Yeah, I “Do” Lent

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It’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day in Cork City Ireland and people are concerned about whether they will honour their Lent “resolution”. I was told a while back when I first move here, that “They” usually allow you to “cheat” on St. Patrick’s Day. But that’s not what I’m wanting to write about here. In this conversation that I had with a friend who was trying to justify eating meat (AKA a  West Cork Burger Company juicy blue cheese lamb burger) I told them that I was giving up buying ready made meals for my lunches and dinners at work. That I was going to make all my lunches and dinners at home and .bring them to work. The look of confusion and surprise on their face was astounding! They knew that I wasn’t Christian/Catholic, or any religion in particular so their confusion was justified.

“WTF! Why are doing Lent!?” They exclaimed “Your not Christian!”

No, I’m not, but do I have to of that religion to believe that something is simply a good practice?

Before Christianity people gave up eating meat during this time of the year because their live stock were pregnant and giving birth to more livestock. It was good practice to ensure that they didn’t deplete their herd so that it can multiply and grow. Pancake Tuesday was a way of getting rid of the old eggs, so they can distinguish the new eggs that were laid.  You let these eggs hatch so again you can have more chickens! When Christianity was incorporated into this tradition or vis versa, the old hen that doesn’t lay eggs anymore would have 40 days of pampering  and fattening for it’s final destination as one of the main courses for Easter dinner.

Religion aside, I felt that these are good practices, for cleansing, to go without so you don’t become indulgent. It is a good practice for saving and planning so that you are not caught out. It is a good practice to develop good habits. Making my own meals to bring to work will save me money. I make my own food that is better for me, so I’m healthier. Having more money and being healthier, I’m generally happier! So yeah I “do” Lent because it makes me happy!

 

Yet Another New Year’s Proclamation

I’m a little late in the uptake of my New Year’s Resolutions this year… I have to say 2014 was … not that bad. I know it’s shocking. The current trend with many people is to bash 2014, or any year previous for that matter.  “Oh! What a horrible year! Good riddance! 2014 sucked! 2014 kicked my ass! I hate you 2014! Can’t wait for 2015! Bring it on 2015!“… At least that’s what I read on Facebook so it must be true right? 2014 was a BAD BAD year! … Thlpt! …

I have every reason to hate 2014. My Mother’s lymphoma came back and was on her death bed. She was scheduled for a stem cell transplant at the beginning of the year, but both her and my Brother decided to cut off all communications with me until just recently when my Mother calls me on Thanksgiving. She left a message. At least I know that she’s alive. … now … Still haven’t talked with her despite the phone calls. My husband, now my soon to be exe, reached new heights of being an ass. (See blog post “Let’s Talk”) So yeah, we’re getting a divorce. I hear through the grape vine that my Father who I have not heard from since May of 2013 regardless of the the monthly letters I posted, decided in Sept 2013 to move but neglected to tell me where. Still no word from him.

Crazy complications in business transfer, bill transfer, and residency. Money is always an issue and there were weeks where I was counting my potatoes. The stress pushed my diabetes over the edge where I now needed to be on medication. The Doctors found cancer cells floating around … “No, no you don’t have cancer yet.” YET!?!? What the GEEE WHIZ!? The community magazine that I founded and have worked on for over 2 years. A magazine that had a readership of over 1000 and growing came under fire twice. I managed to save it the first time but lost the 2nd time. The powers to be pulled the funding. It was soul breaking to know why. To know that the people that I touted as being strong, and resourceful, the people that always found a way when there was the will, got scared and desperate and cut off their noses to spite their faces. Their ears too apparently, right after they shot themselves in the foot. Then there were my “friends” that kept shaving off layers of my thick skin until it was paper thin. They jammed my detachment super power button so that when they used me as a punching bag, the punches could sink in deeper.

To top it all off, to find out that potential suitors are afraid of me because I can kick their asses. Go ahead and laugh. It certainly does sound funny! And it wasn’t just one mind you, it was a few of them. Honestly, I can kick everyone’s ass, but I don’t. That says a lot right there! Don’t you think? Still it cut me to the quick. People have been afraid of me all my life. They were afraid of that half breed jungle monkey Charlie in the trees gook from Viet-Nam. The product of a war they lost. They were so afraid that I wasn’t allowed inside, or to sit at the table or any table. I had to sit on the floor to eat my dinner. They were so afraid that they didn’t help when I was being ganged up on and beaten to a bloody pulp. They were so afraid that I had to put fishing hooks in my pony tail braid to keep the bullies at bay. They were so afraid that they couldn’t accept that I accomplished anything and made up excuses why I did. “You’ll sue them if they didn’t give you … You forced them … It was a quota … Who did you sleep with to get that? … “ I did hoped that we as the human race had progressed beyond that, but I guess not.

Now that’s one perspective, one aspect. Here’s another perspective, another aspect that I think I’m gonna go with… I gracefully got out of a destructive marriage and relationship. What luck to have a doctor that was doing research on diet and diabetes and allowed me to be part of the research as a test subject, where basically my medical expenses were free. I was put on a very specific diet catered to me and for the last 6 months have not had to go on insulin or any other medication. I lost 30lbs and now all my tight fitting clothes hang off me like gunny sacks. With all the money issues, I still have a roof over my head, and food on the table albeit a small amount of food, but I’m certainly not starving. Business transfer was successful, and I applied for citizenship, so hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll have my new passport. I got to enjoy one of the best Summers Ireland has had in a long time. Even got a great tan that I’m still sporting a faded version of. I’ve traveled. I went to Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway and it was magnificent! I was in a parade, a Halloween parade no less!  I’ve met some beautifully interesting people and had incredible conversations. Even met someone who would put all you so called “Whovians” to shame! And I discovered just how much I can take, and man oh man, Atlas step aside ‘coz not only can I hold up the sky but everything above and below it! But my skin got thin, my knees did shake, and I bled a lot…

So my New Year’s Resolution(s)? Well, among other things, I’m resolving to be meaner. No joke there. I’m going to allow myself to be mean and angry. I’m going to allow myself to put my foot down and make no excuses. And when I say “meaner” I’m not talking about causing any harm, but tougher with more intent. I’ve catered to the sensitivities of others far too much, stifled my anger and compromised myself as a result. Time for me to step up and join the rakes of the feisty middle aged battle axe. I will lose “friends” this year, but I’m not bothered.

A note to all those that I call friend and to all those that call me friend. I will be your escape goat, I will be your punching bag, a shoulder to cry on, and I’ll even be your door mat. We are friends and I will do all this with no complaint. We are friends so you know that I would never intend to do you any harm physically, mentally, or emotionally. If there is anything that I say or do that may have you think otherwise, DO NOT ASSUME! Please talk with me, ask questions. We are friends, so I know your qualifications in this or that. There’s no need to rub my nose in your accomplishments, smother me with your resume/CV, or jam your degree(s) down my throat. Since we are friends we will never beg for each others attention, approval, or acceptance. That is a given. If felt that I needed to, or have to, then I will simply walk away because at that point we are no longer friends. … Let say that won’t happen. Let resolve that won’t happen. Let’s resolve that won’t ever happen. We are friends so lets be and do as friends are.

And so it is. That’s my New Year’s Proclamation 2015. Fingers crossed I can live up to it!

One Train Car Wrecked … Maybe …

Oh bother … my New Year’s Resolutions … Actually I haven’t done so bad. I have stuck to my diet  & schedule for the most part and am seeing results! My “fat pants” have now returned to being my “fat pants” instead of my “everyday pants”. Although we still have a ways to go, my husband and I are talking more. We’re on good road I’d say. I’ve been working on my Wei Gi (GO). Started on a new site & I think that I’m actually improving! Though my rank (rating) has gone down. I’m almost finished with one of my artsy fartsy projects that’s been 7 years in the making. I’ve finished reading “The Hitch hikers Guide To The Galaxy” and am starting on my 2nd book which I can’t remember the exact title (I’m too lazy to go upstairs and look) but it’s one of the Moomintroll books. I’ve certainly been training for my test, and I have a flight booked to Boston this June. But then there’s that one … *sigh*…

#3 on my 8 resolution list … Let me restate it for you:

“3) I want to write. I have loads of short story ideas and loads of partially written stories. This year I will post at least once a week here on WordPress. I will also complete at least one short story a month. If anyone had any ideas of where I can send them to or recommendations of how to publish or where to find info on how to publish please let me know. I’m not looking to make money out this. I just want to write and it would be nice to publish.”

Until now I have not typed a single letter in this regard. So what do I do? Give it up? I’m not one to just give up, but how do I make up for the last two months? I could start over, but how do I justify doing that? … OOoooOOOooo … I think I have an idea …

Right now we’re in the middle of Tết Nguyên Đán, the Vietnamese New Year. There are 15 days Tết Nguyên Đán. Every year I do my best to observe as many of the traditions I can. I mean, I am half Vietnamese after all? So how about this, my Tết Resolution is to do #3 of my New Years Resolutions? Wadda ya say? … Yeah? … Yeah? …

Bonfire Night – Cork City

I know very little about Bonfire Night here in Cork. People seem to be a bit closed lipped about it. I’ll ask; “So, what’s this bonfire night?” There would be a moment of silence and the suspicious look of; ‘…Are you kidding me?’ Then a realization that I being NOT of Cork origin &/or decent am not privy to, along with a sly smile and a giggle. Often times it’s accompanied with a bit of head scratching, a nodding of the head and the muttered words of; “Ooooh yeah, yeah sooo …”

I have found out that it’s something that only happens in County Cork. I also found out through observation that it happens twice a year on the Summer and Winter Solstice. … or is it the Equinox? People, mostly kids will start dragging branches, broken furniture, and anything else that’s dry and will burn, into a pile in the middle of some courtyard a couple days before. There are some communities that will advertise and have BBQs, games and whatnots. I did have one kind silver haired gentleman say that bonfire night was celebrating the “coming and going of the  Summer sun”. … OOOoooOOOooo, careful now, we’re tip toeing on the edge of talking about the “old ways”, rather the “ancient ways”. Ask any Irish not from Cork and they would more and likely tell you that it’s and excuse for Corkonians to burn all their old stuff!

With each bonfire night I learn a little more. Eventually I’ll get the whole story. I even tried going down to the library and inquiring there. Their answer? Read the first paragraph. What I find interesting about it all is that it seems like this very old tradition that goes back long before Ireland was Ireland, long before Catholicism, long before civilization as we know it. Something that has survived through time, though it’s significance has faded. …

This year I managed to get a photo. A bit blurry, but I didn’t have to steal it from the web.

Nothing says pagan like bonfire night in Cork!