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Homegoing or saying Goodbye to a neighbour…

Recently, I wrote on my FB page about the passing of a neighbour :

“Another neighbour passed on…three deaths this month on the block, in ‘MY ‘HOOD’ . She arrived on this block in 1958 , way before it became ‘other people’s neighbourhood’. My familia arrived here in 1962. We are losing the old timers on my block, the TRUE neigbours who are replaced by neighbours I don’t care to know or have. Mi alma is overloaded right now. The passage of time is not always nice. Rest in blissful peace Mrs *******!”

My FB peeps offered condolences and encouragements to keep on being keeping on. One in particular, a dear friend and my priest, reminded me, I was not to forget at one time, we were, the newbies on the block and to give the new neighbours a chance.

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At first I was frustrated, reading his response for I know of conflicts my neighbours of colour endured from the Italians and Irish groups who were here before them. These neighbours would spit on the sidewalk as they walked past. This was the year of 1958. By the time I was born in 1964, those same neighbours who once spat, cooed at me as their teenaged daughter pushed my carriage up and down the block. Go figure. Integration is integration, first met with fear then dissolved into acceptance, once we see the other as not being as bad as we thought. The daughter and her family are still on this block and I adore them dearly.

“The neighbours I don’t care to know”, are the young couples, the hip singles, the expats from Manhattan, looking to score a bigger apartment with amenities and a doorman. Who cares if the rent is twice what you paid for the tiny studio apartment in your former four flight walkup? These invaders are on the scene, invading my ‘hood’.

And that’s it.

They arrive and spread, dissimilating the makeup of the neighbourhood, forgoing ‘Good Mornings’, blocking the sidewalks while conversing with other arrivals about pilates, the new restaurant, drinks, backstabbing and eloquent gossiping (talking trash in my language).

I’m ranting.

And…

I meant to write about my neighbour.

The one whose Home Going was attended by most of the neighbours on the block who laughed, cried and rejoiced in the stories of her life, her giving and feeding of everyone. It was a beautiful service which lingered on after the night was over and brought smiles to us neighbours, as we reminisced about it the days after. I will miss seeing her outside, sweeping and cleaning up or stopping by her place to talk awhile after finishing my piano lessons with her brother who lives upstairs.

I guess it’s going to take a while to get to that place where I “see the other as not as bad as we thought”.

I’m not there yet.images.jpg

And, may move before it comes.

Mrs ******* may not have been thrilled about the changes of the guard (people) in the ‘hood’. We joked and talked about it.

But…

She always said “Good Morning” to everyone regardless if she received a response or not.

I guess that is a place to start.

Just say ‘Good Morning’.

 

***images from the World Wide Web***

 

 

 

 

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Muchness

More words…

Soon to come.

For a bit of a spell,

 I lost my muchness.

But… 

IT’S BACK!!!!

 

Gus…

Yesterday, I saved a dog on a Saturday morning in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

He was running across a busy street known as Prospect Park West, adjacent  to Prospect Park in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

I was on my way to work at the clinic about to cross this street to walk on the side of the park when a dog ran into the middle of traffic.

Well…

I ran out into the middle of traffic to stop the cars from potentially running over the dog.

Well…

The dog and myself were lucky enough to not meet HIM, our maker that day. I was able to hold back traffic but not the dog,  now running down a block. The Farmers Market was taking place at the time so lots of humans were roaming the area. I called out to a jogger, “Please grab the dog”. He did so, hesitantly.

I made my way towards the dog and slowed down my pace as I approached it with my hand extended. The dog sat down, tail wagging and the jogger released his hold on the harness.

I wrapped my fingers around the metal link and did not let go.

The dog had tags on the collar…!

This is not Gus but he looks like him.

This is not Gus but he looks like him.

I sat on the curb, with Gus leaning on me, as a small crowd of witnesses gathered. I called the owners, balancing the tag with the info and punching the numbers into my cell. Others from the crowd volunteered to hold Gus.

I declined.

I was not going to let this angel out of my fingers.

A voice responded to my call and the wife of the husband who was walking the dog in Prospect Park was hysterical. She was at work and had no idea this transpired. I told her our location and promised to wait until her husband arrived.

Meanwhile the crowd slowly dispersed as I relayed the information about the owner coming.

Boy…was I gonna be late for work.

I’ve worked at PPAC for over a year now and cannot recall a time I was late.

It was hard to move with him as he was too big for me to carry with my bags and I had no leash to guide him but we made our way over to a nearby bench.

I heard the husband-owner  calling to Gus before seeing him as my back was turned to the side. He ran up to us and Gus was so excited to see his owner. He thanked me profusely, saying I saved his kids’ lives because if he returned home without Gus, they would be devastated. He apologized and admitted while in the park with Gus, he took his eyes off him for a moment, and he was gone. He wanted my address, to send flowers, to drop off a gift. I declined and I stretched out my hand. He grasped it firmly and we shook. He had tears in his eyes and I almost broke down crying.

Well…

Prior to this happening I was making my way to work was feeling discouraged and experiencing serious second doubts about my career choice. It can be frustrating and confusing at times when doubt seeps in the alma.

I love climbing mountains, and I love challenges and I feel stuck in a rut right now-a rut caused by my own psyche and wanting to know everything all at once.

Gus was a sign, in a strange way. Meeting him on that Saturday morning was a wake-up call.

I am, where I am supposed to be right here and now.

When I made it to work, I was deemed a hero. I saved Gus’ life. The owner (wife) phoned and asked for my info to send a gift.

I declined…again.

I told her I was a vet tech and she laughed and said Gus was lucky to have run into me. She asked where I worked and I told her.  Hopefully, we’ll get another client.

In the meantime, thank you Gus.

Yesterday, a dog named Gus saved me on a Saturday morning in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

 

Taking a leave of absence…

The church I attend is going through a transition of the most unnerving kind.

Transition= looking for a new priest to take over the helm.

Our Rector of 25+ years retired.

The process involves the Vestry, the interim priest, the Finance Committee ,the Search Committee, Park Slope, Brooklyn USA and a dilapidated rectory in need of major remodeling. It also involves, the Bishop of the Diocese and his Canon-all must work together in the interest of the church and its ministries.

Okay.

I am a member of this church, on the Altar Guild and once served as an LEM (Licensed Eucharistic Minister). I am also on the Vestry. The same Vestry that will soon receive my resignation letter. Hopefully someone who has more experience ‘playing in the sandbox’ with others (team player and head nodder) will sit in the empty chair.a6

This person will be:

-Someone who can weave in and out of the verbal obstacles, disagreements, rudeness, and get the job done.

-Someone who has patience to listen to rhetoric without seeing double after two minutes.

-Someone who tithes and sacrifices for the church-basically having a vocabulary where “no” is blasphemy.

-Someone who thinks as a whole for the greater good instead of the one.

-Someone who loves and cares about the future of this church more than how good we look on financial fiscal reports.

I am not a team player.

I prefer my own sandbox, with my organized grains of sand and my shovels, coordinated by size. I don’t like to clean up big piles of mess I didn’t make and usually don’t make my own big piles of mess to have to clean up to begin with.

Church politics and spirituality does not mix well for me.

It’s hard to play the game, be fake and smile while I would rather stare at you and throw imaginary lethal eye darts that turn to green ooze upon contact. Yes, it’s not the Christian thing to do. But, Christians do. We are not perfect no matter how hard we project to be.

In order to navigate through church politics while keeping spirituality in place one has to be malleable with a soft heart. Know when not to say hurtful things or at least think before saying the hurtful things (Oh yeah, the Four Agreements). Listen with reason, argue with love and never roll your eyes at someone as they look the other way.

What is difficult to be is why my resignation takes place.

I am not a team player.

But, with time and space, I may learn to play with one or two, definitely not three…maybe.

**photo from the web

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…

It is now two months into my career transition from an Administrative Assistant to that of a Veterinary Technician Assistant.

The transition was subtle and quiet.

My former job was mundane and my interest waned. I arrived at my new job on day two and was tossed into ‘trial by fire’ for on that day the boss had me deal with cat/dog restraints, surgeries, and filling chemo prescriptions. I survived and did not faint or throw up during the surgery.

The cat restraints look like this:

I complained at one time of sitting too much at the former job-now I stand for eight hours a shift. I eat lunch standing, I fill prescriptions standing, I assist with surgery standing…I stand.

I complained at one time of being disturbed during my one hour lunch break. Now, there are no lunch hour breaks, no five-minute break, no eating my bagel before starting the day’s work. No break.

I complained about the mundane repetitive duties. Now, some duties are repetitive but the clients and animals always present a new experience.

I complained about boredom and no room for growth. I now give medical injections and express the bladder of the resident kitty, who cannot do so on her own, as well as walking and cleaning up after dog boarders and medical boarders while simultaneously running the washer and dryer and cleaning up cat litter trays…this stops here.

Am I unhappy with the transition? No. Do I miss my other job? No. Have I thought about my other job? No.

After a shift, I return home pumped with adrenaline from the day’s work and it takes a while for it to dissipate. I do not come home stressed out or angry. I do not go to work stressed out and angry.

My former job:

The sound of work at my current job:

I like my current job.

Feeling groovy…

Groovy –adj. groov·i·er, groov·i·est Slang Very pleasing; wonderful.

In the realm of my being it is not very often, the feeling of ‘groovy’ in my world comes around.  Actually, it’s rare.  But when it does, it tends to stick on my shirt sleeve for about an hour or so before moving on to its next honourary recipient (depending on how one views this, for feeling groovy is not good for those who are quite content to wallow in misery).

Feeling groovy for me is as the definition above states: very pleasing; wonderful. For a few minutes I am in bliss, over an accomplishment, thought, a good read, a good piece of writing, a really good sermon or Pi Patel not engaging in negative dogspeak with the brown Piti at Ppark to name a few.

This is how I feel when I am feeling groovy as demonstrated by Pi Patel.

This is how the boys act when I’m feeling groovy. groovy

Their reaction does not matter for it is my groovy and not theirs. They feel groovy at biscuit time, bath time, Ppark time, feeding time, sleeping time and especially at belly rubbing time. Bless them, for they have no triggerings to get them to their state of groovy and once there, it lingers well past an hour before naptime.

I wish my feeling groovy was in sync with those around me, than a massive groovy fest could occur.

Unfortunately, groovy is as groovy does not as groovy as one wants it to be. When I feel groovy and others do not, I see them and their views as raining down on my groovy. I long to seek solitude and surround myself with incense and singing bowls in order to keep my groovy as long as I can while creating a chain link fence of spiritual strength to block out the ungrooviness of others.

Right now, at this time. I feel groovy.

Slow down, you move too fast, you’ve got to make the morning last
Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones, lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy

Feeling groovy

Hello lamp-post, what’s cha knowing, I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me, do-it-do-do, feelin’ groovy

Feeling groovy

I’ve got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me

Life I love you, all is groovy-Simon and Garfunkel

Summer time and the Sleepin’ Ain’t Easy

Summer time in Park Slope, Brooklyn is hot, sweaty, sticky and alive with vibrancy. Flowers and trees are in full bloom; Mr. Softy circumvents the ‘hood, fire hydrants spew forth NYC water through a sprinkler cap designed to conserve water for the fire fighters.

For some, it’s the start of long summer vacations, flocking to the country homes on the weekends or for the entire summer. For others, it’s barbeques in the backyard and entertaining visiting out of town guests or family. And for the other, others, it’s all about the summer food craze-Ice cream or Italian icies, outside brunch/dinner at a favourite restaurant, running through sprinklers in the neighbourhood park, or sniffing all the fire hydrants (the dogs-although some humans like to sniff).

Summer time in Park Slope, Brooklyn is oppressive humidity infused with dirt and pollution which adheres to the body. Water rates go up this time of year due to the countless amounts of showers it takes to get the stuff off. Electricity usage soars as air conditioners try to cool down overheated apartments and houses. Oh how I miss winter…

I do enjoy summer.

The fireflies, extended daylight, dew on the grass in Prospect Park, sandals, cold Chardonnay and tending my garden in the backyard make summer truly relaxing.

But…

During summer…

Not only do the freaks come out at night

Those who drink too much come out.

Those who drink too much come out from the neighbourhood bars during the summer at 2am-4am in the morning.  Those who drink too much also come out in the winter at 2am-4am in the morning but my bedroom windows are sealed shut from the cold and buffers the tirades of those who drink too much.

I probably fit into the category of those who drink too much although my visits to bars are as infrequent as my staying up past 10pm. I cannot recall the last time I drank so much that I compare to those who drink too much who make absolute fools of themselves as they leave the bars to go home. I drink too much when at home with a bottle of wine, waiting for me after work then go to bed.

Those who drink too much leave the bars in chaos.

Screaming, physical and verbal fights, breakups, make ups and sex in cars take place during the 2am -4am hours and my ground floor bedroom window offers unlimited, live, in stereo surround sound and front row viewing to these antics of those who drink too much. Too lazy to leave the comfort of my bed, I listen as there is no mute button to push.  At times the antics have been severe and physically threatening and I’ve called the police. By the time they arrive, those who drink too much and their friends have left the scene.

Confessions of two timers, cheaters, “I hate you, you’re ugly” rants have cradled my ears as I attempt to fall back to sleep. Banging cars with their bumpers, as those who drink too much attempt to get out of a parking space disturbs my restful thoughts as I picture the possible drunk driver damage headline in next days’ news.

Every summer brings the same scenario. Every summer with the increasing heat index affects the air condition use.  Air condition usage means I close the window, obliterating the sounds from those who drink too much.

 

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