Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day After....

Thanksgiving is the holiday of
peace, the celebration of work
and the simple life. . . a true
folk-festival that speaks the
poetry of the turn of the seasons,
the beauty of seedtime and
harvest, the ripe product of
the year--and the deep, deep
connection of all these
things with God.

Ray Stannard Baker

Good morning.  Well, the holiday has come and gone.  Today I take down the autumn decor and decorate for Christmas.   I used to decorate the tree on Thanksgiving Day, but as I get older I don't have the energy to cook and decorate. 

The nurse came for her monthly visit on Wednesday.  She was not the same one as last month, and hopefully she will be my regular.  She was so pleasant that I was immediately put at ease. I had to ask, "Why are the sending me a nurse?"  Personally, I don't understand it.  Yes, I have health issues and chronic pain, but I do my own cooking, clean my own house, and am able to get out and about.  Her reply, "Because of your emergency room visit.  We want to make sure you stay healthy and out of the emergency room."  I like that Emblem does this.  It shows that there is some 'humanity' there, even though we all know that emergency rooms and hospital tests costs a lot more than a few prescriptions and doctor's visits.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Quality time with family.  Miss Minga drove me insane, of course.  She never naps on turkey day.  Just follows me every time I go to the kitchen and whines.  I sure do love her.

For dinner I served:
Mashed Potatoes
Arroz Gondule (for hubby)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Broccoli
Greek Style Braised String Beans
Baby Spinach with garlic and oil
Baby Spinach/Arugula Salad with homemade Vinaigrette dressing
Cranberry Sauce
Fruit Cocktail and Cherry Dump Cake 

Notice I made a lot of veggies.  Took WW advice and filled most of my plate with veggies and salad and the rest with a small amount of those favorite foods that contribute to extra poundage.  Sent my boys home with bags of food, and left us with enough for some turkey sandwiches, a meal of leftovers, and my homemade turkey soup.

Well, that's about it for today.  Hoping your Thanksgiving was as happy as mine.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Thankful for the glory of the old Red, White
     and Blue,
  For the spirit of America that still is staunch
     and true,
  For the laughter of our children and the sunlight
     in their eyes,
  And the joy of radiant mothers and their evening
  And thankful that our harvests wear no taint
     of blood to-day,
  But were sown and reaped by toilers who were
     light of heart and gay.
  Thankful for the riches that are ours to claim
     and keep,
  The joy of honest labor and the boon of happy
  For each little family circle where there is no
     empty chair
  Save where God has sent the sorrow for the
     loving hearts to bear;
  And thankful for the loyal souls and brave
     hearts of the past
  Who builded that contentment should be with
     us to the last.
  Thankful for the plenty that our peaceful land
     has blessed,
  For the rising sun that beckons every man to
     do his best,
  For the goal that lies before him and the promise
     when he sows
  That his hand shall reap the harvest, undisturbed
     by cruel foes;
  For the flaming torch of justice, symbolizing
     as it burns:
  Here none may rob the toiler of the prize he
     fairly earns.
  To-day our thanks we're giving for the riches
     that are ours,
  For the red fruits of the orchards and the
     perfume of the flowers,
  For our homes with laughter ringing and our
     hearthfires blazing bright,
  For our land of peace and plenty and our land
     of truth and right;
  And we're thankful for the glory of the old
     Red, White and Blue,
  For the spirit of our fathers and a manhood
that is true.

Edgar Guest

May your Thanksgiving
be filled with
Peace, Love, and Harmony! 

See you on Monday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today I am Grateful For....

Hard to believe, isn't it?  Tomorrow is thanksgiving.  It is a time to gather round and give thanks and remember the blessings of the past year. I'll be fairly busy today with cooking, but I am thankful I chose to do it all yesterday so I don't have to go out in this inclement weather.  There are many things in my life I’m grateful for.  Here is just a few.

I am thankful right now for waking up this morning and for being alive. 

I am thankful for my  loved ones, my hubby who, without his support, I am not sure where I would be today,  and for my two sons who melt my heart with love every time I see them. As a family, we have our ups and downs like everyone else, but they really are my foundation.

I am thankful that Miss Minga is here with us for another Thanksgiving.  

I am thankful for that 1.2 pound weight loss of yesterday, for with each loss my health gets better and better. 

I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and food on my table.  So many people in the world do not have this privilege.

And, along that line, I am thankful for having enough to pay my bills.  I don't need any more than that.

I am thankful that I  have access to public transportation for without it, I would be pretty much homebound.

I am thankful that I the freedom to choose the kind of life I want to live.
I am thankful for my mistakes, for without them, I would not have been able to learn.

I am thankful  for every sunrise and sunset, for the stars in the sky, for the beauty of nature.
I am thankful for the Internet, without which I would never have met all of you.  
I am thankful to you, my friends – for being there for me whenever I need you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative
decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions
when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient.
The storm will pass. The spring will come.

Robert H. Schuller

Good morning.  Not much to blog about today.  It's going to be a busy one, for sure.  The city has issued a snow alert for Wednesday so all Wednesday plans are now scheduled for today instead.  So, in the morning it's art class and afterwards a trip to the fruit stand. I've some special new healthy recipes to try.  Hubby keeps telling me not to go overboard with dinner, but with so much going on, I want to make sure this one is extra special.

I made an appointment with the eye doctor for December 10th.  I definitely need glasses, but the opthamologist can't write prescriptions so I have to see the optometrist. Time was when you had one eye doctor and one general practitioner.  Now there is a specialist for everything, and we're the ones who have to do all the running around.  My insurance will only cover one pair of glasses, so I am going for the ones to see in the distance.  I can get buy with my 99 cent reading glasses quite well. 

I also called and made an appointment with the social worker.  I definitely need someone to talk to.  I've got no family...and no close friends that I can confide in....and I just need to get it all out.  I know all of you are there for me, and I so count on you all for support, and for that I am so grateful.  You mean the world to me.

Well, time to get a move on.  I'm still debating if I want to stop at WW for my weigh in today instead of going out in the storm tomorrow.  I'm just going to play it by ear.  Have a good one.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart
sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find,
in every hour, some heavenly blessings!

Henry Ward Beecher

My two newest tree angels.  Whenever I see an angel in the store, I can never resist.  I have to buy it.

Happy Monday to all. The temperature has warmed up, but it's raining.  Have to go to the center today, though, to pick up my Avon order.  Bought some cologne for my sons to stuff in their stocking, and this will be the last time this week I go.  Tomorrow is my art class at the other center, and Wednesday will be a cooking day. 

On Friday I left early in the morning to take care of my banking so I could avoid running about on Black Friday.  It was brutally cold out with a chilling wind.  The buses all ran slow, and my feet haven't felt so cold since I was a child waiting for the school bus.  I hope this isn't a sign of a rough winter, but with all that snow in Buffalo, I have to wonder. 

After the banking, I stopped to see if I could find some boots, and I found the perfect pair.  Trouble was, I couldn't get them on.  Not that they were too small.  They were the perfect size.  But, the pain kept me from bending to pull them on, and every time I came close, my foot would cramp up.  After twenty minutes of struggling, and the shedding of a few tears, I gave up and bought the shorter version. 

And coming home was a nightmare.  I'd also bought a few long flannel gowns.  It is so hard to find them in my size, so when I do, I buy them.  So here I am with my boots, my nightgowns, and a bag of salad ingredients.  Not much.  But, when one is in pain and uses a cane, well, let's just say the trip home was torture.  So much so that when I finally arrived home, I sat down and the tears just flowed.  It is just so hard dealing with the fact that I just cannot do the things I used to do. 

On another note, hubby did quite a clean out over the weekend.  After all my months of nagging, all it took was a visiting sister from the Dominican Republic.  Each time she visits, she collects clothing from family members to send over there.  Usually it is only me who participates, but this time hubby really went to town.  He must have gotten rid of at least 25 pairs of shoes (one of his addictions) and three huge garbage bags of pants and shirts.  What a huge difference in his closet.  Now we finally have some storage space.

Made a tray of lasagne on Saturday.  Haven't made it in a long time. Hubby's sister was visiting, and hubby said she didn't want Spanish food, she would prefer something Italian.  I am pretty proud of myself.  Ate a light breakfast and lunch and filled my plate with salad and a small portion of lasagne. Not only did I not go over my daily points, but didn't even have to dig into my weekly bonus points. That's the great thing about Weight Watchers.  You are allowed to eat anything you want, in moderation. 

Well, that's about it for today.  I'm off to shower and breakfast.  Talk to you all tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday This and That

Thanksgiving is the holiday of
peace, the celebration of work
and the simple life. . . a true
folk-festival that speaks the
poetry of the turn of the seasons,
the beauty of seedtime and
harvest, the ripe product of
the year--and the deep, deep
connection of all these
things with God. 

Ray Stannard Baker
Good morning, everyone.  Another week has passed, and soon the holiday season begins.  Lost another pound this week.  That's 17.2 altogether.  The topic of yesterday's meeting was "The Great Plate", and it  was all about planning for Thanksgiving, how to enjoy the holiday without adding too much extra poundage.  I'm feeling pretty good about my plans.  I'm not going to deprive myself of my favorites--turkey, stuffing, gravy, and sweet potatoes--but half my plate will be filled with veggies and the rest I will have in moderation.  

Received my origami package yesterday and can't wait to dig in.  This and my art should keep me busy on those dreary snow days that I cannot get out.  I'm even thinking of buy some yarn and seeing if I remember how to crochet.

Today I am off to the bank for bill and rent money.  Next week is Black Friday, and I plan to stay safely in my house that day.  I can't take crowds.  I get shaky, cranky, sweaty, and start to cry. Sometimes I even feel like I am about to pass out.  I never thought of them as panic attacks, but I guess in a way they are.  So, I guess I'll be trimming my tree that day.

This weekend will be last minute planning for the holiday. I've got to clean out the refrigerator to make the extra room. Then there will be lists of what to cook when, things to do, veggies needed at the fruit stand, etc.  My days will be mapped out.  After a quick run for my weigh in on Wednesday morning, I'll be knuckled down in the kitchen preparing whatever I can the day before.  One reason my parties and holidays pass without a hitch is careful planning.  Everything, and I mean everything right down to putting the cranberry sauce in a dish, goes on my list and is crossed out when done.

The negative part of that is that because everything must be done as it is on the list, I do not prepare myself for emergencies that might arise.  I think one of the worst was a party I was throwing for my son's birthday.  Family and friends were invited, and I was cooking a huge Italian meal.  Everything was going as planned when the kitchen pipes sprang a leak.  Talk about panic.  Everything eventually got done, though, when I realized I could get water from the tub faucet, and the food was great.  Can't say the same about my stress level.

Well, that's about it.  I want to get an early start today, so I'm off to the shower now.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday Ramble

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Such a beautiful quote from a beautiful and caring woman.  I have always found great solace in the writings of Elizabeth Kubler Ross.  I've read all of her books and have found that all of them touch your heart while teaching you how to live.   She was truly a special person.  

Hubby went to his first support group yesterday.  When I asked how it went his response was, "Well, it's only my first meeting.  Let me try it for a few times, and I'll let you know."  Knowing hubby like I do, that's telling me he probably won't go back.  And perhaps he 'really' didn't like this meeting.  There is still the other one to try. And last night I discussed the volunteer opportunities with him.  It is hard to pull yourself out of 'hermit' mode. The fact is, he REALLY wants to work so perhaps volunteering someplace a couple of days a week will be good for him.  He'll feel productive again.  

Hubby's retirement was a forced retirement. He didn't choose to retire.  His health literally made it impossible for him to work anymore.  I retired because of my health, as well, but mine was by choice.  I probably could have hung on longer, but the stress I was facing at work was playing havoc on my blood pressure...and it was getting harder and harder to climb those subway stairs.  The difference between us was that if I had been able to find employment here in Brooklyn on the bus route, I may still be working.  Hubby doesn't have that choice.

When the television came off the wall and crashed on the floor this weekend, it took the screws with it and  left four small holes in the wall.  The super plastered it, but couldn't find matching pain in the basement. So, we originally planned on painting the one wall a different color. But,  after his meeting, hubby stopped at the store and bought the above to hang on the wall behind the television.  He texted me two different wall hangings, but I chose this one.  It is the sun and its rays shining outward.  The Sun is the symbol of love, light and energy, and the sun's rays have the power to heal. 

Well, that's about it for today.  I'm off this morning to my WW meeting.  It feels good to be finally taking control over what I put in my body rather that allowing my body to control me.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Warning: Not a Happy Post

Prayer is a means of sharing the burden, which relieves pressure, as you tell your worries and concerns to someone who will listen and won't judge, no matter what you say. Praying is like handing the problem over to someone else as you talk it out. Then you can tune in for guidance and a different perspective that will exude heartfelt energy. When you pray, you are exposing your real self and extending sincere, loving energy to yourself. It doesn't matter if your words are fancy or plain, and there is no way to do it right or wrong. Prayer is about opening your heart and being sincere.

Lucinda Bassett

Good morning, everyone.  Today I'm feeling sad, really sad.  Too much happening in my life.    Too many things that I am not ready to deal with, let alone face.   I sit here everyday, and I watch my Miss Minga, not knowing  how much longer she will be with me, and it hurts so bad.  She has good days and some bad days, but from her appetite and how well she gets around, she doesn't appear to be suffering; however, she is in her 23rd year now, and sadly, I have had to face the fact that it's not a matter of years anymore.  Now I see it in times of weeks.  And now, there is hubby. 

He's been a little quiet lately, and last night he went to the bedroom to presumably watch boxing. However, when I went to the room I found him sitting there, his head buried in his hands.  He was crying. "What's wrong?", I ask.  "I'm dying,' he responds.  "Every time I go to the doctor it is something else.  The eye doctor has me putting  two different drops into my eyes  twice a day now because my glaucoma is getting worse.  I an sent for  a Cat Scan because of  back pain, and they find a problem with my kidneys.  I can't breathe anymore with my emphysema,  and now my liver hurts, and the doctor tells me it is in bad shape, and I have to start treatment again right away.  It didn't work the first time.  What makes him so sure it will work this time?" He went on.  "I have no friends so all I do is sit around and think about dying. I can't even work anymore."  

Hubby was much like me.  His only socialization was work, and now that's been taken away from us because of our health.  I've accepted it, but he hasn't.  I chose to reach out and try something new--senior centers, church, Weight Watchers, Art class, exercise--and I have my online friends here, Facebook, and My Fitness Pal, but he has stayed fairly close to family, and as good as that may be, he cannot visit them every day and is missing the companionship of friends. The centers I attend hold no interest for him, and there are no courses he would like to take.  So, I went online and found a few support groups and places he can volunteer.  I can only hope he follows up on them. 

I'm trying so hard to keep up my spirits up for everyone's sake because, and now is not the time for denial, this may very well  be our last holiday season as a whole, and I am going to make sure it is extra special.   It would be a true miracle if Miss Minga shared another Thanksgiving dinner with us.  And hubby?  He is really not looking well, and I am scared.  All I can do now is pray.  

All this while I myself am struggling with chronic pain.  I never complain about it, just grin and bear it, but, to be honest, just walking down the block can sometimes bring tears to my eyes.  Everything just brings me down once in awhile, but hopefully now that I have new hobbies, I'll have something to occupy my time. 

Forgive me for laying all this sadness on you.  I just have no place else to get it out. I'm hoping that when I go to the clinic next week for my blood work, I can get a referral to a therapist.  I just need to talk, to have someone listen, and to have someone say, "You're going to be all right."  Thank you for listening today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

Good morning.  It's a cold one, for sure.  Yesterday it rained all day.  A cold, dreary rain that gets into your bones.  And even though I didn't go out in it, my bones sure did ache.  Haven't had that much pain in a good while.  I spent the morning watching 'Supernatural' while dozing off and on, a few minutes at a time.  I'd been awake since 4 am.  The pain in my hip was shooting down my leg.  Sciatica. 

I also purchased a book for my Kindle over the weekend,  "The Christmas House" by Barry KuKes.  I was going to hold off reading it until closer to the holidays, but I was bored.  Didn't feel much like practicing my drawing, and my origami has not yet arrived, so what the heck.  I'm not very good at book reports or reviews, so here's the book's description....

....An enchanting tale of a magical house that allows deceased relatives to visit every Christmas Eve. A reminder that people should take time for their loved ones before it's too late. How would you like an annual visit from your deceased loved ones?

A faint tone lingered from the last chime and faded into the silence. An old woman in a dark blue dress proceeded to the door as a smile came to her face... the guests outside yelled, "Merry Christmas Martha!"... As they hugged and kissed, the doorbell rang and guests continued to fill the house...old and middle-aged people, young children. Some even brought their dogs. The house was abundant with joy and merriment, so much so that it was just wasn't normal...

There seems to be nothing strange with family Christmas Eve visits...or is there? From Barry T. KuKes' vibrant imagination comes an emotional, enigmatic tale of a magic house that brings the dead back to life every Christmas Eve.

Set in the affluent suburbs of Chicago, the story of the magical house unfolds through Martha. After all of her relatives died, Martha was left to take care of the old, magical house to preserve its mystical foundations. However, having forseen her impending death, she sells the house to a simple, happy family who has no idea that their first Christmas Eve in the magical mansion will change their lives forever. Soon, all the characters learn the true meaning of love, family and sacrifice.

An exceptional story, The Christmas House is more than just magic and fantasy. It delves into the deepest and most profound human emotions that would prove even more powerful than any element or dimension. KuKes especially wants his readers to know that life is too short for dilly-dallying and regrets. The Christmas House is a sweeping reminder that people should take time for their loved ones because, in reality, the dead cannot come back for a visit...

....Needless to say, I completely the book in one day. Rarely do I sit for hours reading without shutting my eyes for a snooze.  That says a lot for how good it was. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

We don't accomplish anything in this life alone...and whatever happens
is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.

Sandra Day O'Connor

Good morning, everyone.  It's a rainy day here in Brooklyn, and I am going to play it by ear.  If it is raining too hard when it is time for me to go, I'll just stay home.  I've lots to do here anyway.

Look at the difference a few short weeks makes.  With temperatures in the 20's tomorrow morning, winter is definitely here.

Spent  much of the weekend trying to find information about an ancestor for the DAR. Becoming a member is very important to me, and I tried several years ago, but because of one break in proof of family line, I just let it go.  But, I am the last of my line that will take the time to honor and preserve  the legacy of my Revolutionary War ancestors.  My sons have no interest in genealogy.  So, I figured that since a few years passed, perhaps there is some new information.  Same stuff, though.  My one last shot is census records which list father's state of birth.

Yesterday started out well.  Got up and went to church.  It was pretty cold out, but I enjoyed it.  And while at church, all I could think of was getting home and putting on my comfort clothes, fixing lunch, and then sitting around watching the Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Too bad it turned into a nightmare.

I walked into the house and found my television lying face down on the floor.  Hubby was picking up autumn owl set which was strewn across the floor with several pieces broken.  It seems hubby was in the bathroom shaving just a few minutes before I got home when he heard a huge thump upstairs followed by the crashing of my television.  Thinking the guy upstairs fell and hurt himself, he ran upstairs to see if he was alright.  The guy pretended he wasn't home.

I ran and got the super cause I was furious, and I was in panic mode.  It's not the first time the guy upstairs has dropped heavy items.  He moves his furniture around every day.  For what reason, I don't know.  Well, to make a long story short, hubby and the super discovered that the old super who had volunteered to help us had not attached it to a beam, plus he had put the attachment on upside down so it was an accident waiting to happen.  It was surprising that it hadn't happened sooner.  The guy upstairs had only helped it along.

I'm annoyed that he wasn't man enough to open the door by pretending not to be home.  It was obvious he heard the crash.   But, I am also grateful it happened when I wasn't sitting in my rocker when it happened.  Miss Minga would have been lying at my feet and probably would have been killed. (I shudder at the thought).  Instead, she was snuggly sleeping in her special spot under the end table.

Hubby is so special.  He ran right out and bout me another television.  I love that man.

Well, that's about it for today.  Hope you all have a good one, and if you have rain, stay dry.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Roundup

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong
one; stronger than magician
ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to,
in the strongest conjuration.

Charles Dickens

Good morning, and a happy Friday to all.  It has been a strange week, weather wise, with temperatures ranging from warm and humid to a wintry chill. When I think of it, the weather has been strange for a year now--record breaking snow and ice last winter, no spring that I can recall, and a summer that felt much like spring.  I think here in the city there were only three days that hit 90.  So, let's see what this winter will bring.  If the weather is bad like last year, I will, hopefully, have Access a Ride and not be home bound for weeks on end.

Lost .04 pounds this week.  I'm not thrilled about it, but at least it is a loss and not a gain.  And with the holidays just around the corner, I'm really going to have to watch myself.  Lots of veggies on the menu this year along with the turkey and its trimmings.  I'll just have to keep myself strong and keep my health upfront.

Not much on my agenda this weekend. I did my food shopping yesterday and bought some of the nonperishable items needed for Thanksgiving dinner, and this weekend I'll sort through the list to see what I still have to buy and what I will need to pick up at the fruit stand just before the holiday.  

Gosh, I can't believe it.  I was sitting there last night, and it suddenly occurred to me that it will also soon be time for me to do my Christmas decorating.  The tree usually goes up on Thanksgiving and then over the weekend I do the rest of the decorating.  This year went by far too quickly.  And, I also thought about how blessed we are to have Miss Minga for another Thanksgiving.  She's my special little angel.

Well, that's about it for this week.  It seems that I live a dull, boring life, but, in fact, I am always doing something.  Even at home.  I skim recipes, take care of all my blogs, practice my drawing skills, read, take care of the household, and soon I will be learning origami.  Amazon notified me that my package has been sent, and I am so excited.  Can't wait to begin.  Maybe I can make a new garland for my tree, or perhaps it is even harder than it looks so I am asking too much of myself.  We'll see.

Have a wonderful weekend.  See you on Monday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yesterday was a Good Day

 Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

Thomas Merton

Good morning.  The days of great weather is about to leave us.  Personally, it was a bit too warm for me.  Fall isn't supposed to be like this.  I am looking forward to the colder weather, but hoping we don't have as much snow as last year.  I am happy with my life right now.  I don't want to become homebound.

Yesterday I went to art class, but the instructor wasn't there.  He'd thought we'd be closed on Veteran's Day so he didn't make arrangements for someone to watch his kids.  So, we played it by ear.  I did some practicing on my drawing skills...

I know I have a long way to go, but at least I have graduated from stick figures.  

I'm not going to the old center today.  I usually go for art (coloring), but I've had to change my plans.  I was going to go to the post office to mail my cards on Friday, but I was reminded that Friday is the memory test at the new center, and I really want to attend that.  Having forgotten within two weeks that it was on November 14th is proof that I really need a testing.  LOL!!! 

So today I am off to the post office and then to the store to see if I can get some winter stretchy pants.  I know I said I wasn't going to buy anything until I lost weight, but stretchies will last for awhile.

Yesterday I had a visit from a social worker referred by my insurance plan.  She is going to help me to get rent assistance and Access a Ride for this winter when it becomes difficult for me to get back and forth on public transportation.  This way I won't be forced to remain homebound if it is snowy and icy.  It was a good visit.  I liked her and am so glad I chose Emblem Health for my insurance plan.  No complaints whatsoever.

Well, I'm off to the shower.  My back is hurting badly, and water is always healing.  Hoping you all have a good one. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think,
all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends
I want to see. The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon
the beauty and wonder of the world. I hardly know which feeling leads,
wonderment or admiration.

John Burroughs

Good morning, everyone.  Another Monday.  Another week begins.  We had some pretty cold weather over the weekend, but I loved it.  I'll take this over the heat anytime.  On Friday I headed out to the fruit stand and made out like a champ.  All this and more for under $35.  I have a great recipe for Sicilian Anneletti La Forno that I want to make when my son visits. 

Didn't do much over the weekend.  Everything is at the planning stage.  Went through my recipe books and came up with a fairly healthy menu for Thanksgiving.  Listed it in the little notebook I had purchased last year just for holiday planning.  Put in all the recipes and the ingredients needed.  Then went through my spices to see what I have and what I need to buy.  While I was at it, I ended up cleaning out the shelves where I keep my storage containers.  Funny, when things are tossed in haphazardly it looks like there is no more space, yet when organized there is always room for more.

Spent Saturday afternoon addressing my Christmas cards for the card swapping group.  I'd joined a Christmas group on Facebook, and we all decided we wanted to send each other cards for the holidays.  People just don't send holiday greetings by snail mail anymore, and we decided this would be a great way to fill our mailboxes.  I declined on gift and ornament exchanges.  I would have loved to participate, but I'm on a limited income these days and that's just not on my budget.  

One of my friends at church asked if I'd be interested in attending a Mary Kay party at her house.  To be honest, I didn't even think it was still around.  Many years ago I'd gotten involved with Mary Kay.  I saw that it was a great opportunity to start your own business, and I jumped on it.  I even fell for it when they told me how important it was for me to invest in a sampler kit and to have some products on hand for instant sales.  What instant sales?  I invested $200 which was a lot of money back then, and I didn't make a penny in return.

Things were different in those days.  It was before computers, and the only way to earn was to give parties at home.  I was with my ex back then, and it hadn't occurred to me that he wouldn't want me to succeed in that either.  I knew he was against my writing plays and did everything he could to discourage and intimidate me every time I sat down to write, but I always thought that that was because he was an actor with a huge ego who felt threatened by the fact that I might succeed in the entertainment field as well.  There was only room for one star in the household.

So, I never figured he would be against my little cosmetic business as well.  He threatened and raged to embarrass me if I tried to bring anyone into the house for a party.  That was HIS house, and he didn't want any of my friends eating HIS food and drinking HIS soda.  And on and on and on until I just chalked it up as another loss, and I ended up using all the sample products myself

It wasn't until I took my certification course in victims advocacy that I learned the real motive behind his actions.  Control.  It didn't matter what I did, or tried to do.  I just couldn't succeed at it.  He feared he would lose control.  He never realized that a few years down the road he was destined to lose that control anyway.  

Wishing you all a great day and a wonderful start to the new week.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Roundup

Good morning, everyone, and a happy Friday to all.  When I was working, this was the day I always waited for, but it was always the slowest day of the week.  Especially the afternoon.  It just seemed to drag on.

Yesterday was a cool rainy day in Brooklyn. But i got out anyway.  Will not miss my WW meeting for a little rain.  And every day it looks more and more like Autumn.

Taken as I waited for the bus across the street from my house.

Taken while I waited for the bus to come home.  Sometimes Brooklyn doesn't look so pretty, but I love it.  I lived in all the boroughs except for the Bronx, and none are like Brooklyn which is rapidly becoming what they call a 'hipster' area.  Rents are rising sky high, so I consider myself blessed to have found my apartment when I did. 

I lost another 1.6 pounds yesterday.  That makes 15.8 in all.  I am just so motivated this time around.  A health scare will do it to you.  Speaking of health scares, I take my blood pressure twice a day, and it usually averages 124/74 with a normal pulse rate.  Maybe one day I won't have to take this medication anymore...but only under doctor's orders.  I learned my lesson the hard way.

Not much on the agenda this weekend.  I'm still debating if I want to go to exercise today or run tomorrow's errands instead.  (Such big decisions I have)  I also want to plan out Thanksgiving's menu.  It will be here before we know it.  I definitely will make the regulars--turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and gondulas and rice for hubby--but I plan to make lots of veggies as well.  I also found a new way for my sweet potatoes, one not so laden with brown sugar and butter.  That will be the only one of the regular Thanksgiving dishes I will change.

Well, that's about it for now.  Wishing you all a fantastic, fun filled weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In the Wink of an Eye

November Night

Listen. . . .
With faint dry sound
Likes steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisped, break from the trees
And fall.

Adelaide Crapsey

Good morning, all.  Another rainy Thursday.  Always rains when I have to go to WW,  and I will never miss it.  Unfortunately it takes two buses to get there, and usually I end up a sopping mess.  But it is worth it. 

Autumn  is finally arriving here in Brooklyn.  Seems like it all happened in the wink of an eye.

Spent most of yesterday on chat with Amazon. Very stressful when you have to deal with these technological items while talking with a technician who knows everything about them, and you have no idea what he is talking about. And even worse when you can't really explain what's going on. But, I will say one thing.  When I goof, I goof big.  I have two Kindles.  My old one is about four years old, and I usually use this one when I travel.  My newer Kindle White is only a little over a year, and I use this one all the time at home.  I love sitting in candlelight only, and my Kindle allows me to read as well.  

So, when I got up in the morning, I discovered my old Kindle needed to be rebooted.  I wanted to take it with me for art class as I have several beginners art books on it.  Trouble was.  It wouldn't reboot.  I tried and tried, but it wouldn't budge.  So, I ended up downloading one of the books on my Kindle White and taking that one instead.  

When I got home, the old Kindle hadn't rebooted so I de-registered it as I had been advised to do in the past, but when I went to re-register, I couldn't remember my password.  So, I reset my password, and it worked fine on Amazon, but wouldn't work on my Kindle.  At this point, something told me to check out my Kindle White, and sure enough, somehow I had de-registered that one, too.  So, after trying and trying, I finally ended up on chat with the technician who kindly reset everything from their end.  

But, I discovered all had come back perfect on my old Kindle, but my new one was a mess.  I'd organized everything in collections, and they were gone. And I'd lost all the sample books I had downloaded with plans to purchase in the future.  It was back to chat.  Well, I ended up with 46 collections and no samples.  It seems that it downloaded the collects from my first, second, and third Kindle. Eventually I ended up going through all the collections and deleting those I don't want.  But, boy, it took hours of my afternoon to straighten this mess out, but later I found out it wasn't, so it was back to chat.

I tried to sort things myself, but soon had to ask for help again.  Big mistake. After 35 minutes of trying to explain to someone who had no understanding of what I was talking about, I decided it was time for a phone call.  That was even worse.  Would you believe I  had to repeat my email address at least six times?-- m for mary, x for xray, t for tom and all the way down the line to be told that that email wasn't connected to me.  "But, how can that be?", I ask. "Amazon just sent me an email confirming my account at 2:14 pm.  "Sorry," he says, "that is not the email connected to your account."

It gets better.  He asks for my address.  I give it to him.  He tells me there is a different apartment number listed on my account.  Again, "How can that be? I order from Amazon all the time and they deliver here."  "I'm sorry," he says.  "Without the correct information I cannot help you."  This after 30 minutes on the phone with him.  I blew my cool.  I screamed for a supervisor.  Well, it turns out it was the correct email.  The moron just didn't understand me.  Six times I said.  Repeating very slowly.  

The supervisor apologized.  It WAS the email address on my account.  He just hadn't understood what I said.  And the apartment number?  Ready for a laugh?  It seems they have A4 on record and I said 4A.  Pretty dumb huh?  To make a long story short, I was on the phone for over 2 hours with the supervisor, and he couldn't figure it out.  I had to take pictures of what was going on and forward them to the technical team.  Still waiting for an answer. 

Well, that's about all for today.  Hope you all have a good one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hump Day Ramble

 The world is but a canvas
to our imaginations.

Henry David Thoreau

Good morning, everyone.  Had a wonderful day yesterday. The weather was perfect, and it was a good day to be out and about.  In the morning I had exercise class.  Then a delicious and hearty lunch of pepper steak, egg noodles, and mixed veggies...

Afterwards I attended my first art class. When I first retired there were two things I really wanted to and ceramics.  This was our first class, and our instructor wanted to see where we were at....or, as in my case, where we were not at.  Our first assignment was a green teapot which is surrounded by lemons and baby pumpkins.  Mine was downright embarrassing, but at least I was able to laugh about it.  The instructor said each of us sees things differently so no two painting will be alike.  I replied, "Trouble is, that's not the way I see it."  Next week he is going to start instructing us the proper approach to to hold a brush, shadowing, etc.  

Isn't she pretty?  I just couldn't resist her.  The globe itself is only about an inch tall.  She is so tiny I was surprised I was able to get a picture of  her.

When I stepped into the lobby I was overwhelmed with the smell of toast burning, and I fumed about my neighbor.  They are not very clean, and whenever they put their oven on, you get the smell of burnt toast and cheese.  Guess they never clean their oven.  However, as I approached my apartment I saw the door opened, and hubby was sitting on the sofa grinning from ear to ear at the look on my face.  Seems he decided to roast the peanuts I had brought home and totally burnt them.  I couldn't get mad at him.  Not with that look he had on his face.

Speaking of hubby, did I tell you he destroyed our microwave, and we had to buy a new one?  He decided to clean it and soaped it up well, so well that soapy water seeped through the hole and got into the motor.  Those who have been around for awhile probably remember when he immersed my coffee machine in water to clean it. Or the time he used special paint to coat the bottom of the coffee pot and the burner under it, for what reason I don't know. The paint stayed on, but it stunk so bad we had to get rid of it. For someone who completed AC and Refrigeration classes you would think he would know better.  Good thing I love him.

Well, that's about it for today.  I'm off to the shower and then heading out to the old center to do some coloring.  Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

The happiness of life is
made up of minute fractions--
the little, soon-forgotten
charities of a kiss or smile,
a kind look, a heart-felt
compliment, and the countless
infinitesimals of pleasurable
and genial feeling.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Good morning.  Well, the wind eased up some yesterday, and it wasn't as brutal out, but it was still cool, especially in the morning.  They say by Wednesday we will be back up to the mid 60's.  Sure wish the weather would make up its mind. This up and down stuff isn't good for anyone.

Nothing better than a pot of stew on a blustery day.  Made this yesterday for dinner.  It's a pork stew.  Beef is far too expensive,  and pork tasted just as good.  In fact, I even liked it better.

I just have to share this one with you.   There are lecherous men all over, and at almost 68, I thought I was well past that, or at least, that I should know better.  I was definitely wrong on that one. And the strangest part was where he found me.  On 'My Fitness Pal' of all places.  I joined about two years ago, and at first, it helped me a lot.  But last winter when I was snowed in, and my computer went down, I became depressed, and food became my consolation. Several months later when I got my new computer, I'd gain several pounds and found it really hard to get back on track.  And sadly, when you are not accountable to anyone, but yourself, it is easy to fudge your food intake for the day.  

And now I have found Weight Watchers and am doing well, but I still continue to log my food and exercise onto 'My Fitness Pal' every day as well even though I really don't need it anymore.  And this time I am honest in my answers.  What goes on WW, goes on there as well.  I stay because I have made friends there...both male and female...and we are all there for the same reason.  We want to lose weight, and need the support of others...which is why I didn't think twice when I got the friend request...although I should have.

He writes in my message box: "Hi, beautiful.  You look so familiar.  Where have we met?"  

Okay, so maybe I should have realized right from the start that this is the oldest line in the books, but, hey, it's been a long time since anyone called me beautiful, so it made me feel good.  I responded, "No, we have never met.  They do say that we all have a twin in this world."  I didn't think I would hear from him again, but I did.  "I am new here," he writes.  I only have 17 pounds to lose, but I'm here to motivate and encourage, to be a good friend and see how it goes from there."  Another telltale sign.

But, gullible me writes back and tells him that I will send him a friend request.  He didn't respond.  Instead I got the following:  "You seem to be doing well.  Congratulations. So, how shall we correspond, by text message or email? And what about your husband or boyfriend?  Will they get mad if you are talking to another man?"  Now, my antenna is starting to go up.  I write back, "Thanks for the encouragement.  It's a long road, but in the long run my health is worth it."  His response: "You didn't answer my question."  That was the last straw.  I blocked this person from sending me any further messages.

Got my first Christmas card yesterday.  A family from Ireland.  I'd forgotten I joined that Christmas card exchange group.  Must remember to buy some cards this week.

I'm off to exercise this morning, so it's time for shower and breakfast.  Hope you all have a good one.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday This and That

When our spirit tells us it is time to weep, we should weep.
It is part of the ritual, if you will, of putting sadness in perspective
and gaining control of the situation. . . . Grief has a purpose.
Grieving does not mean you are weak It is the first step toward
regaining balance and strength. Grieving is part of the tempering process.

Joseph M. Marshall III

Good morning, everyone on this Monday after All Hallows.  Hope you all had a good one.  Actually, on All Hallows Miss Minga wasn't doing very well, and I really thought it was time for her to leave me.  I even called the vet and talked about arrangements.  That's how bad she was, and I spent much of my day in tears.  Forgotten were all my plans for All Hallows Eve.  I didn't eat, and the only sleep I got was because I cried so much that I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.  

Then. lo and behold, on Saturday morning she was back to her old self.  I don't know what was wrong the day before, but my guess is she was constipated and suffering from gas.  All is fine now.  But it really woke me up.  I tend to live my life in denial.  Life will continue forever as it is, and I will not suffer any losses.  Hubby is very ill which I tend to forget because he keeps himself going like nothing is wrong, and Miss Minga is very old.  She has already lived well past her life span, and this extra time I have to spend with her is a blessing.

On Sunday I went to Church, my first All Soul's service. It was so windy and cold, and while waiting for the bus I was able to watch the marathon runners.  Don't know how they do it, especially on such a cold day with the wind blowing against them. My favorite Priest did the service.  I always love listening to his sermons because, I swear, he must lean more towards Celtic Christianity than orthodox religion.  Yesterday he spoke of the seasons and how the pre-Christian peoples honored the seasons more than we do in today's world.  He also spoke about 'thin places' and explained to the parish how in some places the 'veil' between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm is so thin that you can feel the spiritual surrounding you.

Later, after dark, I lit my candles and spent some time with my ancestors.  I asked them to give me strength for the trying times ahead.  I also found a wonderful website of Galina Krasskova's called for the ancestorsHere you will find an Ancestor Shrine where you can light a virtual candle and pay homage to those who have gone before.  There are also lots of great articles written by this author and  to be found on this site. 

Can't believe how cold and windy it was yesterday.  Winter is definitely on its way.  I'm grateful to be renting from building owners who are not stingy with their heat.  I hear horror tales from my friends every day.  In fact, in my old apartment it got so cold during the day that I sometimes had to put the oven on just to get some warmth.  I guess they figured since we were working during the day we could do without, not accounting for sick or personal days we had off.  But, I'm through with that place and glad of it.  Hubby said he drove by the other day, and the house had been torn down and rebuilt.  The Hasidic do that.  They cannot live in home where gentiles once least that is the way it was in my old neighborhood.

Can you believe it?  Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Time to look for some low sodium, diet worthy recipes.  Of course we will have our regular staples.  Can't deny the family, but they will definitely be cooked in a much healthier manner.  And there will be lots of tasty vegetables to choose from. There MUST be some way to make stuffing without all that unhealthy sodium. 

Well, that's about it.  I'm off to the old center this morning.   Time to shower and have a little breakfast so I can leave early.  Have to pick up my refills this morning.
Winter is the time for comfort, for
good food and warmth, for the touch
of a friendly hand and for a talk beside
the fire: it is the time for home.

Edith Sitwell