Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Morning This and That

Silence must be comprehended as not solely the absence of sound. It is the natural environment for serenity and contemplation. Life without silence is life without privacy. The difference between sanity and madness is the quality of our thoughts. Silence is on the side of sanity.

Norman Cousins 
Good morning everyone, and a happy Monday to all.  I wasn't around much last week.  Thanks Marsha and Aine for your concern.   The weather here in the city has been so hot and humid, and I ended up suffering from a full-fledge pain flare.  My hands and arms hurt so badly that I couldn't even type.  Thankfully, I am feeling better now.  Still some soreness, but nothing I can't deal with. Finally found the Tylenol Arthritis, and it seems to be helping.  Motrin and Advil raise the BP.

A taste of fall at the park.

Time is passing so quickly.  I can't believe that fall will be here in a few short weeks. And school starts on the 8th.  I've so much to do this week.  I've purchased all my pens, notebooks, and folders and downloaded the books I need onto my Kindle, but I still need to find a nice bag to carry everything in.  For those who don't know, I'm going back to school this year.  The state has a special program for us senior citizens who want to further our education.  This time around I will be focusing on health and nutrition.  Have quite a busy schedule in store for me starting at orientation on the 8th.

I also plan on visiting my old workplace at some point this month.  I found an express bus that will drop me off two blocks away so I won't have to mess with the subway.  It's not bad price wise either.  Since I am going at off peak hours, I will only have to pay half price with my senior citizen card.  That'll be only $3.25.  Not bad.  And when I get back to Brooklyn I can transfer to my regular bus home for free.

So, I also want to get myself something new to wear as well as a color, which I will do myself, and a cut at the salon.  They haven't seen me in over two years.  I've lost 40 pounds of fat and lines of stress from my face.  I want to look good when I go.

Speaking of looking good, I got off my bus and was walking over to catch my transfer the other day, and I heard one of the construction workers whistling.  'Not at me,' I thought. 'I am much too old for that.'  Then I looked and sure enough, he was looking right at me.  At first I was feeling a little annoyed; after all, I am 68 years old and a great grandma.  But then, I started to feel good about it.  It's been a long time since someone paid attention to me crossing the street...aside from the car blowing its horn for me to hurry it up.

Went to my favorite park on Friday and spent five hours there enjoying the peace and quiet.  So much serenity.  And then I think about how just a little over 300 years ago this land was part of Indian territory until my ancestor purchased it. Seems like such a short time ago. (Sigh)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Roundup

Commitment unlocks the doors of
imagination, allows vision, and
gives us the "right stuff"
to turn our dreams into reality.

James Womack

Good morning, and a happy Friday to all.  It hasn't been an easy week, weather wise, for sure.  High temps and humidity make it pretty nasty and oppressive outdoors. Stayed in most of the week.  I can do that now in retirement...but, I really don't like to make a habit of it.  Took a walk on Tuesday to put some cash on my metrocard and stop at the market.  Made out like a champ. All this for only $16.

And this is what I did with all the vegetables.

Yesterday I went to Weight Watchers.  Not getting enough exercise lately with this extreme weather.  Not walking as much as I was so I ended up staying the same. At least it wasn't a gain, but I really would like to lose a few more pounds before I head into the city to visit my peers where I used to work.

Once I start classes the weight will start coming off.  There will be no excuses to stay in like I am now.  The weather is no excuse to miss class.  And I already have it planned that I am going to walk up the three flights rather than take the elevator.  And get off the bus at 49th and walk to 60th on the way home rather than taking a second bus.  Of course when it's rainy that won't be feasible. But, also, food won't be so readily available to me when I am in class so I won't be doing of that boredom nibbling. Not that I eat cake and cookies or things like that, doesn't even tempt me now, but even lots of fruit can add up in the long run.

Well, that's about it for this week.  Hope your weekend is filled with lots of fun and laughter.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday Photos

 Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels. But their magic sparkles in nature.

Lynn Holland

The other day I went to the park and sat in my usual spot, looking out over the water.  

But, my gaze kept being drawn elsewhere, towards this path....

So, I decided to take it and see where it led me.  And I am so glad that I did.

It led me into a magical place where I was surrounded by trees whose leaves sang in the wind....even though there was only the slightest breeze.

I felt like I had stumbled into a fairyland forest.  I stayed 4 hours and eventually had to drag myself away.

Even had a visit from one of the little creatures.  I was wishing I had brought some nuts.

A rustle in the wind reminds us a fairy is near. 

Author Unknown

And as the seasons come and go, here's something you might like to know. There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around — in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature's things, you might just see a fairy's wing. 

Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Quote

This is my own personal serenity spot in my home.  I love just sitting in quietude and enjoying the slices of nature I have brought into my home.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Memories

Know ye what it is to be a child? It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

When I was growing up, two of the most important people in my life were my grandparents.  We lived with them for the first 4 1/2 years of my life, but I have very little memory of that time.

They were both older when I was born.  My grandma was born in 1881, grandpa in 1884.  She was 35 when she married grandpa on August 25, 1916.  Her son Arnold was born in 1918 and my Aunt Dot in 1921.  Grandma was 44 years old when she had my mom in 1926. 

Grandma was 66 when I was born.  She died at 82 in 1964. She never lived to see her great grandchildren. Grandpa lived to 80 years and died in 1974.  He got to meet two of his great grandchildren.

I miss them so very much.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about them.  Thank goodness for this album.  I feel joy every time I look through it.  Finding pieces of my life so long forgoteen.

Love you grandma and grandpa.

Monday, August 17, 2015

World Humanitarian Day (on the 19th),

Monday This and That

As I look back at the entire tapestry of my life, I can see from the perspective of the present moment that every aspect of my life was necessary and perfect. Each step eventually led to a higher place, even though these steps often felt like obstacles or painful experiences.

Wayne Dyer

Morning all.  How was your weekend?  Mine was quiet.  The heat and humidity crept up on us on Saturday and by Sunday is was in full swing.  Went to Church yesterday and then hightailed it back home to my AC. I can deal with the hot weather, but not the humidity.  I am so looking for the cool temperatures of Autumn.

Took advantage of the awesome weather on Thursday and spent the entire day at the park.  Packed a picnic lunch and some reading materials and had some nice quiet time in nature.  Totally love this park.  

Spent time working on my datebook as Autumn will be a busy time for me what with classes, weight watchers, nature walks.  Also started reading "Frankenstein" so I am prepared for class.  Don't know why I never read it before.  It's great.  Yes, the writing style is different than that of today, but back in her day, writing was writing.  I appreciate reading something that is not filled with sex and curse words.  

Made myself some Moroccan Spiced Carrots.  Made them a couple weeks ago and they were awesome.   I find interesting recipes and then make little changes to suit our tastes. And this is so simply and tasty.  (Don't know why the picture keeps coming up sideways.  I keep fixing it, and it keeps going back on its own.)

Baby carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil, about 2 tbsp.
1 tsp. paprika
Black pepper to taste

Add everything to pot and boil until water evaporates. Now add 1 tsp cumin and 1 tbsp. vinegar. Stir to mix well.

Next month when my check comes in I plan on coloring my hair, then going down to the corner for a cut, and then taking a trip into the city to visit my co-workers.  They haven't seen me since I lost all this weight, and forgive me if I sound pompous, but I want them to see how good I am looking in my retirement.  I was totally burned out when I left--physically and emotionally.  

Well, that's about it for now.  Have a good one.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Roundup

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will. 

Vernon Howard

Good morning, everyone.  Another Friday, another weekend has arrived.  Monday and Tuesday were both quiet times for me.  I did go to the Walk with Ease Program on Monday, but came back home.  Not very happy with the way it is run.  I know it is just an intern running it, but she IS running it so she should be sure to make sure everyone is okay and together, not just wander off and disappear.

To be honest, the people who attend are the most cliquish and snobby people I know.  They'd all band in their little groups, and I was on my own to wander.  For example, on the first day the two seated in front of me were talking about going to the craft store.  I excused myself and asked if the craft store was in the mall.  "No," one of them responded, "it's across the street.  You have to cross the street to get there."  I thanked them, and then when the van pulled into the mall the two of them hurried off and never bothered asking if I would like to go.  For awhile I tried following them, but it was all in vain. And by then the others had all paired off as well. 

So I spent the day by myself.  I took my bag lunch out and sat in one of the little lounge areas and several of my peers passed, saw me sitting there, and never asked if I would like some company or if I would like to join them for lunch.  Eventually, I just walked out and took the bus home.  The incident brought back too many memories of a childhood where I was the odd child out in school, the last one to be picked on the team.  I was so lonely back then, and I just cannot bear to live through it again.  So, I decided I am not going back.  Not even to art class.  The teacher disappeared on us, and I am not really learning anything WHEN we do have class.  I say 'when' because the office is always scheduling staff meetings and taking over the art room when it is time for class.

So, I'm totally finished, but better times are ahead.  I went yesterday and enrolled in college.  I am officially enrolled. Basically taking a few health classes--Nutritional Enlightenment (disease prevention), Holistic Approaches to Healing, and Journey to Wellness (Emotions and Health). and 19th Century Literature by Women Writers. Already have an assignment. Must read Frankenstein before I begin class.  You know, I've seen the movie many times but never read the book.  Orientation is on September 8.

Also taking a couple extras that are offered. Tai Chi and Folk Music, basically a sing a long. Sounds like fun, but also makes me chuckle. I was in a high school folk singing club, and here I am so many years later doing the same thing.

Well, that's about it for now.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Quote

“Old age is the most precious time of life, the one nearest eternity. There are two ways of growing old. There are old people who are anxious and bitter, living in the past and illusion, who criticize everything that goes on around them. Young people are repulsed by them; they are shut away in their sadness and loneliness, shriveled up in themselves. But there are also old people with a child's heart, who have used their freedom from function and responsibility to find a new youth. They have the wonder of a child, but the wisdom of maturity as well. They have integrated their years of activity and so can live without being attached to power. Their freedom of heart and their acceptance of their limitations and weakness makes them people whose radiance illuminates the whole community. They are gentle and merciful, symbols of compassion and forgiveness. They become a community's hidden treasures, sources of unity and life. They are true contemplatives at the heart of community.” 

by Jean Vanier
in his book
Community and Growth

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Memories

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence,
and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

Helen Keller
Today I would like to introduce you to two wonderful people, Aunt Ruth and Uncle Collis. We used to call him Harvey. Two wonderful people who I miss very much.  Couldn't really figure where she fit in the family tree until I got deeper into my granddad's genealogy.  She is his great neice.

This is my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Collis. They lived in Denville on a lake.  I remember they had a huge Chow.  He wasn't the kind of dog you wanted to get close to.  I do believe this is grandma's kitchen.  The door next to the refrigerator leads stairs to the basement on one side and to the backyard on the other.  I never liked to go outdoors this way because she kept chickens a few feet away, and they always chased me.  I was so afraid of them that I would go out the front door and go around to get in the backyard.

Aunt Ruth with grandpa.  This was at my house in Berkshire Valley.  We moved there when I was 18 years old.  Aunt Ruth was a special woman.  When I was a teenager she begged my mom to let me stay with her because she knew exactly what was going on in my home and knew I wasn't being raised properly, but my mom said no.  Wonder what life would have been like if mom had said yes instead.  But, everything happens for a reason, and it wasn't meant to be.

This picture was taken at my first home in Mine Hill. Funny the little things you remember.  I totally remember this outfit, and it you look closely, you will see a pimple on my chin.  I knew it was there even before I enlarged.  As a teenager I never really had acne, but I was prone to these painful cyst-like pimples that I could never keep my hands away from.  I was always picking at them making them so much more noticeable.  Can't believe I remember the pimple in this picture!!!

Uncle Collis's boat.  That's Uncle Collis, me, and my mom in the front seat.   Not sure who the little ones are in the back.  Can't believe that Uncle Collis used to allow me to drive this boat all alone.  Heck, I can't even swim but I used to whiz around this lake for hours.  Loved it.

And that's it for this week's memories.  Have a good one.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday This and That

It is never too late
to be what you
might have been.

George Eliot
Good morning, all.  Well, the weekend is over, and it's time to start a new week.  Not much on my agenda now until September.  I do attend a 'Walk with Ease' program run by the Arthritis Foundation on Mondays which is where I am headed today.  In nicer weather we go to parks to walk; in hot, humid, or rainy weather we walk indoors.  Hard going to malls and not spending anything.  Last time I broke down and bought some light cologne sprays from Body and Bath Works.  Awesome.

On Friday I headed back to Owl's Head.  I had a such lovely day.   I was just loving the smell of the freshly cut grass and as I moved deeper into the woods, I felt the cool breeze rustling through the trees. I was born in the Northern Jersey countryside so this brought back so many memories of country summers. What more can I say. It was just an awesome day.

Started out for the park again on Saturday and then remembered that the buses are a problem on weekends when they work on the trains. So, I came back home and headed for my kitchen. I eat lots of veggies so I figured I would get a jump start on the week. I do eat meat, but only about 3 ounces and carbs only two to three times a week. Mostly I fill up on veggies.

One thing I made was Turnip Greens. They are so loaded with calcium. Most people make them with pork fat or bacon. I love them that way but not the sodium that comes with it. So, here's my way that tastes just as good (in my book that is).

Turnip Greens
1 can Campbell's low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
minced garlic
1/2 tsp sugar
Black pepper to taste

Boil all together and strain.

I am so looking forward to September.  School begins.  Funny how I was always the one that HATED school, hated it so much that I dropped out as soon as I turned 18...a little over two months before graduation.  As I got older I really regretted it.  I see invitations to reunions that I am not a part of, and it does hurt in a way, but education wise, I sure did make up for it.

Have a good one.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Roundup

Our entire life. . . consists
ultimately of accepting
ourselves as we are.

Jean Anouilh

Good morning, all.  It's Friday,  once my favorite day of the week, but now that I am retired, every day is a favorite day.  Nothing pressing on my agenda today.  Just going to pack some lunch and head over to my favorite park for some solitude and rest. Much has been on my mind lately, and I need some downtime to recuperate.

I am still attending Weight Watchers meetings.  In fact, I told hubby the other day I haven't missed a meeting since I started in September.  Hit a few plateaus along my journey, but all in all, I have no complaints.  I've lost 39.2 pounds altogether, from 223 down to 184.  About 35 pounds to goal.  Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!  

In our meeting yesterday one of the questions asked was 'if you could go back in time and do something differently what would that be?' in regards to weight gain, that is.  And it really made me look into myself?  Why did I let myself go?  I had a perfect figure, but suddenly I didn't care.  The only thing I can think of is that food became a source of comfort for me when I stopped smoking.  All my life I've sought something.  I was a lonely child, a little girl who was teased by her peers and ignored by my parents.  As far back as I can remember I have needed something for comfort be it food, alcohol, shopping, or nicotine.  It started out with paper dolls. boxes and boxes of them.    Something to take me outside of myself.

Aside from an increase in pain, my health has improved so well that my nurse feels that next month will be my last visit.  Blood pressure was 117/70.  Perfect.  I still have to get the sonogram for the nodule in my thyroid, but with all that's going on, I can't think of that right now. I know it's important but I have to get my emotions and mental health in order before I go. 

Remember my FB stalker?  The one who was trying to friend everyone on my list and join every group I am in?  Well, I had to put her in her place, in a nice way, though.  I understand fully that she is lonely and depressed and living life vicariously through me, but come on now, it is MY life.  Never mind that you have friended my son and his girlfriend, one of my personal friends, and several of my online friends.  Never mind that you somehow watch my every move on FB.  Don't know how she does it, but someone's post could sit there all day, but 5 minutes after I comment, she has to comment and say almost the same thing.  Never mind that I find you in my astrology, my herbal, my crystal group and know that you are totally not interested in these things.  I may be uncomfortable, but I can overlook those things.  It's when my friends have to email me asking me to tell her to stop harassing them about becoming friends that I had to put the breaks on it, and tell her to 'leave my friends alone'. 

Well, that's about for now.  Much more to tell but next week will be here soon enough.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thursday Photos and a Bit of Brooklyn History

One day last week, when the weather was fantastic, I woke up wanting to do something different.  My little neighborhood park was becoming a little boring, and to be honest, I never could feel close to nature there what with the cars whizzing by or the business of people using the park as a shortcut to home or work.  I could have gotten on the bus and gone to Coney Island, but I wasn't feeling like it.  So, I went online and found the perfect place...and the bus that stops across from my house takes me right there.  Now I try to get there at least once a week.

Owl’s Head Park is a  large park nestled on a large hill that overlooks  the Narrows in the neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  No one is quite sure where the name originated. One interesting bit of history I found was that my Dutch ancestor,  Teunis Van Pelt, was the first European to own this land.

At first when I got off the bus I looked and said, "I can't do this."  So many hills.  But, I took it slow and made it to the top of the tallest hill.  Spent my afternoon in the shade of the trees and quietude of nature.  I spent four hours looking out over the water. That is Staten Island in the distance.

Long ago the Nyack Indians called this land home, and rumor has it that the hill was once an old Indian burial ground.

This is one way of getting into the park.  A stairway of logs and dirt.

I imagine this will be an awesome place to visit in the fall.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday Quote

Living our life means that we take our life day to day and moment to moment, always trying to deepen our understanding of what it means to be human. Life will never be perfect, and we will always be in a state of moving towards completeness. Don, 84, put it this way: "You have lived the life you have lived. When we accept the life we have lived, then we can begin to be whole." He echoed an often-heard theme: When we judge our life we diminish ourselves. The more we can eliminate all need to compare, compete, grade, and judge our lives, the closer we get to wisdom.

John Izzo

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday Memories

Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things. 

Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal 

Isn't she adorable?  Guess who?  I was 11 months old at the time.

My mom and I.  I was two years old I think.   It's hard to look at these pictures and wonder where we went wrong as a family.  It's obvious there was lots of love in my early years.  What happened?
My 4th birthday party.

My mom was such a beautiful woman.  As a small child I never understood why she got so dressed up to go 'babysitting'.  It wasn't until later that I knew.  I actually found out in the worst way possible.  One of my friends says, "I know where your mom goes at night.  Come with me and I will show you."  That was how I found out about the affair.

When I was younger, people used to say that I looked like my dad, but I think as I got older, I started looking more like my mom.

My mom always loved her costume jewelry.  When I was a teenager I used to love putting on her jewelry and wearing it to school.  I was alone to get ready in the morning, so she never knew, but, I ended up getting caught in the long run.  I was about 17 when I decided I wanted my ears pierced, but I was chicken.  So, at the time they had self-piercing earrings made of gold.  I don't know if they still have them, but I was chicken of the needle, and these earrings gradually worked their way through.  About a week later one was through but the other not.  So, an uncle bent down and said, "Let me have a look at this."  Trusting him, I allowed him a closer look, and what did he do?  He took his fingers and pushed it through.  

Well, I wasn't too happy with that, but I was happy that I finally had pierced ears.  Couldn't wait to sneak and wear mom's pretty earrings, and I did.  I put them in in the morning and took them out when I got home. Then I put my little gold ones in.  One morning I woke up and my ears were all moist and caked.  Couldn't get my little earrings out they were so stuck in there.  Eventually we got them out, but I had to use alcohol for a few days to clean the holes...which, by the way, ended up closing up.  

To this day I am paying for it.  Turns out that when I put the cheap earrings into ears that hadn't healed I  developed an allergy to nickel.  If I wear something that isn't gold I itch and break out in a rash.  It's gotten a little better.  Used to break out from the buckles on my bra.  At least that stopped.

Have a good one.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday This and That

Awe enables us to see in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple, to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Morning all.  July has come and gone so quickly I have to wonder if it was ever here.  Yet, so much has happened this July, events that will change my life forever.  My mom is gone.  I'd wanted so badly to see her, to hold her, and tell her how much I loved her, but it was my not to be. My daughter had said that my mom continued to hold a grudge and that maybe it wouldn't be best right now.  Neither of us knew at the time how quickly my mom would pass.  She was such a strong woman. 

Myy daughter questions her decision.  She said that just before my mom went into the hospital she asked for a new file box for  all her important papers.  She wanted my daughter to have it in case something should happen to her.  After she passed, my daughter went through it and found that my mom had put MY original birth certificate in there.  Now we both feel that mom wanted us to find each other. (My daughter never told her that we had been in contact).  Perhaps I should have been more forceful, I don't know.  The fact is, we both did what we thought was right for my mom. All we can do is move forward from this point on.

I hold no blame towards my daughter. Like I said, I could have been more forceful as well.  Perhaps there was this little part of me that feared what my mom would say. She always did have such a biting tongue. We are both sorry that mom had to die with so much unfinished business, and now I may never have the closure that I sought for so long. I don't want my daughter feeling bad about this.  I do believe though that my mom and dad are now both now surrounding me.

In fact, my granddaughter and I both believe it was my dad who brought us together.  I'd been having dreams for the longest time of trying to find my way home.  I'd find myself going around in circles on old country roads, walking through wondrous fields, or trudging through the woods.  Always I awoke before I got there.  My granddaughter told me she had a dream about dad.  He told her to go out and find me.  And after that, everything started falling into place.  My dreams 'searching' dreams came to an end when we found each other.  

One more little 'coincidence' happened over the weekend.  My mom's house is being put up for sale as well as most of her belongings.   She didn't have much, basically her wedding rings that she didn't want to be buried in and some costume jewelry. (Mom always loved costume jewelry)  Well, my son and daughter claimed the rings and my granddaughters the costume jewelry.  That's all right.  I wasn't expecting anything.  My "Book of Life" was enough for me.  Well, my daughter was folding a pair of my mom's slacks when out fell a little gold bracelet which she is sending to me.  Now tell me that isn't a coincidence.

Moving on.  Didn't do much for Lughnasadh.  Didn't have it in me this year.  Made some soda bread and served a nice berry salad in honor of the first harvest.  Wanted to change my altar, but I want to finish enjoying summer before it goes.   So much else has happened this month that I don't know where to begin.  I found a wonderful new park to visit, I've gone to Tai Chi, I joined a walking program, continue to lose weight ever so slowly,  the list goes on and on.  Oh well, a little at a time.  

Talk to you all tomorrow.