Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stopping By

Taking a couple days off work for a long holiday weekend, so I have been spending my time trying to play catch up so I don't have to bring any work home, but it has been one of those of those awful Murphey's Law days.  Getting through it, though.  So just wanted to drop by and say 'hi'.  I'll be back in force tomorrow.

Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful weather.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer in the City

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.

Good morning everyone.  It's another scorcher here in the city.  It's been one hot and humid day after another.  They say it is not a heat wave until we have 3 consecutive days of 90 degrees or more, but personally, an 85 degree humid day doesn't seem much different than a 95 degree day.  It's still pretty darned hot. And as anyone who lives or works in the city knows, it's hotter in the concrete jungle than in the surrounding urban areas.  Dark colored roofs and asphalt pavement, concrete, along with fewer shrubs and trees to shade the buildings are some of the major factors contributing to unrelenting heat of summer in the city. That old Loving Spoonful song "Summer in the City" pretty much says it all.  Women are fanning themselves; tempers are beginning to flare. It's pretty dreadful here in the concrete jungle.

There was a time that it didn't bother me.  Summers in the city were different a few years ago.  Didn't seem as hot. Is it that I am getting older, or are the summers getting hotter...more humid?  Last year didn't seem so bad, but maybe that's only the way I am remembering it and not the way it really was.  I feel blessed, though.  Brooklyn has its trees and greenery.  The Mother Ocean is not far from me.  I have my back yard where I can sit in the cool of the evenings...the lightning bugs flashing all about me...relax...commune with nature...remember when this was the way it always was...grass under my feet, trees blowing in the wind...I can dream...hope...imagine...remember...

...those long, hazy summer days that seemed to go on forever....childhood...sitting in the grass, feeling the warm breeze.  The blazing heat of the summer sun did not feel so bad then.  Some part of me wishes I was still a worries...playing from dawn til eve...chocolate malts from the local Dairy Queen...hours of playing tag, hide-n-seek, and playing riding.  Yes, summer was different then.  It was a different time and place.  

I wonder about summers for kids these days.  Are there kids who still have the wonderful summer days that we enjoyed?  Or, has technology taken over their lives.  Is the only baseball game they ever play the one they play on their computers or their PlayStation?  What about swimming?  The city is going broke; city pools are being shut down.  Will the bathtub be the place to swim?  What of the future?  What will that bring?  What about the children of tomorrow?  As the population continues to explode and more and more of the earth is destroyed for urban living, what does the future bring?  What can the generations to come hope for? 

"How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and of oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life?"
--Charles A Lindberg, Reader's Digest, November 1939--

Is that what the future brings?

Thanks for letting me share.


Monday, June 28, 2010

The Power of Music

"Sensitive souls draw in the negativity of others because they are so open"--John Gray

Okay.  I give.  What's up with everyone?  Is it the heat?  I know it's hot...I'm hot,too, but I try not to take it out on everyone else. Frustration and anger only make the heat feel worse. We're in our third day of 90+ degree temperatures which makes it an official heatwave, and prior to this we were in the 80's and not much difference there.  

I've noticed...there's lots of negativity swirling around in the air here in the city..Perhaps it is the heat; it is far too early to be having such a heat wave, and people are becoming quite testy. Take this morning. It's 8 am.  As I sit at my desk enjoying my oatmeal, the day is new and alive with possibilities.  Then it begins.  Co-workers start to arrive.  The counselor whose office is across the hall arrives.  I put on a smile and say good morning; she walks right on by with a nasty puss on her face.  I know her home life is not so great, but we're taught to leave home at home and work at work...not so easy to do, but I have been in the field long enough that I know how to separate.  

Then, the phone rings and on the other side is an angry ex-client who wants to know why he was discharged; now he is worried about parole.  Well, you haven't been here, haven't even had the courtesy to call in over 30 days; what do you expect? By 10 am I find myself drained of my passion and positive attitude.  I work with such a 'strange' bunch; it's hard to believe, and a little scary, that they have people's lives in their hands. Allow me to introduce you.

My co-worker from this morning just passed her social work exam. She is now licensed.  She is bi-polar and refuses to take her medication because it makes her "fat".  The only clients she wants are white, middle-classed with an education and a job. 
We work with the poor, the mentally ill.  Need I say more?

You all know about my office mate who talks on the phone all day. Her poor clients never get to see a counselor.

Then, we have the nurse who suffers from psychosomatic illnesses...whatever you have, she has, too...only she has it worse than you.  And medical knowledge?  Here is a woman who told me to put heat on an infection and still believes you can catch HIV from a glass. 

We have another counselor who graduated from a T.C. and acts like a prison guard.  She just loves barging into  your office. 

Then, there is my other co-worker, who caters to the clients' every whim...which makes it very difficult for the rest of us when our clients expect the same thing.  An integral part of recovery is learning responsibility...especially when you never had any.

The only fairly normal co-worker I have is our art therapist who keeps himself pretty much locked in his office.  But, he, too, has been known to snap at a moment's notice.

So, there you have it...the cast of characters I work with each and every day.  If we weren't dealing with serious issues here, they would be a great cast of characters for a comedy show. So, why am I feeling so good today?  Why I am smiling?

Well, the fact is, I've done something I should have done a long time ago.  I bought myself a good pair of headphones and several DVD's--Enya and Loreena Mckennett..and I am in 7th heaven.  There is nothing more healing to me than music and the ocean...and since I can't be at the ocean, I can at least have the music.  

Music has a way of stirring our innermost feelings and enhancing our well-being.  I does to our health what flowers do to a garden. It is one of the best relaxation therapies imaginable. My stress level is down and I feel like a new person. Why did this take me so long?

"Rhythm and harmony find their way to the inward places of the soul."--Plato

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sitting on the Cactus

"The world is full of cactus, but we don't have to sit on it."--Will Foley

Good Sunday afternoon.  Weekend's almost over....again.  Why does it pass by so quickly.  This was not one of my better weekends...although it had started out as a great one.  I got to do a little shopping for myself and was feeling pretty good....until the cable guy came.

Our cable has been very bad lately; it's been hard to watch anything without the screen either freezing or going black.  Last time this happened it was due to the squirrels.  Yup, those little critters tore up my cable I figured they must have gotten at it again.  So I called for service, and it seems they sent their most miserable worker to my home.

The quote above says you don't have to sit on cactus, but sometimes you can't help it; you get thrown into it. I have to say this man was one of the most miserable people I've run into in a long time...and it is hard to believe that his job is working with the public.  His negative attitude started even before he stepped into the house.  I opened the door to let him in, and he just stood there.  I said very nicely, "Please, come it." and very nastily he responded, "I can't see."  Now, we keep the lights off because of the heat they emit...but my house was not in total darkness.  It was 4 pm in the afternoon.  But, what the heck, I turned the light on for him...and from then on it was nothing but one complaint after another...he went on such a tirade about everything..such a miserable attitude.  Just a few little incidents are below.  Now mind you, all this is being said in a nasty tone.

"It took me a whole hour to find out which line is yours."  Well, I didn't install it; blame your co-workers.

"This job is taking longer than I thought."  Well, aren't you getting paid for it?  I am sure you are not doing this out of the goodness of your heart.

Now, my cable box in the living room has a habit of rebooting itself, and every time he went near it, it rebooted...each time making him angrier and angrier. He was fuming when he took it out to put a new box in. Next, he has to install all new wires outside, and as he is coming into my house I hear him on the phone carrying on about "the job" to his boss, and his boss in the background trying to pacify him.  Well, I pay $170 a month for the services.  The service man should NOT have to be pacified.

"Your television must be broken."  I tell him the television will only go on if the cable is on.  He gives a sarcastic chuckle and says "What are you talking about.  Don't turn the cable box on.  I will be back."

Meanwhile, my son and I are pulling all my books out of the bookcase to check out the television...because HE has insisted that he fixed it and it should go on. The sweat is pouring off of us, and now we are starting to snap at each other.  Suddenly, the cable box says 'turn on' so my son turns it on.  Lo and behold, the television goes on...and after going through all that extra work.

Now he comes in, and he's mad.  "Who turned the cable on?"  Now, I am getting angry.  I reply in the same angry tone  "You told me that you want the television on.  Well, I told you it won't go on without the cable.  See it is on now."  He gives some angry retort to which I respond very, very sarcastically "I'm sorry that it is so hot, but fixing my cable is your job, and I pay for it in my monthly bill."

Needless to say, and to make a long story short, by the time he left, I had totally allowed him to rent space in my head.  My good feelings of the morning had swiftly gone downhill, and I  was fighting tears; I always cry when I am angry. My son and I were beginning to take snipes at each other but we later apologized to each other....realizing it had all rubbed off from him. All in all it was a bad day. And if I hadn't wanted my cable fixed so badly, I would have booted him right out of my house.  

Negative people.  They are like a black hole; they suck the joy right out of you.  Yesterday, I tried so hard to stay positive and remain strong, but his negativity totally drained me.  I was just as angry as he was.  Everything I had ever learned about dealing with negative people flew out the door, and I wasn't able to shield myself quick enough; and before I realize what was happening, the same dark aura that surrounded him, was now surrounding me...and it wasn't a very good feeling and actually took quite awhile to rid myself and my home of it. Of course, I did call to complain after he left and did get some money taken off my bill, but that did little to alleviate my wounded spirits.  A good smudging with sage was in order and that followed by a ritual bath by the light of a blue candle. By evening I and my home were once again back to normal.

You may ask, why did I not send him on his way?  Because we would have been left with nothing because everything was unhooked...and who knows when they would have sent someone else...but it also made me look at dependent we are on important it has become in our lives...that I would allow myself to be abused in my own home all for the sake of a television show and the internet.  I've really got to do some serious thinking on that one. Thanks for listening to me today.  

"Attitudes are contagious.  Are yours worth catching?"--Dennis and Wendy Mannering



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Memories

Good afternoon, everyone.  It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, or should I say, it was. It sure is heating up now.  I got dressed and went out to do a little shopping for myself.  Got a couple of house dresses for days like today when the cable guy is coming and it's too hot to stay fully dressed, some new slippers, and a couple new skirts.  It sure is nice to have money to spend when I feel like it.  When I smoked, I found myself living check to check.  By the way, July 4th will be my one year anniversary.  

"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."--Wilhelm Nietzsche
You know, ever since the other day when I posted about my mom, I have been racking my brain trying to remember things about my dad... and all I was able to  come up with is the boy's toys I would find under the every Christmas and the following little tale.  

A country girl, I used to love catching tadpoles with my friends.  Sadly, most of them did not fare well in captivity, but I had one who was doing so great; he was actually beginning to sprout legs.  He was my pride and joy.  One night, I had gone to bed...leaving him on the back porch as I always did...and when I got up in the morning, I was devastated to find the jar smashed in pieces on the ground, and my little fella was dead.  My dead, the alcoholic, had come home drunk the night before and knocked the jar off the porch.  Oh, how I cried for my special little pet.

I remember that my parents were pretty mean to me that mom more than my dad...who was sort of hanging his head.  I was told to stop crying, it was only a tadpole...and that if I kept on crying, I would be sent to my room...and...I was sent to my room.  I was only a little girl.  Couldn't they have seen how much I was hurting? But, that is what happens when you grow up in a dysfunctional family and these are some of the rules you learn to abide by: Don't talk, Don't feel, Don't challenge, and in my family, Don't think. Or, Do as I say, not as I do.  I bet most of your have heard that one.  

What I have come to realize is that the reason I have so few memories of my dad is because I never really knew him.  He was there, but he wasn't there...pretty much a stranger to me for as long as I can remember.  He worked all day, and at night, either went to the neighborhood bar or drank his beers in his room.  No family stuff...he and his little fox terrier.  They were inseparable, those two, and sadly, he gave that little dog far more attention than he ever gave his daughter. If only he had shared...perhaps I would have something more than a tadpole to remember him by.

"Love is what we are born with.  Fear is what we learned here.  The spiritual journey is the relinquishment--or unlearning--of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts."--Marianne Williamson

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lunar Elcipse on June 26th

Good afternoon, and it certainly is afternoon...very late for me.  I played hooky today and spent much of my time lounging around and sleeping.  Had a really rough night here.  The electric company has been digging up the roads...and, of course, it is right in front of my house.  And when the workers leave at night, they place this heavy steel wedge-like thing over the hole...and every darned time a car or truck passes by, that thing sounds almost like an explosion.  It's just so loud because it doesn't fit properly. 

So, this morning I said, "No way am I going to work feeling like this"  so I called in sick.  Let me say, one thing I will not do is say I am sick when I am not...too often you do get sick, I was honest...truthful.  Hey, I didn't sleep last night.  I'll be no good to anyone...And, then it was 9 am when my tummy started.  Oh, gosh.  What brought this on?  What did I eat?  It's one of those "everything happens for a reason" things.  I was destined to get sick, but had I not lain awake all night, I would have gotten sick at work...and not at home where I could go to bed....Boy, do I ever rationalize things, huh?

But, things are not always as bad. It was so hot indoors, but so nice and cool outside.  There was quite a wind storm last night, but we didn't get hit very badly.  My backyard is so quiet at night so I just sat there, relaxing, spending some quality time with the self...sorting...thinking about what I want to do with my life as I prepare to enter another stage.  I do know that I want to continue with my degree.  Yup, at 63 I plan to go back to school.  I only have a few credits left and don't know why I put it on hold so long, but this has become one of my goals.

Speaking of the Moon...tomorrow is a lunar eclipse...the first eclipse of the year...a partial eclipse which will be visible throughout much of the Americas, the Pacific, and eastern Asia.  This means that a part of the moon will pass through the Earth's umbral shadow. During an eclipse, the Moon's temperature actually drops way below freezing, as both the light of the Sun and its heat have been cut off by the earth, but if the Moon projects no light of its own,  why does it look red?  That is because it is still receiving ultra-red light from the Sun; it seems, in fact, that the Earth's atmosphere grabs the Sun's red light rays, wraps them about her, and then projects them towards the Moon.

A lunar eclipse is a time of beginnings, a symbol of completion, and possibly some major changes...a possible trigger for of inner change.  It almost always has something to do with our relationships...our need for nurturing , family and security. Eclipses trigger necessary changes in one's journey in life. And sometimes our lives are changed forever.  Emotions can run high at this time, causing upsets and a feeling of being disoriented.  Actions that we take may not have the expected results, but they will bring awareness and enlightenment.  At the lunar eclipse, the Earth is aligned exactly between the Sun and Moon; at this time, we unite, merge, we may bring something out in the open, change, get a new perspective on things.  We feel excited and might feel restless, pressured; perhaps you find yourself moving at a faster pace. 

The Moon is in Capricorn (ambition)...This is an extra potent full which has been known to chip away at one's emotional defenses...The Moon is conjunct Pluto, which asks us to heal deeply and to let go of those emotional patterns that that stand in the way of our achieving our true goals. This signals a time when you may be forced to address personal issues which may reveal your insecurities.  Pluto (destruction, regeneration) represents rebirth, regeneration, and transformation.  He is our compulsions, our addictions; he now gives us the power to tackle the obstacles in our life by gaining an understanding of our situations and letting go if need be.

This full moon also includes another significant astrological event....the powerful alignment of seven planets in a grand cross formation.(See below) The Sun is conjunct Mercury (the mind, our mental function)  which is positioned opposite the Moon. We already know that Pluto is conjunct the Moon; it opposes the Sun and serves to block the efforts of Mercury...demanding that Mercury offer only the truth.  The conjunction of Jupiter (optimism) to Uranus (the unexpected)in Aries (new beginnings) is opposed by Saturn which is also in aspect to Neptune (dreams). The Jupiter/Uranus conjunction is a volatile aspect; it can be disruptive, but it can also serve as an aid to our creativity as it breaks down our barriers.  Saturn (reality) will be the stabilizer, laying out the truth for us.  

This is not a time to fear; indeed, this eclipse will help us to grow...if we allow it find what is real and true in our lives.  Embrace this event for you can learn what is real and true in your life and what is only an illusion.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Good morning, everyone.  It's awfully hot here in the city...the kind of hot that makes you yearn for the cold of winter.  Heat and I have just never gotten along.  I lose interest in doing anything when it's really hot and humid.  Unfortunately, unlike many, my appetite does remain the same so the hot weather doesn't even benefit my diet.  

"The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the world"--Marianne Williamson

Today, I would like to introduce you to a little girl.  She was about nine years old at the time.  The heat of the summer months did not affect her; all she liked to do was play with all of her little friends.  From early morning until darkness fell, the little girl would swing, ride her bike, run, play tag, play hopscotch...all of the fun things that children do.  Mother and dad were both working, but that was okay for the little girl had her friends.  

Now, it never really bothered the little girl that mom would come home, eat dinner, and rush out to 'babysit' another little girl...every night of the week...and dad, well, dad would take his six-pack and retire in front of the television...on the nights that he came home.  No, that didn't bother her; the world was different then...or, perhaps I should say 'she' saw the world differently.  To her, that was the way things were supposed to be.  Or, perhaps that is what she 'wanted' to believe.  Children are so innocent; they view the world through rose-colored glasses.

Then, one day when it was least expected, the little girl's world fell apart.  It was after dinner, and the little girl was riding her bike with her 'bestest' friend.  Suddenly, her friend says, "Follow me.  I want to show you something."  So, the little girl innocently followed her friend out onto the main road; they came to a stop in front of a store.  The little girl looked around, bewildered;  there was nothing out of the ordinary, nothing worth seeing.  "Just wait," her friend said.  And then she spotted it...her mother's car...ever so slowly pulling to a stop...and then a man came out and slid into the front seat.  The little girl was devastated; she didn't know what to say.  Actually, she didn't quite understand the concept of cheating, of adultery. All she knew was that her mom had lied to her...and her little heart was broken.  

That little girl was me and that was the day I found out that my mother had a boyfriend.  I've never understood why my friend did what she did; I don't think she understood 'cheating' either.  Times were different then; I don't really think she meant to hurt me.  At least, that's what I like to think.  I know I was in shock, but cannot remember my thoughts. I don't think I confronted my mom although the memory of those days thereafter are locked some place in my subconscious mind.  

The next memories I have of my mom and this man come in my teenage years where I was introduced to him.  I remember it was Christmas, and mom told me she wanted to take me some place, that I was 'old enough' now...and she took me to his house and introduced me to him...and gradually I learned the story of their love...a great love that spans a lifetime....although I cannot say I was very accepting at the time. I was evil to the two of them; I felt betrayed by my mom who had lied to me for so many years.  

It seems that my mom and this man had been in love since they were teenagers...the age I was when I was first introduced to him.  Then, came World War II, and he was stationed in the Phillipines.  There he met and married a Phillipino woman who he brought back to the United States.  My mom, devastated, married my dad on the rebound and got pregnant with me. It was a sad situation.  My dad was an alcoholic, and the other man's wife turned tricks while he was at work.  It wasn't long before they divorced, but my mom, for the sake of the child, remained with my father. 

Today, I sit back and wonder what life would have been like had she left my dad and married the love of her life.  Would she have said such cruel things to me?  I think not.  And, what would it had been like to have had a mother who was always there for you, not one who belittled or ignored you?  Those answers I will never know, but what I do know is that the years I spent hating her were such wasted years.  Actually, I think 'hate' is too strong a word; she was my mother and no matter what she did, deep down I always loved her...and always will.  Forgiveness took a long time, perhaps too long, too many wasted years.  I know I have mentioned my mom several times since I began blogging; now you know the whole story. Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another...and clinging to these wounds lead one to years of anger and bitterness.  Forgiving and letting go, as I have with my mother, can lead us down the path of healing and peace.  

"He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love"--Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Ramble

"We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success.  We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do.  And he who never made a mistake never made a discovery."--Samuel Smiles

Mistakes...regrets...who amongst us doesn't have them? I have many many memories of my past, and  I can think of plenty of mistakes that I have made in my life...poor choices in relationships, addiction, dropping out of high school, my spur of the moment move to the city with $200 and two outfits of clothing.  It would be so easy to sit back now as I prepare to enter my "so-called" twilight years and dwell on all the coulda's, woulda's, and shoulda's...but what good will that do?  It's over, it's done...and, heck, the way I look at it, if I hadn't made those mistakes, I wouldn't be where I am now.  It's quite possible that I never would have met my current  husband, my soul mate, and I may regret marrying someone who was abusive and hateful, but if I hadn't met and married my him, I may not have had my two wonderful sons...Mistakes are how we learn our lessons in life.  They are very much a part of who we are....and who we are in the process of becoming. And, isn't it something how, just one different choice can change one's entire life?

"Often regret is very false and displaced and imagines the past to be totally other than it was."--John O'donohue

There are probably many things in your own lives that you regret; none of us is perfect.... things you wish that you could take back, that you wish you had never done..., things that you wish you could do over again. But, the past is the changing it...The important thing is we utilize the opportunity to learn from our past mistakes and move forward.  We cannot go back and undo the the past; we must be willing let it be because the guilt or blame we may feel will take us out of harmony and balance.  Once something is done, all you can do is your best  from that point on.  This doesn't mean that you forget what has happened, only that you do whatever needs to be done in order to let go of harmful energies such as anger, resentment, and guilt.  

So, when you think back over your own life, what do you see?  Missed opportunities?  Hardship?  Joy?  

Hoping you all have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Seven Daughters of Eve

I am always doing something like this...  planning on something that I want to write about, then doing an abrupt 180 and writing about something totally different.  But, sometimes things jump out at me and are glaring me in the eye until I get it out of my system.  Such happened this morning.  I had promise to lend a co-worker a book, and as I was looking for it The Seven Daughters of Eve popped out at me.  I have no back on my bookcase, and somehow it had slipped out of its place and fallen behind the other books.  I know I had mentioned this book before, but today I'd like to tell you a little more about it.  Actually, the title of this book was coined by the book's author, Bryan Sykes. The book, very readable, explains the connection between genetics and Mitochondrial DNA.  In the book, which is almost written as if it were a novel, he observes that there are seven major clan mothers for European lineage.  Now, let's face it...just about everyone of us here in the states and Canada stem from European lineage so this book is about you and I.  The author also gives the names of the common ancestors for 29 other lineages in the world...including nine clan mothers in Japan alone.

Each individual's maternal history can be traced by their Mitochonrial DNA; both men and women possess it, but only the women are able to pass it on to their children.  So it is that we all have inherited this DNA from our mothers, but not from our fathers.  Your mother inherited it from her mother, who inherited it from hers, and so on all the way back into time.  Therefore, by using this DNA, we can trace an unbroken maternal line back through time for generation upon generation farther back than any written record.  The Seven Daughters of Eve is the story of our ancient female ancestors...the clan mothers.  Everyone in the same clan is a direct maternal descendant of one of these clan members and carries her DNA within every cell of their, every time you take a breath, you are using your clan mother's DNA.

So, ladies and gents, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to your maternal ancestors. To emphasize that they were real people, they all have been given names.

Ursula (Haplogroup U in Western Asia) was one of the first arrivals of the new, modern human, the oldest of the clan mothers.  She lived some 45,000 years ago.  Her clan shared the land with the Neanderthals for some 20,000 years and moved further into a very frigid Europe than any of their kind had done before. Eventually, with their new and sophisticated type of stone tools, they edged the Neanderthals into extinction.  Currently, Ursula's clan makes up about 11 percent of the modern European population.

Xenia (Haplogroup X in Asia) and her clan came into being about 25,000 years ago.  Of all the clans, hers is, by far the most mysterious. This was at the time when an earlier species of the genus Homo had gone and extinct.  Xenia and her clan lived in one of the remote wooded valleys of the Caucasus Mountains on the eastern edge of the Black Sea. And, as the climate grew worse with the onset of the last Ice Age, three branches of Xenia's clan fanned out across Europe. 6% of today's Europeans can trance their DNA back through Xenia's clan.

Helena (Haplogroup H in Southwest Asia/Middle East) was formed by genetic mutations which began about 20,000 years ago.  These new Europeans were pushed southwards and settle up against the Alps and the Pyrenees. Her family were hunters, and, not long after she was born, the summers began to grow warmer. The cave paintings that have been found at Dordogne in France may be the works of her clan.  Hers was, by far, the most successful of all the clans; her children have reached every shore.  47% of modern Europeans are descended from them.

Velda's clan, (Haplogroup V in Western Eurasia) lived in Spain about 17,000 years ago, and over a span of three centuries, migrated to southern France, Italy, and into the Iberian Peninsula due to frequent conflicts between her clan and Ursula's clan.  There, they maintained a permanent base camp and produced symbolic and naturalistic art.  About 5% of Europeans are members of this clan.

Tara's clan (Haplogroup T in Mesopotamia) was launched about 17,000 years ago in Tuscany.   At that time, Europe was still in the depths of the last Ice Age, and there were only parts of the continent where life was possible.  There was little to eat,   and they were less prosperous than the others...raising their families and holding the pangs of hunger at bay by fishing for small trout and crayfish.  Eventually, Tara's children walked across the dry land that one day would become the English Channel and moved right across to Ireland, from which the Celtic kingdom of the clan took its name. 9% of Europeans are members of the clan of Tara. 

Katrine's clan (Haplogroup K in northwestern Italy) was differentiated about 15,000 years ago.  People were still in small bands at the time, but the world was warming and would soon make this hunting lifestyle less necessary. Instead, they began living on fish and crabs supplemented by small mammels and roots. It was  Katrine's clan who first domesticated animals to live in herds and provide food and companionship. Then, as the glaciers began to retreat, her children ventured further to the north into the valleys. The most famous of Katrine's clan is the Ice Man, the hunter who had lost his way and died of hypothermia. 6% of native Europeans are from her clan who are still found in the Alps, 5,000 years after the Ice Man.

Jasmine's clan ( Haplogroup J in western Asia)was formed when the last Ice Age was coming to an end, and while the other six clan members had to endure many hardships to bring up their children, Jasmine's clan was enjoying the warmth of the savannah.  Life was good.  Little by little, the hunters abandoned their nomadic ways and settled into  permanent quarters planting seeds, raising crops, and herding animals.  Today, 17% of Europeans are in the clan of Jasmine.  One group followed the Mediterranean coastline and found its way to Britain and is common in Cornwall, Wales, and the west of Scotland.  the other is common in the central portion of northern Europe. 

Note:  The clan mothers were NOT the only people who were alive at this time, but they were the only ones who have been found to have direct maternal descendants living in the present day.  There were other women around, of course, but they either had no children at all or only had sons who could not pass on the Mitrochondrial DNA.  I am seriously considering having my DNA tested, but it all depends on the price.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Solstice Blessings

Good morning, good morning, good morning. Summer has arrived, and it has sure made its presence  known.  It is just so hot and humid here in the city...much too much for this time of the year.  Mother Nature is hitting us with a vengeance.  I don't even want to think what July and August might bring...but let me not get that far ahead of myself.  Projecting isn't good for anyone.

So, how was everyone's Midsummer Eve.  Such a special time of the year. Of course, I had to wait for all of my neighbors to go indoors before I was able to spend some quality time in my backyard, but I've always loved the night. Aside from an occasional subway speeding by, it was myself, the crickets, and whatever other creatures of the night were about.  It was a quiet time, just a small ritual to welcome the coming of the new season.  I felt good to be a part of something so old and central to the history of man.  I may complain about the heat, but I never forget that sunlight is essential to all living things...and it is so important to remember what a joyful time of the year this was for our ancestors whose winters were so cold and dark.

And it is also important to remember that Solstice is not just about honoring the Earth and the Sun; this is also a traditional time for honoring the water which plays such a vital role in maintaining our lives when the sun is blazing overhead. It is a time for honoring Yemaya, the Great Mother Goddess of the Sea. Water is  healing, cleansing, and protective...the lifeblood of our planet. It is the fluidity of the waters which help us learn about our feelings and our emotions; Water represents birth, life, fertility, and well as cleansing and renewal.  Let us take some time today, on this day of the Solstice, to apologize to the waters for the harm we have done and to thank her for her many gifts...including the gift of life.  

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if,
The shore was lucky in being backed by a cliff.
The cliff in being backed by a continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean water broken
Before God's last Put out the light was spoken
--"Once By the Ocean" by Robert Frost-- 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Memories of the Men in My Life

I'd like to start out on this hot and humid day wishing all you men out there a very "Happy and Joyous Father's Day".  These days are always bittersweet to me.  My dad and I never really had a good relationship; in fact, when I look back on it, we had NO relationship whatsoever. My only real 'fond' memory of him was at Christmas when I was a little girl.  I was an only child, so he never got the boy he wanted.  Each year on Christmas Day I would find trucks, and tanks, and soldiers...always some boy's toys under the tree for me...And, didn't really mind...tomboy that I was.  I got as much joy building roads in my backyard as I did playing with my dolls and paperdolls.

My dad was an alcoholic; in fact, he came from a long-line of alcoholics.  He worked every day of his life at Picatinny Arsenal, a powder plant...where danger was around him on a daily basis, but children don't understand this.  All he wanted was to live his life in peace, to work, come home to his six-pack and go to his bed in front of the television.  This wasn't his fault; he just never learned how to be a father...and how could he?  His own father and mother gave he and his twin brother to my great grandmother to raise shortly after they were born.  My great grandmother did her best, but she was a widow with several teenage children of her own to raise.

My dad is gone now, but he remains in my heart.  I'm sad that I never got to say good bye, to tell him that I forgave him...but I know that he knows.  This picture is all that I have left of me as a little girl and my dad.  He is the one in the dark suit with the mustache.  The other is his twin brother.  The house I am not sure of, but I think it must be my great grandmother's house.  I was never really allowed to get to know that side of my family, but I do remember visiting two little old with a magical Irish lilt, the other with an English grandmother and great grandmother.  

My mom's dad was very special to me.  Every weekend I was dropped of at my grandparent's home on Friday evening and picked up on Sunday afternoons.  Saturday was a special day for me.  Grandpa always went to town...and I got to tag along with him.  He always gave me a dollar to go to the store and buy myself some cutouts.  So, while he did his business in town, I hung out in the little odds and ends store.  To this day, I can close my eyes and hear the creaky wood floors that were so uneven you could feel yourself going up and down as you walked... the scent of the store....I can still visualize myself walking through...all the way to the back where the cutouts were kept.  Grandpa always had to come to get me.  A dollar was a lot in the 1950's and these were some big decisions for a little girl to make.  Always needed someone to hurry me along, or I could stand there all day.

One memory I have is of my grandparents basement.  Whenever it rained or was too bad to play outdoors, I'd play in the basement.  It was perfect.  I loved my cowboys as a kid, and in a child's imagination, the basement was the town saloon.  The furniture...a huge, heavy wooden table and a long dresser fit right into my imaginary tale where I was the beautiful saloon girl who everyone came to see.  Well, one day I didn't feel much like playing; instead, I figured I would do something nice for granddad...I would paint his work area.  I found the brushes and...what I thought was paint...and busily painted everything brown.  Afterwards, I proudly brought granddad down to show him...and was more than slightly surprised by his angry outburst.  The brushes had been, in fact, soaking in turpentine, and I had painted everything with turpentine.  The entire house could have gone up.  Of course, granddad did forgive me before the day was out, but he sure did have a lot of work to take care of.

My husband is such a wonderful man.  I am blessed to have someone who really cares for me, someone who is good to my boys...someone who patiently took the time to teach them the skills they would need as they moved out into the world...carpentry, painting, hanging pictures, etc. Someone who always spurs me on to do better, someone who is behind me in every decision I make.  He has never put me down, never insulted me...always has shown me respect.  Someone who loves me as much as I love him. 

So, the the men in my dad, my granddad, my husband...may you all know that you are in my heart.  I love each and every one of you.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything

And a good, good morning to everyone. Yesterday was just awful.  Imagine attending community meeting from 10:30 to 11, running a group from 11:15 to 12:15, signing everyone out, dump garbage, bathroom run, and then out the door to the most boring training ever.   And the trip...first a bus, then subway...then a 7 block walk to get to where the training was.  When I came home last night, I was so drained that I ate and went to bed by 7:30 last night...and I slept until 9 this morning.  I was totally burned out.  Getting too old for that kind of stuff.  

The title of today's post was actually the name of my first ever blog...A Little Bit of Everything...and that is exactly what it was.  On a daily basis I posted recipes, flowers, quotes, special days, and all kinds of little tidbits.  I had to let it go, though.  The darned thing was taking me about 6 hours of research on a daily basis.  

Hey, anyone watch Royal Pains on Thursday night?  Well, for those that don't it's kind of a silly little show about a concierge doctor who works out on the Hamptons on Long Island.  Basically, he is a doctor who works on call for the rich; he also does some charity work with the poor.  Silly as the show may be, it may actually have saved my life.  See, I had a terrible overbite since I was a child that had gone uncorrected by my parents...Well, I can't blame them; when I was growing up, dentists didn't have any of the miracles that they possess, I guess I was just born too early.  So, because of this and a car accident many years ago, I ended up losing my bottom teeth, and since I have little in the way of a jawline, I have to use things like Fixodent to keep my dentures in place..and have been using it now for almost 5 years.

Last Thursday, I was watching the show, and the doctor was treating someone whose legs were giving out on him.  I am not gonna go through the whole episode, but as it turned out, this was all a result of his denture cream.  It seems that the cream contains zinc, and excessive use of this denture cream causes a sort of zinc poisoning.  Well, I immediately ran to get my tube and lo and behold, there it was....contains zinc.  Who knew?  Of course, now I have to go do some investigating at Web MD...and you can imagine my shock when I read all about ME.  

Skin reactions:  At 63, I was wondering why I developed acne...or what I thought was bumps that can appear in a matter of minutes all over my chest and neck.  I thought it was the toxins leaving my body after stopping smoking.

Shortness of breath:  Oddly, when I first stopped smoking, I felt wonderful...could race up the subway without stopping; then, a few months down the road started becoming short of breath...even though doctor had said my lungs were fairly clear.

Cough:  Not like it was when I was smoking, but nonetheless, still there...and only started about a month or two ago.  I quit smoking a year ago. 

Body pain:  It's been dreadful and getting worse.  I can barely walk anymore.My knees, my painful.

Nausea:  Unexplainable.  Was wondering why now...after all these years, I was feeling queasy quite a bit of the time.

Swollen ankles, neuropathy

I plan to have my doctor run some bloodwork on me just to be sure, but it was a real eye opener.  If any of you out there have been using things such as Poligrip or Fixodent for any length of time, stop using them. NOW!!! I ran out to the store this morning and bought some of the new poligrip which they are now making  zinc free.  

Gosh, who knew that I was going to discuss denture cream when I began this post...certainly not me. i had other things on my mind, but they can wait. I feel it's important that we educate ourselves on these things.  I had no idea that about zinc poisoning and that there are now many lawsuits out against these companies...We are not told this, and there were no warnings on the product.  It may just be old age creeping up on me that is causing these symptoms, but, hey, it doesn't hurt to look into these things so you stop putting these poisons into your body.  But, in the long run, isn't it ironic that the silliest of television shows open us up to an awareness that the big drug companies do not.   

And, by the way, silly as it is, I do love that show. LOL!!! Here's hoping you all have a wonderful, healthy weekend.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Ramble

Good morning, everyone.  It's Friday again...another work week ends.  This should be a restful weekend for me...not a cooking week so I can sleep late and just take it easy.  It's going to be hot and humid so I might just stay indoors from the time I go home tonight until I come back to work on Monday.  I know, that's awful, isn't it?  It's summer.  I should be out there enjoying it...Well, who actually knows how I will be feeling by Sunday.  Perhaps a trip out to Coney will be good.  

"God, grant me:
Serenity--to accept the things I cannot change
Courage--to change the things I can, and
Wisdom--to know the difference."

One of my favorite little I find myself saying very often...and today is one of the those days.  You see, even I, at 63, still have lessons to learn in life...and one of those lessons is that you just 'can't get over'.  You many think that you have, but it always catches up to you in the end.  Well, one of my little 'get overs' have caught up with me today.  As most of you know, I've got to do these little trainings every year...same trainings...same instructor...same jokes, stories, and role plays.  

You would think I would learn. Last week I had to take a make up training that I talked my way out of. How good it felt when I first got out of it...I giggled and patted myself on the back.   For the one today, I had called in sick...I and four of my co-workers.  There are only seven of us so that gives you some idea of how much we 'love' these trainings.  Well, not only do I have to make up the training today, but it's an hour subway ride away...Here I am in Lower Manhattan, and I have to go all the way up to Harlem.  Yikes!!!  Talk about payback.  It will take me over an hour to get home today...and on a Friday, no less

"When we are not longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."--
Victor Frankl--from "Man's Search For Meaning"

It always amazes me how we try to get out of doing something...knowing that it is something that we absolutely HAVE to do.  Why can't we just do it and get it over with?  I'm guilty of this in certain matters such as these trainings, but we all have these little things that we try like heck to avoid...even though we know we will have to face them some time in the future. There is just something about that 'rush' we get when we think we have 'gotten over' on something.  At that point, all we are thinking is that we have won something when, in fact, we haven't really come out ahead...not in any way; in fact, all we have done is to postpone something something that eventually we WILL have to do...and, the task may get harder as time goes on.  

So, my friends, what is it that you try to avoid?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Solstice

Good morning, everyone.  What a gorgeous day it is!!!  We had some rainful last night...woke me out of a sound sleep.  I love lying in bed listening to the rain...and was actually quite disappointed when it stopped.

Gosh, can you believe how fast the Solstice is coming upon us?  It will be here next week.  June is already halfway over.  It's moving so fast that I can't even keep track of the dates.  Yesterday I found myself dating everything the 11th...Now where that came from I don't know.

You're probably going to think I am a little nuts, but once the solstice passes, I find myself eagerly looking forward to the fall.  I love everything about Spring and all that leads up to summer, but it all takes a downhill turn from there.  Perhaps it is because I live in the city...and my feet don't know what it is to step on the softness of freshly mowed grass...and then there is the odors.  It gets really bad here in the hot and humid weather of July and August...garbage, exhaust fumes, smokers....Well, maybe I am being a bit morose, but it can get pretty miserable here in the concrete jungle at times.  Perhaps if I still had my magical garden to lose myself in at night...but that is only a fond memory right now.

Solstice.  The word derives from the Latin Sol + systere meaning "Sun" + "standing still".  The Sun appears to stand still.  The places on the ecliptic where the Sun appears to stand still mark the solstices. The Summer Solstice is the time when the Sun appears to halt over the Tropic of Cancer on its journey north, then, after some three days, it turns in its tracks and begins its journey southwards...towards the equator. These are the tropics; the northernmost point marks the Summer Solstice and the southernmost point marks the Winter Solstice...when viewed from the northern hemisphere.  It is just the opposite when viewed from the southern hemisphere.

People all over the world, in every culture, have assigned a great deal of meaning to this journey of the Sun. This, the shortest night of the year, has been a time of social festivities in all cultures, a magical time of the year where, even today, hilltop bonfires are lit to revive the power of the sun.  Magical powers are heightened and the little people are about.  It's a great time to gather herbs...especially the solar flowers such as St. John's wort, mugwort, and mistletoe. 

In astrological terms, the Summer Solstice marks the enter of the Sun into Cancer which is ruled by the Moon.  Cancer is a Cardinal, Water Sign.  Midsummer celebrates the elemental powers of fire (Sun) and water (Moon, Cancer); thus, the lighting of fires and bathing in dew on the morning of Midsummer's Day.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some Toltec Wisdom

Good morning, everyone.  It's a dreary day here in the city.  Humid, but not hot so it's not really that bad.  Today, I really wanted to call in sick, but here I am.  I guess I should learn to go with my feelings because somehow, from home to here I lost my $20 metrocard.  The problem is that if I went with my feelings, I would NEVER come to work.  Now, I don't want anyone to get me wrong...I love my clients.  The greatest reward in this line of work is a success story...which, sadly, are rare.  Addictions are hard to break, and when you spend your life living a certain way, it is so, so hard to change...

"Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends on what we look for.
What we look for depends upon what we think.
What we think depends upon what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality."
--Gary Zukav--

The image we have of ourselves is alive and lives in our minds.  We are what we perceive ourselves to be.  Our reality is based on our perception of it. For those of us who were raised in dysfunctional families, it is hard to change.  We have come to believe what we have been taught:

"I am not good enough."
"I can't do something like that."
"I am not smart; I will never amount to anything."
"I will always be a failure."

"I am fat; I am ugly"
...the list goes on and on with all these negative beliefs we have about ourselves. The Toltecs call it a parasite that lives within us...something that eats away at us...gnawing, gnawing...until we are but a shell of the person we were born to be. They believe that this life is a dream, and that the dream we are having (our reality) is created out of our beliefs and thoughts.  The Toltec sees his life as a work of art...and she/he is the artist. 

At the core level, we are responsible for everything we experience in our lives.  The suffering and the drama in our lives is a result of what we have learned. If we believe we are a 'victim' will continue to experience nothing but pain and frustration in our lives. .My clients are always saying things like "It's too late for me" or I will never be able to do something like that".  They just don't understand that what you tell yourself becomes your reality.  I want to cry out, "Look at me; look at how many years had to pass me by before I finally got it...before I stopped being the victim...yes, I was a victim, too...the victim of my own insecurities, the beliefs that have become my reality."  But it just doesn't work that way.  Rebuilding a damaged life takes time; it takes commitment on the part of the person who has been damaged.

In the counseling field, I have learned that supporting other people who believe they are victims will never help them be free of that mentality...and consequent suffering.  It is only be rejecting our victim mentality as a means of relating to the world that we can know ourselves as the powerful individuals that we really are. Our life is a work of art, and we are the artist.  Begin now by examining the beliefs you operate under.  Notice if any make you feel restricted or depressed.  Question those beliefs...reject them if they are causing you pain.  Only by rejecting our victim mentality as a means of relating to the world that we can know ourselves to be the powerful individuals we really are.

And, let me apologize if this seems to be rambling; if you believe so, then it is.  I've run a group, seen clients, and keep coming back to this so forgive me if I have repeated myself in any way.