Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Morning This and That

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

Happy Monday everyone.  Hope you all had a great weekend.  I had a rather quiet one, nothing exciting, just a quiet Autumn weekend.  On Saturday I did my food shopping and then took a bag of clothes to Good Will.  No sense keeping things that don't fit or make me look funny.  I'm accepting of my age so there is no need to keep clothing around on the pretense it makes me look younger.  Actually, when you look at some of these older women who refuse to give up their youth, it opens your eyes to the changes in style as one begins to age.  Just as we change our wardrobe for the seasons, so is it important that we change it for the seasons of our life. 

On Friday, I skipped going to the Center.  Had some banking to do in my old neighborhood. Wish I could transfer that account elsewhere, but it is an estate account and to close it out would mean starting all over from scratch. One cannot deposit cash in this type of account, only my ex's residual checks from his acting jobs. So, if I close it, I cannot put the cash in another estate account.  Hence, starting from scratch, and at this point, the checks are on an average $35, sometimes more, sometimes less. All in all they add up to about a thousand a year.  So, I guess I will have to continue to make that trip about every three months.

And the trip itself isn't bad.  It's quite easy to get there.  I take the bus in front of my house, then transfer to another bus to go a few stops.  All in all, it takes about 30 minutes.  It's the neighborhood that gets to me.  Every time I get off the bus it's there, a dark aura that permeates the area.  I just can't put my finger on it.  It's not related to the difficulties I had with the owners of my last apartment.  I don't even go near there.  No, it is something else, something dark.  Needless to say, I am in and out of there as quickly as possible.

For a couple months now, I have been anxiously awaiting a book for my Kindle that was scheduled to be released on the 27th.  You best bet that that was the first place I headed in the morning.  The book is called 'A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors' by Mabh Savage.  It's been a long time since I have been so eager to purchase and read a book. So far it has been an interesting read.  I'll be sure to give you a review when I complete it. 

On Sunday I went to Church.  Didn't make it last week because the  weather was not up to par, and my bones were achy.  I have to say, I missed the sense of peace it gives me. Afterwards, it was off to the fruit stand and then home to catch up on some rest. Here are a few pictures I took. Just look at how large it is.
This is the back of the church.  I've never been in this part of it because there are too many steps for me to climb, but I think this is where they hold the services for the Chinese.  I see many of them entering there.  It looks very spiritual, and magical,  with the sun's rays in the corner.
This is the middle.  Beautiful architecture. 
 And this is the front.  
Finally, a view from the other side.  There was no time difference here, but notice how different the sky looks.

I made something new over the weekend, and it was so delicious wanted to share it with you. I love taking the basics of a recipe and then making it 'my way'.  I have no idea what this chicken dish is called.
I used boneless chicken breasts and sliced them so I could stuff them with Pepper Jack Cheese and garlic powder.  Folded the breast over and rolled it in breadcrumbs.  Sprinkled them with pepper and Cajun seasoning and put them in a greased pan and baked at 350 degrees until done.  About ten minutes prior, I topped with more Jack Cheese and allowed it to melt.  Finger licking good.

Wishing you all a joyous start to the new week.

Home is the one place in all this world where hearts
are sure of each other. It is the place
of confidence. It is the place where we
tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious
coldness which the world forces us to wear
in self-defense, and where we pour out the
unreserved communications of full and confiding
hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness
gush out without any sensation of awkwardness
and without any dread of ridicule.

Frederick W. Robertson

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Friday

There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellowed richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
No matter how stressful the week may have been,
the weekend has  arrived and it is time to let  the good things happen. Have a fun filled weekend  my dear friends.   See you all on Monday.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Little Thursday This and That

If all my pain and all my tears,
And all that I have learned throughout the years
Could make one perfect song
To lift some fallen head
To light some darkened mind,
I should feel that not in vain
I served mankind.
Marguerite Few
 As most of you know, I am a true model of what they call a 'Lifelong Learner."  One would never guess that at one time I hated school so much I dropped out in my senior year.  Regrets came later, to be sure, but I knuckled down and studied to get my GED....and I haven't stopped studying yet.  In my 40's came my counseling certification and my ordination studies for the Interfaith ministry,  in my 50's came my bachelors degree, and all through the years came certificates and completions of courses ranging from astrology, to Druidism...Rosicrucianism, Qaballah, Nutrition, etc.  So, it should come as no surprise that I find myself looking for some sort of free online course.

I did find exactly what I am looking for, but when I attempted to enroll in the class, I was told that I must answer the following question correctly first. "What is the opposite of save?"  Well, that seemed easy enough. My first thought was 'spend'. Wrong answer, try again. And so I did try again...and again...and again. Abandon, delete, use up, squander, waste, throw away, toss...all were incorrect. Why I even got so desperate I even googled it. Same answers I gave. And to add insult to injury, each time you gave an answer, you had to do that fill in that stupid word verification box. Needless to say, I gave up and said the heck with it. Can anybody think of another word that is the opposite of save?

Speaking of word verification, boy do I have a complaint about it.  Have you noticed that every time you type in a wrong letter or number they ask you to do it all over again?  Problem is, each time they make it harder.  I should think that it is pretty obvious that if one gets it wrong the first time around, it means they are having a problem seeing it.  So, what is the purpose of making it harder? 

How would you handle this one?  The other day, I decided not to go to the center.  Instead I had some banking to take care of back in my old neighborhood.  As I was waiting for my bus transfer, I happened to see one of the ladies from the center headed in my direction, but just as I smiled and prepared to greet her, she quickly did an about face and walked away.  At first my feelings were a wee bit hurt, and I wondered if I had offended her in some way. A few minutes later I caught her reflection in the glass. She was standing there talking to another woman who opened her pocketbook and handed my acquaintance some change.  A few minutes later, another woman passed, and I heard my acquaintance ask for a quarter.

It wasn't that she didn't want to see me; it was that she didn't want me to see her.  She was 'panhandling'. Right there and then I found myself in a very awkward position.  I wanted to reach out and help her, but I could see that she would rather I not know.  The next day at the shelter she was a bit nervous when she said good morning to me, but when she discovered I was not going to say anything about it, she eased up a bit.  I really DO want to reach out and help, but through her actions she has made it clear that she'd prefer to pretend I didn't know. Perhaps she doesn't even know that I saw her.  It all happened so quickly.  I know she has her pride, and I don't want to take that away from her. What do I do? The fact is, she DOES have food to eat at the Center. In fact, when I saw her, it was just about lunch time.  And she DOES have money to play Bingo every day. But still, it broke my heart seeing her out there begging like that.

Simply give others a bit of yourself; a thoughtful act, a helpful idea,
a word of appreciation, a lift over a rough spot,
e of understanding, a timely suggestion. You take something
out of your mind, garnished in kindness out of your heart,
and put it into the other person's mind and heart.

Charles H. Burr

Speaking of Centers, through word of mouth, I found another one not too far away. Upon looking at their monthly calendar I discovered that they offer both ceramics and painting classes, the two wish list items I dreamed of before retiring.  The only issue here is that ceramics is 10 am on Tuesday and painting is 10 am on Thursday.  Both interfere with things I enjoy at my center.  Tuesday is blood pressure and health day, and Thursday is meditation and yoga.  What a dilemma! Am I wrong to want it all?

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us
tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden
over the horizon--instead of enjoying the roses
that are blooming outside our windows today.

Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Be Thankful

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light,
for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy
of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

This year at Mabon I had a lot to be thankful for as I harvested the fruit of many years of hard work.  I am so grateful to have welcomed so many wonderful people into my life as I begin this my Autumn stage.

The other day  one of the workers came into our group and gave each of us  $20 worth of coupons for the Farmer's Market.  It was a donation from the New York City Department of Aging.  It made me realize just how grateful I am to have found this little place to come to every day.  I'm grateful to all the nice people I have met and cherish each one of them for the friendship they offered me.  They have taught me that there is life after retirement and the importance of reaching out for it. And as I watched Betty, age 94,  do her thing on the dance floor at last week's party, I realized that one is never too old to have fun. What a beautiful woman she is!

I am grateful that they have offered me a chance to give back what they have freely given to me.  I've been offered a volunteer position with the opportunity to come up with some kind of group. I originally thought of  group devoted to talking about our ancestors and learning how to research their family tree, but then I realized that many of them may not have a computer.  The center does have several computers on which they give lessons Thursday afternoon.  I suppose I could ask if I could have use for them in an 11 am slot for our research.  There are plenty of free sites available to get them started, and I can always help with look up something with my Ancestry subscription.

I also thought of buying a couple of Trivia games.  Not only are they fun, but they also help to keep the mind sharp. There are also several online sites that offer trivia options as well.  Any suggestions from you gals and guys?  

I can't believe how excited I am, and it just made me realize.  I may have been dissatisfied with my job, but I felt productive, and that is something I still need in my life.  Hubby made me laugh when I told him.  Whenever I was sent to a training at work, he always said, "That is a good thing to put on your resume."  So, when I told him about the possibility of doing some volunteer work, he said, "That's great. Volunteer work always looks good on your resume."  "What resume?" I responded.  "Have you forgotten that I have retired?" It was just too funny, and both of us laughed.  How used to things we become and how hard it is to let them go.

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Atlantic City

Be not afraid of life. Believe that
life is worth living and your
belief will help create the fact.

William James
Here we are as we approach Atlantic City.  By now I'd had enough of the bus and was aching to stretch my legs...and hoping I could still get up.  You know, when we reach a certain age, we really tend to stiffen up.
Although I had a great time on our trip last week, but am up in the air about heading back this month.  The weather is changing, and unlike the others, I don't go to spend the entire day in a casino.  I love getting out in the air, and spent over two hours outdoors last week. It was an odd sort of day on the boardwalk, and in-between time. not yet cold and no longer hot. Some people were dressed in heavy coats, others like myself were in a sweater, and still others were not yet ready to give up on summer and walked around in skimpy summer clothes, including a few with bathing suits. It made me cold just looking at them.
Here we are as we get closer to our destination...but this is not the casino where we were headed.
The Taj Mahal.  A gorgeous place, but be careful of the ladies' room.  What a shame!  Women can be so messy. But, you would also think that in a place like this, the bathrooms would be better kept.  Wouldn't you expect to find an attendant in the bathroom?
A sure sign of the changing seasons.  The amusement park is closed. Gone was the gaity of carnival music, the excited laughter of children, the rides, the lights, the arcade games.  All closed up and silent. A ghost town. Only a few stands selling food remained open on the boardwalk. In the background you can catch a glimpse of the ocean, but I could not get any closer. There was a locked fence blocking the path. 

Only the seagulls remained, eager to salvage the last of the tiny morsels and crumbs before the stands boarded up closed for the upcoming winter season. And scavengers they are....
Couldn't resist the above photo.  I only wish it had come out a little better.  It's hard shooting photos with the glare of the sun baring down on the phone. 
After flexing his muscle and very noisily chasing off all his buddies , this little guy, the bully of the group,  sat with me through my entire lunch. When I wasn't looking, I could see him out of the corner of my eye eagerly staring at my burger, and as soon as I turned his way, he would turn away as if he could care less about me. And speaking of lunch....
Not very healthy, I know, but boy, is that ever a cheeseburger. And finally...
As we made our way home, the Harvest Moon in the background. Life sure is good.
It is a glorious privilege to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold,to love. To look up at the blue summer sky; to see the sun sink slowly
beyond the line of the horizon; to watch the worlds come twinkling into
view, first one by one, and the myriads that no man can count, and lo!
the universe is white with them; and you and I are here.

Marco Morrow

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Morning This and That

Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life. 

Hal Borland
Happy first full day of Autumn.  The day is cool and crisp with promises of blue skies and a gentle breeze.

I decided to stay in yesterday.  Didn't go to church.  I've not been feeling up to par.  I always get this way at the time of the year, that feeling that a cold is coming on, yet it never seems to come.  I know it is fall allergies, but this year, I have also felt especially chilled.  I am not dealing with the weather changes as well as I usually do.  I am guessing that in a way it is good news because it means my thyroid medication is working, and my Graves Disease has been stabilized.  When your thyroid is hyper, everything else is hyper as well, and I had a rough time dealing with the heat in summer, but adjusted well in the fall. Couldn't understand why everyone else was complaining about being chilled.  Now I do. 

Ran all my errands on Saturday.  I live in elastic waist pants.  Can't stand anything tight on my waist.  Elastic may be tight, but it does expand when one sits.  I'm not talking about those skinny stretchy pants that seem to exaggerate every curve and bulge.  I wouldn't dare go out in them.  No, these are a more conservative stretchy pant, and I have been searching for them for several years now. I keep mending mine and hoping to find them, but, no luck, until Saturday.  I FOUND THEM. Bought them in every color and plan on going back to buy more.  Never know when I will find them again.

Afterwards I headed to the fruit stand, and it sure is looking and smelling a lot like fall. Apples everywhere.
Although you can still find a few melons and a special kind of plum...
Some nice tomatoes and grapes.  Those little green grapes are so yummy I could sit and eat a pound in one sitting.
A few of the fresh vegetables.  You can actually find anything you want here.  It is a tremendous store.
It's funny how old habits die hard.  Last night as I was watching the final show of 'Dexter' I suddenly found myself saying, 'I don't want to go'. Before I retired, that was my regular Sunday night saying.  It had become so ingrained that sometimes I found myself just blurting it out.  In a comment yesterday Debra from She Who Seeks reminded me that this Mabon I was  reaping my own harvest after a lifetime of toil...and it was a lifetime.  My first job was working in a small diner in our neighborhood.  I was 15 years old.  I retired when I was 66.  That's a lot of years. And, yes, it is definitely a time to reap. 

Speaking of Mabon, we had a quiet Mabon, just hubby and I.  I made  some low sodium chicken parmesan and baked ziti, some real pig out food.   Not really a harvest meal, but, poor hubby had all of his top teeth removed on Friday, and I've been cooking soft foods since then.  It's quite a shame that it had to happen.  Hubby always had such beautiful teeth, but with age, he had contracted gum disease, and his old dentist had played it down. When he went to a new dentist, we found out it was too late, and the teeth had to come out. It's really a shame when you trust someone because they are SUPPOSED to be a professional, and they let you down. 

Wishing you all a fantastic first full day of Autumn.

Magnificent Autumn! He comes not like a pilgrim, clad in russet weeds. He comes not like a hermit, clad in gray. But he comes like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail. His crimson scarf is rent.... The wind.... wafts to us the odor of forest leaves, that hang wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow, and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue.... There is a melancholy and continual roar in the tops of the tall pines.... It is the funeral anthem of the dying year. 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mabon Blessings

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cider-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-- While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. - See more at:
To Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
          To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
        With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
    And still more, later flowers for the bees,
  Until they think warm days will never cease,
          For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

  Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
      Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
  Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
      Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
  Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
      Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
          Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
  And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
      Steady thy laden head across a brook;
      Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
          Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

  Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
      Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
  While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
      And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
  Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
      Among the river sallows, borne aloft
          Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
  And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
      Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
      The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
          And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
John Keats

Wishing you all the blessings of Mabon. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Morn

Wow, it's Friday of what turned out to be a very busy week, and it is definitely a hooky day.  I need some rest.  I've been running about like a mad woman this week, and a little recuperation is in order.  Yesterday, the center was so busy that they serve two tiers of  lunches. Many were there for the Harvest Festival, and those that were not were there for the Chinese Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival--Moon Cake Day. And I finally had an opportunity to try one.  Actually it was very good, although a bit too sweet for my taste.

After lunch we were treated to a show of traditional Chinese dancers and some of the Asian members of the center produced a little play that educated on the meaning of this festival which dates back over 3,000 years.  The ancient Chinese were very observant of the movement of the moon, and this festival celebrates the Harvest moon when the crops have been gathered and the heavy work of the summer harvest has been completed as a celebration of thankfulness for heaven's bounty. This is a time of gathering for family and friends, and moon cakes filled with ground lotus and sesame seeds are given as gifts. 

Afterward, it was home for a quiet evening.  Did not get out to see the Harvest Moon, sadly. Wasn't really feeling so well.  Autumn allergies have been kicking my butt.   My stew was delicious, and I chose to serve it over some rice with my  favorite little sandwich thins.  I've grown to love these little Arnold rounds.  This time I chose whole wheat, but I love them all, and I can have a sandwich without an exorbitant amount of sodium.
One day I will learn how to make food photos look more appetizing. I promise.

And, now I am off to dig out some of my flannel jammies. It's actually been quite chilly at night, not that I am complaining.  This is my favorite time of the year.  Wishing you all a wonderful joy filled weekend.  

"I know the year is dying,
Soon the summer will be dead.
I can trace it in the flying
Of the black crows overhead;
I can hear it in the rustle
Of the dead leaves as I pass,
And the south wind's plaintive sighing
Through the dry and withered grass.

Ah, 'tis then I love to wander,

Wander idly and alone,
Listening to the solemn music
Of sweet nature's undertone;
Wrapt in thoughts I cannot utter,
Dreams my tongue cannot express,
Dreams that match the autumn's sadness
In their longing tenderness."

Mortimer Crane Brown

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Harvest Moon

 It is the Harvest Moon!  On gilded vanes
  And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
  And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
  Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
  And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
  Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
  With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
  Of Nature have their image in the mind,
  As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
  Only the empty nests are left behind,
  And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I had a great time yesterday. I didn't come home rich, but one can't expect to make much when they are only playing the quarter slots. Actually, I spent most of my time on the penny credits, bit spender that I am.  The weather was fantastic this time, and I spent a lot of time walking along the boardwalk. There is nothing like that  smell of that salt air. I have some pictures to share, but probably not until next week.  I have to transfer them from phone to email to blog.  Takes time. 

This afternoon we are having a Harvest Moon Festival at the center. It should be fun, and it will definitely set the stage for my own Harvest Moon celebration.Actually, the Harvest Moon arrived at 7:13 am, but heck, that wasn't a good time for viewing.  The menu I have planned for tonight includes a hearty Autumn beef stew with  carrots, onions and potatoes, turnip greens, wild rice, and a slice of apple pie.  I am hoping I can find some cider. 

Afterwards, it will be time to dig into my new harvest candles (it has been hard to wait) and hopefully get a view of the moon, maybe even a picture...that's if I feel like going back outdoors.  That would mean I had to stay dressed, and, oh how I love coming home and changing into my lounging clothes.

I found the following little ritual for letting go that I wanted to share with you.  It has appeared on a few sites, and I have no idea of it's origin.  It calls for some Autumn leaves, but that doesn't seem too promising here. 
Leaves are still green and clinging to the trees.

Find some autumn leaves, and mark on each one a symbol to represent what has been weighing on you.(for example a dollar sign for money issues). Meditate and focus on the issue, then burn or bury the leave to symbolize the release of all it represents. This ritual can be very liberating!"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Off to Atlantic City

Well, I  am off to Atlantic City again today. This time around it is about 20 degrees cooler so I should be able to spend more time on the boardwalk. Most of the others spend their entire day in the casino, but I look for more out of my day.The slots are fun, but there is so much more to see, and I am totally aware that I could easily fall victim to spending more than I planned. Last time as we waited for our bus to arrive I heard so many tales of woe.  I am not going to be one of them.

Wishing you all a great day.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book of the Month

If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected.

CHIEF SEATTLE in a letter to President Franklin Pierce

I found and read the most wonderful book this weekend.  Once I began, I couldn't put it down. Actually, I'd had it for awhile, but put it in one of my folders on my Kindle and forgot all about it.   I've numerous folders for Astrology, Celtic Studies, Shamanism, Fairies and Angels, to name a few. I found this book in my Healing folder, and it is, indeed, all about healing. The book is called "What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Lessons from Wild and Tame Creatures" by Diana L. Guerrero, an experienced animal behaviorist and therapist .  What a fantastic read!

The author discusses how animals can strengthen our own spirituality and increase  awareness of our own caring and healing qualities.  Within each chapter we find examples of animals as spiritual teachers through the use of stories about our animal friends. The chapters lead us through the different levels of spiritual development embodied by animal models and  include:

1. Loyalty of the Dog  
2. Playfulness of the Otter 
3. Power of the Polar Bear
4. Heart of the Lion
5. Call of the Wolf
6. Vision of the Eagle
7. Mind of the Dolphin
8. Wisdom of the Owl

I'd like to share with you a couple of short excerpts from the book.
 From 'Loyalty of the Dog'...

  "William, a homeless man, arrived at McDonald's to get his morning meal. Outside, on a blanket next to his bicycle, was his dog. An American Staffordshire mix, the dog was in good physical shape and was a healthy weight. As William returned to share his breakfast with his companion, the loyalty between them showed, and the mutual love shone brightly through their eyes. I asked William about this life and current predicament. The encounter impressed me, because his relationship with his dog helped William be a better man despite his situation.

William took odd jobs for food and sometimes for money. This particular McDonald's fed him in exchange for his help maintaining the outside area of the restaurant. Both William and his dog slept out under the stars each night because William hated the attitudes of many of the homeless shelter helpers, the threat of theft, and the policy of "no pets allowed." The dog kept vagrants at bay. Inseparable, the two felt at home with the coyotes in the fields and the stars in the sky as their companions..." 
And one of my favorites from 'Power of the Polar Bear"...

"Polar bears accept life in a harsh environment by adapting to it.  With strength and stamina, they own their power.  These animals embody a strong sense of self and rely on their instincts. Like polar bears, we can move into personal power, self-acceptance, and confidence.  Accepting our strength taps us into the power of the  Divine." 

This is a wonderful read, and anyone who loves critters will definitely love this book.  This book truly touched me!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Morning This and That

 “At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” 

  Rainer Maria Rilke

Good morning, dear friends, and what a wonderful morning it is.  The weather has been wonderfully cool, and my early Autumn cold has pretty much gone.  I am feeling so much better.  I guess it is all the fruit that I eat lately.  The antioxidants knock the germs right out of me. It also felt good to 'choose' to stay home and nurse myself back to health and not have to worry about losing a sick day.
I am so excited.  As you can see from the above order, I received my package from Yankee Candle.  I have to admit, I did go a little crazy, but I just couldn't make up my mind so I figured I would try everything. I even ordered some Christmas scents.  But, when you look at it, I'd be buying candles for the holidays anyway, so why not buy from the best and have them in stock.  Besides, there was a great half price sale that I couldnt resist. So....

For Halloween I purchased...
Candy Corn 

For Autumn in General I purchased
Autumn Wreath
November Rain  
Cozy Sweater

For Thanksbiving I purchased...
Spiced Pumpkin
Caramel Pecan Pie
Banana Nut Bread  

And for Christmas....
Christmas Eve
Balsam  and Cedar

The other night, I had a dream about frogs.  It was the strangest dream. My dream friend had them as pets, and she carried them about in a glass aquarium.  It seems that these frogs were seemed to disappear at times, but they were really always there, just out of sight. When another friend came along and remarked that they were gone, we pointed out that they were still there, that all you had to do was take the time to look for them. Weird. 

Since this was the first time I ever remember seeing frogs in a dream, I dug out some of my old dream books and did some research. First of all, dreaming of frogs is basically a good omen. They are, in fact, a message from your unconscious mind. The frog is a symbol of transition and transformation--both spiritual and emotional. Frog can  represent positive changes in one's life, and in my opinion, because was able to see them while my friend couldn't, shows I am heading in the right direction. 

Then, as if to serve as reinforcement, the first news I heard when I turned on the television that morning was of Space Frog.  I am sure everyone has seen this picture before, but if you click to enlarge it you will see that that little dot is a frog that was sent flying in the blast off of the LADEE spacecraft. Poor little critter. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Let's hope he survived, but it doesn't look good.

The ancient Egyptians associated frog with fertility and childbirth.  The water goddess, Heket, was so associated with fertility and childbirth. She was usually depicted as a woman with the head of a frog.  Egyptian women often wore amulets of frogs to insure their fertility.  In ancient China, frog is an emblem of Yin energy It was a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and wealth. They often placed a frog in living room in the left corner or opposite the door to ensure that  money would come into the house.

The Greeks and Romans associated frogs with fertility and harmony and were a symbol of Aphrodite and Venus.  In Scotland frog was believed to be associated with luck, and households often kept stone frogs in their gardens.  The Irish related them to leprechauns. And we find in early Christian myth that the frog was a symbol of resurrection and a higher stage of spiritual awakening. 

As a spirit animal, frog can remind us of the transient nature of our lives. Strongly associated with the element of water, frog connects us to the world of our emotions and feminine energies. Frog is a creature of the night and is associated with the mysteries of life, magic,  and the unknown.  In fairy tales, we find that frogs are very often a prince in disguise, thus signifying renewal or rebirth. 

So, how does this all fit into my life?  Still sorting it all out.
And finally, I do apologize for such a long post.  Sometimes I just don't know when to stop. So, I will take my leave and wish you well.  May your Monday be bright, sunny, and the source of joy.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Friday the13th

Happy Friday The 13th! Don't look what's under your bed tonight & don't turn off the light. You don't know what's coming. Have a good day!


Happy Friday to all you workers out there. Better yet, Happy Friday the 13th.  Many people worldwide are so affected by a fear of this day the they won't go to work or drive a car.  Some won't even get out of bed. In fact, this day is so filled with superstition about bad luck that many buildings choose not to include a 13th floor, jumping instead from 12 to 14. In fact, hotels do not have a room 13.  But why? Where did all this superstition come from? There are several theories about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition. If you will bear with me, my friends,  have some trivia to share with you today.

Many believe that the fear of Friday the 13th dates back to Norse Mythology. According to the story, 12 gods had been enjoying a banquet at Valhalla, when the mischief maker, Loki, arrives uninvited, becoming the 13th guest.  During the course of the evening, he tricks Holder, the blind god of darkness, into shooting Balder, a god of happiness. Balder dies and the Earth falls into darkness. 

One  theory states that 13 is often considered unlucky because there were 13 people in attendance at the Last Supper--the 12 disciples plus Jesus--and within a day Christ had been crucified. The last member thought to arrive was Judas.  From this comes the superstition that it is unlucky to hold a dinner party with 12 guests.  Friday has always been considered a very unlucky day in its own right. It is believed to be the day of Christ's Crucifixion. Christians believe that this is the day that Eve offered the apple to Adam, leading to the expulsion from the garden...and we all know what that led to.

Yet another theory proposes that during the Middle Ages, King Philip IV of France ordered of France ordered the arrest and execution of the Knights Templar, along with the Cathars,  on Friday the 13th, thus marking it as a day of evil.  Furthermore, it was on  Friday the 13th, 1066, that King Harold, the last Saxon king of England, was slain in the battle of Hastings. 

In numerology, 12 is considered a whole or complete number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 Zodiac signs, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 apostles--while 13 is considered 'out of balance'.

In ancient times, our ancestors  marked time by the lunar cycle and calendar. The number 13 was considered a very favorable number to them, perhaps because there are 13 full moons in a year which was important for people who lived 'without electricity'.

To the ancient Romans the number 13 as a symbol of death, destruction and great misfortune. In ancient Greece Zeus the most powerful of all the gods,  was counted as the 13th god.  

Traditionally, there are 13 witches in a Coven. In Salem, 13  witches were executed a during the Witch Trials of 1692.

The 13th Tarot card is Death.

 All Hallows Eve has 13 letters. And. count the letters in 'superstitious'. 

There are some who believe that superstition most likely began as a Christian attempt to dishonor the Mother Goddess. An old legend states that  when the Germanic peoples converted to Christianity, the mother goddess, Frigga, was banished to a mountain top and labeled as a witch.  Thereafter, every Friday, (Frigga's Day) would gather 11 other witches and the Devil...making a total of 13...and together they would spitefully plan their mischief for the following week.

Needless to say, I am staying in today, and not for fear of a day. While riding home on the bus the other, a woman seated next to me was holding a child in her arms, and just as I turned to see if we were getting close to my stop, the child sneezed right in my face.  Darn!!!  Now I am feeling a cold coming on.  Staying in to nurse myself back to health.  After all, next Wednesday is a return trip to Atlantic City.

Happy Friday the 13th, and have a wonderful weekend.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What a Wonderful Life--Retirement Update

Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me.  I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door.  And, the beauty of time itself.

Hartman Jule

I'm almost two months into my retirement, and I have to say I have enjoyed every minute of it.  Such complete freedom--freedom from that dreadful daily commute on the subway, freedom from office politics, freedom from office gossip. I received a text message from one of my co-workers.   The same nonsense continues.  This one still  gets paid for doing nothing, that one buys hundred dollar pocketbooks and then hits on  everyone else to treat her to lunch, and so and so hates it there and is looking for work.  Well, she's been wanting to leave for a year now.   What's new about that? Everyone is still stressed out...too many clients, not enough time.  Oh, my seat is still empty.  Everyone knows what I went through there, and no one wants to endure the same.  Even my bosses are aware.  They finally hired someone for my position, but seated him somewhere else.

I can get up in the morning and say, "I don't want to go," and I don't HAVE to go. Hey, if the weather is bad, I can just stay home and not  have to worry about someone getting on my case or becoming the object of office gossip. 'Oh, she always takes off in the rain, and we have to cover for her.'  I've never heard of anyone saying that about me, but I do know they say it of others when they are off.  What makes me any different? And, if I feel like sleeping in, I do so.  I can't remember what the alarm clock sounds like. Do I even know how to set it anymore? And naps!  If I feel like an afternoon snooze, I can curl up in bed for as long as I choose.

Retirement is wonderful. It's doing nothing without worrying about getting caught at it.

Gene Perret

I am meeting friends.  Perhaps not the 'best' friends I had been hoping for, but I am meeting new people, going new places, and basically having a ball.  We laugh, we talk.  And I've noticed that no one gossips about another.  We are all the same.  Seniors who are enjoying this stage of our lives and living to fullest. Even cooking has become enjoyable because I am no longer cooking everything in one day. I have time now to experiment and create new recipes. Life is good. 

On the negative side, I'm still struggling with my pension.  It was due to begin on August 1st, but I'd not sent in a form stating that I am single...and it had to be signed in front of a notary public.  What the heck?  I sent in a copy of my marriage certificate and a copy of my ex's death certificate.  What more do they want?  See, there are five different ways to receive your pension and all pay differently.  Plan 1, which I finally chose, pays me the full amount.  The other ways involve a beneficiary, not for life insurance,  and each plan lowers the income you receive since they will have to continue paying after your death. And, all the other plans involve a spouse who has to sign a form that he has AGREED to the terms you have chosen.  What?  Why should my spouse be involved at all. it's my money, money I've earned.  It's my choice, and I should not need a spouse's permission. 

I'd originally signed it off to hubby, but since we are not legally married, they were putting me through the wringer...too much extra paperwork.  So then, I chose my son to be the beneficiary.  Guess what?  He's too young. Your beneficiary cannot be more than 19 years younger than you. That's because they want to pay out the least they have to.  Can't do anything but laugh.  Otherwise, my blood pressure would be rising.  I never heard of such nonsense, have you?  

Needless to say, the good news is that whenever they decide to send me my pension, I will be paid retroactively from August 1st.  Personally, I would think I'd be entitled from the date I applied, but one can't argue with the union.  They are always right, and this is their rules. Hmmph!!!

Not too long ago, I read about a study that showed that retiring is good for you because you feel ten years younger.  I can vouch for that. I am far more active, have more energy, and feel less depressed. In yet another study, it showed that the newly retired measured the most satisfaction with their lives, land although I do recognize that this is not true for everyone, that there ARE those who end up feeling lost and hopeless when they retire, for the main there is nothing like being able to do what you want when you want.  That is what the freedom of retirement is all about.  It is about living in the moment,  the joy of re-discovery, and a renewed appreciation about what life is all about.
I'm not retiring from life, just a job.