Everything is continuing along as life does continue. Some days Michael looks very tired and I am worried and anxious. Other days, he doesn’t and his energy level is high. I am learning not to react as much and to continue with my day. There are so many things outside of my control. The only thing I can control is how I react to today.

If something in my quotient changes, I still must continue forward with the wave like everyone else. I continued back this week to the health club and it was the first time that I have had the chance to use my membership which was part of my Christmas present and purchased on December 15th. It felt really good to exercise and to discover that I wasn’t as out of shape as I thought. I ran for 20 minutes on a machine, stretched, and then went next door to buy some fresh mushrooms at the Chinese store. I received a phone call from a trainer as I stepped outside asking me if I was interested in training. I felt kind of like the character in “The Subliminal Man” who feels as if the billboards are influencing his shopping habits. Ironically, I wondered if signing into the gym had alerted someone thus the phone call. Since it was “outside” my control, I let go.

If you are a worrier, it isn’t easy to let go but I am trying to resolve what I can and move on. I am very good at picking up pieces and improving or moving on. I can’t tell you how many classrooms or places I have been placed in the middle and survived by claiming the territory as my own but letting go of the worries is not easy for me. I over think it constantly, so I have decided I need to focus on this now. My husband made a great point: there is always something to worry about or someone who gives you worries, so wrap it up now and move on. As usual, yesterday I was worrying about someone’s reaction to something that most likely had nothing to do with me. I was finding it hard to leave the thought behind.

A pleasant surprise this past week was that the library had a book ready for me by a talented writer called Tayari Jones. “An American Marriage” with an interesting premise about a couple whose life is ripped apart after their first year of marriage when he is accused of a crime while visiting his family in Mississippi. It is an interesting story and she is a talented writer. Another good surprise this past week was visiting an old friend who we knew when we had our store. She is a professional chef and she and her family run a food truck which sells doughnuts which are very unique in flavor and consistency. Her mobile is called “Cravin’ Doughnuts.” I bought half a dozen and this morning warmed up an apple filled one and it was delicious while Michael enjoyed one with bacon and syrup. It was nice to see her family again and to see her succeed with her delicious product. Like us, she began with a store front, closed the store front, returned and accepted a job with a new company, and trained in making these doughnuts which have become very popular but she no longer has a store front.

Things are continuing and I feel good about the progress. Sometimes things change and I have to remind myself that with change, better things may come along but the only thing I can control is my reaction to change. In the words of David Bowie, “To the Sounds of Change.”

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There has been much controversy about Facebook stealing our information and that with all the bio-metrics and “tagging” that we begin to wonder as we shop at our favorite stores if we are being trailed and the same applies to people who signed up for DNA testing. I admit it is tempting to spit into a cup and magically know your heritage but not when you realize that your DNA may be stored for others to access. It sounds like an invasion of privacy and what if someone takes your DNA and tries to incriminate you for a crime. I must admit this is how my thoughts would pursue this topic. Maybe you think I read too many crime novels like Edna Buchanan; Harlan Coben; Lisa Unger; or make it psychological thrillers. Although one of favorite writers is Edna Buchanan, a former crime reporter who wrote about her favorite beat: Miami or as I like to think of it “Me-a-me.” I once heard it referred to that way and it is forever embedded in my memory like a Lorde song or the favorite quote, “To be or not to be…that is the question….”

Miami…my husband and I took a trip to the Keys once. Once I was offered a job teaching English in the Keys if I drove down at the last minute as they needed a teacher immediately. We didn’t but it was tempting. Anyway, we got lost in a place called “Hileah.” We were scared because we had read some scary things about Hileah, so we ended up stopping in this Cuban breakfast place which was packed at 11:00 a.m. We looked out of place: I have to admit I don’t speak much Spanish and my husband speaks none. We had to use the restroom. Everyone was very friendly and loud. I was led through a very busy kitchen to the bathroom. The cafe con leche was delicious. A very handsome Spanish man who looked like Don Johnson in “Miami Vice” walked us out to the parking lot uttering directions. “You don’t want to go that way.” It was very comforting as I had just finished reading an article about a lost European visitor being mugged in Miami after he got lost driving to the airport. Years ago, a teacher from Miami, confided in me that she felt safer in Miami than she did in my part of Florida. Anyway, it was nice this native went out of his way and we left with a wonderful impression.

I would love to return to the Keys. There is a park at the end of the Keys which I would love to visit. As for the pythons rumored to be out and active crossing the roads, we didn’t meet any. Maybe they were hibernating that day. So, news, the news we have to pay attention to and the actual reality. Sometimes we get lucky. I still hate texting on a phone and would prefer my speech to text but this doesn’t always work well for me. It might be a family thing as my brother told me recently “yes, he has a cell phone but a 10 minute conversation is enough.” Somehow I feel that would be a long conversation for him. Do I want someone to have my facial biometrics and my DNA on file? No, no, and no, in the words of Amy Winehouse’s song “Rehab.”

Privacy is a wonderful sense of country or being. If you want to know what I eat for breakfast, lets have a conversation in person. Even better, maybe we can have breakfast together and talk. These are my thoughts.

Thanks for listening.

Sometimes you are called in last minute to pick up the pitch and you discover yourself in a no bat zone with nowhere to pitch. Imagine yourself a relief pitcher: someone tells you to enter a field, give it your best shot or ball, and then blames you for the results.  Now obviously as you read this and if you are a sports enthusiast and are translating what I mean…you understand the relief pitcher is going to be blamed for the results yet they have no choice but to play ball. All of us understand this analogy and sometimes we have to know when to fold. You have to know when to walk away from a situation or from a toxic person when you wake up with the dry heaves dreading the day.  It isn’t fair to blame the relief pitcher for the past plays but this is what happens when you walk into a toxic situation without knowing all the idiosyncrasies from the beginning. The pitcher or the batter first placed with the team understands the situation and he or she is running as fast as they can but now you have inherited the situation as they have left the field.

Haven’t we all faced situations like this and sometimes you just have to leave. All those good intentions and all the love of a sport won’t compensate when you are put on the blame line because you are a convenient target so that everyone else can get by gracefully. I use this analogy because I am not a big sports fan but as I was discussing with my husband the other day a situation, this is the analogy he came up with and it fits. I was happy that he could understand the situation because he has been there in the same position as I was placed in.

My philosophy of education is that it begins in the home and the greatest influence are the parents and the immediate home the child returns to every night. I think of my mom growing up during the trying times of the great depression and how during her childhood in New York City, she attended 12 different schools yet she managed to enter New York University and study retail and business management. I remember her telling me that at 9 years old, she had colitis from nerves. She adapted. My parents were strict with my brothers and me. We adapted and we respected our parents, and treated them with respect.

Even when times are challenging, respect is a commodity that shouldn’t be misused. The other day, I overheard someone mention this area “Gibsonton” had become like a ghetto. I was familiar with the area and rembered visiting with my husband and our friends about 4 years ago to see the carnies, as Gibtown was home sweet home to them. It is an area marked by huge power plants and phosphate mounds. When we visited, we went to see the old carnival town as many retire in Gibsonton. We were all curious to see a place called the Showtown Bar & Grill. We went and saw a few of the carnies sitting and talking. This is what I remember. I remember passing lots of trailer parks, noticing ferris wheels rise out of backyards, cotton candy booths line the streets, bags of stuffed animals spill into a trailer park. It seemed like a writers’ paradise not a definition of ghetto. The person who I overheard saying this is someone I don’t know anything about which is kind of what I thought observing the carnies in the corner talking. I imagined the interesting stories they can tell. I imagine some of them still live in the small trailers. I imagine it doesn’t matter often where we are from or where we intend to go but how we treat the distance from here to there is important.

Try to have respect for others and for the environment. I don’t want to preach but sometimes we have to know when we have a good hand and when we need to let go and move on.  What I remember of that day was that all of the carnies were very respectful to us as we were the outsiders. That told me all I needed to know. I haven’t been to Gibsonton recently but if I were to go; I would notice again how they treated me and my friends as outsiders.

Thanks for listening. Enjoy the rest of the week.

 

 

 

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/04/01/11-foot-alligator-caught-in-florida-pool.html

https://patch.com/florida/templeterrace/s/ge8h6/shooting-reported-celebrity-pool-party-attended-500-plus

I am always surprised at how much I have in common with bloggers who are teachers: we must think alike in more than one way. There is a blogger I follow from Canada (AJ-A Petite Slice of Life) and she teaches elementary school. I like the way she structured her blog, so today I will try it this way. I also enjoy the wonderful photos of Canada.

Work-Yesterday, I went downtown to adjunct for my 5 hour English class. Mike drove me and we left early at 7:00 a.m. I was glad because I was very tired and didn’t sleep well the night before. Allergy season is at its height and I had trouble sleeping. The class went well. I have learned to let go of the adult learners more and have them do more independent work and trust that they will complete the assignment. Not all presented yesterday, so I need to grade them accordingly but for the most part it is a good class. We were both happy to come home yesterday especially since the rain fell and is supposed to rain today which will be a relief for my allergies. This past week, I interviewed for a full-time position now that Mike is doing much better to teach kindergarten at a small charter school until the end of the year. We only have 8 weeks or so left and they were training a sub in the class, so I expect since I didn’t hear from her that she is letting the sub continue. He was doing a good job with them. I thought I would enjoy teaching kindergarten as they are still so eager to learn. I also subbed at a middle school last week and know that it is not the grade for me. My first year teaching in Florida was at a middle school where I was hired on the spot with a temporary certificate: it is still the same.

Dinner-We are eating much less as we get older. Tonight I found a simple recipe from my mom for making Seafood Au Gratin and I am only using 1/2 the bag of scallops and not the shrimp but keeping the fake lobster in the recipe and then sprinkling some cheddar and Parmesan cheese on top, and finishing in the broiler. Vegetables, and rice and we are set for dinner. Eating less feels good and much healthier.

Walk-I walked with the pug this morning. We walked easily a mile with his little legs leading the way. I feel so much more comfortable in our neighborhood. Mike is home much more now and has met many of the male neighbors who are retired. The other day, he met a man whose wife teaches at the nearby University. They are originally from Brooklyn. As I listen to his stories, I am amazed at how much we have in common but when you are working full-time or have a business, as in the past you just don’t know. Neither of us spent much time in the neighborhood. And then, it is easier for my husband to approach and speak easily with the men than it would be for me.

Books-We have an “Ollies’s” near us and I bought a copy of Michael Connelly “The Crossing” on sale for $2.99. I am enjoying the adventures of Harry Bosch. I woke promptly at 5:30 a.m. this morning as we both fell asleep last night at 9:30. We were very tired. I was tired from teaching and not sleeping well and a busy week and Mike gets tired from a “cancer fatigue.” He feels like he has to keep telling me about it and to look it up when I am by the computer.I think he feels guilty for his afternoon naps and how tired he gets after waiting for me for 5 hours. He won’t go with me all the time but I really appreciated him looking out for me yesterday as I felt tired and vulnerable. Sometimes you just need that. As we continue to deal with his cancer, I am becoming more comfortable with being in hospitals but I was not comfortable the other day when my husband mentioned that I should make an appointment to get my cholesterol checked. I have inherited high cholesterol and he is worried that as his health stabilizes that my appearance of well-being is deceptive and that one day, I will have medical problems unexpectedly as my parents did. I am more worried about cars and driving as I was involved as a teenager in a very bad accident in which my mother was almost killed. I was in the car when we hit an oil tanker. All three of us survived but the memories never left. Although I drove in New York City, I could not drive in the United Arab Emirates in 2010. The speed of the cars and the traffic scared me.

The other day I found myself again wondering why my Aunt refuses to discuss the past. I was reminded of all the Hebrew words I picked up from my mom growing up, and the Jewish meals prepared; her faithful Jewish friends from New York; how I was chosen to play the role of Anne Frank in “The Diary of Anne Frank”; my unexpected detour years ago while in college to work on a kibbutz in Israel and my unexpected remark from my husband, the former military analyst, that he wouldn’t be surprised if I had some Jewish blood in my background. Most of my inherited blondness is from my father’s Scandinavian blood intermingled years ago which is another interesting story. I wish I knew more of my past, but unfortunately those who know have passed away and those here will not tell tales.

How many of us really know or understand our past: we may think the world or our world is meshuga or didn’t we have some chutzpah….to do some of our past deeds. I found this through research and this explains some of the mystery:When you look at all the genealogies and the different tribes you can say most of humanity has some Hebrew roots. There are lost Jewish tribes in China, Ethiopia and many other places. Since my mother was raised a Catholic, this would most likely make me a Catholic but not practicing.

Sometimes you just have to wonder but anyway, enjoy the day. Have a great week!

I love reading over my mom’s old letters to me. It is a lost art : writing on a typewriter, an old corona spilling out the secrets. She speaks of moving from house & trailer after they finished travelling through Northern California, Nova Scotia, and visiting different haunts in Arizona including one called Apache Junction to check in on my brother. They had to climb a steep hill towing the trailer on the back of my dad’s truck.

My mom speaks often of being lonely and missing family but enjoying a different scenery and meeting new people. She is so honest. Years later, I can reread her letter and know it speaks the truth. As I was struggling with my time in the United States Navy and trying to improve my math scores, so I could take the Officer’s exam, my mom was cheering me on from the sidelines spouting the truth about my competitive cousins. Life continued for them also and all of us in our 20’s suffered the slings and shots of everyday living even if we sometimes had some unfair advantages. I always believed my cousins were better connected having been the product of private school education, Ivy league schools, and solid business connections through my Aunt. Rereading, I notice how they went through some tough times also. Maybe when I was younger, I wasn’t listening hard enough. I felt like I was the country mouse and they were the city mice. Years later, I appreciated one of my cousins referring to something I said, “You are always having adventures. Where are you going to now?” I never thought that the high expectations that my Aunt may have wanted for her held her somewhat in envy of my free-spirited life. My mother was mostly supportive of my dreams even if she didn’t agree with my Navy choice.

She writes of Ms. M being rejected by two of the graduate schools she applied to; Ms. P’s fiancee breaking off the engagement; and Mr. R. living with his in-laws for a time and not finding a job, suffering anxiety attacks. There was the sense of competition between my mom and her younger sister. She ends the letter with “work & play hard and stay away from negative or shallow people. Just give them a smile, a wave, and go on your merry way.”

Great advice and in its simplicity as the world has become more and more complex, I still have to repeat these words often to myself and think about her words. Sometimes the best you can do is go where you are most needed keeping in a pocket of your mind, the past and the memories before moving on.

Enjoy the day!

Black crows flitter by the cracked fence
Establishing territory
Like the flawed perception of a memory
From long ago of a kingdom
She remembered far away
Where they flew: she and her brother
After they battened down the hatches
Closed all the barn doors
Checked for snakes running through the ground floor
And also those spiders dangling precariously close to their sanity
Before the weather changed from humid to frosty cold
Which invited more thoughts
And more analogy
Of the
Black crows which continued to congregate
Like a small church congregation
On
Sunday
Cackling away and staring with deep regard as if waiting
For the right circumstances to pounce
Upon the gold we put in hiding
Little did they know
It was right in front of their faces
Contained by the old books, the photographs, and the
Presence of her loved one
Beside her.