I loved living in Manhattan. I didn't need a car. Public transportation including buses and subways and trains were reliable, ran often and affordable. There were taxis, too. But I loved walking. Even when I lived in Jersey City Heights, right across the river, I'd go into the city just to walk around.
I'd walk everywhere. Harlem. Midtown. The Village. Chinatown. Little India. Little Korea. When I lived in NYC in an apartment as small as a closet, I never felt closed in. I had all of NYC. I never felt unsafe. I had a regular shopping routine; I never went to a supermarket. Instead, I'd get groceries in Chinatown, Little Italy and other local stores. My total for the week never exceeded $20!
When I moved to Pembroke Pines in Florida to stay with a cousin, I started to walk around. OMG. That was a mistake! I was approached by so many men. I stopped walking. Eventually, I got my own place in Lauderhill and a car. I couldn't believe that it took me over a half hour to go across town.
Buses in Florida, if you are going East to West....well, I would wait till I was almost in tears for them to come, if they came at all.
Finally, I found a great apartment, centrally located. Everything I need is in walking distance. I bike to the center of town, though. So, my walking is only to the local store up the street, or across the street to the supermarket and CVS. After having sat in pee on a bus, I try to avoid the bus. I miss walking. I have tried to exercise in the apartment, but...somehow, I never get to it. I don't like gyms. It's too hot to bike to the beach.
As fortune would have it, we have a pool at my complex. Swimming has become my exercise. Looking at the sky, being at home with pool access, is truly a blessing. I still miss walking. Seeing the shops and their changing displays. Seeing all those different people from around the world. Looking up at those buildings. Discovering new neighborhoods. But a blessing is a blessing. How could I complain?
I learned about Shiatsu from my supervisor when I lived in Tokyo. She was accepted as a student by Chinese acupuncturists, which was really unusual. She needed someone to practice on and I volunteered.
Shiatsu helped me live and helped me help other people when I was in Israel. I lived in a farming village in the Arava desert. Our closest neighboring village was several miles away and Eilat was an hour or so by car. We had no stores and our supplies did not include medicine. I was able to help relieve headaches, help relax a mother enough so she could nurse, help toothaches, back aches and so on, including relieving menstrual cramps.
I earned a certificate as a Shiatsu practitioner in Tel Aviv.
When I returned to the States, Ohashi, who wrote the book I learned from, had a school in NYC. Massage in general was still unrecognized and Shiatsu was practically unknown.
I finally moved to Florida in the '90s and became a licensed massage therapist. Swedish massage, sports massage and other advanced modalities are wonderful, but, compared to Shiatsu, they are not 'medicine.' Shiatsu is based on Chinese acupuncture; the difference being that no needles are used, only your hands. Other than that, the principles are the same.
It amazes me that people still would rather pop pills than use acupuncture or Shiatsu. When I was a massage therapist, one of the other therapists at our location had hurt her wrist. I had had hurt myself around the same time. I got a treatment and was back at work the next day. She, on the other hand, was in a restraining device and out of commission for a few weeks.
I've been to some acupuncture clinics here in Florida. They are amazing. Upgraded and beautiful. How times change!
I want to write about my cat, Mishu. My neighbor adopted this orange kitten and named him Mishu. He wouldn't stay in the house and would yowl until he was let out. This went on for a while. He'd come yowling around my apartment looking to be fed. I already have to cats and wasn't ready to have another. The neighbor would give me money to feed Mishu.
Eventually, Mishu decided I was his human and began to come into my house regularly. He is now a year old. I could set my clock by him. He comes in at 5 or 6 am, eats a little, then sits by me till I move. Then he goes out to return again at 6 pm. At first, the other cats did not like him. Now, he comes in and stays for longer. When he cuddles next to me, he constantly purrs. He is so affectionate. And the other cats, especially Mickey, licks him and sniffs him when he comes in.
We decided we had to have him fixed. The day he came home, I kept him in. I got up in the morning and he was gone. I couldn't figure how he got out until I saw the torn screen in the bathroom. I have jalousie windows, and he tore the screen and escaped. I don't have a cat door so this is his escape route.
We thought having him fixed would calm him down. No way. He is domineering, territorial and possessive. He still fights with other neighborhood cats coming home with cuts and scratches. He brings me captured birds, mice and lizards as love offerings.
When he is home, the other cats don't come into the room. I am HIS human after all.
Animals, like babies, do not have a cluttered mind. They see things we don't. I am in a program that helps me with the rent. The other day, my social worker came over. Mishu took one look at her and dashed off to his escape window. I take his assessment seriously.
The other evening, his former 'owner' had some guys over; they were outside,playing music and being loud. Mishu was coming home, and when he saw them, he freaked. I had to grabbed him and take him in the house.
I take his assessment seriously.
ensorship is nothing new. The internet has open the avenues to gain information on just about any subject.
I loved our hometown library. It was two miles away by bike. The ride over seemed like only a mile. It was a small library, two floors, wooden banisters, tall sky-high windows and palatable quiet.
My sister, who was smarter than me, wanted to borrow a book above her grade level. She was denied. I was amazed and horrified. So, I took the book out in my name.
Information was simply not easy to access. If you wanted something the library didn't have, you could put in a request, and they would locate it and notify you when it came in. Still, you might have had to go to NYC, to their main library, midtown. Access to legal books, never the less, depended and probably still does, on some connection to the legal profession. The internet overcomes all these hurdles. I can even get the library's material on the net.
During the protests of the sixties, we would compare newspaper reports. Knowing the source was so important. The slant of the report was determined by the main underlying viewpoint and philosophy of the paper.
I haven't been inside a library in years. There are many ways around censorship. The internet is the most empowering device. Access to information, any information, medical, legal, general, news, adinfinitum keeps the mind active and offers the possibility of evolving, growing...
I never liked the 'Honeymooners' when I was young. Ralph Kramden and his buddy Kramer seemed so...cartoonish. Ralph was such a chauvinist, and always blustering about something. His expression to Alice, his always patient and understanding wife, 'to the moon' seemed too much. Their home was so plain and boring. Alice was always wearing the same old dress. Ralph and his bud were always looking for ways to supplement their income! Even though Ralph had a full time job as a bus driver.
None of their schemes ever worked out.
I was young. I had no experience. I understood nothing.
I've changed my view. I understand from my own experience the struggle to make ends meet. I myself have tried many schemes to supplement my income. Even just to have an income. I understand the frustration and the patience and love Alice had for her blustering, loud husband.
At this point in my life, I admire their perseverance. No matter what, they never gave up. They never fell into despair. They never turned to crime. Their plainness, their ordinariness is, at the very least, authentic.
No room at the inn. No open waiting lists for...3 to 5 years, or less if someone dies. Rents are high. Wages are still not living wages. Seniors live on low and limited incomes.
Governmental agencies throughout the country have known that we are in a housing crisis. Some private companies are being creative and building small houses. Creative individuals are involved in the small houses movement; trouble is, there are not many places to put the small house. What is a person to do???
I was so desperate two years ago, I left a message for the Elderly and Veterans Affairs that they might as well kill me. Surprisingly, I was put in the program! I am required to pursue housing options, mostly subsidized housing. It is so discouraging. No lists are open, waiting lists are closed, yet, if I want to stay in the program, I have to provide proof that I am applying.
I have been applying. Housing Authorities with openings have not returned calls. I have been looking at trailers. The only places that seem to have affordable housing is in the north of the state, Tallahassee, for example.
If I have to move so far up north, I will be able to find something affordable, but...I will be alone. I love where I live. I have no car, but I am able to get everywhere I have to go by bike. I have a great landlord, neighbors who help each other and an apartment I love. Moving out of the area would be cruel.
There are non-government organizations that offer information on section 8 and housing vouchers. My landlord has had section 8 tenants. My counselor told me that all landlords want guaranteed rents. I doubt that. It's regular people who need the help. Landlords want to keep raising their rents; they want their profits! If non-government agencies have access to money and options, why don't government agencies do? Why aren't they able to access funds? Why aren't more low income houses built or made available? I feel somewhat hopeless, distressed.
I've been watching 'Hillstreet Blues.' This has been a flashback to pre-political correctness. It's raw, it's authentic, the dialogue is believable. People smoke in the office. They use foul language. The men are out and out chauvinists and the women wear dresses and skirts. Racial slurs abound.
I am not minimizing the disagreeableness of blatant racial prejudice, chauvinism and rough police behavior. Compared to more updated crime shows, however, this show's realism is a fresh breeze. The latest cop shows are cleaned up. They're well scripted and predictable. Lot's of moral preaching and social debate. The dialogues change, but the basic action is pre-formed, pot boiler like.
As and educator, I understand the power of visual images, and the repetitious dialogues that can become acceptable in general culture. I am torn. Though I appreciate and understand this, the anesthetized programs seem so phony and inauthentic.
Everyone loves the Bible so much. The Bible, at least the Old Testament, has a lot of violence. We've read this book for thousands of years. We've told these stories for thousands of years. There are consequences for good and bad behavior. Modern film and videos have a different impact. The impressions visual images create do not always present consequences. Without a sense of responsibility, of consequences, authority is decreased, respect is diminished.
I asked myself, how do you teach such lofty ideas like respect? I don't believe it is through talk alone. A good role model with admirable qualities and behavior is important. Even without that, repeated behaviors that become unconscious seem to be a method. The Jewish celebration of Passover has important rituals. Yes, it was great to get away from perusing Egyptians, but many of them died in the process. Their death is recognized by dripping wine to commemorate them. So, you are celebrating another chance at life, but not celebrating someone's death. These violent video games do no such thing. You get rewarded instead.
As for me, I'm going to enjoy this stroll down history lane.
When I was younger, my Dad used to say that life has peaks and valleys. I didn't know then what he was talking about. Now I do. The experiences of life have taught me what he meant.
There are days that I wish I had just stayed comfortably in my bed, under the covers. Those days where nothing goes well, everything falls apart. The only thing that saves me is knowing that it will pass. The days that are just 'regular' or even great will pass, too. Life is flowing. Flowing with the river of life and knowing everything is in flux, everything changes is, for me, the only way. I don't want to hold on to the unhappiness of 'bad' days, and I don't want to make myself unhappy by trying to hold on to the 'great' days.
Flow in the river of life!
Plastic water bottles! Did you know that companies are draining rivers dry with their bottled water? And adding to plastic waste! Tap water is impossible to drink. There are other sources. Personally, I have a medical horseshoe magnet that I place a glass pitcher on to provide me with drinkable water. I never buy bottled water!
It's easy to say you want to change the world. What can you, as an individual, actually do? Water, for example. Do you keep water running while you do the dishes? Do you take long showers? I personally soap up my dishes, then wash them. I also do dry skin brushing between weekly showers. What is dry skin brushing? You brush your skin with a long handled specially made bristle brush for dry skin brushing. Wash the hairy parts! This is good for you skin that dries out too much from too much soaping and showering. Bacteria is what causes odor; dry skin brushing removes the layer of bacteria. Dry skin brushing stimulates your skin, too, bringing more blood circulating to your skin.
What else can you do?
If we stop eating animals, you can expect to get your vegetables directly, instead of second hand. The amount of food we give animals can amount to more food available for human consumption, if we go vegetarian; this can reduce hunger and support access to food for humans. As it is, meat eaters are getting their vegetables second hand.
Bring your own bags when you go food shopping. In this way, you can help reduce so much plastic use. Until alternatives to plastic are more accessible, taking your own reusable bags helps.
Buy products like Miracle II Soap. This is a non-poisonous soap good for yourself, your home, your plants. Instead of poisoning yourself with chemically dangerous products, even your toothpaste, you can help yourself and stop polluting the environment.
Action! Take action in your own life and support your words to aid in the rescue of our world.