The fallen flower

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“If we demand perfection from ourselves we are not living in the real world…The inherent problem in the relationship between the ideal & the real is that the ideal judges the real as unacceptable and brings down condemnation and wrath on the real. This sets up an adversarial relationship between the two and like all adversaries, they move further and further apart.” ― Henry Cloud, Changes That Heal: The Four Shifts That Make Everything Better…And That Anyone Can Do

I just finished this piece and it makes me so happy to look at it.

The idea started with some flowers I found at the studio from some other project.  I used a store-bought ready to hang frame.  

I cut an old blue mug in half for the vase. I am choosing to leave it as, with the nicks in it. I added the flowers, then the white tiles for the background.  Then different green glasses and mirrors for the additional leaves.

I was going to use green grout, but it didn’t feel perfect. In the end, I put gray grout on top of the green.  It is hard to tell in the pictures but there are hints of green in the final product and it gives the idea of old and used.  Exactly what I wanted.

I chose to leave the frame in the natural wood, instead of painting it white or some other color.

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” ― Paul McCartney, Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics, 1965-1999

“Doctoring her seemed to her as absurd as putting together the pieces of a broken vase. Her heart was broken. Why would they try to cure her with pills and powders?”― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

“The storm is out there and every one of us must eventually face the storm. When the storm comes, pray that it will shake you to your roots and break you wide-open. Being broken open by the storm is your only hope. When you are broken open you get to discover for the first time what is inside you. Some people never get to see what is inside them; what beauty, what strength, what truth and love. They were never broken open by the storm. So, don’t run from your pain — run into your pain. Let life’s storm shatter you.” ― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

Somewhat like a flower

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“Tired, tired with nothing, tired with everything, tired with the world’s weight he had never chosen to bear.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

Hello, I hope everyone has been well. There is a lot going on here, and at the same time, nothing.  If that makes any sense at all.

I canceled two dates.  The two men were both annoying me for different reasons so I decided not to meet them.  I have been on this canceling phase for some reason. It will pass. 

I am meeting my friend Anthony tonight.  I miss him and our conversations, so I am looking forward to it.  He nourishes me spiritually.  Thanks heavens for the friends that brighten our lives.

“Feelings are for the soul what food is for the body.” ― Rudolf Steiner, How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation

I have finished two mosaics pieces.  One is below, and and the other will be on the next post.

I think I am the lazy mosaic maker.  I often start with a canvas with already a design there and frame, and go from there.  I have been told canvas don’t work  for mosaics but it has been working for me.  

I have been trying different materials and techniques.  I see growth and it feels great.

It looks better in person, I promise 🙂 The colors don’t look quite right in the pictures.

“That which causes us trials shall yield us triumph: and that which make our hearts ache shall fill us with gladness. The only true happiness is to learn, to advance, and to improve: which could not happen unless we had commenced with error, ignorance, and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness, to reach the light.” ― Albert Pike

 

Memories, Old and New

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“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ― Virginia Woolf

Last weekend my sister, a couple of friends, and I went to Vernon, NJ.  We stayed at a condo on the Black Creek Sanctuary. It is only one and a half hours from my home. 

On the way there I realized that we passed right by Greenwood Lake, NY.  That is where M. lived.  He is the guy that I dated in January and February last year.  It brought back some memories.  It was the carefree time before the pandemic. He turned out to be a zero, but still we had some nice moments.

The place we stayed at was so beautiful and peaceful.  There are tons to do in the area, but we didn’t do much.  The weather didn’t help.  We enjoyed the pool and BBQed mostly.  We also managed to drive around the area and visit local shops.

Black Creek Sanctuary. It was too muddy to walk around, but a gorgeous place!

Great place to stay at and enjoy nature.

All around the property, there were gardens, and places to fish, hike, etc.

We visited a couple of farmer markets and antique shops

Greenwood Lake, NY – holder of memories

We will go back again to the same place at the end of the month.  We are hoping to do more then.  I am also hoping to go there in the winter, as this place is part of a skiing resort, so I am curious to try this mountain.

On the way home we stopped by Greenwood Lake, NY.  I wanted to show my sister and my friends the area.  Memories of a short-lived potential romance came and stayed with me.

No regrets. Not wanting the past to come back, or change anything. Just enjoying having had experiences and living a full life.

Greenwood Lake: It felt like discovering a new place, or is it, rediscovering an old place?

“Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.” ― Guy de Maupassant

 

Another lackluster date update

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“But you cant shut everyone out. I mean you have to have someone to love. . .someone to hold on to. . . someone–” ― Hubert Selby Jr., Requiem for a Dream

I have been canceling a lot dates lately.  I get excited about a person and schedule a date.  Immediately after, I start thinking of all the reasons why it will not work out.  Then I cancel it.  Why spend the energy and waste the perfume?  And of course, I don’t want to waste anybody’s time either.

I am not being pessimistic. I am just being being practical. And perhaps a bit lazy and disillusioned.

Still, I managed to go on a few dates the last couple of weeks.

Date 1:  We went to La Herradura, right in my neighborhood.  It is a Mexican place, and the food is always great there.  My date had mole chicken and a beer.  I often have the same thing there: quesadillas and a passion fruit mojito.  We both enjoyed our choices.

He is a 65 year old retired insurance agent.  We talked a lot about his grown kids and grandkids.  We also talked about his move to Florida at the end of the year. He is very family oriented and very happy about being retired. 

I am all about family also, but there is nothing sexy and romantic about talking about grandchildren and retiring in Florida.  Perhaps because I don’t have kids and grandkids. Perhaps because retiring in Florida was never my dream. 

He seems to have his life already planned and I would have to come in and make myself fit in.  I hate to say it, but in that sense he felt too old for me.  

“If you still think you’re a young pup then you are, no matter what the calendar says” ― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Date 2: We went to Red Plum in Mamaroneck, NY.  It was my first time there.    My date had sushi and a beer.  I don’t eat sushi. I had a fried rice and crispy eggplant.  I really enjoyed my drink that was made with passion fruit, cranberry juice, vodka and some other stuff.

He is a 52 year old professional musician with a day job.  He plays some theatre and concert jobs.  He was handsome and pleasant.  We had some things in common, but I don’t think there was enough in common. 

He doesn’t own a TV and spends his evening studying different subjects, specially languages.  I admire that discipline, but it is not me. I want to watch TV, learn languages, exercise, etc.  I want it all, and he is more focused on a couple of things.   I think we would annoy each other in the long run.

I should be meeting 2 guys this week.  If I don’t cancel…

“Can I do it? I’d rather not try and fail.”    “That’s stupid talk, Maya. Every try will not succeed. But if you’re going to live, live at all, your business is trying. And if you fail once, so what? Old folks say, Every shuteye ain’t sleep and every goodbye ain’t gone. You fail, you get up and try again.” ― Maya Angelou, The Heart of a Woman

 

A perfect imperfect weekend!

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Last week my sister and I decided to take Thursday and Friday off and make it a 5 day weekend.  It was not very smart since the last days of the month and of the semester are normally our busiest at work.

We decided to stay at the hotel at Foxwoods Casino and during the day go to Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island, just 20 minutes away.  

We were also going to spend time with my friend in Westerly, RI.  She just got engaged, and we planned to take the happy couple out for a celebration.

The plan was to go away for 3 days, and then spend Sunday and Monday with local friends.

We had fun, but things didn’t go according to plan. 

It rained, so we never enjoyed the beach, or even the pool at the hotel. 

We made zero money at the casino. Not that I ever expect to come home with money, but I expect to be able to play longer.

We never saw my friend.  They both got ill and we couldn’t get together. 

The meal at most restaurants were lackluster.   Only one meal was worth the calories.  The food at Guy Fieri’s never disappoints.  One evening we even went to have appetizers at another restaurant after having had a very mediocre dinner at Hash House.

Fun place to be. Better when I win, but fun no matter what.

Dippin’ Dots is always a highlight for me. I have this ice cream every time I am there. Just love it!

The view from our room. This is the day we arrived. The only day it didn’t rain.

When I go to to Foxwoods, I have to stop at Mohegan Sun.

Just a pleasure to be out and see people with no masks. Feels normal again.

We drove and walked around Mystic, CT and the sea shore of Rhode Island.  That is always fun!

Sunday and Monday we spent some times with friends we hadn’t seen in ages. That was a lot fun.

Plans go wrong for different reasons.  Sometimes it is just to remind us to make better plans next time 🙂 or to teach us to be more flexible and understanding.

I am leaving work earlier tomorrow to go away for the weekend again.  This time we are going to a resort in NJ to just enjoy nature and the pool.

Stay tuned for a date report. 🙂

Feeling blessed, wishing you all a blessed weekend!   

 

 

 

 

My week in pictures

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“Rule #1: Life is supposed to be fun!” ― John McGrail, The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation

Since returning from Brazil I have been playing catch up with work deadlines and other personal stuff.   But I also have been making sure to fit fun into the picture. Here is what I have been up to:

I have played cards with friends. I had not done that in ages.  It is a Brazilian game called Buraco.  I think it may be similar to Canasta.

I went on a date with an accountant.  He introduced me to his 35 year friend that happened to be at the bar.  We sat with him. The friend and I talked non-stop. After the friend left, my date and I had a nice time, but not nice enough for a second date.  I wish the friend was older 🙂 We went to Sedona Grill in Mamaroneck, NY.

Went to Trader Joe’s and treated my sister and I to beautiful flowers. Every woman deserves to get flowers every now and then.

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.” ― Charles Schaefer

Went to a birthday/graduation party at the Melting Pot in White Plains, NY. AWFUL!! While the food was okay, the service was terrible. It took ages to get drinks or food.  It was clear that they were understaffed and undertrained. I guess it is really true that restaurants are having a hard time trying to get employees to get back to work.

Went on another date with a 60 year old hedge fun consultant. We went to Modern Restaurant. He was a nice guy, but that was it.

“And the sun and the moon sometimes argue over who will tuck me in at night. If you think I am having more fun than anyone on this planet, you are absolutely correct.” ― Hafiz

It is not just lunch. It is an event. It is quality time. It is love!

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“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ― Orson Welles

Let’s talk about lunch.

In Brazil lunch is a big deal.  Specially in small towns.  I am sure people in the big cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio are not obsessing about lunch as much as people in the small towns.

Many people have 2 hours lunch break. I can’t imagine doing that.

It is 8am, we are having breakfast and already talking about the menu for lunch.  My mom likes lunch to be served at 12pm, so that the afternoon coffee can be had between 3 and 4pm.

I didn’t realize how crazy it all really was until I was in charge of preparing lunch.  My Mom was always the cook, but since her hip is really bad, that duty fell to my brother.  The reason why I went to Brazil, besides to see my parents, was to give my brother a break from taking care of my parents.

So, for 2 weeks, lunch was on me.  Anywhere in Brazil one can find plenty of good food to buy.  There are tons of places that sell by the weight or a premade plate. They are often very good and reasonably priced.  

Unfortunately, no matter from what restaurant we order, my parents always find something wrong with the food.   My mother is a wonderful cook.  Her food is indeed hard to top.   

I barely survived the 2 weeks.  Thinking of what to make, making it, serving it, then storing the leftovers, and cleaning up, takes so much time and energy.  Thanks Heaven I didn’t have to think about what to buy, as my brother left a very well stocked fridge, freezer and pantry.  And 3 times a week a farmer comes with his van to sell produce and other items. 

“I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them.” ― Oscar Wilde

I rather do anything else, but make lunch.  I much rather clean, organize, do laundry, etc. And I did all of that too.

A typical lunch in Brazil is made up of:

  • White Rice. ALWAYS!! Made by washing it (until water runs clear), sautéing very well with oil, garlic and onions, then add salt and boiling water.   Let it simmer until desired tenderness.
  • Beans. Wash and let it soak for a long time. Cook it on a pressure cooker, then sauté some of the beans in oil and garlic, then add the remainder of the beans, salt, plus additional water if need be.
  • A protein: beef, pork, chicken or fish. My father doesn’t eat pork or fish, so when making those, beef is also made for him. We make beef in many different ways, roasted, grilled, stewed, etc.  We are big fans of chicken fried steak, but it  is so time consuming to make and it is not the healthiest. Also, no matter how we make it doesn’t come close to my mother’s, so I won’t even attempt.
  • A vegetable: The ones we make most at my house are: zucchini, cabbage, chayote, okra,  Scarlett eggplant, eggplant and carrots.  
  • A salad (fresh or sautéed): lettuce, chicory, arugula, kale, escarole

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” ― Oscar Wilde

We don’t make pasta often, but on the rare occasion we make pasta Bolognese or pasta aioli, we will also have rice.  If making potatoes, we will also make rice.  Brazilians don’t have a problem with having many starches in one meal.

At breakfast in my house there is always plenty of fruits (mostly papaya, bananas, orange, tangerine and avocados), cheeses (often white farm cheese, and some other artisanal one), breads (French baguettes and some sweet ones), Coffee, milk.  Never cereal, never eggs, never bacon.

The afternoon coffee is often a repeat of breakfast with the addition of some kind of  cake. Often a yogurt or a cornmeal cake.  When I am there, there will be an additional chocolate cake. There are also different types of cookies that gets delivered from a farmer to our door.

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” ― David Mamet

In Brazil there are a lot of things sold door to door.  Besides the farmer selling his produce and the cookie ladies (they also sell cheese and wine), there is always someone ringing the door bell trying to sell something.  We buy something from everyone that knocks on our door.  We just feel bad not helping.

In my 3 weeks there I bought tablecloths, dish towels, cleaning products, frozen cheese bread, and artisanal chocolates, among other items.

Of course I had to join in and indulge in every meal.  What intermittent fasting? lol  The best quality times are around the table, enjoying the food and discussing the next meal 🙂

I promise that next time I go to Brazil I will take pictures of at least some of the food.  

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”― Hippocrates

Happy to go and happy to return!

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“Usually, there is nothing more pleasing that returning to a place where you have endured hardship.” ― Tahir Shah

I just arrived from Brazil.  Exhausted, but so happy I went!

When I left, I had great plans for this blog.  I was going to post something every day. There would be tons of pictures.  I assumed, incorrectly, that I would have the time and energy to write, and to also do my office work.  None of that happened.

Instead I devoted my time to my family.  I got there and gave my brother a much deserved break.  I was left in charge of everything, including meals, medication and taking my Mom to a couple of doctor’s appointment.

I have a renewed respect and understanding for all that my brother has been doing.  It is not easy!  And to cook, on top of it all!  Lunch is a huge affair in Brazil, specially at my house. At breakfast there is already discussion about the menu for lunch.

I will talk more about that and other details about being in Brazil.  At the moment I am scrambling to catch up with work stuff.  Work has been neglected. I have been neglected.  I neglected you.

Gotta run, just wanted to say hi.  I look forward to catching up to everyone’s blog/life.  I have missed you!!

“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.” ― Masaru Emoto

One step towards Brazil

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I am doing a happy dance 🙂

  1. Received my test results in time for my flight tomorrow.
  2. It was Negative.

“For a few minutes I tried to empty my mind entirely, to concentrate solely on breathing: sometimes it’s useful to rediscover simpler pleasures of life.” ― Romain Gary

ps. celebrate the fact that I have a post that goes right to the point 

Anxious? Who, Me?

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“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn

I am feeling anxious lately.  I read somewhere that anxious people live in the future and depressed people live in the past.  I am definitely living in the future.  With my trip to Brazil looming, I find myself anywhere, but here and now. 

Hi!  My name is Ana and I am anxious!

Being in the here and now, is a constant struggle.  Meditation helps, especially when I actually do it  🙂 

“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn

Here are some of the sources of my anxiety.

Covid test: Airlines requires a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of flying.  Testing centers say results will come in 3 to 7 days.  Every place I have called, from my doctor’s office to hospitals, tell me that they cannot guarantee when I will get the results back because it will depend on how busy the lab is.        

My friends tell me not to worry because they know people that have done it at CVS and they got the results in time. I don’t want uncertainty.  I want a guarantee.

Is there ever a guarantee in anything in life?  I guess the only certainty in life is death.

I finally found a place that guarantees a 24hr turn around for $200.00.  I rather pay the $200.00 and not have to worry.  But what if the test is positive?  I have been vaccinated, but it could happen. 😦

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ― Corrie Ten Boom

Luggage:  I haven’t gone to Brazil in almost 2 years, so things to take home have piled up.  I paid more for a ticket that allows me to take 3 bags, but still is not enough.  23 kilos per suitcase is nothing if you are bringing bagels and bottles of lotions.

I have been having to remove items from my luggage to make it lighter.   I stress myself out every trip, and promise myself to travel lighter next time.  Note that I don’t bring a single item for me to wear.  Everything is for my family and friends.   Thankfully I have clothes already there.

What if my scale is not accurate and I am still over the limit?  What if I forget to bring something for someone?

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems” ― Epictetus

Work:  Will I be able to work from there?  Will the payroll go off without a hitch?  What about the 401K submissions?  What about the client’s invoices? Will there be any emergencies?  I never stayed in Brazil this long (3 weeks).

I am doing whatever I can not to have any issues, but I know that things will happen and they will get managed.  I am not a heart or brain doctor.   No one will die if I cannot get back to them in a couple of days.

I will look less than perfect.  I will lose my status as the person that gets it all done.  Can I handle that?

“Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.” ― Epictetus

Dates:  I canceled a bunch of dates.  Did I just cancel a date with Prince Charming?

Cindy (https://uniquelyfitblog.com/) was not keeping up with my dating life so I decided to slow down for her.  Haha, no, just kidding!  I just didn’t see the point of adding dates to my busy schedule now.

I have been exchanging messages and texts with a few guys, but none have my full attention and interest to meet them now. They seem great but my mind is elsewhere.

If it is meant for me, it will be here when I return 😊 

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.” – ― Thomas Paine

… and so I stress, knowing that everything will turn out as it is meant to be.  And it will be perfect!