Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

deeeeeeeeep breath

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

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

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

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

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

At the Not-OK Corral

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

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

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

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

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

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

a rain of bivalves

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

back on the street again

Well, Gentle Reader, it HAS been a long time. Mercifully, however, another season in hell has completed and for once I think we may well have really, really Learned Something.

Last year was a doozy all the way around, and my little world’s bookends of death and fire were, while by no means extraordinary, quite beyond anything that had gone before. I was unprepared for the collapse that occurred, even though it turned out the Partner was not (having passed this way before, he knew what was going to happen). My body seemed to sense that I was planning on carrying on as usual, and it issued a firm and not gentle NO. Somehow it orchestrated every tendons’ going kaflooey at once- tendonitis, fasciitis (not the culturally induced kind in this case, either), tear ducts and alveoli. The brain suffered as well and there was very little that got done in the final analysis. A lot of sitting on the couch, deep breathing, and the ever special fearless and searching moral inventory.

The good news is that you really can change habits, especially once you realize how many things are just that: habits. Fear is a habit, really. Being in the wrong situation with the wrong people is a habit. Feeling that you have to constantly achieve to be accepted is a habit. The fact that the world is in ever increasing chaos reveals that what we were accustomed to thinking was real, and now turns out not to be…that pattern is a habit, too.

AS usual, it comes down to basics. The rule is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When they do unto you what you do not do unto them, time to go. No prevarication, no wishing, no falling back on habit. No blame and all of that sort of thing. I found it interestingly difficult to let go of some old resentments and attitudes until I realized that my habit was to feel those as supportive, instead of what they really were- anything but. The new practice of letting the day dictate itself instead of “having things to do”, does, just like they say, end up being far more productive than you could ever imagine. The realization that the thigh bone IS connected to the knee bone leads to integration and healing. Even the huge effort of overcoming all the fears that arise during such an intense change turns out to be simpler than you might think. Will I EVER be OK? is just a thought. Returning to the moment you’re in, attending to the requirements thereof, gets you to OK right on time. So, net net, I think I made it through yet another Dark Night. Of course, there was cooking.

I got on a dog biscuit kick, since I have a cookie cutter shaped like a dog bone. That reminded me of how much I used to like making rolled out and cut cookies. In another time, I made sugar cookies in shapes based on what people had in their yards that amused me (bears in their windows, pig statues in hidden gardens) and gave them to the respective creative neighbors. I hadn’t made any of these cookies for a long time and when I did this year? It was quite a success, a parade of bears and pigs and cows and Christmas trees and shooting stars and moons and hearts. Another night we had what I considered to be a personal triumph. Making all these things with paws that felt like they had nails in them was tricky but nonetheless I forged ahead, tried a new schedule for making sourdough bread, and had a good result. Then I made some ricotta, thinking I’d make ravioli for dinner. Think again, of course, because the weather has been horrendous and we had both a road washout and no power. I’d made filling for ravioli already, with the ricotta and chard from our perennial chard installation, but clearly any cooking was a non-starter, literally. So. I made SANDWICHES with the sourdough and the ricotta filling and we grilled them on the woodstove and they were wonderful. Like something one had actually Intended to Do, sort of thing. Evidence, truly, that staying in the moment pays off. And here is someone who really knows that, for sure:

Blessings and thanks and happy new year, let us hope anyway!

memories of underdevelopment

I don’t know, Gentle Reader, what made me think about this Cuban film today.  I reckon, however, it is because I’ve been engaged in a rather thorough going Improvement and Possible Modernization of Actual Self for a long time and I was, in fact, Looking Back on what the State of Me was before this all began.  My memory of the film is that as usual, the new and the old move along together and some parts of each get tired and fall away all in a politicized context of NEW vs OLD, or NOW vs THEN.  It occurred to me, thinking about this movie, that in the eight and a half years (!!!!!!!!!!!) we’ve been here, I maintained my historical approach of DO and BE also, because you can’t BE accepted or included or whatever unless you DO.  If that makes sense. Let’s just say it’s totally exhausting and in fact, impossible. Kind of like having a democracy in a fascist state.  In fact, what I think about that approach now is that it rather exactly mimics the process of capitalist colonialization, except you are doing the invading, genocide, institution creating and reality fixing yourself.   You believe the invaders (I’m picturing my high school “guidance counselor” here for one) when they tell you it’s their way or else and after all they DO have the weapons, as in, you must compete in the world, you must look outside yourself for every reward- all in a vacuum with no critical thinking of course- and, after all you are probably not Leadership and Success Material anyway because of things that are out of your control, like whether you have two parents at home, what color and sex you are, and stuff like that.   So one is constantly striving in an atmosphere that is completely artificial and has nothing to do with what YOU might actually be, and be able to contribute….and there is the distinction, I think.  Contribution to

first clear night

the actual whole as opposed to achievement for you individually.  And that would all be fine if the contribution to the whole part of things wasn’t systematically stymied to a very large extent.  Because actual change and development across the board are not what are wanted.  It is success for a small part of the whole, which is defined quite specifically and these days seems to consist entirely of the acquisition of money.

Someone remarked at the outset that the circumstances of our life here approximated some fairly serious monastic settings, for which experience in deleting DOING people pay big bucks.   I see that now, of course, and at long last I am surrendering, completely- or as completely as I can in this moment- to what IS.  What IS, of course, is almost completely gravelling at times and has involved the manifestation of all of my deepest fears.  One right after another, with traffic jams at times.  There really has been, and is, no room for anything other than acceptance and surrender.  So now what?

Now what is, in part anyway, seeing things more as they actually are and not as one was told, or what one wanted to believe they were (“family” is a good concept to ponder here). This is not an easy task.  It is and has been, also, for me, the laying of my personal foundation in what I have always known to be true: LOVE.  For so long I toiled away  and lived a kind of double life.  Knowing the truth and hoping to find a glimmer of it somewhere while hiding behind the exterior of a workman. Not daring to tell anyone what I actually saw when they walked into a room, or that I heard colors and had moments of divine awareness, happiness, joy. In my private time.  Naturally that did not work all that well, even though I thought it did since I was, after all, able to support myself, which I now see of course has been my struggle and preoccupation since about age 10.  Those around me convinced me that since I was Lazy, it was important that I rouse myself constantly and go DO THINGS, like clean out the gutters or mend everyone’s clothes.  All of which developed good work habits, don’t get me wrong.  But I did at last hit the wall, irrevocably and big time, and when that happens and all the things you didn’t want to look at just now, the disappointment and oftentimes rage, the sorrow, anger and fear, all rise up at once? Even when you think you’re all grown up now and that scar really did heal nicely, didn’t it?  You got to move.

The move, of course, is one we all dread- at least from what I hear.  Because it is a move to not doing, to silence, to feeling what it is you are actually feeling- and that last bit is a real monster as Russell Brand once said so well.  And, for extra fun? You get to do that while a bunch of stuff is happening all around you, stimulating all those spots that used to flash messages like EAT ME, DRINK ME, SHOP, RUN, VACUUM TIL YOU DROP.  I’m sure you know.

So that is what I’ve been doing, it turns out, for the past couple of years and this last year? has been a real doozy containing as it has the absolute full court press of OH GOD NO, NOT THAT.  But running from things is not moving, as it turns out.  Moving is often a rather still process although what happens in that stillness seems like pieces of the ground underneath you simply flying away.

At least part of what you come to is this.  Yes, awful things happen in life and there is pain.  And there is also the pain of others which can be even more difficult to deal with since it tends to elicit a sense of powerlessness that often leads to hitting the metaphorical snooze button. Nevertheless most of the things you fear are in your mind, are about how you think about things and not what they are. (Aside of course from things like “climate change” which is quite scary enough just as it is, and quite overwhelming when you wonder what you can do about it in light of the giant snooze button it has attached).  Facing those fears without running or flinching is tremendously difficult, but you can become skilled and able to do it, and as you do, somehow that basic ground of LOVE comes into focus, you see the pattern of life in a large moving sweep rather than an isolated pixel that has your face in it.  You are able to stop looking for what’s “wrong” and accepting that it is, as they say, what it is.  That what is contains everything, which means there are dynamic possibilities. Then, more fun! because you accept responsibility for yourself and begin to learn how to live with respect for yourself and all your relations.  There will be no more acceptance of the basically unacceptable in one’s “controllable” perimeter, aka the brain or some part of it.  No more snap-fests that last for days, no blame, no paralysis either which turns out to be one of the best parts….just the exploration of a whole new world, which you loved before and love even more now.  Functional expression of that love is what is, now.  So even when someone transgresses, it can actually be balanced AT THE TIME, without rancor, and who’da thunk?

Quick notes on magic: I have an almost 30 year old passion flower plant in the middle of the garden area.  We noticed this week that there is a long, vining tendril of passion flower growing out of the ground at one window- which had to seed itself somehow and is, in fact, in a direct line of float from original plant to new tendril spot.  Beets have sprung up again in the pot they were initially placed in as seedlings, then thought to be discarded since they more or less disappeared in the summer heat and smoke.  Something else got planted in the pot, the pot got moved, and now? We have both the something else AND beets.  Then there’s the forest of swiss chard that seeded from the OTHER swiss chard that had been there for three years.  It stopped being 398 degrees every day and the roses bloomed again, the butterfly bush did its thing and the Rose of Sharon has been extravagant.  The mugwort is about to bloom and we have a ton of tomatoes in the back at long last- after a summer’s worth of grumbling from the Partner that he was watering these huge-ass bushes and for what? Well? Cherokee Purple tomatoes at New Year’s is what.  We even had another successful solstice non-birthday, with guava bars and arroz con leche as this year’s favored dessert.  I also learned that I can, in fact, make a good red chile enchilada sauce- having always favored green up to now- and it’s pretty simple.  Add to that the discovery that Meadowsweet, already a favorite herb, as a single tincture applied to inflamed sores of any origin, works like a charm, humans and canines alike.  Not bad for a recent trip through Hell, yes?

Blessings and thanks!

yet another palimpsest

Well, sheesh Gentle Reader.  The normal torrent of words flying around my brain has slowed dramatically of late and writing, which is usually fairly easy? has been like pulling teeth.

However, I decided to take the position that this is a Developmental Phase and inspect all the words that DID pop up along with their associated…associations.   All while fairly major things were transpiring, as usual.

I’m slowly investigating things now that make my stomach upset.  Realizing at long last that stomach upset is, guess what? a SIGNAL that something isn’t right, I’ve been thinking about how many times I’ve disregarded my inner voice, self, whatever you want to call it, in favor of the opinion of the Other.  And how in the process I internalized that Other Opinion.  Which has pretty much been a huge mistake every time.

It has been a mistake because in those moments I relinquished my authority over myself and set it outside.  This sort of thing always leads to the same place, which is nowhere you really want to go and often includes the permanent installation of that stomach ache.  You think, of course, at the time, that it’s a good thing and this other person knows more than you do and all the rest of the malarkey that goes alongside.  It turns out that generally not to be the case, and people who insist you take their opinion as Fact do not for the most part have your best interests at heart.  The sad thing is they may think they have THEIR best interests at heart, and that isn’t true either.

Net net, after all this sitting still and observing things, something big happened.  I accepted myself as IS, and yes, not a moment too soon.  Early in December during a massive flood of unpleasantness, someone came over to our house and proceeded to tell me in a very patronising way that the work I do, what I do…none of it works and it’s just silly.  This pretty much covered everything from gardening to my remedies. I looked at this person and thought, wow, you must really feel like crap to attack me like that for no reason.  Then I thought…whoa! this isn’t the first time at this particular rodeo, kid.  People have told you this over and over.  Intellectually I know it isn’t true and those uttering such sentiments speak from ignorance and limitation,  but….and there’s the but.  I saw that I doubt myself.  I decided to just try to nip that in the bud each time it poked out and wow, was THAT a full time occupation.  The way I spoke to myself for most of my life was in a manner continually anticipating some sort of ghastly failure.  Admittedly there is some historical basis for such a concept- but not all the time.  The countervailing force of “stay in the now” saved me but also caused a lot of cognitive dissonance, i.e. stomach aches.

Anyway, in taking the long view it became clear just how much magic and goodness filled, always, my days and how that, in fact, kept me afloat in a world that seemed not to wish me well.  Balancing the necessity of living in that world with the necessity of staying sane while so doing has finally paid off, however.  I recently had two powerful and really, incontrovertible, instances of where my work and remedies made a big and sustaining difference in people’s lives.  It was an amazing experience, like fireworks were going off all around me and I’d finally come up to the surface of a deep lake from the bottom, spluttering and shaking water from my eyes, to see….myself, waiting for me.  No division, no stomach ache.  Challenges for sure….but the knowing that they can be met.  So, it IS true.  Once you believe it, you  see it, and not in the sense of seeing what you expect to see, but in the sense of removing constricting information from your viewfinder and turning the darn lights on.  It can be done!

As a reward for your patient reading of this:

bloodoranges

Aren’t these AMAZING? Given the harshness of the climate here, the fact that this little tree produces this much magic fills me with joy.  Plus they’re totally yummy.  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!

oh, dear.

The Partner has been striding around the yurt lately uttering the phrase, “white man speaks with forked tongue.” Declaiming, more like it.  He has the first nations bloodline to back this up, so we allow it.  I always kind of abjured the phrase, thinking it was a bit insulting to snakes.  Just like calling a person a “pig” is usually an insult to the pig. Looking it up just now, I learned that hummingbirds also have a split tongue and for heaven sakes- hummingbirds, while pugnacious, are pretty straightforward so I still don’t quite get it.  The meaning, however, is clear.  The possessor of the forked tongue is a liar.  Often a murderer and pretty much always a cheat.  Not a ringing endorsement.

So, here I am, having already been declaimed at this morning, on general principle, when two things intruded themselves into my consciousness, much like a Buick plunging through a picture window.  I’d just come in from the garden so I was hot, and a bit woozy but still.  First, there’s the news from Dixie, where someone has already been killed at a white supremacist rally concerning the removal of a Confederate War Hero Statue.  It always makes me wonder, this flaunting of the losing side’s icons for over a hundred years.  If this weren’t so totally awful I might be able to find amusement in the oxy(contin?)MORONIC aspect of a white supremacist rally.  But I really can’t.  Then, in what turned out to be a mindfuck channel surf, the Partner happened on the movie “Red Dawn”.  The description of which, provided by the TV network (Fox, so get ready), was “When North Koreans viciously attack a small town…” the plucky residents blahblahblah.

The movie is about Russians, as it happens.  But the Giant Forked Tongue that has taken over a high level U.S. office  (through- interestingly? a mechanism introduced after the civil war by…well.  Look that up and see) has somehow, so quickly one might have missed it, inserted the very forked tongue of which we speak deep into the heart of this country.  It must not be tolerated, Gentle Reader.  Fearmongering propaganda must be called what it is.  When tv stations start misdescribing movies in this highly politicized way, we have a big problem.  Time to wake up and say something.

 

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!

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!