Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday Ramble

 And at last it comes. You hear a patter... you see a leaf here and there bob and blink about you; you feel a spot on your face, on your hand. And then the gracious rain comes, gathering its forces—steady, close, abundant. Lean out of window, and watch, and listen. How delicious!... the verandah beneath losing its scattered spots in a sheet of luminous wet; and, never pausing, the close, heavy, soft-rushing noise... 

John Richard Vernon,


Good morning on this not so springlike day. Actually, it seems almost like winter out.  Yesterday it was pretty darn cold, and today the  rain is coming down and torrents. No way am I stepping outdoors today.  No need to.  Retirement brings choices, and I choose to stay in my jammies and watch the rain from my window. 

Women's group no longer holds my interest as it once did, and I don't see much sense in getting drenched to play an hour of Bingo.  It's not like I ever win.  I've been attending the Center for about a year now, and I can count on my right hand the number of times I won.  I am not very lucky in Bingo, but I don't care.  It just gives me something to do.

But yesterday Lady Luck hit me in another way. When I got home I found my bank statement in the mail, and boy, was I ever in for a surprise.  The first thing I always check is the deposits to make sure Social Security and my pension have been credited. I was also anxious to check on my federal refund as each time I tried to check online I was told to try back again.  I was beginning to get anxious.  That was not a very good sign.  Well, it turns out it had already been deposited.  The reason I couldn't find it online was because you have to enter the exact amount. I had entered what I thought I was getting back--$628.  Instead, my refund was $613. The tax preparer had gotten it wrong.

But that was not the only thing he got wrong.  If you remember, I posted my disappointment that I owed the State and how unfair it was that I was on Social Security but had to pay.  You can imagine how surprised I was to find that the state had deposited a $421 refund into my account.  They had reimbursed me and then some.  Wow!!!  Wasn't expecting that.  Needless to say, I will not return to that place if I have to do taxes next year.

I spent the whole evening last night watching a marathan of the entire season of Vikings.  I could watch these shows over and over again.  It is history.  I think that's why I love it so much.  I learn something new every time I re-watch something.  Sad that tomorrow night is the season finale and will be anxiously waiting for the new episodes.

Yesterday was a busy day at the Center, and I didn't get there early enough to get a seat as my usual table so I was seated at the table just behind it.  That was okay.  I was close enough to talk to my friends, and I got a chance to meet some new people.  Oh, we'd known each other enough to say hello, but that was about it.  Well, I always say that everything happens for a reason.  There was an elder gentlemen seated with us, and he began talking about the muscle spasms he has at night.  I mentioned that I had the same thing and asked if he was on blood pressure medication.  Indeed he was.  Then, another lady at the table spoke up and said that she used to struggle with spasms but began drinking some tonic water with added quinine at night, and it has been stopping her spasms.  

I came home and, of course, did some research.  I never take anything, even something so seemingly harmless, without doing some investigation.  Indeed, quinine does cure muscle cramps, but has been banned by the FDA because some people have had side effects.  However, the amount in tonic water does the job and is relatively harmless. 

On an added note, I found that when your foot or calve muscles spasm, press on your upper lip.  I tried it last night, and it actually works.  Who would have thought?

Off now to prepare something to eat.   Wishing you all a great Tuesday. 


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday Morning

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
Moritz von Schwind

Good morning.  Didn't sleep too well last night so I am taking the day off from blogging.  My mind is in a fog this morning.  Have to do something about these darn muscle spasms.  Last night was the worst yet.   Have to talk to my doctor about my blood pressure meds, especially the Losartan.  Pain in your legs and back  and muscle spasms are one of the side effects. It's one of those things that you are darned if you do and darned if you don't.  Couldn't continue with the Lisinopril beecause of the cough and now the Losartan is causing spasms. If I take no medication my pressure shoots up.  What am I to do?

Going to the Center this morning because tomorrow they are calling for heavy rain, and I will probably stay in. Good day to do some research on foods and herbs to help alleviate this darn pain.  A friend on Facebook recommended Hibiscus tea for high blood pressure.  Studies have shown that it works as well as some of the medications.  Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Wishing you all a fantastic day.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Morning This and That



Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.

Terri Guillemets
 
Shame on me.  I already ate most of them in one day.

And a good Monday morning to all.  Had a nice, quiet weekend.  Caught up on some much needed rest.  On Saturday I took a trip to the fruit stand. I bought some sweet seedless black grapes and some strawberries that were so sweet I didn't need any cool whip to eat them.  I also bought all the ingredients for a broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower stir fry.  I had the urge for it, and I really do need to incorporate more vegetables into my diet.  I HAD been doing so well, but then winter with its 14 snowstorms hit, and I found myself falling into a state of depression.  To cope, I ate...and ate...and ate.  Now that Spring has sprung not only are my emotions so much lighter, but also my menu.   

Sure did make a lot of it.

Hubby also opened my eyes on Sunday morning before Church.  "You are putting on too much weight and have to start watching what you eat.  I don't want you to have a stroke or a heart attack.  I want you with me a long time."  He is right.  I have gotten downright FAT.  216 pounds. Four years ago I was 140 pounds.  Never, ever weighed that much.  No more Twinkies at 10 pm and no more cookies for mid-morning snacks.  Rice and potatoes will be kept to a minimum and more fresh vegetables like above will take their place. 

I really do hate being a nag, but sometimes one has to do it...and sometimes it does pay off.  Hubby finally cleaned out a bag from his closet.  Only one bag, but it was a start.  And he actually only kept two shirts out of it.  When he pulled out a second bag it turned out to be a Spring jacket I had bought the year before we moved here.  I'd thought the moving men had lost it.  That sure was a blessing.  With the weather cooling down this week, it sure will come in handy. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about  why I have been so unhappy at the Center these past few weeks, and I have come to the conclusions that yes, boredom does have its role, but the number one culprit is the generation gap.  I find myself once again 'outside the norm', and even though everyone does their best to make me a part of,  there is still that gap between us. We come from different eras.  Just the other day while I was at my new lunch room table the dance instructor, a client volunteer, came to chat with the ladies I sit with.  He had seen that the Italian woman, Maria, and I seemed to be close, and he asked her, "Is this your daughter?" She laughed and said "No, but she could be." Then he asked, "Is this your new home attendant?"  He just could  believe that I, too,  was a client there.

And then, not too long ago when I was the only one who showed for women's group, the intern who facilitates it and I sat and talked for awhile.  She is aware that I spent many years running groups and stated that she feels she has lost control of the group. What can she do? I assured her that she had done everything right, that it was a difficult group, and I felt she had handled it well.  Aside from bringing a weekly topic which no one wanted, there was nothing she could have done differently.  She then asked, "How were you able to handle it?  You must have found it difficult at times,  After all, you are from a different generation."   

Yes, I am from a different generation, but that doesn't tell the whole story.  There are other little subtle differences that further compound the issue.  For one thing, all of them are widows.  Every single one of them. (Well, they do say that women live longer than men.) I, on the other hand, live with my significant other.  Our lifestyles have also been different.  Having come from a different generation, their role in life was to be a stay at home wife and mother. Most married as soon as they got out of high school and never held a job, let alone had a career.  I, on the other hand, was a child of the 60's.  I was the 'flower child'.  They were my parents.  My children and my home have always been important to me, but I also came from a generation of woman who went on to further their education and not only held jobs, but had careers equal to that of men. 

I've also come to the conclusion that I could probably attend every program in Brooklyn and not find one that is any different than the one I already attend.  And I do have friends here.  I have been accepted, and that means a lot to someone who was a childhood outcast.  Perhaps it is Spring fever that is bringing my boredom on, and perhaps it is because I am tired of staying indoors. Nature is calling me. Yes, perhaps it has nothing to do with my peers.  Either way, I have plans to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer.  I yearn to be close to nature.  One or two days a week at the Center will keep me connected, and perhaps by the time winter rolls around again, I will find the Center enjoyable again.  Sometimes we just have to pull back for awhile. 

And with that, I wish you all a fantastic Monday and a fabulous new week.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Roundup

I absolutely love this from 'Saxons, Vikings, and Celts" by Byron Sykes


 While his bones were gradually entombed by the drip, drip, drip of limestone water in the silence of his cave, the ancestors of the ancient Celts have arrived in Wales and Ireland, the ground has trembled under the marching feet of Roman legions, the shingle beaches of Kent have yielded to the keels of Saxon warships, and the blood-curdling cries of Viking raiders have echoed from the defenseless monasteries of Northumbria and the Scottish islands.  While he endured 12,000 years of solitude, the world outside pulsed with life--and death.  His DNA stayed where it was, but outside the cave it had another life in the generations of descendants whose stories we can now begin to unfold.




Well, another Friday is here.  It seems the weeks never passed by so quickly while I was still working.  Now that I am free to be me the days pass by so quickly they all seem to meld together. It is already almost a month since I turned 67.  My goodness, before I know it, another year will have passed.

Speaking of aging, I joined an online group for women over 60.  They have lots of wonderful forums to discuss everything imaginable for women of my age.  I noticed then that below your chosen name, they chose another one for you.  The name they gave me is "Sapphire Sister". I love it. 


Speaking of groups, perhaps you have noticed I am becoming more and more disenchanted with the senior center.  When I first started attending it was all new to me, and I loved it.  After all, it been a very long time since I had been able to socialize.  But, now I am going on a year, and to be honest, I am bored.  In groups, they want to discuss the same things, week after week...the plane that they cannot find and charter schools here in the city.  There is never anything new discussed about the plane because, let's face it, there is no news.  And charter schools?  One thing I hate is racism and there is a woman in the group who literally turns my stomach when she speaks.  "Well, I paid to put my kids through Catholic school, and I don't like the idea of my tax dollars going to put other children though school.  If their parents want them to go to a good school, then they should pay for it."  Now, mind you, most of the students that attend these schools are 'inner city' kids from the poorest of neighborhoods.

Oh, boy when I heard that, I went off.  Not in a very angry way, but with enough force to get my point across. "Not everyone can afford to send their children to Catholic schools.  I couldn't, but I was lucky to have lived in a good neighborhood with a decent public school. But most of these kids that get into the Charter schools are 'inner city' kids."

"My kids were inner city.  They grew up in Bay Ridge. They were raised in the city." She laughed then as if I didn't know what I was talking about.  That did it.  "Inner city doesn't mean that they were raised in the city.  It means that they live in poverty, the slums.  These are the kids that grow up to become criminals.  If my tax dollars can give even one child the opportunity to go to a decent school, complete high school, and perhaps even go on to college, then it is worth it."

And this same kind of stuff goes on week after week.  Is it any wonder that I have grown bored with the whole thing? 

So, now that the warm weather is arriving, I've begun planning other things to do.  There are parks to visit, a vast ocean only 15 minutes away, so many places to visit, so many places to see.  I'll not drop out of the center altogether.  I do have friends there.  I'll just pull away a little.

And with that I wish you all a fabulous weekend. May it bring you joy and peace.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Ramble


Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savor their songs.

Nelson Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom
 

Good morning.  It is another cool morning, but not like yesterday when felt and looked more like Autumn than Spring as evidenced by the above picture I took after  I got off the bus while coming home from the Center.  It wasn't bad out.  In fact, I kind of enjoyed the cool breeze.  That is, until it blew the dust into my eyes.

Still trying to make up my mind about whether or not I want to go to the Center today. I had a terrible time yesterday. None of my friends went, and because no one was there, women's group was canceled. So, instead I went into a baking class. Women's group will end in two weeks anyway as the intern who facilitates it is leaving, so I figured it would be a perfect time to give this new group a try. 

Big disappointment. The teacher had his own bakery in China and was teaching clients of the program how to bake Chinese pastries. Trouble was, he didn't speak a word of English and didn't have an interpreter. So why, I ask, did he pester me for weeks on end..."I teach baking. Room 309. 11 am. Come. Learn."...when he knew darn well I didn't speak the language. I should have realized, though, that they were rehearsed words when I tried to explain I was already in a group at that time and would begin attending his group when the facilitator left....and he didn't understand a word I said. 

I lasted about ten minutes and then left to go sit in the television room and play a game on my phone. I really would have preferred to go home, but I'd already paid for lunch.  Besides, it was ziti with meat sauce and salad, and they sure do make that good.  And then again, who knows who they would seat at my table.  It's always good to meet new people.  Not meant to be, though.  Yes, they did seat five people at my table, but they all spoke only Chinese. (I live in an area with a huge Chinese population). Talk about a boring lunch.  I couldn't wait to get out of there. But, perhaps I wasn't open enough to the possibilities. Perhaps if I had tried harder to understand.

And with that, I'll leave you with the following uplifting tale....

Two traveling Angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the Angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the Angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older Angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.

When the younger Angel asked why, the older Angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem." The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest. 

When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger Angel was infuriated and asked the older angel, "How could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die." 

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older Angel replied. "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it." Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the Angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem."

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you need to trust that the outcome has a purpose. You just might not know it until some time later...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letting Go

 Periods of change are full of paradoxes.  They're difficult but exciting,
frightening but freeing.  Letting go of old patterns that
no longer work for us is exhilarating.

Sue Patton Thoele


Good morning dear blog friends. Not much to report today. Yesterday was rather nondescript. I didn't go to the Center. I think I am becoming disenchanted with the place, and after the interns leave next week, I will be even more disenchanted.  I've met some wonderful people there, yes, but I want more. I'm tired of playing bingo, and aside from reminisce group, I can't relate in any other group.  

So I stayed home yesterday and did some laundry instead. It is such a pleasure to have a machine at home. Sorted through some spring items and packed some items in a bag to take to the thrift store. Of course, I threw my items on top of a few of hubby's size small dress shirts. He's actually and extra large now. Don't know why he wants to save them. Even if he does lose weight he won't be returning to work anymore.  Neither one of us will.

Hubby wasn't doing well yesterday.  He was having trouble breathing.  He's on three medications and sometimes they just don't work.  So far he has been able to manage without oxygen, but I fear he will be needing it soon.  Don't know how this summer's humidity is going to affect him.  

Speaking of work, it hit me yesterday as I was doing some sorting that I am no longer a CASAC. I had worked so hard to get it. After working all day I'd race off to attend classes. I got off at 5 in Brooklyn, and classes started at 6. With the train ride, there wasn't even any time to stop for dinner so I usually munched on a sandwich on the subway. School let out at 10. The next day was the same thing. But it was something that I really, really wanted, and if you want something bad enough, you are willing to sacrifice to get it. 

It took me almost three years. And then, on the day of the test, I had the flu. I was so sick, and it was such a cold day out. But to cancel would have been to pay another hundred dollars and wait until the next test. The school where I was supposed to take the exam was way off the beaten path, and I got lost. And then, when I finally found it, I came upon a group of men who were milling around outside. I stopped and asked one of them, "Is this where they are giving the CASAC exam?" "No," he responded. "This is for the sanitation exam."  

"Oh no,I am really going to be late," I thought as I began walking around the school.  Perhaps it was at another entrance.    It was then that I discovered that the school was hosting a number of exams that day, and the CASAC was one of them. Well, to make a long story short, I eventually found my room and stood in front of three stone-faced test monitors.  I realize they were only doing as they were told, show no emotion, but when one is as sick as I was that day, a little sympathy would have gone a long way. 

Needless to say, despite all the sneezes, sniffles, runny eyes, cold chills, and headache, three weeks later I checked online, and I was a CASAC.  And for a good many years, that determined  who I was in my career.  That certificate  distinguished me as a 'qualified health professional'.  And as of my birthday on March 23rd, I am that no more.  My certificate expired, and there is no going back.  That part of my life is truly over.  

It is so hard right now to put my feelings into words. It's not that I am planning to return to work.  I love my retirement.  Besides, counseling is not as rewarding as it once was.  Now it is all about the paperwork.  There is no time to help the client. There is no time, too much stress,  It's just that the finality of the whole thing that through me for a loop. Just another reminder of a life that was.

Thanks for letting me share today.

The Tao Te Ching says, When I let go of what I am, I become whatI might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.

Have you ever struggled to find work or love, only to find them
after you have given up? This is the paradox of letting go.
Let go, in order to achieve. Letting go is God's law.

Mary Manin Morrissey

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day.

 "I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.

Richard Llewellyn


Good morning.  What a glorious day it is. I'm not going to the center today.  Gonna stay in and continue with my de-cluttering and then head on out to the park to enjoy. Took a few of hubby's shirts to the thrift store yesterday.  I plan to do a bit at a time.  If he won't do it, I will. One way or another I am going to make some storage space in this apartment.  I've got two dressers...one with 5 drawers, the other with 9; two large storage bins; 1 regular closet with room to hang clothes and a shelf; one very large walk-in closet with double the room to hang clothes with 4 shelves; and one built in storage area about the hallway closet. Almost forgot.  We each have a table by our side of the bed and each of those has a drawer.  That brings it to 16 drawers. Oh, and I also have a place to hang coats in the entrance way. That is definitely enough storage space for two people.  



My fascination with my Germanic ancestors continues.  Actually, my interest has piqued several times throughout the years, but not to the degree that it has since I began watching 'Vikings' on the history channel. I've begun rereading Bryan Sykes "Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland".  I read it several years ago and enjoyed it, but this time I have had my DNA tested so it should be all the more interesting.  And although he is a geneticist, the author writes in a way that is very easy to read. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about their ancestry.

Description: 

One of the world's leading geneticists, Bryan Sykes has helped thousands find their ancestry in the British Isles. Saxons, Vikings, and Celts, which resulted from a systematic ten-year DNA survey of more than 10,000 volunteers, traces the true genetic makeup of the British Isles and its descendants, taking readers from the Pontnewydd cave in North Wales to the resting place of the Red Lady of Paviland and the tomb of King Arthur. This illuminating guide provides a much-needed introduction to the genetic history of the people of the British Isles and their descendants throughout the world.


A few pictures from my home.  I don't know why the walls are all green.  This is the first time this happened.  My walls are actually off white.

 Hubby came home with this picture yesterday.  We hung it in the kitchen.




 This hangs in our entrance way.  Hubby didn't center it properly.  The moon mirror below it is 21 years old.  We bought it on West 8th Street in the West Village, the home of the hippies.


Taken from my living room. A view of my entrance way. That is my altar. If I had to guess, I would say that that table is almost 25 years old. Hubby found it on the streets when we got our first apartment.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 Celestial spirit that doth roll
The heart's sepulchral stone away,
Be this our resurrection day,
The singing Easter of the soul -
O gentle Master of the Wise,
Teach us to say: "I will arise."  

Richard Le Gallienne
And a Happy Monday morning to all.  I had a great Easter Sunday.  Had a visit from my sons, a fantastic meal, and some wonderful weather. On Saturday I went shopping for a nice blouse to wear to Church (I still believe one should dress up on Easter), but came home empty handed.  Well, not exactly.  I did get four pair of shoes. I have such bad feet, more often than not I don't find anything comfortable, so, when I do find something, I stock up in different colors.  


For Easter dinner we had pernil, arroz con gandules, salad, and cupcakes. I bought some chicken livers and boiled them up for Miss Minga's Easter meal.  She loves them and drives me nuts on Thanksgiving.  She knows the smell of turkey and knows that that means liver is on the menu for her that day.  With her health deteriorating so, I fear this Thanksgiving she will not be with us so got her her treat early. I love her so.  I just want for her to be happy.  

Saturday, unfortunately,  was one of those days I wish I had stayed in bed.  It was food shopping week, and I knew it would be busy because of the holiday.  But, I didn't know just HOW busy it was going to be or that the store would have boxes and boxes of goods lined up in aisles that were already tight to begin with. I can't believe they did that knowing how busy they were going to be. Talk about a stressful situation.  Only one cart would fit down and aisle, and I found myself leaving my cart and running up and down aisles to get things. By the time I was finished I was shaking and sweating. Crowded stores trigger anxiety attacks which is why I NEVER go to a mall at holiday time.

On top of that, a 14 pound box of cat litter fell on my head.  Yup!  It happened to me.  I've been complaining to the manager for almost a year now that heavy items should not be kept on the top shelf, that someone was going to get hurt.  I didn't know it was going to be me.  I know some would have played it for everything it was worth and pretended to be injured badly enough for a law suit, but that is not me. I cannot be that dishonest. Fortunately the only damage I suffered was some soreness to my head. This time I didn't ask him nicely to take care of it.  This time I yelled at him. He did give me a discount on my groceries and promise that he will have his guys change things,  but that really didn't matter much to me right then.  Between the accident and my anxiety, I was pretty shaken up.

After that, I went home and froze one of my Hershey chocolate drinks. Both the nutritionist and the doctor would like more calcium in my diet and encouraged me to have milk products every day. I do take Caltrate, but there is nothing like the real thing. I usually the drinks and sip them just like a milkshake. They are so good that way. Well, after I opened and peeled back the aluminum safety tab, I discovered I didn't have a straw so I decided to sip from the bottle.  Little did I know that the small piece of aluminum that I could not get off was extra sharp. To make a long story short, I sliced my lip.  Not bad, but we all know how a lip could bleed.  I decided then that perhaps it would be best if I took it easy the rest of the day.



On Sunday morn I rose early and went to Church.  What a lovely day it was! The temperature was in the 50's, a little cool, but not cold...and the sun was shining.  There was a sadness about the day, though.  When I arrived at Church I found it guarded by the police.  A sad sign of the times.  One cannot even attend Easter services anymore without  a threat. Actually, someone has been setting fire to churches in the area.  What is happening to our world.

One of my favorite Priests gave the Easter service.  I was glad to see him, but felt sorry for him at the same time.  Poor thing has terrible allergies and all the flowers were making him sneeze...so badly that he interrupted the service to see if anyone had a Zyrtec or an Allegra.  That is what I like about him.  He is so down to earth. I especially love the poems that he writes.  Always a special way to end the service.

And with that I wish you all a week filled with laughter, love, and fun.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter



Darlings of June and brides of summer sun,
    Chill pipes the stormy wind, the skies are drear;
    Dull and despoiled the gardens every one:
    What do you here?

    We looked to see your gracious blooms arise
    Mid soft and wooing airs in gardens green,
    Where venturesome brown bees and butterflies
    Should hail you queen.

    Here is no bee nor glancing butterfly;
    They fled on rapid wings before the snow:
    Your sister lilies laid them down to die,
    Long, long ago.

    And here, amid the slowly dropping rain,
    We keep our Easter feast, with hearts whose care
    Mars the high cadence of each lofty strain,
    Each thankful prayer.

    But not a shadow dims your joyance sweet,
    No baffled hope or memory darkly clad;
    You lay your whiteness at the Lord's dear feet,
    And are all glad.

    O coward soul! arouse thee and draw near,
    Led by these fragrant acolytes to-day!
    Let their sweet confidence rebuke thy fear,
    Thy cold delay.

    Come with thy darkness to the healing light,
    Come with thy bitter, which shall be made sweet,
    And lay thy soil beside the lilies white,
    At His dear feet!

Susan Coolidge 

Wishing you all a day filled with love, peace, and joy.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Roundup



Lord of the springtime, Father of flower, field and fruit, smile on us in these earnest days when the work is heavy and the toil wearisome; lift up our hearts, O God, to the things worthwhile--sunshine and night, the dripping rain, the song of the birds, books and music, and the voices of our friends. Lift up our hearts to these this night and grant us Thy peace. Amen.

W.E.B. DuBois


Happy Friday.  Wow, weather-wise this week has been a roller coaster ride.  After our delicious taste of spring over the weekend and Monday, winter returned with an icy mix. Wednesday was downright bone-chilling.  Luckily I had not packed everything away, and I did have my winter jacket.  But everything else was packed away.  

I've been having a hard time lately with a repetitive injury to my neck.   This comes from keeping my head down too much while playing Hay Day on my tablet.  Yes, I am addicted, and yes, I am totally at fault for this injury.  It can get so darned painful.  It will go away when I keep my head upright, but as soon as I pick up my tablet and try to play, it feels like a knife is cutting through my neck.  And it even effects my use of my Kindle.  If I want to read, I have to hold my Kindle high so I don't have to bend my neck at all.  Why yesterday I was feeling fine, wrote out a small shopping list, and ended up in severe pain.  

So, I ended up not going to the Center.  Instead I ran out and did some errands, then returned and spent much of the afternoon with a heating pad and stinking like Tiger Balm.  Actually, the Tiger Balm doesn't smell so bad, but one still doesn't want to wear it out in public.  

I can't believe this Sunday is Easter already.  I'll attend Church in the morning and afterwards my sons will be visiting for the holiday.  Our menu for the day includes Pernil, gondulas and rice, brocolli, and salad with my homemade dressing. 

I've been reading 'The Vikings: The Story of a People' by Njord Kane and have been learning so much.  It is definitely a fascinating read.  For example, the Norse people did not call themselves Vikings.  In fact, it was a term that meant 'raiding'.  Hence, Viking was something that they did; it was not  who they were.  My new interest in the Vikings has also made me revisit the genealogy of my maternal great grandfather, Edward Hoffman,  whose ancestors came from Germany.  I had sort of given up.  Actually, I was overwhelmed.  My 3rd great grandparents were John Hoffman, b. 1823 in Saxony and Catherine b. 1823 in Hesse.  I know Germans tended to change names, and most likely John was actually a Johann.  I know he was in New York before 1843 because that is when my 2nd great grandfather was born so it was somewhere between those 23 years that he immigrated here. I know both he and Catherine were still alive in 1900.   And, sadly, that is all I have been able to find out.  Perhaps one day I will solve the mystery. 

And with that, I bid you all a wonderful Easter weekend.  May it be filled with love, peace, and joy.

 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Choices




One ship drives east and another west,
With the self-same winds that blow;
'Tis the set of the sails and not the gales
That determines where they go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life;
'Tis the set of a soul that decides its goal--
And not the calm or the strife.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Good morning everyone.  Winter is really giving a fight this year.  The weekend provided us with a taste of Spring, and yesterday I stepped out into a world of ice which covered cars and grass.  The wind howled and the temperature was at the freezing mark.  When Spring Fever hit, I packed most of my winter clothing away. Luckily I did leave out a few pullovers and my winter coats.  My scarfs and gloves are someplace in the closet, but I was able to get by without them.  

I'm having a good time sitting at different tables for lunch.  Yesterday I was seated at still another table and again, the conversation was pleasant.  Lunch wasn't one of my favorites though.  Chili.  I only like it when I make it because I use my own special seasonings and melt some cheddar on top.  Yummy.

I just love  the above poem which speaks to me of fate versus free will.  For some reason it reminded me of an old acquaintance, an astrologer, whose entire life is dominated by the positions of the planets.  They rule her life, but this is because she ALLOWS them to rule her life. If Saturn, or Neptune, or even the Sun are in a difficult aspect with her natal planets, she is automatically doomed to suffer some kind of negative consequences in whatever area of her life the planet aspects--health, work, relationship, etc.  I feel sorry for her because she leads a truly unhappy life.  Life is not fated. 
 
I love astrology.  I learned how to set up a chart a long time ago through the Rosicrucian Fellowship in the days before computerized charts.  I learned to set up a chart the hard way with mathematical calculations.   I am well aware that we will all face difficult aspects during the course of our life as the planets transit those in our natal chart, but I believe the 'stars impel', they do not 'compel'. For example, I may have been 'destined' to MEET my husband, but I was not 'fated' to make him my forever partner.  I had a choice.

The chart is a map of life.  The placement of our planets and aspects they make with each other shows the difficulties we may expect to face and how to attain success. In other words, although the planets may produce conditions and influences in our lives, they do not force us to follow these influences. Our horoscope is a roadmap of our life, but that is all it is...a roadmap that helps us to navigate our way on this journey called life.  It shows us all the possible routes we may take so that we may choose our own path based on our own 'free will'.

I guess what I am trying to say is we have choices in our life.  If we are unhappy, we can change our course. It is, as the poem says, the soul that decides its goal.  It is not the  energies in our chart that count; it is how we apply this energy that counts. We all have the 'free will' to change the 'setting of our sails'.

That the stars guide us, but do not compel us. It is our free will that determines the outcome of all things. God does impose his will on us, rather he makes it known and allows us to choose if we will follow it.

  Kathleen McGowan, The Poet Prince

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vikings

 Genetic studies in Iceland have found that many of
the women who were the founding stock of Iceland came
from England and what is now France.
Some were probably captured and carried off in Viking
raids only 40 generations ago.

Keith Henson


Good morning, and a happy Wodensday to all. The storm has moved on, but in its wake we have cold temps and wind.  Not too long ago these temperatures would have actually felt warm to me.  Now that we have had a few really warm days, what once was warm now feels cold.  All is in our state of perception. I stayed home yesterday, and to be honest, didn't accomplish a thing. It must have been the weather because I felt very lazy. Oh well.   It sure did feel good to take it easy for a change. We all need those days.

As you may have already guessed, this post is about Vikings.  I have become obsessed.  My DNA test showed some Scandinavian markers.  A small amount, to be sure, but there nonetheless.  And, truth be told, be it  Vikings, Romans, Anglo Saxons, all raiders of ancient Britain, intermingled with British women, so who really knows what true English DNA is?

Has anybody been watching Vikings on the history channel?  Gory as it may be, it is such a fascinating view of history and the battle of Christianity and Paganism.  One way or another, be they Viking or Celtic, this was my ancestor's story.  I purchased a Viking history book to follow along, and was thrilled to discover that the characters in this series really lived. I am fascinated with depictions on how they revered their gods as well as the strength of Viking women.  I love Athelstan, an Anglo Saxon monk, kidnapped by the Vikings, who finds himself torn between Paganism and Christianity. And I can't forget King Ecbert, the closet Pagan king of Wessex. Ragnar Lothbrok, Rollo, Floki (who reminds me of Loki), the list goes on.  I love all the characters, but I am especially  enthralled with Lagertha, the famous Danish shield maiden who joins in on the raids and comes across as equal to her male counterparts in all ways. Fascinating woman.

Did anybody catch the Blood Moon eclipse?  It was way too cloudy here to see much of anything.  Such a disappointment, but there are three more coming. The next will be on October 8th, and in 2015 it will be April 4 and September 28. Some are saying that this signals the 'end of times'.  Feeding this frenzy is the fact that it is extremely rare for eclipses to fall on the important holidays of  Passover and Sukkot for two years in a row. The Vikings would say it signals 'Ragnorok', the doom of the gods.

Before closing, I wanted to share the following Viking poem I found online at  'Rune Web Vitki'
I am old now, my only companion Thor’s weighty wrestling friend.
Old age brings mighty warriors to their knees.
I still think of you Ragnor, shield wall companion
I see you again by the mead hall hearth, A boy dreaming the old sagas, Ragnor the *coal biter, idle boy, then warrior
My childhood companion
Playing with a toy long ship your mother gave to you
To sail with the Vikings, standing at the sternpost
Steering a fine warship, hewing down some foemen
And then heading back for harbour.
Mighty warriors with mighty swords, shiny helmets and shield bosses
We sail over the German sea seeking plunder in Angle land
In Wave Walker, a warship, steed of the waves
With snarling dragon head.
Let Saxons quake in terror before the seventy sea oars
Gained well earned rest cleaving axe and sword
Slippery with blood labours of the ocean
Now labours of the ravens.
Norwegian arms driving Wave Walker iron studded dragon on the seal plain,
Over storm-tossed waves the gannet’s bath, the German Sea
Wave walker on the whale road, seventy Norwegian Sea oars,
Like an Eagle with beating wings Ragnor, eyes the colour of the sea
Crashing under cliffs, the waters swirling up inlets
Cobalt and turquoise burying the shingle on Angle Land
Where we planted our banners the hammer and the raven
A bright winter’s morning when midnight frost stayed white
In long, cold shadows Stretched across silent fields.
Seventy Norwegian shields left to warm their hands
On Saxon village fires.
Ragnor, hearth companion staggering from the warship
In small circles on sea legs like a drunk on a pony,
Turning and bending to touch the spinning Earth
Finding again lands legs.
Wildfowl whispered on marshland like old women around damp fires
Cold air escaped from feathers when they shivered
Snow melted as we marched in morning’s new and different light
Beneath the Hammer and Raven.
The hard V of geese came in, a small stitch in grey sky
Growing larger until finally it broke apart.
Seventy spears and shields glistened in the morning air
We feeders of the ravens.
Valhalla rose to meet us that day with the morning smell
Of mutton, smoke and sweat. the omen sun barely rose red
Over silent fields mist silvered like premonitions
Between birch trees three hundred Saxons waited
Steaming outside the village sweat soaked in the mist.
Arrows echoed in the air, then came the battle cry
And with it a metal shower of rain!
Spear and arrowhead tattered flesh in the rush
Odin! The cry filled lungs and we fought to fill Valhalla.
Chosen to be with Odin, fighting with him at Ragnarok
Heroes to the end of time.
Not men but demons fight and kill or die!
In this game of iron do not think and fight
And ignore the pain, smashing the shield wall
And the Saxon line.
Disregarding superior numbers, thinning Saxon ranks
With obstinance and blade we smashed their shield wall
And sacked the village, howling we killed them
We mighty warriors.
See how bright these swords and spears shine!
See how they sweat bright blood
From slain mail coats, howling we killed them
We feeders of the ravens.
Raging red fire ate up their roofs
And kites wheeled in this game of iron.
Sword arms ached as howling we killed them
We proud war smiths.
How well we Vikings clash slippery in the sea of wounds
Beneath the Hammer and the Raven,
Skewering mail coats sprawling in the village gateways.
Howling we killed them, warriors eager for fame.
We held the village until a spear
Shattered your right thigh
And exposed the bone, I could not see Odin,
Blinded like Hodur in a sea of sword sweat
Rain of blood soaking dirt into a gory mire
We had to retreat crossing a path of comrades
Fallen in the mud, where are the Valkyries?
Shield maidens of Odin?
Terrible now to look as a blood red cloud darkened the sky.
Heavens stained with the blood of men
As the Valkyries started up, their songs filled the air
Seeking the bravest warriors.
Over dead and dying men, the Valkyries choose the battle slain
For Odin at the Ragnarok, end of time for gods and men.
Heroes laid like battered planks on the bloody road
Paving the way to Valhalla. I laid you down
On the earth to rest. turning to flight, more arrows
Rained cutting through , turning my shirt red.
I fell but crawled to you. Ragnor, I saw the paving
That morning in the mud. Your breathe came soft.
Eyes gems of pain Ragnor, hearth companion,
Soaked with sweat and blood, Valkyries, a warrior for Odin! Ragnor, my childhood companion, urging me away.
I will stay with you and we will fight to enter Valhalla.
But we charged and retreat yet again?
The setting sun shone red whilst quiet
We listen to the cries of dying men
For water, help and death. seventy Norwegian shields
Against three hundred Saxons! Howling we killed them
We proud war smiths, the smell of blood drew hordes of wild pigs To feed on fallen men, a sight I never want to see with my eyes again
Only death and the Valykrie call will let my eyes forget.
We stayed awake that night, clubbing the pigs
With our spears then Odin answered cries for water
It rained a deluge and then frost returned, drowning the body heat.
The rain stopped at dawn and frost encrusted the lips of heroes,
Light filled the smouldering village and battle recommenced
The pigs had gone but we dared not look at their feast.
Through battle and death’s smell we fought,
Aching for the Valkyries song, to join Odin in Valhalla.
The Saxon ranks broke, seventy Norwegian shields
Fighting the Saxon hordes.
We returned to Wave Walker, but you left your leg
In that burnt out village, you died on the seal plain.
Lost to me on the whale road Ragnor, my brother in arms
I am old now, With Thor’s weighty wrestling friend.
I will fight again, seeking fame beneath the Hammer and Raven.
Through the haze of blue-tinged smoke in the mead hall
I still think of you. Ragnor, shield wall companion You liked the mead hall, sizzling beef and herrings,
You the drinking horn, roast wildfowl
And sucking gulls eggs, I still think of you, mighty warrior
The mead hall, carved benches, hero-marked wooden tables,
And shinning shield bosses reflecting firelight
And the smell of tallow. drinking horn and all of it famed
By our heroic sagas.
This is the World you loved, warm cosy and familiar
Serving maidens with mead and Ale filled horns
Oyster and mussel shells with bread on iron griddles
Baking on the longhouse fire.
The conversation tasted of raids, plunder, unfaithful wives and adventure;
Long ships, slaves and swords all of this you loved
And in such places, I seek your voice And your laughter
For the serving maidens. Ragnor, mead hall companion
I still seek your drunkenness and disapproval
When it is time to go in the blue-tinged smoke,
I still see you now and then Sitting there waiting for me.
'Ragnor's Saga' by  Wulfstan Johnson

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

 At the end, all that's left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that's why I've never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that's why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.

  Nicole Kraus

Good morning.  We've got a rainy day ahead of us here in the city, and I am planning to stay in. No Center for me today.  Yesterday I did sit at another table, and I cannot begin to tell you what a fantastic lunch I had.  Aside from the meatball, ziti, and spinach salad, I had some wonderful company. Pleasant conversation and laughs made a world of difference.  Usually I just eat and run.  Yesterday I stayed and chatted for awhile. 

I am having a real hard time with hubby's hoarding.  I'm trying so hard to de-clutter the house, and I cannot get him to part with anything.  It's gone beyond funny now.  I don't even have room for my clothes anymore.  He's not going to able to return to work, so why hold onto all those work shirts and pants.  Keep a couple, yes, but get rid of the rest.  These are all hanging in his closet.  He also has bags and bags of outgrown clothes in smaller sizes that he hasn't worn in years. And this isn't counting all the coats...and the hats.  He is addicted to hats.  Then he complains that he wants to move because the apartment is too small.  Well, I wonder why.

I have two dressers in the bedroom...on 5 drawer tall one and one long dresser with 3 large drawers in the center and 3 smaller drawers on each side.  Of the tall dresser I have two drawers to his three, and on the smaller dresser, I have one large and two small.  The rest are all his.  I am at my wits end. I've tried talking; I've even tried pleading.  I know where it comes from.  It comes from not having enough at some point in your life.

With me it is food.  I went hungry for awhile when I first moved to the city so I always have the house well stocked with food.  Most of the time with too much. When one brings bags of food home wondering how they are going to eat it all before it spoils, there is a problem.  Luckily it was the fruit stand and not a bakery.  Hubby, on the other hand, was the youngest of 19 children.  His mom did her best and worked hard to make sure they all ate and had a roof over their heads, but there was little more she could do. Hubby never got anything new...be it clothes or toys.  Everything he had was hand me downs. I guess now he feels as if he is making up for it. 

We are both hoarders, each in our own different ways. We both have a fear of not having enough when we need it. When I go to the fruit stand, I don't stand there and think that I might not be able to consume all the fruit before it goes bad.  No, I think of "what happens if I want some and don't have it."  Hubby is the same with clothing.  When I  ask him to clear out his outgrown clothes, the response I get is "what if I lose weight.  Then I will have nothing to wear?"  It doesn't occur to him that the style of the clothes is totally outdated. 

The two pictures on this page--my Angels and Archangels--are of one of my many collections.  Perhaps the need to have so many collections is a form of hoarding?

 I guess, for now, all I can do is keep harping on it and hope he finally gets the message.  Not so long ago I got so tired of looking for hangers the other day that I went into the back of his closet and packed up some of those shirts and took them to the Center.  He hasn't even missed them. Guess I can continue doing that...a little at a time.  I tell you, I am desperate and desperate times calls for desperate measures.  I am putting this out there because I am totally open to suggestions.  Any ideas? 

Now don't get me wrong.  My house isn't a mess.  It is just that I don't have any room to put anything. 

Talk to you all tomorrow. Have a wonderful day.




Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday This and That

 God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me. 

Author Unknown

Happy Monday.  What a lovely weekend it was!  We have actually hit 70. But where did all the wind come from? Got an early start Friday because they predicted rain in the afternoon, and the sun was shining so brightly that I stopped to sit in the park for a few before going home.  Didn't have to rush so, though.  The rain never came.  If it did, it was while I was fast asleep.  

Yearly I follow the Decorah Eagles, and since the little ones have hatched, I've been pretty much focused on that site.  They are just too cute.  I haven't been paying much attention to the hummingbirds though, and sadly, yesterday I went to see what was going on and a second Phoebe has disappeared leaving too young chicks.  They've been taken to the rehabber who took care of the other Phoebe's babes.  But, what is happening there?  This is the second one this year to disappear.  It's not happened at the rosebush before.

I didn't go out at all  Saturday. Too much to do.  Stayed home, threw open the windows, and did some spring cleaning, packed some winter sweaters, and dug out more spring items.  Love the turn of the seasons, but admittedly, they do bring a lot of extra work. 

 

Started reading a new book which has opened up a new world to me.  'Thracian Magic: Past & Present: The folklore and magical practices of the Balkan Peninsula' by Georgi Mishev. The book focuses on the Thracian great goddess, the rituals and magical traditions, in Her various forms--Hecate, Artemis, Mother of the Sun, the She-Wolf, as well as her transition into our modern Mother of God, Saint Petka, etc. It was on sale for 99 cents on my Kindle.  In paperback it was $25.

Palm Sunday.  My goodness gracious!   I haven't attended Church on Palm Sunday since I was a teenager.  My first time back in a Church was Easter of last year, and at that I didn't attend regularly until I retired. I enjoy the ritual and the singing.  But, I do have to admit that I sometimes struggle to stay awake during the sermon.  And, I do not participate in communion.  I am not a Catholic, I am a Christopagan, and it would be disrespectful to their beliefs. Instead I utilize that quiet time to visit with Mother Mary.

Isn't she lovely?  I purchased her before I went to Church yesterday.  Mexican ladies were all about selling these and others.  One lady was explaining the meaning of the different items and mentioned that one was used to bless your food.  I tell you, they were all so beautiful, but I hadn't brought much money with me.  May that in itself was a blessing.  I probably would have bought everything.

Over the weekend I had took some time  to do a little thinking, and it occurred to me that everything happens for a reason.  Thursday's incident and the way my table buddies handled it upset me more than I wanted to admit.   Truth be told, I'd been thinking of a seating change for awhile now, but comfortability has kept me at my present table. The other regulars at the table, an older couple, have behaviors that I find upsetting (selfishness, nasty language), but what they did to me on Thursday was just what it took to made up my mind.  Without getting into detail suffice it to say that they truly hurt my feelings--she by saying that she would never get upset over a seat which is a lie.  I have seen it happen.  And he telling the man that he will save the seat for him every day if he wants. 

I couldn't believe that he said that right in front of me.   I've been sitting there ever since I began attend, about nine months. We've always been from.  We've always gotten along so well.  I looked him right in the eye and said, "I get it.  You don't want me sitting here anymore."  'Oh no," he responded.  "I didn't mean it that way."   Well, how did you mean it?  As I see it, there is only one way to take it.

So, when I go on Monday, I plan on asking for another table, and it has nothing to do with the man who argued over the seat.  No, he only comes rarely. It is all about the husband and wife. I don't look at it as if they chased me away.  No, indeed, I think of it as sitting were I can have peace of mind.  He will now have someone different sitting next to him every day, something I know he doesn't like.  I am hoping to sit with my 'real' friends, those who raced to defend me. If not, I really don't care.  At least I won't be at Table 13 anymore.

Well, time to begin another week.  Hoping you all have a good one.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Roundup


Those who smile rather than rage are always the stronger.

Japanese Wisdom


Well, Friday has arrived.  I was supposed to see the GYN today, but I cancelled.  I'm just not in the mood to be poked and prodded.  Had a very rough day yesterday, and I just need a day to myself.  The fashion show itself went okay once it finally got started.  It just wasn't well organized.  There were about 25 ladies participating, and we were told to wait in this room until our name was called.  That's all fine and dandy, but the room the put us in was small, it was hot (they should have put the AC on), and with two people calling out names, it was bound to get confusing. My friend was getting quite flustered, and  there was a point that I felt like I was going to pass out. tried to get out of the room on several occasions, but everyone blocked the doorway, and no one would move. By the time my name was called, I had become very light-headed and cranky.  (I get cranky when I am hot). 

No major incidents as I paraded about the room. I didn't fall over my feet.  Of course, we hadn't really rehearsed so we were all going in different directions. Truth be told, it turned out to be more of a comedy show than a fashion show, but that's what made it more comfortable for me.  When one is so afraid of doing it wrong, anxiety sets in.  But, when everyone is doing it wrong, it becomes fun.  Besides, I can actually boast that I had the shiniest boots in the place.  Hubby doesn't do anything halfway.  When he does my boots and shoes, they get the full workup.  I wish I could have gotten some pictures, but no one knew how to work my phone.

The worst part of the day was my arrival in the morning, just before the bingo game. I really wish I had heeded the above quote.  I came in and took my regular seat to be told that a man had already been sitting there.  But, when one reserves a seat, they usually leave their jacket or something to show they are sitting there.  He hadn't.  So, when he finally did come back he says rather rudely, "You have to move.  That's my seat."  The man rarely comes, and when he does I am expected to give up the seat that I sit in every day? 

Well, to make a long story short, I wasn't in the mood for this nonsense, and I snapped. There was a time that I was too meek to say anything when people tried to push me around, but today NO ONE talks to me that way.  My usual easy-going self was already stretched thin with anxiety.  We ended up in a huge argument.  Not exactly the way I wanted to start my day. I was in knots.  Even lost my appetite and gave my corn muffin away. But, what truly touched me was how quickly my friends gathered round to defend me.  They all raced over and started arguing with the man.  I now found myself in the position of having to calm everyone down before we all got thrown out.  Nothing like a knockdown drag out fight in a senior center. Eventually the only way to calm it down was for me to move.  There was just no calming them down any other way.

So, what do I have planned for the weekend?  Hmmm!!!  That's a good question.  I honestly have no idea.  I am in the midst of packing winter and digging out spring a little at a time so I know that is on the agenda.  Today I plan on walking over to Rite Aid.  I love wash and wear hair, but a blow drier will make my new cut ever so much nicer.  I realize it is far too flat and needs some volume. Afterwards, I'll stop at the fruit stand.  Must have it every night.  I'll do some reading and do some work on my Druid lessons.  They have sort of fallen by the wayside.  

And rest.  Boy, do I need some rest.  All this running around is catching up to me again.  My body is telling me to slow down.  And with that I will wish you a wonderful, wonderful weekend.  May it be filled with love, joy, and peace. See you on Monday.

People are often very frightened of their anger. They feel it will cause them to do
something harmful. If you have this fear, create a safe situation where you can
express your anger, alone or with a trusted therapist or friend. Allow yourself
to talk angrily, shout, hit pillows, whatever you feel like. Once you've done this
in a safe environment, you will have released some of the charge, and you can look
underneath the anger to find what you need to do to take better care of yourself.
Like any emotion, anger is a valuable tool, teaching us
who we are and how we feel.

Shakti Gawain