Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflecting on 2014

As we rise to meet the challenges that
are a natural part of living, we awaken
to our many undiscovered gifts, to
our inner power and our purpose.

Susan L. Taylor

2014 was a challenging year for me, to be sure, and I like to think I everything that came at me well. From the beginning of the year until September, my health continued to deteriorate. My own fault.  I had continued with my uncontrolled eating patterns throughout most of the year, and eventually it all caught up to me.  So, gone are the chips, the cakes, cookies, and candy and in their place are fruits, veggies, and low fat cheese.  In September I joined Weight Watchers and have been on a weight loss journey since then. 

Heart palpitations took me to the emergency room, and it turned out to be a combination of a few things--the increase of salt in my diet, stopping one of my blood pressure medications (without contacting my doctor), and adding the supplement SAMe to my morning regimen of vitamins.  Upon further research, I discovered that, although rare, SAMe has been known to  cause heart palpitations.  Be aware of what you put in your body.  I am usually so much more careful, but I was so desperate this time I didn't research as I should have. 

On the plus side, my blood pressure has finally been controlled with the help of medication and diet.  My thyroid levels have remained stable, and, with doctor's orders, I have been taken off the Methimazole.  In November I finally saw an eye doctor, the first time in almost 40 years, I am ashamed to admit.  I've cataracts and possible glaucoma, so following up on this is a must for 2015.  I also have an appointment to see the doctor about glasses. 

Along with Weight Watchers, I am now also taking an art class at a new center as well as participating in arthritis exercises two times per week.  It's important for me to stay busy to keep depression from setting in.  I still go to the old center, but only on Wednesday.  It's gotten so boring there, but I do like the people I met there, and I don't want to sever ties with them.   

Went to the bank yesterday and paid the rent and the bills.  I grew up being told that whatever was left undone for New Years will be left undone throughout the year.  So, I used to bust my butt to have laundry done, an immaculately clean apartment, bills paid, and a pantry stocked with food.  While I realize now that there will always be laundry to do and cleaning to be done,  I believe that having my bills all paid when the New Year rolls in means I will always have enough money to pay my bills throughout the year.

So now, here we are, standing on the cusp of the unknown.  What will the new year bring? I tell you one thing, this journey I have started to become healthier is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.   After a lifetime of abusing my body and filling it with all kinds of junk, I have made the changes and started working on my new lifestyle.  It's amazing how much better I already feel.  I may still be in pain, but at least I can walk a few blocks without becoming short of breath.

So, as 2015 is ushered in, I plan on continuing my journey and staying positive as I continue on the path that leads to the person I want to be.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Year End Rant

 The little money I have — that is my wealth, but the things I have for which I would not take money, that is my treasure.   

Robert Brault,

Good morning.  One more day until New Year's Eve, and I am feeling the holiday blahs.  I always feel let down after Christmas passes, and it only gets worse in January and February when SADD takes over.  I especially felt down yesterday when I opened my bank statement and saw how low it was.  That tells me it is time to knuckle down and spend more wisely.  Easier said than done.

My social security went up by $20 but so did the rent and the cable bill.  Food stamps were cut down from $189 to $59 because of the raise in social security.  Doesn't matter that everything else went up as well.  Totally frustrates me.  One works for 50 years and has to struggle for every little bit, and a 26 year old man who sold drugs for a living, never worked an honest job, but knows exactly how to get over on the system, has everything handed to him.  He was my client and had no interest in work or school.  Why should he?  The system makes it too easy for him to idle around and do nothing.

I saw it every day as I went to work.  Our clients collecting their SSD checks and buying cigarettes or drugs and standing on the street corners selling them.  Social security gave them no problem, but remember all hubby had to go through to get his SSD?  The man has two terminal illnesses, but he was refused and had to wait a year to reapply.  And THEN he had to  fight to get his back monies released to him because someone made a mistake and marked him down as having mental illness.  My clients were receiving SSD for mental illness, but the system didn't give them a hard time. 

I called the cable company yesterday trying to lower my rate without having to give up the channels we enjoy.  No go.  I've been with them for 20 years, never missed a payment, and this is the thanks I get.  Every week I get offers in the mail intended for new customers.  What breaks they get!!!  You'd think they'd find some way to offer their customers of good standing.  Shame on them!

Fortunately the electric bills aren't so high in this apartment.  They average about $60 a month, about $100 a month in summer.  In my old place I was paying about $100 a month and $300 during the summer.  Turns out that the creep upstairs had the basement wired to my account, and he and his brother lived down there.  

I'd like a new cell phone, but forget about it now.  And, I don't know what I would do if my Kindle went down.  I already get so many free books on there.  My youngest gave me a $100 gift card, and I plan to use that to stock up on toiletries and other items I use regularly so I won't have to buy for a few months.  There will be no new clothes with my Christmas money this year. 

I know what I'll be doing on New Year's day.  I'll be digging out my notebook and going through my frugality books, jotting down ideas.  Next step will be setting up a strict budget.  It's the only way we'll survive.  

Have a good one.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

It depends on us. . . Another year lies before us like an unwritten page,
an unspent coin, an unwalked road. How the pages will read,
what treasures will be gained in exchange for time,
or what we find along the way, will largely depend on us.

Esther Baldwin York

Good morning on the last Monday of 2014.  Hard to believe that as this week ends, we'll find ourselves in 2015.  Even harder to believe that in 3 months I will be 68.  Seems like only yesterday I was turning 50. The older you get, the faster time passes by.  Wish there was a simple way of slowing it down.  Some say that the key to slowing time is living in the 'now', stopping thinking and starting to be aware of  life that is always happening around us.  Note to self.  Practice living in the now.

Church on Christmas Eve

Friday I went to for a meeting and my weigh-in.  I'd done pretty good on Christmas Eve and most of Christmas day, but late afternoon the Whitman's chocolates and Christmas cookies started calling out to me.  I didn't overdue, though.  I had two candies and three cookies.  Felt a wee bit nauseous afterwards.  Amazing how your system changes when you start eating healthier.   Fortunately, I didn't blow it all.  I lost .08 pounds and hit my ten percent mark.  From 223 I am down to 201.  It will be a real celebration when I break the 200 mark. 

This is a picture of the Mexican salad I made for Christmas Eve.  Very simple and delicious.  It is best made ahead of time as flavor builds as it sits.

On the bottom is a layer of shredded lettuce.
Next a layer of canned black beans, drained
Next a layer of chopped tomatoes
Mix 1 cup low fat sour cream with 1 cup chunky salsa
Spread over salad and sprinkle with shredded low fat Mexican cheese and chopped scallions.  Refrigerate.  

On Saturday I finally got tired of the Christmas movies.  I've seen them all, most of them two or three times.  Yes, I am a fanatic for Christmas flicks, even the silly ones.  This year Hallmark started early, before Thanksgiving, and on by Saturday afternoon, I'd had enough and turned on a 'Monk' marathon.  Really enjoyed the rest of the day.  What a character he was!  I didn't even turn it off to watch the news.  Too much hate and racism in this world.  I needed to take a step back from it.

Sunday was a quiet day.  Went to church, stopped at Met Food for a few items, and headed home to prepare for the upcoming week.   Watched "The Golden Girls", and when they went off, turned back to 'Monk'.  All in all, it was a fun, relaxing weekend.

Hoping your Monday goes well.   Talk to you all tomorrow.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Day After

Good morning, everyone. Hope you all had a great Christmas. I had a wonderful time. My son's new girlfriend is such a sweetheart. I would love to see this relationship work.   She had to work until 7 pm so she missed the church service, but my son made it....a little late.  That's why we ended up sitting in the back.  My son, who is so much taller than me, took pictures, and has still not forwarded them to me. I didn't want to push him for them yesterday because one of his traditions is getting together with some of the other members of the Blue Bloods cast to feed the homeless in the park.   When I do get the photos,  I'll be sure to post.  

Our Mexican feast. I worked so hard on this, and everything tasted so darn good.  Everyone especially loved the Mexican casserole, and it is so easy to make.

Extra lean ground beef (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1/4 cup canned jalapeno slices, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can kernel corn (drained)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans(
1 package taco seasoning mix
Whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
1/3 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, shredded

Brown ground beef and chopped onions in large skillet until thoroughly cooked, stirring constantly. Drain well  to remove all fat; return beef/onions to skillet. Add corn, black beans, tomatoes, chilies/jalapenos and taco seasoning mix; mix well. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile spray 12x8-inch (2-quart) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut each tortilla in half; place 8 halves in bottom of sprayed baking dish, overlapping slightly. Spoon half of beef mixture evenly over tortillas. Then spoon sour cream over beef mixture, spreading evenly. Top with remaining 8 tortilla halves and remaining beef mixture. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
The best part of this recipe is that it is WW approved.

Yesterday I made a Pernil and arroz con gondulas and spent much of the time resting.  You'd think that after all the work I did Christmas Eve I would have konked out, but I guess I was on my feet too long because my legs ached terribly, especially around the knees.  Every time I finally got comfortable, they would start aching.  Oh well, next time I will be sure to take rests in between.
Have a great weekend, and I will see you on Monday.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

A Christmas wish-
May you never forget
what is worth remembering
or remember
what is best forgotten. 


Wishing you all the merriest Christmas ever. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Blessed Christmas Eve to All

 The most vivid memories of Christmases past are usually not
of gifts given or received, but of the spirit of love,
the special warmth of Christmas worship,
the cherished little habits of home.

Lois Rand

Here we are.  The morning of Christmas Eve.  Wow!!!  Another busy day ahead of me. So many things to do today.  Yesterday was one of those days that 'what could go wrong, went wrong.  My back was killing me due to the cold and dampness in the air. I started out my day near tears, but ended the day with tears of joy.

It all started when I realized I forgot to put the coffee in last night.  I don't drink it anymore, but hubby does.  Well, as I just as I went to put the coffee in my hand slipped and coffee went all over the place.  What a mess to clean up.  Then, I get dressed to head on over to art class.  Just as I get to the corner the rain starts coming down.  By the time I dug my umbrella out, I was pretty much soaking wet.  Good thing my jacket was waterproof.

My first instinct was to turn around and go  right back home, but I really wanted to go to art class.   Well, we cannot always have what we want.  I got all the way over there, and no one showed up for the class.  Must have been the rain that kept them away.  I sat and waited 35 minutes, then decided to go back home and get started on the work I had to do. 

But, I decided I should eat a little lunch first.  I'd been hungering for a swiss cheese omelet all morning.  I spooned out some butter and just before my hand reached the pot, it slipped off the spoon and onto the floor.  Then, my omelet stuck to the pan.  Usually doesn't but with the day I was having, it was to be expected.

I decided then that maybe I should sit down and rest awhile before beginning the 'real' cooking.  Closed my eyes and just about dozed off when the phone rang.   I was going to let it ring, but I saw on the television that it was Beth Israel Hospital.  Hubby's doctor is there, so I answered it.  Guess what.  They approved the medication for him.  I am so overwhelmed.  This medication cures the disease in almost everyone who takes it.  Even this morning, as I type this, tears of happiness are welling in my eyes.  This could very well save his life.  That is the greatest Christmas gift of all. 

And with that I bid you all a blessed holiday season. May this Christmas bring you comfort, joy, peace and happiness.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

For me, the spirit of Christmas is about
letting the loving but messy little rituals become just as important as the solemn
and graceful ones. It's about making
room for everyone.

Ann Michael

Good morning. It's a cool damp day outdoors today.  Part of me would love to stay in, but the other part doesn't want to miss art class. Finished up all of my shopping yesterday, and all gifts are wrapped and under the tree. I have all the ingredients needed for my Mexican feast and all recipes are in order.  I did well with my lists this year, and there will be no need to run out for last minute items.

This Christmas is so special to me, and I'm so looking forward to us being all together on Christmas Eve.  I've accepted that Miss Minga will most likely not be with us next Christmas, and I am determined to make it extra special for her.  And hubby.  We are still awaiting word from the insurance company as to whether or not they will pay for the medication that could save his life.  I am praying they approve.  The cost is about $95,000 for the 12 week course of treatment. That's a lot of money, and I fear that they may not want to pay it. Please pray with me   that he is accepted and can begin treatment as soon as possible. 

They say we have a huge rainstorm rolling in tomorrow.  Just when I plan to go to Christmas Eve mass with my sons.  It's my first time.  Wish it was at midnight, but they have no mass that late so we will be going at 5:30 for Christmas carols and 6 pm for mass.  If it rains too hard, we'll just have to grab a cab. 

Well, that's about it this morning.  Hope you all have a good one.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

Those who have not Christmas in their hearts
will never find it under a tree.

Roy L. Smith

Good morning. Winter has arrived and Christmas is right around the corner. Are you ready? I'm just about ready. Have a few more food items to buy, but presents are all wrapped and under the tree. I didn't buy Miss Minga her usual toys and treats this year. She NEVER played with toys preferring a box or aluminum foil rolled in a ball and can no longer chew the treats. No, this year I chose to buy her something she really can enjoy...a new brush. She absolutely adores being brushed and comes running as soon as I pick it up. The Christmas stockings of Christmas past were cute, but they are worthless if they do not bring her joy.

Finished reading "The Red Tent" on Saturday, and I was sorry to see it end. I highly recommend it. I've been reading a sample of the same author's "The Boston Girl", and I think that might be next. 

It was a cold weekend. On Saturday I headed to Rite Aid for Christmas candy and more candles. I have an artificial tree, but I love the smell of pine, and they sell a fantastic pine scented candle. You'd never know there weren't real evergreens in my home. Went home, dropped that off, and headed to Pathmark for hubby's shrimp and some food for Miss Minga. Later, after a nice snooze, I finished wrapping gifts. Just can't believe there is just a few days left...and they are predicting a night of rain and wind for Christmas Eve. Darn. Couldn't the storm wait a day or two? 

I'm really saddened by the state of our world. So much violence. Yesterday I had tears in my eyes. Two police officers executed, and thugs on the internet spouting hate and glorifying the act. Why so much hate? Where does it end? I don't like talking politics or taking sides on my blogs, but the events of this weekend are eating away at me, and  I have to agree with the many that our mayor played a huge part in it getting this far. He allowed Sharpton and the protesters free run of the city and actually closed bridges for them. Unlike protesters in the past, they didn't need permits. They weren't confined to one area. They were allowed to take over the whole city. The heck with the poor working citizen who just wanted to get home from his/her job. Protesters were allowed to stop traffic on main thoroughfares and chants could be heard in unison, "What do we want? Dead cops". Still he did nothing to stop it. In fact, he got up there and told all New Yorkers how he had to 'warn his son' about the NYPD and how his son should act. Meanwhile, a smirking Sharpton stood next to him ready to spew more hate.

There is good and bad in every race, nationality, color, and jobs.  But these people are preaching to hate all police for the bad acts of one.  It's gone too far now.  People tend to forget who rushed up the towers without thought to their own lives on 9/11.  I had joined a FB page "Thank you NYPD"  and when the thugs found it the next day, had to leave.  The hate talk turned my stomach and brought tears to my eyes.  Then, on Sunday, another threat.  A man driving from Tennessee to shoot two more cops.  

The protests have gone on long enough.  They've got their message across.  Now it's time to heal. This should be a season of peace, love, and joy.  I hope it's not too late to find that again.

Thanks for listening.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice Blessings to All

I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun;
I was called from the darkness by the song of the Earth,
I joined in the singing and she gave me birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be!
For I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I'll lead you on, wherever you may be
I will lead you all in the Dance, said he!

Lord of the Dance

I sleep in the kernel and I dance in the rain,
I dance in the wind and through the waving grain,
And when you cut me down, I care nothing for the pain -
In the spring I'll be Lord of the Dance again!

I see the maidens laughing as they dance in the sun,
I count the fruits of the harvest, one by one;
I know the storm is coming, but the grain is all stored,
So I sing of the dance of the Lady and the Lord.

We dance ever slower as the leaves fall and spin
And the sound of the Horn is the wailing of the wind;
The Earth is wrapped in stillness and we move in a trance,
But we hold on fast to our faith in the Dance.

The sun is in the south and the days lengthen fast,
And soon we'll sing for the winter that is past,
Now we light the candles and rejoice as they burn,
and dance the dance of the sun's return!

They cut me down, but I leap up high!
I am life that will never, never die.
I'll live in you and you'll live in me -
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he!

The moon in her phases and the tides of the sea,
The movement of Earth and the seasons that will be
Are rhythm for the dancing and a promise through the years -
The Dance goes on through joy and tears.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Roundup

Let us pray that strength and courage abundant be given to all
who work for a world of reason and understanding, that the
good that lies in every person's heart may day by day be magnified,
that people will come to see more clearly not that which
divides them, but that which unites them, that each hour
may bring us closer to a final victory, not of nation over nation,
but of people over their own evils and weaknesses, that the
true spirit of this Christmas season--its joy, its beauty, its hope,
and above all its abiding faith--may live among us, that the
blessings of peace be ours - the peace to build and grow, to live
in harmony and sympathy with others, and to plan
for the future with confidence.


Good morning.  Glad the weather is holding up because it is going to be another busy day for me.  Spoke with my son about his girlfriend, and he said she liked to read so I ordered two books for her--"The Red Tent", and "The Boston Girl", both by the same author.  At first I ordered them from Amazon, but then when I saw delivery date of December 24th I got scared and canceled.  Instead I ordered them from Barnes & Noble and will pick them up at the store today.  A little more expensive, but at least I'll be sure her gift will arrive in time.  And I think I will add a Christmas mug and some hot chocolate...and if not too expensive, some nice stationary.

Strange sky yesterday.  It was bright and sunny one minute and this is what happened the next. All around me got so dark.  It was almost like an eclipse.

Took off 2.6 pounds yesterday. That's 21.6 pounds altogether.  A few more ounces and I will hit my 10 percent mark.  The facilitator says that's when the health benefits begin kicking in.  I already feel less short of breath when I walk.  Hoping an alleviation of some of this pain comes next. It puts a damper on my holiday shopping, but I don't let it get me down.

Last night I was working on my genealogy.  My 28th grandfather was Earl Waleran De Newburgh, and the above was his castle.  When I see this it makes me wonder where all the riches went. Here I am in a living in a 3 room apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and my ancestor lived like this?  Money mismanagement somewhere along the line.

This year I am trying something new on Christmas Eve.  We usually have buffalo wings for me and the boys, shrimp for hubby, finger foods, and cold cut sandwiches, none of which is healthy.  This year I am planning a Mexican feast.  I love Mexican food and miss the Mexican restaurant where I used to live.  We have none close by over here. So, along with the buffalo wings and shrimp, my menu will include...

WW Macaroni Salad
Chicken Mole with Yellow Rice
Mexican Casserole
 Mexican Salad

All recipes are from Weight Watchers so you know they will be healthy and light. 

Well, got lots to do to prepare for the holiday.  Time to get a move on. 

Have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you on Monday.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Quiet Thursday

Each house is swept the day before,
And windows stuck with evergreens,
The snow is besom'd from the door,
And comfort crowns the cottage scenes.
Gilt holly, with its thorny pricks
And yew and box, with berries small,
These deck the unused candlesticks,
And pictures hanging by the wall.

John Clare

Not much to say today.  Went for my field test yesterday.  What a pain that test is!  It didn't hurt at all, but it was so annoying, watching for that tiny white dot.  No definitive answer yet.  One eye tested normal.  The other tested outside normal limits.  My pressure was within normal limits but I had trouble with a test he gave me for peripheral vision. I was told to keep my eyes straight ahead, looking into his eyes, while he held up fingers on either side asking me how many.  One eye failed. Have to go back in six weeks for further testing.  There were some fuzzy areas in my test which the doctor said is normal when it is your first time taking it.  

I took advantage of my time there and asked for an appointment with the social worker.  And, lucky me, she was there and free to see me.  She was very sweet and agreed that talking to a therapist might help so she gave me several referrals.  

Today I am off to WW.  Hoping to have lost a little this week.  I made some slight changes in the way I ate this past week.  

Question for you.  My eldest has a new girlfriend.  Another one on the rebound.  It seems he always falls for someone just coming out of a relationship, and usually they don't work out.  But, there is not much I can do about it.  This is what he chooses.  Well, he is bringing her to the house for Christmas Eve.  I'm looking forward to meeting her, but my question is, what do you buy for someone you don't know?

Two new ornaments that I purchased...

And finally, this is my first stab at drawing a landscape.  This is the picture the teacher gave us...


And this was my take on it...

Not bad for my first stab at it, but I still have a ways to go.

Have a good one.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Missing Someone I Don't Even Know (May be Boring)

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

Norman Vincent Peale

Good morning, everyone.  Thank goodness the rain stopped.  I'm off to have my field test today, and it is quite a walk from the house.  Lately I try not to take cabs if I can help it.  Need the exercise.  I'm feeling a little anxious.  I know the test is simple, but annoying according to some.  I just don't want to have glaucoma. I'm terrible about putting drops in my eyes.  Most of it ends up running down my face.

Did you ever miss someone you never even met?  Sounds silly, doesn't it, but I find I'm missing my neighbor.  I don't even know what she looked like, but there was a comfort level knowing she was there.  I almost felt like I knew them.  Perhaps an explanation is in order here. 

When we were looking for a place I wanted a first floor with windows.  Wouldn't accept anything else.  Windows were a biggie.  In  my last apartment I only had two windows in the front bedroom and two in the back bedroom, and when you take into account the two air conditioners, you might as well say I had two windows in the entire house.  I had the back door which opened out into the yard, but being that Miss Minga was poisoned twice, I couldn't keep it open.  

 My boring view.

So, when I first walked into this apartment and saw that was on the first floor with reasonable rent and  had windows in every room, I immediately grabbed it.  It was perfect in most respects.  The only problem was the view from the windows.  My apartment looks out over a small courtyard.  The view consists of two sides of my building and the side of my neighbor's house.  Most of the windows I look upon are rather bland, a few plants here and there, but no holiday decorating.  My neighbor decorated her windows for just about every holiday. And Christmas was especially beautiful with her tree and the blinking lights on the windows. And this year it is gone, and dullness has returned.  And I feel blue each time I look out the window.  

Of course, I've done the best to spice mine up...

From my living room window.

I may not have a view, but at least I don't have the noise anymore.  The city, including Brooklyn, can be a noisy place 24 hours a day, and for all of our years together our bedroom was located in the front of the house.  All night long cars and trucks passed and ambulances, sirens and lights flashing, whizzed by our window.  So, although I may not have a view, I have peace and quiet quiet during the night.  

Well, guess it's time to get ready.  Have to take a shower and grab a bite to eat before I go.  Hoping you all have a good one...and sure hope this post wasn't too boring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Hard Way

Some of us have to learn the hard way and make our own mistakes instead of learning from others.


Good morning.  All went well with the endocrinologist yesterday.  My Graves Disease remains in remission.  That was a relief.  Have to see her in three months, but before that she wants a sonogram because when I swallowed she felt a small nodule.  I'd thought it was gone, but it must of just shrunk.  Before it was very noticeable. The whole side of my neck was enlarged.  Now my neck appears normal.

Well, my goddaughter picked a winner again.  Maybe this time she will pay attention to what I tell her.  Remember she was with the abusive ex, broke up with him, and then, despite my warnings, picked up another guy on Facebook?  Then, the next thing I saw she had moved him in with her.  That's when I worried, but wiped my hands of it.  As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

So, when she posted pictures of her new 'hubby' all over her FB page, I didn't join in when everyone else was congratulating her on her great 'catch'.  I saw right through him.  Supposedly he worked and had his own place.  So, if all this was true, how could he have moved into her place so darn quickly.  After all, wouldn't it have taken time for him to take care of his own apartment?  And speaking of apartments, if he had his own place, why wouldn't he have her move in with him rather than continue living in the dangerous projects?  Yep, I saw his true colors from the start.

Time went on, and she was forever posting how happy they were.  Putting up a good front until she just couldn't hold it in anymore.  Friday was her birthday, and she posted about the miserable birthday she had.  He not only didn't take her out as promised, but didn't even get her a gift, claiming he didn't get his paycheck.  Turns out this was his modus operandi from day one.  He has supposedly had three jobs but never 'picked up a paycheck' from any.  My niece has been footing the bill for everything since he moved in.  Now she is broke...and he is gone. 

I feel bad, yes, but sometimes we have to learn the hard way.  At least he didn't hurt her physically like the last boyfriend.  She swore to me that she was going to take my advice this time, that she is getting too old for this. We'll see.   And as frustrated as I may get with her, I will always be there when she needs me.

Well, that's about it.  I'm off to art class this morning.  Missed last week due to the weather, but I won't miss this one.  Have a great day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday This and That

Sweet souls around us watch us still, press nearer to our side; into our thoughts, into our prayers, with gentle helpings glide.
Harriet Beecher Stowe

Good morning, everyone.  Hope you all had a great weekend.  I know with the holiday right around the corner most of you were probably busy.  Did a little shopping myself on Friday.    Bought the following ornaments for the tree

My newest Christmas Angel.

And this Betty Boop for hubby.  Just couldn't resist either one of them.

Spent a lot of time reading.  Actually I am reading two books, one fiction, one non-fiction.  I've been reading "The Red Tent".  The book is great.  Although there are a few changes, from what I've read so far follows pretty much along the lines of the mini series...only in far more detail.  The non-fiction book I am reading, or should I say re-reading, is called "Eating by the Light of the Moon" by Dr. Anita Johnson.  The book itself teaches women free themselves of disordered eating habits with the use of folk stories/bedtime stories. Love all the wisdom that is found in this book.

From the back cover....

Weaving a rich tapestry of multicultural myths, ancient legends, and simple folktales, Anita Johnston teaches women how to free themselves from disordered eating by discovering the metaphors that are hidden in their own life stories.

"Storytellers speak in the language of myth and metaphor," Johnston explains. "They tell us a truth that is not literal, but symbolic. If we hear the stories with only the outer ear, they can seem absurd and untrue, but when listened to with the inner ear, they convey a truth that can be understood and absorbed on a deeply personal level. In this way, stories help us connect with our inner world, to the natural rhythms and cycles of the earth, and to the power of our intuitive wisdom."

In addition to being immensely enjoyable reading, Eating in the Light of the Moon is filled with practical exercises and profound insights. Twenty chapters explore different themes of self-discovery and empowerment on core issues such as:

Intuition: The Inner Seeing, Hearing, Knowing
Symbolism: Hunger as a Metaphor
Feelings: Gifts from the Heart
Moontime: Reclaiming the Body's Wisdom
Dreamtime: The Journey Within
Sexuality: Embracing the Feminine
Recovery: Out of the Labyrinth

I am not bulimic nor anorexic. but I do have a problem with compulsive eating.  It took me awhile to admit it to myself, but all the telltale signs are there.  If left to my own devices I'll eat even if I am not hungry.  Food is always on my mind.  I often said it was stopping smoking that did it, but the extra 83 pounds I gained in a matter of only a few years tells me it goes deeper than that.  

In fact, when I look back on it, I've always had a thing for food.  Even as a little girl, I'd find myself eating two or three peanut butter sandwiches only a few short hours after dinner.  When hubby got sick years ago, I found comfort in eating huge ice cream sundaes every night.  But I never put on weight.  Guess until recent years I had good metabolism. 

I know now that having an overactive thyroid makes one hungry so perhaps that's what is hitting me now.  I can't get enough to eat.  I fight it, of course, but it's no fun being hungry all the time especially when you know that you are eating enough.  My thyroid levels were normal during my last blood test so my endo took me off the methimazole to see if I remained in remission.  I had my blood drawn on Wednesday and see her this morning.  I sure hope I am still in remission.  The next step would be the radioactive pill to kill my thyroid and then medication for the rest of my life.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Well, that's about it folks.  I've a long bus ride ahead of me so I'd best be getting a move on.  Talk to you all tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Roundup;

Good morning.  Friday has arrived and it's time to plan for the weekend.  Actually, weekends aren't the same since I retired, but they are still enjoyable.  Went to WW yesterday.  First time  that I didn't lose.  Actually I stayed the same, and it is certainly a relief that I hadn't gained, but was still a bit disappointing when she told me.  I realize plateaus happen and knew eventually it would hit me, so I am not going to go off the deep end.  Just going to try harder for next week.

It was a brutally cold day yesterday and snow was coming down fairly heavy for awhile even though it didn't stick.  The bus was late, as usual, so I snapped a few pictures of my church.

This was taken on my way to WW as I was waiting for my second bus. The church is so huge it is impossible to get the entire building in one shot.

And while waiting for the bus to go home.

Part of the churchyard.  Notice the snow on the ground.  First of the year.

Did you ever dream something and then it happens?  I dreamed on Wednesday/Thursday night about food.  Much like the drug dreams that addicts in recovery have, but in my case, I dreamed of healthy foods.  I remember in my dream coming out of the store with a package of grapes, all mixed--green, red, and black--and when I awoke I remembered it and thought how nice it would be to buy them packaged like that.  Then, after my WW meeting I stopped in the C Town next door and guess what?  There was the packaged grapes, just as I had dreamed about it.  This was the first time I found them packaged this way.

Oh, some good news to share.  Hubby made his first group yesterday.  He came home all excited with information to share.  He admitted that he hadn't gone to the meeting the other day and didn't want to disappoint me.  I assured him that, although I might be disappointed, the person that would really be hurt from it was himself.  Loneliness and boredom have such a negative effect on illness.  Needless to say, he enjoyed it and is looking forward to the next meeting.  I am really a happy camper.

Well, I'm to start my weekend now.  After a shower and breakfast, I'm headed to the banks.  Holidays will be on us before we know it, and I want to be totally prepared.  Have a great weekend.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

The most vivid memories of Christmases past are usually not
of gifts given or received, but of the spirit of love,
the special warmth of Christmas worship,
the cherished little habits of home.

Lois Rand

Good morning.  There's another dreary day in store for us.  But, I can deal with the drizzle.  I'm off to WW this morning.  Time for my weigh-in.  I don't understand what happens to me.  I'm fine all week long, and then two days before weigh-in my stomach becomes a bottomless pit.  I get so hungry, and even after I eat, I feel like eating more.  I hold off as long as I can, but it gnaws at me until I grab something...usually a boiled egg or a piece of fruit.  I know it's all psychological.  After all, I don't get hungry like that until I get close to weigh-in.  It's almost like my mind is out to sabotage my body.

Had my blood drawn yesterday. Some people are just brutal in drawing blood. It started with that band they tie around your arm. No one has ever pulled it that tight, and it was downright painful, and I let her know about it. Her response: "This will only take a minute." as she put the needle into my vein. And that hurt, too. Now, I've gotten pretty used to blood tests and usually don't mind them, but I also want someone who is gentle. Would you believe I actually felt a stinging feeling where the band was late in the afternoon as well as soreness around the injection site 

So, hubby has been claiming that he has been attending the support groups I found for him. I wish I could believe him, but something tells me he is just telling me what I want to hear. It.s just that he didn't 'volunteer' the information to me. I have to ask him about it, and since we've been together almost 22 years now, I know that's usually a sign that he hasn't been going. Hubby has always liked to talk about his day so when I ask, "Did you make your group today, and how was it? and all he responds is 'yes, it was okay, that is a sure sign. Had he been going he would tell me all about it in such detail that I'd wish I hadn't asked.  I hate seeing him so lonely and depressed all the time.  He's the one who asked me for help, but he is not following up on it.  What am I to do?

Yes, hubby can be so long winded that I often wish I hadn't brought something up.  It is one of his quirks.  He can go on for an hour just answering a simple question like 'how did you like the movie?'  He goes into such minute detail and rambles on and on and on until I want to scream out "Enough already".  And don't let him watch something he finds interesting on the History Channel or Discovery.  He'll talk about that for hours.  But as much as it may annoy me, this is one of the things that make me love him. 

Yesterday I spoke about my Christmas gifts.  I have them, but I cannot use them.  They are sitting under the tree...which is good because it gives me time to re-organize in the kitchen.  At this point, I have no idea where to put the crock pot.  It's times like this I wish I had a bigger kitchen.

Well, guess it's time to shower and eat breakfast.  A lot of the women I attend the meeting with forego breakfast on weigh-in day, but personally I want an honest answer, and that means doing the same as I do every day.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just a Little Note

"The earth has grown old with its burden of care
But at Christmas it always is young,
The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air,
When the song of angels is sung."

Phillips Brooks

Good morning, everyone.  Boy, did the rain ever fall yesterday.  It was non-stop for the entire day.  So glad I chose to stay in and dry.  There will be plenty of other art classes.  So I cozied up in my rocker, purchased a copy of "The Rend Tent' for my Kindle and spent most of the day reading.  I found it an amazing story, and when I like something, I have a tendency to become obsessed with it.

In late autumn I joined a Facebook Christmas group.  The administrator asked if anyone would be interested in starting a Christmas card exchange, and immediately about 200 people signed up to take part.  There were so many that the administrator broke us all down into groups.  And since just before Thanksgiving I have been steadily receiving cards. 

And there is still two weeks to go.  It really brightened my day to open my mailbox and see the red and green envelopes from well wishers.  They also had a Christmas gift and a stocking exchange, but the minimum was $25 on each, and when you add up the cost of mailing it, plus all the money I already spent on cards and stamps, it was just way out of my budget.  Maybe next year.

Speaking of Christmas, Hubby bought me a grill pan and a crock pot for Christmas.  These are two things I told him I really wanted.  Now, I can't wait to start cooking with them.  I have so many recipes lined up to try.

Well, that's about it for now.  Time to get showered and ready to head out to the old center.  At least I'll have art there this week...even though I do my own thing in art class.  No instructor.  Talk to you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Ramble

This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss
suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a
promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to
understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone
else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in
the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love,
and then speak it again.

Howard W. Hunter

Good morning, everyone.   Today is art class, but I won't be going.  There's a real nor'easter out there today.  If it were only the rain I wouldn't care, but the winds are supposed to hit 50 or 60 mph at times.  No way to stay dry in that.  So, I will just stay home and practice by myself.  I did find out, however, that the new center has a van/bus that will pick you up at your house and bring you to the program.  That's great to know.  I was too late to be added to the list for today, but in the future I know I won't have to sit home during inclement weather. 

Yesterday I came across the above list of things to do for Christmas and thought it was a great share.  There are a few on that list that I plan to focus on.  

Tried another new recipe on Sunday. Anelletti al Forno  Al Forno  describes  pasta dishes that are finished off in the oven and prepared with al dente pasta.  Ingredients in this dish include anelletti, mozerella, frozen peas, seasoned bread crumbs, olive oil, salt free butter, and a meat sauce of your choosing.  The photo above is what it looked like before it went into the oven.  It came out looking beautiful, but I grew over anxious and didn't wait for it to cool enough before inverting the pan to put it on a plate.  The result?  I fell into pieces.  (It was supposed to slide out of the pan onto a plate just like a layer of cake.)

But it sure tasted good. Would I make it again?  I doubt it.  Too many steps and aside from the bread crumbs, it tasted much like a pan of baked ziti.  

Well, not much else to talk about today.  I think I am going to go back to bed for awhile...that's if Miss Minga will allow it.  She usually screams for my company.  Love this little girl.

Have a good one...and stay dry.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Morning This and That

Let us pray that strength and courage abundant be given to all
who work for a world of reason and understanding, that the
good that lies in every person's heart may day by day be magnified,
that people will come to see more clearly not that which
divides them, but that which unites them, that each hour
may bring us closer to a final victory, not of nation over nation,
but of people over their own evils and weaknesses, that the
true spirit of this Christmas season--its joy, its beauty, its hope,
and above all its abiding faith--may live among us, that the
blessings of peace be ours - the peace to build and grow, to live
in harmony and sympathy with others, and to plan
for the future with confidence.

Good morning, everyone.  How was your weekend?  I had a quiet one.  On Friday I ran all my errands, and on Saturday I stayed it.  It rained off and on for most of the day so it was a good day to lounge about.  I did all my shopping online last Sunday, so I wrapped all of the gifts and placed them under the tree.  Hubby will be getting some cash in one of my homemade cards.  I prefer him to get what he needs.  With that, I am all ready aside from the food.

This was a cooking weekend for me.  Not like the old cooking weekends where I'd spend an entire weekend in the kitchen cooking for the next two weeks.  No, this was a weekend to try new recipes.  On Saturday I made my version of a low sodium Pollo Guisada.

Ingredients included chicken legs cut in pieces, potatoes, carrots, red and green peppers, onion, garlic,  low sodium chicken broth, tomato sauce, pitted olives, and cilantro.  After browning the chicken, I sauteed the peppers, onions, and garlic.  Then, I put the chicken back in the pain and added all of the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for about an hour.  Delicious.

Did anyone catch "The Red Tent" last night?  It was fabulous.  Can't wait til the conclusion tonight.  It's the story of Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob of the Old Testament.  It also focused on his four wives.  'The Red Tent' is a place for women; it is where they go to menstruate and where they give birth.  But, moreso, it is a place where they pass on the stories,  the arts of herbs and healing, and midwifry skills from mother to daughter throughout the generations.  It is also where the women go to secretly worship the goddess Inanna.  If you missed it, part one will be aired in full again tonight prior to part two. 

I am so glad I am not working anymore.  I don't have to travel to the city.  What's going on really scares me. What happened was wrong.  I agree.  On the whole, I respect the police department, but there is good and bad all over.  Perhaps the officer shouldn't have been indicted for murder, but a lesser charge such as manslaughter.  But what these protesters are doing is wrong as well. They are punishing the masses for the wrongdoing of one.  People are unable to get to work, and if they do get there, they cannot get home.  Blocking bridges and tunnels and main thoroughfares?  What purpose are they serving aside from hurting the innocent? On Friday they held up the subway system chanting, "No trains run.  No trains run." What if there is a pregnant woman on the train, or a sick person anxious to get home, or even a small child.  It is frightening for a small child to see this mob. 

It scares me also that this could turn into a race war.  I read the comments on the newspapers and the FB pages on the news stations, and there is far too much black/white bickering going on. ..even though the protesters come in every color.  And it seems our illustrious mayor is perpetuating this by allowing Al Sharpton free run of the city.  Our mayor has been trashing the police department as part of his campaign, and the people have picked up on this.  I worry what this city is coming to. I worry that my hubby has to travel to the city for his doctor, and I worry about my sons. Perhaps I worry too much.  But this stuff is 'real', and the instigators are out there.  

Well, it's about that time...time to shower and have some breakfast.  I'm off to the new center today for arthritis exercise this morning.  Hoping you all have a good one.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Roundup

Those who have not Christmas in their hearts
will never find it under a tree.

Roy L. Smith

Didn't need any more Christmas decorations, but I could resist this one. 

Good morning, everyone.  It's a cloudy day here in Brooklyn, and rain is on its way.  I'll be out of here early.  Have a number of places to go--Rite Aid for wrapping paper and boxes, the train station to re-up my metro card, and the fruit stand.  I'm hoping they have some blood oranges.  Oh, how I love them.

Well, all the worrying about gaining weight was for nothing.  I lost .08 pounds, quite a feat on Thanksgiving week.  I really enjoy the WW meetings.  I feel comfortable with the women and men who attend and absolutely LOVE our leader.  Yesterday we discussed the reasons we joined WW, the deeper the reasons, the more powerful they can be, and how important it is for us to remember these reasons when we find ourselves weakening and going back to our old ways.  

I originally joined because of my health, but as I learn more about myself, I realize it was for emotional reasons as well.  I told myself that I was getting old and it didn't matter any more what I looked like, but the truth was, I was feeling really bad about the way I looked.  I didn't want to see people who I hadn't seen in awhile because I was 'embarrassed'. 

I shared yesterday about my recent trip to the shoe store to buy a pair of boots.  I fell in love with the perfect pair and went to try them on....only I couldn't GET them on.  Try as I might, I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't bend enough to  pull them on, and each time I tried to slide them on from a sitting position, the sides would collapse and get in the way.  For twenty minutes I struggled, and I was too embarrassed to ask the sales girl to help.  Besides, what if I bought them and then hubby isn't home when I need to wear them.  What then with no one to help.   Tears began to flow.  I ended up settling for a shorter pair in the same style and a vow that I was going to do everything I could never to have to go through that again.  

This weekend I plan on trying a new dish Pasta Al forno.  I'll be sure to let you know how it comes out. 

Wishing you a weekend filled with joy and laughter.  See you on Monday. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thursday Ramble

Good morning, everyone.  The rain has stopped and the day is clear.  I'm off to WW this morning for my weigh in.  I always get so anxious on this day.  I've got to realize that everyone has their plateaus, and it won't be the end of the world if I reach one...even if I should gain a pound or two.   What counts is that I don't throw my hands in the air and give up.  I've come too far for that.

I did this for hubby.  He loves his Betty Boop.  Speaking of hubby, I do believe the things I had to say got to him or perhaps it was the voodoo vibes.  Probably a combination.  His sister called yesterday to say they were going to look at the place and would he like to come.  He told her that he doesn't feel comfortable handing her all our money, and if she can arrange a payment plan, he would think about becoming a silent partner, but what we have in the bank is all we've got.  What if something should happen?  He barely gets by on his SSD and I on my social security.  He just can't invest it all.  Later he admitted that they weren't putting in anything.  He was laying out the down payment.  The nerve of them.

Many years ago I worked so hard at trying to make them like me.  I did everything but sell my soul.  But nothing worked.  And it had nothing to do with me as a person.  The problem was that I had befriended another of his sisters, and they have been involved in a family feud that has lasted for years.  And, in time I decided they just weren't worth it.  They weren't the kind of people I wanted in my life.  They were miserable, unhappy women, and I was starting a new life.  Who needed that in their life?  So, I washed my hands of them and stayed close to the sister that I genuinely liked.  

And life went on, and the anger I once felt in the pit of my stomach disappeared because I had wiped them out of my life.  I never tried to stop hubby from talking to them, though.  They are his family, and I have to respect that.  Now, I am feeling that anger again, and I have to let it go.  I have to banish it because it does me no good.  But enough of them.  

I came across this yesterday and found it too beautiful not to share.  This is for all of us who lost our mothers.  It sure brought tears to my eyes.
Your Mother is always with you. She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she's the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself, she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well, she's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning.

Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she's crystallized in every tear drop. She's the place you came from, your first home, and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space . . . . . . . . . not even death! 

Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Cards

Good morning.  Weather wise, it is pretty miserable, but I do want to try to get out today.  I was working on a Betty Boop drawing for hubby, and I would love to complete it today.  He's got such a thing for Betty Boop.  If she were a real woman I'd be pretty jealous.  Speaking of art... 

Yesterday we made some Christmas cards in art class.  It was so much fun. 

This was done with stickers...

As was this one.

This special card I did for hubby.   Part drawing and coloring with special markers and part done with stickers.

This is the inside of the card. The first time I made this one it came out so much better, but I made the mistake of putting on some glue glitter not realizing that it would take forever to dry.  Ended up smearing it all over the well as my fingers.

Well, that's about it today.  Not much happening.  Hubby canceled the meeting with his sister yesterday citing the weather, but that never stopped him before.  Hope his is finally listening to me.

Have a good one.