Hibernation ain’t just for bears.

Hibernation or depression. It’s a fine line.

While I can’t discount depression elements, hibernation seems in full force. All I want to do these days is sleep long hours … 12 hours a day s’il vows plaît! … stay in the jammies all day and leave the bedroom only to brew coffee or prepare a simple meal.

Yep, the line between hibernation is a fine one indeed. I suspect the key difference is state of mind. Hibernation: This feels good, wholesome, ultimately restorative and rejuvenating. Depression: I can’t move. I wish I were de-d.

Admittedly I feel some of each.

Anyways, I’m on Day Two of a hibernation I can’t seem to shake. The bed is my home. I’m very good at entertaining myself. Always have been. It’s an outcome of a very abusive mother who wanted nothing to do with me or even raising a child. Neglect has its “positive reward” I guess.

Blast from the (Not Distant) Past

So a strange thing happened on the way outta Walmart the other night.

I bumped into the neighbor (aka the “good neighbor”) at my former digs, site of the living nightmare with the upstairs Click and Clomp Couple. Horribly noisy place it was! She was nice albeit mousy, he was a real dick. No love lost there in that move!

Anyhow, I did know that the two moved out by virtue of the vacancy ad. After ongoing issues with noise that included police visits, I can’t but suspect that their lease was not renewed.

The “good neighbor” informed me that the owner just installed soundproofing! NOW they do it after months of my bringing the noise problems to the landlord’s attention and then moving out! haha

Anyways, I can’t imagine what sort of soundproofing they installed. It’s an old building circa 1958. Thin wood floors upstairs with ZERO insulation.

They wouldn’t gone to the trouble or expense of tearing up the floors and didn’t, the “good neighbor” confirmed that. Which leaves me picturing something like this:

convulated foam on ceiling

ceiling soundproofing with egg-crate foam

 

hahah. Regardless, whatever “soundproofing” was install, it’s at best a Band-Aid fix to a very real noise issue. The soundest (haha, no pun intended) solution to eliminating the incredible serious noise problem there: Moving!

Voila! Was nice to bump into the “good neighbor” and his friend. And get the update on the old place. I miss the location smack by downtown but not the Thunder from Above. No relation to Zeus.

Speaking of Neighbors …

The neighboring man with mental impairment issues again had his TV on all night. He falls asleep in front of it. As a result, what sounds like a buncha people standing beneath my window having a loud conversation through the night occurred. I’m NOT gonna go knocking on his door at 2 in the morning to ask him to turn it down!

The TV shouldn’t be on all night as it is. He’s not watching it, it’s very annoying and disruptive and the lease states “quiet time after 10 p.m.”

Maybe in the other mobile homes but not his!

This ongoing issue needs to be addressed and resolved. I lay awake ’til 5 a.m. thinking of how to talk to him and what to say. His mental issues make it somewhat challenging.

Back to the Beginning

It is part depression and part hibernation that’s got me holed up. Can’t do much about the lassitude (it’s a longtime issue); the hibernation, on the other hand … I can make better creative use of it.

So on that note and inspired by blogger longeyesamurai’s enjoyable draws of single tarot cards in his posts, gonna pull a card from the beloved (and ever-resonating) Mermaids and Dolphins deck (by Doreen Virtue) … to illuminate this strange and palpable state of hibernation/self-imposed retreat/(unhealthy) isolation in which I find myself:

contemplationtime

Contemplation Time. {kid you not!} “Spend time alone, meditating upon what you truly desire.”

“You need some alone time. Make a firm appointment to be by yourself in a quiet place (ideally in nature or near plants) without delay. Make sure that you’ll be uninterrupted for at least one hour. Take a pad of paper and pen with you.

“{Relax, breathe} … then write down this question: ‘What do I want to do next?’ Write whatever comes to you in response, without worrying whether it’s ‘correct’ or not.

“Then ask your subconscious: ‘What’s my heart’s true desire right now?’ Write down the answer.

“Spend time noting your true priorities so that you’ll know how to structure your free time to match what’s important to you.”

Spot-on guidance from a mermaid to a (humanized) bear in hibernation!

Bringing bustling Beijing to arid Arizona

Whole roasted 5-spice chicken.

Noodles with leafy greens/veggies (stir-fry).

Baked spring rolls.

Lettuce cups with meat/veggie filling.

Citrus cake with candied oranges.

**********

The menu suggests otherwise but I’m really not Chinese! 😀 😀 I do, however, oft say I’m an Asian trapped in a Western body.

Monday, Feb. 8, ushers in the Chinese New Year. Year of the Fire Monkey, 2016 is.

If there’s one thing that’s been missing from my life for years … around 13, if you must know! … it’s this four-letter word: play.

Fun fell from my life vocabulary long, long ago.

And I’ll be danged if I’m gonna let the Year of the Monkey, a creature of irrepressible curiosity and play, pass in the same manner as all the others: Slogging through life, just ekeing by, surviving – barely – doing the lamest and crappiest jobs you can (or cannot) imagine! with no to few friends, social network or support.

In short: Were I president of the United States (am not, will never be) giving the State of the Union address, I’d have to pronounce it: dire.

So here comes the Chinese New Year! Here comes The Monkey!

And what better way to celebrate both it and a personal commitment to restoring fun and play in my life than: a party!

(Since I loooove to cook, especially and mostly for others, a party seems the most obvious way to crack this hardened shell of isolation and loneliness.)

A small party. Six, myself included. That’s about what my little mobile home can accommodate.

*Note to self: Check thrift stores for one more folding chair.

For weeks I’ve been scouring the Web for traditional Chinese New Year’s recipes. The Asians aren’t like Americans. Everything everything everything they do and eat at New Year’s has meaning. Symbolism.

I have to take into account that I’m not in Asia anymore. There’s no strolling to the local markets and street stalls dripping with whole ducks, strange fish of unknown identities and never-seen-before veggies.

I must make do in the little town/city in the middle of Arizona! This is desert and mountain country. Not remote exactly but neither near anything resembling even an Asian market! So what I can procure locally essentially dictates the menu for my Chinese Monkey Party!

Here’s what’s behind the chosen Good Luck foods:

1. The whole 5-spice chicken. Bring a chicken or duck to the table whole, then slice; to carve before is to cut your health. (Personally, I wanted to cook the traditional whole fish but not everyone likes fish so …)

2. Noodles with leafy greens/veggies. Long noodles represent longevity. Do not cut them while cooking. Diners twirl them whole onto their forks or chopsticks.

3. Spring rolls. Their shape resembles gold bars, representing wealth. (And as my first foray into springs rolls from scratch — save springing for premade wrappers — it promises to be interesting!)

4. Lettuce cups. The Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like rising fortune. Further raise your fortune by filling with other lucky foods.

5. Citrus cake topped with candied oranges. Citrus/tangerines represent wealth and orange brings luck. (I mean, how can anyone look at the color orange and NOT be uplifted?!)

I’ve perused dozens upon dozens — nay, upwards of 100! — of recipes. (My discerning ability is a great gift.)

I’m very satisfied with the chosen menu and recipes, especially within context: This is deserty small-town Arizona, not bustling Beijing!

Soon I’ll post the invitation in one of the Meetup groups I belong to. I hope five people will wanna come celebrate the arrival of The 2016 Monkey!

I’ve already crafted 12 paper lanterns in the lucky colors of red and yellow to hang from the ceiling. Super easy too! Another post perhaps?

Stay tuned. Cooking pix and recipes to come. Then you too can play and cook along … a cyberspace case of monkey-see monkey-do. 🙂

A freak delivers the fray

I’m being challenged by a woman / coworker who’s, well, insane?

Okay, perhaps that’s overstating. Still. There’s something wrong with this new employee. I see it. Observe it. Feel it. Smell it. Know it.

She is a freak in the workplace. And she is delivering unto it a fray. A fray that simply did not exist until her arrival.

“Unfortunately,” I’m always the first to know these things! Sometimes takes people 6 months to see what I become aware of in the first 6 minutes in a personal encounter. Ahead of the curve it’s called.

Details of the new employee’s arrival, presence and encounters within the group and with me individually are not important here.

The salient points are that

  • There’s something wrong with her. Mentally, emotionally, psychically. I don’t know her well enough to put my finger on it. But I know.
  • She is not who she is pretending to be. If that makes her a liar, then a liar she is.
  • She cannot be trusted in the workplace. Whether she can be trusted in her private life is of no concern.
  • She is scary somewhat. Not dangerous and not “bad.” She is scary in the sense of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One-minute-smiling-the-next minute-stabbing-you-in-the-back scary.
  • She can be full of herself which therefore renders her unteachable at the job to a point.
  • She is dangerous to the group harmony and flow in the workplace. She IS the nail that sticks out, as they say in Japan, but not in helpful way. She is the thorn in the dog’s paw, the loud spoiled brat in the classroom, the bitch by the water cooler. Grapevines were made for her.

Yep, quick salient points, all.

Here’s the issue. S. is not as asset to the small office.

Unfortunately, the staff doesn’t know that yet (though intuition tells me that the office manager is catching wind of that fact).

They’re too caught up in her sycophantic unnatural overexuberant overexcited hysterical schmoozing.

Giving some coworkers huuuuuuge bear hugs two weeks into a *very part-time job* (around 13 hours/wk.) like they’re her best friends of 10 years … I mean, c’mon!

Something’s wrong with S.

Fortunately — rather thank God! — I don’t have to work directly with her. She works early mornings, I work late nights.

Still, we do cross paths and interact at the weekly staff meetings. My job also includes training her to a limited degree.

She’s throwing that training right back in my face. Total disrespect. Totally unprofessional.

My boss, I like my boss. I respect him. However, a fountain of intuition he is not. A highly-skilled astute judge of character, not so much.

He blew it hiring this person. Plain ‘n’ simple.

But hired he did. She is there. It is what it is.

I see more of who S. is with every encounter, every staff meeting. Whether I like her (or anyone) is really not important to me. It really isn’t.

Whether I respect a person is primary.

S. has given me no reason to respect her as a person or worker.

And that sucks. Because we’re a small group. Like a family.

I don’t like being in the same room with her. However, she will be for as long as she’s employed there. So it’s up to me to process this stuff, detach and focus on the positives:

  • Do my job and do it well.
  • Continue to develop new skills.
  • Remain in gratitude for having a job that I love and having coworkers that I like (new one excepted).
  • Let the love for my job lead the way, like a lantern, down better paths in life, in work, in personal growth.
  • Practice forgiveness. Because often it’s the people who are the most toxic or damaged in our lives that illuminate our own weaknesses or shortcomings. Once we get the lesson, we become free of it and move on to the next.

Even in this short time since her arrival at the workplace, I can see that she is not a good fit. There is something wrong with her. For that I can nurture my compassion. Choose not to get sucked into her craziness and extreme unbalance. And practice professionalism at any challenge and every turn.

And that’s what I’m gonna do. Learn and grow. Work and grow.

 

 

My oh my, say bye-bye to Mercury retro

It’s over! Officially today. Until April 28 anyways.

I speak of course of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury reversed course on Jan. 5. at 1 degrees Aquarius. Today, 3-1/2-weeks later, it’s at 14 degrees Capricorn. It turned stationary direct — meaning the planet quit retrograding and slowly resumes its “normal” forward motion — at 4:50 p.m. East Coast time.

The Web’s replete with the Mercury retrograde phenomenon (from both an astronomical and astrological perspective), the Do’s and Do Not’s and making positive use of energies when the planet of communication’s traveling in reverse.

As it does typically four times a year for around 3-1/2 weeks at a stint.

But wait!

The next Merc retrograde is nearly four weeks long! {Ugh} From April 28 to May 22. Wholly in Taurus, from 23 degrees down to 14. Simply put, write off May for any new commitments, ventures, adventures, contracts, new jobs, productive job searches for starters!

I enthusiastically welcome Mercury ending its retro and resuming direct motion today — even more than usual — because I. Really. Felt. This. One. Details unimportant. Suffice it to say that these past few weeks have been like walking around wearing a vice clamp.

Or driving with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake.

You don’t get far. You get nowhere: slowly.

But now, with the Mercury retro brake off, I feel free to begin moving forward again.

Speaking of cars …

The lock cylinder on my car door disassembled again. {It happened several years ago.} The spring clip (I believe) came loose and fell into the driver’s door.

Result: The keyhole is not secured flush to the door; to avoid risk of lockouts, I’m not locking the car door.

Fortunately my home and goings-about are in good areas.

The driver’s door needs to be disassembled and the spring clip retrieved by mechanics with those skills and tools. (I have neither!) Arranging that appointment anon.

Mercury retrograde. Things mechanical (and electrical) can turn wacky ‘n’ wonky.

In short, if y’all have found these first few weeks of the new year to be draggy … funky … marked by hiccups … slow starts with no finishes or no starts at all … minor mishaps, misfortunes, misfires or missed connections, you can thank Mercury retrograde.

And rest easy knowing that this 3-1/2-week period’s over. Officially today. The foot’s off the celestial brake; things should and can get rolling again.

Until April 28. That retro’s gonna be a doozy. Alas, I shan’t get ahead of ourselves. Let us cheer today’s Mercury’s return to forward motion in the skies … and our lives!

Welcome to the Jungle. And the TV.

Thank God my neighbor’s away at the moment!

Plus was away last night.

Sound un-neighborly of me? Perhaps. But you’ll understand momentarily.

The neighbor, a single man in his guesstimated 50s, has some … issues. Don’t we all? His include mental impairments and medications. Not a bad person. A very nice man, the landlord assured, not out to do harm, etc.

Story short, the neighbor watches TV in the evenings and falls asleep {presumably medications play a role}.

The TV is in the front of the mobile home with its back facing two corner windows. Between the windows and the verrry thin walls of the mobile home, the audio is … well, let’s put it this way: available for all passersby and me.

He’s not stupid but he doesn’t realize how loud it is or how the sound carries. Separately, the landlord and I have alerted him to excessive volume. He’s been quite cooperative in reducing the volume.

{Day I moved in, his TV was SOOOOO loud, sounded like a movie theater next door!! Even the Cable One installer agreed: “That’s loud!”}

So the audio level’s now more reasonable. Still very audible, mind you, but not blasting.

Issue is: He falls asleep listening to the TV. So it plays at midnight. At 1 a.m. At 2 a.m. At 3 a.m. At 4 a.m.

How do I know?

Because I’m awake! Either as a night creature.

Or because of the TV. When I don’t WANT to be up!

With the acoustical setup and conditions, it sounds like people standing beneath my bedroom window having a loud conversation.

I’ve been tolerant and patient because I feel for the man. I do. I’m compassionate for his issues.

Once, his TV was so loud at midnight, I HAD to go knock and ask him to turn it down. Of course I really resist knocking on someone’s door at midnight. Of course I woke him from a dead (and presumably medicated) sleep on the couch.

Our conversation was brief. He lowered the volume. Truth told, I’d be surprised if he remembered that conversation at all.

The quietude of the area — nature-y, sorta jungle-y — is REALLY disrupted by the TV at 2, 3, 4 in the morning. It’s like … you’re camping. In a tent, say. And the people at the next site are playing their radio or TV loudly in the middle of the night.

Not fun. Not nice. Not right.

This mobile home park has a quiet hours rule after 10 p.m. (Stated in the lease.)

I’m in a quandry. How can I get through to a nice man with mental impairments? He has a right to watch TV in his home.

On the other hand, the TV into the deep dark hours … it’s too much.

It’s keeping me up. I turn on the fan to create white noise and drown out the audio.

I have to talk to him again. I have to. He asked that if the TV’s a problem that I speak with him rather than go through the landlord. I will honor that request.

But I don’t see HOW this is going to be fixed. He falls asleep with the TV on. Does his TV have a sleep timer? Perhaps. Even if it does, it would require him to activate that daily. Is he up for that? I don’t believe so.

Arrrghhhhhh.

Anyway, I had a VERY bad night a couple nights ago (see prior post). The neighbor’s loud TV at 3 in the morning DID NOT HELP. Not a whit.

Something has to be done. This can’t continue. Especially once spring’s here and he has his windows, including those all around the TV, opened.

Shit.

Okay, I’m done venting for the moment.

 

 

Not a wink. Not a wonder.

It wasn’t unexpected.

It was going to happen one day. Some day. The handwriting’s been on the wall for a while.

When did my stepmother first mention she wanted to sell their house? The house that she and my father shared? A year ago?

It wasn’t the house I grew up in. But it was the only house I’ve known as home. It was the home my father designed and built in some part. It was my dad’s home and therefore also mine — in its way.

My father is no longer there. He is no longer here.

Rationally, I understand why my stepmother would sell the house. The reasons are numerous and sound.

What the mind knows however is not always so easy for the emotional self to grasp and accept. It takes time. It’s a process.

It was inevitable, the selling of my dad’s house, well, their house technically.

But it’s his presence that’s there, that reigns, from its design to the yard that he created — beautiful grasses and trees and shrubs and cacti — all from a blank canvas of dry hard southern Utah desert dirt.

My dad was — is — a genius craftsman especially with land.

Yesterday’s email from my stepmother informed me that it looks like the sale is going through with a closing date next month.

On one level, the emotional level, that means the end draws near. The house / home that’s been in my family — dad and to a certain extent my stepmother and their dog being my family — is soon to leave the family.

For good. For ever.

I’ve got stuff to process.

It also means I need to go there and get my things stored in their garage. For the past 10 years. Yikes. It’s really been that long?!

That stuff needs to get cleared out. It’s needed to be cleared outta there for a while now. Fortunately — and I do mean fortunately! — I scaled down what feels like, to this minimalist, a mountain of stuff into a hill during my last stay in Utah in 2013.

I was brutal in what I saved and what got donated to the thrift store. I lightened the load considerably.

Still. It’s a load.

An important and precious load consisting primarily of furniture my dad crafted (he embraced custom woodcrafting as a working trade later in life), family photos, my high school annuals, writings, significant stuffed animals and other treasured items from my past..

Assorted kitchen items — i.e., a fire-engine red Kitchen Aid mixer and a complete set of basic dishes from I believe Japan from my mother — are in the mix too.

All that stuff I want to keep with no place to go, most of it, save into another storage unit.

Because no way can my current space — a rental mobile home — accommodate even 1/16th of that load!!

The stuff you own owns you.

As a nomad who’s moved some 54 times, give or take, I know the truth of that better than anyone!

I like simple. I like minimal. I like having just what I need and not a LOT more.

I’m neither a packrat nor a clutter collector. On the contrary, I have problem KEEPING things! Moving frequently — by yourself and ONLY with what you can get in your car — will teach a girl that!

I’m rambling. Point is, yesterday’s email from my stepmother stirred up a LOT of emotions.

Concerns.

Worries.

Thoughts.

I slept {this much}. Wasn’t until 6 a.m. when I fell into a light slumber punctuated by restlessness and wake-ups.

“Rummy” does describe my state today. 🙂

Ditto “long night ahead.” I work from 7 p.m. to past midnight. I need to be awake and alert. Could be a challenge.

Missed sleep. No sleep. Leaves me feeling like I’m traipsing through mud. I’m 58. Not 22. We old-timers can’t handle all-nighters, neither do we bounce back quickly.

So there’s that.

And there’s SOO much more happening beneath the surface. So much stirred up by a single email that announces: It looks like the sale of the house is going through. With a closing date only weeks away.

The house of my dad. His house, well, their house technically. His home.

It is no wonder that, despite valiant efforts with every passing hour, I couldn’t sleep. Not a wink. No wonder at all.

Tomato, tomahto, say soup that’s squisito!

 

I say to-ma-to, you say to-mah-to.

But when the soup’s simmering, we agree. Homemade is the way to go!

When the chips are down and you’re feeling blue … when winter’s chill your bones bores through … when you’re dragged down by a cold or flu … hot tomato soup is what to do!

Like chicken noodle, tomato soup is a consummerate comfort food. Paired with a toasted cheese sandwich, does soothing the heart and keeping meat on the bones get much better on a chilly night?

I’m a big fan of tomato soup. Campbell’s rocks! However, am not a fan of the high sugar content. (Actually, have never understood why Campell’s adds so much sugar to its tomato soup save to satisfy the American palate that equates sugar with flavor. Sad.)

So I searched around and found a simple yet so satisfying Roasted Tomato Soup sans sugar on Food Network.

Let’s get cookin’!

1. As luck had it, there were already 2 pounds of cherry tomatoes from Costco in the fridge. They hadn’t made it into salads or smoothies as planned and the skins were beginning to crinkle — the perfect excuse and use for a soup

2 pounds of aging cherry tomatoes

2. Each tomato is sliced in half and laid in a roasting pan coated on the bottom with parchment paper. Foil would also do. Good thing I love to cook cuz slicin’ 2 pounds of little tomatoes gets, well, a little tedious! 🙂

3. On top of the tomatoes are slices of 1 medium white onion. And I weep like a little girl who just lost her best friend.

4. Plus 6 cloves of garlic, peeled. No need to chop. Spot a clove at knife tip?

tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil. salt and pepper. Simple!

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