Friday, September 28, 2012


Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The Grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Robert Louis Stevensonn

Another weekend is upon us. I'll be shopping and cooking for most of the day on Saturday, but you'd best believe that Sunday will be for me. I'm loving this weather, the cool crisp air, and who really cares if it rains. I only wish it was raining over the weekend, not today when I have to go to work. I'm just picturing myself sitting in my favorite chair, rocking back and forth, curtains pulled aside, windows open, and the cool breeze blowing through the house, listening to the rain as it pounds on the ground.   

My friend, Aine over at The Deepest Well wrote about how she was reading and learning about an addition to her path...Druidry.  That got me to thinking.  For the longest I have wanted to learn more about Celtic Shamanism and the Faery Tradition. I've bought a few books for my Kindle and plan on doing some reading.  I did find a course on Faery Shamanism, but I'm not ready to throw any money into a course with my health up and down as it is.

The Kabbalah course I had planned to take was free, but it started the week I discovered I had a nodule in my lung, and that just threw everything off.  Although I didn't post about it, for weeks my head was in a fog, and all I could think of was cancer and, to be honest, that I wasn't ready to go yet.  The doctors are following the spot for any changes and another cat scan should be scheduled in the near future, but since that time when I was first told about it, I find that I have grown in many ways. I'd often thought of how I would react and now I know.  And I'm stronger than I gave myself credit for. Facing one's mortality is a sure way to foster growth.

Wishing all of you special people  a joyous, fun-filled weekend.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Musings on My Journey Toward Healing

Healing is the journey. The destination is yourself. The full recognition of all
the different aspects of yourself—your joy, your sorrow, your pain,
your pleasure—all lead you to the source of who you are. Only by
having intimate contact with this source can you experience the fullness
of your life. Only by fearlessly looking within can you embrace the landscape
of your life and open yourself completely to all the love
and compassion that lives inside you.

Philip Berk

Went to my doctor for a follow up yesterday.  The news really wasn't so bad, although it could have been better.  The bad news is that my blood pressure is still up there...166 over she raised my dosage of medication. It was frustrating to me because I have worked so hard on lowering it.  I never miss my medication and stick diligently to my low sodium diet.  But, I guess as the old saying goes, 'Rome wasn't built in a day' so I guess I'll just take it 'one day at a time'.

My thyroid scan showed a hot spot and three cold nodules. Fortunately, my TSH level was not that high so medicine will probably control it, but it is also possible I will need a biopsy on the nodules.  My doctor stated she is reasonably sure they are not cancerous, but since endocrinology is not her forte, she will leave that decision to the endocrinologist. She did prescribe me some thyroid medication which she said should help alleviate some of my symptoms--insomnia, heart palpitations, IBS, intolerance to heat, excessive sweating and a whole bunch of minor symptoms.  It will be good to finally get a good night's sleep. 

The good news is that I lost another two pounds.  That makes 17 pounds in all.  My clothes are getting looser now and there are two skirts that I cannot even wear anymore for fear I'll walk right out of them. In all honesty, I never thought I would see the day. I'd begun to think it was all hopeless, that I would never be thin again.  And the more hopeless one feels, the more one gives up and does whatever they can to sabotage their goal.  That way, one doesn't have to feel like a total failure.  

In other words, our body believes everything our mind says and if we tell ourselves we are a failure, we will become a failure. The body/mind connection is a powerful one indeed, and the way I look at it is this.  If I was able to delude myself into believing that it didn't matter what I looked like...and ignore all the symptoms this excess weight brought on...I can certainly channel this same energy into a more positive, health producing frame of mind. 

I'll close now with some quotes and a positive affirmation from one of my favorite writers, Louise Hay, who helped me through some troublesome times.

You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. We think so often that we are helpless, but we’re not. We always have the power of our minds. Claim and consciously use your power.

Every thought we think is creating our future.

In the infinity of life where I am,
All is perfect, whole and complete,
I no longer choose to believe in old limitations and lack, I now choose to begin to see myself
As the Universe sees me --- perfect, whole, and complete.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jujube Fruit, A Magical Fruit

“The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul.” 

David O. McKay

I've never cared very much for fruit. That's why I started having a fruit smoothie every morning when I go to work.  That was the only way I could get fruit down. I really never thought I could change.   The problem was I was so used to eating whatever I wanted, and I really didn't care. After quitting smoking, 3 years ago, I switched my addiction to food, and the unhealthier it was for you, the more I ate of it.  My addiction was telling me, "It really doesn't matter what you look like. You're getting old now, anyway."  Now, that was not 'really' the way I felt, it was my addiction talking.  Anyone who has ever been addicted knows what I am talking about.  We try to justify our poor behavior patterns. We never think about the damage we are doing to ourselves.  We brush those thoughts aside. 

But then comes the day that we hit 'rock bottom'.  For the gambler, this might be the day he loses his house.  Or the substance abuser may find themselves living on the streets or cardboard boxes.  The alcoholic mother may have her children taken away. And yet others may decide to escape their addiction even though they have lost relatively little Hitting rock bottoms means that the addict reaches a place where he/she decides they no longer like the way they are living, and hopefully, are now ready to make changes. In other words, we experience a 'spiritual awakening'. 

My 'spiritual awakening' came when I discovered just what damage I was doing to my body and decided that I didn't want to die, that I wanted to live and to do that, changes had to be made.  Sodium and calorie laden foods were totally wiped from my diet, and in their place were fruits and vegetables...but what to do when one doesn't like fruits.  Well, I try to make it sort of an adventure. Each time I go to the fruit stand I like to try something exotic, something new that I have never had before.  This past weekend I picked up some Jujube fruits,also known as Chinese dates.  I buy these fruits, and then I research them, usually to find out how to eat them. In doing so, I learned that Jujube fruits have been used in Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years and are prized for their various health and nutritional benefits. 

Jujube fruit contains 20 times the amount of Vitamin C of citrus fruits as well as most of the amino acids and minerals required by our body. The fruit of the Jujube has been used for coughs, to rid the body of poisons, and for heart conditions. Its benefits are also found in the treatment of itching which is caused by several skin disorders, insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, loss of energy and lack of appetite. In Chinese medicine, it has been prescribed to nourish the blood, liver and spleen as well as to cleanse the body through detoxification, and to quiet irritated and racing mind. 

Similar to an apple in taste, although it is much drier and kind of bland when eaten raw, Jujube fruit can be dried, boiled, candied, baked, canned and stewed to make desserts and sauces, or can be eaten raw. Ripe fruits will keep up to a month when stored at room temperature. 

(Actually, they are pretty good.  Took me awhile to realize that, like an apple, the skin is edible.  For some, it may be bland, but the health benefits are far worth it.  A thumbs up from me.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time;
what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

During the past week, I know that many of us were unwillingly thrust, kicking and fighting all the way, into the new Blogger format. We gave it a good fight and hung on as long as we could to the old ways, but change is an inevitable part of life, and in the long run, we woke up one morning to find our blogs changed forever with no going back. Personally, I am not a happy camper. Not only do I like to have the freedom of choice, but I don't have an easy time with any kind changes in technology, and the way I look at things, Blogger is on the computer, the computer is technology, so, in my eyes,  Blogger is a part of technology.

I especially love it when they talk 'streamlining', and one finds there are extra steps that now need to be taken.  For example, one morning I arrived at work and opened Microsoft Word to type a letter for a client only to find that the Word that I knew was gone and had been replaced with a very confusing Microsoft 10. Even printing from this program has become a challenge.  

Not too long ago, I destroyed my Kindle by over-charging the battery.  I plugged it in about 6 pm to recharge and totally forgot about it until the next morning.  After that, it just kept rebooting itself over and over again.  So, hubby felt so bad for me he got me a new one.  This time it wasn't the keyboard type.  It was the touch screen, and I am still having a hard time with it.  I want my old keyboard back, but touch screen is the way of the future.  He has been after me to upgrade my phone, as well, but as I have told him, let's leave well enough alone.

For the life of me, I can't decide whether it is age related or just due to the fact that I never had any supervised training on these things.   Take the other evening, for example.  Since the movers broke one of our television sets, we finally got our first digital which came with an all new remote. On the old remote, I was able to set a reminder for my favorite shows.  I've yet been able to do it on this new one.  Hating to give up, I decided to try one last time, ended up pushing some button, and then the television froze. I pushed one button after another, turned the set off and on, tried everything, but it stayed stuck. Eventually, I had to spend 25 minutes waiting on the phone for the Cable company so they could walk me through it.

Sometimes I find myself longing for the good old days.  Life was a lot less complicated back then. Remember party lines?  We didn't know what it was like to walk down the street with a phone to our ear or stand and block an aisle of the supermarket as we gossiped about our neighbor. In fact, we had to share our phone line with a nearby neighbor and sometimes two neighbors. And we couldn't make a call whenever we felt like it.  We had to wait until our neighbors were done. 

We didn't have microwaves back then either, so more often than not, everyone had to sit down at the table and eat together.  Remotes?  Unheard of back then.  First of all, we only had about three channels to choose from and had to get up from the sofa to turn the knobs.  We had no PC or game console.  We spent most of our time outdoors. 

There is a young man in my group who turned 23 yesterday. A few of us oldsters were talking and when someone mentioned a 'hi-fi', this youngster asked what that was.  I then asked him if he knew what a 45 was, he said "Of course, everyone knows that.  It's a gun." What does that say about the world we live in?

Not everything that is faced can be changed.
But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Harvest Home

The season for enjoying the fullness of life --
partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest
with others, and reinvesting and saving portions 
of the harvest for yet another season of growth.

Denis Waitley

What a gorgeous morning it is, a great way to begin what looks to be another busy week on my first day back to work in this fall season.  I had a great weekend.  On Saturday I went to our neighborhood Rite Aid and found embroiled in such joy, I felt like a kid in a candy store.  They had so many goodies for autumnal decorations on sale for 50 percent off that I couldn't make up my mind and bought one of almost everything...and some I even bought two of.  As usual, I went especially berserk with autumn with scented candles and came home with such fabulous scents as Fresh Orange, Maple Sugar and Oak, Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Pecan Swirl, and Apple Cider.

I even came across the sweetest little harvest flameless tealight candle as shown in the following photo of my welcome Autumn altar.

Here's a closeup of my new faceless harvest goddess.  What a find!  Later she will take a prominent place with my other faceless dolls.

Another of my favorite new additions. "Gather Hope".  It seems that some of these new additions I was meant to find.

And there are more to come.  I just haven't set everything up yet.

I then headed for our fruit stand to pick up my fruit and veggies. (See photo above). I picked up some green, red, and dark purple grapes the size of plums, as well as some large black plums, some jujuba fruit which I have to figure out how to eat, and some apples for my baked apples. I picked up some potatoes for colcannon, but decided on baking them instead. It was a wee bit warm at the equinox so, rather than my original menu of soup, I chose to make a nice healthy vegetarian pasta dish of whole wheat pasta, cauliflower and brocolli sauteed in fresh garlic and olive oil. Simple, but delicious and filling.

Later in the evening, after cooking up some beans and dinner, I lit a few of my new candles and inhaled the fabulous aromas, savoring this fabulous time of the year in the quiet dark of a late evening on the first of our autumn nights.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life,
then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It's a time of year
when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the
perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes
on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before.

Mitchell Burgess 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blessed Mabon to All

Stopping by before I head out to the fruit stand to wish you all a day of great joy and peace. May all of your wishes come true as we celebrate this most special day of harmony and balance.

The corn, in golden light,

Waves o'er the plain;
The sickle's gleam is bright;
Full swells the grain.

Now send we far around
Our harvest lay!
-Alas! a heavier sound
Comes o'er the day!

On every breeze a knell
The hamlets pour,-
-We know its cause too well,
She is no more! 

Her soft eye's blue,-
-Now o'er the gifts of God
Fall tears like dew!

--Felicia Dorothea Hemans--

Friday, September 21, 2012


Now our work's done, thus we feast, 
After labour comes our rest; 
Joy shall reign in every breast, 
And right welcome is each guest: 
After harvest merrily, 
Merrily, merrily, will we sing now, 
After the harvest that heaps up the mow. 
Old English Harvest Song

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox or Mabon to some. Mabon is ruled by the Wine Moon and marks the completion of the fruit harvest. In ancient times, this was the time of second harvest. Most of the crops have been reaped, and if the crop was bountiful, a celebration of thanks and feasting would take place. It is always a time of joy and thanksgiving, and although I have always loved this time of year, the harvest has become so much more meaningful to me now than it has been in the past.

It wasn't until I came face-to-face with my own mortality this year that I realized just how poor my diet was and how delicious fruit and vegetables could be. Oh, we always had our totem vegetable with our meal each night, something heated up from a can. And, I made sure I had my morning smoothie. In my eyes, that took care of the fruit end of it. Huge plates of Italian food and steak, sausage, or other meats made up the biggest part of my menu.  Now my diet falls mainly on fruits and vegetables, as I tired of the summer fruits, I found myself longing for the fall and winter vegetables to arrive...and I am armed with plenty of new recipes. 

This year, because of my new diet, I have discovered that one of the best things about fall is the abundance of fruits and vegetables at the farmers' markets and produce aisles at the grocery store. The stalls and shelves are literally overflowing with the fall harvest -- eggplants, grapes, squash, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, pears, and, of course, apples. This year I've a Mabon meal planned that includes some Oatnut bread (store bought) and a low sodium stew of chicken, carrots, onions, corn, and potatoes (already made and frozen for the special day).  For dessert, some baked apples, simple and easy to make after a long day at work.

4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter (non-salted for me)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Scoop out the core from top of each apple, leaving a well. Be sure not cut all the way through. Fill each apple with 2 tablespoons pf brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Place in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and apples are tender.

I've much to do this autumn.  When we moved, I let a lot of my stuff go, including most of my fall decorations.  The old home had been such a nightmare that I just wanted to start from scratch.  When decorating for Mabon be sure use harvest colors of red, russet, orange, brown, indigo and gold. Decorate the table with bunches of dried herbs, sunflowers, and colorful autumn leaves in a basket. Display the fruits of the harvest.  I dohave the most marvelously scented pumpkin candle that I have been saving just for this occasion.

And, while Mabon is a time of giving thanks, we sometimes forget and take our blessings for granted. Sit down and make a gratitude list. Write down things that you are thankful for. 

I am grateful for:

My husband and my two wonderful sons.
My fur baby Miss Minga who has been my loyal companion for over 20 years now. We have grown old together.
A new sunrise each day. My home.  It may  not a mansion, but it is home to me.
The food on my table.
For this blog and my wonderful fellow bloggers who have become my friends.
I’m so, so grateful for life.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.  Happy Mabon to all.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Rare Thursday Rant

Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused.
Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.

Daniel J. Boorstin
Yesterday I turned on the news to hear the weather report and the first thing I heard was that Lindsay Lohan was once again in trouble. This time she was arrested after her SUV alleged hit a pedestrian, and it seems that she left the scene of the accident. I am so tired of reading about this woman committing crimes everywhere she goes and getting what I consider, celebrity justice. Let one of us do half the things that she has done, and we'd be sitting in jail. Let one of my clients do it, and they would lock the door and throw away the key.  But, it seems to me that if you are a celebrity, you are above the law. And sadly, when she actually does kill someone, they will say that they "never saw this coming."  

Even sadder still is that our teenagers look up to these so-called role models. This morning, the newscaster stated that her only claim to fame is her bad girl image, and he is tired of talking about her.  What else has she done with her life was the question he asked?  He then went on to add that if this was your average person on the street, they would be behind bars. Needless to say, I was so proud of him for voicing his opinion. 

It is a sad state of affairs that children are being brought up in a culture which is saturated with sex, violence, and an emphasis on fashion and appearance. Indeed, there are wonderful positive role models in the spotlight as well, but the media doesn't talk about them as the do the negative role models.

When I was growing up, adults were complaining about Elvis Presley because he swiveled his hips too much. Today, it is violence and sex that sells.  Let one of these young stars volunteer their services at an orphanage or an old folks home, and we wouldn't hear about it...or else a wee article will be found somewhere in the middle of the newspaper.  But, by golly, let a rap star shoot someone or a silly little actress get drunk  and get arrested for a DWI, and it is front page news. What does that say about how far we have come? Not something to brag about is it?  And when does it end?  When do we, as a society say 'enough is enough'. 

In closing, I would love to share with you the wonderful little story I found about Gandhi. It says a lot about values and what it means to be a positive role model.

A troubled mother took her daughter to see Mohandas Gandhi,
who was world-renowned for his great spiritual discipline. It seems
the young girl had become addicted to eating sweets, and her mother
wanted Gandhi to speak to her about this harmful habit and convince
her to drop it. Upon hearing this request, Gandhi paused in silence
and then told the mother, "Bring the girl back to me in three weeks
and I will speak to her then."

Just as she was instructed, the mother returned with her daughter,
and Gandhi, as he had promised, spoke to the girl about the detrimental
effects of eating too many sweets. He counseled her to give them up.

The mother gratefully thanked Gandhi, but was perplexed. "Why,"
she asked him, "did you not speak to my daughter when we first came to you?"

"My good woman," Gandhi replied, "three weeks ago
I myself was still addicted to sweets!"


And please don't get me started on the new Blogger.  They got me today.  I hate being forced into something I don't want.  I love the way they say streamlined, but I find there is more steps to get your blog written and published than ever before.  Right now I am not a happy campler.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Way Of The Wind

The wind's way in the deep sky's hollow
None may measure, as none can say
How the heart in her shows the swallow
The wind's way.

Hope nor fear can avail to stay
Waves that whiten on wrecks that wallow,
Times and seasons that wane and slay.

Life and love, till the strong night swallow
Thought and hope and the red last ray,
Swim the waters of years that follow
The wind's way.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Oh my, I am surely glad that I chose to play hooky yesterday. The weather was pretty severe. The rains were torrential and the winds strong. Although I love both, the way things were flying about, I was glad to be in the comfort of my home and not dodging the objects that were blowing about because not everyone listens and takes heed.  

Yesterday afternoon, while sitting in my rocker enjoying the fresh air that was blowing through the house, I suddenly I heard a loud crash in the courtyard. Turned out to be one of my neighbor's plants that had been blown right out of the window. On closer examination, I saw that it was a small live Christmas tree...and those flowers that I thought I saw at first glimpse were small red bulbs.  Now, I am for Christmas as much as the next person, but I have to believe this is a leftover from last Christmas. After all, how can forget that Halloween falls in between...and that it is right around the corner. 

I get more and more excited as the days pass by, and the arrival of the Spirit Halloween Store down the block from my job tells me that it is really on its way.  I've always loved Halloween, probably even more so than Christmas.  There is something magical about this day when the veils wear thin, and the ancestors once again walk the earth.  Ghosts and goblins abound, and little girls can once again become a fairy princess...and all of us can dress up and become children again. 

It's a magic night, to be sure, but Halloween means so more than just the magic that comes from casting spells. Indeed, its magic goes so much further than that, for Halloween is magical in a sense that anything can happen...and that is exactly what makes it so special.

But, for now, life must continue at its daily pace. There is work to be done, and clients to be seen. Halloween will be here soon enough, and before we know it, it will be gone once again, another year over, yet another distant memory.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Autumn Equinox

"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November."

Rose G. Kingsley

Played hooky today.  My body was craving for some much-needed rest.  Besides, when I awoke this morning and heard the sound of the rain beating down on the AC, I pulled the covers up and went right back to sleep.  It's still like night out there, and it is coming up to 8 am.  They say later the rain is going to get much worse, a tremendous storm they say with high winds and drenching rains, perhaps even a tornado.  We've been getting them a lot lately here.  Changes are occurring.  Let's face it and be honest.  I heard the weather report last night and already had my mind made up.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the Autumn Equinox is almost upon us. After this past summer, I know most of us are eagerly awaiting it. Some call this day Mabon and consider it the second harvest celebration, and although most of us consider Labor Day to be the unofficial start of Autumn, it is the Autumn Equinox that truly marks the official beginning of Autumn. The days are growing noticeably shorter, and there is a crispness in the air and although the leaves have not begun to change, we know that will happen soon enough. The weather here in the city has been so wonderful that I haven't wanted to stay inside. There is nothing like the feeling of your hair blowing in the wind...and not caring how mussed up it gets. 

The Autumn Equinox has been revered and celebrated since ancient times as a time to share our abundance and showing gratitude for all the bountiful blessings that Mother Nature has given us. For our ancestors, this day of equal balance between light and dark was a powerful time. Most harvest crops were collected, and it was not only a day of thanksgiving, but also a reminder that it is time to prepare for the winter. 

It is a time of drawing inward and taking a moment to think about what the 'harvest' of our lives has been.  It is a time of balance, a day where light and dark stand equal as we prepare to begin the dark part of the year. It is also a time of the year when we begin working towards finding a balance in ourselves by making peace with the dark and considering it a part of the light, for without one, we could not have the other. We must use this time wisely as a time for meditation, contemplation, reflection and giving thanks for those things we so often take for granted. 
Be thankful! 

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Author Unknown

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday This and That

The person who wants the rose must respect the thorn.

Persian proverb

Greetings on this wonderful, fall-like morning. Lately the air has been cool and crisp with a fantastic breeze that messes your hair and is so invigorating that I find myself moving with a faster step lately. The graduation went so well on Friday. Several clients didn't show up, including two of my people, but that was to be expected. Sometimes the fear of walking up in front of a huge audience and saying a few words triggers their anxiety and sometimes, it signals an end to an area of comfort and support they have become used to.  We tell them they can still attend on an aftercare basis, but for many, it's not the same for they know that soon they will have to move on.

I do have to say one thing, though.  11 hour workdays which includes lots of physical labor such as setting up tables and serving food is not something for a 65 year old, although while I was doing it, I felt fantastic.  It was afterwards I paid the price.  Then, I did the food shopping and cooking on Saturday, and on Sunday 'Fall Fever' hit and I began packing things away and getting long sleeved shirts out.  Not very much rest this weekend, that's for sure. 

Before I begin what seems to be turning into a little rant, I would like to mention that I do accept my cronehood in every way and the following is not meant to denigrate or complain about my age.  It is just that sometimes, hearing it in front of a hundred people still throws me for a loop. Let me explain.

I have a client who didn't think he needed a treatment program and during the first month or so, all he did was complain that he was being forced to attend and wouldn't get anything out of it.  That was over two years ago.  Our program is six months to a year, but he will not move on and here is why.  The following is a part of his speech:

"And I have a special thank for Mary.  When my mom died, she was there for me to help me through those hard times, and she became like my mom.  In my heart, she will always remain my second mom and will always be with me."

A beautiful speech that brought tears to my eyes, so why did it make me uncomfortable about my age? It is hard to explain, but to begin with, this client is in his forties, older than my old two sons. I just don't 'see myself as being at an age to have a son that old, but it is obvious that everyone else does, and the truth is, I am old enough. Perhaps, I am just tired of being pointed out as the oldest person in my work place.  I hear all the time that I am such a 'mama' figure for many of the clients, and that's why I am able to establish a breakthrough with some of the most difficult. My problem is that I don't see a 'mama' figure looking back at me when I look into the mirror. 

True,  I may have all of the aches and pains that come with age, but the inner me is still so full of life. What I see when I when I look into a mirror is a woman several years younger, someone who is not so much out of the age range of her peers, someone who is closer to 50, someone who 'fits' in. Perhaps that is the answer.  My 'inner child' is still struggling to 'fit' in.

They say that each of us is actually three different people. We are the person we see ourselves to be, the person others see, and the person who we really are. The anorexic or bulimic sees themselves as fat; we see them as emaciated. In truth, somewhere hidden beneath the person's layer of self-deception is a beautiful person wanting to come out. I look in the mirror and I see a vibrancy looking back that obviously others don't see. I guess that is why we see some of us oldtimers struggling so hard to look like they are young that they dress in styles that only a young person can carry about.  Perhaps they look in the mirror and don't really see themselves.  They see the person they 'want' to be.  In other words, they haven't accepted the aging process.

These uncomfortable feelings about my age only happen to me when I am around my peers at work. Most of the time I embrace my cronehood, but it is my peers who, though not meaning to, put me in this position. First of all, none of them know of my childhood and being the 'one' who never fit in. And secondly, none of them even realize that they are making me feel this way. They leave me out of things because they respect me. For example, several months ago one of my 30ish co-workers was having a weekend party involving 'sex toys'. It turns out all the ladies were invited...except for me. So when I vented my feelings to the one co-worker I know I can trust, she said, "Evie didn't ask you because she was embarrassed. She respects you to much."

I do appreciate her respect. I really do, but, then, I have to ask.  Whose feelings were 'really' taken into account? Was it really out of respect for me?  Or was it that she felt no one could have a good time with them around, although I don't know where she/they would get that idea.  After all, I am the biggest practical joker at the job.

In this day and age, too many are disrespectful of those of us who are up in years.  Families push their elderly relatives aside and barely have time for them, and youth knocks them aside to gain the only seats on a train. I see elderly losing their homes and living on the streets every day as I make my way through the city.  It breaks my heart.  So, yes, I do feel good about the respect, but can't help feeling that it is being taken too far.

Indeed, I am older than the rest by a minimum of 20 years.  That is an entire generation older when you think of it. But that doesn't mean that I am a prude or I don't like to have fun. I probably wouldn't have gone to that party if asked, but not because it was about sex toys. I wouldn't have gone because it is too far to travel.  But there are other things I could be invited to...such as lunches they sometimes go to.

I guess what I am trying to say in this long, round about way is that sometimes respect can be taken too far and can hurt someone's feelings. We shouldn't just 'assume' that because someone is old they wouldn't be interested or don't want to be a part of.  Just give me the opportunity to make the decision for myself. And I am tired of people being so fixated on my age.  See me for who I am.  Accept me as I am. And please, just let me be who I am.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Sometimes the most
important thing in a whole
day is the rest we take
between two deep breaths,
or the turning inwards in
prayer for five
short minutes.

Etty Hillesum

Ah, another Friday. This is the day I wait for every week. Sometimes I wonder if I am just wishing my life away.  Of course, every day is special in its own way, but I have always loved Friday. And this Friday is special because of the graduation tonight.  It will definitely be a long day, to be sure. I probably won't get home until about 9 pm tonight. There are so many speeches to be made and food to be eaten. I do hope they have last year's menu. If so, the food is going to be awesome. Let me tell you, they  had the best potato salad I have ever eaten and the barbecued ribs fell right off the bone. 

And,  I've already planned out my menu so I can indulge. I've been doing so well on my diet.  I haven't weighed myself lately, but my clothes are fitting better.  But even moreso, I do worry about my blood pressure and sodium intake so I try hard not to go above 1000 mg.  Usually I stay 5-600 mg which is why my blood pressure lowered. Of course, I haven't tested that lately either.  Have to remind myself next week to have the nurse here at work check it out. I've discovered that Kelloggs Mini Wheats have no sodium, so I figured that will be tomorrow's breakfast, while lunch will be a fruit salad and a slab of my sodium free Swiss Cheese. That leaves plenty of room for dinner without any added guilt

Speaking of barbecued ribs, a friend on the fitness site I belong to gave me a for low sodium barbecued beef, and I plan to try my hand at it this weekend since it is a cooking weekend.  I can't wait to try it. I also found a low sodium recip
e for Asian Salisbury Steaks with sauteed Watercress and whole wheat fusilli with beef ragu. I know, they sound complicated, but they don't look so hard.  I'll let you know on Monday.

Here's wishing you all  a relaxing carefree weekend.
See you on Monday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement. Yet, almost no one gets
the encouragement they need to grow to their full potential. If everyone
received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone
would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond the
wildest dreams. We would have more than one Einstein, Edison, Schweitzer,
Mother Theresa, Dr. Salk and other great minds in a century.

Sidney Madwed

Tomorrow evening several of our clients will be honored at our annual graduation ceremony.  They've worked hard to get where they are, and I am so proud of all of them. This year I will have 8 success stories take the podium.  That is a record number and it just goes to show you that empathy and encouragement work so much better than criticism and attempts at control.  

I'm not trying to insinuate that I am a better counselor than my co-workers.  What I am saying is that some ways work better than others and building up someone's self-esteem seems to work a lot better than breaking someone down. They found that out in the old days when the therapeutic communities would break somebody down in order to rebuild them. They failed. We're human beings. We weren't made to be broken down. In my own case, I know that I thrive whenever someone shows me that they appreciate me and encourages me to keep up the good work. Whenever I hear encouragement like that, I want to do better and better.  I think we all do. 

I think sometimes we become so focused on the faults of others that we forget to acknowledge all that they have accomplished. One of my graduates is an 'A' student in school.  She is studying to become a medical technician.  Another of my graduates is working a stipend job through his housing program.  This is a big deal for him for he has never held a job before.  Another graduate just moved into their own room in supportive housing. This is a biggie for her. She's lived on the streets for most of her adult life.  And another graduate has remained clean and sober for a year. With his mental health issues, he will probably never return to work. Some would say he has accomplished nothing because he hasn't moved on with his life. I say he has accomplished a 'miracle' after 35 years of drug use. 

So, the next time you find yourself about to criticize someone, take a step back and look for the little things that most of us take for granted and offer words of praise for those ordinary accomplishments most of us pay no attention to. Look for the little things that we usually take for granted. In my case, I have never had to take medication.  Now, I have blood pressure medications that 'must' be taken every morning.  For me,just remembering to take this every morning is an accomplishment.  Heck, I can't tell you how many times I bought vitamins all 'gung ho' that I was going to take them, and then, after a few days, never bother to look at them again.  So, yes, taking my medications ever day is a biggie. For those in the throes of depression, just climbing out of bed in the morning is an accomplishment. 

My co-worker has a son who was failing at school. Not that he wanted to.  He tried but his difficulties were due to a learning disorder. He just couldn't keep up with his peers, but he doesn't give up. He  continues to hard and eventually gets a passing grade. His mom says, "Now you can work towards an "A".  He feels so beaten down that he goes to school the next day and quits.  Instead of being encouraged, he felt like he was being pushed to do something he knew he couldn't accomplish, so rather than fail, he drops out.

Let’s face it, everyone needs encouragement sometimes. Simple and thoughtful words of encouragement to your friends or family members can go a long way, more than you probably realize. The following poem is one of hope and encouragement. It speaks of how we should look at each and every day is a new beginning.  It is one of my favorites.

Begin Again 

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Every day is the world made new;
You who are weary of sorrow and sinning,
Here is a beautiful hope for you-
A hope for me and a hope for you.

All the past things are past and over,
The tasks are done and the tears are shed;
Yesterday’s errors let yesterday cover;
Yesterday’s wounds, which smarted and bled,
Are healed with the healing which night has shed.

Yesterday now is a part of forever,
Bound up in a sheaf, which God holds tight;
With glad days, and sad days and bad days which never
Shall visit us more with their bloom and their blight,
Their fullness of sunshine or sorrowful night.
Let them go, since we cannot relieve them,
Cannot undo and cannot atone;
God in His mercy, receive, forgive them;
Only the new days are our own,
Today is ours, and today alone.

Here are the skies all burnished brightly,
Here is the spent earth all reborn,
Here are the tired limbs springing lightly
To face the sun and to share the morn,
In the chrism of dew and the cool of dawn.

Every day is a fresh beginning;
Listen, my soul, to the glad refrain,
And, spite of old sorrow and older sinning,
And puzzles forecasted and possible pain
Take heart with the day, and begin again.

by Susan Coolidge

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Autumn Song

Now's the time when children's noses
All become as red as roses
And the colour of their faces
Makes me think of orchard places
Where the juicy apples grow,
And tomatoes in a row.

And to-day the hardened sinner
Never could be late for dinner,
But will jump up to the table
Just as soon as he is able,
Ask for three times hot roast mutton--
Oh! the shocking little glutton.

Come then, find your ball and racket,
Pop into your winter jacket,
With the lovely bear-skin lining.
While the sun is brightly shining,
Let us run and play together
And just love the autumn weather.

by Katherine Mansfield

We've had the most magnificent weather these past few day...a cool breeze in the morning, clear striking blue sky, with snow white puffy clouds. The leaves have not yet begun to change, but the new season is definitely on its way. The children have returned to school and as I watch them gaily chatting amongst their friends, I think of seasons, a long, long time ago when I was that rosy faced child so eager to engage in the adventures a new school year promised to bring.

Nowhere was this more pronounced than the year I entered the 8th grade.  This was to be the last year of my childhood.  I knew on that September morn when I walked to school that changes were soon to come.  In those days, we went to the same school from first grade through the eighth.  There was no 'middle school' in my little town.  For eight years we had the same classmates, but what seemed as all too soon, we were destined to part way in schools so large that for some classes we had to climb four flights of stairs.  It is no wonder that we went our separate ways, made new friends, and developed new hobbies and interests.  Sometimes we passed each other in the hallway like two ships in the night and nodded our recognition; other times, we just passed.

That was so long, long ago, yet the years have passed by so quickly, it is hard to believe that so much has happened since then.  Today, each morning as I go to work, I am aware that this could possibly be my last year as an employee, and as my back continues to deteriorate, retirement ways heavily on my mind, and I wonder what the cool September morns next year will be like.  I wonder what new adventures the next big change in my life will bring.

Thank you for letting this melancholy old woman share today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Very Short Tour of my Kitchen

Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love. 

Craig Claiborne

My son came to spend Sunday afternoon with me. He surprised me the above little gift.  I love when people appreciate my food.  Heck, I love when people appreciate me.

A cook can never have too many spices...especially now with this low-sodium diet.  I'm always looking for ways to spice up my food.  Speaking of spicing up food....

This is my sodium-free meat sauce on Garden Delight Penne Rigate.  Now, I have always loved my pasta.  Pasta and homemade sauce was something my mom really knew how to make.  I just cannot seem to get my sauce to taste like anything.  It is so bland, just like eating plain noodles.  I try and I try and add all kinds of ingredients, but nothing seems to work.  The above was made from...

6 plum tomatoes
1 tbs. no salt tomato paste
garlic powder
chop meat
olive oil

It smells utterly fantastic, and when I heat it up at work, everyone is full of ooh's and ah's, but it is utterly tasteless.  Anyone have any suggestions?

And finally, hubby found the above oil painting on the street about 18 years ago.  It's a cornucopia, a ceramic jar, and a couple of pears, quite appropriate for this time of the year. It remains an important part of our home.

"A True Home - A roof to keep out the rain. Four walls to keep out the wind. Floors to keep out the cold. Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father. Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship. Home is first school...for the young ones where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind. Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick. Where joy is shared and sorrow eased. Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved. Where children are wanted. Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned. Where money is not so important as loving-kindness. Where even the teakettle sings from happiness. That is home."

Author: Ernestine Schumann-Heink