How A Coyote’s New Years Resolutions Went In The Year Of The Snake

2013 Year of the Snake … Yes, this is late, in that this should have had this done at the end of the 2013 and not now in Feb of 2014. But today (4 Feb 2014) is Poo Woo, the 5th Day of Tết Nguyên Đán, the Vietnamese New Year. And like in China it’s the year 4712 Year Of The Horse! In the Vietnamese tradition on the 5th day, you stay home reflect on the past year and contemplate the up coming year. So what better day, … or excuse for me to reflect and review those New Years Resolutions of 2013.

2013 was a phenomenal year. I have seen how far a person can recede into the petty, self serving greed. I have also seen such brilliant kindness in my own hours of darkness and dooooooom. I have to say it like that for dramatic effect… So how do I proceed here? … I apologize in advance if this skips around …

Let’s start with NYR #1. Get healthy. This one went very well. I don’t know if I lost any weight, but I did lose size. With all the different brands each with their own scale for a dress size I have no idea how many dress sizes I lost or what my dress size is now. I do know that it was noticeable not just to me but to everyone else. I’m not skinny or remotely thin, but much healthier! The colour came back to my face, and the dark circles around my eyes are not so noticeable. As a bonus my grocery bill is less than €20 a week! I still have a ways to go but I’m enjoying the benefits of the challenge!

Now, NYR #2 … This is the reason why I procrastinated. I’m afraid to talk about this and I’m not sure why. It’s not that it turned out bad either. NYR #2 was to resolve the issues of my marriage. Maybe because although the issues for the most part have been taken care of  I’m not entirely happy with the result. I’m not unhappy, however it seems only a satisfactory outcome. … Ahhhh, this is so hard to start … In my fervor of getting shyte done before Tet I decided to have THE talk with my husband. I thought I could just ask; “Hey, I’d like a little more attention, particularly public displays of affection. Yah know that naughty thing that we weren’t allowed to do in high school? But we live in two different countries so throw me a bone on Facebook every once in a while. Be a little attentive & engage.” And that’s nearly almost exactly what I’m pretty sure that I said! … Seriously … I still don’t understand the can of worms that was opened up, the conversation degraded, and somehow we agreed to a divorce.

It wasn’t what I wanted. I just wanted him to say “I love you” on Facebook every now and again. I had glorious ideas of us living independently, coordinating our holidays to travel the world. Watching movies over Skype, maybe even an occasional gmail or Facebook chat when we couldn’t Skype. But no, we were getting a divorce … On a whim, about an hour after the decision, I saw that he was on Facebook and sent him a quick message; “For the record, I really do believe that this will work!” Well, that started a 6hr Facebook chat. Then 2 days later he says, “Let’s do it.” So we’re still married and everything is … *sigh* … satisfactory … Still no public shows of affection, ah well …

NYR #3 was a complete and utter failure! But I was busy! I was suppose to post on WordPress once per week and write a short story once per month. None of that happened … Not only was I working out things with my husband, I was in a financial crisis, I had to train so very hard for my test, (NYR #7) and there was a storm that brewed & hit that needed careful and meticulous management!

So how do I put this storm in a walnut shell? This storm that’s been brewing since 2009! let’s say that after 4 years of forced financial hardship, political backstabbing and scandal, it was time to leave the organization that I was apart of. Of course the tyrants that were heading the organization didn’t like this so much so there was a battle, but we won! I say we, because there were others that did the same. I witness horrific pettiness and greed … and my gawsh did it drain me, mentally, emotionally, and financially! But from the trenches came the support and brilliance of my dear friends. I was living off the good graces of the people that I owed money too, but even they had a breaking point and after 6 months back rent unpaid it was time to collect. My whole life & existence was threatened and I had nothing. But my friends pulled together and saved me. So sorry, I just didn’t have time to write.

NYR #4 Raise my Wei Gi (GO) rating to 13K by the Cork Go Tournament. Well I didn’t get it up there by the tournament, but I did get up to 12K on KGS GO server. I’m afraid that when I made the resolution that I didn’t fully understand how the whole rating thing worked. I have a better idea now and my rating has definitely improved. It’s not a win but maybe a good finish?

NYR #5 The never ending artsy fartsy projects! I’m down to 5. I did however finish the sweater for my Brother In Law. I waited 7 years to find the right colour yarn. I completed the sweater 3x and took it all apart because I didn’t like the design of it. Finally finished it so that he could open up the gift on Christmas. But I have 5 left, and that will be one of my 2014 NYR – To work through those 5!

NYR #6 Another utter failure! I was suppose to read 6 books! I read 2. Again, very busy.

NYR #7 Train hard so that I will pass my advancement to 5th Degree Associate Master in Shaolin. I trained, I trained hard and ROCKED THAT TEST! I am now considered a Shaolin Master! Here it is 8 months later and I’m still amazed by it! It’s hard to call myself a master in anything, let alone a Shaolin master!

NYR #8 I was suppose to go to Boston, The Grand Canyon, & The Devils Causeway. I made it Boston and it was Amazing! I got to see where my Husband grew up, where he hung out. I got to go to MIT … Ohhhh MIT, now that’s another story for another time. I got to swim in the ocean for the very first time & it was FREEZING! I had a great time and you know, I think it helped with NYR #2!

I didn’t make it to the Grand Canyon or The Devils Causeway, but I did go someplace that I’ve never gone to before – Barcelona, Spain! This was a major victory for me. I’ve always wanted to visit Spain, but all my life people told me, they jammed it down my throat that “People like you can’t…” It was force upon me like an evil mantra cursing my existence… But I did, I was there & I may go back again! I even have pictures! I was there, saw the sites, ate the food, and even spoke Spanish! So all of you who said I couldn’t, and you know who you are! Guess what I’m holding up to your faces right now!

There you have it folks, The 3rd Coyotes review of The Year Of The Snake. What a REMARKABLE year!

Serendipitious Noises #16122013

The Bitz & Pieces of Traveling From Ireland to Denver on the 16th of December 2013

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Here I am … I’m waiting to go through security at Cork Airport. Ahead of me is a family, Mom, Dad, and twin boys with long plantinum hair. They couldn’t be anymore than 3 years old. They were very good and put their jackets and mini back packs into the trays. Wide eyed and so very curious they looked around pointing and almost in unison asked “Was dat? Was dat Daddy? Was dat?” Dad answered very politely while herding them through the line. One more person through the metal detector and it was their turn. WAMP! WAMP! WAMP!

“AAAAHHHHHHHHH! DADDYYYY! DADDYYYY HELP! DADDYYYY!”

“LADS! It’s alright! She’s alright!”

“I’m OK! Just forgot to take my hairpins out of my pocket!”

The twins whimpered and held tight one each to Dads legs. Dad tried and tried to pry the twins from his legs to send them through. He’d dislodged one to send him though, but when he went to work on the other, the first would latch back on!  Mom went through in hopes to entice them through, but to no avail. Daddy’s legs were the safest place in the whole world right now and they were going to stay there until the clear and present danger of the metal detector has been eliminated!

People started grumbling, Dad was exhausted, the twins resolve unwavering. Finally Dad through up his arms, he shook his head, put his hands on his hips and  marched through, twins fully attached!  … Silence … A calm fell on the whole of security along with a sigh of relief.

“AGAIN DADDY! DO IT AGAIN!”…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I’m sitting in a long row of seats in the common waiting area of terminal 3 at London Heathrow silently heming and hawing over whether to spend too much money on a Starbucks Americano. Behind me is a beautiful little girl who was as dark as midnight, with a smile as bright as your most magnificent dream! She played with a delightfully haunting giggle. An elderly  couple laughed and smiled with her. They spoke to her in German. The little darling turned to her mother and asked; “Was dey say?”

“They said they you are a beautiful young girl and will grow up to have a golden spirit!” (Gold Geist)

In front of me there was a young boy, maybe 5 or so? He goes up to a man sitting across from me and asks; ” Why are you wearing a toilet seat?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I give in! I go and wait in the long, looooong line and get myself a grande Americano and a maple wafer something or other.  I make my way back to the common waiting area. The place was packed! Holiday travel, who woulddah guessed? In the sea of people, and carry ons, there were two rows of seats 8 seats deep facing each other. In the middle was a young man sitting quietly, hands folded, elbow on his knees. How lucky!? Empty seat with only one person among them. I nearly skipped over and sat in the seat catty corner from the young man.

“Why you sitting there?” asked the young man. I desperately look around me, looking for a sign or something that indicated that I wasn’t allowed to sit there.

“Uhhhh, … are we not allowed?” I asked back

“Ju allowed, but look at me!?” I was confused, I didn’t get it. “… I look like a Mexican drug dealer!”

I looked him over. Beautiful carmel skin. Jet black wavy hair slicked back. Meticulously manicured gotee. Blue plaid flannel shirt button to the top, untucked. Cargo pants. Work boots. Small leather case … “OH MY GAWD! YOU DO!!!” A moment of silence …

“AAHHHHH! HAHAHAHAHA!” We laughed until we cried

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It’s still another hour before my gate opens. I’ve finished my Americano and wafer whatevers. I drift in and out of daydreams. I pulled and all nighter so I was too tired to read or do much else other than sit and stare. A man and three women come by and sat in the empty seats around me. I suspect that they are speaking Holland Dutch. They sounding very much like the Go players I have met from Holland. Well the man started whistling a nice little tune. He seem to stop abruptly when he noticed that I was listening.

“Keep whistling.” I tell him “Nobody whistles anymore. It’s nice to hear!”

“Ah, I don’t vant to be rude.”

That broke the ice per say, and we all started chatting away. I was curious though if I was right in my assumption that they are from Holland. So I ask; “Where are you all from?”

“Ve are from Holland! Can you not tell!?” says one of the women

“Yaw, it is obvious! Ve are all in our 50’s traveling. Ve have very short hair…” says another

“Ve are wearing fleece and comfortable hiking boots!” says the first woman

“Ve are eating cheese …” laughs the 2nd woman

“Ah here see …” the 3rd woman pulls out her carryon “… I have a bright orange suite case!”

“Naw…” Says the first woman “… Zat is because you are a lesbian!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

My gate was going to open up here in a few minutes, so I start gathering up my stuff. I’m packing my carryon like a Tetris master when a young woman wheeled up an elderly man next to me. She fussed a bit with the basket behind the wheelchair, then sat down across from me. The man put his arm up on the arm rest and there on his arm, a set of tatooed numbers …

I was in shock. I couldn’t even gasp! I was rude, I stared in amazement! What do you say!? What do you!? I couldn’t look away! My heart started pumping in my ears! Did I start to shake? Oh gawd! I don’t know!

He turns and looked at me. Oh gawd! Oh gawd! Oh gawd! He reaches out and puts his hand on my knee. What do I do! What do I do! …

“It’s O.K.” He says softly “It’s real.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Too the gate! Down this way, on the metal walking conveyer belt thingy, walking, walking, trip off the metal walking thing! Didn’t fall down! AWsoMe! Turn the corner. NO! Wrong corner. Walk back, turn the other corner. OOoO! Another metal walking converyer belt thingy! I’m walking faster than Cheetahs! 1…2…3… JUMP! Off the metal walking conveyer belt thingy … 9 point landing … or 10 … or … aw hell, A MILLION POINT LANDING! Whoot! Whoot! At the gate! Long, looooooooong line. …. Sit down and wait … Line’s way shorter, get in line behind a raven hair beauty caring a cardboard witches hat with panty hose for ties.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The line leads into another waiting room before boarding. Another waiting room another need for extra security. Hand the man my passport and bording pass…

“Where are you coming from?”

“Ireland”

“Going back home for the Holidays?’

“No, Ireland’s home, I’m going to visit family.”

“What do you do there?”

The dreaded question. Do I tell him the truth? Tell him that I’m a martial arts instructor and play along with all the ‘OoOooO! Guess we’d better not piss you off!?’ ‘OooOoo! I guess nobody’s gonna hijack this plane!?’, ‘HiiiiiYaaaaah!” … *sigh*… and then go through and extra security search. Or lie …

“Uh … I’m a little shy about saying this … but I ah … I ahhh teach martial arts…”

“Why be shy!? That is GREAT! What do you teach?”

“Uh … Shaaa … Kung … aahh … Shaolin” … I stuttered – was not expecting that.

“Oh! Oh! Hasim over there has taking … Uh … Hasim what did you study? She teaches Shaolin”

I walk along the line and Hasim meets me.  “Wing Chun” he says.

“Yeah! Wing Chun is part of Shaolin! …”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Hasim and I are having a delightful conversation about Ip man when I come up to the 2nd check before you enter the waiting room. We linger there as we talk about how Bruce Lee took about 2 years of training from Ip man himself.

“Hey! There’s people in line here!” A shrill voice lashed at my spine. Hasim finished his sentence, and I begin a respone but was interrupted with “Hey! I said that there’s people in line here! We’re going to the US!”

I take a deep breath and tell Hasim that I should go a sit and wait for the same plane that everyone in line and in the waiting room is waiting to board. He nods his head and as I look for a seat I hear behind me; “Mrs. McKinlay, please step to the table so that so that your carryons can be searched”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Because of technical difficulties the flight from London Heathrow to Dallas Ft. Worth was delayed nearly an hour. The fight was routine. Slept a little,  watched the movies … all the movies… terrible movies … I didn’t keep track of the time. When it landed I asked a local what time is was. 6:30pm. Oh, 6:30pm. … Shyte! 6:30pm!?  The gate to my connecting flight closes at 7pm! I’m still on the plane! I still have to claim my luggage and re check it! I still have to go through customs! I still have to go through security!

OKOKOK! I’m off the plane! Wow! They hand me an neon orange tix that says “EXPRESS” on it! In all capitol letters too!  “Do not wait in line! Go to the express line” the staff repeated to us as we raced through the airport! Head of the line at customs! Wooohooo! … Waited forever to claimmy7luggage…, …, …. Got my bag! Head of the line to check it! Head of the line through security! It’s 7pm! The gates closing!  No time to put my boots back on! Run with shoes in hand down the hall, along the metal walking conveyer belt thingy, up the escalators, to the train, the train is leaving, make flying leap onto the train just as the doors close behind me! …

Breathe ….

As I put on my boots I hear from the corner of the car; “Mis-skwak-kee!” Huh? The only time I ever hear anyone call me Mis-skwak-kee was other Native Americans referring to my Sauk & Fox affiliation. I look up from tying my boots and found a man with long pepper hair cascading down his shoulders. Blue denim button up, Levis and a fancy pair of tall “shitkickers”. He was decked out in green turquoise which suggest that he might be Navajo? I looked around to see if maybe he was talking to some one else. Nope. It was me.

“How did you know?”

“Well, you know how we Indians are?”

i smiled and chuckled. My stop came up. “I have to …”

“Go! Go! Catch your plane!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The gate was still open when I arrived. Last one on the plane. I settled in and fell asleep. I woke up in Denver, got off the plane, took the train to baggage claim and met up with Gregory …

“So how was your flight?” …

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? …

Improving My Own Private Train Wreck – 2013 New Year’s Resolutions

Glorious Glorious New Years Resolutions! I LOVE ’em! Call them what you will, your goals, your plan, your promise, your list, your gist. Here are mine for 2013! I post these as a means of accountability as I’ve been slacking these past 6 years in completing my list:

1) I’ve really neglected my health in this past year and my size shows it.  For most of 2012 I’ve been eating on the run and that is never a good thing. So I prepared a very strict diet and times in which to have my meager meals 5x a day each day between 1200 and 1500 calories. I’ve also put myself on a fairly ridged schedule work/sleep/play schedule. This will help me get rooted again, since I was practically in panic mode all last year.

2) To resolve once and for all the issues of my marriage. My husband lives abroad. There’s a 7hr time difference between here and there. Neither one of us wants to give up our careers to move and neither one of us wants to get divorced, but both of us are finding the day to day difficult living so far apart. I’m am still a devout believer in “If there is a will, there’s a way.” This year, we will work this out.

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.

4) I have been stuck at 15K in Wei Gi (GO) for 2 years I can’t complain ‘coz I haven’t really put much effort into improving.  So a solid 13K by the next Cork Go Tournament.

5) Once again I’ve managed to collected a pile of artsy fartsy crafty projects that are only partially completed. Finish all of them before starting new ones. When starting new ones only 3 at a time!  – This might have to be a life time resolution!

6) Believe it or not I went through the whole of 2012 without reading a single book in it’s entirety. This coming from a woman who once had a library of over 2,000 books of every category imaginable! Gos to show how chaotic last year has been. Starting with “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” at least 6 novels! … No, I’ve never read it. Long frustrating story that lead to my last divorce. If you really want to know I’ll tell you at another time.

Any Recommendations?

7) Train hard so that I will pass my advancement test to 5th Degree Associate Master in Shaolin

8) Boston & The Grand Canyon, I’ve never been … I KNNOOOW! It’s laughable isn’t it! Husband – Born and raised in Boston his family still in Boston. We’ve been together 11yrs, married 4&1/2 and never been to Boston! The Grand Canyon? Yeah, flippin’ geologist living in Colorado, only a 12hr drive away and never been! This year it’s Boston, The Grand Canyon and The Giants Causeway. I threw in the Giants Causeway ‘coz things are better in 3s and that it’s up in Northern Ireland. I haven’t been to Northern Ireland either, and before it becomes suedo ironic I want to make a trip there even if it’s just for a day! I mean for goodness sake! It’s the same island & Ireland’s not that big!

So there yah have folks! Feel free to keep tabs, berate or applaud I’ll welcome it all!

Friendship Diesel

A TEST OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP?

When they go without lunch, and gift shopping so they can scrape together every red cent they have on them, in a foreign country, to pay for a ridiculous mistake that you made.

What was the mistake you ask? Putting petrol in a diesel only car. Yes sir ree Bob! Make that 300 Bob!

Yes, they told me that it was diesel only! Yes, it was written on the contract! Yes it was on the gas cap! But I was so excited to take my Best Mates to the Ring of Kerry and show them the very essence of glacial geomorphology. I wanted so much to show off my geologic prowess, of where the glaciers began and how they moved down the valley, where they joined together to carved out the lower valley. How when the glacier retreated and left enormous chunks of ice that melted and form the kettle lakes known as the Lakes of Killarney. I was so excited and so egar that I didn’t here what she said. I didn’t see the writing. And to save time (HA!) I unscrewed the gas cap while I went for the wrong pump.

We got all the way to the turn off to Kilgarvan & Kenmare before I noticed that the car was being sluggish. I pulled off in some family’s long driveway and we called AA. … Of all the days I wished it WASN’T sunny in Ireland… As I talked to the mechanic, perfectly on que, when he asked if I put the wrong fuel in, I lifted up the sun visor and saw the big sticker that said “DIESEL ONLY”…

Needless to say, Thank Goodness I needed to go pee in the bushes to mask tossing my breakfast after the few drops!

Well the rest of the story is rather bland. I freaked, AA came and towed the car to Killarney and said that it would take about 2-3 hours. There goes the day, my geologic porousness  – stifled. We quietly wandered around town. I wept. However, my companions showed such great generosity when we were told that I had to pay ( Go figure, this insurance doesn’t cover stupidity) in cash because the mechanic doesn’t take plastic and gathered all the cash they had on them to pay for my OOPS!. I am so very blessed to have such AMAZING friends. It makes me think, that if there are such things as past lives, that I must have been the freaking Dali Lama to deserve their friendship in this life!

I did mange to show them in the twilight, Torc Falls, and where the terminal moraine was around the large lake. We also got to see an Irish deer herd with a stag and his big rack! As much of a train wreck the day was, I hope that my friends got something out of it, even if it’s an amusing story to tell at their Christmas office parties!

AND WE CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY STORIES TO TELL!