Archive for January, 2011

Of Wings And Wind

January 20, 2011

I have been thinking of all the people who enrich our lives with the services and work they do every day to keep us all safe and warm; well fed and clean in our world….people who we might seem to take for granted because they are so integral with our living conditions…people like the truck driver’s who carry all our goods and food stuffs across many miles to stores, so that we may eat and live well; people who pick up our trash each week so we can be healthy and clean; people who drive our buses, railways, cabs and subways so that we may get to our destinations safely; people who provide us with electricity and clean water and keep our plumbing and dwellings in good repair; people who make sure the mail gets to us and communications stay open, clear and delivered; repair personnel out in the weather and in factories, shops and facilities; people who wipe down our tables in restaurants so each of us can have a clean table at which to comfortably eat; people who wash dishes and chop vegetables and cook meals and sling hash and wait tables at all hours of the day and night; people on assembly lines who are as important as the inventors and manufacturers of goods; people who teach and people who clean; caregivers to youngsters, seniors and disabled; people at checkout counters and people who work in factories, companies, laboratories, offices and shops; people who sew, weave, sweep, assemble, make and fix things, talk to us on phones, tot up numbers, keep paperwork in order and grease the wheels of industries; people who get up at the crack of dawn to plant, grow, reap and tend livestock to keep us well fed; people who work in hospitals caring and curing, cleaning rooms, making beds, emptying bedpans, monitoring and dispensing meds, bringing water, stocking the necessities and giving a kind smile with the magazine, book or tv hookup; people on street corners who sing, strum or play an instrument and share their music with us all; people who write and share the poetry of their souls without acclaim; people who toil in anonymous silence and try to stay true to their calling; people who meet and greet with a smile and a cheery hello; people on land, in air and at sea who gift us with their skills, time, attention, talents and abilities every moment of the day around the world…..

People like you with your own special positive touch in every endeavor who are an integral part of our lives; you are important.

This day, this moment, take pride in your work; swell with satisfaction.  You have earned it and do so every day.

It may seem that the very visible jobs get the recognition.  It may seem easy to thank the surgeon who saved your life or the professional who stands out in the spotlight of face to face in seminal moments and particular occasion of one’s life; yet it is you who are our unsung heroes and are essential to our well being.

In addition I add all teachers at every level of our lives from family members to schools and life experiences; to those who take time to teach any child or adult one lesson in life, you make our world a better place simply by giving the gift of your self and moving on in constancy.  Like a pebble in the pond, you touch one being as each lesson and kindness ripples out forever to enrich all lives in ways you may never imagine.

We may not know your name or see you face to face, yet please know that, as sure as you are reading this, you are thanked and much appreciated for your contribution to society and to each individual who benefits from you having done your job.

You matter.

Thank you.

Like the song says, “You are the wind beneath our wings.”

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Day In Haiku

January 13, 2011

Writers’ meet today

Cold conspired to constrain me

Pushed ink past restraints.

 

 

1/1/11: New Year’s Eve Reflections

January 13, 2011

2010 into 2011 gave pause for reflections on how much things change.

It has been a custom in our circle of long time friends to gather together on New Year’s Eve.

Years ago, this tradition was begun in my home, where a group of friends arrived, each bringing a favorite dish to share with the whole community.  We’d all sit at table and begin with grace and a go-round of each saying something they were grateful for as the year ended and the new approached.  Then each of the cooks would introduce his or her contribution to the night’s menu, giving a short history of where it came from, ingredients, what makes it personally special and if it was handed down from ancestors or one that came from the sharer’s own creativity.

As the years passed, the table had to be extended many times, as our group grew and became a more extensive groaning board.

Amazing arrays of delicious and unique appetizers, salads, main courses, vegetables and desserts graced our palates and filled our stomachs and senses with well being and unity in what a dear restauranteur friend of mine  has deemed the best experience in life: sharing good food with good friends and family.  When I think back, I can still smell the tantalizing aromas and taste the many layered tastes of Kathy’s bountiful Bouef Bourguignon, Dara’s Eggplant Parmigiana, Veronica’s hearty Turkey Chili, Charlie’s Turk’s Turban, Evangeline’s Chimole, Willow’s Millet Meatless Loaf, Owen’s Paprika’d Salty Roast Chicken, Melanie’s Magnificent Meatloaf, Heide’s Decadent Chocolate Cake, Roz’s Lemon Drizzle Cake, Steve’s Spectacular Salads, our non cook but still game for contributing goodies, Bruce’s, Lo Mein from his favorite Chinese restaurant and the health conscious, sugar free Whistle Stop cheesecake and my own Ant Hill, a concoction of caviar and eggs; homemade chopped liver and  Thai Chicken with Jasmine Ginger Rice with fresh green beans atop.  There have been Apple Stuffed Roast Duckling with Orange Glaze, Shepherd’s Pie, Shrimp Scampi, thick, creamy Seafood Bisque, Rum cakes, Bourbon Balls, Spinach Cream in Crunchy Bread Bowls, Homemade Vanilla’d Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Made Whipped Cream, Cinnamon Raisin Apple Pie in Shortbread Crust, S’More Tarts, Passionfruit and Dark Chocolate Tarts, Pear and Ginger Tarts, Struffoli, Chocolate and Vanilla Cannolis, Decadent Golden Raisin Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Crumb Squares, Fresh Fruit of all kinds, crudites filled with fresh vegetables and homemade dips to go with, cheeses from around the world, salsas and chips and all sorts of nuts and candy to delight the child still alive in each of us.

And being the Cheese cake Queen, the list of Nothing Plain  About This, Cinnamon Swirl, Raspberry and Chocolate Chip expanded, over the years and with greater guts to try new ingredients; to include Banana, Eggnog, Chocolate Mousse, Apricot, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime Curd, Passionfruit, Marionberry, Mango, Guava and Pumpkin Streusel With Caramel Drizzle.   All arriving in their buttery sweet honey grahamed crusts to delight every taste bud.

I’ve always enjoyed cooking, experimenting with the bounty of Mother Nature in my kitchen.  More comes together there than anywhere and what rises to the surface touches body, mind and spirit and  becomes more evident than mere yeasty bakeables.  It’s where I can let go of knotty challenges and free flow to allow the Universe and Angels in to take over the wheel while I whirl in spices and heart singing in the positive energy of creating something wonderful and delicious to share with the people I love.. So I thought, why go out to a restaurant when we can come together and really create a smorgasbord of culinary creations ourselves.  My thought being that we all have some dishes that are meaningful and pleasurable to us and that was the kind of evening I’d been having at my home for years with the house being open to anyone who wanted to join us in ringing out the old and bringing in the new year with a focus on what good we found as we met one another along our criss crossing paths.  Pots of homemade chili and soup and good bread was the simple start after a burning bowl ceremony at the nearby Unity church midnight service. We’d sit around warming our stomachs and our hearts and souls with the shared food and stories of the miracles that had occurred in our lives and talk about what we’d like to see happen in the new year.  Then we’d play board games and eat some dessert; starting the year off with the spirit of togetherness, laughter, light and sweetness.

It was a vision of mine that unfolded over the years to wax and wane in group size, time and texture and began to be hosted in the some of the homes of the other gatherees.

The warmth of the coming together always remained and metamorphosed into everyone looking forward to favorite dishes being requested and new people joining with fresh energy and prepared goodies of their own to share with us.  The particulars may have evolved but one thing remained. Our own burning bowl ceremony remained through ice and snow banks.  About fifteen minutes before midnight, we’d stand outside, one of us holding a container and lighter for each to light afire  the slips of paper on which we’d written what we wanted to release from the old year. Watching the energy of that cleansing go up in smoke lightened and was healing; freeing in some small but important way.

In keeping within a circle of giving and receiving energy, on separate slips of paper we’d write the things we’d like Angels, Spirit, God or the Universe to bring to us in the coming year. These would be placed in envelopes with the individual’s name on the front and gathered to be mailed out before the end of the new year so that everyone could take a look and see in what manner their wishes were answered.  This was shared bridging one year into another in taking a look at how the Universe often brings us what we want and need in ways we may not have recognized and in a manner not anticipated or thought of as our wish granted.  This practice gave us an optical and conscious tune up with the looking back with different perspective of time and space and the added dimension of eyes, ears and hearts of friends.

Some years, game playing turned into conversation time and in hard times of recent years, some didn’t want to go the spirit route when practical survival was so hard and concrete.

This year we were down to three of us and snow piled to the sky. So we decided to go to our fav local Italian restaurant.

Gino’s italian food was yum & the snow not too terrible to climb over in our mukluks and layers of outer wear.

Gave us a few nice flashbacks to another life in the alps somewhere.

The ever so friendly and accomodating staff at the restaurant served us delicious garlic slices that ripped open tom’s lip. a testament to careful and safe cooking, they were so well done that we could clink them on the edges of our plate so they served as percussion instruments. wasn’t that clever of them to provide the opportunity for entertainment during the meal.

It being a special occasion, we were told ‘take your time’ as they grabbed the plates practically right out from under our forks in their efforts to be efficient and attentive.  the waiter must have loved our liberal tip because he dashed out & disappeared the moment the bill was paid-no doubt running home to show his family how much he made at work that evening.

The cleaners were especially efficient as they had the floor mopped and the other chairs up on tables before we could get our coats on & wish them a happy new year.

How lucky is that restaurant to have such help!

After that celebratory energy we mushed on home through the winterwonderland and ultimately it was quiet new year’sand we missed you and ther gang very much.

But as we sat tucked warm & safely in, watching the ball drop & listeing to all that fabulous rap music, with the very relevant, today lyrics -so melodic-& were watching the performers in their raggedy clothes that fell below the poor boys buttline, we realized that it was important to see them so gainfully employed since they showed how needy they are.

Poor things.

Shabby threads, must be starving too, because they seemed not to have the energy to sing more than mumbles and they must’ve caught some street lice or some such skin adversity because they kept grabbing their lower regions like scratching & itching and jumping up & down like st vitus dance.

Such dear talented kids, it’s such a shame. but i give them e for effort. you can’t keep talent down.

Nice of mayor blumberg & the city to give them a chance to show us what they got, dontcha think.

And so they did and we saw & heard.

It was jaw dropping.

You never know where you charity begins but that night we knew ours began at home.

In Light & Love

florence


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