Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Roundup

Friday has arrived, and it signals the beginning of a long weekend, the last long weekend of summer.  Some, myself included,  consider this weekend the unofficial end of summer.  While I was still working, I always looked forward to these long weekends.  Now, every weekend can be a long one if I so chose. 

I've nothing really planned for the weekend.  I've got to run to the bank tomorrow so while I am there I want to run to the store and hopefully find some bathroom curtains.  It's like they just don't make them anymore.  Has anyone else noticed that?  And my bathroom window is a real pain in the butt.  Most curtains, including the one I have now as you can see, don't fit.  They just need an inch or two.  I just can't seem to find the proper length...and I cannot afford to have them special made.  Now, if only I had learned to sew.

Other than a little shopping and a visit to the fruit stand, there is nothing else on my agenda.  What an exciting life I lead! Actually, I had lots of excitement in my younger years.  Quiet and solitude are just what the doctor ordered for my Autumn years. 

As far as the past week, nothing to report.  At the center we did have a visit from our local assemblyman.  He was talking about the senior picnic the city pays for each year.  There are so many seniors here in the city that all cannot attend so each Center is given a number of tickets which are then raffled off so there are no guarantees that I will be able to go. 

Sometimes I still find it hard to believe I am a senior citizen.  I remember back when I hit fifty.  I still hadn't come to terms with the aging process.  I've always been blessed to look at least ten years younger than my actual age, so I was able to pass for someone in my late thirties...which I did. Even now, just the other day I was talking with one of my peers, and she couldn't believe I was 67.  She thought I was in my late fifties. 

Today I don't lie about my age.  I am comfortable with who I've become.  Sometimes  I may complain, but that is because of the pain I am in, not because I have become an 'oldster'.  Retirement has really helped me come to terms with my age.  As most of you know, all of my peers on the job were at a minimum 20 years younger than me,  and even though it was probably done unintentionally, they really made me feel uncomfortable.  Things like planning after work and weekend get  togethers and not including me because they didn't think I would fit in, or when one of the male workers asked me if I had any Motrin.  When I gave him some, he thanked me profusely and said in front of everyone, " Thanks mom.  I just knew  would have them."  He was in his late forties.  Now, if that don't make you feel old.

Fortunately, although I may be younger than the others, I am in a place now where I fit in and am accepted, and that has allowed me to become more comfortable with myself. And with that I am going to sign off for now.  Otherwise, I could ramble on forever. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So Many Scams

“Between a fellow who is stupid and honest and one who is smart and crooked, I will take the first. I won’t get much out of him, but with that other guy I can’t keep what I’ve got”

Lewis B Hershey

Good morning.  The long weekend will soon be here.  It's the unofficial end of summer.  Had so many 'to-do's' on my list for this summer, and accomplished very little.  I do want to get out to Coney Island again, but September will be a better time to visit, after the kids all get back to school.  I don't like crowds.  The beach and amusement park will be closed, but there is still plenty to do.  The boardwalk is open year round, and there are plenty of little eateries around.  

The other evening I received a phone call..."Hello, this is Jane Doe calling from the New York City Board of Health.  We are conducting a survey about health concerns in the different areas of the city.  Before we begin, can you please tell me your zip code?"  Okay, I don't usually participate in surveys, but I DO have a lot of concerns about health care so I gave my zip code.  No problem with that. "Thank, you", she replied, "Now, can you please tell me how many people over 18 reside in the household?"  "Two" I respond. Nothing out of the way with that question.

 "May I ask the sex of each individual?"  "One male, one female" I reply.  "Oh, the computer has chosen the male.  May I please speak to him."  I inform her that he is not available, but I am willing to take the survey. "Sorry, she says, "the computer has made it's choice. What time should I call back?"  I inform her "never" because I know he will NOT take part in any surveys.  I inform her again that I will take part in it as health care is a very important concern of mine.

She then starts into this spiel of how the computer has chosen and then proceeds to tell me what I should tell hubby as if she is SURE once he hears this he will gladly participate. I tell her to forget it. I am not listening.  She is wasting her time.  At this point she got the hint, thanks me. and hangs up.

Now mind you, I'm more than a bit annoyed.  I had so much to say, was practically begging the woman for the opportunity, and she turned me down. Grrr!!! But once I pick up my book and start reading, I forget all about it until about an hour and a half later when  the phone rings again.

"Hello, this is Jane Doe calling from the U.S. Department of Commerce.  We are conducting a survey about "  This is sounding a bit familiar so I stop paying attention.  Sure enough, the first question..."Before we begin, can you please tell me your zip code?"  I come back at her by repeating the questions from the previous call and informing her that I am aware the computer will chose the male.  So let's forget about it right now.  And I hang up on her. 

Another scam.  One can never be too careful.  I could kick myself for almost letting my guard down.  I am usually so careful.  Of course, I am grateful now that the computer supposedly 'chose' the male, but it shouldn't have gotten that far.  And why the male even though a female was ready to participate in the survey?  My only guess is that even in this day and age, males are usually the 'head of household' and perhaps handles financial matters?  I don't know.  

Last night it was the National Marine Fishery Service conducting the survey. "I don't even like fish." I grumble and hang up.  And then, later in the evening while I was watching television the phone rang again.  Fortunately, when you have cable/internet/and phone all through Cablevision, the number of the caller comes up on the television screen.  The number was....000-000-0000. Unbelievable.  How the heck did all these people find me...and all at once...or, are they the same people trying different angles?

Just be careful.  There are far too many crooks out there attempting to take advantage of people. They're either trying to get your money, get your information, or both, and they will target you  through phone calls, emails, online banking systems, text messages and online transactions. 
Do NOT open text messages and emails from people you do not know...although I did get a text message from my son one time that intuition told me not to open.  Indeed, when I contacted him he said he never sent it.  Do NOT call back unfamiliar numbers.  You may be hit with charges.  Do NOT reply to messages asking for personal or financial information.

Sadly, this is the way of today's world, and all of us must always be on guard.  It can happen to any of us at any time.  Be wary.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'Hump Day" Ramble

Cultivating a generous spirit starts with
mindfulness. Mindfulness, simply stated,
means paying attention to what is actually
happening; it's about what is really going on.

Nell Newman

Good morning, everyone.  Well, we made it to 'Hump Day'.  It's very humid out there today, and if I didn't have to get Miss Minga some food.  I do whatever necessary to keep her strong.  I feed her breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Breakfast she usually eats fairly well...if it is something she likes.   Lunch is so-so most of the time.  But, I got her into the habit of having a special dinner with me.  Not people food, of course, but a more expensive chunkier brand of food. I take a spoon and mash it a little before serving her. (Usually I give her classic because  she cannot chew like before).  On Monday I bought her two of a new brand and several of her usual brand.  She refused to eat her usual and has eaten both of the new brand.  So, I must get her more.  It does my heart good when she eats.  I am always so worried about her.

Thanks to all those with advice about my dream yesterday.  Fortunately, last night he was gone. It was all so strange, a television character taking up residence in my dream.  My dreams were as they usually were,  with me doing some kind of farming, but always in the background was this sobbing male voice.  They didn't  scare me at all.  It's was all just so weird.  But, I will definitely be careful what I listen to before falling asleep from now on.

Yesterday after helping a blind man get on the bus, I got on myself.  The bus was quite crowded, and no seats were available.  I know many of you have heard my public transportation woes before, but lack of respect is one of my biggest frustrations.  

So, when I get on the bus yesterday on one side sat an elderly man with a cane, a 30ish Asian woman, and a boy of about 10 (probably her son).  On the other side sits the blind man, a girl in her late teens, and an Asian woman of about 45.  Guess who got up to offer me a seat?  After I stood hanging on to my cane with one hand and the pole with the other for one long stop, it was the 45 year old Asian woman who got up for me. 

Usually I don't say anything.  I remember that crazy lady who went off on me last time, but yesterday I hurt so bad that I just blurted out to a woman standing nearby, "It should be the young ones who get up.  They just don't learn manners anymore."  Another woman standing nearby said rather brusquely, "Just be grateful you have a seat."  She then turned to her daughter and said something in Spanish.  The daughter asked 'who' and the woman nodded in my direction.  The daughter just shrugged and gave me a nasty look. I kept quiet until I was ready to get off, then turned to her and said.... 

"Yes, I was very grateful for a seat, and you should be grateful as well.  Had a police officer been on the bus, you would have had to pay a hefty fine for your daughter taking up a handicapped seat while a senior with a cane has to stand.  Next time you may not be so lucky. It's just that I feel disillusioned that young people have no respect anymore.  And, by the way, I understand Spanish (I don't, but she doesn't know that) and I feel sorry that you didn't take this opportunity to educate your daughter on proper manners and respect, but instead you chose to make me a bad guy. One day you are going to be a senior like me, and I can only hope that you never have to suffer from the amount of pain I do, but if you do, I also hope that you get more respect than you and your daughter gave me."  And I got off the bus before they could respond.

Needless to say, I am pretty proud of myself. I think I handled it very well. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Strange Thing Has Happened in Dreamland

In dreams, we enter a world that's entirely our own.

Steven Kloves

Good morning, everyone.  Tuesday.  Tiu's day.  Tiu  is the English/Germanic god of war and the sky. He is identified with the Norse god Tyr. In ancient Greek it was 'day of Ares' and in Rome, the 'day of Mars'. The weather has been great, a little more humid than I would like, but it has been clear and sunny. And the nights have been cool.  Good sleeping weather.  Speaking of sleep....

Aside from a few rather serious, lucid dreams, most of my recent dreams have been about farming--growing vegetables, raising animals, etc. Usually, I can never seem to get caught up, and I take some flack from the boss. I never really see this boss. But he is always issuing orders.  For the heck of it, I posted one of these dreams on a dream site and was informed that these are probably some past life memories trying to come to the surface.  Interesting concept, but far from the truth.

Actually, I have become addicted to the farm game 'Hay Day' where you raise crops and raise animals for eggs and milk.  And, as you proceed through the levels, it becomes harder and harder to keep up.  There are my dreams in a nutshell.  They are a continuation of the game.  This is why when one tries to analyze a dream, it is important to consider what is going on in the person's life at the time of the dream. 

The dream did spur me on to do a search for on my first boyfriend.  Remember, he came up in a dream not too long ago?  Well, his family were farmers so I spent some time yesterday on Google Earth searching for the farm.  No luck.  Then, I went on to Ancestry.  I did find someone who could possibly have been him.  Too bad my memory of him is so bad.  I do remember that I was a year older than him, and the Richard I found was born in 1948.  Unfortunately, he passed away in 2011.  No family members are listed in the information I found so I may never know.  

Now, back to the dream.  It's taken a turn that I am not too happy with.  Over the weekend I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  Hubby had fallen asleep with the television on again.  I just didn't feel like walking around the bed to get the remote to turn it off so I just climbed back into bed.  The television doesn't bother me.  So, I am lying there and listening, and I hear this man crying.  "I killed my wife because she killed my children.  She had to die."   There was something about this man that made me shudder.   Hubby said it was actually, a good movie, 'Shutter Island' with Leonardo DiCaprio.  Most likely it is, but not when you are in that mysterious space known as 'threshold consciousness.'

SO THE NEXT THING I KNEW THE MAN WAS IN MY DREAM.  Yes, there he was crying about killing his wife in my dream.  And, it didn't end there.  He showed up  in my dream on Sunday night and then again last night. This has never happened to me before, and to be honest, I don't want him there, but don't know how to get rid of him.  Any suggestions?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe. 

Thomas Keller

Good morning. As we start this new week I hope you are all rested and raring to start a new week.  What a beautiful weekend it was!  Saturday actually felt more like fall than summer.  Doesn't bother me any.  I am grateful we haven't had those heat waves like those of last year.  They say the temp is going to rise on Thursday, but by the weekend it will be comfortable once again.

Not much to report this Monday.  Had a rather quiet weekend.  Did the usual... trips to the fruit stand and Rite Aid, tidied up the apartment after my walk on Saturday, and went to Church on Sunday.  My sons came for dinner on Saturday.  Meat has gotten so darn expensive, it was so hard deciding what to buy so I settled on some Italian sweet sausage and spaghetti in garlic and oil for dinner. I just get tired of throwing together a pot of sauce every time they visit, and although they never say anything, I am sure that they are more than eager to have something else.

I also put together a nice salad.

And made my own special salad dressing

Funny how little things bring up memories.  It must have been about 17 years ago that we had one of hubby's friends for dinner.  The poor guy was enormous while his wife was so tiny and petite.  It was the 'Odd Couple' to be sure.  So, I  cooked my spaghetti with garlic and oil and roast two large chickens.  Oh my.  He ate so much that his wife felt she had to apologize to me.  Here I'd thought I'd be able to make some chicken soup with the leftovers, but he cleaned every last bit of meat from the bones of both chickens and at two big plates of the spaghetti.  I'd not thought of this in years.  

Hubby and I laughed about it for years.  It was one of our 'remember when's'.  I don't know what happened to the friend and his wife.  They moved away soon thereafter and were never heard from again.  Just another example of how people come in and out of our lives.

You know, I do enjoy cooking when it comes to making something special for guests, but I'm not too enamored with everyday cooking nowadays.  I first began cooking in my early teens. My mom and dad both worked, and when I got home from school, it was one of my chores to fix dinner.  No one taught me how.  I learned it on my own, and throughout the years became quite a good cook, I must say.

In fact, many years ago I took up a certification course in catering, and worked along with my sister-in-law had a little wedding business.  She set up the hall, did the decorating, and even taught the wedding party how to dance.  Meanwhile, I did all the cooking. Any cuisine they chose...Spanish, Chinese, Greek, Italian etc.  I could throw together a five course meal.  It was a lot of work, especially after working all week 9-5 and going to school 3 nights a week, but I enjoyed it.  Of course I had so much more energy back then.

Even hubby never knew what to expect. I even used to make my own noodles. I'm just not into cooking anymore.  After all, I've been cooking for over 50 years. It's time that someone cooks for me.  Of course, realistically, I know that is never going to happen.  But, one can dream, can't they?  Hoping when the cooler weather comes about, I'll have more interest.  I really do want to bake this year.

Sunday I stayed home.  I just didn't feel like going out.  No stores.  No Church.  Just a total 'me' day.  Watched 'Candid Camera' and 'The Golden Girls' on TV Land.  Had more than a few laughs and enjoyed the old memories that 'Candid Camera' stirred up. 

Well, that's about it.  Time to get a move on over here.  I like to shower early so I can have an hour or so to sit with Miss Minga before I leave.  She expects that in the morning.

Hoping you all have a good one.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Roundup

 If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. 

Mother Teresa

Good morning, and a happy Friday to all.  We're in for some nice weather here this weekend, and I am looking forward to getting out and enjoying it.  I was thinking Coney Island, but this weekend is going to be packed.  I stay out of crowds as much as I can.  I just don't have the patience anymore.

I stayed home from the center yesterday, and I am not going today. I needed some time to figure out how to handle a situation that happened on Wednesday.  Remember I told you about the peer who comes bowl in hand and gets free dinners to bring home...even though she is now living with her daughter who cooks and feeds her?  It was just last Thursday that they were talking about the Chinese food they had had the night before, and the daughter was talking about the eggplant parmesan she was making that night.  And just as she was talking about it, the cook came out of the kitchen and handed my peer a bowl of food to take home with her.  We hadn't even been served lunch yet, but the cook saw to it that my peer was served her dinner first.

I become frustrated when I see people take advantage like that. And I have seen for myself that the first thing my peer does when she comes in is head into the kitchen to leave her bowl to be filled.  It wouldn't bother me if she really needed the food, but she doesn't.  She is making out very well now.

So, it really bothered me on Wednesday when I saw another woman begging for some food to take home because she had no food in the house....AND THEY REFUSED HER.  Oh, I am so mad.  I wanted to march in and really let the kitchen staff have a piece of my mind, but there are times we have to hold our tongue and that was one of them.  There have been people barred from the center, and in all other respects, I love the place.  I also thought of going to the director, but she wasn't in.  Besides, who knows how she would react if I came in snitching on the kitchen staff?  

So, instead of creating waves, I told the woman that after lunch I would take her to the corner store and buy her a sandwich and a juice for her dinner.  She asked if I could give money instead so she could go store by her house.  No, I do NOT give money.  You never know what they are going to use it for.  And I informed her very nicely that I will not give her cash.  If she wanted what I had to offer, she would let me buy it for her.  Well, she didn't meet me after lunch.  Oh well, I guess she wasn't so hungry after all. 

I was glad then that I didn't act impulsively and burn bridges.  But, I am still upset that they so easily give to someone who doesn't need and turn someone away who does need.  Obviously this woman didn't need as badly as she said she did, but maybe the next one will.  So, yesterday I  decided that I will write it down and slip it into the suggestion box when the hall is empty.  Someone will see it, but no one will know that it was me who wrote it.  I just can't sit around and do nothing.

Hoping you all have a great weekend.  Summer is almost over so be sure to enjoy some outdoor time.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Ramble

Each of us is a being in himself and a being in society, each of us needs to understand himself and understand others, take care of others and be taken care of himself. 

Haniel Clark Long

Good morning, and a happy Thursday to all.   Hard to believe the week is almost over.  It just goes too fast for me.  Had a nice day at the Center yesterday.  It was quiet.  Many of the clients went on the Atlantic City trip.  I haven't gone this year, nor did I feel like going.  Last year was great.  I'd wanted to go back to the place of childhood memories, but time had moved on, and Atlantic City was so unlike the Atlantic City I remembered.  I am really not much of a gambler, so after playing for a short while, I found my way to the boardwalk where I spent most of the day.  

To be honest, I had planned on going once this year just to have one of those delicious cheeseburgers I had purchased at this fantastic little stand not to far from the casino, but the center doesn't go to that casino anymore.  Many of the casinos in Atlantic City are in financial trouble, and some are closing down. The casino they go this year has no access to the boardwalk so that pretty much make my decision for me. 

I am so looking forward to the fall.  Along with Spring, it is my favorite season.  I am also looking forward to doing some baking.  I was in Rite Aid not too long ago, and I found and purchased the 'Dump Cake' cookbook that is advertised on television.  There are some fantastic looking recipes in it that I can't wait to try.

I never buy anything from television sight unseen.  Hubby does, and then regrets it later.  He never seems to learn his lesson and still calls me in to watch commercials of items he feels I can use. He has purchased all kinds of gadgets. A couple of them have worked, like the mustache trimmer, but most weren't worth the money.  I, in turn, wait until I see them in stores and have only bought two items.  One was a chopper for $10.  It served its purpose...for awhile.  Wasn't able to hold up under the pressure.  The second was that green non-stick frying pan.  Not a good purchase for me.  Oh, I am not saying it doesn't work.  It just doesn't work for me.

Meats have gotten far too expensive here in NYC so in recent times I have been buying cheaper cuts to 'season and simmer'.  Hubby and his mom taught me to cook my meats and poultry the 'Dominican' way...

Marinate meat in seasonings of your choice. Add a small amount of oil and teaspoon of sugar in pan. Heat until sugar is brown. Add meat. Fry on both sides. Add water, bring to boil, and simmer. If water boils down, add more. Continue to simmer until tender, then allow water to boil down until it thickens. What you are left with is a very tender cut of meat and a delicious brown gravy...

The meat just doesn't turn out as well.  I have yet to try frying eggs in the pan.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Have you ever had a dream within a dream?  I had one  last night.  It was an extremely vivid dream, one of those dreams that I never forget. In fact, it reminds me of the dream I had over 40 years ago which I can still recall in vivid detail. That was a dream that had a purpose; it was there to save my life. The dream I had last night may not have been a lifesaving one, but I do believe it held a message for me. I just haven't figured that out yet.

But, first, let me tell you about a bit about it. I have no idea of how old I was although the setting and my actions in the dream lead me to believe I was younger. But I also may have been as old as I am now.  I've never believed that age in a dream is important.  It's the content that holds meaning.

Last night's dream began with my looking for someplace to stay. My mom had told me I couldn't come home, and I had nowhere to go. The next thing I knew I was in this place where I was able to rent a room, but had to share it with someone else. Reminded me of either the old Hotel Earle where I stayed when I first moved to New York or the halfway house I worked in.  It wasn't the greatest of places.  It was dark and dingy, but it  was a roof over my head.

My roommate and I got along so well that we decided  to a club together.  There were so many people there.  The music was loud, and everyone was dancing and laughing.  (Now mind you, I was not a club person. I liked to go places where the folk singers performed. )  I not only got very drunk there, but I also met up with the first boyfriend I ever had. My goodness!  I've not thought of Richie for many years.  That was a relationship that I stupidly let go because I want to sow my wild oats.  Richie and his family were farm people, and I had wanted a more exciting life. I wanted to be free like the hippies, so when he offered me my freedom, and I took it. I am not gonna lie. Throughout the years, there have been times I wondered what might have been, but for now,  back to the dream.

As the evening progressed, I began to think that there was a good chance of us getting back together, but he broke my heart and told me that I had made my choice, and he didn't want anything to do with me anymore. I start to cry and leave the club. I am crying, and I am lost. I discover that I have lost my pocketbook.  I have lost everything.  My money, my ID.  I don't know what to do, where to go.  I am becoming hysterical as I wander about. The lost money doesn't bother me as much as losing my identification and the hoops I am going to have to jump through to replace it.

Suddenly I awaken. Or at least I believed that I am awake. I am back in the room with my roommate. It doesn't register that I am still in the dream.  I am all upset that  I will have to jump through hoops to get all my ID back again.  Slowly, it occurs to me that it was only a dream; my purse is safe.  Nothing has been lost.  But I want to go back to the club. I want to finish my 'dream' so I will myself back.  I am pushing through the crowd searching for my old boyfriend, but I cannot find him. I begin searching for my purse again, and I stop people asking them if they have seen it.  Of course no one has.  I am now really beginning to panic.

I hear a howling sound in the distance.  It grows louder.  I glance at the clock.  It is 6 am. I am in my bed.  I have slept later than usual. No wonder Miss Minga is howling for me to get up. It becomes clear that my earlier 'wake up' was a 'false awakening'. It had only been part of the dream. 

A dream this vivid is really must have meaning, but I haven't had time to really sit down and decipher it yet. Usually when you lose something in a dream it means you are under some kind of stress in real life.  Does it have to do with retirement?  I love the freedom that comes from retirement, but work has been my entire life.  Without it, I sometimes feel that I have lost my identity. (Not that I would ever return)

Ironically, in my dream many years ago I had lost my ID as well.  Any ideas on what it means?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Wee Bit of Nothing

 Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul. 

Alice Walker

Good morning, everyone.  We've had some lovely weather here, but that's about to change. We're in for a bit of humidity and some rain.  Amazing we haven't had a heat wave this summer, a couple of 90 day temps here and there, but nothing long term, and there are none forecast for the near future. I'm glad.  I was worried for hubby in the summer because of his breathing issues, and Miss Minga.  I can't keep the AC on 24 hours every day, can't afford it.  Thankfully, I haven't had to make the choice this year.

Had an interesting evening last night.  Watched 'Gone With the Wind' on Livestream with 50 other kitten watchers. The mama and her babes are rescues, and the person that sponsors them is allowed to do the naming. There have been the tea kittens, the kite kittens, etc. These were named after GWTW.  The babies names are Ashley, Stuart, Brent, and Butler.  Couldn't have Rhett because a cat at the shelter already has that name.  The foster mother for the GWTW kittens put a video on and we were able to watch the film, chat, and watch the kitties at the same time.  I think I am one of the few people who never saw the movie. 

This is my newest acquisition...a coffee plant.  It is supposed to be an excellent indoor plant which can be grown into a tree 3 to 5 feet tall or a shrub.  Haven't made up my mind yet what I am going to do with it.  For now, lets just see if I can get it to grow.

 My herb is really taking off.  These are the only herbs that grew.

My Moon Flower is starting to bud.  I planted this one from seed.  Will have to check after dark to see if the flower is opening up yet.

The above plant is growing so large I can't get the whole thing in one picture.

This is the second part.  It us growing too large for the window sill.  I am stumped as to what to do with it.  Any suggestions?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” 

 Leonardo da Vinci

Good morning everyone. Another Monday has arrived.  I had a nice quiet weekend.  On Saturday I fixed myself a nice bowl of fruit and headed off to the park.  I absolutely love this weather.  No heaviness to the air. It feels so much like fall that I have been digging out my autumn recipe books and skimming through them. We did have a wee bit of rain, but that's okay with me. I love hearing the raindrops hit the air conditioner.

On Friday I went to the fruit stand and came home with quite a lot of loot.  That white chocolate is the best I have ever eaten.  Not pictured are the whole wheat pita and breakfast bars I also picked up.  It's funny.  Before I retired I had all these plans to make fabulous breakfasts for me and hubby.  I even bought a box of pancake mix and syrup to get started.  Never even opened it so I guess it is time to heave it out.  I just don't feel like cooking when I get up.  Cooking dinner is enough.

This is what I have for breakfast every morning along with a banana. I like that they are not crunchy. For some reason, I don't like crunchy foods.

On Saturday I made myself a tuna on whole wheat pita, packed some cherries, and headed off to the park. I'd planned on working on a tree exercise I found in a book I've been reading, 'Spinning the Web: Wise Women in Autumn", but the little Chinese man with the magical instrument arrived, and all my good intentions were set aside. I'm never been able to meditate, but this man's music brings me so close to a trance-like state. 

Dinner was beef chili, yellow rice, and avocado salad.  This is my plate.  You can see why I can't lose weight.  I eat way too much.

On Sunday I attended Church in the morning and spent my afternoon watching Leverage. That's one of my favorite shows, and although they show the same reruns over and over again, I never miss them. I just can't understand why they would take an award winning show off and replace it with crap. Personally, I am so sick of these reality shows. There is absolutely nothing 'real' about them, and some of them are just plain stupid. Who cares what the pawnbrokers are buying? I am far more worried about keeping food on the table and a roof over my head.

Well, guess it's time to get ready.  Now with lunch only a quarter for the next month, I have to get there early so I don't lose my seat. My peer came in at 8:45 and her seat had already been given away.  Not fair to those of us who attend on a regular basis.  Once this month is over, we won't see half of these people again.  In my opinion certain tables should be reserved for the non-regulars.  

Remember.  The way you start your week can affect the whole week.  Make it a good one.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Roundup

 A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.

Thomas Keller

Well, Friday has arrived and it is going to be a lovely day.  In fact, they say the entire weekend is going to be clear and cool.  Definitely time to get out of the house and enjoy. I am planning making a fruit salad and heading out for lunch in the park tomorrow, so today I am off to the fruit stand. Sounds like a good way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon.

What a lunch we had yesterday!!!  Sure overdid my daily sodium level but once in awhile doesn't hurt.  At least that is what I like to tell myself.  Makes it sound less sinful.  They served manicotti, meatball, sausage, salad, roll, jello, and a cannoli.  Both cooks are from Italy so you just know that the food was authentic and delicious.  I went home feeling like a stuffed goose.  

And it was a darned good thing my intuition told me to go to the Center earlier than usual.  The place was packed.  Any later and I may not have been able to sit with my friends. 

You may think I am crazy, but lately I have been missing work.  Not substance abuse counseling, but doing something.  I'm not sure what. I just feel as if I am missing something.  I know it is irrational, and I AM very happy with retirement.  I love not having to answer to anyone.  But then there are times  I watch the workers at the Center and wish that I was one of them.  Of course, that's not going to happen. A change of careers at 68?  That would mean back to school, and I don't think that is going to happen.  I don't have it in me.  Will definitely have to find out what planetary transit may be at the root of  this restlessness within.

Perhaps it is because sometimes I find it hard thinking of myself as a client.  I've had my own clients for so long, I sometimes have difficulty with the fact that I am on the opposite side now.

Got my reimbursement check back from the health plan.  I can't believe they had the nerve to deduct their monthly payment from it.  What about the $30 I had to lay out in a late fee because of the stupidity of the person who opened the check and assumed I was paying 96 years in advance.  Can't believe the bank that accepted the check was none other than Chase.  I would expect better from them.

Well, that's about it for now.  Not going to the Center today.  Never go on Friday because they always serve fish, and I have never liked it.  Only fish I eat is a nice tuna sandwich.  

See you all on Monday.  May your weekend be filled with lots of love and laughter. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Little Bit of Nothing

 Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings. 

Terri Guillemets

Good morning, everyone.  It's a nice day out there today.  The rain of yesterday has passed and in its wake we have some clear, cool air.  I've said it before.  I think we are in for an early fall, and you won't get any complaints from me.  Along with Spring, it is my favorite time of the year. 

I'm in such a hurry for it to begin that I've dug out my harvest cookbooks and have been marking down some new recipes I plan to try. I also purchased the following book 'Seasons of Our Lives - Autumn'.  The book is a compilation of memoirs of the season from different women.   I am reading it now and loving it.  I love anything that opens up memories long forgotten.

From the description: 

These memoirs from different women are fascinating. Each reveals a moment in time for the authors takeaways or mini-lessons that will help you reflect on the seasons of your own life. And, they just might help you write more dynamically if you decide to share your stories with family, friends, and even more widely.

I was a wee bit  disappointed with lunch yesterday.  I went in all hyped over Chicken Parmesan, and instead, we just had plain breaded cutlets.  They were tasty, yes, but they do make some of the best Chicken Parmesan I have ever had.  I do understand, though.  Today we are having Italian, and not everyone is like me.  I can eat it every day.

Our super has been busy setting up cameras in front of the building.  I love the idea. There  has always been one in front, but now he has four set up in different areas.  We've never had any problems in this building, and I have always felt safe, but even in the safest neighborhoods one must be careful nowadays.  Just a few days ago a 72 year old man was sucker punched on his way home.  He wasn't bothering anyone, just innocently walking home when some young thug turned around and punched him in the face sending him sprawling.  He's now in the hospital, awake and alert, but has a blood clot near his brain.  The building has a camera, and it caught the coward as he did it.  Now, let's hope the police can catch him.

This happens too frequently in today's world. We never thought of hurting an adult when we were young.  Too much respect.  Oh, they had their gangs back then but they basically fought each other over territory.  There was none of this violence just for the fun of it.  Today there are too many guns, too much violence.  These young cowards have no respect for human life.  I am not going to lie.  There are times I see a young man/men loitering on the sidewalk, and I get nervous.  I've even gone so far as to cross the street.  One can never be too careful. 

I must leave early today so it's time to stop rambling and get myself in the shower.  For the next month lunch will be 25 cents in honor of us senior citizens. People are going to come from far and wide for these lunches, so I must be early if I hope to keep my seat.  Talk to you all tomorrow. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Ramble

 Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. 

Rabindranath Tagore

Good morning, everyone.  It's a rainy day out there.  I usually don't go to the Center on days like this, but they are serving something I love today...chicken Parmesan.  I love Italian food.  And they are serving it two days in a row.  Tomorrow is even better.  Stuffed shells with sausage.  That kind of meal is always reserved for a special day, and tomorrow is a celebration for Senior Citizen's Day.  It's actually not until next week, but they already have an 'end of summer' Polynesian party planned for next Thursday.

End of summer.  Hard to believe, isn't it?  This summer just seemed to fly by. Not one heat wave.  Unbelievable.  I think we had a bit more rain, but I am not sure.  Yesterday was a strange day.  When I stepped outside in the morning, it felt like I had entered fall.  In fact, the wind was blowing so hard that it had the feel of a hurricane on the way.  Yet, when I got off the bus only about 12 blocks away, it was hotter and more humid with no breeze at all.  I just assumed that it had warmed up quickly, but when I got back home,  a little over an hour later, it still felt like fall.  The wind was so strong I had to cover my eyes to keep dirt from getting in.  I guess that is because I live closer to the water.

I didn't go to the Center yesterday.  My refund check from HIP didn't arrive, and I really don't want to end up with bad credit with my landlord.  I pride myself in paying my bills on time.  Sadly, this time they were paid early, but didn't get to the right places.  I called HIP yesterday and was informed that it would be 3 to 4 weeks, and I blew.  I really don't like to get so agitated because I can actually feel my BP rising, but sometimes it can't be avoided...especially when someone finds a large money order and assumes you are paying 96 years in advance. 

It wasn't until I threatened legal assistance because fraud had been committed that the woman changed her tune, and I was told to be patient, my check would arrive at the end of the week.  She would not give me the name of the bank that cashed the check.  That's okay.  When my replacement check arrives, I'll find out.  And you'd best believe I am not going to let this go.  Fortunately, I have an understanding landlord and a good payment record...and fortunately I had enough money in the bank to afford a second rent payment this month.  What if I didn't?  What then?

I still can't believe that Robin Williams is gone.  I once had the honor of meeting him, and he was the nicest man.  My ex was an actor and worked in one of his early films.  After the last scene is shot, there is almost always a cast party where everyone celebrates the completion of the film.  This party was held in the River Cafe, and not only did  hear that Robin Williams footed the bill, but he also stood at the entrance with a smile on his face as he greeted everyone with a handshake. May he RIP.

We don't do much for birthdays anymore, not like we used to.  Both of us prefer a quiet evening at home. I gave hubby a card with some cash and fixed him his favorite meal for his birthday...pork chops, arroz con gondules, and okra.  I have never liked okra so my plate had spiced cauliflower instead.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Ralph

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again. 

Menachem Mendel Schneerson

One day in July, 1991, I was seated on a bench in Washington Square Park. I was so lost in my book that I didn't notice this handsome man as he approached the bench. "Would you mind if I sit here?" he asked, startling me. I looked up, annoyed that he wanted to invade MY bench when there were so many others free. But then I looked into those eyes, and I instantly knew. I had found my soul mate. Fate had once again led us to each other. We celebrated your birthday in August. I remember how  I didn't have much money so I gave him a card and took him to the movies.  We had such a wonderful time. 

And now, here we are, 23 years later. We have laughed together and cried together. We have given each other strength and encouraged each other to be the best we can be. It was his encouragement and support that We've been through a lot together and we've always come out on top. It was the hard times that made us stronger. If I could give this man the world, I would.  I am so blessed.

Happy Birthday Ralph

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

 “Mondays are the start of the work week which offer new beginnings 52 times a year!”

  David Dweck

Good morning, everyone.  Here we are again at the beginning of another week.  The weather this week was simply gorgeous.  Couldn't ask for more.  And they are saying that by the end of the week, the temps will be down in the 70's...a far cry from last year's never ending heat waves.  Did you catch the moon last night?  Gorgeous, wasn't it?  I took some pictures, but alas the car headlights caused a glare.  My son sent me this fantastic picture, though.

Had a really nice quiet weekend.  On Saturday I took a walk to the park and sat for awhile.  There was an older Chinese man there, and he was playing some sort of instrument.  The music was lovely.  For awhile I just closed my eyes savored the feeling of the breeze brushing across my face.  In fact, given more time, I think I would have totally fallen off to sleep...not something one wants to do in a Brooklyn park.  Not that it is so bad.  It is just that one can never be careful.  Things happen in even the best neighborhoods.

On Sunday I went to church in the morning and had nothing, absolutely nothing on the agenda for the afternoon.  Didn't even have to cook.  Hubby went to his sisters.  She was having a rosary for his mom, something she does every year for the anniversary of her death.  I loved hubby's mom dearly, and the first few years I used to go, but it all in Spanish and it goes on for HOURS.  He ate over there so I cut myself up a salad.  

I cherish my alone time. Just imagine having the whole day to yourself. There is surprisingly less of it now that I retired. There is just so much to do.  And, with hubby not working either, I no longer have the luxury of that sick day home alone. Not that I am complaining, mind you.  I love that man with all my heart, but we all need a little downtime once in awhile when we can just toss caution to the wind and be ourselves. In the old place, I used to toss off all my clothes and do all my cooking and housework in the buff. I don't do it where I live now.  I just don't feel comfortable enough.  Now I usually wait until dusk, turn off the computer, the television, light some candles, and rock quietly in my chair.  Another time I started cutting out my paper dolls.  Couldn't resist them. It doesn’t matter what I do when I am alone, as long as I have just a wee bit of time alone.

Look how tall my money tree has grown. It's becoming a real tree now.  Time to replant and looks like it's about ready to put on the floor. Will have to do some research and see if leaves are toxic to pets.

Speaking of pets.  You should have seen Miss Minga chasing a grape around my living room last night just like a sprite little kitten.  She is amazing for 22 years.

Bedbugs.  On the N train?  That's the train I had to take back and forth to work.  Now there is another reason to be glad for retirement. I don't have to ride that darn train anymore. Yukky creatures!!!! I start to itch just thinking about them. But, there are all kinds who ride the subways.  One day I was on my way to work when I saw a couple of roaches crawling around on the woman seated across from me.  She was snoozing so she didn't even notice.  Of course, all kinds of people ride buses as well, but they seem to keep them cleaner.  In fact, I have never stepped into a dirty bus.  I'm wondering if that's because it's a more personal situation for the bus driver.  Subway conductors are locked in their own little space.  Bus drivers are out in the open.  Just a thought.

Well, it's that time.  Have to jump in the shower, have breakfast, and mosey on over to the Center.  Have a good one. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Roundup

 Friday. The golden child of the weekdays. The superhero of the workweek. The welcome wagon to the weekend. The famous F word we thank God for every week.


And a happy Friday morning to all.  Funny, I thought when I retired that Friday would be just another day, but old habits die hard.  Even though every day is basically a 'free' day for me, Saturday and Sunday are still considered the weekend.  I may think that Thursday is Friday at times, but I never forget Saturday. 

Had a nice time last night.  We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and shared lots of pleasant conversation.  Hubby was a bit uncomfortable at first, but it wasn't long before someone he knew showed up, and from there on he had a great time.  It is so nice of the church to do this for us, but where do they get the money to do this every week for the entire summer? 

Hard to believe we are halfway through summer now.  Hasn't been a bad one.  I think here in the city we only hit 90 once, and even when it has been humid, there was always a breeze made it all bearable.  And even though it hasn't been that bad, I still find myself looking forward to the fall.  There is just something about Autumn.  I love the feeling of the leaves crunching under my feet, the colors, getting the fall clothing out, harvest vegetables, baking.  The list goes on and on. 

Not much on tap for the weekend.  If that check comes back from HIP I will have to head to the bank to deposit and withdraw.  That's two buses, darn it.  I am really quite angry, but am holding back until the check has cleared.  Then I plan on getting busy, contacting the free lawyers they have here for the elderly and finding what my recourse is.  Yes, they are sending the money back, but not until I ended up paying a $30 late charge and having to do all this extra running around.  

Hubby said it is fraud.  The money order was made out to my landlord.  Taking that check and cashing it, mistake or not, is illegal.  When the party who opened the check saw the amount, they should have looked to see who it was made out to and immediately sent it back.  Not apply it to my penalty for 96 years.  And what kind of bank do they use?  When I deposit a check in my bank, they go over it with a fine toothed comb--check for the date, the name on the check, the account number, etc.  Didn't their bank do the same thing?

Well, I'm not going to carry on any longer about it.  Nothing I can do right now, and I just get angry talking about it.  I'll have my day to be sure.

And with that, I wish you all a wonderful weekend.  May you find peace, joy, and rest.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Wee Bit of Nothing.

Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk in the closing part of the afternoon, and suddenly looked up to realize that the leaves have practically all gone? You hadn't realized it. And you notice that the sun has set already, the day gone before you knew it — and with that a cold wind blows across the landscape. That's retirement. 

Stephen Leacock

Good morning, everyone.  Life is sure is good in retirement.  Despite the pain, I am making the best of it.  I certainly have no regrets about my decision. Best move I could have made.  Today I am off in the morning to do my food shopping and this evening will be going to a cookout.  There is a church a couple of blocks from me that houses the students who come in the summer and volunteer services at different sites. Every Thursday at 6  pm they have a neighborhood cookout.  Many of my peers attend every week. Haven't been to a real cookout in several years now and am looking forward to it.

On Monday, the nurse at my old job, who got sick and was forced to go out on leave shortly after I did went back to work.  Up until recently she was undecided about returning.  She has heart problems which were exasperated by the high level of stress at the job.  While some people never do much of anything and get away with it, others like myself and the nurse used to bust our butts with little to none positive acknowledgement.  But, that's all over now for me.  She, on the other hand, chose to return despite my warnings, and already, only three days later she is feeling it.  She messaged me last night that there was a ton of medical assessments waiting for her, new groups to run, and peers pressuring her to cook lunch for them.  She said her head was pounding, and she feels her stress level rising already.  

We all have choices, and she made hers. (((Sigh)))  I can only hope and pray that her health doesn't falter.  She has already had two heart operations.

Oh gosh, when I retired and started attending a senior center I really didn't quite know what to expect. At first it seemed so quiet and serene, yet underneath it all is a miniature Peyton Place.  I feel like a teenager again.  Not that I have any interest in a relationship, but it is so much fun guessing who is going to pair up with who. There are three Italian sisters, widows, who really love playing the field.  One of them got involved with a married man.  One day the man's wife showed up, and boy did those fireworks fly. The man followed his wife out with his head bowed like a puppy dog and was never seen again. The next day the sister was out on the dance floor with another man.  Sure hope this one isn't married.

There is another married man who appears to have become enamored with one of the Asian women.  I will say that they are very beautiful and age very well.  His wife came with him a few times and sat with us at our table.  What a talker!!! She stopped coming because she said the place 'made her feel old'. She is actually older than me.  It is obvious from the way she talks, she has not accepted the aging process very well. One thing I had discovered about her was that she was actually quite prejudiced.  Oh boy, if she could see her hubby now.  

Not too long ago a couple was found up on the roof having sex.  Too funny. I tell you, with taller buildings surrounding the center, they had no shame.  From what I understand it was one of the neighbors who reported them. 

 A bit of history for you before I close.  The first senior center was started in New York City in the 1940's by a group of NYC Welfare Department workers who believed that the older people they were working with would benefit from a place to meet, socialize, and organize activities.
 *The Aging Networks: A Guide to Programs and Services By Kelly Niles-Yokum, Donna L. Wagner