Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for January, 2015

SLIPPERY SLOPE

It was just a tiny slip at first. A memory that took me back to places I didn’t want to visit anymore. I caught myself quickly, as soon as I realized where I was headed. But that was just the beginning, the prologue or the introduction, as it were. It set the slide in motion. I was brave at first, determined to stay out of the dark places in my mind. It didn’t help. And this time the slide was very slippery, one remembrance quickly moved to another. All of them hurt. Once at the bottom, I couldn’t climb out.

The weather didn’t help either — not as bad as last year but all of a sudden the temperature was minus zero, the wind chill frozen and it stayed there. Warnings of frost bite was on the television. Normally I would go for a walk or go shopping. Anything to distract my mind from the thoughts that were surfacing. When I’m sad, depressed or stressed — I snack, OFTEN. My resolution is to lose weight. Not only was my arm hurting but now my hip and back had joined the game. I hoped losing weight would help — snacking would not help. Should I mention that my weight refused to move down.

Should I mention that the sun also went into hiding — gray skies matched my grey mood. I don’t know how many days were without the light of the sun. My daughter phoned and told me she saw blue skies. I looked outside and saw blue skies too. I took a picture with my camera to remember what it looked like in case it vanished again. A few days later the weather man announced that there was a small envelope in which the sun was shining, clouds covered the rest of the area. We were lucky, we had the sun. I took Robin for a walk. Our neighborhood stayed in the envelope for the rest of the day. When I took Robin for a later walk, we walked in sunshine.

I’ve tried meditating — still getting no where. Learning different techniques for breathing. Count the in breath, count the out breathe. Reverse the counting. Count each inhale and exhale. The one thing positive that this does is distract my mind from its track. With a little bit of help, I can stay positive for an hour or more. It also helps when I’m unable to go to sleep.

I’ve rejoined a calorie tracking program on our computer. Not only does it track the calories of the food I’m eating, but it subtracts the calories of the exercise I’ve done, giving me more calories to eat. Of course, the program is only as good as the information I input, how honest I am. Since it subtracts my exercise it motivates me to exercise. When I first started with some of my tapes, I learned just how quickly my body has lost strength. I will admit my stubbornness is pushing me forward.

Finally the scale is moving downward — just a trifle. Nothing to get excited about, or buy new clothes but enough to make me smile. Enough to make me want to plan my breakfast when we went to Bakers Square. Sadly their computer listing didn’t give the calorie count for their offerings. The program I’m using, I call it Skinny Bitch because I just don’t remember the name. Anyway, I found the calorie counts for many of the breakfast offerings. I switched back and forth many times. I logged in my planned breakfast then decided to change my mind. I didn’t remember the calorie count of the item I wanted to eat instead. That is when I experienced a little bit of “help from my friends.” The computer LOCKED — I was unable to retrieve the original data even though I had seen it before. I made a big decision to stay with the lower calorie menu — telling myself I could have the other when the scale dropped a bit more. I knew that they were still “helping” when at the restaurant I put my hand in the pocket of my jacket and felt something soft. ?????? Pulling the item out I was surprised to see my glass case. ???? How did it get in there — I never put my glass case in my pocket. I had even asked customer service at the grocery store if I had lost it there.

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STILL COUNTING — FOOTNOTE

When I was writing STILL COUNTING I had no plans to include a thought on our house or how well it suited our family. I was noting current things I considered to be gifts. Somehow I got sidetracked to the bigger picture — our house and family. While I was on the subject I asked the question — Did my mother help us find the house? I followed that thought up with how thankful I am for our family. That is how some of my thought rambles progress. One thought leads to another. I’m sure the ideas are not necessarily mine alone. Then I uploaded the thought ramble and picked the date it would publish — Jan 17. I’m sure you didn’t hear my laughter! The publish date was very appropriate for this thought ramble. The anniversary of my mother’s and brother’s passing is January 19. I never knew the anniversary date until my father passed and I found an old newspaper clipping. Neither my father nor any of my relatives mentioned it.

This isn’t the first time that the subject of my ramble coincided with some important date. I understand the relevance at the time but don’t note the reason for future reference — EXCEPT this one was too noteworthy.

The temperature of the weather in December was above normal — snow wasn’t in the forecast either. A nice change from the year before. Then January arrived with winter temperatures — single digits with a noticeable wind chill. Before taking Robin for a predawn walk, I put on my thermals and found a long scarf to go with my hat and mittens. Robin was wrapped in one of her coats. Most people were sleeping in, recovering from the night before. We met an older woman walking Charlie, her chocolate lab. It is no secret that I miss Mabel, our chocolate lab. Charlie loves our meet and greet. Robin doesn’t get upset when I spend a few minutes scratching his body. Robin isn’t a people person but she did sniff the owner’s hand. I learned that Charlie came from Oklahoma. Supposedly that is were Robin was born. Happy New Year!

This morning the cold front had passed by. The temperature was in the high teens with barely a wind. Robin didn’t need her extra coat. I didn’t need my thermals. Opening the kitchen door, I heard a cardinal greet the day. He is early and I told him so. The temperature is heading for the single digits next week, wind chills below zero. Last year, my first note of hearing a cardinal sing was the second week of February. We celebrated blue sky, gentle breeze by taking Robin to the beach. Instead of waves, ice now borders the shore.

STILL COUNTING

It dawned on me after I posted COUNTING that I left out a part that was of “help” to me this holiday season. I LOVE to cook — not gourmet — just plain, family style fare. After cooking almost daily for more years than I wish to count, I’m running out of ideas. Of course, the food would also have to be stuff my family would eat. Not as easy as it sounds.

I have more friends in high places this year who also liked to cook. Are they helping to enlighten me? Good question — no answer. Recently I received three recipes that are a hit. One is for chicken in a crockpot. That recipe was on Facebook. A cookie recipe was on the afternoon news. A third for apple pie bites was on a cooking show. All three — from various sources that I don’t always frequent — were a hit with my family. I didn’t plan to get together with a friend before Christmas but suddenly I had a free day and she did too. We stopped in a grocery store where I learned that ham with a $25 purchase for other food was only 79 cents a pound. Ham is a favorite of our family. The sell date was February. I couldn’t pass up the savings. Maybe I should mention that this wasn’t the first time that I have chanced on a deal for ham. Let me say “thank you” just in case I forgot.

Very quiet Christmas morning, walking to Mass behind a family of four. The father whistled a Christmas song as he walked. By now, if you have read many of my rambles, you know I enjoy music. I enjoyed tagging behind the family. Music was abundant at church as well. I attend an early morning Mass. The music director and the cantor where accompanied not only by an organ or piano but also TWO horns, and a violin. This was their first Mass of the day with three more to follow. There were three Masses on the Eve. I didn’t expect the extra accompaniment. The church with the manger and trees with lights was beautiful. On the way home a flock of large birds landed in a neighboring tree. As I wondered who they were, I heard a crow caw. Question answered.

My mother passed over when I was four. I’m confident she has been behind the scenes for all of my years. She was smart and kept her involvement hidden — or I was purposely blocked until my father passed over and let the cat out of the bag. The house we are living in, although in the city, is perfect for us. It was only a mile away from my husband’s job. He didn’t have a long commute every day. It was in an affordable German neighborhood. The neighborhood is no longer affordable — I never dreamed I would be living in a neighborhood that had million dollar houses. It is close to shopping, the lake and I can get downtown via public transportation. It is big enough to shelter my growing family when they come to town. Over a hundred years old, it would not compete with the more expensive houses. Was my mother involved in our search for a house? Many good questions. No answers. And do I really need the question answered?

Still counting my gifts, my family tops the list. I could keep counting my gifts but this ramble is long enough already. It would probably help if I kept a daily list of the many gifts that come my way. That way I might remember but if history repeats itself, I’ll get busy, think I will remember, and forget.

COUNTING

I have trouble coming up with titles. Two I thought of for this ramble were already used. I suppose I could just start numbering them, and stop naming them but what fun is that?

Once upon a time it was easy to buy presents for me. But that was once upon a time. Now when asked what I would like — I have no answer. I would like to have health — but that is not something that can be purchased. I would like energy — but caffeine doesn’t provide it, except it keeps me awake if I drink coffee too late, sometimes sugar has the same effect. I would like my body parts to work better, with less pain — but I really don’t want an operation. Of course, losing weight would help. What am I waiting for? I surely am not getting younger.

When I wrote our Christmas letter, I noted the amount of snow we had. I also noted the amount of rainy days in the summer. As I write this, it is still 2014. This ramble will publish after the new year. I don’t know what presents will come my way this year. Christmas hasn’t arrived yet. But I have already received quite a few presents.

Last Sunday I overslept. I normally go to the Mass at 7:30 when we are in town. It is hard to do when I wake after 7:00. Rather than rushing, I decided I would go to 9:00. During Mass, our pastor apologized for the coolness of the church. Evidently there were problems with the furnace but the heat was starting to come up. The early Mass was even colder. Many people were coughing in the church. I’m doing my best to try to stay healthy. I was glad that I overslept. Thank You!

One of my favorite hymns is Ave Maria. When I was young, I was in the church choir and we sang for weddings. That hymn was one we always sang. At the end of Mass, we were treated to a lovely rendition of Ave Maria, the cantor had a lovely voice. Thank you!

It has been many days since we have had sunshine in the city. We have been wrapped in a cloud cover that was so comfortable — it didn’t move. The weather reports showed photos from other places where the sun was shining. The number of sunless days were counted and announced but I guess I didn’t like the numbers — I didn’t write them down. Yesterday morning, I noticed a tiny bit of brightness when I took Robin for an early morning walk. I wished I had a camera so I could capture my own picture of the sky. By the time we reached home, the cloud cover had closed in. BUT at 9:00 A.M. I noticed blue skies. Our older daughter called to tell me the sun had returned. The noon weather report announced 203 minutes of sunshine. To celebrate, we took Robin to the dog beach. Wrapping the present, we had temperatures in the 50’s. Thank you!

Sometimes I don’t notice the gifts that come my way. I’m too busy and take things for granted. Shopping recently, I searched for plastic cookie tins without success. I asked a person working in the department and he knew exactly where the LAST set was located. Often when I ask for help, it is provided by employees of the store or a fellow shopper walking by. I seem to be shrinking and not able to reach the top shelves in the stores.

As the new year progresses, I wish you health. May you be aware of the many gifts that come your way that can not be purchased.

YEARLY REVIEW

Time is flying by too quickly. All of a sudden it is Christmas and time to write my yearly letter to send with our Christmas Cards. Sadly my mind is blank — I could have reread some of my thought rambles for the year to refresh my memory but I didn’t. It would have been to tempting to copy and paste — not write a personal letter. Instead I pulled out my Inner Reflections calendar for help. I was reminded of the challenging year that we had weather wise — more than 81 inches of snow, 20 days of subzero temperature, 10 days of rain. The weather breaking all records. And this year weather wise continues the pattern — clouds — no sun — for how many days now?

I was reminded that God is in charge of my life. I make plans and God laughs. Before a trip, we took our car in for an oil change and learned that another part needed to be replaced for safety. I planned to celebrate my birthday in the country, but the weather forecast — damp, cold — changed that plan. Instead we were in town. I walked over to the grocery store and learned they were giving out flu shots. When I asked if the nurse had the senior high dose, I learned she had brought two with her. Just enough for my husband and I. We got updated pneumonia shots too. I recently learned that the flu shots this year were not as effective — the virus had mutated. We just returned from visiting our grandchildren. Before we left, our grandson showed flu symptoms. So far my husband and I are healthy. Did the senior high dose protect us? Good question — but it was a lovely birthday present.

Our plans to celebrate Christmas have been changed because of health. Hopefully health and weather will cooperate for our new date. On a walk back home, I wondered why my cookie making plans last year were derailed. I finally remembered the day spent in the emergency wing of a hospital worried about my husband’s health.

A couple of weeks ago, an ambulance stopped across from our house in the middle of the night. I recognize the people across the street but not well enough to ring a door bell. I recognized the woman’s name on the prayer list at church. I asked another neighbor if he knew what was wrong. He didn’t have any answers. This morning, walking our dog who needed a longer walk, I walked past her house. As I passed, she came out to get her newspaper and I was able to speak to her. Breathing problems kept her in the hospital for four weeks.

This year I have more friends in “high places.” Some were expected, some were untimely accidents. Losing friends is ALWAYS hard — even though I know they are happy in their “new home.”

My weight is still too high, treasures (?) are still hiding in our house waiting to be uncovered. I’m reminded daily — THANKFULLY, GOD IS IN CHARGE!

GROUNDED

CAR IS BACK. FINALLY! We didn’t get our car back on Wednesday — but the mechanic phoned on Thursday and told us they found and corrected the problem. There was a crack in the vacuum hose, which didn’t show up on the diagnostic programs.

I went to the Christmas Song Concert without my husband. He was concerned about the car. Since I like to sit at a table so that I can stretch my legs, I invited a woman to sit with me. This was the first time she attended the concert, her husband of over 48 years passed last year. After the concert and a few of my stories, she mentioned that she was glad she sat with me.

Meanwhile, I was wondering what else I had to do before I got my wings back. Christmas was coming, I had shopping to do. The first thing was to get my husband’s insulin. The next day — “Hello Stores. Did you miss me?”

We celebrate Christmas a week earlier so our youngest daughter and family can be home in their own house for Christmas Eve. Sadly this year, both my daughter and her husband were sick. They hadn’t planned to come but life intervened and plans changed again. My granddaughter forgot her coat at home. Thursday, the temperature was 52 degrees. The it dropped, down below freezing. Her mother and I went shopping for a new coat and thankfully found one on sale. The outing wasn’t good for my daughter though, she felt worse. She visited an Immediate Care office and was very pleased with the service. New, stronger prescription — she felt better when they left for home. It doesn’t hurt a mother to take a few days off, it didn’t hurt me to be able to give her that time.

My daughter wasn’t the only one who was grounded. A good friend of mine phoned to share that she fell, fracturing her hip. SHE CAN’T GO SHOPPING WITH ME! She had planned to decorate for a party, she had planned to attend another party the next day and God laughed. She has already had her operation. But rehab will take a while. I told her that we can go shopping with her walker. It will fit in my car.

I’m visiting two of my friends at the hospital today. I’m bringing a tin of Swedish cookies to each. Sally has been in the hospital for a few weeks, but my life was busy, then I was grounded. Sally’s 94 birthday is tomorrow and she is finally being released. I found a Christmas card from her from last year this morning while I was looking for a cookbook.

I’ve mentioned many times that I have friends in high places. The other Sunday, I got a glass of apple cider vinegar and water. I only was able to drink half the glass before my arm hit it, and spilled. I got another glass, my arm hit it again, spilling all over the floor. I didn’t get a third glass, put my coat on instead and headed for Mass.

Our youngest daughter and family have headed for home with their children and dogs. Our house is too quiet. They had their Christmas elf with them. Our Christmas tree, archway and pillars had banners counting the days until Christmas. That morning I opened Queen Of Angels to Angels as Playmates and Confidants. My father’s memorial card marked the page. “Hi DAD!”

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