Saturday, July 25, 2015

Me Missing Me

Me Missing me.
How can I not write here? I am thinking all the time of wording for everything that happens in my life, getting it ready for you to read and share. But instead, I post  quick little burps of info on Facebook, thinking that will keep me and you up to date, but you know, that is just a flash, as quick as a spring shower. Sun shining, quick  rain, then steam coming from the pavement, indicative that something happened, but nothing consequential.
So, what has been moving me through my life? I love my life, I am blessed in so may ways. And still,  I convince myself that nothing I do is the way other people would do it, or how they expect I should do it. Perceptions completely made up by me of course. No critics in my life....except me. At my age, I can not even say I need to work on that and be truthful, it is what it is!
Tomorrow my SD (sweet daughter) marries, a really nice guy this time! I know, I know without her first marriage, we would not have our heart filled by our SGS  (Sweet GrandSon), they were just so ill suited for each other, I was her role model for that! My soon to be SSIL ( have you caught onto my acronyms?) Is so laid back, just what she responds well to, and he really cares about our SGS. Knowing that she has him in her life really is mind deep breathing for me.
So tomorrow will all be about a family celebration including many facets, then and now relatives and getting along because we want to, not talking though barred teeth and  false eyes. We have all made It work.
I know SH is proud to be part of the aisle walking routine, and I am proud of me  that I did not demand to be included in that rite of symbolism. Do all Mothers think this way or just possessive ones like me?
No need to answer.
SS will be wearing suspenders for the first time tomorrow, and since he is so tactile, I know he will be gripping them like a seasoned farmer would, and that is fine with me.
And me? Blue nail polish to match my dress, but forgoing my new blue glasses so I am not thought of as a character looking for attention.
Mom's rosary is hung on the tree we planted after she died, this was her method of pleading for good weather. This is also the first family wedding that she will not be attending, and it hurts my heart. Her SS passed away July 1st. The end of that generation and a women I loved so dearly. She was everything my needy soul craved, calm, book loving and a steady rock to cling to. She was cared for by a daughter who put forth so much devotion that I was in awe.
And today we found out that my SSIL lost her Mom, I am sure this has been devastating for her. She is a very faith filled woman, this will give her strength, not to take away the pain, but to cope with it.
My keyboard itch has been calmed for tonight, this truly was a ramble.
Thanks for indulging me. SF.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Trip Navigated by CALGON....

So Listen, Raise your hands sweet friends if you know what the phrase "Calgon, take me away!" means. Yep, just as I thought, this would be an age related answer. For those not aware of this powerful request it begs for a trip to somewhere better. Lets all plan our trip! Me first, my idea after all.
Calgon, you promoter of dreams, passage booker for trips of fancy, I am ready,  take me to.........
A nice haircut with perfect highlights-no need to explain for 10 minutes what I don't want. And then hey, as long as I am there a mani-pedi with a little twinkley star painted on my left big toe for my husband to see. And clothes shopping-NO, NO, I don't want to go clothes shopping, please, know your customer here! Just fill my closets and drawers  with a few things I want to wear and if they fit-BONUS!  Speaking of clothes, we can put a man on the Moon for cripes sake, why can't we invent a machine that you would feed a piece of clothing in like we feed in a dollar bill at the automatic car wash and in a nanosecond, out it would come clean and FOLDED!  And no trying our patience like feeding in a perfectly good piece of currency and have it swoosh back out like "How dare you try to pawn off this wrinkled pre folded piece of paper" !
Hey, Calgon, how about a trip thru childhood, but a do-over with a few tweaks, nothing big, same Mom, but everyday would be like she was on a day off from work, baking, laughing and planning to cook for company-without rollers in her hair would be a nice touch. And a DAD this time would be great.  Someone who chooses to be a Dad and knows what to do to protect and defend.
Here is a challenge Calgon trip planner, as each child is born, they should be washed with a light that protects them from disease, injury and spectrums.  This would also take away the need for bullies I am thinking-makes sense to me. Every child needs grandparents right?  Well, they should ALL love and accept each grandchild and fill the child with a sense of being cherished while sitting in a rocking chair that grandpa made for them and wrapped in a blanket that grandma made.  Who couldn't be their best in this kind of base station?  I am not asking for much right? Brothers and sisters for all would be great-I would recommend mine for the models! Kids would still need to work hard at school and home, behave in church to avoid the pinch under the arm, and be a kind person to all, but coming from a place of love and security would certainly give them a pattern to follow. And speaking of education-these student loans would be cut in half each year that they work and get a good job review. Of course that means that there would need to be actual JOBS, but Calgon, I know you can do it! Can I just add close to home and hearth for these incredible jobs?
And my next stop on my Calgon Caravan would be driving along some water, someplace. Blue skies, tons of clouds of all different types, those I love there with me, some great music playing, no one passing gas, and maybe with a stop at a SEE's Candy Store-just to keep the driver's strength up. A trip to the OLD Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the one that was not plundered could just make the day.
And membership in a service organization fills a soul, so how about if that was part of the trip of life? Cool concept right? One you can do with your kids, yeah, thats the plan.
Before being dumped by the side of the rode by you Calgon because I asked too much, just hear me out ok?
I know not all of this is possible, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck as the saying goes.  But dreams are just as elusive as the continued  warm water in the Calgon bath, and just as important. Thanks for listening, you all know that God is Calgon right?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book reading preferences.

I remember when the ebook readers first came out. I said "not for me, I love holding a book, I will never read books that way." Then...I bought my first high end cell phone. I immediately purchased a book of short stories by John Steinbeck, (one of my go-to authors) and downloaded to my little cell phone. I have been reading his works since Kensington High School, "The Pearl" was the first story of his that I read, and only because it was assigned reading. That is all it took, over the years, I started collecting all of his books. I found some very rare ones when I went with SweetHusband to out of the way book stores all over WNY. He is a book collector indeed. Then I began to think how selfish I was to hoard these works of his, so after collecting them for 10 years, I donated them to our local library book sale. I hope someone who loved JS as much as I did found them. Then last year, I purchased a KINDLE FIRE, not for the book reading capabilities, but it was just too neat not to buy! Email, facebook, great web browsing and yes, Kindle is known for it's user friendly book app. At first, I purchased low cost books on Amazon, and then I got brave and went onto the county library ebook site. I was able to use their tutorial to set everything up, and it worked! Free books, how can that not be a good thing eh? Granted, sometimes I need to be put on a hold list, but hey, free is free. And if I download a book that does not read as well as I thought, just press "return and delete", no trips to the library needed. Those last few words are scary, what if so many people who used the library for taking out books turn to ereaders like I did? Will they all close? Will children miss out on the wonderful experience I had of going to the Roosevelt Library and taking out books? New literary worlds, just waiting to share their landscapes to me. Who can forget reading My Antonia, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or all those stories recommended by the librarian-she knew my reading patterns and always had suggestions for me. One non-library reading that I loved was "The Golden Book of Knowledge." SMom bought those from Loblaws where she worked, I would read them cover to cover-each week was a different book, filled with colorful illustrations explaining everything from A-Z that you did not know you needed to learn about. When my SChildren were small, they were being sold again at Bells Supermarkets,I bought them, slightly different from the ones we had as a child, but still fascinating. Reading to the kids, I seemed to enjoy them even more than my SC. I still have them, and shared with SGrandSon, he was slightly interested-just to be polite. I also love to read Cookbooks, especially old ones. The instructions they used are so interesting, you would think that a recipe is a recipe, but the cooking terms, types of food and way of describing the recipe all seem to be in a foreign tongue sometimes. And how our eating habits have changed over the years: butter, big chunks of red meat were the stars and no such thing as "add one package of instant pudding", or "melt in microwave!" A SCousin just bought me "Come Home to Supper" by Christy Jordan. She is a strong religious woman who has her family right up there in the important list-talks about making time for her kids and husband, and treating each day as a gift to do what you want. And, by the way, she offers some great recipes-I have followed her online for a few years and her recipes always turn out. And, I send the link to her recipes to myself on email, then cook while reading the recipe on my Kindle-how insane is that? I always worry that my Kindle screen will end up with the same stains and splatters that my cookbook pages have on our favorite recipes :) If I couldn't read, I would not be able to cook, cereal for three meals a day for us would be the norm. So bottom line, never judge new finagled inventions, you might be using one when you least expect. Thanks for reading, here is your reward, click here: Julia Child

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NonTurkey Casserole

NonTurkey Casserole

If you are interested in a break from TURKEY this week and next, here is a recipe that I just concocted. But wait, it was so good according to the guys that let’s say I CREATED the recipe. There, that sounds divine.
I had some Smithfield Rosemary and Olive Oil pork tenderloin left over-we usually do not have red meat in the house except for the rare Sahlen’s Hot Dogs, but I have been advised again to increase my red meat consumption, gross. So, I am blindly agreeing with the doctors and calling it red meat and also the spin doctors for the Pork Industry and referring to it as “The other white meat.” A piece of meat like this will give us three meals!
Leftover number one was the following casserole. And since I only used about 4 ozs of meat for the entire dish, I added to the protein with Feta cheese.
Here goes:
-2 cups cooked rice-I only had white rice because I used up all the brown rice on that recipe for stuffed pepper soup that I made for the recent Soup Tasting Fundraiser-seemed to go over well-let me know if you want that recipe
-1 LARGE TBSP. Crushed garlic-added to rice while it is cooking
-One bag BIRDS EYE frozen mixed veggies-cooked. Tim reminded me that he used to like the “carrot squares and peas” that I gave them when they were kids. At that time-I used canned-and it was only slimey carrots and peas-these BIRDS Eye veggies are really good: peas, carrots, corn and green beans (Matka just popped into my head to remind me that she liked to cook elbow macaroni and add these mixed veggies to it for a meal-thanks Mom)
-4oz. Cubed cooked tenderloin pork (cooked chicken or that “T” meat of course could be used)
-2 TBSP. Olive Oil
-2 TBSP. Lemon Juice
-1 cup Chicken Broth-if you think you need more-splash it in-you do not want this to be dry when you take it out of the oven
-1 cup Feta cheese-crumbled (I only had plain, but I am thinking that one of those flavored kind with Mediterranean spices would be good-omit the additional basil-but maybe not the one with the sun-dried tomatoes though-but you decide-hey, you the boss!)
-1 tsp. Basil-dried -or any other not too overpowering seasoning -the lemon juice and olive oil keep the flavors light for this dish
-1 tsp. Black pepper Stir all together very well in an ovensafe pretty dish, cover with foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes Did you know you can buy a box of Reynolds “Wrappers”-box of 25 pre-cut foil sheets for $1.00 at Dollar Tree? Perfect size. I know, if you count the amount you get against a regular box of Reynolds foil-it is not a bargain-but if you count that you always need a piece of foil now and this one allows you to just pull it out the box-snappy-well, that is a savings in my book!
Stir before serving, and remember, if you change just one ingredient-you can lay claim to it being YOUR recipe-my new rule!
Reviews: Three out of three thumbs up, and plenty left for another meal. My kind of cooking.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nightmirth on Williston

Nightmare we have all of heard right? We have a dream that is so real and so upsetting that we awake with a startle and remain upset even if we know it was not "real" What do you call it if you have a dream where you are having a fun, mirth filled time that you awaken laughing and can not stop? Well, now we have a word "Nightmirth" and if you live on Williston Road instead of "Elm Street", it is called "Nightmirth on Williston!" And the reason for this new word description? I had a Nightmirth on Williston to beat all others last night! Rare is it for me to sleep soundly through the night, and this year has been a particularly health changeling one-and continues regardless of the steroids and antibiotics poured into me. But, it is what it is, this too shall pass, and whatever feel-good phrases I can talk myself into. I will survive! Hey, that is a good one, song perhaps..............
So about this Nightmirth, I dreamt that our Kiwanis Club was doing a live segment on how to make bread-we did a run through, I was to handover a portion of the ingredients from the refrigerator when asked-live on camera. Someone was up front, nervously but efficiently giving the directions and completing the steps for the bread making. Well, just before my cue, I dropped some butter on the floor, slipped and cleaned it up-all off to the side, then I was asked for an EGG (should have know this item would be the precursor to calamity), I dropped the egg and then fell-standing right on screen view. It was one of those slapstick falls-feet up in the air, arms flying for purchase, all to no avail. I got up, plucked another egg out of the safety of the egg tray and proceeded to make my way to the front-but I was laughing so uncontrollably that I could not stop and off it went-laughing enough to destroy the sanctity of the segment being broadcast, falling down laughing, getting louder and louder-then I woke up laughing in the same manner-trying to stuff the noise into my pillow-the sound must have sounded alarming because my SweetHusband also woke up and was worried that I was crying, I could not explain for a time, finally he realized that I was laughing and could not understand why I was out of control with happiness. He was assured that I was ok, and he went back to sleep-and so did I-still laughing into my next sleeping adventure. As soon as I woke up this morning-I started laughing again-silently so as not to put SH into another fright. When he woke up he asked "Do you know what happened last night?" and I starting laughing again-what a wonderful feeling to laugh at the beginning of the day! I am even smiling while I type this. With the health problems causing me to change routines for the next month or so, it is nice to have a rush of positive energy, after all "Laughter is the Best Medicine!"

Monday, August 19, 2013

Seeing the beauty

This is goldenrod-a beautiful, bright plant.  But to some of us, it is the enemy.  It makes me sneeze, cough and feel anything but golden.

In life there are many things that look beautiful, but the trick is to see them for what they are. And there are things that don't seem so great, but they also have beauty.

Free time comes to mind. Who would have not wanted a "get up and go do stuff" lifestyle?  When I was at my busiest, I sometimes wonder how I had time to work.  I have a "way too much unstructured time period" since my knee replacement surgery in June.  Due to complications, my exact plan fell to pieces. I did this, that and the other thing to make sure all my bases were covered for care of myself, my Sweet Husband and Sweet Son while I was temporarily in the hospital  and home recovering.  However, the unexpected happened, I went back into the hospital for another 8 days, then a few weeks later, back in for an overnight stay.
I had assumed that I would need to rely on others for a six week period until I could drive, but this level of care that was required was over the top. My Sweet Daughter was chief chauffeur, shopper, person to lean on, not only for me, but for every possible need my family would have, SH and SS were amazing seeing to me at home.  Sweet Sister#1 rescued me in many ways, Sweet Brother#1 was there for me and Sweet Cousin Susan was my medical advocate, and others were there for us-in a myriad of ways.  Family members, friends and strangers did the best: they prayed for me.  Obviously that worked, here I am rambling.

So, the free time thing..... Well I have had a need not  to do my everyday schedule, or the next day I am a mess! It was a hard lesson, but now the unstructured time has become a necessity.
I have been advised to go slowly, to eat red meat (HA HA HA, do Sahlen's hot dogs count? That is the only red meat we have.) 

I will and we will do fine.  I am driving, etc. 

Live is progressing.

And free time is meant to be used,   It is a beautiful thing.

Because you took the time to read this, here is your reward:

Click here:
Josh singing for you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lace-Curtain Irish

I have written many times here about my Italian Heritage, especially when reminiscing about SGrandma Viviani.. She and my SMom set the flavor scale at Italian in our house, with a smidge of Polish here and there borrowed from their neighbors where they lived in Pennsylvania.

My other genetic pieces are a touch of French from my SM's paternal Mother and Irish. Other than my Irish last name, that is as far as it went for me.  No influence from that side of the family to ingrain the Gaelic traditions into my soul.

However..................... I do like me some white lace curtains in my Kitchen.  There is no better feeling for me to be washing, ironing and replacing these beauties.  I know, ironing is not something I try to do as most of you know, but this is different.  As I spray the starch on and glide that very lightweight appliance over the cloth, it is such a pure activity.  I think about how difficult it was in years past for me and others,  I recently replaced my 43 year-old-made-of- lead- ironing-board-which was covered with at least 10 ironing board covers giving it a nice cushion when you were dragging that oh-so-heavy old-iron over the surfaces. This new one is lightweight, one layer of cover and the newer iron is also very easy to lift and move.  I sometimes think I will not have the same end product-a crisp ironed-in crease where the folds go, but you know what?  It is what it is, I can see a crease and my bruised hands no longer wish to go for the knife edge effect of the past.

I am through and through a Lace-Curtain Irish when it comes to my Kitchen! A Lace-Curtain Irish
refers to Irish immigrants who, though living in shanties would hold the head and attitudes high because they would hang nice lace curtains in these hovels-looking respectable from the outside.
There is also a phrase Shanty Irish, this gives those who are are labeled that the reputation of living in squalor.  Yikes, no in between? You are either clean or dirty when it comes to judging your housekeeping skills from the old days.
 I think I would like to make a new category "Lace-curtain to a degree".  That is what I am, no all lace curtains, not squalor, just making my way through the important cleaning and looking up fondly at my blindingly white lace Kitchen curtains when I am feeling overwhelmed with the everyday cleaning chores.

At 3am last night-don't ask!  I was assured that all who were thought to be lost in the throes of deep sleep were, so I decided to wash my kitchen and bathroom curtains.  I know, not normal, but who saw me write normal anywhere on my application?  I brought them all up from the dryer when they were slightly damp, laid them flat on the back of the couch, smoothing out any threatening wrinkles and knew I could not bring out the ironing board-which squeaks like heck when opening, and drag out the three step ladder needed for replacing the curtain rods. I so wanted to finish the job last might and wake up to the bright curtains-but, that would have been pushing my luck of not awakening anyone.  So I washed windows and  finished the curtains this morning and now I am a happy "Lace-curtain to a degree"  lady.  Life is good eh?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Too late to say hello

I was reading a blog this morning and the question was "Is there anyone you did not have a chance to say goodbye to?"
 Of course, it would be Mom.... I think people in a coma can hear, I am convinced of it,so I said all I wanted and needed to say with her in those final hours,  but I would so wish I could look into those blue eyes that she allowed me to share and have her acknowledge that I am sending her on her way with love.
I think of her daily and say hello all the time, to her pictures, at the cemetery, when she drops a feather in my path.   Thank God I will never have to say goodbye to her again.

Then of course I would have listed my father, but the tragedy is, we never said hello.  Oh of course, I did see him, I have counted up visits as under 10 in my lifetime of 20.5 years that I was alive while he walked the earth.  Imagine that, less than a dozen visits from your father.  Occasionally the visits lasted a few days while he was "on the wagon" and looking for a place, and my kind-hearted Mom allowed him to stay, and another time, just before my oldest sister's marriage, he stayed with us so that he could "give her away". How generous of Mom to let him have that ritual when he did so little to earn the right.
I  always wished  that I would have had a father, no a DAD.  You know the kind, who cared about you, cherished you and protected you.  Unfortunately, I had the kind that I needed protection from.........

Enough angst from him, he has been dead for 44 years, You can't say goodbye if you never received hello.
























s p a c e







Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chili and the Classics

I love to cook Chili, the aroma as it simmers all day is second only to the smell of the onions and meat sauteing.  I can not remember ever having Chili as a child.  Maybe we did, but I don't remember eating it at my house or someone else's home, or even at a restaurant, but really, most families of my era very rarely went out to eat a meal. Ice cream, yes!!
I have made Chili the same way for many years since the early '70's, and then about 15 years ago, I started fussing with it more. Heck, I spelled it wrong until a few years ago-who knew it didn't have an "e" at the end?  Apparently, everyone but me.
I used to just grab a bunch of cheap hamburger-high fat, one small onion, brown and add tomato products, red kidney beans and packaged seasonings, simmer and done.  One time, my SSon's father cut up some potatoes, added them to the pot, and we called it "Willy's Chili", not too bad actually.
Now, I use a small amount of ground turkey or chicken, my favorite meat to use is Chicken Italian Sausage, just push the meat out of the casing for browning-never buy the already cooked version-barf.
Now, I add a teaspoon of cumin to the browned meat, onions, peppers-a variety of colors-and any other seasonings, like red pepper, chili powder or sometimes I use McCormicks Chili seasonings with my cumin.  I let the dry seasonings mix with the hot pot contents to release their flavor-I am sure I saw that on the Food Network!
Then I add some minced garlic-a big tablespoon, I do not saute' because if you burn that garlic it messes up the flavor of the entire Chili.
Next is a very good quality of canned diced tomatoes, two seasoned chopped tomatoes, veggies like zucchini and water. Now, here is my latest change: I drain and rinse my beans-black, red and white. I just read that the liquid that they are packed in holds all the gas-making properties.  Who knew?  I use more and a variety of beans than in past years because they are a healthier protein.
Cover and let simmer for an hour, then uncover to thicken, stirring occasionally, for as long as want.
It is mandatory to listen to classical music while making Chili, I just made that up because I am listening to a wonderful CD "TENORS in the Grand Tradition", featuring di Stefano, Corelli, Pavoritti,  Bjorling (my SStep-father and my SHusband always discussed the proper way to pronounce this singer's name), Tagliavini, Gedda, Bergonzi, Tucker, Alva and a favorite to pronounce with a "V": Wunderlich.
I love listening to classical music, and am so blessed to have a SH who also enjoys this music.  When my first marriage ended, the first thing I did was to buy classical music cds at Bell's Supermarket-they had a different one each week, and the price was really affordable.  I have really branched up and  out in my collection of classical cds since then, filling two shelves on our music case, but at times I still play one of those life-savers that I first bought. It was not that I was not allowed to play classical in my first marriage, it just caused such complaining that I took the path of least resistance. Who needed that stress........
When my SSF was in his final years, classical music gave him great comfort, so I made cassette copies of our collections, arias only since he said he did not like classical music pieces.  I brought them and a player to his assisted living room, and asked the staff to play them for him when my SMom was not there.  The music  seemed to calm him greatly.  He had Alzheimer's Disease, so his recent memory was not available to him, but he remembered his love of Arias.  I hope someone does that for me if needed.
Those who know me, know that I have a very diverse taste in music, classical is just one, but it is the one that dive bombs to my soul.
And for putting up with this long post:
Giuseppe DiStefano Puccini, La Fanciulla del West.

and this one too:
Fritz Wunderlich Lehar Das land des Lachens

I hope you have ways to give yourself calm and enjoy what you like.

Monday, December 24, 2012

It seems that I am holding my heart in my hands these days.
There has been sadness in my family, my SCousin lost her husband of over 25 years. She is heart broken with her emotions so close to the surface.  How can she get through this? She will, she is a very strong and determined woman, but it will take more time than can be imagined I am sure. I am always thinking of her.

Then, our country is all in mourning over the tragedy that took the lives of twenty small innocent children and their dedicated-protective teachers. How is this possible that a person  had these weapons to do this horrible crime? How is it possible? His mother could see into the future that he was capable of killing her, taking her  weapons  and then committing such a crime?

Our hearts are all stressed by this loss of innocence for the fellow surviving classmates, what can they be thinking now, and the parents, oh, all the parents,  those whose children were taken from them and those who are washed with gratitude for the safety of their babies.  How do your find strength to get through this?

Today, we heard that a town, not far from where a great deal of my family lives had another heinous crime committed, four firefighters were shot while trying to control multiple house fires, two were murdered, two in critical condition, savage coward who killed them is dead also. 

Maybe we need to stop giving these murderers what they want.  We need to stop putting their names and pictures all over, they want their 15 minutes, and they will go for it at such a high cost to others. I don't care what they look like, what their name is, where they lived, nothing.  I know all I need to know about them, they are savages who do not deserve to be studied at length. And if they are not dead at the scene of the crime, give them a name like Killer 1. for their trial.   No pictures, please media of all types, stop giving them what they crave, it is too big a price that our world is paying.

Peace, Peace, Peace.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Living 101...........

Hi all, I read this wonderful except from a blog today-I can't imagine anyone not finding something to enhance their life.  My SNiece posted it on facebook from a blog that she reads.

Enjoy and love.................................

Words of wisdom and grace

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Borrowed and fractured recipe.

I follow a blog written by a serene, thoughtful, intelligent woman.  Whenever I need a calm voice, I can read a few of her posts and things seem different. Today, she posted a recipe for Pumpkin Soup!  I decided to stop reading and make it.  Since I do not have cream in the fridge usually, I needed to add a cream element, so I added a can of cream of celery soup, and then added a cup of vegetable broth. The other change I made was to add some chopped up spinach/arugula at the last moment and to use a tad to top the bowl.  My apologies to the originator of the recipe-I am sure her version is so wonderful, but I had to make do with what I had.
Click here for her blog and the recipe, please read down a few posts  to get a sense of her calmness and wisdom:

my journey to mindfulness

I hope you enjoy the soup, in whatever way you cook the recipe.
I hope you have a calm  element in your life-be it a person, place or thing.  Sometimes just driving and seeing how things look at different times of the day are so fulfilling.  I was driving at 7:30 with SSon this morning, going past the same place that I took this picture the other evening
This morning, there was a light mist floating in the dips in the ground, a small  effect, but so pretty.  I told SS that it was a piece of a cloud, come down to kiss the earth.  He was not so awake, and not so caring about kissing clouds.  He was on his way to meet his father, have breakfast and go to cheer on the Buffalo Bills.  He would not be having a calm day, but it is the type of day he loves-so maybe the good vibes he gets from his day will be just as strong as if he read this wonderful blog that I referred you to.

And here is a nice piece to listen to while you eat your soup:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hello there, still here.

It seems impossible that I have not posted to my blog in so long.  Well, I have written many posts, but only in my head at 2-5am. Instead of sleeping, I am thinking  all kinds of things at that time of day-planning my life and everyone else's !
I have not been without time challenges, but maybe my daytime hours for electronic usage are being taken up by WWF (Words With Friends), Facebook, emailing  and texting.  How much electronic time does a girl have anyway eh? You would think if I am not taking time for blogging that I would have a perfectly organized home which is also spotless, and that every area of my life is fine tuned-HA! Whose blog are you reading my friend?
Well, so much for explanations, aka excuses. On with a post!

The sunflowers at the top of the page were grown in a field not far from our house.  I love the hope I see in sunflower fields, that so much beauty presents in wave after wave for the viewer with a simple planting. I have found out that a field of sunflowers  can not be planted in the same area two years in a row-the soil gets poisoned by a fungus which prevents another crop the following year. So, crop rotations is a must.
Sometimes when I think about this fact, I wonder how many times I poison my own life by insisting on the same approach to every problem.  When faced with a situation, I immediately think, what can I do to fix/change/improve/prevent this.  And sometimes I am successful, a problem./event was meant to be fixed.  But sometimes things can not be avoided/prevented.
In my personal life, one of my goals is to keep all situations regarding SSon positive.  I try to make sure we always have an assortment of batteries in good supply to start with.  What you say! How is that important?  Well, if you are a very structured, no grey area person like SS, you might need to change your headphone batteries or remote control batteries at any time of the day or night-and if there are no replacements, this is stressful, very stressful.  He counts on things to be there and after 41 years of being his Mom, I know the consequences of not being prepared.  He can not be talked out of the anxiety that this type of situation produces.  This is not a fault of his or a character defect. This is the way that God made him, and if you were blessed enough to be given him as your son, you need to take good care of him. He is not less because he can not face problems, he is just gloriously different.  He has so many wonderful qualities, and is so sympathetic to the need of others, so it all evens out right?
There are many other areas that this same preparedness is needed. This weekend, he caught me though.  When he comes home from workshop, he checks the caller ID to see who called.  Knowing that, his SStep-Mom calls me on my cell when there is an emergency regarding SS's Dad. I then evaluate the news and whitewash as needed, giving SS guarded info.  He caught on that I was telling him info regarding his Dad even though there was no record of an incoming phone call. One smart cookie this guy!  He asked why I did that, how I knew about his Dad, so the cell phone ploy was explained.  I said I had to evaluate the information and decide what would be best for him to know at that point.  He asked why.
Hmm, I said sometimes the information could be very worrisome. And he said, "Oh, I see, you want to protect me because you love me."  As I have said many times before, what a blessing he is.  He did not criticize me for not telling him everything, he just needed it explained. And he repeated this statement many times to me over the next few days-as if to really cement it in his mind I think.  Some of you not knowing SS might think this is coddling him, and all I can say is, you do not know him. Not everyone is able to process bad or worrisome news the same way. My way to stop poisoning the ground now is to re-evaluate every aspect of what I say to him, hoping that I don't over correct my approach to SS. I thought I had it worked out, doing the same thing every time, but obviously I did not.  Just when you think you have things worked out eh?
So listen, other ground poisoning is always happening by me, and recently I have had to evaluate other areas.  In an attempt to always be able  to produce a piece of paper that backs up some fact, I have saved everything.  Filing systems that previously accommodated this practice are so overburdened that finding anything has now becoming difficult, so I have reevaluated and now am purging files.  This is scary stuff for me, but jeez, who needs all this.  This practice of unburdening myself of these items is difficult and sometimes seems overwhelming, but once begun, moves along easier.
And an important change I have made in the past year is to pray harder and more often.  I would always pray, but not with the conviction that I now know is needed.  I have seen miracles happen this past year with prayer.  I have also seen outcomes that are God ordained.  In the past, I prayed for someone to get better, than if they didn't, I thought my prayers were not answered.  I now pray for those in the intention to have the strength needed to get through a situation, or to bring peace to an inevitable outcome.  That way, I am not poisoning the field by wrongly demanding things my way. Maybe just a little more strength is what a caretaker needs to get through a day, and maybe my prayer is just enough to help.  Why not? What is to be lost? I think praying this way is not lowering my expectations, it is being more realistic that sometimes the outcome is not what I choose, but rather, "it is what it is", and my prayers just might be helpful to accept the outcome.  This is a major leap of faith for me, and for someone who is a person who needs to control situations, this policy of turning over thoughts, and just being in the moment of things during prayer is a giant leap of faith. After all, if you can't dictate the outcome, you are grateful for any outcome.

I need to tell you about a very inspiring situation.  This past week, my dear SCousin lost her SHusband after a very difficult 18 + month struggle with serious health issues. She is probably the strongest woman I know right now-she did not try to pretend that the situation was not serious, she used her faith to cope with it as it happened.  She supported him and gave it her all with her magnificent way of organizing the medical aspects, and she gave him a funeral that celebrated his life. She was able to do this because she had Faith.  Faith that she was doing exactly what he and her family needed, never despairing that this was happening, never saying "Why me, why us?", just going on, surgery after surgery, appointment after appointment, supporting the needs of her SHusband, SSons and her SMom.  And when it came to it's unfortunate conclusion, she was able to say, I am at Peace with my choices.  That is not poisoning the field by giving up and giving in, by being surprised by changes in the situation, that is doing what is needed at the time that it was needed.  And you can't do that if you have preplanned how a situation will be.  She would have done anything to sit on the beach together when they were in their nineties, but instead, she enjoyed their time on the beach this year. With much admiration, I give you their song: "Longer Than" by Dan Fogelberg

Monday, July 30, 2012

This is a photograph that I call: SBrother#2's backyard!  He has worked very hard, and is blessed enough to live on the waterfront.  We are all "water people". We love being around water, it seems to complete us and calm us. Some people might say this is nonsense, but not us, seeing the waves, the colors that are reflected by the sky and the surrondings, all add up to a perfect setting for the sibs.  And speaking of the sibs, here are 4 of the 5, the same day that the above picture was captured:
We just so appreciate time spent together, never as often as we would like. Also attending were our significant others, and that word significant is so mild compared to the contribution that they have each  made to our family.  We would not be the same without all of their love, humor  and support.
In the photograph, SSister#1 is on left, SBrother#1, SBrother#2, then me. We lined up, red hair, grey, red, grey. How clever we are! That little wee glow of light in the bottom center of the photograph is the birthday cake for SB#1. SSister#2 is out of state, or she would be have been smack in the middle of this picture, another red head! In the old days, we had three red heads, one curly black hair, and one mousy brown, that was most often highlighted to bring some color to my face. SMatka was born blonde, turned mousy brown, and then spent the next six decades with various shades of red hair. After about eighty years old, she went to that champagne color that looks so nice on women of a certain age.  But, really, the back of her hair was still mostly brown.
My SGrandma Viviani had mostly grey hair as long as I can remember, and she wore it in a long braid, that she twirled around her head during the day, with the braid hanging down at bedtime.  One time, for SS#1s wedding, my SMatka had it cut and permed-oh baby, that was not well received by SGV.  I can not describe how the fire came out of her eyes when she was displeased-we called it the "Mal Occhio", evil eye.  I must confess, I had this ability to a certain degree.  I have tempered my use of this over the years, or maybe trying to be less judgemental as I age to perfection, I tend to not need it as much?
So, my, hairy essay is complete, except, wait, I have a SFriend who having completed chemotherapy, now has a spankin' new crop of hair, it is grey, wavy and adorable, you know one of those hairstyles that you might pay a mint to try to get at the beauticians?  A silver lining as it were.

In celebration of the topic of hair:
Hair song from HAIR musical.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hubie, The World's Strongest Man!


When most people hear this phrase, they might automatically think of a younger Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Sylvester Stallone, or even if they are of a certain age (read: me), they might think of Charles Atlas. But not me, I think of Hubert (Hubie) Kutter, my Sweet Husband, or as I refer to him on my blog “SH”.

He displays an admirable amount of strength everyday. He was born on Easter Sunday, and lived a happy life until he was exposed to polio at the age of 20 months in 1943. He spent the next six months in Buffalo Children’s Hospital, a quick, dramatic shift from a loving home surrounded by his parents and older protective sister to a large room with no familiar faces and everyone wearing white and poking at him.

His family would visit whenever possible, but having the responsibility of running a cheese factory did not allow for daily visits. Often on the way home from visiting her cherished son, his Mother would stop at Our Lady Help of Christians Church to say special prayers for her sweet baby.

Once he was allowed to return home, he started the “Sister Kenney treatment” of leg strengthening and stretching at an out-patient clinic held in a building adjacent to the Roycroft Inn, in East Aurora. Nurse Dorothy Shaw tried to bring back the muscles with difficult -to-do

muscle-limbering exercises, and standing on a boot jack which was a slanted board intended to stretch the Achilles area of his heel.

Then, all treatments were completed-all that could be done was, and he went on with his life, never having braces or using a cane or other piece of adaptive equipment. He just pushed through his permanent deficits, never complaining, never asking for excuse from any activity. He played first base for baseball games, using his great reach and a firmly planted foot to make the plays. He went to school, using the steps like everyone else. He went to the University of Buffalo, forgoing his desire to become a Pharmacist, knowing of the standing involved. He graduated with degrees in math and science and soon began his career as a computer programmer at Calspan Corporation. This was a “sit down” job, which made his caring Mother happy. There was no sign of deficit as the years of his life of collecting geological specimens (I call them all generic rocks) and pharmacy bottles and books and the detritus of estate sales continued.

He was always just pushing through, doing anything that he wanted, never stopping to think before he carried or lifted or moved anything or walked the aisles of the Clarence Flea Market weekly. One of his stops there was always for a few pies and cinnamon rolls from a friendly vendor, just enough to get him through the week, paying homage to his sweet tooth.

When he turned fifty years old, he had more than just the usual “getting old” fatigue. He had a gradual weakness, including in areas that were not initially thought to be harmed by the savagery of Polio. This weakness now was affecting his life and choices. He was pushed to see specialists by me, even though he thought “it” was nothing. He even had a mis-diagnosis that was similar to Polio, but not the same. Similar sometimes is an expensive word, in this case he was urged to “use it or lose it”, exercise on stationary bikes and at home were the suggestions of a kind-hearted specialist. The use of a cane began, with much resistance, then a cane with a seat folded away, a “quad” cane was next used for stability, all were heart-breaking to the man who always just used his internal strength to push through. As additional specialists were involved, the accurate diagnosis was ascertained: “Post-Polio Syndrome”. What was this? Why now after so many years? How can it be reversed? The progression was like a speeding train, as the symptoms appeared to be charging forward. All muscles are now used up, those that were permanently harmed by polio, those that weren’t, and those that were slightly affected. Some specialists theorize that Polio actually harms all the muscles, but only some show permanent damage. It would appear that SH can attest to that theory. Exercise was now known to be harmful to the life a muscle still has left. But, one other thing was never affected by this disease that caused the death and paralysis of many, the strength that beamed out from SH’s spirit. He never complains if he can no longer do what he used to be able to, he never asks anyone to do anything for him and he never allows the “poor me” mind-set to take root in his being.

He has lived in the same house his entire life, and as the occupant has changed, it has also, it now has the adornment of grab-bars and ramps.

SH is now in a motorized wheelchair, and his comment after using it for a day was “this is great, I feel like I have a new set of young, strong legs!”.

There has been a learning-curve with the chair, it has lift bars protruding from it to allow me to place it in our car, and as he glides around the house, these bars sometimes leave little

calling- card gouges on the door frames, in the same places where his tricycle left marks when he was but a small child learning how to get around-and a loving Mother allowed him to scoot around, smiling at him as he flew through the doorways.

He will have more changes in his future, but now he knows there are devices available to help him, not to fight so hard to avoid them, but use them to meet his life-goals. His medical team has given him the wind under his sails, keeping him afloat with their knowledge and caring.

It shows strength to do what is needed, rather than to cover your head with a pillow waiting for challenges to decide how they will treat you.

I wonder if there is a way to get his picture on a “Wheaties” Box-for he surely is the World’s Strongest Man!

Additional information: Hubie continues to work as the Marilla Town Historian, a position he has held for the past 17 years, and now the use of email provides him with the ability to answer questions about Marilla history or genealogy thru emails. He is currently co-authoring a pictorial book about the town of Marilla starting with the 1850's. He has been a past president of the Kiwanis Club of Marilla, and is still active in the club as his health permits. He is an amateur geologist, he daily reads and examines specimens which he has purchased on the Internet. His main job description however is to provide a perch on his chest for the family cat when Hubie takes his naps.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Grief is not a medical condition."

Today there was an editorial in the Buffalo news by Froma Harrop.  I have never read any of her pieces, but the title grabbed me by the eyeballs, pulling me there.  It discussed the fact that GRIEF is something that Psychiatrists were going to put into a category of mental conditions treatable with medications, etc., and calling it an adjustment DISORDER.  The author makes it perfectly clear that it is not a disorder, but a necessary passage that only gets worse by medicating and trying to cover up the feelings with the latest drugs.
WOW, truer words were never spoken.  In my opinion: Grief can not be ignored, putting a strong face out there, and pretending that you are not torn into pieces inside.  Grief is an accumulation of minutia that together are overwhelming at times, and there is no strong face large enough to hide this state of the heart.
One needs to be allowed to express grief, and the way that we do it is the way  WE do it.  No Doc should be able to say, take this pill, you will be fine in 3.4 weeks. 
However long it takes and in whatever way we personally need to grieve, that is what it is.
I found this article to be so freeing, and so important to look at how other cultures, times, worked through grief. I used to think the wearing of black for the grieved  was just an outward badge of "poor me", but now I see it was a tool that some used to come to grips with reality. 
Here is the piece, she did a much better job than I of pulling the info together, but my piece of advice, do what you gotta do, and don't feel like you need to meet other's expectations of how to grieve.

And the reason for this post: Happy Mother's Day Mom.  XXOO
Click here for love:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hey, what the heck??

Clearly, I have not been faithful enough to this blog.  Not having signed on too much lately, I must have totally missed the "changes are coming" announcements.  I was reading another blogger tonight and she was having lots to say about the changes, and I thought I would go see what was happenin'.  Well, Silly me, this thing is like starting new, no welcome picture for me, no just click on this and that would happen.  Heck, I don't even know if this mess that I am typing will be visible by anyone but me, and truly, even if I will ever be able to see it again.  What displays most prominently are the new blog posts of those blogs that I follow-jumping right out on my screen.  But, the ability to do a regular post-not so easy to accomplish.  I wish I was like this:
This is SGrandson and SCat, just hanging, no trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Bleh, I am just now thinking that the facebook timeline is not too bad, and I can work around a challenge, and then this?  Hey, what am I whining about?  So many others have it so hard-why they don't even have a droid!  Buck up woman.
Deep breath, into new mindset.................ohm........ohm....... (what does that chanting ohm mean? "Oh! Holy mackerel?")
Now, I hope you have had many good days recently SReaders.  I have had a plethora of choices about my days, but mostly I am sad to say that the list of those we pray for has unfortunately gotten much longer.  Is it because as I get older, so do my family and friends, hence the possibility of them getting ill gets higher?  I just can't imagine what it must be like in Third World Countries where the health care system is little or none, and families need to watch others get sick with no hope of them getting better.  What about those families in Africa that have seen an entire generation of sons and daughters succumb to AIDS?  How can they manage to keep going?  Is it because they have never had better health care, so they have not seen successful recoveries?  Maybe, or maybe they go on because what choice is there?  Others go on, so they shall too.  I envy their strength.  And I pray for the illness and suffering of those whom I have never met, and those who have no one to pray for them.  I have become such a proponent of prayer in the last few years.  Before I prayed because I hoped that  it would do some good, now I pray because I know it does some good.  And one thing that I have discovered, I can not pray for such specific things.  I now pray for strength of those who are ill to tolerate treatments, to give the medical caretakers compassion and wisdom, and for those who are the caretakers to be able to have the strength to carry on.  Tonight, I will pray for you SReader, just because.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again


Click above and you can see what I am singing in my head, here is the first verse:

I'm back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again
Thanks for checking in, and the picture on my header is my looking-forward all-year-to seeing-it-bloom Magnolia Tree.  We have had early, high, record breaking temps here, buds are budding, grass is greening, but they say we might get a bit of seasonal weather soon, so these Magnolia buds might not make it to open fully, I am enjoying them now, can not plan on tomorrow right?
(Just a reminder, when I put the letter"S" in front of a noun, it means SWEET is added to their title. EX: SH means SweetHusband)

You might be wondering why I was not blogging, when you know how much I like to do this stuff!  Well, here it is: blah, blah, herniated disc, blah blah, facada kidney stone, blah, blah, are you kidding me, another stone???? blah, blah, now this is way too much, a third stone?, blah, blah, helping SHusband and a SFriend to write a book on deadline, blah, blah, Kiwanis activities and makeup work to do for same, see above which put me so far behind, raking leaves, cleaning flower beds, blah, blah, wind knocked out of me due to a SFriend's major health problems-it seemed so trivial to blog about nothing at the time.
Is is possible to miss people that I have never met?  Is it possible to think that maybe they missed my musings? Is it possible to forget how much I received back from you and how much I enjoyed sharing?  Yes to all "for my part" as my SGrandma Julia Viviani used to say.

Speaking of SGV, I had lunch with SSister#1, SCousin and her Mom, SAunt yesterday.  We celebrated SC's brithday, and also since we call ourselves "Julia's Girls", we celebrated SGV's March birthday also.  SA, who is the keeper of all knowledge on the family due to her incredible memory, sat there and talked about the times of her youth, and because SGV told her so many details of the time before SA's birth and when she was a little girl, we really got to hear some lovely details of the days of Wine and Roses.  A formal parlor with glass french doors, used only when company was invited in, a Victrola playing Caruso records, people dancing, cookies and wine being served.  Can you visualize it?  I can, seems incredible that those were the times that my SMom grew up in.  SA also described the necessary chores that my SGV was required to do, including animal cleaning and dressing for meals, sausage making, pasta and bread making, and always serving whatever men needed to be fed or cleaned up after in this Italian home.  These magical dancing times were not so much fun for SGV.
Did you ever want to go back in time?  Something that I have always thought about, seeing what certain areas in town looked like when all the buildings were new and spending time with loved ones and asking them all the things that I wonder about now. I have no doubt that my time would include SGV, and then I could also visit with SMom.  What a blessing that would be-her absence at the lunch table yesterday was so heavy for me-how could we talk about the past and not have her laugh and say..................

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A big fat lie for the New Year!

Can you see the writing on this decoration?  It says "Let it Snow". This picture is a big fat lie for the New Year of 2012.  Yes, it is cute, but no, not one person in this humble abode want snow! Not a flake, not a Lake Effect Snow, notta nothing. This guy, SSon has to do the snow blowing and shoveling and throwing ice melter thingys. SHusband and I have to drive in the stuff, and as the wonderful saying goes "been there, done that".
But, I am not totally heartless, it would be okay if it snowed at all the ski resorts, outdoor festivals, and where ever little tykes like to play in the snow-but please, respect my boundaries, snow on the streets, driveways or roofs is not permissible.  Thank you for your participation in advance.
I have the most wonderful family.  I was ordered to do nothing for a week because of an aggravation to my back. "Nothing" can be interpreted many ways, so in order that their message was clear it had these words following the word NO: standing, stairs, carrying, bending, stretching, pulling, pushing, lifting. Then to top it off, they gave me Prednisone, which of course reeves you up, so it makes you want to do all those things that they said no to. Conundrum or what?  Well, I tried doing just a bit, bending over to pick a book to read-yikes, were they right!  Now I am a good patient because I want this to be better.
My SFriend brought me soup and she did not even know I had messed up my back! Talk about ESP. SDaughter drove me to the doctor appointment, then did errands.
The next day she brought in reinforcements, her SFIANCE (I love saying that), my SGrandson, groceries to cook a bizillion meals, and they even did the dishes that they used, took out the garbage, got the mail, more errands in town that I thought for sure I would be able to do, and gave us so much kindness. SS was driven by SD to the hospital to visit their father, he is still struggling with his health.
SHusband has been doing ALL THE DISHES since Tuesday when this thing reared it's ugly head non-stop. And he even made our bed.  What a keeper!

Now,  here is our first time together SReaders for our blessing of another year, 2012.  I am not in step with those who think that calendars from a extinct culture is telling us that all is over in 2012. It will be over when it happens, and we can not live for today fully if we have one eye trained on the calendar.

So listen, Today I planted our Amaryllis.  I am not telling you what color she will be, but we have named her "Marilla".  We live in the town of Marilla, it almost, kinda, maybe rhymes with Amaryllis, so SH immediately blurted it out, and when something is perfect, you just don't mess with it.
Here she is in front with her neighbors, they all welcomed her warmly. 

My only concern is that she had already started to grow when I took her out of the box.  We shall see if this matters.

OK, next topic  is the most important one.  Many dear friends and family members are really facing difficult medical conditions right now, I ask you to please take the time to read this, it was sent by a SFriend, and it struck me as being important writing.
Father, I ask You to  bless my friends, relatives and email buddies reading this right now.  Show them a new revelation of your love  and power.  Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubt, release a renewed confidence through
Your grace, In Jesus precious name. Amen. 
Thank you for your kindness in reading my blog.
Here is your reward, click here:Angel Standing By, Jewel singing

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Prayer answered

A prayer answered for me, and here it is:

Yes, my precious daughter is engaged to a Mother's Dream!  They came over and she burst in the door saying "John asked me to marry him!" and showed me the ring.  Tears all around-mostly me I must admit. Hugs, kisses for and from everyone. We talked and smiled and were  and are so happy. Then we had a toast,with the good Crystal! SSon shook his hand and said congratulations. SHusband actually had a sip of wine to commemorate such a wonderful event.
Many phone calls were made, first to her father and step-mother, then to her Godmother-my SSister#1.
She is a different person since knowing him, he supports her and brings out the best in her. He is very kind to our SGrandson, and gives him stability and care and most importantly guidance.
And I know she is good for him, they are a match!
During the week, I bought them some nice glasses for an engagement present, now they can toast more important times in their lives together.
SGS thinks he is going on the honeymoon!  I set him straight, and hoped that he would be here with me that week win-win!
And, here is the clincher: As they were driving over, they both saw a shooting star! 
We immediately knew who sent that, so the Missing Matka tears were unleashed.  Matka knew John and really loved him and was happy for Meg then, imagine now!  She had to send that message right?

And from a website devoted to sky sightings:

"J. Natti (not verified) on Sat, 17/12/2011 - 21:55

Standing looking into the east - south east (114*). Standing approximately 20 ft away from a 15foot house. At about 35-40* off the horizon (over the house) appeared a reddish green (maybe fire) extremely large shooting star looking ?. It traveled faster than anything I have ever seen before in my life. It traveled in a straight line. It crossed the better part of the sky (from approximately 40* in the east to 35* in the west) in a matter of 3.5-4 seconds. I am assuming it was a meteor, but not sure as I have never seen anything like this in my life. My location is in western Kentucky, town of Madisonville, USA. The sighting was at 12:45 am cst. on December 17th 2011."

So there, Matka sent it that day-no doubt.

And here is their song, click here:
Blood, Sweat and Tears, "You make me so very Happy"