Archive for the ‘House in the Country’ Category

yet another palimpsest

Well, sheesh Gentle Reader.  The normal torrent of words flying around my brain has slowed dramatically of late and writing, which is usually fairly easy? has been like pulling teeth.

However, I decided to take the position that this is a Developmental Phase and inspect all the words that DID pop up along with their associated…associations.   All while fairly major things were transpiring, as usual.

I’m slowly investigating things now that make my stomach upset.  Realizing at long last that stomach upset is, guess what? a SIGNAL that something isn’t right, I’ve been thinking about how many times I’ve disregarded my inner voice, self, whatever you want to call it, in favor of the opinion of the Other.  And how in the process I internalized that Other Opinion.  Which has pretty much been a huge mistake every time.

It has been a mistake because in those moments I relinquished my authority over myself and set it outside.  This sort of thing always leads to the same place, which is nowhere you really want to go and often includes the permanent installation of that stomach ache.  You think, of course, at the time, that it’s a good thing and this other person knows more than you do and all the rest of the malarkey that goes alongside.  It turns out that generally not to be the case, and people who insist you take their opinion as Fact do not for the most part have your best interests at heart.  The sad thing is they may think they have THEIR best interests at heart, and that isn’t true either.

Net net, after all this sitting still and observing things, something big happened.  I accepted myself as IS, and yes, not a moment too soon.  Early in December during a massive flood of unpleasantness, someone came over to our house and proceeded to tell me in a very patronising way that the work I do, what I do…none of it works and it’s just silly.  This pretty much covered everything from gardening to my remedies. I looked at this person and thought, wow, you must really feel like crap to attack me like that for no reason.  Then I thought…whoa! this isn’t the first time at this particular rodeo, kid.  People have told you this over and over.  Intellectually I know it isn’t true and those uttering such sentiments speak from ignorance and limitation,  but….and there’s the but.  I saw that I doubt myself.  I decided to just try to nip that in the bud each time it poked out and wow, was THAT a full time occupation.  The way I spoke to myself for most of my life was in a manner continually anticipating some sort of ghastly failure.  Admittedly there is some historical basis for such a concept- but not all the time.  The countervailing force of “stay in the now” saved me but also caused a lot of cognitive dissonance, i.e. stomach aches.

Anyway, in taking the long view it became clear just how much magic and goodness filled, always, my days and how that, in fact, kept me afloat in a world that seemed not to wish me well.  Balancing the necessity of living in that world with the necessity of staying sane while so doing has finally paid off, however.  I recently had two powerful and really, incontrovertible, instances of where my work and remedies made a big and sustaining difference in people’s lives.  It was an amazing experience, like fireworks were going off all around me and I’d finally come up to the surface of a deep lake from the bottom, spluttering and shaking water from my eyes, to see….myself, waiting for me.  No division, no stomach ache.  Challenges for sure….but the knowing that they can be met.  So, it IS true.  Once you believe it, you  see it, and not in the sense of seeing what you expect to see, but in the sense of removing constricting information from your viewfinder and turning the darn lights on.  It can be done!

As a reward for your patient reading of this:

bloodoranges

Aren’t these AMAZING? Given the harshness of the climate here, the fact that this little tree produces this much magic fills me with joy.  Plus they’re totally yummy.  Blessings and thanks!!!!

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raisins d’etre

blue17Ijuneevening

Time is zooming by and at the same time, it’s like a big piece of amber in which we find ourselves closely held.  The seasons have changed, the one week Fall colors were completely different this year in shades of rust and copper, and there was a last group of lizards and frogs and bluebirds before it began to freeze at night.  The hummingbirds have taken to following us around on walks, bossing (or trying to) the Dog and Partner around in no uncertain terms.

A lot has happened, and nothing has happened.  As usual I suppose, but seriously, Gentle Reader, this has been a time in which the austere face of how things are in fact has shown itself in an irrevocable kind of way.  An adjunct to that is the realization that my lifelong effort to see the good in people may have….er….blinded me to certain prevailing truths.  Which gave a whole new cast to this life thing to be thrashed around (with AND by). So the masks have fallen, the gloves are off, and it’s more than a bit scary.  Then of course, there’s the “news” and the “world” and well.  Some days it is simply too much.  As usual I retreat to my Dharma (the kitchen!), my Sangha (D and P!), and of course the Buddha (to whom I address important questions like how much sugar do I really need to put in this glaze?).  A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words, which I do not have today.  So, above, we’ll say is the oft-consulted Buddha.  Below, and you can decide which is which, are the Dharma and the Sangha.fantinlatour

cuteoverload

BLESSINGS AND THANKS.  May we all weather the changing seasons and greet the flowers in spring with joy and heart!

strange trips

Or, perhaps, Bummer Du Jour.  There was an unscheduled landing on the island State of Disturbed Mind recently and hacking through the underbrush seems to have taken what attention I had left over post various and sundry head explosions.  More on that later.

In any event, before the Unscheduled Landing, I’d been pondering something.  Ever since we came here I’ve had the Rash from Hell.  This summer it perched attractively on my face, and being actually able to GO TO A DERMATOLOGIST, I did. ( More another time on how depressed dermatologists appear to be- then again, looking at rashes all day would be enough to lower one’s spirits.)  They diagnosed me with rosacea, which is in fact a catch all term for: We have no idea, it’s a rash, on your face.  I did as told, and as one might expect, nothing really got healed.  So, one day the lightbulb went off, and I said, dude! why not try your OWN rosacea remedy? I made this up several years ago for a client, and it has been successful more often than not.  Duly making a batch up for myself, I applied it as directed (!!) and…guess what? It worked.  Like a charm.  Let’s just say it was a teachable moment.  This year particularly I’ve been trying the things I make for other people.  The usual way this comes about is someone contacts me, says what their current project is, and I tootle around and make something.  Often of course I hear nothing, but just as often I hear that people are thrilled, their problem has healed (like ganglion, rosacea, migraine, shingles, different pains and sores…well, you get the picture) and all is well.  Generally speaking I make these things, keep the recipes for future use, and think no more of it.  This year, though, things have been so rocky I’ve ACTUALLY TRIED MY OWN STUFF.  The cream for residual pain from injuries and chiro adjustments? Works.  My bone spur cream? Works. The across the board pain cream? WORKS.

I don’t think of these things as something *I* make- I am simply a conduit, a vehicle, for a higher level of awareness to be brought to bear, so it followed that I didn’t give “specialness” to, for, or about any of it- in the same way my several matched sets of emotional baggage used to block my mental entrances and exits so that I didn’t think about going someplace far, far away.

Well, haha Gentle Reader.  It turns out that far far away place is ME.  Who’da thunk? It’s been interesting walking around feeling as though I am coming to some totally different state of animation and understanding- no “self”, but SELF which is of course part of everything. It’s liberating, and challenging since of course at the same time several things have occurred pushing all the remaining recessed buttons on my panic panel.  The recently discovered “me” knows that things work out; the panic panel operant is sure that we really ARE going to die now.  In short, the human condition with some additional overhang, stakes and live tigers.

Meanwhile, in my efforts to escape the Island State of Difficult Mind, it became ever more clear that the old tools were not working.  I can’t, for example just go out and get a job like I did when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Society, we’ll use that word, is in a state of collapse and if you don’t think so, just try getting something accomplished out there.  The recent “mass shooting” in Tehama County, California, took place about 40 minutes south of us.  The media has presented “the shooter” as a mad, bad, demented and deranged man, “not law enforcement friendly”.  The dwellers at that particular threshold say they reported this guy numerous times and law enforcement did nothing.  HE said his neighbors were cooking meth, made his dog sick, and wouldn’t stop.  Admittedly he did go way over the edge but one can, if one lives here, see how it could happen to almost anyone. Net net? The whole thing is this place in a nutshell.  Half the people here are just like that shooter.  There is no law enforcement unless the Sheriff decides to do something- as in you can call them, but good luck with that project. Honestly? I don’t know how it happened that the guy (Mr. 98 years in jail) across the road from us actually got arrested but I suspect after a certain number of bodies, something Has to Be Done. So there you are, bravely going forth in a place where the citizenry is unravelling before your eyes, and there is no redress for any misfeasance.  Every law and regulation that gets passed puts us more at the mercy of whatever moneyed interest pushed it through.  We, for example, get to pay twelve extra cents a gallon tax on gas now for some in fact unclear reason, which no doubt involves money passing from one hand to the other for some “project” far in the future.  The “new” and “emergency” regulations on “legal marijuana” are like something you’d make up as a pastiche.  Municipalities get to decide if you can grow plants, and where and if you can sell them, but nonetheless! If you want to do that, in some sort of cloud of unknowing, you have to have insurance coverage of $2 million, a $5000 bond, an annual license that ranges in cost depending on Idon’tknowwhat from $1250 to $78,000, AND a sort of know-me fee to cover processing your “application”.  The rules for “medicinal” and “adult-use” products are now under the same rubric- which I take to mean that medical users get to pay the same (sorry!) usurious tax rates as profligate hell bent adult users.  This was supposedly cobbled together including “robust” public input.  And of course it doesn’t stop there.  Mr. Unmentionable LPV continues going beyond the beyond, and besides displaying a disturbing grasp of geography,  one really important thing that got his recent attention seems to have been, whoa! too many elephants! lift the ban on bringing elephant trophies back from your brave African hunts! Total tip of the iceberg of course but it is precisely this complete wrecking of any kind of social fabric, conscience, and responsibility that makes life incredibly difficult in these times.  Making a plan for the future is only possible, it seems, if you’re rolling in money.  And maybe not even then, but at least you have some choice, which is not available in the more tenuously funded realms.

All of which is to say this is quite the endeavor.  I ask that I be given the grace and means to do my work, but it is entirely unclear how that may happen.  It’s only clear that it can, and does almost independently of anything else.  And now, I must bid you adieu since the Dog needs something for itchy winter skin.  Watch this space! It will probably work on humans, too.  Blessings and thanks, as always.

dance

things and how they seem

When the Partner is in his Zone of Pontification, he says things are not as they seem.  However, we are both starting to realize that in fact many things are exactly as they seem, just not as they are described in today’s ever meaning-shifting language.

Two examples are the Electoral College which we mentioned previously- a relic of Civil War politics which pretty much assures gerrymandering will prevail barring some extraordinary turn of events. Turns out the Second Amendment which every Tom, Dick and Harry has posted on his driveway fence here, is also a relic of those politics, an earlier (1780?) institutionalization of slavery in the form of saying “well regulated militias” can bear arms.  I always wondered about the well regulated militia part- I mean, how does that connect with needing to shoot poisonous snakes out in the country at times? AND! IT DOESN’T! It connects, completely, with slaveowners in the South being able to pick up a gun and go after any enslaved individual uppity enough to make a run for it.  So that discord in your head? Is because this particular thing IS what it seems to be- a rule ensuring that somebody will always be able to shoot you if you go against their wishes.  And this, Gentle Reader, is in the Constitution.   While this may be an oversimplification, it is not an untruth.

Juggling that bunch of indigestible information with recent events has been challenging.

Then, as usual, events conspired to show a bigger picture.  The medical care to which we have access is not wonderful.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful to have any access especially given the vigor with which certain “legislators” are going after getting rid of it entirely.  But it means the care we get is spotty and not very personal.  SO ANYWAY.  I have had certain health issues which were largely precipitated by the Hospital Hell of 2015.  I went to get this evaluated recently, and this evaluation, in which I told the person seeing me exactly what I wanted because that’s how they do it…there is no look at my situation and ensuing diagnosis…culminated in an email telling me I had something quite serious wrong with me.  This happens to be the something that killed my father (even though I only learned about it by having his obituary sent to me in a Christmas card).  There I was all of a sudden in a hall of mirrors with a flashing neon light saying IS IT TIME TO FREAK OUT YET.   Which, upon reflection, I realized is pretty much the norm now.  You get told that something is the way it seems…to someone else….and that’s the end of it.  It is then your option as to whether or not to stew about it or enjoin the battle for further information.

I admit I was rather surprised at the unease this whole thing generated.  However, nils desperendum.  Insisting on seeing the actual test results, I was able to see that in fact, this issue is “stable”, doesn’t require MORE medication, and is something that I can do something about with the  tool box I have.  My own diagnosis, in other words, was correct.  I gulped down that food for thought.

This really made me think about everything from economics to the fate of fresh air.  And what I continue to see is that we are all being encouraged to disenfranchise ourselves from everything.  To accept top down word which seems designed to foment separation and fear more than anything.  To not, crucially, think for ourselves.  We’re encouraged to accept “solutions” from a prior paradigm which didn’t really work then and is entirely unsuitable today.  As long as we are fretting about the fact that things aren’t working for us we aren’t taking a breath, asking questions and trying something different.  Not that this is easy but no matter where you find yourself, it can be done.  It’s important to just stop beating your head against that wall for a minute. ( Finances especially seem non-responsive to head banging, for example.)

One thing that absolutely (to my mind anyway) has to happen now? We all must stop accepting and consuming crazyoverthetopcrazypants as sane instruction or information, wherever it may pop up.  The Emperor really IS naked for the entire parade snaking over our planet, and actually this is a great opportunity to design a new suit and parade route.  Of course this means giving up one’s own attachment to a Certain Sort of Button and folding chair (from which to watch the proceedings)  but inspiration does give a person wings.  Those wings usually are much, much better than any Button or seat you were ever given by other routes.  And after all buttons, and chairs, are utilitarian items that can also be beautiful, so there’s another stellar opportunity to CREATE.  Out of what may seem in the moment to be thin air, but…..what the heck.  Why not???  Blessings and thanks as always!

 

because why

While I absolutely refuse to watch the “news” anymore (and the Partner is really tired of The Big Bang Theory reruns as a result), still it’s impossible to completely avoid the LPV and his incoherent, nasty, narcissistic expostulations.  I’m not ill over it anymore, like I was at first.  But now it’s like watching something horrible creep toward you- hoping it won’t Quite Reach You, also knowing that awful slime trail is going to kill a lot of stuff.  The awareness that this/it is an expression of things as they are, kind of like a gigantic pimple coming to a head, helps one to focus on doing what one can.  Given our cliff hanging fiscal situation, this may only be Thinking Good Thoughts for Aleppo and Houston with no donations included,  but somehow I am sure if we all did even that, it would accomplish great things.

ANYWAY. The other day after the usual festivities and great weather, I remarked to the Partner that I was, really, ready to scream.  He looked at me owlishly and said, well, that’s why they call these places HOLLERS.

This made me laugh for a very long time, daily reality notwithstanding. I found myself saying the word “holler” over and over.  Something finally made sense!  And a few other great things happened too, enumerated as follows:

  1. Having a pain in the wrist that kept me awake for two nights, I went outside and rubbed said offending wrist in the Nettle plant that is growing splendidly.  IT WORKED.  And not in the sense of, OK, you hit your hand with a hammer and forget your toothache.  No, it actually made the pain go away even though it was painful in the moment.  The historic use of this plant as a treatment for joint pain is something you can continue for yourself.  Easily grown from seed (just keep it away from DOGS), not only are nettles good to eat, good in beer making and biodynamic gardening, excellent as a hair treatment, but? pain relieving in the most extraordinary way.  Happy dance time.
  2. Tending as I do to overcommit and start things which then get buried in the dim recesses of say, the refrigerator….imagine my  joy when, at long last I uncapped a gallon canning jar of grape juice from last year’s harvest which I’d been Not Looking At in the refrigerator…and? it had become a fantastic fruit vinegar.  BOY WAS I HAPPY. (I admit to acting as though I had done this on purpose. *sigh*)
  3. A right wing group, “Patriot’s Prayer” (for God’s sake. really?) was going to have a demonstration in Crissy Field in San Francisco.  In response, the ever resourceful and humorous citizens of my home town carpeted the field where the event was to be held with dog poop:  The Turd Reich. (And, picked it up later as well.)  Fortunately the poop was not called into play, so to speak, since the Patriots decided it “wasn’t safe” for them to hold their event- tiki torches were banned.

Given the nature of the days now with daily apocalypti, I found all this very encouraging.  We even have mystery chili peppers coming in! The Dog’s spots are going away! Really.  What? Me Worry? Nah.  Blessings and thanks to you all.

poblano

 

those donald duck moments

Not exactly what I expected from the Eclipse, Gentle Reader.  But I guess there’s a good reason for the expression Live and Learn, right?

It’s been the usual fun around here, what with broiling heat, the oven dying mid pizza preparation (life saving surgery performed by the Partner so the bullet was dodged another day), the well pump appearing to die but having a resurrection (corroded connection on pressure gauge), and finally, in honor of the eclipse? The rear view mirror falling off the window in the car.  I did not take it too well in the moment, the mirror thing.

We’d already been through it, with the oven for example.  Turns out there’s a piece (a glow bar) that dies every five to seven years.  How groovy is THAT? If you didn’t have a handy individual present you could easily pay more in repair expenses than a whole new range would cost.  We went down to our local appliance store, where we purchased the part and also watched as the Dog ebulliently jumped on the store owner, raking his arm with a claw. This caused an Iguazu Falls kind of blood eruption from the guy’s arm.  I had a dreadful moment wondering whether this was where the lawsuit was going to be buried, but the man calmly said, Oh, I’m on Plavix, it always looks worse than it is.  I am still trying to figure out what to take him as an offering in thanks.

Then, there was the pump in the well.  This, of course, spells Major Disaster in enormous neon letters.  There I was, innocently minding my own business, reading recipes and petting the Dog, when the Partner bellowed in from the back that there was no water.  He and the landlady Do Not Speak so I trundled over to relay the exciting news.  As usual I was between Scylla and Charibdis, each with their own horror story that had, in the event, nothing to do with reality.  Fortunately. But there WAS a fair amount of hair pulling and yelling on both ends, let’s just say.  Fighting down a wave of  indigestible feeling, I thought, what’s going on here and got the distinct impression it was nothing serious.  It turned out I was right, even if nobody said thank you.  So, okay, two potential disasters averted.

Moving on to the eclipse.  This put the Partner in high dudgeon, partly correctly in fact about the commercialism of it all.  But he couldn’t see enough of it to feel it had any reality and was very cross indeed.  This led to some terse exchanges which led, in spite of my best intentions, to a major Donald Duck, well, donnybrook or ten.  So, yes, *I* actually raised my voice when after going out to the car, preparatory to running some needed errands, and finding the rear view mirror on the floor, I walked back to the yurt and enquired as to whether or not we had a proper adhesive to remedy the matter.  The response I received was that everything doesn’t have to be fixed the same day it breaks and oh, well.  I lost it.  This was at about 1 pm, and IT didn’t come back til about 10 pm.

There is a point to this, really.  The juxtapositions of things are revealing at this juncture.  First, I went to the post office and spent a half hour in line waiting for an unexpected package, standing behind a guy who was mailing a form in to get two free magazines and a carry case for his Superior Giant Rifle of Some Sort.  He described how much money he was saving by doing this and I tried to conceal my level of horror at just how many people there are with so many guns.  My package turned out to contain prayer flags.  Just saying.

Then I went to the car parts store.  Taking the errant mirror in with me, I asked the man there if he had anything I could use to fix the problem.  Yes, he said.  And it’s called Rear View Mirror Adhesive.  Suddenly everything shifted and the larger picture revealed itself. I mean, really- the actual LITERAL answer to one’s question? No big deal? Ask, receive, just like that? Then I thought about the significance of it being the Rear View that was cut off.  As in: Stop dwelling on the past and fears therein and of.  There is an answer to this whole cauldron of weird, so say thankyou and try and remember that for more than two minutes.  The poor man probably wondered why I was laughing so hard after he uttered the adhesive words, but gave me a look that said, WOMEN. CAN’T LIVE WITH ‘EM, CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM.

What I learned from this is that it is really, really easy to fall down into duality. YES and NO.  RIGHT and WRONG.  And depending on how sticky the surface is you fall down onto on your back? It can take a while to wriggle back up into the place where there is a View.  At the same time, we are still human, with emotions and funky brain connections so words to remember are: I am sorry about that extended duck thing. How about some delicious coconut coffee ice cream to make amends?  Things like this are going to happen and yes, it really IS about how you respond.  I reckon on the whole I got a B-/C+ yesterday but it was, most definitely, a learning experience.  Anyway, here is a picture of the eclipse, with as always, blessings and thanks:

eclipse

walking the line

I don’t know about you, Gentle Reader, but I am not really looking forward to the eclipses barrelling toward us.  Regardless of your metaphysical perspective, it seems to me lately that almost everyone feels pulled, toward what they don’t know, pushed, and they don’t like that much, and generally frizzled.  Eclipses are like the giant reset button in the sky being hit on a lot of levels and….I think we’re all kind of tired.  Anyway, I know I am.

Still.  I read something this morning, again in Patanjali, that made a lot of sense.  Once you can stop looking at time, clock and western world defined time I mean, as a Real Thing, and accept it for the construct it is that actually lives, truly,  in your watch, it’s possible to have a different approach to past and future.  With some discipline and effort, you can (really!) keep them from bleeding into the present, which means that you actually have one.  The now really is quite roomy when left to itself.

Another really groovy thing about it is that when you are IN the present, you’re not having opinions about the past, or hopes and fears about the future.  You’re too busy attending to the what IS.  The longer you can maintain this at any given juncture, the better the what IS gets and that can mean great ideas, a calm mind, all kinds of things.

Not to say that this is easy.  How often do you find yourself ruminating about some long past Episode or even more fruitlessly WORRYING ABOUT SOMETHING?  I can speak with some authority on this because, given the solitude we live in, there’s plenty of time to rehash those non-witty non-ripostes, and also to worry about the ever looming and expanding list of WHAT IF’S.  Something happened yesterday and it plunged me into a quite moody abyss.  However, I thought, really not liking this feeling state.  Let’s see…..and of course I realized that I had in the twinkling of a bird’s eye placed all kinds of disaster scenarios on this one more than likely non-event.  Even if the worst DID happen? What was I accomplishing except ruining what could have been reasonable moments??? leading up to??  And of course in this particular moment (as usual) there really was nothing to worry, despair, or be perturbed about.  I have to say I was rather proud of myself for the five minute meditation retreat I took which allowed me to get back on the horse.  (I did burst into tears a bit later whilst picking up dog doody- which somewhat shockingly reminded me of the army one Greek hero sowed with dragon’s teeth- in 100+ degree heat but, well, chalk that up to short childish outbursts.  Nothing a glass of Fortified orange juice can’t handle.)

Net net what I think this means is that it IS possible to get through a day with minimal or no blood loss, no matter what kind it is.  If you are in the now, you are thinking of what works in that space.  Not about what didn’t work in another space or what might happen if pigs started flying around your bedroom.  Given that pigs ARE flying around a lot of places they shouldn’t be, it may mean that one’s thoughts go to how the droppings might be productively used.  Can a window be opened so they can fly out? sort of thing.  Maybe they’ll all fall asleep? How can this actually work overall?  Of course this means that you have taken yourself out of the position of Center of Everything and Most Important, and joined the rest of the universe in its giant circle dance.  Which also means that, since you’re dancing, aggression and frustration are sitting this one out. Again and again the message seems to be pay attention to what you are seeing and feeling NOW, not to the blunt instruments of yesterday’s “thinking”.

So I think there’s hope, giant reset button and all.  Have a good week, blessings and thanks!!