Sunday, October 03, 2021

Memories Are An Important Part Of Our Lives


As you get older, your memories become pretty important. You remember past relationships and wonder what happened. Or what would have become of it if you had done this or he had done that? Maybe your life would not have turned out the way it did. Though it could have been worst instead of better too. We all make mistakes along the way in this journey of our life. I myself, have made quite a few. Now as I reflect on it, my life and my memories, I think my life has been fairly normal. My memories are good and when I think about them I like to write them down (I have to write everything down). That way I will have them just in case I can't remember them later on. 

Mom at our first house

I was not aware of being any different from others, but I seem to have a much better memory than most people. Someone asked me what was my earliest memory and I didn't even have to think about it. I was still sleeping in a crib! My mother came in to ask me what kind of doll I wanted Santa Claus to bring me. I think it was Christmas Eve and we lived in our second house, which we have always called the red house. I told her a Jeannie doll and must be that was what I got. My crib was upstairs in our house and there was a big blackboard at the top of the stairs that my father took out of the old schoolhouse he bought on the property next door. I didn't remember using that blackboard but it was always in my memories and dreams. Years later, my parents spoke of that particular blackboard and how my father removed it from the schoolhouse for our house. I thought to myself, "Oh yeah, that's the blackboard in my memories."

Me, making memories!

Yet there are times when I meet people that I knew in my past and I don't remember them now. How embarrassing is that! I blame it on my age. In truth, some relationships were more meaningful than others so I think that is why they are still clear in my mind. Often people block a memory because it was a bad one and they just put it out of their mind. I haven't had to do that so much. Most of my memories I can live with just fine. It is just that I have so many. One problem is that I remember things exactly how they happened or when and others don't remember it like I do. I just say what I remember and leave it at that. I know most people have a distorted memory or they change it a bit to make it more interesting or to make their part in it bigger or better.

I worked for a lot years in nursing homes and some of the residents did not know their family members or their names. Yet they could tell you in detail about their early years. A lady I took care of never spoke. She would just nod her head for yes or no. One time her medication got messed up and nobody noticed. I took her in for a shower and sitting in the shower chair she spoke! Then she started talking nonstop. I wanted to ask her everything I wondered about. Of course as soon as her medications were straightened out I never heard her talk again. That was why I liked to play the big band music CDs during their dinner hour. Some residents who never responded to anyone or anything would start tapping or moving their heads to the music.  A few would even singing along. I loved it. Just play Led Zeppelin for me! 

My parents, 1942

My parents had gathered a lot of memories over their sixty years of marriage. My mother would share them with me often. They both had a easy, good nature about them and humor was key to their happiness. My father was always telling a joke and he always had a new one to tell. He took care of my mom when she got sick with Cushing's Syndrome around 1976. I would hear them laughing over something together. Once my mom was crippled from the disease, her memories became even more important to her than ever. She had done a lot of physical things in her life and the memories of them gave her comfort the best they could. Being forced to a life of medications,walkers and beds she found other interests but it was never the same. 

Copyright © 2021 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2021  Kathleen G. Lupole

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Applesauce in the Instant Pot is Simple & Easy

Food Boxes

The Office for The Aging recently contacted the manager of the apartment building I live in to offer food boxes for the senior citizens living here. The boxes came yesterday. Two boxes for each apartment. It was a good assortment of healthy food, produce and other items. One of the produce items was a bag of local apples. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep these apples fresh as long as it would take me to eat them all. So I decided to make them into applesauce.

Preparing Apples

I have not made applesauce since I was cooking it all day on a wood stove. I thought it would be a good thing to do here. I researched some recipes and decided on doing it in the Instant Pot. In the end I didn't really follow a recipe. You will find many recipes if you search for "applesauce recipes." Include "no sugar" and/or "unpeeled" if that is how you want to make it. I wanted a simple recipe with no sugar added. Apples don't really need sugar added. 

Two bags of apples

For many people my age, peeling apples can be hard on your hands and fingers. So not peeling them is a big step in making this easier to do. Standing in one place for a long period of time isn't good either. I take breaks. My break is longer than the standing time! lol  This was an easy to do recipe due to much of the prep work being eliminated. I washed the apples and then cut the core out and sliced them into chunks. Leaving the peel on. I put 1 cup of water into the inner pot of the Instant Pot. 

Apples Prepped

When I was slicing them, I put them right into the inner pot, up to the max line. I sprinkled 1 tsp. of cinnamon on the apples and mixed it into the apples. Next I made sure the gasket was on the lid, then fastened the lid on. Turned the knob to sealing (NOT VENTING) and closed the lid. Press the manual button (on my model, your model may be different, manual is the same as high pressure). Set the time for 6 minutes. Now you are done for now. 

Apples are cooked and are soft!

When it is done cooking, wait for the natural release. The apples will be very soft but need to be made into sauce which doesn't take much work. Using an immersion blender I blended it for a few minutes until it was smooth. 

Applesauce is smooth and no sign of the peels!

I finished with two 1 quart canning jars of applesauce. I am storing them in the refrigerator but it can also be canned. Use the search engine for the recipes and I also found it could be canned using the water bath method (for fruit) in the Instant Pot (not using pressure). I might try that sometime in the future. To be honest, as much as I loved canning, at this time in my life, I do not want to do it. I don't need more work. Less work but good food is my new motto! My apartment is small and I really don't have the room needed to store canning jars of food. Not now or ever again. 



Copyright © 2021 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2021  Kathleen G. Lupole


Monday, September 20, 2021

Living With Stress and What To Do About It

Everyone eventually will live with some kind of stress in their lives. We all handle it differently. They say stress is the cause of most diseases and I believe it. I am presently going through a very stressful situation in my life and I can feel the result of it in my body. When I think back on my life, I realize I have had many, many stressful situations. Thank goodness they were not all at the same time! It seems to me that your body says, "I know you are weak right now so time to let something attack you." 

When I am stressed or worried I write out a list of all the things I could or need to do to get rid of it. Can I do them? No, not always. Sometimes.....more times than not, it is out of my control. I pray about it and put it in God's hands and then make an effort not to worry. Does that work? Often it does. Not always. Not always the way I expect or want it to. Sometimes I have to wait longer and I keep on  praying. Other times my prayer is answered but not exactly in the way I hoped. Yet after a period of time it turned out way better than I had hoped. Every cloud has a silver lining!

Another thing I do when I have a burden to bear or on my mind is to look around and see how many others are so much worse than I am. There is always someone worse off. I have a comfortable home, food to eat and everything I need. I am not in need of anything really. Until I moved here, I could not say that. So I try not to complain to anyone about any problem I have presently. Life is funny that way. Once you make a change then those other problems you had seem to drift away or not be important any longer.

Problems that sneak up on you are hard to address when in the beginning you don't see them. Did you ever notice something then put it out of your mind to have it become a big problem later on? Yes, that is the kind of problem I am talking about. Those are the types of problems I seem to have all of the time. If I had recognized it for what it was in the beginning, it would not be quite so bad presently. Yet I do that over and over through out my whole life. 

So what do I do about it besides pray? I make a list of the problems I am facing and then arrange them in order of importance. Actually not really importance, since every one of them is important but in order of which one absolutely must be done first. It is like when you are remodeling a room on your home and you find the ceiling or walls are rotten and have to be completely rebuilt before you can get to the remodeling project you were so excited about. I had that happen so I know what I am talking about.

Once you have a plan of action, it decreases your stress a bit. Then start working on your list and doing the things you need to do. A bad one for me is making appointments and telephone calls. I have always had a phobia of making telephone calls and I know that sounds funny since I worked as a receptionist in two accounting firms and as a  telephone representative at the Home Shopping Network. Honestly, I don't know how I did that! To this day, it is the hardest thing I have to do. I love email for that reason. Stick to your plan and if you need to add more to your list then do so. Keep it where you can see it and view it several times a day. Try it and see if it helps. 

Copyright © 2021 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2021  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival 2021


The Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival 2021 took place this week-end. It was a beautiful day and lots of people turned out on Saturday morning. The Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival has been a yearly event in Norwich since 1994 and takes place the first week-end after Labor Day. It gives people that one last event to look forward to before fall. It is the event for local, and some not so local, artists. There are many different forms of art and it was fun looking at it all. You can purchase from the various artists who have it displayed in their booths which are in both parks, East Park and West Park. The parks are across Broad Street (Rt. 12) from each other in the center of downtown Norwich, NY. The art is judged and awards given.

There was plenty of entertainment through out the day. Such as music, puppet shows, juggler acts, art projects for children to take part in and much more. My street was blocked off so the whole front lawn of my building was used for entertainment. The juggler, Jason Tardy, was performing his show in front of our half of the building. The puppet theater and children's art project tent was in front of the other half where the Chenango Art Council has their offices.  

East and West parks are directly across the street from each other in downtown Norwich. South and North Broad Streets did not have to be closed down. Just the street I live on. Traffic was respectful of people crossing the streets and our crosswalks are clearly marked. There was live music all day on both sides of the street. The music was really good and the chairs around the stages was filled most of the day. I am fortunate to have a chair wherever I go since I was using "Jazzy" my mobility chair. 

The food court was very popular with lines for everything. It smelled and looked good. We did not buy anything to eat from those instead choosing to buy from the local establishments. We bought pizza from Nina's, the Italian restaurant. In the morning we bought lattes from Deja Brew, the coffee shop around the corner. They had a long line to get inside too but we managed to get there at the beginning of the line. It was very good and we enjoyed it.

I was on my mobility chair and Sonny on his scooter and was able to get through to see everything with no problem. Most of the street corners in Norwich have ramps built into them so they are easy to use for wheelchairs and mobility vehicles. The parks have cement sidewalks and that is a big help for me. I kept getting stuck in the grass! My mobility chair, "Jazzy" is larger than the scooters and heavier with 4 small wheels and 2 large ones. 

I had never seen this many people in Norwich since I moved here in 2018. It was a friendly crowd and everyone got along with no trouble that I saw. I only went on Saturday but Sunday had less people and seemed quieter. Norwich has a lot of public parking areas with the addition of the large parking lot at the county office building which was just across the street from West Park. They also had a number of port-a-potties available off to the side of the court house. 

There were many different types of artists at Colorscape selling their art work. Not just paintings and prints. The baskets on display were absolutely stunning! I love baskets but had to make myself stay away from them. I do not want to buy more things for my apartment. I have been getting rid of a lot of stuff so have to stick to that. I had fun browsing though.

One of my friends is a sunflower fanatic and when I saw the sunflowers painted on a few different pieces in this one booth I had to grab a picture for her. I will be writing another post about Colorscape soon as I took a lot of pictures. One artist was doing sculptures with his chainsaw.  I saw a lot of handmade jewelry and many other items that I can't name them all here. It looked like people were buying too. I hope these artists did well at Colorscape. 

There were many dogs enjoying the day also. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to share a little bit of it with my readers. 

Copyright © 2021 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2021  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, September 13, 2021

Live For Today For Happier Tomorrows

Live for today. That was the way I lived when I was young. Didn't think much about my future or what my life would be like when I was seventy. It never crossed my mind. Amazing how soon those years go by and...............wait who is almost seventy now????? Does it bother me? No, not really. I say things about my age sometimes, but mainly because I can't believe I am that age already. Even though I have mobility issues, I don't feel that old. I always say that old is ten years older than me, whatever my age. People still are amazed when I say my son is 51 years old. I had him young, what can I say? Now though when I say live for today, I am thinking about the famous saying of one day at a time. That is what I am doing now. One day at a time. If I have trouble walking today, I don't walk. I work on my computer or read in my recliner with my feet up. No sense crying about it. Tomorrow is another day. 

If you had to choose to be someone else for one day, who would it be? Would you want to be rich? Famous? Smart? Married to some hunk? Would you make every second of that day count since it was just for 24 hours? I bet you would not even sleep. I thought and thought who I would want to be and you know I could not even think of one person. Rich or famous? I don't envy their lives. They do not appear really happy to me. I think they are as miserable as the rest of us. When I was younger, I am sure my answer would have been different. I did live a number of years married to a man who made a considerable amount of money and we lived very good. Money wise I had everything I wanted. I did not have it in a husband, father to my child (who he adopted as his own), a companion or the type of relationship I craved. After two more marriages, I never found it either. 

Who is the happiest person you know personally? I would have to say my boyfriend, Sonny. If you know him, I bet you would agree with me. He is not rich or famous (even though I often say I feel like I am dating a celebrity because everyone in my area knows him). Yet life has not been easy for  him. Humor gets him through it. If you ever went to his Fakebook page, you would see why. His friends are always putting questionable memes on there because they know he will laugh at them. He seems to see the humor in almost all situations. The kindest man I have ever met. If anyone needs help, he is the one they call. 

Be kind has became the quote of the year. The trouble with that is that the people using it are not kind at all. They are using it to make you think your ideas or beliefs are not kind (unless you are one of them). I see it in the news, in the entertainment world. especially in politics, etc. This is one of the reasons I find being an introvert is actually the truest way one can live and be themselves. That way no one can turn your thoughts to match theirs. I have always been a sort of a rebel. I gave my mother fits. My brother always told me to just listen and not argue and then do what you want anyway. I could never do that. I had to argue and tell her what I really thought and then get myself in trouble (again).

I am focusing on what I need in my life at this time. It is different than what I needed or wanted when I was younger. There are things I cannot do and things I must do. Everyone handles it differently. I think though it depends on your circumstances. If your health is not good than you have to work on that first. You cannot just give up. Why do that? Live every day to improve or make yourself happy. Think positive about all things. I pray a lot, well actually, I have conversations with God. I tell him what I need or discuss what I can do or should do to overcome whatever situation. You know what? Almost every time, my prayers were answered. Sometimes when they weren't it turned out to be better anyway. 

My bunny boy, Rabbit makes me happy every day!

In closing I want to encourage you to write a list of steps you need to do to improve your life or situation. Things you can do right now. Not next week or next year. Now. Then try to follow those little steps and see what happens. 

Copyright © 2021 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2021  Kathleen G. Lupole

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Staying Positive In A Crazy World

I know everyone thinks of me as a positive person. Always looking for something good in every situation. Yesterday I had an appointment in my apartment with my new counselor from adult services. She is new to this job. Her boss told her she was sending her out on a fun appointment and that I had a pet rabbit! Now I take that as a compliment! You know how many of those social workers can be difficult to talk to or even make a joke with. I do remember earlier in the year having an appointment with her boss and we were laughing and sharing stories about our experiences on building our family trees. Mine has become quite extensive and talking about it is something I love to do. That is another post for another day.

It is not easy staying positive when things around you are crazy. I live in a senior housing apartment building so many of my friends and neighbors are elderly and/or disabled. Some can use a computer and some just use a phone. Others will say proudly that they don't know how to use a computer. Then they are knocking on my door asking me to find something online or print out something for them. One neighbor uses the computer across the street at the library. At least he uses one. 

One of the things I am not too positive about is getting Libre Office (the writing software I use in my computer) into this new computer. I was used to having someone else do these things for me and having to learn to do it on my own is a whole new thing. I am determined to work it out. I do not use Windows but Ubuntu as my operating system. It is more complicated when you are not a software engineer yourself. I am considering taking a class on it so that I will know how to handle all these things myself. Probably easy to do if you know what to do.

Working on the computer is something I can do even when I am unable to walk. Some days walking is incredibly difficult so sitting at my computer is a lifesaver for me. I went almost 19 years without watching any television so doing so now is not something I do a lot. At least not during the daytime hours. I am a computer person and always will be. I cannot waste my time sitting around being depressed about it. I just have to remember to get up and move around even when I am in pain. My worst pain is when I stand in place for even a little bit of time. If I keep moving, I am okay.

One thing I know about myself is that it is important for me to take my time to react to something. I make it a rule to never show my anger. Not that I don't have it, but after living with a very angry person for many years, I know it can get the better of you. You might say, write or do something that will affect your life forever. Take at least a day or more to think about it. I always write it down. Writing something has always been my way of dealing with any problem or troubling thoughts I have. Which is one reason I need to get Libre Office into this journals are written using it. 

Every day I am grateful for the changes I made in my life in 2018. I dread to think what would have become of me if I hadn't. I think I was at my breaking point at the end of 2017 and I really thought I was going to die. The move here to my own apartment by myself has become the most significant thing I have ever done for myself. I realize now that after being married three times that I was not meant to live like that. Marriage is not for everyone and it was not for me. I was never happy and my favorite times was when my husband would leave to go somewhere. Now I wake up every morning to my own place with complete freedom of how to spend my day!

Copyright © 2021 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2021  Kathleen G. Lupole