Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 “I couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. It was a giant reset button. You could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.” 

Avery Sawyer

Wow, another Monday already?  Not complaining though.  Had a nice peaceful weekend.  Went to the fruit stand early on Saturday hoping to avoid the crowds, but, I swear, there is no quiet time to shop there.  Haven't seen it at 3 am, but I have passed by a midnight, and the place was still hopping.  Came home and made myself a banana, strawberry, and peach smoothie.  Yummy to the last drop.

Also bought myself three of my favorite fruits--Haitian Mangoes.

Finally got to Coney Island on Friday.  It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the humidity low.  It was perfect day for the beach. 

I had to have a Nathan's Chili dog for lunch.  Heck, I haven't had a frank in over a year.  I haven't had a frank in over a year, and it sure did taste good.  Actually, it tasted like another one, but I was good.  If it was only my weight I was concerned with I probably would have had the second one, but I've got to worry about my blood pressure, and franks are very high in sodium.

For dessert I had some soft chocolate ice cream.  Yummy.  It's been a long time since I had ice cream as well, and I ate every last drop of it.

Do you remember awhile back when I mentioned the old Chinese lady across the street who waits with me while I wait for the bus to take me to Church on Sunday?  Well,  she was out there yesterday, and I snapped a couple of photos. 

Poor thing.  I hate to think of her cramped up all winter in that dark, dingy basement apartment. 

I am going to sign up for a new class that the union offers, and it is completely free.  'Chi Gong' is a healing art that aims to increase the body's healthy energy.  Classes are held on Monday mornings so I will not be able to attend the Center, but I think this will be good for me.  Not only has healing taken center stage at this time of my life, but I tend to get bored with the Center when I attend it every day.  I will probably begin my classes next week.  I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Well, that's about it for today.  Have to eat breakfast and get ready to mosey on down the road.  I have a few pictures of Coney to share tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Roundup

 Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from
a distance but disappear when you get up close to them.
John Shirley

Well, it's weekend time again, and so far, according to the forecast, it looks like we're in for some nice weather. Time to get out and enjoy.  Speaking of enjoying, it's hard to be leave that we are nearing the July 4th holiday. That's an extra special day for me.  On that day, it will be five years since I had a cigarette, my own personal Independence Day, so to speak.

Spent most of yesterday on my heating pad and trying out the various gadgets I was gifted with.  Aside from some relief from the heating pad and the compact hammer massager which alleviated the pain for a few hours, I didn't see much in the way of relief from the other stuff.  Guess it is just not realistic to expect instant results. I'm also hoping that the eden wand will help with my blood pressure as well.   Meanwhile, I do intend on going to Coney today.  Yes, I still have some pain but I think an Aleve and being careful with my steps will do the trick. At least I hope they do. Needless to say, if I should get over there and find I am in too much pain to make it home, I can always call hubby to pick me up.  But, I refuse to think negative.  Everything will be fine.

So, what of your plans for the weekend?  Anything special on the agenda?

Have fun  and stay safe.  See you all on Monday.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Planning a Day at the Ocean

 The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” 


Good morning.  Not such a bad day out, at least not as bad as they had predicted a few days ago.  Only a few showers are expected.  On a normal day I can deal with that and would plan to head to the Center, but not today.  Today is a day of healing, hopefully. I've planned all week to head out to Coney Island tomorrow.  Even bought the sunscreen.  Well, yesterday, I don't know how I did it, but I must have turned wrong because I  pulled a muscle in my upper thigh. I actually won a bingo game and was taking my seat after collecting my winnings.  Almost went down when it happened.  Today it is still sore, but I feel as if it is on the mend and don't want to push it so I am taking it slow...and, of course,  staying very conscious of the way I move. We oldsters do not heal as quickly as we did when we were young.  

Speaking of pain and sore muscles, I received a windfall of pain gadgets yesterday. A neighbor was moving and didn't want to take them with him so he asked hubby if he wanted the stuff.  Heck, it was all brand new.  Never out of the box.  Hubby said he immediately thought of me and took it all.  

Included are Dr. Franklyn's  Deep Tissue Massager, a portable T.E.N.'s machine to relieve lower back pain, a T.E.N's Belt, and an...
 ...Eden Wand Massager which hopefully will help lower my blood pressure as well as alleviate my pain.
Has anyone ever used any of the above gadgets?

Of course, there are some things that I will throw caution to the wind for. I can't ever go to Coney without getting a Nathan's hot dog.  I'll pass on the cheese fries, though, much as I want them.  Far too much sodium. The weather is supposed to be near perfect, and I am so looking forward to it.  Love being near Mother Ocean.  She speaks to me, and as I gaze out over her vastness, I am overcome with awe.  The seaside is my spiritual place, and I am so blessed to have her nearby.   And she always lets me know she is there by sending her gulls.  What an amazing sight they are hovering overhead.  Hundreds of them.  The squawking can be a bit much, though. 

Well, I'm going to go grab a bite to eat now and afterwards give myself a massage treatment.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.  I really want to go tomorrow.

 “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about the sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.” 

 Herman Melville

 “Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life.”

 Tamora Pierce

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Day at the Center

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. 

Douglas Pagels
Good morning.  It's another beautiful day in the neighborhood...although they do say the humidity will still creeping up today. It's good to see my reading list back.  I felt so lost when it was missing. Yesterday I was in a picture taking mood so today I thought I'd introduce you to some of the people at the Center.  I mentioned that I was going to do this, and none of them seemed to mind.

This is early in the day just as we were about to sign up for the bingo game.  Still kind of empty. (The lady upfront in purple is the one who liked to ride the buses for free.)

This is Frank.  He is usually such a nice man, but when he has his days, you'd best watch out.  Frank is in his 80's.

This is Frank's wife, Serena.    Both had lost their spouses, met at the Center, and have been married now for several years.  She is 88 years old and has had no age-related health issues aside from knee pain until just recently when she had a heart attack.

This is Fred.  He is one of my lunch companions.  Such a sweetheart, and boy, does he know his music.  We had music appreciation yesterday, and Fred was the only one who was able to guess the names of all of the artists. 

Fred hangs around with Anna.  They are best of friends.  Neither seems to want anything more than friendship at this point in their lives.  Poor Anna.  She had a terrible toothache over the weekend, and the whole right side of her face is swollen.  She knows she has to have it pulled, but can't afford it.  Medicare and Medicare plans don't pay much for dentistry, if they cover it at all.  When I was doing my research before I retired I happened across a few places that will provide services for free or at a reasonable cost so I'm going to bring her the information tomorrow and hopefully it will be of help to her.  It's really awful to be in pain and afraid that if you go take care of the problem, your finances will be wiped out and you will be put into debt. 

I chose to keep Emblem as my Medicare Advantage plan.  This is the company I had at work and never had a problem with them.  Thus far, everything is working out fine.  They do offer dental, but it's not like what I had when I was working, and dental is so darn expensive.  What are we retirees to do?  I'm lucky to have a hubby to share the expenses, but when you are living alone, dental fees can be overwhelming.

This was taken in music appreciation.  The lady with the striped shirt is the meditation facilitator.  The other lady, Maria, has such a beautiful voice and sings opera with a group that travels around the city and puts on shows.  Maria is fine at the Center, but admits when she goes home she locks herself in her bedroom and stays there. She lives alone in a huge house and becomes paranoid that someone is going to break in.  I feel that she would probably be better off selling the house and getting into one of those senior oriented housing options, but she won't hear of it.

This is Erma, my Avon lady.  She collects the money for lunch and assigns the table.  Luckily, she likes me and gives me the same one every day.  The gentleman seated next to her takes your blood pressure on Tuesdays.  He has a really difficult name, and I always forget it.

This is Tommy.  He is 80 years old and still quite a ladies man.  Tommy used to box in his youth, and boy, can this man dance.  He knows all the moves.

I don't really know the man sitting here aside from saying good morning, but the lady in peach handing out the milk is Caroline.  She is quite the character, and no one knows how old she is, but she is definitely up in years. She always reminds me of an old hippie with the way she wears her hair and the beads around her neck.  She also always has a hat on and a crocheted flower pinned to her blouse.  And, everything always matches. Caroline also can be quite nasty, and when I first started going to the Center I often wondered why she didn't like me.  But one day she came up to me and apologized.  She explained that she knows she can come across as gruff, but that is just her personality.  From then on I didn't let her wisecracks bother me.

I am worried because I haven't seen Annie and her boyfriend for about two weeks now, and everyone who knows her has been talking about how her age is catching up to her.  She turned 99 this month.  I sure do hope she is okay.

So, there you have it.  There are plenty of people who attend, but that is basically my 'crew'.  There are a few that are missing--one recently had hip surgery and the other moved--but these are the basic core of people that I socialize with every day...and I totally love them all.
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Khalil Gibran

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blogger Issues

I've been having problems with my reading list.  I understand this is pretty much a widespread problem.  I didn't post this morning because I honestly don't know if anyone would even be able to see it. I will be going down my blog list one by one, tedious, yes, but you are all so important to me I don't want to miss your posts.   Hoping this gets fixed soon.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. 

Henry Ward Beecher

Monday Greetings to all.  Hope your weekend was a good one.  Alas, mine was a busy one, but that means next weekend will be a free one, and that means, weather permitting, I will finally get out to Coney Island.  Saturday would have been a perfect day for it weatherwise, but it would have been too crowded for my comfort.  Hundreds of thousands of people were  amassing to watch the annual Mermaid Parade, one of the largest art parades in the nation.  I just didn't have it in me this year.  Not only do I get panicky when I find myself in a mob, but even moreso now that I am not as agile as I once was and can no longer stand for long periods at a time.

The Mermaid Parade of Coney Island began in 1983 as a celebration of the beginning of summer, the American version of the Summer Solstice celebration and ancient mythology. It usually takes place on the Saturday closest to the calendar start of summer. This year it just happened to fall on the Solstice. It is definitely quite a sight to behold with its 'marine' costumes, marching bands, antique cars, and occasional partial nudity. Some women let it all hang out. It seems that it is legal in New York State for women to be topless in public. 

These pictures are rather tame compared to some of them.  (Thank you Jim Smith for freely sharing the photos).

 A little more risque.

Wouldn't be a Coney Island parade without Nathan's. 

Went on a cooking binge this weekend.  Meat and poultry has gotten so expensive that I have been looking for different ways to make ground beef and chicken. Hubby will never be a vegetarian. First time I ever made Korean Beef, and it was delicious.  It will definitely be on the menu again.

Ingredients include Sesame oil, ground beef, 5 garlic cloves (minced), red pepper flakes, powdered ginger, low sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Brown ground beef and minced garlic in about a tablespoon of Sesame oil. After cooked and browned add about 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. I added about 1/4 cup water for a gravy sauce. Cover and simmer. Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions.

I served this with Sweet Baby Carrots.  

Boil carrots and drain.  While draining add 1/2 cup salt free butter, 3 tablespoons of honey, and about a half a cup of brown sugar.  Melt butter and simmer with honey and brown sugar.  Add the carrots and coat well.

I did it again.  Couldn't resist.  I don't even know where I am going to put her. I've decided that the only way for me to stop buying is not to carry any money with me when I go to church.

Well, not much more to say this morning.  Have to go in and shower.  I always get ready early so I can spend some time with Miss Minga before I go.  Sometimes she doesn't want me to leave the house, and the other day she broke my heart when she literally howled when I started to leave.  I wanted so badly to stay home, but I know if I don't, I will only get myself depressed again.  It's important to maintain this socialization to keep myself from getting sick, and it's only 4 hours a day. When I got to the bus stop, I called hubby, and he said the moment I left she went to her bed, curled up, and went to sleep.  Just like a small baby when their mommy leaves. 

Talk to you all tomorrow.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Solstice

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.

Gertrude Jekyll 

Solstice Blessings.   May your day be filled with love, joy, and happiness.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Roundup

 Friends are kisses blown to us by angels. 

Author Unknown

Good morning, and a happy Friday to all.  his used to be my favorite day of the week, but now that I am retired, every day is like a Friday.  It has been like one non-ending weekend. I can't believe that almost a year has passed since I handed in my resignation in June and retired in July.  And, I have no regrets.  I may not have as much money as I did when still employed, but I have just enough to live on, and money isn't everything, and unlike a recent retiree, I am enjoying this time.  

She and I had a lot in common and were becoming fairly close when all of a sudden she disappeared.  One day I happened to run into her husband and asked what had happened to her.  He told me she had found a part-time job telephone soliciting.  It made her feel old going to a senior center, and she would rather be working.  

Well, it doesn't make me feel old in the least.  In fact, after being the only old timer on the job, it feels rather good to be the baby of the group.  I know that everyone reacts differently to retirement and to each his own, but after working for fifty years, I earned this permanent vacation.  I earned the right to 'choose' whether or not I get up and go out or lounge about in the bed.  This is 'my' time, and I cherish every moment of it. 

Yesterday I decided that I didn't feeling going to the center, even though the rain had not yet started to fall.  My body was tired and needed some downtime. Besides, there are no groups on Thursday, and the hour after bingo until lunchtime can really be boring.  Hubby, remembering how depressed I was over the winter months when I found myself in forced isolation, said, "But it's not only having a group.  It is about being around people." 

He's right, of course, but it's not the same as it was in winter.  I am busy now that I am able to get out.  I go to the Center Monday-Wednesday, and sometimes on Thursday, run errands or go to the park on Friday and Saturday, and Church every Sunday.  I've developed a small little circle of friends at the Church and each of us seems to have so much in common--a sick husband, health issues, an elder pet, etc...

... Dana's husband, a Vietnam war vet, has suffered from severe PTSD and been in and out of hospitals since the war.  But now that he has gotten older, it has become worse as he begins to suffer from senile dementia as well.  It has become so difficult for her to care for him. Recently she made the difficult decision of putting him into a home.

...Anna is a 3 years older than me and suffers from the same health issues--high blood pressure and obesity.  (Yes, I now refer to myself as obese.  No denying it anymore.) Like me, she arrives early every Sunday so we sit and chat in the lobby. We're both trying to lose weight and have become a strong support for each other.

...Margaret recently had to put her elderly dog to sleep so she knows exactly what I am going through.  She's there to support me no matter what. She, too, has high blood pressure and weight issues.  

You'll have to forgive me if I rattle on about the people meet. I talk about my friends because I haven't had one in a long time.  When I was working, my peers were my social network and being that I was 20 years older than the rest of them, it wasn't much of a network.  They did their thing, and usually I wasn't included.  I mean, who wants to party with your mother with you. (Sigh)  Most of my life I have been yearning for a friend, but either didn't know how to approach people or just didn't have time because I was so busy working. Finally, I feel like my search is over.

Thanks for listening to me ramble on.  By the way, remember not too long ago when I mentioned that I'd purchased a pretty plant, and when I went to transplant it to a larger pot discovered that all it consisted of was a bunch of pretty colored leaves stuck in a pot? No roots.  Well, I came across a picture of it.  Remember this one?

Now that I look at the picture closely, I see there is no common stem.  Should have known better.  Needless to say, I've done no further shopping that store. 

If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me. 

Author Unknown

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I am Nobody but Myself

All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself. 

Ralph Ellison

Good morning, everyone.  Rain is in the forecast so I'm seriously debating staying home.  Yesterday's heat and humidity were dreadful, but it could have been a lot worse.  At least we had a breeze which made it bearable. This extra poundage I am carrying makes it all the more uncomfortable.  I really have to take this seriously as it is damaging my health.  

When I came across the above quote the other day I shuddered.  It reminded me of the self I used to be. Some people live their entire lives wearing masks, being the someone they think others want them to be, always seeking validity from others, always wanting to be accepted.  Many of us are like that in our youth but we grow out of it. We shed the masks and become the self we were born to be.

Our nurse used to be that way, always wanting validation and attention from others.  I used to get so frustrated with her because she had so much going for her. I always used to tell her she could do so much better, especially after she got her RN. I stopped when I realized that she wasn't going to find herself by listening to me.  She had to find her own way. (By the way, her health issues worsened, and she had to leave the job shortly after I did.)   

Today I have found myself in more ways than one.  Oh, I know I still have issues that I must work on.  I may have forgiven my parents, but I still have scars that are waiting to be healed.  And I am no longer that shy little girl who yearned to be a part of.  And as I grow older I realize that I no longer need the makeup, the fancy hairdos, or the perfect shape to make others like me. Today the masks have been discarded, and I am a 'wash and wear' kind of gal'.  I like myself so much better this way. Had my long hair chopped into an easy do and now it is ten minutes and my makeup is on and my hair is combed. I am so much happier this way.  And people genuinely like me for who I am.  Today I am nobody but myself.

They are countless faces that we wear through the journey of life.
Nature, our constant companion, is embracing us without one.
Through the process of mask-creating,
man and nature are entwined in the same embrace
becoming one and the same.
Only Perception differs
from a limited vision.
The spirit of the mask embodies, then,
both energies. It is transformed into power.
The power within reflected out. 

Excerpt from 'Looking Within'  by Peter Sanderson

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nature in the Home

A sensitive plant in a garden grew, And the young winds fed it with silver dew, And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light, and closed them beneath the kisses of night. 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

It is at this time of the year that I really miss my garden.  It brought me so much joy. There was nothing like going outdoors in the quiet of the night surrounded by the quietude and the beauty of nature.  And then I had to let it go, and it broke my heart.  I tried in the backyard of our next apartment, but I wasn't comfortable there.  There was no real privacy.  So, I gave it up.  And now hubby and I have chosen to move into a building.  It was the best choice for us.  Hubby isn't well anymore, and my back and knees ache so badly I would never be able to tend to a garden. 

But I so missed that touch of nature.  I missed the good feeling of nurturing plants and watching them grow, but alas, I'd never had much luck with indoor plants.  The green thumb I had for outdoor plants disappeared, and everything I planted was died.  Why, even my cactus wilted away.  But, this year I was determined.  In all honesty, the first batch of seeds I planted didn't make it, and I lost several store bought plants, but I refused to give up.  And, this time it worked.  I was able to bring the beauty of nature into my home.

With the advent of warm weather, my Money Tree has really taken off.  It's just about time to buy a bigger, floor model planter.

Don't have any idea what this is, but every day I have to turn it as it all heads toward the sun.

This is one of the plants I have to transplant into a hanging planter.  Notice the parsley in the pot next to it.  Hasn't been faring too well, but it looks like this shoot has taken hold

My Moon Flower, planted from seed,  is really taking off.  Time to transplant it into a hanging planter.  I have to keep an eye on it because it wants to wrap itself around my window guard.

I was shocked to see my Maranta plant flowering. Actually I had done much research on this plant.  I thought it was just a plant of pretty leaves.  Yesterday I looked on line and discovered that the plant is called a "Prayer Plant" because the leaves roll up at night.  This is something I hadn't known either, so last night before I went to bed I checked it out...

...and sure enough, the leaves were beginning to roll up.

Here is another view.  Isn't nature amazing?

 Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

William Wordsworth
Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. 

Henry David Thoreau
It's amazing how a bit of Nature can inject such life and colour to an abode. - See more at:

It's amazing how a bit of Nature can inject such life and colour to an abode. - See more at:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Found this so Disturbing

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.


Good morning everyone.   I'm hoping the weather stays clear this week because I would love to get out to Coney Island this week.  I could have gone over the weekend, but the place gets far too crowded for me.  Last time I went I remember it was so busy I couldn't even find a free bench.  I can't stand as long as I could back then. Soon the kids will be out of school and weekday quietude will be over so I would love to be able to take advantage of it now.

I wanted to share a rather disturbing experience I had over the weekend.  During the past several months I have spent time becoming familiar with the beliefs of my ancient Germanic ancestors.  Throughout the years I have delved into Heathenism, but it was only off and on as my Celtic roots always took center stage. But, there is another branch of ancestors as well, those of my paternal grandfather. And especially now, after having my DNA tested and watching the television series, 'The Vikings', my interest has really piqued.  One book I highly recommend is 'Travels Through Middle Earth: The Path of a Saxon Pagan' by Alaric Albertsson. 

Then I decided that maybe it might be helpful if I joined an online group such as I did when I was completing my Druid studies.  I'd found it so helpful to ask questions and gather other points of view.  What I did find was that there were very few groups out there on Heathenism.  Those groups I found on Yahoo seemed to have died out months ago and there were only a few to be found on Facebook.  So, I did choose to join a Facebook group after reading its introduction.  They seemingly offered everything I needed.  But, I should never assume anything.

My first few days on the group were fair.  I introduced myself and got a few welcoming comments, but then I got busy and didn't pay much attention.  Finally when I had some time I went to the group and discovered that one of the members had posted a photo of himself proudly holding an assault rifle in each hand.  A handgun had been stuck into the ammunition belt he wore around his waist.  It was disturbing to say the least.  A few people voiced their concern over the photo, but those comments were quickly deleted and replaced by pro-gun toting comments.

I was getting very bad vibes about this group, and it seemed as if their dark energy was overwhelming me even through the computer so I decided that I had to go, but they'd ticked me off so much that before leaving, I had to voice how disappointed I was.  I then left the group via my phone.  Didn't realize though that even though I did that, as far as my computer was concerned I was still a member so I got to see what they had said about me when I left.  It was so cruel.  

"If she  wants to know about Heathenism, she should read a read a book". 

"Good riddance.  Just like a woman. Just another gun hater."

At that point, a woman posted "Not all women hate guns. This picture was taken  on a picnic we went on." It was a picture of two smiling women standing next to a pickup truck which was laden with guns and ammunition. "Anyone comes near me I'll blow their head off."

Another commented " FDB." Very derogatory. Sorry I looked that one up.

It frightens me that there are such hateful groups out there, and even moreso that I happened to read a post speaking about and welcoming all the 'prisoners' who were joining their group.  Now, Heathenism is actually a very peaceful tradition, but unfortunately, there are people in this world who twist it for their own selfish, hateful reasons.  Hitler is an example.  Thus, Heathenism gets a bad name.  So, what I am saying is that it is not the fact that the prisoners are drawn to Heathenism that scares me; it is the fact that they are being drawn to THIS group which has obviously distorted the tradition.

All in all the experience left me in a pretty negative state for most of the day.  It wasn't until late evening that I was finally able to let it go by turning out the lights, lighting a candle, and praying to Mary for peace.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. 

Gloria Naylor

Good morning everyone. Monday has arrived and another week begins.  You'd think I was still working the way I talk, but I have a fairly regular schedule that I try to keep. They are predicting more rain this week, but I am hoping to get at least one clear day to go to Coney Island.  It was beautiful this past weekend, but I know there must have been quite a crowd.  Not only was it the first sunny days of the weekend, but it was opening day for their new roller coaster. They're charging $10 a ride.  Good thing I don't ride coasters.  That is quite a steep price for a ride that only lasts a few minutes.

Didn't do much this weekend.  Went to the fruit stand, of course, and stocked up on healthy foods.  Came home and myself a nice fruit salad for lunch.  Yummy!!!  Made a pot of chili and yellow rice for dinner.  I like to melt some swiss cheese over mine.

On Sunday I went to Church and then came home to place some virtual flowers on my dad's grave via 'Find a Grave'.  Thanks to one of their kind volunteers I finally have a photo of his gravesite. The other day a friend posted a photo of herself as a little girl playing cards with her dad which only served as a reminder of what I never had.  While my mom was out every night, my dad was home with me, but he was never available. He'd eat his dinner and take his six-pack into his room, and that was where he stayed.  The only time I remember him doing 'dad' things was at Christmas when he would make sure there was always at least one boy's toy under the tree for me.  Not that I minded.  I loved playing with cars and trucks just as much as I enjoyed playing with paper dolls, but I sometimes wonder if had I been a boy, would it have been different?  No matter what, though, he was my dad, and as I grow older, I have learned how to forgive.  And I really do miss him and mourn the loss of his presence in my life.

There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found
While journeying east and west -
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Speaking of Church.  Across the street from my home, where I wait for the bus, there lives a little old Chinese woman. She lives in the basement of a three family homes, and her windows are covered with the darkest material so that not only can one not see inside, but no light filters in.  It is hard to believe that anyone lives in such a dungeon. I'd be willing to guess she is close to a hundred or over.  Last year she sat outside and watched for my bus with me every Sunday that it did not rain.  She talks my ear off, and I don't know a word she is saying and points out the bus when it is coming.  Winter came, and I didn't see her.  Spring came, and I still didn't see her.  I was beginning to think she had probably passed on until I walked over to the bus stop yesterday, and there she was, standing there with the biggest smile on her face.  She was just as happy to see me as I was to see her, and it occurred to me that despite our differences, and despite the fact that neither of us knows what the other is saying, we can still be friends.

And with that I wish you all a great week.

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.

Audre Lorde

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Wishes

Just dropping by to wish you all a very happy and fun-filled weekend.  They say the sun is finally going to come out this weekend, so be sure to get out and savor the joys of nature.  Perhaps you will even find an angel.

Ever felt an angel's breath in the gentle breeze? A teardrop in the falling rain? Hear a whisper amongst the rustle of leaves? Or been kissed by a lone snowflake? Nature is an angel's favorite hiding place. 

Terri Guillemets

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I've Been Elected

Any committee that is the slightest use is composed of people who are too busy to want to sit on it for a second longer than they have to.  

Katharine Whitehorn

Good morning.  What a gray week it has been!  I've forgotten what it is like to walk in the sun. They say by the weekend it will get better so perhaps I can find something to do to have a little fun.

 Though outwardly a gloomy shroud,
The inner half of every cloud
Is bright and shining:
I therefore turn my clouds about
And always wear them inside out
To show the lining.

Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler

Yesterday we voted for the clients who were to serve for the next two years on the advisory board.  I was nominated and voted in.  To be honest, although I felt honored that me peers had such respect for me, I also felt that the advisory board was just there for show--meaning that it is something that our funding sources want to see, but as far as having any leverage towards making constructive changes, the director has the absolute power to veto everything.

For example, several months ago when a member of the advisory board approached me and asked if I would be willing to help himself and another member make some changes in the by-laws.  This was requested by the director.  One thing he wanted to change, and we all agreed upon it, was cutting  the presidency of the advisory board from four years to two, a perfectly logical suggestion seeing the advanced age of many of the clients.  So we made a few minor changes to the by-laws.  Guess what?  The director voted all our changes down.  So, why ask us to waste our time like that?  

During the past few months I have been very vocal about the menus, and I don't think they are very happy about that.  The meals themselves are tasty, but the cooks are too heavy with the salt.  After all, we are senior citizens, and I would venture a guess that at least 75% of us have high blood pressure.  Plus, there is the fact that we are losing people.  They chose to go elsewhere for the food.  For one thing, portion size has been cut drastically, and for some of these clients, this is the only meal they have for the day. One tablespoon of mashed potatoes is definitely no enough. 

And, it is not only the portion size, in time the menu becomes boring.  It is the same thing over and over again.  For example, when we have chicken legs, we have them with mashed potatoes and brocolli....every time.  Why not make it with rice and salad sometimes? And it is the same with everything else they cook.   There is just no creativity with this kitchen staff. 

Oh, and before I forget, on Fridays, and sometimes on other days, they serve fish.  This is good for the people who like it and can eat it, but what of those who can't.  Personally, I don't like fish, but I don't expect them to cook a special meal for me just because I don't like something.  But what about the people who really CAN'T eat fish, the people who are allergic to it. Do you know what they are fed?  An extra helping of vegetable and potatoes.  Sometimes a slice of cheese is thrown on the plate if they have it.  At least at BRC clients who could not eat fish were offered a sandwich and a bowl of soup.

 So, when I was nominated my immediate reaction was to refuse because to me, the whole thing was pointless and a total waste of my time. I'm not going to make a difference.  I've already tried.  But then, I thought about it, and maybe I won't be able to accomplish anything, but at least I will have tried.  The only failure is in not trying.  And perhaps one day they will get sick of hearing me and do something about it.

 Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have."  

Louis E. Boone

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wow, So Many Changes

 If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. 

Author Unknown

The month after I retired I began attending a senior center and have  been attending the same Senior Center on a regular basis.  There are many others around, some that offer better food and more activities, but I am comfortable where I am.  I am a creature of habit, and I know all the workers and had myself a nice little social network.  Notice I said 'had'. Because now that is all changing.  I should have realized that in a senior center there would always be change, but I didn't really expect it to happen virtually all at once. 

Herbie's daughter placed him in a home.  Herbie  was the first person I met at the center, and after a rocky start, we got along well. I always carry hard candy in my purse, and every morning I would seek him out to give him one. He'd grin from ear to ear as he thanked me, and it made me aware that he wasn't used to being treated so nice.  Herbie's  hearing was bad, and he had a lot of trouble getting around due to back issues, but traveled from Staten Island to Brooklyn every day just to play Bingo. When he disappeared I was frightened because he had once professed to me that after the loss of his wife he felt he had nothing to live for.  I miss him terribly, but I know a home is the safest place for my friend.

Mary, 84, fell recently and smashed up her face very badly. She says it will be a long time before she comes back, if ever. She was always a woman who spoke her mind, and at times could be very obnoxious and abrupt. I learned early that she really didn't mean anything by it, and we became friends. Her fall really worries me because sometimes when someone so up in years falls, they are never the same.  My grandfather fell at age 80. Up til then he was fine, drove his car, had all his wits.  But after his fall he was never the same. He could no longer drive and quickly deteriorated to the point where he didn't even know who we were.

Betty J. is recuperating from a hip replacement. She still has to go through therapy.  She won't tell anyone her age, but she is really up there so I am guessing it will be a good long while before she returns.  I am a little annoyed with her right now because she hasn't checked in to let us know all is okay.  In fact, I bought a card for her and had everyone from the women's group sign it, but I have no idea where to send it.  She never said what hospital she was going to be in. But that is Betty, and that is her personality, very private.  I guess I just don't understand her secrecy because I am just the opposit.

Betty V. recently lost her apartment and moved in with her daughter.  It is too far for her to travel.  What an interesting person she was, and what stories she had to tell.  She was crowned Miss Brooklyn many years ago and sang and danced on Broadway. You would never know it today.  Just turned 70, but she looks older and has more ailments than those in their 90's. She admits that she smoked and drank.  'That only naturally goes along with show biz.' She said she will be around once in awhile, but I sure am going to miss her daily humor.

Elenore's agoraphobia has won out, and she no longer leaves her house. She used to talk about it in women's group and admitted that she forced herself to come. It wasn't that she didn't like us; indeed, she enjoyed her circle of friends. But, when winter hit and ice covered the sidewalks, Elenore, like most of us, chose to stay home.  We all returned when the ice melted, but Elenore remains locked in her home. I really miss her.  

Maria's sister passed away. and she flew out to California a month ago.  Her daughter lives in California, and I am wondering if the daughter finally managed to talk her mother into staying.

Tommy had a disagreement with the director and now goes elsewhere. Tommy was a 'tough guy' in his youth and it shows.  Not in a bad way, but you can see the 'bad boy' that he was. He is 81 now and boy, can this man dance.  He knows all the moves.  I used to love watching his Michael Jackson imitation.

Hong and his wife moved to Queens to take care of their grandchildren.  Unlike us, I've noticed that Asian people tend to do that. They pack up and move to help out their children.  Personally, as much as I love my boys, I not only raised them to the best of my ability, but also worked all my life, now it is time for me. Does that sound selfish of me?  It just seems like in the Asian culture, once you are an adult, you are never free anymore.  You raise your own kids and then you raise your grandchildren so that your kids can go out and work.  And when the kids get older, it is their job to do the same. 

And, on top of all this, the interns finished their internship, and they are gone as well.  Needless to say, I have been feeling pretty lost, but I have been meeting many more new and interesting people. Of these, my favorites are 99 year old Annie who can still do her thing on the dance floor and 80 year old Gloria who can belt out any old song requested of her.  I swear, she knows them all, and every day she asks for requests at lunch time.

Change happens. Old friends leave and new people, new friends are arrive every day. No matter how much we wish for it not to, everything continues to change around us. Change is unavoidable. I've always had a problem accepting it because I like things to remain as they are, but life isn't like that. Change is the way of the world, and  I found it is best  to embrace it, rather than fight it. 

Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
Tomorrow be today.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow