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Minimizing is Tough


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Of course I’d like my bookshelf to look like the one on the left, but it looks more like the one the right, but much more of a disaster, with books, papers and misc. stuff I don’t know what to do with, laying on top of books already there and/or sticking out of the front.

As follow-up to yesterday’s post, “Minimalistic Living,” today on compulsion, started to weed out knitting books from my bookshelf.  Let me just say this is the hardest thing I’ve had to do yet.  Books have been a source of comfort and escape my whole life.  It’s hard parting with them, but being assessed on the basis of productivity, I’m lovingly laying them off to the side.

I’ve already put it “out there” to my friends that I’m giving away books.  I don’t know.  I’m tired of looking at stuff and not feeling good or satisfied.  It’s like I still don’t know what I want and grasping at straws.  What I do know is that I only have one bookshelf with three shelves and once that fills up, and the shelves are bowing low, I’ve got to lighten the load.  It kills me to do this, but I’ve already committed to not knitting as much and more importantly, I’ve not really used these books.  So far, I’ve committed to eliminated almost half of my books and I think that’s pretty good.

Imperfectly Perfect


So, yeah.  I’ve had over a week now to reflect.  Unfortunately, I could not quiet myself down for long enough to get back into that personal quiet place.  I made an attempt here, at Stormy Reflections, but the boy was off from school at the time and I just didn’t get myself far back enough, or quiet enough.  Right now, I’m at Starbucks, enjoying a Christmas coffee, with jazz playing in the background; but this snooty Asian girl is staring at me and I have no idea why.  Is it the fact that my boobs remain unfettered and out on their own?  Could it be that she is oogling my new nail design, or maybe that I tried out a new clear polish on just one nail?  Holy Crap… I really like the wet, shiny finish of  “Looks Wet” Ultra High Gloss Topcoat I just got at the Christmas Tree Shop…. Merry Christmas to me~!  Who knows about this girl, but I really want to get into the topic, so I’ll just jump right in at probably the far left, but it’ll get me started…..

Last Sunday, I served as lector at our church and it was one of those times that you just know the Holy Spirit is right there with you.  My heart burned.  I feel the need to post the readings as I could never explain them.

1 Kings 17: 10 – 16

10 So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
13 And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
15 And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah.

Hebrews 9: 24 – 28

24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Gospel: Mark 12: 38 – 44

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places
39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

It’s irregular of me to post scripture readings, but I found these resonated inside and I felt comfort and I felt shame at the same time.  I was comforted because the scriptures were telling me that I could feel free to donate to hurricane victims, despite not having a whole hell of a lotta resources to support our family; and this is because the Lord will take care of us.  The widows of the first reading and the Gospel gave all of themselves, to the point of true sacrifice, whereas the ones who donated from their surplus, were not truly feeling the loss, and so it was not really a sacrifice at all, and not heart-felt by them.  I do have faith in that, but walking the tight rope is pretty scary and fear creeps right back in sometimes.

I feel shame because one of the days right after Hurricane Sandy blasted through, I was approached by a guy asking for money.  I made a judgement that I know full well that I should not have made.  This guy seemed to be lying to me and I refused to give him money.  I never should have done that.  I could have given him a dollar, even, but I didn’t.  Whether he was lying or a drunk or a drug addict is between him and God and now, my refusal is also between ME and God.  Living day to day has played havoc on me in a lot of ways and I’ve grown weaker when I should have been growing stronger all along.  This is my shame.  Also, I failed to set a good example to my kid.  FAIL.  Sigh, I just realized that.  Holy Crud, I’ve been wracking my brain on how I could  teach the little guy to be more giving and there it was right in front of me.  At the time, though, I have to realize I was a little afraid to stop to talk to this guy with my son along with me.  Elizabeth is not a very safe place, but I really should have trusted more in the Lord to take care of us.  It’s gone… but maybe I can learn from this.

I have to look back at the hurricane, which was really nothing for us, and realize that whatever our inconvenience, was just that–an inconvenience.  We did not lose anything but the food in our fridge.  We had no heat, but we had hot water and gas to cook on top of the stove.  Yes, I missed my internet.  I felt so disconnected and isolated and it was a horrible feeling.  My world literally stopped, paralyzed because we could not get any information about what was going on in our city and what was being done to fix the power problem.  PSE&G continuously lied to us and I feel that if they were just truthful about the time frame, that I could have simply made plans to go stay with someone.  The problem was that my dad in PA and my sister in Old Bridge, NJ. also did not have power, though my dad had a generator going.  Then when the schools reopened, that was it for us and we had to stay here.  Pathetic, right?  I thought so when I was finally able to see pictures of our shoreline and how those people REALLY suffered and still are after losing their homes permanently, not just for ten days.  Some of those people, at this writing, have still not been allowed back to their homes.  I’m sure that whatever they have left is gone from mold now.  All I can do is pray for them, for strength to be given to them to get through this.  Gas lines?  Sheesh, is nothing compared to what they are going through.  I guess the only Americans who can really know what they are going through are the Katrina victims.

Okay, so I’ve still not managed to “get inside” myself to do proper reflection, but writing sure helps get thoughts out.  DH and the boy were supposed to leave me alone today and I was planning on it, but those plans fell through.  Sometimes things do not work out and we have to make the best of it.  One thing I do know and that is that I am blessed.  I have a family…. a family that I never thought I’d have and it has surpassed every hope and expectation.  A loving husband and a very happy little seven year old.  My spouse is my rock and my little boy shows me joy and happiness, and both accomplish this with a simplicity that boggles my mind.

Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote of the Wounded Healer.  I am very much a “broken” spirit struggling every step through my life’s journey, which is why the quote below holds so much hope for me.  I try to keep this in mind every day with the goal of serving the Lord in my brokenness.   My comfort, my hope and my joy.  I do believe wholeheartedly that God has a use for us.  Imperfectly perfect.  We will never be perfect, but I find comfort that I have the perfect place, as I am, in God’s Great Grand Plan for the world.  So ironic that we all struggle, we all search for our purpose.  Do we ever realize that we need not really search for anything.  “It”, our purpose, will find us at the right time.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

I am very much drawn to one of my favorite hymns this week, “The Cry of the Poor.”  In this haunting melody you meet the burning need of the poor face to face.

Halloween & Frankenstorm Sandy


This post will take up a couple of days’ time.  If you want to start reading from the beginning, click here first, and then here second, and then here third.  At this point I was feeling pretty low and could not bring myself to touch the keys.  Essentially, Halloween was postponed until Monday, but Monday nobody was out because it was still dangerous outside and now it gets darker an hour earlier.   Gabe was sad…. sigh.  Be forewarned that my language gets a bit colorful right about now and I start sounding like a spoiled child.  Um….

We wanted to keep things status quo and pulled out the ice cream (seeing as it was melting in our freezer and all) with all the extras, caramel topping, Reddi Whip and whatever else, like sprinkles.

10/31/2012, 12:08pm… I’m so pissed right now.  There are no teams out there working on anything. There is power right around the corner from us, but not us and that is SO freaking frustrating.  I concede that there is a senior citizen building around there, so I’m glad that they do have power.  Did I say that I am pissed?  We live on a dead end street and we are always the last block to get anything done, as evidenced every year when we need our street, filled with snow, plowed and sometimes we NEVER get plowed and have to wait for the sun to melt the snow that’s been iced over at night when the temps plummet.  Just had our last meal from our fridge, and not sure what we’ll do tomorrow.  Getting ready for the hour wait out the door at the local Burger King!  Even then, they might not have power.  Good coffee there, at least.  It’s freezing right now and no heat forthcoming any time soon.  So grateful for my CPH and the Noro fingerless arm warmers gifted to me by my friend, Dee…. Thanks, Dee~!

With no power comes anarchy in the streets.  Every driver out there is driving like a maniac let loose from the mental institution.   No traffic lights and these cars do not stop for anything, LEAST of all pedestrians.  (Let it be known that there have been two car accidents and two pedestrians that were hit by cars at intersections without traffic lights.)  Tried to check on some friends in the neighborhood, but failed on both counts.  One didn’t answer her door, but last I heard she was ok; and the other lives in an apartment building and I did  not foresee that I would not be able to ring the bell or get inside without electric.  (Both women fared pretty well.  Both got their power back quickly, but then one woman lost it again and just got it back last night.)… 12:29pm, ipad 32%.

This is a tree around the corner from us I snapped when I went out to check on friends.

11/02/2012, 10:36am… It’s been a while and it’s been very frustrating.  Still have no power, but our Mayor B. has announced that Elizabeth should have power back on by the end of today… or so I’ve heard that his facebook page has announced.  I am now at our library, charging up my ipad and writing this.  Oh so much to write about yet so overwhelming to think about.  I did take a really long hot shower yesterday and it was my only comfort.  The hotness of it relaxed me and eased my arm up a bit, albeit temporary.  I’ve been listening to radio station NJ101.5.  I listen because it’s a Jersey station.  Why would I want to know about NY?  I’ve not heard Elizabeth mentioned anywhere on the radio and it makes me feel like an orphan.  I’m not going to shout out that we got hit hard, too.  I think it’s a given, at least in this state, that we ALL got hit hard.  What I can’t stand about this station, however, is how every other word out of the DJ’s mouth are the name and call letters of the station… Very freaking annoying.  They’ve been asking what is the first thing you’ll reach for when the power goes back on.  As soon as I get power back, I am reaching for the internet, if only to listen to Gov. Christie’s speech from last night.  I caught only some of it on the radio yesterday and I really want to hear the whole thing.  I really never liked how he treated the teachers, but I have always thought he is exactly what we need in this state.  Now, more than ever, I think he is who this country needs to be president.  We might not like his tactics, but he has done an amazing, amazing job so far getting us through this crisis.  Thank you, Gov. Christie.

Shout out to NJ101.5:  First, I want to say that you guys were my lifeline.  Peeps, click on their link for pics of the storms.  I listened to you the whole time, from the beginning of this ordeal…. however… I am in the camp of those who are REALLY frustrated because we’ve not seen anyone out there working in our neighborhoods on the power.  Nada.  Yeah, yeah, we should feel blessed that we are ok and have a roof over our heads (and I do) but I’m sick and tired of getting snowed by PSE&G.  My neighbor called them and they told her that “she HAS power.” Really?  WTF?  Do you think your customers are lying? (For the record, the management over there has lied about their progress all throughout this thing.  I am feeling sorry for their workers, out in the field giving it their all to get the power back on in this state.  Also, tree-workers and linemen have been coming in from out of state, thousands of them, to help out.)  Got me so mad to hear the management give us the biggest snow job since last year’s total snowfall.  NJ101.5, I don’t want to hear you trying to smooth things over for your listeners because your station got back it’s power, like 3 days ago.  Like Christie said, the numbers, the progress, while good to know is happening, means little to those still without power, freezing in their homes.

It was actually a little comforting to know that our landlord also has no power.  I’m bad, I know.  No, I do not wish him ill, but I can’t stop thinking about the division of class in this city.  I believe that for the poorer sections of Elizabeth, it’s way more critical for them to get their power back, and get their lives back together.  The rich have options.  The poor do not.  Those more well off, have the option of going to a hotel, leave the area altogether, go to a summer house, or just plain go for a ride to kill time.  The poor have to remain where they are and once the food gets thrown out, which would have been done yesterday, they need to walk to God knows where to get enough food for just one day.  Thank God it’s not the middle of summer.  I sat vigil last night, waiting for the lights to go on.  I was literally, looking at the ceiling, “willing” them to go on.  Well, that goes to show you the condition of my willpower.  Yes, I felt sort of safe, but there was a bit of insecurity and uncertainty, as well.  (I heard men at our local Dunkin Donuts, a place I don’t go to regularly because of the kind of people that hang out there, not to mention spotting gang bandanas.  I was seriously afraid to whip out my iPad in the free wifi there because I heard cynical, cussing-every-other-word men talking about the rich “whites” and the poor “blacks” of this city, and that they knew “exactly” who had their power back with the insinuation that it was the whites; and they, the blacks, did not have theirs.  Little did these guys know, that I, a white, is essentially one of them, being without power for just as long as they were.  The night before the power got back on, I was terrified that looters were in my alleyway.  The neighbors were not home and there were flashlights being waved back and forth.  Just got me scared.)

Yeah, so yesterday we had to get rid of all the spoiled food.  That was sad, but at least now we have a reason to do one big shop to replace everything we lost.. AND a great opportunity to really clean the fridge without having to juggle around the food. All schools have been closed the whole week and Saturday, we will learn whether they will open on Monday.  The little guy has been doing okay… and CCD is still on for tomorrow as the church’s school has some power back.  I did get out to a different town to get some stew meat.  I’ve been really craving stew lately and the chilly temps pushed me over the edge.  Made a great stew and slurped up every bit of it’s hot, soupy goodness.  Ed enjoyed it, as well, which is probably showing that he’s becoming desperate because he never has seconds.  The boy refused the stew and had one bowl of vegetable alphabet soup and one stalk of celery.  He certainly does NOT know what he’s missed!

Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Kims’ house.  I’ve been trying to check on people in the area.  So, she had just gotten her power back (for good) at 8:00am.  I had a cup of coffee by her and some much needed conversation and sense of normalcy.  That meant so much and really helped me forget.  Thanks, Kim~!  We are definitely coming by your house on Belated Halloween Day.  It was great to see all your decorations! (which, btw, we missed because still being without power sort of clouded my sense of time.)

Yesterday was also the first day that I could make phone calls from my cell phone.  I had service all throughout, but could only send text messages to people to let them know we were okay.  So, everyone is okay.  My brother has power, my sister will not get power back for 28 days, they told her, and my dad has no power but is running a generator.  Also, my nephew in Philadelphia has offered us to come for the weekend if we still don’t have power.  I love my nephew and his new wife.  They are just made for each other and it’s wonderfully heartening to see them together or hear them talk of one another (kissy, kissy!)…. 1:11pm

2:53pm… Was only able to charge the ipad to 56% and somehow when I opened this up, it was down into the forties…. sheesh, what made that happen?  Well, I hear that Kenilworth has gotten most of their power back, but we are STILL without it.  After leaving the library, we went to get something to eat.  For a brief moment, we enjoyed feeling a little bit normal.  When we got to the intersection around the block from us and saw that the traffic light was still out, I knew we didn’t have any juice either.  When we walked in the house and saw that the clock light was still out on the oven, my heart sank lower than I’ve ever felt it go.  The feeling of being abandoned is unshakable.  I’m on the brink of tears.  Bollawage sucks big time!  His only redemption is that he opposes the Board of Education in this city (That group is beyond corrupted.  I’m happy with our mayor now that our power is back on… Sorry, guy.  This is what I was feeling at the time and I remain faithful to that to maintain the integrity of the story.)  At least the kids have CCD instruction tomorrow.  It will be good for them.  There is a special Mass being said for the sick, but the planned reception afterwards, however, has been cancelled.  I need to attend on account of my arm and spirit.

Save the Olives~!

One thing that is positive is that my olives are okay.  Good thing, too, as there is more than $50.00 worth of  homemade Italian olives cooking in my fridge.  The preservation of them is not dependent upon low temps.  The only reason they’re in the fridge is so that the olive oil solidifies, keeping out bacteria and what not.  I didn’t spend $50.00 all at once… It took me three weeks to buy up almost all of what the neighborhood store had and then more for my sister and her efforts; and not to mention the pickles I made with the brine of the delicious garlic dill ones I polished off by McClure’s Pickles, purchased at Kings.  Those pickles are AMAZING and well worth the wait as they make them fresh for you, each time.  Well, taking a break to entertain the boy.  Hopefully when I get back here, I can make a happy paragraph or two or three, and you know what would make that happen…. 3:11pm

6:55pm… Elizabeth, NJ… Still no power.  Very frustrating since the mayor promised that the power would go on today.  Yeah, still early evening, but I don’t have much faith that anything will happen soon.  We have a quarter of a tank of gas in our car, and lines for gas are crazy every single day.  Being able to write here, at this time, is a life saver.

I’ve got to note an observation I’ve made this past week, yes, this was day 5.  I’ve been listening to NJ radio and listening to people’s stories.  Gotta give South Jersey a lot of credit.  They are getting out there and helping people in whatever ways they can.  Nothing like that going on up here, except for a house we passed in Westfield today with a sign that read “Charge your cell phone FREE” and that was really nice to see.  But in South Jersey, people are opening up their homes to families, feeding the linemen working in their area, donating food, clothing to people who are dispensing them, etc.  A woman who works a concession stand at some sports field down there is opening it up to feed people from breakfast for as long as she can keep it going.  She stocked up from Costco from her own resources and also asked for food donations and clothing.  Nothing on the radio going on in mid to northern NJ.  I can’t even volunteer anywhere unless it’s in my immediate area because I don’t have enough gas to get myself around.  Sigh.  I’m still staring at the ceiling, hoping the lights will surprise me and come back on.

Let’s get frivolous.  Throughout the whole week, I did not have the urge to redo my nails.  Last week’s polish held up really, well.  Today that changed and I got the urge when it started getting dark out.  Needless to say, it’s not a neat job at all.

You know, I would have been able to handle this better psychologically, if we had more sunny days.  You know, bright, warm sunlight to make you feel better, but NO.  It’s been dark, dreary and cold with only a few hours of sun peeking through the dense clouds, teasing this end of the country.  (at this point, I realize that I lost more notes as I have been ending a session with the time and here the content was cut off in mid sentence, so I will end this here, but not sure of the time.)

My lovely family trying to play with a Leapfrog “laptop” in the dark. Gotta give them an “A” for effort.

Day Nine Post Sandy


I just want to let everyone know that we, here in Elizabeth, NJ are going on day nine without power or heat.  We are okay and the first thing we did this morning was VOTE, then breakfast at the diner.   Apparently, we are one of the 2,000 or so PSE&G customers who are still in the cold dark.  I’m beside myself, but oddly enough I calm myself down while spinning…. so spin I must!

I’ve been managing to record my thoughts on a day to day basis, or as close to that as possible.  Lost a large post the second day due to my unfamiliarity of the WordPress app for ipad… gah!  Still, though, lots of venting and curse words, so before posting, I’ll have to clean it up a bit.

Gotta be grateful that our only major problem is the power.  It’s been cold, but my bed buddy is keeping me warm.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Sandy.  Irene last year was nothing as compared to this one.  Watchout for this next one coming…

Water Gives Life


Today I attended the 2012 Catechist Convocation at the Paramus Catholic Regional High School in New Jersey. Whew, that was a mouthful!  Usually, I’m alone for most of the day during these things and my schedule today left me free from any workshops from after the opening ceremony, ending at 9:30am, to my scheduled lunch then my first workshop starting at 12:45pm.  Basically, I was left to my own devices most of the morning.  I spent some time browsing the “exhibits”,  but I shall call them vendors.  I pretty much spent almost all the money I had on a book about my favorite author entitled, “Genius Born of Anguish~ The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen” and a car bumper sticker that reads:  Abortion stops a beating heart.  Yeah, the book took up 98% of the money I brought.  Normally, I would’ve gotten something for the current RCIA class but there is no class currently in the works.  Thanks to Cyndi for teaching me the proper “etiquette” for these things.  The first time I attended, she got me a booklet and cards for our then class.  Well, after that purchase I headed outside and got halfway around the building, and found a nice gazebo to sit a spell and start this book.  The weather was really nice and stayed there a while until the groundsmen came around with their leave blowers and drenched me full of diesel fuel or whatever they throw in those things…. yuk!

I also attended two workshops:

  • Be An Evangelizing Catechist
  • One Body in Christ:  Sacrament Preparation & Participation in Liturgy for Individuals with Autism

That’s one bitch’in title and I had to write that whole thing when I took the survey with my opinions on the classes.  The first one really focused on the CCD kids.  Some really great ideas for teaching kids and inviting the parents to get involved.  I really enjoyed that class for the ideas, but I spent the whole time getting up and down to get my handouts, which were one after the other the whole hour fifteen minutes.  The up side is that I have the actual handouts to give to the school, and I’m going to make sure I do some of this stuff with Gabe at home.  I think I’ll work on a separate post for that…. Heck, maybe while this Frankenstorm comes through.

The second workshop focused on providing an effective education for, as it says, Individuals with Autism.  This is near and dear to my heart and I took this workshop with Gabe in mind, hoping I could bring some of this home.  My second hope is to try and get the church to develop a program for the autistic student, both children and adults.  Not sure how it will go over, but this is SO important and would go a long way with families who are not yet advocating for their autistic child for whatever reason.  While I didn’t really hear anything new about autism in this class, I found it helpful, though I do wish the speaker was more prepared.  She spent most of the time fiddling with her electronics and getting them to work.  We did not go over all the material she had for the class and that was a downer.  It was a major distraction, all the while I was thinking about the previous instructor telling us we should be well prepared with our lesson before the children walked into the class….  priceless!

Well, getting to the inspiration of my post.  I’m sitting in the cafeteria eating my lunch at 11:15am and I realize that I don’t have any money to buy more water.  The lunch people were very specific as to what we could take:  ONE sandwich, ONE packet mustard or ONE packet mayonnaise, ONE drink, ONE bag of two Oreo cookies and ONE half-bag of chips.  I’ve been guzzling water lately like an elephant and all I had right there was a 16.9 oz. bottle of Snapple Spring Water which was to last me the entire rest of the day.  Snort…. I’m sitting there knowing that will never happen.  So I sat there, counting the minutes till I could get home for a nice frigid cold glass of water …. (glugg… glugg…) I’m thinking that the fountain water was not too bad of a tasting water.  I sat there knitting (yes, I brought my knitting and knit through the whole opening ceremony and keynote speech, though I wasn’t actually there for the speech as I was stifling hot and couldn’t wait to get out of the auditorium.  Let me just say that God most certainly works in His own way and in His own time.  Whenever or however, He knows what you need and exactly when you need it.  Just before I got myself ready to leave the cafeteria, my friend from our parish came out of nowhere and offered me her 16.9 oz. of cold water, unequivocally stating she was not going to drink it.  I accepted her offer with such gratitude that even that completely overwhelmed me.  It was all I could do not to tear up, there.  She really had no clue of my dilemma, yet she handed it over just when I was going through my options.  Even after I finished her bottle, I refilled it with water from the bathroom because that water was colder than the water in the drinking fountain.  It had a distinctly chlorine taste but I told myself that it was sanitized… ugh.  That bottle, though, kept my tongue from drying onto the roof of my mouth and my lips moist and separated during my two workshops.  Oh well, not a life and death situation, but God certainly has looked out for me in many ways and many, many times.

Keep on Truckin’


My sister had this exact same poster on our wall when we were kids.  Ha… Never thought I’d see or think about it ever again… but here I am, doing just that… but only for a little bit.  I needed a good title for this post, and while I’m not so sure it’s a “good” one, at the moment it’s ringing my bell with echos of “Truckin'” by the Grateful Dead.

“Truckin, like the do-dah man. once told me youve got to play your hand
Sometimes your cards aint worth a dime, if you don’t layem down”….

So, with an intro like that, you might be able to guess what this post is about, but not really.  Last year, I think it was, I decided to cut the shit and acknowledge that I need to get myself some exercise.  That was the first step.  I’ve always been overweight, but now that I’ve crossed over into my fifties, I realize that I’ve got to at least get some steady (not crazy, mind you) exercise… just something to get and keep my metabolism going in the morning and chuffing along all through the day.  I could never jog or run, or do aerobics, but I “love to ride my bicycle, I love to ride my bike.  I love to ride it where I like”.…  SO, I gathered up all my courage to slap down an ungodly sum of American dollars to purchase a Cannondale Comfort 5 in RED.  I don’t have any regrets.  I knew from the start that I wanted a new bike and that it needed to be strong enough to support my weight.  I needed a comfortable seat for my ample behind… and well, I just wanted to be sure that I did everything I could so that I had no excuses to abandon my new endeavor…. and though I really hate to wear it, I’ve decided to be a good role model for my son and wear a helmet.  You can’t be too careful, you know.

I am in total love with my bike, sorry Jeri.

I am in total love with my bike~!

Last year I started out pretty good, then stopped for some reason, though I forgot why.  Now this year, I was all gung ho but the weather has been horrible right from June.  Now, in August and out of the clear blue, DH asked if I wanted to go riding with him.  I jumped at the chance even though I was one breath away from asking him if he wanted to go to Target with me… oh well, Target will always be there.  So, for the last three weeks or so, we’ve been riding around two to three days a week.  Riding to the local park and then doing laps around the track.  I started out doing 2, then 3, then 4 laps… making sure I do one extra lap each day in an effort not to overdo it… as I’m prone to do and usually sabotage myself with injuries to either foot or back.  On that day, upon stopping after 4 laps, my legs were too wobbly to hold me up after putting my foot on the ground… so over I went and fell into the grass.  You would think that this would not be so bad, but it was a really deep scrape and I could only sit there with it bleeding down my leg as I had forgotten my water that day.  Oh well, at least I did my four laps.  So, I missed our next planned day… then the weekend came… then, on Monday, I had a platelet donation appointment and didn’t go out again, then my Father came for a visit on the next day, Tuesday, and I didn’t go out again.  While making dinner that night, I sliced my middle finger with the veggie peeler…. I’ll be considerate to you folks and just say it was a relentless bleeder.  The rest of that week, las week, I didn’t go riding for fear that I was going to do something to upset the healing process as there was a flap that needed to remain in place… Well, just say I was afraid for that reason.

Now comes this week.  Well, if I can type with my finger, which I’m doing, I can certainly go for a ride.  HA.. I was going to insert a pic of my sliced finger, but that would be tasteless and besides, it’s not as gross as it was a few days ago.  While we were out today, I was trying to decide whether to forgo doing that extra lap because of my extended absence; but I decided to go through with it and was successful AND I didn’t fall off my bike after.  I was so glad that I went because you get to recognize the “regulars” at the park, whether they are jogging, walking or just plain out there with their kids enjoying the day.  Wow, when I first got there, two people greeted me, then after I had stopped for my break, this guy who walk and jogs gave me encouragement as he passed by… so nice of him.  He said that the hardest part is getting started and he said that, “I’m there”… wow… I’m wondering how good of a  judge of character he his.  I’m hoping he’s a really good one.  I’ve also been encouraged by the words of my nephew.  It was last year and he said, “You get hooked on the feeling of feeling good”… Oh I messed that up.  It was something like that because I was commenting on how much better I felt and he said you get hooked on your body feeling better… ugh, can’t get it.  I’ll leave it in.  But really, there’s no other feeling like getting energized from doing exercise…. Not sure if I’ll expand and get into other forms of it, but I did always like stretching and flexibility stuff.  I was always more flexible and could do more than my contemporaries despite the fact that they were WAY skinnier than I was…. heh….. HA~!  There is absolutely no category in my blog to cover exercise and I think I’ll keep it that way for now.  Commitments get me nervous.  I’ll list this under “health related”.. or something like that.

In closing, there is so much I still want to write about but those topics have nothing to do with the above.  I’ll be getting back here soon with the latest on my knitting and something else that escapes me right now… ugh just like me.  This is the way I roll…. sometimes I stall out.

Sometimes the lights all shinin on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.

 

Introductions, Please.


Okay, like I said yesterday, I am amazed every day by how much my little guy is learning and implementing.  Well, last night he hit me with another one.  So, every night the last thing we do is snuggle.  This used to be for extended periods of time that are now whittled down to just a couple of minutes, give or take, and we talk.  Sometimes it’s longer if we have lots to talk about and sometimes it’s literally just enough time to satisfy his need for snuggling.  Little Drake (my little nickname for him) has regularly been asking if his father will be in school on his social skills group night and every time I have to say yes.  This week Big Drake just has to hand in a paper and is free, so I said he was going to come.  LD got so excited and informed me that he was going to, and this gets tricky to relay here because he can’t express himself well yet and his exact words are nowhere what they should have been.  He basically expressed that he was going to introduce us as, “Mr. & Mrs. Dragon (insert surname, the real one here).  I definitely was NOT going to remind him that I’ve been there the whole time and have been speaking with the supervisor and interns on a weekly basis.  I just told him that I was looking forward to it.  His smile was bright and his eyes were big.

I’m just so proud of my little man!

Milestone Time


I’ve been pretty lax in documenting Gabe’s milestones and they have been slowly but surely coming.  This morning, after about forever, he declared that he was going to keep his clothes right side OUT when taking them off.  After he took off his pajamas and underwear, I said, “Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if you could do that with your socks?”  (holding… breath…)  Then he just whipped off his socks from the toe, keeping it right. side. out.  (BIG exhale)  I was so proud of him this morning, so carefully taking off his clothes, getting ready for school.  

Wow, I’m wondering where this is coming from because just last week I tried to explain to him about keeping them ride side out and he seemed to disinterested to the point that he physically left the room.  You just never know when, where, or how something is going to sink in.

Platelet Day With a Side of Yarn


Someone tell me what the heck is the point of fat free Half-n-Half?  For some reason, I need to see that creamy brown color to my coffee in the morning.  DH means well, but fat free just doesn’t cut it.  I seem to be using more of this stuff because the color is not there… no taste, either.  Sigh.

Well, on to today’s post which will just be a blurb.  I’m in a hurry and I do not have photoshop and I’m not sure which program out there will flip the photo so that ya’ll can read the card, but it says that I have my platelet donation appointment today.  I’m pretty excited because it’s been over a year since I last did this and it feels great to get back into the swing of things.  A little worried that my hemoglobin will be low because I’m not eating red meat a lot, but DH has been a blood donor like forever and he eats red meat even less than I do.  This morning will have scrambled eggs for breakfast and swiss cheese if we have any.  These eggs are fresh out of the hens and ducks, though I think the duck eggs are eaten.  Gotta be better than those that are mass produced.  We get them from my dad’s neighbor in PA.  Same guy that searches the woods for mushrooms.  He’s from an East European country, but I forget which one, and this guy has kept his traditions.  Amazing.  I’m not dead yet, so I feel comfortable saying that he knows what he’s doing.  The mushrooms have a really earthy taste… so different from the farmed ones.  I can’t eat a lot of fermented or fungus-y stuff; but every once in a while, I either saute them or make a soup.  The spouse skeeves (spell checker is no help) mushrooms, so all the more for me.

No spinning done yesterday.  I think I needed a rest since I spent the last few days spinning almost constantly, between daily tasks and whole nights.  In my former post, I said that the singles seem hard.  However, the possibility exists that once plied, the twist will relax and the yarn will feel softer.  Also, if it ply is not overly twisted, the finished yarn will be softer.  Do I have that right?  I’ll soon see because my bobbin is almost full, though I don’t see myself having the time to spin today because of my appointment.   WHICH brings me the idea that I can spend some time before my appointment at All About Ewe since it’s just two-three blocks away from there… woo hoo!  Missed going yesterday because of church commitments, but will be sure to get there today.  What I love about her website is that there is a page that lists her stock.  Very handy if you need something in particular, but that’s not to say that people don’t just mosey on over there.  It’s a very nicely put together store and very spacious as compared to a lot of other shops that I’ve been to.  Very nice situation, off street parking which is pretty convenient.

Okay, better get going I’m getting hungry and that means my day is starting with an nice eggs and toast breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, you know!

Sensory Friendly Theater


 

 

This is Autism Awareness Month and my boy is autistic.

I don’t say that to draw attention to my son being autistic. I write that to draw attention to Autism.

Every post from now on in the month of April, I will start in this way, regardless of content.  I’ve not done much this year I guess because I’m not a good planner, so this is the least I can do.  I have blue shirts and blue nail polish and briefly I contemplated dying my hair blue; but ya know it has no effect if I don’t leave the house.  Sometimes I wonder if there are people out there who will read this and listen…. especially people with the power to change things.  We’ve had little victories here and there, but in general I am disheartened by the apathy of the education system.  It’s either that they don’t give a damn, or maybe they are in a comfort zone they fear to leave.  They have a system and this autism thing just throws a wrench into the works and screws them all up.  I can tell you that when our school decided to form a social skills group, it was on the fly and they don’t even know if they’re doing anything right yet.  I was told that they are creating it as they go along and while I’m glad that they are trying, I’m a little  a LOT worried about how successful their efforts will be.

Well, God will answer our prayers.  In my case, because I’m not good at praying, He sees into my heart and knows what I need even before I know and I trust that.  I received today in Gabe’s backpack, an envelope from his Speech teacher.  Inside was a press release from the Union County Office of Public Information, announcing a new Sensory Friendly Theater series of performances specially designed for children with autism and related disabilities at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ.  The notice is entitled: “Union County Offers Theater Program for Children with Autism and Related Disabilities.”  This is what caught my eye:

The new series, which begins on June 10 with Tom Chapin and Friends, is designed according to guidelines that help to reduce disturbances for youngsters who experience heightened sensory sensitivity. The Performing Arts Center is committed to a creating a judgment-free zone with plenty of trained specialists who understand autism and similar disabilities.

A sports program for the autistic child, it is not; and I personally would LOVE such a sports program.  Seriously though, I wouldn’t care if this was a special program for making 10′ snowmen on a hot July afternoon.  I’m in a state of elation right now because these are exactly the types of considerations our kids absolutely need in order to benefit from their participation.  Adults who have training and understand autism (and similar disabilities) are absolutely essential for a successful program such as this.  There is a lot more to this notice, but I keep coming back to the above words:  “judgment-free zone, trained specialists, understand autism.”  The sad fact is that our school professionals are officially none of these things.  Let me just stop right here and say that this in no way diminishes the teaching abilities of these professionals.  I think, as teachers, we are very lucky to have who we have, however…..   My experience with school professionals working with my boy:  Compassionate, yes.  Patient, yes.  Accommodating, yes (so far).  But even our Special Ed teacher is not trained to understand autism.  Why is that?  Well, she got her degree way back in I don’t know what decade and has had no other education to bring her uptodate on Autism or any (similar disability)… umm that really, no, REALLY doesn’t sit right with me.  I think I can be fairly certain of that because I’ve asked whether she had training and I never received an affirmative answer or any qualifiable answer.  Soooo, what would you think?  I’ve advocated to the principal, political candidates for office who come to our door, and anyone who’d listen, and even at a town meeting that it’s imperrative that our teachers be educated to understand autism.  I feverently believe that it’s not just unfair to ask our children to be put into a classroom with adults who don’t understand them; but it’s also unfair to put teachers into that same room with the knowledge, tools and strategies to educate these kids and navigate the myriad of possible disruptions that can occur.  So you see, I have reason to feel disheartened.  Anyone who comes to this door will continue to get an earful and I suppose will regret knocking on our particular door…. oh well.  SO to get this news today gave me a little hope.

I’d also like to share with you the person responsible, Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.  I won’t replicate the whole announcement here, but here is a link at NJtoday.  If you’d like to call for information, here the number to call: 732-499-8226… OR here’s the link to Sensory Friendly Theater web page

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