Random Memes – 4/7

I seriously can’t believe how quickly I can gather a quantity of memes that speak to me, or someone I know, in some way – simply by scrolling through my social media. But here is another collection:

And if you do, you’ll discover how truly unworthy I am, because that’s how I see myself.
These words made an impact on my ability to allow myself rest periods when I need them.
I can’t read this without getting teary-eyed. Forgiving one’s self is so difficult!

United – Part Deux

Way back – all the way back – to August 3, 2021, I wrote a blog post titled United and explained that the thoughts were inspired by an original song by the same name that had not yet been released to the public. I’d promised to share it with you when it was released, which was to happen on December 24th.

And yet – again – life has a way of happening while we’re busy making other plans. I only thought about it once or twice, and never at a time that I was near a keyboard to do anything more than think about it.

Russia’s attack on the Ukraine made the song more in my focus. While it was written during and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the lyrics can – and do – convey over into any conflict between humans.

Finally, (and thanks for being patient!) I bring to you the song ‘United’. The music and lyrics were written and performed by Dom La Ferlita, an Australian born and bred musician. I have been watching him perform live – on a streaming platform called Twitch – for 19 months, and I am totally addicted. He is a classically trained pianist with a Master’s Degree in Musical Education. He decided to branch out to explore other musical genres about two years ago, and he’s proven his talent over and over again. There is a group of loyal followers and we kid around with Dom and with each other in chat. Honestly, it’s my favorite form of socialization, and it doesn’t even force me to get dressed. There is a huge time difference between the US and Australia; to him, he streams in the evenings, to me, it’s quite early in the morning. Since I only rarely sleep in beyond oh-dark-thirty, this isn’t much of a problem for me!

I’m adding the link to this song in YouTube so you can listen to it if you choose to. Since so much of his original music is instrumental only, this song is dear to my heart as well as powerful in its message.

Enjoy!

Another Year has Come and Gone

My first post on this blog was on April 2, 2019. It’s only three years old, but they have been some of the longest years I remember. There have been, and still are, times when nothing I think I could write about is truly worth putting in print. There have been, and still are, times I want to write a blog that rants at someone(s) or something, because it’s the only place I feel safe enough to give true voice to my anger.

I’ve said it in posts several times that this blog ended up in an entirely different place than I imagined it back when I wrote my first post. It’s time for a confession of sorts – – what I wrote in the first few blogs were simply pieces I had written several years ago when I was in a relationship where I was encouraged to grow and experience, both think and feel. I wrote them almost as though I was “assigned” to task to express myself fully and without reservation. But the tasks weren’t one-sided; I possessed some professional knowledge that my partner wished to learn, so he was “assigned” tasks as well after I explained what he had to do.

The person who wrote those was in a different place in life. I’ve read back over those words multiple times and find myself sad that she got lost along the way from there to here. That experience, learning to let my thoughts become words and to be able to help another on a different kind of path, was truly one of the happiest times in my life.

I don’t think I realized that she was gone until I tried to continue to write posts. It didn’t take me long to realize that my mind doesn’t function as it did back then and I can rarely force it to. I’ve written a few posts that I am proud of, I’ve written a few posts that I am ashamed I ever made public, and most of the time, I’m writing simply for the enjoyment of writing and sharing my experiences.

As I look at numbers, I can see that I’ve averaged just over 100 posts a year. I think that puts me at the same level as many bloggers. And to be honest, I’m only counting those that I have actually published. I’ve never counted the number of posts I’ve started that ended up in the trash bin instead of published, but I’m comfortable saying I suspect it’s about 10 a year.

Anyhow, I really just wanted to say a genuine thank you to those of you who actively read what I write here, and an extra special hug to those who take time now and then to leave a comment. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know other bloggers through this site and have a good handful of those whose posts I always look forward to finding. Many of these bloggers inspire me, many make me think, some make me feel, and some are always good for a chuckle. I am honored to be among you amazing writers and humbled that you find my words worthy of reading.

April 3rd will begin my fourth year into this foray of blogging, and I have no idea what it holds in store. All I can do is promise you that I will do my best to make my posts have value of some kind when you read them and take any comments you share to heart. Thanks for going along on this crazy ride!

Hacks from my Happy Place – XXII

It’s been a long while since I wrote about my happy place. After nesting, making my usual broths and freezing them to be ready for soups and stews, back in the late fall of 2021, I just didn’t have the gumption to spend a lot of time in the kitchen trying and also creating new recipes. I’m happiest when I’m cooking to share with others – usually my brother and my bestie. My brother and I haven’t gotten together since early December 2020 because of the pandemic, and with the price of gas right now, I don’t expect we’ll be doing so for a while. And I do always share items with cabbage with my bestie, since I know she doesn’t make them.

I’m coming to realize that I don’t find pleasure in making homemade meals in the quantity of one and understanding why one-meal prepared items are the way to go.

I’ve been looking – a lot – on the internet at recipes, hoping to find ones that would inspire me to try them. So many of them require spices or ingredients that I don’t have and would have to purchase just to make this one recipe, never to be used again. I often wish that one of these TV food chefs would do a show about spices, what they taste like, and all of the ways they can be used. It doesn’t help that my bestie is lactose intolerant, and her husband is low sodium and gluten free only.

I did gather a new recipe or two there, and I also decided that it was time to clean out my recipe box. It was overflowing with pages printed and from magazines of recipes that looked interesting, but now that I don’t expect to ever cook for dinner parties and/or to impress people with my culinary skills, it became quickly obvious how many of those recipes no longer made sense to keep. I gathered up the many – and I mean many – recipes I decided not to keep and passed them on to my bestie. She surprised me by saying she kept about ten of them, since easy recipes are her way to go (keeping lactose, salt and gluten in her mind).

Of those recipes I did decide to keep, I made a promise to myself that any of them I haven’t made in the past 5 years will get made before the end of this year.

For the first time in forever, last fall I decided to make some ham with broth as well as my usual beef and chicken broths. I bought three ham shanks (not counting the one I somehow lost between the store and the car when I was with you, Brad!) and cooked them in a large pot that simmered for several hours. If you’ve ever worked with a ham shank (my grandmother called them ham hocks), there is very little meat to acquire from them, and so I also bought a couple of slices of ham and diced them up and threw in with the shanks while they cooked. I managed to get 3 quart-size zipper bags of meat and broth for the freezer. Pretty quickly I thawed one and made some ham, green beans and potatoes; it was so good that I didn’t share it! I also knew I wanted to make ham and bean soup, but I didn’t get around to doing so until recently. As I started to put the soup together, I suddenly remembered about the neighbor across the street growing up who made what she called Hunky Bean Soup. It was a recipe she learned from her Serbian ancestors. Basically, you start with your thickened ham broth, add diced potatoes but then use kidney beans instead of some kind of white bean. What makes Hunky Bean Soup so different is that you also splash in apple cider vinegar about halfway through simmering it. You add the vinegar to taste, and the longer it simmers, the milder the vinegar flavor tastes. I made some of that out of the broth I had for regular bean soup, and it was a treat!

As a side note, you thicken any broth in the same manner for which you thicken gravy. Both cornstarch and flour can be used if you make a slurry (A slurry is generally made with liquid (often water or broth) mixed with either cornstarch or flour and added to a hot liquid to thicken it. Because a slurry is a concentrated starchy liquid it will thicken sauces and gravy). My mom always made a slurry with cornstarch; I remember my grandma doing the same but with flour. A second option is to make a roux, using flour (A roux is a cooked mixture of equal parts flour and fat. When flour is cooked in fat, the fat coats the flour’s starch granules. This helps keep lumps from forming when the roux is combined with liquid such as milk or stock, yielding a silky-smooth, uniform sauce) and then adding the broth to it to thin it down to consistency.

I’ve done both, but I always use the roux option for any thickeners I’m making for a light-colored sauce. I have learned the magic trick of how to make a light-colored gravy look darker! The trick is to brown the flour! And yes, you indeed CAN brown flour! Simply add flour into a pan, enough to coat the bottom of the pan completely but not more than that (unless you want to be at your stove for a long time!). Turn the heat on to medium and place the pan on the burner. Relax, because it will take a while before both the pan and the flour will be hot enough so that the flour begins to darken. You can check it every so often by just putting a small indent into the flour to see the underneath side. Once it begins browning, stir it up and continue cooking, stirring every 15-20 minutes. Continue until you are satisfied with the darkened color of your flour. Remove from heat and use just as you would use white flour!

I don’t know if anyone other than me has the problem, but I have difficulty in baking a potato (in the oven or cheating with the microwave) that doesn’t end up hard on the bottom. I’ve loved eating the baked skins of a russet potato for as long as I remember. Whether he remembers it or not, I’d often trade the insides of my potato with my younger brother for the outside of his because I love them that much! When the skin is still nice and hot, I like putting pats of butter inside and letting it melt, then picking them up and biting into them. Yes, the butter drips down my chin, but it’s totally worth it. Anyhow, I get upset when there’s a part of the skin I can’t enjoy because it’s rock hard. My bestie bought me one of those cloth bags to put your potatoes in for the microwave, but that didn’t stop my problem. I did find that, if I folded up a full sheet of parchment paper and placed it on top of a piece of foil that I’d folded at least three times, it lessened that amount of hardness at the base of my potato by at least 65%. Better, but still not good enough, you know? And then, one day, the Internet showed me a video about exactly my problem, and I was told to make sure that I do two things I wasn’t doing. First, don’t just poke holes in the top of the potato to let steam escape, but on the entire potato because the reason the bottom gets hard is because there is nowhere for that steam to escape. The second suggestion was to rub olive oil (I think most types of cooking oil would work) over the entire potato after you’ve added the holes. Apparently, as the oil evaporates, the skins get more firm.

I tried it. It worked. I’m now enjoying baked potato skins as well as loading up the soft baked potato from the inside with butter, sour cream and chives, adding bacon and/or shredded cheddar cheese depending on my mood.

I will be gathering up recipes I want to share with you and will try to get them together in the near future. As the saying goes, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. Life is bombarding me with reality and situations with which to deal, so my time – and energy – to write has been slacking off. I apologize for that.

BONUS KITCHEN HACK: Did you know that the lid from your standard size Parmesan (sprinkle) cheese will fit on a mason jar??? Imagine how much easier it will be to leave the big sugar container up high in the pantry and just grab this jar to do things like sprinkle sugar on cereal! I’m excited about this because I have certain spices I use a lot of and tend to buy in large containers, then fill small spice jars – often, it seems. I need to start using up a lot of the ‘sprinkle’ cheese so I can use the containers it comes in!

Empty Hands

commonsensiblyspeaking



~~~

Is this our fate?

Reason born by enlightenment

Tethered to an instinctual animal

Steeped in the waging of war

From the dawn of time

And in every generation since

Victory found in the vanquishing

Our only tool, the stick

~~~

Are we not these men of reason?

Can we value our lives, and yet

Not value the life of another

In every person, see brother

Or does our path only lead

To what we have always been

A primal need to survive

A modern day crusade

~~~

Violence cannot hide in shadows

Reason beams a glaring light

A sun that shines on everything

And we see all too clearly

That we have so far to go

To be the true men of reason

Men with empty hands

~~~



View original post

Are You in Control of Your Life?

I found this to be quite interesting and need to think deeper about how it applies to me!

Dr. Eric Perry’s Self-Help Blog

Written by Dr. Eric Perry
Image Credit: Pixabay


“It is our attitude toward events, not events themselves, which we can control.” ~Epictetus

Every morning before I head to the office, I go online and check the traffic report. I mentally rehearse my drive, avoiding all congested roadways, and check my backup route just in case. I have a cup of coffee, check my watch, and briefcase in hand, dash through the front door. I try to control my exposure to traffic as much as I can but unfortunately, traffic in Los Angeles is uncontrollable and unavoidable. Upon arriving to work, I park in my designated parking spot and begin my day.

Every day we make decisions. To whom or what we attribute the results of these decisions has much to do with our locus of control. Locus of control of reinforcement referred to as locus of control was conceptualized by…

View original post 1,310 more words

Karma

Although it is defined as “the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences”, most of us think of karma in terms of how we look forward to it holding another person responsible for some serious misdeed. When someone has acted harshly towards us and we aren’t able to exact our own revenge, we look to karma to take the onus to make sure that person is punished. Sadly, we most often don’t see with our own eyes that karma has done her job, we don’t have the pleasure of watching punishment of that person.

I’ve never seen karma in action, so I have no way of proving that it exists – or doesn’t exist, for that matter. I tend to use the word karma as a way of trying to give calm to another person when someone has brutally hurt him/her in an unnecessary fashion. But recently, I have needed to use karma as a way to try and soothe my own being. Long story short, the woman who was my father’s wife at the time of his death, because she was named in his will as “personal representative” to handle his estate, has ignored the other parts of his will which state that she is to receive nothing, and all of his assets should be distributed between all of his living children. In the state of Florida, probate of a will is not necessary, so the will has never been probated, meaning she’s never been forced to process the estate according to the instructions in his will.

The legal costs to fight this are impossible without putting one or both of his living children into serious debt.

I could write paragraphs and paragraphs and even more paragraphs about this woman and her actions, but that’s not my point. After spending several thousand dollars to a law firm to find out that the apparent steps to get his will validated will easily cost more than we have to spend, we’re starting to say we need to let this go and let KARMA take over. And while I want to believe that will happen, I have no true proof that it will. The money is certainly part of the issue, but for me, the number one reason I am upset over this happening is because it disrespects my father’s wishes, therefore disrespecting him.

And the icing on the cake? When her husband of many years passed away, she was set up financially for the rest of her life. In other words, she didn’t need the money because she had plenty of her own. In fact, from conversations with our father, I know that his intent not to leave her anything was because they had both agreed to do the same in their respective wills, since the remaining spouse would not need anything from the estate of the other.

So that’s going on, and has been for several months, and it’s been a constant stressor in my life.

However, my loyal readers will also know that I’d been dealing with a lot of stress, at the same time, over my car dying and the fiasco of buying a replacement vehicle. And it wasn’t but a month ago that I’d blogged that I’d finally gotten a vehicle. I remain overwhelmed by the number of buttons on the dash, as well as having buttons on the steering wheel for the first time in my life, but since I use it for errands – grocery shopping, doctor visits, nail and hair appointments – all within less than 2 miles away, I’m probably not going to use those buttons anyhow.

I was relieved when that stress was over! So, I took the car to be inspected, because the inspection was due by the end of May and since we can have our cars inspected up to three months earlier than the due date, I’ve always scheduled it for March, both to get it done and off the list of things I need to do and also, just in case something needed repaired/replaced, so I had time to have that done.

Well, surprise. In fact, double whammy! The check engine light came on after owning the vehicle for an entire 10 days. Fortunately, it came on during my drive home from the grocery store (a mile drive) and my appointment for inspection was the next week (a mile drive) and I didn’t need to go anywhere in between. The check engine light came on because the catalytic converter was performing at a much lower capacity than is normal, meaning that the air in my exhaust was dirtier than recommended. In this part of PA, we are required to have an emissions test done to make sure we aren’t contributing to the bad air quality we have. The car was previously located in an area that didn’t require the emissions test.

It appeared in the car history, according to my mechanic, that the light had come on for the same reason several times before, but because it doesn’t affect the use of the vehicle and the car wasn’t required to have an emissions test, a mechanic would just turn the light back off whenever it came on.

Welcome back, stress! The warranty I got, because it was a used vehicle, only covered the drivetrain, the motor, the transmission and the powertrain. The cost of the catalytic converter part was on my shoulders. The cost of the part was just over $900. The 2+ hours of labor to replace it was $190.

All of this crap that’s been happening to me, at least one crappy thing going on all the time for the last 6 months, got me thinking about the idea that karma has come to visit me, and this is the revenge it is seeking. I’ve been looking back through my memories to see if there was something so horrible that I did to someone worthy of bringing karma – and what feels like an overload of karma – upon myself. Yes, I’ve hurt some people in my 65 years of life, 99.9% of the time unintentional, and I’ve been quick to own up to what I’d done and apologized during the 0.1% that I did knowing I was doing it. But, even in that 0.1%, I’m certain that it was something I said to someone and nothing I said that caused permanent and lifelong harm.

I’m unsettled about all of this suddenly. Is this karma? If it is, how I wish I could learn what I’d done to deserve it and have the opportunity to make amends, not to avoid the karma but because it makes my heart hurt to think that I’ve hurt someone so terribly to deserve it in the first place.

I know some people would be quick to tell me that “God doesn’t give you any more than He knows you can handle.” I know I’ve certainly used those words to offer some encouragement. And I know that all of this stress is nothing compared to the people of Ukraine trying to get out of the country, in fear of their lives! I even know that the chances are that I will – eventually – get through all of this. But knowing that doesn’t make me feel better in these moments. To be honest, I feel like my spirit has been whipped long and hard enough to be close to breaking. I need a reprieve. More than that, I need something to go right for a change so that it will put some plaster over the cracks in my spirit.

I like when Karma does its work to punish other people whom I know have done some horrific things (Putin comes to mind), but I don’t like it so much when it’s my turn to receive it!

Message received. Now, please go away!

peptoc.

This gave me a positive feeling and outlook for the first time in days! Out of the mouths of babes…

I didn't have my glasses on....

The kids at West Side Elementary in Healdsburg, Calif.,

handed out Peptoc hotline cards to help spread the word about the project

Amid a crush of heavy news from around the world, who couldn’t use some sage advice right now?

Call a new hotline, and you’ll get just that — encouraging words from a resilient group of kindergartners.

Kids’ voices will prompt you with a menu of options:

If you’re feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, press 1. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press 2. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press 4. For encouragement in Spanish, press 5.

Pressing 3 leads to a chorus of kids sounding off a series of uplifting mantras:

“Be grateful for yourself,” offers one student.

“If you’re feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs,” another chimes…

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Political Correctness

I respect political correctness. I respect the need for political correctness. What I do not respect are the people and their ways of finding the most trivial thing about with to scream the lack of political correctness.

In the dictionary, political correctness is defined as “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” Although I’ve never felt excluded, marginalized or insulted by it, I understand why, in all of the nouns that are used as titles which are applicable to both genders, we no longer have postmen, trashmen, deliverymen and the like. Although postal service worker seems like a mouthful of words, trash collectors and delivery drivers are very easy to adapt to.

Oddly enough, though not often, I hear a ‘blonde’ joke. If you’re of my generation, you remember these, all with punchlines that were meant to indicate that, simply by the color of their hair, blondes as stupid in one or more ways. I also remember some jokes told about the Polish heritage, similar to the blonde jokes in that they both were intended to label certain people as stupid. How interesting that blondes and Pollacks never raised a fuss about being discriminated against.

My dad was born and raised south of the Mason-Dixon line. He was raised to be a non-violent racist. I can remember a time or two, in my younger years, that he used the “N” word without batting an eyelash. Fortunately, he did learn to curb the use of that word, and in time, he was able to accept Afro-Americans as a different race. However, I believe in my heart that he never fully stepped away from his roots in racism. Meanwhile, when he succumbed to the old habit of using the “N” word, I always spoke up and said that, to me, the word defined a certain group of people by their actions and had nothing to do with the color of their skin or their heritage.

I have never, to the best of my knowledge, been racist in any way. I have never understood why racism has always been limited to “black” versus “white”. I mean, we know that people of Asian heritage have slanted eyes, so why aren’t we racist against them? We know that our world has humans who profess many different religions, so why aren’t we racist against anyone who does not practice our preferred religion? The Jews were persecuted simply for being of Jewish faith, and we look back now at the Holocaust and shudder at its events. But wasn’t that also racism in action?

During my junior- and high-school years, the news was filled with blacks speaking up about being treated differently, as being singled out as a minority and not given the same rights as white people. We know the story of Rosa Parks, an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott.  We know of the teachings and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. And yet, racism is alive and somehow still thrives today, but in smaller quantities and in more subtle ways. I remember the years by remembering that the black students took advantage of things like jumping ahead in the lunch line and we dared not say a word because they’d call us a “racist”.

That being what it is, my biggest gripe is that songs and storybooks are now being attacked for not being “politically correct” in some way or another. To me, it’s a huge leap to believe that the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is being considered as a problem because it hints to the idea of a man forcing a woman against her will in some way.

And more recently, these imbeciles raised a stink against Hasbro, stating that “Mr.” Potato Head is not gender neutral (wasn’t there also a Mrs. Potato Head?) and Hasbro has succumbed to the pressure, planning on changing the name on all future productions of this toy as just Potato Head.

It’s extremely clear that our society, already so strongly divided politically, seems to be itching to pick at anything in order to raise a fuss. Seriously, I have plenty of holiday/winter songs to listen to that I won’t even miss “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” if I never hear it again. Seriously, I haven’t played with a Hasbro toy by any name in well over 40 years, and I don’t see myself doing so again.

How do we put a stop to this ridiculous behavior? Have we truly become a nation who is afraid to say “No more” from fear of being attacked for standing up to the idiocy?

HELP!!!!

Those school years

Enough Already

I rarely, almost never, splurge on the cost of a new book. However, a biography, or better yet, an autobiography, of someone ‘well known’ will make me open my wallet faster than any other book. Such is the case of a book I recently finished, called Enough Already and written by Valerie Bertinelli.

Valerie Bertinelli shares an inspiring blueprint that offers women in midlife support and hope, especially as she turns 60, and admits to her life-long futility in believing she’d find happiness in numbers on a scale. She shares personal stories that many women will relate to from her past decade: hitting her fifties, taking care of her dying mother, the evolving relationship with her husband, a career change, her relationship with food, and the battle to believe in herself as she is.

Despite her success receiving Emmys for her Food Network show and critical praise for her books and cookbook, Bertinelli still judged herself harshly if she gained a pound or showed too many wrinkles. But after her mother died, she found an old recipe box with notes of the strong women that came before her, reminding her that she has to find out who she is and take care of herself. Saying, “enough already!” Bertinelli set out on a journey to love herself and see that perfection is not the goal; it’s the joy we can find every day in our lives, our loved ones, and the food we share. Recipes and advice are also sprinkled throughout the book. 

I easily remember Valerie on the TV show “One Day at a Time” and thought of her as the “girl next door” type. I was honestly quite surprised when the “girl next door” married the mega-popular rock star (which proved I was making judgements!). It was interesting to read that Van Halen was the love of her life, the person she considered her soulmate.

I could tell you so much more, because it’s obvious that she allowed herself to be authentic, humble and vulnerable in this book. If you grew up with watching her on TV, or even now as she hosts her own cooking show and co-hosts the “Kid’s Baking Championship” and want to know more about who she is as a real person, I suggest you read this book.

I’m sharing this makeshift review for my fellow readers, but there was one line – just one sentence – in this book that popped out at me and became a lightbulb moment. The sentence reads: “I was hesitant about overstepping boundaries even if I was the only one who saw them.” She puts that in her book about, when Eddie was fighting one of his battles with cancer and she wanted to give him a hug but wasn’t sure he would welcome it.

I have always been ultra-sensitive about encroaching on people’s personal space. I’m also at times ultra-sensitive about people encroaching on mine, but always about others’ space. I think this stems from the fact that there was no sense of privacy or personal space when I was growing up, and I overcompensate with others because I know what it means to me (and therefore, assume means to them). I mean, when I think about it, I’d personally rather have too much personal space than not enough. Wouldn’t you?

For example, when I meet someone and get to know them well, I will always ask, “Is it okay if I give you a hug?” rather than just stepping in to give one without considering that person’s idea of personal space.

But now, I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve missed out on a wonderful moment by not overstepping boundaries that only I saw. A hug may not be something that shouldn’t be worried about, but a pat on the back or forearm probably wouldn’t seem inappropriate to most people, and I don’t feel it’s inappropriate when done to me, but unless I know this person well enough that we’ve hugged or cried on each other’s shoulders, I don’t feel comfortable with touching someone without knowing it’s okay. And certainly, that comes from a time in my childhood, over several years, when I was touched by someone who touched me in inappropriate ways and never cared if it was okay with me or not.

Nonetheless, since my circle of true friends is now pretty small (see my recent blog entitled “When the Circle Becomes a Dot”), I do need to be more conscious about whether I am letting my own sense of their boundaries prevent me from having a closer relationship to them.

Ugh! Apparently self-growth doesn’t end with senior citizen status!