Archive for the ‘Just Stop it’ Category

deeeeeeeeep breath

It feels like a river of dread is what I’ve been propelled through and over for weeks now.  We’re all inner tubing down this thing, of course. For extra fun, here we’ve had: a few weeks of daily temperatures above 106f/42c; someone trying to drain my bank account with all due ensuing joy at trying to rectify the situation when you cannot talk to anyone because Covid, and it all has to be done online and…hahaha, internet service has been terrible due to heat; a large and scary fire at the end of our road requiring 7 fire trucks, 4 aircraft, 1 sheriff and 1 fire chief; bureaucratic snafus up the yang; some health issues- anyway, more than enough stuff to make my heart jump out of my chest, stand in front of me and say HEY.  I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS.  And then, of course, there’s the World.

While taking some, in fact, a LOT of, comfort in the fact that we’re all feeling the same things, my confidence that we will all work together to rise above the tide of crap and move forward is not at an all time high.  It was encouraging somehow, at a recent doctor appointment, when the Doctor said, people here are really strange.  Really jittery.  They don’t appreciate the beauty around them. It’s just weird.  No kidding, I said.  She’s from Texas which in a way makes this remark even more telling.  I mean: this is CALIFORNIA.  Then I remember people I used to think of as friends, also in California, who revealed that they essentially believe in Pizzagate .  Like the woman in the propane store who told me not to worry, enjoy myself, all this will be over at some point and was referring to the Rapture and not a lessening of our..er…viral load.  The concept we hold on to here is that this IS a pretty strange place, and it can’t be this way everywhere.  Right?

It seems logical to me that COVID 19 will be dealt with and SOMEBODY must know some actual facts about it, which would not be apparent to the average person in this country.  The lack of, and mis-information is mind boggling, and there really is no good reason why this infectious disease is still so powerful except: we are at a point in this country where we may really not continue even in the incomplete democracy we thought we lived in, unless everybody puts their kool aid cup down quick and in a hurry.  When the inhabitant of the White House says he wants the post office to close because otherwise, to put it simply, he won’t win the election, which is all that matters? when said individual suggested drinking disinfectants since they might do something about the virus and why not since you can’t get a test anyway? when it is revealed that the same individual caused needed pandemic aid to be withheld from “blue” states because? they didn’t vote for him? and when we continue to be subjected to racist, sexist, idiotic statements presented as fact? it scares me.  Marge Simpson, for heaven’s sake, has to defend herself. Suddenly there’s “diplomacy” in the Middle East? perhaps it is more an alignment of where the weapons and money are going in truth. The functioning US government is being dismantled, justice is more than elusive, environmental and civil protections are being slashed without anyone even knowing until after the fact? The fact that Breonna Taylor’s killers have not even been charged or arrested or anything? The founding principle of separation of church and state seems to be more and more a blurred line.  Photographs of postal service vans being removed by huge trucks in Los Angeles and not for repairs have been viewed.  It just goes on and on, and nothing is done to even address the very real questions raised by what is being said, and seen, and done.  And the manifested concern seems to be whether or  not one can go to a bar or get a tattoo.  Or be abusive in public at will. Exercise, you know, their rights.  Because, as I have been told more than once, this is what patriotic rebels do.  Someone actually said to me recently, very politely, that I, and people like me, (as in, appears to be a Democrat) really should be dead- that’s the only way we’d be “good”. Not EVEN kidding.

So. Yeah.  I fell into a pretty deep hole, which I realized one day when a petition to stop baiting and killing of bears (misnomered as “hunting”) completely gravelled me and I could hardly proceed with signing it.   It did get signed, of course, and we proceed with things like making dog biscuits (healthier! and also Someone may be a TINY bit spoiled), mayonnaise (now MIA in local stores), fig jam, salsa with our chiles, and tending to the welfare of this little family.  Keeping us stocked with the best mineral water on earth, Topo Chico. Making remedies and remembering that the Thing is to stay with what you know to be true.  Nature and kinship is what is true.  Love is what is true, and even as I sink into the attitudinal morass at times, still love for all of us rises more strongly than ever.

The question is, in this moment, about co-existence.  Is it possible? I always thought it was even though experience showed me it was generally a rather dicey proposition.  In the past, my belief that we could all get along and understand each other and accept differences and share what we know seemed unshakeable.  Non-violence seemed the only real way.  Now I wonder.  There are people with whom I really don’t want to communicate at this point, in the sense of not wanting to accept their abuse or lack of truth.  Another part, which may actually be a good thing, is I am no longer willing to compromise, fudge, elide,  what is correct for what someone else wants or finds pleasing or is willing to threaten me to obtain. (Apparently, according to a friend from high school, I was “always an outspoken bastard”, so maybe it’s just an old attribute rearing a head.) Bravery, after all, is often about keeping going in spite of how afraid you are, being of assistance where you can, sticking with it against apparent odds…more than it is about force or power over another.  In that vein, onward! Blessings and thanks as always, and take care of yourselves as we all carry on.

At the Not-OK Corral

Dear o dear, Gentle Reader.  Things are Quite Gnarly right now and the cavalry does not appear to be anywhere in the vicinity.  I guess we are going to get to be our own cavalry this go round, and for the foreseeable future.

Naturally along with many others, I have been wondering just How we are all going to talk to each other about what IS and what to do and all the rest of it….the polarization is like being a walking pair of sunglasses at this point.  I found myself having the thought that it might not be possible at all to get through to some people, no way to talk to or reach them, and how can that be?? Not to mention how truly scary the overarching situation is, COVID-19 aside.

AS usual, Universe to the forefront.  Pondering this question ad…well, too far…I recently found myself actually dealing with it in person.  Admittedly it took me a minute to realize I was in the process of investigating something complex.  But! There I was, in the farm supply store, innocently minding my own business and getting food for the dog. (That part of it, at least, was a success. I got a different flavor this time, turkey and pumpkin and Somebody has been poncing around grinning ever since.) It took a moment to realize that not only was I the only person in a fairly full store wearing a mask, but that some of the other patrons, and employees, were standing at the cash registers, literally glaring at me.  You’re wearing a mask! someone said in a stern tone.  Yes, I said, I am. We don’t wear masks around here! I do, I said.  I was starting to be a bit not happy about this.  But I stood there with the dog food and treats, quietly.  WHY are you wearing a mask came from the glaring section.  Because, I said, it is the right thing to do.  It keeps us all from catching this virus which, despite what you might want to believe, IS real, IS around and by the way, we went from zero cases to over 100 in less than a month, in a somewhat underpopulated area to boot.  So it’s just common courtesy and common sense.  Basic hygeine and infectious disease prevention.  Just what  you’d do for your cows if they had something wrong with them.  The glarers, while having to admit the correctness of the words, stood a bit taller and glared even more.

Fortunately at that moment the man who works at this place, loves the Dog and is friendly to us, came in and came to my rescue.  The glarers scattered as he briskly told me how much his wife had loved the sourdough bread we brought him (well, it was the DOG’s idea, being his favorite thing and all, and he wanted to share it with a friend), and she wanted to know how I did it and what not.  I told him she could call me anytime, and once you get a good starter going it’s mostly about the flour.  A path cleared around me as he lifted the purchases up and took them to my car.  Given that this was the next day after I’d spent three hours getting a wheel fixed on the car, and found myself retreating to a far corner of the place since it was full and nobody was wearing a mask and there was a lot of loud conversation about “these rotten protesters”  “what kind of idiot wears a mask?” and the usual I’ll do whatever I want sort of thing, it is probably not all  that surprising that once I was safe in the vehicle, the shaking began.  (The fun folks at the car place even made the woman working the front desk burst into tears after they’d all trooped out, so it isn’t just Me.)

And, yes.  That kicked off a few days of bleak thinking.  There appeared to be no hope at all, from the perspective of the hole I was in.  It seemed like dialogue and moving forward was impossible and even though I know that under anger is pain,  I found no interest in myself in toddling one of these individuals along to a clear place in the woods. Then of course the realization dawned that, no, you don’t even have to go there.  Just embody what you know to be true, which of course is coming from the heart, coming from being grounded in the reality that nature shows you every second if you look.   Maybe I am getting the hang of this by now, never having lived in a place like this before  for this length of time.  Probably a good thing since it looks like this is the place, for a while.  Do no harm, and take no shit seems like a good model in the moment.  Set aside the loneliness and put observation in that space instead.  Also I remembered in a flash something that had happened a couple of weeks before, right after the Governor said everybody had to mask up period and there was A LOT of complaint, let’s just say.  Several errands, some of which had the testiness described above, and the last one, which was like a visit from an angel.  There is a panaderia in this town that the Partner really likes and I must say, their conchas and raspberry coconut things are extraordinary.  So, I go in and the young latin woman at the counter is sporting a beautiful mask, embroidered with flowers.  Mine is a terrific silk/wool number a friend of mine created in shimmering colors.  We looked at each other, pointed at each other’s masks, and said, que belleza!  Then, out of nowhere, the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams came on the radio and…we just danced with each other, twirling around the floor.  A moment of joy.

So THAT is how we do it.  One moment at a time, and it’s OK if the time outs in between have to be a little longer than usual.  There really is no room for  darkness in one’s soul now, and if the opening to the light must be done as gently as possible, especially given that we’re being hurtled pretty brutally toward an unknown target, that’s OK too.  The thing is to show up.  As always, blessings and thanks to all.

a rain of bivalves

Adding to my joy, Gentle Reader!!!! WordPress has instituted a “new editor”.  Perhaps I am a dinosaur but really? I JUST WANT TO WRITE.  I DON’T NEED CLEVER BLOCK LAYOUTS.  Anyway it is another challenge to this little bear’s brain, but I figure, what with the success I had with our doctor internet “portal” after it got changed and whammo, there appeared to be no way in hell to do what I wanted…and I managed to close my eyes, breathe and say: ok, point me to it! and suddenly  found the right thing to press…there’s always hope.

Anyway, I digress.  A friend in Canada reported that after a recent rainstorm she went out into the yard around where she lives and found: an intact clam. She lives a LONG way from the beach.  As do we.  And? The Partner found a fossil clam in our yard. The world is full of wonders.  One has to think, though, about the actual suction involved in getting a clam from the beach to a few hundred miles inland.  As it turns out, this seems to replicate the state of my brain now, although sadly no one has reported finding it in their yard.

While comfort and support can be found in words, be it Martin Luther King Jr., Cornell Wilde, James Baldwin, HH the Dalai Lama, or even Winnie the Pooh, and while we know we all gotta rely on our hearts and souls first and foremost to navigate? At the moment I cannot seem to get away from the wrenching nausea the past few days have elicited.  Try as I may I cannot forget all the history I have witnessed, the hopes raised… it is a huge effort to stay in the now, watching essentially WORSE AND MORE OF IT.  How many more times? What are those in power even thinking? and I use the word thinking very loosely.  I mean: I’VE been shot at by police, had them shoot windows out of my apartment, kick the door in….all kinds of things that happened back..er…in the 70’s.   From marches and murders, Watts to Rodney King, it has all been something watched in a kind of suspended disbelief, like, surely this isn’t really happening, except it is and bummer for you it’s in YOUR neighborhood. (Sprightly Dinosaur takes a bow).  The underpinnings of things in this country seemed horrible but one had hope, and worked, for change- you kept on, kept trying, kept working for change.  There was also the possibly deeply naïve thought that, change happens, right? Surely SOME of it has to be good.  Also one worked on one’s own interior development and this can make a person think that, hey, it will help! Do no harm, do the best you can, help others, be a steward not a consumer….and yet now? I find myself, who used to have extended dialogues with people pondering shooting down police helicopters about how important non-violence is, the need for a perspective, now completely understanding that people are pushed to the brink after another 50 years of this crap and thus, things are going to get broken.  So now I have to reread William T. Vollman’s Rising Up and Rising Down.  Which is an endeavor.

It’s helpful for me to remember a friend who was also a cop.  At first my inclination was to stay away, after all: POLICE. Nonono. But he turned out to be someone with a huge heart and a searing insight.  The last time I saw him, he was undercover investigating a White Supremacist Militia group that also specialized in methamphetamine, and that made me fear for his safety.  It was not a good thing when he disappeared from the places I usually saw him. The lesson there was you can not have an idea of what a person is like until you interact with them. Period. This being true across the board, it really makes you wonder how people justify all the prejudices and assinine attitudes they have…until the next really awful realization dawns and that is: This entire country has been built upon just those prejudices and it is, really, far from a level playing field.  The deep holes are arranged Just So. White Privilege is something that happens every single day, and even White people are irritated when someone pulls that crap on THEM. I’ve seen this more than once in the Costco Pharmacy line, and people really get teed off when they hear me laughing. Others, of course, don’t have the luxury of even having an attitude. The Partner looks at me sternly in such moments because HE has never had this dawn on him, having known it from the jump.  Plus, living where we do is an every day, all day, demonstration of said fact.

As usual, what is to be done? Jeeez. I’m aware that the loss of joy and focus is integral to any, shall we say?, defeat.  Eric Bibb’s song, I heard my angel sing, speaks to this: “I saw an old devil walking my way, he said Heaven’s closed, go home and don’t pray”. There’s a way in which all of this is illusory of course, but the pain is nonetheless real.  My hope is that the frustration and sorrow we feel can be seen as temporary and mobilized into energy to make the change that must happen, by ALL of us.  If we are to survive at all.  I still believe in this as possible.  The false duality must be dispensed with, power over has to go, and economics have to be on another entire body, not just another foot.  These are all really big shifts, and who knows how long the planet is going to wait for us to quit screwing around?  Anyway, blessings and thanks to you all! Be safe and nourish your joys, as they feed your soul, which helps us all. (I think anyway…..)

 

(However, a caveat to the unwary.  Antifa, which isn’t even an actual “group”, has been designated a terrorist organization.  Despite the fact that this isn’t something that can be done by….an official in the White House…what it does mean is that you, anyone you know, or don’t know, can now be arrested, charged with terrorism, and be sent…to one of the many hells on earth we taxpayers support.  It’s easy to  think this is nothing, or “fake news” or any of the other malarkey we tell ourselves, but it isn’t.  This kid of thing has been happening and now it can be even worse.)

the Dog has a bilious attack

Oh, Gentle Reader.  It would be, really, impossible to describe just how much fun we’ve been having of late.  A friend accused me of being a “fun hog” after hearing the most recent happenings.

Anyway, on Monday, the first morning I’ve felt even remotely OK for  weeks and weeks, before I had coffee, the Dog, who’d had a Big Day the day before at the farm supply where we buy his food and he has, essentially, a fan club whose members stuff him with treats and hugs, barfed all over his spot.  This included his just eaten breakfast and treats.  I  realized at once that he’d a) overindulged and b) been affected by the bone crushing level of stress around here.  This caused me to remember a song, whose artist I don’t remember, the lyrics of which are in part: “I smoke two joints in the morning/I smoke two joints at night…” This actually made me laugh because when I used to hear that song, I didn’t realize the truth of it, which is that cannabis is a powerful aid in dealing with intrusions, both unwanted mental ones and the more rude, intentional ones performed by humans.  Feeling thus bucked up at the realization that I’d actually made it through several more Scylla and Charybdis episodes with a bit of such aid (the Dog gets flower essences for same),  I further rejoiced at the finding that there IS a use for AARP magazines.  They are excellent at picking up dog barf.

But and so.  We had no internet or phone service for around two weeks.  This is special on so many levels but I maintained a sense of pride at not having screamed at anyone even once, over the three hours on the phone this caused (including the part at the neighbor’s where one person started shooting his .45 at rocks about six feet from me while I was talking to a young man in the  Philippines who promptly freaked out- and I probably did not exactly help by saying, Oh, it’s nothing, just a drug dealer shooting himself in the foot) explaining that no, I can’t be in front of my laptop now because I am 20 miles away from it, where I have phone service.  But when I WAS in front of the laptop this is the diagnostic code I got.  What part of off the grid don’t you get? especially given that NOBODY has Hughesnet unless they have absolutely no other recourse.  Well, my favorite guy said, I’m here to help!!!! Which he did by saying we’d agreed that I’d take a $10/month credit on my bill over three months to make up for the extra money it cost in gas, and all the joys of having an internet business with no internet and missing calls and orders.  Not to mention that I’d paid for service I did not get.

So in the course of one day, I got to:

a) begin wrestling Hughesnet to the ground about the non agreement with absurd offer and get a proper credit for non-service,

b) wrestle with my health insurance about how they sent me a request for information to avoid cancellation which I got the day before it was due back to them, so therefore it would not be “on time”, and

c) continue working on the Larger Issue which I can’t write about here since Actual People Are Involved, but which borders on being life and death.  The person I’m dealing with, in the middle of yelling at me, said, oh, you are just so ENTITLED.  At which point I started laughing, calmly restated my position (which happens to be the only legal one in the picture on some level) retreated to Yurt Central, and had cocktails.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I hope progress has been made on this front, is all I can say.

In the meantime, as usual to calm my jagged nerves, I cooked.  Focaccia, squash lasagne, butterscotch pudding, and at the same time as my friend in Chile did, baklava.  Plus of course tacos, Thai style coconut fish curry, and a million wonderful ways with beans.  Also, my planted peach pit sapling bloomed after we had a week of 75+ degree weather.  Then we had several hard freezes, of course, but the tree is FINE.  I am thrilled.  I mean: PEACHES. !!!!!!!!!

And of course as usual I learned alot.  How dumb was I, is a frequent question these days, but…..I learned unequivocally that whatever you call it, faith is both indispensable and the lever with which you can move..well, whatever it is.  After four months of living in the pit of my stomach I was shown that good decisions do not emanate from that region.  You just gotta move up toward the heart.  You have no duty to accept abuse but must remember we’re all here together.  Solutions can be found, but at least one person in the room has to be coming from some spot other than the Democratic Republic of Ego.

There’s also a good bit of observing and letting go.  In the midst of all this, more of the typically upsetting news I get from my (in fact only one person) family of origin arrived.  Realizing that freak outs of any sort are strictly prohibited in such perilous times as we currently are experiencing, I reviewed the situation, which involves me having severed contact a few years ago, and realized that in fact the whole thing turned out, for them anyway, as well as it possibly could and that was something to appreciate.  FROM A DISTANCE.  It also meant that I could no longer kid myself about my position in line so to speak, accept it and realize that I am in many ways exactly where I ought to be, and faith is my…well, strength and shield.  I have something to do besides  chase worldly success and please people.  It’s a new paradigm, Gentle Reader, and those who can leave their matched sets of emotional baggage behind at, or close to,  the outset have my deep admiration.

notkidding

When reality looks like this? Who are we to question.  Missed you!!!!! blessings and thanks, as always.

 

 

 

for God’s sake (possible diatribe alert)

While it is quite true, Gentle Reader, that my own little life has completely blown apart lately, it is also true that it is coming back together again, however Walter Mitty-like the repairs may be at the moment.  Fountain pens only go so far…….

But.

I just have to say: the Loser of the Popular Vote is indeed a total loser.  He is a reprehensible example of human form and in one short week? He’s managed to spew evil sauce over the world- oh, except the parts where he has investments.  This bullshit about refugees and immigrants and Muslims, taxes, health care, abortion, and that infernal wall!  Has to stop now.  If you call yourself a Christian? ASK YOURSELF WHAT JESUS WOULD DO.  Oh, and btw? You might remember who Jesus was, ethnically and geographically speaking.  And what it was HE actually  espoused.  Not a bunch of men who wrote a book hundreds of years later to reinforce their supposed right to authority over that most of evanescent of things, a human soul. You might stop and think about just exactly where your own family came from.  Because in checking the historical record?  This hemisphere was not inhabited by White people and Europeans to begin with. ( Or even Black people- they got to get here the really fun way, after all.) So, for your perusal, today’s word is immigration.  And today is when we should all step up and disentangle the concept of immigration from the concept of genocide- which has been used as an enforcement mechanism on both sides of the issue.  You may think that is an overstatement but I suggest a little cogitation on the subject. Unless you want to adopt immigration as a thing for Whites and dominant paradigm upholders only and continue to pretend that nobody is ever there before YOU arrive.  I suspect this would exclude women altogether, just as an aside.  Unless they’re approved emigre attachments.  Like the wife of the loser of the popular vote.

Every policy ” ” (and I use that word VERY loosely) he espouses is built on hate, exclusion, selfishness and fear mongering.   Stupidity sandwich.   If we do not all stand up now, right now, and make this stop? If only some of us stand and make the attempt in good faith and love? Those who do not stand up will have an awful lot of shit on their hands.  And they will deserve it.

I know violence does not work.  Anger is a dangerous knife.  But so is inattention and inaction.  This may well be the natural way of things in the unfolding of cosmic history.  But.  Given that we do not, and most likely cannot?, know that? We have an obligation as human beings to do unto others- and that means all others- as we would have them do unto us.  And yes, I know that means, literally, love thine enemy.  I can’t quite get to love at this point but I can get to deeply breathed tolerance of those who trample the light and the good under their feet.  Tolerance may build bridges, and bridges link things and progress can be made.  I’m struggling with Martin Luther King Jr’s essay, from the ’50’s, on the experiment of love in effecting change.  But I attempt to draw on the wisdom there in my daily life.  And tolerance does not mean not resisting.

Luddite that I am, I haven’t been able to do a reblog, but terriermandotcom.blogspot.com was right on today- I’m With Her.  A brilliant friend also suggested that we all observe the Islamic five daily times of prayer, wherever we are out in the world, by stopping for a moment, stepping aside if we’re in a line or something somewhere? and gently, concisely, explaining what we’re doing and why.  I’m in.  How about you?

Blessings and thanks.

moving curses, falling axes

Well.

First.  Of course the basic nature of reality hasn’t changed, and love is still the way.

But.

I had no idea the curse on the Cubs would move directly to the White House.  As we watched snatches of the election coverage I found myself nauseous, unable to breathe, and? terrified.  It’s taken me until today to remember the one other time I was possessed by such an overwhelming feeling.  Losing my job and realizing I’d not be able to get another one came close, yes.  Being stalked and attacked by a (real) rapist on my doorstep was another time.  So it’s a festive panoply of experience, yes?  But this is what I finally remembered.

When I was in college, there were demonstrations and “riots”. ( Of course we know now that a riot is often simply a bunch of people who start out with a different opinion than yours, and don’t respond well to being shoved.)  This was during the Viet Nam war, and Reagan was Governor of California. (And no, dinosaurs were not roaming the earth.)  We heard him say that he didn’t care if it took a bloodbath to take care of “the students”.  We then saw the National Guard in battle dress and armored trucks driving through our University area with very large guns pointed at us.  There were curfews and things were pretty rough, so I invited some friends over to have dinner and study and just try and keep our spirits up.  I made dinner (including broccoli.  Got to keep your strength up after all.) and as night fell, we heard gunfire and yelling.  People were running toward the building we were in, being followed by National Guard on foot and in trucks.  There was the sound of gunfire and also, extra fun, gas.  They used the same stuff on us as they used on the Viet Cong at the time- CS/CN gas, which made you vomit and have diarrhea simultaneously, among other things.  So.  We were all down on the floor, with wet rags over our faces for the gas, when?  Someone running by the building called out my name.  A split second later the entire front of the apartment, which was glass, shattered as bullets came through.  Doors on the first floor were kicked in and let’s just say hilarity did not ensue.  But that feeling of inexorable, unavoidable terror was there.  And I felt the same thing Tuesday night.

The situation we find ourselves in now is not a joke, it’s not nothing.  It’s NOT OK. It matters.  No miracle is going to swoop down on us and make the ice caps stop melting and the air breatheable and the oceans not acid and full of plastic garbage, and restore at least a modicum of common, basic respect from person to person along with the option to actually live a life, however simple.  Deregulation, lack of social services and rights have been literally promised and guaranteed.  We now have a President elect who had people at his “rallies” carrying signs saying things like: “Rope.  Journalist.  Tree.  Some assembly required.”  We have a President elect who actually mocked a disabled person during a speech.  We know how he feels about Mexicans and Muslims.  And women.  We know he evaded serving his country in Viet Nam even though he attended West Point.  We know he hasn’t paid taxes- and can’t you just imagine what a powerful incentive that will be to the corporate world to pay even the pittances they have been up to now?  We know he’s been prosecuted for civil rights violations.  So, really?  This is the person who’s going to be the President?   A liar and a cheat, who’s filed SIX count’em business bankruptcies, is going to be on some level in charge of how the country spends its money?

The metaphysical approach, the long view, all are necessary  to our thinking now.  Of course we must work together and extend our hands, more than ever- and not as fists.  But it is simply not OK to say, oh, it’s happened before, it’ll happen again, we need change and this might do it.  White Supremacists have carried this day.  This is a great leap backward, and I wonder if the ISIS guys are laughing their heads off, seeing as how we’re about to get Sharia type law before they do.  After all, more than once the PE stated that women should be punished for having abortions. Not to mention the ridiculous calls for his opponent in the race to be put in prison or in a more roundabout way, shot.  Mass expulsions and jailings of “immigrants”.  I do think he’s right about the wall on the Mexican border though: THEY are going to put it up, and pronto.  They need to protect themselves from US.

As always, blessings and thanks, and sorry about the diatribe.

pain in my heart

Things coalesced today to remind me that in fact, for all intents and purposes, we ARE in the dumper.

While I realize ever more clearly that we are all in the midst of a pretty volcanic shift, and for the most part I can navigate that with relative success, at the same time there are moments when it all crashes into my forehead and I wonder how much longer I can go on living in this world.  The Dog and the Garden make a big difference, of course and I’m hoping that this weekend’s “cooldown” (to 87 instead of 107) will allow me to at last plant our burgeoning seedlings.  Plus bake some requested cookies for a friend in need- one hopes that 87 will allow the making of buttercream to proceed without incident.   The Dog had a moment of doggie disobedience earlier today and tempers flared; now they’re just at a simmer.  I’ve been handing out strawberries and ice cubes to the parties involved.

Still.  The election on top of everything else pretty much fried my circuits.  People were actually speaking in raised voices in the polling place about things that froze my blood- you know- The Wall with Mexico.  Muslims.  Everyone who either didn’t look white or had a Spanish surname (me) got extra grilling before their ballots were handed over.  I’ve been voting for a long time now and this year? They showed me as having no party preference and thus eligible for only a provisional ballot.  Which may, or may not, get counted. HOW GROOVY IS THAT?  I finally, using my best I come in peace but let’s get serious act, got things horsed around, voted, and then? This county has an electronic ballot counter which, excitingly, puts the name of whoever you vote for up on a video screen that anyone standing nearby can read.   My screen said Bernie Sanders, and it felt as though I barely escaped with my life and a tootsie roll, slamming the door on name calling behind me.

Then, glutton for punishment that I am, we went to the post office.  Where I was greeted by two things: 1) A new bill from my insurance company that was astronomically higher than it was before and 2) A man wearing a tshirt that said “Hillary for prison in 2016” who gave me a wolfish grin and said, funny, ain’t it?  Luckily he accepted silence as an answer. (Later, getting propane, I saw one that said “I refuse to learn a foreign language to accommodate the illegal immigrants coming into MY country” on yet another elderly white man who refused to believe the sidewalk was for anyone other than him .)  Just to add to my joy, I found that essentially now nobody will insure me for anything except my current company, for the aforementioned fortune.  I live in a place with a lot of fires, and my car is old.  It’s kind of like the internet around here: You gotta have it but nobody will provide it to you.  So net, net: the fat white man who crashed into me continues to cause trouble.  I’m betting he voted for turd with teeth, too.

There is of course more, although the good news appears to be the cartels are out of our neighborhood this season.  I constantly remind myself that it’s all a call for kindness, for love and compassion, for rectification of disharmony.  Perched on the high, pointy spot of my current life, it seems dicey but I do it anyway.  And on days when I’m inundated by the effing effontery of life, I do wonder if there is any point at all to what I do. It certainly at times looks like an entire geological age of catastrophe, my little existence.  At the same time it is so clear that there IS intrinsic goodness in our universe, and we can’t wait for results to do what is right and caring.  In that vein I’m going to give the Dog another ice cube, and say bless you to all.

 

batting a thousand

Indeed, Gentle Reader, the score so far is Me, ZERO, and large tattooed white guys in big vehicles, TWO.  Now my finger has injured ligaments after a special encounter on the “road” we live on.  The Dog needed his afternoon constitutional, and there we were just in time for some numb nuts to drive his pickup so needlessly close to us that we had to scramble up a very muddy and unstable embankment.  Then? He slowed waaaaay down.  Then? Gunned it, which had the effect of making The Dog lose his brain and give chase.  That had the effect of dragging me down the embankment to a graceful belly landing on the gravel road, with the leash yanking itself out of my hand and thus the unfortunate situation with my finger.  Then? He stopped, didn’t get out, laughed and drove off.   The poor Dog got spanked, perhaps not entirely unfairly, and I could do nothing for a few days.  I will say, though, that once again my Bike Wreck cream came to the rescue and the swelling and bruising were not nearly as bad as they might’ve been.

But.  I have a quote by Meister Eckhart on the refrigerator, which says, whatever God does, the first burst is always compassion.  I find myself taken aback on a routine basis now by just exactly, from that measurement, how far from God we are.  And of course quite often the loudest proponents of their own godliness are precisely the same people who run you over or shoot you and keep going.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to learn from this, or what to do about it in a larger sense.

The big thing is usually not to become afraid.  Don’t let that frightening mask scare you, remain calm and stand your ground insofar as is possible and prudent.  Remember how limited the capacity for thought is for so many.  At this point, especially now that we’re on a full tilt merrygoround ride about how much better things would be if we ALL carried guns in the US, it’s a challenge.  Even though now there are actually enough guns owned by the US population to provide a weapon to every single person in the country.  This includes neonates.  I’m starting to really contemplate and accept that it’s very possible I will not be able to accomplish much in the larger interpersonal arena, even if it’s only my own “neighborhood”.    I can’t quite believe that anyone would seriously vote for Donald Trump for ANYTHING but the thought of him as President is downright terrifying.  Even though, as Bob Marley said, whoever wins, it’s the same problem.  But the stridency with which so many insist that their needs are more important than anything else really does scare me.  The meltdown and inefficiency of the “system” is like looking into an abyss whenever you have to deal with it on any level.

I suppose, as usual, the situation itself will dictate the actions needed.  But I find myself more than usually disgruntled by the fact that the world seems to be run by people whom even a proctologist could not help.

good fun and well worth it

Well, Gentle Reader, when last we put paw to keyboard there wasn’t enough time to tell the story.  I must say my recent experiences have plunged me into an angry despair unlike anything I’ve ever experienced which is saying quite a bit.

Part the first.  So, it turns out I’ve had chronic gallbladder problems which were always diagnosed by my regular doctor as being in my head.  Strange, since that isn’t where the gallbladder is located.

Part the second.  Finally the long suffering Partner takes me to the ER in the only hospital we can use, being poor and all.  After a lot of fun in the waiting room, saying over and over between pukes that no, I have not been to West Africa,  continuously vomiting and mostly missing the opening of the tiny bag they grudgingly gave me, I went in to the treatment area.  My veins were apparently collapsed from dehydration and in their efforts to get a line in me I ended up looking like someone beat the snot out of me, as my ex-Marine postman remarked in horror.  Amazingly a diagnosis was quickly made.  I was told this procedure is essentially outpatient, laparoscopic surgery, no big deal.  This is, of course, true if you have what is referred to as “good insurance”, something I now think of as being in the same category as “good hair” if you know what I mean.  Since I did not have good insurance I instead was put in a bed, no food or water, for 48 hours.  The surgeon’s instructions were that I was to get pain meds every two hours.  The nurses decided that they didn’t really need to bother with being timely with that, with the result that I found myself screaming at one point and being roundly chastised by said nurse.  Lucky for her that by that time I couldn’t speak.  The extra fun part of all this is that I’m allergic to opiates and two days of them put me on Mars.  Plus all the other unknown substances they were pumping into me via IV.

Part the WTF.  At long last I get wheeled into surgery.  I told the anesthesiologist from hell that I’d never been in the hospital, never had surgery, never took drugs, and also have a heck of a gag reflex.  He made a few sexist remarks which he capped off with “I’ll make you fall in love with me- I’m going to give you that stuff Michael Jackson took!”.  Knowing that it was in his power to kill me with this concoction I imagine I attempted a smile.   That was at about 3:30 p.m. on,I think, Tuesday.

Part the way beyond WTF.  I woke up at 1 am, I guess on Wednesday.  Restrained and catheterized and staring into a bright light with three people in the room looking at me like avenging angels.  When at last they removed the restraints and yanked out the catheter I noticed that both hands looked like chopped liver and I couldn’t move my legs due to the tender mercy with which they’d inserted the catheter. They’d pulled the 20 gauge needles out of one hand and jammed a 40 gauge into the other which felt as though it was in a state of permanent crucifixion.  There was  a large divot missing from my lip which was both numb and painful.  They had also hooked me up to a portable heart monitor (with a special sticky right under my boob which developed an infected scratch therefrom.  Extra fun.) and I was literally entombed in wires and tubes.  “You had to be restrained” they said, looking at me like I was Charles Manson.  WHY, I said.  Then even in my miserable state I realized they weren’t about to fess up to giving me a massive drug overdose so I said I had to call my husband.  This being a Catholic hospital there’s just a lot they don’t get so it was easier.  I wasn’t really aware of what time it was, but he answered on the second ring.  He was crying.  He briefly told me what happened, cried some more, told me he loved me and this had been too awful to talk about but nonetheless he was glad I wasn’t dead and he didn’t have to come and blow the damn place to smithereens. We hung up.

In which the fun continues.  So, OK.  I was relieved to see they had indeed done laparoscopy and not a major gutting and tried to content myself with that.  An endless stream of respiratory therapists and people thrusting potassium on me to drink- my heart stopped during all the fun, apparently, and hourly further blood draws ensued.  The first phlebotomist decided it was just too hard to figure out how to get my blood out so she jabbed a needle on the inside of my wrist- right where you’d slit it if you wanted to sit in a warm bath and kiss it all goodbye.  I said, please use a butterfly.  She said, I never use those.   Another huge glass of potassium in plain water which tastes like drano.  Orange juice makes it palatable but I guess since I was a bad dog having to be restrained and all I didn’t merit that consideration.  And let us not forget that by this time I had had neither food nor water for five days.  The drano concoction was the first liquid I’d had.  So, so great. Delicioso indeed.  There was also a veritable endless stream of people coming in to stare at the Person Who’d Had to Be Restrained, as though I’d developed 86 heads.

The Afternoon of the Morning After.  The Partner appeared, we were both sobbing and whatnot. A bitch from hell Valkyrie Nurse’s Assistant appeared, yanked my blanket off, yanked my hospital gown up, and said- No dwainage.  Gut, in a ruminating sort of way.  Still a bit out of my mind I made it all even better by asking her if the thing next to her non-existent nametag was a charm to avert the evil eye: It definitely looked like one of those blue eyeball things you see all over the…oh, dear.  Middle East.  She reared back and made what came to be a consistent theme of hissing and furtive sign of the cross.  No, she said.  At least she finally, at about 3:oo pm, brought me some WATER.  Thank you, Jesus, I said.  Then the osteopath came in.  That went well too, because I said, Oh, you’re an osteopath.  Not an MD but who cares at this point.  Have you read that text Palpatory Literacy?  Literacy, he said???? I said, it’s a basic text for osteopaths and involves training your hands to “read” musculature for dysfunction.  I do it, I said.  Oh, he said, with a minimal hiss and cross making. NO. I DON’T DO THAT ANYMORE.  He did at least partially cop to the fact that they’d almost killed me with the saline/dilaudid combo, saturating my tissues to the point of serious problem.  Next up was a cheery Hospital Administrator, who told us that one of the Great Things About this Hospital is it’s part of a network, so patients who can’t get what they need at one can be taken to another for treatment.  I wondered why they hadn’t done that with me.  (Further notes of interest on this were at the “post op” visit with the surgeon where I had to remove my own bandages and clean my own wounds. His nurse told me when she’d had the same situation he’d worked her into the schedule on the same day.)  Next up another respiratory therapist who I was, at this point, able to ask as to whether or not what they were fuming into my lungs was a steroid.  I’m allergic to steroids.  He said this wasn’t a steroid of course.  Let’s just say that I haven’t been able to breathe for several days and my lungs are just now uncrunching ten days later.  Apparently I’d aspirated a lot of blood as well, so it was just an overall….disaster.

The last two nurses.  OMG.  Honestly I don’t think you should be a med/surg nurse if you don’t understand what pain is.  In any event, Nurse from Hell Ms. S., the one who told me she wasn’t giving me the pain meds because they didn’t seem to help me and I was crying, turned the wheel over to another Nurse S, whom she told about my having to be restrained and nothing else.  So, FINE.  JUST HISS AND GET IT OVER WITH- YOU’LL FEEL BETTER.  After three blood draws, four vital checks and four respiratory therapies, I fall asleep at 3:45 am.  At 4 am?  New Nurse S comes in, shakes me awake, and says, your guard rail is down! That’s against hospital policy!  You’ll have to sign a release form! Put it up yourself, I said. She of course couldn’t do that, and also said she had to put compression hose back on me.  Well, that didn’t happen because the former compression hose came to a grisly end after the combo of stool softener and IV Lasix hit me like a ton of bricks.  Lasix, you may remember, is that stuff they can’t give to race horses anymore to avoid drug detection.  Anyway, I said I’d sign the release when the sun came up.  Ha ha I am so funny that way.  I’d just closed my eyes when back she came, triumphant, waving a release form around.  I found it! So, fine.  I couldn’t even see it but signed it, whereupon she looked at me and said, wow.  That’s pretty good.  Don’t you use your right hand?  Given that it had the ginormous IV needle in it, not right now but I am left handed I said.  Throwing caution to the wind what with the 86 head reputation I was maintaining, I said to her, if there’s nothing else? GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME.

Finally after five days they let me out.  The nurse of the last day who’d been ignoring me came in and handed me a scrip for MORE OPIATES.  No, I said, NO.  I don’t take this stuff even if all my neighbors do and I could sell this shit and take a vacation.  I don’t want it.  Well, she said.  You HAVE TO TAKE IT.  I HAVE TO GIVE IT TO YOU.  It’s the LAW.  You don’t have to get it filled if you don’t want to.  We’ve phoned in the stool softener prescription for you too.  I’m sorry, I said, but I’m really confused.  If you smoke marijuana they’ll arrest you and the light of day will be a dim memory.  If you sell heroin, same thing.  But the entire thrust of the medical industry seems to be getting you addicted to these bloody pills.  She clucked and backed out hastily.

In the end.  In the end, this experience connected me with an anger and rage I’d never experienced.  I have pretty much dedicated my life to helping others and doing no harm, and to be veritably mutilated in this manner…well.  It made me think about all the prisoners who are thrown in the SHU, all those who are subject to Rendition, all the people in Africa who are sick and dying, and the incredible, monstrous greed of a system where money is all that matters.  They can pretend they care, pretend they’re doing something, but unless there’s a stream of money in it for them- and often even then- it’s all a big, fat lie.  Whether you live or die is simply the luck of the draw once you get into such clutches.  The good part about it is this anger has liberated me from a great deal of fear.  There really, in fact, is no room for fear in our minds.  Especially now when it is largely an implant geared to keeping people powerless.  It has been really challenging to attempt to reconcile my desire to perform an orchidectomy on the anesthesiologist with dirty garden shears in a busy intersection, and leave him there after kicking in his ribs, with the reality of who I am, which is still someone who apologizes to the moths for swatting them.  I’ve read Buddhist texts, I’ve read Elaine Pagels, I’ve prayed and breathed deeply.  The Partner assures me that just because I have these thoughts doesn’t change who I am.   I’m just trying to figure out how to proceed now, knowing what I know.

Back in the real world. Meanwhile, in just a few days! I’ve gotten overdue on all my bills and found that I can no longer do online banking because my 2008 laptop doesn’t have the “right OS” and thus the browsers suggested cannot be downloaded.   I’ve told the Partner to keep the gardening shears away from me for a while.

Not dead yet

I am in haste, Gentle Reader, but let’s just say I have missed you.  I had a decidedly Not Amusing Near Death Experience which I will describe in future posts.   It involved being in a hospital, and all the joys attendant thereto, including a hospital provided drug overdose and a week long stay for what is usually an outpatient procedure.  But I am thankful for all of you, and truly.  This will be an amusing story, I promise.    What, after all, is funnier than the opiate/stool softener regime they want to put you on (even if and especially when you are allergic to the ingredients in both of those things) in such places as SOP while acting as though you eat babies raw for breakfast if you smoke marijuana?  My sense of humor is intact, if dented, at least.

More to come.  And thankyou for reading!