Archive for the ‘getting through a day’ Category

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.

something, and more of it

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

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

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



uncharted waters

I had a horrifying moment earlier when it appeared that the Trusty Laptop was not going to function.  At all.  This would, to put it mildly, NOT BE GOOD.

But, as is so often the case with what appear to be looming disasters, there was food for thought.  For once I was able to relinquish my normal fears and sense of not knowing what to do which generally leads to Massive Floundering and Potential Crying.  For once, I didn’t immediately go to, and stay at, the nightmare thought of how another laptop might be procured.  No, Gentle Reader.  I simply plugged it in to a power source, and pressed the button I think of as “on” for several seconds.  I listened to the laptop, so to speak.  Repeating to myself that there is, after all, no crying in baseball.

What there is? though, is macrocosm in microcosm.  The ongoing dog “training” hits many and various snags even though the Dog and Trainer in question are  stellar sweethearts.  It’s just the way of things, however: one person wants one thing, another wants something different.   The Dog wants to roll in horseshit and eat dead mice, which we reluctantly had to use poison on lest they eat our car wiring.  We Humans want him not to do that, and also to come when we call in a reasonable time frame. Harsh words may be uttered and there might even be a bit of spanking.  Clearly the Partner is the patriarchal figure here and *I* am like the closely aged sibling.  We often, the Dog and I, get stern warnings to STOP THAT, just like kids do.  I’m both happy that I can be that way and not happy that I’m not mature enough at all times to properly Deal with the Dog.  This appears to be the way things are in the outside world as well.

It seems to be somewhat a matter of putting yourself in another’s place.  What is perceived, felt, thought, believed? And why?  Is it lifetime conditioning, pure laziness, evil, fear, awareness, or what?  I mean, really.  Why DO dogs like to roll in disgusting substances? Straying into politics for a moment, we see that Justice Scalia who was touted as a conservative which in today’s parlance is supposed to translate into “good” it seems, was on a little trip with someone who wasn’t his wife when he died.  How honorable and good is that?  Trump picks a quarrel with the Pope, for God’s sake, when his deplorable behavior is described, accurately, as generally un-Christian.  How does this mental desuetude happen?  And more importantly, why are people in this condition running things?  I of course then relate this to my own inability to keep things always running smoothly in my little world.

That line of thought may be where we go astray.  Things CAN’T run smoothly all the time and it isn’t our job to cram them into position one way or the other.  We go forth, do what we do, experience consequences.  It is to be hoped we learn from the consequences but this seems to be an often missing piece.  Maybe it is our fear of consequences that keeps us from embracing them as the learning tools they are.  But fear never really works as a positive motivator and avoiding things, resisting them, turns out to be a massive waste on every level.  Some days, accepting this concept this seems like a daunting challenge. Others it’s like a get out of jail free card.  Today I’m swinging between those poles; the dog is snoring, sleeping off his post-bad-dogness, and my stomach is making I’m-getting-upset-noises.  Time to remember there isn’t any shape here except the one there always IS, which is the shape of things as they are, even if we can’t see that all the time.

But before I forget? thank you all, so much, for reading, and liking, and being.


crawling through the wreckage

I’m taking the view, Gentle Reader, that this past week showed nothing less than my survival of a Zombie Apocalypse.

It wasn’t enough that we saw the guy on TV who’d lived across the road from us- and been a gigantic pain the entire time (Mr. Hummer Ranchero, to be exact-) got 98 years in prison for kidnap and torture.  Warm and fuzzy?  No, it wasn’t enough.  First? A man, who’d either been in a fiery crash or a drug lab explosion and lost his hands, took a plastic bag of dirty clothes out of my basket at the laundromat while I was getting change.  Hair pulling and sanity questioning ensued but the interesting thing was that once I finally calmed down and thought, well, it is what it is, here comes the handless man with my laundry.  So, OK.  But then?

Then! Some heavily tattooed guy in a KIA  t-boned me in the parking lot as I was wending my way to the recycling kiosk having at last washed all my laundry.  Leaps out of his car screaming and suddenly there’s half a dozen large, toothless men surrounding me and my car, yelling they were witnesses and i was a b****, among other things.  THEN two very large women oozed over and I found myself wondering why Ronda Rousey wasn’t anywhere to be seen when I needed her so much.  The interesting thing here was that even though all these rather scary individuals were surrounding me screaming, and the older guy who came up and told them to stop was immediately threatened with potential dismemberment, I managed to stay in a non-violent frame of mind and get through the fiasco (no swearing, even!), with Mr. Tattoo actually lowering his voice at the end and thanking me for cooperating with him.   And, fiasco it was since somehow all those “witnesses” had no problem distorting the situation and I now find myself in a yuck-hole with my insurance company.

Aside from the baseline terror I felt when being confronted by all these large, yelling White people, and the stress of seeing my car crunched and home being miles away, what I came away with was this.  Along with a healthy respect for the fact that witch hunts can be pretty real, the fact is?  If you go outside, sooner or later something will catch up with you.  Nothing personal, just the way it is.  You aren’t being punished, it’s just your day for wearing the bullseye.  And, if you can stay neutral during the fireworks that ensue from such bullseye encounters, everyone else will get calmer too, regardless of the outcome. Maybe that’s really the point of such things.  Non-violence does, indeed, take a long time.  But I saw it worked in this situation because even though TRUTH didn’t prevail, the level of stress and anger was substantially lessened and everyone was able to walk away.  Sometimes that’s the best you can do, I guess.  So, I’m sticking with my Practice, even though I still feel very strongly that I don’t ever want to go outside around here again.  Prayers appreciated that my insurance company doesn’t refuse to fix my elderly car!

in the mystery

So, we’ve had a few pee setbacks and every day requires a troll through the garden for small bits of plastic that might find their way into an enquiring pit bull’s mouth, as well as setting to rights the carnage of the night before in terms of chewed gloves, flower pots, and disappeared small shovels.  We’re at about 60% compliance to coming when called by name.  Last night was a notable failure, when he just simply decided he was staying outside and that was that.  It’s hard to know exactly how to proceed in such a case, not wanting to set a poor precedent but also? Not wanting to create unnecessary Armageddon.  Anyway this morning he was up, in his downstairs dog cave, at his usual dawn hour, and was VERY happy to see us.  All the smoke is making him sneeze but the light bulb went off and I realized that I can wipe his nose with water, the same way I do mine, and it helps with the nose/crud balance.

Otherwise, I’m finding myself wondering how one strikes the balance between what needs to be done, knowing what that truly is for crying out loud, and accepting the things that are not likely to change.  The capitalist model would have you believe that if you don’t have financial success, it’s just simply your fault.  This, of course, is patently false but it can cause a certain amount of wasted time until you bite the bullet and accept it for what it is: propaganda.  Is it better to beat the bushes constantly?  Or simply keep your powder dry and in order for when the time comes?  Given that the current setup has most liquidity tied up at the top, it can be difficult to see what the truth actually is at any given point.  This particular paradigm exists not just about money, of course, but can also flourish in those places where you haven’t exactly understood what you went though before.  Is this all my fault or were there a few partners involved?  Accepting responsibility is important, but should not be a misperception of self to the point of thinking that…well, thinking that you are powerful enough to have caused x or y to happen.  Especially when you ARE powerful but perhaps not in the areas of x or y.  You can, after all, control your mind after working at that task diligently.  But you cannot “make” anyone else “do” anything, or feel anything.  Nor are they responsible for what you want and fulfilling your needs.  It’s up to you at every moment, and perhaps the issue now is that the overall resonance of society and the world is WAAAAAAY out of whack.  It’s spiky and discordant and people are crying a lot.  How do you get in synch with that? and why should you?

So I guess the dog and I are walking this path together, trying to remember our names and put our paws right.  Fortunately for us, the Partner KNOWS his name and is very good at alerting a person to where the deep hole is right in front where if you don’t stop your paw will……the poor man has his work cut out for him right now, is all I can say.  But in mitigation, I can also say I made more tripeless menudo from the bone of a leg of lamb, some hominy, and some chili paste, which is one of the P’s favorite things.   We’re all trying.

la la la lalalala

Well. For the most part it has continued, of late, to be an extra weird mix of sturm AND drang.  I managed to obtain and download a new operating system for my antediluvian laptop, and also downloaded what appears to be a browser that will work.  I only cried about three times during all of that, which I think is pretty impressive, especially given the situation.  My heavy lifting routine consists of imagining a giant paddle with which I swat away all the bothersome thoughts about What Needs To Be Done.  Because I am not there yet, not at the place where Things Can Be Done.  Still a week away from being able to lift anything heavier than a kleenex, and watching the world careen from breathtaking mess to breathtaking mess on top of it.

In the meantime, I have been reading.  Detective novels during that grim period where I was applying ice blocks to my midriff and head, and now?  Two splendid LONG novels.  ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, by Anthony Doerr, which is just wonderful.  Elegant, sinuous language and the visual construction of an amazing world.  The other is WOLF HALL, by Hilary Mantel.  (I have fallen hopelessly in love with Mark Rylance, who has the part of Thomas Cromwell in the current PBS version-it is quite wonderful to populate the novel with the excellently cast actors therefrom, especially him with his ruined face and clear, burning eyes.)  Anyway for such a long book about the Tudors, for heaven’s sake, it is completely riveting.  The action is implied from the characters’ inner processes, and you come away from it with the feeling of having been at an incredible dinner party where you observed everything unfold from a much larger perspective than your usual seat allows you.

Otherwise, it is still all about riding the wave, or the bull, or whatever it is that we get on as humans one way or another and have to stay on til the ride’s over.  This has been an enlightening experience, of course (at the same time as it is completely the opposite) and I have learned a lot about what rises up in us when we’re sick and injured.  All that stuff has to be dealt with for healing to occur and we can see all over the place how hard a time people are having with this particular project.  It takes witnessing and someone who can abide with the difficulties without having opinions about them- which is the work of a lifetime, in itself.  There’s a tremendous quality of breath holding to all this, along with an overwhelming sense of being somehow tested by some perhaps completely crazed inquisitor.  How much of your fear can you leave behind, really?  How clearly can you think about things when all your old “stuff” is forming an ungodly ferment with the new input and foaming all over the place?  How much, really, does any of this matter?  What in the end can any of us do in the face of the enormous suffering on this earth when we can’t keep our own minds in check?  Oh my.  The deep breathing it all takes!

Then again, there’s always the moment where a flash of light comes in and reminds one that since it is a question of perspective and focus, probably mostly a time to rest up and get ready to jump the next time the merry-go-round passes.  I do believe that we are guided, the information we need is available to us, and the thing is to step into the fires that burn in us instead of running away from them.  Easier said than done of course.  Still.  Civility and kindness go a long way and if each of us made perhaps a stronger effort we might see something interesting.  At the moment I’m having a devil of a time with the civility part, but probably because having spent my life being polite, self effacing and helpful, the impulse to even THINK in uncivil terms has been mercilessly suppressed.  There’s a certain amount of outgassing that happens, I guess.

In the meantime, it is clearer to me than ever before that the truth is of paramount importance and we must really all begin to seek it and tell it.  Truth.  Not opinions, and not propaganda.  It’s pretty clear if you choose to look, and the fact that things have gone on on this planet in this ridiculously dysfunctional way for so long seems to indicate that it might just be time for a change.  Not the non-change we see in politics and wars now, but a change to actual right-living.  Everyone working toward the common goals of stewarding resources and providing support to their communities. Setting aside the illusory thing called money, and enterprise, and economies in favor of something that actually matters across the board.   Call me crazy but even notwithstanding the past month, I still believe it can happen.

in which i go outside

So, okay.  Stormy weather and somehow I knew that since our power only went off for a couple of hours and everything was working correctly and we weren’t in the epicenter of howling winds like usual- I knew that there Would Be More.

And, yes.  The road washed out is what happened.  The only way in or out of where we live was, just like that, gone.  The small bridge over a culvert/seasonal stream was not properly constructed to begin with, as you might expect up here.  Then a bear, seeing an appropriate den, moved in for a while.  Then, what with 8 zillion pickup trucks going back and forth every day with their ARs and whatnot, when the storm hit the road went kaput.

The ensuing events once again made my little head explode.  First, the phone rings at night which is weird enough in itself.  Our neighbor (who now detests me because of the summer Hummer Ranchero episode) says the road will be closed until further notice/it gets fixed.  Oh, I said.  But… do we get out?  Answer, you don’t.  The song and dance that followed about just how they managed to get a guy (who, in his normal life, runs the wine department in Trader Joe’s) to head a crew to fix this thing involved gold mining and all sorts of excuses and hems and haws, along with professed total lack of knowledge about just who was doing the work.  And when.  But boy it was really hard to find someone with heavy equipment who could do the job- especially considering that, apparently, all the people up here with back hoes and stuff were not considered suitable for a piece of work such as this.  The first day I lost it, being as how I missed doing a job among other things.  No fed ex.  No groceries.  No email and no way of monitoring the progress of business.  By the third day of confinement I was able to remain calm, say to myself, self? Nothing to be done.  Que sera sera and all that.  Clearly the universe feels you should just sit still.  When I walked down to the site I did almost cry, on that day three, because what had once been a collapse had been turned into a pit that seemed likely to go on forever.  It’s a wet fix, the guy said.  It could be DAYS.  I turned around and started thinking how a potato curry would probably be OK for dinner and thank GOD there was still that bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau in the kitchen.  Beyond that were dragons.  But they’re always there.

Fortunately the thing did finally get wrestled to the ground, and when we did get to at last venture out to pick up a week’s worth of mail and totter into the grocery store, we were rewarded with the sight of intense green swards covering the pastures on the main road, and!  an eagle.  Who was very muddy but nonetheless spectacular and awe inspiring.

In the end it’s hard to know what things mean sometimes.  You THINK you’ve got all this stuff to do, but how important is it?  And if the infrastructure isn’t there, ultimately even the best efforts don’t produce what they might in other, less fettered, conditions.  So there you are, in the perhaps quintessential position of humanity.  Wondering what is to be done? And how you might even get to the point of doing something.   And how important is that anyway?  Goodness but there’s a lot to figure out.  One of my teachers said the fastest way to get nowhere is to follow the crowd.  At this point I think I can say that we, the Partner and I, are firmly out there where the crowd is not.  We’re just not sure where that is, whether or not we’re lost or found.  It’s beautiful, in any event, when we can focus our eyes.

Thank you!