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Physical Therapy Continues

Since I fell on June 26 and broke my left hip, I have been recovering very well (thank you for all the prayers!). Roosevelt Hospital has a great rehab program and each day in the hospital I could see improvement daily after my physical and occupational therapy. Since getting home on July 14 to my 4th floor walkup, I continue working on getting better each day. I have been doing Physical Therapy at Roosevelt as an out patient for the last month or so, and tomorrow will get reevaluated, to see if I need more or can continue on my own.

I am not sure what to wish for, as going to physical therapy is difficult and hard to measure the improvement – it is not as easy to tell as when I was first injured. But I do want to continue to improve so I can feel more like my old self, able to go downstairs without thinking about how many trips up and down this will involve, and if I can take doing it more than twice if I have to do so.

Getting old is not for sissies, as I hear Bette Davis originally said. There are so many indignities that you go through that no one warns you about! Who wants to hear about digestive problems as you age? Let me tell you, no one! But it is true.

I used to love hanging out with my elderly friends in their 80s and 90s, as they all think I am a spring chicken, but after this summer I am not feeling that plucky.  When they get depressed, I am not so quick to say all will be well, look on the bright side. I miss +Josephine Kolenik and all those who have gone on to their reward.  Now I wonder how they can be so cheerful, what is the secret to finding joy in the every day things with which they deal?

Let us look for the joy and revel in it! Shared joy increases, shared sorrow lessens, so share what you find, but look for the joy, as the sorrow will find us.

Going on Retreat

I am a person who likes to go on retreats. I am right there with Peter at the Transfiguration, ‘Shall we build two tents, one for Moses and one for Elijah?’ I want to be on retreat all the time.

I go to a summer retreat, which I couldn’t go to this year because the dates coincided with a trip to Wisconsin and Ohio with my good friend Pam and her daughter Kristen and Pam’s grandkids Charlie and Desmond. I couldn’t miss that, hadn’t met the guys and they are 5 and 3 years old! They enabled me to visit my own grandkids, Brianna, Joshua and Isaiah, who are 5, 3 and 1 year old – I was hoping we could somehow get them all to meet, but that would have involved driving for 3 hours each way for a 1 or 2 hour visit, not feasible!!! But they got to visit with their great grandparents in Ohio, and I got to meet and travel with them and my own grandkids and family, so it was well worth it. Spending time with my sister and seeing my brother, their great uncle, referring to himself as Gruncle Matthew and playing with them in their home and yard was priceless!

The summer retreat, for which I usually organize a group of 20-30 women, joining groups from all over of 150 total, is always great, and my friends Ellen and Betty agreed to organize for me, then Betty couldn’t go either so we are going on Nov. 13-15 for the same themed retreat at West End, NJ, San Alfonso Retreat House – not the same as being there in August, but we are looking forward to it. I just finished a 5 day retreat in Philly at the Mother Boniface Spirituality Center with the Missionary Cenacle Family on our spirituality. That one is a silent retreat for 8 days and the Holy Spirit is very present. I couldn’t miss that! Thanks to my friend Dorothy Clay from California, who helped me with the cost, I was able to go to that one, too, for 5 days at least – still can’t get the time to do the whole 8 days! And every year Pax Christi Metro New York sponsors a retreat, which I did in February and look forward to in January this coming year.  Every place I go for retreat has lots of other retreats on various themes, and they all look good to me, but I really can’t do any more or my husband will rebel.

I know the Holy Spirit is always with us, but on retreat I really feel Her Presence. I am better able to be quiet and listen to Her. During the silent retreat we had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and it occurred to me that while Jesus is always present in the Church, with exposition we are reminded of that fact and can be more aware of that Presence. Retreats do the same thing – the Holy Spirit is always with us, but on retreat we can be alert to that whisper in our ear, be filled with the courage, fortitude, wisdom and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit that enable us to do good, be good, be a power for good, in the providence of our daily lives, as we are all called to do by our baptism and guided by our vocations and various paths of life. The joy of having the time to spend listening to the Lord and being able to share it is immense. But we have to come down off the mountain and share it!

God loves us so much, we have to bask in it once in a while, and then go out and let everyone else know God loves them the same way! My parents used to say ‘we love you equally, but for different reasons.’ So I love hearing the stories and sharing them, of how we are different and why we think God loves us or not. Retreats help me do that.

Recovering from a broken hip

I fell while working on June 26 and broke my left hip. I had surgery the next morning and a pin was inserted into my femur and hardware was added to secure the femur to my hip, as the bones that normally do that were broken in the fall as well. They also added a screw just above my knee to secure the whole thing. All has healed well, except the one at my knee, which started coming out, as I discovered at a one month checkup on Aug. 17. My doctor took new xrays and showed me all 3, the one from the er, the one right after surgery and the one from that day. I was heading to Ohio to visit the grandkids the next day, so was concerned, he said it would be fine until I got back. So today, Sept. 4, I had the screw out in a 10 minute outpatient surgery, and am home with no physical restrictions, other than keeping the wound site dry for a couple weeks until I get the stitches out on Sept. 14.

I missed going to Trinita for two weeks to volunteer, though thanks to Nancy Strini, my friend and fellow leader in the Missionary Cenacle Family (she is regional custodian, I am her assistant) I did get to visit overnight for the last weekend of Trinita! And thanks to another friend, Leroy Ferguson, who joined us for the final Fiesta at Trinita, I got a ride back to NYC afterwards! I was able to get around pretty well, and to volunteer at the pool so one of the others got to play with the families one more time, so I felt I pulled my weight for the visit! A year without time at Trinita is not to be endured.

I hope to be healed enough to get back to work by the end of September, which is great since the theatre where I usher has a new show and new owners, and I don’t want to be giving excuses so they don’t want to hire me! It is looking very promising, as I was able to climb my 4 flights of stairs at home with no problems today. Just had to take my time, so in 20 days I should be in very good shape.

Living with a repaired hip is not too difficult, and visiting folk who are older than me yesterday at Mary Manning Walsh, I am very encouraged that I will be back to my normal self in no time. They are doing pretty well, one is 20 years older than me and has both hips repaired, and she is getting around very well, so I thank God for all the prayers that have helped my healing, and look forward to continuing to ‘do good, be good, be a power for good,’ as Father Judge, CM, the founder of the Missionary Cenacle Family used to say.

A friend is getting ordained a Redemptorist

I live in a 4th floor walkup in New York, next to my parish, which is Redemptorist run and they used to own my building, as well. When I moved in, I was running the Religious Ed program for the parish and was able to move in when a former tenant moved out. Shortly thereafter, the pastor, who had been dealing with the old (former)school buildings in court cases as the current tenants weren’t paying their rent, asked his superiors to sell the building, as he couldn’t get rid of the schools and being in tenant/landlord court all the time was not something he became a priest to do!

I understood his objections, as we met as a staff and discussed all the parish business, but as a tenant lucky enough to be living in the building, I was concerned that the new landlord would hike up the rents and I would be forced to leave New York. The other tenants in the building were equally distressed, but it has turned out fairly well, as the rent stabilization laws meant they had to honor our leases, and the pastor made sure they were in order. Being one of the more recent arrivals, I talked to the other tenants and made friends with Anthony Mihalik, who was on the first floor and had been there the longest, I thought. Being in this building has meant so much to all of us!

Jump forward 25 years, and Anthony, who left the apartment to enter the seminary, is now going to be ordained on June 27 in Ephrata, PA, his home town, and our parish is planning a road trip to see him ordained and do his first Mass there. Fr. Arthur Wendel, who grew up in New York in the same parish and was his pastor when Anthony was the music director there, will be preaching at his Mass as well. They both have glorious voices, I hope they sing some duets for us!

Happy Pentecost! Happy Birthday of being the People of God!

On this day, we celebrate being a people who are loved by God. Not just us, but all people are loved by God, and our job is to let people know this. If we are doing other things in God’s name, we are not doing what we are called to do!

God loves me, that is why I am here. But God made everyone, so even if I can’t see it, God loves everyone in the same intimate way. My job is to spread that love!

Looking for Work

Being an actor, I have to look for work to get it. Even the unpaid acting work has to be auditioned for and gotten. To supplement my paid acting work, I need other work, which I also have to get. I was ushering and monitoring at Equity for a while, and that, with my paid acting work, episodic as it is, was enough to do all right. Then in November of 2012, Equity decided to make the monitoring job a staff position, which means you can’t serve on Council (not that I am or want to) or Committees, which I felt at the time was not a good thing. The expertise of auditioning actors and stage managers would then be lost to the committees which decided on how things would run at those auditions.

I kept spending money as if I was earning what I had been before, so now I have credit card debt and really need to find more supplemental work. Argh! I haven’t been auditioning as much as I would like, and though sending out for background and film and TV work, haven’t been getting it. I need to get on the stick!

Then in January the show I was working as an usher closed and the theatre was sold to another entity, who has their own crew, so I am not ushering either. Time to get any kind of work! And I sit here, looking at email and Facebook and writing this. Get up and get to work getting work!!!

Spring in NYC

I went to an event sponsored by Mama Donna Henes on Friday, to balance eggs, in the tradition of the ancient Chinese, for good luck for the New Year, on March 20, spring equinox. On that day, the earth is so balanced that you can balance an egg (yes, raw) on its end at the equinox moment and for almost an hour after as well.

I had a busy day: went to the 8am Mass and got Communion so I could visit my friend who is homebound later on, went to PS 20 and read to my classes as I do each week – 9:30 to 11am, went to the library to return books and get a new one to read, visited my homebound friend at 11:30am, went up to East 96th Street to tape the Sunday Mass with the Passionists at St. Frances de Sales Church – 1:30 to 3pm (though they filmed 3, I had to leave after 2), went home to meet Diane Snyder by 4pm, our chiropractic vet who makes home visits for our cats, now one cat, Reggie. He is almost 19 years old and getting very skinny, so she was gentle with him even more than usual. It was beginning to snow at 3pm, very lightly, but I was committed to helping with getting set up for the event at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, so I called to say I was on my way, but running a bit late. I told them not to wait for me as I would see if they were there when I got out of the subway. So I thought! The event was to start at 6:15pm, as the moment was at 6:45pm, and I was supposed to get there by 5:45, but I didn’t get there until almost 6:15, so they were already there and I joined in the setup – as soon as I found them – visibility was low. Having been there for other events, it was easy, but hard to believe I couldn’t see them, had to go on faith! We put the 360 eggs in a crate in the center of the circle Donna created with red material. She set up her smudge, oils, etc. and we were ready. Of course, by now it was snowing so heavily the red cloth was almost invisible under the inches of snow!

Donna’s assistant plays in an all female drumming band, who were to perform, and many of them showed up, even some came on bicycle, lugging their bass drums and in costume, too! Amazing! Various friends, relatives and even Channel 12 from NJ came, and though it was the first time it snowed so heavily for this event in 40 years, the eggs were balanced and then the drummers played. What a wonderful event! Some of us gathered the eggs that had fallen, so we wouldn’t have to do them all once when the drummers were done, but we didn’t move the eggs that were still standing, and stand they did – until we had to leave. Donna donates the eggs to a nearby homeless shelter, they have really blessed omelets the next day! Her relatives, her assistant and boyfriend and I gathered all the eggs and her things and trundled our way back to her loft on Sterling Place, where she served us a snack and we all shared stories of the event and thawed out in front of a fire in her lovely space in exotic Brooklyn. Then I went home to my husband and cat – back by 9:30pm or so. I called my sister in Ohio to let her know I had balanced an egg for her, too – I got 5 to stand up, though only one lasted until we left. I think my mittens have dried out now, just!

The next day there was still snow on the trees as we went to do our Saturday morning shopping, and the wind blew it off the branches so it looked like it was snowing, but the temperature rose so all the snow was gone by afternoon. A friend posted pictures on Facebook of Friday with snow covered branches, and the same spot the next day with crocus blooming! Sometimes I do still love New York.