10 things I love/hate about you Korea no.2

Posted in food, Korea, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 5, 2018 by jengrabesculpture

Dang it Korea, I come from North America where no table setting is complete without salt and pepper shakers. I hate it that I go into a Korean restaurant and there are no salt and pepper shakers.  I really want something salty. I don’t care for sweet food all the time. It seems that most of the food in Korea is on the sweet or bitter and fermented side.  Salt is apparantly a no-no here. Now here is the conundrum, if you go into any local Korean market  you can find any kind of salt you want. There are so many kinds of salt up to and including bamboo salt, natural salt, rock salt, crushed salt, pink salt and the list goes on….Why don’t they put some of that lovely stuff on the tables?  I don’t know why.  Apparantly it is used in Kimchi making. So there is an extensive market for salt in the use of Kimchi. If you buy Korean made Lays brand chips they are on the sweet side.  Those of us who appreciate American made salty chips end up spitting out the K (Korean) brand. They have honey butter chips that are super popular. However good luck finding good old Sour Cream and Onion, Chedder and Sour Cream, Salt and Vinegar, and My personal favorite Dill Pickle.  Only the International markets or Costco carry them.  So…

chips close colors crisps

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thank you Korea for keeping my salt intake at a minimum, I love you for being super health conscious, but I hate you for forcing me to do it at the expense of my need for savory chips!


10 things I love/hate about you Korea! No. 1

Posted in beauty, Korea, life, mind & spirit, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 31, 2018 by jengrabesculpture

Now that I am coming to the end of my gap year that has been extended (to include another year plus 6 months)….

I am deeply reflecting on the time I have been here. I was so excited and fresh faced when I stepped off the plane on April 17, 2016.  After a week of Jet Lag, training, sharing an apartment with 6 other people literally crammed into our 3 BR apt with beds jammed up next to each other….it was quite a culture shock.  After a while I began to see that this would become the new normal.  People everywhere, sharing spaces, small spaces with even smaller dimensions.  There seemed to be no apparant rules to movement on the side walk, no following the rules of walking on the left passing on the right. I can’t tell you how many times someone stopped literally right in front of me to talk on their phone. Hey how about pulling over to the right or left? No. No such courtesy rule exists here. People who are used to it just flow around the obstacle like water.

buildings city city view cityscape

Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

The architecture and beauty became my saving grace. I began to love ‘the Land of the Morning Calm”. I am sure it was like that at one time. In the city the last word I would use to describe Seoul is ‘calm’.   If I could step back in time before the hustle bustle, the industrial growth and all that is South Korea now, I maybe could experience the calm.  In the country exists a quiet and calm. One time I was in Yangpyeong it was truly restful and calm.  The journey has been an interesting one. This is my first trip across the ocean outside of my native North America.



beautiful daylight fall korea

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what if I was a Dr.?

Posted in career, dreams with tags , , on May 27, 2018 by jengrabesculpture

If I was a Doctor what would I be doing? This is not the first time this idea has occurred to me. I had a dream about it years ago, that I still remember quite vividly. I was wearing a white coat and going from room to room examing patients with a team of nurses,  I was telling them what was to be done for the patient, most of the treatments that I recommended were with the use of natural remedies.  Strange that it wasn’t using allopathic medicine.  Maybe these were hopeless cases or maybe the treatment was simple enough that it could be used, or maybe the patients simply could not afford traditional medicine.  For whatever the reason, I had the answers, I knew how to diagnose and I recommended the remedy. That is a good feeling to be respected. It’s also a good feeling to have useful information that can help someone or possibly save their life. Some of these patients had bedsores so deep that you could see their bone.  I was a compassionate caregiver in my dream.

Along the same lines of helping someone in a medical capacity I had thought about having a Doctoral in Education and worked as a research assistant for a time. That one experience changed my mind about doing doctoral research because of the exhausting process of helping someone else achieve their dream, I didn’t have the strength to do it for myself.

Other times I have been approached by someone in private and asked for counsel. So these experiences made me think I might like being a Psychiatrist. I was beside myself to give any tangible advice to anyone at the time. It always seems to me that it was just at that moment a perfect stranger trusted me enough to share a confidence. It happened so much that I thought hey I should be getting paid for this!  Once again I had the remedy, even though I wasn’t aware. I don’t feel I would be much help to a person who was terribly sick however, like someone with an aberrant behavior problem. I will leave that level of abnormal psychology to the forensic experts.

At the heart of what each human needs is just someone to listen. Someone to withhold judgment for a moment and let them just share what is on their heart. This is a very difficult thing to do because if we feel uncomfortable we want to say or do something to exit the conversation. If however, we do stay and try not to solve the problem for them, something very significant happens. They find a solution themselves. We can ask a series of questions that can be helpful to guide them but ultimately it is their decision which direction they want to take with their problem. We can help them isolate the feeling and feel it for that 50 minutes in conversation.

Being a classroom teacher for ESL has brought me into some very deep discussions with my students. What can start out as general topics for discussion in the thought process of opening up can trigger some memories that people have remained closed up about. So, we cannot predict what people might say when we invite or give them the opportunity to say whats on their mind.

At present, I don’t have the answer for what kind of Dr. I would be. What I do know is that I have the desire, whether I have the steam or not to do it? That  is a mystery.blog

Manchild of wonder…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2018 by jengrabesculpture
“Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar…
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through…”-In the circle game
Songwriter: Joni Mitchell
My dear boy, I remember the day you were born into this world. You were very much wanted and I felt it an honor to protect and care for you. Your energy  was boundless and life was a wonder for you. Everyone you met had the most lovely things to say about you and your success was ensured. My dear mother said that you didn’t like to be dragged around the countryside, that you needed home and hearth and you would thrive. She was so correct in her estimation and God love her, she tried to raise me right. For reasons known only to you, I dragged you around from pillar to post and we lived a life on the run. Real and contrived fear of being abducted. Even after there was no longer the threat. How many times can I say I’m sorry? Words fail me. To your credit you have become a respected and successful human being. My father’s prophetic blessing given to me on his deathbed has materialized in you and your sister. I am proud to have carried the child that would one day become such a blessing to so many. Carry on and continue to dream and wonder…your life is only beginning!

healthy dependency or unhealthy addiction?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 20, 2015 by jengrabesculpture

Taking some huge baby steps in the path of recovery. I had a huge awakening this morning as a I read in the very popular book by Melody Beattie “The New Codependency”.  It turns out that most recovering alcoholics and addicts (of which I am one) have codependency  underneath.  It caused me to question if I am addicted or pseudo addicted. I don’t need to drink and I have flattered myself for thinking that I didn’t have a drinking problem. When I attended AA meetings , I did not feel as if I belonged there, and felt more at home at the al Anon meetings.Eventually it led to me realizing there was a spiritual problem that I was grappling with. I realized I was drinking and taking drugs to deal with emotional pain caused by codependent behaviors that hurt. It looks like I am drinking alcoholically , and drug seeking, but I am drinking or using drugs to medicate pain that really hurts. When the pain is adequately medicated or stops , my drug seeking and alcoholic drinking stops too. The easiest way to decide is if we can stop with no problem. If we can, we are not addicted. This is how to tell if we have a healthy dependency or an unhealthy addiction, according to Dr. Forest Tennant an addiction and pain management specialist who understands codependency and chronic illnesses: a) healthy dependency on anything improves while addiction destroys our quality of life and ability to function. b) loss of control accompanies addiction.

my melancholy deepens…

Posted in art, beauty, life, love, relationships, sex, Uncategorized on June 1, 2014 by jengrabesculpture

my melancholy deepens at a time when all I wanted was to be well.  I’ve lost all sense of pride and have fallen into a deep well from which I cannot escape; nor do I want to. Once all I had was pride, now broken, I find  no mend for these shards of a shattered cistern. Is this what it feels like to be truly free? Where is my happiness? From whence this deep sadness, this prolonged grieving for a life not lived? I have lived, I have enjoyed myself, is this a price that must be payed now for having felt happiness?  Was I ever truly happy? Once by your side under the oaks I felt a deep and tender happiness…we shared a brief moment  and time stood still…  a time of secret ecstasy. Two hearts that beat as one I was so warm in your presence and  so accepted let me be buried under those same oaks and know the peace it is just to be near you in death as well as life.

 “It’s not for me to say you’ll love me, it’s not for me to say you’ll always care…as far as I can see this is heaven and speaking just for me it’s ours to share… Perhaps the glow of love will grow with every passing day or we may never meet again, but then it’s not for me to say.”

Is the happiness that I have known all that I shall receive?  Can  more be granted when I have frittered so much away and taken it all for granted?  Am I missing it in my melancholy?  I have not learned nor have i entered into the gift to be content in want and plenty. All around me is blue, my pictures my colors have turned to gray , ashen ghosts follow me.  Too much use of vibrant red has spoiled the canvas now the painful process of  scraping away  working back into the white and ashen ghosts of the canvas of yesterday…

my darling and the ancient Mariner

Posted in art, death, hell on January 7, 2014 by jengrabesculpture
Mervyn Peake the illustrator

Mervyn Peake the illustrator

My darling, I dreamed of you last night…I wandered up  the path dark and moving against a crowd, I slammed into many pointed obstacles projecting out from within this dark path. I said: “Someone ought to clear this path so people can get through!” I know that he overheard me , for it was his path that I spoke of. Darling why do you not want to attend the marriage supper? I am here because of you.  I found your seat with your lovely face upon the place-card. I took a photograph of your group up close . There were others following suit who watched me take the photos who wanted to memorialize the occasion.  There were others, like yourself, who chose not to attend. They are sorely missed. I searched in room after room of sweetened party drinks, but I could not find anything I wanted to drink. It was like 

“water, water, everywhere nor any drop to drink”

 Could I remove this albatross from around my neck, could I but remove this curse. Could I go back before my innocence was taken. I cannot for I have seen the hoary headed ghost

“The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she, who thicks man’s blood with cold”

 I have parlayed with the enemy of souls. I have stood at the mouth of hell and I have lived to tell and what will I tell? What will be my story , of my journey and of my end? Pray this be not a prophecy but a parable that I may hear the words, that I may understand, that I may look and live.