Normally my mood would have been set back in December knowing the New Year was looming. Historically January has been a difficult month for me as it represented family loss, illness and personal heartache. This year however things will be different. I decided at least a month ago that changes had to be made in my life and I took a leap of faith. By mid-December, and with the encouragement of my family and friends, I was completely focused on the changes and determined to stick to the plan, doing my best to go in the direction I needed without hurting another.
This New Year’s Eve, for the first time in many years, I actually celebrated instead of staying home and decrying a celebration as something that never applied to me. Why welcome a miserable month? So with much joy I released the past like a snake shedding its skin. I’ll be honest, it was not easy, and there were definitely some bumps in the road to test my resilience, but I am on track.
Challenges face us all the time. Sometimes they are in disguise and we don’t immediately recognize them and before we realize it, they have consumed us. There comes a point where we have to look them straight in the eye and decide if we are going to be conquered or fight back.
Stay strong, make your resolutions and stick to them. Happy January and a happy and healthy New Year!
When I first met my husband I discovered he had a lot of food allergies. In particular, he was allergic to canola oil and wouldn’t you know it, just about every packet of food you pick up at the grocery has canola oil in its ingredients. Whether it is sliced bread, a gourmet ready-to-cook-and-serve meal, a bag of chips, or a can of soup, there will be canola oil in it.
He craved ordinary food that most people take for granted but he would not always check the labels. We enjoyed eating out but most restaurants use canola oil in their kitchens. Establishments will lie through their teeth about it too! Trust me, I know these things. Sure enough he would get so sick. When that happened, the only thing that he would ask for would be chicken soup. So I decided to just make him the soup from scratch. Easy right? Not so much.
You fill the stock pot with chickens, root vegetables, onions, celery, salt, garlic and herbs? After one hour, you pull the chickens out and take off the breast meat and return the remaining carcasses to the pot. After another three hours you are dumping it all out as you now have your home made broth. This has to be refrigerated overnight, the fat skimmed off the following day, and then you’re ready for the next round. You now put new vegetables in, the original shredded chicken breasts and of course the noodles. After maybe 25 minutes more you’ll finally have your soup! All in all, maybe four hours plus of your time for probably the best soup you’ll ever have in your life. Was it worth the effort? Yes, but don’t make a career out of it. Life’s too short!
Although I live in sunny and warm Florida I was born and bred in beautiful rainy London. I have now lived in the US longer than I lived in the UK but I am proud to regard both places as home.
Living in England, an umbrella was like an appendage. It was permanently with you because it always seemed to be raining. A telescopic umbrella was preferable, especially when commuting, as it would fold up and drop right into your bag. On those late nights when you would catch the last tube home, it became your weapon of choice for the creepy walk home from the station.
You might regard this as a strange form of shelter but a Brit is never without a ‘brolly’. It provides shelter from the rain and protects you from a possible attacker!
Bring your umbrella Rainfall inevitable Shelter from the storm
I lived in Dallas, Texas when my son was young. I remember we moved out of the city into the country when he was 9 years old. The big Texas sky is never-ending and at night the stars are amazing to watch.
I remember those hot summer nights when my son would love to camp out in the back yard or we would lay in the bed of the pick up truck and gaze at the stars. Orion was always our favorite constellation and to this day, even though we don’t live in Texas anymore, we are still in the south and I love to look up and pick out Orion, the hunter with the three stars on his belt.
Starlight and stars bright Constellation Orion Hunter of the sky
It is 7:30 in the evening and the temperature is still 90° F. Obviously it was higher this afternoon and the heat index put it over 100° F. I’m OK with that because I was brought up in grey and cold, rainy weather. However it is still Springtime and here in SW Florida we see the summer beginning earlier and earlier each year. November to June is our dry season with little rain, so to be burning hot already is indicative of climate change.
The Gulf of Mexico is already beginning to boil and that is not good. Especially heading into hurricane season.
Our planet is showing its displeasure. Forest fires, floods, snow storms, rising oceans, Red Tide and heatwaves in the most unlikely places.
There have been two memorable occasions in my life where I almost fell to my knees to give thanks for a job. Both were presented to me at extremely difficult times.
In those moments I had almost given up hope for a change in my luck. In one instance I had lost direction in an endeavor and was desperate to get back to what I knew best. In another, my world as I knew it, had been turned upside down and the rug had been pulled from under me.
Both new opportunities were offered to me by amazing people I had never met before. Their warmth and kindness, not knowing what had brought me there, was genuine. I felt the gentle push of the Universe as it cleared the path for me. I will always be thankful to those people and companies.
Writers block. It’s when you want to write something but nothing comes. It happens to all of us from time to time and we have different ways of dealing with it. You put the pen down or you close the computer. You go for a walk then you come back and start again. We are all inspired by things around us, or things we read or see. Usually that works but sometimes it’s still a blank page looking at you. It’s a writer’s block and we try again another day. It never lasts for too long, hopefully.
This got me thinking about people around the world, mainly women, who want to speak or write about things that are important to them but are forbidden to do so. That is a different kind of block. If they dare to speak or write, they risk facing all kinds of censorship or barbaric punishment.
Maybe the next time I complain about writers block I will just write about those brave women who fearlessly do it without thought to their own safety. I’m sure they have plenty to say.
It was not until this morning that I realized I had completely forgotten to post my Daily Haiku yesterday on August 10th. My mind has been full with other things lately and it just slipped my mind. It has only happened twice in over three years.
As it happened it would have been my late mother’s birthday and I did think about her throughout the day. Didn’t remember the Haiku, but remembered her fondly. So here is a Senryu in remembrance of her and others we have all lost along the way.
I have chosen a Swan as the image. It was her favorite bird.
August here in the south is so hot you can fry an egg on the hood of your car. The sun burns your shoulders while you hurry from the car to the store and are grateful for some cool air conditioning relief. The humidity is so high you sweat buckets.
It is the season for hurricanes so we are stocking up on bottled water, batteries and other necessary supplies to sustain us and keep us safe. In the event we find ourselves in the of path of a monster, we will have to ‘hunker down’ as is the language of the storm watchers. We are always thankful for the generator we purchased a few years ago and have not yet had to use, and we will worry once more about whether or not we should have invested in hurricane shutters. We will know by November’s end if we won that gamble or not.
The names of the storms become so familiar, creeping into our everyday conversations as if they are real people living with us. For years after we refer to them as if they were distant relatives who had come to stay for a while. They were either good houseguests or not depending on the damage left behind.
I was born right around the summer solstice. I truly am a summer child and come to life each year when the days are longer and filled with sunshine. Overcast days leave me moody and sometimes give me a headache. As I was born and raised in London there were many rainy, grey days which only made us appreciate the sunshine all the more. Even my favorite Shakespeare play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
Now, later in life, I live in Florida where it is sunny every day and the weather is never cold. Yes, it rains, but it is warm rain that you can walk in and we always have an abundance of pretty clouds. You could say I am in my element and I am where I was meant to be.