarian-- who dared challenge the beliefs during an era when the oppression of women was believed to be ordained by God. I do have to say here that the book aroused strong feelings within me, and at one point, I became so angry with the events that unfolded, the massacre of innocents in the name of God, that I had to light a candle and take a few deep breaths to calm down.  And here we are, centuries later, and the same things is happening...all in the name of religion.

The main character pf the novel is Glenys, a young Druid healer and herbalist who is branded a sorceress and condemned to death when a young mother and her baby die while under her care.  It doesn't matter that the mother was barely 14 and too young to bare a child.  It was Glenys use of an herb which was obtained from the Jews that sealed her fate.  Glenys is forced to flee her native Britannia along with her lover, Caelleigh and her cousin, Pelagius , a monk.  The threesome set out for Rome in an attempt to persuade the pope to accept the Celtic Church...which, up to this point, is said to harbor heretical beliefs.

At the same time, we are introduced to Hypatia, the librarian of Alexandria and the last of the great Pagan teachers, a very real character in the annals of history, who is having her own struggles with the Christian fanatics. We follow her struggles  as she risks her own to save the library along with its many books of pagan and Jewish writings which are seen as a threat by the maniacal monks who threaten to destroy anything and everyone whose beliefs are different than theirs.

Along the way we are introduced to the Jewish herbalist, Aschi, who, along with his family and friends are also living under threat of persecution simply because they are Jewish.  And, Orestes, the Pagan Prefect of Alexandria, the bloodthirsty Cyril, the Archbishop of Alexandria who led the Christian mobs against the Jews of Alexandria, the evil monk Hierax, and Ignatious, the monk who tracks Glynys across the continent. All of these people aside from Glynys and Aschi really lived. I will leave you with the book description ...

As the Roman Empire crumbles, the Catholic Church fills the power vacuum by launching attacks on classical culture. Books are burned. Women are restricted from traditional occupations. The lives of pagans and Jews are imperiled. The Dark Ages loom.

But two women, Glenys, a Celtic herbalist and healer, and Hypatia, teacher, philosopher, mathematician and the last librarian of the great library at Alexandria, resist. Though one is branded a sorceress and the other an idolater, they refuse to surrender to the state-sanctioned religious leaders. Their struggle culminates in the cataclysmic events of Lenten week in 415 A.D.

Can anything be preserved?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Morning This and That


Sometimes the most
important thing in a whole
day is the rest we take
between two deep breaths,
or the turning inwards in
prayer for five
short minutes.

Etty Hillesum

This weekend was rather quiet. I chose to use it as a time for rest and turning inwards.  Saturday I ran all of my errands.  Came back from the fruit stand with a lot of loot--lemons, watercress, cucumbers, fresh California spinach, vine tomatoes, and sweet potatoes for a beef stew I plan to make.  I also picked up some grapes.  Yes, I know, I was not going to buy them until the summer fruits ran out, but these grapes are different, and I am not sure if I would be able to get them in the winter. 
Although you cannot tell from the photo, these grapes are very small.  The dark ones are called 'Black Table Grapes'.  Although they have a lower sugar content than 'wine grapes', to me they are much sweeter and tastier.  The remind me of the grapes I used to pick on grandma's vine.  The green ones are called 'Green Baby Grapes'.  They are one of the sweetest and best tasting grapes of the fall season. They are full of sugar and must be eaten quickly as they will spoil, but that's not a problem here. 

Several months ago I tried to get a picture of a rather odd  tree across the street from my house, but my old phone would not allow me to send it.  It kept saying something like it was too big.  Now, finally, with my new phone, I am able to show it to you. 
Close up, its olive green leaves look waxy, almost like they are artificial. Each leave is enclosed in edges of yellow, and some are completely yellow, giving them a floral appearance. Any ideas what it is? I'm wondering if it is from China.  I do live one block from little Chinatown. 
As I passed the flower shop Sunday after Church, I couldn't help going in.  This was a part of my loot.
This is my second acquisition.  I couldn't resist.  It looked so colorful...and strange.  It also comes in other colors as well, but this one stood out to me. The woman told me what it is called, but her accent was so thick I didn't get it.  Why is it that I always look for weird?  Anyone have any ideas what it is? 

I also purchased some candles. This store also sells the best scented incense and candles I have ever used. They are made by Yankee Candles.  Has anyone ever tried them?  These candles are not easy to find in my area, and I am lucky to have stumbled upon one that does.  I've discovered that they are usually carried in authorized floral shops. Light one in the living room and the pleasant aroma spreads through the entire house.  And the scents themselves are spectacular....
From left to right--Black coconut, Pink Dragon Fruit, Sage and Citris, True Rose, Golden Sands, another Sage and Citris, and Midsummer Night.  How I ended up with two Sage and Citris, I don't know.  I'd thought I'd picked up Ocean Breeze.  But that's okay.  They all smell fabulous.  

Well, I am off to get ready to go to the center.  
Wishing you all a great week ahead.  Be happy and smile often. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Have a Blessed Weekend

 
I took the above photo from the bus on our way home from Atlantic City as the sun was just beginning to set. To me, it is a symbol of the awesome beauty that surrounds us, beauty that is easy to miss in our busy lives. The Universe is a place of miracles, and these miracles happen everyday if we just take the time to catch them.

As another Friday rolls around, I am continuously amazed at how much I have been missing throughout the years. Each day I meet another friend and each day I find myself enjoying life more and more. I am appreciating all the beauty that surrounds me each day that I leave the house from the smallest insect to the vastness of the sky. Life truly is a gift, and in the words of the great lady, Mother Theresa.... 


Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I had a Fabulous Time

In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.

Gordon B. Hinckley
Yesterday was such an amazing day that I just had to share it with you. We boarded the bus about 9 am and headed out.  Having never been to a casino before, I was amazed at the size of the place and utterly lost. Those who had been there before already had a gaming card, but I didn't have one so I had to go to the service area.  By the time I found it and got my card, everyone had pretty much dispersed in their own directions.  Then, it took me awhile to learn how to play.  Fortunately, I met some very nice people who showed me how.  
For lunch, I decided to be a kid again and headed out to the boardwalk and all restraint went out the window.  I had a hot dog with everything on it and cheese fries.  Afterwards, I bought a chocolate ice cream cone from the softee place.  Oh, man, did it taste good.  Then it hit me.  I hadn't had soft ice cream in over ten years.  Prior to this I'd lived 15 years in a Hasidic neighborhood, and since they don't eat it, Mr. Softee never came around.  It was so hot that it started to melt before I even got it to my mouth and a few drops fell on my blouse.  I didn't bother me any.  For one afternoon I was a kid again.
To be honest, the sun was glaring down so brightly that I couldn't really see the pictures I was snapping.
This seagull looked so cute that I had to get a photo of him sitting atop the ATM.  
Didn't think the first picture had come out so I snapped again.  Just as I did, he took off.  I was so disappointed, bit then later when I was able to see the picture, I was amazed that I was able to catch him in flight.
I was kind of disappointed in my proximity to the ocean.  This is the closest view I got.  At Coney Island, you can get full view of Mother Ocean from the boardwalk.  Here she is quite a ways away, and I wasn't dressed for a walk on the beach.  Better luck next month when we go.

We board the bus to go back to Brooklyn about 5:30 pm.  All in all, it was a great day, and I am looking forward to next month's trip.  I lost the original $25 that was put on my card,  but about 4:30 I said the heck with it and threw another five in (I hadn't wanted to spend any cash) and kept letting it ride.  Walked out with $35 which made me a winner.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Atlantic City


"Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone."
Unknown

Well, today I am off to Atlantic City.  My goodness, it has been 50 odd years since I have been to the Jersey shore. Not since my grandparents took me. I remember the awe I felt when I was first introduced to our great Mother Ocean. I was used to diving into the lake and had  never seen anything so vast.  I loved everything about that day.  I loved sitting on the sand and feeling the warmth of the sun, the sounds of the seagulls as they hovered about above me,  the fresh smell of the salty ocean water, the feel of the waves as they enveloped me.  I truly felt her power and fell in love with her that first day.   There could never be a more wonderful place for me.

Of course, gambling and casinos were unheard of back then. This could only be found in Las Vegas, not at the beach, oh definitely not at the beach.  That was a place for pure childhood fun. The closest we came to gambling back then was playing the pinball machines on the boardwalk.  Of course, this never happened until the sun began to disappear below the horizon. And what marvelous scents there were--hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy, the smell of peanuts roasting. So much gaity.  So long ago.  But still etched deeply in my memories.  There are some things we never forget.

And with that, I will leave you with a few more of my favorite ocean quotes.

"The Sea, Once it casts its spell holds one in its net of wonder forever."
  Jacques Cousteau

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood,

and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”
  Henry Beston

“May your joys be as deep as the ocean, your sorrows as light as its foam.”


Unknown

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dragonfly


"Time is for dragonflies and angels. The former live too little and the latter live too long."

 James Thurber
The other day as I was walking to the store, a dragonfly came out of nowhere and hovered in front me.  It seemingly came out of nowhere and stopped right in front of me. It actually appeared to be looking right at me before it flew away.  Now, I am aware that dragon flies begin their lives in water and then moves into the air, but don't they tend to live near the water as well?  I have no ponds, lakes, nor rivers near me.  Granted, I live near the ocean, but for a little guy like that that is quite a distance away. I shrugged it off and continued on my way, and perhaps it all would have been forgotten if...

...on  the very next day I was reading a friend's blog, and discovered that Ellis  had posted a picture of a dragonfly. Then, a only a few hours later, I come across a post at Plumrose Lane 'D is for Dragonflies'. There are many adorable pieces available at Etsy.  Oh, if only I wasn't on a limited budget now.  (Sigh) Now, as a firm believer that nature is always finding ways to speak to us, I find that dragonfly's repeat appearances is all too coincidental in my book. There had to be some reason, so I began doing some research. 
In most cultures the dragonfly has been an object of superstition and everyone has their lore.  The Japanese held it in such esteem that it has become the country's national emblem.  In fact, in ancient Japanese myth, Japan was known as ‘land of the dragonflies’. Rice farmeers believed that Dragonfly was  the rice plant's spirit. In China, it is revered and respected as a good luck charm. The Chinese associate Dragonfly with prosperity and harmony. Some  Native Americans also held dragonfly in high regard and some tribes believed it was the souls of their dead; others held the belief that dragonfly was once a real dragon who was tricked into shape-shifting into its current form.

But not all looked favorably on dragonfly. On the contrary, many European countries viewed them as sinister insects that were sent by Satan and linked them with injury or evil.  In some places, the people believed that the dragonfly could sew one's mouth or eyes shut while they were sleeping.  Others held that it puncture your eardrum if they got into your ears. As a child, I was so afraid of them. That long stinger always frightened me, and I remember running away from them even more than I ran from bees. When they were flying about, trips to the lake became unbearable. Talk about screams. Everyone would come running. Perhaps my fear irrational of dragonflies stemmed some past life superstition. 

Whoever thinks of dragonfly as a totem?  Not I so I decided to delve into this deeper. During my research, I discovered that dragonfly represents the deeper meaning of life and symbolizes free spirit, illusion, swiftness, change, renewal, and transformation.    When dragonfly crosses your path, it is time to look at the changes needed in your life--how you view things, how you carry yourself, your spirituality, etc.  Some say it a sign of an arrival or receiving good news of some kind. I am sure am hoping to get good news when I call on Thursday.

Dragonfly is also a creature of the water....the dreaming mind, thoughts, the subconscious; hence, they are a reminder that we need to pay attention to our dreams. I've been having some pretty powerful dreams of late, several that I didn't need to write down to remember. I know these dreams have some kind of meaning, but what I don't know and haven't really taken time to delve into them. Dragonfly is telling me that I should ignore them, that they are trying to tell me something.

Dragonfly has a short lifespan and lives it life to the fullest in the short time it is allotted. Once it is able to fly, it never stops. In this sense, dragonfly inspires each of us to make use of every moment we have on this earth, to live our lives to the fullest and not to waste even one moment of it. Life is so much more fulfilling if we just take the time to enjoy the smallest things--the beauty of a rose, a sunset or sunrise, the feeling of the rain, a breeze brushing across your face. Life is made to be lived. Dragonfly reminds us of that.

On that note, tonight is the Blue Moon. If you can, try to get out and enjoy her. Celebrate her. Eat some blueberries or some 'blue cheese', listen to the 'Blues' or if that is not your style, how about some 'Bluegrass'? Slip into something blue and light a blue candle. Above all, don't allow yourself to feel blue. Have a great day.
 

Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.” 

― Walt Whitman

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Morning This and That


We need periods of being by ourselves--alone. Sometimes a
fortnight or even a week will do wonders for one, unless
he or she has drawn too heavily on the account. The simple
custom, moreover, of taking an hour, or even a half hour,
alone in the quiet, in the midst of the daily routine of life,
would be the source of inestimable gain for countless numbers.

Ralph Waldo Trine
I had a nice weekend.  On Friday, I rose early, showered, and dressed, then made a decision not to go to the center.  I decided to run my Saturday errands  instead.  That way I would be able to take Saturday off.  I realize that I have now been transferring my workaholic tendencies to my retirement activities.  I feel as if I have to go, go, go.  Fortunately I realized what was happening before it got to the point where I burned myself out.  I don't have to be on the run seven days a week.  Part of retirement should also be taking the time to relax, to rest after a lifetime of work.  I knew that hubby had plans to visit his sister, and I felt the need for some solitude.

So, I headed to the bank, checked out Best Buy for a Laptop, and went to the fruit stand.  As usual, I made out like a champ.  Of course, I came home with my favorite black seedless grapes.
I'm thinking, though, that grapes are usually available year round, and are usually one of the few fruits I eat during the winter months.  Perhaps it is time to lay off of them for awhile and take advantage of the fruits that will soon be off the market. Such as the donut peaches below.

For some reason, they always taste better to me than regular peaches, which, by the way, are not one of my favorite fruits.  Whenever I buy them, it is usually for hubby to eat.

I also bought some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and kiwis which I  made into the following salad.


How healthy can I get?  I am missing my fruit smoothies that I got at the stand on my way to work.  I know, I could always buy a blender and make my own, but I'll admit it.  I am lazy, and it is a lot of work.  So, I indulge in lots of fruit.

On Sunday morning I went to church.  I really enjoyed the service right from the start.  The processional hymn spoke of the Lord of the land and the sea.  It was so beautiful.  And then, the priest gave a sermon about 'invisible realms' and how, just because we may not see something in our mortal realm, it doesn't mean it is not there--right up my alley.  He spoke of our ancestors and how he believes they are always around us.  I was really enthralled with this one.

I don't feel so much like a fraud anymore.  I have always felt comfortable in the church, but often wondered how they would react if they know I wasn't a Catholic. And, this had nothing to do with my being a Druid and an Interfaith minister.  No, it had to do with  the bad experiences I had in the Catholic Church surrounding my firstborn's baptism.  His father was a Catholic, and his family wanted their grandchild baptized in the Catholic Church, but when the priest discovered I wasn't Catholic, he made a big thing out of it. In essence, he did all he could to make me feel inferior. In essence, because mom wasn't a Catholic and refused to go through the hoops they requested they would not baptize my son. 

I'd been baptized in the Episcopal Church, and when I contacted them, there was no problem with my husband being Catholic, and they baptized my son.  Ironically, if you study the history of the Episcopal Church you will find that it was originally considered Anglican Catholic.  Because Anglican means English, both the Scottish and American Anglicans chose the name Episcopal, meaning "with bishops."  The mass is pretty much the same with communion and many of the same prayers.  However, the priests are allowed to marry, women can become priests, and there are no nuns.

So, when I began attending this Church, I at first did have a bit of concern, but the truth is, I was wrong to judge everyone on the merits of one bad apple.  I became an Interfaith minister because I believe there is good in all religions and beliefs.  It seems that, for just a short while, I'd forgotten.  Thanks for letting me share. 



There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like
about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be
good and kind to person and beast, it is all a sham. 

Anna Sewell

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oh My is it Really Friday Already?

Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

Dodinsky

Time sure does fly when you're having fun.  I had an especially great, and busy, time yesterday.  It began with 'Stay Well Exercises', a bit of everything combined--yoga, aerobics, stretching.  We ended the class by exercising the muscles in our eyes--look up to the left, look forward, look up to the right, look forward, look down to the left, look forward, etc. I had no idea how hard that would be.  The instructor advised us that this is because we don't use those muscles often. 

Next class was meditation.  It began as a discussion the power of the mind and how important it is for us seniors to stay busy so as not to fall into a rut which can lead to depression.  We discussed the importance of staying active after retirement.  We then discussed the various physical ailments that will keep us from living a full life...if we allow them to.  She then put on a tape of ocean waves beating against the shoreline and had us close our eyes and focus on the ocean waters flushing out those very ailments that hold us down.


After lunch was the 'End of Summer Gala' during which we were treated to a show by a professional hula dancer.  Sorry the picture isn't better.  When she was in my area, I was trying to get the darn flash off on the camera and missed the shot.  From my studies of Huna, I learned that each movement tells a story.  Hula is something I'd always wanted to learn but, from the time of my youth, I've had hips that don't want to move.

Afterwards there was old music and dancing.  I tried my hand at the twist and jitterbug.  Thought I'd be feeling it this morning, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I will admit that I did get a bit melancholy listening to some of those old songs, and on more than one occasion, felt tears welling in my eyes.  Memories began to flood in...especially when they played "Rock Around the Clock".  I won a dance contest with that song, my first and only one.  I remembered the boy I danced with and began to wonder whatever happened to him.  Oh, why does this always happen to me?  Why can't I remember without feeling sad?

It's very hard to explain.  I am happy where I am at today.  I have accepted this season of my life, and I truly feel fulfilled. I am living life today in a way I haven't lived in years.  Yet, when I heard those songs I began to mourn my lost youth.  Not that I'd want to relive it.  Not in the least. My youth was a painful time for me, and there is no way I want to go through that again.  Perhaps what I am really missing is something that I never had in my youth....the opportunity to live as a normal teenager and experience all the ups and downs that go along with those years.

Thanks for listening today.  May your weekend bring you joy, love, and peace.

Look not sorrowfully into the past; it comes not back again. Wisely improvethe present; it is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future
without fear, and with a sturdy heart.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, August 15, 2013

End of Summer Gala

 When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and like a dream of beauty glides away."

Sarah Helen Power Whitman
This little lady is almost twenty years old now.  In fact, she is so old that the liquid inside has turned yellowish. But, she still loves to twirl and dance about when you turn on the music...which, for the life of me, I can't remember the name of the song.

What fantastic weather we are having.  The sky is blue; the humidity is gone. A nice touch of fall in the air.  Love it.  This afternoon we will be  celebrating the 'End of Summer Gala' at the center.  Usually I head on home after lunch, but this really seems like a lot of fun.  There will be music of the Beach Boys and others.  Oh, what grand memories that will bring! When I was a teen, the Beach Boys WERE summer.  Remember 'Surfin USA'? There will be a sing-a-long and dancing for those still agile enough to dare.  We will also be treated to a trio of Hawaiian dancers who will also be offering some Hula lessons. Snacks will include lemonade and ice tea as well as some of the tasty cookies they serve each morning.  I've not had so much fun in years.  There really IS life after work.  And I am definitely making up for lost time.

Yesterday I stopped at Pathmark after the center to pick up a few items.  While there, I came across Sylvia's Restaurant Spices.  Now, I just happen to love soul food, and Sylvia's is the best, so I ended up buying all three of her spices--Secret Seasoning, Sizzlin' Hot, and Great Greens Seasoning. I figured if it were anything like the food she serves in the restaurant, I can't go wrong...and I didn't.   Last night's dinner consisted of a delicious pan fried chicken, candied sweet potatoes, and spinach.  Oh my, that chicken was fantastic. 

I realize that fried foods are so unhealthy, but sometimes we can't help but give into our cravings...just so we don't do it all the time.  May you all have a blessed day.

"Let me enjoy this late-summer day of my heart while the leaves are still green and I won't look so close as to see that first tint of pale yellow slowly creep in. I will cease endless running and then look to the sky ask the sun to embrace me and then hope she won't tell of tomorrows less long than today. Let me spend just this time in the slow-cooling glow of warm afternoon light and I'd think I will still have the strength for just one more last fling of my heart."

John Bohrn, Late August

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Little Wednesday This and That

 Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Good morning, everyone. Finally, a nice dry day so I am off to the center for a day of fun and games. I am looking forward to it. Yesterday was just too nasty to go out.  I hated to miss because it was blood pressure day, but the worst of the storm began just when it was time for me to leave the house. It was nice to have a choice about going out in the rain. Oh, I indeed had choices while I was working, but there was always the matter of making up a fib to call in sick.
Another new addition to my garden is the Rex Begonia.  The plant is native to India and was introduced to the West in the 1800's.  This little plant was nestled way in the back of the flower shop, barely visible, but it called out to me and as soon as I saw the tag which said, 'angel plant'.  Their wings DO look like angel wings, don't they? I didn't realize until I got it home and went online that this one can be a bit difficult.  It will certainly get some tender loving care from me.


If one finds oneself with bread in both hands, that person
should exchange one loaf for some flowers of the narcissus,
because the loaf feeds the body, but the flowers feed the soul.

Mohammed

Love that quote!

Buying candles has become almost an addiction for me, and I usually have scented candles burning all of the time.  I love the way they make the house smell. Burning incense only seems to irritate hubby's emphysema, so that is reserved for the times he is not around, but the candle scents are so gentle, they don't bother him.  Most of my purchases are for this reason, but there are also candles I buy for other purposes such as...

The above are candles I use for rituals and prayers. I also have plenty of white candles on hand.

I brought this Candied Cranberries candle home about two years ago at Christmas, but once I got it home decided it was too nice to use, so it has become a decoration.

This is another candle that became a household decoration once I brought home.  Didn't have the heart to destroy it.
 The view from the other side. This candle has such a wonderful scent, but it will never be put to the test.

Look how well my pepper plant is doing.  Notice all the new peppers coming out.  Hubby asked if I am going to eat them. I don't know about that.  They say they are pretty darn hot.

I'm having a great time with my new phone...as you can see from all the photos.  I'm waiting patiently for the full moon to see how well it does with that.  Poor Miss Minga is getting her picture taken every day.  I get such a kick out of her poses.  Well, it's time to get a move on.  Hope your Wednesday is filled with joy. 

All real and wholesome enjoyments possible to people have been
just as possible to them since first they were made of the earth
as they are now; and they are possible to them chiefly in peace.
To watch the corn grow, and the blossoms set; to draw hard breath
over plowshare or spade; to read, to think, to love, to hope:
these are the things that make people happy.

John Ruskin

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Money Tree




I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden as
one of the most innocent delights in human life. . . It
gives us a great insight into the contrivance and wisdom
of Nature, and suggests innumerable subjects for meditation.

Cicero


The above is the most recent addition to my in-house garden.  I may not have a backyard, but that doesn't mean I can't have plants.  My latest addition is a special type of bonsai tree with the  botanical name is Pachira Aquatica, but it is commonly known as 'The Money Tree'.  According to the Chinese, the  'Money Tree' is a traditional symbol of luck and is believed to bring good fortune and weath.  Hence, it is a popular gift during the Chinese New Year. There are various tales of how it became known as the 'Money Tree', but one of my favorites involves a poor, hardworking farmer who said many prayers for help. 

According to legend, one morning the farmer was working in his fields and came across a beautiful, yet rather  unusual plant.  He decided to dig it up,  bring it home, and nurture it.  After all, perhaps this was what he was waiting for, the answer to his prayers. As time passed, nuts began to grow on the little plant, and the found that he was able to sell these nuts. He took the seeds and began to grow more trees which he was able to sell as well.  Soon, he became a great entrepreneur.   

The  tree is symbolic in that it has five leaves stemming from each branch which basically represent the five  elements of feng shui-- water, metal, wood, fire, and earth. With all five, 'feng shui' balance is achieved, thus bringing harmony to a space. The tree must be properly placed to bring luck and fortune to the household. The proper place for the plant is the northwest corner of a room, and it would be most ideal if your money was kept there as well.

Today is quite a stormy day so I've already made up my mid to stay home.  My tummy feels much better.  Sometimes I tend to forget that now that I am older, I just cannot eat like I once did.  Heck, when I was young I could eat anything I wanted.  I especially loved buffets and had to try a bit of everything, but those days are long gone. Now I cannot mix like I used to, and yesterday I sort of lost control.  A wee bit of this and a wee bit of that doesn't seem like much, but when you put them together will all the other things you ate, and you have a messed up tummy.   Moderation is the key.  Wishing you all a wonderful day.

Balance recognizes that many good things in life are good only
in moderation. There really can be too much of something wonderful.
Most virtues, taken to excess become vices. When an interest,
affection, or endeavor becomes utterly consuming, it doesn't
allow room for other kinds of goodness.

Unknown

Monday, August 12, 2013

As Monday Rolls Around.

Happy Monday to everyone.  It's raining this morning so I am not sure that I will be headed to the center today.  It's nice to be able to 'make' that decision.  I'm not up to par anyway.  My tummy is a little on the rocks this morning.  Ate something yesterday that I shouldn't have.  I've a few hours left before the activities begin so I guess I will just play it by ear.

I had a nice weekend.  On Saturday I went shopping for pillows for my new rocking chair. Not much luck in that department.  Guess I will have to go to Target or a place like that.  The chair is so comfortable and rocks so quietly.  It's just what I wanted. 


Snapped the above picture of the sky while waiting for the bus.
And this one a few minutes later.

Speaking about riding buses, don't you just hate it when people talk very loud on their cell phones while riding on public transportation?  Like everyone 'really' wants to hear their business. My guess is that some people just don't realize how their voice carries, while others just don't care who hears their business. Personally, I find it annoying, and it makes for a rather uncomfortable ride. It's awkward  in that one  really doesn't 'want' to eavesdrop, but the person gives you no choice. It was obvious that I wasn't alone in the feeling, but here in the city, you have to be so careful about what you say to people. It was the bus driver was able to take the situation and turn it all around. Here is the gist of what happened. 

There was woman seated in the middle of the bus, and she was carrying on a conversation on her cell phone. From what I could gather, she was trying to make arrangements with the other to do some work on her home. Obviously, the person wasn't understanding her thick accent...which made her speak all the louder. She kept repeating, "I won't be home until 3 o'clock. 4 o'clock?" And then she would talk some more with this person, and eventually they would end up right back to the 3 o'clock thing. Then, she said, "How about Saturday?" Out of the blue, the bus driver, who was probably getting tired of it as well,  says (on the speaker), "Saturday will be fine. What time?" The entire bus burst out in laughter.The woman was so engrossed in her conversation she didn't know the joke was on her...but she really had asked for it.


Look at her face.  My son was over  Sunday and was snapping some photos on my phone.  He caught her as I got out of the chair to get a glass of water. She's not too happy that I woke her up. She's a character, she is.  Always at my feet no matter where I sit. Miss Minga is my boss, and what she says goes.  LOL!!!


Friday, August 9, 2013

A Day Off

The time to read is any time: no
apparatus, no appointment of time
and place, is necessary. It is the only
art which can be practised at any hour
of the day or night, whenever the time
and inclination comes, that is your time for
reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness.
Holbrook Jackson

Many years back hubby and I were walking through the 'village' during its most vibrant times, and on every corner someone was peddling their wares.  I spotted the above mirror and just had to have it.  This is the third apartment it has been hanging in.

Good morning, dear friends.  Today I have decided to take the day off from the center.  Today is fish day, and I don't eat fish. It's nice to make a decision to play hooky and not have to worry about what kind of excuse I am going to use.  I 'must' get to the supermarket to get some food into the house.  It's been three weeks now.  It's nice having a Pathmark by the center, but I only  shop there for a few items here and there.  They are so much more expensive than the little Met food I have used since I moved there. 

Afterwards, I'm going with hubby to get a new rocking chair.  Boy, did we ever get ripped off.  My chair is not even two years old, and you might as well say it has been totally rebuilt by hubby.  It first broke down just after the warranty ran out, of course, and from that time onward, has been breaking at regular intervals.  Poor hubby keeps adding reinforcements, but last night it broke in three different places so it is time to chalk it up as a loss and let it go.  Hubby said it was poorly made to begin with.

 Actually, as nice as it appeared when he brought it home, it was never really what I wanted.  All I had dreamed of was a simple 'grandmother rocker' like the one I loved in childhood.  But, hubby went without me while I was working, and they talked him into this monstrosity on the pretense that bigger is better.  And it was far from comfortable.  The padded seats were hard and the seat was so long that it was impossible to sit up straight in it.  I really do believe it has had a lot to do with some of my back problems.

Not much on the agenda this weekend.  I plan on spending some time reading.  I seem to have fallen behind.  To get the juices started again I purchased  'Seeing in the Dark: Claim Your Own Shamanic Power Now and in the Coming Age' by Colleen Deatsman and Paul Bowersox. Written pre-2012 it speaks of changes to come. It does not dwell on the end of the world and the info found in the book is very pertinent.  Shamanism has always been a passion of mine. The book has rave reviews.  I began reading it last night, but then my chair fell apart, and that was basically the end of my night. I'll let you know more once I get further into the book.  

And with that I wish you all a great weekend.

As a child raised in rural communities with few libraries, I was thrilled when
the bookmobile rolled into my area every other week. With my books strapped
to the back carrier of my bike, I would eagerly pedal a little more than a mile to
where the bookmobile was parked. Happily fortified with new reading selections,
I’d pedal back home, clamor up the makeshift ladder to my tree house, and settle in.
When was the last time you settled in for a mindlessly pleasant read? Why don’t
you do that more often? What’s driving you continually to be productive? Perhaps
some of you, like me, are missing out on the recreational activity that has no
purpose other than to give a needed respite from our task-oriented lives.

Marilyn Meberg
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday This and That




A well-kept garden filled with flowers
Has no room left for weeds to share;
The mind keeps out unworthy thoughts
When loveliness is dwelling there.

Leona Bold Martin


Remember how excited I was that they were going to fix up the front of our building by planting flowers?  The plans I had to sit out there amongst the beautiful aromas? Alas, what you see above is the garden that never was.  So much for these fancy ideas about framing the building in a colorful explosion of beautiful flowers.  The new super had all these wild and wonderful ideas of the things he was going to do to improve the building, and he has done absolutely nothing.  He even pays a couple of teenage boys to do the janitorial duties which are part of his job description.  The old super had his faults--he smoked cigarettes like there was no tomorrow, and there was always the smell of smoke in the lobby--but he took care of this building.  This was his baby, and he was proud of it.  He'd worked here 23 years, and then they fired him.  I can't blame management for that one, though.  His son was always trying to start arguments and pick fights with tenants.  He tried with my hubby but was soon put in his place.  The last straw was when he started something with one of the teenage boys in the building and busted into the apartment to beat the kid up. Is it any wonder the super was shown the door?

This new guy is fairly young.  Hubby and I are both giving him the benefit of a doubt.  Perhaps this is his first super's job, and it is a huge responsiblity entailing much more than painting your 'free' apartment pretty colors and pawning your work on the kids for a few bucks. I'm really hoping that he gets it together because I really 'love' this place.  And, as for the flowers????  Well, there is always next year.

I've signed up to go on a trip with the center to Atlantic City on the 21st.  We're going to the Taj Mahal.  It's been a long time since I've been there.  In fact, I was a little girl at the time, and it had been my first visit to the ocean.  How in awe I was!  Just as I will probably be in awe this time around.  I've never been to a casino before, and they say the Taj Mahal is one of the grandest to be found in Atlantic City.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this is really me. Who would have believed that I would be on the go seven days a week?  I, the hermit, who never did anything but go to work. Sometimes it takes a health scare to really wake us up.  Life IS too precious to allow even one moment to pass by without having lived it to the fullest. 

Last night was a quiet night.  I didn't feel much like doing anything.  I couldn't get into reading and aside from 'Royal Pains' there was little I wanted to watch so I dug out the following that I had bought years ago, but never touched...



...and spent an hour participating in one of my childhood passions...coloring.  It really does help to calm the mind.



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

Grandfather David Monongye