moving right along

Spring sprang around here for sure. The only wild flower that hasn’t appeared thus far is St. John’s Wort, and I’m still holding out for it. I’ve managed to get some gargantuan tasks accomplished, things that went undone during the weeks of my…er….impairment, let’s say. The Dog seems to be turning into Einstein, what with things like not sneezing in your face any more, being able to stay out of the foxtails on walks, and general Presence. He IS quite a jumper, loving to fly, so I guess it wasn’t all that much of a surprise when he jumped right up onto the counter in the Farm Supply where we get his food, and he is a Favorite Dog. There was the usual moment of stunned silence, then everyone started laughing, including the Dog. Not quite as much as he laughed the day he rolled in hay and I had to come out, get him, and clean him off…that was a sidesplitting experience for HIM, anyway.

The thing that continues to astound me is the garden. I mean, we had three feet of snow. It froze. It flooded. And? the roses and jasmine and figs and even: PEACHES, not to mention raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all going completely off the hook. I got the bare root trees planted and had an over 50% survival rate, which pleased me. The vegetable seeds I planted last week are already sprouting, the cucumbers and corn and beans (I think, since I did my usual draughtspersonlike diagram of where everything is…) and I found myself dancing around the smart pot they’re all in.

But really? I think what is the most astonishing part of this, and what I kind of hold in my hands like a shimmering bubble afraid it will burst, is the fact that for the first time, certainly in recent memory, and maybe ever…I feel filled with JOY. I mean, seriously Gentle Reader. Don’t ask me how but it is like the big pile of YEUGH burying me just got…taken away. The light hurts a bit and one is uncertain on the paws at times but all in all, it is a quantum difference. Yes, the Daily Situation is a nightmare and I still don’t watch “news” not wanting to break the TV or anything…but there is a hope present now, a huge kind of radiance. So. Either I’ve finally gone nuts, or progress has been made.

Partly it is probably recognition of the fact that just because there is enormous pain and suffering all around- it doesn’t help at all to be ticked off about it. It helps to do your best where you are. However insignificant it may seem, as Gandhi said. The blows that fall on us as human beings are quite often heavy and almost unbearable…but a new day does come, and the big thing may just be laying down all your thoughts about how you feel about all of it. Feel it, yes. Then change the subject.

Blessings and thanks and love!
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embodying Newtonian mechanics

And that would be me doing that, Gentle Reader. Adding to my joy is WordPress’s new theoretically improved format experience. Somehow I can’t see how making you indicate you want a paragraph in a separate step each time you want one…..but. Ahem.

It’s been a long float in the Sargasso Sea, essentially. When you hear the adage about, unless you’re as motivated as a man with his hair on fire to find water, don’t start the process of whatever we might call it, but is essentially contacting the “one who knows”. It really DOES burn you entire and I suppose the only really strange thing is how long that can take. Especially when you think you’re actually doing just fine.

Of course, that doing fine is the constant running from your devils to which you have become accustomed. When that stops at long last, be prepared for some prolonged down time. So, as I continue to be a body at rest staying at rest, the following can be reported.

Spring really is beautiful. I’d never been up close enough to deciduous trees to see that it all begins with PINK. The tips of the branches have leaf rosettes that are the most amazing shade of pink, and the distance on the hills shimmers with it. With all the rain, the grasses have grown and are practically fluorescent, so the sight of pink pigs sailing through and baby goats toinking up from them is pretty spectacular. The Dog takes me (drags, actually) on lengthy expotitions to find poop spots….preferably with views. This has given me an amazing chance to see the wildflowers as they sprang up and finally! FINALLY! to identify which were shooting stars and which were saxifrage before the blossoms revealed their identities. I’m finding that this smaller world, which really is much larger than the “regular” one in truth, is just fine and I leave it less often and with more dismay. Still, one must provision one’s family and there is the monthly trip to the Dog Fan Club for dog food (last visit, the owner asked the guy waiting on us, as if he were giving an instruction, did you give him a treat? and the guy rolled his eyes and said: THREE. Charm, you know.) which is usually very enjoyable. The grocery store even becomes manageable when it is visited with less frequency. It’s all in how you look at it, of course, because in so many ways reality is fluid and in your eyes only from moment to moment. This is why, I suppose, the instruction on the search for the one who you know what’s is: keep your attention focused on the highest good, most light filled and loving paradigm you can.

Getting better at that, yes, but there ARE exceptions. Now that I have my “federally restricted” driver’s license, it’s even more fun than usual to perform routine tasks at the bank and elsewhere because people look at and say things like, are you a felon? and stuff like that. The level of distrust and paranoia among the citizenry of this country is astonishing, and fortunately I was able to laugh (a little. Cry a little too.) at my most recent interface with same. The bank I expect to be weird because banks are, at their heart, rather evil institutions- I mean, they have YOUR money, which THEY use, and you have to practically whistle a tune from an extraordinary orifice to get them to give it to you. No, the Post Office is where this week’s donnybrook was.

I have been sending my remedies out into the world for about twenty years now. One thing this means is I do know how to pack things, so they don’t break for the most part- in fact only twice in this whole time. The other day I went to mail two remedies to people and dogs, and ignored the bell that went off when I saw the words “delivery may be delayed in case of emergency”. No emergency here, thought I. WRONG. One package got diverted to the deep south when it was going to the east coast because it had been scanned…..and…..looked SUSPICIOUS. Marked fragile and all, too. When, in desperation, I went to the post office to enquire a Very Officious Post Mistress told me that most likely my MIA package had broken and contaminated other packages. After being scanned. Naturally there was a long line behind me so everybody in town heard this, more or less. I said, drawing myself up to my full tiny height, contaminated? I HARDLY THINK A BOTTLE OF HUMMINGBIRD ESSENCE IS GOING TO CONTAMINATE ANYTHING. AND IF IT BROKE IT’S CAUSE YOU GUYS BROKE IT WHEN YOU OPENED THE PACKAGE EXPECTING TO FIND AMMUNITION. Because this is an issue flower essence people contend with: the dropper bottles we use seem to remind postal scanners of bullets. And of course, only one bullet at a time gets mailed, right? Totally logical! I received a package from a fellow practitioner in Spain that took two extra weeks to arrive and was in total tatters when it did, because….it looked like…….and of course it had to be ripped open…and then…..and so on. There were intakes of breath, murmured whaaaaat’s, stunned silence from OPM, and of course me starting to laugh. A lot like the time in NAPA when I was on quest for fixative for rear view mirrors and the guy said, it’s called fixative for rear view mirrors. The Post Mistress naturally did not like my tone. Fair enough, I didn’t much care for hers either. She said, well you ADMITTED you mailed a BOTTLE. Luckily, standing by the list of proscribed mailing items, I said, gee. That’s not on here and how come nobody has ever mentioned this before? Also, although they both start with “b”, I did say bottle and not..well, you know. This is my teeny business, I said, and you are causing me distress and costing me money. Do, please, do what you can to expedite this process. I left feeling out of sorts but managed to remember that the last several months of walking through emotional/thought form ballistic gel has given me the ability to say, UH? we don’t need no stinking attitudes! so I assumed all would be well. Eventually. Saw pigs, goats, hawks and an incredible jasmine plant on the way home. All good.

And of course, whaddaya know? The package was delivered this afternoon. I am trying to hold this episode in my mind now when I feel all the ….ick….that comes from the current state of this country. If the post office can do it, it can be done. We’re not going to stay in this murk forever. The same is true for all of us in our individual experiences. It takes some doing but you can expand your horizons to include all the light you can, and cannot, see. One step at a time. Eventually I will have to start springing into action (the garden is literally tapping its foot out there, for example) but for now, basking in the light will do.

Blessings and thanks as always.

life with weather

More time has passed here, Gentle Reader. AS usual it has been closer to the Hell side of the equation than one would like. We had gale force winds and 3-5 feet of snow a week or so ago- and generally speaking? it doesn’t snow here, and if it does it’s a matter of inches. So this was different. Fortunately the Dog LOVED it and provided some moments of joy and levity as he flew through the snow, sunk down into it, gobbled mouthfuls up, and sprang up for another flight.

But different it was. To say the least. We were snowed in, in fact, which was kind of weird. We had no power for close to a week. Did I say how cold it was? No water anywhere but fortunately we had snow to melt, and to pack in the refrigerator so that part of it wasn’t Awful. There was also rainwater (yes, that too) to use to flush the toilet. One day a few days into the experience I was in our local grocery store on a fruitless quest for water, which was open because they had a HUGE generator, and a woman who works there and I were laughing uproariously about the excitement of having a flush toilet again….some time in the future. People were walking around in total stress mode- expectable given that there were about 42,000 people without power.

Some good things happened of course. I learned how to cook effectively on our wood stove. It’s a Jotul, which is the kind of stove the guy on New Scan Cooking lugs around for his outdoor soirees, and it is really quite extraordinary what cooking on wood is like. It’s FANTASTIC. We roasted cabbage and meat on the coals directly and it was a revelation. I made a kind of coq au vin (leftover red wine from the holidays) which was incredible, since I just put everything in a pan, covered it, put it on the stove, turned the chicken once and 40 minutes later, virtual perfection. The fact that the smoke from the candles made my lungs crunk up was almost an aside.

The real thing that happened, though, was this. Prisoners are used extensively here to fight fires and do road work, and this storm tore trees up by their roots and pulled huge limbs across roads and it was…horrible. There was a lot of sawing to be done before the power people could even get in, thus the prisoners. We wound up finally being able to get out of here and went on quests for water about three times. I waved and smiled at the Guys in Orange each time, as is my habit. The first time they squinted back at me with their Game Faces. By the third and last time, I actually got SMILES and waves back. It was a real moment of communication and understanding and from that standpoint, mind boggling, not to put too fine a point on it. It reminded me that we don’t, in fact, have to do earth shattering things to make a positive difference. We just have to be here. Now.

As difficult as that has been for some time now, it still turns out to be the basic instruction for not going totally bananas. Things look quite grim in this country right now, really, and every reminder one can receive about how love and kindness are the bottom line is a very good thing. Even when they are punctuated by lengthy periods of tooth grinding.

As always, blessings and thanks!

back on the street again

Well, Gentle Reader, it HAS been a long time. Mercifully, however, another season in hell has completed and for once I think we may well have really, really Learned Something.

Last year was a doozy all the way around, and my little world’s bookends of death and fire were, while by no means extraordinary, quite beyond anything that had gone before. I was unprepared for the collapse that occurred, even though it turned out the Partner was not (having passed this way before, he knew what was going to happen). My body seemed to sense that I was planning on carrying on as usual, and it issued a firm and not gentle NO. Somehow it orchestrated every tendons’ going kaflooey at once- tendonitis, fasciitis (not the culturally induced kind in this case, either), tear ducts and alveoli. The brain suffered as well and there was very little that got done in the final analysis. A lot of sitting on the couch, deep breathing, and the ever special fearless and searching moral inventory.

The good news is that you really can change habits, especially once you realize how many things are just that: habits. Fear is a habit, really. Being in the wrong situation with the wrong people is a habit. Feeling that you have to constantly achieve to be accepted is a habit. The fact that the world is in ever increasing chaos reveals that what we were accustomed to thinking was real, and now turns out not to be…that pattern is a habit, too.

AS usual, it comes down to basics. The rule is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When they do unto you what you do not do unto them, time to go. No prevarication, no wishing, no falling back on habit. No blame and all of that sort of thing. I found it interestingly difficult to let go of some old resentments and attitudes until I realized that my habit was to feel those as supportive, instead of what they really were- anything but. The new practice of letting the day dictate itself instead of “having things to do”, does, just like they say, end up being far more productive than you could ever imagine. The realization that the thigh bone IS connected to the knee bone leads to integration and healing. Even the huge effort of overcoming all the fears that arise during such an intense change turns out to be simpler than you might think. Will I EVER be OK? is just a thought. Returning to the moment you’re in, attending to the requirements thereof, gets you to OK right on time. So, net net, I think I made it through yet another Dark Night. Of course, there was cooking.

I got on a dog biscuit kick, since I have a cookie cutter shaped like a dog bone. That reminded me of how much I used to like making rolled out and cut cookies. In another time, I made sugar cookies in shapes based on what people had in their yards that amused me (bears in their windows, pig statues in hidden gardens) and gave them to the respective creative neighbors. I hadn’t made any of these cookies for a long time and when I did this year? It was quite a success, a parade of bears and pigs and cows and Christmas trees and shooting stars and moons and hearts. Another night we had what I considered to be a personal triumph. Making all these things with paws that felt like they had nails in them was tricky but nonetheless I forged ahead, tried a new schedule for making sourdough bread, and had a good result. Then I made some ricotta, thinking I’d make ravioli for dinner. Think again, of course, because the weather has been horrendous and we had both a road washout and no power. I’d made filling for ravioli already, with the ricotta and chard from our perennial chard installation, but clearly any cooking was a non-starter, literally. So. I made SANDWICHES with the sourdough and the ricotta filling and we grilled them on the woodstove and they were wonderful. Like something one had actually Intended to Do, sort of thing. Evidence, truly, that staying in the moment pays off. And here is someone who really knows that, for sure:

Blessings and thanks and happy new year, let us hope anyway!

Jose Andres was here

Oh Gentle Reader.  So much has happened and of course the more things change……

We will start with Part Two…… We were not too far away from another horrible, horrible fire.  Thousands of people displaced and many killed.  An entire town (Paradise) burnt to the ground.  Of note is the fact that of the 1000 or so missing people, and the 80+ deaths, a large percentage were over 65.  Let the fact sink in that these woods are full of elders living hand to mouth with absolutely no safety net of any kind.  There are many wonderful things about this area, but it is also full to the brim of poverty and homelessness.  And people who have no other place to go than their current roof over head situation.  And of course, it’s winter, and it’s the “holidays”.  The local community got together with the wonderful and intrepid and humane chef Jose Andres, who I have always loved and firmly believe has wings stuffed into HIS shirt too, and with the Sierra Nevada brewery, and fed hundreds of evacuees Thanksgiving dinner.  First responders, still fighting the fire and away from their families, served the meal.

In striking contrast to bloviating pustule who blew through here, couldn’t remember the name of the town that burned (calling it “Pleasure, and what a name!”), and suggested that if Californians raked their forests all this could be avoided.  The news footage of bp, Governor Brown, and a Cal Fire official was unbelievable: Cal Fire guy’s eyes were literally bugged out of his head, the Governor was looking at the middle distance as if wondering how much longer he could stand there before he decked somebody….I could say more.  But I will limit myself to two things: (A) pustule and your poisonous cohort and chain illegal immigrant family? YOU’RE FIRED.  (B) Another swell move by pustule was to authorize OUR military service people, sent to the border,  to use lethal force on people attempting to cross the border and seek asylum.  The Partner believes that for the most part, our service people would refuse to do that, and that no  authority exists for this action.  I certainly hope so.  I saw a meme today that also relates to this whole nasty mess:  If you believe that a fertilized egg is a human being, and refugee kids are not?  Then you’d better stop saying you are motivated by religion.

I find this all so….staggering and dismaying…that no sense can be made of the fact that all of this continues to go on, and expand.  What is wrong with everyone that they don’t stand up and say THIS MUST STOP.  I have periodic cry breaks, let’s just say.  Then I blow my nose, or what’ s left of it, and carry on.

And now on to Part One. Carrying on was already a bit of a challenge, and then? The day Paradise burned up, my mother died.  The for far too long unrecognized bane of my existence left this plane.  On my end, it was pretty awful and the Dog got worried.  But then I saw an excerpt from a book, Inner World of Trauma, and the kaleidoscope shifted.  Everything I experienced, went through, suffered? had, over the course of my life, become an externalized Thing which kept me in fear, anguish, doubt, and a constant quest for replacement baggage when the original matched emotional set fell apart.  So, in a way, all this torment was…not real.  It was a complex constellation of things that came together in my baby brain and just stayed.  And grew.  Not anyone’s fault, no blame, just kind of a massive Oh. My. God. Suddenly and at long last? I put it all down.  It’s a bit strange having all this space in my mind now.  But I am here to tell you it can be done.  So whatever your burden is? It can be transformed and so can you.  It takes work, of course, and a willingness to feel what you’re feeling and a shift in focus from My Very Important Story to the grandeur of life and the world as it is every minute and of which you are an integral part.  Perennial wisdom, as it is called in the many forms it takes, is an invaluable help.  Buddha is not the only one to say, the fear and attachment and attitudes that you have are not really yours.  The hike to understanding just what this really means is not easy, you have to do it yourself, and the weather on the way can be horrible.  But it is probably the most important walk you’ll ever take.  The love and support of one’s friends cannot be overlooked either.

During this festive period another really fun thing happened.   A spider decided to bite me on the cheekbone…and boy howdy!!!!!!! I went from normal to sci-fi experiment gone horribly wrong in less than an hour.  Swelling, pain, acid-like suppurations from the eye, and a very special red bull’s eye all around the affected area.  I very briefly considered going to the doctor, and thought again after the last visit where I had to wait an hour for a scheduled appointment because someone else was late for theirs and filled the entire office with yelling about how they were on psychiatric medications and we’d all better look out.  I even more briefly considered going to the oxymoronically named Emergency Room, but remembering how close they came to killing me the last time I went, thought better of it.  Here is what I did, with sensible input from the Partner.  (1) Sprayed affected area with Vetericyn.  Nobody should be without this stuff, which comes in both veterinary and human packaging.  Exactly the same, but if you’re human it costs twice as much. It can be sprayed in the eyes, in open wounds, burns, kills pathogens including fungus and MRSA.  The Dog views it favorably as well.  (2) Did Jin Shin Jyutsu on self.  Nobody should be without THIS stuff either. (3) In between sprays and JSJ, I came up with a new cocktail, which I call the Linus Pauling. ( He was a famous scientist of yore, who once said that if you had a shot of vodka and vitamin C every day, you’d probably be fine.)  I knew vitamin C would help and as miserable as I was, and since I always used powdered, I thought, heck.  WHY NOT.  So.  Powered vitamin C, vodka, and orange juice.  I actually look…uh….normal…now.  So it turns out venom can be dealt with, too.

Onward, in any event.  Blessings and thanks as always!

 

memories of underdevelopment

I don’t know, Gentle Reader, what made me think about this Cuban film today.  I reckon, however, it is because I’ve been engaged in a rather thorough going Improvement and Possible Modernization of Actual Self for a long time and I was, in fact, Looking Back on what the State of Me was before this all began.  My memory of the film is that as usual, the new and the old move along together and some parts of each get tired and fall away all in a politicized context of NEW vs OLD, or NOW vs THEN.  It occurred to me, thinking about this movie, that in the eight and a half years (!!!!!!!!!!!) we’ve been here, I maintained my historical approach of DO and BE also, because you can’t BE accepted or included or whatever unless you DO.  If that makes sense. Let’s just say it’s totally exhausting and in fact, impossible. Kind of like having a democracy in a fascist state.  In fact, what I think about that approach now is that it rather exactly mimics the process of capitalist colonialization, except you are doing the invading, genocide, institution creating and reality fixing yourself.   You believe the invaders (I’m picturing my high school “guidance counselor” here for one) when they tell you it’s their way or else and after all they DO have the weapons, as in, you must compete in the world, you must look outside yourself for every reward- all in a vacuum with no critical thinking of course- and, after all you are probably not Leadership and Success Material anyway because of things that are out of your control, like whether you have two parents at home, what color and sex you are, and stuff like that.   So one is constantly striving in an atmosphere that is completely artificial and has nothing to do with what YOU might actually be, and be able to contribute….and there is the distinction, I think.  Contribution to

first clear night

the actual whole as opposed to achievement for you individually.  And that would all be fine if the contribution to the whole part of things wasn’t systematically stymied to a very large extent.  Because actual change and development across the board are not what are wanted.  It is success for a small part of the whole, which is defined quite specifically and these days seems to consist entirely of the acquisition of money.

Someone remarked at the outset that the circumstances of our life here approximated some fairly serious monastic settings, for which experience in deleting DOING people pay big bucks.   I see that now, of course, and at long last I am surrendering, completely- or as completely as I can in this moment- to what IS.  What IS, of course, is almost completely gravelling at times and has involved the manifestation of all of my deepest fears.  One right after another, with traffic jams at times.  There really has been, and is, no room for anything other than acceptance and surrender.  So now what?

Now what is, in part anyway, seeing things more as they actually are and not as one was told, or what one wanted to believe they were (“family” is a good concept to ponder here). This is not an easy task.  It is and has been, also, for me, the laying of my personal foundation in what I have always known to be true: LOVE.  For so long I toiled away  and lived a kind of double life.  Knowing the truth and hoping to find a glimmer of it somewhere while hiding behind the exterior of a workman. Not daring to tell anyone what I actually saw when they walked into a room, or that I heard colors and had moments of divine awareness, happiness, joy. In my private time.  Naturally that did not work all that well, even though I thought it did since I was, after all, able to support myself, which I now see of course has been my struggle and preoccupation since about age 10.  Those around me convinced me that since I was Lazy, it was important that I rouse myself constantly and go DO THINGS, like clean out the gutters or mend everyone’s clothes.  All of which developed good work habits, don’t get me wrong.  But I did at last hit the wall, irrevocably and big time, and when that happens and all the things you didn’t want to look at just now, the disappointment and oftentimes rage, the sorrow, anger and fear, all rise up at once? Even when you think you’re all grown up now and that scar really did heal nicely, didn’t it?  You got to move.

The move, of course, is one we all dread- at least from what I hear.  Because it is a move to not doing, to silence, to feeling what it is you are actually feeling- and that last bit is a real monster as Russell Brand once said so well.  And, for extra fun? You get to do that while a bunch of stuff is happening all around you, stimulating all those spots that used to flash messages like EAT ME, DRINK ME, SHOP, RUN, VACUUM TIL YOU DROP.  I’m sure you know.

So that is what I’ve been doing, it turns out, for the past couple of years and this last year? has been a real doozy containing as it has the absolute full court press of OH GOD NO, NOT THAT.  But running from things is not moving, as it turns out.  Moving is often a rather still process although what happens in that stillness seems like pieces of the ground underneath you simply flying away.

At least part of what you come to is this.  Yes, awful things happen in life and there is pain.  And there is also the pain of others which can be even more difficult to deal with since it tends to elicit a sense of powerlessness that often leads to hitting the metaphorical snooze button. Nevertheless most of the things you fear are in your mind, are about how you think about things and not what they are. (Aside of course from things like “climate change” which is quite scary enough just as it is, and quite overwhelming when you wonder what you can do about it in light of the giant snooze button it has attached).  Facing those fears without running or flinching is tremendously difficult, but you can become skilled and able to do it, and as you do, somehow that basic ground of LOVE comes into focus, you see the pattern of life in a large moving sweep rather than an isolated pixel that has your face in it.  You are able to stop looking for what’s “wrong” and accepting that it is, as they say, what it is.  That what is contains everything, which means there are dynamic possibilities. Then, more fun! because you accept responsibility for yourself and begin to learn how to live with respect for yourself and all your relations.  There will be no more acceptance of the basically unacceptable in one’s “controllable” perimeter, aka the brain or some part of it.  No more snap-fests that last for days, no blame, no paralysis either which turns out to be one of the best parts….just the exploration of a whole new world, which you loved before and love even more now.  Functional expression of that love is what is, now.  So even when someone transgresses, it can actually be balanced AT THE TIME, without rancor, and who’da thunk?

Quick notes on magic: I have an almost 30 year old passion flower plant in the middle of the garden area.  We noticed this week that there is a long, vining tendril of passion flower growing out of the ground at one window- which had to seed itself somehow and is, in fact, in a direct line of float from original plant to new tendril spot.  Beets have sprung up again in the pot they were initially placed in as seedlings, then thought to be discarded since they more or less disappeared in the summer heat and smoke.  Something else got planted in the pot, the pot got moved, and now? We have both the something else AND beets.  Then there’s the forest of swiss chard that seeded from the OTHER swiss chard that had been there for three years.  It stopped being 398 degrees every day and the roses bloomed again, the butterfly bush did its thing and the Rose of Sharon has been extravagant.  The mugwort is about to bloom and we have a ton of tomatoes in the back at long last- after a summer’s worth of grumbling from the Partner that he was watering these huge-ass bushes and for what? Well? Cherokee Purple tomatoes at New Year’s is what.  We even had another successful solstice non-birthday, with guava bars and arroz con leche as this year’s favored dessert.  I also learned that I can, in fact, make a good red chile enchilada sauce- having always favored green up to now- and it’s pretty simple.  Add to that the discovery that Meadowsweet, already a favorite herb, as a single tincture applied to inflamed sores of any origin, works like a charm, humans and canines alike.  Not bad for a recent trip through Hell, yes?

Blessings and thanks!

forty days, thirty nine nights

And of course it FEELS like all eternity has passed, but when I heard that the Carr fire had started 39 days ago, on the 40th day, I thought, well.  JEESH.  I looked up the significance of the number 40, and found that it was, in the past, considered to be equivalent to Umpteen.  So there you are.

The wind shifted so we are once again enveloped in smoke.  Yesterday we saw blue sky, clouds, the mountains for crying out loud, and stars.  It was like a dream.  Today we are back to what has become typical:  oppressively hot, airless and turgid daily reality.  It is quite fatiguing, probably because of the low oxygen presence, but this has not kept us from the Quotidian Beast Slaying and, of course, cooking.

On the Beast Slaying? Honestly.  Part the first was getting our trash removed.  We have to take it to the dump ourselves, of course, and after a certain amount of time it’s a toss up as to whether it is nobler to go to the dump every month or just get a container once a year.  We don’t actually have that much trash, which I comfort myself with in times of demoralization.  Anyway, getting the trash picked up turned out to be like a whole season of Jerry Springer.  It strikes me as odd that the harder it is to find a job and make money? The more reluctant the people are who do have jobs to do them.  The first person I called to do this said, well, MY time is REALLY VALUABLE.  So I’d like you to come along with me to help.  And pay $30 an hour for the privilege of same.  We did not take that option.  Finally I found a delightful young man who, although apparently incapable of following directions, did finally arrive on scene and perform the requested work.  SUCCESS.  I still don’t know what part of: it’s the next driveway after the one with the address on a horse pen, is mysterious, but it doesn’t seem to be something anyone can figure out so once again we found ourselves running down the driveway with flailing arms.  Still, it got done.  Beast the second was even more formidable and took yet another week to resolve.

It turns out that having a post office box is tantamount to having DANGEROUS NE’ER DO WELL tattooed on your forehead.  A company, who shall remain nameless, who I use in connection with my website sales, decided that it had to have Proof of my Physical Address.  They froze my account pending establishing a location for me where? who knows, men in black will race up and kick the door down any time now.  Since I cannot get mail here, I do not use this address for anything, so I don’t have anything with it appearing, like utility bills (which I don’t have since we’re off the grid, another concept that is seemingly unfathomable) or, even funnier, brokerage accounts, which were what this company asked for.  We went back and forth, I sending things, them rejecting them, until finally I sent a copy of my State issued Resale License, since it does have this address.  I’d asked if this would be acceptable and what non responsive item on the drop down menu should be used to describe said page.  So you may be able to imagine my state of mind when I once again called the company, got someone in an archipelago somewhere, which someone said, Oh, No.  WE CAN’T ACCEPT THIS ONE BECAUSE IT ISN’T AN EIGHT AND A HALF BY ELEVEN PAGE.  I came completely unglued.  There was loss of temper.  There was even a  bit of what might be called yelling, and the Dog retreated to his bed as he does when kafuffle rears its ugly head.  Somehow after I once again demanded, and finally got, a “supervisor”, public records were checked and whaddaya know, they “granted my case”.  Since everyone I told this story to said, oh, that company doesn’t do that, that never happens to ME, and so on, I was reasonably proud of myself for not succumbing to total paranoia and thinking this was Personal.  No sirree bob.  Just business.  It also made me think about how the fact of it is that I tend to hide in general and be very private in areas where I feel things are nobody’s business.  Like, where I live I guess.  And  no, you don’t get my phone number if I sign your petition, either.  So things like this are to be expected, even if they are beyond the beyond over the top ridiculous. One person said to me in the course of all this that they “required these informations” because of, wait for it! The Patriot Act.  It’s the government, they said.

So there was plenty to think about as I made grape juice in the food mill, fig jam, fig pizza, many OTHER pizzas, pesto, basil puree, and the continuing zillion zucchini things, along with every imaginable kind of cucumber salad and salads made out of melon balls and wontons stuffed with herbs and vegetables.  Every year something goes bonkers in the garden, and this year in spite of the ghastly conditions we have had cucumbers coming out our ears (41 in the kitchen right this minute).  The fig tree has been prolific and the basil has been mind boggling.  The melons are coming in now too. We expect tomatoes late again since it is just now not 115 every day so maybe flowers can set and….who knows.  Anyway it really is true that once you grow your own, nothing else is as good so all of us take heart from the garden.  The other day I even saw several swiss chard seedlings around the pot where we’d had the Perennial Chard Installation for the past three years.  Happy!

So as I pondered the ever more dismal happenings in the world overall (and by the way? the LPV or loser of the popular vote will now be herein referred to as BP, or, bloviating pustule) and wondered what the world would be like without Aretha, I was able to keep in the forefront of things the fact that yes, it does get grotesque periodically.  But there is still Real Life, and the beauty and grace and grandeur of that is what one must attend to if one wishes to stay upright and civil.  Given that such attendance includes everything from cleaning the toilet to watching the Dog reduce customers in the farm store to giggling joyful individuals moving blindly forward for a kiss from his Divine Doggy Snout, there’s no need to panic unnecessarily about where to place one’s attention- unless of course you’re navigating a moving vehicle.  It’s just all present, and my concern often is that so many are not partaking of the feast right in front of them.  Listening and observing seem to be overlooked skills more often than not.  Words, for heaven’s sake, don’t mean what you think they do, and whole concepts, like saeculum, are no longer to be found.  (Saeculum is an old measurement of time referring to the time period between and event and the death of the last person who experienced it.  Food for thought there.) And. Yes indeed, it is often through one’s tears that this partaking occurs, but the disengagement from things like conversation, cooking one’s own food, paying attention to what’s in that food, paying attention to the beings around you, watching where you’re going sort of thing, seems to be increasing exponentially.  I firmly believe that if everyone smoked weed and had a dog? It’d be a lot nicer world.  The same goes for making pizza dough.  There is a LOT of bang for your buck with pizza dough after all: pizza, calzone, and focaccia, just for starters.  Also, just simply being Present makes things smoother, oddly (or not).  It’s not necessary to fill the world up with stuff, and it turns out to be a lot more fun to just pay attention and see what happens.  Even when what happens is Not What You Wanted At All, things are always moving and nothing lasts forever in one condition.  Not to mention the always available opportunity to learn from your mistakes.  Back to it, for now, with renewed praying for..er…Self Control When Things Get Dicey.

Blessings and thanks!!!!!!