Thursday, July 31, 2014

Good Morning

The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn’t, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there. 

Monica Baldwin

The days here have been delightful.  The humidity is gone, and the temps are almost cool.  This has been a great summer. A couple uncomfortable days and then back to the pleasant weather.  Hopefully it will be the same in August.

Have to rush this morning.  Hubby has a very early doctor's appointment, and when he gets the bathroom, he can't seem to find his way out.  I'd rather take care of my shower before.  That way I can do so in peace. Talk to you all tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Being Yourself

Good morning all.  We've been having some lovely weather here.  Low humidity, cooler temperatures.  Unlike last year where we roasted for days on end.  I'd forgotten yesterday when I posted that I was scheduled to attend a nutrition class yesterday.  It was on healthy snacks.  I already know about healthy snacks, but this gives me something to do...and maybe I might learn something I didn't know.  I've always loved classes and was in my glory when my job would schedule me for one.  During the last few years, though, there were no outside courses, only those taught by our nurse or director and those left a lot to be desired.

Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our life trying to satisfy other people's demands. We have learned to live by other people's points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.

Don Miguel Ruiz
Anna is a volunteer at the senior center.  She is also a client and a friend. Anna is only signed up to monitor the two stationary bikes in the gym area (actually the bikes ARE the gym) from 11 am to 12 pm on Mondays, but not everyone who signed on to help does so.  Most are not reliable, and to be honest, they know that Anna will always cover, even giving up her beloved Bingo game. (She loves Bingo more than anyone I know). 

Anna also signed on to help with the lunch.  It is her job to hand out the juice. Afterwards, someone else comes around with the bread, butter, and plastic utensils, another serves the coffee, tea and water, another serves the milk, and finally someone comes around with the lunch.  Most of the lunch volunteers eat a half hour earlier than the rest of us, but Anna chooses to hold off on hers so that she can eat with us. And, she should have plenty of time to do so. By the time lunch comes around, her job is long over.  Problem is, she never ends with her job.

Anna takes it upon herself to go from table to table asking if everything is all right, did they get their milk, do they need ketsup, etc.  Meanwhile, her food is getting cold, and she never does get to eat.  Anna is a 'people pleaser'.  Her entire life has been devoted to satisfying other people's demands while putting her own wants and needs on hold. She really could use some new clothes, but she buys Bingo cards every day for a number of people who don't contribute, gives her gifts away, and buys coffee and cookies for everyone at the table in the morning.  She offers me, but I always refuse.  I have my yogurt instead. 

Everyone abuses her.  Her children, her friends, her neighbors.  I listen to her when she speaks, and from what she says, she is at the beck and call of her neighbors as well, even to the point of giving away her food.  Anna is a Saint.  But, is she taking her giving nature to the extreme?  It is definitely better to give than receive, and I know how good I feel when I make someone happy, but where does one draw the line?

I was a people pleaser who set my own needs aside for many years. I did everything for everyone, even when it left me feeling unhappy. A neighbor's husband went into detox leaving her totally, and I cooked and carried her a plate every night. When his check came in, and he walked out of the detox without completing, the two of them treated me like I had done something wrong.  We never spoke again. And that was the way my life went. I loaned people money for lunch while going without myself and never did get it back. I gave and gave and gave until I had no more to give.  But when does giving from the heart become people pleasing.  I think it is when giving makes you feel crappy, and you sense, no, you know that you are being used.

I guess I thought that I had to give for people to like me. Part of my childhood insecurity which followed me throughout much of my adult life.  Always being the odd little girl left out, the one that no one wanted on their team. If only they would like me I would be happy. Not true. One of the things I have learned is that real happiness  depends on being glad for who you are and not for what you can do for or give to others.  Oh, there are times when I catch myself, but lifetime lessons are hard to change. The key to healing came from finding myself, learning how to like myself, learning to be alone with myself and be comfortable with myself.   It doesn't come from pleasing others.  It comes from pleasing the self.
Once you have found yourself
and accepted your aloneness,
then the greatest blessing is to share
the love that arises within you.
Each new moment presents
the richest opportunity to be loving.
And you can share love
in the simplest of ways.
Be soft and gentle.
Be caring and kind.
Be loving in an ordinary way,
without any sense
of wanting anything back,
Life offers you
the most precious gift.
The gift of allowing you
to be present and share love. 
Leonard Jacobson

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Random Thoughts

 Shedding late-summer tears for the end of cherry season. Patiently and hopefully waiting for pumpkin pie season.  

Terri Guillemets

Good morning, everyone.  The humidity has broken, and it looks like we are in store for a lovely day. Yesterday was gross.  The humidity was high, and in the morning, as I waited for the bus, there was no place to find any shade. Wouldn't you just know that the bus had to be late as well.  I waited 25 minutes out there and was just about to go back home when I saw it down the block.  Seems as if they are always late when the weather is bad. 

Not much happening here.  Yesterday was the first time I went out since Friday.  I felt so bad this weekend that I didn't even get to Church.  Tummy problems.  That is one of the little nuisances that come along with fibro. I'm beginning to feel better.  Just have to watch what I eat.  Actually, I shouldn't wait until my tummy is on the fritz to watch what I eat.  Should be doing this every day.

The bagel, an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis.

Beatrice and Ira Freeman

When I came across the above quote it triggered a long forgotten memory. As you all know, I was born and raised in a small town, and when I moved to the city 40 years ago, I was really naive about a lot of things. There was so much I'd missed out on when growing up.  I can't believe that I didn't even know what a bagel was.

I am no longer addicted to pineapple.  The addiction has run its course.  My new addiction is cherries.  What am I to do when cherry season is over.  I will be shedding some summer tears for sure.

I'm learning to let things go that I have no control over. It only raises my blood pressure.  So, my peer takes dinner home when she doesn't need it.  Not my business.  She has to make peace with herself.  Or, my other peer who uses her age to ride the bus for free.  Not really my business.  If the bus drivers allow it, then so be it. It's not easy to ignore these things, but I cannot change them.  As long as I know that I am honest and don't abuse age or physical handicap.  I am learning to put the focus on myself.  I may stray once in awhile, so please forgive me if I do.

I've recently purchased and am reading "The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons" by Jill Hammer.  I am absolutely loving it.  

Book Description:

Throughout the ages, Jews have connected legends to particular days of the Hebrew calendar. Abraham’s birth, the death of Rachel, and the creation of light are all tales that are linked to a specific day and season. The Jewish Book of Days invites readers to experience the connection between sacred story and nature’s rhythms, through readings designed for each and every day of the year. These daily readings offer an opportunity to live in tune with the wisdom of the past while learning new truths about the times we live in today. Using the tree as its central metaphor, The Jewish Book of Days is divided into eight chapters of approximately forty-five days each. These sections represent the tree's stages of growth—seed, root, shoot, sap, bud, leaf, flower, and fruit—and also echo the natural cadences of each season. Each entry has three components: a biblical quote for the day; a midrash on the biblical quote or a Jewish tradition related to that day; and commentary relating the text to the cycles of the year. The author includes an introduction that analyzes the different months and seasons of the Hebrew calendar and explains the textual sources used throughout. Appendixes provide additional material for leap years, equinoxes, and solstices. A section on seasonal meditations offers a new way to approach the divine every day.
For as long as I remember I have been fascinated with the mystical side of Judaism.  There is so much to it that we don't understand. 
And with that, I am off to get ready.  Forgot I wanted to leave a bit early to stop at Pathmark.  I bought a couple of new foods for Miss Minga on Friday, and she absolutely adores them.  Have to pick up a few more.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. 

Anatole France

Good morning.  Monday has arrived, and it is time go back to our weekday affairs.  For some of you it is work.  For those of us who are retired, the week is filled with a hodgepodge of daily events.  I've given up on Qigong, for now.  It wasn't for me.  It partially due to my inability to concentrate on my breath, but I just didn't feel comfortable in the place.  There wasn't a good aura there.  The people were not really welcoming, and I was so far behind everyone else.  Perhaps in the future I will try again.

My goodness, here we are in the last week of July.  How quickly it went! Lughnasadh will soon be here. Time to celebrate the first harvest of the season.  Time for me to dig out my harvest recipe books "Serving up the Harvest" and "Favorite Farmer's Market Recipes".  This year they will be put to even more use since the price of meats has gone sky high.  $9.15 for four cube steaks, one of the cheaper cuts of beef.  Hubby's aware that meatless meals will soon be appearing on the table.

It's also time that I begin seriously planning about how I will keep up with my intake of fruits as the luscious summer fruits begin to disappear and the winter fruits take their place.  Try as I might, I just don't like winter fruits. They just don't appeal to me.  I absolutely adore fresh melons and berries, but apples, pears, and oranges don't do a thing for me.  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I didn't do much of anything this weekend.  Friday was the best day of the weekend, and I had planned to head over to Coney, but by the time I got back from food shopping, there wasn't a part of my body that didn't hurt. On Saturday they predicted showers, and alas, it didn't start to come down until late afternoon.  Blew that one.

Saturday's dinner was not exactly a healthy one--hot wings, steak fries, corn bread.  Cucumbers with sour cream on the side.  I can't justify going off my healthy diet in any way.  I just wanted it.  Wanted it so badly it was all I could think about all day.  A true food addict. 

For the past few years I've spent many hours watching the hummingbirds and eagles on Livestream.  The people who had the hummingbird cam have moved away, and the eagles have already left the nest. There was an awful gnat infestation this year, and sadly, the three eaglets were forced to leave the nest before they were ready.  One landed on an electrical wire and was killed, another has a broken wing and is currently being nursed back to health at SOAR, and one is doing well now.  Now I have discovered kitties.  

I can spend hours visiting Tiny Kittens and Cute Foster Kittens on Livestream. I also follow them on Facebook along with  several other sites linked to them.  This weekend they had a cat and kitten roundup.  People were encouraged to bring or call about unwanted felines and they managed to roundup 34 cats and kittens who were not wanted or living on the street. Needless to say, I was glued to the computer. What I love is that one doesn't have to say good-bye when the babes are adopted.  Facebook accounts are set up for them so we can follow their progress.  Watching these little miracles has made me seriously think about signing up as a volunteer.  These little toss  need so much love.

Well, it's time to get ready to mosey on down the road.  I'm headed off to the Center today.  Talk to you all later.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Wishes

Happy Friday everyone! May your weekend be filled with adventure, cheer, laughter, loved ones, and may the start of next week be a long ways from here.  Talk to you all on Monday.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Acquainted with the Night

The world rests in the night. Trees, mountains, fields, and faces are released from the prison of shape and the burden of exposure. Each thing creeps back into its own nature within the shelter of the dark. Darkness is the ancient womb. Nighttime is womb- time. Our souls come out to play. The darkness absolves everything; the struggle for identity and impression falls away. We rest in the night.

- John O’Donohue in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Had a good day yesterday.  Our pasta and meat sauce lunch was fantastic, and I won the jackpot.  Yep, I finally got the full card.  Made myself ten dollars.  On a busier day it would have been more.  It's a little over a year now since I retired, and I think I joined the Center a week or two after that so I'm at or nearing my one year anniversary.  The year flew by.   

'The world rests in the night'.  There was a time when I used to wait for everyone to go to bed, and then I would step out my back door and become 'acquainted with the night'.  I loved the quietude.  Sometimes, it the weather was bad, I'd turn off all the lights, the television, and sit in a darkness lit only by candlelight.  The night has been my time for as long as I can remember.  I can still picture that little girl I was sitting up in bed playing with paper dolls by moonlight.  Or those nights my friend and I slept outdoors in my backyard.  I discovered an entirely different world out there...and even then the quiet of the night was special to me. 

Even while I was still employed, I still found time to enjoy the night.  Yet, ironically, now that I am retired and have nothing to pull me out of bed early in the morn, I find that the latest I go to bed is 11 pm, and I usually fall out as soon as my head hits the pillow.  And, I am up and about early morn, sometimes before the sun comes up.  

Speaking of the night, 'Acquainted with the Night' by  Christopher Dewdney was a fantastic read.  I've already read through it twice and often skim over some of the chapters.   The  book is arranged in 'hours' of the night, starting with 6 PM and ending at 5 AM. Within each hour, the author focuses on one part of night, such as night creatures, dreams, insomnia, fears of the darkness, children's view of night and  ancient and modern night celebrations. Indeed, everything to do with the night is found in this book from the stars above to night in art to creatures who live in caves or the abyss under the sea. Just talking about it makes me want to dig it out again.

Wishing you all a blessed day.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Wee Bit of Hodgepodge

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. 

Frederick Keonig

Good morning. It's pretty humid out there today, but when I look back at how bad last year was, I have no reason to complain.  There's been no extended heat wave here this year...yet.  We have a couple of hot humid days and then the coolness returns.  Today we are supposed to have some storms and more coming tomorrow.  That might be a good day to stay home and relax. 

The nurse from my ex-job returned from the Philippines yesterday.  She has been on sick leave for quite awhile and has decided that she is not going to return to the job either.  The stress of the job almost killed her.  That's the way it was in that place.  Good workers were not appreciated.  Instead, we were pushed to our limits and pretty much forgotten once our health issues force us out of there.  She, though, has not yet learned that they just don't care.  She is trying to get us altogether for lunch.  I already told her not to expect me, that I'd love to get together with her and Jane (another co-worker who ran into health issues because of the job, but I cannot sit down and 'play nice' with a bunch of liars and hypocrites.  All knew I had health issues and not one called to see how I was doing.  That hurts, but I guess deep down it was expected.  I saw it happen to the others who left.

I swear this plant gets stranger and stranger looking every day.

Everyone waiting for Bingo to start.  I won yesterday.  Trouble is, whenever I win so does someone else, and the winnings are already small. So I ended up with $2...just enough to buy tomorrow's lunch and cards and at least I had a chance to call out 'Bingo'.

Each summer high school students come from around the country and volunteer their time.  They help with the cleaning and mingle and chat with the clients.  Each group stays about 4 weeks and then a new group comes in.  See the two boys at the nearby table?  They are part of a group that recently came from Canada.

Yesterday's lunch....chicken cutlet, noodles, and mixed veggies. Not bad for a dollar.  Trust me.  The chicken tastes better than it looks.  Speaking of yesterday's lunch, I'm wondering if I am too critical.  One of my friends that sit at our table has heart issues, is nearly blind, and is hard of hearing. When she had her own place, not only did she get her lunch for free, but she would bring a container, and they would give her dinner to take home. That never bothered me.  But now she lives with her daughter who cooks for her every day.  The daughter escorts her to the Center now, and they both sit at my table.  The daughter often talks about the meals she has cooked.  My friend is blessed now to have home cooked meals, plenty of snacks, and someone to take care her.

So why, I ask, does she still march into the kitchen with her container for food to bring home the moment she gets to the Center?  She certainly doesn't need it anymore. There are others there who are still in dire straights, and lunch is their only meal of the day.  They don't get this special treatment.  It just doesn't seem fair to me. 

May you all have a day filled with laughter and love.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dilemma Time

 Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off.  

Author Unknown

Hubby's surgery was over in a snap.  It was quick, painless and painless.  
Wish the rest of the day had gone that way.  The clinic works with a private cab service that shuffles its clients to and fro.  That spared us the expense because I don't drive.  And the ride over was so pleasant.  The driver was friendly and easy to converse with.  Tipping is not necessary as it is added into the bill, but we enjoyed him so much that we gave him a little extra.  Hubby and I were both in good spirits until we walked into the place. Then we realized that patience was definitely needed.

It was packed.  Standing room only.  I went outside to sit on a bench for awhile when my back started giving out.  Finally, we managed to get a couple of seats and we waited for over two hours.  Poor hubby was starving.  When he finally went into surgery I took a walk to the only food place nearby, Dunkin Donuts and bought six of them.  He ate 4 of them when he got out of surgery.  Then came the ride home.  It was a nightmare.  The cab driver obviously didn't know his way around because he ended up taking us way out of our way, and got a little huffy when hubby told him so.  Needless to say, what should have been no more than a 25 minute ride turned into nearly an hour.  Needless to say, this guy did not get that extra tip.

I think I mentioned not too long that an army Sergeant stationed at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey contacted me regarding my family tree.  The old cemetery on the grounds interests him, and he was especially eager to meet with me regarding what I have learned about this family.  He suggested that we meet sometime in August. This is such an opportunity, one that I never expected.  Hubby said he would drive me, and this would give me the opportunity to also visit my grandparent's graves.

But, August is the hottest month, and, although I really would like to go, but I worry about Miss Minga.  I cannot leave the AC on all day (I fear an electrical fire), and I am hesitant to leave her in the heat...despite the fact that she lies as close to the heater as she can during the winter months.  But that is a different kind of heat, and she is so old now, I just don't feel comfortable leaving her for so many hours.  There is no one to come in and check on her.  I've been thinking of writing him and asking him if we could do it in September instead. At least it 'should' be cooler, and I will feel more comfortable about leaving my baby.  It's only a day trip, but when you love an animal, they have to come before all else.

At one point  my ancestors owned hundreds of acres of the   land that the Arsenal is built upon. Their farm was located on this property and  near the edge of the former Walton Farm property, was used as either a family or community burial ground from at least 1787 until at least 1884. Currently, the only known published records of its existence are in Munsell's 'History of Morris County, 1739-1882'.  Most graves are identifiable only by fieldstone marker. What is known is that this ground, near the edge of the former Walton Farm property, was used as  burial ground from at least 1787 until at least 1884. 

It saddens me that for so many years I lived so close to my ancestors but had no idea they were there. My dad, my aunt, and most of my uncles worked at Picatinny for as long as I can remember, and they hired me when I turned 18, but when they offered me 'hazardous pay' I ran the other way.  I grew up fearing explosions, and as we kids sat in class, we never knew if it was Picatinny or the Dickerson Mines. (Another ancestry line) A wee bit of history here--When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Picatinny Arsenal was the only munitions plant in the nation capable of producing anything larger than small arms ammunition.

How awesome this visit will be!  It wasn't so long ago that I hadn't even known that they existed.  And now I have this wonderful opportunity to stand on their grounds. For hundreds of years my family lived in that area.  The last was was my parents' generation. Now they are all gone.  All that is left is their graves.
 As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
Burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.
Homer, Iliad

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. 
Ambrose Redmoon

Good morning, everyone.  It's a grand Monday morning.  The humidity has still not crept up to unbearable levels.  That will be coming on Wednesday.  Hubby is going to have the cataracts removed in one eye this morning.  He said there was no need for me to tag along, but I am going anyway.  Wouldn't seem right for me to be playing a game of bingo while he is having matter how minor the surgery may be.  I'll be next for the surgery, but I am so darn nervous.  I can take tremendous pain, but the thought of surgery scares the heck out of me.

He's is my hero, this man, this love of my life.  He's been through so much, but has never given up...cancer, Hep C, emphysema, glaucoma, and now they found a cyst on his kidney.  I was truly blessed the day he walked into my life and sat on that bench next to me.

On Friday I had to go back to my old neighborhood.  Time to deposit again.  Good thing it is only every six months that I have to make the trip.  There is always that negative aura that overwhelms me as soon as I get off the bus.  Yet, this time there was something different.  There were many changes on the avenue.  Old stores closed and new ones had taken their place.  Of course, this was the avenue and not the street where I had lived.  

The bus driver was fantastic.  I overheard him tell someone that he used to be a standup comic, and he kept us laughing all the way with his deep baritone voice.  Here's a couple of the one liners I remember...

 'Remember, the early bird may get the worm, but it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.'

'They say that  money grows on trees.  That's why banks have branches.'

Needless to say, I didn't want the ride to end. 

While waiting for hubby I finished my book on African spirituality and started reading "Romancing Life:  My First 65 Years of Learning a Living' by Amy Aukersmit. Although I have accepted and feel I am handling the aging process well, sometimes it is comforting to find out how others handle it.  Here is a description of the book.

'I have learned that the years pass more quickly after the age of sixty-five, and I've learned to accept the early mornings and early nights that now arrive unexpectedly. I've learned to laugh more often at more things than I did before, and I learned that to worry is a total waste of time...because hardly anything is as bad as it may seem. I've learned to accept the wrinkles where they never used to be...and my hairdresser now blends the strawberry blonde with the gray. I trust that I will grow old gracefully...and if someone doesn't like me it's none of my business. "After Sixty-Five" Is a freedom I do suppose...In that you know more of the basics and care less about the frills. And whether they are here or matter what... My children remain near and dear in my heart forever and always... And I will always wonder if I would have or could have done more. And now... As I wander towards the sunset...There are still rainbows and rainy days and all the sun and clouds in between... And so it is...' 
Went to the fruit stand on Saturday.  Bought some wonderful tasting sweet Bing cherries.  My dear friend,  Jo , turned me onto the fact that they are good for arthritis, and I am doing whatever I can to bring this pain under control.   Perhaps they will do some good for the fibro pain as well.  Other purchased goodies include....


These taste just like the ones that used to grow in grandma's garden.  Used to help her pick for her raspberry jam and ate just as much as went in the pail.

Gonna saute the brocolli in olive oil and garlic and cut up a nice salad with the rest of the stuff.  These cucumbers are garden fresh.

Well, that's about it right now.  Gotta jump in the shower now so hubby can have time to get ready.  I think I am more nervous than he is.

Have a good one.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Wishes

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Notice how big this plant is getting.

Happy Friday everyone! May your weekend be full of adventure and cheer, and may the start of next week be a long ways from here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's a Lovely Thursday Morning

The most tangible of all visible mysteries - fire.  

Leigh Hunt

Good morning, everyone, and a fine morning it is.  The oppressive humidity has finally broken, the sky is clear, and the temperature will be cooler than usual for this time of year.  It will feel good to be able to take a deep breath of fresh air. 69 days left of summer, and that will be over before we know it, and I've not done much.  One trip to Coney Island, a few days at the park, and that's all I have done so far.  Kind of sad, isn't it?  But the following picture I took yesterday morn shows the quality of the weather we have been having.  No sun, gray, depressing, and far too humid. Don't feel much like doing anything in that kind of weather.

Yesterday I was on the bus coming home from the Center and as we were nearing my stop,  I spotted fire trucks with red lights flashing  in the vicinity of my building.  My heart dropped.  Not only was I worried about my home and my dear Miss Minga, but the scene also brought me a flashback from many years ago when I was also coming home on the bus.  Only that time I was coming home from school. "Oh look at all the fire trucks", a classmate called out.  "There is a fire".  There sure was, and it was MY house that was on fire.  

Fortunately the fire had been caught in time, and the house was not badly damaged.  My beloved dog, Susie, had been saved by the fireman, and was in the care of a neighbor.  Sadly though, we lost our memories. All of our photo albums and the box that contained all the little holiday gifts I had made my parents in school throughout the years had been destroyed.  Unlike today, where photos are stored on computers and never lost, 55 years ago they were hopelessly lost. I had nothing of myself from my childhood.  It wasn't until a few years back that a cousin contacted me via Ancestry and sent me the only picture I have of me and my dad.  My dad is the one with the mustache. I still lack a photo of my mom.

The fire yesterday turned out to be a few houses down, and that, too, was not a serious one.  Thank goodness all ended well.

It amazes me how easily things can trigger an old memory for me today.   I'm often surprised that I find my memory triggered by the most subtle things like the scent in the air or a photo in a magazine.  Just the other day it was the wind that reminded me of a windy day long ago.  I'd always heard that older people will have poor short term memories but very good long term memories.  But, I wonder if that is all there is to it.  I think slowing down also contributes to the memories of bygone years.

I know in my case from the age of 30 up I was so busy with work, school, and raising children that I had no time to cherish the past.  I was too busy looking forward.  But, aging brings with it retirement and a slower life style. There just seems to be more time to savor the good times of the past...and an opportunity to work through those bad memories that you had pushed far into the background.

And finally, another photo of my dearest friend, Miss Minga, my shadow. This was when I came home yesterday. You can just imagine how relieved I was, but I was still trembling from the tremendous fear I had felt.  

Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Ramble

The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.

T.H. White
The Once and Future King

Who knew when I boldly marched into the principal's office that March 23rd, 1965 to announce I was quitting school that I would become a lifelong learner? It was such a stupid thing to do. That was the year I turned 18, and I only had 3 months to go to graduate.  And it wasn't that I hated school so bad.  No, quitting was my way of getting back at my overly strict parents. Several years later it became one of my biggest regrets, but thankfully I had enough sense to go back to school and rectify it.  It wasn't easy going back to school at 30 for my GED or at 50 for my degree.  It wasn't easy working 9 to 5 and racing off to the city to attend the classes necessary to become a  certified substance abuse counselor.  None of it was easy, but I did it.

And during that time I attended classes to become an ordained Interfaith minister as well as bardic and ovate courses in an online Druid training school...New Order of Druids (NOD). And throughout the years I have studied Astrology and  Philosophy with the Rosicrucian Fellowship, Transpersonal Psychology from a school I no longer remember (it was so long ago) although I do have my certificate packed away someplace in the house, and Kabbalah.

On my own I have studied numerology, mythology, goddess,  runes, I Ching, alternative healing, and dreamwork as well as various paths--Celtic, Faery, Avalon, Huna, Orisa, and a wee bit of Asatru.  I've recently discovered Western African Spirituality and Tradition.   'The Way of the Elders: West African Spirituality & Tradition' by  Adama Doumbia is a book I cannot put down.  And I have yet to learn Tarot and crystals. 

That's a lot of learning, but I've had 68 years to do it in.

One important fact I have learned is that you are never too old and it is never too late to learn something new. There is just so much out there that you could do. It's up to you.  You can choose to learn new things or further your knowledge of things you previously learned, or you can choose to do nothing as the ladies' I attend the Center with.  Don't get me wrong.  I love them all, but they are so stuck, and I've grown tired of trying to dig them out.  None of them have a computer, nor do they want one. Yes, there ARE cons to owning a computer, but there is also so much out in the world that is just waiting to be learned.  And then I've offered to teach them how to get the most of their cell phones, but they are not interested. "Oh, I am too old," or "I can't be bothered," or, and I love this one, "I have better things to do with my time."  Yeah, like play bingo and watch jeopardy on television.

But I understand.  These are women a generation older than me who have never had a career. Some have never even had a job and are currently living off their deceased husband's social security, or if they did work, it was only for a short time here and there.  And yes, they are happy living their lives as they are.  So, who am I to try to push them into changing? Yet, in a way they are learning something new when I talk about the nutrition in the various foods or what alternatives are good for pain and blood pressure.  I share recipes with them and talk about caring for an aging pet.  And I learn from them as well and love when they share their tales of their generation or about how it was for their parents after they had immigrated into the US. 

Yes, each day we do learn something new.   Every day is a learning experience just waiting to happen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It Seems So Long Ago

To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward. 

Margaret Fairless Barber,

Good morning everyone.  We've been having some pretty tropical weather here, and hopefully the storms today will wash it all away.  The older I get, the less I can take the humidity, and hubby, well, aside from his doctors, he's been pretty much housebound. 

I chose to go to the Center yesterday rather than Qigong.  The rain had not yet started, but the Center is only one bus away and so much closer.  Getting home in a storm would not have been as difficult.  I'm glad I made that decision.  Every so often a man travels all the way from Long Island to run this group for us.  He has a Masters in Music and really knows his stuff, but what he brings for us is old music, really old.  What he brings is usually before my time, but I really enjoy it.  Yesterday he brought us a DVD he had put together.  The crowning point of the video was Rose Marie of the Dick Van Dyke show.  She was only five years old and boy could she belt out a song.

Oh my, aren't I the one who only about a week ago said I had too much on my plate and had to start paring down some?  But, I never listen to my own advice.  Yesterday I was approached by one of my peers who asked if I would be interested in joining a committee to work with the homebound.  This involves reaching out to members who for some reason or other can't get out of their homes to attend.  It is to let them know that they are not forgotten.  This should prove to be interesting as I was pretty much homebound myself last winter.  Let's hope this winter isn't as bad.  

Recently I joined an online group for old hippies, and I have been loving it. So many memories, so many things I had forgotten.  Coming of age in the 60's was like no other.  We were among the first of the 'baby boomers' to come of age, and we didn't do so quietly.  We changed the world.  We were bold, adventurous, and free...and not afraid to speak up about what we wanted.  I have to chuckle when I think about our motto...'never trust anyone over 30'.  And look at me now, I'm 68.  Seems so long ago.

I remember Washington Square Park was my favorite place to be.  Something was always going on, both day and night.  I'd tend bar until 4 am and head over to the park (which was right across the street from where I was living).  There were always people there, and it was always lively no matter what time you went.   And one didn't have to be afraid to be there after dark like we are now. There was always someone walking about selling weed, basically out in the open.  Now they walk about selling cigarettes. 

The hotel I lived in was through the arch and to the left, right across the street. This is the famous 'circle' The 'circle' was always busy with young artists--singers, musicians, comedians. I was blessed to have seen the original stars of Saturday Night Live before they even thought of appearing on television. My boyfriend at the time also lived at the old Earle Hotel.  He was a singer from Georgia who came to New York hoping to make it big.   He never did and broke my heart when he went back home. He sounded exactly like John Denver, and whenever I hear the song I think of him. I wonder whatever happened to him.

But, that all seems so very long ago.  If you count a generation as 20 years, almost three generations have been born since then.  Today the area has been taken over by NYU.  College students are everywhere.  Oh, the artists still perform in Washington Square, but it is not the same.  There is a different aura there now.  Of course, to many who have never been there, Washington Square is a fun place to be, but for those of us who were there during its hayday, there is something missing.  But change is a part of life.  Still, it seems so long ago.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 We often hear of bad weather, but in reality, no weather is bad. It is all delightful, though in different ways. Some weather may be bad for farmers or crops, but for man all kinds are good. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating. As Ruskin says, "There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." 

John Lubbock,

As a new week begins I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all  a joyful week.  We had some pretty nasty weather last night and we are  in for more of the same, but that doesn't mean I have to let it get me down.  Our days are what we choose make of them, and today  I choose not to let the depression I felt this past winter re-appear.  

I can't believe I missed seeing the moon this weekend.  I was not in good shape on Saturday.  I was barely able to walk from the pain.  Fortunately I woke up on Sunday in better shape.  

My weekend, for the most part was uneventful. You will never guess what I did on Saturday.  The Hallmark Channel had a marathon of Christmas flicks so I spent the day 'celebrating' Christmas in July.  On Sunday I went to Church in the morning, then settled down for an afternoon of "Leverage".  I don't understand why they took that show off, especially since it was done only a few months after it won first place as a fan favorite. Seems to me that in doing that they are telling us that we, as fans, don't matter.

Hubby brought home 3 pounds of strawberries on Friday. Not bad for only $2.  Sometimes the truck drives around with items fresh from the farm, and if you are lucky enough to catch them, you can really get a bargain.  Trouble is, hubby doesn't like them and 3 pounds is much too much for me to eat, so I hulled and froze some for smoothies at a later date.

On Saturday I came home with some bounty myself--watermelon, golden plums, peaches, red grapes, and cantaloupe.  Eating healthy this week, that's for sure...all except for Sunday, that is.

A huge pot of sauce with ground beef and Italian Sweet Sausages.  I had to have it.  Besides, if I didn't have high blood pressure it wouldn't be bad for me, but the sausages are high in sodium.  I really debated on this one and ended up throwing caution to the wind.  I know it is my life I am playing with, but it's not something I have every day.  Tasted real good with bow tie macaroni

Polar vortex.  I don't know about you, but it sounds sort of outer space to me.  This is the reason for our recent outbreak of messy weather and by the week abnormally cooler temperatures should arrive.  I'm not going complain about that one.  Seems the older I get, the harder it is to take the heat and humidity.  I'm going to enjoy the reprieve to the fullest. 

Still debating what I am going to do today.  Do I go to Qigong or what?  I wasn't really into it last week because I have issues concentrating on my breathing, but I know one cannot judge something on one time alone.  I have to give it some time...but traveling in stormy weather?  I have choice today and will play it by ear.

Wishing you all a fantastic Monday. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekend Wishes

Just stopping in this morning to wish you all a happy and safe weekend. My yours be filled with joy and love. See you all on Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Just a Few Photos on an Early Thursday Morn

You can only come to the morning through the shadows. 

J.R.R. Tolkien

Good morning.  They say the humidity is expected to break today.  We'll see.  We had some storm the other night.  As you can see our windows open up onto a courtyard which shields us from the weather so we didn't hear a thing. Not much of a view, is there, but my biggest  disappointment is that for some reason the snow doesn't fall has heavily so I cannot really enjoy the falling snow.  There can be a foot of snow up front, but only a few inches back here.   but it does protect us from the noise the people in the front have to put up with.  There is a nightclub right down the block and I hear it can become quite noisy at 4 am.  

I do wish the people who own the house next door would paint that eyesore.  You'd never guess by looking at it that inside the house, all three apartments, is like a mansion and up for sale at $1,999,999. 

Can you believe how bright that sun was as I waited for the bus to go home from the Center?  Not a very good photo, but that's because it was so bright.

I had just gotten in from the Center and was in the process of cooling off.  She is my heart, the true joy of my life.  Oh, hubby and I love each other, for sure, but this is different. Miss Minga has taught me the what it is to receive unconditional love. She has taught me the true meaning of  love.

This was later in the afternoon while I was working on my lessons at the computer.  I have beds laid out for her wherever I sit.

May we realize that
as our pets trust us to take care of them,
so we should trust you to take care of us,
and in taking care of them

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hair Horror Tales

 Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.  

Author Unknown

Good morning.  Hopefully today is the day this oppressive humidity takes its least for a few days.  Went for my blood work early yesterday morning, then came home to wait for the beauty parlor to open.  I wanted to get everything done as early as possible to avoid the worst of the heat.  Hubby was going to be at his doctor's appointment in the afternoon, and I didn't want to leave Miss Minga in a non-air-conditioned home.  Although she loves the heat, lies by the radiator most of the winter, this is a different heat.  I'm not sure how the humidity affects and older cat.  I know it can't be good.

Look what hubby brought home.  A dozen Haitian mangoes a guy was selling on the street.  My favorite. 
Guess what?  I walked to the beauty parlor without my cane.  I was determined to do it.  Of course, it was only down the block, but it's a start.  I also discovered a new Chinese herbal medication store that opened right down the block and went in to learn what's good for pain.  The woman understood the word 'pain' and handed me something, but I couldn't read it.  Some herbals raise the blood pressure or interfere with medications so I handed it back to her.  I won't take anything that I don't know what it is. 
As I sat in the chair with my 'stylist' working his wonders on my hair, I began thinking about past beauty parlor disasters and started to laugh.  Poor man thought I was laughing at something he did and apologized.  I assured him it had nothing to do with him.  I'm blessed to have found someone so good with his hands and at such a reasonable price...$14.  Here's a not too good selfie of my new cut.

Of course, my hair disasters were not funny at the time they happened.  My first came when I was 18 years old.  My mom was going to the beauty parlor to have her hair colored, and for some reason I tagged along.  I wasn't planning on having anything done, but when I got there I saw they had 'frostings' on sale.  Now, I really don't know when they first started doing frostings around the country, but in my small town it was a new and novel idea, and I just had to be one of the first.  After years of tagging along after everyone else, I was not only going to be 'first' at something, but I was also going to be a blonde without bleaching all my hair.

Big mistake.  About halfway through the beautician tells me that she has NEVER done a frosting before. It seemed like forever that she had been pulling strands of hair through those tiny holes, and by now I'm having the first and only migraine I have had in my life.  Finally it is time for bleach.  My head is pounding,and, when the time comes,  as she leans me back to rinse it out I have to excuse myself to make a mad dash to the bathroom to heave. That was the first of many.  I still had to endure the coloring part, but when she rinsed that out she put a few rollers in my hair and told me to bring them back tomorrow.  I went home and slept until the next morning.

That wasn't all, though.  My nightmare was to continue for almost a year because when I took the rollers out, my hair came out with them.  And what was left was orange, gold, red, brown, white, yellow, etc. and so brittle it would break off in your hands.  I had to wear wigs for a year. 

There were a few minor incidents through the years like the time I walked out of there looking like a boy or the time I was in my sister-in-laws wedding party,  and they cut my hair to go with the little hat I had to wear.  As a result, one side of my head had straight, unangled hair while the other side was cut in layers. But, aside from the frosting fiasco, my other worst experience was my one and only perm.

I wanted curly hair in the worst way, and when I saw how nice some of the new perms were looking, I wanted one.  Well, the perming went fairly easy compared to the frosting.  But, I should have realized that something was wrong when she unrolled a strand on top and said, "Oh, this is done already.  Your hair takes very quickly."  Then, she rolled it back up while she completed the back.  Another 15 minutes passed before she began unrolling everything.  After finally washing the solution from my hair, she put it in rollers and stuck me under the dryer.

"Oh my', I said to myself as I looked at the young woman in the mirror with a bouffant 'old lady' hairdo.  No offense intended.  I'm an old lady myself, but in those days that's what we called those heavily sprayed bouffant dos which were so popular with the older women.  "I'll have to go home and wash this out before I go to work in the afternoon.  Can't go in looking like this."

Well, to be honest, that would have been much better than the frizzy hair wild woman I become.  My hair looked very much like the wig above, only the woman wearing it looks good.  I didn't.  It was too late by then to do much with it so I threw a scarf on and went to work.  The next day I headed back to the salon. They told me that my hair was 'supposed' to have been conditioned and trimmed after the perm, but the woman hadn't done that.  They did their best to fix it, but this included chopping my hair up to my ears.  Broke my heart. To this day I feel it was more than a lack of conditioning.

And I never did anything about it.  I don't know why.  A bad haircut is one thing, but these people literally destroyed my hair.  Yet, I let them get away with it.  What a wimp I was back then!  They wouldn't get away with that today for sure.  

And let's not forget the crazy things I did to my own hair throughout the years.  I won't bore you with all of them, but I will tell you about the two funniest.  Anyone here remember Noreen Capsules? Well, this was a color rinse that came in capsule form.  You mixed them in water and poured them over your hair to add some temporary coloring to your hair.  My hair was a medium brown with red highlights so blonde did nothing for me.  I usually used the red to add highlights, but one time I used the black capsule.  My hair did look good...until the rain came down.  The black ran down my face.  My clothing was destroyed.  What a mess!!!

Speaking of Noreen capsules, there was a time that I was bleaching my dark hair.  (I've always favored blonde throughout my life.)  Well, it didn't bleach out enough for the platinum haircolor I had chosen.  Didn't want to put any darker permanent color on so I used an ash blonde Noreen Capsule to tone it down until I could work on it again.  Well, not only did my hair turn out gray, but the darn rinse would not come out.  I ended up coloring my hair slightly darker and starting all over again the next month.

Well, that's about it with my tales of hair woes.  Hope I didn't bore you too much.  I'd love to hear some of your hair nightmares.

Have a great day.