it's alright.

It's been a long, cold lonely winter. Seriously, Cold.  disruptively cold. I get that it was my choice to move back to Ohio, but in the middle of February, when the trees are devoid of all sign of life, the landscape, an endless black army of sticks, I come to the realization that not everyone adores stark and barren. That monochrome isn't my palette. Some people, I'm told, like leaves on their trees. Life in their landscape. Color in their world. Fair enough. I get that this weather might grate a little, that this might not be my cup of tea. I get that when the sun is bright, and the sky blue, and temps 27, below with wind, that I usually revert to my inner Hamlet, muttering unto the skies, "one may smile, and smile, and be a villain..."

 It's 0* today which makes me want to ditch my scheduled day and do my pajama pants and bed hair routine. Still, I'm showered by 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  This is not unusual behavior for me but Saturdays are typically I'm not putting on make up or outside clothes and the world can just suck it days.  Yoga pants usually suffice for my fashion regimen.  Yeah, sorry.  Maybe don't drop by on a Saturday.

I am up early, every dang day because I have self imposed deadlines. There's lots of stuff I just haven't wanted to do.

I know I'm supposed to be doing the stuff.  I just don't wanna.  Sometimes I just don't want to leave comfortable town.

Comfortable Town has a cushy couch. I know 'cause I like to nap on it.

But you know I have a crazy way of sticking with what I want, so either I give in or I'll stop getting out of bed.

Don't get me wrong, I've done some really cool things in the past few months, like learning to play the piano and getting pretty good at it. Also, ramping up the yoga. It's a huge source of joy for me.  It's exercise, grounding and a healthy outlet for my cabin fever.  It centers me and God willing and the creek don't rise - it will be my lifelong companion.  Plus it has cute outfits.

I've also made some fun friends and I've goofed off with fashion and home decorating. I've also added a few more dishes to my cooking/baking repertoire.

I've worked feverishly to try to stay up with my everyday nonsense although some of it is kicking my butt.  Yes judgmental - I put a lot of pressure on myself. sue me.

Most of the stuff has been inward.  Not much outward.

At least not enough.

But this year, that changes.  I've said it out loud and now it must be done.  That's part of the plan for this year.  Accountability. Crap. I keep saying it out loud.

O.k. I hereby also decree that grace and lots of it, will also be a part of this year.

...and health and love and relationships and people with challenging needs, swoony new knitting projects and kitchen stools in need of being reupholstered and forgiveness and mood swings and high school friends reconnected with and church and books and trips, general musings and how much I love coffee.

Well maybe that last one will only be one post... but I can't guarantee it.

All I know is I've been complaining that I don't know my purpose and at the same time shrugging off any compelling feeling, however subtle, to actually go toward something.  This year is my call to action.  Now if we could all bow our heads...

  For every post that knocks my socks off, there is usually a bunch of unusable crap to go along with it.  Sometimes what goes out is the minutia.  Heads up, this is one of those posts. But I am committed to making the best of it, and telling you about it. And you are committed to the ride.

I wanted a passion.  I asked for a passion.  Repeatedly.  I opened myself up for it.  I got it.  This is it.  The struggle, the writer's block, the possible rejection. All of it,

Did you think that a passion was all love and flowers?  So did I.  

It isn't.

I always used to think that people who had a passion loved what they did.  Every minute of what they did. Until that is, I took ballet lessons years ago. This showed me that passion is love AND suffering combined. It is
hours of grueling preparation.  The training is tedious and boring.  It's repetitive. 

The diet is severe and the shoes hurt.  You know the toe shoes I'm talking about.  I'm not going near those things again, plus... I saw Black Swan.

I'm shocked... and smiling.  I love learning things in odd places.
I still don't have it all figured out, I'm that proverbial work in progress (I don't think that's actually a proverb but I'm using the proverbial proverb).  I've got good stuff and bad stuff but I'm painted in the image of a higher power and who am I to question the brushstrokes?

That doesn't mean I'm going to stop tweaking and refining but I am accepting the essence of who I am.  I imagine the moment I took my first precious breath of life the Universe saying, "well this oughta ruffle a few feathers".

Yep, that's who I am.  I'm this person.

Oh, and...
Here comes the sun, doo doo doo doo
and I say
It's alright.


 French Orange and Black Olive Salad 

1 each large navel orange and large tangelo, or two large navel oranges
8 black imported black olives, pitted & cut in half or slivers if large (I used Kalamata)

1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
½ teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 heaping teaspoon freshly chopped fresh rosemary (optional, but delightful)
Slivers of red onion
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Trim off the ends of the orange and tangelo. Peel them, then cut into quarter inch slices and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the olives.

To make the vinaigrette, place the paprika, garlic, vinegar and oil, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper in a small jar with a tight lid and shake well. Pour the vinaigrette over the oranges and olives and toss well. Sprinkle the slivers of red onions and chopped fresh parsley over the oranges and serve. Easily doubled or tripled.


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