Thursday, October 24, 2013

Working Rummage Sale

I have not left you all.  I am working the rummage sale this week, and next week have a house guest so I may not post again until the beginning of November.  I will be back as there is soooo much left unsaid.  I love the camaraderie of the sale.  It is hard work but a lot of fun.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Better to have not lost, but loved

I was remembering an old friend and teacher today.  I let him and his family slip away, as I have done with so many friends over the years.  Rather than discuss a situation with someone I have disagreed with or whom I have let down, I just disappear.  I do not know why I do this.  It is more than simply losing touch over the years.  I have done this also, but I am talking real avoidance here.  I used to think that all my friends left me.  This had been true in one or two situations.  I took those situations and applied them to all the friends I had let loose.  Now that I am allowing the thoughts of these people I have loved and lost, I feel very angry and upset with myself. 
When I look inside very clearly and consciously I find I am very judgmental.  I judge myself to a very high standard and apply the same judgments to others.  When I talk about the high standard I do not mean this proudly, as if my standards are better than those of others.  What I mean by this is that I am unforgiving and uncompromising in my own head.  If you do not feel or think what I feel or think, then you simply must be wrong or evil.  Rather than calmly discussing the differences, I avoid the discussion all together and flee, either mentally or physically, so I do not have to deal with a reality other than mine. The saying goes " some people are absent even while present" applies to me when there is disagreement in the room.
This happened recently to me with a person who was very old.  I could not throttle her, or beat her up, nor could I calmly change her mind.  When I found out from whom she was receiving her opinions( relatives and up to 30 pieces of mail a day), I was blown away.  I could not even begin to challenge her facts, as she was so sure they were true.  It would have been useless anyway as it was so ingrained.
Tell me, who fights with a 91 year old woman?  It would be insanity.  The real tragedy was that I was so angry.  I never wanted to see this person again.  This is what happens to me, and if I am not in a situation where I regularly see the person, I let the disagreement take over, and forget all the really good parts of the relationship.  The truth is there are really, really good things about each of the relationships I have run from or just let die of neglect. 
I must learn from my mistakes and introspection and find a way to be reasonable in the face of difference.  People have so many wonderful qualities and I must learn to hold these above any mistakes or differences in our relationships.  Relationships are ruined because people cannot find common ground to work from and through their problems. 
I am really glad I am old because there was so much I did not see when I was younger.  I was too busy and always moving forward to take much time for hard introspection.  I thought I was so intelligent and wise then but OH! HEAVENS! What I missed or ignored and now find it so difficult to get back.  I cannot even locate some of my old friends to make amends.  I can however become even more self aware and try not to hurt as many people in the future.

Monday, October 14, 2013

UPDATE: Angie's O.K.

Just got back from vet.  Angie might have been bitten by an ant.  She got a shot of Benadryl and already swelling has gone down.  She takes prednisone from 3-5 days but is already feeling better and is narky as usual.  Thank Heaven!

As schedualed-Pets...

I said I'd write on Monday, and it is Monday.  This will be short.  My little dog Angie has one side of her face  swollen. She looks like she has a marshmallow in one cheek.   She seemed fine earlier but now has swelled up.  I am taking her to vet at 2:30PM to see what is wrong.  The poor little thing.  She is so sweet and innocent.  She looks at me with those big brown eyes saying  "what is wrong"?
It breaks my heart to see an animal suffer in any way.   We have lost so many good friends in the animal world in the past, which always makes the current one even more precious. 
This little girl is spoiled rotten.  She refuses to come when she is called and if walking, just continues on her way, ignoring us completely.  She will come if called for food, but only in her own timing.  She has a new fun game of running away when we try to pick her up to go for her walk.  She will run up to us as she loves her walk, but then run away and force us to chase her.  She will then go submissive and tremble as we pick her up but she is wiggling her tail.  We could obedience train her and force her to do our bidding, but why is it so important that the human win?  She is only 7 lbs and everything is a little game to her.  She never does anything wrong except maintain her little alpha girl independence.
Just because a pet lives with us does not mean they need to submit their very being to us.  Some think that because the pet (or even child), is different from us that we have to absolutely rule our lives. Even as our God allows us freedom on choice, we should allow the pets who honor us with their presence, the same.  This doesn't mean they should destroy things or bite; there are some rules we all should follow.  This does not mean we should be tyrannical in the homes we share.  Like Srini says when Angie wants an extra treat, "who will give her if we don't?  She can't get her own snack like we do when we are hungry".  I think this says it all.  We restrict their freedom to hunt and get their own goodies so we should honor their little wants and needs.
That is it.  See you guys Friday.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Going mad with anger and sadness

I do not know anymore how to react with people whom I dearly love and have long term relationships. Precious friends, beloved family members, church members, neighbors, etc.etc.
I just do not know how to handle the fact that people that I love and respect in so many ways can have such hurtful and mean attitudes towards others. 
I remember one of the first lessons I learned at home was not to argue about religion or politics.  My grandfather was a Democrat and my grandmother was a Republican.  They each went to vote and canceled each other's votes.  One year they agreed not to vote, but grandma saw my grandfather slip away from the house.  She followed him to the election hall, and she too cast her vote.  So much for agreements.  Some of my friends seem to just accept their partners divergent views and  seem to go along happily doing their own thing.  Some people just have good will about their differences, laugh about it and accept each other just the way they are.  It is like some people have cats and others have dogs and some have both, but it never leads to contention.  Most of our differences can be accepted with good will continuing to others who feel or like or even love differently.
Then there are the differences which cause sorrow, hurt, pain, conflict, wars and eventually death.  Respect dies, values die, people die, animals die and species become extinct; nature  and even the environment changes.  All over are differences which we just seem unable to resolve.
We have free will, whether one believes in evolution, or a God view, or both.  This free will and our culture, genes, family etc. allow our differences to separate us and make each of us unique. Alone, however, we are just too alone, so we want to bond with others who appear to be most like us, either physically or mentally.  We form gangs, groups, bands of brothers, sororities, fraternities, and communities with others who are like us.  Most groups have a special separation ritual with those who disagree with them, or really are different than them inside,  or with those who break the rules.  There are rituals for excommunication,  shunning, segregation, exportation, and then there is the plain old bullying, cold shouldering, ignoring, etc which leads to ostracizing and other punishments.
There is constant, hideous discrimination against difference and opposition  within each culture, civilization, country, even states and cities, villages and townships.
What to do, what to do?  How can one live, grow, enjoy the moment and even experience contentment within a world filled with such hatred and separation.  It is a lot more then just not talking about religion or politics, although both occupy so much of the American energy today.  It is like trying to surmount immovable objects between individuals and others.  Sexual identity, economic theories, social movements, fashion, music, cultural norms, arts and books, and so many, many other things we live with and through everyday; and differ on our values and beliefs about..  There is a magazine, or publication, or app for every interest or situation, prurient or other.  Anything can be found on the web and beamed one way or the other into our brains and our being.  Instead of just learning from and enjoying our differences we become locked or fixed into just a few and reject anything that differs. 
I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I pray to my creator for forgiveness for not just appreciating each and everything he has likewise created, but for actively resisting and even hating the parts and thoughts of others who differ from me.  I too, get fixed in my own mindset and beliefs and get very angry and push back when challenged in anyway.  I want to run or escape from friends, and society, and civility goes out the window when I feel strongly about something and someone else does not agree.  I visualize becoming a hermit, or a mad woman on a hill screaming about injustices.  Why am I the only person who can see the right action or path?  What is wrong with those on the other side? 
I think of all the martyrs who have stood up and died for their ideas and belief.  From Socrates, to Jesus, to King and to Gandhi and so many more.(how come so few women?) There are many others(now we see the women) who just live for their beliefs: Mother Theresa, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and so forth.
I neither live not die for my beliefs, I just get angry, nasty and sarcastic. 
If I can only realize internally and take to heart all that which I have stated above.  In the midst of confusion, anger, fear and even death I must retain my central core of who I believe I am.  I am gentle, loving and caring and concerned for my fellow beings.  I want to cast out evil and feel only love or concern for my neighbor and my enemy(or those who feel or think differently than I).  To quote Jesus: 
 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Diet and insanity

I have been on a diet from September 9th, 2013 and I am beginning to lose my enthusiasm.  When I was young I could lose 5lbs the first week and 2 lbs a week thereafter.  All I had to do was stay on the diet.  By the way, have you like me tried every diet under the sun?
The first diet I remember was my mom sending me to school with cottage cheese and canned fruit in a little container for my lunch.   I was still in grammar school then.  The next diet I remember was the fat and protein diet.  My mom included my sister and me in her diet and it was butter, bacon, sour cream, whole milk , eggs, meat/meat/meat, and lots of tuna fish.  When you could not have carbs to go with the butter all the fat became old very fast.  I loved tuna fish but I preferred it in a sandwich rather than a can with the oil coating it.  None of us could maintain that diet very long.  Later, after I left home,  mama found the weight watchers diet.  It became her diet of choice for the rest of her life.  She tried to engage me in the diet and I did try several times over the next 50 years but I never got into it.  It was just too much food, and boring.  I wanted quick results like when I first arrived in NYC.
 I stayed at the Webster Hotel for Women, on 34th street and 9th avenue.  I want to tell you all about those days later but for now: breakfast and dinner were included in the weekly rate and I stayed there for 3 months.  In that 3 months I lost 30 lbs.  I was the thinnest I ever remember being.  The food was so bad at the Webster you couldn't pay rats to eat it.  Breakfast would seem easy but......  The toast was always cold and stacked in trays.  They served our good friend Marge, with it(colored oleo). They had a pot of over cooked gluey oatmeal and a pitcher of  milk and a bowl of white sugar next to it.  There was a tray of poached eggs swimming in lukewarm water, and a large bowl of hard boiled eggs.(sometimes they were undercooked and still soft in the middle.  They had pitchers of watered down orange juice, weak coffee, and tea bags with barely hot water.  All I can think was they must have really tried hard to make it as bad as it was.  This was the first I knew of institution food and I was not happy.  I would go to the dining room and grab an apple and a hard boiled egg to take for lunch and run out the door.  There was always a monitor there who made sure you didn't take more than one of each thing.
Dinner was even worse.  I can't remember all the fabulous dishes but they ranged from greasy meatloaf, to poached fish, to heaven only knows what  casseroles, to occasional stringy beef or fatty pork, served with bland and lumpy mashed potatoes and warmed over, tasteless vegetables like string beans, peas, carrots, and wilted salads. 
I was very poor the first 3 months because out of my $63.00 a week I had to pay the agency fee that found me my first job, and pay for my hotel room and board. 
I used to eat practically nothing.  I could not afford to buy extra food, though I could manage to pay for cigarettes and coffee.  Fortunately or not both were cheap at the time.  I walked to work and back and it was about 25 blocks each way.  One day, early in my enforced diet, I will never forget.  I had bought a  salt pretzel from a  vendor and covered it with mustard.  As I was walking and munching a man stopped me and said "what is a fat girl like you doing eating pretzels?"  I was so hurt, even as I was also so hungry, and I bawled all the way back to the hotel.  After that experience I no longer ate anything on the street, but would take it instead to my room. 
The weight came off so easy when I was slowly starving and later I was so happy I seldom had any desire to eat.  Finally, when I got an apartment with my first roommate, I could still not afford much for food.  I would buy elbow noodles and tuna fish and butter and cheap white bread.  I would eat the noodles with butter, salt and pepper for supper and carry tuna sandwiches for lunch.  I also had peanut butter and jelly.  I just had coffee for breakfast.
I was able to maintain my weight loss, except for a few lbs either way until after I married, went to India, and came home to a dead mother.( again, more about that later ). 
I ate to comfort myself and also went up to 3 packs of cigarettes a day.  The six months after mama died were the worst months of my lie.  I loved her so.  I would wake up with nightmares, and crying for a year after her death and poor Srini really didn't know how to handle me.  He was just quietly always there to hold and comfort me and we eventually got through it.
Then the constant rounds of dieting began again in earnest.  Up and down I would go.  the cabbage soup diet, fasting every other day, Weight Watchers, the Woman's Day diet, the Family Circle diet, the Atkins's diet, The low carb diet, the high fat and protein diet, diet pills, lemon juice and water, vinegar and water.  You name it, I have tried it.  It became a little more difficult after 1976 when I became a vegetarian.  I would have to tweak each diet to find non-meat proteins to substitute. 
I have found through my vast experience that a 1000-1200 calorie a day diet works best for my eating habits and restrictions.
So I am at it again.  I get tired of jumping on the scale and seeing it not move.(it must be broken or stuck), but alas, it is not. The older you get, the harder it is to lose weight as everything seeks it's own level and stays there. I have however,  a very firm commitment to lose 20 lbs.  I will still be too heavy but this time I am not doing it for vanity, but to breathe easier.  Since I am at my limit for medications all I can do is try to improve the rest of myself.  Now that autumn is here I can walk more and at least get some exercise.  So wish me well my friends.  It is a long haul and a heavy load to carry, but carry on I must.  We will discuss this again after 13 more lbs.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Father myself

This one is hard.  I have always had a love/hate relationship with my father.  Dad was an outdoors man and used to love to hunt, fish, camp out and chase women.
He built his own canoe, and it was a real beauty.  He and his friends also built a hunting camp out of logs from trees they downed on their hunting property in upstate N.Y. in the foothills of the Adirondacks. They cut down the trees, measured them to length, cut notches in the ends so they would fit together, and then put up the camp.  Women and children gathered moss.  The gaps between the logs were chinked with the moss until there were no openings.  It ended up a large square building with a wood stove just off center, and built in full size bunk beds.  There was also a built in table and benches along one wall and another bed along the side facing the bunk beds.  There was a small kitchen area at the foot of the bunks.  There was a little stove that worked off propane gas which they carried in, in large tanks, each season.  There was no fridge but it was cold enough to keep things fresh outside or wedged in the small pond made from the spring 100' below the camp.  We carried drinking water from the spring and heated water to wash dishes in the small sink.  Of course the bathroom facilities were in a two hole shed at the rear of the camp.  There was a quarter moon cut in the door.
My father was a master carpenter but as I remember it he earned money for the family working at Alcoa, and later at a lumber yard called Putnam and Hawley.  He worked on the St Lawrence Seaway, and had no fear of the awesome heights he was called to work on.  One day he was on a high scaffold when his buddy slipped.  Dad reached out with his left hand and grabbed the guy's hoody as he fell past .Daddy held on and his arm was wrenched out of his shoulder as he caught the guy and swung him back onto the scaffold.  His friend was unhurt but Dad's arm had to be popped back into his shoulder  and he was out of work for weeks with his arm in a sling. 
Dad always seemed to attract accidents.  They were never it seemed, his fault, but he was always laid up with something for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When he worked at Putnam Hawley we lived right across the road and at the time I was 7, and recovering from Rheumatic Fever.  I had been in bed for a year and was just beginning to ride my tricycle in the front yard.  I heard the terrible sound of breaks squealing loudly from a long distance and then watched in wonder as a car crashed into the plate windows and building showroom across the road.  My dad appeared from nowhere and scooped me up, and ran into the house telling my mother to call for an ambulance. As I watched from the window he fought his way through the collapsed masonry and glass and managed to open the cars door.  In a minute he was puking on the grass outside the building.  The driver was the only one in the car and his head had been severed from his body by the plate glass. The activity continued with firetrucks, ambulances and police cars but in my little heart all I understood was my dad was my hero.
Dad had a series of incidents in my early adolescence involving angina and subsequently 2 or 3 hospitalizations for heart problems.  On the last one he was confined to a hospital bed, rigged up in the dining room of our house.  By this time I was well into my I hate my father phase and having him around all the time was too close for comfort.  Nonetheless, we were now living at the 4 corners of Slab City just west of, and a little up from the bridge which crossed the creek.  Our barn which was at the bottom of our acre was feet from the creek.  One night there was again a terrible screeching of breaks and a loud crash right next, (it seemed), to our house.   Daddy jumped up from his hospital bed and pulled on his trousers.  He ran from the house with mama and me running after him.  Mama was yelling " Kenny, you should stay in bed". 
When we reached the creek we found a small truck had gone over the embankment and was hanging by it's rear wheel, in a very precarious position.   I watched as my dad managed to wedge himself between a tree and the truck, near the door, and he carefully opened the door on the passenger side.  Several other men, including my uncle Jerry had gathered, as well as other women and children.  Dad somehow reached in the truck and pulled a very drunk and scared man out of the truck and handed him up the chain of neighbors to safety on the bridge. He then reached in and dragged out the other man.  As soon as the drunk man was exited from the truck, it plunged into the creek bed, head first.
Everyone stood and slapped daddy on the back and hooted with pleasure.  Uncle Jerry grabbed his arm and he and mama escorted daddy back to his hospital bed.  Again, at least for a night and day, dad was my hero. 
When I was about 14 daddy became a partner with Bill Kobel and they bought/leased a Marina on the St Lawrence river.  Cap't Bill put up the money for the lease and the boats they had in inventory and was the managing partner.  Cap't Ken did most of the work and maintained and leased and sold boats.  He also knew the St Lawrence and was able to guide tenants to good fishing.  Dad found his "duties" kept him later and later at work and it was necessary to carouse and party with the other boat people; both on their boats and in the nearby clubs and bars.  Mama always seemed to believe him and told me he worked so hard and that was why he needed some company and a drink or two at night to relax.  Until I left for college I remember my mom sitting alone or with me, night after night, watching TV and eating maple walnut ice cream.  It used to break my heart to see her and I used to beg her to leave my father and come to me to NYC.  She could get a job there and I could finish school.  She would just chuckle and say" but I can't leave him, I love your father".  During this time dad had two boats that he loved.  The Jet boat and the Baltic.  The Baltic was a lovely  craftman formed small cruiser which had shiny brass fixtures and beautiful wood everywhere.  The Jet boat was the first in the north country and was hell on wheels. Dad ended up crashing the Jet boat one evening at dusk as he piled into some rocks hidden by the twilight.  Said crash again ended with him hospitalized and out of work for some weeks. 
Sometime again and I just can't remember the years, but dad again crashed his car, very close to home.  I think it was into a tree but this time his lungs were collapsed and his color bone broken.  I understand he was under the influence.  This is I think the last time he was hospitalized for an accident and it was before I finished high school.  I do not know if dad had a death wish or not, but there were many times I wished him dead.  This is not to my credit, but there were several times I just wished he would die in the hospital and never come home to harass me and my mother.  I just hated him, and yet I loved him.  This duality continued for years after I was supposedly mature. 
I have learned now, with wisdom and years, and God,  and observation of myself and others, that you can hate the actions and words and yet love the man.  My father had many excellent qualities and I will show them off in future pieces.  He could be loving and kind and caring but he was also a "Man's Man" with all that entails.  He was crude, selfish, driven, genius in many ways, funny, considerate, and lovable.  He held charisma for both men and women and was totally unpredictable. He was brutal and frank and unafraid of consequences
What he was, is deep inside me and I carry almost all of his traits.  Beware those of you who think you know me.  I am indeed my father's daughter and I will not deny who I came from and who I am. I honor my father's essence and try to overcome his existential  defects.
I am also my mother, more about that later.