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Year Four, Day 68: The Chicken and the Violin

I am going to start running (once again until the end of days...err my end of days) tomorrow!


It's the least I can do. In honor of my family member in crisis and for me! I need to relieve some stress.  And lose weight.  AND I need a goal. I am determined to do that marathon yet!

I am feeling better today. I am breathing better at least! I feel like I am glowing. It must be all of this prayer. Prayer is good for the soul!  Not just for the person you're praying for, but for you!

A funny thing happened on the bus just a moment ago. I was getting caught up on the news, when a message popped up. 

"I'm on the same bus as you". It read. There was a man's face that I did not quite recognize attached the text. My heart started to thud.  In my head the tone of voice was slightly threatening.

But when I looked up, I saw his grinning face!  He waved. Then texted me some more. It is a young man I met a few years ago on this very bus.  We exchanged numbers, but never real…

Year Four, Day 67: In My Own Little Corner

I spent the morning in court.  This process is opening my eyes to the plight of inmates.  Everyone makes mistakes in their lives. Some learn from their mistakes.  Some are destroyed from them. 

I'm not even addressing the evil criminals. Those that get pleasure from inflicting pain on others. Or those who feel they are above the law.

I'm talking about people who make mistakes due to poor judgment.  Often due to addiction. Which should be considered an illness, in my opinion. But that is another soapbox.

What I saw today simply saddened me.  Many inmates went before a judge who asked if they had read the charges and understood them.  Most had not read the paper. Some didn't know there was a paper.  Most did not understand.  They were told to read it and come back. And if they had questions, they could ask their attorney.

One man looked up sadly and said, "I did not even know I had an attorney".

I realize our jails are overcrowded. Legal language is confusing.  I …

Year Four, Day 66: The "Knot" of Not Knowing

Still praying.

Still putting one foot in front of the other.  Teaching, caring for my granddaughter, doing legal research online.

But what I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. For a very long time.

I told my family member in crisis that we are all praying for him and doing what we can for him here on the outside.

I am still emailing nuns, and some monks all over the world.

The following is from the website of the Dominican Nuns:

"As contemplative nuns, our primary duty for the Church is prayer.  If you have a prayer request, simply enter it in the form below.  Upon receiving it, we will post it on our prayer board outside of our Choir for all the nuns to see.
Thank you for entrusting your needs and petitions to our prayers! We take them all to Jesus through Mary during Mass,  our hours of the Divine Office, Adoration and Rosary!

God bless you!
The Dominican Nuns"

https://www.summitdominicans.org/prayer-requests/
I feel strengthened knowing women and men who have take…

Year Four, Day 65: All the Monks and Nuns

How I wish I could share with you, my reader, everything that is on my heart this morning
 It is 5:27 a.m. I have been awake since roughly 4:00 a.m.

Hopefully I can speak more freely after Tuesday.

That is when my family member in crisis goes before the judge.  Hopefully he'll be released shortly afterwards.

It has been a long week.

For him, for me, for his girlfriend. And for our whole family.

I've been waking up every morning about 4:00 a.m. I worry, I fret.  Sometimes I go back to sleep. But when I finally face the day, I also have to face the reality that I am missing my family member in crisis.

Missing him so much that it feels like a piece of my flesh has been torn off.

But I must be strong. And positive.  When he called yesterday, his voice sounded lighter.  He told me he was on to us.

"I know what you guys are doing",  he said with a smile in his voice.

"You are trying to act all as if everything is o.k. to keep me positive".

I told him I had a good…

Year Four, Day 64: Praying People

This will be brief.

My family member in crisis is in the crisis of his life. I am in tears, trying to remain strong.

I cannot divulge details at this time.  But if you are a praying type of person, please pray for our family.

I am fearful, but deep down I know we will get through this. I feel God's hand in this.

I am giving it up to Him right now.

Talk to  you soon.

Love and blessings,

Zita

Year Four, Day 63: Call Me Peculiar...

"Call me peculiar, but slate gray skies make me happy", I thought this morning as I leaned my head against the window of the Max train heading to downtown Portland.

Lately, I think in sentences that are perfect blog openers.

That's peculiar in and of itself!

It was chilly this morning when I left home. I walked through the park, kicking colored leaves with my boots as I walked. I could see my breath in little puffs in front of me as I walked.  I felt light-hearted.

I don't often feel light-hearted. I am often pre-occupied. Either worried, or pondering, or planning.

But I felt genuinely good and happy to be alive.

I have been pondering the connection between memory and emotion lately.  The slate gray skies and cool weather bring back memories of me being in a happy state.  I don't recall any particularly moment, just the feeling that I have looked at these same skies in this same emotional state many, many times before.

I wish my nose was functioning properly. I…

Year Four, Day 62: "I Am Not a Bum!" Love with a Capital L

Dear Friends:

This happened last week. I do not remember what day.  I blogged that evening, but fell asleep before I could finish it and post it.

So, a random day last week:

3:00 p.m. Belmont Library:
Another incredibly lovely day.  It is surreal, this weather we have been having lately. The sun is blinding. I wish I could find my sunglasses.

But I am determined to be present in this moment. The clouds will come, swollen with rain.  The skies will turn gray. And it will be damp for months.

At least that is how it has been in the days of the past.

I have noticed that I have been feeling stronger and more energetic lately. I believe it is mostly due to my increased activity.  Fall term is in full swing.  I am teaching three days a week, plus one evening of choir practice.  And I am walking more.

I do love to walk. But I am mindful of my stride. No more sauntering! I put on my sneakers in the morning, load up my backpack, and hit the road. The muscles in my legs are burning, my feet ar…

Year Four, Day 61: The Magic That is Johnny Cash

What a glorious fall day!  The skies are completely clear and a lovely light blue. The sun is brilliant, so bright it hurts the eyes. Unfortunately I have misplaced my special sunglasses. The ones that fit over my glasses. I am trying not to squint. Squinting causes wrinkles.

I watched Grace as usual this morning. We are still having our Mary Poppins marathon. I shall have to buy the DVD. I renewed it yet again from the library. I dread the day I have to return it!

A friend of my daughter's told us that there is a new Mary Poppins coming out soon. I am looking forward to seeing it, although I doubt anyone can hold a candle to Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke!

I am at the libary.  It is very peaceful here today.  A lovely view of trees with changing colored leaves is is visible through the window near the computer I am typing from.I believe they are maple trees. They are tall, sturdy andrd mighty.

My daughter dropped my off at Cascade Station so that I didn't have to spend so m…

Year Four, Day 62: Gluten Free Fry Bread

Not the best picture, but today was my first attempt at gluten free Native American fry bread.

They were tasty! Almost as good as the real deal.The texture was much airier than I expected. Score!

I also made a big batch of vegetable soup today in my crockpot.  Our produce box comes every Tuesday night. Wednesday I am home with Gracie most of the day, so lately I have been making concoctions with vegetables. Last week it was stuffed green peppers.

My soup was extraordinary.  A beef broth base loaded with fresh veggies such as carrots, green peppers, zucchini, potatoes, onions, garlic and Swiss chard. I added a box of crushed tomatoes, lemon juice and minced fresh parsley during the last hour of cooking. One secret my daughter and I have learned recently is to use box crushed tomatoes rather than canned diced tomatoes for cooking.  The flavor is more intense and not as watery.

So delicious!  I served it over steamed cauliflower for me, brown rice for my daughter.

I was wishing I had so…

Year Four, Day 61: Say Hello to My New Friends: Homer, Sophocles and Aesop!

8:00 a.m.  Home

I woke up this morning much easier then usual. And with anticipation!

I downloaded Homer's Odyssey to my Kindle yesterday and began to read on the bus. I am still immersed in the introduction. It is written by Theodore Alois Buckley (1825-1856). He is one of the translators of Homer's Odyssey. Interestingly enough, it is Homer I am most curious about after having read a bit of the intro. There is much debate and many legends surrounding this mysterious man. I shall have to do a bit more research. But at this point, I have discovered that Homer was most likely blind, he was a wanderer and a gifted poet. There is much debate about weather he actually wrote both the Odssey and The Iliad...

3:43 p.m. Portland at a Library


I feel like a kid in a candy store! I just finished rehearsal for an insect musical at a grade school.  The first graders are putting it on. It is written by a friend of mine. Over the past few years, she has hired me to play the piano part. It is…

Year Four, Day 60: The Leaf and The Beginning of My Odyssey

I watched a leaf fall yesterday. I stood mesmorised on the sidewalk, and watched as it drifted slowly to the ground. It was a lovely shade of magenta. I picked it up and wrapped it in a tissue and put it in my purse.

I felt this was one of those profound moments in my life.  I have felt quite anxious, restless and slightly depressed lately.  I hang onto so much negativity from my past and this tree showed me that letting go can be very beautiful. And it also reminded me of change. I've always said that I love change, but lately I felt I feel a little stagnant.

I seem to always be  struggling with my weight and lately my health.

As a way of self-soothing, I spend entirely too much time with mindless activities like social media or my game of choice Words With Friends. Or I eat.

I absolutely cherish my time with my granddaughter, Grace. But I don't want her to think she has a boring old grandma. And I don't want her to grow up like so many kids just staring at a screen. The…

Year Four, Day 59: With Flashlight and Mace in Hand

Saturday, October 6, 2018.

I have not blogged for five days. It was a busy week. Fall term at the music center where I teach piano began on Monday.

I am trying to avoid social media with all the political frenzy.  I am attempted to stay informed by reading several news sources daily. But choosing not to take sides. Yet.

I have my own life to get in order. But I am being watchful.  This country seems to be in a very precarious position.

I am also a wee bit exhausted.  I have had incredible teacher-student moments this week.  In particular a brand new beginning class made up of all middle school students. In the past, I have been a bit apprehensive about this age. But this group rocked!  I decided to teach them the stories and songs I made up for the younger kids and they loved it! 

I am wondering if becoming a grandma has made me a better teacher?  I am older, more patient and grateful for each day. Hopefully a bit wiser too. 

The fun thing about teaching piano in a group setting is th…

Year Four, Day 58: Back on the Alkaline Train, and a New Starbucks Obsession! :)

I had a gluten fest yesterday. We had a dinner for my father's 79th birthday. My nephew made spaghetti and meatballs. My mother brought a cake. I brought a salad.  My daughter, Baby Gracie and I couldn't stay long because we had to pick up my son-in-law from work.  So when presented with a table of pasta, french bread and cake, I caved.  I just ate to my little heart's content.

I suffered a bit last night. But not as much as I have in the past.  At least I did not have cheese!  But I did have a bowl of popcorn while watching "Mary Poppins" with Gracie. Mary Poppins is her new favorite movie. 

My granddaughter loves moves with music, real live people, especially children and live animals. She absolutely loves Dick Van Dyke as Bert. 

This morning I went to breakfast with my mother. I had a small breakfast of polish sausage, eggs and gluten free toast. And a pot of English Breakfast tea. No sugar.

I feel as if I have a mild hangover. But I know what to do. Just hop …

Year Four, Day 57: Mission Mendelssohn

Wednesday, September 26, 2018. 5:45 p.m.

I am at my library office. Huffing and puffing. I cannot believe I made it here on time!

I am on a mission.

A mission of the Mendelssohn kind. I got the idea the other night to study and compare the music of Fanny Mendelssohn with her brother Felix. I went online and reserved all the books and music I could find and had them put on hold at the library I usually visit when I am in Portland.

And here I am in Portland today. I taught two brothers in their home. The last time before I switch over to group classes next week.  Whilst on the bus, I got an email that my material I had on hold had arrived!

Most excited was I!

However, I had a vague uneasy feeling. My students were from 4:30 to 5:30. And the branch that was holding my beloved books closed at 6:00 p.m.!

So I mentioned to my students dad that I had important music and books waiting for me at the library. And that particular branch closed at 6:00. So he told me that he completely understoo…

Year Four, Day 56: Doing Half Good!

I feel like I am beginning yet again...

Even so, I am thankful I had the foresight to food prep for the week yesterday. I had a full morning with Gracie, which would have prevented me from putting together healthy items to pack in my lunch.

I am feeling mighty fine today. The sun is shining in a brilliant blue sky.  It is a lovely fall day!  I ate healthy yesterday and so far today.  For breakfast, I had my oatmeal with dried fruit.  After some play activity with Grace, I put her in her high chair with cottage cheese - one of her favorites.  While she grabbed handfuls and attempted to navigate her spoon, I made some quinoa with lime and cilantro.  I first made it yesterday. I got the idea somewhere on the internet - it is similar to Chipotle's cilantro lime rice, but made with quinoa.

It is extraordinary!

I had the foresight to save a bit of plain quinoa for Grace. It was a hit with her as well! And most adorable to watch her fastidiously trying to pick up each little tiny kernel…

Year Four, Day 55: Sunday Confession

I sinned.  And it wasn't pretty. It was a sin of the gluttinous kind. 
Involving cheese and too much meat. 

I fell off the wagon yesterday. I had two meals out. The first, with my mother. We went to a darling little diner called "Paul's" in downtown Vancouver.  I had corned beef hash.  I asked to substitute fruit for the toast, but the waitress proudly informed me that they had gluten free bread. She told me they received several calls a week asking for gluten free options. 

"The owner finally just purchased a couple of loaves of gluten free bread", she said with a grimace. "It's kind of weird little bread", she confided.

It was typical store bought gluten free bread. I'm used to it.  I prefer my home baked bread, bagels and rolls. But it gets expensive. I prefer almond flour.  Next time I should probably smuggle an almond flour bagel into the restaurant!

The breakfast was really good other than the toast.  And I cleaned my plate!
I hadn't …

Year Four, Day 54:Sweet Strawberries with a Hint of Vanilla - The Return of My Sense of Smell!!

I can smell again!!

I just walked by The Body Shop at the mall. I was heading for some solitary prayer and study at Starbucks (as shallow as that sounds), when a wave of scent hit my nostrils.

The sweet smell of strawberries! I almost shrieked and jumped for joy right there! Luckily I got hold of myself. I walked up to their table of samples and slathered strawberry vanilla hand cream on my hands and arms.

I am sitting here by the window of Starbucks, watching people, praying, reading, journaling and blogging.

Every so often I pause and sniff my hands.

Still there! Sweet strawberries with a hint of vanilla.

Divine!!!


Not only that, but I did it!  A 4-day alkaline cleanse! I feel fabulous! So fabulous, in fact, that I believe I will continue!  I will probably add a bit more meat back into my diet and eggs. Other than that, I plan on keeping on!


My beloved nostrils and I are now on the way to the gym.

I really am digging this progress.

Happy Thursday!

Love,

Zita

Year Four, Day 53: I LOVE RESULTS!

Today is day 3 of my alkaline cleanse. I am totally digging this way of eating!

I have lost 4 pounds and my energy is soaring!

I've increased my water intake.  My secret is to keep a pitcher of water in the fridge with sliced cucumbers, fresh ginger and lime.  Everytime I pass through the kitchen, I pour a big glass of this lovely concoction.

My breakfast every morning has been oatmeal with quinoa, almond butter, walnuts, and dried cranberries.  I smear a bit more almond butter and a dab of honey on top.

Today for lunch, I even went out with my daughter and Baby Gracie to Hometown Buffet!

I am most proud of my self!  I had two plates of salad, a piece of baked chicken, some beans and a bit of fruit. And I was most content!

For supper I had pinto beans, steamed bok choy, a salad and a bit of chicken.



I can do this!  I may keep up this way of eating for the rest of my mortal life!

I think avoiding dairy works well for me.  Since I am not rewarding my taste buds with cheese, butter,…