Ratatouille

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Image by Sergei Belozerov from Pixabay

Whether it be a delicious French country dish made from harvesting late summer vegetables, or the animated film centered around a rodent gourmand who dazzles a restaurant critic with the same dish, ratatouille involves nourishing our soul.

In the Chinese calendar, we are on the verge of the Year of the Metal Rat. These zodiac Rats are know for their industrious nature, and the ability to gather sustenance and prosperity and tuck it away much like the harvesting of late summer vegetables.

I am a Metal Rat and fit that profile quite well. Coincidentally, I am petite and small-boned and quite adept at hiding in corners. You will often find me there, worrying and working myself to the bone, typical behavior of the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Although it might not be listed in this lucky sign’s traits, I do love me some metal music.

If you are a fellow Metal Rat, it is our year to shine. Metal is a conductive energy, so whatever we touch will have powerful energy behind it. Be careful and vigilant where you focus your thoughts and tasks, you don’t want to waste that power down the wrong path or in too much worry. I consider it quite auspicious that I am about to retire and making plans to building the next chapter in my life’s story. My efforts have been in the left-brained, logical world for many a year, so I am gearing up to give my right-brain, creative side some release. #Create!!

Even if you are not a fellow – ahem – rodent, it is a potent year for shoring up your resources. Invest wisely, beautify your nest and fill your coffers with that which sustains your life. The little rat is a workaholic worrier, always afraid there is never enough financial abundance, yet loves practical luxury. That little nest will always be stylish and those little feet shod in beautifully made shoes. The task at hand for the rat, is that in order to avoid excessive worry about money is to not overspend. Go green, recycle, upcycle, my little friends, and don’t overlook secondhand and consignment shopping. I have just discovered this market, and have scored some lovely luxury items at minimal cost. Minnie Mouse understands that you can look fabulous and be frugal at the same time.

Don’t neglect the inside, while covering up the outside. An overload of chemicals will keep you feeling off, bloated, itchy and overweight. Chemicals are everywhere and in most everything, and our bodies have difficulty in eliminating them. Think of your intestines and skin as a filtering system, and drink pure filtered water every day. Eat organic, non-GMO food. Rats have thin skin and are susceptible to the “itchies” and you don’t want to look like that. This is going to be a big year and you want to keep your body in as good a condition as possible so you have the energy to give it your best. Not that you shouldn’t do that any other year.

Remember to be a little social too, my fellow Rats, all work and no play is unhealthy. Our workaholic tendencies cause us to put all our duties before play, and usually there isn’t enough time nor energy left for play. Yes, I know you want to put the laundry away before going to the party, but no one has ever died from not having folded towels. A much refreshed you is a much happier you.

Come out of the corners, little Rats, dream big and put those plans into action. Be sure to join those celebratory parties when you meet a milestone. #wineandcheese

PS. I’ve also been told that rats make good pets.

Re-Evolving

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Image by Mira Cosic from Pixabay

Is it just me, or does it feel like Mercury Retrograde? I know it isn’t supposed to start until February 17th, but OMG, things feel crazy.

I have been reading some of the astrology reports and today begins a “collaboration”, if you will, of Pluto and Saturn. Pluto likes to destroy everything in its path, and Saturn loves to build structures. Maybe that’s why it seems like the work of my busy, little planet. I can’t claim to understand all of what this big meet-up means, but it seems pretty simple. Take a bulldozer to everything and rebuild. Not that I am recommending that to anyone.

It seems fitting that this is happening in January, when everyone is hell bent on setting resolutions and reinventing their life in some way. Most resolutions fail within about six weeks, or so I am guessing, so maybe this planetary collusion will help some of those big plans actually stick. Did you make resolutions this year? I didn’t and rarely ever do. You gotta turn something into a habit or way of life instead of just some grand plan.

Do you feel like you are stuck in some dull routine, just because, but it doesn’t really serve you? Perhaps Pluto will help, or maybe force, you into ditching it for something better. For example: do you go to your in-law’s every Sunday for spaghetti dinner even though it gives you heartburn for three days? Maybe you like your in-law’s, so why not suggest they come to your house for pot roast instead? Or maybe you don’t like them, and it’s time to have a chat with your spouse about doing something different for Sunday dinner. Who knows, your spouse might so full of relief at your suggestion that’ll they will make dinner. Winner-winner, chicken dinner!

Whatever the circumstance, it is important to acknowledge that there is some crazy energy going on and to do what you must to stop the panic. Don’t rush out to buy a new refrigerator just because it had a brain fart and displayed an error code. (Like ours did this morning. We have it on notice, but a backup plan with a spare fridge in the garage.) Don’t get a divorce because you hate in-law spaghetti dinners. Don’t quit your job because your boss went all stupid over a report. Breathe, be vigilant if necessary, but let the Universe guide you on the path for your Highest Good.

That is what this Pluto-Saturn thing is all about. The re-emergence of the real you. The ever, evolving journey of your life. The support and resources to make powerful, enduring changes. The Universe has your back and wants you to be happy and evolving into your best you.

Running On Empty

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Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The countdown to retirement has begun and everyone wants a piece of my brain. No wonder I feel like a Zombie this week. Hope the Apocalypse doesn’t kick off this week, not that there would be much left of me anyway.

It’s the beginning of the month, which means I need to do all those financial tasks that brings in money and makes anal-retentive people happy. It is hectic, but added to this task is training my manager on how to do the work. Think about doing brain-intensive work and explaining it at the same time. I can barely remember my name when I go home.

The sad thing is that I just don’t care anymore. Maybe it’s not so sad as much as it is a true indicator that my time of service is finished. Maybe that’s just how we know that it is time to move on and do something else. It could be a job, a relationship, a place or just a habit that has outgrown its usefulness in our lives. Sadness, yes, but if you can let go you will see how much you have grown and are now ready to discover and learn something new. We tend to look at letting go as a bad thing, when really it is a healthy thing. Think of it like growing out of your kid bike with training wheels and climbing onto a multi-geared adult bike. Look how you can go now! Unfortunately, my bike has a flat tire so I am limping along until I can get a new bike.

Note if you will, that it is only changing the type of bike, not dumping the whole thing altogether. We don’t need to change our identity entirely when we outgrow something. And maybe sometimes, all we need is a new tire.

A New Decade Rolls In

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Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Happy 2020 to all! I’m back online, mostly, as I’m still in recovery mode for my wrist. Who knew such a little lump would be such a big deal. I’m back to work tomorrow so we’ll see how that goes.

Not just a new year has begun, but a whole new decade. The time is ripe for a new, or just revised, vision of your life. Resolutions are usually a wasted effort and often abandoned within three weeks. I’m talking about a vision. How do you see yourself? What do you want your life to look like? Have you practiced that?

In February, I am retiring after 18-plus years of government service. It’s been a good run for me. I helped start up a new county and made it a worthwhile career. I set my intention to serve and I feel as though I lived up to that goal. But now it’s time to serve me.

I’ve been in the prep mode of this event for a couple of years. I’ve begun new hobbies, written a-yet-to-be-published book, researched places to visit and practiced activities and interests. The three weeks I have been away from work due to my surgery have been very useful in teaching me what matters. I expect retirement to still have its surprises, but I am ready. I have my vision of what my life will look life. I look forward to this new decade and what it will bring.

How about you? What vision have you imagined for yourself? Have you taken any action steps or practiced your vision? Are you ready for the reality of it?

Many blessings, hopes, dreams and most of all, good times to all of you as we journey forth.

The Light Always Returns

background-3009949_1920Lest you all think I’m dead, I’m just on hiatus because of my wrist.  I get the splint bandage off on Friday and will be pounding on my keyboard once again.  Damn hard to do anything with only your non-dominant hand.

I needed to write this post, if only to remind myself.  This is the Season of Light, no matter the name or method you celebrate.  A time when it shines through the darkest hour.  It begins with the Solstice, the shortest day of the year, that scared the sh*t out of ancient people.  They believed the world was ending.  Symbolically, it represents our own personal “dark night of the soul”, when we mistakenly believe we are at the end.  Perhaps it may be your time, but it is often when we’ve hit the bottom.  It’s a long, dark night.  And then, the sun rises and light returns.

This season represents birth in many belief systems.  Again symbolically, it is we who experience rebirth, rising out of the long, dark night.  You see, the Light never, ever leaves us and it is always more powerful than the dark.

As you celebrate this season, always look for the Light within all.  Namaste.

Happy Every Little Thing

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Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I’m in a food coma from Thanksgiving dinner, but I am very happy to have eaten it. I am happy that my Sweetie had the forethought to buy a small turkey breast a couple weeks ago, because the restaurant we usually go to was closed.

Gratitude is about being thankful, but doesn’t it almost convey happiness? I am happy for this day: the food, a day of relaxation, time spent together, being warm, the sun is shining and the fact that I can still write in spite of the food coma.

People sometimes get tired of hearing the word “gratitude” like you should be thankful no matter what. Well, yes, but it is more of an attitude that you can find something in your life to be grateful for no matter what else is going on. Were you able to get out of bed, go pee and get a drink of water? Some people can’t, you know, because they are connected to tubes and things that do that for them. Shouldn’t you be grateful that you can?

And then there is the word “happy”, like you should immediately get a frowny face because you are supposed to be all upbeat and bouncy when you just got rear-ended. Be happy that you could walk away from that accident. Some people don’t, you know.

I have an endless number of things in my life to be grateful and happy for, even if I often don’t recognize them. We have the expectation that these should be something big, when sometimes all we need to do is be happy that we can still breathe and taste food.

What little things are you happy and/or grateful for?

Going Within

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Do you ever feel restless and out-of-sorts and don’t know why? Typically, it is because you have absorbed someone else’s yucky energy and your body knows and is trying to get your attention. So, first of all, clear your energy. There are a multitude of methods: you can envision a white tornado swirling through your body and sending all the muck down into the earth, you can literally brush your hands down your body like you are getting rid of cobwebs (yuck), you can ask your Angels to clear your energy or any other thing that works for you. If you have done all that, and still feel wonky, it’s the sign that you need to look within yourself for the answers.

Meditation is the way to connect to Spirit and your Higher Self to seek guidance and answers to your rampant thoughts. Sometimes we allow ourselves to feel off to avoid listening to those messages. We might just fear the answer, which is silly, because Spirit would never tell us anything bad. You may think it’s bad if it requires making a big change in your life. Silly again, because Spirit will guide us to really good changes and give you the action steps if you just pay attention.

If you still fear the answers, begin your meditation by asking that you feel safe and protected. Your guidance will then steer you down the path that is in alignment with your energy. The action steps may come slower or they may be disguised as brilliant ideas – always good. Meditation will help you see a brighter future.

So go within, if only to see the light within yourself.

Mercury Madness

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Image by NakNakNak from Pixabay

Mercury, that nimble-footed messenger planet, is dancing its way into retrograde on Halloween, October 31st. The third, and final, time this year, the little planet backs its way through the astrological sign of secretive Scorpio until November 20th. Make sure you check all the buttons, zippers, and seams on your Halloween costume, because this planet is known to – umm – rip things up.

Mercury has been doing this tri-annual dance for longer than we have known, which means you should know by now to protect your phone, computer, and take care with your words – both printed and spoken. The passionate and powerful sign of Scorpio excels at keeping secrets, and striking at a moment’s notice much like the creature form of the scorpion. With Mercury, people don’t always mean what they say so this is likely to be more pronounced during this cycle.

Best thing to do? Relax. And any other thing that starts with RE, or in going backwards. Re-think before doing, if you are plotting to cut your hair, get a tattoo or take up with an ex. Not an “Ex-cellent” time for anything new. If you are already in the midst of something, such as a contract or travel plans, prepare for some potential delays or mix-ups. Pack your necessities, and an extra pair of undies, in your carry-on bag, as well as all of your electronics and the power cords. Extra haggling over contracts might come up too, but if you are patient and review everything carefully, it could save you time, money and heartache in the long run.

And that Ex? Really?! Why did you split up in the first place? Forgot, didn’t you. Before you drunk-dial for a booty call, think back to those sexting messages – not addressed to you – that you found on their phone. And seriously, if you were down to the level of having to look at their phone, you better review your behavior patterns. Mercury’s little gift of communication and review might be a good time for you to look within and see what Scorpio inspired secrets you might be keeping from yourself. Repression is also a RE word, and one that would benefit you to seek out some professional counseling.

Mercury can bring crazy-making to the forefront. It is no fun to have your phone permanently crash while on vacation, as mine did in the blissful Caribbean. That little gift made me focus on my surroundings rather than check the weather report back home. (It still snowed.) The Blue Screen of Death on your computer could just be that it is old, slow, and out-of-date. Whether you get it repaired or invest in a new Big Dog (me, again), set up backup in the form of the Cloud, external hard drive or even flash drives to avoid losing all those precious photos.

Mercury madness happens for a reason, if only to get us to slow down and check in to see if we are still on our path or need to re-route in another direction. Be thankful it is only three times a year.

Halloween Week 3 and Finale

finaleBonestock in my front yard has made it into its final week.  We survived wind, snow and now more snow.  My T-Rex took a serious stage dive in week 3 and we thought he was lost to a broken neck.  He survived to live on for future Halloween fun.

Week 3 featured “Country Joe and the Dead Fish” and the finale is none other than the incomparable “Janis Goblin”.  I hope you have enjoyed my Halloween tour as much as I have.

Janis

Last night, my Sweetie and I drove to the east side of Denver based on a recommendation to see a Halloween display.  OMG!!!  Two blocks of old stately mansion homes, with every house done up in a massive display.  Flashing lights, sound effects and even creatures from outer space, these people took decorating to a whole new level.  I felt rather inadequate.  (not really)  My favorite was what appeared to be Jurassic Park.  Someone had parked their Jeep on their front lawn with the appearance of having crashed into a tree.  Next to the Jeep was a T-Rex – much larger than mine – with its jaws wrapped around a skeleton neck and pulling it from the roof of the jeep.  Stunning!  Next to it was a grouping of T-Rexs (is that the plural?) in various sizes, from a hatchling to a child-sized creature.  Across the street was Area 51, complete with a huge spacecraft.  I could go on and on, but I’m sure I’m not remembering everything.  Kudos to the Oneida Street neighborhood for your entertaining and fabulous display.

And to one and all, Happy Halloween, Day of the Dead, Samhain, All Hallows Eve, All Saints Eve, and whatever and however you enjoy and/or celebrate this passage of fall.

Trick or treat, anyone?

The Winners of the World

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Image by AxxLC from Pixabay

It is Sunday, which means football, which means that – once again – I am writing a football inspired article. Why? Well, I like watching the sport, but there is just so much inspiration to be found in such a hard-driven game.

There are, of course, winners and losers in each game and each season. There has to be; that’s why it is a competitive game. No one would watch otherwise.

What makes a Loser? And why would I start with that? Because it is too easy to talk about a Winner. A Loser can happen for various reasons. Not feeling good enough comes to mind first. A Winner can feel that way too, and so pushes themselves that much harder. That isn’t so bad, unless the endless quest pushes you into a nervous breakdown or serious injury. You can have an off day or feel ill, which could make you a Loser for that day. That could make you a Winner if you realize that sometimes you need to rest and recover instead of pushing yourself harder.

You could have a bad rapport with your mentor or coach, so you make a bad decision based upon bad direction. If you can adapt or resolve the situation, you become a Winner. Sometimes choosing to leave the situation altogether can be winning.

A true Winner knows how to change their circumstances through the power of choice. A Loser believes they have no choice. Not choosing at all is still a choice. Even if you are part of a team, and your team is experiencing a loss, you still have a choice to be a Winner. You played your best; you did your best work; you did something that made you feel good about yourself – makes you a Winner.

So get out there and kick some a$s, even if it is just your own.