Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.

Hal Borland

Well, the day is going to be clear and cool. The rain is gone.  Happy morning of the eve. 2015 is almost gone. For me it's been a good and bad year. Returned to school, reunited with family, and suffered some tragic losses...including my dream to reunite with my mom who passed in July. I lost my beloved kitty in September. Nevertheless, I find myself looking forward to the new year. In fact, my granddaughter gave me a basket for Christmas, and each day I plan on writing down a blessing or something that makes me happy and putting it into the basket to read next New Year's Eve.

I've a busy day today.  This morning I'm off to Weight Watchers.  I'm not looking forward to a loss this week.  In fact, this week I am going in with expectations of a gain.  Then afterwards I have to stop at C Town to pick up some of the yummy  that Met Food doesn't have.  Then, after dropping that off, I have to pick up the cart and head over to Met Food.  Have to pick up a Rotisserie chicken for tomorrow night and a few other items.   Ralph is bringing home the yucca.  Every year, for the 24 years we have been together, we have had a rotisserie chicken and yucca with red onions from one of our favorite Spanish restaurant.  It's our tradition.  But, the restaurant has burned down, but rather than give up on our meal, we'll be having it from different places.  Usually we get enough to eat tomorrow as well.  No cakes, cookies, or chips and dip for this holiday.  It's just hubby and I.  

 I did read, however, that eating black eyed peas on New Years is supposed to bring good luck. Now, to he honest I never had them, don't even know if I like them, but it's worth a try, and who knows, maybe another tradition will be born.

Have a good one.  And stay safe.  Beware of the other driver.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Wednesday Ramble

Many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year's resolutions, and I've stuck with it ever since.
Dave Beard

Good morning everyone.  Looks like it will be clearing up.  I had been looking forward to another day indoors, but I really do have to get out and walk.  Very easy for me to fall into a rut, so I'll check out the fruit stand and see what goodies I can find.

I've been following the "Spice Merchant's Daughter" on Facebook for awhile now and finally purchased her book from Amazon.  So glad I did.  The book is awesome, and I learned so much about Asian cooking and spices.  As you can see, I've loaded it with stickies of recipes and spices I want to purchase.  

I headed out to the Chinese Market to stock up on mandarins and ended up purchasing a bunch of pastes she speaks about in the book.  Of course, she gives you recipes to make your own pastes, but who really has time to search up all those spices.  Perhaps one day.

The other day I made green beans and carrots with the Coconut Curry paste.  They tasted awesome.  Looking forward to trying some of the different rice dishes.

Several years ago I stopped with resolutions.  Every year the same thing; every year the same result.  I was setting myself up for a feeling of failure.  This year I am going to set goals, not exactly the same as resolutions.  One goal will be to continue with Weight Watchers as I work toward my final weight goal.  Another goal is to continue with classes.  And another goal will be to get some dental insurance.  Medicare doesn't offer much at all to us seniors, and I've recently discovered how important it is.  One day while I was eating a tuna sandwich my gums began to bleed.  Then there was a burning pain.  I realized then I had a gum infection, but a trip to the dentist would wipe me out financially.  So, I utilized natural remedies---rinsing my mouth with salt water 3 times a day and rinsing with the Natural Dentist morning and night.
And the finishing touches was a Reiki distance healing session.  My gums are still somewhat sore, but they are no longer bleeding.  But, nonetheless, I am aware that I am needing some dental work.

Have a good one. 

Christmas Eve Photos

Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day. 
Michael Josephson

Good morning all,  Brrr!!!  Sure was cold outdoors yesterday.  Actually, had we had much in the way of cold weather, it probably would have felt warm.  But, after a 70 degree Christmas Day a day beginning in the upper thirties feels like Antarctica.  Well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but it did feel a wee bit chilly.  We've got rain today....and perhaps a bit of sleet.  We did have some last night.  I'll be staying in today for sure.

Still hard to believe.  The holidays have come and gone, but I've saved some wonderful memories.  First off, I went to the 6 pm mass. Here are some pictures of the church.

Shame that this is now the way of the world.  Police officers guarding us at Christmas Mass.

Later we had an Italian feast.
 Sausage and pepper.
 Buffalo wings.
 Lasagna ready to go in the oven.
Shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic for hubby.
And finally, the most awesome meatballs I ever made--ground beef, 2 eggs, flavored bread crumbs, garlic powder, wee bit of red pepper flakes, 1 cup ricotta, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bake in oven.

Have a good one.

Monday, December 28, 2015

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
Ada V. Hendricks
Morning all.  It's Monday already.  Wow.  Christmas on Friday really through me off.  Saturday felt like Friday to me.  As for Christmas I had the most wonderful Christmas ever.  This year I had my family, all my children, grands, and great grands...even though we were spread out all over the country. My daughter turned me on to video chat on messenger and we all took turns talking to each other on Christmas day.  It was fantastic.

Got a great pic of the moon on Christmas Eve after mass. 

On Saturday I took care of my banking.  I always like to have my bills taken care of before we enter the new year.  My grandma always told me that if things were left undone on New Year's Eve they would be left undone throughout the coming year.  Well, sure enough when the end of the month arrives the bills come trickling in so I like to believe that if my bills are paid before New Year's Eve, I will have enough money to pay them all year round.

Christmas foods are gone now. Well, they are gone into the freezer, that is. I have a meal of meatballs, another of sausage, and another of pernil. Last year when I thawed the pernil, I made it into the most wonderful pork soup. Guess I will do the same this year. Today I'm making some mini meat loaves for dinner and lots of veggies for me to fill my plate. A simple but yummy meal. 

 Today I was going to take a few things back to Old Navy for exchanging, but Ralph suggested I wait until after all the holidays since I have 90 days to return. I realize he's right. My thought had been that it's a Monday so people are back to work, and Christmas is over, but actually, that is so not true. Many people take the entire holiday week for vacation. So, it doesn't hurt to wait awhile. So, instead I am going to take a walk to the Chinese Market for some exercise. I'm almost out of mandarins. I also want to find some small picture frames for family pics.

Have a good one.

Friday, December 25, 2015

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Good morning everyone, and a Merry Christmas to all. Listening to the weather here. We've already broken the record for the warmest Christmas on record, and it's only 7:30 in the morning. Wow!!!!

Had a wonderful Christmas Eve. Ate a wee bit too much, both in quantity and bulk--chips and dip, buffalo wings, lasagna, meatballs, sausage, cookies and cake, pineapple, strawberries, and orange slices, topped with a large iced coffee and my yearly glass of Pepsi. Needless to say, I went to bed with heartburn. Today I'm cooking pernil, gondulas and rice, and a veggie...broccoli for me and okra for Ralph.

Got a lot of nice gifts which I'll share in awhile. Right now I need some coffee to get myself going. Have a good one.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

And a Merry Christmas Eve to All

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens,
easing each others' loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives
with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.

W.C. Jones

Morning all.  Seems the rain has ushered in the warmest Christmas weather ever.  They say we are set to break a record.  Not so happy about this, though.  First of all, when you are used to the changing seasons, Christmas is supposed to be cold.  Secondly, I bought a new outfit for Christmas Eve, and now it is too hot to wear it.  And lastly, I'm going to be using the oven on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Too hot for that.

Speaking of food, made my  sausage and meatballs and marinated my pernil yesterday.  The meatballs are outrageously good. The white oozing from the meatballs is ricotta cheese. Makes them nice and moist. Had one with baby carrots for lunch yesterday.  Awesomely good.

Meatball mix--ground beef, 2 eggs, flavored bread crumbs, garlic powder, wee bit of red pepper flakes, 1 cup ricotta, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bake in oven.

I'm off to Weight Watchers this morning, but only going for my weigh in.  It will be the first meeting I have missed since September 2014, but I really don't have the time.  I still have to stop for some gift cards at Rite Aid, some yogurt and a few other items at C Town, make my buffalo wings, make Ralph's shrimp, put together the lasagna, shower, get dressed, and leave for church at 5pm for the six o'clock mass.  Thank goodness I made lists and was really organized this year.

Christmas Eve.  Such a joyous time of the year.   And a this year I have my memories of Christmas past, memories that had been lost to me for so many years.  Been spending a lot of time going through the album my daughter sent me, and it's not only brought tears, but also joy.  Bear in mind, these picks are almost 60 years old.
 My beloved Susie and Tiny.
 Me and my dad.
Me and my cousins.
The Steinhauser family. Aunt and cousins.
More cousins.
Mom and her sister.  Mom was such a tall beautiful woman.

Christmas 1961
Uncle Arnold, Grandpa, and cousin.
Grandma and grandpa.

Tonight, after everyone leaves, I plan on lighting a few candles and spending some quiet time with those I have loved and lost.

Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be
a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day
of remembrance--a day in which we think of
everything we have ever loved.

Augusta E. Rundel

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On the Wednesday Before the Eve

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.

Harlan Miller

Good morning everyone.  It looks like we are in for another warm rainy day here in Brooklyn.  That's okay.  No plans on leaving the house.  Yesterday I made my sauce for my Christmas Eve lasagna and today I have to do the gondulas and marinate the pernil.  Food is always better when the spices have time to mingle.  

As for food, last night we had a simple, but delicious dinner.  

Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken

Boneless breasts
Cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp
Hot Hungarian paprika 1/2:tsp
Garlic powder 1/3 tsp
Onion powder 1/4 tsp
Parsley 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper 2 tbs
Low salt butter
Lime juice 3 tbs.

Season chicken with spices and saute in butter and lime juice. 

Served with baked potato and corn.

Hopefully the nightmare with Amazon is over. Called them yesterday about the return on the vests because I  got an email today that they were missing an item and were going to charge me if they didn't get it. I called to explain that both were in the same package. I was told that when sending back items each has its own shipping label. Seriously, they are the ones that made the mistake not once, but twice.  Why should I have to run around looking for places to print labels and such.After a sob story I got him to put a notation down and make an exception for me. I say 'hopefully"  because they haven't gotten the package yet.  

Have a good one. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cookies and Answers

The most vivid memories of Christmases past are usually not
of gifts given or received, but of the spirit of love,
the special warmth of Christmas worship,
the cherished little habits of home.

Lois Rand

Good morning all. Made my cookies yesterday, and they sure did come out yummy if I say so myself.
 Lemon Sugar Cookies.
 Mexican Wedding Cookies

And, yes, you just know I had to sample them...but I only took the broken ones and worked it all off in the baking and cleanup afterwards. Today I am going to make my sauce. It always takes better when it sits for a day or two.

Yesterday I mentioned about losing followers and several of you chimed in and said it had happened to you as well. Here is what I found out. It seems that now Blogger wants everyone to have a Google account. In the past we were able to sign in in a variety of ways--Twitter, Yahoo, etc--but now all those without a Google account will be removed as followers. All this is scheduled to take place the week of January 11th, but personally, I believe they started already although they deny it.. And I don't think it's fair that we have to lose followers in this way. Not everyone will choose to re-follow. Not fair that they are taking away our choices, but why should Blogger be any different. Our choices are taken away wherever we look.

Before I forget, happy full first day of Winter.  The Solstice arrived quietly late yesterday evening here in New York, and now Winter is here in full swing.  And the light has begun to return. I had elaborate ritual.  In fact, I used one I found on "The Woman's Tribe".  I lit my tree and a wonderful cookie scented candle I bought at Bath and Body.  Then, I took out my journal and wrote about the struggles I faced this year--the loss of my mom, loss of my beloved kitty, financial issues, health issues.  Underneath each one I wrote the gifts and positive outcomes of these struggles.  Love, forgiveness, learning how to budget, losing weight for better health. 

Then I wrote about the highlights of my year--reuniting with and meeting my daughter, grandchildren, and great grands, going back to school, 44 pound weight loss, hubby beating his liver disease.  My heart runneth over with love this year.  And my wishes for next year?  A family reunion and re-uniting with my son who has not forgiven me.  I don't care about riches.  I want no more than what I have.  The love of family makes me wealthy.

Have a good one. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday This and That

 Sing hey! Sing hey!
For Christmas Day;
Twine mistletoe and holly.
For a friendship glows
In winter snows,
And so let's all be jolly!

Author Unknown

Good morning everyone.  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I had a busy Friday.  Took my vests to the UPS Access Store to send them back, walked to Rite Aid for our Christmas candy, then walked to the supermarket and bought everything I need for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner.  In all, I walked for two hours.  That should count as a week's worth of exercise.

On Saturday I was up at 4:30 am.  Just couldn't sleep.  Tossed and turned so much that I finally gave up and got out of bed. Got an early start to my cooking.  Now I have all my meals prepared for the week and can spend my time on Christmas preparation.  Today I plan on making cookies.  I used to bake over 90 dozen cookies and give them as gifts.  This year I just plan on making three kinds--Lemon Drops, Snickerdoodles, and Mexican Wedding Cookies.

Wow, I lost a ton of followers this weekend and was beginning to think it was something I said. Then I discovered that I wasn't the only one this was happening to, and Blogger was aware of the problem....although they weren't doing anything about it at the time.  Some people with huge followings lost hundreds.  I lost 22.  Maybe they are still there but not listed.  Who knows!  Anyone else notice this happening this weekend?

Received a flier on Saturday.  There will be some one day workshops at the college in January.  On the 12th I have "The Science of Sugar" and cookies will be served.  Weight Watchers would love this one.  LOL!!!  This is followed by "The Moral Side of Murder".  Sounds like it might be interesting.  Then, on the 19th they have "The Parting of the Ways", a non-theological study about ancient struggles in the Middle East.  This is followed by "The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis", not really my interests, but it is something to do...and who knows?  It may prove interesting. 

Well, that's about it this morning.  I'm off to have breakfast so I can get an early start.  Have a good one.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Roundup

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.

Oren Arnold

Good morning friends.  The rain may have come down yesterday, but this morning it is cool and dry.  I'm off to do my food shopping for Christmas today.  We're having lasagna on Christmas Eve when the boys come over and a pernil for hubby and I on Christmas day.  I only wish all my kids, grands, and great grands can be together but they all live in different parts of the country.  I'm just thankful that they are all a part of my life now.  Speaking of grands, I was on Messenger with one of my granddaughters the other day, and when she said, "Grandmother, I love you" tears flowed from my eyes.  

Sometimes I think I don't deserve it, but the fact is, my mom, may she RIP, kept us apart and never told anyone that I'd been in contact.  I really don't like speaking ill of the dead, but the things my mom told them about me breaks my heart.  Like, she told my daughter that she was born with a broken hip because I got drunk and fell down the stairs.  So untrue.  I lived on the first floor with my mom.  What steps did I fall down?  And she told my son that he was born in withdrawal from heroin and that I was an addict who lived on the streets in New York.  Yes, I may have had a problem with alcohol  my younger days but haven't had a drink now in 24 years, and I never touched the stuff while I was pregnant with my daughter.  Even stopped smoking during that time. And I never EVER used heroin in my life.  Where she got that from I don't know. No wonder my son doesn't want to meet me.

But, despite it all, I've learned to let go of my anger and forgive. I only wish my mom and I could have had closure before she passed.  I've been trying to reach out to her in the hopes that we still might have some closure, and one day when I was seated at the computer I was suddenly overwhelmed with an especially sweet smelling woman's perfume.  I asked my daughter what my mom's favorite scent was, and she said she didn't know the name of it but it made her sneeze because it was so darned sweet.  I wonder.

Again the weatherman had it timed wrong,yesterday  but only by an hour or so. Didn't make it home before the rain as I thought I would. Got a little wet because it's hard to hold an umbrella in one hand and a cane in the other. So where to you hold the shopping bag. Hence, no umbrella. Good news though. I lost another pound. That's 44 altogether and I am now only 6 short of the illusive 50 and well past the halfway mark.

Well, have a good one.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday This and That

At Christmas
A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season's here;
Then he's thinking more of others than he's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime...
 Edgar Guest

Good morning everyone. Slept a little late this morning. That's okay. My body needed it. Been doing a lot of running around lately.
We're in for some rain today so there is a little change in my plans. This morning I have my Weight Watchers meeting, and I won't miss that, even went in a snowstorm for my weigh in last year. But afterwards I'd planned on taking those two vests to sent back to Amazon as I finally received a return label in the mail and then had wanted to stop for more clementines at the Chinese store, but they say by 11 or so heavy rains will be coming. No way am I doing all that walking in the rain so I'll have to fit everything in on another day.

Otherwise, nothing else on my agenda so the afternoon will be a quiet one sitting in and listening to the raindrops hit on the AC. It's an awesome felling knowing one doesn't have to go out in it.
I took out my paints for the first time in months the other day, and this is what I did.  It still needs a bit of work but I tried using a variety of textures on it, and the oil paint is taking forever to dry.  I wish I could find another art class.  I was learning so much before the teacher just disappeared.  I understand that he was a volunteer and wasn't paid for his service but he still should have said good bye and let us know that he wouldn't be back.  We met for weeks afterwards wondering if that would be the week he returned.  That's kind of sad.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Good morning.  Can't believe I was up so early.  Before 5 am.  Definitely will be crawling in for a nap at some point today. Another warm one here.  I heard, though, that by the weekend cooler weather will prevail. I went to the mall yesterday and found some awesome sales.  It's nice to find things that fit me now.  In fact, a 1X hung off me when I tried it on. Thank you Weight Watchers.

I'm in the house now until Thursday morn.  Not much to do since school let out, and I don't have any money to spend, so I plan on taking out my paints and trying a Christmas scene.  It's been awhile so I expect to be a bit rusty.  Still wish I could find another class. 

Almost had a catastrophe here the other night. One of our dining room chairs has seen better days so I told Ralph just to get rid of it. Definitely need new ones all around, but that can wait until January. So because  we moved a chair out from against the wall to take its place, I decided that moving  the table back against the wall would make more room. But, the table wouldn't budge. Even Ralph tried. Finally he  looked underneath to see what was stopping it, and low and behold, the legs had lost their screws. It's a round, glass top table we had bought many years ago and all the legs are intertwined in the center and bolted to hold up the table. It was those screws that were missing. What a mess that could have been. And like Ralph said, everything happens for a reason. Company could have been sitting at the table having dinner when it actually collapsed. 

Made the most awesome pork cutlets yesterday.  Served them with homemade fries and corn.  Simple, but good dinner.  Cutlets and fries were baked so not unhealthy.
Whole wheat bread crumbs, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. (I love a lot of spices).

Have a good one.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Morning This and That

And, so, Christmas comes to bless us!
Comes to teach us how to find
The joy of giving happiness
And the joy of being kind.

Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

Good morning everyone. As another week begins I wish you all a week that passes smoothly and is filled with love and kindness. It's going to be another spring like day here with rain coming later in the day. I'm off to the mall this morning. Old Navy had some darn good sales, and I want to see if I can find a little something to wear on Christmas Eve. Rain won't be here until evening so I should be fine. Besides, it's so warm out I don't care if I get a little wet. It's those 'cold' rains that go through your bones.

Had a rather quiet weekend. Managed to get all my gifts wrapped.  I used to love wrapping presents, but the past few years it has been a bit of a chore.  But I do enjoy everything else about Christmas--the aromas, the food, the lights, the candles. 

Got my Kindle Fire on Friday.  Great buy for $40.  Had a hard time getting it to work, though.  Couldn't get it or hubby's new tablet hooked up on the Wifi.  I'd been working at hubby's for weeks with no luck. Kept telling me I had the wrong password.  And when I tried setting up my Kindle, it kept saying authentication error.  Finally, after stressing myself almost to the point of tears,  I discovered how to find my Belkin home page and guess what. I was actually using wrong password. I remembered back to May when we were trying to install the Belkin.  Took me almost 4 hours on the phone with various techs, none of whom spoke very good English. They were all in India and had thick accents. I was almost in tears by the time I was finally forwarded to an English speaking tech who finally guided me through. All I remember is his saying the password is on the bottom of router and talking me into using it, but now I also remember Ralph telling me to use something easier. I must have listened to Ralph because I found the password I had chosen on on my Belkin page. Both fire and tablet are hooked up to router. 

I've always wanted to eat at Olive Garden but never did...despite working right down the block from one for 10 years.  And now I probably never will because the sodium level in their food is much to high for me.  So, I jumped for joy when I came across the following recipe--Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli--and with a few tweaks I was able to make it my own....and it was DELICIOUS.  
 Olive oil
Lean ground beef
2 premo hot Italian sausages
4 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
3 carrots diced
3 celery stalks diced
3 Chicken bullion cubes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
salt and pepper
Bowtie pasta

Brown meats in olive oil.  Remove from pan.  Add more olive oil if necessary.  Saute garlic, onion, carrots and celery for about 4 minutes.  Add meats, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, 2 cups water, bullion cubes, kidney beans, and salt and pepper.  Bring to boil and simmer until veggies are tender and liquid boils down some.  Add cooked pasta and simmer for a few. 

And that's about it for this morning.  Have a good one.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Roundup.


When we work so hard at our preparations for Christmas,
we often feel cheated and frustrated when others fail
to notice the results of our efforts. We need to ask
ourselves why we are doing the things we choose to do.
If love motivates us--love for our families, for our neighbors--
then we are free to simply enjoy the actual process of what
we do, rather than requiring the approval and admiration
of others for the results of our labors.

Ellyn Sanna 
Good morning everyone. Looks like another spring like day. I'll take it. I have a long walk this morning to the post office. It's good for me, and I don't mind it in the warm weather. But, it all has a trade off. I heard that by mid-January winter will start hitting us with a vengeance. Sure, just when school is set to begin again.

Not much else is going on now. I'm just about ready for the holidays. Cards are out, presents are bought, tree is up and house is decorated. I still have cookies to make, but that won't be until Christmas week and dinner to plan. I am leaning towards Italian this year. Last year I served a Spanish feast with recipes straight out of my Weight Watchers cookbooks. No one even knew. 

Not much else is going on now. I'm just about ready for the holidays. Cards are out, presents are bought, tree is up and house is decorated. I still have cookies to make, but that won't be until Christmas week and dinner to plan. I am leaning towards Italian this year. Last year I served a Spanish feast with recipes straight out of my Weight Watchers cookbooks. No one even knew. 
Well, aside from Church on Sunday nothing else planned for the weekend.  Will be cooking two meals on Saturday.  I realize now after having to rush home and cook last Sunday I need always to have one dish in the freezer just for those times...or days I just don't feel like cooking.  Have a few presents to wrap this weekend and then my time is free to do whatever I please. Sounds like a good time to light a few Christmas scented candles and just sit and watch the twinkling of the tree lights.  Life is good right now.
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.

Taylor Caldwell

Good morning everyone. Looks like we are in for another nice day. Today I am off to the Kings Plaza Mall to take advantage of the sales. 60 percent off in Old Navy, and I still have my sons to buy for.  I'm not much for crowds so I am hoping that, being a Wednesday, it won't be so bad. It's easy to get there. Only one bus. But it is a long journey so I'll have some reading material on hand.

My back has been bothering me the past few days, but is somewhat better today so, so with an arthritis aspirin, I should be okay. Realized last night that this is a fibro flare going on. Pain in my knees, shoulder, and wrists along with my back. In my case, it feels better when I keep moving. Maybe that is because I'm spending time focusing on the pain. Besides, Ralph finally remembered to get me the small cart that I can take on the bus. So, I'll be okay.
I've got some homework to take care of for an online class. I enrolled in a math class yesterday, took the pre-test and promptly dis-enrolled after the second question. How did I ever pass math in the first place? Also looked into enrolling into a Holistic Health and Healing course for certification. That's been a dream of mine for years, but I'm not sure I can afford it. All depends on what kind of break in fees they can give me.
I'm in need of a jacket.  Since I lost over 43 pounds, my coats are hanging off me.  They are all 3X.  I wasn't planning on getting one until I reached my goal, but I've been feeling funny going out with my coats hanging off me.  Hubby, trying to make me feel better, said this is the way they wear their clothes, the bigger the better.  My response, "Yeah, but I am not a teenager anymore."  So I ordered a nice red jacket through Amazon. Couldn't resist.  It was 73 percent off.  Well, they ended up sending me a vest instead.  I complained and they told me to send it back and they will send me the correct item.  Guess what????  They sent me ANOTHER vest.  Boy am I furious and I told them so.  Told them they'll get these vests back and cancel the order altogether.  
Have a good one.  Talk to you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tuesday Catch up

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.

Burton Hillis

Morning all.  Looks like another stay in day for me.  One of my packages delayed and should arrive today.  That's okay.  My back is not so good, and I really don't have the money to go running around.  It's not like the summer months when I could pack a lunch and spend the day in the park without spending anything more than bus fare.  Now, let's see.  What else has happened since I last posted.

Pathmark closed last week, and the pharmacy had referred me to a Rite Aid which was a bus ride followed by a 9 block walk. I was told that all I had to do was call the pharmacy and have it transferred to a Rite Aid of my choice.  All well and good, but, Pathmark neglected to tell me that they had cancelled out my two refills. Totally not necessary, and I think they did it on spite because I had complained.  Good thing I didn't just go to the pharmacy on pick up day to do the transfer.  Oh, what a pain in the butt it was getting a new RX.  When one's doctor is a part of those new health care centers one cannot directly reach the doctor's office.  Instead one reaches the main office and they reach the doctor for you.  Only trouble is you never know if they relayed your message because no one ever calls you, and being that this was my BP medication I was concerned about I sent two emails and made three phone calls.  All in all, the stress of getting those refills was enough to raise my BP.

This little purse doesn't look like much, but it is something I shall treasure for the rest of my life.  It belonged to my mom, and she used it on Sundays to hold her donation for the church.  My daughter, knowing that I attend every Sunday, sent it to me.  This past Sunday I carried the tradition onward. I shall never forget it on a Sunday.
What a surprise this was! One of my Facebook friends crocheted this tree skirt for me.  It's awfully large and must have been lots of work for her, not to mention the price of postage to mail it.  It is so heavy.  How awesome a friend is she to do something like this for me.

My palm tree died not too long ago.  We did everything we could for it, but couldn't save it.  Hubby had bought one for his sister, and that one died as well.  Turns out that these big outlets by lots of these palms because they grow quickly and can be sold cheaply.  What they don't tell you is that this type of  palm will only survive in hot and humid areas such as Florida.

Have to be so careful when you buy things.  My Money Tree has really taken off, and we have transplanted the third time. Do you see how tall it has gotten?  Awesome.  And finally....
Can you believe this?  Who in their right mind is going to spend this?

Have a good one.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Morning This and That

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

Norman Vincent Peale

 Good morning all.  School is out, and I find myself looking forward to the upcoming semester in February.  Not going to take so many classes, that's for sure.  I know my limit now.  At 68, soon to be 69 I am not the spring chicken I used to be.  Won't be going out much this week.  I have so many more to get gifts for this year, a wonderful feeling, so I did most of my ordering online through Amazon.  Will be staying here waiting for packages to arrive.  I had my daughter's and her hubby's sent directly to them, but this is a surprise for my grands and great grands so I'm having them sent here, packing them in a big box, and sending them off.  A little extra work, but I just didn't want packages going to them directly from Amazon.

Speaking of family, my granddaughter called me 'grandma' instead of 'Mary' the other day.  That brought tears to my eyes.  How long I have waited to be called that.  My daughter sent me a bracelet that belonged to my mom, and a little change purse that she took to church every week.  I shall cherish them. 

Had a pretty awesome weekend.  After running around all week I'd planned on staying in on Saturday, but UPS had messed up the delivery of a gift from my daughter, and rather than stress her out any further on the day of her phlebotomy test, I took a walk and picked up up.  She passed, by the way, and is now going for her internship.  So proud of my girl.

Later Saturday, my goddaughter/niece messaged me and asked if she and the children could attend church with me.  She is feeling so depressed and alone since her mom passed, and basically, you might as well say we are all that is left of my ex's family aside from the greedy sister in Florida.  So she drove all the way from Queens, and we all attended church together on yesterday.  Afterwards, I took them out and treated them to MacDonald's...big spender that I am, lol, but hey, MacDonald's isn't that cheap nowadays and being on a limited budget, I was rather relieved when the kids all chimed in that that was where they wanted to go for lunch. 

Hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner.  Time has really gotten away from me.  Sometimes I just wish it would slow down a little so I could enjoy it.  My tree is up and my house decorated.  Three days of work for me.  It's not like it used to be when I could do it all in one day.  Have to take frequent sit-downs now that I am getting older.  I've most of my gifts bought, only have to get for the boys now.  Sort of overwhelming.  From buying for 4 people to now buying for 15, but I love doing things for my family.  I'm just so grateful to have them all in my life now...except for my eldest son.  He's not coming around, and I kind of don't expect him to.  Nothing much I can do but pray.

Well, as far as Weight Watchers goes, I am nearing that illusive 50 pound mark.  43.6 pounds gone now.  No more 3X for me.  I'm down to 1X.  One day I walked into the store and saw a gorgeous dress hanging on the rack.  Glad I had my sunglasses on because tears came to my eyes.  Not that I wanted to buy it, but the fact was, if I did, I could have and it would have fit.  No more leaving the store disappointed because I am too big for what they have.  I am feeling so good about that.

Well, that's about it for today.  I've so much to say but that will have to come another day.  So glad to be back amongst my friends.  I am blessed to have all of you.  Thanks for being there and worrying about me.  It means the world to me.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Apologies to All

Just disappearing is never nice, and for all those who were concerned, I am so very sorry.  Should have at least posted something to let you know I was okay.  I just took on a bit more than I could comfortably handle.  Along with the classes I was taking on at Brooklyn College, I also enrolled in some online classes as well.  Had several of them going on, and with tests, essays, and readings, I had little time for anything else.  So now, the semester is over, and I have completed all but one online course, so I hope to be back to regular blogging.  Have so much to talk about.  So much has happened.  Please bear with me and once again, forgive me for the disappearing act. I have missed all of you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday News

"But what if I make a mistake?" Will asked.

Gilan threw back his head and laughed. "A mistake? One mistake?
You should be so lucky. You'll make dozens! I made four or five on
my first day alone! Of course you'll make mistakes. Just don't make
any of them twice. If you do mess things up, don't try to hide it.
Don't try to rationalize it. Recognize it and admit it and learn
from it. We never stop learning, none of us."

John Flanagan
Erak's Ransom

Good morning everyone, and a blessed one it is. Had a rough night last night, major pain flare, but all seems to be good this morning. Today my class doesn't begin until 12:10 so I have some time this morning to get a few things done. I usually cook the veggies and fix the plates before I go so I don't have to worry about it when I get home and can take a snooze if I want.

Ralph is taking his shower and is off to motor vehicles this morning to take the tests for his CDL license. He passed his physical yesterday and  studied late into the night. His  is feeling pretty anxious right now. I told him to stop thinking he will fail and think positive. After all, he only had one day of class and passed the practice exam that most of his classmates studied for a month.

But, I do know how he feels. I remember how I felt the day I took all my exams. Talk about nerves. Especially when I went for the oral on my CASAC. They used to have both an oral where you had to take a case from the day the client walks in until they complete your program. All the core competencies had to be included. Once we passed that we had to take a multiple choice test which didn't phase me at all.

But the oral. Oh, what a wreck I was...and to make it even more stressful, I had the worst cold I'd had in years. I was coughing, sneezing, had a runny nose, sore throat, cold chills. You name it and I had it. And I had to stand in front of 3 stoic faced men who where not allowed to show me any emotion, not a hello, not even a smile. They had to do it that way so as not to let on your passing or failure. Well, despite how I was feeling I managed to get it all out, but once I walked out of the room, the tears began to flow. A woman, a CASAC from another room walked up to me and said, "I'm not supposed to do this, but you really look like you need it", and she gave me a hug. Never forgot her.

A few weeks later I went online, and when I went on the OASAS website and saw my name and the word CASAC, I screamed and everyone from my office came running in. What a day. My license is retired now, but what a memory.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday Thoughts

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles--by the ear, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. It's the healthiest thing a body can do.
 Mark Twain 

Good morning everyone. Looks like we are in for another nice day. It's going to be a quiet one for me. No more Tuesday classes. Both have ended so today I'll just be hanging about the house. That's okay.  I've plenty of things to keep me occupied.  

Ralph finished his class as well. Not quite what I expected. I thought he'd have class awhile longer, but they gave a sample test yesterday, and he passed with flying colors. They told him that he doesn't have to sit through this part of it and referred him for his physical and gave him info on getting his permit. Once he gets his permit he returns to school to learn how to drive the big rigs and buses. I'm just a bit fearful about that physical, though. It's quite intense with certain things they look for--high blood pressure, heart problems, epilepsy....and amongst other things eye problems and lung problems, both of which he has. Will just have to wait and see.

Heard on the news last night that November and January are going to be above average in temperature, but come January and February we're going to be in for extremely cold temps and lots of ice and snow. Sure hope that doesn't come true. February starts the new semester and already I am looking forward to it. Already signed up for one class 'Psychology of Political Activism: Women Changing the World'. Can't wait for it to begin. Of course with the holidays in between, time should go quickly.
Here's some info from class Thursday. More to come.

We should drink one ounce of water for every 2.2 pounds of body weight.

Apple Cider vinegar helps digestion, bloating, gas, and heartburn.

Aging weakens our digestion. Taking Dietary enzymes BEFORE or AFTER meals is important.

Amino Acids should be taken on an empty stomach. One hour BEFORE or two hours AFTER a meal.

Herbs should be taken WITH meals.

The amino acid, NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) helps with lung conditions such as COPD.

For Macular Degeneration....Macular from Invite Health. Eat kale every day to keep it from progressing.

AHCC...mushroom blend used by over 700 hospitals around the world. For:
Stress induced high blood pressure

Increases NK cells by 300-to800%

Increases T Cells by 200%

Available in 500 mg tablets. 3000 a day for cancer. (Remember, my teacher had Stage 4 liver cancer and was given on two months to live 20 years ago. He is cancer free)
Have a good one.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Morning This and That

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

  Martin Luther King Jr.

Good morning to my online friends. Another Monday has arrived. Looks like we are in for above average temperatures today. Just don't know how to dress anymore. Had a fairly quiet weekend.  Lots of at-home things to keep me busy.  Did my weekly cooking on Saturday,  and yesterday it was  off to church in the morning and then back home to do some work on a couple online courses I am taking. I've signed up for the final semester of "Curandismo" (Mexican Folk Healing) from the University of New Mexico and "Soul Beliefs" from Rutgers. 

I am still reeling from the events in Paris. As a New Yorker, once again fear has become a part of my life, and I find myself not only looking for anything suspicious, but at times allowing my imagination to run in church yesterday.  A man entered the church and stood in the back surveying the parishoners.  He moved no further into the church, just stood there looking around.  Then, I saw his hand move into his jacket and immediately I froze with fright, but all the poor man did was take an offering envelope out, hand it to the usher, and leave the church.  But this is what terror does to people, and I WILL NOT let it stop me from living my life.

 Today I have a fairly quiet day ahead. My Short Story class in the morning is the only thing on my agenda. My days in class are continuing to wind down so I really have to start looking for new things to keep me busy. I did run into an old classmate from my art class, and she said that there is still no teacher but encouraged me to come back. I don't think so. I can practice my art at home and don't have to go to a place that made me feel so uncomfortable.  I can't forget how I was ignored on that walking trip. 

I am so happy that Ralph found something to keep him busy. I had welcomed retirement. Actually, I was under so much stress at work, and my health was suffering from it, that I chose to retire. On the other hand, he was retired for medical reasons and hasn't found it as easy as I have. He gets bored and depressed. His little driver job helped for awhile, but the guy turned out to be a 'user' and he had to let it go.  

So, I asked him what he would like to do and after some thought, he said he would like to get his CDL. So, I went online and found a free school for him, and he started on Friday. He's beaming now and so proud of his homework and all he has to do. And most importantly it keeps his mind off all his medical issues.  

Well, that's about it for now.  Hope you all have a good one.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Roundup

For humans, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad.

Edwin Way Teale

Good morning everyone, and a happy Friday to all.  We're in for a cool and windy, but rainless day here in Brooklyn. I've decided that I'm going to take the day to rest and heal. I've been doing so well, but yesterday had a major flare. Guess it was the weather, but there wasn't a part of my body that didn't ache. Feeling much better today, but not going to push it. We have to listen to our bodies. They always tell us what we need.

Took about ten pages of notes in class yesterday which I plan on sharing with you once I sort through them. 

I've got some Spanish homework this week. Have to learn to memorize a conversation and will have to stand in front of the class and put on the skit next week. Yikes!!!! Luckily I have Ralph to fall back on, and he'll be going over it with me this week. Only problem with him is he expects me to do all those fancy tongue rolls he does with some letters, and I can't do it. I may learn Spanish, but I don't have that accent.

Speaking of school, it's so hard to believe that only three weeks and the semester ends. So fast. I was telling Ralph last night it feels like only yesterday that I was buying my supplies, my first day outfit, and anxiously awaiting the first day. And just when I get used to the Thursday pudding parfait treat they sell in the cafeteria. GRRRR!!!

I had been planning to start Chair Yoga today, but decided to wait until after Thanksgiving. First off, I don't want to push myself and secondly, the Friday after Thanksgiving I'll have my Weight Watchers meetings. Most of my peers go on Wednesday since our regular meeting is cancelled on Thursday for the holiday, but I am one of those few brave ones who choose my weigh in the day after the holiday. Did pretty well last year. I actually only put on .2 pounds thanks to lots of Weight Watcher recipes....why, by the way, no one knew were Weight Watchers. 

Speaking of Weight Watchers, I stayed the same yesterday.  No gain, no loss.   Not going to complain, though.  Any week I don't see a plus is a good one.

So today I'll stay in and get an early start on my weekend Christmas movies. There is something so special about them that I can watch the same ones over and over again.

Have a good one.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Quick Note for Thursday.

Morning all. Boy, what a shocker yesterday. It felt like Winter had already arrived. Today we will warm up some with rain on its way. This is my busiest day so I'll be running around in it. Weight Watchers in the morning, CTown for a few items, home for a quick bite of lunch, and then off to my Holistic Healing class.

Speaking of Holistic Healing, I thought I would take a little time to share some info from class. Bear with me. So much info it's hard to take notes.

Grape Seed Extract for memory.

Turmeric is a digestive aid. Also good for high blood pressure and pain.

Bromelain in pineapple is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Flax meal is a good source of omega 3.

1/3 tsp a day for pre-diabetes.

White Willow Bark instead of aspirin. Mother Nature's aspirin.Tajes longer to begin acting than aspirin but effects last longer once it kicks in.

Garlic is a natural blood thinner amongst other things. Very powerful. Anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, reduces blood pressure, etc.

Take minerals on an empty tummy, at least two hours after eating.

Take vitamins with a full tummy.

Be sure to take fat soluble vitamins --A,D,E, and K--with butter, oil or some sort of fat. Otherwise they won't work.

More to come.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veteran's Day

Good morning everyone.  Is that rain I hear hitting the AC?  Haven't heard the weather yet, but I do hope it stops before I have to leave.  Yesterday was downright nasty out, windy and wet.  Not very comfortable standing out there for waiting for the bus.  Just heard the forecast.  The rain is supposed to stop in time for  the Veteran's Day parade.  I am really surprised I have school.  Public schools are closed today.

 May we forever remember those who fought and gave their lives so that we may remain free and pray for those across the oceans who are fighting for our freedoms today. May the Goddess bless you all. 

I wanted to share a little something with you. Margaret Sangster is one of my favorite poets, but I have to warn you ahead of time....This is a real tear-jerker, but it says so much about those who fought and gave their lives for us. 

When War Came

War came, one day, and drew us close together.
Although it swept us many miles apart;
The love that lay as lightly as a feather,
Now rests, a precious weight, upon my heart.
And all the dreams I dreamed for just the dreaming,
Have taken on a meaning that is new;
And somehow all the lonely world is seeming
To cry aloud my aching need of you.

Because you were so much a part of living,
Like sunshine and the freshness of the air,
The priceless gift of faith that you were giving,
Seemed small to me. Scarce knowing you were there
I took your heart-strings in my careless fingers,
And played a song as light as summer dew,
And yet, today, its wistful echo lingers
And fills an empty world with thoughts of you.

I did not think that I would ever miss you,
I did not dream the time would ever come to be
When I would long to touch your hand--to kiss you
To hear your voice say tender words to me.
I did not know that I would wonder whether
My head would rest, once more against your heart....
War came, my dear, and swept us close together,
Although it swept us many miles apart.

 Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Morning This and That

There may be no trumpet sound or loud applause when we make a right decision, just a calm sense of resolution and peace.

Gloria Gaither

Good morning, and a happy new week to all.  Hope its a good one for all.  It's a fairly cool morning here, and it is feeling so good.   It's been awfully hot here in Brooklyn.

Didn't do much at all this weekend.  On Friday I went for my haircut.  Was a little annoyed because my appointment was the first one at 10 am and the moment she walked in she took two walk ins when there were four other hairdressers working.  I arrived ten minutes prior to my appointment.  Definitely on time.  But, I didn't act out and raise a stink.  Wouldn't do no good and only make me feel worse in the long run. 

What did annoy me was a FB comment.  See, one thing I do when I am flustered or angry is write down my feelings and then let them go.  Once written and sent out into the universe, they are gone. So, I wrote out my frustration on FB:  

'Don't you just hate this when it happens? I specifically called yesterday and set a 10 am appointment. I arrive ten minutes early and discover that she is just starting to cut and blow dry someone else's hair. So here I sit. Why set appointments if they are not going to be honored?'

Nothing really harsh there.  Just my feelings.   And most people agreed with me. Writing out my feelings is my way of letting them go, and if I'd had a journal with me I would have written them down.  Then on Saturday I get this from someone who NEVER comments on any of the positive things I write on my blog.

"i know- but things happen- n u have to remember - if it were u in the chair u'd hope n pray the next person in line would be understanding---i hate waiting too but i always try to remember n not to get sourfaced- cuz in the end- i'm just making a treat for myself turn into a bad day for myself- BUT I LOVE YA ANYWAYS!!!"

Maybe she meant nothing by it, maybe she meant to be critical.  I don't know, but I found myself annoyed by this. And from the PM's I got, I don't think I was exaggerating  I don't think her comment was called for because in no way did I say anything about being a sourface about the whole affair.  Just voiced my feelings.  I think it's time to unfriend.

I am even dreaming about this guy upstairs now. There hasn't been any middle of the night noise since the last time, but it's something that sticks with me. Well, that is not entirely true.  On Friday he started in at midnight and went on for an hour. When I go to bed at night, I wonder if I am going to be rudely awaken again.

So, the other night I start hearing the upstairs noise. I look at the cable box. It's 4:58, his usual time to begin stirring. Banging on the pipes and writing notes has not worked, so this time I figure I will throw a shoe up to the ceiling. (I have 12 foot ceilings so I can't even reach it with a broom.) So I get up and begin looking for a shoe to throw. All very realistic, and if I wasn't searching through my summer shoes, I would have thought it really happened, but I had packed them away in the beginning of October.

And now, onto other things.  Saturday I cooked all day.  Ended up making six meals rather than five.  Had all the ingredients for a rosemary chicken and potatoes ready when I discovered I already used the chicken in another it was a quick defrost and in the oven it went.  On Sunday I went to church, and then came home for a much needed rest.  

Found a great way to enjoy some winter fruit.  Made some baked apples. Took a baseline recipe and made it my own.

Apples (to be honest I don't even know what kind I bought )
1/4 cup salt free butter
1/2 cup fat free maple syrup
About 1 tsp vanilla

Peel, core, and slice apples. Put in greased bake pan. Mix all other ingredients in saucepan and stir while butter melts. Pour over apples and bake, covered for 20 minutes, uncovered for 10. Will warm and serve later with a dollop of fat free cool whip.

Have a good one.