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!

 

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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!!!!!!

don’t think it hasn’t been fun

how-it-is.jpg  This cartoon from The New Yorker pretty much says it all.  And yes, we HAVE been eating olives.

What with the over 110f temperatures every day for a long time, the state of the world and all, everyone’s been a bit Tense.  Barky, if you will.  So this past week kind of put it all over the top, completely, seeing as how we currently find ourselves a bit closer than we’d ever want to be to the south end of an 89,000 acre fire, complete with firenados and total murk as far as air goes.  The wind here is always like something out of some movie where you’d say, Oh, that’s not realistic!!! Wind doesn’t do THAT! so when there are flying sparks involved and the wind does THAT? It creates something very close indeed to apocalypse in spots.  This afternoon is the first time in days that there has been anything even hinting at blue sky and it’s mostly in my imagination, probably.  Anyway the other night we watched the City of Redding burn from our front door- the flames reflecting off the huge clouds of smoke.  The fire guys got on it quickly and the red sky dimmed in an hour or so but I very much hope not to see anything like that again.  It’s all kind of a stress blur, but yesterday it looked very likely that we would have to evacuate.  In this situation, what that actually means is you leave and know there will be nothing when you return.  So, what THAT actually means is you have to get over your sense of your entire body being ripped open, think it through and realistically assemble what can be taken- if you have, as we did, the…uhm, luxury…of time.

Seeing as how I have hundreds of books and bottles of oils and tinctures and essences and what not this was not the most fun I’ve ever had.  But, I was proud of myself because I actually was able to put things together in a pile by the door.  Leaving, of course, 99.9% in place.  A Kitchenaid mixer can be replaced.  An out of print copy of the only existing authoritative book about Yoruba herbology probably cannot, but there it is.  In the end, at least for yesterday and today, the fire line held and we are still here.  For which I am truly thankful.  While we’re not anywhere near the end of this, unless the wind does something totally infernal, even for it around here, we will probably be OK.

So once again I marvel at the workings of the universe and all its mysteries, and once again realize that you do create your reality with your thoughts.  No matter how awful the scene in front of you appears to be, it is always shaped by how you are reacting or responding to it.  I couldn’t help thinking about all the people who live with smoke and destruction all the time, like in Syria.  And what that kind of stress does to people- the grocery store yesterday was enough to make a person reach for Xanax, after a mere week of this disaster.  But also? There are the unimaginably angelic individuals, like the farrier who was helping people move their animals to safety just Because.  And of course, the firefighters.  I feel as though I have a lifetime debt to them- it’s going to be interesting to figure out how to get that in balance- aside of course from the daily work of kindness to those one encounters.  These people go directly into Hell and save places and people they don’t know, with everything on the line.  Just Because.   So in the end, and despite certain other things that transpired that sent me directly to the cocktail olives, I feel for the first time in a long time, a certain sort of hope…or maybe it isn’t hope. Maybe it is the sense of the Light that is always there, no matter how dark it appears to be.  There is a peace in that, and a peace in knowing that there always IS light, and it is us and we are it.  And, eventually the ash will stop falling, we’ll reorganize and move along.  All of us.

Blessings and thanks as always!!!!!!!

 

aside from soccer

It’s been a very good thing that the World Cup has been on because otherwise? Recent events might have been almost undealable with, minus the distracting flow of the juxtaposition of luck, skill, politics, and byzantine rules.

It’s been tough sledding for us earthlings, and the fraying nerves and fear and tension are all visible in the outside world.  So too, though, is a depth and kindness, which, given where we are, is quite encouraging.  This being kind of an Epicenter of Ugh, and all, the more prevalent occurrences of kindness and restraint are striking.  Not that it isn’t still a bastion of  oxymoronic white supremacy which is ever more sickeningly mind boggling and seems to be on the ascendancy when one is feeling badly.  But.  The necessity of remembering that unity is real and duality is an illusion seems to be gaining ground even if it is in a bit by bit fashion.

Given the expeditionary quality of life now, every experience sort of requires a new way of looking at it.  New in the sense that as a human on earth we may not have always looked at things in their entirety, which is to say we are each part of a huge, colossal whole, which actually has sentience and thinks (for lack of a better word, Gentle Reader.  It’s HOT here and the brain does not do well over a prolonged period) for itself.  There is a motive power in all this, a cohesion, which we have, in this culture and world as I see it anyway, been separated from for….ages.  It’s not top down, in short, and far from it.  So every experience and relationship which has been structured in that way is up for dismantling whether we like it or not.  And life being what it is, we’re all presented with these little challenges from time to time.

In that vein, I’m happy to report that progress is possible and things do get better, especially when you don’t have a fixed image of what that is or might be.  My most recent challenge of this nature came upon me when I was already reeling from last winter’s brush with homelessness, and various other decisions that had to be made based on actual reality and not what one wished it was.  This most recent Learning Experience involved “Family” and Death.  And long standing resentments along with fictionalized histories and a large serving of guilt gravy.  Manifesting into shape many of my deepest fears and scraping open so many old wounds it seemed impossible.  The Dog just looked at me in a worried way, and the Partner reminded me that in the big picture, none of it really had much to do with me at all even though it appeared that it did. (Really? sometimes he is just SO IRRITATING.  Being right all the time and all.) In an almost funny mix of mistaken identity (on every level) the thing unfolded and I felt at times as though I just couldn’t do it this time.  But then? It became clear that all of it was, essentially, a story, and one in which I could choose to participate.  Or not.  And that decision had to be made on what IS, which is that colossal cosmic reality, and not on the top down story, which was the mistaken identity happy roundelay.  A rather new experience, really.  Not easy.  But totally doable.  It did involve a lengthy view of just how other people had seen me which was, of course and in this case especially, a bit challenging. (OK, I cried a lot) Then it involved the realization that all of it, and I do mean ALL OF IT, was in essence a story, and since it was a story that did not truly include me, I could wish it well and say good bye.  And rest in the flow of that colossal, cosmic reality knowing that however things look, there is something behind the apparency and that something sustains throughout, no matter how it turns out or looks.  In the midst of the pain and conflict, I saw for absolutely sure that the essence of things really is love.  Whether it is received or not, kind of irrelevant.  It just IS.  When you have negative experiences while you are “growing up”, it can lead you to believe things that are simply not true, many of which revolve around your supposed “badness”.  The world is full of people acting out of all that pain and misunderstanding, much of which is fomented of course on a political level, but nonetheless.  It is possible to stop doing that and just step into the open space that reveals itself.  Then you see what happens.  It helps if you have a dog.  Just saying.

Blessings and thanks and may we all continue to step into the real from the unreal, and turn the lights on for everyone.

pits, stakes, live tigers

No pictures yet, though, Gentle Reader.  We’re working on it but Technical Stuff appears to be in the same spot behind the barn door as everything else right now.

Not that it hasn’t been exciting.  A dozen fire trucks raced over our dirt road a few days ago after we heard a loud explosion.  The Partner saw smoke, and all of it was less than a mile away from us.  Seeing as how we were already surrounded by fires it was, as I told a friend, just the tiniest bit unnerving.  However, the fire people around here are probably stuffing their wings into their fire suits, is all I can say.  Once again they saved us.  Once again I felt exactly what it’s like to have overwhelming fear just materialize like a giant fug in your face, and also exactly what it’s like to say, not right now, fear.  I’m still rattling around a bit but ….oh well.

Shortly after that I found a frog atop my anti-depressant meds, and I thought, oh, my.  Even the frogs need help around here.  Or perhaps the frog was just saying, I’m coming with you.  FROGS PANIC TOO.

Meanwhile, though, the gardenia has bloomed and we’re already casting around for the hundredth zucchini recipe, which is all wonderful.  Beans are flowering and there’s a chili on the way.  The rhubarb plant appears to be on its last legs, but you can’t win them all- it’s been over 105 here every day and probably that is just more than a rhubarb can take.  The garden continues to be what keeps us all more or less sane, I think.  The Dog loves to eat mint and rose petals, the Partner manages and creates magnificence, and I find myself roaming around in it when my mind is so unsettled I can’t sit still.

Which, let’s face it, has been the norm of late.  I had to make a very difficult personal decision which, while the correct course of action, broke another piece of my heart.  Reality bites, in short.  But, I made ice cream (successfully caramelizing sweetened condensed milk in the microwave, miracle of miracles for me anyway) and salsa and marinades and zucchini 800 ways (new favorite: slice zucchini, place in oiled frying pan and let caramelize, about four minutes a side.  You put inch long pieces of scallion and a bit of salt on top.  When it’s all brown and great, remove from pan, remove oil, and place a tablespoon of red wine vinegar in the still hot pan.  Put squash back in, make sure it is mixed completely with vinegar, and toss with shredded fresh mint.  Let come to room temperature.  Eat.  Heaven.).

It’s not enough to keep the World at bay though and once again I am really, really wondering what to do since periodically it seems to me that all the meditating and right mindedness attempts are not even close to enough.  I don’t know how it is other places in this country but here? It couldn’t be more unfamiliar if one landed on a distant rock in space.  People are behaving beyond badly, and of course are given the example and go ahead by an individual who pretends to be President.  And we all know all the rest of it, of course, and how ANYONE can sleep knowing what is going on at the border (however much the doers of this resort to the Bible), how much money the for profit prisons are making both on incarcerating terrified refugees and the other huge percentage of American citizens they house, and how many people are about two weeks away from being out on the street, how the very air we breathe is being poisoned….   it is like a continuing gash in one’s entire being.  This is not OK, not any of it and I am at a loss to understand just why it continues.  This country is now being “run” by a crew of individuals who would probably be better placed in Pelican Bay.  And, yes.  It’s change, the cosmos is moving and shaking, shi/f/t happens, what you detest in someone is present in you also. Still, one really must not collaborate with what is poison, thinking it will be OK.  Even the Buddha said that.

The comparisons people make to the 60’s and 70’s  make me wacky too.  It is not the same and pretending it is seems to me to be the worst sort of magical thinking .  People had some heart in those days overall and were prepared to take a stand when things were clearly wrong even if those things didn’t seem to immediately affect them personally.  And there were consequences for those stands.  But things did change: civil rights, environmental rights, women’s rights.  Abortion, for example.  If you’re opposed to abortion then one must assume you’re opposed to the death penalty and war as well?  Roe v Wade showed that it was reasonably clear that a woman should not have to die either figuratively or literally (which DID happen) because she becomes pregnant unintentionally or unwillingly.  No other person really should be able to say what remedy is available and what isn’t based on their supposed reverence for life, or assume that all women are fluff brains who don’t know what they’re doing- along with all those miscreants in the hood who clearly need to be put in custody.  And why do we even have to call being treated with a sense of dignified equity a RIGHT?  How has it become a right not to be shot by over militarized police because you don’t straighten your legs out on the curb?  Or a right not to have your boss overcome you physically? And while we’re on it?  What the hell is sexual assault?  I looked up the words rape and assault in the dictionary and roared.  Assault is taking something (note: THING) by force.  Rape is “illicit carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent.” ILLICIT CARNAL KNOWLEDGE? Consent? Consent is not  saying yes so you won’t be killed. And, rape is not about sex aka carnal knowledge, which is a first step in dealing with it in a cultural context. It  is about power, control, and pain. Just like capitalism turns out to be for the most part unless you’re part of the tip of the pyramid.

Oh, dear Gentle Reader.  I do hope the zucchini recipe balances the excess verbiage.  And after all.  Mexico lost out in the World Cup, but the recent elections look most promising- even if you have, up to now, had to listen to Telemundo to find out they even happened.  Meanwhile, we pin our hopes on Uruguay, maintaining some level of balance and common sense, and send you blessings and thanks as always!

in the waiting room

There’s a reason and purpose to everything, so they say and I tend to agree.  Also that thing about one door closing and a window opening and the intervening time in the waiting room being hell.  Of course it’s all in how you look at it.

For example.  Keeping the yurt clean is something that has to be kept in perspective.  You’d literally have to clean every surface every day to maintain a dust, web, and dirt free situation.  So even a former clean freak such as myself has to see reason….part the first of proper waiting room viewing: Here we have a Sisyphisean task no matter what.  Let’s roll a small river rock instead of a boulder every day, whaddaya say?  And so it happened that when something fell off the butcher block and I had to remove everything from the storage shelf beneath it for retrieval purposes, not only was it an opportunity to clean the surface (oh boy!) but also to marvel at the organization I’d managed to reach down there already with all the spinners and pyrex baking dishes and juice squeezers and….to find a chip from a soufflé dish that had been languishing unused for some time.  Said soufflé dish was mended toot sweet, and something positive came out of a waiting room-esque situation.

And so it was that the grueling week just past allowed me to remember the waiting room protocol more than once, because? At long last the Mac died.  Not a good thing in many ways but an eventuality that had been heading my way for a long time.  In one of those Typical Twists of Fate, I’d actually had a good month work wise so I was able to, with a modicum of nausea, wend my way to Best Buy and get another laptop. Everything else will have to wait indefinitely now, but there it is.  I wrestled with whether this was even necessary and realized that my hermit agoraphobe manifestation was starting to take over so it had to be made to see reason and sit down. It probably helped some that the guy who sold it to me looked like Fox Mulder, too. JUST SAYING.

The big challenge, of course was that, not having the exchequer to fund another Mac, we’ve now entered the long dreaded world of Microsoft.  For extra fun, all the backing up I did on my cute little external drive? is useless because Microsoft doesn’t speak Mac Journal.  So everything I had? is gone.  I’ve managed to remain fairly calm, even through the already made customer support call about why my this or that wasn’t budging and can somebody please tell me about left and right made me rather apprehensive. SIGH. Obviously this was also meant to be and while it is already a big pain in the tail it’s somewhat liberating.  I’m telling myself anyway. I have absolutely no idea what to do about all the photos I used to have access to, but am expecting that Time will Tell.  Anyway we will have to live without any exciting vistas until the messenger arrives from another part of the empire to explain what to do.

When I read a quote today from dogen Zenji, it made sense. “Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.”  At this point I must be pretty frigging enlightened, Gentle Reader, because I am becoming intimate with things previously unknown, unimagined or thought of or supposed, and it feels pretty close to the “all” category.  And, while my crash land into Word World is a bit off putting, it IS also in the category of, here’s something to learn.  Our quotidian situation continues to be precarious but in the midst of everything we had definite evidence that love and non violence do work in the end.  We started out here with one, count him, ONE hummingbird, who we named Tyrant.  For obvious reasons.  I’ve put a feeder out every day for eight years now and we’ve watched the small scale squabbles and what not from our window.  But now we’ve got over a dozen hummers at the feeder all the time now, a never before occurrence in my hummingbird dossier, and the other night they were actually sharing- two birds per hole in feeder.  The Partner said, see? they’ve started to cooperate with each other because they trust you- they know you’re there watching and protecting them.  And there, Gentle Reader, it is in a nutshell.  I had the oddest image the other night while deep in Inappropriate and Frightening Thought About the Future.  Of Jesus.  Not my usual, let’s just say.  But I thought about how one often opens one’s heart to another and by Being there, helps the other person simply Live.  Suddenly I saw Jesus standing there saying, my message is simple.  FOR CHRISSAKE DON’T BE A DICK.  I thought I heard the Dalai Lama giggling in the background for a minute, too.  So.  There it is.  Feed the hummingbirds, don’t yell at customer service, take everything as an opportunity to learn and little by little all that time that used to be sucked up by meltdowns turns to an ability for appreciation of the moment at hand.  Whatever it may be surrounded by- like, say, multitudinous click (and/or dick) protocols. Or the miracle of finding a chipped piece of dish.  In spite of the very real difficulties and looming enormities, somehow things always do work out and often it hinges on how we make it through the times in the hellish waiting rooms.  The fact that this isn’t particularly what we were told was important doesn’t change it, either. Sometimes that moment in the HWR is all there is and sometimes there are really a lot of them-  to the point where it appears never ending.  That, I think, is where healing comes in, and more on that another time.

Blessings and thanks as ALWAYS. And, the Dog is in fine fettle, thank you for asking.  I have started calling him Dr. Dog again because the other day when the Partner had hurt his wrist and cried out in pain and we rushed back in to attend to him? I said to Dog, you will probably have to lick his wrist and make it better.  Which he most patiently sat and waited to do, even though the Partner at first said, what are you doing? you’re too close! Which caused me to remember my instruction, marvel at Dr. Dog JUST PERIOD, and let the Partner know that healing was at hand so hold that paw out.  And what do you know? It felt better right away.  Once again, there it is.