Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My New Office Space

I've been talking about it for awhile now, so I thought I would show you all a few pictures I took yesterday of my new office space.   It looks nice, clean, neat, and colorful, but remember that looks can be very deceiving. 

This is our little cubicle.  Four of us sit here.  My seat is to the right.  Notice how we are out in the open.  The hallway and group rooms are right in front of this opening, and clients are continuously back and forth, and leaning over the little walls to interrupt us and chat.  

There is another cubicle right next to ours where three other counselors sit.  They have it worse than us.  They have a hall on both sides...constant interruptions. 

This is one of the wee little group rooms. Fifteen clients plus group facilitator sit in here. Hot and claustrophobic.  

This is my little area of the make-shift desk.  Some of my little guys came with me.  Not much room for them. The flower sings and dances. The frog sings 'Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog.'  The shell was a gift from a client and often I pick it up to hear the sounds of the ocean.    All the wires make it look kind of sloppy, but I've done my best to make it at least a little cheerful. 

I saw four clients in individual sessions yesterday and didn't really have a problem finding a private room to meet.  We have two swing offices, the nurse's office, and group rooms when not in use.  I think the worst of it is the never-ending noise.  There is NEVER a silent moment.  We hear everyone's conversations, phones are constantly ringing. Our clients leave at 1 pm, but the mental health day treatment program is located on the same floor, right next door, so even after our clients leave, we still have those clients wandering about, conveniently getting lost so they can see what's going on on our side. 

The elevator is from 'hell' old freight elevator that has seen better days.  I say a little prayer each time I enter it.  Yesterday, it kept getting stuck about two feet from the exit doors, and people had to climb out of it. They say it has been inspected and is not about to crash, but, in any case, I was really thankful that the elevator girl offered me her seat because somehow, it was easier to handle in a seated position.

And finally, can you believe $1.75 for a small bottle of water?  I nearly fell off my chair when I heard that one.  This is such an expensive neighborhood that I just know I will be losing some weight. It just goes to show you that, no matter how bad a situation may seem, there is always some good to find in it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Letting Go

Letting go is so much easier said than done. 

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring.
It means I can't do it for someone else.

To "let go" is not to cut myself off.
It's the realization that I can't control another.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another.
It's to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.

To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.

To "let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To "let go" is to fear less and to love more. 


Monday, August 29, 2011

Autumn Thoughts

I know it's a bit early for autumn thoughts; well, maybe not that early.  After all, Labor Day is right around the corner.  Almost time to change my background. Time sure is flying by.  When I stepped out in the yard last night, it surely did feel like fall had arrived.  The aftermath of Irene brought us some wonderful cool temps and such a fantastic breeze; actually, I really shouldn't call 30 miles per hour a breeze, but it felt like heaven brushing against my face after spending the weekend cooped up in a humid, over-crowded household.  

Well, today is the first day at the new place, and they finally got us online.   I don't like the feel of the aura here.  We're all seated on top of each other...each with their own personality with all of its quirks.  And, I'm no angel.  I come with my baggage, too.  This really should prove interesting, to say the least. 

Gone hath the Spring, with all its flowers,
And gone the Summer's pomp and show,
And Autumn, in his leafless bowers,
Is waiting for the Winter's snow.

I said to Earth, so cold and gray,
'An emblem of myself thou art.'
'Not so,' the Earth did seem to say,
'For Spring shall warm my frozen heart.'
I soothe my wintry sleep with dreams
Of warmer sun and softer rain,
And wait to hear the sound of streams
And songs of merry birds again.

But thou, from whom the Spring hath gone,
For whom the flowers no longer blow,
Who standest blighted and forlorn,
Like Autumn waiting for the snow;

No hope is thine of sunnier hours,
Thy Winter shall no more depart;
No Spring revive thy wasted flowers,
Nor Summer warm thy frozen heart.

John Greenleaf Whittier

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricanes, Family, and Leaks

First of all, I wanted to thank all of you who showed concern for my safety.  It means so much to know there are people who care.

The worst of it is over.   Irene has passed and the cleanup begins.  Not that we really had any damage, thank goodness, but they have lifted the evacuation warnings, and the other hurricane has left my house.  My sister-in-law and her crew left a short while ago, leaving me to pick up the pieces.  Now is the time to sweep up the crackers and return all my breakables to their proper places.  I've a large collection of the faceless dolls from the Dominican Republic and another collection of angels.  Very breakable so with four children, all under six, it is better to be safe than sorry.  It was an exasperating, noisy 24 hours, to say the least.

But others have had it so much worse so I'm not about to sit and complain.  Some have lost everything.  I heard a news report that said the little bungalows located at Broad Channel in the Rockaways were seen floating down the street.  On the upside, lives that could have been lost were saved....a 12 year old girl who went surfing with her mom watching and two young men who went out kayaking.  For the life of me, I can't understand why excitement means more than one's life...or how could a mother stand there and watch her child do something so dangerous.  I shake my head in disbelief.  And, sadly, from what I here, the storm-related deaths that did occur because of Irene were of people who just didn't heed the warnings.

Just got back online a short while ago.  It was exactly 4:22 am that I was awoken by a knock at my door.  It seems there was a severe leak in my son's room...where the family was staying.  Son volunteered to move to the sofa. A pretty dangerous situation, it was.  Now, being that we are on the first floor, I highly doubt the leak could have come from the roof or maybe it could, I don't know, but it was powerful enough for us to cut the power.  We woke up the man upstairs who checked and said 'it's not from me.  There must be a brick loose.'   Not that I believed him.  He will never admit to doing wrong....and strangely, even though the rain kept on falling, the leak miraculously faded away.  In the morning, the pail was empty.

Hubby and I waited until daylight to check outdoors, and there was no loose brick, not even a crack in the wall...but there was his window directly above my son's room.  Hmm!!!  I wonder.  Can't prove anything, will just have to wait and see the next time it rains.  

All in all, I am glad Irene has passed in more ways than one.  I am thankful that no one died in this storm; it could have been so much worse here.  This time our mayor handled things well, unlike the day of the blizzard.  In my book, it is always better to be safe than sorry.  My house is peaceful and quiet, and I am about to say a prayer of thanks take a nap, but wanted to check in before I did to let you know that all is okay with the world. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting it Out

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr--

Isn't that such a beautiful prayer?  In the addiction field, we often hear and say the Serenity Prayer, but not in its entirety. 

Just dropping by to wish you all well.  To those in the path of the storm, please be safe, and for goodness sakes, do listen to our officials.  It's still fairly calm here, but I know that there always is a calm before the storm. My supervisor lives on Staten Island, TWO blocks from the ocean, but they refuse to evacuate.  Her hubby just doesn't believe it is going to be as bad as they say it is, and it's obvious they know nothing of dealing with a storm like this.  They're plan for safety is to head for the basement.  That's something you do in a tornado.  In a hurricane, you try to get to higher ground. I've lectured until I was blue in the face so now all I can do is pray for their safety.  By the way, speaking of evacuations...

...this should prove to be a rather interesting weekend, in more ways than one.  Not only is the city warning 'everyone' to stay inside for the duration of the hurricane once it begins, but I will be spending it with one of my 'favorite' of hubby's sisters I had mentioned the other day.  It's really something how you can talk someone up, isn't it?

Well, she does live in an evacuation area and had no place to go.  It's an emergency situation.  I may not be happy about it, but how could I possibly say 'no?'  There is no place for grudges and resentments when lives are at stake, so, I will be riding out two storms, so to speak.  I will be playing hostess to the sister, her daughter, and her daughter's four children...all under the age of six, in my tiny 5 room apartment.  Should be very interesting, to say the least.  

I'm not going to kid myself into thinking that this will be the magic bullet that makes her like me.  I've been through that too many times before and have ended up hurt because of it. So, I'll put on a smile, serve her some tea, and listen to her profuse profession of love for her favorite sister-in-law with the total knowledge that when the storm blows over it will carry with it her newly found love for me, and things will  once again return to normal.  

Be safe, my friends, and those in the path of Irene, please try to let us know how you are.  If all goes well, and the electricity remains, I'll be here as soon as I can.  Blessings to you all.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Hurricane

As another Friday rolls around, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a great weekend, and for those of you in the hurricane zone, please be safe.  I'll be battering down the hatches tomorrow, to be sure.  Checked on the evacuation map, and my home is located just outside the evacuation area.  Pays to be prepared, though.  They say this will be the worst storm to hit the city since 1821.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit unnerved.  

My main concern is losing power.  Will be sure to have everyone in the household make sure their phones are charged before the storm hits.   Already have plenty of candles and two flashlights.  Could use a transistor radio if they sell them anymore.  At any rate, our clock radio appears to take batteries so now is a good time to check it out.  Left son a list of things to stock up on today--water, canned goods, and the like.  Hubby will take care of the windows.   We'll be safe.  Don't know it I'll make it to work in the new place on Monday what with the talk of shutting down the trains, but that is getting ahead of step at a time is the way to go.  

So, be safe, my dear friends.  We're in for a wild ride, to be sure, but if we pay attention, prepare, and listen to the experts, we'll all be okay. 

Lord of the winds! I feel thee nigh,
I know thy breath in the burning sky!
And I wait, with a thrill in every vein,
For the coming of the hurricane!

And lo! on the wing of the heavy gales,
Through the boundless arch of heaven he sails;
Silent and slow, and terribly strong,
The mighty shadow is borne along,
Like the dark eternity to come;
While the world below, dismayed and dumb,
Through the calm of the thick hot atmosphere
Looks up at its gloomy folds with fear.

They darken fast; and the golden blaze
Of the sun is quenched in the lurid haze,
And he sends through the shade a funeral ray--
A glare that is neither night nor day,
A beam that touches, with hues of death,
The clouds above and the earth beneath.
To its covert glides the silent bird,
While the hurricane's distant voice is heard,
Uplifted among the mountains round,
And the forests hear and answer the sound.

He is come! he is come! do ye not behold
His ample robes on the wind unrolled?
Giant of air! we bid thee hail!--
How his gray skirts toss in the whirling gale;
How his huge and writhing arms are bent,
To clasp the zone of the firmament,
And fold at length, in their dark embrace,
From mountain to mountain the visible space.

Darker--still darker! the whirlwinds bear
The dust of the plains to the middle air:
And hark to the crashing, long and loud,
Of the chariot of God in the thunder-cloud!
You may trace its path by the flashes that start
From the rapid wheels where'er they dart,
As the fire-bolts leap to the world below,
And flood the skies with a lurid glow.

What roar is that?--'tis the rain that breaks
In torrents away from the airy lakes,
Heavily poured on the shuddering ground,
And shedding a nameless horror round.
Ah! well known woods, and mountains, and skies,
With the very clouds!--ye are lost to my eyes.
I seek ye vainly, and see in your place
The shadowy tempest that sweeps through space,
A whirling ocean that fills the wall
Of the crystal heaven, and buries all.
And I, cut off from the world, remain
Alone with the terrible hurricane.

William Cullen Bryant

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Inevitable Has Arrived

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and  eventual extinction.--Jean Debuffet

While my home situation remains in limbo, my work situation is about to change.  The big move is finally on. When I walk out of these doors on Friday at 4:30, I won't be walking back through them again.  Granted, five years is not an enormous amount of time in one's life,  but it doesn't make it any easier to face this transition into a new place....especially when that place is 
so much smaller than the one you are currently in...when you find out that you will no longer be sharing an office with one person;  instead, you'll be sharing a cubicle with four other people...and you will be sitting right out in the open, right in the middle of the floor.  

There will be no such thing as boundaries, no opportunity to make your space comfy and homelike because clients will have total access to the area.  They will walk out of group,  and there you are.  Yikes!!!  And I complained about boundary issues now?  Not good.  So, now that the move is right around the corner, I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed about the choices I have to make; that is, what will go with me and what will I have to leave behind.  Problem is, everything I have accumulated in these years...and then some since some of the items came with me from my other job...has some meaning to me, little trinkets from clients, gifts from co-workers, a gorgeous little desk clock from hubby, a candy dish from a co-worker when I left my last job, my singing animals, a colorful poster of the Kaballah on my wall.  Not easy choices to make. 

Coping with change isn't easy, but would life be pretty stagnant and boring without it? Many people resist change, and I am guilty on occasion, finding it far more comfortable to drift along day after day in the same old routines, but change is a constant; everyone faces it at some point in their lives, and we often feel overwhelmed by it.  We have two choices when dealing with change. We can fight and resist — or we can surrender and embrace.  We can resolve to make the best of it, or fight it every step of the way...and make ourselves miserable.  It's all up to us.  We can embrace the new, or we can struggle and suffer.   

I've been through far more drastic changes than this in my life, and I have survived.  No sense in lying to myself.  Yes, I WILL miss it here and I probably WILL be quite uncomfortable as I try to adjust.  But,  I will always have my memories of this place, and nothing can take those memories away. They will follow me always, both the good times and the bad, and, as one of the last of the old historical neighborhoods continues to change and modernize, I will move on and I can always say I worked here when it still was a very special place.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.--Anatole France

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sun in Virgo August

Below Bootes thou seest the Virgin,
An ear of corn held sparkling in her hand.
Whether the daughter of Astraus, who
First grouped the stars, they say, in days of old,
Or whencesoever,—peaceful may she roll.

 August 22nd to Sept. 23rd 

This  sixth sign of the ancient zodiac is the only zodiacal sign represented by a female.  Virgo is the mutable earth sign. It is the most flexible, the most able to adapt to changing conditions.  Mercury is the astrological ruler of Virgo and signifies the mind.  Hence, Virgo is considered the intellectual of the Zodiac. Virgo is sometimes associated with Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest, who made the earth lie fallow for half of every year. However, astrologers say Virgo's original symbol was the Sphinx, the mythological poser.

People born under Virgo are said to be good at organizing things. They are also good at taking care of important tasks and responsibilities.   Virgo is all order and practicality.  He/She knows how to arrange and organize things. Virgoans are the great planners of the zodiac.  However, the Virgoan, as the perfectionist of the zodiac,  can sometimes be a bit critical of others. Virgo manifests practicality as intelligence and diligence in labor and detailed hard work and service. 

The word Virgo is Latin for virgin,  and the principal stars in the constellation are linked up so as to form the outline of the flowing robe of a virgin.  Her figure, the second human one,  is used as the glyph for this sign. Virgo is symbolized by a picture of a maiden with a bail of wheat on Her hip. On the ancient star maps, the Virgin is generally represented as a woman with wings, in a walking attitude. In her left hand she bears a sheath of wheat, or ear of corn, which is marked by the brilliant first magnitude star Spica.

Her lovely tresses glow with starry light,
Stars ornament the bracelet on her hand;
Her vest in ample fold glitters with stars;
Beneath her snowy feet they shine, her eyes
Lighten all glorious, with heavenly rays,
But first the star which crowns the golden sheaf.

According to the agent myths, the Virgin of August became a goddess who descended to the earth and  presided over the harvest, teaching mankind agriculture.  She  and was worshipped under various names.  In Egypt, she was associated with Isis, and it was said that she formed the Milky Way by dropping a sheaf of corn as she fled to escape Typhon, which, as he continued to pursue her, became scattered over the heavens, thus producing the galaxy which has all the appearance of glittering grains of golden corn.

In India,  Virgo was known as the Maiden, and in  the valley of the Euphrates,  the Virgin represented the goddess Ishtar, the daughter of Heaven, the Queen of the Stars. Ishtar was subsequently identified with Venus.  Virgo has also been associated with the Ashtoreth of the book of Kings, the Astarte of Syria, the Hathor of Egypt, and the Aphrodite of Greece.

In China the Virgin was called the Frigid Maiden, and the Chinese made the star group led by Spica the group of Spring. The Chinese call the Milky Way the Yellow Road. The Arabs, who objected strongly to any drawing of the human figure, called Virgo the Ears, because of the wheat ear that she held in handLater Arabian astronomers referred to this constellation as the Innocent Maiden.

Among the Peruvians,  Virgo was known as the Magic Mother,and the Earth Mother. The month festival was called the Queen's festival, and was dedicated to the maize as well as to women in general, who in this month only predominated in the ritual.

Virgo Correspondences

Color: Navy blue, gray
Metal: Mercury
Stone: Sardonyx
Creatures: Virgins, squirrels
Incense: Narcissus
Number: 5
Day of the week: Wednesday
The Human Body: Bowels, Belly, Lower Liver
Key Word: Wisdom
Key Phrase: I analyze

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

National Spongecake Day

 August 23 is National Spongecake Day. Now, I used to make a mean spongecake in my baking days, but the picture above is not it.  It looks similar though. Talk about calorie laden!!!  There is no real reason or story behind this holiday.  It is simply to appreciate the great taste of a homemade sponge cake.  

On honor of this day, I'd like to share with you the recipe for that spongecake.  I used to make in my baking days.   Just thinking about it makes me want some.  Now, mind you, it's been about 20 years since I last made it so the recipe might be a little rusty in spots, but I'm sure all you bakers will know how to tweak what needs tweaking.

4 eggs separated
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into two pieces
sliced strawberries
fruit cocktail
2 packages vanilla pudding
and whipped cream, lots of it

Preheat oven to 325.  
Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. Mix milk and butter in small saucepan and melt butter over low heat. Beat egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar together until very light. Add milk and butter mixture, then add to flour.  Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared angel food pan.

Bake about 30 minutes.  Cool completely and invert onto cake platter.  Carefully slice the cake across into 3 layers.  On the bottom layer, place a layer of vanilla pudding, sliced strawberries, and top with some whipped cream.  Place the next layer on top.  Spread rest of vanilla pudding, fruit cocktail, and top with some whipped cream.  Finally, the third and top layer is placed atop the other two.  Cover the top and sides with whipped cream and top with sliced strawberries. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Be An Angel Day

So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox-

"Be an angel, will you?  Run and get my ...." my grandma used to say.  And, I would drop whatever I was doing to do this little service for her.  It made me feel so good knowing that I had made my grandma happy.  That's why I was so excited when I saw that today was Be an Angel Day.  It's been such a long time since someone has said those words to me so it stirred up some great memories.  What a wonderful idea it is!   The object of the day is simply to be like an angel and do something good or kind for someone.

Every day we're faced with opportunities to perform simple acts of service. To recognize these opportunities, we just need to pay attention.  For example, that elderly lady or man who is struggling to cross the busy street might appreciate your taking their arm and helping them or perhaps you might volunteer to help your neighbor carry his/her groceries home.  Or perhaps you have more canned goods in your cupboard than you can ever use.  Why not donate them to the hungry?  Even offering a smile and saying good morning to a lonely person will make their day.  Kindness is an act of selfless service to help someone or to cheer somebody.

Be An Angel Day is a day on which people around the world are encouraged to be like the angels -selfless servants - and do one small act of service.  Remember.  Each selfless act of kindness magnifies the charity within our own hearts and increases our capacity to love others and to accept them for who they are.  A simple act of kindness, like a ripple on a pond, radiates from the giver throughout eternity.

A single act of kindness may have a long trajectory and touch those we will
never meet or see. Something that we casually offer may move through a web
of connection far beyond ourselves to have effects that we may have never imagined.
And so each of us may have left far more behind us than we may ever know.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Friday, August 19, 2011

All Nature has a Feeling

All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal: and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There's nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal it its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.

John Clare
It's a cooking weekend for me again. The weeks in between seem to be getting shorter and shorter. We're in for a rainy weekend so I guess standing over the stove won't be too bad; it's not like it will be a day for some outdoor fun...and if I get too hot, I can always run out in the back yard and dance in the raindrops as I did when I was  young.  Kids here in the city don't play in the rain like we used to do so at least there won't be any neighbors out there to bother me.

Wishing you all a weekend filled with joy, wonder, and love

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Quote and Then Some

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.


For many years I stayed angry with my three of my hubby's sisters who have treated me badly. They've done such hurtful things as send invites to weddings only addressed to hubby or call my home and leave a message in Spanish for hubby on MY answering machine...knowing that I couldn't understand.  It got to the point that just hearing one of their voices would make my blood boil.  And, oh, how that anger festered!    Hubby did  always respect my feelings, and knew they were doing me wrong, but we both knew that they were bullies, and he is a such sweet man, never wanting to 'make waves'.  And I knew that if I told him to  steer clear of them he would have, but knowing them that would have fed the flames.  They would have made themselves the martyrs and me the reprehensible bully who turned their brother against them.  So, I never tried to stop him from seeing them and learned how to let it be.  

It was difficult, to be sure, but, in time, I learned to ignore the phone messages which have pretty much stopped now,  even to laugh about them and how silly they were being.  The Serenity Prayer helped as well.  Have I forgiven?  Who knows, but I have learned to. It's been about 12 years since I last saw them, and hubby will visit only on certain occasions.  One thing I have realized is that a lot of my anger had to to with was the fact that I was TRYING so hard to make them like me, and nothing seemed to work. And, it seemed that the harder I tried, the more frustrated and angry I was becoming. 

Today, I try to instill in my clients that anger, resentment, and all of those other negative emotions  keeps one in the 'victim' mode and instills a feeling  of powerless, and when you carry this baggage along with you, you are giving those who hurt you the power to keep the pain alive.  In my case, the key to letting go of my anger was realizing that I WASN'T at fault, that I had done nothing but love their brother.  The fact is,  neither of them can find lasting relationships and love.  Men are in and out of their lives. They are, indeed, truly unhappy women who cannot bear to see someone else be happy.  Hence, they try to make everyone else miserable. 

So, if you bearing ill feelings towards someone, take your power back.  Let it go.  You'll feel so much better for doing so.

Resolve your emotion
and move on.

- Author Unknown -

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Golden Ladder of Giving

1. To give reluctantly, the gift of the hand, but not of the heart.
2. To give cheerfully, but not in proportion to need.
3. To give cheerfully and proportionately, but not until solicited.
4. To give cheerfully, proportionately, and unsolicited, but to put the gift
into the poor person's hand, thus creating shame.
5. To give in such a way that the distressed may know their benefactor,
without being known to him or her.
6. To know the objects of our bounty, but remain unknown to them.
7. To give so that the benefactor may not know those whom he has relieved,
and they shall not know him.
8. To prevent poverty by teaching a trade, setting a person up in business,
or in some other way preventing the need of charity.


Yesterday was one of those
days that started out all wrong.  We all have those days when we would like to go to bed and start the day all over again.  It started when I was ready to leave the house for work;  the sky opened up and torrents of rain began coming down.  There was no way I was going to make it to the train station without getting a good drenching.  Had I been on my way home, it would have been another story.   I would have loved racing through the rain.  One can always strip off the wet clothes when they get home, but I was on my way TO work,  and who wants to sit in wet clothes all day with central air chilling your body through and through

Got to the train station and my Metrocard didn't work.  The transit clerk hands me a form and says 'Fill it out and send it to the MTA to get your money back.'  Last time I did that it took me six months to hear from the MTA, but, oh well, what can I do?  Laid out $20 which I really didn't have to spend for a new card.  Got off the train and stopped at the ONLY place left to get my iced coffee and they had no ice.  'No ice in the middle of summer?' I grumble, and to myself, 'the other store always had ice.  Too bad they had to close.' 

But then, the day began, and I had woman's group to run, and yesterday, I had brought them a surprise.  I've been sorting and heaving at home and decided that all of my pretty little bracelets could be put to better use than sitting around in my I brought the ladies a gift.  I spilled the shopping bag out onto the table and told them that 'someone' had donated them.  There had to have been 50 bracelets.   (At one time they were one of my addictions).  Oh, if you could have seen how excited they were...these ladies who have nothing really to call their own.  

It was such a good feeling to do something nice for someone, to give without expecting anything in return.  It put a smile on my face,  and all else, all the ills of the morning, were forgotten.  In 'giving' I had been 'given' in return...and all was right with the world. 

Cheerful givers do not count the cost of what they give. Their hearts are seton pleasing and cheering the person to whom the gift is given.

-Julian of Norwich-

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The River of Life

The more we live, more brief appear
     Our life’s succeeding stages:
A day to childhood seems a year,
     And years like passing ages.
The gladsome current of our youth,
     Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
     Along its grassy borders.
But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
     And sorrow’s shafts fly thicker,
Ye Stars, that measure life to man,
     Why seem your courses quicker?
When joys have lost their bloom and breath
     And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death,
     Feel we its tide more rapid?
It may be strange—yet who would change
     Time’s course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone
     And left our bosoms bleeding?
Heaven gives our years of fading strength
     Indemnifying fleetness;
And those of youth, a seeming length,
     Proportion’d to their sweetness.

--Thomas Campbell--

I love the above poem.  Mr. Campbell tells it like it is.  The passage of time speeds up as you grow older...or so it seems that way to me.  Life appears to be passing me by at breakneck speed, one day passing into another, becoming a blur as weeks, months, years all seem to meld together into a blur.  I was reading something awhile ago that says time itself does not speed up, it is the way we look at things.   It all has to do with anticipation and retrospection. When we are children, we have our whole life is ahead of us, so it seems slow.  Summer vacations appeared to go on forever.  When we were young, everything every experience we have is  new experience.   But I have realized as I have grown older and experiences tend to repeat themselves, time is moving ever so much faster.  

When we are anticipating new experiences--our first love, our first heartbreak, landing a job, marriage, having children--each new  event seems to be excruciatingly far away.   Then, after they happen, we look back at them.  "Did it really happen that long ago?"  we exclaim.  And so it is that when we are looking forward, all of our milestones seemed so impossibly far in the future, but once we have achieved them, they quickly  receded into the past.  And so it is, the older we get, the more milestones we have to look back upon, and the farther and faster they seem to recede. Hence, the speeding up of time.

Society is not much help either.  In today's world, everything is rush, rush. Cars drive too fast. People walk too fast. Food even seems to cook too fast Even holidays.  I was rather unpleasantly surprised last week when I went into the store to get hubby a birthday card, and Halloween cards were out already.  It's only early August.  Before you know it, they'll be springing  Christmas upon us. Come on now.  Let us enjoy what we can of the seasons.  I don't know about you, but I am really not ready for it.

Have a great day...and stay dry.

The days they pass so quickly now;
Nights are seldom long.
Time around me whispers when it's cold.
Changes somehow frighten me;
Still I have to smile.
It turns me on to think of growing old.
(Poems, Prayers, and Promises by John Denver)

Monday, August 15, 2011

How Beautiful is the Rain

Woke up today to the sound of the rain beating down on the air conditioner.  And what a magnificent sound it was! music to my ears.   The temperature has dropped to the upper 70's, and it is such a welcome relief from all the dreadful heat we have been ever so slight reprieve from this sultry summer weather.  Pulled the covers back up over my head and went back to bed.  I needed a day off, and this is the perfect day for it.

On another note, everything does happen for a reason so staying home was something that was meant to be.  Remember back a few weeks ago when I asked about spells to protect hubby from the witch at work that wanted his job?  It turns out that we were already too late.  The boss had already made up his mind, and was only waiting for hubby to go on vacation to instill her in hubby's place.  And that is what hubby found when he went to work today.  He had no job.  What a mean way to do it. The boss's excuse was hubby wasn't doing his job properly, but by the fact that they scheduled training for hubby to learn a new computer program for the intakes or that they always called hubby in to sit in on interviews when hiring new people, shows that they respected his opinion...and you don't give someone a promotion if they aren't doing their job. 

They did tell him to apply for unemployment, and they will not give him a problem which shows that they know they did him wrong.  Most places will fight you tooth and nail if you did, as they say,  a poor job. I'm glad that I wasn't at work when I got the call because I fell apart when I heard the news.   I just have wonder when life is going to stop throwing me these curve balls.  (((Sigh)))  Retirement just seems so far away.

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.

From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.

In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!

In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man's spoken word.

Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.

These, and far more than these,
The Poet sees!
He can behold
Aquarius old
Walking the fenceless fields of air;
And from each ample fold
Of the clouds about him rolled
Scattering everywhere
The showery rain,
As the farmer scatters his grain.

He can behold
Things manifold
That have not yet been wholly told,--
Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops,
Follows the water-drops
Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;
And sees them, when the rain is done,
On the bridge of colors seven
Climbing up once more to heaven,
Opposite the setting sun.

Thus the Seer,
With vision clear,
Sees forms appear and disappear,
In the perpetual round of strange,
Mysterious change
From birth to death, from death to birth,
From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;
Till glimpses more sublime
Of things, unseen before,
Unto his wondering eyes reveal
The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel
Turning forevermore
In the rapid and rushing river of Time.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow--

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On a Rainy Sunday

The stars are suspended on strings that
are pulled up in the daytime and let down
at night.

 -Babylonian Mythology, 3000 B.C.-

 We're having a very rainy Sunday here.  Storms last night were so loud and so much rain fell that they woke me from a deep sleep.  Temperature is cool, but humid.  The house is dark and without the lights on, you'd think it was the middle of the night...night which is the reason behind my rare Sunday post.

First, I would like to apologize to any of you who have been following my Remember When blog.  If you have checked, you will have found it no longer exists.  It was fun when I first began the blog, but later I found that, although I love reminiscing about the past and all, it becomes a chore when it becomes something you feel that you have to do...and readers pick up on it, I know, because I was losing followers faster than I was gaining them.   Hence, I deleted the blog...deleting it only to make some room on my picture album.  

In its place is a blog I have really been thoroughly enjoying.  As most of you know, I have always loved the night.  Even as a child, I'd spend time staring at the stars rather than sleeping.  Many a night mom would come to my room and find me playing with my paper dolls in my bedroom window under the moonlight.  Then, when I grew older, all of my jobs were at night.  It wasn't until I had children and found myself having to keep pace with the rest of the world, that I began working during the day and sleeping at night.  

Even now, after so many years on the day shift, I find that on weekends and vacation,...and even on some work nights, I find myself wandering about during the wee hours of the night....watching the moon, the stars...feeling the cool night breezes upon my face.  There is nothing more glorious to a night creature such as myself. Hence the idea of a blog about everything to do with the night and A Journey Through the World of Shadows was born.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Night of the Shooting Stars: The August Perseids

 "And oft, before tempestuous winds arise,
The seeming stars fall headlong from the skies,
And, shooting through the darkness, gild the night
With sweeping glories and long trains of light." 


The Perseid meteor shower occurs every August and always produces a lot of bright meteors.  In every climate it is witnessed, and at all times of the year, but most frequently in the autumnal months.  The Perseids have been around as long as there are records.  They are caused by the largest comet to frequent Earth for thousands years and will continue to frequent the earth for thousands a years to come.  Our distant ancestors will look up in the sky in much the same as we are doing today.

When the ancients saw these balls of fire streaking across the sky, they believed that they were messages from the star gods, messages too complex for them to understand, and the frightened people believed that quite likely,these messengers meant harm. At Sparta shooting stars were thought to show that the gods were displeased with the kings.  Some ancients believed that we each had our own star, and that a falling star denoted that someone was about to die, while ancient China, it was the opposite. A shooting star was said to have marked the birth of a child whose soul was coming to us at that moment.  
The stars are thought by some Mexican tribes to be birds with bright breasts and dark backs. When they face us we see the stars, but if they turn their backs they become invisible. When a bird flies over the face of the heavens we see a shooting star. Then again the stars are the bright nails holding up the sky, or the lamps hung out from heaven to light the lower world.
  And in early Christian writings, shooting stars were said to be fallen angels.

"All of sudden, this shooting star went by, and all I could think was that they were listening to us somehow. "--Nicholas Sparks

Shooting stars bring much to the imagination, and in today's world, we  often make a wish or consider it lucky to see a shooting star.
If a wish is made and the star travels in the direction of the person making the wish, it is destined to come true.
The after-midnight hours leading up to dawn on August 12 are usually the prime window to view the annual Perseid meteor .  So, hopefully we will all have a wonderfully clear weekend.  Enjoy the show. 

Say not, we pray you, in accents so solemn,
Meteors are but aerial stones, 
Wandering fragments of planets expired,
Speeding through space to terrestrial zones. 

This way and that way they glide through the azure,
Luminous pathways from heaven to earth;
Footsteps of angels we always believed them,
Harbingers they of new life and of birth.

Softly they slide from the pure empyrean,
Love is their beacon, 
and souls are their freight; 
To mothers expectant they speed with their burdens, 
To homes of the humble, to halls of the great.

Do not, Philosophers, plague us with reasons,
Vexing our minds with your "Primitive Cause;"
Leave us the charm of our childhood's traditions,
Leave us our Poetry; nor teach us your Laws. 
--A. G. Rensham--

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The House With Nobody in It

Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track 
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black. 
I suppose I've passed it a hundred times,
but I always stop for a minute  And look at the house, 
the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.

I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things; 
That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings. 
I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do; 
For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two. 

This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass, 
And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass. 
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied; 
But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside. 

If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade. 
I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be 
And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free. 

Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door, 
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known. 

But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife, 
A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet, 
Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone,that ever your eyes could meet 

So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track
I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back, 
Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,
For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

It's been a long time since I thought of the above poem, not for five years at least.  It was a favorite of my ex-husband's aunt, and she knew it by heart...word for word.  I can't tell you how many times I heard it; every time she would call...and then, even when the dementia began setting in, she could not remember what she had for breakfast, but she could remember every word of this poem.

It's been five years since I had seen her.  When her hubby died, her house was sold, and she was whisked off to Florida and never heard from again.  I've been told she totally forgot who we were.   I did love this woman.  She was the only one in that crazy, warped family that accepted me and treated me as if I were the daughter she never had.  

Yesterday we buried her.  I didn't break down until the priest read this poem, and then I remembered.  I remembered how she always stood by my side and defended me, no matter what the other family members would say.  And how she would call me, every day, just to find out how I was doing.  One time I wanted to go to sleep early, so I took the phone off the hook.  Boy, did I ever hear about that one.  I was angry at the time because I was a grown woman and had a right to go to bed whatever time she wished, but now I realize that she was irate with me only because she cared.   

And, oh how this woman loved her animals.  All the cats in her neighborhood knew and loved her for none were turned away.  All of the creatures were fed...squirrels, birds, stray dogs, and even the pigeons.  She was such a special woman.

It pains me that I didn't have a chance to say good-bye, but I can honor her memory in my heart and with the poem that she loved so much.  

Rest in peace, dear Antoinette, rest in peace, and know that you are surely missed.