New Year’s Re-SOUL-U-tion

New Year’s Re-SOUL-ution

Personal Activisim

Can you feel the heightened energy as we head into 2017?  There are changes afoot–it’s in the air.

Politically, we have drawn lines in the sand.  Often, time makes fools of us,  Do you remember the difference between reaction and response?

Response is the root word of responsibility, after all.

Reaction sounds like an action that has been taken before.

I don’t want to walk down any time-worn, dead-end alleys–do you?

I am going to welcome change into my life on a personal level and use my energy to reach the people who come into my life.

It’s exponential–we reach–they reach–soon, it can be the hug that was felt around the world.

I hate being cold!

I hate being cold.

I mean, I really hate it.

It deters me from personal improvement–and that’s a fragile commitment as it is.

Drafty floors and Yoga?  Not so much.

And daily moisturizing seems to be a warm-weather affair.  Cold lotion on my already chilled skin is like torture and I am loathe to do it.

Idea!   I will place the lotion bottle–(Neutragena Emulsifying Lotion–is my favorite of all time– and this was not a paid plug), under my electric blanket!  Genius!

Maybe I’ll just keep it there all Winter long.

You do what you gotta` do, sometimes, right?

Morphing from Optimistic to Optimystic

Learning to be Optimistic

One of the lessons my Mother taught me was to couple a bad experience with a fun-filled one.

Having polio put that to test more than once.

I can remember going to get fitted for braces at a machine shop attached to Children’s Hospital.  I had a lump in my throat all the way there because I hated it so much.  There was a metallic, smell of oil and a man with a big dirty leather apron who would stepkindly from behind the counter to fit me.  He was gentle and that made it even harder to choke back the tears—I didn’t want to wear those big, clunky, heavy shoes with those heavy, cold steel rods that kept me upright.   I had to admit that something was  different about me on those days. It felt all wrong.   i tried not to complain because I knew even then that it hurt my mother to see me cry.

And then…  she would gather me into the car and say, “Ok, Let’s go to our favorite restaurant,” —Sugar ’N Spice!:, then we would go to a Cinerama movie to see something amazing like—The Wonderful World of the Brothers’ Grimm or Paint Your Wagon or Dr. Zchivago—and then, we’d go shopping!

 I guess I got my shopping propensity from that!

Morphing from Optimistic to Optimystic

I began learning to be “optimystic” as I saw coincidences and synchronicities around me too often to believe them to be “just pure luck”.  That makes even less sense than thinking there must be some sort of cause and effect afoot.

And I’ve learned to trust “timing”, even dabbling in manipulation by learning to SLOW DOWN TIME.

For instance, when I realize that I have more to do than time to do it in, as often happens, I say out-loud:  SLOW DOWN TIME  and I imagine all that I want to accomplish.  Then I let go of the worry. I don’t check the clock anymore after that–until I’m done.   I just get going, doing one thing (or more) at a time and not engaging in panic nor doubt that it’s going to get done.

And Voila`–it works!   Saving me from stress. Granny in black hat

London Blog

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I can easily imagine spending more time in London Town –may I call it that now with my new-found familiarity?  Traipsing the Burroughs and exploring London’s underbelly, via the tube lends an up close and personal view of what it’s like to live there.

I am assured by those more familiar with London that the tube is usually dependable and user-friendly.  But if you’re traveling there in the near future, beware of extensive line-maintenance closings and spontaneous rerouting–quite a challenge, for the novice, for sure.

*Disability Warning: escalators and elevators (lifts) may be out-of-order, which can be a real hassle.  Luckily, wonderful people saw my dilemma and grabbed our suitcases and carried them up the steep and numerous stairs which made all the difference!  (Bless you all!)

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There are twelve Inner London boroughs and twenty Outer London boroughs–much of which you will miss if you use the tube everywhere you go, so I suggest mixing it up with a tour bus, Uber, taxis or a river cruise to get the whole picture.

bus

Why haven’t I lost 20 lbs by now, with all that exercise?

Could it be the great food paired with wine or the panoply of British brewed beers? Or the melt-in-your mouth fish ‘n chips, soaked with malt vinegar and dipped in an interesting red curry sauce?  Perhaps England’s boring-food reputation is passe’, because we found the the menus to be both creative and imaginative– quite beyond our expectations.  And if you are a gin-lover, you will feel right at home.

Many neighborhoods have “food co-ops” , small like our convenience stores but packed full with organic and healthy choices.  The prices were more reasonable than I imagined and when you purchase a temporary membership for $10, your discount is immediate and a portion of the price goes to the community.  Impressive.

Friends suggested that we visit Camden Town or Camden Lock, a borough in NW London, located near 3 canals used in the late 1800’s.   Little did we realize that Sunday is Market Day which feels like the circus is in town, with people thronging the streets, music playing mostly American hits, vendors dealing and my senses reeling from all the food aromas, crazy signs and people gathering to do what people do best–socializing and letting their hair down before the work-week begins anew.

 

We took in the traditional sights too– Big Ben, living up to expectations, a sentinel above Westminster Abbey; Buckingham Palace at night with the Queen mum and possibly Kate, locked safely within; and St. Paul’s Cathedral where feeding the birds is more than a scene from Mary Poppins.  Arriving just at evening’s edge, we were beckoned within, silenced by the sacred ambiance, heavy with incense and layered with centuries of prayer.

But my big surprise was walking late at night from Trafalgar Square and arriving at Piccadilly Circus–oh my!  Like Times Square, upbeat with lights flashing, music pulsing, and people lined up to see the next play.  With restaurants and pubs competing for your attention–it’s a haven to your hunger or thirst for the thrill of London’s famous city life.

There appeared to be many homeless people camped on sidewalks or near subway stations but they are polite and careful not to “beg”.  We were told that the police leave them alone as long as they give something in return– such as directions to tourists who obviously need advice (personally speaking).  Everyone said, “thank you”, even if not given money.  So very civilized, those Brits.

England Swings

Cheers!

That’s the definitive greeting of merry old England, gin is the drink of favor and I took both to heart.


We took the train, modern,and restful-to-the travel-weary, to Sheffield, located north of London in Central England, and named after the River Sheaf which runs through the city.  It was a surprising treat. 


In the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production which put it on the map during the First World War. There is a museum for history buffs (Ellioto), and a nice cafe’ for those waiting for the history buffs (that would be me!).


The city is surrounded by hills, contains 250 parks, woodlands and gardens within the city, and an estimated 2 million trees, giving Sheffield the highest ratio of trees to people of any city in Europe.[5] The city has a long sporting heritage, and is home to the world’s oldest football club (that’s Soccer, you know).


It is home to two major universities– the largest in England. So nightlife was thriving and we had a taste along with some local color.


Vintage shops are big there and I dutifully made the rounds, wearing the wheels right off of the suitcase!

Blogging in Colombia: Manna for the Senses

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I See…

Medellin, a city of 3 million filling a valley and sprawling up the encircling foothills of the Andes Mountains. During the day, the colors are warm orange, foliage green and light baby blue. On the eighth floor, our room is level with the distant mountains, offering a birds’ eye view of the lush growth filling all the available space between and above the teeming array of terra cotta apartments, tenements and shacks. Thus far I have not seen 1 solitary home.  They are tucked away somewhere, out of view.  

The metro system unites the villages above city-proper with cable cars like ski lifts dangling above the metal roofs which are often held in place (or not) by stacks of bricks, old tires and garbage bags full of what– I can only guess. It is surreal when you are  floating in the air, so far removed.

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People, people, everywhere… Walking, bicycling, crazy wild on motorcycles, hanging out of impossibly crowded busses, standing-room-only on the metro, and disappearing into yellow taxis swarming all over the place! Even in jammed-up traffic, I am impressed with the lack of road rage– never a harsh word, have I heard.

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Waxing Poetic at Summer’s End… Or ” What sagging Skin?

Comfortably situated on a sturdy wooden park bench uptown, I watch the children play in the water-feature across the street, its foamy cascade, a sweet relief to the dog days that define late Summer. The effusion of flowers are just past full bloom, proudly touting seed pods and rose hips, having fulfilled their seasonal purpose in the circle of life. Brave stalks still reach toward the sun while others bow low, calling it a day, fulfilled and content with their place within the cycle.  
But I’m a little wistful at the thought of winding down, as the season is sure to pass, changing my preferred lifestyle and of course, the clothes that I love best.
Still enamored by strappy tops and sleeveless-ness, I choose to ignore the body parts that seem to have deserted me, having fallen ungracefully towards gravity’s callous pull. My mirror and I have a love/hate relationship, so I am taking the path of least resistance by enlisting a dose of healthy denial–opting not to bemoan that which I do not see.
Personal style is an individual freedom that I foster. Developed from a whim, it becomes an exercise of creative expression. An art form, if only in my own mind, it is a liberty that I claim from having lived this long!

The setting sun is casting sky-blue-pink across my pervue, the sky, a gigantic canvas for celestial finger-paints of color and light. The cicadas seem to herald the day’s end, grateful to have lived another day or perhaps they are celebrating the passage into the coolness of the night. Their constancy is reassuring and reminds me of fresh mown hay on a still-life from my childhood when living seemed easier–or at least, less complex


There is a heady sweetness in the air coming from wave petunias, thick and luscious to the bees. A young woman has begun to trill a folk song across the way, her guitar the only accompaniment to her soulful lyrics, so clear and pure and hopeful.

And now it’s dark– that deep velvety blue, backlit from the sun just setting. I’ll go home now. Many Thanks for sharing your time and attention.