Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Round Up

Be in the habit of getting up bright and early on the weekends.
Why waste such precious time in bed?

Marilyn vos Savant

Good morning everyone, and a happy Friday to all.  I remember how I used to look forward to Friday when I was working.  Yesterday I did not go to the Center.  I started out to go, got on the bus, but ended up staying on the bus and running some errands instead.  It was really cold out yesterday, but it is actually quite invigorating when you are dressed for it. 

While I was at it, I stopped into the bank to check my balance.  My pension money had finally been released.  I ran out and bought myself a new lipstick to celebrate. However, after I got home and added up the monies, I saw that the monthly amount was half than what they had originally told me.  I then remembered that sometimes they do not release the retrograde money all at once and did the figures for what they owed me for 2013 only.  That added up properly, but, needless to say, I'm going to place a call to find out what is going on. 

I really tried hard this week to get back on track with my diet.  I've cut down on the starches and fill my plate with veggies instead.  As far as snacking goes, I have to admit, I've not done so well with that.  I've lots of snack foods in the house and promised myself that I will buy no more once they are done.  I only wished I could find some winter fruits that I really love.  I have my pineapple each night, grapes, and occasionally will find some nice strawberries.  It gets kind of boring.

Today is my mom's birthday.  She would have been 87 years old.  We never had much of a relationship, and for that I am so sorry.  I wish we had given each other more of a chance, but as I sit back now and think about it, I am more like Barbara than I thought.  My mom, too, resented me not only because I looked like my father, but also because she blamed me for her staying in a loveless marriage rather than spend her life with her one true love.  I have forgiven her, though, and I understand her pain. 

So, I will light a special candle and write her a letter telling her about all the new things that happened in my life this year as well as some of the fond memories that have cropped up this year. Not all in my childhood was bad, and it took me a long time to realize that, yes, there were some good  memories as will.  Then, I will burn it and send it out into the Universe.

Goodbye seems forever
Farewell, the end
But in my hearts a memory
And there you'll always be. 

From "The Fox and the Hound"

Happy Birthday, Mom.  I will love you forever.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In Search of Magic

Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.

Nora Roberts

Good morning. Not much to talk about today. I've come down with a wee bit of writer's block this morning. The temperature has shot down below freezing, and I am not looking forward to standing out there waiting for the bus, but I am not going to allow the cold to keep me in. Yesterday I even ventured out in the snow because I have made the decision not to let the winter control me. Oh, I will definitely stay in when it is icy, but yesterday was no huge storm....and I kind of enjoyed standing out there in the snow. Even here in the city there is something so magical about it.

Speaking of magic. Every time I re-read the Avalon series I become obsessed with one thing or the other. The first two times I became obsessed with identifying the various incarnations of the characters. For example, Deoris of "The Fall of Atlantis" incarnates into Morgaine in "The Mists". She has several other incarnations in the series, but I am not going to reveal anymore. I am not going to play spoiler. 

This time it is magic.  Along with the storyline about the two sisters,  "The Fall of Atlantis" is about magic and magical rites.  I believe in magic.  It is happening all around us! It can be found in the rising and setting of the Sun and in the cyclic sweep of the seasons.  As a Druid, I am aware of the magic of nature that engages me every day.  I light candles, I pray, I honor the ancestors....all a type of magic.  

Lately I have been restless.  I am wanting to begin learning again.  This time, I want to learn more about magic.  John Michael Greer, the Arch Druid of AODA (Ancient Druids of America) has a wonderful book out that has been calling to me, "The Celtic Golden Dawn: An Original and Complete Curriculum of Druid Study" which goes deeper into Druid studies than what I had with NOD (New Order of Druids).  Do I want to do it on my own?  Or do I want to join AODA and take courses through them? Or do I want something else?  Ah, decisions, decisions.  

I once read a book which spoke of the seven cycles of the year, and the last cycle before one's birthday is one of restlessness and yearnings for the new.  My birthday is next month.  Is that what's going on?  Tune in for further developments.

Wishing you all a great day.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Window Through Which We Look

  If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.  

Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld

Another cold day with a prediction for snow, but it is not enough to keep me in.  Today is Women's Group at the Center, something I look forward to.  It is not the kind of group that one discloses deep secrets about self, but it is a place to talk about issues that affect us all...such as the depression many of us felt this winter when we were unable to freely get out and about.  It was somewhat comforting to know that I wasn't alone.  Speaking of being alone, I wanted to share something that happened in our Current Events group on Monday.

One thing I have noticed is that the interns who run these groups do not know how to keep them on topic. All it takes is one person to veer off, and the rest all jump on the bandwagon.  The poor intern just doesn't know how to bring them back. Of course, it is easy for me to sit back and judge.  After all, I have been running groups for years now, and, hey, in the beginning, hey, I did pretty much the same thing.  They will learn.  

Besides, although it is along the lines of my topic today--judging others--it is not really what I wanted to talk about.  I only brought it up to point out how we went from current events to the subject of loneliness. The changeover was just so swift. Someone mentioned an Atlantic City trip that was coming up, and one of the male members said, "My wife died 23 years ago.  I retired 24 years ago.  I keep myself going by staying active and doing things.  I look forward to these trips."

The woman seated next to me shared that her husband had passed away about 15 years ago talked about the loneliness she has felt then.  She talked about how difficult it has been for her since her husband died and the more she went on, the more evident it was that she had lived only for her husband and her children.  Now that he had passed and the children moved out on their own, she had nothing else in her life.  She had not prepared and had given up self for her family.  I felt so bad for her, but it happens all the time. 

So, then the group facilitator turned to me and asked  if loneliness ever came up in my life and if so, how did I handle it.  Well, before I had a chance to answer, the woman above turned to me, and, not in an unkindly way, said, "You have a husband. You have someone there for you. You wouldn't understand,"... which I responded, "Yes, I am blessed to have a husband, but that doesn't mean I cannot be lonely.  I worked for fifty years and just retired in July. I have been used to getting out and  being with others on a daily basis.  They may have only been co-workers, but I was never alone.  That's why, when I retired, I vowed that I would get out every day and do something.  But this winter has been a harsh one, and there have many days that I found myself housebound. And, yes, I do have a husband, but he has appointments he has to keep and breathing therapy 3 times a week, so yes, I do feel lonely at times."  

Of course, I kept a tone of voice that wasn't attacking in any way. I genuinely like the woman and don't want to lose her friendship. I don't even believe she realized she was judging me, and maybe she wasn't.  But, had formed an opinion about me without having all the facts...and that is judging in my book.

Lat night, I came across the following little on a Facebook site I follow about the television show 'Person of Interest." Not too long ago one of the female stars was killed off and another female character was added to the show.  There are a certain few on there who repeat the same things day after day..."Bring back Carter" or "Kill off Shaw." They don't even given the newcomer a chance and when one disagrees with them as I did, they jump all over you...even going so far as to accuse one of working for the show. I am just so sick of the negativity. Well, last night I 'unliked' the site but not until I read the following response to the 'haters' that someone had posted...

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. "That laundry is not very clean; she doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap." Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: "Look, she's finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? " The husband replies, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows." And so it is with life... 

What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look. So often it is true, the something we see wrong in others is often true of ourselves.

Maybe it is not the same thing, but when I read this, it made me think about Monday and how that woman had judged me and how she thought I 'should' feel. Loneliness can come in many forms. The truth is, a person can be lonely in a room full of people. It all depends on the person.   We do ourselves a great disservice when we don't look at the entire situation and make judgments about others.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sometimes Love Hurts

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try to understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.

Arundhati Roy

Good bye Spring...for now, at least.  The polar express is returning.  They say it will be 9 degrees tomorrow morning, but it is not the cold that bothers me.  It can actually be quite invigorating. But, there is  more snow is on the way... just when I was beginning to enjoy being out and about again.   I'll be off to the Center this morning, but as for tomorrow, it is still up in the air.   

I am more than a little upset today.  First of all, hubby continues to get the runaround.  He got up and went to social security with the letter from his doctor very early yesterday morning, was given his number, and by 10:30 am was called to the front and told that he would have to come back tomorrow morning, that he was too late.  The workers were no longer seeing clients. Too late???  At 10:30???  All he needs is for someone to take the letter and give the okay for him to get his checks.  They say the man is 'too' sick to manage his finances, but then they make him travel back and forth to their office. I am beginning to think it is payback for taking them to court and winning.  Sure looks that way to me.  And wow, if I could find a job that I only had to meet with clients from 9-10:30, I would gladly come out of retirement.

What I am really upset about is the fact that my niece and goddaughter has gotten herself involved with an abusive man.  I understand all to well how this could have happened.  Her mom never really wanted her.  (She looked too much like the father) and at one point, threatened to toss her in the garbage pail.  She was about a year old.  The family stepped in, and I ended up taking her in. But, my sister-in-law demanded her back, and the family all went against me, so I was forced to let her go.  The mother never did make any more of those threats, but she did pretty much ignore the child, choosing instead to focus all her love on her prettier???? child.

I know what it is to be raised in a cold and unloving home.  One grows up 'searching for love in all the wrong places'. I know, I had my fill of bad relationships in my youth, and I see my niece doing the same thing.  The only difference is, she has a child with each of the four different men she was involved with.  This last one, though,  I am afraid that if she takes him back he might kill her.  He hits her, belittles her, stabbed her, kidnapped their baby, and stolen her car.  At present he is behind bars, but what happens when he is released.  

She is already posting on Facebook how much she misses him.  Working with victims has taught me that she really cannot help herself.  Her esteem is so low that she seeks love at all costs, and like any other abuser, he knows how to manipulate her. Battered women, especially those raised in a dysfunctional household, feel they don't deserve any better.  She loves him, and he is often quite  loving to her when he’s not being abusive. This gives her hope that one day the violence will end, and she speaks about this often.

For now, she is physically safe for he is locked away.  All I can do is be there for her, to listen and offer my advice. I talk to her about what I have learned in my Victims course and what I learned from working with Batterers.  I  have hope that perhaps I can change her thinking patterns and build her self-esteem before he is released.  I pray that she doesn't take him back, but what if she does?  Well, I will cross that bridge when and if the time comes.  For now all I can do is offer to share the wisdom I have gained in my life.

Please keep Barbara in your prayers.  

Thank you for listening. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
 Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday This and That

I Dream This Day of Wondrous Things,
of Peace and Hope and Pride.
I Dance My Dance with Life Today,
I'm Filled with Love Inside.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I had a nice weekend.  The weather was great, and I was able to get out and about with ease.  With the warmer temperatures and the rain, the huge piles of ice are a thing of the past....for now, at least.  They are predicting more snow on Wednesday, not sure how much, but as the weatherman put it "plowable snow".  

My goodness, how the days seem to run into each other when one retires! I got up early Saturday morning and turned on my favorite morning news station, but some paid advertisement for arthritis cream came on instead.  Thinking I pushed the wrong button, I pushed '5' again.  Still the same thing. Now I am beginning to get upset.  Did Cablevision take the station off the air like other cable companies do?  Why else would they not be on?  Why else??? And then it hit me. It wasn't on because it was Saturday, and this is a Monday-Friday show. Talk about being disoriented.

 On Saturday I went to the supermarket, and on Sunday I went to church.  Afterwards, I stopped at the little shop across the street and picked up some rose and lavender incense.  Hubby doesn't like it, so as soon as he leaves, I light up. For a long time he didn't like scented candles.  Well, actually he didn't like candles at all.  His mom had taught him that candles and incense guide bad spirits to the home. Odd, because she was a devout Catholic and candles and incense have always been a part of the rites.

I met with the nutritionist on Friday.  I liked her, and she was pleasant enought, but she really didn't tell me anything more than what I already knew.  I know how to read labels...been reading them regularly since I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  I also know how to limit my sodium intake.  My problem is that although I know what to do, I don't do it.  Oh, for awhile I had it all down pat and was doing well with my diet, but  somewhere along the way I totally lost control again and found myself eating whatever and whenever I wanted, even when I am not hungry.  I had lost 12 pounds, and now I have gained that back and then some.

We spoke at length about the stress in my life and discussed eating as a means of comfort when one is depressed.  She suggested that maybe I might need to speak with a mental health professional.  My uncontrollable eating habits may be a sign that something else is going on.  After all, much has happened to me within a year--a cancer scare (still have to have cat scans every so many months to make sure there are no changes), high blood pressure, retirement, financial difficulties, etc.  Sometimes we just need someone to talk to.  She told me then about her father and how shortly after his retirement he became depressed for the first time in his life.

Speaking of Friday, it was such a strange morning, cold and damp, yet very inviting.  A mist permeated the area, and one could not see the bus from a block away. The mist is so mysterious and magical--and rare in Brooklyn-- that wanted to savor it as long as I could, so after I saw the nutritionist I headed for the park rather than go directly home. I felt as if I were walking 'between worlds', and despite the chill in the air, I sat on the bench and savored the feeling of the soft, cool mist on my face. 

Oh my goodness, time sure is flying this morning.  Didn't realize how late it was getting.  It's time to take a shower and mosey on out to the Center. Hoping you all have a great start to a new week.

Life is a song - sing it.
Life is a game - play it.
Life is a challenge - meet it.
Life is a dream - realize it.
Life is a sacrifice - offer it.
Life is love - enjoy it.

 Sai Baba

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Roundup

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain.

Vivian Greene

Well, Friday has rolled around again.  Hope you all had a great week.  I did.  Yesterday at the Center they had a Valentine's Party replete with a wedding (a play, of course), red tablecloths, flowers, and the most delicious cupcake I ever ate.  Yes, it was a wee bit late, but seniors have just not been making it in due to the weather so they waited for a warmer day.

I not only had a chance to leave the house and see my friends, but also had good news on the financial front. The temperature is warm, and the snow is melting.  I have an early appointment with the nutritionist today, and the office is situated where it is senseless for me to take a bus.  I would have to pick up the bus in front of my house, take it one long block, get off and transfer to what I call the 'slowest bus in Brooklyn', and take that 4 short blocks.  Not worth it.  If I am going to stand in the rain and get wet waiting for a bus, I might as well get wet while walking.  At least with each step I will be closer to my destination...and it is not cold out. 

I was talking about my new doctor with a peer at the Center yesterday.  She has chosen the same one, but hasn't met him yet.  I really, really liked him.  And, I love the nurses and receptionists.  They are so friendly and all of them were smiling, unlike the permanent frowns of those in my last doctor's office.  A few kind words and a smile and can do a lot to make one feel comfortable when they are feeling a little anxious. And, I WAS feeling anxious on my first appointment.  I didn't know what to expect.  I was so used to be treated like a number that I didn't know how to react when I was treated like a person.  So, I began to talk their ears off.  I talked about anything that came to mind, and they responded.  What a difference!

So, it has finally been a week of achievements.  My pension is supposedly on its way, and we've learned why hubby's retroactive has not come through and are working on it.  I had volunteered to be his 'payee', but after researching all the responsibilities it would entail, we both decided that he would get a letter from his doctor as suggested by the woman at the social security office.  Hopefully, that will do the trick, and even though it seems that it will take a bit longer, it may not.  He is picking up his letter today and will bring it in on Monday.  Had I been his payee, we would have had to go to the bank and open a new account, then provide them with the information, etc....more running around.  I do hope this works.  But, for the life of me, I don't understand it.  They already direct deposit his monthly checks into his account.  So, why make us get a second account for monies that are his to begin with.  It's just plain mean to make a sick man run around like this.

So, not much on the agenda this weekend.  Tomorrow I will probably stay in.  I want to start digging the spring things out.  I don't care that they are predicting more snow on Wednesday.  Spring will be here soon enough.  (Nothing like positive thinking.)  On Sunday I hope to go to Church, pick up a few items at the supermarket, and go home and prepare for the week.  

So, in closing I would like to say...

Smile. Today would be a wonderful day not to take life so seriously. Today may end up the way you prefer - and it may not. Happiness is not about being a winner - it's about being gentle with life - being gentle with yourself. Let life be a dance, and choose the kind of dance you want for today - perhaps a gentle loving dance. 
 Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review

'Our fates spin their web, and our actions bear the fruits they have sown. Those who have met and loved cannot be parted; if they meet not in this life, they meet in another.

From 'The Fall of Atlantis" 

The other day when I visited a  dear friend's blog, My Grama's Soul she happened to mention one of her favorite books, "The Mists of Avalon", and I decided it was time for a re-read of the entire series.  It's been a few years now so I dug out my old notebook to look over my notes. Yes, I actually take notes on these novels.  Last time I became so obsessed with making the reincarnation connections of the characters in the series that I actually took notes and drew up a chart.  This time, though, I will not really need my notebook since I discovered that Diana Paxon has posted an official chart. It is still fun, however, to go over my notes.
The book I am reading now, is 'The Fall of Atlantis'. This was originally two separate books--'Web of Light' and 'Web of Darkness'--which have been combined now into a single volume. This is the book that started it all and goes a long way toward explaining some of the major themes that run through the other books in the series, especially "The Mists of Avalon, " for it is in this that we first meet the characters who incarnate through all of the other books of the series culminating in those characters we have grown to love. If you choose to read this book, see if you can guess who, generations down the road, will be Viviane, Morgaine, Arthur, and Lancelot.

'The Fall of Atlantis' centers around the doleful story of two young sisters --Domaris and Deoris--who were born on one of the many islands that make up the sea kingdom of Atlantis and the part they play in the ceaselessl battle between the 'Path of Light' and the 'Path of Darkness'.   Domaris  is an acolyte of the 'Temple of Light' and   the rebellious Deoris chooses instead to follow the forces of darkness when she begins following a priest who has been engaging in the darker areas of magic.  

As the story begins, a dying priest of the Light, Micon, has arrived at the Temple seeking refuge after he and his younger half-brother, Reio-ta, had been captured and tortured by the Black Robes. Deoris becomes the scribe of the blind priest, but it is Domaris with whom he falls in love.  His arrival will forever change the lives of the two sisters and will take many lifetimes to resolve. 

'A child will be born, one that will sire a line to check this evil forever.'

The Fall of Atlantis 

From the book description...

' A wounded Atlantean prince...a deadly battle between Dark and Light...and the sisters Deoris and Domaris, whose lives are changed utterly by the magic involving them. These are the elements of The Fall of Atlantis, Marion Zimmer Bradley's epic fantasy about that ancient and legendary realm.

On one side stand the Priests of the White Robe, guardians of powerful natural forces which could threaten the world if misused. Ranged against them are the Black Robes, sorcerers who secretly practice their arts in the labyrinthine caves beneath the very Temple of Light. Caught between are Domaris and Deoris, daughters of the arch-priest Talkannon, trapped in a web of deadly sorcery--the same forbidden sorcery that could bring about the fall of Atlantis.'

The story  immediately picks up again in its sequal "Ancestors of Avalon."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Good News And a Small Rant

Even the woodpeckers owe their success to the fact that they use their heads
and keep pecking away until they finish the job they start.

Coleman Cox

Good morning everyone.  It is finally warming up a little.  Hope we saw the last of the snow yesterday, but I'm not going to count on it.  It's been a long, rough winter, to be sure, but an end is in sight.  Spring has never looked so good.  So, I have news.  Lots of news.

Hubby woke up early and headed for the social security office to get his case straightened out.  Seems that even though he doesn't have a mental illness diagnoses, they still want a payee to release the retroactive money  to. Why I don't know.  The man is perfectly capable of handling his own finances.  Personally, I think they are just giving him a hard time, and I am furious. After all, they released over $10,000 to my stepson when he was living with us.  He has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and is a known drug user who has proven over and over again that he has no concept of money management. He never once did laundry while he lived with us.  When his clothes got dirty, all he did was replace them with expensive new clothes.  No three pack of Haynes for him.  No, this kid thought nothing of spending $9 on a tee shirt he would wear one time and toss away.  Yet, he was deemed capable of handling his money.  In less than six months, everything was gone, and he was back in the hospital.  But, every time he is released,  they start paying him again.  (He no longer lives with us.  That was a nightmare.)  Nope.  No payee needed there. 

And, then I used to see them releasing huge sums of monies to my clients--homeless, mentally ill, substance abusers.  More often than not the monies were spent on jewelry, technology, cigarettes, and drugs.  They didn't even put enough money away to live on.  I remember the day one of my clients, a 22 year old man with schizophrenia, came in boasting about a $700 phone he just bought. He was attired in new expensive clothing, had a huge gold chain around his neck, and a pair of $250 sneakers.  Two weeks later the phone, chain, and sneakers were gone, and his clothes actually stunk.  The rest of his money went on drugs...and we all know what happens when the money runs out.  Everything goes.  Yet, he was deemed capable of managing his own money.

Needless to say, I'd planned to go to the Center today, but will instead go to social security with him and become his payee.  His money will be deposited in my account, and I will turn it over to him.  I am not happy about it, but if it ends this social security nightmare then so be it. Sounds simple, doesn't it?  But  I did some research on it, and it is not so cut and dry.  As payee, I will have to open a new bank account as payee.  My husband cannot have direct access to it. I also must complete written reports about how the monies were spent. any discrepancies, and I could be penalized. I am beginning to feel rather anxious about this and wonder what I have gotten myself into.  Does anyone have any experience as a payee? Would love some advise.

On a happier note, my pension nightmare appears to be over.  Yesterday, I received a call from the union, and it appears that my payments are being processed.  They should be in my account some time next week.  Of course, I am not going to allow myself to get too excited until I see the money in my account.  When I mentioned that I'd not faxed in the WP-4 form yet as I had just received it, I was advised it wasn't necessary.  So this form, this unnecessary form, held up my payments for a month or more.  I just don't get it.  But, does anyone ever understand bureaucracy and how it works.

Perseverance is a great element of success.  If you only knock
loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

Old and new put their stamp on everything in nature. The snowflake
that is now falling is marked by both; the present gives the motio
and color to the flakes; antiquity its form and properties. All things wear
a luster which is the gift of the present and a tarnish of time.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

When listened to the weather forecast yesterday morn, it was all I could do not to cry. More snow was on its way. (Sigh) This won't be a bad storm, but it is enough to make for some slippery walking, especially since there are so many who didn't shovel you can see by the picture below.  This is where I catch the bus, and it  is nothing but a sheet of ice.  No one seems to care about it.  The furniture store 'really' should be fined, but the city has so many other things to do, they just don't seem to care.  (Personally, I think the MTA should be responsible for keeping its bus stops clean.) And people just can't get hold of the salt they need.  First year I remember there being a shortage.

I've always loved the winter, but, I have to admit that this winter is really getting me down. So many endless dark, dreary days, one runs into another.   And it seems that just when I finally do look forward to getting out, another snowstorm comes our way.  Day after day, I find myself stuck in the house and becoming more and more depressed. Sunlight exposure can affect your emotional well-being, and the sun's rays have been far and few between. SADD has always been a part of my life, but I cannot remember it as being as pronounced as it was this year.  My life appears to have come to a standstill.

Yesterday I took advantage of a sunny day to get out to the store.  Never mind that it was cold.  I can deal with that. The sun was shining brightly, and that was exactly what I needed. It was discouraging, though, to step out of the house and look about. Dirty gray icy snow piled sky high...garbage piled on top of that. 

This is what greeted me when I stepped out the front door.  But, at  least the garbage is finally being picked up.  Notice the guy across the street? He stopped in his tracks when he saw me taking pictures and just stared at me, all the while holding that garbage bag.  I thought it was kind of funny.  He probably thought I was snapping pictures to register a complaint.

Heading in one direction, the walkway looked pretty  clear, but that man walking blocked the view.  Actually, there is a church and a parking lot on the other side, and none of them shovel...ever.

I only picked up a few things at the fruit stand. I love my broccoli and those black grapes are so sweet. Each morning I have a multi-grain cereal bar along with a banana and my coffee each morning. Those candies are outrageously good, and I picked them up as a treat for myself.  Besides, after seeing the nutritionist on Friday, I probably won't be eating them very much anymore.  Might as well enjoy while I can.

I stopped at one of the little Chinese shops while I was out and bought a wonderfully scented Magnolia and Cherry Blossom spray.  What a phenomenal springlike scent.  I always find something nice in these shops.  I absolutely fell in love their perfumes and colognes. And, two years ago I had bought a shampoo for $20.  It just ran out not too long ago.

Just checked up front and from the look of things, I'll not be going anywhere today.  It's just not worth taking that chance.  Tomorrow will be a better day.  Think positive.

We have today to learn to get back into accord with the wisdom of nature and realize again our kinship with the animals and the water and the sea. To say that the divinity informs all things is condemned as pantheism. But pantheism is a misleading word. It suggests that a personal god is supposed to inhabit the world, but that is not the idea at all. The idea is of an indefinable, inconceivable mystery, thought of as power, that is the source and end and supporting ground of all life and being.

Joseph Campbell

Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

When the snow is still blowing against the window-pane in
January and February and the wild winds are howling without,
what pleasure it is to plan for summer that is to be. 

Celia Thaxter 

Happy President's Day, and to those who have a long weekend...enjoy.

This is the beginning of a new day, a new week.  The forecast calls for warmer weather this week.  Sure will be a pleasing change of pace.  Maybe this week I can actually get to the Center. I was laying out clothes last evening when hubby reminded me that today is a holiday. I am reminded of how I loved these little three day weekends while I was working, but now, since I retired, I feel a wee bit disappointed. It would have been nice to get out and mingle for awhile.

One can only sit in so much before they go stir crazy.  I did get dressed on Sunday to go to Church, but once I saw that the crosswalks were still pretty slippery and slushy,  I headed back home. I am still not sure if I will make it to the Center today.  Haven't checked up front yet. Sometimes I wonder if I am becoming too fearful. Perhaps I am overdoing it. There was a time that nothing bothered me.  I didn't care what kind of weather I headed out in.  But, now that I am older, I have become so afraid of falling that I have made myself a virtual prisoner in my own home. 

Made a huge pot of chicken and rice soup for dinner yesterday. It tasted so good if I do say so myself. I love making soups because there is always room for experiment. I tend to just gather whatever is handy and toss it all into a pot and simmer. For the above soup, I purchased a package of legs and thighs, simmered them for two hours in water with no sodium chicken broth, onions, celery, carrots, peas, parsley, parsnips, garlic, black pepper, McCormick's roasted garlic and bell peppers plus their garlic and herb seasoning, a wee bit of tomato sauce, and rice.

I don't think I told you.  Hubby's nightmare with SSD continues.  Supposedly it was all straightened out when he went for his appointment last week, and he was told that his retroactive money should be in the bank within the next two weeks.  Evidently it wasn't taken care of because he received a letter dated February 12 saying that he needs to come and bring his payee.  Now he has to head over to the office again tomorrow morning.  The man doesn't need a payee.  Yes, he has emphysema, but he is not an invalid....and he does not have mental illness. He can handle his own checks. Between his issues and mine, I wonder if this nightmare will ever end.

I am getting so anxious for Spring.  As soon as I am able to get out and about I plan to hit the 99 cent store for some Spring things--a flowery tablecloth, some nice planters, dainty doilies, etc.  I have spent the weekend visualizing how bright and inviting my apartment will be when I am done with it. Just can't wait to throw open the windows and let the fresh air in. Ah Spring, beautiful Spring.  

They are predicting that by next weekend he temperature will rise into the 50's.  I can't wait.  But, alas, first we must get through tomorrow.  More snow on the way. (Sigh) They say we got more snow this year than Minneapolis and Ankorage, Alaska. Yes, it has been a long hard winter, but light is on its way. I think the following poem sums it up well.

Wearily waiting for spring! patience is almost gone;
The winds sigh coldly and drearily over the land forlorn;
The trees with outstretched arms standing naked and bare,
Patiently waiting for spring to clothe them, beauty-fair.

Silently waiting for spring! down in their earthly bed. 
The tender flowers are longing to lift their bright young heads; 
The running burn moves sadly through leafless bramble boughs, 
An answering voice of gladness vainly it seeks to arouse.

Longingly waiting for spring! the fading children of earth
Look with a hopeful smile for nature's coming birth;
They dream of a life revived, and raise the drooping head. 
As if they fain would catch the first sound of her tread.

Fearfully waiting for spring! for the silent form and voice,
That in her glorious beauty will never more rejoice; 
And like a rushing torrent fond mem'ries will awake, 
As spring-time breathes again o'er hearts that well-nigh break.

Joyfully waiting for spring ! the heart of youth would fain 
With happy beaming eyes welcome spring again;
 Bringing fresh hopes and pleasures, breathing no sorrow or blight, 
Winging them onward with her through all her happy flight.

Peacefully waiting for spring! mind and body at rest,
Lying with folded hands over a passionless breast; 
Unheeding the raving blasts and the cold wintry day, 
Awaiting the last spring-time, never to pass.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Roundup

Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived


(The courtyard outside my kitchen window)

Gee, is it Friday already?  Time is passing by so quickly that sometimes we forget to cherish the moments. Another week has come and gone.   Another snowstorm has blanketed the grounds with snow and ice.  As I sat in my chair watching the flakes fall, I was reminded of only a few months back when I was anxiously awaiting the first snow.  It doesn't seem like so long ago.  Now, I am awaiting the first buds of Spring.  Why am I always WAITING for something and not cherishing the moment?
(My bedroom and bathroom window via kitchen window view)

 (Look how dirty and yukky New York City snow is.  Nothing pretty about that)

(Yesterday afternoon this crosswalk was a slushy watery mess.  This morning it is a sheet of ice.)

'It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood'.  That's the excuse the school chancellor used for keeping the schools open yesterday.  'If Macy's opens, we open.'  Now, mind you, the pictures above were taken late afternoon.  They show nothing of the treacherous conditions in the morning when children were trying to make it to school.  Very dangerous. Teachers and parents are in an upright. And the mayor chose to blame the National Weather Service. He claims he heard them forecast only 3 inches.  I don't know what he was listening to.  Added to all this was that just the other day our mayor made a call to get a friend released from jail, and he is being called out by people and constituents all over the city.  In my opinion, this guy is totally unfit to run this city.

And, I have to admit, I accomplished NOTHING this week.  The form for the union arrived on Wednesday, late afternoon, and with the storm hitting, I was unable to fax it. I DID hit the supermarket on Wednesday before the storm hit.  At least we have plenty of eats in the house. Perhaps too much.  Did I really need those new Pepperidge Farm Caramel Apple Pie cookies? 'Yes, you do,' I told myself. 'After all, you are seeing the nutritionist for a diet next Friday.  Might as well splurge while you can.' Oh, how I rationalize for my guilty pleasures!  

When I was in grammar school, I remember how much fun these Candy Hearts were on Valentine’s Day. It always felt good when someone professed their 'love', even if only on a sugary candy.  Another tradition we had was buying those packs of cheap little cards and passing them out.  And our teacher always told us that if we didn't bring for all, we should bring for no one. In that way, no child was ever slighted. 

According to legend, the first Valentine was a love letter the duke of Orleans sent to his wife when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Love and joy are in the air.  Red hearts, flowers, and chocolate truffles are everywhere.  Today is a day to spend time with our family and friends, a time to honor and give thanks to our loved ones. 

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends. May your weekend be one filled with love, peace, and joy.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Newest Aquisition

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wow, and yet another storm has hit us, but rather than focus on the endless cold and snow, I now turn my attentions to Spring.  It is only a little over a month until it arrives, and although I know that it can still be cold in late March, at least knowing that warmth is just around the corner.  Yesterday we had no heat in the morning, but I am blessed to have landlords who care. Within hours the furnace was fixed. 

Meanwhile, I am still battling this cold.  As miserable as I feel, I am glad it stayed a head cold and didn't hit my chest...but then again, since I've stopped smoking, colds don't really settle in my chest anymore.  At first sniffle and sneeze, I start rubbing the old Vicks on my chest. 

This is my newest acquisition. Our Lady of Fatima. This piece really looks so much more beautiful when viewing in person. I really have to stop this, though.  Not only do I not have the money, but I am also running out of room.  I'm such an addictive personality.  But, I couldn't resist.  I've admired this piece in the window for weeks now. The first time I stood admiring her some woman stopped, and said "Isn't she beautiful?" Oh, yes she was, so beautiful that each week I was drawn back to that window until finally I gave in. She was only $13, and I wasn't going to be happy until I bought her, but I figure now it is time to start walking on the other side of the street when I go to church.

May she bring peace and unity into the world.

 Dear Lady of Fatima,
We come on bended knee,
To beg Your intercession,
For peace and unity.

Dear Mary, won't You show us,
The right and shining way,
We pledge our love and offer You,
A Rosary each day.

You promised at Fatima,
Each time that You appeared,
To help us if we pray to You,
To banish war and fear.

Dear Lady, on First Saturdays,
We ask Your guiding hand,
For grace and guidance here on earth,
And protection for our land.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Can't Even Remember What Day it is....

Consider the trees which allow the birds to perch and fly away without either
inviting them to stay or desiring them never to depart. If your heart can be
like this, you will be near to the way.

Zen Buddhist teaching

Oh my.  One day is running into the next.  Too many storms. Another one is headed our way.  Every time it clears up, and I am able to get out, another storm heads our way, and I am once again confined to my house.  Remind me of this in Autumn when I start yearning for the snow.  What a winter!!!!!

Met my new doctor yesterday.  I really liked him and everyone else there.  The ladies at the reception desk were so friendly, I felt like I had come home. The bad news was that my blood pressure was 160 over 90.  Kind of high. but hey, I haven't had any meds for a week. Won't let that happen again.  And the trip there in the morning was kind of stressful.  To begin with, the bus ran very late. I have a thing for promptness.  I cannot deal with being late anywhere. Then, I ended up getting off at the wrong stop, although I didn't know it at the time.  I had a long walk to the clinic, and much of it was over ice covered sidewalks. 

I am really pleased that I made a change.  I've been scheduled for an eye exam, bone density test, EKG, mammogram, GYN, and to see a nutritionist, as well as complete bloodwork, including thyroid level and mineral level to see what, if anything, is causing these muscle spasms.  I like that.  He is focusing on important things and things that are related to my blood pressure. And, blood tests will be done at once rather than having me run week after week. I swear, my old clinic must have been getting kickbacks from the lab.  They had me there every week.  I was becoming part of the furnishings.

Last night one of my old co-workers sent me a text.  He wanted to let me know that they had had a graduation ceremony for the clients yesterday, and three of my old clients graduated and spoke about me in their speeches.  I wrote back and informed him that although I was very proud of my client and wished him well, I was hurt and angry that no one had notified me that the graduation ceremony was going to be held.  Of course, I didn't hear from my co-worker again.

l was angry because (1) When my clients were feeling sad that I was leaving, I told them all to continue doing well and promised them I would be there to see them graduate.  It made it look like I really didn't care. (2) After another co-worker moved on, they called her and asked if she would like to attend to see her client graduate.  (3) It just goes to show that my hubby was right all the while when he chided me for bending over backwards to be the best worker in the place, the one they couldn't live without.  "When they drive you into the ground, they will just find someone to take your place", he used to say.  Well, that part isn't so true after all.  Since I retired in July, the only person hired to take my place quit in a month.  Since then,  my seat has been empty. 

It has been so long I have pretty much let go of all of them, especially the boss who I'd known and worked for for nearly ten years.  called maybe mid-November to say 'hello' and see how things were going.  Left a message on his voice mail.  No response.   I sent  him a text to Happy response.  Merry response.  By New Year's, I had learned my lesson, but despite my feelings for him, I really
WOULD have liked to have been there to see my clients graduate.  That is quite an accomplishment for them. 

Hey, but I should have expected this.  "Out of sight, out of mind'. Another co-worker that left had the same thing happen to her.  So, what makes me think I should be any different.  I guess it is that part of me that really believed that I had meaning to them.  The expensive bracelet they gave me when I left was nice, but what would have been even nicer would have been a phone call once in awhile.  "Hey, how are you doing?  We miss you?"

All too often we see things that aren't really there.  The day I walked out of my office for the last time, I never believed it was really good bye.  Despite the fact that I was a generation older than my oldest co-worker, I still believed that we would always keep in contact with each other.  But, co-workers are just  They are not friends.  They have separate lives out of the office that did not include me.  So what makes me think they should include me now?  Fanciful thinking on my part.
The fact is, they have moved on, and this little episode  just shows me that it is time for me to move on as well. And you know what?  It really doesn't bother me.  I have a new life now.  I have new friends, real friends.  Maybe not the best friend I have searched for my entire life, but I am satisfied with the people in my life now and am letting go of the past.

Friendships are different from all other relationships. Unlike acquaintanceship, friendship is based on love. Unlike lovers and married couples, it is free of jealousy. Unlike children and parents, it knows neither criticism nor resentment. Friendship has no status in law. Business partnerships are based on a contract. So is marriage. Parents are bound by the law. But friendships are freely entered into, freely given, freely exercised. 

Stephen Ambrose