the grace of ice cream

Things are somewhat indescribable of late.  Aside from the fact that it is mind numbingly hot, not even really cooling off at night.  (The tomatoes Do Not Like It at all but oddly the Butternut squash are going crazy, we have four Charentais melons on the vine, and the Chair Vert melon plant in the back has quadrupled in size to an almost sci-fi extent.)

The Dog has some allergic food reaction and is covered in spots.  There was, for the first time since we’ve been here, a fire that would have roared over the hill and destroyed our yurt (and maybe lives since it was blocking the only way out from here as well) if Cal Fire hadn’t gotten on it immediately.  It made me slightly sick to see the burnt place on the way into town,  but at least I got to thank the firefighters, barely able to not blurt out a question about how come they’re always so darn HANDSOME.  People I care about are having health issues and there’s a lot going on that seems very out of any kind of measure or control.   Also I found that as hard as I try, the poisonous atmosphere on Planet LPV and all that comes from same has crept into my little brain (aside, I mean, from wondering what I’ll do with no health insurance and an internet controlled by Comcast and Verizon, voter suppression and Environmental Protection c/o Exxon Mobil and how long til this guy gets COMMITTED???…oh well.  You probably know).  This was forcibly borne in upon me when in a couple of days, I got two follows on this blog, for which I am grateful!, in Arabic.  I watched my stomach clench as my brain said, Oh boy, this is IT.  “They” will ….they, who?, will do what, exactly? I mean, really? I get hits from all over the world, amazingly, and sometimes from places we’re “supposed” to fear.  (The many Russian hits are generally hacks and ripoffs from my website to porn sites, big surprise. Flower pictures, right?)  Don’t ask me what allure this bear’s life holds but there it is.  It’s kind of like when the sheriff drove up that day and clearly realized we’re just a couple of old hardheads and no arrest could, in any universe, be forthcoming for any reason.  ANYWAY the whole thing made me a bit more tense when I found that Google Translate would not let me cut and paste any language to be translated, as it usually does when such things come up.  Maybe it’s my antediluvean laptop. Finally I figured out that I could drag the text over and? Guess what? All of it was WONDERFUL poetry.  Beauty and expression thereof, carrying on a long tradition.  One person I couldn’t get enough blog translated to be able to leave a comment since, not reading Arabic, I couldn’t figure out where that might be.  So I very much hope they don’t think I am being rude.  I often wonder what would have happened to both Christianity and Islam had Capitalism not inserted its noxious snout- perhaps the inherent love at the base of both might have gotten the upper hand.  However, alas, it did and has and now? What the heck has happened to us that the simple act of reaching out and sharing one’s thoughts about reality becomes questionable and prone to causing wonder about who else might be “looking”.  At the same time I was filled with a kind of huge radiant joy at knowing there are people, everywhere, who do create beauty and strive for truth.  And  some of that was shared with me.

So.  Swinging between the twin poles of CHUFFED (followers! who write wonderful things!) and OH DEAR (fire, dog spots, dastardly politics) I turned to my latest obsession: Dulce de Leche.  Traditionally it is made of goat’s milk which is caramelized into total fabulousness.  It is also made quite simply by putting a can of Eagle Brand in a water bath for 40 minutes or so until it becomes thick and caramelized.  It being so hot and all ice cream seemed like the obvious solution for such a preoccupation.  Also I did not want to find that I’d eaten a whole can of Eagle Brand by itself.

The first batch was good, even if the experiment of caramelizing the Eagle Brand in the microwave went just. a. tiny. bit. awry.  The valiant and elderly microwave needed to be cleaned anyway and of course I expect this sort of things-reaching-past- their-assigned boundaries as routine.  The next time I started early in the morning on one day, using the stove, and putting the resulting cooked can into the refrigerator.  When it was cool enough a day or so later to even think about again turning on the stove, this is what I did:

1 cup of milk with the thickened Eagle Brand mixed in, heated slowly.  Three egg yolks beaten, tempered, and stirred in until spoon was properly coated.  Into the refrigerator with that.  About three hours later I mashed up a cup and a half of strawberries from the garden, put a tiny bit of sugar in them, and let them rest for a couple of hours.  A few drops of vanilla into the custard, berries mixed in, and into the ice cream freezer.  The Partner says it’s the best strawberry ice cream he’s ever had, and I think he may be right.  Now, if I can just convince the Dog that he’s not being punished by the now total absence of cheese treats, potato treats, and Daddy’s leftover milk from cereal, and get him to come out from under the table, all may yet be well.  May the Poetry be with you! and as always, blessings and thanks!

what persists

This morning’s brain storm involved Greek philosophers.  Who said, among others, two things.  (And, spoiler alert, we may have successfully inserted a picture at the end here….)

One: Resistance to what is causes suffering. (They weren’t the only ones to say this of course.)

Two: What we resist persists. (I think we all have this tattooed on our wrists, actually, and mistakenly think it is an instruction instead of a caution.)

So.  Suffering thus continues ad nauseam if we let it, by behaving as if we have no control over ourselves and thus none anywhere else.  Control is of course a relative term, since the only thing we can ever even hope to control is how we respond to things.  But our responses do have demonstrable effects and those can be positive instead of negative if we choose wisely.  It becomes more a thing of seeing the flow of things instead of the immobility of how we think we want it or how unfair it is that it isn’t the way we think we want it.

So, what I thought, Gentle Reader, was: If, and it is a largish sized IF, we accept what is as simply that- what it IS, we alleviate our suffering.  And we also can posit that while pain is, as they say, inevitable since it is what IS quite often, in not resisting that in the sense of non-acceptance and non-acknowledgement, we again alleviate our suffering.   And alleviation of suffering leaves room for process, change, and movement.   Flow.  Which is still flow even when you have a slight limp.

Things really are bloody awful in this country right now and look poised to take a dive into even further depths of the dumper.  It would be easy to become totally discombobulated, which a part of me often feels is Part of The Plan.  The speed of the digital world leaves no time for digestion, basically.  Also substance is often lacking therein, no matter what topic or level you choose- it’s thorough going from A to Z.  So everyone is malnourished while feeling stuffed and empty at the same time, and when you’re in that space you’re cranky.  You may even reach for something totally inappropriate to assuage that feeling, only to find it’s made things worse since it gave you acid indigestion.

Resisting this whole paradigm was causing suffering, let’s just say.  So I began to task myself with focusing on letting nothing that came from me, word, deed, dessert or salad, come from anything but love.  This is very easy in the abstract of course while one is pulling weeds or staring into space, but in the nuts and bolts day to day it takes a certain discipline to even think about how while, no, you don’t have to kiss this jerk you really want to hit with a two by four, at the same time the helpful thing is to recognize the divergences and not pay undue attention beyond that.  For me this quite often means keeping my mouth shut and my face clear and just skipping the exegesis about whatever it is. ( I’m expecting to see some significant weight loss from all this effort, too…) Another component is not letting one’s mind go amok with all the things that could go Terribly Wrong At Any Second, complete with all the embellishments that can happen when it turns unexpectedly into a novel writing episode.  I mean, really.  The things you can imagine going sideways can make you completely nuts, and are also completely unnecessary.

In that vein, I can report things are going better- only a third of my head explodes at any given time of late. It’s a fascinating experiment to conduct if nothing else, just seeing what happens when you give any situation, or thing for that matter, your positive and appreciative attention.  Somehow that energy returns to you, then goes back, and it circulates on.  And also? You feel better yourself.  So much of it is also about replacing all those self centered thoughts with doing something for someone else, however small.  Open a door, give a complement, do something for your loved ones you know they want done (like, say, picking up dog poo from the yard).  Simple.  In fact so simple it is easy to think it’s of no value.  And this can be extended to whatever is happening outside one’s immediate personal life.  Love, as Athol Fugard said, is the best subversion.

The Dog of course continues to be the constant instructor.  We had to do several business and anxiety provoking errands this week, and we all went.  The mere PRESENCE of the Dog made people smile, then laugh, then be extra helpful.  He smiled all day with enough wattage to power the yurt.  It really made me think long and hard- the simple fact of the joy inherent in living is what he manifests- even when he gets irritated about the density of Mommy not seeing that he needs a treat RIGHT NOW.  And that has a huge impact on everyone around him.  We had a good example of that, too, the other morning.  He went outside with the Partner for his morning rounds, and a hummingbird flew up to him at eye level.  They looked at each other for several seconds in an astonishingly companionable and communicative way.  The Partner asked the Dog what Hummingbird said to him and for some reason I hummed the tune from Close Encounters.  Dog? looked at me in a startled way then SMILED and I swear he also nodded.  That’s what Hummingbird said I guess- it’s a big cosmos and we should probably accept that and enjoy it.  There’s everything and more for us to see and experience and learn, no matter what the circumstance.  Here he is, probably pondering the Next Lesson if I know him.heavycrown

Blessings and thanks, as always.

what’s in a title

It has been hotter than Hell here, and nobody is even thinking about disputing that, unlike when we first came and when it was 118 F every day you’d actually hear people saying, oh, this isn’t hot, I LIKE THIS.  So. Now? You see strong men in tears. People are more torched off than usual, they’re driving as though lobotomized, and all in all, it’s rough.  The vet is no longer going to carry the kind of dog treats the Dog Prefers. A problem indeed. The poor man who owns the laundromat recently lost his wife, totally unexpectedly, and another friend’s husband got thrown from a horse and it seems pretty serious.  And, it’s hot.  Thank God I saw that article about how hydrating beer really is if you’ve actually had enough water to drink.

The garden is doing OK, though, which is nothing short of amazing, and something else quite interesting happened.

I still, (in Spite of It All, the LPV,  “Congress”, Bill Cosby, the “health care” crapfest, Putin, Korea, the complete idiocy one hears no matter how hard one tries not to about everything in the world….) Participate.  I write letters to my “representatives”, make fun filled phone calls to Sheriff’s Departments, Governor’s offices, saying politely, please don’t do that ghastly thing with the firehoses you’re doing, so to speak.  I’m polite to the Sheriff when he shows up in bug eye sunglasses and remind him that there’s still no drug lab here. I remain calm while my time is constantly being wasted by How Things “Get Done”.  I also know that in some big ways none of this current malarkey is going to last, even in a tiny human conception of time,  so there’s not much point in blowing one of my precious remaining gaskets.   (I need those to figure out whether the shade cloth is keeping the tomatoes from getting pollinated, honestly.) Non-violence, like truth, takes a long time, but it really is easier in the long run and ultimately less embarrassing.  Unconditional Love doesn’t mean you always LIKE what someone’s doing but it does mean you recognize the common (one hopes) thread between you, and go from there.

So anyway, it’s been clear my Representative in the House has had me on the Ignore setting for some time.  I wrote to him once again recently about something, either climate change or the Russia Investigation, and for once there was a drop down menu for “title”.  WELL.  Gentle Reader, I went to town.  One of the selections was REVEREND.  And actually I AM a reverend, although I have misplaced my little certificate of reverendification, and I’m pretty sure no regular Church would want me preaching.  (The Temple of the Divine Dog and Flower? Maybe). So.  I selected Reverend.

For the first time ever, I got a response from this individual.  An actual e-mail letter.  And actually it freaked me out some because I realized that the only reason this happened was my use of the title.  Which in these parts people take to mean you are as Christian as the day is long and in these parts THAT means pretty much that witches are being burned, most likely behind the Pastor’s marijuana grow.  The sort of person this Representative counts on to vote for them in this very conservative area.  So it’s hard to know what to think except that I suppose this represents some positive step in the ongoing process of compromise and reaching agreement on challenging topics.  It amuses me to think that someone will connect the dots and realize I’m that same person they’ve been ignoring for so many years.  Then they’ll get the hiccups, most likely.   Still.  The information being discussed is pretty black and white, actually, and it may just be that a letter from such a person as myself has some tiny impact on the side of what actually IS.  We live in hope.

Meanwhile, on more important issues: still no pictures.  I’m working on it, let’s just say.  Blessings and thanks.

searching for the muse

It’s one of those days, Gentle Reader, where one’s head feels as though it is encased in a jar of vaseline.  So even though I can barely move I’m still thinking about all the things I’d LIKE to do given it’s Saturday and all.

I actually started a new drawing this past week, and got the garden planted for the most part, negotiating tricky things like where to put the cabbage.  I’ve taken a bunch of pictures now that I am firmly in the 21st century.  However the chasm of getting pictures to reproduce on my laptop after being sent from the SMARTPHONE is still big and deep so the promised stellar Dog Portrait will have to wait for another day. *sigh*  Someone remarked to me a long time ago that watching my life was like watching someone hiking up an uneven surface, advancing a few steps, then being grabbed on the scruff of the neck by a wolf and taken someplace completely different, where the enterprise started all over.

I’m not sure, truthfully, that this is a fanciful characterization, and this past week, including photo, er, bombs…. lent some clarity to how it works in practice  For example.  It finally dawned on me that 90% of interactions with “professionals” of any ilk is aimed at keeping you chasing your tail.  There’s the scruff of the neck part.  I need some medical tests.  Provider says, contact your insurance to see if they’ll pay for it. So I do that. And they say, first,  we can’t tell you THAT. I say, what has to happen so that you CAN tell me? They say, the doctor has to send us the order. I felt my eyes cross as I thanked the person for their “help”, declined to take a customer service survey, and hung up.  What this means in actuality is that I will have to go to the lab, where they will look at my insurance and in a crowded room say loudly what that lowly insurance is and that it probably won’t pay, by which time I will have already, since I’m in the lab, signed up for the tests.  In short, you can’t find out if a procedure will be paid for until after you have it.  Which, if whether not it gets paid for is a potential deal breaker, is a bit of a problem.  So that was fun.  BUT.

Clearly progress has been made because not only did I navigate this rocky ford calmly, this past week’s political events did not plunge me into a dark pit of despondency. ( This must be the part where the wolf drops me off and I keep going.) In fact, since it was virtually impossible to miss the LPV Gang’s response to certain Testimony, I found myself looking at the LPV’s attorney, and thinking, jeesh, he BARELY got his human suit zipped over his reptile body, and what a tour de force anyway! What poise in completely changing what basic English means, and confidence in describing something everyone had actually seen as being completely different than what it was.  I was less successful when hearing a snatched bit of the LPV braying about being exonerated or whatever word was used but thank god for mute buttons.  On top of every other thing that was done last week, and all the other things that got done that we don’t know about yet, this really made me feel more firmly that the entire situation, everywhere, is so rotten that only a complete change is going to do a thing.  And since the situation is rotten, it will collapse, and then? It begins again, in a completely different place, having been grabbed by the scruff of the neck by a wolf that couldn’t take it any more and hustled it away.

All this is to say there was some wisdom in that wolf analogy.  We live with the illusion that people are in control.  Then when things go some way we don’t want, we get bent out of shape.  Depending on where we are on the food chain, we either go after the nearest thing until it’s all gone, or? We assess our position.  Maybe we do nothing for a while.  Maybe we give thanks for having enough brain left to take in what’s going on without wasting a lot of energy in resistance.  Resistance really IS futile, because so often resistance is just a small spoiled brat deep down stamping its feet and saying, no I don’t like it like this, I will not accept reality and I’m not playing.  Instead of looking at what it is, not shooting the messenger so to speak, and doing something DIFFERENT.  Turns out that changing your thinking isn’t as hard as it seems in the gnarly initial stages- it’s a matter of consistency and gentle focus.  Also turns out that this very act is what does change things.  It reminded me of a story about two yogis.  One was under a tree, a huge, huge tree with uncountable leaves.  The guru told this yogi that he had as many lives to go as there were leaves on the tree.  The yogi thought for a minute, smiled and said, good! I take refuge in this Work!  The guru proceeded to the next yogi, who was sitting on the ground in a clearing, next to two ants, telling him that it looked like he had two lives to go only.  This yogi pitched a massive hissy fit: this wasn’t how he liked it, he’d worked so hard, it was wrong and unfair, etc. etc. You know.  All the stuff we say to ourselves when we resist what IS.

So. Let us give thanks for wolves.  And also pray for technological inspiration so the Dog may be revealed in his current photographic splendiferousness.  In the meantime, do what you can do.  Gandhi said that even if what you had to do seemed completely unimportant, it was most important that you do it.  So, yee haw, right?  Blessings and thanks!

 

the wandering mind

Lately, probably in some high level of procrastinating avoidance, I’ve been In The Kitchen.

I decided, for example, to make the herein previously mentioned lentil/rice crepes, Adai.  Last time I may have omitted mention of the FLOOD that happened during mixing.  You have to grind things together and I thought, heck, food processor here we come.  Except, no, because? Water. Which went everywhere rapidly.  It did produce a rather pleasant cumin scented cleansing for the butcher block, and I went on to use the Nutri-Bullet, with good results.  So this time? There was FIRE.  Yes.  Actual fire.  Oh dear, I said, and managed to put it out with only minimal damage to one dinner plate.  Don’t ask how that happened.

But fire? after a flood? It seemed kind of apocryphal. Or maybe I mean apocalyptic.  Also I neglected the crepe component so they were a bit….thick.  But, live and learn.  Ultimately I decided to view the whole thing as a storyboard of progress, flood, fire, and then? The promised land?

Which turned out to be sourdough english muffins.  Worth the effort but not without incident, at least I can say I get the concept now.  And it also showed an important area needing improvement.

Which is following instructions.  Oh, dear.  I had a lot of things going on so I just read the recipe for the basic dough (baguette) and mixed it accordingly.  Of course when I turned to the actual english muffin recipe, it said, don’t handle the dough much.  Uhm.  So next time, like the Adai, it will be easier I think.  Less work, actually, and paying attention to what one does somewhat carefully does yield positive results.

So, notwithstanding that it was so hot yesterday I lost my brain completely and couldn’t even grasp which pan to use to make chocolate sauce, thus skipping that part of desert, I think this has all shown me at least what the next step is, about which I was wondering.

And that step is Attention.  I realized I’ve lived my life as though chased by werewolves, lending itself to a sense of not having time to…well, pay attention.  Run, run, run.  But as flood, fire, and spongy muffin interiors show, if you don’t pay attention? The wolves are waiting for you when you get there.  Going, haha and oh dear.  Looky here……So actually this has all been rather liberating in the final analysis.  I realized I don’t have to have epic disasters more than 40% of the time, which seems to be their naturally occurring orbit just in the way of things. At least in MY life.  We were watching a sitcom the other night and all kinds of things were happening with the expected ensuing hilarity.  The Partner said, this is so unbelievable! This would never happen in real life! (pause) Except, he said, getting up off the couch and moving away from me, to YOU.

In fact, he is a brave soul, the Partner.  It made me think of a time long ago, when as a student at University, a friend and I were taking the bus back from San Francisco to the East Bay after going to Japan town to get some groceries to make some culinary extravaganza in my studio in the ‘hood.  Exciting enough, really.  This friend had confidence in me since once when we were visiting his cousin in a somewhat questionable area, and wound up having to climb out of a small back window as LAPD broke the front door down, he commended me for my “sang froid”…we WERE in college after all.  So when, in the bus station, he said, you’re always saying weird things happen to you and I’m just going to stand on the other end of the platform to see, I remember gulping a bit.  And when, as usual, a poor disoriented man under the influence of many things both seen and unseen laid eyes on me, raised both arms with index fingers pointed and started stalking over to me, and I, in response, calmly lifted a pickled daikon (shrivelled, atomic yellow, and unpleasantly reminiscent of a certain part of male anatomy), packaged in a totally brain blasting plastic wrapper with exclamation points and Kanji in red outlined in purple, out of my shopping bag? And the poor soul turned white as a sheet and ran shrieking off the platform? My friend came over to me, hugged me and apologized for ever doubting my…er….cred.

This, in short, is what the Partner has taken on, bravely if perhaps ignorantly at first? I don’t know.  He’s probably somewhat relieved that our life precludes a lot of the normal dangers of going outside in a city, and keeps me limited to a small area where he has a hose and shovel and shotgun ready at all times.  He takes heart every day I don’t get bitten by a rattler, for example.  Anyway it gives me hope.  If I pay attention and have someone at my side who Understands that Stuff Happens, anything is possible.  And there really Is a splendid dog picture (success with the 21st century!) coming up in our next installment.  He’s almost not a puppy any more……..

Blessings and thanks!

what just happened here?

Lately it’s been a daily-ish experience to kind of have my head, unexpectedly of course, snap around and wonder what just happened here?  It’s almost as though Sleeping Somebody just woke up and however much sleep is rubbed from the eyes, it’s still an unfamiliar vista.

Staring at the now Very Big fennel area in the garden, which was seeded  four years ago, I not only wonder where the time went but who was that masked person who planted those seeds?  The descendants of Tyrant, the OG Hummingbird, flock around the feeder now and eat all together.  We can see the markings of everyone who went before, including the amazing copper hummy we saw last year.  Spring came and went, in the usual quick fashion of this place, with incredible lush swaths of green everywhere and the wild flowers blooming as if in arranged bouquets, short to tall, complementary colors.  Lots of new cows and goats and lizards.  It took about a month but now everything is dry and crisp for the most part, the snow and cold are a memory, and the rabbits are once again lying in the relative coolness of shade spots on the driveway.

I’m feeling the permanence of the impermanent, maybe.  We try, all of us I think, to throw off the weight of entropy, of inertia, what F. Scott Fitzgerald called the dead hand of the past, and live our lives.  At least we try to do that when we commit to being present, feeling what we’re feeling and following that, in an effort to find Peace of Mind. And when we are able to do that? There is a brilliance to things that is almost blinding,  They race by, they stand still, but everything is somehow different in its unfamiliar familiarity.  It’s a flow, a big river of energy and light and stops and gos.

Our quotidian struggles have come and gone and been replaced by new ones, of course.  (Notwithstanding the periodic bleak moments that happen when I hear “the news” however briefly and it seems like we are in a Really Deep Hole that Goes On Forever.  Like seeing that a municipality in Oregon is going to spray a 200 acre organic farm with Roundup to “eradicate weeds” so, I’m guessing, they won’t grow on the Interstate.  Uh.  If that isn’t a deep hole I don’t know what is.) The leap into the 21st century continues and I only cried once.  So I’m proud of myself, continuing to assume that my learning curve will be a curve and not a sheer drop off a cliff.  Photography, for example, how to actually get the pictures somewhere else than the phone….my oh my.  But, hope springs eternal.  In other news: The Dog did something strange and had to be rushed to the Vet a week ago, an untimely bank account draining, equanimity squashing ordeal.  However, he appears to have been restored to vim and vigor from Whatever Happened (see?) and once again I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The xrays revealed that he has an absolutely splendid trachea and spine, so there was that as well.  His Legend Continues of course.  He had to be sedated and when he woke up and came out to the waiting room? He bounded out with a huge grin, trotted briskly over to the reception counter, stood up and put his paws down as if to say, hey! I’m here! Where are the treats? Drinks for everybody!  The staff continued to tell the tale of it later in the week when I went in for…well, more treats…and they pointed to me and said, you should see HER dog!  In other good news all the seeds I planted germinated….still waiting on the culinary herbs but it may already be too hot for them.  The Partner has done a stellar job of clearing grasses and mixing soils and transplanting tiny tomato seedlings.  The beans are in, soon to be followed by winter and summer squash, melons and cucumbers.

The continuing sense of deep unease and doubt is something I’m trying to experience calmly, in order to deal with it without screaming.  Admittedly life here is a matter of continual touch and go, new gnarly things rear their heads constantly, and we watch our opportunities to adequately support ourselves dwindle.  Most of this has to do with things that are entirely beyond our control, and the only influence we have is in how we think about these things and each moment as it happens.  Given that there is so much beauty and reward here even amidst the challenges, it’s pretty disorienting. It’s a strange business working on equilibrium and basic happiness in view of the fact that everything dies and is reborn, over and over, and we really don’t have much clarity about that for the most part.  Nor are there really any reliable guidebooks, other than those containing what is often referred to as “perennial wisdom”.  It takes some time to absorb that perennial wisdom, let’s just say.  I’m wondering how to get it to work at the checkout stand in the grocery store, for example.  As in, why NO.  That total is NOT OK.  How about a whole lot less?

In the end it probably comes down to good housekeeping.  Not only can you not take it with you, you shouldn’t lug it to the departure gate either.  Nothing stays the same, even when the architecture and firmament are recognizable.  This is actually a good thing, and leads me to my personal big question, which is: why why why why why is there all this fear?  All the acting out, selfishness, war, unfairness in the world….has a substrate of fear.  So really.  What are we so afraid of?  Even in the worst circumstances peace can be found, the moving river of whatever this is moves, you take the next step into the what is, if we’re honest, always unknown.  But it isn’t necessarily BAD.  In fact, it’s often really good.  Nothing to fear. Maybe that’s what’s been happening.

Blessings and thanks!

 

time travel

How long has it been, Gentle Reader? Time is right now  its own, very weird, hard edged commodity.  There’s never enough of it of course, which strikes me as strange now that we’re in this here rural lifestyle where it appears that people think we simply sit around and fan idly through magazines all day long and have oodles of it, when in fact it’s your basic sun up to sun down and beyond.  Just for the basics.

Skipping over current events, or more like it dashing over sinkholes pursued by hellhounds, it seems simple survival is quite a success these days.  I heard Representative Labrador (from Idaho, go figure) say that no one had ever died from not being able to get health care in response to a constituent’s disapproval of the current proposed “healthcare” legislation.  So, OK.  That’s so totally stupid I think we need say no more.  We’re just in for a really bumpy ride before this all immolates, and it’s everywhere.  One has to decide pretty quickly just how excited to get over each explosion.

Meanwhile our efforts to get at least part way into the current century in terms of “technology” continue.  It no longer makes my head explode when people dismissively say, oh, you can too get internet/doctors/books there and blahblahblah.  No, because we learned that the even the actual City of Redding does not have optic fiber connections anywhere.  The official municipal communications apparently occur on some sort of paper cup and string arrangement.  So why should I think my precarious existence should have more up to date arrangements?

Nevertheless.  The telephone situation here is dismal.  The ATT cel phone only works at a distance of about 14 miles from home.  The Hughesnet satellite home phone connection works when it feels like it and aside from not liking snow, it’s not clear what makes the satellite say, uh, NO.  Not Now.   I’ve thus been casting about for a better, more cost effective and workable phone solution that might also allow me to do more marketing for my website and products.  You know, like Instagram and stuff.  So.  I got my first smart phone.  (And yes it IS somewhat intimidating and I feel like a gorilla trying to type on it.) Credo Mobile, an at least relatively ethical carrier, free (” “) IPhone, and apparently coverage even HERE in the round house.  I agonized over the decision, but if all goes well I can get rid of three devices and just have one that works as it is supposed to.  And save money in the process which is becoming ever more important.

However the usual key words here are: IF ALL GOES WELL.  Because so far? It has been a marvelous exercise in equanimity, mindfulness, staying calm, and carrying on.  I haven’t cried, even under intense provocation, and only had one small slug of vodka after the first six hour stressathon.

Initially things went reasonably smoothly and the phone came to my mailbox when they said it would, the offer had changed in the few days since my first call but not significantly.  I felt a strange unease about setting the phone up,  without knowing why (SILLY BEAR)….and then it all became clear.  First, there was the connection for customer support, after the 2+ hour attempted online connection could not be made,  to someone in Nigeria which on my phone felt very much like the aforementioned paper cup arrangement.  Turned out I couldn’t have my old number ported to the new phone because I did not know what my ATT PIN was.  So, fine.  Give me a new number, we’ll carry on.  But NO!!!! My Apple ID wouldn’t work.  An hour plus into it I hung up and called Apple.   An hour plus into that? My home phone died.  Nothing having been successfully wrestled to the ground at that point.

AFOG, for sure.  I realized I had about a second to make up my mind not to freak out about it all, to breathe, do something else, start over tomorrow.  This was the part with the vodka.  Then I went outside and transplanted seedlings.

I started anew the next day, already having about six hours into this.  I called Apple first, where to my stupefaction (since this was about the fourth time I’d called in the past few months about this issue) the Rep revealed that? GUESS WHAT? There’s a website where you can reestablish your Apple ID.  I was thrilled.  Moving on, 45 minutes down, to calling Credo again to get connected, I found that the Apple ID had not been instantly updated so I still couldn’t do anything with that.   Fine, fine.  Another hour and another mini-death for the house phone later, it was revealed that my new IPhone was not going to power up.  Period.  No way.  It seems it needs a new SIM card.  Which we hope will arrive on the morrow when we have to go to town anyway.  Then I get to suit up and do it all over again.  Anyway it took the bulk of the weekend and while, yes, I learned a lot, nothing really got DONE.

I’m assuming this will all get wrestled to the ground and be fine.  The lacking PIN and unfindable ID related to a time long, long ago where someone else was doing my IT.  Good to sever all that and move forward into the NOW.  The question really is, how does one deal with all this overwhelming frustration and time suck?  Over something one doesn’t, in the big picture, really need but in quotidian context, must have.  It seemed sort of like everything else- all these things move in one’s life and have impact (like health care, let’s say, or a recent mystifying spot visit from two huge sheriffs trundling up our “driveway” one morning) without one having any ability to influence any part of it.  Except how one responds.

So I decided to use this as an opportunity to really work on my thoughts.  Revamped my brain as follows: 1) this is manageable 2) time can be used productively even in hacked up increments, to wit our lovely bean seedlings 3) no reason for fear or anxiety, (actually really ever) but if those things rear their unshapely heads, there’s a five minute limit and  4) in spite of feeling as though one is flying into the maw of some huge devouring reptilian creature, things are really OK.  Let’s ramp it back down to just thinking about a PHONE and not branch into ISTHEREAMETEORWITHGODZILLAONITCOMINGMYWAY.

Essentially, what I realized yet again was that we live in rather…interesting times.  The level of discordant energy is over the moon and it’s pretty hard not to feel that to an at times overwhelming extent.  Everyone really does feel it, and around here it appears to be contributing to a Night of the Living Dead atmosphere full of heroin users. However, that isn’t this.  The discord isn’t about us, personally,  and although things are dicey there’s no reason to assume the worst is always just around the corner.  In a decadent situation, things will fall down.  It is what it is, and it is where one finds oneself.  The saying used to be (pardon me, guys) if it has tires or testicles you’re going to have problems with it.  Now it’s more like if it has bytes? You’ll get bitten.  These things are par for the course though, and the continuing effort has to be toward conscious discernment in terms of just how important any given sandtrap really is, and are there sharks.  Also, even if you lose strokes you still get out of the trap for the most part so it still all boils down to learning from experience, and accepting that winds always shift.

To think I at least thought I was out of school.  Now I find I’m not only still there, but I’m playing golf in another galaxy.  And golf? used to be my most-detested sport but I find now it is quite calming to watch.  Which I take to mean, on some level, that once you put your preconceptions down, it’s a whole new world in a rather stunning way.  I’m just hoping this newest new world includes a working IPhone.

Blessings and thanks! oh, and, the Dog is fine. Even if he has lately tended a bit to melodrama- but that is a story for another time.  Right now he needs to play……