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This past weekend, I had the honor of attending a mesmerizing performance at the local art center.  The story line centered on the friendship built between two men who hailed from different cultures and social contexts.  Two men on a stage led the audience on the journey of their friendship through the years against a backdrop of gorgeous and breathtaking photography and video.  One of the men was killed in the pursuit of his passion, wildlife and outdoor photography, and the remaining friend wrote a book which was subsequently adapted for the performance art piece. 

In the play’s program the director wrote about the “shallow and deep simplicity of friendship.”  He likened friendship to a river that we “often cross shallowly.”  He wrote that “[T]oo often we fail to see it [friendship] with the significance it deserves.  Simple friendship has depths that cannot be plumbed.” 

These words and the strong thought and emotion provoking dialogue between these friends have taken up their fair share of my head space this week.  Gotten me reflecting on the unremarkable and the remarkable aspects of my everyday friendships and the sustenance that each relationship brings to my life.  There are the friendship brooks and creeks, burbling and percolating along; the ones that mirror huge crashing waves of both ecstasy and despair; the streams that fill to overflowing in the spring and freeze up tight in the winter; the deep broad still lakes mirroring back who I am and the lay of the land; and ponds, some spilling over that may one day become a lake and other ponds that have shrunk and are in the process of drying up from seasons of drought. 

Some are ripe for plumbing the depths with the hope of revealing new treasure.  Others already plumbed, some with slightly disappointing results and others that inspired a big huge shazaaaam.  Not all friendships are meant to be plumbed but instead are transitory in their very nature ~ their gift made richer by their impermanence. 

I love the meandering creeks and eddies, the written word and the performance art pieces that live on in lively and quiet debates  ~ the internal plumbing of the soul, psyche and heart.

Yes, let there be light.  And I don’t mean light-ly falling snow, although the snow continues to fall in this Land of the Good Winter Faeries and Sometimes Bad Winter Elves.  The light I make reference to is the returning daylight minutes, which the majority (meaning all but 1 or 2 chronic complaining types) welcome with great anticipation and appreciation.  Because here in this Land of Perpetual Winter Except for When It’s Not Winter, the darkness swoops in, takes over and is loathe to leave.  But leave us it must as the daylight minutes add up 5+ at a time with each passing day. 

My daughter’s parents-in-law visited from much sunnier and warmer climes this past Christmas and the father-in-law expressed not really understanding the big deal about Winter Solstice since he thought it would be much darker.  The implication was that we Northern Dwellers were just a bunch of whining Whinertons.  I might add that the in-laws arrived the day prior to our precious Solstice holiday with their psyches and souls all lit up from their much longer daylight days.  Daylight days that I might add that were mostly filled to the brim with sunshine and warmth with only the occasional falling rain drops.  The essence of this little vignette is that they knew not of which they spoke.  They spoke from a not knowing or some might say a place of sunlit ignorance.  Good people.  Just wrongly informed of the pervasive ill effects of daylight deprivation. 

But folks, we’re well on the other side of Winter Solstice and the minutes have quickly added up to hours and we are close to 9 hours of daylight, possible sunlight per day!  Oh happy day ~ oh happy day.  Sing it with me now ~ Oh happy day, oh sunny day ~

Consider my spirit considerably lightened ~ lit up from within, due to a large degree to the returning natural light.  Oh blessed be.

Last evening mi casa was filled to the brim with folks ready to fill their stomachs with hearty fare on their way to winning big time around the dining room table turned poker stake haven.  None of us sweated the small ‘taters such as only one-be gambler bringing their betting money (aka bag of change) or the rules to Texas Hold ‘Em being temporarily lost inside the Betting Brains of the operation (she quickly recalled and/or made the rules up as we went). 

Brew pub food was the menu of the evening along with this host’s mantra of keeping it simple, keeping it simple.  So grilled burgers and all of their accompanying accoutrements of cheese, thinly sliced yellow onion and bright red tomato, sour and salty dill pickles and assorted condiments ~ crispy tater tots, the food item fit for comfort and crunch ~ and, ice cold chunked up watermelon.  Chocolate dipped shortbread cookies rounded out the pre-betting battle game.

Monopoly money substituted quite nicely for the betting exchange and we were off for raucaus rounds of dealer’s choice poker.  We played 5-card draw, 7-card stud and the aforementioned (perhaps variation of) Texas Hold ‘Em.  Wild bets, excellent bluffs, transparently bad bluffs and begging for “do-overs” went round and round the rectangular stainless steel table.  And in the end folks, this host was the last one seated with a lot of cash in front of her.  And you know what?  Just for an instant it did not matter that the cash was fake.  I felt the flush of victory ~

Of course, I did not brag.  I was not a bad sport.  I did not crow.  Nor did I do the victory lap around this rectangular table, making the losers other players move out of my way.  No.  Of course not, did I act in any such way.  But if this host did, she would most certainly not post it on her public blog the next morning.  A-hem.

Fun.  Fun.  Fun. 

If you had been here, we could have high-fived or knuckle bumped or winked at one another.  But come to think of it, had you been here, I may not have been the evening’s winner.  Oh well.  Sometimes opening one’s heart and hearth to a different outcome is a risk worth taking.  I’ll let you know the next time the Queen of Hearts comes to visit.

Patti LaBelle’s Over the Rainbow Mac and Cheese recipe has been a go to favorita recipe in my family for a few years.  Although I have dubbed it Somewhere Over the Rainbow Mac n Cheese, the ingredients are the same.  My grandkiddos and my daughter love this casserole and request it from time to time.  And what’s not to love?  This dish is all about kinship and comfort and the riches that come from being at home with loved ones. 

The cast of characters include four kinds of cheese, one of which is Velveeta (and yes, Velveeta belongs to the cheese family ~ ask any kid), lots of half and half, and eggs.  Last night’s version contained smoky bits of bacon and was topped with crushed Ritz crackers and more shredded cheese. 

The side dishes were comprised of green beans slow cooked with bacon and cold juicy watermelon chunks.  A southern meal for sure that was topped off with bite size red velvet cupcakes with a cream chese filling and frosting.  Can you spell L-O-V-E? 

So, once again Patti and I pulled off another scrumptious meal.  And with all of that fancy cooking going on up in my small kitchen, we didn’t say one cross word to one another.  I’d say that me and Patti did a right fine job of rustlin’ up the ole grub tonight.

Reflecting back to a year ago as I read through previous posts, private journal entries and summoned memories, I concluded that I am better off in my current moments than in the past already lived times. Better. More. Good progress.

And then the devil’s advocate side of me chimes in, challenging the notion of words such as better and more. Judgment calls, really. Getting my attention, this wily provocateur continues with growing insistence stating that all experiences are just that ~ experiences.  Life lessons if you will.  Or maybe even simpler yet, life in any given moment.  Why, this slightly miffed one asks, do we mere mortals insist upon grading life’s happenings as if only happy contentment is the holy grail.  Life is not meant to be a jazzed up cabaret, my dear, this ruffian extols. 

Growing weary of my now ranting inner nemesis I say, not so kindly, Shut Up.  Shut the F up and get out of my inner sanctuary ~ at least for this moment.  Because in this moment Mister Insister of Multifaceted Existence, you are bringing me down.  Muddying the waters.  You see, I agree with what I believe to be your basic premise ~ all experiences hold value.  I further agree with your assertion that… 

Yada yada yada.

Blah Blah Blah.

You see this morning, Mister Advocate, I am not into deep philosophical preponderances.  I was going another route of simple reflection and simpler yet gratitude.  So back to the beginning of my thoughts I go where I was saying that every aspect of my life is better than 12 months ago. 

  • The vertigo condition, although still with me, is more manageable and being treated;
  • I am working in my chosen professional field and making a financial living;
  • My living space is 200% improved;
  • There’s major progress made in sorting out an “it’s complicated” relationship;
  • An easing and deepening of familial ties;
  • Closer and more meaningful friendships with local friends;
  • New friendships that enhance my life;
  • A renewed spiritual awakening and daily practice;
  • A change in diet, while difficult, is much healthier and life sustaining;

~ more ~ better ~

~ much progress ~

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.

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.

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…

Waking to a peaceful quiet this Christmas morning, my thoughts turned immediately to the blessings in my life ~ of which there are many. A humbling exercise of gratitude.

How is it that I have so much at this juncture in time? So much life, so much healing taking place inside my mind, body, psyche and soul, so much love, so much ability to experience living on multiple levels, so much sustenance providing food and clean water and so much wonder and delight.

I am blessed. Indeed.
Over and over and over, again.

I do not want to squander a single solitary moment of this blessed life that I am given.

This weekend I am re-connecting with the glue that gives my life the texture and richness bright swirls cloudy dark nights and most of all the love in my heart.

Yesterday I watched my daughter navigate her day, and a busy day it was, with competence humor and grace and in all of the potential holiday craziness, I had several occasions when I said out loud, to myself ~ you are my family ~ you own a big big chunk of my heart ~

Today I will be spending time with my sister and as much as we can push one another’s buttons, we can make the other one laugh harder and longer than any other human on the planet can. We are sisters. I am thinking that there will be an occasion or two when I might gaze at her and say the same words ~ you are my family ~ you own a big big chunk of my heart ~

These times are the best of the holiday season ~ I am a lucky and grateful woman today ~ my family is near ~ within hugging range ~

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