Archive for the ‘Soccer’ Category

pits, stakes, live tigers

No pictures yet, though, Gentle Reader.  We’re working on it but Technical Stuff appears to be in the same spot behind the barn door as everything else right now.

Not that it hasn’t been exciting.  A dozen fire trucks raced over our dirt road a few days ago after we heard a loud explosion.  The Partner saw smoke, and all of it was less than a mile away from us.  Seeing as how we were already surrounded by fires it was, as I told a friend, just the tiniest bit unnerving.  However, the fire people around here are probably stuffing their wings into their fire suits, is all I can say.  Once again they saved us.  Once again I felt exactly what it’s like to have overwhelming fear just materialize like a giant fug in your face, and also exactly what it’s like to say, not right now, fear.  I’m still rattling around a bit but ….oh well.

Shortly after that I found a frog atop my anti-depressant meds, and I thought, oh, my.  Even the frogs need help around here.  Or perhaps the frog was just saying, I’m coming with you.  FROGS PANIC TOO.

Meanwhile, though, the gardenia has bloomed and we’re already casting around for the hundredth zucchini recipe, which is all wonderful.  Beans are flowering and there’s a chili on the way.  The rhubarb plant appears to be on its last legs, but you can’t win them all- it’s been over 105 here every day and probably that is just more than a rhubarb can take.  The garden continues to be what keeps us all more or less sane, I think.  The Dog loves to eat mint and rose petals, the Partner manages and creates magnificence, and I find myself roaming around in it when my mind is so unsettled I can’t sit still.

Which, let’s face it, has been the norm of late.  I had to make a very difficult personal decision which, while the correct course of action, broke another piece of my heart.  Reality bites, in short.  But, I made ice cream (successfully caramelizing sweetened condensed milk in the microwave, miracle of miracles for me anyway) and salsa and marinades and zucchini 800 ways (new favorite: slice zucchini, place in oiled frying pan and let caramelize, about four minutes a side.  You put inch long pieces of scallion and a bit of salt on top.  When it’s all brown and great, remove from pan, remove oil, and place a tablespoon of red wine vinegar in the still hot pan.  Put squash back in, make sure it is mixed completely with vinegar, and toss with shredded fresh mint.  Let come to room temperature.  Eat.  Heaven.).

It’s not enough to keep the World at bay though and once again I am really, really wondering what to do since periodically it seems to me that all the meditating and right mindedness attempts are not even close to enough.  I don’t know how it is other places in this country but here? It couldn’t be more unfamiliar if one landed on a distant rock in space.  People are behaving beyond badly, and of course are given the example and go ahead by an individual who pretends to be President.  And we all know all the rest of it, of course, and how ANYONE can sleep knowing what is going on at the border (however much the doers of this resort to the Bible), how much money the for profit prisons are making both on incarcerating terrified refugees and the other huge percentage of American citizens they house, and how many people are about two weeks away from being out on the street, how the very air we breathe is being poisoned….   it is like a continuing gash in one’s entire being.  This is not OK, not any of it and I am at a loss to understand just why it continues.  This country is now being “run” by a crew of individuals who would probably be better placed in Pelican Bay.  And, yes.  It’s change, the cosmos is moving and shaking, shi/f/t happens, what you detest in someone is present in you also. Still, one really must not collaborate with what is poison, thinking it will be OK.  Even the Buddha said that.

The comparisons people make to the 60’s and 70’s  make me wacky too.  It is not the same and pretending it is seems to me to be the worst sort of magical thinking .  People had some heart in those days overall and were prepared to take a stand when things were clearly wrong even if those things didn’t seem to immediately affect them personally.  And there were consequences for those stands.  But things did change: civil rights, environmental rights, women’s rights.  Abortion, for example.  If you’re opposed to abortion then one must assume you’re opposed to the death penalty and war as well?  Roe v Wade showed that it was reasonably clear that a woman should not have to die either figuratively or literally (which DID happen) because she becomes pregnant unintentionally or unwillingly.  No other person really should be able to say what remedy is available and what isn’t based on their supposed reverence for life, or assume that all women are fluff brains who don’t know what they’re doing- along with all those miscreants in the hood who clearly need to be put in custody.  And why do we even have to call being treated with a sense of dignified equity a RIGHT?  How has it become a right not to be shot by over militarized police because you don’t straighten your legs out on the curb?  Or a right not to have your boss overcome you physically? And while we’re on it?  What the hell is sexual assault?  I looked up the words rape and assault in the dictionary and roared.  Assault is taking something (note: THING) by force.  Rape is “illicit carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent.” ILLICIT CARNAL KNOWLEDGE? Consent? Consent is not  saying yes so you won’t be killed. And, rape is not about sex aka carnal knowledge, which is a first step in dealing with it in a cultural context. It  is about power, control, and pain. Just like capitalism turns out to be for the most part unless you’re part of the tip of the pyramid.

Oh, dear Gentle Reader.  I do hope the zucchini recipe balances the excess verbiage.  And after all.  Mexico lost out in the World Cup, but the recent elections look most promising- even if you have, up to now, had to listen to Telemundo to find out they even happened.  Meanwhile, we pin our hopes on Uruguay, maintaining some level of balance and common sense, and send you blessings and thanks as always!

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.


E.O. Wilson wrote that cooperation works for groups and he’s certainly right about that.  Last year a quail couple allowed a solitary male to join their small family. In a striking show of cooperation, he joined the two adult quail and their three chicks, and stood watching over them while they ate, feeling useful and important (or anyway it looked like that).

This year?  Holy cow.  There’s the biggest passel of quail either one of us has ever seen.  Several mother quail, two males (one ENORMOUS), and nineteen babies.  NINETEEN.  It was hilarious and transfixing to watch them taking dirt baths in the slightly moist and cool compost pile, sliding down the side and stepping all over each other.  Later on they all sacked out on the back garden path and went to sleep for a few minutes.  It was almost weird looking at all those inert little bodies; but after they’d rested they went on to demolish the sowbugs in our front garden bed.  Plus some strawberries, but the sowbugs were well worth it.  It was also quite interesting to see that quail moms are just like any other moms.  In the crowd of kids and adults they looked a whole lot more alert and focused, not to say just the teensiest bit stressed, and although no sounds were heard, when the inevitable quail baby went the opposite and wrong direction as at least one always does, the mom’s shoulders were tense, her eyes were bright, and one can only imagine what message the baby got as it abruptly scrambled into line, completely chastened.

We also have our annual frog, and this time a skink too, living in the yurt.  The frog has been a marvel of cooperation.  Although he initially wanted to stay on my bag of almonds, being disturbed at all was just more than he could tolerate and he’s figured out a place to hang out between meals that is out of our way.  Unlike the last couple of years where everyone wanted to live in the muffin tins and that was that, this guy pays attention, and obviously does Not Want To Be Disturbed.  He makes a lot of noise all night long, hopping around and ponging on the inside of the zinc tub, but seems to be responsive when we ask him to be quiet.  Either that or we’ve both gone crazy, thinking we can talk to frogs.

Which of course brings us, Gentle Reader, to my more frequent and normal train of thought which is, in fact, all about crazy.  What IS crazy, after all?  I realize now that being different allows people to apply that label, and conflate things that don’t really go together at all but can have a lasting and damaging effect on a person.  (Or, I suppose, a frog)  The danger is that when you’re a child, you cannot really differentiate the judgments people make, understand that they’re probably just off balance, and make a decision about whether or not to accept them.  You just take them in and bingo! You either think you’re OK or you think you’re really NOT OK.  Then you toddle off into the world.

Of course, in my experience it’s usually the people who ARE technically crazy who believe they are not- and really, who’s to say?  Hearing voices isn’t a helpful thing when one is looking for a job but they are still real to some extent and therefore, as real as anything else.  None of which is actually real in the sense we all want to think it is.  The truth about reality? It’s not stationary, humans are not the hottest thing since sliced bread, everything is dependent on everything else.  Nonetheless, it has also been my experience that if you are different from those around you, they will treat you as though you have some affliction along the lines of hearing voices, and that can really put a cramp in things.

So, what to do? (As always.)  We find ourselves in a world where, for example, FIFA is so rife with corruption it truly stinks and then they make women play a world cup on artificial turf.  Just a little of that old time punishment for being different? You have to wonder how they believe they can get away with the totality of their misfeasance, financial and social, but they seem to be doing it.  Then? Some person who really WAS crazy shot a bunch of people in a church because they were the wrong color in his opinion.  Where did the poison he was filled with come from?  Perhaps, and this is what I’m thinking, the “power elite” (we’ll call them that for convenience) are the crazy ones?  A person who looks like them and behaves in a crazy way that they understand- violently- gets a pass.  A person who doesn’t look like them?  Fuggedaboudit.  There’s a kind of insanity that seems to be almost institutionalized at this point.  I realized, for example, that the fact that my long time physician told me that everything going on in my body was in my head (and I believed her having had a lifetime of being told just that) led to the physical problems I didn’t interpret correctly, and further to the hospital experience that came close to ending my life.  But I’M the one who’s depicted as being crazy in that particular paradigm.  A black person can be told from now until the cows come home that we’re “post racial” and racism doesn’t exist.  I saw a white man from Idaho say just that last night on the news: No racism in this country at all, according to him.  Placing that against the daily reality of seemingly invincible racism must make a person feel…well, crazy.  You do come to expect your place at the end of the line but that doesn’t make it right.

I believe with Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr and HH the Dalai Lama that non-violence is the way, however long it takes.  But I finally realized what you have to do to make that work.  You have to truly be yourself, no matter what ANYONE says, and be the best you possible.  As fearlessly as possible- so, no pressure, right? (And. Obviously the best you possible is not the you that cheats and steals and lies and hurts others as a matter of course.) This makes connections manifest and action possible.  It’s hard to do, of course, and you won’t find a whole lot of help in the endeavor but sooner or later you will find cooperation.  However small it may be in the beginning I am convinced that this is what will eventually make the difference and allow us all to move forward.  However afraid I am that the people *I* think are crazy and who are currently running things will win out?  In my heart I know they cannot.  Because they don’t cooperate.  Things can only be accomplished through love, not through power, and the true craziness of the world today is that people seem to think the reverse is true.  Fortunately we have quail and frogs to show us otherwise.