"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Forward To A New Year

We are ushering in a new year. Let us hope the year brings hope and happiness to people who have been beaten down with the harsh realities of life. Let us help wherever possible the people who live each day with hungry bellies. Sending five dollars to an energy assistance program in your community can help an elderly member in your town be warm and stay well. Find out what is needed at your local schools and tell your friends what that is and help provide the better learning environment at the schools. Make this a year that you think of others. Make that your New Year Resolution and follow through the entire year, and see if this is the best year ever. Thinking of others and caring and sharing bring many rewards in ways you cannot even imagine.

May this year be happy for all of us.
2012 means changes. One change is that I am no longer anonymous. Here is me drinking my coffee this morning:
Toasting you all with my morning coffee and sending good wishes to you all. Thank you for your love and support.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Winning and Laughing

One of my senior friends invited me to play Bingo with her. She likes to play in a town on the other side of where she lives out in the country. She came into town to pick me up and drove out past her house a few miles to the other town. Bingo is a bi-weekly event in that little town. Lots of cars already there and the women of the parish bringing in food to sell. Bingo is held at a very large parish hall. I had already eaten but the homemade soup looked great. I would have to find out the ingredients before I would buy something, but I did buy a small bottle of water.

I was given a free bottle of dabber to mark my Bingo sheet and welcomed like family. This was my virgin Bingo night. As the man on the stage began calling numbers, I found I needed to concentrate on the six bingo boxes so I wouldn't miss dabbing any numbers. My friend who brought me won a game early on. And at the end of the night I had won two times so I went home with $15. And there was lots of visiting and laughing. I thought Bingo players would be more like Bridge players, no talking and serious playing. I don't play bridge but I watch the Bridge players at the center. Since I know nothing about Bridge, maybe they are in tournaments. Not so. The Bingo people were a blast. And I actually knew three people from the senior center. For my first time out and about I did not feel like a stranger. I was a winner in more than one way.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Slippers Do The Old Folks Shuffle

It must be something from my childhood, but when I hear people shuffling along with feet slightly dragging, it sounds like old people to me. I am not in any way disparaging old people. I am one of them.

Someone gave me these slippers. I have worn them for a few years now. One day I accidentally spilled a drop of bleach on one slipper. So, instead of looking at the drop and letting it bother me, I took a Q-tip dipped in bleach and made a design in the slippers. My way of turning lemons into lemonade. Or in this case, damaged slippers into funky art.

When I walk around the house with my slippers on though, I don't walk my usual way. I shuffle. That is the only way to keep the slippers from slipping! Thus, the Old Folks Shuffle.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

For The New Yorkers

It's Mike's first day on the job as a bartender.

As he serves a customer a Manhattan, a piece of parsley falls into the drink.

"What the hell is that?" the customer asked.

"It's your Manhattan, and there's Central Park."

You're welcome.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another Enjoyable Holiday

Adopting the seniors for my surrogate family has filled a void. Having brothers and sisters my age and older who understand the aches and pains of getting older is a relief.  I don't have to ask someone to help with something; people are watching out for each other and doing things for each other like a loving family. These are some photos from our senior Christmas luncheon.

Merry Christmas to all the dear, loving, sweet, encouraging blog friends and your families. I am blessed to know you and grateful for the wisdom and viewpoints you share with me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Cat

My mother sent me a newspaper clipping of this story:

A cat died and went to heaven. God met her at the gates and said "You have been a good cat all these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking." The cat thought for a minute and then said "All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would really like a fluffy pillow to sleep on."

God said "Say no more." Instantly the cat had a huge fluffy pillow.

A few days later six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to heaven together. God met the mice at the gates with the same offer that he made to the cat.

The mice said "We have had to run all of our lives; from cats, dogs, people with brooms. If we could just have some little roller skates, we would not have to run again."

God answered "It is done."

All the mice had beautiful little roller skates.

About a week later, God decided to check on the cat. He found her asleep on her fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked "Is everything okay? How have you been doing? Are you happy?"

The cat replied "Oh, it is WONDERFUL. I have never been so happy. The pillow is so fluffy, and those little meals on wheels you have been sending me are delicious!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Participating More

The director of the senior center encouraged me to attend the free yoga classes at the center. Man oh man. I haven't felt relaxed like that in a long time. I am a regular now. Early mornings each Wednesday. Perfect time. I did some relaxation exercises at home in the evening too and plan on making that part of my evenings. Staying flexible and breathing well is just what I have needed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Were You Ever Envious Of TechnoBabe?

That was a waste of energy. It's my fault for leaving comments from my seat of wisdom and experience.

In the previous blog, I was gushing about the love and sweet life I lived with my husband. I failed to mention the fact that he has bipolar disorder. Do you know anyone with bipolar disorder? Are you living with someone with bipolar disorder?

This new blog is intended to be one of the cleansing tools for me. I won't be writing about bipolar disorder. I am trying to put everything associated with bipolar disorder behind me. The mania is just too enticing for someone with bipolar disorder and too painful for the loved ones.

In TechnoBabe's Adventures I was writing from the top of the world, not realizing I had so much more to learn.  The bubble can burst and ooze slime all over a life in a nanosecond.

I wrote a quick farewell post on TechnoBabe's Adventures, and have not been back to read any of it. That woman and that life ended. It was a great ride while it lasted.

I see the irony now of my writing such overenthusiastic posts about the love I found and how much it meant to me. Now I begin at square one and will be examining what love means to me, why I think I want it in my life, and ever so cautiously test the waters. Trust will forever be an issue for me now. I will not expect myself to be able to trust, but I can have friends with flaws who accept my limitations. I think that is about as much as any of us can hope for. 

Green eyed photo found on Google.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Who Will I Find To Fit In With

My whole life was spent trying to fit in by doing things I didn't even like, just to be part of something. I did not like drinking; I drank but just enough to fit in with the people I hung out with. I truly disliked the taste. I waited until my thirties to experiment with marijuana. After two years trying it occasionally, I removed it from my life. I smoked cigarettes because my first husband smoked and then one day in 1986 I asked myself what the hell was I doing, I did not like the taste. See, taste again. My senses have been trying to make me aware of what is good for me and in a stupor I stumbled along to fit in.

Then in 1985 I met a guy who was so much like me. He did not watch TV, he did not smoke, he used his computer for information, he was a voracious reader, he didn't just enjoy music as I did, he composed music. I found my home. As the years progressed, we found more things in common. And the latest change was to kick wheat out of our lives.

And then it was all over in an instant. The second he made love to his mania instead of me, he left me, left our marriage, and eventually left our home and found a new life with few, if any, responsibilities. We are now nothing alike. I still have standards and have worked hard to be a strong, loving, clear thinking woman. I believe in being faithful and honorable and truthful and I know I am able to be these things and still be fun loving and young at heart.

So now I stand naked in front of my mirror (so to speak) and ask, how did I get back to this place? I am different; I don't watch TV, I don't do facebook or twitter, I don't drink or do drugs, and I don't eat anything with wheat or grains in it. Do I sound dull? No fun? I am a fairly serious person but I so enjoy humor and laughter.

There has to be a reason I am still in this body on this earth in this situation. There must be more to learn and much I can contribute. If this sounds like I am feeling sorry for myself, that is a small part of it. I have always been able to get through the rough times, learn what I can from them, re-evaluate my situation, and move forward with an open mind and willing heart. I will not become a bitter, frosty, isolated older woman. I accept who I am, I like who I am, I don't have to fit like a glove in the community; I fit like a loose jacket in the community and comfortable in my own skin.

Good enough.

Graphic found on Google.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Things Are Improving

The day my husband packed his belongings and carried it all to his car, I helped find the things he wanted and stacked the items on the counter for him to pack. We were both silent. I brought him the hair dryer and gave him the coffee bean grinder. I was still thinking of his comfort and wanted him to be in a good place.

We bought coffee beans and ground a few days worth, so I was able to finish the ground coffee on the day the new coffee bean grinder was delivered to me from Amazon. Good timing, wasn't it?

I would turn on the heater and kneel over the bathroom heater vent to dry my hair. My social security checks are deposited into my bank account the second Wed of the month so I was waiting until then to order a new hair dryer.

At the senior center, I put out a request to the group for  a used bulletin board. Someone had an extra one and donated it, so it was installed on the wall over the coffee pot area. One of the things I used the board for was a place where we seniors can write something we want/need and also a section to write things that someone has to pass along to someone who wants it. I put the hair dryer on the list next to my name.

Yesterday when I finished the yoga class at the senior center, the director of the center told me she would like to speak to me in her office. I followed her into her office and she reached into a bag and handed me a brand new hair dryer in the box. One of the women had given money to the director, asking her to purchase a hair dryer for me. I was flabbergasted . I used the hair dryer today. No more damp hair as I head out in the cold air. Things are improving.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who Is The Susie In Your Life?

My dear friend and foster sister forwarded this to me:

Come with me to a third grade classroom. There is a nine year old kid sitting at his desk and all of sudden there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out , he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

The boy believes his heart is going to stop. He puts his head down and prays "This is an emergency; I need help now! Five minutes from now I am dead meat."

He looks up and the teacher is coming toward him with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered.
As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap. The boy pretends to be angry.

Now instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. As life would have it, the ridicule that would have been his has been transferred to someone else; Susie.

She tries to help mop up, but they tell her to get away. "You've done enough, you klutz."

At the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers "You did that on purpose, didn't you?"
Susie whispers back "I wet my pants once too."

We all have opportunities to help mop up if we look for it and respond to other peoples needs. We each take turns going through tough times. I wet my pants too, at least I have done things as embarrassing. How about you?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Second Hand Smoke

Some things in life are like second hand smoke: Dangerous, Addictive, A waste of money, Invades my space, Harmful, Disenchanting, Changes the home atmosphere to a disagreeable and unpleasant smell.

The only way to disinfect the atmosphere and restore healthy air and safe heart is to remove the irritant. Just putting out the cigarette is not enough. Removing the smoker is the only way to restore sanity and serenity.

I have realized that two months is my limit. If I can see an end to something that is a constant stressful situation, I am able to draw on my patience and understanding but only for so long. For me, it is two months. After two months of interrupted rest, emotional struggles, static atmosphere, lack of stability, and fear, I have to do things to restore my safe little world. I cannot share that with anyone or anything that destroys my peace and dictates the atmosphere and controls my environment.

What does it say about a relationship that someone would turn on someone if they will not buy that person one more pack of cigarettes. Addictions are mind altering and cruel. 

Photo found on Google.

Friday, December 9, 2011


What would I do without friends right now. I hope I have a heart to be there for other people as much as some people have been here for me while I am hurting and trying to heal.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Blocks Away

So far, the photos I have been showing of my little town have been of the townies. Here is a view from a walk two blocks away.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Going Backward

As a kid, I would often dream I was falling backward into blackness. I don't like going backward to this day.

When I was younger and liked carnivals and fairs, I enjoyed being up in the Ferris Wheel until it stopped and started going backward.

Most of my auto accidents I have had were when I was driving backward.

A few years ago I attended a week long workshop and one of the exercises is shown in the picture:  Falling backward into the waiting arms of other attendees. I could do all the other strenuous exercises, but I could not cross my arms across my chest and fall backward into their arms. The instructor kept repeating to me that they were my comrades, my peers, and on and on, but I could only think that they were strangers, how could I trust them to truly catch me.

Apparently, going forward is my best direction.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Evening Delight

That is not the moon.

It is a streetlight in the next block.

This sunset photo is untouched.

Cool, huh?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Did I mention how small this town is? Less than 1100 people. It is wonderful for someone like me. The people in this town embrace newcomers. With smiles, waves,

I moved to small (to me) towns off and on over my working years, and was held at arms length and was not made welcome. Especially when I moved from Las Vegas to a midwest town. Just the name Las Vegas conjured up fantasies for the people in the town and sometimes a person would stop me on the sidewalk to ask me a stupid question about my life in Las Vegas. I think half of them believed I was either a hooker when I lived in Las Vegas or part of the "mob". One man accosted me in the small grocery store in the produce section. I had never seen this man in my life.   He sidled up to me, speaking in a confidential manner,  telling me he would set me up in a house rent-free for life if I would be his girlfriend, and by the way, he and the other men offering similar "opportunities" were married men. Some lonely widowers would come to the cafe where I worked for awhile, bringing little gifts to me that I graciously refused. I was the talk of the town the first year I lived there, and a lonely person.

Fast forward twenty years to when I moved to this little town a year ago, to find the reception welcoming and calm. I use the word "calm" over and over these days. It is something I have wanted in my life since I was born into an angry, yelling, physically violent family. That is many years behind me and more than just years have been placed between me and those memories. Replaced by my present time of serenity within my soul, manifesting in my being and grateful heart.

I took the photo of the VFW hall. Sometime I will check out their Bingo Night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Christmas Giveaway And A Worthy Cause

Joanna's blog is The Fifty Factor. If you haven't read her blog, you are in for a treat. For me, when Joanna writes a post, it is like when E F Hutton speaks. I listen. In the case of Joanna's posts, I read. The Fifty Factor is one of my favorite blogs.

See the photo of the lovely Christmas ornament in this post? I learned about a company called Highland Roses Design Collaborative Craft Studio, a privately-funded project that provides individuals who live with disabilities and/or mental illnesses as well as their family caregivers an opportunity to step towards independence through the sale of their own arts and crafts creations. Where did I learn of this company? On Joanna's blog.

For more information on this awesome company and their creative ornaments, visit The Fifty Factor. While you are there, you might as well try for Joanna's giveaway. Good luck.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just Like Others

Seeing the changes that the fall season hoists on us, is a bit shocking in how quickly nature changes the colors and visible physical world.

When I get over the shock, I appreciate the new landscape and settle in to enjoy the rest of the changes of this particular season.

The squirrels are looking pudgy. Their fur is thicker and their ears are hairy looking. The winter birds have started visiting as the temperatures dip to the teens.

I walked around to find some trees with leaves still in place, on this last week of November.

These photos are what I found.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sharing A Meal And Giving Thanks

The senior center in this little town is a lovely building built on a plot of land donated by a senior husband and wife. Because the people living in this town hold seniors in respect, the entire town came together to put together funds and materials necessary to build a place for seniors to congregate.

After living in this town a year, I felt drawn to investigate the possibility of activities I would be interested in joining. There are bridge tournaments as well as pitch. I don't play those card games and don't think I will be one of the "cardies". There are evenings of Bingo and mornings of Yoga. Board games are played occasionally. There are Weight Watchers meeting in a side room on Tuesday mornings. Cribbage, Pinochle, Dice games, and much more. There are blood pressure checks by a traveling nurse,  and speakers from outside brought in,  or children from the town's schools perform or sing. Sounds like a big family, doesn't it?

Lunches are prepared in a state of the art kitchen at the center of the building by the director. The lunch program is sponsored by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. The goal is to ensure the seniors in this town have at least one hot meal each week day at a low cost.

Because I do not eat any foods with wheat, I scan the monthly menus and let the director know which days the meals fit my food plan. When she dishes up my plate, she gives me two vegetable portions, if I choose, when something on the menu contains wheat. She is helpful in substituting non-wheat items for me, so for instance on a day she makes tuna casserole, she will make a Polish sausage or hamburger pattie or salisbury steak for me. She is the one who dishes out the portions of food and she knows each one and or different needs. She reads labels and makes sure I do not get any wheat. The gravy mix she uses has wheat in it, so she does not put gravy on my plate. 

The Thanksgiving Dinner at the senior center was the traditional fare. Turkey, potatoes/gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, rolls and margarine, milk. I did not eat dressing, rolls,  or pie.  If the desserts are made with wheat such as cobblers and pies, she will provide fruit for me. Sometimes the portions are large and I don't want the second veggie or fruit.

After the delicious meals, it is a treat to walk into the house and see the kitchen clean and shining, no dishes to wash. No discord, no stress, no mess.

I hope every one of my blogging friends who celebrate Thanksgiving in the US has a warm and loving day. Whether you are one person or a full room, we can all be united and give each other strength and joy across the universe. No matter what is going on in your life or my life, we have so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Eyes Have It

For awhile cataracts ruled. Foggy vision. I read somewhere that having cataracts is similar to trying to see through a dirty window.
Since I am a perfect housekeeper, I have no idea what that would look like. Ha. That is a pretty accurate description, actually.

The next step was getting glasses with progressive lenses. After an adjustment period, I was able to walk without tripping on every little branch or rock or step-down I came across. I was not able to ride my bike though, my depth perception was wacko.

I tried some eye drops for a month that advertised possible reversal of cataracts. 

And then the great day I stopped including any wheat products into my diet. Wow.

The proof is in the pudding (someone tell me what the heck that means please). A few nights ago it became necessary for me to drive my car home and it was already getting dark. I can tell you that before I quit wheat I was not seeing well enough at night to drive. I just could not see. But with my fingers crossed I held onto the steering wheel with a vise grip and headed home. And it occurred to me that I did not have to be so uptight, that I was seeing pretty well. Not 100% but so much better than a few months ago. My last eye doctor appointment was June 11 and it did not surprise me when the doctor asked me how I was seeing and that I had cataracts. I did not know I had cataracts but I sure knew I was not able to see clearly.

After that eye doctor appointment, I checked out large print books only from the library and I stopped riding my bike. And I was not driving the car. Now I am able to read regular print in library books. And the zinger was driving at night. Hooyah! Someone give me an Amen!

Photo found on Google.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Still Living on California Time

Three and a half years ago I was still in California, working at a job I knew was not good for me. I was working with a sponsor in a twelve step program in codependency. The lessons I was learning and the growth were hindered by the caustic atmosphere of the job. No need to go into it in detail, but it became clear that one year at that job working around the deceit and negativity was harmful to me. I needed to change jobs.

Better than a job change was a move from California to Nebraska. At the time I did not realize how the stressful situations in California affected me on a daily basis. Traffic day and night. Angry drivers, rushing because they did not leave early enough to get somewhere on time. Taking chances and changing lanes to get one car closer to their destination.

After so many years living in that environment, my system was set for early departures to get to work or appointments a little early. I do not like being late, even to social events. I lived around people who did not attempt to keep appointments or arrive at a designated time even if it meant other people were being kept waiting. I was one of the people kept waiting as if my time were not important. Even family members would arrive for holiday dinners two hours late.

Early in my Nebraska life I discovered I did not have to leave an hour early to get twenty miles away. It has taken some adjusting to relax here. The first time to sign up to eat at the senior center in this little town I wanted to walk south to the bank eight blocks away to the ATM and then east seven blocks to the center. I gave it a half hour when it actually took fifteen minutes. I laughed inside when I realized that after three years in Nebraska, I sometimes still think in California time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crunchy Gems

This is the first time I am enjoying fallen autumn leaves. I have always appreciated the majesty and beauty of the trees in fall with a zillion colors and shades of those colors. This year I am in awe of the leaves on the ground too.

The back yard is full of leaves. All the glorious colors. Just brittle enough to make the crunch sound as I walk over them, and the motion sound as I walk through them. Crunchy gems.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for teaching me appreciation.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Post In New Blog

 Post Number One in this new blog.

There has been so much going on in my life lately. I have been growing as a person and going through some difficult situations as well. I am definitely not the same person I was when I began my first blog over five years ago. It was time to end that blog and put things in the past. One of the names I was considering for this blog was Starting Over Without Looking Back because that is how I see my life today: In a positive light, and having learned enough to appreciate the hard lessons as well as the surprise blessings.

This year my goal is to explore my creativity and enjoy life more. I have a new camera, Olympus Stylus, so that is my  companion during long walks and some drives. There is country, farming, cattle, fields, barns and silos surrounding this little town. I have much to see and capture on the camera. Some of the time my husband will be with me but as his bike rides are therapeutic and healthy for him, my walks are good for me.

I am going to do some watercolors. Many years ago I worked in oils and then did some watercolors, so I am excited to have a new watercolor set soon and re-familiarize myself with my style and visual technique.

A handicraft I left behind many years ago is crochet. It brought joy into my life long ago. I have some new crochet hooks, some yarn, and a long memory so it will be fun to familiarize myself with the yarn and the hooked needle and my imagination.

Gardening is new for me. This past spring I bought some flower seeds and planted them in flower beds. I had no ideas what I was doing, so I used more seeds than I needed but there were flowers all summer and fall. I found joy in trimming the flowers, removing dead heads, embracing the abundance of color. The lovely flowers enticed many butterflies and bees so I will be planting flower seeds again each spring.

I have been planning a vegetable garden, again something new for me. Spending time online learning the best methods of growing vegetables from seed and when to begin the planting for the different vegetables is an ongoing project now. I have a file on my desktop for gardening, so like most things I tackle new, I am organizing the info that will help yield the most produce. Since I am retired and in good health, I have time and energy for the first time in my life to have a garden.

The one thing I bring with me to this blog is my wheat free existence. That will never change. I live wheat free, gluten free, low carb. This is the very best lifestyle for me. I don't plan to write much about this aspect of my life in my blog, no recipes, no weight loss updates. It is just one of the very best parts of my life now.

I am also growing out my hair, no more short hair. Of course, I will see how much I can deal with longer hair next summer. It has been many years since I had longer hair and since I cut my own hair I am able to trim my hair as it grows out to keep it neat.

Like I said, this is the first post. Welcome to my new blog. I will be reading my favorite blogs and leaving comments,  using my real name. By the way, my name is CiCi.

Graphic found on techiemania.com.