Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

something, and more of it

A bit of a rocky start today, Gentle Reader.  Notwithstanding first crack out of the bag chest pain which I chalked up to…oh, reality? it was dicey.  The french press plunger decided to spray boiling hot water and coffee grounds all over a fresh loaf of bread instead of plunging down and keeping it in the pot as per usual.  The Dog went out and rolled, quite comprehensively, in Shit. This caused The Partner to blow a tiny part of a gasket and *I* did not take it as well as I might’ve.  Probably I was still reminding myself not to get a big head about just proceeding with the coffee, smarting burn and smile in place.  Sometimes hissy fits are unavoidable, sadly.

So, what is it? that keeps us from staying on an even keel.  Some days the quotidian pile up of whatever it is, be it dishes, vacuuming, armed struggle with the phone company AND the post office (come out big, right?) just gets to be like noxious fumes that remove one’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand and perhaps lapse into total stupor.  No, No! Just do it, I say to myself. Like what you do, and all that.  For the most part I do, but on days like today when it seems like the last bit of wherewithal has been drained from me, like from a car up on a  mechanic’s rack, I can’t figure it out.  Ah well.  Now, the Dog is muscling up on the keyboard, because he has something to say.  Which is, as usual from Dogs, sage advice about how enjoyable things really are if you just play a little bit, then take a nap.

The days when I have no certitude about what I doing, or  want to do, are the days when I don’t want to play, exactly, OR take a nap OR cook anything because why? Too anxious.  And that means I am not in the now, which pretty much always leads to problems.  Thank goodness this Highly Intelligent Dog came to live with us and point such things out.  I just wish it could happen less frequently right after Shit has been Rolled In.  Then again, when better?  I’m now going to go and thank him properly, which will no doubt involve his favorite treat.  And since they’re all favorites, see how easy?  All better.



living by bluebird

The otherworldly, morning glory colored flash of these little birds has become something of a salvation for me of late.  They seem to appear just at the moments when I’m sinking into the quotidian morass.  Which, with personal glaciers melting, is assuming at times a large presence.

Life here is unbelievably difficult on a multitude of levels.  Lack of funds always complicates things but the reality of it in these parts is mind boggling.  Infrastructure on its last legs, for example, as in our phone was out again for almost a whole week.  It’s a 30 mile round trip drive to get somewhere where the cel phone works.  Need to go to the doctor? Sick, are you? Well, HOW’S ABOUT WAITING 60 DAYS FOR AN APPOINTMENT.  This last is for the Partner, whom I have resuscitated to a remarkable degree during this last illness.  He still wants to go to the doctor, however, so I thought, when I made an appointment for him at the beginning of all this and it was set for New Year’s Eve, how appropriate.  But, no.  Of course the doctor has no intention of being in the office on New Year’s Eve and the next appointment is a month away.  That only took being on hold for half an hour to work out.  Oh, well.

I realized during all the recent and strenuous diplomatic efforts, what with the car wreck, the broken finger, the wood fiasco, the MIA telephone, and all the rest of it, that the thing that really gets me down the most here is loneliness.  I’m a pretty strong individual, used to being on my own, never bored, lots of things to explore.  But you still need someone to talk to, goof around with, have drinks, what not. One’s life partner cannot be expected to meet every need, after all, although I must say he does a pretty good job when he’s well.  It never occurred to me in my wildest dreams that I’d go six years without making a friend.  (Well, there was one.  But she died.) It just seemed inconceivable that one wouldn’t meet like minded individuals, make friends.  It’s taken me a minute to understand that a big part of the anger and despair I feel in this place are about, precisely, having no one with whom I have a single thing in common besides being a homo sapiens. (There are, of course, lovely people with whom I am ACQUAINTED, but no more- like people who work in the grocery store or the post office, for example.  They always remark on how polite I am and how much they appreciate it.)  It has made me doubt myself, and also what with all the recent Fun With Large White Men? feel fear when I’m around groups of milling about people here, more often than not.  Let’s just say, for example, that I am actually dreading going back to the Laundromat of Doom.  What if the handless man is there again?  Will I be able to tolerate the ghastly Christmas music they play through January? I often come back from errands and have to look in the mirror to see if I haven’t changed color or sprouted antennae.  Maybe I’m green-striped, or something.  But no.  I’m still me, and that me seems to be acceptable to very few here.  A woman actually yelled at me recently in a parking lot, telling me I should go back to my own country.  Really?

It’s good, of course, to change one’s environment in order to learn what the world is  like in places you aren’t used to.  Sometimes, though, you really don’t want to know.  Thank goodness, then, for bluebirds! And, of course dogs.  The other night, I meant to say, God sent us a big dog, but what came out was: Dog sent us a big God.  That may in fact be the truth.

Now what?

I don’t mind telling you, Gentle Reader, today one is a bit discouraged.  Perhaps more than a bit, actually.

I realize that attitude is everything.  Especially when the World at Large seems to be bent on not just thwarting every effort one makes but further, when one is thus in a situation of dealing with Authority Types, making it crystal clear that they, and not you little person, have the power and make all the rules, on the fly if needed.  And you? Just did not pass go, did not collect $200, and that get out of jail free card doesn’t exist.  And here’s a ticket for you, too, for extra fun.

It appears, in short, that the final episode of my growing up has just come.  All the things I thought were solid in some way- like, say, my country? my family? my ability to earn a living? OH OKAY.  Clean water and air and safe food to eat?  All morphed into something I am coming to regard with horror.   It took a long time, but it’s here now.  When I hear President Obama say that the FISA Court is a transparent part of how citizens of this country can contend with surveillance, let’s just call it what it is: intrusive spying without a warrant or even probable cause; when I hear a man in northern Europe say they’ll have to “wait for the research” to determine whether all the earthquakes there that started exactly when they started fracking are related to each other.  Wait for research (done no doubt by the flat earth society)? FISA transparent?  The Keystone Pipeline will be evaluated and of course it will be completely safe, right? We won’t do it if there’s environmental danger.  For God’s sake.  A blind and deaf and paralyzed person could see there is environmental danger in them thar hills.

We’re defoliating the world and poisoning the oceans.  Apparently the U.S. has soldiers in many places, doing things we don’t really want to know they’re doing even as we don’t know where they are.  We need to militarize our southern border this instant to counter the Alien Hordes.  What about all the businesses and employers who are capitalizing on cheap, illegal labor?  Is that militarized border going to change them?  Are all those people working in those hideous conditions going to find those jobs at last that pay decently? (Perhaps they are all buried under golf courses,you think?  I certainly haven’t seen them lately.)  And their employers will pay unemployment insurance and provide benefits for them?   People in this country go hungry, but by god we really need to abolish food stamps and programs that help people eat.  And if they manage to be in strung out desperate enough circumstances to qualify for the Munificent Things of the Safety Net, pretty soon they’ll get to be drug tested.  Just to make sure it’s ok for them to eat.  Oh, and if such a person has committed a crime- one that you’d go to jail for, not like banking fraud or securities fraud or anything like that- then they really don’t deserve to eat, anyway.

So it is easy to feel despair, and a key component of  all this “Progress” we have is a diminishment of individual dignity.  To hold on to your dignity, I think, is also to hold on to your connection with what it means to be a living being, and to nature.  To what you eat and to how others are feeling, to caring for the spaces you inhabit and for the larger ones we all share.  We have lost this consciousness it seems to me, in this country anyway, and to a huge extent.  What we have, here where I live? seems to be a bunch of people who profess to believe in God but never stop to think how they are really treating His Creations.   Today it is making me a bit sick.

But! as usual in moments of direness, I cook.  We made ricotta this morning and are going to use it in a lasagne featuring squash and onions from our garden.   Lead me, as it says in the Upanishads, from the unreal to the real.

Real Life

Things are swirling around us as per usual, Gentle Reader.  An example, you say?  How about a friend taking her special needs, tube-fed, sister in law to an emergency room (the one that didn’t say the only good time to come was at 3 a.m.  I found this interesting- where we lived before, 3 a.m. was prime time in the ER and if you went then you added at least three hours to your wait- those hours between 3 and the 6 a.m. shift change- where the ambulances came in non-stop) The feeding tube became dislodged from the abdomen, which happens, but does require certain tools to reinsert.  And the doctor at this particular ER spent two hours poking this poor creature in the navel trying to re-insert the feeding tube piece.  Which was, as you might guess, not in the navel to begin with.  Fortunately there was another physician there who knew what to do and obviated the surgery which was being scheduled.

There’s a lot of that going around, let’s just say.  At times it seems as though we’ve woken up in some completely other, not even parallel, universe.  I’ve stopped listening to the news for the nonce, because seriously.  It has become too stupid to believe.  Now the President can’t have an umbrella held for him?  The U.S. spends well over half the government’s budget on the military.  Which is to say, on killing.    There are lots of people right here in this country who don’t have enough to eat, can’t make a living,  the environment IS in fact toppling on the edge of irreversibility, and we devote time to A FRIGGING UMBRELLA? Because we certainly can’t do our jobs, can we?  That would be way too easy.

Having sworn off, or so I thought, thinking about politics and all that, I had one of those giddy and short lived moments where I thought, OK! I can do this! Get through a day and live life and all the rest of it!  But as I watch the reality of daily, real life erode around me of course it is clear that not only can one not think about politics, one has to also think about how to engage in the situation in a way that will accomplish something positive.  I heard a TED talk on how people don’t do “good” things because they’re hoping to accomplish  something great, so something small doesn’t register as mattering.  It was followed by a man discussing how philanthropy doesn’t really work because of how it’s managed:  Those great six figure incomes Stanford MBA’s have come to feel are their god given right are only in the high five figures if you work in the sector of public good- say, fighting hunger or looking for cures for diseases.  So those same MBAs get their great jobs because of course what matters??? MONEY!, donate some and come out ahead because of tax breaks and keeping more of their income, have positions of influence in the philanthropy world…and, what?  This is just applying that great old capitalist paradigm to yet another place where it does not work.    So how exactly can one engage with a system that is, in my opinion, hanging on to itself with a death grip with one hand and extending all the fingers of the other one fully in a giant rude gesture?

At times I despair, especially lately when all of my best laid plans have not only gone sideways but disappeared into the wild blue yonder.   Still of course one cannot do that and constructive engagement must happen, somehow.    This place we live now is, like everything else, a macrocosm in a microcosm.  There are a lot of poor people here, and although the job market is apparently better than it is a couple of hundred miles west on the north coast, it isn’t easy to survive.   The division between people with their eyes open and those with their eyes closed seems to be ever more stark, and we were wondering this morning, the Partner and I, how that can be.  How can we all close our eyes to what goes on all around us every day?  And every night? And pretend that everything is just fine?  When it really would be so simple- not easy, but simple- to change things so that everyone would be in a better condition.  Compassion for others would indicate that we do not poison their neighborhoods with pollution or left over weaponry or bad food.  Or that we wouldn’t lie about inadequate levies and nuclear power plants.  We wouldn’t lie about how many people don’t have work.  Simple compassion.  However that seems always to be massively overridden by what appears to be at bottom stupidity and greed.  So we have to keep on warring, keep on putting people in prison, keep on fouling the food supply up to the point where one hardly knows what one is eating, keep on denying the people of the world access to the most basic things they must have (water? how about adding and subtracting? how about THINKING? not to mention health care.).

It’s mortifying, in a way, to be an American at this point.  The actions of this country are so often reprehensible and I still don’t really believe the average American would really support them if the truth were known.  Things get complicated and stuff happens.  But the final decision about what’s right cannot be made from the point of view of what benefits the smallest number and is spelled P-R-O-F-I-T. ( Shall we take a moment and ponder the swimming success story of Iraq? For whose benefit was that?)  The whole issue of health care in the U.S., alone, could be a poster child for what is happening.  There have been, indeed, marvelous advances in health care.  But those are, and believe me we’ve seen this up close and personal, only available to those with the very large amounts of money necessary to pay for them.  Always supposing the insurance company decides it’s OK for them to get the treatment in question.  Since when does an insurance company get to tell you what to do when you’re sick?  But this dollar dollar dollar thing infects everything and half the doctors one sees are only parroting what the insurance providers allow them to.  And heaven help you if you don’t have insurance.  I finally realized why it’s such a problem when people want to pay cash- there’s no clear, delineated and explained format for what things cost when you go to the hospital or clinic.  In short, what the hospital charges you for say, a hip replacement or cancer therapy or even basic appointment, verges on being a figure they pull out of you know where.  I heard it on NPR!

Anyway.  This feeling of an approaching tsunami is not one I’m adjusting to very well.  However, our garden seeds did all come up, the onions look really good and we can hardly wait for the salmon-interiored watermelons.  And dragon tongue beans……it’s all about focus, perhaps.  Love is, for sure, the way.  But it for sure ain’t easy.

Up and Down

Just checking in, Gentle Reader.  My best efforts at resolving my internet woes have thus far come to naught.  So it’s interesting watching how my mental state flies around like a balloon losing air, one minute up in the air, another down on the floor, the next stuck in a high corner.  Should I just give up altogether? Or keep going………

Still.  I’m figuring there’s a reason for everything.  Just because I can’t understand any of it! HAH! We are setting sail on uncharted waters and may or may not be missing sails, engines, and paddles.  Meanwhile, I must bid you adieu as there is a mammoth amount work waiting for me at home.  Just no internet.  Watch this space for my ingenious solution to How To Run An Online Business Without Being Online.  Among other things.


Once again the pothole loomed immediately upon getting out of bed.  Like I always say, THERE’S YOUR FIRST MISTAKE.  But, nonetheless.  We have another flat tire (this is, I think, the seventh since we’ve been here) which means a trek up to Big O, which meant reshuffling errands and all the things I do up there when I go which I basically did not think was going to be today, none of which was graspable by The Partner who didn’t want to be bothered with such things.  After all, he has to change the tire.  So that all went swimmingly.

Once again an opportunity to observe how our tiny minds work, and how far we so often are from seeing anything close to the size of the picture.  Even though it feels as though one is bombarded with incoming on a constant basis so there’s stuff floating around and falling like shrapnel all the time, of which you are glaringly aware.  Which you can also trip over if you’re really lucky.  So, in addition to the flat tire there’s also the fact that it’s supposed to freeze tonight. OH BOY.  Which means, the plants have to be covered with plastic so they don’t die. Which means……..which means? I better get to it, Gentle Reader.