Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

The end of the year is here and the speed with which it has arrived is amazing.  We had a good Christmas here.  I had some small goodies for my mother to unwrap and treated myself to some practical things to use around the house....a new toaster oven, a new wireless mouse, etc.  My major splurge was to have my diamond ring repaired, having lost one of the stones a year or so ago. Below are a few photos of a few days before Christmas. 

I managed to do a little baking (one frantic afternoon!), as I did want to do something for the staff at Bloom.  I purchased some decorated cookies and added my almond bars, chocolate truffles, and ginger thins to make two bountiful trays.  The staff were surprised and delighted.  A few neighbors got a much smaller version of the same thing....and, of course, I had my portion!

In the midst on all that, there has been major upheaval at Bloom and I remain the reluctant leader of the pack.  On this occasion, Bloom is going from 3 to 2 shifts, making the staff work 12 hour shifts, which will be a major conflict for those who work two jobs.  They also refuse to even provide a "regular" schedule so that those who need to work two jobs can find a second one. And, of course, South Carolina, is one would expect, is a "right to work" state, which means the employer has all the power and the employee has none.  I wrote a letter to the owners on behalf of the Bloom Family Advocacy Group and did all the kerfuffling to edit, get signatures, etc.....what a headache.  The last time we did something like this, the owners sent a standard "form letter:" acknowledging the receipt of our letter.  This time we asked that they address the problems stated, so we have heard nothing!!  The 12-hour shifts will begin of Jan. 1, so they have just waited it out.  It's obvious that the bottom line in their only concern.....

On the kitty front, Zorro got hit by a car about a week before Christmas. He didn't show up for two days. Everyone was concerned but couldn't find him. On the third day he showed up, all scraped around the right ear.  He ate ravenously and then went missing for another two days.  By that time, emails were flying after each feeding and other feeders were even stopping by at feeding time to see if he had shown up.  He then appeared again and has been regular.  I think he was just doing what people don't do.....resting and recuperating!  

I had a great treat on Monday night.  Linda, who was a co-creator of our local Drinking Liberally group was coming to town for a few days and she asked around for those who might be available to get together.  Harry, the other co-creator, came up from Savannah, and Cheryl and I joined them on-island at the Frosty Frog.  It had been two years since I'd seen Linda (since she moved to Charlotte), and I've seen Harry only a few times since he moved to SAV.  It was a fun gathering and so good to catch up, especially with folks who love to laugh and have easy conversation.  It was a perfect way to spend a dark, rainy night!

As a new year approaches, it's time to look back at 2014 before "letting it go"!  Unlike 2013, which was a difficult, trying year, this year has had many high points, most of them centering around friends.  My small group of close friends here has strengthened, which is comforting. This was also the year that many long-distance friends visited - Jim & Anthony, Cheryl, Sandra & Howard, Bill & Betty, Dennis & Carol, Ann, and most recently, Linda (hope I haven't forgotten anyone).  And of course, the high point of the year was my trip to the UK and the UK Aramcon Reunion.  It was even better than I'd hoped and it was wonderful to see everyone together....just like old times!  Unlike previous years, I'm thankful to  also have had the time to do some things for my own enjoyment.....and I did thoroughly enjoy them!  While there were the usual ups and downs, the low points were the death of my kitties, Gabby (TMPKITWWW) and tinsy, little rat-tail girl, Chloe.  Their loving attention is still missed

Enough of looking back!  Onward to the New Year!  It seems that 2015 is going to be a wonderful, productive year.  For months (while I've been doing nothing!), I've become aware of myself saying, "in the New Year".  It seems that "in the New Year",I'm going to be doing wonders!!  I'm going to...
  • Eat more healthily.  The holidays have really put me off my routine and, in an effort to get back, I've purged the house of most temptations.  The others I will have eaten by Jan.1!
  • Restart my walking routine and alternate it with yoga.  With the exception of Christmas week, I've maintained yoga but have let my walking go entirely.  i need to do them both as walking controls my weight.
  • Lose weight.....see above!  With all of my partying in the UK and over Christmas, I've put on about 10 pounds, in all the wrong places.  January is the time to get serious about losing it.  
  • Strengthen my meager meditation practice.
  • Better maintain relationships with friends.
  • Declutter the house and garage.....have you heard me say this before?  I really would like to do it but find it so hard to start.  This is the year!
  • Explore Zentangle more.  I enjoyed it and it is a hobby/activity that is easily taken out and put away.  Unlike painting, it requires few materials or space.....just my kind of thing!  I'd at least like to do it enough to see improvement...or whether there will be improvement!

I'm sure there are other things that I've neglected to mention (already forgotten), but that is the basic direction I'd like to go. Those of you who know me, feel free to place bets on which will actually be accomplished!  However it turns out, it is good to get a new beginning, a fresh start, and to give some thought to the future.  I've long since given up making resolutions, but it doesn't hurt to set intentions that will make life healthier, easier and more fulfilling.

Whatever your intentions for the coming year, my hope is that 2015 is filled with good health, happiness, prosperity and joy.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


It's been almost a month since I posted last and I don't know where the time has gone, though I have been running around like the proverbial headless chicken!  Most week days I've left home before 10AM, if a yoga morning, or 11AM and not returned until around 3-3:30.  There have been some days that I've just eaten a bite and gone back out, not returning until after feeding the ferals.  But don't ask me what I've been doing - I've not done much for Christmas and I certainly don't feel that I've done anything worthwhile or constructive.  

It has been a very social time and I've enjoyed seeing friends.  Jim and Anthony stopped in twice on their way to and from DC.  Cheryl and I met up once....all of which was lots of fun, with time passing much too quickly.  I had Thanksgiving with another friend from my synagogue days and one of my "Progressive Ladies" group invited me to her Christmas brunch, which was very nice.  Chris and I also went out for a leisurely Sunday lunch to celebrate her birthday, to catch up after her trip to a family wedding, and to fortify ourselves for the remainder of the holiday.  It has all been fun, but a lot packed into a short time.  It is literally a "feast" season and the rest of the winter will probably be famine!

The busiest time of year is also the time I chose to get back into reading.  When my mother was here, I was too frazzled to read and I've never really gotten back into the habit.  It's too easy to get addicted to iPad and forget about books.  When I heard about Gone Girl, I thought it just the type of book I would like and I wanted to read it before seeing the movie.  Boy, was I right about that.....what a tale!  From there I went straight to Wild, which was based on a true story and equally as good as Gone Girl, but in a different way. All were very enjoyable and I'm now reading another one by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl).

In the midst of all that, I've decorated the house for Christmas, which was touch-and-go for a while.  Had Jim and Anthony not come in early December, I probably would have done very little, but their visit spurred me to get going.  At the end of the season last year I bought a 4-ft pre-lit tree with clear lights.  I never even opened the box and pretty much forgot about it.  When I saw the box I thought I may as well see what was involved and, much to my surprise, the tree was together in 10 minutes.  It allowed me to us my white ornaments, which I've had for years and used only once!  It also prompted me to put my large tree on craigslist.....and it was sold and gone the next day.  I'm now on the lookout for a large pre-lit one with multi-color lights.  You will then no longer hear me whine about stringing lights on the Christmas tree ever again!!

Smokey in 2012 
In addition to Mama's ups and downs (she's started trying to get out of bed and they've found her on the mat by her bed about four times, including today!), there is also a frail cat.  Smokey, Mama's old cat, is pretty much "on his last leg".  I now have a better understanding of that phrase as he is having problems with his back legs.  He had to see the vet two weeks ago for severe constipation - I was afraid he wasn't going to make it to the morning to get there  Part of his problem was that his back end was too weak to push (more than you need/want to know!) .  Once that problem was alleviated, I became concerned about a cough and gag reflex, so back he goes to the vet Friday a week ago.  He has fluid collecting around his heart.....and now I have to give him one pill and a liquid medication every 12 hours. Anyone with cats knows how challenging that can be!  So far, it's gone better than expected, but he's just old....and I know his chances of recovery are slim.  He isn't eating very much and is boney....but, he's a sweet, old kitty and I'll do my best for him.

Today was a dark, rainy of four leading up to Christmas.  So, fighting another head cold, I stayed in bed all morning before going to Bloom. Then, I came home, ate lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon working on the slideshow below.  I could make a simple one in much less time, but I do enjoy playing with it and learning new things.  So, it's a labor of love and I hope you enjoy it.  Merry Christmas!

 Christmas Humor