Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good morning, everyone.  The weather has warmed up, and I am more than ready to start out the new week.  I'm anxious to go to the Center today.  Haven't been there since last Monday.  Can't believe how hard this cold hit me.  Even lost my voice over the weekend.  But, I did get out to go to the fruit stand on Friday, and getting out and taking in some fresh air seemed to turn the tides on my cold.


I've shown you all the outside of this enormous fruit stand, and here is a tiny piece of what it looks like on the inside.  That kale upfront there was so, so green.  Wish I could have gotten better photos, but I'm still nervous about snapping photos in a store.  I'm always thinking someone is going to come up and say something to me.


Blood oranges.  I've never tried them.  The name sort of turns me off.  I know, that is pretty silly, isn't it?  Has anyone ever had them? The green fruit next to them is some kind of melon.


All kinds of strange fruits and vegetables.  Don't know what kind of pears these are.

Cactus pears.  The blueberries next to them are almost gone already, and it is only 9:30 am. That shows how busy this place is.


Saturday evening was cold, dank, and dreary so I decided I needed some comfort food, and there is nothing better than American Chop Suey.  It is an old favorite and I cannot believe it has been so long since I last made  it. In fact, hubby has never had it so it means it has been over 22 years. It is so simple to make, and only requires the barest minimum of ingredients which  include:

elbow macaroni
olive oil
butter (I use no salt)
ground beef
onion
green pepper
garlic powder
Worchestershire sauce
soy sauce
salt and pepper
canned diced tomatoes (I use Hunts diced tomatoes with sweet onions)
wee bit of tomato sauce to thicken

While boiling elbow macaroni, add tablespoon of olive oil and tablespoon of butter into large frying pan. Brown chopped onion and green pepper. Add ground beef and brown. Next add garlic powder and Worchestershire to taste, soy sauce (I use one package of the sauce included when we order from a Chinese restaurant.) Bring to boil and simmer until all the seasonings meld together. Pour drained macaroni into mixture and simmer about five minutes. Be careful to do so slowly as it does tend to splatter. 

I even made enough for lunch the next day. 

Sometimes even the best laid plans go awry.  I know that lesson well.  I'd planned on getting my haircut on Saturday, but the weather was so bad. It was a cool, rainy day...and boy, did it ever come down.  Thank goodness it wasn't snow.  And, my cold has reached that tickle stage.  You know, that gosh awful tickle that causes non-stop coughing. Not only was I concerned about passing it alone, all I could see was the beautician just about to take a snip when I am suddenly overcome with a coughing spell...causing her to take a huge chunk of my hair.

So, I planned on going to Church Sunday morn and afterwards getting my haircut, but I didn't sleep more than an hour on Saturday night.  My nose was so stuffed, and every time I started to doze, I got a tickle.  Lack of sleep and plugged up sinuses caused dizzy spells which were on and off through most of the day.  Plus, although it wasn't raining as hard, it was still raining, and I am at that point now when all I want to do is heal.  No Church.  No haircut.  I didn't even cook on Sunday.  Ordered Chinese food.  The chicken with garlic sauce always seems to cure what ails me much like chicken soup.

And now for some great advice...
 
Live in rooms full of light
Avoid heavy food
Be moderate in the drinking of wine
Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics
Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water
Change surroundings and take long journeys
Strictly avoid frightening ideas
Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements
Listen to music.

A. Cornelius Celsus


Well, that's all for now.  Hoping your day goes smoothly.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Roundup

You can learn to follow the inner self, the inner physician that tells you where to go. Healing is simply attempting to do more of those things that bring joy and fewer of those things that bring pain.

O. Carl Simonton
 

As this Friday rolls around, I find that I have nothing much to report.  I've been sick all week.  Not bed-ridden sick, but sick enough that I don't feel like going out and doing anything.  Perhaps I would have felt better  yesterday had I bundled up and headed to the Center for a few hours, but I'm guessing I was still contagious, and I have a busy weekend planned for myself.

On Friday, after stocking up on a few necessary food items, I plan on coloring my hair.  It's time for the auburn to go.  It looks nasty when the gray starts to come in, so I am gradually lightening and ridding myself of the red.  That way, when it gets light enough, it won't be such a shocker when I decide to forego coloring altogether.  Although I have lightened up on makeup and fancy hairdos, I am just not ready to give up the coloring process yet....although I will admit, after doing so for more years than I can count, it is becoming quite tedious.

Then, on Saturday I am hoping to get my hair cut.  It's Spring, and I want a new me.  I've always transformed myself with the seasons, and the fact that I am now a senior citizen doesn't change a thing.   Spring has always been a time of new beginnings, and after this long, snowy, and brutally cold winter, I am especially in need of reinventing myself.

Then, on Sunday I am planning to hop on the bus after church and head out to Burlington.  I've agreed to participate in a fashion show at the Center, and although it doesn't involve in dressing up in gowns or fancy new fashions, I would like something new to model.  

Of course, all my plans are dependent upon the weather, which I understand is going to be warm, but 'wet and wild'.  So, we shall see what the weekend brings.

There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends.  

Arnot Sheppard

Hoping you all have a joyful weekend. May it be filled with love, peace, and quality time with loved ones and friends.  See you all on Monday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Rant

He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors.  

Chinese Proverb


Good morning. I feel much better today.  Nothing like good old homemade chicken soup to cure what ails ya.  Whenever I make it, I do so in large batches and freeze in one serving containers just for the purpose of battling a cold or the flu. Then I just make some rice on the side.  Last night I think I put a wee bit too much rice in, but it still tasted good and accomplished what it was supposed to do...make me feel better. I also squeeze some lemon or lime into it just before devouring.

I'm sitting here now trying to make up my mind whether or not I should go to the Center.  Yes, I am feeling better, but am I still contagious?  And for a more selfish reason, someone always takes my seat on Thursdays.  He is an older gentlemen who only attends on Thursdays when lunch is 50 cents, and he always asks for Table 13. Other days he attends another Center, so he is not even a regular.  Now, I don't mind him sitting at our table at all, but the man always arrives super early and takes MY seat. Then, I have to sit with my back facing the front, something that makes me feel very uncomfortable.  So, I gave up attending on Thursdays.  

I know it sounds silly, but it just goes to show you how hard it is for us to accept change.  And sitting in a different seat, facing a different direction, is a minor change.  What about major changes?  It's odd, but I find major changes easier to deal with than minor little things that shouldn't even ruffle my feathers.  Like, when we found out they were selling our houses* after my initial shock, I was able to dig in and do what I had to do to make it a smooth transition.  It was the same with retirement.  You'd think that after working 50 years it would have been harder for me to let go, but I very easily fell into a life of leisure.  (Of course, the fact that my job was so stressful and literally killing me also helped).

Divorce, sickness,  financial woes, etc.  I've found it easier to deal with these than simple changes.  Why?  I think it is because I don't 'fight' the big changes.  They upset me, yes, but it doesn't last for long because I know there is not much I can do about it.  Aside from sickness, the change is inevitable so I become more accepting of it.  But losing my seat is a temporary change.  I never attend on Friday, but I know on Monday I will have my seat for the next three days...which leads me to think that maybe it is not 'change' that is bothering me so, but the fact that I am expected to 'defer' my seat to him just because he is there, and he wants it. I think I find it so difficult to deal with because it arouses flashbacks to that people-pleaser that I used to be, that old me who always gave up 'self' for everyone else.

You may be saying that perhaps the man doesn't know. But, he does.  He has known since the first day he sat there because I let it be known...not in a nasty way, of course.  That is not me.  But, I did mention that I was a regular and always sat in that seat.  And, it went in one ear and out the next.  My question is, wouldn't it be common courtesy for the man to offer me my seat?  I remember on my first day at the Center, I sat in a certain chair up front to play bingo.  A man came in and mentioned that was his seat.  I gave him no problem.  I got up and moved over.  Later I discovered that he took that seat because his hearing was so bad that he needed to be where he could hear, and we became good friends. 

My goodness!  I can't believe this whole post has been about seats.  How silly is that?  It just goes to show how long-winded I can get on things that have meaning to me. I tell you what, though.  I will make you a promise.  I will never talk about seats again.  If I do, please feel free to let me know.  

Wishing you all a fantastic day. 

****I had always insisted on renting the first floor of a private home so that I could have use of the back yard, and three times they sold the house out from under us, and we had to move.  The first time I didn't care as much.  I didn't like the neighborhood, but the second home was where I had my magickal garden and that time broke my heart.  The and last move came after we lived in the place for 15 years.  That's when I said 'no more' and chose to move on the first floor of a building instead.  I love it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Still Nursing My Cold

 Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses. 

Proverb

 Bonvin Walters

Yesterday I felt awful.  Today I don't feel much better, physically, but I'm no longer sitting here and feeling sorry for myself.  None of us like to be sick, and sitting around moaning about it doesn't help.  So, why do I continue to do it?  Perhaps it is because I have always been so busy taking care of others that sickness affords me a time when others take care of me.  Not that hubby doesn't try to take care of me everyday.  I am just so darned independent.   I always refuse. It is hard to change your ways. But, it seems that being sick affords me an excuse to allow myself to be taken care of.  

I did receive some good news yesterday.  Towards the end of last year I had received an email from Amazon informing me that the State Attorney General had taken out an antitrust lawsuit against a number of different publishers.  It seems that it had something to do with what they were charging for books on Kindle.  Yesterday I got an email telling me that I was entitled to $15.33, and it was being credited to my Amazon account.  Doesn't seem like much, but, hey, I am glad to get anything.  I can get at least two new Kindle books with this. 

So, today I am staying home again.  When I was working, I wasn't afforded this luxury of a choice, and colds tended to last forever. The weather is not so great, and I am still not up to par.  Best to stay in and continue to take care of myself.  ISpring is on its way back tomorrow, and I want to enjoy it.


Wishing you all a fantastic day. 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Under the Weather

Woke up today with an awful sore throat. Just feeling miserable, so I made myself a cup of tea and headed back to bed.  Sure wish I could have slept, but lately I have too much pain in my back and legs.  Seems to be a disc pressing against a nerve.   So, I'm off now to nurse myself back to health...more tea and chicken soup.  Perhaps a nap seated in my rocker.   Leaving you with the following....one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite authors.  Hoping you all have a wonderful day.




As You Go Through Life

Don't look for the flaws as you go through life
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
It is better by far to hunt for a star,
Than the spots on the sun abiding.

The current of life runs ever away
To the bosom of God's great ocean.
Don't set your force 'gainst the river's course
And think to alter its motion.
Don't waste a curse on the universe --
Remember it lived before you.
Don't butt at the storm with your puny form,
But bend and let it go o'er you.

The world will never adjust itself
To suit your whims to the letter.
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
And go under at last in the wrestle;
The wiser man shapes into God's plan
As water shapes into a vessel.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday This and That

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.  

Jean Paul Richter

And a happy Monday morning to you all.  Cold weather has once again appeared, with hints of snow by Wednesday, but we were blessed with some great Springlike weather over the past few days.  I had a wonderful weekend, a joyful birthday. I made a pot of sauce with meatballs, sausage, and ribs, put together a salad, and toasted some garlic bread for a yummy Italian meal. I ate everything I shouldn't have, but hey, a birthday only comes once a year. 




The weather was so pleasant on Saturday that I did a little gardening.  Indoor, of course.  Started my herb garden.  This year I am hoping it will grow. I invested in a good potting soil and bought new seeds.  Hope that is enough to do the trick.  I really want a house filled with plants.  Unfortunately, I have discovered that although I may have windows, I still don't get a huge amount of sun because my windows look out onto a small courtyard.  The buildings which surround pretty much keep the sun at bay.

My new washer arrived Sunday morning.

They are holding a fashion show at the Center on April 10th, and I have been talked into being a part of it. I have no idea what to wear.  We don't have to wear anything super special like dressy dresses or gowns, but we do have have to dress up a bit.  I donated almost everything to the Good Will and only kept dress down clothes.  I do have dressy stuff for summer, but it won't be warm enough yet. I did do some birthday shopping over the weekend, but couldn't find a darn thing.  If only I could lose a few pounds.  If only I had the willpower. (Sigh)

So, I have agreed to be in a fashion show, need to lose 38 pounds according to the doctor, and have nothing to wear. Of course, that's my low self-esteem raring its ugly head.  Irrational thoughts racing about unchecked.  What if no one claps for you?  What if they laugh?  As I said, irrational thoughts stemming from childhood taunts and teasing.  One thinks they have worked through all the emotional damage that was wrought, and for all purposes they have, yet, all of a sudden something happens that stirs up a painful memory, and it is off to the races again.  

I'll be all right, though.  This is just 'me'.  I'm not dealing with a bunch of mean spirited classmates.  I'll be modeling in front of senior citizens who are far past that bullying and teasing age.  And, they genuinely 'like' me.  It feels good to walk in and have my peers say "Oh, I am so glad you are here,"  and not because they may have to cover my group if I am out.  No, today I am not that little girl who was shunned and beaten down.  Today I am somebody.

Speaking of the fashion show.  I really do need to get my hair cut before then.  Do you remember when I had my hair cut a little more than a year ago?  Well, I think my thyroid meds may have something to do with it, but this is what it looks like now....


Seriously.  It took me six years or more to grow it to this length before.  I am also lightening it gradually.  Time to start looking my age.  I was thinking of the following haircut I found in 'Sophisticates Hairstyle Guide'. 


Amy stars in Bluebloods, and every Friday night I find myself watching her hair with envy.  It is short, yes, but she is able to do so much with it.  What do you think?

Well, that's about it for my weekend.  As another year begins for me, I look forward to developing a healthier new lifestyle, completing this portion of my Druid trainings, and basically just enjoying all that life has to offer.  I am 67 years old now, and for most of that time I was too busy working to enjoy life.  In this, my first full year of retirement, I am finally going to start to live.

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year:  The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again. 

Menachem Mendel Schneerson


Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Roundup

 If you look over the years, the styles have changed -
the clothes,
the hair, the production, the approach to the songs.
The icing to the cake has changed flavors.
But if you really look at the cake itself,
it's really the same.

John Oates


It's Friday, and a fantastic Friday indeed.  Spring arrived, and I am finding a new bounce in my step which will definitely come in handy for this busy weekend.  This morning I have to head back to my old neighborhood to deposit a few checks.  I wish I could move it to a bank closer to home, but it is an estate account, and closing it would require to start all over again.  In this type of account, only estate checks can be deposited.  No cash.  No checks other than those addressed to the 'estate of'.   So, if I close it, I cannot deposit the cash in another estate account elsewhere.  I'd have to wait for a check to come in...and most of them are 40 to 50 dollars.  Hard to open an account with that. 

Speaking of money, hubby finally got his retroactive. The nightmare has ended.  The first thing he did was to put the new tires on his car that he so desperately needed. His tires were so bad that I got nervous every time he took the car out.  Our next step is a portable washing machine.  We can't get a large machine, but have found a portable that is a perfect fit for my small kitchen.  It now costs a small fortune to wash clothes in the laundromat, not to mention having to carry the clothes and then wait in line for a machine. 

So, as far as my busy weekend goes.  Today I have to do the food shopping.  Since I retired I am back to shopping every two weeks once again since I have no more of those late nights. Money has been tight, and we rarely eat out anymore.  Sometimes I just don't like cooking, though, and on these nights I just throw everything together in one of my made-up I one pot meals.  I made the following last night.


I stopped and bought some Tyson's grilled chicken strips and sauteed them with my sofrito (green and yellow peppers, lots of garlic, sweet onion, and red onion).  Season with salt, pepper, parsley, and Worcestershire Sauce.  Added frozen mixed veggies and 1/2 cup water.  Simmered.  Then added 1 jar of Heinz chicken gravy and simmered, allowing all the flavorings to meld together.  Served over egg noodles.  It turned out to be a tasty meal.

On Saturday I have to run to the fruit stand and afterwards I plan to do a little shopping for myself.  Sunday is my birthday.  I will be 67 years old (hard to believe), and hubby gave me some cash for my gift.  That is exactly what I wanted.   I just want to have a little fun shopping for myself.  It's been a long time since I have been able to purchase something for myself.

Roses.  Not roses per se,  but rose scented perfume.  Yesterday I got on the bus and found myself surrounded by a pleasantly light rose scented cologne.  I just assumed one of the ladies nearby.  Then, after I transferred to another bus, I continued to smell the cologne.  I looked about, and no one from the other bus had transferred with me.  To make a long story short, I continued to smell it in the bank, in Walgreens, in C Town; I smelled it wherever I went including on the two buses I took on the way home, but once I stepped into my apartment, the scent disappeared. I wasn't wearing a rose scented cologne nor do I remember any loved ones who did.  Strange indeed.  Any ideas?

On my birthday I plan to attend church in the morning, and my sons will be coming in the afternoon for a quiet birthday celebration.  There is nothing like spending time with loved ones.  That is the best gift anyone can get.  Hmm!! Just a thought!  I wonder if the rose scent had something to do with my birthday.  After all, it has been over 50 years since my grandmother passed, and I cannot recall her favorite fragrance.  And, I never did know my dad's family, so who is to say?  

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give
ourselves the gift of living well.

Voltaire

Wishing you all a fantastic Spring weekend.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ah Spring, Beautiful Spring

Spring is finally here...or, at least it will be at 12:57 pm.  I can wait a few more hours for the celebration to begin.  It's been a long, hard winter, and I think we all relieved that it is finally, or almost, over.  They are forecasting more cold weather next week and the chance of a snow/rain event next week, but I can deal with that.  At least I know it won't be that endless sheet of ice we have grown so used to.

Claude Monet "Springtime'

So, as we enter this season of renewal may the wonder of Spring fill your heart with love, joy, and peace.

 Frost-locked all the winter,
    Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
    What shall make their sap ascend
    That they may put forth shoots?
    Tips of tender green,
    Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
    Telling of the hidden life
    That breaks forth underneath,
    Life nursed in its grave by Death.

    Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
    Drips the soaking rain,
    By fits looks down the waking sun:
    Young grass springs on the plain;
    Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
    Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
    Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
    Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;
    Birds sing and pair again.

    There is no time like Spring,
    When life's alive in everything,
    Before new nestlings sing,
    Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
    Along the trackless track--
    God guides their wing,
    He spreads their table that they nothing lack,--
    Before the daisy grows a common flower,
    Before the sun has power
    To scorch the world up in his noontide hour.

    There is no time like Spring,
    Like Spring that passes by;
    There is no life like Spring-life born to die,--
    Piercing the sod,
    Clothing the uncouth clod,
    Hatched in the nest,
    Fledged on the windy bough,
    Strong on the wing:
    There is no time like Spring that passes by,
    Now newly born, and now
    Hastening to die.

  Christina Georgina Rossetti

Oh Boy! What is One to Do?

 “Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.”

 Charles Jones.


Dear friends, today is a special day.  It is the last full day of Winter.  Spring arrives tomorrow, and I know that most of us have been waiting for this day.  It has been a long, cold winter, and although the temps are set to drop again next week, just knowing that Spring is here will make it so much easier.

Well, I got some news last night...some good, the other not what I wanted to hear.  As for the good, my sister-in-law is doing well.  She is now on a clear diet and holding food down. Her attitude has changed, and she is no longer saying good-bye to everyone.  I can only hope that she has decided to fight One needs the will to live to have a chance in the battle that stands before her.   

Now for the bad news.  Barbara has not only taken her abusive husband back.  It seems he has been back almost a week now, and the honeymoon is over.  Yesterday he hit her and gave her a bloody nose. He deleted her Facebook page and all of her pictures.  He threatens to have her kids taken away if she puts him out.  He is a monster.  She is such a good mother.  Those kids are her life, and he knows it, so he uses it against her.  I asked her what he could possibly have on her.  From what I have seen no one could ever be a better mother to those kids than she is. 

So, what is making her so afraid?

Well, it seems that last year when he stabbed her, he was sentenced to some time in jail (not enough in my book) and Barbara was placed into safe housing. (I had always wondered why she moved totally out of her borough).  At this time she was told by ACS that if she took him back they would remove her children.  So why, if she is such a good mother, would she take him back knowing that her children might be removed? Why would ANY woman stay with such an abusive man.

Love.  Low self-esteem.  Neediness.  Hope. Belief that he is changed. All play a role in why a woman would take such a man.  She fell in love. He is a smooth talker and wise in all the wrong ways.  He is able to read Barbara like a book. He knows that she grew up as the 'unwanted' daughter, that she had always been told she is the less pretty of the two, the one least likely to succeed.  He knows that what Barbara needs most in this world is to feel loved.  He knows her weaknesses, and he plays on them.  

After abusing their wives or girlfriends, almost all abusive men show up with flowers and promises that it will NEVER happen again.  They sweet talk the woman into believing them, and she takes him back.  The cycle begins again.  This man is different.  There is no sweet talk.  There are no flowers.  There are only threats.  He is a brute and a bully, a hateful man.  He is arrogant and evil. He has no remorse. He is a sociopath. He turns my stomach.  

At this point my hands are pretty much tied.  I can be there for her when she needs someone to listen.  I can offer her advice.  I can educate her on the things I have learned from my years of working with both victims and batterers.  I can offer her resources, people to call and places to go.  And I can pray and hope she listens to me before it is too late. but love can be so blind.  (Sigh)

   “Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and think loves you in return. It is estimated that approximately 3 million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the United States.”


Dianne Feinstein

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

I act with bold courage -
Taking inspiration from the powerful vision of my future,
I boldly set sail with courage and intent.
I hold my course with focused attention and relentless commitment,
as I weather the storms of life.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie


It is an awesome morning.  Not as warm as it could be, but at least there is no snow and ice.  Since March arrived, the weather here in the city has made  one feel as if they are on a roller coaster ride.  Saturday was up in the 50's and by Sunday they were forecasting snow showers. It didn't snow yesterday, but boy, it sure was cold.  That's okay, though.  Spring will be here soon enough. Let's just hope that Winter gets the message.  I can remember a huge snowstorm on Easter Sunday way back when. Anyone remember that?

Boy, did we ever get fooled at the Center yesterday. People came from miles around thinking they would be serving corned beef and cabbage.  Ha!!!  Guess what they served?  Chili and rice.  Didn't bother me any.  I don't like corned beef, and it is really way too  high in sodium for me.  But I do love that cabbage and potatoes.  I could make a meal of them. Guess they heard that many of the Irish originally stemmed from Galacia. I didn't cook it here at home, either, but I had wanted to make some soda bread.  Got home and found out I was missing an ingredient and was just too lazy to go back out, though. 

I don't really celebrate St. Patrick's Day, anyway. Of course, I don't believe in all the drinking, and I dislike the food. But I don't believe that St. Patrick single-handed drove all the Pagans out of Ireland.  To me, that is simply an old  legend.  We must remember that Christianity back then was not what it is today, and most Pagans willingly accepted and treated the Christian God and the Christ just as they would any other Pagan deity. Patrick was a missionary spreading the religion he followed. The people he converted did so willingly. Christianity back in those days was not the Christianity we have today.  

 "Remember the people whom you come from." 
Old Gaelic Proverb

In fact, today's Celtic Christianity/Spirituality with its roots in the past and love of nature is beautiful and unique in today's world of dogmatic religions.  Two great books I highly recommend if you are interested in learning about the nature of Celtic Christianity are...

'Water from an Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life' by Kenneth McIntosh and 'The Salmon in the Spring: The Ecology of Celtic Spirituality' by Jason Kirkey.

THE HERMIT'S SONG

I wish, O Son of the living God,
O ancient, eternal King,
For a hidden little hut in the wilderness
That it may be my dwelling.

An all-grey lithe little lark
To be by its side
A clear pool to wash away sins
Through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Quite near, a beautiful wood,
Around it on every side,
To nurse many-voiced birds,
Hiding it with its shelter.

And facing the south for warmth;
A little brook across its floor,
A choice land with many gracious gifts
Such as be good for every plant.

A few men of sense --
We will tell their number --
Humble and obedient,
To pray to the King:

Four times three, three times four,
Fit for every need,
Twice six in the church,
Both north and south:

Six pairs
Besides myself,
Praying forever to the King
Who makes the sun shine.

A pleasant church and with the linen altar-cloth,
A dwelling for God from Heaven;
Then, shining candles
Above the pure white Scriptures.

One house for all to go to
For the care of the body,
Without ribaldry, without boasting,
Without thought of evil.

This is the husbandry I would take,
I would choose, and will not hide it:
Fragrant leek,
Hens, salmon, trout, bees.

Rainment and food enough for me
>From the King of fair fame,
And I to be sitting for a while
Praying God in every place.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.  

Old New York Proverb


And a good Monday morning to you all. We're blessed to have another week ahead of us. Let me begin by wishing all of you a Happy St. Patrick's Day.  March is passing so quickly I almost forgot to take my green out yesterday.  Can you imagine all the households that will be eating corned beef and cabbage today?  Not ours, though.  I never liked corned beef although I do love the potatoes and the cabbage. 

I had a nice, quiet weekend, this the last weekend of Winter,  and am looking forward to going to the Center today. I sure do hope they aren't serving fish like last Monday. Hopefully they learned their lesson when almost everyone walked out and went somewhere else last Monday. After all, some people are allergic to it. I'm not allergic, but I don't like it. I think a lot of that stems from being 'forced' to eat it when I was young. My mom and dad always forced me to eat everything on my plate, even if it was a food I didn't like. The two foods I hated the most were liver and asparagus which always made me gag. The liver I used to cut up in wee pieces and swallow like a pill.
 
Needless to say, dinner time was torture for me whenever any of these foods were served, and I grew up hating them. At 66, there are still many foods I cannot stand the sight of. When my sons were born, I vowed I would not make dinner a time of dread. So, I didn't try to force them to eat those foods they didn't like. And you know what? When my sons grew up they began eating everything because they actually LIKE the foods now.

Which brings me to the Daily Prompt I chose for today... 

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

There are actually several  items that I couldn't possibly cook without, but only one that stands out.  Garlic.  I cannot cook without my garlic.  I use it in everything, including vegetables.   One of my favorite dishes is broccoli sauteed in garlic and oil. I also love taking a recipe I find, tearing it apart, and making it my way.  Here's a new experimental recipe I tried just yesterday.  Very simple and cheap to make. I served it with chicken cutlets, but it is a dish that can stand alone.


8 oz cooked linguini
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Chopped fresh garlic (I use lots of it)
Fresh parsley
1 can  pink beans* (I don't drain.)
Black pepper
Salt

Cook pasta and drain in colander.  Reserve about 1/4 cup of the liquid. 
Heat oil and garlic until garlic is slightly browned.  Add  a wee bit water and parsley. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add can of beans, pepper, and salt.  Simmer until tastes blend together.  Add pasta to pan and mix.  Sprinkle remaining pepper.



*You may use any kind of bean you want.

When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.  

Laiko Bahrs

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Roundup

 Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain.

  Vivian Greene

Is it Friday already?  I cannot believe another week has passed.  Yesterday it was brutal outside.  19 degrees and windy.  Wind chill factor was 2 degrees.  I got up early, happy that I had chosen to stay home in my comfy warm house.  I had my coffee while, posted my blog, and then went to take my medication.  Guess what?  I had none. When I left the Center yesterday I KNEW I had to stop at Pathmark for something, but figured that whatever it was, it could wait until Friday.  As long as I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the house everything else was just an extra. 

So, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.   Things often go wrong even though you have carefully planned what you are going to do. So, I had to bundle up and deal with the cold. Thank goodness I was lucky with the buses.  They were pulling up just as I made it to the bus stop. 

I had a rough night last night.  My sister-in-law had her surgery yesterday, and they did have to remove her kidney.  It was then that they  discovered that she has stomach cancer. I am not sure whether the cancer started in the kidney and spread to the stomach or vice versa. Either way, the prognosis is not good, and despite our differences, I am feeling so much pain right now.  I spent the night crying.  This has stirred up so many memories. 

When my ex and I first married, we lived at his mom's house. It seems like only yesterday. Sadly, there were mostly bad times to remember there, but there was also some good times as well.  Christmas Eve was always special. and it was the one time of the year that the family let their guard down and accepted me for who I was. Having never had what I consider a 'real' family, this was the closest I could get.  His sister's diagnosis made me realize that everyone connected with those years of my life will be gone.  My sons are all that is left, and you'd best believe, I will be staying on top of them.  Early detection is the key.

For awhile his sister and I were close. What I mean to say is that we weren't best friends or close like sisters, not that I didn't try, but amicable with each other. Oh, there were plenty of times I wanted pull her hair out, and yes, there was one time many years ago that we did come to blows, but after that we settled into a mutual compromise, and for many years remained that way.  But, when she pulled that shenanigan and took my sons share of the house, whatever we had ended.  But, she doesn't deserve this.  I know we all have to face our karma in this life or the next, but I just didn't expect hers to happen so soon.

Speaking of karma.  Finished reading the "Fall of Atlantis". Gosh, I hated it to end.  I used the excuse that I took so long because I had my studies, but the fact is, I wanted to savor it as long as I could.  I garnered so many good quotes from it.  One of my favorites is...

"Our fates spin their web, and our actions bear the fruits they have sown.  Those who have met and loved cannot be parted; if they meet not in this life, they meet in another."  

From "Fall of Atlantis".

Makes the hair stand up on my arms.  Now I reading "Ancestors of Avalon".  This book picks up where the other left off, and this is where the actual fall of Atlantis occurs.  

So, what are my plans this weekend?  I really don't have any.  I do have to hit the fruit stand, and I know I will be going to Church on Sunday, but other than that, I just have no idea what to do.  Lately I try not to spend too much time out of the home.  I like spending time with Miss Minga.  She is so very special to me, and I know our time together is short.  Oh, how I have spoiled her!  But, she deserves every bit of it.  

Wishing you all a special weekend.  May love, peace, and joy surround you.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday and Another Daily Prompt

Take time to contemplate -
away from the opinions and influence of others -
what you really want
and what you believe to be important in your life.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Good morning. Spring was here for a couple days, and I guess she decided it wasn't time because she left just as quickly as she arrived. It sure is cold out there today...20 degrees...at least 40 degrees less than it was yesterday. March is always such a turbulent month. I'm staying home today. I've been running about for almost two weeks now, and it's time to just relax and chill out in my home. Tomorrow will be warmer, and I'll head on out someplace. I'll figure out where when the time comes. I never go to the Center on Fridays. It is one of those down days over there so I use it to run my errands. Besides, they always serve fish on Fridays, and the only fish I eat is tuna.

So my sister-in-law will be having surgery this morning. The doctors are going to do their best to remove the mass on her kidney, but if they cannot get it all, they will have to take the kidney. Guess that means it has not spread. The fluid around her heart is basically a side effect from the kidneys and the doctors have been able to drain most of it. Please join me today in praying for a successful surgery.

I am really enjoying these Daily Prompts. They make one take time to think about their lives rather than just rattling on about nothin. The Daily Prompt for today is 'If You Leave'...

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

This was an easy one for me.  Retirement.  It was both an ending and a beginning for me, and it wasn't a decision I made lightly.  Actually, I had really wanted to retire a year prior to when I did, but then hubby was diagnosed with Stage 3 emphysema and was no longer able to work.  Losing his income was a huge blow, and SSD was giving him such a hard time, so I made the decision to keep working as long as I could.  And I took it for as long as possible.

Not only  was it becoming more and more dangerous, but my health was affected as well.  My blood pressure was sky high, and although I rarely talk about my fibro, the pain was becoming so great that that long walk to and from the subway became like torture.  By February of 2012 I knew I couldn't go on much longer.  So, I bought a notebook and began my research.  New York City has a website called ACCESS.  You type in all your information, and the site lists all the benefits you are entitled to.  I discovered there were many services for seniors that I'd never even heard about so I read about each one and downloaded all the necessary forms.  I was totally prepared, but things don't always go as planned, and you all know about the difficult time I had.  

The only con I can list about leaving my job is the cut is the pay cut.  I bring in half the money I used to, but I also don't spend as much money.  And I've never wanted the 'world'.  I'm content just to have a roof over my head, food to eat, bills paid, and a good book to read.  I don't need to buy breakfast anymore, no need for work clothes, and haven't been on a dirty old subway since July.  Oh, yes, it was rough for awhile, but that never took the joy out of having choices.  Do I want to sleep in?  Do I want to go to the Center, or would I rather stay home and hang out in my jammies today?  

Yes, despite all the difficulties life is good, and I would trade where I am today for where I was a year ago for any amount of money.  Today I have friends.  I participate in social activities.  Today I am in love with life.

Wishing you all a fantastic day.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What Does Happiness Look Like?

Don't shade your eyes from the bright joy of the world.

Terri Guillemets


Good morning. What a gorgeous springlike day it was yesterday.  I was tempted to go straight to the beauty parlor after the Center and have my hair chopped.  It has gotten so long.  Seems like one of my medications has generated a flourish of rapid hair growth, and it reaches all the way down my back again.  Remember, it was only two years ago that I had it chopped up to my ears.  My hair has never grown so fast, and I am wondering if it has something to do with my thyroid medication.  In fact, just prior to my last haircut, it took me almost six years to grow it that long.

I've decided to wait, though, until the weather is warmer.  Short hair, for me, has always been more difficult to deal with.  That is because one side is straight and the other wavy.  Hence, I wash it at least every three days so I can keep it styled...and I love to wash my hair in my morning shower. I can't do that when it is cold.  

So, yesterday's Daily Prompt was: Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy, and the question was....

....What does 'happiness' look like to you?

Had someone asked me the above question before I retired, I would have said 'I don't know'.  And that would have been the truth. I was terribly unhappy during my last few years at work. If you hate your job, it's very difficult to find happiness. Yes, we did have our laughs, but that's all they were--laughs. But true happiness is really so much more than having a few laughs for  soon as the laughter was over, we all went back to being our miserable selves.

According to Merriam Webster happiness is 'the state of being happy'.  When I go to the Center, I see so many that state every day, and, as the youngest there, it gives me so much hope that life will continue to get better and better. It is so easy to see that these seniors love life and everything it has to offer. They savor every moment of it. They laugh, they share, they dance, they go out to dinner, and enjoy participating in all the activities. All one has to do is look around the lunch room at all the happy faces, the twinkling in the eyes,  and the joyous spirit that abounds, and one cannot help but to feel at peace.  Happiness is being happy just being alive.

When you're really happy, the birds chirp and the sun shines even on cold dark winter nights — and flowers will bloom on a barren land. 

Terri Guillemets

If the day and night be such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more immortal - that is your success.  All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. 

Henry David Thoreau,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

On An Early Tuesday Morn

 The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours.  No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen.  And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot.  The possibility is always there.  

Monica Baldwin



Good morning. This getting up when it still looks like night is going to take some getting used to.   Not that I am complaining.  I have always loved rising in the dark and watching the sun come up.  It's just that it throws my timing off.  Like Sunday.  I was lying in bed thinking it was the middle of the night when I smelled coffee.  Only, in my foggy state, I did not realize that it was coffee.  At first I wondered why I was smelling 'toast' and then I wondered if there was a fire.  Then I glanced at the clock, and it was 6:25 am....but it was actually 5:25 am.  That's the part that takes getting used to, acclimating one's body rhythm to the hour change. 

Now that the pension is in order and the medicare issue straightened out (I am not going to pursue a fair hearing over one dollar) the HRA has to put their dibs in.  I applied in February and was approved for a phone interview.  The woman was supposed to call me on a certain date, but didn't.  Instead she called a day late.  Then, when I verified that she was speaking to the correct person, she hung up and did not call back.  I tried several times to get through and left numerous messages to no avail.  Yesterday I received a letter in the mail saying that my application was not approved because I did not provide the information I was asked to submit.  What information?  We never got past my name. Now I have to apply for a fair hearing.  

All this after I spent the entire afternoon working on my taxes only to find out I have to pay the state and city.  I worked half the year so a part of my social security turns out to be taxable.  The way the state and city has treated me?  I breaks my heart that I have to pay them any money. 

So, last  I got a message last night from Barbara's sister.  It seems that Barbara did go back to her husband as soon as he was released from jail.  Having worked with both victims and abusers I sort of expected it.  It happens all the time in these relationships.  All I can do is be there for her, listen, offer advise, and pray that nothing happens to her or her children.

Shortly thereafter I received a call from Barbara.   She had just found out that her mom was in the hospital. She has fluid around the heart which must be drained, and there is a mass on her kidney. They are awaiting tests to find out if the mass is cancerous.  She is not one of my favorite people and did something to to my boys that is beyond forgivable, but I cannot wish ill on anyone, and I will be there for her if she needs me.  I cannot see someone in pain and not help.

See, when my son's grandparents died, they left one half of the house to Barbara's mom and the other half to my ex.  It was known at the time that my ex was dying as well  so the stipulation in the will was that his half would then be divided between my sons.  During his last days, when he was heavily medicated, she went to a lawyer and drew up some paperwork and had him sign his share over to her for $10. He was delirious on pain medication at the time and didn't realize what he was doing.  My son got a lawyer, but because his dad did not leave a will, and she had that legal paper, they pretty much lost before they even started.

Cancer does run in that family, and it scares me.  My ex, his mom, and his dad all died of it within 6 months of each other.  And now possibly his sister.  I worry about my boys and encourage them to stay on top of things and to follow up with testing at least once a year. Early detection increases one's chances of survival. 

I'd like to close today with a little prayer for my sister-in-law.

May God/Goddess  heal her body and soul.

May her body cease to ache,

May her strength increase,

while her fears released,

And may blessings, love, and joy surround her
forever and ever.

Amen.