Archive for the ‘Life Now’ Category

where the wild things are

And, that would be HERE, Gentle Reader.

Lately it’s been so wild, in fact, that my sense of humor pretended it had been buried somewhere in the back yard.  GAH, it said.  This is no fun at all.  I shall hide under the bed of mint until things improve.  No amount of cajolery swayed it even one bit.  So I had to consider things without benefit of jokes or drollery of any sort.

Once I decided to stop thinking It Was Gone Forever, and moved on to not panicking about small things like where the hell are the car keys, and could all the metal pieces in everything just stop breaking, clarity returned, if not a steady stream of witticisms.  Turns out it was just another opportunity for growth!  It’s kind of like the time many years ago when I realized that my ability to know what people were thinking was something I used to protect myself, and thus had to drop until I was able to function on my own without that crutch.  The sense of humor, while a good thing overall, became another such tool.  Once a blackbelt co-dependent, I guess.

So here I am, unable to think things are funny for the past few weeks- largely because of course they really aren’t, and it was a weird experience to finally just get close to all those things without any armor (you know, fires, floods, murders, idiocy, that sort of thing?).  The ultimate revelation from this was of course that one doesn’t NEED armor after all.  The whole idea of separation from other things is an illusion and I guess we find that out however we can.  I realized that in fact with a moment’s attention you can really FEEL what someone else is feeling, and instead of shielding from that awareness or using it as some sort of protection,  say to yourself, Self? You know we’re all One.  Let’s open up and send some good vibes out just for ducks.  It’s harder to do this of course when one is righteously indignant (like having new neighbors across the road in the house where the ACTUAL MURDERER used to live, who pull up blaring their car stereos in exactly the same way he did at all kinds of absurd times like, say, 2 am…).  It’s also harder to do when you’re circling the anxiety drain over how is this going to get fixed or whatever.  But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  The other part of it shows Confucius wasn’t wrong about everything, since he said comparisons are odious.  No more comparing on the rigged scale we’ve all become accustomed to, either.  Things are as they are.  And they reveal their information over time.  Which ultimately provides guidance and a crumb trail to follow.

While I’m waiting for the sense of humor to crawl out from the mint patch, then, the crumb trail has led to some interesting culinary moments.  I made butternut squash enchiladas at long last, even straining the sauce like you’re supposed to and making the tortillas big enough to roll, and they were great.  It also turns out that you can indeed use  yellow lemon squash in place of zucchini in zucchini bread, and it’s almost better.  It’s also led to some amazingly spot on prognostications for people.  When I breathlessly tell the Partner that, guess what? remember when I told so and so such and such? He just shakes his head, like, silly bear.  Only YOU don’t know you’re generally right.   The trick now is believing in our own happy ending in this amazing new paradigm, where things seem to be irreparably blowing apart and mending themselves into something stronger, all at once.  The Dog, as usual, stays focused on the important things and is his usual invaluable counselling self, even when his usual question is: what’s to eat?  His quiet padding up to me in the kitchen area always reminds me that slow and steady, stick to basics, look everyone right in the eye, laugh…is a good way to go about things.  He may even find my sense of humor for me.

Blessings and thanks!

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spinning

Now that we’re living in incontrovertibly interesting times? There are pluses and minuses.  On the plus side, coming to understand that when my laptop bounces and erases and sends things will nilly and freezes it’s because there isn’t enough bandwidth for everybody to use.  The minus: laptop going bonkers.  However it also means that getting a new one isn’t going to solve this issue, so that’s a plus in its way.

Random political thoughts on that plus/minus continuum, which while disturbing were eventually somewhat equilibrating:

LPV, dotard etc., didn’t send aid to Puerto Rico in a timely way because? a) he doesn’t know where it is and b) doesn’t know it’s effectively part of the U.S. and thus his job to attend to and c) so much more fun to harp on ridiculous and backward thinking about accepting symbol as absolute reality (we speak here of a piece of fabric and a piece of music), in an effort to get it accepted as obligatory routine, or else.  (I’ll just say that when I was in high school? I sat for the pledge of allegiance, a cousin having been blown to smithereens in Viet Nam being the final straw, and as a result spent my senior year alone in the library.   Progress, or what?)

The real reason the Affordable Care Act is in the gunsights of certain “legislators”, even though they know their constituents do not support their positions? They’ve probably been left out of the money loop now that the bill is in effect- given that it was actually written by the insurance companies.  We all know THAT can’t happen.

Otherwise this most recent time period seems to have a lot to do with dealing with fear.  That hot, claustrophobic thing where you’re just sure it’s all over, all is lost, OMG.  Of course we learn as we go along that it’s the fear itself we’re afraid of- the disasters and upheavals on the material plan get dealt with sooner or later but the fear remains, twisting and turning.   So unpleasant, one does not want to experience it ever but of course that line of thought just brings it on, even more.

Going back to reading Pema Chodron has been helpful.  Any time you can do the taking in and sending out breathwork she writes about (tonglen), it really does make a difference.  Whatever you’re feeling or experiencing, someone somewhere else is too.  Breathing into that gives remarkable clarity, which then most often allows a person to get up and go ahead and do what is before them, and also clears the energetic air in a broad way.  In thinking about this I’ve decided that part of what happens is that you do establish a vibrational connection with the object or subject of your thought, and if your intentions are from love, that connection will be positive.  If your intentions are rooted in hot suffocating powerlessness, that’s the connection that occurs.  This is an incredibly powerful piece of information and the only question is why it took so g@@#!!!mn long to understand it.  Especially since that is the basis of  work I do with clients. *sigh*

On a functional level another thing this type of directed awareness does is let you look at things you’re doing in your own situation that are about a paradigm you’ve stayed in that isn’t appropriate.  Scary stuff.  But! I  stopped something  today that I’d done for several years, thinking that it was productive.  Reflecting on it I saw two things: One, this was part of a paradigm that I actually don’t subscribe to when you get right down to it.  Thing the second was that it allowed me to not be entirely truthful about the situation itself, what I was doing and why even after everything,  I and the Desired Result are still very far apart.  Going further I saw that it was rooted in a childhood belief system that was, let’s just say, not in my best interest.

Well then.  While it is perhaps difficult and strange to really observe things and then act based on what you SEE and not what you THINK, it feels pretty good once you do it.   Interesting times and all.  Now to establish a connection that somehow gets Truth in front of Power in a way that sticks.  Blessings and thanks!!!!

well…….

Who knew that screaming would be totally out of the question so soon after I mentioned it here?  We became engulfed, enrobed we can say even, in smoke about three weeks ago.  Thus turning my life into one long Inhaler episode, removing any ability really to speak, or go outside. Or sleep, or breathe, or any number of things.   A bit of a fugue state, it has nonetheless allowed me to catch up on The New Yorker.

During which of course enough disasters have occurred to make a person wonder if it might not really be some kind of…something.  But what? Apocalypse? End of the beginning? Beginning of the end? We can see the fine hand of the forked tongue in the non-pictorial non-coverage of what’s gone on, at least on network TV.  The same pictures were shown over and over both for Harvey and Irma, but none that really showed what was happening and to what extent.  Nothing at all of the first earthquake in Mexico or hurricane information, either. The recent event in Mexico City is so big I guess it cannot be ignored but even so unless one watches Telemundo there isn’t much real information.  Likewise no film has been shown here, really, of all the fires that caused the above enrobement…because? Initially there WAS one news clip but OMG.  What was that in the picture there kids? It was a lot of marijuana plants, in an undoubtedly (due to size) illegal grow.  No aerial footage whatsoever after that, and barely even a mention of what was making the air yellow and solid either.  Ignorance is not necessarily bliss.

However, as usual, the kitchen has offered some solace from all this.  I finally may have gotten sauerkraut to work.cabbage1

And also, the butternut and other squash went insane to our amazement, and we’ve now got close to 30 butternuts stacked up for winter.  So that’s a good thing. Also a very good thing in that butternuts are something the Dog can not only eat, but goes cross eyed with bliss when he sees some in his bowl.  I also made a pickle from some of our never ending lemon squash so we’ll see how that comes out- curry flavor, and some prudently saved brine from prior pickles worked just fine.  It’s the Partner’s un-birthday tomorrow, so chocolate gelato seemed in order.  Fish tacos and homemade tortillas.  No singing but what can you do?  In other exciting news, we were reunited this week with the wonders of having a rear view mirror.  Readers may recall the funfest involved in obtaining Rear View Mirror Adhesive.  However, there was more.  This stuff could only be used between temperatures of 55 and 72 degrees F.  The people around here I told that to got hiccups from laughing.  So, they said, when hell freezes over, or February? Turns out it was 70! the other morning for about two hours so the Partner sprang into fixative action and I must say, it’s quite nice having that thing back.

This not being able to breathe business has, however,  made me feel even more grateful for all the good things in my life, and the ever present Bigger Picture of all of us on this planet.  Assuming, as I do, that improved functioning will resume sooner or later for both my lungs and the world in general, it’s given me an opportunity, lying flat and all,  to think about everything in our days with appreciation, instead of what was starting to loom which was more like $$%%!!!.  Still haven’t vacuumed but one task at a time, right?  I continue with redoubled effort to pray for some kind of sanity to envelop Washington DC at the same time as I think just how wonderful it is to have a garden and Nature to talk to, work with and in.  And a dog.  And a Partner who’s having an un-birthday.  Blessings and thanks!

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

a happy anniversary

It was on this day two years ago that the Dog moved in with us.getPart-1It’s hard to tell just how small he was here (this isn’t a big chair)…not of course as small as that first evening when he rushed out from under the yurt, famished and throwing himself on our mercy, and later after having eaten and shaken paws with us,  falling asleep on the deck and snoring.  All 16 inches of him, bowlegged and eight weeks old, barely old enough to be away from his mother.  How such a tiny creature survived the rigors of this place- how he even GOT to us- remains a mystery.  But get here he did, and for about a week (we surmised) he sized us up whilst eating strawberries and flowers on the quiet, revealing his presence in the nipped off potato flowers and overturned saucers we use for bird baths.  I guess we passed muster, and also he was STARVING.  Then came toys, food, a bed which was greeted with his first smile, a leash, car rides and pratfall filled walks.  A heretofore undiscovered world of dog life.  And now?

lord:master

This is HIS house.  Even if it is over 90f in here right now and he’s a bit pink as a result, augmented by the red light from all the smoke in the air (which is just the teensiest bit creepy and unnerving).  He has a smile that captures even the hardest heart (even if he teases me by getting all serious the minute I have my phone pointed at him), and his arrival has been, and is, one of the best things that ever happened to this bear.

Blessings and thanks!

life in a body

Perhaps it is the times.  Perhaps it’s because it’s been over 100 degrees here every day for what seems like eternity but has in actual fact only been about six weeks…maybe eight.  But I’m retaining the impression that most of how I used to look at the world was off by a bubble or two.

Things used to seem solid, concrete, have a”reason” to be where they were.  Now there is a shift afoot that makes even the idea of solid ground questionable.  As human beings we have quite a lot more capability than we ever use.  Bizarrely, we seem to feel the need to make more of us, not just in physical form but in mechanical as well.  Artificial intelligence?  Get serious. We have machines now we aren’t smart enough to use, and a brain in our heads we may NEVER have been smart enough to use.  The things we can actually perceive with our existing bodily equipment, if we put our energy into it, are astonishing.  The things we can see, the music we can hear, the languages we can understand- there is just so much more than daily life might lead you to believe.  Although of course daily life is precisely where to look for all of this magnificence.

And of course it is daily life that seems to be taking it in the neck over and over.   The premise that THINGS will make you happy, for example.  How realistic is that?  Then happiness can be doled out in drops from the top of the hierarchy and the inhabitants of earth can be led to believe that if they don’t have THINGS to make them happy, they won’t ever BE happy and of course? It’s their fault because they didn’t get the THINGS.  Oddly enough, most of the Nice Things along with the bulk of the stuff used to get them, aka money, gets wedged firmly at the top.  Funny how everyone at the bottom is just…not good enough.  Meanwhile the actual bringers of joy like relationships, conversations, having a way to make sense of your days as you experience them, curiosity and the urge to learn, an actual concrete relationship with FOOD…those things are all receding in the rear view mirror to the point that many don’t seem to know they exist at all.

And.  While we are each others keepers in the overall sense, that means we love each other and care for the common good.  It doesn’t mean making everyone think the same way you do and do the same things- or else all that “everyone” becomes bad.  It doesn’t mean consigning huge swathes of everything to the junk heap because somebody in some cubicle somewhere thinks commas are boring and words mean what you want them to in a given instant.   The common ground from which we are able to reach out to each other and our world is rolling up and out like a rug on moving day.

Not to even mention the titanic level of dishonesty that exists.  You can now see at almost any time of day someone who should know better saying something that is totally untrue.  And I’m not just talking about your local weather person. Aside from the packs of individuals who seem to have an endless amount of time to tweet on apparel and habits that are none of their business, nobody ever calls bullshit on the bullshit.   It’s as though a whole level of fear was poured all over everything…about seven months ago.

Still.  I realize all these things are manifestations of the change we’re all undergoing and as such can actually be lived and experienced, and thus actually dealt with.  The only thing for it is to be as awake as possible, armed with compassion and patience.  Lead us, as it says in the Upanishads, from the unreal to the real.  It turns out that is a far more challenging journey than you think when you first step out on to the path, humming and thinking, Oh YES! Reality! Truth! Onward! A few years into it  you may think, hmmm, not finding much truth here and reality may just bite.  But I’ll carry on.  A few more years and you think, holy unnameable item! Ignorance IS bliss! What can I do now? Limiting the snivelling as much as possible, eventually you crawl to the top of whatever you were laboring toward and see? More vistas, of course.  But in those vistas may be part of what is being sought, which is that goals and seeking may not be all they’re cracked up to be.  The map you use and the travel tips are, after all, from others just, or pretty much, like you who have toddled forth.  Opinions about reality, we might say.   So maybe it’s more about stopping at a pleasant spot, or just where you HAVE to stop, and not needing to have an opinion or an evaluation.  Experience all there is there without imposing anything on it, and try not to mess it up while you’re at it.  Not imposing like/not like on things is remarkably freeing, too.  Not so easy to do after years of  it being drummed into you, but well worth it.

In the like/not like vein, something we deal with here is snakes.  All kinds but the ones we’re thinking about right now are rattlesnakes.  Which one usually says to oneself, you know? I don’t really like these guys.  I have taken to saying a snake blessing prayer every time I go outside because it is HOT and snakes like being out in the hot afternoons and the garden is ever more jungly and OMG please don’t bite me.  Or the Dog.  Or the Partner. ( Although HE tends to talk to snakes and pat them on the head so I don’t worry about him quite as much.)   So as I said, a prayer.  I enumerated, each time, all the good things about snakes, my appreciation for them, my harmlessness.  So far? No rattlers.  Which was because why? It turns out there is a totally splendid King snake in the garden, like a small to mid-sized deity, protecting all of us, from birds and lizards to Dog and Moi.   This made me think two things.  One, as always there is more to all this than you know, and Two, good will eventually always wins. We’re protected, the rattlers know enough to stay away, the natural balance of things is maintained without mayhem. So in the midst of wondering if my brain has actually finally been boiled for good this summer and if so why does it still hurt so much every time the LPV shoots into view, I also know that there really IS something, some order, some reality, all around us, supporting us once we quit deciding whether or not we “like” things, and working toward what really does look like….Truth and Beauty.  The Good Stuff.  Grisly daily reality notwithstanding.

And with that, perilous as things seem, I made another ice cream.   Banana.  The secret to which is steeping chopped, ripe bananas in whatever milk you’re using- we’re still stuck on Dulce de Leche so I just slowly caramelized that with the chopped bananas, let it sit for a few hours, blended until smooth, and combined with a light custard (about 3 cups total material).  It is truly magic stuff even if I  only have a bite of it here and there.  Just restorative enough.  So that combined with figuring out how to make a kinda sorta summer squash (which we of course have coming out our ears) gratin on top of the stove (oven on is a non starter right about now, sadly) in about 25 minutes gives me a bit of cautious optimism.   Surely we can all do some good if we choose.  Blessings and thanks!!!!