Archive for the ‘getting through a day’ Category

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!

Advertisements

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

the grace of ice cream

Things are somewhat indescribable of late.  Aside from the fact that it is mind numbingly hot, not even really cooling off at night.  (The tomatoes Do Not Like It at all but oddly the Butternut squash are going crazy, we have four Charentais melons on the vine, and the Chair Vert melon plant in the back has quadrupled in size to an almost sci-fi extent.)

The Dog has some allergic food reaction and is covered in spots.  There was, for the first time since we’ve been here, a fire that would have roared over the hill and destroyed our yurt (and maybe lives since it was blocking the only way out from here as well) if Cal Fire hadn’t gotten on it immediately.  It made me slightly sick to see the burnt place on the way into town,  but at least I got to thank the firefighters, barely able to not blurt out a question about how come they’re always so darn HANDSOME.  People I care about are having health issues and there’s a lot going on that seems very out of any kind of measure or control.   Also I found that as hard as I try, the poisonous atmosphere on Planet LPV and all that comes from same has crept into my little brain (aside, I mean, from wondering what I’ll do with no health insurance and an internet controlled by Comcast and Verizon, voter suppression and Environmental Protection c/o Exxon Mobil and how long til this guy gets COMMITTED???…oh well.  You probably know).  This was forcibly borne in upon me when in a couple of days, I got two follows on this blog, for which I am grateful!, in Arabic.  I watched my stomach clench as my brain said, Oh boy, this is IT.  “They” will ….they, who?, will do what, exactly? I mean, really? I get hits from all over the world, amazingly, and sometimes from places we’re “supposed” to fear.  (The many Russian hits are generally hacks and ripoffs from my website to porn sites, big surprise. Flower pictures, right?)  Don’t ask me what allure this bear’s life holds but there it is.  It’s kind of like when the sheriff drove up that day and clearly realized we’re just a couple of old hardheads and no arrest could, in any universe, be forthcoming for any reason.  ANYWAY the whole thing made me a bit more tense when I found that Google Translate would not let me cut and paste any language to be translated, as it usually does when such things come up.  Maybe it’s my antediluvean laptop. Finally I figured out that I could drag the text over and? Guess what? All of it was WONDERFUL poetry.  Beauty and expression thereof, carrying on a long tradition.  One person I couldn’t get enough blog translated to be able to leave a comment since, not reading Arabic, I couldn’t figure out where that might be.  So I very much hope they don’t think I am being rude.  I often wonder what would have happened to both Christianity and Islam had Capitalism not inserted its noxious snout- perhaps the inherent love at the base of both might have gotten the upper hand.  However, alas, it did and has and now? What the heck has happened to us that the simple act of reaching out and sharing one’s thoughts about reality becomes questionable and prone to causing wonder about who else might be “looking”.  At the same time I was filled with a kind of huge radiant joy at knowing there are people, everywhere, who do create beauty and strive for truth.  And  some of that was shared with me.

So.  Swinging between the twin poles of CHUFFED (followers! who write wonderful things!) and OH DEAR (fire, dog spots, dastardly politics) I turned to my latest obsession: Dulce de Leche.  Traditionally it is made of goat’s milk which is caramelized into total fabulousness.  It is also made quite simply by putting a can of Eagle Brand in a water bath for 40 minutes or so until it becomes thick and caramelized.  It being so hot and all ice cream seemed like the obvious solution for such a preoccupation.  Also I did not want to find that I’d eaten a whole can of Eagle Brand by itself.

The first batch was good, even if the experiment of caramelizing the Eagle Brand in the microwave went just. a. tiny. bit. awry.  The valiant and elderly microwave needed to be cleaned anyway and of course I expect this sort of things-reaching-past- their-assigned boundaries as routine.  The next time I started early in the morning on one day, using the stove, and putting the resulting cooked can into the refrigerator.  When it was cool enough a day or so later to even think about again turning on the stove, this is what I did:

1 cup of milk with the thickened Eagle Brand mixed in, heated slowly.  Three egg yolks beaten, tempered, and stirred in until spoon was properly coated.  Into the refrigerator with that.  About three hours later I mashed up a cup and a half of strawberries from the garden, put a tiny bit of sugar in them, and let them rest for a couple of hours.  A few drops of vanilla into the custard, berries mixed in, and into the ice cream freezer.  The Partner says it’s the best strawberry ice cream he’s ever had, and I think he may be right.  Now, if I can just convince the Dog that he’s not being punished by the now total absence of cheese treats, potato treats, and Daddy’s leftover milk from cereal, and get him to come out from under the table, all may yet be well.  May the Poetry be with you! and as always, blessings and thanks!

the wandering mind

Lately, probably in some high level of procrastinating avoidance, I’ve been In The Kitchen.

I decided, for example, to make the herein previously mentioned lentil/rice crepes, Adai.  Last time I may have omitted mention of the FLOOD that happened during mixing.  You have to grind things together and I thought, heck, food processor here we come.  Except, no, because? Water. Which went everywhere rapidly.  It did produce a rather pleasant cumin scented cleansing for the butcher block, and I went on to use the Nutri-Bullet, with good results.  So this time? There was FIRE.  Yes.  Actual fire.  Oh dear, I said, and managed to put it out with only minimal damage to one dinner plate.  Don’t ask how that happened.

But fire? after a flood? It seemed kind of apocryphal. Or maybe I mean apocalyptic.  Also I neglected the crepe component so they were a bit….thick.  But, live and learn.  Ultimately I decided to view the whole thing as a storyboard of progress, flood, fire, and then? The promised land?

Which turned out to be sourdough english muffins.  Worth the effort but not without incident, at least I can say I get the concept now.  And it also showed an important area needing improvement.

Which is following instructions.  Oh, dear.  I had a lot of things going on so I just read the recipe for the basic dough (baguette) and mixed it accordingly.  Of course when I turned to the actual english muffin recipe, it said, don’t handle the dough much.  Uhm.  So next time, like the Adai, it will be easier I think.  Less work, actually, and paying attention to what one does somewhat carefully does yield positive results.

So, notwithstanding that it was so hot yesterday I lost my brain completely and couldn’t even grasp which pan to use to make chocolate sauce, thus skipping that part of desert, I think this has all shown me at least what the next step is, about which I was wondering.

And that step is Attention.  I realized I’ve lived my life as though chased by werewolves, lending itself to a sense of not having time to…well, pay attention.  Run, run, run.  But as flood, fire, and spongy muffin interiors show, if you don’t pay attention? The wolves are waiting for you when you get there.  Going, haha and oh dear.  Looky here……So actually this has all been rather liberating in the final analysis.  I realized I don’t have to have epic disasters more than 40% of the time, which seems to be their naturally occurring orbit just in the way of things. At least in MY life.  We were watching a sitcom the other night and all kinds of things were happening with the expected ensuing hilarity.  The Partner said, this is so unbelievable! This would never happen in real life! (pause) Except, he said, getting up off the couch and moving away from me, to YOU.

In fact, he is a brave soul, the Partner.  It made me think of a time long ago, when as a student at University, a friend and I were taking the bus back from San Francisco to the East Bay after going to Japan town to get some groceries to make some culinary extravaganza in my studio in the ‘hood.  Exciting enough, really.  This friend had confidence in me since once when we were visiting his cousin in a somewhat questionable area, and wound up having to climb out of a small back window as LAPD broke the front door down, he commended me for my “sang froid”…we WERE in college after all.  So when, in the bus station, he said, you’re always saying weird things happen to you and I’m just going to stand on the other end of the platform to see, I remember gulping a bit.  And when, as usual, a poor disoriented man under the influence of many things both seen and unseen laid eyes on me, raised both arms with index fingers pointed and started stalking over to me, and I, in response, calmly lifted a pickled daikon (shrivelled, atomic yellow, and unpleasantly reminiscent of a certain part of male anatomy), packaged in a totally brain blasting plastic wrapper with exclamation points and Kanji in red outlined in purple, out of my shopping bag? And the poor soul turned white as a sheet and ran shrieking off the platform? My friend came over to me, hugged me and apologized for ever doubting my…er….cred.

This, in short, is what the Partner has taken on, bravely if perhaps ignorantly at first? I don’t know.  He’s probably somewhat relieved that our life precludes a lot of the normal dangers of going outside in a city, and keeps me limited to a small area where he has a hose and shovel and shotgun ready at all times.  He takes heart every day I don’t get bitten by a rattler, for example.  Anyway it gives me hope.  If I pay attention and have someone at my side who Understands that Stuff Happens, anything is possible.  And there really Is a splendid dog picture (success with the 21st century!) coming up in our next installment.  He’s almost not a puppy any more……..

Blessings and thanks!

anatomy of meltdown averted

Ye GODS and effing little fishes, Gentle Reader.  Once again we see that there are even more previously undiscovered circles of Hell than previously supposed.  However, even in Hell you can keep your cool.  At least a bit.

So.  We had a bangup start to the year.  The person we rent space, water, and power from, Madame Entropy hereinafter referred to as MmE, caused just a bit of a snarlup right from the jump.  Maintenance not being a strong suit, somehow “her” power pole (as designated by the power company who puts poles out here but then makes landowners put their “own” poles up for boxes and whatnot) actually….just….disintegrated.  Yes there was snow.  And then torrential rain.  And high winds.  And 29 degree weather.  But the power pole just collapsed before all that because it was, essentially rotten.  AS it has been since we arrived here.

So, OK.  While it was in fact something of a miracle that it a) got fixed at all and b) within a ten day period? Seven to be precise? We had no power, no water, no phone, no nothing for all that time.  No place to go. No chainsaw for wood, either.  Twenty nine degrees, people.  Forty mile an hour winds.  I won’t bore you with the details of All the Excuses I Heard etc., but net net? I’m down about $700 clackeroos.  Which I didn’t actually have to begin with but bartered a stretch out for a portion thereof thanks to the good will of a friend.  The Subaru is probably going to smell like gasoline for several months from all the trips back and forth to fill the portable gascan to fill the gas guzzling generator we THANK GOD were able to use- for a price, yes, but that does not lessen my total gratitude. Not to mention the gas the CAR used because of course the creek was at flood stage and we had to Go the Long Way.  I found myself slogging through what was eventually about half a mile more than once  what with all the trips to and fro with 10 gallon buckets of horse trough water so we could flush the toilet.  After it essentially overflowed. (Snow melt and rain, ya know.  Filled septic up briefly.) I got a bit of a charley horse from yanking my mud caked boots off ten times a day so as not to have the yurt be an impersonation of a barnyard. We have not yet reached agreement on the central current issue which is that since I had to do amazing things to get through this, and the causal responsibility is squarely on certain shoulders, there will be no money forthcoming in that direction until I’m out from under the $700.  Which, technically, is the law.  However this intelligence has been greeted with dour dismay.   Not a surprise but still.  One more Thing.

A few other gruesome events transpired during this festive period and I admit that I came within millimeters of just….giving up.  Enough already.  I felt like I’d been shot but hadn’t yet fallen down.  Am I dead yet? NO????? WHY THFUCKNOT?????AAAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! sort of thing.  But then.

I thought about the larger reality.  Even when this morning, the Dog tore off down the “driveway” seemingly never to return? I allowed myself a brief strangled cry and then thought, the only way out is through.  And the only way through is Love.  So I beamed LOVE toward his little doggy brain, trudged into the underbrush, and eventually all was restored to its current dull roar.  He’s also managed to nearly cut his paw off which adds a level of zing to things since a visit to the Vet is not a possibility at present.  However, I suspect the Partner was a mummy wrapper in Egypt because he has battlefield level wound management skills with bandages.  So, so far so good.  More or less.

Love doesn’t mean letting people crap all over you, and it doesn’t mean pretending things aren’t happening when they are, but it does mean that you step out of the reactive radius of the ego into the slightly more spacious area of, in progression, WTF? and REALLY? NOW? and, actually beauty still exists after all! on to We can, in fact, do this.  People say, especially now, all sorts of things about the nature of things, and the nature of thinking, and the nature of money and all the rest of it. It does look, to all intents and purposes, as though we are on the express ride to hellish crappola.  Starting Friday.  But bottom line? You can only BE where you ARE, and on some level that is timeless, even though time flies while you’re there.  The thing about time flying is, of course, it’s a bit of a magic carpet if you allow it and before you know it, or at least before too many more moons have risen and set, you are BEing somewhere else than you were, even if in temporal space and time it is the “same” place.   For me this current somewhere else is largely constituted by its being something completely different, in every sense, from anything I ever thought I “knew”.  Nothing, literally, is as it was. I am truly not stepping in the same river.  It has become more imperative to explore and observe than ever.  Given my energy levels as a person, I find it better to devote the energy I do have to this exploration rather than staying in the utter despair and why?why?why?.  The big thing I noticed in all this, too, was: being nice and kind really DOES make a huge difference wherever it occurs.  So. Be nice.  Be kind.  It works.  It helps your fellow creatures.  And really, staying in internal muck just keeps you begrimed.  Breathing is the first step out.  Sometimes staying at least a tiny bit sane is the best you can do.  And even that radiates out for the good no matter how dire things are or seem to be.

We found ourselves in this, actually entire, situation through a confluence of things, which make more sense to me now than they used to.  I no longer blame myself for not fitting in, not subscribing to the prevailing belief systems, for allowing myself to believe all who told me I was basically nuts due to the results of items one and two, even though that has led me to HERE.  In many ways I really like it HERE, and wouldn’t go back even if it were possible which it most def is not. I mean, seriously. NOBODY regular can afford to live where we used to eke out our lives. The burndown of the Ghost Ship is just one example of that. But what I think I learned this trip down the rabbit hole is that you cannot continually accept other people’s ICK.  They aren’t going to be good and nice, and especially honest, just because you are or because you want them to be.  It is important to have clarity at all times and not pretend, and express that with kindness. As in, no thank you, that particular load of crap is not landing on me.  I’m sorry but you get to keep it, dear. That’s the next project anyway, and I hope it doesn’t turn into yet another runway to ?????!!#@@#!.  Still, even if it does? This time I think I can cope, at least for a bit longer.  I hope, eventually, to have snow pictures, too.

Blessings and thanks!

 

until you don’t

Also, the Real Problem with Fried Chicken.

Recently I was in the Land of Fun known as the laundromat, and a story came on the radio about how people were found to be happier later in life than in their twenties.  Whoa.  Newsflash!!! Anyway it went on to say that as people got older and went through more adversity they were better able to cope and stay in balance.  The owner of the laundromat was there, swishing a mop around and suddenly that mop went ballistic.  UNTIL YOU DON’T! he yelled.  YOU’RE NOT BETTER ABLE TO COPE!! and so forth.  He turned a bit pink and I reminded him to breathe and lower his shoulders.  I happen to know that he’s had a pretty large adversity serving the past few years, and I said: True.  You cope til you don’t.  Then you have a massive snap fest, wind up face down on broken glass, struggle to get up and wait til the cuts heal.  He actually laughed, looked at me, and said that somehow he knew I’d get it.  I was, after all, the one who was there the day the Big Washer Broke and the entire laundromat was two feet deep in water in about 15 minutes.  A man wearing a t-shirt saying he’d given himself to Jesus made a call to the posted emergency number that was so astonishingly inchoate it made me glad Jesus accepted the poor lamb. I may have mentioned all this at the time.  Anyway, I called the number, rustled up some help and soothed the jangled nerves of the person on the other end of the phone who was still assimilating the incoherent prior call.  IN the meantime, before help arrived suddenly the water? was up to the washer bottoms and sizzling noises were beginning to happen.  I was in rubber shoes, too.  What to do? All the dryers were running and the washers were starting to sound ominous.  With help from a handsome young man (where’d HE come from???) I found the water turn off on the original, offending washer, opened the doors to the laundromat and whooshed water out.  Given we’re in a drought the resident birds were delirious with joy, taking baths and drinking in the now torrential flow.  The cavalry arrived shortly and all was more or less well.  In any event the laundromat owner thinks I’m a good person.  I’ll take it.

Perhaps this is what they’re talking about, in saying that you’re happier as you get older.  What I think it is? Is you just know at long last that not only is there no time to waste, there is DEFINITELY no time to freak out.  I suppose that can give a person a sense of calm mastery from time to time.  While they’re picking broken glass out of their face.  After an until you don’t moment.

So.  After another more recent day during which tempers flared, milk spilled, and I indulged in some blubbing while cleaning up and sorting yet again through the boxes in my storage shed known that day as MY RUINED LIFE, I thought actually about the laundromat flood and ensuing kafuffle.  Thought about how really having to be right about things is missing the point (re flaring tempers and just who Jesus will save), and how spilled things are just spilled things and you do the best you can with the Whole thing.  In the spirit of snap fest past, I decided to do something I’d never done before.  Which is make fried chicken.

My mother was, I think now, pathologically concerned with me not being overweight.  I became well acquainted with cottage cheese and Ry Krisp.  And thank God, not fat.  In any event we didn’t have fried chicken much and I thought: too hard to make.  Too messy.  FATTENING.  See where this is going? Another thing I thought I couldn’t do.  And now I’m getting a message that my draft isn’t being saved so we’ll see if I can even do THIS.

Anyway, the real truth about fried chicken is this.  It is as easy to make as falling off a log.  Easy, we may say, peasy.  The problem then becomes you can have it WHENEVER YOU WANT.  It doesn’t even have to be unhealthy if you use the right oils and keep temperature.  That still doesn’t make it something you should have every day or even every week.  It’s something you have to hold in regard and have once in a while.  It is, thus, one of those things in life that’s like a tiny party you can have for yourself when you’re picking the broken glass out of your face yet again.  And this, I thought, was quite a wonderful revelation.

It seems to me that if we all remembered that we can step forward in adversity, and there are rewards and joys no matter what happens, especially if we put the other person’s feelings and well being at least on a par with our own (I was actually worried about the laundromat guy’s water bill that day- almost as much as I worried about my own imminent electrocution)(the Partner had been mooning around about fried chicken, so even though I was Mightily Peeved with him at the time…..), we might even survive this ghastly election.  Anyway, we need to and to do that, getting back to basics seems to be in order.  In that vein I feel happy to be the one to tell you you can in fact make your own celebratory fried chicken in the event you can find a decent chicken.  You can coordinate with people you don’t agree with, might not like even a tiny bit.  It all moves things forward in a positive way.  Instead of a fear based, anger mongering, stupidity exacerbating way which seems to be disturbingly pervasive.   Onward, then.  And as Jacques Pepin says, happy cooking- which covers a LOT of ground.

Thank you!

 

watching sports

I never watched sports before as much as I do now.  Baseball is a favorite and I miss, more than I would have imagined, being able to actually go to a game.  The expanse of green, the zen-like progress of the games, rooting for one’s team with cocktail in plastic glass raised high.   Television is a poor substitute but now I am incredibly grateful for the few times a game comes on- no cable here, G.R.  The Partner has now managed to explain golf and football enough that I can actually enjoy watching them, for a minute anyway.  I can appreciate the parameters but not get lost in them, so they don’t really count when things get rough.

Then there’s soccer.  Egalitarian, dramatic, impossibly corrupt.  How many leagues are there? Championships? Organizations? Zillions, it seems.  It’s hilarious to compare the difference between announcers, too.  The English are dry and understated (a murmur of “he’s been badly treated” about someone who’d got very mauled indeed and no foul called) and the announcers on Univision and Telemundo are hysterical.  !!NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! and the endless “GOLLAZO”.  I even recognize their voices now, Bermudez being a sort of favorite.

So while I’m sitting here today, watching Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid duke it out, coloring an impossibly complicated coloring book drawing, I’m trying to recover from the feeling of being a mirror that got a big rock dropped on it from a height.

It’s the usual thing, enduring the losses life brings and the deaths that occur daily in big and small ways.  Soccer makes me think of my dear friend and the ridiculous coffin story she has about her husband.  You can’t imagine, she said.  NOOOOO, I said.  Not one of those FURRY FAKE VELVET COFFINS? Yes! she said. How’d you know???  I covered my eyes and said- it wasn’t day glo orange was it? Fortunately not, it was the other choice, royal blue.( I guess you have to be in Mexico or Central America to get those orange ones, which just seem too shocking to be real.)  They’d asked if green was available, the color of the favored local soccer team, but that wasn’t available for another few weeks.  We discussed the possibility of her getting a future green coffin, and the overall desirability of a “natural” death.  Meaning, at home.  Meaning, so what if the house burns down at some point down the road and one is in it? Clarity there.  No prolonged illness or hospital or any of that.  We agreed that we’d both like that best.  Good, I guess, to get that settled.

It didn’t, however, help at all this week when we found out that a long time friend has a serious illness.  Really serious.  Just a sock in the jaw out of the blue, and I was amazed by how much this news hurt and made the whole world just look so dark.  Of course the important thing is to think positively, be as supportive and helpful as possible.  Yet and still such news inevitably brings up all the old memories of all the other deaths, the residual pain and questions.  Which gets you smack into Your Very Important Story.  Which is not where you need to be.  Maybe ever.  I suppose it is the actual nature of things that one gets flung hither and yon by life, and the sense to be made of that is always in flux, always being revealed.  All you can ever really hope for in a way is to be able to keep the hooks of fear and anger from taking root in your brain and twisting your perception into some fiendish pretzel shape.

This is what makes watching sports stabilizing in a way.  It’s another story, another constellation of moving parts upon which you can focus until the breathing returns to normal.  Especially important now, too, to focus on something that takes one’s mind off the potential disaster of The Trump becoming….fearless leader.  Watching yet another soccer game, we were aghast to see a red baseball cap on a participant that said “Let’s Make America…” on one side.   As we clenched our collective teeth in eye watering horror, the guy turned his head and revealed the rest of the message..”Part of Mexico Again”.    That may wind up not being such a bad idea.  ‘Course what I think? is it should be Native land again, altogether.  But that’s another train of thought and right now? I’m in the switching yard from Purgatory, trying to make sense of things and see which freight to hop.

The Dog, of course, is like salvation on four legs.  After telling the neighboring cat to clear out of the garden in No Uncertain Barking Terms at 4:20 a.m. this morning, he trotted back to bed, laid down next to me and put his head smack on my heart.  Sighed deeply, went to sleep, and snored just the tiniest bit.  It’s like he’s always telling me things are really OK, don’t worry.  And? come out and play with me.  His advice is always stellar.  I guess I should take it.