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This past Monday we celebrated the Lunar New Year, which is commonly known in the United States as Chinese New Year. Since, however, other Asian cultures observe the lunar calendar, Lunar New Year, seems more appropriate. This particular new year is known as the Year of the Dragon and horoscopes based on the lunar new years further denotes it as the Year of the Black Water Dragon. The colors and the element signifiers are linked and this year’s Dragon is tempered by the sensitivity and fluidity of water.

I was born in the year of the Fire Rooster. I am told, anyway.
Being an adoptee, a First Generation Korean Adoptee to be precise, I have never known my true birth date much less the time and the positions of the moon, sun and stars.

After reading about the usual characteristics, strengths and foibles of Fire Rooster individuals, I can’t help but wonder if I was really born in the year that I have been told that I made my appearance on this planet. This birth date, after all, was merely assigned to me somewhere along the way in one of the orphanages and/or foster homes I dwelled in for varying lengths of short time periods. Sound vague, do I? Well guess what, this birth date mystery business has all felt a little or a lot vague, shrouded in fog and dimly lit. Throughout my life I have felt incomplete and more than a wee bit off center not knowing a simple date.

But it is never a simple anything… Along with the not knowing my birth date comes the ignorance about my first family. No true memories of my omma’s face, her scent or touch. A void where my life’s beginning would have been. Unrooted. At times unanchored and unhinged.

So somehow this celebration of the year of the Black Water Dragon got me going down the familiar but not recently walked path of wondering wishing and yearning for hints and knowledge of my past. There aren’t any pretty bows to tie on this particular piece of sharing ~ only a heart and spirit that feel incomplete, sometimes.

I almost lost my mind
I almost went crazy
Buck Crazy,
almost went I, when I instinctively went to roll over on my left side while I was almost sleeping last night. Oh my oh my!

I caught my mind in mid-roll, or turn, since it is difficult to roll in an upright position. Yes, I was able to abort my craziness most likely saving myself from a severe visit from my Bastard Buddy Vertigo (BBV).

Sleep disturbances due to this BBV or more aptly put, trying to avoid visits from my unwelcome BBV, has left me a wee bit cranky and exhausted this week. Smushing my work week into four days in order to relish my three day weekends is well worth the long hours during those four work days. In fact this kind of flexible schedule helps greatly in keeping me an employee at this juncture in my career. But like all things, great and not so great, there’s always the accompanying perks and detractors. The downside of the deal is that I am often done in and used up by the time I unlock my front door and walk into my sweet abode at the end of the day.

Long hours, tired brain, sleep disruption, upgrading my smart phone and figuring out all of the new technology, changes and uncertainty in the workplace, sleeping upright for almost 13 months and uber cold and still too dark days have taken their toll this week.

But you know what?
I am ever so grateful that I stopped my body from following the crazy not good for me impulse`to roll over. Cuz I know from past experience that nothing good was going to come of that and that the quality of my life could have taken a nose dive (no pun intended but apropos). I’ll take a little grumpy and a mediocre exhaustion over longlasting vertigo attacks any day or night.

That, and the fact that winter is passing and we are gaining 5 minutes of daylight back daily, have me almost feeling good to go. Good thing that I have a little while to sip my hot comforting tea from my favorita pottery mug before I have to go about my day outside of my warm home.

Have you ever been missing something or someone but only became aware of their absence upon their return? Well that was me, or at least my experience, day before yesterday while visiting a neighbor when we were both graced by a mom and her baby. A cow moose mom and her two-year old calf baby, that is. They were munching their way through the yard, enjoying the tasty birch trees and snacking on snow to wash down the significant amount of roughage. My neighbor and I even got to have eye-to-eye contact with mama moose as she peered through the living room windows, perhaps curious as to what was being served for dinner behind the four walls.

While watching the moose go about their day, I realized how much I have missed their moose-y presence this winter. With the exception of this cow and calf I have only seen two other moose all winter. Where I used to live, at the Compound, in a more country like setting, I had grown accustomed to frequent and almost daily sightings of these majestic and dignified looking creatures. In fact, there was a mama moose who I had the honor of watching for five winters and summers. She sported a large healed but jagged grey scar along her left side and gave birth to two sets of twins during our acquaintanceship.

So last night while playing Scrabble with a friend at my dining room table, I was happy and pleased to see my second sighting of this new-to-me neighborhood mom moose and calf strolling through the deep snow right outside my windows. While scarfing down the tender birch branches, the snow would fall onto their furry faces, highlighting their long lush eyelashes ~ a picture perfect moment for sure.

So I did what I am wont to do upon spying any wild animal within reach of my human species ~I send a prayer for their safety up to the Heavens that be, quickly followed by my prayer of thanks-giving to share the Earth with such beauty.

Oh Ms. Mama Moose how I have missed you.
Thank you for reminding me of your presence on this planet.
Thank you for filling a void in my winter that only you can fill.
Blessed be to you and your baby ~

My recent medical diagnoses has required me to change my eating habits. Drastically. As long as I can remember, salt has occupied its very own food group at the base of my food pyramid. Other foods were mere vehicles for my favored and craved after salt. I now take in less than 1000 milligrams of sodium daily. So as one might imagine, this shift in diet has not been without some grief and overall loss of appetite.

The change in diet and my faithful following of the doctor’s orders has rested solely on fear. Fear of being permanently plagued with the unbearable vertigo and the loss of what has been up until recently, very keen hearing. My desire to not lose my ability to hear and having endured severe bouts of vertigo for months on end have been the impetus and motivation, which in turn has fueled my robust adherence to this new eating lifestyle.

Changes take some time to grow accustomed to. That, along with the immediate revocation of my loved longed for and lusted after salty goodiness, basically stopped me dead in my tracks when it came to cooking anything tasty for myself or wanting to cook for myself. When cooking for others, I continue to cook with salt and have not required my friends or families to adhere to my strict new diet needs. But when it has come to my cooking to sustain myself that is exactly what I have been reduced to ~ cooking and eating to live and to survive; forget the thriving and enjoyment.

Up until this weekend that is. Today I am cooking a pot of white bean soup that is much lower in sodium than I would have formerly prepared but still has more sodium laden ingredients than I have been allowing myself. I think this is okay. I didn’t go hog wild ~ just enough to make the soup tasty enough to make me want to dip my spoon in more than once or twice.

The delicious savoriness is enveloping my little abode while the soup perks away in my slow cooker. Chunks of bright orange carrots, carmalized yellow onion bits, diced fresh shiny green jalapenos, a bit of browned salt pork, two dusty green bay leaves and a healthy dose of deep red cayenne pepper mingle with the white beans, all bathed in a splash or so of beef broth. I tossed in a dash of ground nutmeg just for kicks. So far, smells delisio.

Comfort.
A reclaiming of my kitchen.

If you were here, I would ladle you up a hot bowl of white bean soup.
Comfort.
Comfort with a spicy kick.
Oh yeah, baby, time to get back in the kitchen.

In between my last post and last night, life has offered up a couple of opportunities ~ thick and juicy ones, as a matter of fact ~ to help grow my resiliency and encourage my practice of regulating my emotions.

That long sentence really means that it’s been a week, my friend ~ it’s been a week.

A week that I am glad and just a little (or more) proud for utilizing coping strategies that work when I put them into motion.

The majority of my emotional dysregulation (I love this term ~ it makes me smile) sprang from news from my health insurance provider’s announcement that my numerous medical appointments, tests, adjustments and procedures are not going to be covered, at all, due to a clause regarding pre-existing conditions. I won’t go into the whole ugly disempowering quagmire as I fear that might send me back to a tearful rageful place. I will say that I was able to put the situation into a more tolerable perspective within an hour of the event and carry on with my day. What’s more, I haven’t let it wreck my entire week. It’s definitely a low grade worrier and energy sapper and yet that feels so much better than totally giving into the doom gloom despair hatred and bitterness.

I am taking the steps to enter an appeal even though the insurance rep told me to do so was “futile.” Because after all futile is just a word ~ no greater in meaning than “hope.”

The purple hair comes into play as a product if you will of my medical condition, which causes unbearable vertigo when I lie down. And since my hair doesn’t naturally grow shades of purple and black, I go into a colorist to work her magic every 4-6 weeks. Since I cannot lie down to have my hair shampoo’ed, the Color Artiste Extradordinaire slaps color on my hair, wraps strands in foil and then straps a plastic shower cap like thing on my head and sends me on my way to wash out the excess dye in the standing up privacy of my own shower.

Sounds semi-simple enough, right?
Well, throw in the fact that the temps have been well below 0 Farenheit for some time now in this Corner of the Frozen Winter Earth and one can see that some anxiousness might begin to creep in when faced with opening the inside door to go to the outside world. OMG! My head might actually freeze. For realz.

It didn’t.
Thank goodness.

But I did end up ripping out chunks of hair trying to remove the foils that the Color Artiste thoughtfully made travel ready, meaning extra tightly folded so none would be lost in transport. Can you say Ouch! and Ouch, again! I did, my friend, I did. Along with a few other words that I won’t mention here. But a word is just a word, right?

I am relieved that I made it through my work week intact. I am grate-full that the Universe and all of my Guardian Helpers were there helping me along my path and I am appreciative of myself that I accepted the proffered assistance. All in all an okay week made even livelier by sporting bright new shiny purple hair.

You know that saying, “it may be the martini talking?” This phrase is usually uttered after someone has shared something of import and weight or pure sentimentality to someone who most likely was not receptive to hearing such profundities. Or maybe the recipient felt burdened by the secret suddenly thrust upon them. Or maybe the conferee had heard these particular “special thoughts” multiple times before, always shared after several rounds of libations, and felt used up.

Well this morning I am returning to a recurring theme. Recurring, at least of late. It may be tried and true and getting a bit boring to some around the edges. However, I offer up no soft murmurings of apology nor do I throw on a cloak of guilt for my repetitious meanderings.

For you see, these moments of grace ~ these times of internal peace ~ these days filled with multiple prayers of gratitude sent up to the heavenly universe, by me ~ these seconds of joy-full aliveness ~ all of this comes around not regularly enough these past couple of years.

So when I have a 4-day weekend like the one I am currently enjoying and the stars and the moons and the suns and my spirit all align just perfectly so, I must ~ I just must, write about my grate-full heart that I am the beneficiary of such riches.

It may be my age talking.
Maybe so.
For the saying about the little things in life making life worth living rings truer than true at this juncture in my adulthood.

Yes.
It just may be my age talking.
And I say to myself ~
Talk away ~ hold court ~ sing and dance ~
and revel in life’s abundance.
Yes.
Carry on as you are.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the idea of creating time in a box. My post today includes additional notes I jotted down in my personal journal to help me toward creating my very own time in a box ~

On Joy the Baker’s blog, she posted about her time in a capsule project that she and a friend undertook. They each placed several mementos in a box with attached notes about the item and then wrapped the box and tied it with twine to be opened 7 years in the future. I like this idea. And have been thinking about it for a couple of days.

What is keeping me from creating my time in a box? For it is clear that something is preventing me from doing so. I get excited; feel the excitement viscerally and then… nothing. I put on the brakes. Get stuck. Glued in place. Paralysis sets in.

A very familiar process that has been repeated multiple times in multiple ways throughout my life but with the same result ~ a stymied creative spirit, a damming of creative juices and subsequently a pervasive depressed soul.

So what can I do that can move me toward action, if only a baby step or two?

Time Box Items

1. A lock of my purple hair to remind me that even in my 50’s I still have a sense of stylish fun;

2. A copy of my paystub so I can remember where I was working in 2011;

3. A photograph of my living room or a portion thereof to help me remember where I called home;

4. A photograph of my art supplies on my long birch art table to help me remember that I was an artist even when I was not producing any tangible pieces;

5. My adoptive Mama’s salt shaker, the clear glass one with blue paint circles and metal cap to remind me that this was the year in which I made a major major change in my diet and went super low sodium;

6. A self taken photograph of me so I can see how I have changed in the ensuing 7 years;

7. A photograph of me with my daughter, the grandkiddos, and the rest of my clan to keep safe in a box for 7 years even though I cannot guarantee their safety in the world outside.

So here is proof of artistic life.
One baby step at a time.

Daydreaming, in the dark. Not to be confused with dark daydreams.

No. That would be the wrong interpretation.

This morning I was literally daydreaming in the dark. The dark both inside my dwelling and outside of my four walls as I was waking.

Here is the content of my daydreams today ~

summer time warmth ~ beachwalks ~ sleeping in the horizontal position ~

It could happen.
And it already did ~ in my mind’s eye.

On the morning of a big birthday party you are hosting, when you are feeling run down and are definitely not firing on all of your pistons (at least without a few back fires), one must most certainly do the following ~

get distracted, easily,
go from one task to another
with no apparent rhyme or reason
and under no circumstance, whatsoever,
must one fully complete any one of the
aforementioned aborted tasks.

At least before one realizes that it has been too daggummed long since she wrote a little sumthin’ sumthin’ on her beloved blog.

When I press the Publish button, posting this snippet of my world and happenings on this Snowy and Snow Over Flowing morning, I will have completed my very first official task of this day.

Ta Da!

Wish you could come join in the merriment this evening and stay for a chocolate dipped strawberry, or two…

There has to be a really good reason for me to stay indoors (again) today. Indoors, meaning to not crack the front door open even a tad. There has to be a really compelling reason to stay right where I am sitting in my cozy comfy living room. Because baby it’s freezing outside. Freezing as in really zero and below zero farenheit degrees freezing, frigid, frosting your tush off in a quick minute, cold.

However there are errands that need attending to that require me to go out there. I have cold weather gear that although not fashion forward, does the job in keeping my core body temperature in the still alive range when I am out and about.

Plus, fresh air is good for me. And, I will feel a sense of accomplishment once I return home from running my errands. Additionally, my life will run smoother this coming work week if I suck it up now and bite the frozen bullet and attend to life in the winter lane.

So here I go. This is me getting ready to blast myself out the front door. Yep, here I go. Here’s me being responsible and efficient.

May the Warmth be with me.

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